2008-04 The Charter of the Fundamental Demands of the Working Class of Iran
The attack of the capitalist system on the level of the workers’ livelihood becomes more widespread day by day, and the workers are driven more and more to the depths of non-existence. On the one side of society, there is a huge accumulation of wealth and, on the other side; there is unprecedented poverty, adversity, and disfranchisement. The class gap is catastrophic to such an extent that there is no way out for the workers but a life and death war against capitalism. This war has been imposed on the workers by the capitalists, and as you make your bed, so must you lie in it. There is no day that goes by without congregations, sit-ins, strikes, rallies of the workers against the capitalist system. The road obstruction and cutting of the artery of the movement of capital is going to become a militant anti-capitalist tradition of the working class of Iran.
However, despite the workers demonstrating the same demands everywhere, their struggle has not entirely come under one nationwide flag. One of the reasons for not achieving much in the way of results from all these workers’ struggle is found precisely in this point. It is obvious that so long as the workers’ struggle remains localized and scattered even with all the devotion and sacrifice they will not achieve their goals. The first step for pushing back the continued attacks of capital on the livelihood of workers is to hoist one flag, a single countrywide charter containing the fundamental working class demands. It is indispensable to emphasize that these demands are fundamental to the class struggle. First of all, compared to workers in some parts of the world Iranian workers are currently deprived of even the most basic rights. Moreover, and even more importantly, the necessary condition for promotion of the scattered struggles of the workers to the level of a nationwide struggle in its broadest form – which itself is the necessary condition for resistance against capital in the current situation – is to bring forward not the demands of this or that part of the workers but the most general and fundamental demands of the working class as a whole.
It is essential to explain the point of view from which the workers make their demands. The essence of any demands, whether fundamental or not, is that the workers are seeking only what the capitalists have taken from them, that is, their surplus labour. Through these demands, then, the workers are only telling the capitalists and their government that they must give back what they have unrightfully taken. This is how the workers, in their spontaneous struggle, challenge the capitalist order. In every moment of their lives and in their many different ways, workers challenge capitalism: "Why must I work when someone else steals the benefit?" "Why must I produce the wealth of society when I have no share in it?" It is from this point of view that we as a small part of the working class have compiled this charter.
The fundamental demands of today’s Iranian working class are:
1) The minimum monthly wage for any worker must be 600,000 Toman (Iranian currency).
2) All children under 18 years of age must receive a child benefit of 100,000 Toman monthly.
3) Women’s domestic labour must be ended; till then, all housewives must receive wages equal to those of the rest of the workers.
4) Unemployment insurance must be universal, with benefits not less than the minimum wage.
5) All temporary contract work must be abolished.
6) Labourers, the unemployed, domestic labourers, and children under 18 years of age must be paid by the 25th of every month.
7) Adequate housing with full utilities, including electricity, water, furnishings, and means of communication are the inalienable right of every worker. This will require: (a) The use of government buildings for workers’ housing. (b) The government to allocate an adequate percentage of its annual budget to build new housing units for workers.
8) Health care and medicine at all levels must be free.
9) Education at all levels must be free.
10) All transportation in society must be free.
11) Day care must be free for all.
12) All caring facilities for the elderly, disabled, and handicapped must be free.
13) All child labour and employment under the age of 18 must be abolished.
14) Any sexual discrimination against women must be abolished. The fulfillment of this demand must include: a) Women and men having equal rights in all aspects of the law including labour law, family law, and criminal law. b) Any government intervention in the choice of lifestyle including clothing and the relationships between men and women or boys and girls must be prohibited. c) Forming a family or ending a relationship must be by mutual and free agreement with equal rights for all concerned. d) Prohibition of any kind of marriage before the age of 18.
15) Workers must be free to form any kind of workers’ organization, including a nationwide anti-capitalist organization. Workers Let’s Get Organized against Capital !
Coordinating Committee to Form Workers’ Organization (Tehran Region) April 2008