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Core values of Vietnam’s socialist model in Ho Chi Minh Thought

(LLCT) - The article presents Ho Chi Minh's theoretical and practical innovations about the path to formulate a new society in Vietnam. Ho Chi Minh chose socialism - a model of "full-fledged revolution" and established its core values in Vietnam. This is a solid cornerstone to struggle against the distorted allegations of hostile forces aiming at refuting the current socialist path in Vietnam.The article presents Ho Chi Minh's theoretical and practical innovations about the path to formulate a new society in Vietnam. Ho Chi Minh chose socialism - a model of "full-fledged revolution" and established its core values in Vietnam. This is a solid cornerstone to struggle against the distorted allegations of hostile forces aiming at refuting the current socialist path in Vietnam.

For the freedom, equality, happiness and development of Vietnamese people

Keywords: Ho Chi Minh, core values, model, socialism, Vietnam.

1. Choosing socialism as a goal - the claim on the “virtual revolution” model’s core values

On the choice of Vietnamese revolution’s path, document of the 7th Congress of the Party stated that: this is “the choice of history itself”(1); associated with the creative, logical, and consistent thinking of Nguyen Ai Quoc - Ho Chi Minh. It is proven in reality that socialism is the only way to liberate Vietnamese people and the affirmation in the reality of the value of a “full-fledged revolution” model.

The questions of how to “liberate the people, gain the Fatherland’s independence”, enable everyone to have meals and clothes and access to education constituted the desire, purpose and motivation for Nguyen Ai Quoc - Ho Chi Minh to travel all over the world to seek for a way to actualize them. After nearly 10 years of traveling to several countries, studying many theories, doctrines, withdrawing a plethora of experiences, meeting many kinds of people, witnessing with his own eyes Western civilization, as well as immersing into labors’ life in capitalist societies, he realized that the liberation revolution of Vietnam had to learn many things from the American Revolution (1776) and the French Revolution (1789), especially in their revolutionary spirit. But should the Vietnamese revolution follow the path of the American Revolution and the French revolution? Ho Chi Minh firmly asserted that the paths were not suitable for the Vietnamese revolution. Because they are flawed revolutions that only benefit the rich. According to him: “We have been devoted to revolution, so we should make it virtual, that is, after the revolution, rights have to be formulated for the masses, not a certain group. Only then will the people be happy without sacrificing many times”(2).

On Ho Chi Minh’s process of researching, especially his years joining in the French Socialist Party in Paris, Nguyen Ai Quoc - Ho Chi Minh got access to Marxism - Leninism, to the proletariat revolution’s strategy. The Draft Theses on National and Colonial Questions of V.I.Lenin enlightened him on all his concerns about the path for national and people liberation. In 1923, Nguyen Ai Quoc came to Soviet Russia. The situation in Russia made him deeply aware of the backwardness of feudalism and the brutality of the bourgeoisie. And the emergence of a new social regime in which the working people are truly liberated from unjust oppression is what he dreamed of establishing in Vietnam; is the model of a “full-fledged revolution” that he was desperately looking for. At that moment, he came to the conclusion: “To save the country and liberate the nation, there is no other way than the path of the proletarian revolution”(3), “it is only socialism, communism that can emancipate worldwide oppressed peoples and workers from slavery”(4). Accordingly, the revolution path for Vietnam, as well as many other Asian countries, is to gain comprehensive independence and move forward to socialism. Socialism is an indispensable development step of national independence. The national liberation revolution must become a socialist one so that national independence could be firmly consolidated and the revolution could gain complete victory.

Thus, choosing socialism as a goal is ultimately an objective decision of history. And among those who were anxious to explore the way for national salvation, Nguyen Ai Quoc - Ho Chi Minh was the only person at that time to grasp the historical opportunity to change the country’s destiny, alter human destiny by the lofty aspirations of the nation and himself by his gradually smoldering, concerning and sharpening thoughts but not by something subjective, transient, accidental, or historically lucky.

