Contribution of Tudeh Party of Iran [En]
Firstly, on behalf of the Central Committee of the Tudeh Party of Iran, I wish to express our revolutionary greetings to this most important and significant international gathering of communist and workers parties, coinciding with the celebration of the 100th anniversary of the victory of the Great October Socialist Revolution. May I also express our comradely greetings and gratitude to our host; the party of Lenin, the Communist Party of the Russian Federation.
We have gathered here to celebrate - and at the same time review - one of the greatest events of the 20th Century, and in humanity’s historical and social development; the victory of the October Socialist Revolution. The October Revolution took place at a time of capitalist domination; during the disastrous First World War fought between the imperialist countries over the division of the world and its wealth; the period of suppression of progressive ideas; and at a time when the "ghost of communism" - according to the Communist Manifesto - had began to disturb the dreams of the leaders of the capitalist world.
The October Revolution aimed to open the way to a society free of war, violence and repression in one of Europe's largest and least advanced countries. The victory of the October Revolution - brought about and led by Vladimir Ilyich Lenin and the Bolsheviks - against Tsarist Russia, marked a historic end to the claims that capitalism was eternal and showed to the oppressed peoples of the world that another world is possible. The victory of the October Revolution also underlined the significance of Karl Marx’s historic statement: "The philosophers have thus far only interpreted the world, in various ways. The point, however, is to change it.”
The victory of the October Revolution cannot be regarded as separate from the underpinnings of Marxist-Leninist ideology. As the innovative and creative successor of Marx and Engels, Lenin, by detailing the economic-political nature of imperialism, arrived at the conclusion of the law of "uneven growth" of capitalist countries during the stage of imperialism. This law is one of Lenin's most important discoveries and played a fundamental role in the evolution of Marxism. Lenin's creative theoretical work encompasses diverse arenas. Indeed the experiences and achievements of the October Revolution were influenced by this constructive and rigorous theoretical base accordingly, as well as by Marxism in general. This is of course squarely contrary to the claims of those who try to exploit the collapse of socialism in the Soviet Union and Eastern Europe, and portray Leninism as somehow deviating from or being at odds with Marxism. Thus, Marxism-Leninism, the flagship of the thoughts and ideals of the October Revolution - including its definition and explanation of the nature of imperialism; the economic crisis inherent to the capitalist system; the unbalanced economic growth during the era of imperialism; and the theory of the socialist revolution - has maintained its importance, scientific nature and relevance.
The October Revolution took place in a country neighbouring Iran, our homeland. It replaced Tsarist Russia with a Union of Soviet Socialist Republics. Following the triumph of the October Revolution, Iran became free from the threat of collapse, colonisation and loss of its national sovereignty and independence. The Iranian people saw the USSR as their best sponsor and advocate for freedom and independence. Immediately after the October Revolution, the Soviet government annulled the enslaving treaty of 1907 which had divided Iran into two spheres of British and Russian influence. Lenin himself, in his declaration of 14th December 1917, announced that the August 1907 agreement made between Britain and Tsarist Russia - with all its secret amendments concerning the division of Iran into two subordinate areas and a neutral region - was null and void. He stressed that any treaty that contradicts the national independence, territorial sovereignty and freedom of the Iranian people was invalid and should be torn apart so that they could no longer be referred to.
The revolutionary government of the Soviets also terminated all financial claims and colonial privileges of the Tsarist government of Russia in Iran. Furthermore, the “Capitulation” (immunity from prosecution) law which applied to the legal and judicial affairs of Russians living in Iran was annulled by the new government. To this end, the Soviet government issued a declaration on 26th June 1919 that listed all the benefits that Tsarist Russia had received from Iran, terminated them in their entirety, and then concluded: “The Russian people believe that the 15-million-strong nation of Iran will not perish as they have a proud and heroic history which contains many personalities that the civilised world rightfully honours and respects. Such a nation will awake with a roar to tear apart the chains imposed by the evil oppressors and will walk in the brotherly path of free and progressive nations towards a new, bright, creative and prosperous humanity...”
