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Vietnam

40 years after Vietnam's liberation: Okinawa's forgotten war

April 30, 1975: a North Vietnamese tank rolls through the gate of the Presidential Palace in Saigon.

By Jon Mitchell

April 30, 2015 -- Asia-Pacific Journal, Japan Focus, posted at Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal -- On April 30, 1975, North Vietnamese troops and their supporters entered Saigon. Their arrival ended three decades of conflict -- including 10 years of direct US- intervention -- which left as many as 3 million dead and countless others suffering from the legacy of PTSD, unexploded ordnance and Agent Orange.1

As the world remembers this 40th anniversary, all too often forgotten is the role of the Pentagon’s most important launch pad for this failed war: Okinawa.

The Vietnam War wrought massive changes on the lives of the island’s 900,000 residents. Many of Okinawa’s current problems date back to this era and, if the history of the Vietnam War there continues to be ignored, the island’s wounds -- in many ways as raw as those in South-east Asia and the US -- will continue to fester long into the future.

* * *

Asia: ASEAN integration and its impact on labour

September 14, 2014 -- Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal -- Presented by Sonny Melencio, chairperson of the Party of the Labouring Masses (PLM), to the assembly of the Union Presidents Against Contractualization, Century Park Hotel, Manila, September 10, 2014.

* * *

1. There are many regional agreements in Asia-Pacific that impact on regional economic integration and trade policies. One of these agreements centered on the integration of ASEAN economies in Southeast Asia composed of the ten countries of Singapore, Malaysia, Thailand, Indonesia, Philippines, Brunei, Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar (Burma), and Vietnam.

El "siglo de Asia" y la integración de la ASEAN: contradicciones y desafíos

Sonny Melencio.

[In English at http://links.org.au/node/3910.]

Por Sonny Melencio

22-06-2014 -- Sinpermiso -- Cuando viaje desde Manila hasta Australia, me compré en el aeropuerto un libro de bolsillo para leer en el avión. Fue la novela de Dan Brown titulada Infierno. Cuando la edición de tapa dura de este libro llegó a las librerías, en las Filipinas la gente se volvió loca con una pequeña parte de la novela que se refería a Manila como la "puerta del infierno".

Después de leer el libro, pensé que lo que la novela dice sobre Manila es verdad. Es la ciudad más densamente poblada de la tierra, con enormes atascos de tráfico, una contaminación sofocante, casas hechas de metal corrugado y cartones, comunidades que apestan y un horrible comercio sexual y tráfico de mujeres, jóvenes y niños.

Me acordé de la novela de Dan Brown hoy porque, a pesar del infierno que es actualmente Manila, nuestro gobierno habla de un paraíso que se construirá en las Filipinas durante este "siglo de Asia".

El siglo de Asia

The ‘Asian Century’ and ASEAN integration: contradictions and challenges (now with video)

Video from Green Left TV.

[The following talk was presented by Sonny Melencio, chairperson of Partido Lakas ng Masa-Philippines (Party of the Labouring Masses), during the Socialist Alliance 10th national conference in Sydney, Australia on June 7, 2014.]

Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal -- When I was travelling from Manila, coming here to Australia, I bought a copy of a pocketbook that I could read in the plane. It was Dan Brown’s novel entitled Inferno. Actually, when the hardbound copy of this book first hit the bookshops, the Philippines went crazy about a small part of the novel which referred to Manila as the “gate of hell”.

After reading the book, it occurred to me that what the novel said about Manila was true. It was the most densely populated city on Earth, with huge traffic jams, suffocating pollution, houses made of corrugated metal and cardboards, communities reeking of stench, and horrifying sex trade and trafficking of women, girls and children.

I was reminded of Dan Brown’s novel today because, despite the inferno that is Manila now, our government is talking about a paradise that will be built in the Philippines during this "Asian Century".

The 'Asian Century"

The terrible legacy of Agent Orange and dioxin

US wages chemical warfare on Vietnam.

