Party General Secretary Nguyen Phu Trong’s article on some theoretical and practical issues on socialism and the path towards socialism in Vietnam, which maps out Vietnam’s future orientations in all fields, has manifested his far-sight vision and strong will to build a socialist country in which no one is left behind. The values, both theoretical and practical, of the article have received great attention and applauses from the international community.
Building a society in which developments are all truly for the people is a core and consistent issue in the Party leader’s writing.
In his article, Trong affirmed that “The socialist society that the Vietnamese people are making all efforts to build is a society where the people are well-off, the nation is strong and the people are owners, a society characterised by democracy, equality and civilisation. It possesses a highly developed economy on the basis of a modern productive force and suitable and progressive production relations. It enjoys an advanced culture imbued with national identity. Its people are entitled to wellbeing, freedom and happiness and are blessed with opportunities for comprehensive development. Ethnic groups in the Vietnamese community are equal, united, respectful and supportive of each other to grow together. It has a rule-of-law socialist state of the people, by the people and for the people under the leadership of the Communist Party. And it maintains friendship and cooperation with all countries in the world.”
“The socialist society that the Vietnamese people are making all efforts to build is a society where the people are well-off, the nation is strong and the people are owners, a society characterised by democracy, equality and civilisation.”– Party General Secretary Nguyen Phu Trong-
To this end, the Party leader specified a series of tasks to sustain and promote the concerted efforts to steer the entire nation toward socialism.
Reform still key task in Vietnam’s development path toward socialism
According to Trong, the ‘Doi Moi’ (Renewal) – a comprehensive reform programme beginning in 1986, including the development of the socialist-oriented market economy, has truly brought about enormous and positive changes to Vietnam over the past 35 years.
Prior to the ‘Doi Moi’, Vietnam used to be a poor and war-torn country, with devastated human lives, infrastructure, and environment. According to experts, it would take another 100 years or more for Viet Nam to fully remove the remaining post-war unexploded ordnance (UXOs). After the war, the US and the Western imposed economic sanctions on the nation for nearly two decades. That period also saw complex developments in the region and the world, to the country’s detriment. There was a severe shortage of food and essential goods, and people lived in great hardships, with three quarters of the population living under the poverty line.
Thanks to the policy, the economy has begun to thrive, enjoying a relatively high growth rate over the course of 35 years at around 7 percent per year. Its GDP is continually expanding, reaching 342.7 billion USD in 2020 and becomes the 4th largest economy in ASEAN. Per-capita income has also increased seventeen-fold to 3,512 USD. And Vietnam successfully graduated from low-income status in 2008. At present, the nation not only is able to ensure food security, but also has become a leading exporter of rice and various other agricultural products in the world.
Economic development has also delivered the country from the socio-economic crisis of the 1980s and remarkably improved the people’s living standards. The percentage of poor households falls by 1.5 percent every year on average, from 58 percent in 1993 to less than 3 percent in 2020 according to the multidimensional poverty index (whose standards are higher than previously). Today, more than 60 percent of communes have met the standards of “new-style” rural areas.
While Vietnam is yet able to provide free education at all levels for all, the country has been focusing its efforts on eradicating illiteracy. Currently, 95% of Vietnamese adults are literate. Efforts have also been made for enhancing preventive healthcare, epidemic prevention and control, and providing support for disadvantaged persons. Children malnutrition and infant mortality have been slashed about three fold. Average life expectancy has gone up from 62 years in 1990 to 73.7 years in 2020.
The Party chief also mentioned significant progresses in enriching the cultural life. Seventy percent of the population now have internet access and Vietnam is among the world’s fastest-developing IT countries. The United Nations has recognised Vietnam as one of the leading countries in reaching the Millennium Development Goals. In 2019, the nation’s Human Development Index (HDI) value reached 0.704, putting it in the high human development category.
He said thanks to the programme, political and social stability, defence, and security are well-safeguarded. Vietnam enjoys increasingly broader foreign relations and a more extensive international integration, the national standing and power are growing, and the people’s trust in the Party’s leadership is bolstered, the Party leader added.
