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Sustainable values and era significance of Marxism - Leninism

(LLCT) - Marxism - Leninism has come into life and developed for nearly 172 years with historical ups and downs, but it has still contained the sustainable values that cannot be denied: development, absolute humanitarianism, dialectical materialism and materialistic conception of history, theory of surplus value, socio-economic form, and socialism. Thus, Marxism - Leninism is the scientific worldview and methodology that provides us with awareness, deals with the practical issues of the contemporary world, builds socialism, and carries out the renovation cause successfully.

Keywords: Marxism - Leninism, sustainable value, era significance.

1. The sustainable values of Marxism - Leninism

The ideological enemy of Marxism - Leninism sneered that Marxism - Leninism was not a scientific theory but a bible-like dogma that the communists had to learn by heart and apply everywhere. Thus, Marxism - Leninism could not develop and would come to a dead end. This was completely unfounded. We all know that when Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels were alive, their thought enemies said so. As of 1887, in a letter to American female author Mrs. Florence Kelley Wischnewetzky, Friedrich Engels stated: “Our theory is that of development rather than a dogma that one has to learn by heart and repeat mechanically”(1). Later, V.I.Lenin also reminded the Russian communists many times: “We do not regard Marxist theory as something complete and inviolable. On the contrary, we believe that the theory only laid the foundation for the science the socialists have to further develop in all aspects if they do not desire to be backward in comparison with life. We think that the Russian socialists must further develop Marxist theory by themselves because it only proposes the general instructing principles. The application of such principles varies depending on place; for example, England, France, Germany, and Russia are not the same”(2). Thus V.I.Lenin added more theoretical points compared to those in the era of Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels. What Ho Chi Minh repeatedly advised and reminded the cadres and Party members to learn from Marxism - Leninism were to learn the spirit, position, view, and method of Marxism -Leninism and to apply the position, view, and method so that the practical issues in our revolutionary works could be handled(3) and they could learn how to do so(4). At the same time, Ho Chi Minh also added many theoretical points to Marxism - Leninism to fit Vietnam’s real situation. For example, the revolution in the colony could break out before the revolution in the metropolitan country; the Communist Party represented not only the interest of the working and farmer classes but also that of the nation, implementing an alliance of workers, peasants, and intellectuals in Vietnam, etc. The genuine communist parties applied, added, and developed Marxism - Leninism creatively so that it was suitable for the practical condition of each country. It proved that development was a sustainable value of Marxism - Leninism. Hence, Marxism -Leninism still existed and developed. Marxism - Leninism still existed thanks to development, and it was the existence that required Marxism - Leninism to develop.

Along with development, Marxism - Leninism was the most absolute humanitarian because the birth and existence of Marxism - Leninism was owed to the demand to liberate people and aim to liberate people. Apart from the aim of liberating people from all forms of human slavery, exploitation, and suppression, Marxism - Leninism had no other goal. In the Manifesto of the Communist Party, Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels clarified: “There will be a union in which the free development of each person is the condition for the free development of everyone”(5).

The dialectical materialism and materialist conception of history were also a sustainable value of Marxism - Leninism. The reason was that mankind had found a lot of new study methods, but none of them could substitute the dialectical materialism. As for materialist conceptions of history, it was like Engels’s assertion, Darwin’s discovery of the organic world rules, and Marx’s discovery of mankind society development rule(6). V.I.Lenin asserted: “The historical materialism of Karl Marx is the greatest achievement of scientific thought”(7). Naturally, the historical materialism of Marx was the dialectical materialism, but that was the dialectical materialism about society. In the society, the rules could only arise, exit, and move through the practical actions with consciousness of people. Thus, with and through practical actions, people could cause influence to make the rule take place faster or slower. It was the historical trend indicating the particularity of social rule and materialist conception which covered this particularity. Subsequently, the materialist conception of history carried the sustainable value.

In the era of Industrial Revolution 4.0, the Internet of things, and big data, manufacturers use many robots and automated lines in order to keep the production costs low and increase labor productivity. Taking advantage of this situation, many comments show that the theory of surplus value proposed by Karl Marx, as well as the one about the worldwide historical mission of the working class of Marxism - Leninism, is no longer correct. However, we all know that if workers do not manufacture, program, use, maintain, and repair robots and the automated lines, the robots and automated lines are just an inanimate pile of scraps. In the relationship between laborers and machinery (including robots and automated lines), the laborers, specifically the works here, still play the decisive role. It is true that there is a structural change in the working class such as “blue collar”, “high stiff”, and “yellow collar” workers, but they are workers and laborers. Without them, modern production would not exist. Thus, what creates surplus value is still the living labor of workers. It still retains its values from the scientific and practical bases as mentioned. Moreover, economically, modern workers are still the main producer of wealth in modern society. In terms of politics and thought, only the modern working class can unite farmers and other laborers and lead them to build a society where fairness, freedom, humanity, prosperity and a happy life exist. In terms of culture and morality, only the modern working class can build the new cultural and moral values such as fairness, genuine-ness, goodness, aesthetics, equality, respect, etc. Hence, the modern working class still plays a role in the worldwide historical mission to overthrow the capitalist regime that exploits, oppresses, and enslaves people. As Karl Marx said: “In that revolution, the proletariat lose nothing but the chains that tie them, and they will have the world”(8).

