Choice of Texts

Michel Aflak

The Radical changes and the Revolution




Had the reform of our situation been easily realizable we would not have been in need of reform. Had the majority of the people been able to recognize what was right easily and act according to it, there would have been no need for anybody to urge them to observe it.
Had the persons, capitulating to what is real and being happy with it, been worthy of carrying the banner of revolt against it, the history of mankind would have been without revolutions, and mankind would have had no history.
(The Seeds of Al-Baath -AI-Baath, 4. July 3, 1946)

We believe that the direction of the present rule is /incompatible with what we want, and that it is incompatible with the interest of the nation and the homeland.
This practice of stifling freedoms, of tampering with the constitution, of rigging the elections and influencing the judiciary, all this upsets public security, and disturbs peace. It provokes rioting and revolution.
When all the legal roads are closed to the people the only road open is that of revolution. Who is the provoker? Are we the provokers or the rulers?
(Defense before the court of appeal, 4. October 2o, 1948)


The real party, the living party which can perform a mission in the present age for the Arab nation is the one that has as its goal the creation of a nation or its revival, provided that it realizes this in itself first, that is, it becomes itself a nation in miniature, a pure, healthy and noble nation which it aspires to revive.
(The Party of radical change overthrow, 1 -February, 1949)


The radical change movement has two kinds of enemies, the overt enemy which includes all reactionary groups and parties {and reaction includes political, ideological and economic reaction) and the covert enemy which is the false progressive and nationalist parties and groupings.
Our movement has therefore two duties to protect its ideological direction, and its practical orientation. Any loosening or deviation in principles will make it an easy prey for reaction, and any loosening or deviation in the method of action will threaten it with disunity and fragmentation. The organisation required is one that saves it from these two damages, thus ensuring the constancy of the ideology and the unity of the movement.
(The organisation of radical change, 1 -February, 195o)


The radical change, then, is the way, the way to the desired end, to the healthy society to which we aspire, but it is not a way among ways, it is the only way.
(Of the meanings of radical change, 1 -February, 195o)


The radical change is truth overcoming actuality , for the nation has, despite its backwardness and defacement, a truth and this announces itself whatever the supremacy of the actual is. The overthrow is this announcement, this proof of the existence of the truth. The overthrow is the future overcoming the present, for our goals, stemming from our depths and from our spirit, have shone and advanced before us, to induce us to march and race towards it. This is the future. The radical change is, therefore, this future, which is the truth of our objectives, pacing the false present which is alien to our true reality and our selves.
(Of the meanings of radical change -February, 195o)


The radical change has but one clear and pure meaning which is the struggle and fight against the prevailing mentality, morals and interests. The Baath is born out of this combat.
(The link between Arabism (Uruba} and the radical change movement, 1 -195o)


The radical change movement means, by definition, that time should not be allowed to have supremacy over our affairs. The overthrow means that the condition of the nation has reached such a degree of foulness that leaving it to circumstances and evolution would expose it to annihilation. It is inevitable that the movement, which will change these conditions, will emerge before it is too late. It is then the movement which accelerates the tempo of time.
(Time and the radical change movement, 1 -195o)

Struggle should also take place within the self, especially the fighters and their selves, for there is nothing more dangerous than the fighters becoming stagnant, content with shallow concepts while they are entrusted with performing the overthrow in the life of this nation.
They become stagnant, how can they move others? The fighter should always be in struggle with himself in order to deepen his idea and constantly reconsider it. He should
be on guard lest he deceive himself or lack courage to be more daring and more penetrating in learning his overthrow ideology until he reaches perfect purity and
complete truthfulness.
(The Arab unity and socialism, 1 -February, 1956)


What we want to take place in our nation, after many decades, should appear now if only summarily and in miniature. I t should appear in our struggle now. We want a free and dignified nation that believes in humanity and sublime values, a nation with a mission, and a mission of goodwill. We cannot ignore those values today and put off their application until the realization of our goals after decades. If those values have not been embodied in ourselves and in our actions since we started our struggle and since we have been conscious of them, we shall not realise them at any time in the future.
(The Arab unity and socialism, 1 -February, 1956)


The practical expression of this radical change theory is the struggle in its widest sense for cite re-education of the nation so it will be able to face difficulties, to extract its buried powers and awaken its somnolent will, through confronting and colliding with hardships.
This struggle, as I said, should be conceived in its widest sense for it is at the same time a combat against foreign powers, which are Zionism and imperialist forces.
It is a fight against degenerate conditions within the Arab homeland, whether they are political or social oppression, exploitation or ignorance, weakness in thought or bigotry, or a deficiency of love and tolerance.
(The Arab unity and socialism, 1 -February, 1956)


The Baath's party conception of our nationalist cause was founded on the basis that it is one cause, and that its resolution is subject to the achievement of an Arab overthrow, an overthrow in the profound meaning of the word which is not confined to politics but extends to thinking, to the spirit, to social education and economic conditions.
(The Arab unity and socialism, 1 -February, 1956)


The pretext of revolution at a stage where nothing but overthrow and revolution could be satisfactory is nothing but a hidden reaction. It is taking the false evolutionary road, which hampers the real evolution and runs counter to the revolution instead of being one of its stages. According to the logic of our revolutionary view there is a genuine place for true evolution as a stage leading to revolution. But true evolution can spring only from the revolutionary action itself, that is, from the pressure the popular powers brings to bear on the actual reality and their interaction with it in a guided and creative way.
(The evolutionism of the Arab cause, 2. April 25, 1956)


