Political Parties Series # 8  The Ba’ath Party [Archives:1999/11/Law & Diplomacy]

March 15 1999

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 Ba’ath Party was founded to usher in a new birth of national unity and independence of the Arab Homeland. The very word ba’ath means re-birth, which points to the basic philosophy of the party. It represented a backlash against traditional Arab leaders, and their role in dividing the Arab Homeland. 
The founder of the Baath Party, Ahmed Michael Aflak stated in 1943, “We need to bring some creative solutions to enable our nation to turn to glory.” 
The Baathi drive was based on the folowing concepts: 
1.To represent current Arab history against reactionism and fabricated progressiveness. 
2.To represent Arab nationalism that expresses the Arab identity. 
3.To stand against nationalism in words and to replace it with action. 
4.To represent the Arab message against the policy of occupation. 
5.To represent the aspirations of the new Arab generation. 
Those points were basic to the ideology and philosophic underpinnings of the party. The ideology of the party came to replace various perversities. As Dr. Iliac Farah, member of the national leadership of the party, indicated that the party’s ideology forms a reasonable response to the non-nationalist movements. 
The setting was prepared. A group of young people believing in these principals met during 4-7 April 1947 in Damascus to change Arab destiny. They began the struggle to carry the Nation’s message. The meeting was given the title “The Constituent Conference of the Arab Baath.” The charter of the party, its political, social, economic and moral values were legislated during the conference. 
The Conference’s final communique stated, “The Arab Baath Party is an Arabic, all-encompassing party, and it called for the founding of Baath branches in Arab capitals to deal with regional policies based on the supreme Arab interests.” 
The conference demanded a united stand of the Arab states in dealing with foreign powers, to open borders among Arab countries, to legislate an Arab charter that permits the Arab people to practice their rights in all Arab nations. 
The 1947 Baath charter considered the Arab League an official body representing the governments and not the Arab people. It demanded a cancellation of all customs duties between Arab countries, considering the Arab Homeland as a single economic unit, and its wealth as belonging to the nation. 
The party spread widely in the capitals of all the Arab states. 
A.Aden and Hadhramout: 
The party found its way in these two cities through students that had studied in Baghdad, Damascus and Cairo. Those students were the contact link with the political, social and union movements that began in Aden and Hadhramaut, that were permitted by the British. One of the organizations the British allowed was the “Laborer Congress” that expressed the unity of the labor movement in southern Yemen. Baathists played vital roles in its foundation in 1956. They also played the same role in the foundation of the “National Front” movement which issued the Al Baath newspaper, mouthpiece of the movement. 
The party gradually began to grow, its political influence expanded in the early fifties with the formation of organized cells in both Aden and Hadhramaut. 
The Baath philosophy soon spread within unions and popular organizations’ activities. The party had a major role in the Teachers Union in Aden, the Laborer Congress, students organizations, and other public organizations. They had an active role in opposing colonization, and stood firmly against the false “Federal Union” project among the Sultans and Sheikhs of southern Yemen that Britain tried to impose. 
The Baath also played a major role in the military struggle through “Liberation Front” and other divisions. The party declared the formation of its armed division named “Forerunners of the People Liberation War” that participated with other groups in the armed struggle. It presented a large number of martyrs till the ugly face of colonization was eliminated. 
B: Northern Part of Yemen: 
Underdevelopment was the main characteristic of the time. Thus, spreading the principals of the party was quite difficult in a community controlled by tribesmen. Only in the mid fifties did the party penetrate into the northern parts of Yemen. 
Its organized existence began only after the declaration of unity between Syria and Egypt in 1958. It was among intellectuals and some officers who participated actively in the “Free Officers” movement that it first spread. These were later to start the September Revolution on 26th of September 1962. 
Yemeni immigrants in Europe and some Arab countries also adopted seriously the ideas of the party. They carried the ideals for the coming generation despite the geographic distances. 
A: The Beliefs: 
1. Belief in Arab nationalism as a moral reality. 
2. Rejecting division among Arab states because it is an imposed and temporary situation. 
3. Belief in freedom as a main concept to revive the Arab Nation and to complete its existence and uprising. 
4. The importance of socialist ideas as a vital factor and the best system of the building Arab character. The party visualized socialism as a complete social revolution and Arab wealth belonging to all Arabs. 
