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Proletarian dictatorship thought of Karl Marx and creative application in Vietnamese renovation

(LLCT) - Proletarian dictatorship is one of the most essential thoughts of Marxism. That thought requires the thorough grasp of its scientific spirit in perception and application. At the same time, there must be the development and creative application based on the new reality. The State renovation guideline in the direction of building the socialist law-ruled state and developping the socialist market economy as the economic base are the creative application of proletarian dictatorship thought of Marx in the renovation of Vietnam.

1. The proletarian dictatorship thought of Marx

This study clarifies the origin and nature of state, especially the nature of the bourgeois state as the scientific basis for forming and developing the thought of a new state with proletarian dictatorship. Proletarian dictatorship is a basic thought in Marxism. Mentioning the position of that thought in Marx’s theory, Lenin showed that the core of Marx’s theory is not class struggle but proletarian dictatorship. Thus, whether it is acknowledged or not, proletarian dictatorship is still the “touchstone” to distinguish the people who “really understand and acknowledge Marxism”(1).

The embryonic idea of a new state was mentioned in German Ideology by Marx. It was the thought that the proletariat should take hold of power(2). Those ideas were developed into a theoretical point in the Manifesto of the Communist Party: the first step in worker revolution was to turn the proletariat into the ruling class and obtain democracy(3). It was the result of study and analysis of modern economics, growth, and the historical role of the proletariat in modern industry. According to the law of history, the class holding the power in an era must represent the whole society in its time(4).

Concerning the work 18thBrumaire by Louis Bonaparte, Marx summarized the bourgeois revolution of 1848 - 1851 and raised the proletarian dictatorship thought to a new level: all the previous revolutions made the state apparatus more complete, but the necessary thing to do is to destroy and smash it(5). Recalling that point, in a letter to Kugelmann, Marx wrote: “If you glance at the last chapter of my 18thBrumaire, you will see me declaring that the greater attempt of the French revolution was not to transfer the militaristic, bureaucratic apparatus from this group to the other like what has happened up to now but to smash that apparatus.That is the prerequisite for all the true people revolutions on the continent”(6). Therefore, the proletarian dictatorship thought was advanced to a more specific level: In proletarian revolution, the working class would not only take over the available state apparatus but also “smash” it. Also in these years, in the letter to Weydemeyer on 5 March, 1852, Marx used the term “proletarian dictatorship”(7) for the first time.

The proletarian dictatorship thought of Marx was further developed with the experience summary of the Paris Commune in 1871 in the work French Civil War. Here, when he analyzed the Paris Commune carefully, Marx wrote: “The Commune led to various explanations... The real secret of the Commune is that it is in fact the government of the working class... the political form eventually found out which enables liberation of labor in terms of economy”(8).

On talking about the nature, power of the new state, and proletarian dictatorship, Marx and Engels considered them democracy. In the work French Civil War, Marx asserted that the management of people undertaken by the people themselves is an indispensable trend of socialism(9). However, he noted that dictatorship is inevitable. In 1875, in the work Critique of the Gotha Program, Marx criticized the viewpoint of Lassalle - a faction in the Social Democratic Party of Germany at that time. This faction proposed the state model in the transitional period as “liberal state”(10), a kind of democratic, nondictatorial state. Marx exposed the bourgeois illusion of that view. Reemphasizing that, in the letter to A. Bebel, Engels wrote: “Because the state, in the end, is just a temporary institution that people must use in the struggle towards revolution to suppress the enemies with violence, it is completely meaningless to claim to be a free people country. As long as the proletariat still needs the state, it is absolutely not for freedom but for suppressing its enemies. Moreover, if freedom comes, the state would not exist anymore”(11).

Proposing a theory about a new state, which had never been seen in history before, was a sophisticated and sensitive issue, so Marx was highly cautious. It was a thought development process based on a practical general summary of the changes and developments of reality over 40 years rather than an idealistic, defensive, and objective viewpoint. For the conclusions drawn by Marx, Lenin wrote that they were not the logical inference but the practical development of changes, life experience ...”(12). As for those without a solid practical basis, Marx waited for the experience of the mass movement to solve the problem as he did not want to fall into utopia(13). The values and science of Marx’s theoretical points are firm in the consistent principle between theory and practice.

