Supreme Leader's Speech to Laborers
The following is the full text of the speech delivered on April 29, 2012 by Ayatollah Khamenei the Supreme Leader of the Islamic Revolution in a meeting with laborers of pharmaceutical companies.
In the Name of Allah, the Beneficent, the Merciful
All praise is due to Allah, the Lord of the Worlds, and peace and greetings be upon our Master and Prophet, Ab-al-Qassem Mustafa Muhammad, and upon his immaculate, pure and chosen household, especially the one remaining with Allah on earth.
I congratulate our honorable laborers as well as the people of Iran on the occasion of Labor Week. If the efforts of laborers, entrepreneurs and skilled manpower are appreciated in a society, that society will make progress. When the Holy Prophet (s.w.a.) bowed down to kiss the hand of a laborer, he was not just showing his appreciation to a particular person. He was teaching us a lesson on the value of labor. The labor of a laborer is so valuable that even a person like the Holy Prophet (s.w.a.) - who is superior to the entire creation - bows down to kiss his hand. This is a lesson for us.
Labor in the broad sense of the word - which includes physical labor, intellectual labor, scientific work and managerial work - is in fact the pivot of a society's progress and survival. All of us should know this. In the absence of labor, neither capital, nor raw materials, nor energy, nor information would be useful for mankind. Labor is like the soul of capital, energy and raw materials and turns them into something useful, a product that can be consumed. This shows the value of labor.
In the Islamic Republic nobody stands on ceremony with laborers and makes ceremonial gestures. Certain people established a so-called labor government during an era and kept the world busy for a few decades, but they did not benefit laborers. Leaders of socialist and communist countries took advantage of their societies. They ruled their societies and held on to power. They lived a happy life just like other taghuti governments in the world, all in the name of laborers. What they did was a lie, a ceremonial gesture.
In the west, the main purpose of different kinds of labor insurance, support for laborers and other such things is to encourage laborers to work so that the "one percent" can enjoy the outcome and live a happy life. They are not honest with laborers. Islam is honest with laborers. This is an intellectual framework. Labor is a value. There is a narration which says, "Knowledge depends on action. Whoever knows takes action. Knowledge calls on action and if action responds, knowledge survives, otherwise it departs." Even knowledge depends on labor. This narration - which uses figurative language - says that knowledge calls upon labor and if labor responds, knowledge stays and develops and if labor fails to respond, knowledge disappears. Notice how beautifully the concept has been expressed. Emergence, permanence and progress of knowledge depend on labor. This is the logic of Islam. These are the intellectual principles of Islam. Islam is honest with laborers.
Of course, it is necessary to translate these things into action. These principles should reveal themselves in the process of implementation and planning. A lot of efforts have been made. A lot of things have been done in this regard and it is necessary to do a lot of other things. For this reason, I named this year the year of "Supporting Iranian Labor and Capital". Capital is a necessity for labor. In the absence of capital, there would be no labor. Labor and capital are the two wings of national production. It is necessary to appreciate both Iranian capital and Iranian labor. Labor and capital result in national production. And it is necessary to translate this principle into action.
So far, our honorable laborers have arranged annual meetings with me in a Hussayniyyah on the occasion of Labor Week. I would meet them in a Hussayniyyah and speak to them. This year I decided to come and visit our laborers. I chose this drug distribution company as a representative of all laborers. You dear laborers of this company and those of you who have come from other companies should pay attention to the point that I arranged this meeting to express my respect and gratitude for Iranian labor and laborers.
As long as we do not appreciate the value of Iranian labor and capital, we will not achieve national production. And if we fail to achieve national production, our country will fail to achieve economic independence. And if a society fails to achieve economic independence - that is to say, if a society does not manage to make independent economic decisions and stand on its own feet - it will not achieve political independence. And if a society fails to achieve political independence, other things will not matter. As long as a country has not strengthened its economy and made it independent, it cannot play a significant role in political, cultural and other areas.
Our country needs a powerful and stable economy. In my public addresses over the past 3, 4 years, I have warned our people, youth and officials that the enemy has focused his machinations on our economy. Now you can see that the signs of this great plot are becoming visible one after the other.
Of course, by relying on your firm determination, you dear people of Iran will remove this obstacle from your path, just as you removed the other obstacles that lay on your path. Our laborers and investors and our managers in the state and private sectors should make efforts in this regard. And our people should show their firm determination in consuming our domestic products.
It is necessary to adopt fundamental measures. Fortunately efforts are already being made. As was pointed out by our esteemed executive officials, since the beginning of this year they have focused on this issue in their meetings, plans and discussions. I would like to highlight this issue. It is necessary to remove the obstacles. Everybody must make efforts in order to give promote national production and to strengthen our economy. Primarily it is our government officials - in the executive, legislative and judiciary branches of government - who should make efforts in this regard. Sometimes things might end up in the judiciary. As far as labor, production and investment are concerned, the health of our economy depends on the cooperation of all the three branches of government.
Various measures should be adopted on different fronts: regarding the issue of improving the skills of the workforce, the issue of correct managerial attitudes, the issue of empowering the workforce, the issue of confronting economic disruption in the right way, the issue of sense of security for both laborers and investors. That is to say, our plans, laws and regulations should be such that both our laborers and our investors should feel secure. One example of economic disruption is the issue of smuggling. Another example of economic disruption is misusing our national assets and the funds in our banks which belong to the people. Receiving these funds for a particular reason and diverting them to other things is treachery and stealing. Sometimes stealing is from a particular individual and other times it is from a nation, which is more serious. It is necessary to confront such disruption.
Several years ago, when I wrote letters to the heads of the three branches of government and warned of economic corruption, certain people were alarmed that my warnings would scare off the potential investors. I announced that the opposite was true. An investor who wants to have healthy economic activities in the country would be happy to see that we are fighting economic corruption and economically corrupt individuals. We should be able to fight this battle against economic corruption on a legal level.
We should pay attention to creating competitive advantages. I have stressed domestic production. Of course, fortunately many advances have been made today in the area of domestic production. Definitely what has been done in this regard is more than what the people know. The novel and outstanding work that has been done in this company is very valuable. The company was established and operated by the Iranian workforce in a short period of time. The plans and the equipment are domestic. However, as far as highlighting domestic production is concerned, the issue of quality is very important and our esteemed production managers and laborers should pay attention to this point. Making the cost of production competitive is important and it is necessary to pay attention to it. Of course, this requires assistance from the government. These are the things that must be done and it is not just the government that is responsible in this regard. The executive branch, the Majlis, different managerial organizations, the private sector, the people and those who can improve the culture of our society through their words - they should all be at the service of national production. If we succeed, I assure you that we will strike a serious blow to our blood-thirsty enemies.
Production-based policies, promoting the culture of consuming domestic products, improving the quality of domestic products, modernization of production equipment, and innovative products, management and production - these are the things that must be done and I hope by Allah's favor, they will be taken care of.
I apologize to the friends and the brothers and sisters who sat in the sun in this hot weather and listened to my statements. I hope that by Allah's favor, you will live an enjoyable and happy life.
Greetings be upon you and Allah's mercy and blessings