11 February: 31 years since the Shah was toppled

[AWorldToWinNewsService] AWTW News Service - 8 Feb 2010

8 February 2010. A World to Win News Service. 11 February is the 31st anniversary of an aborted revolution , a revolution that started in order to put an end to a despotic reactionary monarchy politically and economically dependent on Western imperialism and in particular the U.S. imperialists. The people rose up hoping to achieve freedom and independence....

But the Islamic fundamentalists grabbed the leadership of this great struggle and contaminated the people's movement with Islamic ideas.

During the 37 years of the Shah's rule and especially after the 1953 CIA-backed coup that brought him back to power, the communists and other revolutionary forces were under severe pressure from the Savak, the Shah's secret service. Communist organisations were illegal, and the Savak targeted for torture and execution anybody with the slightest communist leanings. At the same time the Islamic fundamentalists were free to spread their ideas using the country's dominant religion and even organise through tens of thousands of mosques all over the country.

The clergy traditionally had good relations with the ruling monarch because the clerics as a whole have been traditionally part of the ruling class.

In the beginning Ayatollah Rouhollah Khomeini was concerned about the danger of the clerics becoming isolated from the palace and its courtiers. He constantly warned against those whom he accused of conspiring to separate the courtiers from the clerics. But in the early 1960s he turned against the Shah, although not against the institution of the monarchy, because of the Shah's so-called "White Revolution". This was not because this was a fake revolution and not because it was part of imperialist plans to integrate the country more closely into the dominant Western economy and the Western political orbit, but because Khomeini feared that women might win the right to vote and be elected, and that they might (only might) achieve some rights contrary to backward feudal and Islamic ideas. This started his enmity with the Shah.

When Khomeini became the leader of this revolution, the real demands of the people who made this revolution possible became irrelevant. Khomeini's past and real goals were not known to the majority of the people. Many of those who knew did not care; all they were concerned about was toppling the Shah. Many people believed they could advance only "step by step" and that unconditional unity against the Shah was the first step. Many others did not want to split what they saw as the unified ranks of the people. They believed that everyone should unite under the leadership of Khomeini and the clergy or else harm would be done to the people's movement. During the months and weeks before the revolution, Khomeini and other Islamic leaders did not hesitate to promise freedom for all and a better life for the poor in order to deceive the people.

The Western imperialist powers who were concerned about their interests in Iran and the region met to confer in Guadeloupe. They decided to quickly cut a deal with the representatives of the Islamic leaders and Ayatollah Khomeini. They  pulled out the Shah and approved the power of the Islamists.      

Khomeini came to power, a revolution was betrayed and promises were soon broken, but that was only the beginning. Not only did freedom and independence turn out to be false promises, but even the people's existing rights started to be withdrawn.

Women were the first target. Attacks on women's rights started less than a month after Khomenei came to power.  On 8 March 1979 women held historic protests against the reactionary attack. Khomeini retreated, but only temporarily. Assaults on women's rights continued until the hijab (head covering) became compulsory, first in workplaces and then in public. This trend continued until the establishment of laws allowing women to be stoned to death and many other anti-woman practices. The oppressed national minorities such as the Kurds, Turkmen, Arabs and Baluchis who had been fighting against the Shah for years were brutally suppressed by the Islamic regime's "Pasdaran" ("Revolutionary Guards") and armed forces. Students who had waged a glorious struggle against the Shah were the new Islamist regime's next target. The regime closed all the universities for nearly two years in the name of a "cultural revolution" to purge all the universities of communists and other non-Islamist ideas.

At the same time in the pyramid of power some struggles were going on at the top. Khomeini and the clergy had already started to purge their ranks of elements and trends who might not have been in full agreement with Khomeini's fundamentalist ideas.. Abul-Hassan Bani Sadr, the first president of Iran during the Islamic regime, was dismissed and all his supporters were sacked from the government and army. He had to flee the country. Some people like Mehdi Bazargan, the first head of the government after the revolution, were completely driven out of the ruling circles.

While the communists and other revolutionary forces were always hunted, after 20 June 1981 they became the target of a systematic attack by the newly formed intelligence services. It did not take long before tens of thousands of leaders, cadres, members and supporters of the communist and revolutionary organisations were arrested. They were tortured in unbelievable ways and executed. This continued throughout the 1980s. In summer 1988 thousands of political prisoners, most of whom were serving prison sentences, were executed after trials lasting only a few minutes before murderer judges.

Starting in July 1981 the Union of Iranian Communists, the forerunner of today's Communist Party of Iran (Marxist-Leninist-Maoist), transferred a major part of its forces to the forests of the Northern Province Mazandaran. They formed a military organisation called Sarbedaran, which means those willing to give their lives for their cause, to organise an armed uprising to resist and fight this brutal attack against the people's rights. After a few victorious military actions, finally on 25 January 1982 Sarbedaran entered the city of Amol, taking the reactionary forces by surprise. In a heroic struggle during which many of the masses joined in, Sarbedaran  inflicted heavy blows on the regime's forces. Then the regime brought reinforcements from Tehran and other provinces. Sarbedaran, which had lost its top military commander, had to retreat from Amol on 27 January.

The Amol uprising was defeated militarily and the reign of terror against the revolutionaries continued. But its political impact was huge and left a bitter memory in the minds of the Islamist rulers who have never forgotten it On the anniversary this year, Ayatollah Khamenei spoke to a group of 4,000 regime supporters from Mazendaran province (where Amol is located). Ayatollah Ahmad Jannati, the head of Council of Guardians, went to Amol to speak and threaten the people. The Amol uprising was also a topic for the Friday prayer sermons in most cities, including Sanadaj (in Kurdistan), Babol (Mazendaran) and others.

It is worth mentioning that from 31 October 1981- 3 August 1989 Mir Hussein Mousavi was the regime's prime minister. Now that once again the people's movement has risen high, due to the internal conflicts within the regime Mousavi has appeared as the leader of the opposition. While there are huge differences between what the people want and what Mousavi and company want, there are still those who say that the main thing is to get rid of Ahmadinejad and Khamenei first. There are those who believe that they can first get rid of Khameini by relying on Mousavi and then others such as Mousavi, and some believe that they should take a step-by-step approach and the first step is to get rid of Khameini, or according to others Ahmadinejad.

But the experience of the Iranian revolution shows that these strategies will not bring the kind of change the people need.

Now on this 11 February, the anniversary of the people's 1979 uprising, once again the Iranian people are planning to protest in the streets of Tehran and other cities of the country. They want to take back the revolution that these thieves stole from them.

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Israel and the U.S.: who is whose tool?

From A World To Win News Service

28 June 2010. A World to Win News Service. The American international policy professors John Mearsheimer and Stephen Walt, who are critical of U.S. support for Israeli settlement expansion and its attacks on Lebanon and Gaza, argue that "the unmatched power of the Israel lobby" distorts U.S. foreign policy. Many people outraged by these crimes have been influenced by their still widely circulated article "The Israel Lobby" that first appeared in The London Review of Books in 2006 (available at and was later expanded into a book published in 21 countries.

(at VVAWAI we've been grappling with the relationship between U.S. imperialism and Israel for a long time.  This article is very helpful-- Anton, VVAWAI)

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