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Long Live The Factory Communist Committee!

Their conditions were as follows:

        if you drop to your knees;
              and death,
                  if you stand."

Their conditions were familiar.

This wasn't the salves' first revolt.
The black leather bag in the hand of the respectable ministry official
looked as familiar as the whip they had lashed our fathers' backs with.

But we clenched fists and whispered,
                                                            "we'll stand our ground."

Nine hours a day, six days a week;
how many times can one hum the Internationale?
The slave who's become aware of their slavery
                                                                      has already lost half of their chain.

but the other half are still chains,
                                                      are still heavy.

But, on the morrow of the defeat of the strike,
they will be a hundred times as heavy,
                                                      a hundred times as chain, as before the defeat.

But, still heavier, is the reproaching look in the eyes of the child
who's run to the door anxiously asking,
                                                           "Did you get the Thursdays?"1
                                                                     "Was Motrteza released?"

Nine hours a day, six days a week;
how many times can one hum the Internationale?

They have defeated the strike, and tomorrow,
drunk with victory, they will let out their victory song in every factory,
at every corner in town, indeed, declaring:
                  - We will sack.
                                    - We will lay off.
                                                      - We will put in chains.

- And, as for those who intend to stand their ground,
                  we'll make an example of them
                                    on the gallows of learning.

That's what they've been saying, and doing, for the past 130 years,
But we're still standing our ground,
                                    every month,
                                                      every year;
as we've been doing for the past 130 years
- nine hours a day, six days a week.

The end of the strike, however,
is not the end of the story.
tomorrow morning, in the locker room,
tomorrow, tomorrow at lunch time,
tomorrow, tomorrow at the back of the factory bus,
dozens of comrades will whisper,
                                                      "the Committee was right!"

And they will repeat our recommendations they left undone.
Tomorrow, no doubt, we'll see a new hand has written in a new handwriting
on the wall opposite the boiler room:
                                                      "Long Live The Factory Communist Committee!"

Nine hours a day, six days a week;

and the Internationale
                  echoes louder
                                    every time.

(Mansoor Hekmat)  

1 An allusion to demanding a two-day weekend.

English translation: Jamshid Hadian #2990en.html