Communist Party of Iran
Marxist.Leninist.Maoist
حزب کمونیست ایران
مارکسيست.لنينيست.مائوئيست
جستجوی بیشتر
 
DRAFT PROGRAMME OF THE COMMUNIST PARTY   2017-09-21
This is an English translation of the Draft Programme of the Communist Party of Iran (Marxist Leninist Maoist) which was published by the Union of Communists of Iran (Sarbedaran) in November 1999

This is an English translation of the Draft Programme of the Communist Party of Iran (Marxist Leninist Maoist) which was published by the Union of Communists of Iran (Sarbedaran) in November 1999. The final version of the programme, which was approved in 2001, is slightly different than the present draft. This version is also available in Spanish.

 

 

DRAFT PROGRAMME OF THE COMMUNIST PARTY

 

 I. WORLD REVOLUTION AND THE MAXIMUM PROGRAMME

 

 INTRODUCTION

 We live in the era of imperialism and proletarian revolution. The majority of the world's population, who carry the burden of exploitation and oppression, want real and thoroughgoing changes in their lives. This world is plagued by class divisions and inequalities, it is held on its head through the force of arms of the exploiting classes, and to turn it right side up is on the agenda of history. Twice in the twentieth century the proletariat has made revolution and taken significant steps towards building a completely new world. Our class fought, won, started the construction of socialist society and for decades marched on this unknown path full of twists and turns. The socialist revolutions in the Soviet Union and China marked a rupture in the course of history and forever changed the direction of human society.

Until then the course of history consisted of an exploiting minority who controlled the wealth and productive resources of society, as well as the labour of the masses, suppressing the people through political power and armed force and preserving the existing order. The course of history was such that whenever there was a revolution, a different minority seized power and took control of the economy for its own interests. But with socialist revolution, for the first time, it was not the capitalists and feudal lords who seized power, but a class that represented the producers of society's wealth. For the first time, the majority of the masses became the rulers of their own destiny. In the eyes of the exploiters this revolution was like a long, dark, dreadful night of which they still speak with hatred and horror.

From within and without, tooth and nail, the bourgeoisie fought to overthrow the socialist states, and they succeeded first in the middle of the 1950s in the Soviet Union and then in 1976 in China. These two defeats of the proletariat showed that international capitalism still held significant material and ideological strength.

Now the exploiters point to the collapse, in the early 1990s, of the imperialist Soviet Union and the further exposure of its reactionary and oppressive nature in order to kill all hope in a different and liberating future. But what is the reality? The reality is that the rule of the proletariat was overthrown in the Soviet Union decades ago and power fell into the hands of a new bourgeois class. And, at the time, communists the world over, led by Mao Tse-tung, announced this important fact. The collapse of the Soviet Union was in fact the collapse of a capitalist country and the result of the deep crisis of the imperialist system. This collapse of the Soviet Union was evidence of the bankruptcy of the economic and political structures of state monopoly capitalism in that country. The collapse of the Soviet Union was simply an indication that the capitalist Soviet Union was defeated in its rivalry with the capitalist West, nothing more.

Today, there is no socialist country in the world. This is a bitter truth, but this should be viewed in its historical framework. In the course of history no rising revolutionary class could knock out the reactionary classes in one blow. For example, it took the bourgeoisie a few hundred years before it could effectively replace feudalism with capitalism. This will be even truer in the transition from the bourgeois era, to the era of world communism, as the goal of the proletariat, unlike the bourgeoisie, is not to replace one class society with another, but to abolish all class divisions. Proletarian revolution is qualitatively different from revolutions of the old type and is a complex and protracted process. The goal of this revolution is to lift the heavy burden of tens of thousands of years of class society from the back of humanity. Because of its nature, such a revolution cannot advance continuously and without setbacks. But today, despite defeats, we are not back at the point of departure. The great achievements and precious experiences accumulated through 150 years of class struggle and, in particular, the establishment of socialism, concentrated in the science of Marxism-Leninism-Maoism, constitutes the invincible weapon of our international class for advancing future proletarian revolutions.

Armed with this revolutionary knowledge and relying on these experiences and achievements, the international proletariat has started a new round of conscious and organised efforts to seize political power. These efforts can be seen in particular in the development of Marxist-Leninist-Maoist parties and organisations in various countries. Some of these forces have succeeded in initiating revolutionary war to seize political power and have established red power in parts of their countries; some are in the process of preparing for such wars. In the international arena these forces have formed the Revolutionary Internationalist Movement. The task of this international communist organisation is to help form new Marxist-Leninist-Maoist parties and organisations and strengthen the existing ones. The goal of this organisation is to form a new communist international consisting of revolutionary communists the world over.

Today, more determined than ever, the working class in Iran and its revolutionary vanguard party must shoulder its historic responsibility, the seizure of political power through force of arms. The formation of the communist party and the introduction of its programme are a decisive opening in this process. This Programme relies on the experience of socialist revolutions in the twentieth century and on the experience of the proletariat's class battles, as well as the revolutionary struggle of the people around the world, including in Iran. This Programme is in the pursuit of a communist world, whose characteristics were first charted by Marx and Engels in The Communist Manifesto. This Programme is the battle-cry of our class against the reactionary system ruling Iran and the whole imperialist capitalist system. This Programme is a weapon in the hands of all those who are in search of a correct ideological-political line for the advance of the world-historic struggle of the working class and for achieving victory. This Programme is a war plan and a call to action that invites the new generation of proletarian fighters to shoulder the responsibility of carrying through the proletarian revolution in Iran and to help advance the world revolution.

 

MARXISM-LENINISM-MAOISM

 

The proletarian revolution and the development of Marxism have gone through a previously unknown road full of twists and turns. Marxism has developed under the leadership of teachers such as Marx, Lenin and Mao; in the midst of the encounters with the ruling, exploiting classes; through the struggle against revisionism (bourgeois trends inside the working class movement); and amidst great mass upheavals.

 

Marxism

The Experience of the Paris Commune

150 years ago, with the workers resistance and struggle in Europe as a backdrop, Marxism was born. The emergence of the working class was the objective basis for the advent of Marxism. Marx and his comrade-in-arms, Engels, applied a dialectical materialist outlook and methodology to the study of human history and brought about a revolution in the history of human thinking. Up to that point, all views on the foundations of human society were upside down. A truthful understanding of these foundations was presented, for the first time, by Marx and Engels.

Marx explained that people, in the process of the production and reproduction of their material needs, enter into social and, most importantly, production relations. Through history these relations have taken different forms depending on the level of development of the productive forces, i.e. the means of production and the productive knowledge of humankind in each historic period. Human society in its initial stage was organised in a primitive form of collective production and a division of labour that was not oppressive in nature. There was no place for private ownership of the means of production. At a particular historic turning point and as a result of increased production and the accumulation of surplus, a section of society became the owners of the means of production and appropriators of that surplus, assuming a privileged position in relation to the other sections of society. Thus, human society became a class society.

Womens social subordination coincided with emergence of private property. Within the framework of spontaneous division of labour between male and female population in relation to giving birth to human off springs and raising them, the women became subdued by men and were used as incubators for human production and were owned just like other means of production.

Classes are distinct groups of people, who, more than anything else, are characterised by their relation to the ownership of the means of production, by whether or not they own land, factories, raw materials, etc. Other factors distinguishing classes from each other are: the role each group plays in the process of social production or, in other words, their position in the division of labour and, finally, their share of the wealth produced. The relations of production in class society are relations between classes. Marx showed that the superstructure of society, i.e. the political, ideological and cultural institutions, is built on this base, reflecting and protecting these class relations. The political and cultural superstructure is controlled by the class that economically dominates each society. Marx and Engels explained that the emergence of all forms of oppression and exploitation, including the oppression of women, is related to the emergence of class division in human society.

Marx said that in every epoch, with the development of human productive ability and the development of the means of production, the relations of production become old and reactionary and turn into a barrier to the development of the forces of production. So these relations must be changed and replaced with new ones. He proved that this change could only materialise after the violent overthrow of the old political superstructure and its replacement with the political power and culture of the new class. The class that represents the advanced forces of production will, through revolution, become the ruling class and, by relying on this power, establish new relations of production. This is class dictatorship. Marx and Engels revealed the truth that class society came into being at a particular stage in the history of the development of human society and will be abolished at another stage. By scientifically analysing capitalism, they proved this system to be the last form of human society where class divisions and social antagonism exist. The proletariat, by overthrowing capitalism and fundamentally transforming society, will abolish all forms of exploitation and oppression and all class distinctions.

In his historic work, Das Kapital, Marx laid bare the secrets of exploitation and the accumulation of capital. Capitalism is not only based on expansive commodity production, but its particularity is that it has turned labour power (a person's ability to work) into a commodity. It appears that the worker and the capitalist enter into an equal exchange with each other, but with a penetrating analysis Marx showed that even though the capitalist buys the labour power of the worker, the latter, in the process of production, creates a value far higher than that of his labour power. This surplus value is appropriated by the capitalist and constitutes the source of his profit. This is the essence of the exploitation of the worker by the capitalist. The capitalist uses this surplus value to start a new round of exploitation and accumulation. In short, the production of value, and surplus value in particular, is the motive force of capitalist accumulation.

Marx and Engels noted that capitalism for the first time socialised the forces of production. That with the unprecedented development of the productive forces, for the first time in human history, it has become possible to provide (sufficiently and increasingly) not only for the material needs of all members of society, but also for the unhindered development of their physical and mental capabilities. But this remains in the realm of possibility so long as the ownership of the means of production and the appropriation of the wealth produced remains private. The contradiction between socialised production and private ownership is the antagonistic contradiction that is the steaming source of social revolutions for the destruction of capitalism and its replacement by communism.

The responsibility for this social revolution rests on the shoulders of the working class. Capitalism, by creating the working class (or proletariat), has in fact created its own grave-diggers. The working class is the first class in history that will organise production on the basis of the abolition of all kinds of exploitation of one section of society by another. For this reason, the working class is also the last class in the history of humanity. With the abolition of class society, the working class will also disappear. This is the historic difference between the proletariat and other classes. The working class is the harbinger of the liberation of humankind.

Marx emphasised that even though the workers must struggle ceaselessly to prevent themselves from being crushed under the wheels of capitalism, their struggle must not be limited to demands for better work conditions and higher wages under the existing system. The workers, he said, must recognise the higher interests of their class and fight to overthrow capitalism and establish a communist society. Marx and Engels specifically exposed the bourgeois trends within the working class movement, which limit the goal of working class struggle to higher wages and welfare demands and invite the working class to adopt peaceful means. In The Communist Manifesto, they thus defined the revolutionary strategy of the working class: the seizure of political power through violence to establish their own state, which is nothing but the dictatorship of the proletariat. This is the path of communist revolution, a revolution that is, according to Marx in the Class Struggle in France, the most radical rupture with traditional property relations; no wonder that its development involves the most radical rupture with traditional ideas. Communism is the declaration of continuation of revolution, a declaration that the dictatorship of proletariat is the necessary transition to the abolition of all class distinctions in general, abolition of all class relations on which they stand, to the abolition of all social relations to which they correspond and transformation of all ideas that are risen from these social relations". [Quote translated from Farsi text to English translator.]

Marx and Engels emphasised that, even though the bourgeoisie has divided the world into nations, the proletariat, contrary to other classes in contemporary society, must have an internationalist point of view, because capitalism is a world system and the proletariat is also a single international class whose interests lie in the establishment of a communist world. On the basis of this view, Marx and Engels led the formation of an international organisation of the proletariat of different countries, the First International.

Marx and Engels paid considerable attention to the question of armed struggle and the laws of violent revolution in the process of society's transition from one historic stage to another. Engels, in particular, analysed modern weaponry and strategies of modern warfare and drew lessons for the armed uprising of the working class against the rule of capital.

The revolutionary experience of the proletariat in the Paris Commune enriched and deepened the understanding of Marx and Engels. On 18 March 1871, the proletariat and revolutionary masses of Paris rose up in arms against the reactionary rule of the bourgeoisie. The Paris Commune declared its birth. This first attempt by the proletariat to overthrow the bourgeoisie and establish its dictatorship is of world-historic importance. Armed workers smashed the armed forces of the bourgeoisie. They disbanded the bourgeois parliamentarian system and replaced it with the organs of people's power, which had both judicial and executive powers. The Commune tried to replace the permanent army with the mass arming of the people. Equal wages were instituted for the workers and government officials. The economic and moral power of the church was attacked. But the life of the Commune was short, and after a two and a half months it was drowned in blood by the army of the bourgeoisie. In summing up the Paris Commune, Marx and Engels declared that "the working class cannot simply lay hold of the ready-made state machinery and wield it for its own purpose, but it must smash it and create its own revolutionary dictatorship." [Quote translated from Farsi text into English translator.] They noted that the Commune did not take maximum advantage of its victory. It fell short of suppressing counter-revolution and did not confiscate the big financial institutions, such as Banc de France. Moreover, the Commune did not unite with the peasant masses and thus could not mobilise their support. Even though the Commune lasted only 72 days, its achievements in the establishment and defence of the dictatorship of the proletariat are eternal.

 

Leninism

The October Revolution

The second attempt of the proletariat to seize political power took place in 1917 in Russia. The October Revolution overthrew the state of the bourgeoisie and landlords. The establishment of the dictatorship of the proletariat heralded a new era in the history of the working class movement internationally. Under the leadership of its communist vanguard, i.e. the Bolshevik Party, the proletariat mobilised the masses in a red army and through an armed mass insurrection smashed the permanent army of the Tsarist state and then waged a great three-year civil war against the armed forces of counter-revolution and the armies of 14 invading imperialist countries. Vladimir Illitch Lenin developed Marxism to a new higher stage, in the process of leading the proletarian revolutionary movement in Russia and struggling against revisionism within Russia, as well as within the international communist movement. Among the many contributions of Lenin is his analysis of the development of capitalism to its final and highest stage, imperialism. Lenin showed that capitalism in its imperialist stage, whilst keeping its basic characteristics, has particular dynamics in relation to its initial stage. The process of exploitation and accumulation has become increasingly international. He said that imperialism is characterised by the development and dominance of monopoly capital, as opposed to small units of capital. Another characteristic of imperialism is the formation of finance capital through the integration of industrial and bank capital. Thus, enormous centralised units of capital are formed, which not only control all economic sectors of a given country, but can bring the economy of all countries and regions of the world under its influence. An important characteristic of imperialism is the export of capital. Lenin analysed that with the advent of imperialism, commodity export is no longer the most fundamental international economic activity of capital, but is replaced with the export of capital to other countries in the form of direct investments, credits and other forms. Imperialism has expanded the development of capitalism in the colonies and semi-colonies and has integrated and subordinated pre-capitalist modes of production.

Even though with the development of capitalism to imperialism capital has become increasingly internationalised and different regions of the world are integrated into a world process of capitalist accumulation, capital has kept its national characteristic. In the era of imperialism, rivalry amongst capitals is intensified and takes concentrated form in conflicts between imperialist states. This rivalry in the imperialist era has repeatedly taken the form of war.

Without an analysis of imperialism it was impossible to draw up the strategy and tactics for proletarian revolution. On the basis of this analysis, Lenin formulated important strategic orientations for revolution in different countries. He emphasised that the world is divided into a handful of imperialist countries and many oppressed countries, and this is a basic characteristic of imperialism. He pointed out that socialist revolution in the imperialist countries is not possible without supporting the liberation struggles in countries oppressed by imperialism. Such support is a proletarian internationalist task. Lenin showed that under imperialism the basis for proletarian revolution has expanded. This is indeed the era of imperialism and proletarian revolution. Even in backward countries under the domination of imperialism with widespread pre-capitalist relations, revolutionary struggle under the leadership of the proletariat not only can achieve independence from imperialism and uproot pre-capitalist relations, but also can make the transition to socialism. These revolutions, along with the socialist revolutions in the capitalist countries, constitute the two trends of the world proletarian revolution.

Moreover, Lenin pointed to a significant change that occurred with the advent of imperialism in the composition of the working class in the advanced capitalist countries. He exposed the fact that the bourgeoisie has been able to buy off a small section of the working class in the imperialist countries, using the super-profits gained through international exploitation and plunder, and turn them into a labour aristocracy. This privileged section is at best a defender of reformist politics. On the other hand, the lower sections of the working class in the imperialist countries are the social base for the proletarian revolution and proletarian internationalism.

The labour aristocracy was the material base for the revisionism in the majority of the social democratic parties forming the Second International. When the First World War broke out in 1914, these parties sided with the imperialist bourgeoisie of their own country and raised the slogan of "Defence of the fatherland". Instead of promoting internationalist unity and camaraderie among the workers and oppressed masses of the countries involved in the war, they spread the seeds of division and enmity among the ranks of the international working class. At the same time, these parties denied the real nature of the state, as the means of suppression of one class over another, and negated the need for the violent overthrow of the bourgeois state and the establishment of the dictatorship of the proletariat. During the First World War, revolutionary situations manifested themselves in many capitalist countries, but the domination of revisionism in the parties of the Second International led to the frustration of revolution in these countries. Unlike these parties, the Bolshevik Party in Russia took up the policy of revolutionary national defeatism and raised the slogan of turning the imperialist war into a civil war, leading the Russian revolution to victory. Lenin waged hard struggle to expose and isolate the revisionists of the Second International, headed by Karl Kautsky. This struggle played a decisive role in the formation of the Third Communist International.

In the furnace of class struggle, Lenin developed the Marxist understanding of the decisive tool in the proletarian revolution, the vanguard party. He developed a correct understanding of the relation between communist consciousness and the spontaneous movement, and the relation between the leading vanguard and the masses. The development of this correct understanding would have been impossible without the struggle against the bourgeois liberal trend within the Russian workers movement, which Lenin called "economism". Economism was opposed to the planned political struggle of the working class for the seizure of power and strove to reduce the movement to a struggle for the betterment of the workers livelihood. The economists denied the need for revolutionary theory and opposed the need for a vanguard party, its revolutionary character and its leading role in making proletarian revolution. Lenin showed that the consciousness resulting from the spontaneous struggle of the workers is not communist consciousness. He emphasised that the working class cannot, and should not, merely or basically concentrate its attempts on economic struggle, but should rise up in an all-round struggle against the capitalist system and fight against all forms of oppression suffered by the workers and all other classes and strata of people. It should pay attention to all aspects of society and learn how to identify its class interests in every important social question and every world event. It is only in this way that the workers can understand the nature of the ruling system and the exploiting classes and gain the ability to unite and lead the oppressed masses under the banner of proletarian revolution. Lenin emphasised that the formation of the revolutionary consciousness of the working class and the advance of the class struggle by our class is impossible in the absence of a vanguard communist party. This party must represent the views and interests of the proletariat and take communist views into the struggle of the masses in order to raise the level of their spontaneous struggle to a conscious revolutionary movement. Lenin laid out the organisational principles of such a party. The vanguard party should recruit revolutionaries not only from amongst the ranks of the proletariat but from all strata; they must be united on the basis of the communist viewpoint and a common strategy and political programme and must dedicate their lives to the goal of the liberation of the proletariat. The party must have a strong disciplined organisation and a hidden backbone with the ability to withstand the suppression of class enemies and assure the continuity of the revolutionary struggle. Only when the proletariat has its own revolutionary headquarters can it navigate through the twists and turns of class struggle, engage the masses broadly in the revolutionary struggle to smash the state and seize political power. Without such a party, as the headquarters of the Russian working class, the October Revolution would not have succeeded.

The October Revolution of 1917 shook the world. The conscious workers and peasants in the newly founded Soviet Union flooded the political stage. Women came forward on a great scale and achieved unprecedented political, social and economic rights; they were extensively engaged in politics and production. The oppressed nations, who for centuries were chained in Tsarist Russia, famous for being a prison house of nations, acquired the right to self-determination. A multinational state based on the equality of nations, nationalities and languages was formed. The property of the exploiting classes was confiscated and public ownership by the state was established. The first plan for the socialist economy was charted and put into practice. The wheel of production now turned to provide for the needs of society. Lenin immediately declared the formation of the Third International (Comintern) and established the central headquarters of the world proletarian revolution with the participation of the representatives of the revolutionary communist parties from different countries. The Soviet State established relations with and assisted revolutionary and liberation movements all over the world on the basis of an internationalist viewpoint and politics.

After Lenin's death, an important ideological and political struggle was waged by Stalin against the Trotskyites and others who claimed that the low level of the productive forces in the Soviet Union, the vast peasant population and the international isolation of the country made it impossible to advance socialist construction. Tens of millions of workers and poor peasants in practice uprooted the old capitalist system and took great strides towards collectivisation and the creation of a new economic system free of exploitation. These victories greatly expanded the influence of Marxism-Leninism and raised the prestige of the Soviet Union on a world scale. However, despite these victories, the great socialist developments at the end of the 1920s and in the 1930s were marked by serious weaknesses and shortcomings. Many of these weaknesses were due to the lack of historic experience, as well as the encirclement and destructive imperialist invasion of the Soviet Union. But some serious political mistakes added to the problems. The summation and learning from these mistakes fell on the shoulders of the Chinese Communists, led by Mao Tse-tung.

 

Maoism

The Chinese Revolution

The victorious proletarian revolution in China took place three decades after the October Revolution in Russia. Years before this victory, the salvoes of October had brought Marxism-Leninism to the Chinese revolution. At the same time, the Communist International, under the leadership of Lenin, had drawn the outline of the strategy for proletarian revolution in the colonial and semi-colonial countries. But making revolution in a semi-feudal country, dominated by imperialism, had its own contradictions. By creatively applying Marxism-Leninism to the particular conditions of the country, Mao Tsetung, leader of the Communist Party of China, successfully developed the theory and strategy of proletarian revolution in China. Mao noted that, despite the widespread existence of pre-capitalist relations, there is no need for a bourgeois democratic revolution, leading to the rule of the bourgeoisie and the establishment of capitalism. The liberation of the masses of people depends on the victory of a new-democratic revolution under the leadership of proletariat. This revolution would end the domination of imperialism, revolutionise the social system, uproot pre-capitalist economic and social relations and in this way open the way for socialism. Mao showed that proletarian revolution in these types of countries is a single two-stage process. The first stage is characterised by struggle to overthrow imperialism, feudalism and bureaucratic capitalism. Upon accomplishing this stage, the revolution will immediately move to the socialist stage. In the proletarian revolution, particularly during the first stage, the formation of a broad united front of all classes and strata who can be united against imperialism, feudalism and bureaucratic capitalism is necessary. The backbone of this front consists of the unity of the workers and peasants (mainly the poor and landless peasants). The people's united front and all revolutionary struggle must be led by the proletariat and its party.

In the process of leading the revolutionary war in China, Mao Tsetung developed the teachings and military strategy of the proletarian revolution in an all-sided and qualitative way. He summed up a daily truth of class society in a forceful and unforgettable sentence: "political power grows out of the barrel of a gun".

On the basis of the victorious practice of the Chinese revolution, he drew up the general lines of the strategy for revolution in the countries dominated by imperialism. This strategy is called protracted people's war. Based on this strategy, the proletariat of these countries can initiate the revolutionary war from one area and develop it by relying on the masses, with the aim of the nation-wide seizure of power. Mao noted that the objective conditions for adopting the strategy of protracted people's war is that a revolutionary situation generally exists in these kinds of countries. This situation is the result of imperialist domination, poverty and intense suppression, which keeps broad sections of the population constantly in a state of revolt. Moreover, the ruling classes of such countries are usually mired in divisions and serious internal conflicts and lack a strong social base. The existence of pre-capitalist relations, backward productive forces and the state's difficulties in implementing control over remote rural areas create favourable conditions to start, continue and expand the revolutionary war. The people's army under the leadership of the communist party can turn from a small weak force to a broad and strong one by taking up a correct strategy and tactics. It can start from limited guerrilla warfare in rural areas and gradually expand its activities, and it can build the rural areas into a source of economic, political and military support, establish embryonic forms of new political power in these areas and carry out agrarian revolution to smash the old relations of production. Over a protracted period and by expanding the areas under its control, the people's army will surround the cities from the countryside and at the same time prepare the conditions for launching insurrections in the cities to enable the total destruction of the reactionary state. The basic principles of people's war have universal validity for the communist revolutionaries in all the countries of the world. These principles are: in war people are decisive not weapons; revolutionary war is a war of the masses; and the enemy fights their way and we fight our way. Mao also emphasised that the communist party must lead the gun and under no circumstances should we allow the gun to rule the party. These theories are the result of Mao Tsetung leading revolutionary war for decades and of his dialectical summation of thousands of battles.

In the process of organising the proletarian revolution, Mao developed the Marxist understanding of the vanguard party of the working class, in different aspects. One of the most important of these developments was the concept of two-line struggle within the communist party. Mao opposed the prevalent idea that considered the unity of the party to be "homogeneous". He emphasised that disagreement and struggle between correct and incorrect ideas continually occur within the party, and that it cannot be otherwise. This struggle, at times, will leap to the level of struggle between a Marxist line and a revisionist line. This contradiction and struggle is the reflection of the contradictions between classes and between the new and old in society. Whenever the non-proletarian class views take the upper hand in the party, the nature of the proletarian party will change. Mao emphasised that the party must develop through the two-line struggle between correct and incorrect line, and become more and more revolutionary; without this struggle against incorrect ideas, the life of the party as the vanguard of the proletariat will definitely come to an end.

The victory of the Chinese revolution in October 1949 struck an important blow against the imperialist system and opened new horizons for the people of the world. A population of several hundred million rose under the leadership of the communists and, by overthrowing the semi-colonial, semi-feudal system, got rid of exploitation and, in a matter of few years, uprooted all the ills of the old society, such as unemployment, poverty, prostitution and drug addiction, which had weighed on the back of society for centuries. The wage slaves and serfs became the masters of society. The agrarian revolution liberated millions of peasants from the yoke of feudalism. The old patriarchal and male chauvinist relations were brought under attack and new laws based on the equality of men and women in different spheres were passed. A new anti-superstition culture started to bloom. The co-operative and collective movement started to take hold in the countryside. With their inexhaustible force, the masses flattened mountains, tamed rivers and paved the way for socialist construction

 

Continuation of the Revolution Under the Dictatorship of the Proletariat

The coming to power of the revisionists, led by Khrushchev, and the restoration of capitalism in the Soviet Union was the first defeat of the proletariat. The cancer of revisionism had taken root in the Communist Party of the Soviet Union for some years; the death of Stalin in 1953 and the seizure of power by Khrushchev & Co was in fact a coup de grace. This was a shocking event for the international communist movement. The revisionists disbanded the dictatorship of the proletariat internally, put profit in command and rapidly restored capitalism in the Soviet Union. Internationally, under the guise of preserving "world peace" and under the pretext of the "imperialists have acquired the A-bomb and so armed revolution cannot be waged against them anymore", they called on the proletariat and the masses of the world to wage "peaceful" struggle against imperialism and reaction instead.

This was a grave event for the international communist movement. At the forefront of the world's communist revolutionaries, Mao Tse-tung set out to expose the nature of the new Soviet rulers and the reality of capitalist restoration there. This was a complex and great struggle in the communist movement. But Mao's greatest contribution to the international working class movement was his analysis of, and provision of, theoretical and practical solutions to the new questions posed for socialist construction and the prevention of capitalist restoration.

In the 1950s, along with the seizure of power by revisionists in the Soviet Union, Mao was facing similar forces who were raising their head inside the Communist Party of China (CPC). Intense struggle was waged inside the CPC over the direction of society and the path of economic, political and cultural development. Revolutionary communists in China found in their quarters bourgeois democrats, who wanted to stop the process of socialist development. These forces were against the revolutionary transformation of the production relations and the strengthening and expanding of socialist and collective forms of ownership, calling them "excesses". These capitalist-roaders also moved to weaken the rule of the proletariat in the fields of politics, culture and education, and promoted the views, values and models of the exploiting classes. These two events provoked Mao Tsetung to study and deeply sum up the nature of socialist society and the experience of socialist construction in the Soviet Union. Mao was faced with such questions as how the bourgeoisie grows from the soil of socialist society and how and by relying on what contradictions and elements is it reproduced? Why do ex-communist leaders stop mid-way and become the new bourgeoisie? Why was there no significant resistance to the Khruschevite revisionists? How can the disintegration of socialist society and the corruption of the revolutionary party and state be prevented?

In the face of vengeful and revisionist attacks by Khrushchev, Mao defended Stalin's contributions. But in order to analyse the problems of socialist society and provide answers, he had to sum up serious mistakes in the outlook and practice of Stalin and draw a demarcation line. From the establishment of socialist state ownership in industry and agriculture, Stalin had incorrectly summed up that "in the Soviet Union antagonistic classes no longer exist" and that Soviet society was "free of class antagonisms". Thus, Stalin saw the threat to the proletarian state as coming only from imperialist conspiracies and invasion or from elements of the old bourgeoisie. However, the danger of restoration comes mainly from the new bourgeoisie that develops within the framework of socialist society itself and finds niches in the communist party and state structures. For this reason, Stalin failed to see the necessity to wage continuous revolution under socialism by mobilising the proletarian masses from below, and he did not grasp the need to continually carry out revolutionary transformation in the political and ideological superstructure of society and, most importantly, in the communist party and state structure. Mao considered Stalin's mistakes to be the result of the limited experience of the proletariat in socialist construction, as well as his materialist mechanical thinking. These mistakes resulted in weakening the proletariat's struggle against the new bourgeoisie in the Soviet Union and provided favourable ground for revisionism to strengthen and spread.

On the basis of analysing the nature of socialist society and the experiences of socialist construction in the Soviet Union and China, Mao shed light on, and systematised, the following strategic points: after the overthrow of the old ruling classes and the seizure of political power by the proletariat, after the transformation of the ownership of the means of production from private ownership of the bourgeois class to collective ownership of the proletarian state and the transformation of small capitals and private holdings to social ownership by the state or groups of collectives, important inequalities still remain among different strata in society, which are reflected in the form of class contradictions and class struggle. Mao noted that socialism is a contradictory phenomenon, which contains both the remnants of capitalism and the seeds of communism. Socialist society is a great leap forward, in which labour power is no longer bought and sold and is not under the domination of alien and antagonistic class forces; it does not serve the production and reproduction of the conditions of exploitation of the workers. But in this society important inequalities still exist. The most important of these contradictions are those between mental and manual labour, city and countryside, and men and women, along with aspects of bourgeois economic relations, such as differences in wages, and commodity exchange. All these inequalities that remain from the past are called "bourgeois right". They are the material soil for the development of a new bourgeoisie within the socialist society and within the framework of socialist ownership. Mao emphasised that socialism is not the end of the road and that classes and class struggle will exist throughout socialism. With the establishment of the political power of the working class, the balance of forces between the classes and the conditions of class struggle change. The proletariat, by relying on its own power, can restrict the ground for social antagonisms; socialism, because of its contradictory nature, thus faces two roads: development and advance, with the goal of establishing communism in the world, or turning back towards capitalism.

