Early in 1983, Atefeh Gorgin, wife of the martyred revolutionary poet, Khosrow Gholesorkie, interviewed five political forces in Iran, among them the I.P.F.G. She asked the same questions to each and published these interviews in her book «Fasli Dar Gholesorkh». The following is a translation of a portion of her interview with the I.P.F.G. first published in 1984 in «Iran In Resistance» by the Iranian Student Association Throughout the US.
QUESTION: How do you analyze the historical and material basis of the take-over of power by the reactionary clerical regime?
Before addressing your question, let us explain the term, «the reactionary clerical regime». As you know, such terms are not used in our organizational vocabulary. After we analyzed the regime that was created after the Uprising and revealed its class base which was that of dependent bourgeoisie, we did not see any reason to employ such terms. They are more useful for those analyses which assume some kind of independence for the present regime.
The bankruptcy of the analyses which considered the present regime as the representative of the various sectors of the petty-bourgeoisie or the «clerical caste» is obvious to- day. In spite of this, we still witness phrases like the «Vilayat-e Faqih regime»,1 the Khomeini regime (with or without the executioner),or the «reactionary clerical regime» whose purpoters consciously or not disguise the imperialist-dependent nature of the present regime under such phrases. They speak of the «clerical regime» or the «Khomeini regime» as if it were an independent entity with specific characteristics and in this way they interpret the developments after the Bahman uprising (February 1979 uprising, translator) as the establishment of a regime that has reached some kind of independence and lose sight of its connection with imperialism.
In reality, it is not the «ruling clerical caste» or the «religious monopolists», but imperialism and its dependent bourgeoisie who continue to rule our society after the uprising. Those who over-emphasize clericalism and ascribe the crimes commited by imperialism through the regime of the Islamic Republic to the mental backwardness of Khomeini and other mullahs (clergymen, translator), even if they appear radical, in practice gives a very great advantage to Khomeini, this chained lackey of imperialism and covers up the imperialist power behind him. In this way, they divert the attention of the masses from imperialism as the main enemy of our people to Khomeini and his mullahs. Thus, in order to understand him, they have to search for a «perspective which for almost one thousand, four hundred years has been buried in the annals of Iranian history». They lose sight of what is going on before their eyes, namely imperialism and its neo-colonial policies. Today, such terms might have some value from an agitational perspective, but they will prepare the ground for great deviations in the continuation of the anti-imperialist struggle.
Linder the specific conditions of Iran, if a force does not correctly approach the problem of imperialism and comprador bourgeoisie, it will not reach any solutions.
Now about the material and historical basis of the take-over of power by the imperialist-dependent Islamic Republic, it must be said in relation to the previous explanations that Iran is a country dominated by imperialism and that the
material basis of the Islamic Republic’s emergence can be found in the nature of neo-colonial policies of imperialism. As you know, imperialism, especially after the second World War, developed neocolonialism in response to the people’s liberation movements of dominated countries. In accordance with this policy, while these countries were completely dependent on imperialism economically, militarily, and politically, they displayed an apparent independence and all the imperialist propaganda efforts were also directed toward displaying their «independence». Therefore, the foundation of neo-colonialism is based on an apparent contradiction between form and content. In a message given in 1979 on the occasion of two great historical days we said, «When we say neo-colonialism is principally the deceitful response of imperialism in confronting the people’s struggles for liberation, we must expect this neocolonial policy to be most active during the outpouring of the mass struggle, and to pull the most deceitful contrivances to reinforce the false image of independence and to, at least, deceive the more short-sighted forces of the popular movement.»
On this basis, with the heightening of our people’s movement in the Shah’s period when it became clear that further suppression would be unproductive and result in the ever-increasing radicalization of the movement, imperialism maneuvered insidiously to penetrate the movement through Khomeini and clerics in general, and to divert the mass struggle from its original course by controlling it from within. Imperialism tried to strangle the revolution in the name of «revolution» and to prevent the growth of the people’s anti-imperialist struggle through the infamous «anti-imperialist struggle» of the regime.
The implementation of this policy necessitated a tactical retreat on the part of imperialism. Imperialism had to cease its support for the Shah and to sacrifice this loyal chained lackey in order to maintain the dependent capitalist system in Iran. On imperialist orders, the army had to cease the suppression of the mass movement and to supposedly declare its solidarity with it. This was a tactical retreat which was necessary for the imperialist martial operations. It also gave imperialism time to gather its forces and to undertake a new formation so that it could wage an all-out agression and to impose a full-scale war on our people in all the economic, political and military fields immediately after the establishment of the regime of the Islamic Republic.
Even though the Bahman uprising disrupted the imperialist war plan and did not allow the course of e-vents to follow in accordance with the negotiations of Bazargan,
Beheshti, and other heads of the regime with Huyser and Ramsay Clark, it did not destroy its foundation.
The Islamic Republic regime came to power after the February 1979 uprising and its establishment was wrongly interpreted as a victory by the people and the majority of the political forces.
In this way, through the implementation of its neo-colonial policy, imperialism succeeded in passing off this regime to the people as a national and anti-imperialist regime and amid its full-scale agression against the people to further its anti-people goal under the guise of «anti-imperialist struggle» of this regime. Of course, the fact that imperialism was able to maneuver in such a way and to deceive a number of forces in the movement was due to weakness of the progressive and revolutionary forces of our movement.
As you know, the 1975 raids on the Organization of Iranian People’s Fedayee Guerrillas severely weakened its organizational strength and thereafter, due to the spread of opportunist views in the organization, its capacity for a correct analysis of the situation and for a conscious participation in the movement was lost. In this situation, there was also no trace of the People’s Mojahedin Organization on the field of struggle. The latter was practically destroyed due to the non-revolutionary approach which was employed in it in the process of its ideological conversion. Therefore, in a situation in which imperialism and its dependent forces were playing an active counter-revolutionary role in the people’s movement and were utilizing the moral and material means of the clerics to their benefit, there was no conscious revolutionary force in the society capable of playing, in accordance with the society’s situation, an active role in the mobilization and organization of the masses to end the imperialist domination and to raise the masses' consciousness in relation to the deceitful imperialist policies.
