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The development of theoretical awareness and practical experience in building the socialism of the Communist Party of Vietnam from the early 21st century until now

(LLCT) - After nearly 35 years of renovation, the theoretical awareness and practical experience of the Communist Party of Vietnam (CPV) in building socialism has continuously been asserted, reinforced, and developed. In the context of the Party is conducting a review of theory and practice for the upcoming 13th Party Congress, the article focuses on clarifying the development of the theoretical awareness and practical experience of the Party in building socialism in Vietnam.

Keywords: socialism, Communist Party of Vietnam.

The 9th Congress of the Communist Party of Vietnam (April 2001) was the first Congress held in the 21st century in Vietnam. The Congress had an overall look at the revolutionary process of Vietnam in the 20th century, reviewed 5 years of implementing the Resolution of the 8th Congress (1996-2000) and 10 years of implementing the Socio-economic development Strategy (1991-2000), and drew 4 lessons after 15 years of renovation (1986-2000). Firstly, it was necessary to persevere in the goal of national independence and socialism on the basis of Marxism - Leninism and Ho Chi Minh Thought during the renovation process. Secondly, renovation had to rely on the people, serve their interest, match with practice, and be continuously creative. Thirdly, renovation had to combine national strength with that of the era. Fourthly, the correct lines of the Party are a decisive factor for the success of the renovation cause.

The 9th Congress set a strategy to develop the country in the first two decades of the 21st century with the general directions of promoting national strength, continuing renovation, and boosting national industrialization, modernization, construction and safeguarding of our socialist nation. The 9th Congress determined that the general aim of the revolution in the first decade of the 21st the century was “national independence in association with socialism, rich people, a strong country, and a fair, democratic, and civilized society”(1) (the word “democratic” was newly added). Particularly, at this Congress, the Party made a deeper and more comprehensive evaluation of the position, role, and content of Ho Chi Minh Thought. The Congress also indicated the difficulty and complexity of the socialist revolutionary process in the country, so it was essential to experience a long transitional period with many transitional stages and socio-economic organization forms, asserting that the socialist oriented market economy development was the general economic model of the whole transitional period. The Congress clarified the great role and motivation of national unity, democracy, and interest in the legitimate benefit of the people. It also pointed out that the main content in the first years of the 21st century included struggling to protect national independence, preventing poverty and backwardness, overcoming the status of a poor and slowly developed country, successfully implementing the cause of industrialization and modernization in the socialist orientation, and making the country prosperous.

The Congress raised the foreign relation lines to a higher and more comprehensive manner: “Implement the independent, self-reliant, open, multilateral, and diverse foreign relation lines consistently. Vietnam is willing to be a friend and a reliable partner of the countries in the international community, striving for peace, independence, and development”(2). These lines were concretized in the Resolution of the 8th Plenum of the Party Central Committee (9th Tenure), which had a new and unified view on the partner and subject issue and orientated the foreign policies and activities of the Party and State for the coming period.

The 9th Congress (April 2001) could be said to be an important development step which improved the renovation line in the socialist orientation proposed by the Communist Party of Vietnam at the previous congresses.

On the basis of some theoretical and practical issues drawn over 20 years of renovation, the 10th Congress of the Communist Party of Vietnam (April 2006) affirmed the great achievements and historical meaning of the renovation cause. The awareness of socialism and the path to socialism became increasingly clearer; the theoretical view on the renovation, socialism, and the path to socialism in Vietnam was formed based on the fundamental features. The 10th Congress generalized 8 fundamental features of the socialism that Vietnam was building and 8 fundamental directions to build it. The 10th Congress and the resolutions of the 10th Party Central Committee marked an important step in the process of developing and improving the renovation line of the Party; particularly, the 6th Plenum of the Party Central Committee (10th Tenure) issued the Resolution on further improving the institution of a socialist oriented market economy.

