First Published: The Marxist, Vol. 1, No. 9, Spring 1969.
Transcription, Editing and Markup: Sam Richards and Paul Saba
Copyright: This work is in the Public Domain under the Creative Commons Common Deed. You can freely copy, distribute and display this work; as well as make derivative and commercial works. Please credit the Encyclopedia of Anti-Revisionism On-Line as your source, include the url to this work, and note any of the transcribers, editors & proofreaders above.
The struggle in Vietnam profoundly affects the rest of the world. The immediate and crucial issue involved – liberation or slavery for the Vietnamese people – is at present the clearest concrete expression of the choice facing the peoples of the world vis-a-vis imperialism.
The successful challenge to, and erosion of, imperialist power in Vietnam is at once a consequence of its already weakened positions in the contemporary world, and a cause of the further weakening of those positions. The now clearly evident rapacity of imperialism has not terrified its opponents, but has, on the contrary, revealed its paper tiger nature. In the colonial and semi-colonial world the objective conditions are ripe (or rapidly ripening) for revolutionary armed struggle. In the European and North American imperialist centres the objective conditions are not yet ripe, but events are moving very rapidly.
In this report we shall concern ourselves largely with an examination of recent developments in the anti-imperialist movement in Britain: We shall not attempt to offer an analysis of internal or external factors responsible for these developments. It may simply be stated that such developments reflect the growing crisis afflicting the advanced capitalist countries.
The challenge from the youth and students manifests the crisis within the superstructure of bourgeois society. The national liberation struggles generally, and the struggle in Vietnam in particular, have provided the external inspiration for the recent awakening among the students. The inspiration of the Vietnamese comrades naturally leads to solidarity with them. The new consciousness which has begun to develop amongst students is influenced directly by the struggle in Vietnam. Solidarity with Vietnam leads to determination to emulate the Vietnamese, and so to the launching of purposeful action by the students on the issues which affect themselves, To recognise the importance of the national liberation struggle as an external factor politicising the youth and students is not to deny the primacy of internal contradictions i.e. the actual conditions against which the students struggle in Britain. Such actions can no longer be regarded as simply reformist, even though they may be frequently aimed at securing particular reforms. Student action is now increasingly inspired by the conviction that there can in the long run be no compromise with capitalism. It must be destroyed.
Students do not remain students. As students they play a transient role which contains its own contradictions. They have definite privileges not enjoyed by the majority of the workers. They are an intellectual elite training to become part of the administrative elite. It is not intended that they become workers at the point of production. They are dominated by a competitive and reactionary concept of ’ability’, and are expected to imbibe and digest the eclectic mystifications of bourgeois ’arts and sciences’ and are then confronted with a series of hurdles in the form of examinations, which, if successfully overcome, will enable them to go out into the world and claim a considerable salary for peddling in one form or another the ’knowledge’ they have acquired.
It is becoming understood that the institutions of ’higher learning’ are part of the capitalist superstructure with a special function to perform in preserving the repressive class system. To the extent that students understand this and come to reject the role they are expected to play as post-graduates within capitalism, they are in fact rejecting capitalism. They are on the way to becoming revolutionaries.
The crisis within the universities is a crisis of the capitalist superstructure. Developing revolutionary consciousness amongst students is accelerating the crisis, but the development of that consciousness must be seen as a consequence of the developing political and economic crisis of capitalism/imperialism. This crisis is battering at the economic base of the system in Britain, and although a profound crisis within the superstructure can and will help to accelerate the revolution in the economic base (i.e. its overthrow) the revolution in the superstructure can never precede the revolution in the economic base. The former is dependent on the latter.
Revolutions are made by classes, and students as such do not constitute a class. They can play an important part in initiating struggle against capitalism, but only the working class is capable of striking the decisive blows which will overturn the political and economic system. Only the elitism which the university encourages and which so many students cling to, can allow them to think of themselves as the decisive revolutionary force.
As the subjective and objective conditions for revolution ripen, the working class may be spurred to action by the students, but when the working class acts, there will be no independent role for the students. They will either be fully integrated with the workers under the command of the workers’ revolutionary vanguard, or they will be with the enemies of the workers.
The growing identification of large sections of youth and students in Britain with the world-wide movement for national liberation can be seen m the changing character of political demonstrations particularly Vietnam demonstrations.
