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Wednesday, 28 December 2016 09:30
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Upholding the CPV’s working-class nature in new contexts

(LLCT) - The working-class nature of the Party is manifested in the fact that its objectives and ideals are socialism and communism; that its ideological foundation is Marxism - Leninism and Ho Chi Minh Thought; that its fundamental organizational principle is centralized democracy; that it is in close touch with the masses; and that it considers criticism and self-criticism to be its developmental law.

1. The working-class nature of the Communist Party of Vietnam and newly emerging issues

Since its foundation more than 85 years ago, the Party has always been of a working-class nature although it has taken different names, Communist Party and Workers’ Party. “The Party’s Abridged Tactics” prepared by leader Nguyen Ai Quoc and approved at the Party founding conference in 1930 states, “The Party is the vanguard of the proletariat. It has to be able to win over the majority of the proletariat and make it the leaders of the population”(1). The working-class nature of the Party is manifested in the fact that its objectives and ideals are socialism and communism; that its ideological foundation is Marxism - Leninism and Ho Chi Minh Thought; that its fundamental organizational principle is centralized democracy; that it is in close touch with the masses; and that it considers criticism and self-criticism to be its developmental law.

However, as President Ho Chi Minh and the Party pointed out, the Party was born in a semi-feudal colonized country with an outdated agriculture, where the working class was just at the beginning period. Therefore, unlike some developed capitalist countries, the birth of the Communist Party of Vietnam (CPV) had its peculiarities. The CPV did not only come into being as a result of the combination of Marxism - Leninism and workers’ movements but was also a special feature of Vietnam and a creation of leader Nguyen Ai Quoc (later known as Ho Chi Minh). Ho Chi Minh time and again said that the CPV was not only one of the working class but also one of Vietnamese working people and Vietnamese in general. This was because the interests of the working class, working people and unified nation were the same. In the Political Report to the Party’s 2nd Congress in February 1951, President Ho Chi Minh pointed out, “The Vietnam Workers’ Party must be a clear-sighted, resolute, loyal leader of the Vietnamese working class, working people and people... Because it is the Party of the working class and working people, it must be the Party of the Vietnamese people”. In January 1957, in his speech at the Trade Union School, he confirmed, “The Party is the vanguard of the working class and also a vanguard of the nation”.

President Ho Chi Minh’s above-mentioned ideas reflected the fact that the CPV was born, survived and worked not only for the interests of the working class but also those of working people and the entire nation. Apart from serving the interests of working people and the entire nation, the Party would serve no other interests. Therefore, the Party managed to win people’s trust, love and help. People considered the Party to be their Party and lovingly called it “our Party”. They acknowledged the Party as their pioneering leader.

Following Ho Chi Minh’s thought of about the nature of the Party, in its 10th Congress Documents and its Platform (supplemented and revised in 2011) approved at its 11th Congress, the CPV confirmed, “The Communist Party of Vietnam is the vanguard of the working class and also the vanguard of Vietnamese working people and the nation and a loyal representative for the interests of the working class, working people and nation”(2). Institutionalizing the spirit of the 2011 Platform, Article 4 of the 2013 Constitution stipulates the nature and role of the CPV: “The Communist Party of Vietam - the vanguard of the working class, concurrently the vanguard of the laboring people and Vietnamese nation, faithfully representing the interests of the working class, laboring people and entire nation, and acting upon the Marxist - Leninist doctrine and Ho Chi Minh Thought, is the force leading the State and society”(3).

The above-mentioned way of expression illustrates the generality and particularity of the nature of our Party. As a genuine communist Party, the CPV is of a working-class nature and a Marxist - Leninist one (i.e. generality). As regards the particularity of the Party fostered by Ho Chi Minh’s ideas, it is the Party of the working people and the nation, is suitable for the Vietnamese condition, and satisfies people’s aspirations and echoes their sentiments. The above-mentioned description of the nature of the Party is dialectical, scientific, and congruent with realities, and copes with two extreme attitudes: (1) denying or negating the working-class nature of the Party, thereby adopting the “all-people Party” point of view, and (2) understanding the working-class nature of the Party in its narrowest sense isolating the working class from working people and the nation. This does not only require the Party to be loyal to the working class and increase their political stance and ideology but also to learn from, and uphold, national traditions, make use of national solidarity and strive for the interests of both the working class and nation.

Although the CPV at times made mistakes while leading the country’s revolution, it has generally managed to maintain its working-class nature in its platforms, guidelines, strategies and policies as well as in the implementation of its guidelines. The Party has been resolute in dealing with mistakes alien to its working-class nature such as subjectivism, wishful thinking, dogmatism, revisionism, leftism or rightism. The Party has correctly dealt with the relationship between classes and the nation, between national independence and socialism, and between the strength of the nation and that of the times. The Party has been loyal to Marxism - Leninism and, at the same time, has made creative use of Marxism - Leninism and has expanded it. It has persevered with the goals of national independence and socialism and has followed the principle of centralized democracy in its organization and operation. The Party aims to protect the interests of the working class, working people and the entire nation. Party members have lived, have fought and have acted for the ideals of the Party, which are also the ideals of the working class. During the renovation period, especially between 2011 and 2015, despite the impacts of numerous difficulties and challenges posed by changes in world and domestic situations, the 12th Party Congress concluded that the Party still “managed to maintain its political determination and its revolutionary and scientific nature, stick to the goal and ideal of national independence and socialism and persevere with its renovation line. The Party deserved to be the leading force of the State and society”(4). This also means that the CPV has been successful in upholding its working-class nature.