The history of the movement and development of mankind has proved that the development of human society does not follow the only “economically decided” and “occidentally centered” type as well as the “third wave”. Although the development of the countries and people is very diverse and plentiful, it still follows the rule of substituting the socio-economic forms upward historically and naturally. The reasons for these substitutions are stipulated by the conflicts within each socio-economic form. Those are the conflicts between the productive forces and productive relationship, between infrastructure and superstructure, etc. Solving these conflicts will lead to the birth of the new socio-economic form. This process takes place without depending on the will and desire of people. Thus, as remarked by Marx and Engels: “The collapse of the bourgeois and the victory of the proletariat are essentially the same”(9). Both theory and practice prove that the socio-economic form theory of Marx still retains its value.

Although real socialism in the Soviet Union (formerly) and Eastern Europe collapsed, that did not mean the collapse of the Marxist - Leninist theory of socialism. The collapse of real socialism in the Soviet Union (formerly) cannot be identified with that of Marxism - Leninism of socialism. This is the collapse of a dogmatic, rigid, conservative, and stagnant model, and wrong and dogmatic awareness of socialism. Additionally, the existence, renovation, opening, and development of socialism in Cuba, Laos, Vietnam, etc. also proves socialism as an ideal, a competent politic regime, and a realistic movement which still exists and develops. Thus, it is possible that the assertive theory of Marxism - Leninism of socialism is still a sustainable value.

2. Era significance of Marxism - Leninism

Marxism - Leninism is still the scientific worldview and methodology for the modern working class and progressive mankind.

Today, there have been unpredictable changes, and a lot of thought trends have made their way into the workers’ movement and sabotaged Marxism - Leninism. However, the sustainable values of Marxism - Leninism prove that it is still the scientific worldview and methodology for the modern working class and progressive mankind. With its theory of socio-economic form, theory of the historical mission of the working class, dialectical materialism and materialist conception of history, Marxism - Leninism still equips the modern working class with the scientific and objective approach to the contemporary world as well as a path to liberate people, especially the working class. On the basis of the objective and scientific approach, the working class with the dialectical scientific methodology will be clearly aware of the movement rule of human history. On that basis, belief in the future of mankind has a basis. Even though the world changes, science and technology have quick and unpredictable changes, and imperialism plays tricks to sabotage, smear, and distort Marxism - Leninism, the modern working class still believes in Marxism - Leninism and the bright future of mankind, the path to liberate themselves and progressive mankind with a scientific worldview and methodology.

Marxism - Leninism is still the only scientific theory that meets the requirements for fully liberating people from all forms of enslavement and oppression.

Through the practice of 172 years of developing Marxism - Leninism and nearly 103 years of developing real socialism, Marxism - Leninism has been the only scientific and revolutionary theory to fulfill the historical mission of liberating mankind that could not have been replaced by any other theories up to now. There have been many theories and trends of thought which have posed the task of liberating people, but they are basically the theories and trends that fail to meet the requirements for liberating people, firstly liberating the working class thoroughly, scientifically, and practically. Only Marxism - Leninism, with the goal of liberating the working class and fighting for the cause of liberating the working class with scientific and practical paths, measures, and methods can have sufficient bases to liberate the working class. Some religions also want to free people, but they can only be really freed after death. Marxism - Leninism aims to liberate real people and compensate for the living and practically working people. All the arguments and explanations of Marxism - Leninism are supposed to liberate people, firstly the working class, from all forms of slavery, oppression, exploitation, and enslavement. Does this goal have something wrong with the pursuit, aspiration, and ambition of genuine mankind? Is it wrong that it desires to overturn all forms of human oppression, enslavement, and suppression? Then, it affects interests of the enslavers, rulers, oppressors, and suppressors. Thus, the ruling, enslaving, suppressing, and oppressing classes always find any ways to sabotage, distort, smear, and defame Marxism - Leninism - a theory that desires to overthrow the domination of these ruling classes! It can be said that the fierce sabotage of the rulers against Marxism - Leninism partly highlight the scientific, humane, and revolutionary characteristics of Marxism - Leninism.

