The ideological work in association with preventing and repelling degradation in morality and lifestyle in new context

Socialism construction reality Monday, 20:05 26-04-2021
Communist Review - In order to prevent and combat degradation in morality and lifestyle amongst cadres and party members in current conditions, it is vital to beef up ideological work and fight against individualism, opportunism, and pragmatism. Specifically, fundamental and comprehensive measures such as building and putting into an action plan for cadres and party members to nurture morality, drastically fighting against immoral and inappropriate ideology, frequently and universally establishing democracy, and strictly implementing self-criticism and criticism should be employed.

The role of morality and lifestyle in social life

Morality is defined as social and historical existence and the set of ideals, standards and virtues prevailing in society which are interpreted as a reflection of actually existing interpersonal relations, an expression of interests and requirements of social groups and classes. Thanks to morality, human’s behaviors are adjusted in conformity with right values which are later molded into norms; social harmony is maintained; ordered development is sustained; and social relations are regulated in harmony. Morality is most manifested in wrestling conscience, self-discipline, and self-awareness of sacred responsibility, through which internal strength in each individual is liberated and maximized to unconditionally cater for the revolutionary cause, for the country as well as for other good causes. Morality also lays a firm foundation for talent to thrive, nurtures and directs talent for the sake of personal and social development. The most obvious expression of morality in each individual is through lifestyle, which reflects and constitutes personal moral values (1). It also reflects cultural values through living activities.

Vietnamese people greatly value morality and lifestyle. Morality makes up one of the three properties: truth - goodness - beauty to which human beings direct themselves. Throughout the Vietnamese history, from Hung King age to Ho Chi Minh era, generations of Vietnamese people have been joining hands to fight against natural disasters and foreign invaders to build and safeguard their fatherland. These experiences play a part in shaping Vietnamese moral traditions such as “Patriotism, self-resilience, collectivism connecting individuals - families - communities - the whole nation, humanity, tolerance, respect for brotherhood and righteousness, tactful conducts, and modesty”(2).

Inheriting the fine traditional moral values, President Ho Chi Minh creatively created a new kind of morality - revolutionary morality in accordance with new situation meeting the requirements of Viet Nam’s socialist-oriented development and the progress of mankind. The revolutionary morality is to cater for the collective interests of the Party, the nation, and humankind (3). The revolutionary morality acts as the guideline for adjusting conducts, overcoming temptations, defeating selfism, placing the collective interests of the Party, the nation, and the masses ahead of personal interests. President Ho Chi Minh once reminded and required the Communist Party of Viet Nam to maintain morality; each Party member should be deeply imbued with revolutionary morality. Each Party member should display diligence, thrift, integrity, honesty, “public-spiritedness, and selflessness” (4). Hence, “it is of great importance to maintain transparency in the Party, making it a deserving leader and the people’s servant” (5). President Ho Chi Minh left valuable moral heritages including his perspectives on revolutionary morality, and he has always been a shining example of revolutionary morality. The requirements on morality for each revolutionary cadre now become widely accepted moral norms in Viet Nam present-day society.

President Ho Chi Minh once said that for each individual, revolutionary morality occupies an important part, as the root of a tree. “Without revolutionary morals, talented revolutionaries become useless” (6). He also said that “Like a river that must have water sources and a tree that must have roots, revolutionary people must be truly imbued with revolutionary morals. If not, they cannot lead the people. Without morality, revolutionaries will be not able to cater for good causes such as liberating their country and the humankind as a whole” (7). He affirmed that “Success or failure depends on whether cadres are truly imbued with revolutionary morality or not” (8). The absence of revolutionary morality is the root of negative manifestations existing within the Party and the society. These manifestations could be “corruption or wastefulness of State and collective resources, hampering economic development which is dedicated to improving the people’s living standard” (9). Hence, he taught that “in contact with the people, it is important to build and display a good image of “communist” owning exceptional qualities and dignity that the masses respect” (10). “The magnificent legacy that a nation, a party, and the people built in the past will not remain perpetual and touted if individualism prevails” (11).

