Analysis and background on the people’s Mojahedin organization
CHAPTER 6The marks of Marxism
"A better understanding of the People's Mojahedin of Iran requires a better understanding of their ideology, which is based on a democratic and progressive interpretation of Islam," the group proclaims.
The People's Mojahedin Organisation of Iran ferociously denies any accusations of "Marxism" and terrorism. Yet, since its birth and at least for its first 10 years, the group embraced a doctrine full of references to Marxism.
Following a bloody split, full of excommunications and purges, the movement's Left gave the leadership, in 1975, to Rajavi's fac¬tion. It was more inclined to include a version of Islam reflecting his views.
During the Seventies, if 'progressivism" won out in the currents of the European Left, in Iran the main force of the opposition to the imperial regime was based on the clerics.
It was difficult in these conditions to prepare a revolution without the support of the dissident clergy, with its strong influence over the people. This did not prevent the PMOI, throughout its history, from showing the matrix of the raw material from which it came. The dialectics of Marxism were bred in the bone. The organisation had Mternalised the revolutionary and underground principles of revolu¬tionary warfare propounded by Che Guevara and the North Vietnamese General Giap.
Above all, it is in looking at the works of Chinese Communist •arty Chairman Mao Tse Tung that these influences become clear. ^e author of Little Red Book, published in 1966, had a powerful '"impact on the ultra-Left, to which he taught many lessons.
Accused in a list
After the "9/11" 2001 attacks on New York and the Pentagon, the United States confirmed its list of foreign terrorist organisations. The legal criteria for this designation draw on the following factors: the group's activities must pose a threat to the security of Americans abroad or to the national interest. This latter is defined as national defense, foreign relations or economic interests of the United States.
"The list contains 28 groups designated by the Secretary of State on 5 October 2001 as foreign terrorist organisations under Section 219 of the Law on Immigration and Nationality, amended by the Law of 1996 on the fight against terrorism and the death penalty.
Groups labeled "foreign terrorist organisations" are:
1. The Abu Nidal Organisation (ANU);
2. The Abu Sayyaf Group (ASG);
3. The Armed Islamic Group (GIA-from its French initials);
4. Aum Shinrikyo (Aum);
5. The Basque independence organisation, ETA (from its Basque acronym: Basque Fatherland and Freedom);
6. AI-Gama al-Islamiyya (Islamist Group);
7. Hamas (Islamic Resistance Movement);
8. Harakat al-Moujahedin (Movement of the Moujaheden);
9. Hezbollah (Party of God);
10. Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan;
11. Islamic Jihad of Egypt;
13. Workers' Party of Kurdistan (PKK);
14. Tigers for the Liberation of Eelam Tamul (LTTE, or Tamil Tigers);
15. The Mojahedin-e Khalq Organisation (MEK);
16. The National Liberation Army (ELN), Colombia;
17. Islamic Jihad of Palestine;
18. Front for the Liberation of Palestine (FLP);
19. Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP);
20. PFLP-General Command (PFLP-GC);
22. Real IRA;
23. Armed Revolutionary Forces of Colombia (FARC);
24. Revolutionary Cells (ex-ELA);
25. The 17 November Revolutionary Organisation;
26. Party/Front for the People's Liberation (DHKP/C);
27. Shining Path "Sendero Luminoso";
28. United Self Defense Forces of Colombia (AUC).
Inclusion on this list has the following consequences:
It is prohibited to provide financial or any other material sup¬port to the groups on this list.
Representatives and certain members of these organisations could be refused entry visas to the United States or be expelled from the country.
American financial institutions are required to freeze the assets of these organisations and their agents and to so inform the United States Department of the Treasury". (39)
Just what are the accusations against the PMOI? Are we to see the People's Mojahedin as terrorists or as freedom fighters?
Mr Rajavi's followers complain:
"The State Department accuses the Mojahedin of using vio¬lence and terrorism in their struggle to overthrow Iran's regime. The main issue, however, is not how to overthrow the regime, but to understand that the mullahs must be overthrown. The Depart¬ment 's bureaucrats have stated repeatedly that they do not seek to overthrow the Iranian regime. It is the responsibility of the Ira¬nians to put an end to the dictatorial reign in their country. The discussion, therefore, should focus on the right of the Iranians to resist dictatorship and establish democracy ". (40)
This is a facile way to avoid the issue by declaring that "the end Justifies the means". In its arguments against the State Depart¬ment's accusations, the PMOI seeks to relegate the use of terrorism to a simple strategy used for regime change.