2. The creative application of Marx’s idea to the Renovation in Vietnam

In the Renovation, the Communist Party of Vietnam discovered and corrected the deviations caused by extreme and dogmatic perception and application of some of Marx’s thoughts about the state. There was an abstract contrast between the proletarian state and the bourgeois one and a limited understanding about the class nature, etc. Those deviations were one of the causes of defects of the socialist state. It not only worked ineffectively but also fell into lack of democracy or formal democracy. Such a situation was ridiculed by socialist enemies, and it also frustrated the working people and weakened their belief in the Party and the State. In the Renovation, our Party was aware of such deviations and corrected them step by step. These have been shown in the Renovation’s guidelines of building Vietnam into a “rich people and strong country, with democracy, fairness, civilization, people’s right to mastery”, “power of the state belongs to the people whose foundation is the alliance of the working class with the peasantry and the intelligentsia under the leadership of the Communist Party of Vietnam”, “development of the socialist-oriented market economy”, and “great national unity, etc.”(14). Specifically:

Firstly, renovating the state in the direction of building the socialist law-ruled state of the people, by the people, and for the people led by the Communist Party.

In the process of State renovation, the Party does not use the term “proletarian dictatorship” (the concept has been changed from the “proletarian dictatorship system” to the “political system”, from the “proletarian dictatorship state” to the “socialist law-ruled state”). However, concerns have appeared such as the anxiety and worry about divergence from the fundamental view of Marxism and belief that Marx’s thought on the proletarian dictatorship had been overcome. If not for any political purpose, such extremes naturally would have been the product of dogmatic and mechanical thinking and the thought of proletarian dictatorship from Marx would not really have been understood.

The core contents of Marxism about the new state as mentioned above is “crushing the bourgeois state”, “turning the proletariat into the ruling class”, “obtaining democracy”, and “being the government of the working class which was the true secret”. Thus, building the socialist law-ruled state of the people, by the people, and for the people led by the Communist Party does not diverge or deny but applies the proletarian dictatorship of Marx creatively. The law-ruled state that Vietnamese people is building is a socialist law-ruled state rather than a bourgeois law-ruled one. These two types of state have certain similarities in form, but what decides the nature of the state - as we know them - is not the form of state. The nature of the state is that “all state power belongs to the people whose foundation is the alliance of the working class with the peasantry and intelligentsia led by the Communist Party of Vietnam”, or the political dominance of the working class on the socio-political base of socialism in other words. Democracy is the vitality, the power of the new state of which the law-ruled state is a form capable of performing the best democracy as shown in the theoretical study and practical summary over the past decades.

“Obtaining democracy” and performing political dominance on a democratic basis constitutes the very core of the proletarian dictatorship thought. This is the issue concerned by Marxism, but there have not been any conditions to outline, forecast, and suggest implementation in what political form to dominate politics in a democratic manner. Having studied and analyzed the Paris Commune carefully and attentively - the first as well as the last proletariat state witnessed by Marx and Engels - they warned about bureaucracy and lack of democracy. In the process of leading and building the new state (the first proletariat state), Lenin faced the bureaucracy that was dominant in the Soviet government. He had high determinations in reorganizing the Soviet government with the motto “developing democracy to the end, finding out the forms of development, experimenting those forms in practice, etc.”(15), especially in the years of implementing the new economic policy (NEP, 1921). However, because he encountered a lot of difficulties including war, civil war, economic recession, hardship, lack of time, and new issue for a young government, a political form to implement political dominance in a really democratic manner was not yet asserted. After Lenin passed away, under the leadership of Stalin in the 1930s, the Soviet Union established the first socialist model in the world. This model was later applied to the countries moving to socialism (including Vietnam). Politically, it is in fact a system of bureaucracy, executive order, and lack of democracy. Lack of democracy, formal democracy, and limitation are the reasons forcing the socialist world to reorganize, reform, and renovate.

Entering into renovation with the determination to abolish the centralized, bureaucratic, and subsidized management mechanism, the Party has advocated fundamentally renovating the organization and mode of operation of the State. After more than five years of study and experimentation with innovative thinking, the Party has advocated renovating the State in the direction of building a law-ruled state - the state form capable of making the best democracy today. Thus, the guideline of building a socialist law-ruled state of the people, by the people, and for the people led by the Communist Party is a breakthrough in innovative thinking, and a creative application of Marx’s conception of the state which has had an important role in building a socialist state in the country. After 30 years of renovation, the socialist law-ruled state has been formed, and it actually has had positive effects on boosting the development of the country, promoting its democratic rights, and the people’s right of mastership. Nevertheless, building a law-ruled state is a new issue for the country; moreover, this is new and sensitive. Thus, up to now, to “build and improve the socialist law-ruled state”(16) has been the immediate task for the country.

Secondy, developing the socialist-oriented market economy - the economic base for the socialist law-ruled state.

