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YSF on the Vietnam War, 1964-1966

From 1963 until August 1965, Young Socialist Forum was a small-format (8.5x11) 4- or 8-page newspaper, published every second month. Its small size (made necessary by the group’s limited resources) limited its ability to deal at length with many topics. Nevertheless, YSF devoted considerable space to Vietnam, even before the emergence of the antiwar movement.

In the Fall of 1965, Young Socialist Forum changed from a small newspaper format to a 16-page bi-monthly magazine. The new format allowed longer articles which attempted to explain the nature of the war to the growing number of radical youth who were coming into contact with the revolutionary left.

At the same time, supporters of YSF were putting substantial efforts in to building a movement against the war. For articles on the movement, see YSF on the Anti-War Movement 1965-1968.

Young Socialist Forum, Summer 1964

Get U.S. Troops Out of Vietnam

By John Riddell

The U.S. government has been filling the headlines with its warnings that it will risk nuclear war rather than give up its attempt to "liberate" Vietnam. What Is the American army doing in Vietnam? Early in June American troops moved into an area of South Vietnam whose inhabitants were suspected of sympathy with the rebels. The Vancouver Sun report reads:

      "Armed helicopters poured 3,000 rockets into villages along the river. They burned to the ground every hut they could find. Sampans were sunk and bullock carts were smashed. Some 700 women, old men and children were driven from the area … About 1,000 tons of rice were destroyed. Thousands of animals were slaughtered or carried off. A 20 mile stretch ... was left scorched and barren."

This was the first incident of the new American "scorched earth" policy; only a single incident of a war where the U.S. government has taken on a whole nation, and seems determined to destroy this nation with all the horrors of Hiroshima and Auschwitz rather than end its intervention.

The war in Vietnam has a long history. The Vietnamese first won their independence in 1945, when they drove out the Japanese and set up an independent republic. The French army moved in quickly, and seized control. It took 9 years of fighting before the French were decisively routed at Dien Bien Phu and forced to negotiate a peace. The resulting Geneva agreements partitioned the nation provisionally and provided for a free election within three years to determine the future of the whole nation. An International control commission, of which Canada is one of three members, was set up to ensure the withdrawal of all foreign troops and the enforcement of the Geneva agreements.

This was a substantial victory for the Vietnamese; there was little doubt that in free elections the nation would have voted to end French rule and institute some form of socialist government. It was at this point, however, that the United States intervened. The American government had refused to sign the peace agreement, and now began to move arms and personnel into the south. Their puppet-dictatorship in the south refused to permit the elections, and the war broke out again—this time against American imperialism.

The U.S. has tried just about everything in its war in Vietnam. It tried to force two thirds of the population into "strategic hamlets"—which differ from concentration camps only in that inmates are allowed to leave to work in the fields during the day—under armed guard. Most of the camps have been destroyed by Viet Cong attacks in union with the villagers inside. The U.S. brought in helicopters—and the wrecks now litter the jungles. In the past year they have backed three dictatorships, each as unpopular as the one before. They have attacked the forests with chemicals and the villagers, with napalm bombs—60% of "Viet Cong" casualties are now inflicted by American troops. As it became obvious that the rebels were winning the war, they threatened to extend it by invading independent North Vietnam. When this had no effect, they threatened war with China. These threats were based on charges of foreign intervention which have a strange ring; as Democratic Senator Wayne Morse has pointed out, the only foreign troops in Vietnam are the Americans themselves.

The Vietnamese are fighting for their independence and their right to determine their own future. The U.S. has declared itself ready to plunge the world into war to prevent this. Where does Canada stand? As a member of the Geneva commission, Canada is obliged to prevent foreign troops from entering Vietnam. The only foreign troops in sight are 15,000 Americans. Has the Canadian government made any protests? New Democratic Party leader T. C. Douglas has demanded in parliament that Canada dissociate itself from the American imperialist policy. Canada’s prince of peace, Pearson, refused to do so. In fact, Canada’s representatives on the Geneva commission have persistently refused to take a stand against American intervention.

Canada must act to stop the war in Vietnam! As a member of the Geneva commission, Canada must demand withdrawal of American forces, and assert the right of the Vietnamese to determine their own future!

