Thursday, September 06, 2018, 10:03 (GMT+7)
The Communist Party of Vietnam initiates and leads Doi Moi for the country to be well on the way to socialism

The Communist Party of Vietnam (CPV) and the Communist Party of China (CPC) co-organized their 14th theoretical symposium in Ho Chi  Minh City,   which highlighted Vietnam’s experience during its “Doi Moi” (Renewal) process and China’s open-door and reform policy. Vo Van Thuong, Politburo member, Secretary of the CPV Central Committee, Head of the CPV Central Committee’s Commission for Information and Education, led the Vietnamese delegation at the symposium and delivered a keynote speech. The National Defense Journal would  like to present the following excerpt from his speech.

      Comrade Vo Van Thuong delivers the keynote speech at the symposium              (photo: qdnd.vn)

Doi Moi initiated by the CPV in 1986 comes from the exigencies of reality together with innovations at grassroots level, the review of which was ordered by the CPV Central Committee in order to drive policy shifts in accordance with objective reality and the nation-building process. Since the inception of Doi Moi more than 30 years ago, the CPV has developed a system of theoretical arguments concerning socialism and the path to socialism which lays a scientific foundation for the Party and State’s policy making in the interest of the country’s comprehensive reform.

1. Comprehensive, sychronous and focalized reform to achieve the goal of “a prosperous people and a strong, democratic, equitable and civilized country”

The CPV sticks to the goal of socialist-oriented reform and development. That goal has been defined by the exigencies of reality and complemented by the CPV’s National Congresses. At the 11th National Congress in 2011, the CPV asserted that Vietnam pursues the overriding goal of “a prosperous people and a strong, democratic, equitable and civilized country”. Doi Moi aims to work towards this goal. The yardstick of Doi Moi’s performance lies in the country’s escape from crisis and underdevelopment as well as her economic growth associated with socio-cultural and human development and improved living standards.

To this end, the CPV has embraced comprehensive, sychronized but focalized reform with a shift in mindset coming first so as to pave the way and provide a lodestar for Doi Moi. Economic development constitutes a central task that keeps one jump ahead of others; Party building is a key task; cultural and human development lays a spiritual foundation; strengthened national defense and security is a regular major task; socio-political stability serves as a precondition for Doi Moi. The realities of Doi Moi have enabled the CPV to determine 8 basic tenets of a socialist society that the Vietnamese nation is pursuing (whereby (i) the country is prosperous, strong, democratic, equitable and civilized; (ii) the people are the masters; (iii) the economy reaches a high degree of development based on advanced productive forces and progressive production relations; (iv) the culture is progressive and imbued with national identity; (v) the people enjoy an abundant, free and happy life and are given conditions for their comprehensive development; (vi) All the Vietnamese ethnicities are equal, unite with, respect and assist one another for their mutual development; (vii) the State of the Socialist Republic of Vietnam is a socialist state ruled by law and of the people, by the people and for the people and led by the CPV; (viii) the country establishes friendly and cooperative relations with all the peoples the world over). Those are important guidelines that cover all aspects of life and reflect the exact nature of the country’s renewal process.

As regards “economic development as a central task”, Vietnam focuses on developing a socialist-oriented market economy. The first requirement is a mindset shift concerning the institutions and model of the socialist-oriented economic growth. Over the course of Doi Moi, the CPV has realized that “instead of being at odds with socialism, commodity production as an achievement of human civilization is objective and essential to socialism building and socialism itself” and that a market economy does not necessarily mean capitalism. Therefore, “the overall economic model during Vietnam’s period of transition to socialism is to develop the socialist-oriented market economy”; “socialist-oriented market economy institutions should continue to be perfected in order to lay a firm foundation for the successful building and the sychronous and smooth operation of the socialist-oriented market economy, contributing to mobilizing, distributing and utilizing resources to promote rapid and sustainable socio-economic development in the interests of “a prosperous people and a strong, democratic, equitable and civilized country”. Those are epoch-making innovations in both theoretical and practical terms characterized by the building and perfection of socialist-oriented market economy institutions with attention paid to the clarification and the effective handling of relations among the State, market and society, in order to generate aggregate strength conducive to national development.

 The CPV takes human and socio-cultural development as an important task over the course of Doi Moi. Placing humans at the forefront of development strategies with the former as the latter’s goal and impetus, Vietnam concentrates on making humans the subject of the reform process, industrialization, modernization, national development and international integration. To this end, the CPV has undertaken “fundamental and comprehensive reforms in education and training” and enhanced the quality of human resources in tandem with the accelerated application of scientific and technological advances. At the same time, the development of education, training, science and technology is at the top of Doi Moi’s agenda, particularly amidst rapid and extensive changes by the 4th industrial revolution.

Taking cultural development as society’s spiritual foundation and a goal to be achieved by, an impetus for and internal resources of national development, the CPV has attached much importance to establishing a system of the salient Vietnamese values in the new situation that meet the requirements of industrialization, modernization and international integration. The goal and achievements by Doi Moi are to be for the people and to improve their living standards by means of the effective implementation of social policies and the successful handling of social problems. In the meantime, special attention should be devoted to the leadership capacity concerning the synchronous implementation of polices and measures towards rising income, higher quality of life and population, better public healthcare, the effective management and harmonious handling of social relations and vexing social problems, as well as the building of a healthy, civilized and safe living environment.

