Ninth Congress Chapter III
DEVELOPMENT AND SOCIALIST CONSTRUCTION ISSUES
In the introduction to the chapter on the tasks of socialist transformations, the Eighth Regional Congress Political Report said:
“The Arab Ba’ath Socialist Party is a socialist party believing socialism to be a vital prerequisite for the liberation, unity and renaissance of the Arab nation. For this reason, the promotion of socialist theory and values, and their implementation have primacy in its activity at all levels. It seeks to put its beliefs into practice, as the needs of each stage demand, whenever it has the means and wherever possible in the Arab homeland, within a unity-oriented policy. ”
Since the beginning, the Party has had its own conception of socialism, asserting the Arab nation’s special approach to it.
The special approach does not mean a theory of action and a means of achieving socialist aims and principles which share with other forms of socialism the basics and principles of socialist ideology. Rather, it is a special approach in terms of the principles and ideological conception of socialism, and in terms of how to build it up, (theory of action). Its relation to the internationalist line lies in the notion that every national theory of life has common outlets, views and bridges with other preceding human theories in the world.
The Party has not copied its socialist principles from the Marxist or any other socialist theory. Nor has it sought to imitate any other socialist theory in the world. Nevertheless, it has called for studying all socialist theories and experiments in the world and for creatively interacting with them.
We can say that Socialism for the Party before assuming power in Iraq on July 17, 1968, had not been a theory, but rather one of its basic principles. After the Revolution, the Party had to define its own approach to building up socialism as well as to formulate its own socialist theory that proceeds from the Arab nation’s heritage and the objective needs and conditions in Iraq and the Arab homeland.
Despite the delicacy, difficulty and entanglement of the theoretical and practical issues of socialism, the Party has managed to perform this task with relative ease and minimum possible losses. It has also managed to strike a balance between principles and objective conditions. Two factors helped it in this respect:
First: Since the beginning, the Party has, as we have just said, chosen its own approach to socialism. It has not been restricted by any previous formula or restrictions whether theoretical or practical.
Second: The Party has managed to get rid of the erroneous and shortsighted trends surfacing among its ranks in the 1960s during its experience in power in 1963 in Iraq and Syria and afterwards. Those trends (certain consequences of which remained after the 17-30 July 1968 Revolution) were superficially affected by Marxism. Hence their attempts to impose a dogma on the Party, alien to its principles and nature.
The Eighth Regional Congress dealt with the theoretical and practical issues of socialism as a basic item on its agenda. Proceeding from the Party’s principles and comprehensive view, the Congress tackled these issues making a deep, extensive analysis of the economic and social conditions besetting the question of socialist transformations. It has also defined the basic facts in Iraq’s political, economic and social progress in depth.
Further, the Congress has laid down for the following phase comprehensive tasks closely connected with the requirements of national struggle on local and Arab levels as well as with the people’s interests in Iraq.
It is of particular importance to stress here that while defining certain objectives along the path of socialist transformation and development in the following phase, the Eighth Regional Congress had not dealt with these objectives in a stagnant dogmatic manner. Rather, it has asserted the need to know the concrete reality, to interact with new facts, to strike a balance between principles and objective conditions and to see that the final outcome of the course should enhance and develop the socialist line and ensure its decisive success.
The Achievements of the Past Phase
What are the basic aims and tasks defined by the Eighth Regional Congress in the field of socialist transformations and development? Of these, what were achieved?
Before answering the question, and in order to understand the issue in a precisely objective manner, we have to refer to three essential developments which had taken place between the two congresses:
The richness of the Party’s experience in various fields of socialist application and development and the discovery of many new facts throughout the complex course of application — which is an aspect of normal progress, although the party had creatively dealt with it.
The increase in the national wealth at a higher rate than the Eighth Regional Congress had expected, as a result of oil nationalization and the increase in oil production and prices — which had favorably reflected on the process of development and socialist transformation.
Comrade Saddam Hussein’s rich theoretical contribution which was demonstrated through detecting and analyzing the basic phenomena in the process of development and socialist trans formation; devising revolutionary solutions for ensuing complex problems; and laying down the Ba’athist theory of action in the field of socialist application.
Eight years after the Eighth Regional Congress and fourteen years after the Revolution, we can proudly assert that the July 17-30, 1968 Revolution led by Arab Ba’ath Socialist Party has made advanced steps along the path of establishing the socialist society in Iraq.
During these fourteen years, Iraq has decisively moved from being a country whose basic wealth and resources are controlled by monopolistic colonial companies and from a society where feudal exploitation, poverty, unemployment and backwardness prevail, to a totally different society.
Iraq has become totally free from any form of foreign exploitation and hegemony over its resources and wealth; and its society has today become free of feudal and capitalist exploitation. Equal opportunities are offered to all citizens, living standards are rising rapidly, and all fields and aspects of life are flourishing.
The objective conditions of exploitation were eliminated with the uprooting of the remainder of feudalism and feudal relations and the State’s decisive control over foreign and internal trade.
The Iraqi citizen is today living in a society where he is protected from exploitation whether in work dealings or in the profit made through trade agents’ work. The State has provided work opportunities for all citizens. Every citizen can find a job in the State organs. Nor is there in Iraq today, a man who, because of the need to make a living, is compelled to sell his work ability to any other man for an inappropriate return in terms of commitments and rights in any field of economic activity1.
The Revolution promulgated the law of comprehensive social security providing for families with no definite incomes, and for those with low incomes an additional monthly income, thus ensuring an honorable life for them.
The Revolution has also enacted a law covering the handicapped with the provisions of social security in addition to above-mentioned people. By this law a job is offered in the State organs or in the Socialist Sector’s offices to every handicapped person who is able to work and has no constant income. Such a job has to be compatible with his ability and qualifications, in exception to the rules of Labour Law and service regulations. Constant incomes were offered to those handicapped persons, who were not employed. Unemployment has therefore disappeared from Iraqi society. These two new laws of social security will put an end to begging, vagabondage, poverty and want.
Moreover, the state started to provide the basic goods to the citizens, whether imported or locally produced, with prices fixed in accordance with the public interest and that of the citizen, away from exploitation.
Not only were consumer goods provided by the State organs. Many other commodities for various uses and even those termed luxuries were provided at moderate prices.
With the rapid increase in the national income, the Revolution had been eager to raise the living standards of the citizens. This was indirectly demonstrated through developing social security and public services, and producing consumer goods and selling them at prices corresponding to the people’s national income; and directly through raising the salaries and wages of those working in all state organs.
Many increases were affected in the salaries and wages of the members of Armed Forces and workers. Some were made on February 8, 1974, the eleventh anniversary of February 8, 1963 Revolution. Several resolutions were issued by the Revolution Command Council effecting wage increases of 9-19 Iraqi Dinars (ID) for members of Armed Forces, civil servants and workers. They have also brought about a cut in the mortgage rates of the Estate Bank; a higher ceiling allowance on taxable income; a reduction in the prices of many goods and services provided by the State for the citizens such as natural gas, petrol, oils, water and electricity supply, with a greater reduction given to rural areas.
Other measures were taken in 1979, on the eleventh anniversary of the July 17-30, 1968 Revolution, effecting certain increases of (ID) 10-17.5 in the salaries and wages of the military, members of internal security forces, civil servants, workers, and pensioners.
The last of such measures was taken in 1980, on the twelfth anniversary of the July 17-30, 1968 Revolution bringing about an increase of ID 20-25 to all those working in the State organs, civilians and military, as well as pensioners. Hence, the total increase in the citizens’ purchasing power in the period between the two congresses was ID 40-61.5 which is more than the total salaries and wages of large sectors of the population in the early years of the revolution.
Further, a law was issued to increase allowances for children as well as raising children’s allowances for workers, civil servants and the military.
The per capita income in Iraq has risen from ID 91.1 in 1968 to ID 269.4 in 1974 and to ID 666.1 in 19812 with an average rate of growth of ID 19.8 for the period 1968-1974 and ID 13.09 for the period 1975-19813.
This rise in the per capita income was a result of an increase in the salaries and wages of all those working in the State organs. The average annual salary rose from ID 492 in 1968 to ID 609.2 in 1974 and to ID 1517 in 1981.
The average annual wage rose from 228 Iraqi Dinars to 675.4 Iraqi Dinars and to 1617 Iraqi Dinars in the same period. Hence, the average annual rate of increase in the salaries and .wages in this period was 100, 187 and 474 respectively.
These increases in the personal incomes have created an extensive and concrete state of prosperity and of advancement in the living standards. The poverty-stricken society which the Revolution inherited has now become a society of good life and growing prosperity.
In the period 1976-1979, the rate of families whose monthly expenditure was less than 50 Iraqi Dinars had dropped from 11.7 per cent to 2.8 per cent in urban areas and from 37.5 per cent to 12.9 per cent in the countryside4.
Against this family budget composition is a rise in the number of families whose monthly expenditure was more than 150 Iraqi Dinars from an average of 12.2 per cent to 45.4 per cent in urban areas and from an average of 7.3 per cent to 8 per cent in rural areas. The number of families whose monthly expenditure was between 51-150 Iraqi Dinars had dropped from 66.9 per cent to 51.7 per cent in favor of the number of families whose monthly expenditure exceeds 150 Iraqi Dinars. The number of such families in the rural areas rose by 55.2 per cent.
The general monthly family expenditure in urban areas rose from 114.1 Iraqi Dinars in 1976 to 166.9 Iraqi Dinars in 1979, while it rose in the rural areas in the same period from 74.8 Iraqi Dinars to 109 Iraqi Dinars. The rate of increase for both areas was 46 per cent. Against this was a price rise averaging 26 per cent.
During the same period, the number of families with electricity supply rose from 94 per cent to 96.6 per cent in urban areas and from 25 per cent to 43.3 per cent in rural areas. The number of families with a private car (except industrial cars and taxis) rose from 10.6 per cent to 12.2 per cent in urban areas, and from 0.3 per cent to 3.2 per cent in rural areas.
The number of families using natural gas as fuel rose from 54.5 per cent to 71.2 per cent in urban areas and from 10.1 per cent to 17.8 per cent in rural areas. Against this was a drop in the number of families using wood from 55.1 per cent to 31.2 per cent.
The Revolution has dealt with the question of taxes in a socialist manner taking into consideration the State’s financial resources at every stage of development.
With regard to the income tax, the wife’s income has been separated from the husband’s and each has become responsible for their own tax. The wife was given the right to incorporate her income with her husband’s if such a step will be in their favor.
Income tax on citizens working in State organs and both the socialist (public) and mixed (public and private) sectors was abolished.
These two steps were a great socialist achievement. The income tax legal allowance for the citizens themselves or for their children or those in their charge was raised without limiting the allowance to a certain number of children, as was the case in the past.
Tax on pensions and civilian and military pensioners’ rewards, and on profits resulting from the sale of a house, was abolished if the owner or his wife or his underage children had no other house. Also exempted were the residential plots of land in accordance with the same conditions.
The Leadership of the Revolution and Party has acted in an especially humane manner towards the families of the martyrs of the glorious battle of Saddam’s Qadisiyah. It exempted their families from the bequest tax as well as the deeds of cession held by the legal heirs.
The Leadership has also exempted a house the owner of which is dead from the bequest tax, thus proceeding from a scientific and humane view that takes into account the family’s conditions and the difficulties it faces in acquiring a proper house for residence.
From a humane point of view, the Leadership of the Revolution and Party issued a law exempting the heirs from any debt accruals to the State except the property of the deceased himself excluding the shares of any underage children and the house of residence.
As for the estate tax, the estates inhabited by their owners were exempted. The agricultural land tax was also abolished for five years and all proceeds were deleted.
