Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Time To Revisit `A People's History of Iran' Again: Part 11

(All the 2012 GOP and Democratic presidential candidates in the USA—except for Ron Paul—apparently support the U.S. government’s current policy of waging economic warfare and covert war against people in Iran and threatening people in Iran with an overt US/Israeli military attack in 2012. Yet most people in the United States know little about the history of people in Iran since foreign imperialist powers began undemocratically and illegally intervening in its internal political and economic affairs in the late 19th century. But here's part 11 of "A People's History of Iran," from a few years ago--bf).

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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