From foreign lands, Ho Chi Minh led the Vietnamese revolution


On May 1 st , 1930 he went to Singapore then returned to Hong Kong to closely watch the unification of various Communist organizations in Viet Nam and together with the Party Central Committee give guidance to the revolution in the country.

Just after, its founding, thanks to its correct line, our Party organized and led a revolutionary high tide without precedent in our country, set up the worker-peasant alliance and founded the Soviet style power in many areas in Nghe Tinh province. It was the first epoch in the history of our Party’s valiant struggles.

To strengthen the leadership of a seething revolutionary movement throughout the whole coutry, in October 1930, in Hong Kong, Ho Chi Minh on behalf of the Comintern, presided over the 1 st Plenum of the Party Central Committee.

The Plenum discussed and adopted the Theses for the Democratic Revolution (we now call it the people’s national democratic revolution), drafted by Tran Phu, one of the outstanding disciples of Ho Chi Minh.

To execute the Comintern’s instructions, the Plenum decided to change the Party’s name to the Indochinese Communist Party, passed the resolution about the present situation in Indochina and the immediate tasks of the Party, elected the official Party Central Committee and elected Tran Phu the first Secretary General of the Party.

After the first Plenum of the Party Central Committee, Comrade Ho Chi Minh reported to the Communist International on the resolution of the plenum.

He stayed in Hong Kong to closely watch and encourage the revolutionary high tide and the Nghe Tinh Soviet that were developing at home.

On February 19 th 1931, under the alias of Victor, he sent to the Executive Committee of the Communist International a report called the Red Nghe Tinh Soviet.

After analysing the social, political, economic and geographical situations of Nghe Tinh area, he remarked:

“The inhabitants went hungry and their dwelling places were lamentable; besides, heavy taxes and interests and political oppression have made them more and more miserable.”

In a moving voice full of revolutionary and native sentiments, he highlighted the tradition of revolutionary struggle of the localities:

“The people of Nghe Tinh are reputed to be obstinate. Nghe Tinh won for itself a fine name in the time of the French conquest and the national revolutionary movement (1905 – 1925).

In the present struggle, the workers and peasants of Nghe Tinh have upheld their revolutionary traditions... Nghe Tinh fully deserves to be “red”.

On the great historic significance of the 1930 – 1931 revolutionary high tide and the Nghe Tinh So Viet later on, Ho Chi Minh wrote: “The Nghe Tinh Soviet testified to the valiant spirit and the revolutionary capacity of the Vietnamese labouring people. Though the movement met with failure, it forged the forces for the subsequent triumph of the August revolution.”

While praising the Nghe Tinh Soviet Movement, he spoke out against violence. He pointed out the common line of the Vietnamese revolution in Viet Nam in the years 1930 – 1931 was as follows:

“We should muster ur men, organise and encourage them to fight for the daily life interest, but not to stage a local insurrection (i.e. insurrection here means an uprising for power).

Nevertheless, he congratulated the Soviet power and regarded it as a great initiative of the masses. At the same time he praised the unbreakable and firm will of struggle among the cadres and Party members and the masses in the Nghe Tinh area:

“Bombs and shells, machine guns and fires, and operations, all of them cannot put down the revolutionary movement of the population of the Ngeh tinh area.

Ho Chi Minh made an urgent proposal to the Communist International on the one hard, and to the communist and workers’ parties all over the world on the other, to ask them to pay further attention to the revolutionary movement in Viet Nam, and encourage this movement, give opinions to the Vietnamese revolutionaries, exchange fighting experience and especially to support them in the financial matters, etc.

He also asked the Communist International to issue a call to Communist Party members, first and foremost the French Communist Party, the working class and laborers all over the world to launch a campaign against the white terror of the French colonialists towards the Vietnamese revolution.

He also proposed that the Communist International should admit our Party as an independent sub-division of the Communist International.

In reponse to this proposal, and on the basis of just revolutionary methods and lines of our Party right at its founding and considering the resounding achievements of our Party and people in the high tide of the 1930 – 1931 Nghe Tinh Soviet, on April 11 th , 1931 at its 25 th session, the 11 th Plenum of the Executive Committee of the Communist International decided to accept Ho Chi Minh’s suggestion.

In a letter to Ho Chi Minh dated May 12 th , 1931 the Oriental section of the Communist International praised the heroic struggle of our people and highly rated the prestige of Ho Chi Minh together with the correct leadership of our Party in the 1930 – 1931 revolutionary struggle and Nghe Tinh Soviet movement.

