'Humanite, June 1, 1922
Source: Selected Works of Ho Chi Minh Vol. 1
Publisher: Foreign Languages Publishing House
Transcription/Markup: Roland Ferguson and Christian Liebl
Online Version: Ho Chi Minh Internet Archive (marxists.org) 2003
To hide the ugliness of its regime of criminal exploitation, colonial capitalism always decorates its evil banner with the idealistic motto: Fraternity, Equality, etc...
Here is how these champions of equality put their slogan into practice.
In the same workshop and for the same work, a white workman is several times better paid than his coloured brother.
In administrative offices, despite length of service and recognized ability, a native is paid starvation wages, while a freshly arrived white man receives a higher salary with less work to do.
After receiving higher education in the parent state and obtaining degrees as doctors of medicine or of law, young native people cannot exercise their professions in their own country if they are not naturalized (and how many difficulties and humiliations a native must go through to obtain this naturalization!)
Dragged away from their countries and their homes, and pressganged into the army as ‘volunteers’, the militarized natives are quick to savour the exquisite significance of this phantasmal ‘equality’ they are defending.
With the same rank, a white non-commissioned officer is almost always regarded as superior to his native colleague, who must salute and obey him.
This ‘ethno-military’ hierarchy is still more striking when white and coloured soldiers travel in the same train or ship.
Here is the most recent example.
In May the S. S. Liger left France for Madagascar with six hundred Malagasy soldiers on board.
The Malagasy non-commissioned officers were crowded into the holds, while their white colleagues were installed in comfortable cabins.
May our coloured brothers, warmed by the ship’s boilers, if not by an ideal, awakened by the noise of the propellers, or by the voice of their conscience, think over and understand the fact that the good capitalism will always consider them as ordinary olo maloto.