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Tuesday, 28 August 2018 17:13
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Applying the Communist Manifesto’s views to developing the working class and the Communist Party of Vietnam

(LLCT) - In the Communist Manifesto, K. Marx and F. Engels clearly pointed out the characteristics, role and mission of the working class and Communist parties - the most advanced section and the pioneers of the working class. Given the current situation of Vietnam, these views must be applied to developing the working class meeting the requirements of industrialization, modernization, the development of a socialist-oriented market economy and international integration, and be compatible with the historical mission of the nation; building the Communist Party of Vietnam to be worthy of being the vanguard of the Vietnamese working class.

1. Developing the Vietnamese working class to meet the requirements of industrialization, modernization and the development of a socialist-oriented market economy

The Manifesto affirms, “The working class is the product of big industry itself”. This is also the law of the development of workers in the industrial revolution. It brings about the emergence of a modern working class that is trained to have a number of superior characteristics compared to other contemporary classes. These qualities are collaborativeness, industrial self-discipline, stringent organization and the tendency of public ownership, which are also the qualities of the revolutionary class and the leaders of the revolution.

The stronger the industrial revolution is, the clearer these qualities are identified for workers around the world. A recent study by a foreign researcher also confirms, “The most decisive point is that the working class has a place in the core of the capitalist mode of production. Only those who are within the system are familiar with the working methodology and are organized by capitalism into a skilled force with collective spirit and political consciousness. Those who are indispensable to the successful operation of capitalism but whose material interests are degraded by capitalism are capable of taking over and operating it for the benefit of all”(1). Only with modern industry and the development of the working class have the aspirations towards liberating society from poverty, injustice and inequality been illuminated by the methodology of historical materialism, creating realistic foundations for the theory of socialism to be transformed from utopia into science.

The viewpoint guiding the process of currently developing the Vietnamese working class is that workers are the social product of industrialization; the building and development of this class must be closely attached to the promotion of industrialization, and Vietnam’s working class itself must become “the decisive factor of success in the cause of boosting industrialization and modernization in Vietnam”. Workers are also the product of industrialization and of each particular industrial revolution. The world is currently in the third industrial revolution and is approaching the fourth one (the industrial revolution 4.0). The promotion of industrialization and modernization in the country must be closely connected to the general trend.

Accordingly, developing the working class constitutes, firstly, to renew the human resources of the current industrialization towards intellectualization of labour in parallel with the application of modern technologies. The industrialization and modernization in the country towards knowledge-based economy must be both inevitable and voluntary. In the Preface to the German edition republished in 1890, F. Engels emphasized, “For the ultimate final triumph of the ideas set forth in the Manifesto, Marx relied solely upon the intellectual development of the working class, as it necessarily has to ensue from united action and discussion”.

The Manifesto points out that the law of surplus-value exploitation and the law of supply and demand of the labour force market make the relationship between the working class and the capitalist class quite special. These two classes, in terms of fundamental interests, are “the two big completely opposing classes” struggling with each other “from the moment they were born” and through a number of stages from low to high. On the other hand, these two classes are in symbiosis, supporting and depending on each other in the labour force market and the production of surplus value. Struggle and unity are the two sides of the relationship between workers and the bourgeoisie.

Currently in Vietnam, in the context of the socialist-oriented market economy, the protection of the legitimate rights and interests of employers is always carried out in parallel and in harmony with the interests of employees. It is necessary to grasp thoroughly the dialectical relationship between the interests of labour and capital to regulate labour relations. The most popular legal tool that needs to be refined is the labour market institutions. Building harmonious, stable and progressive labour relations within enterprises for developing production and guaranteeing the workers’ living standards is the common goal of enterprises and the State.        

2. Developing the Vietnamese working class on a par with the historical mission of the nation

The Communist Manifesto is the declaration of the historical mission of the working class, the class representing the progressive productive force and the trend of social democratization; however, the working class is hindered, exploited and dominated by the capitalist relation of production. The Manifesto is the declaration of the inevitable extinction of the bourgeoisie, capitalism and the last human exploitation on earth. K.Marx and F.Engels pointed out that the abolition of capitalism’s private property together with the abolition of the entire capitalistic system have been prepared in an objective manner thanks to the influence of the laws of the capitalist economy themselves.

