Communist Review - Since its establishment, the political steadfastness of the Communist Party of Vietnam was early shaped and has been continually trained and promoted through revolutionary stages. Thanks to its strong political courage, the Party has overcome difficulties and challenges, leading our people to achieve great victories of national and epic significance over the past 90 years.
Political willpower to overcome historical challenges
The success of a political party depends on various key factors: The Party must have a solid theoretical foundation of advanced class ideology; have scientifically correct guidelines; have a tight and firm organization system; have leadership ability and combat capability; have the ability to gather and promote the strength of a large number of people, be always supported by the masses; have Party members that are strong enough to carry out posed tasks ... Besides, as a political party, a factor that is crucial to the success or failure of the party is its political courage.
Political steadfastness is the combination of political stance, political quality, political capacity, and political bravery. It manifests itself in steadfastness in the face of all conspiracies and tricks of enemies; determination to strive and overcome all challenges arising to attain the set goals. It is often clearly visible at historic turning points in perilous situations encountered by the political party.
With the Communist Party of Vietnam, its political steadfastness is embodied in numerous ways, such as firmly and creatively applying Marxism-Leninism, Ho Chi Minh's thought; persistently realizing established goals and strategies in all situations; proactively and creatively planning the right revolutionary strategies and tactics; determinedly carrying out revolutionary tasks successfully; gathering, efficiently organizing and bringing into full play the strength of various revolutionary forces; fighting tenaciously and creatively against enemies; correctly identifying and bravely overcoming mistakes and shortcomings. The Party's political courage is most clearly shown in the historical circumstances hanging by a thread. Over the past 90 years, such situations have occurred, challenging the Party's courage and determination.
Immediately at its birth, the Party instantly led people to conduct a series of strikes, uprisings, and demonstrations between 1930 and 1931, in which the Xo Viet-Nghe Tinh uprising reached its climax. The French colonialists and their henchmen oppressed the revolutionary movements. Tens of thousands of patriotic communist soldiers and people were arrested, imprisoned and massacred, including the Party General Secretary. Leader Nguyen Ai Quoc was charged with collusion with the French colonialists and detained in Huong Cang (China). The organizational system of the Party was seriously disrupted. Under such circumstance, the majority of the Party members still maintained the communist spirit. The Party guidelines were still followed and implemented by all members and the masses. Numerous party organizations and members persistently took part in revolutionary activities, and continued to lead the movement. Party members in captivity turned imperial prisons into revolutionary schools, continuing to study and struggle to protect and disseminate the Party lines. In 1932, the “Plan of Action” was officially announced. In March 1935, the Party held the 1st National Congress. After that, the organizational system of the Party was restored, ushering the revolution in a new stage. The battle clearly demonstrated the Party political steadfastness in the face of a serious challenge to its existence even in the first few years of its inception when the organization and forces were not firmly reinforced and without combat experience. In comparison, other communist parties in the world in such circumstances would not be able to sustain and recover, which does demonstrate the vitality and resilience of the Party at that time.
When the 2nd World War broke out, the French colonialists abolished the democratic rights that the Vietnamese people had just won, and endeavored to persecute and suppress the revolutionary movements and organizations. The Plenum of the Party Central Committee in November 1939 promptly analyzed the situation and shifted strategic guidance, focusing on national liberation. This initiative proves the maturity in the Party Central Committee’s awareness of objective laws, firm political bravery, proactiveness and creativity. When the Japanese fascists entered Indochina, the Vietnamese people had to suffer from the “dual imperialism”. Many party members were captured, imprisoned or lost their lives, including high-ranking party leaders, such as General Secretaries and Party Central Standing Committee members. In that dire context, with only a few thousands active party members, the Party still resiliently prepared adequately for favourable conditions to lead the people to successfully and quickly stage the uprising for regaining leadership and independence without bloodshed when revolutionary opportunities arose.