Until about three years ago the CND was the only organisation capable of mobilising more than a few thousand people on a demonstration. When the CND and the British Peace Committee ran ’the Peace Movement’, demonstrations were orderly affairs; big ’peace’ jamborees with nicely organised petitions and polite letters to the British Prime Minister and US President appealing to them to ’desist’ or ’dissociate’. The CPGB, which worked diligently to keep things orderly and peaceful, hoped, through the agency of the British Council for Peace in Vietnam, to be able to take the Vietnam movement along the same ’peace above all’ lines. But times are changing and young people in particular are waking up.
Vietnam demonstrations in October 1967, March 1968 and July 1968 brought out larger numbers than the BCPV could ever mobilise. And these demonstrations have taken place under the slogans of ’Solidarity with the Vietnamese People’ and ’Victory to the NLF’. It has been shown that it is possible to mobilise upwards of 50,000 people on the basis of support for the Vietnamese people’s struggle against US imperialism.
In order to draw some conclusions from this we shall look at the demonstration which took place on the October 27, 1968.
This demonstration was the subject of more advance press and television publicity than any similar event for years. For weeks previously the newspapers had been preparing their readers for the big day with stories of conspiracies and intrigues involving the occupation or destruction of buildings, bomb plots, and plans for the total disruption of communications in London. Special TV programs were devoted to ’The October Revolutionaries’, and the general impression was created that on October 27 London was to see a repetition if not of Paris last June, then certainly of Berlin last April.
What, in fact, happened?
Certainly large numbers of peop1e, mainly young people, were mobilised – probably upwards of 60,000 – which is more than have turned out on any previous Vietnam demonstration.
What did they do? The large majority were persuaded to march from the Charing Cross Embankment on a roundabout route via Whitehall, to Hyde Park. It was all as orderly as anything organised by, the CND, and ultimately, we would argue, just as purposeless.
To much more effective purpose, a minority of several thousands broke away from the main column of march and went to the US Embassy in Grosvenor Square.
We cannot look upon October 27 as simply another more or less effective demonstration of solidarity with the Vietnamese people. It could very well mark a turning point in the development of the anti-imperialist movement in Britain, and despite (or even because of) the anti-climactic nature of the event itself, we must not fail to study and learn from the demonstration, the forces involved in it and the events preceding it. Consideration of these factors means examining the principal organisations on the left in Britain today. Any organisation can be judged by its attitude towards the struggle in Vietnam.
Marxist-Leninists adopt a clear and consistent attitude towards the struggle in Vietnam. Their total ’commitment to the side of the Vietnamese people against US imperialist aggression is not some vague expression of support concealing all kinds of qualifications about the justice of the Vietnamese cause or ability to defeat the aggressor. It is a clear and specific commitment to support the National Liberation Front which has shown itself to be the only genuine representative of the Vietnamese people’s interests. Marxist-Leninists call for ’victory to the NLF’ with complete confidence in the NLF as the leadership of the Vietnamese people’s revolutionary cause.
The struggle in the south of Vietnam is for national liberation. It is a revolutionary struggle which takes the form of a people’s war. The revolution which will be accomplished with national liberation is the national democratic revolution. In countries like Vietnam, the socialist revolution must be and can only be preceded by the national democratic revolution. If the national liberation struggle has Marxist-Leninist leadership, as it does in Vietnam, the national democratic revolution will be carried through to the proletarian revolution. This has already happened in the Democratic Republic of Vietnam under the leadership of Ho Chi Minh.
So Marxist-Leninists, who fight for socialism, support the programme of the National Liberation Front, recognising that it is not an immediate programme for socialism, but a national democratic programme which unites various anti-imperialist classes – in a struggle against US aggression.
Lenin talked of two kinds of peace; an imperialist peace (i.e. peace in the interests of imperialism) and a people’s peace (a peace in the interests of the people). A people’s peace in Vietnam can be achieved solely through the defeat of the aggressors i.e. through a victory to the NLF. The fact that many who may sincerely desire ’peace in Vietnam’ do not understand this, does not alter the fact that it is so.
Marxist-Leninists recognise the NLF as the genuine leadership and representative of the people of South Vietnam in the struggle for national liberation. The NLF is also the political vanguard of the national democratic revolution. As peace can only come to Vietnam through the defeat of US aggression, and as that aggression can only be defeated by continuing the revolutionary war under the leadership of the NLF, ’Victory to the NLF’ is the slogan consistent with complete support for the national liberation struggle and for a people’s peace.
The attitude of those Marxist-Leninists who participated in the October 27 demonstration was that a genuine demonstration of solidarity with the Vietnamese people’s struggle should concentrate its main attack on the main enemy -US imperialism. Therefore the main target of the demonstration could only be the US Embassy in London.
