Federation of Popular Forces [Archives:1999/09/Law & Diplomacy]

March 1 1999

Political Parties Series # 6
Starting with issue number 4 of January 25th, 1999, Yemen Times is running weekly profiles of the political parties of Yemen. We print the information as received from the parties. The aim is to inform the public – local and international.

The Federation of Popular Forces is a moderate Islamic-oriented party that considers itself part and parcel of the international Islamic revivalist force in peaceful ways. It “represents the interests and aspirations of the great Yemeni people and our glorious Islamic nation.” The FPF is a voluntary grouping of a number of intellectuals for the sake of “elevating the immortal Islamic values”.
Yemenis were experiencing defeat and despair following the failure of the 1948 revolution led by Ibrahim ben Ali Al Wazir, Mohammed Abdul Wase’ Al Wase’i, Col. Taha Mustafa and Col. Ahmed Al Garmouzi in addition to others. Those who fled from imprisonment did not know what to do. Suddenly, there was a ray of hope represented in two developments:
First: The formation of the League of Right and Justice which was the first political organization to be established after the 1948 revolution’s failure.
Second: The issuance of Al Salam newspaper in Cardiff, Britain, by Sheikh Abdullah Ali Al Hakimi which inspired hope in the nation.

Ten years passed by. Then, Ibrahim ben Ali Al Wazir proposed in Cairo in 1959 the amalgamation of all national forces in one united front and as a nucleus for that front he named this grouping the “Federation of Popular Forces”.
The FPF’s basic system, including its goals, means and organizational structures that were later published in a brochure and distributed inside and outside Yemen. Thus, the FPF was, in part, a continuation of a long struggle couched on the experience that crystallized its elements of democracy, shoura and social justice. However, the FPF’s current structure was announced in 1960 after the first communique was initialized.

The Federation’s main goals are worded in its basic system issued in 1960. These are:

1- Liberation:
Liberating the land from colonialism and reactionary forces through dislodging colonialim in the southern areas, and changing the Imamic dictatorial rule in the north. The two systems are to be replaced with a constitutional, republican, popular and shoura rule that ensures freedom of opinion, speech, belief and equality in rights and duties.

2- Unity:
To attain Yemen’s unity within its natural borders and in the framework of a united Arab Nation.

3- Justice:
To work for an economic system that elevates people’s living conditions and guarantees to every citizen work that meets with his/her abilities and competence; in addition to rights of education, nutrition, housing, treatment and rest.

The FPF is based on five doctrines that emanate from Islam’s five main pillars:

1- Truth:
This is represented by the belief in that there is no God but Allah and that Prophet Mohammed is His Messenger. This liberates Man from being a slave to his brother, guaranteeing equality among all.

2- Benevolence:
This leads to harmonious relations between Man and his Creator and his environment. Man should not be selfish or short-sighted in his behavior.

3- Justice:
This is represented by generosity to others and society at large, which guarantees every person’s rights to shelter, food, clothing, education, medication, formation of families through marriage, and guarantees at old age.

4- Peace:
This is represented by Man controlling his will and not to become a slave for his desires.

5- Shoura:
This is represented in the right of the people to choose their ruler and to exercise control over his behavior through accountability.
(1) Freedom to All:
All citizens should be free to organize themselves and express their ideas in any form they wish (societies, parties, syndicates, unions, etc.), and in execution of their various political and social rights.

(2) Dialogue:
Peaceful dialogue is the way to implement Allah’s words for spreading Islam through call (proselytizing) and peaceful dialogue.

(3) Strong Yemeni Citizen:
The society of Yemen should be nurtured in accordance with Islamic teachings and through education to protect rights and democratic institutions.

(4) Asserting Democratic Behavior
This is achieved by means of :
— Promoting stable democratic principles, respect for others’ opinions and avoiding ideological fanaticism and aggression against other parties.
— Respecting constitutional legitimacy and peaceful transfer of power through elections.
— Establishing a state based on institutions, separation of authorities & independence of the judiciary.
— Preserving national unity and cohesion of the internal front and fighting racism and sectarianism.
— Keeping the armed and security forces neutral in the internal political competition in their capacity as two national institutions concerned with protecting constitutional legitimacy, democracy and the nation’s interests.
— Keeping state funds beyond the reach of political parties, including the ruling party.
— Avoiding exploitation of the state media and any bias in favor of any party.
— Avoiding the use or threat of violence.

The Federation first goal of ending royalist rule in the north and colonialism in the south and establishing the republic was realized. The second goal of achieving Yemen’s unity was also realized.
The FPF will continue to work towards its other targets of securing a just rule that will liberate the nation from dictatorship, and achieving social and economic justice to enable the nation to move on with modern scientific advancest. Social justice will remain the party’s main goal in all future plans.
The integrity and competence of the judicial system is another prime goal for the future.

The FPF promotes an economic system that balances between the interests of the individual and those of society.
Education should be reformed in accordance with the following:
1- Strenthening the students’ sense of belonging and loyalty to their country;
2- Linking between the type of education and the country’s needs.
3- Combining between theoretical education and practice.

The press is the people’s means of expressing their opinion, views and constructive criticism. It also represents a precious tool for popular contribution to public issues and people’s participation. It further furnishes ways for spreading public awareness and information to get acquainted with world developments. For these reasons, the press should be totally independent and free. This entails that every citizen has the right to issue a newspaper or a magazine as long as he/she shoulders the responsibility for what he/she publishes without any need for a permit or censorship.

Women are half of society. They are actually the half that raises the other half. Their importance to society is never doubted. But as long as women remain backward, society at large will also remain backward. Therefore, an initiative must be launched to help women so that they can assume their role in building the society.
Islam gave women rights that are even better than those granted to European women, but the Islamic society does not apply them. Work opportunities should be opened to women especially in fields of education and health.

As this paper went into publication, this party and its mouthpiece,
Al-Shoura newspaper, were under pressure from the state, which decided to close down the newspaper and sponsor a party splinter group under the policy of tafreekh. Read more about this policy on page 5.