The below is Mostafa Saber‘s speech delivered at The World Peace Forum Society Teach In, Vancouver, on October 25, 2014 on the Arab Spring – Revisiting the Revolution in Iran. Saber is in the Central Committee of the Worker-communist Party of Iran. Enjoy.
I intend to give you my assessment of the Arab Spring and its relationship with the Iranian revolutions of 1979 and 2009. I will be making three points.
The first point is that it was no accident that Ayatollah Khomeini and Margaret Thatcher came to power almost at the same time, respectively 1979 and 1980. They were, in a way, two sides of the same coin!
Everyone knows that Thatcher smashed the labor movement. That is what she was famous for and proud of. But, it might be new to some of you to hear that Khomeini slaughtered a whole generation of labor activists, communists, women’s right activists and dissidents, and we still don’t know where many of their graves are.
In recent history, nothing has been more misrepresented than the 1979 revolution in Iran. At its heart, it was a working class revolution that was ultimately defeated by the Islamic movement, which was backed by Western powers who had lost hope in the Shah of Iran. Meanwhile, this Islamic movement was portrayed as the revolution itself when it was a counter-revolution, and a very brutal and reactionary one. It was labeled as a “spiritual” revolution! It was not just a falsification of concept; more importantly, it was the beginning of a practical problem not only for the workers, women and all people in countries like Iran, but for the whole world. I’m referring to the rise of political Islam, the latest product of which is ISIS. If Margret Thatcher and the crushing of the miners’ strike in the UK was the beginning of the new conservatism, so was Khomeini’s movement, and his bloody victory over the actual revolution in Iran, the beginning of political Islam.
To make my first point short: Thatcher and Khomeini were both products and agents of a shift in world history. This shift sought to end the stagnation period that had followed the Golden Age of capitalism (1945 to 1973) and to begin the New Liberal globalization era, which started in the 1980s. Capitalism after World War 2 expanded rapidly and had reached the point of over saturated accumulation of capital, especially in old industrial countries. Now it needed new blood, namely cheap labor! How did capitalism resolve this? It did so, among other things, by smashing labor movements, ending the welfare state, attacking the left and all progressive movements everywhere, moving capital and production to less saturated markets or by globalizing the production of surplus value. What was the political structure of this new globalization? Well, it was the so called “conservative revolution.” My point is that Thatcher in the west and Khomeini in the Middle East were the pioneers of this reactionary “revolution” that has devastated our planet for the last 3 to 4 decades. [Read more…]