MILLIONS of workers and youth both in Vietnam and throughout the world are mourning the death of General Giap, who led the military victory over French imperialism and the victory over the much stronger army, navy and airforce of United States imperialism.
However, they are not just mourning his death, they are celebrating colossal victories. French imperialism was smashed at Dien Bien Phu. That victory led onto the liberation of Algeria from the French ruling class. Then there was the even more earthshaking victory over US imperialism.
The American ruling class used hundreds of thousands of troops, mass bombing, and the Agent Orange chemical weapon in thousands of tonnes, killing hundreds of thousands of Vietnamese. The world was told that this was a war that the Vietnamese could not win, but they did.
They proved to the world that US imperialism had feet of clay, and that since it was beaten out of Vietnam, it would certainly be beaten worldwide by the workers of the world.
In fact Giap’s great victories were not just a product of national conditions and circumstances but were part of, and a product of, the world socialist revolution.
This began in 1917, with the Bolshevik led workers revolution in Russia. This changed the world for ever. It was the first successful revolution of the working class, and almost immediately spread to Germany, Hungary and other countries, where the lack of revolutionary leadership led to a situation where the old ruling classes were just about able to hang-on.
October 1917 however had just as great an effect on the East, and led to the founding of both the Chinese and Vietnamese Communist parties, where the leading role of the working class in mobilising the peasant masses for national liberation was recognised.
Even the victory of Stalin over Trotsky, in imposing the policy of socialism in a single country, and Stalin’s insistence that the ‘national revolution’ must be led by the bourgeoisie in a bloc of the four classes, was unable to destroy the revolution in the east.
Chiang Kai Shek was made an honourary member of the Executive Committee of the Communist International, and huge damage was done when Chiang used Stalin’s patronage to organise the slaughter of hundreds of thousands of Communists.
However the flame was not put out.
It was able to erupt once again with massive power alongside a change in the international situation. This was after the debacle of the Stalin Hitler pact led to the ‘surprise’ assault by Hitler on the USSR, when Russian workers organised the planned economy to build thousands of tanks to drive the fascists out of Russia and hang the hammer and sickle above the Reischstag.
These victories created the conditions where the Chinese Communist party, against Stalin’s orders, overthrew the Kuomintang, establishing the Chinese People’s Republic in 1949, and where the Vietnamese Communist Party was able to resist the return of French imperialism to Indo China and finally destroy it at Dien Bien Phu.
The world revolution has now moved on.
The celebrations of Giap’s life are taking place at a time when the capitalist system is in its greatest ever crisis, when the US ruling class has been told by the World Bank that its indebtedness is threatening capitalism with its greatest crash ever. World capitalism is on its knees.
If another huge crash does not happen on October 17 it is only a matter time before it does.
Lenin was correct when he declared that the Russian socialist revolution was the start of the world socialist revolution and that socialism and then communism could only be established when the working class had overthrown the most powerful capitalist ruling classes in Europe and the USA.
The economic and political problems that workers face in deformed workers states like Vietnam and China can only be resolved with the victory of the socialist revolution in the most advanced countries and the further integration of the world economy on a planned socialist basis.
The world crisis of capitalism is putting this revolutionary solution to the crisis at the top of humankind’s agenda. Sections of the Fourth International must be built in every country to lead the world socialist revolution to its victory.