Pol Pot (in Chinese Sources): How It All Went Wrong

0000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000

Pol Pot (1925-1998)

It is a simple and obvious fact that the greed for profit (i.e. predatory capitalism), kills people every single day, and in many different ways. Its victims are uncountable, and the manner of their deaths varies greatly from starvation, thirst, war, disease, injury, sexual exploitation, child abuse, homelessness, violence, poor education, misogyny, racism, homophobia, ageism, psychological programming (and brain-washing), physical exploitation and general medical neglect, to mention just some methods that the division of labour generates. However, as the capitalists benefit from this method of economic organisation, these deaths are portrayed as being the result of the individual (or group) concerned, and not the fault of the capitalist system. Those that die from the deliberate excesses of the capitalist system are deemed to have done something wrong, or otherwise be ‘deficient’ in some fundamental manner. It is this mythical ‘deviation’ from the expected norms of capitalism that is blamed for the deaths, and never capitalism itself. As a result, those that control the capitalist system sleep soundly in their beds at night, and keep a ruthless control of the very system that oppresses the majority entirely for the material benefit of the few. Although the ongoing death-toll is probably in the hundreds of millions, capitalists never acknowledge the true extent of their crimes. What capitalists do, however. is continuously attack any attempt at evolving the capitalist system into a Socialist or Communist system. It does this by ‘projecting’ the hideous nature of its own crimes upon any attempt to reform society and curb the excesses perpetuated by capitalism. In other words, this inverted mind-set (as Marx called it), is projected outward and used to demonise any attempt at building Socialism and Communism. Indeed, this rhetorical approach has been the basis for the entire US-led Cold War era since 1945, with the Soviet Union being equated with the Nazi German enemy it confronted and destroyed (at a terrible cost), and Communist China viewed as being ‘racially’ inferior and its Socialist system the product of a devious Asian mind. As a consequence, as basic academic research confirms, the Cold War lies told by the West amount to nothing more than the capitalist system protecting itself from its own demise via an evolutionary phase of Socialistic development. The price for this accomplished state of capitalist arrested development, is that of historical truth. Although this can be remedied over-time, it is a fact that requires acknowledgement as a crucial first stage to dialectical recuperation.

Working from Russian and Chinese language sources, I have discovered over and over again how the US lied continuously about the USSR and Communist China, accusing each expression of Socialism as being murderous, unnatural and against the apparent ‘natural’ human compulsion for greedy accumulation. As a matter of dialectical consistency, I have pondered the enigma of ‘Pol Pot’ (波尔布特 – Bo Er Bu Te), for sometime. My initial thoughts were that his Khmer Rouge (i.e. Communist Party of Cambodia) was somehow caught-up in this Western misrepresentation of all Socialistic Revolutions, happenings and events. My general rule of thumb is not to trust mainstream English language sources, as these are the very conveyors of the dialectical ‘non-truth’ that I am attempting to deconstruct. As Pol Pot was an ally of Communist China, I decided to focus my efforts upon Mainland Chinese academic sources, and to avoid the US-friendly Taiwanese equivalents. (For my article on Pol Pot derived from from Russian sources, please see: Pol Pot (in Russian sources) An Assessment of Conditioned Events). Much to my initial surprise, I discovered that ‘official’ and ‘unofficial’ Mainland Chinese language sources all conveyed the general history of the political development of the individual known as ‘Pol Pot’ (formerly known as ‘Saloth Sar), all agreeing that despite his genuine motivation for Revolution, and close association with Communist China (including Mao Zedong), he committed immense crimes against the Cambodian people in a very short space of time (coming to power in 1975 and being ousted in 1979). The irony is that Pol Pot was born into an affluent peasant family (in 1925) in Cambodia, and as he grew-up, he was known to be a very quiet, kind and courteous person. The exact date of his birth is unknown, but of all his brothers, he is known to have been the smallest. He had two wives, with the first being a well-known intellectual in Cambodia, with his second wife giving birth to his two daughters. One of his brothers once stated that as a child, Pol Pot disagreed with hurting animals, and would hide when it was time to kill chickens for food. In accordance with the Cambodian tradition of all male children serving in a Buddhist temple in their youth, Pol Pot became a ‘temple servant’ at the age of 6 years old, where he was taught to read and write the Cambodian language at the Lotus Temple (莲花寺 – Lian Hua Si) situated in Phnom Penh. He continued his education after returning to lay-life at the age of 12 years, and finally graduated in 1949 from the only technical college in Cambodia. As he was a gifted scholar, he earned a scholarship to study in Paris, France – the Western imperialist power that controlled Cambodia in those days.

