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“The Communist Manifesto” pave the way for Vietnam’s Revolution

“The Communist Manifesto” is one of the classical works of Marxism – Leninism. The principles that Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels described in the book have become the ideological foundation and guidelines for movements of communists and workers all over the world in general and Vietnam’s revolution in particular.

170 years ago, on 24th January 1848, The Communist Manifesto (hereafter referred to as the Manifesto) was published, marking the birth of the basic theory of Marxism and creating necessary preconditions for turning socialism from utopian to scientific. In the book, Marx and Engels explained the inevitable annihilation of capitalism and success of socialism in a scientific and persuasive way. That is the objective necessity of the development of human society. The Manifesto states that in modern societies, proletarian class is the only force which is most revolutionary, determined and obsolete and is able to overthrow capitalism and build communist societies, and the course of freeing working class must be the long-lasting struggle of the class itself. In the struggle, the working class must found their own political party to lead their revolution movement. The document also points out the goals, methods and forces for the revolution, and affirms that only working class can lead the revolution to final success. According to V.I. Lenin, “The book explains very clearly a new worldview, the absolute materialism – which covers also social life – and dialectic as the most comprehensive and deepest doctrine of the development, the theory of class struggle and the role of revolution – in the world’s history – of proletarian class, which is the class that will create a new society, the communist society.”

Enlightened by the immortal revolutionary ideas in the Manifesto in particular and Marxism – Leninism in general, Nguyen Ai Quoc – Ho Chi Minh and the Communist Party of Vietnam (CPV) soon determined the right way for our national liberation and the strategy for Vietnam’s revolution. In 1920, Nguyen Ai Quoc chose the proletariat’s revolution as the direction for Vietnam’s, like what the October Revolution in Russia had done. At the same time, he made preparations in terms of theory, politics and organization for the establishment of a Vietnamese worker’s party. The Summarized statutes released at the meeting merging three communist organizations in Vietnam to found CPV in early 1930 read: “GUIDELINES: The Communist Party of Vietnam is founded to lead miserable people to struggle for capitalism and imperialism collapse and for communist society realization.” The summarized political program of CPV determined the strategic direction and goals of Vietnam’s revolution, which was “to carry out bourgeois republican revolution and agrarian revolution towards a communist society.” Following the ideas of the Manifesto, Ho Chi Minh decided that “the only way towards national saving and liberty is proletarian revolution.”

CPV has creatively applied the Manifesto’s ideas and revolution principles - which were in advance of its time - to Vietnam’s practical situation and become the leading organization in creating great united national bloc for general power, which has led Vietnam’s revolution to great victories in striving for nation, working class, society and human liberation for recent nearly 90 years.

A conference on the values of the Manifesto to Vietnam's revolution
(Photo: qdnd.vn)

During the period of fighting for ruling power (1930 – 1945) and two resistance wars against France and the U.S. (1945 – 1975), taking account of Vietnam’ practical situation, the CPV creatively applied basic principles provided by the Manifesto to made right decisions and design suitable policies, which utilized the great strength of the whole nation and helped our people to seize power. After that, the CPV led our people to win the 9-year war against France’s invasion, in which the historical Dien Bien Phu campaign was at the peak, freeing and bringing the North to the period of building socialism, while continued the people’s national democratic revolution in the South, looking forward to national unity. After 21 years of persistent fighting following outstanding leadership of our Party, which was inspired by the noble ideas in the Manifesto, Vietnamese people won the great victory in the spring of 1975, accomplishing the course of national liberation and North – South unification and bringing our nation to a new era, an era of peace, independence, unity and towards socialism.

Encountered by a mountain of challenges left by the 30-year wartime and from a small-scaled economy relying mainly on agriculture production, Vietnam is going its way towards socialism, skipping the stage of capitalism. The CPV committed mistakes – even serious ones – in its leadership due to dogmatism, subjectivity and the violations of objective principles. In the social building and transformation at that time, we were not fully aware of instructions provided by Marx and Engels in the Manifesto and did not really understand the point “communists can summarized their theory into this single argument: to eradicate private ownership regime” when we equated “the eradication of private ownership regime” with “the eradication of private form of ownership” and “the eradication of private ownership of property”. In this regard, the Manifesto clearly explains: “Communism does not take away anybody’s ownership of social products. It only takes away the possibility of using the ownership to enslave other people.” The argument clearly points out that communism strives to eliminate private ownership regime which entails “exploitation of human by human”,  and in which someone “use the ownership to enslave other people”, instead of stamping private form of ownership out. Because of misunderstanding, we tried to get rid of other forms of ownership but the two basic ones, state ownership and collective ownership. This move created big challenges  and left our nation in the severe economic – social crisis in late 1970s and early 1980s.

