VNTB - How self-transforming is Vietnamese Communist Party?

Nguyen Tuong Thuy (VNTB) Twenty days after Professor Chu Hao’s declaration to leave the Vietnamese Communist Party (VCP), the political system still implemented the procedure of expelling him. The decision to expel someone who was no longer a party member has become the topic in the press and sidewalk gossip. The professor’s “wrongdoing”, according to the Central Inspection Committee, was that of “deterioration in political thinking”, “self-evolution”, and “self-transformation”.

It is public knowledge that Secretary General Nguyen Phu Trong holds a Ph.D. in Party building. It seems that he is really proud of his capability or level of reasoning. He usually appreciates reasoning and the reasonable. From what I have heard, it was Trong who set standards for the person eligible to become a Secretary General  “must be one able to reason and a northerner, and the one who meets all the set requirements is none other than himself. It is no exaggeration to say that Trong always appears to be the most persistent figure in pursuing Marxism-Leninism in Vietnam. Always on his mind is the worry that party members may deviate from the road toward socialism. Not surprisingly, he keeps repeating phrases such as “deterioration”, “self-evolution”,“self-transformation” in conferences, grassroots organizations or in contacts with voters.

The weird thing is, despite his high-level degree in politics, what he says at times contradicts principles of Marxism. Let’s look at how he fights self-evolution and self-transformation.

Each phenomenon, according to dialectics, comprises unification of and struggle between opposing sides. The unification and struggle are seen as the origin of movement and development which delete the old and give birth to the new. Transformation and evolution reflex the movement that urges the development of phenomena. Thus, it is incomprehensible when the Vietnamese Communist Party fights transformation and self-evolution while its rationale and lodestar are based on Marxism-Leninism.

In reality, they condemn party members who tend to be out of touch with the Party’s viewpoint when raising opinions that support elements conducive to development whereas the Party keeps giving itself the right to transform and self-evolve. But who is the Party, if not the specific Party members? The sad thing is, those specific ones are the high-ranking and they are able to steer the country toward their personal benefits.

Had the Vietnamese Communist Party not evolved and changed, it would not have been able to exist. How has the Party evolved and changed?

During years prior to 1986, they had been absolutely loyal to Marxism-Leninism to such an extent that it grew almost blind. They severely condemned revisionism, siding with China to criticize the USSR (Union of Soviet Socialist Republics) despite the fact that they considered the USSR as the hub of the socialist bloc and the USSR Communist Party as the leader of the international communism. They condemned Khrushchev’s policy of peaceful coexistence and the USSR then as vague about “working class position” and betrayed Marxism-Leninism. The 1997 anti-Party revisionist trial was one of the most tragic in the history of the Party when several Party members, mostly the high-ranking, were imprisoned without trial.

However, Marxism-Leninism application in Vietnam has increasingly exposed defects and wrongdoings. Economically, the socialist model of management destroyed the motive to produce and deterred production development. The 1986 economic crisis brought the country on the verge of collapse. In search of a way out of the situation, the Party induced some changes and transformations contrary to the basic principles of Marxism-Leninism. Specifically:

- Deleted the centrally controlled economic model and moved to a multi-sector economy that operates in accordance with market mechanism tagged with the term “socialism-oriented”

- Got rid of checkpoints on rivers and at markets, allowing commodities to be freely transported.

- Had co-operatives dismantled, and divided fields among farmers.

- Decreased the ratio of state-owned businesses in the national economy, instead let the private sector develop.

- Moved from a closed, self-sufficient economy to one accepting foreign investment.

- Accepted capitalist-style activities with foreign-invested capital – even Party members have been allowed to do business. This means the concept of “surplus value exploitation” is set aside while communist theorists consider this as a Karl Marx’s stroke of genius.

- Following the collapse of the USSR and eastern Europe socialist countries, the Vietnamese Communist Party strongly shifted its foreign policy. Chengdu meeting has resulted in Vietnam’s heavy dependency on China. This has been a negative transformation, harming the country’s territorial integrity and the Vietnamese people’s future. China, once considered as a direct and most dangerous enemy, now has “transformed”, and turned out to be a good neighbor, a good friend, a good comrade, and a good partner.

The examples given above to prove that the Party only pays lip service to fighting transformation and evolvement, but substantially it has self-evolved and self-transformed. What remains unchanged is nothing but a policy to guarantee their domination. It is sole leadership, exercising dictatorship to depress human rights. Economically, the adjectival phrase “socialism-oriented”, added to the term “economy”, has been maintained so that they can control the economy.

Unlike the common tendency of development of humanity, the motive behind every self-transformation and self-evolution of the Vietnamese Communist Party has been to prolong its existence. If the good of the country and the people were prioritized, then they would throw Marxism-Leninism into a wastebasket.

Several issues came up a long time ago, but they were deemed to be misleading process of self-transformation and self-evolution, and those who raised the problems were considered mistaken, disciplined, and not trusted. An example is Kim Ngoc with regard to “errors correction in agricultural co-operation”. During the early 80s, those who stood in the street and shouted China was a good comrade, a good friend, would certainly be dragged into a police station and questioned. Also, then, chanting “the Paracels and the Spratleys belong to Vietnam” would pose no problem, but nowadays posting or sticking only the initials of this very slogan in public places is a wrongdoing, and the young people who did this would run away for fear of being arrested. Similarly, erecting a monument to celebrate a victory then was praiseworthy, but later on the words on it had to be  erased.

So, as the folk saying goes, “In the morning, it’s right, but in the afternoon it’s wrong. However, tomorrow morning, it’ll be right again.” This saying precisely reflexes unexpected changes of the Party’s policies.

At the time being, Professor Chu Hao’s words and work is regarded as self-transformation and self-evolution, but someday they will have to admit its correctness, just like Kim Ngoc’s case concerning his initiatives in agriculture years ago. Currently, opinions of those considered as “deteriorated elements” like Professor Chu Hao, and previously Tran Xuan Bach, Tran Do, Vo Van Kiet etc. and now prisoners of conscience, pro-democracy and rights activists are regarded as anti-revolutionary, but they all are for the good of the country. Theirs are different from the Vietnamese Communist Party’s self-transformation and self-evolution for their own benefits.

It’s a taboo now to mention political pluralism, separation of powers (trias politica), democracy, and human rights, but there will be a time when society thinks of them as a matter of course. This is the natural and unavoidable development of civilized humanity and it is utterly hopeless for forces to turn society back into the misty beginning times of human history.
Translated by Kate Chesterson 

Source: VNTB


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