IDEOLOGY
As prepared by Dr. Haytham A. Kader

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The ideology and doctrine of Syrian Social Nationalism are best approached by a study of the central document that contains the basic and reform principles of the SSNP and the elaboration of their implications. This major document that originated as a pamphlet written by Saadeh in a single day in prison, and later developed through subsequent editions, found its final format in 1947. The principles have remained in their essence unaltered since the inception of the first organizational structure of the SSNP. During the founding period, the diffusion of SSNP ideology relied on the text of the principles, basic and reform, without the explanatory part.


1.Basic Principles

2.Reform principles

3.The Aim of the Syrian Social Nationalist Party


I. THE BASIC PRINCIPLES

The eight basic principles of the SSNP embody the doctrine of Syrian nationalism. They proceed in a logical order from a declaration of the existence and nature of the Syrian nation (first principle), to an identification of the character of its cause (second and third principles), to a clarification of its genesis (the fourth principle) and its homeland (fifth principle). The basis of national unity (sixth principle), the sources of national character and consciousness (seventh principle), and the guiding principles of national militancy (eighth principle) are then defined.

 

First Basic Principle: Syria is for the Syrians and the Syrians are a complete nation.

Second Basic Principle: The Syrian cause is an integral national cause completely distinct from any other cause.

Third Basic Principle: The Syrian cause is the cause of the Syrian nation and the Syrian homeland.

Fourth Basic Principle: The Syrian nation is the product of the ethnic unity of the Syrian people which developed throughout history.

Fifth Basic Principle: The Syrian homeland is that geographic environment in which the Syrian nation evolved. It has distinct natural boundaries and extends from the Taurus range in the northwest and the Zagros mountains in the northeast to the Suez canal and the Red Sea in the south and includes the Sinai peninsula and the gulf of Aqaba, and from the Syrian sea in the west, including the island of Cyprus, to the arch of the Arabian desert and the Persian gulf in the east. (This region is also known as the Syrian Fertile Crescent).

Sixth Basic Principle: The Syrian nation is one society.

Seventh Basic Principle: The Syrian Social Nationalist movement derives its inspiration from the talents of the Syrian nation and its cultural political national history.

Eighth Basic Principle: Syria's interest supersedes every other interest.

 

 

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II. REFORM PRINCIPLES

Saadeh's objective was not only to define the national identity of the Syrians but also to set in motion a movement that would revive the Syrian nation and make it possible for Syria to become a modern and viable entity. This meant the need to change the pattern of the social, political, and economic life of his people. The SSNP was thus conceived as an agent of change and represents the first concrete effort in Syria towards the total modernization of society. Since the main purpose of the Party is the generation of national renaissance, its doctrine does not restrict itself to defining the national cause and determining the national identity, but also identifies the goals to be achieved.

The change that the Party envisages is a comprehensive one that seeks to rebuild society in accordance with a distinct social philosophy. The tenets of this philosophy are embodied in the reform principles. Though directed mainly against the corrupt social conditions of the nation, they are not meant to be temporary. They embody the social philosophy of the Party just as the basic principles embody its nationalist doctrine.

 

First Reform Principle: Separation of religion and state.

Second Reform Principle: Debarring the clergy from interference in political and judicial matters.

Third Reform Principle:Removal of the barriers between the various sects and confessions.

Fourth Reform Principle: The abolition of feudalism, the organization of national economy on the basis of production and the protection of the rights of labour and the interests of the nation and the state.

Fifth Reform Principles: Formation of strong armed forces which will be effective in determining the destiny of the country and the nation.

 

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1. The First Basic Principle

Syria is for the Syrians and the Syrians are a complete nation.

When I began to give serious thought to the resuscitation of our nation against the background of the irresponsible political movements rampant in its midst, it became forthwith certain to me that our most urgent problem was the determination of our national identity and our social reality. Although there was no consensus of opinion concerning this problem, I became convinced that the starting point of every correct national endeavor must be the raising of this fundamental philosophical question: Who are we?. After extensive research, I arrived at the following conclusion: We are Syrians and we constitute a distinct national entity.

The confused conceptions of our nation implied in the statements such as `we Lebanese', 'Palestinians-,-Syrians','Iraqis-, or 'Arabs-,have contributed to the breaking up of our national identity and cannot serve as the basis of a genuine national consciousness or of our national revival. Thus the assertion that the Syrians constitute a nation complete in itself is a fundamental doctrine which should put and end to ambiguity and place the national effort on the basis of clarity without which no national revival in Syria is possible. The realization of the complete nationhood of the Syrians and the active consciousness of this nationhood are two essential prerequisites for the vindication of the principle of national sovereignty. For, were the Syrians not a complete nation having right to sovereignty and to the establishment of an independent state, Syria would not be for the Syrians in the full sense, but might fail an easy prey to the intrigues of some other sovereign power pursuing interests conflicting with, or that might conflict with the interests of the Syrian people.

This principle is intended to safeguard the unity of the Syrian nation and the integrity of its homeland. The Syrians are a nation upon whom alone devolves the right to own, dispose of, and make decisions concerning every inch of Syrian territory. The homeland belongs to the nation as a whole and no one, not even individual Syrian citizens, may dispose of any part of its territory in such a way as to destroy or endanger the integrity of the country, which integrity is a necessary condition for preserving the unity of the Syrian nation.

This principle addresses the basic question posed by any thinking about national struggle, namely the determination of national identity. The starting point of every national endeavor is the determination of national identity which is the only viable basis of national consciousness and the starting point of national revival. In this principle lies the legal basis of national sovereignty. In essence, this principle announces the illegitimacy in the eyes of the SSNP of all international treaties, alliances or schemes that may affect the Syrian homeland in a fashion contrary to the real interests and wishes of the Syrian nation. This principle is the historical response to the Sykes-Picot arrangements of dividing the Syrian homeland into spheres of interest between France and Britain in the wake of the First World War. It is a resounding refusal of the right of Britain to issue the Balfour declaration promising to facilitate the settlement of Zionists in southern Syria (Palestine) and the creation of a Jewish homeland, and a rejection of the presumed rights of Jews to such a homeland in southern Syria.

This principle further asserts the permanence of national sovereignty in the face of the temporary political arrangements and separate states that arose in Syria under the influence of foreign colonial powers and separatist movements. It affirms the primacy of the integrity of the nation and its homeland over the temporary political forms that may arise during periods of national disintegration and foreign occupation. Furthermore, by relating the sovereignty over the homeland to the existence of the nation, Saadeh was setting the legal basis for this sovereignty in a national envergure. Since sovereignty over the homeland is national, no individuals, groups or governments within Syria have the right to forfeit or to allow the permanent loss of sovereignty over any part of the Syrian homeland. The concept of 'land for peace' is completely unacceptable in this reference frame. Based on this we understand Saadeh's objections to the surrender of the Alexandretta district of northern Syria to the Turks before the Second World War and the continuing rejection by the Party of any settlements in southern Syria (Palestine) short of the restitution of Syrian sovereignty over the entire Syrian Homeland".

A distinctive aspect of this principle is the necessary interconnection of its two clauses. A requisite that Syria the homeland belong to the Syrians is that the latter form a complete nation. This interdependence between the nation and the homeland is a primary axiom of Syrian Social Nationalism. The integrity of the Syrian nation is the safeguard of the integrity of the Syrian homeland and vice versa. Thus all attempts leading to a loss of Syrian national integrity threaten the loss of homeland. Saadeh often stressed that national disintegration was a main reason for the loss of Alexandretta and Antioch in the north, and Palestine in the south-west. Separatism is thus a danger to the integrity of the homeland. Conversely, the Syrian nation can not prosper and be revived when valuable portions of the homeland are taken away. The integrity of the homeland is vital to the survival and prosperity of the nation.