According to the Manifesto, while all classes are opposed to capitalists and capitalism, only the working class has the power of carrying out the mission of abolishing capitalism and building communist societies, thereby emancipating itself, and at the same time emancipating humankind and human beings. To carry out that historic mission, the working class is the class that “holds the future in its hands”.  

The historic mission of the Vietnamese working class today, according to the Resolution of the 6th Plenum of the 10th Party Central Committee, is to “...continue to develop the Vietnamese working class with the aim of promoting industrialization and modernization in the country” and it identifies the fundamental positions and responsibilities as follows:

First, developing the Vietnamese working class to make it worthy of its role as “the class leading the revolution via the Communist Party of Vietnam as the vanguard”.

This special political position requires the Vietnamese working class and the Communist Party of Vietnam to clearly identify and practice the qualities of a national leading class. These qualitities include, “class consciousness, a firm political stance; civil consciousness, patriotism, love of socialism, capability to represent the national cultural quintessence; sharpness and staunchness in the face of the complicated development of the world situation and changes in the domestic situation; possessing the spirit of national unity and international solidarity and cooperation; and carrying out the historical mission of the revolution’s leadership via the Communist Party of Vietnam as the vanguard”.

The two subjects relating to this political position in the country today need to be developed and further enhanced in political qualities.

For the working class, it is necessary to overcome the reality of its uneven class-consciousness and political stance; and limited knowledge on policy and law.  A section of workers is not aware of the position and role of their class; they lack the capability to be pioneers and examples; and neglect socio-political issues; a number of workers have a pragmatic way of life and show signs of degration in morality and lifestyle.

Accordingly, for the working class, further attention must be paid to the concern and renewal of enhancing their political awareness. The current issue lies in doing differently rather than only making efforts in dissemination and education of political ideology. It is necessary to resolutely expel cadres and Party members who show signs of degration and opportunism. Purifying the Party to make it transparent is the most practical and urgent demand at present.

Second, developing the Vietnamese working class to take on the mission of “representing the progressive productive mode, heading the industrialization and modernization process”.

According to history and the theoretical synthesis of the Manifesto, together with industrialization and modernization, the maturity of the working class is the materialistic factor for the development process with a new quality of civilization and socialism. The productivity and social nature of labour are the great values contributed by the working class and the industrial productive mode to humankind. Also according to historical reality, in all currently wealthy countries with a high level of development, the industrial production and workers account for the overwhelming majority of the labour force and serve as the material cores of the social economy.

The cause of building socialism in Vietnam must also follow the rule of modern society. Promoting industrialization, modernization and developing the working class should establish the materialistic basis for the socialist-oriented development process. The characteristic of modern development is to view the promotion of the human factor and human resource quality as the qualitative factor for the level of development. Developing Vietnamese working class to make it worthy of “representing the advanced mode of production” in the current era is an essential, glorious and extremely difficult mission. At present, focusing on human resources development for industrialization is the key task. Capital can come from accumulation, loans and foreign investment, but human resources for national industry can only be obtained from Vietnam, through internal strength and Vietnam’s human resource development strategy. In the upcoming decade, the prospect of making fundamental changes to the “image of the Vietnamsese worker”, from assembling workers to inventive and creative workers, is not beyond imagination. In many production lines and services today, it can be clearly seen that such workers are gradually appearing in a greater number. A key element is technologies and the control of technologies imported into Vietnam. The State will be the decisive factor for the development of our country’s working class.

Third, develop the Vietnamese working class “to pioneer in the cause of constructing socialism for the goals of a rich people, a strong nation, an equitable, democratic and civilised society”.

The pioneering of the working class is manifested not only in the socialized level of labour and advanced mode of production but also in the fact that they are the model of a new lifestyle with industrial manners and discipline, cooperative spirit, unselfishness and the qualities of socialist people. Accordingly, paying attention to the working class is not only building and ensuring their material life but also spiritual life reflecting their position as the mastery and leadership class. Rich people means that the majority of workers are wealthy and prosperous...

Paying attention to the group of workers in the non-state economic sector, which has the largest number of workers (about 13 millions out of the total 15 millions workers in Vietnam at present), is a key issue. The problem is that in many enterprises, the workers are attached to modern and highly socialized technologies, but they do not have the corresponding political awareness and class-consciousness. This paradox needs to be taken into consideration and resolved.