By Coral Wynter                       

December 16, 2013 -- Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal -- Agent Orange was manufactured by Monsanto Corporation and Dow Chemicals to use as a herbicide and defoliant in the Vietnam War. Agent Orange is the combination of the code names for Herbicide Orange (HO) and Agent LNX.

At the famous Battle of Dien Bien Phu, North Vietnamese General Giap and the Viet Minh forces totally defeated the French army on May 7, 1954, and the French garrison surrendered. At the 1954 Geneva Conference, the French negotiated a ceasefire agreement with the Viet Minh, and its leader Ho Chi Minh, and independence was granted to Cambodia, Laos and Vietnam.

General Vo Nguyen Giap (1911-2013): Military hero, revolutionary intellectual, environmentalist

General Vo Nguyen Giap, second from left, with Ho Chi Minh, in 1957.

By Michael Karadjis

October 24, 2013 – Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal -- Few people from the 20th century can really claim to have changed history. One of them without a doubt was General Vo Nguyen Giap, who led the Vietnamese people to defeat the French and US empires.

Giap died on October 4, aged 102.

While mainly remembered as a military leader, Giap was also one of Vietnam’s most significant political leaders, a revolutionary intellectual, an environmentalist and a campaigner for progressive change within his own country.

Winter Soldier reveals the chilling reality of the Vietnam War

By David T. Rowlands

May 10, 2013 – Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal -- Between January 31 and February 2, 1971, over a hundred ex-US service personnel who had served in Vietnam between 1963 and 1970 gathered in Detroit for a three-day media conference. Organised by the activist group Vietnam Veterans Against the War (VVAW), the Winter Soldier Investigation (WSI) was intended to educate the American public about the scale of US atrocities in Vietnam, emphasising the direct relationship between such atrocities and official military policies.

Ten years since the biggest protests in history

February 22, 2013 -- Green Left TV -- The Green Left Report hosts a roundtable discussion and debate on the millions-strong protests prior to the US war on Iraq, held around the world on February 15, 2003. The roundtable includes some key activists at the time who reflect on the strengths and weaknesses of the protests in Australia and lessons for progressive struggles today.

Pip Hinman was a leader of the anti-war movement in Sydney at the time; Nick Deane convened a local peace group; and Jim McIlroy, who has been an anti-war activist since the Vietnam war, was part of the Brisbane protests. Also featured is an interview with Simon Butler, who led Books Not Bombs protests of high school and other young people opposed to the war. Hosts are Mel Barnes and Peter Boyle. Footage of the 2003 anti-war marches in Sydney by John Reynolds and Jill Hickson of Actively Radical TV. The episode ends with Carlo Sands critiquing the notion of the "lesser evil".

Produced by Green Left TV -- media for the 99%. Watch it, share it, film it, support it

Philippines: Progressive organisations express concern over ‘Southeast Asian Sea’ tensions

[For background to the Spratly Islands issue, see "China, Vietnam and the islands dispute: What is behind the rise of Chinese nationalism?"]

United Voices of Concern (amidst the sounds of fury over the Southeast Asian Sea)

World Peace Bell, Quezon Memorial Circle, Quezon City, Philippines

May 25, 2012 -- The contending states claiming territorial jurisdiction over sections of the "Southeast Asian Sea" [Spratly Islands] are only heightening regional tensions to a frightening degree.  In particular, the contentious row between the Philippines and China is being amplified by certain quarters to a near-conflict level for seemingly nationalistic, but in fact chauvinistic reasons. And as the almost daily sounds of fury raise the stakes for the region’s masses of humanity, many more sober voices of concern must now come out to be heard and not be silenced by the sabre-rattling of a deluded few.

Socialist Party of Malaysia: Vietnam's dilemma

Will Vietnam and its people continue to be inspired by the revolution previous generations sacrificed so much for or will they be overwhelmed by market forces?

