Friday, August 14, 2009

Ethnic Federalism a Reactionary Plan for Iran's Future- Second Version Persian Version متن فارسی

Align LeftEthnic Federalism a Reactionary Plan for Iran's Future- Second Version

Persian Version متن فارسی

Again although I have repeatedly discussed these issues from a theoretical perspective (1) but I have to clearly state my political position although the political groups I am addressing here try character assassination and attack using pseudonames on the Internet without their leaders inside the remainders of Democratic Party of Iranian Kudistan ( and the remnants of Komala ( and the Congress of Nationalities for Federal Iran ( who are at the helm of these destruction programs for Iran to take responsibility for such personal attacks. On one hand in their radio and TV front programs they pretend to be Iran lovers but on the other hand open criticism of their Iran-breaking platforms is met with character assassination under pseudonames so that they would not have to take direct responsibility for their destructive political positions towards Iran. Let me emphasize that my opposition to these groups and their programs to break up Iran in ethnic hatred has nothing to do with nationalism which I oppose as well (2).

The reality is that for decades the Islamist fundamentalist and Stalinist groups have lost any following in the more advanced parts of Iran among the political and human rights activists and nobody in the Iran's civil rights movement or in Iran's new political opposition has any relationship with such groups and noone in a democratic mindset would consider her/himself a sympathizer of such backward sects which still try to find following, just like the Islamic Republic, by boasting the number of martyrs they have had in the last 30 years ago and previous to that. But in some parts of Iran like Kurdistan there are still some civil rights activists who are afraid of these groups. When these groups try to use the civil rights movement of areas like Kurdistan as a front for themselves, and for their ethnic federalist platforms, these activists are intimidated to go along. One of the most recent examples of such efforts by these ethnic sects is the formation of a group called Iran Federal with a clear *ethnic* federalist mind set in facebook which I think should be boycotted because it tries to mislead people by using the word federalism when their platform is nothing more than ethnic division of Iran and their goal is *not* a non-ethnic administrative decentralization like American federalism.

Even Komala and PDKI today are divided into several pieces although they still go by their old names and are just like the Communist Party of Gus Hall in the United States when time and again in any presidential election, again Mr. Gus Hall is a candidate from the that Communist Party USA, for American presidency, a candidacy which is nothing more than a ridiculous game in the eyes of living political forces in the U.S., whether they are conservative or are at the opposite end of the political spectrum. Of course if Iran was a democracy and if these same groups showed up as humorous political realities in the open and were not using the atmosphere of secrecy in Iranian political life, to create the impression of an important force, there would be no need even to write about them as nobody in the US politics even talks about Gus Hall and his Communist Party. But in Iran too, in the 21st Century these sects that only resemble a ridiculous caricature of a historical Stalinist parties with backward programs have long lost any attractions in the regions they claim to have following, as the civil rights movement and modern political thinking is growing in those areas too but these groups try to use the hush hush of secrecy to draw a different picture of political reality of those regions.

Also those in other parts of Iran who do not know about these realities when they visit regions like Kurdistan are like someone who has left the urban areas for the countryside and in the first sight, the facade of strong non-religious organizations when seeing the office and facilities of these groups in the neighboring countries of Iran (in Iraq) impresses them as if these groups are more advanced than the political groups in other parts of Iran and imagine as if they are visiting a modern political party whereas for these sects, these days, only ethnicism has replaced their past Stalinist flag making them the twin of Khomeini's religionist politics, where they are both remnants of Iran's Medieval times, and surely they have nothing to do with Modernism.

Many activists who fled the Islamic Republic from Tehran and see the offices of some of these groups in neighboring country Iraq think that these sects are a powerful force in those regions. These sects by creating lobby groups in the U.S. and Europe and by receiving money from several countries in recent years and by forming relationships with neighboring countries are working just like the Ferghe Democrat of Azerbaijan and of Kurdistan lead by Pishevari and Ghazai Mohammad in the 1940's, when they created similar relations with the northern Azerbaijan Soviet Republic at the time of Stalin and were both destroyed in the aftermath of Stalin's pact with Iran's government in mid 1940's. Although the current remnants of those groups carrying the same name are nothing more thank a caricature of those groups of the 40's withno grassroots following in those regions but they work hard are to fool the honest political and civil rights activists of Iran and also endeavor to misrepresent themselves to some of the advisers of foreign governments who are not familiar with the realities of Iran's Kurdistan and this way they try to fool them to get money and weapons for themselves. Their political platform of these sects are like a Stalinist nightmare which weighs heavily on the body of Iranian political movement as they try to mislead Iran's prodemocracy movement towards ethnic hatred and civil war by advocating the breakup of Iran in an ethnic destruction. They are pushing platforms that, along with dark nightmares of Soviet influence, even among older activists of Iran, have long been discarded, and are looked at as part of a history which brought us nothing more than destruction, and finally an Islamic Republic which today is not much different from Stalin's Soviet Union. Today when our people say we want a secular republic it means we want a government which not only is not Islamic-oriented, but it is not ideology-oriented, and is not ethnicity-oriented. In other word we do not wabt to discard negation of secularism by a religious state, to accept negation of secularism by an ethnic state, which is another version of a nonsecular state, because it approves of ethnic apartheid, just as Soviet Union was another version of a nonsecular state by being ideology-oriented.