Customs on a number of necessary food items were abolished or reduced. Children’s milk, for instance, was exempted from customs so as to help reduce its prices as a necessary food for all Iraqi children.
Development of Public Services
Under the July 17-30 Revolution, and in the period between the two congresses: the Eighth (1974) and the Ninth (1982), the Revolution worked along two interrelated lines in this field. The first was to develop basic public services in qualitative and quantitative terms. And the second was to assert a social and socialist conception for public services. In so doing, two great aims will be achieved: developing the country and raising the citizens’ living standards in all fields. This achievement was also to be ensured through socialist guarantees protecting citizens from any exploitation.
At all stages, education has become free since 1974. The State has started to offer all education requirements to all students from kindergartens to universities. Also it has been providing free school food meals to all students in kindergartens and primary schools.
A large-scale expansion in this field has been made in line with the requirements of qualitatively building up Man under the Revolution.
The degree of progress of public services in any country is closely related to the living standards of its citizens. The way a state runs public services reflects to a large extent its social conception.
The number of children enrolled at kindergartens rose from 14,500 in 1968-1969 to 35,300 in 1974-1975 and to 76,500 in 1980-1981. In the same period, the number of kindergartens rose from 135 to 203 and to 387. The number of primary school pupils rose from 1,010,000 in 1968 to 1,700,000 in 1975 and to 2,600,000 in 1981. The number of secondary school pupils rose from 285,700 in 1968 to 487,800 in 1975 and to 1,010,000 in 1981.
Vocational education has made considerable progress so as to meet the country’s growing needs for middle cadres required for development and great expansion in various projects. The number of vocational schools rose from 36 in 1968 to 75 in 1975 and to 148 in 1981. The number of students in these schools rose from 8,600 to 23,300 and to 53,200 in the same period. Besides, there are technical institutes attached to the Establishment of Technical Institutes, the number of whose students was 23,000 in 1980-1981.
In the teachers training institutes, the number of students rose from 10,800 in 1968 to 14,700 in 1975 and to 29,200 in 1981. The number of institutes became 42 in 1981.
University education has also made considerable advances. The number of students rose from 28,600 in 1968 to 75,000 in 1975 and to 112,400 in 1981. These students study at six universities.
There has been great expansion in these services in the period between the Eighth Congress and this one — which shows the concern of the Leadership of the Party and Revolution for providing good health services to citizens with a view to ensuring the proper atmosphere for building up the citizen’s character in a sound and vigorous manner. In this respect, the number of hospitals rose from 149 in 1968 to 167 in 1975 and to 203 in 1981. The number of beds rose from 16,300 to 22,100 and to 25,300 in the same period.
Health institutes have been considerably developed. Their
number rose from 933 to 1,505 and to 1,745 in the same period.
For the first time, popular clinics were established. Their number in 1975 was 55 and rose to 124 in 1981. Such growth in health institutes and hospitals could not be made without similar growth in medical cadres, hence the increase in the number of physicians from 1,759 in 1968 to 4,478 in 1975 and to 5,518 in 1981.
The State health bodies offer free health services to citizens. Nominal fees are sometimes charged just for organizational or administrative purposes. Moreover, these bodies offer medicines to citizens free of charge.
Further, the State ensures that medicines are provided to citizens at prices much lower than those of similar medicines in all countries of the region.
The State provides free treatment in the best clinics abroad for many citizens whose cases cannot be locally treated.
The Housing Problem
This constitutes the sharpest crisis confronting the country as far as living standards and public services are concerned. Its reasons lie in the rise in citizens’ living standards, the development in social life and relations and ensuing family splitting, the rapid growth of population, the increase in the number of resident non-Iraqis in the country, and the shortage of building materials compared to the growing needs for such material in this sector as well as in all development projects.
Research in this domain showed that in 1975 the shortage in residential units was 300,000 including 220,000 in urban areas. When we add to this figure the number of units which are below standard, the shortage becomes 566,000 residential units at the end of 1980 including 440,000 in urban areas.
In the years following the Eighth Regional Congress, the State organs, because of certain circumstances and reasons, had committed a grave mistake when they had failed to expand the production of construction materials such as cement, blocks and others. This failure has led to an annual shortage in the production of these materials amounting to 25 per cent.
The funds invested in public services as a whole and the housing sector in particular were relatively small compared to the growing needs in this sector.
However, the construction sector has made considerable progress since the inception of the Revolution. The production value in this sector rose from 98,500,000 Iraqi Dinars in 1968 to 426,100,000 Iraqi Dinars in 1974 and to 3,030,700,000 Iraqi Dinars in 1981, with a rate of growth of 27.6 for the period 1968-1974 and 29.22 for the period 1975-1981. The domestic product rose from ID 36.8 million to ID 155.5 million and to
ID 1645.4 million for the same period with an average rate of growth of 27.1 for the period 1968-1974 and 29.06 for the period 1975-1981. However, this growth was short of meeting all the country’s needs in this field.
This was marked as a point of failure in the previous plan. Comrade Saddam Hussein and the Leadership of the Party and Revolution stressed the need to correct this mistake. In recent years, part of this need was met in the last years of the plan.
More funds were invested in public services and housing sector. Work at building new plants for the production of construction materials was started. Imports of such materials were ordered and large-scale facilities in terms of plots of land and mortgages were offered to citizens to build their own houses.
Measures were taken to solve the accommodation problem of foreigners working in companies carrying out large development projects.
However, the housing crisis still exists. Great efforts have to be made to solve this problem in the following phase. Despite the acute shortage, great achievements were made in this field in recent years. Active contribution to building residential units was made by many governmental bodies and projects such as the State Housing Department and the projects of industrial, rural and military housing as well as those of Local Government Ministry.
It is of particular importance to refer here to the fact that the Revolution has so far built scores of thousands of modern residential units in the northern area after the decision to evacuate the border strip of scattered and backward villages. In so doing, the Local Government Ministry has provided new residential units for scores of thousands of citizens who started to live in modern villages provided with all basic services after they were deprived of them in their previous remote villages.
The total number of residential units built by socialist sector was 11,561 in the period 1968-1974, which rose to 96,878 in the period 1975-1981.
The gross number of all residential units built by socialist and private sectors is 172,600 houses and 12,000 flats. This figure includes the units built within the borders of towns and municipalities and built with bricks, cement and rock. According to 1977 census, the total figure of all residential units in Iraq was 798,700 houses and 17,000 flats.
Contributing to solving part of the housing crisis were also the facilities offered by the State in the field of building mortgages —the last of which being the abolishment of interest— the large increase in the Estate Bank’s mortgages and the encouragement of building new residential courts. As an indicator of the State’s contribution to solving the housing crisis, the total figure of mortgages paid to citizens were 98,100,000 ID in the period 1968-1974 for 74,400 citizens. The figure rose to 1,000,729,000 ID in the period 1975-1981 for 459,500 citizens.
The State has made active efforts to open new roads around the country especially in the northern area which has not received its share of development in this and other fields of services in the past phase because of the reactionary insurgency. 2,950 kilometers of roads were paved in 1975-1981. 1,242 kilometers of motorways (expressways) and 12,711 kilometers of roads were under construction.
The number of large and small bridges rose from 30 with 3,952 kilometers of length in the period 1968-1974 to 241 with 23,588 kilometers of length in the period 1974-1981, besides other 57 bridges with 12,990 kilometers of length.
Electricity and Water
In the past phase, concrete progress was made in increasing power supply in the country and providing electricity to villages and the countryside which had been deprived of it. Many generating stations were established all over the country. Lines carrying power supply were extended to various parts of the country. The total produced power supply rose from 2,571,800,000 KW/H in 1968 to 3,934,100,000 KW/H in 1975 and to 11,665,300,000 KW/H in 1981. The average rate of increase from 1974 to 1981 was 258.4 per cent. In the same period, similar progress had been achieved in the projects of drinking water in the country. A great number of such projects were completed to bring total refined water from 396 million cm3 in 1975 to 689.6 cm3 in 1981. The average rate of the increase achieved between 1979 and 1981 was 87.9 per cent.
Progress was also made in public transport services — passengers, goods, airways and railways. More transport cars, buses and railway carriages were bought. Airways were expanded and the necessary installations, workshops and airports were established.
In the airways, the number of passengers rose from 1.3 million in 1968-1974 to 4.1 million in 1975-1981. Quantity of goods carried by airways rose from 8.3 million tons to 73.8 million tons in the same periods.
In the field of land transport, the Establishment of Land Transport was set up. In the period 1975-1981 the Establishment’s cars carried 29.1 million tons of goods and 9.5 million passengers.
Passenger transport made a considerable progress both in expanding transport lines inside towns or increasing the number of buses used. In the city of Baghdad alone, for instance, the number of passengers rose from 1.1 billion in the period 1968-1974 to 1,854 billion in the period 1975-1981.
The number of passengers in railways rose from 19.6 million in the period 1968-1975 to 23.6 million in the period 1975-1981. The quantity of goods carried by railways rose from 28.3 million ton to 37.7 million ton.
The transport and communications sector has therefore made considerable progress in recent years. The value of production in this sector rose from 110.8 million ID in 1968 to 208.4 million ID in 1974 and to 1,110.6 million ID in 1981, with an average rate of increase of 11.1 per cent for the period 1968-1975 and 26.4 per cent for the period 1975-1981.
However, such a rate of progress is still lower than the general rate of progress in the country. The land transport means, and the public transport in towns including Baghdad are still short of meeting the present needs.
Progress made in railway transport is also still short of meeting the present needs whether in the passengers or goods transport.
Authorities concerned should make more efforts to encounter this problem and overcome the bottlenecks it is causing in the fields of production and services.
In the past period, telecommunications in Iraq have made certain progress. The most modern and fastest means of telephone lines among main towns were provided through microwave. Good communication lines between Iraq and the outside world were also provided through telestars and telex.
Therefore, it was possible to overcome many aspects of weakness and backwardness which had prevailed in this sector before the Revolution.
The Leadership of the Party and Revolution has shown a great concern for developing this sector. Sufficient funds were allocated for developing its means and installations. Investment expenditure in Telecommunications rose from 13.5 million ID in the period 1968-1974 to 180.9 million in the period 1975-1981. Various services of telecommunications have developed. The number of Automatic Telephone Exchange Centers increased from 22 in 1968 to 30 in 1974 and to 50 in 1981. Their capacity was increased from 76,000 lines to 130,000 and to 350,000 in the same years. Therefore, the rate of telephone distribution (one telephone per 100 citizens) rose from 0.7 in 1968 to 1.1 in 1974 to 3.00 in 1981.
Postal services had also made considerable progress. The number of posted items rose from 110 million in 1968 to 140 million in 1974 and to 200 million in 1981.
Number of telegrams rose from 1.1 million to 1.8 and to 3 million and number of customers of the post office deposit service rose from 140,000 to 160,000 and to 270,000 for the same periods.
Moreover, the Revolution’s government has established in the period following the Eighth Regional Congress a number of vital projects which have contributed to developing the telecommunication sector. Among these were three projects of Axial Cables. The first is the eastern with a capacity of 960 channels to automatically connect the Telephone Exchange Centers of Diyalah Province with the others in the country. The second is the southern with a capacity of 1,260 channels to connect the ex change centers of southern provinces with others in the country. And the third is the northern with a capacity of 960 channels to connect the exchange centers of Northern provinces with others in the country.
Ten automatic exchange centers with a capacity of 60,000 lines with all their requirements were set up in Baghdad and .1 numbers of provinces.
With regard to developing the country’s communication1, with the outside world, the Ground Station and the international Exchange with a capacity of 204 channels were set up to connect Iraq with a great number of world nations.
