Demonstrations against Iran this past March 8th for International Wimmin's Day had links not just to the State Department and David Horowitz but also directly to both Richard Perle and Daniel Pipes. MIM discovered this fact in the process of investigating demonstrations outside the United Nations April 30th calling for sanctions on Iran for its nuclear energy program. The National Council of Resistance of Iran (NCRI) was involved with both demonstrations(1) and the NCRI came from an organization informally known as the Mujahedin (with various romanized spellings.)
The people behind the March 8th demonstrations against Iran are the same as the ones now calling for sanctions on Iran because of the nuclear energy program. MIM has no doubt that there is some tactical merit to squeezing the Iranian regime from the united $tates, but not enough merit. The Iranians called Mujahedin involved have totally lost any sense of strategic vision.
In the late 1970s and early 1980s, the Mujahedin had a terrorist reputation with the united $tates, because of the Iranian Revolution.(2) But at that time, all Iranians except the monarchists had a terrorist reputation with the united $tates thanks to the hostage crisis under Jimmy Carter.
The Mujahedin raise a number of common political problems for the Third World. Their ideology originated in a combination of Marxism and Islam. Lately however the Mujahedin come across as the only Iranian organization that secular Westerners can really enter into any dialogue with. Not only do the Mujahedin make sense, but also they are very persuasive.
In 1981, the Mujahedin approached a MIM comrade for assistance in fighting Iranian repression, but MIM was distributing literature from a Maoist Iranian group. MIM's slight reservations about the Mujahedin have grown steadily with time. Had MIM had more comrades and resources, we would have undertaken joint struggles with the Mujahedin at that time. As it was, MIM had much doubt about not prioritizing the Mujahedin struggle more highly. Today it is clear that the Mujahedin maneuver too much in imperialist circles.
In exile because of their home country's repressive regime, what can the Mujahedin or any exiled Third World people do becomes the question. In his situation, Mao retreated deep into the Chinese countryside, into the hills, and he had the lucky break of being able to fight the Japanese, a break he later ironically thanked civilian Japanese visitors for when they visited him. Mao knew that the conflict with imperialism was always first or second-place for China. When it was first place, he called it "the principal contradiction."
The break in external conditions of the revolution in China created by the Japanese invasion was decisive. No matter how much we work in the struggle, if the political conditions are not lined up correctly, we will end up pawns of imperialism. People who think Mao was just hard working and dedicated are wrong. The Mujahedin have made wrong chess move after wrong chess move and have ended up where they are because of incorrect analysis. It is not the fault of their spirit or ideology, except that ideology involved in backing scientific analysis. Mao needed that break from the Japanese invasion and the Iranian people just do not have a break like that. It's not the Mujahedin's fault unless they fail to recognize it.
Today the Mujahedin are not allowed even in Iraq on the border. They have become a pawn of diplomatic maneuvers between the United $tates and Iran. The West designated the Mujahedin "terrorist" again thanks to the request of the government of Iran during the occupation of Iraq, because the United $tates did not want the complications of anti-Iranian conflict in the Iraq occupation. At the same time as using the "terrorist" tag, the State Department also openly said there is no legal reason for pursuing any of the people involved. In effect the "terrorist" tag is just diplomatic--good for U.$. terrorism budgets and good for relations with "moderate" Islamic people in Iran. Another effect of the "terrorist" tag is to put the Mujahedin in the position where they feel more obliged to carry out the dirty work of the united $tates or lose Amerikan hospitality.
A generation later the Mujahedin retain the "terrorist" tag, but it is now public knowledge that the Pentagon and State Department have close ties with the organization. The Pentagon disarmed the Mujahedin in Iraq and then created a cease-fire with them. Mujahedin instructed followers not to attack the united $tates and today Richard Perle literally does fund-raisers for the Mujahedin(3) and Daniel Pipes writes in their defense:
"Can the MEK [the abbreviation for the formal name of the Mujahedin--MIM ed.] be useful? Yes. Western spy agencies are short on 'human intelligence'-- meaning spies on the ground in Iran, as distinct from eyes in the sky. Coalition military commanders should seek out the MEK for information on the Iranian mullahs' agents in Iraq. The MEK can also supply key information about developments in Iran where, despite a tendency toward exaggeration, it has had some major scoops. Its information in mid-2002 about Iran's nuclear program, for example, was better than what the International Atomic Energy Agency knew, thereby leading a shocked U.S. government to kick off an investigation that confirmed just how far advanced the Iranians are toward building a nuclear bomb."(4)
Gung-ho leaders and passionate people, the Mujahedin are. Yet it's time for them to recognize that they lost in their given strategy and they should move on to other strategies. MIM will join with Richard Perle, Phyllis Chesler, Daniel Pipes and anyone else who believes the Mujahedin should all have U.$. citizenship.
