[Marxism] More on Iranian bus drivers (was: Winning etc.

Lou Paulsen loupaulsen at sbcglobal.net
Thu Aug 10 12:53:49 MDT 2006

Louis wrote,

What are you trying to say? That the AFL-CIO talked the bus drivers into 
going on strike? Here are the facts:

In June 2005, when bus drivers held an initial meeting to launch a union, 
your Islamist pals stormed in and beat up the drivers. At the outset they 
had signed up 8000 of the 17000 employees. Soon they won a vast majority to 
the union and pressed for official recognition, collective bargaining and 
pay increases. To gain support for their action, they carried banners on 
the buses demanding trade union rights. How very un-Islamic of them.

On December 22nd, union leader Mansour Ossanlou was arrested, as well as 12 
other members of the executive committee. A day later, bus drivers staged a 
sit-in protest that was followed by a strike that had the same impact in 
Tehran that the transit strike in NYC had. Just like Mayor Bloomberg got 
pissed, the Islamic Republic got pissed as well at the uppity workers. To 
defuse the situation, the mayor of Tehran released everybody except 
Ossanlou who remained behind bars in Evin prison. He was facing charges of 
"maintaining relations with and receiving financial support from a foreign 
power". I imagine that if the clerics charged him with this crime, it must 
be true. After all, god is on their side. 
When the mayor of Tehran froze 
the bank accounts of the transit workers to stop them from getting paid, 
they continued their actions. They planned on a mass meetings at Azadi 
stadium, which would be followed by a general strike throughout the bus 
lines on January 28, 2006.   ....
- - - -
Me: But wait, here is something that happened in the interim.  Here is an article dated January 25, 2006, before the next wave of repression, from an anti-Iranian government website:
[begin excerpt]
The strikers' move and legitimate aspirations are not only limited to internal Iranian debate and in this line, several western workers' unions, the International Brotherhood of Teamsters, and influent politicians, such as, the U.S. Senator Rick Santorum have already declared their support of the "Tehran Collective Bus drivers".  
In a letter dated, January 6, 2006, Santorum requested from the U.S. Secretary of State to intervene on behalf of the arrested Tehran's Bus drivers and the repressed Iranian People. 

Slamming the Islamic regime for the persistent human rights abuses and the brutal attack of the strikers, the Pennsylvanian Senator stated in part of his letter: "I ask that you and other senior leaders of the US Government make a concerted effort to reach out to groups of individuals, such as unions and students, to let them know the People of America stand with them in their fight for greater freedoms and liberties".
Without doubt, the continuation of such public declarations and a real financial support for the strikers can plunge the Islamic regime into an abyss from which it can not escape. The result would no more lead to just obtaining some greater freedoms or liberties, but to a total liberation of Iran due to a secular and democratic revolution without any need to any kind of military intervention. The trend has become so noticeable, as especially the absolute majority of Iranians have well taken their distances from the regime's "reformists from within" and some of their docile so-called student associations, such as, the "Office of Consolidation Unity" (OCU).
[end excerpt]
If Rick Santorum was already writing letters in support of the drivers on January 6, then maybe some people involved in organizing the union really were making some bad alliances or worse.  Leaving the AFL-CIO out of it for the moment, wouldn't it have been a good thing for the bus drivers to issue a statement along the lines of "Fuck Off, Rick Santorum!  We are not interested in any support from 'influential politicians' like you!  Stay out of our internal Iranian debate!!"  Of course maybe none of the drivers knew about it.  But with friends like these, who needs enemies?  As they say.
Lou Paulsen



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