Many people think that it is difficult and complicated to educate workers in private and FDI enterprises about class-consciousness and political awareness because there are capitalist relations of production. It is the Manifesto that leads us with the guideline, “The advance of industry, whose involuntary promoter is the bourgeoisie, replaces the isolation of labourers, due to competition, by the revolutionary combination, due to association. The development of Modern Industry, therefore, cuts from under its feet the very foundation on which the bourgeoisie produces and appropriates products. What the bourgeoisie therefore produces, above all, are its own grave diggers. Its fall and the victory of the proletariat are equally inevitable”(2). It is necessary to convert the advantages of the high level of socialization in production and services into favourable premises for educating, organizing and enhancing the political awareness of workers.

Fourth, developing the Vietnamese working class into “the core force within the alliance of the working class, the peasantry and the intelligentsia under the leadership of the Party”.

With the role of the most important social basis of the leadership of the Party and the management of the State during the socialist revolutionary process and the nucleus of the alliance between the working class, the peasantry and the intelligentsia today, the socio-political role of the Vietnamese working class is enormous.

The focus of attention today goes to harmonizing the interests of the working class, the peasantry and the intelligentsia. They are labourers who are making up the renovation cause, but a section of them has not fully benefited from the achievements brought about by the renovation cause, which has not commensurated with their effort. Together with that, strengthening the relationship between the Party and the working class, and strengthening the working class nature of the Party is the core of this problem.

3. Building up a transparent and strong Party worthy of being the vanguard of the working class and the nation

The Communist Party, the legitimate leader of the working class, the result of modern class struggle, is characterized by the Manifesto using the following characteristics:

First, it is the most advanced section of the working class in all aspects. Practically, it is the “most resolute section”, which “promotes the movement to advance”. The Party shares the unified benefits with the proletariat. During the struggle, the common interests of the class and the entire movement are put first. Theoretically, thanks to the equipped knowledge of the law of history and class struggle from the views of the Marxist ideology and modern political experience, the Party is fully aware of the evolving process of history in general and the working-class movement in particular.

Second, the Party represents the class and the nation in exercising the communist ideal.

The immediate goal of the Communist Party is to rally proletarians to “overthrow the ruling of the bourgeois” and “take over the government”. There are two “incarnations” of the working class in the process of fulfilling this goal. First, “the proletariat becomes the ruling class, winning democracy”(3). Second, by the same token, it becomes the “national class” - representing the interests and development prospects of the nation.

The ultimate goal of the Party and the working class is to advance to communist society. “In place of the old bourgeois society, with its classes and class antagonisms, we shall have an association, in which the free development of each is the condition for the free development of all”(4).

The characteristics and political goals of the Communist Parties in the Manifesto applied to the current situation of Vietnam can be generalized into the following concrete tasks: The Communist Party of Vietnam must always strive to be the most advanced section of the working class and the nation.

Therefore, “promoting the building of a clean, strong Party, enhancing the Party’s leadership capacity and combativeness...”; “Firmly maintaining the class-nature of the Party, the pioneering and exemplary role of cadres, Party members”... are the permanent tasks of the Party.

As the ruling Party, representing the working class in leading the nation to advance towards socialism, the Party always stresses that “The Communist Party of Vietnam is the vanguard of the working class, and the pioneer of the toiling people and the Vietnamese nation; the faithful representative of the interests of the working class, the toiling people and the whole nation”(5). In the context of being the ruling Party, its leading key task at present is to “enhance the building and rectification of the Party; preventing and curbing the ideological, ethical and lifestyle degradation, as well as the manifestation of “self-evolution” and “self-transformation” inside the Party; focus on building the contigent of cadres, particularly the staff at strategic level, to equip them with the sufficient capability, quality and prestige to successfully fulfill their tasks.


(1) Terry Eagleton: Why Marx was right?, The Political and Administrative Publishing House, Hanoi, 2014, p.206-207.

(2), (3), (4) K. Marx, F. Engels: Complete works, vol. 4, National Political Pubishing House, Hanoi, 1995, p.613, 626, 628.

(5) The Communist Party of Vietnam: Regulations of the Communist Party of Vietnam, “Party and fundamental issues of Party building”, National Political Publishing House, Hanoi, 2011, p.3.

Asso.Prof., Dr. Nguyen An Ninh

Institue of Scientific Socialism,

Ho Chi Minh National Academy of Politics



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