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President Ho Chi Minh’s great contribution to national independence and socialism
15/10/2010 14:50' Send Print

Member of the Political Bureau Secretary of the Party Central Committee Head of the Central Propaganda and Education Commission Chairman of the Central Council of Theory

1. Ho Chi Minh, a creative Marxist ideologist

Ho Chi Minh was the crystallisation of the best and most outstanding examples of wisdom and ideology, sentiment and morality, personality, lifestyle, humankind and the Vietnamese nation. He symbolised the nature of Vietnam’s modern cultural identity.

He was a very modest and great man, an incarnation of cultural values: truth, perfection and the beauty of not only the Vietnamese nation, but also mankind.

After finding the path to revolution and truth during the revolutionary era, after studying Marxism-Leninism encouraged by the Russian October Revolution (1917), Nguyen Ai Quoc - Ho Chi Minh devoted himself to achieving his revolutionary ideology and goals, which were national independence in close association with socialism.

Hence, the cause that Ho Chi Minh followed and was dedicated to is not only the reason behind national liberation but also national development and the realisation of socialism and communism by the proletarian revolution, led by the Communist Party, the vanguard of the working class.

Being a patriot and a fighter who fought for independence and the Vietnamese nation’s freedom, Nguyen Ai Quoc became a staunch Marxist-Leninist communist. He was very aware that the Vietnamese revolution was part of the world revolution, and the fight for the independence, freedom and happiness of the Vietnamese people and nation was also a contribution to the world revolutionary movement and the liberation of all oppressed peoples. His ideology on national liberation did not only show the way forward for the Vietnamese nation, but had a great and profound impact on the liberation of countries ruled by imperialists and colonialists in the 21st century. In his revolutionary life, Ho Chi Minh struggled not only for his nation but also for freedom and justice, the right to life, right to happiness and for dignity for every nation in the world. He is the incarnation and symbol of patriotism and genuine internationalism. That is why Ho Chi Minh is not only the leader of the Vietnamese people but also a great and close friend of other peoples around the world. His ideology and cause greatly encouraged and influenced oppressed nations in their struggle against imperialism and colonialism, for national independence, peace, democracy and social progress.

He was praised as a Vietnamese national hero and an outstanding man of culture.

When still alive, he told a compatriot, “ I have only one desire, the ultimate desire, that the country be independent and free, the people have enough food, clothing and housing, are able to learn and make progress and enjoy a fruitful, free and happy life. They are entitled to freedom and democracy as they are the owners and masters of their own society.” That was a dream, an aspiration, that manifested a great ideology and a noble humanitarian ideal. He worked untiringly all his life with extraordinary energy, despite all the difficulties and challenges, with an unswerving confidence in historical trends, particularly the everlasting power of the masses under the leadership of the Communist Party in the revolutionary struggle to turn his ideology and ideas into reality. He also stated that “my passion for people and mankind never changes.”(1)

When departing this life, in is historic Testament, he conveyed cordial greetings to his compatriots, comrades, friends and people throughout the world. These sentiments moved millions of hearts.

Ho Chi Minh was a staunch, creative Marxist ideologist. In his work, his studies or struggles, he evaluated theory with reality and started from a base point of reality to develop his own theories. This process was interwoven in his thinking and ideology which helped him to develop a suitable methodology. The conformity between his ideology and methodology, awareness and actions resulted in his creative work and admirable style.

He studied several doctrines and eventually found that only Marxism, Leninism and Marxism-Leninism were genuine, practical and thorough enough. He decided to follow that doctrine to pursue his cause. In preparing the ideology, political theory and organisation needed to found the Vietnamese Communist Party, he confirmed that the Party should adopt Marxism-Leninism as its core value, and use it as a torch to light the way, like a ship using a compass to navigate.

One of the most precious and outstanding characteristics of Ho Chi Minh is that he believed in and acted upon Marxism-Leninism creatively not dogmatically. He always considered Marxism-Leninism as the ideological essence of the era and the proper culture for humankind. He felt ill at ease with sectarianism, dogmatism, localism and extremism. He taught all Party members and cadres that we should firmly grasp the fundamental principles of Marxism-Leninism. In order to acquire that knowledge, we should fully embody its spirit and methods to adopt the right attitude in our work and life. These aspects were not only logical and revolutionary but were the moral and cultural values of humankind at during that era. They were the cultural quintessence also found in the doctrines of Marx and Lenin. It is obvious that deep down in Ho Chi Minh’s ideology, there is humanism, which we should be aware of and apply creatively.

