The ARF Oath and its Revolutionary Tactics, Methods and Operations

«Կ՛երդնում պատուոյս եւ Հայրենիքիս վրայ՝ միշտ հաւատարիմ մնալ Հայ Յեղափոխական Դաշնակցութեան Ծրագրին, Կանոնագրին ու որոշումներուն եւ բոլոր ուժերովս – իսկ եթէ հարկ ըլլայ՝ նաեւ կեանքիս գնով – ծառայել Հայաստանի եւ Հայութեան ազատագրութեան դատին:» Translated into English it states, I swear on my honor and my homeland to forever remain faithful to the program, Bylaws and decisions of the Armenian Revolutionary Federation (ARF), and with all my might, and if necessary with my life, serve the cause to liberate Armenia and the Armenian people.

These words make up a powerful, bold, unwavering and relentless lifelong commitment and dedication to serve the liberation movement of the Armenian people and Armenia (the cause) via the ARF; more specifically, adopting the ARF’s revolutionary tactics, methods and operations (Bylaws, decisions and unwritten rules) to realize the ARF program (goals). In other words, it’s about continuously working through the organization for a lifetime to bring about a dramatic change, or series of changes, liberating or leading to the liberation of Armenia and the Armenian people.

The ARF oath incorporates a revolutionary mindset with revolutionary tactics, methods and operations

The ARF program is the “why” and the Bylaws and decisions of the organizations are the “how.” The ARF oath incorporates both the how and why as two inseparable demands of the ARF member from his or her first day of joining the ranks. The ARF has adopted revolutionary tactics, methods and operations as the preferred way to function in order to achieve the revolutionary goals outlined in its program. Thus, the ARF oath is unrelenting and unwavering as to both, and is revolutionary in nature with both substance and functionality as two complimentary parts of the whole.

To have revolutionary ideals and goals without adopting the revolutionary tactics, methods and operations necessary is to be a wishful thinker, hoping that someone else will create the ideal situation we all desire for Armenia and the Armenian people; at best a dreamer letting others work, and at worst a hypocrite who condemns those willing to be responsible, take action and accept the accompanying risks. 

Conversely, to engage in revolutionary activities without accepting the revolutionary ideals and goals outlined in the ARF program is a meaningless exercise that can lead to various outcomes, not necessarily the liberation of Armenia and the Armenian people. These are at best adventurers or thrill seekers who may help the ARF along the way at various points of the struggle, but since their actions are not driven by the ARF program, their goals vary and are not completely aligned, their path is uncertain and they can diverge at any given time, and even become enemies of the cause.

The ARF is a revolutionary organization that engages in a wide range of activities

Revolutionary describes the acts, actions or operations undertaken to bring about an abrupt change of the status quo to establish a new and better reality for Armenia and the Armenian people, and ultimately their liberation. The ARF’s revolutionary tactics, methods and operations lead to the realization of the Armenian cause, oftentimes equated with an armed response, rebellion or revolt as the quickest and most obvious, or overt, ways to bring about such an improvement to the Armenian reality. 

However, the ARF’s activities are not simply limited to that, and can also incorporate a myriad of other types of work as long as they stem from the revolutionary methods and operations that are the basis of its operations. Thus, the ARF is not precluded from engaging in political, social, community, organizational, educational or philanthropic activities but clarifies that all these ‘other’ initiatives stem from its revolutionary core in preparation for, in support of, and implementation of the revolution to realize the Armenian cause as stated in the oath and outlined in the ARF program.

The tools of the ARF’s revolutionary tactics, methods and operations are wide ranging

The ARF’s tools of the revolution include traditional weapons for the current, ongoing and continuous battle(s), and the inevitable ones that lie ahead; traditional weapons can be firearms or knives on the battlefield; pens or keyboards and the written word to educate, explain and encourage, or to disseminate information; politics such as elections, campaigns or alliances to garner support and establish allies; humanitarian assistance to improve social conditions to benefit the people; fundraising to financially support the revolutionary activities; organizational activities to rally the people into various components and necessary tasks to continue the struggle and be victorious on the battlefield(s); education to enlighten and prepare the youth and the masses for the revolution. But they must all stem from the ARF’s revolutionary tactics, methods and operations and be revolutionary in nature, leading to the upheaval of the status quo and replacing it with a better reality for Armenia and Armenians, as stated in the oath and outlined in the ARF program.

