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The View of the CPV on the Role of Culture and Its Policy for Building Vietnamese Culture in the Cause of Renovation

02/01/2013

Nguyen Huu De, PhD., Institute of Philosophy

During the process of Renovation in Vietnam, the Communist Party of Vietnam (CPV) has always paid attention to the issue of building an advanced culture imbued with national identity. The Renovation is the very process of gradual construction of a new culture. At the same time, it also the process of gaining deeper and more comprehensive knowledge of the content of the culture that could be most suitable for the practice and tradition of the Vietnamese in the context of globalization.

First and foremost, the Party’s view on building a model of cultural development and Vietnamese man was stated in the 2nd Party’s Congress in 1951. A model of Vietnamese culture should be built with a new democratic content and national form. In the 3rd, 4th and 5th Party’s Congresses the Party affirmed to build “a new culture with socialistic content and national character”. In the 6th Party Congress in 1986, when the whole country began the course of comprehensive renovation, the Party stated clearly the task of ‘building an advanced Vietnamese culture imbued with national identity”. Thus, we can see clearly the renovation in Party’s view on building a new model of cultural development: it is not only differences in terminology but the increase of the depth, comprehensiveness and concreteness of the understanding of the country’s practice in various periods of its development without departing from the socialistic goal. In the solutions of the 5th Central Plenum, the Party affirmed that the Vietnamese culture is the ensemble of materialistic and spiritual values created by the community of Vietnamese nations during the process of building and safeguarding their country…(it is) the result of interaction and acquirement of the quintessence of many cultures in the world for its continuous self-improvement. The Vietnamese culture has tempered the spirit and character of the Vietnamese as well as glorified the history of the nation of Vietnam. Despite the fact that the model of building a new culture was mapped out in 1986, only in 1998 the Party gave a concrete interpretation of the advanceness and national identity of the new culture that Vietnam would like to build. The Party, in the solutions of the 5th Central Plenum, the 8th Congress of the Communist Party of Vietnam stated clearly that “advanceness means patriotism and progress, whose core content includes: the ideal of national independence and socialism, Marxism-Leninism, Ho Chi Minh’s thought, for the sake of man, happiness as well as free, comprehensive development of man within harmonious relationships between individuals and society, society and nature’ (2)us, the Party has a clearer understanding of the advanceness of culture both in national and epochal perspective, thought contents and their form of expression. The Party also that “national identity includes sustainable values, the quintessence of the community of the nations of Vietnam that have been cultivated and tempered through thousands years of history of building and safeguarding the country. This is the ardent patriotism, self-reliance will, national solidarity, the sense of community adhering individual with family, village and nation; humanity, tolerance, righteousness, diligence, creativity in labor, delicacy in behavior, simplicity in life’s style…(2)he national identity includes all quintessence of the community of nations living in Vietnam which is combined in a dialectical harmony to create the unique character of the nation of Vietnam in the context of international integration and globalization. The solutions also mention the view on the new Man and the task of building the new man in a new period of Vietnam revolution. Especially, the solutions also point out clearly the renovation in Party’s understanding of the role of culture “culture is the spiritual foundation of the society. It serves simultaneously as the goal and the driving force promoting country’s socio-economic development”. This is a fundamental change in Party’s understanding of the role of culture in development in general because in the pre-renovation period, culture was understood as an external factor impacting the economic development, even in the practice of development of Vietnam, the cultural development was regarded as a outcome of the socio-economic development but not the very driving force of the socio-economic development. The Party’s view on the role of culture in the Cause of Renovation can be seen in the following contents:

Culture is the spiritual foundation

This understanding of culture was elaborated in the 4th Plenum. According to this view, culture belongs to the sphere of spiritual production. The view on culture as the spiritual foundation mentioned in the resolutions of the 5 Central Plenum affirmed that within the national development, culture is always related closely to economy and other spheres of country’s social life. The culture is both the product of the economic development and the necessity of country’s development oriented towards socialism. Culture is the spiritual manifestation the values of a nation. It includes the whole spiritual life of society: ideology, ethics, life’s style, customs, education and science, arts…The spiritual foundation of a society also contains all traditional values accumulated during thousands years of history. Those traditional values have contributed to creation of the cultural identity of the Vietnamese during their time-honored history. Therefore, it is necessary to create a sufficient material life as well as rich spiritual life for the people in order to build a good society in Vietnam. The development of the country cannot be separated from its cultural development.