It was in Paris that he first encountered the ideology of Marxist-Leninism, and became interested in Revolutionary activities. Pol Pot and other Cambodian students in Paris, actively joined the Communist Party of France, and founded the ‘Cambodian Marxist Study Group’. Not long after this, Pol Pot visited Yugoslavia, and this was the first time he saw a Socialist country in operation. In 1952, Pol Pot returned to Cambodia with many other Cambodian students determined to free their country from colonial French rule. The first problem was that the only Revolutionary organisation was Vietnamese in origin, even thought it was known as the ‘Khmer Liberation Movement’. Pol Pot joined this organisation in 1953 as a short-term solution – stating that the Vietnamese were in many ways just as despotic as the French. However, following the French withdrawal from the area in 1954, the Geneva Peace Agreement ensured that the Vietnamese also withdrew from Cambodia – handing-over control of the ‘Khmer Liberation Movement’ to the Cambodian people. Throughout the remainder of the 1950’s, Pol Pot (and others) gradually worked toward the founding of their own Communist Party. This was achieved during March, 1960, when in a deserted railway carriage, the ‘Khmer Workers Party’ was formally initiated, and its first congress held. In 1962, following the death of the then General Secretary, Pol Pot was elected into that post, and under his leadership, the ‘Khmer Workers Party’ changed its name in 1966 to that of the ‘Communist Party of Cambodia’.  Although Pol Pot had worked as a teacher in the city, following Sihanouk declaring the Khmer Rouge an illegal organization in 1963, Pol Pot (and others) had relocated into the jungle areas to carry-out their further training, and illicit Revolutionary activities. After 1965, Pol Pot collaborated with the Vietnamese anti-US war, with Cambodia and Laos unofficially allowing personnel, supplies and weapons to travel through their respective territories. As a consequence, Pol Pot at the time, became a very popular Revolutionary in China, Vietnam, Laos, and his native Cambodia. When visiting China and Vietnam, Pol Pot was treated with great respect. This popularity explains why he remained the General Secretary of the Communist Party of Cambodia from 1963 to 1979.

As his dialectical understanding developed and matured, Pol Pot began to change his view regarding local ethnic tensions, and adopted a much more ‘internationalist’ position with regard to China and Vietnam, and even played a part in US negotiations in China (during 1970), when America was searching for a way-out of the Vietnam War. In 1967, initiated by a ruthless rice tax upon the poor peasants of Cambodia, the Communist Party of Cambodia led an uprising (with Pol Pot leading much of the fighting), that secured a partial success, but stopped short of winning complete political power in the country.  In March, 1970, all this changed when Prince Sihanouk visited the USSR, and during his absence, a coup occurred involving a US-backed rightwing military group which took power, immediately establishing the ‘Republic of Cambodia’ and announcing an instant co-operation with any and all US military action (including the bombing of Eastern Cambodia section of the ‘Ho Chi Minh’ trail by B-52’s). This destructive action coincided with US Advisers building a ‘new’ rightwing military in the country, which was used to attack and kill ordinary Cambodian people that had any leftwing affiliations. This bombing campaign lasted until 1973, when the US Congress called a halt to the destruction on the grounds that it was ‘illegal’. In the meantime, Prince Sihanouk joined forces with Pol Pot, combining royalist and communist forces in a common effort against US imperialism in Cambodia. This time saw numerous Khmer Rouge bases being developed all over Cambodia, with various Khmer Rouge military units seeing action in South Vietnam (fighting for Ho Chi Minh against the Americans). As time progressed, the popular Khmer Rouge were able to join-up their bases, and expand political power throughout Cambodia. These events demonstrate the ‘popular’ nature of the Khmer Rouge movement and how it was generally supported throughout Cambodia, leading up to its seizure of power in the country (contrary to Eurocentric accounts that suggest the opposite). In fact, the Khmer Rouge could not have come to power without a wide-spread popular base amongst the ordinary people. The Khmer Rouge swept to power in 1975, with the collapse of US influence in the region (following the US military defeat in South Vietnam).