Mao Tsetung, for the first time in the history of the working class movement, succeeded in developing a scientific and all-round thinking on the socialist political economy. Whilst learning from the positive aspects of socialist construction in the Soviet Union, he broke with many incorrect views prevailing among the Soviet communists. In particular, Mao refuted the Soviet concept that equated socialism with the establishment of public ownership and the achievement of a certain level of development of the productive forces. Instead, Mao emphasised that forms of state ownership can turn into a guise for bourgeois relations; the yardstick as to whether or not an economy is socialist is whether it advances towards restricting the differences and inequalities or instead towards increasing them.

In his illuminating analysis of class struggle under socialism, Mao explained where the nucleus of the new bourgeoisie (and not the remnants of the overthrown class or small producers) build their political centre. He said: "You're making socialist revolution yet don't know where the bourgeoisie is. It is right inside the communist party, those in power taking the capitalist road." Those sections of the leaders of the party and state who had discarded the strategy, politics and goals of proletarian revolution and the establishment of communism and who wanted to rule the country on the basis of reinforcing the differences and restoring capitalism form the central nucleus of the new bourgeoisie. These are the revisionists. The coming to power of the revisionists in a socialist country means the coming to power of a new bourgeoisie. Mao emphasised the need for the leadership of the communist party throughout the period of socialism, but said this takes a dual form, because within the party is where the new bourgeoisie sets its niche. For this reason, during socialism the party is the decisive arena of the class struggle. Mao emphasised the decisive role of the superstructure (the class consciousness of the masses, the revolutionary nature of the party, culture and education) in preserving the proletarian state and deepening the socialist nature of the economic base of society.

Mao developed the Marxist understanding of the transitional and contradictory nature of socialist society and the class relations within it and emphasised that advancing socialist construction and preventing capitalist restoration is only possible on the basis of consciously developing the class struggle and continuing the revolution. He applied this understanding and method to socialist China and led the Great Proletarian Cultural Revolution (GPCR) against the new bourgeoisie within the proletarian party and state. In the1960s, the revisionists had succeeded in having a strong foothold in the communist party, the state, the management of some factories, as well as some rural collectives, education institutions and art and cultural forums. The application of bourgeois politics in these fields where the revisionists had power had resulted in the intensification of social contradictions. The application of despotic rules in the factories had given rise to workers opposition to the managers. The capitalist-roaders strove to keep women in a secondary and subordinate position, in both politics and production, and blocked the path to their all-round and complete emancipation. The conservative outlook and rigid and bureaucratic discipline in the education institutions were stifling and oppressing the youth. Mao Tse-tung, relying on the opposition and rebellion of the masses, called on them to "bombard the headquarters" of the bourgeoisie in the party and the socialist state. He declared that the "Cultural Revolution was a new form and method for arousing the broad masses to expose our dark aspects thoroughly, clearly and from below". During the Cultural Revolution, under the leadership of the revolutionary centre of the communist party, millions rose up and further revolutionised the socialist society. This revolution gave rise to deep changes in the spheres of the economy, social relations and thinking. Broad masses of workers and other revolutionaries deepened their class-consciousness during this great struggle, raised the level of their grasp of Marxism-Leninism-Maoism, and became more capable of exercising political power. During the Cultural Revolution new revolutionary committees were formed. These committees were present from the basic local levels to the highest government organs. They consisted of various combinations of different strata of the masses, with different experiences and varying age groups, from manual and intellectual labourers, workers and managers, party and non-party people. It became established policy for the workers to take part in management and for the managers and experts, as well as party and state officials, to participate in production. The workers' experience and initiative was utilised towards technical innovation and promoting production with unprecedented success. People's communes, which represented advanced forms of socialist ownership and relations in the countryside, were strengthened and expanded. Study, discussion and theoretical and philosophical struggle were taken broadly among the masses of workers and peasants and combined with practice in production. Intellectuals and cadres were sent to the countryside and mixed with the masses. Science and art were no longer the monopoly of a handful of elite, as the basic masses now entered these fields. In order to provide for the health and medical needs of those in the countryside, the policy of training doctors and nurses from among the people was carried out and "barefoot doctors" were encouraged and further developed. Militia units were expanded with the aim of arming the masses. A women's liberation movement was launched against die-hard traditions and old male-chauvinist ideologies. And, in general, important struggles were waged to limit social differences.

The Cultural Revolution was the first mass struggle in the history of socialism that consciously aimed at overthrowing the new bourgeoisie risen from within the structures of the proletarian state. For 10 years the Cultural Revolution foiled the bourgeoisie's attempts to seize power and restore capitalism in China. The Cultural Revolution was the form and method of such struggle, and before meeting defeat, it achieved unprecedented new developments in the field of economic relations, as well as in the political and ideological superstructure of society, opening new doors for the advance towards communism. The Cultural Revolution was part of the revolutionary upsurge of the 1960s, which swept three continents, as well as the US and the West European countries. It in turn deeply influenced the revolutionary upsurge on a world level. In contrast to the asphyxiating "socialism" of the revisionist Soviet Union, the GPCR presented the proletariat and people of the world with a lively, inspiring picture of socialism.

In the beginning of the 1970s, Mao and his comrades, amongst whom were outstanding leaders such as Chiang Ching and Chang Chun-chiao, were preparing for a new battle against the capitalist-roaders inside the party and the state in China. Due to the ebb of the world-wide revolutionary upsurge of the 1960s, on the one hand, and the military threats and pressures of Soviet social-imperialism against China on the other, the revisionist forces, led by Deng Xiao-ping, had once again gained ground and strength. The balance of forces, internationally and inside China, was turning in favour of the bourgeois trend and against the proletarian state. The revisionists took advantage of the death of Mao in 1976 to carry out their counter-revolutionary coup d'etat. Internally, they started to destroy the achievements of the GPCR and to restore capitalism under the slogan "to get rich is glorious". Internationally, they put forward the reactionary "Three Worlds" theory and strategy, calling on the proletariat and the people to conciliate with reactionary states and the Western imperialists. The defeat of the proletariat and the rise to power of the capitalist-roaders in China has in no way reduced the historic importance of the Cultural Revolution. The torch lit by Mao to illuminate the road to the future is still alight. His development of the Marxist-Leninist-Maoist understanding of the dictatorship of proletariat and socialist construction is the starting point for the working class internationally to advance proletarian revolution in the future.

In the process of leading the great revolutions that each shook the world, Mao developed Marxism-Leninism to a third and qualitatively higher stage, Marxism-Leninism-Maoism (MLM). MLM is not the sum total of the thinking, views and politics of the greatest leaders of the proletariat, Marx, Lenin and Mao, but it is the advance and development of communist theory since Marx. It is the concentration of the theoretical and practical struggles of the working class during the last 150 years. In the course of the class struggle to change the world and in the process of knowing the world and nature, MLM plays the role of telescope and microscope. It gives both broader vision and preciseness to our class. This ideology is invincible because it is true. The theoretical synthesis and understanding of history and the implementation of correct policies on the basis of this science and ideology in revolutionary practice is the secret of the historical and path-breaking victory of the international proletariat. Today, by relying on this, we can open our path and once again establish socialist countries and advance the world proletarian revolution more deeply and broadly.

 

 

POLITICS, CULTURE AND ECONOMY IN SOCIALIST SOCIETY

 

World Communism and the Transition Period

The goal and perspective of the proletariat is to establish world communism. Under communism there is no place for classes, commodity production, money, relations of oppression and exploitation and the ideology and politics corresponding to these relations. Under communism concepts such as poverty, war and unemployment have no place. There are no nations, borders or religions, and all forms of sexual, national and religious oppression will have disappeared. People are not divided between those who only manage or engage in intellectual work and those who only do manual labour. Under communism classes are done away with and there is no sign of class, gender or national inequalities, and the existence of a state apparatus as a means of dictatorship of one class over another is superfluous. Under communism there is no state, nor are there any parties that act as political representatives of different classes. With the abolition of classes and class inequalities, concepts such as dictatorship and democracy and inequality and equality will have lost their meaning and disappear. The division of labour and racial and gender differences in communist society are not a cause for any privileges of one over another or the domination of one section of society and the oppression and deprivation of the other section. Under communism one serves society according to one's ability and receives from society according to one's needs. During the process of voluntary and conscious co-operation, people engage in the production and reproduction of everybody's needs. The principle of "from each according to their ability and to each according to their needs" means that the aim of people working is not their individual survival. Productive capability and abundance under communism will have reached a level where the material possibility of realising the principle of "to each according to their needs" is realisable; social consciousness will have developed to such a level and communist understanding become so generalised that the principle of "from each according to their ability" will be realised voluntarily. There will be no need for coercion and nobody will contemplate cheating. Such concepts will have faded away, along with classes and class antagonisms and the class state; they will be consigned to the museum of history. The driving force and the advancing mechanism of communist society will be the contradiction between new and old, correct and incorrect. But this will not involve antagonistic class contradiction and struggle.

The communist world will be built through proletarian revolutions. The working class in all countries must organise these revolutions and move in this direction by overthrowing the exploiting classes. But the proletarian revolution cannot, in a single blow, achieve victory throughout the world. The unevenness of world capitalism and the ebbs and flows of revolution in various countries makes this impossible. So between capitalist society and communist society there is a long period of transition and revolutionary transformation, called socialism. Socialism is the political rule of the working class, and is called the dictatorship of the proletariat. Socialism is a society in transition and constant change. What defines the direction of the developments and advances of socialist society is the compass of communism: are the social and class differences to be restricted or not? Is there continued struggle to destroy the old ideology, thinking and beliefs that justify class society, or are these ideas reproduced in different forms? It is this yardstick that defines whether the policies and measures in socialist society represent an advance towards communism or signal a return to capitalism. The existence of a revolutionary proletarian state, throughout the transition period, is necessary to guarantee the maintenance and advancement of socialist society in the direction of world communism.

 

The Proletarian State: Democracy and Dictatorship

The proletariat, under the leadership of its vanguard party and through violent mass revolution, smashes the state apparatus of the ruling classes. The proletariat, by relying on the institutions and organisations that have successfully led the process of revolution to victory (that is, the communist party, red army, united front and national and local mass organisations), builds the structure for nation-wide political power.

Contrary to the bourgeoisie, which claims its state represents the "popular will" and talks about "democracy for all", the proletariat clearly declares that the proletarian state, like the bourgeois state for that matter, has two aspects, dictatorship and democracy. Bourgeois democracy is bourgeois dictatorship over the proletariat and the other toiling masses. This is true for both the so-called "third world" countries, whose regimes openly, harshly and constantly suppress the masses, and the Western parliamentarian democracies. The state of the proletariat is the reverse: it is democracy for the working class and the masses of people and dictatorship over the bourgeoisie and the enemies of the people. The masses of people, who have been deprived of the right to rule politically, to control the politics, economy and culture of society, and who were suppressed by the bourgeois state, will become the real masters of society. The toilers will gain freedom and their basic rights. These rights include: the right to rule the economy, the right to exercise power in all areas of the superstructure, and the right to control and suppress all antagonistic forces that are set to restore capitalism.

Bourgeois hypocrites try to present the state as a "neutral" apparatus "mediating between social classes". But all states, both proletarian and bourgeois, have a particular economic-class nature. The bourgeois state dictatorship, whatever form it takes (military, religious or Western-style democracy), is representative of a minority that dominates the economic foundations of the society and serves its own interests. Under this state, those who produce take the lowest share of the wealth produced, and those who take no part in production appropriate and accumulate that wealth. Politics, ideology, law and coercion preserve this situation. On the other hand, the dictatorship of the proletariat shatters the system of private ownership, establishes the system of public ownership and creates conditions where each takes from the socially produced wealth according to his/her work. The dictatorship of the proletariat creates the conditions for the step-by-step elimination of all class and social distinctions and all institutions and ideas glorifying and strengthening these differences. The dictatorship of the proletariat struggles for the advance of world revolution and the establishment of a communist world. The politics, ideology, laws and coercion of the dictatorship of the proletariat serve these aims.

The proletarian state has its own army, administration, judiciary and laws. The army in socialist society is qualitatively different from the bourgeois army, in that its military ranks are not characterised by class differences and blind obedience. This army participates in production along with the masses. The revolutionary army is complemented by people's militias, who represent the armed masses. As the production relations are revolutionised and the productive forces developed, it becomes possible to spend less time producing the material needs of life and the masses will have more time to participate in the administrative and other non-productive duties, including the militias. The administration of the proletarian state is fundamentally different from the bloated bureaucratic apparatus of the bourgeoisie and, because of the widespread participation of the masses in managing different aspects of society, is much smaller. In bourgeois society, the laws are there to protect class differences and are against the proletariat and the masses; in socialist society, the purpose of the laws is to eliminate the class distinctions and all social inequalities and they are against the exploiting classes.

 

The State and the Party

Under the proletarian state, the communist party has a leading role, which is official and institutionalised. One of the bourgeoisie's usual slanders is that "the state of communists is a single-party state and thus people are deprived from taking part in the political power. But capitalist states are multi-party. Rulers change and give the opportunity of ruling to all. This is sheer hypocrisy. It is not true that in capitalist societies all classes are given the opportunity to rule. Rather, different ruling parties consist of different strata of the bourgeoisie, and in each period one or a coalition of them form the government. The demagogic game of the bourgeoisie that allows the people to choose one of its parties every now and then does not change anything. Always a core of leaders of the bourgeoisie and only the bourgeoisie lead the state. These leaders are either representatives of the official ruling parties or non-party politicians and strategists who lead the military and intelligence institutions.

Under the proletarian state, the part of the working class that is organised in the communist party plays the leading role. The proletariat, contrary to the bourgeoisie, declares this fact openly and explains the objective conditions of its inevitability, i.e. because of the differences and gap in class society and the world, the ranks of the working class continually divide into advanced and non-advanced conscious and non-conscious. As a result, a minority of the class gains class consciousness before others and scientifically understands the proletariat's mission of eliminating capitalist exploitation and oppression and establishing classless communist society. This advanced section gets organised in the party and acts as the headquarters of the working class.

But the leading role of the party in the proletarian state does not mean the pacification or alienation of the workers and other toiling masses from exercising political power. Quite the contrary, the communist party continuously leads the masses to participate in consciously guiding the political, economic and cultural affairs of the society, and it strengthens and consolidates the organs of people's power at all levels, including in such forms as the soviets, assemblies, mass organisations, local powers, etc. Moreover, in socialist society, the communist party is not only a party in power but is also the vanguard of the revolutionary struggle against those aspects of power that have become a hindrance to the elimination of differences and contradictions remaining from the past. The communist party itself undergoes revolutionary transformation and reconstruction in the process of continuous revolution. Therefore, participation of the masses in politics and in the running of the society, under the proletarian state, is in sharp contrast to what goes on in bourgeois parliamentarian democracies. Under socialism, participation of the masses is not passive and superficial. The aim of bourgeois propaganda against the role of the party under socialism is to deprive the working class of the necessary means of acquiring class-consciousness, seizing political power and advancing towards communism.

 

The State and Ideology

In all states hitherto formed in history, the ideology of a particular class has been dominant. This is a very important truth that the bourgeois hypocrites hide. Not only religious states, such as the Islamic Republic or the Vatican State in the Middle Ages, but all secular bourgeois states have an ideology. The foundation of the ideology of the bourgeois states, irrespective of the forms they take, is to enforce and sanctify private ownership and all relations corresponding to it. Bourgeois ideology considers the capitalist system to be eternal and believes in the permanence of exploitation-based society. All values, traditions, customs and works of literature and art that sanctify and strengthen exploitative private ownership and reinforce it are part of the ideological superstructure of bourgeois states. The bourgeois state employs all its means to promote such a society, such a system of ownership, and uses these values to suppress communist ideas. Humiliating the masses, racist and woman-hating idiocy, greed and selfishness, national bigotry and other reactionary ideas make up the ideology of the bourgeois state. The bourgeoisie constantly promotes these ideas, both directly and indirectly, through the education system and mass media.

The ideology of the proletarian state is communism, and this is openly proclaimed. This ideology is in total contrast to bourgeois ideology. It is based on the understanding that time is over for a society based on capitalist private ownership; it has become deadly, rotten and reactionary and should be replaced by communist society. All values, traditions and works of literature and art that contain this basic understanding are part of the ideological superstructure of the proletarian state, which puts all possible efforts into promoting and propagating communism.

Communist ideology, contrary to bourgeois ideology, which belongs to the past and carries the heavy corpse of thousands of years of class society, is an ideology inspired by the future. The communist worldview and methodology, like other class views, is partisan, but contrary to them, it declares this truth and this is a source of its strength. Communist ideology is a scientific worldview that constantly synthesises and absorbs all human experience; it is invariably self-critical and discards whatever is old or proven to be wrong.

In socialist society, the communist party continually takes communist ideology to the masses with the aim of arming them with this ideology, so that they can consciously rebel against whatever is reactionary, to sharpen the spirit of criticism among them, and to arouse among them the desire for innovation and the constant transformation of the world and themselves. The goal of communist education in socialist society is that the toiling masses can distinguish between the socialist road and the capitalist road and rise against politics and forces taking the capitalist road. This concept of teaching communist ideology is fundamentally different from the concept presented by the revisionists of the ex-Soviet Union and today's China. They have turned communist ideology into a handful of pseudo-religious dry and useless principles or a subject confined within university walls; they have robbed it of life and its rebellious and progressive spirit. The goal of revisionist states is to draw a socialist mask over the rotten capitalist system in their countries. Therefore, they need to keep the shell of communist ideology and fill it will conservatism and blind obedience, in short with bourgeois content. Instead of taking the ideological claims of the state at their face value, the contents of their ideology should be measured by the socio-economic realities of the society they rule.

 

The State and Religion

Religion is a teaching of obedience, blind obedience. Marxism is a teaching of rebellion, conscious rebellion. Only when the masses are armed with Marxism can they consciously wage great struggles to thoroughly change their own conditions and the world.

The state of the dictatorship of the proletariat is an atheist one, i.e. a godless state. But the freedom for individual members of society to believe in god and have a religion exists. The proletarian state promotes the truth that god or any other super-natural being does not exist, and the realities of life should be regarded as they are and changed in the interests of humankind. The main reason for opposing religion is basically because it sanctifies and strengthens oppressive social relations and moral values. This struggle will be waged actively and creatively and by relying on the mass line, along with education. All the members of religious institutions, like other members of society, should work on the basis of "from each according to his/her ability, to each according to his/her work". The scope of their work will be mainly limited by raising the consciousness of the masses as to the reactionary and hypocritical nature of religious ideology.

In the proletarian state, religious upside-down illusions and enslavement, which serve to pacify and mollify the people and create false dreams, will be combated. Instead, penetrating the unknown and scientific creativity, through scientific and artistic activities, will be promoted. The possibility of technical innovations and the creation of works of art, on an unprecedented scale, will be made available to the toiling masses.

 

The State and Culture

The field of culture, and in particular art and literature, is an important part of the political superstructure of society. Because of its immense influence on people's minds, either in the direction of supporting the ruling system and its values or in questioning and rebelling against them, art is very important. That is why the bourgeoisie controls this field in different ways. In the oppressed countries, this is accompanied by repression against revolutionary and pro-people artists and open censorship; in imperialist capitalist societies, those works of art and literature that are not in the service of the existing system are suppressed in more covert and sophisticated ways and their popularisation is hindered.

In socialist society the proletariat will control the cultural arena. This control mainly means supporting the development of a new culture. Those works of art and literature that directly or indirectly, through different art forms, criticise class society and expose old ideas and traditions and portray a future free of all social differences will be promoted and encouraged. The production of works of art that help deepen understanding of the truth in relation to different aspects of life and the universe will be supported. The transition from socialist society and reaching communism is impossible without the development of such a culture.

In the area of forms of art, variety and innovation will be encouraged. Even though the content and social effect of an art work is its main aspect, giving room to artistic creativity will lead to the emergence of a variety of art forms and will ensure progress and vitality in the field of art.

After seizing political power, all the works of art and literature previously suppressed, because of their opposition to the old system, will be made widely available to the masses of people. At the same time, progressive art from around the world will also be widely promoted. Works of art and literature will be available to the masses of people in a way previously unknown and they will have access to the means of creating such works of art.

The reactionary states are always afraid of close links between artists and the masses. The bourgeoisie always tries to buy off the artists, by giving them an elite position and putting them in an ivory tower isolated from the masses. In socialist society artists are encouraged to go amongst the masses, link with them and create their work in close relation with the toiling masses and by learning from them. Works of art created in this way will help the masses of workers and peasants break with age-old class-based traditions and ideas and build a new society.

In socialist society the production of works of art that reflect discontent with, and opposition to, the proletarian state will not be prevented. Their existence will be taken advantage of to inspire the field of artistic criticism and to stimulate Marxist debate over the creation of new artwork. This is the reflection of the socialist state's united front policy with non-proletarian strata, including intellectuals, in the field of literature and art.

In the policies of the proletarian state there will even be a place for publishing and displaying internal or foreign reactionary art, along with criticism, so that the masses of people will be in a better position to compare them and thus raise their class consciousness.

 

The State and Propaganda

In bourgeois society, the ruling classes monopolise the mass media and other means of propaganda with the aim of filling the heads of the masses with upside-down pictures and lies about history and current events in society and the world. Developments in science, which resulted in fast and unprecedented advances in information networks, have also served this purpose. The bourgeoisie hypes about how the Internet is an instrument of democratising the world, but although the people can put the Internet to some use, it is in fact the ruling classes that use it even more in order to control the masses, both politically and ideologically.

The goal and content of the propaganda in socialist society is opposite to that of bourgeois society. Under the dictatorship of the proletariat, for the first time in the history of class society, the masses in their millions will be introduced to the most important questions of the world, history and existence in a truthful way. The mass media, and other means of agitation and propaganda, will arm the people with a dialectical materialist understanding of society, nature, history and the world, so that they will face reality as it is. The past experience of real socialist societies shows that the basic masses of people have been a thousand times more aware of the realities of the world, society and history than people in bourgeois democracies and have had a level of political understanding unimaginable in capitalist countries.

Under socialism the libraries, the means of printing and the mass media, which were previously concentrated in the hands of a bourgeois elite, or in the oppressed countries were concentrated in the centres of state power, will be made available to the broadest masses in the villages, factories and schools, so that they can directly express and propagate their opinions. In order to help spread communist literature and works internationally, the proletarian state will provide the communists of the world with translators, broadcasting and other facilities.

 

Freedom and Suppression and the Approach to Dissent

The dictatorship of the proletariat does not mean that only the proletariat and the supporters of the socialist state have the right to freedom of speech. Historical experience shows that at the time of the seizure of power, the proletariat is not facing a bi-polar society, where on the one pole stand the proletarian masses and on the other the bourgeois class. Broad sections of small producers and the petite bourgeoisie in general are present in society. The proletarian state strives and learns how to work with petit-bourgeois strata, especially the peasantry and broad sections of the intellectuals, without liquidating the fundamental interests of the proletariat. Contrary to its policy towards the big bourgeoisie of confiscation and suppression in the fields of politics, economy and culture, the dictatorship of the proletariat takes a policy of co-existence and long-term struggle with the petite bourgeoisie. This means both tolerating these strata and, in the process of moving towards eliminating class distinction, transforming their material conditions and outlook.

Under the proletarian state, debate and dissent will not only not be suppressed, but will have an important role to play in the ideological and political life of the socialist society. The guiding principle of the proletarian state is to find, in any situation, appropriate means to wage debate and facilitate expression of opposing opinions, both inside the party and among broad masses, over important questions of politics and world affairs, as well as science, philosophy and culture. Such a policy arises from the Marxist understanding that truth will come out through the process of contradiction and the struggle of different ideas. Wrangling and a conscious approach to contradiction and struggle is an integral part of Marxism.

Under the dictatorship of the proletariat expressing dissatisfaction towards official laws and policies will have a particular role and function, because even in socialist society truth should not be equated with the ruling ideas and laws. To propagate the confrontation of differing ideas and the criticism of different views is not the goal in itself, but is a means to achieving a deeper understanding of the truth in order to continue the revolutionary transformation of society and nature in the service of humankind.

 

The Goal of Proletarian Democracy is the Struggle for Communist Society

If the proletarian state represents the will and interests of the majority and is such a new and inspiring phenomenon, why is there a need to struggle to achieve communist society and do away with the state?

The necessity for the existence of the state arises from the objective reality that in socialist society, and in the world in general, classes and class struggle still exist, and the possibility that the bourgeoisie will recapture the state and restore capitalism still remain. But the other side of the coin is that exactly because of these objective conditions, socialist society and the dictatorship of the proletariat and all its leading organs, including the party, have a contradictory nature.

Even though under socialism the masses do come to the fore, as the masters of society and owners of the means of production, this is relative and contradictory. Even though the masses are increasingly involved in leading and administering the affairs of socialist society, their will and interests is, to a decisive degree, represented by the communist party. So, as long as the control of the party and the state is in the hands of Marxist-Leninist-Maoists, the rights of the majority (or democracy for the masses) are guaranteed. But if the capitalists take power by using a communist guise, the nature of these institutions will change and they will turn into organs of suppression of the masses. For this reason continual reconstruction of the communist party, and the organs of power in general, is a question of life and death in socialist society.

Under socialism, the masses directly participate in administering different fields of society, through their elected mass organisations in factories, schools, fields, etc. But still the existence of specialised institutions separate from the masses, such as the army, are necessary. Being "specialised and separate" gives these organs a contradictory nature. This is the reflection of the existing contradiction between the administrators of society on the one hand and the toiling masses on the other. This is a division of labour leftover from capitalist society and will exist for a long time. It is only under communism that a system will come about to administer society that truly reflects the will of the whole society. Still, under socialism this gap must be constantly reduced to ensure the communist direction of socialist society.

Continuation of the revolution under socialism and the further transformation of the base and superstructure of socialist society will make it possible to further break down the old division of labour and bring about more advanced forms for the administration of society, making broader and deeper participation of the masses possible. As the Great Proletarian Cultural Revolution showed, limiting the gap between the leading centre and the masses and finding forms to continue the revolution under socialism is part of society moving towards communism and is essential for preventing capitalist restoration and for strengthening the proletarian nature of the party and state. Revolutionary changes throughout the world, by carrying out class struggle, are necessary in order to reach communism, but "the final goal of communism" must be clearly reflected in the construction of socialist society.

 

Socialist Economy

Under the dictatorship of the proletariat, the economy of the society undergoes fundamental changes. The proletariat shatters the foundations of capitalist economy and replaces it with completely different production relations and economic objectives and motives.

Under capitalism a small minority owns the main means of production and, through its monopoly on the means of production, holds grip over the economic activity of the majority of the people, who are the producers of society's wealth. Under the capitalist economic system, the division of labour among the people is oppressive and mired with differences; distribution of socially produced wealth is such that wealth accumulates on one pole and poverty on the other. Capitalists control the economy and engage in a mad rivalry with each other to obtain the highest profit. For this reason growth in the capitalist economy is chaotic and, instead of being under the planned and conscious control of the people, follows blind economic forces; for example the ups and downs in the stock market can wreck the lives of millions of people around the globe in a space of a few hours without them playing any role in it or understanding the reasons behind it. Under this system, the production of the basic needs of the people is not based on conscious planning. The goal of capitalist economy is to gain profit, and the production of people's basic needs is only a secondary bi-product. As the goal is to make profit, peoples labour power is only utilised when it can guarantee profitability for capital. So under this system, hundreds of millions of people go through life in conditions of unemployment and underemployment. Capitalism arbitrarily wastes and destroys society's productive forces (most important of which are the people). In the freezing jungle of capitalism, lonely and divided, exposed to ruthless competition, people struggle for survival. The ideological motives of economic activity under capitalism are greed, selfishness and competition. Ignorance of the laws that rule the workings of society and political passivity of the toiling masses are necessities to the expansion of the capitalist economy.

Under socialism the means of production are no longer the private property of a small exploiting minority but are under the collective control of society. Under socialism all individuals will work according to their ability and accordingly will receive from the socially produced wealth. The establishment of public ownership of the means of production is the decisive step to the establishment of the socialist economy; but revolutionising two other aspects of production relations, i.e. the relations between the people in the process of production (relations such as the division of labour between managers and technicians and the workers) and the distribution of social wealth (such as the grading of wages, the gap between city and countryside, etc.) play an important role in establishing and developing the socialist economic system.

In socialist society, in the service of revolutionising the relations between people in the production process, management methods based on technocratic efficiency are discarded. Instead, methods are taken up that increase collective participation in production and reduce the gap in the division of labour (such as the division of labour between mangers and workers, manual and mental labourers). Methods are used to ensure that the workers participate in management and technical innovation and that managers and experts take part in production.

Immediately after the establishment of the dictatorship of proletariat, redistribution and huge relocation of wealth will take place. There will be a leap in the living standards of the masses and considerable balance will be achieved in standards of living. Under the socialist economic system the possibility of achieving absolute equality does not exist, since the principle of "from each according to her/his ability and to each according to her/his work" is the basis for the distribution of wealth. Economic inequalities arise from this principle, as people have different abilities and needs. In order to raise and, at the same time, equalise the standards of living and reduce the gap between different regions and between city and countryside, particular policies are adopted.

Under socialism economic resources are utilised not for profitability but to provide for the basic needs of the people and their all-sided development and the step-by-step elimination of the inequalities remaining from capitalism. It becomes possible for all the members of society to work according to their ability and to acquire from the society what corresponds to that work.

A socialist economy is a planned economy. Without planning it is impossible to develop a balanced economy. But contrary to bourgeois views, a plan is not a technical means to control the economy, but reflects the ideology, aims and views of a class. Concepts such as efficiency and profitability cannot be in command of socialist planning. Maximising the worker's output and minimising her/his resistance, a division of labour that alienates the worker from the labour process and which robs her/him of creativity, will have no place in this planning. The perspective of socialist economic planning is to serve the revolutionary transformation of society and advance world revolution and to achieve this it relies on mass mobilisation and socialist values.

In socialist society, the state exercises centralised control over the economy, because the absence of centralised co-ordination leads to the conflict of individual and local interests, giving rise to capitalistic competition, and helps the restoration of capitalism. In the real world, without such centralisation, it is impossible for the proletariat to exercise dictatorship over the enemy, establish democracy among the people and control the economy. Without such centralisation it is not possible to maintain a unified, balanced socialist economy, an economy based on even development and planning, which represents the revolutionary interests of the proletariat. Without it lines and policies that reflect the long-term class interests of the proletariat cannot be implemented, such as the policy to concentrate resources to overcome the gap between deprived and richer regions, strengthening the socialist country's defence capabilities and serving world revolution.

But the planning and leading of the socialist economy doesn't mean bureaucratic control by central organs. Centralised co-ordination of the national economy not only relies on local management but is inseparable from the initiative and active participation of the masses. The system of socialist economy is not unknown to the masses. They are familiarised with its functioning, aims and mechanisms and participate in building it. From factories to agricultural communes and co-operatives, millions from all economic sections debate economic policies and socialist political economy. Under socialism, management methods, wage grades and choices of technology are the subject of discussion and struggle among the masses.

Political mobilisation is the life-blood of economic work under socialism. Factories turn into universities of class struggle. Through political and ideological activities in the work centres and in society as a whole, the masses exercise their rule and master all affairs. In order for the masses to be able to distinguish between the class content and aims of different economic policies they have to participate in all questions regarding the base and superstructure of society. Through political-ideological campaigns, the proletarian state arouses the labouring masses to participate broadly and deeply in discussions related to economic planning and socialist development and consciously, voluntarily and fully participate in the implementation of these plans.

