WeeklyWorker

12.08.2021
Islamists organised successfully

Centrality of class independence

Khomeini and the clergy completely outmanoeuvred the left. But it need not have been that way. In his second and concluding article on the role of oil workers in the 1979 revolution, Peyman Jafari stresses the complex nature of ideology and class consciousness

On January 12 1979, two weeks after the Oil Strikes Coordinating Committee (OSCC) started its activities, ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini ordered the establishment of the Council of the Islamic Revolution. He declared that it “included competent and committed Muslims” who had to “study and explore the conditions for a transitional government and take the first preparations for its establishment, form a constitutive assembly and hold elections.”1

Without the OSCC taking over one of the state’s key functions - oil production - the Council of the Islamic Revolution would have lacked the authority to function as an alternative pole of power. This was made quite explicit by the liberal Islamist, Mehdi Bazargan, when he advised Khomeini to call on the management of the oil company to cooperate with the OSCC, so that Khomeini, “despite the shah and his government, would seize control over the state apparatus and state employees”.2

The management of the oil strikes played a much more organic role in the emergence of the third institution of revolutionary power: ie, the neighbourhood committees that were later transformed into the Committees of the Islamic Revolution. Given a shortage of kerosene, which was widely used for heating and cooking, the need to organise the distribution of fuel among the population was an urgent task that gave rise to the neighbourhood committees.

Following a week of intense negotiations between the OSCC and the strikers, oil started to flow from the depots of the Abadan refinery to Tehran on January 6 1979. The shortages continued, however, and the engineer, Abolfazl Hakimi, was sent to the distribution organisation of the National Iranian Oil Company (NIOC) to take care of fuel distribution. In mid-January, the “employees of the distribution organisation of NIOC” called on “clerics” and “patriotic groups” to help organise “fuel distribution committees”.3

Initiatives

This was another missed opportunity to establish - through the existing infrastructure of the oil industry - a national organisation that could have linked the oil strikes and working class communities. At the time of the revolution, the oil industry had over 2,000 fuel outlets in the cities and more than 10,000 in rural areas. These were strategic points, around which the distribution of fuel and other activities, particularly in Tehran, could have been organised by the workers of the NIOC.

But in the absence of an independent national organisation and strategy, the NIOC’s distribution organisation played a subordinated role, taking their orders from the OSCC. Hakimi asked the local clerics to come up with a list of “active and trustworthy young people”, who were subsequently gathered in a mosque and instructed. Within two weeks, almost all neighbourhoods in Tehran had established their “distribution committees”, which distributed the available fuel.

During the winter, the distribution of oil became the central point around which everyday forms of solidarity were formed, as locals helped the needy and the youth queued for the elderly. Others took the initiative to coordinate the oil distribution, but this quickly gravitated towards the mosques, as there were no alternative centres of coordination. On January 3, for instance, a telegraph from Savak, the shah’s secret police, reported that the head of NIOC in Hamedan was refusing to provide oil to Savak.4 But, as Farhad Khosrokhavar wrote at the time, the Hamedan committee was from its inception directed by clerics, while in Tehran and most other places the committees expressed “a popular will” and were not initially dominated by Islamists.5

A young man told a Kayhan reporter in Tehran:

From the day that the fuel shortages started, we, the youth of the neighbourhood, got together to do something about it, so this problem wouldn’t be added to those we already had. We made some carts and went to the houses and asked for their containers and we also convinced the fuel seller that it was better to delegate the distribution to us rather than have long queues.6

On January 4, a stunned Savak agent in Tehran telephoned the following report to his commander:

A number of Khomeini supporters have taken initiatives to distribute fuel among needy people of the neighbourhood. A number of these distribution [teams] have been observed and they claim that the distribution of fuel has been ordered by Khomeini.7

Similar reports poured in from other cities. In Isfahan, a Savak agent reported that ordinary people were protecting the gas stations and distributing fuel.8 In his memoirs, Emadaldin Baqi provides another example, when describing his reaction to the tensions that arose among people queuing for fuel: “I went to the mosque, thought a bit and concluded that we should gather the kids in the mosque and create an organisation to take the distribution of fuel into our own hands.”9 The neighbourhood youth organised, with the guidance of the local clerics, the door-to-door distribution of fuel, giving it away for free to those who had been identified as low-income families. As an offshoot of fuel distribution, some local youth developed other activities, such as the control of prices, the provision of urgent healthcare and armed defence in a neighbourhood committee.10

