The following statement by the Central Committee of the Communist Party of Iran (Marxist-Leninist-Maoist) was issued on 22 July, 2017.
Losing someone like Amir is heavy. Especially in a world that dishes out unbearable misery for the majority of human beings every second.
When you think of Amir, you can hear his warm voice saying: How can you not agonize over what is being done to people all over the world? How can you not get angry at the unnecessary and senseless deprivation of the very basic needs of human life suffered by billions of people? How can you not fume over ongoing imperial wars, the horrendous spread of religious bigotry and slave/patriarchal relations among people, and worst of all, the rise to power of Christian fascists—and not ask why? What is the root cause of all this and the real solution?
Amir had a big heart for humanity and a burning desire for a better world.
In the beginning he was a young nationalist who grieved over the feudal exploitation of peasants, the national oppression of Kurds and the patriarchal relations that squeezed the life out of women. Then he discovered communist theory, which illuminated the root causes of this situation and proved that actually there is a real potential in human society to go beyond this ruthless way of life, this outmoded hierarchical social organization, and usher in a new epoch of communist society.
As an individual, Amir had a lot of loving qualities. But he represented more than himself. He was part of the 1960s generation. Revolutionaries of that generation had big dreams and deeds—aiming for the emancipation of humanity from class divisions, exploitation, oppression and old ideas corresponding to these relations and divisions.
Those in power called them a “lost generation” because a very big portion of those students and intellectuals who had been trained to become cogs and wheels in their system instead chose to use their skills in the service of the oppressed and the revolutionary overthrow of capitalism. Right in the belly of the beast, they worked for the defeat of the U.S. and its allies in the Vietnam war; they exposed the reactionary/imperialist nature of the state of Israel and defended the right of Palestinians to Palestine; they became voices of the rebellion of the United States’ African slaves; and they turned universities into hubs of scientific truth against religious and non-religious obscurantism. Right in the heart of capitalism they dared to call on people to see the necessity, possibility and desirability of building a communist society on the ashes of ruthless and destructive capitalism.
For trained intellectuals, there is always a fundamental contradiction to solve: What are you going to do with the privileged status that capitalism has given you? For whom and for what are you going to use your intellectual abilities and skills and the know-how that the oppressed and exploited are normally deprived of obtaining while they direly need it in order to break their chains? Are you going to use your abilities as trained intellectuals to carve out a niche for yourself in this system and in the final analysis justify and validate the existing order, or are you going to use this in the service of opening the way to overthrow the system and radically transform the world in the interests of humanity and the Earth? In other words: Which side are you on? This is the point of departure for a rebellious intellectual. But to stay on this road will necessarily require more and higher ruptures.
For us to remain rebels and stay on the revolutionary path was not smooth and easy, as we faced some major crushing defeats. Revolutionary China was lost, and the first wave of communist revolution that started with the short-lived Paris Commune of 1871 came to an end. Within this framework, a big revolutionary opportunity in Iran turned into a sour and bitter counter-revolution that spread its dark clouds all over the Middle East.
After these defeats, many revolutionary communists became demoralized, and the system was able to “recycle” some of them. Those in power did this by applying harsh means of terror and suppression as well as “soft” means. For example, incredible efforts and investment were made to distort and bury the real history of communism. Relativist, instrumentalist and positivist thinking became dominant in academia and in fact were institutionalized as the normal and acceptable world outlook in the academic world.
All of us, including Amir, grappled with the challenge of not giving up in the face of this massive reactionary campaign.
It was hard to respond to the challenge of why we were defeated. Revolutionary communists had to get their heads clear. To this end, they had to critically review history and draw lessons. Big summations were made to understand the achievements and errors in theory and practice by the first wave of communist revolution. This process finally led to a radical leap in understanding, a revolution in the mind, a new synthesis of communism, and the person who carried out this process was Bob Avakian, whom our party has called the greatest revolutionary of our time.
Amir closely followed and engaged in this process. Some might think Amir’s adherence to the new synthesis was just a reflection of a nostalgic attachment to his revolutionary communist past. This is very far from reality! In fact, it was a result of his passionate attachment to the goal of radically transforming the world as well as his unwavering scientific outlook in searching for and recognizing the truth. In making judgements, he consciously avoided instrumentalism. He did not calculate the personal consequences of declaring hard and unpopular truths. In his view, truth is truth and nonsense is nonsense, and one must dare to make this distinction.
As he wrote in the preface to the Kurdish language book The Real History of Communism:
We cannot achieve a communist future by relying on the previous communism, and without the new communism one can neither correctly understand the past nor build the future. Making a communist synthesis of the previous communism and developing the new communism was the colossal work accomplished by Bob Avakian in the process of carrying out vast theoretical, political and ideological struggles over the past three decades. He succeeded in doing this. If communists want to be a vanguard of the future and not a residue of the past, they should take up the new synthesis of communism and seriously look into it and see its actual place in history and in the world today.
We will miss Amir so much. The voice of this dear comrade will always echo with us:
Yes, I am for grand narratives … I wish they were even grander … we have no interests in one human being over another. … We want this kind of world and this kind of relations and this kind of “grand narrative.” And science gives us this, and on the basis of this scientific truth we must aim to leap and achieve this horizon that humanity has been able to explore.
In memory of Amir, please allow us to bring our words to an end in the following manner.
Friends from the old times: it’s never too late to become a revolutionary rebel again! One can always make daring and inspiring choices.
And dear younger friends: the world cries out the need for a communist revolution. Without revolutionary communists there will never be a communist revolution. It is time to decide and scale the heights again. Riding the new waves of communism, Amir’s victorious smile will be with us.