The socialist economy emphasises public interest and collective incentives. Struggle to eliminate all social differences and the advance of world revolution is the motto. Persuasive struggle to uproot old habits, traditions and the influences of bourgeois world views is decisive in mobilising the masses to consciously overcome economic and social differences. Encouraging proletarian internationalism, promoting values such as voluntary co-operation, displaying maximum creativity and initiative to advance the public interest and the struggles against elitism, the male-chauvinist yoke on women and national arrogance are ideological motives of socialist production.

Building the socialist economy is directly related to the political struggles in society's power structures (and particularly within the communist party). All economic decisions are clearly tied with political and ideological questions. In socialist economic planning the question is constantly posed as to whether development is carried out by giving priority to the transformation of social and production relations or by concentrating resources to raise the technological level in different sections of the economy? Should the priority be to generalise low and medium technology throughout the economy or to use high technology with the price of distorting the economy and resorting to the exploitation of the workers and peasants? Intense struggle and debate will be waged over: relations between agriculture and industry, limiting wage grades, reducing the contradiction between advanced and backward regions, reducing the gap between city and countryside and between regions where national minorities live and regions of other nationalities, helping world revolution, the country's strategy of military defence, transformation of methods of management to increase worker participation, reducing work hours in the factories and increasing the hours for political discussion and technical and artistic innovations. The answers given to each of these questions certainly have class content and thus become an integral part of the ideological and political struggle within the communist party and society as a whole.

Bourgeois economists consider the construction of a socialist economy with the above-mentioned characteristics an impossibility, a pipe dream. According to them, an economy whose concern and driving force is to eliminate the gap between the haves and have-nots and to bring about the conditions for the all-round development of all people, an economy based on free and conscious co-operation of the people and their collective effort for public interest, can only come true in fables. But real experience has shown that our international class has established such a liberating economy, first in the Soviet Union and then in a deeper and all-round way in China, and developed it for several decades. Several decades of socialist construction in the two countries, based on the conscious efforts of millions of people, heralded a new dawn in human history. The defeat of the proletariat and the coming to power of the bourgeoisie and capitalist restoration in these countries can in no way hide this historic truth.

 

The Relation between Socialist Countries and World Revolution

With the loss of two socialist countries the international proletariat was faced with the fundamental question of what was the main reason for these defeats? The defeat of the proletariat in the USSR and then in socialist China were fundamentally defeats that were imposed by the international bourgeoisie on our class. From the beginning the encirclement of the socialist countries by an imperialist world and the regeneration of the new bourgeoisie within the socialist countries put material and ideological pressure on the proletarian state. In the process of revolution, at times, situations can arise where the balance of forces between the proletariat and bourgeoisie work out unfavourably for the proletariat. This can prepare the conditions for its defeat. The defeat of the proletariat in the USSR and in China was a sign that our class enemies internationally still hold a considerable strength.

Nonetheless, the socialist states also made mistakes in facing the complexities of maintaining power and constructing socialism. These mistakes should be summed up. One of these complex and vital issues was the policies that the socialist states had to adopt in terms of relations between the socialist states and the world proletarian revolution. For example, how should the proletarian state defend its achievements whilst facing the increasing pressures from world imperialism and reaction, which seriously threatened its existence? At times when the revolutionary movements at a world level ebb, what kind of policy should the socialist state adopt so that it does not fall into conservatism but continues to encourage and support the revolutionary struggles in the world? In these regards, there are inspiring examples in the history of the international communist movement that are testimony to the deep internationalist convictions of the socialist states. For example, the Soviet Union under the leadership of Lenin and Stalin played an important and undeniable role in the formation and strengthening of vanguard communist parties the world over and gave moral and material support for these revolutionary movements against imperialism and reaction. In the mid-1930s, the third Communist International called for the formation of international brigades to be dispatched to Spain and fight against fascism there. It carried out this policy persistently. In the mid-1950s, socialist China, unhindered by the nuclear threats from the US, rushed to the aid of the Korean people. It directly fought US imperialism and its allies, serving a humiliating defeat to them. In the mid-1960s, when the new bourgeoisie grabbed power in the Soviet Union and turned that country into a capitalist one, socialist China ruthlessly exposed its bourgeois nature. Even though socialist China knew that as a result of this the Soviet Union would definitely stop all of its economic and military aid to China, China did not compromise or resort to a policy of expediency. Throughout the decade of the 1960s the peoples of Indo-China enjoyed political backing, as well as material aid, from socialist China in their liberation wars against imperialism.

At the same time, there are negative examples in the history of the struggle of our world class. These should be summed up. From the mid-1930s, the Soviet Union faced threats of imperialist invasion. It was clear from the beginning that the outcome of such imperialist invasion would be penury, hunger, great displacement of the population, the destruction of the industries and agriculture of the socialist country and the endangerment of the existence of the base of world revolution. Obviously, in that situation, specific defence of the socialist state against the threats of the international bourgeoisie was an important and crucial internationalist task for the entire working class of the world. To deny this would have meant denying proletarian internationalism. A few years later, the immense dimensions of the dangers threatening the Soviet Union were proven: the Soviet Union became the determining scene of the Second World War with Nazi Germany, and 20 million Soviet people lost their lives. But during the same period, the entirety of the imperialist world was also afflicted with turmoil, mass struggles and movements had intensified and important historic opportunities for the advancement of the world proletarian revolution were looming on the horizon. In the face of this situation, the leaders of the Soviet Union and the Comintern (the Communist International) put forward a wrong policy, which came to be called the formation of the anti-fascist united front.

The anti-fascist united front meant the alignment of the Soviet Union with the imperialist "Allies" against Germany and Japan. In this situation it was probably necessary for the Soviet Union to get into some diplomatic manoeuvring and to reach some agreement with the imperialist countries to reduce the danger of military invasion of the Soviet Union. But the Soviet Union, wrongly, extended this policy to the communist movements in all countries and put it forward as the policy for all communists and revolutionary movements of the world. From the point of view of the Soviet Union the interests of world revolution were defined by the short-term interests of the socialist country and the exigencies of its defence. On the basis of this outlook, the communists of those imperialist countries allied with the Soviet Union, had to struggle for "defence of the homeland against the danger of fascism" and not for overthrowing the bourgeoisie of their country. To justify this policy, the leaders of Comintern called the imperialists that were fighting with Germany over world domination "progressive", "peaceful" and "freedom loving". This policy helped reformism and revisionism in the communist parties of the Western countries to gain strength and dominance. In the same way, in many oppressed countries, such as Iran, precious opportunities, created as a result of international disorder and the weakening of the ruling classes, were lost, because to overthrow the lackey of "Allied" imperialists in Iran was considered to be "serving" fascist Germany. In a period when real possibilities for great advances and victories existed in the world, the leaders of the Soviet Union and Comintern, by turning the policy of the anti-fascist united front into the line and strategy of the international communist movement, in fact called for the retreat of world revolution. Undoubtedly not only did this not strengthen socialism and proletarian rule in the Soviet Union, but it seriously weakened it and cleared the path for the coming to power of the new bourgeoisie in the Soviet Union, because despite the intention of the leaders of the Soviet Union, this policy objectively had a bourgeois content and was not an internationalist policy.

Three decades later, socialist China faced more or less the same situation. In the early 1970s, an important turn took place in the world situation. The revolutionary waves, that in the 1960s were rocking the world, relatively subsided. At the same time, the role and functioning of Soviet imperialism in the world had changed and its rivalry with the US and the Western bloc heightened. The Soviet revisionists had penetrated many liberation movements and had turned some of them into their tail. After a heroic war against the US, Vietnam went under the influence of the Soviet Union. This was a tragedy for world revolution. This situation had demoralised and disheartened many revolutionaries around the world, including in China itself. During the same period, the Soviet Union started to make serious preparations to launch a nuclear attack against China. Under these pressures, revisionist forces in China had raised their heads again. In the face of these dangers they were putting forward the line of capitulation to Western imperialism and rapid modernisation of the economy and the army at any price (in fact through capitalism). Mao and the Chinese communists, while struggling all-out against this bourgeois capitulationist line, put forward the line of forming an alignment with a section of the imperialists and reactionary forces of the world against Soviet imperialism. In this framework China initiated economic and political relations with reactionaries, such as the Shah of Iran, Mobuto, etc. There is no doubt that a socialist country can use the contradictions amongst its enemies and at points enters into some agreements with them. It is also an important fact that the Chinese communists did not turn this policy into a general line and policy for communists and revolutionaries the world over. But the political positions of the Chinese government, in favour of some of the reactionary states that were clients of the Western imperialists, did damage the prestige of socialist China amongst the workers, oppressed masses and revolutionary forces around the world and in practice strengthened the hand of the pro-Soviet revisionist parties in their propaganda against the Maoist forces.

It would be simplistic to think that without such mistakes the proletariat would not have lost power in the Soviet Union and China. But without these mistakes the international communist movement would have definitely been in a better position to overcome the defeats and be prepared for new leaps. Overall, from the experience of our victories and defeats of the proletarian revolutions in the twentieth century, it should be summed up that the world revolution develops unevenly, and the process of destroying the world capitalist system will not take place in a single stroke and with a world-wide simultaneous revolution. Therefore, in the context of this objective condition, the task of building socialism in one country will face many difficulties and complexities. The establishment of a socialist country is an important victory for the international proletariat. But it is a partial victory and only a split in the body of the capitalist world. Therefore, the final victory of proletarian revolution will be achieved not in one or a group of countries but internationally. While the existence of one or a group of socialist countries is an important factor in the world situation, the development of the socialist countries themselves and their advances and setbacks are decisively dependent upon the situation of the proletarian revolutions in other countries and overall upon the balance of forces between the revolutionary movements and proletarian revolutions on the one hand, and the international bourgeoisie on the other. Socialist countries will be surrounded by a sea of capitalist relations dominant in the world and feel the pressures of its material and ideological influence. The socialist countries cannot on their own and like an island advance socialist construction in one country, freely and in a straight line. They cannot go on consolidating the achievements in one country on a permanent basis. These countries should rely on these achievements in order to expand proletarian revolution in the world. In short, they should act as a base of world revolution. In the final analysis, the interests of a socialist country and those of advancing world proletarian revolution are the same; these two processes mutually reinforce each other. However, there are contradictions between them too, in the sense that the requirements of advancing one impose some considerations on the other. Between them, the interest of advancing the world proletarian revolution (meaning revolution in other parts of the world) is principal. This is a basic principle. Whenever the needs of defending a socialist country fall into contradiction with the requirements of advancing the world revolution, the socialist country should be ready to risk its life for advancing the world revolution as a whole.

The objective situation of the imperialist system as a whole and the tight relation that exists between its different parts in the world emphasises the decisive role of the world arena in shaping developments in each country. This lays the foundations of the proletarian internationalist outlook and policy and emphasises the vitality of such an outlook and policy for the proletariat of all countries. Internationalism is the world outlook specific to the revolutionary proletariat and proletarian revolutions. Proletarian internationalism and giving priority to the interests of the world revolution should rule the thought and practice of the proletariat from the first moments of preparing for revolution until the seizure of power and through continuing the revolution until world-wide communism.

The Contradictions of the Imperialist System and the Picture of the Present World

 

The world imperialist system, since its emergence, has gone through important political and economic changes. These developments influence all the imperialist contradictions, as well as the position of each contradiction. The contradictions of imperialism arise from the fundamental contradiction of the capitalist era, that is the contradiction between socialised production and private appropriation, which has two forms of motion: the contradiction between capital and labour and the contradiction between anarchy and organisation (the domination of the anarchy of production in society as a whole and the conscious organisation of production in individual units). The contradiction between labour and capital is reflected in the contradiction between the proletariat and the bourgeoisie, between the oppressed peoples and nations and imperialism, and between socialist countries and imperialism. And the contradiction between anarchy and organisation is particularly reflected in the contradiction between the imperialist powers. These four contradictions are the major contradictions of the world imperialist system.

With the emergence of imperialism, imperialist capitals invaded colonies and semi-colonies and dished out unprecedented exploitation, plunder and political repression to the majority of the people in these countries. Imperialism integrated the economic systems of these countries into the world economy. This incorporation was done in such a way as to make the economy of these countries subordinate and subservient to the imperialist economies. Imperialism accelerated capitalist development in these countries and simultaneously and extensively utilised pre-capitalist relations to produce cheap labour and resources. Thus, the imperialist countries ended up with huge super profits and the oppressed countries with backward, lopsided and disarticulated economies.

In the dominated countries, imperialism rules through alliance with the local ruling classes and with brutal suppression and naked political despotism. The intensification of the contradiction between imperialism and the peoples and oppressed nations has turned dominated countries into storm centres of world revolution. This is reflected in the national liberation movements that for decades shook the whole world and in the revolutionary turmoil and crises that continued.

The contradiction between the proletariat and the bourgeoisie has not been unaffected by the changes and developments in the system. Enormous profits extracted by the imperialists from the oppressed countries enabled them to turn a thin layer of the working class in the imperialist countries into their base and provide a larger section of the workers with stable jobs and relative comfort for relatively long periods. But still an important section of the working class, with the immigrant workers making up a good portion of it, are exploited intensively. The system of bourgeois democracy in these countries has continued by relying on the privileged and dominant position of imperialism internationally. This bourgeois democracy is the flip side of the coin of the naked and harsh dictatorship of the dominated countries, which imperialism carries out by relying on, and in unity with, the reactionary classes in those countries. But bourgeois democracy in the imperialist countries themselves is accompanied by the iron fist of the class dictatorship of the bourgeoisie. Because the contradiction between the bourgeoisie and the lower strata of the working class and the poor masses in imperialist countries is intense, the bourgeoisie has to build more prisons and expand its special police force on a continuous basis. With the intensification and continuation of capitalist crises, a bigger section of the population in the imperialist countries become proletarians. This proletariat is the fundamental force and solid basis for proletarian revolution in these countries.

Another important contradiction of the imperialist system is that between the socialist countries and the imperialist countries. The victory of the proletarian revolutions and the establishment of socialist societies gave rise to this contradiction. This contradiction influenced the international balance of forces and political and economic developments in a big way; it influenced the direction and ups and downs of the movements and revolutions, as well as the collusion and contention among the imperialist powers. For example, the establishment of the USSR in 1917 influenced the end of the First World War, it strengthened the liberation movements and proletarian revolutions and it influenced the future alignments of the imperialists in the world. During the 1960s and 1970s, the existence of socialist China, which supported the liberation revolutions of the people, played an important role in strengthening the liberation war in Vietnam and other revolutionary wars. With the restoration of capitalism in the Soviet Union in the mid-1950s and later in China in 1976, the contradiction between the socialist countries and imperialist countries was temporarily removed from the world scene.

The other aspect of the inherent contradictions of imperialism, i.e. the contradiction between the imperialist powers, is an expression of the competitive rivalry among capitals on a world scale. In the imperialist era, once in a while, capitalism falls into a general structural crisis (on a world scale and simultaneously in all its branches). In such periods, the contradiction among the imperialists and the possibility of imperialist world war intensifies. At such points, the imperialists need to restructure capital on an international scale and, in this way, temporarily solve the general crisis of their system. But they can do so only through establishing a new political balance of power on the international level. To this date, two world wars have broken out for the purpose of re-dividing the world and dealing with this problem. The collapse of the Soviet imperialist bloc and the end of the cold war has also opened the way for such restructuring.

But the re-division of the world and the temporary resolution of the general crisis of capital is not the only possible outcome of such nodal periods. General crises create favourable conditions for carrying out proletarian revolutions in vast areas of the world and if the proletarian forces are prepared they can wrench out vast areas from imperialist control. The socialist revolution of 1917 in Russia and the new-democratic revolution in 1949 in China were won during such historical conjunctures and while the imperialists had resorted to world wars for the re-division of the world.

The outcome of the First World War (1914-1918) and the Second World War (1939-1945) defined for a period of time where each imperialist power stood, how much profit it could extract from the international table of plunder and which country would head up this gang. After the restoration of capitalism in the Soviet Union and its transformation into a big capitalist power in the mid-1950s the social-imperialist bloc or the political-economic-military Eastern bloc was formed. A bipolar imperialist system took shape. The US headed one group of imperialists and reactionaries and the Soviet Union headed the other. What became famous as the "cold war" was the expression of hostility and contention between the Western and Eastern blocs in different areas, which at times erupted into regional wars between their lackeys in dominated countries. The new economic crisis that from the beginning of the 1970s gripped the imperialist system intensified the rivalry between Eastern and Western blocs. At the end of the 1970s and the beginning of the 1980s the world went to the brink of an all-out war. But at the end of the 1980s the Soviet Union could not hold up under the pressure of crisis and the heavy burden of military rivalry, and it collapsed. This development has had important political and economic repercussions.

The end of the cold war has reduced the geo-political risks of investment in the so-called third world countries, which was an important field of confrontation between the Western and Eastern blocs. The imperialist powers, and at their head the US, have a more open hand in interfering in world affairs and now have more opportunity to solve some of their political problems. Greater possibility has been created for the free movement of capital around the world and considerable amounts of capital have been freed up to be invested in different areas. In this way the process of "globalisation" has intensified. This means the more rapid movement of capital and the increasing integration of production and exchange on a world scale. Along with "globalisation", the imperialist powers carry forward the policy of economic "liberalisation". The aims of this policy are to give a freer hand to the capitalists in firing the workers in huge numbers and to abolish all legal barriers, such as foreign investment and ownership, taxation and customs barriers in the countries dominated by imperialism. All of this serves to increase the control and plunder of these countries by imperialism. Major financial institutions, like the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund (IMF), have taken hold of the economic management of the dominated countries and imposed austerity measures and economic restructuring on them. In all the countries of the world, from the advanced capitalist countries to the oppressed countries, imperialism mixes high technology with cheap labour to raise the rate of profit. Women provide an increasing section of this cheap labour power. Sweatshops and temporary and unofficial jobs in oppressed countries and even in imperialist countries are expanding. The rate of growth in a handful of branches is phenomenal, but at the same time large sections of the countries and peoples of the world are being pushed into a marginal situation.

The face of the world today is characterised by a widening class gap on a world scale, deepening poverty and income inequalities, and a widening of the gap between the advanced imperialist countries and the dominated countries. Nearly one billion of the world's population live in the clutches of absolute poverty, of whom 70% are women. The bones of 20 million children are breaking under forced labour. Each year millions of people are bought and sold as slaves on the world sex markets. Rich countries, containing 15% of the world's population, suck 80% of the resources of the earth. In the US, the most powerful imperialist country, 20 million people live below the poverty line. The average income of a manager in that country has reached 150 times that of an industrial worker. In third world countries, apart from in the big cities and limited island-like sections of the economy that witness economic growth and have formed a thin affluent layer around them, other regions and sections are in continuous stagnation and backwardness. The majority of the population is exploited more intensively than ever. In many workshops, women and children work under conditions of semi-slavery. The application of economic restructuring plans in these countries has accelerated the process of the destruction of agriculture, dislocation of the population and peasant migration. The standard of living of 2.5 billion people in the third world, considered to be the poorest, is constantly falling, and each year 75 million people migrate in search of work to other countries. Political repression and terror, as well as superstition, religion and reaction, which are necessary for maintaining the harsh conditions of exploitation, are the rule of the day in the dominated countries. The destruction of the environment is another aspect of this shocking picture. In Asia and Latin America, forests, planes, lakes and rivers are wiped out to pay foreign debts. In the imperialist countries, the system of social services and economic safety during work and unemployment, called the "welfare state", is disappearing. In Western Europe, the high rate of unemployment is almost institutionalised and considered inevitable. In the US, the richest country on earth, a major portion of the proletariat is ruthlessly exploited. At the same time, broad sections of the population are left without any jobs, insurance, social security or shelter and constitutes the "reserve army of labour". Imperialist states strengthen special police forces to counter social revolt and the dangers posed to capitalist law and order and security.

These all signal the intensification of the two major contradictions of the world imperialist system, i.e. the contradiction between imperialism and the oppressed peoples and nations and the contradiction between the proletariat and the bourgeoisie. Since the end of the cold war, inter-imperialist contention has been mitigated. But open and hidden confrontation in the economic as well as the political spheres goes on between the US, Europe, Japan and Russia. Within imperialist collusion, new imperialist bloc formation, uniting and polarising is going on.

Current developments have rendered the imperialist system more and more vulnerable and have led their New World Order to encounter more problems. The intensification of imperialist exploitation and oppression is turning many countries of the world into areas of crisis. The potential for the outbreak of mass resistance and upheaval in both oppressed and imperialist countries has increased. Globalisation" ties different countries and regions of the world tighter together. Economic and political developments and tensions in each country find wider and faster echoes in other countries. This objective situation closely ties proletarian revolutions together and makes the conditions for the advance of revolution in each country more and more influenced by international developments and shocks. Moreover, the uneven and distorted development of different sections of the imperialist system and the intensification and intertwining of a series of class, social and national contradictions in different countries forge them as weak links and fault-lines of the system. In these situations, with the existence of a communist party leading a powerful revolutionary war, the proletarian revolution can achieve victory and the construction of socialist society can commence. The continuous existence of incurable weaknesses and perpetual cracks in the imperialist system makes it possible for the socialist countries to persist.

The world capitalist system, through its workings, every day and every minute, reminds the world that it is no longer useful; it is a rotten, savage and defunct system and there is no need for its existence. This is while production has taken on huge and unprecedented dimensions and the insufficiency of production, which was once the historical reason for class divisions and inequalities, has disappeared. Balanced work and the balanced use of material affluence and the development of the intellectual creativity of human beings are very possible. It is a long time since the conditions for the creation of a new society, where the communist principle of "from each according to her/his ability and to each according to her/his needs" can be realised, have come into being.

 


 

II. REVOLUTION IN IRAN AND THE MINIMUM PROGRAMME

 

 

A GLIMPSE AT CONTEMPORARY IRAN

Iran is heaven for the big capitalists and landlords and hell for the workers, peasants and all other toiling masses. The gap between the classes is wide, thanks to the intense exploitation of the workers and the poverty of the peasantry. A minority of the population live lavishly, while the majority, despite hard and round-the-clock labour, cannot make ends meet.

People are deprived of the most elementary democratic rights, and a naked, brutal dictatorship hunts down and punishes any dissent or resistance.

Iran is a prison house of women and nations. It is a society where superstition, religion and religious discrimination rules.

Irans economy is structured around a single product: oil. It is backward, lopsided and unevenly developed, and a bloated state bureaucracy sucks off the economy like a vampire. The gap between industry and agriculture, between city and countryside, is striking, and the countrys all-round dependency on world imperialism increases by the day.

These conditions are the result of the domination of imperialism, bureaucrat capitalism and semi-feudalism in Iran.

 

Imperialist Domination

With the advent of the twentieth century, imperialism brought Iran under its political, economic and military subjugation. The Iranian economy, like the national economies of other oppressed nations, was integrated into, and subordinated to, the world system of production and exchange and was organised to serve the profit needs of imperialist capital.

This process started towards the end of the Ghadjar dynasty. By providing the state with huge loans, the imperialists gained considerable economic and political privileges. They organised the export of agricultural raw materials, the mining industry, the import of consumer goods and, to some degree, the import of capital commodities (such as tools and technology) and gained huge profits by exploiting cheap labour. This process took a leap during Reza Shahs reign, when, through the export of capital and commodities and by relying on the repressive state, the imperialists increased and expanded their economic domination. The discovery of huge oil reserves gave Iran a particular role in the international division of labour. The production of oil for world industry became Irans main task in this division of labour. Gradually, and especially since the Second World War, the inflow of petroleum capital took a pivotal place in the whole economy.

After the Second World War and the major restructuring of capital on a world scale, imperialism dictated the policy of import substitution industrialisation. The import of imperialist capital took unprecedented dimensions and, in addition to the expansion of the petroleum and gas industries, different industrial sectors, banking and trade were also expanded. All of this was accomplished through the more efficient exploitation of cheap labour. With the 1979 revolution and the change of regime from the Monarchy to the Islamic Republic, Iran's position in the international division of labour and its relations with the imperialist system did not fundamentally change. Iran remains an oppressed and crisis-ridden country and continues to be subordinate to, and influenced by, the needs and developments of the imperialist system. The general strategy and policies of the imperialists in the oppressed countries are implemented in Iran too. The countrys economic policy is defined and structured under the direct supervision and in accordance with the orders of the imperialist financial police: the IMF and the World Bank. The industrialisation policy of the 1960s and 1970s has been fading away, whilst loans and credits from foreign sources are skyrocketing. In order to acquire more and more foreign currency, each and every marketable industrial and agricultural product, each and every plunderable natural resource, is being put up for sale on the international market. Those fields and sectors that do not fit this criterion quickly become stagnant or completely close down. This trend leads to increasing integration of the country in the political and economic web of imperialism and a deeper dependency on imperialism.

In the last 100 years, the imperialists have plundered the natural resources and wealth of the country and have gained tremendous super-profits from an unequal exchange and from the exploitation of the labour force; they have used conspiratorial politics and military operations to advance their goals, but the most important and fundamental aspect of the domination of imperialism in Iran (as in the other oppressed countries) is that they have made the country structurally dependent on imperialism. The integration of different sectors of the countrys economy into the world economy and the level of penetration of imperialism in the very texture of the society are such that the countrys economy cannot be sustained without imperialist domination. Imperialism is not a phenomenon foreign to Iranian society, it is deeply internal.

The relation of imperialism to Iran is a relation of production. The imperialists control the key and strategic sectors of the economy in different forms and, without necessarily being the direct and official owners of major means of production, they hold the reins of production, exchange and distribution. The key and strategic sector of the economy i.e. the petroleum sector is under the domination of imperialist capital. By controlling this sector, other sectors of the economy are also brought under their control; these other sectors are also organised in the service of the profit needs of imperialist capital. This control is completed through other means, such as a monopoly over imported technology, unequal trade and production agreements, loans and credits.

Imperialism not only controls the production of wealth in Iran, it also determines whether and how it is distributed and re-utilised in Iran or in other parts of the world. The need of international capital and its local lackeys to maximise profit determines in which fields the means of production are concentrated, towards which areas the foreign currency income of the country will flow, which areas of production are to be launched and how this income is to be divided in the form of unequal wages among different sections of the population. It also determines what kind of food and how much of it people eat, how many millions of people are to be pushed below the poverty line, what is each persons share of the social production, which gang of landlords or capitalists is to get fat, where they employ their capital and how they accumulate wealth.

The production of super-profits for imperialist capital is realised through employing brutal forms of exploitation and employing naked suppressive means in the process of production. Political persecution and the blatant lack of any rights for the workers and peasants on the one hand, and the production of super-profits on the other hand, are two sides of the same coin.

At the centre of gravity of these relations of production is the export of foreign capital to Iran. The main manifestation of these relations is the position and role of the petroleum sector in the life of the country. So far imperialist capital has mainly been exported to Iran in the form of petroleum income. The major part of foreign currency income and the major part of the governments budget is from petroleum capital (or the income from oil). The income from oil provides an important portion of the expenditure on the reinforcement and expansion of the ruling bureaucratic-military apparatus; it provides the necessary infrastructure for the movement of big local and foreign capital and, in the form of government credits, it backs and motivates huge investments. The income from oil is exchanged for technology, industrial products and other essentials, such as imported foodstuffs, etc. The amount of oil produced by Iran and the price at which it is sold are subordinate to the laws of the international market and imperialist monopoly and control. Shocks in the world market and the rise and fall of oil prices have direct repercussions on the economy. The economic life of the society and the peoples livelihoods have become dependent on these fluctuations.

International finance capital is the motive force and the main sculptor of the Iranian economy. The countrys production and its economic policies and orientation are not based on the internal needs of society nor are they to provide for the basic needs and well-being of the people. Instead, all is organised in the service of the profitability needs of the imperialists and reactionary ruling classes. Imperialism has distorted the countrys economy, has expanded some selected sectors and at the same time has thrown vast areas into stagnation and bankruptcy. State of the art technology is employed in the oil industry, whilst the most backward methods of production are widely used elsewhere in the country. The relationships between agriculture and industry and between different sections of industry are disarticulated, and the countrys economy has become like a junky economy that needs increasing and constant financial injections in order to be able to function and stay on its feet.

These relations of production are not separate from the class relations in the country. These relations of production are based on the common interests of the imperialists and the reactionary ruling classes and their domination over the deprived classes. The imperialist penetration of Iran and the imperialistic development led to many changes in the social formation and class configuration of the society. New classes came into being. The bureaucrat-comprador bourgeoisie was formed and the influence and power of the feudal landlords was reduced. New layers of the national bourgeoisie and petite bourgeoisie were formed, whilst some layers of the national bourgeoisie and traditional petite bourgeoisie were destroyed. The ranks of the working class grew, many peasants became dispossessed and many others poured into the cities as a consequence of the destruction of the agricultural economy. An important shift took place in the relative importance of agriculture and industry. Big cities were formed and an enormous gap was created in the income and standard of living between those living in the cities and those living in the countryside. Today the income of the poorest urban household is one and a half times that of the poorest rural household and life expectancy in the countryside is 10 years less than that in the city. This overall trend took leaps after the First World War and especially after the Second World War.

The relations forced on society by imperialism are in contradiction to the development of a national, evenly developed and self-sufficient economy; they are in contradiction to the needs of the majority of the people. These relations give rise to acute crises and countless misery for the people.

But Irans dependence on imperialism is not just an economic phenomenon. This dependence is sustained by the constant enforcement of power and political control. The reactionary client state of Iran reinforces and reproduces this domination through coercion. Only through overthrowing this state is it possible to break the imperialist domination of Iran.

The history of imperialist development in Iran is a history of dependence, lop-sidedness and the expansion of different forms of exploitation and oppression, and at the same time it is also a history of resistance and struggle by the masses against imperialist domination. This resistance and struggle on the one hand, and the crises and upheaval in the international system and within the society itself on the other hand, create important weak points in the domination of imperialism, which results in the imperialists not being able to carry out their domination smoothly and without contradiction.

 

Bureaucratic Capitalism

With the export of imperialist capitals to Iran, the development of capitalism was accelerated and a particular form of capitalism, i.e. bureaucratic capitalism, was formed. This capitalism is not like the capitalism in the imperialist countries, its workings are very different. This type of capitalism is also called comprador capitalism (broker and middleman for imperialism). The important characteristic of this capitalism is its dependence on imperialism. Bureaucrat capitalism serves and is subordinate to imperialist capital. Its expansion and the different stages of its development are backed by the semi-colonial state; the state has played a decisive role in its formation and provided it with the basic facilities. Bureaucrat capitalism has dissolved many aspects of semi-feudal relations but it has also maintained these relations on a large scale in agriculture and other sectors of the economy and has relied on them for sustaining its profitability.

Imperialist capital has organised the countrys economy through bureaucratic capitalism. Through bureaucratic capitalism it controls the main means and resources of the production of the country and extracts value from the labour of the toiling masses.

The main form for the organisation of bureaucratic (or comprador) capital in Iran is state monopoly capital. The state has always played a central role in the economy as a whole, and in policy-making and economic planning. In addition to the state formation, bureaucratic capitalism in private form is organised in financial-industrial groupings. These groupings have close relations with the state and rely on state power and resources.

