Cardiff says hands off the people of Iran

Iranian activist Torab Saleth was in Cardiff on Weds October 1st to address the socialist forum; the subject was Hands Off Iran – an injunction not only to US imperialism and its UK and Isareli sidekicks, but to the reactionary regime of President Ahmadinejad and his allies amongst the mullahs and armed forces. 

Torab eloquently expressed the two-way vice in which Iranians are caught – between a US anxious to control the middle eastern oilfields and an Iranian government using the threat of invasion as a pretext to crush  worker militancy and those progressive social movements challenging the backward ideas emanating from the mosques.  Within those mosques gangs of thugs are actively trained to attack leftists in a society riven with contraditions and comprising huge industrial areas full of frustrated workers but also a large street-merchant class – the mullahs’ social base – and up to ten million unemployed.  

Despite the enormous difficulties facing them, Iran workers, students and progressive intellectuals have proved an indomitable force:  Torab outlined the three Iranian revolutions of the 20th century: the first similar to the Russian 1905 revolution and derailed by the British; the second after WW2, crushed by Stalin, and the 1979 overturn of the Shah, whereafter the left was bloodily eliminated as the bourgeoisie settled on the mullahs as their saviours – an arrangement which they hoped wrongly to be temporary.

The UK Stop the War coalition did not come out well from Torab’s analysis.  With the SWP committed to Respect and keen to shore up support across all strata of UK muslims, STWC has been reluctant to criticise the Iranian regime and refused to accept the Hands off the People of Iran as an affiliate.  However, Torab made clear HOPI’s absolute opposition to imperialist intervention in Iran, while stressing the importance of recognising how Bush and Ahmadinejad enjoy a symbiotic relationship, and how socialists in the West should never back away from supporting the struggles of trade unionists, socialists  and campaigners for gay and women’s rights in Iran.

Once again CRSF provided the opportunity for open and informed debate on an important contemporary political topic, and it was pleasing to yet again see new faces at the discussion.  With the news that last weeks’s meeting of the Manchester Radical Marxist Forum attracted 60 participants, the aim of the Convention of the Left to set up socialist forums throughout the UK has taken another step forward. Once again we extend an invitation to all socialist groups and individuals to come to the next forum, which by popular demand will be on Nov 4th, looking at the credit crunch.

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6 Responses to Cardiff says hands off the people of Iran

  1. rob says:

    You might be interested in this.

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/worldservice/documentaries/2008/09/080925_children_of_revolution_one.shtml

    Did you know 70% of the population of Iran is under 30?That despite having sharia law it has the lowest mosque attendence of any islamic country?

    Not quite the picture of a monolithic theocracy we’re presented with in the west.

    Support the struggles of the working class in Iran but don’t lecture them from outside.
    The priority for us in the west is to oppose an imperialist attack that will kill far more of the Iranian working class than it will the “the theocracy” or the Iranian capitalist ruling class as it would be better to term them.

  2. Bob Davies, CPGB says:

    Perhaps Rob sould have attended this meeting and expressed these points to the forum and Torab (a politically exiled Iranian activist) who, I’m sure, would have been interested to hear how he was “lecturing” to the Iranian working class.

    The substantive point is this however….

    The fight against US/Israel and other foreign ‘intervention’ in Iran is paramount – but so too is the question of what we pose as a political alternative to the theocracy and the Iranian ruling classes. Should we side with these brutal, oppressive and thoroughly anti-democractic classes against US aggression in Iran, (classes whose history is dripping in blood when it comes to ‘dealings’ with those groups and individuals fighting for radical, progressive democractic and socialist change) or do we actively promote practical and political solidarity with students, trade unionists, womens’ and the lesbian and gay movements bravely fighting for change?

    Who you politically and/or militarily ally with in a war is a fundamental issue. The thought of promoting an alliance from ‘below’ with those in the upper echelons of Iranian society against the US is bizarre. As history has shown, the fuckers are likely to literally stab socialists and those fighting for radical democracy in the back when it is in their interests to do so.

    Against US imperialiam! Against the theocracy!

  3. rob says:

    The main point still stands,an imperialist attack will kill far more workers than anyone in the”theocracy” so surely the priority in the rest of the world is to oppose an imperialist attack on Iran,isn’t it?
    A successful attack is more likely to increase the confidence of US imperialism and drive Iranian workers to support the Iranian regime.
    I support the struggles of working people in Iran and the best way to do that in this country is oppose any imperialist attack.

  4. Bob Davies, CPGB says:

    Rob,

    All socialists oppose an imperialist attack against Iran. If they didn’t I’d worry about their socialist credentials. Such a pursuit must be vigourously fought for. But to pose just that is not enough.

    The history of the mullahs and the Iranian ruling classes must be aggresively and consistently exposed. In practical terms, not to do otherwise means playing down their utterly reactionary and thoroughly anti democratic nature and gives succour to the belief that a political alignment from below with the theocracy has some sort of credence and progessive potential. It doesn’t. We need to pose, as has those democractic forces in Iran over the past year recently posed, *independent* politics.

    The fight is therefore dual and not one sided.

  5. rob says:

    I said I support Iraqi workers and I’m also sure they’re well aware of the history of their state. So I don’t get your point.
    So I’ll carry on trying to build as broad as possible an opposition to an attack on Iraq through Stop the War and you can go off and do whatever you want.

  6. Bob Davies, CPGB says:

    Hmmm…

    To repeat…

    The main enemy is imperialism – but it is not the only one! To ignore or downplay this you can end up aligning with practically anyone in your “broad movement”.

    It’s an important political question.

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