Analysis of the psychological condition of the Mojahedin Khalq (MKO, MEK, PMOI, NCRI), base on the theory of Erich Fromm
Different concepts and theories from a social and psychological perspective can explain the situation of the Mojahedin Khalq, but it seems that to understand the social world of this group, in the first place, it is necessary to focus on recognition of two complementary elements, namely “the leadership” and “members” of this group.
In fact, these two are inseparable elements, which feed on each other, are the key to answering the question of how in a modern era, according to Marshall Berman, everything that is hard and solid can smoke and blow into the air and a new type of slavery take shape in Europe? In this part, I will first explain the concepts related to the discussion, because to analyze any action of this group, we must first know who we are facing.
There is a common characteristic between the followers and the leader in this group, and this characteristic is the existence of an “authoritarian personality” in both of them (although there is a difference between the authoritarian personality of the leader and the authoritarian personality of the follower, which I will discuss later).
First, what is the characteristic of an authoritarian personality? And what are the common points of these two (leader and follower of Mojahedin Khalq)?
This type of personality, is an immature person whose important characteristic feature is the inability to rely on himself, dependent and inability to tolerate freedom. Humans learn two important skills during maturity, lovemaking and wisdom, which the authoritarian personality lacks. In fact, love means feeling that a person has with the world while maintaining the independence and integrity of one’s identity, or in other words, love means knowing the world as an emotional and passionate experience.
Wisdom is also understanding the world and trying to reach the essence and principle of phenomena. An authoritarian character has neither love nor wisdom, so he remains immature and extremely lonely. Note that the meaning of loneliness in this situation explains the subsequent actions of the authoritarian personality.
This situation leads him to desperately need a bond that does not require love and wisdom. He destroys his identity, he must melt into another person; because he cannot stand loneliness. These are the features that are common between Massoud Rajavi and his followers. Both incapable of making love and reasoning, they melt into the other half and feel lonely without each other to the point of madness. This situation reflects the hysterical states of the members of this group in many cases, such as the strange behavior like self-immolation of these people or suicide attempts. So that even people who are separated from this group are confused for a long time and cannot make decisions.
Now the question may arise for the reader that the type of action of the leader is not different from the followers? The answer is yes, and this is exactly where we divide the authoritarian personality into two categories: “active authoritarian personality” such as Massoud Rajavi and “passive authoritarian personality” such as members of the group.
We will first understand the situation of the members of this group, who were categorized as “passive authoritarian personalities”. These people are self-harm, under control and eager to be a small part of a “big” person, a “big” organization, or a “big” idea, Whether this is greatness be real or it only be in the minds and illusions of these people, what matters is that this person feels strong and great by feeling that he is part of this greatness, the paradox is that such a person by shrinking and humiliating himself, can actually become part of this delusional greatness. This is the point that the leadership of the organization (Massoud Rajavi) repeatedly mentions in different meetings that the members of the group must be connected to a point outside of themselves in order to release their energies and reach unity, and only this is the path to reach the peak of human perfection.
This part may sound strange to a reader unfamiliar with the ideology of the Mojahedin Khalq, but one of the techniques used in this group, called self-criticism or self-criticism sessions, has the same function. At first, the forces of this group “threatening and insulting each other”, humiliating themselves and attributed the most vile insults and misdeeds to themselves, then when all the identity of the members were destroyed, according to the group’s leadership, that member has been cleansed and purified, because he has put all his sins on the shoulders of the leader!!! And now that he is clean, or rather, he has no identity left, he can melt into leadership.
