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Saturday, August 11, 2018, 09:47 (GMT+7)
Applying lessons from the August Revolution to today’s building of the great national unity

The August Revolution victory in 1948 taught the entire Party, people and military multiple valuable lessons as a lodestar for Vietnam’s renewal process and socialist Homeland defense. Chief among those lessons is building and upholding the strength of the great national unity, which still retains its significance and requires further research and creative real-world application under the Party’s leadership.

In August 1945, under the leadership of the Communist Party of Vietnam (hereinafter the CPV) and President Ho Chi Minh, the Vietnamese people rose up and staged a successful revolution leading to the birth of the Democratic Republic of Vietnam (now the Socialist Republic of Vietnam), the first worker-peasant state in Southeast Asia. This serves as a brilliant milestone in the Vietnamese history of national construction and defense, ushering in a new era – the era of Vietnam’s national independence and socialism as well as of the country’s enhanced status and reputation in the international arena.

The August Revolution victory is attributed to hard work of 15 years long since the birth of the CPV on the 2nd of March in 1930 as well as other subjective and objective factors. At the forefront of those factors is the fact that the CPV succeeded in upholding the strength of the great national unity  whereby the whole Vietnamese people devoted themselves single-mindedly to the struggle against colonialism and feudalism in the interests of national independence, freedom and happiness. Under the leadership of the CPV and President Ho Chi Minh and undeterred by hardships, the Vietnamese people from all social strata, irrespective of the rich, the intelligensia, the peasantry, the working class, tradesmen, women, youths, students, children, ethnic minorities across the country, contributed manpower and wealth to revolutionary movements. This asserts that upholding the strength of the great national unity is the CPV’s correct revolutionary lines and a determining factor in the August Revolution victory. Therefore, further research in this regard should be conducted for the sake of creative real-world application to the building of “the people’s hearts and minds” posture whereby the Vietnamese revolution can gain further momentum in the interests of the two strategic tasks of building and safeguarding the socialist Homeland. Focus should be placed on the following.

First, building the CPV into the true vanguard of the working class, the laboring people and the Vietnamese nation, making the former closely attached to and fully trusted by the latter. This has been a common thread running through the CPV’s leadership over the Vietnamese revolution. The August Revolution broke out as the CPV was as young as 15 years of age, comprised of nearly 5,000 members. In spite of this, the CPV led the Vietnamese nation to make a success of the August Revolution. This success resulted from the fact that the CPV is built on the Marxist-Leninist doctrine and Ho Chi Minh Thought, is characterized by political zeal and great wisdom as well as is strong politically, ideologically, organizationally and morally. The CPV firmly grasps opportunity, flies the flag of national independence and socialism, and adopts correct revolutionary lines. The CPV’s members are the vanguard and role models who are always willing to struggle and sacrifice their lives for national independence and freedom and for the people’s happiness and are closely attached to and fully trusted by the people. As a result, as the CPV called for the revolution, the Vietnamese nation united as one to strike fear into the enemy’s heart.

The 4th Plenum of the Party Central Committee (12th tenure)
(photo: nhandan.com.vn)

Nowadays, stringent requirements of Homeland construction and defense in the new situation necessitate the CPV’s self-improvement so that they deserve to be the vanguard of the working class, laboring people and Vietnamese nation. Accordingly, Party committees and Party organizations should stick to the Resolution by the 12th Party Central Committee’s 4th plenum on Party building and rectification and Directive 05-CT/TW by the 12th Politburo on accelerating the emulation of Ho Chi Minh’s thought, morality and lifestyle. Doing so helps to build a contingent of cadres and Party members who are both “red and expert”, to ward off degradation in political ideology, morality and lifestyle as well as to repel manifestations of “self-evolution”, “self-transformation”, corruption, wastefulness and detachment from the masses, thereby making them devote themselves single-mindedly to serving the people. Fostering intra-Party solidarity is the centrepiece of promoting the great national unity and of building the “people’s hearts and minds” posture.  Concurrently, it is necessary to enhance the effectiveness of anti-corruption and anti-wastefulness drives, to properly implement the Party’s lines and the State’s policies and laws as well as to achieve goals of socio-economic development, national defense, security and external affairs. Only by doing so can close-knit relations between the people from all social strata and the Party, the State and the regime be fostered, social consensus be forged and the strength of the great national unity be upheld.

