This is part 6 of the series of conversations among active communist committees inside Iran, hosted by the Slingers Collective. You can find the detailed composition of the committees in this meeting in the previous publications of this conversation. This part constitutes the translated transcription of the third meeting.
Red Revolutionary Youth Committee of Mahabad (RRYCM):
We said in previous meetings that our strength is in our speech. What is our discourse? It’s scientific socialism! The next thing I have to say is that we are not rulers, we are organizers. We organize the oppressed people so that they can rule over their own destiny, their own land, and the natural resources of their land. We are revolutionaries, and we organize the revolution. The problem is that we must be able to recognize and understand all types and forms of oppression. We must recognize all kinds of oppression that arise from the existing structure, capitalist structure, and government, and we must have solutions for these oppressions. We became socialists because we know that socialism has a solution and is an alternative that rejects all kinds of oppression, as our main slogan is “It’s either socialism or barbarism.” At the same time, we are among the masses of people. Yes, the media is very much needed, but we have prioritized actively working among the masses. We have repeatedly had discussions with the Kurdish nationalist democrats in our region. They had strict positions in the past, but that is not the case anymore. They speak with hesitation and doubt because they know that their party, their movement, and their ideology do not really meet the needs of the society of Kurdistan and the people of Iran. In the field, we have done many things that cannot be recounted due to security issues, but we have managed to force the reactionary forces in Kurdistan, whose main base is Mahabad, to retreat. We can see that the Kurdistan Democratic Party has retreated in their discourse. They have visited the Communist Komala Party several times, invited them to talk, and met with Hamid Taqvaei. Mustafa Hejri [leader of the Kurdistan Democratic Party of Iran] has made statements and announcements about International Workers’ Day. It stems from the robust discourse and the alternatives we have [expressed] as socialists. Our primary medium is our constant presence among the masses, discussing solutions and alternatives and exposing the reactionary forces. According to experience, we bear the most powerful tools in this area. In the case of Internet media, we should make maximum use of these possibilities, the small social media accounts such as Sarkhat or Sada-ye Mahi Siah, to take position on the global, regional, or local events. The fact that the Iranian state was elected as the vice president of the United Nations General Assembly and as the head of Social Human Rights in the United Nations, that fact that the United States is trying to appease the Islamic Republic, that they once again handed the Strait of Hormuz to the Islamic Republic, and that a terrorist-diplomat like Asadullah Asadi was given back to Iran, all these appeasements are because of a robust socialist discourse that’s going on in Iran. There is a vast social movement with strong socialist streaks that knows that the US-led imperialism is consolidating the Islamic Republic’s position because it does not have a convenient alternative for the Islamic Republic yet. This is the US’ slander to the socialist and leftist movement, not only in Iran but all over the world. I hope that in the following meetings, we will talk about the formation of the working-class party, how we should expand to create the militant revolutionary party, and, for this purpose, how we should be able to train revolutionary cadres scattered across Iran.
Street Militants Group (SMG):
While talking about oppression, we need to consider how it is applied to the oppressed groups and what is the root and the background of this oppression. For instance, when we talk about housewives as reproductive workforces, indeed we are discussing the relationships which dominate and surround them. Regarding their nature, councils disrupt these relationships, it has been practised before and we know that it’s not impossible or unthinkable. Take the issue of re-distributing the domestic work and all the limits it imposes on women, especially housewives, after the October Revolution, public canteens, kindergartens, and laundry rooms were established to lift the work burden from women’s shoulders, who had been responsible for unpaid service tasks. We should adopt this model. It applies to ethnic minorities as well; once the centrist monophonic social relationships are disrupted, it takes new forms in which their rights are acknowledged and a concrete context will be provided for the oppressed in this or that way, to grow. We need to consider the intersectionality in this new order, and I, for one, believe in affirmative action. For instance, if these relationships get disrupted in Zahedan or Lorestan, we need a sort of affirmative action to guarantee the concrete context for the inhabitants of these regions to grow and there should be a difference between them and someone who comes from large industrial cities.
Jian Group (JG):
To form a kind of dialogue and discuss the ideas, we’d like to ask the friends in RRYCM: how do you define the relationship between the revolutionary party and the councils? And, about the binary power; if we (as leftist militants) see the state (an entity of authority) as an alternative which is supposed to guarantee the rights of women, workers and oppressed ethnic minorities? I mean, will the state advocate our demands in this assumed future, or do we believe in the idea of councils taking the power and we won’t deal anymore with the state as an institution in power which is supposed to give us some rights? We opened up this topic in the form of a question so that we initiate a dialogue.
