Part 4 in a series of conversations among active communist committees inside Iran, hosted by the Slingers Collective, discusses how to gain public trust, issues surrounding secret activism, and preparing for the upcoming uprisings. The first meeting was released as Part 1, Part 2 and Part 3. This part constitutes the translated transcription of the final part of the second meeting.
The committees present at the meeting were as follows: the “Gilan Revolutionary Committee,” which formed during the Jina uprising in several key cities in Gilan province, located in the north of the country and along the Caspian Sea. This committee has been active in organizing demonstrations, distributing leaflets and posters, and establishing communication with the masses and trade unions in the province. The “Javad Nazari Fatahabadi Committee” is a covert committee formed during the November 2019 uprising, and its primary focus has been the establishment of secret cells. The “Red Revolutionary Youth Committee of Mahabad” is a city committee that emerged during the Jina uprising in the city of Mahabad in the Kurdistan region of Iran. It played a pivotal role in the uprising in this city, representing a communist faction in an area historically associated with the largest Kurdish nationalist party. The “Jian Group” is a core group of female fighters that formed in the early days of the Jina uprising and played a crucial role in organizing some of the most significant demonstrations in Tehran. “Street Militants Group” is another committee, predominantly composed of women, with connections to small towns where oppressed ethnic groups from Lor reside. Lastly, the “Zahedan Revolutionary Youth Core” is a committee based in Zahedan, the largest city in the southeastern region of Iran, predominantly inhabited by ethnically oppressed Baloch people. Broadly speaking, all these committees identify as “communist” and seek to establish an alternative around the political notion of council-based governance after the Islamic Republic. However, as the conversation reveals, this political orientation holds different meanings and implications for each of them.
I’m grateful to my comrades from the present committees who have discussed and shared valuable insights. My remarks are interconnected with the discussions that have taken place so far in this session, and comrades have already articulated many of the points I’m thinking about. I just want to approach some of these points from a different angle.
When it comes to gaining public trust, whether on a city level or a broader scale, building this public trust is crucial from a communist ethical perspective, and I appreciate comrades for bringing it up. However, considering the practical necessities of the struggle and the power to act effectively, the necessity of taking action and effectively acting is also an integral part of this communist ethics. Comrades agree that communist ethics is not reduced to the fact that we have the same characteristics regarding human resources, such as not being greedy in terms of economic or symbolic wealth. Nevertheless, we must also keep in mind that, as communists, we’re not detached or isolated from society as it is in a capitalist context. We exist in a class-based society amidst various forms of oppression, including national oppression, gender-based oppression, and more.
Indeed, we are not exempt from these influences. We exist within them and are products of this society while also striving to break free from these social constructs, including individual personality and ethics. However, what truly strengthens public trust, in addition to the ethical qualities mentioned, is our capacity for effective action. An essential part of communist ethics is translating its discourse, ideas, and ideals into tangible actions and giving them an actual dimension. This aspect of communist ethics emerges when we dissociate the concept of ethics from individual virtue and instead connect it to duty and responsibility.
In essence, this ethical stance compels us always to juxtapose our ethical considerations with our sense of duty. Acting ethically means that within the context and circumstances, I find myself in, I have a responsibility to fulfil according to the specific requirements of that situation. One of the fundamental drivers of communist ethics is the power to act, to put into practice what we advocate. It involves embodying the words spoken during promotional and propagational activities undertaken by a communist group and disseminating and defending those ideas. The issue lies in the fact that, at some point, people no longer base their trust solely on our words.
This is not logically substantiated; it’s instead based on intuition. Nonetheless, each one of us encounters the issue of trust in a similar manner. We grant a certain credibility and trust to a statement until a certain point. However, beyond that point, the matter of trust becomes dependent on the practicality of that statement. If the statement remains within the realm of discourse and speech without any tangible materialization on the ground, the trust gradually fades, doesn’t expand, or remains, in a sense, sterile. It means that no actual result can be drawn from it.
Due to this, we need to demonstrate, on various scales, that if we make a statement that resonates with the masses, we also have the capability to take steps towards its realization. We can work towards transforming that statement into action and opening a tangible perspective for its achievement. This can manifest through different actions and responses on various levels. As I mentioned earlier, on a local level with specific coordinates, this action takes on an actual form, and similarly, on a city-wide level or in different cities, each with its unique requirements and so on.
