by Hồ Chí Minh


Stage 4: Organization takes the theoretical foundations from the previous three stages and directs the use of the following concepts toward real-world organization: Organization, Mass Line, Democratic Centralism, and Criticism.

Characteristics of a Revolutionary

A revolutionary must:

Be thrifty and industrious.

Show solidarity, not self-interest.

Learn to correct mistakes.

Take care without being cowardly.

Be inquisitive.

Have patience (and be hard working).

Be interested in research, open to new ideas.

Support common interests, not private ones.

Never seek fame; never be arrogant.

So said, so done.

Keep ideology steady.


Have little interest in material things.

Keep silent when needed.

When dealing with people, one must:

Accept and forgive the errors of others.

Present a serious attitude to the group.

Be willing to share and give advice to people.

Show integrity, not opportunism.

Evaluate people with care.

When working, we should:

Examine the situation carefully.

Be decisive.

Be brave.

Work for the Party.

Chapter 1: Why Write This Book?

a) Why we must make a revolution if we want to live.

b) Why revolution is the common task of our oppressed people, not merely the duty of one or two.

c) How revolutionary history of other nations offers us lessons.

d) How we must bring the world movement to the attention of our people.

e) Who are our friends? Who are our enemies?

f) Our revolutionary strategy.

For more than sixty years, French imperialism had enslaved us; more than twenty million have succumbed to this circle of death. We must speak up, and do it quickly to save the race. There’s no time to be fussy!

After reading this book, you will reflect, wake up, and stand up, uniting to carry out the revolution. Both in a literal and an aspirational sense, this book stresses the one term:

Revolution! Revolution!! REVOLUTION!!!


I. What is a Revolution?

Revolution is the destruction of the old and its replacement with the new, and it is the destruction of the bad, and its replacement with the good. For example, Galileo Galilei (1633) represents the scientific revolution. In the past, everyone thought that the earth was the center of everything; but thanks to the experience of research, Galileo found that the earth goes around the sun.

George Stephenson (1800) represents the mechanical revolution. In the past, people only walked or rode on horses; he invented the steam locomotive.

Charles Darwin (1859) is famous for the revolution in biology. In the old days, no one understood the origins of diverse species; but Darwin investigated evolution as nature’s creativity.

Karl Marx stands for a revolution in economics. He studied capitalism, imperialism, and class struggles, clearly showing their origins, history, current manifestations and future possibilities.

II. How Many Kinds of Revolutions are There?

In the history of political thought, we have identified three kinds of revolution:

Examples of the capitalist revolution are the French revolution in 1789, the American Revolution for independence in 1776 (against the British), and the Japanese revolution in 1864 (the Meiji Restoration of 1868).

Nationalist revolutions include those such as when Italy evicted the powerful Austrian troops in 1859 or when China reclaimed Manchuria in 1911.

A class revolution is, for example, when the Russian workers and peasants evicted their capitalist exploiters and seized power in October 1917.

III. What was the Origin of the Capitalist Revolution?

The landlords were obstructing the bourgeoisie, the bourgeoisie was opposed to the landlords, and the two sides were in conflict, which led to the capitalist revolution.

Never did the two of them fight against each other more intensively or conspicuously than in the American Civil War. From 1861 to 1865, the states in the North (bourgeoisie) sent soldiers to fight against the southern states (landlords, plantation owners) as if they were two hostile countries.

IV. What is the Origin of the National Revolution?

A powerful nation robs a weaker one and rules over its people with force, conquering both economic and political rights. The people of those nations have lost their freedom and independence, all they can produce will be claimed by their oppressors.

The bourgeois capitalist robs all the produce and the right of our people. Where there is an enemy, they force our people into the army to die on their behalf. As in the battle among the European powers in 1914-1918, the French forced us to join their army and then increased taxes and fees on our people. If we fight and win, they enjoy the benefit and authority; if we lose, we lose both our people and our property.

In short, the cruel and powerful enslave others, as France does to the Vietnamese people. When the enslaved masses cannot tolerate this anymore, they are awakened, are unified, and know that they would rather die than live on as slaves. They join forces to chase away their oppressors. This is the national revolution.