The Electronic Telex Exchange with a capacity of 1462 line, as well as Iraq-Syria and Iraq-Kuwait microwave projects with a capacity of 120 channels was completed.
Television communications with the outside world through satellite has also been ensured.
Broadcasting and television communications have made great progress to meet the growing needs in the country (details in Chapter 4 on Information and Culture).
However, despite the fact that what has been achieved in this sector is a great thing compared to its state before the Revolution, it is suffering from certain bottlenecks and still short of meeting the citizens’ needs especially with regard to telephone services.
Socialist Building and the Theory of Action
In stressing the need to secure the prerequisites for the transition to socialism and to undertake this transition in all domains where objective conditions allow, the Eighth Regional Congress defined central tasks as below:
“1 – Expand the socialist sector of agriculture (state collective and co-operative farms) so that it becomes the dominant sector; reduce individual types of agricultural production to ensure higher overall production, greater prosperity for the peasants and a rapid transition to socialism.
Bring all external trade into the hands of the state, and impose central control on internal trade, to give the public sector a leading role, while taking account of the urgent needs of
the development plan and the special measures these involve.
Strengthen the public sector’s leading position in industry, and work with energy and enthusiasm to move it from state capitalist to democratic socialist forms; organize the private sector under firmer State control so that it too may contribute to the development plan.
Guide the public services in accordance with the objectives and demands of development and socialist transformation.*
The Eighth Regional Congress report went on: «In all these fields of socialist transformation, with their connected problems, special attention must be given to economic conflict in the area. Iraq is surrounded by rich countries which follow the capitalist path and maintain close links with imperialism. Given the wealth of these states and the plan of American imperialism to weaken socialism, then eliminate it from the area, the Americans strive, wherever there are sufficient economic and human resources, to build an economy within the context of subservience to imperialism and capitalism, and to pass it off by deceit and lying propaganda as a model of progress. As a result, this region, with its closely interacting states, will experience during the next five years a conflict between this model, based on subservience to imperialism and capitalist methods, and the other model, based on independence and socialist planning. Imperialists and reactionaries in the region and domestic right-wing forces will do their utmost to exploit the mistakes and difficulties arising in the course of socialist transformation in Iraq in order to undermine confidence in socialism. In the struggle between the two camps, living standards and adequate supplies of basic consumer goods will have a central role.
Of course, we shall keep resolutely to the socialist path, in principles and in practice. Our activity must be greatly intensified in this regard, and socialist culture must be extended and deepened among the people. Imperialist propaganda must also be unmasked. But in addition, it is indispensable that when measures of socialist transformation are taken, a careful balance is kept which takes competition into account. In the same way, we must give proof of flexibility in confronting precarious of emergency situations, while being careful to direct the end result of these measures towards strengthening and developing the socialist path, so as to win the definitive victory. ”
What are the basic problems and issues which had faced us in the past phase within the process of socialist building and in seeking a theory of action peculiar to us? The periods preceding and following the Eighth Regional Congress were characterized by meticulous efforts to expand the area of socialist sector in various branches of economy, industry, agriculture, trade and services.
This policy was generally correct and necessary. The Revolution’s government has inherited a society where feudal and capitalist relations, exploitation and corruption had been prevalent.
In order to change the order of development and life in the country from its previous feudal and capitalist line into a socialist one, it was necessary to stage a persistent socialist struggle in education and in practice and to enhance the socialist line in all areas of economy and in all aspects of life inasmuch as the Revolution’s objective circumstances —which were tackled by the Eighth Regional Congress Political Report— permit, even if such a process involved certain mistakes and drawbacks.
The Party had to change Iraqi society in a drastically comprehensive manner into a socialist society. This was what really has taken place in the last fourteen years. However, the Party has not necessarily adhered literally to all those aims defined by the Eighth Regional Congress.
It has regarded those aims as a general policy and a set of guidelines, and not as a fixed formula that cannot be modified. In fact, the Eighth Regional Congress, after defining these aims through the Party’s experience at the time, has stressed the essential ends behind them.
Therefore, in the process of socialist building we have to lay stress on those ends —eliminating exploitation and ensuring prosperity, happiness and freedom for the individual and society— and not on formulas achieved at every stage. Those formulas are linked to their time and circumstances, which are changeable. So these formulas are exposed to development, change and adaptation.
The past stage had seen the achievement of a large number of the aims defined by the Eighth Regional Congress and referred to previously in this report. This was done in accordance with the formulas and measures taken by the Eighth Regional Congress. The change and development which occurred to certain formulas had been the result of the three above-mentioned essential developments.
Practical experience and concrete results of certain applications had made it necessary to review such applications so as to correct certain mistakes, avoid certain surfacing bottlenecks which had produced harmful effects to the Revolution and were used by hostile forces to attack the Revolution and the socialist line.
Comrade Saddam Hussein’s ideological activity in this period has offered to the Party profound revolutionary, practical solutions for certain questions which, in the past were merely generalized conceptions and principles. At the same time, the increase in the wealth of the country has enabled the Leadership to take unexpected measures to ensure prosperity for the public. This has made it necessary to modify former formulas especially in trade.
The Tasks of the Socialist and Private Sectors
These achievements in expanding and cementing the socialist sector in industry, agriculture, trade and services were very remarkable. Great efforts were made by the Party Leadership, senior Party cadres and national cadres in the State—, who are committed to the Revolution and socialism— who were working in this field. These efforts have led to cementing the socialist line in the country and transforming the old society inherited by the Revolution into a socialist one.
However, beside such positive aspects there were certain drawbacks which caused harmful effects to the Revolution, to its relations with the people and to the socialist line itself.
Proceeding from the Party’s revolutionary and objective view and from its desire to establish remarkable, positive achievements and to refer to drawbacks and mistakes so as to correct them and provide a new impetus for the revolutionary course, we have to refer here to the drawbacks in this field, and analyze and find the revolutionary and practical solutions for them.
The Party and its Revolution in Iraq have recognized the legitimacy of private ownership and private (economic) activity within the context of the socialist principles and laws and the supreme interests of the State and society. This was clearly evident in their principles as well as in the constitutional and political documents issued by the Revolution.
The Revolution has been adhering to this. But in the past stage, the bodies concerned in various branches of the economy and public services could not precisely define the separating lines between the activities of the Socialist Sector and those of the private one. Equally, they could not define the tasks of each sector in the process of development, production and services.
This stage had seen aspects of entanglement and inter-connection in the activities of Socialist and private sectors in all domains — which had caused harmful effects to both, confused their relations and undermined confidence between them.
In industry, the State set up certain factories which would have been better run and would have spared the State much effort and funds had they been established by the private sector. In agriculture, the State was almost heading towards involvement in as well as full control over all fields of production. Individual initiatives dwindled and agricultural and animal production sharply dropped.
In trade, the State organs imposed monopoly over all goods in such a manner that would have turned it into a State of retailers as described by Comrade Saddam Hussein. In tourism, despite aid extended to the private sector by the State, government organs started to set up and run small restaurants as well as large tourist camps.
This entanglement in the activities of the Socialist and private sectors, the failure of State organs concerned to distinguish between main and secondary branches and between basic and secondary needs for consumption and development, and the unscientific attempts to expand the area of Socialist Sector — all this has constituted a mistake that expressed the confusion in the application formulas of the Socialist Sector’s horizontal expansion. It has also caused harm to the progress of the country besides such negative consequences as the drop in the quantity and quality of production in certain fields and the bottlenecks in the trade sector in particular.
These conditions largely contributed to blurring the growth of the Socialist Sector and to preventing the private sector from discharging its assigned role in the process of production, development and public services.
In industry, the private sector has not made the necessary progress to meet certain consumer needs which the State organs have failed to meet in terms of both quality and quantity. But in construction and contracts, this sector has increased its profits.
One reason was its fear of nationalization in view of what happened before and after the Revolution of July 1968. Another was the theoretic vagueness of the private sector’s role from the historical point of view, hence the weak role of this sector in industry and in the industrial-agricultural activity.
In agriculture, the private sector’s situation was confused by the State’s involvement in many activities and domains where this sector could work much more efficiently. Moreover, the State has exercised total control over the moves of the private sector in this field.
In trade, the country had suffered successive crises and bottlenecks which had inflicted psychological and political harm on the Revolution and its relations with the people. One reason for this situation —which was used by hostile forces (against the Revolution)— was the State’s expanded control over the marketing of thousands of basic and inessential goods despite the failure of its organs to discharge such complex tasks. Another was the lack of sound central control over all branches of production, imports and distribution.
In public services, the nationalization of education and the State’s control over the health sector were no doubt sound measures. However, the unplanned expansion of the State organs’ role in other fields and the failure to pay due attention to the role that the private sectors could take in meeting a lot of rapidly growing needs have checked the growth of this sector in public services. The private sector itself bears basic responsibility for its own backwardness. Certain strata of bourgeoisie and exploiting groups had for many years taken a hostile attitude towards the Revolution and its socialist line. Through various means, they have tried to paralyze the socialist experiment hoping that the Revolution would be overthrown and the country go back to the capitalist system.
The Private Sector, moreover, is backward, selfish and shortsighted. It is always after speedy and fully guaranteed profits. Indeed, this sector is very skillful in accumulating profits, playing with prices and creating crises in the supply of goods in trade, crafts, and contracts and in industry. It uses facilities and support offered by the State —to enable it to contribute to developing the country— in making speedy profits without making sincere efforts to improve its services or products or even to maintain their prices in a well-proportioned manner.
In all this, citizens, especially those with limited incomes suffer unwarranted harm. In so doing, the Private Sector proves that it is not prepared to make exceptional efforts to develop the country and make profits in the long run. Furthermore, the mistakes of State organs have aggravated its drawbacks.
It is a well-known fact that the Private Sector no longer has any political institutes expressing its interests and stances. Similarly, the professional organizations which incorporate the members of this sector are not powerful or effective.
Some of them, like the Association of Industries, are run by the State in such a manner as would ensure no conflict between its activity and vision and those of the Socialist Sector.
However, the relation between the Private Sector and the State organs concerned has not been organized in a clear, continuing and scientific manner. There were positive political advantages for such a situation, especially during the early stages of socialist transformation and building because the bourgeoisie forces were prevented from possessing polarization centers which might play a hostile political role against the Revolution and its socialist policy. But, from a practical point of view, this situation has left the relations between State organs and the private sector to individuals’ vision, assessment and partial knowledge as well as to coincidence.
Another reason for the expansion of the area of the Socialist Sector without scientific measures was that certain State bodies did not correctly understand the socialist principles of the Revolution, imagining that to follow such an attitude (the unplanned expansion of the area of Socialist Sector) was in the interest of the socialist process. Other State organs which had followed this course were urged by a bureaucratic trend for hegemony rather than by socialist principles. Indeed, bureaucracy, as a totalitarian and feudalistic trend, tries with all possible means to impose hegemony on whatever field it may enter.
The mistakes resulting from expanding the area of the Socialist Sector to various fields without drawing a distinction between what is essential and what is not, have not only caused bottlenecks, crises and decline of efficiency in certain branches of the economy, but also had their negative effects on the process of development as a whole and on the main aims of the Revolution on local and national (Arab) levels.
By nature, the Revolution led by the Arab Ba’ath Socialist Party in Iraq is not merely a socialist revolution within the limits of Iraq. If it had been so, its tasks would have been far fewer in number and much smaller in size and its problems much less; and we would have been able to deal with economic issues in a different perspective, not in terms of substance but in terms of prospects, sizes and means.
