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Theoretical creativities of Ho Chi Minh in national liberation revolution and its epochal values

(LLCT) - President Ho Chi Minh, the hero of national liberation, the worldwide celebrity of culture, has devoted his life to the cause of national liberation, bringing a prosperous, free and happy life for Vietnamese people. His rich and vibrant revolutionary career passed on various precious “Heritage” to the nation. In which, his theoretical creativity in national liberation revolution was a prominent mark, contributing to great victories of Vietnamese revolution as well as having profound epochal value.

Keywords: Ho Chi Minh, national liberation revolution.

1. Ho Chi Minh’s theoretical creativities in the national liberation revolution

First, the national liberation revolution must follow the proletarian revolution.

Patriotism and determination to struggle against foreign invaders for protecting their sovereignty and independence are invaluable traditions of Vietnamese people. By promoting them, together with witnessing the fall of the country, the suffering of people from poverty, on June 5th, 1911, the young patriot Nguyen Tat Thanh left his homeland to begin a quest for the way to save Vietnam from the French colonialists. With a desire to liberate the nation, after many years of traveling abroad, Nguyen Ai Quoc discovered Marxism - Leninism and found the right revolution path - proletarian revolution. He asserted: “To save the country and liberate the nation, there is no other way than a proletarian revolution”(1). Nguyen Ai Quoc chose the path of national liberation revolution based on the Russian October Revolution (1917), because: “In the current context, only the Russian revolution has succeeded, even fully, enabling people to enjoy virtual happiness, freedom and equality”(2). The national liberation, which colored by proletarian revolution, was a comprehensive, profound and progressive revolution. That liberated not only classes but also the country and society.

When applying the theory on proletarian revolution to Vietnam, Ho Chi Minh persistently overcame dogmatic obstacles. He emphasized one-side hierarchic struggle in the second half of the 1920s and the first half of the 1930s of the 20th century, facilitating the theory on proletarianism-oriented revolution of national liberation flourishing and deeply penetrating into the masses. Following the path of the proletariat revolution, Ho Chi Minh soon identified the strategic direction of the Vietnamese revolution as “bourgeois revolution of civil rights and land revolution to move forward a communist society”(3). After being liberated, it is vital for the country to move towards socialism. In addition, he devoted himself wholeheartedly to the cause of socialist revolution and building of socialism in Vietnam. He formed fundamental perspectives on socialism and the path to socialism for a colonial country with severely feudal devastation; identified the essential characteristics, goals and steps to achieve socialism. It was a long, arduous, revolutionary transformation that must go through various stages. Its ultimate goal is the cause of human liberation, making people develop comprehensively as well as enjoy a prosperous, free, and happy life.

The national liberation revolution following the path of proletarian revolution means national independence leading to socialism. National independence is the prerequisite for socialism. It would be meaningless without the achievement of national independence. National independence is presented in the acquisition and maintenance of the people’s democratic government and in the preparation for socialism. Additionally, national independence will be pointless if people do not enjoy happiness and freedom. Socialism means happiness and freedom. Therefore, socialist foundation is the inevitable development of national independence with the view to protecting national independence and upgrading the entire revolutionary process. This is the creative expansion of V.I.Lenin’s thesis on the continuous revolution - the democratic national and the socialist one. There is no separation between them.

In reality, that the national liberation revolution must follow the path of proletarian revolution is among Ho Chi Minh’s outstanding theoretical creativity. Thanks to it, the Vietnamese people made the 1945 August Revolution “a landslide”, leading to the birth of the Democratic Republic of Vietnam (September 2, 1945). In the Declaration of Independence in 1945, Ho Chi Minh solemnly declared: “The country of Vietnam has the right to freedom and independence, and has become a free and independent country in reality”(4). Via the Declaration of Independence, Ho Chi Minh addressed to the world that Vietnamese people have the rights of national independence, unification, territorial integrity and self-determination. Particularly, national independence and sovereignty together with territorial integrity are both prerequisite and condition for democracy and the formulation and protection of human rights.

