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President Ho Chi Minh’s dedication to the establishment of a new-type State in Vietnam

(PTOJ) - The establishment of a new-type State after the 1945 August Revolution was the direct achievement of Vietnamese people’s long and heroic revolutionary struggle under the leadership of the Party. Attached to that is the great dedication of President Ho Chi Minh - the “Great Architect” of the new-type State in Vietnam. The article focuses on explaining and clarifying Ho Chi Minh’s great dedication on three basic aspects: The first person to seek and select a new-type State model in Vietnam; the most active person in the political, ideological and organizational preparation for the establishment of a legal, constitutional State in Vietnam; the person laying the foundation of a socialist law-ruled State of the people, by the people and for the people in Vietnam. 

 

President Ho Chi Minh read the Declaration of Independence,announcing the birth of the Democratic Republic of Vietnam (September 2, 1945) _Source:tapchicongsan.org.vn

1. Ho Chi Minh - the first person to seek and choose the new-type State in Vietnam

At the end of the 19th century and early 20th century, Vietnamese society underwent a comprehensive crisis, especially the crisis of finding ways to save the country and choose a state model suitable to its reality. Either the type of feudal State that was embodied by the Nguyen court, the Japanese constitutional monarchy model or the bourgeois state that was embodied by the colonial French government with all its contradictions, restrictions, reactionary forces was not suitable, so they were not accepted by the people.

At that time, the Vietnamese people were under the domination, oppression and exploitation of the colonial and feudal government. Classes and national conflicts became more acute than ever. Vietnamese society was faced with two basic and urgent needs: national independence and the emancipation of the Vietnamese working people. The national liberation campaigns continuously broke out everywhere. Despite the same objective of expelling French colonialists and gaining national independence, these movements differed in revolutionary ways and methods of implementation, of which the important issue was to determine what kind of state should be built in Vietnam. That difference stemmed from the class stance as well as the impact of the world situation.

Feudal scholars launched the anti-French movement, typical of which was the Can Vuong (Save the King) movement (1885-1896). Under Can Vuong’s edict by King Ham Nghi, the movement developed for a while before being brutally suppressed, and came to final failure after Yen The uprising. Its failure was due to the feudalist patriotic scholars, the representatives of the outdated feudal class, advocated the restoration of the feudal state - the type of state that no longer played a historical role in Vietnam then. Moreover, in fact, the feudal State of Vietnam, embodied by the Nguyen court, was a rotten, backward, and weak apparatus. It was not only unable to organize and lead our people to expel foreign invaders, but also an apparatus of henchmen and tools for the French colonialists to persecute, exploit the people who really hated them. Therefore, the feudal State model inevitably had no support of all social strata.

Meanwhile, the patriotic and revolutionary bourgeois movements such as Dong Du (Go East) movement, Dong Kinh Nghia Thuc (School for the Justice Cause), Duy Tan (Reform), etc. developed widely, but not successfully. The outstanding figure who absorbed the bourgeois ideology was Phan Boi Chau. According to his view, we needed to rely on Japan to fight the French, gaining national independence and building a constitutional monarchy like Japan. However, Phan Boi Chau’s patriotic movement along with the constitutional monarchy model also failed. This state model, despite being bourgeois, was still imbued with feudal ideological features, thus it was not suitable to the requirements of Vietnamese society, so it could not become a reality.

Also at that time, the Nationalist Party of Vietnam also advocated defeating the French and calling for “people of all classes to unite to build a republic” (a bourgeois state). However, the model of the bourgeois state, which embodied the French Republic imposing dominance over the country, was strongly opposed by the people who wished to smash it. Moreover, due to the lack of operation units among people, the lack of organization and the small number of members, this movement also quickly disintegrated.

Obviously, Vietnam at that time was in urgent need of a correct way of saving the country and a suitable state model. But no one, no organization or no force could find, choose and meet that need. Only when Ho Chi Minh got enlightened by Marxism - Leninism and the Russian October Revolution were the above requirements of the country’s revolution met scientifically and fully.

Despite of his admiration for the revolutionary enthusiasm of contemporary patriots, Ho Chi Minh did not agree with the path to save the country and the state model they chose. The domestic and international revolutionary activities helped him to understand the obsolescence and backwardness of the feudal state and the evil and reactionary side of the bourgeoisie state in both the colony and the mother country.

