A Historical Right Turn at the 7th Congress of Tudeh Party of Iran
- The Main Characteristics of the Situation in the World and Iran from the Point of View of the Tudeh Party of Iran; 2. The Worldview of The Tudeh Party of Iran; 3. A Manifesto for the Unity of Action and the Liberation of Iran from the Clutches of Dictatorship — Proposals of the Tudeh Party of Iran for th Formation of a United Front Against Dictatorship; 4. The TPI’s Proposed Program for a National and Democratic Republic After Liberation from the Clutches of Authoritarian Rule; 5. The Tudeh Party of Iran, the National-Democratic Revolution, and Our Era! The Roadmap of the Tudeh Party of Iran for Fundamental and Democratic Changes at the National Level; 6. Tudeh Party of Iran, Marxism-Leninism and Our Era.
As a Tudeh Party current that firmly adheres to the historical worldview of the Tudeh Party of Iran — Marxism-Leninism — and recognizes as an important task for all Tudeh activists the defense of the fundamental principles of the historical policy of the Tudeh Party of Iran, we shall try to review these documents and share our views with the Tudeh comrades.
Earlier, on May 2, 2021, we published our assessment of the proposed “Worldview of the Tudeh Party of Iran” as presented in the “Draft Documents of the 7th Congress.” But since the 7th Congress has approved all cases of deviation from the Party’s worldview in the Draft Documents, we find it necessary, in addition to republishing an updated version of our previous assessment, to provide our comrades with a brief description of the history of the past efforts to change the Party’s worldview.
The Beginning of the Process of Change:
The April 1990 Plenum of the Central Committee
The history of attempts to diverge from the worldview of Tudeh Party of Iran dates back to more than 32 years ago, i.e., to the April 1990 Plenum of the Central Committee of the Party.
That Plenum, which was held in West Berlin, Germany, on April 17-19, 1990, is considered a turning point in the history of Tudeh Party of Iran since the attacks of the Islamic Republic on our Party.1 The beginning of the collapse of the socialist states in Europe and the growing crisis in the world communist and workers movement, on the one hand, and the deep organizational dissatisfactions within the Party, on the other hand, had influenced the Plenum and the majority of the members of the Central Committee. It was in such an atmosphere that the April 1990 Plenum adopted three documents: “The Action Plan of Tudeh Party of Iran (in the Short Run);”2 “Report of the Political Bureau to the Plenum;”3 and “Report Presented by Comrade Khavari to the Plenum.”4
The turn to the right and revisionist orientation were clearly visible in the documents presented to the Plenum. These documents were compiled on the basis of the acceptance of the New Thinking theory. Since we are re-publishing an updated version our original assessment as a separate document, here we only discuss some of the most important points of the “Report of the Political Committee to the Plenum” and “The Report Presented by Comrade Khavari to the Plenum,” and invite those interested to read the full text of those reports.
1. The Plenum called for “reconsidering previous perceptions of society, the revolution and its driving forces, the hegemony of the proletariat, the non-capitalist development path, etc., which no longer meet the needs of time and life,” and putting an end to “some of the existing ambiguities with regard to the dictatorship of the proletariat, the hegemony of the working class, and other similar concepts.” (From “Report of the Political Bureau to the Plenum,” Nameh Mardom, No. 309, May 11, 1990, p. 6, and the “Report Presented by Comrade Khavari to the Plenum,” Nameh Mardom, No. 314, June 15, 1990, p. 5).
2. At the April 1990 Plenum, for the first time in the history of the Tudeh Party of Iran, the Marxist-Leninist ideology and worldview of the Party was implicitly questioned and it was stated that this matter was still open to the debate. (“Report Presented by Comrade Khavari to Plenum,” Nameh Mardom, No. 314, June 15, 1990, p. 6).
3- Taking a non-Leninist position on the principle of “democratic centralism”:
… we have used this principle [democratic centralism] in organizational activities, not because it is principally specific to communist parties. Democratic-centrism is also used by non-communist parties. Every party uses this principle as far as its organizational situation allows…. Is it possible to remove the principle of democratic centralism from the Constitution? Of course, the Party Congress can waive it. But this action is incorrect and devoid of logic. Perhaps it is possible to include democratic agreement with the theme of maintaining theoretical unity in the new Constitution….” (From the “Report Presented by Comrade Khavari to the Plenum, Nameh Mardom, No. 315, 22 June 1990, pp. 3-4).
The late Comrade Khavari emphasized at the Plenum that his personal view regarding the ideology of the Party was to preserve the first article of the constitution — that is, to maintain the Party’s worldview and class identity. Here, what is significant is not Comrade Khavari’s personal position. The more important issue here is that this Comrade, as the First Secretary and the leader of the Party, submitted a report to the Plenum that was against his own personal views on the ideology of the Party.
