|The Wakefield Socialist History Group held a meeting on Saturday 17 October at the Red Shed on THE FALL OF SAIGON: FORTY YEARS SINCE THE VIETNAM WAR.
The first speaker was Matthew Caygill. He is a lecturer at Leeds Beckett University and teaches a module on "Politics and Culture in the Era of the Vietnam War." He is also a member of Left Unity and the Leeds based Ford Maguire Society.
Matthew said that the Vietnam war saw America "defeated and humiliated." The defeat led to the "Vietnam Syndrome" whereby America was stymied around the world and Americans were loathe for years to see their sons sent to fight wars abroad.
The second speaker was Stephen Wood. He is a local government worker and a member of the "Alliance for Workers' Liberty." He writes regularly for their newspaper "Solidarity."
Stephen gave an illuminating account of the anti-war movement in the US. He spoke in particular about Students for a Democratic Society (SDS) who played a key role from 1962 to 1969 -including organising demonstrations and direct action- before fragmenting thereafter.
The final speaker was Michael Chant, General Secretary of the Revolutionary Communist Party of Britain (Marxist Leninist). He was born near Wakefield and is also a well known composer.
Michael asserted the right of oppressed nations/peoples to independence and to determine their own path of socialist development, particularly where their sovereignty is threatened.
After the speeches there followed questions and also a lively discussion.
The next group event is on Saturday 21 November when we will be discussion "Europe and the Left: how should socialists vote in the referendum?" The meeting is again at the Red Shed, Vicarage Street, Wakefield WF1 and starts at 1pm.