Monday, 20:07 26-04-2021

Vladimir Lenin’s legacy: Theoretical and practical values for the world revolution and Vietnam

Marxism and Leninism Monday, 20:07 26-04-2021
Communist Review - By his outstanding theoretical and practical activities, V.I. Lenin defended and developed Marxism in the new historical period - the period of imperialism and proletarian revolution. He successfully led the great Russian Revolution in 1917, creating the world's first peasantry, making socialism from scientific reasoning to vital reality, opening a new era in human history - the era of transition from capitalism to socialism. His life and revolutionary career is immensely great because his contributions to the working class and the oppressed workers around the world are exceptionally significant.
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Lenin went to Smolny Palace to direct the armed resistance in order to rise up against the provisional bourgeois government and establish the Soviet government _Source: Documentary

V.I. Lenin creatively developed Marxism in terms of the potential victory of the proletariat during the period of imperialism, successfully led the October Revolution and ushered in the era of transition from capitalism to socialism

When analyzing the historical and natural development of humanity in the capitalist period, K. Marx and Friedrich Engels predicted that the communist revolutions “would happen simultaneously in all civilized countries, that means, at least in Britain, United States, France and Germany” (1). By the general law, when forces of production develop to the level that they cannot be compatible with the current relations of production, a social revolution will inevitably occur in order to destroy the old production relations and establish new production relations which are more suitable with the development level of forces of production.

However, when analyzing the nature of capitalism in the period of imperialism, V.I. Lenin found that capitalism had new characteristics. In his work “Imperialism - the Highest Stage of Capitalism”, V.I. Lenin discovered the laws of unequal capitalist development and predicted that “Socialism can prevail firstly in a few capitalist countries or even in just one capitalist country”(2).

Throughout his analysis of the specific circumstances of Russia in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, V.I. Lenin stated that Russia has become a high convergence of universal contradictions and was the weakest stage in the chain of the world imperialism(3). So, V.I. Lenin and the genuine Russian Marxists actively prepared the conditions for the Russian proletarian revolution. Under the leadership of the Russian Bolshevik Party headed by V.I. Lenin, the working class of Russia rebelled to carry out the great October Revolution, overthrew the reactionary bourgeois government, create the first peasant state in the world. This brings scientific socialism from theory to reality and opens a new period of transition from capitalism to socialism not only to one single country but also to the world system.

The victory of the Russian Revolution was not a “premature birth” nor a “subjective improvisation” or “a fortune” as the distortions of hostile forces. That victory was inevitable because imperialism in Russia revealed fierce and irreparable contradictions: the Tsarist regime became too corrupt, the Russian bourgeoisie became an extremely reactionary force; the working class of Russia was pushed into revolution to rise up against oppression. It is also the inevitable result of a careful and long-term preparation of V.I. Lenin and the Russian Bolshevik Party - a genuine revolutionary party equipped by the scientific, revolutionary and development doctrine of Marxism that V.I. Lenin added, developed and applied himself in creative way to the specific context in Russia.

V.I. Lenin complemented and developed creatively the Marxist theory of socialism and the path toward socialism

After the Russian Revolution, a question of both fundamental and urgent nature posed for V.I. Lenin and the Russian Bolshevik Party was to manage and develop the country to turn Russia from a backward state into a socialist one. The leader V.I. Lenin must shoulder responsibilities to apply creatively the Marxist theory in the first socialist realism of mankind.

In the early years after the Russian Revolution, the “war communism” was applied as a situational measure (from 1918 to 1921) to meet the urgent demands of the civil war against enemies within and without to protect the young Soviet government. However, when Soviet Russia entered a period of peace, that policy was no longer appropriate to the circumstances and it became an obstacle to its development, causing production stagnation and socio-economic crisis and political crisis risk.

Aware of these risks, with their intelligence and the bravery of communists, in March 1921, at the 10th Congress of the Russian Communist Party, V.I. Lenin and the Russian Bolshevik Party made a historic decision. It was to replace “the War Communism” with “the New Economic Policy” (NEP) by which they accorded priority to economic and cultural development and implemented a comprehensive reform of models and methods of developing socialism with the spirit: We must take a step back and take a detour, "build small solid bridges" to transit to socialism (4).

