Today’s man has undergone substantial changes compared to past centuries concerning his lifestyle, means of livelihood, manner of thinking, demands, expectations and the like. Modern economics, politics, ethics, institutions, governments, and leaders can hardly be comparable to their historical counterparts; rather they are highly distinct issues. Now, man challenges the past and its social organizations; makes an attempt to free himself from past attachments; bears no passivity; and refrains to submit to those leaders seeking to accomplish their own ambitious objectives. Rather, he is willing to find the logic behind all decisions made by leaders and submits just to the legitimate ones. Therefore, the role of hegemonic leaders seems to have been faded away and man chooses to be the master of his own destiny. Consequently, historical leaders come to be subject to criticism and many have lost their godlike and hallowed status.
Throughout history, leaders have served a twofold role. Some leaders have brought about fundamental positive changes in social and political structure of societies; on the contrary, many caused the disintegration of societies due to their corruption, oppression and violence. Leaders come to power on the demand of masses, by means of political and military coup d’état, or through holding national referendum and legitimate elections. Thus, they can be classified as legitimate, corrupt and oppressive and those who force themselves unto the power to lead a hegemonic rule.
Among them, the latter ones receive much criticism and have a variety of dissenters. The overall disagreement on their nature has its roots in the lack of a consensus over the appropriate style of leadership. Although fascists advocate the policies adopted by Hitler and Mussolini, democrats consider them to be against democracy and freedom. Likewise, Stalinists considered his dictatorship inevitable in that particular period when he reined the USSR. Quite the opposite, his opponents considered it a factor relevantly resulting in the development of an anti-communist trend in the world. Now years after the fall of the main communist camp, the communism-phobia is still dominating over the Western countries. Relatively, a leader has cons and pros even within his own party. Any made judgment on these leaders depends on some factors such as their ideological orientation, strategic objectives, and adopted tactics for the fulfillment of those objectives. In addition to ideological leaders, there are national and ethnic leaders who are judged by their extent of success in maintaining and safeguarding national interests, power of resistance against the invasion of invaders, and determination to preserve national sovereignty. Such leaders like Alexander the Great and many others are subject to different and even paradoxical judgments though many believe that personal traits and genius of leaders as well as their social support may guarantee their success.
Except for some ideological and cultic groups, hegemonic leadership is hardly submitted to in today’s world. The above comments on the status of historical leaders hold true for ideological and cultic leaders as well; however, their paradoxical nature and activities put a stop to coming upon an accurate judgment on them. Of the most paradoxically active cultic leaders in our modern world is Masoud Rajavi who leads the globally blacklisted terrorist Mojahedin-e Khalq with its own proponent and opponents. He is a self-appointed leader who secured a godlike position for himself, a status nobody has permission to question and which is claimed to be devoid of any strategic, political, and ideological fault. However, his critics believe that he has been responsible for numerous deviations and challenges MKO has met. A passing look at his past career and the role he has played in different organizational phases may give us a better and deeper understanding of his true nature.
From among his critics, and even sympathizers, are many who are unanimous that Rajavi has made critical mistakes leading the organization to the precipice of demise. The mistakes made by Rajavi can be classified as those made in the early years of his seizing the power as the leader of MKO and those made after the victory of Islamic revolution in Iran in 1979. Unlike the internal idealist factions that travailed to stabilize post-revolution chaotic state, Rajavi made his first big mistake of resorting to armed struggle just to achieve his totalitarian ambitions. In fact, he was fighting against the development of democracy in Iran under the pretext of working to overcome social challenges. Many Mojahedin ex-members, observing the course of the changes made in Iran’s newly shaped society as well as within the organization, truly predicted that MKO would be converted into a religious cult as a result of Rajavi’s wrongdoings, heretical deviations, and strategic failures. Here the aim is to have a detailed study of personal, strategic, and ideological mistakes made by Rajavi especially in recent three decades based on the existing evidences and the statements made by a great number of the organization former members.