• Michael Laxer

On the importance of Ho Chi Minh Thought

Independence "must go hand-in-hand with socialism. National liberation must be coupled with class liberation, social liberation, and human liberation. To that end, we must conduct socialist revolution."

Statue of Ho Chi Minh in front of the Ho Chi Minh City Hall (People's Committee Building) --  image by Steffen Schmitz (Carschten) via Wikimedia Commons


On June 12 General Secretary of the Communist Party of Vietnam Nguyen Phu Trong gave a speech on the legacy and ongoing relevance of Ho Chi Minh and Marxism-Leninism to the construction of socialism in Vietnam.


An English language translation of the speech was issued July 14. Here we provide an excerpt in which he touches on Ho Chi Minh's thoughts, morals and style.


He stresses the importance of understanding that "independence must go hand-in-hand with socialism. National liberation must be coupled with class liberation, social liberation, and human liberation. To that end, we must conduct socialist revolution."


Excerpt:


Dear comrades,


As we all know, our beloved President Ho Chi Minh is the brilliant leader of the Party and nation, the great mentor of the Vietnamese revolution, the national liberation hero, an exemplary fighter among international communists, and a world cultural celebrity. He is no longer with us, but the legacy he left for our Party and people is monumental and invaluable, including the Ho Chi Minh Era, Ho Chi Minh’s cause and Ho Chi Minh thoughts, morals and style, and an exemplary model for us to always follow. He is the noblest symbol of Vietnam’s patriotism and revolutionary heroism, a radiant crystallization of virtue, wisdom, courage and conscience of our nation and our time.


Throughout his life, President Ho Chi Minh made tireless efforts in dedication to our Fatherland, our countrymen and our cause of national liberation, class liberation, social liberation and human liberation. His was a life full of hardships and sacrifices. Yet it is an extremely glorious and noble, a truly vibrant, virtuous and admirable life. He had gone down in history as a colossus, even a legend during his lifetime. His life and cause have become a symbol of revolution, inspiring hope and dream for the Vietnamese and the progressive people around the world in their struggles for independence, freedom, peace, democracy and social progress. “Our nation, our people and our country nurtured President Ho Chi Minh, the great national hero, and it was him who in turn glorified our nation, our people and our country.”


The thoughts, morals and style of President Ho Chi Minh are invaluable spiritual assets of our Party and people, illuminating our revolutionary cause, guiding each step forward to the success of the Vietnamese revolution. Studying and following President Ho Chi Minh’s thoughts, morals and style remain a crucial, regular and indispensable task for the entire Party and people, particularly the Party organizations, State agencies, and Party cadre and members, in their endeavors for self-improvement, and in service of the country and people.


How, then, should we understand Ho Chi Minh Thought? Ho Chi Minh morals? And Ho Chi Minh style?


- In brief, Ho Chi Minh Thought is a system of fundamental positions, understanding and guiding thoughts by President Ho Chi Minh concerning Viet Nam’ revolution and its way forward in the present era. It is resulting from the innovative application and further development of Marxism-Leninism against the backdrop of Vietnam's particular condition, inheriting and advancing the traditional virtues of our nation while absorbing the cultural quintessence of mankind. President Ho Chi Minh had said on multiple occasions that "Viet Nam is one country. The Vietnamese are one nation. Rivers may run dry, mountains may erode away, but this truth shall never change"; "We would rather sacrifice all than forfeit our country or be slaves"; "Nothing is more precious than independence and freedom"; "Even though we have to set ablaze the Truong Son Range , we must resolutely win national independence”; "I have but one desire, a desire above all else, and that is for our country to be truly independent, our people to be truly free, for every single one among our countrymen to have food, clothes and education, and for our nation to enjoy a commensurate standing in the world." "If our country were to be independent yet our people are without happiness and freedom, that independence would be meaningless.”


Therefore, independence must go hand-in-hand with socialism. National liberation must be coupled with class liberation, social liberation, and human liberation. To that end, we must conduct socialist revolution. Whether Vietnam would become prosperous and the Vietnamese nation would stand proudly as equals to major powers of the five continents, are much predicated upon our ability to marshal the strength of the all-nation unity and rally all forces, ethnicities, religions and patriotic Vietnamese national. "Unity, unity, great unity. Success, success, grand success!" "For national salvation and liberation, there is no way other than the way of proletarian revolution.” "Today there are so many theories and doctrines, yet the truest and most revolutionary of all philosophies is Leninism, Marxism-Leninism.” Revolutions are the people's cause, for the people and by the people, under the judicious leadership of a true revolutionary party. Only with a strong Party would the nation be strong, for the Party is the vanguard and the leader of the working class, the working people, and the entire nation.


- Ho Chi Minh Morals are indeed the revolutionary morals. These are the virtuous qualities of a revolutionary: diligence, frugality, integrity, uprightness, public-spiritedness and selflessness. Diligence means to work hard and tirelessly, and devote whole-heartedly to the common good in the interest of our country and people. Frugality means to exercise moderation without extravagance or luxury, especially when it comes to public property. Integrity means to keep ourselves untarnished and untainted. Uprightness means to remain true and honest, never to bend our knees, and uphold a noble and righteous spirit. Public-spiritedness and selflessness mean to act in the common good and place the common interest above all, without private designs for personal gains. We must resolutely combat individualism, "wipe out individualism,” as "individualism is the enemy from inside,” "the most wicked foe,” and "an insidious and crafty enemy that pulls the unwary down a slippery slope.” President Ho Chi Minh paid special attention to the education and reinforcement of revolutionary morals. He often said that "just as rivers would run dry without their sources, or as trees would wither without their roots, revolutionists must have morals, without morals no matter how talented they are, they shall not be able to lead the people.”


- Ho Chi Minh Style refers to a humble lifestyle and simple presence. It also means to be willing to learn from, to stay close to, to respect, and to trust the people. Everything is done in the best interest of the people. The Party cadre and members are the servants of the people, neither their masters nor “revolutionary mandarins.” Each Party cadre and member must take it upon themselves to study and discipline themselves so as to continually enhance their understanding and expertise, and ennoble themselves as principled human beings, who are "wholly loyal to the Party, wholly filial to the People, who shall fulfill any mission, overcome any hardship, and defeat any enemy.”...


...Emulating Uncle Ho means to promote a strong shift from “studying” to “emulating,” and deliver on promises through concrete programs and actions to implement the political mandate at each locality, agency, and unit, and in the work of Party building and rectification. These efforts need to go in tandem with upholding the responsibilities and ethics of each Party cadre and member, effectively implementing the breakthroughs and resolving critical pressing issues in reality, with the Ho Chi Minh Thoughts and Marxism-Leninism as the guiding principles in all actions.


Each Party cadre and member needs to have a thorough understanding of Ho Chi Minh Thought on Party building and rectification in terms of political thoughts, ideology, morals, lifestyle, organization and personnel. It is important to enhance the leadership capacity and the combativeness of the Party, build a socialist rule-of-law state that is “truly of the people, by the people, and for the people.”


Full text: englishCPV.pdf

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