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Strengthening the Party under President Ho Chi Minh’s Testament in order for the country to last forever

President Ho Chi Minh’s Testament is Vietnam’s national treasure. This invaluable historical document embodies the quintessence of noble thoughts, ethics and soul in a great man who spent a lifetime making sacrifices for the country and mankind. The Testament laid out guidelines for Party building and national construction following the victory of the country’s war of resistance. It has acted as a powerful incentive for the entire Party, people and military to achieve victory in the struggle for national liberation and reunification in the past and the cause of national construction and defence at present.

On the occasion of the semicentennial of President Ho Chi Minh’s Testament (1969 - 2019), the National Defence Journal would like to introduce a series of articles entitled “Strengthening the Party under President Ho Chi Minh’s Testament in order for the country to last forever” co-authored by Prof. Dr. Vu Van Hien; Prof. Dr. Hoang Chi Bao; Prof. Dr. Mach Quang Thang; Sr. Col. Ngo Dinh Phiem, M.A; and Sr. Col. Nguyen Minh Son, M.A.

I. The idea of intra-Party unity under President Ho Chi Minh’s Testament

Unity, an extremely precious tradition of our Party and people, is a source of strength and a decisive factor in every victory of the Vietnamese revolution. In the Testament that he left to the whole Party, people and military, President Ho Chi Minh presented the idea of intra-Party unity in a concise manner.

President Ho Chi Minh talking with new party members of Hanoi in 1966      (file photo)

1. Unity - an extremely precious tradition of our Party

In his Testament, President Ho Chi Minh wrote: “Unity is an extremely precious tradition of our Party and people”. The establishment of the Communist Party of Vietnam (CPV) in 1930 marked the beginning of its internal unity. In essence, the CPV was founded on the basis of unifying three communist organizations that came into being in Vietnam in late 1929. As the existence of three separate communist organizations indicated the dispersal of leadership, it was necessary to join them into a single political party that was powerful enough to lead the entire people in the struggle for national independence. With his personal charisma and sense of responsibility, Nguyen Ai Quoc convened and presided over a unification conference that led to the establishment of the CPV. It was Nguyen Ai Quoc and loyal communists attending the conference that laid a foundation for our Party’s traditional unity. Thanks to the strength of unity, the CPV has led the Vietnamese people to bring the August revolution to success that resulted in the foundation of the Democratic Republic of Vietnam (presently the Socialist Republic of Vietnam), to win victories against invasions launched by colonialists and imperialists, to achieve national liberation and national reunification, to carry out comprehensive reforms, to build socialism and to firmly defend national independence. Intra-Party unity has been forged and upheld on the basis of basic tenets of Marxism-Leninism, especially the principles of democratic centralism. Internal unity is a central principle upon which Party organizations and Party members act, creating a “force vector” for national, social, class and human liberation in accordance with the Marxist-Leninist doctrine and Ho Chi Minh Thought.

Unity is an extremely precious tradition of our Party and people as well as a source of strength for the Party and society. That is why President Ho Chi Minh used the adverb “extremely” to complement the adjective “precious” on mentioning intra-Party unity in his Testament.

2. Unity leads to strength

In his Testament, President Ho Chi Minh asserted: “Thanks to its close unity and total dedication to the working class, the people and the Homeland, our Party has been able, since its founding, to unite, organize and lead our people from success to success in a resolute struggle”. In his book entitled “the Road to Revolution” published in 1927, Nguyen Ai Quoc pointed out: “a successful revolution is in dire need of a revolutionary party responsible for mobilizing the masses at home and making contact with oppressed nations and proletarians abroad. A revolution owes its success to a strong party in the same way that a boat relies on its experienced sailors for plying”. The establishment and development of the Party is not for its own ends but required by the nation. The Party’s activities are tasks assigned by the nation. He stated that instead of coming out of nowhere, the Party comes from society and is supposed to fulfil its task of liberating the nation and bringing happiness to its fellow countrymen. As such, the Party leadership is indispensable and so is its leading role. Over the course of the Vietnamese revolution, the presence of the Party assigned by the working class, the people and the Fatherland to lead the nation has suggested that its leadership is objective reality that meets the requirements of national development.

Victories that the Vietnamese revolution led by the CPV have achieved over the course of the past 90 years are inextricably linked with intra-Party unity. Unity is the Party’s source of strength and part of Party building; intra-society unity is dependent on intra-Party unity. This is a prerequisite for every victory that the Vietnamese revolution has achieved throughout historical periods of time. As a result, intra-Party unity forms the nucleus of building the great national unity, thereby gradually bringing the country’s comprehensive reforms to success.

3. Following President Ho Chi Minh’s words in his Testament

From his viewpoint, intra-Party unity should be taken as a central task, embodied in guidelines, policies and activities in reality. In his closing speech at the public appearance of the Vietnam Workers’ Party on March 3rd, 1951, President Ho Chi Minh announced that: “The goal of the Vietnam Workers’ Party can be summarized: to unite the entire people and serve the Fatherland”. Today, emphasis should be placed on the following with regard to the idea of intra-Party unity put forward by President Ho Chi Minh.

