A project for a new vision of the thought of the Arab Socialist Baath Party

publisher: القيادة المؤقتة لحزب البعث العربي الاشتراكي

Publishing date: 2007-06-15


Comrades of the Ba’athists,

In the early years after its establishment, the Arab Socialist Ba’ath Party emerged as a revolutionary movement fighting against the Zionist project and foreign domination. It struggled for the unity, liberation, progress, and democracy of the nation, playing a crucial role in overthrowing military governments in Syria.

The party embraced the causes of workers, peasants, and the lower-income earners, advocating for their rights and working to elevate their status. Its principles served as a beacon in its struggle, and its commitment to them was the source of its strength in spreading its ideals.

Choosing to work for the upliftment and liberation of the people, combating injustice and exploitation, the party gained the trust of the people, becoming stronger than those in power even when outside it.

During those years, the party became a magnet for Arab youth, expanding its influence in Syria, Iraq, Palestine, Jordan, Lebanon, Yemen, and the Gulf and North African regions.

While allying with conservative forces to strengthen the domestic front, protect democracy, and face external challenges, it simultaneously fought for the rights of workers, peasants, and lower-income earners.


After the establishment of the United Arab Republic in February 1958, and the dissolution of the party in Syria, a new phase began for the party, especially in the broader context of the Arab liberation movement.

The party was dissolved in Syria, and its national leadership moved to Lebanon. Weeks after the union, security forces initiated a campaign against the Arab Socialist Ba’ath Party, and internal disagreements arose among Ba’ath leaders who participated in leading the United Arab Republic and the late President Gamal Abdel Nasser.

Mistakes made by the ruling authorities during that period negatively impacted the Ba’ath Party, not only affecting the continuity of the United Arab Republic but also influencing the Arab liberation movement. One notable consequence was the division in Iraq between the forces of the July Revolution and the fragmentation of nationalist forces, weakening them all.


A significant shift in the party’s trajectory occurred when its leadership at the time chose to seize power by force. In Iraq, Ba’athists took control of the government on February 8, 1963, and in Syria, they participated in taking over the government through an alliance formed by the party’s military committee, Nasserist forces, and the Ziad al-Hariri Brigade on March 8, 1963.

This dangerous shift contradicted the party’s fundamental principles, as outlined in Article 5, which emphasizes that the sovereignty belongs to the people alone, and they are the source of all power and leadership. The state’s value is derived from the people’s will, and its sanctity depends on their freedom to choose.

Article 2 further emphasizes the unique qualities of the Arab nation and its vibrant creativity, highlighting the party’s commitment to freedom of speech, assembly, belief, and art.

While striving for power, the Ba’athists in Syria later isolated themselves following the fall of the party’s rule in Iraq. The consolidation of power was reinforced by the theoretical foundations established in the Sixth National Conference, declared in November 1963.

It is essential to note the role played by the military committee in steering the party away from its fundamental principles regarding democracy, freedom, and the people’s role in choice, oversight, and accountability.


The power struggle and the monopoly of power caused the party’s suffering, leading to continuous conflicts and purges that ultimately resulted in the party’s split after the military action taken by the Qatari leadership on February 23, 1966.

Under the party’s umbrella, two oppressive sibling regimes emerged in both Syria and Iraq. These regimes were captive to the party and had no real role in decision-making; rather, they served to cover it.

It is important to note that the monopoly of power went through two stages. In the first stage, the Qatari leadership in both countries shared decision-making, despite the existence of dominant power centers. In the second stage, decision-making shifted from the leadership to the head of state in each country, allowing the head of state to allow his family to control the state apparatus, its institutions, the party, and its organizations.

We do not wish to dwell, comrades, on the suffering, anxiety, fear, backwardness, weakness, and national disintegration caused by the regimes in Syria and Iraq. You all have lived through the anxiety and fear for the future of the country, its fate, the party, its role, and its destiny.

We face two issues, comrades: the nature of the ruling regime in Syria and its serious consequences for the country’s reality, security, stability, and future, and the second issue is the party’s ideology and the need to develop it to restore the party’s historical role in working to elevate the nation and achieve its goals.