The next step is that such a person desperately wants orders and accepts orders wholeheartedly, or as this group calls this mental state, an organized member! But the fact is that such a person is so eager to accept orders because he does not have to decide and be responsible, avoiding his freedom as a human being, he devotedly seeks to give meaning to his destroyed existence. This humiliated character, who is terrified and feels helpless and lonely, seeks a leader to command him and control this feeling in him. The passive authoritarian character, who is “under control” and dominated by the leader, fears, and this fear causes him to take refuge to his self-made idol and calm down. A crowd of authoritarian figures gathered around an idol forms a “mass” that explains another scenario in this group. When they are inside a population, they acquire new characteristics that are different from the characteristics of each individual that makes up that population. In fact, their self-conscious personality disappears and they seem to find a common spirit that guides the members’ feelings, thoughts and behaviors. This is the point at which the intellectual abilities and personality of individuals fade into the general spirit of the masses, and being in the crowd gives them a sense of invincible power. This situation can explain the actions of the members of the Mojahedin Khalq Group in situations where they are especially asked to sing slogans and songs with great enthusiasm in the meetings, and of course there are leaders to watch out for people who does not participate in this mass show with passion and enthusiastic. Those who are familiar with the ideology of this group know that “gathering” is one of the situations for which the members of the organization have been harmed many times for that, and Rajavi and his gang wouldn’t tolerate any resistance in this mass to the leadership of the group. Because distancing oneself from the mass that is in the unconscious state and is only willing to do anything to kill itself in terms of indoctrination and contagion of other members, if it approaches the conscious state which is the domination of rationality, it realizes that all the members who shout the leader’s name with all their might are automatic beings who have lost their willpower. This is exactly the situation that many members of the Mojahedin Khalq Group have written in their biographies that they did not know what they were doing in that situation! It was like that they are not more themselves who were shouting, or even when they were about to commit suicide, it was as if someone else was leading them.
Now it is time to understand the status of leadership or the “active authoritarian personality” of Mojahedin Khalq. This character, who is harming others, is very frightened and lonely, even though he looks like a confident and powerful person in the eyes of his followers; because he only feels empowered when he swallows others. He is heavily dependent on his followers, although his helplessness is manifested when he has lost power or is unable to swallow others. It is good to pay attention to the very brutal reactions that Rajavi and his associates have to members who make the slightest criticism of the group or the leadership. References to documents and individuals who have previously had experience in this group show that the slightest mercy did not exist even to those very close to Rajavi, and the slightest disagreement and critics dealt with severely punishment. This situation clearly shows how incompetent and lonely the leadership of this group is; because any kind of opposition frightens him greatly. He feels empowered and overcomes his deep loneliness by humiliating and enslaving the members of the group and seeing that the members of the group endure all the suffering of slavery without any resistance or disobedience.
With the explanation of these items, it is now clear why these two are the main parts of the Mojahedin Khalq Group and do not last without each other!
To understand this phenomenon more deeply, I ask a question that may have occupied the minds of many readers: If we accept these explanations, then what is the role of many leaders who have liberated and saved their society? What is the role of many patriots and martyrs who have sacrificed their whole existence for their nation? How can a sick authoritarian figure be distinguished from a true leader? What is the difference between real martyrs and national heroes and brainwashed masses of Mojahedin Khalq members? To answer this question, I return to the beginning of the discussion, where we defined the main characteristic of an authoritarian personality as his inability to make love and reason; what do we see in examining the real leader and the true patriot and the relationship between the leader and followers? The element of wisdom and the element of love. First, in this situation, followers are allowed to think, ponder, choose, critique, and decide freely; so they have reasoned, and if the forces stay with their leader, they will achieve their goals with love.
Compare this situation with the type of relationship Massoud Rajavi has with his followers in Mojahedin Khalq; Those who for any other reason cannot or do not want to continue with this group, would be tortured, or killed, or if they can survive, they should suffer slanders, lies and conspiracies (as an example MKO attacks on critical journalists). To understand the difference between a true leader, a true patriot, and a thief of emotions, the only indicator that provides love is the one that brings freedom and independence to its people, not a sick man that Fearing for his loneliness, denies his freedom and his followers.
Finally, I call on all liberal and sociological institutions in Europe and the United States that are pursuing humanitarian goals to take a closer look at the situation of these individuals by being at the camp of Mojahedin Khalq members in Albania and consider the dimensions of this issue by further scientifically investigations.
By: Alireza Niknam