L.T. Pham is a Vietnamese youth and a leader of the Durham, N.C., branch of WWP. The following article is based on remarks made at a Workers World Party forum in New York City on May 20. To view a video of the talk, visit youtu.be/tpmod2H0Y74.
May 19 marked the birthday of many revolutionary leaders, among them Ho Chi Minh, Malcolm X and Yuri Kochiyama.
They all shared a commitment to fighting imperialism and national oppression through an internationalist perspective. Ho Chi Minh, or Uncle Ho, was a Vietnamese Marxist-Leninist born in 1890.
In 1941, he was the founder of the Viet Minh Independence Movement that forced the French out of the country in 1954 through a huge guerrilla force that took extremely strategic actions.
There is much from the life and work of Uncle Ho and the Vietnamese people’s struggle against imperialism that remains central to our fight today.
Opposed U.S. lynchings
First and foremost, having an internationalist perspective is key. We should always strive to fight for and with workers and oppressed people globally. As imperialism takes root on every corner of this earth, so does resistance and militant action to defend ourselves and our communities. The massive violence that capitalism inflicts, the unending stolen labor, the growing destruction and extraction of resources, and capital made possible by the poor is not something we take lightly. Only a globally united front can resist the ongoing colonial grabs for Africa, the disgusting occupation of Palestine and the unending war waged against Black and Brown people at home and abroad.
Ho Chi Minh drew these connections in 1924 when he wrote about the lynchings of Black people in the U.S. He recognized that Black people experience a deep and unique national oppression caused by capitalism that has implications for colonized people all around the world. To know this means we should always be ready to defend the struggle for Black liberation.
Secondly, in studying the life of Uncle Ho, we see that it is extremely necessary not only to have a political program, understand and practice organization and study Marxism-Leninism, but we must also bring this to the masses. Our duty is not only to teach but to learn from the people whose struggle, labor and sacrifice will bring about revolution. Communists and revolutionaries alone cannot fight this war. We must be where the people are, we must build up the skills of the masses to claim this war as their own, and we must believe the masses, when in struggle, armed with their own tools and grasp of socialist revolution, will bring down this criminal system.
Ho Chi Minh died in 1969, six years before he was able to see the unification of his country and the liberation of his people from U.S. imperialism. But to this day, his critical role in the formation of the National Liberation Front continues to be celebrated in Vietnam and across the world.
Global, multinational working-class solidarity
Lastly, we learn from Uncle Ho: solidarity forever. For there is only one working class and that is the global, multinational working class. And we have a shared enemy and that is imperialism, which depends on the festering racism and national oppression, anti-LGBTQ bigotry and anti-immigrant bigotry that we see today.
Ho Chi Minh, through his support for the Black liberation struggle and the demand for communist parties to take action against the attacks on oppressed people living in colonies, emphasized the need for supporting oppressed people’s right to self-determination. Solidarity with Uncle Ho and the Vietnamese people made possible an impressive people’s army engaged in guerrilla warfare against the French and the U.S. This has inspired oppressed people globally to fight back with militancy and without apology.
The life and legacy of Uncle Ho live on and stand shoulder to shoulder with the life and legacy of Malcolm X, who fought to his very last breath.
May we continue to pay tribute to Uncle Ho and Malcolm X in our struggles in the streets. May we continue to fight in their spirit, as internationalists and revolutionaries. May we continue to make sacrifices, put our bodies on the line and dedicate our lives to revolution.
Long live Ho Chi Minh!
Long live Malcolm X!
Long live internationalism!