Young Socialist Forum, February 1965

U.S. Bombing of Vietnam Risks World War
Canada Plays Phony Role

By The Editors

American warplanes have repeatedly bombed North Vietnam. The White House threatens to continue these acts of war indefinitely. The attacks are in response to the growing success of the rebels in the Vietnamese civil war, and their closely approaching victory—not, as the U.S. states, in "retaliation" for North Vietnamese "instigation" of Viet Cong attacks.

The evidence of mass support for the National Liberation Front (Viet Cong) is overwhelming. Even the most biased observers report that villages considered "safe" by the South Vietnam government continually turn out to be full of the Viet Cong and their supporters, that government troops and their American "advisors" continually complain that they can’t tell the ordinary peasants from the rebels, that rebel fighters display tremendous courage in the face of murderous American military equipment, that the government troops are unwilling to fight the rebels, and that the Viet Cong control over 80% of the country.

The rebels represent land reform and socialism: an end to the rampant starvation and squalor, rapid industrialization, and social progress. The Khanh dictatorship cannot grant any of these. And no amount of bombing of North Vietnam can step the struggle so firmly rooted in the south.

The Canadian government is deeply involved in the situation: It has contributed equipment and money to the corrupt South Vietnamese dictatorship. As a member of the International Control Commission, it is committed to supervising the Geneva 1954 accord, which states that there are to be no foreign armed forces in South Vietnam and no foreign intervention in the affairs of the Southeast Asian nations. Yet it has blatantly closed its eyes to the American military buildup in South Vietnam, and the vicious war being conducted there entirely on the initiative of the Western powers. Nor has it said a single word of protest against the American bombings of the neighboring nations of Cambodia, Laos, and North Vietnam—whose sovereignty the ICC is also supposed to be supervising.

On Feb. 10, Pearson attempted to whitewash the American action. He warned against criticizing the bombings; terming them "retaliatory or deterrent reactions against Communist Viet Cong attacks." And he spoke of the danger of Chinese domination of the area. This supposed danger seems a bit ludicrous when one recalls that the only foreign troops in all Indochina are American! And that the South Vietnamese people support the Viet Cong!

Young people everywhere must protest both the American actions and the Canadian government’s complicity. Already numerous student groups have voiced their opposition; NDY clubs have demonstrated on the issue. Yet the NDP is silent—no prominent NDPer has clearly stated opposition. NDYers across the country must call on the party to take a stand—American withdrawal from Vietnam, and exposure of the role of the Canadian government.

Young Socialist Forum, Early Summer 1965

Vietnam Struggle: Nuclear War Next?

by Art Young

The deepening crisis over Vietnam continues to: bring the world closer and closer to the nuclear brink. The pretext of "retaliation" has now been dropped and bombings of North Vietnam are occurring on a round-the-clock basis. There are more than 40,000 U.S. troops in South Vietnam—more than twice the strength of four months ago. Fiendish new weapons are now being tried out: gas, firestorms, rifles which have such impact they tear off entire limbs, and bombs which scatter razor sharp metal over wide areas. There is increasing talk of further escalation—the bombing of Hanoi, an attack on China; and the use of nuclear weapons.

All this is being done very carefully. Every new step is calculated, its effectiveness and the reactions to it are noted, and the next step planned. The White House strategists are estimating just what they can get away with, how many people they can slaughter safely, how close they can come to total nuclear annihilation. All in a vain attempt to intimidate the Vietnamese people.

But events have proven that the Vietnamese will not slacken their struggle. They are determined to overthrow the American puppet regimes, to choose their own destiny, to begin the modernization of their nation, They see the industrialization and land reform which have taken place in North Vietnam—and in the south, areas under Viet Cong control have begun to institute land reform.

These heroic revolutionaries, winning their arms from the American forces, struggling against the most fiendish products of modern technology, are not giving up. On the contrary, all reports show that they have met the U.S. military buildup with a firmer determination to conquer, with new offensives.

