Lightening up President Ho Chi Minh’s spirit of “Enhancing revolutionary morality, sweeping clean individualism” in building and revamping of Party and current political system
Communist Review - On the occasion of the 132nd birth celebration of President Ho Chi Minh (May 19, 1890-May 19, 2022), comrade Vo Van Thuong, Politburo member, Standing Secretary of the Secretariat has written an article titled: “Lightening up President Ho Chi Minh’s spirit of ‘Enhancing revolutionary morality, sweeping clean individualism’ in building and revamping of Party and current political system”. Communist Review would like to introduce with high regard this important writing:
President Ho Chi Minh - the founder and trainer of the Communist Party of Vietnam - The Great teacher of the Vietnamese revolution - the hero of the national liberation - the World cultural celebrity. The heritage left by Him to the Communist Party of Vietnam, to the Vietnamese nation and to the Vietnamese people is extremely great and extremely precious, in which His ideology of morality and His example of practicing morality are the very remarkable heritage.
Throughout His revolutionary life, President Ho Chi Minh has paid special attention to building the Party to be pure and strong so as to be worthy being the leading role, the power-holding responsnbility and implementing its mission before the class and the nation. The role and mission have been defined, maintained and developed based on the foundation of clear-sighted mind, the firm ideology, the pure morality, the close organization, in which He has attached great importance to the education and training of the revolutionary morality. It is rare to have such a communist leader in the world who has written a lot, talked a lot and shaped the system of ideology, principles, contents and methods of building the Party in morality as President Ho Chi Minh. Right from the preparatory work of establishing the Party, in His work named The Revolutionary Path (1927), He had raised the first issue being “the qualification of a revolutionary” and before leaving this world, in His Testament, He had still solicitously recommended: “Our Party is the Party in power. Each Party member and cadre must be really imbued with the revolutionary morality, really practice industriousness, thriftiness, integrity, impartiality. Must protect the Party to be really pure so as to be worthy being the leader, the really loyal servant of the people”. The soul in each work of President Ho Chi Minh on the building and revamping of the Party and the building of the revolutionary State has exuded the spirit of morality as the “root”. To continue to study, deepen further, imbue further the precious heritage left by Him is the noble responsibility and obligation of each cadre and Party member.
Well aware of the position and role of morality as the “root”, the “fundamentality”, ensuring that the Communist Party of Vietnam has the solid abilities, the clear-sighted politics, the unshakable ideology, the pure morality, the close organization, creating the impetus to boost the revolutionary activities
President Ho Chi Minh has determined that the revolutionary morality is the “root”, like “a tree without roots will get withered”; is the “source” like “the river that has a source to have water, without the source, the river will run dry”, is “the fundamentality”, because a person without morality is “without fundamentality; he has corrupted himself and become bad, so what can he do?” (1).
“The fundamentality” of the revolutionary morality is manifested also in the angle of the impetus of boosting and guiding, regulating the requirements, containing oneself before all the temptations so as to be able to protect honour, human dignity, to affirm the legitimacy of the man in power. By taking the revolutionary morality as the fundamental foundation, the Communist Party of Vietnam has trained “a lot of cadres and Party members who have shown their bravery and example; they are the first to face hardships, but are the last to have enjoyment. And so many glorious achievements have been recorded” (2), becoming “the fresh flowers of revolutionary heroism. Our people and Party are very proud of having such the worthy sons” (3).
