John Smith Essays

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Vietnam’s history has similarities with Korea’s, which Stalin, Churchill and Roosevelt agreed should be also divided and placed under military occupation (at their notorious February 1945 meeting in Yalta) — leading to the Korean War, in which the US dropped more bombs than had been used by both sides in the Pacific theatre of World War II.

By 1953, two and half million Koreans lay dead, but even this did not crush their resistance to imperialist occupation.

Instead, acting under Moscow’s orders, the ICP leadership greeted the first contingents of British troops to arrive (on 12-13 September) with welcome banners and attempted to shake hands with their commander, General Gracey, but were contemptuously brushed aside.

Gracey seized government buildings, declared martial law, freed Japanese prisoners of war, armed them and used them as a temporary police force until French military forces arrived to reinstate their colonial rule.

These facts are not widely known, not even among left-wing and progressive forces, because neither liberal nor conservative opinion-formers have any interest in reminding us of these facts, and neither do those left-wing movements who have their origins in the Stalin-led ‘communist movement’.

The dominant mainstream narrative on the Cold War has yet to be seriously challenged; on the contrary, the truth is buried under more and more layers of rubbish.The dominant narrative is that the war was between the “West”, led by the United States, which was trying to spread capitalism and democracy, and the “East” led by the Soviet Union, which was trying to spread socialism and communism.It is absurd to claim that the installation by the USA and its allies of countless bloodthirsty dictators from the Shah to Saddam to Somoza had anything to do with “spreading democracy”, but the first part of the dominant narrative is correct: the USA and its imperialist allies were indeed fighting a war to spread capitalism and crush any resistance to it.The Stalinist “stages” theory of history held that anti-capitalist revolutions were impossible in nations oppressed by imperialism — because the working class was too small and weak and because the task of the day was to abolish feudal and other pre-capitalist obstacles to the spread of capitalism — and its proponents argued that a protracted period of capitalist development was necessary before class contradictions in these nations could come to approximate those in the imperialist nations, and only then could the struggle for socialism could be put on the agenda.So, instead of leading struggles to bring revolutionary governments of workers and farmers to power, Moscow instructed the communist parties under its control to become junior partners in alliances with the supposedly progressive wing of the national bourgeoisie, leading to countless catastrophic defeats, Iran in 1953 and Indonesia in 1965 being two major examples.As Che Guevara said, “the indigenous bourgeoisies have lost all capacity to oppose imperialism — if they ever had any…. Either a socialist revolution or a caricature of a revolution.”It is notable that the only revolutionary victories during the so-called Cold War occurred under the leadership of communist parties that had broken at least partially from subservience to Moscow (Yugoslavia, China, Korea, Vietnam), or of revolutionary movements and parties that had never been in Moscow’s orbit in the first place (e.g. Perhaps the most instructive example is that of Vietnam.At the Potsdam Conference in July 1945, the victors — Truman, Churchill (assisted by Labour Party leader Clement Attlee, whose election as Prime Minister of Britain was confirmed mid-conference) and Stalin, met to share out the spoils of victory.Ignoring the question of imperialism is synonymous to betrayal of people’s cause.John Smith, former oil rig worker, bus driver, telecommunications engineer, longtime activist in the anti-war and Latin American solidarity movements, and author of , January 2016), discusses the question of imperialism in the following interview taken by Farooque Chowdhury during July 2018-February 2019.The real East is invisible in this risible, incredibly Eurocentric narrative, and the same fate of invisibility befalls the entire South: the North-South conflict, i.e.the struggle between imperialism and its colonies and neo-colonies, is entirely collapsed into the so-called East-West conflict.

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