The politics of the ruling class time and time again affirms the famous saying of Marx: “First as tragedy, then as farce.” Here, the ex-Stalinist, now state-capitalist government of Vietnam has asserted its place in both the old tragedy and the new farce with respect to American imperialism.

We received this interesting letter which gives an insight into the situation that has emerged in Vietnam since it adopted so-called “market reforms”, with extremes of poverty side by side with immense wealth.

In the early hours of 31st January 1968, 70,000 North Vietnamese soldiers, together with guerrilla fighters of the NLF, launched one of the most daring military campaigns in history. The Tet Offensive was the real turning point in the Vietnam War. On its 40th anniversary, Alan Woods analyses the events that led to the Vietnam War and the significance of the Tet Offensive in bringing about the defeat of US imperialism, and draws some parallels with Iraq.

In the early hours of 31st January 1968, 70,000 North Vietnamese soldiers, together with guerrilla fighters of the NLF, launched one of the most daring military campaigns in history. The Tet Offensive was the real turning point in the Vietnam War. On its 40th anniversary, Alan Woods analyses the events that led to the Vietnam War and the significance of the Tet Offensive in bringing about the defeat of US imperialism, and draws some parallels with Iraq.

In 1975 the Vietnamese people gained a historic victory, driving out the US armed forces and liberating the south. After 28 years of war the country was reunited and capitalism and landlordism abolished throughout. With these heroic sacrifices, the Vietnamese workers and peasants paid the price for the defeat of the revolution of 1945,when they had power in their grasp. Why was this opportunity lost in 1945? What are the lessons of this defeat for the workers' struggle today?

This article has been specially translated by one of our Vietnamese subscribers for "In Defence of Marxism" from the Vietnamese newspaper Lao Dong("Labour"), 11 August, 2000. It describes the conditions in which this section of toilers has to work in order to keep up with the demands put on this industry by world capitalism.

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