Nearly four years have passed since the regime of the Islamic Republic came to power. In these four years, different views about its nature and functions have been put forth by different groups and organizations. But at this time, most of these political groups and organizations seem to have rejected their past views. I wanted to know what is your view about the nature of the present regime?
As you know, we were the first organization who said in the «Interview», «the state is the instrument of the ruling class and since in Iran the dependent bourgeoisie has the dominant role in production and whatever the present regime does is directed toward maintaining this situation, therefore automatically this regime is also an instrument in the hands of the dependent bourgeoisie». Apart from the developments that occured in front of everybody’s eyes in the process of the popular movements which indicated that one should consider the February 1979 uprising as an uprising that failed, we also had in mind a number of fundamental issues in our analysis. First, the means of production in our society are in the hands of the dependent bourgeoisie which suffers from a malignant illness called dependency. Whoever inherits these means of production is going to suffer from the same disease.
Therefore, we believe that one cannot complete one stage of revolution and be liberated from dependency by simply changing the dependent bourgeoisie’s means of production to other hands. Emancipation from the bond of dependency in the economic realm is possible only through a profound revolution during which one can establish a national economy and put it opposite to the imperialist economy.
Secondly, revolution is not possible without smashing the repressive instruments of the previous regime and in our society we can end imperialist rule only through smashing the army as the backbone of imperialism. In the developments after the February 1979 uprising, we saw no transformation in the socio-economic realm and thus despite some changes politically, it did not entail the take-over of power by one of the popular classes in place of the previous anti-people class. Even if we consider Khomeini and his clique as representatives of the democratic petty-bourgeoisie, they still took control of the comprador bourgeoisie’s means of production which inevitably made them dependent also. They could no longer have been considered the representatives of the anti-imperialist petty-bourgeoisie. With the Bahman uprising, there merely occured a displacement of pawns in the imperialist rule. Also later on, the course of events showed that the regime of the Islamic Republic did not move in any direction other than that of fortifying the capitalist system in Iran and reparating the blows dealt it by the popular movement. The Islamic regime, by not responding to the worker’s demands, by taking back the land confiscated by the peasants (in this connection the regime showed no hesitation and imposed a bloody war on the peasants despite its adoption of the policy of deceiving the masses), by aiding the comprador capitalists, by inviting back imperialist corporations which, to some extent, had fled the country, and by attacking the democratic freedoms showed its anti-people and imperialist-dependent nature. However, under conditions of imperialist crisis, due to its specific tasks, the regime had to assume the mask of deception.
The imperialist army not only was not smashed in the process of recent developments, rather the Islamic Republic regime tried with all its might to reconstruct its different organs and to reparate the blows dealt them. The regime even added new organs to the army and tried to cover up its crimes through deceptive propaganda.
An analysis of the nature of the state is the first step for the political forces toward conscious activity. As long as they fail to give a correct answer to this question, they will go astray in the field of struggle and will commit serious mistakes. In the past four years, the majority of political forces have demonstrated the validity of this statement. They were never able to reach a scientific analysis in this regard and every small development in the governmental (state) apparatus resulted in a change of their positions, refutation of their previous analysis, and the postulation of a new analysis.
In the beginning, their analyses portrayed the Khomeini regime as being national and anti-imperialist in nature. Later on, the rule of the traditional petty-bourgeoisie and liberal bourgeoisie was invented and still there was no trace of imperialism in their analysis. They were energetically describing the characteristics of these traditional petty-bourgeoisie and liberal bourgeoisie and when confronted with any contradiction of the incompatabi1ity of their analyses with reality, they somehow resolved them thanks to these two invented concepts. Interestingly enough, neither the traditional petty-bourgeoisie nor liberal bourgeoisie existed in the field of social life. In the epoch of imperialist monopolies, they were searching for a liberal bourgeoisie in order to justify their practical tendencies to avoid a determined struggle against the Islamic Republic regime. They created an entity under this name with strange and queer characteristics which did not bear any resemblance to the liberal bourgeoisie considered by Lenin. In this connection, it is not without point to quote a passage from one of our publications, «Liberal Bourgeoisie». We said in that pamphlet, «Archimedes was searching for a fulcrum in space in order to displace the Earth with the help of a lever. Today, our opportunists, without searching for the same thing in reality, have created two chimerical concepts in their minds, i.e. the traditional petty-bourgeoisie and liberal bourgeoisie, and with these concepts displace everything in the vast people’s movement».
On the basis of such analyses, the political organizations, without being aware of it, collaborated with the comprador bourgeoisie and deceived the masses. They labeled any revolutionary action as anarchism, dogmatism, and adventurism. They helped the comprador bourgeoisie in forming its parliament (the Assembly of Experts) in place of the parliament which the people wanted (i.e. the Constituent Assembly) and gave the phony elections of this dependent bourgeoisie the appearance of a universal and legitimate election. The masses of people who to some extent felt (even if they did not completely understant) the mockery of the «Embassy take-over» were drawn day and night to the embassy by the opportunists, a few of whom commit-ed this task while at the same time portraying themselves as representatives of the proletariat. They drew the unemployed worker’s demonstration toward the ministry of labor, over to the American embassy. In a word, considering the circumstances after the Bahman uprising whose distinguishing aspect was the ever-increasing growth of the popular movement, in all probability the Khomeini regime could not have survived for very long, if it was not for the help of the concilationist political forces. However, our anti-imperialist movement is still in a very favorable situation and the path of revolution is becoming increasingly clearer.
If you analyze Khomeini’s regime as a dependent regime working in the interests of imperialism, then how do you analyze the confiscation of the capitalists' wealth by the regime?
It is true that the Islamic Republic regime is dependent on imperialism and that the ruling class in Iran is the dependent bourgeoisie. It is also true that, as you mentioned, this regime confiscates the capitalists' wealth, but one should make clear which capitalist’s wealth is confiscated by the regime and to whose benefit. There seems to be an apparent contradiction here. While the regime suppresses the popular movement in the most brutal fashion to establish security for the investment of dependent capitalists; while it revives the shameful economic agreements of the Shah’s period or itself makes such agreements with imperialism, it also seizes the wealth of some capitalists. But, in fact, there is no contradiction.
