The conflict escalation between Western governments and the Islamic republic of Iran(IRI) is unprecedented. People in the West rightly want to do something about it. In order to take the right position, a short analysis of the situation is necessary. Let’s first look at the track record of the two reactionary camps involved in this conflict.
"At one pole, there stands the most enormous machinery of state terrorism and international intimidation and blackmail. This camp includes the American government and ruling elite, the only force, which has used nuclear bombs against people, reducing hundreds of thousands of innocent and unsuspecting people of Hiroshima and Nagasaki into ashes within seconds. A state that slaughtered millions in Vietnam and razed and ruined their country for many years by chemical bombardments. It includes NATO and coalitions of Western governments who from Iraq to Yugoslavia, have destroyed people’s homes, schools and hospitals and have taken ransom the bread and medicine of millions of children. It includes the Israeli bourgeoisie and state. They occupy, seize, slaughter and deprive. They bomb and shell refugee camps and shoot scared ten-year-old children taking shelter in their fathers’ arms and at school gates. From Hiroshima and Vietnam to Grenada and Iraq, from the killing fields in Indonesia and Chile to the slaughterhouses of Palestine, the track record of this international pole of state terrorism and imperialist intimidation is obvious and irrefutable for all the world to see."(**)
At the opposing pole, there stands Islamic Republic of Iran, the stronghold of Islamic terrorism and the reactionary and vile political Islam. This force that was once created and nurtured by the US and the West themselves during the Cold War as a means of organising indigenous reaction against the Left in Iran, have now become an active pole of international terrorism and one contender in the bourgeois power struggle in the Middle East. The Islamic Republic of Iran's resume includes a wide range of barbarity, from state and state sponsored killings in Iran to a war waged against the whole population of Iran for 33 years, from the creation of a miserable life through extreme poverty and exploitation to the gender-apartheid, child abusive, racist, and homophobic, ... policies, from the bloody suppression of political and intellectual opponents to imposing reactionary and anti-human Islamic laws on people, particularly women, from Islamic mutilations and stoning, to daily executions. These are the highlights in the track record of these reactionaries.
The recent threats of war, which has caused a growing concern among the people of Iran, the region and the world, are occurring in the context of the Israeli government’s backlash in domestic and regional policies, the political tendencies of some factions within the American and British administrations, and the circumstances and developments created by revolutions in the Middle East. So far, the war threats and propaganda have benefited the most reactionary forces in Israel, the west, the Middle East, and Iran. One of the consequences has been the activation of religious-nationalist forces, guardians of the “Islamic system” in the opposition of the Islamic regime and the escalation of a nationalist defence of the regime from the right-wing opposition. Thus, we not only unequivocally condemn any military provocation and action from both reactionary poles of this confrontation, but also firmly stand against any direct or indirect defence of the Islamic regime or subduing the struggle for overthrowing of the regime on the pretext of war threats and war. Let's have a careful attention to the claimed disputes.
The Nuclear program
In March of 2010, Zbigniew Brzezinski, an adviser to Obama’s administration, said “We Can “Live With” a Nuclear Iran”. It indicates that the US does not have a fundamental issue with a nuclear Iran. While there are strong indications that the IRI IS making an atomic bomb, the people in Iran not only never approved any nuclear program, be it for energy or bomb, but the workers explicitly expressed their opposition to any nuclear program. The US administration is certainly no judge on this matter, a) it is the only government that has ever used atomic bomb b) the US governments have been subject of anti-nuclear movement for decades.
If the US "Three Mile Accident" (1979), the Chernobyl (1986), and Fukushima (2011) disasters were not enough, the current radioactive tritium leaks at 48 nuke sites in the US is yet another proof that Nuclear energy is harmful. A fundamental stand on this regard is to be against the production, storage, and use of any kind of nuclear weapons, and energy by any state, including Iran. We need to be against all nuclear programs everywhere, period!