In its apparent simple structure, this principle is the most valuable guide to the understanding of Syrian Social Nationalism and to the elucidation of the plan for national struggle. It is a call to the constituency of the Party to fight separatism, to resist factional tendencies, to reject colonialism, and to re-establish unlimited Syrian possession of the entire homeland. Based on this principle, the SSNP does not recognize the right of Zionists to establish a belligerent religious state in the southern part of Syria (Palestine) with clear intentions of engulfing larger sections of the Syrian homeland. Furthermore, the SSNP does not abide by any international agreements that would deprive the Syrians of their national integrity or the integrity of their homeland. Finally, the independence of Syria in deciding its national interests and the course of its life in its homeland is an immutable right that the SSNP does not allow to be jeopardized or abrogated.

 

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2. The Second Basic Principle

The Syrian cause is an integral national cause completely distinct from any other cause.

This principle signifies that all the legal and political questions that relate to any portion of Syrian territory, or to any Syrian group, are part of one indivisible cause distinct from, and unmixed with, any other external matter which may nullify the conception of the unity of Syrian interests and of the Syrian will. This principle follows from and is complementary to the first principle. Since Syria is for the Syrians and the Syrians are a complete nation endowed with the right to sovereignty, it follows that this nation's cause, that is its life and destiny, belongs to her alone and is independent from any other cause that involves interests other than those of the Syrian people.

This principle reserves to the Syrians alone the right to expound their own cause and to be their sole representatives, determine their own interests and shape their own destiny.

From the spiritual point of view, this principle entails that the will of the Syrian nation, which represents its highest interests, is a general will and that the lofty ideals that the Syrians seek to realize emanate from their own character, temperament and talents. The Syrian nation can not tolerate the disintegration of these ideals, or its dissociation from them or their mingling with other aims in which they may be forfeited. These ideals are Freedom, Duty, Discipline, and Strength, abounding with Truth, Good and Beauty in the most sublime form to which the Syrian spirit can rise and which the Syrians must attain through their own endeavors, since no one else but themselves can represent or realize those ideals for them.

In accordance with this principle, the Syrian Social Nationalist Party declares that it does not recognize the right of any non-Syrian person or organization to speak on behalf of Syria and its interests either in internal or international matters. The Party does not recognize the right of anybody to make the interests of Syria contingent on the interests of other nations. The Syrian Social Nationalist Party does not recognize the right of any non-Syrian person or organization to thrust its own ideals upon the Syrian nation in substitution for its own.

This principle details the national reference frame expounded in the first principle. While reasserting the national character of territorial sovereignty, it relates all essential elements of the life and destiny of the nation to a national decision framework. The cause for this principle is the long held attitude rampant among Syrians before the advent of the SSNP, that the destiny of Syria is inextricably linked to the destiny and will of the foreign colonial power in control. While under Ottoman rule, many Syrian thinkers thought of the destiny of Syria as part of the Ottoman empire and fought for Ottoman nationalism. Even the early resistance to Jewish settlements in southern Syria was formulated in the context of loyalty to the Ottoman state. Subsequently, the separatist Christian leaders in Lebanon sought to link the destiny of central western Syria (Lebanon) to France. More recently, the continuous conflict on Syrian land between Syrians and Zionists is interpreted as a manifestation of the struggle between the United States and the Soviet Union for Near Eastern supremacy. By proclaiming the integral and independent framework for the Syrian national cause, Saadeh was establishing the guiding principle for the struggle of the Party: the SSNP does not view the life and destiny of Syria as related to any non-Syrian issues and thus the pursuit of the interests of Syria by the Party is guided solely by those principles independent of extraneous causes or struggles.

This principle also establishes the Unitarian direction in tackling the issues of the life and destiny of the nation. Thus the occupation of southern Syria by Zionists is not a 'Palestinian issue' or a separate 'Palestinian cause', but part of the Syrian cause. By establishing the wider appurtenance of the Palestinian issue, Saadeh commits the entire Syrian nation to the struggle for the return of Palestine to full Syrian sovereignty. It is clear that abandonment of this principle has been largely responsible for the defeat of the efforts of Palestinians in keeping and recuperating southern Syria. It is only with a unified Syrian effort that southern Syria can be liberated.

An additional tangible consequence of this principle is the realization that Zionist colonialism is a threat to the entire of Syria as has become clearly obvious in the events of recent history. The national framework has allowed Saadeh to become cognizant of the ramifications of Zionist settlements very early in this century and to voice his warning starting in 1925 of the dangers of these settlements (10). The assumption by the entire Syrian nation of the responsibility for issues affecting some of its regions assures vigilance in all national matters. The exemplification of this principle lies in the thousands of SSNP members whose struggle, sacrifices and martyrdom has transcended regional affiliations.

The emphasis on the national framework for the Syrian cause and its integral character establishes a Unitarian streak in the struggle. It is a guardian against regionalism, sectarianism and individualism in attending to issues related to the life and destiny of the nation. This extends also to the issue of representation. This principle implies that regional representatives can not claim absolute right of representation for their regions in a manner to exclude the rights of the nation as a whole to any decisions pertaining to that region or its inhabitants. Thus the SSNP does not accept that regional representatives are the 'sole legal representatives of the people' as is common in the parlance of various regional political groups. According to this principle, the regions of Syria are so integrally related in one unity that no regional decision with major envergure can be made in isolation from the rest of the nation. Thus it is not the right of the representatives of regional groups to forfeit parts of the homeland, albeit the parts of that region. Any proclamation of the acceptance by Palestinian groups of the right of Israel to exist and the forfeiting of Palestine is considered by the SSNP as treason to the cause of the nation and the homeland (1). As it relates to non-Syrians interceding on behalf of Syria, the SSNP does not recognize the right of an Egyptian president to represent Syrian interests and to come to agreement in any forum with anybody over vital issues of Syrian appurtenance. Thus agreements relating to the West Bank by an Egyptian president and a US president in Camp David are considered void by the Party on principle.

 

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3. The Third Basic Principle

The Syrian cause is the cause of the Syrian nation and the Syrian homeland.

This principle unequivocally defines the Syrian cause and emphasizes the indissoluble bond between the nation and its territory. Nations arise in distinct territories that sustain their lives and national character. The concept of the unity of the nation and its homeland embodied in this principle enables us to understand the nation as a social reality and frees the concept of nationhood from such historical, racial or religious misconceptions as are contrary to the nature of the nation and its vital interest.

The organic correlation between the nation and its homeland is the only principle whereby the unity of life can be achieved. It is within a national territory that the unity of national life and participation in its activities, interests and aims are attained. The national territory is vital for the development of the social character of the nation and forms the basis of its life.

A dominant characteristic of the basic principles is Saadeh's insistence on clarity in defining the issues of Syrian nationalism. This is exemplified by the sequential order of development of the basic principles. They evolve one from the other in a complementary fashion amplifying the breadth of the national cause while detailing its elements. The third principle carries the issue of the national cause into its elements: it is the cause of the Syrian nation and the Syrian homeland. This amplification is important for two main reasons: first, it emphasizes a major precept of Social Nationalism mentioned earlier about the indissoluble link of the nation and its homeland. Second, this principle defines the framework of national struggle. The emphasis is on concrete causes directly related to primordial issues. The SSNP does not struggle for independence in an undefined sense, but for the independence of the Syrian nation in its homeland, i.e. its political, economic, cultural, military and strategic independence in its completely liberated homeland (16). This divergence from the stream of generalities that imbues Near Eastern political movements is a conscious choice inculcated by Saadeh to all his disciples. This principle also widens the envergure of national struggle. Since the cause is that of the nation, its life and destiny, then all the elements of its life need to be addressed.