What is fundamental for the regime under the conditions of the severe socio-economic crisis of imperialism is to maintain the dependent capitalist system which could be achieved primarily through reliance on the bureaucratic comprador bourgeoisie. Basically, due to the concentration of revenue from the sale of oil in the hands of the state, the bureaucratic bourgeoisie plays a determining role in Iran.
Toward the end of the Shah’s period, the bureaucratic bourgeoisie was making extensive plans to take over new sectors of the economy especially in the area of distribution. The huge chain-stores and the cooperative distribution companies were created for this purpose. The state banks controlled the economic relations in the most remote regions of the country. In the process of the people’s struggle toward the end of the Shah’s rule, this bourgeoisie became the focus of popular attacks, and after the February ‘79 uprising, a number of these capitalists even fled the country for fear of the people’s retribution. But if the people’s struggle dealt great blows to the bureaucratic bourgeoisie, after the establishment of the regime of the Islamic Republic, this bourgeoisie swiftly began to reorganize itself and took over the various sectors of production and distribution far more than in the Shah’s period. For this reason, we witness the ever-increasing expansion of the state’s role in the people’s lives. It is obvious that this expansion has not taken place easily. The bureaucratic bourgeoisie’s reorganization requires the securing of funds to pay for the cost of the repressive apparatus and the huge bureaucratic machinery. But under conditions of the growth of the popular movement which makes the worldwide economic crisis and the resultant decline in the oil revenues more acute, the bureaucratic bourgeoisie had no choice but to plunder our people even more. But since this did not remedy its problem, it became necessary to reach into the pockets of the non-bureaucratic capitalists. The Islamic Republic regime did so to preserve the dependent capitalist system as a whole.
Of course, the regime also used this measure to deceive the people and pass off this kind of confiscation as another manifestation!! of its «anti-imperialist struggle».
In the analyses of various political groups and organizations, it can be seen that Khomeini had a role in the creation of this regime. In your view, what uses has imperialism made of Khomeini in the establishment of this regime?
Before answering your question one point should be kept in mind, namely, that we have always said in response to those who make their analyses of the nature of the state based on individuals, that such an analysis is non-Marxist. A Marxist analysis of the state must examine the existing system and the role of classes in that system. It must reveal which classes are in power and that the state (as a repressive instrument of one class against other classes) represents the system and the class interests of the system it preserves.
It looks as though your question is related to the fact that the majority of political organizations, by seeing Khomeini as the head of the regime (given that they considered Khomeini’s class base to be petty-bourgeoisie), cried out that the nature of the present regime was petty-bourgeoisie. They also took the presence of genuine anti-imperalist and nationalist individuals in the regime (which was merely due to specific situations) as evidence corroborating their fantasies.
With this reminder, we can now consider Khomeini’s role and the use made of him by imperialism. Toward the end of the Shah’s period, when the popular struggle was heightening, it became clear to imperialism that supporting the Shah and maintaining his reign would not be beneficial. Imperialism became aware that suppressing the masses (by the Shah) would not prevent the growth and deepening of their struggle. Thus, it drew up a war plan based on the designation of Individuals in the movement who at any rate were known as combative opponents to the Shah’s regime. In this way, it tried to divert the anti-imperialist struggle of our people.
In this connection, Khomeini’s face was more attractive than those of others who did not have much appeal to the masses. The conciliation of the others in the process of past struggles was more or less known to the masses. But Khomeini participated in the popular movement of 1963 with the intention of preserving the interests of those clerics who were under pressure from the Shah’s suppressive regime. He did not present any programme manifesting the interests of a sector or sectors of the people and was supported by the people merely because of his resistance against the Shah. This was due, on the one hand, to the fact that Khomeini’s anti-Shah struggle was intertwined with the anti-imperialist struggle of the masses who mainly embraced religious thinking. At any rate, Khomeini became a symbol through which the participants in the June ‘63 uprising reflected their interests. As a result, Khomeini secured an eminent position in the process of this struggle. Afterward, he left the field of struggle even though he was still known as a combatant and some of the Marxist forces even approved him as the representative of the petty-bourgeoisie.
Toward the end of the Shah’s reign, when the people’s struggle was heightening, imperialism made the utmost use of Khomeini’s position. This was especially due to the fact that Khomeini was a cleric and this made him compatible with the global imperialist policy of attempting to utilize religion as a means to deceive the masses and to divide the ranks of the people. Eventually, Khomeini colluded with the imperialists who geared their propaganda machine to his benefit. Khomeini was introduced as the leader of the masses and through him imperialism was enabled to engage in one of the most deceitful neo-colonial policies and to divert the people’s anti-imperialist struggle from its original course.
At present, among the individuals and political organizations opposing the regime, there are some who had an active role in the establishment of this regime, but now are confronting it and demanding its overthrow. How do you analyze this situation and what is your view on this subject?
You put forth an interesting question whose answer requires going back to the roots of the developments which unfolded with extraordinary speed in the past four years.
Given the conditions that were created by the popular struggle toward the end of the Shah’s period, the regime which came to power after the uprising included both sectors of the dependent bourgeoisie, i.e. bureaucratic and non-bureaucratic. The bureaucratic sector was weakened in the course of the people’s struggle which led to the uprising, since it was the most direct target of the mass movement.
But after the uprising the bureaucratic bourgeoisie reorganized itself. The non-bureaucratic sectors who objectively saw their inability to bring their business back to normal without the support of the state, helped a great deal in the reorganization of the bureaucratic sector.
In general, since in our country the oil revenues which constitute the bulk of the national income are concentrated in the hands of the state, the bureaucratic bourgeoisie constitutes the most powerful sector of the dependent bourgeoisie. Therefore, when the bureaucratic bourgeoisie gradually gathered its strength, the past circumstances re-emerged to enable the bureaucratic bourgeoisie to remove others from power.
All the developments that took place in the past three years at the top (within the ruling class, translator) should be analyzed in the context of the revival of the bureaucratic bourgeoisie and its increasing seizure of the new sectors of the economy and the regime’s need to suppress the popular movement in order to preserve the interests of imperialism. Thus, those who had been the close associates of Khomeini later on became the targets of his anger and those who had shown the greatest anti-people activity during the formation of the regime of the Islamic Republic, became its fiercest opponents. Even the «people’s elected» president, the man of «11 million votes» who still bears the disgrace of his crimes in the universities and his suppression of the Kurdish people’s struggle, has shown up in Paris as one of the opponents of the regime.
