This is part 5 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, e.g., part 1. This part constitutes the translated transcription of the third meeting.
As we agreed in the initial planning for this series of meetings, the topic of the third meeting will be “how to prevent the rise of reactionary alternatives after the fall of the Islamic Republic, and for this purpose, around what positive alternative can the struggle be carried out?” Therefore, in continuation of the previous meetings, we request the comrades to start the discussion in any order they see fit.
Javad Nazari Fatahabadi’s Committee (JNFC):
In relation to our proposed question, our view is that in order to answer how we should take a position in the face of reactionary alternatives and especially right-wing alternatives, on the one hand, and on the other hand, how we can hegemonize our own revolutionary alternative, we must first consider the balance of power among the leftists regarding the issue of alternatives and place ourselves among these forces. Based on the different approaches among the leftists about the question of alternative, we will see what should or should not be done. In our opinion, it is possible to talk about four forces among the leftists in the discussion of alternatives, and there are examples that can be pointed out. One group can be referred to as the ‘desperate’ left who believes that the right will be the immediate winner of the upcoming Iranian revolution, and for them, this can be shown by several factors. One is due to the position of the right-wing media in shaping public opinion, the other factor is the nostalgia of the masses towards the daily life under the rule of the overthrown Pahlavi regime, and the last factor is the weakness of the progressive forces in drawing an attractive and accessible alternative. According to these factors, from the point of view of this left, in fact, the task of the revolutionary left in the future of the revolution will probably be nothing more than to continue to criticize the status quo and to participate actively in the field of theoretical struggle. Why? Because, from the point of view of this left, within the field of alternatives, the leftists have not had a broad and up-to-date contribution and have mostly been consumers of various ideas of the 20th-century socialism camp.
The second group of the left, which has a louder voice, is the social-democratic left. On the issue of alternatives and the future of the upcoming Iranian revolution, the social democratic left believes that the right will be the inevitable winner of this revolution, but looking at the failure of the Georgetown coalition and the questioning of the legitimacy of Reza Pahlavi, the monarchists more and more have been forced to see themselves defending democracy and republicanism in order to still be able to gain a foothold in public opinion. From the point of view of the social-democratic left, based on this formulation, neither the radical left, which failed to present an acceptable alternative, nor the monarchist right, broken from the coalition, can alone carry the burden of the alternative, and from this point of view, a middle force can stand on the necessity of establishing democratic minimums such as the Constituent Assembly, freedom of speech, freedom of political parties and organizations, and social freedoms. Based on this fact, it will gradually attract the public’s favor to itself, and here, by standing on these minimums, the left can create a suitable ground for stimulating society towards making demands, so that in the course of a logic of their so-called pressure from below, the situation moves towards a more just situation.
I call the third type of left involved in the discussion of alternatives “Charter-oriented Left” which we can see under the influence of this space of publication of different charters. While standing on a set of maximum demands, this left tries to at least overtake other forces by enumerating an ever-longer list of the most ideal situations in the macro arena. But the problem is that this ‘charter-oriented’ left does not either lay a hand on the means to reach this long list of idealistic demands and methods nor does it believe in any other effective action in the field of alternativism, except media weighting with the right.
Finally, we can mention the revolutionary left and say that the problem of the revolutionary left is how to take advantage of a crisis of the revolutionary situation, a crisis whose most important characteristic is the establishment of a kind of dual power, the power of popular committees and councils on the one hand, and a fragile form of a kind of provisional government on the other hand. The point of this revolutionary left is that instead of writing charters and maneuvering on a multitude of demands, in our opinion, it emphasizes more on the issue of method, and this method is the form of achieving what we can call maximum democracy. The discussion is of the tools needed to reach such a democracy, from the point of view of the revolutionary left, this form, and this tool is nothing but councils and committees, in a way that these councils and committees during the period before the victory of the revolution can be secretly active in the four areas of women’s struggles, labor struggle, the national question and the environmental question. These struggles can grow and expand, and after the revolution, the councils and committees can try to stabilize their position openly by occupying the streets, production units, and geographical locations. In the post-revolution era, by conquering these revolutionary situations through committees and councils, this left would seek to sit in the objective position of an alternative force.
