Karl Marx is considered an influential scholar, although many of the communist regimes that followed his doctrine have ceased to exist.
In the past few weeks, while preparing for the 13th National Congress, both political-ideological leaders of the Communist Party of Vietnam (CPV), General Secretary Nguyen Phu Trong and Head of the Commission for Propaganda and Education Vo Van Thuong have repeatedly wanted to “clarify” the socialist future for Vietnam.
But in response to the above, the CPV’s supporters only sought to write the slogan to properly grasp the concerns from the leaders. The faction that opposes or disagrees with the party ironically argues that the so-called “socialist orientation” is just an out-of-date fantasy or worse, it is a false power justification card.
I think both sides need to take a more careful and serious look at the matter.
What is Socialism?
Let’s see because of what socialist ideology is. Humanity has long outlined a socialist path – and if Vietnam wants to learn, lessons are already available from current world governments and political experience. Party sould look at Western Europe, or the United States, or more closely Singapore and Australia.
In those countries, “socialist” mechanisms are implemented through social security institutions as well as taxes aimed at sustaining the poor and balancing the gap between rich and poor and between economic classes. Only they do not use the phrase socialist but instead “capitalism in the social ideal” – “socially-minded capitalism.” This concept and term are almost like the “socialist-oriented market economy” in Vietnam today.
Therefore, it can be said that the current political and social ideal of the party is a draft version from the above countries. The difference is really just a matter of words. Instead of “capital,” we use “market” instead of “social ideal” we use “socialist orientation.” Therefore, the anxiety of Mr. Trong and Thuong is just a linguistic and slogan-like indulgence – rather than a fundamental stalemate in macro-policy for the country.
So, what is socialism? As a national orientation under the ideal of fairness, people, prosperity for all walks of life. It wants to create a level playing field for the opportunity to progress, promote human potential on the basis of citizenship – at the same time it places promotion priority on the underprivileged, lack of opportunity, oppressed people who are in the bottom of the socio-economic layer.
At the same time, socialism deliberately expands spaces and opportunities for the dynamic and elite to develop their economic opportunities. An important element in this process is the transfer and distribution of advancement opportunities from the superstructure to below the People’s infrastructure. Tax institutions and the laws of business and property as well as education will be the most important key for a nation to be able to redistribute economic rights and rights effectively, with positive impact market economy – and politically convincing.
What are in the socialist capitalist countries doing? They tax progressively, from income to property, according to the taxability standard. The richer, the higher the tax.
In addition, social security institutions ensure a basic economic life for the poor, the elderly, the unemployed, the disabled, and the children. Under it is a legal system of labor control that is strict enough, necessary, but not too strict – such as independent trade unions, minimum wages, child labor regulations, weekly working hours, insurance for occupational accidents, unemployment, and retirement money.
Therefore, I think there is nothing wrong, or ambiguous, or paranoid, when the CPV says it follows the ideal or the Socialist Orientation.
Difference Socialist and Marx-Leninism
However, the CPV needs to differentiate between Socialist and Marx-Leninist Communism. This model, which has been a political guide by the Vietnamese government for nearly the last century, is in fact just a totalitarian power institution. By identity, the Marx-Lenin communism is a betrayal, a fatal deception of the socialist ideal that humanity, Ho Chi Minh and the pioneering generation of Vietnamese Communist soldiers have pursued ( Socialist) from nearly the last century.
Observing what the CPV is doing, we see that there are immediate things to do for the country.
At this stage, when the Party is on the political and power level of the Party in the name of the entire Vietnamese nation in pursuit of the socialist ideal, be sure to do the following:
Separate the ideal and socialist orientation from the Marxist-Lenin. Change and take back the name of the Vietnam Labor Party. Take Ho Chi Minh’s ideal as a guideline for national independence, welfare needs, equality and justice for the nation. That is, the communism following the Marxist-Lenin model has completed its historical role. The time has come for the Party fully returns to the nation through Ho Chi Minh ideals to put Marxism-Leism in the corner of the Party’s history museum.
Implement socialist-oriented social justice and economic justice and equity institutions and social security, including:
Launching a revolution in private property. Immediately abolishing the institution of “all-people ownership” over land, which is very unfair and unreasonable today.
Reform the current tax regime against the current socialist ideals. Pay progressive taxes on the rich, high-income, especially the real estate business and the non-payroll economic circles such as artists, merchants, and profit-making companies.
At the same time with land ownership, tax real estate – as all European and American nations have done for a long time. Accordingly, the main residence will be exempt from tax to a reasonable level – for example, at current prices, one billion VND. Annual real estate taxes will provide the full national budget for defense, social security, infrastructure construction, to pay higher wages for the education, health, justice, the police, the military to reduce national corruption. Look at the current state of rich real estate owners in our country who pay very little – almost no – property taxes. It is a grave injustice and unreasonable.
Enact laws – and demand urgent enforcement from local police – to curb the proliferating crime phenomenon. Although current laws aim – but on many social levels, there are still too many inadequacies and irrationalities. From alcohol issues, dog theft, acid splashing, domestic violence, highway nailing to tire patching practice, and robbery – at the same time must ensure absolute self-defense of the owner. For example, the theft of dogs, which is a punishable crime, but because the law is very light-hearted, only punish the public, so people have to commit violence to the point of killing many perpetrators. And there are many other social problems that require stricter, more effective laws.
In terms of institutions and the reorganization of the apparatus, it is imperative that the public apparatus be streamlined and pure. Separate the Ministry of Public Security into two: the Department of Police and Homeland Security – to monitor each other and avoid current conflicts of interest. Comprehensive reform of the Ministry of Justice with a new name of Justice Ministry according to international standards in order to improve institutions, personnel quality and legal process. Gather domestic and foreign experts to draw together a new strategy for national education.
But in order to do that, the government needs to apologize the People, to open the way new consensus
In terms of national spirit and love, I think the current General Secretary of the Party should formally apologize to the Vietnamese people for the big mistakes this Party has made in the past. Although Party history for nearly the last century has been successful in terms of national independence and unification – the pursuit of Marxism-Leninism has exposed serious shortcomings. This is the time when the Party realized the pros and cons from history to adjust the direction for the Party. An apology to the People will help heal historical wounds, resolve hatred, and unite the Nation.
From its pride in the past, the Party had to transform itself in order to reform its current power identity. Decisively give up Marxism-Leninism in order to pursue the socialist orientation in the ideal of Ho Chi Minh’s nationalism. At that time, the CPV will still have the hope of bringing together many elements of the People, inside and outside the Party, at home and abroad, for a new Historical Consensus.
If so, the Party will have no doubts about the feasibility of the socialist path for the near future. And the Vietnamese people will appreciate the Party’s great courage in its will to reform itself.