Why Communists are not Popular in Iran


by religionoutofgovernment

In a recent blog;


I expressed my opinion that communists are not popular in the Iranian community and atheism should move beyond communists such as Ms. Maryam Namazie. Behrooz Gillani whom I respect, asked me for a census suuporting my assertion that communists are not popular. Here is my response to him:

I believe Communists are unpopular in Iran,or I would say Iranians hate the Tudah party and some may hate all communists by extension. Please do not take this personal. I consider you a respectable intellectual. I agree with you on many issues but not on communism/socialism. 

About the popularity of communists in Iran you ask for a census. You know very well that there is no such census, just like there is no proof of God! But the burden of proof is on who?

 Let me tell you my reasons to think communists are unpopular:

 1. In a recent interview on an Iranian TV, Ms. Azar Majedi stated that her Iran Workers and Communist Party ( same party that Ms Namazie and possibly several IC bloggers belong to) has a total of 200 members. I remind you that there are possibly 3 million Iranians living abroad.

2.  Iranians do not forget the Tudeh Party. Need I say more? When you post a picture of Kashani as a traitor, let me remind you that the Tudah party had a bigger role in the downfall of Mosaddegh. They considered him an agent of the Americans in a world game of changing powers from the British to America. The threat of Tudeh party was exactly the reason for the US to switch their support from Mossaddegh to the Shah and to give in to the British and MI6.

3. Iranians have become much more scholarly in the study of history. Many scholars have examined the Soviet, British and US archives. The evidence overwhelmingly points to financial and political support of all leftist groups from the Tudeh party to even MEK by the soviets. The references are plenty including Milani's recent research and others. Iranians know this and will not forget.

4. The downfall of ALL communist countries (too many to name in my post!) has created an image of a bankrupt ideology. I know, I know, you and Ms. Majedi and the late Hekmat believe that your brand of communism is different. But this is an argument for a different post! The fact is the worldwide failure of communism has created the image of a bankrupt ideology. Many Iranians are surprised to hear that there are still people who believe in communism!

5. Anecdotal evidence. I know and talk to many Iranians. I know of only one person who is a communist. 100's of others have opposite views. They want a democracy with free private ownership. The one communist I know is a member of Majedi's party. He constitutes a small but significant percentage of their membership base (0.5%). He lives in the US and owns multiple businesses. He is a true entrepreneur! (more on hypocrisy later).

 6. I believe people are tired of all ideologies. They want free votes. They want freedom of capital and ownership. As much as you want to argue, restricting ownership of capital and democracy are not compatible.  People know that. People have learned that ANY IDEOLOGY breeds hypocricy. Why should a selected few ( whether Islamists or Communists) should have the power to implement the idea of Utopia? People do not want Utopia, they want votes and freedoms. Communists had their chance in many countries and failed. Iranian do not want their country as another testing ground for for a different version of the same failed ideology. They have had enough. 

 I do however believe that there will always be idealistic communists/socialists. All western and free societies have fringes to the extreme left and right. They should have the right to express their opinions and form their parties. However, freedoms should be respected so a small group of idealists/hypocrites never seize power again. 



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more from religionoutofgovernment

Our struggle

by religionoutofgovernment on

Houshang, please be patient with me, like I said, I will address the current economic crisis later. Thanks


I started reading your post, agreeing with you 100%:

"The current struggle in Iran is not an ideological struggle. It is a struggle by all iranians for the shared value of freedom and democracy.

The  forthcoming battle in Iran will be betweeen an anti fascist front representing all sectors of iranian society, and the criminal, fascist islanic regime."

So far so good. Then you I started scratching my head when you said:

"I believe that this battle would have the highest chance of real success, achieving it's goals of a democratic, secular republic if  led by a political party representing the working classes of Iran. Why? Because Working classes have the interests of Iran's industry, commerce, agriculture, all the natural resources, and military to defend it all, in their hearts. These are interests shared by all Iranians, but no other social class in Iran has such broad interest in all above."


1. Not an ideologic struggle but a class struggle!!

2. Democratic movement but led by "one political party" ?? 

3. "An anti-fascist front representing all sectors of Iranian society" but picking one class as the chosen one with broader interests??

May be we have different definitions of democracy. That certainly would explain a lot. Like your initial comment, I believe the struggle should include everyone. However, I believe we should stress a democratic system based on free votes, public accountability, public representation, following the constitution. I set no prerequisite for who should be involved or what group or party should lead. In fact, I oppose any emphasis on any party or group but would like to see more emphasis on the democratic system itself. It is the system and the constitution that will protect our freedoms and prevent tyranny. 

Lastly, I believe there is a distinction between who the working class really is and those bleeding hearts who are supposedly fighting for them. Are you from a working class working in a factory, or any of the active members of the many communist parties are from "the working class"? Most of you guys are foreign educated, wealthy intellectuals from North Tehran. I want to see everyone express their own opinions and protect their own right by using their free votes protected by the constitution. 