By S. Arutchelvan, secretary general, Socialist Party of Malaysia

May 12, 2012 -- Parti Sosialist Malaysia -- It was a great and emotional experience to visit Vietnam for an eight-day study tour in April 2011 as part of a seven-member Parti Sosialist Malaysia (Socialist Party of Malaysia) team. Vietnam has been the inspiration for many since the 1970s. Many activists in the world today were inspired by the great Vietnamese revolution, which ousted the victor of World War II – the United States of America. Many people in the West as well as in the Third World saw the Vietnamese victory against all odds as a new hope for humanity. Perhaps no nation in the current world has undergone such a struggle for liberation and freedom.

Many people in today’s world are inspired by Che Guevara but Che himself was inspired by Vietnam. In his great saying, Che said let's create two, three, many Vietnams. Che said in his "Message to the Tricontinental", which he wrote in Cuba in 1966 before leaving for Bolivia where he was ultimately killed:

Hollywood: Glimpses of empire

Part 1: In the belly of empire

“There must be some way out of here’, said the
joker to the thief,
There’s too much confusion, I can’t get no relief.
Businessmen, they drink my wine, ploughmen dig
my earth,
None of them along the line know what any of it is
worth.”
-- Bob Dylan[1]

Victims of Agent Orange/dioxin: 'Agent Orange in Vietnam was a crime against humanity'

Appeal of the Second International Conference of Victims of Agent Orange/Dioxin

Hanoi, Socialist Republic of Vietnam

August 9, 2011 -- The Second International Conference of Victims of Agent Orange/Dioxin, held in Hanoi from August 8 to 9, 2011, included participants from around the world: Agent Orange victims, victims of other toxic chemicals, scientists, lawyers and social activists. The conference is a significant and important historic event, marking the 50th anniversary of the first spraying of the toxic chemical Agent Orange (1961-1971) by the US forces in Vietnam and Indochina.

The delegates to the conference agree that:

During the Vietnam War, from 1961 to 1971, US forces through Operation Ranch Hand sprayed nearly 80 million litrrs of herbicides over South Vietnam, of which 61% was Agent Orange containing at least 366kg of dioxin, the most toxic substance known to science.

Vietnam: Extraordinary petition by 'patriotic personalities'

By Michael Karadjis

July 29, 2011 -- Vietnam from the Left, posted at Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal with the author's permission -- Below is an extraordinary document initiated by some 20 prominent Vietnamese academics, former military figures, former officials, writers etc, who express great unease about the current situation for Vietnam, faced on the one hand by increasingly aggressive Chinese actions in the East Sea (also known as the South China Sea), and on the other by an economic situation characterised over the last few years by mounting crisis and severe inflation, which is hammering people’s living standards.

Should China create a law on workers' strikes?

State-backed "trade union" officers (in yellow caps) harrass striking workers at the Nanhai Honda plant in 2010.

July 20, 2011 -- China Labor News Translations, posted at Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal with permission -- Even though strikes frequently occur across China, the country actually has no law regulating labour strikes. There is no law permitting strikes, but at the same time there is no law banning them.

Philippines socialists call for negotiated settlement to Spratly Islands dispute

For more background to the Spratly Islands issue, see "China, Vietnam and the islands dispute: What is behind the rise of Chinese nationalism?"

* * *

June 10, 2011 -- The Partido Lakas ng Masa (Party of the Labouring Masses, Philippines) condemns any actions that increase military tensions in the region and contribute to a regional military conflict, by countries that lay claim to the Spratly Islands. We are opposed to any sabre-rattling and stand for a negotiated, political settlement of the disputed claims to the area. Therefore we deplore China’s strong-arm tactics and bullying, which undermines efforts towards a peaceful, political settlement, of the disputed claims.

