Le Duan

On The Socialist Revolution In Vietnam Volume 1

Reassessment of the Leadership of the Vietnamese Proletariat[1]

During the eighty years under the French and the Japanese yokes, our people fought most heroically in various movements: the Van Than[a], Phan Dinh Phung[b], Hoang Hoa Tham[c], Phan Chu Trinh[d], Phan Boi Chau[e], the Yen Bai insurrection[f], the 1930-1931 movement with the Nghe-Tinh Soviet uprising[g] as its climax, the insurrections of Nam Ky[h] and Bac Son[i]. Finally in August 1945 the revolution for national liberation came out victorious and the Vietnamese people have become again masters of their beloved fatherland.

The victorious August Revolution ushered in a new era in Vietnam’s history, because it was not only a revolution for national liberation but a revolution to emancipate the people and take them to a new road, the road of modern history of mankind.

For a correct assessment of the factors of the triumph of the August Revolution, we must study its development from the beginning.


The main purpose of French imperialism in occupying our country was to sell goods, exploit our raw materials, levy taxes and conscript labour, that is to plunder our people and exploit their labour force.

Ours is an agrarian country. By exploiting the labour force of our people, the imperialists mainly aimed at the peasants who either tilled their fields or worked as labourers in their enterprises. We can say that the French imperialists invaded our country essentially to rob the labour force of our peasantry.

Therefore the contradictions between our nation and French imperialism were in essence the contradictions between the peasantry and imperialism.

For us however, the loss of our country means not only the loss of our daily vital material interests, but also the loss of our human value and dignity, of the common reason for existence of a whole nation built up through thousands of years.

For this reason, the contradictions between our nation and French imperialism were also the contradictions between national existence and aggression.

To exploit the peasantry, the French imperialists needed not abolish feudalism as they did in their own country ; but they maintained it to help in their exploitation, that is why they left no stone unturned to collude with feudalism.

As imperialism stripped them of their posts of ruling and exploiting the peasants, the feudals naturally wanted to resist. But, weak and out-moded, feudalism was helpless in face of imperialism which was winning victory after victory in the world; furthermore at ;that time the contradiction between feudalism and the peasantry was sharp. Minding only the feudal selfish and short-sighted interests, the kings of the Nguyen dynasty were more afraid of losing their throne than losing their country. The weak and selfish feudal class, helpless in face of imperialism, surrendered to and compromised with it and went so far as to work hand in glove with it against the people’s movement of struggle for national salvation.

However, a section of feudalism among the intelligentsia realizing that the feudals as such had no other interests than to serve the imperialists, rose up against the French. But their anti-imperialist spirit and national-salvation spirit sprang not mainly from the surviving strength of the feudal regime, but from the spirit of national independence and the millenary culture of these intellectuals, and the working masses, which developed spontaneously under the royalist banner. Likewise, the modernization movement having a bourgeois democratic tendency and led by the old national patriotic intellectuals, did not originate from the emerging economic and social basis of national bourgeois character, but from the spirit of national independence and the cultural basis at a time when the feudal regime in the country was facing bankruptcy and the East shifting from feudalism to bourgeoisie.

Therefore in essence these movements did not reflect the contradiction between imperialism and feudalism, or between imperialism and the economy of the local bourgeoisie which had not yet taken shape, but they mainly showed the contradictions between the spirit of national independence and the aggressive imperialist regime, between the oppression and exploitation by imperialist capital and the toiling people, especially the peasants.

That is why we can affirm that in invading our country French imperialism created a contradiction between it and the whole of our nation. Nevertheless the contradictions between imperialism and the peasantry and between imperialism and feudalism were not the same because our country like all other countries was a class society with differing and contending interests; hence the general contradiction between the social classes and imperialism differed and changed according to the position and relations existing between these classes.

