Ho Chi Minh calls for Vietnamese unity (1930)

On February 18th 1930, Ho Chi Minh – speaking on the formation of the Indochinese Communist Party – issued the following statement, a call for unity by Vietnamese against French colonialists:

“Workers, peasants, soldiers, youth and pupils! Oppressed and exploited compatriots! Sisters and brothers! Comrades!

Imperialist contradictions were the cause of the 1914-18 World War. After this horrible slaughter, the world was divided into two camps: One is the revolutionary camp including the oppressed colonies and the exploited working classes throughout the world. The vanguard force of this camp is the Soviet Union. The other is the counter-revolutionary camp of international capitalism and imperialism whose general staff is the League of Nations.

During this World War, various nations suffered untold losses in property and human lives. The French imperialists were the hardest hit. Therefore, in order to restore the capitalist forces in France, the French imperialists have resorted to every underhanded scheme to intensify their capitalist exploitation in Indochina. They set up new factories to exploit the workers with low wages. They plundered the peasants’ land to establish plantations and drive them to utter poverty. They levied many heavy taxes. They imposed public loans upon our people.

In short, they reduced us to wretchedness. They increased their military forces, firstly to strangle the Vietnamese revolution, secondly to prepare for a new imperialist war in the Pacific aimed at capturing new colonies, thirdly to suppress the Chinese revolution, fourthly to attack the Soviet Union because the latter helps the revolution of the oppressed nations and the exploited working classes.

World War II will break out. When it does, the French imperialists will certainly drive our people to a more horrible slaughter. If we give them a free hand to prepare for this war and suppress the Chinese revolution, it is tantamount to giving them a free hand to wipe our race off the earth and drown our nation in the Pacific.

However, the French imperialists’ barbarous oppression and ruthless exploitation have awakened our compatriots who have all realised that revolution is the only road to life; without it they will die out piecemeal. This is the reason why the Vietnamese revolutionary movement has grown ever stronger with each passing day. The workers refuse to work, the peasants demand land, the pupils strike, the traders boycott. Everywhere the masses have risen to oppose the French imperialists.

The Vietnamese revolution has made the French imperialists tremble with fear. On the one hand, they utilise the feudalists and collaborating bourgeois in our country to oppress and exploit our people. On the other, they terrorise, arrest, gaol, deport and kill a great number of Vietnamese revolutionaries. If the French imperialists think they can suppress the Vietnamese revolution by means of terrorist acts, they are utterly mistaken. Firstly, it is because the Vietnamese revolution is not isolated but enjoys the assistance of the world proletarian classes in general and of the French working classes in particular. Secondly, while the French imperialists are methodically carrying out their terrorist acts, the Vietnamese Communists, formerly working separately, have now united into a single party, the Communist Party of Indochina, to lead our entire people in their revolution.

Workers, peasants, soldiers, youth, pupils! Oppressed and exploited compatriots! The Communist Party of Indochina is founded. It is the Party of the working class. It will help the proletarian class to lead the revolution in order to struggle for all the oppressed and exploited people. From now on we must join the Party, help it and follow it in order to implement the following slogans:

1. To overthrow French imperialism, feudalism and the collaborating Vietnamese capitalist classes.

2. To make Indochina completely independent.

3. To establish a worker-peasant and soldier government.

4. To confiscate the funds of the banks and other enterprises belonging to the imperialists and put them under the control of the worker-peasant and soldier government.

5. To confiscate all of the plantations and property belonging to the imperialists and the Vietnamese collaborators and distribute them to poor peasants.

6. To implement the eight-hour working day.

7. To abolish government monopolies in alcohol, salt and opium. To cancel unjust taxes hitting the poor people.

8. To bring back all freedoms to the masses.

9. To carry out universal education.

10. To implement equality between man and woman.”