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How does Vietnam justify itself?

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Defected to the U.S.S.R.: 06 Jul 2009, 10:14
Komsomol
Post 04 Mar 2012, 23:32
How does Vietnam justify itself and its actions towards Communism. From what I can tell, they are making little to no progress empowering the working class and abolishing the state. I recently watched the Pro-American documentary "Vietnam in HD" and it got me thinking about the amount of pain and blood suffered to bring about a united communist Vietnam. They have squandered uncle Ho's legacy with their capitalist reforms. The "New Economic Policy" argument is becoming an overused excuse to justify the constant failures of every self-proclaimed communist nation. Do they not see how the reforms in China became so entrenched that it can't undo the transition to capitalism and its product of fascism.

I admit I'm ignorant on the living conditions and problems largely facing Vietnam, but it takes very little to see the writing on the wall and recognize the patterns and parallels with other failing/failed communist nations. I'm in contact with many business men who have been to Vietnam and they all say the same thing. Vietnam is becoming the smaller cousin of China. They tell me how many capitalist attitudes have taken root in the country through multiple dealings with the West. This is a disturbing trend. I believe one resident SE poster from Vietnam mentioned a lack of motivation in the population some time ago.
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Defected to the U.S.S.R.: 21 Dec 2010, 21:39
Pioneer
Post 05 Mar 2012, 15:06
Well, I think you have to remind what happened in Vietnam, and you will see that some NEP-style reforms were simply a question of surviving for the country. Vietnam was a colonized country, poor, agrarian and backward country. As if that wouldn't have been enugh already, Vietnam experienced a century of wars. First, there was the war of resistance against the Japanese invaders. Then the war of independence against the French colonialists followed. After its victorious end, there was the US war of extermination that lasted more than ten years. After the ultimate victory that brought independence and unity, there were the Khmer Rouge terrorising Vietnam, and after the invasion of Phnom Penh, it was the Chinese who led their "punitive expedition" against Vietnam.

But it was not only the many wars that arrested the development of the Vietnamese economy. Another big problem was the Vietnamese reunification, that cost a whole lot of money, and the much too fast transmission of the North Vietnamese economic model to South Vietnam. This led to a very difficult situation, from which the Vietnamese comrades had learnt that a capitalist economy just as the South Vietnamese one has to develop gradually to a socialist one.

To sum it up: The reforms were neccessary because the country was so backward and was even thrown back by several problems, mainly the permant state of war and the reunification.

On the other hand, you have to remind that Vietnam's Doi Moi policy is not an unlimited capitalist economy, but it was rather strictly limited. As far as I know, about two third of the means of production are state property. There are several restrictions and regulations for the private enterprises. The social disparity has of course grown since 1986 (remember the "Nepmen"), but I think they are not too big, at least not compared to China, where there are 128 dollar billionaires (figures from 2010). The party still holds up socialist values, the heritage of Ho Chi Minh and other important communists, and often talks about its socialist goals for the future. As it can be read in this forum (as far as I know, even in this thread), the CPV recently demanded more socialism. So one can say the reforms are limited, and the party has never lost sight of its socialist perspective.

So, to sum it up again: Doi Moi was neccessary because of the so many crises and setbacks the country suffered. On the other hand, it is strictly limited, as depicted above. So, in opposite to the Chinese development, Doi Moi in my opinion is totally justified.
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Defected to the U.S.S.R.: 29 Jul 2011, 11:37
Ideology: Other Leftist
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Post 05 Mar 2012, 18:44
The restoration of capitalism in Vietnam is caused by the failure of agricultural collectivization in the underdeveloped. damaged country after the Vietnam War. However, Vietnam needs capitalist development first and socialist construction later, it is about 5x poorer now in 2012 than Czechoslovakia in 1960 after all.
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Defected to the U.S.S.R.: 06 Jul 2009, 10:14
Komsomol
Post 06 Mar 2012, 08:39
After seizing control the Communist Party had full flexibility and control to do as it wished. The damage to infrastructure from the war certainly had an impact on the Vietnamese economy, however one would think they would have collectivized the farming to create an agricultural surplus to maintain a well fed population. In addition, they still had supplies coming in from China and Russia to assist in its recovery. My personal opinion is that they ran the country poorly and had little understanding of Communism. Very few intellectuals existed in Vietnam, and the only one who could earn the title of Marxist intellectual was Uncle Ho who died shortly after the conflict.

Perhaps overblown by capitalist propaganda, it is true that they wasted much effort and resources on brutal re-education camps that alienated the working peasant class rather than appeal to it. I view Vietnam in its young history thus far as a squandered opportunity. The power of the State to operate without the restrictions of a plurality should have been enough to make radical changes and react to each situation as required. I will laugh years from now when these so called "temporary" capitalist reforms become entrenched in Vietnam and we add it to the growing lists of "what could have been."
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Defected to the U.S.S.R.: 29 Jul 2011, 11:37
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Post 06 Mar 2012, 18:37
I did not say that they did not collectivise, I said they did collectivise but it failed in the damaged conditions of Vietnam. They had a near famine in the 1970s and 1980s and a lot of hunger and that is why they decided to decolectivise in the late 1980s.
Loz
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Defected to the U.S.S.R.: 06 Dec 2009, 23:17
Philosophized
Post 06 Mar 2012, 19:39
My hypothesis is that rice-paddies which are of course the dominant types of fertile land in Vietnam are much harder to collectivize because they don't allow agricultural machinery (tractors,combines harvesters etc.) which played a major role in the Soviet collectivization for example.
Rice paddies have to (from what i know at least,i may be wrong) be cultivated manually which doesn't allow for freeing the workforce by mechanization or making the villagers' lives much easier.
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Defected to the U.S.S.R.: 06 Jul 2009, 10:14
Komsomol
Post 07 Mar 2012, 02:55
Loz wrote:
My hypothesis is that rice-paddies which are of course the dominant types of fertile land in Vietnam are much harder to collectivize because they don't allow agricultural machinery (tractors,combines harvesters etc.) which played a major role in the Soviet collectivization for example.
Rice paddies have to (from what i know at least,i may be wrong) be cultivated manually which doesn't allow for freeing the workforce by mechanization or making the villagers' lives much easier.


That's a good point. Also the effects of Agent Orange not only damaged soil, but is still killing people to this day.
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Defected to the U.S.S.R.: 24 Feb 2012, 23:00
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Pioneer
Post 08 Mar 2012, 22:40
I can understand why they would need the short term capitalsim reforms to rebuild the infastructure, but i think they should have made more progress towards Socialism and then maybe Communism.
Also the Rice paddy theory is a good one, you probably could develop machinary but the cost wouldn't be worth the investment.
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Defected to the U.S.S.R.: 24 May 2012, 00:32
Ideology: Marxism-Leninism
Pioneer
Post 24 May 2012, 00:50
Doi Moi process has the goal of developing the productive forces and make Viet Nam a modern and industrialised country by 2020.

