IWSN’s New Year Message to UİD-DER

To our dear class brothers and sisters of UID-DER

As the 21st century progresses the gap between technological advances and their social benefits becomes wider and more apparent to an ever widening layer of workers. Profit, the sole purpose of development in capitalist society, is the cause of this disparity. For a very small minority it produces comfort and luxury never before seen in history.

For the vast majority of humanity it produces unprecedented poverty, oppression and exploitation. The profit motive does not even allow workers to be exploited in a safe environment! It leads to countless industrial disasters throughout the world. While single tragedies like the Soma mine in May 2014 rightfully grab the headlines, every year many thousands of workers in Turkey, Iran, China, India and elsewhere are injured or even lose their lives. The figures are so staggeringly high that they mostly do not draw much media attention! Just in 2008 there were 22,158 ‘accidents’ in Iran. Providing basic health and safety equipment does not need advanced technology – it just needs a motive other than profit.

Profit also makes Turkish and Iranian capitalists keen to use regional wars to improve their situation against their rivals. They have been backing opposing sides in the Syria civil war, a conflict that has not only killed many thousands but has led to millions of displaced workers becoming migrants at the mercy of corrupt officials, smugglers and other criminals. In both cases these capitalist regimes can only become involved in foreign adventures after stepping up repression against internal ‘enemies’ – particularly the working class.

But 2014 has also been a year when many of the old certainties have begun to unravel. The Iranian regime’s rapprochement with US imperialism, particularly its help in fighting ISIS and stabilising the situation in Iraq, will have profound effects on the regional balance of power. And as relations with imperialism improve then the regime’s old excuse for suppressing workers’ independent organisations and struggles – a possible imperialist attack – will be debunked.

The lifting of trade and financial sanctions, imposed at the height of the cold war between the Iranian regime and imperialism, will improve conditions for the working class becoming better organised in its struggle against the crushing economic and social problems it faces. The past few months have already shown us that workers’ self-confidence is returning: strikes in Iran Tyre, Bafgh iron ore mine, Kooshk mine, Wagon Pars as well as many other protests and struggles. Even in jail the labour activists continue their struggle, as the hunger strikes by Shahrokh Zamani, Reza Shahabi, Behnam Ebrahimzadeh and others have shown.

In the next period the regime will try to use yellow trade unions and other corporatist methods, probably set up with the help of the ILO, the Solidarity Center and similar organisations, to suppress the workers’ movement in a ‘civilised’ way. And the workers’ leaders will have to be even more flexible and resourceful in fighting the new manoeuvres.

But even the best manoeuvres cannot change the fundamental contradictions of capitalism. The recent crisis of capitalism has shown the weakness of the capitalist class even in the imperialist countries. The main reason why the capitalist system survived was the betrayal of the entrenched leaders of the working class. We are sure that the solid unity and bold struggle of the working class in the region can smash all reactionary classes and elements as well as finally bring about a world where technological advances improve the daily lives of workers and their families. Then social development can take place for the sole purpose of satisfying all human needs.

Throughout 2014 Iranian workers and IWSN have always been able to count on the unstinting solidarity of UID-DER. We hope that 2015 will be the year when we can have much closer co-operation and activity so that we can work towards realising the common goals of the working class in the region and beyond. We hope that 2015 will be the year that both Turkish and Iranian workers, as well workers in all other countries, take significant steps towards realising these vital goals.

Long live international workers’ solidarity!

Long live international workers’ struggle!

Long live socialism!

Iranian Workers’ Solidarity Network (IWSN)

2 January 2015