Khuzestan oil refineries disaster: the necessity of workers’ unity and solidarity to prepare for a workers’ revolution

Statement by the Iranian Revolutionary Marxists’ Tendency

According to reports received from the Organising Council of oil industry contract workers’ protests, on Saturday, August 6th 2022, thirty-seven workers of Khuzestan oil refineries were taken to hospital due to heat stroke. The air temperature on that day was 61 degrees Celsius with 97% humidity.

Recently we also heard about the death of a hardworking worker named Abdollah Samirian, who suffered convulsions and died of a cardiac arrest on July 28th 2022 due to working in the excruciating heat and high humidity of Khuzestan.

Such painful and catastrophic news are not only limited to these two news items. News of workers and toilers who committed suicide due to desperation and helplessness; women who were killed by their relatives or set themselves on fire; child labourers, who grew old at the beginning of their childhood and ended their lives; those who auction their kidneys because of extreme poverty; and the ‘grave sleepers’ – those who have no other shelter than empty graves. This type of news is heard every day from every corner of Iran.

The workers of Iranian society, the real producers of social wealth, are forced to work under any conditions for the minimum wage, without job security and the employers’ disregard for work safety. Working hours have no meaning and in areas like Khuzestan, they have to continue working in temperatures above 50 degrees without the smallest amenities, just so that their wives, mothers and children can have bread on the table and a roof over their head. And in such a pitiful situation, a small number of people, and benefitting from the labour of these same workers, indulge in revelry and fun in fabulous palaces and mansions, and the government that supports these capitalistic leeches also responds to every voice of protest with bullets and prison.

Labour and social activists, who only want to assert their basic human rights, are sent to the Islamic Republic of Iran’s horrific prisons and torture centres for trumped-up crimes, and are sentenced to long prison terms, so that the wheels of Iran’s capitalist system will continue to turn.

But all these desperate efforts and arrests, despite all their apparent violence, indicate a great fear, a fear that is not so unreasonable.

These vile people still remember the glorious strike of the oil workers of the south and the solid unity of all the oppressed layers and nationalities in 1979. A strike that broke the back of one of the most powerful supporters of imperialism and consigned him to the dustbin of history. They fear the united power of the workers and toilers. They use every trick to prevent this solidarity. But it won’t be long before the army of workers and toilers wrap up the shameful scroll of Iranian capitalism and send the entire capitalist system and its government supporters to the dustbin of history.

If the workers and toilers were deceived by the hypocrisy of the religious face of the capitalist system once, and surrendered to the government of the Islamic Republic in 1979 and experienced perhaps tens of times more calamities, this time they will certainly not fall into such a trap again. Their objective experiences, both during the Pahlavi era and the reactionary regime of the Islamic Republic, proved that as long as capitalist relations continue, whoever sits on the throne of power will always do the same.

The experience of 1979 clearly showed what great power lies in the solidarity and unity of workers. It is not without reason that the capitalists, not only in Iran, but in all parts of the world, try to prevent this unity by dividing the workers and concentrating them in small and separate units and creating competition between them; but the labour and social movements of Iran over the past decade showed that despite all these desperate efforts, the movement of workers and toilers is moving towards this solidarity.

The workers and toilers will establish their own government. A government based on the councils of the majority of producers and toilers. It is only the workers and toilers who can prevent the death of the likes of Abdullah Samirian, Shahrukh Zamani and Bektash Abtin by establishing new and human relations and putting an end to all injustice, discrimination and oppression. But these actions need to be prepared in advance. Iran’s vanguard workers will play a central role in these preparations. In our society, the ‘labour camp’ needs leadership. This leadership must be organised by the vanguard workers in Iran and covertly. The future workers’ revolution in Iran needs this leadership.

Let us build the workers’ vanguard party!

Let us build the unity and solidarity of workers in the fight against capitalism!

Let us prepare to build a workers’ government!

Iranian Revolutionary Marxists’ Tendency

August 8, 2022

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