Michel Aflaq was one of the founders of Ba'athist thought. Below, I present some quotes from Aflaq in order to offer an introduction to elements of the Ba'athist worldview. 'Ba'ath' arrives at "renaissance"; it advocates pan-Arab nationalism and socialism. The Ba'ath Party was the official party in Iraq from 1968, including under Saddam Hussein from 1979 until 2003, and the official party in Syria from 1963 through the present day.
Michel Aflaq (1910-1989)
On Arab unity; source: "Choice of Texts from the Ba'ath Party Founder's Thought"
The cooperation realized by the Arab League charter is inadequate since this cooperation could take place among countries different from each other in language, race and history as they are far from each other regionally and separated from each other by continents. The charter, taken as a whole, is a confirmation of the present state of fragmentation in the Arab world, and an emphasis on the rulers' personal urges. It is also acquiescence on the part of League's states, to the policy of the "fait accompli", which made it easy for them to retreat before the designs of the foreigners on certain parts of the Arab homeland. Such retreat has taken the form of admitting that Palestine has not yet reached the stage of political maturity, neglecting the fate of other Arab lands in North Africa and elsewhere and the silence of these states vis-à-vis the Zionist menace, as well as the annexation of Alexandretta by Turkey. (Our opinion of the Arab League Charter -The Periodical Publication No. (1) 4.April 4, 1945)'
It is now the Arabs who quarrel among themselves over unity and federation, republic and democracy, freedom and sovereignty, or to put it more correctly and justly, the quarrel is between professional political cliques, which have sold themselves, and conscience to the foreigners. There are those who want to open the way for imperialist interests through the call for unity, the republic and freedom. There are Arab royalist governments in support of the republic in Syria. Others surrender to the foreigners but pretend to carry the banner of unity and federation. We must be above such disputes, which have no connection with the real issue of nationalism, even though they are named after it and take on Arabic terms and nomenclatures derived from nationalist aims. But, they are in fact alien to it. (Our task is to struggle to safeguard the aims of the Arabs -Al-Baath, 4 -Dec. 29, 1949).
After the disaster of Palestine, no one can be deceived by appearances that are not based on truth or realities. Large numbers, after the defeat of the seven Arab states in the face of the Zionist gangs, are no longer sufficient to do without quality. Any union that the Arabs intend to realize, after the cruel experiences and predicaments they have undergone, should have the necessary elements of viability. It must acquire quality not quantity, form or territory. In brief, such a union has to rely on the unity of the forces of the people aiming at the increase of production and defence forces, as well as elevating the level of political and nationalist consciousness, which could be likened to spiritual production and spiritual defense and to the material production and military defense. (We want positive objectives -Al-Baath 4 -January 4, 1950).
There is no doubt that the goals of "The Arab Baath," which we have summarized in “Unity, Freedom and Socialism,” are fundamentally equal in importance and should not to be separated from each other or to be postponed. In addition, unity has a moral priority and superiority which should not be overlooked by the Baathists lest they follow ideological and political currents that are most remote from the idea of Arab renaissance. (The revolutionary nature of the Arab unity, 2 -February, 1953).
Thus, we reach this fact: The Arab people will not realize the unity of struggle unless it practices the struggle for unity. (The revolutionary nature of the Arab unity, 2 -February, 1953).
The liberty demanded by an Egyptian or an Iraqi party, and the socialism for which a Syrian or a Lebanese party works are something other than the liberty and socialism which the Arab nation needs and is capable of realizing, as a nation of a cultural heritage, capacity and potential for a new and genuine renaissance. The freedom, which every Arab region pursues all alone, cannot reach in profundity, comprehensiveness and positive significance the level of freedom to which the Arab nation aspires when it puts its destiny and the destiny of humanity in question. Similarly, socialism reduced and distorted within the borders of one region, to the point of confining itself to partial and deceptive reforms, will reach its full theoretical and applicable scope when its area becomes the Arab homeland as an economic unity and as a unity of popular struggle. (Unity of struggle and unity of destiny, 1 -August, 1955).
The revolutionary nature of Arab unity, cannot therefore, be realized from above or on the basis on which the "Arab League" was established. It should come from the depths of the masses of the Arab people, fused with the innermost needs of this people, and with the core of its emancipation and social struggle. It also means that unity, even though it requires for realization time and effort in stages, has a precondition for attaining it, and it should be taken as a target and guideline for our struggle from the beginning. This means that all our other steps should be open to it, connect with it and lead to it. Meanwhile, we have to sacrifice many regional and immediate interests while overcoming the obstacles raised by regional thinking because we shall never find unity at the end of our path unless we put unity at its beginning. (The revolutionary nature of the Arab cause, 2 -April 25, 1956).