Expanded  foreign relations and proactive and active international integration constitute the CPV’s strategic guideline over the course of Doi Moi. The CPV clearly states that the country consistently implements a foreign policy of independence, self-reliance, peace, cooperation and development, diversification and multilateralization of external relations, particularly through the Party, the State and people-to-people diplomatic channels, and proactive and active international integration; acts as a friend, reliable partner and  responsible member of the international community; safeguards supreme national interests on the basis of the fundamental  principles of international  law, equality and mutual benefit; firmly defends independence, sovereignty, unity and territorial integrity;  protects the Party, the State, the people and the socialist regime; raises Vietnam’s status and prestige; and contributes  to the cause of peace, national independence, democracy and social progress in the world.

With reference to the reform of the political system to facilitate Doi Moi, this plays a key role in strengthening the CPV’s leadership, enhancing the effectiveness of the State management, the Vietnam Fatherland Front and socio-political organizations, and promoting the people’s right to mastery for the sake of socio-political stability and Doi Moi. Much importance is attached to the organizational structure of the political system so as to meet the requirements of the building and perfection of the law-ruled socialist State and socialist-oriented market economy, and proactive and active international integration.

In terms of the building and promotion of democracy, the CPV and the Vietnamese State respect, protect and promote human rights and citizens’ rights associated with civic responsibilities and obligations prescribed by the Constitution. Forms and methods to exercise democracy, particularly direct democracy, are developed while the promotion of democracy is in parallel with the maintenance of discipline and law enforcement. Intra-Party democracy plays a decisive role in the organization and performance of the political system and the democratization of all aspects of social life, thereby forming broad consensus and generating the strength of great national unity. 

The continued building and perfection of the law-ruled socialist state led by the CPV is at the forefront of the reform of the political system. While the law-ruled socialist Vietnamese state inherits the achievements of mankind, it incorporates its distinctive feature: The state power is unified and delegated to state agencies which coordinate with and control one another in the exercise of the legislative, executive and judicial powers. It is necessary to synchronously build institutions aimed at controlling powers and dealing with abuse of power, red tape and corruption.

Concerning the promotion of the roles played by the Vietnam Fatherland Front and socio-political organizations, the CPV puts great store by enhancing the quality of their supervision and social counter-arguments as to the performance of Party organizations, State organs, cadres and Party members. The organizational structure of the Vietnam Fatherland Front and socio-political organizations continues to be perfected in combination with emphasis placed on the reform of their operations at grassroots level and the gradual handling of “administerization”.

Making the CPV pure and strong as well as innovating the CPV’s methods of leadership over the political system and society, particularly the State, is a decisive factor in the success of Doi Moi. The CPV leads the State and society, submits to the people’s supervision, and is accountable to the people for its leadership; the CPV’s organizations and members operate within the framework of the Constitution and law. The way that the Vietnamese political system operates is the Party leadership – the State management – the people’s mastery; the CPV’s methods of leadership, particularly over the State, are to be regularly innovated while the powers of the State organs are to be respected and fully promoted within the framework of the law-ruled socialist state. Emphasis is placed on the reform of the personnel work in the interests of higher quality of cadres and Party members at all levels, especially at strategic level. The shortcomings in the organizational structure and performance of the political system are to be redressed to constantly make it compact and effective.

II. Salient features of and lessons from over 30 years’ Doi Moi

1. More effectively handling major relations

Regarding the relations among Doi Moi, stability and development, the CPV views Doi Moi as an impetus, stability as a precondition and rapid and sustainable development as a goal, all of which are for the people. The people are the goal by, the impetus for and the subject of Doi Moi, stability and development.

Concerning the relations between economic reform and political reform, the CPV focuses on economic reform while gradually reforming the organization and operations of the political system. Economic reform is closely linked to political reform from the beginning with the former as the centrepiece and the latter being undertaken cautiously and sustainably. Political reform is to synchronize with economic reform within a suitable time frame towards the perfection of socialist-oriented market economy institutions and the promotion of comprehensive reform to achieve the goal of “a prosperous people and a strong, democratic, equitable and civilized country”. The attainment of this goal serves as the yardstick of Doi Moi’s performance.

Vis-à-vis the relations between a market economy and socialist orientation, the CPV has achieved a breakthrough in its mindset when asserting that a market economy is not peculiar to capitalism but it is the achievement of mankind. While a market economy itself does not lead to socialism, the building of socialism necessitates the development of the market economy. The socialist-oriented market economy complies with the laws of a market economy but it is regulated by those of socialism in its development process. This is synonymous with the application of the objective laws of the market economy to the building of economic institutions to achieve rapid and sustainable economic growth in the best interests of the country and the people.

