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The Iranian Left & the Iraq War

29. December 2005

by Iranian-American Community (IACUS)
A glance at websites and newspapers of many Iranian “left” groups residing outside the country, gives one little impression that Iran’s neighboring country, Iraq, is in a state of war and occupation by the US Empire. There seems to be little concern among Iran’s traditional left about the United States’ intentions to take over and control Middle East’s oil resources. The neoconservative “Project for the New American Century (PNAC)” signifies little (if anything) to many of Iran’s left groups (1). Some, even, under the pretext of fighting fundamentalist Islamists(2), indirectly cheer the American incursion into Afghanistan and Iraq. In reality, however, Iraq is a mirror reflecting the many flaws and shortcomings of the left in the Middle East.

Some in the Iranian left might be evasive on the issue of their silence about the US imperialism’s crimes in the region, but the Iraqi left’s direct collaboration with the Bush administration is undeniable. As part of the Iraqi Governing Council, the Iraqi Communist Party (with the exception of the breakaway faction) and the Kurdish forces headed by Jalal Talebani and Masoud Barezani, collaborated with the US occupation forces, not just in the arrest, torture, and murder of thousands of Iraqi insurgents, but also in the process of building a neo-liberal state that will sell out the future of Iraqis (Kurds, Sunnis and Shiites alike) to the capitalist institutions, such as the World Bank, the International Monetary Fund and such transnational corporations as Halliburton, Bechtel, etc. In their impotent (if not incompetent) quest against Saddam’s regime, they have ended up collaborating with a colonial power to topple a secular government, only to replace it with a fundamentalist, theocratic regime in a landscape leaning towards civil war. Do they really think they will have any following among the people of Iraq when the present puppet government is gone?

The same unfortunate parallels can be drawn with respect to the Iranian left. Instead of questioning their tactics and strategy as a result of which the Mullahs, not the left were able to take power after the fall of the Shah’s dictatorship, at a moment of ultimate debility, the Western-cultured leftists seem to be waiting for the overthrow of Iran’s Islamic Republic regime in the hands of the US imperialism without the slightest concern over (or understanding of) what will pursue in the aftermath.

Before disputing any of the above assertions, these intellectuals would have to explain their disregard, silence, or cheerleading for a number of issues, some of which are listed below:

1) The US imperialism has frozen (in essence stolen) and is holding millions of dollars of funds belonging to the Iranian people. Why has the left remained silent all these years on this issue? (3)

2) At a time when global sources of fuel and energy are becoming more and more scarce and critical, why are these groups remaining silent or collaborating with colonial powers (propaganda-wise) in their attempts to deny the Iranian people their right to enrich uranium for peaceful purposes?

3) Why all the silence with respect to the crimes of the US imperialism in Iraq?

4) Why are they being silent about the fact that their “Mecca for democracy” is about to impose yet another “Islamic Republic” government in the Middle East region (not counting Saudi Arabia and all the other puppet dictatorships) while they are cheering the downfall of the Taliban and Saddam Hussein?

5) How can they claim to be in opposition with the regime of the Islamic Republic when they remain silent to the crimes of another religious state, Israel, that has enslaved the Palestinian population and denies non-Jews (and not just the Muslims) the right to own land in many parts of that country, to marry Jews and to enjoy status equal to Jewish citizens?

Instead of working towards grass roots organizing, most left groups have preferred to take on the role of the “truth-telling Messiah,” filling their newspapers and websites with general talk, obvious, trivial, and often impertinent facts, and trite slogans, thus further isolating themselves from the masses of the Iranian people and their circumstances.

Likewise, in place of dealing with the issue of social justice as a whole, which today, unequivocally includes the struggle against neo-liberalism at its heart, many groups focus on and attempt to build around the slogan of “democracy” or a “secular republic” in its most nebulous form (4), which yet again exposes their lack of understanding of today’s globalized economy and the role of the United States and international finance capital.

With such tactics, not only will the Iranian left make no headway in its efforts (as has been the case so far), but in the end, its feeble activities will only end up benefiting the US imperialism.

On this issue of collaboration with the United States, we should especially mention and condemn organizations funded and supported by the US Intelligence: the Organization of People’s Mojahedin Khalq (5) that has mutated into a mercenary force at the service of anti-Iranian propaganda, the various Monarchist factions who, from their websites and twenty-or-so CIA-financed TV Satellite channels (out of Los Angeles, California) spew poison and lies against the Iranian people, and the reactionary leadership of Hezbe Komoniste Kargari (Workers Communist Party) and its offshoot, the Hekmatists (6).

Iranian-American Community (IACUS)
December 2005

(1) Some in the Iranian left claim that the United States government prefers to make deals with the Iranian regime rather than topple it. Those making such a claim clearly have no understanding of neo-liberalism and its workings. In reality, the US government will be pursuing both options. For now, while bogged down in Iraq, the American government will pursue the policy of pressuring Iran, but the moment the conditions are right, an invasion of Iran will be eminent. Such a possibility does not seem to be worrying some Iranian leftists in the least.

(2) In passing judgment over social forces at work in a society, the Marxist outlook generally attempts to present a class analysis of these forces rather than focusing on the religion, color of skin, or traditional practices.

(3) Some will undoubtedly respond by asking why they should support handing Iran’s frozen assets over to the government of the Islamic Republic. This is exactly the point: they see no problem in seeing the funds in the hands of the United States.

(4) In essence, Iran’s feudal-era “Constitutional Movement” was much more advanced and progressive than what the various left groups have mapped out for today because its plan included the fight, not only for democracy, but also against colonialism.

(5) The Organization of People’s Mojahedin Khalq is on the US State Department’s list of “terrorist organizations.” That has not stopped the Bush administration from utilizing this group for its warmongering purposes, yet another indication of the phony nature of the American “war on terror.”

(6) The same type of generic-Marxist-talk, reactionary-walk groups helped undermine the Sandinista government in Nicaragua and assisted in the US-sponsored coup against Venezuela’s democratically elected president, Hugo Chavez.