Second, putting national interests first, harmoniously handling interest-related relations and regularly improving the people’s material and spiritual lives. The realities of the August Revolution revealed that amidst exigencies of the struggle for national independence, the CPV witnessed significant shifts in their revolutionary strategies as evidenced by the 6th, 7th and 8th plenums of the 1st Party Central Committee. Those shifts included putting national liberation first and leaving land reform aside; identifying ours as a “national liberation revolution” because “rights of social classes must be subordinate to the survival of the nation”; identifying the French and Japanese troops as the Indochinese people’s enemies at the 7th and 8th plenums of the 1st Party Central Committee rather than imperialists and their lackeys as identified at the 6th plenum; replacing the slogans “fight imperialists”(as adopted at the 6th plenum) and “fight imperialists for national salvation” (as adopted at the 7th plenum) with “save the nation”. The revolution aimed to establish the Democratic Republic of Vietnam after the French and Japanese troops had been driven away. Those were the CPV’s correct and creative shifts based on putting national  interests first and harmonioulsy handling interest-related relations in accordance with the CPV’s guiding principles and objectives. Those shifts signified the perpetuation, development and completion of Nguyen Ai Quoc’s line on flying the flag of national liberation enshrined in the Brief Political Platform in February 1930 while reflecting the CPV’s great maturity in terms of their political leadership and policy-making for the national liberation revolution. As a result, the CPV managed to rally and unite the Vietnamese nation in the struggle for national independence. While braving hardships and sacrifices as evidenced by the enemies’ arrests and killings of tens of thousands of cadres, Party members and revolutionary civilians, the masses fully trusted the CPV’s leadership and made every effort to be under arms for uprisings. When the conditions were ripe for uprisings, in response to the appeals by the CPV and President Ho Chi Minh, the Vietnamese nation took up arms against the enemies under the motto of “self-reliance” and “self-resilience” and finally brought the August Revolution to victory. Applying this lesson, over the course of their leadership over the Vietnamese revolution, the CPV has always put national interests first and paid attention to further improving the people’s material and spiritual lives. The CPV has no self-interest and absolutely stick to their stated objective, i.e. serving the Homeland and the people. Serving the people is considered as the CPV’s sole raison d'être and overriding objective. This has been enshrined in the CPV’s Political Platform and Statutes as well as evidenced by the realities of the Vietnamese revolution. While the Vietnamese people’s lives have faced difficulties, the CPV has always exerted themselves to introduce effective policies for the sake of the country’s renewal. For this reason, “our country has attained great achievements of historic significance on the road of building socialism and defending the socialist Homeland….The people’s lives have witnessed considerable changes”. In today’s context, the CPV clearly states that “All the Party guidelines and stances and State policies and laws are to be in the interests of the people”, that interest-related relations are to be harmoniously handled among members in society, that the people’s lawful and legitimate rights and interests are to be protected, that the people’s material and spiritual lives are to be constantly improved, and that all the Vietnamese people are to enjoy the fruits of the revolution, particularly ethnic minorities in remote, border and island areas and former resistance bases.

Third, diversifying measures to rally and unite all strata of the Vietnamese population. Before the August Revolution, the birth of the League for the Independence of Vietnam (known as Viet Minh), who declared that Viet Minh “advocates allying with all strata of the Vietnamese population irrespective of religion, political inclination and social class in order to drive the French and Japanese troops away for national independence”, marked a turning point in the CPV’s leadership over the Vietnamese revolution. Viet Minh was organized from the central to grassroots level. Apart from political and revolutionary organizations for national salvation such as “women for national salvation”, “youths for national salvation”, “peasants for national salvation”, there were other associations and leagues without their legal statutes that operated in a public and semi-public manner, including associations for unemployment salvation, for assistance, groups for learning national language and for reading books. With their correct stances, specific objectives and various methods, Viet Minh constituted the nucleus of rallying all strata of the Vietnamese population for national liberation from the French colonialists and Japanese fascists’ fetters of slavery, thereby realizing the Vietnamese nation’s burning aspiration for an independent, free and democratic country and a prosperous and happy life.

In order to popularize the CPV’s lines and Viet Minh’s policies, particularly following the 8th plenum of the 1st Party Central Committee, the CPV published a series of newspapers such as the Communist Review, the Independent Vietnam, National Salvation, Liberation, Liberation Flag, Pioneer. Localities stepped up dissemination by word of mouth, talks, songs, poems, etc while using slogans such as “farming land for peasants”, “confiscate the land owned by imperialists and reactionary landlords”, “drive the French and Japanese troops away”, “national independence”. Those slogans reflected the flexible and creative application of the CPV’s lines to the realities of the revolution at that time while specifying the objective of the Vietnamese nation’s struggle. Therefore, the CPV’s lines were widely spread to the people from all social strata and the masses were drawn to the struggle, from cities to rural areas, from factories, plantations and mines to villages and hamlets.