Several weeks before October 27 a sharp controversy had developed about the target of the demonstration – whether or not the march should go to the US Embassy.
Representatives of various organisations in the Ad Hoc Committee which had been established to plan the march, argued strongly against going to Grosvenor Square. Although latterly it may have appeared that the organisations represented on the October 27 march agreed about everything except the route, this was not the case. In fact the disagreement over the target reflected deep political differences between the Marxists-Leninists and various other groups.
The three main organisations which were finally represented in the Ad Hoc Committee were the International Socialists (IS), the International Marxist Group (IMG) and the Young Communist League (YCL).
First, let us consider the YCL. For the purpose of the October 27 demonstration, the YCL was prepared to support the slogan ’Victory to the NLF.’ However, the YCL leaders do not really support it. During the last two years members of the YCL who have argued publicly in favour of a victory to the NLF have in some cases been expelled from the organisation. Actually, the leaders of the YCL have always opposed any militant support for the NLF, preferring instead the peace-at-any price policies of such organisations as the discredited British Council for Peace in Vietnam. In the past their own efforts to form a block with the YCND and Young Liberals in a Youth Committee for Peace In Vietnam, failed to get off the ground. Finding themselves increasingly isolated as the Vietnam movement grew increasingly militant, the YCL leaders had no option but to climb on the band wagon, and while mouthing a few militant slogans, do their best to peddle their own capitulationist line from within. The YCL’s real policy on Vietnam is the same as that of the CPGB, which is the same as that of the CPSU. In their view, the Vietnam war is ’bad’ because lots of people are getting killed and also because it hinders the prospects of ’peaceful-coexistence’. They are primarily concerned, not with the liberation of the people of Vietnam, but with securing an end to the fighting; a ’peace’ that will once again make it possible for the Soviet Union and the United States to pursue the Khruschovian ideal of peaceful co-operation between the two ’major powers’ to ’solve outstanding problems facing the world’s peoples’ – which is a revisionist/imperialist cover-up for US/Soviet collaboration to carve up the world.
The YCL leaders possess neither principles nor scruples. Like the leaders of the CP, they are prepared to pretend support for the NLF when it suits them, but in reality they are concerned only to see the war stopped so that ’peace negotiations’ may begin. Their line dovetails perfectly with that of the imperialists who want to achieve at the negotiating table what they are unable to achieve on the battlefield. What the leaders of the YCL don’t want is that the war should be stopped by the military defeat of the, aggressors.
The IS and the IMG are two varieties of left opportunism. Not only their opportunism, but also their political inconsistency, muddleheadedness and outright dishonesty may be seen from the position they have adopted vis-a-vis the Vietnam war and the National Liberation Front.
Although the IS and the IMG differ on many issues, they are at one in their commitment to the hoary old Trotskyist dogma which monotonously preaches the impossibility of establishing socialism in backward countries -like Vietnam until ’we have made the revolution in the ’advanced’ west.
Because the two organisations do have some differences, we shall examine them separately.
The IS claims to support the NLF and the ’Vietnamese revolution’. But in fact it regards the NLF as a ’Stalinist’ organisation which if victorious in the struggle, will establish in South Vietnam a system of state capitalism. In the view of IS the objective, iron-bound laws of social development make it impossible to establish socialism in a predominantly peasant country like Vietnam, until such a country has first gone through capitalism. Ignoring Lenin’s predictions in ’Better Fewer but Better’; and totally rejecting the analyses of Stalin, Ho Chi Minh and Mao Tse-tung on the colonial revolution and socialism, the IS worships loyally at the shrine of Trotsky, who twisted Marx’s views on the permanent revolution into a schematic theoretical dogma of ’Permanent Revolution’. The Trotskyist dogma, rejected by all the real revolutionary movements this century, is a form of bourgeois romanticism which never led any revolution to victory anywhere. It is a completely erroneous doctrine and we can see from the role of its adherents in history that it is ultimately counterrevolutionary.
So, loyal to the views of their martyred hero, the IS holds that socialism doesn’t exist anywhere, and never has existed anywhere. What exists in China, Vietnam, Korea, Albania and Cuba – as well as in the USSR and East Europe – is state capitalism. The proletarian revolution waits on the workers of the ’civilised’ west led by the IS.
