- Ghiath Bilal
An Administrative and Critical View of the Syrian Revolution's Entities and Organizations
Statistics in the Republic of Federal Germany indicate that the number of people involved in political parties is almost two millions; this means the percentage of those interested in politics does not exceed (3%) three percent of the German people; however, only one forth of this percentage participate in meetings and party activities on regular basis, and only few have direct influence on the decision making.
As a result, very few people dominate the decision making within Germany's political and democratic system. The rest of the democratic systems all over the world are not much different form this. (Refer to the Political System of the Republic of Federal Germany by Paul Aakermann).
During early stages of modern democracies Robert Michael “a German thinker” in (1911) introduced a theory that "despite all principles of democracy which claim people self-ruling, and regardless of all means used in order to apply this democracy of polls and parliament regulations and others, there will be a group of elite people that make the important decisions, rule people, and determine the fate of the state, organization, or party." This means that any application of the people self-ruling principle would end up with a group ruling on behalf of the people. Hence, real democracy in reality means creating a system that prevents this groupfrom monopolizing the authority or suppressing the opposition, which allows real opposition to exist and allows for circulation of power.
When we look at the political system in modern democratic states we find a lot of rules that guard equally the interests of all groups and parties in a way that does not allow any side to monopolize authority or permanently hold onto power; this is clearly manifested in the political system of Germany and Japan, where one can see complicated set of administrative arrangements and rules to guide the mechanism of making important decisions in such a way that maintains harmony between the ruling parties and the opposition. Maybe, for these two countries, this came as a reaction to the dictatorial past existed there before the World War One.
On the other side of the world we also find that in communist and socialist governing systems have few individuals rule the country under the name of "people self-ruling". These individuals may have come to power in a legal and lawful way at some point, but they monopolized power, which mad them turn into tyrant despotic powers that eliminate and suppress any opposition.
The difference between the two cases is the set of rules in the system that are developed through time and from many experiences, which prevented the elite group from monopolizing authority in the first case and failed in the second.
In this respect, all parties that prevailed in Syria before the revolution were all "left-wing" which came out from the womb of communism and socialism, thus inherited the same administrative structures and institutional regulations, which naturally led to produce new dictators who climbed to the top of these parties and monopolized power forever. These people practiced dictatorship all their lives and never learned the meaning of circulating power, even though they were calling upon other regimes that belong to the same school to apply the principle of circulating authority through democratic transformation.
The opposition did not encounter, throughout the last forty years, any political experience outside the frame of these parties and their organizational and administrative structures, therefore, the first revolutionary entities, such as "Local Coordination Committees", "Union of the Syrian Revolution Coordinations" , "High Council of the Syrian Revolution", and others, copied the same organizational structures of those left-wing and communist parties. This structure that simply consists of a political office and service offices such as, information office, aid office, law office, and others which are all empowered by a secretary-general and have an internal system that rules the relationship between the different offices.
Then came the Syrian National Council that adopted the same organizational structure but only renamed the “Political Office” "the Executive Office". These entities used nominations and elections as a form of democracy to elect the representatives to work in its offices. However, most of the members have no previous acquaintance with each others due to the circumstances and way of formation; and they were rarely aware of each other's competencies before conducting these elections; as a result it is noticed that there is lack of any standards for the nomination and voting process, which allowed the parties how had some pervious structure to gain most of the seats in the important offices and secretary-general.
Unfortunately, most of these entities especially those who are directly involved in the revolution tended to inherit the diseases of the opposition parties before the revolution, this was partially by inheriting their organizational and administrative structures especially profit shares and territorial concept; thus, most members have lost their way and deviated from the goal that was binding them to end up with a clash of powers over positions and authorities in any province, community, or component of these entities. Furthermore, these organizations lacked the judiciary system that is normally used to resolve disagreements; so in the absence of that higher authority that is able to judge conflicts among the different compositions or members, any small disagreement has that potential intensify and go out of control without being able to find an institutional solution. On top of that, due to security conditions inside Syria that created the difficulty of real face-to-face contact, these entities were force to communicate through the Internet, which turned them into elites that are separated from the reality; where each group leads its bases and attain legitimacy based on the revolutionary and social services it is offering. In the absence of right organizational frame and the absence of qualified units and lack of the culture of organized teamwork from Syrian community for more than half a century, these organizational frames were unable toupgrade into real institutions and often times ended up splitting and fragmenting into tiny entities as a result of struggling over authority and decision making, or ended up into being inactive entity that is unable to develop.
This should not be strange, for example, the communism experience throughout eighty years have never produced parties or entities able to fulfill better results; As the poet said "are you wondering for my sickness? you should really wonder for my good health".
What is really strange is to see that every new born entity copying the same organizational frames without pausing for a second to judge its competence and effectiveness, or even how suitable it might be for the purpose it is created for, which leads to copying the same mistakes and gaps in every new experience.
This short article tries to shed some light on the flaws in the organizational and administrative structures within these entities and it does not cover in details all the reasons that prevented them from becoming firm institutions. For more information on this subject refer to "A Study about the Reasons for the Failure of Workgroups in Syria".
Even though the organizational and administrative structures are one of the most important foundations of success, as far as teamwork is concerned, they did not have their due amount of study and evaluation during the Syrian revolution. This could be attributed to several reasons, such as: the fragility of administrative expertise, the lack of experience, the shortage of resources to people establishing these entities and organizations, and not seeking the help of specialists and experts. Undoubtedly, our community now is going through a new experience in which we are trying hard to compose authorities from bottom to top, which is a real challenge especially under the severe security conditions and living circumstances Syria these days.
Currently, there is an attempt in Syria to establish local councils and political offices in the different provinces, and it would be sad to repeat the same mistakes committed by the politicians and activists throughout the last two years of the revolution; therefore, I urge our people to seek the help of the experts in the area of management and administrative organization of institutions for consultation and advice in order to establish a healthy strong foundations for institutions that will be able to carry on and give to the people and I urge them to stay away from experimentation because we really don’t have any time for more fruitless failed experiments.