However, what enables these actions and endeavours to continue over a specific period, progressing from point A to point B, taking a step forward, is essentially the organizational and structural nature of these actions, not just reactive or opportunistic actions or actions based on an opportunity that has arisen somewhere. The commitment to an actual course of action allows us to register a step in a medium to long-term plan, to make it continuous, expand it, and draw a believable and tangible actual perspective through it.
This tangible perspective can transform theoretical trust, which initially is merely theoretical, into practical confidence. The masses are then willing to stand by this perspective, commit to it, act upon it, join the struggle, and engage actively. The guarantee for this lies in organizations and structures. As mentioned by my comrades, without these organizations and structures, this capacity for action, if not entirely impossible, remains, at least, extremely limited.
Now, here we are using the terms “organization” and “structure” as empty words, which we have not precisely defined yet, and gradually it should become clear what we mean by local organizations and structures and what we mean by national organizations and structures. However, the groups engaged in this conversation in this session have a certain level of organization. They work continuously based on a specific idea, which acts as a guiding light, and they have elements that allow them to analyze the situation based on an analytical framework. Therefore, when discussing the necessity of organization, we discuss a horizon beyond just words.
Comrades from Gilan (GRC) have emphasized that in this situation, our duty is to analyze our situation, the situation we experienced during the uprising, and our own mistakes. In my view, this point is crucial and fundamental in our movement towards what we call an organization, regardless of its specific characteristics. In various uprisings and movements that have taken shape in recent years, especially from 2017 onward, the leftist forces and groups have repeatedly faced a kind of surprise. This surprise acted as a wake-up call. We concluded that we should avoid such surprises in the next round and have the power to act. However, each time we initiated a movement, the acquisition of theoretical knowledge did not materialize on the ground, and the same mistakes were repeated in the next wave.
Why were these mistakes repeated? It was due to the absence of tools to overcome these mistakes and the lack of a mechanism to turn these mistakes into opportunities in subsequent movements. The apparatus for overcoming these mistakes had not been built; naturally, such implements can only be created after a period of time. However, a specific step had not been taken to build it. Because of this, we repeatedly fell into the same surprises and limitations in our actions, and we are still facing them.
However, in the current situation, due to the presence of these committees formed in various regions, we are now closer to overcoming these mistakes through practical steps. Some of these committees and cores existed even before the Jina uprising. Some have been forming for years, some within this uprising or previous uprisings. Some existed, but not explicitly as organized bodies; they were more like groups with shared concerns.
Now, to move a step forward, we must seriously acknowledge some of the dilemmas, mistakes, and shortcomings. This means we are facing a critical crisis that has been imposed on us since the Jina uprising. If this crisis is not recognized, the way out of this situation and the progress towards a higher state in the communist struggle will be blocked. This crisis is a strategic crisis. It means that up to a certain point, those groups and organizations that have formed within the movement and those that existed previously and are taking action within the movement can act due to their internal dynamics and vitality. But from a certain point onwards, when the movement and the surge fall into the trap of repetition based on the inherent nature of any mass surge, it cannot open up a new path and consequently undergoes erosion. It seems that the capability of these organizations to act is gradually limited, and the real potential to initiate and introduce a new force into the movement and open up a new horizon for them is restricted. Here we encounter the issue of strategic crisis, and due to the fact that this strategy is not present at a general level, our operational level and the possibilities for action at a tactical and temporal level are significantly constrained. So, why am I bringing up the matter of a strategic crisis?
Because moving towards organizations, now what these organizations and structures are, whether it’s a centralized organization that is a single entity or a system that has a universal nature but is currently referred to as empty of this name because it needs to be discussed elsewhere, moving towards that organization can start from the point of recognizing this strategic crisis and striving to define a clear strategy, and we believe it should start. In other words, contrary to the assumption sometimes held that an organization or structure takes shape and then that organization or structure engages in devising a strategy, perhaps we should take the path in the opposite direction. Here we have the material foundations of those organizations. We have the raw materials, including groups that possess a degree of organization, have organizational concerns, and include a measure of operational power within their scope. All have concerns about moving towards a more powerful organizational activity. In fact, the collective movement among these different groups, which these series of meetings can also contribute to, to define a specific and shared strategy, will transform the necessity of a joint organization or a standard system from a theoretical necessity to a practical and pragmatic necessity, which in turn strengthens the possibility of building those organizations and the will to create them within each of the present groups and collectives.
