Protests in Iran

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Protests in Iran
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The first reports of the protests from the BBC's Persian "service" said that the first protests were organised by the clerical faction of the ruling class within which there are constant tensions. The clerics, and behind them the Revolutionary Guard, were warned by the government that they were playing with fire and the protests have spread rapidly.
Probably related to this is the fact that there were already extensively organised marches and patriotic celebrations today to commemorate the anniversy of the 2009 "Green Movement" protesting against the fixed election result of an Ahmadinejad win. There were elements of the "Arab Spring" to the whole movement but it was overwhelming patriotic and part of the faction fight of the Iranian bourgeoisie. The protests were put down with the most brutal force by the regime's secret service along with thousands of arrests and many executions. There were also certain imperialist elements to the protest movement with actions and manipulations from the US, Britain and Israel.

The workers stayed away from the Green Movement and its protests. The unions didn't get involved because there was no enthusiasm from the workers. In the following year,2010, there was a number of strikes and walkouts in Iran some apparantly unofficial. They broke out in the auto, sugar, textile, metal and transportation industries.

It's much too early to give an inidication of the strength of these protests but they appear to have started off from a faction fight within the bourgeoisie but there has been a great deal of anger simmering in the general population and in the working class in Iran.


There are also protests

There are also protests currently in Peru over the government's decision to pardon the jailed former President and convicted human rights violator Alberto Fujimori. The current PPK government, led by a former Wall Street banker, won a close election last year against Fujimori's daughter on a pro-democracy campaign. However, recent revelations from the "Paradise Papers" and elsewhere have shown that PPK is himself highly implicated in the seemingly all encompassing corruption that dominates governments in that region. PPK's decision to pardon Fujimori, ostensibly for medical reasons, is being interpreted by much of the population as a blatant quid pro quo to reward a faction of the Fujimorist party (which holds a majority in the legislature) for not going along with their party's call to impeach PPK over the corruption scandal (the latest in a series of scandals that have seen the previous president Humala arrested and another prior president Toledo facing possible extradition from the US). Its not clear however how wide sympathy for the protest movement runs given continued public support for the Fujimorist party and the current domination of politics by the division between "authoritarian" Fujimorists and the "democratic" oppostion (even when they are corrupt). However, public outrage with the seemingly endless corruption scandals, highlighed by what looks like an utterly self-serving deal between PPK and the Fujimoristas, must be having an overall deligimitzing effect on the Peruvian state.


Baboon correctly describes the origin of the current protests in Iran as arising from tensions within the state. However they rapidly spread to many cities and drew in other sectors of the population (including students and the unemployed) around demands for jobs and an end to austerity, demands which were not on the agenda of the original protagonists.They were anti-clerical in nature and tended to avoid the 'hard-liners v reformist' terrain of their origins. That said, the working class as a class has yet to make an appearance in this movement to my knowledge which is hardly suprising given the current world balance of forces. Agree with Baboon that the movement reveals "a great deal of anger simmering in the general population and in the working class in Iran." 

Thanks to JK for insightful info on the protests in Peru which have had far less coverage in Europe for obvious reasons. 

This movement different

This movement different from“Green Movement" it is a movement of workless and young and

hungry which they have no hope for the future. there is No organized and vulnerable  

Street protests in capitalist barbarism

Street protests in capitalist barbarism and internationalist positions

The document can be download here. Hopefully the document will be translated to English soon.

Internationalist Voice

Non ex hoc mundi
"the working class as a class

"the working class as a class has yet to make an appearance"

well thats highly problematic, innit? a bit like faith in the second coming, innit

how long should we wait until we can be sure there is no class to appear?

The fact that the protests

The fact that the protests started in Mashad, Iran's second-largest city, with the site of its holiest shrine and a stronghold of the clerical hardliners confirms the first BBC Persian reports that the initial protests were "allowed" by the clerics in order to undermine the faction under President Rouhani. It also underlines the original warning of the latter to the hardliners that they were playing with fire and this is indeed the case as the protests have spread and deepened to some extent.This is unlike the "Green Revolution" of 2009 which was a movement mainly from intellectual elements and those who aspired to a place in the state whereas this looks less controlled and more mired in economic and social circumstances. Last month's budget in Iran put up prices on basics while doling out largesse to the mullahs and Revolutionary Guards. There have also been reports of recent strikes and walkouts over unpaid wages and working conditions as well as protests against unemployment. Iran and Saudi Arabia bear similarities in this respect of a population paying heavily for the war economy that is draining both of them and the divisions that are being exacerbated in the ruling class.

