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All Hail The Victory of the Vietnamese People Over U.S. Imperialism!
by Steven Argue
Wednesday Apr 30th, 2014 11:52 AM
Thirty-nine years ago, on April 30, 1975, the Vietnamese people triumphed over the superior military might of U.S. and French imperialism in a war that lasted for 30 years. In that devastating war the U.S. imperialists installed repressive capitalist dictators and murdered 3,000,000 people in order to prevent the Vietnamese people from choosing their own form of government.
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Vietnam Celebrates National Liberation Day
All Hail The Victory of the Vietnamese People Over U.S. Imperialism!

By Steven Argue

Thirty-nine years ago, on April 30, 1975, the Vietnamese people triumphed over the superior military might of U.S. and French imperialism in a war that lasted for 30 years. In that devastating war the U.S. imperialists installed repressive capitalist dictators and murdered 3,000,000 people in order to prevent the Vietnamese people from choosing their own form of government.

A major victory of the Vietnamese Revolution was chasing the war crazed imperialists out of Vietnam. Another victory was a sweeping land reform and nationalizations in southern Vietnam that established a socialist planned economy. Despite capitalist inroads that have resurrected intolerable inequalities, remnants of that planned economy continue to bring gains in development and independence for Vietnam. In addition, other gains have been made, including 6 months paid maternity leave after giving birth which allows breast feeding in those early months and healthier babies in the long run. The wealthy United States does not have paid maternity leave.

With the victory of the Vietnamese people in southern Vietnam in 1975, that black eye for U.S. imperialism dramatically hindered the ability of the United States to wage war on the people of the world for a period of time. Towards the end of the war, most U.S. soldiers were opposed to the war before they got to Vietnam and simply refused to murder people in a war that they didn't believe in in another people's land. Within the military opposition became so radicalized that commanding officers who tried to force soldiers to fight were being killed. The level of morale within the U.S. military was at a level similar to Russian soldiers on the front lines in WW I who helped overthrow two successive governments in 1917 in order to end that war. Unfortunately, in the United States, the capitalist system and its inherent drive to wage imperialist war was never overthrown.

Within the United States the heroic resistance of the Vietnamese people created a massive movement against the war that buoyed spin off movements for women's liberation, LGBT rights, and for environmental protections. To a large degree the American people have the heroic resistance of the Vietnamese people to thank for the limited gains that we have made on those issues.

From Guantanamo to Côn Sơn

Before U.S. imperialism's torture, rape, and murder at Guantanamo, there were the tiger cages of Côn Sơn Island where the U.S. and the U.S. imposed puppet government of south Vietnam tortured prisoners with the inhumane conditions murdering 20,000 people. The victims were largely leftists and suspected leftists who opposed the U.S. imposed dictatorship. Likewise, the CIA’s torture and assassination program, called the Phoenix Program, in south Vietnam tortured and murdered suspected Communists and suspected Communist Supporters. Few prisoners survived their interrogations. The U.S. State Department admits to directly killing 20,000 people under this program and another 20,000 were murdered by it when the program was turned over to the south Vietnamese dictatorship.

With the victory of the Vietnamese against U.S. imperialism in 1975 the Phoenix Program was terminated and the Côn Son prison was shut down. Most of Côn Son Island was then turned into a national park. The park, called Con Dao National Park, protects 83% of the island including endemic species unique to the island and the prison has been made into a museum that spotlights the suffering imposed by French and U.S. imperialism. Forty four of the island’s 1,000 plant species are unique to the island and so are some of the animal species, including a rare black squirrel that may be the biggest squirrel in the world. The waters off the island are protected as well with pristine coral reefs, rare Hawksbill Turtles that also nest on the islands, and endangered dugongs. Fishing boats are prohibited in the marine sanctuary. Survivors of torture at Côn Sơn prison have moved on to many positions in the leadership of Vietnamese society, including one who never left the island after liberation and who instead began working as a ranger at the new park and loves his job protecting the rare and unique species of the islands.

While occupying Vietnam the U.S. dropped massive amounts of Agent Orange on the country as a defoliant to destroy the vegetation to more easily see the Vietnamese who were being slaughtered. This was despite the chemicals in Agent Orange being known to cause serious long term health problems. Birth defects, cancers, and many other health problems continue to plague the Vietnamese people as a result. Likewise, U.S. soldiers were knowingly exposed to the toxins of Agent Orange with the U.S. government falsely denying knowledge.

From Agent Orange to Depleted Uranium

In Iraq, Afghanistan, and Yugoslavia as well as elsewhere the U.S. government has now used another powerful weapon of mass destruction. These weapons are made from the deadly and highly radioactive material called Depleted Uranium (DU). DU ammunition has a pyrophoric ability to burn through steel. Thus the military finds it useful in destroying tanks. Italy pulled their troops out of Kosovo due to 8 cases of leukemia in their military which they attributed to the U.S. use of DU ammunition during the war.

Before the U.S. invasion of Iraq the London Guardian sent reporters to southern Iraq who found radiation levels 30 times normal background radiation in the battlefields of the first Gulf War. On tanks destroyed by tank busting A-10 DU ammunition the radiation level was 50 times higher than normal. Elevated levels of radiation have made its way into the food and water. Leukemia and birth defects have increased dramatically in Iraq since the US use of DU there and infant mortality was reported at 13.6% for 2008-2009.

Likewise, Kosovo reports a 200% increase in malignant diseases since Clinton’s U.S. led war dropped 10 tons of DU on the country. Clinton’s war was supposedly against ethnic cleansing. Besides irradiating and poisoning the country with DU, the political results of his war included an “independence” for Kosovo under NATO occupation where the KLA slaughtered ethnic Serbians under the watchful eye of NATO troops. Benefits for U.S. imperialism included the privatization of Kosovo’s rich mines for capitalist profit.

Like with Agent Orange, the U.S. government did not inform U.S. soldiers of the deadly materials that they were being exposed to, nor did they supply them with the protective suits they needed. In the first Persian Gulf War 250,000 soldiers came home reporting to veteran's hospitals with the classic symptoms of radiation poisoning. Those sets of conditions became known as the Persian Gulf War Syndrome while the military brass pretended they didn’t know what they had exposed soldiers to.

For Revolutionary Solutions

Leninist-Trotskyists hail the victory of the Vietnamese people over U.S. imperialism. We call for an end to U.S. imperialism through socialist revolution in the United States. In addition, we defend the remaining gains of the Vietnamese Revolution from imperialist attack and internal capitalist revolution. At the same time, we oppose the lack of real workers democracy in in Vietnam. This goes back to Ho Chi Minh's murder of large numbers of Leninist-Trotskyists (the most radical anti-imperialist Marxists) as part of Ho Chi Minh attempting to work out a deal with the imperialists. That deal was never struck and Ho Chi Minh was forced to fight anyway. In addition to calling for workers democracy, we oppose the dangerous capitalist inroads that have been allowed by the Vietnamese Communist Party, both for the fact that it has created intolerable inequalities and exploitation, and because it is laying the potential class basis for capitalist counterrevolution.

-Steven Argue of the Revolutionary Tendency


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