Posts Tagged ‘Vietnam’

Fifth-columnist spitters?

March 27, 2008

Rohan Cahill has an interesting post on Leftwrites on the treatment of Vietnam veterans after the war, or their perception of such treatment.

In his recent 814 page history Vietnam: The Australian War (HarperCollins, 2007), journalist Paul Ham relates how Australian troops returning home from the front lines of Vietnam were variously spat on and called “baby killers” by anti-war protestors. To a significant extent, Ham’s account relies on interviews he conducted with veterans in 2005/06. Journalist Ham seems to be of the opinion that former Australian anti-war activists owe veterans an apology; he notes that not one protestor has apologised for the abuse. At the same time he records the recollections of a few leading anti-war activists that, to their knowledge, the alleged abusive behaviour did not occur.

Momentarily Ham recognises a problem. On one hand he has veterans with memories of abuse; on the other, anti-war activists with no such memories. Rhetorically he asks, was the abuse the work of an “anonymous Fifth Column”? For journalist Ham, the abuse took place and was widespread. However, as an historian he should have seriously considered the possibility the abuse was/is mythical, part of a complex, essentially post-war, psychological and political process.

Full article

Debate on Vietnam. 1

June 2, 2005

The nature of the Vietnamese Communist Party. George Johnson and Fred Feldman

Vietnam, Stalinism and the postwar socialist revolutions. Pierre Rousset

Vietnam, Stalinism and the postwar socialist revolutions. George Johnson and Fred Feldman


Introduction

Bob Gould

In 1973-74 some members of the Fourth International discussed the nature of the Vietnamese revolution and Communist Party. It was a discussion between people who had been deeply involved in the movement against the imperialist assault on Vietnam and who were knowledgable of Vietnam and its history.

(more…)

Debate on Vietnam. 3

June 2, 2005

On the nature of the Vietnamese Communist Party. George Johnson and Fred Feldman

Vietnam, Stalinism and the postwar socialist revolutions. Pierre Rousset

Vietnam, Stalinism and the postwar socialist revolutions. George Johnson and Fred Feldman


Vietnam, Stalinism, and the postwar socialist revolutions

George Johnson and Fred Feldman

I. Rousset’s theory

The framework of the debate

In his reply to our critical appraisal of his book Le Parti Communiste Vietnamien, Comrade Pierre Rousset presents a broad theoretical defense of his position that the Vietnamese Communist Party (VCP) is a non-Stalinist, “empirical revolutionary party”. In so doing he broadens the scope and subject of the debate considerably. He bases himself on a reading of the meaning of the revolutions that have toppled capitalism since the end of World War II and the character of the regimes that they have established (including Vietnam) that is quite different from ours; that is, the one hitherto held by the world Trotskyist movement

(more…)

Debate on Vietnam. 2

June 2, 2005

The nature of the Vietnamese Communist Party. George Johnson and Fred Feldman

Vietnam, Stalinism and the postwar socialist revolutions. Pierre Rousset

Vietnam, Stalinism and the postwar socialist revolutions. George Johnson and Fred Feldman

The Vietnamese revolution and the role of the party

Pierre Rousset

Without the party, independently of the party, skipping over the party, through a substitute for the party, the proletarian revolution can never triumph. That is the principal lesson of the last decade …. We have paid too dearly for this conclusion as to the role and significance of the party for the proletarian revolution to renounce it so lightly or even to have it weakened.

Leon Trotsky, The Lessons of October

The fact that the struggle [in Vietnam] has been carried on for three decades without being decisively defeated should not be permitted to influence our evaluation of the program of the [Vietnamese] leadership …. The fact that the struggle has sustained itself for thirty years is a tribute to the persistence and iron will of the Vietnamese people.

George Johnson and Fred Feldman, “On the Nature of the Vietnamese Communist Party”, International Socialist Review, July-August 1973.