The doctrine of Social Nationalism is the first in the Near East to base the concept of nation on the realities of human societal development. The details particular to the Syrian nation will be illustrated in subsequent principles. In general, the doctrine states that nations formed because the geographical environment coupled with historical-economic and sociological events led to the formations of distinct human societies with distinct life cycles, character and history. This view contrasts with other concepts of nationhood prevalent in the Near East that relate the existence of nations to religious bonds, race purity, or secondary aspects of human society such as language and common historical periods.

 

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4. The Fourth Basic Principle

The Syrian nation is the product of the ethnic unity of the Syrian people which developed throughout history.

This principle defines what constitutes the nation mentioned in previous articles. lt reveals the concrete actuality of the nation which is the final outcome of the long history of all the people that have settled in Syria, inhabited it, interacted

with each other and finally became fused in one people. This process started with the people of the Neolithic age who preceded the Canaanites and Chaldeans in settling this land, and continued through to the Akkadians, the Canaanites, the Chaldeans, Assyrians, Arameans, Amorites, and Hittites. Thus the principle of Syrian nationhood is not based on race or blood, but rather on the natural social unity derived from homogeneous intermixing. Through this principle the interests, the aims and the ideals of the Syrian nation are unified and the national cause is guarded against disharmony, disintegration and strife that result from primitive loyalties to blood ties.

The alleged racial purity of any nation is a groundless myth. It is found only in savage groups, and even there it is rare. The Syrian nation consists of a mixture of Canaanites, Akkadians, Chaldeans, Assyrians, Arameans, Hiffites, and Metanni as the French nation is a mixture of Gauls, Ligurians, Franks, etc... and the Italian nation of Romans, Latins, Etruscans, etc... the same being true of every other nation.

The Syrian nation denotes this society which possesses organic unity. Though of mixed origins, this society has come to constitute a single society living in a distinguished environment known historically as Syria or the Fertile Crescent. The common stocks, Canaanites, Chaldeans, Arameans, Assyrians, Amorites, Hiffites, Metanni and Akkadians etc...whose blending is an indisputable historical fact constitute the ethnic-historical-cultural basis of Syria's unity whereas the Syrian Fertile Crescent constitutes the geographic-economic-strategic basis of this unity.

This ethnic and geographical reality has been marred by successive historic events which destroyed documentation and led to the substitution of various foreign accounts for authentic facts and distorted through various interpretations of our national history. A large number of historians have confined their definition of SYRIA to Byzantine or late Hellenic 'Syria', whose boundaries extended from the Taurus range and the Euphrates to the Suez thus excluding the Assyrians and Chaldeans from Syrian History. Other historians have further confined this definition to the region between Cilicia and Palestine, thus leaving out Palestine. All these historians were aliens who were unable to grasp the reality of the Syrian nation and its environment and the process of its development. Moreover, most of the Syrian historians who derived their information from foreign sources without adequate criticism, have followed their lead-Thus the truth was falsified and our genuine cause was lost.

The history of the ancient Syrian states (Akkadian, Chaldean, Assyrian, Hittite, Canaanite, Aramean, Amorite) point to one and the same trend: the political, economic, and social unity of the Syrian Fertile Crescent-This fact should enable us to view the Assyrian and Chaldean wars, aimed at dominating the whole of Syria, in a new light. These were internal wars, a struggle for supremacy among the powerful groups and dynasties within the nation which was still in the making and which later attained its maturity.

This principle is not in the least incompatible with the fact that Syria is one of the nations of the Arab World, nor is this latter fact at variance with the statement that Syria is a complete nation with sovereign rights over its territory and consequently with a distinct and independent national cause. It is the overlooking of this principle that has given the religious sects in Syria the means of disuniting the country into a Mohammedan-Arab faction on the one hand and a Christian-Phoenician one, on the other, so that the unity of the nation is thereby destroyed and its energies dissipated.

This principle would redeem Syria from the blood bigotries which are apt to cause the neglect of national interests. For those Syrians who believe or feel that they are of Aramaic extraction would no longer be actuated to fan Aramaic blood loyalty , so long as the principle of Social Nationalist unity and the equality of civic, political and social rights and duties are guaranteed, and no ethnic or racial discrimination in Syria is made. Similarly, those Syrians who claim to descend from a Phoenician (Canaanite), Arab, or Crusader stock, would no longer have allegiance but to their Syrian community. Thus would genuine national consciousness arise. The unity of the Syrian nation arose from the elements which have formed in the course of history the Syrian people and the mental and spiritual traits of the Syrian nation.

This principle cannot be said to imply that Jews are a part of the Syrian nation and equal in rights and duties to the Syrians. Such an interpretation is incompatible with this principle which excludes the integration of elements with alien and exclusive racial loyalties in the Syrian nation. Such elements cannot fit into any homogeneous nation.

There are large settlements of immigrants in Syria, such as the Armenians, Kurds and Circassians, whose assimilation is possible given sufficient time. These elements may dissolve in the nation and lose their special loyalties. But there is one large settlement which can not in any respect be reconciled to the principle of Syrian nationalism, and that is the Jewish settlement. IT is a dangerous settlement which can never be assimilated because it consists of a people that, although it has mixed with many other peoples, has remained a heterogeneous mixture, not a nation, with strange stagnant beliefs and aims of its own, essentially incompatible with Syrian rights and sovereignty ideals. It is the duty of the Syrian Social Nationalists to repulse the immigration of this people with all their might.

The definition of the Syrian nation expounded in this principle is clearly different from the various definitions of 'Syria' common in historical and literary works in Syria and abroad. While historical research unceasingly uncovers evidence of Unitarian tendencies in the civilization of the "Near East", scholars have frequently confined their definition of Syria to the western part of the Fertile Crescent. Saadeh has often stated that the limitations of terminology should not detract from an understanding of the nature of the one nation that has been shaped in the confines of the Fertile Crescent. Indeed, he has suggested that if the 'name' has limitation, the name can be altered to reflect the unity of the nation. Indeed, he suggested that 'Souraqia', an amalgamation of the Arabic forms of Syria and Iraq, could be used to reflect the unity of the western and eastern components of the Fertile Crescent, although he continued to favor Syria because of its Syrian origin (possibly a derivation from Assyrian, see below) over Iraq which is of Persian derivation. Furthermore, it should be remembered that before the formation of the modern state of Iraq in the wake of the First World War, the term referred to southern Mesopotamia and did not include the district of Mosul.

Several theories have been advanced to explain the origin of the name Syria. It is, in form, a Greek name (Suria) first used by the Greek historian Herodotus (20). Herodotus applies the name Syrians to the Phoenicians, Palestinians, and interestingly the Cappadocians. He does not use distinction between Syrian and Assyrian consistently and states: 'These people used to be called Syrians by the Greeks, Assyrians being the name for them elsewhere'. The various theories on the etymology of 'Syria' can be categorized as follows:

- from 'Assyria' by elimination of the prefix. This is a popular theory and has strong elements to support it considering that the Assyrian empire included at various times the entire western part of the Crescent. It is suggested by the statement of Herodotus mentioned above. Further evidence comes from the Syrian writer Lucian who, writing in Greek, referred to himself interchangeably as 'Syrian' and 'Assyrian'.

-from the Semitic name of the city of Tyre, 'Sur'. The Greeks, however, referred to the city as 'Tur' and it is difficult to see how they would derive the name of the land with an 's'. Chroniclers of the crusades have stated that the inhabitants of the region gave this explanation for the etymology of the name of the land. The reliability and relevance of this late testimony, however, are difficult to ascertain.

