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An Ultra-Left Trend

The Cult of Mojahedin; An Ultra-Left Trend

The Americans and some capitalist disposed European countries have always been mistrustful of the leftist parties. That is mainly because the leftists believe the ideology and policies of liberalism and capitalism are doomed to failure. At least through the cold war phase, Americans invest a big bulk of energy and resource potentialities in beating or deflecting the left movements rising in other countries. A Marxism-Capitalism conflict, among other political and economical disputes, is a battle of two ideologies. During the cold war era, the two blocks fought in a variety of political, cultural, social and even arts fronts. We have nothing to do with the winner or loser but it is evident that it has given rise to complex and widespread tensions and challenges in the contemporary modern world.

The battle ceased to halt even after the collapse of the main communist camp and Americans have been insisting on dissolving the remaining undeveloped or progressing left oriented countries. Furthermore, it is unlikely they ever consent to utilize leftist movements or oppositions to make changes in a region. In fact, Americans can never be convinced that it can rely on the counter-capitalist currents that focus the sharp point of their struggle, as part of their Marxist ideology and teachings, mainly on the annihilation or diminishing the influence of imperialism. According to Marxist social thought, particularly in its analysis of feudalism, capitalism, and imperialism, the capitalist camp with America atop is the historical enemy that has to be confronted. That is raison d’être behind the US’s peaceful coexisting with the former Soviet Union representing the left camp regardless of existing controversies.  

There are instances of some European left movements that mid-way shifted from the Marxist to totalitarian and fascist slant.  For instance, following Great Depression, which affected France in 1931 and caused much anxiety and disturbance, new solutions were being looked for. As a result, Jacques Doriot, a member of the Presidium of the Executive Committee of the French Communist Party from 1922 on, and from 1923 on Secretary of the French Federation of Young Communists, came to advocate an alliance between the Communists and Social Democrats and later moved sharply to the right and formed the Parti Populaire Français.

Today, from a different angle, MKO, developing a leftist, anti-democratic ideology and pursuing a lead of totalitarianism, is seemingly moving quantitatively from the left to the right. Is it possible that the US is convinced MKO has retreated from its originally left, anti-imperialist ideology to receive American support? It is against all expectations.

At the first look it might seem hard to believe that following the collapse of the communism camp, any group might assent to the left ideology. But MKO does.

 Americans have officially announced their academic recognition of the group’s eclectic ideology which is an amalgamation of Islam and Marxism with the emphasis on the latter’s social thought as the ideological infrastructure. They have also come to recognize that MKO will do anything to overthrow the Iranian regime. The finding is that MKO’s apparent shift from the left to the right is more a shift of tactic to accomplish power struggle ambitions rather than actually forswear anti-imperialist mentality. Despite harshly denying its references to Marxism at the present, MKO is strongly bound to the belief in the obliteration of capitalism. That is how Gessler depicts MKO’s ideological birth:

The Sixties, the time of the PMOI’s birth, are defined in black and white. Perhaps the colours red and white would be more accurate since the East-West conflict deeply divided the mid-20th Century world. On one side, the Soviet bloc under Moscow’s command gathered in the Warsaw Pact. It was held together by a rigid Marxist-Leninist orthodoxy. On the other, stood the western countries inside the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation (NATO) led by the United States. They were bound together by their belief in the triumph of capitalism…. Moscow and Washington, on the other hand, set off local points of conflict which opened the way for their bids to control strategic regions. Whether it was in Asia, Latin America, or Africa, these centripetal forces led back to the Kremlin or the White House. It was basically in the Middle East that the East-West rivalry found its most serious field of action: the key to access to extraordinary oil reserves. It is in this basic paradigm that it is best to understand the birth of the People’s Mojahedin Organisation of Iran. Like many similar organisations, the PMOI was not born ex nihilo. It comes right out of our contemporary history. This was a period of chances and changes which shed light on the triple political nature of the PMOI: political, religious and social. Like his "colleagues" elsewhere, Massoud Rajavi invented nothing new. 1

The analysis well indicates that the birth of MKO was an out-of-question issue devoid of the two blocs’ challenges. In the same way, the made claims to be backing away from the left ideology is a tactic of fooling Americans. It is taking a chance by wearing pro-democratic mask in European countries more to win Americans’ attention. As explained in Gessler’s book:

The People’s Mojahedin of Iran have hardly any choice but to begin moving their activities to Europe. To do this, they can count on active support from a certain "Progressive International" which has hoped for years to weaken the West. This ultra-Left has no roots in the traditional political currents of thought, even using the idea of "democracy" as bait to lead the unsuspecting into the maze of a kind of instinctive socialism. 2

Referring to Gerard Chaliand as specialist in geopolitics and strategy and the author of the best analytical works available today on the subject of terrorism, Gessler classifies MKO as a terrorist movement that is a devoted anti-imperialist or revolutionary group without a mass base:

In his classification of terrorist movements, he [Gerard Chaliand] devotes an entire chapter to "anti-imperialist or revolutionary groups without a mass base, usually committed to class struggle and armed struggle – almost exclusively in the form of urban guerrilla warfare – in non-democratic countries. This type of movement took root first in Latin America, like the Marighella group in Brazil, Uruguay’s Tupamaros, and the Argentinean Monteneros. Within this category, we also find, with small variations, the small Turkish extreme left groups, [and] the Fedayeen and the People’s Mojahedin of Iran. The efforts of these groups, given the weakness of their social support, usually lead to failure, the hardening of the State and the rise to power of the most repressive elements". 3

Thus, the ideological infrastructure of MKO being Marxism, it cannot possibly adapt itself to the right current but showing a lay-democrat. Of course, the US can never trust the quasi-democrats as a liable alternative. And besides, MKO because of its totalitarian mannerism can hardly walk in the same line with pro-democratic movements and will turn to confront ultra-right if assuming power. As Ervand Abrahamian quotes Mojahedin’s members revealing the gist of their ideology exactly following the Iranian Islamic revolution, there remains no doubt MKO’s ideological background:

A Mojahedin handbook published on the eve of the Islamic Revolution declared: ‘We say "no" to Marxist philosophy, especially to atheism. But we say "yes" to Marxist social thought, particularly to its analysis of feudalism, capitalism, and imperialism’. The same theme was further elaborated in a Mojahedin pamphlet published immediately after the revolution. Beginning with the premise that Marxism is a ‘complex ideology’ containing a ‘scientific’ as well as a ‘philosophical’ component, the pamphlet stressed that the Mojahedin organization from its very inception had accepted much of its science -of course, in an ‘undogmatic manner’- but had rejected most of its philosophy, its denial of the soul and the afterlife, and its dismissal of all religions as the opiate of the masses. 4


1.    Gessler, Antoine; the autopsy of an ideological drift, pp. 23-24.

2.    Ibid, 22.

3.    Ibid, 29.

4.    Ervand Abrahamian; The Iranian Mojahedin, Yale University Press New Haven and London, p. 93.

Research Bureau – Mojahedin.ws – May 20, 2008

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