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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.
* * *
By Jim McIlroy
November 1, 2014 -- Green Left Weekly -- The passing of former Australian Prime Minister Gough Whitlam at the age of 98 on October 21 provoked a wave of emotion from the community, both young and old. At a time when the federal government is trying to smash the remnants of the progressive reforms initiated during Whitlam's Australian Labor Party (ALP) government — in office from December 1972 to November 1975 — the Whitlam era seems like a period from another political universe.
A letter to the Sydney Morning Herald on October 23, 2014, summed up the mood: "The death of Gough Whitlam not only provided an opportunity for political midgets such as [present ALP federal leader] Bill Shorten and [Liberal Party-National Party coalition Prime Minister] Tony Abbott to become authorities on giants ... It also showed how these two agree on almost everything else. The contrast with the Whitlam era is complete.”
"In the US and elsewhere, including Britain, a mass anti-war movement developed against the US war in Vietnam. By 1968, the International Socialists in the US and the IS in Britain changed their line [of neutrality between the 'two imperialisms'] and came out against the US and defended Vietnam. In the US they joined the mass demonstrations to 'Bring the troops home now!'"
Read more by Barry Sheppard HERE.
By Barry Sheppard
June 6, 2014 – Links
International Journal of Socialist Renewal -- In this two-part article I
examine the ramifications for today of the three theories of the USSR that
emerged from the Left Opposition: state capitalism, bureaucratic collectivism
and Leon Trotsky’s theory of the degenerated workers’ state. (Read more on the theory of state capitalism HERE.)
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.
Melbourne protest against Work Choices, September 2007.
By Sue Bolton
November 16, 2013 -- Green Left Weekly -- Over the years, I have heard many left-wing activists say that mass peaceful protests do not achieve anything. Rather, “militant actions” which “take it up to the ruling class” are more important.
But for smaller direct actions to have any real political significance, they have to be connected to a patient and democratic approach to building mass movements that can win reforms. Smaller direct actions that are not tied to this political aim are a posture.
In a period of relative political quiet, some on the left are being snookered into the false idea that demonstrations that insist on direct action and militancy are the only way to win reforms.
This is a failed strategy, because it rests on the notion that a tiny number of conscientious and outraged activists can frighten or shock the ruling class into delivering reforms or stopping cuts. This sort of idealism is dangerous, and ignores evidence of how social movements throughout history have grown and succeeded in their aims.
When I first arrived in Melbourne in 1993, I met a man at a tram stop who told me that Victorians supported then-premier Jeff Kennett because they had stopped protesting.
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.
Australian protest against the US war on Vietnam. Socialists argued for the movement to have as its central demand the call for the immediate withdrawal of US and Australian troops from Vietnam.
Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal -- This talk was presented by Peter Boyle representing the then Democratic Socialist Party (since merged with the Socialist Alliance) to a workshop with comrades from the Peoples Democratic Party (PRD) of Indonesia in 2000. It was based on a talk by Doug Lorimer to a Resistance leadership training school in Sydney on April 24-25, 1995. It was published in The Activist, volume 5, number 6, 1995. Doug Lorimer passed away on July 21, 2013. Read more of Doug Lorimer's writings HERE.]
* * *
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.