Another report explicitly mentions the Islamic neighbourhood committees and “cooperatives” that started distributing fuel in eight poor neighbourhoods, from where they spread to other places.11 The youth in Narmak, for instance, divided the town into districts around a fuel distribution centre. Each district issued to every household a coupon that had the stamp of the district, and mentioned the number of times and the dates on which they could collect their share. In other places, the fuel was taken door to door.12

For many Islamist activists, the neighbourhood committees that were organised around fuel distribution had an explicit aim: to counter the left influence in the oil industry. Saeed Jalili - now a leading politician among Iran’s Islamist hardliners - recalls:

At the height of the revolution and also afterwards, the neighbourhood committees played an important role in serving the people’s needs … Revolutionaries gathered in mosques and created coupons … At that time, Marxism had many followers and, just as liberalism is defined by civil society, the slogan of Marxism was based on the shoras [councils]. This slogan was everywhere; there were student shoras, workers’ shoras, etc … In this situation, the neighbourhood committee, with at its centre the mosque, came as a ‘slap in the face’ and a harsh reply to [the Marxists].”13

The Committees of the Islamic Revolution that were established after February 1979 drew their members from the pool of volunteers who coalesced around the fuel distributing neighbourhood committees.14 Bringing together Islamist activists at neighbourhood level, these committees were an essential step in consolidating the political power of the supporters of Khomeini.

However, while political control over the production and distribution of oil was increasingly taken over by Khomeini and his allies, practical control over oil production was still in the hands of the oil workers. Confronted with the attempts of Khomeini and Bazargan to take control of the strikes, the oil strike leaders continued publishing statements and tried to gain a stronger position. On January 16, they announced: “Oil workers are a part of Iranian working class and the greatest ally of progressive, anti-despotic and anti-imperialistic strata.” They added: “Considering the decisive role of workers - especially workers in the oil industry - throughout the anti-despotic struggles, the future government is obligated to consider the interests of the working class.” Less than two weeks before the fall of the regime, a group of oil workers declared that a workers’ representative should be included on the Council of the Islamic Revolution, whose membership had not yet been disclosed by Khomeini. They stated:

Just as workers have played a crucial role in the current revolutionary situation, they should participate the day after the revolution when it is time for genuine construction; this is only possible by workers’ participation in the political affairs of the country. The first step would be taken by participation of a workers’ representative on the revolutionary council.15

Without an independent national organisation, however, the oil workers lacked the political weight to put pressure behind their demand. As the pro-Khomeini forces gradually took over the oil strikes, the tensions with the left increased. In Ahwaz, a number of clerics intervened to restrict the independence of the strike committee and the role of secular oil workers’ representatives, prompting the resignation of Mohammad Javad Khatami, the leading representative of the production units.

In an open letter (January 21), he accused “reactionary” clerics of making death threats against him and other representatives who did not agree with their “reactionary ideology”. He also criticised the OSCC for acting beyond its duties of “inspection and supervision” of the oil strikes and sidelining the strike committee, leaving local affairs to a number of “not progressive” clerics instead of appointing a group to mediate between the oil strikers and the OSCC, as was originally called for.16

The fact that, despite the increasing repression after February 1979, the committees in the oil industry remained functioning is testimony to the organisation and class consciousness that oil workers developed during their strikes. A few months after the fall of the shah, the journalist and future Pulitzer Prize winner, Kai Bird, who had interviewed oil workers, wrote:

The oil industry is virtually controlled by dozens of independent worker komitehs, which, though loyal to the central government, are nevertheless participating in all the decisions related to the production and marketing of Iranian oil to the western industrial world. Perhaps even more significant, the worker komitehs have unquestionably demonstrated that they can run the oilfields and refineries without their top-rank Iranian managers and without the expertise of some 800 foreign technicians …17

This situation was not tolerated by the post-revolutionary leaders, as they consolidated power. The committees in the oil industry and elsewhere were repressed and weakened after Iraq invaded south-western Iran in August 1980, and were officially banned early in 1982.

Class consciousness

The fate of the oil strikes poses an important question: why didn’t oil workers create a network with political autonomy and the organisational capacity to coordinate at the national level in order to project their power beyond the workplace, instead of accepting a subordinate role to that of Khomeini and the OSCC? This question can best be answered by looking at the development of class consciousness within the triangular relationship between the oil workers, the wider labour struggles and the revolutionary movement.