One year after the 1945 August Revolution, the Party, lacking leadership experience and direct international support and assistance, led the people to tackle “poverty”, “illiteracy”, and foreign invaders. In the situation “hanging by a thread”, the Party political steadfastness was clearly expressed in leading the resistance war and national construction while firmly adhering to strategic guidelines and being flexible in combating internal and external enemies. The revolutionary forces were, as a result, strengthened in all aspects, the anti-revolutionary forces quelled, a number of external enemies repelled, creating conditions for the revolutionary forces to concentrate on tackling the chief enemy – the French colonialists. Having accepted the situation of “self-dissolution”, which was in fact the shift to secret activities, the Party grew continuously in terms of organization and party members, thereby launching nationwide revolutionary movements effectively. Proactively negotiating an armistice with the French to prolong peace, but when pushed to the final limit of concession, on December 19th 1946, the Party resolutely and actively waged a nationwide resistance war against the French colonialists, not accepting to be pushed across the boundary between principled concession and surrender. This is an absolutely correct and timely decision, illustrating the calmness, confidence and proactiveness of the Party. With the spirit of “we would rather sacrifice everything than lose our country, than return to slavery”, the Party planned an all-people, comprehensive and long-term resistance war based on its own strength and well handled the relationship between ‘nation’ and ‘class’, between ‘war’ and ‘revolution’, between ‘nationalism’ and ‘internationalism’ properly. It also trained and grew constantly in critical moments, engendering significant moves and bringing the resistance war to ultimate victory.
From the mid 50s and early 60s of the 20th century, the international and domestic situation unfolded unpredictably: the US Empire waged war to invade the South, plotting to permanently divide our country; mistakes in land reform and grassroots reorganization were committed; and there existed disagreements among socialist countries. In such a circumstance, the Party’s political firmness was re-affirmed when it admitted its previous mistakes boldly, and corrected them resolutely in land reform. It proposed the guidelines on carrying out two revolutions simultaneously, namely building socialism in the North and fighting for national liberation in the South. The Vietnamese revolution had to deal with the rich and powerful American imperialists that caused great losses for the Southern Vietnamese revolution. Against such background, the Party unanimously agreed on using revolutionary violence to fight and defeat anti-revolutionary violence, with “General uprising” to shift the Southern revolution from defensive to offensive position, foiling the war strategies of the American imperialists step by step. When the revolutionary opportunities came, the Party led the entire population to launch the General Offensive and Uprising that achieved the historic victory in the 1975 Spring, regaining our national independence and reunification.
In the late 70s of the last century, like other socialist nations, Vietnam sunk into a socio-economic crisis. In the 1980s, while communist parties in Eastern Europe and the Soviet Union implemented reforms unsuccessfully, came to a dead end, and went off track from socialism, hence losing their leadership; with strong political steadfastness, our Party initiated national renovation comprehensively, gradually forming novel perception of socialism and the path to socialism in Vietnam. After the 6th National Congress, our country had to cope with seemingly insurmountable difficulties and challenges. Many socialist countries were hit by grave crises. Vietnam no longer had traditional support, and was subject to the siege, embargo and subversion of hostile forces. At that time, there existed in the Party and society various streams of ideas, regarding whether to renovate or not, and which path to follow. The 6th Plenum of the 6th Congress (1989) proposed the fundamental principles that guaranteed the cause of renovation, maintained socialism, demonstrated the Party’s political steadfastness and acumen in the context of domestic and global intricate development, ensured successful national renovation, making an important contribution to the fight against opportunism and revisionism, protecting, creatively applying, and well adapting Marxism-Leninism to the reality of Vietnam.
