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.