The U.S. calculates that China will not intervene to aid its neighbour and ally, North Vietnam, while it is being laid waste. That is far from certain. It hopes that China will remain passive in the face of the mounting American military buildup in South Vietnam. But that buildup is a direct military threat to the Chinese people. For there is no guarantee that Johnson will not decide to further escalate the war, since the present level of escalation has not paralyzed the Vietnamese revolution. Circles in the U.S., the same people who were labeled crackpots six months ago when they called for bombing of North Vietnam, are now demanding an attack on China.

But any attack on China would have disastrous consequences. No American government has ever embarked on a war with so much criticism in its own country as Johnson now faces. The Chinese army is the strongest anywhere in Asia, and it is backed up by a well-trained militia which numbers in the tens of millions. It is more than a match for any American land army. The Russians would almost certainly be forced to come to the aid of their ally, and with that action, the world would have more than one foot in a nuclear grave.

There can be no guarantee of peace while the U.S. continues to hoist the spectre of total annihilation over any struggle for social betterment. That spectre will not stop the colonial revolution, for it is far better to die struggling for a better life than to die of starvation

It is our task to support the Vietnamese struggle, to stop the drive to nuclear war. We must call for the withdrawal of all U.S. forces from Vietnam. If the Viet Cong wish to negotiate that is up to them. But clearly the Americans have no right to maintain troops there.

The time for action is now. If 20,000 American students can march on Washington to end the Vietnam war, surely Canadian youth can do no less.




Young Socialist Forum, Summer 1965

Editorial: U.S. Must Withdraw Troops

Month after month, the Americans continue their murderous war in Vietnam. The deadly bombings of North Vietnam have continued, aiming at targets closer and closer to the Chinese border. Meanwhile American combat troops have moved into direct attack in the South, leading in wholesale slaughter of the civilian population. And in courageous defiance of the whole military might of American imperialism, the National Liberation Front still moves forward, expanding the territories under its control.

The National Liberation Front (the "Viet Cong") is now the only viable government in the south, ruling over the larger part of the country, collecting the taxes and exercising the functions of a government, while carrying out some of the basic reforms necessary for social progress.

French and American colonialists have never granted the Vietnamese the luxury of "free elections." Yet the Vietnamese have voted just the same, giving their lives by the millions in a twenty-year war of liberation to put in power a government of their choice.

It is to overthrow this government that the Americans bomb closer and closer to the Chinese border, risking nuclear war to perpetuate their rule and exploitation over the peoples of S.E. Asia.

The answer to the Vietnamese war will not be found in big-power negotiations to impose some compromise on the unwilling Vietnamese. Nor will it be found in armed intervention by the UN or any other of the smoke screens used by American imperialism to cover violations of national sovereignty. The only solution can be the withdrawal of the U.S. armed forces, to leave the Vietnamese free to determine their own future.

Young Socialist Forum, March-April 1966

Why Vietnam?

By David Lynne [Ian Angus]

The Johnson Administration explains the war in Vietnam very simply: it is a war of aggression conducted by North Vietnam and China against the people of the South.

The growth of the anti-war movement in the United States certainly indicates that a large number of people do not accept this statement. What has made Vietnam the biggest issue in today’s world of big issues? Why is there a war in Vietnam?

From 1945 to 1954 the Vietnamese fought the French, who controlled the country as part of the disintegrating French Union. In 1954 they delivered a crushing blow to the French Army, routing them at the Battle of Dienbienphu. The French, realizing they could not win the war, and needing the troops to fight the Algerian Revolution, went to the conference table. The result of the negotiations, the "Geneva Accords", clearly provided the following:

a) Vietnam would be divided into two military zones, but this was in no way a permanent political division. (article 1)

b) Pending unification, the Vietminh (a coalition of anti-French forces headed by the Indochinese Communist Party) would rule in the North and the French Union Forces in the South. (14a)

c) No foreign troops were allowed in Vietnam. (16)

d) No foreign military aid was allowed. (17)

e) No foreign military bases were allowed. (19)

f) Neither side was to take reprisals against those who had supported the other side. (14c)

g) Reunification would follow national elections in 1956 to determine who would rule a united Vietnam. (Final Declaration, section 7.)

The United States did not sign the Accords, but declared on July 21, 1954, the day they were signed, that they would "refrain from the threat or the use of force" to disturb the agreements, and would "view any renewal of the aggression ... with grave concern."

