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Tuesday, February 23, 2021, 16:31 (GMT+7)
Raising the effectiveness of mass mobilisation amongst divisions of the Lao People’s Army

Mass moblisation is a basic part of the party and political work, a fine, glorious tradition, and a source of strength of the Lao People’s Army. Therefore, seeking measures to enhancing the effectiveness of this work within the Lao People’s Army in general and its affiliated divisions in particular is a matter of urgency.

Over the years, thoroughly grasping the Directive 20/BCT, dated September 26th, 2003 by the Politburo of the Lao People’s Revolutionary Party on “strengthening the mass mobilisation work at grass-roots level,” and the Resolution 650-NQ/DUBQP, dated April 4th, 2011 by the Party Committee of the Lao Ministry of National Defence on “leading and directing the armed forces with great potential and capacity to carry out the mass mobilisation work according to 4 contents and 4 targets, building a three-tier people’s war posture, and developing villages and clusters of villages,” divisions’ party committees and commands have employed various flexible, creative approaches and achieved a lot of practical results. Forms of mass mobilisation within divisions have been renewed and made relevant to reality. Divisions have deployed and assigned its forces to cooperate with local party committees, authorities, and politico-social organisations in conducting the mass mobilisation work and building new-style countryside in 2 forms. More specifically, (1) units in their own stationed areas have been required to maintain a close-knit bond with the people to help them with production, improve their life, and stabilise political security and social order and safety. Up to now, divisions have been twinned with 910 local authorities, committees, and organisations, which has cemented the bond between the Army and the people and bolstered the image of “Lao Isala Soldiers.” (2) Divisions have established 5 expert groups in charge of mass mobilisation according to 4 contents and 4 targets in line with the development of new-style countryside within 17 provinces, 3 cities, 145 districts, and 2,453 villages.

Assisting the people in harvesting rice

In the past, without any force from divisions, the political system at grass-roots level had not been strong. The people had not been fully aware of the Party’s guidelines and the State’s law and policy. The guerilla force and the militia and self-defence force had not been organised systematically. Economic growth had been slow. The people’s production had been mainly dependent on natural resources. Socio-economic infrastructure had not been upgraded. The people had mainly used traditional medicine for medical treatment. However, since divisions dispatched their forces to localities, the political system at village level has been stronger and capable of well performing its function, task, and authority. Since party cells and members exercised their leadership over missions at grass-roots level, the people have thoroughly grasped the Party’s guidelines and the State’s law and policy. The guerilla force and the militia and self-defence force have been better organised and consolidated. Economic development has been fostered. The people have known how to apply modern techniques and technologies to their agricultural production.

It should be noted that divisions have proactively collaborated with localities and the Department of Engineering (Lao Ministry of National Defence) in constructing roads available in both seasons to isolated, remote, rural areas and villages. Between 2016 and 2020, divisions built 23 roads, 60 works, 3 primary schools, 2 high schools and 17 cultural houses, while developing infrastructure in 12 clusters of villages and organising 52 literacy classes in the remote, isolated areas.

However, for both subjective and objective reasons, there have been several weaknesses in the mass mobilisation work performed by divisions. Some party committees, commanders, political offices and cadres have yet to grasp the goal and importance of the mass mobilisation work. The work of education and propagation to raise cadres and soldiers’ awareness, responsibility, and mass mobilisation capacity has yet to be regular or effective. A number of party committees, commands, and cadres in charge of mass mobilisation have yet to set good example when working with the people. Means and technical equipment for the mass mobilisation work have yet to meet the task requirements.

Currently, to satisfy new requirements set by the Lao revolution and achieve a sense of unity amongst the people, it is vital to rely on the people and better perform the mass mobilisation work. To that end, divisions of the Lao People’s Army should focus on implementing several measures as follows.

