Encyclopedia of Trotskyism On-Line: Revolutionary History

A Letter to Trotsky

The following letter of greeting was sent to Trotsky after the victory of the three Trotskyists in the elections to the Saigon colonial council, and appeared in the Socialist Appeal (USA), Volume 3 No.58, 11 August 1939.

Trotsky was much encouraged by this, and quoted from the issue of La Lutte that announced this in The Kremlin in World Politics, 1 July 1939 (Writings of Leon Trotsky 1938-39, New York, 1974, p.368) and India Faced with Imperialist War, 25 July 1939 (Writings of Leon Trotsky 1939-40, New York, 1973, pp.33-4). These texts can otherwise be found conveniently collected in S. Pirani (ed.), Vietnam and Trotskyism, Australia 1987, pp.110-3.

Dear Comrade Trotsky,

You must be acquainted with the results of the colonial elections of last 30 April in Cochin China. Despite the shameful coalition of the bourgeois of all types and the Stalinists, we have won a shining victory ...

We went to battle, the flag of the Fourth International widely unfurled. Our victory is one of all the Fourth over the bourgeoisie, naturally, but above all, over their Social-Democratic and Stalinist agents. We have faith in the final victory of the Fourth International.

This faith you have imparted to us. Today, more than ever, we understand the importance not only of the programme of the Fourth International, but also of your struggle of 1925-28 against the theory and practice of Socialism in One Country, of your struggle against the Peasants’ International, the Anti-Imperialist League and other show committees, Amsterdam-Pleyel and others.

In these days of hope engendered by our recent victory, we think of you, of the moral and physical sufferings that you and your comrade have endured. We want to say to you that even in this remote corner of the Far East, in this backward country, you have friends who agree with you, comrades who struggle for that to which you have devoted your life, for socialism, for communism!

Our affectionate Bolshevik-Leninist salutations.

Phan Van Hum
Tran Van Thach
Ta Thu Thau
and the group La Lutte
18 May 1939

Trotskyist Fighters in the Forefront of the Struggle to Free Indochina

The following is a quotation from a Vietnamese paper, Cam Tu (Volunteers for Death) which first appeared in the Christian Science Monitor and was reproduced in turn in the American Militant, Volume 4 no.48, 1 December 1945. The Chicago Tribune described this paper as ‘Trotskyist’, and it certainly reflects Trotskyist views as against the policy of the Vietminh at the time.

This is the hour when every Annamite must participate in our resistance. Our guerillas must have the greatest mobility, must profit from the slightest relaxation of the enemy’s vigilance, and continue attacking him.

Death volunteers must destroy roads and bridges, and set fire to factories. On occasions the entire population must go into action and refuse cooperation with the enemy, not sell him food, preventing him from organising his exploitation of our people. In the long run the action will destroy the enemy. All property of the French colonials must be destroyed.

Four point guide

(The same issue was reported to contain a four-point guide for the Annamese guerillas:)

The first duty of our compatriots is to win the sympathy of the people; the second, avoid any attitude that might destroy sympathy; third, no troops are entitled to requisition food or goods; fourth, guerillas surrender all moneys they have collected for the resistance funds.

(Whether or not Cam Tu is actually a Trotskyist newspaper cannot as yet be verified.)

Updated by ETOL: 18.7.2003