Choice of Texts

Michel Aflak

Revolutionary Conduct


The resoluteness of opinion was one of their noblest traits. They did not acquiesce when their doctrine was at stake. They did not humor others, for when they saw right on one side, they opposed for its sake all the other sides. Instead of trying to ingratiate themselves to everybody, they angered everyone whom they believed to be wrong and corrupt. They were cruel to themselves, cruel to others. When they discovered something wrong in their thinking, they were not hesitant or ashamed to admit it and rectify it, for their goal war the truth and not themselves. When they perceived right anywhere, the son would leave his father for its sake the friend his friend.
(The heroic era, 1 1935)

Heroism does not always lie in the attack. It can also be in patience and steadfastness. Courage does not only lie in combating the apparent enemy but also, and particularly so, in fighting the inner enemy, that is, man fights in himself despair, relaxation and the love of comfort.
(The heroic era, I 1935)

Life has laws, which differ from the natural laws in this fundamental point: natural laws are discovered once, while the laws of life have to be rediscovered by every person in his own life.
(The earth and heaven, 1 1935)

Out idealism is the optimist spirit, which is confident of itself, its nation and the future. This believing soul maintains that noble principles do not exist for the pleasure of talking about them. They are not to be written on paper, but they are life itself and those principles have been realized in many stages of history when there were believers working faithfully. These principles can be realized anew. Our idealism is that we live in the middle of this milieu where we see corruption on every side but we have determined to fight and overcome these. In doing this we never lose our hope that from this putrid milieu may emerge the light of the Arab life.
(Illusory idealism, 1 1942)

The idealist is not the opposite of the realist, for the realist is not one who surrenders to reality but who understands it.
(Protective idealism, 1 1943)

If they gave us possession of the whole earth or if they gave us today the Arab state in which the Baath aims could be realized but said that faith would not exist in the life of the people of that ideal state, we would say: better for us to remain a fragmented, colonized, exploited, oppressed and enslaved nation until we reach, through suffering, through our conflict with our destiny, with ourselves, the discovery of our human truth.
(The belief, 1. 1943)

We have to restore to words their meaning, their strength and their sacredness. We should make the word telling about an action we have performed the reminder of an action we failed to perform. We should not talk about anything except that which we are capable of achieving until the time when we are able to realize everything that we say.
(In memory of the Arab Prophet, 1 - April 1943)

We are performing the role of those who prepare. Our task is to open the path for the new generation and not pave it, to remove the thorns and not plant myrtle, sow the eternal seeds and not pluck the ripe fruits. For this reason we are not going to rule shortly. We shall remain in the ranks of fighters for a long time.
The aggravation of the ills, which are playing havoc with the nation, and the depth of sufferings it is undergoing no longer can be cured by the ability of politicians however clever and intelligent they are. They have to be tackled by believing fighters who are inspired, by the spirit of their struggle and its methods, by the soul of their nation and its ethics.
(We warn the ruling clique from going on in its policies, 4 - July 24, 1943)

When there is backwardness and weakness, the responsibility of the individual becomes enlarged, for he sees every move he makes as capable of injuring his nation while to serve it becomes hard if not impossible. His interest in his own life and his own benefits will not only be a negligence of public service but it could be in many cases as something directed against public interest. The individual will not be, in this case, a cell in the body of the nation, who, by nourishing it nourishes himself, but an enemy of that body who cannot get strength except from its weakness and can fatten himself only through making that body lean. When that individual, wants to enter into public life he will soon find that, despite his real desire to serve, he is led by a hidden and irresistible force to exploit this service for himself and for his interests, and he obtains his bread from it and by it. All this despite his intention to devote himself and his life to that service. He will realize that his participation in the public service in order to arrive at one common goal for the nation, will end up, when added to the participation of the others, will only lit some individuals reach different private goals, that is, to isolate the nation from its aspirations.
(The new Arab generation, 1 1944)

One of the qualities of the decadent generation is that it judges the present as a historian. It interprets only but leaves no impact. It changes reasons into pretexts and may change pretexts into philosophical principles and ethical rules. There is no harm in our judgment of Jahiliyah (Pre-Islam) being explicatory, when we discover virtues in it and find excuses for its vices. But Islam has judged it in a vital and living way and was decisive in this. Those who judge the older generation by way of explication are part of it even though they are in their prime of youth, Nay, they are inferior to it for the shortcoming that the older generation was forced to have, younger generation is intentionally showing it. As the realization is always inferior to the ideal, so the generation, which takes the conclusions reached by the previous generation as ideals and objectives, will inevitably be inferior to it in both creativeness and action.
(The new Arab generation, 1. 1944)