Acknowledging that Vietnam is in a transitional period towards socialism, Trong said apart from achievements and positive developments, there will always be negative aspects and challenges that demand rational consideration and prompt and effective resolution.
This is an arduous and gruelling struggle that requires a new vision, new resolve, and new drive for innovation, he stressed.
Guiding the nation’s future
Advancing towards socialism is a period of tirelessly bolstering, augmenting and harnessing socialist elements so that they would become more dominant and superior, and ultimately triumph. Success or failure depends, first and foremost, on the correctness of the Party guideline and its political fortitude, leadership, and combativeness.
“Presently, we are continuing to accelerate the transformation of our growth model and economic restructuring with greater focus on quality and sustainability. In this connection, we have identified the following breakthroughs: the synchronous improvement of development institutions, with priority given to the socialist-oriented market economy; the development of human resources, particularly highly-skilled workers; and the development of synchronized and modern infrastructure, economically and socially,” read the article.
Trong wrote that with regards to social development, Vietnam continues to promote sustainable poverty reduction, improve the quality of healthcare, education and other public services, and further enhance people’s cultural life. The entire Party, people and army are making every effort to study and emulate President Ho Chi Minh’s thoughts, morality and style with the determination to stem and reverse the degeneration in political ideology, morality, and lifestyles among a portion of cadres and Party members, primarily leadership and managerial cadre at all levels. “We shall strive to better implement the principles of Party organisation and building, in order to ensure the Party organisation and the state apparatus will grow stronger and free from taint, maintain the Party’s revolutionary nature and improve its leadership capacity and combativeness.”
According to the Party chief, both theory and praxis have shown that building socialism means creating a qualitatively new type of society, which is by no means a simple or easy task. This is a grand and innovative endeavour, full of challenges and adversities. It is a self-driven, continuous, long-term and goal-oriented cause that cannot be rushed. “Therefore, in addition to charting the correct Party line and policy and ensuring its leadership role, we must actively harness people’s creativity, support and active participation. The people shall welcome, support and enthusiastically participate in the implementation of the Party lines since they see that such guidelines are in their interest and live up to their aspirations. The ultimate victory and development is deeply rooted in the strength of the Vietnamese people.”
On the other hand, the Party’s leadership and stewardship, in shaping the political line and making decisions, should not refer only to the reality of its own country and nation. It must instead also study and learn from the experience of the world and that of the times. In today’s globalised world, the development of each nation-state cannot stand alone and separate from the impacts of the world and the times, and those of the context and the dynamics.
The Party leader stressed the need for the country to actively engage in international integration, implement a foreign policy of independence, self-reliance, peace, cooperation and development, and multilateralisation and diversification of international relations, on the basis of respect for the independence, sovereignty and territorial integrity of each other, non-interference in each other’s internal affairs, equality and mutual benefit.
And it is of great importance to remain steadfast and firm on the foundation of Marxism – Leninism – the scientific and revolutionary doctrine of the working class and the working people. The scientific and uncompromising revolutionary nature of Marxism-Leninism and Ho Chi Minh’s Thought are enduring values that have been pursued and implemented by generations of revolutionaries. This will continue to develop and prove its vitality in the reality of both the revolutionary movement and scientific development.
Acclamation from international community
The Party leader’s article has attracted attention from public opinions both at home and abroad.It has received great applause from the international community and been held in high regard by foreign experts, researchers and politicians.
Khamvisanh Keosouvanh, Assistant to the Chairman of the Lao People’s Revolutionary Party (LPRP) Central Committee’s Commission for Propaganda and Training, said that the Vietnamese Party leader’s article constitutes an epochal strategic direction on socialism and Vietnam’s path towards socialism, and it matches the real development of the country and the world.
According to him, as the article was published following the 13th National Congress of the CPV, and before the elections of deputies to the 15th National Assembly and all-level People’s Councils for the 2021-2026 tenure, it has helped Vietnamese leaders prepare personnel to implement the Resolution adopted at the Congress with new opportunities and challenges.
Trong’s affirmation that socialism is the goal and ideal of the CPV and Vietnamese people, and that advancing towards socialism is an objective demand of and the inevitable path of the Vietnamese revolution demonstrates the CPV’s absolute confidence and loyalty to Marxism-Leninism and Ho Chi Minh Thought in the cause of national construction and development towards socialism.