President Ho Chi Minh has initiated a revolution on social morality to build “a new morality, a great morality; it is not for the fame of an individual, but it is for the common interests of the Party, of the nation, of mankind”(4). If the feudal morality had imprisoned humans in the circle of harsh rituals and norms; if the bourgeois morality has revered the selfish, extreme individual material benefits; if the petty-bourgeois morality has imprisoned humans by its local, narrow-minded, paternal interests, then the revolutionary morality has aimed for the noble ideology by liberating humans from imprisonment, confinement and from being held by the petty, selfish interests. He has stressed that education of morality obligation has played a primary important role in awakening the conscience, honour and human dignity of each man. He has made a comparison that this man has got “four virtues” (industriousness, thriftiness, integrity and impartiality) which have existed and moved like the law of heaven and earth: Heaven has “four seasons” (Spring, Summer, Autumn and Winter), the earth has “four directions” (East, West, South, North). The motive of the revolutionary morality has always boosted the behavior without seeking profits, the action without following the trendy times, has helped everyone overcome their personal interests to take actions by the urge of conscience, by the spirit of the willingness and by the responsibility of self-consciousness. That is why, the model of cadres and Party members built by President Ho Chi Minh is the man with social responsibility, with the obligation of living as a man and through that, it can be able to reveal fully the world of human beings - both are the objective and the motive for development. He has held that “it is not that when you write the word ‘communist’ on your forehead, you are loved by everyone” (5), “The masses only love those persons who have good conduct and good virtue” (6).
President Ho Chi Minh has affirmed: “Our Party is a very clear-sighted leader who has taken our nation from one victory after another” (7). Political leadersip is the selection of the possibilities to make decisions and if it is clear-sighted enough, the selecton is right and it can be able to take the revolution to victory; if it is not clear-sighted enough, it will come up with mistakes, thus landing the revolution into difficulties, even into failures and breakages. This clear-sightedness is not only based on the competence, the analytical capacities, the right assessment of the situation, the correct forecast of the circumstances, the suitable policies and strategies, but it is also stipulated by the foundation of morality, from the motive of virtues of “integrity, impartiality”, brushing aside all the personal and group profit seeking so as to aim for the noble ideology of being for the country, for the people. Only there is a new clear-sighted political system that can it be able to guard against the mistakes. The mistakes can be due to the “communist arrogance”, subjectivism, involuntariness, can be due to the motive of individualism that it will aim to gear the biased politices towards individuals and to the group interests. President Ho Chi Minh has got an extremely delicate discovery: “The man of virtue finds it easier to accept the truth”, “When you have integrity and impartiality, then there will be less and less shortcomings, whereas the good-quality characters become ever more” (8). The virtue and conscience in politics will help make mindset ever more clear-sighted, limit the possibilities of making mistakes, thus making the line consensual to the people’s hearts with an attraction to win the hearts and minds of the people.
The good quality of the Communist Party of Vietnam has been generalized by Him as being “morality”, as being “civilization”, being manifested concretely in the communist goals and ideologies; the principle of organization and operation of the Party; the obligation and responsibilities of holding power, the exemplary vanguard; the serious self-discipline regime; the spirit of criticism and self-criticism; the flesh and blood attachment with the people, considering the service to the Fatherland, the service to the people as the noble mission. Having the pure morality can be able to ensure the firm maintenance of –ism, to be loyal to the conscious ideologies, to guard against the mistakes of dogmatism and opportunism.
As President Ho Chi Minh has viewed it, the moral standards of a Party member stand in opposition with individualism, expressed in industriousness, thriftiness, integrity and impartiality; in the idea of collectivism; the spirit of unity, the organization and discipline; the absolute loyalty to the Party, to the Fatherland, to the people; to keep close contact with the facts, with the masses, to really respect and promote the people’s rights to mastery; to constantly learn, train and improve the level of knowledge to be able to fulfill all the tasks.
The foundation of the Party building in morality comprises the Party’s morality and the morality of each Party member, and between them there is an organic relationship that can help impact and promote each other. The Party’s morality, once educated and made conscious, can penetrate deeply in each Party member and it will enhance the regime of self-conscious discipline, with no individual self-seeking and they are ready to devote themselves for the common goals, placing the Party’s revolutionary career upon all else, thus making millions of people as one, creating the invincible strength. This is really the strength of a political party having the scientific ideologies based on the motive of morality, on the close organization, on the democratic style, the embodiment of “morality”, “civilization”.