When studying his ideology, cause and actions, we realise that Ho Chi Minh, a creative Marxist ideologist and great humanist, is an exemplary modern communist of wisdom and intellect. Profoundly and completely believing in socialism and communism, his ideology reaches epochal heights. With his understanding of the Vietnamese people’s lives and destiny, he devoted his life to the salvation and development of his nation and people. His patriotism and love for the people originated from tradition and became the most powerful driving force for him to absorb great and advanced doctrines and to reach out to socialism and communism. This feature of Ho Chi Minh’s ideological evolution gave food for thought to generations of revolutionaries who were identified, educated, fostered and led by him. His ideological logic and revolutionary activities influenced by Marxism and Leninism, the Russian October Revolution and the new era demonstrated that in modern times, patriotism and a love for the people would eventually lead to the development of socialism and communism. The more communists understand the nature of the working class, the closer they are bound to and loyal to their people and nation. This is because the working class’s nature and power have been born out of and nurtured by their patriotism for their nation. When the working class is fully aware of the truth, it can lead its nation to socialism and communism. Thanks to this, national perception and compassion will converge and intertwine with genuine internationalism.

Ho Chi Minh’s theoretical consciousness, together with his practical experience gained during his revolutionary struggles helped him in his capacity as an ideologist and revolutionary and helped him to make discoveries which had a big impact and decided our country’s revolutionary ambitions. That desire for national independence is associated with socialism and became the law for the Vietnamese revolution. This law defines the path of our nation’s development in contemporary times. That is, to march on to socialism after the success of national liberation, bypassing a capitalist regime. The conditions for successfully realising that revolutionary process are a combination of national strength and the prerequisite existence of a revolutionary party, the vanguard of the working class and the people. That party should adopt Marxism and Leninism as its ideological foundation and as a compass for its actions. Revolution is the cause of not only communists but also of the masses and the nation in general. Therefore national unity became a strategic ideology and policy for the Vietnamese revolution. It links national unity with international unity, using the Party’s internal unity as the core. Ho Chi Minh drew conclusions and made them into a strategy and a philosophy: in order to successfully create socialism, individualism must be defeated. According to that logic, the Party needs to be an advanced revolutionary organization, which is strictly structured and self-disciplined. It should be a Party which fights and acts for the people; a civil and moral Party. These theories and methods greatly influenced Ho Chi Minh’s behavior and actions and his actions matched his words. He acted more than he spoke. He solved problems with reason and understanding. He was resolutely against individualism while earnestly respecting each individual and cared for each individual’s legitimate interests and needs.

Ho Chi Minh’s ideology, as presented above is a logically stringent system. It is imbued with practical and developing points of view. It is a modern and innovative ideology that is frequently revived. It is not only a strategic political orientation but a moral and civilised ideology.

He did not only lead his people from slavery to freedom but brought his beloved Vietnamese nation to the vanguard of the new era.

2. Ho Chi Minh’s primary innovations on national independence and socialism

National independence in close association with socialism is considered to be a consistent point of view all through Ho Chi Minh’s ideology. It took a long process to identify and to form this ideology and to develop subsequent political viewpoints and policies. He studied and learnt theories while taking part in the political struggles of the workers wherever he lived. On his decade’s long journey seeking the path to national salvation, he did a wide range of jobs and travelled to many different countries. He stayed for a long time in the UK and France and took part in workers campaigns right in the heart of capitalism and colonialism. He saw with his own eyes the plight of workers under brutal oppression and their exploitation by capitalists in their own countries as well as in colonial and dependent countries.

This practical experience was of great importance to his perceptions of the nature of capitalism and colonialism. It fostered his class empathy towards the miserable, regardless of their colour or language. He found that they had a similar plight of slaves, the same enemies and the same aspirations for liberation, to wrestle back the right to live in independence and freedom.

In his journey to find the way forward to national salvation and to develop political lines for national liberation, Nguyen Ai Quoc - Ho Chi Minh did not only carry out his activities in Europe and Western countries but also in Eastern countries and Asia. He enquired into the struggles of movements in China and Thailand.

This search provided him with data to compare, analyse and identify similarities and differences in socio-economic structures, contradictions between class and nations in typically geo-political regions. He understood the great differences in class and the contradictions between East and West, between capitalist Europe and Asia, which was full of feudalist vestiges and was the subject of colonialists’ exploitation and slavery.

