Afghan workers are not alone!

16May14

Once again the current ‘anti-imperialist’ regime in Iran has demonstrated how well it follows the policies of the pro-imperialist Shah in many respects by stepping up anti-Afghan measures. The system of Velayat-e Faghih, the unique clerical-military form of bourgeois dictatorship established after the bloody crushing of the 1978-79 revolution, has, right from the beginning, followed many policies of the royal-military bourgeois dictatorship that was fully armed, trained and backed by the imperialists.

The chauvinist and even racist policies against Iran’s Kurds, Azeris, Arabs, Balouchis and other national minorities have continued unabated – even in many cases going beyond the monarchist regime’s brutalities. Another nationalist ‘tradition’ of Iran’s bourgeoisie that is not so well-known is that of scapegoating Afghan refugees for economic and social problems in Iran. During the Shah’s rule every offence or misdemeanour by any Afghan, no matter how small, was used to whip up anti-Afghan sentiments among Iranians – particularly among the Persians. Crimes by Afghan individuals were used by the media to present all Afghans as criminals.

Of course, the Islamic Republic has added its own particular venom to this ‘traditional’ policy. With the rise in the number of Afghans refugees in Iran, particularly after the USSR’s invasion, the civil war, the rise of the Taleban and then the US invasion, anti-Afghan propaganda and measures were stepped up.

The chauvinist and racist policies have included everything from the petty to very sinister measures. The former have included a ban on Afghans from going to the Safheh mountain park in Esfahan on Sizdah Bedar (April 1 2012) – one of the traditional new year festivals. This year there have also been many reports of harassment of Afghan migrants. For example, there are reports that in Giresh village, in Fars province, for 10 days officials of the Islamic Republic have been arresting Afghans in the street. The security forces and plain-clothes officers have entered their homes without permission and beaten them – and even thrown some off the roof. In addition all Afghan children have been expelled from school.

The latter have even included the regime’s phoney ‘labour organisations’ – like the Labour House – blaming Afghans for unemployment and calling for them to be sacked! And unfortunately because of the dominant ideology, a section of Iranian workers has accepted these shameless lies. Obviously Iran’s capitalist government is fully aware of the situation of Afghan workers; however, in addition to all the exploitation of toiling Afghan workers and people, it still sees something else it can benefit from, and that is to accuse Afghans living in Iran of crimes caused by the system itself. An Afghan, in order to live, is forced to work every day; otherwise he or she will go hungry. Therefore throughout their residence in Iran millions of Afghans have to tolerate the hardest working conditions together with the lowest pay, in order to just go on living a life of hardship in Iran. It is no accident that their faces rarely show signs of happiness and they age prematurely and are suffering from untreated ailments.

The latest chauvinist and racist policies of the regime have partly been influenced by the sanctions and the deteriorating economic situation. However, as there is a history of anti-Afghan propaganda and policies under both types of bourgeois regime in Iran, it is clear that there is going to be no respite for Afghans until Iranian and Afghan workers unite to overthrow capitalism. The interests of Iranian and Afghan workers are the same, just as their common enemy, capitalism, is the same. That is why supporting Afghan workers living in Iran is important. A part of this support has an international aspect, so that the brutal treatment of Afghan refugees is at the centre of attention of different news media and is brought to the attention of progressive forces around the world. Supporters of this campaign can translate this statement into their language and collect signatures.

Afghan workers are not alone!

Iranian Workers’ Solidarity Network (IWSN)
May 2014

[email protected]



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