Another thing which should be taken into account in analyzing the present regime is the people’s Uprising. Given the circumstances under which Khomeini’s regime came to power, the state apparatus had to include elements who were the representatives of popular classes and sectors, since their presence was necessary for deceiving the masses. Their presence created some legitimacy for the regime in the eyes of the masses. However, the executive apparatus was set up in such a fashion that these elements, whatever their intentions, were not able to accomplish anything. At any rate, as the regime became entrenched, either these nationalist elements were removed or left the regime as they became increasingly confined. These nationalist and anti-imperialist individuals are now confronting the regime and demanding its overthrow.
At the beginning of the takeover of power by the Islamic regime, the majority of political groups and organizations were demanding the dissolution or improvement of the army, but the majority of them were analyzing the committees or the revolutionary guards as people’s organs. However, nowadays most of those organizations have reversed their position. They consider the comnittees and the revolutionary guards to be unpopular and the enemies of the people while at the same time taking no clear position vis-a-vis the army. What, in your opinion, is the basis of such policy reversals?
The adoption of such contradictory positions arises principally from a lack of understanding of imperialism’s role in our country and a false analysis concerning the nature of the imperialist-dependent regime. Without a doubt, the practical tendencies of those forces who want an easy revolution!! also play some role. Me believe that Iran has become an organic part of the worldwide imperialist system and as long as our society is dominated by imperialism, any regime that takes power would be dependent on imperialism. Moreover, according to Marxist principle, any regime relies on its repressive apparatus which in Iran includes the army and its remnants. They constitute the backbone of imperialist rule. Therefore, from our viewpoint, the guards or any other apparatus of this sort are the remnants of the army and our position with regard to them is also clear.
From our viewpoint, to end the imperialist rule, one must annihilate the army and its remnants as the backbone of imperialist domination. Therefore, we have never considered nor ever will consider the army, the guards or the committees as popular organs.
However, with regard to the assertions of some political forces which at times support the army and at times the «guards», one should say that at one point, they considered the nature of the Khomeini regime to be petit-bourgeoisie and therefore the guards and comnittees which were created by this regime were called popular organs and defended by these organizations.
To complete the «revolution» in their opinion, they gave the slogan of the dissolution or improvement of the army. Gradually when the anti-people nature of organs like the Guards became clear and especially the regime’s extensive attacks on the people through these organs was noticed, these organizations relinquished their previous positions, but their lack of understanding about the nature of the present regime and the imperialistic nature of the army does not allow them to take a clear position vis-a-vis the army.
These forces have closed their eyes to the actions of the army in the past four years which have been nothing but the suppression of the people. According to their practical tendencies (which is the overthrow of the «Khomeini regime» without the destruction of imperialist domination and through the utilization of various «tendencies» within the army and from the top) they speak of the absence of «unity» within the army and that its «head» has been eliminated and there are also different «tendencies» within the army. Of course, these forces attempt to draw «the majority» of these «tendencies».
All the political groups and organizations believe that the majority of people oppose the regime and want its overthrow. If this is the case why then do the people not display any response and why aren’t extensive mass movements seen?
Of course, one cannot speak of the absence of response on the part of the masses in an absolute sense. For despite all the regime’s barbaric actions and the repressive conditions, the masses struggle in different forms, but as you said, an extensive mass movement is not seen.
Conditions similar to this existed in the Shah’s period. However, today the masses have much more experience and consciousness and a stronger awareness than in the past. They also have a stronger (fighting) morale considering the fact that now popular armed struggle is waged in a region of our country. Of course to the same degree, repression is also more severe than in the past.
In the Shah’s period our great comrade, Massoud Ahmadzadeh, wrote: «the absence of spontaneous movements results not from insufficient development of contradictions, but from persistent police suppression and the inactivity of the vanguard». At present, the basis of the problem must also be found in the conditions of terror and the lack of a revolutionary leadership capable of mobilizing and organizing the masses and placing the vast prospects of the revolution in front of them.
This is so obvious today that no political organization could deny it and speak of the inadequate development of contradictions and the improvement in the economic condition of the masses. (The living standard of the masses is so miserable that these kinds of statements could not be made). In addition to this, these organizations saw the people pour into the streets and their struggle heightened as the barrier of dictatorship was somewhat broken, right at a time when they thought the contradictions had not been sufficiently developed.
Therefore, from our viewpoint, it is wrong to say that the people do not show any reaction. The masses abhor the regime to a great extent and express their aversion in various forms and support the armed struggle extensively. But if by «response», considering what happened previously in Iran, one expects mass demonstrations of 4 million people, this is an adventitious expectation. The people struggle against the regime, but to pour into the streets in protest is dependent upon the rift in the repressive apparatus and the presence of (revolutionary) leadership. Essentially, the outward expression of people’s struggles is not always similar. Depending on the situation, the masses express their aversion of imperialism in different forms.
There are some differences among the forces which opt for the overthrow of the Khomeini regime.
Some of these differences are around the nature and composition of Iran’s future political power and the leading force of the revolution. What is your opinion on these matters? During the past year, positive developments have occured in the movement. Some of the forces which withdrew from the people’s struggle have now risen in a bloody struggle and some others who did not adopt the regime’s overthrow as a slogan, have been compelled by the objective circumstances to accept this slogan.
But even if these developments constitute a positive leap, a negative element has also gained prominence. These forces, while accepting the regime’s overthrow, but because of their practical tendencies and lack of understanding of the relation of this regime with imperialism, overlook the overthrow of imperialist rule. It is in this connection that differences arise about the leading force of the revolution. We believe that the proletariat can and should lead the antiimperialist revolution of our people. Unless such leadership emerges, the overthrow of the imperialist rule is inconceivable. About Iran’s future political power, there seems to be some agreement among the forces who believe in the overthrow of imperialist rule. They consider the future political power as an anti-imperialist power in which workers, peasants, and the petit-bourgeoisie participate. However, there are also forces who consider the dependent bourgeoisie as part of the future political power. Considering the fact that the most important task of this political power is to end imperialist influence, what these forces want to bring into power would not be any different from what is in power now, in essence.