The Arab people, in the different parts of its homeland, whether small or large in number, struggles armed by the force of the whole Arab nation because it struggles for the freedom of the whole Arab nation. (The federation of Egypt and Syria, 2 -July 6, 1956).
One of the features of Arab awakening is that it endeavors to emerge from economic backwardness by setting out economic policies on popular, progressive and revolutionary bases. Most efforts are to be directed towards raising the standard of the greatest number of the Arabs and concentrating on fundamental matters such as strengthening defense and establishing basic industries in order to liberate the homeland from foreign dependence. All this should take place in the framework of the logic of Arab unity, which requires that the Arab economy should be integrated with every part complementing others and become open to unifying steps while enhancing them. (The outcome 0£ a stage 0£ struggle, 5 -December, 1956).
When Arab unity becomes the axis of our revolution, the heart that nourishes it, the horizon that inspires it and gives it fervor, it will negate all the reasoning and precautions which, some ten or twenty years ago, imposed on our life that low level of thinking and action and that superficial and shameful conduct of our affairs and conditions. In both the battle for liberation and independence and the battle for progress and social revolution, the idea of unity has opened the door in every Arab region for radical and decisive solutions, because it makes every Arab region responsible for the burden of the Arab nation in its entirety, while at the same time replenishing them with the potential of the whole Arab nation. The revolutionary nature of the unity becomes apparent in the fact that it elevates the Arab struggle to profound suffering and the gravest danger, that is, to the level of the causes of Palestine and Algeria. (The revolution of Algeria and the revolution of unity, 2 April 4,1958).
The danger to the nationalist cause presented by the errors, which have been responsible for the failure of the experience of unity, will end as soon as the people are aware of these errors and know how to rectify and avoid them. As for the danger of the separatist situation this will not be brought to an end merely by knowing its reality, a reality which is unmasked, but the people must summon up all their fighting energy to resist the reactionary and imperialist privileges of which the new situation is made up. (The relapse into secession, 2-Februarv. 1962).
The unity of the Arab nation is both a positive and negative fact. Positive, because it is the power and the right order of things. It is a negative fact because the enemies are conspiring against the whole Arab nation and when they hit one of its regions they hit the nation in its entirety. (The distant horizons of revolutionary action, 3. October 14, 1968)
The battle of destiny faced by our Arab nation requires all the capacities and potential of this nation. This is a truth, which has become axiomatic. But the natural start of deploying and unifying the capabilities of the Arab nation is in the beginning stage and is concentrated in the unity of the masses of the regions surrounding "Israel" and these are: Egypt, Iraq and Syria. (The call of historic responsibility, 3 -March, 1971)
The solution of the Arabs today is in unity and their road for achieving unity is through democracy. In order that unity does not remain a theoretical quest, and so that democracy does not deviate to objectives less fundamental than unity, the masses should direct their efforts to wresting their right in a democracy linked with unity .In other words, they should achieve unity as masses and realize democracy through the unifying struggle of the masses. (The regimes and the masses are two opposing sides of the Arab nation -The Arab Revolutionary -April 15, 1974)
Comrades we must look at the Arab unity, which every time that it comes near, slips from our hands, with a new look so that involves no erroneous thoughts and in order not to become subject to unjustifiable despair. Arab unity is approaching and we are now nearer to it than at any other time in the past because it is incorporated in the consciousness of the Arab masses. The awareness of unity has grown a great deal, especially during the last war and the period after. We can reach unity by various ways provided that this new level of maturity which our masses have attained prevents us from the old emotional stands which meant that either the others accepted unity with us or we become enraged, hurt and distressed. Unity means that we have to seize every opportunity and use every field of communication and cooperation and common formation in the Arab regions. We should consider governments and all these barriers temporary and ephemeral and we should build for tomorrow, for posterity. We have to open our way to the masses even in the regions where the governments of which, have capitulated to imperialism. The plan of the enemies is to find us isolated, shrunken, within a cocoon, surrounded, so that they can enter the inside of our house. This plan should be forced to fail through repeated and various initiatives. Iraq must be open to all the Arab regions but should be very careful to define its distance from them in matters concerning principles and the soundness of policy. (The experiment of Baath in Iraq is a starting point for the Arab revolution, 7 -June 24, 1974)