Who benefits from a war?
Rephrasing Eugene Debs, in all history of the world, we, the 99% have never declared a war against another country. Wars have always been declared by the statesmen for the benefit of the 1% in the involved countries. That's why no government would ever hold a referendum on whether wage a war or not against another country. Of course people would reject it. People know that they will be sacrificed for the benefits of the 1%, disguised under the benefit of "nation" and "country".
As claimed, bombing Iran is supposedly not a full-scaled assault with the intention of toppling the IRI as opposed to Iraq and Afghanistan cases. It is supposedly to be of the same scale that Israel committed against Syria in 2007 and against Iraq in 1981. However, neither the IRI is the same regime as that of Saddam Hussein or Bashar al-Assad nor in either of Iraq or Syria a revolution against a regime was present at the time of bombings. The US/Israel claim that bombing is to stop the IRI from having access to nuclear weapon. As the unprecedented propaganda indicates, the bombing will inevitably turn into a large scale of war. The first question therefore is who benefits from it?
It is obvious that any military action by the Israeli government against the Islamic Republic will benefit the most reactionary currents in Israel and the West, on the one hand, and the political Islam forces such as Hamas, Hizbollah, the Syrian government, and the IRI on the other. It would prolong the life time of all these declining currents. Undoubtedly, the loser of such an action would only be the people – whether in Israel, Palestine, Syria or in Iran. In addition to the tragic human costs and destruction of the environment, a military action or war will militarise the political climate, which in turn will harm the people’s struggle for overthrowing the Islamic regime in Iran, the regime of Bashar al-Asad in Syria, and the people’s movement for social Justice in Israel.
The consequences of bombing Iran
It will A) cause a humanitarian catastrophe which in turn will minimize the focus of anti-IRI movement in Iran B) it gives the IRI a golden opportunity to blame a foreign enemy as the main threat to Iran and hence C) it will let the IRI to crack down the opposition in a scale we haven’t seen since 80s D) It will unite the regime, even if temporarily E) it will split the grassroots opposition to the IRI by the poison of nationalism F) The IRI will play the “victim” role in the eye of international pro-Palestinian/general human right forces. G) Finally and most ironically, IRI will definitely speed up its attempt for developing nuclear weapon even more aggressively.
In short, bombing Iran will strengthen the IRI to the point that nothing can stop it from deploying nuclear weapon to its arsenal. The only ‘elimination’ that bombing Iran might cause is the elimination of IRI’s immediate enemy, that is, the defeat of a revolution against the IRI.
The real purpose of war propaganda
With the decline of the power of political Islam, whose backbone is the Islamic regime, in the wake of the revolution of 2009 in Iran as well as the recent revolutions in the Middle East, the West is now attempting to impose to the Islamic regime a new balance of power. Sanctions against the Central Bank of Iran and oil purchase from the country, cutting off its access to the global market and the official economy along with diplomatic pressures, war of words, and war threats are meant to bring the Islamic regime to its knees and take it to the negotiation table from a weak position. The Islamic regime is resisting very hard against this policy of the West and considers that giving up its anti-western slogans and policies is tantamount to losing its regional position and is a crushing blow to its political-ideological coherence and to its ability to repress in its confrontation with the people in Iran.
Also, the mere stand off between the West/Israel and Iran is beneficial for both sides of the conflict. Holding the issue of bombing Iran’s nuclear facilities in Qom, Natanz, Isfahan, Arak, and Bushehr “on the table”, as a possible move by Israel, and yelling it out loud everyday allows the Islamic regime to use it as an excuse for harsh handling of its opposition. Both Israel and the IRI are depended of having an external enemy in order to keep the “war alert” button on to continue with their oppressions. Without the mentality of being threatened by foreign hostility they have to face a great deal of vital opposition!