-from the Ugaritic and biblical 'Siryon', a name for Mt. Hermon. The Greeks, however, would have maintained the 'i' and had no need to substitute a 'u' as in "Suria'.

-from the Egyptian 'Hrw' (Hurri) used to refer to western Syria during the Eighteenth to the Twenty-First Dynasties. This assumes a transformation of the 'H' to the Coptic -S-, apparently a development with many precedents. Herodotus could easily have utilized the term the Egyptians used to refer to their northeastern neighbors.

The Unitarian stirring in the confines of the Fertile Crescent became manifest in the development of economic ties, cultural interactions, and population mixing all antecedent to the earliest political forms of unity. The unity of the life cycle within the Fertile Crescent has preceded the political unity of the first territorial empire by the Akkadian rulers. The unity of life has persisted when political unity was lacking. It should be highlighted that the recurring territorial empires arising in Syria under the mantles of the various forming elements of the Syrian nation, have contributed to the maintenance and promotion of the unity of life. Thus the Babylonian empire of Hammurapi, the Assyrian empire, the Neo-Babylonian state, the Seleucide rule etc... have given political and administrative facilitatory forms to the unity of life prevalent within the confines of the Syrian homeland.

Saadeh ascribed the failure of historians in general to grasp the historical unity within the confines of the Fertile Crescent to the influence of Greek and Roman historians. A similar opinion has been independently advanced recently by the British historians Amelie Kuhn and Susan Sherwin-White: 'Traditional approaches to the study of the Hellenistic East after Alexander have been mainly hellenocentric and have selected as of prime importance the establishment and spread of Greek culture. This is a serious lack which stems from the overriding significance attached to the classical tradition in which most scholars of the ancient world have been educated. One of the results of this is that where there is no clear Greek evidence a political, social and cultural vacuum is assumed. Another distorting factor has been the preoccupation of Roman historians who have tended (not unnaturally) to concentrate almost exclusively on those regions of the Seleucide empire which by the first century BC had become part of the Roman empire. This approach has led them to...[ignore] the central importance of the vast territories controlled by the Seleucid east of the Euphrates'.

The question of limiting the term 'Syria' to the western part of the Fertile Crescent is examined by another historian in the same collection, Fergus Millar: 'By 'Syria' I mean anywhere west of the Euphrates and south of the Amanus mountains-essentially therefore the area west of the Euphrates where Semitic languages were used ... This begs a question about Asia Minor (and especially Cilicia), from which Aramaic documents are known, and a far more important one about northern Mesopotamia and about Babylonia; Should we not, that is, see the various Aramaic-speaking areas of the Fertile Crescent as representing a single culture, or at any rate closely connected cultures, and therefore not attempt to study the one area without the others?'.

 

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5. The Fifth Basic Principle

The Syrian homeland is that geographic environment in which the Syrian nation evolved. It has distinct natural boundaries and extends from the Taurus range in the northwest and the Zagros mountains in the northeast to the Suez canal and the Red Sea in the south and includes the Sinai peninsula and the gulf of Aqaba, and from the Syrian sea in the west, including the island of Cyprus, to the arch of the Arabian desert and the Persian gulf in the east. (This region is also known as the Syrian Fertile Crescent).

These are the natural boundaries of the Syrian homeland which has housed the elements of the Syrian nation and provided them with the basis of their lives and the opportunity of contact and collision, then mixture and fusion which resulted in the formation of the distinct character of the Syrian nation. The Chaldeans and Assyrians were alive to the internal unity and integrity of this country and sought to unify it politically, interested as they were in the idea of the territorial state. Similarly, all the other people who inhabited this region were conscious of the internal unity of the country and sought to build up confederations between decentralized governments to avoid internal dissension and for protection from external incursions.

The secret of Syria's persistence as a distinct nation despite the numerous invasions to which it succumbed, lies in the geographic unity of its homeland. It was this geographic unity that ensured the political unity of this country even in environment in which the Syrian nation evolved. It has distinct natural boundaries and extends from the Taurus range in the northwest and the Zagros mountains in the northeast to the Suez canal and the Red Sea in the south and includes the Sinai peninsula and the gulf of Aqaba, and from the Syrian sea in the west, including the island of Cyprus, to the arch of the Arabian desert and the Persian gulf in the east. (This region is also known as the Syrian Fertile Crescent).

These are the natural boundaries of the Syrian homeland which has housed the elements of the Syrian nation and provided them with the basis of their lives and the opportunity of contact and collision, then mixture and fusion which resulted in the formation of the distinct character of the Syrian nation. The Chaldeans and Assyrians were alive to the internal unity and integrity of this country and sought to unify it politically, interested as they were in the idea of the territorial state. Similarly, all the other people who inhabited this region were conscious of the internal unity of the country and sought to build up confederations between decentralized governments to avoid internal dissension and for protection from external incursions.

The secret of Syria's persistence as a distinct nation despite the numerous invasions to which it succumbed, lies in the geographic unity of its homeland. It was this geographic unity that ensured the political unity of this country even in ancient times when it was still divided among the Canaanites, the Arameans, the Hittites, the Amorites, the Assyrians, and the Chaldeans, a political unity which manifested itself in the formation of alliances in the face of threats from Egyptians and other invasions. That unity reached its culmination with the formation of a Seleucid Syrian state, which grew into a powerful empire and dominated Asia Minor and extended as far as India.

Syria's loss of sovereignty as a consequence of the major foreign invasions resulted in its partition into arbitrary political units. In the Perso-Byzantine period, the Byzantines extended their rule over western Syria and applied the name Syria' to that part only, while the Persians dominated the eastern part which they called -irah', later arabicized as Iraq. Similarly, after the First World War the codominium of Great Britain and France over Syria resulted in the partition of the country according to their political aims and interests and gave rise to the present political designations: Palestine, Jordan, Lebanon, Syria, Cilicia and Iraq. Natural Syria consists of all those regions which constitute one geographic-economic-strategic unit. The Syrian Social Nationalist cause will not be fulfilled unless the unity of Syria is achieved.

The partitioning of Syria between the Byzantines and the Persians into Eastern and Western Syria and the creation of barriers between them, retarded considerably, and for a long period, the national growth and the development of the social and economic life cycle of the country. This division resulted also in distorting the truth about the boundaries of Syria. Additional factors contributing to this distortion were: the incursion of the desert upon the lower arch of the Fertile Crescent, the decrease in population, the recession of urban areas (by virtue of constant wars and invasions), and deforestation, all of which made vast areas of the country desolate. The lack of reliable studies pertaining to the cause of this ever increasing drought, which has caused deepening of the arch, has contributed to the view that the expansion of the desert has been a permanent phenomenon. In my studies,I have demonstrated the indisputable unity of the country and examined the arbitrary grounds for its present condition and its partitioning, and established that all the territory to which the term Mesopotamia refers, as far as the Zagros mountains that form the natural boundary separating Eastern Syria from Iran, falls within Syria-

The Syrian homeland is an essential factor in Syrian nationalism. Every Syrian Social Nationalist must be conversant with the boundaries of his beautiful country and keep its picture before his mind. In order to safeguard his right and the rights of his descendants in this wonderful country, he should grasp well the unity of his nation, the community of its rights, and the indivisible unity of its country.

I have indicated in Book One of The Genesis of Nations that the dynamism and vitality of a nation may lead to alteration of its natural boundaries. A strong and ever-growing nation will transcend its frontiers and expand beyond them, whereas a weak and weathering nation will shrink within those frontiers. After the decline and fall of the great Syrian states, the whole Syrian nation was reduced to impotence and recession. It lost the Sinai peninsula to Egypt and Cilicia to Turkey, and shrank within its own natural boundaries, and was finally broken up by the powers which invaded and occupied its territory in whole or in part.