Red Revolutionary Youth Committee of Mahabad (RRYCM):
I think I didn’t get the first question. Anyway, when we say ‘all the power is in the hands of councils’ we emphasize the fact that we are not governors, but organizers. It means that it will be not us as communists, but masses, oppressed ethnic minorities, working class, workers’ councils and local councils who govern their own territorial integrity. The members of the councils might be communists, or they might have nationalist, or other tendencies. It doesn’t matter. Moreover, we won’t address the state. If the revolution is assumed to win under our leadership and the councils do not hand over power, we won’t address the state. In this case, it would be the councils which define the circumstances, and we, as progressivist organizers, will take the role of awareness. But if a right-wing state body takes power and the people obey, we won’t go for an armed struggle. We’ll advocate our ideas and discourses, but as soon as we or the working class or the oppressed will be attacked, of course, we’ll defend ourselves. As I said, I didn’t get your question, and I’m not sure if I gave a relevant answer.
Their question was how do you define the relationship between councils and the revolutionary party you’re talking about.
Red Revolutionary Youth Committee of Mahabad (RRYCM):
The revolutionary party can not be in the position of forming councils. These will be formed on their own in the middle of the revolution, but the party could perform as a catalyst and once the councils are established, it could support them not to hand over the power to any state or party or not to engage in bureaucratic processes. It could support the councils to maintain the power in the neighbourhoods or factories or elsewhere. But in case the councils are manipulated, then it means a struggle. A struggle between the working class and reactionary right-wing forces. We’ll keep on the struggle even if we lose. For 170 years and despite all those defeats, the leftist forces have been fighting and will continue to fight. We’ll do our best for the working class to win. But of course, we’re not deluded. The councils might be manipulated by capitalist propaganda. And we are not predictors. We’re in the process of the struggle and besides organizing, we try to get the leadership of a radical revolution. We’re experiencing over time, we’ll face many things in the future when their time comes and we’ll position ourselves regarding what will happen.
Regarding the question about councils, as the friends in JNFC already mentioned about different leftist forces, for example, desperate leftists, or conformist leftists or revolutionary leftists, we believe that this variety of categories exists within the revolutionary forces that talk about ‘the idea councils as an alternative’ as well, and it is related to the fundamental questions asked by JG I mean there are many groups which are categorized as revolutionary leftists and discuss the idea of councils, but there is not necessarily a common understanding of this alternative.
To simplify what I mean and make it short, I would say we could define this fundamental disagreement upon the understanding of council management and council alternative, as two different approaches; one considers the council just as a means of struggle or some struggling entities which paves the path for the party to reach the power (no matter in which way we define and perceive this process). But it means reaching power as it always takes place when the party and the state get merged into each other.
In fact, the councils are supposed to pave the path during the phase of the bipolarity of power and therefore, this approach does not seek to abolish the state (at least in a way that we want to). This alternative seeks to bring the party to power and these friends believe that it is the party which is organizing abolishing the state in a rather long-term process. We believe that when we say one should take lessons from past experiences, it means these historical experiences prove that by its nature the state tends to establish and reproduce itself and to get rid of any single obstacle which might disturb its existence, no matter if the state identifies itself as a communist state or not. Of course, there are some differences between the states, regarding the policies they adopt, but when it comes to abolishing the state, all of them tend to thwart every possible position of power disturbing its agenda. Therefore, when we talk about councils, the main power should be in their hands and this approach of bringing the party to power becomes in fact a sort of antithesis of the council management and not something which functions in favor of it.
There is yet another approach, amongst the revolutionary leftists, which we advocate and according to which, the party or the organization should function in the favor of councils to directly exercise power and not the other way around. It means the function of the party is exactly what it is historically responsible for; one could see the same perception of communist forces in Marx’s works. It means that the party is supposed to act as a facilitator to link the formed power and the formed organization to some real possibilities, based on a constructive political idea. The friends in RRYCM mentioned that the council will get formed in a concrete circumstance, which is true, but the party (or the organization) could be party active and get involved to help this formation and at the same time one of the main responsibilities of the party (or the organization) is to protect the councils against the counter-revolution and to provide the councils with means and possibilities to keep on their functionality and to grow in a national-wide level.
