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Friday, 25 September 2020 15:58
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Is Marxism - Leninism outdated and unsuitable for Vietnam?

(LLCT) - Since its origin, Marxism - Leninism has been distorted in a dogmatic or opportunistic manner. Particularly, the schemes to distort Marxism - Leninism have become greater in scale, more diverse in form, more dangerous in nature, and more wicked in level after real socialism in the Soviet Union and Eastern Europe collapsed. The article helps clarify the scientific and revolutionary nature and vitality of Marxism - Leninism and fight against wrongful and hostile views.

Keyword:  Marxism - Leninism, vitality of Marxism - Leninism, reject wrongful views.

The necessity and suitability, roles of theoretical and ideological basis and foundation, and guideline for the revolutionary actions of Marxism - Leninism for the development of a world revolution and Vietnamese revolution can be generalized with the following main points:

1. The movement and development since the ancient time of mankind and history of the Vietnamese are the clear pieces of evidence to prove that the theory of socio-economic forms of Marxism - Leninism is scientific and correct and that it reflects the history of movement, development, and progress for the whole of mankind, including Vietnamese people, accurately and objectively. The theory of socio-economic forms is the basis of theory and methodology of Marxism - Leninism to access research, explain, and predict the historical and natural development of human society in general and each nation in particular, including the historical development of the Vietnamese people. That theory has clearly indicated:

- The development history of mankind is the successive replacement of the socio-economic forms, including the development of production relationships in the direction that is progressive and suitable for the certain development level of the production force as the basis, on which the suitable superstructure is built.

- Mankind’s history has been going through 5 socio-economic forms that are the general rule of mankind’s society development; one nation can skip one or some forms in the historical and specific conditions of the era and nation. That Vietnam has skipped the development of the socio-economic form of slavery and socio-economic form of capitalism is an objective historical inevitability which cannot be rejected(1).

Thus, the founders of Marxism - Leninism not only analyze the socio-economic forms but also analyze to highlight their nature, movement rule, and conflicts and predict the inevitable collapse and their successive replacement either dialectically sequentially or dramatically according to the rule. Historically and naturally, like the movement of mankind from the primitive commune regime to slavery and the feudal regime to capitalism, the socio-economic form of capitalism is followed by a newer and more progressive socio-economic form: communism, the first period of which is socialism. It is a historical inevitability, and it is in agreement with the objective rule recognized by Marxist science.

Because Marxism - Leninism is thorough scientifically and revolutionary, it deals with all the issues posed by history and the progressive requirements of the hard-working people, even in the East or West, like its own genuine values. History has practically shown that since its formation, development, and establishment at the end of the 19th century, the system of the thoughts, views, principles, and socio-economic rules discovered by that scientific system  have been increasingly proved with the reality of life and recognized widely, and it has become the ideological foundation and guideline for the revolutionary actions of the working class in the world, the sharp theoretical weapon of the working class and working people on the continents and the pioneer and genuine parties of that class regardless of nation, people, or continent.

Karl Marx was a genius scientist and the most thorough revolutionary who correctly exposed that the exploitation nature of the capitalist regime was surplus value exploitation - the trick and form to exploit the working people very sophisticatedly whether in the mother country or colonies of the bourgeoisie as well as the origin of trampling the independence and freedom of the countries and people from Asia to Europe. The unchanged exploiting nature of capitalism, the existence of the comprehensive reactionary nature of the modern bourgeois politics, and the nature of conflicts, crisis, and the inevitable destructive trend of capitalism are still topical issues, not only in Marx’s time but also today. V.I.Lenin clarified: “Marx’s theory is a versatile theory because it is a correct theory(2)... It combines a close and high scientific nature (it is the highest peak of social sciences) with revolutionary spirit..”.(3). President Ho Chi Minh wrote: “Leninism... is a miraculous ‘handbook’ which is not only the guideline but also the sun that illuminates our path to the final victory, socialism, and communism(4)”.

However, the wrongful and reactionary views made use of the collapse of real socialism in Eastern Europe and the Soviet Union and the ups and downs of socialism to demonstrate that Marxism had failed. Those arguments could not fool anyone. The sense of mankind is still very conscious and wise to evaluate that Marxism still retains its meaning and importance in the modern world(5), that Marxism - Leninism is always a decisive base for the revolutionary organizations of the international working class and genuine communist parties to propose the strategic line and revolutionary policy(6). It marked the intellectual development of mankind in the transitional period from capitalism to socialism all over the world. Moreover, those who insulted and defamed Marxism - Leninism intentionally ignored that socialism in the Soviet Union and Eastern Europe collapsed because of the complete failure of a wrong guideline and line which not only fell into bureaucratism, dogmatism, subjectiveness, and voluntarism from the mistakes in building the leadership line of the ruling party there and deviating from genuine Marxism - Leninism, but also the revisionism and betrayal towards scientific socialism rather than the scientific thought that the Marxist-Leninist theory was outdated with no era nature. At the same time, the evil conspiracies in the “peaceful evolution” strategy used by international imperialism should be mentioned. The enemy of the communist parties made full use of the mistakes in the line and the defects which were not overcome during the ruling parties’ time in leading and operating the countries, including bribing, stimulating, enticing the opportunistic elements within, and encouraging the outside counter-revolutionary acts. The enemy of Marxism - Leninism blamed all such things on Karl Marx and Marxism - Leninism, which was absurd and anti-scientific.

