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Further study and creatively apply V. I. Lenin’s thought on Party of the working class to make our Party truly pure and strong

As a genius leader of Russian revolution and successor of Marx and Engels, V. I. Lenin founded the communist party according to the theory of new-style party, a revolutionary Party which was imbued with nature of the working class and successfully led the October Revolution in 1917, ushering in a new era in the history of humankind and fathering the first socialist realism in the world. Marxism has been expanded into Marxism-Leninism since then. In the legacy left by V. I. Lenin, his ideology on communist party and building truly pure, strong ruling communist party comes to the fore, is of special importance, and has deep, widespread meaning in the revolutionary cause of communist party and peoples in the world for the victory of socialism and communism. This is one of the enduring values of Leninism. It is a burning question of the day for our Party in the process of party building to make our Party truly pure, strong and worthy of people’s trust and pride, capable of leading the reform process, successfully building and defending the socialist Homeland in our country.

Leader of Bolshevich Party, V. I. Lenin announces the establishment of the Soviet Government on 7th Novermber 1917 (A file photo)

1. Deepening research into the legacy of V. I. Lenin, especially his ideology on communist party and building ruling communist party with nature of the working class

Sticking to Marxism and applying Marxism to conditions of Russian revolution, V. I. Lenin developed the theory of new-style party of the working class with the following basic characteristics:

The party is imbued with nature of the working class and truly the vanguard and advisory organ for the working class and all working people. The party must be armed with Marxism, which is the sharpest ideological, theoretical weapon to bring revolution to final victory. V. I. Lenin emphasised that only parties that are guided by an advanced theory can fulfil their role as the vanguard soldiers. According to him, there is no revolutionary movement without revolutionary theory. Revolution is a broad social movement, a self-conscious and organised political struggle, thus requiring the party to be closely, centrally organised, have the leading role and combat power, unite and unify in willpower and action, and exercise strict discipline. Such a party attaches importance to not only political and economic struggle, but also theoretical struggle in its great struggle. Theoretical struggle must be on a par with the other forms of struggle. Attaching importance to theoretical struggle and requiring the party to be guided by advanced theory demonstrate deep understanding of the law on forming revolutionary Party of the working class, i.e. the party is a product of the combination between Marxism (scientific socialism) and workers’ movement. The party, therefore, must persistently train and educate cadres and members on the truth of Marxism. Only the working class is equipped with advanced ideology because it is the most absolute revolutionary class striving to the last for benefits of the whole society. The party is the most elite, enlightened group of the working class and workers’ movements.  Consequently, the party is truly imbued with nature of the working class; always improves revolutionary theory to become faithful to the revolutionary cause of the working class and nation as well as genuine internationalism of the working class. Only by doing so can the party ensure a scientific basis and clear guideline for their operation. Such a revolutionary party enables us to believe in the party and realise its intelligence, honour and conscience of the times.

According to V. I. Lenin, the party is organised and operates in accordance with certain principles, especially the principle of democratic centralism. In organisation and operation of the party, this principle is defined as collective leadership and individual responsibility, particularly those in charge of leading agencies. When the state has been established, the party’s leadership of the state must ensure democratic centralism. Meanwhile, the state and political organisations are requested to operate and abide by the party’s leadership.

In party building work, V. I. Lenin attached special importance to organisation and organisational work. The party needs to have robust organisations in the struggle to seize power. After seizing power, the building of an organisationally strong party is even more important to ensure its ability to lead the whole society to successfully transform the old society into a new one. Thoroughly understanding this crucial field, together with the Party Central Committee, he threw himself wholeheartedly into studying theory and summing up practice to set out guidelines and solutions to make the party politically strong, focusing on resolving the relationship not only between economy and politics, but also between politics and organisation. According to him, there is not a clear-cut distinction between political issues and organisational issues. Any political issues can be organisational ones and vice versa. Thus, party building in organisation also means party building in politics. It cannot be kept separate from the party’s key work, i.e. theoretical study, leadership of theoretical work and theoretical education in the party. Theory and knowledge must be instilled into our life and operations and become culture of leadership and management that leaders must be imbued with and practise at a high level.

Another vital matter in V. I. Lenin’s ideology on party building is party members and dignity of members of the communist party, especially ethics and personality of those in charge of leadership and management. According to him, members of the communist party must be enlightened with ideal, have scientific knowledge, be well aware of theory, and spend their whole life on studying, studying more and studying forever. Young members of the communist party have to learn about communism and associate their study with labour and fighting of workers and peasants. They must be honest, modest, and self-aware that the party and party members are water drops or grains of sand in the vast ocean of life and the masses. Arrogance and disregard of the masses do not completely amalgamate with communist nature. They must have the courage to self-criticise and criticise shortcomings and mistakes. Respect for truth and open acknowledgement of weaknesses represent morality, personality and nature of the communist party. Loyalty to the ideal, firm maintenance of principles, heightened responsibility, and uncompromising struggle against all kinds of enemy are measure of communist nature and the party’s political steadfastness.

Particularly, based on realities of building socialism in Russia, V. I. Lenin issued a directive on streamlining the party in line with the motto “better fewer, but better,” which attached importance to quality and effectiveness. The party must be completely pure. Party members must represent intelligence, honour and conscience of the times. Therefore, V. I. Lenin requires leaders to take responsibility for mistakes and corruption of their juniors. It is worth remembering that the communists need to be punished three times severely than non-party members. The situation requires that the party must select the right people, assign the right jobs, regularly inspect, select and cultivate excellent people, and persistently test them in a series of missions and work before promoting them to suitable positions. Only by doing so can the party accomplish it duty to the people and deserve the people’s confidence.