When mentioning the new Arab generation we mean a generation, which has not come to life yet, although there are potentialities for its existence. It is in vain that we look forward to the rise of this generation if its idea has not emerged, for its distinctive quality is that it is all idea, and its action is a projection of its idea. If the idea does not exist, this generation is inexistent. There is an action that falls down from its resembling the idea but it is the remnant of action representing its dissolution and turbidity, coming as an excuse and justification. For this reason it is the worst part in it and it is always inferior. Action is not its illumination but a concentration of its darkness.
If should not be understood by the new generation that it is the generation of the youth. Youth is not idea but it is a suitable condition for its growth.
(The new Arab generation, 1. 1944)

The combatants are the people who most deserve to rejoice, for joy activates in them the spirit of struggle, renews it and urges continuation and integration.
We rejoice in spite of our deep sufferings, for joy is not the contrast of pain but its true and good fruit, The true combatants are those who transform their pain into a joy which revives their struggle. Joy is like suffering, no, it is more than suffering in that it is felt and borne only by strong and profound souls.
(A speech in the anniversary of the evacuation entitled: The faith in the unity of the Arabs made it possible for Syria to be independent, 4- A1-Baath - April 21, 1947)

There is an obvious difference between combatants and adventurers. Combatants create the struggle and remain nevertheless means subject to the law of the movement, which they have created. They transform all the powers conferred to them by the struggle into powers, which nourish the movement itself and help it to be more steadfast and resistant, and they make of this a drive for the advance, which is consonant with the idea. Adventurers are those who are attracted by the struggle in its facile and enthusiastic stages. They infiltrate its ranks without faith. When they acquire some fame and influence they soon discover that escaping from the rigid restraints of the struggle and its long course allows them to leap into the field of personal success. This will suddenly and speedily lead them towards conspiracy and treason. For those people have no middle course.
(To the conscious combatants, 4 - Al-Baath - January 5, 1950)

The real leaders are those who know how to obey the idea and the loyal members are those who obey the idea through the guidance of the leaders.
(The Arab Baath is the will of life, 1 - April 1950)

We are not separated from the future, which the Arab Baath talks about and which is the object of our action and struggle by a period that can be calculated in months and years. It is a psychological moment that we can realize and possess at this time, and by possessing it we can possess eternity.
The future is not the time, which will come, but the psychological and intellectual level to which we should reach at the present time.
(The future, 1 1950)

Do not think that the party is something that exists outside the souls of its members. The party is its members. The party is each one of you, and as you are, so is the party. The way you want the party to be, it will be. This theory is formed by the self-reliance of the party members and their deep personal drive. It is a theory which insure growth for our party and through it the party will overcome weakness and be elevated and leap until it reaches the standard enabling it to realize its aims and objectives.
(I swear for the Baath, 6 1950)

A serious party of overthrow does not rely on amateurishness and does not accept amateurs in its ranks. This party has either to be horn out of irresistible feeling, from the deep and painful feeling of a vital and invincible necessity which urges the vanguards of our nation to sacrifice and suffering in order to rescue the nation from the danger of death and annihilation, or be a self-deceit and a deceit for the people which demands its support. Work in a party of overthrow is not a hobby or a whim but the most hazardous and serious of tasks. It is, as the party has known it from its inception, and mission *. When we understand the task of the party in this way we shall consequently perceive that the only thing worthy of a party of this description is strict organization which is not satisfied by adding the capacities and the talents together and making use of the time of its members, but makes its objective the creation of new people, new persons adapted to the exigencies of this grave task. Organization is not addition but first and foremost creativeness and inventiveness first and foremost.
(Our party does not accept the exploitation of the actual reality, 5 - Al-Baath - April 9, 1954)

It is just to say that our idealism is realistic for we do not content ourselves with dreaming of high ideals, but we endeavour to realize them and die for their sake. I have told, brethren, that the real Baathist is one who combines the two contrasts. The Baathist is one who lives and does not imitate. He finds himself only in the most distant village of the homeland and in the remotest citizen among the inhabitants of the Arab soil. We do not discover ourselves in reclusion and isolation but find ourselves, and find ourselves true and pure, through the contact with the vast Arab land. We find ourselves through the understanding of the problems and sufferings of our people, sympathy with them and being completely immersed in them. There we discover our souls, and there is our party, and not within the four walls of a bureau.
(The Baathist fills the present by his future, 5 - Al-Baath -October 3, 1954)