Throughout the war, the United States had backed the French. John Foster Dulles had offered the French nuclear weapons (New York Times, June 3, 1954). In a press conference on June 10, 1954, Pierre Mendes-France, later to become Premier of France, revealed:

"The United States intervention was to have taken place on the request of France, April 28. The warships carrying atomic aviation material were loaded and on route. President Eisenhower was to have asked Congress April 26 for authorization. Luckily the project of U.S. intervention was set aside by Britain and public opinion in the U.S."

Now that the French were out, the United States set about to replace them. They relaced Bao Dai, a French puppet ruler, with American-educated Ngo Dinh Diem, through elections so fraudulent that they hardly deserve the name. Hardly was the ink dry on the Accords than the U.S. began violating them.

"It is no secret that we are intervening at almost every level on behalf of the existing government in the South... the elections will never be held." (New York Times, Aug. 22, 1955)

Diem’s government was given massive military and technical aid.

Diem began immediately on a campaign of terror and repression of the Vietnamese peasantry, particularly of Vietminh partisans. Thousands of people were arbitrarily arrested, imprisoned, tortured, executed. In direct violation of article 14c of the Accords, Diem was attempting to wipe out any spark of resistance left after decades of fighting.

"Diem’s army and police have been notorious for their activities in the villages—widespread arrest and imprisonment without evidence and without trial of persons suspected of being Communists or ‘enemies of the state’ ... about 14,000 persons were arrested in central Annam alone to the time of the March 1956 elections. Since then the process ... increased rather than diminished." (National Review, Nov. 25, 1957)

The International Control Commission, set up by the Geneva Conference to supervise the carrying out of the Accords, and composed of Canada, Poland and India, was only able to investigate a few of the complaints made against the Diem government. It was hampered by that regime at every turn. Yet in its fourth report it stated:

"In cases where enquiries were possible, we have verified 319 cases involving the loss of human lives.... The Commission was unable to determine that, apart from the cases cited, there have not been other reprisals and discriminations."

In the North, where it was relatively unhampered, the Commission found no evidence of violation of this article.

Diem instituted a "Land Reform" project, which had the effect of forcing the peasants to give up the land distributed during the war against the French. They were then required to pay ten years back rent to their absentee landlords!

The Geneva Accords were never put into effect. On one hand the United States began pumping aid to the Saigon government from the beginning, endorsing and encouraging its violations of the Accords. On the other hand, and this is one of the most important aspects of the war, the peasants refused to go along with the consequences of the "compromise" settlement, and because of this they came into conflict with both the Vietminh and the Diem regime.

The Vietnamese had fought the French army and won. They had seized land from oppressive landlords and were cultivating it. Suddenly they were told that an agreement between their "leaders" and their enemies, made thousands of miles away, made them submit to the very forces they had defeated.

The peasants had no part in formulating the Geneva Accords. They probably could not have read them had they seen them. If asked, they would probably have rejected them: in 1945 they had seen an "agreement" between their leaders and the British pave the way for French reinvasion.

Throughout Vietnam, the peasants, particularly the mountain tribes, refused to submit to the Diem government. In the first years after 1954, Diem was able to collect taxes in only three-quarters of the villages of South Vietnam.

Sao Nam, now a member of the National Liberation Front, was one of the members of the Vietminh who took the "line" of accepting Diem’s rule to the mountain tribes. He described to Wilfred Burchett, an Australian journalist who has spent the last few years in Southeast Asia, his experience in taking the line to the Kor, a mountain tribe. The ninety year old chief of the 4,700-member tribe told Sao Nam:

"Never do our people move without a battle. It would be to insult the graves of our ancestors. And you and your friends who were such brave warriors against the French, why do you not join us and fight together again? Either we fight together or we are struck down together like buffalo tied to a tree."

After the Vietminh representative had again argued that the Kor should move, not attempt to resist Diem’s army, the old man summed up the feelings of many Vietnamese peasants of this time.

"Before you were real warriors. We fought as one. Now we see you are no longer resistance fighters. It you were, you would support us and not ask us to run away." (Wilfred Burchett, Vietnam: Inside Story of the Guerilla War, International Publishers, pp. 130-31).