There is anger with the regime and anger over living conditions but there's been no appearance of the working class as a class, i.e., as a real force, as yet. There's plenty of slogans against the mullahs but these in themselves are insufficient and they're interspersed anyway with slogans calling for the return of the Shah and the like. A major suppression of the outbursts like that of 2009, which was largely ignored by the west will not be this time and will play into wider imperialist concerns and in the tensions between "moderates and hardliners". This is the biggest danger for the working class at the moment.


baboon wrote:

It also underlines the original warning of the latter to the hardliners that they were playing with fire and this is indeed the case as the protests have spread and deepened to some extent.This is unlike the "Green Revolution" of 2009 which was a movement mainly from intellectual elements and those who aspired to a place in the state whereas this looks less controlled and more mired in economic and social circumstances.


So is the Trump administration also "playing with fire" by seemingly endorsing these protests (in contradistinction to the Obama administration's quiescence in the face of the "Green Revolution")?

The job of working class is

The job of working class is not just changing the government, but is job class struggle to destroyed states. The working class must bring along the youth, the unemployed, the students, and the rest of the society, rather than to join the democratic movement

No jk, I don'think that Trump

No jk, I don'think that Trump is "playing with fire" but following the turn of US imperialism in the Middle East to form a Saudi-Israeli front to confront Iran. Trumps words will have little effect on the Iranian protests except to strengthen the mullahs and Revolutionary Guards against the elected government - which would also be useful for the current turn of US imperialism. The government has had some success in substantially bringing the rate of inflation down but further "reforms" or benefits for the population have been greatly compromised by US sanctions particularly on the banking sector. The certifification of the nuclear deal was supposed to be accompanied by economic benefits for Iran (and some European countries, including Germany) and the fact that these have been thwarted by US sanctions has also strengthened the hand of the mullahs against Rouhani, which again plays into the hands of US interests.

While there's been a spread of protests in Iran they mostly seem relatively small in numbers and involving unemployed and marginalised youth. In this sense these outbursts seem more akin to those in France over Christmas (which hardly rated a mention anywhere) and various dead-end youth protests that flare up and die down in Eastern European and Latin American countries rom time to time and which are easily accomodated by the states involved.


There seem to be enormous levels of confusion, and we have heard of nationalist and even racist and monarchist slogans, but probably democratic ones above all; still these events are nonetheless far more weighty politically and internationally significant than what recently happened in France. 

Amir: do you think this is a "democratic movement", ie on a bourgeois terrain, or a social revolt with a strong proletarian element in it, as in Tunisia or Egypt in 2011?

The slogan about being willing to fight for Iran not Gaza or Lebanon is clearly  nationalist, but is it not linked to a real discontent with Iran's growing military and imperialist ambitions, which demand from the workers greater sacrifice in the name of the nation?

Internationalist Voice

It would also be good if there could be a short summary of the main positions and analyses of the Internationalist Voice pamphlet, while we wait for its English translation

Baboon, could you say more

Baboon, could you say more about why it is in US imperialism's interests to strengthen the mullahs against the elected government?

These protests are being described as something quite more than "dead-end youth protests" in US media. They are being portrayed as an Arab spring level revolt against the Iranian state. Of course, Trump's encouragement of the protests is being denounced by his political opponents as reckless and potentially deligitimizing, while there are calls for him to attempt to get European governments to come out in support of the protests--something which many of those making those calls don't think will happen. But why not?

"Useful for the current turn

"Useful for the current turn of US imperialism", by which I meant the Middle East policy of the present Trump administration. Overall, it would be useful for US imperialism to have Trump assassinated and a new regime installed but it's never one man  and he himself is a product of capitalist decomposition.

