Komala Party of Iranian Kurdistan, An Introduction
Komala Party of Iranian Kurdistan was formed in autumn 1969 among Kurdish leftist students and intellectuals in Tehran and some Kurdish towns. Since there was no political freedom in Iran, every political organization and even small student circles had to go hiding and to organize underground.
Komala Party of Iranian Kurdistan was formed in autumn 1969 among Kurdish leftist students and intellectuals in Tehran and some Kurdish towns. Since there was no political freedom in Iran, every political organization and even small student circles had to go hiding and to organize underground. Komala was no exception. Like all other opposition organizations of that time, especially the leftist groups of the sixties and seventies, Komala faced severe repression.
During those years many of Komala members and its leadership experienced persecution, torture and imprisonment in the hands of SAVAK, Shah’s notorious secret police, but Komala could manage to survive and protect the main body of its organization and its growing network of activists. More than 9 years of hard and disciplined work prior to the outbreak of Iranian Revolution of 1978-79, bore its fruit and helped Komala build a strong and cohesive body of cadres among sections of Kurdish society. Komala managed to win over considerable sections of Kurdish students, teachers, intellectuals and young people and develop a significant influence and social base among workers and peasants throughout Kurdistan.
Komala actively participated in the Iranian Revolution and in fact was behind almost every demonstration and popular movement of that period. On March 16, 1979, a few days after the victory of the Revolution, Komala launched an open political party. By this time Komala had already become a major political force in Iranian Kurdistan. The birth of Komala and its rapid growth among large sections of Kurdish society in Iran, apart from its own hard work, discipline and dedication, can be attributed to a combination of social factors during a period of Iran’s transition from a traditional and patriarchal society to a so-called pseudo-modern one.
Abolishing feudal patterns by the Land Reforms of 1960s, development of an urban population in Iran and in Kurdistan from a predominantly rural society, forming of a huge mass of Kurdish migrant workers out of hitherto dormant village dwellers, who traveled to every part of Iran seeking jobs in various projects in a booming economy, large increase in literacy, cracks in traditional and patriarchal relations and emergence of a new generation who was not satisfied with the existing state of the affairs and with its share and its role in society, formation and ascendance of a new and modern type of Kurdish intellectuals in universities with their background in the non- privileged classes of the society, growing expectations among the majority of the people, growing political awareness of the rights of Kurds as a nation, all of this contributed to the rise and popularity of Komala and the formation of a mass modern political movement in Kurdistan. Komala soon became the champion of Kurdish cause and an uncompromising opposition against new religious dictators of Iran, as well as of the social justice and democratic change. Komala introduced a new political culture in the Kurdish movement based on openness and frankness with the people, attaching much importance to the initiatives from below, grass roots politics and organizing mass civil movements, organizing peasants and championing equal rights for women and taking them to the forefront of the political arena, and as a whole presenting a modern progressive and non- traditional look to the Kurdish movement.
While many opposition groups underestimated the dangers of Islamic fundamentalism, Komala warned against it and opposed it even before it came to power. Unlike many, Komala never supported the Islamic regime in Iran and always considered them a threat to democratic process and to progressive politics. In the first referendum about establishing the “Islamic Republic of Iran” in the spring 1979, which the Kurdish people successfully boycotted, Komala was the first political force in Kurdistan which advocated and fought for that boycott.
When in summer 1979 Khomeini ordered a big onslaught against Kurdish people and sent Pasdaran and the army to crush and punish the Kurds for their “disobedience”, a resistance movement broke out in Kurdistan with Komala as a major organizing force. In the subsequent negotiations between Kurds and the new Islamic regime, Komala was one of the main elements in the Kurdish People’s Unified Delegation.
Komala Party, as a leading and organizing force of the Kurdish liberation movement, has gone through tough times and has lost thousands of its members in the fight for freedom and justice.
After a long and heated debate among its ranks and in public during the nineties, finally the majority of the Komala Party’s cadres and members decided to a renewal programme to adapt to the new domestic and world developments. Since year 2000, Komala Party has undergone a major overhaul. This move was welcomed by the great majority of people, intellectuals, students, women, civil activists, Komala veteran activists and others.
While preserving its socialist values, Komala fights for Kurdish rights, for a democratic secular pluralist federal Iran, for social justice, for democratic labour laws, for the freedom of assembly and organization, political freedoms, democracy, human rights, women’s rights and cultural and religious tolerance.
Komala Party of Iranian Kurdistan advocates a Kurdish united front in Iranian Kurdistan, an Iranian broad democratic coalition and also a front of Iranian oppressed nationalities.
In order to help a better understanding by the International community of the Kurdish cause in Iran and getting a wider support for Kurdish cause and democratic change in Iran, Komala Party is establishing a wide range of contacts with the outside world, and especially is seeking closer ties with the Socialist International.