5. The party connected Arab Nationalism with the socialism, unity and freedom. Together, they represent the main goals of the party. 
6.To build a new society, the party believes in moral, scientific, economic and social revolution. 
B: The Party’s Logo: 
The party’s beliefs are summarized in its anthem: “One Arab Nation, With an eternal Message”. 
As a national social party it works on the basis of the following: scientism, revolutionism, realism, struggling, radicalism, all-encompassing, liberty and positivism, moral concepts, humanity and dialogue. 
The main characters of the party were complemented by its main priorities: Unity, Freedom and Socialism. 
The Baath Party announced its political program which has the following main features: 
1. To defend the Yemen Republic, its unity and independence; to protect its national sovereignty and to give the unity a democratic and developed public concept as a step on the the road to Arab unity. 
2.Continuous struggle to deepen democratic practices, guaranteeing freedom of political, social and constitutional rights, including the right of organization, gathering and demonstrating; providing a safe atmosphere and solving all differences peacefully; enhancing the value of democratic political struggle; implementation of an independent justice; and peaceful transfer of power. 
3.Serious struggle to establish government apparatus based on modern concepts of discipline and justice. 
The Baath Party aims: 
A: Economically: 
1. To follow a clear economic policy that promotes independence of the economic decision of the country, giving a chance to develop and increase production leading to a higher level of self-sufficiency. 
2. To follow a financial policy that addresses the past failure and the government’s negative role, reduce the budget deficit through better management, fighting against corruption, control prices and quality of products to protect the consumers from exploitation. 
3. To build dams and end the random and disorganized digging of water wells. 
4. To expand output of agriculture, to develop animal and fishery production and to encourage investment in these fields. 
5. To obtain trade ships that carry the imports and exports of the country within a strategic national policy. 
6. To complete the reform process of the mixed and public sectors and to fight bureaucratic paperwork. 
7. To work for Arab economic integration by founding a joint Arab market and activating the economic boycott resolution against the Zionist entity. 
8. To expand economic cooperation and ties between Yemen and friendly countries, regional and international organizations. 
B: Socially: 
1. Each individual has the right to a job, to social insurance, and to a fair income that can meet his/her basic requirement for a suitable standard of living. 
2. To implement the motto “Medical Treatment for All,” by expanding health services, raising the level of medical supervision to protect citizens, enhancing control on imported medicines, and fighting pollution. 
3. To implement the principal of “Education for All” by spreading educational services all over the country and fighting illiteracy. 
4. To give great attention to the teachers. Working hard to educate our people in various fields, giving more opportunities for higher studies. 
5. To provide adequate residences for each individual. 
6. To pay attention to women giving them a chance to work in various fields according to their qualifications and liberate them from old traditions. 
7. To focus on child needs such as nurseries and orphanages. 
8. To provide total support for the handicapped and old-age persons. 
9. To facilitate the establishment of professional unions without interfering in their affairs, and enabling such unions to function within their rules. 
10. To found scientific institutes and technical schools to produce skilled staff who can achieve improvements. 
11. To give adequate concern for the youth, supporting their activities and implementing programs that serve national development. 
12. Yemeni immigrants are the party’s concern. Agreements should be concluded to insure protection of their rights. 
13. To improve the standard of jails and prisoners, to build rehabilitation centers in order to fight crimes, and to build a productive society. 
14. To extend efforts in various promotional fields to mobilize the public against vengeance and tribal wars, and work to deepen national unity and stability. 
C: Culturally: 
1. To build a democratic society requires continuous efforts to develop the cultural and information systems. 
2. To revive the national heritage and exert all possible efforts to preserve the archeological sites in Yemen, to establish a national center for manuscripts and valuable historical relics, and to take all possible action to fight smuggling out of such wealth. 
3. To pay special attention to press freedom and to the welfare of journalists, to encourage private media so they could serve the supreme goals of the revolution and the country. 
D: Militarily: 
1. To continue to focus on the military, enabling it to function properly in defending the country and in providing peace and security. 