The revolutionary policy is the healing medicine for the diseases of our national existence, and the only and correct way to release the healthy and creative powers of the Arab people and attain their decisive victory over all the forces of evil and corruption inside and outside.
This policy, by its seriousness and daring stands, profoundly shakes the consciousness of the people, brings to life its feeling of responsibility, and urges it to stand together and be efficient while at the same time this policy embarrasses and exposes the vacillating and plotting elements and forces them either to surrender or be unmasked. By this way the ranks of the people will be safe from every intruder and the people will win the battle since it will have known its power as it will have known its enemies.
(The revolutionary policy is the road to Arab cooperation, 2 -November 9, 1956)


Our revolution, in spite of the reservation we have mentioned, remains a revolution, that is, an acceleration and shortening of time. We, in spite of all we have, are in haste to gaining our liberation, unity and progress.
When circumstances and events embarrass us, we may perhaps be relaxing the methods of revolution but we shall never relax in our belief in the necessity of the revolution and shall never substitute for it what imperialism and the West call evolution which is in reality nothing but backwardness and death
(The liberation of the Arabs and their unity are the guarantee for their neutrality, 2 -December 7, 1956)


The Arab nation is beyond a doubt passing through a stage of revolution. It may be at this stage the richest nation on earth in revolutionary potentialities. It follows from this that its road is, in the broad sense, the road of modem revolutionary peoples and societies, and that its interest is not only in political solidarity with these peoples but also in social, cultural and civilized interaction with them. The Arabs have remained for long incapable of seeing the world except from one standpoint, that of the West.
(On the Eisenhower doctrine and the Afro-Asian conference republished in AI-Baath, 5 -November 1, 1957)


The stage of radical change is similar to the state of war with all that war means in the way of vigilance, caution and the intensification of efforts and production, as well as the sacrifice of luxuries, the exploitation of all potential and renovation and creativeness in the ways, of putting them into use. Above all this means drawing up a comprehensive plan, marking the clear objectives, unifying the action and struggle and benefiting from every partial victory we can achieve in our long combat in order to nourish this very combat, enlarge its horizon and elevate its standard.
(Struggle on the level of the objectives and risks, 2 -January 25, 1957)


The greatest proof of the originality of the modern Arab revival is this all-powerful logic. When a revolution rises in one or more parts of our homeland and tends towards stability, crystallization and introversion, another part of the homeland surprises it by preventing its crystallization and freezing, opens for it the door to renovation and presents it with the cause of the Arab nation in all its intricacies profundity and expansion so that our nation will not be content to solve its problem with anything less than the solution worthy of a nation carrying a human message. This is the significance of the revolution in Iraq... it is a guarantee of the victories achieved by the Arabs up to now and a safeguard against inertia and deviation, as it is an acceleration of the birth and ripening of future victories which are latent in our people from the Arabian Gulf to the Atlantic.
(Statement to Baghdad Broadcasting Station after 14 July Revolution, 5 -July, 1958)


When the Arab Baath Party emerged and when its ideology began to spread and become complete through interaction with events and struggle, its most important idea was from the outset, evolutionism, and the most important thing in evolutionism, as has known the Baath Party since the first years and since the first writings, is truthfulness, frankness and morality.
With this quality the Baath party was able to find its way to the hearts of the people until it spread throughout most of the Arab regions, from a beginning of extreme simplicity and modesty through a long history that has become an integral part of the history of our nation. How did this party have degenerate and how did it come to present an image which so sharply contrasts with those distinctive qualities, the image of artifice, and methods based on manoeuvring and distortion of facts, through fabrication, lying deceit and the use of everything except truthfulness, frankness, the respect of principles, and the respect of the people? The people will never accept such methods even though they were subjected by force to them for a short period time.
(A speech in the meeting of the National Leadership, 3 -December 19, 1965)


The revolution of the Arab nation in this age is war for it is the widest, the most complete and the surest scope for the flourishing of their talents and the release of their capacities and heroism. The culture, which we seek to build, cannot exist except through struggle in
its highest stage and form, that is, the popular armed struggle. This culture will be based on the respect of principles and human ideals and the respect of man, his freedom and his dignity. It will also have its foundation in the respect of the freedom of peoples and the pursuit of genuine peace. The war of the Arabs in this age is the war of liberation, liberty and dignity and the defence of life.
The war of the Arabs is the culture and the revolution. It is the height of organisation, science, discipline, sacrifice and morality.
(The regimes and the masses... two opposing facets of the Arab nation -The Arab Revolutionary -April 15, 1974)


When our national conditions are not equally sound, when there are regions subjugated to reactionary rule and others ruled by cheap and opportunist rulers who do not represent the dignity of the nation, its aspirations and pride, who capitulate in order to maintain the benefits of their rule, when this is the state of affairs, it is inevitable that one region must bear the responsibility for all or at least endeavour to do so. It should not be satisfied with satisfying it's own needs, it should be looking after the fate of the whole nation and shouldering its nationalist responsibility in addition to its own responsibility.
(The steadfast region must shoulder the responsibility of the Arab destiny, 7 -June 6, 1974)


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