In Vo Nguyen Giap’s People’s War, People’s Army, the Commander-in-Chief of the Viet Nam People’s Army during the Viet Nam War outlined the liberation war waged by the Vietnamese against the combined imperialist aggression of France and the United States. The document is very interesting since it also tackles how the Viet Nam Worker’s Party’s socio-economic programme translated to its military strategy against two of the world’s most powerful powers.
With regards to the connection between the Party’s program for agrarian reform and strategy:
The raising and defence of production, and the development of agriculture, were problems of great importance for supplying the front as well as for the progressive improvement of the people’s living conditions. The question of manufacturing arms was not one which could be set aside.
In the building of rural bases and the reinforcement of the rear lines for giving an impulse to the resistance, the agrarian policy of the Party played a determining role. Therein lay the anti-feudal task of the revolution. In a colony where the national question is essentially the peasant question, the consolidation of the resistance forces was possible only by a solution to the agrarian problem.
For the Viet Nam Worker’s Party, the agrarian and anti-feudal task of the revolution is not only a minor aspect, but one of the primary parts of their struggle against the French and the American invaders. Through agrarian reform, they are able to consolidate and expand their forces. Unlike the Americans who forced their young people to draft themselves in the Army, the Vietnamese saw the political and economic significance of joining the struggle against the imperialists.
This leads me to that weird thing called Oplan Bayanihan by the Armed Forces of the Philippines. They conduct medical missions, feeding programs and other community events in far-flung areas in order to improve their image among the people. However, this is all a show since the military and the government do not address one of the most pressing problems in the Philippine countryside, which is land reform. No matter how creative the AFP will get in masking their military operations, they will find it difficult to eliminate the New People’s Army if the NPA are the ones who are doing the land reform for them. Even the US cannot defeat the Vietnamese people, who were empowered by unity and the realization that they can liberate themselves; what more for the AFP with their guns underfunded by corruption, their soldiers driven by dreams of personal economic stability, who find it more and more difficult to fight for a country starving them?
Read Giap’s People’s War, People’s Army here.