The contradiction between the peasantry and imperialism already bore in itself the contradiction between the peasantry and feudalism, not only because the peasantry itself was in contradiction with feudalism but because the latter had surrendered to imperialism, depended on it and colluded with it against the peasantry; the contradiction between the patriotic elements of feudalism and imperialism also changed and bore in itself the contradiction between these patriotic elements and feudalism, because the feudal regime was serving as a puppet of imperialism and impeding the onward march of the nation. Feudalism which was first in antagonistic contradiction with imperialism had then a non-antagonistic contradiction and colluded with imperialism into a bloc opposing the peasantry and the patriots.

This was in substance, the economic, political and social aspect of the revolutionary movements since the invasion of our country by French imperialism up to World War I.

However at that time the objective content of these revolutionary movements had not been clearly realized by their leaders and consequently these movements did not bring about the expected result and could not shake off imperialist domination.


According to Vietnam’s history of the period of domination by French imperialism, our national- liberation movement of a broad mass character and embracing many political parties and leading classes, developed after World War I and since then Vietnam’s history recorded new particular changes.

With its programme of exploiting the colonies, French imperialism created in Vietnam a weak local bourgeoisie and turned the proletariat into a stronger class, because the latter did not appear at the same time as the local bourgeoisie but previously, together with the coming of imperialist capitalism.

In its exploitation of Indo-China, French capitalism held the key notes of the economy, monopolizing banking, the issuing of bank notes, foreign trade, inland transport and communication. The major branches of production which constituted the resources of Indo-China, such as rubber, coal, rice, were in its hands, even the branches supplying building materials such as cement, bricks, tiles, lime, timber, were entirely held by French capitalism ; the other means of living of the people such as weaving, basket- making, were nearly completely ruined by the French capitalists’ industry and trade. The local bourgeoisie which was made up mostly of the various strata of the landlord class, held only the subsidiary economic branches and subsidiary trade. There were no trading firms, no enterprises having sufficient capitals to compete with French capitalism at all.

To subordinate Indo-China’s economy entirely to theirs, the French colonialists never thought of developing heavy industry in this colony and even held up the expansion of light industry.

This manoeuvre of the French colonialists, coupled with their colonial politics hamstrung the fund accumulation of the local bourgeois, preventing them from going in for any important trading and industrial branches. Worsened by the continual bankruptcy observed in agriculture, this situation reduced the local bourgeois to the role of paid agents of French capitalism in order to maintain their predominance over the broad toiling masses in the country.

This state of things wrought particular changes in Vietnam’s social and political situation.

The Vietnamese bourgeoisie played only a role of subordinates or placemen of French capitalism. It had not of itself played an active role and so, apart from its capacity as agents or henchmen, it was eager to depend on one imperialism or another. That is why the anti-French imperialist spirit of a small section of Vietnamese bourgeoisie was nothing but the spirit to get rid of the French yoke to be subordinate to another imperialism. With this economic situation and hence with the class character of Vietnamese bourgeoisie as said above, no national-liberation revolution led by the bourgeoisie was possible.

In the economic field the Yen Bai insurrection reflected only the bankruptcy of-some sections of the peasantry and small manufacturers after the French, with the development of their light industry, had got exclusive control over the means of living of the Vietnamese people; it showed that the prospect of a bourgeois economy was nipped in the bud. From another point of view, it also reflected the spontaneous development of the patriotism of the petty-bourgeois intellectuals in face of the surging of the revolutionary movement at home and abroad. However, lacking a social force backed by a bourgeois economic basis, this national revolution of a bourgeois character led by the petty bourgeois intellectuals, was made under the impulse of a short-lived mettle and audacity inherent in the petty-bourgeois class, and ended in an abortive insurrection to seek compromise with imperialism. In the end, these social sections carried on their task of “national liberation“ by composing some poems, writing a literary work or publishing some novels or newspapers of bourgeois reformist character.

