Revolution and Counter-revolution in Iran

Revolution and Counter-revolution in Iran

by Phil Marshall

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The fall of any tyrant raises hope for oppressed people the world over. So it was when the Shah of Iran fled into exile in January 1979, propelled by a mass strike of millions of workers.

Yet within weeks independent workers’ organisations were being suppressed. Within six months Ayatollah Khomeini was firmly in control of an “Islamic state”. Soon, workers and peasants were being sent to die in their thousands in a war with neighbouring Iraq.

Today many socialists are at a loss to explain the events of the Iranian revolution of 1978-79. In the Middle East in particular many talk enthusiastically of the “Islamic” revolution and the positive role of religious leadership. Others look at the repression practised by the Khomeini regime and conclude that the whole experience was a catastrophe.

This book shows the immense importance of the Iranian revolution. It looks in particular at the positive role of the Iranian working class in the overthrow of the Shah, and the failure of the Iranian left to carry this great movement forward. In doing so, it provides us with an analysis which has vital implications for the socialist movement the world over.