On Worker-communist Circles
WPI Briefing Interview with Siyaves Azeri
Maryam Namazie: The Worker-communist Party of Iran’s International Relations Committee has recently been subdivided into three sections given the large numbers of people and groups that are turning towards worker-communism. You are now in charge of one of these divisions, which aims to establish and support worker-communist circles. What are worker-communist circles and why is there a need for them now?
Siyaves Azeri: Worker-communist circles are basically associations of worker-communist activists and sympathisers all around the world. There are a number of reasons why we need these circles now. The first is related to the dramatic events of the late 80's and early 90's that resulted in the rise of the new-right, Thatcherism, Reganism, and the collapse of the state capitalist model in the Soviet Union and in Eastern Europe. The bourgeois media, ideologists, and academicians presented the collapse of state capitalism as a defeat of socialism, communism, egalitarianism and any progressive and humanitarian ideals. They even announced the end of history and celebrated the final victory of free market capitalism. With the fall of the Berlin wall we witnessed a retreat of the traditional, nationalist left groups and organisations that in fact belonged -and the residue of which still belong - to the left-wing of the bourgeois class and bourgeois movement. Many of the former activists of such political organisations dramatically shifted to the right and joined right-wing, conservative parties. Some, that had a more "ethical" standpoint either accepted the "defeat" and "resigned" or inferred that Marxism needed "radical" revisions, that communist politics were not sufficient enough to respond to the questions and meet the needs of the masses today, that it was out-of-date, that it lacked democracy, that it needed democratisation and so on. Hence, they shifted to social democracy or formed the so-called Rainbow Parties. Yet, we should be clear about the usage of the term "shift". Their shift did not represent a re-positioning, in the sense that they belonged to the working class movement and now changed their class-politics orientation. The matter of fact is that they moved within their own class movement -from the left of the bourgeoisie to its extreme right or to its centre… On the intellectual level we witnessed a massive production of reactionary ideas that joined the western mainstream bourgeoisie to sell the collapse of the Eastern Bloc as the retreat of communism. We were said to be in an age that we should say "farewell to the proletariat"; we were told that we were living in a post-industrial, post-capitalist, post-modern, post-etc. era. That even the ideals of universal human rights of the revolutionary bourgeoisie of the French Revolution era were out of date. That we should not intervene in the "domestic affairs" of other cultures; if women were subjected to sexual apartheid there, if children were forced to work under the cruellest conditions, it was their own affair and we should respect their cultures. However, the facts of capitalist society stayed intact, unchanged and even appeared in a clearer manner when compared to the time of Marx and Engels. The worker-communist movement was the sole, genuine working class communist movement that "hailed" the developments of recent history. It saw and determined the opportunity of the rise of the true, genuine working class movement that now, after seventy some years could build itself up from beneath the debris of the Berlin Wall. Worker-communism had truly determined and defined the nature of relations of production in the Soviet Union, and in other so-called socialist countries, be it China, North Korea or Albania. Hence, it did not vision and did not claim the defeat of state capitalism as its own. Worker-communism represents an "undefeated standpoint" and as Mansoor Hekmat puts it - the historian of the future would have to narrate the events of our age only through this undefeated stand. Worker-communism raised the flag of egalitarianism, of freedom, of equality, of humanity, of ending any discrimination against women and children in one of the darkest eras of the modern age. I believe this is the very main reason why people are attracted to the worker-communist movement. And I should emphasise that worker-communism does not represent an ethical per se stand. It is the genuine class positioning of this movement, its class identity that gives way to its politics, to its principles, to its egalitarian ethics, to its profound humanism and to its demand of socialism now.
On the other hand, as I mentioned before, the fundamental characteristics of capitalist society quickly falsified the claims and theses of bourgeois propaganda machines, ideologists and intellectuals. Soon after the collapse of the Soviet Bloc we witnessed an extensive attack against all the gains that workers and people had attained during the Cold War era. The end of socialism is the fantasy of the bourgeoisie but it is the very facts of the capitalist mode of production that produces and re-produces with itself its own gravedigger. And it was obvious that sooner or later society would face these facts. Today, we observe a shift towards left society-wise. People are aware that the traditional left does not have an answer to the existing situation. It lacks any clear programme and strategy towards a better world. People look for answers and worker-communism gives the right answers with clarity.
The positioning of worker-communism against the two poles of international terrorism -the US state and political Islamic terrorism, its insistence on maximal freedoms and equality, on the immediacy of socialism has shown that worker-communism is the inheritor and representative of Marxist communism, and it has put a new horizon of hope in the view of vast masses all around the world. This is another reason for its increasing popularity, and it shows its gigantic potential. It represents all the hopes and ideals of humanity, but in an earthly manner.
Therefore, worker-communist activists feel the urgent need towards a more effective sort of organisation and managing of their activities. However, we are just at the very outset of organising ourselves in countries without worker-communist parties. Organising as circles, I believe, will meet the needs for our present political activity and will be a step -yet a decisive one - towards the formation of worker-communist parties.
Maryam Namazie: What will be the main aims of these circles?
Siyaves Azeri: The very first tasks include forming journals - be they weekly, quarterly, bi-annually - in the native language of the countries where such circles are formed. Of course such a task is not an aim in itself. It is to serve the spread of worker-communist ideals in order to attract more people into our ranks. I believe there is a great deal of workers, youngsters, women, that will definitely be able to crystallize their demands for a free, equal, humane world within the framework of the worker-communist movement. Worker-communism holds the banner of maximalist communism, of Marx and the Manifesto's communism today. Worker-communist circles will give us the opportunity to reach these people, to the great mass of the "third pole", the "sleeping giant" and to ignite the first concrete step towards the formation of worker-communist parties.
Maryam Namazie: What should individuals and groups of people interested in establishing these circles do?
Siyaves Azeri: Every individual worker-communist activist should look for ways to participate in the political life of the country of her/his residence, which are peculiar to that state. I cannot give a blue-print of the shoulds and the shouldn'ts. However, the spread of worker-communist theoretical heritage is among the most important tasks of such circles. Translation of works and articles of Mansoor Hekmat, translation of the political and theoretical statements of the Worker-communist Party of Iran on international issues such as the situation in Iraq, the state of political Islam is one thing that should be considered as central to the activities of such circles. Participation in polemics with traditional left groups, but more importantly, intervention in the major debates that are going on in different countries may be enumerated as other tasks of worker-communist circles. Worker-communists can, and they should, effect the agenda of their living places.
Maryam Namazie: In brief, why are they important? Any final comments?
Siyaves Azeri: In brief, I believe that worker-communist circles will give the opportunity to our activists to appear in society in a more effective manner. Organising as circles will give us the chance to transcendence beyond our existing position, to intervene in the political situation of the society. But more importantly, such circles will prevent us from melting in the "theoretical pot" of the radical left debates and turn into yet another group of Marxists at the margins of society. Worker-communism is the social movement of the working class. By definition it requires organising as a political party. It is this material need, the social demand for worker-communist activity that has put the worker-communist circles in our agenda. At the end, I call all communist and working class activists, all who fight for a better world and those who will to change the world to join us. Thank you.
To contact Siyaves Azeri, head of the Worker-communist Circles Division