Organization of Iranian People's Fedaian (Majority)

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Organization of Iranian People's Fadaian (Majority)
Leader Behrouz Khaliq
Founded 10 February 1971
Split from Tudeh Party
Headquarters Germany Cologne, Germany
Ideology Social democracy
Democratic socialism
Environmentalism
Secularism
Political position Centre-left
Religion Secular
Website
The Official Website of the Organization
Politics of Iran
Political parties
Elections
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The Organization of Iranian People's Fadaian (Majority) or Fedayan-e Khalq (often mistakenly called Fedayeen-e Khalq) (Persian: سازمان فدائیان خلق ایران اکثریتSāzmān-e fedaiyān-e khalq-e Irān (aksariat), 'Organization of self-sacrificers of the people of Iran (majority)') is a political party that advocates the overthrow of the Islamic regime in Iran. Its history can be traced back to 1904 with the formation of the social democratic Hemmat group. Its secretary-general is Behrouz Khaliq and Hassan Zehtab is its foreign relations coordinator. The group is banned from activity inside the Islamic Republic of Iran.

History[edit]

The 19th century[edit]

With the growth of industry, and along with it the development of the capitalist mode of production in the late 19th and early 20th century, socialist ideology found its way to Iran. The social and political scene of that era can be summarised as the period of historical transformation of the Iranian society from feudalism to capitalism.

Underground political organisations were formed in major cities of Iran, to mobilise and lead the masses particularly in Tabriz, Tehran and Esfahan. Among them was a political grouping formed in 1898 by Ali Monsieur, an outstanding intellectual from Tabriz. Social democracy was first brought to the country by those Iranian workers who travelled to the Caucasus (Qafqaz), and Russia's Asian countries, for seasonal work, especially in the Baku oil industry (more than half the workers in the Baku oil fields were Iranian). It was from these workers that Iranian revolutionaries like Heidar Amou Oghly (one of the leaders of the Constitutional Revolution) were raised.

Formation of the Hemmat group in 1904[edit]

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In 1904, in order to organise revolutionary social democratic activities among the people of Azarbaijan and other Iranians, a political group called "Hemmat" (Aspiration) was founded in Baku. The "Hemmat" group for the first time translated the term "Social Democracy" into Persian, in order to make it more understandable for Iranian people who had no knowledge of European languages.

Creation of the Edalat Party in 1917[edit]

Having returned from Russia, in 1904, Heidar Amou Oghly, together with some of his comrades, organised the first cells of the revolutionary Social Democrats of Iran in Mashhad. A year later, on the eve of the Constitutional Revolution, the first official document of the social democratic movement in Iran was adopted at a meeting in Mashhad. Following the victory of the Russian Revolution in February 1917 and the overthrow of the Tsarist regime, Iranian revolutionaries who had immigrated to Russia found the opportunity to organise openly, increase their activities and establish their offices. In May 1917, the Iranian Social Democrat Party Edalat (Justice), was founded officially.

Transformation of the Edalat Party into the Communist Party of Iran[edit]

In Gilan (northern Iran), social democrats, together with revolutionary intellectuals and peasants staged a united uprising. Against this background, in June 1920, the first congress of the Edalat Party was convened in Bandar-e Anzali (a northern Iranian port) and officially founded the Communist Party of Iran. Heidar Amou Oghly was elected as the leader of the Communist Party of Iran.

Activities of the Communist Party of Iran[edit]

The Communist Party of Iran helped to found the Union of the Oil Workers in 1925, when Reza Shah took power and two years later, under increasing pressure from the police, was forced to take the trade union underground. Women's and youth organisations were established as a result of the activities of Iranian communists. In 1923 "Peyk-e Saadat-e Nesvan" (messenger of Women's prosperity) was formed and in 1926 the women's group "Bidariye Ma" (Our Awakening) was established. With the intention of ending the growth of these movements in the country, Reza Shah stepped up the suppression and in 1929 passed a bill through the Iranian parliament, banning all communist activity in Iran.

Death of the Communist Party and formation of the Tudeh Party[edit]

Taking advantage of the vacuum created after the events of the First World War, the Tudeh Party of Iran was formed in September 1941 to continue the work of the banned Communist Party of Iran under conditions of open activity. Following the collapse of Reza Shah's regime, with the new conditions prevailing, a large group of political prisoners were released. On 29 September 1941, the founding conference of the TPI was held in Tehran under the chairmanship of Soleiman Mohsen Eskandari.

In 1944, having assessed its strength, the Party decided to enter the elections to the 14th parliament. Eight of the Party's candidates were elected to the Parliament and formed the Tudeh faction.

