I would like to take this opportunity, on behalf of the Tudeh Party of Iran, to thank the fraternal Communist Party of Greece and the Communist Party of Turkey for jointly facilitating this extraordinary teleconference of the Communist and Workers' Parties amidstthe current challenging conditions.
This international exchange of views and analyses takes place at a complex juncture with the forces of peace and progress around the world facingthe major challenges presented by the old order and monopoly capitalism. And, not only are working people everywhere having to fight for their basic rights and livelihoods amidst the continued onslaught of monopoly capital, as it attempts to hold on to its imperial hegemony, they are also having to contend with the devastation wrought by the COVID-19 pandemic and the serious and irreversible changes to society it has brought about.
The devastation wrought by COVID-19;the spread of economic chaos and poverty; mass and uncontrolled migration from poor and war-stricken countries; and the global environmental crisis,all clearly underline the fact that the neoliberal economic model is failing. The sharp demise of liberal and social-democratic political forces touting neo-liberalism and a "third way", who were unable to offer real solutions to the key challenges facing the people, has given way to the rise of new ultra-right and fascistic forces in Europe, North America, and South America. The deteriorating socio-economic conditions and the onslaught by neoliberal forces against the left, labour movements, and progressive forces, have also aided this rise by the ultra-right.
In the US and EU,the failure of capitalism and its institutional structures has once againbeen demonstrated in the disastrous management of the pandemic- with a death toll of at least 750,000 people in the US, and over 1.7 million people in Europe, and rising.
Meanwhile, Iran, ruled by a brutaldictatorship enthralled to capitalism and the neo-liberal shock therapies prescribed by the IMF and the World Bank, is also grappling withthe disastrous impact of COVID-19. Even according to the much-disputed official statistics of the regime, the number of Iranians to have contracted the virus is over six-million and over 130,000 have died. Regarding the environment, the regime's disastrous polices have meant not only the depletion and destruction of many natural resources but also acute water shortages in areas of the country and dangerous levels of air pollution across regions - all of which has given rise to sustained popular anger, including the recent mass demonstrations of the farmers and people of Isfahan against water shortages which were met with brutal repression.
The World Balance of Forces
Comrades, we recently celebrated the 104th anniversary of the Great October Socialist Revolution which changed the world and proved for the first time in practice that there is an alternative to capitalism. Despite the setbacks that the communist and working-class movement has suffered following the collapse of the USSR and the socialist governments in Eastern Europe, interpreted by capitalist theoreticians as the "end of history", the ideals of Marx, Engels, and Lenin - for a better world free from exploitation -are again manifest in the 21st century, thirty years on, once more haunting the imperialist powers.
In our view, the global balance of forces is slowly but surely shifting against US hegemony as it is unable to shore up the 'international order'in its favour. This gradual shift is also due to China's significant economic development, growth, and technological advancement. To counter this, the US and its key European allies are pushing the world towards a dangerous cold war targeting China - even while China actively refrains from any aggressive posturing. The US, UK, and Australia hurtle towards another major stand-off in the pacific region and transnational alliances like the so-called Quad (consisting of the US, India, Japan, and Australia) are formed as blatant provocations. If real caution is not employed this stand-off could easily escalate from so-called cold war to an outright hot war, which would be absolutely disastrous.
Solidarity with Cuba is essential!
The US has proved itself more than willing to weaponise its global financial hegemonyagainst any country or people in pursuit of its imperialist interests and policies - notably against Cuba, but also against Iran. It is only the progressive forces that are opposing such vile and inhuman tactics - while the so-called 'international community', dominated by the liberal-democrats and social-democrats in the US, Europe, and the corporate media, remain either silent or even tacitly supportiveof them.
The US continues to portraythe Cuban Revolution, its ideals, and its achievements, as a somehow representing a malevolent threat in the Americas. The inhuman embargo and sanctions against Cuba that started in the 1960s, andwhich continue to this very day,are aimed at frustrating Cuba's attempts to continue building its socialism. The Trump administration openly threatened Cuba's right to determine its own future. And, the Biden administrationhas made no material change to this hostile stance, opting instead to try and foment internal unrest in Cuba with the aim of overthrowing the socialist government.The Tudeh Party of Iran has always been a staunch supporter of the Cuban Revolution and itslofty aims of buildingsocialism- and will remain so, along with the Cuban people and the Communist Partyof Cuba.
On Monday 29 November, we observed theInternationalDay of Solidarity with the Palestinian people against the unceasing campaign of aggression, brutal suppression, and flagrant violation of their national sovereignty, visited upon them by Israel and its patrons - the US chiefly amongst them.