When Third World people find themselves backed into a corner, the way the Mujahedin were in Iran, they should rethink. There is no crime in taking up the fight elsewhere in another cause. Palestinians need help. Migrant workers in the united $tates need help. Occupied Haiti needs help. Success in one place contributes to success elsewhere. There is no shortage of anti-imperialist causes for the internationalist. What is needed after losing hard-fought and bitter battles is the ability to step back and shift focus.
The regime in Iran is nowhere near as stupid as Chiang Kai-shek was in China or Somoza over in Nicaragua. The mullahs' regime is not going to allow itself to be outmaneuvered on the question of Iranian nationalism.
When Bu$h put Iran on the "axis of evil," the Mujahedin should have shifted gears. When the united $tates landed in Iraq, it should have been clear what was going to happen next. The Iraqi people should have allowed the Mujahedin (armed as they were) to fight the occupiers and the Mujahedin should have pressed for that. Instead they got caught between Iran and the united $tates, and ended up pawns of the latter. The appearance of Pipes needs no conspiracy after that: it was inevitable.
We should not have to talk about this at all, but a fake organization "Revolutionary Communist Party USA" falsely calling itself Marxist-Leninist-Maoist is involved, so the burden falls on us. When the RCP=U$a said Iranians were "united" in exile for this struggle and some ex-prisoners participated in the struggle, so they were joining too, they should have said, "united by the united $tates." MIM is in the process of breaking with all organizations calling themselves Marxist-Leninist-Maoist that fail to recognize the character of the RCP=U$A.
MIM has said before that RCP=u$a crypto-Trotskyism leads to neo-conservatism. The demonstrations outside the UN April 30th are further proof. Too many Trotskyists underestimate the superprofits being sucked from the Third World and they therefore fail to understand the nationalism of their own peoples in opposing U.$. imperialism. That nationalism is not just irrational: there is an ongoing economic basis for it. When the RCP=U$A and Mujahedin put themselves on the wrong side of that nationalism, they end up in bed with the CIA--in the case of the Iranian exiles and any other Middle East or Third World people in general. It's important to understand that it was inevitable to end up in bed with the neo-conservatives. Even if the Mujahedin did not want it, once everyone made their chess moves and the united $tates landed in Iraq, that had to be the result or the apparent result that was as good as the result as far as public opinion in Iran would be concerned.
The Mujahedin have great web pages on secular topics regarding Iran. As of 2004, the Mujahedin gained support of the Feminist Majority Foundation. However, it appears that even that organization changed its assessment of Iran subsequently. Again, having many web pages cannot change the basic political conditions to such an extent that the Mujahedin can overcome their strategic errors. Even if the Mujahedin succeed now by historical accident and squeeze into power in Iran, it would only be as a lackey of the united $tates. The Mujahedin should move on to other internationalist causes and the international proletariat should assist them in doing so.
More importantly, the demonstrations on April 30th calling for sanctions on Iran hit home for the whole anti-war movement in the united $tates. We've seen it before with the sanctions on Iraq, that Secretary of State Madelaine Albright admitted killed half a million children. Moreover, we're tired of hearing how imperialists like the united $tates with the largest stockpile of nuclear weapons should judge oppressed nations like Iran.
1. There is a free newspaper serving as an outlet for the Voice of America called Epoch Times that has a mission of opposing both Mao and the social-fascist Communist Party of China. An anti-communist source, it covered the demonstrations for sanctions against Iran at the UN favorably. May 1-3, 2006 issue "Stop Iran's Nukes UN Sanctions Now" read one sign at the demonstration. Another placard at the rally used the Phyllis Chesler, Paul Berman, Rcp=u$a "third option" rhetoric regarding supposedly being neither pro-U$ nor pro-Iran. The story reads as follows: "Supporters of the opposition coalition National Council of Resistance of Iran hold a rally Friday across from the United Nations in New York. Western leaders will push this week for a U.N. Security Council resolution as Iran defiantly stated it will not stop uranium enrichment programs." Another source with a different photo is here: "Iran nuclear face-off nears," http://seattletimes.nwsource.com/html/nationworld/2002960279_iran29.html