In the late 80s and early 90s of the 20th century, while the renovation process achieved some initial results, the socio-economic development faced numerous severe difficulties, it was also the time when the collapse of Real Socialism in Eastern European countries and the Soviet Union, which had a comprehensive and strong impact on our national revolution. The 7th Party Congress (June 1991) affirmed that socialism would persist as the only right choice and approved the National Construction Platform in the transitional period to socialism. With strong political courage as well as timely and proper guidelines, the Party calmly and determinedly led the masses to maintain political stability, overcoming huge challenges due to the failure of socialism in many countries. From the practice of renovation and the full grasp of the theory, the 11th Congress of the Party (2011) supplemented and developed the National Construction Platform during the transitional period to socialism, shedding light on our perception of socialism and the path to socialism in Vietnam.
In late 2007, the world experienced financial crises, causing global recession; domestically, inflation increased and prices escalated. Confronted with newly-found difficulties and challenges, the Party implemented opportune policies aiming to combat economic downturn and inflation, to stabilize macro-economics, to sustain economic growth, to enhance the health of the economy, to guarantee social security, to promote famine eradication and poverty alleviation, to improve people's material and spiritual life, and to achieve social progress and equity.
The Party's political and mental strength is also shown in its daring admission and correction of fallacies and shortcomings. In the process of leading the revolution, the Party made mistakes due to its recklessness and left-wing tendency. As a matter of fact, the Party has always accepted those ones, engaged seriously in self-criticism, and rectified them successfully. It used to practice “self-criticism”, “self-rectification”, “reforms of working practices”, “building” and “resisting”, “Enhancing revolutionary morality, wiping out individualism”, “facing the reality, telling the truth”. This is the Party’s political bravery of transcending itself, resolutely eliminating degenerated and outdated things, and audaciously renovating itself to undertake its pioneering mission.
Thus, the Party has overcome difficulties and challenges that sometimes seem insuperable, and in reality, there were other communist parties in the world that could not survive such circumstances. It boldly and successfully carried out unprecedented tasks, and thanks to its strong political steadfastness, the Party led the people to resounding victories of national and epic significance. The more difficult the situation is, the more persistently and drastically it will act; the more complicated the situation is, the more steadfast it will become in sticking to its principles and firmly riding the boat of revolution to success.
Training and promoting political steadfastness to meet the requirements of the current revolutionary cause
Political steadfastness is the result of a long process of experience and practice, and with our Party, its political firmness came into being early and has been constantly strengthened. It stems from the fact that the Party is the product of the seamless combination of three factors: Marxism-Leninism, the working-class movement and the patriotic movement. The Party is guided by Marxism-Leninism, and always applies and develops it creatively. At the same time, it adopts Ho Chi Minh's thought as the foundation of ideals and guidelines for revolutionary acts. The Party bears the working-class nature, and strengthens it at all times. Especially, it directly inherits the precious values of the nation in which Vietnamese patriotism is the core. Our Party possesses a depth of strength thanks to having gone through thousands of years of history of a resilient nation building and defending itself; simultaneously, gathers the strength of all patriotic classes sharing the same goal of building Vietnam as “a prosperous people and a strong, democratic, equitable, and civilized country”. Political firmness also originates from the fact that the Party is always cognizant of its mission to the class, the people as well as the country. If the Party did not toughen its political firmness, it would not be able to shoulder that mission.
Our Party acquires political courage as in all circumstances. It firmly believes in the correctness, science, the conquering spirit of Marxism-Leninism, Ho Chi Minh's thought, and the inevitable victory of the socialist revolution which is being realized in all aspects of social life step by step. Despite experiencing many ups and downs, difficulties and challenges, it always puts an unshakable faith in the strength of the people, is willing to fight hard for the people's rights and legitimate interests, and knows how to congregate and promote the strength of the people.
Political steadfastness is also obtained thanks to the Party relentlessly training the revolutionary mindset, the spirit of fighting, consolidating and renewing the organization, strengthening unity within the Party and the great unity of the entire nation. Through the revolutionary stages, the Party has promptly and seriously garnered experience, nurtured the political courage and revolutionary mindset of Party members and the masses, taking the initiative in new situations to cope with posed challenges. The Party's political steadfastness is manifested in the fact that the Party has always shown vested interest in self-renewal and self-rectification, seriously acknowledged and resolutely fought against limitations and weaknesses in planning and implementing the Party's lines and negative expressions. Therefore, the Party has constantly improved itself, making it more and more transparent and strong, improving its leadership and combat power.