The ARF’s revolutionary path is grounded in and reinforced by its revolutionary activities and work

The ARF’s revolutionary mindset with its revolutionary tactics, methods and operations, including its wide range of activities utilizing the appropriate tool(s) necessary and at its disposal are all incorporated into the work it does and why; but it’s the work that its ranks do and the sacrifices each makes that brings it all together and transforms theory into practice creating a new reality based on its ideology.

Each rank and file member has knowingly and voluntarily chosen this long and hard revolutionary path and accepted the lifelong arduous journey dedicating his or her entire life to work to bring about advances and achievements for the cause. All the work stems from the ARF’s revolutionary core. It is based on revolutionary tactics, methods and operations, regardless of the arena or type of activity, and is realized by the commitment and dedication of its disciplined ranks working in unison for the same cause. 

Stepan Zorian

«Յեղափոխութիւնը նախ գործ է, յետոյ՝ գաղափար, այս է ճշմարտութիւնը: Աւելի ճիշդ՝ յեղափոխութիւնը գործ է գաղափարի համար» by Rosdom (Stepan Zorian); translated to English he states the “Revolution is first work, then an idea/concept. More correctly, revolution is work for an idea/concept.”

ARF Bylaws, Decisions and Unwritten Rules

The ARF Bylaws are its operating procedures, how the organization functions is consistent with and reinforces its adopted principle to utilize revolutionary tactics, methods and operations. The decisions of the various executive bodies also incorporate the revolutionary mindset and work as the basis for its activities. The ARF also has an abundance of “unwritten rules” stemming from its vast experiences over the past 131 years incorporating its traditions, passed on from its inception to today. These are not incorporated into the official Bylaws because the ARF is not a legislative body, but a revolutionary organization. It is not a government, parliament or city council but rather a revolutionary mentality translated into action by revolutionary methods. It is not a court of law and its Bylaws are not equivalent to statutes or codes. Its decision-making authority is vested in its executive bodies during their respective terms who oftentimes have to make quick decisions to be implemented by their ranks. The party is in a perpetual state of revolt and rebellion against the status quo similar to a military unit on the battlefield with no room for dissenters during the fight.

Of course, the ARF also has its plenary meetings where its activities and work are evaluated, proposals are heard and resolutions are passed, and new bodies are elected. Once elected the body makes the decisions, secures their implementation and leads the organization with supporters and sympathizers along the revolutionary path.

Thus, the Bylaws are more of a guide for the bodies and membership on how to function and should remain lean as to not restrict, constrain, or restrain the working bodies; the decisions are the specific activities, acts, action items, which are revolutionary in nature and incorporate the traditions and history of the party (“unwritten rules”) in both the decision-making process as well as their implementation.

The ARF is a revolutionary organization that takes swift action based on revolutionary tactics, methods and operations with a strict disciplinary order. It’s not one that simply has conferences and seminars, debates and discussions, makes announcements and conducts interviews, holds posh events or is preoccupied with appearances and popularity, but of action and doing the revolutionary work necessary to advance the Armenian cause. 

Garo Madenlian

Garo Madenlian

Garo R. Madenlian joined the ARF in 1988 and has served on various local ARF bodies including gomidehs in Montebello and Orange County. He has also served a few terms on the ARF Western USA Central Committee. Garo has also been a member of several local ANCA chapters and previously served on the board of the ANCA Western Region Board. Garo is a practicing attorney and partner with the Kevorkian & Madenlian LLP in Costa Mesa, California.

1 Comment

  1. My Armenian ancestors who were from Diknanerdz Diarbaker Turkey my Armenian cousins were My grandfather Housep Joseph Tavittab bprn in Diarbakar Turkey in 1895 died in Cliffside Park NJ MY grandmonther Victoria Kaydanjian Baboudjian Tavitian born in 1900 in Diarbakir Turkey -in 1900 and she died in Cliffside park NJ ion 1982 She escaped by walking from Turkey to a Damascus Syrian Orphanage in 1922 her sister Muraku Saadjian her mother Ozuna Otrajian 1881-1938 and my grandmothers 3 year old daughter Eugenie Baboudjian My grandmother spent 7 years in Havana Cuba where alot of Armenians worked as tailors and dress makers My grandfather immigrated to the United States of America in 1913 served his country in World War one they got an arranged marraige and my mom Tuma Arpena Tavitian Sbarbaro Halljian was born in Jersey City New Jersey on february 13 1933 at Margaret Hague Hospital My grandparents had a tailor shop in Jersey City

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