In November 1976, I was privileged to spend ten days in Hanoi and nearby provinces as a guest of the Women's Union of Vietnam. It was an inspiring, heart-warming experience. Everywhere I went—factories, hospitals, museums, villages, and agricultural cooperatives—I was struck by the dedication and sense of purpose among the people, their superb organization, their deep love of their country, their care for each other and for their natural surroundings, their zest for life and sense of fun, their optimism and their gentleness. Everywhere I found amazing progress being made in postwar reconstruction and in the new expansion of industry, agriculture, building, transport, and cultural activities. Two events in particular were being anticipated with great excitement: the rebuilding of the railway from Hanoi to Ho Chi Minh City (formerly Saigon), which was finally completed on December 6th, and the Fourth Congress of the Vietnam Workers' Party, which took place in Hanoi between December 10th and 20th.
This article can also be found at the Monthly Review website, where most recent articles are published in full.