Encyclopedia of Anti-Revisionism On-Line

Iranian Communist Hits OL

First Published: Revolution, Vol. 2, No. 11, December 1974.
Transcription, Editing and Markup: Paul Saba
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The following is a letter received by REVOLUTION from an Iranian communist, responding to an article in the October issue of the Call, national newspaper of the October League (M-L)–Ed.

The world today is undergoing great changes. Intensification of the contradictions within the imperialist camp, deepening of the contradictions between countries known as the Third World and imperialism, and the growing trend among a vast number of countries for independence, constitute important developments in today’s world.

Yet these find their meaning only if viewed in the light of the revolutionary movements of the oppressed masses around the world. Upsurge of the movements of the subjugated and oppressed peoples, and the proliferation of working class struggles in capitalist countries, propel forward the moves by Third World countries for unity and independence, and intensify contention within the ranks of imperialism, each causing a further development in the other, thus developing the world situation more and more in favor of the people.

Chinese comrades have outlined the two aspects of today’s world situation in this manner: on the one hand, it is favorable for the people: on the other hand, it is in great disorder and turmoil. Both of these aspects reflect the correct assessment of the present world situation to which communists the world over must pay close attention, and from which they must learn. Development of the world situation in favor of revolution impels us to increase our revolutionary activity and demands intensification of our struggle.

Yet, in addition to all the good it entails, the great disorder also requires more care on our part. For amidst this great turmoil we could become afflicted with disorder ourselves and fall into the trap of counterrevolution instead of taking advantage of the situation for the revolution. We could put forth bourgeois analysis and positions instead of proletarian ones, and, in the final analysis, put forth revisionist programs instead of revolutionary ones. Hence the great disorder of the world situation can become a basis for the deepening of both Right and “Left” deviations, it can become the spark which especially enflames the Right tendencies which exist within the international communist movement.

In the October issue of the Call (political newspaper of October League (M-L)), I ran across an article which is the most vivid expression of such disorder in thinking, the Right, and to a certain extent, revisionist to which we referred above. As an Iranian communist, I do not intend to interfere in the struggle within the U.S. proletarian movement; nevertheless, insofar as this paper has dragged into the mud some of my most important beliefs, I find it necessary to make a few remarks. I hope the OL comrades will heed my call in correcting their errors, for the Iranian communist movement will prepare a more harsh reply for them otherwise. In any case, the basis of OL’s errors lie in the following points:

First, there is OL’s view of the struggle against the two superpowers. From an erroneous understanding of Chinese foreign policy, and on the basis of incorrect analysis, OL necessarily ends up in the position of defending the two superpowers.

Two Superpowers Today

It is clear to everyone that as a result of the weakening of U.S. imperialism, and because of the revolutionary Soviet Union turning into a social-imperialist country, the world today is facing two superpowers. Survival of the present imperialist system is based on its reliance on these two pillars: U.S. imperialism and Soviet social-imperialism. Hence any country struggling against imperialism must necessarily bring down both these pillars, the last bastions, the two principal defenders of capitalism.

Yet not all who speak of struggle against the two superpowers are progressive or revolutionary. For if the touchstone for the fight against imperialism was to be watered down to simply taking positions against the superpowers, then not only the Third World countries, including the Shah of Iran, would be considered anti-imperialist, but all the Brezhnevs, Nixons, as well as all other reactionaries would find themselves in the ranks of the most rabid, anti-imperialist progressive forces. For if simply “struggling” against the Soviet Union were enough to make the Shah of Iran an “anti-imperialist, anti superpower” force, then it must be admitted that the U.S. imperialists fulfill this criterion in a much better way. In this manner our OL “theoreticians,” instead of siding with the masses against imperialism, will have entered into a united front with Henry Jackson, for he, too, has a long history of such “struggles” against the Soviet Union.

OL’s main deviation lies in that it is unable to grasp the scientific proletarian analysis put forth by the Chinese Communist Party, and instead of understanding the foreign policy of revolutionary China, it simply regurgitates CPC’s positions; instead of making an analysis, it copies, and how horribly at that!

