Choice of Texts

Michel Aflak

Freedom and The Role of the Masses


We want independence and liberty because they are right and just and because they are the means to the release of our great gifts and creative capacities, so that we can realise on this earth, which is our land, our aim and the aim of every man--complete humanity.
(The age of heroism, 1 -1935)

The government can imprison, and exile and persecute an individual and individuals, but what can it do with a new generation in its entirety, a generation which sanctifies right and longs for heroism, which vows that Arabism shall have a face other than the one which the politicians gave it; a generation that understands national ethics in a way different from that of professional, politicians?
(We warn the ruling clique from continuing its policy - announcement distributed among the masses -March 14, 1945)

In face of these facts it is necessary to confirm a principle imposed by the actuality of the present Arab politics corroborated every day by the events which make it increasingly obvious with time, it is that patriotism, the loyalty to the principles of independence and faithfulness to them, whether in Syria or elsewhere in the Arab regions, but in Syria more than in other Arab regions, this patriotism has allied itself with the ranks of the opposition, for the regime has become suspect.
(Opposition and the Arab cause, 7 -Al-Baath -July 21, 1946)

Freedom is not articles in the constitution and texts of the laws. It is not merely a subject for oratory and writing, but action before everything else. 11 will not enter into our lives unless we give our lives for it.
We will not impose its esteem on the rulers and make the people aware of its value and sacredness unless our faith in it becomes a fighting faith « Jihad » and our defense of it becomes martyrdom.
(Why we yearn for liberty, 1 -AI-Baath -August 9, 1946)

In longing for liberty and in defending it we are not attached to something theoretical which has no connection with reality. Liberty allows the people to know where their daily bread goes and how their wealth and the fruits of their labor and production are wasted and why the rulers manipulate official post, corrupt consciences and play havoc with efficiency. How they debase honesty in order to secure their winning the elections.
Why they keep the country in their grip, prevent any progress, impose on it the continuation of moral degeneration and material bankruptcy. Liberty makes it possible for the people to know the height they have reached to attain their independence and how to solidity it, as well as the shortcomings of that independence with the external dangers threatening it. The people will then know the reasons for this tangible negligence of such
a vital issue, as the Palestinian cause, the secret of foreign hegemony over our Arab policies, why we are confined and bound to this influence. They will be aware of the penetration of foreign companies in our country, their swallowing up of our money and wealth, their oppression of our workers, their conspiracies against us in a way that makes our independence a sheer skeleton, bloodless and lifeless.
(Why we yearn for liberty, 4 -Al-Baath -August 9, 1946)

This independence, which Syria enjoys, all the Arabs have participated in realizing it for her. Today they look up to her and set their hopes on her. As £or US, children of Syria, we struggled for this independence and rejoiced in obtaining it because we see in it a means and path leading to the liberation and unification of the Arab regions. But the Syrian government has shown only the negative side 0£ this independence. The foreigners have been evacuated but their evacuation will be of no avail if it does not involve lifting the barriers, which they put before the people and its objectives. The people in Syria do not believe in independence unless it becomes possible £or them to realise their aspirations in coming to the rescue their Arab brethren, everywhere Arabism suffers from injustice. When will our independence acquire this £forceful and positive significance?
(The Arabs and unity, 4 Al-Baath August 12. 1946)

The Arabs have a great freedom. It is the source and guarantee of all the partial freedoms: it is the nationalist freedom, which secures for the salvation from enslavement and allows them to rescue the wealth of their land from the plunder of the foreigners and their minds and talents from suffocation and distortion. It is the kind of freedom, which allows them to take their destiny into their hands once more.
(There is one popular action for the Arab nation, 4 -.Al-Baath -March 11, 1947)

If the question of our nation is of concern to us in a real and sincere way we should look daringly and penetratingly at the actuality of our condition. If we do not act decisively, valiantly and persistently; if we do not put an end to the old mentality which wanted to consider the people a herd of human beings who can be run, misguided and drugged, if we do not put a sudden and violent end to this mentality I we shall be exposed to danger: the danger of foreign aggression because a people which is lacking in life and deprived of liberty, cannot defend its land. The other danger, which could be more serious than the first is, that of remaining sterile dry and incapable of any construction or creativeness.
(The new generation and the future Arab society Baath. February 27, 1948)

Your struggle against despotism has brought you to an invaluable result as it has forced the men in power to remove from their faces the last mask covering their reality. They have ruled the people forcefully with the methods of the hateful imperialism. Today a new battle is awaiting you, a battle for your sacred freedom. In waging this battle you will make a certain gain. Freedom is action and struggle, both of which increase your awareness of value of freedom and loyalty to it as well as experience in defending it until such time as freedom is completely realized for you, when have paid its price in full.
(The people have to choose between liberty and enslavement -March 15, 1948)

