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A Guerilla Odyssey

Modernization, Secularism, Democracy, and the Fadai Period of Natinal Liberation in Iran, 1971-1979

Peyman Vahabzadeh

Publication Year: 2010

Emerging in the early 1970s, the Organization of Iranian People’s Fadai Guerrillas (OIPFG) became one of the most important secular leftist political organizations in Iran. Despite their lasting influence and the way in which their efforts helped shape the history of Iran for decades to come, little is known about the group. A Guerrilla Odyssey presents the first comprehensive examination of the rise and fall of the Fadai urban guerrilla movement in Iran. Drawing on exhaustive analyses of the published and unpublished works of the Fadai Guerrillas, as well as of archival material and interviews with activists, the author demonstrates historically and sociologically the conditions that surrounded the debut and demise of the urban guerrilla warfare that defined Iranian political life in the 1970s. Vahabzadeh offers a critique of various aspects of the Fadai’s theories of national liberation in an attempt to reconsider the painful relationship among modernization, secularism, and democracy in contemporary Iran. In addition, the author makes a compelling case explaining why older revolutionary social movements of the 1960s and 1970s have transformed into the new democratic social movements that emerged from the 1980s onward in the form of today’s women’s, student, and youth movements in Iran. A Guerilla Odyssey is a meticulously researched and engrossing narrative that promises to be a major contribution to the field of Iranian history.

Published by: Syracuse University Press

Title Page, Copyright Page

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Illustrations

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pp. xi-

Acknowledgments

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pp. xiii-xiv

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Notes on Translation

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pp. xv-xvi

Because most of the published accounts that I used for this study have never been presented to the Anglophone world, the unenviable task of providing the reader with English translations of the Persian texts fell to me. In translating some Persian polysemic words, I chose to accede to...

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Introduction to a Belated Study

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pp. xvii-xxv

The fast pace of unfolding events that followed the 1979 Iranian Revolution, and the tremendous social and political issues it caused, resulted in a certain neglect on the part of scholars to study the various contributions of Fadaiyan to the contemporary political discourse in Iran. ...

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1. Iran in the 1960s: Repressive Dvelopment

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pp. 1-15

Following a decade of sociopolitical development in relative liberty, the CIA-engineered coup d’état of 1953 removed the popular-nationalist premier, Dr. Mohammad Mosaddeq, crushed the oil nationalization movement, and restored the absolute monarchical rule. ...

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2. Organization of the Iranian People’s Fadai Guerrillas (1971–1979)

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pp. 16-77

This chapter offers a detailed history of the OIPFG in eight sections. The reader will notice that the chronology of the OIPFG history is halted at two points by thematic sections that review aspects of the group’s history that do not readily surface in its official documents. ...

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3. Bizhan Jazani: En Route to a Democratic Theory of the Liberation Front

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pp. 78-121

While in prison, Bizhan Jazani managed to stay in contact with his group and the PFG, first through his wife, Mihan, who was in touch with Hamid Ashraf (Jazani 1999, 65–67; CSHD 2001, 199) and later via certain younger prisoners whom he had influenced or recruited for Fadaiyan (Negahdar 2008; Navidi 2008). ...

Image Plates

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4. Massoud Ahmadzadeh: Theorizing Armed Struggle

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pp. 133-155

The Fadai Guerrillas emerged as heirs to Ahmadzadeh’s theory of armed struggle, although the new wave of guerrilla movement in Iran originated with Jazani-Zarifi’s Group One, whose loyal survivors launched the landmark “Siahkal Resurrection.” In 1967 the Iranian security forces heralded...

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5. Three Failed Interlocutions: Diverging Propensities

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pp. 156-185

The Fadai Guerrillas shone on one of the darkest horizons of Iranian politics, but their shining was not because of their theoretical contributions to the problématique of national liberation. Their works reached activists who did not need much theory to persuade them to join the movement. ...

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6. Mostafa Sho’aiyan: Haunting Return of Plurivocal Origination

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pp. 186-205

The years of heightened urban guerrilla activity in Iran witnessed the emergence of a singular and maverick theoretician who not only stood up to the regime but also challenged the culture of the militant Left for both their ideology and their organizational order. The works of Mostafa Sho’aiyan...

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7. The Fadai Movement

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pp. 206-225

The term “Fadai movement” (jonbesh-e Fadai) entered the official lexicon of the OIPFG most likely after the 1979 Revolution. It denoted the social and political influence of the Fadai Guerrillas in the face of the nationwide popular support for the new Islamic state, which sanctimoniously...

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8. Technologies of Resistance

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pp. 226-243

Governmentality, according to the late Michel Foucault, designates the “art of government” (Machiavelli) in the double movement of “state centralization on the one hand and of dispersion and religious dissidence on the other” (1991c, 88), and it articulates “a kind of rationality” that will...

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9. Constitutive Paradox

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pp. 244-256

For those of us who lived through the revolutionary experience of 1979, armed movement and national liberation soon turned out to be utterly futile modes of struggle because they preclude the democratic struggles that function as a means of political education of the people. ...

Appendices [Appendix A: Fadai Casualties, 1970-1979 and Appendix B: The Splits of Fadaiyan]

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pp. 257-263

References

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pp. 265-281

Index

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pp. 283-289


E-ISBN-13: 9780815651475
E-ISBN-10: 0815651473
Print-ISBN-13: 9780815632436
Print-ISBN-10: 0815632436

Page Count: 272
Illustrations: 9 black and white illustrations
Publication Year: 2010

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Subject Headings

  • Islam and secularism -- Iran -- History -- 20th century.
  • Sāzmān-i Chirīkʹhā-yi Fadāʼī-i Khalq-i Īrān -- History.
  • Democracy -- Iran -- History -- 20th century.
  • Islamic modernism -- Iran -- History -- 20th century.
  • Iran -- Politics and government -- 1941-1979.
  • National liberation movements -- Iran -- History -- 20th century.
  • Guerrillas -- Iran -- History -- 20th century.
  • New Left -- Iran -- History -- 20th century.
  • Chirīkʹhā-yi Fadāyī-i Khalq-i Īrān -- History.
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