The Revolution’s nationalist nature and its effort to build up a base of support and radiation within the movement of Arab revolution make it shoulder considerable responsibilities and obligations which make it necessary to deal with all issues including the economic one in the same perspective.
It is quite inappropriate that the Revolution should be fully involved in problems of production of soft drinks, sweets and eggs or in building small restaurants —if the Private Sector is able to undertake them— when it has to build up a large and strong army to defend the country and effectively take part in nationalist (Arab) tasks; and when it has to establish a base for military and heavy industries so as to enhance national independence and provide the requirements of nationalist (Arab) liberation battles.
It is true that each one of these activities has its own body, but these bodies are part of the State whose capability of organization, administration and provision of cadres is limited. Its work modes are also restricted by certain measures and scopes. Hence, when it gets involved in running essential and inessential affairs this will obviously be at the expense of the essential ones. At the same time, it will not make a prominent success of running inessential affairs.
Moreover, the size of Iraq’s population, 14 million, has to be taken into consideration in dealing with the socialist activity in terms of size, methods and priorities. At the present stage, we can give up many secondary economic activities in the fields of industry, agriculture, trade and services so as to provide the necessary resources for the main branches of economy and for basic national tasks on local and Arab levels.
Such secondary activities can be better handled and developed by the Private Sector. For many years to come, Iraq will enjoy considerable economic resources, thanks to its oil wealth. Therefore, we have to use these resources in meeting the people’s needs for consumer goods through the Private Sector or through imports until we establish the main structure of national economy and general progress in the country. For practical reasons as well as those related to principles, the task of building up such a structure cannot be left to the Private Sector. Nor can such a structure be ensured through imports. In fact, neither choice should be made because such a structure provides the basic ground for national independence and sound progress in scientific, economic and technological fields as well as a lever to help the Revolution discharge its local and national (Arab) tasks.
Socialism and Private Ownership
Since the beginning, the socialist principles of the Arab Ba’ath Socialist Party have recognized the legitimacy of private ownership and private (economic) activity within the context of socialist principles and laws and of the supreme interests of the State and Society. In principle, this was conditional on the exercise by the State of full control over all basic means of production and basic branches of economy which are closely linked to the essential interests of the people. Also, there should be a guarantee that the bourgeoisie class will not grow along lines of exploitation of the people.
However, in reality, striking a balance in this issue has been a most difficult and complicated job. The Party has to solve the problems and contradictions resulting from such a process.
Throughout the socialist application process in the past stage, this question had surfaced on both theoretic and practical levels. Thanks to Comrade Saddam Hussein’s creative ideological contribution, considerable attention was drawn to it, and relevant solutions devised, both in practical terms and those of principles.
The first aspect of this question is a practical one related to the quality of production and services and how much they meet the increasingly diverse needs of the public, in a very complicated age and within the context of competition between the Capitalist and Socialist worlds. Moreover, the large gap between the developed and backward or developing countries (including Iraq and the Arab homeland as a whole) has to be taken into consideration. Should the State exercise its control over all branches of economy and services? And can such a line lead to increasing and developing production as well as meeting the needs of the people?
The experiments which have taken this line have suffered economic failure and crises and a slow rate of growth in most fields of economy and services.
Certain enlightened political leaders in more than one Communist country have tried to ease this trend to face crises and bottlenecks and achieve higher rates of growth and progress, through activating the role of the Private Sector in certain secondary branches of economy and services.
However, such attempts cannot be more than partial measures to deal with economic and social bottlenecks as well as brushing up certain aspects of theory which have come to lag behind present life and its rapid increase in needs and resources. Such attempts are obviously made in the Communist experiments which proceed from a doctrine denying the legitimacy of private ownership and private (economic) activity, and move theoretically towards building up Communist societies based on the theory of (from each according to his work to each according to his need). Hence, it is only natural that we — who proceed from an ideology believing in the legitimacy of private ownership and private (economic) activity within the context of socialist principles and laws and the supreme interest of the State and society-should not commit the mistake of expanding the area of the State’s activity to every field and branch of the economy and services and even to their farthest and smallest corners.
The last years’ experience in building up a new socialist society (in Iraq) has confirmed this point and the need to avoid such a mistake.
The second aspect of this question, which is a theoretic one related to principles, concerns exploitation. How can we strike a balance between the presence of a Private Sector which does not rely on individual effort and that of the family alone but also on those of many working people, and the need to check exploitation?
It is not easy to answer this question. In fact, there is no absolute answer, because the problem cannot be treated from a theoretic point of view or with a mathematical method. Rather, we have to deal with it in a realistic manner and relate it to man’s freedom, happiness and the objective conditions of each experiment.
Before the Revolution, many peasants and workers had been forced to sell their ability to work to feudalists and capitalists within the context of an imbalanced relation, thus suffering exploitation. But conditions totally changed after fourteen years of socialist system in Iraq.
The Revolution has provided job opportunities for every Iraqi citizen seeking a job in various State organs. Unemployment was eliminated forever. Any individual who does not want to work in one of the State organs and seeks to carry out an individual activity relying on his own effort cannot be considered as an exploited or exploiting citizen. But if an individual opted for hiring his own effort to an employer, it is up to him to do so even if the surplus value turned to the employer.
This state of affairs cannot be ensured in all societies. It has been ensured in Iraq, thanks to its economic resources resulting from oil wealth. It would be a mistake not to take advantage of these resources in eliminating exploitation on one hand and guaranteeing freedom to Man on the other. At the same time, we should seek better chances to develop certain branches of our economy and public services, thus meeting the needs of the people for them in a better manner.
It is of particular importance to stress here that those individuals working by their own will for private employers are by no means exploited by those employers.
The State organizes employment affairs, ensuring basic rights for every citizen, whether working in the Socialist Sector or the Private Sector. Minimum wages, working hours and normal and sick leaves are all defined by law. The law protects working people from dismissal unless certain rules are applied.
Those working in the Private Sector are covered by the Social Security Law. They, as all other citizens, enjoy all free services offered by the State in education, health and other fields.
The working people in the Socialist Sector enjoy better privileges than their mates in the Private Sector — which is a further incentive for people to work in the former. One exception, however, lies in the fact that wages in the Socialist Sector are not subject to the rapidly changing law of supply and demand as is the case with the Private Sector.
It is of particular importance to refer here to the steady decrease in the number of Iraqis working in the Private Sector’s industrial, agricultural and services firms to the advantage of the Socialist Sector. In fact, the Private Sector started to meet a considerable part of its needs for work force from abroad.
In an address to certain civilian and military Party organizations on February 16, 1978, Comrade Saddam Hussein has tackled the question of private ownership and private (economic) activity within the context of the Party’s socialist principles and the Revolution’s process of socialist application. His address which was published (in Arabic) as (Private Ownership and the State Responsibility) dealt with this question in such a comprehensive, creative and deep manner that it has offered a great set of guidelines for the treatment of this issue in the present as well as in the future. Following is the part dealing with this question:
«The slow application of socialism and the failure to discharge its tasks as well as the failure to deal with the private ownership and the private activity with a revolutionary mind and spirit will certainly lead to surrender, shrinking and consequently to apostasy. Unplanned speed in building up socialism, hasty expansion of its fields and the un-objective and unscientific attitude towards private ownership — which has no exploitation— all this can throw the process of socialist application into endless bottlenecks and problems. One such problem is that we would lose many people — which we can avoid. Other problems are the covers and conditions which such measures indirectly provide for apostasy.
Therefore, the problems facing our Party in the process of socialist construction are so diverse and complicated that they need full attention in terms of vision and solutions as well as constant avoidance of stagnant conceptions and treatment. In fact, we have to keep a tight rein on private ownership and business, eliminating any form of contradiction between them and the Socialist Sector and process in general. In this, however, we have to take into consideration not only the material requirements for socialist application but also its human conditions in the first place. In our Party’s view, socialism is a philosophy of life fully integrated in all its main and secondary aspects. It is not merely economic treatment and solutions. Thus we will not lose Man, the aim of socialist application.
We are not alone in facing difficulties of socialist application. What we face, in fact, is much less than the difficulties faced in other experiments which had preceded us in the socialist process. Certain socialist experiments suffered grave bottlenecks in terms of development and human loss. Under these experiments, total and hasty (State) control was imposed over all means of production; and full ban on private ownership and business was effected without weighing such steps against the objective and practical requirements of life progress, those of social maturity and cultural and psychological preparedness, and the serious capability of dealing with socialist construction and the conditions of its progress.
Indeed, during Stalin’s era in the Soviet Union, for instance, the sacrifices involved along this course, beside other factors, were about 13 million people and one-third of animal wealth as well as other moral and material consequences. This explains why the Soviet Union has reviewed its position on private ownership which is not exploiting, and why certain Eastern European countries, such as Poland, Yugoslavia and Hungary refrained from encroaching upon private ownership.
In fact such a line is easier for the State than our approach to socialism, when the issue is viewed in its direct material context without considering the social and psychological effects as well as the degree of progress. Yet it causes grave harm. The most important requirement of socialist construction process is to control the means of production and turn them into public ownership to a degree ensuring a material base for this process. This should be balanced with the required role of private ownership and activity to the advantage of the socialist process in its comprehensive view of life, its circumstances and successive and developing stages.
This view does not require that means of production and all economic activities should be placed under public ownership; but it does require that private ownership should be placed in the service of general directions and laws of society through socialist construction and relations. It also demands that the size and orientations of private ownership should be determined by the conditions of the (socialist) change.
However, prohibiting and combating exploitation are central to our Party’s principles and to all stages of socialist construction and its progress. Equally, our Party is always rejecting and combating those trends which separate private ownership and business from socialist values and consider it as a fixed right that can never be violated or handled under any circumstances.
In our view, private ownership and business should carry out a centrally defined role. Its legitimacy should arise not only from its consistency with the socialist process to build up a new society, but also from being in the service of this process. In fact it should be in full agreement with this process in activities, formulas and aims and inasmuch as required by the nature of the successive stages and requirements of the desired progress and change.
Therefore it is necessary not only to place private activity —which is not exploiting— under the socialist laws and general patterns but also to subject it to the phased policies which would determine its role and size.
The possibility of the presence of private ownership and activity cannot be applied to all sectors and activities in the society. In fact, their area, size and nature should be defined in accordance with the ability of Socialist Sector’s organs to practice administration, control and supervision. Also, this should be done in the light of the progress of technology and science and their relevant effect on this and other fields; and the progress and maturity of society in general. Moreover, this process should be done in the light of the decreasing gap between the need to bring up Man culturally and psychologically along socialist lines, and his ability to discharge and comprehend the tasks in accordance with the process of socialist construction.
Indeed, the role of private ownership and activity should be thoroughly considered. In all this, there should be no generalization, but due attention ought to be paid to the conditions of progress.
Private ownership should not be necessarily equal or similar in all sectors, activities and areas of society. Yet all private (economic) activities should be integrated and coordinated with the socialist public ownership by way of service to society.
Hence, production relations in the Public Sector or the Private Sector, including the cooperative movement, are socialist ones in the socialist society. Despite the presence of private ownership and activity of the type we have just referred to, the system of government is also called a socialist one, when the main structures in the economic, cultural and social fields are relatively stabilized in nature and size, and when the application of basic structures and laws of the socialist process attain to maturity in its particular historical stage.
To allow private activity and ownership within the limits determined by the socialist Ba’athist application and to reject exploitation at the same time, require frequent assessments of private ownership and activity in various fields in terms of type, size and orientation. This should be done in accordance with standards and procedures acceptable to the socialist programme within the successive developing stages of life and its basic components.
