Revolutionary Iraq 1968-1973
THE EIGHTH REGIONAL CONGRESS OF THE ARAB BA'TH SOCIALIST PARTY IN IRAQ WAS HELD IN BAGHDAD BETWEEN THE EIGHTH AND TWELFTH OF JANUARY 1974. FOLLOWING IS THE TEXT OF THE POLITICAL REPORT ADOPTED UNANIMOUSLY AND DELIVERED BY COMRADE AHMAD HASSAN AL-BAKR, SECRETARY GENERAL OF THE REGIONAL LEADERSHIP OF THE ARAB BA'TH SOCIALIST PARTY AND PRESIDENT OF THE REPUBLIC. DELIVERY TOOK PLACE ON THE 5TH, 6TH, 7TH OF MARCH 1974.
The Eighth Regional Congress of the Arab Ba'th Socialist Party was held five years after the revolution launched by the Party between the 17th and the 30th of July 1968 in Iraq. The epoch has been one of democratic and progressive achievements. It has also been rich in experience relating to the handling of difficult, delicate and complicated problems such as the consolidation of the Party's rule and the Revolution's authority, and dealing with the execution of patriotic, democratic, socialist and other tasks of revolutionary transformation and struggle against imperialism, Zionism and reaction.
Our Congress therefore has been characterized by new special features differing from those of the Seventh Regional Congress of five years ago, which was held in Baghdad on the 24th of November 1968 right after the breakout of revolution and the assumption of power by the Party and before the enrichment of Party experience and the strengthening of the Revolution's arm.
Our Eighth Congress had to avoid generalities in patterns which provide no concrete guide for work. It had to exert the greatest possible effort to formulate a realistic and clear revolutionary programme which would unify the will of the Party and the masses, leaving no room for possibly conflicting interpretations.
It should now be possible, after five and a half years at' the helm of political power and acquaintance with the problems of revolutionary democratic and socialist transformation, to know exactly where we stand.
The Party, having passed through sensitive and sometimes even bitter experiences on both the regional and national levels, finds it incumbent to define what must and could be done over the next five years.
Inexperience can no longer be a justification for failure or an apology. The masses in our country and the Arab Homeland can no longer find any excuses of revolutionary inexperience for us and must now look to us as qualified leaders. In order to live up to expectations, we must re-evaluate the past phase starting from July 17th 1968 until now, in an objective, frank and revolutionary spirit. We must be able to find out the positive as well as the negative aspects and errors. Everything must come out to light now which may not have come to light so far because of the sensitive circumstances.
What in fact are the characteristics and peculiarities of the phase between 17-30 July 1968 and the congregation of this Congress ? The problems and issues which faced the Arab Ba'th Socialist Party and the popular revolutionary movement during that phase?
It's a well known fact that the Revolution of July 17th was not the first one in Iraq. Ten years earlier, the 14th of July 1958 Revolution took place and was basically progressive, democratic and inspired. In power, however, the revolutionary regime deviated and changed course into a dictatorial, rightist and regional mentality while keeping the outward signs of nationalism. A daring attempt was made by the Arab Ba'th Socialist Party on the 8th of February 1963 to re-establish a revolutionary, democratic and popular regime which would work for Arab Unity. The attempt, unfortunately, soon failed in achieving the objective.
It was during the black Novemberist (1963) regression, that the most backward rightist and dictatorial forces reached power. Never since July 14th 1958 had there been in authority people more inclined to make peace with imperialism and open for reactionary infiltration and opposition to democratic thought and progressive application. The net result was a grave threat of encirclement and compromise of the two revolutions of July 14th 1958 and February 8th 1963 and all their revolutionary gains and achievements. The progressive forces of the masses, the Arab Ba'th Socialist Party at the fore, were exposed to all sorts of terrorism and repression. The Revolution of July 17th 1968, aiming by nature at liberation, democracy, socialism and national integration, was beset by the failures of July 14th 1958 and February 8th 1963 and the special peculiarities of Iraq. It had to face, therefore, additional burdens, extremely complex and delicate. The errors and deviations of the preceding phase had engulfed all aspects of life with grave implications. So the Revolution had to deal with all of this while at the same time working for its immediate targets and strategic aims of Arab Unity, liberty and socialism.
The Revolution had to establish immediately revolutionary power and Party leadership and to realise the progressive and democratic tasks which the two previous revolutions failed to realise. It had to carry out new tasks required by the new phase of revolutionary development and ensure all possible prerequisites of socialist transformation while making an effective contribution to the Arab struggle against imperialist Zionist aggression and the ever increasing dangers of reactionary connivance in the Arab world.
These were the central preoccupations and problems facing the Party and the people on the state, national and international levels, during the past five and a half years. They had to meet the required conditions to face those tasks and to make all possible efforts to achieve the immediate targets and move hence forward toward realising the strategic aims of the Arab Revolution for unity, freedom and socialism.
In the following chapters of this report, the Regional leadership explains frankly, accurately and in detail, the circumstances and factors accompanying the progress of the Party and the Revolution during the past phase. It deals with the internal as well as the local, Arab and international conditions and their effects on the abilities of the Party and the people in facing the tasks and realising the objectives.
The past phase has had its ups and downs, triumphs and failures. It was rich with many achievements and many essential gains. It was not, however, free from some negative aspects and partial failures.
We strongly feel, as we pass from one phase into another, that all things considered, the march of the Revolution has been one of success and triumph. Indeed, it has been able to pave a new course for the revolutionary movement in our country and in the Arab revolutionary movement. It has been able to lay the basic foundations for a revolutionary experiment which is popular, national, democratic, socialist and ideally suited for the Arab world and the Third World. Now as in future, it can play an ever increasing bright and prominent role in the Arab and international revolutionary movement. This is a part of what the Arab Ba'th Socialist Party has stood and struggled for during thirty years. The masses in our country and the Arab world made sacrifices and gave martyrs for it.