The Key to the Party building in morality is the practice of the revolutionary morality, words must go with deeds, the implementation of an incorruptible politics
Being an outstanding thinker, a reality-seasoned revolutionary, President Ho Chi Minh has understood well the Vietnamese while He has held high the theories; He has known how to receive and draw the value so as to apply them in comformity with the national characteristics, but He has wished very much to see that the concrete actions can be expressed in realities, particularly the moral behaviours of the persons in power. The “words must go with deeds” principle is the manifestation of the unification between ideology and action, between theories and practices. In education, as far as the training of the revolutionary morality for cadres and Party members is concerned, He has held that “a hundred fine speeches are not equal to a living good example”, taking the daily “good people, good deeds” examples for mutual teaching is the best way to build the Party, to build the revolutionary organization, to build the new men, the new life. “If we want to give guidance to the people, we must be the model for the other people to follow” (9), “Party members must the be first to do and the people will follow them””(10). He has attached importance to building the examples of the real people, the real work in the revolutionary history, in the daily life. The “words must go with deeds” principle of President Ho Chi Minh is of great significance in terms of ideology and method, deciding the persuasion of the ideological work. Practicing the morality of President Ho Chi Minh is an inseparable part of ideology; through the practice of morality, the ideological value can be expressed to the full and its truthfulness can be revealed.
Practicing an incorruptible politics is a fundamental content of practicing Ho Chi Minh morality, including the practicing of morality of a political party, a State and of each cadre and Party member. Practicing the incorruptible morality can help “the masses unite around the Government, the masses can sacrifice in fighting against the enemy because of their vital interests”, “whatever dangerous level it is, the masses never fear and on the contrary, they try the hardest to fight and to win”(11).
To have an incorruptible politics, the root of it is still education, training, fostering of morality, “the quality of a revolutionary”, particularly “there must be less and less ambition for materials”, “making light of position, ranking and money, because all these things are the origins of envy and hatred and are the causes of spying, betraying actions, doing serious harms to the revolutionary cause” (12).
As President Ho Chi Minh has viewed it, without the incorruptible morality, the party members will lose their prestiges in the eyes of the people and they are no longer the real revolutionaries. So, to practice an incorruptible politics, together with education and training of the revolutionary morality, it is necessary to use the law to punish those who are corruptible and who do things against the integrity. He has affirmed that “those persons who are corruptible must be punished, whatever position or profession they occupy”(13). The outstanding feature in practicing Ho Chi Minh morality is that the higher power it is, then the forstering of the revolutionary morality and the fostering of morality will be carried out all the lifetime. According to President Ho Chi Minh, “If is is the charity work, however small, it should be done. If it is the evil work, however small, it should be avoided” (14). The forstering and training of the revolutionary morality cannot be done only once, but must be done daily and throughout the lifetime. In His works named “Enhancing revolutionary morality, sweeping clean individualism”, President Ho Chi Minh has stressed that it is necessary to uphold the role of “practicing seriously criticism and self-criticism within the Party”, “to welcome and encourage the masses to honestly criticize cadres and party members” in combination with “the Party cells’ strict activities”.
Resolutely fighting against individualism on the basis of combining “building” with “fighting”, being strict with oneself, control oneself before all temptations, practicing and fostering the lifetime revolutionary morality
Well aware of individualism being as “the cruel enemy”, the obstruction to building the revolutionary morality, President Ho Chi Minh has set up a system of viewpoints, pointed out the nature, characteristics, manifestations and danger of individualism and shaped the mode of sweeping clean individualism. He has believed that individualism has always, first of all, thought about its own interests in everything; it is not that “one for all”, but it only wants “all for one”; individualism is the “cruel enemy”, “a very poisonous germ, from which a lot of dangerous diseases come into existence” (15); it is “the alliance” of the colonialist and imperialist enemies and of the backward customs which can hide themselves inside each of us and lay in wait to appear. Therefore, it is necessary to always keep vigilance to guard against it and to resolutely wipe it out. President Ho Chi Minh has pointed out the manifestations of individualism such as the fear of difficulties and hardships, the fall into corruption, depravation, wastefulness, luxury; lust for fame, profit seeking, desire of position and power; arrogance, disregard of the collectiveness, treatment of the masses with contempt, arbitrariness, autocracy; separation from the masses, from the facts, the contraction of bureaucratic, commanding disease; there is no spirit of striving, of studying for progress; disunity, lack of discipline, of the sense of responsibility, no compliance of the line and policy of the Party and the State, thus doing harm to the interests of the revolution, of the people.
