Friday, April 29, 2005

Long Live May Day!

Imperialist flies conquer the flypaper

THIS week we celebrate May Day, Workers’ Day, along with millions of other workers all around the world. We also celebrate the 30th anniversary of the victory of the people of Vietnam, led by their Communist Party, against the forces of United States imperialism.

This is a very important victory for the whole world’s working class because it proved that in spite of having vastly superior weapons and financial resources; the imperialists could not defeat the will of the ordinary people of Vietnam.

Washington threw everything it had at Vietnam: years of massive bombing, gassing, napalm, Agent Orange, massacres of civilians, lies and deceit. Warmonger Kissinger could not believe the people of Vietnam did not have the breaking point he was seeking.

The Americans were bewildered. They could easily win all the big, set piece battles but lost the war. Ho Chi Minh and General Giap, like Mao Zedong and Kim Il Sung before them, rewrote the rule book on war, leaving the experts of West Point, Sandhurst and the Japanese military academy at Ichigaya Heights in despair.

The imperialists believed that when they marched in and took over a country, that was the end of the matter. But it was only the beginning. To quote Steinbeck in The Moon is Down, it was just the flies conquering the flypaper. The harder they went in, the more they were stuck, prisoners of their own adventurism.

They are learning the lesson again today in Iraq, where the imperialist invaders are afraid to venture outside their small, heavily guarded enclaves. With hindsight we can see that Saddam, who was no Marxist, was mistaken to comply with imperialist-imposed weapons bans and United Nations inspections. It made Iraq more likely to get invaded, not less.

Democratic Korea, Iran and Syria have noted that lesson.

But Saddam did one wise thing, when he could see that invasion was inevitable, he armed the ordinary people so they could continue the fight after the Americans and British thought they had won. Now they never can win. They are stuck on the flypaper as firmly as they were in Vietnam and cannot find a way out.

Way back in 1973, Salvador Allende knew the US imperialists, led by Nixon, were plotting a coup to bring down his socialist government. Castro advised him to arm the people but he was afraid to do so because it might spark a civil war and bloodbath. The bloodbath came anyway after the Pinochet coup.

The lesson is that appeasing the imperialists does not prevent bloodshed. But history is showing that those who have the courage to stand and fight, however long it takes, in the end, cannot be defeated. There can be no doubt the sacrifices made by the Vietnamese people and now the Iraqi people have been enormous. But the alternative – accepting conquest, oppression, exploitation, poverty and all the associated illness and misery would be even worse.

Next week we celebrate the 60th anniversary of the defeat of Nazi Germany. This was brought about by a broad alliance of many anti-fascist forces. Chief among them was the Red Army – the armed manifestation of the mighty working class of the Soviet Union. May is a good month for workers’ power.

“The people, united, can never be defeated” is no meaningless mantra. The imperialists, in spite of all their money, their vast weaponry, their technology and their spies, do not own the future of this planet. That belongs to the workers of the world.

Long live May Day!