The policy of treating Iran as a "rougue state" that has to be confronted militarily has been clearly laid over time out and enacted by Trump and the many anti-Iranian elements in and around his regime. The decertification of the nuclear deal and the subsequent sanctions were a blow to the Rouhani government. The discontent from the economic situation heightens the divisions within the ruling Iranian cliques and pushes the hardliners to repression and they thus appear as obdurate and backward as Trump describes them, These are the real power behind the regime, he says (of which there's a great element of truth). This strengthens the Trump clique's position both at home as the defender of protesting against repression, and abroad in the inter-imperialist tensions growing across the Atlantic, where Trump can take the moral ground of being on the side of the people. It also somewhat validates his anti-Iranian policy and action in the face of the "international community" and particularly the Europeans who had most to gain from a rapprochement with Iran.


I think that given when and where they are taking place, that these outbursts of what mainly seem to economic or social protest, are more signifcant than France say. We don't know for sure but the working class doesn't seem to have been involved as a significant force and the protests, while numerous, have been scattered and weak. I don't think that this is anywhere near the beginning of the Arab Spring but they are notable for being developed in Iran at this time.

It is a social revolt and

It is a social revolt and atomized of proletarian element ,ie on bourgeois terrain

"Trump - even if he

"Trump - even if he understands little of Iran, even if his talk of 'human rights' sounds hollow from a sometime advocate of torture, even if his support of the Iranian people is grotesque from a man who has barred most Iranians from the US - is right to speak up in solidarity". This is from the New York Times and Forbes magazine has a very similar piece. Trump has pushed forward an issue that has managed to unite his evangelical base and the "fake-news" liberal media in their backing of US imperialism over Iran. It is also relevant that in the electoral process Hillary Clinton and her team were also designating Iran as a rogue state. Other reactions are predictable: Netanyahu has put out statements in Hebrew and Farsi more or less calling for a return of a Shah and Russia has condemned the US for its "interference" in Iranian affairs. Radio Free Europe and BBC Persia have been pumping their propaganda into Iran but the response of the British governement and those of Europe have been more circumspect with France's Macron openly criticising Trump language of war.

Our Response to Social Revolts

This (what Baboon above has written) is all true. All the more devastating for this fact.

What have we learned from history, even from recent history, from the 'Arab Spring'?

Tunisia, Syria, Egypt - even the 'Occupy' events in the US or the Indignados movement in Spain, the highest point of ‘social revolts’  between 2008-2011 - have tragically confirmed the perspective on which revolutionaries have long insisted: revolution or war; socialism or barbarism. 

Even the bourgeoisie, from its 'progressive' epoch, had a phrase for it: 'those who make a revolution half-way dig their own graves'.

This is all the more true for the proletariat today. As is the fact that from the weakness of the revolts of the oppressed, the ruling class will draw succour, will find cannon fodder for its local wars and regional ambitions.

The recent convulsions within the Saudi regime; the origins of the Syrian conflict; the foundation of the present dictatorships in Egypt, Iran or even Israel; of the Sudan massacres currently enacted 'under the radar' ... all these are testimony to the fact that there are no half measures, no lasting reforms, available to the working class or the oppressed layers of society today. Socialism or barbarism: reality, not a slogan.

In the face of this, it’s not the function of communists to decry or denounce the weaknesses of social movements which are the inevitable product of class society. It is, rather, to point out what conditions gave rise to such justified protests; to express solidarity with them while the protagonists suffer yet more state repression and, above all, to contribute to the only element which can today overcome the ‘objective conditions’ of decomposing capitalism: the consciousness that another world is both possible and necessary, and that the international solidarity of the working class is the only option. That too is not faith but fact.

Yes, it has been telling that

Yes, it has been telling that even as Trump's liberal adversaries criticize his tone, they are nevertheless in agreement with the policy towards the events in Iran--even seemingly leading a certain denuciation of European wavering (the same kind of wavering Obama was accused of in 2009).

social revolts and bourgeois terrain

In response to Amir and following on from what KT wrote, we would argue that a social revolt as such  - even if it lacks a clear proletarian character - is a revolt against the system, coming from the oppressed. It can't in itself be on a bourgeois terrain, although the bourgeoisie will do everything it can to lead it onto such a terrain (whether reformist or militarist), and the weakness and confusions of such revolts make them highly vulnerable to such forms of recuperation. 