However, the new era - one of intensified industrialization and modernization, development of the socialist-oriented market economy and proactive and active international integration - has raised a range of new issues for the Party and State. While offering favorable conditions, rapid, complicated changes in world and regional situations, coupled with difficulties, weaknesses and shortcomings related to the leadership and management of the country, have exerted an impact on the Party and its working-class nature, and has set new requirements and posed new challenges to the Party and its efforts to maintain its working-class nature.

Since the 2011-2015 period, the Vietnam’s economy has begun to gradually get out of the downward trend and regained its growth although it is still fraught with multiple difficulties and challenges. The macroeconomic landscape has yet to achieve great stability. Public debts have increased fast. Economic development is far from sustainable. The productivity, quality, effectiveness and competitiveness of the economy remain low. Scores of social issues have emerged. Social morality has deteriorated to some extent. Part of the population, especially those in remote areas, still lead difficult lives.

The four threats which the Party has identified are still in existence and have become increasingly complicated to some extent. These threats include the country lagging behind economically; “peaceful evolution” by hostile forces; ideological, political, moral and lifestyle degeneration among a considerable part of party officials and members and signs of “self-evolution” and “self-conversion” among the Party’s contingent, which have not been overcome; and serious corruption and wastefulness with increasingly sophisticated, complicated signs and rampant in numerous fields, levels of authority and sectors. Quite a few party officials and members have shown signs of vacillation, disorientation or skepticism about the leadership role of the Party, the goal and ideal of socialism and the path to socialism in Vietnam. Even worse, some party officials and members including senior ones have actions or statements which are contrary to the principles, political platforms, guidelines and regulations of the Party. For example, they deny Marxism - Leninism and wish to remove Marxism - Leninism from the Party’s ideological foundation. They reject the goal of socialism and advocate political pluralism and a multi-party system, etc.  

The above-mentioned weaknesses and shortcomings have prevented the Party from being really clean or transparent and strong, have eroded the trust of party officials and members and the public in the Party, State and regime, and have undermined the working-class nature of the Party.

Therefore, it is necessary to continue to make the Party transparent and strong, increase its leadership capability and combativeness and firmly upholding its working-class nature in the new situation.

2. Some tasks of, and solutions to upholding and enhancing the working-class nature of the Party          

Firstly, the leadership role of the working class can only be achieved through its pioneer being the Communist Party. Therefore, the task of maintaining and enhancing the working-class nature of the Party is inseparable from the general requirement for a transparent and strong Party. Only when the Party is transparent and strong and its leadership and fighting capacity intensifies can its working-class nature be maintained and enhanced. The Party’s 12th Congress set the tasks of “Building the Party into a transparent, strong organization, increasing its leadership capacity, enhancing its working-class nature and its vanguard role and fighting spirit, and encouraging its tradition of solidarity and unity; preventing and overcoming ideological, political, moral and lifestyle degeneration and signs of “self-evolution” and “self-conversion” among its own contingent; transforming its personnel work and attaching importance to the protection of the Party and its internal politics; and intensifying the Party’s ideological, theoretical, inspectional, supervisory and public mobilization work and improve its quality, and continuing to innovate the Party’s leadership methods(5).

The 12th Congress emphasized that “In the years to come, the immense tasks of the new stage of development require further strengthening of the Party with a focus on resolutely and patiently implementing the resolution by the 4th Plenum of the 11th Party Central Committee” and that it was imperative to “make the Party transparent and strong in political, ideological, organizational and moral terms”(7). Other tasks included fully grasping Marxism - Leninism and Ho Chi Minh Thought and applying them creatively and adapting them to the Vietnamese condition; persevering with the goals of national independence and socialism; continuing the renovation policy; standing firm when it comes to principled issues related to Party building; improving the political capability, intellectual standards and fighting spirit of the entire Party and each of its officials and members, especially senior leaders and managers at various levels, and avoiding vacillating under any circumstances; intensifying the fight against all “peaceful evolution” plots and activities by hostile forces; and proactively preventing and refuting information and points of view which are twisted, wrong or hostile; increasing revolutionary morality training and resolutely combatting bureaucratic red tape, corruption, wastefulness, individualism, opportunistic and materialistic lifestyles, factionalism, “group interests” and the situation where actions do not follow words, etc. The Party should pay special attention to regular education of class-based stance, viewpoint and awareness among its members, increase the percentage of workers in its own ranks and train young, excellent workers to be its members so as to enhance its vitality.