With effective and strong reform measures, the “New Economic Policy” gave priority to the development of a multi-sector economy; replaced the regime of confiscation of surplus food with expropriation and food tax policy; expanded the exchange of goods between urban and rural areas and between industrial and agricultural sectors. Businessmen are free to do business; The economic accounting regime was applied. The practical benefits of workers and individuals were encouraged. With the scientific and dialectical thinking of Marxism, V.I. Lenin clearly understood that in order to successfully develop socialism in Russia, it was necessary to study and inherit the achievements of capitalism, to “use both hands to get the good of foreign countries”(5). He clearly stated that the communists must also learn to do business, learn to organize work and manage, they must know to enrich their intelligence “by acquiring the treasure of human knowledge”(6). All these measures aimed at exploiting and promoting all resources, all economic sectors to develop production, to “bring socialism into daily life”(7), to build the model of socialist realisme by practical results in the production and development process.

Under actual Russian conditions, the implementation of the “New Economic Policy” was not a smooth process. Even among the Communist Party members, many people doubted that it was a “compromise” with capitalism and represented a risk of recovering capitalism in Russia, betrayed the revolutionary cause led by K. Marx during his lifetime. When analyzing the practice, V.I. Lenin realized that in a backward country that was in a transition period to socialism, a multi-sector economy was an inevitable trend (8). That did not contradict the Marxist theory. In his work “The Critique of the Gotha Programme”, K. Marx pointed out that: due to just escaping from a capitalist society, society in transition socialism in all aspects (economic, ethical, mental) bears traces of the old society that gave birth to it(9). That is an objective feature in the period of transition to socialism, especially for small, backward agricultural countries. The fact has proved that thanks to this “new economic policy”, Soviet Russia quickly restored its economy, stabilized society, improved people's lives, demonstrated the vitality and superiority of the socialism. Unfortunately, after V.I. Lenin’s death, this policy was not fully implemented.

Over the past 100 years, socialist realism in the world has experienced many ups and downs. During their existence and development, the Soviet Union and socialist countries have gained several great achievements. However, since the 70s of the twentieth century, these countries have fallen into serious stagnation and crisis. As a result, socialism in the Soviet Union and Eastern Europe collapsed. This is a great loss to the world revolutionary movement, but clearly it is not the fall of socialism in general or the fall of Marxism-Leninism in particular, it is just the collapse of a defective socialist realism with many flaws such as centralized planning, bureaucracy, willpower, literal dogma, stereotypes, disrecpect of Marxism-Leninism’s basic principles, especially the historical principle consisting of lack of the leading role of the pioneer party, disadaptation to the economic, political and social evolutions. It is also a consequence of serious mistakes in political, ideological orientations and the human resources organization of the ruling party during the reform process. That failure made us understand the great significance of the change from “the War communism” to “New economic policy” and the precious classic instructions of V.I. Lenin to the reform of socialist realism to overcome stagnation, crisis and continue to revive and develop in the future.

V.I.Lenin is a great example in the struggle to protect and develop creatively Marxism

In the context of capitalism shifting to imperialism and the collapse of the Second International, V.I. Lenin persisted in a fierce struggle with those who opposed and distorted Marxism. He has written a series of famous works, like “What to do?” (1902), “One step forward, two steps backward” (1904), “Materialism and Empirio-criticism” (1909), “The imperialism, the highest stage of capitalism” (1916), “The State and revolution” (1917), “The proletarian revolution and Kautsky the renegade” (1918), etc.  Thereby, V.I. Lenin pointed out the nature of opportunists as “easily admitting all formulas and easily abandoning all formulas”(10); they recognized the slogan of defending the homeland and bourgeois patriotism; they acknowledged class struggle. However, in nature, they denied the proletariat and the revolutionary violence; they upholded reformism of capitalism. They only pretended to support Marxism but they buried Marxism in reality. They called to support workers to fight on condition that they could not destroy the bourgeois state and replace it with the proletariat. That meant the workers kept fighting but they absolutely could not win!)(11). With his wisdom, his rich practical revolutionary experiences and his absolute belief in Marxism and his astute approach, V.I. Lenin revealed and rejected the erroneous and reactionary views of opportunism to defend the scientific, revolutionary, and transparent Marxism. The victory in thought and theory of V.I. Lenin and the true Russian communists became an important condition for Marxism to truly be a flag of thought, the theory leading to the inevitable victory of the Russian Revolution.