I think that the great

I think that the great majority of these scattered protests have taken place on a class terrain and that this is confirmed from the overall response of the Revolutionary Guards who are no doubt now inflicting their brutal repression on those who took part and the wider community around them. In this particular case I don't think that recuperation was the danger but rather that of overwhelming repression. I think that, in the circumstances, if there was a wider, significant movement from the working class in Iran, then there would be no "black-out" and it would be reported openly in the US press particularly. For the moment, it looks like the regime has control but none of the fundamental problems have been solved.

KT's post is interesting not least because of the affirmation of the "no half-way" condition that exists for the working class and revolts of the oppressed today. We saw how quickly, after the revolts in Syria, the conditions in this country deteriorated and how quickly and murderously imperialism filled the vaccum. One could say the same about other areas of the "Arab Spring" where the proletariat and the oppressed paid dearly for daring to raise their heads. Another element that this again brings out is the importance of the proletariat in the heartlands of capital to demonstrate its own independent force and this would be the greatest form of solidarity with the workers and oppressed of the Middle East.

A brief point on Trump's "evangelical base" above: while there's quite a constituency at the level of Christian fundamentalism, these elements are also very much around the levels of the administration itself, including his military advisers. That these irrational religious elements are at the top of the US state is indicative of the effects of decomposition.

Non ex hoc mundi
You all can keep ignoring my

You all can keep ignoring my comments and excluding me from this public discussion forum.

I don't see any of you able to provide one shred of evidence to support this notion that the people protesting in Iran this week are doing so distinctly as members of the working class. There is no uniform class of people to be found, it' so bloody fucking obvious I seriously have to wonder how or why this discussion even continues while framed in such a manner.

You've already clearly identified which ideological actors are at play here. That's what has motivated people to get out into the streets. It's bloody obvious. Stop ignoring it.

You have only made one post

You have only made one post so far non, number 6 and that didn't make a lot of sense either. No one is excluding you from this public discussion and you are welcome to continue to post. It might be better if your posts expanded a little more on your position. There are also responses to your latest questions above.

Patrick Cockburn in today's Independent writes that during the protests "The slogans shouted and the few interviews with protesters suggest they are motivated by poverty, unemployment, rising prices and reduced subsidies for food and fuel combined with rage against the greed and corruption of the ruling elite", expressing a "genuine and widespread discontent". One chant that's appeared in much of the western press is "No Gaza, no Lebanon, our lives for Iran" is dubious and has been taken up (or disseminated) by the French-based National Council of Resistance of Iran aka People's Mujahedin of Iran (MEK) a US-designated terrorist organisation until that was overturned by Secretary of State HIllary Clinton in 2012. The group, which says the present struggles are not about "bread" but "freedom", has also been recognised by British MP's. But all the evidence points to the widespread, unofficial and spontaneous nature of the protests and, like the struggles in Turkey before Gezi, are implicitly against the war economy.

One strike was reported last Thursday at an oil and gas refinery in Southern Iran and on libcom there's a call from some sugar cane workers calling for protests tomorrow for "Bread, jobs and freedom". It may well be that some of these were the same workers who were involved in the strikes of 2010.

opposition to nationalism?

The concluding paragraph of an eyewitness account from Iran, published on libcom, indicates that there may be other proletarian aspects in these events: 


The bright spot among all the confusion were the students. On the third day, they really shifted the paradigm of the revolt, mostly in Tehran, and it spread in many other parts of the country. They opposed the reactionary slogans with “even women has joined us, but you lazy men are just standing by”, they changed the pro-nationalist slogan of “neither Gaza, nor Lebanon, I will die only for Iran” with a much deeper slogan of “From Gaza to Iran, down with the exploiters”. They also added some class-conscious slogans promoting councils, or encouraging people to move beyond the fake dualism of reformists and fundamentalists. This was immediately recognized by authorities as a fracture point. Since then they have been arresting all the students and corresponding activists. The intelligence services saw this situation as the perfect opportunity to suppress the left for yet another decade.

