Date: Thursday, April 29, 2010
In a video message commemorating International Workers’ Day (May 1) and Teachers’ Day (May 2), Mir Hussein Mousavi stressed that the efforts of workers and teachers are the most important factors contributing to the nation’s power and success. He stated that “the only way to meet the rightful demands of teachers, workers, and all other social groups is to revive the Constitution and uphold the now-forgotten civil rights [outlined therein].”
A transcript of this video message, along with audio and video files (as well as a mobile video file), is provided by Kalameh.
Khordaad88 has provided a video of the speech with subtitles included. A transcript (translated by Mousavi’s Facebook page and edited by Khordaad88) follows below.
Thanks to the team at Mousavi’s Facebook page for their hard work.
Greetings to all workers and teachers of the country
I wish you all a happy Labour Day and Teachers’ Day. We are on the eve of these two very important days. The thoughts and actions of our workers and teachers are the most important indicators of our nation’s success. They are the producers of wealth, science, virtue, and morality in our country and without their hard work, achieving fundamental goals and observing principal values would not be possible. After the formation of governments and nations, the role of these two groups have become very important and therefore nations pay special attention to their problems, inclinations, and fate and fortune.
The International Workers’ Day that is being celebrated all around the world and in our country is a sign of the attention to workers and an evidence of their importance. From the early days of the Islamic Republic, it was a tradition to commemorate this day and also the Teachers’ Day which is just as important. Here, in this short message, I would like to share with you the common issues that are encountered by these two groups as well as other groups in the society.
The truth is that we are getting close to these two important days while the country is in crisis and is having vast economical, political and social problems and each one of these problems has a drastic effect in the fortune and day-to-day lives of these two groups.
The domestic market of the country has been handed out to foreigners
We are all witnessing the economic situation: inflation, the dropping rate of investments, corruption, the spread of lies and promotion of incompetence, the unpaid wages of the workers, growing unemployment, and the daily closure of factories or their under-capacity operations. All this as our national markets have been filled with foreign goods. In reality, we have handed out our entire domestic markets with respect to goods, services, and investment to foreigners. We are all aware of the negative impact of this on the future of our nation, our independence, our freedom, and in the fate and fortune of our workers.
The issues and the problems of workers and teachers is tied to the majority of the issues and problems of the country
On the other hand, our freedoms are obstructed. Voices are silenced, newspapers are shut down, jails are filled with political prisoners, and limits are imposed on unions and political associations. These affect workers and teachers as well as other groups. This is why it is very important that the workers and teachers realize (although I know they already do) that the problems and hardships they experience and feel in their everyday lives is directly related to the major issues and problems in the country.
The demands of workers and teachers are the fundamental and principle demands of the nation
The present demands of a worker or a teacher, the natural demands of these two groups, are the very fundamental and basic demands for the whole country. What does a worker or a teacher want? They want the country to advance. The advancement of the country benefit them. The lack of development in the country is harmful for the entire nation and most harmful for the working class either in the industry, or in service sectors; either in villages or anywhere else and also would be harmful for the teachers.
They (workers and teachers) want freedom, because freedom would allow them to form unions and political associations and find ways to solve their own problems and the problems of the nation.
They are seeking social and economic justice and dignity; it would enable them to serve better and produce more wealth. It will enable them to defend the country’s economy. And with their activities in industry and the marketplace, they defend the independence of the country, and eventually support innovative and progress.
Politicians have demoted teachers but teachers’ status remains unchanged in the society
The revolution started with this idea. We should remember that most of the members of the first parliament [after the revolution] were teachers. Martyrs Rajaii, Baahonar, Motahari were teachers. Shariyati was a teacher. Teachers were trusted by the nation. I should add that if this position has been degraded in the eyes of politicians, it absolutely has not in eyes of the nation. Teachers and workers continue to be an influential and trusted force in the society; but some courses of action have decreased the political power of these groups. Respect and high position of teachers enabled them to create a profound and scholarly atmosphere in the country and train a proud and productive generation. Many teachers and workers defended the country on the front lines [during the Iran-Iran war]. But on the contrary, some teachers and workers are in prison. It is very bitter to talk about this on the eve of these two days.
It is for the benefit of workers and teachers that we have balanced foreign policies
It is natural that if we pay attention to freedom, justice, prosperity and development of the country or other aspects, these two classes for instance are strongly against corruption. They know that it is harmful for them and their interests and harmful for the interest of the nation and national security of the country when the topic of great oil revenues is brought up while the promises of bringing hundreds of millions of dollars to people’s kitchen tables never happened and while instead they learn about corruptions, incompetence and mismanagement in the economy of the country. Naturally, consciously and presently, it is for the benefit of teachers and workers that we have balanced foreign policies. We should not create so much drama. We should not go on without a specific agenda. We should not endanger our national interests by creating so many ups and downs.
Reckless actions will have their effects on people’s quality of life
The security of the country is not going to be preserved by means of Guns and military forces
The impact of these irresponsible actions is evident on people’s kitchen tables immediately. The greatness of a country is in the hope and encouragement of that nation about their future; their view and hope for their future. Guns and armed forces are no assurance of security in a country. We did not have [organised] army or Revolutionary Guards during the holy defence era (Iran-Iraq war). They were created gradually. In fact, the army was dissolved at the beginning of the revolution and was later reorganised; the Basij and Revolutionary Guards also formed later. What led to our resistance during that 8-year war so that we did not give in even one centimetre of our land to the enemy was not our many weapons indeed! Our enemy had more weapons and support and had all the help from the world but our nation including these classes of workers and teachers could resist. This was due to the people’s hope about the future of the system. But it is natural to lose all hope and belief in the system when this trust is broken, when cases of corruption are brought up and not followed up with, even raised in the parliament and still nothing happens and suddenly the cases are closed and then from here and there news would be heard.
The issues of workers and teachers are no different from the issues of the nation
Dear workers and teachers, you should know that your issues are issues of our entire nation and not separate.
If you have problems in forming independent unions and with every action you take you face limitations and arrests and encounter problems in your activities; when you go to the classroom with fear and concern because you do not know if you can tell the right word and defend justice in front of your students, defend it with your heads held up and with pride; and testify to the brightness of the white and the darkness of the black and don’t give up; and when you face fear and insecurity in these issues, it is natural that these concerns are national concerns and are the concerns of all of us!
The path that the Green Movement is taking regarding this is based on the fact that the solution to our problems depends on a series of activities. It is not that we solve this problem once with promises and once with charity, once with increasing or decreasing salaries, or for example when it gets close to elections we become active and jump from an issue to another. These will not resolve the problems of our teachers, workers, employers and entrepreneurs!
We have no other way than to return to the constitution
I believe that the only way is to return to the constitution. There is no way for us other than returning to fulfill all of the constitution. This is the least costly way. This is the way to solve our problems at a national level; to solve the problems of our Islamic market so that they are not filled with low quality foreign-made goods. We can defend our national industries so that we can protect the rights of our workers to prevent them from losing their jobs and unpaid wages every day. So that we don’t get buried in the foreign markets and that our workforce does not go to waste. By returning to the constitution we can prevent corruption and by reinstating people’s rights we can solve the problems. Except through a free, not pre-selected, competitive elections, freedom of press and freeing political prisoners and groups, there is no other way in front of us; and moving towards the constitution is to the benefit of the whole nation and to the benefit of all who are devoted to their people and seek prosperity of their nation.
We promised people to execute the constitution. The rights of people are the most forgotten parts of the constitution
This is our national covenant and the accord between the people and the government.
Any lessening of this covenant is a betrayal of people’s trust. People and the government signed that the government would execute the constitution without manipulation. If we consider parts of it inefficient we should reform it. The constitution is not carved in stone but [even for that] we should act according to the constitution and we should honour the rights of people which are the most forgotten parts of the constitution. Consequently, problems get resolved one after the other and that way, God willing, the status of teachers and workers shall be reinstated in a way that is suitable of our country and society.
May you succeed and may both these days be happy for the entire nation.