On April 26 many from among the early MKO sat commemorating the 35th anniversary of the martyrdom of Majid Sharif Vaqefi, of the early founders of MKO murdered by the separated Marxist wing. This event has been studied from different angels in the past three decades and it seems that after years of cliché glorifications and double-faced lamentation over his murder, it is indispensible to depict a truthful image of him in which we have to distinctly distinguish between his ideology and practical struggle from that of his opponents. Only those who take a clear position against his murderers and also try to analyze the reasons leading to the growth of Taqi Shahram, who along with his comrade Bahram Aram developed and formed the Marxist branch of the organization, can claim to be the true followers of Sharif Vaqefi. To know his real murderers in the past and their advocates in the present, namely hypocritical colporteurs, we have to take a look at the past history of the organization and have a review of the statements and the ideological orientation of those who managed to assume the organization’s leadership after the execution and murder of the early founders.
Although the dispute over the acceptance of Islam or Marxism as the ideological infrastructure of the organization caused a schism in the organization with the consequent murder of Sharif-Vaqefi and emergence of the Marxist wing, it will be naïve to put all the blames just on Taqi Shahram and Bahram Aram as the opportunists that betrayed their comrades. If it was so, the martyrdom of Sharif Vaqefi had to be the last ring of an opportunistic chain in MKO. However, the course of events afterwards reveals that the ideological logic and thought pattern of the two have still their roots left in the organization.
In the intra-organizational article titled “Let’s raise the flag of ideological struggle”, which later became the hardpan of the announced ideological schism by Taqi Shahram, the two distinctively express the reasons that necessitated the elimination of three leading MKO members as well as its theoretical justifications as an evolutionary phase of anti-imperialist and anti-exploitative struggles are explained. This article turned to be the basis of the declared manifesto of the ideological shift by Taqi Shahram. There, he states:
Religious dogmatists are known to be the greatest enemies of the evolution of the organization. They are stubborn, hardened, and adamant enemies who are as virulent as germs… The bog of their absurd ideas is like fetid vapors and gases ascending from the sludge dredged up from inside of the organization… They are as individualists who attribute determinism to others and say if it had not been because of the so-and-so comrade, it would have never happened… They see masses as flocks and sheep that pastored by the shepherd… A relentless struggle against the non-revolutionary idealism hidden in these ideas is the prime duty to be accomplished in this phase of the ideological warfare. Smash the head of these wounded snakes… . 1
According to Shahram, Sharif Vaqefi was condemned to death just for defying what they believed to be a vital ideological shift to evolve into a more developed, historical stage, that is to say materialism, from the backward stage of idealism, transition from idealism to materialism. Shahram and Bahram’s rationale was that the resistance of Sharif Vaqefi and his fellows was in fact the resistance of the representatives of petit bourgeois of the organization against the true representative of working class. Therefore, the murder was theorized founded on what Dr. Shariati symbolized in the myth of Abel and Cain that represented Cain more progressive than his brother and whose action of murdering Able was a justifiable historical necessity. In fact, Sharif Vaqefi was the victim of Shahram and Bahram’s instrumentalism. Disregarding the authoritarian ambitions behind this ideological justification, this Marxist cliché view well legitimized the terror. In other words, since Cain was one step closer to the last phase of evolution, he is more liberal, progressive and legitimate than Abel. As a result, the real murderers of Sharif Vaqefi are those who cannot detach themselves from the ideology and way of Shahram and Bahram theoretically and practically and are still victimizing a great number of individuals. Likewise, Rajavi is one of those adhering to very same cliché view under a disguise of religious banner.
In practice, Rajavi has since long acquitted Shahram and Bahram of charges and made an all-out support of Taqi Shahram when he was arrested and did his best to avert his punishment. Rajavi’s position takings against the leaders of Iranian revolution of 1979 and his virulent hostility in subsequent years that culminated in an authored article by Rajavi, “Who is reactionary and what is reaction?” in the early 1980s, are all evidences of his drift towards Shahram’s leftward viewpoints:
Liberal petit bourgeois that is dependent upon American imperialism is more progressive than reactionary and traditional petit bourgeois. 2
He openly asserts that the liberal petit bourgeois fully dependent on the US is more progressive than the clergy who sees the US as the main enemy. Rajavi uses the same reasoning of Shahram in liquidation of Sharif Vaqefi and follows liberal bourgeois in fighting against the clerics. He states to be loyal to Sharif Vaqefi while he would concur with his killers in theory and practice in the early years after the Iranian revolution. This ideology and pattern of thinking can be traced in many of his statements and lectures. For instance, he believes that:
Looking from a political methodology, when we are against something, we have no right to attack and weaken it when examining it against something that is older and more reactionary. On the contrary, it has to be strengthened in the points where it is one step forward and more progressive. 3
In a nutshell, despite his verbal and dual position takings in condemning murder and murders of Sharif Vaqefi, Rajavi fails to be uninterested in the political and ideological inclinations of Shahram and Bahram. Giving the priority to instrumentalism for the purpose of adjusting the economical and social status, he deliberately distances from Sharif Vaqefi’s authentic ideology and has taken sides with his murderers although there are far more evidences to prove it.
1. Bayanieh e’lame mavaze’ ideolozhik-e Sazeman-e Mojahedin Khalq Iran (Manifesto explaining the ideological position of the People’s Mojahedin Organization of Iran), Mojahedin Press, 1975.
2. Mojahed, “Who is reactionary and what is reaction?”, 1981.
3. The ideological teachings of Masoud Rajavi in Sharif University, Tabyin-e jahan (Explaining the world), 1980, vol. 15.