Meaning that if these committees and nuclei that exist can at least reach an agreement on the broad lines of a common strategy, then in the next stage of moving towards the practical implementation of this common strategy, the effort to establish a common organization and a centralized structure becomes necessary and naturally follows. Otherwise, we will fall into a severe contradiction of our activities. When we talk about a common strategy, it’s clear that the practical implementation of this common strategy does not imply that the actions and tactics that serve this common strategy are uniform in nature. No! Each situation imposes its own requirements for translating that common strategy into the form of tactics, actions, and initiatives based on its specific coordinates, and the force that is capable of determining how this common strategy is translated into localized and contextual activities is the local organizations.
Of course, by “local,” I don’t mean just a physical place; rather, it could be a sphere of activity that these nuclei and committees define according to their own circumstances. But in the service of that common strategy, whose necessity, potential, and capability for opening an actual horizon in revolutionary victory is confirmed through a series of joint discussions, shared analyses, and shaping discussions among various groups.
Jiyan Group (JG): Many of our points have been already mentioned and covered by other comrades. So, our words might be kind of a summary of what has been already discussed, or it could also be a new perspective toward the question of organizing and committees. In fact, we focus more on the issue of organization and the discussions that are related to it. On one hand, there are groups and committees like us which -as our friends in Manjanigh already mentioned- had a form of organizing before the uprising and were active either as political groups or as part of different political organizations or parties. At least, according to our experience in big cities, all these together, formed a kind of informal network, which does not necessarily have an organized form but is rather a form of informal mutual communication. On the other hand, there are those who became political subjects and street fighters in the recent uprisings, I mean, since January 2016, or November 2018, or 2019 and namely the Jina uprising.
Regarding the first category, which is in fact, us. We experienced a form of self-organizing, connection and network, mostly as political/social activists. But a turning point happened during the uprisings in a few years, in which we tended to identify ourselves as militants and revolutionaries, rather than activists. As a result, a sort of discrepancy between shifting from this publicly and semi-publicly activity to underground activity and the desire for organizational activity is emerging. This might lead us to face conflicts and challenges, which already have been partly mentioned; therefore, we need to have self-reflection on our past activities and the forms of self-organizing, we’ve adapted.
The issue is that our previous activities were sort of project-based ones and we’re still dealing with the effects of these demand-making and project-based approaches. At the same time, these current revolutionary or pre-revolutionary conditions require us to strengthen a form of ambition and belief in ourselves that is not necessarily the same as those previous forms of activity. The question is how and with which means should we adapt ourselves to the new situation? Take the issue of security as an instance; the question, we are currently dealing with in our group, is how is it possible to work underground, to have and maintain the principles of organized underground activities, ensure the safety of the members and at the same time not to lose the opportunity to get connected to other groups and committees? How could we avoid denying and rejecting the importance of connections under the pretext of security? It’s of course promising that we keep having this meeting 8 months after the Jina Uprising, but we should ask ourselves why it takes too long. Another issue, related to security and underground activities, is how to maintain a democratic form of organizing and connections. Because after all, underground activism requires that some parts of information are not transparent and kept confidential for security concerns, yet, how can we deal with these hidden power relations that are based on the oppression nodes, mentioned by friends, such as gender, class, ethnicity, etc. How could we avoid this securitized atmosphere not to become a context in which non-democratic relations and authoritarianism grow like a cancer tumor? There is another issue, I’m not sure if it’s related to the discussion or not: there are groups active in social media, and the ones that became underground and therefore, invisible, or the ones which were underground since their formation; this is an ethical issue: if we tend to organized activism, it requires sort of modesty, and at the same time, maintenance of the political ambitions, which means to avoid getting intimidated by the social media and not to create celebrity figures. The groups that are active in social media have their own audience through which they gain a sort of political weight; This is promising in itself, but the question is what to do so that this phenomenon does not turn into unequal relations with groups that are underground and to avoid it to turn into a form of exclusivity and authoritarianism.