Marxism - Leninism is still a scientific theory which equips us with the methodology necessary to have correct understanding of the trends of modern capitalism.

With its dialectical method, materialistic view, and theory of socio-economic form, Marxism - Leninism points out that the conditions and premises of science, economics, materialism, technology and the human resources surely arise from within capitalism for a better society - one with socialism and communism. The modern capitalist countries have economic growth and development in various aspects. These achievements are those of mankind under capitalism. This is not the achievement of capitalism itself. Furthermore, as remarked by a British professor: “The modern capitalist countries are the result of a nasty history of enslavement, genocide, violence, and exploitation”(10). Capitalism today has obtained a great number of achievements in economics, science and technology, and education; however, it can never thoroughly solve the matters such as social injustice, poverty of a part of the population, control of weapons, natural environment destruction, etc. because the interests of the ruling class does not allow them to deal with these issues thoroughly.

Marxism - Leninism is still the thought foundation and guideline for communists in choosing the path and measures to build socialism.

In late 1845 and early 1846, Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels wrote: “For us, communism is not a state that needs creating and an ideal which reality must follow. We call communism a real movement, which removes the current state. These conditions of such movement are being borne by the existing premises”(11). Thus, Marxism - Leninism plays the role as the ideological foundation and guideline for the communists to choose and find the way to build socialism in their country. Such paths and measures must be found from the practice of each nation and people rather than from some ideal and then force to follow. This methodology is brought by Marxism - Leninism. Thus, with this methodology, the genuine communists will apply the principles of Marxism - Leninism to understanding the model and path to build socialism on their homeland creatively and successfully.

Marxism - Leninism equips the Vietnamese communists with the scientific methodology to renovate successfully.

Thanks to proper application of the scientific worldview and methodology of Marxism - Leninism, the Communist Party of Vietnam withdraws experience from the reorganization of the Soviet Union and grasps well the relationship between economic and political renovation and between renovation, stability, and development. At the same time, the Communist Party of Vietnam has built the socialist model of Vietnam with 8 characteristics of its nature, 8 directions to build socialism, and 9 big relationships to solve. Also, the Communist Party of Vietnam stands firm on the position of Marxism - Leninism and Ho Chi Minh Thought to handle a lot of arising practical issues such as clearing embargo, expanding foreign relations, being active and positive in international integration, allowing party members to do private business with conditions, focusing on building the Party in terms of morality, developing private economy as an important motivation of the economy, building the law-ruled state of the people, by the people, for the people, developing a socialist oriented market economy, and so on. Thanks to that, the renovation cause of Vietnam has gained numerous proud achievements. There are many reasons for these achievements, including the reason that the Communist Party of Vietnamese was persistent and determined, regarding the foundation of Marxism - Leninism and Ho Chi Minh Thought, to settle the practically arising issues properly.

Thus, it is possible to assert that despite many changes in practice, breakthroughs in science and technology, and changes in the revolutionary movement, the scientific and revolutionary nature of Marxism - Leninism still retains its value. There may be some particular theoretical points due to practical changes that must be added and developed, but the basic principles of Marxism - Leninism still keep the sustainable scientific and revolutionary values. As a result, Marxism - Leninism is still the scientific worldview and methodology that provides us with awareness, settles the practical issues of the contemporary world, builds socialism, and carries out renovation for socialism.



(1) Karl Marx - Friedrich Engels: Complete Works, vol.36, National Political Publishing House, Hanoi, 1999, p.796.

(2) V.I.Lenin: Complete Works, vol.4, Progress Publishers, Moscow, 1974, p.232.

(3) Ho Chi Minh: Complete Works, vol.8, National Political Publishing House, Hanoi, 1995, p.497.

(4) Ho Chi Minh: Complete Works, vol.9, National Political Publishing House, Hanoi, 1996, p.292.

(5) Karl Marx - Friedrich Engels: Complete Works, vol.4, National Political Publishing House, Hanoi, 1995, p.628.

(6) Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels: Complete Works, vol.19, National Political Publishing House, Hanoi, 1995, p.499.

(7) V.I.Lenin: Complete Works, vol.23, National Political Publishing House, Moscow, p.53.

(8), (9) Karl Marx - Friedrich Engels: Complete Works, vol.4, National Political Publishing House, Hanoi, 1995, p.646, 613.

(10) Terry Eagleton: Why is Marx right? Political - Administrative Publishing House, Hanoi, 2012, p.40.

(11) Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels: Complete Works, vol.3, National Political Publishing House, Hanoi, 1995, p.51.

Prof., Dr. Tran Van Phong

Institute of Philosophy,

Ho Chi Minh National Academy of Politics

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