You will read and hear a lot about Assad, the Syrian regime and the ongoing war in the country, but is Syria Socialist? This is a very nuanced question that we will delve into.
Background to the politics of Syria
The modern Syrian government stetted came into place during the 1963 coup within the country. This was led by the Aran Socially Baath Party, which as the name implies had left-wing leanings.
This initial government was leftist in nature and aligned with the Soviet Bloc, but was very unstable until the Hafez al-Assad faction gained power in 1970. Assad senior consternated power in the Baath Party, made the country largely secular and nationalised many industries.
The socialism of the Baath Party though was very different from communism and although major industries were state owned, Syria remained at best a mixed economy, although one with a good welfare system.
The 1974 constitution essentially made Syria a one party state, although it did this much like in other socialist states by ruling through a “Patriotic Front” system, not unlike East Germany, or North Korea.
To read about the Democratic Front for the Reunification of Korea click here
In Syria the National Progressive Front has essentially ran the country uninterrupted since 1972 and aside from the Baath Party also includes 9 smaller (mostly left-wing) parties, as well as three associated trade unions.
After the death of Assad senior the Presidency of Syria went to Bashir Al-Assad, although the political system remained the same.
Are there elections in Syria?
Until the Syrian unrest, or civil war, elections within the country were done with fixed candidates, rather than being multi-party. During the conflict Assaf announced both alimentary and presidential elections which would turn Syria into a semi-Presidential republic.
These elections whilst internationally observed were duly won by Assad and his popular front, with main opposition parties either boycotting, or being outlawed. Rightly, or wrongly the government outlawed any party with either religious, or regional aims, with secularism being key to the Baath regime.
To read about the Baath Party click here.
Was Syria socialist?
Syria under Assad senior was extremely left-leaning and to an extent part of the socialist block. It has though always espoused Arab Socialism which puts emphasis on personal property.
Generally speaking big industry was kept in state control, while smaller businesses were allowed to operate as normal. This though, much like with other countries of the region changed over the years, with more private enterprise being allowed.
Until the war though Syria offered a vert generous social we;fare for its citizens, although never to the level that was offered in Libya for example. At best it can be decided as having a mixed-economy in this period, although with many citizens employed by the state.
During the 1990’s to the current war there was a firm move to both privatisation and liberalisation of the economy.
Is Syria Socialist in 2023?
Due to the war and sanctions the economy of Stria has essentially tanked, which has caused multiple problems, with the total cost of war going over $200 billion. This has caused hyperinflation, as wide ell as problems with the supply chain of many products.
To read about the Syrian Civil War click here (link to Wikipedia).
So, while many people, particularly in the armed forces are employed by the state, the reality is that state wages no longer provide enough for Syrians to survive on. This has led to many Syrians leaving as economic refugees, as well as a booming black market.
In essence although the government tries to be a bit socialist, in reality financial constraints mean it cannot be.
With that being said there are though both communistic and socialistic elements to the country. The state still talks in a very revolutionary sense, particularly when it comes to the armed forces and its leader, who there is very much a cult of personality over. And it is of course still run very much by a vanguard party.
To read about Socialist Countries click here.
There is also the matter os secularism, which although not socialite per se, is very liberal and left for the region. Damascus in particular is the most cosmopolitan city in the region when it comes to thing such as women rights.
But to answer the overall question! Is Syria a socialist country? No Syria is not a socialist, or a communist country, it is a one-party state in transition into a democratic secular state with an open economy.
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