According to the fundamental principle of Marxism, economics determines politics, and the nature of the state is defined by its economic base. So what economic base can both make the new state the political domination of the working class and promote the democracy and right to mastership of the people? In the Communist Manifesto, Marx and Engels advocated abolishing private ownership and establishing public ownership of production materials(17). However, Marx and Engels proposed that economic base as a suggestion for the highly developed capitalist countries moving towards socialism. After the Paris Commune, the countries that moved to socialism had a low starting point. Russia was a medium capitalist country, and it was Lenin who pointed out that it was even more out of date than the neighboring capitalist ones. In the process of leading the Russian revolution and building a new state (Soviet government) after the difficulties and losses due to the application of communist policy in wartime, Lenin proposed a multi-sectoral economy (new economic policy - NEP, 1921) for Russia. However, after his death, that policy was denied. Under the leadership of Stalin in the 1930s, the Soviet Union established the first socialist model in the world which was based on a purely planned and centralized socialist economy. That model was considered the only one for socialism applied widely to the countries moving to socialism.

History shows that the purely socialist planned, centralized, and subsidized economy applied in a dogmatic, rigid, subjective, and voluntaristic manner is not the basis of socialist democracy. The state which exists on that economic base is in fact a system of bureaucracy, executive order, and lack of democracy. In this economy, active creation in production and business of workers is seriously limited, thus annulling the economic incentives. The ownership of workers over production materials, management organization, and distribution is just nominal. That type of economy not only causes economic stagnation but also has negative influence on developing democratic rights, ownership, independence, creativity, and the social activeness of people, organizations, and unions.

In the Renovation, experiencing the innovation of thought, serious thinking and experimentation as well as following the practice of the modern work and reality of the country, the Party has created the economic model as the basis for the State in the transitional period. It is a “socialist-oriented market economy”(18).

Market economy is the foundation of the first democratic regime in history - capitalist democracy. On referring that, Lenin pointed out that, as shown in the Capital, the land which sprouted ideas of freedom and equality was goods for production(19), and that the economy produced democratic aspirations of the masses which made the people desire democracy”(20). However, as modern-time reality has demonstrated, democracy based on capitalistic market economy has been facing the insolvable conflicts in the scope of capitalism. The market economy that we choose is neither a capitalist market economy nor a socialist market economy, but a socialist-oriented market economy. The socialist-oriented market economy is the creation of the Party during the Renovation period, and it is an economic model which has been studied meticulously and in detail.

For 30 years of Renovation, that economic model has had increasingly positive effect on the building and improving the socialist state of the country. However, the socialist-oriented market economy is a new issue. To make that economy the firm basis of the socialist law-ruled state, the extremely difficult and sensitive issue that the country is encountering today is the socialist orientation for developing that economy. The socialist orientation for development of the economy has gradually been proved effective. However, when the renovation and international globalization is further promoted, more complicated issues will arise. Thus, along with the creation of that economic model, the role of the Party, the State, enterprises and people as subjective factors should be further promoted so that effective implementation can be ensured.

_________________

(1), (6), (12), (13), (15) V.I. Lenin: Complete Works, Vol.33, Progress Publishers, Moscow, 1976, p.42, 280, 38, 50, 97.

(2), (4) Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels: Complete Works, Vol.1, National Political Publishing House - Truth, Hanoi, 1995, p.304, 584-585.

(3) Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels: Complete Works, Vol. 4, National Political Publishing House - Truth, Hanoi, 1995, p.626.

(5) Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels: Complete Works, Vol. 8, National Political Publishing House - Truth, Hanoi, 1993, p. 263, 1997, p. 280.

(7) Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels: Complete Works, Vol. 26, National Political Publishing House - Truth, Hanoi, 1996, p. 662.

(8), (9) Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels: Complete Works, Vol. 17, National Political Publishing House - Truth, Hanoi, p. 454, 461.

(10), (11) C. Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels: Complete Works, Vol. 19, National Political Publishing House - Truth, Hanoi, 1995, p.46, 15.

(14) CPV: Documents of the 11th National Party Congress, National Political Publishing House, Hanoi, 2011, p. 70, 85, 86.

(16) CPV: Document of the 12th National Party Congress, National Political Publishing House, Hanoi, 2016, p.171.

(17) . Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels: Complete Works, Vol. 4, National Political Publishing House - Truth, Hanoi, 1995, p. 616, 626.

(18) CPV: Document of the 9th National Party Congress, National Political Publishing House, Hanoi, 2001, p.86.

(19) V.I. Lenin: Complete Works, Vol. 1, Progress Publishers, Moscow, 1974, p.594.

(20) V.I. Lenin: Complete Works, Vol. 30, Progress Publishers, Moscow, 1981, p.92.

Prof., Dr. Tran Thanh

Institute of Philosophy,

Ho Chi Minh National Academy of Politics

 

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