The Syrian Social Nationalist Party symbolizes the resurgence of the Syrian nation, which is bent on recovering its power and vitality and redeeming its dismembered parts.

The Syrian homeland has played a major role in the shaping of the Syrian nation and its character. The internal elements of the Syrian environment provide means of interaction between the various regions. Indeed, if one considers the waterways of Syria, its rivers and streams, one can view the contribution of the physical environment to the formation of one society. Considering that the major part of the history of any human society revolved until recently predominantly around agriculture, the continuity of agricultural space would inevitably invite lines of interaction between human elements within the environment. The courses of the great Syrian rivers, the

Euphrates and the Tigris, are natural couriers of life between western and eastern Syria, and between the northern and southern regions of eastern Syria. The Orontes links the plains of central and northern regions of western Syria while the Litani and Jordan rivers link the central and southern parts. The Mediterranean littoral spreads without interruption over fertile coastal lands from the gulf of Alexandretta to the early shores of the Sinai peninsula.

These internal elements favoring unity of life are paralleled by natural borders that define, albeit relatively, the confines of the society forming herein. The borders of the Syrian Fertile Crescent have limited the extension of continuous life and thus shaped the formation of the nation. These borders, however, were never exclusive. They were in various historical periods overrun in both directions. Syrian commercial colonies from the Assyrian periods have been identified in Anatolia and from the Phoenician periods over much of the Mediterranean. The military might of Assyria extended beyond the Zagros and Taurus mountains to the north and east, and over the Sinai into Egypt. Conversely, the Egyptians often coveted the Syrian coast and the intrusions of the Pharaonic state into western Syria were recurrent. The Gutians, the Kassites, and the Persians crossed the eastern borders when the military preparedness of eastern Syrian states faltered. The Hiftites, the Greeks, the Romans and the Ottomans crossed the northern borders. Despite those recurrent invasions, the life cycle of Syria was never completely linked to that of invading societies and the degree of interaction was limited by the lack of territorial continuity of human settlement and life.

In delineating the western borders of Syria, Saadeh mentions the "Syrian sea". This terminology is not peculiar to the literature of the SSNP, but has been utilized by European geographers and cartographers. Indeed, a cursory perusal of ancient maps reveals the term to have been used as early as the second century AD by Claudius Ptolemy (Mare Siriacum)-. In the same map, Ptolemy utilizes the term Syria for the western part of the Fertile Crescent in accordance with Roman administrative division, whereas the eastern part is divided into the two regions of Mesopotamia and Babylonia. The practice was continued in Renaissance and sixteenth century maps and Jacob Ziegler (1470-1549) uses the term 'Mare Syriacum' in a map of the Holy Land. The term was again used by Gerardus Mercator (1512-1594), the inventor of map projection still used today, as a region of the Mediterranean along the coast of the Holy Land and he extends Coele Syria southward to the entire eastern bank of the Jordan. The German cartographer Tilleman Stella (1525-1589) calls 'Mare Syrium Phoenicium' the coast off Syrophoenicia (the coastal area lining the Lebanon mountain chain), a practice followed by the Dutch Abraham Ortelius (1527-1598) the publisher of the first world atlas. In a map of the battle of Lepanto between the Ottoman and Venetian fleets in 1571 off the coast of Greece, the Italian Antonio Lafreri (1512-1577) calls the sea between Cyprus and the Syrian coast 'Pelagus Sirum-Mare di Siria'. The practice was continued by British, Dutch, German and French cartographers until the middle of the 18 th century when one observes the use of ' Grande Mer' and 'La Mer du Levant' replacing Syrian sea.

It is instructive to examine one additional aspect of Saadeh's description of the Syrian homeland, namely his interpretation of the reasons for the distortion of the truth of the eastern expansion of the Syrian homeland to include Mesopotamia. Saadeh hints at the theory of progressive desiccation that has been entertained by some scholars. He does give greater emphasis, however, to the economic consequences of political and social changes. Modern scholarship has confirmed his interpretation, and examples of soil depletion and decline of agriculture as a sequel of political changes abound.

 

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6. The Sixth Basic Principle

The Syrian nation is one society.

On this fundamental principle are based some of the reform principles to be expounded later, such as the separation of church and state and the elimination of social barriers between the various sects and creeds. This principle is the basis of genuine national unity, the mark of national consciousness, and the guarantee of the life and endurance of the Syrian character. One Nation-One Society- The unity of society is the basis of the community of interests and consequently the basis of the community of life. The absence of social unity entails the absence of common interests, and no resort to temporary expediency can make up for this loss- Through social unity, the conflict of loyalties and negative attitudes will disappear to be replaced by a single healthy national loyalty ensuring the revival of the nation. Similarly, all religious bigotry and their nefarious consequences will cease and in their stead national collaboration and toleration will prevail. Moreover, economic cooperation and a sense of national concord and unity will be fulfilled and pretexts for foreign intervention will be abolished.

Real independence and real sovereignty will not be fulfilled and will not endure unless they rest upon this genuine social unity which is the only sound basis for a national state and Social Nationalist civil legislation. This unity forms the basis for citizenship and the guarantee of the equality of rights for all citizens.

This principle establishes the legal and legislative homogeneity of the society as a basis for a sound nationalist state. While the SSNP recognizes that in Syria today exist many religious and ethnic distinctions distributed over much of the Syrian homeland, these distinctions should not be brought into the realm of the legislation of the Syrian state. Furthermore, national loyalty should surpass and supersede religious and ethnic loyalties and affiliations. Generalized and absolute equality of rights is a basic principle of Social Nationalism.

On a social level, Syria is currently divided along religious and ethnic lines. These divisions are remnants of periods of decadence in Syrian history. Religious and ethnic persecutions by sectarian rules whether indigenous to Syria or foreign, have impaired the natural tendency of the Syrian society towards a harmonious variety without group isolation. Persecution by other Christian sects led the Maronites to leave northern Syria and take refuge in the Lebanese mountains (30). This tendency to seek a geographical sanctuary was fostered by continuation of oppression by later rulers. A similar situation can be detailed for the Druze, the Assyrians and the Kurds. Finally, the political associations of religious history continue to separate the Sunni and Shi'ite Muslims in Syria.

The elimination of the negative and divisionist aspects of the religious and ethnic variety in Syria is the aim of the sixth basic principle.

 

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7. The Seventh Basic Principle

The Syrian Social Nationalist movement derives its inspiration from the talents of the Syrian nation and its cultural political national history.

This principle asserts the spiritual independence of the nation in which its national character, qualities, and aims are grounded. The Party believes that no Syrian revival can be effected save through the agency of the inborn and independent Syrian character. Indeed, one of the major factors in the absence of Syrian national consciousness or its weakness is the overlooking of the genuine character of the Syrian nation as manifested in the intellectual and practical contributions of its people and their cultural achievements, such as the enactment of the first civilized code of law and the invention of the alphabet, the greatest cultural intellectual revolution in history; let alone the material-spiritual effects of Syrian colonization and culture and the civilizing influence Syria exercised over the whole of the Mediterranean, and the immortal achievements of such great Syrians as Zeno, Bar Salibi, St. John Chrysostom, Ephraim, Al-Maari, Deek-el-Jin of Emessa, al-Kawakibi, Gibran, and other great figures of ancient and modern times-To this list may be added the names of Syria's great generals from Sargon the Great to Esserhaddon, Sennecharib,Nebuchadnasser,Assurbanipal, and Tigiat-pilasser; from Hanno the great to Hannibal (the greatest military genius of all times) and Yusuf Azmeh, the hero of Meyselun.