2. The emancipation of people and laborers and making them masters of society is the core value of the socialism model in Vietnam

National independence associated with socialism is one of the focuses of Ho Chi Minh Thought, in which, his commentaries on socialism and the way to socialism in Vietnam are the exemplary symbol of his thorough grasp of Marxist-Leninist principles, and creative application Marxism - Leninism to colonial countries’ circumstances. These are important premises and guidelines for the nation’s path to a bright future; solid foundations for continuing to upgrade the system of theoretical views on socialism and the path to socialism in Vietnam amid new conditions. In their theoretical legacy, K.Marx and F.Engels made predictions about the future society - communist society. They have the merit to turn socialism, which is a utopian theory, into one with scientific grounds. However, due to historical conditions, the founders of scientific socialism could only predict main features, not detail their conceptions of future society. Moreover, the predictions were formed mainly on the ground of research into some relatively developed Western European countries’ society. The question is: can the communist regime be applicable in Asia in general and Indochina in particular? Is it possible to have a socialism model that is common to all countries and peoples? On the first issue, right in 1921, Nguyen Ai Quoc - Ho Chi Minh said that it was necessary to consider the specific situation in the Asian continent in terms of history and geography. With a wise political perspective and a comprehensive understanding, on the basis of studying Asian countries’ history, society - culture, economy, politics, etc, he came to the conclusion: “Let’s consider the historical reasons that allowed communism to enter Asia more easily than it did in Europe”(5). Because in Asia, the ideas of social community, equality, education, respect for human values, fighting for human happiness, appreciating the people had soon developed into a basis facilitating the acceptance of communist perspectives. By the end of the twentieth century, there was a historical fact that while socialist models disintegrated in European socialist countries, the socialist regime was strengthened in Asian countries such as Vietnam, China. That proves the genius judgment of Nguyen Ai Quoc - Ho Chi Minh.

On the second issue, Marxist-Leninist classics made predictions about the future society, but they did not assume that in the future, socialism would have only one model. Socialism is unified in its nature and goal, but there are many different models, showing the diversity and richness in choosing the path toward socialism. The model of socialism in each country always contains national characteristics of the history, culture, and ethnicity.

Ho Chi Minh approached socialism from various aspects: patriotism and aspiration for national liberation, morality, culture. In all aspects, he realized that in essence, socialism was a new and different regime which was preeminent and full of lofty humanity. “Only communism can save humanity and bring to all the people, regardless of race and origin, freedom, equality, fraternity, solidarity, prosperity on earth, as well as bringing jobs, joy, peace, happiness to them and for them”(6).

For Vietnam, socialism is the inevitable development path of the people’s democratic revolution led by the Communist Party of Vietnam (CPV). Later, in the cognitive theory of socialism, Ho Chi Minh affirmed many important points: “There is no other regime than socialist and communist regime that respects people, pays attention to and ensures that their legitimate private interests are satisfied”(7); socialism is to “aim at making people escape poverty, get employed, and enjoy a prosperous and happy life”(8).

The consistent and unique values in Ho Chi Minh Thought on the socialism model are associated closely with his burning aspirations: a society of truly-liberated people, being mastered by the working people under the leadership of the Communist Party.

According to Ho Chi Minh, establishing a preeminent socio-political regime is to liberate people politically. Only then can human beings become the real target in its true sense. On the other hand, the emancipation of mankind from oppression, exploitation and enslavement in a society containing opposing classes is a powerful driving force, a key tool for promoting all of the human’s material and spiritual capabilities into social development. The socialist society, according to Ho Chi Minh, is one in which people are free, equal, happy, comprehensively developed virtuously, intelligently, physically, and aesthetically.

Right after the success of the August Revolution in 1945, Ho Chi Minh stated the urgent tasks of the Government of the Democratic Republic of Vietnam. All six issues raised by people were related to people and people liberation, which are:

“People are hungry, what to do to eliminate hunger?

People are illiterate, what to do to get rid of illiteracy?

People have not enjoyed democracy, what to do for them to enjoy their freedom?

People are poisoned with alcohol and drugs, what to do to get rid of these social evils?

People have to pay many kinds of taxes, and must immediately lift them.

People are separated by the colonialists, what must be done to unite them?”

During his leadership over the process of socialist construction, Ho Chi Minh often instructed the Party and Government to always take care of the people: whatever is beneficial to the people, we must strive to fulfill; whatever is harmful to them, we must avoid. Before passing away, he said: “The Party needs to map out a best-laid plan to develop the country’s economy and culture and to constantly improve the people’s life”(9). Thus, the love for the working people and the struggle to emancipate people from oppression, exploitation, injustice, poverty, and ignorance are the cornerstones in Ho Chi Minh’s approach to the socialist model.

