""Our principle is that
the Party commands the gun, and
the gun must never command the Party." ."
Mao Tse Tung
The above quotation from Mao typifies, the prevailing doctrine for the Communist insurgency in South Vietnam, fine armed forces of the Viet Cong are only the military aspect of a much broader political insurgent effort. Unless the political force guiding and supporting the armed forces is also destroyed, the village will continue to be threatened either through internal subversion or the continuous regeneration of the VC armed forces.
This political organization is referred to as the Viet Cong Infrastructure (VCI). The members of the VCI provide party guidance and direction to the overall Viet Cong insurgency, collect money and supplies and provide commo liaison.
The basic organization of the insurgency in South Vietnam is the Peoples' Revolutionary Party (PRP), a branch of the Communist Party of North Vietnam. The PRP has joined with certain non Communist insurgent groups to create the National Front for the Liberation of South Vietnam, but the PRP has remained the dominant force in this and other front groups such as the Liberation Committees and the Peoples' Alliance of Democratic and Peaceloving Forces.
Party directives issued is mid 1969 instructed PRP chapters to establish Peoples' Revolutionary Committees and Councils (PRCs) and to drop all reference to the PRP. This action apparently came from a desire to upgrade the PRP from merely a dissident, externally controlled party contending for authority to that of an established, legitimate rival to the GVN. In most cases, the change merely involved a switch in titles, but sometimes non Party members were added to present a broader base of appeal. The PRP still controls all key positions and directs the activities of the PRCs.
By the late 1960s it was estimated that there were over 430 PRCs at village level (out of 726 villages) and 610 at hamlet level (out of 4,212 hamlets) throughout the Mekong Delta. Just over half of the village PRCs were chosen through some form of election (closely controlled by the PRP and not generally representing popular participation) and the rest were appointed by Party chapters at higher echelons. In VC areas, these PRCs are in effect, the local government. In GVN or contested areas they are less effective, operating either from nearby base areas or from clandestine cover within a village. In many cases, the organizations appear to exist on paper only. Village Party chapters have been retitled as PRCs and the secretary is usually called "Chairman" (equivalent to GVN village chief) but the basic outline remains the same.
Not all village Party chapters followed this organization exactly. In larger villages with strong VC control, the Party organization is more elaborate and each of the sections has a number of cadre. In smaller villages or in GVN villages with weak PRP chapters, one person may act as the head of several of the above sections. The Executive Committee is made up of the chiefs of key sections. It usually has the chiefs of the Military Affairs, Security and Finance and Economy Sections and occasionally other sections as well. The village Party chapter is controlled by the district Party committee, but the technical sections also received district guidance and direction from technical sections at the district level.
At the hamlet level, the organization is usually more simple. Military Affairs and Frontline Supply usually are combined, as are the Information and Culture and Proselyting Sections.
There are separate front groups (usually called Liberation Associations) for farmers, women and youth. In some areas there are also front groups for ethnic minorities such as Cambodian and/or Chinese. In areas where there is a concentration of Hoa Hao residents or members of other religious groups, there may be a Religious Liberation Association designed to rally these groups to the Communist cause.
At village level and below, the working cadre of the various sections are generally categorized as VC supporters rather than significant VCI cadre. They are important as sources of intelligence, but usually can be replaced by the PRP with relative ease. The ten cadre listed below, together with some of their deputies, are the hard core members of the group and their elimination generally will achieve the dismantling of the village Party chapter.
Functions of Specific VCI Cadre
- The Party Secretary The village Party Secretary is responsible to the District Party Secretary for the implementation of higher echelon orders in his village. He is in charge of all village activities and controls all village cadre through his section chiefs and all hamlet Party Secretaries in his area. He exercises final authority on the use of village guerrillas and usually attends Military Affairs Section meetings. He is the most important PRP representative in the village and in some cases is known by all adult residents of the village. He moves about constantly, meeting with his section in the most secure (that is, VC controlled) hamlet in the village or sometimes completely outside the village. In the village, he usually has three or more houses out of which he operates for brief periods. He maintains all the village records and documents. He travels periodically to meet with the district Party Secretary and other district level cadre. He is vulnerable due to his relative notoriety and his need to be in constant contact with district and his section chiefs, but he is usually accompanied by armed bodyguards.