It is necessary to increase tension and conflict. It is necessary to have a constant drive and fight every kind of lethargy and every tendency toward comfort and every attempt to terminate or shorten the struggle or shorten it. This as I have said, is the task of the members, for they feel this shortcoming and it is they whose conscience revolts when they see the movement being swayed by routine slogans and putting all its faith in the re-iteration of words or the glorification of values which, though new, will be similar to the old values if we do not bring life to them day by day.
(Our living view of the Party, I - April 1955)

Politics are a test of our idealism: is it the idealism of the incapable, those who build illusions or is it the living and scientific idealism of those who want to create and act? For this reason we have made politics a test of faith and idealism but never an end in itself.
(Our live view of the Patty - April 1955)

Knowledge cannot be correct if it is not tested by action. Action enriches and rectifies it.
(The ambition of the Baath, 1 - March 1957)

Real confidence in the people is deeper than that. It begins by truth, that is, the combatants are faithful in their action and confident of themselves. After this they ought to gain the confidence of the people, for the potentialities of our people are rich and deep, but most of them are hidden and unknown.
(The ambition of the Baath, 1 - March 1957)

We should not commit the mistake made by previous politicians when they said something to the people and meant something else. When they falsely professed high ideals but worked for personal gain. They made a show of big words but in their inner selves they were lacking in drive but we began by taking notice of this deceit and by being on our guard against it and we repeatedly said at the beginning of our movement that our task is a mission and not politics.
(Benefiting from the mistakes of past and present, 5 -June, 1959)

Real education is obtained during the periods of stress. Therefore the Arab revolutionary youth should not despair and be saddened when the nation undergoes a shock or even a calamity for so long as the youth is in possession of the fundamental virtue, self-confidence, together with the other fundamental virtue, truthfulness in self-criticism, it will see in the shock or the calamity a new challenge of destiny to it and to its nation so that the latter will transcend itself and be uplifted to a higher degree of ethics, thinking and human significance.
(Benefiting from the mistakes of past and present, 5 -June, 1959)

Although we knew better than all others the ills brought by imperialism and its interests and all the injustice and backwardness it inflicted on us, we did not accept for ourselves, as a combatant generation nor did we accept for our nation, as a nation driven towards revival, to rest comforted by this view and abandon action. The Baath view has opened a new path in thinking and feeling, the path of virility and self-reliance. It has closed the doors to all escapism so that the Arab will not shirk responsibility and rely on pretexts and excuses of external factors. This attitude, as you know, has not weakened our struggle but has strengthened it. This new approach has not given rise to relaxation of the fight with imperialism, but it has been an urge for struggle. This view helps realize two things:
1 - To see mistakes and knowing our own mistakes.
2 - To see our virtues and strong points.
(Benefiting from the mistakes of past and present, 5 -June, 1959)

The means should not be separated from the end. Revolutions and revivals help create a new man, independent in personality, free in thought, capable of production and creativeness as well as able to shoulder responsibility. Machiavellism, which resorts to lying and gives no regard for ethics, should never be applied.
(The landmarks of progressive nationalism, 1- 1960)

It is sufficient that a few individuals remain in this party, persons who have the courage to persevere reject dictatorship and falsehood and refuse to keep silent when crimes are committed. It is sufficient that some persons remain for the party not to die, and for its truth not to be extinguished, for one true man is capable of defeating hundreds of falsifiers and liars.
(A speech to the branches - The Syrian region, 3 - January 18, 1966)

Comrades, go back to history to the history of revolutionary movements in the world and you will find groups similar to this one, they are the opportunists, the reformers, right wingers who stand in the middle of the road and are afraid of proceeding further in the revolutionary struggle. They are content to work within the framework of the reactionary regime and with opposing it in a partial way, without bearing the hardships of the revolution, which demand a brave and radical stand and a long and persistent struggle. You can know their reality through their actions, and through comparing their methods with those of the party.
(A speech to the branches. The Syrian region, 3 - January 18, 1966)

Victories intoxicate only shallow vain people and intruders upon the revolution and the party, for the true combatants become increasingly humble with each victory they achieve. They know they are nothing but the means to that victory and that the people are the victor.
(In memory of the Ramadan Revolution, 3 - February 8, 1965)


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