The August Revolution of 1945, led by the Party and Ho Chi Minh, opened up a new era for the Vietnamese people - an era of national independence associated with socialism. Having been persistently pursued the chosen path during 30 years of the long resistance war against French colonialists and American imperialists, with the spirit of “would rather sacrifice everything than lose the country and be a slave”; “nothing is more precious than independence and freedom”; together with having grasped through the Party’s proper and creative guidelines, with the combined strength of the whole nation, our army and people repeatedly defeated war strategies of colonialism and imperialism to liberate the people and unify the country. In which, all Vietnamese people resiliently fought for national independence and freedom. That inherent right of the Vietnamese people was accepted by the international community as one of the greatest ideas of the era.

Second, to be successful, national liberation revolution must be led by the Communist Party

This is theoretical creativity of Ho Chi Minh in the theory of national liberation revolution. Ho Chi Minh said, “A revolution must have its own revolutionary party... Only when the party is strong could the revolution succeed”...(5). That party must be built on the regulations of a new-style party formed by V.I.Lenin and armed with Marxism - Leninism. The leadership missions of the Communist Party are as follows: Determining the goals of the revolution, mapping out revolutionary path of national liberation; via the political creed, organizing, encouraging and gathering revolutionary forces, building the National United Front. For the Vietnamese revolution, the Communist Party had to perform two missions simultaneously: anti-imperialism and anti-feudalism to gain national independence as well as to bring freedom and happiness to the people. The first Political Platform drafted by Nguyen Ai Quoc and approved at the Party Establishment Conference asserted: “The Party is the vanguard of the proletariat”(6). Remarkably, President Ho Chi Minh said that the Party did not belong to the working class only, but to the entire nation. At the Second Congress of the Party (February 1951), Ho Chi Minh analyzed: “In the current period, the interests of the working class, the working people and the nation are one. Because the Vietnam Workers’ Party is the Party of the working class and the working people, it is the Party of the Vietnamese people”(7). In 1961, amid people in the North who were implementing the first 5-year plan, Ho Chi Minh once again affirmed: “Our Party is both hierarchic and national, there is no bias”(8).

It must be a moral and civilized Party, armed with the Marxist-Leninist ideology; have strong political mettle. The cadres and party members must have pure morality, abundant intellectual capacity, and the ability to solve all problems arising from Vietnamese practice and keep up with the development of the times. That Party must build a massive, solid, long-standing, and sincere National United Front. The Party’s forces are the whole nation, all Vietnamese people, all the descendents of Lac and Hong. Furthermore, that Party can gather revolutionary and progressive forces in the world to fight against the mutual enemy of colonialism, for the common goal of progressive mankind: peace, national independence, democracy, and social progress.

The profound experience of the Vietnamese revolution showed that the proper and wise leadership of the Party was the determining factor of its victory. Besides, through its leadership role of revolution, the Party has been tempered, challenged, and constantly developed. The Party became increasingly experienced to deserve the revolutionary leadership role and mission, the people’s trust; thereby, a truth is affirmed, “in Vietnam, there is no other political force but Communist Party of Vietnam which has enough bravery, wisdom, experience, prestige, and ability to lead the country through all difficulties and challenges to bring the nation to the brink of glory and happiness”(9).

Third, the national liberation revolution is a united cause of the whole nation based on the alliance of industry and agriculture

When he was still alive, Ho Chi Minh pointed out: “The national liberation revolution is a united cause of the whole nation, based on the core of the alliance of workers and farmers”... Particularly, “the alliance of workers and farmers must be done because it is the certain guarantee of the revolution’s victories”(10).

Regarding Vietnam, where the overwhelming majority of the population were peasants, Ho Chi Minh said that peasants were those who suffered from many layers of oppression and were impoverished, they, therefore, were always ready to protest and to involve in the revolution. Therefore, the national liberation revolution must have the participation of the peasant class and become the cause of the entire people. President Ho Chi Minh affirmed: Peasants are a massive force of the nation, a very loyal ally of the working class. To be successful in the resistance war and national construction, to be truly independent and united, peasants’ forces must be resorted to. The peasants already have a tremendous force available, with a passionate patriotism, and a willingness to fight and sacrifice. Therefore, the issue of national liberation in Vietnam is essentially the problem of farmers. The peasants were both the driving, massive, core force and the object of revolution’s movement.