Some of the political organizations put the blame for the intensification of terror and repression on the Organization of People’s Mojahedin or organizations who believe in the armed struggle and are present on the field of struggle. They are convinced that one must find the reason for this unprecedented terror in the extreme actions taken by these organizations. In your view, is this analysis correct?
This sort of statement is not new to us. Since 1970, when the armed struggle was initiated by our organization’s founders, we have always encountered such propaganda. The originator of these statements is the Tudeh party. Everybody remembers when the people’s Fedayee Guerrillas, ready to sacrifice their lives, began armed struggle against the imperialist-dependent regime of the Shah in order to break the deadlock of struggle and to establish links with the masses. Everbody remembers how the Tudeh party, while shedding crocodile tears for the martyred guerrillas, was trying to justify the criminal actions of the Shah’s regime by saying that the armed struggle is responsible for the condition of terror and repression.
Now who except spiteful individuals could deny the fact that had it not been for the presence of the people’s armed vanguards present on the field of struggle after the regime’s general and savage offensive, what an unbearable situation would have been created for the people and how extensive the regime’s success would have been in creating an attitude of despair and capitulation among the masses. After June ‘80 the very admirable thing that was done, especially by the People’s Mojahedin Organization was the performance of armed operations. (However, the armed struggle of the Mojahedin organization is superficial, «tactical» and devoid of a revolutionary perspective.) The remarks about armed struggle being responsible for unprecedented terror are often heard from those who see no mission for themselves except opposing the armed struggle. But they saw once more that under conditions of imperialist rule there is no other path than the armed struggle and that other forms of struggle could also grow and become useful and effective only on the groundwork of this struggle.
Of course, it is true that with the growth of struggle, the imperialist rule has to show its savage nature more and more. It is also true that there is no other way for revolutionaries than to expose the nature of imperialism and its dependent regimes, to inform the masses about the reality however bitter, and to mobilize and organize them for transforming that reality. In a word, we are facing savage suppression in Iran not because of the armed actions performed by different forces, but due to the great revolutionary movement that our people have initiated in recent years and which has sent shockwaves throughout the entire imperialist world.
As you know, the regime’s economic situation is very malignant.
In a brief examination one could safely contend that the reduction in oil revenues, the stagnation of production, the astronomical costs of the war, inflation, unemployment and so on are factors which would bring about the regime’s downfall. But why, despite all these problems, is the regime still in power? What is the main factor in the survival of this regime? The regime’s economic situation, as mentioned, is truly malignant. Inflation, unemployment, … are rampant. But then why does this regime not fall?
We think you have raised a very interesting issue which has disturbed many people, especially some of those so-called “overzealous Marxists”.
They reckon in ther head that with the regime’s economic situation, as a rule it should have broken up three years ago. They become bewildered from the contradiction between reality and their analysis when they see that the regime is still in power. The problem with all their analyses is that they do not take into account the dependence of this regime on imperialism. Logically, had all the problems that you mentioned existed in a normal organism to such an extent, they would have destroyed the organism. But this system makes it through the day into night because the economy does not stand on its own feet to be ruined as a result of these problems. The Islamic Republic regime can provide all the country’s needs through dependence on imperialism. If we consider the regime’s propaganda 1n the recent year, we see that it signs contracts with various countries to purchase goods and pays for them through foreign exchange, past reserves, the sale of oil or its direct exchange, or even the sale of gold reserves. All these actions would have been deadly for a capitalist economy, but the dependent capitalist system, despite these conditions, would survive half dead.
Those who do not consider the factor of imperialism in approaching the problems of Iran or see imperialism as a factor which somehow plays a role, are never able to find the real factor for the regime’s survival. When we speak of dependence, without a doubt we have addressed the root of the problem.
This dependence poses itself from economic, political and military aspects. The suppressive power of the anti-people army constitutes the main factor in the survival of the imperialist domination.
After June ‘80 when the urban armed struggle took vast dimensions, especially after the revolutionary execution of the regime’s leaders, some of the opposition forces, including the P.M.O.I., created the expectation that the regime would fall very soon. The P.M.O.I. also expected that the people, influenced by the urban armed struggle, would enter the battlefield in great numbers. But despite these iniatives, it seems now that the regime has been able to maintain itself and that the masses have not responded.
How do you analyze this situation?
Speaking of the Islamic Republic regime’s tenacity in a society in which struggle is not silent for even a moment and the masses, with a revolutionary fervor think of the growth of the struggle and of the regime’s overthrow, is not very correct. It is even conceivable that the regime’s inability in preventing the development of the movement forces imperialism to replace this regime with another one. But with regard to the P.M.O.I. or other forces who evoked the illusion of the regime’s overthrow and victory in a short period, we must say that their strategy is merely to overthrow the Khomeini regime. They think that the fall of this regime is synonomous with the annihilation of imperialism and with the take-over of power by one of the popular classes, i.e. the democratic petit-bourgeoisie.
On this basis, they see no need for armed struggle in the countryside and think the urban armed uprisings are sufficient for the overthrow of imperialist rule and thus are the only correct method of struggle.
Based on such thinking, after sizeable forces from Mojahedin entered the field of urban armed struggle and achieved various successes, from their point of view, everything was ready for the fall of the regime and the takeover of power by the Mojahedin.
This is the foundation of the notion which motivated the Mojahedin to evoke false hope among the people. This is an illusion with which the petit-bourgeoisie in Iran is obsessed. The petit-bourgeoisie, vis-a-vis the dependent capitalist system, faces a conflict which it cannot resolve.
On the one hand, it witnesses how as a result of the expansion of the imperialist investment, especially after the Land Reform, it has been in business and has grown tremendously. On the other hand, it sees how the same expansion of investments has despoiled it to a great extent and even threatens to ruin it. On this basis, even if the petit-bour-geoisie’s interest is in the destruction of the dependent capitalist system, it cannot comprehend this by Itself. Petit-bourgeoisie is also under a lot of pressure from the situation of terror implemented by the state which is protecting the imperialist investments (by the dependent capitalist state). Therefore, in Iran, the petit-bourgeoisie desires democracy more than anything else. It wants a regime which frees it of the pressure of imperialist investment and provides for it the ground for a very brisk business.