We are firmly convinced that changing the nature of the existing regime in Syria has become a national duty, and all Ba’athists should participate with other people’s forces in liberating the country, saving it from a corrupt and oppressive rule, and working to build a democratic civil state with its reference being the ballot boxes. This state ensures equal rights for citizens regardless of religion, sect, ethnicity, or gender, upholds justice, applies the law, adheres to the principle of equal opportunities, preserves public and individual freedoms, and prohibits the monopoly of power.


After these long years and challenging experiences, it is now time to conduct this critical review to extract the ideology and approach of the party, returning it to its natural position defined since its establishment.

The issue of developing the party’s ideology and approach places Ba’athists at a historical crossroads with two choices. The first is to liberate the mind and will, rise above interests, and launch a comprehensive vision that puts the party on a path of action to achieve its goals. The second is the path of stagnation, leaning towards remaining outside of action, thus ending the party and bearing historical responsibility for the current situations in Syria and Iraq and their repercussions on the nation’s stability and security.

Significant questions loom in the minds of the party’s base and citizens regarding the suitability of the party’s ideology, as endorsed by its conferences, to the current stage. The all-encompassing nature of these decisions served as a cover for the practices carried out in both Syria and Iraq under the common title of protecting the revolution. This cost the people their freedom, security, and stability, as they paid the price for a revolution whose essence was monopolizing power and controlling the country.

It must be said boldly that the Ba’athists’ adoption of an all-encompassing ideology, as mandated by their conferences and the practices resulting from this ideology, contradicts the party’s fundamental principles. This shift was a historical mistake that had major consequences for both countries, adversely affecting Syria and Iraq and impeding the progress of the Arab national liberation movement.

The review must address the party’s ideology on various key issues, including the Arab unity, the concept of the nation, freedom, democracy, socialism, modernity, and globalization.

In the post-Soviet collapse and the era of globalization, substantial changes occurred worldwide, impacting all aspects of people’s lives. Scientific advancements in knowledge, information, and ideas dissemination played a significant role in these transformations.

After discussions among party leaders at various levels inside and outside Syria, a provisional leadership for the party in Syria has been formed. This leadership outlines a new vision for the party’s ideology and approach. After in-depth discussions, considering the party’s experience, this document has been prepared for your study, feedback, and suggestions, to be finalized and presented at the party’s first conference.

First – The Issue of Arab Unity

Arab unity is a fundamental principle of the Arab Socialist Ba’ath Party, representing the aspirations of Arabs since the early 20th century. It has been a central theme in the political discourse of many movements, forces, and political figures for nearly 100 years, serving as the true guarantee for the Arab rise, progress, and liberation from foreign domination and external pressure.

The Ba’ath Party introduced the issue of Arab unity as a slogan based more on a historical interpretation than a realistic analysis of the present and future. The party did not propose a project to achieve Arab unity, considering the objective reality shaped over centuries during periods of disintegration, conflicts, and foreign interference.

a. The party did not specify which form of unity it aimed to achieve. Is it the unity of Arab states in a centralized country formed from states based on a non-centralized foundation? Is it a federal state with its international personality and central authority, allowing component states to have authorities within the limits of each state’s region? Or is it a union of states?

b. The party defined the Arab citizen as someone who speaks the Arabic language, identifies with the Arab nation, and resides in the Arab homeland. However, this definition neglects the other national components in the Arab homeland, whether in its west or east. These components are partners in destiny, interests, history, and homeland, and their recognition is crucial for the unity of the nation.