The CPC speaks of a world trend known as the struggle of the Third World against the two superpowers, but doesn’t say that every country within this trend is progressive. In fact, as a result of the monumental pressure exerted by the genuine progressive, independence seeking Third World countries (Tanzania, Algeria, People’s Democratic Republic of Yemen, to just name a few), and particularly due to the leadership role assumed by China and Albania, those known agents of imperialism like the puppet regime of the Shah are forced in the face of the people’s wrath, and the powerful movement for independence on the part of a vast number of Third World countries, to take such positions which they themselves do not believe in, nor can adhere to.

Can Imperialists Be “Benevolent”?

Was it not as a result of the monumental struggle waged by the American people that a certain section of the U.S. imperialists took positions “against” the war in Vietnam? Were these imperialists, in OL’s estimation, anti-war or particularly against aggression? Are there such things as “benevolent” or “peace-loving” imperialists?

The inevitable development of the world situation will force the reactionaries to even take positions in “praise” of socialism and communism! Was it not the Iranian Queen, Farah, and Madame Marcos who “praised” Mao Tsetung Thought? In reality, the moves by People’s China are in defending and uniting the vast trend which is sweeping the Third World. And certainly if the Shah of Iran, from his reactionary outlook, decides to jump on the bandwagon, it is a reflection of the exacerbation of the crisis of imperialism and not of “progressive” stands of the Shah.

One who “forgets” that the Shah is tied by a thousand strings to U.S. imperialism, one who “forgets” that the “struggle” waged by Henry Jackson against the Soviet Union is done in defending U.S. monopoly capital, one who overlooks such clear relationships existing between the Henry Jacksons, Nixons, and the Shahs, and who refuses to admit that they are all sychophants of U.S. capitalism and that the differences in these relationships determine only their role as puppets or overlords–this person who today raises the banner of uniting with the Shah will undoubtedly sink into the position of declaring his unity with his own bourgeoisie “against” the other superpower, sooner or later.

The communist movement in the U.S. can not have forgotten the painful experience of Earl Browder. Those who do not accept the positions of the Iranian communist movement should at least take some time to study some of the bourgeois press in the U.S., and should take note of their genuine praise of their obedient puppet, the Shah, who is serving them well as the Gendarme of the Persian Gulf.

Even More Repulsive

OL’s second error, however, is even more repulsive. Our Call author thinks that it is the Shah of Iran on whom the Iranian people should rely in opposing Soviet expansion. From such a revisionist stand, OL un avoidably lands in the position of praising the Shah of Iran, and under the guise of attacking the Revolutionary Union, it launches shameless attacks against the struggles of the peoples of Iran in their sacred fight to overthrow the regime of ’he Shah and all imperialists, U.S. in particular.

The celebrated OL “theoreticians” assume that for the people of my country, a country which for years has been plundered by imperialists, a country which has been ruthlessly exploited by U.S., British, German, and French imperialists, a country whose industry, agriculture, and overall economy is under the domination of imperialism from head to toe, it is important that another name be tacked on to the long list of international exploiters who loot my country’s wealth and that they should care if particularly the Soviet social-imperialists should plunder Iran’s oil this time around.

It is obvious that all Iranian revolutionaries resolutely condemn these imperialist acts of the Soviet Union; nonetheless, they will not sink to such a lowly position of asking the Shah of Iran, the traitor who has surrendered all our national wealth and our independence to the imperialists, to arm himself in order to “oppose” Soviet hegemonism. They will not ask him, by defending U.S. plunder, to “save” our country from exploitation by the Soviet Union. Instead, in order to stave off Soviet penetration, and in order to free our country from all imperialist exploitation, we will give our blood to overthrow the despotic regime of the Shah.

It will not be the Shah who will oppose Soviet penetration of the Iranian economy. Rather it will be our heroic people who will rise to overthrow this reactionary regime and who will defend our national rights not only from the plunder of the Soviet Union, but from the exploitation, bullying and domination of all imperialist powers. OL’s article reminds me of the Iranian revisionists who ask the masses to unite with the “progressive” section of the comprador-feudal ruling classes in order to oppose U.S. penetration. It is quite difficult to find any difference between those revisionist words and the proposals offered by the OL gentlemen. They both call on the Iranian people to unite with the reactionary ruling classes “in opposition” to imperialism, one against the U.S., the other against the Soviet Union. What is common to both is class collaboration, which is the essence of revisionism.

Yet Another “Discovery”!