In this sense, we are talking about the fact that in the approach of the revolutionary left, there is no form of despair in advance that the right will be the immediate winner of the revolution due to the power of the media or something similar to the power of nostalgia, etc., but it is the arena of field and practical struggles that is decisive. Like today in Baluchistan, Kurdistan or Ahwaz and even in Azerbaijan, it cannot be said with absolute certainty that the masses living in these areas are monarchists because factors such as national oppression which is prominent in these areas, or labor issues, or the subjects and the forces that have been on the scene since 2017 testify that the right is not so much weighted. The issue is how much the progressive alternative, and in our opinion, the socialist-communist alternative, has been able to gain objectivity through the formation of nuclei and committees, which we can say during the Jina Uprising, this process in the form of the formation of a significant number of the real committees and nuclei, has made the position of the revolutionary left today much clearer than it was in December 2017. This was a general drawing of the balance of forces from our perspective in the first round of talks, which can help us to find our position in the game and then see what we have to do with the right.
Red Revolutionary Youth Committee of Mahabad (RRYCM):
Revolutionary greetings to our revolutionary comrades! Our alternative is clear. Our alternative is the socialist alternative that we should be able to define. We are a socialist and revolutionary force that wants fundamental transformation in economic, social, and political structures. We must be able to define our enemies, what reactionary forces we are confronted with now and what we will face in the future. It is obvious that our main enemy, which is currently at work and may be at work in the future, is the capitalist structure and the capitalist state. Most of the reactionary forces, not all of them, do not rely on the masses of people, such as royalists, pan-Iranists, racists and those who want a change of power from above. They have no more than two ways to reach power: relying on military forces or the apparatus of repression or relying on imperialism for military intervention. So, we need to disable the apparatus of repression, but how? It is not possible through union organizations or appeasement and reformist ways, and for this, we clearly need a nationwide revolutionary organization or a fighting revolutionary party that has a road map and clear positions, I mean political goals and a socialist plan for the future. We will discuss what these clear positions are and how these positions can bring the masses of people together with this militant revolutionary party. The issue of how and when this party can be established and how it can bring the oppressed people and nations with it is another very important issue that we have to deal with in future meetings.
The next issue is that if we can disable the force and apparatus of repression, the other issue we face is the military or non-military intervention of imperialism. In our opinion, the role of the diaspora after the fall of the Islamic Republic is no less than the role of the revolutionary forces inside the country. We need a nationwide revolutionary block abroad that can communicate with all the forces, the labor unions, and all the people who are concerned about the liberation of mankind so that these forces can react and act appropriately at the appropriate time by bringing the masses of people and revolutionary forces into the streets to confront imperialism, both in Europe and in America and other developed countries. Another issue is the forces that have a mass base, such as the Kurdistan Democratic Party of Iran, which does not rely on the existing military forces or the repression apparatus, but in revolutionary conditions, they will seek appeasement and compromise with reactionary forces in order to gain power; whether it is the People’s Mojahedin, or the Democratic Party and nationalist parties of other nations. We can expose their reactionary goals at the right time and in revolutionary conditions or after the fall of the Islamic Republic. Obviously, these forces and parties do not have a suitable and comprehensive alternative for all existing crises, such as the environment, the issue of women, the issue of oppressed nations, children, the disabled community and immigrants, and other issues, so we can expose their positions at the right time and present our own alternatives. The most important thing we are emphasizing now is that we can keep ourselves safe and sound from the political police and not make ourselves public. However, we can be active publicly and semi-publicly and cover our secret activities through these two forms of action. How to create such an organization, how to stop the suppression system and how to bring the masses of people with us are important and main issues that we need more time to discuss and we should address them in future meetings.
