Choice of Texts

Michel Aflak

The Revolutionary Organization


And the Second condition is practical and related to the organization of the movement. As it is based on a comprehensive Arab ideology, its organization should also be on all-encompassing Arab scale. And as it is founded on a vital and realistic ideology related to fundamental questions, organization must in turn depend on the classes, which represent these fundamental questions in order to secure success. As the ideology of the Arab Baath stands on three pillars liberty, socialism and Arab Unity, organization must depend on the new generation which represents consciousness, moral strength will and faith, and on the majority of the Arabs who have a vital interest in the radical change. The organization should also be on a comprehensive and indivisible Arab scale so that it will not face inner strife, which negates one part in affirming the other.
(The Comprehensive ideology, 1 - 1950)

The drive of a certain idea and a certain orientation grows strong in proportion to the distance, not to nearness. When you were far from the idea of the party and its orientation, you hungered and thirsted for this idea, you sought to penetrate it and incorporate it in your personalities and actions. Is there any need to corroborate this by citing certain historical events and personalities? Who does not remember Umar Ibn Al-Khattab? He was the greatest opponent of the call of Islam, but when his heart was open to it, he became its greatest support and pillar, as if his previous hostility was nothing but a negative picture of his profound readiness to embrace it. But it was genuine readiness, impervious to shallowness and falsehood. He did not want, therefore, to accept it without scrutiny, suspicion and alertness. It was as if his opposition was a test of that call, nay, a test of himself. Was he worthy of it? Was his soul big enough for that call, its profundity and gravity? He was testing himself... When the test was accomplished, he came glad to embrace it and was distinguished in it.
(I swear to the Baath, 6 1950)

This means first that this base does not criticize for the sake of diversion or for revenge, but it criticizes through a genuine concern for the party. Behind its criticism there is action, work and sacrifices. It has, therefore, a full right to question and know whether its efforts and sacrifices are taking the course, which will achieve the objectives of such sacrifices, or whether sacrifices have been made in vain, for personal, unsound and anti-national ends. It means, secondly, that objection and criticism, when they are the outcome of practice, will be serious and right. He who practices political activities will know by experience and suffering what he is required to do in this case. When he objects he does not do so as a matter of theorizing but because he realizes that there is some error being made?
(The duty of members. The gravity of Party responsibility, 6 April 1955)

The healthy state of affairs is when the words of the base are equal to its acts and its rights equal to its responsibilities so that it does not demand more than it renders in service and action. It does not object and protest except in proportion to its daily support and action and performance.
When the member puts his interest in the party, the small work entrusted to him [for execution] will no longer be small but something throbbing with life and which summarizes the mission of the party.
Our view of a free organization does not contradict partial execution and the development of specialized capabilities. Specialization is in execution, while in the mind and the soul there is no specialization or division. The soul must be the mirror of the oneness of personality and the oneness of the cause of the party.
(The duty of leaderships - How we understand organization, 6 June, 1955)

The doctrine of the party is not merely to uphold the dogma and denounce any distortion and deviation that it may undergo, but also, and especially, to perform all the tasks and duties, which the doctrine requires so that it may be directed towards realization, the doctrine is the idea of its realization. The doctrine is thinking and execution at the same time. The doctrinaire member is not only one who knows the doctrine but also one who knows it and applies it, and he applies because he knows it, for doctrinal knowledge contains within itself the principle of realization. The doctrinaire is one who is committed to realizing what he believes.
(The defense of the doctrine cannot be but an attack, 5 June, 1955)

Organization in essence is spirit, love and respect for human dignity. A mechanical organization is disrespect for man, because it treats the members as no more than numbers, while men are not numbers. Men are different from each other, for each man has something in him which makes him ready to serve his cause and idea in a special way that is not possible for any other. The organizer should treat the members of his division by name and with full regard to their personality. I cannot understand how an organizer can enter and look at the entire division as if it was a mysterious body, that performs his task automatically. The division is a metaphorical body. To facilitate work we have divided the party into divisions, but in fact we cannot regard numbers fifty, thirty and ten as one and the same thing.
(The duty of leaderships - How we understand organization, 6 - June, 1955)

The idea of organization in our patty is connected with the philosophy of the patty itself and it is very hard to separate the idea of organization from the fundamental idea of liberty. We always pursue, urge and, bring to attention the idea that organization in our party should reach the highest degree of order and precision, but we do not mean at all by this that we want to make a machine out of the patty and small parts of this machine out of its members. The member is not a part of the party. This is a wrong conception. The member is the party in miniature. The patty organizations are not the party. The division is not a part, but it is the party in miniature. Therefore the organizers and leaders in the party are not parts which when added together form a complete whole. No, each one of them is a complete person, but they assume parts of the task.
(The duty of leaderships - How we understand organization, 6 June, 1955)

Value does not lie in rank as far as the task is concerned. The highest the middle or the lowest rank, are not of value by itself. The value lies in performing the task in the best way possible, in being deeply absorbed in it when performing it, in being faithful to it and in giving it its full due of effort and careful attention.
(The duty of leaderships - How we understand organisation, 6 June, 1955)

