Iran update #1: Real revolution will not be taking the bus either

Mousavi suporters have called for a general strike to begin in Iran today (Tuesday Iran time). This is the way forward. In 1979 it was the industrial working class and in particular the oil workers who led the revolution until it was hijacked by Islamic fundamentalists.

This could be the beginning of a new uprising of working class anger that is secularist and organised. It is, in my view, the most significant working class action since Solidarity in the 1970s and could trigger a wider regional revolt against regimes that have given support to the Iranians over the past few years.

I was talking to an Iranian protester in Auckland yesterday. He was quoting Jean Paul Satre, not the Qu’uran. That is significant too. Secular Iranians don’t want Islamic fundamentalism, but where will their political leadership come from. Hopefull from comrades like these brave Iranian bus workers.

This is a statement the bus drivers’ union issued on the weekend. Full link is at Narcosphere

The Autobus Workers Union of Iran (Sendikaye Sherkat Vahed, in Farsi)

In recent days we have witnessed the passionate presence of millions of women and men, the old and the young, and ethnic and religious minorities in Iran, people who want their government to recognize their most basic right, the right to freely, independently, and transparently elect, a right that in most societies around the world is not only recognized officially but for whose protection no effort is neglected.

In the current situation, we witness threats, arrests, killings, and naked persecution, which threaten to grow in dimension and lead to the shedding of innocent people’s blood thus bringing a rise in popular protests and not in their decline.

Iranian society is facing a deep political and economic crisis. Million-strong protests, which have manifested themselves with a silence that is replete with meaning, have become a pattern that is growing in area and dimension, a growth that demands a response from any responsible person and organization.

The Autobus Workers Union in an announcement issued before the elections declared, “in the absence of the freedom for political parties, our organization is naturally deprived of a social institution that can protect it.”

“Workers of the Autobus Workers Union consider their social involvement and political activity to be the certain right of each member of society and furthermore believe that workers across Iran as long as they submit the platforms of presidential candidates and a practical guarantee about campaign slogans can choose to participate or not participate in elections.”

The fact that the demands of the vast majority of Iranian society go far beyond those of unions is obvious to all, and in the previous years we have emphasized that until the principle of the freedom to organize and to elect is not materialized, any talk of social freedom and labor union rights will be a farce.

Given these facts, the Autobus Workers Union places itself alongside all those who are offering themselves in the struggle to build a free and independent civic society. The union condemns any kind of suppression and threats.

To recognize labor-union and social rights in Iran, the international labor organizations have declared the Fifth of Tir (June 26) the international day of support for imprisoned Iranian workers as well as for the institution of unions in Iran. We want that this day be viewed as more than a day for the demands of labor unions to make it a day for human rights in Iran and to ask all our fellow workers to struggle for the trampled rights of the majority of the people of Iran.

With hope for the spread of justice and freedom,

Autobus Workers Union

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