Sugarcane Workers Protests

baboon wrote:
One strike was reported last Thursday at an oil and gas refinery in Southern Iran and on libcom there's a call from some sugar cane workers calling for protests tomorrow for "Bread, jobs and freedom". It may well be that some of these were the same workers who were involved in the strikes of 2010.

Has this materalized?

Summary of the text of the Internationalist Voice

While we wait for the English version of the text of the Internationalist Voice, I made a summary of the text that can be read below.


Street protests in capitalist barbarism and internationalist positions

The rebellion of the hungry, the oppressed, the trampled of the community, and to hear they shouting “Death to Khamenei!” someone who believes that he has the power of God, is very pleasing…. According to the Interior Ministry, more than 90 percent of the arrested are young, and their average age is under 25…..

These protests are the result of the crisis of capitalism…The living standard of the working class, throughout the world, has been subjected to the daily attacks of the bourgeois. But the important thing is that the aftermath of the crisis in the periphery of capital plays a more destructive role than Metropolitan countries. Poverty, unbridled inflation, generalized unemployment, astronomical misuses, environmental problems and air pollution, in a word of the fall of living standards, has created a living hell for the majority of members of the community….

All the political tendencies of capital from the right to the left, from monarchists to the radical phrase of the left of capital (Worker Communists), from nationalist and patriotic movements to the Mujahedin [6], proclaim the progress of the people's movement, all have the same goal…repetition of the events of 1979… The left of capital in a disgusting way removes reactionary slogans from its exciting declarations…

In this protest, the working class is just as observant as a social class, and atomised workers, especially the army of unemployed, have been involved. If the material conditions are provided for the social protests, but the protesters do not have a horizon or perspective for their protest, society will explode, and protests will be formed more in the form of rebellion, uprising or even revolt. The nature of each protest movement is determined by the force that constitutes the movement, the wishes, and aims of that movement….

The slogans can be classified into three categories:

  •          Monarchist slogans
  •          Nationalist slogans
  •          Anti-dictatorial slogans

All glances, all hopes is to the sleeping giant, the proletariat. If the sleeping giant does not wake up, if the protest does not advance an independent class course, if the working class does not create neighbourhood, factories, strikes, struggles committees and other independent institutions of itself, if the working class does not expand struggles from street to workplaces in all sectors, the working class in the form of atomic humans will eventually became the body of the Democratic movement. The pulling of the working class into the democratic movement and extras in the pro-democracy movement will weaken the working class.

Our slogan must be against wage slavery, exploitation, unemployment, etc., in other words, to orient the capitalist system. We just have to fight for our class interests. Capitalism is the source of all the turmoil and misery, over the world. Class struggle in its evolutionary process, due to its anti-capitalist nature, will spread not only to other capitalist countries, but it will also challenge the state of capital. Our interest is not just to change the ruling class, as in 1979, but in the class struggle, and our goal must be to undermine the whole system of capitalism. Our class is the only social class that can end the barbarism and brutality of capitalism. This is only possible only from an internationalist horizon. We have nothing to lose, except our chains and the world we get!

Further details on the protests

Further details on the protests

  •          This is a rebellion of the oppressed with democratic and nationalist illusions
  •          The majority are young unemployed or others from the bottom of society
  •          In contrast to France or other European countries that burned private cars, the                      protesters only burning bank, mosque or other state property
  •          The protests have been in 72 cities
  •          22 people have died
  •          At least 2000 have been arrested
  •          Last protest has been on Friday
  •          The security forces, besides direct repression, apply different forms of punishment

               o   Restrict the internet. Still internet access is limited (very slow), Telegram and                               Instagram are blocked.

                o   The regime drove its fans to the streets in three different days

                o   Publication of photographs of protesters on the site linked to the security forces                           under the title ” identify rioters”

I heard one report on the

I heard one report on the radio that indicated an initial slogan of the protests was "Death to high prices!". But, and this was the specific langauge of the analyst speaking, as the strikes "politicized" the slogans have become more nationalist, as in "Freedom, Independence, Iranian Republic!"--a play on the slogan of the Islamic Revolution: "Freedom, Independence, Islamic Republic!" In any event, this analyst seemed to suggest that politicization of the movement has moved it further from the proletarian terrian, not closer.

