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Karl Marx’s ideological heritage - its values and vitality in Vietnam’s renewal cause

In the early 1840s, the proletariat’s struggle against the bourgeoisie made rapid developments which, however, were still spontaneous. Against this backdrop, Karl Marx appeared and created a revolutionary, scientific, progressive ideology as a theoretical weapon which made the working class’ struggle self-conscious to liberate human race. And Marxist ideology remains valuable to Vietnam’s renewal cause nowadays.

Marx inherited and perfectly completed three mainstreams of ideology in the 19th century, namely German classical philosophy, British classical political economics, and French utopian socialism. Grounded on those, he created dialectical materialism in his study on the development history of the world. According to Marx, the world consists of numerous things and phenomena which exist objectively, bind together, continuously move and change under objective laws. That notion shattered all types of idealist, metaphysical philosophy in which the world was created by god and never changed. It also confirmed that the movement and change were resulted from struggle and settlement of contradictions  inside things, thereby making the old disappear and the new come out. The new is indispensable as it matches the law of development. Human awareness is the creative reflection of  things and phenomena in the world. Thanks to scientific methodology and via realities of operation, men can understand and improve the world. Applying dialectical materialism to the study on society, Marx founded historical materialism while drawing up the rule of development of human society.  More specifically, human kind’s history of development is, first and foremost, the history of development of the society’s production. The mode of production decides the society’s political and spiritual operations.

Besides, Marx found out the laws of motion of capitalist mode of production. One of the greatest discoveries by Marx was the theory of surplus-value. It clearly pointed out that the fundamental contradictions of the capitalist society were the contradiction between the increasingly highly socialized production force and the capitalist private ownership of means of production; the contradiction between the working class and the bourgeoisie. Marx proved that theoretically, the proletariat must fight against the bourgeoisie and would certainly win, and that socialism would replace the capitalism.

With the two great scientific discoveries namely historical materialism and theory of surplus-value, Marx laid a foundation for scientific socialism, while defining the global-level historical role of the working class as the one who would build a socialist society to replace the capitalist society. To that end, according to Marx, first and foremost, the working class must rise up and unite to overthrow capitalism. That fight must lead to the foundation of a state of the dictatorship of the proletariat as an instrument to build socialism and communism.

Marxism serves as the lodestar for the revolution of the proletariat and working people around the world and the answer for the unresolved issues raised by human race. According to Vladimir Ilyich Lenin, “The Marxist doctrine is omnipotent because it is true. It is comprehensive and harmonious, and provides men with an integral world outlook irreconcilable with any form of superstition, reaction, or defence of bourgeois oppression”. In this regard, Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels often said that their doctrine was not dogmatic but a lodestar for action. As a successor of  Marx and Engels, Lenin developed, completed, and made Marxism the pinnacle of human intelligence due to its scientific and revolutionary nature.

Vietnam’s revolution is not out of human race’s law of development. In the early 20th century, when Vietnam was in the colonialist-feudalist regime, there appeared movements and struggles for the sake of national independence but all failed due to a dearth of sound guidelines. In his path for national salvation, Nguyen Ai Quoc - Ho Chi Minh was the first Vietnamese revolutionary to find Marxism-Leninism as the guidelines for national and class liberation. Marxism-Leninism in combination with Vietnam’s worker and patriotic movements led to the foundation of the Communist Party of Vietnam (CPV), which was a historic turning point of the Vietnamese revolution. Under the Party’s leadership, the August Revolution was successful; the first worker-peasant state in the Southeast Asia was founded; our people’s resistance wars against the French Colonialists and the US Imperialists were victorious; our country’s reform cause has gained considerable, historic achievements. Marx’s heritage has been flexibly applied to our country’s renewal cause by our Party.