Applying this lesson to today’s context, ministries and sectors should renovate and diversify forms of mass mobilization. Attention should be paid to the popularization of Ho Chi Minh’s thought, the CPV’s resolutions and directives on the great national unity in particular, and lines on Homeland construction and defense  in general, thereby forming a high level of consensus over awareness and action in society. Importance should be attached to the Vietnam Fatherland Front (VFF for short) playing a core role in mass mobilization. The VFF at all levels should be built on a representative and substantive basis, which are to be accompanied by the foundation of standing committees and advisory boards characterized by proactiveness, creativity and effectiveness. It is necessary to promote the roles played by part-time cadres and collaborators who are representative, charismatic, competent and willing to contribute to the VFF at all levels. The operations of the VFF should focus on the people’s urgent needs, the cooperation with administrations at all levels, the promotion of the people's right to mastery, the protection of their legitimate rights and interests and the promotion of their supervisory role in the Party building, socio-economic development and the building of national defense associated with the people’s security. Attention should be paid to the VFF’s affiliates such as Youth Union, Trade Union, Women’s Union, Peasants’ Association, War Veterans’ Association and professional associations, as well as to the expansion of membership of the VFF in order to strengthen the great national unity. The roles played by those with charisma in residential communities, minority communities and religious communities should be promoted while cultural, ethical and traditional values should be preserved in tandem with the eradication of depraved customs and superstitions.

Party committees and administrations at all levels should accelerate patriotic emulation movements and campaigns such as “The entire people join hands in building new-style rural areas and civilized urban areas”, “Day for the poor”, “Repaying debts of gratitude”, and take good care of revolutionary contributors, beneficiaries of special policies, Agent Orange /dioxin victims and disaster-stricken families. The central task to be accomplished is to successfully carry out socio-economic, cultural, defense, security and diplomatic programmes and to effectively implement regulations on democracy at grassroots level with a view to rallying and uniting the people from all social strata. It is necessary to resolutely foil hostile forces’ plots and artifices to provoke divisions within the Vietnamese nation, to divide the CPV from the Vietnamese nation and the Vietnamese population from other peoples as well as to undermine the great national unity.

Fourth, promoting the roles played by the Vietnam People’s Army (VPA for short) in fostering the great national unity. In preparation for the general uprising, the Vietnam Propaganda Unit of the Liberation Army was established under President Ho Chi Minh’s directive on the 22nd of December, 1944. In accordance with the directive, “the name Vietnam Propaganda Unit of the Liberation Army means the superiority of politics over military and propaganda as the prime function”. Complying with the directive, over the past 70 years, the VPA has effectively fulfilled their function as “an army ready for fighting, work and production”, been absolutely loyal to the CPV, the Homeland and the people, actively participated in fostering the great national unity and maintained close-knit relations with the people. The Vietnamese armed forces were in the vanguard of mass mobilization for the general uprising. Being tasked with “mobilizing the entire people and preparing political and military bases for the subsequent uprising”, the Vietnamese armed forces contributed to the masses’ heightened awareness of the revolution’s enemies, of opportunities, objectives and methods of the general uprising, resolutely neutralized reactionary organizations, and played a core role in the masses’ uprising. This affirmed the importance of the VPA in fostering the great national unity towards the successful revolution.

Today, perpetuating and creatively applying the aforementioned lessons, the Party and State continue to pay attention to making the VPA revolutionary, regular, highly skilled and gradually modernized so that they can truly play the core role in the cause of Homeland protection. The entire VPA should be fully aware of their roles, attach much importance to self-improvement, and effectively fulfil the Campaign “Promote traditions and devote talent to deserve being Uncle Ho’s soldiers”, thereby enabling salient characteristics of “Uncle Ho’s soldiers” to constantly shine brightly. Mass mobilization should be stepped up so that the masses will strictly observe the Party’s lines and the State’s policies and laws. Military units should put great store by mass mobilization, actively participate in patriotic emulation movements and campaigns, effectively carry out the Party’s policies regarding ethnic minorities and religions in the new situation, actively participate in socio-economic development, hunger eradication and poverty reduction, prevention and control of natural disasters and disaster relief, search and rescue, as well as in caring for war invalids, war martyrs’ families and revolutionary contributors. Doing so contributes to strengthening the political system at grassroots level, preserving political security and social order and safety, as well as promoting solidarity between the VPA and the masses.

Building and upholding the strength of the great national unity in the cause of Homeland construction and defense is a common thread running through the CPV’s course of leadership. Today, those lessons still retain their importance and should be applied creatively and effectively in building and safeguarding the socialist Vietnamese Homeland.

Sr. Lt. Gen. Nguyen Trong Nghia, Member of the Party Central Committee, Member of the Central Military Commission, Deputy Director of the VPA’s General Department of Politics

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