Well-known to most of us through the admission of Madeleine Albright interview with CBS's 60 minutes in 1996, hundreds of thousands of children were slaughtered during the economic sanctions of Iraq, between the Gulf War I to the Golf War II. The recent sanctions have intensified economic impasses of the Islamic regime to the degree of collapse of the whole economic system. It is obvious that the vast masses of workers and people are the main victims of this situation who are contending with skyrocketing inflation, severe decrease of purchasing power, dramatic fall of standard of living, non payment of their low wages, massive unemployment and social consequences of this situation such as drug abuse and prostitution. The conflict between Western governments and the Islamic regime and the sanctions that have endangered the social life in Iran are a reactionary act of inhumanity. The economic sanction must stop, period.
What do the people of Iran want?
This situation has intensified the dead ends of and the conflicts within the Islamic regime in such a way that a fear of people’s rise and a repetition of the recent revolutions in the region against the regime is daily expressed by its head. On the other hand, the people of Iran, who drove the Islamic regime to the verge of downfall by their revolution in 2009 and who follow with enthusiasm the revolutions of the people of Tunisia, Egypt, Libya, and Syria as well as the movement of Occupy, are not going to be just passive onlookers and victims of this scene. How we can play a role depends on how we approach the matter. There are various views on this conflict which in the end approach the political developments in Iran in two distinctive ways and hence two distinctive stands.
The pro 1%
In this approach events are looked at from the perspective of the power struggle of the states; ie which state(s) benefits from what action. In this approach the questions raised are: Why/What do the IRI, the US, the Israeli the Russian, and the Chinese governments do and seek? This approach leads to either siding with the IRI or the US bloc or some form of pacifism.
In addition to the Cuban, Venezuelan, and Syrian governments and possibly N. Korean (not to miss the mafian government of Russia and the state of sweatshops, China) the supporters of the IRI include the pro-IRI opposition, also known as greens or 2-Khordad; a portion of the "anti-imperialist" movement (more accurately anti-US movement) in the West and the Islamic forces. That includes the IRI engineered CASMII, some members of A.N.S.W.E.R coalition including the Code Pink and the World Socialist Party of the US, the Socialist Worker Party of UK, George Galloway, UK/US branches of the anti-war coalition ... most of whom participated in a conference in Tehran last year led by Ahmadinejad office, met Ahmadinejad in New York in 2008, and wrote praising letters to him. This front appears to have no problem with the war waged on the whole population of Iran by the IRI for the past 33 years. It is only concerned about which state will be the “winner” of the power struggle. This trend favours the IRI and doesn’t seek the abolishment of the nukes and/or any nuclear program everywhere; it appears to be solely concerned about the monopoly of the nukes!! This stand did not even once condemn the terror act of the IRI against thousands upon thousands of the IRI opposition including workers’ leaders, intellectuals, political oppositions…YET it is concerned about which state assassinates which figure of the other side. This approach is conditionally against terrorism: Terrorism is only bad if it occurs against the IRI figures.
Apart from the Western states which is led by the US, British, and French governments, the US bloc supporters include the ultra right opposition of the IRI and the ultra right currents in the West. This trend cares nothing about the people, it favours economic sanctions no matter if it substantially adds to the misery of millions. It favours war, it justifies the massacres that will occur as a result of the war under the pretext of its opposition to the IRI.
Pacifism, typically in form of “peace” seeking, desires restoration of the power balance between the conflicting states prior to their heated war propaganda. This view a) legitimizes the 1% states of the IRI and the West and b) it fails to address the 33 years long, IRI imposed economic and military war against a whole population.
Ultimately, all sides of this approach cares only about the wining side of the 1%, either the 1% of Iran (the IRI), or the 1% of the West (Western states). At best it seeks the restoration of power balance between various 1% powers.
The pro 99%
It approaches the events from the perspective of the benefits for the 99% in Iran regardless what the 1% want and do. This approach seeks freedom and equality for all. This approach remains the staunch opposition of the IRI; seeks the overthrow of the IRI, that is, the root cause of the misery for the 99% in Iran, via revolution no matter which state seeks what objective.
