Encyclopedia of Trotskyism On-Line: Revolutionary History



Dear Editor

You have no grounds for your statement in the note at the top of page 34 of your Vietnam issue that my article The Vietnamese Trotskyists and the August Revolution of 1945 contains “a cruder version of the belief that the Vietnamese Communist Party was a real revolutionary working class organisation”. The article does not attempt to characterise the Vietnamese Communist Party, as any fair-minded reader can see, and that is not my belief, in any event.

When my article was first circulated Simon Pirani embarked on a campaign of misquotation and misrepresentation against it, perhaps not unconnected with the fact that as the national organiser of the Workers Revolutionary Party, he was then organising my expulsion (after 22 years membership) on trumped up and slanderous charges in violation of natural justice and of the WRP’s own constitution, for what that is worth.

I had occasion then to complain about his cavalier practice of falsely attributing to me quotations I had cited from other writers. After some acrimonious correspondence I eventually forced him to acknowledge that he had falsely put words into my mouth. I am sorry to see that you now seem to have caught the same childish disease. It seems a shame that a serious journal like yours should become a vehicle for this sort of factional abuse.

Incidentally, I did write to Workers Press back in 1987 to point out an error in their translation of the article you have published as Some Stages of the Revolution in the South of Vietnam. You appear to have published the original version without making the correction, perhaps because it came from what Pirani has discerned to be an ‘anti-Trotskyist’ source.

His version says that the Cao-Dai “turned its back on its former French patron to play the rôle of political double agent for the Japanese general staff’. The original talks of the party’s “rôle d’agent politique doublé de basse police de l’état major nippon”. This accuses them of acting as common policemen for the Japanese as well as their political agents.

John Spencer

Updated by ETOL: 23.7.2003