Saturday, 31 March 2012


On Ho Chi Minh
Sukant Chandan
Sons of Malcolm

This is documentary-film on the life of revolutionary nationalist and socialist leader of Vietnam, Ho Chi Minh, is well worth a watch. It is usa-made and interviews many western journalists and other figures who had met Ho.

The documentary also has footage that I had not seen where Ho meets Chinese revolutionary leader Mao tse tung, Kruschev of the USSR and Tito of Yugoslavia.

Ho is one of the greatest revolutionary leaders on the twentieth century, and a lot more focus should be put on the historical and continued anti-imperialist and socialist experience of Vietnam. Rather, lefties in the west like it when our people die in their tens of thousands in our wars of liberation against empire, but when our people build up our countries after the resistance, the western lefties aren't interested any more and usually denounce that which we have successfully built.

It was in reality the radicalisation in usa society borne out of the Black Liberation Movement, especially the Panthers and other radicalising groups like the Young Lords, Brown Berets, Weather Underground, White Panthers, that disturbed the usa ruling class. All organisations which most of the western left at best patronise or more usually denounce as being too this or too that for their liking.

Ho Chi Minh, as the documentary states, spent over thirty years living in the west, including in London and Paris, he was also a founding member of the Communist Party of France in 1920 but was constantly frustrated by the way French colonialism infected the French CP particularly as the CP at times was in the French government and as Vietnam was a French colony at the tie, Ho felt the party could have played a better anti-imperialist role.

He saw in the usa that the blacks were the most oppressed section of the population and supported their militant resistance against white supremacist terror.

Ho Chi Minh was a firm believer of the unity of the socialist camp, and was disturbed and upset when the Communist China fell out with the USSR in the early 1960s, and even in his last words desired the two countries to reunite:

"Being a man who has devoted his whole life to the revolution, the more proud I am of the growth of the international communist and workers' movement, the more pained I am by the current discord among the fraternal Parties.

I hope that our Party will do its best to contribute effectively to the restoration of unity among the fraternal Parties on the basis of Marxism - Leninism and proletarian internationalism, in a way which conforms to both reason and sentiment.

I am firmly confident that the fraternal Parties and countries will have to unite again."

This process of rapprochement between the two socialist giants started in the mid 1980s, but never was completed due to the collapse of the USSR due to internal sell-outs like Gorbachev.

Today we can see the Russian state being led by Putin who is the personification of the continuing power of the old Red Army and KGB intelligence services unite again strategically in international politics with China in support of the Global South, most profoundly of late with the veto at the UN security council in favour of supporting Syrian independence which has given the Global South a little breathing space.

Ho Chi Minh's writings and speeches and as well the military-political leader of the Vietnamese resistance General Giap, a modern master of mass-based socialist guerilla warfare, are important texts for revolutionaries to get their heads around.

The documentary states that Ho believed in outright victory of the liberation forces against the French occupation of the country, and then the usa occupation. On both accounts the Vietnamese defeated them outright. This was a major inspiration to the militancy of the international struggle as with the support of the USSR and China, Vietnam could take on such a strategy vis-a-vis imperialism and win. In so doing, they inspired militancy across the world (listen to the Chilean revolutionary's and singer's - Victor Jara's ode to Ho Chi Minh below), including Che Guevara who concluded in his most famous speech that the world needs one, two three many Vietnams to defeat imperialism across the world.

The victory in 1954 of the Vietnamese resistance of the French occupiers at Dien Bien Phu (so much of the struggle of Vietnam is truly awesome, with this battle just an incredible chapter in world anti-imperialist history) was also a direct inspiration to the world anti-colonial struggle, was one of the first military victories over imperialism in the post Second World War period, and also directly inspired the Algerian revolutionaries in the National Liberation Front to escalate their struggle against French imperialism.

Lets us ensure the sacrifice of millions of Vietnamese lives doesn't remain a means to drop a shallow quote to the Vietnamese war and resistance, but informs our living revolutionary conciousness and soul for the continued struggle against empire and white supremacy.

I was lucky enough to have visited the country for three weeks in the summer of 2002 hosted by the Communist Party and the Youth League there, its an impressive country and as a person from Asia, it was wonderful to see an Asian country that delivers an increasing standard of living to its people and takes a generally good position in international affairs.

Every student in the world should visit Vietnam and learn about that country's struggles. I remember seeing young white students from north america at the museum of the war in Ho Chi Ming city (formerly known as 'Saigon' before liberation) who were all in tears at seeing in the exhibition what their country had done to the Vietnamese people and the dauntless revolutionary spirit for independence of the Vietnamese people in their resistance.

Vietnam sacrificed for its own liberation and on behalf of the international liberation movement against imperialism. Today Vietnam continues to stand as a socialist and independent nation. They deserve our respect.

"My ultimate wish is that our entire Party and people, closely joining their efforts, will build a peaceful, reunified, independent, democratic and prosperous Vietnam, and make a worthy contribution to the world revolution." (Ho Chi Minh - last testament)

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