First, cadres and Party members should promote their sense of responsibility for preserving, forging and upholding the tradition of intra-Party unity in any circumstance. In his Testament, President Ho Chi Minh recommended that “All comrades, from the Central Committee down to the cells preserve the unity and oneness of mind in the Party as the pupils of their eyes”. He considered intra-Party unity as an extremely precious tradition of our Party and people. His simple comparison of intra-Party unity with “the pupils of the eyes” easily sinks in. The basic criterion for assessing the performance of a Party organization from the Central Committee down to the cells lies in intra-Party unity. What if “the pupils of the eyes” is diseased? It obviously leads to poor eyesight. As for Party organizations, divisiveness and disunity is tantamount to the loss of everything. Those who provoke intra-Party disunity, irrespective of cadres or Party members, constitute sinners.

Second, strictly executing President Ho Chi Minh’s Testament with regard to Party building with importance being attached to the following

1. “Within the Party, to establish broad democracy and to practice self-criticism and criticism regularly and seriously is the best way to consolidate and develop solidarity and unity”. This is actually what our Party has been doing since its inception. Today, the Party should exercise broader democracy, practice self-criticism and criticism more regularly and seriously, combating individualism, opportunism, divisiveness and factionalism from within. According to President Ho Chi Minh, democracy allows Party members to contribute their ideas and comments inspired by pure motives to the Party. Attention should be paid to linking democracy with centralism, redressing manifestations of Party organizations and Party members’ indifference and combating formalistic democracy inspired by ulterior motives which undermine solidarity and unity within the Party.

Self-criticism and criticism is a principle of Party building. In today’s context, self-criticism and criticism is of great importance to the preservation of solidarity and unity within the Party. It is not a coincidence that President Ho Chi Minh considered broad democracy, self-criticism and criticism regularly and seriously “the best way to consolidate and develop solidarity and unity within the Party”. This, which is to be done regularly in the same way that people wash their face every day, serves as a “panacea” for negative practices within the Party. President Ho Chi Minh stated that self-criticism and criticism aims to enable the “good part of each person to blossom like a flower in springtime and the evil part to gradually disappear”. Self-criticism and criticism must be practised honestly and resolutely and targeted at what people do rather than themselves. At the same time, “comradely affection should prevail”.

2. “Each Party member, each cadre must be deeply imbued with revolutionary morality and show industry, thrift, integrity, uprightness, total dedication to the public interest and complete selflessness”. By using the adverb “deeply”, President Ho Chi Minh was emphatic about the importance of revolutionary morality. Since the 12th Party National Congress, revolutionary morality has been added as a basic criterion for Party building while previous criteria included ideology, politics and organization. Cadres and Party members, who are superior to non-Party membership individuals in many aspects, must set shining examples to others. This is one of the cornerstones of the movement “learn from and emulate Ho Chi Minh’s thought, morality and lifestyle” and the Party’s resolutions on revolutionary morality as well as pioneering and exemplary roles by cadres and Party members, particularly members of the Politburo, the Secretariat and the Party Central Committee.

3. “Our Party should preserve absolute purity and prove worthy of its role as the leader and very loyal servant of the people”. While there are many criteria for assessing the purity of Party organizations, a basic criterion is the quality of cadres and Party members. From President Ho Chi Minh’s viewpoint, being a leader is synonymous with being a servant of the people. In his Testament, President Ho Chi Minh wrote:  “All my life, I have served the Homeland, the revolution and the people with all my heart and strength. If I should now depart from this world, I would have nothing to regret, except not being able to serve longer and more”. He did not regret not having failed to enjoy a full life but he regretted being unable to serve the Party, the people and the revolution any longer. It is the regret expressed by a great and learned man.

He had nothing to regret on departing from this world since he voluntarily had put his own life into that of the people. During an interview with the Granma (a Cuban newspaper) on July 14th, 1969, President Ho Chi Minh said: “I devote my life to the nation”. In tune with the toiling people’s aspiration for mastery of their life, President Ho Chi Minh affirmed “My ultimate desire is that our country gains complete independence, our people achieve full freedom and our fellow-countrymen have access to enough food, clothing and education” on answering questions by foreign journalists in early 1946.  He spent his lifetime on working as the servant of the people and therefore he had nothing to regret. It must be emphasized that “…from his childhood to his last breath, President Ho Chi Minh devoted his whole life to the Vietnamese people and other peoples the world over. He spent a life characterized by immeasurable sacrifice, hardship, selflessness and purity”.

4. In order to preserve and uphold solidarity and unity within the Party under President Ho Chi Minh’s Testament, cadres and Party members must fight manifestations of  promising too much but doing too little, failing to match words with deeds as well as  speaking in one way but acting in another. Should those manifestations not be redressed, they will erode intra-Party unit. More than anyone else, President Ho Chi Minh set a shining example of preserving and upholding intra-Party unit.

Our Party has always put great store by preserving solidarity and unity from within, taking this as a foundation for the building of the great national unity. Today, preserving and upholding intra-Party solidarity and unity is the responsibility falling to every cadre and Party member, which contributes to enhancing the Party’s leadership capacity and combativeness to make it capable of its task of fulfilling President Ho Chi Minh’s ultimate wish under his Testament: “Our entire Party and people, closely joining their efforts, will build a peaceful, reunified, independent, democratic and prosperous Vietnam and make a worthy contribution to the world revolution”. (To be continued)

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For the past nearly 75 years of establishment, combat and growth, under the leadership, education and training of the Communist Party of Vietnam and President Ho Chi Minh, the VPA has become increasingly strong; achieved various feats of arms and outstanding achievements, making significant contribution to glorious victories of the whole nation in the cause of national liberation, construction and defense.
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