The best – the only – way to build a successful movement against a US war on Iran is to build a workers movement that includes direct links between workers in this country and those in both Iran and Iraq. That starts with the class interests of all those involved since our fates are interlinked.
- A US war on Iran is against the interests of US workers. Trump campaigned for office on the
basis that he would make America great again. He meant in part that he would rebuild US capitalist power throughout the world, including in North Africa/West Asia, most especially in relation to Iran. That’s what a possible US war on Iran is all about, and as Trump tries to rebuild that power, all the most reactionary, xenophobic and Islamophobic tendencies of his administration and in US society as a whole will come to the fore just as it did during the two US wars on Iraq under Bush. It will also strengthen US militarism. It will weaken and divide the US working class and it will reinforce whatever illusions some US workers have that their interests and those of US imperialism are one and the same.
- A US war on Iran will cause untold suffering among Iranian workers. But it will also have very damaging political consequences.
Since mid-November, Iran has seen an explosion of protests as explained by the statement of students in
Tehran. This explosion was sparked by an increase in fuel prices, but even before that there had been an increase in both protests against the oppression of women but also labor strikes as recounted by the Alliance of Middle East and North African Socialists (AMENAS). It is true that the US sanctions have caused major damage to the Iranian economy, but it also must be remembered that the Iranian regime has spent massive amounts furthering its imperialist ambitions throughout the region, and as well it is suffering from massive corruption of government officials.
The Iranian regime has responded with increased repression. According to Reuters, who got information from sources within the ministry of interior in Iran, at least 1500 protesters were killed by the regime in just 4 days from Nov. 15 to Nov. 19 during the latest uprising.
. Already, the US military attacks have strengthened the anti-worker forces of reaction in Iran and weakened the working class movement.
None of this, of course, can justify the US attacks. After all, Trump has no objection to regimes that loot and plunder the economy nor does he object to corruption. But the true nature of the Iranian regime must be recognized.
- Iraq, where these immediate events started, has seen similar protests, starting in October of
last year. The immediate issues were unemployment and lack of government services as well as corruption. Protests also started to take up the issue of Iranian intervention in Iraqi politics. This issue became central after the Intercept revealed the extent to which it had developed. As Wikipedia reports, “A day after the October protests started, activists Hussein Adel al-Madani, 25 years old, and his wife Sara Talib, 24 years old, who had spent time in exile in Turkey, changed address and ceased participating in protests, were assassinated in Basra by unidentified gunmen. Friends of the victims and security services told Thomson Reuters that the assassination had been ordered by an Iran-backed militia.” As in Iran, the Iraqi regime in general responded to the protests by mass shootings. The NY Times reports an estimate of 500 shot by Iraqi government and paramilitary forces and up to 19,000 wounded.
There have been popular protest movements throughout the region, including in Lebanon where, for the first time in a long time, masses of people of all the different religions and ethnic groups have come together to protest against that capitalist government.
We must learn a lesson from the anti-war protests against the two previous wars on Iraq. Those protests did not stop those wars. The best way to stop a new war and to build the strength of the working class is to start to build direct links between the US working class and our fellow workers in Iran and throughout the region. That this is possible was shown by the open letter that Oaklandsocialist wrote to Code Pink and was signed by dozens of unionists and other workers. That letter was written as a criticism of Code Pink’s support for the Iranian government. It was translated into Persian and distributed inside Iran! A further example has been provided by the petition by AMENAS for the release of Yashar Darolshafa, an Iranian socialist who had disappeared in Iran. Shortly after the publication Darolshafa was released, and it was reported that the petition had had an effect on his
release. (Other examples of small steps to build working class solidarity and direct worker-to-worker links was the statement for an independent workers movement and for socialism in Venezuela that Oaklandsocialist produced for distribution inside Venezuela. That statement, too, was translated and distributed inside that country. As well, we read a message of support for the movement in Chile at a meeting of a Popular Assembly in that country.)
It is not possible to build any such links between US workers and our fellow workers in any of those countries while we either directly or indirectly support the workers’ oppressors in those countries. Unfortunately, that is a lesson that many in the “peace and justice” movement have yet to learn – if they are even concerned with the working class in any of the countries involved at all. In the coming days, Oaklandsocialist will be circulating a message of solidarity from workers in the US to workers and youth in Iran. We hope such a message will be translated and circulated in that country. That will be a small, first step towards building further such direct links. I would also be a step towards building an international working class movement that can really start to put global capitalism on the retreat.
- No US war on Iran!
- For a mass working class party in the US!
- For direct, worker-to-worker links and true working class internationalism!
- For working class unity and socialism!
Also see our Open Letter to Code Pink