The 11th Congress of the Communist Party of Vietnam (January 2011) supplemented and developed the 1991 Platform, further clarifying 8 fundamental features, 8 fundamental directions, and 8 great relationships to grasp particularly in the socialist society. The Platform on national construction from the transitional period to socialism (1991, supplemented and amended in 2011) marked an important milestone in the renovation line of the Party, theoretical awareness of socialism, and the path to socialism in Vietnam.

At the 11th Congress, the Party and State supplemented and amended the 1992 Constitution, and the National Assembly approved the 2013 Constitution which was an important political/legal document for the State and the institutionalization of the Platform, view, and renovation line of the Party in the new era.

The 12th Congress of the Communist Party of Vietnam (January 2016) worked under the theme: “Increasingly making the Party transparent and strong, promoting national strength and socialist democracy, boosting the renovation process comprehensively and synchronously, protecting the nation, maintaining the peaceful and stable environment, and striving to make the country basically a modern oriented industrialized country”. The 12th Congress summarized 30 years of national renovation and asserted: “Generally, over the 30 years of modernization, the country has gained great achievements of historic significance; at the same time, a lot of big and complicated issues, shortcomings, and weaknesses should be solved to make the country develop more quickly and sustainably”(3).

The Congress proposed 6 central missions during the term of the 12th Congress to boost the renovation cause comprehensively and synchronously and promote all the resources and motivations to make the country develop quickly and sustainably.

With the generalization of the outstanding views and guidelines on the renovation line of the country formed and developed over nearly the past 35 years on the basis of practical experiment, reality summary, and theoretical research, the following issues can be raised:

Firstly, asserting and developing the ideological foundation of the renovation line

Under the banner of Marxism - Leninism, our Party led the revolutionary cause of Vietnam to consecutive victories. The more the renovation work is boosted, the more continuous theory development the practice requires, especially theory and experience to deal with new and mature issues. From the requirements of the renovation cause, the 7th Congress of the Party determined: “The Party takes Marxism - Leninism and Ho Chi Minh Thought as the ideological foundation and guideline for action”(4). This is a very important and meaningful issue to the process of boosting the renovation cause and the future of the Vietnamese revolutions in the new period. This was expressed at the 9th Congress (April 2001) when our Party formed the fuller and more comprehensive perception of Ho Chi Minh Thought, internal relationship, and invincible strength of Marxism - Leninism and Ho Chi Minh Thought in the process of leading the renovation cause to success.

Secondly, determining the socialist orientation and building the socialist model of Vietnam

After nearly 35 years of renovation, the Communist Party of Vietnam basically planned the socialist orientation in the main fields of the renovation cause such as economics, politics, culture, society, security, defense, foreign relation, etc. and indicated the aspects to be grasped, regarding socialist deviation risks on the path to socialism in the new context of the era and country. The key orientating points were to maintain the leadership role of the ruling Communist Party, improve the efficiency and effect of State management, promote people’s mastership, and theorize about the “shortened development” of the transitional path, and “skipping” capitalism to socialism in Vietnam in a dialectic and practical manner. These key points include quantitative and qualitative orientation with specific and suitable levels, paces, and steps.

Socialist orientation can be generally imagined to be a process to determine the limits and degrees of the historical existence of socialism from the starting point to the final destination with specific and suitable journeys and steps, etc. in accordance with the law, rules, and principles of socialism. If such limits and “degrees” are exceeded, deviation from socialism will come up, and a social regime different from socialism will be inevitable.

The Communist Party of Vietnam determined socialist orientation on each field of life in the country and added more and more new awareness about this fundamental issue. That the socialist model changed from 6 (1991) to 8 features (2006 and supplemented and developed in 2011) was a great advancement in handling the dialectic relationship between the popularity and the particularity of socialism on the foundation of Marxism - Leninism and Ho Chi Minh Thought of the Party in the current era.

