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Creative application and development of Marxism - Leninism to the Party’s building and leadership of the revolution in Vietnam

(LLCT) - Marxism - Leninism points out that the birth of Communist parties follows the same pattern but each country should have its own path. Vietnam was completely different from Russia and European countries; establishing a proletariat party in a country with backward agriculture, which was under feudalist and colonialist rule for centuries, was a new, difficult question.

Since the Vietnamese revolution and the introduction of the Communist Party of Vietnam and its growth over the last 85 years, President Ho Chi Minh and the Party did not only apply Marxism - Leninism creatively but also supplemented and developed it in different revolutionary periods. Therefore, the 7th National Congress of the Party in 1991 affirmed that it would take Marxism - Leninism and Ho Chi Minh Thought as its ideological foundation and lodestar for its activities. For correct, creative application of Marxism - Leninism, the entire Party and each of its members are required to have a full understanding of origin and scientific and revolutionary nature of Marxism - Leninism.

Marxism - Leninism points out that the birth of Communist parties follows the same pattern but each country should have its own path. Vietnam was completely different from Russia and European countries; establishing a proletariat party in a country with backward agriculture, which was under feudalist and colonialist rule for centuries, was a new, difficult question. Ho Chi Minh was aware of the new historical conditions and new characteristics of the patriotic movement in Vietnam in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. During this period, this movement oriented towards socialism, underwent a radical change and the strength of the Vietnamese working class was inconsiderable. Ho Chi Minh made political, ideological and organizational preparations for the establishment of the CPV. The birth of the Party in early 1930 was the culmination of Marxism - Leninism and the workers’ and patriotic movements in Vietnam. On the practice review of 30 years of building the Party, Ho Chi Minh wrote, “Marxism - Leninism combined with workers’ and patriotic movements led to the establishment of the CPV in early 1930”(1). The appearance of the Party was the inevitability of history and Ho Chi Minh’s creative application and adaptation of Marxism - Leninism to the Vietnamese revolution. Ho Chi Minh has established and built the Party into a strong Marxist-Leninist one which grew continuously and has became ever greater. Over the last 85 years, under the Party’s leadership, Vietnam has gained enormous achievements. When the Party was 15 years old, it had only a few thousand members. Nevertheless, it led a popular uprising, abolished the feudal regime and colonial domination and took power. The August Revolution in 1945 brought independence and freedom to the Vietnamese and gave birth to the first workers’ and peasants’ state in Southeast Asia. Victories over the French in 1954, the Americans in 1975 and other foreign invaders had contributed to the cause of national liberation and socialist revolution. It was the victory over the French at Dien Bien Phu and that over the Americans that raised Vietnam to a new height. Because of these victories, many countries got to know Vietnam and praised and supported the country. In particular, the cause of renewal initiated and led by the CPV over the last three decades has achieved enormous success and has helped the country overcome its crisis and develop in all aspects, including economics, politics, culture, society, national security and defense and international cooperation. One of the important determinants for the victories was the Party’s creative application, supplementation and adaptation of Marxism - Leninism to the designing of its political guidelines and tasks. The Party managed to combine Marxism - Leninism with the nation’s characteristics and specific conditions. It paid attention to the analysis of such characteristics and conditions so they could be used as the starting point for its political guidelines and tasks. The Party and President Ho Chi Minh would emphasize the need for a thorough understanding of the revolutionary and scientific nature of Marxism - Leninism as well as its methodology characterized by science and creativity. Another determinant for the victory of the Party and revolution was that the Party and President Ho Chi Minh paid special attention to the training of party officials and members who were absolutely loyal to Marxism - Leninism, the Party and the people; who were politically qualified and unyielding, who were able to teach themselves revolutionary moral standards; who would fight individualism, corruption and wastefulness; who were exemplary at work and would sacrifice their lives in wars against foreign invasion for the peace of the country and the people.