At this time the Party's total official membership was 25,000. It was therefore the Party's priority to convene a congress in order to reorganise its structure. The Party's first congress was opened on 1 August 1945 in the Party's Central Club with the participation of 164 delegates.

But, in February 1949, the Tudeh was blamed for an abortive attempt on the Shah's life, and its leaders fled abroad or were arrested. The party was again banned.

The fifties and sixties[edit]

From the late 50s and early 60s, a new generation who were pro independence, freedom and sovereignty of the people, and advocated progress, social justice, and socialism in the country entered the political arena and the critique of the political failure of the Tudeh Party within the last two decades and search for new solutions became the agenda for fresh opposition. This process coincided with ever-increasing student opposition in the Europe and changes in Latin America. Members of the Tudeh Party who were against the party's close relationship with the Soviet Union slowly distanced themselves from their Party. Since that movement was lacking leadership and there was not a reliable party or organization in the political arena, the struggles of intellectual circles focused on filling that political vacuum. Due to this fact, the idea of armed struggle against the Shah’s dictatorship was recognized as the only path to freedom among revolutionary left groups and circles.

From establishment to the February 1979 Revolution[edit]

The first organized steps and practical measures in the revolutionary left armed movement were taken by Bijan Jazani and his comrades in early 1960s. By attacking a Gendarmerie post in northern Iran Jangles on 8 February 1971, the aggregated struggles of revolutionary left groups with tendency towards armed struggle led to action and shortly after, the Organization of the Iranian People s Fadaian Guerrillas was formed by two main groups of the armed movement (remainders of Jazani-Zarify group and Pouyan, Ahmadzade-Meftahi). During an eight-year period, from 1971 to 1979, the Fadaian came under intensive attacks and their victims exceeded those of any other opposition organization. Within these years over three hundred People’s Fadaian were murdered by the Shah’s regime. During this period, in the course of four deadly strikes, the majority of the Organization leaders were arrested or murdered. Nevertheless, the Organization survived. One of the deadliest strikes happened on 19 April 1975, where Bijan Jazani and six of his comrades were murdered secretively in a regime prison. This event happened after being in the prisons of the Shah for eight years without any second trial. The Fadaian played an effective and active role in the February 1979 revolution whose leadership fell under control of Ayatollah Khomeini.

From the Revolution to the Repression Period[edit]

Following the revolution, the Organization's public offices were established in most Iranian cities. Later those centers developed into gathering places for the secular and socialist Iranian youth. In the first election after the revolution, Fedaian received 10% of the votes and became the only alternative to the Islamists around Khomeini. During this period, the Fadaian as a left opposition of the theocratic regime participated in the leadership of worker, peasant, and national movements and the protest movement in the newly established regime. In the meantime, internal discussions on the issues of revolution and the regime’s nature were under way amongst Fedaian which resulted in several splinterings in the Organization. The means and methods of struggle and policies towards the new government were the most contentious issues. The majority of the organization's members did not believe in armed struggle anymore and in the new political atmosphere recognized the Islamic Republic as an anti-imperialist state. That majority chose to make peace with Khomeyni as the Iranian people were at that time devout followers of their religious leaders, a decision the Organization regretted some years later. These differences caused the separation of the Minority of the Organization from the Majority.

On 1 May 1981, hundreds of thousands of the Fedaian supporters gathered in Azadi (Freedom) Square in Tehran. At that day, the leadership announced the Organization's new policies. Among others, it was announced that the Organization was no longer a guerrilla movement but was a political organization of the Iranian working class. Since then, the Organization was formally called the Organisation of Iranian People's Fadaian - Majority (OIPFM) and chose the “unity-critique” policy towards the Islamic Republic.

Up to early 1980s, while the Islamic regime of Khomeyni was not yet well established, the Organization was conducting semi-public activities. KAR, the official newspaper of the Organization, had a circulation of 100,000 to 300,000. In the course of four years of hard work to build the skeleton of the Organization, the number of members reached twenty thousands, of which women were one third, workers one fifth, and students three fifths. The average age within the OIPFM was less than 24 years among the general membership and 32 years at the leadership level. The most significant achievement of the Fadaian was organising and mobilising a large group of youth and establishing a major secular political party in an intensely religious society.