You can not compare the process in China and Viet Nam. They differate from each other on many levels, historical and otherwise.
The Paris Communards struggled and died in the defense of their ideas. The banners of the revolution and of socialism are not surrendered without a fight. Only cowards and the demoralized surrender — never Communists and other revolutionaries.
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Defected to the U.S.S.R.: 30 May 2009, 19:37
Ideology: Marxism-Leninism
Pioneer
Post 20 Jun 2012, 07:53
I think Doi Moi has both good and bad side (just like everything in the world).

The bad side of Doi Moi is it went too far and destroy socialism in Vietnam. It is the fact that I bet every Vietnam communists and Vietnam Communist Party cardes have to admit.
But good side of Doi Moi is it makes everyone life better, I must state that it is everyone. No, I am not joking, farmers, workers, middle-class, the bosses all have a really better living standard than before Doi Moi.

In my opinion, Doi Moi good side outweigth its bad side.

But now the situation have changed.
Farmers and artisans, because of their small production, is gradually driven out by the competition. New industrial zones make many farmers landless and jobless (because they didn't have education).
Workers living standard is not improve for recent years, and because of crisis (that USA export to us by inflating $), many face unemployment.
Employees are facing pay cuts and downward living standard.
Small entrepreneurs (small capitalists) can not compete with big magnate corporation (banks).
State corporation are rife with corruptions, there is no cure for that problems in capitalist society.

But everyone can still living with a bit hardship (this isn't anything compare to the life in French Colonial era) so no problem, I can say Vietnam is pretty stable.

Now, the center of political arena in Vietnam is the showdown between the Prime Minister and General Secretary of CP.
The Prime Minister's group want to liberaliztion Vietnam, they have backing of Vietnamese magnate corporations (banks), small capitalists, and some of the middle-class. And of course, the USA.
The General Secretary is a good theologician with big heart. He want preserve NEP (Doi Moi) and he relies mainly on old party cardes and people who want to keep somewhat a relic of socialism.

The side of GS is have some win now but in the end I think PM side will win. Because Mr Prime Minister are backed by capitalist class. I admire the good intent of Mr General Secretary (people like him are rare) but I do not agree with him. If he wants to win, he must sought strength from social class. Which social class he want to rely on? Farmers are weak and disintergrating. Workers are unorganized. Middle-class is indifferent. And Capitalists will oppose to him. No hope.

So Vietnam is standing at the crossroad. If PM win, Vietnam will liberalising and join US-Japan imperialist gang in Pacific. On the other hand, if GS win, Vietnam will retain NEP and join the new Russia-China imperialist axis (the chance of Russia-China alliance is very high but I can not sure if it will happen).
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Defected to the U.S.S.R.: 25 Apr 2014, 11:15
Pioneer
Post 29 Apr 2014, 20:37
As a Vietnamese, I agree with many people here about the justification for Viet Nam to launch the "Renewal" ("Đổi Mới", or "Doi Moi" if you can't see/type Vietnamese tones).

We had a lot of difficulties in building socialism (or building anything): Viet Nam was an economically backward country. In recent history, no other country has suffered wars and as much as we did (with France, Japan, the USA, the Khmer Rouge, and China). I often joke that it is better that we suffer an atomic bomb once and for all, rather than suffering smaller bombs and chemical weapons continuously for years and years and years. The prolonged wars affect the way Vietnamese think and act profoundly such as the lack of long-term thinking (apparently if you were born in war, grew up during war, and died in war, you wouldn't have to think too far about the future). After the war, it is true that we enjoyed a lot of support from the USSR, but we also suffered economic blockades by the USA, China, and other Southeast Asian countries.
The bloody war with China ended in 1979, and so we only had seven years of peace to build a socialist economy with Soviet supports until Mikhail Gorbachyov's Glasnost and Perestroika in 1986. A very poor and utterly-destroyed country with significantly-reducing support of an international socialist system had almost no choice but to be succumbed to the neo-liberal campaign that has been storming the world since the 1970s.

On top of that, we had our own problems. You may wonder about the results of socialist economic policies in re-unified Viet Nam after 1975. Agricultural collectivization and industrial nationalization were actually carried out in accordance with the Soviet model (and North Viet Nam's model from 1954 to 1975). However, it was a failure. It is true that workers' rights were significantly improved, but the economic efficiency was very low. Administrative bureaucracy and corruption prevented central planning from working properly.
Here are some true stories of that time:
- One example that my parents often told me: each and everyone was "rationed" a shaving razor once in a while. If you were a woman, what would you do with a razor blade? You'd certainly bring it to the black market to sell it or exchange it for something you need.
- My parents also told me about the time when trading and transportation were nationalized and tightly controlled to destroy the market economy. The problem was state-owned enterprises could not satisfy the demand of transportation. My mother had to "ilegally" bring rice from the Mekong River Delta (where we had a lot of rice and did not know where to sell/exchange) to Ho Chi Minh City (where they had money and industrial products) to feed my grandmother.
- I had a close friend, and her father worked for a small unit in a state-owned company. Due to improved performance that year (some time in the middle of the 1980s), his unit was awarded with a bicycle. They had about six or seven people in the unit, and instead of exchanging the bicycle for something that could be easily divided, they disassembled the bicycle into several parts and resorted to lucky draws to decide who got what. My friend's father got the chain/chain ring/pedal set. And of course he brought them to the black market to get something more useful. This with the first two stories told me that the economic policies at that time failed to suppress market, and even worse, it indirectly encouraged black markets.
- And this last story pissed me off the most: discrimination according to your ranks in the government. I think we copied this from the USSR during the Brezhnev's era (please correct me if I'm wrong). We had special hospitals for high-ranking officials, so-so hospitals for middle-ranking personnel, and common hospitals for everyone else. My grandfather was considered someone belonging to the high ranks and was thus treated in the best hospital in Ho Chi Minh City. Of course we were happy that he was treated well, but at the same time I asked myself: "what kind of socialism is this?".