V. What is the Origin of the Class Revolution?

In the world, there are two classes:

Consider the Vietnamese workers who work at the Hon Gay coal mine in shifts of eleven hours per day. They work every day from the beginning to the end of the year and are paid only three cents a day. Three cents a day is not enough to pay for their food; it is not enough to clothe themselves; it will not pay for medicine when they are sick, and it is not even enough to buy a coffin when they die.

Whereas the owner of the mine never dirties his hands in work, enjoys sumptuous meals, travels to-and-fro conveniently, and takes a profit of millions per year (in 1925, it was 17 million VND). So, let’s ask who produces this 17 million VND, the mine owner or the mine workers? Peasants do not even own their ploughs, but the private plantations occupy all 122,000 acres of arable land in Central Việt Nam and 150,000 acres in the South.

In places where our people did not have enough to eat and sometimes were starving, the private landlords sold rice at profits of nearly 1 billion quan (French francs) per year (in 1925, they sold 911,477,000 quan worth of rice).

It’s like this in our country; the same goes for other countries. Workers and peasants cannot stand it anymore. We must unite together to drive away the capitalists, as happened in Russia; that is the class revolution. In short, the oppressed class makes a revolution to overthrow the oppressor class.

VI. How Many Stages Does the Revolution Have?

The revolution is divided into two stages:

The two paths of revolution are different because the national revolution does not involve discriminating among classes, which means that scholars, peasants, workers, and merchants are unified to fight against the foreign invaders. As for the class or world revolution, the proletariat marches in the front ranks. But the two kinds of revolution are closely related to each other. For example, if the Vietnamese people succeed in revolution, then the French capital is weakened, and weakened French capitalism will make it is easier for French workers and peasants to carry out their revolution. And if French workers and peasants succeed, then the Vietnamese people will more readily win their freedom.

The Vietnamese revolution and French revolution must rely upon each other.

VII. Who are the Revolutionaries?

Because revolution is born of oppression, whoever is most severely oppressed will be more resolute. Previously, the bourgeoisie was oppressed under feudalism, so they had their revolution. Now, capitalism is oppressing the workers and farmers in turn, so the workers and farmers are the leading force of the revolution.

VIII. Is the Revolution Difficult or Easy?

It is very difficult to reform an old society that has existed for thousands of years. But knowing how to do it, knowing how to work together can make it possible, and then it is not difficult. Being easy or difficult all depends upon each individual, and the very determined will make it for certain. But those who want to make a revolution must know how.

IX. What are the Priorities of a Revolution?

First of all, we must have a revolutionary party responsible for mobilizing our people at home and making contact with oppressed nations and proletarians abroad. Our revolution will owe its victory to a strong Party, just as a boat relies upon a captain. If the Party wants to be steady, there must be unity; every member of the Party must understand; every member must follow Marxist theory. Without ideology, the Party would be like a man without wisdom, a boat without a compass.

At present, there are many doctrines and theories, but Leninism is the most genuine, firmest, and most revolutionary.

Chapter 2: History of the American Revolution

I. What is America’s History?

Before the 14th century, America was unknown to the rest of the world. In 1492, a merchant named Christopher Columbus wanted to sail to India but got lost and was lucky to meet the [Native] Americans. The people of that land were “Redskins”, and they preferred to hunt rather than settle and trade.

Ever since Columbus found America, people from other European countries came over to settle. White people wanted to enslave the Redskins, but they refused to submit, so Whites killed them, and then they took the Blacks of Africa to America to work for them.

Many Europeans came to the United States, but the largest was the British (3,000,000) people. So, Britain conquered America as a colony.

II. Why was There an American Revolution?

America is very rich in agricultural land, iron, coal, cotton, rice, cattle, and other resources. The English secretly wanted it all for themselves, so they promulgated the following three rules:

These three laws, which also added heavy taxes and duties, depressed the American economy; the laws angered the Americans; so they decided to “boycott” the English in 1770.

III. How was the Movement?

The boycott movement against the English government lasted for five years. The English brought soldiers to suppress the uprising and arrest its leaders for their “crimes”. Every time the English imposed one of their appointees, the people became angrier. In 1775, when the English army imposed a number of their officials upon the Americans as well, the people pulled together to fight, and when the English army killed nine people, it was like a flame falling into gunpowder. The people were so angry that, live or die, they were determined to get rid of the English government. A year later, on 4 July 1776, the revolution took place, and America declared its independence and became a republic. Now, the United States has 48 states and 110 million people.