Through renewed formulas, the Revolution has therefore, to undertake serious tasks to strike a balance continuously between the requirements of socialist change and those of keeping a tight rein on the Private Sector within the limits assigned to it.
In the agricultural sector, for instance, the size of ownership is changeable. It depends on the development in using machinery in agriculture, the scientific means of combating agricultural diseases, improving and increasing agricultural products and the means of irrigation and desalination. It is also linked to political and social aspects of the Revolution’s society. This is why we find that the maximum and minimum limits of ownership in a plot not fully reclaimed or in a piece of land with so much salt that it obstructs cultivation are higher than those in fully reclaimed or fertile plots which are irrigated with water flowing or through instruments. The limits of ownership in an area irrigated by rain are different from those in an area irrigated by water flowing or through instruments.
Hence, we find that the quality and quantity of agricultural products improve when sufficient quantities of insecticides and the necessary means of taking care of plants and animals, are provided to farmers with low prices, or when the role of the State in this field improves. Such a development would eventually lead to an increase in the value of agricultural production in the plot of land assigned to the farmer in a higher rate than the improvement in this farmer’s living and cultural conditions would require in the light of the growth and progress of the whole socialist society including those working in the agricultural sector. Therefore, it is quite necessary to reconsider ownership.
However, such a process (reconsidering private ownership) should not be a continuing one. In the early stages of the Revolution and the development plan, this process is needed particularly for lands whose real value cannot be ensured without a series of technical and scientific measures in terms of reclamation and irrigation.
At any rate, we have to strike a balance in a precise and scientific manner between the above-mentioned requirements and the importance of ensuring relative stability for private ownership especially in agriculture so that those owners would not be concerned for their future.
Those owners, who are not feudalists or exploiting ones, should understand that reconsidering private ownership, in accordance with such considerations, would be always oriented towards more and better advantages for them in terms of living and cultural conditions. In fact, this is an essential part of the aims of socialist construction and struggle.
In considering the highest level of ownership according to its money value, or that of money property, we have to take into consideration the development in the requirements of prosperous life in the socialist conception in the light of the progress on the local, national (Arab) and international levels and the development in the value of currency used as a measure.
If an additional rural residential house is unnecessary now, it will not be so within the socialist ownership in the future. The same applies to ploughs, harvesters and other equipment. This example can be also applied to all other sectors as well as to the general structure of the socialist build-up.
Therefore, in order that our socialist application should be compatible with our basics and theory of action in this field, which do not reject certain socialist forms of private ownership and activity —which are not exploiting— it is necessary to frequently reconsider the private ownership and activity in terms of size, quality, and orientation so as to ensure continuing improvement for the socialist society and prevent the formation of any grounds for exploitation.
In capitalist systems, the State at present, does not undertake-the role of the main organizer of economic and other activities in the society. Therefore, its role is limited. The tasks undertaken by its organs in the social and economic life are far less than those undertaken by the State in a system led by the Arab Ba’ath Socialist Party. Those systems proceed from the principle: “let him work, let him pass” which means that man should be able to act freely with the exploiting ownership, and that ownership, in this way, is the central means of life to control society and use the State to serve the capitalist and bourgeois trend.
We believe that the State and its organs should be in the service of society along the course of socialist construction. The capitalists believe theoretically in the neutrality of the State and its organs in the capitalist society. Yet practically, they put these in the service of the private activity, that is, in the service of the exploiting class. In the socialist system, the State serves the majority of the people during the early stage of socialist revolution which often witness a conflict of interests between the remainder of the exploiting minority and the popular majority. And it becomes the State of the whole people, when this conflict disappears and the socialist construction reaches full maturity in its general laws and basic application.
Sometimes, certain comrades and sections of the public disapprove the increase in the number of ministries and governmental organs in our socialist system compared to the number of such bodies during the royal regime or with that of similar bodies in France and other Western countries. In this, they seem to forget one scientific and objective fact, namely that (in our system) the State is basically responsible for running all the society’s affairs, hence the expansion in its organs in our system, while the opposite exists in the capitalist, semi-capitalist or semi-feudal systems where basic activities in society are undertaken by the Private Sector and its monopolistic companies. Therefore, the role of the State is limited under such systems.
This clarifies one important aspect of the duties and organs of the State in the socialist Ba’athist society now or along the course of building it up throughout the various stages of development.”
Development — the Distinguished Model
The Eighth Regional Congress has called for “a development explosion to ensure the total, rapid evolution of all sectors of activity in Iraqi society and in all parts of the country.” It also called for achieving a “great leap forward” in the next five years, “in the economic and social conditions of the country, a leap which will take it to an advanced state of development whereby the foundations of the national economy will be solidly based, ensuring its prosperity. Equally, this stage will lay the foundations of a modern society and establish stable conditions for the people’s well-being. During the process, we must be very careful to set an example of how to work for progress and affluence, guided by the principles of the Revolution and socialist policy, in antithesis to the farcical and ineffective experiments offered by certain regimes in the area which have opted for isolationism and imperialist dependence. They have chosen capitalist methods which, throughout the Third World, have proved a total failure”5.
This central objective defined by the Eighth Regional Congress had established good guidelines for the process of .development in the following stage.
We can say that, under the enlightened leadership of the, Party, the main lines of this process remained remarkably close to this objective in practical terms as well as in terms related to principles.
Despite all its drawbacks, this process, in fact, has become a remarkable model for many countries in the Third World, especially oil-producing ones.
What are the basic aspects of the process of development in Iraq under the Arab Ba’ath Socialist Party and the July 17-30 Revolution?
1 – One of the most important aspects of this process is that it is a national one. In many Third World countries, especially oil-producing ones, development plans proceed along lines which eventually lead to closer economic dependence on developed countries, and big powers in particular and consequently to shackling the national will and independence.
But the Revolution in Iraq led by the Arab Ba’ath Socialist Party has adopted a national policy (on local and Arab levels) in the process of development despite difficulties involved.
The rapid and comprehensive development of all branches of economy and all aspects of life in society which has been termed by the Eighth Regional Congress as a “development explosion” and “a great leap forward” cannot be realized through total reliance on national (local) potentialities especially in execution and technology.
Such reliance unquestionably leads to slowing development, losing chances of progress and making improper use of national wealth. Hence, it is necessary to rely on foreign expertise and potentialities in the process of comprehensive development. However, the difference between the policy adopted by Iraq’s Revolution in the process of development and those adopted by many countries in the Third World including certain oil-producing countries is that the Revolution has established a close link between the requirements of enhancing national independence and protecting free national will and national (Arab) interests and the development dealings with foreign states and companies. The Revolution has also relied on its own national will in giving priority to certain projects over others, unlike many Third World countries which lack good economists and technicians, firm national political will, and financial resources enough to provide the needed capital. Those countries often submit to the orders of other parties or to their counsel on priorities of projects implementation — which eventually serves the interests of those parties rather than the countries concerned.
The Revolution’s attitude towards the execution of development projects in Iraq was essentially based on the diversification of states and companies involved in such process. This attitude is so difficult that the State has to deal with scores of parties instead of only a few. It also causes difficult and complex problems to the bodies responsible for administration, maintenance and assimilation of transferred technology because it brings about diverse modes of such technology, diverse methods of execution in the various branches of development and a large-scale need for specialized and efficient cadres. Despite all this, such an attitude, which is a great challenge in the modern world, offers us better choices, enhances our national independence and free national will and diversifies our access to world experiences in the field of science and technology.
2 – The development plan as a whole is oriented towards expanding and developing the Socialist Sector in industry, agriculture, culture and public services so as to bolster the prosperity of the people. It is a socialist form of development drastically different from the modes adopted by certain Third World countries, including oil-producing ones which follow the capitalist line, although their investments are governmental ones.
In those countries, the process of development is aimed at expanding local and foreign capitalist activities and bolstering their growth at the expense of the people at large. But in our country, the whole process of development is run by the State and the Socialist Sector. In fact, it practically leads to expanding the Socialist Sector and consolidating its leading role in various aspects of life as well as in various basic activities of the national economy. There are, however, a number of joint projects between the Socialist and Private Sectors. The Private Sector and the parasite groups cannot participate in any part of the development plan where the State invests public funds, except the contracts sector and the facilities offered by the State to certain branches of private activity.
Dealing with private contractors’ sector has been prompted by the large-scale need for executing development plans. Therefore, it was allowed to expand and make more profits than it really deserved.
However, it remains linked to the State and the development plans. In fact, it cannot have any large-scale activities away from the State’s plan and programs. The State determines the size of private contractors’ activity because it is their employer.
But there were certain negative consequences for such growth of this sector and the failure of the Socialist Sector to practice its leading role in this field. One lies in profiteering, which is legitimate in legal terms but unfair in terms of principles. Another lies in the negative social effects of such growth.
3 – The Party’s conduct of the revolutionary course in the country, including the development process, has decisively and remarkably ensured a “clean” development, thanks to the Party’s profound awareness and genuine principles and morality. In many Third World countries, including oil-producing ones, the development process had led to spreading corruption among politicians and administrative organs as well as to the appearance of groups and bands of suspicious underhand commissions and deals.
The spread of corruption in the development process in these countries led not only to stealing the people’s wealth but also to causing deviations in the orientations of such process, meddling in the sectors and projects and grave failures.
“Clean” development does not ensure standards of morality only but also the potentialities of progress based on scientific and objective choices — which favorably reflect on the general line of progress in the country concerned.
4 – The national and socialist nature of the process of development in Iraq and its connection with the national aims and interests made it a comprehensive one. Despite the mistakes and shortcomings in the coordination and integration among all aspects of this process, it has included industry, agriculture, services and culture. Also, this process has covered all parts of the country so as to bring about balanced development in all areas.
This does not mean that there were no priorities in the process of development. In fact, the Revolution has given priority to the industrial sector because it exceeds others in contribution to the general course of progress and evolution in all fields.
Comrade Saddam Hussein referred to this in his book (Our Special Approach to Socialism) saying: “In the considerations of establishing the material base for the socialist application, the industrial sector retains primacy over others.” He added: “The world today, as you know, lives in an age of technological and scientific progress. However much a country may advance in agriculture, it will not command the basic aspects of scientific and technological progress when —supposing this is possible— it confines its interest to agriculture.
“Therefore, if our country remains an agricultural one it will remain backward in agriculture in both quantity and quality of production, because it will remain a backward country in scientific and technological terms.
“Our country should therefore be an agricultural and industrial one. Indeed, agriculture cannot make a genuine advance unless our country becomes an industrial one, acquiring the basic aspects of industrial progress. Equally, our country cannot be an advanced industrial one capable of further development in this field without making a close connection between industrial development and the required progress in agriculture.”
5 – The Socialist nature of Iraq’s process of development and the great attention paid by the Leadership of the Party and Revolution to the life and interests of the people led to exerting serious efforts to reduce the harmful and negative results of such a great process of development, particularly that shown by inflation and its economic consequences, which harm many sectors of the public.
The process of development which is necessary for the progress of society and prosperity of the people cannot obviously proceed in such a comprehensive and rapid manner as that which was carried out in Iraq without causing negative and harmful side effects. One such effect is inflation which has become an unavoidable world phenomenon since the national market is largely affected by world markets.
However, there is a great difference in the level of inflation and its effects between Iraq and other countries, including those in our region. In Iraq, living standards grow rapidly without being corroded by inflation as is the case with other countries.
The “development explosion” is a reality now in Iraq and the “great leap” started many years ago and is still going on. In fact, Iraq is today a large workshop of construction in every field of the economy and in every aspect of life.
This aspect, which has now become a prominent feature in the life of Iraq and its people, is quite well-known to the Arab homeland and the world. Indeed, it has become a well-known fact that Iraq is progressing in a rapid, comprehensive and sound manner. Iraq’s experience in development has even become a model referred to by friendly and fair quarters all over the world.