As a result, to achieve democracy, the petit-bourgeoisie would fight a-gainst any dependent regime with which, as we already know, terror and repression is kneaded. However, it does so without opting to destroy the whole system. But the establishment of democracy without the destruction of the imperialist system is nothing but an illusion which draws the representatives of the petit-bourgeoisie Into collusion with imperialist circles. The same illusion makes the spectre of those individuals who apparently have accepted the Marxist ideology while maintaining their petit-bour-geois base, as opportunist in the comnunist movement. These opportunist elements at one time under the guise of the working class advocated the thesis of «struggle against the one-man dictatorship of the Shah». Then, by assuming that the Khomeini regime is petit-bourgeois, they supported the regime and deceived the people alongside the regime. And when this regime spreads i/ts dictatorship on an extensive scale, they speak of its overthrow… All along they overlook one thing, i.e. the annihilation of the whole imperialist-dependent system. Although their main enemy is imperialism and its dependent regime, the opportunists merely want to wage war against dictatorship and terror.
There is also a complete similarity in the method of struggle between the opportunists and the official representatives of the petit-bourgeoisie. They only differ in that the opportunists find «Marxist» theoretical rationalizations for their actions while in practice tail behind those others. The opportunists, under the banner of the workirrg class, see the victory of the revolution conditional upon urban uprisings and discard the theory of prolonged people’s war. They consider the extension of the struggle to its major arena, the «countryside» to be a deviation from Marxism and in practice refrain from taking a clear stand against the imperialist army.
The opportunists misrepresent any movement toward the formation of the people’s army for the destruction of the imperialist army as «anarchism» and harmful for the «proletariat».
In their propaganda uproar, the only revolutionary theory of the working class, i.e. the theory of armed struggle, is called «populism». The enthusiasm to achieve «democracy» leads these proclaimed representatives of the proletariat toward rejecting the necessity of the proletariat’s hegemony in the revolution… One must find the root of all these views in the framework of the petit-bour-geoisie’s material conditions. The theories that are formulated by the opportunists are not compatible with reality and cause confusion among the people. They always speak of victory in the near future and sometimes also set a short period to reach victory. All these petit-bourgeois Illusions could be furbished or contained only under the proletariat’s leadership.
The imperialist-dependent forces which sometimes are depended upon by the representatives of the petit-bourgeoisie, cannot accomplish anything for the petit-bourgeoisie. These forces resemble snakes which these representatives nurture in their bosom against themselves and the working class. The leadership of the proletariat is the only guarantee for the victory of the revolution and the needs of the petit-bourgeoisie could be fulfilled only in a new democratic society under the proletariat’s leadership.
The «National Council of Resistance» was established after June 1981. In the beginning it was proported that this council could be a good alternative against the Khomeini regime. How do you assess the position of this council today? Can this council become the hope of the masses under present conditions?
By accomodating Bani-Sadr, whose criminal face was known to our people, the «National Council of Resistance», from the very beginning, was never able to foster hope among our people.
The presence of Bani-Sadr in the council is not considered an individual presence. His presence manifests the existence of an imperialist trend in the council. Also, the reformist nature of this council’s platform clearly shows its objectives. By forming the «National Council of Resistance», the P.M.O.I. committed the biggest political mistake and had it not been for the active presence of progressive Mojahedins who, after June ‘81, created a glowing spark in the dark nights of terror and repression, and furthered the people’s anti-imperialist struggle. Their struggle has foiled the regime’s attempts to put into effect the imperialist plans of evoking an attitude of despair and capitulation among the masses and of creating stability for imperialist investments. By extending the major arena of the struggle to the countryside through utilizing all the power and enthusiasm of its cadres and supporters, the P.M.O.I. was, and is, able to give the antiimperialist struggle an enormous scope. But they pursued a line which wanted to take political power through eliminating the heads of the regime with the cooperation of the imperialist army. The conception of such a strategy is deadly for a revolutionary force. At present, the P.M.O.I. stubbornly defends the «National Council of Resistance». Its optimism towards imperialism has caused this organization not to draw near its real and steadfast allies, i.e. the communists. The process of e-vents will teach the P.M.O.I. that if it wants to pursue its ideals and to guard the blood of martyred Mojahedins, it must leave the ranks of dependent forces as soon as possible and no longer mix up the people’s ranks with that of the enemy.
Why are none of the known left organizations part of this council?
Keeping in mind the views we have enunciated so far, we can answer your question briefly. Aside from the reformist platform of the «National Council of Resistance», the presence of Bani-Sadr in this council as representing an imperialist trend and the P.M.O.I’s emphasis on the clericalism of the future transitional government which is manifested in the of the Democratic Islamic Republic are factors which have prevented any known left force to participate in this council.
After June 1981, there was almost no sign of activity on the part of communist organizations. They did not have the active role they had had during the ‘75 uprising. I think that the communist movement inside Iran is extremely weak and dispersed. How long do you think these conditions will continue? And what are the sources and characteristics of the left’s crisis in Iran?
When you say there was almost no sign of activity on the part of communist organizations, this, in our opinion, is incorrect. If we consider the reality and wish to describe this reality without a detailed analysis of it, we see that firstly, the communist intellectuals played an active role in the movement. If we consider the «movement» in its true meaning, i.e. the people’s anti-imperialist movement, without overlooking our political-ideological differences with the other organizations, it would be unfair to wink at the activities of the comrades from Komeleh and other communist organizations in Kurdestan, the activities of comrades from the People’s Fedayee Guerrillas (the Iranian People’s Liberation Army) in the northern forests of Iran. It is also unfair not to mention the activities of People’s Fedayee Guerrillas in Kurdestan and Bandar-e’-Abbas to this point. One must also hail the indefatigable activity of our sujpporters in the events of June 1981. The fact that the communist organizations, in the main, have not been able to overcome the dispersion of their forces throughout Iran, and their weak propaganda capacity, should not result in under-estimating the activities of communists in the struggles which ensued June 1981. Of course, we do not believe in magnifying the extent of these activities for more than what they are. Without a doubt, communists must analyze the reality (as it is) in order to reach a practical solution. We consider the weakness and dispersion of the communist movement the result of its departure from revolutionary theory. As you know, after the ‘79 uprising, the OIPFG was the only communist organization which enjoyed the support of the masses. In general, after 1970 communism gained an eminent position in the eyes of our people as a result of the revolutionary line of People’s Fedayee Guerrillas. But the OIPFG’s deviation from the theory of armed struggle on the one hand provided the opportunity for incorrect lines which do not correspond to the Iranian situation to come to the forefront. On the other hand, because of the lack of a full response on the part of communist organizations to the situation of the post-79 Uprising, either as a result of pursuing incorrect lines or the absence of practical means and the weakness of organizational work, there emerged once again a relative gap between the masses and communist organizations. Opportunism has once again dominated the communist movement. The way out of dispersion and distraction for the communist movement resides on the one hand in intensifying the revolutionary practice mainly through the waging of armed struggle and on the other hand in encouraging the process of ideological struggle over the most urgent problems of the movement.