IV. What is the Significance of the American Revolution for the Vietnamese Revolution?

We would lay down our lives for the revolution, but to make a complete or world revolution, we must work in such a way as to deliver rights for all the people rather than for a few. Only after many sacrifices could our people have a happy outcome.

Chapter 3: The Bourgeois Revolution in France

I. Why Was There a Revolution in France?

In the 18th century, the King was arrogant and lustful; the aristocracy and the missionaries were manipulating everyone everywhere; the tax burden upon the people was very heavy, and the people were miserable.

Canada and India, originally French colonies, were now lost to the British.

Moreover, some scholars such as Montesquieu, Voltaire, and Rousseau propagated liberalism.

In addition, there was the British revolutionary movement (Cromwell executed the British king and establish a Republican Government in 1653), and there was the recent American democratic revolution (1776) as examples.

Especially because the new capitalists were blocked by feudalism, the people were oppressed by the king, aristocracy, and missionaries. So, the new capitalists allied with students, farmers, and workers to abolish feudalism.

II. When Did the French Revolution Start?

The King saw that the people were agitated, so they arrested those who were propagandizing and organizing. The people were very angry, and on 14 July 1789, they came together to riot and rescue prisoners from the Bastille. The King ordered soldiers to defend the capital; the people organized revolutionary forces to resist and fight the King, who then retreated to the Palace of Versailles.

On 5 October that year, the workers of Paris came to Versailles to arrest the King and demanded that he sign a declaration to:

In 1792, because the King sought support abroad and was in collusion with the counter-revolutionaries, the people dismissed the King and formed a republic.

On 21 January 1793, the King, his wife, and children were sentenced as traitors to their country and were beheaded.

III. How Do European Countries Approach the French Revolution?

People of all countries were happy to applaud and approve. But the ruling aristocracies of the other nations were in fear of their own people imitating the French masses, so outside France, they allied against the revolution, and within France, they supported the counter-revolutionaries.

Although the French people had little food and few guns, thanks to their bravery and cleansing violence, they broke the aristocracy and the foreign powers. At that time, the revolutionary soldiers were called “soldiers without trousers”. Without a hat, without a shoe, a torn shirt, a thin and starving face,[1] but wherever these soldiers advanced, the foreign-backed forces fell away, unwilling to risk their lives.

This shows that a person without fear in their mind is worth more than a thousand people who are dispirited.

IV. How Many Revolutions Has France Carried Out?

From 1792 to 1804 was the 1st Republic. In 1804, Napoleon moved against the revolution to become emperor.

In 1814, the allied nations defeated Napoleon and restored the old king to the throne until 1848.

In 1848, there was the 2nd revolution.

In 1852, Napoleon’s nephew rebelled against the revolution and declared himself Emperor.

In 1870, after their defeat by Germany, Napoleon III fled, and France established the 3rd Republic.

V. What Is the Paris Commune (Commune De Paris)?

In 1871, the French king was defeated and fled as the Germans surrounded the French capital, Paris. French capitalists offered two provinces to Germany for peace. The war caused many deaths, much damage, and huge losses. People had no food to eat, and the workers had no work. On 18 March, the Parisian workers rose up in a communist revolution (The Commune).

Because the workers were still inexperienced, they were not well-organized, and because Germany helped the French capitalists to fight against the workers, by the end of May, the revolution had been defeated.

VI. What Was the Purpose of the Commune?

As soon as Paris was theirs, the Commune declared a People’s Government and declared that the commune would practice these things:

VII. What Was the Outcome of the Commune?

French capitalism, at that time, was like a house burning on two sides (caught in a pincer maneuver). On one side, the Germans were forcing its surrender, and on the other side, it faced revolution. The French capitalists chose humiliation with Germany rather than any reconciliation with their fate. The Germans were also afraid of revolution, so they tried their best to help the French capitalists put down the revolution. When France had surrendered, Germany had already captured all its soldiers, leaving only 40,000 police. When the revolution began, Germany allowed French capitalists an additional 100,000 soldiers with the aim of eradicating the revolution.

So, we must understand that Capitalism has no homeland.