Secondly, the Party, State and entire political system must pay genuine attention to the education, training, retraining and development of the working class in quantitative and qualitative terms. There must be strategies, policies, laws, institutions, coordinated and powerful measures and mechanisms for fostering the working class. Importance is to be attached to creating a reasonable working class structure with emphasis given to workers directly engaged in production and intellectual workers. It is necessary to improve workers’ political capability, educational and professional standards, skills, industrial work styles and sense of discipline at work. There must be incentives for skilled workers and policies for creating and promoting working-class traditions, honoring workers and industries to attract young workers, and encouraging workers to improve their skills. The State needs to provide resources for vocational training, expanding vocational schools and connecting training establishments with businesses and manufacturers.

It is necessary to formulate and perfect policies aimed at protecting workers’ interests and improving their material and spiritual lives. Currently, there are numerous burning issues related to the working class, which need to be addressed. For example, workers’ employment and lives are fraught with difficulty caused by the impact of the market mechanism and international integration. Workers’ professional quality remains generally inadequate for the requirements of industrialization and modernization. Working, safety and hygiene conditions are insufficient. Occupational accidents and diseases tend to increase. Insurance for workers remains inadequate. Industrial relations are complicated with labor disputes and strikes being on an upward trend. Scores of social issues are emerging, for instance the accommodation and cultural and spiritual lives of immigrant workers at industrial and export processing zones. Workers are the class leading the revolution, so they cannot live “sloppy,” degenerate or needy lives or have low educational standards or have a poor sense of organization or discipline.

The Party and State need to continue to improve policies aimed at creating and protecting employment for workers and increasing their incomes; reform salary policies; improve working, safety and hygiene conditions; improve and develop social insurance, health insurance and unemployment insurance systems for workers; and perfect housing policies and welfare facilities for workers.  

It is necessary to create harmonious, agreeable, stable, progressive industrial relations at businesses and prevent and minimize labor disputes and strikes by resolving differences in the rights and interests of parties involved in industrial relations.          

Party committees and authorities at all levels need to increase education about the revolutionary nature of the working class; improve workers’ class awareness, their political mettle, their sense of pride in the nation and in the traditions of the working class, their law-abiding sense, their sense of citizenship, their industrial work styles and their discipline at work; and help them adopt healthy lifestyles.

Thirdly, it is necessary to intensify the Party’s leadership over, and the State’s care for, the working class, workers’ movement and the trade union.

The working class forms the most important socio-political basis of the Party, State and regime. If the Party and State are to be strong and if the working-class nature of the Party is to be preserved, the Party must pay constant attention to the leadership over, and building of the working class, workers’ movement and the trade union. The State must create favorable conditions in terms of policies, mechanisms, funds and physical facilities for the development of the working class and improvement of workers’ educational, enlightenment, technical and professional standards.

To carry out the above-mentioned tasks, it is necessary to:

Closely link the building of the Party to that of the working class and the renovation of the political system to that of trade union organizations;

Build a modern Vietnamese working class with emphasis given to training intellectual, creative workers;

Closely connect education about revolutionary theories and ideas, especially that for young workers, to moral, lifestyle, style, scientific and technological education, and increase the quality of worker resources;

Focus on building party organizations and socio-political mass organizations at businesses, especially private ones and those with foreign investment;

Transform the organization and operational methods of trade union organizations so they truly represent workers’ and employees’ interests; overcome signs of excessive administration and formalism in trade union activities; pay close attention to the role of grassroots trade union organizations; increase the competitiveness of trade union organizations, especially as independent trade union organizations will be established according to the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), of which Vietnam is a signatory;

There must be laws requiring private businesses to respect the role of the trade union as the representative of workers and employees and protect workers’ legitimate rights and interests; and

Increase research into theories and summary of realities related to the working class, workers’ movements and the trade union in the world and in the country; continue to clarify new characteristics of the modern working class given scientific and technological revolution, knowledge-based economy and information technology civilization; further explore the concept of Vietnamese working class, its relationship with the intelligentsia, its structural changes and characteristics, and trends towards changes (e.g. intellectualization, modernizations, diversification, and so on) among workers; criticize wrong, distorted points of view on the working class such as those stating that the modern-day working class has vanished into post-industrial societies and has lost its revolutionary nature and those which consider the working class to be manual, poor, poorly educated laborers, thereby denying the leadership role of the Vietnamese working class.


(1) Ho Chi Minh: Complete Works, vol. 3, National Political Publishing House, Hanoi, 2011, p.3.

(2) CPV: Documents of the 11th National Congress, National Political Publishing House, Hanoi, 2011, p.88.

(3) Constitution of the Socialist Republic of Vietnam, National Political Publishing House, Hanoi, 2013, pp.9-10.

(4),(5),(6),(7) CPV: Documents of the 12th National Congress, Office of the Party Central Committee, Hanoi, 2016, pp.191, 80, 198-9, 202.

Prof., Dr. Le Huu Nghia

Vice Chairman

Central Theoretical Council


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