Đằng Vân:
An Orderly Pillage of the National Wealth

Point of View

Week Ending 30 July 2006

An Orderly Pillage of the National Wealth


Doi-Thoai is perfectly right all the way for pointing out that the Communist Party of Vietnam (CPV) has been operating unconstitutionally and illegally for decades.

Granted that article 4 of the constitution guarantees it permanent political power over government and society. However, article 4 in itself is not sufficient. There must be enabling legislation setting out concretely the ways in which such power must be exercised, and of course the extent or limits of this power.

In the same manner, although the Australian constitution gives the federal government power over interstate and international trade, the federal parliament must pass laws such as the Trade Practices Act, The Corporations Laws and numerous other legislations setting out the parameters, as well as the institutional framework, for the implementation of the constitution.

The absence of similar enabling legislations is not only unlawful, but in effect gives the CPV unlimited power over the life and death of the people whom it treats with contempt.

Indeed, this is the reason why, merely as a political party, the CPV dares to allocate public funds from the national treasury for its political activities, and for the wages and salaries of its members, without any one daring to raise any voice in opposition.

The CPV’s intention (which is amply understood by all its members) however, is not to govern the nation in accordance with law, but to allow its cronies to pillage the national treasury in an orderly manner.

Further with the prospect of joining WTO on the horizon and the consequential creation and rapid expansion of a more prosperous civil society, the exploitation of civil society too, comes under serious consideration by CPV leaders. The fact that at the 10th Congress in April this year, party rules have been amended to allow party members to engage in private enterprise and business activities will consolidate this view.

The fact that the PMU18 scandal was allowed to implode and then explode, is not a consequence of efforts by the CPV to fight corruption. It is rather the result of internal party fighting between the conservative faction led by former General Secretary and power-broker Do Muoi and former State President General Le Duc Anh, on the one hand, and the so-called progressive faction led by General Vo Nguyen Giap and former Prime Minister Vo Van Kiet, on the other.

Certain media outlets under the protection of the progressive faction, actively participated in exposing various aspects of the scandal.

But the biggest motivation behind exposing such a scandal was the fact that Bui Tien Dung and Co’s pilfering of the national wealth did not take place in an orderly and concerted manner. Such disorderly exploitation, even under a dictatorship, is considered risky and could endanger the unity and survival of the party. Thus the Politburo decided to stamp out Bui and Co ruthlessly, so as to ensure that it could steadfastly pillage the nation in the longer term.

Not only the Vietnamese people but the international community also know that the CPV has given up on socialism altogether. The “socialist orientation” euphemism currently in the constitution is merely a smokescreen behind which the CPV consorts with the international capitalist forces in order to exploit the laboring working class of the nation. The above-mentioned amendments to party rules to allow CPV’ members to engage in commercial enterprises and business, would ensure that these members would be able to dispose of the wealth stolen from the nation’s treasury, but more importantly these amendments would allow them to become the bosses and employers of the new century. The relationship between their members and ordinary Vietnamese workers would be one between employers and employees, or exploiters and exploited.

The Vietnamese people have sensed this orchestrated chicanery dawning upon them. It is not surprising that there are hundreds, nay, thousands of demonstrations, by Vietnamese workers, demanding better working conditions and the right to form independent trade unions to fight for their rights. And all CPV leaders, of both factions, are unanimous in ignoring them.

Workers are not discouraged, despite intimidation from CPV members on a daily basis. Workers plights have been picked up and supported by the three million strong Vietnamese community overseas.

The fact that workers are getting organized is encouraging. The creation of independent workers’ unions genuinely fighting for the rights of Vietnamese workers, is only a matter of time. The CPV has usurped the right to represent the Vietnamese workers, without their consent in the first place. It has never had a mandate to represent them. If it has been successful in creating an illusion of such a mandate, it has lost this illusory mandate to represent Vietnamese workers anyway.

Vietnam is a nation of few natural resources. Its greatest source of wealth lies in the hard work and skills of its people. Thus, by allowing its cronies to exploit the national treasury and civil society, the CPV has assumed the role of a super feudal lord, exploiting the poor workers of the nation.

The magic mantra on the lips of all CPV leaders is no longer “socialist orientation” but “orderly and long term exploitation”.

Although exploitation is the key to the CPV’s rule, their leaders are cunning enough to know that there are limits to how much scandal the public will tolerate. This is the reason why former Prime Minister Phan The Khai, on his last few days in office, signed decree on sanctions for” administrative violations in the culture and information sector” to further restrict freedom of expression. And this is also the reason why new Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung and his new government are maneuvering to engineer a soft landing of the PMU18 scandal, after the explosion.

The CPV has learned a lot in the 21st century. They know what to give and what to keep in order to survive and continue to feed on the labor of the people it purports to dearly love. In a concerted motion, state president Nguyen Minh Triet has signed an amnesty to release from incarceration thousands of prisoners including prisoners of conscience, on the occasion of the CPV’s national day on 2 September 2006, which coincidentally predates their joining the WTO and the American Congress debating on the PNTR of Vietnam.

All the above are just tactical maneuvers in order to smoothen Vietnam’s entry to WTO and enrich the CPV and its cronies, at the expense of Vietnamese workers.



1 August 2006