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The context and new requirements for supplementing and developing the Marxist - Leninist theory of the Party and Party building

(LLCT) - The theory of the Communist Party and Party Building is an extremely important part of Marxism - Leninism. In the process of leading the revolution, the Communist Party of Vietnam and Ho Chi Minh have creatively applied this theory to the specific conditions of Vietnam to make the Communist Party of Vietnam qualified and capable to lead the Vietnamese revolution over the past 90 years. Today, the practical context is setting the new requirements for supplementing and developing the Marxist - Leninist theory of the Party and Party building.

Keywords: developing Marxism - Leninism of the Party.

The Communist Party and Communist Party building theory made by Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels is plentiful with the core contents such as (1): (i) analyzing and specifying that the proletariat’s having to establish their independent political party, (ii) analyzing and showing the Party as the pioneer of the proletariat as well as the nature and principle of the Party, (iii) building the ideological foundation as well as the Party in terms of theoretical thought, (iv) building the political program and path of the Party as well as the fact that the Party has to set the program and scientific path, (v) building the organizing and operating principles of the Party, (vi) building the cadres and members of the Party, (vii) building the Party grassroots organizations, (viii) building the style of the Party, (ix) building the Party’s regulation, and (x) building the ruling capacity of the Party.

Up to now, the contents of Marxist - Leninist theory of the Party and Party building have maintained the scientific values, and they have been the ideological foundation and guideline for the Party building work. However, as reality has posed a lot of new requirements for the Party building work, the theory of the Party and Party building also needs supplementing and developing. The international and domestic contexts and new requirements for supplementing and developing the Marxist - Leninist theory of the Party and Party building could be mentioned as follows:

1. Globalization with the issues of improving the ruling capacity of the Party today

In the work Manifesto of the Communist Party, Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels made the accurate predictions about the changing trend of internationalization and globalization. However, Karl Marx, Friedrich Engels, and even V.I.Lenin could not provide full guidance on the issues of building the leadership and ruling capacity of the Communist Party so as to improve the national competitiveness in the context of globalization. Today, the predictions of Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels about the high level of internationalization, especially globalization, have come true. Since the 1980s, the globalization process, especially economic globalization, has been taking place strongly. Globalization both creates opportunities and poses challenges for each nation and people in development. Just as John Cotter asserted: “Globalization makes change even faster, creating not only a great number of opportunities but also challenges and risks”(2). Economic globalization is not only the cooperation between nations but also the competition process between nations. To gain the advantage in competition, every nation is required to raise its competitiveness. Globalization boosts exchange and information sharing, showing the trend of unification, diversification and interdependence of social life. Globalization has strong influence on not only the politics and social system of each nation and people but also their inherent value system and ideology. Globalization can easily lead to the risk that the transnational companies govern the policy system of a nation. Thus, how to build a ruling Communist Party with enhanced ruling capacity of the Party, especially how to build an effective national governance system with good competitiveness, and how to maintain the role as the spiritual foundation of the Marxist - Leninist ideology and Ho Chi Minh Thought are the existing requirements for the Party building theory and work today.

2. The development of an information society and “big data era” with the issue of improving the adaptivity and enhancing the ruling resource of the Party today

Karl Marx, Friedrich Engels, and V.I.Lenin did not fully anticipate the development of human society in the direction of “informatization” today, and they did not provide specific instructions on building the Communist Party in the context of the development of an information society, of which the high level is the “big data era” today. The development history of human society shows that the development of science and technology is the main motivation for social development. Today, under the direct impact of the Industrial Revolution 4.0, information technology has developed strongly, moving society into an era called an “information society”, of which the higher level is “big data era”. Information society and “big data era” have profound influence on all aspects of social life from politics, economics, and culture to society, remove the gap of space and time, and expand the exchanging and interacting scope of people. The “big data era” is the high development level of the information society. “Big data” has both technological and social attributes. Regarding the technological attributes, “big data” means big capacity of created information which requires very quick processing speed. Information society and “big data era” make the leadership and ruling environment of the Party more complicated, creating both opportunities and challenges for the organization and operation of the Party which were manifested in major aspects such as (i) how to apply information technology to make the apparatus organization of the Party more streamlined, (ii) how to apply information technology to the organization and operation of the Party to enhance the implementation of “e-democracy” and “tele-democracy” as well as democratization of the leadership and ruling operations of the Party, especially in sharing and receiving information within the Party as well as sharing and receiving information and comments from the society for the policy making operation of the Party, (iii) how to maintain and expand the Party’s ideology and thought in the mass media globalization context and the strong development of social network today, (iv) how to build the Party’s reputation, cadres, and party members in the context of strong development of the information society, and (v) how to apply information technology to operation for improving the ability (or enhancing the ability) of Party organizations and cadres to meet the requirements, demands, and aspirations of people.

