In the last four weeks we can see relentless protests covering nearly all regions of Iran. People dissent to the Islamist rule. It all started with the death of Mahsa Amini, a 22-year-old woman arrested by morality police in Tehran on 13 September for allegedly violating Iran’s strict rules requiring women to cover their hair with a hijab, or headscarf. However, people were protesting earlier. But why it is happening now? Why we rebel so desperately?
Why has Islamic Revolution happened and which regime do we have now. Lets dive a little to the history. 1979 was a fateful for all nation.
«The Islamic Revolution in Iran has exploded right at the doorsteps of modern history, posing a dual task for serious students of the event. The Islamic Revolution is predicated on «the Islamic Ideology,» now the militant voice of Muslim discontent» (Dabashi).
Much of Iranian society was in euphoria about the coming revolution. In 1979, many people including left, welcomed displacement of Shahs regime with Islamist one. «Suddenly Islam became a power in the world. Islam, not socialism seemed to be the wave of the future» (2). This case should be described from three different aspects: The phenomenon of the fact that communist idea in peoples mind was replaced by Islam should be explained in the context of Cold War, first. With numerous attempts of USA bourgeoisie to dominate the world, their government were working out doctrines to «contain» the spread of progressive communist ideas. In the Middle East, USA successfully tried to prevent this spread by infecting minds with idea of Islamist «jihad» and mystique beliefs, that will lead to the society of justice and equality.
«The most significant ideological antecedent of the Islamic Revolution in Iran in an ideal-typically «religious» context was the doctrinal propagation of velayat-e faqih, or «the authority of the jurist», as formulated by Ayatollah Khomeini» (1).
The considerable fault of opportunist Communist party of Soviet Union with its Khruschev line starting from 1953 with its further failure to build a communism and to critically develop a Marxist-Leninist theory. These two failures spawned a common mistrust in communism and its world vanguard — Communist Party of Soviet Union. Also the desire of people to pivot to Islam in their political life is that its main idea of umma-islamic community seemed to fulfill their aspirations for a social justice. «It almost always refer to ethical, linguistic, or religious bodies of people who are subject to the divine plan of salvation» (3). Talking by another words, umma is a place of all people, regardless their nationality and social status. We can also presume that umma is a place with limited private property or without it at all.
Iranian Left organizations, that existed in pre-revolutionary Shah era, were not able neither to propose something alternative to masses nor to take over. Instead of developing dialectic thinking and working out political guidelines to follow in any situations, Left organizations decided to follow vulgar political minimalism by agreeing and adopting principles of opportunist «Arabic socialism» and «Islamic socialism». Simply saying, they were on the tail of masses infected with religious agony. Strategy of Party building was also weak and opportunistic. For instance, Tudeh (far left) Party of Iran, despite being Stalinist on the start, were not able to develop and dialectically comprehend Marxist-Leninist theory as a result becoming political opportunists. In its principles it was advocating for «building purely democratic society and to struggle against all forms of dictatorship».
Now it is important to briefly outline the essence of Iranian Islamist regime. The socio-economic regime in Iran, that was established after Islamic Revolution 1979 can be characterized as capitalist with predominance of national bourgeoisie power. This can be proved by statements of articles of Iranian Constitution: «Constitutional restrictions still make it difficult for foreigners to invest in Iranian enterprises».
We can see that Foreign investment, that is crucial for modern capitalist expansion is barely allowed. Peculiarity of Iran’s economic system is that it has planning on national level and other attributes of planned economy.
«In Islamic Republic, the state owns and monopolizes power over heavy industries, foreign trade, all minerals, banking, insurance, electric power, radio and TV, postal services, and railroads in the country» (5).
However, it does not mean that a country supports or follows a path to communism. As was said by Lenin in his works, it is not enough to adopt formally «socialist» reforms (as nationalized property), the power in the state should be in the hands of working class, that aims to build a communism. It is also can be defined as bonapartist because a regime tries to buy loyalty of people.
«The Islamic regime has developed a network of loyalty in the country that is estimated to be about 2 million people. These supporters are offered low interest loans to buy houses and set up businesses, priority in obtaining business licenses, admission to the universities, and pilgrimage to Mecca and other shrines».