To begin with labour struggles in general, it should be noted that these were seriously hindered by the dominance of small-sized enterprises in an economy with a workforce of 8.8 million. In 1976, 43% of the 719,000 wage earners and unpaid family workers in the manufacturing sector were employed in small establishments (under 10 workers) and these were mostly unskilled.18 While taking part in demonstrations, most of these workers did not participate in the revolution as a distinct collective. But “at the same time there was a significant portion of the working class that was skilled and concentrated in large enterprises of the private sector and particularly the state sector”, which did have a great capacity for collective action.19

In 1976, only 11% of private manufacturing units employed more than 100 workers. Moreover, the majority of the 566,000 workers employed by the state were concentrated in a few major cities and in a number of large enterprises. Thus, as in many other developing countries, on one end of the working class there were a large number of workers merging into the petty bourgeoisie, who were mainly active in retail and small-scale production, while at the other end there was a concentration of industrial workers.

The oil workers in particular exhibited a significant capacity for collective action, as we have seen, and hence they took a leading position within the strike movement that developed in the fall of 1978.20 Although no significant solidarity networks existed among the workers of the oil industry and other sectors, these started to develop during the strikes. In Ahwaz and Abadan, oil workers’ organised in solidarity with striking teachers - solidarity that was reciprocated.21 The Society of the Employees of the Planning and Budget Organisation issued solidarity statements thanking the oil workers for “blocking the exit of the nation’s wealth towards imperialism and for achieving freedom for us”.22 Particularly in Tehran, striking workers looked to oil workers for leadership, shouting “our oil worker, our determined leader” at various demonstrations.

But it was not until a week before the fall of the monarchy that striking workers started to meet in order to “strengthen their organisation, increase solidarity and promote workers’ consciousness in order to serve their class interests”. More than 100 representing auto, oil and electrical unions gathered on February 3 in Tehran, denouncing the dismissal of factory workers, demanding the inclusion of a workers’ representative in the Council of the Islamic Revolution, and discussing the formation of a workers’ solidarity council.23

Thus oil workers were well positioned to play a more independent - and leading - role within the labour struggles and the wider revolutionary movement, but the question is, why did this possibility not materialise? Pointing to ‘objective’ conditions is not sufficient, as both the oil workers’ position within the class structure and the physical characteristics of the oil industry enabled them to launch mass strikes and develop organisations of their own. The real issue was the lack of political independence, which leads us to look at the oil workers’ subjectivity. As EP Thompson argued, “class consciousness” is shaped by “class experience” - a process that is culturally mediated. Moreover, working class formation is an “active process, which owes as much to agency as to conditioning”.24

From this perspective, there is no teleological development from working class experience to a specific form of class consciousness, which is contingent on the mediating role of culture and human agency. For the same reason, the expectation that oil workers would develop a (secular or socialist) class consciousness that led them to challenge both the monarchy and remain independent from the clerical and bazaari opposition is based on a flawed premise. What I argue instead is the possibility of this trajectory. My strategy for developing this argument is a critical dialogue with Asef Bayat’s ‘Historiography, class and Iranian workers’, which provides the most sophisticated account of the development of class consciousness in Iran before and during the revolution.

Bayat argues that “we must start not from the structure and ‘objective interests’ to arrive at class consciousness, but from the language of the class to characterise its political movement”.25 From this perspective, he analyses the Iranian revolution: “Islam serves as a central element in articulating working class consciousness in Iran” by spreading a “populist ideology … that works against the development of class consciousness and the idea of class division in society”. This could happen because “the ruling clergy shared an Islamic language with the workers, albeit with a populist content”.26

Although this is a welcome corrective to the Eurocentric and structuralist analyses of class, it bends too much towards the reified notion of language advocated by Gareth Stedman Jones and other critics of EP Thompson, and privileges too much the Islamic discourse in the revolution. Acknowledging the importance of language, Marc Steinberg argues that class consciousness is not a discourse, but emerges “through the friction of discourses produced in struggle”.27 From this perspective, the populist discourse in the Iranian revolution was not simply present in Islamic culture or texts, but was crafted within the context of concrete struggles, and in competition with other discourses. These discourses do not simply reflect different “class experiences”: they are constitutive to the formation of class consciousness.