In 1999, the University of Cambridge (U.K.) announced the poll of the top thinkers in the second millennium. According to the result, Karl Marx ranked first, and Einstein, a great scientist, ranked second(7). Recently, according to a survey conducted by Spiegel Magazine (Germany), Karl Marx is surprisingly popular: more than 50% of the western German population said that the criticism of Karl Marx towards capitalism today still remains valuable, and 56% even believe that socialism is a good ideology but the practice is bad. Among youth, Karl Marx is even more popular. The securities billionaire investor George Soros wrote: “Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels provided a very good analysis of the capitalist system more than 200 years ago”(8). The New Yorker (USA) also believes that the modern economists are facing and handling the issues, meaning they are following in the footsteps of Karl Marx without awareness. According to Newsweek Magazine (USA), Karl Marx dissected this profiteering system better than anyone as if Karl Marx rose from his grave! It is practically proven that capitalism itself has been applying Marxism - Leninism to adjust and adapt for existence, even in the East or West (from Japan to Western Europe and the U.S., etc.)

2. Marxism - Leninism pointed out the objective rule of the formation and development process of socialism and communism as well as the decisive subjective condition of that process: pioneer theory and the pioneer Party of the working class. In the Manifesto of the Communist Party, Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels clarified the thought that the conditions to liberate the working class and working people from exploitation were to have the vanguard with vanguard theory and action. They stated that the communists had no other interests but the interest of the whole proletariat. Practically, communists were the most decisive part, which always urged the movement forward; theoretically, they were better than the rest of the proletariat because they understood the general conditions, processes, and results of the proletarian movement.

In the work “What to do,” V.I.Lenin asserted: “Without revolutionary theory, there cannot be a revolutionary movement..”.(9) “Only a party guided by the pioneer ideology is able to fulfill the role as a vanguard soldier”(10).

The victory of the August Revolution in 1945 by Vietnamese people under the leadership of the Communist Party of Vietnam - which was founded, trained, and educated by President Ho Chi Minh and based on Marxism - Leninism as the political ideological foundation and guideline for revolutionary actions - was the most convincing evidence to prove that Marxism really played a theoretical role in leading the Vietnamese revolution to victory.

In 1858, French colonialists invaded Vietnam. With patriotic tradition against aggressors, a great number of patriots raised flags to gather different classes of Vietnamese people to rise against the aggressors for more than 50 years with the will of fighting western people until the end, but they did not succeed. At the beginning of the 20th century, the patriotic movements in the bourgeois trend ended in failure one after the other. There seemed to be no way out for our country.

In 1911, the young man Nguyen Tat Thanh, whose nickname was Van Ba, left to find a way to save the country. After nearly 10 years of traveling across continents, earning his living, and studying theory and practice of world revolution, Nguyen Ai Quoc reached the conclusion: only socialism and communism could completely emancipate oppressed peoples. Next, he had to undergo 10 years of preparation in three aspects: ideological thought, political line, and cadre organization to lead to the birth of the Communist Party of Vietnam (February 3, 1930). Mentioning the role of the communist party and theory, Nguyen Ai Quoc quoted the famous saying by V.I.Lenin in the work “What to Do” on the first page of the Revolutionary Path published in 1927:

- Revolution, what is needed first?

He answered clearly: “First of all, a revolutionary party is required... The revolution can only succeed if the party is firm... To make the party firm, a doctrine must be the core, and anyone in the party must understand and follow it. Without a doctrine, the party would be like a man without intelligence or a ship without compass.

Nowadays, there are a great number of theories and doctrines, but the most genuine, certain, and revolutionary doctrine is Leninism”(11).

In a talk at the new Party member training class held by the Hanoi Party Committee in 1966, President Ho Chi Minh further asserted: “Without the theory of scientific socialism, there will not be a firm class position. Hence, you must try your best to learn Marxist - Leninist theory, the Party line and policy, culture, technology, and professional skills”(12).

In the last years of his life, on writing his Testament, Uncle Ho continued to assert his thought about the roles of Marxism - Leninism and the communist party.

3. V.I.Lenin inherited, creatively applied, and developed Marx’s theory to the practice of Russian and world revolutions, and he proposed the theory of socialist revolution in the imperial period based on that basis.

