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Wednesday, 23 June 2021 14:43
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Critique of wrong and hostile views on socialism and the path to socialism in Vietnam

(LLCT) - To date, the struggle against opportunism, revisionism which attempt to distort the scientific and revolutionary nature of scientific socialism has become more complicated and acute when socialist realism has not come out of the crisis, and the world revolutionary movement has fallen into recession after the collapse of the socialist model in the Soviet Union and Eastern Europe. Therefore, it is of great importance to clarify the wrongful claims about socialism and the path to socialism in Vietnam in order to contribute to the protection of the Party's ideological foundation in the current period.

Keywords: socialism, path to socialism, wrong and hostile views.

1. Criticizing wrong and hostile views on socialism and the path to socialism in Viet Nam

Firstly, socialism proposed by Marx is just a new kind of utopian socialism which is unable to be realized.

That view is wrong, in term of both theoretical and practical basis.

Theoretically, there is a fundamental difference between utopian socialism and scientific socialism. Utopian socialism, particularly utopian socialism - criticism in the early nineteenth century in England and France was humane, contained humanitarian and critical values as well as played the role in awakening the workers’ movements all over the world. But its limitations made utopian socialism impossible to be the pioneer theory to lead the workers’ movement to victory. Utopian socialism failed to realize the law of movement and development in human society, nor to discover the nature of capitalism and recognize a force that could conduct the revolution. The birth of three great theories of K. Marx: historical materialism, the theory of surplus value, and the historical mission of the working class helped to overcome the above limitations and make socialism scientifically grounded. Classic historical materialists affirmed that the law of movement and development of human society is a historical - natural development process, of which socio-economic forms are interchanged from low to high level. Thus, they predicted that the capitalist social-economic form would be replaced by a communist socio-economic form which is highly human and would liberate the class, the people and society from all oppression and exploitation. The surplus value theory “exposes the secrets of capitalism” and clarifies the nature of capitalism’s exploitation of hired labor. Through sophisticated tricks, capitalists increasingly expropriated the “surplus value” generated through the unpaid labor of the workers. That basically caused the economic conflict between the working class and the bourgeoisie increasingly irreconcilable within the framework of capitalism. From these two initiatives, Marx proved that the leading class which could carry out a successful socialist revolution in each country to overthrow the capitalist regime, to establish a new society - socialism and move toward communism, was the working class.

The above fundamental difference clearly distinguishes scientific socialism and utopian socialism.

Practically, first of all, socialism has been an undeniable reality in history up to now. The victory of the Russian October Revolution made mankind’s dream for thousands of years come true. And during more than 70 years of their existence, the Soviet Union and the socialist countries in Eastern Europe gained tremendous achievements in many fields. During the 16 years of industrialization (1925-1941), the Soviet Union developed from a middle-class capitalist country (Russia) and most of countries in Central Asia at the pre-capitalist level to the leading industrialized country in Europe. In 1949, the Soviet Union successfully tested the atomic bomb. In 1957, the Soviet Union was the first country to successfully launch an artificial satellite. In 1961, it was the first country to bring humans into space. By the end of the 70s of the twentieth century, the Soviet Union had become the world’s second superpower. It was the first time in history that mankind had witnessed such rapid development in such a short time. The Soviet Union surpassed capitalist countries not only in economics, science, and technology, but also in the social field. In the Soviet Union, employment, housing, health care and education were taken care of and provided free of charge to all. Besides, children, the elderly, women and ethnic minorities were the groups of priorities. This created social justice, reduced the gap between the rich and the poor, and demonstrated the superiority of socialism over capitalism. Even now, although the socialist system in the world has disintegrated, no one can deny its objective existence and superiority. Notably the initial but significant successes in the reform and opening up process in socialist countries such as China, Vietnam and the spirit of 21th century socialism in Latin America, etc. strongly prove that the ideal of socialism still has lasting vitality with mankind.

Hostile forces claimed “the socialism proposed by Marx is just an ideal, an “utopian” socialism, which can never be realized”(1), or Marxist doctrine is “illusive” which may create “historical monstrosities” if applied in reality. Was the collapse of the socialist model in the Soviet Union and Eastern European countries the failure of scientific socialism(2).