So, that’s how we see the relation between the party and the councils as an alternative and as I mentioned, the party should support the councils to abolish the state. Now, the question is if the party should get involved in negotiations with the state over some short-term interests (such as insurance, wages, working hours and so on). First, this is rather a task for the trade unions to deal with these issues during the phase of bipolarity of power. At the same time, it highly depends on the concrete conditions; what are the characteristics of the state? Where are we exactly standing on the path toward bringing the council to power? So, there is no direct, single, and universal answer to this question, but for sure it’s not the responsibility of the party or the council to go through the negotiation over these issues. The council should impose itself; it should exercise the power and the party (or the organization) should advocate it. Trade unions might be considered as the councils’ allies in a long-term vision; there might be negotiations over this issue. This is something that one could predict, but it depends on the given circumstances. Finally, I would like to talk about an issue, which has been mentioned several times; the issue of ethnic and gender-based oppression. I find it crucial, and we need to find an answer which is not just a determinist abstract one; we need to have dialogues with the progressivist forces among women’s movement and ethnic activists and attract their attention to the alternative we are advocating. In fact, if they participate in the discussions over the alternative and precise their ideas, it also helps us to precise our perception of council management. We definitely need the participation of progressivist forces who struggle against ethnic and gender-based oppression.
Gilan Revolutionary Committee (GRC):
Of course, my friends have explained it very well, but I thought it wouldn’t hurt to provide another council description. Two essential characteristics of the council are that it is a form of direct democracy and there is no intention to assign representation with a time limit. If someone is elected as a representative for higher councils, they can be recalled whenever necessary. The second point, which I find crucial and can help clarify the council’s relationship with the government, is that we essentially do not separate decision-making from implementation within the council. This means that each council, within its designated domain of operation, makes decisions and carries out those decisions itself, without deferring to anyone else or another group. When this becomes widespread, it means that within itself, the council believes that the government is not separate from the council because the legislative and executive branches are not separated from each other.
In fact, it’s not like a group makes decisions and another group carries them out, or one group makes decisions for another. However, in any case, the council is a model that does not necessarily determine the content. In this council, as comrades from various committees explained, different groups with different and diverse tendencies may be present. That is, it does not dictate who should participate in these councils; for example, if you work in a factory, you have the right to be in the factory council, or if you are in a neighbourhood, you have the right to be in the neighbourhood council, regardless of your ideas and opinions. The relationship between the party and the council is such that the party is formed based on an ideology and a perspective. In reality, the party must strive to increase its influence within the councils. When the party overall increases its influence within the councils, it helps the party gain power as a progressive, radical, and leading party of the working class.
Javad Nazari Fathabadi Committee (JNFC):
Thank you for the insights shared by comrades. I have two points that come to mind. First, when we talk about the relationship between the party and the council, it’s likely that in the future of Iran, like in various revolutionary experiences elsewhere, we may not necessarily be dealing with a single leftist party. Even now, there are multiple parties, and in the future, we may encounter different parties advocating communism and socialism. It’s similar to the early days of the 1978 Revolution when many leftist groups, organizations, and councils were forming. However, the members present in the councils can generally be said to fall into two categories.
One category consists of individuals who directly perceive themselves as council members and participate in it. For example, a nurse in a hospital, a worker in a factory, a student at a university, or individuals in their neighbourhoods who continue their struggle. The other category includes individuals who, while being members of the councils, are also affiliated with a party. In other words, they are party members as well.
In many other parts of the world, the same phenomenon of the emergence of councils has occurred. The point to consider, and it’s important to focus precisely on the idea that the party should assist in the elevation of the councils, is that there must be two fundamental principles. Without these principles, the very essence of the councils comes into question.
Firstly, there should be no room for private ownership in the councils. The true essence of the councils emerges when we challenge the idea of private ownership. Therefore, private ownership should not be considered negotiable within the councils.
Secondly, the anti-authoritarian nature of the councils is crucial. When we talk about groups related to gender and sexuality and the need to abolish sexual oppression, it’s clear that the philosophy behind the existence of councils fighting for the abolition of such oppression is evident. We cannot have a debate about making certain aspects of authority less oppressive; they must be eradicated altogether.
But I have doubts about what the GRC comrades said on the need to elevate the progressive leftist party within the councils, while also noting the absence of a unilateral force in the councils. Indeed, there was an assumption in the discussion that this party was a progressive and revolutionary one. However, the critical point here is that the effort to empower the party forces within the councils doesn’t always yield positive results. It means that party forces within a council might sometimes try to influence the council for the benefit of their party rather than considering the council’s inherent power.