I won’t discuss this issue here but the one that is related to the body of society and the part of society that has entered the political and revolutionary arena. This issue has two dimensions: One is the issue of promoting discourse and the other is the issue of expansion in the sense of membership and growth of groups and committees. Due to the securitized condition, we tend to work with those who are the closest one to us. And who are they? The ones in our political bubbles, who have been politically and socially active, just like us and we know each other more or less. What happens then? We are some individuals, all knowing each other and going from one committee or group to the other and it might create the illusion in us that we are growing big, but the fact is that these people just find themselves in different groups and are the same people as before in new situations. Although this has its own risks, we should not be under the illusion that we are getting a special social base. There is another circle of people, a bit distanced yet in our networks. For instance, our co-workers or our fellow mates, with whom we might form a sort of union activity. The next circle are the ones whom we don’t know and might face in the street; these are random short-term encounters, for which we have no plan, but we need a strategy on how to recruit them. And finally, there are non-political individuals, who are further away from us but have their own benefits in the revolution and waves of political changes. It requires a specific strategy and analysis to get to know them and to create promoting tactics, education and raising awareness. To summarize, I’d say that we must have a correct analysis of our audience and potential allies. We might read a lot of theories, but currently, there is this gap between our analysis and strategies and our way of organizing. You can’t have the same fixed protocol for everyone. If we acknowledge the housewives or precarious workers as potential revolutionary forces, it requires detailed knowledge of face-to-face communication and its own strategies.
Street Militants Group (SMG):
In my opinion, we already agreed on several issues, but indeed an organization contains several revolutionary committees that do things together within the organization body. Moreover, there are the security measures, media and so on… which we don’t have now. Although all of us admit that we must form an organization with people who think like us, I don’t see real participation but some bunch of leftist circles of friends. There are many activists, but as far as I know, they are mostly in their friendship circles. There is also the centrist approach. I mean one person becomes promoted in the media, just because they were arrested. Everybody gathers around them. We still don’t believe that we should not necessarily work with someone who has experienced prison and torture. This approach reduces our relationships to a few specific figures. Therefore, I think we need to fight this centrist approach in which one person, one committee or one idea is the core and everything else is set according to this core. I have no rush to establish the organization, of course, I’m not intimidated by this name (organization), but I think we need to provide the capacity. We still need to practice working collectively through these small groups and local networks. We are looking for immediate outcomes, so we shouldn’t ask what the purpose is of what I’m doing now, what will be the results or when we should gain these results. In my opinion, for now, we must define the crucial issues, find the forces and fight the centrist approach.
Gilan Revolutionary Committee (GRC):
I’d like to briefly comment on the concerns of the friend from SMG about centrism. I understand these concerns, but in my opinion, we are still a few steps behind. I mean for now we are discussing whether it is possible to take steps toward establishing an organization, based on the groups and committees that were formed during the uprising. Later, once we have the organization, we should discuss and fight the signs of centrism or the approach from above. So, let’s talk about what we are facing now. Another friend of mine also wants to talk.
Another member of GRC: I’d like to grab the opportunity to emphasize a few points as a review of this talk. First, I thank our friends in Slingers Collective for providing this opportunity. In my opinion, this possibility can be effective, of course, to its limit. These communications can be useful if we continue them, and to confirm my statement, I will give this example that the discussion we had in this meeting was a bit more coherent and we got a bit closer to each other than the previous meeting. It’s a sign admitting that these communications could make us get closer and we should continue it; not only among us, but rather on a wider scale. In my opinion one of the crucial issues in the movement is to make connections between committees and on a more extended scale, between the groups of co-workers, in the neighborhoods, workplaces and factories. Secondly, if I want to answer the question ‘of what our capacities are and struggling perspectives in general and the committees in particular, I’d say: we must be active everywhere there are masses of people, either in neighborhoods, or in workers’ communities, or wherever there are, for any reason, oppressed communities and workers we need to be there, get inspired by them and try to inspire them, if we think we have something to say.