According to V.I. Lenin, the defense of Marxism had to be attached to solving practical political tasks at a strategic level. After the successful Russian Revolution, V.I. Lenin pointed out that the revolutionaries “had to prove by reality that they were not only capable of overthrowing the oppression but also organizing themselves, doing everything to protect themselves”(12). V. I. Lenin observed that “the revolution must know self-defense” to resist the resistance of the bourgeois forces, the oppressive forces in order to regain the “lost paradise”. In addition, they must be resolute against opportunism and reactionary forces in order to protect the revolutionary achievements and successfully build socialism.

V.I.Lenin affirmed that in order to defend the revolutionary achievements, it was necessary not only to strengthen the military and defense, but also to create new economic relations, a new society with modern economic development, high productivity; high intellectual level of the people, a new state model, a democratic politics attracting the participation of a large number of people. In addition, it is necessary to regularly fight against outside hostile forces and internal evils, especially bureaucracy, corruption, bribery, and communist arrogance. V.I.Lenin warned: “No one can destroy us but our own mistakes. The most important thing is in this "if". If we get a separation by mistake, all will collapse ”(14).

Human history has admitted V.I Lenin was one of the first reformers in the process of building and perfecting socialist realism. It is in the context of capitalism from free competition to imperialism, in his struggle and lead of Russian revolution, V.I. Lenin applied and developed Marxism creatively and comprehensively on all three basic component parts: philosophy, political economy and scientific socialism to form Marxism - Leninism. It is his particularly outstanding contribution to humanity all over the world.

Theory of colonial question and national question by V.I. Lenin is a valuable guide to oppressed countries in their struggle for national independence

As capitalism evolved into imperialism, colonial occupations and imperial wars were intensified. So, the issue of colonial nations became a practical and urgent political problem for Communist Parties and workers. Therefore, V.I. Lenin has devoted a lot of efforts to researching this issue and creating scientific theories about the path of liberation of colonial peoples, which is shown in a number of his works such as “Critical remarks on national question of the Russian Social-Democratic Labour Party”(1913), “The Right of Nations to Self-Determination” (1914),“The Socialist Revolution and the Right of Nations to Self-Determination” (1916), “Prelimary Draft Theses on National and Colonial Questions” (1920), etc. Throughout these works, it is the spirit: all peoples are completely equal; nations have the right to self-determination; workers of all countries must ally together.

According to V.I. Lenin, the proletarian revolution in metropolitain countries must be associated with the national liberation revolution of colonial countries. And to radically solve the national question, the national liberation of colonial countries had to move on the trajectory of the proletarian revolution. The liberation of colonial nations was not only a responsibility and a duty but also a condition to ensure the victory of the struggle of the working class and the communists in metropolitain countries. In the new conditions, the implementation of the national question program must be associated with the world revolutionary movement and internationalism of working class. The  rallying cry "Proletarians of all countries, unite!" has been varied by Lenin into "Workers and Oppressed Peoples and Nations of the World, Unite!". It has become the common rallying cry of workers and oppressed peoples around the world.

By leading the socialism formation in Soviet Russia as well as founding and leading the Communist International (March 1919), V.I. Lenin did his best for the liberation of colonial countries and considered it as one of the vital goals of socialist revolution. Illuminated by Leninism, strongly inspired by the great Russian Revolution and helped by the Communist International formed by V.I. Lenin, workers in many colonial countries have awakened and rebelled to fight against imperialism, old and new colonialism to gain independence and freedom. After being liberated by themselves from the chains of imperial forces and colonies, many countries chose the socialism, contributing to creat three great locomotives of the world revolutionary movement in the twentieth century. At the same time, through the practice of the national liberation movement in colonial countries and during the socialism formation,  communist parties and workers have complemented many valuable arguments to the theoretical treasure of Marxism-Leninism including the remarkable points of President Ho Chi Minh and the Communist Party of Vietnam. In the new context and from the actual Vietnamese revolution, President Ho Chi Minh argued that communism penetrated in Asia more easily than in Europe; the national liberation revolution in colonial countries could explode and win before the proletariat in metropolitain countries; national independence must be associated with socialism; it is necessary to carry out the socialist revolution and the people's democratic revolution in both Southside and Northside of Vietnam. Those creative thinkings contributed to supplement, develop and affirm the vitality of Marxism-Leninism in the new era.