I greet my comrades. Following the words of our comrade from the JNFC regarding the useful division that he made among different trends and different approaches to the possibilities ahead in the revolutionary struggles, I think a point that is very fundamental and we should emphasize on it is that what a part of the left generally relies on in the field of discursive propaganda as the main argument is a kind of realism with regard to the existing forces and the power that each of the forces has in the fight over the future of political power, but in this form of realism, in fact, the left justifies its own disappointment and frustration. A part of the task of the revolutionary forces in the field of ideological struggles is to demythologize and demystify the very issue of realism, which in fact is not necessarily based on existing objective reality, but this realism in its own politics can act as a very powerful and often deterrent ideology.
In fact, politics does not revolve on the basis of the existing reality. Every political struggle searches for a relationship between existing reality and possible reality, and yes! this search for possibility is a rational search, especially in the kind of struggle we believe in and tries to distance itself from a form of romanticism in struggle. However adhering to rationality in the struggle does not mean being satisfied with what is available today, that is, drawing possibilities for a new reality based on the existing reality. Therefore, this form of realism that this part of the left emphasizes is a complete break from the revolutionary view of struggle and politics. Another issue that creates this kind of frustration and disappointment and we should be careful about it is that the understanding that this part of the left has of the issue of the revolution is a completely reduced understanding of the revolution to its eventful aspect, that is, it sees the revolution at the moment of the overthrow of a system that is a mere temporary moment when the issue of political power and the political future is determined, and therefore it sees the end of that event and every possibility opened up in it. That is, this approach has a surrealistic view of the revolution because it cannot understand the revolution as a process. Certainly, this eventful aspect of the revolution is a constitutive aspect of that possibility and without an eventful aspect, that possibility cannot be opened at all, but the basic issue is how that possibility can be realized and this realization of that possibility requires a view that in a medium-term and long-term process can define itself in its strategic and tactical aspects and can be able to realize those possibilities on the real ground.
The problem is that this section of the left, as it explains the power based on the imperialist affiliations of reactionary and right-wing currents with a specific view of political power, quickly concludes that the possibility of coming to power for the dependent ring wing forces, which is understood only in the form of capturing the state, at the moment of the collapse of the Islamic Republic and in a short-term process, is more likely. At this level of understanding and with this analysis of the situation and probability and the chance of gaining power in terms of replacing the state, we can say yes, they are right! But the question is, does this conflict at that moment mean the end of the revolutionary process and the establishment of a political power? Does the assumption of taking state power the day after the overthrow of the Islamic Republic by “any force” immediately and directly mean the stabilization of that power? This is where the discussion of the alternative council, which our comrade raised, and the fundamental issue of dual power acquire strategic importance. That is, in fact, the dual power here means that we understand the revolution as a process in which that eventful aspect provides it with new power, dynamism, and a horizon, and the possibility of its realization becomes tangible for the revolutionary forces. This process of struggle continues after the overthrow of the Islamic Republic, and in any case, there are different class and political forces in this conflict. Even if we make the assumption in a completely assumed way that a radical leftist force will take over the political power in the future of the revolution, all those opposing class and political forces are in the field and the process of struggle will not be over. The coming to power of any force on the first day after the Islamic Republic does not mean consolidating its power. In fact, the problem is, if a right-wing political system, in its various models, achieves state power, how can we prevent it from stabilizing its power, continuing its rule in a fixed form, and suppressing this revolutionary potential and dynamics being formed for a new possibility? I will try to complete my words in the next round.
