Ousting the Shah in Iran

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The absolute monarchy of Iran hangs in the balance as millions of Iranians from the cities, provinces, and oil fields strive to topple it. And the Shah, trying desperately to smother the revolt with machinegun massacres, has managed to fan the flames of resistance into the most massive popular uprising in modern Iranian history.

Workers, peasants, students, small businessmen and rightwing religious leaders are all thundering ”Down with the Shahl”

At the root of this revolutionary upheaval is Iran’s incurable economic crisis, which hits everybody.

Left, Right and Center. Workers’ strikes against soaring unemployment, 30% inflation, critical housing shortages, and poverty wages have swept the nation. The 15-day oil workers’ strike in November cost Iran $1 billion in lost revenues. And the strikers are supported by the uprooted, unemployed peasantry — victims of the Shah’s phony land reform which “redistributed” land to his family and foreign investors but did nothing to improve agricultural production.

On the right of Iran’s political spectrum are the conservative Moslem religious leaders maneuvering to regain the lands and power they lost in the transition from a feudal to a capitalist economy. The reactionary character of this movement is graphically exposed by its murderous slogan against oppressed Iranian women — “Death or the Veil!”

In the middle are the swollen ranks of the petty bourgeois nationalists who cannot compete with international big business. Politically unpredictable at present, they will characteristically swing to the winning side.

The Shah’s response to the overpowering mass pressure of these combined forces has been to murder thousands upon thousands of unarmed demonstrators in cold blood.

The Shah of Iran and his secret police (SAVAK) have spent 25 years systematically disarming revolutionary struggle. Trade unions, strikes, political parties, demonstrations and disagreement are illegal.

U.S. Troops to the Rescue. The U.S. press depicts the Shah’s brutality and military rule as simply the necessary actions of a benevolent king struggling to bring his backward people towards “modernization and democratic reforms.” But the Shah is actually a well-oiled puppet defending Persian Gulf oil reserves for Western imperialism, and he has bought U.S. arms exports to the tune of $19 billion over the past 6 years!

The U.S. will not easily turn against such a lucrative ally.

Secretary of Defense Brown has admitted that “100,000 U.S. troops are being trained for possible intervention in the Gulf.” 40,000 “military advisers” are already there. If Israel cannot police yet another Middle East front on behalf of Western imperialism, then the introduction of U.S. troops into Iran is a frightening possibility.

Crisis on the Left. Radicals who have survived the terror are unfortunately guided by the politics of Stalinism and Maoism which have historically collaborated with such class enemies as Iran’s rightwing Moslem leaders and businessmen. The right wing is far less confused about class lines: its exiled religious leader, Khomeini, has ordered his followers not to collaborate with leftists against the Shah.

The Iranian people are heroic in their uncompromising demand for freedom. They are prepared to sacrifice their lives for a revolution that embraces all oppressed people. Principled Marxists could win the leadership of the revolution by waging struggle against all class enemies and by calling on the world — especially the workers states — to help stop the massacres.

Down with the Shah!
U.S. Out of Iran!
Defend Iranian Women’s Rights!
Release Iranian Political Prisoners in Iran and the U.S.
For Socialist Revolution in Iran!

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