In the early days of the 1979 Revolution, members and supporters of various organizations like Peykar, Fadaiyan, or Rah-e Kargar were present in the councils. One of the observed issues, particularly in discussions documented in the special issue “The Lost History of the 1979 Councils,” was how party forces, more than considering the empowerment of the councils, tended to prioritize their party’s agenda. This ultimately led to a problem where the council became a field of party competition, resembling conflicts between organizations like Peykar and Fadaiyan.
The final point regarding the relationship between the party and the councils is that while the councils themselves must bear in mind the possibility of confrontations with dual powers, such as an as-yet-unformed provisional government or a power vacuum, during such times of aggressive conflict, the revolutionary leftist organization must support and safeguard the councils. We must also consider the painful experience we had during the 1978 revolution, where the Fedayeen Organization, as a significant force with a broad presence and a defender of the councils, failed to protect the councils adequately when necessary. For instance, in the case of Turkmen Sahra, even though the number of committees formed was not small, they were, in reality, overpowered by the anti-revolutionary forces. This was because the organization that should have been responsible for defending the councils was either uncertain or, in some cases, even actively chose not to engage in a confrontational stance against the anti-revolutionary government. This decision was influenced, in part, by the fact that the entrenched government was not perceived as anti-revolutionary in analyses and was also inclined to maintain a civilian presence in the political sphere. Therefore, it avoided any form of aggressive confrontation, despite having the capability and means to do so. In a future revolutionary transformation and the challenges, we may face, we must consider this history and these relationships.
Zahedan Revolutionary Youth Core (ZRYC):
I would like my comrades from Slingers to explain an issue: When are these councils formed, and do they govern independently, or do we have a government alongside them, meaning they coexist? When are we talking about councils? From what I understand, parties are formed, each having their representatives in these councils. Then, for example, they make decisions regarding homemakers, and the decisions made by homemakers in Zahedan might not necessarily be the same as the ones made by homemakers in Tehran because the conditions are different, allowing for different choices to be made. Now, regarding implementing these decisions, are they communicated to the syndicates, and the syndicates tell those responsible for implementation? Or do the councils themselves carry out the executive work? I see a difference. There’s a scenario where the councils take matters into their own hands, and the council is the organizer of societal affairs. Alternatively, there’s a scenario where we have a government, and the councils are also active. The government makes its decisions and adopts a protocol, and some decision-making happens in the councils. Then, the council may directly lobby the government or representatives of parties, such as those in the parliament, to carry out this work. This can make the situation somewhat complicated, and I would like to hear the opinion of my Slingers comrades on this matter.
Firstly, from our perspective, councils are not group-centric but domain-centric. This means that each council is formed within a specific domain. When we say “domain,” it can refer to a location or a topic. For example, a council can be formed in a production unit, a neighbourhood council, or, for instance, a women’s council in a particular area. In fact, it’s the real partakers and subjects within that domain that make up the council members, and they are supposed to make decisions and exercise political power directly.
Now, the question is, when we say organizations have a supportive role, what specific form can that take? Of course, when I use the term “organizations,” I don’t mean a single, unified organization. However, can these organizations be members of these councils or not? When we talk about organizations, it means that there isn’t a single unified group within a council. Although it’s possible that in a particular domain, one organization may not exist at all, and it’s evident that compared to others, that organization has a greater presence in the council. For example, in a certain city, there is a local council, and within that domain, a political organization is actively present. Naturally, their presence in that council would be more significant. Now, what this presence can mean is a matter related to the discussions of our comrade from JNFC.
The issue here is a matter of approach. We can’t say that a party, an organization, or organizations cannot be members within councils because this would be an intentional violation. Let’s assume I’m a worker in a certain production unit, and I’m a member of the council of this production unit, but I also want to engage in political struggle within a party or organization. Well, it can’t be said to me that because you are a member of a council, you don’t have the right to be a member of an organization. In this way, we encounter a fundamental problem. The issue is that the approach of organizations and parties should not be about membership within councils. Instead, organizations should be in the service of councils, not the other way around, where councils serve to expand organizations.
Now, what practical guarantee can be put in place for this? This is a fundamental issue, and I don’t have a definitive answer for it myself because, by definition, an organization has a specific ideology and a specific analysis of a particular situation. It can’t hide its ideology and analysis when it encounters councils and then deals with council matters separately.
