The Rise of the Left and the Search for a New Identity

  • Abbas Vali
Part of the Minorities in West Asia and North Africa book series (MWANA)


This chapter investigates the rise of the Marxist-nationalists to prominence in the KDPI in exile culminating in the third party congress in 1973. The changes in the leadership and the central committee signified the weakened influence of the traditional ethnic nationalists and their patron, Mustafa Barzani, in the process of policy and decision-making in the party. The new leadership sought to assign a democratic socialist identity to the party by eschewing the two most decisive influences on its political-ideological formation, namely, Barzani’s traditional ethnic nationalism and the Tudeh Party’s Marxism-Leninism. The latter, however, proved more difficult to achieve due mainly to their long-standing political and organisational relationship going back to the late 1940s, as well as their allegiance to the Soviet Union. But neither the changes in the leadership and the organisational structure nor the assertion of the new democratic socialist identity could significantly remedy the adverse effects of a long period of life in exile, as was shown by the sheer force of challenges which gripped the KDPI after returning to home during the revolutionary rupture of 1978–1979.

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Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2020

Authors and Affiliations

  • Abbas Vali
    • 1
  1. 1.LondonUK

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