3. Knowledge economy and an “era of change” with the issue of improving the capacity to learn, renovate, and create of Party and Party members today

Marxist - Leninist theory always emphasizes the assurance of the advancement, company, and update with the era of the Communist Party. However, compared to their era, many new issues arise in the leadership and ruling context of the Communist Party today such as the “knowledge economy” and “everchanging era” under the impact of globalization, democratization, and informatization. Knowledge economy is a concept that was raised by the OECD in its report in 1996. Knowledge economy is construed as “knowledge-based economy”, and it is based on knowledge to conduct production and distribution. In the work “Post-capitalist Society”, Peter F. Drucker believed: “We are entering a knowledge society, of which knowledge is the core, intellectual resources become the most important resource of an organization, and intellectuals become a main part in society”(3). Knowledge economy not only makes knowledge the fundamental element forming the strength and competitiveness of an organization but also has profound influence on the operating environment of such an organization, especially the change in the career structure and social stratum structure in the orientation of more intellectual employees. For the ruling Communist Party as well as other organizations, a knowledge economy sets new requirements for the strategic goal, function, organization form, and leadership method, of which the two notable issues are (i) how to renovate knowledge management within the Party organization, such as how to improve the intellectual level of the Party, and (ii) how to renovate the Party’s organization and leadership method with a goal of putting the intelligence of society into planning the program and path of the Party as well as speeding up the capacity to develop the knowledge of the whole society. Developing the Party building theory in the direction of promoting democracy in the Party and building the Party organization according to the learning Party organization model(4) can be said to be the issues of great interest today.

Knowledge economy is accompanied by an “era of rapid change” under the interwoven impact of many factors such as informatization, globalization, and democratization. The trend and characteristics of the changes in the “era of change” are the changes in the regulation and institution as well as the emphasis on the continuous change and renovation(5). The “era of change” sets higher requirement for leading and managing the change. For the ruling Communist Party, the “era of change” poses higher requirements for the function of “leading the change” of the Party and construction of the ruling Party according to the renovating ruling Party model (renovating thinking, theory, ruling method, behavioral pattern, regulation, style and working manner, etc.). Therefore, how to improve the renovating capacity of the Party, how to build the Party organization in the renovating Party organization model, how to use the renovation of the Party organization to urge the renovation of a political system and society, and how to enhance the capacity to lead the change of the Party are the issues in supplementing and developing Marxist - Leninist theory of the Party and Party building today.

4. Political democratization in the world with the issue of democratizing the Party and Party’s leadership over the democratization process in Vietnam

Another factor of the leadership and ruling environment of the Communist Party today is the strong political democratization trend in the world in association with “the third wave of democratization”. According to Samuel Huntington, since the 19th century, human society has gone through three waves of political democratization. The first wave of political democratization started after the bourgeois revolution in France and America. The second began after World War II, and the third started in the 1970s and continues to the present(6). From his viewpoint, the first and second waves of democratization did not make the democratic value the overwhelming trend around the world. Not until the third wave of democratization took place did this come true. In just 14 years from 1974 to 1990, nearly 30 nations in Asia, Europe and Latin America changed from an undemocratic regime to a democratic one peacefully. Besides, at least 20 nations implemented the “open” and publicized policies and activated the reform process in the democratization direction. In the third wave of political democratization, democracy could be said to really become an important factor for the stability and progress of each nation, and democratic values became the important factor which was widely recognized. Entering the 21st century, the third wave of political democratization continues developing with the following notable characteristics: the press plays an increasingly important role in the political life and democracy promotion, the role of social organizations (or the third sector) in national governance and democracy implementation grows higher and higher, direct democracy is increasingly expanded, and “e-democracy” and “teledemocracy” are applied in many places. In the current context of political democratization in the world and the requirement for boosting democratization in Vietnam, we have to pay close attention to promoting democracy in the Party well, making democracy in the Party really an example of democracy for the whole society, encouraging socialism in the condition of a single ruling Party, making the Party qualified to lead the democratization process, etc., which are the new issues posed in supplementing and developing Marxism - Leninism on Party building today.