First of all, we must keep in mind that the collapse of the Soviet Union and of Easter European countries is the collapse of a socialist model. Advancing to socialism is a long way which may encounter a lot of difficulties, challenges, and possible contemporary failure. These challenges were foreseen, because advancing to socialism is constructing a regime which is completely different from the previous one, in which people are liberated from oppression, exploitation, injustice, poverty, backwardness, and there is no class division nor class struggle. Capitalism underwent many ups and downs until it has reached its level as today. That is an inevitable rule of history for the establishment of a new socio-economic form. In the period 1506-1609, the Dutch bourgeois revolution successfully overthrew the Spanish yoke, established the first bourgeois state in the world. In 1640, the victory of British bourgeois revolution opened the period of modern history all over the world - the transition from feudalism to capitalism, when many class struggles around the world between feudalism and bourgeois took place. However, it was not until the 80s of the nineteenth century that feudalism was overthrown in Europe, North America and Japan and capitalism was established on a large scale, becoming a major political economic system in the world. During those 300 years, capitalism many times gained power, then was overthrown by the feudal aristocracy. Likewise, from a temporary setback of socialism, it is impossible to conclude that socialism totally failed, an “illusion” that cannot be realized.

In addition, the collapse of the Soviet Union and Eastern European countries in 1991 was due to the gradually accumulated defects and mistakes that were too late to be found and solved, particularly the conflicts arising during the construction of a new society. There were two fundamental reasons that directly caused the collapse. Firstly, serious mistakes in political lines, Party building work, ideological work and organization and personnel work occurred during the reform process. This was the main reason. Secondly, the hostile and reactionary forces implemented the strategy of “peaceful evolution”, attempted to deflect the reforms in the Soviet Union, by taking advantage of the Soviet Union’s internal mistakes to abolish the socialist regime. Therefore, the reason for the collapse of the socialist model in the Soviet Union and Eastern Europe was not the error of Marxist-Leninist doctrine, but because the top Party’s leaders gave up or misunderstood the fundamental principles of Marxism-Leninism. In fact, in the process of reform, renewal, opening up, a socialist country that knows how to apply creatively the principles and rules of Marxism-Leninism, of scientific socialism can limit the shortcomings and maintain the regime, then gain achievements in building a new society.

Secondly, the view that considers socialism a means to save the country and gain national independence, thus it must be replaced after those objectives are obtained.

Some people think that Vietnam is wrong to follow the path of national independence and socialism, that “socialism is at the 25th hour globally”, “Vietnam should go back to develop”(3). They argue that the feudal period did not need socialism but still could secure national independence; or socialism was just the means that Ho Chi Minh used to save the country. First of all, it is definitely impossible to agree with the argument. Vietnam’s history shows that the progressive feudal dynasties represented the nation to lead the people to fight against foreign invaders and gain national independence. Socialism was not born at that time. Theoretically, socialism was laid out when Marxism was born, and not practically set out until the victory of Russian October Revolution. Therefore, it is non-historically grounded and totally absurd to put the issue of socialism in the feudal time and to deny the path to socialism based on that.

From the second half of the nineteenth century, capitalism in Europe and North America expanded its domination territory through wars to invade other countries. Vietnam became a colony of French invaders. After the bloody persecution of the Vietnamese patriotic movements in the second half of the nineteenth century, the French colonialists took the yoke over the whole of Indochina under the new name “French Indochina” including five states: Tonkin, Annam, Cochinchina, Laos, and Cambodia. The name Vietnam was no longer available.

The French colonial bourgeoisie refused to cooperate with the Westward movement of Phan Chau Trinh; the Japanese military bourgeoisie refused to cooperate with the Eastward movement of Phan Boi Chau. Those refusals stemmed from the root cause that there was no equal cooperation between the rulers and the ruled, between the invaders and the invaded. At this time, the Vietnamese bourgeoisie were divided into the national bourgeoisie who were patriotic but weak in economics, politics, and easy to compromise on thought, and the capitalist bourgeoisie who were committed to act as henchmen for the colonialists and imperialists. Many patriotic movements which followed the feudal path, such as those led by Truong Dinh, Nguyen Trung Truc in the South; Tran Tan, Dang Nhu Mai, Nguyen Xuan On, Phan Dinh Phung in the Central region; Nguyen Thien Thuat, Hoang Hoa Tham, Nguyen Quang Bich in the North all failed; some movements that followed the bourgeois path, such as the Eastward movement, Dong Kinh Nghia Thuc, Duy Tan, and the Vietnam Quang Phuc Hoi, etc, also failed.