We derive our ideals from our own character and we declare that in the Syrian character are latent all science, philosophy and art in the world.

Unless the Syrian ethos is strengthened, and unless it is freed from dominating alien influences, the elements of real sovereignty will be wanting and Syria will fall short of its lofty ideals.

The history of the Syrian nation is viewed by Saadeh in a multidimensional fashion. This history is at once the record of the genesis of the Syrian nation, a clue to the character and abilities of the nation, and an incentive to the present revival of Syria. The doctrine of Syrian Social Nationalism is derived from an intense and detailed analytical study of the history of Syria by Saadeh that did not end with the founding of the Party, but continued until his martyrdom. Saadeh aimed to show the Syrians that the realities of their history are reasons for pride, self-respect and eagerness to restore Syria to its creative role in human civilization. In his scientific, philosophical and ideological writings, Saadeh constantly illustrated doctrinal issues with examples from Syria's historical record. What is even more crucial is his directives to Party intellectuals to seek their inspiration in the events of this history, in Syrian mythology and poetical writings.

In a sense, Saadeh is responsible for the modern wave of intellectuals in Syria whose poetry, novels and theater are imbued with topics and influences from Syria's cultural heritage.

Syria's history was more than a source of literary material, it is also a guide to the character of the Syrian nation and its view of itself, life and the universe. Saadeh elucidates in his book 'Intellectual Struggle in Syrian Literature' how the SSNP's philosophy of life is consistent with the trend that Syrian civilization has exemplified throughout time.

The implication of this principle on national struggle is clear. A nation needs to be self-consistent, its civilization continuous and its character preserved. A nation needs to be intellectually independent to contribute in a creative way to human development.

It is instructive to examine briefly the list of Syrians mentioned by Saadeh as illustrative of the contributions of Syria to human civilization. The first mentioned was Zeno of Citium (founder of the Stoic school in philosophy). This is symbolic of the admiration Saadeh had for the philosophical school of stoicism, and also the fact that a major school of 'Western' philosophy is basically a Syrian school. Bar Salibi, St John Chrysostom, and Ephraim are prominent Fathers of the Christian church. Of note is that the two Fathers that represent the Aramaic element in the Syrian Church (Bar Salibi and Ephraim) flank the Father that represents the Hellenistic element (John Chrysostom). It should be remembered that Syrian thought in the Seleucide, Roman and early Byzantine periods found its expression in a polylinguistic form: Greek and Aramaic (Syriac). By choosing these prominent Syrians, Saadeh is illustrating the contributions of Syria to Christian thought. Next, Saadeh lists two poets of differing standing: Al-Maari, Deek-el-Jin of Emessa. Considering the wealth of poets in Syria, the choice is intriguing yet instructive. Abu Al-Ala' Al-Maari was a philosopher poet and likely the only Arabic writing poet to have had any philosophical and intellectual depth to his poetry. The poetry of Deek-ei-Jin of Emessa is sincere and esthetically refined. Saadeh was thus highlighting aspects of literary contributions that are of greater import that the popular 'classical' Arabic poets. al-Kawakibi (1849-1902 AD) and Gibran (1883-1931 AD) are more modern writers notable for their involvement in social and political aspects of Syrian life and their adherence to principles of Syrian revival and renaissance. Four of the military leaders that Saadeh lists are direct descendants (Sargon 722-704 B.C., Sennecharib 704-681 B.C., Esserhaddon 680-669 B.C., Assurbanipal 669-627 B.C.) and represent the rulers of the Assyrian state at its best. It is a period of Syrian history notable for the crowning of the social, economic and cultural unity of Syria with political administrative unity (38). Nebuchadnasser (605-562 B.C.) and Tiglat-pilasser Ill (745-727 B.C.) are ruler that established major expansion and centralization in the government of Syria. There are several Hanno-named Carthaginian leaders among them is the famous Hanno that was the first to sail around the western shores of Africa. It is easy to understand the choice of Hannibal to be included in this roster. Of equal significance is Yusuf Azmeh who as the defense minister of the Syrian state that arose in Damascus at the end of the First World War led the only organized armed resistance to French colonial forces in the battle of Meysalun.

It is clear that the choice of these notable Syrians is to illustrate aspects of Syrian history , in all the diverse ways in which a civilization can express itself, that are noteworthy of study and inspiration for modern Syrians.

 

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8. The Eighth Basic Principle

Syria's interest supersedes every other interest.

This is the most important principle in national activity for, in the first place, it provides the clue to the sincerity and integrity of national militants, and in the second place it directs their energies towards the interest of the Syrian nation and its welfare. It is the criterion by which all national movements and actions are judged. Through this criterion, the SSNP excels all other political factions in Syria, to say nothing of its obvious excellence in other respects. The SSNP aims at serving the concrete interests of the Syrians and at meeting their common needs and aims. There is no longer a need to seek in vain the definition of national endeavor in the domain of the abstract and the impracticable. This principle centers all other principles round the interest of the nation so that Syrians are no longer misled by the teachings of those who would serve contrary interests.

The life of the nation is a concrete reality and so are its interests. The success of the SSNP in bringing about this amazing national revival in our country is due, in great measure, to the fact that the Party seeks to serve the genuine interests of the Syrian nation and assert its will to life.

Syria embodies our social character, faculties, ideals, our outlook on life, art and the universe. It is the symbol of our honor, dignity and destiny. That is why our loyalty to Syria must transcend all personal interests and considerations.

This is the central operational principle that guides the struggle and militancy of the SSNP for the establishment of the new order and renaissance in Syria. It does not imply only complete devotion to the cause of the nation and homeland, but puts the onus of extreme care on the shoulders of the SSNP constituency. This principle links extreme devotion with the responsibility of seeking the best for the Syrian nation. This link needs to be understood on moral and practical levels. The romanticism of good-intended deeds is unacceptable in national struggle because the cause is too great to allow for a less than intensely prepared approach. While laudable, devotion to the cause of the nation is insufficient. A serious and responsible preparation is necessary to safeguard the interests of Syria. Thus to serve the genuine interests of the Syrian nation, the SSN P does not offer only a devoted constituency, but also a well thought out doctrine and plan. This principle closes the series of basic principles for two important reasons. Both reasons reflect the indissoluble unity of these principles. The first reason is that the doctrine and plan embodied in the preceding principles find their operational vehicle in this principle. The second reason is that this principle is not useful to the nation separated from the preceding principles. The organic unity of the basic principles distinguishes the SSNP from other political groups. The SSNP does not contend that it is the only party devoted to the Syrian nation, but it asserts that the vehicle of this devotion is what really affects the destiny of Syria.

 

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A. The First Reform Principle

Separation of religion and state.

The greatest obstacle to our national unity and our national progress has been the association between our religious and political institutions and the pretension of ecclesiastical bodies to political power and their actual possession of such power in varying degrees. Theocracy, or the religious state is incompatible with the concept of nationhood because it stands for the domination of the whole community of believers by an ecclesiastical authority. Religion recognizes no national interests because it is concerned with a community of believers dominated by a central religious authority. The concept of a religio-political bond in lieu of the political is contrary to nationalism in general and to Syrian Social Nationalism in particular. The adherence of Syrian Christians to such a concept would set them apart from other religious groups within the nation and would expose their interests to the danger of being submerged in the interests of other groups with whom they happen to share a religious bond. Similarly, the adherence of Syrian Moslems to the concept of a religious bond would bring their interests also to possible conflict with those of their non-Muslim compatriots and would submerge those interests in those of the greater religious community. The inevitable outcome of the concept of a religious bond is the disintegration of the nation and the decline of national life.