Bureaucratic (or comprador) capitalism is monopoly capitalism. The monopoly domination of this capital over vital branches of the economy and the country's resources is not gained through competition between different capitals and the employment of higher technology and thereby a reduction in the costs of production, but through utilising state power and the advantages of having ties to foreign capital (foreign economic and political institutions, as well as access to the international market); and this is completed by feudal practices, such as confiscation, fraud, lawlessness and nepotism.

The history of the development of bureaucrat capitalism in Iran and its turning points correspond to the course of the historical development of the export of imperialist capital and its needs. The foundations of bureaucrat capitalism in Iran were laid through huge foreign loans and the combination and centralisation of capitals that had developed through trade with capitalist countries. In the early twentieth century, the initial activities of bureaucrat capitalism were in the field of production and trade in agricultural raw materials, banking and certain industries. Reza Khans centralised state played a key role in the accumulation and centralisation of capital and large fortunes, as well as in lifting some of the barriers in the base and superstructure that blocked the path for the development of bureaucrat capitalism. The bureaucrat (or comprador) capitalists were born out of the metamorphosis of the feudal landlords, merchant capitalists, state bureaucrats and elements who had political links to the imperialist powers. They imported consumer and capital goods, and in co-operation with imperialist capital they developed textile, cement, cotton processing, silk weaving and sugar factories and organised labour exploitation in these newly founded branches of the economy.

The framework and the perspective of the activities of bureaucrat capitalism are defined by the role and position of Iran in the international division of labour. After the discovery of petroleum reserves in Iran, bureaucrat capitalism underwent important changes in accordance with the needs of imperialist capital. The vital demands of the world economy for this raw material consolidated Iran's position in the international division of labour, as an oil exporter. In this way, the extraction and exportation of petroleum increasingly became the centre of activities for the state of Iran. After the Second World War, Iran was given the responsibility, under the hegemony of the American petroleum companies, to continue to produce petroleum, to import consumer goods from Europe, Japan and the USA with petro-dollars, and to provide cheap labour, financial and infrastructural facilities for absorbing foreign capital. All of these, and the workings of the economy as a whole, were locked together through the income from the petroleum of Iran.

During the 1960s, in accordance with the imperialist plan of the White Revolution, the depth and scope of the activities of bureaucratic capitalism increased. Imperialist land reforms were carried out in the countryside, agro-industrial establishments were set up for expanding agricultural trade, and huge investments were made in the petroleum, gas and petrochemical industries, as well as in the bureaucratic and military structure of the country, in building roads and ports, in the financial and education systems and in the network connecting the cities. On the basis of developing import substitution industries, light consumer goods industries and assemblies were launched with cheap state credits to the investors; banking, trade and industrial institutions grew significantly. New strata of industrialists, big landlords and pro-imperialist managers and brokers emerged. These developments took place on the basis of the super-exploitation of the workers, the poverty and perpetual indebtedness of the majority of the peasants and the taxation of the middle stratas of society.

After the establishment of the Islamic Republic Regime, Irans role as a petroleum producer was maintained in the international division of labour; bureaucrat capitalism continued to develop in different branches of the economy, especially in trade and services. The development of bureaucrat capitalism, more than before, took place through state capital. The state has become the biggest landlord, industrialist, merchant, foreman and banker in the country, and together with several huge financial and religious institutions controls the vital bloodlines of the economy. Since the end of 1989, in accordance with the imperialists plans, the privatisation and reduction of the state's role in the economy was launched; nevertheless, the state still holds the key role in organising the economy. Since then, bureaucrat capitalism adopted the export-oriented development strategy dictated by the imperialist financial institutions to the oppressed nations, and on this basis developed the agro-trade sector and became increasingly active in highly profitable activities, such as carpet-weaving, and in the service of the imperialists they established free trade zones.

But several decades of the development of bureaucrat capitalism has not led to the development of the basic industrial foundations. In fact, the development of this capitalism has had a completely different result than the development of capitalism in the imperialist countries. The economy has developed in a very disarticulated manner, i.e. different fields and branches of the economy do not have internal links with each other or only have very weak links. The division of labour between the large economic branches of the economy is more with those abroad than with other branches of the economy within the country. The big industries, which have been established in the last few decades, are not self-reliant at all and do not have an existence independent of imperialism. The large industries, in terms of technology, their principal tools, technical know-how and training of experts, are fundamentally foreign-dependent. Nearly 60% of the material inputs and 90% of the machinery and spare parts of the large industries are imported. Imported technology used by these industries can only be used for particular production and cannot be extended to, and utilised by, other sectors. There are no mutual links between the strategic industries such as the petroleum industry and other sections of industry and other parts of the economy. The kind of development that this capitalism brings forth is very lopsided and uneven; except in some branches and some parts of the country, most other branches and parts are in a very backward condition.

The impact of the development of bureaucrat capitalism on the agricultural economy has been destructive and caused crises. In order to provide the food necessities of the country, bureaucrat capitalism has resorted to food imports or has mechanised and modernised a section of production and in this way imposes unequal competition, which has led to the destruction of the peasant economy. Vast areas of good land have increasingly been allocated for the production of export goods. As a result, production of the basic food requirements of the masses has decreased; the trend to import and the dependence of the country on imports has been intensified. Bureaucrat capitalism has retained the semi-feudal land ownership system and has relied on pre-capitalist relations; in this way it has blocked the path of development of the peasant economy and has fanned stagnation and chronic crisis in agriculture.

The workings of bureaucrat capitalism are such that it constantly needs injections of foreign currency or in fact foreign capital. This foreign capital enters into the workings of the economy principally in the form of petroleum income and through the state. That is why we say that the economy of Iran is a mono-producer and a dependent economy. The state pours this imperialist capital into the veins of different sections of the economy, through bank credits and the allocation of the budgets of the ministries; and when, through the conscious policies of the imperialists or as a result of crises and shocks in the international economy, the foreign currency earnings of Iran decrease, the economy plunges into stagnation and goes to the brink of bankruptcy.

Bureaucrat capitalism is subordinate to, and is under the command of, imperialist capital; nevertheless, in this relationship there is contradiction and conflict as well. The perspectives, fields of action and abilities of bureaucrat capitalism are basically limited to one country. The interests of this capitalism demands that the countrys economy become more and more integrated into the imperialist network and more and more become the darling of finance capitals and gain more and better means to serve imperialism. The imperialist capitals fundamentally move on the basis of their international goals, interests and needs. In their drive to gain maximum profit they are not bound to country-based responsibilities. The source of the emergence of some tensions between the imperialist bourgeoisie and the bureaucrat capitalists is this contradiction.

Despite their common characteristics and interests, different sections of the bureaucrat capitalists do have rivalry and conflict. The state sector is in competition with the private sector, those related to internal production are in conflict with those relying on imports, and inter-imperialist rivalry is also reflected among their respective client bureaucrat capitals. Economic and political crises heighten these contradictions.

The development of bureaucrat capitalism has been disastrous for society. This is reflected in the dependence of the basic needs of the masses on the world economy, in the transformation of the economy into a mono-producer economy and its uneven and lopsided development, in the destruction of the agricultural economy and in huge unemployment. This is reflected in the concentration of facilities in several parts of the country, the intensification of the gap between different regions and the poverty and backwardness of most parts of the country, especially the countryside. In the mega-city of Tehran, skyscrapers and abundant signs of luxury and affluence are surrounded by poverty-stricken shantytowns inhabited by a huge population who have been dislocated from the farthest regions and villages and thrown into poverty on the sidelines.

Bureaucrat capitalism is in contradiction with the interests of the majority of the masses; it deepens the poverty and misery of this majority. The development of this capitalism and the continuous destruction and threatening of the productive forces in both the countryside and the city are two sides of the same coin.

Semi-Feudalism

Before the penetration of imperialist capital, the economy of the country was based on agriculture and was fundamentally dominated by feudal relations; capitalist development in both the cities and the countryside was minimal. Imperialism penetrated and interfered with feudal relations, partially dissolved them and transformed them, and at the same time preserved and organised important aspects of feudal relations in the service of the profitability of capital. As a result of the penetration of imperialist capital, feudalism underwent changes and transformed into semi-feudalism. Imperialism linked these relations directly or indirectly to the international nexus of production and exchange; in this process some obstacles, such as the closed rural economy and market and some tribal and clan authorities, institutions and relations were discarded. In a period of a few decades the agricultural economy of Iran became increasingly dependent on the world system. Limited local resources, which were the backbone of self-sufficiency in agriculture, gradually lost ground and were replaced by dependency on state loans, certain machinery and imported material. Self-sufficient production was largely shattered as a result of the expansion of commodity exchange.

These metamorphoses and changes started mainly with the coming to power of Reza Khan's regime. A part of the peasantry was forcefully torn from the land and the agricultural economy in order to serve as labour power to lay the foundations for the petroleum industry. But the most important changes in the rural and agricultural field took place with the White Revolution. The goal of this plan was to further facilitate the movement and profit-gains of imperialist and bureaucrat capitals in the countryside, providing cheap labour power for big investments throughout the country and reducing the danger of peasant uprisings. The White Revolution replaced the authority of erstwhile feudal landlords with the direct bureaucratic-military coercion of the state, even though it could not be thoroughly and steadily replaced. The agrarian reforms limited the big land holdings. With this land reform, a capitalist section developed in agriculture, alongside the traditional section; wage-labour increased and semi-bound labour increased as well; and the trend of class polarisation among the peasantry was accelerated; but this went on in an incomplete and very gradual, painful and unfinished manner. Traditional agriculture fell into stagnation but did not perish. According to official statistics, one-third of the employed work force of the country is engaged in this field. This is without even including in the statistics the labour power of the majority of the rural women.

Under the Islamic Republic important changes occurred in the agricultural economy and the situation in the countryside. Traditional agriculture tended towards bankruptcy and many villages were vacated. The migration of the rural population, which had taken a leap at the beginning of the 1970s, accelerated even more in an unprecedented manner. Massive numbers of peasants, who had migrated to the cities, were absorbed into such fields as carpet-weaving, which is based fundamentally on household labour and relies on semi-feudal and family relations; and this is one of the more profitable areas of activity of monopoly capital, which extracts huge amounts of value from it. During this period, agro-trade developed, with the purpose of producing for the domestic and foreign markets; as a result, the number of wage labourers in agriculture grew. Food-processing agricultural industries, industrial animal husbandry and mass chicken production developed.

Despite all these changes, semi-feudal relations continued to prevail in the countryside and the basis for the semi-feudal system of land ownership did not change. On the one hand, under this semi-feudal land ownership, the majority of the good land (i.e. farms and large orchards) is concentrated in the hands of a minority of landlords or in the hands of the state and private or religious institutions and foundations. On the other hand, there are vast numbers of owners of small holdings, and also a considerable number of those engaged in the agricultural field are landless. These are the two inter-related poles of the semi-feudal land ownership system. According to the latest official state statistics in 1991, there are about 2,000 big (legal or de facto) landlords who own the same amount of land as 1,200,000 households of small landowners. The vast numbers of landless peasants give astronomical dimensions to this inequality. Owners of small land holdings are subordinate to, and controlled by, the big landholding system through various ties. Huge sections of the peasantry are kept deprived of land ownership. This is while only one-third of the countrys cultivable land is actually being planted. The peasants are forcefully kept landless or land-poor, so as to ensure their perpetual dependence on state institutions and big landlords, who exploit their labour power and the fruits of their labour. This unequal and oppressive relation in the area of ownership is the basic foundation of the exploitation of the majority of the peasants in the form of sharecropping, tenancy and the wage system. This relation reproduces the oppressed peasantry coercively.

The essence of semi-feudalism is bound labour. Vast sections of the direct producers are tied to the land, the means of production and the limited agricultural and livestock economy. They neither transform into capitalist farmers nor into workers free from the ownership of the means of production. Despite the expansion of commodity exchange, bound labour is used on a large scale and despite the changes in the production role of the peasant household, the family is still a production unit. The peasant household, in its struggle to survive, is forced to supplement its small agricultural income with income gained from tilling the land of the feudal landlords and the state and through keeping livestock, doing handicrafts and carrying out seasonal work in the city. The seasonal and unstable work, which some or all the members of the peasant family are engaged in, aids the reproduction of the peasant economy and prevents them from being torn away from the village and the land. Moreover, the semi-feudal superstructure plays an important role in keeping the labour of the peasants in a bound status and in subjugation. The situation of women in the countryside is a clear and full reflection of the semi-feudal relations. Women are deprived of land ownership, are prisoners of the backward and small-scale agricultural and livestock economy, and are forced into excruciating and unpaid labour under the power of patriarchy, male chauvinism, religion, tribe, and clan.

A network of landlords, merchants, money lenders, brokers and early buyers, whether in private or state form, have encircled the peasantry. Value is extracted from peasant production through multiple means. The peasants face not only the economic force of the market, but also non-economic pressures from above, in particular from the state. The state plays an effective role in extracting surplus labour from poor and middle peasants. This is either in the form of preparing the ground for, and providing credit to, bureaucrat capitalism to organise export-oriented agriculture and handicrafts or directly in the form of enforced buying and selling of products, monopoly in price setting, supplying credit and other agricultural inputs [such as fertiliser, machines, etc. translator], exercising a monopoly on water, pastures and forests and various taxes. Unequal exchange (what is called the price scissors) between goods produced in the backward rural economic units and those produced in more advanced units in the country or abroad leads to the increasing impoverishment of the peasants. Under these pressures, peasant production is increasingly in disintegration and disarray, and masses of the rural work force migrate to the cities, either on a seasonal basis or permanently. Meanwhile the process of industrialisation is slow, limited and sporadic and unable to absorb this labour force. This army of surplus labour is a heavy burden bringing down the wages of the working class as a whole.

The key function of semi-feudalism in the economy is to help create the conditions for super-exploitation. Semi-feudalism makes it possible for bureaucrat capitalism to pay the workers wages below the cost of reproduction of their labour power. This, in general, is done through the production of relatively cheap foodstuffs by the peasantry and the reproduction of cheap labour power in the countryside. The income of the great majority of the migrant and seasonal workers is supplemented with their or their familys peasant production. On the other hand, in the cities the standard of living of the working class is pushed down through various means, such as living in shantytowns that lack basic urban facilities. The wages of family members are also supplemented through different means and multiple jobs small trade, home production and services and in general through participation in the unofficial urban economy. This is an economy characterised by primitive organisation, labour intensive production, low and irregular wages and the absolute lack of rights for the labour force.

Pre-capitalist relations are utilised in other sections of the urban economy as well. Non-capitalistic relations exist extensively in small production and exchange units in the cities. Those engaged in this sector own and control the limited means of production, as well as the conditions of their own labour and are generally engaged in simple commodity production. The value produced by them is not invested in a capitalist value expansion process because it is used for their personal consumption and survival. This process can be seen especially in many branches of the service sector those providing personal services. According to official statistics, nearly one-third of urban employees are independent and unwaged family employees.

In the small and traditional workshops, which function on the basis of the exploitation of wage labour (such as in brick-kilns and even in some small industries that provide services to the large industries), pre-capitalist relations are in wide use. In order to intensify exploitation in these workshops, there is widespread utilisation of family labour, the unpaid labour of women and children, the master-apprentice privileges and commitments, and the implementation of force, violence and abuse.

The exploitation of the bound labour of the peasants tied to the land, the super-exploitation of the workers that have not totally ruptured from their peasant links and the masses of women and children, who are involved in household and family production, play a key role in enabling bureaucrat capitalism to extract value from society as a whole and to maintain its high profitability.

In general, both in rural and urban areas, non-economic coercion has a significant role to play in the relations between people in the production process and helps intensify exploitation. Tribal, clan, national and religious relations are also used to organise labour. Coercion by the government, religion, tradition and custom influences the organisation of the labour process and the intensification of exploitation. Non-economic coercion can be seen in the absolute lack of rights of the working class in general and in the reliance on national inequalities, patriarchy and male-chauvinism to push down the wages of the masses of labourers from the oppressed nations and the women workers, and in the economic privileges of the religious authorities and institutions.

All of the sectors that have semi-feudal relations or extensively utilise these relations constitute the traditional sector of the economy. The traditional sector has mutual relations with the modern and capitalistic sectors (big industries, big capitalist farms, banks and big and small industrial and commercial institutions), and together they make a single economic structure. They develop unevenly and their interconnecting links are distorted and full of contradictions. At the same time, the links between these sectors are essential to provide huge profits for imperialism and its clients. The relationship between these two sectors is basically defined by their coexistence. In the process of production the traditional sector receives part of its necessary credits and needs from the modern sector. The most vital link between them is that the traditional sector makes it possible for the modern sector to super-exploit the workers. This vital blood flows into the veins of the modern sector and ensures its high profitability. The relationship between the two sectors is such that it is mainly the modern sector that cannot continue without the services of the traditional sector.

 

Three Mountains and Dominant Production Relations of Society

During decades of imperialist domination, the socio-economic structure of Iran has undergone important changes. The population of the cities has increased and the ratio of rural to urban population is changing. The number of big and small cities has increased, whereas the number of empty villages has grown. Shantytowns around the big cities have emerged and are expanding continuously. As a result of the development of capitalism, the working class and semi-proletariat have grown in numbers in both the cities and the countryside, and women have increasingly engaged in social activities and work outside home. The face of the Iranian economy changes constantly and is characterised by various development models of the imperialist agencies. Some branches are launched and others are closed down; import substitution industrialisation gives way to export-oriented production; and so-called nationalisation gives way to privatisation. The different forms of movement of foreign capital and spheres of activities of bureaucrat capitalism constantly change and fluctuate on the basis of the conditions of world capital and the needs of the international markets. One thing does not change: the content of the relations and structure that stand behind all of these changes and fluctuations.

The domination of imperialism, bureaucrat capitalism and semi-feudalism are the three mountains weighing heavily on the backs of the people, three chains that have enshackled the proletariat and the people, and are the source of the problems and miseries of society. These three mountains prevent the emancipation and development of the productive forces, the most important of which are the people. The three mountains constitute a single pole. The domination of imperialism creates the conditions and possibility for the existence of the other two and determines their internal development. Bureaucrat capitalism is the agent of imperialism and the organiser of the dominated economy. Semi-feudalism provides the necessary conditions for the profitability of bureaucrat capitalism. These three mountains are inter-linked in a comprador-feudal relation of production.

The main aspect of these production relations is the dominant ownership relation. At the expense of the broad masses who lack property, the imperialists and a handful of the big capitalists and landlords have taken control of the principal means of production and the wealth of the country and exploit the workers, peasants and labouring masses through capitalist and pre-capitalist methods. Despite the development of capitalism in the cities and countryside and the extension of wage labour, the semi-feudal system of ownership plays an important role in controlling the labour force.

The dominant production relations characterise Iran as a semi-colonial, semi-feudal country. Semi-colonial in the sense that the politics and economy of the society is led and determined by imperialism; semi-feudal in the sense that the pre-capitalist relations still play a qualitative role in the production and reproduction of the socio-economic life of the country and influences it from its deepest foundations to the most developed prevailing ideas in the society.

The comprador-feudal production relations are reflected in the specific class relations. On the one side there is imperialism and the big bourgeoisie-landlords and their serving state, and on the other, the proletariat, peasants and other masses of people. The struggle between these two poles is the motive force propelling the society towards the solution of its basic contradictions.

 

The Semi-Colonial State in Iran

The state in Iran (like all states) is the means for the domination of the ruling classes over the ruled. The state in Iran is the dictatorship of the big capitalists and landlords, who are dependent on imperialism. The dictatorship of a small minority over the overwhelming majority the masses of workers, poor and landless peasants, as well as the middle strata, in both the cities and the countryside. The task of this state (like all other states) is to preserve and reproduce the dominant production relations. This state maintains Iran's dominated position in the world system and guards the comprador-feudal production relations. It guards the existing order through systematic coercion. The backbone of the state is its suppressive armed forces. The other component parts of the state are the bureaucratic administrative apparatus, the organs of espionage against the people, the courts, the prisons, the judiciary and the indirect means of suppression.

The predominant ideas, which are the ideas of the ruling classes, strengthen the foundations of the rule of the state and the state in turn propagates and enforces those ideas. The dominant ideology and culture, along with the feudal rules and feudalistic sharia [the laws of Islam translator] regulations, oppressive traditional bounds, religious institutions, reactionary mass media and the patriarchal family, which is the basic cell of this society, play an active role in maintaining and reproducing the ruling socio-economic relations.

The state of the bourgeois-landlord classes in Iran has existed for 80 years. As a result of the discovery of petroleum reserves and the October Revolution in 1917 in Russia, the British state, then head of the imperialist world, moved to build a centralised state apparatus in Iran. The geopolitical position of the country and the enormous petroleum reserves were two important elements which shaped the semi-(neo)colonial state built in Iran. In the aftermath of Reza Khans coup detat, a dependent ruling class consisting of military bureaucrats and big feudal landlords came to power. A new bureaucratic apparatus, with a modern army as its backbone, was formed, based on and by integrating elements and remnants of the previous centralised feudal state. The separation into three branches [i.e. executive, judicial, legislative translator] gave this state a bourgeois appearance. In the structure of the newly founded power, the Fars [dominant nation within Iran translator] reactionary classes acquired a privileged position; this state from the beginning was formed on the basis of Fars chauvinism and the national oppression of Kurds, Azaris, Baluchis, Turkmen, Lors and Arabs. The government forced the masses of peasants to do unpaid labour to build the network of roads and railways necessary for the military aims of the imperialists and the expansion of industry and trade. Bureaucrat capitalism was fed by these measures and grew in the cradle of the state. Reza Khans government seized many villages and large areas of land by force to strengthen his power. This government, on the one hand, enforced and spread big land ownership and secured the interests of big feudal landlords in conjunction with and in the service of the interests of imperialism. And on the other hand, it carried out transformation of the economic structure and eliminated some of the feudal and tribal authorities in favour of a strong centralised state, paving the way for the further penetration of imperialist capital in the economy and the development of bureaucrat capitalism. Coercion played an important role in these changes. The armed forces consolidated through the suppression of the oppressed nations and peoples and with the support of the imperialists. Different institutions and components of this state were glued together with the cement of a feudal ideology, which was coloured with modernism and Iranian chauvinism. The slogan of God, Shah, Country was the concentration of this ideology.

The White Revolution at the beginning of the 1960s was a significant turning point in the life of the state of the bourgeois-landlord classes. This plan made it necessary to implement some changes in the economic structure of the society. The suppression of mass movements through the 1953 coup dtat and the unifying of the ruling classes around the royal clique had paved the way for these changes. Bureaucrat (or comprador) capitalism, concentrated around the royal family, pushed the feudal landlords into a secondary position within the regime; a stratum of the comprador capitalists rose in the private sector and shared political power. The state took a greater role in leading and regulating the economy dominated by imperialism. As a result of the changes brought about by the White Revolution, the appearance and composition of the state bourgeoisified more. On the basis of the requirements for the development of bureaucrat capitalism and the regional plans of US imperialism, the bureaucratic apparatus grew at a cancerous rate, so as to control the society and regulate and link the uneven social and economic branches. At the same time, in order to enforce law and order nationally and to guarantee profitability for imperialist capitals, the armed forces were modernised and strengthened. In the 1960s and 1970s, along with these developments, the bourgeois aspects of the ruling ideology were strengthened, even though its feudal-Islamic ideological aspect continued to enjoy an important position and influence in society.

The latest turning point in the development of the state was the overthrow of the monarchy and the establishment of the Islamic Republic. In order to curb the revolutionary crisis of 1979, the imperialists washed their hands of the monarchy and paved the way for the coming to power of the alliance formed around Khomeini. As a result, the top of the power pyramid completely changed. New strata took political power and, resting on the existing relations, became the new bourgeoisie-landlords. The appearance and forms of some state institutions changed; law and sharia were combined more than ever before; an Islamic regime was established but the nature and the fundamental workings of the state didnt change.

The state of the bourgeois-landlord classes is a semi-colonial apparatus and dependent on imperialism to its core. It lacks a strong and broad social base. The power of the state is concentrated in the big cities, and its military and administrative arms grow thinner and more fragile the further they reach into the rural and remote areas. The tendency to absolutism, which is a reflection of the monopoly of bureaucrat capitalism and feudal despotism, constantly works against the bourgeois principle of power separation. The laws that are devised to sanction the domination of the ruling classes and to organise the application of state power are complemented by lawlessness. Law and lawlessness are used to enforce their rule over the oppressed classes and to regulate the inter-relationship of the bourgeois-landlord classes. The acute and antagonistic contradiction between the bourgeois-landlord classes on the one hand, and the exploited and oppressed masses on the other, has created a wide gap between the state and society, making the use of harsh and naked coercion necessary. The electoral games and democratic promises proposed at times by the ruling classes are nothing but a temporary and thin cover over this despotism.

The state of the bourgeois-landlords, during its lifetime, through national and international events and crises, has undergone changes and had different regimes ruling it. But the changes in these regimes have never meant a change of system. The regimes have changed without any fundamental change in the class nature of the state, without the replacement of the rule of the oppressor by that of the oppressed classes. The obstacle preventing revolution is this reactionary state dominated by imperialism. Adjustments and reforms in the state machinery, which at times are applied to enliven and strengthen it, cannot open any doors to fundamental changes in our society. Only by smashing the totality of this state and overthrowing the entire ruling superstructure can the proletariat and the peoples achieve emancipation.

 

The Islamic Republic and the 1979 Revolution

The Islamic Republic is the governing form taken by the reactionary state after the monarchy was overthrown. The new cloak that the state machinery donned was a response to the revolutionary crisis of 1978-79. Developments at an international level and the intensification of internal contradictions played decisive roles in the formation of that crisis. The world economic crisis of the 1970s greatly influenced the Iranian economy. The sudden rise in oil prices intensified distortions of the economic structure. The role of the Shah as the gendarme in the region and the expansion of the bureaucratic and military apparatus to secure the strategic goals of US imperialism in the region resulted in heavy expenditure. These pressures and shocks took place when the imperialist reforms of the 1960s reached their logical conclusion: the stagnation and crisis in agriculture became evident, migration from the countryside to the cities took breathtaking dimensions and the margins of the cities turned into powder-kegs. Inflation skyrocketed and squeezed the workers and labouring masses more than ever. The distorted and fragile modernism imposed from above by imperialism and its client state in a few sectors came into sharp contradiction with the backward and traditional foundations of society. The contradiction between the petite bourgeoisie and middle bourgeoisie with imperialist capital and bureaucrat comprador capital intensified. The divisions in the ruling classes and the cracks that appeared in the repressive and despotic machine of the regime added fuel to the flames of the revolutionary crisis. The workers and mass movements rose up, the state institutions suffered blows and the police intelligence apparatus fell apart. The army, openly and directly, stood against the oppressed classes to save the system. The army was put in a position where any advance of the revolution would have been possible only by attacking the army. The 1979 revolution, despite the sacrifices and heroism of the masses, was not able to target and destroy the heart of the state, i.e. the armed forces. This would have required the leadership of the revolution by the working class and its vanguard party and the launching of a revolutionary war. The absence of this vital element gave imperialism and the reactionary classes manoeuvring room in order to safeguard the state machinery from the blows of the oppressed masses. The establishment of the Islamic Republic acted as a shock absorber or a safety umbrella for the state machinery.

The Islamic Republic was the result of a historic compromise to suppress the revolution. The participants in this compromise were the imperialist powers and the reactionary coalition around Khomeini. This coalition first and foremost consisted of a stratum of traditional bourgeois-feudals, who had been hurt by the imperialist reforms of the 1960s, and whose economic and political power had been undermined. A significant proportion of these forces were under the aegis of the clergy and religious institutions. Their opposition to the White Revolution was that they saw their class interests endangered. A section of the Khomeini coalition was the traditional middle-bourgeoisie mainly engaged in commerce, who saw the plunder table of imperialism and its lackeys and who aspired to become bureaucrat compradors. Moreover, in the 1970s the royal clique increased its economic monopoly and political despotism, alienating a section of the bureaucrat comprador capitalists. During the revolutionary crisis of 1978-79 and in the early days of the formation of the Islamic Republic, these alienated sections aligned with Khomeini.

The aim of the compromise was to suppress revolution and preserve the system and the existing state machinery. The imperialists fear of a deepening revolution and the increasing influence of revolutionary forces made them come to a rapid agreement with the Khomeini trend. The Western imperialists, headed by the US, wanted to save their basic and strategic interests in the region and the enormous machinery that they had developed to safeguard their interests, which was in danger. Another important element that made them adopt this policy was preventing the penetration of Iran by the Soviet Union. Considering the intensification of their contention with the Soviet imperialist bloc, the Western imperialists could not tolerate a revolutionary crisis and growing instability in Iran. The continuation of this situation could have strengthened the Soviet hand and changed the international balance of forces. The Khomeini coalition, on the other hand, wanted to replace the monarchical ruling class, take over the exorbitant comprador-feudal interests and run the system according to some political-ideological changes they favoured. In order to rule, this coalition needed the existing state machinery and its instruments of coercion. The condition for this compromise was that this coalition would put a leash on the revolutionary crisis, suppress the revolutionary masses and mend and strengthen the damaged state machinery. The imperialists saw in Khomeini, who had jumped to the head of the revolution, the ability to do this. So they paved the way for the establishment of the Islamic Republic. The Islamic Republic is the result of the dominance of a reactionary leadership over a genuine mass revolution. This leadership was based on certain material grounds. The die-hard feudal and semi-feudal relations provided a strong objective backing to the Islamic ideology in society. Despite the restrictions imposed on the clerical apparatus during the last two decades of the Shahs regime, Islam continued to be an important ideological tool to control both the urban and rural masses and to fight off the influence of communist ideology. While the communists were brutally suppressed, the networks of mosques and Hosseiniyes [places for religious gatherings translator] were expanding, and large sections of discontented people, when they took up active struggle and looked for a philosophy, found Islam to be the most readily available. This was in a situation where, internationally, progressive nationalism had proven incapable of fighting imperialism and reaction and liberation struggles under the leadership of the nationalists had either been defeated or co-opted by the imperialists of the Western or Eastern bloc. As a result of the overthrow of the proletarian state in China by the revisionists in 1976, the international communist movement was facing a major crisis. The communist movement in Iran was going through its young and inexperienced period and was poorly prepared for such a challenge.

Moreover, the changes made by imperialism to the socio-economic structure of Iran and the monopolist tendency of bureaucrat capitalism had dragged a wide spectrum of the urban and rural sections, who held religious beliefs and inclinations, onto the stage of struggle and opposition. Pan-Islamic tendencies within the clerical apparatus and among the forces that opposed imperialism and the development of capitalist relations from a feudal standpoint gained strength. The spread of secular and Western values in the cities, which threatened religious values and semi-feudal social relations, became another ground for reactionary opposition. In reaction to the penetration of imperialist culture and the cultural and moral decadence of the monarchy, many people, including sections of the intellectuals, took up the defence of tradition and religion.

The sum of these objective and subjective elements determined how the revolution advanced and that Khomeini came to its leadership.