But if Khomeini's Islamists brought us the souvenir of a backward religious state in the 21st Century, these ethnicists want to bring back an ethnic state for our people, at the time of demise of Stalinism and Communism, and are dreaming of Iraq's Kurdistan (a wholly different situation in remnants of Ottoman Empire which I have extensively discussed in my book about Kurdistan that is used to mislead Iranian Kurds as a pretext for the so-called Theory of Greater Kurdistan). They are waiting for Iran's situation to change a little bit towards freedom, and instead of helping the prodemocracy movement of Iran, by misusing the efforts of Iran's prodemocracy activists to disintegrate Iran. They are so shameless that they talk as representative of Kurdish people about the post-June 12th demonstrations of Tehran and other parts of Iran and send message as if Kurdistan is a separate country and as if they are the representative of that country instead of participating in the current movement along with other prodemocracy activists as the people of Kemanshah did in the memorial ceremony of Kianoush Asa, in a movement which emphasizes secularism that negates both Islamism and Ethnicism.

Iran is a country which is neither coming out of a war nor is it just a collection of regions wishing to form a modern state to decide whether they want to choose a canton-style confederation model like Switzerland or follow the model of federalism of the former colonies of the America forming the United States. The reason that I have personally even suggested provincial federalism for Iran which resembles US federal system was not based on any ethnic division and was not because of any illusion as to think of country-making (so-called nation-building) but it was solely because the existing Iran has had a modern state, although not a democratic one, for over 100 years, and our provinces that are the result of the 100-year development may be able to use provincial federalism to help the **checks and balances** to further grow democracy in Iran, not to grow ethnic hatred. Basically provincial federalism means that all three branches of government are elected offices in every province and are not appointed offices from the center (3).

Otherwise to resolve issues of the ethnic rights, whether one adopts the provincial federal model or a central state, is related to citizen rights in Iran and has nothing to do with federalism, and thus ethnic state is not a solution to those issues. If we end up sliding in the slope of tribal government, I also like many other Iranian political activists, will drop federalism altogether from my suggested platform, because I do not want federalism to be used as an excuse to break up Iran and turn Iran into another Yugoslavia, which is only the wish of colonialists and reactionaries, and is not the desire of Iran's freedom loving people, and we in the Iran's political movement feel no proximity with such colonial backward schemes and condemn any such endeavors to break up Iran's territorial integrity.

Fundamentally our argument against ethnic federalism is not because of impracticality. The point is that an ethnic state in one province or two or a region or in the whole country is reactionary. Paying attention to the ethnic demands in the areas of language and culture has nothing to do with having an ethnic state (4). The same way that paying attention to the religious demands has nothing to do with accepting a religious government, and in fact, it is the reverse, and ethnic or religious states are themselves the cause of ethnic and religious discrimination.

Any personal insults, threats, etc. is not a response to my discussions. Modern government was formed in Iran for more than a century ago after the Constitutional Revolution and we are not at the beginning of state-making to define our borders, and such issues to become our preoccupation, as some of these sect leaders want to push us that way, is against the interests of Iranian people and no foreign government should help such efforts which are condemned by Iran's pro-democracy movement and is viewed not much different from the wron support of Khomeini by some Western countries in 1979 at the expense of Iran's secular opposition groups. Even if we predict a situation like Yugoslavia in Iran, what we have learned from the experience of Iran's 1979 Revolution is that we made a mistake when we assumed the supporters of a religious government to be progressive, and this time we will not view those who are dreaming of ethnic state for Iran, as progressive, and will clearly draw our line separating ourselves from them, from now.

What is from the distant past of Iran in the Iranian plateau namely countries such as former Soviet Azerbaijan, Tajikistan, and Uzbekistan if decide to join Iran, in a bigger region, such a union will neither be an ethnic federation nor a provincial federation but it will be a new thing like European Union and has nothing to do with these discussions, or with the ridiculous games of separatists, to justify the disintegration of Iran, when the result will not be the strengthening of democracy, and if not constant civil war, in the best case will be an ethnic state like the state of Ardalans in Kurdistan in Medieval Iran which more resembles the state of Farmanfarmaeian rule in Fars province at the end of Qajar Dynasty, where they both, just like the power of clergy, belong to the old world, and reviving them in any part of Iran, is regressive, and a return to the past, and not progress, the same way Khomeini brought back the rule of clergy 30 years ago, which was a return in history, and was not modernism and progress.

