Pol Pot


Monarchy or Democracy


Written: By Saloth Sar (aka Pol Pot), using the pseudonym "Khmer Deum" (Original Khmer) in 1952.
Originally Published: "Reacheathibtey ry Brachathibtey" in Khemara Nisit (Khmer Student), August 1952.
Translation: Ruehl Muller, from the French translation appearing at http://www.op-sangha.fr/article-36654165.html.
Transcription/Markup for Marxists.org: Juan Fajardo, January 2020.


On June 15, 1952, S.M. Norodom Sihanouk dissolved the government and, at the same time, threatened to dissolve the People's Assembly if it opposed the takeover. This royal coup stirred the whole country and makes us, the citizens, think about its causes.

Certainly, the constitution gives the King the power to dissolve the government, but this coup is an act of injustice because the King flouted democratic rights and committed an act of contempt for the elected assembly which legally represents the people. If the King really cares about the interests of the nation, the security of the people, as he often says in his speeches, he should not carry out this royal coup by force. You should have brought the government together to find the best means of driving out the French army and the accomplices of the French, in order to achieve direct independence for the country. The King should have allied with the Assembly. Why?

History shows us that only the Assembly and democratic rights can grant a few breaths of freedom to the Khmer people, like, for example, at the time of Prince Youthevong. When there is no longer the Assembly, the country will immediately be bound. In 1949, the reigning King allied with Yem Sambaur and our country was, at that time, bound by a treaty with France which will continue to remain for a very long time in Cambodia.

The Khmer people remember this story and do not forget it; only those who think only of their personal interests can forget it. This coup d'etat of June 15 shows us that we are not at all under the reign of a constitutional monarchy, but rather under a regime of absolute monarchy. The King is absolute; he seeks to destroy the interests of the people when they are in a position of weakness; he is concerned that the more educated a people, the easier it becomes to see the faults of kings. The absolute king uses good words, but his heart remains wicked; he uses demagoguery to deceive the people.

I. What is a monarchy?

It is a doctrine that entrusts power to a small group of individuals who have high professional situations, so that they can exploit the majority of other social classes. Monarchy is an unjust doctrine, as infectious as a putrid plague. Humanity must abolish it. The monarchy is an absolute doctrine which exists only through nepotism. Its faults are numerous.

1. The monarchy is the enemy of the people.

History shows us that since our country has existed, we have always been dominated and exploited by the monarchy. The condition of the people is degraded to that of the animal; the people, who are considered a herd of slaves, are forced to work tirelessly, night and day, to feed the absolute monarchy and its harem of courtiers.

2. The monarchy is the enemy of religion.

The people believe that religion is their friend, that is why they have respect and place it above Man. But since ancient times, the monarchy uses demagoguery by making the people believe that it also represents religion, that it respects the Ten Royal Virtues. To convince the people and exploit them more easily, the monarchy had the poets compose the legend of Preah Leak Chinavong, according to which the king always had the right to life and death over the people. But the enlightened monks have always understood the nature of the monarchy very well and have found ways to explain to the people that it should not be trusted. They composed the story of Themh Chey to show that a child of the people, Them Chay, can defeat an ignorant king; Themh Chay dares to oppose the crown. The monarchy destroyed the Buddhist religion by other means, for example by dividing the monks into several groups, creating a higher rank, that of the Samdech (Lord).

3. The monarchy is a friend of colonialism.

The history that we look at, since our country has been under French domination, the Khmer kings are moving away more and more from the Khmer people. Their designation, to access the throne, falls under French authority. Thus, the reigning king is only a pawn of the colonialists, allying with them to preserve his crown and the monarchy. There are always struggles for the throne. Prince Youkanthor was created by the French who entrusted the throne to H.M. Sisowath; There are many struggles of this kind.

4. The monarchy is the enemy of knowledge.

She uses all means so that people are uneducated so as to believe that the King is the Supreme Being. When a people is educated, it becomes the virulent enemy of the monarchy and it desperately wants its abolition. Here are some examples:

- Our great master Buddha was very educated; he soon realized that his father, King Suthotana (Sanskrit: Soddhodana) was unjustly enriched, leaving the people to languish in ignorance, disease, famine, homeless, without schools, without hospitals. Buddha then decided to abandon the monarchy to become the friend of Man and people, by teaching men to love each other.