Placing people at the center of development, socialism is the only society in which human rights turn into reality and all human potentials (individuals, collectives, communities) can be brought into full play. To Ho Chi Minh, people are active subjects of history and the most precious value; people’s possession, talent, and power are the most important sources of development. Without the support of the people, the revolution would not have power and could not succeed. Without people, the Party has no force. If the Party is followed, believed, loved and respected by the people and has the right way to lead them to fight, it can deal with everything regardless of difficulties.

Regarding human rights in socialism, it is unavoidable to mention democracy. Socialist democracy is the highest expression of the human rights of individuals and communities. To President Ho Chi Minh, if there is nothing as precious in the world as people, democracy is the most precious treasure in the life of people; Democracy means that people are the masters and they master things. That concept indicates the close bonds between humanities and the legality of democracy, which is expressed uniformly in the concept of socialist democracy.

Revolution is the cause of the people and for the people. However, for the people to fulfill their revolutionary role to ensure their own happiness, it is necessary to have the leadership of the Party. President Ho Chi Minh attached great importance to activities aiming at building a truly progressive democracy of the people, by the people, and for the people. He always focused on founding the Party on all three aspects: ideology and theory; political lines; and personnel.

He required the Party to be moral, civilized and its members to be “righteous”, “disciplined”; strictly loyal to no other but the interests of the class and people. The Party and State are not the “saviors” of the people, but have the responsibility to serve them and play the roles as their “servants”. To promote the people’s mastery, the Party must pay attention to the people’s material and spiritual life; attach importance to improve their knowledge; and place their life, knowledge and democracy in a unified system.

When founding the fundamental characteristics of socialism, the founders of Marxism - Leninism also emphasized that it was not an ideal that reality must follow or top-down orders, but rather a realist movement and the creative cause of the masses themselves. Therefore, all constraints, defiance of reality, and formalization of theoretical ideas have to de facto pay the price. Realist socialism is always evolving; therefore, its concept must also be developed.

Socialism and the socialist revolution in Vietnam belong to the category of proletarian revolution, but taken place in a colonial country. That is quite different from the revolution led by the proletariat in the West as being underlined by the Marxist-Leninist classics. Therefore, the scientific, revolutionary characters of Marxism - Leninism requires its application to “reconsidering Marxism on its historical foundation and consolidating it with Oriental ethnography”(10). At the same time, it must be concretized, developed and perfected during the revolution. Moreover, socialism and the path to socialism have various contents. Each content has its own law of development, and is always variably associated with the historical process in each revolutionary period. Therefore, to gain victory for the revolutionary, it is requested to have a specific historical stance and development perspective in research, planning and practical direction; to grasp, analyze and solve all the relationships; to take appropriate steps and ensure basic conditions for the realization of the revolutionary path. President Ho Chi Minh not only found the revolution path for Vietnam but also continuously developed and perfected it through historical periods with correct and creative viewpoints.

The scientific, revolutionary, correct and creative characters of Ho Chi Minh Thought concerning the Vietnamese revolutionary path have been verified by history. After the victory of Dien Bien Phu, the North moved forward to socialism and so did the whole country after the victory on April 30, 1975. The continuous development of the country amidst the difficulties, challenges and historical upheavals, along with the significant achievements of the Vietnamese revolution over the past century have further proven the value and vitality of Ho Chi Minh Thought. The revolutionary movement in reality requires the theory of the socialist model to have a new development step. The identification of the fundamental characteristics in the Manifesto for national construction in the transition period to socialism and the eight features identified in the 2011 amended and supplemented Manifesto generally reflects the Party’s outlooks on socialism which is a steadfast continuation to realize President Ho Chi Minh Thought on socialism for Vietnam in the new contexts.



(1) CPV: Document of the 7th National Congress, National Political Publishing House, Hanoi, 1991, p.109.

(2) Ho Chi Minh: Complete Works, vol.2, National Political Publishing House, Hanoi, 2011, p.292.

(3), (4), (8) Ho Chi Minh: Complete Works, vol.12, National Political Publishing House, Hanoi, 2011, p.30, 563, 415.

(5), (6), (10) Ho Chi Minh: Complete Works, vol.1, National Political Publishing House, Hanoi, 2011, p.47, 496, 510.

(7) Ho Chi Minh: Complete Works, vol.11, National Political Publishing House, Hanoi, 2011, p.610.

(9) Ho Chi Minh: Complete Works, vol.15, National Political Publishing House, Hanoi, 2011, p.612.

Assoc. Prof., Dr. Doan Thi Chin

Academy of Journalism and Communication

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