The Purport of Individuality in Mojahedin Cult (7)

Of the major challenges the so-called Marxist revolutionary organizations or those under the influence of the Marxism in the contemporary history encounter is how they conceptualize the individual or individuality in contrast to their liberal definition. As defined by the theoreticians of these groups, individual rights are subordinate to social rights and the real value and legal status of individuals are considered to be the same as counter-revolutionary values that are somehow the legacy of the bourgeoisie. In such movements, the first step into the milieu of theory and revolutionary action should be a combat against the individual’s social status and its denial.

The organizational experiences of the leftist parties in general and countless victims of Stalin’s reign in particular are typical instances of the individuals being victimized for the cause of the contemporary revolutionary moves. As such, the groups and organizations that adhere to Marxism in violent warfare and social struggle have the same understanding of individuality. In some instances, they blend Marxist views with that of religious instructions while considering a priority for the former over the latter. For these organizations, individuality means smearing revolutionary values and culture with the stain of the bourgeoisie and sacrificing interests of the group for that of the individual. The outcome of these creeds is physical annihilation of members and depersonalization in the case of any conflict between members and organization whether the grounds of discordance are justified or not.

The course of events in MKO in the past four decades witnesses such instances of conflict which led to the murder of at least four dissent members. However, we are not to review such cases in this article. We are to remind that individuality is of no significance in such organizations. In other words, these kinds of organizations consider individuality as a means to gain organizational objectives so that any criticism on the part of members leads to their physical annihilation. It has to be pointed out that such a process in MKO led to consequences much different from that of other political movements due to the unique features of the group. The climax in MKO was the ideological revolution that mainly targeted the depersonalization in all its social, psychological and mental modes. According to one of the MKO’s ex-members, the gist of ideological revolution is as follows:

Close your eyes, let me hold your hands and ask not whereto you are being taken. [1]

That is the substratum of ideological revolution within Mojahedin that proves the group’s shift into a cult as a result of the negation of democratic elements in the inter-organizational relations as well as encountering numerous strategic stalemates. Establishing an ideological revolution on depersonalization enables the leadership to enforce the leader’s egocentric wills on members and to require the members’ blind obedience that the organization preferably calls it absolute devotion.

Compulsory divorce and marriage, suicidal operations, self-immolations, hypocrisy and a lot more are the immediate consequences of depersonalization and annihilation of mental capacity of members that constitute one of the theoretical challenges of MKO on the one hand and develop personal hegemony of Rajavi on the other hand. Mojahedin justify such a paradox resorting to metaphysics making leadership a sacred and divine entity. As Bijan Niyabati explains, the process of the ideological revolution requires blind obedience with no logical justification:

It goes without saying that such a process is of no logical significance. The main factors contributing to this process are not knowledge and logic but love and emotion and the instruments are not justification and discussion but devotion and obedience. [2]

Then he takes advantage of the expressions of Islamic mysticism for more justification:

In spiritual journey, no question is allowed. The wayfarer has to put his faith in Sheikh wholeheartedly and must regard him as the most perfect person to conduct him in spiritual training, guidance and education, be his interlocutor and obey Sheikh far from any inward or outward objection. [3]

Such justifications forge another paradox as they are in total contradiction with MKO’s standards of developing a worldview based on practical and scientific facts. However, Mojahedin deny such a paradox in order to pass over the challenges they encounter. Mojahedin insist to pose as respecting the rights of the individuals and even tolerating dissidents and critics. In contrast to these claims, makeup of Mojahedin’s internal ideological revolution infuses a much complicated system of values for the individuals:

As I pointed out before, ideological revolution in general means a substitution for conventionally adopted ideology and system of values. In other words, it involves a fundamental alteration in a specific value system. That is, to revolutionize values and standards. It is self-evident that because of the fundamental role of the substituted value system in the ideology in general, any change therein includes all those action and reactions as well as member-organization relations to a full extension of political and social level. [4]

This kind of relation based on the absolute devotion and blind obedience rather than reason and knowledge or political or social weight inevitably results in depersonalization. It makes individuals devoid of any value and devalues any value system out of MKO context.

Even the members’ suffering sustained in the course of struggle to ascertain the ideals are well denied in Mojahedin’s delineated value-system:

Within this scope, neither past campaign records nor organizational qualifications and political conscience count. [5]

Thus, Mojahedin radically deny the role of individuals in their organizational relations and despise it as an element of counter-value. As recently included in the State Department report to maintain MKO on its terror list, the cult-like behaviors within MKO corroborate the routinely practiced acts of depersonalization:

In addition to terrorist actions, Mojahedin express cult-like behavior. At the beginning, the newcomers are indoctrinated with MKO ideology and the revolutionary history of Iran. They have to take the oath of ‘permanent divorce’ and take part in weekly security cleansings. Moreover, the children are separated from their parents. Maryam Rajavi, MKO’s leader, has fostered a cult of personality and claims to be incarnated with Prophet Mohammad.[6]

Now the question arising here is that what is the real status of such an ideology based on blind obedience and absolute devotion of members in our world of knowledge, reasoning and intellectuality?


1. Shahsavandi, S; An interview by ‘Voice of Iran’ radio, Part 112.

2. Niyabati, Bijan; A Different Look at Mojahedin’s Ideological Revolution, Khavaran Publication, 113.

3. ibid, 40.

4. ibid, 115.

5. ibid, 114.

6. The U.S. State Department report. April 30, 2007.

Bahar Irani – July 11, 2007


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