During several years of bloody suppression of the masses and the destruction of a large section of the revolutionary generation, the Islamic Republic forged and consolidated itself. The suppressive military, ideological and political machine of the regime was forged through confrontation with the workers and communist movements, national and peasant movements, womens and student movements and democratic movements of the broad masses. The revolutionary achievements of the masses, such as setting up workers councils in the factories, peasant councils and associations in the countryside, womens organisations, writers associations, student organisations, councils in hospitals, schools, etc., and the revolutionary achievements of the oppressed nations were destroyed. The intelligence and military institutions were repaired and developed. The outbreak of the flames of the reactionary Iran-Iraq war, which was lit by the imperialists, further diminished the revolutionary energy of the masses. Through bloody suppression and the Iran-Iraq war a concentrated counter-revolution emerged. The administrative apparatus was tied tighter to the armed forces and was reorganised under the regimes ideological umbrella.

The Islamic Republic is dependent on imperialism, both economically and politically. Some of its frictions with the imperialists are reflections of the inter-imperialist contradictions and rivalries that are expressed on the Iranian stage. Before the fall of the monarchy, the Shahs regime was a running dog for the US, and US advisors, armaments and capital enjoyed an open presence in Iran. During the revolution the US was targeted by the revolutionary struggle of the masses, and US interests suffered blows. After the revolution, the Western bloc started to re-knit their ties with Iran, mainly through Europe; the Soviet Union took advantage of the loosening of the US's previously unchallenged grip on Iran and actively built relations with the new regime. The superficial independence of the Islamic Republic is nothing but the regime's somersaults between its international masters, the aim being to better absorb the shocks of political and economic crises and to find a better position among the clients of imperialism. In fact, the foreign policy of the Islamic Republic throughout its existence was more pro-West and, considering the fundamental dependence of Irans socio-economic structure on Western imperialism and the rule of the semi-colonial state, it could not have been otherwise.

The nature of a state is not decided by the class origins of its leaders and officials. Those who form the Islamic regime, contrary to the heads of the monarchic regime, were neither from the big monopoly capitalists nor big landlords. Most of them originated from the feudal lords and middle landowners that had been weakened during the reforms of the 1960s, as well as from the middle urban strata. But these origins did not change the class nature of the Islamic Republic. The ruling clerics and their non-cleric allies, who took responsibility for safeguarding the particular class relations, rapidly rose to the position of big bourgeois-landlord classes.

The replacement of the monarchic regime with the Islamic Republic shows that reactionary regimes can take different forms; methods and slogans can change, dominant policies and ideologies can be modified and reformed, but the class nature of the state remains untouched. These kinds of changes from one kind of regime to another have a common aspect: they all take place within the framework of comprador-feudal production relations and are aimed at preserving these reactionary relations.

 

CLASSES AND THEIR POSITION IN THE PROCESS OF REVOLUTION IN IRAN

 

Who are the enemies of the working class? Who are its friends? These are questions of prime importance for the revolution. Correct class analysis plays a decisive role in the victory or defeat of the proletarian revolution. Without a correct understanding of the social and class contradictions, the working class cannot lead a victorious revolution.

The semi-feudal, semi-colonial character of the society defines the tasks and perspective of the revolution and its driving forces. Iranian society needs a revolution that carries out the task of smashing the domination of imperialism, bureaucrat capitalism and semi-feudalism through to the end and, by accomplishing the new-democratic revolution, makes the transition to socialism. Different classes and strata take up different stands and approaches towards this revolution. In order to recognise true friends and real enemies, the economic situation of different classes and their approach to revolution must be analysed.

 

Bourgeois-Landlord Classes

[Bourgeois-landlord classes: the big bourgeoisie and the big landlords composing the ruling classes in Iran, or what can also be called the comprador-feudal classes translator.]

They include the owners of the large industries and trade enterprises, as well as the big landlords, either in private or state form, large religious foundations, bank managers, state technocrats and military bureaucrats. The bourgeoisie-landlords have control and monopoly over the main means and resources of production, the key and strategic sectors of the economy, and they hold political power.

The bourgeois-landlord classes are composed of a couple of dozen rival and allied economic-political monopoly groupings, with each having their allies and representatives in the state apparatus. The rivalry between these groupings originates in their different orientations and interests in both the national and international arena.

The bourgeois-landlord classes represent the most reactionary production relations and oppose any changes and developments whatsoever in favour of the proletariat and the masses. Their development and survival depends on imperialist domination. These classes exploit the workers, peasants and other toiling masses through capitalist and pre-capitalist modes and impose their reactionary dictatorship on the proletariat and the masses. They are the main enemies and targets of the revolution.

 

Middle Bourgeoisie (or National Bourgeoisie)

The class nature of the middle and small capitalists is no different to that of the big capitalists. The middle bourgeoisie, on the one hand, participates in the exploitation of the proletariat and the toiling masses, and on the other hand, is in contradiction with the monopoly and domination of the imperialist and bureaucrat comprador capitals. This section of the bourgeoisie, as a result of the monopoly domination of bureaucrat capitalism, is deprived of activity in important sectors of the economy. This bourgeoisie does not enjoy state provisions and privileges. Because of this, they have difficulty obtaining access to the world market and state credits.

This stratum of the bourgeoisie is distinguished from the big bourgeoisie in terms of the volume of its capital, its non-monopoly position in the national market, its limited financial, production and organisational ties with imperialist capital and its relations with political power. These medium-sized capitals, although they profit from imperialist development, are ultimately restricted by imperialist capital.

The middle bourgeoisie is mainly active in the manufacturing workshops and in small and medium-sized commercial establishments; through trade and by establishing handicraft workshops it relates to the countryside. Even though semi-feudal relations pose restrictions to the development of this bourgeoisie, both in the field of production and also in the field of superstructure and culture, it has certain ties with semi-feudal relations and benefits from them. As a result of the development of industry and trade under the aegis of bureaucrat capitalism, a section of the middle bourgeoisie is generated and regenerated as an appendage of big capital. For example, parts of the middle-sized manufacturing workshops supplement some of the large industries and are dependent on them. The main part of the middle bourgeoisie is pushed towards limited, non-strategic and more labour-intensive areas areas that the imperialist and bureaucrat capitals are not particularly interested in and that are limited to the internal market. However, this bourgeoisie, in an overall sense, in terms of technological and credit resources, has become dependent on the banking network and the international market.

The national bourgeoisie in Iran and generally in countries dominated by imperialism, unlike the bourgeoisie of eighteenth-century Europe, is not able to solve the problems of bourgeois-democratic revolution and carry out its tasks. This bourgeoisie, even when participating in democratic revolution, is inclined to compromise with the enemies of the revolution. In the last several decades this force has played an active role on the Iranian political scene and has exerted an important political-ideological influence on the mass movements, but has never been able to take a position independent of the reactionary classes and generally comes to the scene as their tail and ally. A clear example of this was the alignment of the middle bourgeoisie with the reactionary religious forces during the 1979 revolution in order to leash and suppress the revolution and participate in the Islamic Republic regime. In the face of the strong presence of the working class and the movement of the toiling masses in that revolution, this force became scared and served the reactionary forces. Therefore, the existence of a national bourgeoisie is not equivalent to its potential to struggle against imperialism and reaction or its alignment with the new-democratic revolution. But there are contradictions between this stratum and the enemy, and in certain contexts the possibility of its alliance with the new-democratic revolution can arise. Experience has shown that the national bourgeoisie of the oppressed nations in Iran has less possibility of uniting with the ruling classes than the national bourgeoisie of the Fars nation. Therefore, they are more likely to co-operate with a revolution under the leadership of the proletariat, but they also show vacillations between the camp of revolution and counter-revolution.

 

Urban Petite Bourgeoisie

Different strata of the petite bourgeoisie, with more than 6 million employed, constitute a broad section of the urban society. The petite bourgeoisie consists of two sectors: modern and traditional.

The traditional sector of the petite bourgeoisie consists of small shopkeepers who rely on unpaid family labour. There are also craftsmen who produce either single-handedly or with a few apprentices. These engage in small-scale production and own few means of production and partially profit from the exploitation of hired labour power. But generally they do not exploit, and they themselves are not exploited in the process of production either. This strata's opposition to the monopoly of the state and imperialism is mixed with backward inclinations. Because of its economic and ideological links with big traditional merchants, the petite bourgeoisie can politically tail this reactionary force. But at the same time, it suffers from the monopolist pressures of big capital, the state's extortionate taxation and from the back-breaking invasion of foreign capital and goods; therefore, it has the potential to go along with the revolution.

The modern section of the petite bourgeoisie has been formed and is reproduced through the process of the development of bureaucrat capitalism, foreign trade and the bureaucratic military apparatus. This section has different layers. Its well-off section includes the heads of government offices, managers and executives of enterprises, etc., who receive part of the surplus value produced by society through relatively high wages and other benefits and social advantages. Generally, the position of this section in relation to political power is vacillatory and conservative. It is scared of the proletarian revolution and escapes from it. However, under certain conditions, it might take a neutral or friendly position towards the proletarian revolution.

The middle and lower layers of the modern petite bourgeoisie consist of middle and low office workers of the government, education and health sectors, modern industrial, trade and service sectors, students and intellectuals and owners of repair shops, as well as small workshops mainly run by their own labour. The office employees of the government number two million. This is an important section of the modern petite bourgeoisie. The lower and middle strata of the modern petite bourgeoisie suffer from economic, political and cultural oppression and are discontented with the backwardness and despotic conduct of the regime; they have the potential to participate in revolution. Among them there is a tendency, in their search for modernism, to look up to any pseudo-new phenomena, including the oldest bourgeois tricks of the imperialist powers, and to follow reformist tendencies. But, generally, the middle and lower strata of the modern petite bourgeoisie, who are largely engaged in services and education, are part of the toiling masses and are allies of the working class.

 

Intellectuals

The majority of the intellectuals are part of the petite bourgeoisie and most of them are students. Except for a small section of the intellectuals who defend the reactionary classes, who are pro-imperialist, have close links with the bourgeoisie-landlords and who go against the proletariat and the masses, the majority of the intellectuals suffer pressure and discrimination from the ruling classes. A large section of the students have no clear future and are threatened with unemployment. Because of their conditions of work and life, they are sensitive to political events and developments and generally play an advanced role in the struggle against the regime. The experience of the student movement and also the movements of the progressive intellectuals and artists in the last several decades is a testimony to this. At the same time events, such as the defeat of the revolution or the ebb of revolutionary movements internationally, can rapidly influence intellectuals and give rise to confusion and vacillation amongst them. The lower strata of the intellectuals have the potential to participate shoulder to shoulder with the workers and peasants or to be close supporters of the revolution. The party must win over some revolutionary intellectuals, otherwise mobilising and organising the revolutionary masses and the advance of the proletarian revolution will face difficulty and will not be carried out successfully. The intellectuals must firmly decide to unite with the masses and serve their interests and engage in revolutionary practice. Otherwise, more often than not, they tend to subjectivism and individualism and fall prey to vacillation. Only in the process of protracted participation in revolutionary upheavals and mass struggles can the intellectuals transform into thoroughgoing proletarian intellectuals.

 

Peasants

Nearly half of the population of the country lives in the countryside. The countryside is the arena of such diverse activities as agriculture, animal husbandry, fishing and handicrafts, especially carpet-weaving. Agricultural production is the backbone of these activities, and land ownership plays an important role in the appropriation and distribution of water, cattle and agricultural machinery. Those directly participating in the above-mentioned activities are in the ranks of the peasants. The basis of their livelihood is the agricultural economy, and their productive activities are carried out by relying on family labour power. To one degree or another they all suffer from the bourgeois-feudal monopoly ownership of the land, as well as the monopoly on water, pasture land, machinery and agricultural inputs. Despite their common aspects, important class stratification exists among the peasants. Even though the degree of land ownership is a point of reference for providing a general picture of class stratification in the countryside, this should be looked at in combination with income, as well as whether they exploit or are exploited. Moreover, elements such as ownership of water and the other means of production, such as agricultural machinery, access to agricultural inputs and the topographical position of the land and the region as a whole influence this stratification in important ways.

The dimensions of inequality, in terms of land ownership, are enormous. Moreover, while the rural population has grown, the amount of cultivated land has not changed. This has made the problem of landlessness and limited ownership of land more acute. The land question is the driving force of the class struggle in the countryside and is the problem of landless, poor and middle peasants. Nearly 19% of the cultivated land, which includes the best quality land, is under the control of the big landowners. Each has more than 50 hectares of land. They, along with the rich peasants, hold 65% of the total land, and the remainder is owned by more than 80% of the peasantry.

 

Rich Peasants

Those peasants who own between ten and fifty hectares of land are generally referred to as rich peasants. They own more than half of the cultivated land and form 16% of land-related producers. The rich peasants gain the main part of their income from the ruthless exploitation of agricultural labourers and poor peasants in the form of wage labour, tenancy and usury. The rich peasants themselves, along with their families, work on the land. They produce for the market and usually organise trade and transport between city and village as well. The rich peasants generally clash with the state and big landlords in the areas of agricultural and cattle credit allocations, the pricing of products, the monopoly over resources and markets, and the provision of machinery and agricultural establishments. The upper strata of the rich peasants, who have secured a more stable position by intensely exploiting the poor peasants and agricultural workers, as well as by having close links with the state institutions, should be considered as being in the ranks of the feudal landlords.

Both economically and politically, the rich peasants play a major role in the countryside and have a strong political and moral influence over the peasant population. Class-wise, this stratum must be considered as being a section of the middle (national) bourgeoisie, who greatly profit from semi-feudal relations. The rich peasants vacillate in the face of reactionary political power. The rich peasants oppose monopolisation by the state and big feudals; but they also have a deep fear of a thoroughgoing agrarian revolution and the distribution of land among the masses of peasants. They may take a neutral position in the agrarian revolution, as this revolution is mainly against the state and big landowners. Therefore, a premature policy of destroying their position as rich peasants should not be carried out. However, considering the fact that large portions of land are concentrated in their hands, the demands of the poor and landless peasants can only be met by re-distributing their surplus land. In the longer term, it is the interests of the majority of the masses that prevails, rather than this temporary leniency towards the rich peasants.

 

Middle Peasants

Those peasants who own between two and ten hectares of land are usually referred to as middle peasants. They own about 30% of the agricultural land and make up 40% of the land-related production units. They mainly own their own agricultural means of production and support themselves only or mainly with their own labour. They usually do not need to work for others and be exploited. Some of them benefit from hired labour power, but this is not permanent and does not constitute a major part of their income. A large proportion of the middle peasants just own their land; others, in addition to their own land, also rent a piece of land. Middle peasants produce partly for the market. The exploitation of the middle peasants takes various forms: payment of interest on credits from the state or from private sources, land rent and interest to landlords or rich peasants, the state monopoly pricing of agricultural products and the unequal trade organised by merchants and the state during the process of purchasing products from the peasants and selling agricultural inputs to them.

This stratum has an unstable and insecure position and is constantly polarised. Despite this, over many years, the number of their production units and the amount of land belonging to this stratum, as a whole, have remained unchanged.

The middle peasants can be considered an ally of the working class. Under the leadership of the proletariat they are a significant part of the driving force of the revolution. Not only can they participate in the new-democratic revolution but they can also accept socialism. Considering the large numbers of middle peasants, gaining their support is important for the victory of the proletarian revolution.

 

Poor and Landless Peasants (Semi-Proletariat of the Countryside)

The poor peasants are those peasants who generally own less than two hectares of land. They own about 4% of the cultivated land and form more than 40% of the land-related production units. These poor peasants, along with the landless peasants, constitute the majority of the rural population. Some of them own some land and livestock but they dont have enough of the means of production, whilst others are completely landless but have some means of production and limited livestock. Their production is mainly for subsistence. They cannot survive with these limited resources and tools. They are forced to sell some of their labour power and be exploited, either through wage labour or sharecropping on mechanised farms and in the orchards of the big landlords or rich peasants, or they have to rent a piece of land from the landlords or rich peasants. For their daily survival and to cover the expenses of cultivation, the poor and landless peasants are regularly forced to borrow money from the local merchants and usurers and to pay interest. Part of the income of their family also comes from handicrafts, especially carpet-weaving. A significant portion of the poor and landless peasants leave for near and far cities to find temporary work, so that they can ensure the survival of their family.

The poor and landless peasants have a hand-to-mouth existence. They are always in debt and in constant danger of total bankruptcy, and there is a compulsion to permanently migrate to the city. The poor and landless peasants are the closest and most reliable ally of the proletariat for making revolution; under the leadership of the proletariat they constitute the main force of the revolution. They are also a reliable base for the transition to socialism.

 

Urban Semi-Proletariat

The semi-proletariat is the product of the bankruptcy and stagnation of semi-feudal agriculture and the development of bureaucrat capitalism in the cities and countryside. This force is mainly concentrated in the cities. They are a significant part of the dispossessed peasantry who have not transformed into workers. Whilst going through the slow and uneven process of proletarianisation on the margins of the urban economy, the semi-proletarians still carry some peasant attachments, specifically affection for the land and the means of production. Some own small and inexpensive means of production for hand production, such as carpet looms and hand carts for the distribution of goods. A significant part of urban services, especially the network for the distribution of goods, are run using the labour of this section.

An important section of the work force in Iran is semi-proletariat. They are exploited through capitalist and pre-capitalist modes. They usually do not have the possibility of selling their labour power on a full-time basis. This force of several million people includes those who are engaged, individually or with their families, in temporary and seasonal employment and in the unofficial economy. The semi-proletariat consists of the enormous unemployed population of the shantytowns, the helping-hands in shops, the street vendors, the owners of kiosks and a section of the women and children who are engaged in home production or are domestic servants. The unemployed of the cities mainly consist of semi-proletarians.

The formation of the semi-proletariat is one of the characteristics of the class structure in the cities in dominated countries like Iran and an important sign of the semi-feudal nature of these societies. The urban semi-proletariat is an explosive and destabilising force for the regime. The shantytowns or poverty belts, where these people live, surround the cities; they are generally deprived of any urban services, such as water, electricity, etc. Their economic situation is somewhat similar to the situation of the poor peasants in the countryside. The deprived masses of semi-proletarians, having an unstable position, are extremely open to breaking up the status quo and participating in revolutionary struggle. The existence of natural and regular ties between the city-based semi-proletariat and the rural areas may become a conduit for the transfer of the revolutionary struggle from city to countryside and vice versa and for the establishing of close ties between the workers and peasants. The semi-proletariat, under the leadership of the working class, is an important task force in the army of the working class.

 

The Working Class

The working class in Iran is a growing force and includes five million people. In order to live, workers rely on the sale of their labour power. About two million workers are employed in the industrial sections, which consist of large workshops (more than ten workers) and small workshops. The workers in the large plants, such as petroleum, petrochemicals, machines, metallurgy, etc., are also part of the above. About one and a half million are construction workers and the remainder are workers in the service sectors (hotels, transport and commerce) and agricultural workers.

A section of the agricultural workers, who do not own land or the means of cultivation, are employed in commercial-mechanised farms, large orchards and mechanised animal husbandry. Another section is exploited by the rich peasants. Except for a thin layer of agricultural workers that have permanent employment, the majority are seasonal workers and dont enjoy job security or stability. The majority of agricultural workers, like the landless peasants, are the most deprived and constitute the backbone of revolution in the countryside.

The great majority of Irans working class work in small industrial workshops, services, construction and agriculture. The number of workers in small industrial units is more than half of the total workers. Unskilled, temporary and seasonal workers constitute an important part of the working class. The conditions of work and life of the working class are characterised by intense exploitation and the lack of rights, trade union organisations and a welfare system. The heaviest pressure of the backward relations falls on the shoulders of working women. By utilising the semi-feudal values and atmosphere and by disregarding all rights, even those recognised in law, the capitalists impose unequal wages for equal work on women as compared to men. The section of the working class that enjoys relative job security and stability forms only a thin layer and consists of workers (mainly skilled and experienced) employed in large industries, such as petroleum and petrochemicals. But despite the differences in the conditions of work and the level of wages and welfare between the different strata of the workers in Iran, this class as a whole is super-exploited.

An important section of the working class is of rural origin and has natural ties with the countryside and the peasantry. The section of the working class from the oppressed nations suffers double exploitation and oppression. The working class is a single and at the same time multinational class consisting of Turkish, Kurdish, Baluch, Turkmen, Lor, Arabic and Fars workers. Immigrant Afghanistani workers, who suffer direct and double oppression and exploitation at the hands of the bourgeoisie, big landlords and rich peasants, are also part of this class.

Because of its position in production and its lack of any ownership of the means of production, the interest of the working class lies in the abolition of private property and of all kinds of exploitation and oppression. The working class represents new productive forces. It is the most thoroughgoing, persevering, advanced, farsighted and revolutionary class in society. Despite its recent historical background and relatively low numbers, this class is the most fundamental driving force for revolution in Iran. It is only this class that can unite the other toiling masses and lead a victorious revolution.

In nearly one century of capitalist development in Iran, the contradiction between labour and capital has become more pronounced, and the workers struggles have played an important role in social developments. With its participation in the revolutionary movements at the beginning of the century, against the Reza Khan regime, and later in the democratic anti-imperialist movement of 1941-53 and finally in the 1979 revolution, the working class has displayed its power and determination in struggle. But the lack of a revolutionary vanguard party of the proletariat, armed with a correct ideological and political line, has resulted in the working class tailing other classes and being unable to lead the revolution and achieve victory. In the last century, in addition to its international experience, the working class has gained considerable experience and knowledge through the different struggles and movements, especially during the 1979 revolution; by relying on these, it can pave the way to victory.

 

SOME KEY SOCIAL CONTRADICTIONS

 

In distinguishing the friends and enemies of the revolution, in addition to the position of different class forces, there are other important contradictions that cross class lines and influence the alignment of the forces in society. National oppression and the oppression of women are among the most important. The process of class struggle in Iran has close ties with the struggle to resolve these contradictions.

 

Women

The majority of women suffer double oppression: class oppression and gender oppression. This particularity has great political significance. Womens oppression is thousands of years old and has come about on the basis of the development of private ownership and the class system in human society. The oppression of women is the result of the division of society into classes. With the emergence of classes and class distinctions, the initial division of labour that existed on the basis of the gender difference between man and woman and that contained the potential seeds of the initial inequalities turned into an oppressive division of labour. Ever since the emergence of the era of social hierarchy based on private property, the laws and regulations dominating the relations between the two sexes, including womens reproductive role, have been tools for guaranteeing the regeneration of these relations of production. Ideas, beliefs and traditions that portray women as weak and inferior exist to preserve private property relations. One of the first social structures in class society was the patriarchal family, which institutionalised the subjugation of women and children. Exploitative states in different historical periods have acted as the big male chauvinists and have tried to crucify women into a secondary and subordinate position.

In Iran as well, sexual oppression is a vital pillar and integral part of the workings of the reactionary state. The majority of women are not only bound by the chains of imperialist domination, bureaucrat capitalism and semi-feudalism, they are also under the yoke of male chauvinism. These conditions impose naked and all-encompassing inequalities and discrimination against women in the economic, political and social spheres. In the case of women from the oppressed nationalities, an additional national oppression is added to the above-mentioned yokes. In society and the workplace, as a whole women live in inferior conditions as compared to men. Men profit from this situation. This is a privilege given to men by the exploiting classes. Women are forced to obey their fathers; after marriage, their husbands; and when old, their sons. All women suffer oppression, but the class and social interests of all women are not the same, and they dont all suffer this oppression to the same degree or in the same form.

The oppression of women in Iran has a feudal nature, which is mixed with bourgeois imperialist forms. Religious beliefs and yokes are among the main forms of the feudal oppression of women. Despite the changes that have taken place in the institution of the feudal family, this institution, especially in the countryside, is still a unit of production. The family in the countryside totally subordinates the labour power and social activity of women to that of men. Rural women are the most oppressed of all. Their work plays a fundamental role in running the village economy, and their participation in agricultural production is significant. Women carry out 86% of the activities of animal husbandry and 50% of the production of agricultural produce. The majority of women are in practice deprived of the right to own land and to use their own income. The extremely oppressive position of women in the countryside has imbued them with great potential for revolutionary transformation. The destruction of the old land ownership relations and the elimination of the deprivation of women in the countryside have a key place in the destruction of the semi-feudal relations in the country.

In the city, as well, the majority of women are house slaves. Their housework is not recognised. Moreover, the women of the basic masses are obliged to also take part in producing certain goods and providing certain services for the market place. Women account for an important part of the work force of the unofficial economy. As home workers they engage in activities such as sewing, food production, packaging, baking, assembling toys, decorative work and minor technical assemblies. The wages paid to these home workers is a quarter to a third of that of a worker who does the same job in a workshop.

The gender of women workers is a tool in the hands of the capitalists to doubly exploit them and keep them obedient. Women do not get paid wages equal to that of men for the same work. This is also true, but to a lesser degree, for white-collar and educated women. Women in the cities also live in a semi-feudal atmosphere, the source of which lies in the powerful continuation of the pre-capitalist relations in the countryside. The marital and family relations in the cities are also extremely traditional, and even those men belonging to the modern strata of society are totally engulfed in feudal ideas and behaviour. The needs of bureaucrat capitalism continuously bring significant sections of urban women to the field of work outside the home. At the same time, the state tries to suppress this volatile force in the urban centres. This contradiction has made the cities the friction point and tense centres of the woman question.

The oppression of women throughout society is planned at the highest levels of the state and is put into practice through political, executive and religious organs, as well as the family. Reactionary ideology and laws, culture, tradition and the armed forces are the guardians of this oppression. Islam as the ruling ideology, sharia and customs are the enforcers, justifiers and propagators of the inequality and enslavement of women. These conditions have led to the development of great energy and enthusiasm in women; this is a strategic element in the advance of the proletarian revolution. Women showed a glimpse of their fighting ability with their broad participation in the 1979 revolution and in subsequent developments.

The struggle of women for emancipation is an important driving force in the socialist revolution. This is because the elimination of the oppression of women is linked to the elimination of private property. Therefore, the broad and all-round participation of women in the revolution led by the working class will strengthen the socialist elements of that revolution right from the beginning.

 

Oppressed Nations

Iran is a prison house of nations, and the struggle of the oppressed nations for national liberation is a driving force for proletarian revolution. In this multinational country, nations and national groupings from the Kurds, Azaris, Baluchis and Turkmen to the Arabs, Lors, Armenians and Assyrians suffer from national oppression (i.e. the domination and supremacy of the Fars nation). Moreover, the Afghanistani masses living in Iran suffer from the most severe and naked form of national oppression under the flag of Iranian chauvinism. In response, oppressed nations have, to different degrees, risen against this oppression and waged national movements against the central state. These struggles on many occasions have taken the form of armed struggle.

National oppression is a pillar of the reactionary state. The colonial bourgeoisie and later the imperialist powers intensified national oppression through conspiracies, occupations, redefinition of borders and by tearing the nations apart. National inequality is a heritage of the centralist Ghadjar feudal state. But it was after the coming to power of Reza Khan that a modern centralised state was forged on the basis of imperialist designs and Fars supremacy. From the beginning, national oppression directly served imperialist domination; mixed with the national oppression of imperialism, these nations suffer a double oppression [Fars national oppression and imperialist national oppression translator].

The lopsided development of bureaucrat capitalism has led to economic inequality between the different regions of the country and increased the concentration of power in the hands of the central government. This has intensified national oppression. As a result of capitalist development, the bourgeoisie of these nations has also developed and come into sharp contradiction with the monopoly of the bourgeoisie of the oppressor nation.

Semi-feudal relations play a decisive role in the reproduction of national oppression. Large land ownership and clans, as well as feudal relations, are relatively stronger in the areas inhabited by the oppressed nations. The resolution of the national question in Iran is closely linked to the resolution of the agrarian-peasant question.

National oppression in different regions has different particularities. These differences generally rise from: the degree of development of capitalist relations, the endurance of feudal relations, the level of participation of the reactionary classes of these nations in local or central power and the past history and strategic position of each region. A common feature of this oppression is cultural (and religious) suppression, failure to recognise national languages, preventing education in these languages and banning their use in administrative affairs. The bureaucratic-military apparatus and officials of the state in these regions are usually regarded as strangers and occupiers and are isolated and hated by the people.

National oppression is the oppression of the oppressed nations and national minorities by the Fars ruling classes. Apart from a few landlords and the big bourgeoisie of the oppressed nations, all other strata of these nations suffer national oppression. From workers and peasants to the urban petite bourgeoisie, the national bourgeoisie and smaller landlords, they all suffer from Fars chauvinism and economic, political and cultural oppression, and they participate in national movements with their own demands and outlook.

The bourgeoisie of the oppressed nations, whether as merchants, owners of industrial units, specialists or as rich peasants, are targets of national oppression. They demand their share of political power, as well as resources and the markets of the country, from the Fars bourgeoisie-feudals, who have control over all of these. Even though this bourgeoisie is relatively weak and small, with the backing of the nationalist intellectuals and rich peasants it has an active presence in the national movement. Because of the acuteness of the national question and the contradictions with the reactionary state, this force can at certain periods unite with the revolution under the leadership of the working class.

Because of the development of capitalism, including in the oppressed nations, the ranks of the workers have also expanded. This increases the ability of the working class to influence the national movements and unite them in the process of revolution. The proletariat can, by relying on its own class and close unity with the masses of peasants (mainly poor and landless peasants), overcome the bourgeois-feudal tendencies of the affluent classes of the oppressed nations; overcome the narrow-mindedness of the bourgeois-nationalists, who limit and restrain the national movement and create disunity in the ranks of the workers and toilers of all nations; close the door to conciliation, privilege-seeking, and incomplete resolutions of the national question; and uproot national oppression through a single revolution.

Incomplete and limited solutions, such as autonomy or federalism within the framework of the state of the reactionary classes, cannot result in a thorough and decisive elimination of national oppression, because they leave the old state apparatus and national oppression untouched and at most gain a few privileges for a thin layer of the bourgeois-landlord classes of these nations.

Solutions that separate the struggle against national oppression from the struggle against imperialism or reduce national oppression to oppression by the dominant nation and put hope in the imperialists are not able to solve the national question. In a broader, international context, these oppressed nations themselves are part of the nations oppressed by imperialism and suffer a double oppression. The imperialists uphold the central state of the oppressor nation. The imperialists, at times, claim to recognise the right of nations to self-determination and under this guise they carry out some changes in the structure of their client states. But even then, what they have in mind is the establishment of other forms of national subjugation. Therefore, the struggle for national liberation is subordinate to the overall struggle against imperialism. Only through the new-democratic revolution, under the leadership of the working class, and the transition to socialism can the national question in Iran be solved.

 

Youth

Iran is a young society in which more than half of the population is under 25 years of age. The status quo does not have anything other than a gloomy future in store for the youth: unemployment, denigration, being bossed around and deprivation. In addition to class oppression, which is dished out to the majority of the youth, they also suffer from patriarchy. In a society where the arch-patriarch is the state, the youth are confronted with the state directly. They suffer under a reactionary dictatorship, the verdicts of sharia, traditional beliefs, despotic relations and rules within the family and education field, social and cultural deprivation and the lack of educational, sport and entertainment facilities. They do not have the right to choose their relationships or the right to experience, mix or have friendships with young boys and girls. The biggest burden of oppression is on the young women, who also suffer from male-chauvinistic yokes and gender discrimination. The most deprived section of the youth is the children of the workers, peasants and poor shantytown dwellers. They face not only all the above oppression but also ruthless exploitation, as since their childhood they have had to work under harsh conditions.

