Is Baathism an ideology of left nationalism

What exactly is the difference between Ba'athism?

Part of the difficulty with this question is that Ba'ath philosophy is not widely available. According to Wikipedia, Zaki-al-Arsuzi is one of the founding theorists of Baathism in his book "The Genius of Arabic in His Tongue". Although I could not find an English copy of this book, two scholars summarized the philosophy of al-Arsuzi here. I will base my answer on your summary.


First, Baathism is a form of Arab nationalism. Much of al-Arsuzi's work is devoted to exploring the unique cultural and historical positions of the Arabs (particularly through their language). The expression of a culture resides in its community or government. Hence, we would expect every culture to have its standards for society. In particular, Arabs should have some kind of government that reflects their own unique culture.

This is similar to other forms of nationalism that also focus on their unique social contexts (for example, fascism reflects Italian cultural history and Juche reflects Koreans). It is different from Marxism, which claims to be universal (that is, it can be applied equally well anywhere).

Role of culture

Many types of political thought have a "substructure" - an element that is fundamental to the political order. Most of the elements of the theory can be reduced to the substructure.

According to al-Arsuzi, the substructure is Arab culture. Culture is the main driver of how government should work and how society should be organized. It's kind of interesting that he doesn't place a lot of emphasis on Islam. In fact, he is expecting a rebirth (ba'ath) of pre-Islamic Arab culture. Islam is the product of Arab civilization and should be preserved in society. Islam, like many other things, is a secondary concern as it results from Arab culture.

This is not a call to literally go back to historical practice. Rather, it is how Renaissance writers placed the emphasis on reviving the values ​​of classical antiquity.

Other theories put other things in their substructure. Marxism focuses on economies. However, the view that government is an outcome of society (including cultural, religious, and moral beliefs) is confirmed by Edmund Burke (the theorist behind conservatism).


Al-Arsuzi definitely sees Ba'athism as a pan-national movement. It is to be adopted by all countries in the Arab world.

Although there are some similarities with the Marxist schools that have the concept of "exporting the revolution", Ba'athism is only interested in the Arab world.

Political institutions and methods

Ba'athism, as articulated by al-Arsuzi, does not mention any specific types of institutions. It does not describe what type of government should exist or how its business should be conducted. He does not advocate specific political strategies or methods to revive his desired political order.

Most types of political thinking do this. For example, Juche is calling for a strong government that unites the various aspects of Korean society to ensure its independence from non-Koreans. Leninism advocates that workers create a vanguard party to eliminate their enemies and create a dictatorship. Marxism suggested that the state would wither and die.

Bradley Wilson

It is described that the Ba'ath party has some form of congress to assign regional branches. This supports the evidence of similarities with the pan-national ideology. A side note: Perhaps you could develop the political methods based on the actions of this party and its predecessor, the Ba'ath Party. You contributed to the formation of the United Arab Republic and in 1954 received 22 seats in the Syrian parliament created by Zaki staff. Al-Arsuzi could be of importance.

Bradley Wilson

According to Muslim Cultures Today: A Reference Guide, they mention the Ba'ath Party. Ba'athists ruled Saddam Hussein's Iraq until the 2003 invasion. "The political philosophy of the Ba'athists is an amalgram of pan-Arabism, Arab socialism, secularism, nationalism and an ideology of" strength through peace "or militarism."

Bradley Wilson

Which further substantiates your answer. A great answer and read based on an ideology that not much has been written about but that had some political significance in certain regions / branches of the Arab world.


@BradleyWilson - Thanks for the idea. I am concerned about opening a debate on whether the Ba'athist Party is really Ba'athist (similar to all the comments we see here about whether the Socialist Party is really Socialist, the Libertarian Party is really Libertarian, etc.) ).

Bradley Wilson

A very relevant point, well, the comments can be a source of information if someone wants to read on and decide for themselves whether such parties follow Baathist ideology.