Under the influence of the Great Socialist October Revolution, the national liberation movements in Iran, which were already campaigning for change, grew further and spread. Some leaders of these movements were already in contact with the Bolsheviks and involved in the smuggling of the publications sent by Lenin and the exiled leadership to the Bolsheviks. This was followed in 1920 and 1921 by armed uprisings in Azerbaijan, Gilan and Khorasan provinces. These popular insurrections included large masses of workers and peasants, as well as the moyenne (or middle) bourgeoisie and the commercial bourgeoise. From these popular social movements and under the leadership of great revolutionary figures of that era - such as Heydar Amou-Oghli, one of the leaders of the Constitutional Movement of Iran - the "Communist Party of Iran" was born in 1920. The Communist Party engaged in a complex struggle for social, economic and political change but was attacked by the monarchical regime and was declared as banned under the constitution. The leadership of the party were arrested, imprisoned and its leader, Dr. Taghi Arani, was murdered in prison in February 1940.
Seventy-six years ago, following the onset of the Second World War, the collapse of Reza Shah’s despotic regime and the release of Communist prisoners, the revolutionary and democratic successor of the Communist Party of Iran, the Tudeh Party of Iran, was formed and became the core of a mass radical social movement within a short time. Influenced by the effective organisation of the Tudeh Party of Iran, national and democratic movements spread across the country leading to the establishment of autonomous regional governments in Azerbaijan and Kurdistan. As a result of the widespread struggle of the Iranian people during the term of Prime Minister Mohammad Mossadegh, the oil industry in our country was nationalised. During the coup d'état of 19th August 1953 - which was carried out by the CIA and MI6 - this popular movement was brutally suppressed, placing Iran under the control of the oppressive police-state regime of the Shah and his imperialist masters. The historic legitimacy of our movement and its unbreakable link with the ideals and thoughts of the October Revolution, together with the deep-rooted nature of the workers' movement in our homeland, contributed significantly to the revolutionary movement growing struggle against the tyrannical regime, and the victory of the Iranian Revolution of February 1979. The importance of the presence of the October Revolution’s descendant and flagbearer - the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics - on the northern borders of our country and the role it took in deterring any threats by imperialism to interfere in the internal affairs and against the glorious revolution of our people, is irrefutable.
Today, nearly 39 years after the victory of the National Democratic Revolution in Iran, our people are ruled by a medieval religious dictatorship that betrayed the ideals of our revolution. The savage suppression of democratic rights and the freedom of our people, combined with neo-liberal economic policies pursued by the regime, have resulted in millions of our people living below the poverty line, rampant unemployment and a level of deprivation unseen in our recent history. It is also important to state that over the past 39 years we have seen some of the most reactionary and inhumane laws introduced against trade union, women and youth movements in the country. The women’s movement has been one of the most innovative and courageous components of the popular movement challenging the theocratic dictatorship. We should be clear that communist organisations - and the left forces in general - are banned and suppressed in Iran. The Islamic regime is bitterly and vehemently anti-socialist and regards Marxism as a heresy. Despite the anti-American rhetoric of the Iranian regime, the Islamic Republic’s foreign policy in the region and across the world has been nothing but adventurist, threatening our sovereignty and helping none other than reactionary Islamic forces. Furthermore, despite this same rhetoric from the regime - and its continual naked attempts to bolster its credentials in this respect - the Islamic Republic has played into the hands of imperialism at every critical junction in the affairs of our country and the wider region. A real counterbalance to the designs of imperialism and its regional allies, since the collapse of the Soviet Union, it most certainly has not been.
We are celebrating the 100th anniversary of the victory of the October Revolution at a time when global capitalism is engulfed in a deep and wide-ranging economic crisis. The world of monopoly capitalism in this the second decade of the 21st century is a world blighted by inhuman and deepening inequality in which hundreds of millions of people are deprived of the most basic human and democratic rights and in which the shocking poverty of hundreds of millions of people, their marginalisation, along with war and the ever-continuing destruction of the environment, are seriously threatening the future of humankind. The re-emergence of racist and supremacist dogmas in Europe and the United States - a current that drew towards two world wars and the killing of tens of millions of people during the twentieth century - and the coming to power of such governments as that of Donald Trump, that clearly promote racism and domination of US imperialism over the world, should sound a serious warning alarm for progressive people everywhere.