We cannot achieve national unity by making the state a religious one because in such a state rights and interests would be denominational in nature pertaining exclusively to the dominant religious group. Where such rights and interests are those of a religious group, common national rights and interests will not obtain. Without the community of interests and rights there can be no unity of duties and no unified national will. On the basis of this legal philosophy, the SSNP has succeeded in laying down the foundations of national unity and in actually realizing it within its ranks.

This principle is based on several historical and theoretical imperatives. The first imperative is to remediate actual social problems in Syria as regards the divisiveness of religious sects when they take political and legal forms. Saadeh will develop this aspect of the reform principles in the two subsequent principles, but at this juncture he is establishing the general framework. While sectarianism is particularly prominent in the western part of Syria due to the concentration of denominational groups in Lebanon, the problem is quite ubiquitous and many apparently non-religious divisions have a strong element of religious associations to them such as the questions of the Assyrian, Chaldean, and Kurdish communities in central Syria. Similarly, sectarianism among Moslem Syrians is quite rampant.

The necessity of such a principle for national revival can not be overstated. The tragedies perpetrated in Syria by the religiously motivated or contrived policies continue to sap the revival energies of the Syrian nation and retard its progress towards becoming a viable modern polity.

The internecine massacres in Lebanon, and the power struggles in Iraq and the Syrian Republic have clear religious undercurrents. The recent resurgence of religious based and motivated militant political and armed organizations illustrates the fragility of the social order in Syria and the predisposition to greater calamities if application of this principle and its ramifications detailed below is further delayed.

Another imperative for the promulgation of this principle is to vindicate national sovereignty that has to reside in the entirety of the Syrian nation and not be limited to any denominational group however majoritarian. Unity of society is a necessary condition for safeguarding national sovereignty. Further, the unity of society is jeopardized by legal inequality and the latter usually obtains when a religious state emerges in multidenominational societies.

 

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B. The Second Reform Principle

Debarring the clergy from interference in political and judicial matters.

The rationale for setting forth this principle in a separate article is that religious bodies attempt to acquire or retain civil authority even where the separation of church and state has been conceded. This principle puts an end to the indirect interference of ecclesiastical bodies in civil and political matters. This principle defines precisely the meaning of the separation of the church from the state for reform must not be confined to the political sphere but must extend to the legal-judicial sphere as well.

In a country where judicial function is not homogeneous owing to the diversity of religious sects, political rights and sound political institutions will not be possible nor will general national unity for the latter is conditional on the unity of laws. The Social Nationalist state must have a uniform judiciary and a unified system of laws. Citizens must all be equal before the one law of the state. There can be no unity of character where the basis of life is in conflict with the unity of the nation.

 

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C. The Third Reform Principle

Removal of the barriers between the various sects and confessions.

There exists in Syria age-old barriers between the various sects and denominations that are not of the essence of religion. There are conflicting traditions derived from the structure of religious and denominational institutions that have exerted an enormous influence on the social and economic unity of the people, weakened it and delayed our national revival. As long as these barriers remain, our call for freedom and independence will remain futile.

Every nation that seeks a free and independent life in which it can realize its ideals must possess real spiritual unity. Such spiritual unity is not possible in a country in which each group lives in isolation from other groups and has particular social and legal systems which set it apart from other groups. This would result in diversity in character and disharmony in aims and aspirations.

National unity win not be achieved unless the causes for dissension are removed. The socio-legal barriers separating the sects and denominations of the same nation constitute a major obstacle to the realization of the unity of the nation.

Unity is something real and not fictitious, so let us not surrender reality and cling to fiction. We must stand together before the world as one united nation rather than a conglomeration of heterogeneous elements of conflicting attitudes. The existence of the present social and legal barriers which separate the various sects entails the persistence of obnoxious religious bigotry. Those barriers must be demolished so that the unity of the nation might become a reality and the Social Nationalist order, which will restore the nation to health and energy, might be established.

 

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D. The Fourth Reform Principle

The abolition of feudalism, the organization of national economy on the basis of production and the protection of the rights of labour and the interests of the nation and the state.

Although feudalism is not legally recognized in Syria, there exists in certain parts of the country a number of economic and social feudal conditions that threaten the economic and social welfare of the nation. The Syrian Social Nationalist Party considers that it is of the utmost importance to put an end to this state of affairs to safeguard national unity.

The organization of the national economy on the basis of production is the only means for the attainment of a sound balance between the distribution of labor and the distribution of wealth. Every citizen should be productive in one way or another. Moreover, production and producers must be classified in such a way to assure coordination, participation and cooperation in the widest extent possible and to regulate the just share of laborers in production and to insure their right to work and to receive just compensation for their labor. This principle will put an end to absolute individualism in Production because every form of production in society in genuinely a collective or a cooperative one. Grave injustices can be perpetrated against labor and laborers were individual capitalists to be given absolute control. The public wealth of the nation must be controlled in the national interest and under the superintendence of the national state. Progress and strength of the national state can not be achieved save with this policy.

The aim of the Syrian Social Nationalist Party is the achievement of a sound national unity which enables the Syrian nation to excel in the struggle for existence. This unity can not be realized if either the economic or social order is not sufficiently wholesome. Justice in the judicial, social and economic spheres is an essential condition for the triumph of the Syrian Social Nationalist Movement.

Collective production is a public not a private right. Capital which is the guarantee of the continuity of production and its growth, and in so far as it represents the resultant of production, is consequently, in principle a public national possession. Individuals acting as trustees may dispose of it and utilize it for further productivity. Active participation in the process of production is the necessary condition for the enjoyment of public rights.

Critics of the SSNP, particularly Marxists, have often raised the issue of lack of extensive development and detail of the economic plan as a limitation of the doctrine of Social Nationalism. It is actually the strength of the doctrine. Considering how rapidly outdated and consequently injurious detailed economic plans become, it is more consistent with the principle of serving Syria best to avoid limiting the energy and creativeness of Syrians in theoretical economic formulations. This does not mean that the SSNP and Saadeh have not delved into the details of economic issues. Indeed, Saadeh has constantly addressed economic matters as they arose and there is no period in the available written record where an article dealing with economic issues is not extant. This is not surprising from a thinker who was intensely involved in all the issues that affected the life of the nation. While it is beyond the scope of the present essay to examine Saadeh's approach to these different economic issues, it is to be remembered that the principles were meant to define aspects and positions that Saadeh considered essential and immutable. The approach to the details of the changing world of economy needs to be principled, but unencumbered. It is for this reason that this principle was formulated in its current format.

The primordial role of productivity in the Social Nationalist economic view illustrates clearly Saadeh's divergence from the utopian approaches that characterize many of the political movements in the Near East. Equality in poverty is not a condition that the SSNP accepts for Syrians. The economic approach should embody the view of the SSNP for the future of Syria as a vibrant and viable polity. Equitable prosperity can be achieved only if the productive forces of the Syrian nation and the resources of its homeland are activated. The imperative for such a view rests in what Saadeh has termed 'the will to life'. The survival and success of the Syrian nation depend among other things on its economic strength and power.

It is important to note that productivity is understood in a wide sense. It is agricultural, industrial, and intellectual productivity. This broad concept of productivity is a guard against the disasters frequently brought upon rising nations by an exclusive and a stubborn attempt at industrialization at the expense of other components of the economic life of the nation. While the SSNP recognizes the need for the Syrian nation to develop industry, the latter is viewed as but one component of economic growth and advancement. Saadeh has clarified in his book 'The Genesis of Nations' that the industrial stage that societies have achieved is superior to the agricultural stage, but remarks that industrial nations have achieved superiority by their industry, agriculture and intellect.