Individualism lies right inside each of us, the “enemy in our hearts”. Playing the decisive role in the anti-individualism combat is the internal strength of each of us which is guaranteed by the morality foundation that is strong enough to master ourselves, to control our desire, temptation that can make our behavior difficult to overcome the line of the law and social morality; using reason to restrict emotion, using conscience to “assess” what can be done and what cannot, “to judge oneself” when making a mistake, however small it is. Therefore, the “building” here is really to improve ideological awareness, to cultivate the good qualities, to boost the moral impetus, the self-conscious discipline regime, thus making the good get bigger and nurtured and the bad get pushed back.
According to Him, “Each man has the good and the evil in the heart. We have to know how to make the good inside each man bloom like Spring flowers and the evil will disappear gradually” (16). He has shown the way of “building” through the education of communist ideology, through the Party’s line and the moral obligation of the party member, thus making the standard of the revolutionary morality get absorbed to become the raison d’être and the direction of action in both the daily work and the normal life. The strength of morality can only be set up when it arouses the sense of self-consciousness of each man so as to brush aside the lowliness and to strive towards the noble things, to combat against the evil and to nurture the good. The communist ideology is really to base on the scientific groundwork and the moral motive. “Building” is the way to make morality be really the “root”, the foundation, the basis to guard against the danger of making mistakes, of getting depraved and degenerated.
According to President Ho Chi Minh, the cultivating and training of the revolutionary morality is not aimed at “self-denial” like stoicism, but the training of abilities so as to able to face the temptation, taking ethics to give guidance to and to control any desires, to uphold the honour, responsibility and harmony in the material and spiritual life, particularly “to have musch less desire of material”. The party members must be strict with themselves and must train their courage so as to face with their own weaknesses and to raise their high sense of self-control before all the circumstances.
When the resolute struggle against individualism is being launched, President Ho Chi Minh has differentiated very clearly individualism from the legitimate personal interests of human beings. He has drawn attention and stressed that the combat against individualism is not aimed at “trampling upon the personal interests” (17), because each person has got his own character, his own forte and his own life, and if the personal interests does not run counter to the collective interests, then it is not bad. He has shown the method of treatment when there is the contradiction between the private interests and the common interests: If the private interests run counter to the common intrests, the revolutionary morality demands that the private interests must yield to the common interests, must place the revolutionary cause of the Party, the interests of the country-nation above all else. This means in terms of the methodology that while struggling against individualism, it is necessary to respect the legitimate and legal private interests, making the private interests move in the same direction with the interests of the country-nation, based on the guiding role of the revolutionary morality.
Enhancing revolutionary morality, struggling against individualism in building and revamping of the Party and current political system
In the past 92 years, the Communist Party of Vietnam has established, consolidated and enhanced ever further its leading role, strength and prestige of by its own abilities, energies, minds and pioneer theory; by the correct line; by the contingent of cadres and party member who have set the examples and made self-sacrifices; by a closely and firmly united and unified organization; by the flesh and blood relationship with the people and it is loved, trusted, supported and protected by the people. Under the leadership of the Party, the Vietnamese nation has won one victory after another, recording the miraculous achievements in the 20th century. During the renovation period, the Communist Party of Vietnam has led the country to overcome innumerable difficulties and challenges and has recorded the great achievements of historic significance.
Before the requirements of the revolutionary cause in the new stage, the tradition and fine nature of the Party need to be promoted further, to take care and build the Party to be really solid in the political and ideological fields; to have high unification in the will power and action; to be pure in morality, life style; to be close in organization; to have close attachment with the people so as to be strong enough to lead the country to tide over all difficulties to have an ever increasing development. It is necessary for the cadres and party members to be well aware of and to resolutely struggle against all the manifestations of faded revolutionary ideology, of no persistence in following the socialist path, of being vague, wavering and lack of confidence; of speaking and doing things contrary to the Party’s advocacies and line; of the decline in the fighting will power in such a way as finding something right, but there is no gut to protect it or as finding something wrong, but there is no gut to struggle; even when there is the wrong, deviatory awareness and viewpoint, they still chime in with; they no longer have the consciousness of having the whole-heartedness for the country, for the people, they have not fuifilled their assigned obligation and responsibility; they have not implemented correctly all the principles of the Party building and have not organized the Party cells‘ frequent meetings.