In order to apply revolutionary morality in reality in accordance with pertinent situations, President Ho Chi Minh set out specific requirements for different groups of cadres and party members. This is because each group is characterized by their own virtues, and living and working conditions; however they all share a common duty which is serving the people while leading and  encouraging them to implement the Party’s guidelines and policies and abide by the State’s laws with a view to building a “rich-people, strong-nation, and democratic, equitable, and civilized society”. Though the revolution cause is dedicated to all the people, cadres and party members should be good and vanguard examples for the people to follow.

It is undeniable that morality is as important as the root of a tree, though moral norms are normally historical and specific. During the course of leading the Vietnamese revolution to independence, the Party placed special importance to the work of building and rectification of the Party, challenging and nurturing cadres, preventing and curbing ideological, ethical and lifestyle degradation, as well as the manifestation of “self-evolution” and “self-transformation” within the organization. The work plays a pivotal part in determining the existence of the Party and Socialism. This is not only a fundamental and long-term issue, but also an imperative requirement for the Party on the ideological and cultural front in current situation.

The current situation of cadres and party members’ morality and lifestyle

A vast majority of cadres and Party members stay loyal to the goal and cause of national independence in association with socialism; display a high sense of responsibility assigned by the Party; mobilize, educate, and encourage the people to implement the Party’s resolutions, guidelines, policies, and to abide by the State’s laws.  Most of the leaders of all levels are sensitized to their assigned responsibilities and tasks, actively nurture personal dignity and ethics and preserve the internal solidarity; actively enhance working competence, especially implementing, perceiving, and better settling missions emerging during renovation or Doi Moiperiod and the context of international integration. During their service, numerous pivotal cadres of all levels display their enthusiasm, responsibility, energy, creativity, daring, democratic working style, determination, and political steadfastness. They always demonstrate exemplary morality, honesty, modesty, close contact with the people, and trustworthiness. Becoming an influential force encouraging the people to participate in patriotic emulation movements and promote socio-economic development, they have gained remarkable achievements during the cause of renovation. Outstanding individuals have emerged as typical examples in studying and following Ho Chi Minh’s thought, morality and lifestyle.

The work of building a new society and lightened Vietnamese people witnesses significant achievements in all aspects of life. For example, the people’s creativity and dynamics are brought into full play. Also socialist democracy is extensively promoted. Public security and wellbeing are improved considerably, bringing about practical benefits to the people. Hence, the spiritual and material life of the people is improved significantly. Most people hold absolute belief in the Party’s leadership, and build up excitement in the national achievements. The sense of solidarity, the consciousness of national traditions and preservation and promotion of cultural identity is widely spread. More and more people take interest in the Party’s guidelines, policies and the State’s laws, and take part in community work. The gratitude, humanitarian, building-rich-and-strong-fatherland and “All people unite to build a cultural life” movements are well touted and participated. Since the Party was founded, universal education about revolutionary morals has directed the people’s conducts and brought about radical changes to the cadres and Party members’ working style, combating and living activities, contributing to the secured victory of the people’s democratic revolution and to the outstanding historic achievements during Doi Moiperiod.

However, the degradation in political ideology, morality and lifestyle among a group of Party members has a negative impact on the revolutionary cause. “Deterioration in political ideology, morality and lifestyle among a not-small portion of public cadre and Party members, as well as red tape, corruption and wastefulness have not been rolled back yet. Crimes and social vices remain complicated. Morality is degraded severely in some aspects of the society.  Socialist democracy and national solidarity are yet to be brought into full play. Disciplines are yet to be strictly observed” (12).