First, it is necessary to build the Party politically, ideologically, organizationally and morally. According to Marx, in order to fulfil its historical mission, the working class must have a Communist Party, which has been proved by realities of the world and Vietnam’s revolution. The CPV is the Party of the working class and Vietnamese nation as well as the force leading the State and the society. For the sake of success in the reform cause, the Party must always be renewed and rectified; lay down sound, creative guidelines; take Marxism-Leninism and Ho Chi Minh’s thought as its ideological foundation and the lodestar for its operations. Party organizations must be built on a close, uniform basis and strictly follow the principle of democratic centralism, collective leadership, individual accountability. Party cadres and members must be the people’s public servants, must not commit bureaucracy, corruption, wastefulness, must not have the degradation in political ideology, morality, lifestyle, or signs of “self-evolution” and “self-transformation”, must stringently follow the party members’ don’ts, and must heighten a sense of unity and consensus and stay close to the people. The Party must regularly study theory, draw lessons from reality, diversify the leadership thought in line with the country’s development requirements in the new period.

Second, being steadfast in the goal of national independence and socialism during the process of national renewal. According to Marx, it is inevitable that human society will develop into socialism and communism. The document of the Party’s 10th National Congress also affirmed: “During the process of national renewal, it is vital to be steadfast in the goal of national independence and socialism on the basis of Marxism-Leninism and Ho Chi Minh’s thought”, “National reform is aimed to be more fully aware of socialism and build it more effectively. National reform is to fully understand, flexibly apply and develop Marxism and Leninism”. Therefore, in awareness, words and action, it is necessary to uphold the goal set by our Party, Uncle Ho and people; to resolutely fight to foil the hostile forces, opportunists and revisionists’ plots and artifices which are aimed to drive our country out of the path to socialism, remove the Party’s leadership role, encourage “political pluralism and multiparty”, and “depoliticize” the armed forces.

Third, fostering the development of socialist-oriented market economy. Our Party advocates that the socialist-oriented market economy we are building is an economy driven by the rules of market economy, ensuring the socialist orientation in accordance with each period of development of our country, managed by the rule of law socialist state of Vietnam, led by the CPV for the sake of “a wealthy people, a strong nation, a democratic, equal, civilized society". To build that kind of economy, it is necessary to establish a progressive relationship of production in accordance with the development of the production force and various types of ownership and economic components in which state sector plays a leading role, and private sector serves as an important driving force of the economy. It is essential to heighten the role of state-owned enterprises as an important material resource of the state sector. Subjects of economic sectors are equal and compete with one another for development under the law. Distribution is mainly based on work performance and via the system of social welfare. The State plays the orienting role, builds and completed economic institutions; creates an equally competitive, transparent, healthy environment; employs its instruments, policies and resources to orient and adjust the economy, to boost business and production, to protect natural resources and environment; develops cultural and social fields. Moreover, it is important to heighten the role of market and consider it as a determinant to mobilizing and effectively allocating resources and as the driving force to release production capability.

Fourth, bringing into play the strength of the masses under the Party’s leadership, creating the synergy to successfully carry out the cause of national reform. Mentioning the role of the masses, Marx believed that the masses act as the driving force of history. Comprehending that, our Party has paid due regard to the role of the masses. To this end, it is important to build a really pure, strong Party and a rule by law State of the people, by the people, for the people. All guidelines by the Party, policies and law by the State, decisions by party committees and authorities at all levels must be based on the people’s rights and legitimate aspirations. It is vital to step up the process of democratization, strictly implement the Grass-Roots Level Democratic Regulations to ensure that the people know, the people discuss, the people do, the people inspect in all areas of social life. Besides, it is necessary to successfully handle the issues on ethnicity and religion, promote the strength of national unity, and improve the people’s material and mental life.

Karl Marx’s ideological heritage will forever illuminate the struggle by the working class worldwide and our country’s national renewal cause led by the Party. In recent years, socialism is temporarily falling into a decline, but its factors are still emerging and developing within many capitalist countries. Although the path is durable and experiences ups and downs, human history will inevitably move forward to communism as evidenced by Marx’s doctrine.

Sr. Col. Do Hong Lam, PhD

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Over 70 years of establishment and development (April 1948 – April 2018), the National Defence Journal has strived to overcome hardships and ceaselessly renew itself, improved its quality and effectiveness, making contribution to the revolutionary cause of the Party through different stages, most directly the ideological and theoretical work.
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