Thursday, April 2, 2009

Iran History Revisited: Part 11

(See parts 1-10 below)

In January 2007, the editor-in-chief of the Kuwaiti-based Arab Times, Ahmed Al-Jarallah, reported that “A reliable source said President Bush… held a meeting with Vice President Dick Cheney, Defense Secretary Robert Gates…and other assistants in the White House where they discussed the plan to attack Iran in minute detail.” Yet in 2009 President Bush’s Defense Secretary, Robert Gates, is still the U.S. Secretary of Defense.

And as Eric Margolis observed in the February 16, 2009 issue of the Khaleeq Times:

“The CIA… funds at least one extremist Pakistani Sunni group that launches raids into Iran, attacking government posts, soldiers and civilians. Further covert American aid goes to armed separatist groups among Iran’s Arab and Azeri minorities…The US Congress has repeatedly voted hundreds of millions for such covert operations.

“The US has also waged a…financial and economic war against…Iran…

“Israeli elections produced a sharp move to the right, increasing chances Israel may make good on threats to attack Iran…”

Yet most U.S. high school social studies departments, ironically, still don’t require their students to study much 20th-century Iranian history.

After being suppressed throughout Iran in late 1946, the Tudeh Party then adopted a policy of boycotting the July 1947 Iranian parliamentary elections. So as a result of the July 1947 elections, 90 percent of the Iranian parliament’s members were now right-wing and anti-communist in their politics and it now declared as “void” the previous Iranian central government’s agreement to form an Iranian-Soviet gas company in exchange for the Soviet government’s May 1946 troop withdrawal from northern Iran.

Despite being suppressed and having no representation in the Iranian parliament, the Majlis, the Tudeh Party still had a mass base among Iranian working-class people, because of the Iranian left’s historical role in organizing Iran’s earliest labor unions. Between 1928 and 1941 under Reza Shah Pahlavi’s regime, however, there had been no growth of membership in Iranian unions, because of that regime’s policy of repressing Iranian labor unions.

But after several former Iranian communist labor union activists were released from prison in 1941, following the forced abdication of Reza Shah Pahlavi, four major independent union centers in Tehran, with 10,000 members, were established by 1944. On May 1, 1944, labor organizers who were also Tudeh Party members consolidated their four union centers into a United Council. By the end of 1946, after adding unions of Iranian artisans, the United Council’s membership had increased to over 40,000 Iranian workers.

One reason Tudeh Party members were so successful in recruiting Iranian workers into Iranian labor unions in the early 1940s was that between 1941 and 1946 the cost of living in Iran had jumped by 700 percent. To defend their members against this steep decline in real wages, Iranian workers, led by Reza Rusta, struck often between 1941 and 1946. In late 1942 and early 1943, for example, unionized construction workers employed on Iranian government public works projects held a strike.

Iranian textile workers also went on strike in late 1943 and early 1944, with 20,000 Iranian textile workers going out on strike in Tehran, for example, Then, in 1945, Iranian oil workers struck in Kermanshab; and the following year, there were two strikes of Iranian oil workers in Abadan. (end of part 11)

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