Resolution No. 04-NQ-TW on “Enhancement of Party building and rectification, pointing to manifestations of degradation in political ideology, morality and lifestyle as well as “self-evolution” and “self-transformation” among Party members” points out specific manifestations of degradation in political ideology, morality and lifestyle, and “self-evolution” and “self-transformation” among a group of cadres and Party members. This worrying situation, resulting in negative effects on various fields such as loss of State, the people’s assets and resources, self-transformation, hampered Party’s leadership, eroded belief in the Party and socialism, factionalism within the Party and State administrative apparatus, presents an imminent threat to political stability and existence of the Party and socialism. Not only does the degradation in morality and lifestyle affect the development and stability of individuals, families, and the society, but it also tarnishes the image of the people and Viet Nam in international arena. This situation has its roots from lack of moral education, entanglement with individualism, and the temptation of power, money, and fame. There are also other causes such as evading responsibility, indifference, not daring to criticize, combat manifestations of wrongdoings in Party cells, especially not defending the right and not daring to combat the wrong. As a result, it is imperative to put forward drastic measures to prevent and combat manifestations of degradation in morality and lifestyle among cadres and Party members. This is the mission dedicated to the entire political system, the Party, and all the people, particularly on the ideological front.

Enhancing ideological work, combating individualism and opportunism, and pragmatism, curbing degradation in morality and lifestyle

Enhancing ideological work is an effective measure to equip cadres and Party members with revolutionary morality. Marxism-Leninism, Ho Chi Minh Thought specifies the crucial importance of ideological work in forming ideological unity – the source of power that could bright about triumph for the revolution. V.I. Lenin once said that “ideological unity lays foundation to build ideological consensus” (13), which means disseminating radical ideology adopted by the vanguard class (14). Sharing the same view, President Ho Chi Minh affirmed that “ideology education and ideology work which are of the greatest importance to the Party should be aimed to combat manifestations of taking ideology for granted” (15).

The Party issued important resolutions and directives (16) aiming at building and rectifying the Party, building lightened Vietnamese people, a new society, and a cadre contingent that is both “red” and “expert”. Promoting the implementation of the Party’s resolutions and directives across the political system brings about significant progress in cadres and Party members’ awareness, notably, Politburo’s Directive No.03-CT/TW on “Continued acceleration of studying and following late President Ho Chi Minh’s exemplary morals”, Resolution No.12-NQ/TW “Current urgent issues on Party building”, the Politburo’s Decree No. 05-CT/TW "On promoting learning and following Ho Chi Minh's ideology, morality, style", and Resolution No. 04-NQ-TW on “Enhancement of Party building and rectification, pointing to manifestations of degradation in political ideology, morality and lifestyle as well as “self-evolution” and “self-transformation” among Party members”. Initial positive results have been recorded since the implementation of these documents, through which the Party shows its determination to prevent and repel manifestations of “self-evolution” and “self-transformation” among Party members.

The Communist Party of Viet Nam, the only ruling party in Viet Nam, is accountable for settling all important issues of the country. Therefore, in order to prevent and repel degradation in morality and lifestyle, the Party is supposed to enhance Party building and rectification.

First of all, raising awareness

Raising awareness of the importance and the role of the ideological work in building and rectifying the Party, aiming to generate a sense of ideological consensus among Party members and the people, as President Ho Chi Minh once emphasized the leading role of ideological work as the most important one (17). In his words, before rectifying an organization, ideology rectification should be carried out. This is because some Party members’ ideology remains unmatched with the Party’s. More or less, they bear evil resemblance of exploitation, and have little knowledge about the proletariat and Communist Party (18).

Combining “building” and “combating” is a fundamental measure to prevent and repel degradation in morality and lifestyle, and other negative manifestations. Thus, it is essential to establish a set of standard norms that directs the people’s conducts, and that models Ho Chi Minh’s thought, lifestyle and morality. Though President Ho Chi Minh was dubbed by different researchers through different angles: a genius revolutionary, a great leader, a great man of culture, or a Vietnamese Hero of National Liberation, it is undeniable that his legacy of ideology, morality, and lifestyle holds foremost values in his career and life.

Preventing and repelling degradation in morality and lifestyle is not only a fundamental but also urgent issue. Hence, it is vital that degradation prevention and repelling are done on a regular and long-term basis, simultaneously with effective drastic actions, and in absence of complacency despite initial positive result. If the degradation becomes “severe and protracted”, reaching strategic cadres, eroding the people’s faith in the Party, it must be specially addressed.