Therefore, the approach of any organization to councils will inherently involve the expansion of its own ideas. If we want to negate this, we are essentially negating reality. The issue is how an organization while maintaining an egalitarian relationship with councils and attempting to strengthen them, can ensure that this strengthening and the expansion of its ideas do not turn into a form of hidden control by the organization over the council. In my opinion, the key to solving this issue, which is not a definitive and final key, is that when the organizational politics aim is not to seize political power, the nature and character of its relationship with the council, including the expansion of its ideas within the council, becomes different.
In essence, when the organizational approach is to seize political power itself, their control over councils or the expansion of their ideas within councils is intended to serve their goal of becoming arms of the organization to serve the organizational takeover of power. However, this equation changes completely in this context. This is a topic that requires careful consideration, so I will leave it open for further discussion and exploration.
Regarding the issue of whether councils directly implement decisions or simply make decisions, from our perspective, while we are in a period of dual power, a portion of the executive tools remains in the hands of the government in its classical form. However, since the council acknowledges its political power, which is, in essence, delegated power from the state, the council must be able to impose some of its decisions in the realm of execution on the governmental administrative organization.
However, this doesn’t mean that the council does not engage in the execution of decisions itself. The council attempts to directly implement these decisions while expanding its decision-making authority. However, since we are currently in a period of dual power and the councils have not yet acquired full power, part of the debate revolves around who should implement these decisions. Given that the government’s power is the formal power within the country, these decisions must be imposed on the administrative organization that is under the government’s control.
As for how this should be done, there are different options, and it depends on specific circumstances and the nature of that government. Also, the extent of the growth and influence of the councils should be determined at what stage they are in. In some cases, the council itself appoints representatives. This is not unusual. Just like during the period before the October Revolution in Russia, between February and October, when the Kerensky government was in power, we consistently see these power struggles between the provisional government and the councils. In essence, the provisional government tries to define the power of the councils, and the councils attempt to diminish the power of the government. This is essentially the meaning of dual power in a nutshell. The provisional government makes decisions and attempts to impose them, including having the councils act upon these decisions, and vice versa. Part of this can take place through negotiations between the representative bodies, but everything here is related to the balance of power.
Red Revolutionary Youth Committee of Mahabad (RRYCM):
Most of the responses were provided by comrades in the discussion. However, when it comes to the timing and formation of councils, we need to understand the process of revolution. Currently, we are in a revolutionary situation, and these revolutionary conditions can transition into different circumstances, such as a balance of power or what has been termed “dual power.” In such situations, councils are formed, and these councils exercise power. They do so to the same extent that the government exercises power or attempts to do so. Councils try to take control of neighbourhood affairs or factories, similar to how the government tries to exercise power. When we talk about a council-based government, we are talking about a government led by the working class, where industrial production falls under the purview of workers’ councils.
Suppose the existing government, led by the working class or the leading party of the working class, is overthrown. In that case, until the socialist structure is established and becomes secure, the existing councils will exercise power. Once the socialist structure is established and secure, at that time, councils at the neighborhood, factory, and industrial levels will be selected by the people or the workers. Regarding centralized administration or management, there isn’t a central parliament. In fact, we are advocating for a future where there is no need for a parliament or a bureaucracy. The councils can convene congresses and general assemblies anywhere they like, be it in the streets, mosques, or elsewhere. This is based on the experience in Kurdistan.
Our vision for the future of Iran is one where the united councils of socialist republics exist. This would entail a Kurdish Socialist Republic, a Baluch Socialist Republic, and so on. This is our idea, and others may have different opinions. In essence, the congresses convened by the councils at a national level would form the central government, whose duty would primarily be to maintain continuous communication and address issues related to wages and negotiations with the councils and workers’ unions, among other matters. However, what the responsibilities of a socialist government entail is a very detailed discussion.
Regarding issues like women’s rights and other matters, we need to be proactive in forming a portion of the councils and addressing some of our affairs from now on. At that time, the councils might be conservative, anti-women, anti-worker, or religious in nature. To control them, we would need workers’ unions and women’s fractions. For example, in the case of the revolutionary women’s organization, which could transform into a fraction, union, or council of women in the future, we need to start working on it now and be proactive in this regard.