The struggle against the threat of war across the Middle East and against the wider aggressive policies and hegemonic designs of NATO and US imperialism remains a key challenge facing peace loving forces around the world. Well aware of the people’s desperate desire for an end to the disastrous First World War, Lenin issued the decree for peace, an end to Russia’s participation in that conflict, just days after the revolution as he was conscious that the struggle for socialist revolution could not succeed without it being accompanied by a resolute commitment to a strategic campaign for peace. One hundred years after the success of the Socialist Revolution, the need to continue in the struggle for peace and against war is one of the tenets of that Great October which remains resolutely relevant to the struggle of humanity in the twenty first century. Thus, the campaign for peace is an important and integral part of our strategy for a better future for the Iranian working people.
The existence of classes and the class society is not an invention of communists, though it remains a terrible reality. The current crisis of the class-based system of global capitalism is the direct result of the neoliberal policies that have been pursued over recent decades. David Harvey, the Marxist thinker and distinguished professor at the City University of New York, reached the conclusion that speculative finance capital in the 1970s eventually got the upper hand over productive capital so that the primary thrust of economic activity became the price of shares in the stock market and not production. Financial interests and, as Lenin put it, “the power of accountants instead of engineers”, prevailed upon and dominated the ruling classes and elite. Neoliberalism has caused a change in the concept of “social status”. It has discarded all that remained of democracy and human rights. Persistently and relentlessly, it promotes and protects class supremacy and even a new kind of “caste” system in the world.
Finally, the October Revolution stoked up the engine fire of hope - hope for freedom, equality, social justice, peace, and socialism - in the hearts of hundreds of millions of toilers and oppressed people around the world. Today, the giant media trusts that promote the capitalist system are fiercely and relentlessly spreading lies against socialism, the October Revolution and any kind of revolutionary uprising in general. These media moguls portray the October Revolution, and in particular the role of Lenin in leading this revolution, as a historic mistake and in effect present it as something detrimental to the working class and the global struggle of workers. Despite all the achievements by USSR and other socialist countries in building socialism, today it is clear that this process was faced with flaws and weaknesses that, in combination with the massive, organised and crushing pressure of global imperialism, eventually led to the collapse of the socialist system in those countries in the final years of the twentieth century. Critical and scientific evaluation of this significant historical experience, without any dogmatism, is the only way for the communist and working-class movement and progressive forces of the world to develop a road map to build for the future of human society. Ignoring the deficiencies - the bureaucratic structures that grew in those countries and which over time replaced creativity and a scientific approach to phenomena and which diminished the revolutionary characteristics of the ruling parties in those countries - cannot provide an effective means for our struggle and the struggle of the working class and its allies in fighting monopoly capitalism.
The inhumane and unsustainable nature of global capitalism in the 21st century is clear for all to see and humanity is longing for a better alternative. Contrary to the claims of those who praise and promote this anti-human system and refer to it as representing “the end of history”, the very beginnings of the Soviet Union and the victory of the October Revolution proved that another world is possible - and through the utilising of humanitarian principles, a different world based on equality, social justice, and peace can in fact be created on the ruins of capitalism. This is the essence of October 1917 and one we must not lose sight of. As the experience of the past millennia of human history has shown, the path of creating this new world is neither an easy one, nor one that can be followed without enormous effort and great sacrifice. What is clear is that the growing and insolvable crisis of global capitalism and its anti-human nature demands the historical necessity of creating a new system.
Loyal to the principals and ideals of that Great October, and along with the overwhelming majority of human society, we continue in our struggle to create this new system, this new socialist society, by learning from past experiences and through the correct and careful comprehension of the objective and subjective conditions of the 21st century in our homeland.
Long live the great October Socialist revolution!
Long live Socialism!
Lon g live the international unity of Communists!
Tudeh Party of Iran
2 November 2017