The people also play an important part in preventing and repelling degradation in morality, lifestyle and other negative manifestations. Viet Nam follows the path of socialism which underscores the people’s leadership, so mobilizing the people to take part in preventing and repelling degradation in morality and lifestyle is necessary. President Ho Chi Minh said that Party building involves building ideology, politics and organization. The mission of Party building is given to the whole country. The people’s involvement could include their understanding and supporting the Party, responding to the Party’s appeals, or reporting developments happening in places they live to the Party (19). He also affirmed that once emerging issues and missions are fully recognized and perceived, ideological consensus is reached. This will generate unanimous actions. If the ideological consensus is reached across the Party from central to local cells, all missions will be fulfilled despite difficulties or hardships.

Secondly, enriching the working class nature of the Communist Party of Viet Nam, imposing strict regulations on developing and nurturing cadres and Party members’ morality, ways of living

Cadres and Party members of all levels are supposed to seriously implement self-criticism and criticism in Party activities. Self-criticism and criticism should be frequently overseen by the people. There should be blueprints, methods, and mechanisms for the people to exercise their right to oversee and give feedbacks to Party organizations and Party members. They should also comply with binding regulations such as Regulation No. 101-QD/TW, dated 7 June 2012, of the Secretariat, “On the responsibility of setting an example of cadres and party members, especially key cadres at all levels”, Regulation No. 55-QD / TW, dated 19 September 2016, of the Politburo, “On a number of things to be done immediately to enhance the role of cadres and party members.”, Regulation No. 08-QDi/TW, dated 25 October 2018, of the Party Central Committee, “On the responsibility of setting an example of cadres and party members, especially Politburo members, members of Party Central Committee's Secretariat, members of Central Committee”. By doing this, cadres and Party members’ prestige is raised. Likewise, self-criticism and criticism become a custom practiced widely within the Party and the society.

Beefing up education work on politics, ideology, traditions, ideals, morality and ways of living, as stated in the documents of the 12th National Congress of the Communist Party of Viet Nam: “Accelerating the circulation and learning of Marxism-Leninism, Ho Chi Minh Thought, the Party’s guidelines, policies, and the State’s laws dedicated to specific groups in a detailed, practical and effective manner” (20). Scheduling the implementation of, and regularly educating and updating cadres and Party members, especially strategic ones on the knowledge, ideology, and theoretical politics. Attaching importance to reforming the education contents and programs, so that they are practical, flexible, and tailor-made to suit all groups. Bedsides, cadres and Party members should raise awareness about self-criticizing and rectifying shortcomings such as poor knowledge of political theory, distancing theory from practice, selfism, and collectivism.

Thirdly, beefing up the dissemination of widespread, diversified, lively, and effective implementation of the Politburo’s Decree No. 05-CT/TW "On promoting learning and following Ho Chi Minh's ideology, morality, style", and Resolution No. 04-NQ-TW on “Enhancement of Party building and rectification, pointing to manifestations of degradation in political ideology, morality and lifestyle as well as “self-evolution” and “self-transformation” among Party members”

The key to success in widespread learning and following Ho Chi Minh’s thought, lifestyle and morality lies in the effective implementation of regulations on the responsibility of setting an example of cadres and party members, especially high-ranking ones. Hence, Ho Chi Minh morality and traditional moral values are universally disseminated, absorbed and incorporated into historical and living lessons in a vibrant way. Simultaneously, actively building cultural life and conforming to social moral norms during the course of acceleration of industrialization and modernization; speeding up wide and deep international integration; employing these norms along with constructive public voices, and the State’s laws to fight against immoral, negative manifestations. Formulating drastic mechanisms for supervising the implementation of regulations on the responsibility of setting an example of cadres and party members, so that the moral education could reach every corner of the society and all walks of life. As a result, each individual will cultivate the good habits of maintaining moral practices, unity between thought and action, diligence, thrift, integrity, honesty, public-spiritedness, and selflessness, and harmony.