If I defend myself and plead, despite the prejudice which has appeared to all of us during the period of my arrest along with the pressure and suggestions on the part of the executive authority with regards to the judiciary, it is because I insist to take an optimistic stance toward the judiciary, for I believe that it is, in the present situation, a victim like me and like the people as a whole. We are all on the side of accused against the ruling clique. Therefore we do not feel rancor against the judiciary but I do not accept watching it capitulate to the status quo. The judicial system is a strong and guiding authority. Its persons are like educators of the people in their judgments and in their concern for justice. They have in this respect the making of the teacher. I do not know why I demand sacrifice from myself and do not ask it also from my brethren and comrades whose work has put them in judicial situations.
Why not require from them that they prove that there is in the nation an invincible spirit, which does not capitulate to things as they are?
(Defense before the court of appeal, 4 -October 30, 1948)

What liberty could be wider and greater than binding oneself to the renaissance of one's nation and its revolution?
(The expertise of the elderly and the rashness 0£ the young, 1 –1955)

The doctrine and the doctrinaires cannot overcome the corruption of the present situation, the false social and political powers-forces which are tangible in our midst-unless the doctrine is incorporated in a tangible act. The doctrine will not acquire its only justification - that is liberty-unless it becomes able to equal the actual corrupt powers, more than that, to surpass and conquer them. It cannot conquer the corrupt powers by words, by repeating slogans, by denunciations and protest etc. We can confront the corrupt powers and overcome them by positive action, by real action on the earth, and not by re-iterating hazy expressions and ideas and repeating slogans.
(The duty of members .The seriousness of party responsibility, 6 -April, 1955)

The only way to liberate and unify of the Arab homeland is to enable the popular masses to reach the rule of the country and take over its affairs, for these masses alone have the will, the interest and the potential to achieve the independence of the Arabs, the unification of their land and the revival of their society.
(The battle between superficial and genuine existence, 2)

The age of the masses in the world has come. The real masses are the peoples of Asia and Africa, which underwent the defeat human experience involving external enslavement as well as internal, domestic and foreign injustice. In the West, when the exploited classes revolted against their exploiters, the revolution remained within the confines of narrow material interests; the Western masses did not oppose the imperialist exploitation of the oriental peoples. Contrary to what took place in the West the revolution of the oriental peoples is predominantly characterised by an emancipating and humanitarian feature because it rises against imperialism, which involves all kinds and forces of injustice. While injustice in the West does not affect more than certain classes, the orient is nothing but whole peoples suffering injustice. The Arab nation is one of these oppressed peoples. In its experience there are the seeds of a new message addressed to nations and to humanity and not only to social classes.
(The Battle between superficial and genuine existence, 5 - January 21, 1956)

It has been observed that the conception of some members of liberty is still superficial to the extent that it is confused with that kind of sham liberty behind which the reactionaries hide together with the exploiters of the people and the collaborators with imperialism. This danger we should discover and avoid, for liberty is a principle, which should have a practical formula, in each circumstance and at each stage. For this reason we must remove from our thinking this empty and nebulous conception of theoretical liberty which does not differentiate between the people and their enemies, between the citizens of the homeland and the colonizers of the homeland, between those who believe in this liberty and those who take advantage of it for their interests while they are its archenemies. We should therefore be on guard against this bourgeois and spineless understanding of liberty and democracy.
The liberty which we seek is not opposed to legislation and measures meant to curb the exploitation of feudalists, capitalists, profiteers and opportunists of all brands. The liberty which we pursue does not conflict with measures and laws preventing the imperialist sabotage of our existence and the spread of its agents in our press, in the state machinery and everywhere that it has the opportunity to infiltrate and spread its poisons in the name of freedom. Our view of liberty should always be a sound one. It is a new and strict liberty, which does not allow leaving matters unchecked. It is not negative, allowing corruption to take its course and let disorder grow but it is a positive and creative liberty .It is a liberty which stands against pressure, confusion and the plot against our national existence by our internal and external enemies, so that conditions remain healthy and conducive to the flowering and growth of this existence.
(On the situation in Egypt, 5 -January 21, 1956)

What guarantees that a rule is national is that it is open to liberty and assists the people in exercising their rights and participation in running their affairs. The people will then be able to start their struggle once more against all those old bases of which progressiveness has not only changed some of their consequences. It did not reach their roots and depths.
(On the situation in Egypt, 5 -January 21, 1956)

Democracy, a constitutional democracy, which is not accompanied by socialist legislation is empty and will soon turn into a weapon in the hands of the rich and proprietors so that they may continue their exploitation of the peoples. This is something that has been experienced by the peoples.
It is at the same time true that dictatorship-even if it were working in the interest of the people and even if everything it does is for the people-is a precarious system, unsuitable and self-contradictory, for it exposes the reform carried out by dictatorship to the danger of eventual evanescence, perdition and eradication, because it does not allow the consciousness of the people to grow and safeguard such reforms by their conviction and their fight.
(The nature of the rule in Egypt, 5 -March, 1956)


English Home Page