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Wednesday, 26 October 2016 09:16
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The nature of the allegation: “Marxist - Leninist is in opposition to Ho Chi Minh Thought”

(LLCT) - Since public denial proved to be ineffective, forces hostile to Marxism - Leninism and scientific socialism have taken up more slanderous methods to undermine the legitimacy of these political theories. For example, one recent allegation that has emerged amongst political discussions paints Marxism - Leninism and scientific socialism as outdated theories and in opposition to the true ideology of Ho Chi Minh Thought!

In 1917, the Russian Socialist Revolution “shook the world” and socialist regime was born on the grounds of its upheaval. Around 1945, after the end of World War II, a number of socialist countries sprung into existence, opposing capitalist systems in place around the world. Despite the collapse of socialism in the Soviet Union and Eastern Europe in 1991 after a period of crisis, many countries have since enacted effective socialist-oriented reforms and renovations. These nations have experienced significant progress in overcoming their own crises and have restored the theoretical developmental trend: as a rule of social evolution, human kind must inevitably advance towards socialism!

The theories of scientific socialism have been brought into life; however the practical applications of socialism still face a variety of challenges in development. As such, this theoretical system must be able to defend itself from the multifarious schemes and plots that attempt to negate its existence. Since 1991, parties in opposition to the ideals of socialism have repeatedly dismissed Marxism - Leninism and scientific socialism as a defunct movement (!).

Since public denial proved to be ineffective, forces hostile to Marxism - Leninism and scientific socialism have taken up more slanderous methods to undermine the legitimacy of these political theories. For example, one recent allegation that has emerged amongst political discussions paints Marxism - Leninism and scientific socialism as outdated theories and in opposition to the true ideology of Ho Chi Minh Thought (!).

First, it is necessary to recognize the complete inaccuracy of the allegation that Marxism - Leninism is outdated or a failed ideology.

The revolutions that have occurred in Vietnam and other socialist-oriented countries have provided manifest evidence for the revolutionary nature of Marxism - Leninism. By reflecting principled dialectical, historical-specific viewpoints and developmental ideas, Marxism - Leninism has established a theoretical foundation that empowered the working classes and communist parties of the world and allowed them to determine the proper revolutionary actions to pursue in liberating society from all forms of oppression.

In the Communist Manifesto (1848), Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels stated: “In place of the old bourgeois society, with its classes and class antagonisms, we shall have an association in which the free development of each is the premise for the free development of all”(1). This reflects the humanitarian essence of Marxist doctrine that defines the scope of socialism and communism.

Marxism - Leninism, in theory, advocates for the principles of historical materialism and the principle of surplus value exploitation - a foundational principle of economics also used in capitalism. According to Marxist doctrine, any given society’s working class is capable of organizing and leading a revolution under the leadership of communist parties in order to convert capitalism into socialism. Marxism - Leninism is the pioneering theoretical doctrine for working people around the world and has empowered them in their struggle to eliminate capitalism and establish socialism and communism.

Although Marx and Engels developed historical ideologies, it was Lenin that ultimately made great contributions to the protection, supplementation and concretization of these principles and theories under new conditions, introducing scientific socialism in the Soviet Union after the October Revolution.

Marxism - Leninism and scientific socialism owe their vitality and combative power to the dynamic and constant development of human society, which follows essential processes and laws. Therefore, the philosphies of dialetical materialism and historical materialism have immeasurable value, allowing working classes around the world a practical, scientific worldview and a revolutionary, humanitarian outlook on life.

Although socialist regime has experienced a number of setbacks since the end of the twentieth century, many Western scholars have recognized Marx as an influential philosopher in the development of 20th century human society!

Modern capitalism has itself experienced periods of crisis, namely the global financial crisis, which have demonstrated the negative effects of capitalism on humanity’s development. It is no coincidence that the famous French scholar Jacques Darrida has derided capitalist society as being full of internal “ulcers” and “sores” while calling for a return of Marxist doctrine.

Recently, Professor Terry Eagleton from the University of Lancaster, Great Britain wrote “Why Marx Was Right”, which was published in early 2011.

The book received great publicity and was acclaimed by a number of Eagleton’s academic peers. The Financial Times issued on May 27, 2011 wrote that “Why Marx Was Right” deserved to be a candidate for the Economic Nobel prize for “reviving Marx” and affirming “Marx’s approach as the best consideration of capitalism”(2). The Socialist Review also praised Eagleton, saying, “The book clearly targets the first to deeply approach Marx philosophy... However, this little book helps equip the new generation of communists with ideas necessary to win the coming battles”(3).

