This article published Saturday, August 16, 1952, may appear nearly indistinguishable from the mainstream press, but it actually derives from the major Socialist newspaper in the country, Brooklyn-based Weekly People. It reacts to the recent 30 Tir uprising in July which returned Mossadegh to power after his voluntary resignation over control of the military.
It's probably not a coincidence that in the same issue, they chose to reprint an October 1902 column from their guru, Daniel De Leon, lambasting the practice of nationalization. Government control and ownership was a trapping of capitalism and its accompanying exploitation of the worker, argued De Leon (1852-1914), former leader of the Socialist Labor Party of America. An SLP flyer distributed in 1960 renounced any association with nationalization. “The FACT is that Socialism rejects nationalization or government ownership of industry!”, it read.
Given that Dr. Mohammad Mossadegh, a rich landowner whom they dismissed as a member of the “ruling class”, was the leading symbol of nationalization in the world at that time, perhaps it's not too surprising that SLP chose not to lionize him.
Iran's Nationalism a Tool Of
a Reckless Ruling Class
By returning Premier Mohammed Mossadegh to power on July 22, the ruling class of Iran formally accepted government by planned chaos.
The unorthodox method of class rule has a transparent purpose that was pointed out by the New York Times on July 29. In an editorial on recent developments in Egypt and Iran, the Times stated “that the Middle Eastern brand of nationalism, which is often mixed with religious fanaticism, has become a force to be reckoned with, especially since some of the dominant circles attempt to turn it against the West to cover up their own incompetence, corruption and lack of social conscience.”
Iranian Rulers Play with Fire to Preserve Their Power
Mossadegh is the leader of Iran's leading nationalist party, the National Front. As such, he has the support of the political mullahs, or Moslem priests, who control most of the Iranian masses.
Mossadegh's confiscation of the British-owned Iranian oil industry threw Iran into virtual bankruptcy. The loss of oil royalties cut off treasury revenues. A year after the confiscation, the Iranian treasury was spending 40 per cent more than it received in ordinary domestic taxes. Mossadegh sought to meet the fiscal and social problem by urging the Shah to give him dictatorial powers and control over the army. Shah Mohammed Riza Pahlevi, who believes that Iran's masses can be controlled through reforms, refused–and, in an attempt to avoid the forms of disaster being prepared by Mossadegh, gave the Premiership to Ahmad Ghavam, a landlord and speculator who believed in the orthodox methods of class rule.
According to Time, August 4, Mossadegh's aides considered the assassination of Ghavam and the stirring up of tribal revolts as means of returning Mossadegh to power. “Finally, they agreed on a desperate, dangerous move: invite the Red toughs of the outlawed (Communist) Tudeh party—whom they knew by bitter experience to be militant and well led—to fight in the street alongside them, against the army and the police.”
Chaos broke out as planned. Some 20 persons were killed by the troops and police. In a “united front” directed by Mossadegh, the Stalinists and nationalists burnt houses, looted bazaars, attacked newspaper offices, insulted the Shah, threatened death to Ghavam, and opened a new campaign for the ousting of Americans and Britons from Iran. Ghavam was forced to resign and to flee for his life, and Mossadegh was returned to office with dictatorial powers.
Rulers' Avarice Benefits Stalinists
The “united front” was arranged by Ayatollah Kashani, the leading political priest of Iran who takes credit for the assassination of the late Premier Ali Razmara. The priest, reported the Times, August 2, believes that political Islam is stronger than Iranian Stalinism “and that he and his followers will absorb the Communist rank and file, not the contrary.” On the other hand, the Mossadegh government gave orders, on July 24, that the Stalinists should be hounded out of the nationalist ranks, now that they have served Mossadegh and the ultra-nationalist wing of the Iranian ruling class. But, as might have been expected, the Stalinists are sticking to the “united front.” Mossadegh's domestic political triumph and his victory over the British Anglo-Iranian Oil Company were achieved at the cost of granting the Stalinists new prestige and new opportunities to serve their Russian masters.
Iran's nationalism had the inevitable result, following the return of Mossadegh to power, of instituting a new drive against the American military advisers and Point Four experts in Iran. The drive, which the U.S. State Department blames on the Stalinists, is under the control of the propertied class that fears reformists attacks on its “rights” more than it fears the threat of Russia.