The shift

by Arj on

I don't know about communists, or specifically Hezb-e komonist-e Kargari or Tudeh (for they don't even necessarily represent all communist entities in Iran), but as it is evident in Iranian labour movement (e.g. the bus drivers union, Haft Tappeh workers protests, textile workers sit-ins...) , that leftist and specifically socialist ideals have taken a shift from intellectual-based ideals to a working class vehicle for social change. It sure has receded from the social pop culture scene over the past three decades, but that's only a part of the growing pains!


Socialism as a TRANSITION towards a more equitable society

by Hooshang Tarreh-Gol on

Hate to sound like a broken record but, with all due respect you fail to see that  critiques of Capitalism are a lot more than mere ideology. They have always had a highly scientific nature (science of political-economy in tis instance). Distinct possibilities of a global melt down is not an attribute of Karl's thought (althought him and Fredreich did say : " All that is solid melts into air"). As far as the alteranative to capitalism is concerned, all major thinkers have always emphasized the TRANSITIONAL nature of the whole process, very much opposed to all this  vague, imprescise formulations. .It's a shame that you take such a moron as you example. But, hey, stay tuned for 16 Azar and let us know what you think about it.


the current struggle in Iran is an anti fascist struggle

by Roozbeh_Gilani on

is not an ideological struggle. It is a struggle by all iranians for the shared value of freedom and democracy.

The  forthcoming battle in Iran will be betweeen an anti fascist front representing all sectors of iranian society, and the criminal, fascist islanic regime. I believe that this battle would have the highest chance of real success, achieving it's goals of a democratic, secular republic if  led by a political party representing the working classes of Iran. Why? Because Working classes have the interests of Iran's industry, commerce, agriculture, all the natural resources, and military to defend it all, in their hearts. These are interests shared by all Iranians, but no other social class in Iran has such broad interest in all above.

I want to be clear also, that the experience of what happened in Soviet Union, China , E. Europe, has taught me  that socialism without democracy can simply not survive. Nor would Democracy without Socialisn. (Just see how the hard won personal liberties in certain western societies are being eroded away, slowly but surely)


"Personal business must yield to collective interest."


Communist Parties

by religionoutofgovernment on

Houshang and Roozbeh, Thank you both for your responses. I would like to address some issues, answer some questions and raise some more questions. I may have to do this over several posts, so please stay tuned.

 Firstly, let me address why I mentioned The Worker's Communist Party. We started the discussion in a blog about Maryam Namazie. She is a member of the central committee of the WCP. That is why I brought them as an example. 

I just did a google search for the 2 words Iran and Communist and in the first page I had 4 links to WCP 2 for the Tudeh party and one for  Communist Party of Iran. I am not surprised that there are many parties each believing they are the "true" believers and that the rest are "wrong" and not "true communists" and possibly do not understand Carl Marx as well as they should. This is true for any ideology as the blueprint for society becomes subject to interpretation. Just look at the many different sects in any religion. Very very similar!

I agree that there is a spectrum of forces on the left. This is true for any society and any country. My blog was not directed to people working for better worker's conditions and rights within a free society. I am talking about ideologues dreaming about a society with no private property ownership and complete equality. Just read the following:

 Ali Javadi: If the WPI takes power and a Socialist Republic is established in Iran, how will society and life in the Socialist Republic be?

Hamid Taqvaee: The Socialist Republic of Iran will be a human, free and open system. It will be a system in which there will be no sign of class conflict; societal divisions that are based on the one hand, a tiny section with a mountain of wealth and on the other, a vast majority who live in poverty, will be eradicated. The objective of production will be to meet people's needs. As soon as it is established and as a first step, the Socialist Republic will provide the basic needs of all, such as health care, education, housing, electricity, water, transportation and other public services for free. Also, the youth, women and vast sections of society who have especially over the last quarter of a century been denied their most basic rights under the Islamic Republic, will enjoy a life free from inequality and discrimination. The Socialist Republic will open its borders and freely and unconditionally allow everyone to come to Iran, both those who want to live in Iran or those who just want to visit, so they can see for themselves what a socialist society is like. Socialism in Iran will present a modern, progressive and human system and will be an example for the world and international public opinion. It will show that when capital's fetters are removed from society, human beings can organise a free and equal society by relying on their own conscious power and will.

Beautiful! May be we should all listen to this guy. What a wonderful society; equality for all, no class conflict, no discrimination, absolute heaven!! But in reality, he is completely insulting my intelligence. He sounds iike Khomeini in Paris! And that is exactly my point of this blog and critism of communism as an ideology wanting to be a blueprint for a society. We have seen this sort of thing before and our people will not be fooled again. Do you see my point??


I will address the current economic turmoil in a different post.