“Working class formation is,” as Zachary Lockman summarises, “as much a discursive as a material process.”28 Applying this approach, and focusing on the process of representation and recognition in class formation, Touraj Atabaki has shown how a distinct class identity took form among oil workers in the aftermath of World War I.29 The formation of a working class consciousness, with the oil workers at its core, matured during the 1940s. In the following two decades, however, shifts in the economy, politics and culture led to a significant class reformation. As Bayat argues, the massive rural-urban migration of the 1960s created a new generation of workers who lacked industrial and urban experience:

Yet from the 1970s things started to change. By this time, the new workers of the 1960s had acquired a fair amount of experience in industrial work and urbanism … The result was the development of an ‘industrial consciousness’ that derived its elements from an industrial setting, an urban lifestyle and industrial work. This industrial consciousness manifested itself in a series of demands and covert strikes in the mid-1970s … Beyond industrial awareness, the workers also developed a more general form of class consciousness in terms of the expression of identity and differentiation.30

A few pages further, however, Bayat argues that the diversity of workers did not lead to “common non-work experiences among them”. But, “whatever their differences,” he continues, they “do share a common religion: Islam”. Even if we discard the fact that the experience of religious practices varied among Iranian workers, it remains a fact that both their industrial and urban experiences and the Islamic culture shaped workers’ consciousness. The dominance of the populist Islamic discourse, however, must be explained through an approach that sees language both as a constitutive element and an outcome of class struggle in and outside the workplace.

Ideology

“Islam,” Bayat correctly argues, “was reinterpreted by the industrial workers to express their own immediate and class interests.” But this statement underestimates the importance of the distinction between individuals’ immediate awareness of action and their more general world views.

The role of ideology, its intellectual producers and organisational expression are essential in the formation of class consciousness. Islamic populism was crafted by figures such as Ali Shariati, who articulated grievances against social inequality, repressive domestic politics and foreign domination through a language that mixed Islamic and Marxist vocabulary. Many of the oil workers I have interviewed referred to the influence of his ideas, which they knew through publications or the talks he gave at the Abadan Technical Institute in the late 1960s and early 1970s. While Shariati was anti-clerical, Khomeini formulated a populist version of Islam that assigned a revolutionary role to the clerics. Both men formulated their populist discourse in reaction and competition with leftist discourses.

While anti-capitalist and anti-imperialist, the dominant left discourse of this period, however, was not geared towards the articulation and political translation of “class experience”, but rather focused on notions of individual sacrifice and courage connected to guerrilla warfare. This discourse, therefore, did not help workers to articulate a world view and a practice that linked their day-to-day conditions and struggles with those in society at large. Guerrillaism was a strategic choice rather than an inevitable response to repression and surveillance. This is illustrated, for instance, by the alternative path taken by the Revolutionary Workers’ Organisation of Iran, which managed to organise a few hundred members and sympathizers and create a few chapters in a number of important workplaces in the late 1960s, until it was rounded up by Savak in 1971.31

When the oil strikes developed, one could find these different discourses among workers. Interviewing Abadan oil workers, one journalist observed:

Most of the oil workers are devout, practising Muslims, but of the anti-clerical kind that believe that a religious movement which began with the uncompromising demand for the removal of the shah will not end until the religion itself undergoes radical change. “We give Khomeini due respect for so stubbornly refusing to compromise with the shah,” said a boilermaker in the Abadan refinery. “But after all, Dr Shariati wrote this revolution. Khomeini only led it” … “We are not going to be slaves to these machines,” says a young welder. “… in an Islamic Republic, the community and not consumption is the goal.”32

Most oil workers who supported Khomeini were not so much attracted to his theology, but to his uncompromising political strategy. Khomeini’s establishment of the OSCC gave him even more credit in this respect.

Thus, for many oil workers sympathising with Shariati’s or Khomeini’s Islamic populism, political independence did not seem necessary at first, although some clashed with the post-revolutionary state when it started attacking the workers’ committees. Among these groups “a minority of workers who embraced some form of socialism emerged in the final stage of the revolutionary struggles and played a leading role”.33 This was particularly the case in the oil industry, where more than a third of the members of the elected Ahwaz strike committee were leftwingers, and nine of the 14 members of the council of the Common Syndicate of the Employees of the Oil Industry were secular leftwingers (the four others were Islamic leftwingers). But, even among them, the idea of independent organisation and strategy was not a priority for ideological reasons.