This oppression gives rise to their just resistance. The young generation do not easily give in to compulsion and hate deceptive promises and duplicity. They are the most lively and daring forces of society. They are thirsty to learn new things and are enemies of conservatism. The youth are the first to take the initiative to expose the enemy and to struggle against the worship of old and reactionary prejudices and will not put up with the status quo. It is the youth who usually spark upheavals, stand in the front lines of battles and face violence fearlessly. The youth give heart to previous generations, as well as pulling them forward. The youth have a critical, defiant and rebellious spirit and do not look at a situation as something unchangeable. They not only show courage in the field of doing, but, in the sphere of ideas and theory they rebel against old ideas and understanding and they take up innovation. The youth are the harbingers of change.

The youth need a philosophy that is purposeful and optimistic; they need to be independent and liberated from the yoke and domination of the oppressive authorities and they need to have power to do bigger things. All of these can be realised in a proletarian revolution and can be achieved by overthrowing the reactionary system. On this path, the young generation needs to unite with the older ones and learn from their fighting experience in order to gain a deeper and all-encompassing outlook on social problems. The victory of the youth movement depends on the political and practical orientation and the links with the most solid and thoroughgoing ranks of the social revolution, that is, the masses of workers and toilers in the cities and countryside. The revolution cannot be carried out without the participation of the youth. The ruling classes use both stick and carrot to prevent the youth from doing this. They call upon the youth to work within the present system and participate in their games. But the only solution is to tear apart these games and take part in the revolutionary battle for a different and achievable future.

 

THE NATURE AND PERSPECTIVE OF REVOLUTION

 

Proletarian revolution in Iran is a two-stage revolution. The working class, in order to put into practice its maximum programme, namely the socialist revolution and the transition to world communism, must go through the stage of new-democratic revolution. These two stages are components of a single process, which is led by the working class and communist ideology.

The nature of the first stage of the revolution is defined by the semi-feudal, semi-colonial character of the society and the resulting social and class alignments. The task of the first stage of the revolution is to end imperialist domination, uproot semi-feudal relations and confiscate the property of the bureaucrat-comprador bourgeoisie.

This revolution is democratic because the goal of uprooting semi-feudalism and achieving independence and national liberation from the clutches of imperialism is on its agenda. The driving forces of this revolution, besides the working class, are mainly the strata and classes in the peasantry and petite bourgeoisie. The agrarian revolution, which will destroy the system of semi-feudal ownership of the land, is a bourgeois measure that still falls within the framework of direct and individual ownership of private property. This revolution does not target the whole of the bourgeoisie and will not result in the destruction of capitalism as a whole. It allows capitalism to grow for some time and to a certain degree, under the revolutionary state of the proletariat.

This is a new-democratic revolution because it is part of the world proletarian-socialist revolution. It struggles decisively against imperialism and deals blows against international capitalism. The aims and tasks of this revolution are not questions in and of themselves. Their realisation opens the door to socialism. The new-democratic revolution is qualitatively different to the bourgeois-democratic revolutions of the old kind that took place in Western societies (in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries) before the emergence of imperialism. Anti-imperialist struggle, with the aim of national liberation, is added to the tasks of the democratic revolution, and the uprooting of pre-capitalist relations is tied with the struggle against the domination of imperialism and the destruction of bureaucrat-comprador capital. The bourgeoisie, because of its links with imperialism and its feudal relations, is neither willing nor able to lead the democratic revolution. Thus, this revolution, contrary to the democratic revolutions of the old kind, is not led by the bourgeoisie. Only the working class can lead such a revolution to victory. The objectives of the new-democratic revolution are not to establish a capitalist society and the dictatorship of the bourgeoisie. The strategic orientation and the programme of new democracy, as the first stage of a single revolutionary process, is to open the road for and make the transition to socialism. The new-democratic revolution will lead to the establishment of the political rule of those classes that have interests in this revolution and they will unite under the leadership of the working class and its vanguard party to carry it out. This political rule is the democratic dictatorship of the people, which is a form of the dictatorship of the proletariat.

Socialist elements have an important and decisive role to play in the process of the new-democratic revolution and its future direction. The leadership of the working class gives a socialist character to this revolution. The consolidation of this leadership in the process of carrying out the revolution and its recognition by the other revolutionary classes, the new-democratic state taking control of the key levers of the economy, politics and culture, and its promotion and encouragement of the collective economic organisations of the toiling masses in opposition to individual forms of production and distribution, all these will guarantee the advance to socialism. On the other hand, the struggle against bureaucrat capitalism during the new-democratic revolution has a dual nature. As it means struggle against comprador capitalism [bureaucrat capitalism or big capitalism translator] it has a revolutionary democratic nature, and as it means struggle against the big bourgeoisie it also has a socialist nature.

The new-democratic revolution thus has a contradictory and transitory nature. This revolution opens the door for capitalism, but it opens the door for socialism even wider. With the victory of the new-democratic revolution and the country-wide seizure of power, the socialist revolution begins.

The following measures are adopted by the new-democratic revolution to smash imperialist domination, bureaucrat capitalism and semi-feudalism in the spheres of politics, economy and culture:

 

In the Sphere of Politics

The first and most important step of the revolution will be to smash the state apparatus, with the Sepah-e-Pasdaran [the revolutionary guards translator], the army and other police and intelligence repressive forces at its heart.

The new-democratic revolution replaces the old state apparatus with a new state system under the leadership of the proletariat and its vanguard party. The foundations of the new state will be laid during the protracted peoples war and on the basis of the strategic worker-peasant unity. The peoples revolutionary army, which is complemented by voluntary, part-time armed forces (the militia), is a pillar of this state. The new state power is based on mass organs of power, such as the soviets, assemblies and mass organisations. This is fundamentally different from superficial bourgeois democracy, with its parliamentarian forms and its institutions of civil society. The mass organs of power are established by relying on the direct initiative of the masses and their direct seizure of power. These organs, which are basically formed and developed in the process of the protracted peoples war for the seizure of power and the smashing of the armed institutions of the enemy, are the foundations of the new power. The organs of peoples power emerge from the struggle of the masses and are elected by them.

The new state has an internationalist policy and orientation and acts as a base for world revolution; its final aim is to eliminate all classes and class distinctions and, as a result, eliminate the state itself.

Under the new state, the mass organs of power pass new laws that reflect the interests of the working class and broad masses. With the establishment of the new-democratic state, the rights of the proletariat and the masses are recognised and implemented. The right to control the state, the various institutions, education and culture is the most important and fundamental of all rights. Other rights that the proletariat and people will enjoy in the new society can only be realised in the light of this fundamental right.

One of the first measures of the new state is to destroy all the documents and information that the overthrown reactionary state has gathered on the people and opposition forces. Under new democracy, all citizens, regardless of their gender, religion and age, will enjoy democratic rights: the right to freedom of expression and belief, access to the press and the various means of communication; the right to strike, organise and demonstrate; the right to work and rest; the right to elect and get elected; the right to submit written or oral complaints to the state organs on the infringement of the law or negligence of duties by state functionaries; the right to education and housing; the right to social welfare for the old, sick and handicapped; and the safeguarding of the freedom of individuals from attack. In revolutionary society, views opposing the state and party of the proletariat will not be suppressed, unless they become organised for the overthrow of the state and the restoration of the reactionary order.

The system of power under new democracy is built on the basis of democratic centralism in order to enable it to properly express the will of all the revolutionary masses and unleash their full strength against the enemies of the revolution.

The governing form of this state is the peoples republic. In this republic, religion is separate from the state. The leech-like bloated bureaucratic apparatus that stands over the heads of the people and is based on the domination of the Fars nation is banished. Gender, national and religious differences, as well as family background, wealth or level of education will have no place whatsoever in electing or being elected to political power. In this government the form and functioning of the military, economic and administrative institutions are simplified and their motto will be to carry out the aims of the revolution and to serve the people. National and regional borders will be decided by applying the right to self-determination for the oppressed nations and will be based on the conscious and voluntary unity of the masses of people.

The new state will not be established by simply putting the elected representatives of the workers and other toiling masses at the top of the existing organs. If the state organs merely change names, but remain above the people and use the same old methods and rules, with a few reforms, then the managers and leaders will themselves turn into the new oppressors. Neither is the passing of revolutionary laws enough to keep society on the right track. Undoubtedly, the constitution of the new society will reflect its fundamental principles and orientation; but the policy of new democracy will flourish and advance not only with the changes in the laws and regulations, but also by relying on the initiative of the masses under the leadership of the party of the working class.

With the victory of the new-democratic revolution, the previous class alignments will undergo changes. Specifically, the contradiction between the proletariat and the bourgeoisie becomes the principal contradiction. The period of transition from democratic revolution to socialist revolution is full of contradictions and marked by intense class struggle. Strengthening new democracy or advancing towards socialism becomes the most fundamental question for society, state and party. To strengthen new democracy will mean to strengthen capitalism; whereas after the victory of the revolution, the interests of the workers, as well as the poor and middle peasants, lies in the continuation of the revolution and socialist construction. The struggle between consolidating new democracy and the advance to socialism will determine the future path of the society. Only by winning this struggle can the proletariat prevent the new-democratic state changing colour and becoming an organ over and above the people. Only by arousing the masses, with the party leading them, can this important victory be won in order to accelerate towards socialist revolution and socialist construction and enter a new phase of struggle between the capitalist road and the socialist road.

 

In the Sphere of the Economy

With the victory of the new-democratic revolution all the big private and state monopoly capitals, imperialist capitals, all banks and big industrial and trade institutions will be confiscated and become the property of the revolutionary state. All oppressive agreements with the imperialists and international financial institutions and all the countrys debts to the imperialists will be annulled; the semi-feudal system of ownership will be abolished through the distribution of land among the landless and poor peasants.

After the expropriation of the big monopoly capitals by the state, the main part of the capitalist economy of Iran will be done away with and the control of the proletariat over the arteries of the national economy will be ensured. The concentration of huge and strategic means of production in the hands of the state and the leading role of the state in the overall economy of the country will create the necessary economic foundations and favourable grounds for the advance of the socialist revolution and socialist construction. But ending imperialist domination and smashing bureaucrat capitalism does not mean that capital changes hands from the reactionary state to the revolutionary state. The main task is to smash the reactionary production relations and thoroughly revolutionise these relations and the economic structure of the country.

The immediate goal of the economy of new democracy is to sever the countrys dependency on imperialist capital and markets. In the single-industry and dependent economy of Iran, the petroleum industry plays a vital role. Therefore the policy adopted by the state with regard to petroleum and petroleum relations with the imperialist world, have a decisive role in setting the orientation of the society and its destiny. In the petroleum industry, everything, from capital allocation to technological development, from the training of technicians to the renewing of machinery, from market share to pricing, is under the control and domination of the imperialist states and international monopolies. Any state attempting to grab this poisonous treasure and strive for its just distribution or demand higher prices in exchange for it in the international market would in fact bring itself into the clutches of imperialist monopoly and control. Cutting the petroleum relation with the international market is a fundamental step that will be taken immediately after the victory of the revolution in order to cut imperialist-dominated relations. This will eliminate the dependence of the basic needs of the people on the import of foreign capital and on the fluctuations of oil prices on the international market. Even though some necessary foreign exchange will be maintained, the relations with the world economy will no longer be the driving force of the countrys economy.

Making the economy independent of the imperialist economy will mean that industries that are foreign dependent will not carry on as before; food will not be imported; the cultivation of non-essential and luxury products and the expansion of rural industries (such as carpet-making) aimed at exporting to international markets will be stopped; and in general the comprador strategy of production based on relative advantage and the export orientation will be discarded.

It is a difficult and complicated task to transform a society that is integrated into the imperialist production and distribution network and is dependent on foreign resources, the international market and imperialist injections. The elimination of the petroleum income and of economic and political (and even military) pressures by the imperialists will complicate the difficulties. But the elimination of the petroleum income, along with other revolutionary measures, will, itself, create real openings for the reconstruction of the countrys economy. The revival of agriculture, through agrarian revolution, will prevent the economic collapse of the country and will rapidly result in a blooming of the productive forces, creating an important backing for the development of industry. Insisting on a policy of non-reliance on petroleum income and foreign investments and the resolution of economic problems will depend on having a correct plan and on the ideological and political mobilisation of the masses. Without relying on the masses, the rupture with imperialism cannot be organised.

Economic policies will be implemented through a democratic, and not a bureaucratic, style of mobilising the masses, and by implementing centralised leadership and decentralised management and organising the enormous work force of the people in mutual aid groups. As a result the initiative and enthusiasm of the masses will be unleashed.

Inaccessibility to foreign high technology will require that at the beginning low and medium technology will have to be used to promote production; gradually the ground will have to be prepared for the formation of a self-reliant industrial base. In some branches of industry a step backwards will have to be taken. The production line, as well as the kind of product and the production volume of some factories, must change. Some large farms may be divided up. Those sectors whose activities require the continuation and intensification of dependence on the imperialist world will be closed down. The factories will be reorganised in such a way as to run without foreign dependence and to produce for the needs of production and consumption inside the country. The main emphasis should be given to the cultivation of products that will provide the basic foodstuffs and necessities of the people or the necessary raw materials for industry.

The confiscation of all land belonging to the landlords (state, private and feudal religious institutions) and its division among the poor and landless peasants will end semi-feudal relations. The state will implement the slogan land to the tiller and will turn the land into the private property of the peasants. At the same time it will promote, encourage and take up the formation of production/distribution co-operatives and collective forms of land ownership in the countryside. Thus, socialist elements will be strengthened and expanded in the agricultural economy.

The state will not confiscate small and medium-size capitals, because for some time these can play a positive role in creating employment and promoting the production necessary for the countrys economy and peoples livelihood and in expanding exchange between city and countryside. But these capitals also play a negative role, both in the economy and in peoples livelihoods, because, like any capital, they are in the pursuit of profit. Part of the fruit of the workers labour goes into the pocket of the capitalists as profit, and this becomes a motive for the capitalists to expand their capital and engage in more exploitation. Thus the state restricts the scope of the activity of these capitals and regulates their prospects within the framework of the countrys general economic plan, pushing them towards certain non-strategic sectors where they are not able to control peoples means of livelihood and the basic services of the country. At the same time, the state, by gradually absorbing these sectors into the state economy, will transform them in different ways and turn them into enterprises under socialist state ownership.

The widespread existence of small, individual production units in different sectors of the countrys economy, in particular agriculture, is a problem facing the proletariat after the seizure of power. Small peasant production is in contradiction with the socialist system of public ownership and the superstructure of the dictatorship of proletariat, and it cannot be permitted to continue for long. Small rural, but also urban, production on the basis of private ownership is fertile ground for capitalist development. The peasants private ownership of the land will rapidly give rise to the process of polarisation amongst the peasantry and will prepare the ground for the poor to become poorer and for the rich to become richer.

To prevent this situation, the only solution is to promote socialist ownership. The peasants private ownership and production must gradually turn into collective socialist ownership, without any force being used to take ownership away from the peasants. The development of the system of collective ownership from small to big, from below to above and from collective ownership to state ownership is based on the gradual development of the productive forces and the socialist consciousness of the people. This process is the expression of the contradiction between the production relations and the forces of production under new conditions. This is especially so because the new relations of production will bring about mighty transformations and will liberate the most important component of the productive forces, the people. The solution to this contradiction and its future development is basically possible through class struggle.

The class struggle between the proletariat and the bourgeoisie (including the struggle between poor and rich peasants) throughout this whole process will take the form of restriction and counter-restriction (to restrict capitalism or not) and transformation and counter-transformation (to transform private ownership into collective ownership or not) and is the main form of struggle under new democracy. Victory in this struggle is the condition for the transition to socialism.

The economic development model of the new state is qualitatively different to the development model imposed by the imperialists on the Iranian economy. The new economy is a planned economy, self-reliant, self-sufficient and evenly developing, which will provide for the basic needs of the masses and will result in a steady improvement in their lives. In this economy profit is not in command. Economic development is integrally dependent on the elimination of exploitative and oppressive class and social relations.

Contrary to the imperialist model of development, industry will not suck the juice of agricultural production; central and urban regions will not plunder rural and remote regions. Agriculture will become the foundation of the economy, and industry, as the leading factor, will expand and develop in the service of agriculture. Agriculture will have a fundamental role in the economic development of the country, as it is the provider of the means of livelihood and industrial raw materials for light industries, a market for industrial production, the main source of labour power for other sections of the countrys economy and a source of income for the whole society. At the same time, the development of industry will provide advanced tools for the diverse sectors of the economy, raising labour productivity and social production. On this basis, the plan for the national economy will be charted by prioritising agriculture, light industry and then heavy industry. Forms of industry and technology will be used that can utilise the potential of the rural areas to the utmost and reduce the differences between city and countryside. The current model of the development of industry and urbanisation will be discarded. The concentration of industry around the large cities will be prevented, the expansion of the cities will be restrained and more facilities will be allocated to the small and medium cities. In planning, priority will be given to the relatively self-sufficient development of different regions, in terms of the development of an interlinked industry and agriculture; the specialisation of the regions will be prevented.

This new economic development model will be charted and implemented in light of the conservation of the environment. The location of industries and the kinds of materials and techniques being used, the health of the masses and the safeguarding of the environment will be taken into account. The destruction and waste of natural resources, such as forests and rivers, will be prevented, and efforts will be made to restore those already destroyed.

Only by taking up this model of economic development can the old form of economic development be changed, so as to do away with the lopsided, delinked and unequal relations between industry and agriculture, city and countryside, different regions of the country and backward and advanced fields of the economy, to overcome the destruction caused by the civil war and to organise a deep and all-sided rupture with the world imperialist economy and the dependence on imperialism. Self-reliance and even, decentralised development will enable the revolutionary state to resist imperialist pressures, better confront possible invasion and occupation by imperialism and better serve the world revolution.

 

In the Cultural Sphere

The culture of each society is a reflection of its economy and politics. It is impossible to struggle against the old politics and economy without fighting the old culture. As long as society is divided into classes, culture serves the interest of one class or another and helps strengthen class views and values.

The new culture, as with any new phenomenon, is born through the furnace of struggle against the old and spreads new views and values. This culture will prepare the ideological ground for revolution and will play an important role in creating revolutionary public opinion and in arousing the masses. In the process of revolution, it will be an essential part of the general front of revolution. The buds of the new-democratic culture are already emerging from the pores of the old society: in the works that strengthen the spirit of revolt, stir love for the masses, mock the rule of Islam and the blood-sucking mullahs, criticise the old habits and reactionary traditions, promote equality and the emancipation of women, condemn national chauvinism and racism, eulogise revolutionary violence, give hope to the oppressed and paint a goal for them. But as long as political power is in the hands of the reactionary classes, and they have control over the mass media and the different forms of propagating culture, the dominant culture is reactionary culture. Therefore, upon the victory of the revolution, the new state will immediately take control of the mass media and establish its rule over culture and all related fields, preparing the ground for the blooming of the new culture, its development and spread.

The new culture will challenge the dominant reactionary culture, which is a unity of both feudal and imperialist aspects. The new culture will be against capitulation to imperialism and sycophancy, against looking down on the working people, against chauvinism and disdain for the national minorities, against patriarchy and male chauvinism, and against idealism and religious and unscientific doctrines. The culture of the new democracy will instigate conscious rebellion against all forms of oppression and exploitation. This culture will rise against feudal and bourgeois ideas and manners that create divisions among the masses and will promote ideas and manners that will lead to further solidarity and unity among the masses. This culture has a scientific nature, it wipes the minds clean of supernatural illusions and actively promotes science and a materialist outlook.

The culture of new democracy will be a mass culture and will serve the revolutionary interests of the masses in both the cities and the countryside. The development and growth of this culture will be based on the free development of the culture of the masses and the nations that for years and years have suffered oppression and repression. The culture of new democracy will absorb the revolutionary elements of this culture and struggle against the poisonous feudal elements that are sanctified and promoted in the name of national culture and tradition. The culture of new democracy will get its components mainly from the languages and cultural and literary works of the nations and people who within the borders of the country have close relations with and influence each other. At the same time, the culture of new democracy has an inter-relation and mutual influence with the advanced and revolutionary cultures of the masses around the world and together they form a new world culture. By utilising the progressive culture produced by the people in the imperialist countries, as well as the oppressed countries, the new-democratic culture will enrich itself and further develop. Different nations have different forms of revolutionary culture. The existence of this cultural diversity and, at the same time, the existence of identity in their contents, will inspire the masses of different nations in the struggle for their common revolutionary interests throughout the world.

To organise cultural criticism and popularise it, to expose the views and values of the reactionary classes, is an important and essential aspect in building the culture of the new democracy. Under the new democracy, the reactionary works of art will not generally be promoted, and the works of those artists who promote reactionary and imperialist views and values will become the subject of thorough ideological and political criticism among the masses. The daily expansion of international relations will further underline the importance of criticising bourgeois works. In confronting imperialist cultural tools, the proletariat and people will have strong allies within the imperialist countries. In these countries, despite the control of the capitalists over cultural means, revolutionary art and culture are constantly created by the masses of people and revolutionary and progressive artists. These are part of the cultural reserves of the proletariat and the masses the world over.

Building a new culture and the creation of effective and valuable works of art and literature in the new society will not only require proletarian leadership and the carrying out of sharp political and ideological struggle in the sphere of culture, but will also require that the masses master a variety of skills in this field. For this reason, in the process of revolution and after the seizure of country-wide power, the proletariat will unite with those artists who are willing to create works of art to serve the interests of the people and the revolutionary transformation of society. In the new democracy, the artists will be encouraged to intermingle with the toiling masses, take part in productive labour, mass movements and ideological struggle alongside the masses, learn from the experience of the masses in struggle, work and life and help the masses to create revolutionary works. This will help the professional workers on the cultural front to look at life from a new outlook and take up a kind of thinking and lifestyle that will serve the principles and goals of revolution.

Under the new democracy, the participation of the workers and peasants in an area that for centuries has been the realm of an elite and the intellectuals will be an integral part of their liberation. New democracy will make cultural forms and works created by the masses a basis for the creation of revolutionary works, absorbing, maintaining and developing its correct aspects and criticising and discarding its wrong aspects. Revolutionary cultural workers will play an extremely important role in this. The works of professional cultural workers will be displayed at no cost or at low cost in different corners of the country, where the workers and peasants work and live. Moreover, part-time cultural groups will be organised in factories, neighbourhoods, farms and the armed forces. This will help propagate the works of cultural workers and train people in creating high-quality cultural works.

The culture of the new democracy will rely on the achievements of the international working class from when socialist societies previously existed and will profit from the positive experiences of those societies. Because of the leadership of the working class, this culture contains decisive and powerful socialist elements. The orientation of the culture under the new democracy and its basic characteristics will be marked by the leading role of communist ideology. With the advance of the new-democratic revolution and the transition to socialism, the new-democratic culture will also reflect this development and motion towards further advance. Increasingly revolutionising the culture, as part of the superstructure, is of decisive importance and is itself an arena for sharp and complicated class struggle between the proletariat and the bourgeoisie during the period of transition from new-democratic revolution to socialism and the development of socialist construction. This struggle can, at certain stages, even play a major role in deciding the nature and development of the economic base of the revolutionary society.

 

IMMEDIATE STEPS AND SETTING THE DIRECTION OF CHANGE

 

On the basis of the aforementioned fundamental political, economic and cultural changes, the new state will carry out other measures in different spheres that will complement these changes. These steps, which will lay the foundation stones of the future transformations, will mark the revolutionary direction of society and its move towards higher relations. The realisation of these measures will not be possible without the seizure of political power. Under a reactionary system and state, the building blocks of the new society cannot be laid. Based on the seizure of political power, immediate measures to improve the living conditions of the masses can and must be organised.

The presentation of these immediate steps does not mean embellished promises to the masses. The working people will not be mobilised around incentives of personal welfare and individualistic interests but around taking their destiny into their own hands, exercising political power and building a new society and a new world. No doubt revolution with the aim of the emancipation of humanity poses difficulties and requires sacrifices. After the revolution, the standard of living of a minority, especially the relatively affluent strata in the urban centres, will decline. At the same time, the initial re-distribution of wealth, resources and means will, to a large degree, alleviate the utter poverty and misery reigning in society. The immediate measures will improve the social and political conditions and livelihoods of those at the bottom. The implementation of these steps will bring, for the majority of the people, qualitatively different conditions, which are a million times better than the slavery of the old society. However, the total elimination of the great social inequalities left over from the old society is a long process pending more thorough-going developments in the country and the advance of proletarian revolution in the world.

The immediate measures are the age-old demands for which the majority of the masses have frequently struggled and given their lives. The ruling classes have always tried to clamp down on these struggles. The working class, on the other hand, supports those forces and social movements that struggle and set up movements for the realisation of any of these demands. Today, implementing the immediate steps must be reflected in the mobilisation policies and agitation and propaganda slogans of the proletariat.

The construction of a new society and the realisation of the basic demands of the people will come about by relying on the conscious and ceaseless struggle and work of the people themselves. The immediate steps can only be taken with the backing, energy and enthusiasm of millions of people mobilised voluntarily to carry out these most complicated and radical developments. The revolutionary and productive experience of the masses, their co-operation and solidarity, the utilisation of the employable resources and technology and the aid of the revolutionary movements internationally will make this great undertaking possible.

The following measures mark the orientation of the new state. But the mass organs of power will carry out the adjustments and developments of these measures.

On Workers

1. Dismantling all the special organs of repression and domination of the state and the capitalists in work places, including yellow unions and associations linked with the state; splitist and conspiratorial centres, such as the worker house; the offices of the secret service and the centres of espionage in the factories; as well as the anti-riot and anti-strike armed forces.

2. Abolishing reactionary and anti-worker labour laws; abolishing despotic and exploitative regulations and disciplines based on law, sharia, custom or tradition in various work places; abolition of any kind of penalties.

3. Recognition of the various forms of workers institutions for the exercise of the power of the masses, created in the process of the revolution; conferring the management of the large confiscated factories to these institutions under the leadership of the party; giving the task of protecting the production units, resources and products to the workers in the face of sabotage by the enemies of the revolution.

4. Exercising supervision by the state and workers institutions over the activities of the small and medium capitalist units that are not confiscated.

5. Drafting new labour laws and regulations by relying on the discussions, proposals and decisions of mass workers assemblies and organisations; recognition of the rights to strike, demonstrate and form workers organisations.

6. Improving work conditions and the livelihood of the workers (in terms of working hours, intensity of work, age limits, safety at work, periods of rest and leave); equal pay for equal work regardless of gender, national and religious differences or line of work in both the large and smaller units. Banning child labour. Improving the conditions of those working night shifts and in heavy jobs.

7.    Providing specific rights and conditions for women workers by referring to discussions, suggestions and decisions by the organisations and assemblies of women workers.

 

These measures will strengthen the leading and dominant role of the working class in the affairs of society and will raise their strength and degree of unity and solidarity of the workers. Thus, the ground will be further prepared for the broad mobilisation of the workers in political struggle, and in this light the conditions for paying attention to production and to improving the conditions of work and the livelihood of the masses will come about.

The above-mentioned measures are the beginning and will pave the way for a long process of radical transformation in the relations between people at work and production. By relying on the enthusiasm and conscious activism of the masses of workers, the factories will turn into political centres and outstanding focal points of class struggle for the transformation of society and the world. In this way, the masses of workers will increasingly exercise political power and consciously struggle to prevent the restoration of the power of the bourgeoisie in the production units and in society as a whole. The organisation and division of labour inside the factory will undergo fundamental changes. Leaders and managers will participate in productive labour and workers will take part in leadership and management. The approach to labour laws is not absolutist. Under the proletarian state the laws and regulations will be reviewed constantly and what has become illogical and old will be changed or discarded. Specific and continuous measures will be taken up to raise the level of knowledge and the skills of the workers in the fields of science, technology and management. In this context, those experts and managers of the old society who volunteer to serve the building of the new society will be utilised. Success in carrying out such remarkable developments requires decisively putting proletarian politics in command and strengthening the leading role of the party. The way to carry out these developments is to arouse mighty mass movements and to rely on them.

 

On Peasants

1. Abolishing all the institutions of domination and repression, including both state, whether armed or civil, and religious institutions in the countryside, which are the economic arms of bureaucrat capitalism, such as Jahad-e-Sazandegi [an organisation promoting a construction crusade translator]. Sweeping away the reactionary, traditional and religious feudal and clan authorities at the local level and abolishing all the peasants obligations and bondage to these institutions.

2. Abolishing the land system based on feudal and semi-feudal exploitation and establishing the system of land to the tiller.

3. Abolishing all the rights to large-scale ownership of land, animals, water, agricultural tools and machinery, in both private and state form, and confiscating all this property.

4. Abolishing all the debts of the peasants to the big landlords, state institutions, banks, religious institutions and local usurers.

5. Confiscation and distribution of the land and other property of the big landlords, state and religious institutions by the mass organs of power (such as the general council of the village, elected village committees or associations of poor and landless peasants). The interests of the poorest strata of peasants will be given priority. Land will also be allotted to dispossessed landlords and their families, if they are willing to work on the land.

6. Agricultural workers, without regard to their nationality, will generally receive the same amount of land as peasants. But if their income is sufficient to pay for a stable life or the major part of their living expenses, land will not be allocated to them.

7. Confiscation of all the large industrial centres of cattle and poultry production; confiscation of the large orchards, large mechanised farmlands, agro-industries and large agricultural units, which are mainly managed under capitalist relations. Whether these in their entirety become the property of the proletarian state or are divided and distributed and what product they produce depends on various elements. What determines this is: the necessities of peoples subsistence, the self-sufficiency of the country, the tendencies among the masses of workers and peasants and the need for unity among them, as well as the necessities of liberation from the feudal authorities, in particular, the liberation of women from the patriarchal yoke.

8. Large pastureland, forests, large dams, large mines, large uncultivated land and large water resources (including rivers, lakes and the sea) will be under the management of the proletarian state. The state, while taking into account environmental issues, will recognise the right of hunters, fishers and peasants to use pastureland and water resources.

9. Abolishing the monopoly of the merchants on trade in agricultural products and rural industries. The transformation of the structure of the rural industries (especially carpet-weaving) on the basis of providing for the basic needs of the masses and the basic industrial needs of the agricultural economy.

10.                        Encouraging the peasants to form different co-operatives in the fields of production, distribution and exchange and supporting all collective forms that the peasants have created in pooling labour, land and tools.

11.                        Abolishing the rents on small plots of land belonging to those who have migrated to the cities; distributing a parcel of land to every rural migrant individual or family willing to return and live in the village.

 

The goal of these measures at the heart of which lies the establishment of the system of land to the tiller is to strengthen and develop the strategic worker-peasant unity and to arouse the revolutionary enthusiasm and creativity of the masses of peasants to uproot the old pre-capitalist relations. In carrying out these measures, the particularity of each region will be taken into account and specific methods based on these will be devised.