The review has led to the conviction that Arab unity is a lofty goal that must be worked towards in a world where there is no place for the weak. To avoid turning the slogan of unity into an unrealized dream, our vision is presented for achieving it:

  1. The state of unity should be a composite state, a federal entity where participating states express their willingness freely, with both the federal and participating states having their roles and institutions.
  2. Achieving economic integration, implementing the Arab Economic Unity Agreement signed by Arab countries, and building its institutions are crucial steps toward establishing economic unity that strengthens everyone and positions them significantly in the global economy.
  3. Unifying education curricula, liberating individuals’ minds from incorrect legacies, and promoting mechanisms of dialogue, research, study, analysis, and knowledge acquisition are essential for linking all these factors in the Arab community, acting as catalysts for advancement and progress.
  4. Embracing democracy as the choice in the path to unity or federation because it unleashes the people’s energies, enables them to protect their rights and achievements, holds authorities accountable, and strengthens the defense of the homeland. Democracy plays a crucial role in transitioning from underdevelopment to progress.
  5. The unity of destiny and interests dictates that parties involved in unity must not take actions that jeopardize the security of the unity state or any of its parts, nor sign agreements with external parties that harm the interests of the other participating parties.
  6. Recognizing that the concept of the nation is not based on ethnic, religious, or sectarian grounds but rather on the unity of destiny, interests, common history, and residing in the geographic space (homeland). Acknowledging the national components in the Arab homeland, whether in the west or east, as partners in destiny, interests, history, and homeland.
  7. Gradual, qualitative, and temporal progress towards achieving unity. It is a significant cause that should not be addressed under the pressure of urgent conditions or through a policy of burning through stages.

Secondly – the issue of freedom

Freedom is one of the natural characteristics in the lives of individuals and communities, and it is a prerequisite for growth, progress, and limiting or confiscating it is a factor in weakening the nation and causing its backwardness. It also hinders individual initiative and creativity.

The most dangerous factor in the backwardness of nations is the confiscation of public and individual freedoms. This leads to the paralysis of thought, instills fear, and turns the individual into a captive of various forms of tyranny, including the tyranny of power and the tyranny of harmful social traditions that control the mind and behavior.

The freedom of one individual should not be restricted by the freedom of another, and the freedom of any nation should not be restricted by the freedom of another nation. The right of nations to determine their destiny through free choice is a natural right, and any restriction on the exercise of this right is a violation of the fundamental rights of nations and peoples, and they have the right to resist it.

Freedom of thought, expression, choice, and the practice of religious rituals are fundamental rights that must be safeguarded. Restricting or confiscating them violates the fundamental rights of society and citizens, necessitating efforts to protect them.

When a party fears the freedom of others, it means that the party has reached a state of incapacity increased by despotism, which can only be eliminated by returning to accepting others and respecting their rights. When a party accepts the suppression of other opinions, it means that the party has abandoned its principles.

Thirdly – the issue of democracy

Democracy is the framework that allows the people to exercise their role freely in determining their destiny and affairs through the elected legislative authority. This authority’s main tasks include choosing the executive authority, holding it accountable, and monitoring it.

Article 14 of the party’s constitution, declared on April 7, 1947, states:

“The system of government in the Arab state is a representative constitutional system, and the executive authority is responsible to the legislative authority elected directly by the people.”

Democracy means that the people are the source of authority, and there is no authority above their authority. Freedom and democracy are interconnected, and monopolizing power and tyranny go hand in hand.

The people’s freedom in the free choice of their constitutional institutions, their right to hold them accountable, and the rotation of power, regardless of religion, sect, race, or gender, are all essential rights. Establishing a state based on institutions and the law constitutes the essential components of democracy.

In a democratic system, the state upholds the law, justice is achieved, freedoms are preserved, the country prospers, and advances in all fields. It becomes capable of maintaining its security, territory, and dignity.

In contrast, in a system of autocracy and despotism, the state and its constitutional institutions are absent, replaced by the authority of the tyrant. Suffering increases, freedoms are seized, corruption spreads, poverty and backwardness grow, the people weaken, and the nation’s protective walls collapse.

Democracy requires achieving the following:

  1. Launching the freedom of political work, including the citizens’ right to form parties.
  2. Safeguarding the freedom of opinion, thought, expression, and belief.
  3. Free practice of elections through a law that allows citizens the freedom to choose without interference from power, money, or other pressures.
  4. Subjecting the executive authority to monitoring and accountability before the elected legislative authority.

