Ho Chi Minh & the French Communist Party

In addition, Ho Chi Minh established the Viet Nam Thanh Nien Cach Menh Dong Chi Hoi (Revolutionary Youth League) in Guangzhou in the year 1925. This event took place in the year 1925. Ho was the son of a scholar who came from an impoverished peasant family and was named Nguyen Sinh Cung when he was born in May 1890 in Kim Lien hamlet, Nghe An Province. Ho’s father was named Nguyen Sinh Sac (or Huy). Around the age of 10, Ho’s father gave him the name Nhuyen Tat Thanh in accordance with a typical practise. Ho was educated in the traditional canon of Confucianism and attended secondary school in Hue during his time there. After spending some time as a teacher, he moved on to Saigon, where he attended a school for navigation. In 1911, he joined the crew of a French ship after graduating from the school. While travelling the world in the capacity of a kitchen hand, Ho visited North America, Africa, and Europe. He changed his name to Nguyen Ai Quoc when he was living in Paris between 1919 and 1923. (Nguyen the Patriot). At the 1919 Versailles Peace Conference, he made an effort to meet with President Woodrow Wilson of the United States in order to present a proposal for Vietnam’s independence; however, he was denied access to Wilson and the proposal was never officially acknowledged. In 1919, he attempted to meet with Wilson but was unsuccessful. During his time in Paris, Ho was exposed to a great deal of Marxist and Leninist literature. One work in particular that had a significant impact on him was Lenin’s Theses on the National and Colonial Questions (1920). In 1920, Ho joined the French Communist Party and was one of its founding members. Before travelling to Moscow in 1923 and attending the Fifth Congress of the Communist International, popularly known as the Comintern in 1924, he did a lot of reading, writing, and public speaking on the topic of the issues that were plaguing Indochina. Late in 1924, Ho made his way to Guangzhou, where he would remain for the following two years to instruct over 200 Vietnamese militants in revolutionary tactics. His curriculum covered the study of Marxism and Leninism, the history of revolutionary movements in Vietnam and Asia, Asian political figures such as Gandhi and Sun Yat-sen, and the challenge of organising large groups of people. Ho utilised his own pamphlet, titled Duong Cach Menh (The Revolutionary Path), which he had authored in 1926 and believed to be his introduction to revolutionary theory. This publication served as Ho’s instruction manual. He was known by the name Ly Thuy at the time, and inside the broader Thanh Nien (Youth) organisation, he established a communist subgroup called the Thanh Nien Cong San Doan (Communist Youth League). The publication of a newspaper called Thanh Nien, which was then circulated covertly across Vietnam, Siam, and Laos, was the primary focus of Thanh Nien’s activities. This journal was responsible for bringing communist philosophy into the Vietnamese independence struggle. Ho escaped to Moscow after the coup conducted by Chiang Kai-shek in April 1927 and the ensuing repression of Communists in southern China.

Nguyen Thai Hoc, a teacher who came from a family of Vietnamese peasants, established the Viet Nam Quoc Dang (VNQDD, Vietnamese Nationalist Party) in Hanoi in the month of December of the same year. The VNQDD was modelled after the Chinese Nationalist Party (Kuomintang), which was also the source of the organization’s financial support during the 1930s. The majority of its members were students, low-ranking government employees, and soldiers, while a few landlords and wealthy peasants also belonged to the organisation. The Vietnam Hotel in Hanoi, which the VNQDD first established in 1928 as both a commercial venture and the party headquarters, served as an additional source of funding for the VNQDD. However, French intelligence officers had little trouble infiltrating the gathering and keeping tabs on its goings-on thanks to the restaurant in the hotel where they were staying. The VNQDD tried on many occasions, but were ultimately unable, to build an unified front with Thanh Nien and other groups fighting for independence. Thanh Nien, however, had a head start on VNQDD in organising in schools, enterprises, and local government since it was two years older than VNQDD. This had been accomplished via patience and planning on the part of Thanh Nien. Therefore, the VNQDD focused its efforts on the recruitment of Vietnamese troops and the overthrow of French power by operations in the form of a putsch.

An assassin with ties to the VNQDD was responsible for the death of the French official who was in charge of recruiting coolie labour in the month of February 1929. Almost quickly, French authorities detained a number of hundred VNQDD leaders and put another seventy-eight behind bars. The majority of members of the Central Committee were taken captive, while VNQDD leaders Nguyen Thai Hoc and Nguyen Khac Nhu managed to evade captivity. The surviving leadership, led by Nguyen Thai Hoc, came to the conclusion that a revolt of the populace should take place as soon as feasible. The leadership of the party ignored all of the members’ objections to the proposal and immediately started producing and storing weapons. On February 9, 1930, a mutiny inside the Vietnamese garrison at Yen Bai that had been sponsored by the VNQDD broke out, but it was promptly put down and put out of its misery. Due to a lack of planning and coordination, simultaneous strikes on other important targets, such as Son Tay and Lam Thu, were similarly failed. The insurrection in Yen Bai proved to be a catastrophe for the VNQDD. The majority of the organization’s most senior officials were put to death, and the French also bombarded and shelled the towns and communities that had provided sanctuary to the party. After the battle of Yen Bai, the prominence of the VNQDD in the anticolonial resistance began to decline. Although more modernist and less bound by tradition than the scholar-patriots of the Phan Boi Chau era, the VNQDD had remained a movement of urban intellectuals who were unable to involve the masses in their struggle and who frequently favoured reckless exploits over slow and careful planning. As a result, the VNQDD failed to achieve their goals.