- The Deputy Party Secretary The Deputy Secretary is the number two man and must be prepared to take over if the Party Secretary is removed from the scene. He functions as the Secretary's assistant and often is assigned to oversee the activities of two or more related sections of. the Committee. His activities are similar to those of the Secretary.
- Finance and Economy Section Chief The FEE Chief at village level collects the taxes from the villagers and hamlet level sections according to directions from district level. He may also maintain tax lists, census data and production figures. He works with the Frontline Supply Section and Rear Services Support of the Military Affairs Section to support the village guerrillas. He has usually worked out arrangements with local or roving merchants to sell foodstuffs collected as in kind taxes. The F&E Chief at village level does not usually keep large sums of money, transmitting it at frequent intervals to district level through the Party Secretary. He is vulnerable because he is engaged in an unpopular effort and has to move about a great deal.
- Frontline Supply Section Chief The FLSS Chief may actually be a sub section chief under Military Affairs. He is responsible for mobilizing material resources and manpower to support VC armed units in the area. In VC controlled areas, he may be responsible for general production control over the villagers. He works closely with Military Affairs, Security, Finance and Economy and Proselyting Sections.
- Security Section Chief The Security Chief is responsible for both counter intelligence and intelligence collection activities. In areas which the VC control, the Security Chief is also responsible for regular police and judicial operations and maintains the jail. The Security Section also controls VC reconnaissance and sapper squads. The Security Chief provides necessary bodyguards to protect other important Party officials. He may be used in an enforcement role to help the Finance Economy Chief collect taxes. He is responsible for the security of documents and records and, in the lower Delta, controls the commo liaison system (in the upper Delta this is apparently part of the VC military postal system). He usually controls a network of secret informants within the village and hamlets to maintain surveillance over the people and a network of agents who have penetrated GVN agencies and units.
- The Military Affairs Section Chief The MAS Chief is usually one of the village guerrilla squad leaders who has been promoted to the job and given additional training and indoctrination. He serves as the commander and/or the political officer of the village guerrillas. He uses these guerrillas to provide sentries and protection to the VC areas, to participate in combined inter village military operations and, when strong arm methods are needed to enforce attendance at meetings, tax collections, etc. The village MAS Chief is often also in charge of the Frontline Supply Section and coordinates the visit to his village of forces from higher echelons for operations or for re supply. He is always in close contact with the village Secretary and the MAS Chief of the district Committee.
- Information and Culture Chief This cadre is sometimes referred to as the Propaganda, Culture and Indoctrination Chief which is a more accurate description of his duties. He is responsible for disseminating VC propaganda to the villagers and for the VC cultural and entertainment teams. He is also responsible for maintaining the ideological purity and drive of PRP members in the village, leading criticism and self-criticism or re education sessions, when necessary. He is generally regarded as a key cadre because of his role in maintaining Party morale and ideological purity. He is usually better educated and indoctrinated.
- Social Welfare and/or Public Health Section Chief He is normally not present except in VC areas where he is responsible for organizing the populace into social action groups. A key responsibility is to organize care for wounded veterans and the families of VC troops.
- Troop Proselyting Chief The Troop Proselyting Chief works usually through friends and relatives of ARVN members to turn GVN soldiers in place as sources of intelligence or possible betrayal. If this is not possible, he tries to encourage desertion. He is often the organizer of the "face to face" struggles of village women against GVN or allied officials and policies.
- Civilian Proselyting Chief The Civilian Proselyting Chief is responsible for developing the appeal of the VC and organizing support from the general populace. He works closely with the Propaganda Chief, but is really responsible for slightly different function the organization of supporting front groups. He is responsible for most direct Party recruiting at the village level. He often is the most educated, articulate, and highly indoctrinated PRP member at the village level. He is vulnerable because of his public role and his need to move around to contact various front groups.
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