5. Market economy and the issue of reinforcing and expanding the social basis of the Party as well as reinforcing the close relationship between the Party and the people

In the theoretical legacy of Marxism - Leninism, the issues of a socialist oriented market economy as well as the leadership and rule of the Communist Party under the circumstances of building and developing the economy are not fully and deeply interpreted. Market economy is the economic model in which the market plays a decisive role in mobilizing and allocating the development resources. The advantage of market economy is to make the allocation of the development resources more effective. However, any market economy has “its own failure”. Our economic model is the socialist oriented market economy of which the market economic rules are also fully promoted. The situation brought about and created by market economy not only manifests in the economic component and ownership structures but also results in the great and profound change in the social structure, socio-economic position of each stratum, social interest structure, value orientation, morality, and lifestyle. In this context, the issues raised for the Party and Party building are (i) how to ensure the power and economic interest of working people in the market economy, (ii) how to minimize the “value-money” relationship that creeps into and penetrates the Party organization and public sector as well as the pragmatism, selfishness, and “money first” behavior in the cadres and Party members, (iii) how to make the cadres and members of the Party really “serve people wholeheartedly”, (iv) how to prevent the “crony capitalism” and “interest group” situations in the leadership and rule of the Party and the operation of the State, (v) market economy inevitably leads to the division of living standards and social-economic status of people of different classes and diversification of demand, interest, and value orientation of the society, as well as birth and development of some social organizations and career organizations. How can we enhance the representation of the Party as well as reinforce and expand the social basis of the Party? How can we make the Party interact effectively with social organizations, thereby expanding the Party’s influence as well as reinforcing the ruling position of the Party? Those are the noted theoretical issues in the process of supplementing and developing Marxism - Leninism about the Party and Party building.

6.  Socialist law-ruled state building with the issue of “legalization” of the leadership and ruling operation of the Party today

In their era, the theory of K.Marx and V.I.Lenin of the Party and Party building did not mention the issue of Party building as well as the Party’s leadership and ruling in the condition of building a law-ruled State fully, comprehensively, and deeply. The core connotations of “rule-of-law” are as follows(7): (i) the society has a “good legal” framework, (ii) the independence of the judicial system, (iii) everyone is equal before the law and any person or organization is subject to the adjustment of the law, (iv) freedom, equality, and civil rights are fully respected and ensured, (v) the law is the highest regulation in national governance, and all public sector operations must follow the law, and (vi) there should be wide respect and recognition of people towards the law. Rule-of-law further emphasizes the effective restriction of law over public organizations (including the ruling Party) and stresses the use of law to “manage power”, “manage people”, and “manage work”. Building the socialist law-ruled State in Vietnam today poses the new requirements for theory and practice about the “legalization” of the leadership and ruling operation of the Party in the principle of “leading and ruling according to the law”. As a result, some related issues which must be cared for in the process of supplementing and developing Marxist - Leninist theory of the Party and Party building are (i) how to formulate the law framework to have the law restrict and adjust the leadership and ruling operation of the Party, Party organization, and party members, (ii) to ensure the Party organization and party members to operate in compliance with constitution and law through whatever mechanism, and (iii) how to make sure the cadres of the Party working in the public sector are loyal and serious in enforcing the law, and if one violates the law, he “must be investigated and punished strictly according to the law” with the motto “no exception” and “no restricted areas”.

In summary, the factors and processes of the external and internal environments have interwoven impacts which cause more complicated changes in the leadership and ruling environment of the Party and pose higher requirements for the leadership and rule of the Party. The supplementation and development of Marxist - Leninist theory of the Party and Party building are expressed in the following main issues: (i) to assert the leadership role of the Party is the manifestation of the nature of the socialist regime in Vietnam, considering Party building as one of the core issues in building and developing the country today, (ii) for the nature and representation of the Party, it is asserted that the Party represents the advanced productive forces, advanced culture, and interest of the Vietnamese people, (iii) to build the ruling Party in model of learning, renovating, and serving the ruling Party, and (iv) the ruling methods and principles are really leading and ruling for the people, leading and ruling scientifically, leading and ruling according to the law, and leading and ruling democratically.

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Endnotes:

(1) Ngo My Hoa (2007):  Marxist - Leninist Theory of the Party and Party Building, China People’s University Publishing House.

 (2) John Cotter (1997): The New Rules, Free Press.

 (3) Peter F. Drucker (1994): Post-capitalist society, Harper Business, p.4.

(4) Building the organization in the learning organization model is a school of theory developed from the 1970s up to now which is attached to Peter Senge.

(5) Yang Da-hai (2004): Manage change, China People’s University Publishing House, p.7-11.

(6) Samuel Huntington (1991): The Third Wave: Democratization in the Late Twentieth Century, University of Oklahoma Press.

(7) Nguyen Trong Binh: Public administration and governance - Some theoretical and practical issues, National Political Publishing House, Hanoi, 2018.

 

Assoc. Prof., Dr. Lam Quoc Tuan

Institute of Party Building, Ho Chi Minh National Academy of Politics

Dr. Nguyen Trong Binh

Academy of Politics Region IV

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