On the use of terrorism
Once again the People's Mojahedin of Iran play semantic games. Indeed, they are well trained in them by their now-rejected Marxist education.
What is terrorism? This is the basic question and it is not easy to find a clear answer. The best specialists - like those on the TerrorWatch website, whose analysis we will use - have tried to define it:
"A combat method based on the use of terror and part of the framework of a strategy of 'the weak against the strong'. Since the start of the Cold War, no coherent and universal definition of terrorism has been adopted on the international level, thus making ineffective the many UN resolutions passed against international terrorism. In the English speaking countries alone, 212 definitions of terrorism are used, with 72 being used officially. Inside each country, each institution involved in anti-terrorist struggle uses its own definition. Each of these definitions corresponds to the inte¬rests of each institution.
The American Department of Defense defines it as 'the calcu¬lated use of violence or the threat of violence to create fear;
designed to constrain or intimidate governments or societies to attain generally political, religious or ideological goals'.
The main problem in defining terrorism is that many continue to consider it a monolithic phenomenon. They do not take seriously enough the many different contexts in which it breaks out. Such a vision comes basically from the fact that anti-terrorist strategies most often come from being directed against terrorism's effects (anti-terrorism) than from its causes (counter-terrorism). Thus nothing really differentiates between two bombings even if they occur on two different continents and set off similar responses. On the other hand, if the aim is to anticipate terrorist activity, very different strategies would be required". (41)
These are the criteria from which the PMOI can hardly escape given that they are so characteristic of their means of action. This is all the more true in that the group itself claims the right to "armed resistance" targeting directly THE root of all the evils suffered by Iran: the United States. These are unambiguous claims:
"Having analyzed the general situation of Iran, the organi¬sation concluded that, given the Shah's governmental policy and the suppression of every form of opposition, the only possibility for a democratic alternative was to throw out the regime. A non-violent political campaign was impossible, by definition, in pursuit of this goal, given the Police State put in place by the Shah. Consequently, the Mojahedin began preparations for armed resistance. They were also critical of American policy in Iran and demanded the end of United States support for the Shah". (42)
The term "armed resistance" is really a common euphemism used by movements who also want a democratic and proletarian revolution on the lines of triumphant Marxism-Leninism. Since 1917, the Soviet Union continually headed, in one way or another far-flung world empire. This ambition met an obstacle after 1949: Mao Tse Tune's China which replaced Stalin and his inheritors in the hearts and minds of the artisans of ultra-Left internationalism. The methods stayed the same, whether taken from Moscow or Peking. The hated enemy was the same, as TerrorWatch points out:
"In the Marxist dialectic, Western capitalism and imperialism are a form of "State Terrorism". Revolution is thus a normal answer, one that justifies giving assistance to revolutionary move¬ments
This support for Western terrorism from the countries of the East is also an application of a subtle strategy. This support has often justified integrating different categories of terrorism in a global, Marxist-Leninist revolutionary process. But, above all, ter¬rorism has been used as a tool for destabilizing systems, even if the message of the movement in question was contrary to Marxist-Leninist principles." (43)
Revolutionary violence in service to the struggle against Wa¬shington and its designated lackey, Reza Shah Pahlevi, would thus destabilise pro-Western Iran. The Soviet Union could only rejoice. This is especially so since Moscow never hesitated to finance groups that fit into the big plan of "radiant" communism's world hege¬mony.
Michael Voslensky, translator at the Nuremberg Trials, sent by the USSR to the World Peace Council and considered as one of the "lost eminent specialists on Soviet politics, popularised the term nomenklatura" in the West. He bears witness of the Kremlin's generosity to the movements it subsidized, in Iran as well: "The Politburo of the Central Committee often showed a singular largesse: one can only wonder about the 30,000 dollars allocated to a mysterious "Fedayeen of the Iranian People". (44)
39. “Patterns of Global Terrorism 2000”, US Department of State
40. “Democracy Betrayed”, op.cit.
41. “TerrorWatch”- Internet site
42. “Democracy Betrayed”, op.cit.
43. “TerrorWatch”- Internet site
44. Les nouveaux secrets de la nomenklatura- by Michael Voslensky, Paris, 1995
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