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Thursday, 25 April 2013

The Leftists of Iran Up To the 1979 'Revolution' (1)

"Where else can you sit down in a single evening and listen to senior people from Hamas, Hezbollah, the Muslim Brotherhood, people from the revolutionary left and the anti-war movement from around the globe?"

- John Rees (above) at the Cairo Anti-War Conference, April 2007, ex-SWP-UAF, now Counterfire
Iran was no different to many other countries in the world in the early 1970s - both Muslim and non-Muslim. As per usual, and as with every other country, Marxist hipness and intellectualism hadn’t filtered down to the Iranian ‘workers’ Leftists patronised or glorified so much.

However, that didn't stop the Marxists. Their uprising occurred in the early 1970s. It was brought about by a Marxist-Leninist Fedayeen. It attempted to fuse Maoist ideology with what went for Leftism in Iran. The uprising was a bloody failure.

In addition to the Marxist-Leninist Fedayeen there was also a ‘socialist Shiism’. These socialist Shiites, of course, were mainly Iranian students. They were persecuted under the Shah and many left the country. Although they classed themselves as socialists, they encompassed all brands of Leftism, from Maoism, Trotskyism to Stalinism (i.e., they were pro-Soviet Union). Of course when the revolution came, these socialist Shiites returned to Iran.

But it was the Communist Party which was to prove the most important Leftist group in revolutionary Iran.

At the beginning, the head of the Tudeh Communist Party officially accepted the ayatollah as his guide. After all, why should a Communist have had any problem with Khomeini’s professed aim to establish ‘an Islamic Republic which would protect the independence and democracy of Iran’? That is, although the Tudeh Communist Party more or less ignored the Islamic element of this proclamation, they thoroughly accepted it establishment of a Republic, its commitment to democracy and the independence (from the US) which it would bring about. Then, as now, the Leftists were impressed by the Islamists’, and even Islamic fundamentalists’, use of the buzz words ‘Republic’, ‘democracy’ and ‘independence’ (from America).

We have just mentioned how Khomeini spoke with forked tongue, or with taqiyya tongue, about ‘democracy’. That was in November 1978. Literally, only a few months later, Khomeini denounced democracy as ‘alien to Islam’. The Leftists must have felt very foolish, at the time, for having trusted an Islamic reactionary and fundamentalist. Still, such things are still happening today, whether in Egypt, Libya, Bahrain and even in here at home in the UK.

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