Though both populist and the industrial consciousness were present among oil workers, their specific combination was in flux during the revolution, but the former became increasingly dominant. The dialectics between the struggles outside and inside the workplace was decisive here. Before and during the strikes, many oil workers participated or were influenced by the street demonstrations, dominated by the slogans of Islamic populism, but its influence did not only come from the outside. In the Tehran refinery, many of the workers were recent migrants from rural areas and had worked and lived in the areas closely linked to the Tehran bazaar and its mosques. But it is important to note that the mosque-bazaar network was not an organisational resource in the hands of Khomeini and his supporters from the outset. As Charles Kurzman has argued, the pro-Khomeini forces fought a political battle for hegemony within this network, and only after they had achieved it could they use it as a gear wheel to mobilise mass demonstrations.34

To use the same analogy, the oil industry provided a potentially valuable resource for mass mobilisations that could have given direction to the whole revolutionary movement, as the establishment of the OSCC demonstrated. If before the revolution the left had developed a discourse that articulated workers’ experiences in terms of class and if it had created a stronger organisational presence that could have steered the oil strikes towards political autonomy, the oil workers might have influenced the outcome of the Iranian revolution.

Despite weak organisation, the secular left had a good potential of playing a much bigger role in the coordination of the oil strikes, given its historical ties to the oil workers (Tudeh Party), the guerrilla movement resurrecting the left’s popularity and prestige (Fedayeen), and the left-leaning university graduates joining the ranks of white-collar workers - a potential that failed to become a reality mainly for ideological reasons.

Far from speculative, such an approach acknowledges the “inadequacy of confining our inquiry to the immediate and present world of the people interacting”:

Otherwise, we would be bound to deterministic explanations of interaction relying on initial resources and game-theoretic algorithms that rob interaction of its specific content. If, however, we accept that interactions are contingent, that how they turn out is not the only way they could have turned out, or that their effects might spill over the boundaries of people obviously interacting, we need a way to understand the real potential of interactions. Further, the space of interactions is itself shaped by larger, historical institutional developments, which cannot, in turn, be understood without reference to political projects and attempts to form hegemonic coherence.35

Conclusion

The salient role of oil workers in the Iranian revolution invites us to revise a number of dominant interpretations of the relationship between oil and politics, and of the outcome of the Iranian revolution. Our understanding of the former was enormously advanced with the publication of Timothy Mitchell’s Carbon democracy, which focuses on the mediating role of labour between oil and politics and argues that the oil industry’s material characteristics deprive oil workers of the potential for large-scale mobilisations that can successfully challenge authoritarian rule. The general applicability of this claim, I believe, should be nuanced in light of the experience of the Iranian revolution.36

A second revision concerns the influential reading of the Iranian revolution itself, which stressed the role of Shia Islam among the subaltern classes as an important factor explaining the ability of Khomeini and his supporters to become hegemonic within the revolutionary movement. Without ignoring the role of religion, my account of this process demonstrates the role of political strategising and organising as a key factor. The creation of the OSCC had little to do with religion: rather it was a political and strategic intervention in the oil strikes that enabled Khomeini and his allies to get hold of a key link in the chain of developments, with which they could steer the entire revolutionary movement into their desired direction. In contrast to Khomeini’s bold initiative, the oil workers failed to create a strong national organisation that could coordinate the local strikes and represent them effectively in negotiations.

As a result, Khomeini and the liberal religious groups took advantage of this vacuum and launched the OSCC to direct the oil strikes, which helped them to establish the Council of the Islamic Revolution as an authoritative alternative to the old state. Without a national organisation through which they could coordinate with other strikers, the oil workers did not have the leverage to demand a bigger role in the emerging political structures, let alone vie for political power.

Finally, the popular committees that emerged in the neighbourhoods were not linked to the workplace struggles, but instead became incorporated by the mosques and clerics. Here again, oil workers were well positioned to initiate, direct or influence the neighbourhood committees, because of the role of fuel in everyday life. The physical structures of oil production, distribution and consumption could function as the veins and capillaries that reached deep into society, allowing the oil workers to exert organisational and ideological influence well beyond their numbers.

Thus the history of the relationship between oil and politics, and its role in the Iranian revolution, appears to be more contingent or fluid than we might expect. The Islamist forces around Khomeini might have failed to take full control of the oil strikes if their ideological discourse and political organisation had been challenged more effectively by alternative discourses and organisations that stressed the autonomy of workers. As Eric Selbin observes,

... what was so revolutionary about the Iranian revolution … was the palpable sense of possibility, the opportunity to create a new world or perhaps a return to a Gold one, regardless of whether there had ever been just such an age before.37

He rightly stresses: “... revolutions, as with history, are made by people”, but, “as Karl Marx suggests, not necessarily under the circumstances of their own choosing.” The Iranian revolution was made by what its protagonists deemed possible, but also by the choices they did not make.

p.jafari@uva.nl

Peyman Jafari is a historian and a contributor to the International Socialism journal


