Resolution on activity in relation to Iran

Submitted by martin on 10 December, 2007 - 3:34 Author: AWL National Committee, 08/12/07

The NC notes: 1. The rise of workers' struggles in Iran
2. The anti-worker repression of the Ahmedinejad regime
3. The much increased international clout of the Iranian regime. (a) As an unintended consequence of the US wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, Tehran has huge influence in western Afghanistan and southern Iraq. (b) The rise in oil prices and the paralysis of the Iraqi oil industry strengthens Iran's position as an oil and gas exporter

4. The regional imperialist character of Iran. Tehran rules over substantial oppressed national minorities within Iran's borders (Kurds, Baluchis, Azeris, Arabs), has huge influence in western Afghanistan and southern Iraq, and aspires to dominate the whole Gulf region
5. The attempts by the US administration to beat back the rise of Tehran's power (sanctions, diplomatic pressure, etc.)
6. The possibility that a bunker-mentality Bush-Cheney regime will initiate war against Iran
7. We characterise any realistically likely military conflict between the US and Iran as one between two imperialisms: an imperialist superpower and a regional "sub-imperialism". A conflict between Iran and Israel would constitute war between the two sub-imperialisms, with one most likely backed the American superpower

The NC further notes

1. The attempts by the USA to encourage and link up with national-minority dissent in Iran (with any success? we don't know)
2. That the national minorites' rights are not cancelled out by any flirtations they may have with the USA, any more than the rights of the Kurds in Iraq are cancelled out by their leaders' long-term collaboration with the USA
3. The wrongness of the response by Socialist Worker, which has loudly denounced "US plans to divide Iran": http://www.socialistworker.co.uk/art.php?id=8411

The NC believes

Our basic slogans for now are "no to war, no to the Islamic republic, solidarity with Iranian workers". In the event of war, our line would be similar, i.e. a "Third Camp" one We are for the right to self-determination for the national minorities in Iran (though not necessarily for separation) Full Iranian domination of southern Iraq would not be better than US occupation

The NC further notes

1. The existence of groups such as the International Alliance for Solidarity with Workers in Iran and the Iran Workers' Solidarity Network, and of other Iranian activists with whom we have worked in the past
2. The possibilities for attracting audiences and advancing the political education of ourselves and of a periphery through joint activities (meetings, protests, etc.) with those Iranian groups

The NC resolves

To seek to assemble a small team of comrades who will take an interest in activity in relation to Iran; develop our links with Iranian activities; seek to organise, or organise our participation in, meetings and protests To encourage that team also to revive the London operation of Iraq Union Solidarity at least to the level of the activity of Iraq Union Solidarity Scotland in Glasgow and of AusIraq in Sydney, and to develop links and cross-fertilisation between the Iran and the Iraq activity

The NC further notes

1. In the event of war, the main centre for anti-war protests will be the Stop The War Coalition and local Stop The War groups
2. We strongly disagree with the pro-Ahmedinejad line pushed by the leadership of Stop The War
3. In the event of war, however, Stop The War groups and demonstrations will draw in large numbers of young activists who will not be hardened pro-Islamists, and who may indeed consciously disagree with the pro-Ahmedinejad stance
4. In 2002-3, we made a mistake by allowing our distaste for the SWP's politics to deter us from much active involvement in Stop The War groups
5. We should not repeat that mistake. In the event of war, we should intervene energetically in the Stop The War groups, as well as, of course, working energetically on our own independent basis in the workplaces, unions, campuses etc. where we have members

The NC notes yet further

1. The decision by the Weekly Worker group to devote practically all their resources to HOPI
2. The character of HOPI. It is, by design and by the limits imposed by circumstances, a "propaganda front". The Weekly Worker has, of course, the same right as any other tendency to set up "propaganda fronts", but the value of such things depends on the quality of the ideas propagandised for

The NC recalls

1. The platform of HOPI includes
a) "Immediate withdrawal" of US/UK troops from Iraq, but no statement of opposition to the clerical-fascist forces in Iraq (including those closely linked to Tehran) or of solidarity with the workers' movement in Iraq
b) "Opposition to Israeli expansionism and aggression", but no mention of Iranian expansionism and aggression, and no statement of Israeli-Jewish national rights (which, on the British left, decidedly do not "go without saying")
c) Support for "socialism", no less, in Iran, but no mention of national minority rights there
2. The bias and tilt given to HOPI by its title, i.e. the focus on getting external "hands" off the "people" of Iran, at a time when Tehran's power in the region is on the rise, workers' struggles are on the rise in Iran, and US or Israeli military attack is only a possibility
3. Our previous decision to reject affiliation to HOPI: www.workersliberty.org/node/7527

The NC notes

In the event of war, the attitude of HOPI (judging from its platform and from the WW's record in 2003 over Iraq) is likely to be to side with Iran and to endorse the idea of seeking and boosting co-sponsorship of anti-war protests from Islamic clerical-fascists. HOPI will presumably be more critical of the Tehran regime than the official Stop The War campaign, and no doubt that will earn it hostility from the STWC leadership; but on major issues it will be with the STWC leadership rather than with us

The NC believes

1. As and when HOPI may organise good activities (e.g. protests in support of persecuted Iranian worker activists), we should generally support and participate in such activities
2. However, to lock ourselves into HOPI would be wrong for three reasons
a) Boxing ourselves into a (small) "propaganda front" (for ideas not our own) when we could do better to make our own propaganda
b) Tying us to one particular strand of the Iranian exile left (the one involved in HOPI) to the detriment of work with (more substantial) other strands with whom we already have links
c) Boxing ourselves into a sectarian side-alley within the anti-war movement in the event of war, and moreover one which is "sectarian" for ideas other than our own
3. The problem is not that the political failings of HOPI are "in the abstract" too great to rule out participation, but that it is neither precise enough to be a good "propaganda front" (activity of our own, or with various Iranian exile left groups, can do better) nor broad enough to be a good "broad front" (if "broad" agitation develops, we should intervene in the broader "stop the war" groups).

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