A section of Thanh Nien radicals that had broken away from the main group hosted the foundation congress of the first Indochinese Communist Party (ICP—Dang Cong San Dong Duong) in Hanoi on June 17, 1929. Almost immediately, the political party started publishing a number of magazines and sent delegates to various regions of the nation with the intention of establishing local chapters. It was around this time that a string of strikes that were encouraged by the party got underway. As a result of the success of these strikes, the first National Congress of Red Trade Unions was held in Hanoi the month after they began. At this time, other communist parties were established by both supporters of Thanh Nien and radical members of yet another party revolutionary with Marxist roots but no direct ties to the Comintern. This party was known as the New Revolutionary Party or the Tan Viet Party. These individuals established these communist parties. At the beginning of the year 1930, there were three communist groups in French Indochina that were vying with one another for members. After the founding of the ICP, the remaining members of Thanh Nien decided to transform the Communist Youth Leaque into a communist party called the Annam Communist Party (ACP, Annam Cong San Dang), and members of Tan Viet Party did the same, renaming their organisation the Indochinese Communist League. This was done in response to the establishment of the ICP (Dong Duong Cong San Lien Doan). As a direct consequence of this, the Comintern came out with a scathing critique of the factional fighting that was occurring inside the Vietnamese revolutionary movement and strongly encouraged the Vietnamese people to come together and create a single communist party. As a consequence of this, the leadership of the Comintern contacted Ho Chi Minh, who was residing in Siam at the time, and requested that he go to Hong Kong in order to bring the various organisations together. On February 3, 1930, in Hong Kong, Ho presided over a conference of representatives of the two factions derived from Thanh Nien. Members of the Indochinese Communist League were not represented at the conference, but they were to be permitted membership in the newly formed party as individuals. At this conference, a unified Vietnamese Communist Party (VCP) was founded, and it was known as the Viet Nam Cong San Dang. The name was changed to the Indochinese Communist Party during the first Party Plenum later that year at the request of the Comintern. This reclaimed the name of the original party of that title that was created in 1929. During the initial meeting, it was decided that a provisional Central Committee consisting of nine members should be formed, three of whom should be from Bac Bo, two from Trung Bo, two from Nam Bo, and two from the overseas Chinese community. Additionally, it was decided that recognition from the Comintern should be sought. Under the auspices of the new party, a wide variety of mass groups, such as labour unions, a peasants’ association, a women’s association, a relief society, and a youth league, were planned to be established. Ho was in charge of developing a plan outlining the party’s goals, which was ultimately accepted by the conference. The main points included the overthrow of the French, the establishment of Vietnamese independence, the establishment of a government composed of workers, peasants, and soldiers, the organisation of a workers’ militia, the cancellation of public debts, the confiscation of means of production and their transfer to the proletarian government, the distribution of French-owned lands to the peasants, the suppression of taxes, the establishment of an eight-hour work day, the development of crafts and agriculture, and the establishment of an institution for

The establishment of the ICP took place at a period of widespread instability throughout the nation, which was in part brought on by a general deterioration in economic circumstances across the world. Despite the fact that the number of the Vietnamese urban proletariat had expanded four times, to around 200,000, since the turn of the century, working conditions and incomes had not much improved. From seven in 1927 to ninety-eight in 1930, the number of strikes dramatically increased. French investors started pulling their money out of Vietnam as soon as it became clear that the global economic crisis would have a significant impact on the country. The decline in employment was around 33 percent, while salaries fell by 30 to 50 percent. Rice’s price fell by more than half on the global market between 1928 and 1932, when it was measured in 1932 dollars. The entire amount of rice exported, approximately 2 million tonnes in 1928, dropped to less than 1 million tonnes in 1931. Although wealthy Vietnamese landowners and French colonists were both affected by the crisis, the peasant was the one who bore the majority of the burden. This was due to the fact that he was required to sell at least twice as much rice in order to make up for the same amount owed in taxes or other debts. The countryside was ravaged by floods, starvation, and rioting caused by a lack of food. By 1930, the price of rubber had dropped to a level that was less than one-fourth of what it had been in 1928. The output of coal was reduced, which resulted in more job cuts. Even the administration of the colony was forced to reduce its workforce by one-seventh and its wages by one-quarter.

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