Fourthly, fiercely fighting against evil, immoral ideologies, and alleviating the downside of the market economy and globalization, and struggling against peaceful evolution strategies launched by hostile forces

The process of developing market economy and international integration not only gives new momentum for economic development, but also poses challenges to the society’s morality and lifestyle, such as individualism, material pleasure, luxury enjoyment, money worship, and the practice of flouting moral codes. Coming amidst international integration and globalization, hostile forces have circulated evil ideologies to extreme individuals, gradually causing degradation in the society’s morality and lifestyle, and spreading into the Party. Hence, under no circumstance should “building” be separated from “fighting”. Fiercely preventing and fighting against evil, reactionary morality to its root and from its embryo. “Filtering” information on social media before it comes to cadres and Party members; imposing severe punishments for those who propagate reactionary and detrimental information on social media; actively replicating good examples in the spirit of “beauty dies and fades away but ugly holds its own”

Fifthly, strongly reforming the cadre work; building cadre contingent towards high caliber, competence, and prestige; boycotting phenomenon of “buying” positions, “justice-buying”; removing those with degraded morality and incompetence.

Raising awareness of principled issues, such as "Success or failure depends on good or bad cadres.”, “Cadres are the root of all work”, cadres must “dare to shoulder responsibility and take bold actions”. Bringing into full play democracy, promoting the people’s right to supervise, criticise, and comment. Developing a sense of responsibility in Party leadership, the Fatherland Front, socio-political unions when dealing with cadre work; specifying cadre-specific responsibility for particular appointments. Renovating the method of cadre evaluation basing on performance, the measurement of work efficiency, and the trust among the people. Mapping out equitable, acceptable rewarding and salary policy that could guarantee a decent life for cadres and civil servants.

Sixthly, bringing into full play socialist democracy in daily life in accordance with President Ho Chi Minh’s testament: “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”(21)

This is the panacea for all difficulties and hardships. It is advisable to introduce laws ensuring agencies elected by the people and that represent their voices under the Party’s leadership. Establishing democracy is synonymous with exercising the people’s right to supervise the Party and the State’s organs, cadres and Party members. Democracy should always come with discipline maintenance under all circumstances. Boycotting the notion of fake democracy and populism. Only genuine democracy could maximize the people’s power, repel and lessen the risk of moral and lifestyle degradation prevailing in the society

Seventhly, accelerating the perfection of law system and raising cadres and Party members’ awareness of abiding by the State’s laws.

Laws and morality play an essential role in social management. Hence, there is an urgent need to build, amend, and perfect the legal system; address shortcomings in making and enforcing laws, and in the judicial system; boost up law dissemination; raise cadres and the people’s awareness of abiding by the State’s laws. The higher position a cadre holds, the more he should set a good example of abiding by the State’s laws.

Finally, paying attention to cadre doing the ideological work and dissemination and education work.

On August 1, 2018, addressing the Central Commission for Information and Education, Party General Secretary Nguyen Phu Trong affirmed that: “It is of great importance to train and educate dissemination cadres to meet the requirements posed in the current situation, rendering them loyal, consistent, steadfast, daring to fight, competent, free of bribery, and directing them towards “Speech goes with deed”. This should be done in a democratic, sincere, voluntary, tactful and compelling manner, avoiding reluctance, imposition and bossiness”. He also added that dissemination work should not be dedicated “solely” to the Central Commission for Information and Education. It is the responsibility of dissemination and training commission of all levels, socio-political unions, Viet Nam Fatherland Front and localities.

***

Building revolutionary morality and cultural life as a whole are a long-term task with a plethora of hardships, which are carried out from social and historical existence. As the society is developed, issues concerning culture, morality, and lifestyle draw considerable attention from the people, requiring the involvement of the political system and the society as a whole. Addressing a video-teleconference between the Government and localities on December 12, 2019, Party General Secretary and State President Nguyen Phu Trong held that: “Imposing strict administrative disciplines, regularly inspecting, urging task fulfillment; enhancing cadres and civil servants’ revolutionary morality, culture and work-efficiency. Persistently and drastically preventing and fighting against corruption, wastefulness, and other negative manifestations in tandem with accelerating the compilation, perfection of laws, leaving no space of loophole for corruption”. During the course of national renovation, we need to combine and synchronously implement following tasks: socio-economic development as the centerpiece; Party building as the key; cultural and human development as the spiritual foundation; and enhanced national defense and security as a vital and constant task. Only in this way can we successfully build a “rich people-strong nation-equitable, democratic and civilized society”, with an eye to socialism.