Street Militants Group (SMG):
The questions that have arisen for us are as follows: given that the council encompasses various groups and considering the religious-ideological backdrop of Iranian society, how can the council prevent the growth of reactionary forces? Separately, even though it was agreed that the discussion on petit-bourgeoisie would be reopened later, what is the council’s approach to this class, with its inherent characteristics and inclination, especially economically, towards capitalist growth? Or, for instance, if we assume that there is no political party, similar to the situation in Kurdistan in 1980 when there were both political parties and communist councils, but “Mofti” came and seized power. In this scenario, how would the council deal with such groups without a political party?
Javad Nazari Fathabadi Committee (JNFC):
We think that the issue is not that we do not have any parties or organizations. Lack of party or organization will certainly create the point that the comrades have brought up because the councils are not exactly on the same page. Present forces in each zone would have beneficiaries who have been stapled to a socio-historical condition; religion and thousands of other forces would play parts here, and it is possible that undesirable issues would occur during the votes in the councils. The role of organizations and parties in these situations would be extremely vital when they employ propaganda or agitation. Therefore, the promotion and advertisement of what the administrating council is will never stop. This is the responsibility of the communist parties and organizations who advocate for administrating the council, and if they do not, councils may end up in a tragic-comic condition where they would even vote for their dissolution, or an unequal structure would take place. As a result, I think that the presence of revolutionary organizations along with the councils is fundamental; and if that did not happen, the councils would not end up doing what we like to leave to the councils. They would fail or at least many problems would arise. The reason that the emphasis of the discussion has rested on the councils, is perhaps partly because of the reference to the history and what the 20th century left has experienced regarding the relation between council and party. For instance, the party has turned its back to the councils in the experience of the Soviets. In Spain, parties did not take councils seriously and especially, how the people’s army was facing the disciplined professional military during the civil war, became an excuse to take away the power from the councils. Even in revolutionary Spain with their pretension [of progressiveness], the anarchists in battle against the fascists, voted women to be serving in the backstage of the battle instead of taking up arms. This was a decision that was made among some anarchist groups. This scares me the most that actually parties and organizations may not take the councils seriously and ignore them. It is probably for this reason that there is a high emphasis on why councils should be taken seriously. However, taking into account our comrades’ questions, the other side of the story is also considerable and needs to be thought of. It is possible the actions of those who are present in the councils and are not familiar with the responsibilities, damage the position and foundation of councils due to the immaturity and lack of knowledge. Therefore, we think these two wings should be considered simultaneously and in a situation like Iran where we have scarce experience in both [council and party] after the revolution, we need [to think about] both council governing and revolutionary parties that are complementing each other. We are emphasizing that comrades must take this history of council and party in the leftist movements seriously and we need to rigorously study it. There have been invaluable experiences in the 20th-century leftist movements, and we are not separated from this global condition.
Jiyan Group (JG):
We wanted to briefly comment on the point of the SM comrades about the possibility of councils being reactionary. As JFNC comrades stated the actual question here is to designate the goal and modality of the councils. For example, if we want to talk about the factory, the goal of the council is to control the labour relationships. With this, how could a council become a reactionary entity? In other areas, for example, women would control all aspects of their reproductive labour. As friends mentioned times and times, the profiteers are the ones who usually take control and rationally, they take action primarily for their own interest. The question and complexity would happen when for instance, a workers’ council member makes a decision which in action is against the interests of the repressed gender. Slingers comrades mentioned that the councils can be both location-oriented and topic-oriented. If these two are imagined alongside each other, for instance, if we imagine a women’s council in a region, it cannot lead to a reactionary path at least on paper and theoretically. However, it has its own complexities when is in practice.
Slingers: Comrades shared an important and fundamental question which has repeatedly been imposed on us every time we discussed the council as an alternative, and we have tried to think about it. Of course, we cannot determine an absolute and final solution, but it is possible to think about it and try to generate solutions phase after phase. Another foundational point that the comrades also mentioned, was the role of the political organization here. The role of a mediator that I pointed out in my previous comments. What I did not mention was that there is a tendency in some revolutionary leftists who also believe in councils as an alternative but think since our alternative is the council, there is no place for [a political] organization. It basically says that if our absolute alternative is council, it must all be council now and there must not be any roles for [a political] organization. If we want to simplify and explain briefly, the mediating role of the organization is that in each phase of the fight, it evaluates and defines any possibility, any action, and any decision by a set of idealistically fundamental criteria through the liberating perspective. This would be the organization’s mediating role. It would not be to plot a far dreamy future for a society where everything is perfect there is no injustice and absolute equality is in place. Depicting such a picture is not the organization’s responsibility. Again, it is in each phase to evaluate any decision and base it on the foundations, principles and criteria of the liberating perspectives. This is how the organization’s mediating role in relation to the councils becomes a significant role. A role that is undeniable and inevitable.