We have referred in this chapter to a number of important achievements in the field of development through discussing the basic aspects of socialist construction under the Revolution together with the prosperity and progress achieved in various fields in the society including the public services. In the following pages we shall sum up the prominent achievements made along the course of development and progress in a number of fields which are central to the progress of the country.
The Political Report of the Eighth Regional Congress has stated that the expansion of the Socialist Sector in industry after the July 17-30, 1968 Revolution was not the result of the nationalization of private industries, some of which were nationalized in 1964. Rather, this expansion was the result of the State’s setting up of many new plants. In the light of the vital importance of expanding the industrial sector, and the socialist one in particular, a great meticulous and exceptional effort was made after the Eighth Regional Congress to build up an extensive advanced industry which can contribute to cementing the socialist process in the country as well as establishing the objective foundations of economic independence. Industry is the cornerstone of development and economic independence. In a world overwhelmed by relations of unequal trade exchange and subservience to advanced countries’ economies, national industry should grow rapidly and efficiently to put an end to reliance on foreign sources, to make better conditions for international trade exchange, to speed up the process of development, and to realize economic stability in society.
Despite the great achievements made in this sector during the period 1974-1981, it still suffers from certain obstacles and drawbacks which negatively affect its course of progress and the achievement of the objectives assigned to it. Some of these obstacles and drawbacks are objectively caused by the level of economic progress of the country, the lack of experience in industry and the problems of socialist application. However, the employees of this sector are to blame for other obstacles and drawbacks of a subjective nature.
One important problem facing this sector was the deterioration of its employees’ productivity despite the progress it has achieved compared with its level before the Eighth Regional Congress. Among the factors behind such a problem are the following:
1 – The technical inefficiency of the employees of this sector and their failure to keep abreast of recent technological developments. The industrial human base is still below the required standard in both quantity and quality. In fact, great efforts are needed to develop their skills.
2 – The continuing imbalance between middle and engineering cadres both in number and quality — which leads to preoccupying engineering cadres with ordinary technical work and to ignoring aspects of development and creativity in the process of production.
3 – Failure to grasp modern technology to a sufficient degree, and the numerous problems and stoppages faced in operating developed machines and equipment.
4 – The rapid horizontal expansion in many industries without a similar expansion in the preparation of the necessary qualified cadres — which led to giving old cadres more tasks than they could handle and consequently to decreasing their productivity on one hand, and to giving high industrial positions to inefficient persons on the other.
5 – Despite the acute need for work force during recent years, disguised unemployment is still present in certain branches of this sector, especially among administrative civil servants and to a certain extent among workers and technicians.
One basic problem facing the industrial sector was the imbalance between the size of its horizontal expansion and provision of basic structure projects such as transportation, roads, railways, stores, communications and industrial housing. Despite the fact that important progress has been achieved in these fields, they remained below the level demanded by the high investment rate in industry after the Eighth Regional Congress.
The industrial sector has faced another serious problem which checked the rate of its growth and progress. It is the ambiguity of policy which defines the tasks of the private activity, mixed sector and Socialist Sector. Results of such a policy were as follows:
The Private Sector has kept away from many foods and manufacturing industries which the country is in need of. It has often resorted to profiteering through industry that is to set up small plants which ensure maximum profits in return for minimal efforts. In fact, these plants are no more than large workshops for canning, packing, cutting and similar simple industrial processes.
The Socialist Sector has entered into small, scattered and economically unimportant projects which sap capital and technical and administrative cadres at the expense of vital projects.
It would have been much better if such projects had been left to the private activity, and the Socialist Sector had specialized in projects with high capital and added value as well as in strategic projects which help accelerate the transfer of technology and contribute to speeding up industrialization.
Another problem facing this sector was the lack of awareness and supervision to control the quality of production in the projects of the private and Socialist Sectors. This led to supplying bad products — which made citizens react by preferring imported goods.
The low standard of costing accounts and the lack of its application led to weakening the objective rules of pricing and to an economically unjustifiable rise in the cost of production. This has caused harm to consumers and a drop in the economic profit of certain projects.
These problems and drawbacks had considerable effect on the rate of growth of the Private Sector and on its structural composition. However, these negative aspects cannot detract from the high importance of the development of the industrial sector and its remarkable achievements. Despite the problems of employment, cadres, raw materials and others, the industrial sector met great success in its various branches. This was quantitatively demonstrated by horizontal expansion and qualitatively demonstrated by introducing new industries, and making high increases in the value of production and the added value. Moreover, great success was achieved in building up socialist production relations and enabling the socialist industrial sector to lead the main industrial fields in Iraq — which have helped it lead the whole course of industrialization in the country in a manner consolidating the socialist revolutionary system and cementing its objective bases.
To have an idea of what has been achieved in this sector as well as showing the degree of attention paid to it by the Leadership of the Party and Revolution, we have to present certain basic indicators of its growth and progress.
In the forefront of these indicators is the increase in the investments allocated for it in the national development plans. Investments spent in the industrial sector were 365.4 million Iraqi Dinars over the period 1968-1974 with an annual rate of growth of 170.8 per cent. They rose to 3832.3 million Iraqi Dinars in the period 1975-1981 with an annual rate of growth of 123.6 per cent.
The State entered new fields of industry such as steel, engineering, electrical and extractive (phosphate and sulphur) industries. Old industries were expanded. Therefore, we can say that during the last thirteen years, a huge industrial base was established in Iraq, thus forming a solid material basis for the socialist society built up by the Revolution.
We can realize the volume of change effected by the Revolution in this field by realizing certain indicators to the growth and development of this sector.
In production, the manufacturing industries achieved clear progress. The value of production had risen from 266.5 million Iraqi Dinars in 1968 to 594.9 million Iraqi Dinars in 1974 to 1797.9 million Iraqi Dinars in 1981 with a rate of growth of 14.3 for the first period and 14.2 for the second6. The domestic product in the manufacturing industries rose from 94.6 million Iraqi Dinars to 187.8 million Iraqi Dinars in 1974 and to 594.8 in 19817, with a rate of growth of 12.1 for the first period and 14.03 for the second8.
The fixed capital in this sector rose from 36.4 million Iraqi Dinars in 1968 to 123.7 million Iraqi Dinars in 1974 and to 676.5 million Iraqi Dinars in 1981, with a rate of growth of 22.5 for the first period and 18.6 for the second.
In accordance with the strategy of industrialization, the Socialist Sector in this field has expanded and occupied a leading position in the whole industrial activity in the country.
The relative importance of the value of production of the manufacturing industries sector rose from 31.7 per cent in 1968 to 39.3 per cent in 1974 and to 51 per cent in 1981. The relative importance of the domestic product rose from 41.8 per cent to 47.1 and to 56.8 in the same years.
The relative importance of the Socialist Sector’s share in forming the fixed capital in the manufacturing industries rose from 50.4 per cent to 97.6 per cent and to 97.7 per cent for the same years.
The wages in the Socialist Sector of the manufacturing industry made a big rise showing the great attention paid by the Revolution to raising the living standards of the employees of the Socialist Sector and increasing their purchase power.
The relative importance of the wages in the Socialist Sector to the total wages in the industrial sector rose from 56.6 per cent in 1968 to 59.3 per cent in 1974 and to 71.9 per cent in 1981. The relative importance of the number of employees in this sector rose from 47.5 per cent to 69.5 per cent and to 78 per cent for the same periods9.
Hence, it is quite clear that the predominance of the Socialist Sector in the manufacturing industries field is now established in Iraq. Whatever the Private Sector may expand, on its own or through State’s encouragement, it can never undermine the prevalence and control of the Socialist Sector in this field, especially if we take into consideration the nature of the composition of both Socialist and Private Sectors.
The first sector concentrates on big, basic and strategic industries while the Private Sector concentrates on small consumer industries. The Revolution has paid great attention to the mixed sector and ensured all that it needs for development and prosperity in accordance with certain rules that enhance the process of socialist construction, support development plans and speed up the general progress in the country.
Between the two regional congresses, the Eighth and the-Ninth, the Iraqi countryside had seen radical changes in all fields: in production and its relations and in the cultural and social progress.
To a certain extent, the aims defined by the Eighth Regional Congress were achieved. This Congress gave priority to expanding socialist modes of production in agriculture so as to make them the prevalent ones thus eliminating the objective conditions of man’s exploitation of man. Also, it laid stress on developing agricultural production and other agricultural services.
Of these aims, what was achieved during previous years has indeed led to the predominance of the socialist modes in agriculture in terms of cultivated plot and production. Agricultural acquisition was reorganized in accordance with the Revolution’s socialist line and the scientific approach. Feudal ownership was totally liquidated and the life of countryside population has prospered for the first time, after centuries of backwardness, oppression and exploitation.
However, despite such revolutionary and radical changes and positive developments in this sector, a number of drawbacks and problems appeared. The nature of agricultural sector does not allow rapid and dynamic changes. The heavy legacy of backward habits and traditions in the whole society had a negative effect on the course of revolutionary transformations in this sector — which was shown by the infiltration of bureaucratic procedures to the ways of socialist application. One result of this aspect was a slow rate of growth in the agricultural production and in the productivity of agricultural employees and land.
Certain problems which had faced this sector were natural and inherited ones, such as the salination of wide areas of cultivated land and the inconsistency of water resources with the seasons of the year. Great efforts and patience are needed to overcome them. I However, other obstacles were the result of certain shortcoming in application. Most important of these were the State’s involvement in small parts of agricultural production and the bureaucratic practices of the State’s organs concerned — both of which were stumbling blocks to the growth and improvement of production.
Expanding the role of the State in the economic life is an established sound principle in the theory of the Party and Revolution. But what we object to is the extension of this role to smallest parts, to small production and to branches and services where the work formulas of the State cannot respond to practical needs.
Hence, the Slate should focus on big production, vital projects and infrastructure projects such as those of irrigation, desalination, rural electrification and certain necessary parts of other services in the agricultural sector. The Private activity within a non-exploiting agricultural ownership —which is organized by the Revolution’s laws— should be left with free initiative and effective independent work.
Another basic problem facing this sector was the shortage of specialized technical cadres in the field of cooperative work and that of production. The horizontal expansion of the socialist sector and the spread of agricultural cooperatives and farms were not accompanied by a similar expansion in the preparation of specialized cadres.
This problem was further aggravated by the weakness of organizational cadres supervising agricultural cooperatives and the failure of the General Federation of Farmers to supervise their activities and help them solve their problems.
For considerations related to the attitude of principle by the Party and Revolution towards spreading the socialist mode of production, the State carried out certain agricultural projects, in the form of State and collective farms which are economically worthless. Thus, they have burdened the agricultural sector instead of contributing to its development.
These problems and others have to be overcome in the next phase, especially since the working paper on the agricultural sector and the relevant discussion has clearly shown the negative aspects of this sector and the obstacles facing it. The contribution of Comrade Saddam Hussein, the Party’s Regional Secretary to these discussions had enriched the paper, corrected its orientation and offered the necessary instructions and genuine solutions which ensure the overcoming of such drawbacks and obstacles.
However, despite the difficult conditions facing the agricultural sector, the recent years had seen important achievements showing the great attention paid by the Leadership (of the Party and Revolution) to this sector to help it overcome the problems obstructing its growth and development.
The Revolution has performed the task of radical and comprehensive agrarian reform. Through such a great revolutionary process, the Revolution started to establish the socialist base in agriculture concentrating on cooperatives and collective and State farms.
