Nationalism in Vietnam0001 - from I4 New Wafer1 is.55...

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Unformatted text preview: from , I4 New Wafer—‘1. is»? .55, A (20:0) 272 A NEW HISTORY OF SOUTHEAST ASIA REFORM, NEW IDEAS AND THE 19305 CRISIS (c.1900—1942) 273 the British. But pre—emptive police arrests and deportation of MCP lead ’ consistently undermined the effectiveness of the movement. While its OV whelmingly Chinese membership limited its attraction to the other e 9.- groups, its emphasis on a violent anti—colonial struggle also diminished appeal to the largely conservative Chinese community. Nevertheless, the remained a long—term threat to the British. ,g‘ The Indian community, unlike the Chinese, was more politically quiescent .‘ there were few issues that inspired them until the mid—I930s when their poli " consciousness was slowly awakened by the gathering momentum of the na alist struggle in India, which was spearheaded by the Congress Party led by le ers like Mohandas Gandhi and Jawaharlal Nehru. More conscious of their 8 and the discriminatory British policy of favoring the Malays in government and in education, the Central Indian Association of Malaya (CIAM) was fo in 1936 and registered in 1937 with the object of safeguarding the political ' . ests of Indians in Malaya. Indian political consciousness was further stimulate i, J visits of prominent Indian nationalists. Nehru, President of the Indian Con Party, came to Malaya in 1937, following which a more militant phase beg local Indian nationalism. As a result of an appeal by the CIAM, the In 3 government banned the migration of assisted laborers from India to Mala June 1938. In 1939, the CIAM started to champion the cause of Indian 1 ers for wage parity with Chinese plantation workers. Finally, a series of s ' the Klang rubber estates in May 1941, although quickly suppressed by vigs police action, provided the occasion for a further resurgence of Indian nan ism, as laborers flew Congress flags and started to wear Gandhi caps. I On the eve of the Japanese invasion of Malaya, however, no Malay “ nationalist movement transcending ethnic, political, and economic diff had yet emerged to challenge British rule. Nor was there any common standing of what would constitute a ‘Malayan nation’. It would take th pation by Japan to push latent divisions and tensions to the surface and r ‘ transform the nationalist agenda in its aftermath. Phan Boi Chau came to oppose the colonial regime and called for its over— throw, but his idea of what should replace it changed dramatically over his life- timC- In the first years of the twentieth century he remained a monarchist part of a group of Vietnamese who looked to Meiji Japan for inspiration. He had links to Cuong De, a prince descended from Gia Long’s oldest son rather than from the line of Minh Mang, the second son (to which all subsequent Nguyen rulers belonged), whom Phan hoped eventually to enthrone in place of the reigning branch of the family. Japan initially welcomed Vietnamese nationalists but subsequently turned against them when it decided to court the favor of colonial powers. Phan Boi Chau then became a republican and enthused over the revolutionary movement of Sun Yat-Sen in China. When contacts with Sun :and his organization proved disappointing, Phan turned to more radical terror— j‘jsm, killing a prominent Vietnamese collaborator and setting off a bomb in Hanoi which killed two French officers. He fled to China, where he was garrested by the French in 1925 and sent back to Indochina. He was sentenced to life imprisonment, but ended up spending the rest of his life under a kind of ‘oose house arrest in Hue. . Phan Chu Trinh believed that Vietnam’s problems were due not so much to Wrench rule as to the corruption of the traditional government itself. He cepted the French presence on the grounds that the colonial regime alone the ability to sweep away the monarchy, mandarinate, and other remnants in a feudal past. With a group of like—minded intellectuals he established the Enort—lived Tonkin Free School (Dong Kink Nglam Thus) in 1907, modeled on “lie educational institution founded by Fukuzawa Yukichi in Japan, to equip 1»qu nationalists with practical knowledge and skills. After an outbreak of gotests against taxes the following year, Phan Chu Trinh was arrested and the '; pol closed. He went to France, where he continued to attack the Vietnamese 1, tlcal system while becoming increasingly cynical about French intentions in 1" country. Finally allowed to return home in 1925, he died of tuberculosis the .0.ng year. His funeral was the occasion for an outpouring of nationalist tunents. 3y the late 1920s, the contribution of men like these to ongoing political Ciopments was largely symbolic, and their generation of classically educated oars had given way to men born under colonial rule and educated in Ch-language schools. These men were culturally and intellectually more tcfmzed and a number of them had studied in France. This common ECO-Vietnamese cultural core did not guarantee agreement on political 1' 8, however, and the nationalists during the 19205 and I930s became 538111eg polarized in terms of their ideology. litibne (end of the spectrum were the conservatives like Nguyen Van Vinh of 1:16 in theprevrous chapter) and Pham Quynh, who were prime exam- ?