When it comes to the relation between the development of productive forces and the gradual perfection of socialist production relations, the CPV has adjusted the structure of production relations, particularly ownership relations and ownership forms, and developed a multi-sectoral economy in order to enable production relations to match productive forces’ development levels, thereby accelerating the development of the latter. 

Pertaining to the relation among the State, the market and society, the CPV regards it as a dialectical relation among the “three pillars” of the socialist-oriented market economy in Vietnam. Each of those pillars is to promote its strengths while harmoniously cooperating with the others to minimize its weaknesses under the motto “Powerful State – Effective Market – Dynamic and Creative Society (the people, enterprises, social organizations, etc.)

With reference to the relation among economic growth, cultural development and social progress and justice, the CPV clearly states that socio-economic and cultural development is for humans and that economic growth is conducive to cultural development and social progress and justice. Meanwhile, effectively handling social problems facilitates economic and cultural development while cultural development lays a spiritual foundation and generates internal resources for sustainable development.

With regard to the relation between the building and protection of the socialist Homeland, the CPV asserts that nation building goes with national protection with the former and the latter being interactive with a view to combating hostile forces’ “peaceful evolution” strategy and foiling manifestations of “self-evolution” and “self-transformation” from within.

The CPV pursues a foreign policy of independence, self-reliance and international integration as a matter of principle. Independence and self-reliance goes with proactive and active international integration in order to expand national capabilities, to intensify competitiveness, to promote internal strength, to utilize external strength and to participate in global value chains.

As for the relation among the Party leadership, the State management and the people’s mastery, the CPV pays special attention to the reform of its methods of leadership, particularly over the State, and the building of the law-ruled socialist state and socialist democracy in order to exercise its powers and promote the people’s right to mastery through their participation in the building of the Party and the State and the supervision and control of powers. The reform of the relation between the Party leadership and the State management is undertaken synchronously and uniformly across the whole political system at both central and local levels.

2. Historic achievements

After 30 years’ Doi Moi, Vietnam has emerged as a middle-income country to be  well on its way towards industrialisation, modernisation and international integration. Its economic growth stays steady while the socialist-oriented market economy is gradually taking shape. Vietnam has made progress in socio-cutural terms and gained important achievements in hunger eradication and poverty reduction, achieving many of the UN Millennium Development Goals. The Vietnamese people’s living standards have been considerably improved. The country has enjoyed socio-political stability and strengthened national defense and security. The socialist democracy has been promoted and expanded. The great national unity has been consolidated. The building of the Party, the law-ruled state and the political system has been accelerated. The country’s foreign relations have been expanded and deepened while its status in the international arena has been elevated. Those achievements have proved the correctness of Doi Moi initiated by the CPV and laid an important foundation for the country to make continued progress in the years to come.

However, Doi Moi has yet to live up to expectations as this process has not been uniform and comprehensive yet. Vietnam has yet to fulfil many criteria that are expected to turn the country into a modernity-oriented industrialized one. Economic productivity and competitiveness remains low and poor respectively. Shortcomings have been slow in being remedied in terms of education and training, science and technology, culture, society and health. There remain shortcomings in strategic forecasting, policy making and the implementation of the Party and State’s policies as well as the State management. Those are the problems that the CPV is focusing on addressing.

3. Important lessons drawn from over 30 years’ Doi Moi

First, Doi Moi is to be constantly proactive and innovative, to stick to the goal of national independence and socialism, to creatively apply and develop the Marxist-Leninist doctrine and Ho Chi Minh Thought, to perpetuate and promote national traditions, to absorb the cultural quintessence of mankind, and to apply international experiences to Vietnam appropriately.

Second, Doi Moi is to be always imbued with the ideology of taking the people as the root in the interests of the people, to rely on the people, and to promote their right to mastery, sense of responsibility and creativity. Doi Moi is doomed to failure if it runs counter to the people’s interests. The people’s suggestions and aspirations arising from the exigencies of reality lay one of the foundations for the Party to have adopted Doi Moi. Therefore,  Doi Moi is to be always dependent on the people, to promote their right to mastery and to ensure that all the state power belongs to the people.

Third, Doi Moi is to be across the board, to stick to reality and to appreciate review and theoretical research in order to opportunely and effectively handle problems arising.

Fourth, Doi Moi is to put national interest first, to stick to independence, self-reliance, proactive and active international integration on the basis of equality and mutual benefit, and to combine national strength with that of the time with a view to building and firmly defending the socialist Vietnamese Homeland

Fifth, the CPV is to regularly rectify itself, to enhance its leadership capacity and combativeness, to build a contingent of cadres, particularly at strategic level, that are eligible in terms of morality, professional competence and prestige, to boost the performance of the State, the Vietnam Front Fatherland, socio-political organizations and the entire political system, and to strengthen its close-knit relations with the people.

In the new situation, it is essential that the CPV, the political system and the entire Vietnamese people promote their political will, wisdom and determination, creatively apply and develop the Marxist-Leninist doctrine and Ho Chi Minh Thought, stick to reality and learn from other countries in order to achieve the goal of “a prosperous people and a strong, democratic, equitable and civilized country”.

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