The view on the development of the socialist-oriented market economy is a very basic and creative theoretical breakthrough of the CPV, Khamvisanh said.
He said the LPRP would learn from the CPV’s leadership experience in the cause of national construction and development towards socialism to realise the resolution adopted at the 11th National Congress of the LPRP.
According to Han Fangming, Vice Chairman of the Foreign Affairs Committee of the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference, and Chairman of Chahar Institute, a well-known think tank of diplomacy and international relations, the Vietnamese Party leader’s article affirms the soundness of the path towards socialism of Vietnam.
In his recent article on Vietnam’s contributions to human civilisation, he underlined that the article systematically analyses the original ideal and development of socialism in Vietnam from the perspective of its reality.
It points to the origins and goals of as well as persistence and firmness in a number of theories of Vietnam’s socialist-oriented market economy and the human-centered development strategy.
Han wrote that the socialist-oriented market economy initiated by Vietnam is a new plan for the cause of contemporary socialism, a new development in the Vietnamisation of Marxism, and the expansion of Ho Chi Minh Thought.
The Vietnamese Party chief’s article summarises the experience of Vietnam’s socialism development and the essence of his thoughts on governance, which are helpful for theoretical exchanges and wisdom sharing among political parties around the world, and provide more governance solutions for the international community to learn from, Han stressed.
Agreeing with these above-mentioned opinions, General Secretary of the Mexican Labour Party Alberto Ayana Gutiérrez commented that General Secretary Trong’s article has proven that building socialism is a sound decision suitable with reality in the country by the CPV.
Gutiérrez said the Vietnamese revolution’s glorious victories over the past more than 90 years are the result of many factors, including the CPV’s political platforms, sound policies and guidelines based on creatively applying Marxism-Leninism and Ho Chi Minh’s thought in Vietnam’s reality, inheriting and upholding traditional values, cultural quintessence of humanity and loyal solidarity under the CPV’s leadership.
On the path towards socialism with the goal of a strong country, wealthy people, and a democratic, fair and civilised society, Vietnam needs to grasp opportunities at home and abroad the develop the nation, he suggested.
The leader also expressed his belief that Vietnam’s past achievements together with initiatives in real life and theory that the CPV has put forward will lay a solid foundation to ensure Vietnam’s new successes in the process of building socialism.
Meanwhile, Prof. Dr Vladimir Kolotov of Russia’s Saint Petersburg State University said the Vietnamese Party leader’s article greatly contributes to the development of Ho Chi Minh’s thought.
According to the scholar, in the article, the Vietnamese leader also touched on unsuccessful reforms in the former Soviet Union which resulted in its collapse, as well as weaknesses of the democratic institution, in which the power system is in the hands of a minority of the rich and serves the interests of capitalist groups.
In addition, the top leader also pointed out issues a modern Vietnam is currently facing and solutions to them, Kolotov emphasised.
He shared the Party General Secretary’s view that Party building and rectification are a key task that is vital to the CPV and the socialist regime; and the CPV’s determination to fight corruption, bureaucracy and degradation.
Kolotov noted that the CPV has taken action for the interests of the people, thereby always earning the people’s support, citing the Vietnamese top leader’s article as saying that the CPV’s leadership “is a decisive factor in the cause of the Doi Moi and would ensure the country’s development in accordance with the socialist orientation”.
Also mentioning to the Doi Moi policy, Indian scholar Prof. G. Jayachandra Reddy affirmed that no doubt that the renewal process has been the centre of attraction and a key political development in the history of independent Vietnam.
Before Doi Moi, Vietnam was labeled as a country sustained simply with foreign aid but the current global perception is totally different. Vietnam is now one of the countries of ASEAN with high GDP growth and is expected to be the strongest economy of the region within a couple of decades.
On the other hand, Vietnam is also emerging as a key player among the ASEAN members, as the country has been instrumental in addressing many issues, specifically the South China Sea (known as East Sea in Vietnam) claims, as the chair of the ASEAN, said Reddy, who is former Director of the Centre for Southeast Asian and Pacific Studies at Sri Venkateswara University in the Indian state of Andhra Pradesh.