Years of Repression[edit]

Despite OIPFM’s policies of trying not to position itself in direct conflict with the government, it was clear that the ruling fundamentalists could not tolerate the Organization's “unity-critique” policy, the Fedaian’s activities, and their existence. During the period of 1981-83, OIPFM was principally supportive of the Islamic government's policies in various aspects, including the conflict with Iraq, anti-American positions, and certain aspects of their economic reforms; however it was not legally permitted to pursue its activities. In those years, several death sentences were given to Fadaian and hundreds of their activists were imprisoned. The overwhelming prosecution and oppression of OIPFM began from the spring of 1983; at the time the regime completed its intelligence structures and policing networks. But the Islamic Regime did not succeed in destroying a large portion of the Organization's leadership and the leadership was able to exile itself abroad in time. But several thousands of Fedaian were arrested, hundreds, including eight members of the leadership, were executed, and thousands were forced to flee the country.

In May 1985, together with the Tudeh Party, the Organisation of the Iranian Peoples' Fadaian (Majority) published a joint statement calling for the overthrow of the Islamic Republic.

Before his death, Ayatollah Khomeini ordered mass killings of political prisoners in 1988. In the summer of 1988, a committee of Islamic Republic representatives visited the Iranian prisons and tried and sentenced to death thousands of political prisoners. The real number of executed prisoners is still unknown, but Reza Malek who worked as a former deputy at the Research Division of the Islamic Republic Ministry of Intelligence and Security (MOIS) made a confession in 2008 that during the 1988 political prisoner executions by the mullahs’ regime, 33,700 people were executed and buried in mass graves. [1]. Among those executed were hundreds of Fadaian, most of them were murdered in captivity without trial.

Some others committed suicide like Soheila Darvishkohan as she was sentenced to be flogged each time she refused to attend daily Islamic prayers. [1]

This crime was called “The National Tragedy” by the Organization and all opposition parties (including Islamists, Communists, Liberals and Nationalists). To see some of the names of the assassinated Fadaian go to [2].

During 1988-1990 OIPF(M) passed through a period of introspection and critical review of previous positions and evolved from Communism to Democratic Socialism. In the summer of 1988, the right of all members to publicly express or publish their independent and personal views, as a major step towards the restructuring of the OIPFM, was granted and the way for getting out of the crisis and preparation of the First Congress was paved.

The Nineties[edit]

In August 1990, the First Congress of the OIPFM took place outside the country. The congress mainly focused on re-examining the Organization’s past policies, political situation, and internal relations. Being critical of current leadership’s past positions, the Congress transferred the leadership to a new group and decided to summon the Second Congress within a one-year period. The outcomes of the Congress secured the unity of the OIPFM with recognition of the differences in views among the Organization activists. The 1990s brought about profound changes in the Organization's views and policies. In this decade, the Organization declared democracy as its urgent and fundamental goal and emphasized on relation between democracy and social justice. Diversity in views and political differences were officially recognized and supported. The first congress rejected the policies which guided the OIPFM to overwhelmingly support the Islamic Republic and concluded that those policies damaged the morale of the independent left in the Organization and were harmful to OIPFM and the whole Iranian democratic and progressive movement. The Congress emphasized socialism as its ultimate goal. It decided to hold future Congresses every other year.

Since then, the Organization's congresses have been summoned every other year.

The Twenty first century[edit]

The discussion of unity was at the core of discussions during the tenth Congress, which was held in February 2007. The tenth Congress emphasized the close relationship amongst republican, democratic, and secular forces and their widespread unity towards building an alternative to the Islamic republic.

On 23 October 2007, the OIPFM held an official meeting with European representatives in the European Parliament and then, both in October 2009 and in July 2010, it held a joint meeting with four other Iranian parties with a European delegation in Brussels [3].[2] [3]

In 2010, it was decided to unite with two other Iranian Left Parties called the Union of People's Fedaian of Iran and the Provisional Council of Iranian Left Socialists so as to form one of the biggest Left Party of the Middle East and follow the same path as the Left German Party Die Linke with whom the OIPFM is very close. [4], [5]

The OIPFM has cordial ties with many foreign parties such as the Communist Party of Spain and the United Left of Spain [6] [7], the Communist Party of Iraqi Kurdistan [8], the French Communist Party [9], the Left Party of Sweden [10], the Party of the Communists of Italy [11], the United Party of Afghanistan [12] and the Communist Party of South Africa [13].

The urgent task of the OIPFM is to overthrow the Islamic regime and replace it with a secular Republic.

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Associated parties[edit]

Die Linke is the closest foreign party with the OIPFM.

But the OIPFM works closely with many Iranian Parties such as the Union of People's Fedaian of Iran, Tudeh Party of Iran, Kurdistan Democratic Party of Iran, Provisional Council of Iranian Left Socialists, The Democratic and Secular Republicans of Iran, The United Republicans of Iran and The Komala Party of Iranian Kurdistan.

See also[edit]

References[edit]

External links[edit]