The Party and President Ho Chi Minh has applied, adapted and developed Marxism - Leninism while carrying out the national liberation struggle and socialist revolution in the North of Vietnam. In particular, Ho Chi Minh created the view that revolution in a colonized countries could win earlier than that in the metropolitan countries and defined the relationship between the two revolutions. He affirmed that national independence was closely attached to socialism. With its experience in carrying out the revolution, the Party drew a valuable lesson: “Upholding the banner of national independence and socialism... National independence is the prerequisite for the realization of socialism, and socialism firmly ensures national independence”(2). The creative application and development of Marxism - Leninism by the Party and President Ho Chi Minh also lies in the fact that Vietnam, as a small agricultural country under colonialist and imperialist rule, advanced to socialism bypassing capitalism. Ho Chi Minh pointed out that, “The socialist revolution is the most difficult and radical transformation. We must build a completely new society never seen in the history of the country”(3). The transformation should take place under “the special circumstances of the country”, which had just escaped feudalist and colonialist rules. He raised the question of what method or form and pace the country should adopt to achieve socialism. That was an urgent question for the Party. To answer it and avoid mistakes, the Party needed to learn from the brotherly countries’ experience and apply it creatively. It had to improve its perception of Marxism - Leninism and make an accurate analysis of the country’s characteristics in order to understand the pattern of development of the Vietnam revolution and work out the orientation, guideline and specific steps to carry out the socialist revolution in accordance with the country’s situation. That means the Party, first and foremost, its core cadres, should equip themselves with general theory. Ho Chi Minh had a clear concept of socialism. He believed the most important objectives of socialism were to enable the laboring people to get rid of destitution, provide people with jobs, well-being, happiness and education. He emphasized that in order to advance to socialism we must transform the old society into an exploitation-free, equitable one where everyone must work and had the right to work and where remunerations should be based on labor results. Ho Chi Minh affirmed that socialism could not be achieved quickly but gradually. In other words, it cannot be achieved overnight. To establish socialism requires a huge amount of organization and education. The Party consideres advancing to socialism to be the consistent viewpoint and objective in its political line, as well as its creative application of Marxism - Leninism during the transitional period - the period of the most revolutionary transformations requiring multiple stages and intermediary steps. Any attempt to set a deadline for socialism may lead to errors, precipitateness or voluntarism. The renewal guideline introduced by the Party’s 6th Congress called for renewal in the theoretical conception of socialism and the path to it in the country, as well as in economic thinking. It demanded replacement of the subsidized, bureaucratic, centralized economy with a multi-component socialist-oriented commodity one under State management. It also required changes in the working methods and styles. Summing up the renewal cause, the  7th Congress of the Party in 1991 adopted the Platform for national construction during the transition to socialism, in which six characteristics of the socialism in Vietnam were presented, “1) The socialist society is the one where the working people are the master. 2) It has a highly-developed economy based on modern production forces and public ownership of major means of production. 3) It has an advanced culture imbued with national identity. 4) Its people are liberated from suppression, exploitation and injustice, work to the best of their ability and earn according to their productivity, have prosperous, free, happy lives and have opportunities for comprehensive personal development. 5) Its ethnic groups are equal, united and help each other make progress. 6) Its people have friendly, cooperative relations with the peoples of all countries in the world”(4). At its 10th Congress in 2011, the Party announced its updated conception of socialism and the road to socialism in Vietnam. In its supplemented Platform for national construction during the transition to socialism, the Party described eight characteristics of socialism including “The socialist society under construction is the one of a rich people, a strong country with democracy, equitability where the people are the master; it has a highly-developed economy based on modern production forces and progressive, suitable production relations; has an advanced culture imbued with national identity... [it] has a socialist law-ruled State of, for and by the people, and led by the Communist Party, and has friendly, cooperative relations with all countries in the world”(5).