While giving birth to a weak bourgeoisie, the economic situation of Vietnam on the contrary, created a quite strong proletariat, because in Vietnam the proletariat did not come into being at the same time as the local bourgeoisie, but was born and developed long before, with the exploitation and growth of French imperialist capitalism. The ruin of the small productive branches in the countryside and of small industries, dragged tens of thousands of peasants into the towns and the French colonialist-owned rubber, coffee and rice plantations, and turned them into proletarians. This fairly rapid development of the proletariat and the pauperism suffered by all the rural sections have sealed the peasantry into a powerful force with the proletariat. The weak and dependent character of the bourgeoisie and its rapid submission to imperialism and the temporarily spontaneous character of all the strata of petty-bourgeois intellectuals, have given the proletariat — a class oppressed and exploited by feudalism, imperialism and the national bourgeoisie — a predominant role on Vietnam’s political stage and set it the task of liberating itself and the nation as well. This position of the proletariat was made possible by the situation in the country, the treason and capitulation of the bourgeoisie and landlordism in China — a neighbouring country which exerted great influence on Vietnamese culture — and the triumph of international proletariat in the Soviet Union, a country as large as one sixth of the globe.

This pauperism and destitution of the peasantry under the French colonial regime, the deep and powerful national feeling of the peasantry, the weakness of the local bourgeoisie, the example set by the proletarian revolution in the Soviet Union, in liberating the peasantry and taking it definitely to the proletarian path, were factors which gave the Vietnamese peasants confidence in their revolutionary potentialities and in the certain victory under the leadership of the proletariat.

As the Vietnamese proletariat has its interests closely linked to the interests of the broad peasant masses in the country and to the national liberation task and as its political role at home and abroad has given it an advanced and revolutionary theory of a national liberation revolution, it has become a valiant vanguard army, fully capable of defeating imperialism and feudalism, liberating the nation and the class, wresting back independence for Vietnam and building it into a new country.

In the actual revolutionary movement which took place in the country from 1924-1925 to 1930-1931. the revolutionary movement for national liberation waged according to the proletarian standpoint developed simultaneously with the national liberation movement carried out along the bourgeois standpoint While the Yen Bai insurrection ended the bourgeois revolutionary movement, the struggles waged by the proletariat and the peasantry have taken place heroically throughout the country up to the present time. This is a historical event particular to the movement for liberation of the Vietnamese nation.

In the revolution to liberate its class and nation, the Vietnamese proletariat possesses its own genuine vanguard Party. In the specific historical conditions of Vietnam and profiting by the valuable experiences gained through one hundred years by the international proletariat especially by the Russian revolution, the Party has led the revolutionary movement in Vietnam with a correct standpoint of a national liberation revolution. Our Party has been tried and tested in the most trying days, now legally now illegally; at any time and everywhere, working underground or holding power, it has raised aloft the national and democratic banner, the banner of national salvation and liberation; at any time and everywhere, it is worthy of being the vanguard army of the revolution not flinching the least from countless difficulties or dangers and valiantly fulfilling the mission entrusted by history.

We can say that without the Indo-Chinese Communist Party, the triumph of the August Revolution was impossible.


“The national question is mainly the peasant question”. Eighty years of Vietnamese revolution has substantiated the correctness and profoundity of this affirmation,

Comrade Nguyen Ai Quoc[j] has compared imperialism with a leech having two suckers, one bleeding the proletariat in the mother country and the other bleeding the peasants in the colonies. That means. that imperialism has lived on the exploitation of the proletariat as well as of the peasants.

The peasantry in the colonies does not lie in the economic structure of feudalism only but also in the economic structure of imperialism. As the economic structure of imperialism embraces the economic structure of feudalism, the contradiction between the peasantry and imperialism is similar to that betweeni the peasantry and feudal-landlordism. However by losing the country, the peasants lose also the sacred national legacy. What was left by our forefathers, the beautiful land built through a millenary, was then despicably trampled underfoot by foreign capitalism. The indignation for the present situation, the heroism bequeathed by their ancestors and the worry for their offsprings have kindled in the peasants’ mind the flame of boundless hatred for the invaders.

However for generations, the peasants were tightly bound as serfs to the landlords’ estates. Husbands and wives, fathers and children looked inquiringly at one another, not knowing when they would be delivered from their drudgery. Nothing was more cherished for them than their aspiration to own the land they were tilling. Their hatred for feudal-land- lordism smouldering for ages in their spirit of independence they did not mean only to get rid of imperialism but also aspired to free themselves from the feudal-landlord bondage.