Work in the lower ranks is nearer to life for it is always work with the members as free individuals. The way is more open, then, for educating such members as free individuals. The road is more open for educating such members in the use of freedom for the growth of their talents, capabilities and virtues, for nothing can equal direct contact. This is the worthy and creative work. It is a direct influence of one freedom on similar freedoms, of one wills on similar will, one soul on other souls.
(The duty of leaderships - How we understand organization, 6 June, 1955)

If organization in the Nazi way has hurt the Germans, it will hurt the Arabs many times more. The German nation was advanced, had passed through a high stage of civilization. Its history was in the ascendancy. It had its share of freedom and that freedom gave rise to culture and thought then came a time in which that nation was stricken by defeat in war. The defeat had its impact on the German spirit. Despair seeped through and gave a feeling that it might be better to restrict freedom for a temporary period so that the Germans could resolve their affairs and realize a national objective.
This was the justification for that kind of organization. But the advanced, free people, rich in culture and thoughts could not be transformed overnight into a machine even when it was described as a machine, for its entire structure was founded on liberty. That kind of organization had injured them and involved them in many dangers and ordeals. But we must remember the difference between the case of the Arabs and that of the German nation. The case of the Arabs is that we have ceased for centuries to be in touch with civilization. We have forgotten liberty for hundreds of years. We have lost the urge for creativeness and the requisites of the independence of the personality which knows how to act We are, therefore, in need of that which will release in us these potentialities which have been buried and stifled. We are in need of the formation of the free, responsible, independent, self-conscious Arab individual. We need the creation of the Arab man, for the humane view in our milieu has been almost non-existent. For this reason I have said that the idea of the organization should not be different from the philosophy of the party itself.
(The duty of leaderships - How we understand organization, 6 June, 1955)

The great destiny, brethren, is formed out of simple and small acts, out of our daily conduct. The great destiny of the individual and the nation does not descent all of a sudden from heaven. It is the outcome of daily small acts, which accumulate, ferment and reach their conclusion. Then destiny rises up.
(The great destiny and the daily act, 6 December 1956)

The organization of genuine change, which we need but which has not yet reached the necessary level, requires that the members of party devote all their time to the task of the party and make of the party of radical change work the sole occupation of their lives. They live by it and get their subsistence from it. In it they put all their potentialities, capabilities, talents, hopes and ambitions. Only through this can such individual have a deep nationalist militant experience as a result of long practice and daily confrontation with problems, and as a result of making mistakes and rectifying them through experience, practice, supervision, daily and direct contact with the life of the people, acquainting himself with their problems and touch with the life of the party as well experiencing all its problems and affairs. This leads to acquiring a new experience every day and every year. On this basis the party will be enabled to create individuals, who are few at the beginning but who grow into hundreds and thousands. Every one of them, through this experience, practice and faith solidified by continuous struggle, will have the efficiency and expertise of a thousand. He will be able to create life and motion in another thousand. He will be a source of illumination, guidance and strength for the totality of the people. The educated youths who have become conscious that their historic place is within this movement of change and have advanced toward it and marched in its frontlines should complete this consciousness by struggling, radial changing, organized and popular action. They should not stop at the first stage of this consciousness but ascend to a higher stage, so that they learn how to make their participation the best and most satisfactory and allow it to bring forth the best and most profound fruits of the life of the nation at this stage.
(The relation of organization to radical change action, 1 July 1957)

Organization is fundamental and vital and accompanies the radical change action, nay; it is of the nature of that action and derives its strength from its idea of radical change.
(The relation of organization to radical change action, 1 July, 1957)

We do not think of organization per se, that is we do not see it as isolated from the idea with which it is connected and from which its rules and limits are inspired. The removal of organization from the idea makes its value purely technical. It could then be used for good and evil at the same time.
(The relation of organization to radical change action. 1 July, 1957)

The army is a popular army. In it there are militants attached to the cause of the masses. They are the party members in the army. They are similar to their comrades in the party whether they are workers, peasants or Intellectuals. They have the right to live the life of the party to the full. The military, like other comrades, have the right to participate within their organization in directing the party and making its policy and programs. They have the full right, as others, to criticism and self-criticism. What we want to say about the function of the army is that the military should not be involved in the tasks of leadership of the party or the government.
(A speech to the branches - The Syrian region, 3 January 18, 1966)

I would like to mention, with regard to the women comrades and the obstacles and difficulties they encounter which are natural in our societies, that the great national events and the national battles shorten time. They condense decades in a few days. Before them such obstacles melt and vanish. Souls and wills are liberated when they discover their national tasks and when they perform such tasks and duties. A good deal of the equality to which the Arab woman aspires will be realized in the atmosphere of battles and national events of destiny, especially as our destiny will increase in all dimensions with time.
(The universality of the Baath idea is a national need of life, 7 June 21, 1974)


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