Jian Group (JG):
We also want to emphasize this discussion of the process. In the left movement and the left media, there is a presupposition in dealing with the issue of alternative, and that is that we postpone the alternative to the day after freedom, that is, the imaginary conditions that we try to envisage in the day of freedom, in which the revolution would take place, and a right-wing force would come to the power. In this way, we have to go back a little because maybe the current way is not the right way to deal with alternatives. Maybe we won’t get much results in this current path, and all this energy that has been spent since the Jina uprising on this premise that the reactionary right is going to come to power should have been spent on the issue of organization, which we don’t consider it apart from the discussion of alternatives. In fact, when we say “process”, we mean that from the point where we are standing and trying to organize and form relationships, we are also creating the alternative, for example, what we are doing right now and our endeavors for organizing. This is where we should not make a gap between organizing and alternative, instead, we should bridge alternative with real actions and struggles and material conditions that exist around us. Otherwise, our discussion will be completely abstract and deficient.
We have to go back even further than organizing. While we try to organize, we use tactics to communicate and form relationships, to form a series of actions, to deal with oppression, and to deal with in-group and out-group crises that arise. So, considering what approach we take in these cases, and what kind of democratic sensitivities and considerations we talk about and try to implement, all these tactics are the bricks that are put together in the organizing form that we want to do. In fact, we are not unorganized at the moment, we are in a deformed and defective form of organization, and it is important to raise this and make it the point of departure based on a pathology that is linked to the material conditions of our struggle and our life to start moving towards a wider organization and from there towards the revolutionary and alternative process that will emerge. For this reason, we really have a weakness in discourse. This attempt to connect national oppression, class oppression, and women’s issues is a very blessed thing, but it is not enough for us to merely remember that we should be sensitive to these issues as well. We must use the different methods of emancipatory struggles existing in the struggle traditions of each of these and establish an organization and finally an emancipatory alternative. Our other comrade also has a point.
Another comrade from Jiyan Group:
Another part of this discursive weakness can be seen in the field of media. That is, our focus in the media is significantly focused on criticizing the right-wing or monarchist currents and all kinds of tendencies that are close to them, and in this process that we call propagation, we have been unable to present examples of collective actions introducing our alternative. Historically, we have gone through different turning points such as the revolution councils of 1979, and the struggles in Turkmen Sahra, Kurdistan, and even before these, the alternative forms had been formed in Iran since the Constitutional Era, however, most of them have failed, but their experiences can materialize our alternative and make it clear to the audience what mechanisms we are talking about and what alternative world we are searching for.
Street Militants (SM):
In fact, what we want to talk about is in parallel with what our comrades said that we should consider this history and historical experience seriously. The day after the revolution or the fall of the Islamic Republic, in any case, we may experience a period of established power vacuum, which is a very important time and maybe a golden one. We have to look at what happened in the past and what mistakes our other comrades made, then take these into account and associate them with what is happening today according to its terms. When there is a vacuum of established power, the progressive force must do its best to exert its influence to build a new social order. This role, if it is supposed to be a penetrating and practical role, needs an organization that must happen before and during the revolution. Because if we don’t have that organization, whether under the Islamic Republic or in the future without it, we will be the same left who have some achievements but have paid disastrous prices; from prisons and arrests to killings, and finally, if we refer to the same history, we must hand over the result of this struggle, for which blood was shed and efforts were made, to some right-wing reactionaries, and we will remain despair for several years again to be revived until the next generation of the left will born. But how should this organization happen? A lot has been said about this, and what we want to point out now is nothing new, but it is certain that it should be formed during the fieldwork. That means we have to practice how to do organizational work. Also, regarding the horizontal or vertical structure that many are discussing, we must finally reach a conclusion. We should be able to organize a group that is creative intellectually within these groups that we go through on a daily basis. For this reason, by the creativity we mean having ideas and these ideas can be implemented, a link should be created between realism and revolutionary imagination so that we do not fall into the abyss of either, nor become delusional, disappointed and depressed. In any case, we must find these potentials, which must be directly related to people’s lives. Like everyone else, we believe in secret nuclear organizations, nuclei consisting of vanguard forces that we have, such as women, the working class, and the urban poor. In addition, this urban and marginalized poor is an important category and even they had a significant role in the 1979 revolution, as some later works debated. Maybe the working class can be organized, women can be organized, but how to organize the urban poor is a very big question.
