[Marxism] A Vietnamese critique of the Iraqi resistance

Walter Lippmann walterlx at earthlink.net
Sat Nov 12 04:52:06 MST 2005

Fred Feldman here provides no examples to document his view that the
Vietnamese had a "crisis of leadership" and so it's hard to know to
what he is referring here. If my memory serves, the last time Fred
wrote about this, in the US Socialist Workers Party's International
Socialist Review magazine back in the 1970s, his views were rather
negative. He wrote as an uncompromising opponent of the Vietnamese
Communist Party when expressing the opinions of the SWP, to which we
and others on Marxmail all belonged, at that time. Check that out:

This concept of "crisis of leadership" derives from the Transtitional
Program for Socialist Revolution, Trotsky's estimable effort to
develope an international critique of Stalinist and Social Democratic
reformism in 1938. There have been one or two changes in the world
since those heady days, including World War Two, the fall of the
Soviet Union, the triumph of the Chinese and Vietnamese revolutions
and the rise of China to be a power of world influence economically
and in other ways. I think that a more updated political vocabulary
should be considered when looking at these events.

Looking back in 1945 and 1954 and 1975, what's the point of using
such terms as "crisis of leadership" now that we are looking at them
from the vantage point of 2004, no less than three decades later and
in a subsequent century? It's that all-too-familiar Trotskyist
vocabulary which is not the best way to understand today's struggles,
I think.

Instead of trying to look at Vietnamese (and Chinese for that matter)
history from the point of view of what might have should have could
have been done had they did what some of us might have thought that
they could have or should have done had they did what we thought
then, it's high time to try to understand what they did, why they did
what they did, and how we can best understand how they SUCCEEDED in
defeating foreign imperialist powers in those days, and how they are
furthermore relating to foreign imperialist powers today.

Though I was happily and productively a member of the Trotskyist
movement for decades prior to my involuntary departure from the
SWP(USA) in 1983, which was later on followed by my voluntary
departure from the offshoot I'd been part of for another five years,
in 1988, it's time today to look at the world differently. Trotskyism
was a reaction to the rise of Stalinism in the Soviet Union. with the
liquidation of the Soviet Union, its history, experience and
contradictions are subjects of important historical study for young
revolutionists of today and tomorrow. But to build a political
movement on the basis of Trotskyism in 2005, long after the fall of
the Soviet Union, on which Trotskyism's very existence was
predicated, is mistaken, in my opinion.

It would be a useful exercise, in my opinion, for writers like Fred
Feldman to reconsider what he wrote in 1975 in light of subsequent
developments, and to then develop a more relevant contemporary
estimation. I would recommend to anyone doing that a re-reading as a
premise the famous letter of Jose Marti to Manuel Mercado, his final
message before he was killed in combat in 1898, for a simple but
still relevant element of political strategy. With this you can make
sense of Aaron Glantz' report on what his Vietnamese interviewer told
him. I'm not convinced that the Vietnamese were trying to give advice
to the Iraqis by way of an interview with a left-wing US freelance

Looking carefully at the most interesting report from Aaron Glantz,
it's worth noting that some of his most provocate attributions to his
Vietnamese interviewee aren't presented as quotations from the
Vietnemese in his own words, but are rather attributed to him by
Aaron Glantz. He may well, however, have been trying to put a bee in
certain other bonnets where English is the predominant language. It's
an idea worth considering...


Cuban analyses of Iraq and the need for a united front type of effort 
to defeat foreign invaders and their predatory armies of occupation:

Walter Lippmann, CubaNews

In the end, it seems to me, that is how the Vietnamese 
solved their crisis of leadership. Fred Feldman

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