The number of agricultural cooperatives (local and specialized) was 1951 in 1981, with 388,500 members and an area of 23.5 million donums (A donum is 2,500 square meters), while in 1967-1968 there were only 410 societies with 55,000 members and an area of 2.8 million donums. The number of collective farms —which were introduced for the first time after the Revolution— was 28 in 1981, with 1,346 members and an area of 143,000 donums. The number of State farms in 1981 was 23 with an area of 767,000 donums while their number before the Revolution —when they were established for experimental purposes— was 5 with an area of 167,000 donums.
What has been achieved is a clear indication that the socialist base in the Iraqi countryside was established, and that feudalism, its material base and social influence were eliminated.
The social influence retained by some feudalists resulting from their tribal positions cannot seriously contravene or upset the course of the Revolution. In the field of changing the methods and relations of production, the Revolution has re-organized agricultural acquisition and its size in the countryside in accordance with the aims of building up a socialist countryside.
By the two Agrarian Reform Laws, 117 of 1970 and 90 of 1975, it was possible to reorganize agricultural acquisition and totally eliminate feudal and big exploiting ownership. The small acquisition (less than 10 donums) has become 2.8 per cent of the total agricultural acquisitions, with an area of 692,000 donums and 157,000 usufructuaries. The middle acquisition (10-20 donums) has risen to 66.47 per cent with an area of 16.4 million donums and 492,300 usufructuaries. The big acquisitions (120-300 donums) have become 16.9 per cent with 4.1 million donums and 28,300 usufructuaries. Those acquisitions of more than 300 donums —often in rain-irrigated areas— have become 13.7 per cent with an area of 3.4 million donums and 5214 usufructuaries.
It is easy to show the volume of change effected by the Revolution in this vital field of economic and social activity, by referring to certain indicators of its growth and progress.
The final expenditure of investment in this sector had risen from 239.3 million Iraqi Dinars in the period 1968-1974 to 2029.6 million Iraqi Dinars in the period 1975-1981.
The value of production had made similar progress. It rose from 200.8 million Iraqi Dinars in 1968 to 354.9 million Iraqi Dinars in 1974, and to 1280.1 million Iraqi Dinars in 1981, with a rate of growth of 9.9 for the period 1968-1974 and 22.1 for the period 1975-1981.
The domestic product in agriculture made clear progress. It rose from 167.9 million Iraqi Dinars in 1968 to 278.4 million Iraqi Dinars, in 1974, and to 977 million Iraqi Dinars in 1981 with a rate of growth of 8.8 for the period 1968-1974 and 20.9 for the period 1975-1981. The fixed capital in the agricultural sector rose from 16.8 million Iraqi Dinars to 47.8 million Iraqi Dinars and to 468.3 million Iraqi Dinars in the same years with a rate of growth of 19 for the period 1968-1974 and 35.4 for the period 1975-1981. The Socialist Sector’s role in agriculture has made great progress as a result of the Revolution’s socialist policy, its persistent endeavour to enhance the Socialist Sector in agriculture, the re-organization of agricultural acquisition, the liquidation of feudal ownership, the distribution of land to farmers, and the introduction of socialist modes to agricultural production.
This was clearly demonstrated by the relative importance of this sector’s contribution to the value of production, the gross domestic product and the fixed capital in the whole agricultural sector.
Its contribution to the value of agricultural production rose from 1.4 per cent in 197410 to 43.4 per cent in 1981. The relative importance of the Socialist Sector’s contribution to the domestic product in the whole agricultural sector rose from 0.3 per cent in 1968 to 0.7 per cent in 1974 and to 49.4 per cent in 1981.
The agricultural sector maintained a semi-stable rate of cultivated land despite the fluctuation of this rate in certain years. The area of cultivated land rose from 9.2 million donums in 1975 to 10.7 million donums in 1981. The agricultural sector has maintained the general level of production. It even made an increase from 3.2 million tons in 1975 to 11.1 million tons in 1981 in vegetables11. It also produced 558,000 tons of animal products and 933 million eggs.
This increase in production is due to a relative improvement in the efficiency of agricultural exploitation and to a rise in productivity. Despite the fluctuation of the gross area of cultivated land in recent years, the level of production was maintained, and a certain rise was achieved.
Modern methods were introduced into agriculture on a large-scale. Covered agriculture, and plastic and glass houses were used. Pioneering agriculture was expanded. The State has offered necessary services to agricultural production such as seeds, chemical fertilizers, agricultural credits, marketing, agricultural instructions, protection of plants and medical care to animals. These services were offered either free of charge or at low prices.
The role of the socialist sector in marketing agricultural products has also expanded. The total weight of marketed goods through this sector was 1.1 million tons in 1981 while it was only 3700 tons in 1968.
The State has extended great financial support to farmers to help them cultivate their land, develop their productive firms and use machinery. The Cooperative Agricultural Bank took an important role in this respect by offering credits to farmers. While the total sum of credits offered to peasants in the period 1968-1974 was 25.4 million Iraqi Dinars, it rose in the period 1975-1981 to 372.1 million Iraqi Dinars. This rise in the Agricultural Bank’s services was accompanied by a rise in its capital from 10 million Iraqi Dinars in 1968 to 15 million Iraqi Dinars in 1974 and to 300 million Iraqi Dinars in 1981.
The Revolution has paid considerable attention to soil reclamation. Much was spent on this field. Until the end of 1974, the total reclaimed area ready for cultivation, was 28000 Donums while it had risen to 524000 Donums by the end of 1981.
Irrigation projects and dams have drawn certain attention in recent years with the purpose of regulating the exploitation of water resources in the country and expanding the area of irrigated plots. Hamrin Dam and six other dams in the western desert, including that of Rutba, were so far built. The Tharthar—Euphrates canal was also built. In progress are construction works in Tharthar-Tigris canal and in the dams of Haditha, Mosul and Dohouk. Work has started on a number of irrigation and desalination projects. Some were finished, such as those of Khalis, Kirkuk, Hilla-Diwaniya, Dijaila, Dalmaj, Roz, Abu-Ghraib, Ramadi and Ishaqi. The first stage in the desalination of the General Drain was accomplished. Seven weirs were built on Tigris River in Meisan Province and seven other weirs were built on the rivers of Hilla and Daghara. Work has started in the Fallouja Dam.
However, the agricultural sector has not made the necessary progress in increasing the area of cultivated land and its productivity. There are many reasons for this, other than the above-mentioned ones. These are totally different from the inherited objective legacy which contributed to slowing the growth and development of the agricultural sector. They are the outcome of the general progress achieved under the Revolution in various fields of the society and the national economy. This progress has left social and psychological effects on the people working in agriculture affecting their production and activity.
Among these factors are the following:
1 – The “great leap” in development cannot be achieved with out large-scale employment. Despite the great number of Arab and foreign employees working in Iraq, large numbers of farmers were still needed to work away from law regulations which do not allow farmers to change their career. This was done through various forms with foreign companies and local private employers.
2 – Many elderly peasants preferred to rest after their children had graduated from colleges and schools or joined the army, thus leaving agricultural work, in a form of protest against former harsh conditions.
3 – The peasants’ cultural level remained lagging behind the living conditions of State’s employees to which the Revolution had affected a great rise. Therefore the old peasant has become content with his children’s income compared with his earnings from agriculture in the past, thus losing the motive to work in agriculture.
4 – The Revolution has made exceptional efforts to uproot all aspects of social backwardness in the Iraqi countryside, through expanding television transmission, the activities of the branches of the Party and Unions among farmers, the application of obligatory education and literacy, and the building of many roads to link urban and rural areas. However, the degree of social change is slower than that in economic, technological and scientific fields. A certain span of time should pass before the Revolution’s achievements in this field come to fruition. This fact has obviously left its effect on the growth of the agricultural sector. It has multiplied the pressures on this sector as a result of rising demand on food and industrial crops. Moreover, this sector has failed to cope with the level of general progress in the country.
After the Revolution and particularly after the Eighth Regional Congress, the socialist sector in trade had seen great expansion. Two factors lie behind such expansion:
The big increases in national income and the growing need for imports whether for the purpose of extensive development plans or for growing and developed consumption.
The growing activity of the socialist sector in trade.
The large increases in the allocations of imports programs show the progress made by external trade under the national economy. They also show the great qualitative achievements made in the various fields of development as well as the rise in the citizens’ living standards.
These allocations had risen from 1805.1 million Iraqi Dinars in 1974 to 5523.4 million Iraqi Dinars in 1981. There was certain progress in the structural composition of imported goods indicating the coordination and interaction between the imports programs and the development plans. It also shows how, under our Party’s socialist experience, imports were placed in the service of comprehensive development and the consolidation of the process of socialist construction and people’s prosperity.
The rate of capital and medium goods in the imports programs has made a clear rise as a result of the increase in the development investments and the growing need of various projects for such goods. Such an aspect underlined the difference between our development process and those of other countries with similar financial conditions. In their imports programs, those countries would give priority to consumer goods — which corresponds to their policies of seeking to build consuming societies rather than societies based on development and structural change of their economic and social reality.
The rate of capital and medium goods in the imports programs rose from 60.7 per cent in 1968 to 78.8 per cent in 1974 and to 79 per cent in 1981. Against this was a drop in the rate of consumer goods from 39.3 per cent to 21.2 per cent and to 21 per cent in the same periods. This drop was the result of the growing ability of local production to meet part of the local demand for these goods. We have to remember, though, that this drop took place despite the great increase in the goods imported to meet the citizens’ growing needs, resulting from the increase in their spending power and the rise in their living standards.
This obviously demonstrates the effective role of imports programs in serving development plans and meeting their needs for machines, instruments and raw and medium materials.
This qualitative change in the composition of imports was accompanied by similar development in the wholesale and retailing trade sector. The value of production in this sector rose from 113 million Iraqi Dinars in 1968 to 213.4 million Iraqi Dinars in 1974 and to 1257.5 million Iraqi Dinars in 1981, with a rate of growth of 11.1 for the period 1968-1974 and 27.8 for the period 1975-1981. The gross domestic product of this sector rose from 86.9 million Iraqi Dinars in 1968 to 168.9 million Iraqi Dinars in 1974 and to 851.2 million Iraqi Dinars in 1981, with a rate of growth of 11.7 for the period 1968-1974 and 26.4 for the period 1975-1981.
In the context of consolidating the socialist line of the Party and Revolution in this field and to put an end to the parasitic phenomena which prevailed in some of its fields and activities, the Revolution paid special attention to helping the socialist sector lead this important activity and place it at the service of the public and their needs as well as in the service of the development process and its programs.
The relative importance of the Socialist sector’s contribution to the gross domestic product of the trade sector was 12.08 per cent in 1968, 51.3 per cent in 1974 and 52.3 per cent in 1981, while its contribution to the formation of the fixed capital was 57.5 per cent, 87 per cent and 90.3 per cent for the same years.
The imports allocations for this sector were more than 90 per cent of the total imports allocations. It has been 92.9 per cent in 1974 and 91.4 in 1981.
Another evidence of the development of the socialist sector was its growing role in the domestic trade. The State has become directly involved in selling basic and secondary goods as well as in controlling the marketing of locally manufactured goods as well as local and imported agricultural and animal products. In the last period, the socialist sector has opened more retailing showrooms and increased the number of its agent-retailers so as to expand the area of domestic distribution of goods.
The number of State-run retailing showrooms rose from 59 in 1970 to 171 in 1974 but dropped to 122 in 1981 as a result of the Leadership’s instructions not to open more such showrooms and concentrate, instead, on getting more agent-retailers. At the same time the number of shopping centers increased to 16 in 1981.