In 1930 – 1931 Ho Chi Minh also made many suggestions to the Party Central Committee to strengthen its leadership.

The ever fiercer revolutionary struggle of the worker and peasant masses called for an all-round and close leadership by the Party.

Therefore, Ho Chi Minh stressed that the Party should be consolidated and developed. To heighten the class character of the Party and raise the theoritical standard of Party members, on the one hand, he suggested that the Party Central Committee should set up a committee in charge of propaganda and for the education of Party members, and for the launching of a Party newspaper; that short-term courses should be held to give instructions on the Party’s political programme and constitution, and to educate and train cadres.

On the other hand, he reminded Party members that they should work in the workers’ movement and pay attention to recruiting members among the workers.

He stressed that our Party should clearly define its way of leading the masses. The Party should propagate its line and policies through its cadres and should make use of persuasion, not command.

Each committee should define concrete tasks for each cell, each member. Instructions sent to Party cells should be easy to understand so that Party members could discuss, study and execute them.

Party committees should also supersive the work of lower Party organizations. Speaking of a Party member’s responsibility, he pointed out: “All Party members, all Party cells should discuss the instructions and revolutions of the Party Central Committee. This should be done in order to raise the standard of Party members and ensure the carrying out of all instructions and resolutions and unity of mind and actions among Party members...”

To strengthen and consolidate the worker-peasant alliance, he pointed out the need to broaden workers’ unions and peasants’ unions.

Ho Chi Minh stressed that a workers’ union is a revolutionary organization of the working masses, but when recruiting union members, one should not require such high qualifications as for Party membership, but should boldly admit large numbers of workers, especially younger ones, into the unions. The Party would educate  them further so as to make revolutionary fighters out of them.

On the orientation of developing the workers’ Unions, he pointed out that our Party should not only intensify propaganda work among workers in the mining and other major industries, but also pay attention to unemployed and craftsmen in the cities and to farm workers. The workers’ unions should be organized vertically, from basic to central levels.

Assessing the workers’ movement, Ho Chi Minh pointed out that owing to the economic crisis, many workers had become unemployed or half-employed; they led a miserable life, and so they continually rose up in fierce struggles.

Those struggles helped awaken the working class, but the results were still limited, because the movement was not yet stady and continuous, the union was not strong enough, and Party members were not yet quite clear about the role of the unions.

The struggle of the working class was closely related to that of the peasantry and other labouring classes. Ho Chi Minh stressed therefore that workers’ unions should keep in touch with peasants’ unions, that workers should support the peasants’ struggles.

The workers’ unions should also join the Anti-Imperialists League as a collective member. By doing so, they did not lose their independence, but could enhance their vanguard role in the struggle against imperialism.

In order to mobilize the peasantry in even more vigorous struggles, he stressed that the Party should make them understand clearly its line of agrarian revolution in each stage of the revolution.

The Party should lead the peasants in struggles for freedom, independence, reduction of taxes, abolition of the poll tax, reduction of land rents, and against the sending of peasants as labourers to plantations and other colonial territories, against all phony reforms and white terror, etc.

Economic struggle should be combined with political struggle; peasants were advised to organize self-defence units to support their struggles. Through the peasants’ movement, the Party would be in a position to consolidate and broaden the peasants’ unions. Rich peasants should be resolutely excluded right from the start.

Ho Chi Minh remarked, “Through the peasants’ union in Viet Nam make steady progress, they have not reached their target as their principle of organization is hazy, their propaganda scope is limited and they do not pay sufficient attention to the struggle of the landless peasants against the rich peasants and landlords.”

He pointed out, that as the peasants’ unions were an organization have the task of bringing the agrarian revolution to success in propaganda, explanations should be given to the peasants to realize their plight and the necessity to fight against imperialism, landlordism and the bourgeoside; they should be given to understand the significance of the agrarian revolution (confiscation of the landlords’ and for distribution to the landless peasants and middle peasants) and the fundamental objective of the bourgeois democratic revolution.

The peasants’ unions had to explain to the peasants the necessity of forming alliances with the working class and to be placed under the leadership of the Communist Party, the vanguard party of the working class. Politically, the workers and peasants had to be subjected to the Party leadership, but they had to differentiate between the Party and the trade-unions and peasants’ unions.