It is difficult to discuss a book that the readers of the International Socialist Review cannot read. Feldman and Johnson have reviewed the principal periods of development of the Vietnamese Communist Party (VCP)[1] in order to give their interpretation, which, in general, differs greatly from that advanced in the Livre Rouge (Le Parti Communiste Vietnamien, by Pierre Rousset [Paris, Maspero, 1973]). The temptation is strong to reply to them by summarising the theses of the book in question, and by following its outline. But that would risk further dispersing the debate, rather than concentrating on what is essential. For the essential issue is not the analysis of this or that period under indictment, but in fact the whole conception of the role of the VCP in the Vietnamese revolution, of its nature, and of its future.

(more…)

Three snapshots of the Vietnam antiwar movement

May 30, 2005

In Australia between 1965 and 1970

Helen Palmer


Introduction

Bob Gould

In his History of the Democratic Socialist Party and Resistance, John Percy crudely portrays the socialist magazine, Outlook, as being isolated from the antiwar movement of the 1960s.

(more…)

Mike Karadjis loses his cool on Vietnam

April 8, 2005

Green Left Weekly discussion list, April 10, 2005

Margaret A, the moderator of the GLW list, has an unenviable job and does well at regulating the list in sometimes difficult circumstances. She obviously has a mandate to defend the general interests of the DSP, which is not unreasonable since it’s their list, but she tries to be sensible within this framework, mainly by only intervening when absolutely necessary.

(more…)

Arthur Calwell’s last hurrah, Vietnamese dictator Ky and Kirribilli House in the stinking hot Sydney summer of 1967

March 20, 2004

Bob Gould

Labor loses the 1966 election in a landslide – a khaki election fought around the then popular Vietnam War. The Labor leadership of Arthur Calwell is on the skids but he’s still defiant. Vietnam’s Marshall Ky announces a state visit. Calwell agrees to address a protest against the war.
(more…)

Zinovievism and writing history

October 27, 2003

The real lessons of the Vietnam antiwar movement in Australia

Bob Gould

I would like to thank the Editorial Board of Green Left and the DSP for running my piece on the Johnson demonstration, for the careful way it was edited and the sensible juxtaposition of it with a smaller article and some pictures, and with the two-page centrespread by Doug Lorimer presenting the DSP leadership’s version of the first part of the history of the Vietnam antiwar movement.

(more…)

LBJ sitdown was a defining event

October 22, 2003

Bob Gould

In 1966, the Vietnam War was still fairly popular, and the jingoistic patriotism of the previous period in Australia was still predominant. In this context, it is hard to understate the courageousness of federal Labor leader Arthur Calwell. Despite his other major political weaknesses, Calwell dragged the ALP and the labour movement, with some of his parliamentary colleagues kicking and screaming, into opposition to the Vietnam War.

(more…)

George Bush comes to Australia

October 21, 2003

Bob Gould

US President Bush is making a whistlestop state visit to Australia this Wednesday and Thursday. The more militant section of the antiwar movement is planning demonstrations demanding withdrawal of US and Australian troops from Iraq in a number of cities, including Sydney and Canberra.

(more…)

Honeymoon over. Collapse of the left coalition

July 18, 2003

Honeymoon over: the collapse of the left coalition. Bob Gould

The CPA and the left. Denis Freney

An open letter to Moratorium sponsors


Introduction: Socialists and the Vietnam antiwar movement of the 1960 and 1970s

The recent movement against the imperialist war on Iraq was the biggest such movement the world has seen. There has been some dismay that it seems to have ebbed as quickly as it appeared. The Vietnam antiwar movement of the 1960s and early 1970s also surged and ebbed several times in the course of a very long struggle.

(more…)

Recollections of the struggle against the war in Vietnam

September 24, 1998

Bob Gould

Four days before Saigon fell in 1975, when it had become clear it would fall, ABC Radio interviewed a spectrum of Vietnam protesters on their attitude. They chose to end the radio piece with my comments, which were, in sum: that I was not a pacifist, that my first political sentiments in life had been an interest in the struggle for Irish independence, and that when the battle-scarred NLF guerillas marched into Saigon, I’d be cheering.

(more…)