The Iranian government is built on the suppression of the working class, so its legitimacy must be measured by how this group is feeling and they feel it’s time for regime change.
On May 1, which is International Workers’ Day, workers took to the streets in protest and made it clear how they felt about the upcoming presidential election with the overarching chants of “We will not vote, we’ve heard too many lies” and “Every worker must boycott the elections”.
Here are some of the other common slogans that were spread all across the country this weekend:
- [The government] is lying that our enemy is America, our enemy is right here
- We will only get our rights in the streets
- Arise workers, destroy the palace of the tyrant
- Freedom, justice, livelihood, the right of the whole nation
- Death to the oppressor, peace to the worker
- Worker! Worker! Speak out and demand your rights
- How long will we hear lies and deceit? We will not back down
- The enemy of the workers is this corrupt government
- If one [government-involved] embezzlement is reduced, our problems will be solved
- No nation has seen this much injustice
- The insurance organization betrays [worker] and the parliament supports it
- Shame on our national TV
It’s no wonder that Iranian workers feel this way. After all, the authorities’ corrupt policies have plundered the Iranian people repeatedly over the past 40 years, which is why the people rose up in nationwide protests in 2017 and 2019.
The government is eager to keep the populace calm ahead of the elections, to get as many of them to vote as possible, because even if it won’t make a difference to the lives of Iranians, it will legitimise the ruling theocracy on the world stage. These protests threaten the authorities’ hope for a high voter turnout, especially when the same slogans are being chanted by other groups as well, including retirees and defrauded investors.
The Farhikhtegan daily newspaper wrote Sunday: “A 43-per cent decrease in purchasing power, a 123-year wait to buy a house in Tehran, and a rise in workers’ consumer prices of up to 500 per cent… Do not think that these four characteristics, which indicate the workers’ hard living conditions, apply to a class with a population of two or three million. According to statistics and Article 2 of the Labor Law, at least 15 million of the working population can be called workers.”
The Arman state-daily on May 2, 2021 about the workers poverty said: “Despite the fact that the Central Bank states that the poverty line is 10 million Tomans this year, the basic wages of workers will be set at 2 million 650 thousand Tomans after the whole bargaining by the representatives of workers and employers, which is 400% away from the declared minimums.”