From 1911, from the time he started to find the way for national salvation, until this way was determined according to the proletariat revolution, Ho Chi Minh also searched for the new-type State in Vietnam. Stemming from the need for national liberation and patriotism, Ho Chi Minh adopted Marxism - Leninism, identified the historical role and position of existing State regimes; after thoroughly analyzing, considering and positioning such regimes in a seamless flow of history, he pointed out that the bourgeois state, whether in America or France, despite having established a value system according to the standards of democracy, in essence was still the dominant tool of some people, for the sake of the minority, and the majority of the people were still exploited and enslaved. The one-sided, half-hearted, non-radical nature of the bourgeois democratic state, in its very nature, revealed contradictions that could not be reconciled and would spark future revolutions. The so-called democracy, freedom, equality and charity were actually just empty slogans, without authentic social content. He penned: “Capitalist revolution is not absolute. It is republic and democratic in the name, in fact, it deprives peasants and workers’ rights internally, and oppresses the colony externally. The revolution has been carried out four times, but now the French peasants and workers are still thinking of another revolution”(1). Therefore, Ho Chi Minh came to assert that the purpose of Vietnamese society for liberation and development was incompatible with that type of state, then it could not be chosen as the model for Vietnam.

In contrast to the bourgeois state, the Soviet State, though still in its infancy, soon revealed its vitality and superiority, aiming to serve the interests of the majority of the working people. That new state model was a vivid reality that helped Ho Chi Minh to choose a new type of state for Vietnam. Judging the Soviet State, he pointed out that: “The Communist Party guided the Russian proletariat to take power and build the first State of the working class, the birth of that State began a new era in human history”(2).

Thus, with his experiences and political sensitivity ahead of his times, in the twenties of the twentieth century, Ho Chi Minh decided to follow the October Revolution and the type of state set by Marxism - Leninism’s doctrines. However, Ho Chi Minh was loyal to “Soviet model” in terms of purpose and principles when applying it to the country, but had the form, the step and the way of implementation adjusted, which was independent, creative, non-dogmatic, and not rigid. It was really a choice in accordance with the objective law, meeting the requirements of the revolutionary practice and aspirations and interests of the Vietnamese people.

2. Ho Chi Minh - the most active and effective person in political, ideological and organizational preparation for the establishment of the legal, constitutional State in Vietnam

On the basis of what was absorbed from the most scientific and revolutionary theories of the time and from his own experience, Ho Chi Minh actively and thoroughly prepared for the birth of the new Vietnamese State. In the Party’s brief outline, Ho Chi Minh soon outlined a new-type State in Vietnam after gaining independence, “The government of workers, peasants and soldiers”(3). The Party’s political manifesto (October 1930) affirmed: “the Soviet government of peasants and workers must be built up. Only the Soviet government of peasants and workers was a very powerful tool to overthrow imperialism, feudalism, landlords, giving land to the tillers and protecting the proletarian’s rights by law”(4).

In 1941, upon his returning to Vietnam to directly lead the revolution, Nguyen Ai Quoc together with the Party Central Committee decided to change the revolutionary strategy to suit the new situation and concretize the new-type State in Vietnam. At the 8th Plenum of the Party Central Committee (May 1941), the Party and leader Nguyen Ai Quoc made a decision that “After expelling the French and Japanese imperialists, a people’s government, the Democratic Republic of Vietnam, will be established... That government is elected by the national assembly”(5).

It is clear that there was a big change in Ho Chi Minh’s thought and practice on a democratic state suitable for the country and people of Vietnam. From the concept of “a government of workers, peasants and soldiers” to that of the entire nation, “a democratic republic government”, Ho Chi Minh and the Party affirmed a new-type State, which demonstrates his thoughtful political and ideological preparation for the establishment of such a State in Vietnam.