His most pressing concern was the situation in Indochina, particularly in Vietnam, a country which had lost its independence and sovereignty and was dominated and oppressed by colonialists. Therefore, for Nguyen Ai Quoc-Ho Chi Minh, studying and surveying the outside world, in the region and in other countries would help with national liberation and development, place the Vietnamese revolution along with global revolutionary movements and align it with common trends at the time.

What were Ho Chi Minh’s historic innovations and contributions to national independence and socialism? The following are some salient points:

First, creative consciousness of Marxism and Leninism

After studying K. Marx’s theoretical works, he discovered that one of K.Marx and Marxism’s strongest points was dialectics. First of all, it was the dialectics of social development, the science and revolution of development. It called for elimination of the old, unfair and brutal social order and the establishment of a new, democratic, equitable and humane social order, the most worthy for humankind. That was communism. He held especially high V.I.Lenin’s revolutionary doctrine, wisdom, devotion to revolution, morality and personality. He highly appreciated Lenin’s doctrine on a new-style of Party, his leading role in the triumph of the greatest revolution in 20th century history which turned socialism into a reality and Russia into a new social regime.

As mentioned above, Ho Chi Minh, a creative Marxist ideologist equipped with practical and historical viewpoints, thoroughly understood Marxism and communism. He was well aware that Marxism was the quintessence of wisdom and ideology in our times and for human culture. However, he put out serious and challenging questions to academic studies. He reasoned: “Marx developed his doctrine on a certain philosophy of history. What history? The history of Europe. And what was Europe? Europe was not the whole of mankind.”

He pointed to the necessity to apply Marxism’s dialectical materialist methods and viewpoints to review the basic differences between Western and Eastern economic and social structures and classes. He put the question, would the class struggle become fiercer when Western capitalists changed the East? He confirmed that it would be, referring to Japan. He further explained that due to the increasing influence of the West and the eventual development of the East, Marxism would remain the right path to follow in the East.

If class stratification became obvious and class opposition (between capitalists and the proletariat) was fierce and critical in Western capitalist production, that was not really the case in the East and Vietnam. Instead, in this region, prominent were contradictions between the nation and society, with outside capitalist and colonialist invaders not class contradictions. The region’s backward industries were not conducive to economic imperatives that led to class stratification like in Western countries. Therefore in the East, including Vietnam, national liberation was essential to solving the contradictions between nations invaded by capitalists and colonialists to seize independence and to eliminate colonialism, the dependant status of nations and the domination of colonialism.

That was the reason why he advocated unity between all classes to form a liberation synergy. While he firmly believed that Marxist theory was applicable, not only in the West but also in the East, he also predicted instinctively that communism was more suitable to Asia and Vietnam. One of the theoretical bases for that presumption was that national unity and the community tradition were very similar to communism.

These theoretical points were clearly explained in 1924 after he had become a communist and a member of the French Communist Party’s Colonialist Policy Research Unit. They showed how a young communist with a creative nature, mature thinking and an ideology ahead of its time. Later, he formed other creative theories on the revolutionary nature of Marxist-Leninism. The following are some examples. He studied Marxist-Leninism in the context of ideological evolution and selected the progressive, eminent features of that ideology and human culture. He took stock of the diversity of ideologies and cultures and found that Marxist ideas, which had developed rapidly had a range of superb values

Therefore, while believing in Marxist-Leninism, he also treasured Buddhism’s philanthropy and mercy, Christianity’s cultural tolerance and the practicality of Sun Yat-sen’s Three Principles of the People. Obviously, Ho Chi Minh was a Marxist who was not sectarian or dogmatic. He perceived the spirit of Marxist-Leninism and its methods through culture. For him, Marxist-Leninism was not only practical and revolutionary but moral and cultural. He stated that anyone who failed to live harmoniously with others could not boast that they understood Marxist-Leninism, even though they had read hundreds of books on Marxist-Leninism. He was also a prominent Marxist ideologist when he approached working politics and the Communist Party’s nature from a moral and cultural perspective. He said that socialism opposed individualism, socialist ideology opposed individual ideology and that politics should be based on unity and transparency; the Party was moral and civilised.