Eagleton makes several valuable points in the book that directly oppose the allegations of Marxism - Leninism’s antiquity, arguing, “What if it were not Marxism that is out of date but capitalism itself?... Marx viewed capitalist society as awash with fantasy and fetishism, myth and idolatry, however much it prided itself on its modernity. Its very enlightenment - its smug belief in its own superior rationality - was a kind of superstition. If it was capable of some astonishing progress, there was another sense in which it had to run very hard just to stay on the spot. The final limit on capitalism, Marx once commented, is capital itself, the constant reproduction of that which is a frontier beyond, from which it cannot stray”(4).

In the United States, Nouriel Roubini, Professor of Economics at New York University, wrote on the Project Syndicale (August 15, 2011): “So Karl Marx, it seems, was partly right in arguing that globalization, financial intermediation run amok, and redistribution of income and wealth from labor to capital could lead capitalism to self-destruction”(5).

In fact, many Western scholars confirm the vitality and sustainability of Marxist principles.

A prominent Russian scholar, Vladimir Ivanovich Semenov, wrote about Marxism and the lessons of its development through Lenin after a century and a half: “Vladimir Lenin considered himself simply the successor of Marx and Engels, a Marxist who creatively applied Marxism in reality and developed Marxism based on real and concrete situations. This is what Marx and Engels demanded.

“It is said that Marxism is reflected in Leninism because Lenin added creativity, renovation, and complementation that made Marxism more profound and suitable for the time on the basis of new, massive revolutionary and practical experiences of socialism”(6).

Many Russian scholars greatly appreciated the scientific and revolutionary essence of Marxism - Leninism. This brings the collapse of the socialist system in the Soviet Union and Eastern Europe into focus. In Russia today, many scholars point out the mistakes of applying a mechanical, dogmatic model during the post-Lenin period, as the Soviets did under Stalin’s socialism. They gradually strayed from Marxism - Leninism principles of socialism, especially by building a new party and turning the Soviet Union into a totalitarian organization.

Over time, however, the practical successes of socialist revolutions around the world have upheld the scientific and revolutionary values of socialism itself and provide evidence for its sustainability.

In assessing the strength of a doctrine, one must assess the values of its theories by summarizing its realities. These values must be viewed from a scientific, practical perspective free of prejudice or bias; neither god-like admiration or ungrounded, unreasonable denial should be considered sound judgment.

Therefore, the allegation that, “Marxism - Leninism and scientific socialism are failed ideologies” carries no significant weight.

For fear of persuading no one, there are some who claim to be “disciples” of Ho Chi Minh that undermine Marxism - Leninism under the guise of Ho Chi Minh Thought by saying that Marxism and scientific socialism is “opposed to the true ideology of Ho Chi Minh Thought” (!).

To refute these claims, observe the practical nature of the Vietnamese revolution since Ho Chi Minh sought national salvation and came across the ideas of Marxism - Leninism. Ho Chi Minh creatively applied and developed Marxism - Leninism according to the specific situation in Vietnam at that time, leading revolutionary forces to gradually earn victories in the national liberation movement that eventually obtained national independence and reunification, further advancing the ideals of socialism. Those accomplishments resulted from the impact of Ho Chi Minh’s ideology: The Vietnamese revolution must follow proletarian idealism under the leadership of Marxism - Leninism and national independence, organically combined with socialism.

Followers of Ho Chi Minh Thought are fully aware of the significance that Ho Chi Minh’s years spent travelling around the world, before returning to France in 1920, had on his political views. These crucial years formed his ideas about national salvation, introduced as he was to Marxism - Leninism and Lenin’s views about the theory of nations and colonial issues. Those who have researched Ho Chi Minh’s ideologies recognize the affection, appreciation, and belief that he held for Marxism - Leninism; he felt it was the most genuine, revolutionary political theory among the doctrines that he studied.

Ho Chi Minh appreciated Leninism’s core values of dialectic materialism and historic materialism. These theories exemplify the idealism of the working class, communist parties, and workers’ parties, supporting them in the revolutionary war to eliminate oppression and exploitation, ultimately pursuing class liberation, social liberation, and human liberation.

More than anyone else, Ho Chi Minh fully understood the humanistic ideas “of the people, for the people, and by the people” in socialism theory. These ideas reflect the purpose of Marxism - Leninism.