All these things and many other factors created an economic crisis and morale upset in Viet Nam. And the Communist Party of Viet Nam had no choice but to resort to an NEP-styled economic program (that we call "Renewal") to rescue the country from collapse. They hoped that once the economic infrastructure was built, socialism would follow suit. The Party has continuously re-affirmed its socialist orientation amid a market economy.
Here's the link to the "Political platform to build the nation during the transition to socialism" issued in 1991 and amended in 2011 by the Communist Party of Viet Nam. If you're interested, I can try to translate some parts: http://www.xaydungdang.org.vn/Home/vankientulieu/Van-kien-Dang-Nha-nuoc/2011/3525/CUONG-LINH-XAY-DUNG-DAT-NUOC-TRONG-THOI-KY-QUA-DO-LEN.aspx

As Engelist has pointed out, the Renewal has improved the average living standard significantly, but it has also produced terrible "side effects". With the aggressive attacks from the neo-liberalism camp all over the world and the absence of a socialism-oriented superpower (like the USSR), the Renewal or any reform attempts in any socialist countries easily slips out of control.
Engelist was right when she/he pointed out that our Party's Secretary-General Nguyễn Phú Trọng / Nguyen Phu Trong (a кандидат-наук/kandidat-nauk graduate from the USSR Academy of Social Sciences) always wants to preserve the socialist elements of our economic reform. However, he is too much of an orthodox Marxist/socialist.

Unless and until the Communist Party of Viet Nam presents a viable alternative to the current global capitalist economy, or at least a reasonable way to preserve the socialist orientation of the Renewal, I'm afraid Viet Nam's politics and economy will become more and more capitalistic.
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Defected to the U.S.S.R.: 14 Feb 2014, 12:33
Pioneer
Post 01 May 2014, 08:20
Question tdn, since you're claiming the world lacks a socialist-oriented superpower, whats you're position on China (which has introduced similar reforms)?
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Defected to the U.S.S.R.: 07 Oct 2004, 22:04
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Resident Soviet
Post 01 May 2014, 12:56
tdn wrote:
In recent history, no other country has suffered wars and as much as we did (with France, Japan, the USA, the Khmer Rouge, and China). I often joke that it is better that we suffer an atomic bomb once and for all, rather than suffering smaller bombs and chemical weapons continuously for years and years and years. The prolonged wars affect the way Vietnamese think and act profoundly such as the lack of long-term thinking (apparently if you were born in war, grew up during war, and died in war, you wouldn't have to think too far about the future).


It's difficult to imagine how people could survive so many wars against so many big countries, and not only survive but defeat the aggressor. Certain facts, like that several times more bombs were dropped on Vietnam than in WW2, also just make the heart ache. I think Vietnam's resistance to aggression may have been a great cautionary tale for global imperialism against casually attacking any country they see fit. Unfortunately these days that message seems to have been lost, but there is no doubt in my mind that Vietnam's resistance to naked aggression saved the lives and sovereignty of many peoples all across the globe over several decades in the 20th century.

tdn wrote:
And this last story pissed me off the most: discrimination according to your ranks in the government. I think we copied this from the USSR during the Brezhnev's era (please correct me if I'm wrong). We had special hospitals for high-ranking officials, so-so hospitals for middle-ranking personnel, and common hospitals for everyone else.


In the Soviet Union, the very top of the elite did have special hospitals, but as with their access to state dachas, limousines, etc., this was in line with the fact that as officials, it is important that they live as healthily and as long as possible. Certain organizations, like veterans of WW2 -in some districts, anyway, were also offered improved health facilities as well for their contributions to victory. I'm sure your grandfather did something of great significance to be given treatment in a top hospital. Despite its policies to improve the lives of everyone, socialism is still 'from each according to his ability to each according to his labour'.

Thanks for the explanation of the failures of Soviet-style socialism in Vietnam. Perhaps the inept advice of the Soviets aided in the failure; the Soviet Union had industrialized and collectivized in completely different conditions, with differing resources, opportunities, limitations. Perhaps it's good in a way that Vietnam started its reforms when it did; otherwise maybe it would have suffered a complete counterrevolution in the late 1980s when the Soviets abandoned all their allies.

I remember when I was little, every time I had a cold my mother would bring out a little red jar of balm with the golden star on it:

Image


From personal experience, that's all I remember of Soviet-Vietnamese partnership. I know I really can't speak for anyone but myself, but please accept my apology on behalf of the Soviet people for abandoning socialism and betraying all our friends and allies, including Vietnam, one of the closest and bravest friends we had. I think that as long as the Party exists, and as long as history and traditions are remembered, there will always be a chance for socialist renewals someday in the future. The important thing is not to let things get out of hand to the point of complete counterrevolution, but I think the association of anti-communism with US bombs will prevent that for a long time to come.
"The thing about capitalism is that it sounds awful on paper and is horrendous in practice. Communism sounds wonderful on paper and when it was put into practice it was done pretty well for what they had to work with." -MiG
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Defected to the U.S.S.R.: 25 Apr 2014, 11:15
Pioneer
Post 01 May 2014, 22:42
leftguy wrote:
Question tdn, since you're claiming the world lacks a socialist-oriented superpower, whats you're position on China (which has introduced similar reforms)?


In my opinion, China used to inspire many nations about a socialist world. And for a long time, China did support Viet Nam a lot during our resistance war against the US troops.
However, their economic failure up until 1970s, their out-of-control Cultural Revolution, and especially their special relation with the USA have turned China into a power that cannot be easily trusted or relied on.

In international relations, China does not stick to the communist/socialist ideology. China enthusiastically supported Viet Nam during the Viet Nam War up until 1972 when they found more benefits in befriending with the USA. Aids to Viet Nam were reduced, and they repeatedly suggested that Viet Nam should stop short of re-unifying the country (i.e. Viet Nam should remain divided as North and South Korea). To be fair, the USSR also suggested the same idea of "détente" to the Vietnamese leadership, but the USSR never reduced their supports to Viet Nam.
More examples can be found in China's cooperation with the USA in dealing with the Khmer Rouge in Cambodia, with the Pinochet's regime in Chile, and the Mujahideens in Afghanistan.

For Vietnamese, there has been always a mistrust towards China. This mistrust is somehow "written" in the genes because of thousands of years of conflicts (China once totally ruled Viet Nam for roughly a thousand years, and there were numerous military conflicts between the two countries for another thousand years). Even at the height of the international communist movements, many people in Viet Nam thought that China just used communism as a tool to control smaller nations surrounding it, and many people in China thought that Viet Nam relied on the USSR to work against China. The bloody war between China and Viet Nam in 1979 completely destroyed any little affection towards China left in Vietnamese. The current territorial dispute in the South China Sea (which is called the East Sea by Vietnamese) contributes even more to this mistrust.

Economically, although the Chinese government still exerts a lot of control over the economy using the state-owned sector, it allows terrible exploitation of the workers for profit. The rich-poor gap is increasingly widening. Unfortunately, this is also what Viet Nam looks like. Leftguy is right that Viet Nam and China have similar reforms. That's why for now these two countries can be "friend with benefits" despite sharp conflicts of interest. Any big crises in either country will negatively affect the other. But the mistrust is always there, and Viet Nam can never consider China a strategic ally as it did with the USSR or even with post-Soviet Russia.