From your viewpoint, which classes and sectors of our society are revolutionary and how do you see the role of these classes and social groups in the revolution?
Based on the principle contradiction of our society, i.e. the contradiction between the people and imperialism, the ranks of revolution and counter-revolution are determined as follows: the working class, peasants and urban petit-bourgeoisie are in the ranks of revolution. Imperialism and the forces dependent on it (the bureaucratic and non-bureau-cratic dependent bourgeoisie and dependent petit-bourgeoisie) comprise the ranks of counter-revolution. The revolution has a democratic and antiimperialist character in which all the popular classes and sectors take part. In this revolution, the petit-bourgeoisie, despite its good tradition of struggle (especially on the part of the urban petit-bourgeoisie) is incapable of taking the leadership of the revolution and carrying it to the end, due to its material conditions of production. Moreover, in addition, if it does not place itself under the leadership of the proletariat it becomes confused in the political field and becomes a plaything of the dependent bourgeoisie. The proletariat, as the most revolutionary class of our society and relying on the international theory of Marxism-Leninism, as the most persistent enemy of imperialist domination can and must assume the leadership of the anti-imperialist movement. On the one hand, considering the fact that the struggle against imperialism entails a struggle against capital, the necessity of proletarian leadership becomes all the more apparent. On the other hand, since the victory of the revolution depends on the prolonged mass armed struggle, in the process of this struggle the communists, as the true representatives of the proletariat, have the opportunity to ensure the socialist development of the revolution and to lead the new democratic revolution to victory through implementing revolutionary measures in the socio-economic field and taking revolutionary ideas to the people. The working class should join all the popular classes and sectors in a unified anti-imperialist front and take the leadership of the people’s army through the establishment of a unified leadership for the popular armed forces which is formed in the countrysie. In this way the working class and the rural and urban petit-bourgeoisie actively participate in the anti-im-perialist struggle and with the fulfillment of the proletariat’s hegemony the revolution achieves victory.
It is also necessary at this point to emphasize the vital role of the peasants in the revolution. The Land Reform did not solve the question of land ownership for the peasants. In addition, after this reform, the villages of Iran became the arena for the exploitation of imperialist-dependent capitalism. The imperialists’ capitals’ are busy plundering the villagers in various forms. Therefore, although the ownership of land constitutes the main demand of peasants, they seek this ownership together with an end to imperialist relations in the countryside. The struggle for the ownership of land from the very beginning would draw the peasants to the highest form of struggle, i.e. armed struggle, for anywhere the question of ownership is raised, the struggle will take the form of armed struggle. Thus, the peasants’ struggle must be viewed as an altogether serious struggle. The heightening of this struggle would challenge the army and would deal deadly blows to imperialism.
We have witnessed this phenomenon in recent years, the experiences of Kurdestan and Turkman Sahra have shown us in a striking manner the very vital and revolutionary role of peasants in the revolution. Thus, for the working class who has the task of organizing the ranks of the people, the peasants’ power constitutes an important force. The peasants are the natural allies of the proletariat and are capable of waging a serious struggle. The countryside is the arena of the most decisive struggle against the suppressive organs of imperialism and considering the fundamental problem of revolution, i.e. to end the imperialist domination, the countryside is where the difficulties of emancipation from dependency must be solved through the utilization of agriculture.
Some of the political personalities and organizations of this regime are without a plan and one of the characteristics of this regime is its lack of planning. Do you think such a view is valid?
Those who think that this regime is without a plan are mistaken. The Islamic Republic regime came to power on the basis of imperialist planning for the deception of the masses and the suppression of their struggle. Under conditions of a global crisis, the regime’s plan has been the preservation of the dependent capitalist system in Iran through the control and suppression of the mass movement. In the economic field, this regime, from the very beginning, has followed a calculated plan to preserve the interests of imperialism by suppressing the workers’ struggle, taking back the confiscated lands from peasants, «nationalizing» the banks, continuing the previous economic agreements, and signing new imperialistic agreements. In fighting inflation through the creation of recession, which is the global plan of imperialism in confronting the crisis, the regime has moved according to plan by establishing state control over production and especially distribution.
In the political field, from the very beginning, this regime has followed a deliberate policy of attacking the freedoms which our people won through thousands of martyrs. It even reconstructed the political police which crumbled in the Shah’s period as a result of mass struggle and under its new title of «SAVAMA» turned it loose on our people. Under the cover of Islam, the regime wrote a constitution which is much more reactionary than the previous one (that of the Shah) and which corresponds completely to the interests of the dependent bourgeoisie. Under the «Vilayat-e Faqih» the Islamic Republic regime displayed the dictatorship of dependent bourgeoisie in the most overt form. In the past, some articles of the previous constitution prevented the Shah from making this dictatorship official. All these developments are the result of the new imperialist offensive which was planned following its tactical retreat.
Since June, 1981, the plan of the regime in the political front has been the evermore stringent suppression of the people’s movement through the annihilation of political organizations, the creation of an attitude of despair among the people, and the renewed occupation of Kurdestan.
On the military front, the regime has moved toward the reconstruction of the army and bringing order to its other repressive organs. The regime has used most of its energy on this front.
On the cultural front, this regime has tried to impose the imperialisitic culture, this time under the cover of religion. We must emphasize here two points. One is that the popular struggle has created some obstacles for the implementation of the regime’s plan in some aspects. As a result, the regime’s movements have followed some zigzags. But these zigzags do not mean that this regime is without a plan. Secondly, the simple-minded idea that Iranian people are dealing with a bunch of mullahs who logically are incapable of planning their moves must be discarded. In this respect, we are dealing with the dependent bourgeoisie which implements its plan through «a bunch of mullahs» .