As far as economic development was concerned, the Party and President Ho Chi Minh managed to apply Marxism - Leninism creatively and adapted it to the realities of the Vietnamese revolution during the country’s transition to socialism. At as early as the concluding stage of the anti-French war, Ho Chi Minh mentioned the need to develop five economic components in the country, namely: 1) the State-owned economy, which was a socialist one because it belonged to people, 2) cooperatives, which were semi-socialist but would eventually become socialist, 3) the economy of individuals, farmers and handicraftsmen, which could gradually become cooperatives, 4) the private capitalist economy, and 5) the state capitalist economy, i.e. joint ventures of the State with private capitalists. Of the five components, the first one was the leader and would develop the fastest. Therefore, the country’s economy would be basically a socialist rather than a capitalist one. Given the existence of these economic components, it was the policy of the Party, Government and Ho Chi Minh to create a win-win situation for public and private sectors including both employers and employees. However, the Party and Ho Chi Minh had a clear idea of the employer - employee relations: “Capitalists do exploit, but the Government must protect workers’ rights. Also, for the sake of long-term interests, workers should leave their employers reasonable profits and refrain from putting forward unreasonable demands. Both employers and employees should voluntarily focus on increasing productivity for mutual benefits”. By adopting that point of view, the Party and Ho Chi Minh applied Marxist - Leninist theory of the transitional period, particularly Lenin’s conception of the co-existence of different economic components in such a period. While implementing renewal cause, the Party’s 6th Congress affirmed that it was necessary to start with renewal in economic thinking, thereby considering a multi-component economy to be a characteristic of the transitional period. At its 7th and subsequent Congresses, the Party came up with a clearer definition of such an economy. It advocated a multi-component commodity economy under State management. At the same time, it further clarified for a step forward public ownership and major means of production. The purpose of a socialist-oriented market economy is to develop productive forces, build a physical and technical infrastructure for socialism and improve people’s living standards. In such an economy, distribution is to be based on labour productivity, economic efficiency and contribution of capital and other resources, and made through social security and welfare. Such is Vietnam’s general model during its transition to socialism. Such is also the creative application, adaptation and development of Marxism - Leninism by the CPV and President Ho Chi Minh.

Nowadays, besides opportunities, the Party and the country are faced with significant difficulties and challenges. The world situation has been undergoing unpredictable changes, especially since the collapse of the socialist system and communist parties in the Soviet Union and Eastern European countries. As socialism is declining, there are only a few communist parties in power including the CPV. Although the CPV has achieved enormous success in leading the cause of renewal and national industrialization and modernization, it has its own shortcomings, which have been mentioned in a number of official documents. It is such shortcomings that have undermined people’s trust in the Party and have lowered its prestige and leadership capacity. In fact, for each revolutionary period and each tenure of the Party Congress, the Party has made summing up and analysis of its leadership, drawn experience therefrom, and has learned lessons from other communist parties in the world. It has applied Marxist - Leninist views on the Party’s building and has put forward solutions to rectifying itself and improving its leadership and combative capabilities. It has learnt from both successes and mistakes. At its 6th Congress, the Party drew the first lessons, one of which was “taking people as the roots,” meaning it should devote itself totally to people and defend their interests. It should have absolute trust in people, rely on their support and be closely attached to them as “fish to water” in order to create an enormous strength, to defeat any invader and achieve triumph. It should work hard to foster Party organization and members as its cells to be clean, virtuous and absolutely loyal to Marxism - Leninism, the Party and socialism. The Party should carry out democratic centralism, criticism and self-criticism in conformity with Marxism - Leninism and Ho Chi Minh Thought. It should constantly improve its knowledge of political theory as well as its practical ability so that it can provide a scientific explanation for the choice of socialism by itself, Ho Chi Minh and the entire people. It should solve newly-arising issues and fight, criticize or oppose wrong, hostile points of view or those which distort or smear Marxism - Leninism, Ho Chi Minh Thought and the Party itself. It should conduct examination and supervision of the operation of Party organizations and members. It should stipulate what its members are not allowed to do. It should enforce annual declaration of assets to be made by its officials and members. It should collect yearly votes of confidence from its members for its leaders and managers at various levels. It should publicize transparently and democratically activities of organizations and individual civil servants so as to remove from Party ranks degenerates or corrupt elements who seek personal fame, interest or power. It should enhance the block of great national unity, as well as the unity among its own ranks. It should strengthen itself in political, ideological and organizational aspects, innovate its mode of leadership and make the pool of cadres, the State apparatus and politico-social organizations clean and strong. It should increase the size and quality of the Vietnamese working class. Its central tasks for the time being are to continue well Party building, to persevere with, defend, apply and develop Marxism - Leninism and Ho Chi Minh Thought as ideological basis and as the lodestar for all of its activities. This will enable the Party to make use of its past achievements, timely overcome its limitations or weaknesses so that it will become even stronger and successfully lead the cause of national renewal and build socialism with the goals of a rich people, a strong country and a democratic, equitable, and civilized society.

Assoc. Prof., Dr. Truong Thi Thong

Vice President

Ho Chi Minh National Academy of Politics

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