The question is why the Vietnamese people and its nation, with the spirit of patriotism against foreign aggression which once defeated great empires such as the Chinese Mongolian, Chinese Ming Dynasty but still failed in the war for more than 70 years (1858-1929) against French colonialism, in spite of the strong spirit that “we will keep on fighting until the Westerners pull out all the grass of Vietnam”.  Nguyen Tat Thanh, aka Nguyen Ai Quoc, Ho Chi Minh was the one who could answer this question.

In the early twentieth century, after years of going to more than 30 countries to find a way to save the country, Nguyen Ai Quoc draw a lesson from the French bourgeois revolution and the American bourgeois revolution which he considered half-way (not radically successful). He pointed out: “The French revolution and the American revolution were bourgeois, half-way, so-called republic and democratic, but they actually deprived local workers and peasants, and oppressed people of the colonies. The French has undergone 4 revolutions of this kind, but workers and peasants are not liberated from oppression. Vietnam’s revolution should keep in mind of these things”(4). At the same time, from the communist and worker movements, Marxism-Leninism, and the Russian October Revolution, Nguyen Ai Quoc came to a conclusion: The path to real liberation of oppressed peoples is only a proletarian revolution, the path to socialism and communism.

It is important to note that scientific socialism had been born before the colonial system was established in the world, thus it did not stem from the need to liberate nations from the yoke of capitalist imperialism and colonialism. Scientific socialism is first and foremost the science of social liberation which aims to liberate people from the yoke of the bourgeoisie in a country, then towards the liberation of the working class and society in the whole world.

After 10 years (1911-1920) of searching for a way to save Vietnam, Nguyen Ai Quoc, aka Ho Chi Minh finally found out that the way of national liberation was the proletarian revolution, in which national independence associated with socialism. This means, national independence is the first goal to achieve by socialism, because if the country is not independent, the interests of the proletarian class cannot be claimed. Implementation of the goals of socialism lays the basis for firmly consolidating national independence and ensures that national independence is fully realized. As President Ho Chi Minh pointed out: “If we gain freedom and independence but the people still starve to death, that freedom and independence is nonsense. People only know the value of freedom and independence when they are well fed and dressed”(5). Thus, only by following the path of socialism will national independence become sustainable.

It can be said that the “rhetoric” of hostile forces attempting to deny and abolish socialism in Vietnam is increasingly sophisticated, convincible to those who are ambiguous about the theory, feeling discontent with the regime, etc. Clearly identifying those false claims, criticizing them on the basis of Marxism - Leninism viewpoint and methodology and the reality of the Vietnamese revolution is the most effective way to smash the conspiracies of reactionaries.

2. Continuing to affirm that socialism is the inevitable path for humans

Reality shows that the above claims of opportunistic elements and hostile forces cannot erase the values of scientific socialism, which have been strongly affirmed by the Marxist-Leninist theory and gradually attested by real socialism.

In the Manifesto of the Communist Party, K. Marx and F. Engel wrote: “the fall of the bourgeoisie and the victory of the proletariat are equally inevitable”(6). Nguyen Ai Quoc - Ho Chi Minh, on seeing the light of the October Revolution, also affirmed: “Only socialism and communism can liberate oppressed peoples and workers in the world from slavery”.

The Communist Party of Vietnam in the period of socialism in crisis after the events of 1991 still maintained the faith in its choice: “The world’s history is undergoing through the winding period; however, humans will inevitably advance to socialism because it is the evolutionary law of history”(7). The Country-building Platform in the period of transition to socialism (amended in 2011) continued to affirm: “Going up to socialism is the aspiration of our people, the right choice of the Communist Party of Vietnam and President Ho Chi Minh, in accordance with the historical development trend”(8).

In fact, capitalism used to play a historical role in the previous centuries, and still exists today thanks to the use of scientific and technological development, and the exploitation of the third world countries. Obviously, when the capitalist private ownership of the means of production still exists, the achievements of science and technology, the level of knowledge economy and the adjustments of the socio-economic institutions are still primarily a tool to exploit surplus value.