Gilan Revolutionary Committee (GRC):
Hello dear comrades! In relation to the discussion that was proposed today and we are going to talk about, some points come to my mind, which, of course, were mentioned partially in the talks of the comrades who spoke, we also have discussions on this, which I will try to take this opportunity to mention some of them. The important point is that I think we all agree that we live in a society where the left, at least in the current situation, is not really known to the general public for several reasons, and there is a gap between society and the left. There are many historical reasons that we can point to them briefly. An important part is the issue of repression, full-fledged propaganda of the bourgeoisie in the world and in Iran, especially after the collapse of the Eastern Bloc; another important point is the dispersion that exists between the left forces and the aversion to any kind of organizational work that today somehow shows itself in the form of a value, and unfortunately, people are somehow proud of this independence. If we delve into these, it requires its own discussions, maybe some of them will go back to the inappropriate performance of the left parties in the past and the bitter experiences that have existed, and the other issue is the influence of liberal and neoliberal culture, which wants to atomize people, and promotes Westernism, and the leftists are naturally part of this, as they are living in the same society and are somehow influenced by this culture. Of course, there are solutions for this, but before entering into this discussion, let’s review some of the conditions of society together and see what kind of atmosphere we are living in and how much chance the left has to become a strong alternative in society. The right-wing forces are naturally trying the same by leaving their marks on the developments. Of course, when we say the left, we mean the revolutionary left, and I think we agree on some words. We believe that we, as the revolutionary left, which I call left for short, are operating in a society that has several characteristics.
One of its important features is that there is a huge class gap and also the accumulation of historical demands and aspirations. The left’s response to this need is clear and we think it will gain influence in society. When we see the answers from the right-wing forces, we find out that even after the overthrow of the Islamic Republic, they will preserve the same relations, maintaining the status quo, class gap, and exploitation. I think if we want to compare our situation with other countries in terms of wage level, in terms of the class gap, and the issues that exist here, we see a special case. Yes, there is class difference and exploitation everywhere, but in our society, this situation is highly visible. Therefore, considering the special situation that our society is facing, the left has the chance to raise this issue to the society, toilers, and workers through the appropriate answers, the right propaganda, and the right discussion in this regard: if you do not want any form of exploitation and class oppression, you must change all these relationships.
Another point and feature that exists and should be mentioned is the discussion of the multi-ethnicity of the Iranian society and national oppression and the left’s solution in this regard, which the left has an acceptable theoretical background about it, so that it goes as far as the discussion of the right to self-determination, has no problem with that, recognizes this issue and has a solution for it. But in contrast, what we know as Iran’s right-wing forces including the monarchists, national-religious and other right-wing forces are completely nationalist, Persianist and centralist in their propaganda and positions, which consider territorial integrity as a sacred and inviolable thing, and in the true sense of the word today, territorial integrity has become the code name for suppressing these movements. You can see that there is not much difference between the discourse of the right-wing and monarchist leaders and the forces even within the Islamic Republic of Iran, the IRGC forces and other government officials regarding the issue of territorial integrity, and their discourse is very, very close to each other. Another issue is the issue of women and sexual minorities, which we think the left has a great chance in this regard. Iranian right-wing movement and the bourgeois factions inside Iran are mostly backward and reactionary, like many other countries, and even in their discourse, they do not accept many of the rights and demands that women have while the left can respond. In fact, under no circumstances are they able to move in step with the current generation of Iran and the demands of the Iranian society, which you can even see in social media because the right is much more backward than this society and the left has the opportunity to address this issue.
