Social Democrat Hunchakian Party

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The Social Democrat Hunchakian Party (SDHP) (Armenian: Սոցիալ դեմոկրատ Հնչակյան կուսակցություն), also known as Hentchak is one of the oldest political parties in Armenia and the first Socialist party in the Ottoman Empire and in Persia in the 1880s.[1] It was founded in 1887 by Avetis Nazarbekian, Mariam Vardanian, Ruben Khan-Azat and others, who studied in Geneva, Switzerland, with the goal to gain Armenia's independence from the Ottoman Empire, which is part of Armenian national liberation movement [2]. Its name, taken from its newspaper Hunchak, means "Bell" in English, and is taken by party members to represent "awakening, enlightenment, and freedom."

History[change | change source]

All of the 7 founders of Hunchakian party were Russian-Armenian Marxist students who had left Russia to continue their higher education in universities of Western Europe. They were young persons, in their twenties, and were from well‑to‑do bourgeois families who were financially supporting them. For the purpose of furthering revolutionary activity in Turkish Armenia, they formed the Hunchakian Revolutionary Party in August, 1887.

Hunchak party fought many battles against the Ottoman Empire, to free the Armenian people from Turkish rule. One of Armenia's famous national heroes Andranik Ozanian, at first, joined the Hunchak party[3], but disagreement with party policies led Andranik to leave the Hunchak ranks and join the Dashnak party.[4]

Democratic Republic of Armenia[change | change source]

The party also played role in establishment of Democratic Republic of Armenia, as party members took part in the Battle of Sardarapat, during the World War I at Caucasus Campaign, which defended the Armenian capital of Yerevan from Army of Islam of Ottoman Empire.

Activities in Lebanon[change | change source]

In the 1950s, it clashed, sometimes violently, with the Dashnak Party, due to tensions that escalated when the ARF elected Bishop Zareh as Catholicos of Cilicia, a move that was rejected by the Hunchaks. In the midst of increasing sectarian strife in the late 1960s and early 1970s, however, Lebanon's Armenian community began to close ranks, and in 1972, the Hunchakian Party ran a joint ticket with the Dashnaks. In 2000, the Hunchakian Party joined forces with Rafik Hariri's Dignity party, which swept the city of Beirut.

Modern[change | change source]

In the early 1990s, the party took part in the Nagorno Karabakh conflict. The party today forms part of the opposition "Justice" bloc.

This party is also active in Lebanon, where it competes for the six National Assembly seats reserved for ethnic Armenians. The party subscribes to a socialist ideology and advocates a planned economy for Lebanon.

Affiliate organizations[change | change source]

The Hunchakian party has established affiliate organizations such as the AEBU which is an organization that helps with educational, health and social care, the Armenian Dkhrouhi Youth Association and HMM (Homenmen) which is a sporting organization (not to be confused with Homenetmen).

Other pages[change | change source]

Other websites[change | change source]

References[change | change source]

  1. http://www.hunchak.org.au/aboutus/historical_turabian.html
  2. Lebanon a Country Study By Federal Research Division - Page 185
  3. Andranikological Review, Yerevan, #1 (3), 2003, p. 7.
  4. http://homepages.cae.wisc.edu/~dwilson/Armenia/andranik.html
  • (in Armenian) "The 89-th commemoration of the 20 Hunchakian martyrs" / Tchahagir Weekly, Cairo, 17 June, 2004, p. 1