What changes have the Bahman Uprising (1979 Uprising) brought about in the balances of forces and the quality of the people’s struggle?
The Bahman Uprising did not bring any changes in the socio-eco-nomic structure of our society and therefore in the array of class forces. But it played an important role in the promotion of the fighting morale of the masses and their understanding of their own indestructible power. The masses entered the arena of politics in huge numbers and the experience emerging out of this struggle developed the people’s consciousness enormously.
The armed struggle, as the main method of struggle which had previously been accepted by the people, became intertwined with the day-to-day life of people all the more tangibly. With the spread of mass armed struggle in some regions of Iran, the anti-imperialist revolution grew. One could say that one of the most important achievements of the February Uprising was the eminent position armed struglle achieved in its aftermath. It is not without reason that even those forces which always proclaimed armed struggle as being a «guerrilla line» and miles apart from Marxism and that without the formation of the party one could not take up arms, now see their political existence dependent upon waging this same armed struggle. They embark upon armed struggle without being able to show its correlation with their misleading theories. This is also a positive achievement which is the result of changes that have come about in the masses’ struggle.
Which form of struggle do you consider to be the principal form for the victory of the revolution? In general, what is your proposed programme of action in this connection?
The prolonged mass armed struggle is the main form of struggle without which revolution would not achieve victory. On the other hand it is our belief that without utilizing other means of struggle and channeling these forms in the main direction of struggle, the people’s war would not develop. On this basis, while specifying the main form of struggle we put forth the slogan that «One must participate in the masses' struggles in every form and at every level and elevate them». Essentially, for those of us who have always believed in the people’s war and who embark upon armed struggle, the issue is raised to lay the ground for making our armed struggle a mass struggle through the establishment of an organic link with the masses of people.
At this stage we regard organizing and waging armed struggle as our principal and main task. We believe this task could be fulfilled through participation in the Kurdish people’s war of resistance, the formation of political—military nuclei in cities and the establishment of mobile guerrilla units in the rural areas.
Also taking into account the political instability of the regime at present, we try to create the necessary means for adopting various tactics in the event of changes in the political situation.
If you believe in armed struggle, may I ask why this form of struggle, i.e. the armed struggle, has not been able to really mobilize the masses.
What you say is not true. At present, in the Kurdestan region of our country, the masses have been mobilized and organized for struggle and nobody can deny that this mobilization would have been impossible without the armed struggle. In the experience of the past three years we have also seen that anywhere the possibility of mass mobilization and organization came up, it became possible only in the light of armed struggle. The masses' rally behind the Organization of Iranian People’s Fedayee Guerrillas in the year 1979 was due to the organization’s eight years of armed struggle which created the best conditions toward the mobilization and organization of the masses. We also witnessed how the People’s Fedayee Guerrillas prestige among Turkman people made possible the armed organization of the people and the spread of the mass armed struggle. We also saw how the organization’s deviation from the theory of armed struggle separated it from the masses. We continue to believe that without the armed struggle it is impossible to mobilize and organize the masses and the course of events to this time has shown the correctness of this belief.
What do you think would be the appropriate form of government for the future of Iran? In this connection, what is the role of different classes?
In a way, we addressed this subject in response to your previous question. Briefly, the revolution would achieve victory in the process of a prolonged people’s war in which the people’s army, under the leadership of the working class, smashes the backbone of imperialism, i.e. the army.
The peasantry and the urban petit-bourgeoisie are the allies of the proletariat in this revolution. Without their unity the revolution would not achieve victory. The class base of the regime which comes to power after victory are those classes which take part in the present anti-imperialist struggle: peasants, urban petit-bourgeoisie and the proletariat who have the hegemony in this regime. Therefore, the future regime would be the regime of a new democratic republic.
What is the guarantee for the future democracy? Which class do you think could guarantee this?
The proletarian leadership of the revolution guarantees the future democracy through the suppression of imperialist-dependent forces and advances the society in the direction of the establishment of the most extensive democracies.
Considering the very favorable situation which existed for the organization of the working class, how do you see the process of formation of a working class party?
The party of the proletariat consists of a combination of the proletarian movement and socialist theory. The process of forming the party has always been parallel to the growth of spontaneous worker’s movement, the unity of communist organizations in the field of an all-around struggle against the enemy and in the process of ideological struggle among them, and the link between these organizations with worker’s movement in the process of taking socialist consciousness among the workers.
In the conditions of our dominated society which, as a result of dictatorship and terror the worker’s movements are prevented from growth and expansion, the working class is organized and reaches self-consciousness in the process of a prolonged armed struggle. In fact, in the light of conditions which this struggle creates, the worker’s spontaneous move-ments steps up and spreads. In this way, the contact between communist intellectuals with their class becomes possible. In short, one must say that the proletarian party is formed in Iran in the process of heightening armed struggle and of the union of this struggle and the organizations who are involved in it with the working class and the reciprocal spread of the workers' struggles. After the ‘79 Uprising, the workers’ spontaneous movements spread and in the then quasi-democratic conditions, the best ground for taking socialist consciousness among the workers was created. How could those conditions be preserved and elevated? At a time when the opportunist forces on the one hand were concentrating their energy for taking part in the workers' economic struggles and on the other hand were using this energy to refute the revolutionary theory of the proletariat with an incredible lack of principle, we said that if communists do not fulfill their main duty which is participation in the peoples' armed struggle and the spread of this form of struggle to the countryside, imperialism will smash all the meetings, demonstrations, workers' councils, … overnight and in this way will destroy any possibility of influencing the workers' struggles.
At any rate, with the domination of opportunism over the communist movement and the failure of communists to fulfill their main task, i.e. the armed organization of the masses, the rule of the bayonet once again covered our country with its shadow and the favorable conditions which came into being for the union between the communist intellectuals and the proletariat was lost again. It should be emphasized that the process of forming the proletarian party in Iran is a prolonged process parallel to the process of forming the people’s army.
Vilayat-e Faqih: as a religious principle, it reflects the authority of the religious head over some of the religious and civil matters. However, at present, this principle is used to justify the domination of Khomeini’s clique in the regime. ↩︎