First Published: The Call, Vol. 6, No. 37, September 26, 1977.
Transcription, Editing and Markup: Paul Saba
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“The tasks now are to defend our revolution and build our economy as fast as we can.”
With these words, a Cambodian woman summed up the situation in her country at a celebration in New York last April, two years after the people of what is now called Democratic Kampuchea, won their great victory against U.S. imperialism and its puppet regime. Since then, the truth of her words has become even more apparent.
“In the spirit of independence and self-reliance, the Kampuchean workers have made great efforts to develop industrial production,” said a recent radio report from Democratic Kampuchea. Since liberation, the broadcast continued, the workers, under the leadership of the Revolutionary Organization, have gone all out to get the war-damaged factories running again at full speed.
In Phnom Penh, for example, workers were able to quickly restore full production at a lathe factory which had been 40% destroyed by U.S. bombs during the last days of the Lon Nol regime. Special emphasis has been placed on producing machinery for agriculture, which is the foundation of the Kampuchean economy.
Since liberation, the spirit of self-sacrifice has resulted in many important improvements in the life of the people throughout the country.
A little more than one year after the defeat of the Lon Nol clique, the country had, in the main, become self-sufficient in grain. The government campaign to eliminate malaria, a disease which previously caused great suffering, especially in the countryside, is already achieving good results.
Another radio broadcast from Kampuchea detailed the advances which have been made in education. During the five-year battle to rid the country of U.S. domination, Kampuchean children “lived in dire poverty and were denied the opportunity to go to school.” Now, according to the report, they “devote much of their time to political study and learning to read and write so as to acquire the knowledge and skill to defend and build up their land.”
The question of defending their country and their revolution is of crucial importance for every man, woman and child in Kampuchea. Although the U.S. and Lon Nol were soundly defeated in 1975, the imperialists have not for a minute given up trying to topple the people’s government and replace it with one which would once again open its doors to foreign exploitation.
To help accomplish this aim, the capitalist propaganda mill has been working overtime in the U.S. and other imperialist countries. A “bloodbath” version of events in Kampuchea since liberation is being spread through such recent publications as the Readers’ Digest book, “Murder of a Gentle Land” and a “study” by a French priest, “Cambodia, Year Zero.” Both these books try to popularize the absurd fabrication that two and one half million people have been killed–more than one-third of the entire population.
In testimony before the House International Relations subcommittee in July, U.S. government witnesses “estimated” and “guessed” their way to draw wild conclusions concerning the “tragedy of Cambodia.” Their testimony was reminiscent of the capitalist slanders cooked up after the Russian and Chinese revolutions.
Admitting that their information had come exclusively from former landowners and government officials who deserted their country after liberation and not from a single worker or peasant, these “experts” described a Kampuchea replete with mass executions, rampant disease and malnutrition.
In addition to facing this kind of propaganda campaign, the Kampuchean people are fighting to defend their revolution against actual military attacks. Neighboring Thailand, where a U.S.-backed military junta seized power last October, is being used by the imperialists as a headquarters for its attacks on Kampuchea. During the past few months, Thai troops have made frequent incursions into Kampuchean territory in an attempt to undermine the stability of the country and its new government.
A commentary by Radio Kampuchea last month made it clear that the people are maintaining their vigilance against all attacks. “Although U.S. imperialism and its lackeys and traitors have been eliminated from Kampuchean soil, they have not been eliminated totally in the world.
“Therefore, their plans and conspiracies against a small country like ours still exist. High vigilance will make the lovely Kampuchea become stronger, more prosperous and always maintain its red color.”