Encyclopedia of Anti-Revisionism On-Line

I Wor Kuen

Striking changes in Democratic Kampuchea

First Published: Getting Together, Vol. IX, No. 5, May 1978.
Transcription, Editing and Markup: Paul Saba
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On April 17, 1975, Kampuchea (Cambodia) won complete liberation from U.S. imperialism. Fighting a people’s war for national liberation, the valiant people of Kampuchea proved that a small country can defeat an imperialist superpower when the people are united to fight for their liberation.

After the establishment of Democratic Kampuchea in 1975, the imperialists claimed that Kampuchea was doomed and that without imperialist aid and intervention, the masses could do nothing for themselves. But the achievements of socialist Kampuchea in the last three years, under the leadership of the Communist Party of Kampuchea and their Kampuchean government headed by Premier Pol Pot, has proven otherwise.

Great achievements

Kampuchea is a country of 8 million people, and covers about 70,000 square miles of land. When the war of liberation ended, half of the farmlands and villages were in ruins. Farm animals were scarce, food was in short supply, health care was virtually non-existent. A third of the Kampuchean people were crowded into the capital city of Phnom Penh.

But what changes have taken place in just three years!

Today, Kampuchea produces enough food to feed all of her people. In 1977, Kampuchea began to export tens of thousands of tons of rice. Tiny plots once farmed by individual peasants have merged into larger fields.

The Kampuchean people are quickly rebuilding the countryside, through independence and self-reliance. The system of dikes and waterways, destroyed by U.S. bombs, has been rebuilt already. New irrigation projects have been started, and large reservoirs have been constructed. With new irrigation facilities, two or three crops of paddy rice are grown annually in areas where only a single crop could be cultivated before.

Kampuchea places agriculture as the foundation for promoting industrial production and developing the national economy. Almost all of Kampuchea’s industrial works were destroyed by the U.S. imperialists during the war. Yet in less than six months after liberation, more than 50 factories in Phnom Penh resumed production.

Tiny workshops that produce pumps and mechanical saws have merged, so that they can turn out more and better tools for agricultural development. Since liberation, the rubber industry, totally ruined by war, has been restored, and rubber acreage has enlarged.

Health care and education

The health of the people – ignored under imperialism – is also improving. A network of hospitals and pharmacy centers has grown up throughout the country. Every cooperative has a clinic and pharmacy. Kampuchea now produces 80% of the herbal medicine that she uses.

Achievements in education are also commendable. Due to mass literacy campaigns, 80-90% of the people have learned to read and write. Three quarters of the peasants and 60% of the working people in the cities were illiterate only a short time ago.

Superpower slanders

Since their decisive victory over U.S. imperialism, the Kampuchean people have remained vigilant and have taken a firm stand against the Soviet social-imperialists, who supported the reactionary Lon Nol clique, yet masquerade as “natural allies” of the third world. Under the guidance of the Communist Party of Kampuchea and the government of the country, the Kampuchean people have safeguarded their newly won independence, and carried out a policy of non-alignment as part of the third world. Neither superpower has succeeded in penetrating or influencing liberated Kampuchea.

It is no wonder that the superpowers hate Kampuchea and have launched vicious slander against the Kampuchean people. Both superpowers portray Kampuchea as a country under a “dictatorship” where the masses only work to avoid being tortured to death.

Reality speaks louder than the superpowers’ media. Kampuchea’s outstanding advances are showing what great changes can be made once a country achieves its independence, defends its sovereignty, and throws off all foreign domination.