General Secretary Nguyen Phu Trong has stressed: “The degeneration in morality and life style has been manifested in the fact that having a selfish, pragmatist, opportunist, profit seeking life style, being thirsty for fame, for power, having corruption and negativities; it is factional, local, disunited; bureaucratic, separated from the people, impassive before difficulties and pressing issues of the people. From the degeneration in the political ideology, morality and lifestyle, it leads to “self-evolution”, “self-transformation”, it is a short distance, even very short distance to come to unpredictalbe danger because it can lead to land the hand to or even to work hand in glove with the bad, hostile, opportunist forces, thus betraying the ideology and the revolutionary cause of the Party and the nation….”, and one of the main causes of this degeneration “originates from individualism, from the fact that cadres and party members lack their nurtury and training; their standpoint and ideology are not firm enough; they have fallen into individualism and forgotten their responsibility and obligation before the Party and the people” (18).
Following are the points that need attention to implement well the content “Enhancing revolutionary morality, sweeping clean individualism” following Ho Chi Minh ideology, morality and style
Firstly, it is necessary to be well and deeply aware of the important role and position of the Party building work in terms of morality; in terms of necessity, it is necessary to enhance the revolutionary morality, sweep clean individualism. This is the two sides of building the revolutionary morality and it has the dialectical relationship which is closely connected together: If we want to sweep clean individualism, we have to enhance the revolutionary morality, and when we have the revolutionary morality, it is possible for us to stop, push back and eliminate individualism. It is necessary to see clearly the unpredictable harm of individualism, particularly for the Central agencies where an important role is held for providing the strategic advice concerning advocacies and lines of the Party, the policies and laws of the State.
If each cadre and party member in the Central Agencies practice industriousness, thriftiness, integrity and impartiality, they can give advice to have the equal, unbiassed policies; if they are governed by individualism, by “group interests”, by “the policy corruption”, there will be the distorted, deformed policies, even they can steer these policies, causing the unpredictable consequences to the country.
At the same time, it is necessary to concretize the standards of the revolutionary morality into the codes of conduct, the public service ethics and work ethics to be in conformity with the characteristics of each agency, each unit and it has the value of giving guidance to practicing morality in daily work and activities.
Secondly, it is necessary to renew vigorously, to uplift the the persuasiveness of the political and ideological education, particularly the nature, goal, ideology, mission, the Party’s principle of organizing the activities and the party members’ tasks, thus making a contribution to improving the abilities and standpoints, to being persistent in the Party’s goals and ideology, creating the possibilities of resistance to all dangers, particularly the degeneration in ideology, politics, morality and lifestyle.
In the Party building work concerning morality, it is necessary to carry out synchronously the “building” and the “fighting” contents, in which the “building” is fundamental, long-term and thorough-going, the “fighting” is important, urgent and it is carried out by the general and strong method, making an impact on a lot of links, aspects and contents, mainly directing to creating the firm and sustainable moral foundation and struggling to stop, to strictly treat and to push back effectively the state of degeneration in the political ideology, morality, lifestyle, the “self-evolution”, the “self-transformation”.
Thirdly, it is necessary to continue the renovation and improve the quality of the activities of the party committee levels, the party cells’ meetings in combination with criticism and self-criticism, self-examination and self-correction of each cadre and party member. The 5th Plenum of the 13th Party tenure has just concluded, approving the Resolution on building the party’s grass-root organizations and party members, in which the promotion of criticism and self-criticism in combination with the renewal of the party committees’ activities and the party cells’ meetings are determined as an important solution. It is necessary to be fully aware of criticism and self-criticism like “washing our faces daily” and it is the way to help party members to self-control by their own moral responsibility.