The Vietnamese peasants are traditionally valiant in fighting and defeating the foreign aggressors to build the country. They have also written glorious pages in the history of their struggle against feudal- landlordism.

Relying on the bureaucratic feudals, the French imperialists created a new landlord class, grabbed land, ruined most of the peasants’ side-occupations, did fraudulous transactions, lent at high interest rates and created heavy taxes in order to turn the peasants into slaves tied to their plantations and mines. They lowered the peasants’ living standard so as to curtail the dirt-cheap wages of the workers and net big super-profits in the colonies.

The period in which the French colonialists developed and exploited the colonies was the period in which the peasants were utterly ruined and the land- lords free to rob them of their lands.

For this reason when the communists representing the proletariat put forth the slogan of abolishing imperialism and feudalism, wresting back national independence and winning back the land for the tillers the peasants carried out a national revolution movement which reached a size unprecedented in the history of anti-imperialist struggle in the last decades.

The peasantry representing 90 per cent of the population was a tremendous revolutionary force. But it had no independent political position in history. because the political leadership must always be detained by the classes which represent a given social economy. In the feudal society this role was played by feudalism, in the capitalist society by the bourgeoisie and in the socialist society naturally by the proletariat.

While feudalism was colluding with imperialism to sell out the country and exploit the peasantry, the latter had two alternatives: to place itself either under the leadership of the bourgeoisie or under the leadership of the proletariat.

Because the path outlined by the proletariat fell in line with the aspiration of the peasantry, because the proletariat has proved to be capable of championing the interests of the peasantry as in Russia and because the bourgeoisie was powerless and easily betrayed the interests of the peasantry as experienced by the Chinese revolution, the great majority of the peasantry embarked upon the path laid by the proletariat under the slogan “National independence” and “Land to the tillers” put forth by the Indo- Chinese Communist Party.

While at certain time, a tiny section of the peasantry joined the Vietnam Quoc Dan Dang (Vietnam Nationalist Party)[k] and another the Cao Dai and Hoa Hao[l] religious sects with their mystical anti-imperialist spirit, most of the peasantry took part in the communist movement in 1930-1931, the democratic movement in 1936 - 1939, the Viet Minh[m] movement in 1941 - 1945, the Nghe An Soviet uprising, the insurrections in Nam Ky, Bac Son and Ba To[n] and was the main force to raise the maelstrom of the August Revolution.

The truth was that without a close and powerful worker-peasant alliance the August Revolution could mot come out victorious.

The worker-peasant alliance was a most important strategic task, because it was a positive force of the revolution. Only with this positive force could we win over the middle-of-the-road force and broaden the national force.

Besides, the leadership of the proletarian party can be maintained only when the worker-peasant alliance is firmly strengthened. Because the political influence of the Party is the political influence of the workers and peasants, the strength of the Party is the strength of the workers and peasants who are the grass-root masses of the Party. The Party of the proletariat cannot exist without the worker-peasant alliance.

The experience of the Vietnamese revolution has shown that a revolutionary movement is invincible when it correctly follows the path outlined by the proletariat and bases itself on the force of the worker- peasant alliance.

During the Resistance War, the revolutionary army —regular troops as well as guerilla fighters—was made up of armed peasants led by the Party; this is the illustration of the worker-peasant alliance rising in arms against imperialism and feudalism.

In the nine-year Resistance, the people’s army defeated imperialism and feudalism. This testifies further that without the worker-peasant alliance, the Resistance could not be victorious.


Under foreign domination, every Vietnamese longed to regain independence and freedom. Only if all Vietnamese were united and single-minded and rose up as one man, could the revolutionary movement become strong enough to defeat imperialism. This was the general revolutionary viewpoint of the Anti-imperialist National United Front.

It was not so in the historical reality. Immediately after the country was subjugated there were sections of the Vietnamese people which split off to side with imperialism and fight back against the people. This has rent the heart of the patriots who appealed in vain to the sacred national spirit. But sacred or not it could not solve the problem; this settlement could only be made by history, by the men who grasp the law of history and of the society.