During the training course for the Party’s new members, held by the Hanoi Party Committee in August 14, 1966, President Ho Chi Minh advised: “... in order to have a solid proletarian stance, the Party members must be aware of class conflict and revolutionary theory. There will be no strong class stance if there is no theory of scientific socialism. Therefore, you, men and women, should pay attention to, and study Marxism - Leninism theory as well as the Party’s guidelines and policies, culture, technology, and professional skills”(7).

Marxism - Leninism and scientific socialism, therefore, have always been the ideological foundations upon which Ho Chi Minh built the revolutionary ideas of Vietnam’s liberation. These are obvious facts that cannot be denied or inconsiderately distorted!

The Communist Party of Vietnam affirmed the scientific and revolutionary essence of Marxism - Leninism and scientific socialism and also affirmed the nature of Ho Chi Minh Thought, stating, “Ho Chi Minh ideology is a comprehensive and profound system of ideas on fundamental issues of the Vietnamese revolution. It is the result of creative application and development of Marxism - Leninism according to the situational needs of our country, inheriting and developing traditional values of the nation and absorbing the cultural quintessence of humankind(8).

For those who loudly slander scientific socialism, finding tension between Marxism - Leninism and the proper ideology of Ho Chi Minh Thought, the question is, “Where exactly is the opposition?” These false viewpoints must originate either from lack of knowledge about Ho Chi Minh’s ideology or from fear of the vitality and mobilization potential of Marxism - Leninism.

The nature of this allegation is blatant distortion and slander, which disregards both theory and practice in order to deny Marxism - Leninism and tout Ho Chi Minh Thought as an absolute theory, which in fact denies the very ideology of Ho Chi Minh.

An idea’s persuasiveness depends on practical arguments, not spiteful “cat and mouse game” tactics! Therefore, it is necessary to clearly identify the schemes and distorted allegations of these hostile forces:

- False allegations to distort and deny the influence of Marxism - Leninism and scientific socialism, claiming that Marxism - Leninism and scientific socialism are “wrong, outdated” and “extinct” (!).

- Attempts to venerate the righteousness of Ho Chi Minh Thought, and its supposed opposition to Marxism - Leninism, in order to attract and persuade the politically unaware, opportunists, and dissidents to directly deny Marxism - Leninism and indirectly deny Ho Chi Minh Thought itself.

- Denial of the Communist Party of Vietnam’s consistent view of socialism: “The Party considers Marxism - Leninism and Ho Chi Minh Thought to be the ideological foundation and compass for its actions”(9).

- Schemes to deny Marxism - Leninism and scientific socialism, indirectly denying Ho Chi Minh Thought and causing confusion and suspicion among cadres, party members, and other socialist members in Vietnam. These plots also overshadow the role and prestige of the Communist Party of Vietnam and undermine the people’s belief in the Party and regime.

- Indirectly disseminating non-Marxist and anti-Marxist ideology intended to incite and divide by introducing wrong and hostile ideas that oppose socialism and cast doubt on the people’s beliefs in the future of socialism, and the nation’s common objective.

 The reality of the worldwide socialist revolution, reflected in the examples of its successes and failures, have demonstrated the sustainable values of Marxism - Leninism on socialist philosophy. Today, through the achievements of socialism in China, in Cuba, in the People’s Democratic Republic of Laos, and in Latin America, socialism has gradually recovered and affirmed its influence on global politics. Vietnam’s historically significant achievements during its period of renovation have also demonstrated the vitality of Marxism - Leninism and Ho Chi Minh Thought.


(1) K. Marx and F. Engels: Complete Works, National Political Publishing House, Hanoi, 2002, p.628.

(2), (3), (4) Terry Eagleton: Why Marx was right?, Political - Administrative Publishing House, Hanoi, 2014, p.5, 5, 6, 36-37.

(5) See: Information on theoretical issues (for leaders), Iss. December, 2014, p.21.

(6) Prof., Dr. Ta Ngoc Tan (Head of the Compilation board): New arguments by Russian scholars on socialism, National Political Publishing House, Hanoi, 2013, p.109.

(7) Ho Chi Minh: Complete Works, National Political Publishing House, Hanoi, 2011, vol.12, p.92.

(8), (9) CPV: Documents of National Party Congresses in the Renewal Period, National Political Publishing House, Hanoi, 2005, p.633, 329.


Assoc. Prof., Dr. Nguyen Quoc Pham

Institute of Scientific Socialism

Ho Chi Minh National Academy of Politics



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