The theory of “state capitalism”, which is regarded “as an inevitable outgrowth of all revolutions in the colonial and semi-colonial world“, is a peculiar IS innovation, which more orthodox Trotskyists such as the Socialist Labour League (SLL) regard as a gross deviation from Trotskyist purism. Of course any attempt to construct a consistent system of ideas on a false theoretical base must inevitably come to grief, and the IS, no less than the other Trotskyist groups, compound their errors, both in theory and practice, so that the only clear and unmistakable motive driving them forward is their gross practical opportunism.
The dogmatic IS commitment to the theory of state capitalism leads them to adopt an attitude of complete hostility to all existing states, which they regard as variants of capitalism. The ’purist’ Trotskyist line (for example ’The Militant’ and to some extent the SLL, regards the Soviet Union as a deformed workers’ state controlled by a counter-revolutionary bureaucracy – but nevertheless worthy of unconditional support on the grounds that it is a workers’ state!
Somewhere between the deviationist dogmatism of the IS and the purist dogmatism of the SLL stands the evasive opportunism of the ’International Marxist Group’ (formerly The Week).
The IMG is the British section of the United Secretariat of the Fourth International. Superficially their political line seems close to Marxism-Leninism, but that is only because they have chosen that it should appear so in order to poach on the Marxist-Leninist movement. Unlike ’ other Trotskyists, the IMG will actually call some socialist countries ’socialist’. They do not readily criticise the DRV or the NLF and they appear very anxious to establish unity between all ’genuine revolutionaries’. They appear to be very flexible – apparently the enemies of all dogma. But they are just as dogmatic as the SLL and if anything more opportunist than the IS. They do not shrink from hiding their real views – indeed they rarely reveal them. Mainly because of their readiness to be all things to all men they succeeded in dominating the Vietnam Solidarity Campaign by raising a number of generally acceptable solidarity slogans. The hardcore members of the IMG are dedicated to building a Trotskyist movement in Britain. They are firmly committed to the whole range of erroneous Trotskyist dogma, but significantly avoid explaining how they square their declared support for socialism in Cuba with the article of their faith which tells them it is impossible to establish socialism in single countries before the revolution in the west. But as opportunism of this kind is a permanent feature of all such groups, it is hardly surprising that we should find so much of it around as the Trotskyists become more prominent in the youth and student movement.
In relation to the Vietnamese movement a few points can be made about the involvement of the IS and the IMG.
1 Neither believes that the NLF is the genuine representative of the Vietnamese people.
2 Neither really supports the leaders of the DRV or the socialist system there. They regard both the NLF and Ho Chi Minh as ’Stalinist’ (a term which is the most abusive epithet in their vocabulary).
3 Neither accepts the Marxist-Leninist theory on the development of revolution in semi-colonial countries.
4 While believing that it is objectively impossible for the revolutionary war to lead to socialism in Vietnam, both IS and IMG reject the leadership and programme of the NLF on the grounds that neither are socialist!
5 They both raise the slogan ’Victory to the Vietnamese Revolution’. It is a slogan which can mean anything or nothing. If it is supposed to mean ’victory to the national liberation struggle and the national democratic revolution – the first stage of the revolutionary process and the precondition for socialism’, then it is correct. But its authors intend it to have no such content. They do not accept the theory of the national democratic revolution leading to the socialist revolution. They reject the actual leaders and organisations prosecuting the revolutionary war. Therefore it is crystal clear that they are turning the real Vietnamese revolution into an abstraction. The NLF which they support is not the real NLF, with definite leaders, a definite programme and colossal, heroic achievements, but a figment of the Trotskyist imagination.
So it can be said quite categorically that the IS and the IMG are not genuine allies of the Vietnamese people in their struggle against imperialist aggression.
However, as always, a dear distinction must be made between the leaders and the political line, and the membership. The political line of IS and IMG on the question of Vietnam is not clear to the members of those organisations, who, for the most part, are genuine young socialist revolutionaries who have been misled into supporting Trotskyist leaders who in one way or another will seek to divert them from a revolutionary course.
The main organisation to express unqualified support for the Vietnamese people’s struggle and for the NLF, was the Britain-Vietnam Solidarity Front (BVSF). It was established about two and a half years ago following a split at the inaugural conference of the Vietnam Solidarity Campaign. The Trotskyists, who had a narrow majority at the 1966 VSC conference, refused to endorse the four and five points of the NLF and DRV and made open attacks on Ho Chi Minh. This led to the split and the immediate establishment of the BVSF, based upon a line of complete support for the stand of NLF and DRV. But unfortunately the BVSF did not really function at all until the beginning of 1968.
