God and the Vietnamese Revolution: Religious Organizations in the Emergence of Today’s Vietnam
Religion has been curiously absent in the conversation about the post-colonial construction of socialism and the Communist state in Vietnam.1 Yet I would argue that religion has been integral to the transformation of Vietnam’s modern social and political landscape, first under French colonialism and then during the historical evolution of Vietnam’s long anti-imperialist struggle. The resurgence of religion under post-1986 economic reform or Doi Moi thus marks less a radical departure from the past than an evolution from Vietnam’s own particular history of colonial modernity. Vietnam differs from China, where society was “saturated” with socialism, and the Soviet Union where socialism was gradually drained by dissidence and economic and political stagnation.2 During the French colonial period, religious communities in Vietnam claimed the allegiance of substantial segments of Vietnam’s peasant and urban population, played an important role in the struggle against colonialism and foreign intervention, and established themselves as part of Vietnam’s national landscape before the Communists gained complete control over Vietnam in 1975.
KeywordsReligious Group Communist Party Religious Community Mekong Delta Religious Affair
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