Iran: An elegy to mourn Mohammad Ali Hamoudi

Re-posted from Shahrokh Zamani Action Campaign

The news was very simple and short. A fired worker, an overhaul project worker, hanged himself. Even the name of this fired worker was not mentioned. Maybe the news was lost among the colourful advertisements for cars, televisions and refrigerators; the sales and pre-sale adverts that are out of the reach of the likes of Mohammad.

The news was lost, and no one knew a worker hanged himself because of desperation and poverty. But such news is not lost among us, it has a familiar resonance. Every one of us workers know the true meaning of helplessness and desperation. We are familiar with the pain of those moments when you think there is no other option but death. Each of us has experienced these moments.

We experienced the helplessness of working in temperatures above 50 degrees in Abadan, Asaluyeh, Kangan and so on. Jobs where even the payment of wages took months and ramped-up our helplessness. We all remember the nights when we would roam the streets so that when we returned home, our children would be asleep and not see us empty-handed. The nights when we stayed up until dawn and tried to work out how to provide tomorrow’s bread? Even the shopkeepers don’t give us loans anymore.

And we have also thought about why the world should be like this. We are millions of people. We are the ones who turn the wheels of this country’s economy. We are the ones who work for twelve to sixteen hours under the excruciating heat of the southern sun; get heatstroke and pass out to keep the money and value generating machines of these leeches lubricated and in circulation. What if we say no? A big ‘no’ from all the workers. What will happen then? Will they not pay our wages and we stay hungry? We are already hungry today. Even today, the likes of Muhammad commit suicide because of extreme poverty and hunger. Will they arrest us, torture us, put us in prison? They are already doing it today. Those who have not been arrested are already locked in the prison of poverty and misery of these same capitalists. What will we really lose?

How many capitalists, employers and contractors are there? If we stop working, will they still be able to suck our blood like leeches and grow fat? Their lifeline is in our hands. So why are they still lording it over us and we commit suicide? What is their advantage over us? And if we think a little deeper, we can identify this advantage. They have integrated and nationwide organisations. They are united and we are divided. If today all the workers of the south stop working for only one hour in sympathy with Mohammad Ali’s family and the likes of Mohammad Ali, what can the capitalists do? The financial loss of this action will knock them down. The capitalists have divided us, they have divided us into small groups so that we fight against each other. They are afraid of our unity. They are also aware of the power of our unity and have tasted it once in the glorious strikes of our fathers in 1979. That experience is also a part of our historical consciousness.

The clandestine cell of the Vanguard Socialist Workers of Khuzestan deeply shares this sorrow. While expressing our condolences and sympathies to the beloved family of Mohammad Ali Hammoudi and the entire community of Iran’s workers, we emphasise once again that the only way out of the clutches of such poverty and desperation, which threatens all of us workers and leads us to the point of helplessness and even suicide, is the destruction of the stinking capitalist system that is the root of all this helplessness. Such an important matter needs workers’ solidarity in their own militant organisations. This organisation organises the most militant and knowledgeable workers in clandestine cells to carry forward the struggle step by step with their brothers and comrades. Let us be confident and believe in ourselves that only our united power, the creators of value and prosperity and those deprived of both, can end the record of these worker-killing relations.

Let us form workers’ clandestine cells.
Let us expand the strikes and protests.
Let us occupy the factories.

Vanguard Socialist Workers’ Cell (Khuzestan)
18 August 2023

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