Talking about Viet Nam's relation with post-Soviet Russia, this is a short footage of Vladimir Putin's state visit to Viet Nam in 2013 (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OWATVJFOqqA). At 0:48, you can see how the Viet Nam's State President (Trương Tấn Sang) flung his arms from afar to be ready to hug Putin. This gesture is normally reserved for leaders of countries that Viet Nam considers close friends (i.e. Laos and Cuba). When meeting with China's leaders, Viet Nam's leaders also hug them as a 'communist' tradition but you don't feel any warmth in it (and of course there would be nothing like "oh I'm so ready to hug this guy" as you see in the video with Putin). During the whole trip, Viet Nam's State President always referred to Putin as "đồng chí Putin" ("comrade Putin"), and security personnel of both sides called each other "tovorish" (because many of the Viet Nam's public security staff were trained and are being trained in the USSR and Russia).

I'm sorry for talking too much that sometimes I go too far off the topic
tdn
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Defected to the U.S.S.R.: 25 Apr 2014, 11:15
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Post 02 May 2014, 02:24
soviet78 wrote:
I think Vietnam's resistance to aggression may have been a great cautionary tale for global imperialism against casually attacking any country they see fit. Unfortunately these days that message seems to have been lost, but there is no doubt in my mind that Vietnam's resistance to naked aggression saved the lives and sovereignty of many peoples all across the globe over several decades in the 20th century.


Thanks for your understanding!
Ironically, many Vietnamese people don't see it this way. They ask "why did we have to fight so hard?". They say the wars in Viet Nam were bloody because that was how the communists wanted, and they point to other countries like India, Singapore, Malaysia, the Philippines, etc. who got their independence without fighting as much as we did. They also point to North Korea and South Korea and say that if we just let the country stay divided, South Viet Nam could be as rich as South Korea.
It takes a lot of efforts to argue to these people. And it is not easy because the apparent prosperity of the capitalist world is so prominent.

tdn wrote:
In the Soviet Union, the very top of the elite did have special hospitals, but as with their access to state dachas, limousines, etc., this was in line with the fact that as officials, it is important that they live as healthily and as long as possible. Certain organizations, like veterans of WW2 -in some districts, anyway, were also offered improved health facilities as well for their contributions to victory. I'm sure your grandfather did something of great significance to be given treatment in a top hospital. Despite its policies to improve the lives of everyone, socialism is still 'from each according to his ability to each according to his labour'.


I totally agree that the best thing a socialist regime could offer at that time was "from each according to ability to each according to labour".
However, this should not apply to every aspects of the society, especially education and health care.

I believe that my grandfather contributed a great deal to the country (he joined the August Revolution in 1945, fought the French when they came back to re-claim Indochina, and ran a critical fertilizer factory in North Viet Nam during the war with the USA). So I think it was fair that he enjoyed higher salaries, bigger house, higher rations of goods, a car allocated for his own use when he was working, etc. However, when it comes to the very basic needs for a safe and fulfilling life such as health care and education, I believe that there should be absolutely no discrimination or ranking.

I think health care should be the same for everyone. If your sickness is more serious, you will be treated in a better hospital. If you are a child, you'll get first priority. There might be exceptions for very top leaders when they're serving their terms, but they should be like everyone else when they're retired.


soviet78 wrote:
I remember when I was little, every time I had a cold my mother would bring out a little red jar of balm with the golden star on it:

Image


From personal experience, that's all I remember of Soviet-Vietnamese partnership. I know I really can't speak for anyone but myself, but please accept my apology on behalf of the Soviet people for abandoning socialism and betraying all our friends and allies, including Vietnam, one of the closest and bravest friends we had. I think that as long as the Party exists, and as long as history and traditions are remembered, there will always be a chance for socialist renewals someday in the future. The important thing is not to let things get out of hand to the point of complete counterrevolution, but I think the association of anti-communism with US bombs will prevent that for a long time to come.


Well, that "golden star balm" is still popular in Viet Nam

http://duocphamtw3.com/index.php/home/chitietsanpham/10

And thank you very much for your fond thinking of Viet Nam!
Many people in Viet Nam have fond memories of the USSR too. But as the capitalistic worldview is very dominant now, talking about the USSR is becoming obsolete. Increasing collaborations between Russia and Viet Nam in recent years make people think and talk more about Russia, but not with the same affection as we had before with the USSR.
And the worrisome thing is that young people take the neo-liberal model of the USA as something Viet Nam should follow. That's why I'm saying the Renewal may slip out of control in the near future if we're not careful.
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Defected to the U.S.S.R.: 14 Feb 2014, 12:33
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Post 02 May 2014, 08:10
I read in the book Changing Worlds: Vietnam's Transition from Cold War to Globalization that China was actually planning to establish a new Comintern in 1990-1991 with the remaining socialist countries, but when the Soviet Union dissolved the idea died with it. Why? Well, Fidel Castro's regime while supported had annoyed Moscow since its establishment (and would annoy China if it took over the same old Soviet position), Laos was poor and one of the least developed countries (you don't want to have an alliance as equals when you are forced to "subsidize" it), North Korea (its North Korea), Cambodia (a poor non-important country devastated years by war..) and Vietnam (as you mentioned).. I understand why the opted for a non-socialist centered foreign policy (and it didn't help that it had been isolated from the rest of the socialist world for years...)

Quote:
Leftguy is right that Viet Nam and China have similar reforms. That's why for now these two countries can be "friend with benefits" despite sharp conflicts of interest. Any big crises in either country will negatively affect the other. But the mistrust is always there, and Viet Nam can never consider China a strategic ally as it did with the USSR or even with post-Soviet Russia.

You have some very good points, from beginning to end . However, despite all these conflicts, I doubt that China would ever cause you're country any harm (at least through physical force). For propaganda reasons I surmise I doubt that China could actually attack you at all - you are one of five other socialist states remaining, which makes you guys extremely special (to them and to the other countries).. But I guess this is what you mean by "friends with benefits", you learn from each other (I've noticed that the most CPV and CPC joint conferences are about ideological development and policy-making). However, I don't know, and where I live information on Vietnam in scarce (Norway...)

