They learned that an oil worker striker marked the beginning of the fall of the Shah in 1978, just as Solidarity's strikes in Poland triggered the fall of the Iron Curtain and the Soviet system. They don't want some punk bus drivers to do the same thing to them.
That fear explains the repression the bus drivers have suffered since announcing their strike. Says Roya Hakakian, writing in Opinion Journal:
Days before the strike, several members of the executive committee were summoned to appear before the Revolutionary Court, where they were ordered to call off the strike. When they refused, they were arrested and taken to prison. The officials had declared the strike illegal and threatened to fire all participants. In the days that followed, security forces launched mass arrests of the union members. Those who showed up on the day of the strike were beaten while watching members of the security forces cross their picket line to take their places behind the wheels. In the last week of January, an estimated 1,000 workers were arrested and taken into prison.Ahmadinejad was elected on a platform of removing corruption and helping the little guy. Bus drivers are little guys. All they want is two winter uniforms, two summer uniforms, some shoes, paper to keep records on, a raise of a dollar a day, and an assistant. Ahmadinejad did worse than abandon them; he beat, imprisoned and fired them.
And what did the world do? It focused on Iran's bomb, which has become a convenient cover for all sorts of repression within Iran, and on the Danish cartoons. Liberals and communists of the world ignored the bus strike completely. Hakakian slyly puts it:
Clearly, workers of the world ought to postpone uniting until other scores are settled.Civil unrest is the key to overthrowing the Mullahs. Here was an opportunity and where was world media? Where was the UN? Where was the International Workers Party? Where was the human rights machine? And where, oh where, was the CIA?
We are not going to have many more chances to disrupt the Mullahs before they go nuclear. We have to do better than we did with the bus drivers.
Here's an Iranian view. And here's the Socialist Worker's.
Related Tags: Iran, Ahmadinejad, Bus strike, Mullahs, CIA