In the current cause of renovation, the affirmation that culture is the spiritual foundation of the society is the basis for the Party to focus on the comprehensive development of the social life in Vietnam, the comprehensive development of the Vietnamese people.

 

Culture is the goal of development

Our Party is always aware that the building and development of economy should aim at the goal of cultural development, i.e. at the goal of comprehensive development of man. To build a just, democratic and civilized society, in which man can develop comprehensively means to build a society with a high level of cultural development, in which the quality of life is constantly improved. This is the very goal the Party is striving to realize in the practice. Within the Party’s view, the social development of Vietnam should be oriented to a suitable and sustainable path so that every step of the development is an improvement of the life of spiritual culture of the majority of the working masses. Development is not simply means the creation of material wealth but also the enrichment of spiritual values for not only minority of population but also for the majority of working masses. This is also the guarantee for the socialistic-oriented path of development chosen by the Party and our people.

Culture is the driving force of development

Party’s understanding of the role of culture as the driving force of development in the cause of Renovation can be seen as an fundamental change in Party’s thinking on the task of promotion, exploitation and mobilization of the combined strength of the country in the process of national renovation. While, in the past, in Party’s view, the role of cultural revolution was understood separately from other driving forces (such as the revolution in production forces, the revolution in science and technique), nowadays  culture is recognized as the driving force of socio-economic development and culture belongs to the totality of driving forces of country’s development in general.  Moreover, cultural development is the very human development spiritually and intellectually. Therefore, culture is a constant, potential and strong force promoting country’s development towards the socialistic path. The regarding of culture as the driving force of social development proves the deeper and deeper Party’s understanding of the role of culture. Culture is the inner force that promotes country’s development. It is also an important factor guaranteeing the correctness of the development of Vietnamese Revolution in the age of globalization. In this sense, culture plays the regulatory role for the development of the society in Vietnam.

Party’s view on the path of building Vietnam culture in the cause of renovation.

From the more and more comprehensive understanding of the role of culture in the cause of renovation, the Communist Party of Vietnam always pays attention to the building of Vietnam culture, in which the culture could be able to manifest fully its proper role. The path of building an advanced Vietnamese culture imbued with national identity has been concretized by the Party in its solutions, decrees on cultural development. We can see that from the time when the Politburo issued the Decision number 5 on Culture and Art within a market mechanism in November 1978 to the time when the 5th Central Plenum was held, there were many Party’s summarizations and decrees on cultural and artistic development. All those documents and decrees (the solutions of the Politburo on culture and arts in 1988; the decree number 52 CT/TW on renovation and promotion of the quality of literate’s critique in 1989, the decree of Party’s Central Committee number 61 CT/TW on the management of culture and arts, the solution of the 4th Plenum in 1998 on some tasks of culture and arts in upcoming years…) were aimed at a gradual establishment a new culture in Vietnam. In that period (from 1987 to 1998) the Communist Party of Vietnam has considered that the sphere of culture and arts play an important role and has strong impact on the formulation of the healthy spiritual life of the society. Therefore, the regular summarization and guidance of the development of the sphere of culture and arts became important and regular task of the Party within the process of building an advanced Vietnamese culture imbued with national identity. But only until in the solution of the 5th Central Plenum the Party’s view on the role of culture and its content was presented compressively both in cognition and in implementation.