Amidst the clamour raised by our gentlemen “theoreticians,” we are suddenly confronted with a new “discovery” by the OL pedants, which clearly exposes their pedestrian system of thought. The author, who thinks he has found the winning card, cries out at the height of his baseness: That’s nothing! the Soviet Union and its Iranian social-imperialist agents are also calling for the “overthrow of the Iranian government.”

Is it not disgusting that a group which calls itself communist should resort to such shameless praise of the Iranian revisionist renegades, and still have the audacity to hold its head high in front of Iranian communists?

Gentlemen, the Tudeh Party revisionists not only do not intend to “overthrow” the reactionary regime of Iran, but due to their revisionist nature, they want to lead the movement to reconcile its antagonistic contradiction with the ruling classes (they would not be revisionists if they were to do otherwise) and want to keep the Iranian people from overthrowing their oppressors. For it is precisely these ruling classes that can become the social basis for Soviet domination in Iran.

In fact, what the Tudeh Party renegades are after under the guise of “overthrowing the regime,” a tactic which they have recently chosen and one which can only make sense if seen as a result of the intensification of superpower contention in the area, is to gain some concessions from the regime, and at most to repeat the recent experience of Afghanistan. In other words, the “overthrow” of the monarchy and establishment of a “republican” form of government, which means weakening of U.S. domination and strengthening that of the Soviet Union. This would at most mean a change in the form of government, leaving Iran’s semi-feudal, semi-colonial political-economic system intact.

It is absolutely revolting how the narrow-minded author of the Call article at first elevates the Shah to such an absurd position that the despotic potentate is portrayed as ”struggling against the two superpowers,” and then calls for an alliance with the regime of Iran in order to “oppose” Soviet penetration in Iran, and then criticizes the revisionists for wanting to “overthrow” this “progressive” regime! It is a curious world indeed.

Yet if the two points noted above are tragic, OL’s next error is comical.

The author refers to the revolutionary movement in Oman (under the leadership of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Oman, PFLO) as being “dominated” by the Soviet Union. It is obvious that given the existence of the Iranian student movement abroad and its massive propaganda work around this question, and the resolute “principled stands” (Saut Al-Thawra–Voice of Revolution, PFLO Political Organ) of the People’s Republic of China in defending this great movement, etc., that OL’s problem is not one of lack of information. Rather, it is its line afflicted with the Right deviation.

The Call author has grasped the daily heightening of contention between the two superpowers for hegemony in the Persian Gulf Area, yet as a result of this “profound” grasp he has “forgotten” a very “small” factor. Yes, OL has reduced everything in the Gulf area down to the contention of the two superpowers and has conveniently closed its eyes to a “small” factor! That small factor is the revolutionary movement of the peoples of the area. In doing so OL attributes everything going on in the region to the doings of one or the other superpower. It forgets that a movement can even accept assistance from the social-imperialists (remember Vietnam?) or from any other reactionary for that matter, and it can even commit some errors in dealing with the Soviet Union, and still not be a “revisionist puppet.”

As a result of this “small” “oversight,” i.e., forgetting the revolutionary movements as the main trend in the Gulf area, our learned author necessarily falls into deep confusion: there is the Gulf and the struggle between the two superpowers; which must we choose? Amidst this confusion the OL finally arrives at a choice: let’s side with U.S. imperialism and its faithful puppet, the Shah of Iran! This is the fate of all those who, persisting in their Right deviation, forget the main force of struggle against both the U.S. and Soviet Union–the revolutionary masses.

As my last remark, OL comrades, I have only the following point to make: You may have imagined that with your cognition of your revolutionary role, you may have taken advantage of the contradictions between the U.S. and Soviet Union in favor of the revolutionary masses of the world. But, unfortunately, by “forgetting” the revolutionary masses themselves and their heroic struggles, in your confused “maneuver,” it is the reactionary regime of the Shah and the U.S. bourgeoisie who are using you in their “struggle” against the Soviet social-imperialists, not vice versa! In this arena it has not been you, as “representatives” of the Third World, but the U.S. imperialists who have emerged as winners!

But take heart, comrades, for there is one point in your article with which I fully agree: the positions and analysis offered in your article are in fact your own independent analysis and not that of anyone else, the Chinese Communist Party’s in particular!