In the circumstances, the CPV together with our people gradually overcome the challenges. The 6th Party Congress in December 1986 marked a turning point in our history with the decision to comprehensively renovate our country, from thought to personnel organization, from leadership approach to working style, from economy, politics to culture, etc.

To implement the Doi Moi (Renovation), especially to renovate our thought in order to eliminate misunderstandings and one-sided awareness of Marxism – Leninism and of the way towards socialism, the CPV has grasped one of the basic ideas of the Manifesto, which is: in any historical era, economic production and social structure (the latter is unavoidably developed from the earlier) constitute political historical and ideological historical bases of the era. With that perception, the CPV decided the economic renovation and development as the foremost and key factors in Vietnam’s socialism building.

Experiencing the realities of 30 years of renovation enlightened by Marxism – Leninism in general and immortal ideas in the Manifesto in particular, we have more clearly defined our way towards socialism. The thought of economic development has seen essential breakthroughs. They were the changes from centrally planned economy to socialist-oriented market economy; from single ownership regime to multiple ownership forms, which are equal and simultaneously developed, and among which, public ownership is decided to be foundation while public sector plays as the backbone of the entire economy; from an economy that was exclusively managed and directly engaged by the Government to another one that is managed by the Government through its policies, laws, plans, material resources and other instruments; from egalitarian allocation regime to benefit allocating one basing on practical contributions of  each person to the general production process; from closed economic mind to an open one that supports international economic integration and cooperation; etc. Those are right and creative applications of ideas of Karl Marx, Friedrich Engels and the Manifesto to Vietnam’s practical situation.

Along with the economy, our political systems has also been gradually and carefully renovated. Basing on the values related to states and laws described in the Manifesto as well as universal values related to states of law, the CPV has decided to build and gradually improve a socialist state of law of people, by people and for people, in which all aspects of social life are managed through laws. Although classical figures of Marxism – Leninism did not use the terminology of “states of law”, the basic ideas of such a state are thoroughly described in the Manifesto. They are the ideas of a new kind of state operating in line with laws, basing on a democratic legislation, ensuring human rights and citizen rights, being responsible for organizing the general life of its people, securing the full development of each person and creating the environment in which “the free development of each person is the condition for the free development of everybody”. At the same time, the government should be transformed from being “above the society” to “completely serving the society”. This idea has been being applied to Vietnamese case in an absolute way.

One of the ideas of the Manifesto leading Vietnam’s revolution for nearly 90 years since the birth of CPV is to establish, develop and uphold a pioneering force of working class so that it is able to accomplish its near-term mission which is “to organize the proletarian into a class to overthrow the domination of the bourgeois class and seize the ruling power” and forward to the socialism. The process requires the improvement of leading ability and fighting power of the CPV through seamless self-renovation and self-reorganization, in which, one of the most important things to do is to develop exemplary, advanced and faithful cadres and Party members as what Marx and Engels stated in the Manifesto: “It needs to make communists different from ordinary people by being exemplary in practices and advanced in ideal.” This is a critical point in developing cadres and Party members, the key mission in Party building in Vietnam recently, emphasizing the “fight to prevent and erase the degradation of moral, ideal and lifestyle as well as the internal self-evolution and self-transformation”.

After 170 years, “The Communist Manifesto” has been the “masterpiece of Marxism”, the universal working class’ and its party’s political program which contains “all needed details for both theory and practice.” This work not only marked a crucial advance of the science of history but also started a new stage in the history of human’s knowledge development. The Manifesto, with its immortal leading values in theory, has been pointing out the right way for global communists’ and workers’ movements as well as for Vietnam’s revolution towards the goal of “prosperous people and strong, democratic, equal and civilized state.”

Maj. Gen., Assoc. Proff., Dr. NGUYEN VAN BAO, Director of Political Academy, MOD

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