Humourless Marxist Reviews: Viet Cong (eponymous)

vietcong

Canadian post-punk band Viet Cong has released their eponymous debut to glowing reviews from the bourgeois music industry. Worker’s Spatula, long known as “the Pitchfork of the anti-capitalist left”, sat down and gave the album a listen to understand how a concept album about the heroic Vietnamese resistance to US imperialism could find itself so uncritically accepted by the bourgeois media.

Worker’s Spatula’s entire editorial staff was shocked and offended to find that rather than an album about Ho Chi Minh’s heroic leadership and the war of national liberation in Vietnam, it is actually a scathing Trotskyist attack on the Communist Party of Vietnam’s suppression of the Trotskyist movement in that country, and slanders the National Liberation Front (popularly known as the “Viet Cong”) as “murderous Stalinists”.

Nearly every single track is littered with references to Ta Thu Thau and the LCI, who are cast as tragic revolutionary heroes crushed by the “left Bonapartist” forces led by Ho Chi Minh. The droning second track, “Pointless Experience”, makes a vulgar pun of Ho Chi Minh’s name.

“Bunker Buster”, the fourth track, calls the Viet Cong “mass murderers,” and states:

“wouldn’t’ve made much difference which side had won,
ain’t more revolutionary to die by Stalinist guns”

Truly pithy lyrics which reveal the lack of respect certain Trotskyist groups feel towards real heroes who fought to protect innocent villagers from the murderous rampage of US imperialism.

The seventh and final track, “Death”, a meandering eleven-minute exercise, ends with the singer cry-shouting into his microphone “HO! HO! HO CHI MINH! HOW MANY TROTS DID YOU DO IN?”, the Trotskist response chant to the militant chant heard at pro-Vietnamese protests in English-speaking countries: “HO! HO! HO CHI MINH! WE WILL FIGHT AND WE WILL WIN!”

With the example of Vietnam standing tall even today as a shining example of heroic revolutionary resistance to US imperialism, it is no surprise that vicious reactionaries spring on any chance to attack the Viet Cong and their immortal contributions. It is for this reason that we believe this extremist Trotskyist nonsense has been so praised by the bourgeois music industry.

Music: 1/5
Lyrics: 1/5
Marchability: 1/5

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11 thoughts on “Humourless Marxist Reviews: Viet Cong (eponymous)

    1. No, we knew about this already. Indeed, it was silly pieces like the one you just linked which inspired the article to a large extent, trying to make a political problem out of this album “from the left” by attacking the actual Viet Cong! It just didn’t make as interesting satire without rewinding the clock a bit to before they agreed to change their name. Certainly the name of the album and the name of the band shown on the album are both Viet Cong, still.

      Liked by 1 person

  1. MLM

    Things like this are what prevent me from taking Trots seriously. An album from a supposedly leftist group dedicated to making sectarian attacks against an anti-imperialist Marxist movement. Absolutely ridiculous.

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    1. In defence of the Trots, they had nothing to do with this vapid and silly bourgeois album, which has nothing to do with Vietnam at all.

      Our “review” was a mockery of the “anti-racist” attacks on the band known until recently as “Viet Cong”.

      In other words, like the Trots, these champions of “social justice” pose as “left” (“white people don’t take non-white suffering seriously!”) while actually espousing rightist rhetoric (“the Viet Cong was EVIL!”).

      We just thought it would be funnier if the album had in fact pretended to political significance before it was attacked by fascists posing as progressives.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. PS: By the way, that chant was real:

        “On demonstrations in the 1960s, it was common to hear marchers chanting “Ho, Ho, Ho Chi Minh, we will fight and we will win”, in honour of the Vietnamese Stalinist who led the fight against US occupation. The best sections of the left replied with their own rhyme — Ho, Ho, Ho Chi Minh — how many Trots did you do in?”” (http://www.workersliberty.org/node/4774)

        Always funny to watch Trots declare themselves “the best” and “the most revolutionary,” despite all evidence to the contrary in practice.