به سوی برگزاری هرچه باشکوه تر روز دانشجو در سراسر ایران

Hooshang Tarreh-Gol

آذر روز دانشجو در راه است. هر ساله در چنین روزهائی دانشجویان مبارز در
سطح دانشگاههای ایران خود را برای برگزاری این روز آماده می کنند. جنبش
دانشجوئی ایران همواره یکی از ستون های پایدار مبارزه بر علیه هر دو رژیم
شاه و جمهوری اسلامی بوده است. نقطه آغاز جنبش دانشجویی در ایران تقریبا
همزمان با تاسیس دانشگاه تهران در سال 1313 است. این جنبش از بدو تولد تحت
تاثیر شرایط سیاسی ایران و اوضاع جهانی حرکتی در محتوی چپ و پیشرو بود و با
همه فراز و فرودش همواره زنده، پویا، جسور و تاثیرگذار بوده است



Let me respond point by point:

by Roozbeh_Gilani on

1) This political party (whom I actually know little about), is a fringe organisation and by no means represents the left/socialist/marxist/communist movement in Iran. In contrast,  Kurdistan alone, Komeleh/CPI enjoy huge popular support. In general if you ask an Iranian inside Iran if he is a "communist", he would not tell you that he is one even if he was, for obvious reasons. But here you are making a fundamental mistake. The strength of revolutionary socialist parties is not in the numerical strength of their card carrying members, but in the fact that they represent the interests of the most revolutionary classes of the society, namely the industrial working class. In a revolutionary situation, a well organised revolutionary socialist party would take advantatage ......

2) Tudeh party never was a revolutionary socialist/communist party. It started as a centre left party, aligning itself to Soviet Union, and by some accounts becoming an agent of soviet policy in Iran. Lots of Iranian Marxists I have come across in fact despise Tudeh and consider it to be a traitor to Socialist movement, citing it's collaboration with Khomeini/Islamist regime.

3) I covered Tudeh already. As for MEK, combining aethist Marxist ideology with Islam is at best stupid idea. I blame shariati for this mess,.

4) Eastern Europe became "socialist" due to it's capture by red army. Russian Revolution was more or less in retreat after Lenin's death. You are right, we need many blogs to debate the reasons for that...

5) For anecdotal evidence see the meeting at Tehran University that Hooshang provided the link for. For anecdotal evidance see the rising strikes and idustrial actions by the Iranian industrial workers and their increasingly militant demands...

6) I agree with you. Do you realise that Marx never considered his work and ideas as an ideology?

And yes my friend, there will always be idealists, and where would we, the human race  be without ideas and idealist??

A final note, you dont need to have heard of Marx. lenin, etc to be a Marxist/socialist. You can sense it and learn it by life's experience, and then you pick up a book and say: My god, am I glad that this bearded guy on cover of this book thinks just like me?!!

"Personal business must yield to collective interest."


Please see

by ahosseini on

About Obama's speech on Egypt

So says Mr Obama
On the Egypt drama
He emphasised and he told
We see history unfold
It is time to transform
And time to give some reform

Continue >>>>>>>>


With all due respect, your assesment is incorrect on many

by Hooshang Tarreh-Gol on

different levels.


1) Taking Majedi and her party (actually it was her husband's party) as an example of communist thought in Iran is the biggest mistake to begin with. The sect that she and Namazi belong to are one of the most discredited sects that we have in Iranian political life. Further more that party is really only an exile creation, with hardly any base or  support inside the country.

2) For a serious balanced, critical assesment of popularity of communism, and in   general Leftist thought one ought to observe and study how each year, three days are celeberated in Iran. March 8th, 17 Esfand (International Working Women's Day), May First, 11 Ordibehesht (Interantional Workers' Day), and 16 Azar (students' Day in Iran for the past 60 years). If you had paid attention to any of these event in the past five years, you would have actually noticed an increase in participation and the extent of these events throughout the country. The Left in Iran for the past five years ( and this has its own reasons, which I don't have time to get into in here) has been augmented and reinforced. From shop-floors to campuses to...

3) Communism is only one strand of Leftist thought, there are many other variations which similiarlly point out to cooperation and non-profit motives (use-value) as basics of their ideas: including but not limited to : social-democrats, socialists, anarchist, communitarianists,...

4) With the global economy of the verge of a meltdown, Karl's critique of Capitalism, and its chronic crisis, deserves a very serious consideration. Cheers

P.S. Below is a report from a lecture held in Tehran University last week. 

جلسه بررسی اقتصادی - اجتماعی جنبش وال استریت در دانشگاه تهران

بدیل ما سوسیالیسم است



P.S.S. 16 Azar is only a few days away. Tis shall be a proper venue to gauge the strength of the aforementioned school of thought(s). 



by religionoutofgovernment on

Sorry for calling you Behrooz!!!!