Throughout 1967 and up to July 1968 the most militant Vietnam demonstrations to take place in London were organised by the Vietnam Solidarity Campaign (VSC). The demonstrations of October 1967 and March 1968 showed conclusively that it was possible to mobilise many thousands in solidarity with the Vietnamese people and for the defeat of US aggression. The Vietnam war had become a matter of passionate concern to growing numbers of people – in particular youth and students. They were not merely ’against the Vietnam war’, but were taking sides in the Vietnam war against US imperialism. But the only effective leadership of this growing movement was Trotskyist.
Then, in May, things began to change. Until that time the YCL and the CPGB had regarded the growing militancy of Vietnam demonstrations with alarm. (The EC of the CPGB had voted against participating in the demonstration of March 1968). But the YCL, concerned at its rapidly declining fortunes, decided to make a bid for leadership. For the first time they pushed the ’Medical Aid’, ’Support U Thant’ and ’Peace in Vietnam’ posters into the background, and started talking about ’solidarity’.
The revisionist-organised world Youth Festival, which was planned to take place in Sofia in July, 1968, afforded the YCL the opportunity to combine the Vietnam issue with a publicity campaign for the Bulgarian jamboree. They invited various groups to join them in forming a broad committee to organise a demonstration in London on July 21. Of course they intended to run the whole show and persuaded the committee to endorse their plans to send bikes to Vietnam via the Sofia Festival. But the plans came unstuck when they failed to get a majority on the July 21 Committee. Organisations such as the BVSF, Folk Singers for Freedom in Vietnam, and the Internationalists secured a majority on the Committee and adopted a line of policy and slogans giving complete support to the NLF and calling for victory against imperialist aggression.
The YCL leaders, finding that their plans had come unstuck, pulled out of the July 21 Committee and set up another one of their own. They proceeded as though their rump Committee was the only authoritative one, and they collaborated with organisations like the VSC to turn the July demonstration into a vapid peace-nik jamboree.
In fact, they failed to do this, despite the fact that leading YCL members co-operated with the police in attacking militant demonstrators in Grosvenor Square.
The Britain Vietnam Solidarity Front emerged as a new force to be reckoned with and played an important part in mobilising militants through the genuine ’July 21 Committee for Solidarity with Vietnam’.
Following the July 21 demonstration, plans were made for the big march on October 27. The October 27 Ad Hoc Committee initially decided that the march would be organised under the slogan ’Victory to the Vietnamese Revolution’ and that it should not go to the US Embassy. Here it must be stressed that decisions in the Ad Hoc Committee concerning the slogans and the target were made in an arbitrary, bureaucratic manner. The BVSF was excluded from the Ad Hoc Committee, and members of other organisations disagreeing with the slogans and aims announced by the Ad Hoc Committee were treated as disrupters.
On the initiative of the BVSF, another Committee was formed – the ’27 October Committee for Solidarity with Vietnam’, which began to plan for a parallel march aimed at demonstrating outside the US Embassy. During the weeks prior to October 27, press, radio and TV devoted more space and time to the forthcoming event than they had to anything similar for many years. The BVSF was singled out as a dangerous firebrand bunch of fanatics whose only purpose was to rush into a punch up with the police. The Trotskyist-Revisionist Troika at the head of the Ad Hoc Committee for the round-London ramble helped out by labelling the BVSF as disruptionist and adventurist.
As we have commented earlier, the demonstration showed that it was quite correct to concentrate on the US Embassy as the main target. We have no doubt that the groups which came together in the October 27 Committee for Solidarity with Vietnam were possessed of the right line and in the main adopted the right tactics on the day. More than 5.000 people went to Grosvenor Square and the demonstration there was in marked contrast to the futility of· the numerically bigger jaunt through Whitehall to a picnic in Hyde Park.
However, we think it is necessary in the interests of the developing anti-imperialist movement to make a sober and critical assessment of the way we have worked as Marxists-Leninists in the broad front movement on Vietnam.
In our view the successes we have achieved during the past four months could have been considerably greater if we had been able to overcome the deep sectarianism which is still evident in the Marxist-Leninist movement. Unfortunately, the BVSF, which has done a great deal to mobilise militants for a principled line on Vietnam, suffers from sectarianism to a very pronounced degree. One of our first criticisms must be of those comrades within our own ranks who, although aware of sectarianism and disturbed by its influence, have not been prepared to involve themselves sufficiently in our work and so help to fight it.
It is not possible here to deal at length with the principles governing broad front work, but a few comments are in order.
