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On the NLF: Those Ten Points (1969)

The N.L.F.'s ten points as printed in a recent S.D.S. newsheet - Vietnam Peace Proposals - require some comment, particularly because of the N.L.F.'s claim that they are peace proposals.

Points one to three reiterate what the N.L.F. has been saying for years, viz that the U.S. must get out of Vietnam completely, leaving it to the Vietnamese. Will this lead to a subsequent N.L.F. and hence communist takeover of South Vietnam? Apparently not. Point four tells us that the South Vietnamese will be able to take part in democratic elections and select a coalition government. Politically, this is exactly what has been condemned in capitalist society, by much of the left over the past few years. Has the N.L.F. been fighting for ten years just so that it can take part in democratic elections? What about its revolutionary characteristics that the left in western countries has told us so much about? What happens to the mass of South Vietnamese who have been supporting the N.L.F. for the past decade? - sold down the river by democratic elections. Point four reads as if the N.L.F. is prepared to collaborate with the reactionary and corrupt politicians in Saigon. Point five elaborates on the formation of a provisional coalition government. But, as Saigon and the N.L.F. won't talk to each other in Paris, it is hardly likely that they will get together to form a government if the U.S. withdraws its troops unconditionally. If this should happen, an N.L.F. victory, both militarily and politically, is likely. This would be followed by an N.L.F. government (possibly including people outside the N.L.F.) which eventually must lead to a communist takeover. There is no force in South Vietnam which, is politically viable apart from the communists. The Thieu government would collapse without U.S. support. As for the other noncommunists, whether inside or outside the N.L.F., they are neither sufficiently organised nor strong enough to defeat the communists politically. If the N.L.F. is prepared to take part in a provisional government it would be only as a prelude to a communist takeover.

Let us now consider point six. The N.L.F. says that South Vietnam will "establish diplomatic, economic and cultural relations with all countries irrespective of political and social regime including the U.S.". Setting aside the fact that the N.L.F. is deciding South Vietnam's foreign policy before being elected, does this also include South Africa, Rhodesia, Spain, Portugal, Bolivia ...........

Point seven states that the reunification of Vietnam will be achieved peacefully by discussions and agreement between the north and south zones of Vietnam. This implies that the majority of people in South Vietnam are in favour of reunification with the north. How can this be known at the present time? Vietnam has been divided for fifteen years. It is just not known if a majority of South Vietnamese would want to live under the same regime as the North Vietnamese. Ho Chi Minh, of course is waiting for the day when his communist regime dominates the whole of Vietnam.

A reading of point eight reveals that neither North Vietnam nor South Vietnam would join any foreign military alliance. In the event of a U.S. withdrawal there are not likely to be any foreign alliances formed. The North Vietnamese and South Vietnamese do not need them: However, will the reported 80,000 Chinese troops in North Vietriam then go home? Points nine and ten do not require comment as they deal only with the aftermath of the war; the withdrawal of U.S. and other foreign troops, payment of war damages by the U.S. and the release of prisoners on both sides.

While anarchists are extremely critical of the N.L.F. and North Vietnam, they realise that a large proportion of the blame for the Vietnam war rests with U.S. The solution for peace in South Vietnam does not lie in one imposed by the U.S. as the American government now realises. Nor does it lie in a solution imposed by the N.L.F., coalition governments or any other of the so-called peace proposals that are talked across the table in Paris. Peace in South Vietnam will come when the people reject all authoritarian regimes no matter where they are imposed from and take to organising their own lives in the way they did in the late 1950's when Diem started his political persecutions of the people, particularly in the countryside, and before the communists captured control of the resistance movement. However, the people of South Vietnam have been battered from all sides and no matter what happens at the Paris peace talks, it appears inevitable that there can only be one result - a communist controlled South Vietnam.

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