Ðằng Vân

Point of View

Week Ending 21 January 2007

 Changes to CPV internal rules: Too Little Too Late!

As Vietnam finally moves forward into the 21st century, not only the Vietnamese people but even the rest of humanity, begin to wonder aloud:

1. What is that dinosaur of a beast, called The Communist Party of Vietnam (CPV) that has single-handedly terrorized a whole nation, through its absolute control of the armed forces, the secret police and the national treasury, for more than half a century?

The obvious and immediate second question that springs to the mind of any independent observer from any true democracy in the world is:

2. Is this a mistake? How can a political party the like of the CPV have absolute control over the very life-blood of a nation? If so, on what basis?

The answers to the above questions are:

  1. That dinosaur of a beast has been pretentiously defined in the 1992 Constitution of the Socialist Republic of Vietnam, by article 4, as: “The CPV, the vanguard of the Vietnamese proletariat, the loyal delegate of the working class, the working people and the whole nation, followers of Marxism-Leninism and the thoughts of Ho Chi Minh, constitutes the leading force of the government and the society…”
  2. No, there is no mistake, the CPV rules on the basis of article 4, and numerous other laws, decrees, directives, whose constitutionality or legal validity is at best dubious. The CPV, as a mere political party, has completely appropriated the national treasury, established party control over the armed forces and the secret police. There is no external control or supervision of the party whatsoever.
Evidently, no independent observer can be satisfied with the above two answers.

 His/her next question will be:

 3. How can an intelligent people like the Vietnamese, 84 millions in number, accept such a rough deal from such a group of highway gangsters?

 We are not stupid. We are merely the victims of ruthless groups of individuals intent on exploiting their fellow human beings in the same way masters exploited slaves in antiquity in ancient Rome, feudal lords their peasants in the Middle Ages, naked capitalists exploited the workers, and colonial masters exploited their colonies in Asia and Africa in the early 20th century.

What can the people do when the party controls the army and the police?

 To add insult to injury, the internal rules (passed by the IX Congress on 22/4/2001) of the CPV used to read, among others:

 Clause 25:

“1.The Party leads the Vietnamese People’s Army and the Vietnamese People’s Police absolutely, directly in all respects; builds a clean Army and Police, strong politically, in respect of thoughts and organizationally, absolutely loyal to the Party, to the Fatherland, totally dedicated to the service of the people, is the main force together with the whole people to firmly protect the Socialist Vietnamese Fatherland, maintains political stability and social stability-safety, participates in nation building.”

 Clause 46:

 “1. Party finances include membership fees paid by members, (funds) from   

      Government budgets and other revenues

   2. The Central Committee regulates unified principles, financial administrative  

      Regimes, assets of the Party, levels of membership fees by members.

        3. Each year, delegated levels would hear reports and decisions on financial

   responsibilities of their levels.

As of 5/9/06, we note that the current Party internal rules have been amended in several key areas, among others:

 Clause 25, on the absolute leadership of the Army and Police, has been replaced by a short clause 12 which reads:

 “Clause 12: The organizing of the leadership of the Party relative to the Vietnamese People’s Army shall be decided by the Central Committee”

 It appears there is no mention of the police in the new clause 12.

 Part of the new clause 30 reads:

  “ In each unit (such as factories, cooperative shops, hospitals, schools, basic units in the people’s army, villages, sub-districts, associated cooperatives, scientific research institutes, companies which are basic units…) if there are three full members or more, they will form a branch or a local cell to be called basic party organ.”

 Clause 41 reads:

 “The Party leads the government totally by its policies, by decrees and directives relative to the objectives of the struggle, policies, principal measures relative to all activities of government and society, and relative to most important matters of organizational tasks and officers. The Policies of the Party must be reflected in the Constitution and the laws of the government. The Party supervises activities of the government organs, education, urging the people to enthusiastically build the government, to follow the constitution and the laws, to execute government plans. The Party compels party organs and members to respect the powers, responsibilities and regimes of government organs, justly follow laws and decisions of the government, to regard them as Party discipline.”

 Clause 43 reads:

 “In leading organs of government, of popular organizations established by elections (such as the Congress, Various People’s Committees, Executive Committee of popular organizations, with the exception of the Ho Chi Minh Youth) the Party establishes party cells including members or some members active in these organizations.”

 In relation to Party finances, the old clause 46 has been replaced by notably clauses 55 and 56.

 Clause 55 reads:

 “Party finances include membership fees paid by members and other revenues decided by the Party Central Committee.”

 Clause 56 reads:

 “The Central Committee issues decisions on regimes for collection of party membership fees in proportion to the basic incomes of members.”

 When we study both versions of the internal party rules of the CPV, we realize how much contempt the CPV has for the Vietnamese people:

 The CPV and their leaders are no more, no less, a ruthless gang of outlaws, who have pointed, for more than half a century, a gun at the head of the Vietnamese people, helped themselves to the national treasury, suppressed religious freedom, banned all political oppositions, freedom of the press and all other fundamental human rights.

The wordings of the Constitution, and the wordings of their own party rules, are at the same time verbose, ambiguous, meaningless, contradictory, are designed on purpose to confuse the people, and rule through the army and the secret police. Wherever such internal party rules or constitution is unambiguous, they make it abundantly clear that the Party rules absolutely, that no real democracy is allowed, and that the CPV is an omnipotent power not to be messed around with.

 All Vietnamese must cover their faces in shame when facing the rest of humanity: how can an intelligent and self-respecting people, like us, be resigned to such insulting treatment by the CPV.

No doubt due to pressure for change both internally and externally, the internal party rules no longer mention the police in clause 12 and have removed funds from the national budget as part of party revenues in clause 55.

However, they have added the new clauses 41 and 43. Also, these changes are only cosmetic changes, as long as article 4 of the constitution remains. The CPV will continue to holds absolute power, which, as Lord Acton, pointed put, corrupts absolutely.

 As far as the above changes to internal party rules are concerned, it’s really a case of too little and too late. Given the resistance of CPV leaders to change, the Party is already beyond salvation and will meet the same fate as the dinosaurs of old.

Ah yes!

Last but not least, how does the CPV propose to refund to the national treasury all the funds they have illegally appropriated in the preceding decades?

 Ðằng Vân

22 January 2007