“In leading the building of the army, our Party has firmly stuck to the principle of democratic centralism. That is the organisational principle of our Party; thereby it has taken care to build the army with a genuine inner democracy and also a very strict conscious discipline.
Completely different from all types of armies of the exploiting class, our army put into practice the regime of internal democracy from its inception because the internal relations between officers and men as well as the relations between the army and the people express complete unity of mind. Owing to the demand of the revolutionary work, there are in our army differences in ranks and offices, but they have not and cannot influence the relations of political equality in the army. For this reason, internal democracy should and could be carried out in the army. To practise democracy is also to apply the mass line of the Party in leading the army.
During the Resistance War, democracy was exercised in three ways and brought about good results. Political democracy: at grass-root level, democratic meetings and army congresses were held regularly so that men as well as officers had the opportunity to speak their views on fighting, work, study and living questions. In our army, not only have the officers the right to criticise the soldiers but the latter also have the right to criticise the former. Military democracy: in fighting as well as in training, democratic meetings were called whenever circumstances permitted, to expound plans, promote initiatives and together try to overcome difficulties in order to fulfill their tasks. Economic democracy: in our army, the officers and soldiers have the right to take part in the management of the improvement of material life. Finance is made public. Thanks to the carrying out of democracy in an extensive way, we succeeded in promoting the activity and creativeness of the masses of officers and men, and concentrating their wisdom to solve the most difficult and complicated problems; also thanks to it, internal unity was strengthened and the combativeness of our army increased.”
– Vo Nguyen Giap, “People’s War, People’s Army”