Rooted in a person with good morals, brilliant mind, acute intelligence, and strong will, Ho Chi Minh’s style of thinking is a special manifestation of being independent, self-reliant and creative.
Being independent and self-reliant, Ho Chi Minh was not dependent upon any other opinions. Acquiring various currents of progressive ideology in Vietnam and the world, he summarized and made them his own. As for Marxism-Leninism - the important foundation of his thought - he regarded it as the “sun”, the “miraculous handbook” and the lodestar for every human action. In his opinion, studying Marxism-Leninism is to study the methods to work, to cooperate with others and to adjust oneself. Therefore, he realized the very nature and the final goal of Marxism-Leninism were human liberation and Marxist humanitarianism, and he stated that “if someone thinks that he/she understands Marxism-Leninism, then he/she should live in harmony with others”. In the Declaration of Independence written and then read by himself on September 2nd 1945, he just cited several words from the U.S. Declaration of Independence in 1776 and the Declaration of the Rights of Man and the Citizen of August 26th 1789, which he thought would be appropriate.
Ho Chi Minh acquired progressive ideologies both at home and abroad, then combined them with his subjective factor to form his own thought. His thought is not the sum of ideologies and doctrines. It is the crystallization of national and human intelligence. Ho Chi Minh’s style was unique and special. Russian poet Osip Mandelstam, after a meeting with Nguyen Ai Quoc in 1923, wrote in an article published in Ogoniok newspaper: “Nguyen Ai Quoc breathes culture, not European culture, but perhaps the culture of the future. In the nobility of his manner and in the dim, soft voice of Nguyen Ai Quoc one can image the future, the oceanic silence of universal brotherhood”. Due to his independent and self-reliant thinking, he decided to travelled to France, European and American countries as well as most of other continents to study and seek a new path appropriate to Vietnam and the trend of the times to save his country. He became the guiding star for the development of Vietnam.
Ho Chi Minh had a creative thinking.. Even when he was young, he affirmed that Vietnam revolution was an inseparable part of the world revolution. He thought: “Theory is formulated by gathering, reviewing and analyzing revolutionary experience both at home and abroad. It is necessary to take advantage these experiences”. The development pathway of ideology and knowledge of each individual, each nation and the whole human race is always such a selective combination. That was confirmed by many ideologists long time ago: future generations must know how to stand on the shoulders of former giants so that the society could be developed.
As a member of a political organization, Ho Chi Minh acknowledged his obligation to follow that organization’s decisions. However, he thought that, compliance by no mean was following without consideration, but to creatively applying them to each particular condition. In reality, the International Communist League did make right decisions to lead and direct the world revolution and the national liberation movement led by communist parties in colonies and dependent countries. However, it sometimes did have limitations and weaknesses in judging situations and issuing guidelines that were not appropriate to the revolution of the colonies. Thus, considering the political, economic and social condition of Vietnam, he creatively applied decisions and resolutions of the International Communist League into his country, which was once misunderstood. During the process of building a new society, on the basis of general principles of Marxism-Leninism, he flexibly applied them to a war-damaged small-scale agriculture country which was both under going the construction of socialism and conducting a resistance war against the invaders. Ho Chi Minh’s creative thinking was clearly manifested when he said that Vietnam was “impossibly similar to the Soviet Union” and “might follow another path to socialism”. The path here is to conduct the national liberation revolution, fulfil the people’s democratic national revolution, move forward to socialism, not to conduct the proletarian revolution and usher in the transition period to socialism as what a number of other countries had done.
His style of being independent, self-reliant, creative in thinking was clearly manifested in the fact that he paid special attention to Vietnam’s reality. Vietnam’s development goals were: an independent nation, a rich and powerful country, in which people enjoy their freedom, democracy and happiness, Ho Chi Minh emphasized those goals right in the title of administrational documents of the Democratic Republic of Vietnam: “Independence - Freedom - Happiness” and in many of his speeches. With his great knowledge, Ho Chi Minh was fully aware of Vietnam’s situation. He was a typical example in the international communist movement, who correctly and flexibly applied Marxism-Leninism into Vietnam condition, leading Vietnam’s revolution to success and making contributions to the development of Marxism-Leninism as an “open doctrine”.
In fact, Ho Chi Minh had his advantages over many other patriots and revolutionaries of his time because he lived and worked abroad for 30 years (1911 - 1941). In that period, he studied and took part in patriotic and revolutionary activities, so he could experience and evaluate different viewpoints. He also experienced ups and downs in different living environments. His volunteering to walk into a working life and even do any hard works, and his direct experience helped him fully understand the situation and the revolutionary capability of working strata. Ho Chi Minh was a member of the French Communist Party and worked at the International Communist League, where he gradually acquired revolutionary theory of Marxism-Leninism and trained his dialectical materialism thinking. During this time, he travelled to more than 30 countries all over the world, being jailed and exiled twice by imperialists and colonialists, and even misunderstood by his comrades due to his style of independent, self-reliant and creative thinking. Ho Chi Minh was Chairman of the Communist Party of Vietnam for 19 years and President of the Democratic Republic of Vietnam for 24 years. Being vastly experienced in reality and international relationships, from a ordinary man to a State President and Party Chairman, he unceasingly studied, trained and acquired knowledge on the basis of selectivity and criticism.
He stated: Confucianism has the advantage of self-improvement of morality. Christianity has the advantage of lofty mercy. Marxism has the advantage of dialectical working method. Sun Yat-senism has policies appropriate to our country. So, Confucius, Jesus Christ, Marx, and Sun Yat-sen share a common view. They all “pursue happiness for human race and welfare for society”. Had they been still alive, and had they lived and worked in the same place, I believe that they would have got along with one another perfectly like close friends. I am trying to be a little student of them”.
The world today is a world of knowledge and creativity. Ho Chi Minh’s style of thinking is a highlight. Studying his style of thinking is to study his creativity to act properly to revolutionary goals. Creativity is to thoroughly grasp and properly apply principles of Marxism-Leninism and Ho Chi Minh’s thought into reality. Ho Chi Minh flexibly applied and developed Marxism-Leninism into Vietnam in the 20th century - a woeful and majestic century of heroic struggles for Homeland independence and freedom. Vietnamese generations in the 21st century, particularly party members and cadres should be steadfast in the Party’s goals and follow Ho Chi Minh’s creative style to build a strong country, democratic, equitable, civilized society to walk abreast of other major powers in a world of globalization.
Prof, PhD. Mach Quang Thang