The concept of basing an economic system on productivity has been interpreted in the past, naively, to imply regulation of wages according to work performance. While the latter formulation is acceptable within the framework of safeguarding the rights of workers, it is not the correct interpretation of the concept of productivity. It is likely a formulation made to parallel the popular communist slogan 'To each according to his need and from each according to his ability'. Saadeh's formulation was rather concerned with an economic view for the society at large, not of the issue of wage regulation. It is directed at the entire economic life of the nation not at a regulatory component of a single aspect.

The safeguarding of the rights of labor is not a call to unionism. SSNP members have been active in the union movement in Syria since the inception of unions in the early thirties. The Party has, at various stages in its history, supported the rights of workers when presented in the context of union struggle. The limitations of unionism, however, have also been considered. Unionism is usually based on a narrow view of economic life. It is frequently limited to a specific sector of the economy, and the demands are perceived in isolation of more general issues. The framework of the national character of the economy is absent from most union demands. A call for wage increase, for example, is a frequent union demand. The consequences of this event on the competitiveness of the product in international markets is rarely considered. While many political groups catered to the nascent labor movement in Syria by uncritical endorsement of unionism, and admittedly achieved political gain because of this endorsement, Saadeh had the intellectual foresight and the political courage to objectively assess the benefits and drawbacks of unionism in Syria. His resistance to unbridled unionism is not only on the basis of the principle of safeguarding primarily the interest of the entire nation, but also on the realization that unionism in Syria has frequently been exploited by political exploiters, duped by capitalists or controlled and emasculated by 'socialist' governments. Based on these theoretical and observational factors, Saadeh calls for organization of productivity and labor on the basis of specialization, but only as a means of improved productivity and streamlined management. The economic system, however, does not call for militant unionism because it presupposes the application of the economic view within the framework of a Social Nationalist state.

 

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E. The Fifth Reform Principle

Formation of strong armed forces which will be effective in determining the destiny of the country and the nation.

In international competition of national interests, national right is recognized only to the extent it is supported by the power of the nation. The vital interests of a nation in this struggle cannot be protected except by force in its material and intellectual aspects. Force is the decisive factor in affirming or denying national rights.

By the armed forces we understand the army, the navy and the air force. The art of war has reached such an advanced level that it is incumbent upon us to be always in a state complete military preparedness. The whole Syrian nation must be well armed and prepared. We have witnessed with distress parts of our country taken away and annexed to foreign countries because we have lost our military power. We are resolved not to let this state of helplessness continue. We are determined to turn the tide so that we may regain all our territory and recover the sources of our strength and vitality.

It is on our own strength that we wish to depend in securing our rights and protecting our interests. We are mobilizing and preparing for our survival and preeminence in the struggle for existence. Survival and victory shall inevitably be our lot.

The promulgation of a principle related to military preparedness may at first glance appear unusual in a document that presents a doctrine of national renaissance. The absence of such a principle, however, would have been a serious flaw. The modern history of Syria is the clearest indication for the need for such a principle. The loss of Alpxandretta, Palestine and other Syria territories would have been averted had the Syrian nation had military power guided by a nationally sound government. It is important to remember that Saadeh is not talking about armed forces in a separate sense, but of armed forces in the service of the Syrian nation and its cause. An armed Syrian populace without the guidance and discipline of Social Nationalism is a curse on Syria as the armed civil conflicts of recent years attest. Linking the formation of strong armed forces to a general military preparedness of the Syrian nation, implies that the armed forces envisaged are intensely linked with the nation. In a sense there no separateness in direction and aim between the armed forces and the nation struggling for survival and prosperity. The armed forces are a specialized organ of the nation.

It is useful at this juncture to examine the national anthem that Saadeh wrote during his imprisonment in the 1930s. Distinctly from other anthems that extol aggression (the French La Marseillaise and the US Star Spangled Banner), the Social Nationalist anthem is directed at the peace of Syria and centers on the beautiful elements of its land and people and the sublime principles that the SSNP brings. The SSNP thus seeks peace for Syria, but it is the peace of a liberated unified and prosperous Syria where a Social Nationalist order prevails. The establishment and protection of such a peace is the function of the Syrian armed forces.

 

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III. AIM OF THE SSNP

The aim of the Syrian Social Nationalist Party is the creation of a Syrian Social Nationalist renaissance which will fulfill its declared principles and return the Syrian nation to vitality and strength; the organization of a movement seeking the complete independence of the Syrian nation and the vindication of its sovereignty; the establishment of a new order to protect its interest and raise its standard of living; and the endeavor to form an Arab front.

It is clear from this article that national revival is the central theme in the program of the Syrian Social Nationalist Party. The Social Nationalist Movement aims at laying down the foundations of the concept of nationhood in Syria and the guaranteeing of the very life of the Syrian nation and the creation of the conditions necessary for its progress and unity, as well as setting up of a new social-national order. This far reaching aim of the Party is of the utmost importance because it is not restricted to the treatment of a particular political form but affects the very foundations of nationhood and the basic principles of national life. The purpose of the Party is the direction of the Syrian nation towards progress and prosperity and the activation of the elements of national energy latent in Syria. This national energy once fully developed will crush forces of reaction, free the nation from apathy and adherence to antiquated beliefs and place an insuperable obstacle in the way of foreign powers threatening the interests of the millions of Syrians and their very existence. The Party also aims at dissemination of new ideas expressing our new outlook on life and our Social Nationalist creed.

The aim of the Syrian Social Nationalist Party is an all-embracing one directed towards the examination of the foundations of national life in all its aspects, of the basic issues of the Social Nationalist society: economic, social, political, spiritual, moral, and of the final lofty ends of existence. It also comprises the national ideals, the significance of independence and the establishment of healthy nationalist society. This in turn implies a new intellectual ethical outlook and a new theory of values. Consequently, the fundamental and reform principles of the Party reflect a new and complete philosophy of life.

A complementary part of the foreign policy of the Party is the creation of an Arab Front from the Arab nations. This front should serve as a bulwark against foreign imperialistic ambitions and prove of considerable moment in deciding the major political questions.

Syria is one of the Arab nations and indeed is the nation qualified to lead the Arab world as the Syrian Social Nationalist Party proves conclusively. It is obvious that a nation with no internal cohesiveness to insure its unity and progress cannot help revive other nations and lead them along the path of progress and success. Syrian nationalism is the only genuine practical way, the first prerequisite for the awakening of the Syrian nation and its ability to work for the Arab Cause.

Those who believe that the Syrian Social Nationalist Party seeks Syria's withdrawal from the Arab World, because they do not distinguish between Syrian national awakening and the Pan-Arab cause, are grossly mistaken.

We shall never relinquish our position in the Arab World, nor our mission to the Arab World. We want first and foremost to be strong in order to accomplish our mission more adequately. Syria must forge ahead in its national revival so that it can fulfill its great mission.

This comprehensive outlook of the Syrian Social Nationalist Party represents an idealistic conception of national life. The Party does not intend to confine this broad outlook with its far-reaching consequences to Syria alone, but it intends to pass it on to our sister Arab nations through cultural activities, mutual understanding and exchange of opinions, not by means of the destruction of the identity of those Arab nations and the imposition of those principles on them by force.

As to the political aspect of the Party's aims, the Party considers that from the internal point of view, the Lebanese question arose from subsidiary reasons which were valid at a time when the concept of the state was still a religious concept. But the principles of the Syrian Social Nationalist Party affirm the national social-legal basis of statehood. Through the realization of the principles of the Syrian Social Nationalist Party, those reasons for Lebanese isolation would cease to be justified.

As regards the Arab World, the Party favors recourse to conferences and voluntary alliances, as the only practical way to cooperation between Arab nations. The Party favors the formation of an Arab Front of definite moment in international politics. National sovereignty, however, should not be surrendered in such pacts and alliances.

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