The ruling KPRP grew slowly in membership over the years and was supported by a mass organization from which it drew its applicants and support. This organization, known as the KNUFNS, had been formed in late 1978 with Vietnamese backing, as a common front against the Pol Pot regime in Phnom Penh. The organization underwent various name changes, emerging eventually in late 1981 as the Kampuchean (or Khmer) United Front for National Construction and Defense (KUFNCD). In the meantime, its role in the political life of the nation had been officially established in the Constitution, which states 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."
The KUFNCD'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 "workerpeasant 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 KUFNCD activists in villages and in communes and for coordinating their functions with cadres of various mass organizations.
The KUFNCD 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 KUFNCD.
Among the more important mass organizations affiliated with the KUFNCD were the Kampuchean Federation of Trade Unions (KFTU--62,000 members in December 1983), officially described as "the training school of the working class for economic and administrative management"; and the 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. Other mass organizations included the Kampuchean Revolutionary Youth Association (KRYA), an 800,000- member group for children (aged 9 to 16); the Kampuchean Young Pioneers Organization (KYPO), a 450,000-member group for preschoolers under the general guidance of the KPRYU and the KRYA; and the Kampuchean Revolutionary Women's Association (KRWA), which claimed 923,000 members as of October 1983. All these organizations held rallies to arouse public awareness on national commemorative occasions such as the Kampuchea-Vietnam Solidarity Day on February 18, the Day of Hatred ("against the genocidal Pol Pot-Ieng SaryKhieu Samphan clique and the Sihanouk-Son Sann reactionary groups") observed on May 20, and the day of solidarity between the people and the army on June 19.
|Country Studies main page | Cambodia Country Studies main page | Celebrity|