I have been reading the exchanges on MKO on the SCI.  The topics of the discussion are real vast and it is understandable why, because MKO has a long history with many radical changes.  Also because MKO wants to be the force building the future Iran and I agree that is not a small undertaking for any political group.  In a way, reviewing MKO is very similar to reviewing Tudeh Party.  The latter also had a long history with many radical changes and wanted to be the main force forming the future Iran.  The dimensions of the review are enormous.


I have learned something from the fate of Tudeh Party.  Three decades ago many Iranian intellectuals spent years criticizing Tudeh Party, for its tactics at various junctures of Iranian modern history.  For example many would spend decades to discuss and research the tactics of Tudeh Party at the time of 1953 coup.  The arguments would go in this way that if Tudeh Party had effectively used Sazmaneh Afsari, perhaps Tudeh Party would not have been crushed in 1953; and perhaps it would have defeated the coup leaders.


Nowadays I think why did people spend all that time on the above discussions.  Why?  Because imagine if Tudeh Party had not made that tactical error; and actually had won the power like its fraternal parties of Bulgaria, etc.  What would have been the result?  Perhaps Tudeh Party would have succeeded and Iran would have become a Soviet satellite like Bulgaria for 3 decades.  Is that what the critics wished for?


My point is that the discussion about the tactics of a political force is of value, when one wishes that they had not made those errors, so that they would have had a chance at winning the power.  But if you really do not care for a political force to be in power, why do you care if they made any errors.  Maybe you are lucky that the political force, which you do not care for, made those errors and thus lost the chance to win power.


INMO instead of discussing the tactics of MKO, one needs to ask if their ideal state is really the place where one really likes to live in.  If you do not really like the Promised Land, why waste time to discuss the road and vehicles that the Messiah wants to use to get there?  If not, then why would you care about their mistakes.  If you do not want them in power, you should be happy that they are making grave mistakes.


The same is true for IRI, Monarchists, Nehzat-e Azadi, National Front, Leftist groups, Minority Parties, etc.  The issue is whether one likes the ideal of any of these groups, as promised by them.  If that is not worth your support, discussing their tactics is of no value.  Of course, if you like a group, then you better evaluate them for their tactics as well.  End does *not* justify the means, and my ideal party should not for example use torture for a so-called "higher good", no matter how noble its higher objectives are.


I personally am not convinced that I like the ideal state of any of our main power contenders.  In my eyes, the fight of IRI and MKO is very much like the 15th century battle of Catholicism and Protestantism.  Neither one was a winner, but the society won by the growth of tolerance in Europe.  I would have felt not much different to live under the rule of Munzer and Luther than the Pope.  In fact, when Luther heard of Copernicus’s Heliocentric Theory, Luther was even more backward than the Catholic Church on his attack [see Bertrand Russell’s “History of Philosophy”, Page 528].  But I definitely would have been happy about the liberalization of both parties that resulted from their stalemate.


It seems like both IRI and MKO are liberalizing.  I hope that this trend continues.  But am I really convinced that NCRI is a symbol of a more democratic parliament than IRI's Majlis or Shah's Majlis?  No I am not convinced.  Do I think that there is no possibility that MKO could become a more reform-minded democratic force?.  In fact I think MKO and IRI and Monarchists and all other political groups of Iran may become more democratic and reform-minded in the future. 


I do not exclude the possibilities of more liberalization from any of them.  But I have to see more action from them; and also more liberalism in their platforms, when describing their ideal state, to believe a change in their ideal states.  Especially on top of my list is their approach to the issue of *individual freedom* (hoghoogheh fardi).


I think Iranian government is more liberal today than 10 years ago.  I also think MKO is more inclined towards democracy than it was 5 years ago.  I think that Monarchists are much more liberal today than 20 years ago.  The same goes for most other Iranian political groups.


We are fortunate that the world climate is very much going towards democracy, especially after the fall of the Soviet Empire.  Even in Latin America, political parties have turned for liberalization.  And it is great that Iranian political groups are also becoming more democratic.  But who will really deliver better future for us, I do not know yet.  I am not sure if the final answer is in yet.


Have you read much criticism of Savak by Monarchists and the steps that they are taking to insure that they will not make the same fate for our nation again?  How much MKO has criticized its own undemocratic practices and the steps it is going to take to correct them?  The same is for IRI.  What improvement in liberalizing do we see in Islamic Republic?


I know that U.S. Parliament is not the ideal, but if any of our political groups even give a lip service to something like the presence of opposing viewpoints in their Majles, similar to the US Congress, I would see it as a step forward.  In the U.S., Bush was criticized for saying read my lips, about not increasing income taxes, and later increasing it.


Iranian politicians don't even give a lip service to issues regarding *individual rights*.  For Iranian politicians, only general statements about political freedom is all they see needed as assurance; and they quickly move to tactics and plans of action to overthrow some regime.  They quickly have a job for you to do too, (to take arms- maybe!).  They want you to support them with your blood, but they refer your need for serious assurances to after the success of their revolution.  It is like starting to make babies and worrying about the support and marriage contract afterwards.


Perhaps I am just not informed about the facts, then I would appreciate it to know the current developments.  I once asked supporters of all Iranian political Groups to tell me how they would treat people who were against their viewpoint.  Nobody answered. This is a significant question if a political group is trying to win informed people to support its ideal state.  Please tell me: What are my rights as an individual in your ideal organization or in your ideal state?


I do not want to be scared to death every day that I wake up in your ideal state.  I do not want to feel that every time I talk, I may end up to be at the mercy of the "state-protectors".


No I am not paranoid.  Go watch the movie "Stalin".  It is on video now and you can find it at any Wherehouse Music Store.  See how the supporters of many political organizations themselves are scared to death to separate from the organization they voluntarily have joined.  Yes, I do not want to be anybody's sacrificial lamb.  I question the Promised Land of all our would-be Messiahs.  I do not want to insult any one.  I just ask to be informed to judge for myself whether I find their Promised Land as benevolent as the Messiahs want me to believe.



Sam Ghandchi

Feb 13, 1994






* The above article was first posted on SCI (soc.culture.iranian) Usenet newsgroup on Feb 13, 1994.


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