 

The content of the solution of the 5th Central Plenum manifested the development both in cognition and theoretical thinking on culture as well as in implementation and organization of the building of a new culture. The solution of the 5th Central Plenum on culture played crucial role in the guide-line on building of a new Vietnamese culture since the time when Vietnam began its cause of renovation. The solutions of following Party’s Congresses always affirm and concretize the path of building an advanced Vietnamese culture imbued with national identity proposed by the 5th Central Plenum. The 9th Party’s Congress clearly continued to reaffirm the correctness of the ideas of building of a new culture proposed in the solutions of the 5th Central Plenum. The 10th Party Congress defined that the Party will continue to promote the quality of an advanced Vietnamese culture imbued with national identity and the close relationship between economic and culture development and to make culture to penetrate deeply into all spheres of the social life and to build and promote the value and personality of the Vietnamese during the cause of industrialization, modernization, international economic integration as well as to cultivate cultural values and especially the life’s ideal, healthy life style, intellectual capability, cultural character and morality among the youth, students. It is also important to pay attention to the conservation of historical and revolutionary relics, cultural heritages as well as to combine harmonically between preservation of cultural traditional values with economic development and tourism. It is necessary to mobilize and encourage people to participate in cultural activities and the cause of building and promotion of a new culture.  So, the solutions of the 8th, 9th, and 10th Party’s Congresses as well as the conclusions and decrees of Party’s Central Plenums consistently express the Party’s understanding, evaluation and guidance of the building and development of the Vietnamese culture, which is closely attached to the strategy of national construction within the process of realization of the cause of renovation in Vietnam. To build an advanced Vietnamese culture imbued with national identity means to promote culture to become the real driving force and the goal of the national development. Concrete tasks in building that culture have been articulated clearly in the 5th Central Plenum as follows:

- to build the Vietnamese man in a new revolutionary period

- to build a cultural environment

- to develop literature and arts

- to preserve and promote the heritages of the national culture

 

- to develop education, science and technology

- to develop and manage properly the system of mass media

- to preserve and promote the cultures of ethnic minorities

- to develop a cultural policy toward religions

- to widen international cultural cooperation

- to enhance and improve cultural institution

Those are the tasks to be implemented in order to build a new Vietnamese culture. However, the cause of building an advanced Vietnamese culture imbued with national identity is the task for the whole Party, all people and a long revolutionary process. In order to carry out it successfully that cause should be put under the leadership of the of the Communist Party of Vietnam and the proper attention also should be paid to the role of the intellectuals as affirmed in the solutions of the 5th Central Plenum. The core in the Party’s view on building a Vietnamese culture is that the whole cause is to serve the comprehensive development of the Vietnamese in the new age.

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FOOTNOTE

  1. The Communist Party of Vietnam, The Documents of the 5th Central Plenum, The National Political Publishing House, Hanoi, 1998, pp.55-56.
  2. Ibid., p.56.

REFERENCES

  1. The Committee for theoretical summarization, the   Central Committee of the Communist Party of Vietnam. The Summarized Report on Some Theoretical and Practical Issues of 20 Years of Renovation (1986-2006). National Political Publishing House. Hanoi, 2005.
  2. Nguyen Duc Binh (Ed.), On Socialism and the Path Towards Socialism in Vietnam, National Political Publishing House, Hanoi, 2003.
  3. Nguyen Phu Trong (Ed.), Renovation and Development in Vietnam - Some Theoretical and Practical Issues, National Political Publishing House. Hanoi, 2006.
  4. The Communist Party of Vietnam, The Documents of the 5th Party’s Congress, Truth Publishing House, Hanoi, 1982.
  5. The Communist Party of Vietnam, The Documents of the 6th Party’s Congress, Truth Publishing House. Hanoi, 1986.
  6. The Communist Party of Vietnam, The Documents of the 7th Party’s Congress, National Political Publishing House, Hanoi, 1991.
  7. The Communist Party of Vietnam, The Documents of the 8th Party’s Congress, National Political Publishing House, Hanoi, 1996.
  8. The Communist Party of Vietnam, The Documents of the 9th Party’s Congress, National Political Publishing House, Hanoi, 2001.
  9. The Communist Party of Vietnam, The Documents of the 10th Party’s Congress, National Political Publishing House, Hanoi, 2006.

 

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