Another point is that the revolutionary left itself in Iran has a very, very strong theoretical background, it has a historical experience of fighting against the two regimes of the Shah and the Islamic Republic, and theoretically, as far as we have researched and based on the conversations with some leftists in Turkey and other countries, we think it had been theoretically one of the leading left movements in the Middle East. These are the points that are in favor of the left movement and it is a chance for the left to emerge and ascend in the society. In addition to this, the left’s weakness is around the issue of fragmentation and lack of organization, which must be discussed because revolutionary organizations do not arise by themselves. Simply by saying that these forces join together during the revolutionary upsurge, the problem will not be solved. It is true that this is also a part of reality, but it is necessary to do ideological and intellectual work, to do theoretical work, to discuss and find a solution for it. It is possible to define red lines and raise discussions in this regard and say that the forces who believe in the council movement, in the dictatorship of the proletariat, and many other issues, which must be detailed, can be by each other’s side and approach each other. And this is very important for the left to grow in society.
Zahedan Revolutionary Youth Core (ZRYC):
Greetings friends! In the first sessions, we discussed organization; that is, we concluded that we should start our work with an organization. In the second step, we come to the discussion of what the alternative could be. In the conversations between all leftist groups, you can see that the alternative is “the council.” It revolves around the council. What is it that divides the left into different groups? It is where each of them raises a different path to reach this alternative. Some people say that the best model for the transition can be the Shura (council) model; that is, let us create the Shuras and then reach a form of governance. Some other leftist groups say no, this alternative form, the council, should be established after the transition. Others say no, this should be the form of governance; that is, council governance can happen wholly and appropriately. First, we need to gather all the leftists together, discuss this as the common point of all leftists, and discuss how we can reach this alternative. This can be very important. The next issue is media power. In my opinion, the power of a political group or a political government is always based on its media power. The leftist groups’ biggest weakness is the weakness of their media. We need to bring our voices to the masses, which can be done through the media. I would like to add a new word to the left’s vocabulary: the “conservative revolutionary left.” I don’t know what happened, how the kids on the left who believe in being revolutionary get to the point where they become conservative. I’m not saying we must be careless, but where does this fear and conservatism come from? We must get through this. Maybe this will be our strength. I am very emphatic on the fact that we should skip conservatism so that we can gather the left around a specific alternative and move forward. I emphasize again that our weak point is our media power. When we have a powerful media among the masses and in our own country, we can have a say in different workplaces, organizations, and classes. Why are monarchist groups so vocal? I believe that they do not have a place among the masses, and if they do, it is small and among a particular class of sentimental, affluent people who live luxurious lives. But why is it always their voice that is heard everywhere? I feel it is because of their media. Therefore, to achieve the alternative, media power and bringing the left together could be successful. In the discussion of alternatives, the council alternative is the one that the majority of the left may have a consensus on.
Jian Group (JG):
We wanted to raise some issues to make the discussion clearer and more challenging. We have a consensus that our alternative is socialism or council governance, but we need to be able to go into more detail. Our comrade from JNFC talked about a “dual power.” It is quite interesting to see the relation of the power formed at the bottom with what is established in the form of the government. Is the dual power about forming a semi-democratic government that allows a compromise for the survival of the councils? Or are these councils made to take steps towards destroying that government authority? We think it is very important to address these. The second thing that I want to talk about in the form of raising a question is that the idea of the council should be made concrete so that it is clear how it serves the interests of all oppressed groups. For example, we are familiar with councils in factories. Of course, I think there are various examples of councils in the 1979 revolution in the book published by Slingers Collective , but there are still areas in which we do not have a clear idea. For example, what kind of councils can they have in the field of women’s movement? Can women’s reproductive work be a council? How can it become a council? In the territorial/national discussion, the right to self-determination is a basic right that protects the oppressed nations from being killed by the central government. If we want to go further, an essential part of our promotional work can be to clarify how these councils can help solve the problem of national oppression. We wanted to raise these two points to open the discussion further.
