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BA'TH Party leaders in Syria have tried to create what has been called a "mobilization system." This is a single party regime aiming to extend its organizational apparatus into the "mass base" of society to mobilize participation and support for its rule and its goals.' Inspired by Leninist models and the peasant revolutions in Vietnam and Algeria, the Ba'th elite realized that power cannot be stabilized or a revolution made simply by seizing the political center, unless the "revolutionary writ" can be made to run far into mass society. To carry out the rapid, extensive, but controlled social and political change at which they aimed, Ba'th leaders believed that they could not depend on bureaucracy to impose it "from above" nor work through traditional local influentials to spread it "from below." It was necessary to combine goal setting from above and mobilized mass support and participation from below. This would be done by building party and mass political organizations as a new form of political linkage extending between the revolutionary elite and the masses in their villages and neighborhoods. In this way, policies conceived at the center could be made meaningful for persons in the countryside, and power mobilized and channeled at the base of society. More concretely, mass attachments to the party's traditional opponents could be weakened, and legitimacy generated for the new regime. Peasants could be drawn into national political life, be brought to identify with nationalist goals, and enlisted in the effort at social reorganization in the countryside. This study explores the organizational and mobilizational performance of the Syrian Ba'th regime by focusing on the local level outcomes, in terms of penetration and mobilization of rural party supporters and application of agrarian policy, notably land reform.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-24
Number of pages24
JournalMiddle East Journal
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Jan 1976


  • Syria
  • local politics
  • Ba'th Party
  • peasants


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