The Spratly Islands, less than four-square kilometres of land area spread over 425,000 square kilometres of sea and usually submerged, probably have strategic importance fuelling the numerous territorial disputes. The area holds significant reserves of oil and natural gas: reportedly some 17.7 billion tons of oil and natural gas reserves, larger than the 13 billion tons held by Kuwait, thus making it the fourth largest reserve bed in the world. In an energy hungry world, these reserves intensify the disputed claims over the area.

`Coolie revolts': exclusive excerpt from 'The Devil's Milk: A social history of rubber'

The Devil’s Milk: A social history of rubber
By John Tully
Monthly Review Press, 2011

March 13, 2011 -- With the kind permission of Monthly Review Press, Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal is honoured to be able to bring its readers an exclusive excerpt from Australian socialist John Tully's fascinating new book, The Devil’s Milk: A social history of rubber. The section below details how the peoples of the colonies exploited by the imperialist rubber barons fought back against their oppression. Links readers are urged to purchase a copy of this excellent new book. See also an interview with John Tully about his new book, "New book reveals the history of rubber: holocausts, environmental destruction and class struggle".

New book reveals the history of rubber: holocausts, environmental destruction and class struggle

The Devil’s Milk: A social history of rubber
By John Tully
Monthly Review Press, 2011

[Order the The Devil’s Milk from Monthly Review Press HERE. John Tully launched the book in Melbourne on February 17, at Readings Books, Carlton (309 Lygon St). He will also launch it in New York City on February 22, 7.30pm, at The Brecht Forum,  451 West Street.]

February 18, 2011 – Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal -- This new book from Monthly Review Press – by Australian socialist John Tully -- documents the history of rubber and the role it has played in the development of capitalism.

Rubber is an essential industrial material, although underappreciated by most of us, even though we are surrounded by it. Since its industrial uses began to be fully appreciated in the 1800s, the quest for rubber has been, in Tully’s words, “a paradigm of imperialism”.

China, Vietnam and the islands dispute: What is behind the rise of Chinese nationalism?

By Michael Karadjis

February 2, 2011 -- Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal -- Over the last year or so, tensions have been heightened in the dispute over two island groups in the South China Sea (also known as the East Sea in Vietnam), involving rival claims to some or all of the islands by Vietnam, China, Taiwan, Malaysia, the Philippines and even Brunei. The first three of these countries claim all of both island groups.

The islands in question are known in English as the Paracels and the Spratlys, in Vietnamese as the Hoang Sa and Truong Sa, and in Chinese as the Xisha and the Nansha. Both island groups are uninhabited rocky islands and reefs; there is neither a Vietnamese population oppressed by the current Chinese occupation of the Hoang Sa nor a Chinese population oppressed by Vietnamese rule over most of the Truong Sa. Thus there are no questions of self-determination of actual peoples. Therefore, international law would seem to be the best way to judge the status question, unless further negotiations settle things differently.

Wanderings of a Zen Marxist: 30th anniversary of John Lennon's murder -- `The US vs John Lennon'

On December 8, 1980, John Lennon was murdered in New York. To mark the 30th anniversary of Lennon's murder Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal makes available the fascinating documentary The US vs John Lennon (above). Below, we reproduce a review by Green Left Weekly's Phil Shannon about the political and cultural significance of John Lennon and his evolution.

The wanderings of a Zen Marxist

Come Together: John Lennon in his Time
By Jon Weiner
Faber and Faber, 1995, 379 pages (pb)

Reviewed by Phil Shannon

The left cannot ignore China’s achievements, but neither can it be too celebratory

Rural poverty in China is much higher than urban poverty.

By Michael Karadjis

November 24, 2010 – Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal -- I strongly agree with Reihana Mohideen (“The left cannot ignore China’s achievement in poverty reduction), that the left cannot simply ignore China’s impressive achievements in poverty reduction and other related social development. I also agree very much with Reihana that the main source of China’s outstanding success as a Third World capitalist power is to be found in the Chinese revolution itself, despite the undoing of its socialist basis and the uncontrolled capitalist development that has taken its place.

I would make a few points about poverty reduction.

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