The Kor eventually moved, but not before decimating the local Diem Army garrison, seizing their weapons, and successfully avoiding the Diemist division sent to retaliate. Using home-made weapons and traps, they kept the division from even getting near their village. After they moved, sixty-five operations were carried out against the Kor by the Saigon regime, with no effect.

This type of action took place all over Vietnam. In the village of Nong Con, inhabited by the Sedang minority, barely out of the Stone Age, the people implemented the economic planning they had heard about on Radio Hanoi, just as if the Diem government did not exist.

The people of South Vietnam needed no "outside agitators" to make them rebel. No conspiracy of communists in North or South Vietnam created the rebellion. In fact, it began in spite of the Vietnamese Communists, who wished to stick to "legal" methods of struggle.

"As for the ‘line’, this was set by our leadership the moment the Geneva Ceasefire Agreements were signed for the whole of Vietnam. Absolute strict respect for the Geneva Agreements was spelt out into detailed instructions to observe discipline; not to go beyond the bounds of legal, political struggle .... It cost us the lives of many of our finest comrades in the Period 1954-59." (Quyet Thanh, a NLF regimental commander, to Wilfred Burchett - Op. cit., p. 113)

Before the National Liberation Front (NLF—the so-called "Vietcong") was founded in December, 1960, there were over 10,000 independent, organized rebel formations in South Vietnam.

The Vietnamese successfully defeated the Japanese occupation army in 1945, only to have French rule, which began in 1884, re-established. It took nine years of hard fighting to drive the French out, and then the Americans came. With such a history of resistance to oppression, the Vietnamese needed no encouragement to rebel. Ignoring their leaders, they took arms against the Diem government.

In fact, far from the peasants being bludgeoned into rebellion by Communists, in a very real sense, the leadership entered the struggle almost unwillingly, as a result of popular pressure. They contributed organization and coordination, but the peasants began the war and are fighting it. Despite the fact that North and South Vietnam are legally one country, and that North Vietnam would have every moral justification for aiding the Southern rebellion, U.S. charges of North Vietnamese infiltration remain at best unproven.

As Carl Oglesby said at, the Nov. 27 March on Washington:

"Can we understand why the Negroes of Watts rebelled? Then why do we need a devil-theory for the rebellion of the South Vietnamese?"

No leadership can impose a revolution where the people do not want it. No guerilla army can last for long without popular support. These are accepted facts of life in the colonial world. Not all the lies and hypocrisies of Johnson and the Pentagon can deny them.


"I have never talked or corresponded with a single person knowledgeable in Indo-Chinese affairs who did not agree that had elections been held at the time of the fighting, possibly 80% of the population would have voted for the Communist Ho Chi Minh as their leader...."—Dwight D. Eisenhower, Mandate For Change

"American officers state frankly that they are learning as much as they teach. South Vietnam is the only part of the world where the Pentagon’s training manuals can be put to the test, under conditions of real warfare. In this tropical Salisbury Plain new techniques are being developed of ‘counter-insurgency’."—London Times, Jan. 21, 1963

"I don’t think we are buying Vietnamese stability in the long run out of the present operation. What we are buying is an example—for Latin American and other guerrilla-prone areas. What we are really doing in Vietnam is killing the cause of ‘wars of liberation’."—Bernard Fall, lecturer on guerrilla warfare at the Army War College, in Ramparts Magazine in December.

"Senator Wayne Morse (D.-Ore.) has charged the U.S. with trying to build up the war in South Vietnam to the point ‘where they will have an alibi and on excuse to bomb nuclear installations in Red China.’"—Associated Press, Feb. 24, 1965

"Everything that has happened in Southeast Asia since Dien Bien Phu reflects Washington’s determination to try to bring about the downfall of the Peking regime."—Hugh Deane, former reporter in China, Japan, and elsewhere in Asia, in "The War in Vietnam"

"The de facto integration of South Vietnam within the American defense structure implied that the region ought to be secure, and hence, purged of anything which might, however remotely, serve the Red cause." —Philippe Devillers, leading French expert on Southeast Asia in China Quarterly, Jan.-Mar., 1962