On the basis of studying and analyzing imperialism, V.I.Lenin discovered the uneven economic and political development rule of capitalism in the imperial period and came to the conclusion that proletarian revolution could triumph in some countries or in an individual country where capitalism was not the most developed but the weakest link in the chain of capitalism. The victory of the October Revolution in Russia proved that. At the same time, V.I.Lenin proposed the scientific and revolutionary theory of the transitional period to socialism skipping capitalism.

Accomplishing a national and people’s democratic revolution, Vietnam carried out the socialist revolution in northern Vietnam and on a national scale (from 1975). The victory of the Vietnamese people in the resistance war against the French colonialists and American imperialists, resulting in its national reunification, and movement to socialism from an outdated agricultural country skipping the phase of capitalism have been the convincing pieces of evidence to prove that V.I.Lenin’s theory about socialist revolution in the imperial period is completely right with scientific and practical bases and reflects the basic features of Vietnamese history in the 20th century and even today precisely.

4. Most of the historical and significant achievements, especially those over 35 years of renewal that Vietnam has had, are obtained because our Party and State have creatively applied and developed the thoughts and views of Marxism - Leninism, including V.I.Lenin’s New Economic Policy (NEP) in the transitional period to socialism.

For NEP, V.I.Lenin asserted that moving to socialism did not mean eliminating commodity and market economies but developing commodity and market economies; it also did not mean the economy of the only economic component but multiple component economy with various possession forms, etc. The creative application and development of Marxist - Leninist theory, especially the NEP of V.I.Lenin, to the specific situation and condition of Vietnam were particularly clearly shown in the view, guideline, and line of our Party on developing the socialist oriented market economy, multi-component economy, etc. in the transitional period to socialism.

The achievements of Vietnam’s diplomacy are mostly recorded because we know how to combine national strength with era strength, especially in implementing consistently and effectively the independent, self-reliant, peaceful, cooperative and developmental foreign affair line, as well as diversifying and multilateralizing diplomatic relationships. Vietnam is a friend, reliable partner, and positive and responsible member of the international community. It is active and positive in comprehensive and deep international integration. The supreme interests of the nation and people must be ensured on the basis of respecting international law, equality, mutual benefit, and emphasis on improving the effect of international integration. In terms of nature, Vietnam’s above-mentioned open diplomatic line is the creative application of our Party and State on the theory of V.I.Lenin about “peaceful coexistence” between the two previously opposing socio-political systems (capitalist and socialist) - to the specific condition of Vietnam and the new domestic and international context today.

From the above analyses, there is ground to assert:

Firstly, Marxism - Leninism has had strong vitality and era value because this has been the most scientific and revolutionary theory up to now. Marxism - Leninism is the foundation of a worldview and scientific methodology for mankind, and it aroused further study in the future of mankind. Marxism - Leninism, together with Ho Chi Minh Thought, really becomes the ideological and theoretical foundation and guideline for the revolutionary action of our Party in leading the cause of building and protecting the socialist nation of Vietnam.

Secondly, though Marxism - Leninism was very scientific and proper, it could not answer all the issues fully, specifically, and thoroughly in all eras and nations. Marxism - Leninism is open, and it had to be supplemented and developed continuously with the process of developing knowledge, science, and practice of mankind. When applying the fundamental principles of that theory, it is necessary to base actions on the historical and specific condition of each country in the revolutionary period to make creative application and continuous development. The historical victories of the Vietnamese revolution since it was led by the Communist Party have been the most convincing pieces of evidence of the creative application and contribution to developing Marxism - Leninism of the Party and people.

Thirdly, to apply the theory to practice is hard and tough, and a suitable mechanism and an objective, scientific, and honest attitude are required to become successful.

At the 7th Congress (1991), our Party asserted: “...Ho Chi Minh Thought is the result of the creative application of Marxism - Leninism to the specific condition of our country, and Ho Chi Minh Thought has become a precious spiritual legacy of the Party and nation in practice. The Communist Party of Vietnam is the combination of Marxism - Leninism with the workers’ movement and patriotic movement of the Vietnamese people. President Ho Chi Minh is the most complete embodiment of that combination as well as the bright example of the combination of class and nation, nation and the world, and national independence and socialism”(13).

Entering the 21st century, with the strong development of the scientific and technological revolution, especially the Industrial Revolution 4.0 with impetus of the knowledge economy, the digital economy has had a breakthrough development and the process of globalization and international integration have been posing increasingly new, big, complicated, and hard responsibilities for our Party, army, and people. A series of issues having strategic, basic, and urgent meaning for the future of the nation require the Party to find the answer to make the country develop more rapidly and sustainably on the socialist path.

