Workers Party of Kampuchea

Constitution of Democratic Kampuchea

The Workers Party of Kampuchea was a political party that exited between the time of the Kampuchean Peoples Revolutionary Party and the Communist Party of Kampuchea. It is therefore a successor of the former and the forerunner of the later.

Its formation is considered controversial with modern Khmer communists disavowing its creation, while the Khmer Rouge consider its formation as their very own. This was also the party that would elect Pol Pot as its leader.

The Kampuchean Peoples Revolutionary Party

Originally formed in 1951 by Tou Sanmouth and Son Ngoc Minh the party not only stood a front organization in elections, but was generally pro cooperation with Sihanouk.

This perceived impotence led many within the party to get arrested while others simply remained in Vietnam.

Formation of the Workers Party of Kampuchea

At a meeting held at Phnom Penh Railway station, a rural and urban group quickly emerged within the party apparatus. Twenty-one leaders of the KPRP held a secret congress, with approximately 14 delegates represented by the rural faction, and seven representing the urban faction.

What happened next is somewhat shrouded in mystery, but Tou Sanmouth was to become the leader of the party with Nuon Chea as his deputy and a certain Pol Pot as 3rd in command. The party was also renamed the Workers Party of Kampuchea.

The winning faction, now known as the Workers Party of Kampuchea were somewhat anti-Vietnamese initially, but initially followed a policy of cooperation with both the Viet Cong, as well as even King Sihanouk. This though was all about to change.

Pol Pot leadership of the Workers Party of Kampuchea

Tou Sanmouth was killed allegedly by the regime, but under suspicious circumstances in 1962. This should have led to Nuon Chea becoming leader, but he claims that he put forth Pol Pot as he was better educated and well spoken.

Some have opined that not only did the pair have him killed, but that initially at least Nuon Chea was the real leader of the party apparatus. Regardless from this point the Central Committee and what was to become Angkar was now being formed largely from the Cercele Marxiste. This group would remain largely unchanged until the late 90’s.

In 1963 the party largely went into the jungles of Ratanakiri and began the insurgency in earnest. This was largely unsuccessful, despite visits by Pol Pot and others to North Vietnam and China – in part due to the popularity of Sihanouk with these communist countries.

Under the leadership of Pol Pot the party would increasingly move into the Maoist camp meaning that China were aligned would two opposing sides, namely Sihanouk and the Khmer Rouge. This would all change in 1970 when the King was overthrown. This to the unholy alliance of Sihanouk and the Khmer Rouge known as the GRUNK, which would eventually take over the country.

In 1971 the Workers Party of Kampuchea would rename itself the Communist Party of Kampuchea at the behest of the Chinese Maoists. Yet despite the change in name, neither the

It would retain this name until its overthrow and renaming to the Party of Democratic Kampuchea.