Third Basic Principle

The Syrian cause is the cause of the Syrian nation and the Syrian homeland.

This principle unequivocally defines the Syrian cause and emphasizes the indissoluble bond between the nation and its territory. Nations arise in distinct territories that sustain their lives and national character. The concept of the unity of the nation and its homeland embodied in this principle enables us to understand the nation as a social reality and frees the concept of nationhood from such historical, racial or religious misconceptions as are contrary to the nature of the nation and its vital interest.

The organic correlation between the nation and its homeland is the only principle whereby the unity of life can be achieved. It is within a national territory that the unity of national life and participation in its activities, interests and aims are attained. The national territory is vital for the development of the social character of the nation and forms the basis of its life.

A dominant characteristic of the basic principles is Saadeh’s insistence on clarity in defining the issues of Syrian nationalism. This is exemplified by the sequential order of development of the basic principles. They evolve one from the other in a complementary fashion amplifying the breadth of the national cause while detailing its elements. The third principle carries the issue of the national cause into its elements: it is the cause of the Syrian nation and the Syrian homeland. This amplification is important for two main reasons: first, it emphasizes a major precept of Social Nationalism mentioned earlier about the indissoluble link of the nation and its homeland. Second, this principle defines the framework of national struggle. The emphasis is on concrete causes directly related to primordial issues. The SSNP does not struggle for independence in an undefined sense, but for the independence of the Syrian nation in its homeland, i.e. its political, economic, cultural, military and strategic independence in its completely liberated homeland (16). This divergence from the stream of generalities that imbues Near Eastern political movements is a conscious choice inculcated by Saadeh to all his disciples. This principle also widens the envergure of national struggle. Since the cause is that of the nation, its life and destiny, then all the elements of its life need to be addressed.

The doctrine of Social Nationalism is the first in the Near East to base the concept of nation on the realities of human societal development. The details particular to the Syrian nation will be illustrated in subsequent principles. In general, the doctrine states that nations formed because the geographical environment coupled with historical-economic and sociological events led to the formations of distinct human societies with distinct life cycles, character and history. This view contrasts with other concepts of nationhood prevalent in the Near East that relate the existence of nations to religious bonds, race purity, or secondary aspects of human society such as language and common historical periods.