Fourthly – the issue of socialism

In the face of backwardness, poverty, ignorance, social injustice, and exploitation, the party embraced socialism without formulating a theory to guide its approach to achieving it. In the framework of this understanding of socialism, the party, after its establishment and in the 1950s, took up the issues of workers, peasants, and small earners as part of its political struggle.

A profound change in the party’s ideology occurred in the sixth national conference held in November 1963, where the conference adopted a revolutionary ideology, incorporating Marxism into the class struggle and revolutionary conflict between the forces of the revolution and conservative forces.

What was stated in “Some Theoretical Bases” of the party was used to tighten the grip on the country, along with the issuance of a number of impromptu economic decisions that complicated the economic situation.

Socialism, as adopted by the party after its establishment and in the 1950s, aimed to liberate citizens from fear, poverty, exploitation, defend their rights in work, secure their future, and, within this concept, socialism cannot be separated from economic development, increased production, and resources.

The path to achieving socialism involves achieving economic development, increasing production and resources, especially with the increasing population, rising living standards, and life requirements.

The state, with its limited resources, cannot achieve this due to resource scarcity and increasing expenses, especially in the services and administration sectors. Due to these limited resources, the state cannot provide the requirements for economic development, leading to increased poverty and a decline in living standards.

Relying on the state’s diminishing resources, with increased government spending, will worsen the economic and social conditions. Investing in the private sector becomes a national and social issue, not just an economic one.

Fearing socialism from private investments and restricting development to the state will have serious consequences on both the social and economic levels.

It is useful to note that China, the largest communist country, shifted from Marxist economics to a socialist market economy, allowing freedom for private national and foreign investments. It changed its economic management approach based on market rules and achieved economic growth not witnessed by other countries after World War II.

Socialism is a path to raise the people’s standard of living, provide security, ensure their future, offer job opportunities, secure citizens against unemployment, and provide health and educational services. It aims to eliminate all causes of injustice and exploitation. Within this understanding, economic development, raising educational levels, and enhancing the professional and scientific competence of citizens become the country’s path to achieving socialism.

It should be clear that achieving socialism, as linked to economic development, is connected to individual freedom and their exercise of basic rights as human beings and citizens. Therefore, development should not lead to limiting citizens’ exercise of their basic rights.

Focusing on development and the role of investments does not mean eliminating the role of the state in any way. The state’s role is crucial in managing the country, protecting society, and achieving economic and social balance. This can be accomplished through the following:

  1. Achieving overall economic balance through fiscal and monetary policies.
  2. Striking a balance between profit and wages in the production process, linking wages to production on one hand and the cost of living on the other.
  3. Adopting a market economy mechanism while avoiding negative effects on the working class and implementing remedies for these effects.
  4. Focusing on the reform of the administrative and judicial systems, continuous development, and enhancing their administrative and professional efficiency.
  5. Expanding education at all levels, with a focus on vocational and technical education, providing funding and resources for the development of the education sector in all its branches.
  6. Allocating a specific percentage of the state budget and profits of companies and economic institutions to research and study centers.
  7. Developing economic cooperation with Arab and other countries to expand exchange in goods, services, sciences, and knowledge, facilitating the movement of people, gaining experience, encouraging investment, and obtaining economic aid.
  8. Declaring the natural resources in the country as state-owned and regulating their investment.
  9. State participation in economic development through the surplus in its budget, contributing to major projects in the country.
  10. Reassessing the conditions of its economic institutions according to market economy mechanisms to stop losses and increase profitability.
  11. Enacting strict laws to combat corruption.
  12. Protecting society from the deviation of private investment, preventing it from deviating from its economic nature towards greed and illicit gain.

The state’s role in the national economy is central at all stages. It has the right to legislate and guide the national economy through its monetary, fiscal, and tax policies, as well as its policies to achieve social stability.

Fifthly – the issue of modernity

Modernity does not mean using imported scientific products, tools, and equipment, despite the importance of such usage. Modernity means the ability of the mind to produce and develop knowledge, i.e., the ability to act, not just to transfer.

In this sense, modernity means liberating the mind from the tyranny of authority and societal oppression, allowing it to be a force for action in life and a source of decision-making for individuals and groups.

