The Democratic Arab Socialist Union is a Nasserist party founded on the pillars of liberty, socialism, and national unity.

Major Figures

Hassan Abdul Azim: secretary-general
Mohammad Abdul Majeed Manjuneh: assistant secretary-general

Background

The Democratic Arab Socialist Union was established in 1964 by the union of several Syrian nationalist and Nasserist movements, with the purpose of working toward pan-Arab unity. It was not until the 1970s, under the leadership of Jamal Al-Atassi, that its political agenda became defined by the opposition to the Baathist government. In 1979, the party joined the National Democratic Assembly, a coalition of leftist movements representing the main secular opposition that was subsequently suppressed by the government in the 1980s.

In June 2011, a few months after the start of the Syrian uprising, the Democratic Arab Socialist Union took part in founding the National Coordination Body for Democratic Change. Hassan Abdul Azim, who became secretary-general of the Democratic Arab Socialist Union and spokesperson for the National Democratic Assembly in 2000, assumed the position of general coordinator for the National Coordination Body. He remains in this position, although the Democratic Arab Socialist Union left the coalition in January 2012. The party’s withdrawal statement mentions the inconsistency between the coalition and the party’s political outlook and also criticizes the nondemocratic practices in decisionmaking within the National Coordination Body. The party’s relations with the Kurdish groups have been strained due to its Arab nationalist agenda.

Platform

Policy Toward the Crisis

  • Rejects the call for external military intervention
  • Rejects the call for arming the opposition
  • Supported dialogue with the regime until the escalation of violence in November 2011; now supports dialogue only to negotiate the government’s departure
  • Supports the Annan peace plan

Political Objectives

  • National unity and prevention of the hegemony of any single ideology or party
  • Islam as a pillar of Arab nationalism
  • A social contract guaranteeing public freedoms, equality, and the peaceful democratic transfer of power
  • Economic reform according to the Nasserist principle of social justice, assigning a central role to the public sector
  • Cultural rights for minorities

Foreign Policy Issues

  • Arabism
  • Support for/rejection of the adoption of pro-Palestinian positions in opposition platforms