Building up

Z, I've not seen anything else about the sugar-cane workers. I saw something about protests over prices in Saudi but it turned out to be 11 Saudi princes protesting outside the royal palace at Riyadh about having to pay their utility bills. I have sent a donation.

The Labour Party position on the protests needs looking at elsewhere but at the moment it looks like it is taking the "Venezuelan" position of being "even-handed", i.e., against the Americans and effectively pro-regime.

There's an interesting article that al Jazeera links to called ""I DO NOT FEAR THEM, I HAVE NOTHING TO LOSE" - Iran's current 'no future' movement challenges the Islamic Republic".  The Iranian state-funded organisation, Isagara, says that 1700 protest "actions of social character" have taken place between March 2016 and today, including wildcat strikes, public worker and pensioner protests. Alongside basic demands, the questions of pollution in the cities has been raised (as bad as India in some places), the harrassment of women and youth and the neglect over the effects of the earthquake last year. Just last May numbers of miners furious about an explosion at their mine that killed dozens of their comrades violently confronted the armoured convoy of President Rouhani when he came to 'pay his respects'. Looking back we can see a movement building up.

It looks like the protests were indeed started by the Mullahs on December 28 but this just underlines the courage of the "rioters" and the subsequent strength of the protests. For example, students at Tehran university used the slogan "Reformists, Conservatives, the game is up". And this particular outburst saw many young women involved (as has been the case generally where, in some cases the hijab has been removed and used as a banner of discontent).

When anyone has tried to use a megaphone to shout "Allahu Akbar" they have been shouted down and the predominate slogans used (many above in our discussion) are punishable by the death penalty as acts against God. All the targets of the riots seem to have been very much directed against various aspects of the state (mullahs, property of the Revolutionary Guard) and other symbols like banks and expensive cars.

Again, unlike the "middle class" discontent of 2009, this time, according to details in this report, the protests are much more extensive and taking in a much larger geographical area which includes many minorities (Persians make up 60% of Iran) like the Azeris, Kurds, the Lurs, Baba'l and so on, which is significant in itself.


Article in the Washington

Article in the Washington Post today citing Revolutionary Guard claiming they have effectively put an end to the movement. Not sure of the veractiy of this report, but it seemed to suggest that the Iranian state has effectively repressed the movement.

I think that the one thing

I think that the one thing that we can say for certain in this is that the Revolutionary Guards haven't put an end to this movement. I was sceptical about these "outbursts" at first but it has become clear that this movement has been building up a head of steam for some time now and in this process it has encompassed wider political areas that are entirely compatible with the general interests of the working class and its struggle. The actual level of repression, though very tough on those feeling the brunt of it, is nothing like that meted out against the Green Movement of 2009. Why would this be when the latter posed nothing like the threat to the Iranian state that is already potentially inherent in the extent and weight of the current protests? I think that the highest levels of the repressive forces of the Iranian state are not only among the most ruthless and brutal in the world, they are also among the most intelligent. There are good, historical reasons for this. I think that a widespread, brutal crackdown at this stage would have been counter-productive and the elements that matter in the Iranian state know this. This movement may stall, may reflect, may be intimidated, may go backwards,  but, in the face of developments these last few years, it is not going away.

Revolts are always going to

Revolts are always going to be confused, without class perspective to go beyond the capitalist framework in the absence of a bona fide, well rooted revolutionary organisation.

Even if councils were to arise, it would still eventually be contained without an organised expression of revolutionary class consciousness.

The combination of capitalist crisis and revolt may well provide the fertile soil for a revolutionary seed to grow - political organisation that breaks with support for any bourgeois faction.

Revolutionary organisation

The Revolutionary Party is not a dispensable element.

Or to put it in succinct language, no revolutionary party, no revolution.


Non ex hoc mundi

Lazarus wrote:
The Revolutionary Party is not a dispensable element.

No, seriously...without the party who would be there to banish, imprison and kill the workers?

We'd argue that while

We'd argue that while distinct, the party and the proletarian revolution are one and the same thing. No one's talking about a revolution in Iran anyway. This is a discussion about the protests in Iran - although the protests in Tunisia add another dimension.

