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Trotskyism in Vietnam describes proponents of Trotskyism (Leon Trotsky's Marxist political philosophy) who were active in the nation of Vietnam. In the history of twentieth-century communism, Vietnam was one of the few countries where Trotskyism had a large movement. Vietnamese Trotskyist leaders and most of its members were exterminated by the Communist Party of Vietnam from the beginning of September 1945.
VietnameseTrotskyists were involved in the earliest efforts to build a revolutionary movement in Indochina. During the 1930s in Saigon the Vietnamese Trotskyists were a strong rival movement to the Indochinese Communist Party (ICP), but there was cooperation among the ICP and Trotskyists, perhaps unique in the world, according to Robert J. Alexander. In 1939, after the Molotov–Ribbentrop Pact, Communist organisations were banned in France and Indochina. Authorities arrested hundreds of members of the ICP and Trotskyist organizations.
In 1945, the ICP emerged as the principal organised political force within the Viet Minh national front and led the struggle for power in the 1945 August Revolution. The two Trotskyist parties, La Lutte (French for "Struggle") and the International Communist League (led by Ho Huu Tuong), regrouped in 1945 and proceeded to rebuild their forces and prepare for the approaching conflict with the British occupation forces and the French colonial forces.
Tạ Thu Thâu emerged from prison in poor health but still the most popular leader of the workers' movement in the South and the best known Trotskyist in Vietnam. Returning to Saigon from a consultation with the new Viet Minh Government in Hanoi, he was assassinated by Vietminh adherents near Quang Ngai in September 1945.
The methodical assassination of Trotskyists in Saigon was reported in 1947 by Dwight Macdonald's politics magazine. "Virtually all of [the] Trotskyist leaders" were murdered by Stalinists, according to Alexander, who wrote, "Although in August 1945 the Vietnamese Trotskyists were an element of substantial importance in the country’s politics, within a few months they had been virtually exterminated—politically and for the most part physically—by the Communist government headed by Ho Chi Minh. The few Trotskyists escaping this holocaust were forced to flee abroad."
Daniel Hémery: Révolutionaires vietnamiens et pouvoir colonial en Indochine, François Maspero, Paris, 1975. (cited by Alexander)
Ngo Van (2000) Viet-nam 1920-1945: Révolution et contre-révolution sous la domination coloniale, Paris: Nautilus Editions [in French]. Partially translated (according to Goldner) as Revolutionaries They Could Not Break: The Fight for the Fourth International in Vietnam. London: Index Pr. 1995.
I. Milton Sacks: “Marxism in Viet Nam”, in Frank N. Trager (Editor): Marxism in South-East Asia: A Study of Four Countries, Stanford University Press, Stanford, 1959 (cited by Alexander)
Stalinism and Trotskyism in Vietnam, Spartacist Publishing Co., New York, 1976. (Cited by Alexander: Possibly an unreliable source)