Drawing experience from the struggle of the peasants at Thai Binh, he pointed out their errors: in the neighbouring districts, there were no forces of reserves capable of strengthening the movement; the masses were not given to understanding the objectives of the movement of struggle and to knowing the leaders of this movement; no experience was drawn from the struggle of the Nghe Tinh peasants, etc.

Agreeing with the resolution of the Party Central Committee on the organization of the peasants’ association from the grassroots to the central levels, he suggested to the Oriental section of the Communist International to set up the General Peasants’ Union in Indochina to unify the leadership of the peasants’ movement in the whole country since it was not swayed by the landlords and rich peasants as in other countries. But this policy was not implemented because of the complicated situation at that time.

He also stressed the necessity to set up an anti-imperialist fron to unify the youth organizations and give it freedom of action. The trade union, peasants’ unions, youth unions and women’s unions should actively take part in the anti-imperialist front.

To encourage the patriotic-minded people to set up the anti-imperialist front in propaganda, he recommended the Party members not only make a vague appeal to the workers and to speak of proletarialism in a rigid way, but to rouse patriotism of the people to overthrow French colonialism for national liberation.

Drawing lessons from the actions staged by Thai Binh peasants, he pointed out these shortcomings: failure to organize reserve forces in neighbouring districts to reinforce the movement when necessary; failure to explain to the masses the objective of the struggle; letting police informers worm their way into the struggle and letting the masses know all the leaders; failure to draw lessons from the struggles of Nghe An peasants, etc.

In agreement with the resolution of the Party Central Committee on the organization of peasants’ unions from basic to central levels, Ho Chi Minh submitted to the Far Eastern Bureau of the Comintern a proposal for organizing a Federation of Peasants’ Unions in Indochina with a view to giving unified leadership to the peasant movement in the whole country, for here landlords and rich peasants were not in control of the peasants’ unions as in some other countries.

Together with the consolidation and broadening of workers’ and peasants’ unions, he also pointed out that attention should be paid to the Anti-Imperialist League. Youth organizations should be unified and they should have independent activities.

Workers’ unions, peasants’ unions, youth unions and women’s unions should actively join the Anti-Imperialist League in the struggle against imperialism. On methods of propaganda and agitation among patriotic elements in preparation for the founding of the Anti-Imperialist League, he often advised Party members not to issue appeals to the workers in a general way, not to speak of the proletariat in a rigid manner.

The immediate task for us was to overthrow the French colonialists and liberate the nation, so we had to arouse patriotic sentiments in the people at large.

Ho Chi Minh constantly taught proletarian internationalism and principles of revolutionary work to cadres of our Party then working in China. He recommended that our cadres should carry on agitation aong Vietnamese and French soldiers in Shanghai: in the case of soldiers, it was advisable first to arouse their love for the country and nation.

While leading the revolutionary movement in Viet Nam together with the Party Central Committee, as a member of the Far Eastern Bureau of the Comitern in charge of the Southern Department, Ho Chi Minh made important contributions to the creation of revolutionary movements in a number of Southeast Asian countries.

Frightened by the 1930 – 1931 revolutionary high tide and the impact of Ho Chi Minh’s activities on Southeast Asian countries, the British imperialists illegally arrested him (then taking the name of Tong Van So) in Hong Kong, in June 1931.

Kept in solidarity confinement and miserable conditions, he did not worry about his fate, for he knew that either he would be liquidated by the colonialists or would escape from their fetters and get back to revolutionary action.

Day and night he felt anxious for the revolutionary movement in his homeland. But what worried him most was: who would continue the work he had not finish? How to pass on some of his own experience to other comrades? Who would re-establish the contacts whom he alone knew? Our Party was newly-founded, but its prestige was already high; the struggle movement of the workers and peasants was surging up; meanwhile, the imperialists were trying hard to suppress the movement, many comrades were arrested, imprisoned or skilled, many organizations were broken up, then how to carry on the work?

Overjoyed, the French colonialists in Indochina had a ship moored at Hong Kong wharves, ready to collect him, if after trial at Hong Kong court, they succeeded in persuading the British authorities there to hand him over to them in order to carry him to Viet Nam.

Learning that Ho Chi Minh was arrested, the Anti-Imperialist League for National Independence promptly issued a statement of protest to the British government and demanded his release.