This is my concrete answer to the issue of how to be active in the movement both individually and as an organization, as an underground organization, or semi-underground or publicly. We need to learn to combine all these but not to mix them. For example, a worker activist could be a leader of workers movements to advocate their unionist demands, such as wage, but simultaneously, they could be an active member of an organization, a political party, or a committee. One should not mix all these roles and we need to learn it. Now, we could be in the street or elsewhere and make connections between workers’ communities, reading circles, hiking groups, in lower-class neighborhoods and so on. In order to clarify it, I have a small but significant example: Each of us has friends among workers or from lower-class, who are fans of soccer teams and are deeply into the matches. Some friends try to convince them that all these matches are the means created by global capitalism to manipulate people. Of course, it’s true, but if we talk everywhere like this, according to our principles, they get distance. We need to live with them, teach them and learn from them. You can’t stick to principles, and have zero connection to the society, workers’ communities and the masses. We should make links with the families of the imprisoned and the executed, both individually and collectively. We should attend the ceremonies and funerals, and if anything happens in the street, we need to be there. It’s our responsibility to be active in the movement as a group or a circle. And as the friends from RRYCM already mentioned, we must be honest, I mean when we claim something, we need to do it, be there and follow up. Then, if we find that there is something wrong or against our theoretical principles, we could try to change it or to affect it. For instance, some friends happened to meet some people who had formed a group and all of them carried knives to go around and stab the agents of the regime. Then, one of our friends discussed with them and tried to convince them, that killing doesn’t bring us anything but just causes the people to take distance from us, not be active in the struggles and moreover, it feeds the regime’s propaganda. Of course, I’m not against self-defence, but it was just an example to explain how to participate actively and bring more people to the street. Again, I emphasize attending every event, where people gather, trying to co-live with them and promoting our ideas.
Red Revolutionary Youth Committee of Mahabad (RRYCM):
First, I would like to emphasise the ethics of communism. We have to clarify our position for those who consider themselves communists but don’t possess the ethics of communism. Observance of the ethics of communism is not about deceiving people. We don’t want to be dishonest with people, but a fundamental characteristic of a communist is to be honourable and honest. No matter how expert you are theoretically and even strong in field activity, without revolutionary morals, honesty and purity, or if you are a hypocrite, you are not a communist/are considered a communist. We acknowledge all the political party lines from Kurdistan Democratic Party to the People’s Mujahedin Organization and other nationalist and liberal parties. Although we don’t think of them as emancipatory and even believe they are the main obstacles to the liberation of oppressed nations, people and masses, we recognize their existence. If councils are formed in the future, some of their members might be affiliated with one of these parties, and we have no problem with this. Let me share a memory. The night that Seyed Kamal Ahmadpour was killed, a few of us gathered there, guarding the dead body. We were a small group and didn’t know the larger group, but we were among them. We noticed they were talking about killing Basijis and local Josh . We said, let’s look at these issues with a broader and deeper perspective. After 40 minutes of discussion, they said they were with us and keen to cooperate with us. I believe this was the influence of communist honesty and ethics.
If I want to talk about perspectives, I have to say that currently, many organizations and political parties have become increasingly sectarian. The sectarianism has significantly impacted the communist movement within the country. If we don’t establish the idea to form a nationwide organization to lead the ongoing revolution in such a revolutionary condition, I can assure you they will continue to divide the movement inside the country as they have already done to parts of the movement. We must clarify our position. We should be able to unite around an alternative.
For instance, these committees we currently have are referred to as committees because they are slightly larger than the neighbourhood organizations. So if a nationwide organization is formed in the future, we will act as the Mahabad branch of that party or organization. We must take a firm stance on this matter. We need to stand firm against Iranshahris  and nationalists who have infiltrated labour camps and operate as a communist or leftists. Or against other things such as the Iran Neighborhood Youth Alliance’s stand regarding “always the Persian Gulf” and their posts on social media saying that this gulf will always remain Persian. They condemn pan-Arabism but easily overlook the Iranshahri movement.