Liberating the mind is a fundamental condition for creativity, and liberating the will is a fundamental condition for utilizing capability.

Collective as well as individual liberation of the mind is a condition for the society’s advancement and progress. Adherence to traditions and the illusions they leave in the human mind leads to weakness, lethargy, loss, and backwardness.

Any nation cannot advance without the liberation of individual and collective minds. Therefore, the responsibility of leading forces in society is significant in working towards achieving modernity, encouraging dialogue, adopting a research and analytical approach to reach truths in all areas of life, regardless of societal traditions and baseless illusions.

Sixthly – the Issue of Globalization

After the collapse of the Soviet Union and its system, the United States, led by the U.S., assumed global leadership, and globalization became one of its tools.

Globalization aims to remove borders and barriers to the movement of goods, money, ideas, information, science, culture, and lifestyles. This transforms the world into a large arena for competition in all economic, cultural, scientific, and political fields. In this vast arena, the weak recede until they fall, while the strong continue on their path.

Globalization has its economic institutions, including the World Trade Organization, the International Monetary Fund, and international investment institutions, as well as multinational corporations.

Working to establish the path of globalization is accompanied by calls for democracy, the protection of human rights, combating discrimination, and terrorism.

Globalization has made significant progress in adopting a market economy in the majority of the world’s countries, including those that previously adhered to Marxism. It has also achieved major accomplishments in transitioning from comprehensive systems to democratic systems.

It is not easy to say that countries, especially developing ones, can stop the path of globalization because the gap has widened between them and advanced countries. On the one hand, their economic weakness and accumulated debt weaken their ability to resist globalization.

The way to avoid the negatives of globalization requires these countries to seriously review their economic, social, political, and cultural policies. The goal is to accelerate closing the gap between them and advanced countries, preventing them from falling into a worse situation than the one preceding national liberation.

The gap has created two worlds: an advanced, rich world and another aspiring to growth and progress, leading to migration from developing and poor countries to advanced ones. This migration poses a social, political, and economic problem in those countries.

The hesitation of developing countries to implement policies that help them rise and progress and benefit from their national resources, coupled with the reluctance of advanced countries to assist developing countries in achieving progress, poses a threat to international security and stability.

It should be noted that the tremendous scientific and cultural development, especially in the field of information, knowledge, ideas, and science, has played a major role in removing borders and barriers. This transitioned from the stage of a state with borders to a global stage where boundaries have fallen due to the evolution of information transfer and communication technologies.


After four and a half decades, we all had to conduct a critical review to identify the reasons that led to the state of the Arab Socialist Ba’ath Party and what the ruling regime produced in terms of suffering, weakness, and failure to liberate the land. Additionally, there has been confusion in its policies and the magnitude of the dangers facing Syria due to its policies, in addition to the internal tensions the country is experiencing in all its ethnic, sectarian, tribal, social, and economic forms. We have clearly deduced two fundamental issues: firstly, the necessity of working for change, overthrowing the regime, and building a democratic civil state. Secondly, the necessity of working to review the ideology and approach of the party to restore its role in both the internal and Arab arenas.


The interim leadership of the party calls on you to:

  1. Study this document, discuss it, and provide comments and suggestions.
  2. Organize small groups of party members who understand the danger of the ruling family’s continued seizure of the state and the party. Work to expand their organizations and spread them throughout the country.
  3. Prepare to participate with popular and political forces in the transitional stage to achieve peaceful change and build a democratic civil state.

We must all realize that our national, party, and ethical responsibilities require us to move from a state of anticipation, stagnation, and suffering to a state of motivation to break this corrupt and oppressive system. Our people need to be liberated from suffering, oppression, and domination. They need to regain their capabilities to work towards liberating the homeland, ensuring the national rights of the Palestinian people, and enhancing integration and solidarity among Arab countries and their peoples. This is to enable the Arab nation to regain its role and be able to protect its land, ensure its wealth, and take its place on the international stage.

To achieve the party’s goals of unity, freedom, and socialism,

Abdel Halim Khaddam

The Interim Leadership of the Arab Socialist Ba’ath Party

In the Syrian Arab Republic