- Prince Youthevong, very educated, also abandoned the monarchists to instill democracy in the Khmer people.


II. What is a democracy?

It is a regime that entrusts power to a majority from the people. Thus, democracy is totally contrary to the monarchy. These two regimes are enemies and cannot coexist, as the royal coup of June 15 proves.

History shows that these two regimes always oppose each other, and that peace cannot be established until the monarchy is gone. The 1789 revolution in France, under the leadership of Robespierre and Danton, dissolved the monarchy and executed King Louis XVI.

The 1917 revolution in Russia, with Lenin and Stalin as guides, completely abolished the monarchy. The revolution of 1924 in China, the people being under the direction of Dr. Sun Yat-sen, abolished the monarchy and the whole imperial family.

The monarchy is a regime that the peoples of all countries now adopt; it is as precious as diamonds and cannot be compared to any other regime. This is why the Khmer people sing: "The democratic regime in today’s world is like a river that descends from the mountains, following plants, that no one obstruct ...". The democratic regime is part of Buddhist morality, because our great master Buddha was the first to have taught it. Thus, only the democratic regime can safeguard the deep value of Buddhism.

III. The royal coup

It is not the first time that H.M. Norodom Sihanouk has abused the will of the Khmer people. We can see that, when the people are weak and let themselves go, the King takes the opportunity to scorn the constitution, as happened in 1949 when he tried to camouflage his absolutism. But, no longer able to camouflage himself, he took, on June 15, the unjust decision to carry out a coup, in defiance even of his monarchist friends, some of whom are in prison.

The question that arises is what force does the king rely on to carry out the coup?

1. This coup is the result of French colonial power.

The proof is found in the royal speech of June 4, at the meeting of the Council of the Kingdom. We note the following passages: “I (the king) recently met Mr. Vincent Auriol, he entrusted me with the affairs of H.E. Son Ngoc Thanh… Recently also, Mr. Letourneau shared my opinion and told me has promised to lighten certain clauses if a future government (Khmer) was ready to repress the resistance fighters (Issarak) and to soften these clauses once the war has ended.” In the royal message to the people, the king declared that "we can count on the help that our French and American allies bring to us.”

All this clearly proves that this coup was supported by French colonialism.

2. The coup is the work of the monarchy.

Other evidence can be found in the royal messages: "Having inherited this monarchy which dates from sixteen centuries, to govern the people ...". (Message to students). "By my duties as king, by my responsibility before the fatherland, before the people, before history and before my ancestors who bequeathed me this national monarchy ...". (Message to the nation). "Even if I have to become a simple citizen, I will always defend the monarchy". (King's speech to students in Paris). All these King’s speeches prove that the coup was solely in the royal interest.

IV. The government

S.M. Norodom Sihanouk is the head of the government resulting from the coup. The other ministers are courtiers who know nothing about politics and ignore the misfortunes of the people. Everyone must think carefully about the fate of the Khmer people who no longer even have the freedom to hold a meeting of more than four people.

V. The government program

The speeches of the king clearly show that the program of the new government for the period of three years when the king will hold absolute power, is divided into two parts:

1. In the first two years, wage war against the insurgents (the national patriots).

2. In the third year, negotiate with France, which promises to grant full independence.

Such a program aims only to gag the people, to arrest and expel those who dare to oppose the policy of the King. Second, it aims to dissolve political parties that oppose the interests of the throne, because political parties do not remain silent. Finally, the king's policy is to provoke a civil war which will burn everything, even the pagodas. The monks, the people, the civil servants will experience painful family separations, they will see their parents, their wives and their children crushed by the tanks, burned by napalm; the crops will be destroyed. The colonialist army, which the absolute monarchy has already called to the rescue, has already committed acts of looting and violence against women ... In the administration, the colonialists will be the masters, as before.

The question then arises of who will be the winner of the first two years of this destructive war. Supposing that the monarchy succeeds in suppressing the national patriots, the question is whether, in the third year, Cambodia appeals for help from Siam, it will have to pay homage to Siam, and if the King, who appeals for help from France, will have to pay homage to France. Thus, King Norodom Sihanouk who appealed to France, must let the colonialists link Cambodia to France by treaties which will allow them to dominate Cambodia forever.