First, promote the responsibility of party committees, commissars, commanders, and political offices for the mass mobilisation. Party committees and commanders of divisions should thoroughly grasp the Resolution of the 11th National Congress of the Lao People’s Revolutionary Party, the Directive 03/BCT, dated May 30th, 2011 by the Politburo on “developing villages and building large-scale villages into townships in the rural areas,” and the Resolution 650-NQ/DUBQP, dated April 4th, 2011 by the Party Committee of the Lao Ministry of National Defence on “leading and directing the armed forces with great potential and capacity to carry out the mass mobilisation work according to 4 contents and 4 targets, building a three-tier people’s war posture, and developing villages and clusters of villages.” Commanders should proactively formulate action plans for such resolutions, review and perfect work regulations, and renewing their working method and style. Due attention should be paid to encouraging the role of divisions’ party committees, commissars, commanders, and political offices in leading the mass mobilisation work, building a strong political system at grass-roots level, and well performing the defence-security task. Cooperation with local party committees, authorities, politico-social organisations, and relevant forces should be maintained to educate the people from all walks of life to conform with the Party’s guidelines and the State’s law and policy, respect law, thwart all plots and artifices by the hostile forces, and protect the Party, the State, and the socialist regime. Great value should be attached to taking part in boosting socio-economic and cultural development and improving the people’s material and mental life, particularly in the remote, isolated areas.

Politico-social organisations giving presents to cadres and soldiers

Second, closely cooperate with local party committees, authorities, politico-social organisations, and relevant forces so as to promote the synergy for building a strong political system at grass-roots level and helping the people with production, hunger eradication, poverty reduction, and natural disaster prevention and mitigation. To that end, divisions should collaborate with many other forces in conducting propagation to render the people fully aware of the Party’s viewpoints on the mass mobilisation work in the new situation as well as resolutions and projects on coordination between the Army and politico-social organisations. Besides, divisions should participate in consolidating political bases and enhancing party committees’ leadership, authorities’ direction, and politico-social organisations’ operation at grass-roots level. Due regard should be paid to engaging in programmes for facilitating social, economic, and cultural development, eradicating hunger, reducing poverty, building infrastructure, implementing social policies, and improving the people’s life and knowledge in line with combat readiness, training, exercise, production and other missions. It is necessary to proactively focus Divisions’ personnel and means on conducting search and rescue operations to help the people during natural disasters. Due attention should be paid to monitoring the developments of weather to opportunely issue warnings for the people and encouraging the entire society to help victims of natural disasters. Moreover, consideration should be given to competent offices’ direction and promoting the synergy in the mass mobilisation work.

Third, build and consolidate organisations and cadres in charge of mass mobilisation within divisions. Mass mobilisation offices, advisory bodies, and mass organisations within the Army play an important role in helping party committees counsel and inspect the execution of the guidelines on the mass mobilisation work. Hence, it is essential to improve the quality of offices and cadres in charge of mass mobilisation at all levels. Cadres and soldiers’ knowledge and capability in mass mobilisation should be improved to meet the task requirements. Emphasis should be placed on consolidating the organisational structure of offices in charge of mass mobilisation, building the working style of mass mobilisation cadres under the motto of “daring to do, daring to take responsibility, and daring to self-criticise,” and implementing job rotation at grass-roots level, especially in the rural, remote, isolated areas.

Fourth, make more investments in facilities and equipment for the mass mobilisation work and closely manage and effectively use them. At present, funding for divisions’ mass mobilisation work is mainly allocated by higher echelons and localities. Therefore, divisions’ commanders should concentrate on educating troops to practise thrift and combat wastefulness so as to improve the material and mental life within units and better perform the mass mobilisation work. Due attention should be paid to diversifying measures for best ensuring cadres and soldiers’ material and mental life in tandem with the movement of “clever mass mobilisation,” grasping and abiding by the Party’s guidelines, the State’s law and policy, and the Army’s regulations, improving troops’ revolutionary morality and will, and making troops capable of undertaking and successfully fulfilling all missions. Means and technical equipment should be closely managed and opportunely provided for teams and forces so that they will well carry out the mass mobilisation work and deal with issues at localities. Divisions should develop plans on exploiting their potential and resources from higher echelons, sectors and localities for the mass mobilisation work. Last but not least, it is vital to frequently organise conferences to draw lessons and better the mass mobilisation work to meet the task requirements in the new revolutionary period.

Lt. Col. PHONGSAMAY HOUNNACHAMP, MA

Head of the Commission for Foreign Relations, the General Department of Politics of the Lao People’s Army

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