The Syrian Political Parties (1920-1950) and the degree of the influence of the European factor : How much they were influenced by the European factor

Hanna, Samira Abdallah

The following study, which focuses on Syria, clarifies that in the first half of the 20th century Syrian political parties, including the Communist Party, were deeply influenced by classical European liberal ideology that was inspired by the revolutionary bourgeoisie (especially from France) during the era in which it opposed feudalism and tyranny in drafting programs and constitutions. This is what banned the traits of totalitarianism, which entered the dictionary of political language only in the 1980s, from Syrian political life until the late 1950s. First, the study touches on the factors that have influenced the formation of political thought in the Arab East: (1) The socio-political factors that have been largely ignored by most Arab researchers; (2) the impact of patrimony in its different colours and forms; (3) exterior influences. The second part of the study throws, in brief, some light on the liberal secular Arab nation state (1918-1920) that collapsed under the blows of the French colonial invasion. The third part, which is the spine of the study, deals with political parties during the Mandate and the early independence period and the impact French political thought had on them. The study observes the process of a growing national consciousness, the auspices of a civil society demanded by parties, trade unions, and clubs and its relations to the different tribes, families, sects and confessions. The study also reveals the local echoes of Nazi thought found in some of the parties and their intellectuals. It gives special attention to the development of the Syrian Communist Party and the intellectual activity of the Marxist Salim Khayyata in debunking fascism, and it also exposes the different phases of the spread of Marxism in the Arab East. Thus, the study tries to answer the following questions: to what extent were Arab societies influenced by fascism when competing with the British and the French Empires that occupied most of the Arab world? To what extent were Arab societies influenced by Marxist ideas that called for national liberation from the yoke of colonialism as well as for emancipation from social injustice by advocating social justice and socialism? Did Stalinism, which played a negative role exhausting the Soviet Union, also have a negative impact on the Arab world or was its influence superficial and limited? What was the relationship between democracy and dictatorship on the one side and the level of public consciousness on the other?

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