We repost this text from the Shahrokh Zamani Action Campaign
Recently a document entitled The Charter of Minimum Demands of Iran’s Independent Trade and Civil Unions was published in Iran (you can read it here). This Charter was supposed to be the workers’ left-wing alternative to the manoeuvres of the right opposition (the Shah’s son, feminists with ties to the imperialist countries and so on).
But it has been criticised by many left-wing organisations and activists, especially militant workers in Iran. The criticism has centred on: 1- Its 12 merely democratic and reformist demands, aimed at a regime that is suppressing the masses daily. These are demands that have already been surpassed: by the masses in the streets during the past few months (demanding the overthrow of the regime and even the capitalist system) and by Iran’s vanguard workers during their strikes and struggles (demanding workers’ control and supervision by workers’ councils). 2- It does not show how these demands can prepare workers and the masses – theoretically, politically or organisationally – for the next uprising. 3- That many of its signatories have been inactive for many years, or even been reduced to a few individuals who do not represent any workers.
The following is a criticism published by a number of workers’ cells in Khuzestan province.
We, the workers of Khuzestan, are against the “Minimum Charter”!
In today’s situation, when workers’ struggles and strikes against the capitalist government are taking place, especially in Khuzestan, and in a situation where the minimum demand of the protestors in the streets of Iran is nothing less than the overthrow of the regime of the Islamic Republic, how is it that a Charter – with the minimum demands that the masses have already surpassed – is published?
Proposing minimal demands such as: equality of women and men, privacy of religion, ensuring work safety, abolition of laws on national and religious oppression, dismantling the organs of repression, and so on, are all demands that can be realised after overthrowing the capitalist system of the Islamic Republic. After 44 years, common sense shows us that none of these demands can be realised within the framework of the current system. The realisation of these democratic and trade union rights is linked with the complete overthrow of this system.
Requesting these demands in today’s situation, with uprisings and protests involving millions in the streets; and massacres, killings, jailing and torture of workers, students, educators and the people of Kurdistan, Zahedan and Khuzestan; and discrimination, as well as the killing of women and girls on the streets for their struggles against the mandatory hijab, has only one meaning: gaining credibility for the regime on the international arena in the JCPOA [nuclear] negotiations and stabilising the regime of the Islamic Republic as much as possible. Requesting these demands from the regime of the Islamic Republic in this situation means that the regime is capable of reforming and can grant some of these demands to the people! Therefore, if the regime falls short on some of these demands, according to the Minimum Charter, then it has shown that this regime can be changed and can still remain in place. In other words, this Charter, knowingly or unknowingly, is a great help for stabilising the regime of the Islamic Republic. Whereas the demands of the working people of Iran are to overthrow this regime and not to preserve it!
The track record of the activities of some of the signatories of this Charter in recent years is unclear. Therefore, they do not represent all of Iran’s workers. The signatories of the Minimum Charter should clarify their character and their record of campaigning against the ruling system.
We, the undersigned, hereby declare that we are drawing a demarcation line with this Charter. With our organisational and campaigning methods, through the creation of clandestine cells and finally the creation of a national workers’ leadership command, we are preparing for a workers’ revolution through the complete overthrow of this or any capitalist system, and in the period of the revolutionary upsurge, workers’ councils, relying on the vote of the majority of Iran’s hardworking people, will achieve their own rule. At that time, all trade union, democratic and political demands will be implemented as soon as possible by the workers’ government that has come to power, relying on the votes of the majority of the people of Iran.
- A group of southern railway workers
- A group of Ahvaz municipality workers
- A group of bus workers in Ahvaz and suburbs
- A group of workers of the Rolling and Pipe Company
- A group of petrochemical workers in the Mahshahr special region
- A group of workers from South Pars and Gachsaran regions
- A group of contract workers and day labourers of the National Drilling Company
- A group of contract workers and day labourers of Abadan Refinery and Petrochemical Company
- A group of workers of Mahshahr industrial town
- A group of farmers from Shadgan, Ahvaz and Sosangard regions
- Khuzestan Socialist Women’s Cultural Society
- Khuzestan Vanguard Socialist Workers’ Cell
9 March 2023
Published on the Telegram channel of the Khuzestan Vanguard Socialist Workers’ Cell
Translation: Shahrokh Zamani Action Campaign