Interestingly enough I read in the book China's Communist Party: Atrophy and Adaptation that CPC theoreticians consider Vietnam the best example of a socialist state (other than China of course....) .. The author of the book so far as to state that Vietnam remains a "model example" on how a modern socialist state should be governed according to the CPC. Despite this, they seem to more fond of Cuba (for all the reasons you mentioned, and probably that its far away and therefore causes no problem, and of course the reforms of Raul Castro)

Quote:
Talking about Viet Nam's relation with post-Soviet Russia, this is a short footage of Vladimir Putin's state visit to Viet Nam in 2013 (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OWATVJFOqqA). At 0:48, you can see how the Viet Nam's State President (Trương Tấn Sang) flung his arms from afar to be ready to hug Putin. This gesture is normally reserved for leaders of countries that Viet Nam considers close friends (i.e. Laos and Cuba). When meeting with China's leaders, Viet Nam's leaders also hug them as a 'communist' tradition but you don't feel any warmth in it (and of course there would be nothing like "oh I'm so ready to hug this guy" as you see in the video with Putin). During the whole trip, Viet Nam's State President always referred to Putin as "đồng chí Putin" ("comrade Putin"), and security personnel of both sides called each other "tovorish" (because many of the Viet Nam's public security staff were trained and are being trained in the USSR and Russia).

Yeah, I saw you guys had lengthened the lease of the Russian naval base there (an old base from Soviet times). The guys at Foreign Policy (or was it Foreign Affairs) believed it was a bid to secure yourself from China.

Quote:
Economically, although the Chinese government still exerts a lot of control over the economy using the state-owned sector, it allows terrible exploitation of the workers for profit. The rich-poor gap is increasingly widening. Unfortunately, this is also what Viet Nam looks like.

The problem is that classical Marxism, that is that written by Marx and Engels, is more interested in the social fall outs which are caused (and will presumably be caused by capitalism).. In the transition from capitalism to socialism, The Communist Manifesto actually calls for progressive taxation on the rich and nationalization of transportation, communication etc but not all policy. Marx and Engels never pretended to be policy-makers. Secondly, it doesn't help that both the CPV and the CPC have been forced into constructing capitalism (so as to reach the socialist mode of production) - the "minor" bug in the plan is that, according to classical Marxism, that means the working class will overthrow you (since you're taking over the job of the bourgeoise)..

Quote:
I totally agree that the best thing a socialist regime could offer at that time was "from each according to ability to each according to labour".
However, this should not apply to every aspects of the society, especially education and health care.

I believe that my grandfather contributed a great deal to the country (he joined the August Revolution in 1945, fought the French when they came back to re-claim Indochina, and ran a critical fertilizer factory in North Viet Nam during the war with the USA). So I think it was fair that he enjoyed higher salaries, bigger house, higher rations of goods, a car allocated for his own use when he was working, etc. However, when it comes to the very basic needs for a safe and fulfilling life such as health care and education, I believe that there should be absolutely no discrimination or ranking.

I think health care should be the same for everyone. If your sickness is more serious, you will be treated in a better hospital. If you are a child, you'll get first priority. There might be exceptions for very top leaders when they're serving their terms, but they should be like everyone else when they're retired.


We shouldn't be in the business of defending the Soviet Union; as it is now, the Soviet elite was more elitist than the political elite in my country (of course, it should be mentioned that more and more politicians are using private rather than public health care these days)... The only reason they did it, of course, was that they new the health system was a failure, so they began keeping the best for themselves.... This is what happens when you don't have terms limits or a retirement age or even a fixed pension system (people who were forced to retire were given different pensions)

Quote:
I think health care should be the same for everyone. If your sickness is more serious, you will be treated in a better hospital. If you are a child, you'll get first priority. There might be exceptions for very top leaders when they're serving their terms, but they should be like everyone else when they're retired.

I agree, the basic needs of society should always be free. Look at the United States, tuition in the 1950s, today it costs several thousands dollars just to get into a bad university, college.. Tuition free from where I come from is 15-20 dollarish; is there tuition in vietnam for education?

Quote:
More examples can be found in China's cooperation with the USA in dealing with the Khmer Rouge in Cambodia, with the Pinochet's regime in Chile, and the Mujahideens in Afghanistan.

Yeah, the Chinese were just as much afraid of Soviet expansion as you guys were of Chinese expansion - sad really. In the Changing Worlds: Vietnam's Transition from Cold War to Globalization I read that the Vietnamese tried making a "red solution" with the Chinese on Cambodia, but the Chinese simply did not care for it, the author notes that China (a large country) simply didn't care enough to save some poor hellhole (or use energy on it) when the communist movement was suffering in general... At last, I must admit - what was the loss? The fact that Hun Sen and his comrades have ruled Cambodia continously from a planned economy to one of the most free market (and exploitative) economies on earth kinda tells me he never really was a communist (or more realistically, Pol Pot and his group made him think twice about his communist ideals)... To the point, Vietnam's "red solution" was to merge the two communist parties together (the parties of Pol Pot and Hun Sen..).. After Hun Sen heard of the proposal of working alongside Pol Pot and co in office they renounced communism at the very next congress - according to Changing Worlds: Vietnam's Transition from Cold War to Globalization it was the main reason why they renounced communism.

Quote:
Many people in Viet Nam have fond memories of the USSR too. But as the capitalistic worldview is very dominant now, talking about the USSR is becoming obsolete. Increasing collaborations between Russia and Viet Nam in recent years make people think and talk more about Russia, but not with the same affection as we had before with the USSR.
And the worrisome thing is that young people take the neo-liberal model of the USA as something Viet Nam should follow. That's why I'm saying the Renewal may slip out of control in the near future if we're not careful.

It must be said that you, both the Vietnamese party and the people, have no reasons at all to be nostalgic about the Soviet Union - you are already doing a far better job (in a shorter time span and with a less-developed base)... I think the developments in Vietnam are interestinly, such as Phan Dinh Dieu's theory of economic development; in his article "Some Observations About Today's Era and Our Path" he reconceptualize Marxist interpretation of economic history by reconceptualizing it. He replaced the old Marxist jargon, which claimed that society had gone through these stages three stages and was in its fourth (primitive society, slave society, feudalism and the capitalist mode of production), and argued that the base was everything; the world had experienced three phases (according to Dieu); agricultural, industrial and is now experiencing the information revolution. The problem with his research (in my eyes), however is the following; that he gives to much emphasize on the productive forces then on people's relations to means of production - it becomes an ideology which emphasizes growth over people (at least thats my interpretation of it) .. In both China and Vietnam Marxism has been turned into a developmentalist ideology (which is of course good, Marxism should develop with the times), but the social components of Marxism (those about exploitation, alienation and so on, have remained undeveloped...)