With the Khmer Rouge victory, Pol Pot sought to create a classless society with no distinction between the urban and the rural. This meant the abolition of all bourgeois cultural influences, as well as the eradication of money. Pol Pot stated that as Cambodia was backward and feudalistic, its population had to undergo a radical (and sudden) ‘re-education’ process. This involved the emptying of all cities and towns, and the people driven into the countryside to form collective communities dependent upon agriculture. This put an end to what Pol Pot stated were ‘leisure meals’ eaten in the cities, where the rich lived on an ample food supply they purchased, but did not themselves, cultivate or harvest. These communes became single sex barracks – where married couples could meet once a week – providing they had attained prior permission. Around 80% of the population was driven into the countryside (with all schools and temples closed), where Pol Pot started the process separating the trusted from the collaborators. After this, Pol Pot began a campaign of execution where Chinese sources speak of around one-third of the Cambodian population being killed (a number believed to be over two million men, women and children). It is generally stated that Pol Pot decided that any and all bourgeois ideas could not be ‘re-educated’ out of the individual, and that it was more efficient to simply ‘kill the body’ to end a certain type of thought. Whether this is true or not is open to debate, as this fascist policy does not exist in any form within Scientific Socialism, and was either an aberrant creation by Pol Pot himself, or a Eurocentric fabrication (in fact, some sources suggest that a great many deaths under Pol Pot were the result of famine and a failed agricultural policy). However, the narrative that Pol Pot committed mass murder states that he ordered the deaths of all dissidents, monks, ethnic minorities and class enemies, and had their bodies dumped in large open fields for all to see. As Pol Pot seems to have reverted to his old ethnic prejudices against the Vietnamese – he particularly targeted this group of people. In 1978, this led to the Vietnamese ‘Communist’ Army invading Cambodia and destroying the Khmer Rouge regime – forcing Pol Pot and his supporters to flee into the jungle – where he lived in virtual internal exile until his death in 1998. The People’s Republic of China, from at least 1981 onwards (with the establishment of the People’s Republic of Kampuchea by the occupying Vietnamese forces), re-considered its position on Pol Pot, and worked with the ‘new’ Cambodian government (which was essentially Khmer Rouge dissidents that had fallen out of favour with Pol Pot), in an attempt to pacify the remaining Khmer Rouge, and persuade Pol Pot to agree to voluntary house arrest. Although the Vietnamese destroyed Pol Pot’s original regime in 1978, the reality is that factions of the Khmer Rouge continued to run Cambodia until the restoration of the monarchy in 1993.

Chinese Language References:

https://zh.wikipedia.org/wiki/波尔布特

http://www.baike.com/wiki/%25E6%25B3%25A2%25E5%25B0%2594%25E5%25B8%2583%25E7%2589%25B9

http://blog.sina.com.cn/s/blog_46f0bb70010001rc.html

Leave a comment

1 Comment

  1. Pol Pot (in Russian sources) An Assessment of Conditioned Events | The Sangha Kommune.

Leave a Reply

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: