Only in Tehran, a city where the accumulated capital of its ascetic capitalists arouses the envy of other capitalists of the world, and the fabled palaces of the owners of financial and industrial trusts amaze the eyes. Yes, in Tehran, according to the official government statistics, hundreds of thousands of people, including tens of thousands of young children from the many millions of working children in the whole country, make a living by collecting garbage. The real population of garbage collectors in this burning hell that is Iran’s capitalism is several times higher than the government statistics, because the work of these children is a certain amount of the total labor force that brutally become exploited by the capitalist class and the Islamic regime of capital. Only one of the government institutions, the municipality in Narmak district of Tehran, receives 4 million Tomans ( 200 dollars ) per month as a share of added value from each of these cursed children. The per capita household income in the first decile of Iran’s population this year “ 2022 “ is about 450 thousand Tomans (almost 23 dollars), and a large part of the masses of the working class are in this decile in terms of living conditions and wages. The share of the municipality from the children’s unpaid work is 4 million Tomans ( 200 dollars ) per month, and these children are a part of Iran’s working class. Garbage collecting is an important part of the process of profit creation and self-increase of capital in Iran and other parts of the world. From food and clothing and all trades to all aspects of human life in every historical period, it has been engraved with the stamp of the enormous and substantial influence of the dominant production method of the era on its existence. The garbage of the present time is not the garbage from 500 years ago, even if their appearance is indistinguishable from each other. Billions of tons of daily waste from heavy and light industries, nuclear power plants, and various types of petroleum and chemical products did not exist in the distant past. The garbage left from refrigerators and freezers, washing machines, and televisions, computers, printers and modems, electric heaters and other household appliances is not the same as the shards of ancient historical jars, their appearance is very different from each other, but the main difference between today’s and yesterday’s garbage is not in their faces, but in their nature character. In the works, there is a special value and social identity and history that bear two completely different production methods. Today’s wastes are the wastes of the profit-making and self-increasing process of capital, they are the wastes of the relations of surplus value production, they are created from this process and return to this process. They are the product of a process whose foundation is based on separating the workers from their own work and the destiny of production and life, and its purpose is only to produce profit and humankind is a total victim in these social relations. The only mission of mankind in these relations is to play a role like the detached and without any will of the profit-making and capital-creating machine. The same capital that, as soon as it is created, becomes the almighty and able God in charge of the entire fate of the worker’s work and life. Garbage itself is a part of capital that has become garbage, and they are the product of the wage labor of the working class, which one day have been taken out of their hands and turned into capital. Returning waste with the lowest price is to re-enter the process of increasing the value of capital and play a role like capital, in the exploitation of the working masses as much as possible. The intention is not to enter the political economy, but we are specifically talking about the explosive exploitation of children in the hell of Iran’s capitalism. 

In the work and production relations order of the country’s social capital, the issues of collecting and recycling waste and transferring them to the cycle of capital accumulation are the monopoly of the municipalities and thus the Islamic state of the bourgeoisie. Municipalities, by concluding contracts with astronomical figures, entrust the task of collecting garbage to the contractor capitalists who are looking for an ultra-cheap labor force. In some cases, the municipalities are not satisfied with this amount and do not limit their share of the exploitation of these children to the galactic figures of concluding contracts, and like leeches, they become complicit again in unpaid child labor in other ways, including through the horrific escalation of child exploitation. They raise the rate of exploitation of these children to the peak in order to increase their share and the accumulation of capital from the result of the exploited labor force of these children. In the Narmak area of Tehran, the story is like this. Here, every child is busy with collecting garbage, sorting and transporting it until 10 o’clock at night. These children dig a mountain of garbage and instead of inhaling oxygen, they inhale any kind of deadly poisonous gas. Direct contact with waste and pathogenic effects of various chemical substances infects the thin and broken body of these children. The children who are engaged in collecting garbage in the Narmak area of Tehran, despite the brutal exploitation by the capitalist contractors, have to pay 4 million Tomans ( 200 dollars ) to the municipality of the region every month. The monthly share of the municipalities from the exploitation of each child is 4 million Tomans ( 200 dollars ) , but we don’t have any exact figures about how huge added value that the contractor capitalists achieve by exploitation of the children who collect garbage. But definitely the share of the capitalist contractors is many times more than the share of the municipalities. One thing is very clear, and that is that most of the official newspapers of the Islamic regime of capitalists also admit and have written many times that the volume of annual contracts of municipalities only in Tehran with capitalist contractors who collect waste is almost a couple of milliard dollars. The mountain of surplus value, the share of these beasts and their governance partners in the municipalities from the barbaric exploitation of these garbage-collecting children is skyrocketing. And the basic question is how much do these children get paid for their work ? The answer should be taken from the above statements. In fact, there is nothing left for these poor children, because the more they work, the more the wealth and capital of the capitalist class increases. The violence hidden in the nature of capital has forcibly deprived these children of this right. They don’t go to school because they have to work for a livelihood below the poverty line, for their own livelihood and their parents, every day. Attending to be in the school classroom is their completely forbidden dream, a dream that the capitalist class and the predatory Islamic state of capital have made impossible for these children to realize. The overwhelming majority of working children, including garbage collectors, are miserable and poor Afghan children. The mass of residents of this capitalist hell in Iran, not only do not have schools, not only are they deprived of education, but they also lack identity documents for the quasi-free sale of the labor force, even as garbage collectors.The capitalist government of Iran is not willing to issue birth certificates and identification cards for them, because avoiding giving identification cards to these poor and miserable people is a very calculated and legal part of the structure of capital order. The Islamic regime of capital by avoiding the issuance of birth certificates for poor Afghan children, allows the savage capitalists to purchase the labor-force of these children almost free of cost. To thereby make their unpaid work more numerous and their paid work or wages more less.

The anti-capitalist workers of Iran

By “ Mazdek Koh`kan ”

Jan. 2022