Anyhow, how does it work these days, I mean party-to-party relations between the remaining ruling communist parties? The 9th Congress of the Lao People's Revolutionary Party invited the communist parties of Cuba, China, Vietnam and North Korea (why invite North Korea?) Do the Cubans or Chinese invite you to attend their congress, and do you, the Vietnamese, invite any of the others (with the exception of the LPRP)? I know that Li Peng was invited to the 7th or 8th party congress, and Hu Jintao at one point.. I've read somewhere that Le Kha Phieu tried to establish an ideological alliance with China, but was opposed from within (people didn't think it was safe, I presume, to become a Chinese ally) and China had no interest in turning ideology into a main feature of their relationship, instead opting for a pragmatic relationship built on economic calculations.

My last question; what do you think of North Korea? When I think of North Korea, I think of a monarchy, a starving people, that they killed people in the 1960s and 1970s for having a positive view of other socialist countries, their racist policies, both oppression and exploitation of the people, the fact that they illegalized Marxist writings etc etc etc ... I don't consider them socialist at all; more fascist if anything else. Again, what is you're thought on them?

Sorry for my bad English in the post (I didn't have that much time on my hands)..
tdn
[+-]
User avatar
Soviet cogitations: 28
Defected to the U.S.S.R.: 25 Apr 2014, 11:15
Pioneer
Post 02 May 2014, 19:36
leftguy wrote:
I read in the book Changing Worlds: Vietnam's Transition from Cold War to Globalization that China was actually planning to establish a new Comintern in 1990-1991 with the remaining socialist countries, but when the Soviet Union dissolved the idea died with it. Why? Well, Fidel Castro's regime while supported had annoyed Moscow since its establishment (and would annoy China if it took over the same old Soviet position), Laos was poor and one of the least developed countries (you don't want to have an alliance as equals when you are forced to "subsidize" it), North Korea (its North Korea), Cambodia (a poor non-important country devastated years by war..) and Vietnam (as you mentioned).. I understand why the opted for a non-socialist centered foreign policy (and it didn't help that it had been isolated from the rest of the socialist world for years...)


Interesting! I've never heard of this idea.
I have to say that in the history of the communist/socialist movement, the USSR was the only power that could unite a large number of socialist states/movements. So apparently this idea would die together with the collapse of the USSR.
China got a few ideological allies like Albania, the Khmer Rouge, some Maoist movements around the world. But I don't think this alliance ever got real momentum.

leftguy wrote:
... despite all these conflicts, I doubt that China would ever cause you're country any harm (at least through physical force).


That's what we'd like to believe too.
But the territorial dispute between the two countries is very heated (see: http://www.nytimes.com/2012/12/05/world/asia/china-vietnam-and-india-fight-over-energy-exploration-in-south-china-sea.html?_r=0).
Global Times, a tabloid under the control of People's Daily (official newspaper of the Chinese government), has warned that China might use force in the South China Sea (http://www.globaltimes.cn/NEWS/tabid/99/ID/680694/Dont-take-peaceful-approach-for-granted.aspx, this article was published in 2011 but was then removed, maybe it was too hawkish).

China also attacked Viet Nam in a bloody war in 1979 while Viet Nam was concentrating all its military might to dismantle the Khmer Rouge regime in Cambodia. The border conflicts between China and Viet Nam did not end with this 1979 war but were prolonged all the way to early 1990s. So while I agree with you that China should not cause us any physical harm, it is hard to convince many Vietnamese that this is the case.

To most Vietnamese, China has illegally occupied the Paracel Islands since 1974 and few islands in the Spratly Islands since 1988. These are considered "physical harm". If the Vietnamese government does not show that they're tough in relations with China, they will be increasingly criticized for putting ideology (communism) over national interests.
The same thing can be said for the Chinese people. That's why these two governments have to play to push-and-pull game (i.e. showing solidarity to the other government at the same time with telling their own people that they're so ready to defend the territorial integrity).

I believe that the sovereignty of the Paracels and the Spralys belongs to Viet Nam based on history and international law. But I may be biased since I'm a Vietnamese. So I shall not discuss this issue further here. And if you're interested in this dispute, please do your own research and don't simply take my words!

leftguy wrote:
... you learn from each other (I've noticed that the most CPV and CPC joint conferences are about ideological development and policy-making). However, I don't know, and where I live information on Vietnam in scarce (Norway...)


It's true that the CPV and the CPC regularly organize symposia to exchange ideas about a socialism-oriented market economy and the one-party regimes.
If you're in Norway, I can see why it's hard to get a clear picture about Viet Nam's political situation and its relations with China. To the best of my knowledge, most Vietnamese people living in Norway are refugees who left Viet Nam after the war due to economic hardship and political dissension.

Recently, Viet Nam and Norway have some collaboration on fishery and aquatic studies. That's it!


leftguy wrote:
The problem is that classical Marxism, that is that written by Marx and Engels, is more interested in the social fall outs which are caused (and will presumably be caused by capitalism).. In the transition from capitalism to socialism, The Communist Manifesto actually calls for progressive taxation on the rich and nationalization of transportation, communication etc but not all policy. Marx and Engels never pretended to be policy-makers. Secondly, it doesn't help that both the CPV and the CPC have been forced into constructing capitalism (so as to reach the socialist mode of production) - the "minor" bug in the plan is that, according to classical Marxism, that means the working class will overthrow you (since you're taking over the job of the bourgeoise)..


I think both the CPV and the CPC can build a socialism-oriented market economy with a large state-owned sector. But things are not that simple.

I agree with progressive taxation and nationalization of key industries/sectors. But for now, the tax system in Viet Nam does not reflect this. Many rich capitalists earn a lot of money but enjoy tax breaks (or even worse, you can't list all of their incomes and so can't tax them).
This goes back to the stories about universal health care and education. We don't have these things. So rich people get better health care and better education. Obviously you have to give key positions to people with good education and good health, or at least key leaders have to consult these people when making policies. This is creating a society with "socialism" in name only.

What's worse? We have a generation of what we call "party princes/princesses", they are sons and daughters of top leaders. I don't know if they really commit themselves to the cause of socialism. But to many people in Viet Nam, they utilize their parents' positions to approach good education and jobs. They even run large capitalist companies and enjoy favoured treatment from the government. I am afraid that we are developing a crony capitalism.

leftguy wrote:
The fact that Hun Sen and his comrades have ruled Cambodia continously from a planned economy to one of the most free market (and exploitative) economies on earth kinda tells me he never really was a communist (or more realistically, Pol Pot and his group made him think twice about his communist ideals)...


Hun Sen is a very pragmatic person. I knew this when I saw Hun Sen got down on his knees to welcome Norodom Sihanouk back to the Royal Palace in Phnom Penh (although Hun Sen was the real guy in charge).
He has every reason to run back and forth between Viet Nam and China. I think we need a whole new topic to discuss about Hun Sen and Cambodia.



leftguy wrote:
It must be said that you, both the Vietnamese party and the people, have no reasons at all to be nostalgic about the Soviet Union


The USSR was such a good memory to a lot of Vietnamese. In our most difficult time, it was the only superpower that we felt was truly helping us.
Vietnamese who studied in the USSR, especially during the 1950s to 1970s, keep telling stories about how well and affectionately Soviet people treated them.