He highlighted a prediction by many scholars that the 21st century is of Asia, and no doubt that a country like Vietnam has been burgeoning with its dynamic domestic and international economic policies. He pointed out that no one would have predicted that Vietnam would become one of the largest consumer markets in the world by 2020. Vietnam is one of the very few countries which have registered nearly 3.0 percent of GDP growth rate, whilst surprisingly, the world GDP growth rate is -3.6 percent, as per World Bank data.
Professor Julie Nguyen, President of the Canada – ASEAN Initiatives at York University, said that the article showed the heart of the leader who has deep concern for the people and the wish of leaving no one behind, especially in the context that the country is still poor and has to compete economically with the outside world. This is a decisive factor ensuring the people’s support to the Party, she stressed.
According to the professor, a socialist-oriented market economy is the right way for leaders to achieve the goal for the people.
She expressed interest in the Vietnamese Party chief’s opinion stating that a fundamental characteristic and important feature of the socialist orientation in the Vietnam’s market economy is the combination of economy and society, the coordination of economic and social policies, and the economic growth being accompanied by social progress and equality in every stage, every policy, and throughout the development process.
Dr. Ruvislei González Sáez, head of the Asian team at the Cuban Centr for International Policy Research, also affirmed theoretical and practical values in Party General Secretary Nguyen PhuTrong’s article.
Sáez, who is also Vice Chairman of the Cuba – Vietnam Friendship Association, hailed the article as a helpful reference for countries on the way toward socialism as well as for theory research. It is also instrumental for Vietnam’s future leaders to continue with the socialism path and goals set till 2045.
He said the article took practical approach with a mindset of the era that is close to realities, combining the most reasonable and progressive factors in the current socialism thought.
In his writing, Trong also outlined jobs that need to be done to look toward strategic social goals by 2045, including narrowing the gap between the rich and the poor; improving the quality of education, health care and other public services; developing culture and spiritual values; combating corruption, wastefulness and moral degradation among officials and Party members; and coping with “peaceful evolution” plots that sabotage socialism.
Sáez said the article also held international values when Trong pointed out that a nation could not grow unilaterally, but should stay active and proactive in global integration, carry out a foreign policy of independence, self-reliance, ensuring territorial integrity and not interfering in other countries’ internal affairs, equality and mutual benefits.
“The article gave a comprehensive, insightful and thorough analysis of the path chosen by Vietnam since the victory of the August Revolution 1945.”– German historian and journalist Gerhard Feldbauer.
Sharing the same view, German historian and veteran journalist Gerhard Feldbauer hailed the significance of Party chief’s article, underlining that the article gave a comprehensive, insightful and thorough analysis of the path chosen by Vietnam since the victory of the August Revolution 1945. He pointed out that throughout its leadership process, the Communist Party of Vietnam creatively applied Marxism-Leninism in the country’s specific conditions to deal with various complex and difficult issues, providing valuable experience to not only Vietnam but also many countries in the world.
According to him, Vietnam is on the way toward a modern and socialist-oriented industrialised economy. From its starting point as a poor nation due to war aftermaths, Vietnam has become one of the world’s most vibrant and fastest-growing economies in Southeast Asia with an annual growth of 6-8 percent before the COVID-19 pandemic.
About challenges faced by the country on the path toward socialism, Feldbauer said the key point is to affirm the leadership of the CPV and defeat every attempt to lower or eliminate the role of the Party. He also suggested Vietnam crack down on corruption and stay close with the people in all aspects.
He expressed his belief that under the CPV’s leadership, Vietnam will always overcome any difficult periods in history.
Stefan Kühner, President of the Marx-Engels Foundation and member of the German Communist Party (DKP)’s commission for international affairs, underlined that the article has shed light on the path to socialism in the Southeast Asian country. According to him, with this article, the General Secretary of the CPV presented in detail the pathway towards socialism under specific conditions and characteristics of Vietnam.
In conclusion, it can be said that the in-depth theoretical and practical analysis, summaries, and assessments by the Party leader have not only shed light to the nation’s future development path but also inspired the entire Party, army, and people in carrying out their tasks along the journey./.