The Vietnamese people have built up a nation; for thousands of years they have been living together on the same territory under the same sky, and have inherited a millenary legacy from their ancestors; every Vietnamese sees in the national feeling a source of life, the aspirations common to the nation as a whole are also the aspirations of each Vietnamese. This is a reality. Like others, the Vietnamese society is made up of many classes, with contending interests. The daily activities of each Vietnamese are closely linked to the interests of his own class. Each class has its own historical position and nurtures particular aspirations for itself and for the whole of the society according to the class relations in a given period of time and place. Therefore in the national-liberation movement the intensity of the patriotism of the Vietnamese people varies according to the degree of their consciousness of the rightful national interests and class interests, to the sacrifice they make in the rightful interests of their class and to the sacrifice and awareness of their personal interests.

We have seen the sufferings and humiliation of the Vietnamese under the foreign yoke; we also have daily seen the Vietnamese who enjoy happiness with the blood and tears of other Vietnamese. The jarring class interests are vital interests. This is a historical reality occurring daily in the life of the Vietnamese people.

Therefore to conceive the National United Front independently of class awareness is but an abstract knowledge, a means of deceit or an instinct of conservation of the selfish interests of his own class.

The content of the national united front cannot exclude class content.

Then are there contradictions between the interests of the class and those of the nation, and vice versa?

Feudalism has solved these contradictions by surrendering to and colluding with imperialism. This testifies not only to the weakness of feudalism, but to the acute opposition between the interests of the peasantry and those of feudalism. Feudalism has solved this problem not from the national standpoint but from the class standpoint. This historical reality gives the lies that there was no fierce class struggle in Vietnam.

Looking back to the national liberation movement of the national front during the period from 1924, 1925 to 1930, 1931. we see very clearly that:

1. The national liberation movement has developed on the basis of social classes[2].

2. In each part of the country, the national movement took a more or less complex form according to a more or less elaborate class differentiation.

3. Each social class, each Section of people made known its standpoint and political tendency in the national liberation movement.

The fact that the classes and political parties had different political programmes for national liberation, testifies that the national liberation movement had a definite class struggle character.

From the historical point of view, nationalism and national consciousness[3] manifest themselves clearly and profoundly throughout the people of a nation only when this nation is threatened with foreign invasion, that is when the vital interests of all the classes of the nation are threatened and violated, or they manifest themselves in the period when the classes in the country have their consciousness roused and require a democratic system which guarantees the vital interests of all the classes[4].

Thus national spirit cannot be separated from democratic spirit. However democratic spirit always has a class content, because we have only seen the democratic regime of the slave-owners’ class in the Greek and Roman slave societies, in the bourgeois democratic regime or in the proletarian democratic regime[5] and there exists no democratic regime common to all classes[6].

Therefore the national spirit cannot be taken apart ifrom the democratic spirit, which in its turn, cannot stand outside the class spirit.

In the historical condition of Vietnam as studied above, the bourgeoisie could not put forth a genuinely broad and democratic programme. As the peasantry in our country made up 90 per cent of our population, the genuinely democratic rights should be the democratic rights of the peasantry, that is to say they should suppress the monopoly of land ownership of the landlords.

The viewpoint of the bourgeois as well as of the petty bourgeois in Vietnam cannot meet this democratic requirement of the peasantry, and of course cannot build up a broad united front.

The bourgeois sections usually allege that all classes — including the landlord class — must unite and co-operate with one another and only then can the national front be broad and powerful. In fact the bureaucratic landlords have deserted the nation and surrendered to imperialism to defend their rights of exploiting the peasantry. This front cannot be built with a compromise line, still less with the line of co-operation between capitulation and revolution. Inversely the national front should defeat the capitulationist line of the bureaucratic landlords among the people, call it by its name, isolate it, separate it from the people and regard it as the enemy of the nation so as to be able to broaden the national front[7].