However, we should not forget that despite the fact that Iranian regime is a rule of national bourgeoisie, now it can be called relatively progressive. Because it stands against USA and its bourgeoisie, which is more reactionary than national one. So, it also a task while standing against Islamist regime, not to give up power of national bourgeoisie to the hands of pro-American oligarchs. In order to do this we should organize an authoritative party. In the case of Iran, when people literally do not have a historical choice but organize a Communist Party! The truly Communist party should be organized by Marxists that mostly comprehended Marxist-Leninist theory and protected from opportunism.
«The analysis proved that in order to protect the communist party from opportunistic transformation, it is necessary:
a) to abandon the principle of democratic centralism, especially in making strategic decisions;
b) to develop solutions only by scientific research, by achieving scientific consensus, primarily in the leading party bodies;
c) to admit into the party only those, who proved due attitude to the learning of Marxism-Leninism and its propaganda. To admit into the leading bodies of the party of all levels only those, who proved in practice their theoretical competence (who have Marxist publications with the original content), demonstrated propaganda and organizational skills (which means the rejection of the principle of accepting program in favor of the principle of understanding and applying the program in practice);
d) to build a party not from bottom to top from the primary organizations, which form the congress and choose leaders, but from top to bottom from the authoritative Marxist newspaper (the Central Organ), around which the most literate, tried and tested cadres are united, and who will become the members of the Central Organizational Committee;
e) to form the membership of the central organ, regional and local press organs only by the method of co-optation based on the results of real scientific and propaganda work;
f) to acknowledge as leading cadres only those individuals who mastered the dialectical-materialist methodology and continuously raise their theoretical level;
g) an internal law of the party life shall be the strictest discipline, based on the mobilization of party conscience, comradeship and excluding competition and careerism in any form (party member`s behavior should be based on initiative caused by his inner conviction in own scientific maturity, in competence, in readiness to take personal responsibility for the relevance to the position held. The main criterion of the party for appointment of a comrade to leadership work should be his competence, confirmed by the practical results of his personal propaganda, agitation and organization);
h) to accept the priority of the theoretical form of the class struggle at all stages of the class struggle, especially if the country is not yet in the period of revolutionary situation at the moment;
i) to put forward a slogan for the continuous self-education of each party member;
j) to set up the principle of comradely dialogue, which excludes competition and double-dealing, instead of traditional stimulation of discussions» (link).
What Iranian people should do?
Certainly, every revolution starts with the word «no». Unfortunately, this «no» said by Iranian people now has no exact aims and perspectives to develop a country after take over. All current aims of protesters: democratization, demand for women’s rights enlargement etc. are not specified. And these are understandably, because the protest is spontaneous driven by spontaneous thoughts not based on objective science. In order to say «no» that will result a change, people should:
- Adopt an exact Marxist-Leninist theory as a basis of all political and other strategic actions.
- Build a Party on a basis of Science-based Centralism.
- Study and develop Marxist theory.
- Based on this theory they should develop their demands.
There are main tasks of Marxists in Iran now.
Now, it is a situation for Iranian people that they cannot be pleased neither with the rule of foreign American bourgeoisie nor with Islamist regime of national bourgeoisie that suppresses their potential for development as individuals. It is important now not to repeat the mistake of our fathers and mothers. Main task of Iranian people in the current situation is to organize scrupulous study of Marxism-Leninism and organize local online organizations that can help them win and conquer a happy future for all nation.
1. Dabashi, H. (2006). Theology of Discontent: The Ideological Foundation of the Islamic Revolution in Iran (1st ed.). Routledge.
2. Keddie, Nikki (2003). Modern Iran: Roots and Results of Revolution. Yale University Press. ISBNВ 0-300-09856-1.
3. Milani, Abbas (22 May 2012). The Shah. ISBNВ 9780230340381.
4. Abghari, Siavash. POLITICAL ECONOMY OF POLITICAL POWER OF THE ISLAMIC REGIME IN IRAN. Journal of Third World Studies 24, no. 1 (2007).