Vietnam’s Central Party Committee Meeting: How to Read the Results

Partyforumseasia: According to today’s (13.01.2015) Viet Nam News (Link) “the committee nominated more officials to strategic positions, cast confidence votes for members of the Politburo and the Party Secretariat and elected more officials to the Central Committee’s Inspection Commission.(…) The Party Central Committee (CPC) wrapped up its 10th meeting in Ha Noi yesterday with a review of the leadership and direction of the Politburo and the Party Secretariat in 2014.”

Viet NamThe Viet Nam News – report is interesting reading  in so far as it is obviously not formulated as a flattering success story. Problems for which the ruling party is responsible are made more visible than hidden between the lines, as is usual among Communist and other authoritarian regimes. Partyforumseasia suggests a few translations (original from the article in italics) into more outspoken plain English, alternative and improved “translations” are welcome!

“The CPC emphasised the need for Party building, especially in efforts to prevent and curb the degradation of political ideology, ethics and lifestyle among Party members.”
= Many party members are corrupt and don’t care about the Communist ideology.

“In terms of civil service reforms, the Committee said it was important to improve existing staff and attract talented people to work for Party and State agencies, organisations and public units.”
= There are too many underperforming civil servants, it is difficult to compete with the private sector.

“It said the press should be developed professionally and effectively to meet public demand for information, while uniting society and contributing to the development of the country and its people.”
= Our controlled press is too boring and the people don’t reed it.

“National defence and security should also be strengthened with social progress and fairness ensured, making it easier for the country to pursue its path in global integration, he said.”
= We have problems with the armed forces, draft and pay are not fair enough.

“He asked for more studies on important issues, especially the settlement of bad debts and macro-economic stabilization plans.”
= After decades of reform we are still struggling with economic and financial problems.

“Delving into a proposal related to a more synchronous political and economic overhaul, the leader said that it involved stronger efforts to accelerate Party building and stop political and moral degradation to create a consensus within the Party and society at large.”
= Our party suffers from a lack of consensus, internally and with the society.

As Ferdinand Lasalle (1825-64, one of the godfathers of early Socialism in Germany) said, “All great political action starts with the definition of the problems. Covering them up is petty political brinkmanship.”
Vietnam’s Central Party Committee
is definitely correct in naming the shortcomings. May their correction be fast and successful in the interest of this great nation and her people.

Vietnam’s Marxism-Leninism: RIP…?

Partyforumseasia: On a visit to Xinhua News Agency’s training centre in Beijing in the late 1990s, the editor of Partyforumsea asked the somewhat naughty question how many Marxists they had in their faculty. The answer came quickly: Only one, the American guest lecturer…
Has Marxism-Leninism become a luxury ideology in rich countries? At least a number of European countries still have Marxist splinter parties surviving alongside the more successful social-democrats.
For Vietnam in its ongoing economic crisis, the traditional ML-ideology seems to attract few followers among the young. State jobs which require membership in the Communist Party obviously don’t attract many any more. See the Associated Press article in the
Straits Times (16 August 2013)
Vietnam ML

Vietnam: First “Lack of Confidence Vote”?

DungPartyforumseasia: Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung and his government risked a confidence vote last Monday, 10 May, for the first time in their regime’s history. Given the 90% majority of the Communist Party in Vietnam’s Parliament and the remaining 10% not really antagonistic opposition, the risk was not life threatening.
But more than 30% “low confidence”votes may
be signaling Dung’s fading popularity for a lackluster performance widely blamed for the slow economy on one side. On the other hand they will give hope to the population that their unhappiness with party and government will not go unnoticed by them any more. The keen interest in specially televised parliamentary debates since a couple of years shows that citizens are not indefinitely prepared to suffer in silence. But will the party be capable of opening up? Will rivalries inside the ‘nomenclatura’ allow for genuine party reform? See more details in today’s (link:) New York Times article.

Vietnam: Fearless bloggers – fearful government

Partyforumseasia: As seen in many other countries, attempts of the governments to control the social media turn out to be something between difficult, costly, and useless. As Straits Times Indochina bureau chief Nirmal Ghosh describes in this article, 22 bloggers have been detained last year. This did not stop others from embarrassing the ruling Communist Party by inviting themselves to their debate about constitutional changes. Their proposed alternative constitution, among others, takes out the dominant role of the VCP and its Marxist-Leninist ideology and asks for free and fair elections. Obviously the balance of fear seems to shift more to party and government despite 22 jailed bloggers…

Link: Straits Times
Vietnam constitution