Besides, the landlord class in Vietnam, like in any other countries, lives on exploitation of land rent and interest rates, and therefore its political line is fundamentally to defend this exploitation. This line basically runs counter to that of the peasantry which is to abolish the system of land rent and interest rates and the privileges and interests of the landlords, that is to defend the existence of the peasantry. To defend the existence of the peasantry is to defend the mighty force of the nation. To defend the existence of the landlords is to defend the cruel parasitical force of Ihe nation. Therefore the political line to champion the interests of the peasantry is progressive and that upholding the interests of the landlords is reactionary.

To defeat imperialism, the national united front must rely on the progressive political line. That is why, in its national stand, the proletariat upholds definitely the interests of the peasantry in order to set up a genuinely broad and united national front.

Nevertheless the proletariat stands not only for the interests of the peasantry but also for the common interest of the nation. As it is not the peasantry, the proletariat has the objective condition to see clearly the trend and line of struggle between the peasantry and the landlords in the common line of struggle between the nation and imperialism.

In reality, in the national-liberation movement, the landlord class has undergone a marked differentiation caused by the displeasure of one of its sections at the drastic monopoly policy of imperialism and by the powerful worker-peasant movement which makes a number of bourgeois intellectuals, offspring of the landlords, to shift from their reformist stand to the revolutionary stand, dragging with them a number of their kith-and-kin among the landlords. These landlords realize by themselves that should they not submit to the revolution they would have no other way left and be drowned by imperialism.

Therefore the political line of the proletariat is to overthrow the administrative machine of imperialism and its lackey, feudalism, and to thwart the imperialist aggressive policy and the line of capitulation and compromise of the feudal landlords; with regard to the agrarian policy, it is to confiscate the land of the imperialists and Vietnamese traitorous landlords for distribution to the peasants; concerning the landlords who did not follow imperialism, it is to reduce land rent and interest rates, that is to carry out democratic agrarian reform and gradually to profit the peasantry in order to advance to an all-round agrarian revolution and liberate the peasantry from the yoke of feudalism. This concession of the peasantry for the landlords who did not side with imperialism, is mainly to differentiate between the landlords. between the enemies and to weaken the economy so as to wipe him out easily. This concession is a form. of struggle between the peasantry and the landlords in the national-liberation movement and not a form of alliance by compromise between the peasantry and the landlords. This also means to broaden the national front to win over the democracy-minded elements of the landlord class, the intellectuals of landlord stock or patriotic personalities and make them side definitely with the anti-imperialist people’s democratic- front.

Without a proletarian stand, there cannot be this correct people’s democratic line, nor, of course can there be a mighty people’s democratic force to overthrow imperialism.

Not only has this proletarian line of national front correctly upheld the interests of the nation but it has correctly solved the contradictions between the peasants and the landlords in order to strengthen the most powerful force of the nation — the peasantry — and it is precisely this line which dragged the reformist bourgeois to the side of the revolution.

As we are aware, the bourgeois’ reformist tendency has never occupied an independent political position in the national-liberation movement. There were only the reformists, lackeys of imperialism, who deluded the masses. A bourgeois reformist movement having a class character could neither exist under the cruel colonial regime of the French imperialists. Sometimes this movement was nipped in the bud by imperialism and transformed into a reformist cultural movement. That is why after 1930 and 1931, owing to their weakness the bourgeoisie and the petty-bourgeois sections not only were unable to lead the revolutionary movement for national liberation, but never led any reformist movement of political character [8]. Therefore, only a worker-peasant revolutionary movement can give support to the reformist bourgeois whose opposition to imperialism will become effective only with their identification with this movement.

That is why without a worker-peasant alliance within the front, it was impossible to establish a powerful people’s democratic basis and broaden the national front.

Generally speaking, the people’s democratic front is a patriotic front. Patriotism will be the keenest, deepest and firmest in those Vietnamese whose personal interests are closest to the interests of the nation and the class. Therefore this patriotism is the apanage of the workers and peasants.