V.I. Lenin’s legacy was the light for the Vietnamese revolution in the Ho Chi Minh era

In his journey to find the way to save the country, from a patriot, Nguyen Ai Quoc has become a communist. That turning point came when he had access to the “Prelimary Draft Theses on National and Colonial Questions" (in 1920) by V.I. Lenin. He wrote: “Lenin's theses made me very touched, excited, clear and confident! I cried happy tears. Sitting alone in the bedroom, I spoke aloud as if speaking in front of a large crowd: “Oh my oppressed compatriots! This is a necessary thing for us, this is the way to liberate us! Since then, I completely believe in Lenin and in the Third International”(15).

President Ho Chi Minh believes in V.I. Lenin, believed in the Russian Revolution and chose the path of proletarian revolution not only because he admired and respected V.I. Lenin and the Russian Revolution led by V.I. Lenin but also because in his quest to save his country and his studies about political practice and ideologies during decades in different countries, he found that there was so much to learn from “revolutions” or “doctrines” but only the Russian Revolution was a complete success and Leninism was “the most genuine, the most sure, the most revolutionary”(16). Only following the way of the Russian Revolution and Marxism-Leninism can satisfy the objective requirements of the nation's history, which is national independence and prosperity and freedom, happiness to the people.

Since then, President Ho Chi Minh affirmed "To save the country and liberate the nation, there is no other way than the path of proletarian revolution" (17). Only liberating the proletariat could help to liberate the nation. At the same time, it is impossible to liberate the proletariat without solving the question of national independence. National independence is associated with the guarantee of human rights, such as the right to life, the right to equality, the right to freedom and the right to happiness. The Vietnamese revolution has only one evident path of national independence associated with socialism; the people's democratic revolution was attached to the socialist revolution. The persistence of the motto “national independence is associated with socialism” - an unprecedented approach resulted from the creative application of Marxism-Leninism into the Vietnamese revolution has become the guideline of the Communist Party of Vietnam and is the only right path creating victories for the struggle for national liberation and the national development.

With their bravery, wisdom and spirit of innovation, their steadfastness to Marxism-Leninism and Ho Chi Minh's ideology, our Communist Party of Vietnam will lead the Vietnamese people to success in the cause of building and defending socialist Vietnam

The Communist Party of Vietnam has applied creatively Marxism-Leninism and Ho Chi Minh's ideology in accordance with the actual situation of Vietnam. It was profoundly aware of the inevitable and objective development laws. Therefore, our Party has carried out the reform by which Vietnam has made a shift from a centralized bureaucratic subsidized system to a socialist-oriented market economy; promoted industrialization, modernization and international integration in order to build socialism to reach the goals of “wealthy people, strong country, democratic, fair and civilized society”.

From the reality of doi moi, the Communist Party of Vietnam has constantly supplemented and perfected the theorical framework of socialism  and the path to socialism in Vietnam so that on that basis, they proposed policies on improving institutions to develop socialist-oriented market economy, strongly reform the growth model, restructure the economy to enhance productivity, efficiency and competitiveness, promote sustainable development, combine economic growth with cultural and human resource development, solve social problems, protect natural resources and environment, promote Vietnamese cultural values and the potentials of Vietnamese people, promot patriotism, the aspiration for development, combine the strength of the great national unity with the strength of the world, protect the independence, sovereignty and territorial integrity of the country, maintain a peaceful and stable environment, make a comprehensive and extensive intergration, protect national interests on the basis of respect of international law and the principles of equality and mutual benefits.

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The Communist Party of Vietnam steadfastly pursues the goal of national independence associated with socialism on the basis of Marxism-Leninism and Ho Chi Minh's ideology _ Graphics: Trung Duy

Over 90 years of development, with its experience and its  courage of a genuine revolutionary party, the Communist Party of Vietnam has always been aware of the need to build a clean and strong political system and Party. It is necessary to improve the Party's leadership capacity, strengthen the relationship with the people, build the Party based on the strength of the people, create a more qualified cadre of staff and party members, especially strategic –level cadres so that they can deal with new and complicated challenges during the innovation process. In particular, during its XII Congress, the Communist Party of Vietnam has drastically and synchronously fought the fight against corruption, waste, and decline of political ideology and morality, lifestyle and has achieved many outstanding results. As a result, corruption and waste are gradually reduced. Party members and people support the Party's policies and appreciate their successes. This can be said to be a bright spot of Party members of the XII Congress term.