In mid-August 1945, upon learning that the Japanese fascists surrendered to the Allies, Ho Chi Minh decided to summon both the Party Conference and the National Congress of People’s Representatives. Accordingly, the Committee for National Liberation of Vietnam, known as “the Provisional Revolutionary Government of Vietnam”(6) presided by Ho Chi Minh, was established and led the August General uprising to success. Within two weeks, the Japanese fascist government and its henchmen were smashed. On August 30, 1945, Bao Dai - the last emperor of the Vietnamese feudal regime announced his abdication, giving all his power, seal and sword to the Provisional Government, marking the collapse of the old government apparatus, and giving birth to a Vietnamese new-type State.

However, the newly born State can only exist and develop when it operates on a legal and constitutional basis. Knowing this principle, our Party and President Ho Chi Minh quickly created necessary conditions for the new state. The first important task was to affirm the independence that had just been won with a magnificent and persuasive Declaration. At the request of history, Ho Chi Minh directly drafted the Declaration of Independence of the new Vietnam country.

On September 2, 1945, on behalf of the new government, President Ho Chi Minh read the Declaration of Independence, formally proclaiming to the Vietnamese people and the world the legal document on the establishment of the Democratic Republic of Vietnam. The Declaration clearly stated that the new State was the result of nearly a century of resilient struggle, indomitable with brave sacrifice of Vietnamese generations. Such a people who “bravely sided with the Allies against the fascists for many years, that people had to be free. That people must be independent.” That sharp theory and legal argument affirmed, on the one hand, the equal rights of the anti-fascist countries, including Vietnam, in the spirit of the Tehran and San Francisco Conferences; on the other hand, it warned France - an Allied country that signed the declaration of the two above conferences not to go back on its commitments, in the name of the Allies to return to invade Vietnam. The Declaration of Independence announced immediately after the victory of the August Revolution not only meant the birth of the Democratic Republic of Vietnam, but also served as the legal document that internationally announced an inviolable state in accordance with international law and practice.

Also, a legal, constitutional state must be elected, recognized and supported by the people. Aware of this, the Party Central Committee and President Ho Chi Minh soon had policies and plans to elect the National Assembly, set up the Government, and promulgate the Constitution according to the wishes of the people. He wrote that: “The Government should organize the General Election with universal suffrage as soon as possible”(7). Despite many difficulties including the low educational standard of voters, lack of facilities, lack of experience in organizing elections, along with the fierce destruction by the enemy, etc., in early 1946, the General Election took place with great success with the support of the masses, the first constitutional National Assembly of the Democratic Republic of Vietnam with 333 delegates was formed. Only in a short time, the new government became the representative body for the entire people to manage and run the country, performing internal and external functions; along with that, the payroll, organization and operation modes of the new state apparatus from the central to local levels were quickly arranged, consolidated and put into operation.

In addition, along with the preparation for the creation of a constitutional state, Ho Chi Minh also pointed out that the State must govern the country by law and make it effective in practice. Therefore, right after the success of the August Revolution, when the new Constitution was not built and a new legal system was not formed synchronously, he proposed to apply the old laws which were still relatively suitable with the new situation to eliminate any violations or those contrary to the people’s sovereignty, and at the same time, promptly organized the drafting of a new Constitution. In that spirit, the Constitution of the Democratic Republic of Vietnam - the basic law of an independent sovereign nation was quickly compiled and passed by the 1st National Assembly (November 9, 1946). This event once again fully and clearly affirmed the legitimacy and constitutionality of the new Vietnamese State.

As a result, the hostile forces’ plots to take advantage of the Allies to invade the country were “disabled”. The new Vietnamese State as the master was ready to “welcome” foreign “guests” and straightforwardly punished the reactionary henchmen in Vietnam, firmly defending the achievements of the revolution. This was an extremely sharp and wise course of action taken by President Ho Chi Minh and the Party.

3. Ho Chi Minh - the founder of a socialist law-ruled State of the people, by the people and for the people in Vietnam

President Ho Chi Minh’s dedication to the birth of a new-type State in Vietnam after the 1945 August Revolution did not stop at finding and selecting the right state model, careful preparation with necessary and sufficient conditions for its establishment, but he also initiated and created practices of people’s democracy, thereby laying the foundation for a socialist law-ruled State for the people, by the people and for the people in Vietnam.