The statements produced by the BVSF are all too frequently written in a heavy-handed cliche ridden style which is of no use to convinced Marxist-Leninists and frankly unintelligible to the broad mass of people for whom the statements are presumably intended.
We mention this because we are concerned that we should not alienate ourselves from people who can be won, and it seems to us that to some extent we have already done so.
Perhaps the worst example to date of what we mean is to be found in the October 1968 Bulletin of BVSF which was distributed on the march. One article in this bulletin has a full headline which reads ’YCL Revisionist Leaders Unmasked as Police Agents and Stooges of US imperialism’.
Now we do not doubt that the YCL leaders are objectively aiding imperialism and that they are quite capable of acting as police’ agents, and have in fact done so. But these things must be proved. They can be proved by arguing a careful case with all the relevant facts. If the conclusions are presented in a screaming headline at the top of an article which then leads in with similar assertions before presenting a case, the chances are that few who are not already convinced of the revisionists’ chicanery will even bother to read it. In fact the Glasgow Communist Movement has been unable to use this kind of thing in work on Vietnam, because it alienates the comrades from their audience before they start.
Such a writing style either reflects or can lead to a sectarian working style. People can not be won if they are not permitted to develop in struggle, but are simply told: “We are correct, join us.” We must instead show how we are correct both through concrete work and by drawing correct conclusions from this work. Winning people to our position does not mean their passive acquiescence, but rather their lively participation. Marxism-Leninism cannot be learned by rote.
In our opinion it is absolutely necessary to expose the role of revisionism in all fields of work. We do not think that in a broad organisation (which is what BVSF is supposed to be) the repetition ad nauseam of phrases like ’YCL revisionist renegades’, which appears monotonously in the above-mentioned issue of the bulletin, is the most effective way to do this. It can be shown and must be shown that the Trotskyists and the revisionists are false friends of the Vietnamese people and objective allies of the imperialists. We convince no one by simply re-iterating that ’we are for revolution, they are for counter revolution’. In fact such methods, such an approach, is rather more likely to push many potential supporters into the embrace of the Trotskyists. Those comrades who equate sterile cliches with ’Marxists-Leninist language’ would be well advised to return to Mao Tse-tung’s work ’Oppose Stereotyped Party Writing’, some key sections of which read:
’The poison of subjectivism and sectarianism is hidden in stereotyped Party writing, and if this poison spreads it will endanger both the Party and the country...
’There are some who keep clamouring for transformation to a mass style but cannot sneak three sentences in the language of the common people. It shows they are not really determined to learn from the masses ...
’To separate internationalist context from national form is the practice of those who do not understand the first thing about internationalism.
Clearly, the BVSF, which is not a Marxist-Leninist party, but a broad organisation under Marxist-Leninist leadership, has not really taken these lessons to heart. Those of us who are active in the Vietnam movement must help to overcome these weaknesses.
Sectarianism is also evident in the policy statement of the BVSF, which pledges the organisation to fight for the ’unity of the whole working class in defence of their living standards and democratic rights and in their struggle for social advance’. This, it seems to us, is a commitment appropriate to a revolutionary party of the British working class, not to a broad front organisation of solidarity with the people of Vietnam.
We are confident that sectarian errors will be overcome as the movement develops and as Marxist-Leninists learn how to work more effectively in the broad movement and amongst the working class and people as a whole.
At the moment most of the groups organised in the Joint Committee of Communists are engaged in work on a limited range of issues. We have made some advances on Vietnam and the student front in particular. We cannot go forward much further without a Marxist-Leninist Party. As we work to strengthen the movement we are working to build the party. We shall move forward faster and build our base more securely to the extent that we begin now to eradicate the harmful sectarian tendencies that are still present in our movement today.
 In November 1966, George Bridges, the London District Secretary of the YCL sent a letter to members of the St Pancras YCL branch informing them that their committee had been suspended from membership of the League (later they were expelled). Amongst the reasons given was the following:
’The St Pancras committee supported a resolution at the Youth Forum calling for a victory to the NLF i.e. a continuation of the war, which is a policy of the Trotskyists.’ In the December 1968 issue of ’Labour Monthly’, the same George Bridges, writing in his official capacity as London District Secretary of the YCL, has an article entitled ’Lessons of October 27’ in which the following appears: ’The slogans on the march – “Victory to the NLF and the Vietnamese revolution.” “Defeat US aggression”. “End Labour government complicity” correspond to the mood amongst the youth.’