A particular mistake that some Kurdish political friends in Iran makeو is that the Iraqi Kurdistan regional government has become a source of going astray for them, and now they say Shi'ite and Sunni Kurds of Iran should unite or they call for linguistic unity among the Kurds to unite Kurdistan, East Azerbaijan, Ilam and Kermanshah provinces of Iran into one region, planning for a Kurdistan regional government in Iran, similar to Iraq. If Iraqi Kurdistan has now Kurdish new television programs, Soviet Azerbaijan had all these decades ago. The issue of Kurds and Azeri of Iran is not these things, why are these sect leaders trying to mislead people of Kurdistan with these words to separate them from the large pro-democracy movement of people of Iran. If the sect leaders again cause the blood of Iranian people to spill because of these nonsense of ethnic state, there is no difference between them and Khomeini who brought destruction for our people for 30 years, with a retrogressive platform of a non-secular state.

Ethnic makeup of different parts of Iran has been formed the way it is because of the wars with the Ottomans and Russia and in Iran's previous and later history (5). Iran not only now but in the past 100 years has not been in a country-making (nation-making) situation and even during the 1979 Revolution, the movement did not have such a goal in its outlook, which some remnants of Komala and PDKI and together in Congress of Nationalities for Federal Iran ( are trying to push by the help of foreign powers, by combining some provinces they want to separate from Iran. Stop these breakup schemes for Iran. Those activists among them, who had some respect in the Iranian movement, were political activists in Aryamehr University in Tehran at the time of the Shah and were not some people trying to create ethnic state in Iran, and were considered as Iranian political activists, because they were prodemocracy activists for Iran, and not because of being after breaking up Iran for ethnicism. Not even anybody knew these friends were Kurdish in those days, let alone to be pro-ethnic separation, when working with them. Moreovere, today Iran's new political movement is not after a revolution and is for peaceful change and the armed operations of the likes of Jundullah and armed groups in Kurdistan only hurt the growth of this movement unless they want to achive their goals by starting a war with Iran which I will discuss below.

Those who are after military attack on Iran, and hope Iran to be attacked to make small countries out of Iran, will only get the wrath of Iranian people, and will be marked for betrayal, even by Kurds and Azeris of Iran, just like those who because of cooperation with Saddam Hussein, got the mark of treason by Iranian people, and have been isolated from the Iranian movement. The Congress of Nationalities for Federal Iran ( and remnants of Komala and PDKI better take their shop somewhere else and instead of getting money from foreign countries, join the civil rights movement of Iran. Times of Comintern and the foreign states making decisions for Iran has long passed and this is why Iranian movement after so many years remembers Dr. Mossadegh with such reverence. Don't do something to get the label of treason and betrayal of Iran forever. If the mistake of Pishevari and Ghazi Mohammad in the era of dominance of Stalinism in the international progressive movement, was understandable, the actions of remnants of Komala, PDKI, and Congress of Nationalities for Federal Iran ( are not only unjustifiable but will be the mark of shame on the forehead of their leaders.

Forces and individuals belonging to the prodemocracy movement of Iran that are not agents of foreign powers should separate their way from these groups and should clearly state that they are after democratization of Iran. Using the models of provincial federalism in existing country of Iran is not for breaking up Iran, but is to grow democracy in Iran, and that is all. Even if this model of provincial federalism becomes something for separatists to misuse, I personally am ready to remove federalism from my suggested political platform altogether, instead of allowing it to give rise to a civil war in Iran. The leaders of these ethnicists have heard all these several times but again they translate federalism to ethnic federalism. I do not want to have any part in such federalism and if that is what they are looking for, one should vote negative to any proposal for federalism in any founding parliament in any future state for Iran. I personally and specifically until these groups have not been dissolved, or until the majority of supporters of federalism have not distanced themselves from ethnic federalism, will not support the position of federal republic for Iran. Repeating again, the issue for Iran, is not country-making (nation-making), to allow the merging of the four provinces of Kurdistan to create a new Kurdistan, so that it can become part of the Greater Kurdistan schemes of PKK later (6). No we will resist any such schemes that are the start of Iran's breakup.

Such ethnicist views were followed by some people for Azerbaijan, and a generation was destroyed. This is a wrong road, let's not try it again. The problem is not whether it is practical or not, the problem is that it is a wrong way for any force in Iran's democratic movement, which wastes the movement's energy on ethnic hatred, rather than on the growth of democracy. PJAK party is a living example of this error in Turkey, and Iran does not even have the problems of Turkey, when the Iran's branch of PKK, the PJAK, or Komala or PDKI, or Congress of Nationalities for Federal Iran ( are prescribing such paths of going astray for our people. Theseactions have nothing to do with the freedom movement of Iran and will only destroy the new secular and democratic movement of Iran.

Hoping for a Democratic and Secular Futurist Republic in Iran,

Sam Ghandchi, Publisher/Editor
August 14, 2009



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