According to Ho Chi Minh, all power belongs to the people, the State only exercises the authorization of the people, and is the main tool to exercise the people’s mastery, for the benefit of the entire nation. Therefore, he always emphasized: “We must understand that government agencies from the central to local levels are public servants, that is, to take care of the common work for the people, not to suppress them as seen under the rule of France or Japan... Whatever benefits the people, we must do our best to achieve it. Whatever harms the people, we must avoid it the most”(8) and “Today, we have built up the Democratic Republic of Vietnam. If the country is independent but the people do not enjoy freedom and happiness, independence will be totally meaningless”.

Because the people’s power is always placed at the highest position, according to Ho Chi Minh, the State must promote people’s mastery with a democratic institution. Consequently, the general election in early 1946 became an unprecedented democratic practice in Vietnamese history. It was an opportunity for the people to have the right to appoint reliable and worthy delegates to represent them in State agencies; at the same time it was the first sign showing the capacity of the people to practice democracy and proved the State to be of the people. Therefore, before the election, on behalf of the Government, Ho Chi Minh issued a call to encourage eligible people to enjoy the right to stand for election, and to nomination, and voters can meet and debate with the candidates. Therefore, it aroused the democratic spirit and wisdom of the entire people, setting a record for the 1st National Assembly election in terms of the number of voters and the number of candidates. Specifically, there was an 85% turnout of voters. In the 1st National Assembly election, in Hanoi, there were 6 deputies of the National Assembly, 74 people stood for election, in Nam Dinh there were 15 National Assembly deputies, 70 people stood for election, in Ha Dong there were 14 National Assembly deputies, 97 people ran for election, etc.

As head of State, President Ho Chi Minh always proposed policies and measures to foster the people’s livelihood such as eliminating personal taxes and the taxes set by the imperialists; levying a fair and light tax; confiscating all assets of the fascists, reactionary elements; establishing a national bank, expanding technical professions, encouraging handicrafts; redistributing rice fields; consolidating dykes, giving people’s freedom to reclaim wasteland, etc. Thanks to these policies, the highest strength of the people was mobilized and brought into play. Along with that, the Party, the State and President Ho Chi Minh also step by step implemented cultural, social, and diplomatic policies... with the prime and sole objective for the legitimate interests of the people, thus ensuring them a prosperous and happy life.

Obviously, the State of the Democratic Republic of Vietnam, founded, organized and directed by Ho Chi Minh has really become a State of the people, by the people and for the people. Ho Chi Minh’s ideas and views on the law-ruled state have great theoretical and practical value and have been utilized by the Party to build the current socialist law-ruled state.

Thus, the emergence of a new-type State in Vietnam after the 1945 August Revolution is, first of all, the great achievement in the revolutionary struggle of the people under the leadership of the Party; at the same time, it is the result of President Ho Chi Minh’s correct search, choice and creative, active and thoughtful preparation in all aspects. Therefore, the claims by the hostile forces towards the Vietnamese revolution that the August Revolution and the birth of the new Vietnamese State in 1945 were just a mere “coincidence”, a “luck” and the role of Ho Chi Minh and the Party played an insignificant role ... are false and distorted.

After more than 75 years, with historical facts and newly collected data, we have more conditions to analyze, fully and scientifically explain the meaning, significance and true value of the August Revolution and the emergence of a new-type State in Vietnam, associated with the tremendous dedication of President Ho Chi Minh.

__________________

Endnotes:

(1) The CPV: The Complete Party Document, vol.1, National Political Publishing House, Hanoi, 2002, p.31.

(2) Ho Chi Minh: Complete Works, vol.7, National Political Publishing House, Hanoi, 2002, p.514.

(3) Ho Chi Minh: Complete Works, vol.3, National Political Publishing House, Hanoi, 2000, p.1.

(4) The CPV: The Complete Party Document, vol.2, National Political Publishing House, Hanoi, 2002, p.94.

(5), (6) The CPV: The Complete Party document, vol.7, National Political Publishing House, Hanoi, 2000, p.150, 535.

(7), (8) Ho Chi Minh: Complete Works, vol.4, National Political Publishing House, Hanoi, 2000, p.8, 56-57.

ASSOC. PROF., DR. NGUYEN DINH BAC

Academy of Politics - Ministry of National Defence

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