A Glance at the History of the Organization of Iranian People’s Fadaian (Majority)
Following the 1953 coup d'etat (1953) and the fall of premier Dr. Mossadeq's national and democratic government, policy of repression and murder of Iranian freedom-fighters and strangulation was imposed by Mohammad Reza Shah's regime. By targeting the two main political organizations that accommodated the majority of Iranian freedom fighters, the Tudeh Party of Iran, and the National Front of Iran, the Shah's repressive policy succeeded in putting in rout Iran's organized opposition. However, by the early 1970s whispers of opposition were heard again against Shah’s dictatorship and intellectual circles became centers of political activity. But political moves of this short period declined quickly due to the lack of a powerful leadership in the democratic opposition. After implementing a series of reform, Shah implemented brutal repressive policy against the opponents and was able to take control and rule the country with an autocratic policy until the Bahman Revolution (February 1979).
From the late 50’s and early 60’s new generation who was pro independence, freedom and sovereignty of the people, progress, social justice, and socialism in the country entered the political arena and the critique of the political failure of democratic forces within the last two decades and search for new solution became the agenda for the fresh opposition. This process coincided with the ever-increasing student oppositions in the Europe and changes in the Latin America. At this stage, Iranian youths, particularly students found a strong affinity towards the liberation movements and a revolution which was going on in different countries, particularly in Cuba and Vietnam in 1950’s and 1960’s. 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 Shah’s dictatorship was recognized as the only path to freedom among revolutionary left groups and circles.
From the Establishment to the February 1979 Revolution
The first organized steps and practical measures in revolutionary left armed movement were taken by Bijan Jazani and his comrades in early 1960’s. By attacking a Gendarmerie post in northern Iran Jangles on February 8th, 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 Fedaian Guerrillas was formed by two main groups of the armed movement (remainders of Jazani-Zarify group and Pouyan, Ahmadzade-Meftahi).
During eight years, form 1971 to 1979, the Fadaian came under intensive attacks and their victims exceeded those of any other opposition organization. Within these years over three hundreds of People’s Fedaian 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 April 19th, 1975, where Bijan Jazani and six of his comrades were murdered secretively in the regime prison. This event happened after being in prisons of Shah for eight years without any second trial. Fedaian played an effective and active role in February 1979 revolution whose leadership fell under control of Ayatollah Khomeini. At that time, majority of forces who were against a theocratic state supported Fedaian. Fedaian were recognized as a reliable and independent left force by the society.
From the Revolution to the Repression Period
Following the revolution, the Organization public offices were established in most Iranian cities. Later those centers developed into gathering places for the egalitarian secular and pro-justice Iranian youth. In the first election after the revolution, Fedaian received 10% of the votes. During this period, Fedaian as radical and left opposition of the theocratic regime attained the total leadership or participated in the leadership of worker, peasant, and national movements and protest movement against the newly established regime repression policies.
In the meantime, internal discussions on the issues of revolution and regime’s nature were under way amongst Fedaian which resulted in several break ups in the Organization. Means and Methods of struggle and policies towards the new government were the top issues. Majority of the organization members did not believe in armed struggle any more and at the new political atmosphere recognized the Islamic Republic as an anti-Imperialism state. That majority chose to pace with the people - masses who were widely the followers of their religious leaders.
These differences caused the separation of the minority of the Organization from the Majority. On May 1st, 1981 one hundred thousands of the Fedaian supporters gathered in Azadi (Freedom) Square in Tehran. On that day the leadership announced the Organization new policies. Among others, it was announced that the Organization was no longer a guerrilla movement and it was a political organization of the Iranian working class. Since then the Organization was formally called the Organisation of Iranian People's Fedaian - Majority (OIPFM). Since then the Organization chose “unity-critique” policy towards the Islamic Republic. Up to early 1980's, while the Islamic government was not yet well established, the Organization was conducting its semipublic activities. KAR, the official newspaper of the Organization, had a circulation of 100 thousand to 300 thousand. 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 fifth. A significant number of the artists and intellectuals supported our organization. Organizing a significant number of progressive secular youth into a secular political organization in an intensely religious society, assisting in unionizing workers and toilers, and growing to a national and political organization were the outstanding achievements of the OPIFM.