“ cult: 2railew elite created by colonial rule. They were Francophile in both fiem r i outlook and their political views, sharing a genuine belief that Lauld u e was needed to bring ‘progress’ and ‘modernity’ to Vietnam so that ,, eventually be strong enough to stand on its own. One of their argu— I) ‘ ' . . ‘ > Wthh certainly had some merit, was that if France were made to give up Drematurelv. it would Qimnln rm «Minn»: 1“, “mi.“ Minna: “A--.“ Vietnam: scholar-officials, a new elite and Communism The colonial regime’s decision to preserve the mandarinate along monarchy in Tonkin and Annam and to maintain the traditional ex I, system for several decades meant that these two areas continued to cohorts of scholar—officials educated in the classical manner. Many‘ mandarins produced by this system remained loyal to both their sovere the French, but some began to question the legitimacy of a m ‘protected’ by a foreign power. The two most prominent examples W Boi Chau and Phan Chu Trinh, contemporaries who shared the conVi the existing colonial system was not benefiting Vietnam, but had different ideas on just what should be done. The two men, both with in the world of traditional scholars — notably a preference for writing cal Chinese rather than Romanized Vietnamese — and the other in the colonial society, have come to symbolize an entire generation of Viw nationalism. “" Pham Quynh believed that the monarchy and mandarinate could be ized into an effective government, and he criticized the French for sa the protectorate by failing to give the imperial system its proper role. V” the other hand, shared Phan Chu Trinh’s contempt for the monar. believed that the whole royal government should be done away with, At the other end of the political spectrum were more radical Vietnam. took a stronger anti-colonialist stance, although without bee Communist. Nguyen An Ninh, a journalist trained in law in Paris, re _. Saigon and established a newspaper which was highly critical of the » system. He published it in French, which meant it was subject to less. censorship than newspapers in Vietnamese. In the 19308 Ninh develop to the new Indochinese Communist Party (ICP, discussed below), but join it, operating instead through his own organization. He was finally in 1937 and died in prison. In Tonkin, Nguyen Thai Hoe founded Nam Quoc me Dang (Vietnamese Nationalist Party, VNQDD) i Named and modeled after the Guomindang in China, Hoc’s VNQDD ‘ most successfiil attempt before the ICP to build a movement that went y, . xism, mainly in France or China. With its analysis of political economy, its tandemnation of capitalism and colonialism, and its v181on of world revolution, ,_ arxism appeared to offer both a clear explanation of Vietnam s problems and . eventual solution. One of the earliest ‘converts’ was a young man who had any different names over his lifetime but is known to us as Ho Chi Minh. In 7 e early 1920s he was living in France under the name Nguyen Ai Quoc Ngund the Patriot’). He was in contact With members of the French Soc1alist 7}, ty; when, in 1920, its more radical followers splitoff to form a separate ommunist Party, he joined them. One of the main issues. was prec1sely the nestion of socialism’s stance on colonies, and the Communist faction, follow— ;,g Lenin, took a harder line which appealed to Ho. He spent most of the 9205 in Moscow and then in China, where he was working for the Comintern, ‘ie international Communist movement. His ultimate goal was to bring about Communist—led revolution in his native land. . ’ In 1925 Ho (then living in Canton or Guangzhou), founded a Vietnamese volutionary organization usually known for short as Thanh Nita” (Youth). The '“W organization began to build up networks inside Indochina, but doctrinal Jsputes and personality clashes soon split the movement. By 1930 there were 'veral groups using the ‘Communist’ moniker, but they. were not formally cognized by the Comintern. Ho was tasked by the Comintern leadership in 7‘ oscow with unifying the various factions to form the first offic1al Vietnamese ammunist party. In a February 1930 conference held in Hong Kong, Ho and *e-minded countrymen established the Vietnamese Communist Party. \ithough the name accurately reflected the group’s composition, a few months er Moscow ordered that it be changed to the Indochinese Communist Party, ce the entire colony was meant to become a battleground for the revolution. 