‘Organize solidarity with protests by workers and youth across Iran’

By Terry Evans
January 27, 2020
Protest in Tehran Jan. 13, in rebirth of nationwide popular mobilizations against Iranian regime’s interventions in the region and economic crisis bearing down on working people.
Protest in Tehran Jan. 13, in rebirth of nationwide popular mobilizations against Iranian regime’s interventions in the region and economic crisis bearing down on working people.

Socialist Workers Party candidates are urging working people in the U.S. to organize actions in solidarity with the struggles of fellow working people in Iran. Thousands have protested there this week, angered at the Iranian government’s cover-up of its Revolutionary Guard shooting down a Ukrainian passenger plane killing all 176 people on board.

The party’s candidates tell the truth about the struggles of working people there, who are demanding an end to the wars the Iranian rulers wage across the Mideast and protesting the rule of the bourgeois clerical regime. These struggles deserve the support of working people worldwide.

“Our party calls for the immediate, unconditional and total withdrawal of all U.S. forces from the Mideast,” Rachele Fruit, SWP candidate for U.S. Senate from Georgia, told Alejandro Mendez when she visited his small restaurant and grocery store La Tienda Tarimoro in Eatonton, Georgia, Jan. 11. Mendez, a former dairy farmworker, had first met SWP campaign supporters last fall.

Rachele Fruit, SWP candidate for U.S. Senate from Georgia, speaks with Alejandro Mendez in Eatonton, Georgia, Jan. 11. “It’s working people who fight and die in U.S. wars,” he said.
Militant/Susan LaMontRachele Fruit, SWP candidate for U.S. Senate from Georgia, speaks with Alejandro Mendez in Eatonton, Georgia, Jan. 11. “It’s working people who fight and die in U.S. wars,” he said.

“U.S. forces are only there to defend the interests of the ruling class, to control the resources of these countries,” Fruit said.

“Soleimani was a central leader of the Iranian rulers’ efforts to extend their counterrevolutionary economic and military influence,” she said, handing Mendez a copy of the SWP national campaign’s Jan. 10 statement on the Middle East (available on the Militant’s website). “He had been a target of protests by workers in Iran and Iraq.”

“It’s working people who have to fight and die in their wars,” Mendez agreed.

“Only by looking to working people in the entire region can we see a way out of the military conflicts there,” Fruit added. Mendez took copies of the Militant supplement “Revolution, Counterrevolution and War in Iran” to show around. It describes how working people joined demonstrations in over 90 cities and towns across Iran at the end of 2017 to protest Tehran’s military intervention in Syria, Iraq and elsewhere, and to press their own class interests.

Mendez renewed his Militant subscription and said he would talk with dairy workers to see if they would like to meet the socialist candidate and learn more about the SWP campaign.

‘U.S. forces out of Mideast’

When SWP campaigner Jeff Powers knocked on the door of Dre Johnson in Vallejo, California, Jan. 11, Johnson told him that the U.S. government should get its forces out of the Middle East.

“We face a deteriorating situation in this country,” Johnson said, pointing out he has to work two jobs while his wife also works full time so they can afford to pay their bills.

Workers are often told that Washington carries out “our” foreign policy and “our” wars, but different social classes, not “countries,” have foreign policies. What are usually called “U.S. interests” are in fact those of the capitalist rulers. Workers are forced to serve as the cannon fodder.

Washington’s military operations are an extension of what they do to working people at home with their dog-eat-dog profit system, backed up by their cops, courts and prisons, explained Powers.

That’s why “we need to build a movement of workers independent of the Democrats and Republicans,” Powers explained. The SWP urges workers to build a labor party that fights to defend the class interests of all workers, at home and abroad. Johnson subscribed to the Militant and got a copy of the book The Clintons’ Anti-Working-Class Record: Why Washington Fears Working People by SWP National Secretary Jack Barnes.

“It’s not our job to dictate to any country, in the name of liberating them,” bus driver Tharien Graham told James Harris, SWP candidate for Washington, D.C., delegate to U.S. Congress, Jan. 8. Harris met Graham when he brought his campaign’s support to Amalgamated Transit Union Local 689 strikers picketing at the Cinder Bed Road garage in Lorton, Virginia. The bus workers are fighting for safer working conditions and more pay.

“There is a class struggle in Iran and Iraq,” Harris said. “Workers there are trying to unite across religious and national differences and find a working-class road forward.”

“Imperialist intervention does not help the ordinary people of the Middle East,” 15-year-old student Rsaal Firoz told Communist League member Andrés Mendoza at a protest called by the Stop the War Coalition in London Jan. 11. Firoz was at the action with his mother, Sadaf Nayab. She told Mendoza she opposed the killing of Soleimani, “But I’m no supporter of the Iranian government,” she added. “It is not the government that people fought for in the revolution of 1979.”

“The current government is a reactionary bourgeois clerical regime,” said Mendoza. “It’s the product of a counterrevolution that pushed back what workers, women, Kurds and others conquered through the overthrow of the U.S.-backed shah in 1979.” Nayab and Firoz bought copies of the Militant and the supplement “Revolution, Counterrevolution and War in Iran,” along with New International no. 7, where Barnes discusses what Washington’s 1991 assault on Iraq opened up.

‘Militant’ — tool to fight Jew-hatred

SWP campaigner Susan LaMont, who works at a Walmart store in Atlanta, reports that she has made good use of the column in last week’s Militant, “Why Fight Against Jew-Hatred Is a Key Question for Working Class,” in discussions with her co-workers about the Dec. 10 anti-Semitic attack at the Jersey City Kosher Supermarket.

“Some had heard about the murderous assault on TV, but others found out about it for the first time through our discussions,” she wrote. “The coverage in the Militant was a big help in these discussions, especially in explaining that Jew-hatred is not simply another form of ‘hate’ or discrimination, but a tool used by the capitalist rulers and their supporters to scapegoat Jews for the growing crisis of their system.

“One co-worker, Maxine Castle, who has worked a maintenance job at the store for four years, said we should send a card of condolence to families of those in Jersey City who had lost loved ones.”

“We’re all human,” Castle,  originally from Jamaica, told me, “no matter what your nationality or beliefs. If my Jewish brother is hurt, it hurts me too.”

“We decided to go ahead. Seven other co-workers added their names, which led to more discussions on the importance of working people speaking out against these and any other examples of Jew-hatred.”

If you would like more information on the SWP campaign, or to help circulate campaign literature, the Militant and books by SWP leaders, contact the campaign office nearest you or at themilitant.com.