Thirdly, theoretical discovery of the socialist oriented market economy

Embarking on the renovation (1986), the Communist Party of Vietnam determined that economic development was the central work and that Party building was the key. With the breakthrough of renovation in our thinking, firstly economic thinking, the theoretical work gathered all the efforts to interpret, and established and strived to make the multi-sector goods economy operate in accordance with market mechanisms under the management of the State. Until the 9th Congress (April 2001), the Community Party of Vietnam asserted that socialist oriented market economy was a general economic model in the transitional period to socialism in Vietnam. It was a market economy form which followed the rules of a market economy. It was also guided and governed by the regulations manifesting the nature of socialism in order to serve the benefit of the working people and the whole Vietnamese people. At the 12th Congress (January 2016), the Communist Party of Vietnam provided a more complete concept which stated: “The socialist oriented market economy of Vietnam is a fully and synchronously operated economy in accordance with the rules of the market economy. It also ensures the suitable socialist orientation for each period of development of our country. It was a modern market and internationally integrated economy with the management of the socialist law-ruled state led by the Communist Party of Vietnam for the goal: ‘rich people, a strong country, and a fair, democratic, and civilized society”(5).

Building and developing the socialist oriented market economy were not only the essential issues of the renovation work but also the correctness in the regulations and views of the Party and the practical requirement of a country with a low starting point to socialism like Vietnam. It was not just the foundation to ensure independence and self-reliance in terms of politics, society, defense, and security. It was also the fundamental condition and open environment to mostly make sure that the dynamic, strong, and sustainable development of the economy in close association with social justice and for the goal of social progress, both aspects of internal affairs, and international economic integration in an active and effective manner. It was also the expression of the absolute advantage of socialism on considering a market economy as an effective means and tool to build socialism to serve the people, compared with other social regimes which also developed market economies.

Fourthly, building the theory of the socialist law-ruled State of Vietnam of the people, by the people, and for the people

The theory of building the socialist law-ruled State of Vietnam of the people, by the people, for the people is a new development of our political awareness, a decisive goal, a fundamental content, and a great progress in the practice of the comprehensive renovation cause, firstly in the political aspect of the Communist Party of Vietnam.

The socialist law-ruled State of Vietnam must keep revolutionary nature and class nature, being a really effective tool to implement people’s mastership with the method of enforcing management with jurisdiction and law. It must raise the position and role of law and require all organizations and citizens in society to respect and follow laws in parallel with promoting the ethical and cultural values of the nation.

Currently, although there are many defects and weaknesses, the theoretical work has drafted a theoretical system basically, deeply, specifically, practically, and feasibly and has made efforts to build the socialist oriented law-ruled State of Vietnam. Those are the issues from the position, role, nature, function, and tasks to the feature, content, power organization model, renovation of the institution and operating mechanism of the state apparatus, construction of the cadres and civil servants, and necessary and sufficient prerequisites in a certain and modern direction to ensure the implementation of the State power, all serve and make sure people’s mastership, abide by the Party’s leadership, and conform with the condition of the country and the development trend of the era.

Fifthly, identifying and developing the advanced Vietnamese culture imbued with national identity and consistent in diversity, and building Vietnamese man to meet the requirements for quick and sustainable national development.

On the foundation of traditional culture, selective inheritance of the renovation achievements of the country, and acquisition of human culture’s quintessence, the Communist Party of Vietnam has gradually established a new value system of national and modern Vietnamese culture. The Party is also planning a development strategy of culture in the widest meaning of this category with the key fields constituting the new Vietnamese culture as the goal, foundation, and motivation for the development of Vietnam. They hope to continuously improve the material and spiritual life of the people and prepare a good foundation for Vietnam to basically reach an industrialized country in the direction of modernization. An extremely new point is that the Communist Party of Vietnam has a comprehensive, profound, and synchronous understanding, which creates a harmonious development and an organic association between economics and culture to meet the development requirement of the country in the process of industrialization and modernization with similarities and effects in three aspects: proper operating mechanisms, constantly renovated institutions, and suitable cadres. Culture is developed for human personality perfection and the men are built to develop culture. Vietnamese men are built for comprehensive development.

Sixthly, building and improving international integration theory

The Communist Party of Vietnam actively builds, gradually supplements, and further improves the theory and foreign relation line of Vietnam in the period of openness and international integration of the country in the context of globalization.