After nearly 35 years of reform and 30 years of implementing the "Platform for national construction in the period of transition to socialism", especially in the last 10 years, Vietnam has obtained significant historical achievements. The country has never had the potential and position like it is today”(18). Vietnam has risen sharply to become a developing country and belong to the group of middle - income countries. The scale and level of its economy has been raised. The cultural and social life has been comprehensively developed, the material and spiritual life of all people has been improved, the block of great national unity has been constantly strengthened. Political and social stability, national defense and security have been strengthened, independence and sovereignty have been maintained; the country's position and reputation have been increasingly enhanced in the international arena.

These meritorious achievements are the result of the creativity of the Party and Vietnamese people and it affirms that the path to socialism in Vietnam is in line with its actual situation and the development trends of the era, the Party's innovation policy is correct and creative. The correct leadership of the Party is the decisive factor for the victory of the Vietnamese revolution. The 1991 platform complemented in 2011 continues to be the ideological foundation for the Communist Party of Vietnam to develop its theoretical system of socialism and the path to socialism and to perfect its policy of national development in a new era”(19).

*  *  *

The 150th birthday of the genius leader V.I. Lenin (April 22, 1870 - April 22, 2020) is an occasion for us to honor his life, career and great contributions to the working class and all oppressed nations all over the world. This is also an opportunity for us to continue our studies to better understand his intellect, bravery and personality in the protection, application and creative development of Marxism in building socialist realism in Soviet Russia; to better understand the lessons learned in the process of building socialist realism in the world. Since then, we are more confident to pursue Marxism-Leninism, Ho Chi Minh's thought and persevere in pursuing the goal of national independence and socialism, steadfast in the innovation and are determined to overcome all difficulties and challenges to make Vietnam a developed socialism oriented country equal to the great powers of the five continents as desired President Ho Chi Minh since his timeline./.

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(1) K. Mark and F. Engels: Collected works, National Politics Truth Publishing House, Hanoi, 1995, vol. 4, p. 472

(2) V.I. Lenin: Lenin collected works, National Politics Truth Publishing House, Hanoi, 2006, vol. 26, p. 447

(3) See: Nguyen Anh Thai (Editor): Modern World History (5th Edition), Education Publisher, Hanoi, 2005, p. 10 - 11

(4) See: V.I. Lenin: Lenin collected works, ibid, vol 44, p. 189

(5) V.I. Lenin: Lenin collected works, ibid, vol 36, p. 684

(6) V.I. Lenin: Lenin collected works, ibid, vol 41, p. 362

(7) V.I. Lenin: Lenin collected works, ibid, vol 45, p. 358

(8) See: V.I. Lenin: Lenin collected works, ibid, vol 43, p. 248

(9) See: K. Mark and F. Engels: Collected works, ibid, vol 19, p. 33

(10) V.I. Lenin: Lenin collected works, ibid, vol 6, p. 239

(11) See: V.I. Lenin: Lenin collected works, ibid, vol 37, p. 328 - 330

(12) V.I. Lenin: Lenin collected works, ibid, 38, p. 165 - 166

(13) See: V.I. Lenin: Lenin collected works, ibid, vol 39, p. 15

(14) V.I. Lenin: Lenin collected works, ibid, vol 42, p. 311

(15) Ho Chi Minh: Ho Chi Minh collected works, National Politics Truth Publishing House, Hanoi, 2011, volume 12, p. 562

(16) See: Ho Chi Minh: Ho Chi Minh collected works, ibid, vol 2, p. 304, 289

(17) Ho Chi Minh: Ho Chi Minh collected works, ibid, 12, p. 30

(18) Draft documents submitted to the XIII Congress of the Party (Documents to be used at the Party congress at local level), Hanoi, February 2020, p. 9

(19) Speech of the General Secretary and President Nguyen Phu Trong to close the 11th Central Conference of session XII, October 12, 2016


Source: Communist Review, No. 940 (April 2020)

PROF.DR. Nguyen Xuan Thang

Secretary of Party Central Committee Director of Ho Chi Minh National Academy of Politics, Chairman of Central Theoretical Council

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The Scientific, Revolutionary, and Humanistic Nature of Marxist-Leninist Philosophy

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See also