Despite the appreciation for the role and mission of the peasant class, Ho Chi Minh always asserted that the working class was the revolution’s leader. The Party had to lead the construction of the alliance of industry and agriculture, which was the core of the United National Front. Ho Chi Minh advocated the encouragement and massive gathering of all strata of the Vietnamese people, those who lost their country and suffered from slavery, to participate in the United National Front, in order to utilize the power of the entire nation in the struggle for independence and freedom. This was a brand new argument with immense theoretical and practical value for the world revolution, especially the national liberation movement. It was the timely addition to the theoretical treasure trove of Marxism - Leninism. It can be said that, for the Vietnamese revolution, Ho Chi Minh’s argument on achieving national unity on the basis of the worker-peasant alliance has been proactively and creatively applied in the national liberation revolution.

Fourth, the national liberation revolution must be carried out through a violent revolution, with the combination of the masses’ political and armed struggles; Uprisings were to be performed in turn, aiming towards a general uprising to win completely

Having mastered the principles of Marxism - Leninism, Ho Chi Minh was deeply aware of the nature of colonialism: “Colonialism itself is an act of violence by the strong against the weak”(11), “The invaders would not change their character even when they die. The closer they are to failure, the more vicious they are”(12). He asserted: “Freedom and independence cannot be obtained by begging”. Therefore, in order to conduct the national liberation revolution as well as the struggle to protect national independence and socialism, it is necessary to “Use revolutionary violence against counter-revolutionary violence, obtain and protect the government”(13).

Ho Chi Minh’s view of revolutionary violence did not oppose to the peace-loving spirit and humanitarianism of the Vietnamese people. In contrast, it was a continuation of our forefathers’ tradition of humanity. For Ho Chi Minh, in our righteous struggle to liberate the class and the nation, the use of violence also aimed at peace: “Using the military is a benevolent work for the sake of the people and the country”(14). Peace must be real and associated with the independence and sovereignty of the Fatherland as well as the freedom and democracy of the people. If that goal was unmet, the means of waging war would inevitably be revolutionary violence. He showed a skillful tactic by using revolutionary violence against anti-revolutionary violence.

Despite the promotion of revolutionary violence’s role, Ho Chi Minh did not absolutize it in the revolutionary war. For him, armed struggle was only one of the methods to achieve the revolution’s political goals. After returning home to regain authority in December 1944, having carefully researched the domestic and international revolutionary situation, Ho Chi Minh issued a Directive to establish the Armed Agitation Unit for National Liberation. “Politics is more important than military”(15), “Communication is more important than combat”, “People first, guns second,” he said. The directive clearly stated the principle of building the armed revolutionary forces, the direction of forming the three-category armed forces, the mode of operation of combining military and politics.

In the leading role of the struggle for government, Ho Chi Minh and the Party actively built and developed their forces, so that when an opportunity arose, an armed insurrection would be launched. The first step was to construct bases, to open training classes for officials and to establish political organizations for the masses. With the proactiveness and preparation for the uprising opportunity, the order “General uprising” was issued in August 1945, when the time was right. In less than half a month, the whole nation rose to regain power.

During the resistance war against the French colonialists and the American invaders, Ho Chi Minh and the Vietnam Workers’ Party inherited and promoted the art of leading the General uprising to take power in the August Revolution of 1945. They focused on building a large armed force, with three categories of forces, and continuously enhancing the technical and tactical skills of the army to defeat the enemies’ military strategies. Besides, they built up a strong political force of the masses so that when the right time came, they could carry out a general attack to win a decisive victory in the cause of national liberation.

2. The epochal values of Ho Chi Minh’s theoretical creativities

Ho Chi Minh’s theoretical creativities in the national liberation revolution reflected the aspiration to live in independence, freedom, fairness and equality of not only the Vietnamese people but also every nation oppressed and exploited in the world. Ho Chi Minh affirmed “All people on the earth are equal from birth, and all people have the right to live and to be happy and free”(16). It can be said that national liberation is the most burning aspiration as well as the prerequisite for human freedom and democracy.