Thanks to his steadfastness, the assistance of the International Red Relief in providing a lawyer, and the whole-hearted help and defence by a barrister named Loseby who admired him, Ho Chi Minh was set free in the spring of 1993.

He left Hong Kong for Macao and went onto Shanghai as he was informed of the arrival in that city of a European peace delegation – of which Paul Valliant Couturier was a member – campaigning against the Imperial war.

After getting in contact with the Communist International in spring 1934 he left Shanghai for Vladivostock and took a train for Moscow.

In his previous stay in the Soviet Union he saw that the Soviet people had to work hard to rebuild their country; through working enthusiastically for the future, they met great difficulties in their life.

This time, the situation had changed completely; the Soviet people enjoyed a better life in all respects. Under the leadership of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union, the first five-year plan was overfulfilled, and the Second five-year plan had just begun.

While studying the situation of the Soviet Union, Ho Chi Minh was invited by the Communist International to spend a holiday at Sochi, as after years of hardship and danger, his health had got poor. But accustomed to an active life, after a few days of rest, he returned to Moscow.

On October 1 st , 1934, according to the introduction of the Comintern Committee, with the name of Linop, Ho Chi Minh entered Lenin University, the higher Party school for leading cadres of communist and workers’ Parties in the world. After finishing his studies, he worked at the Comintern’s Institute of Research on National and Colonial Problems.

In that period he took great care of the Vietnamese students at the Oriental University. He took part in all their activities such as writing articles for wall papers, going in for artistic activities, sports, translating, etc.

He gave lessons at the Institute of Nationalities and Colonial Peoples, on behalf of the managing board of this institute; he taught the history of the Soviet Union Communist Party to the Vietnamese students.

He informed them of the militant solidarity of the Vietnamese residents in Siam, of the ups and downs of his life of revolutionary struggle and his experience. He advised them to love each other and to unite with their comrades from other communist parties.

He taught them how to lead a simple and wholesome life and constantly have revolutionary optimism. He urged them to learn in order to serve the revolution better. He also paid attention to raising the theoretical knowledge of the Party members working in Viet Nam.

In a letter dated January 16 th , 1935 signed Lin to the Communist International, after informing it of the theoretical level of the Party members and evaluating their revolutionary spirit, he stressed the importance of giving them theoretical lessons on Marxism-Leninism, “They work zealously and enthusiastically, but lacking theoretical knowledge, they have to grope in the dark and have made mistakes. Of course they will manage to find a way out in their struggle and in their practical work. However, should we give them fundamental theoretical knowledge and show them the correct way, they will be able to avoid serious setbacks.”

I. Stalin was right when he said, “Theory helps those who do practical work to determine the direction, to clearly see the future, to be resolute in action and to have confidence in the success of our work.”

To raise the theoretical level of the Party members in colonial countries, Ho Chi Minh suggested that the Oriental Section should publish handbooks on Marxism – Leninism; on the principle and experience in the building of the Party, on the agitation among the masses…

Such books should be brief, simple and easy to read; they should be written in the form of dialogues as our comrades have a low cultural level and can not read long difficult-to-understand sentences.

He emphasized, “What I have said of our comrades in Indochina and Siam can be applied to other colonial countries where the Party works illegally and the cultural level of the toiling people is low. The books I have suggested will be very useful in these countries.”

In July 1935, an official delegation of our Party led by Le Hong Phong came to attend the 7 th Comintern Congress in Moscow. Ho Chi Minh attend the Congress as a delegate of the Oriental Section under the name of Lin.

He discussed the subjects in the sub-committee, and contributed many constructive opinions to the Congress. With a high sense of responsibility he helped the delegation of our Party fulfill its task at the Congress.

The resolutions of the Congress were of paramount importance for the Vietnamese revolution at that time. The principles mentioned in G. Dimitrov’s report and in that of the Congress on the anti-imperialist popular front in colonial and dependent countries were very important for the activities of our Party during the Democratic Front period (1936 – 1939).

The Congress decided to recognized our Party as a full member of the Communist International and appointed Le Hong Phong an alternate member of the central committee of the Communist International.

After the Congress, Ho Chi Minh stayed in the Soviet Union to continue his study and watch the revolutionary movement in Viet Nam through the papers written in Vietnamese and French sent out from the country.

Basing itself on the resolution of the 7 th Congress of the Comintern and proceeding from the specific conditions of our country at that time, in July 1936 in Canton the Party Central Committee held a plenum presided over by Le Hong Phong.