        Liked by 1 person

  2. ProudTrot

    If you think it is annoyingly sectarian for Trots to critisize the Viet Minh for murdering Trots, imagine how annoying it was for Ta Thu Thau and his comrades to get shot by the Viet Minh. Bu then again, for stalinists non- sectarianism always ment “do as we tell you to do”.

    P.S. Just because Trots opposed the Stalinist leadership of the Viet Minh and Viet Cong, it does not mean we did not support the struggle of the Vietnamese people for national independence. To say otherwise is to lie.

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      1. ProudTrot

        Do you think it is impossible to support a struggle while opposing it’s leadership? Supporting the struggle by opposing its leadership? Yes! In our opinion, a revolutionary working class socialist leadership would have been an immense boost to the national independence struggle. (If you wish, I can explain why we think that)

        Many progressive struggles across history sadly had reactionary leaders. Supporting progressive struggles while opposing their reactionary leadership is something Marxists always did. As an allegory, imagine that you are a fan of a football club, but you think their coach is awful and hurts their chances of winning, according to your logic, you can’t be both a fan of the club and wish their coach will be replaced. I wonder why people think stalinists don’t grasp basic marxism and basic logic.

        And by the way, of course we Trots think we are the best section of the left. If I thought there was a better section of the left, I would have joined that section and would’nt have remained a Trot.

        P.S. You have not replied to my main argument . Do you think it was good that the Vietnamese Trots were shot by the Viet Minh? Because I would like to know if I’m talking to someone who would shoot me given the chance.

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      2. So although you start with the assumption that the Trots were more “revolutionary socialists” than Ho Chi Minh, we’ve still decided to respond:

        In short, you’re basically wrong. Marx didn’t think Abraham Lincoln was the answer to all the contradictions of US society, but in his support for the war against slaveholders, can you imagine he would’ve agitated for people to undermine Lincoln’s leadership, although he recognised that Lincoln represented another exploiting class (the industrial bourgeoisie).

        Similarly, in cases where Marxists criticise such and such left movement they support (our infamous “critical support”), we don’t actually mean that the “critical” element of our support means forming a camp whose express purpose is to UNDERMINE the leadership. Even if our eventual hope is to replace them, this legitimacy to usurp leadership comes from a mandate from the masses. One doesn’t simply get to say “We critically support Jeremy Corbyn! Well, that’s all we have to do to demonstrate our seriousness, follow us and not that bastard now, masses!”

        It is for this reason that Marxists usually don’t support “the lesser of two evils”, on the grounds that we really feel that said “lesser evil” needs to be openly combated. Indeed, it is for this reason that Trotskyists during the Cold War declared themselves to be a “third way” between “Stalinists” and the forces of capitalism/imperialism, wrongly or rightly.

        What about when various Marxist groups in one country band together for reasons of a common enemy (in elections, etc.)? I cannot imagine that even if the CPGB-ML and the SWP in the UK were to work together on some project that either would claim they “support” the other “while opposing its leadership”, in the abstract. They would both claim to support a project they were leading jointly, and indeed if one or the other turned out hegemonic, they would likely become irreconcilable enemies, one defending the actually existing project and the other claiming to represent a past form of the project before it was “hijacked” by the enemy.

        The closest to your concept we actually see is 20th Century instances of Trotskyists declaring that a “Stalinist bureaucracy” had seized control of such and such “deformed” or “degraded” “worker’s state”, or from our side, our declarations that such and such “people’s republic” or “socialist state” had descended into “revisionism”. In both cases, there is the general hope that there will be political upheaval from within causing the ascendancy of leadership of which we approve more. Even in those cases I wouldn’t say that Trotskyists really “supported” the Soviet Union while opposing its leadership (Trotsky’s claims to the contrary notwithstanding), although of course, it all depends on the dynamics: If it is about an external threat by the imperialist powers, of course we would support “revisionists” against imperialists if they attacked them, but in that case we would also be supporting their leadership, again, and not choosing to use that moment of crisis to undermine them. The question remains: Why do we assume that the Trots in Vietnam were innocent and Ho Chi Minh was wrong to label them wreckers?

        Liked by 1 person

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