Putting all personal emotions aside, the left in Viet Nam still "reveres" the USSR to some extent because it was the only large socialist experiment in history. It has all the bad sides, but it achieved many amazing things both in defending the nation and improving living standards that they think prove the strength of socialism (of course, officially there is no left and right in Viet Nam, I am referring to people who truly commit to the socialist cause).

leftguy wrote:
I think the developments in Vietnam are interestinly, such as Phan Dinh Dieu's theory of economic development; in his article "Some Observations About Today's Era and Our Path" he reconceptualize Marxist interpretation of economic history by reconceptualizing it. He replaced the old Marxist jargon, which claimed that society had gone through these stages three stages and was in its fourth (primitive society, slave society, feudalism and the capitalist mode of production), and argued that the base was everything; the world had experienced three phases (according to Dieu); agricultural, industrial and is now experiencing the information revolution.


Could you please copy the title of his work in Vietnamese here? I can't find it on the internet with the English title. I'd like to read about what he has to say before commenting anything.

leftguy wrote:
Anyhow, how does it work these days, I mean party-to-party relations between the remaining ruling communist parties? The 9th Congress of the Lao People's Revolutionary Party invited the communist parties of Cuba, China, Vietnam and North Korea (why invite North Korea?) Do the Cubans or Chinese invite you to attend their congress, and do you, the Vietnamese, invite any of the others (with the exception of the LPRP)? I know that Li Peng was invited to the 7th or 8th party congress, and Hu Jintao at one point..


The relationships between the CPV and the ruling parties in Laos and Cuba are exceptionally well (particularly with Lao People's Revolutionary Party since they're so close to us and have shared our history).
Although Cuba is very far from Viet Nam, top visits are being made several times every year. The Vietnamese side would bring rice (hundreds of tons) and computers with every visit, and the Cuban side would help us with their excellent immunological research.
The relation between Viet Nam and Laos is even more intimate (I have a feeling that they talk to each other almost everyday). Lao's officials are also sent to study in the Ho Chi Minh National Academy of Politics in Ha Noi. Recently, China has been more pro-active in their relation with Laos by increasing investment. But so far, Lao leadership has been more leaning towards Viet Nam.

Hu Jintao and representatives of the other parties attended the 9th National Congress of the CPV (2001). But the CPV did not invite international guests in later congresses (they might come to observe but there would be no official introduction at the congress and no speeches).


leftguy wrote:
I've read somewhere that Le Kha Phieu tried to establish an ideological alliance with China, but was opposed from within (people didn't think it was safe, I presume, to become a Chinese ally)


This is another 'classic' example for the mistrust towards China in Viet Nam.
Among general secretaries of the CPV since it became the ruling party, Lê Khả Phiêu (Le Kha Phieu) has been the only one that did not serve a full term.
During his General-Secretaryship, Phiêu made an official visit to China in 1999. He was welcomed with exceptional warmth in China with 3 km of escort cars when he moved from one city to another.
Phiêu was also accused that he entered a private talk with Hu Jintao without a second CPV's Politburo member during this trip, and that he did not report the content of this talk to the rest of the Poliburo when he came back to Viet Nam.

Outside the government, many anti-communist and anti-government activists in Viet Nam have accused Phiêu of conceding Viet Nam's territorial lands and waters to China to exchange for political support from China towards himself and the CPV in general.


leftguy wrote:
My last question; what do you think of North Korea? When I think of North Korea, I think of a monarchy, a starving people, that they killed people in the 1960s and 1970s for having a positive view of other socialist countries, their racist policies, both oppression and exploitation of the people, the fact that they illegalized Marxist writings etc etc etc ... I don't consider them socialist at all; more fascist if anything else. Again, what is you're thought on them?


In my opinion, the North Korean regime is a combination of monarchy and theocracy.
- It is a monarchy since the government has absolute power over every aspect of the society, and the "throne" has been passed down from father to son. Even Stalin at the height of his power was willing to let his son sacrifice in Nazi's prison, and China had no plan of power for Mao's descendants.
- And it is a theocracy since everything the leaders say would be treated as revelation. And the government intentionally spreads news like double rainbows were observed when their leaders were born, and birds gathered to mourn their leader's death.

I've talked to many South Koreans, and all of them admit that they use the word "communist" to indicate North Korea simply for the sake of convenience, and they can't consider North Korea a socialist country when they really think about it. Since South Koreans live under constant threat of a "communist" enemy, they really study about socialism and communism and understand these concepts pretty well.
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User avatar
Soviet cogitations: 3618
Defected to the U.S.S.R.: 22 Oct 2004, 15:15
Ideology: Marxism-Leninism
Politburo
Post 02 May 2014, 22:00
Sorry for the off-topic post, but that's what you get for not having an Introductions thread. I just want to thank tdn for their insightful posts. It's good to see when people put in some effort. Best new user in some time!
User avatar
Soviet cogitations: 208
Defected to the U.S.S.R.: 30 May 2009, 19:37
Ideology: Marxism-Leninism
Pioneer
Post 03 May 2014, 09:30
Since the prehistoric times, there always exist elite people (the leaders) in humans' society. And generally, they are more well treated than the normal members of society. If I am not wrong, the Communists don't oppose against the elite, they don't say that everyone must be the same. What they oppose is the elites who using their economic privileges to exploit the masses. And Karl Marx said that the ultimate origin of problem is private property, which born around 4000 years ago. It is private property that the Communists oppose.

leftguy wrote:
It must be said that you, both the Vietnamese party and the people, have no reasons at all to be nostalgic about the Soviet Union - you are already doing a far better job (in a shorter time span and with a less-developed base)


Vietnam had done a good job during the 90s and early 2000s, but if you think Vietnam is doing a far better job than the Soviet Union, then I beg to differ. When I go to Google Maps site, I compare the field of Ukraine to the field of Mekong Delta and I must conclude that: Vietnamese agriculture still cannot compared to the old Soviet Union agriculture, their level of organization is higher than us (since USSR collapsing, Ukraine's agriculture has been on the decline). And that is only about agriculture, I do not want to say about the manufacturing sector.

Well, I think Vietnam is better than the Soviet Union in banking and religious sector


However, it is true that not all Vietnamese people are nostalgic about the Soviet Union, because they don't have any reason like you said. But with me, I have reason to be nostalgic about Sovetsky Soyuz. Without Sovetsky Soyuz and the Communist Party, my mother, who was born in a very poor farmer family, can never study at a university in Moskva and know how the life in a socialist country was.