Having a rich sentimental life, the petty-bourgeois intellectuals share very easily the national feeling. At times, their patriotism was very boiling. They were very enthusiastic when the national-liberation movement reached a high tide, but usually they wavered between the bourgeois road and the proletarian road. The proletarian stand enhances the great patriotism of the workers and peasants, and strengthens further the patriotism of other sections of the people; the patriotism of workers and peasants serves the great majority of the masses and the bright future of the nation. On the contrary, the bourgeois stand only wears out and paralyses this patriotism, because the democracy of capitalism serves its personal selfish interests, and patriotism cannot be built with the spirit of serving these interests.

Therefore the petty-bourgeois intellectuals can also understand that only the proletarian democratic path is their own. The abstract democratic idea they have dreamt of is not only hazy, irrealistic but also commonplace [9]. Therefore only by standing on the proletarian viewpoint, on the democratic line of the proletariat, by serving the nation and the majority of the labouring people can one broaden the patriotic front and build a powerful, widespread and steadfast national front.

The successful August Revolution and the great victorious resistance have entirely liberated half of our country. This testifies to the correctness of the Party’s line regarding the front. Without the leadership of the Party the national united front certainly cannot be set up and cannot defeat imperialism and feudalism.

* *


The loss of Vietnam was not fortuitous. It was the outcome of the aggressive policy of imperialism.

Imperialism has become a system which exploits all the world’s people, the weak and small peoples and keeps them in bondage.

Without a superior international position the revolution for national liberation of the Vietnamese people cannot have a revolutionary theory capable of grasping the line of growth and extinction of imperialism, and cannot have powerful allied forces in the world and cannot triumph. It is precisely the unity of the world proletariat and the contradictions of imperialism which have created for the national liberation movement in Vietnam the conditions to overthrow imperialism and local feudalism.

The history of the national-liberation movement in Vietnam in the last few decades has demonstrated that without this international position of the proletariat, the revolution waged by the Vietnamese people cannot be successful as it is today.

Thanks to the close alliance between the proletarian movement in France and in Vietnam, thousands of Vietnamese proletarian militants have succeeded in launching a far-reaching democratic movement among the Vietnamese people between 1936 and 1939.

During World War II, when many people among the Vietnamese bourgeoisie and landlord class ran after the temporary victories of the Japanese and German fascists, the leaders of the Vietnamese proletariat raised aloft the banner of national independence and democracy, called on the people to follow the proletarian line and sided definitely with the democratic camp having the Soviet Union as core.

It is precisely this correct line based on a correct international political line which has brought the August revolution to success.

The protracted resistance carried out by the Vietnamese people has become an integral part of the world proletarian movement; the great historic victory of the proletarian revolution in China has created favourable conditions to bring the Vietnamese resistance war to victory.

Only the Vietnamese proletariat has enjoyed this favourable international condition which was denied to all other social classes in Vietnam.

This substantiates that without the leadership of the proletariat, the national-liberation revolutionary movement in Vietnam could not succeed.

Three years after the re-establishment of peace, our beautiful and heroic Fatherland has always raised aloft the banner of national independence and democratic peace and has contributed a worthy part to the cause of world peace. We have won the day, but liberated only half of our country. The other half still lies in the hands of the U.S. imperialist and Diem feudalist clique. The revolutionary task of all of us is to achieve national independence and democracy all over the country. This task lays ahead of us two concrete works: to build the North and take it vigorously to socialism and to step up the revolutionary movement in South Vietnam against U.S. imperialism and Diem’s feudalism.

In order to carry through these two tasks, it is necessary to accelerate the patriotic movement [10] among the population; this movement is manifested concretely in the valiant creative labour of all the northern people in their advance to socialism, in the gradual improvement of the material and spiritual life of the people, in the measure to thwart the sabotage of U.S. imperialism and Diem’s feudalism and to oppose speculative transactions. In the South this patriotism must be concretely manifested in the movement opposing the enslavement policy of the U.S.-Diem clique, claiming national independence, fighting the fascist policies, repression and oppression by the U.S. clique, demanding democracy, improvement of the people’s livelihood, thwarting the U.S.-Diem’s bellicose policy and claiming peaceful reunification of the country.