The Plenum decided on the founding of the Indochinese Anti-Imperialist People’s Front (later changed to the Indochinese Democratic Front) with a view to rallying all democratic and progressive forces in the struggle against the enemy, namely the French fascists and the French reactionary colonialists, for democratic freedom, for the improvement of the people’s living conditions, in support of the French Popular Front, against aggressive fascism and for world peace.

At the end of 1938, Ho Chi Minh went to China to find a way home.

While watching the revolutionary movement in Southeast Asia, he always had a keen eye on the Vietnamese revolution.

In a letter to the Party Central Committee, he wrote, “Excuse me for not frequently writing to you. I’m very busy. I wish I had one thousand hands like the Buddha to be able to do everything.”

From February to July 1939, Ho Chi Minh wrote nine articles under the common title “Letters from China” for publication in Our Voice, our Party’s lawful organ in Ha Noi. In these articles he dealt with two subjects: Aggression by the Japanese fascists and sabotage of the Trotskyites in China in which he denounced the reactionary character of Japanese fascism. He voiced the support of the Vietnamese people for this struggle.

Regarding the havoc wrought by the Trotskyites, he wrote “At the end of 1936, and particularly during the war, the criminal activities of the Trotskyites have opened our eyes. Since then we have buckled down to the study of this problem.

He concluded that the character of the Chinese Trotskyites was to oppose their country. They were sneaked by the Japanese fascists into the Chinese Communist Party to sabotage the anti-fascist movement of the Chinese people.

The Trotskyites in China and other countries are but running dogs of the Japanese fascists and other fascists in the world.

Together with the Party resolutions assessing the Trotskyites in Viet Nam, Ho Chi Minh’s articles on the Chinese Trotskyites were effective in educating our Party members and people and helping them understand that the Trotskyites were the henchmen of fascism.

Basing his plans on the resolution of the 7 th Congress of the Comintern and on the situation in our country, Ho Chi Minh sent a letter to the Party Central Committee, setting forth correct guidelines concerning the strategy and tactics to be followed in the period of the Indochinese Democratic Front (1936 – 1939). His ideas were summarized in a report to the Comintern in July 1939.

On the Slogan of our struggle:

“At present the Party can not make exhortation claims such as national independence, but only calls for democratic freedom, improvement of the people’s life, amnesty to political prisoners, struggle for the lawful activities of the Party.”

On the Front:

“To reach this goal, the Party must strive to organize a broad democratic national front.

“This front should embrace not only Indochina, not only the toiling people but also the national bourgeoisie.

“The Party must assume a tactful, flexible attitude towards the national bourgeoisie, strive to draw them into the Front and keep them there, urge them into action if possible, isolate them politically if necessary. At any rate, we must not leave them outside the Front, lest they should fall into the hands of the reaction and strengthen it.”

“With regard to the Trotskyites there can be no compromise, no concession. We must do everything possible to unmask them as agents of fascism and annihilate them politically.”

On the Party:

“The Party can not demand that the Front recognize its leadership. It must, instead, show itself to be the Front’s most loyal, active and sincere element. It is only through daily struggle and work, when the masses of the people have acknowledged the correct policies and leading capacity of the Party, that it can win the leading position.

In order to carry out this task, the Party must uncompromisingly fight secretarianism and organize the systematic study of Marxism – Leninism in order to raise the cultural and political levels of the Party members. It must help the non-Party cadres raise their standard . It must maintain close contact with the French Communist Party.”

In addition, Ho Chi Minh also reminded the Central Committee that it should control the Party press to avoid political deficiencies. The Party should be highly vigilant with regard to the Japanese imperialists’ scheme of agression against Indochina and the conciliatory attitude of the French colonial reactionaries towards the Japanese imperialists.

Thanks to the correct leadership of Ho Chi Minh and the Party’s Central Committee, the struggle movement of the masses for demoratic liberties and improvement of living conditions attracted millions of people and awakened their political consciousness. The Party’s prestige grew ever wider and deeper among our people.

Later, he made the following assessment about the 1936 – 1939 democratic movement: “This movement has also given our Party and the present National Front valuable experience. It has taught us that whatever conforms the people’s aspirations will receive support from the masses who will wholeheartedly struggle for it and by this means a real mass movement is created. It has also taught us how to avoid at all costs subjectivism and narrow-mindedness.”

Ho Chi Minh's life and cause

The Gioi Publishers


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