Years of Repression
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 “unity-critique” policy, Fedaian’s activities, and their existence. During the period of 1981-83, OIPFM was principally supportive of the Islamic government policies in various aspects, such as conflict with Iraq, antiAmerican positions, and certain aspects of economic reforms; however it was not legally permitted to pursue its activities. In those years, several death sentences were given to Fedaian and hundreds of their activists were imprisoned.
The overwhelming prosecution and oppression of OIPFM began from the spring of 1983; at the time that regime completed its intelligence structures and policing networks. Islamic Regime did not succeed to destroy a large portion of the Organization leadership. The leadership was able to locate itself abroad on time.
Before his death, Ayatollah Khomeini issued mass killing of political prisoners in 1988. Thousands of political opponents, including more than one hundred of Fedaian were murdered in captivity without trial. This horrendous crime was called “The National Tragedy”.
During the Islamic Republic ruling, several thousands of Fedaian were arrested, hundreds, including eight members of the leadership, were executed, and thousands were forced to flee the country.
Years of Crisis
Over the period of 80s, by deliberating acts and character of the regime emerged from the Iranian revolution, having a more realistic understanding of socialism in the Soviet Union, and being affected by the international changes, a deep ideological, political, and organizational crisis was invoked throughout OIPFM. The cores of the discussions were false picture of the Islamic Republic and the “existing socialism” and the non-democratic structure of the Organization.
Although this crisis had a destructive effect on the Organization life, at the same time it paved the road to deep changes in views, policies, and internal relations within the Organization. The main content of the changes was Organization’s fundamental tendency to democracy and democratization of its internal and external acts. The right of all members to publicly express their independent and personal views was recognized. This transformation, which was a major step towards restructuring the OIPFM, paved the road to the First Congress.
The Nineties Decade
In August 1990 the First Congress of the OIPFM took place outside the country. The congress mainly focused on re-examining 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 and mutual trust and solidarity among the Organization activists.
The 1990s brought about profound changes in the Organization 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 those policies which guided us to overwhelmingly support the Islamic Republic and concluded that those policies damaged the morale of independent left in the Organization and were harmful to OIPFM and the whole Iranian democratic and progressive movement. The Congress emphasized on socialism as the ultimate goal of the OIPFM. The Congress decided to summon the future Congresses every other year.
Since then, the Organization congresses have been summoned every other year, policies and views have been discussed and approved, political situation of the country has been discussed and assessed and appropriate policies between two congresses have been decided. The discussion of unity was the core of discussions during the tenth Congress, which was held in February 2007. The tenth Congress emphasized on close relationship amongst republican, democrat, and secular forces and their widespread unity towards building an alternative to the Islamic republic.
Towards a Better Future
Fundamentalism is still in power in Iran. However, the majority of the people are not satisfied with the current regime. In 1979 revolution, Iranians’ goal was toppling the dictatorship regime and ending corruption and injustice. The Islamic Republic of Iran, however, did not fulfill those demands. Instead, it made routine harsh discrimination against the non-Shiite and non-religious citizens, and oppression against the opponents and imposition of harassment and humiliation against women were legalized.
Under the governance of the Islamic Republic, the gap between poor and rich has been widened and country’s social and economic resources, particularly by causing migration of millions of educated people have been damaged. National sovereignty is at risk and regime’s adventurous foreign policies have caused isolation of the country.
We, Fadaian, as an Iranian secular organization with a history, are struggling for replacing the current theocratic regime with a parliamentary and democratic republic. We are fighting for peaceful transition from a religious dictatorship to democracy and for a governing system freely elected by the people. The people of Iran are supportive of these goals.