V. I. Lenin affirmed that ideology on party building makes the party truly represent intelligence, conscience and honour of the times. Ho Chi Minh also argued that our Party is ethical and advanced. Accordingly, the ruling communist party must be built comprehensively and synchronously in politics, ideology, theory, organisation, morality, and culture. Those are fundamental issues in V. I. Lenin’s ideology on party building, which range from nature, organisational principles, requirements on quality of cadres, the party’s leadership responsibility to the party-people relation. As time passes, that ideology remains valuable and useful for us to study and apply to party building today.

2. Applying V. I. Lenin’s ideology on party building to the cause of making our Party pure and strong currently

The Communist Party of Viet Nam (CPV) was founded according to V. I. Lenin’s theory of new-style party by Ho Chi Minh. The CPV takes Ho Chi Minh’s thought as its ideological foundation. Over the course of 90-year history of glorious revolutionary struggle, three quarters of a century in power, and over three decades of leading reform, our Party always attaches importance to party building. The 12th National Party Congress determined that party building is inextricably linked to party rectification, considering this the key task to make our Party truly pure, strong, worthy of the ruling party, the real revolutionary party and represent ethics and advancement as instructed by Uncle Ho.

What and how should we do when we apply V. I. Lenin’s ideology on party building to the making of our Party against the current backdrop? It is deep understanding of V. I. Lenin’s contents and methods of party building, to associate theory with practice, to thoroughly grasp practical viewpoint and special developmental viewpoint of V. I. Lenin as well as Ho Chi Minh’s ideology, morality and style, which specifically illustrates his thinking of creativity, innovation, integration, practical dialectics between politics and science, ethics and culture aimed to effectively realise the task of party building according to resolutions of the 4th plenum of the Party Central Committee (tenures XI and XII).

Over the past 15 years, our Party has stepped up the campaign of studying and following Ho Chi Minh’s ideology, morality and style, regarding this as a long-lasting strategic solution to make the Party truly pure and strong. This policy and solution have shown our Party’s imbuement and creative application of V. I. Lenin’s ideology and Ho Chi Minh’s thought to party building. To materialise this matter requires us to place emphasis on key points, most notably unification of theory and realities, practice, and matching words with deeds. This is a typical coincidence in terms of style between V. I. Lenin and Ho Chi Minh.

First, it is necessary to create deep and wide transformations in the Party, including public opinion on awareness. It is the appreciation of learning and studying theory in the new situation, especially the increased leadership of the Party Central Committee and local party committees over theoretical work, theoretical, ideological struggle, protection of the Party’s ideological foundation. V. I. Lenin criticised communist arrogance. Ho Chi Minh sternly criticised cadres and party members, including leaders suffering the diseases of “disregarding theory” and “disregarding mass mobilisation.”

How could the Party be in the vanguard of theory and be guided by pioneering theory without completely overcoming these shortcomings? Greater effort should be devoted to implementing resolutions and directives of the Party Central Committee and Politburo on “responsibility to set examples,” seriously studying and practising theory. Laziness, fearfulness of studying political theory or boilerplate study, studying not to gain knowledge or accomplish assigned tasks but to get promotion, fame, benefits, etc., must be regarded as degradation. There needs to make cadres and party members, especially the leading organs and leaders, fully aware of the importance of theory to the Party. Theoretical weaknesses and backwardness cannot defend the Party’s ideological foundation, firmly uphold socialist direction, make breakthroughs in development as well as match the requirements of missions. In conclusion, attention must be paid to theory and ideological, theoretical work of the Party in party building today.

Second, there needs to associate party rectification with party building and innovation in terms of leadership content, mode and style; stick to the motoes: “better fewer, but better,” “the unity of quantity and quality,” “robustness, first and foremost, requires purity,” and “purity necessitates eradication of bureaucracy, corruption.” As Ho Chi Minh said: “if we have to kill several worms to save the whole green forest, we will still have to do so.” It is humanitarian because to protect the people is to protect the biggest good, thus resolutely exterminating evil.

We have not truly attached importance to party rectification. It is a weakness that needs to be dealt with in the whole Party, from the grass-roots level (party cell) to the Central level. Admission of party members must pay special attention to their conduct. When Ho Chi Minh was alive, he used to talk elaborately about six criteria of party members. It is time for us to adopt these criteria. Our Party has pointed out clearly three criteria in the Resolution of the 5th Plenum of the Party Central Committee (tenure IX), namely “good labourer, exemplary citizen, vanguard soldier in reform.” This viewpoint of the Party must be thoroughly grasped in order to educate and train cadres and party members.

Third, it is necessary to practise democracy within the Party to create true democracy, rather than boilerplate democracy from the Party to the people. This is the basis for generating unity and consensus in the Party and society. Successful leverage of democracy will draw intelligence, talent and dedication of the whole Party and people to the course of party building, promoting reform and integration. Broad and real practice of democracy will create strength to combat bureaucracy and corruption.

Fourth, there needs to speed up theoretical research into ruling communist party to shed light on party in power and ruling party in the context of democratic society, law-governed state, deep and wide international integration. Building the Party in terms of politics, ideology, organisation, and morality is not enough. Attention should be paid to building the Party in culture, especially political culture of the ruling party. Cadres and party members, particularly the party members in charge, must be educated in morality, honour, conscience, and sense of shame.

Fifth, the whole Party, all cadres, party members, and civil servants have to regularly carry out mass mobilisation work and be wholeheartedly involved with work to strengthen the blood relation between the Party and people. This is the social basis for making the Party strong according to instructions of V. I. Lenin and Ho Chi Minh.

Professor, Doctor HOANG CHI BAO

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