"Their aim in Vietnam is really much simpler than this implies. It is to safeguard what they take to be American interests around the world against revolution or revolutionary change, which they always call Communism—as if that were that. In the case of Vietnam, this interest is, first, the principle that revolution shall not be tolerated anywhere, and second, that South Vietnam shall never sell its rice to China—or even to North Vietnam." —Carl Oglesby, President of Students for a Democratic Society, at the March on Washington, Nov. 27, 1965

Young Socialist Forum, July-August 1966

The Stakes in Vietnam

by John Wilson

To effectively oppose the war in Vietnam, it is critically important to attempt to fully understand the global implications of this bloody conflagration. For Johnson’s genocidal war on the Vietnamese people continues to escalate despite rising opposition the world over. Even as tens of thousands of anti-Ky demonstrators converged in the streets of Hue, Danang and Saigon itself, Defence Secretary McNamara, speaking to the Senate Foreign Relations Committee April 20, declared that the U.S. is spending 33 million dollars a day on the war, compared to the figure of 2 million a day previously announced. Further, it has projected that at the present rate of escalation, there will be 400,000 American troops in Vietnam by the end of this year.

Is Vietnam really so important to the ruling circles of the U.S.? How did the United States, the wealthiest and most powerful country in the world, come to immerse itself in a dirty and despicable adventure that could culminate in nuclear disaster?

President Johnson’s personal egomania is hardly a sufficient explanation, even if an instructive commentary on the nature of the social system which selects such a figure as its leading spokesman.

The fact is that Johnson’s policy traces back to the days of Roosevelt, a policy advanced by Truman, Eisenhower and Kennedy before it was inherited by the present incumbent of the White House. In the specific case of Vietnam, Johnson is simply carrying out a policy, initiated by Eisenhower and extended by Kennedy, of armed intervention to crush the Vietnamese revolution.

The U.S.A. has been intervening for decades to suppress foreign revolutionary movements. At the close of World War II, even before the end of the alliance with the USSR and commencement of the cold war, the general framework for this was openly stated by General George C. Marshall in his 1945 Biennial Report to the secretary of War. In it, he completely wrote off the possibility of peace for decades, called for the creation of a massive military machine based on atomic weapons, the construction of a world network of military bases and demanded the Congress "establish for the generations to come, a national military policy." Within months, the American military machine was at work combating revolutions in Greece and the Philippines, and since that time we have seen in Korea, Guatemala, Lebanon, Cuba and elsewhere, a long chain of aggression against left-wing governments and revolutionary movements. The criminal intervention in the Dominican Republic and the war in Vietnam are in fact a continuation of a long-established policy.

It is a policy of policing the world in the interests of international capitalism, more particularly in the interests of that tiny minority of monumentally wealthy families who dominate the government of the United States.

Even a cursory examination of the course followed by the Johnson administration in Vietnam demonstrates this to be the case, and clearly illuminates the true nature and perspectives of American foreign policy.

It is worthwhile to recall how the cold-bloodedly calculated step-by-step escalation of the war has proceeded. This escalation, it should be noted, was initiated by Johnson only two months after his landslide victory over Goldwater on the basis that he was a sane man of peace as opposed to the warlike Senator from Arizona.

At first, the bombings of North Vietnam were presented as "reprisals". The "reprisals" were then carried forward until they became "routine." Simultaneously, a change in the official line of U.S. involvement in the war took place. Instead of "advisers" to the armed forces of the puppet South Vietnamese regime, U.S. personnel became openly declared direct participants. In line with this, the numbers of U.S. troops were enormously extended until the conflict in its scope was on a par with that of the Korean war. Today American militarists speculate openly about bombing China’s nuclear installations and have conducted flagrant provocations against China—in addition to their "normal" operations: day-by-day espionage flights in Chinese airspace, constant harassment of Chinese coastal waters by the Seventh Fleet, and maintenance of an armed fortress on the imprisoned island of Taiwan.

It was clear at the start that the escalation of the war in Vietnam involved far more than an attempt at bloody suppression of the struggle of the Vietnamese for political and economic freedom, for profits from American investments in Vietnam will never pay for the gigantic war expenditure. Vietnam is in fact an integral part of the global strategy of American imperialism.