After wiping out the revolution, the capitalists took revenge. They killed 30,000 people, men, women, the elderly, and children. They deported 28,000 people. They arrested 650 children, 850 women, and 37,000 men.

VIII. How is the French Revolution Meaningful for the Vietnamese Revolution?

IX. What are Examples of What the French Revolution Teaches Us?

The French revolution teaches us that:

[1] Farmers and craftsmen who were not equipped with uniforms like those of the aristocracy’s army.

Chapter 4: The History of the Russian Revolution

I. What are the Origins of the Russian Revolution?

Russia is a very large country whose territory is half in Asia and half in Europe. More than 90% of Russians are peasants, less than 10% are working men. Previously, Russia was ruled under the serf system, which means all land and the peasants were under the control of the landlords. The landlord regarded the serf as an animal; whether to live or die are all under his control and whim. When they needed money, they took peasant slaves as if they were animals for sale. Peasants could not leave on region for another.

It was only in the second half of the 19th century that capitalism flourished in Russia; when they opened many factories and needed workers, they campaigned to abandon serfdom so that the peasants could work for them. In 1861, serfdom was abolished.

The bourgeois capitalists and feudal landlords bear a grudge against each other, and the workers and farmers’ revolution also emerges from this contradiction

II. What Did the Serfs Do After Their Liberation?

Being free, some of them went to the city to work, and some stayed to work in the fields.

Working long hours for what little wages they could earn, they were now slaves to the capitalists. If they stayed in the countryside, there was little land, the cattle were in short supply, and moreover, they had inferior resources compared to the wealthy landlords. Though people were nominally free, in fact, they have been enslaved: workers were miserable, peasants had never known better.

Those with a revolutionary outlook set up a party to unite the peasants but didn’t pay attention to the workers.

In 1875, there was a revolutionary party called the “Narodniks”. In 1878, there was a new party called the “Russian Workers Union”.

But those two parties, with very few members, were persecuted, and their members were arrested by the Government. Later they turned into a terrorist party, focused only on assassinating the king and the officials.

III. What Was the Result of the Two Parties?

Assassination is risky, and the results are not long-lasting as there will always be another boss to replace the one who is killed. Revolution means uniting the oppressed masses and demolishing the entire oppressive class, not just the assassination of a few kings or government officials by a handful of people. Although the two parties sacrificed many people and assassinated important people from the ruling class, because they did not have revolutionary mass base, they were hounded by the Government until they were wiped out.

In 1883, Georgi Plekhanov established the Emancipation Labor Group.[1] This party was organized to popularize the theory of Karl Marx and to unite the peasantry and the workers in the practice and politics of revolution.

IV. How Does the Party Make a Revolution?

This party considered workers to be the base of the revolution, with the assistance of the peasantry.

They worked very secretly.

In Russia, there were too many spies, so the Party agency had to set themselves up abroad (in London).

In 1894, Lenin joined the Party.

In 1898, the Party held a Congress inside Russia; unfortunately, the Government discovered this and arrested many party members. Despite these arrests, the Party’s declaration was spread throughout the nation, so that the revolutionary movement was increasing every day. Those who had not been arrested were extremely secretive in their efforts at propaganda and organization.

Not long after that, the party’s name was changed to the Social Democratic Party, which later changed its name to The Communist Party.

Between 1904-1905, Russia and Japan were at war. Taking advantage of the people’s agitation, the Party made its best effort to mobilize for revolution.

V. How Did the Party Mobilize the People to Its Cause?

The three classes had different goals, but their hatred of the Tsar was the same. The Party knew there was broad support for a revolution to overthrow the Tsar.

VI. At That Time, How Did the Tsar Respond?

The Tsar knew that the workers were the most enthusiastic for revolution, so he sought to separate capitalists, peasants, and workers from each other. The Tsar appointed a missionary to organize a Labor Union in order to first corrupt the workers and second to detect and arrest those who were for revolution.

On 9 January 1905, the missionary (whose name was Georgy Apollonovich Gapon) brought some of the workers to the Tsar for advice. Because he forgot to tell the Tsar, they were coming, and because the Tsar saw a crowd of people and was afraid of violence, the Tsar sent his soldiers out, who shot and killed many of the workers. Gapon escaped abroad. The workers of the provinces heard the news and went on strike, rioted, and began setting up worker congresses.