Our people’s renovation work under the daring and creative leadership of the Party has obtained many great achievements of historical significance. Our country is making efforts to accelerate industrialization, modernization, and proactively integrating into the world deeply, opening up great opportunities. Our Party and people are still confronting significant and unpredictable risks and challenges. The process of building socialism is still lengthy and rife with difficulties and challenges. Some problems arise from their development itself. Risks may lurk from the outside or occur from the inside. First of all, they are the risks of deviation from socialism, the fading of political mindset, the degradation in the morals and lifestyle of a relatively large part of cadres and party members. The process of accelerating industrialization and modernization shows signs of unsustainable development. National defense and security face plenty of newly-emerging challenges, especially in the defense of territorial sovereignty and strategic national interests. Hostile forces are undermining the revolutionary cause of our people drastically with increasingly sophisticated and sinister conspiracies. Those risks continue to challenge the Party's political firmness.
Faced with that situation, the 12th Congress of the Party clarified several missions: “Improving the political courage, intellectual level, and combat capability of the entire Party and of each cadre and party member, first and foremost, key leaders and administrators at all levels; not wavering in any situation” (1); and “Focusing on enhancing the political steadfastness, professionalism, spirit of serving the people of cadres, civil servants and officials” (2).
Regarding the political steadfastness of current cadres, the Party stated: “In general, cadres have strong political firmness, lead simple lifestyles, and have a good sense of discipline. They always train to improve their educational level and capabilities, and strive to complete assigned tasks. Many cadres are active, creative, responsive to the trend of integration, and capable of working in the international environment. The majority of cadres leading the Party, State, Fatherland Front and socio-political organizations at all levels are capable, qualified and prestigious. Strategic-level cadres have political steadfastness, are loyal to Marxism-Leninism, Ho Chi Minh's thought, the goals of national independence and socialism, have forward thinking, and are capable of making policies and realize them” (3).
Besides, the Party admitted: “Many young cadres lack bravery and practice. Quite a few cadres lose their will and ideals, work superficially, are afraid of difficulties. They degenerate in political ideology, morality, lifestyle, and show signs of “self-evolution” and “Self-transformation”. A number of leaders and managers including those at strategic level are not exemplary and prestigious. Their capability and quality are not on par with their duties. Furthermore, they engage in bureaucracy, individualism, corruption, wastefulness, and group interests...” (4).
The political steadfastness of the Party is made up of the one of each cadre and party member, especially strategic-level ones. The political steadfastness of cadres and party members is the combination of qualities that enable them to proactively and creatively take their own political actions in the face of politically complicated situations and perform assigned tasks at their best. It manifests itself in aspects such as stability, consistency and sensitivity to socio-political changes; actively participating in socio-political processes in assigned positions; solving accurately, quickly and effectively problems that arise at agencies and units within their remit. When training, party members always observe the principle of self-criticism, have a firm belief and political steadfastness, “wealth cannot seduce them, poverty cannot shake them, mighty forces cannot intimidate them. No matter how hard tasks are, they can complete them” (5).
Taking stock of the harsh challenges in the process of the Party's leadership over the past 90 years, we believe that, with the solid political steadfastness of a true revolutionary party that is trusted and supported by the entire people, the Communist Party of Vietnam will lead the nation to the final goal of a prosperous people and a strong, democratic, equitable and civilized country.
(1) Document of the 12th National Congress, Party Central Office, Hanoi, 2016, p. 199
(2), (3), (4) Document of the 7th Plenum of the 12th Party’s Central Committee, Party Central Office, Hanoi, 2018, p. 68, 45, 47
(5) Ho Chi Minh: Complete Works, National Politics Truth Publishing House, Hanoi, 2011, t. 5, p. 538