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(1) Pham Hong Tung: “An investigation into lifestyle: Concepts and Approaches”, VNU Journal of Science: Social Sciences and Humanities 23 (2007)

(2) Document of the fifth plenary meeting of the 12th Communist Party of Viet Nam (CPV) Central Committee, Truth National Political Publishing House, Ha Noi, 1998, p. 56

(3) Ho Chi Minh: Complete Works, Publishing House. National politics, Hanoi, 2011, t. 5, p. 291, 292

(4) Ho Chi Minh: Complete Works, ibid, t. 5, p. 292; t. 6, p. 290; t. 11, p. 603; t. 13, p. 90

(5) Ho Chi Minh: Complete Works, ibid, t. 15, p. 622

(6) Ho Chi Minh: Complete Works, ibid, t. 14, p. 400  

(7) Ho Chi Minh: Complete Works, ibid, t. 5, p. 292 – 293

(8) Ho Chi Minh: Complete Works, ibid, t. 9, p. 354

(9) Ho Chi Minh: Complete Works, ibid, t. 14, p. 29

(10) Ho Chi Minh: Complete Works, ibid, t. 6, p. 16

(11) Ho Chi Minh: Complete Works, ibid, t. 15, p. 672

(12) Document of the 12th National Congress of the Communist Party of Viet Nam, Party Central Office, Hanoi, 2016, p. 61

(13) V.I. Lenin: Complete Works, National Political Publishing House, Hanoi, 2005, t. 5, p. 336

(14) .I. Lenin: Complete Works, ibid, t. 7, p. 530

(15) Ho Chi Minh: Complete Works, ibid, t. 8, p. 279

(16) Resolution No.03-NQ/ TW, dated July 16, 1998 of the 5th Plenum of the Party Central Committee, 8th Tenure on “Building an advanced culture imbued with national identity of Viet Nam”, Resolution No. 10-NQ/TW, dated February 2, 1999 of the 6th Plenum of the Party Central Committee, 8th Tenure on “Fundamental and urgent issues in Party building at present,

Resolution 33/NQ-TW, dated June 9, 2014 of the 9th Plenum of the Party Central Committee, 11th Tenure on “Building and developing Viet Namese culture and people to meet the requirements of sustainable national development.”

Resolution No. 04-NQ-TW, dated August 21, 2016 of the 3rd Plenum of the Party Central Committee, 10th Tenure on “Enhancing the leadership of the Communist Party over the fight against corruption and waste.

Politburo Directive No. 03-CT/TW, dated May 14, 2011 on “Continued acceleration of studying and following President Ho Chi Minh’s moral example

Resolution No.12-NQ/TW, dated January 16, 2012 of the 4th Plenum of the Central Conference’s Resolution, 11th Tenure on “Current urgent issues on Party building

Decree No. 05-CT/TW, dated 15 May 2016, of the Politburo, on “Promoting learning and following Ho Chi Minh's ideology, morality, style”;

Politburo’s Resolution No. 35-NQ/TW, dated October 22, 2018 on “Strengthening the protection of the Party's ideological foundation, and the fight against the wrong and hostile views in the new situation.”

(17) Ho Chi Minh: Complete Works, ibid, t. 8, p. 554

(18) Ho Chi Minh: Complete Works, ibid, t. 6, p. 299 - 300

(19) Ho Chi Minh: Complete Works, ibid, t. 8, p. 280 - 281

(20) Document of the 12th National Congress of the Communist Party of Viet Nam, ibid, p. 200

(21) Ho Chi Minh: Complete Works, ibid, t. 15, p. 611


Source: Communist Review, No. 946 (July 2020)

Vo Van Thuong

Politburo Member, Party Secretary Head of the Party Central Committee’s Commission for Information and Education

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