2. To provide national patriotic education to officers and soldiers to develop national Islamic values and loyalty to the country, the revolution and the Islamic Arab Nation. 
3. To promote discipline and morale among the officer corps and the soldiers, and in their interaction with other citizens in the framework of respect for military laws and rules. 
4. To promote principles of discipline and professionalism in the armed and security forces. 
5. To use modern training methods and arms to develop the capacity of the armed forces and their preparedness in order to cope with the new era. 
6. The Security Forces have responsibility for providing security and stability to the citizens. 
7. To improve the standard of living of armed and security forces, and providing them with social, educational and medical insurance. 
1. The Baath Party struggles to achieve Arab unity and to get rid of foreign hegemony. 
2. To liberate Palestine is a central goal of the party. It rejects normalization and all capitulation policies that aim to bury the Palestinian issue. 
3. It calls for lifting the embargo imposed on Iraq, Libya and Sudan and condemns the continuous hostility against Iraq. 
4. To liberate all occupied Arab lands including the Golan Heights and southern Lebanon. 
5. To build a strategic alliance among all Muslim powers. 
6. To promote democracy, freedom, human rights and justice. 
7. To respect the charters of the UN and other international organizations, and to work for world peace and the principles of neutrality and non-alignment. 
8. To engage all countries on the basis of respect for sovereignty, independence and non-interference in internal affairs. 
1. The party consists of circles and cells controlled by horizontal populist organizations, distributed according to geographic lines. Such organizations are formed according to a representation system that springs from group conferences which elect leaders according to the size of their constituent bases. 
2. The elected representatives make up departments, which are grouped in country conferences. Each country elects its leaders and alternate leaders as well as various committees mentioned in the charter of the party. 
3. Each country leadership group consists of 11 members headed by a secretary-general. In Yemen, the secretary-general is Dr. Qassim Sallam. 

  CC & FEC Jointly Organize: Seminar on Decentralization & Democracy
The Human Rights, Liberties and NGOs Committee of the Consultative Council and the Yemen Office of the Friedrick Ebert Stiftung are jointly organizing a seminar on “Decentralization & Democracy” during 17-18 March, 1999.
“The aim of the seminar is to address this vital dimension of our democratization process,” said Mr. Abdulaziz Abdulghani, Chairman of the CC, under whose patronage the even is being geld. Towards that end, many documents and studies will be presented, as follows:
A: Yemeni Documents:
1. The final draft of the Local Administration Law, which is now being discussed in parliament.
2. A proposal for the Local Government Law as presented by the Supreme Coordination Council of the Opposition Parties.
B: Yemeni Studies:
1. The Prospective of the Peoples’ General Congress to the Local Authority Law.
2. Relations between Decentralization and Democracy in the Political System.
3. Two Comments of the Law Draft.
4. Political Evolution in Yemen and the Place of Decentralization.
5. An Example of Delegation of Authority: The Ministry of Education.
C: German Documents:
1. German’s Model of Decentralization.
2. The Role of Decentralization of Authority in Reducing the Sufferings of Re-unification.
The above studies and documents, and possibility more will be handed out during the two meetings of the seminar.
As is evident from the papers, there are Yemeni and German experts participating in the seminar.
On the Yemeni side, several key participants in the process will come to shed light. These include the leaders of the PGC and Islah blocks in parliament, representatives of the government, senior politicians from the ruling party as well as from opposition and many more politicians, scientists, lawyers, journalists and other public figures.
On the German side, a senior official from one of the state governments, as well as FES officials will participate.
“While the German model is quite advanced, it nonetheless represents one of the successful experiences in a responsible modern government. Therefore, it is useful to at least learn how it works,” explained Dr. Abdulaziz Al-Saqqaf, one of the key organizers of the event.
Dr. Abubaker Al-Qirby, also an active participant, indicated that Yemen has its unique environment and background. “We also have a certain level of decentralization already existing in Yemen. This will be made clear from the experience of the Ministry of Education.” he said.
Many Yemenis as well as foreign circles are expected to attend and enrich the two-day talks.
By: Mohammed Bin Sallam,
Yemen Times