In the last days of September, the world was once again changed by two important events. One, the world drawing closer to a nuclear conflagration in the catastrophic confrontation between imperialist powers in Ukraine, and two, the unparalleled uprising across Iran which indicates the beginning of a revolutionary process that has the potential to develop into a real revolution.
The nationwide uprising of young men and women against the compulsory hijab law of the Islamic Republic’s fascist religious government is a jolt that has intensified all Iran’s major fault lines and changed the political terrain, not only in Iran, but in the Middle East and the world.
The attention of millions of men and women from every corner of the globe has shifted from “Nuclear Iran” to the enthusiasm for liberation boiling up from the masses. It has aroused such broad support that even the rulers of the imperialist governments could not stay silent. The name “Mahsa Amini” was repeated over 100 million times on Twitter, and many artists and athletes from around the world called out her name to indelibly record the crime of the Islamic Republic's massacre in the historical memory of mankind.
In this unique moment full of revolutionary potential, we want to emphasize a few important facts needed to grasp the full scope of how the future is being shaped.
First: from this point on to the total crushing and dismantling of the Islamic Republic, there is a long, arduous road ahead, full of ups and downs. Undoubtedly, the Islamic Republic will not simply walk away from the blows that are threatening its very existence, and will resort to brutal atrocities and reprisals in order to save and rescue its wrecked, sinking ship.
Second: positive and permanent change can only be achieved by "Revolution Nothing Less!" The reality of society today in Iran and the rest of world tell us that to uproot the sources of suffering, this revolution can only be a communist revolution. This is because, in the present era, the root of all human hardship—including the oppression of women who make up half of humanity and are crushed in the jaws of patriarchy—is itself woven into capitalist production relations. Therefore, we must establish a new state power on the ruins of the Islamic Republic, a state that is radically different from the current reactionary one, with its capitalist mode of production. And, this can only be a socialist state.1
Third: To overthrow the Islamic Republic and its entire state apparatus, the military backbone of the state (revolutionary guards, basji, army, police forces, etc.) must be crushed and dismantled. We cannot rely on merely continuing street protest and resistance, though of course protests are necessary and have created the current turning point. We should never have any illusions that, even in this difficult and complex situation, we can rely on a “coup” by the military, or rely on “help” and support from the imperialists or forces that are under the wing of the imperialists, including regional states [in the Middle East—ed]. The atrocities that the imperialist powers and their proxies have committed in Syria, Afghanistan and Iraq are out there for all to see. Imperialist interference and invasions [have] always caused horrific disasters, including the strengthening of Islamic fundamentalism. Only a people’s revolutionary army, made up of millions of conscious men and women determined to establish a new society, can shatter the backbone of the state and its military.2
The situation that is taking shape has specific characteristics. The legitimacy of the theocracy has been destroyed in the flames of the burning hijab. Thirty years of continuous effort by an important part of the ruling class (reformists) to intimidate and deter people from making another revolution has gone up in smoke. The great illusion that without revolution we can achieve a measure of human rights and relations has turned to scattered ashes. But the most strategic characteristic is the powerful demonstration that women are a cornerstone of the communist revolution.
In an accelerating revolution, the decisive factors are the international character of the struggle and people's mood and state of mind, and there have been great changes on those fronts. In the space of a week, the overall political and cultural environment and alignments in the society changed in surprising ways. An important section of the middle class, which despite its many dissatisfactions with the regime, had not stood up before. But now it has begun to manifest its opposition, including with statements from its political representatives and spokespeople.
Affluent communities in major cities and famous athletes and artists have joined the protests. Even sycophant athletes and artist celebrities have been forced to change sides. The more the criminal regime has suppressed the masses, the more the anger of this group has grown. Those who were indifferent have abandoned their impartial-observer detachment and gotten involved. Burning the hijab has brought about an intellectual and cultural transformation of historic proportions in society, and indicates that the balance of political and ideological power is changing.
Young men and women known as “the 80s” (ages 15-25) have demonstrated an energetic and profound spirit of resistance, sending a message to all that a decisive force has entered the battle between revolution and against the counter-revolution. On an international scale, women around the world, and especially women and youth in the Middle East, Afghanistan and Turkiya [Turkey], see developments in Iran as a victory against tyrannical patriarchy everywhere, and thousands of artists, scientists, political and feminist activists from around the world consider themselves staunch supporters of this uprising.
These changes show the potential for revolution and revolutionary opportunities, but these changes are still far from being a revolution! Revolution, or fundamental change, will occur when the system which we have rebelled against is actually overthrown and replaced with a fundamentally different system. There is a huge difference between a people who care less than a speck of a dust for this regime, who have had their fill of humiliation and hatred, and to the core of their being want to overthrow it—and on the other hand, a people who are becoming aware of the basic features of a different political, social and economic order, a fairer and fundamentally different society, who are being organized according to a plan and leadership, and are determined to fight for it.
The main task for us as revolutionary communists is to bring into existence such a people.
By rapidly organizing and training a force of hundreds of people with the scientific orientation of the New Communism, and based on the "Communist Revolution Program and Manifesto in Iran," we will raise up a force able to lead millions of people in a battle that will have historical-global dimensions, and which will challenge the old order not just in Iran but throughout the Middle East and the world.
The young men and women who have advanced this process so far can and must become the leaders of such a revolution. But we also need to clarify the understanding of leadership. "Leadership" does not mean this or that party or a coalition of parties. Leadership must embody the kind of society we are fighting for, our roadmap for achieving it, and the form of organization that corresponds to, and is necessary for, the kind of society we want to build.
Will it be a capitalist society?
What will be the difference between the Islamic Republic, versus one dominated by those who long for “democracy” or a “republic,” whether they call themselves "liberals," "constitutionalists" or "Republicans"? Certainly, necessarily the patriarchy and male supremacy will persist and continue, though with different forms than those under the Islamic Republic. Poverty, unemployment, the lack of a decent future, the destruction of the environment, ravaging wars, will all be an integral part of such an order.
We do not want such a society.
[We need] a radically different and much better economic and political system, a socialist system, based on meeting the needs of the people and carrying forward the fight for a communist world where there will finally be an end, everywhere, to the exploitation, oppression, and destruction of the environment that is built into this system of capitalism-imperialism. Anything less than this revolution will completely fail to deal with the root of all the problems or lead to the actual solution.
~Bob Avakian, from “Something Terrible, Or Something Truly Emancipating: Profound Crisis, Deepening Divisions, The Looming Possibility Of Civil War—And The Revolution That Is Urgently Needed”
We don't have much time to solve the issue of leadership. Because in addition to the ruling state apparatus, which still has its repressive military apparatus in place and whose political and ideological power has not been depleted, other reactionary forces are lurking, aiming to take control of many of the existing repressive security forces and military institutions, and present the people with this entire package depicting it as “more just,” in order to deceive the people! We must never forget that in 1979, the majority of people who hit the streets felt the urgent need for revolution. But a real revolution never achieved victory. Instead, the counter-revolutionary process prevailed, resulting in one reactionary regime being replaced by another reactionary regime.
Therefore we, the revolutionary communists, call out to anyone who cannot tolerate the current situation and is angry, to anyone who wants to fight to rid women of the enslavement of the compulsory hijab and want to fight against patriarchy, to whoever wants to finally bury the ruling theocracy in Iran, to anyone who hates the suppression and slaughter of political opponents, poverty, unemployment, and the destruction of the environment. In addition to these, we call upon those who want a world in which all humanity is free from subjugation to the capitalist system, we say to you: if you are not a revolutionary communist: it is necessary for you to become one for the revolution which is necessary to succeed!