Javad Nazari Fatahabadi Committee (JNFC):
I would like to talk about three points regarding what comrades said. One is the discussion by our comrade from ZRYC which touched, quite rightfully so, on the issue of media power and our weakness in it. The point that comes to my mind is that although we must strengthen our media power, and although our media conditions are not good compared to the Right’s, the revolutionary left’s conditions are much better than in the past. Let’s pay attention to the fact that we are a long way from attaining a power close to that of media like “Iran International” or “Manoto” [London-based, pro-monarchy Farsi language satellite TV channels]. It is also not known how compatible the use of this form of visual media is with the principles of the left. Where we can invest more and take the game out of the Right’s hands is the field power rather than just emphasizing media power. It means that we should be able to win the game in our favor on the field. What does field power mean? It means that we would reproduce the same cores or committees that exist in different places, and, by reproducing and spreading them, we could find a voice among the masses, the people who may have watched “Iran International” in their homes but have not lent their minds to those media. From this point of view, the thing that should be worked on more and more is this field power, because on the day after the victory of the revolution, in that state of dual power, it is these field forces that will be able to bring about their power to the foreground through conquering the streets, conquering production units, and conquering geographical areas.
Another point related to the points of comrades of JG is to clarify “dual power”. It can be said, at least so far in the confrontation between the revolutionary leftist forces and the government, that we probably have three types of government that are struggling with the leftist forces. One type is the type of government like the Soviet government, that is when power fell into the hands of the Bolsheviks. In the first place, that power was a revolutionary government but, affected by the civil war, it gradually turned into a bureaucratic force. The revolutionary energy that was in the councils and committees stood against that government. Another type of government is a government like Allende’s in Chile, a non-bureaucratic or non-maximalist revolutionary government that coincides with councils, committees, and unions, and even wants the power to be delegated to them through a process. And finally, a government like the government of the Islamic Republic, i.e., a full-fledged reactionary counter-revolutionary force that stands against the force of revolutionary councils and committees. In the face of each of these three types of governments, we must design a special revolutionary strategy and discuss this matter in detail. With the current arrangement of forces, our analysis of what is likely to happen in the future of Iran is a counter-revolutionary government, but not a counter-revolutionary with claws and teeth similar to the classic Right-wingers of the 20th century, but a government that is likely to be pushed back by demonstrating an all-encompassing power of council and committee forces.
And finally, we should also bring the past experiences of the world before our eyes. Comrades of the RRYCM pointed out that we cannot ignore factors such as imperialism, a possible civil war, and things like that. Let’s remember the developments that occurred in the Spanish Civil War with the multiple revolutionary forces there. The Spaniards were proud of saying that the collectives and committees were the core of the revolution. Countless committees were formed in Valencia, Barcelona, and other places, but unfortunately, they were all defeated during the civil war albeit after three years of resistance. We must consider these experiences, carefully study them, and talk about them. If we face a civil war in the future of Iran’s revolutionary transformation, if we are faced with imperialist disruptions, which this time may not necessarily be merely Western imperialism, but also the disruptions of Eastern imperialism, what do we want to do and what is our plan?
Zahedan Revolutionary Youth Core (ZRYC):
I wanted to conclude my speech by saying that I do not reject field power and revolutionary power, but I’d say that it alone cannot be enough. We are living in the 21st century where the media plays a decisive role in all matters. I’d say that these two together can bring us closer to the goal. It doesn’t matter, as our comrade from Slingers said, which group will rule the day after the revolution. The important thing is what achievements we will have in that revolution. Maybe the Right will rule us, but we have to see what we have gained from this revolution in our backpack, and if we can have an extremely powerful media alongside the right-wing media and achieve a clear alternative among the forces of the left, it can help us a lot.