The establishment of land to the tiller will be under the basic slogan of land belongs to she/he who works it. The individualised distribution of land will be carried out regardless of gender and age. The policy of equalisation in land ownership will be carried out in different stages. All the land belonging to the landlords and the state, along with other land in the villages, will be pooled and equally redistributed among the inhabitants. Good land will be added to bad land so that all the inhabitants of the village (or one or several rural areas) will receive equal parts, and an equilibrium will be established in this regard. Since an important part of the rural productive resources is concentrated in the hands of rich peasants, the interests of the majority of the rural population require that their surplus land and property be included in the distribution at different stages. Parallel to these measures, barren land and land not under cultivation will be cultivated to serve the policy of equalisation.

Even though the realisation of land to the tiller opens the door to capitalist development in agriculture, it will open the door even wider for socialism. The policy of equalisation and the expansion of production on the basis of small private units, if considered in absolute terms and left to its own dynamics, will result in the restoration of inequalities and polarise the countryside, and capitalism will take root. It is only socialism that can save the peasantry. The new-democratic state will prevent this process by setting policy, planning for the agricultural economy and by encouraging and strengthening the collective and socialist forms of ownership in the countryside. The key to the development of the rural economy and to socialising agriculture is to carry forward the policy of first collectivisation and on this basis mechanisation of agriculture. Collectivisation is an important subject of class struggle that will be carried out on the basis of persuasion and the social co-operation of the peasants and by organising them; the mechanisation of agriculture will bring about favourable conditions to reduce the gap between industry and agriculture, city and countryside and manual and mental labour.

 

On Women

1. Eliminating all the armed, ideological and cultural state organs of oppression, which have targeted women.

2. Abolishing the compulsory veil; recognising the freedom of women to choose their clothing and jobs, to travel, to study, to form special womens organisations and to produce women's publications; the right of women to participate in the highest ranks of political power and in all political, economic, cultural and social activities.

3. Abolishing all anti-women civil and sharia customs, laws and regulations; abolishing punishments particular to women.

4. Intense and immediate struggle against the harassment of women in the streets; creating an atmosphere in society conducive to, and encouraging of, the free movement of women.

5. Realisation of the slogan land to women; providing equal rights to women in inheritance and in taking possession of, and managing, family property.

6. Providing equal pay, rights and bonuses for equal work for women and men.

7. Providing lighter work conditions for women during their menstruation, pregnancy and menopause and providing periods of rest and leave in relation to these; creating facilities such as crches for babies, nurseries and centres to take care of children after school hours.

8. Encouraging and supporting forms of collective housework in favour of women (such as nurseries, canteens, public laundries and care for the elderly).

9. Erasing male chauvinist content from education material, as well as from the mass media and from written and oral language. Undertaking thorough criticism of old ideas, traditions and cultural works with misogynous content, and allotting particular attention to creating works of literature and art by women.

10. Eliminating prostitution and banning pornography.

11. Banning discrimination against, and repression of, homosexuals.

12. Legalising abortion.

13. Developing family planning in the service of the liberation of women.

14. Establishing a new marriage and divorce law based on the interests of women and children, including:

      Prohibition of arranged marriages, as these are based on force and coercion.

      Abolishing the Shirbaha [literally the worth of the milk, i.e. money paid to the mother for breastfeeding her child, as the child is seen as the property of the father translator], mehrieh [the pre-marriage agreement of the financial settlement to be paid after any divorce translator], dowry and the like, and instead providing social guarantees for women.

      Marriage on the basis of free choice for both women and men over 18; the easy and delay-free registration of marriages, with the presence of the couple in the state registry offices; the recognition of the rights of those who want to have a common life together without officially registering the act of marriage, and all the rights related to the married family will apply to them.

      Prohibiting the interference of a third party in the decision to marry; banning interference in the remarriage of widows.

      Prohibiting polygamy and Sigheh [a marriage of a predetermined length translator]; banning the marriage of children.

      Prohibiting the beating and abuse of women, the rape of a wife by her husband and the mistreatment and discrimination against children born during a previous marriage of either party.

      Creating specific facilities for women who want divorce; the husband, where the woman refuses divorce, cannot divorce her during her pregnancy and up to one year after the birth of the child. On divorce, the father provides for all or part of the childcare and education. Recognition of the rights of the mother for child custody after divorce.

      Recognition of the equal rights of children born outside an official marriage.

 

Achieving these rights would be impossible without the participation of women in the revolution. These rights and measures will break the age-old chains of oppression and slavery and will prepare the ground for the entry of women into different fields, from political and military leadership to leading in production, from creating works of art and literature to philosophy and science.

Establishing laws relating to equality is evidence of the existence of inequalities and differences and, to ensure equality, there is a need for unequal laws. The sections discriminating against men in the new marriage and divorce law, as well as in other sections, are based on this truth. Establishing revolutionary laws, however, is not the end but only the beginning.

Therefore, in all fields, step by step, transformations must be ensured, so that the laws are not confined to paper and turn into their opposite. Among these measures, the key advances are the realisation of land to women and equal opportunity for work and equal pay for equal work for men and women. This will open the door for the economic independence of women. The distribution of land among women will strike a decisive blow to the old feudal and semi-feudal relations in both the base and superstructure, cutting through the roots of patriarchy and male chauvinism. Equal opportunity for work and equal pay for equal work will question the old ideas of male superiority and female inferiority. Women will be aroused to increasingly leave the boundaries of their homes and participate in work and education, and to raise their class-consciousness and engage in vital political and ideological struggles. The slogan women can do everything men can and men can do everything women can will be the motto.

The advance of these developments cannot be conceived separately from the social role and functioning of the institution of the family. The emancipation of women is also dependent on the fading away of this institution. The family is not a sacred, untouchable institution. It had an origin and it will have an end. The process of its fading away is a protracted world process.

Under the new society, this institution will not fade away completely but it will undergo important changes. It will mainly lose its role as an economic unit. This means that, unlike the feudal family, it will lose its productive role and, contrary to the bourgeois family, its role in the distribution and consumption of income will gradually be reduced. In the new family, the wife will not be subordinate to the husband, and the total domination of parents over children will disappear. The direction of these developments, and the development of the family in general, is not separate from the direction of the development of society.

In the new society, because of the heavy weight of private units in the agricultural economy and the weakness of collective property and co-operatives and mechanisation, the family will carry out some social functions. The family will continue to play a role in the distribution and consumption of income; specifically, for some time, it will have an important role in the reproduction and raising of the new generation. This can create the conditions for the subjugation of women and hamper their all-round participation in social activities. In order to transform the role of the family, and the position of women within it, the burden of household tasks must be taken away, step by step, from the shoulders of women, and struggle must be waged with men for the equal distribution of these tasks. Housework, along with other areas of the rural and urban economy, must be collectivised. The collectivisation of housework, childcare, taking care of the elderly, etc., along with the collectivisation of agriculture which will eliminate small private cultivation as one of the foundations of the patriarchal family and will result in the abolition of inheritance will increasingly limit the function of the family. Collectivisation will weaken the familys role in production, and will disrupt the traditional division of labour between women and men in the family. The decisive role that collectivisation plays in unleashing women will no doubt thrust masses of women to the front line of the struggle for socialist advances.

The transformation of the wage system is one of the other specific measures that will help the emancipation of women. In this context, struggle should be waged to correct criteria that will widen the gap and inequalities between women and men. In a situation where the abilities and needs of individuals differ, even the slogan equal pay for equal work can serve those men who are physically stronger, have fewer mouths to feed or, because of the unequal division of labour in the household (which will continue for some time), have more free time for overtime work. The womens movement will have a considerable role to play in the struggle to reduce wage differences and restrict wage grades. This itself is an important subject of struggle that will be waged between the proletariat and the bourgeoisie over restricting or increasing bourgeois right in socialist society. Uprooting the capitalist weeds in this society is inseparably linked to the question of equality and the liberation of women and their struggle. The yokes of oppression and inequality on women are links in the same chain that has enslaved all the oppressed. If these links remain untouched, the chain of oppression and exploitation will be repaired and strengthened. If in the world there is even one woman oppressed, nobody will really be free.

 

On the Oppressed Nations

In the struggle against national oppression the revolutionary proletariat recognises the right to self-determination, including cessation and the formation of separate states, by all the oppressed nations living in Iran. At the same time, the party of the proletariat, from the standpoint of the interests of a single working class, will promote among the masses throughout the country its desire and preference for a voluntary and free unity of all nations in the framework of a single proletarian state. The foundations of such a unity will be cast in the process of the revolution. The unity of the workers and peasants will be strengthened throughout the country during the agrarian revolution and the struggle against the common enemies and will result in the formation of a country-wide class alliance. The new state, which will be formed around unity, in contrast to the neo-colonial state, is a state built from the bottom up and by relying on the masses, and will be forged and expanded from the most remote regions to the central areas. This state will create the necessary base for national equality and will be a framework for the unity of all nations. The form of this unity will be defined in the process, advance and victory of the revolution. In taking up the appropriate forms of revolutionary unity of the nations, the proletariat will follow the following guidelines:

      To increase equality between nations.

      To strengthen unity and not to cause splits.

      To move towards the elimination of exploitation and oppression among the nations in general.

On this basis, the proletarian state can take the form of a unity of republics or take the form of a unity of different autonomous regions with different degrees of authority in the framework of a single peoples republic.

The state will immediately implement the following measures with the aim of eliminating national inequality:

1. Special attention will be paid in central plans to areas inhabited by the oppressed nationalities in terms of allocating resources and aid.

2. Favourable ground will be prepared for the development and flourishing of national cultures and languages. Any nation or each of the national minority groupings will decide whether and how to use their language and develop it and to have their own specific organisations and publications.

3. Any kind of annexation, compulsory migration or forced change of population configuration in areas inhabited by the oppressed nations will be outlawed.

4. Any kind of chauvinistic insult or aggression against the oppressed nations and minority nationalities will be opposed; organising chauvinist movements and groups against them will be decisively confronted. Any kind of discrimination against the oppressed nations and national minorities, in terms of employment, housing, education, health and other fields, will be consistently struggled against.

5. Co-operation and collective work and life amongst the different nations will be encouraged, and segregation, based on nationality in neighbourhoods, at work and in education, will be prevented.

6.    In education texts and the media, an all-encompassing and clear understanding of the life, culture and history of the oppression and resistance of these oppressed nations and the sources of national oppression will be presented.

 

The proletariat defends the right to self-determination, because it is only in this way that it is possible to eliminate the unequal unity that has been imposed on the oppressed nations and promote the voluntary unity of the working class and the oppressed, so that they can, together, pursue a common future. This slogan targets the rule of the reactionary classes and the domination of imperialism built around subjugation of, and discrimination against, the oppressed nations. It will serve the ever-stronger unity of the ranks of the multinational working class in Iran, it will erase the suspicions existing among oppressed nations and it will create better grounds for the unity of the masses throughout the country. Internationalist agitation and propaganda around the slogan of the right to self-determination is an integral part of training the working class of the Fars nation in order to rid them of the seeds of the chauvinistic splits being sown by the Fars bourgeoisie and to see the embedded revolutionary and advanced power and potential of the oppressed nations.

The party of the working class is clear about the historical limitations of the right to self-determination as a bourgeois-democratic right belonging to the bourgeois era. The right of self-determination, in the abstract and detached from the proletarian revolution, will undermine the basic class interests and unity of the workers and toilers of the different nations, giving rise to narrow nationalism; this will damage the proletarian revolution. It is mainly up to the workers from the oppressed nations to struggle against nationalist narrow-mindedness, in order to lead the masses not only in the struggle against national oppression but fundamentally at the forefront of the struggle for revolutionising society.

The elimination of national inequalities is not limited to passing some laws, recognising the rights of the oppressed nations or carrying out some important and immediate measures. The transition from the legal national equality of nations to real equality will be the subject of class struggle in the revolutionary society and will require the resolute transformation of the base and superstructure. In the service of this, the proletariat must wage constant struggle against the supremacy of the bigger nation. This chauvinism will continue to have a strong basis in society for some time and can become the ground for strengthening the bourgeoisie and weakening the proletariat. Thus, the party of the working class must carry out constant struggle against this chauvinism, which can raise its head in the form of the unequal division of labour between the regions, the unequal allocation of resources in favour of the big nation, and one-sided and bureaucratic oppressive relations between the central organs and autonomous state organs. Only with the development and flourishing of the economy and culture of the nations in the course of the construction of the new society and socialist advances can the ground for their unity, closeness and integration be prepared. This is a step towards world communism, when there will be no trace of nations and national differences.

 

On Education

To move towards the radical transformation of the reactionary education system, the new state will implement the following measures immediately:

1. All Political-Ideological Offices and the whole apparatus of inquisition will be destroyed in all the school and education institutions.

2. Education will be free. It will be compulsory up to 16 years of age.

3. Anti-illiteracy campaigns will be launched, especially in the countryside, and education centres for adolescents will be established.

4. All privileges and opportunities that have been allocated to the children of the ruling classes and the rich will be abolished; institutions, such as the non-profit schools and the Free University, will become state institutions and will be free of charge.

5. The ranking system, the university entrance examination and individual competition will be eliminated.

6. All the despotic hierarchy of the education system will be changed.

7. All policies based on gender segregation will be abolished and mixed schools will be formed.

8. All education fields will be opened to girls; all male-chauvinistic content will be removed from school texts.

9. Anti-imperialist culture will be propagated in education texts. Learning from progressive culture and the history of the different peoples of Iran, the Middle East and the world will be part of the education curriculum.

10. All Fars chauvinistic content will be removed from education texts; in contrast, international solidarity among the masses will be promoted.

11. Religious and superstitious content will be removed from schoolbooks.

12. Under the new education system theory and practice, education and work, will be combined.

13. Short-term education courses will be established in order to educate specialists, who can provide basic services to the masses in terms of technology, health, education, etc.

14.                        Programmes and facilities for the physical and health enhancement of the youth will be provided. Physical training will be popularised and any gender discrimination in this field will be eliminated.

 

Education constitutes a very important part of the superstructure, playing a decisive role in maintaining and strengthening the dominant class relations. In any society, the education policy is the policy of the class who rules that society, and it serves to preserve and reproduce certain class interests and values.

The present education system of the country educates the youth with the world outlook and principles of the reactionary classes. It teaches that the elite, the prophets and the Ayatollahs make history; it paints the masses as blind followers. This education implants an idealist and metaphysical outlook, ignorance and superstition in the minds of the masses. The total destruction of this education system is vital in order to build a new society.

In the reactionary education system a minority have the privilege of being educated, to become thinkers, specialists and the elite; a big majority remain illiterate or become semi-literate, as they have to be prepared for toiling and hard work. This division in the reactionary education system plays a key role in absolutising the mental-manual division of labour and the reproduction of class distinctions. In contrast, the proletarian state will adopt education policies and methods that will generally help to increasingly restrict these kinds of divisions and class distinctions.

Under the new state, theoretical, practical and research programmes of the education institutions will be developed in the light of production and the cultural needs of each region or different section of the people, and from the beginning there will be a close relationship between theory and practice. Millions of youth will be prepared to put into practice what they have learnt in the classrooms and laboratories and will sum up the results. This will educate the masses in the outlook and methodology of dialectical materialism. This will be carried out in conjunction with the work and other activities of the masses in the factories, villages and neighbourhoods; in this way the students, as well as the teachers and other officials of the education institutions, will gain a first-hand all-round knowledge of how society functions and how the proletariat and masses are transforming society in all its aspects.

As opposed to the old education methods, marked by long periods of study, a heavy curriculum and emphasis on textbook education, in the new society the policy of opening the door to society will be pursued. Youth will not be trained in hothouses, separate from society and its political and economic life. In parallel to study and research, they will also participate in agricultural and industrial production and military affairs and develop mutual relationships with the workers and peasants. Thus, by combining theory and practice in education, another step will be taken to gradually reduce the gap between mental and manual labour and between city and countryside.

In the future society, knowledge will not be private property to be hoarded by the educated. Knowledge will be a tool for changing the world and serving human society. It will no longer be a lever to increase the price of the scientists and to gain wealth, personal welfare and social standing. The ranking system, grading and exams that teach the youth to constantly calculate their market value on the basis of their education degree will be abolished. A relentless critical struggle will be waged against the ugly and selfish competition that the reactionary system and ideology promotes amongst the youth. The customary discrimination between the so-called talented and untalented students will be discarded and replaced with co-operation and mutual assistance between the students themselves and between students and teachers, in order for the collective to advance.

In the revolutionary society the relationship between teachers and students will completely change. The absolute power of teachers and headmasters over students, and the absolute power of the education hierarchy over teachers, will be abolished. This is in contrast with the present reactionary society, which wants to mould the student into an obedient mechanical robot. From the point of view of the reactionaries, all of the correct answers are possessed by the teachers and textbooks, and the students duty is to parrot these at the instruction of the elders. As far as the reactionaries are concerned, the youth are neither capable nor have the right to judge and criticise. But in the revolutionary society the youth will have the right to criticise the elders and the authorities, as well as the most important policies in education and other fields. Absolute and one-sided discipline will not exist. Discussion, struggle and persuasion will replace the punishment of students. Contrary to the reactionary system, which sees education as a one-way process from teacher to student and only recognises a passive and receptive role for the student, the new education system will be based on totally different foundations. The masses are the makers of history and are able to master the laws governing nature and class struggle, through direct participation in the fields of theory and practice. Knowledge of the world will only be gained by participating in the process of changing it. Correcting and deepening this knowledge is only possible through the critical analysis of all phenomena and the inevitable struggle with incorrect theories and old and traditional concepts. In this struggle not only the teacher, but also the students and the masses as a whole, are involved. The obligation of the teacher in the new education system will be to serve the students, to learn from them and to investigate shoulder to shoulder with them. This system strives to fill the gap that exists between teachers and officials on the one hand, and students and the masses, in general, on the other.

One of the important tasks of the new education system is to expose and criticise the lies and distortions that the old education system has propagated about women and the different nationalities in Iran and the world, the old male-chauvinistic thinking that justifies the oppression of women and the reactionary old ideas which have promoted national oppression. In the new education system, the class content and interests embodied in male chauvinism and national chauvinism will be thoroughly criticised and exposed. It will be shown how these are part of the ideological arsenal of the reactionary classes and are in the service of oppressive relations. This education will be carried out through study and open discussion in the classrooms and through the establishment of special courses for learning the history of the oppression of women in class society and the true history of the different nations and peoples in Iran and all over the world. The representatives of the workers, peasants, women and oppressed nations will go to the classrooms and will give the students a vivid picture of the crimes of class society.

Under the new education system, communist principles and proletarian internationalism will be the guiding principles for the youth. They will be imbued with the spirit of serving the people and will be trained in innovative and revolutionary methods and spirit, so that they can rise in battle against tradition and the force of habit, dare to rebel against reactionary powers and authorities, even those with a communist guise and pretensions, and defend the truth scientifically and critically. By relying on the might, energy and characteristics of the youth, the party of the proletariat will carry out struggle to constantly revolutionise the party, the state and society and to prevent the communist ideology from being turned into a religion and the Marxist texts into religious scripture. The new education system will have an important role in this.

In the revolutionary society special attention will be paid to the physical education and health of the young generation. Contrary to the reactionary regimes, who use sports to promote national chauvinism, devotion to team, flag and country (i.e. the regime) and blind obedience to the manager and the coach, in the future society co-operation and learning from each others skills and initiatives will be emphasised and friendly competition will have a secondary place. Instead of divisions and antagonism being the principle and fear being created over victory or loss, the spirit of co-operation will be promoted and encouraged. Basic sports programmes and facilities will be allocated to the masses in the cities and countryside. We will no longer face a situation where a few are professional heroes and the masses are mere spectators and fans of the players. In the future society, sports will become a matter for all, with no gender discrimination.

 

On Religion and Religious Activities

1. The complete separation of religion and state; religion will be the private affair of each individual; there will be freedom to believe or not to believe in god and religion.

2. The abolition of the official religion; eliminating legal discrimination based on religious beliefs; banning the mention of peoples religion in official documents; outlawing religious inquisition; and any sort of religious oppression will be fought against.

3. The dissolution of all the Islamic organs of ideological control in factories, public offices and education institutions; dissolution of the repressive apparatus of the sharia courts and the centres of preaching the good and reproving the bad.

4. Removing the claws of all the religious institutions (various Islamic Foundations, Astan-e-Ghods, Oghaf, and Emamzadehs)[1][1] from the economic spheres and the confiscation of properties, capital and resources that are in their possession or under their control.

5. Ending the control and interference of the clerical establishment in legislative and judicial affairs, marriages and contracts.

6. The abolition of the feudal privileges of the clerics, such as the Imams dues, khoms and zakat [these are Islamic taxes paid to the clerics, in return for which the clerics sanctify the property of the donors translator]. All clerics and religious students must work and earn their own living.

7.    The elimination of religious subjects from the education curriculum at all levels of education; the elimination of religious propaganda in the mass media.

 

These measures will destroy the foundations of religious rule and challenge the influence and existence of the clerical establishment. The clerical establishment has historically fed off the feudal economy and backward relations and has been one of its important bastions. The hierarchy within the clerical establishment took shape on the basis of feudal ownership. Before the establishment of the Islamic Republic, the clerical establishment economically relied on the collection of rent from Oghaf [donations translator], lands, profits from the properties under the control of the religious centres and the Islamic system of taxation and donations from merchant capital, especially the traditional merchants. After the establishment of the religious regime, the clerical establishment, using state power, gained control of huge resources of capital, land and natural wealth. The clerical establishment moved to the head of the activities of bureaucrat capitalism; various political-economic cliques were formed around a few dozen high-ranking mullahs. Astan-e Ghods-e razavi, Oghaf, the foundations that run Emamzadehs, etc., have turned into big and small financial groupings. All of these will be abolished as part of uprooting comprador-feudal relations.

The Islamic Republic, through its very workings, has created favourable ground for decisively de-linking the state and religion. The masses have paid with their blood and suffering for the experience that they have gained from this religious reign. This experience has vividly shown them the meaning of theocracy and the relationship between religious rule and the misery, oppression and exploitation that they are suffering. This experience has once again proved the Marxist axiom that: religion is the opiate of the masses. They can try to wrap religion in new clothes, paint Islam with the colours of reformism and modernism and make up things, such as democratic rights and womens rights, within the straitjacket of religion; however, the heart of religious doctrine, which sanctifies oppression and exploitation, will remain.

The ideological struggle against religious doctrines and the material bases for religious thinking should be carried out, both before and after the seizure of power. There is a mutual and dialectical relationship between political and ideological struggle. Without striking at the basic principles of religion, such as that god determines peoples destiny, the blessing of exploitation, the sanctity of private property and the patriarchal family, it will not be possible to establish a revolutionary society. Struggle against oppressive religious thinking and beliefs is an integral part of the process of preparing and carrying out the proletarian revolution and, later, the construction of the future society.

The party of the proletariat clearly declares itself atheist and does not believe in any supernatural power or being. On the contrary, it believes that the liberation of the masses can only be realised through their understanding and application of the principles of revolutionary communism. The revolutionary party will criticise religious thinking and demonstrate that religion instils a feeling of despondence in the masses in the face of nature and the ruling classes. Instead of arousing the oppressed to the revolutionary struggle to uproot poverty, religion relieves their suffering like a sedative drug.

After the seizure of power, the scope of this struggle will expand and the working class will have more means at its disposal to carry out the struggle. But the proletarian state cannot, and will not, force people to abandon their religious beliefs. Instead, it should continue to wage ideological struggle and strengthen its links with the masses, so that in the process of continuing the revolution and gaining further mastery of society, the masses will realise the incorrectness of their religious beliefs and discard the heavy corpse put on their backs by the reactionary society and backward traditions. Thus, while the state will defend the right of individuals to believe in religion, it will promote atheism and train the masses in the scientific worldview of Marxism-Leninism-Maoism against all religious beliefs. Religious organisations will be allowed to carry out their rituals, if they are not a means to promote reactionary movements and are not a cover for exploiting others labour, suppressing the masses and accumulating wealth. The rights of non-Islamic religions will be respected in this context. Freedom of religious activities will not mean having special privileges. The state will supervise the financial affairs of the religious organisations, so that they will not be able to turn their financial means into a source of capital accumulation or a means to attract and recruit people. At the same time, through the education system and mass media, the doctrines, rules and texts of Islam and other religions will become the subject of dialectical and historical materialist critique. This struggle will be taken up as a ceaseless challenge and will be part of the process of ideological struggle and persuasion in the new society. This struggle helps the masses to fight for their emancipation by shedding the religious yoke and other subjective and objective burdens.

 

CONCERNING SOME OF THE ILLS OF SOCIETY

 

Unemployment

Unemployment is a fundamental and inevitable aspect of the present reactionary system. The reactionary classes always intensively exploit a large section of the working class and toiling masses, whilst at the same time keeping numerous numbers of the basic masses unemployed, idle and wasted. Under the future proletarian state, this will no longer be the case; every single person will have the right to work and will not be without work.

The day after the victory of the revolution, unemployment and the danger of famine will pose large problems to be solved urgently. Following the civil war, the new state will inherit a ruined and crisis-ridden economy, in which large sections of industry will either be destroyed or have become dysfunctional or closed down because of imperialist encirclement. This will increase the number of unemployed. So the state has to take immediate measures.

The first measure will be to mobilise the masses to rapidly re-distribute the basic means of survival and to ruthlessly cut off the control of the middlemen and black-marketeers. In order to deal with the problem of unemployment, the state will start the task of restructuring the economy in different fields, as well as implementing the policy of supporting the unemployed; millions of unemployed will quickly be absorbed in this all-round process. Restructuring the agricultural economy will quickly absorb the unemployed in the countryside. Moreover, the extension of basic, low-tech industries to different corners of the country, including to the countryside, will help to solve the problem of unemployment.

 

Drug Addiction

In Iran there are about two million addicts. Most of the victims of addiction are youth. Poverty, despondence, lack of any prospects for the future, accompanied by denigration and the suppression of youth culture has given unprecedented dimensions to the use of drugs. The reactionary rulers promote Erfan [mysticism translator] and self-oblivion among the people, which has intensified drug addiction among them. At present, the drug trade has become an important source of unofficial income for the Iranian economy. Military and para-military gangs related to the regime have pocketed enormous profits from this trade. In Iran, as in many other countries, the widespread distribution of drugs is a conscious policy by the regime in order to stupefy, control and reign over society and waste the combative energy and power of the youth. The campaign to fight drugs, launched by the regime, is another side of the same coin, aiming to increase attacks on the masses, intimidate people and tighten police chains on their lives, as well as settling accounts among different rival drug bands in the drug trade.

The proletarian state is opposed to the use of drugs or other addictions that in one way or another endanger the physical and psychological health of the people and create harassment and animosity against others. The party of the proletariat considers getting rid of drugs to be, first and foremost, a political issue totally dependent on turning the present reactionary society upside down. Without destroying the relations that revolve around the logic of profit and are based on exploitation and private interest, the lucrative trade in any commodity, no matter how harmful and deadly, cannot be prevented. Without the seizure of power by the masses, addiction cannot be uprooted.

In the future society, all the main networks for the production and distribution of drugs will be destroyed by force of arms. The main drug lords and large distributors will be tried as class enemies and severely punished. The cultivation of the base plants for drugs, the production of drugs, the transportation and trade in drugs, will all be banned, and all those breaking the law will be pursued legally. At the same time, concentration camps and the quarantine facilities for opium addicts to break their addiction will be closed down and imprisoned addicts will be freed. But addiction cannot be uprooted simply by outlawing drugs. The solution lies in arousing and mobilising the masses. The proletarian state will unleash widespread mass campaigns and, in order to cure the patients, will rely on methods of education and persuasion, as well as putting them under the persistent care of the masses. Nobody will be considered a criminal because of their addiction, and addicts will be helped to kick their habit. The substances they possess will not be seized, they will enjoy free medical facilities and unemployed addicts will have the opportunity to work. The state will buy the drugs from the small pushers, creating a situation where they are not threatened by poverty and hunger and, therefore, will not feel threatened by the elimination of the drug trade. No doubt, when the masses of people seize control of affairs in all spheres and the atmosphere of mass co-operation and the trashing of old habits is reinforced throughout the country, the absolute majority of the people will be able to transform themselves.

 

Prostitution

The intensification of the poverty and misery of the majority of the people and the decadence of society have expanded the scale of prostitution. Many women have been forced to openly or secretly sell their bodies in order to provide the whole or part of the income of their family. In the future revolutionary society, nobody will have to resort to prostitution, and this ill will be wiped out, along with pornography. Victims of prostitution will have access to medical care, employment and education. They will be politically educated so as to understand the source of their oppression. At the same time, the masses will learn not to look at selling bodies from a religious and male-chauvinist point of view, as a sin, but to see it as one of the age-old ills of class society. For this, the victims of prostitution will be called upon to speak out about their suffering and to open the eyes of the masses. In the revolutionary society, the reproach and humiliation of those who were forced to sell their bodies will be combated and this behaviour will be struggled with. The organisers of prostitution networks, the operators of Sigheh offices [Islamic temporary marriages translator] and men who force their wives or daughters into prostitution will be legally pursued and punished.

Bloated Cities and Inequalities between the Regions

These problems are the direct result of imperialist domination and comprador-feudal relations of production. In the future society, planning will be aimed at maintaining (or reducing) the size of the big cities. This will be done mainly through reducing the gaps between large and small cities and between city and countryside. The relations between central planning and local planning, central regions and other regions, will be regulated in such a way as to help solve these problems and to help provide for the relative self-sufficiency of the different regions. Industry, along with advanced means of communication, transport and the other facilities of life, will be set-up in areas far from the big urban centres to increasingly limit the gap between the large and small cities, between cities and rural areas, and to reduce the differences between the income levels of the different regions and between the cities and the countryside. The masses of the cities, especially the large cities, will be encouraged to work and live in other regions. This will be done without resorting to force, but rather by political mobilisation and persuasion and by relying on the masses.

Moreover, this policy is also part of the defence policy of the country. It will help the country to better stand up to imperialist economic pressure and possible imperialist invasion. The existence of an extremely large city like Teheran, that encompasses a significant percentage of the countrys population and is considered the economic pulse of the country, is a weakness for the proletarian state and a vulnerable target for the enemys military attacks.

 

Housing

One of the important problems for the majority of the migrant peasants and workers and for wide sections of the urban petite bourgeoisie is housing. In the new society everybody must have a place to live. The state will take up immediate measures in this regard. All the land and residential units belonging to the big landlords and capitalists will be confiscated and put at the disposal of the homeless workers and toiling masses. All peoples debt and financial obligations to the banks, the Oghaf Organisation, local government and other property institutions will be abolished. All the institutions that, under the signboard of providing housing, extort money from the masses will be eliminated. Speculation in land and large transactions of land and residential units will be banned. The construction of tower blocks and expensive and luxurious buildings will be prevented. The divisions such as boundary and outside-boundary sections of the cities will be abolished.

The proletarian state will discard large apartment building projects; instead, in order to solve the housing problem of the masses as quickly as possible and to provide for their basic needs, it will mobilise the masses and will rely on their skills and initiatives and will employ cheaper and simpler techniques. Architectural plans and large building projects will be devised by relying on the opinion of the inhabitants of each neighbourhood. Their proposals and criticisms, the natural and environmental particularities of each region and the interests of the others inhabiting that region will be taken into consideration in the design and application of each project.

