By Prof. JOSE MARIA SISON
Chairperson, International League of Peoples’ Struggle
We, the International League of Peoples’ Struggle, solemnly honor and render our highest respects to the immortal General Vo Nguyen Giap upon his passing away on 4 October. He was a close comrade in arms of the great Ho Chi Minh and outstanding hero, leader and commander of the Vietnamese people’s revolutionary struggles for national liberation against Japanese, French and US imperialism.
He was born to a peasant family in 1911 but he was able to go to school. In 1922 he joined the anti-colonial student movement. After graduating with high honors from the university, he became a teacher and journalist noted for his patriotic and progressive views. In 1933 he became a member of the Communist Party of Indochina and soon a member of the leading core under the direction of Ho Chi Minh.
He founded and led the Vietnam People’s Army under the leadership of the Communist Party. He adopted and developed the strategic line of people’s war against the foreign aggressors and occupiers of his country. He built the people’s army as the politico-military weapon of the Vietnamese people in order to achieve brilliant victories against the enemy.
In late 1941, he formed the first guerrilla groups in the mountains of Vietnam. He made an alliance with the armed formation of a national minority in northeastern Vietnam. By mid-1945 he had some 10,000 fighters under his command and carried out an offensive against the Japanese invaders. Thus, the way was made for the Viet Minh to undertake the August Revolution on a nationwide scale, compelling Emperor Bao Dai to abdicate on 25 August and proceeding to the proclamation of Vietnam’s independence on 2 September 1945.
He directed the people’s war that brought utter defeat to the French colonial army at the battle of Dien Bien Phu. He mustered 100,000 fighters and another 100,000 workers (many of them women) to encircle and gain vantage points against the enemy. The heroic people’s army and the people struggling for national and social liberation under the leadership of the Communist Party inflicted heavy losses on the enemy forces and compelled them to surrender.
The brilliance of Vo Nguyen Giap as a strategist of protracted people’s war came to the fore by reflecting and availing of the revolutionary determination and courage of the Vietnamese people against the US war of aggression from the 1960s to 1972. He and his people were not cowed by the US which had become the strongest imperialist power in the course of World War II. They fought even harder and more effectively even as US imperialism barbarically used weapons of mass destruction.
The US killed one million Vietnamese combatants and four million civilians, who constituted a large percentage of the Vietnamese population then. This is reminiscent of the US butchery in the killing of 1.5 million Filipinos from 1899 to 1913, and more than 3 million Koreans from 1951 to 1953. To this day, the Vietnamese people continue to suffer from the chemical warfare waged by the US, which poured millions of liters of Agent Orange on Vietnam.
As the US war of aggression went on, the people of the world, including the American people, were outraged by the barbarism of US military forces and were inspired by the heroic resistance of the Vietnamese people. The anti-imperialist and democratic movement expanded and intensified on a global scale. The US started to sue for peace in 1969 and withdrew from Vietnam under the Paris Peace Accord of 1972, after the death of 58,226 US troops and many more wounded.
US imperialism accepted defeat as it was faced with the prospect of losing more troops and financial resources at a faster rate and as the American people and the people of the world condemned the war of aggression on an ever widening scale. The people of an underdeveloped country and victims of aggression achieved a resounding victory over US imperialism.
Since then, the defeat of US imperialism in Vietnam has served to show the limits of US economic and military power and has inspired the oppressed peoples and nations of the world to persevere and intensify their struggle for national and social liberation. All peoples of the world emulate the heroic example and indomitable spirit of the immortal General Vo Nguyen Giap in fighting for national independence, democracy, socialism, international solidarity and peace.