The number of the Socialist Sector’s agent-retailers rose from 24301 in 1970 to 50980 in 1974 and to 126592 in 1981. The branches of this sector’s companies rose to 123 in 1981.
The exports’ gross value and relative importance remained low out of all proportion to the volume of imports as well as to the progress of other branches of the national economy. Non-oil exports had risen from 22 million Iraqi Dinars in 1968 to 28 million Iraqi Dinars in 1974 and to 73 million Iraqi Dinars. Their relative importance to the total imports was 15.3 per cent, 3.6 per cent and 2 per cent in the same years.
The main reason for the slow growth of Iraqi exports lies in the steadily growing final local demand since 1974. Therefore the greater part of the increase in national production was oriented towards meeting local demand instead of being exported. Despite the legitimacy of this reason, we have to plan for increasing non-oil exports through building up export industries. In fact, we have to take into account the number of Iraq’s population and the need to define priorities in executing projects giving priority to agricultural and industrialized-agricultural production whenever a chance was available so as to decrease reliance on oil revenues and world market as well as effecting a concrete change in the structural composition of the national economy. However, this should not be done at the expense of our attention to priorities which occupy a prominent place in our strategic considerations. We can generally say that the past phase had seen an almost full control of the socialist sector over external trade and large-scale control over internal trade.
The National Economy
In the last fourteen years, the national economy has made great strides towards the objectives set by the Leadership of the Party and Revolution.
Through reviewing what has been achieved in the main sectors, we can say that the Iraqi economy has developed in two basic lines:
First: Making material progress in the basic branches of economy shown by the large investments, the high rates of growth of the value of production and the domestic product, and the new fields of production and services it has entered.
Second: Expanding the area of socialist sector and giving it primacy ensuring the promotion of socialist relations of production in various activities of national economy. Along these two lines, the national economy has achieved good results. The value of production had risen from 1487.2 million Iraqi Dinars in 1968 to 4883.7 million Iraqi Dinars in 1974, and to 14492.2 million
Iraqi Dinars in 1981, with a rate of growth of 21.9 for the period 1968-1974 and 17.05 for the period 1975-198113. The domestic product had risen from 1034.5 million Iraqi Dinars in 1968 to 3522.6 million Iraqi Dinars in 1974, and to 9495.2 million Iraqi Dinars in 1981, with a rate of growth of 22.6 for the period 1968-1974 and 15 for the period 1975-198114. The gross formation of fixed capital had risen from 143 million Iraqi Dinars to 628.6 million Iraqi Dinars and to 4527.3 million Iraqi Dinars in the same periods.
The Socialist Sector’s contribution to the whole national economy has made a big rise. Its contribution to the gross domestic product rose from 24.5 per cent in 1968 to 68.1 per cent in 1974, and to 60.3 per cent in 198115 in the same periods. The national income rose from 812.5 million Iraqi Dinars in 1968 to 2916.5 million Iraqi Dinars in 1974 and to 9147 million Iraqi Dinars in 198116. The per capita income rose in the same periods from 91.8 Iraqi Dinars to 269.4 Iraqi Dinars and to 666.1 Iraqi Dinars which matches the per capita in many industrialized countries.
The Tasks of the Next Phase
The process of socialist construction and development in Iraq under the July 17-30, 1968 Revolution and the Arab Ba’ath Socialist Party has been a glorious one. It has achieved a great deal of its aims despite the difficulties, drawbacks and bottlenecks which were treated in this report in a revolutionary and objective manner. In this, the Report has proceeded from the principle of self-criticism adopted by the Party in its course and close relation with the people. In fact, this process has drastically transformed Iraq from an age of feudal and capitalist exploitation, corruption, injustice, poverty and backwardness to a totally new age of freedom, equality, justice, prosperity and progress in all fields. The process of development and socialist construction has not achieved all its objectives. It is a continuing process. At every stage there will be basic tasks to be performed with a view to bringing about happiness, prosperity and justice to Man in our country, to offering a bright model in the movement of Arab revolution, and to creatively contributing to the progress of Mankind towards freedom, justice and happiness.
What are the basic aims and tasks facing us in the next phase?
In this Congress, as was the case with the Eighth, we have to define aims and tasks in a revolutionary and creative manner. We should not confine ourselves to formulas and solutions which we have reached in a particular stage as a result of the experience we had then acquired and the facts we had then discovered. The fact that Party and our course of struggle have always underlined is that we have to adhere firmly and profoundly to principles and to direct the outcome of every course we lead towards the basic national principles and aims on both local and national (Arab) levels.
In the next phase hard and creative work should continue so as to expand and develop the socialist base in all fields of economy: in industry, economy, trade and services.
We have to keep on expanding the industrial base through completing industrial projects which the Revolution has already started, and to enter the new basic fields.
The final objective is to transform Iraq in the first place into an industrial country, meet the main needs of the country through national production and link the industrial set-up in the country with the Arab industrial integration in accordance with the Party’s principle of Arab unity.
In the forefront of such tasks is to effect qualitative development in industry, an increase in production, a better use of machines, a creative assimilation and adaptation of transferred technology according to the conditions of the country and our national needs on local and Arab levels.
We have to make serious and extensive efforts to solve difficulties in industrial production and regulate the flow of raw materials concentrating on what is locally produced. Serious attention must be paid to the economic aspect of industrial projects. We do not obviously deal with industrialization from a capitalist point of view of profit, since we link it closely to the course of general progress in the country and the desired prosperity of the people. However, this is no justification for paying no attention to developing the profitability of industrial projects so as to provide financial accumulation needed for meeting the needs of the public and developing the socialist society.
The socialist sector in industry which, in recent years has been and will continue to be the prevailing sector in the society should give the lead in efficiency, progress and good management.
In agriculture, the next stage requires further efforts to develop the socialist sector avoiding any horizontal expansion except in fields and projects which are well-calculated to serve the process of socialist transformation and of increasing and developing production. This stage should also see the application of the recommendations taken in discussing the working paper on the prospects of developing the agricultural sector. It is of particular importance to carry out Comrade Saddam Hussein’s instructions which stressed the need to effect an extensive change in the agricultural sector’s course and to draw up its next five-year plan in a more comprehensive and organized manner avoiding the negative aspects surfacing in its past course, so as to ensure the desired ends.
The productivity of the socialist agricultural sector’s projects which was low in the past stage should be raised in the next stage. Efforts should be made to develop administrative and scientific means used in agriculture, liquidate bureaucratic practices in this field and put the potentialities of its employees to a good use.
In the forefront of the tasks facing us in agriculture is that of continuing our meticulous efforts to reclaim land, to build up irrigation projects and modern agricultural-industrial complexes and to develop the use of machinery in agriculture.
The Party, the General Federation of Farmers’ Societies and the State’s organs concerned have to continue working for developing the farmers’ cultural and social conditions. Any step forward in this respect —which must be linked to the agricultural production— will consolidate such production in qualitative and quantitative terms.
Meeting our needs for food with national production will be one of the basic aims facing us in the next phase. To continue importing many basic and inessential commodities such as grains, vegetables, fruit and meat is a failure which we should ensure is totally or partly averted in the next stage.
Self-sufficiency in food is no longer and economic issue. Rather it is now linked to the issues of national independence and sovereignty. This link will become even closer with the growing world need for food.
In trade, the socialist sector should work hard to develop its bodies and enhance their capability of supplying basic and other commodities at appropriate prices in accordance with the Leadership’s central plans. There must be an end to all bottlenecks which surfaced in the past phase. The public should be able to get what they need easily.
The socialist sector in trade has reached the desired level of horizontal expansion in this stage. However, this does not mean that its services should not develop and expand where it is necessary. The country is still in need of better services in this field.
In the public services sector, we have to make extensive progress in qualitative and quantitative terms. This sector has not received due attention and a proper share in the investments of the development plan because of the State’s concentration on other sectors especially agriculture and industry. A great effort should be now made to develop this sector and big investments should be made in it.
We should not consider public services as a secondary issue. The Revolution has succeeded in establishing the industrial base and meeting a great deal of basic needs. It is therefore necessary to expand and develop these services in accordance with the financial resources.
The main question to be dealt with in this sector is housing. Despite the main obstacles to development in this field, we have to work hard and invest more to ensure proper housing for the public.
We also have to expand municipal services in towns and the country-side. An exceptional leap forward in this field has become urgently needed to take the whole country out of the conditions of backwardness and place it on the threshold of more extensive progress.
The State has to continue its meticulous efforts to introduce electricity and drinking water to all rural areas. It should continue building new schools and developing existing ones as well as building new hospitals and clinics and developing their services.
Work should continue in a serious and active manner to expand national roads networks as well as rural roads. We also have to develop transportation, especially railways, land, river and airway transportation among the country’s main cities and centers. Telecommunications should be further developed so as to cover all the country thus meeting the needs of development and social progress in the country.
We have to continue working to provide tourist facilities all over the country and develop existing ones so as to provide better tourist services to the public. It is also necessary to make great efforts and sufficient investments to provide public parks and gardens, pools, children’s playgrounds and others.
The plan to develop services on a large scale requires a comprehensive reform of the bodies concerned and a general review of their connections with central organs. Provision and administration of services should be decentralized. Mayors of Provinces and municipalities should be given the necessary power to carry out and run service projects.
It is of particular importance to stress here individual contributions to developing public services. The public are called upon to cooperate with the bodies concerned, facilitate their tasks and abide by their regulations, especially in health, education, literary, transportation, tourist facilities and others. These important objectives should be achieved in the next phase in the light of the economic position of the country under the conditions of the war launched by Iran. These conditions may take a short or long time. However, we have to seek these essential objectives as soon as financial resources are available.
1 – The Political Report of the Eighth Regional Congress said: «The fundamental aim of socialism is to eradicate exploitation, to establish social justice, and to secure for the people the greatest prosperity possible at the time in the circumstances, and in accordance with national interests. The considerable increase in national income achieved under the Revolution, through its policy of progress, liberation and development, especially the victory over the monopolies in the battle for nationalization, makes it necessary for us now to effect a big rise in the people’s standard of living: wages and salaries must be increased, taxes must be reduced; rates for basic services such as water and electricity must fall; free education must be provided at all stages; services such as health and housing must be guaranteed and other measures taken as resources and conditions allow. Prices must be fixed for commodities basic to the life of the great majority and other prices must be regulated.
2 – In 1980 the per capita income was 998 Iraqi Dinars but dropped in 1981 as a
result of the decline in oil production after the war waged by Khomeini’s regime against
3 – The Eighth Regional Congress Report published by Press, London, 1079, pp 165-166.
4 – The last available study on family’s budget covers the period 1976-1979. The study covering the next period is not ready yet.
5 – The Eighth Regional Report, published by Press, London, 1979, pp.165-166
6 – The drop is a result of the effect that the war with Iran had on the 1981 rate.
But if we take the period 1975-1980, the rate will be 16.1 per cent.
7 – 1981 figure is an approximate one.
8 – This drop is a result of the effect of the war with Iran on the last year of the
period 1981. This becomes quite clear if we take the rate of growth of the period 1975-1981 which is 18.47 per cent.
9 – These figures are for large plants
10 – The 1968 figure is not available because there was no effective socialist sector then.
11 – This includes grains, industrial and oil crops, vegetables, dates and provender.
12 – This includes red and white meat, milk, wool and hair.
13 – This drop is due to the 1981 rate which has dropped because of the war conditions. If we exclude 1981, the 1975-1980 rates will be 25.12. 14 If we exclude 1981 the rate will be 26.8.
14 – This drop is due to the drop in oil production after the start of the war.
15 – The approximate figure of the national income in 1981 was 13173.6 million Iraqi Dinars.