To achieve these goals, we, Fadaian will rely on modern, democratic, and socialist values. We defend freedom, democracy, social justice, and equality between women and men’s rights. We defend workers and toilers’ interests. We, as defenders of peace, are against war and any kind of fundamentalism and consider them as nuisance to the world. We are for that kind of world that will be built based on international cooperation of peaceful coexistence between diverse nations and cultures. We are against the United States’ hegemonic policy in the Middle East. We support peaceful solution to the Arab-Israeli conflict and recognition of Israeli and Palestinian states.
We are concerned about the future of our planet. We are allied with those who seek a secure, non-discriminative, united and just, free and democratic world and demand a safe planet.
We are critical of the current globalization process. We believe in that kind of globalization process that allows international citizens freely and actively participate in economic, vocational, and production, political, and social decision making processes. If we struggle unitedly we can have a better world.
Ratified Instrument of the Fifth Congress
Views and Goals of the Organization of Iranian People’s Fadaian - Majority (OIPFM)
1- OIPFM advocates democracy, progress, social justice, and socialism. Nationally and globally, peace is the main human beings’ demand which ensures success in achieving the above goals. We believe that advocating independency of the country and national interests and advocating equal and brotherly relations between all nations go hand in hand. Our organization advocates human rights, thus, fights against any national, class, gender, racial, and ideological discrimination. In today’s world, preserving environment is one of humanity’s main goals. This goal is one of the main pillars of our political plan.
2- We believe that class struggle is a reality. In the current struggle between labor and capital in the global capitalism system we belong to labor camp. The Iranian society consists of various classes. Class gap is in such a way that a group who owns the capitals is privileged to have unlimited welfare and in contrast, workers and toilers are deprived of ordinary human life. Our organization recognizes class society and these cruel discriminations against human dignity and fights for their abolition. Based on these believes, we build our program on defending the interests of workers, rural toilers, intellectuals, and all wage workers and blueand white-color workers of the contemporary society.
3- Whereas women, youths, and national and religious minorities, in attaining their needs confront difficulties more often or are target of dual cruelty and discrimination, we base another pillar of our socio-political program on defending the special interests of these social groups.
4- Freedom and human rights are prime goals of our organization’s political agendum. All people must be totally free in adopting, expressing, writing, and defending their views and believes – including political, philosophical, religious, scientific, etc. We advocate separation of religion and state and consider any ideological hegemony and any kind of dictatorship contrary to the people’s interests.
5- Our organization believes that sovereignty and power arise from the people’s will. Our organization believes in people-based system based on people’s vote and free election in appointing state officials, in limited duration, periodic and peaceful transformation of power, and in partisan and multi-party system.
6- We believe in integration of political, economic, and social democracies. We believe that more power distribution in the society and participation and direct and voluntary involvement of people in political, economic, and social aspects of life, control of the government by improvement of civic society and political, vocational, and democratic institutions and social movements of women, youths, environment and peace are necessary for growth of comprehensive democracy.
7- We believe that democracy and social justice go hand in hand. Securing social justice is the backbone of democracy and peaceful relations in the society and in the absence of democracy and people’s democratic rights accomplishment of social justice would not be possible.
For Development and Modernity
8- Our country’s recent one hundred-year history has been witnessing the battle between tradition and modernity and struggle to overcome underdevelopment of the society. Despite achieving some kind of successes, the chronic problem of underdevelopment and traditionalism still exists. Underdevelopment and traditionalism are the pretexts of political dictatorship and people’s misery. Whilst we appreciate those traditions which positively affect development of the society, we believe that struggle for democracy and social justice goes hand in hand with the struggle for cultural, social, and economic revival.
For Preservation of Environment
9- Environmental crisis is one of the most critical issues nationally and globally. Due to explosive growth of the population, uncontrolled growth of the cities and industries, and plundering use of natural resources by the capitalism production, living conditions in our planet are at serious stake. In our country also because of explosive growth of the population and the Islamic Republic destructive policies, the issue of the environment has become a serious concern. Because of individual and self interests, free market economy is not able to resolve the issue of environment. Destruction of environment must be stopped, the whole system of production and consumption must be redefined, and new technology in harmony with the nature must be adopted. Transfer of activities and products which are harmful to the environment to the developing countries and exploitation of the environment must be stopped.