And I must say that, it was the greatest reason for me to become a Communist.
"Stalin brought us up — on loyalty to the people, He inspired us to labor and to heroism!" Soviet Anthem 1944.
Let's work hard and do valorous deed!
Soviet cogitations: 108
Defected to the U.S.S.R.: 14 Feb 2014, 12:33
Pioneer
Post 05 May 2014, 09:56
Quote:
Interesting! I've never heard of this idea.
I have to say that in the history of the communist/socialist movement, the USSR was the only power that could unite a large number of socialist states/movements. So apparently this idea would die together with the collapse of the USSR.
China got a few ideological allies like Albania, the Khmer Rouge, some Maoist movements around the world. But I don't think this alliance ever got real momentum.

Albania was the poorest country in Europe (and is now the second-poorest country in Europe...)

Quote:
To most Vietnamese, China has illegally occupied the Paracel Islands since 1974 and few islands in the Spratly Islands since 1988. These are considered "physical harm". If the Vietnamese government does not show that they're tough in relations with China, they will be increasingly criticized for putting ideology (communism) over national interests.
The same thing can be said for the Chinese people. That's why these two governments have to play to push-and-pull game (i.e. showing solidarity to the other government at the same time with telling their own people that they're so ready to defend the territorial integrity).

I believe that the sovereignty of the Paracels and the Spralys belongs to Viet Nam based on history and international law. But I may be biased since I'm a Vietnamese. So I shall not discuss this issue further here. And if you're interested in this dispute, please do your own research and don't simply take my words!

So what you're saying is that the Communist Party is playing a game; they are tricking the populace of both country. Thats not very surprising, considering how much the Communist Party of China has wathered down its ideology (in public these last years) - interestingly, the opposite seems to be true of ideology in inner-party indoctrination.. They've seem to have given up the hope of making the populace communist

Quote:
It's true that the CPV and the CPC regularly organize symposia to exchange ideas about a socialism-oriented market economy and the one-party regimes.
If you're in Norway, I can see why it's hard to get a clear picture about Viet Nam's political situation and its relations with China. To the best of my knowledge, most Vietnamese people living in Norway are refugees who left Viet Nam after the war due to economic hardship and political dissension.

Recently, Viet Nam and Norway have some collaboration on fishery and aquatic studies. That's it!

The third biggest immigrant group in Norway are the Vietnamese, so should say a lot (behind Swedish, the neighbouring country, and Pakistanis).. Most of the ethinic Vietnamese I've met are anti-communist (that is, most of the Vietnamese who follow politics)...

Quote:
I think both the CPV and the CPC can build a socialism-oriented market economy with a large state-owned sector. But things are not that simple.

Maybe, but we agree on one thing; the idea that the state should own everything is extremely utopian - it just doesn't work. So I agree, a socialist-oriented market economy over planning any day

Quote:
I agree with progressive taxation and nationalization of key industries/sectors. But for now, the tax system in Viet Nam does not reflect this. Many rich capitalists earn a lot of money but enjoy tax breaks (or even worse, you can't list all of their incomes and so can't tax them).
This goes back to the stories about universal health care and education. We don't have these things. So rich people get better health care and better education. Obviously you have to give key positions to people with good education and good health, or at least key leaders have to consult these people when making policies. This is creating a society with "socialism" in name only.

While I agree, there is one problem; it all sound like a very leftist (or old fashioned) social democratic policy-making ... But progressive taxation doesn't help alone, according to Thomas Piketty (the author of Capital in the 21st Century) since capital growth grows faster than national income, it makes little sense to actual tax income more than capital (which is what we do now, partly because of tax havens)..... Piketty's analyzes is riveting since he claims that the period which was experiencing from 1930s to the late-1970s was "abnormal" (capitalism didn't function properly). The reason being that the existing capital stock was badly damaged because of World War I, the Russian Revolution (and the ensuing failed revolutions in Europe), the Great Depression and World War II. According to him, what we in Europe have experience is nothing more than "luck" (more to do with our ancestors failure than our own policy).. His book was the top-selling book on American Amazon (says a bit when the American public buys such a book :P)

Quote:
Hun Sen is a very pragmatic person. I knew this when I saw Hun Sen got down on his knees to welcome Norodom Sihanouk back to the Royal Palace in Phnom Penh (although Hun Sen was the real guy in charge).
He has every reason to run back and forth between Viet Nam and China. I think we need a whole new topic to discuss about Hun Sen and Cambodia.

I totally agree

Quote:
The USSR was such a good memory to a lot of Vietnamese. In our most difficult time, it was the only superpower that we felt was truly helping us.
Vietnamese who studied in the USSR, especially during the 1950s to 1970s, keep telling stories about how well and affectionately Soviet people treated them.

Putting all personal emotions aside, the left in Viet Nam still "reveres" the USSR to some extent because it was the only large socialist experiment in history. It has all the bad sides, but it achieved many amazing things both in defending the nation and improving living standards that they think prove the strength of socialism (of course, officially there is no left and right in Viet Nam, I am referring to people who truly commit to the socialist cause).

Point taken, but in much of Europe the Soviet Union symbolizes either failure or systematic oppression (Western communists should stop citing the Soviet Union, In fact we should rename or movement or simply call ourselves Marxists, people respect Marxists)..

Quote:
Could you please copy the title of his work in Vietnamese here? I can't find it on the internet with the English title. I'd like to read about what he has to say before commenting anything.

I don't know :P but you can probably find it here (the name that is) http://books.google.no/books?id=VVfCPs9938EC&pg=PA341&dq=Phan+Dinh+Dieu&hl=en&sa=X&ei=sVFnU_yeA6GxywOY54B4&redir_esc=y#v=onepage&q=%22Phan%20Dinh%20Dieu%22&f=false If you can't find the page number (I can probably scan it, I have the book)

Quote:
In my opinion, the North Korean regime is a combination of monarchy and theocracy.
- It is a monarchy since the government has absolute power over every aspect of the society, and the "throne" has been passed down from father to son. Even Stalin at the height of his power was willing to let his son sacrifice in Nazi's prison, and China had no plan of power for Mao's descendants.
- And it is a theocracy since everything the leaders say would be treated as revelation. And the government intentionally spreads news like double rainbows were observed when their leaders were born, and birds gathered to mourn their leader's death.

I've talked to many South Koreans, and all of them admit that they use the word "communist" to indicate North Korea simply for the sake of convenience, and they can't consider North Korea a socialist country when they really think about it. Since South Koreans live under constant threat of a "communist" enemy, they really study about socialism and communism and understand these concepts pretty well.

This is good, but the official position of the CPV is that North Korea is still a socialist country, right?
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