Challenge archive: A bike for Uncle Ho

Seventeen-year-old Jackie Tudberry of Stevenage YCL, 
riding one of the bikes which will shortly be in operation in Vietnam.

In this article from March 1968, Jenny Maldon writes on the YCL’s campaign work for the people of Vietnam during the War

We Young Communists fully support the Vietnamese people in their struggle against American Imperialism. We will stop at nothing to help them to this victory.

We would go to Vietnam to fight alongside the Vietnamese Youth Union if they would let us.

The struggle of the Vietnamese people is symbolic of the struggles of oppressed peoples throughout the world. We are on their side.

Opinion polls show that the majority of British people consider that the Government should disown America’s brutal war. Wilson should tell Johnson in no uncertain terms to end his slaughter. If Britain spoke out now, the American Vietnamese talks in Paris could achieve an end to the bombing of North Vietnam. But Wilson continues his criminal silence.

As Young Communists we work not only to show that the war is wrong and that the Americans have no right to be in Vietnam, but also to win the British people for active support for the people of Vietnam. Only through a Vietnamese victory will real peace be possible.

With their loads of rice and arms, bicycles are often the lifeline of the National Liberation Front soldiers. They go along paths impassable to lorries, screened from air attacks by jungle foliage. Fitted with wooden frames and loaded with up to 500 lb. of supplies, 20 bikes are equivalent to a 5-ton lorry.

The movement against Wilson’s conniving is growing,

Three years ago there was no Medical Aid Committee. Now it has sent tens of thousands of pounds worth of medical supplies to Vietnam. The British People’s Declaration, which calls for Britain’s dissociation from the US war, and end to the bombing and the implementation

of the Geneva Agreements, has met with nation-wide support. At a blood donor session sponsored by Challenge Magazine in May, 280 young people from the London area came to give blood for Vietnam.

Most exciting of all is the public response to the recent campaign for VICTORY TO THE VIETNAMESE PEOPLE.

Under this slogan the Young Communist League has collected money with which to buy equipment for the Vietnamese forces. During May, June and July the YCL raised over £5,000 for this purpose.

This shows not only that the YCL is determined to do everything possible to help the Vietnamese to victory, it also shows the extent to which public opinion is lining up with the Vietnamese. So strong is feeling now that the Young Conservatives, for example, have given us £10 to buy supplies.

For five weeks the Young Communist League’s Solidarity Lorry toured Britain to publicise the campaign and to collect equipment bought for Vietnam. The most popular purchase was bicycles-indispensable for maintaining the supply lines of the National Liberation Front. Also radios for communications, cloth for uniforms, medical supplies, and generators for use where American bombing has destroyed power stations.

We may never see our bikes laden with guns and ammunition, but we are confident that we have helped to make the NLF an even more efficient fighting force.

We are helping to liberate Vietnam.

Cover photo: The Young Communist League’s Solidarity Lorry – as seen of television – driven on its all-Britain tour by Tony Levi, and then across Europe to the World Youth Festival in Sofia.

Jenny Maldon

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