Truth, a subject of scientific perception, was expanded by Ho Chi Minh to the area of morality. Things that were good and beneficial to people were truth. The noble truth and raison d’être, were to be loyal and devoted servants of the people

While following Marxist-Leninism, he attached a great importance to creativeness, and avoided becoming stereo-typical and rigid. He researched the circumstances, history and specific characteristics of each country and nation. He advised us to selectively learn from the Soviet Unions experiences, China and other fraternal countries but not to copy exactly. He pointed to the fact that Vietnam and the Soviet Union had different levels of development, history and culture. In the cause of socialist construction, we were still Marxist even we did not act like the Soviet Union.

Correctly perceiving and creatively applying Marxist-Leninism to Vietnam with its history and circumstances were the theoretical and practical starting point for Ho Chi Minh’s ideology. They were not only a foundation for his innovation and contribution to national independence and socialism but also his outstanding endeavor to enrich Marxist-Leninism and revolutionary theory around the world.

Second, he exposed the nature of capitalism, imperialism and colonialism and confirmed that the revolution for national liberation in colonial countries should closely coordinate with the metropolitan proletariats revolution.

Nguyen Ai Quoc-Ho Chi Minh was the author of the Marxist theoretical work: “Le Procès de la Colonisation Française" (The Indictment of French colonialists) in 1925. It was a review of history, and an indictment of colonialism. Later in 1945, he wrote the “Declaration of Independence”, proclaiming an independent Democratic Republic of Vietnam and announcing the end of the 80-year-long colonialist regime in Vietnam.

He wrote: “Capitalism is a leech with one sucker on the metropolitan proletariat and the other on the colonial proletariat. To kill that leech, its two suckers must both be cut off. If only one sucker is removed, the other will continue bleeding the proletariat white and the leech will still be alive and grow a new sucker.”(2)

Consequently, the metropolitan revolution should be closely coordinated with that of a colonial country, just like a bird with two wings, one in the colonial country and the other in the mother country. This simple explanation shows the completeness of the revolution against capitalism and colonialism and the necessity for the revolutionary movement’s coordination in colonial, dependent and capitalist countries. This demonstrated the working class’s complete revolutionary standpoint and internationalism.

Nguyen Ai Quoc- Ho Chi Minh understood that working people and the proletariat around the world, regardless of who they were, had common enemies and a common fight.

Imperialists and colonialists wherever they stayed were devils and should be overthrown. The proletariat, wherever they stayed were friends, brothers and comrades.

“In this world, there are only two types of man: the oppressed and the oppressors. There is only one type of fraternity: proletarian friendship”.

He discussed the situation in Indochina and the basis for creating revolution. He wrote: “ The Indochinese have not died, they are living and will live forever.”

The imperialists’ and colonialists’ systematic dominance, neither paralysed the Indochinese people’s vitality nor their revolutionary spirit. The winds that blew from Russia and revolutionary China and the fighting in India helped to detoxicate Indochina.”

He remarked: “Under their reluctant obedience, the Indochinese are boiling with suppression and will revolt when time comes. The elite should push for that opportunity. Capitalism’s brutality prepares the soil, socialism’s task is to sow the seeds of liberation.”

He studied and considered V.I.Lenin’s “Preliminary Thesis on National and Colonial Questions” as a handbook. He defined that the path to national liberation was the proletariat revolution.

Third, Nguyen Ai Quoc-Ho Chi Minh successfully smoothed over the relationship between the people and class, between national liberation with class liberation based on the working class’s viewpoint.

Ho Chi Minh’s system and consistency on the issue of national independence and liberation are manifested through several theoretical points.

The time had come to identify the force that would settle that issue. It was the working class who could carry out this historic mission.

Ho Chi Minh’s new and creative ideas were expressed in the following viewpoints:

- Class is not separated from nation. If national independence and sovereignty were not wrestled back, not only the nation but also the masses would forever remain under the yoke of slavery. Nationhood and class destiny were closely associated.

- National liberation was based on working class standpoints and ideology. It had to overcome a backward feudalist ideology as well as the constraints of capitalist ideology. As national issues and national liberation were solved from the working class’ standpoint, the national liberation revolution aiming to win national independence needed to be led by its vanguard: the Communist Party.

Subsequently, the Vietnamese nation and its people’s way forward could only be along the socialist path, where national independence was associated with socialism, bypassing the capitalist regime.

In this way, Ho Chi Minh’s ideology started the development of the Vietnamese nation, leading to national independence and socialism. Ho Chi Minh’s ideology laid the theoretical foundations for the Vietnamese revolution in the new era, putting an end a chronicle of crises concerning our country’s policies on national salvation and development since the mid-19 century. It found the only reasonable path to development which conformed to the common cause of humankind and development trends in our times.