The “Draft Constitution of the Tudeh Party of Iran”
Prepared for Submission to the Third Congress of the Party
This draft, prepared at the initiative of the late Comrade Safari, and presented as “the products of the work of some members of the Executive Board and the full members and advisors of the Central Committee” was published in Nameh Mardom, No. 340,18 January 1989.5 In this Draft, the Party’s Marxist-Leninist ideology and the class essence of the Tudeh Party of Iran as a party of the working class were abandoned and the following phrases were replaced for it in the first article of the Draft Constitution:
The Tudeh Party of Iran as a political, patriotic, humanist organization and defender of freedom, democracy, peace and social justice, is a voluntary association of all popular forces, workers, peasants, artisans, employees, intellectuals and all those who accept the program and constitution of the Party and take steps towards its realization.
The Tudeh Party of Iran will make critical and creative use of Marxism-Leninism and all contemporary progressive social-theoretical thoughts as well as the history of Iran’s humanist ideas in advancing its far and near goals.
The Third Congress of the Tudeh Party of Iran
In the process of solicitation for the opinions of the Party members about the Draft Documents as presented in Nameh Mardom, No. 340, hundreds of opinions from Party units and members reached the Preparatory Committee of the Third Congress, which, with the exception of a few individual opinions, all demanded the preservation of the ideology and class essence of the Tudeh Party of Iran without any amendment to the Party Constitution.
The same situation was repeated during the Third Congress of the Party in February 1991, in which, except for a few comrades, whose number did not exceed the fingers of one hand — and who were led by Comrade Mohammad Omidvar — almost all of the delegates at the Congress insisted on maintaining the Marxist-Leninist ideology of the Party, and voted for the inclusion of this principal in the adopted Constitution of the Third Congress. (In the article published on the “10Mehr” website (July 13, 2019), titled “Regarding the Recent Interview of Comrade Assemi with the ‘Tudeiha’ Website,” there are references to the discussions surrounding the Draft Constitution of the Party as published in Nameh Mardom No. 340 — i.e., before the convening of the Third Congress in February 1990. We invite those who are interested to read this article.6)
The approach taken by the late Comrades Khavari and Safari in their presentation of the Report to the April 1990 Plenum of the Central Committee, and their proposed Draft Constitution published in Nameh Mardom, No. 340 — an approach that was contrary to these two Comrades’ personal beliefs — was in fact a result of their erroneous response to the all-round crisis in the world communist and workers movement at that time. Yet, at the same time, it should be noted that, at the Third Congress, these two comrades abided by the wishes and views of the majority of Party members, who supported the preservation of the Party’s ideology and class essence. As a result, the efforts to make changes to the Party’s worldview did not succeed at the Third Congress.
Now, the question before us is: How is it that, nearly 31 years after the Third Congress of the Tudeh Party of Iran, when all the dust about the causes of the dismantling of the socialist rule in the Soviet Union has settled, and when many facts have demonstrated the real causes of that negative development, the Seventh Congress of the Tudeh Party of Iran proceeds to change the ideology of the Party? How and through what process has such a current within the Party, whose number of representatives at the Third Congress was less than the number of one’s fingers, now become the dominant current within the Central Committee and the Seventh Congress of the Party? And how is it that the Seventh Congress of the Party, i.e., the very first Congress held after Comrade Khavari’s death, takes such a revisionist approach to the Party’s Marxist-Leninist ideology and — for the first time in the 80-year history of our Party — forces the Party to deviate from its historical ideology?
1. “The ‘April 1990 Plenum,’ A Turning Point in the Life of the TPI Since the Attack on the Party,” Part 17. https://10mehr.com/maghaleh/19052015/1073
2. “The Action Plan of Tudeh Party of Iran (in the Short Run,” April1990. https://10mehr.com/sites/default/files/Barnameh.amal-NamehMardom307.pdf
3. “Report of the Political Bureau to the Plenum,” April 1990:
Part 1: https://10mehr.com/sites/default/files/Gozaresh_H.S-NamehMardom308.pdf
Part 2: https://10mehr.com/sites/default/files/Gozaresh_H.S-NamehMardom309.pdf
Part 3: https://10mehr.com/sites/default/files/Gozaresh_H.S-NamehMardom310.pdf
Part 4: https://10mehr.com/sites/default/files/Gozaresh_H.S-NamehMardom311.pdf
Part 5: https://10mehr.com/sites/default/files/Gozaresh_H.S-NamehMardom312.pdf
Part 6: https://10mehr.com/sites/default/files/Gozaresh_H.S-NamehMardom313.pdf
4. “Report Presented by Comrade Khavari to the Plenum,” April 1990.
Part 1: https://10mehr.com/sites/default/files/Gozaresh_r.Kh-NamehMardom314.pdf
Part 2: https://10mehr.com/sites/default/files/Gozaresh_r.Kh-NamehMardom315.pdf
5. “Draft Constitution and Program,” published in Nameh Madom, No. 340, April 7, 1990.
6. “Regarding the Recent Interview of Comrade Assemi with the ‘Tudeiha’ Website,” https://10mehr.com/maghaleh/13041399/3564