7 Even as the ICP was building up its initial infrastructure in the various parts 7‘ the colony, it was confronted with a wave of rural and urban unrest, involv— both peasants and workers at plantations and factories. There were patches ‘i unrest throughout Vietnam, but the main locus of rebellion was in the north— -central provinces of Nghe An and Ha Tinh, and for this reason the main cuts of 1930—31 are usually known as the ‘Nghe—Tinh Soviets’, named for the cal government councils set up during the revolts. Not surprisingly, many of {we key grievances articulated in the protests were economic, particularlytaxes d the monopolies on certain essential products. When village and district W'Vernments fell into rebel hands, the fiscal structures put in place by the colo— ' state were the first things to be destroyed. At the same time, however, the 3 al ‘Soviets’ represented a concerted attempt to implement revolutionary ideas '1 088 the board, including attacks on the less desirable aspects of ‘feudal’ soc1- and culture, such as gambling and the frequenting of temples. ‘ The exact role of the ICP in these events is still being studied by historians. “ Seems fairly clear that the Party did not actually instigate the rebellion and in t SOme leaders were opposed to it on the grounds that conditions were not t ripe. Once the movement had started, however, the Party jumped on board. V ‘S was the most serious and prolonged challenge to French rule since the 31 colonization, and it was only with great difficulty that the regime was able ‘entllally to suppress the rebellion. were rounded up and executed, while those who could fled to China. By the early 19305, it was clear that the colonial regime was there to had no plans to share power within the foreseeable future. Moreover, zero tolerance for dissent or substantive political dialogue —- except du ‘ period 1936—38, when leftist parties were in power in France — me '” moderates were obedient even if disillusioned, while radicals were es forced outside the system. Ninh and Hoc paid the price for their oppos J. did many of their comrades. It became increasingly obvious that concerted revolutionary effort could bring about substantive change, an this realization that led to the rise of the ICP after 1930. During the period between the two world wars, Cochin China saw of two new religious sects which became a permanent presence Vietnamese political stage. The Cao Dai, founded in 1926 by a low- civil servant named Ngo Van Chieu, was a syncretic mixture of the major religions structured along the model of the Catholic Church, ‘Holy See’ at Tay Ninh near the Cambodian border. The Hoa Hao, f0 1939 by a young mystic named Huynh Phu So, was an offshoot of Buei‘ whose roots went back to millenarian traditions from the previous Hao were both fundamentally religious in character and objectives, they if] to develop a significant political role during World War II. V By the late l920s, a number of Vietnamese nationalists had been exp The events of 1930—31 were a milestone in the evolution of Vietn" nationalism. On the one hand, for those who already considered themsel ».; be Communists, the revolt served to confirm that only Marxism and the, 3' ership of the Party could ever hope to liberate the colony from foreign rule; enthusiastic support for the uprising in many different regions provi.» glimpse of what could be achieved through better organization and mor ‘ ough mobilization. On the other hand, for less radical nationalists, the ;. Tinh Soviets invoked the specter of class struggle and wide-scale Violence for the time being at least, confirmed them in their moderate Views of c. rule. . The brutal suppression of these events by the colonial regime pro-g; ammunition for those within the embryonic ICP leadership — sca p throughout Indochina and southern China — who had not been in favor movement. One of the Victims of the political infighting was Ho Chi it; himself, and his political star dimmed for several years thereafter as rivals w... the Party who were more highly favored in Moscow were able to assert Co , Ho was arrested in Hong Kong in 1931 and detained there for two years; which he returned to the USSR. He did not return to China until 1938,; he began the next phase of his revolutionary career, leading to the esta ment of the Viet Minh united front which eventually brought down the F‘ The 19303 were very much a period of ups and downs for the ICP. ‘ initial flush of success in 1930—31 and the consequent suppression of the it ment and the arrest of many leaders, the Party was relatively quiescui'“ several years. The Popular Front government in France directly benefi 1' Party, as leftist elements gained more breathing space and were even outbreak of the European war in 1939 brought an abrupt crackdown, «1‘ that time the ICP had sufficiently recovered and expanded to be ready if anti-colonial initiatives. ' ' During this time the ICP did its best to live up to its name and be? genuinely Indochinese party. It established small cells in Cambodia an 3: particularly among workers on rubber plantations (in the former) and . mines (in the latter). At this time, however, these ICP cells were alIn-‘vil percent Vietnamese, since the majority of the workers in Cambodia . were immigrants. The ICP also had a presence among Vietnamese c0 ii ties in northeastern Siam, where the government kept a wary eye but exa a certain amount of tolerance as long as Party activities targeted 3 Indochina rather than Siam itself. ' ...
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  • Summer '14
  • DavidStevenson
  • Ho Chi Minh, Indochinese Communist Party, colonial regime, Phan Boi Chau, Phan Chu Trinh

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