The revolutionary fight against the Tsar and the Government lasted from January to October. The Tsar, on the one hand, used soldiers against the revolution, and on the other hand, using the pretense of establishing a parliament of people’s representatives for discussion of the country’s affairs.

VII. Why Was the Revolution of 1905 Defeated?

VIII. Did the Defeat in 1905 Set Back the Workers and the Party?

No, it did not. Experiencing that failure, the Party studied again, criticized where and what went wrong, and why they failed. Clearly understanding defects, then fixing them, is like forging a knife. First, you test the blade to know where it is sharp or where it is blunt; then, you work the blunt side by sharpening it to the point when you know the new knife is good.

After the failure in 1905, the workers understood that:

The failure of the 1905 revolution set the example for the successful revolution in 1917.

IX. What is the History of the Revolution in 1917?

The revolution of 1917 resulted from following:

X. How Did the Opportunists Make It?

Taking advantage of so many soldiers’ deaths, a starving population, mass unemployment, and the government disorganization, the opportunists told the people that the revolution would abolish the Tsar, the land and factories would belong to the peasants, the people would have the right to form the government, and the war would turn to peace.

In February, unexpectedly, the Tsar abdicated, with their authority empowered by the capitalists, the opportunists went back on their words. They ordered the soldiers to continue to fight; the land remained in the hands of the landlords; the factories stayed in the hands of the rich, and the peasants and workers had no say in the Government.

XI. Why Didn’t the Communist Party Take Power?

When this revolution evicted the Tsar, the Communist Party was still leading the masses. But at that time, there were few Party members, and it was not the right time, so they did not seize the government.

The revolution was over in February. From February to April, many people still thought that the new government had not yet done anything for the benefit of the people because the government had not had enough time.

In April, Lenin had many comrades from abroad returned. From April to November, the new government gradually showed their true color as counter-revolutionary. The communist members took part in propagandizing to the people the following: “You can see that the opportunists are like servants for capitalism and imperialism, no more no less. They did no better than the Tsar”. This made everybody resent the new Government. They joined with the peasants, laborers, soldiers, and secret organizations to carry out the Communist revolution.

[1] Though Plekhanov later joined the Mensheviks, Lenin said the Emancipation Labor Group laid the foundations for a Marxist political party.

Chapter 5: When Did the Communist Revolution Succeed?

By the end of October, there were already organizations everywhere; everyone wanted action. But Lenin said: “Wait! Wait a few more days for everyone to oppose the Government, then we will act”. On 5 November [23 October], the Government opened a meeting to enact new laws that had benefits for the capitalists but were harmful to peasants and workers. Lenin told the party members that it would be too early to take action on 6 November [24 October] because the people would not yet know how bad the rules were and would not yet blame the government. On the other hand, 8 November [26 October] would be too late because, by then, the Government would know that the people were resentful, and they would be on guard.

With great anticipation, the Communist Party decided to carry out the revolution on seventh of November. The workers rushed to lay siege to the Government, and the peasants evicted their landlords. The government sent out soldiers, but the soldiers sided with the workers and returned to fight against the Government.

From that day forward, the Government opportunists withdrew, and the Communist Party seized authority and organized a government of workers, peasants, and soldiers. It distributed land to the tillers, conferred the management of factories upon the workers, no longer forced people to die for capitalism and imperialism, strove to organize a new economy, and practiced internationalism.

Chapter 6: How is the Russian Revolution Meaningful to the Vietnamese Revolution?

In the world, at that time, only the Bolshevik revolution in Russia was a successful revolution, and it was thoroughly successful. This means people enjoyed real happiness, real freedom, real equality, not the false freedom and equality that the French imperialists boast about to the Vietnamese people. The Russian revolution had already abolished the Tsar, the capitalists, and the landlords, and also was striving to assist the international workers, peasants, and the oppressed peoples in the colonies to make revolution, to demolish all the imperialists and capitalists in the world.

The Russian revolution teaches us that if the revolution is to be victorious, we must take the masses (workers and peasants) as foundational; we must have a solid party; we must be tenacious; we must be of the same mind, and we must be ready to lay down our lives for our cause. In brief, we must follow Marxism-Leninism.

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