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Khmer Rouge ideology and its relationship to violence

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Turning to look at the roots of the ideology which guided the KR intellectuals behind the revolution, it becomes evident that the roots of such radical thought can be traced to an education in France which started many of the top KR officials on the road to thinking that communism demanded violence.

Influence from the French revolution led many who studied in Paris to believe Marxist political theory which was based on class struggle could be applied to the national cause in Cambodia. The premise of class struggle thus sowed the ideological seeds for violence and made violence appear all the more necessary for the revolution to succeed. In addition, because many of the top KR officials – such as Pol Pot, Khieu Samphan and Kang Kek Iew (also known as Duch) – were educators and intellectuals, they - being unable to connect with the masses - were alienated upon their return to Cambodia, further fuelling their radical thought. However, it is important to note that Vickery downplays the importance of personalities in explaining the DK phenomenon, noting that DK leaders were never considered evil by prewar contemporaries. Nonetheless this view is challenged by some including Rithy Phan who – after interviewing Duch, the head of Tuol Sleng – seems to suggest that Duch was a fearsome individual who preyed on and seized upon the weaknesses of others.

In light of the above, it becomes clear that the historical context of war, coupled with the ideological ferment in Cambodian intellectuals returning from France, set the stage for the KR revolution and the violence that it would propagate.

Operationalizing ideology through violence. Maoism. Maoism, formally known as Mao Zedong Thought (simplified Chinese: 毛泽东思想; traditional Chinese: 毛澤東思想; pinyin: Máozédōng sīxiǎng), is a political theory derived from the teachings of the Chinese political leader Mao Zedong (1893–1976).


Its followers, known as Maoists, consider it as an anti-Revisionist form of Marxism-Leninism. French Communist Party. The French Communist Party (French: Parti communiste français, PCF ; French pronunciation: ​[paʁti kɔmynist fʁɑ̃ˈsɛ]) is a communist party in France.

French Communist Party

Founded in 1920 by the majority faction of the socialist French Section of the Workers' International (SFIO), it participated in three governments: in the provisional government of the Liberation (1944–1947),at the beginning of François Mitterrand's presidency (1981–1984) andin Plural Left cabinet led by Lionel Jospin (1997–2002). The PCF is a member of the Party of the European Left, and its MEPs sit in the European United Left–Nordic Green Left group. History[edit] Ideology[edit] PCF rallying for a 6the republic, 2012 in Paris In the 1980s, under Georges Marchais, the PCF mixed a partial acceptance of "bourgeois" democracy and individual liberties with more traditional Marxist-Leninist rhetoric.

Since then, the PCF's ideology has been marked by significant ideological evolution on some topics but consistency on other issues. Leadership[edit] Karl Marx. Karl Marx[note 1] (/mɑrks/;[4] German pronunciation: [ˈkaɐ̯l ˈmaɐ̯ks]; 5 May 1818 – 14 March 1883) was a German philosopher, economist, sociologist, journalist, and revolutionary socialist.

Karl Marx

Marx's work in economics laid the basis for much of the current understanding of labour and its relation to capital, and subsequent economic thought.[5][6][7][8] He published numerous books during his lifetime, the most notable being The Communist Manifesto (1848) and Das Kapital (1867–1894). Born into a wealthy middle-class family in Trier in the Prussian Rhineland, Marx studied at the Universities of Bonn and Berlin where he became interested in the philosophical ideas of the Young Hegelians. After his studies he wrote for Rheinische Zeitung, a radical newspaper in Cologne, and began to work out the theory of the materialist conception of history. Early life[edit] Childhood and early education: 1818–1835[edit] Karl Marx was born on 5 May 1818 to Heinrich Marx and Henrietta Pressburg (1788-1863). Vladimir Lenin.

Vladimir Ilyich Ulyanov (Russian: Влади́мир Ильи́ч Улья́нов; IPA: [vlɐˈdʲimʲɪr ɪˈlʲitɕ ʊˈlʲanəf]), alias Lenin (/ˈlɛnɪn/;[2] Russian: Ле́нин; IPA: [ˈlʲenʲɪn]) (22 April [O.S. 10 April] 1870 – 21 January 1924) was a Russian communist revolutionary, politician and political theorist.

Vladimir Lenin

He served as head of government of the Russian Soviet Federative Socialist Republic from 1917, and of the Soviet Union from 1922 until his death. Under his administration, the Russian Empire was replaced by the Soviet Union; all wealth including land, industry and business was confiscated. Based in Marxism, his political theories are known as Leninism. Lenin, along with Leon Trotsky, played a senior role in orchestrating the October Revolution in 1917, which led to the overthrow of the Provisional Government and the establishment of the Russian Socialist Federative Soviet Republic. Early life Childhood: 1870–87 University and political radicalism: 1887–93 Revolutionary activities.