Syrian Communist Party


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Syrian Communist Party

 

(SCP; Arabic, al-Hizb al-Shuyui al-Suri), a party founded in October 1924 as the united organization of Syrian and Lebanese Communists. The First Congress of the SCP met in 1930. The SCP took part in the struggle against French colonial rule and for the national independence of Syria and Lebanon. The Second Congress of the SCP, which met in 1944, adopted the Party Rules, which affirmed the principle of democratic centralism as the basis of the party’s organizational structure; it also adopted the Program, which called for a struggle to consolidate the national independence of Syria and Lebanon and for the evacuation of foreign troops from their soil. The congress passed a resolution to divide the SCP into two independent parties—the SCP and the Lebanese Communist Party (LCP).

Both parties were banned in 1947 and went underground; in 1948 they merged to form the Communist Party of Syria and Lebanon (CPSL). Under the military-dictatorial regimes in Syria, the CPSL was subjected to repressive measures. After the overthrow of the Shishakli regime in 1954, it reemerged from the underground. It was active in the struggle against attempts by foreign and domestic reactionaries to link Syria and Lebanon with imperialist military blocs. It gained new authority and won the respect of patriotic circles in both countries. The CPSL helped create a government of national unity in Syria (1954–57) and the National Parliamentary Front (1957). With the formation of the United Arab Republic (UAR) through the merger of Egypt and Syria in 1958, a plenum of the CPSL in November 1958 passed a resolution restoring the separate existence of the Syrian and Lebanese Communist parties. Each party elected its own leading body, but a joint central leadership was maintained until 1961. After the UAR government promulgated a law dissolving all political parties in Syria in March 1958, the SCP was again forced underground. In 1959 many SCP members suffered reprisals at the hands of the UAR authorities.

In 1963 the Baath Party (Arab Socialist Renaissance Party) came to power in Syria. The SCP supported the Baath Party’s progressive social and economic reforms, the anti-imperialist foreign policy of the Syrian leaders, and their policy of cooperation with the USSR and other socialist countries—a line adopted by the plenum of the Central Committee of the SCP in June 1966. The Third Congress of the SCP met in 1969. It adopted a program on economic and agrarian questions and condemned the Maoists’ divisive activity in the international communist movement. In March 1972 the SCP joined with the Baath Party, the Arab Socialist Union, and several other organizations to form the Progressive National Front (PNF), a union of progressive anti-imperialist forces in Syria. Two SCP leaders, Halad Bagdash and D. Naame, entered the ranks of the central leadership of the PNF. The SCP is also represented in the Syrian government, holding the posts of minister of state and minister of communications.

Th Fourth Congress of the SCP met in September 1974. It approved the political line the party had pursued since the Third Congress, confirmed the party’s Political Program, made certain changes in the party Rules, and elected new leadership bodies. The Political Program defined the tasks of the present stage of anti-imperialist struggle and the tasks involved in the struggle for extending the social, economic, and political reforms in Syria and consolidating the progressive regime. The congress approved the SCP line of expanding cooperation with the Baath Party and strengthening the PNF; it emphasized the SCP’s loyalty to the principles of Marxism-Leninism and proletarian internationalism. As the congress resolutions noted, the congress was an important milestone in strengthening SCP unity on the basis of proletarian internationalist principles.

SCP delegations attended the international conferences of communist and workers’ parties in Moscow in 1957, 1960, and 1969. The SCP approved the documents adopted at the conferences.

The SCP is organized according to the principle of democratic centralism. Its highest body is the party congress. Between congresses the work of the party is entrusted to the Central Committee, which elects the Politburo from among its number. The general secretary of the Central Committee is Halad Bagdash; the deputy general secretary is Y. Faysal. The party’s central press organ is Nidal al-Shaab (The People’s Struggle).

SOURCES AND REFERENCES

Bagdash, H. Hizb al-ummal wa-al-fallahien (The Party of the Workers and Peasants). Beirut, 1955.
Bagdash, H. “Siriia na novom puti.” Problemy mira i sotsializma, 1965, no. 3.
Nahwa afaq jadidah (Toward New Horizons). Damascus, 1956. (Resolutions of the plenum of the Central Committee of the CPSL of April-May 1956.)
Salibi, M. “Kommunisty Sirii v bor’be za sotsial’nyi progress.” Problemy mira i sotsializma, 1965, no. 11.
Wathaiq al-mutamar al-thalith li-l-hizb al-shuyui al-Suri (Documents of the Third Congress of the SCP). [No place, no date.]
Safahat min tarikh al-hizb al-Shuyui al-Suri (Pages from the History of the SCP). [No place, no date.]
Barnamaj al-Hizb al-Shuyui al-Siri alladhi aqarrahu al-mutamar al-rabi li-l-hizb (Program of the Syrian Communist Party, Approved by the Fourth Congress of the Party). [No place, no date.]
Al-Hizb al-Shuyui al-Surifi idihi al-khamsin (Fiftieth Anniversary of the Syrian Communist Party). [No place, no date.]

S. A. KUZ’MIN

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