Baath Party

(redirected from Baathism)
Also found in: Dictionary, Financial.
Related to Baathism: Ba'ath
The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

Baath Party


(Arab Socialist Renaissance Party; Hizb al-Baath al-Arabi al-Ishtaraki) of Iraq, a revolutionary-democratic party. The name “Baath” means “Renaissance.”

The Baath Party of Iraq was founded in 1954 as a regional branch of the pan-Arab Baath Party, which had been founded in 1947. It comprises members of the revolutionary-minded intelligentsia, servicemen, peasants, artisans, small-scale merchants, and workers. The party program is based on the program that the pan-Arab Baath Party adopted in 1947. As set forth in its program, the party’s task is to construct a unified Arab socialist society free from imperialist exploitation and social inequality. Along with the Communist Party of Iraq (CPI), the Baath Party of Iraq was one of the participants in the Front of National Unity, which prepared and carried out together with the army an anti-imperialist revolution on July 14, 1958.

The Baath Party came to power on Feb. 8, 1963, as a result of a military coup. Its right-wing extremist leaders embarked on a campaign of terror against Communists and other progressive forces. On Nov. 18, 1963, the first Baath regime was overthrown. After 1963 the party subjected its previous errors to criticism, and a substantially new leadership took control. On July 17, 1968, the party came back to power, and the Baath government adopted an anti-imperialist policy and began to carry out progressive socioeconomic reforms. In 1970 and 1971, new laws concerning labor, pensions, agrarian reform and other issues were adopted. A major step toward strengthening national independence and achieving economic autonomy for Iraq was the nationalization of the Iraq Petroleum Company and other foreign oil concerns from 1972 to 1975. On Mar. 11, 1970, the Declaration on the Peaceful Democratic Regulation of the Kurdish Problem was issued, in accordance with which the law on the autonomy of Iraqi Kurdistan was enacted on Mar. 11, 1974. In 1973 the Baath Party and the CPI agreed to establish the National Progressive Patriotic Front. A congress of the Baath Party, held in 1974, adopted a program of social and economic reforms and confirmed its progressive anti-imperialist policy and the intention to develop friendly relations with the USSR and other socialist countries.

The secretary-general of the regional command of the party is Ahmed Hassan al-Bakr. The party’s press organ is the newspaper Al-Thawra.

A. G. AKSENENOK and V. G. ZENCHEV [19–728–3; updated]

Baath Party


(Arab Socialist Renaissance Party; Hizb al-Baath al-Arabi al-Ishtaraki) of Syria, a revolutionary-democratic party. The name “Baath” means “Renaissance.”

Founded in 1947, the Baath has been the ruling party in Syria since 1963. The party includes members of the revolutionary-minded intelligentsia, servicemen, peasants, artisans, petty merchants, and workers. The main slogans of the Baath as proclaimed in 1947 are unity, meaning the creation of a united Arab state; freedom, meaning the liberation of all Arab states from the dominance of imperialism; and socialism, meaning the building of a “united Arab democratic socialist society.”

A special regional conference of the Baath in June 1965 elaborated a step-by-step program which stated that during the transition period of the path to socialism (1) the country’s economy is to comprise state, cooperative, mixed, and private sectors with the state sector prevailing; (2) the economy is to be planned; and (3) a people’s democracy is to be developed. In foreign policy, guiding principles are to be nonalignment, support of the peoples’ anti-imperialist struggle, and cooperative relations with all states that take a positive position with regard to Arab national problems, above all with socialist countries. The Baath program contains a number of nationalistic provisions. Under the leadership of the Baath, a series of progressive social and economic reforms were carried out in Syria.

The Baath cooperates with other patriotic forces in Syria within the framework of the National Progressive Front (NPF), which was created in 1972 and which also includes the Syrian Communist Party, the Arab Socialist Union, and several other progressive anti-imperialist organizations. The central command of the NPF consists of the chairman—the president of Syria— and 16 members, including eight from the Baath. The tasks set forth in the NPF charter include the struggle against imperialism, the liberation of the Arab territories seized in 1967 by Israel, and the securing of the legitimate rights of the Arab people of Palestine.

The party is organized according to the territorial-and-pro-duction principle. The secretary-general is Hafiz al-Assad. The party’s press organ is the newspaper Al-Baath.

A. A. SERGEEV [19–728–4; updated]

The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.
References in periodicals archive ?
Baathism was supposed to rise above sectarian and ethnic differences among Arabs, but in Assadist Syria, sectarian differences were fanned from the start.
We are always afraid." The Baath party, which was ruling Iraq during former Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein's reign, is accused by Iraqis of oppressing the Iraqi people and carrying out political assassinations of those opposed to Baathism. A different, rival wing of the same party is in control in Syria.
Despite the attempt to purge Baathism from Iraqi society, for example, Bowen reveals the many ways this ancien regime persists.
Baathism ultimately became a tool to control society rather than an ideology of progress while fear of the regime quickly became the cement which bound together this ethnically and religiously diverse country.
Thus, ironically, Baathism's failure has made Iraq more difficult to reconstruct.
The leaders of Yemen's communist movement and their Arab communist backers saw themselves as a third alternative, a rejection to the Nasserist trend that overtook Egypt and Baathism that overtook Iraq and Syria.
Saddam, a Sunni who had espoused Baathism, an essentially secular Arab nationalist ideology, had been a bulwark against Iran's efforts to export Islamism.
It is, of course, perfectly possible to doubt the wisdom of the enterprise in Iraq without resort to the expedient of whitewashing Iraqi Baathism and its murderous leaders, or to the repulsively grovelling apologetics of George Galloway.
Unless the Pentagon can find a briefer who in unscripted remarks can put Iraqi Baathism in its exact historical context, the Pentagon's position is as trivial and evanescent as the "airtime" which merely concentrates on palace decor.
Allawi no longer considers himself a Baath Party member, but he has not openly denounced the original tenets of Baathism.
official anticipated that the practice of lustration might not be "very tidy;' but that this was a price the CPA was "willing to pay to be sure that we extirpate Baathism from Iraq's society." (74) The UN humanitarian coordinator in Iraq, Ramiro Lopes da Silva, by contrast, had from the beginning called for transparency in the international administration of lustration.
Thus Iraq became a de facto federation and a UN-trusteeship steered mainly by the US and the British - a federation in which Saddam had firm control over the centre as well as the Sunni Arab Triangle which extended as far to the north-west as Mosul, the north-east was controlled by the Kurds, and the south was in socio-economic terms controlled by Shiite Arabs not openly opposed to Baathism.