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Kampuchean United Front for National Salvation

The Kampuchean (or Khmer) United Front for National Salvation (KUFNS), French acronym FUNSK (Front d'Union nationale pour le salut du Kampuchea), was the nucleus of a new Cambodian regime, that would later establish the People's Republic of Kampuchea (PRK).

Its foundation took place in 1978 in Vietnam by Cambodians determined to overthrow Pol Pot's bloody regime. It was a Cambodian politico-military organization that legitimized the Vietnamese invasion of Cambodia, precipitating the ensuing defeat of the Khmer Rouge's Democratic Kampuchea. It brought about the foundation of the new state named 'People's Republic of Kampuchea' and the reconstruction of the shattered and desperately impoverished country. This organization has undergone various name changes as it has expanded and adapted to the different historical realities in Cambodia.

History

The Salvation Front (1978-1981)

Politically the Salvation Front (FUNSK) was a pro-Hanoi umbrella organization of the Marxist Kampuchean People's Revolutionary Party (KPRP). The FUNSK was formed within Cambodia in an area around Kratie that had been liberated from the Khmer Rouge by Cambodian Communists who didn't share Pol Pot's virulent Anti-Vietnamese policies that led to bloody purges in Eastern Cambodia in 1977. The date of the Salvation Front's foundation was December 2nd, 1978, in what Khmer socialist militants called a "Reunion Congress". The aim of the FUNSK was to expand as a Cambodian front in order to overthrow Pol Pot's regime of terror. The Salvation Front drew eleven points for the reconstruction of the country. These points would be used after the establishment of the PRK to motivate Cambodians to support the rebuilding efforts and the Pro-Soviet structure of the new state to keep the revolution alive with a moderate, pragmatic and humane approach compared to the Khmer Rouge. Although the front was largely controlled by KPRP communists, it included quite a few Non-communists in its leadership, such as Cambodian Buddhist religious figures, as well as women.

Kampuchean United Front for National Construction and Defence (1981-2006)

In 1981, two years after the liberation from Phnom Penh, the Salvation Front was renamed "Kampuchean United Front for National Construction and Defence", Front d'union pour l'édification et la défense de la patrie du Cambodge (KUFNCD or UFCDK). Years after the establishement of the People's Republic of Kampuchea, the Front remained as the main political organization of the pro-Hanoi Cambodian state. The front's role in the political life of the nation was officially established in the PRK Constitution, which stated in Article 3 that "The Kampuchean Front for National Construction and the revolutionary mass organizations constitute a solid support base of the state, encouraging the people to fulfill their revolutionary tasks."

Solidarity Front for Development of the Cambodian Motherland (2006-Present)

On the 5th congress of the Kampuchean United Front for National Construction and Defence, held in Phnom Penh, on the 29th April 2006, the name of the KUFNCD was changed to "Solidarity Front for Development of the Cambodian Motherland", Front de solidarité pour le développement de la Patrie du Cambodge (SFDCM).

This organization, so important in its heyday, has lost much importance in Cambodian present-day politics.

Tasks

The Front's specific missions were to transmit party policies to the masses, to act as an ombudsman, and to mobilize the people around the regime's efforts to consolidate the so-called "worker-peasant alliance." The front's cadres were required to stay in close touch with the people, to report their needs and problems to authorities, and to conduct mass campaigns to generate support for the regime, or to lead "emulation" drives to spur the population to greater efforts in pursuit of specific goals.

The cadres were also responsible for organizing networks of Salvation Front activists in villages and in communes and for coordinating their functions with cadres of various mass organizations. Often this involved long indoctrination sessions and getting villagers to paint banners and hoardings related to the Salvation Front propaganda. This created some resentment in the eyes of the people who perceived that the effort could have been directed towards more productive work.

The Front also was responsible for conducting "activities of friendship," which were aimed at improving the climate for close cooperation with "the Vietnamese people and the Vietnamese army and experts." Another major function of the front was to reeducate Buddhist monks so that they would "discard the narrow-minded views of dividing themselves into groups and factions" and would participate more actively in the revolutionary endeavors of the Salvation Front.

Presently the Solidarity Front for Development of the Cambodian Motherland (SFDCM), the Salvation Front's latest avatar, organizes national and international events, like sports venues and trade fairs on behalf of the Cambodian government.

Organizations

Among the more important mass organizations affiliated with the KUFNCD as an umbrella organization were the following:

  • Kampuchean Federation of Trade Unions (KFTU). It had 62,000 members in December 1983 and was officially described as "the training school of the working class for economic and administrative management".
  • Kampuchean People's Revolutionary Youth Union (KPRYU), an important reservoir of candidate members for the KPRP and "a school of Marxism" for people between the ages of fifteen and twenty-six. As of March 1987, when the Youth Union held its Second National Congress, there were more than 50,000 members in villages, factories, enterprises, hospitals, schools, public offices, and the armed forces.
  • Kampuchean Revolutionary Youth Association (KRYA), an 800,000- member group for children (aged 9 to 16).
  • Kampuchean Young Pioneers Organization (KYPO), a 450,000-member group for preschoolers under the general guidance of the KPRYU and the KRYA.
  • Kampuchean Revolutionary Women's Association (KRWA), which claimed 923,000 members as of October 1983.

Commemorative dates

All the organizations under the KUFNCD held rallies to arouse public awareness on national commemorative occasions such as the following:

  • Kampuchea-Vietnam Solidarity Day on February 18.
  • Day of Hatred ("against the genocidal Pol Pot-Ieng Sary- Khieu Samphan clique and the Sihanouk-Son Sann reactionary groups") observed on May 20.
  • Day of Solidarity between the People and the Army celebrated on June 19.

See also

 

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