Fourth, with the right revolutionary theory and methods, Ho Chi Minh and the Party led the Vietnamese people and nation to defeat the neo-colonialists, putting Vietnam on the front line of nations around the world that were building socialism, in the context and conditions of our own country.

President Ho Chi Minh’s ideology on socialism is of value and has a modern significance not only for our country but also for other socialist countries which also followed the process of “short-cut development” and “indirect transition”, bypassing the capitalist regime and advancing from colonialism to socialism.

In Ho Chi Minh’s ideological heritage, there are theoretical points, clarifying the major questions of the time: what is socialism? How is socialism built? There are also points on socialism including goals, characteristics, paths to follow, models, steps and methods of building socialism. They explain the combination of characteristics like popularity, specialty, class, nation, people and humankind in the contemporary world.

As mentioned above, by adding a new approach or a new concept to socialism, Ho Chi Minh developed Marx’s theory on scientific socialism, that was a moral approach. He made predictions of significance to socialist development: “The success of socialism is not separated from the success of the struggle against individualism.” Similarly, if democracy was not broadly exercised, bureaucracy, waste, fraud and corruption could not be prevented. Socialism was in opposition to individualism. The success of socialism depended on those who created socialism, especially the vanguard contingent who were bold and determined to defeat “internal enemies”. These enemies were considered the most dangerous by Ho Chi Minh.

Therefore, socialism was not only a prosperous and rich economy but a democratic and political entity governed by law that ensured the people ruled and a fair and equitable society for the development of the individual and the community. It was also the foundation of pure moral social relations, a system of cultural values which combined traditions and national identity with a desire for independence, freedom and happiness for all peoples and nations. Ho Chi Minh’s cultural subtleness and profoundness lay in the fact that he identified the strategic tasks during the process of socialist construction which were to educate, train and foster cadres, considering this as a core work for the Party. He paid a lot of attention to the strategy of practicing revolutionary morality in both thought and actions. That was the core of the strategy for the people and the strategy on building, developing and defending socialism to create the revolution, the Party and well-equipped fighters.

He pointed to the deep nature and prominent superiority of socialism that was to introduce and promote the people’s control.

He said that there was nothing more precious than the people, nothing was as strong as the people’s solidarity, and democracy was the most precious thing in life. As the owners of all the power, the people must be the owners of democracy, society and the State. They should also be capable of supervising their State. He also underlined that a broad democracy was the key to solving every difficulty. From this viewpoint, he clearly saw democracy’s role as the driving force behind progress, development and socialism.

Ho Chi Minh’s theory of socialist construction was scientific and revolutionary. It was also moral, cultured and humanistic. He once said: “Socialism in combination with science will surely lead mankind to eternal happiness.” We should build socialism to improve people’s spiritual and material lives to make our society more progressive and civilised. All are aimed at the people’s happiness. “If the country is independent but the people are not happy and free, that independence means nothing.” The key to socialist construction, according to Ho Chi Minh, was to rely on the people, mobilise the people’s might and make them happy. What was beneficial to the people, we should do. What was harmful to the people, we should avoid.

The people’s right to mastery and happiness, free development, democracy and social equality were values that ensured the sustainable development of our regime. Socialism was a highly developed cultural society in which the people were the masters and the nation was a wise nation.

Fifth, Ho Chi Minh’s ideology on national independence in close association with socialism was developed from a practical viewpoint on development and renovation.

Ho Chi Minh’s concise and condensed interpretations show that national independence was a prerequisite and condition of socialism; the political and national foundation of socialism. They were a complete, practical and firm foundation for socialism coming into being, developing and improving. They were also tools that measured democracy and the freedom of social development of a civilised and modern society, of which the best model is socialism.

Socialism was also the best way to organise society, to make the country and the nation able to help individuals and let communities develop freely and comprehensively and enjoy material and spiritual happiness in a healthy environment. This is a lot of truth in Ho Chi Minh’s statement: “There is nothing more precious than independence and freedom.” That prize is socialism, a socialism that continues to evolve by being overhauled, creative and modern.

 (1) Ho Chi Minh’s ideology and the Vietnamese revolutionary path, The National Publishing House, 1997, Hanoi, p. 231-232

(2)  Ibid, Vol.1, p.298

To Huy Rua