The 99% firmly stands against all attempts to support the Islamic regime on the pretext of economic sanctions and war, or to legitimize the Western governments’ scenarios of a change from above. Any military aggression, militarization of the society, plans of “regime change” from above or support of the Islamic regime on the pretext of war. The 99% consider the only way to confront any prospect of war and militarism to be the expansion of the struggle against the Islamic regime and its overthrow by a people’s revolution.
The concern of this view is the poverty imposed upon workers via direct reign of the vicious capitalist IRI or via IRI’s implementation of the IMF austerity plans. Note that after a set of recommendations by the IMF in 2010, the Islamic regime of Tehran cut the subsidies on basic needs, such as food and gas, and made the capitalist system wide open for free, savage market economy. The IRI implemented all IMF's recommendations to the point that IMF praised the IRI as the first country in the world that could successfully implement all the recommendations. This set of recommendations was enforced on the working class of Iran by means of killings and imprisonment of workers, intellectuals and political opponents. While the chances of a war between the two poles of reaction is slim, the real war of the IRI on the working class of Iran started 33 years ago and it continues via implementation of the IMF austerity recommendations.
What the 99% in Iran demands includes
· Women’s equality banner vs gender-apartheid of the IRI
· Children’s rights vs child abuse policies of the IRI; it demands
· Freedom of expression vs brutal, despotic reign of the IRI
· Freedom of all political prisoners unconditionally
· An end to the daily executions, stoning, mutilations
· An end to the racism on Afghan workers in Iran
· An end to the economic sanctions; an end to the war propaganda
· An end to the 33 years fabricated crisis; an end to the daily military suppression of the 99% in Iran
· An end to any and all nuclear programs of the IRI (and all other states), …
Simply put the 99% is determined to end the reign of the IRI. Since it only seeks the benefits of the 99%, this approach concludes: “No War, No Economic Sanctions, No Nukes, Viva revolution against the Islamic Regime“.
What can we do?
Siding with the 99% in Iran, the true anti-war, anti-sanction, peace seeking people who share the freedom and equality sentiment for the people of Iran need to raise the banner of "No War, No Economic Sanction, No Nukes, No Islamic Republic". There is no room for pacifism, ie abstract "peace". What peace is there to start with? Is the current situation a "peace" that we need to defend? If so, why did such a propaganda of war start in the first place? How exactly can demanding "peace" benefit anyone including the stoppage of a potential war? Did the demand of "peace" stop the US-led war against Iraq in 2003? I believe that we need to take an active stand rather than the pacifist "peace" position.
The real way to fight poverty, misery, threat of war, economic sanctions and the whole present hazardous situation is the expansion of the struggle against the Islamic regime in all arenas, as well as overthrowing the regime by the people’s revolution and overtaking the running of society by the workers and people themselves. With all its might, we need to fight for realizing this. That would:
· Cut the war that the IRI has waged against 99% of the population in Iran for 33 years
· An end to the unbearable suffer resulted from the economic sanctions
· An end to the threat of a war with the West/Israel
· An end to the nukes threat
In addition to an active support for the anti-IRI movement, what you could do in the West includes a set of demands to both the Western governments and the Islamic regime:
· Immediate stop of Economic Sanctions
· An end to the war propaganda
· Abolition of all forms of nuclear application, be it for nukes or energy, on a global scale
· All the abovementioned demands of the 99%
In conclusion, a true peace, freedom and equality in Iran is equivalent to the overthrow of the Islamic regime by a revolution.
Born in Iran, Abbas Goya is a political activist, a Marxist. His activism includes campaigns for worker's rights, children’s and women’s rights, freedom of expression, students’ rights, refugee rights, against capital punishment and stoning, and against fascism and racism. He is a staunch opposition to the Islamic regime of Iran. See more at //abbasgoya.com
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