The independent, self-reliant, diverse, and multilateral foreign relations line and the movement and development of the point with instructive rules stems from the fact that “Vietnam wants to be a friend of all countries in the world community, striving for peace, independence, and development”(6) (1991) and “Vietnam is willing to be a friend and a reliable partner of the countries in the international community, striving for peace, independence, and development”(7) (2001), and Vietnam “is the friend, a reliable partner and a responsible member in the international community”(8) in the active and positive position to integrate internationally(9) (2011). These points manifest the view, motto, the art of foreign relation, and the aspiration of Vietnam before the international community in a very dialectic and clear manner.

Seventhly, developing theory of the ruling Communist Party of Vietnam

One of the outstanding theoretical achievements from over nearly 35 years of renovation is that the Communist Party of Vietnam gradually clarifies the basic issues on the law of the ruling Communist Party of Vietnam in the current era.

During the renovation period, the Communist Party of Vietnam highly focuses on summarizing the basic issues in the leadership aspects of the Party in terms of politics, thought, organization and morality covering the whole socio-economic life of the country in the renovation work. Particularly, up to now, the renovation lessons raised by the 6th, 7th, and 8th Congresses of the Party have still had intact value, and they worked as the basis for the 9th, 10th, 11th, and 12th Party Congresses to continuously draw precious lessons. That could be said to be the concentrated, specific, and lively crystallization of the Party’s ruling theory, which is manifested in the 10 following aspects: (1) Ruling law, (2) Ruling conception, (3) Ruling basis, (4) Ruling expedient, (5) Ruling content, (6) Ruling mechanism, (7) Ruling method, (8) Ruling resource, (9) Ruling environment, and (10) Ruling risk.

Eighthly, determining and promoting the great motivation of the Vietnamese revolution

The Communist Party of Vietnam asserts: “Inheriting the precious tradition of our nation, the Communist Party of Vietnam always raises the great national unity flag. That is the strategic line, great source of strength and motivation to build and protect our country. To build the great national unity bloc is the responsibility of the whole political system and society”(10). That is new progress and supplementation in the awareness and action to implement great national unity as a leading goal, task, and work as well as a living moral standard of the Vietnamese people. It is the creative development of Marxism - Leninism and Ho Chi Minh Thought today: “Unity makes strength”, “Unity is our strength”, “The key to success”, and “Unity, unity, great unity. Success, success, great success”.

The implementation motto is the great unity of all ethnic groups, religions, classes, economic components, genders, ages, Party or non-party people, and members in the great family of Vietnam whether they live inland or overseas. Unity is on the basis of the similarities, open spirit, and mutual trust for the future. Comprehensive consolidation and development of the great national unity bloc in the Vietnamese Fatherland Front are the basis of a firm alliance between the working class, farmer class, and intellectuals under the leadership of the Party. This is a great creation and new Party development on the basis of Ho Chi Minh Thought.

The theoretical work’s newest and greatest effort is to assert and promote great national unity as the “main motivations”, constituting a motivation system that includes economic and cultural motivation, among others, of the renovation cause.

Thus, through the practice of leading the country’s renovation cause comprehensively, the Communist Party of Vietnam gradually forms, continuously improves and develops the line to renovate the country comprehensively in all aspects of socialist orientation.



(1), (2), (7), (10) CPV: Documents of the 9th National Congress, National Political Publishing House, Hanoi, 2001, p.85-86, 119, 119, 123.

 (3), (5) CPV: Documents of the 12th National Congress, Office of the Party Central Committee, Hanoi, 2016, p.16, 102.

(4), (6) CPV: Complete set of the documents of the Party, vol.51, Hanoi, 2007, p.147, 49.

(8), (9) CPV: Documents of the 11th National Congress, National Political - Truth Publishing House, Hanoi, 2011, p.236, 236.

Assoc. Prof., Dr. Vu Van Phuc

Deputy Chairman of the Scientific Council of the Central Party Organizations

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