All actions and work, good or not yet good, of each cadre and party member in work and activities, if they are cognitive through organized criticism and self-criticism with the sincere contribution of ideas in the spirit of comradeship, there will be an effect like “a dike to stop flood”, preventing mistakes without letting small shortcomings accumulate into big mistakes.
The periodical meetings of party committees and party cells should have the content of criticism and self-criticism without waiting for any suggestions or demands from the superior. What is important is that it is necessary to make criticism and self-criticism become a routine procedure, a habit when everyone feels that this is the best mode for “self-examination, self-correction”, thus helping them improve the personal capacities, constantly perfect personality, train the sense of organization and discipline and shape the habit of carrying out the obligations of the party member in a self-conscious way.
Fourthly, to uphold the discipline and order in the party; to boost the inspection and supervision, in combination with the renewal of the leading mode. To enhance the revolutionary morality; combating against individualism can only be able to achieve any efficiencies when the mutually complemented general measures are shaped and it depends on the situation that each measure can be placed in accordance with the before-after, high-low order.
Before the complicated developments of the manifestations of degeneration in the political ideology, morality, lifestyle, it is necessary to enhance discipline and order so as to sort out the degenerated elements; to strictly treat all the mistakes and wrongdoings to deter, to warn and this has an effect of giving support to the education of the revolutionary morality, promote criticism and self-criticism.
Each party committee and organization, particularly the heads, should attach importance to the inspection and supervision, particularly the self-inspection, self supervision in combination with the raising of the responsibility of the inspection committee at different levels. It is necessary to overcome the state that the heads of an organization, agency and unit only give care to their professional work while “entrust” the party work to several cadres or to their lower levels, who are unable to grasp firmly the principle, stipulations and regulations, so when mistakes are made, it is too late.
Fifthly, it is necessary to promote the emulation movement in studying and following Uncle Ho’s teachings and this has to be essential and effective, to pay attention to building the advanced models in the party building in morality.
The press agencies should enhance their coverages and introductions of the “good people, good deeds” examples among the party members and masses, “making the good win over the bad”, thus creating the spillover and extensive influences among the communities, promoting the confidence in society.
The reward work must also be able to select the deserved people so as to honour them in time. To study to build a regime of nurturing morality, of nurturing the integrity quality in combination with salaries and incomes while carrying on the struggle against the current corruption and negativities.
To enhance the revolutionary morality, to struggle against individualism are the great, important and imperative content and this should be conducted in a constant, long-term and consistent manner.
In face of the state of degeneration in the political ideology, morality and life style of a no small part of cadres and party members at present, more than ever, the current building and revamping of the Party and the political system in morality, and the struggle against individualism must be determined as the urgent tasks with its right position and importance.
All the party committee levels, the party organizations and each party member nationwide should imbue more intensively the ideology of President Ho Chi Minh on the revolutionary morality and have a more determined attitude in the struggle against individualism, in the building of the Party to be worthy being the “moraliry”, “the civilization”, strong enough to take the country for further development and prosperity as our President Ho Chi Minh has wished./.
(1) (4) (8) (15) Ho Chi Minh: Complette works, the National Political Publishing House Su That, Hanoi, 2011, tomb 5, p. 293, 292, 291, 295
(2) (3) (7), (10) (16) Ho Chi Minh: Complete works, Ibid, tomb 15, p. 546, 546, 546, 546, 672
(5) (6) (9) (13) (14) Ho Chi Minh: Complete works, Ibid, tomb 6, p. 16, 16, 16, 127, 131
(11) Ho Chi Minh: Complete works, Ibid, tomb 4, p. 259
(12) Ho Chi Minh: Complete works, Ibid, tomb 2, p. 514
(13) Ho Chi Minh: Complete works, Ibid, tomb 11, p. 610
(18) The Documents of the 4th Plenum of the 13th Party tenure, the National Political Publishing House Su That, Hanoi, 2021, p. 136
This article was published in the Communist Review No. 991 (June 2022)