I wanted to talk about two things. I will start with the case of the media. We can reach a synthesis or conclusion from these two wings of the discussion on the media and field power. If we consider that the Right is much more powerful than us in the media, as our comrade from the JNFC said, we are far from that power; even though that is true, it is not the only issue. We are far from that media power. The problem is that we deal with politics in two different and perhaps opposite logics. One aspect of these opposite logics is the issue of financial power and imperialist state support behind the Right through which it can have media power. The other side of the matter is that the logic with which the right addresses society is the opposite of the logic with which we address society. I see the latter as the main reason; that is, even if we assume that the financial facilities and the material forces are available for this media work, we cannot present it in the same way that the Right deals with the media and compete with them in the same form. Because their media, in the form that we see in the Right-wing media, in the manner it speaks to society, does not seek to create forces with agency. The audience of the Right-wing media is not going to become a political subject. When I say subject, it means an agent at the level of both thought and action in the field of politics. The audience of these media is supposed to remain an audience and, in its best case, become a useful voter. Because of this, the Right remains powerful in that area. That kind of media will never have the goal or power to create political fighters. That political power is exercised from another place. Its origin is somewhere else. Its origin is not the subjectivity and the politicization of the media audience. Its origin is the same imperialist powers and capital interests that support that media. Therefore, the audience is, in fact, supposed to be an utterly passive mediator in the direction of exercising that power and the establishment of that power and its interests. Because of this, as I said, in the best case, the audience is supposed to be a listening voter in an election process. The origin of our power, though, is not the financial resources or the state powers, nor should it be something like that. At the media level, a hypothetical media, the source of our power is the society we are addressing. Now, this society has divisions within it; hence, we also make choices in it. That is, the part of the society that we are addressing is a special social class and the part of society that is subjected to a series of special oppressions, including national, sexual, and gender oppression. It means that the audience is supposed to become our practical ally in the field of struggle. Well, this won’t work in the way the right-wing media work. So, those media don’t really serve our logic. Those media are inherently at the service of the logic with which the Right exercises political power: the depoliticization of society, removing political power from society, and not providing the ground for society to take political power. Therefore, we operate in two opposing logics.
Now, does this mean that the media are not important to us? Quite the opposite! The media are important to us, but the origin of the importance for us comes from a different place. On the other hand, our field activity encourages the audience we are addressing to know more about our struggle. This encouraged society now needs the media to expand on the knowledge, meaning the media come to the aid of the campaigns and organizational activity that we are already doing so that it can expand it, not that the medium itself becomes the main factor in creating an organization, becoming popular, or spreading our ideas. So, this process is a different process. For example, the committees formed in a praxis of struggle during a specific uprising can create the desire in the society to know more about them, their thoughts, and their struggle. Now that the desire is created in society as a result of the struggle and the activity of our comrades, there is a need for media that can express our political thoughts and perspectives and our view on the governance of social affairs so they effectively expand the struggle. We should deal with the media with this logic, which can provide us with a synthesis of the two points of view.
Zahedan Revolutionary Youth Core (ZRYC):
Thank you to the Manjanigh comrades and their complete explanation. You see, we are not supposed to have media according to the logic of the right, but we can have our media according to our own logic. Our logic is the free media in which we cover the voices of all groups, and again, we will win through truly free media because we know the definition of free media. For example, BBC Persian says that it is a free medium, chooses a topic, and invites political groups to discuss it. While it chooses very strong leaders from the Right, it picks “left-wing” people the left-wing people don’t even consider as leftists! Hence, they demonstrate a debate in which the Right leaders play more powerfully and win. They lead the debate toward their right-wing conclusions and feed the audience with them. That is not our model. Free media means that any leader, anyone with public or collective attention, can show up and say what they want and that the medium is only the host; it does not interfere in their conversations and does not express their personal opinion. This is what we mean by free media. Furthermore, we could have a medium that is our voice, the voice of our thoughts, the organ for our introduction to society. When talking on different occasions, for example, when we speak about council alternatives or organizing, people ask, where can we find these talks? Show us the place where we can learn more about this alternative. Of course, we have active social media, and comrades work and toil for them without pay. Still, the reality is that in the 21st century, people look at how many views, how many visitors, and how many comments the posts of these media have had. This is what I am talking about. Again, in any media that reflects our opinion, not the right-wing media, but in the independent media or our own media, we are the winners because we are the voice of the masses.
 The Lost History of the Councils of ‘79”, the book published by Manjanigh (Slingers) in 2018