At the same time, it is possible that a temptation comes into play here, which is referring to a series of classic experiences that we have from communist fights. The communist organization and fighters become a teacher for oppressed subjects, those oppressed subjects who hold power in their hands, and now, organizational communist forces want to appear as a teacher and instructors and watch their actions. Because of this, the meticulousness of this relationship is important from today because the question is how the organization can create a dynamic and continual relationship with the council where the council’s forces engage and solve these problems and not vertically follow the organization’s teachings. We need to be able to categorize how to tackle various contradictions in front of us. A portion of these contradictions are antagonistic and irreconcilable, and the other ones are inside contradictions that should be innovatively solved. If we look at this issue materialistically, the questions are that all forces including organizational forces are the products of an unequal and classist society founded on discrimination; Different forms of discrimination [including] man-supremacist discrimination, national discrimination, etc. Some of our contradictions are with a classist enemy and not reconcilable. The solution to the contradictions against a fascist force would merely come out of a battle where, as a result, one of these forces must open space for the other one; in other words, it to be eliminated. However, part of these contradictions is inside and would show up inside the councils similar to examples that comrades enumerated. The challenge is how the organization is able to dynamically maintain a continuous relationship where these contradictions would be solved through discussion and inside surveys not necessarily by repression and strike. Although this repressive and striking approach is necessary in some places, it should not be the norm. If we intend to learn from historical experiences, one of the reasons for a failing socialist government in the 20th-century model, was that the government could not solve contradictions [with any solutions] other than the model for the irreconcilable contradiction with the enemy especially where the government had come out of a revolution. It wants to solve all these contradictions in a coercive manner and as a result, those contradictions that should be solved within the councils, would not be resolved and the government instead of solving the inside contradictions, would repress or eradicate them by titling them a counter-revolution. If we want to take this approach, we need to remove all these institutions since there are forces in them that are the products of the previous society that were unequal and discriminatory.
Jiyan Group (JG): We only want to say that these revolutionary leftist fighters who are active under the progressive party, are also the children of the previous social structure. It seems as if we have an assumption that the ideology of this side guarantees progressiveness, and the other side which is the councils, is more likely to be trapped in reactionary [politics]. We strongly disagree with this assumption.
Street Militants (SM): It is not correct in response to JG comrades to say that councils can become reactionary because of their frameworks. What we brought up was not necessary about one enormous workers council, what was in question for us, was for instance, the neighbourhood councils where [the members] are uneven in terms of class, and in women’s councils, they are not even in terms of class. There is not only the working class but also petit bourgeoise in here. The question for us was in the smaller councils or the councils in which the members have one thing in common but in other areas do not have common interests. This is where reactionary decisions can exist.
JG comrades are right, and I agree with them to a great degree. I mentioned that everyone including organizational forces is the product of an unequal society which contains discriminatory nurturing. At the same time, if the organization is not an organization where all its members from the beginning are perfect humans, and cannot provide a passage for its members from that [previous] nurture and dominating ideology, the idea of organization would fail. The challenge is that the organization has to facilitate the possibility of this passage and proceed as a mediator, I emphasize, a mediator not a teacher. The notion of equality must be understood here. When we enter a mediating role, we recognize a form of equality in comprehending, perceiving, and analysing the issues. This includes the issue of oppression. Other than that, if we do not want to assume such a role and imagine that it is possible without a mobilized and collective process to gradually move out of the products of that unequal society based on exploitation, the organization’s members would not have any specific resources relative to others to pass the previous nurture. My fear is that we arrive at a romantic perception of equality which is not a materialistic perception of equality. This implies imagining equality not through a mediating role but merely mathematical equality, which denies doable possibilities of passage presented in special conditions. In our opinion, if the organization cannot facilitate this for its members and cannot perform its role, the organization in the ideologic sense of it, becomes meaningless. The technical part might remain, but we have to say there will not be any ideologic role for the organization. I emphasize that the organization’s members are themselves the products of that society and based on an orthodox and classic perception, they are not perfect level people.
Comrades! The designated time for this meeting is almost over and if comrades will not add anything to the discussion, we can end the third meeting now.