In the work of building and protecting the nation today, we must remain loyal to Marxism - Leninism and Ho Chi Minh Thought as well as apply and develop it creatively. The immutable principle is to consider it not only a political ideological foundation in the socio-political aspect, a political and scientific program in terms of revolutionary action, a whole regime in the systematic structure, and a moving and unified entity in the scientific and practical aspect but also a theoretical and open theory in social and historical aspects and a whole of the scientific and revolutionary methodology as contained and manifested in Marxism - Leninism.

Through the challenges and test of real history, Marxism - Leninism has manifested as a deeply revolutionary science. Marxism - Leninism is a theory which not only explains the world but, more importantly, improves the world. In other words, Marxism - Leninism is absolutely not an abstract and speculative science but also a science of revolution and science of reality, among at freeing people from being dominated by the “inevitable kingdom” to move to the “free kingdom”. Therefore, it implies the constant self-developing and self-creating ability through revolution. Standing firm to Marxism - Leninism means continuously developing it with creative revolutionary practice and being conscious to fight against all the manifestations of pragmatism, opportunism, and revisionism, which stain, twist, and distort it, in a timely and effective manner simultaneously.

The further study and development of Marxism - Leninism are in fact researching, discovering, and summarizing the issues of rule and the rules of the natural, social, and thinking movement in a general manner with the common nature which are essential but contained and manifested in a lively manner in certain historical periods in the whole historical and natural development process of mankind. 

All our study of political theory must aim at helping establish an independent, self-reliant, proper, and creative political line to successfully lead and instruct the cause of building socialism and defending the nation today on the ideological foundation of Marxism - Leninism and Ho Chi Minh Thought under the leadership of the Party. However, in a practical aspect, mentioning socialist orientation does not mean having a proper theory and line of socialism, construction of socialism, and protection of the socialist nation. On the one hand, it is because the methodology can deviate on the macro and micro aspects and whole and partial scales. On the other hand, in terms of practical organization, double shortcomings may be contained: political line planning may be far from the rule, and the political line enforcement organization may deviate. In the past, the practical mistakes proved both of these. Therefore, right at the mid-term plenum of the 7th Party Central Committee  (January 1994), the Party warned strongly and was particularly worried about the risk of deviating from socialism, and considered this the leading risk among four in the aspects of planning the political line of the Party and organizing its implementation in reality. Thus, it is important to be deeply aware that maintaining socialist orientation in studying political theory on the foundation of Marxism - Leninism has a particularly important meaning which is decisive to the success or failure of the Party, the cause of building socialism and protecting our nation nowadays and of the people and the country in the future. It has been the lesson of our success or failure in the practice of building socialism over the past decades as well as the lesson of failure for the ruling communist parties in the socialist countries in Eastern Europe and the Soviet Union in the last decades of the 20th century on deviation and digression from creating a political line and a more broadly political theory. It has been practically proved that only good practical and timely organization and regular summary of the practical experience of revolution on the basis of Marxism - Leninism and Ho Chi Minh Thought is the only proper way to develop and protect revolutionary ideology and move the revolutionary cause forward continuously.



(1) See Assoc. Prof., Dr. Vu Van Phuc: “Transitional Period to Socialism in Vietnam - an Inevitability of History”, in the book: Persistence in the Goal and Path to Socialism in Our Country, National Political Publishing House - Truth, Hanoi, 2013, p.131-144.

(2) V.I.Lenin: Complete Works, vol.23, Progress Publishers, Moscow, 1980, p.50.

(3) V.I.Lenin: Complete Works, vol.11, Progress Publishers, Moscow, 1979, p.412.

(4) Ho Chi Minh: Complete Works, vol.12, National Political Publishing House, Hanoi, 2011, p.563.

(5) Assessment of the International Marx Congress in Paris from September 27th to 30th, 1995, to celebrate the 100th anniversary of Marxism with 500 delegates from nearly 100 research institutes, Marxist magazines, and 30 universities from 22 countries in the world (see Communist Review, issue 9, May 1996, p.27-31).

(6) Review of the Weekly Liberation Newspaper, July 7th, 1995, the voices of thousands of Latin - American revolutionaries residing in Sweden (see Communist Review, Issue 1, January 1996).

(7) See page http://en.wikipedia.org.

(8) See page http://www.guardian.co.uk.

(9), (10) V.I.Lenin: Complete Works, vol.6, Progress Publishers, Moscow, 1975, p.30, 32.

(11) Ho Chi Minh: Complete Works, National Political Publishing House, Hanoi, p.289.

(12) Ho Chi Minh: Complete Works, vol.15, National Political Publishing House, Hanoi, p.113.

(13) CPV: Complete set of Party documents, vol.51, National Political Publishing House, Hanoi, 2007, pp.29-30.

Assoc. Prof., Dr. Vu Van Phuc

Vice Chairman of the Scientific Council of Central Party Agencies

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