Isn't the idea that 1) the

Isn't the idea that 1) the same given circumstances that tend to create mass mobilizations are the same given circumstances that tend to create poiticized miorities, and that 2) mass mobilizations and politicized minorities affect each other such that they tend to rise and fall together? This is the reasoning behind using the numeical growth, alignment with historically working-class positions, and slogans of political minorities as a sort of measuring device for what's been called the subterranean maturation of consciousness.


In any case, I agree from what little I've seen that events in Iran don't amount to anything like a revolution at this time.


(also, "we?" Have you joined the org [again?], baboon?)

To some extent

zimmerwald1915 wrote:

Isn't the idea that 1) the same given circumstances that tend to create mass mobilizations are the same given circumstances that tend to create politicized minorities, and that 2) mass mobilizations and politicized minorities affect each other such that they tend to rise and fall together? This is the reasoning behind using the numerical growth, alignment with historically working-class positions, and slogans of political minorities as a sort of measuring device for what's been called the subterranean maturation of consciousness.

To some extent that is the argument that grounds politics in material conditions (the essential core of Marxism), but its not as direct a corelation between the movement of the broader class and the development of revolutionary minorities as you lay out. There are still politicized elements around today (in fact they still form the core of the ICC/ICT, etc.) that were radicalized as a result of the period marked by the mass strike in France in 1968. There is in a sense then an historical lag in which these organizations have existed "out of time," as a result of prior waves of working class mobilization. Their tasks then are to "keep the flame of revolutionary theory burning" so it can be recovered (probably in an enhanced way) by future generations of revolutionaries brought into existence by future waves of class struggle--as these organizations were themselves informed by the experiences of remaining politicized elements from the first revolutionary wave.

The issue today is that despite massive attacks against the working and living conditions of the working class world wide, the proletarian response has been muted as it struggles to respond on its own class terrain (witness events in Iran under discussion in this thread). Moreover,  while there was some renewal of interest in revolutionary politics among younger generations coming out of the return of the crisis in an open way in 2008-2009, this has not produced an organized revolutionary minority (at least not in the same way as prior generations). This then raises important questions about the nature of the social situation today (arguments about decomposition vs. recomposition, etc.) and the nature of politicization today (skpeticism and fear of revolutionary organizations, preference for anarchism, democratism, political eclecticism, etc.). Obviously, the weight of various forms of leftist and libertarian ideology is strong, but there is also the possibility that these problems are conditioned by deeper sociological factors stemming from the nature of neo-liberal capitalism: precariousness, lack of consistent attachment to the labor market, risk society, etc.)

I appreciate all that

I appreciate all that (especially the point about the amount and nature of the politicization coming out of 2008-2011), which is why I used the word "tend" as opposed to something like "determined" or indeed "correlated."

z, "we" as in the ICC and its

z, "we" as in the ICC and its sympathisers, who all recognise the need for an avante-garde and a class party.


I think that there's very much an element of a subterranean maturation involved in protests like Iran and earlier expressions of the "Arab spring". One could even argue that given the information that's coming out now about ongoing strikes and protests in Iran that there was something of terranian maturation.

Another reason for a certain "hands-off" approach from the repressive apparatus of the Iranian state (many arrested have been released) is the weight that its bourgeoisie gives to the relatively strong position that it is in in relation to its imperialist possibilities. Despite being dominated by two opposing cliques there is enough self-interest from both in using the leverage that Iran can bring to bear on divisions between Europe and America and a wholesale repression woudn't serve Iran's interests in this respect particularly in relation to a Europe that may be coming to the conclusion that Trump is a greater threat of destabilisation than Iran. Trump's threats and economic sanctions - a weapon of war - against Iran further coheres the competing power structures and provides them with the weapon of an "outside threat". 

I do think that the hands-off approach (without demeaning the brutal nature of the state) was mainly due to concerns about fanning the flames of protest. The tens of thousands of pro-government "demonstators" (the mobilisations of the clergy were much more limited) showed people having a paid half-day in sun while mingling with others in the main. Many of these, public sector workers, would have been involved in their own protest and actions in the recent past and wouldn't have taken kindly to a repressive crackdown.