The problem of housing is inseparably linked with the land question, and its solution lies in the abolition of the private ownership of land. The orientation of the state will be for urban land to come under the socialist ownership of the state and the cost of housing to be continuously reduced. No doubt reducing the inequality between regions and eliminating the elements causing peasant migration will qualitatively reduce the housing problem, particularly in the large cities. At the same time, the basic orientation will be for the inequality between urban and rural habitats to be continuously reduced.

 

On Hygiene and Medical Care

The lack of access to basic medical care and hygiene facilities is a big problem for the majority of the people. Contrary to the reactionary states, the proletarian state will pay serious attention to the health of the people. Medical services will be at the masses disposal at very low cost. Networks of hygiene and medical services will exist throughout the country, in the countryside as well as in the cities. Priority will be given to the countryside and the more deprived regions of the country. The concentration of medical care in the large cities will be combated. Along with training professional doctors, short-term training courses will be set up for volunteers in areas of general maladies and local and contagious diseases in order to take care of the general health of the masses. The professional medical workers will be relied upon to raise the medical knowledge of these volunteers; mobile medical services will be organised in order to carry out these tasks in the countryside and deprived regions as quickly as possible. Medical workers will be encouraged to pay attention to the experience of the masses and those traditional treatment methods which have a scientific basis.

Disease prevention will be the foundation of the health policy of the new state. This will require raising general hygiene levels among the masses and combating unhygienic habits common among them. This will only be possible by combining health work with mass movements.

Sports will be promoted in order to raise the level of the general health of the masses. Popularising physical exercise will be considered a task and a public matter and will be continually popularised in work places and education establishments.

 

On Crime and Punishment

The root of crime is to be found in poverty, unemployment, ignorance and the domination of profiteering and privilege-seeking ideas. The proletarian revolution will be able to restrict the dimensions of crime in a qualitative way, by transforming the relations between people, revolutionising their thinking and taking steps to eliminate social ills. But society will continue to face crime and thus will need laws, courts and punishment. Contrary to the reactionary state, which carries out punishment with the aim of intimidating the masses and keeping them in line, under the proletarian state the aim of punishment will be to educate people and remould individuals, and methods of prevention will take precedence over methods of punishment after the crime has been committed.

In the new society nobody will be imprisoned for having this or that belief. Prison will house the former criminal rulers, mercenaries who have oppressed the masses and individuals who carry out organised activities to overthrow the proletarian state and restore reactionary political power. But prison, unlike in the old society, will not be a place of degradation and torture for prisoners. It will be an arena where the reactionary elements can, for the first time, play a useful role and engage in production.

Under the dictatorship of the proletariat, the rape of women and children will not be tolerated and will be punished regardless of the class affiliations of the victims. Rape is a brutal and concentrated expression of the oppression of women and cannot have any result but the strengthening of oppression as a whole. The struggle against theft, bribery, extortion, waste, the personal use of public property and the like will mainly be carried out through mass campaigns, but the pursuit and punishment of the guilty will be an effective part of this struggle. Failure to decisively deal with such cases would mean opening the door to reactionary values and relations and would sow the seeds of division among the masses and would dishearten them of the possibility of building a different kind of society.

One important matter facing the proletarian state is how to deal with the question of the death penalty. The party of the proletariat is against the death penalty under reactionary regimes. Under reactionary regimes this punishment is, on the whole, carried out against those in the ranks of the oppressed, and its goal is to strengthen the dictatorship of the reactionary classes, the repressive state apparatus, and to spread a reign of terror and intimidation. The enemies of the proletariat and the masses use this punishment to suppress the oppressed masses and those opposed to the existing order. In the new society the death penalty will not be totally abolished but will be rarely used. The execution of certain elements, in particular those representatives of the present reactionary regime that have been the architects and commanders of the crimes against the people will give confidence to the people and will serve the destruction of the old state apparatus and the establishment of the organs of power of the masses. This is especially true at the initial stages of the establishment of the proletarian state, when the new state is not yet consolidated and the wounded reactionary forces will react by spreading waves of crime and sabotage. The orientation and policy of the state will be for the number of executions to be as few as possible; the application of the death sentence (except in periods of emergency and in extreme cases) will be postponed and the guilty given the chance to correct and remould themselves. In the case of serious crimes, the masses will be mobilised to discuss and give their opinions as to the appropriate judgement.

In the revolutionary society, the rights of the accused and the convicted will be respected. Nobody will be allowed to arrest and imprison people arbitrarily. Before arrest, a full investigation must be carried out and sufficient and convincing evidence must be presented to the court. Arrest must be carried out during the daytime and in public, and the family of the accused promptly notified. It will be forbidden to apply force in order to extract a confession. The accused will have the right to choose a lawyer or request the appointment of one by the judiciary system. The accused will be presumed innocent and the state and court must prove their crime. After the issue of the verdict, the accused will have the right to appeal. Any discrimination, in the work place or in society as a whole against the convicted and ex-prisoners will be forbidden.

In the revolutionary society torture will be abolished. No form of infringement of the law or a crime will be responded to by using vengeful, violent or Ghesas-like methods [Ghesas is the Islamic practice of an eye for an eye translator]. Such measures, even against the members of the reactionary classes, will in no way serve to break society away from the old dominating relations and ideas, but will degrade the masses in power and will have a negative ideological influence on them. Opposition to such measures is not in contradiction with a decisive, clear and effective struggle against crime, but will serve it. The basic orientation of the proletarian state will be to move towards the elimination of the social, economic and cultural roots of crime, for the judicial system to become irrelevant and for laws to become simpler, more limited and less used.

 

On International Relations

The new-democratic revolution in Iran will strike a serious blow to the world imperialist system. The tearing apart of the chains of imperialist subjugation in this strategic region of the world will become an inspiration for the proletariat and the oppressed masses the world over in their struggle for liberation and the establishment of a revolutionary society. Moreover, with the overthrow of the theocratic regime, the proletariat in Iran will have carried out a particular responsibility towards the world proletarian revolution. This revolution will smash one of the important ideological-political bastions of world reaction and one of the centres for the dissemination of anti-communism in the countries of the region; the thunder of the revolution will resound ever louder beyond the borders, significantly helping the advance of revolutionary struggles in the world and the region.

The proletarian state, in its international relations, will follow the basic principles of proletarian internationalism. In the first place, the proletariat will look at its state power as a base to serve the advance of world revolution. The policy of the proletariat is to support, morally and materially, the national liberation wars and proletarian revolutions in other countries and to strive to build strong unity between the communists and revolutionary forces around the world. At the same time, it will strive to attract international support for the newly founded revolutionary country.

Tactically, it is possible that the proletarian state in Iran will develop diplomatic relations with imperialist and reactionary states. These relations will be based on the interests of the revolutionary state and that of the revolutionary movements in the countries concerned. The diplomacy of the proletarian state, under any conditions, will be subordinate to the interests of world revolution.

In the new society, defining the direction of foreign policy is one of the pivots of class struggle and will be consciously put up for discussion and struggle among the masses. Carrying out internationalist tasks, and their relation to the advance of the revolution and the construction of socialism in one country, will be a decisive and acute focal point of this struggle.

The proletarian state will condemn and expose genocide, ethnic cleansing and imperialist and reactionary wars and will promote the need for unity and friendship amongst the people and the oppressed nations.

History has taught us that a revolutionary state will face various forms of interference and invasion activities by the imperialist and reactionary powers. Such dangers raise the question of strengthening the defensive abilities of the country, the military equipment of the peoples army and the mass militias in order to resolutely block the invasions by foreign powers. The way to guarantee against military threats and invasions by the imperialists is to mobilise and rely on the consciousness of the millions of masses in the country and arousing the support of the proletariat and the oppressed masses around the world.

The proletarian state will make the utmost effort to form and/or facilitate the activities of, the communist international. But it will participate in the new communist international not as a state, with particular privileges, but as a party with equal rights to the other communist parties.

The following measures will be taken up as initial steps:

      Exposure of all secret international agreements made by the reactionary state; abolition of all unequal and oppressive agreements signed by the previous regimes.

      Immediate withdrawal of Iran from regional, political, military and security pacts.

      Forbidding Iranian chauvinistic propaganda and provocation, which for several decades has been carried out against the peoples and nations of the region.

      Dismantling all the organs of intervention established by the reactionary regime in other countries, and the withdrawal of all these forces.

      The right to asylum and citizenship for all persons who are under political and social pressure and face persecution and harassment by the imperialist and reactionary states and people escaping reactionary wars.

 

 

THE PATH OF THE SEIZURE OF POWER IN IRAN

The seizure of power by force, resolving the problem through war, is the central task and the highest form of revolution. Mao Tsetung.

The main problem for any revolution is seizing power through force of violence. The reactionary classes will never voluntarily hand over their state power. They resort to arms in order to suppress the revolutionary movement of the masses, and in this way they force armed struggle onto the agenda. Grasping the necessity of organised armed revolution against the reactionary state is among the basic principles of proletarian class-consciousness. The communist party must constantly bring this consciousness to the workers and other toiling masses.

Armed revolution is a general law of the proletarian revolution. The history of the working class movement teaches us that the recognition or the lack of recognition of this truth is a decisive line of demarcation between proletarian revolutionaries and the traitors to the proletariat, between true Marxism on the one hand and the various kinds of revisionism and opportunism on the other.

The aim of the vanguard communist party, in mobilising and organising the workers and toilers of both the city and countryside, is to rely on and rally this organised force to carry out the violent overthrow of the state and seize power. The most inspiring battles and the most glorious victories would not be that worthwhile for the emancipation of the working class and other toilers, if they did not serve to achieve this political aim. Once we speak of the seizure of political power by the working class, we must speak of the military strategy of the working class. As Lenin said, an oppressed class which does not learn to use arms and acquire arms deserves to be treated as slaves.

In order to win, the military strategy of the proletariat must correspond to the characteristics of the society. In our society the burden of oppression and exploitation is heavy and the majority of the people live in a desperate situation. The dictatorship of the ruling classes is implemented in a naked and harsh way. The workers, peasants, oppressed nations, women and revolutionary intellectuals rise in resistance and struggle in many ways. The economic, political, ideological and military power of the state is concentrated in the cities. As compared to the cities, the army and the other suppressive organs of the regime are less concentrated in the rural areas and are more scattered. The countryside and the regions far from the centre are the weak points of the central state; the military forces of the regime are basically aliens in the countryside. This is even more the case in the regions of the oppressed nations. Moreover, the ruling classes are often divided and can hardly stabilise and consolidate their rule. Overall, the country is marked by upheavals and crises. The sum total of these conditions gives rise to the situation that generally there is a revolutionary situation in this or that part of the country.

In this kind of society, the proletariat, under the leadership of its party, can start its war against the ruling state from the early stages of its revolutionary activities, with a small force in the rural regions. The fact that the enemy is strong, that revolution develops unevenly in different parts of the country and that the revolutionary forces, under the leadership of the working class, develop gradually, makes this war a protracted war. For the revolutionary forces to grow big and strong from a state of being weak and small, the strategic weaknesses of the reactionary state must be recognised and utilised. As is shown by the characteristics of the society, as well as the experiences of revolutionary armed struggles and just wars in contemporary Iran, the armed forces of the enemy have less scope for movement and manoeuvring in the countryside, as compared to the cities. The vastness of the countryside and other geographical features, the fact that the armed forces of the regime come from outside and are not locally born and the lack of a base among the masses make them vulnerable in the face of guerrilla warfare. These factors make it difficult for the state to establish a permanent presence of its armed forces in regions far from the centre. Therefore, it cannot easily bring into play its superiority in numbers, weaponry, technology and logistics against the revolutionary armed forces. This situation makes it possible for the revolutionary armed forces to carry out guerrilla warfare in the countryside, surprise and trap the enemy forces in one spot and destroy them, then retreat and carry out these actions in places where the enemy is not expecting it. The revolutionary armed forces will create a situation where they can wipe out the enemy forces from some areas, establish bases areas and develop the war to a wider area and to a higher level. This is the military strategy of protracted peoples war and surrounding the cities from the countryside. This war passes through three stages: strategic defence, strategic equilibrium and strategic offence.

The experiences of armed struggle by communist revolutionaries and the oppressed nations against the reactionary regimes in Iran show that those regions within which class contradictions have intertwined with some other important contradictions, such as national oppression, are more favourable for the initiation of this kind of a war. Moreover, when country-wide revolutionary crises shape up, like in 1979, the vanguard party of the proletariat can more rapidly than in normal times overcome the problems of initiation and can launch the peoples war; or if the peoples war has already been initiated, it can be developed in leaps and bounds.

 

Three Fundamental Tools of Revolution: Communist Party, Revolutionary United Front and Peoples Army

War is the continuation of politics by other means; every war, necessarily, has a politics that rules it: bourgeois politics or proletarian politics. In order to guarantee that war is the continuation of proletarian politics, the communist party must command the armed forces, and communist politics must command the gun. Only a war that is under the leadership of a proletarian party and line can play a revolutionary role and really transform the old society and build a new one instead. The proletariat cannot do anything without its revolutionary Marxist-Leninist-Maoist party. If the centralised leadership of the communist party is not exerted over the process of the war, then the peoples war will undoubtedly deviate from its path in the twisty course of class struggle. That is why strengthening the correct ideological and political line of the party and its organisation are the most important organisational tasks of the party in the course of the preparation for, and the carrying out of, the peoples war.

A communist party that is seriously preparing to seize political power will inevitably be faced with the questions of close and remote allies and uniting the oppressed masses. In our society, from amongst the classes and strata that have different degrees of contradiction with the domination of imperialism, bureaucrat capitalism and semi-feudalism, the poor and landless peasantry are the closest allies of the working class, because they have deep interests in the new-democratic revolution and the establishment of socialism. They are the main force of the revolution. Without this force, it would be impossible for the working class to seize power. The working class must lead this enormous force and not let the bourgeois and feudal forces seize the leadership of the peasants and cynically use them to gain more power under the same semi-feudal, semi-colonial system. In order to lead the peasantry, the working class must fan class struggle in the countryside. The land question and the agrarian revolution are at the centre of class struggle in the countryside. Without unleashing this class struggle in the countryside it would be impossible to carry out peoples war, unite the landless and poor peasants and mobilise them for the red army. The worker-peasant alliance is the backbone of the United Front under the leadership of the proletariat. Only when a firm alliance is established between the working class and the poor and landless peasantry, will the urban petite bourgeoisie heed the leadership of the working class and its party in a persistent manner.

Armed proletarian revolution requires a revolutionary army under the leadership of the proletariat. The seeds of this army are laid through small guerrilla units, which are formed to initiate peoples war. As the war develops, this army will develop in terms of its quantity, as well as its forms of organisation, ability to fight and weaponry.

The red army fighters join the peoples war on the basis of becoming conscious of their class interests; they do not join on the basis of force or as a means of livelihood or on the basis of false promises from the war leaders. Even though many of them are not communists, the party makes them conscious of the politics and programme of the peoples war for building a new society. This is the basis of their joining the red army. The communist party, as the leader of the war, does not hide its ideological and political line from the masses. Rather it propagates it amongst the masses.

In addition to the red army fighters, who are directly engaged in the war, masses of workers and peasants help to carry out the war in many different forms. The peoples army recruits its fresh and increasing forces from amongst these same masses; bread and information and other logistical needs of the peoples army basically come from amongst these same masses.

 

Base Areas and New Political Power

The establishment of base areas and new political power from the early stages of the peoples war is a basic principle of peoples war, i.e. as a region is cleansed of the armed forces of the state and reactionary elements, the initial forms of the new political power are established.

The new political power constitutes the representatives of the workers and poor and landless peasants, but it also includes other allies of the working class as well. The establishment of this new power against the ruling reactionary power shows a bright future to the masses of the whole country and adds to the political and ideological influence of the working class and the communist party all over the country.

The new political power deals with questions such as who in the base areas should be overthrown and punished, who should be neutralised and who should be united with, and how and to what degree to implement the agrarian revolution and the programme of the party overall.

In the base areas, the new political power, under the leadership of the working class, is built step by step. In the course of the gradual development of the base areas, new laws, new practice, new culture and even new relations of production take shape, and the power of the masses is expressed ever more concretely. Specifically the slogan of land to the tiller is implemented and turns into a living reality; it becomes a rallying call for the whole country. In this way, when the working class seizes country-wide political power, the revolutionary state has already planted roots in the most deprived areas of the county. This is a point of strength for the proletarian state in the face of any imperialist invasion. When the working class and its vanguard party build their own army and establish base areas, even in small areas, they can effectively compete with the political forces of other classes for gaining the leadership of the people.

Sustaining and developing the protracted peoples war is dependent on the establishment of base areas. Relying on these areas, the peoples army can lure the enemy deep into its own land, deal with it from a powerful position, and destroy it. With the establishment of base areas, the red army can develop in leaps and can become truly an army of the masses. The base areas serve as the support front for developing the war, weakening the enemy and finally overthrowing it and seizing country-wide political power. Without establishing base areas, it is not possible to implement the path of surrounding the cities from the countryside.

Forming, preserving and developing base areas passes through a process with lots of twists and turns; these areas will change hands many times between the revolutionary armed forces and the forces of the enemy. This process will be marked by suppression and encirclement campaigns by the enemy forces to restore their reactionary power in these areas and by counter-suppression and encirclement campaigns by the revolutionary army to preserve the new political power in these areas.

The fact that the peoples war is faced with a strong enemy, which is armed to the teeth, makes the task of establishing base areas difficult. Modern methods of warfare, and specifically the ability of the enemy to use helicopters and other quick means of transporting their soldiers, make all regions penetrable by enemy forces. Therefore, the stability of the base areas is only relative. But this is only part of the truth. The situation is such that even if the enemy invades one of the base areas, it does not have the ability to occupy vast areas of the countryside in a permanent manner and bring it under its control. When the enemy faces the development of the peoples war, it will have to retreat to its centres of power. It is not possible to predict the development of base areas. This will be influenced, to a large degree, by overall developments in the country, as well as in the region and the world.

The peoples war cannot rely on borders and reactionary neighbouring states or the armed and technological aid of the world powers. As Mao said on the role and position of the base areas:

"If the revolutionary forces do not want to compromise with imperialism and its lackeys, but are resolute to continue their struggle; if they aim at preserving and steeling their forces and avoid decisive battles with this kind of strong enemy before their forces are strong enough, they should turn backward rural areas into progressive and solid bases, into big military, political, economic and cultural fortresses in order to rely on them and struggle against the rapacious enemy, who, by relying on the cities, attacks the rural areas, and in the course of protracted struggle, achieve final victory."

Preparation for the Initiation of Peoples War

Preparation for the initiation of peoples war is a process that has its own particular contradictions. The party should define these and persevere in solving them within a definite time limit, with the aim of successfully initiating peoples war. Questions such as what degree of initial organisational ability, mass base and logistical ability are needed and what is the best time for successfully initiating peoples war are the questions that decide the direction of the preparation. Overall, all party activities before the initiation of the peoples war should serve its initiation and after that should serve to develop it towards the country-wide seizure of power.

But what is the meaning of the successful initiation of the war? It means the peoples war should withstand the initial blows of the enemy and grow and develop. In this way, the peoples war will become a political pole in the political scene of the country and reach a position that its destruction will become a strategic problem for the enemy. Achieving this position would be a great leap in the process of seizing political power. If the enemy succeeds in destroying the peoples war with its initial blows, then the party will have to return to the starting point and has to build anew some basic elementary links among the masses and strengthen its lost organisational and logistical abilities.

For the successful initiation of the peoples war, in addition to a correct and clear ideological, political and military line, the party must have a solid organisation. The organisation of the party must be built in close connection with the carrying out of class struggle, and its membership must be constituted of people who have ideological and political solidity and are ready to do anything for the initiation of peoples war. In order to solve the contradictions of the process of preparation, the party must rely on the revolutionary consciousness and initiative of the masses and their organised force; it must pay specific attention to secretly mobilising and organising the masses in the regions that are favourable for the initiation of peoples war.

 

Dislocation of the Rural Population and the Growth of the Cities

In the past few decades, important changes have occurred in the structure of the cities and countryside. As a result of the implementation of imperialist plans after the Second World War, the pace of capitalist development and the trend for city dwelling, generally shantytown dwelling, accelerated. This meant huge dislocation of the rural population, shattering the closed structure of the countryside, and the dissolution of important aspects of feudalism. The reduction of the rural population, the increasing integration of the rural economy into the world capitalist system and the extension of the state organs of power into the countryside created new contradictions in relation to the initiation of the peoples war and complicated the problem of establishing base areas. But these changes did not mitigate the contradictions within the countryside, which concentrated around the land question. In fact they intensified it. With the growth in agricultural workers and the formation of a vast stratum of semi-proletarians, the social base of the revolutionary proletariat has developed in the countryside. On the other hand, these changes have created many contradictions for the ruling state. This state can hardly achieve long term and country-wide stability. The continuous crisis and increasing influence of international and regional events on the political and social scene of the country has created a situation where periodically after short intervals the masses rise up again against the brutal suppression. A vast dispossessed population from the countryside has migrated to the cities but they have not completed the proletarianisation process; this is an explosive force, which is like a poverty belt around the big cities, and it plays a very important role in destabilising state power.

Overall, and despite all these changes in the past few decades, it is possible to initiate and develop peoples war against the central state in Iran. The countryside and regions far from the centre are still weak spots of the state, and the big cities are the centres of political, military and economic power of the reactionary classes. Perseverance in initiating peoples war from the countryside and developing and expanding it is the pivot for successfully carrying out the country-wide activities of the party. Without such a pivot, the party will suffer from left and right deviations, will repeatedly suffer enemy blows and will lose all of its gains obtained during previous periods.

 

The Place of the Cities in Peoples War

In carrying out the strategy of peoples war and in developing its tactics, the party must take into account all of the previously mentioned changes. More importantly, it must accumulate experience in order to be able to understand how the peoples war should be developed in the big cities. Here, we do not mean the small cities in rural areas, which, in the course of the peoples war, can become the battle ground or can switch hands between the peoples army and the reactionary army.

The place of the large cities in the war for the seizure of power is important for two reasons. First, in the whole process of peoples war, the countryside is the principal stage of the war, but political and military struggles in the cities play an important part in reinforcing the war. Political mobilisation and organisation among the workers and toilers of the shantytowns and other popular classes and strata, organising and leading different fronts of the struggle against the ruling state, have an important role in successfully expanding the peoples war. Secondly, the seizure of country-wide political power will be completed with the defeat of the military forces of the state, in its centres of power, in the large cities. The country-wide seizure of power will be possible only when the balance of forces between the red army and the reactionary state has qualitatively changed and the revolutionary forces can launch strategic offences against the enemy. During this stage, the centre of gravity of the war will shift from the countryside to the cities, and the task of organising armed insurrection in the centres of power of the old state will be an urgent task for the peoples war.

With all this in mind, the communist party should carry out the task of mobilising and organising the workers and basic masses in the shantytowns, as well as all the popular strata. In all these activities the workers should be given the consciousness that for the seizure of power it is necessary to establish red power against the reactionary power, through peoples war; they have to grasp that the process of revolution is a protracted and complex process, which encompasses many forms of class struggle; but the strategy which channels all these struggles in the service of overthrowing the reactionary state is protracted peoples war. It is through this process that the communist party can wipe out the ideological and political influence of the reactionary classes on the workers and the allies of the working class (principally the poor and landless peasants in the countryside and the semi-proletarians and poor petite bourgeoisie in the cities) and rally them under its flag for overthrowing the reactionary state and establishing the new-democratic state and socialism.

 

Nation-wide Revolutionary Crisis

Contemporary Iran has witnessed small and large crises, which at times have developed into a country-wide revolutionary crisis. The formation of these crises and the emergence of a revolutionary situation extremely weakens, disintegrates and divides the reactionary state. At such points, the regime unavoidably gathers its armed forces in the cities. In this way, the domination of the reactionary state weakens in the rural areas and a very favourable situation emerges for developing peoples war in leaps and bounds. Experience shows that under such conditions, even though the large cities turn into boiling centres of political struggle, a vacuum of political power develops, especially in the countryside and in the regions far from the centres. In this situation, the immediate task of the party is to initiate peoples war in these regions and fill the power vacuum by establishing a new political power (even if in its very embryonic forms); if the peoples war has already started, the party must use the opportunity to develop it, in leaps and bounds, to other areas. Again, experience shows that the initiation of revolutionary war in one part of the country exerts tremendous influence on political developments in the cities. The initiation of peoples war increases the ability of the revolutionary proletariat and its party to exert leadership over the political events in the cities, a hundred fold.

 

On the Strategy of Urban Insurrection

Insurrection in the cities is a military offensive against the centres of power of the bourgeois state, the immediate outcome of which is the establishment of the proletarian state and the formation of a mass proletarian army. On the basis of these immediate outcomes, a civil war is developed in order to completely destroy the state forces in the entire country and establish proletarian power in the whole country. This military strategy can be a point of reference for the communists in the imperialist countries for developing the path of revolution in those countries.

But in the dominated countries, such as Iran, because the number and concentration of the working class is relatively small and the close allies of the working class (poor and landless peasants) are not in the cities, the outcome of resorting to the strategy of insurrection in the cities would be defeat. Moreover, constant suppression of the communist forces by the enemy does not allow the party to develop its forces and its social base through protracted political and organisational work in the cities in order to launch a successful armed insurrection, seize political power and start a civil war on that basis. The experience of the 1979 revolution showed that even at the height of a country-wide revolutionary crisis, when the masses of people in vast quantities and on a country-wide basis are in tumultuous motion and the state is in a situation of disintegration, if the revolutionary communists have not already gained enough strength through waging peoples war, the programme and class interests of the bourgeois forces will mark the political scene in the cities. We must also combat the incorrect and current notion that the masses themselves can launch an insurrection and the communists with some preparation and some skilful manoeuvring can lead this insurrection. Revolutionary communists should cast away any illusions that they can seize power like Khomeini and his cohorts in the 1979 uprising; they should cast away these illusions and prepare the forces of the working class and its allies in the cities and countryside for a difficult, bloody and protracted, but possible and liberating, war.

 

All-out War and Not Limited War

Because the working class fights to destroy capitalist society and establish a socialist society, the exploiting class will fight this effort to seize power with all its might and power. The working class cannot seize political power like the bourgeois classes. The proletariat cannot hope to resort to a limited war to force the enemy to hand over political power to the proletariat, or to paralyse and make the enemy surrender through political and economic levers, such as a general strike. There are many petit-bourgeois and bourgeois forces that have their armies and wars. They utilise the lever of limited armed struggle in order to achieve limited and reformist goals. Their goal is to become a strong political force in order to be allowed into bourgeois alliances and to be given some tokens within the framework of the same old system. They usually paint their fundamentally bourgeois programmes with left colours and usually use armed struggle as a backing for their peaceful reformist struggles. The proletariat, on the other hand, launches its war with the aim of destroying the armed forces of the enemy and the old state apparatus, because only in this way can it implement its political, economic and social programme. The proletarian war is a total, all-the-way war for the destruction of the old state.

The communists declare and emphasise the truth of Maos statement that political power grows out of the barrel of a gun; for this reason the bourgeoisie accuses us of warmongering. But Maos truth is only a lesson drawn from the thousands of years of rule of the exploiting classes. The ruling classes burn the whole world, but when the people light up the flames of armed revolution, they curse. The working class declares that the final goal of the proletarian war is to do away with class distinctions, classes, states and, along with that, war itself. Only in this way will human society experience a real and lasting peace. As Mao Tsetung said: "In order to do away with the gun, first we must pick up the gun."

 


 

STEP FORWARD AND DARE TO FIGHT FOR A NEW WORLD!

 

The programme and path that the party is putting forward is a concentration of the precious experiences of our class during the last 150 years in Iran and throughout the world. This Programme uses Marxism-Leninism-Maoism to analyse the basic contradictions in society and in the world. On the basis of this science, it defines the obstacles standing in the way of the emancipation of the working class and peoples in Iran and clarifies the solution. This Programme and strategy has risen from the victories and defeats of the international communist movement and the attempts of the proletariat and toilers to build a society free from exploitation and oppression. This Programme is the independent banner of the working class that is hoisted, the red flag that carries the footprints of the fighters of the Paris Commune, the rebels of the October Revolution in Russia, the warriors of the Chinese Revolution and the torch-bearers of the Great Proletarian Cultural Revolution. This Programme and strategy is specifically put forward by the Union of Communists of Iran (Sarbedaran) and draws on its experience. But at the same time it is indebted to the path-breaking of the Communist Party of Iran in the 1920s, the intense struggles of the workers, toilers and oppressed nations in the years 1941-53, the rupture with the revisionism and reformism of the Tudeh Party, the foundation of the new communist movement in Iran in the 1960s, the experience of the 1979 revolution and the struggle of the workers, peasants, women, revolutionary intellectuals and oppressed nations.

In this country, crises arrive one after another, and new waves of struggle arise. The reactionary ruling classes and their imperialist backers, in order to save their hellish system and maintain their domination, put forward reactionary solutions; the masses inevitably rise up in resistance and struggle and the bourgeois forces present the proletariat and the masses with false and half-way measures. The question is: will a totally different kind of flag be hoisted up high or not? Only a proletarian revolution and a revolutionary party armed with Marxism-Leninism-Maoism can lead the revolution to final victory.

The programme and strategy of this party lights up the scene for the workers and toilers in the cities and countryside and provides the correct path to their movement. The party strives to widely open up the revolutionary horizons of the masses and continuously and tirelessly mobilise and unite them as a mighty conscious revolutionary force.

History has put a great responsibility on this party. In order to fulfil this responsibility, every advanced worker, conscious of her/his class interests, must step forward and join this party. Revolutionary intellectuals and the advanced revolutionaries among the masses must support this party and join it, in order to help blaze a path for the protracted peoples war and for the party Programme to be materialised, in order to carry out every single one of these lofty aims and liberating tasks, and in order for the party to become the recognised leadership of the working class and the people. On this protracted and proud path the powerful words of Mao Tsetung echo and strengthen the communist forces more than ever:

We must carry out a mighty struggle!

Nothing is impossible in this world, if you dare to scale the heights!

 

Contact email :

cpimlm@cpimlm.com

cpimlm@gmail.com

 

 

 


 



[1][1] Translator:

Astan-e-Ghods is a foundation, which runs the Imam Reza grave in Mash-had (North East of Iran near the border with Afghanistan). Imam Reza is the eighth Imam of the Shiites (out of 12) who died and was buried in Iran. It is the sight of a splendid palace and is surrounded by a sprawling bazaar.

Oghaf: literally means donations. It is a foundation, which runs the property of Imam Reza; for example it collects the rents from the lands of the Imam, it invests for the Imam, etc. The Imam's property has come from donations by landlords, merchants and capitalists.

These two foundations are huge comprador-feudal monopolies, headed by Ayatollahs with power close to that of the Leader himself.

Emamzadehs: these are equivalent to saints in Catholicism. They are supposedly grand children of Imams who have died in Iran. All of them have Oghaf properties and carry different degrees of power.

    
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