  1. Ettela’at January 13 1979.↩︎

  2. ‘Transcript of an interview with Mehdi Bazargan (April-May 1982)’ Asnad-e Nehzat-e Azadi Vol 9, part 3: www.mizankhabar.net/asnad/archive/archive.htm.↩︎

  3. Ayandegan January 18 1979.↩︎

  4. The Islamic revolution according to Savak documents Vol 23, p122.↩︎

  5. F Khosrokhavar, ‘Le comité dans la révolution Iranienne: le cas d’une ville moyenne, Hamadan’ Peuples Méditerranéens No9, October-December 1979, p89.↩︎

  6. Kayhan January 11 1979.↩︎

  7. The Islamic revolution according to Savak documents Vol 23, p200.↩︎

  8. Ibid Vol 24, p146.↩︎

  9. E Baqi Rulers and the subaltern: oral history of the revolution Tehran 2000), p7.↩︎

  10. Ayandegan January 14 1979, p3.↩︎

  11. ‘Islamic cooperatives’ were set up, often by bazaaris - shop-owners, office workers and students - to provide low-priced necessary products to the poor.↩︎

  12. Ayandegan January 15 1979.↩︎

  13. Mehrnews August 23 2013: www.mehrnews.com/news/2036830.↩︎

  14. ‘Interview with engineer Abolfazl Hakimi’.↩︎

  15. M Parsa Social origins of the Iranian revolution: studies in political economy London 1989, pp161-62.↩︎

  16. Ayandegan February 1 1979.↩︎

  17. K Bird, ‘Iranian oil workers and revolution’ in R Engler (ed) America’s engery: reports from the nation on 100 years of struggle for the democratic control of our resources New York 1980, p235.↩︎

  18. F Nomani and S Behdad, Class and labor in Iran: did the revolution matter? New York 2006, p218.↩︎

  19. Ibid p101.↩︎

  20. A discussion of the reasons for the oil workers’ capacity to strike requires another article, but useful insights can be found in A Ashraf, ‘Anatomy of the revolution: the role of industrial workers in the Iranian revolution’ Goftogu 2010 and P Jafari, ‘Reasons to revolt: Iranian oil workers in the 1970s’ International Labor and Working Class History special issue, 2013.↩︎

  21. Ettela’at October 22 1978.↩︎

  22. Society of the Employees of the Planning and Budget Organisation, ‘Hail to the dear workers and employees of the oil industry’, IRDC archives, Tehran, December 6 1978.↩︎

  23. M Parsa op cit p163.↩︎

  24. EP Thompson The making of the English working class London 1980, p8.↩︎

  25. A Bayat, ‘Historiography, class and Iranian workers’ in Z Lockman (ed) Workers and working classes in the Middle East: struggles, histories, historiographies New York 1994, p186.↩︎

  26. Ibid pp202-03.↩︎

  27. MW Steinberg Fighting words: working class formation, collective action and discourse in early 19th century England New York 1999, p230.↩︎

  28. Z Lockman, ‘Imagining the working class: culture, nationalism and class formation in Egypt, 1899-1914’ Poetics Today Vol 15, No2 (1994), p158.↩︎

  29. T Atabaki, ‘From amaleh to kargar: recruitment, work discipline and making of the working class in the Persian/Iranian oil industry’ International Labor and Working Class History Vol 84, special issue, 2013.↩︎

  30. A Bayat op cit pp198-99.↩︎

  31. P Vahabzadeh, ‘Saka: Iran’s grassroots revolutionary workers’ organisation’ Revolutionary History Vol 10, No3 (2011).↩︎

  32. K Bird op cit pp235-38.↩︎

  33. M Parsa States, ideologies and social revolutions: a comparative analysis of Iran, Nicaragua and the Philippines Cambridge 2000, p172.↩︎

  34. C Kurzman, The Unthinkable Revolution in Iran Cambridge, Mass 2004, pp44-49.↩︎

  35. J Krinsky, ‘Marxism and the politics of possibility: beyond academic boundaries’ in C Barker et al (eds) Marxism and Social Movements Leiden 2013, p120.↩︎

  36. For a more elaborate discussion of this point see P Jafari, ‘Linkages of oil and politics: oil strikes and dual power in the Iranian revolution’ Labor History Volume 60, Issue 1 (2019).↩︎

  37. E Selbin, ‘What was revolutionary about the Iranian revolution? The power of possibility’ Comparative Studies of South Asia, Africa and the Middle East Vol 29, No1 (2009), p36.↩︎