10- In view of the fact that the Islamic Republic is advocating and intensifying the culture of male domination, women are under intense discrimination and considered as second-class citizens. The foundation of male domination is essentially laid on the discrimination against women and violation of their human rights and secures men’s superiority over them. In our opinion all discriminatory laws and rules against women must be abolished and all men dominated structures in various aspects of social life must be restructured and women must be able to achieve equality with respect to their rights, status, and esteems. Securing women’s equality is one of the democracy and civil society pillars and one of the main elements of human rights. Securing democracy without securing women’s rights does not mean a single thing. To secure their equality in social and human rights, women need to have their independent institution.
11- Iran is a country with various national minorities. We believe in equality and free and voluntary coexistence of the national minorities in one country. We believe in a wide range of political, cultural, and social authorities for different regions of the country, especially regions which are the habitats of national minorities. We believe that non-centralized governing systems such as federalism secure national minority rights. We fight against any minority, national, and race superiority and fight for securing national minority rights.
12- Our organization supports establishment and expansion of progressive movements in all aspects of social life. We believe that ever-increasing growth of feminism, environmentalism, youth, and other social movements are serving the culture of democracy and strengthening of human right principles in the world.
National Interests and International Relations
13- In the context of equal and brotherly relations with the rest of the world, our organization advocates our country’s national interests and independence. North-South current relations are unjust, plundering, and hegemonic. These relations have kept the status quo in the undeveloped countries of the South, secured the existence of dictatorship regimes, and increased poverty. Our organization believes in restructuring these relations and establishment of a genuine new order based on equal rights for all countries.
14- We advocate international solidarity in defending peace, environment, fighting against unjust present international economic system and hegemony of the developed capitalist countries and collectively struggling for securing democracy and social justice. We support pro freedom and pro justice struggles of the people of other countries.
15- We fight for securing the above-mentioned values and view socialism as our ultimate aspiration which manifests those values and human intentions. We believe that capitalism system is the root of class oppression, injustice, plundering misuse of the environment, war and mass unemployment and also the root of many social disharmonies. In the beginning of the twenty first century, capitalism is showing its debility in facing human difficulties which its own has created many of them. We believe that socialism, wherein human is the centre of attention is the only alternative which can tackle human’s issues.
16- Socialism is a human and democratic system wherein human’s free and comprehensive growth is secured and human beings have equal right and value in enjoying life’s gifts. In our view, socialism is an integrated, peaceful, and non-violent society founded on self determination system, extensive political and economic democracy with people’s maximum participation. In our view, in terms of history, socialism is not an ultimate; on the contrary, it is a struggle to reach beyond capitalism relations.
17- We believe that socialism values develop within the capitalism society and socialism will expand on those values. We believe that fight toward achieving these values is human’s present responsibility and should not be postponed to tomorrow. Further more to political struggle, achieving socialism values requires continuous and long term mental-cultural work. We struggle for expansion and institutionalization of democratic and pro-justice thoughts, equal rights between women and men, and establishment of a modest relation between human and nature.
18- Political power, by itself is not able to fundamentally metamorphose the society. For fundamental and stable metamorphosis, scientific knowledge and culture play important roles. Existence of mental-cultural movement, fighting against non-progressive and non-scientific traditionalism, and promoting modernism and scientific thoughts are the definitive necessities in building a socialist society.
Nature of the Organization
We believe in pluralism in our organization and emphasize on adopting new ideas and metamorphosis of the organization. We recognize the right for various spectrums of thoughts based on views and general goals and freedom of expression of the members inside and outside of the organization. We also believe in diversity of views and united action in the organization. We try to unify the organization forces on these general goals and views. Rather than banishing and separation, we emphasize on coexistence of diverse thoughts and political spectra in various forms and shapes, including legitimate factions.