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The Fate of Vietnam's First Revolution
About Ngo Van. Ngo Van. Books by Ngo Van. Trivia About In the Crossfire No trivia or quizzes yet.
In the Crossfire: Adventures of a Vietnamese Revolutionary by Ngo Van
Ngo Van also organized among his coworkers in the factory, meeting under the guise of wedding and birthday parties—since all gatherings of more than nineteen people were illegal—and became the spokesperson when a strike for better wages broke out. At the age of twenty-four, Ngo Van himself was arrested for organizing anticolonialist campaigns with other activists. Imprisoned in the dreaded Maison Centrale in Saigon, he, along with many others, was tortured. Stalinist and Trotskyist prisoners were held together. Van recalled that relations between them were wary but civil, to avoid provoking tension to the advantage of the common enemy.
There he helped organize and joined in a hunger strike demanding political prisoner status equal to that in France. As a consequence, the prisoners were occasionally allowed French newspapers.
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This was how they learned about the Moscow show trials, in which Stalin destroyed what remained of the leadership of the Bolsheviks. Van and his comrades were constantly being arrested, tortured, and imprisoned, then briefly freed once more. This part of the book becomes somewhat wearying to read, precisely because of how often the cycle of organizing strikes and uprisings leading to arrest and imprisonment, was repeated.
But even exiled at the end of to Tra Vinh, on an island in the Mekong Delta, he found himself in the midst of a peasant uprising throughout what was then known as western Cochinchina. Almost 6, were arrested, over publicly executed, and thousands killed by bombing authorized by the Vichy governor general. At about this time, Van discovered that he was suffering from tuberculosis.
Under the guise of liberating Vietnam from the French, the Japanese moved into south Vietnam in March and imposed a regime of martial law while Allied forces strafed Saigon. The north of the country was by this time controlled by the Viet Minh, as the armed front led by the ICP was called. The state capitalist model the ICP adhered to ended up doing what the Trotskyists feared: re-creating a society riven by class inequality that now operates the country as a giant sweatshop for international capital.
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In addition, the struggles of peasants and workers are described in very general terms, and the details of day-to-day activity are not fleshed out enough. The stage is reset, and a new generation may yet discover, in the work of Ngo Van, the history and recollection of an unfinished struggle.
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Memoir of a Vietnamese Trotskyist
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