In terms of international issues, as we mentioned earlier, global issues favour the labour movement and ongoing socialist movements. That is, everything is in favour of a strong worker’s movement. From issues in France to climate change and environmental concerns, inequality, financial funding, the International Monetary Fund and all of these crises created by capitalism. We can use this opportunity to raise awareness among the masses. Another point is Iran’s geopolitical importance to Imperialist countries. We know that Iran is the home of diverse cultures and nations. The country or the plateau of Iran has a rich history that significantly influences neighbouring countries such as Turkey, Saudi Arabia, Pakistan, Afghanistan, Iraq, and other neighbouring nations. Any change or transformation in Iran consequently impacts the surrounding countries and nations. So, we must acknowledge that global imperialism, with its complex neoliberal system, will not accept a progressive revolution taking place in Iran. We have to consider the prospects and assess other possibilities and perspectives. Our political spectrum includes fascists and nationalists. As well as opportunistic groups such as the People’s Mujahideen Organization. From now on, we should think about our position when conflicts arise among right-wing spectrums, such as between monarchists and Mujahedin. We must clearly and decisively determine our stance now. I would like to ask our comrades to keep these meetings going. We don’t necessarily have to stick to a single topic in every meeting. Let’s take the chance to get to know each other better, understand each other’s perspectives, and learn from one another. This will contribute to our growth. Because honestly, we haven’t been Marxists for generations. We have recently embraced Marxism and leaned towards this ideology. We need to learn more and evolve so we can pick the right way of fighting, depending on the upcoming circumstances. We are not fortune tellers, but we analyze and foresee the challenges to determine our fighting strategy and the next course of action based on our current and future conditions.
Street Militants Group (SMG):
Let me start by clarifying that when we talk about centralism, we don’t necessarily refer to a physical location. Centralism is essentially a mindset that, unfortunately, has emerged alongside the rise of government and the trend of centralization of power we have witnessed over the past century and across all movements. When the media is tailored to a certain class, language is exclusive to a particular group, they can suppress other forms of oppression either individually or collectively.
My point is that in order to establish an effective organization in the future, it is crucial to actively work on reducing this mindset of centralism with all these available organizations. Not everything is about street protests. Although movements mostly begin from the street but our daily practice should also focus on diminishing centralist thinking which is in my opinion detrimental to any collective. Another friend talked about housewives and the potential they can revive. They also rightly mentioned cooperatives, but there are other potentials too. Of course, I don’t think it’s exclusive to women, and I don’t think it is women’s timeless and eternal duty. But for instance, a comrade who can sing could utilize their voice as a means of struggle.
That is, I believe the more we can proliferate the methods of struggle with diversity and complexity, the more different strategies of struggle we can, and we have more chance of success. That is to utilize potentials of those confined inside homes, such as women who were not allowed to leave home but participated in Jina’s uprising by embroidering the names of martyrs and we would distribute them on their behalf. It entails empowering those who, for various reasons, might be suppressed by their spouses or lack the time to participate due to working-class responsibilities, like having to manage numerous household chores. For instance, in Mahabad, during the uprising, we saw women who specialized in cooking, as these were the only skills they had the opportunity to learn, or perhaps embroidery. When we engage with these individuals in streets, parks, or any other setting, we must understand that when we say each person based on their interests and preferences, we aren’t suggesting that we need to consider someone who holds bourgeois interests or desires to align with the upper classes. No, what I mean is that each person has their own cultural, artistic, and athletic interests, and considering connections being formed between committees, these committees can allocate responsibilities based on individual interests.
Let’s suppose someone has absolutely no interest in political activities and wants to learn dancing. Given that any personal interest in this government is deadlocked, we can precisely take that very interest and use it as a means to activate this potential. Because in this dictatorship, the most successful endeavour over these years has been to stifle the possibilities of any personal growth and any interest individuals might have. You could argue that this is somewhat individualistic, but it’s not quite like that. For instance, we connected a portion of the youth to storytellers or musicians. There were comrades who would say, “You’re not putting these things in opposition to the dominant structure.” Yet, when an individual invests in their own interest, they eventually realize that the government becomes an obstacle to them pursuing that interest over time.