The war in Vietnam signifies a direct threat to every colonial people seeking self-determination that, should they dare to rebel, their struggle will be drowned in blood. If this were not clear enough in Vietnam itself, it was dramatically underscored when, in the very process of increasing U.S. involvement in the civil war in Vietnam, Johnson sent in 30,000 troops to smash the rebellion against Trujillo’s successors in the Dominican Republic.

The bombing of North Vietnam marks the first time since Korea that the U.S. has launched open military attack on a workers state. This aggression against the Democratic Republic of Vietnam involves not only the defence of that country but of China and the Soviet Union as well. This is precisely where the threat of a nuclear war is posed in the current conflict.

The threat of a nuclear confrontation is by no means as remote as many would like to believe. The calculated, step-by-step escalation of the war can have only two purposes:

1. to probe and prepare "public opinion" at home, and

2. to see how far the provocations can be carried before they bring forth a sharp response militarily by China and the Soviet Union.

To date, Johnson’s strategists have been emboldened by the shocking hesitancy and virtual paralysis of the Soviet leadership and its failure to respond in any but the most token fashion to North Vietnam’s military needs. And while the Chinese leadership have made many correct observations and militant statements with regard to the struggle in Vietnam, they have failed to match the words with deeds, albeit they do not possess a fraction of the Soviet Union’s resources. They have consistently opposed and blocked a united front of workers’ states against the war. The way is clearly open for a dangerous miscalculation on the part of the U.S. government. Can the Soviet Union, with its nuclear arsenal, stand by if China is attacked? It does not require a long memory to recall how close such an attack came during the war in Korea.

As well, the ruling class of the United States is caught in a bind in Vietnam. Despite the enormous influx of troops and massive bombing operations they, confronted with the remarkable determination and tenacity of the Vietnamese people, have failed to even come close to their objective of crushing the revolutionary forces. In fact, as this article is being written, open street fighting is taking place in the streets of the main cities against the regime of their hated puppet, Premier Ky. Wildly exaggerated press reports left aside, the losses suffered by the National Liberation Front must be considerable, yet we have it on the testimony of the U.S. itself that the NLF’s strength has increased significantly.

An attack on China would be entirely within the context of the long range aims of U.S. foreign policy. Ever since before the doctrine of "cold war" was formally ratified, the U.S. has aimed at not only the "containment," but also the "rollback" of "communism" throughout the world. Translated from the State department’s political jargon, this means not only to hold on their enormous exploitative investments throughout the colonial areas, but, at an advantageous juncture, an attempt to crush and reconquer those states which have left the capitalist orbit and have established planned and nationalized economies.

This perspective, carrying with it the threat of atomic destruction, is not as irrational as it would appear on the surface. War is an integral feature of capitalism, an inevitable outgrowth of its expansionist character. Capitalism must constantly expand into new areas and markets not only in order to grow, but ultimately, simply in order to survive. The first and second world wars were, essentially, wars over markets and colonial possessions. Since the end of World War II, the areas available for imperialist expansion have become successively smaller in number, thanks to the wave of revolutionary struggle sweeping the colonial areas. The Chinese revolution, in particular, not only removed a huge and virtually untapped area from the grasping hands of the imperialists, but by its advances in economic growth became a strong pole of attraction and inspiration for oppressed colonial peoples everywhere.

Despite its concerted efforts at smashing the colonial revolution, world imperialism headed by the U.S. has failed to decisively stem the tide, let alone reverse it. But it has not stopped its attempts to do so with all the horrendous means at its disposal.

In the final analysis, only socialist transformations in the advanced capitalist countries of the west will end this standing threat not only to the peace of the world, but to the continued existence of civilization. But the question most immediately on the order of the day, not only for socialists but all opponents of the war, is how to effectively oppose it.

The continued growth of the anti-war movement in the United States itself is one of the most powerful pressures against continuation and escalation of the war. The Vietnam war already qualifies as by far the most unpopular in U.S. history, with a majority now opposed to Johnson’s policies. The mobilization of that majority could bring a withdrawal of American troops and it is essential that the American anti-war movement be given every encouragement and support internationally. Leaders of the American anti-war movement have themselves described the importance of such international support. In this context, the building; of the anti-war movement in Canada takes on vital importance in the fight to end the war.

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