This article traces the intellectual contributions of Communist Party of Kampuchea (CPK) intellectual and founder Hou Yuon, whose influence on party policy has been the subject of scholarly debate. Although proposals in his political writings were implemented in CPK liberated zones and, later, Democratic Kampuchea (1975–1979), his outspoken nature led to his ejection from the CPK picture and from appraisals of Cambodian Communism. From his studies in France to his death in 1975, Hou Yuon's importance as a Cambodian Marxist and Communist deserves our attention. Marxist theory provided him a critical interpretive paradigm and language with which to contextualize Cambodia's stark rural-urban divide and larger issues of global capitalist exploitation in his writings, most notably in his 1955 doctoral dissertation. The goal of this article is to uncover the link between Hou Yuon's application of Marxist theory to understand inequality and underdevelopment in his homeland and more broadly, to fill the gap between the Paris Group Cercle Marxiste and many of its members' leap to "pure socialism" and "total equality" in founding Democratic Kampuchea.


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Print ISSN
pp. 589-633
Launched on MUSE
Open Access
Archive Status
Archived 2020
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