Currently, although many adjustments have been made, capitalism still reveals unsolved endogenous shortcomings and conflicts in terms of ethnicity, class, the elimination of human exploitation, war, environmental protection, social justice and equality, care for humans, and preservation of national cultural identities. Because of its nature, modern capitalism today is implementing a new colonial policy aimed at exploiting the developing and underdeveloped countries. Through wars and military interventions, the so-called color revolutions of the West to interfere into the sovereignty of independent states in the 90s of the twentieth century and the first decade of the twenty-first century, for whatever reasons they try to cover up, those interventions are essentially invasions aimed at redistributing the world market, grabbing resources and the environment, maintaining or exerting influence on other countries. Using those means, capitalism has sought to prevent the movement and development to socialism in countries which have gained independence, and to force these countries to depend on capitalism. Also through the “peaceful evolution” strategy, capitalist countries want socialist countries to give up their chosen path. Thus, capitalism cannot be the best choice of mankind. Real socialism which was born for more than 100 years ago is still in its beginning period with experiments. However, socialism showed strong vitality in the economic, political and spiritual life of mankind in the twentieth century and is creating humanity values in the current twenty-first century. Thanks to the “counterbalance” of socialism, capitalism must adjust itself to adapt to survive, thus contributing to promoting peace and progress of humans in the world.

The vitality of socialism is still seen in the countries that are persistent in their choices, such as China, Vietnam, Cuba, Laos, and such. The seeds of socialism continue to grow despite the sabotage of imperialism, such as the model of 21st century socialism in Latin American countries. The elements of socialism still exist in the heart of capitalism. The countries that follow the socialist ideals have been gaining great achievements in economic, political, socio-cultural fields and are increasingly affirming their position in the international arena.

On the way to socialism, Vietnam has also made great achievements. Concerning the overall assessment of the results of 30 years of renewal, the 12th Party Congress stated: “The country has come out of the socio-economic crisis and underdevelopment, and has become a developing country with middle income. Industrialization, modernization and international integration are being strengthened. The country has gained a fair economic growth rate with the socialist-oriented market economy, social and political stability, strengthened defense and security, improved socio-culture. Furthermore, the face of the country and the lives of the people have been changed a lot. Socialist democracy is promoted and expanded day by day. Great national solidarity is consolidated and strengthened. The building of the Party, the law-ruled State and the political system building has been promoted. The overall strength of the country has been raised; its foreign relations have been increasingly expanded and deepened; Vietnam’s position and prestige in the international arena has been enhanced”(9). These achievements increasingly confirm the correctness of the way of building socialism, at the same time, affirms the awareness and creative application of Marxist-Leninist doctrine and Ho Chi Minh Thought to the reality of Vietnam’s revolution.

These outstanding achievements are an important precondition for the Vietnamese revolution to firmly step on the path of building socialism; the solid foundation to consolidate the people’s confidence in the Party and in the regime, which is an important factor to make our country “greater and more beautiful”. This is also a convincing demonstration to oppose the wrongful views of hostile forces about socialism and the path to socialism in Vietnam.



(1), (2) Central Committee for Communication and Education: Criticizing and rejecting wrongful and hostile views, defending the ideological foundation of the Communist Party of Vietnam, National Political Publishing House, Hanoi, 2007, p.48, 47-48.

(3) Nguyen Chi Thao: Criticizing the claim that “Vietnam’s insisting on its goal of national independence and socialism is false”, National Defense Journal http://tapchiqptd.vn/vi/phong-chong-dbhb-tu-dien-bien-tu-chuyen-hoa/phe-phan-luan-dieu-cho-rang-viet-nam-kien-dinh-muc-tieu-doc-lap-dan-toc-va-chu-nghia-xa-hoi/14155.html, updated on 08-08-2019.

(4) Ho Chi Minh: Complete Works, vol.2, National Political Publishing House, Hanoi, 2002, p.274.

(5) Ho Chi Minh: Complete Works, vol.4, National Political Publishing House, Hanoi, 2011, p.175.

(6) K. Marx and F. Engel: Complete Works, vol. 4, National Political Publishing House, Hanoi, 2002, p.613.

(7) CPV: Document of the Party Congress in the renovation period (Congress VI, VII, VIII, IX), Hanoi, National Political Publishing House, 2005, p.314.

(8) CPV: Document of the XI National Congress, National Political-Truth Publishing House, Hanoi, 2011, p.70.

(9) CPV: Document of the XII National Congress, Office of the Party Central Committee, Hanoi, 2016, p.65-66.

Dr. Nguyen Thi Thu Huyen

Institute of Scientific Socialism,

Ho Chi Minh National Academy of Politics

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