As we saw on the streets, a wide range of groups had come together, from models to storytellers and all kinds of groups. One major achievement of this movement was its diversity. We witnessed representation of all kinds of people, which greatly empowers us to establish a small organization that can eventually grow into a larger one. Our sole focus can be on harnessing the existing public potential and finding ways to strengthen them. Even in situations where it seems impossible, when all doors are closed, let’s make the effort to create a small opening we can utilize. Another example is the revolutionary students, each with their specific talents contributing to the advancement of the revolution. We don’t want just to write and chant slogans or shout on the streets. Many can do that, but what’s important is to enhance collective and individual strategies. It does take time, and it might get a bit tiring, but in the end, we will see the reward of these efforts on the streets, and we will see them well.
Zahedan Revolutionary Youth Core (ZRYC):
When it comes to talking about alternatives and the possible alternatives that can exist, we must note that all leftist groups, from the past until now, have been discussing the idea of “the council administration”. Well, how should the council administration function? To answer this, first, we must talk about who wants to be responsible for running these councils. Council administration means that councils are the decision-makers and managers in all sectors of a society. Therefore, when we talk about those who form these councils, we return to the point of the organizing process. Until we reach this point and effectively organize, we cannot achieve our alternative, which is the left alternative and council administration. Everyone talks about the necessity for organization, but it is never said how we can achieve this. Little training has been provided on this subject. So, the main issue concerning organization is how and in what form this work can be carried out. We have discussed the layers of organized activity, that some of these layers should be completely secret, some semi-public, and some public, but we have never discussed the methods and strategies to achieve this.
Javad Nazari Fatahabadi’s Committee (JNFC):
I’d like to propose that we draw a conclusion from our discussions. Similar to our Comrades in GRC, I feel that in this session, thanks to the practical nature of the questions, we’ve become closer together. So it’s a good idea to consider and pinpoint where we all agree. We seem to somewhat share common ground in believing in the existence of four types of oppression and one alternative. Believing in class, gender, national and environmental oppressions as well as the idea of council administration as an alternative. Of course, we’ve also discussed the complexity of class analysis or council administration, which our comrades from Zahedan just brought up. These are tasks we need to work on, and in our future conversations, we should clarify what we mean by these four oppressions and shed more light on this alternative.
On the other hand, it seems that most of us agree on the importance of establishing local person-to-person connections through facilitating activities such as forming savings groups, reading circles, literacy programs, and many other similar activities. These activities have a significant history within the Iranian leftist movement and have resulted in the formation of excellent cadres. Another point we all seem to believe in is the necessity of moving towards broader organizational efforts, towards the creation of a more extensive organization that is the product of the amalgamation of these nuclei and committees working together.
In my opinion, this could be a topic to delve deeper into at our next meeting. While we do raise some points in these discussions, it’s necessary to further discuss the conceptual implications of secret activities. These are the same issues that other comrades have also mentioned, such as which types of activities should be done openly by which group of comrades, which activities should remain semi-public, and which should be kept completely secret. Additionally, we can consider practising collective activities together or exploring how we can collaborate more closely in the practical realm. Another point we can discuss further is how to have a more significant presence in the realm of revolutionary theoretical work in the context of these conditions influenced by the uprising. We should try to articulate the meaning of revolutionary theory along with revolutionary action, especially for those who are eager to understand it better.
In this context, it is crucial to arrive at new conclusions regarding the issues related to the four types of oppression and the concept of an alternative. Those of us actively engaged in political activities within the country and amidst these uprisings with all their dangers and challenges must be able to provide these summaries and develop written materials. We should engage in internal discussions and transform these internal dialogues into impactful written outputs for the numerous individuals eager to learn. As I mentioned before, there have been texts in the history of the communist movement that had the form and substance of summaries. We must move in that direction and be confident that by doing so, we will likely attract enthusiastic and capable individuals who will join us. Just as we have found each other and are engaging in discussions. Think about it in this way: if we can distribute impactful texts and analyses related to the current circumstances through the act of sharing, what opportunities will come our way? If we have the opportunity, translating these texts into Arabic and English will help us establish regional and international connections. From this perspective, we will gain political weight enabling us to play a role in future revolutionary relations.