Noticeably, Ho Chi Minh’s creativities was reflected in the fact that he was not only the creator of the theoretical basis of the struggle for national independence in Vietnam, but also the organizer and leader of the national liberation revolution. In his role of organizing and leading the revolutionary cause of the Vietnamese national liberation, Ho Chi Minh demonstrated his responsibility as a leader. He organized a resistance war and national construction simultaneously with the spirit of “Hùng Kings built the country, we must protect it together”. Resistance was accompanied by national construction, and struggle went hand in hand with building. The ability to perform two strategic missions concurrently was a unique feature of the Vietnamese revolution bearing Ho Chi Minh’s imprint. He believed that the long-standing resistance could be arduous, complicated, and difficult, but we would certainly win. Ho Chi Minh’s theory on the national liberation revolution was increasingly creative because it was put into practice. Moreover, it was enriched by the victories of the August Revolution in 1945 as well as the resistance war against the French colonialists and the American imperialists.

The practice of leading the entire nation to fight against foreign invaders for independence has enriched his theory of revolution and war of liberation. Thus, it can be affirmed that Ho Chi Minh’s creative contributions in terms of the national liberation revolution practically and theoretically supplemented the treasure trove of the world revolutionary theory, the theory of Marxism - Leninism as well as Vietnamese people’s proud tradition of building and defending the country.

The epochal values of Ho Chi Minh’s theoretical creativities in the national liberation revolution were represented by its profound impact on the world’s movement for national liberation. The victory of the August Revolution in 1945 made many peoples in the world realize their right to freedom and independence. In addition, the “world-shaking” victory of the resistance war against the French colonialists, with Dien Bien Phu victory as the peak, encouraged the colonies in Asia, Africa, and Latin America to rise up and fight for their national independence.

While leading the revolution, the Party steadfastly pursued the revolutionary path chosen by President Ho Chi Minh: national independence associated with socialism and be persistent with the target of “Independence - Freedom - Happiness”. Even now, his thoughts still illuminate the development path of the Vietnamese revolution. In order to realize the goal of building Vietnam into a prosperous, strong, democratic, fair, and civilized country, the most important issue identified by the Communist Party of Vietnam is persistence in pursuing national independence associated with socialism.

To achieve that, it is necessary for us to firmly grasp the core of Ho Chi Minh Thought on national liberation, human liberation, and master the method of solving the relationship between nation and people on the basis of accurate awareness of the national characteristics and the developing movements of the era. Only in that way could we successfully bring Ho Chi Minh Thought to practice to solve problems emerged in reality. That is also one of the most important conditions to ensure the victory of the Vietnamese revolution in the present and in the future.

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Endnotes:

(1) Ho Chi Minh: Complete Works, vol.11, National Political Publishing House, Hanoi, 2011, p.30.

(2), (5) Ho Chi Minh: Complete Works, vol.2, National Political Publishing House, Hanoi, 2011, p.304, 289.

(3), (6), (15) Ho Chi Minh: Complete Works, vol.3, National Political Publishing House, Hanoi, 2011, p.1, 3, 539.

(4), (16) Ho Chi Minh: Complete Works, vol.4, National Political Publishing House, Hanoi, 2002, p.4, 1.

(7), (12) Ho Chi Minh: Complete Works, vol.7, National Political Publishing House, Hanoi, 2011, p.41, 254.

(8) Ho Chi Minh: Complete Works, vol.13, National Political Publishing House, Hanoi, 2011, p.275.

(9) Speech by General Secretary and President Nguyen Phu Trong at the 90th anniversary of the establishment of the Communist Party of Vietnam (February 3, 1930 - February 3, 2020).

(10), (13) Ho Chi Minh: Complete Works, vol.15, National Political Publishing House, Hanoi, 2011, p.391, 391.

(11) Ho Chi Minh: Complete Works, vol.1, National Political Publishing House, Hanoi, 2011, p.114.

(14) Ho Chi Minh: Complete Works, vol.4, National Political Publishing House, Hanoi, 2011, p.286.

Assoc. Prof., Dr. Nguyen Danh Tien

Institute of Party History, Ho Chi Minh National Academy of Politics

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