Radicalization of the Pre-Revolution Student Movement Abroad

In response to these rapidly changing circumstances, a number of young members of the Tudeh party began to come together in a new radical organization that had its first meeting in February of 1964 in the city of Munich. Thus it was that the revolutionary organization of the Iran Tudeh party came into existence, and Marxism-Leninism, and after a short while, what they called “Mao Tse-Dong Thought” became their ideological guide. Activists of this new organization accused the Tudeh party leadership, by then based in Eastern Germany, of forsaking the revolutionary struggle. In 1965, the first Congress of the new organization was held in Albania, creating the biggest schism in the history of the Tudeh party after the Maleki split. Nearly all of the party organizations in Western Europe broke off from the Central Committee and joined the new and growing organization. The revolutionary organization advocated armed struggle and in order to train partisans, they sent teams of young cadres to Cuba and China. A new page had been turned in the history of the Iranian left. Members of this new organization wrote in their theoretical organ, “the imperialist coup of 1953 and the overthrow of the Mossadegh government was a warning to all democratic forces in Iran than henceforth a peaceful path to change is no longer an option for our people. This is one of the biggest lessons of our history. Belief in the necessity of a revolutionary armed struggle is the chief characteristic of a true revolutionary today.

Much the same factors that helped radicalize the young members of the Tudeh Party worked to change the nature the more active members of the National Front. A new younger generation of activists had emerged who were also disgruntled with the old leadership, and its accommdationist approach to the Pahlavi regime. They gradually came to the conclusion that armed struggle is the only path to salvation. Divided as they were between religious and secular forces, they too sent young cadres to be trained for guerilla war-fare to Egypt and Algeria. The new generation went on to create what came to be known as the “Third National Front.” In their organ, Irane Azad, they wrote, “in this stage of the struggle, the Third National Front has consolidated its base of power by organizing poor peasants who have nothing to loose, and stand to gain everything, if they are freed from the yoke of exploitation and colonialism…Expanding the Front through inclusion of workers and peasants, and our emphasis on slogans that respond to the problems of the day, will allow the Front to adopt a more resilient tactical approach in its attempt to actualize its strategy…it will allow the organization to use force, if need be, in its struggle against despotism, as the native foundation of colonial rule, and respond to the regime in the only language it understands…The new generation believes that it must wisely, and with full cognizance of the solemnity of death, prepare a new generation of Mujaheds and guide their violence towards the revolution.

In the same article, it was further argued that “in order to become independent, the society must go through the transitional stage of a revolution,” and that in order to “create a new system, every compromise must be avoided.” In other article of the same issue, there was a discussion of conditions in Greece, and the benefits of a republic, as compared to a monarchy for that country. Furthermore, there were also translations of parts of Che Guevera’s essay on guerrilla war-fare, and all of this, from a group that not long ago, in its famous meeting in Tehran’s Jalaliye Square had clearly advocated the rule of law.