Successive US administrations,despite claiming to recognise the legitimate national rights of the Palestinian people,have made no serious attempts to hold the Israeli government to account on its responsibilitiesunder the relevant UN resolutions - namely to respect the right of the Palestinian people to an independent state of Palestine within the borders as they stood on 4 June 1967, with its East Jerusalem as its capital, and the right of return for all Palestinian refugees. After the hideous 'initiative' of Trump and his cohorts to entrench and legitimise Israel subjugation of the Palestinian people, President Bidenhas proved he is no antidote- the US'unequivocal support for Israel continues, encouraging and harnessing the collaboration of several reactionary Arab governments, in an attempt to choke off the noble Palestinian struggle for liberation.
Over the past fourdecades, a spectrum of forces has emerged in the Middle East that has had a profoundly destructive and regressive impact on the political and socioeconomic life of this region. These forces,whichcan be grouped under the black banner of 'Political Islam', have sought to establish and strengthen their position in the region under the guise of "anti-imperialism".
Theseforces fiercely oppose secularism, democratic and human rights, and gender equality and are frighteningly backward in their outlook. They are violentlyopposed to any hint of socialism and their socioeconomic predisposition is towards free market capitalism, and the accumulation of vast private wealth via financialised and rentier economies - just as we have painfully borne testament to in the Islamic Republic of Iran. During the last 4 decades,onedevastating impact of Islamist forces upon those countries in which they have been able to ascend has been the near-complete eradication of any possibility whereby the masses can be organised and mobilised in a popular movement for freedom and social justice… Another has been the setting of the stage for imperialist intervention or the changing of the local balance of forces in imperialism's favour - raising the dreaded spectre of the "Balkanisation" of the Middle East.
In Iran, following the national democratic revolution of 1979 we shortly thereafter witnessed the emergence and ascendancy of the "Velayat-e Faqih" regime (rule of the “Supreme Religious Leader”)which soon captured all organs of the nascent state; executive, legislative, and judicial - a regime, which as the supposed representative of God's will, subordinated any contrary current, law, or even provision in the country's constitution. This marked the beginning of the imposition of a brutal medieval dictatorship that has utterly devastated Iran in the years since.
The struggle of the people of Iran for peace, human and democratic freedoms, and social justice,has been made all the more fraught by the vicious sanctions imposed upon Iran by the US treasury department accompanied by the constant threat of military attack. Nobody should be under any illusion here; US imperialism'spursuit of its interests through the application of severe economic pressure upon Iran's weak economy hits the ordinary people of Iran first, foremost, and hardest of all.
Amidst these unbearable pressures, any attempt to organise and protest by civil rights activists or those in the labour movement is met with severe, even lethal, force by the theocratic regime.In recent years, parallel with theemergence and growth of various protest movements inside the country, the people have realised the intrinsic links between the campaigns for democratic freedoms, against economic injustice, and for protection of the environment in their struggles.
During the last few years in Iran,workers in the oil and gas sector, automakers, steelworkers, miners, as well asworkers in the education and health sectors, have engaged in significant demonstrations and strike actions despite the risks involved - to the point that industrial action is a current and continual feature of the scene inside Iran - all of which points to marked increase in awareness, consciousness, organisation, and militancy in the country.
As you are aware, our Party celebrated its 80th anniversary in October. It is interesting to note that even the morecutting critiques of our Party have acknowledged theprofound effect it has had on our country and its contemporary history and development. Relying on Marxism- Leninism as our tool and weapon for the complex struggle ahead, and witha realism regarding the current stage of socioeconomic development, balance of forces, and especially the level of class struggle in our country; we continue our struggle for transition from the dictatorship stage to the national democratic stage in order to bring about fundamental transformation that will in the long-term enable our society and its progressive forces to pave the way towards socialism in the interests of the working-class.
Our priority task in the current complex and dangerous situation is to oppose the ruling theocratic dictatorship and, without any outside interference, to elevate the popular movement in its struggle for democratic freedoms, social justice, and protection of the environment.
In this endeavour, we seek the internationalistsolidarity from communist and workers parties and all progressive forces across the world to defend the Iranian people's struggle for civil, human, and democratic rights, and to loudly reject the inhuman imperialist sanctions inflicted upon them. We furthermore call upon our comrades to stand firm against imperialist-motivated threats and aggression in the Middle East, while steadfastly opposing the various attempts made by the forces of 'Political Islam' to masquerade as anti-imperialist and co-opt that righteous cause.