The historical lesson of the revolutionary movement for national liberation in Vietnam has shown that for the fulfilment of these revolutionary tasks, all the Vietnamese patriots must hold aloft the banner of leadership of the proletariat to advance to socialism, liberate Swth Vietnam and achieve independence and democracy throughout the country.


[1] Speech delivered on the day commemorating the 12th anniversary of the August Revolution (1957).

[2] In Bac Bo (North Vietnam) there were the movement of bourgeois character waged by petty-bourgeois intellectuals, and rich and powerful peasants, led by Vietnam Quoc Dan Dang (Vietnam Nationalist Party), the movement of socialist character waged by workers, peasants, revolutionary intellectuals led by Thanh Nien Cach Mang Dong Chi Hoi (Association of Young Revolutionary Comrades), Tan Viet (New Viet) and the Indo- Chinese Communist Party, the movement for national reform and co-operation closely linked with the opportunists and traitors to the country swayed by the Quynh, Nang, Vinh, Luc clique. In Trung Bo (Central Vietnam) there were the national revolution movement without political line and method launched by Phan Boi Chau, and next to it the patriotic movement, inactive and in a deadlock, having a reformist form; and grouping around the newspaper Tieng Dan (people’s Voice) and especially in the Council of people’s Representatives; the powerful revolutionary movement of workers, peasants, petty-bourgeois intellectuals led by the Association of Young Revolutionary Comrades, the New Viet and the Indo-Chinese Communist Party. In Nam Bo (South Vietnam) there were the continuation of the patriotic movement launched by the patriots Phan Chu Trinh and Phan Van Truong the boiling patriotic movement of Nguyen An Ninh, the revolutionary fighters of the Vietnam Nationalist Party, (Tran Huy Lieu), of publicists and writers (Tran Huu Do) which bore a bourgeois character. Besides there was the backward movement waged by a number of peasants headed by the malcontents among the bourgeois and landlords: Cao Dai, the movement of reform and co-operation linked with the traitors and capitulants among the bourgeois, landlords, intellectuals and speculators: the Constitutionalist Party.

[3] Nation is one thing and national consciousness is another.

[4] Under feudalism the working people enjoyed democratic rights and had the right to defend their interests; only when the common interests of the nation had been suppressed and only then, did the national spirit develop. Under capitalism, the working people relied on the bourgeois democratic form used by capitalism to defeat feudalism, to demand genuine democracy and defend their interests. This is also the reason of development of the national spirit.

[5] people’s democracy is also a form of proletarian democracy.

[6] Petty-bourgeois intellectuals frequently speak of a common democracy, a vague classless democracy of the petty bourgeoisie which tallies with their interests. In fact in society if democratic rights see to the interests of capitalism, they fundamentally run counter to the interests of the proletariat, and if they defend the interests of the proletariat they are fundamentally contrary to the interests of capitalism and there can be no democracy common to them. Therefore, the social regime must be either the capitalist system or the proletarian system and there cannot be a third system. In the period of transition, when we speak of mutual benefit of both labour and capitalism, in fact, we place the interests of capitalism under those of the proletariat and we do not stand for the interests of both parties; that is, in the conflict between capitalism and proletarianism at a certain time, in definite social conditions, for the sake of its interests and the interests of the nation, the proletariat can make concessions with capitalism in order to make it serve the common interests.

[7] The Nationalist Party opposes feudalism in the political field; in the economic field and land privileges, it relies on the capitalist principle of "guaranteeing sacred private ownership" (of the landlords and capitalists).

[8] The reform campaign in the democratic movement (Popular Front) was a campaign launched by the revolutionary masses and not a reformist movement of bourgeois character.

[9] When their revolutionary sentiment sinks and bourgeois ideology penetrates in them and attacks them, they doubt the democratic line of the proletariat. If they are poisoned more deeply by bourgeois ideology it is possible that they stand against the national line of the proletariat.

[10] In the feudal period, patriotism meant to be loyal to the king; under capitalism it meant to develop capitalism and make it serve the bourgeoisie. Under socialism, it means to work with devotion and initiative in order to improve the material and spiritual life of the people, to make the country rich and powerful and to serve world peace.

Next: Revolution Is The Work Of The Masses