Gilan Revolutionary Committee (GRC):
I would like to discuss a few points regarding the prospects and some of the topics that have been brought up. One point with regard to the outlook that lies ahead of us is that if the labor movement continues to grow, which we are witnessing, the amalgamation of the existing general protest movement with this labor movement can open up broad perspectives and advance the issue of individual freedoms to social freedoms. The labor movement brings along social demands such as the right to unionize and the right to strike. Regarding the opportunities before us, as our friends have mentioned, the issue of funding, or more precisely, strike funds, and other forms of collaborative action on common issues can be placed on the agenda. While It’s possible that not all committees will agree on every issue and detail, they can collaborate on certain, such as the issue of executions.
In summary, placing greater emphasis on such commonalities, creating collaborative campaigns on such matters, and fostering connections between different regions can be vital in this period of opportunity that our friend referred to. Supporting the movement we anticipate will emerge on a broader scale. Another point is the concept of blending public and secret work is not about dividing individuals into those who solely engage in open, semi-public or secret work. Certainly, that was not our comrades’ intention. Rather, the idea is to create relationships at different levels. Individuals, if needed, can engage in all three types of relationships. public engagement in one context, semi-public involvement in another, and covert activities elsewhere. The emphasis here lies more on fostering relationships than on individual categorization.
Another point, which we will explore further in our next session, pertains to the future prospects and the discussed alternatives. As our comrades have mentioned, it’s a reality that the right-wing alternative may come to power. However, it’s not a binary choice; every effort enhances the position of the workers, toilers, and the general population. This means that even if this particular outlook of the political power being in the hands of the workers and toilers does not materialize, all these efforts, whether theoretical or organizational, will undoubtedly strengthen the position of the people and toilers for the future steps, even if political power remains in the hands of the right-wing.
In continuation of the discussions our comrades from the JNFC suggested, I would like to briefly mention that in the upcoming session, we should focus on the topic of organization. It’s worth noting that within the outlined axis, while organizing is clearly the fourth axis, when we examine the questions, we see that the issue of organization imposes itself on all of our discussions. This means that whether we are discussing the prospects of our struggles, dealing with the threat of alternative reactionary powers, or considering the positive alternative that can prevent the rise of reactionary alternatives, we are faced with the issue of organizing, in its broad sense, in all of these. That is the issue of an organized and structured struggle.
This allows us to precisely define our discussion and our understanding of the need for organization through the lens of a series of concrete discussions we are facing. So when addressing the fourth question, we can arrive at a conclusion based on all these different discussions that have formed around specific themes. This will provide us with a concrete understanding of “organization”.
For this reason, my suggestion is to shift our focus towards discussing the organization by first defining its strategy. Let’s broaden our perspective on how we perceive the issue of the organization more comprehensively. While there is a collective agreement among all comrades regarding the fundamental necessity of organization and the need to move in that direction, there are still differences of opinion and various angles on how this should practically manifest. We need to engage in discussions to explore these different perspectives.
 Jash (Kurdish: Caş) is a word in the Kurdish language that literally means “son of a donkey”; Jash is an insulting title (meaning traitor) that is used for Kurds who collaborate with the Islamic Republic against Kurdish fighters.
 Iranshahri thinking is a quasi-fascist ideology that emerged through the pioneering work of Iranian theorist Seyyed Javad Tabatabaei within the last decade. It is structured around three fundamental axes: (1) Interpretation of Iranianness: This aspect emphasizes antiquarianism, the promotion of the dominant Persian language, and the concept of the “Iranian nation” as central elements defining Iranianness; (2) Interpretation of Religion and Jurisprudence: Within this dimension, efforts are made to reconcile Iranian identity with the tenets of Islamic Sharia law, seeking a harmonious coexistence between the two; (3) Neoliberalism in Economics: In this political doctrine, neoliberalism is seen as the exclusive means to engage with the global community while safeguarding the Iranian-Islamic identity. As a result, this political ideology has found support among various groups, including monarchists, neoliberal reformers within the government, and even elements within the conservative faction that currently governs Iran. It is worth noting that Tabatabaei himself drew influence from certain ideas put forth by Hegel and the right Hegelians.