Recently, Ms. Tran Kieu Ngoc, residing in Australia, proclaimed: “We don’t fight against Communism, we only fight against violence”. For sometime,individuals and diverse groups were exhorting for a national reconciliation, promoting an unification in ideas between the Vietnamese people living in and outside of VietNam, which actually promoting the surrendering of Vietnamese political refugees in different Free World countries to put themselves under the aegis of the current Communist Vietnamese party. Furthermore, in Canada, certain individuals want to change the National Mourning Day, commemorating the fall of the Republic of VietNam (called by the name of South VietNam during the VietNam war) to The VietNam Day, more neutral and not implicating the Communist regime as invaders. Others even proposed to rid of the Republic of VietNam flag, etc.
The purpose of this analysis is not to attack nor to insult these individuals or these groups but to make the next generation of young Vietnamese living abroad to realize the need of continuing the fight Communism in VietNam without any compromise.
Living in the free world, the non communist Vie differ greatly in their methods of fighting against the enemy. History of the first Indochinese war between Communists and Nationalists have taught us about the naïveté of so many intellectuals believing in the VietMinh leadership and having to pay a dear price when the VietMinh let their mask down and revealed their Communist true nature: the scholars Nguyễn Mạnh Tường and Trần Đức Thảo, the prominent talented writers in the Nhân Văn Giai Phẩm groups, etc.
I hope that through this article, our young Vietnamse generation would not let down their guard against the tyranny of the current regime in VietNam. Living in the free world, nowadays they are not taught about the nature of Communism. In the eyes of the most of the people in the world, communism was dead during the first years of the nineties. They don’t feel any need to teach their children about the threat of this obnoxious philosophical concept. Therefore, our children suffer from the lack of information about it.
A. Anticommunism is necessary because the theory of Karl Marx has been proven WRONG.
During the 19th century, after so many centuries when peasants had to toil with their hands, the technological development suddenly appeared. In Lyons, France, the Jacquard loom was invented by Jean Marie Jacquard. The traditional weavers called canuts in French, lost their jobs, got mad and threw their wooden shoes(called in French sabots) into the Jacquard loom to destroy it. From the word sabot came the word sabotage we use today.
After the weaving loom came the vapor engine etc.
The industrial revolution started. The production of goods multiply by leaps and bounds. The gains enrich the employers who still paid a salary to the employees but the gap widened. Life of common people was not easy. We can still witness it through books like Oliver Twist or Les Misérables. No unions, no health insurance, no clear holidays schedules. The difference between the gains of the employers thanks to industry and the fixed income of the employees was called the surplus value by Karl Marx and it is huge. The concept of the value surplus is essential to understand Karl Marx’ philosophy and logic. This concept added to what Marx called the “capitalism contradictions” when he noticed the ups and down of the market (producers made more goods than the demands) let him to the theory of “The Paradise of Social Communism” as an inevitable event in history with or without class struggle, “From each according to his ability, to each according to his needs” became the principal slogan of the Communists. Reality or illusions? I will try to demonstrate that this is only a dangerous utopia from the intellectuals not having any hands-on experience with practical economy.
So many personalities have criticized Marx’ theory: Jean Jaurès, Raymond Aron, Carl Popper; Martin Heidegger; Joseph Schumpeter. For brevity and simplicity sake, I would limit myself on Jean Jaurès, Martin Heidegger and Joseph Schumpeter.
1. Jean Jaurès.
Barely 20 years after Marx, a French socialist Jean Jaurès has decreed 4 main points against Marx in a short text called “The Methods Questions”:
a. Jaurès disapproved violence before and after the Revolution promoted by Marx but specifically by Lenin. Jean Jaurès still chose a government system elected by the people and not the tyranny of the proletariat A proletarian monopoly cannot go along with democracy.
According to him “The proletariat dictatorship suspends democracy”. “When there is tyranny,out of the window will go democracy”. Worse than that, the system will replace free enterprise with a governement office consisting of bureaucrats totally ignorant of the economy laws and arcane inroads like real business people. This is exactly Trotsky’s critics aimed at the Third International.
b. Karl Marx blamed the bourgeoisie as responsible for the proletarian impoverishment. WRONG. If there is a deep gap between the income of the bourgeoisie and of the workers, the later’s salary, no matter how little it was, still constituted a big step for the poor to get out of the misery seen in small villages and the oppression of the village leadership and the church. The salary also gave some freedom to the women. No matter how tiny is her salary, a young girl could afford to go to a big city, shared a small room or an attic with another girl. She could date with whoever she wanted and therefore escaped the pressure of her parents and her village to be forced to marry a person she did not like. To Luc Ferry, this is an unexpected result of women emancipation from the industrial revolution.
c.The Achilles’s tendon of Marx theory, according to Jaurès, resides in his concept that government is the ultimate power wielded by the workers, not the representation and arbiter of all social strata. He also put in relief the hypocrisy of Marx and Lenin: although
the government “belongs” to the workers, they need the assistance of “intellectuals” like them or like the ones they trained,i.e the Communist Party members.
d. Marx saw the bourgeois economy treating the workers just as tools.On the contrary, as mentioned in point b above, the salary had liberated the workers and especially the women from the miserable medieval rural life.
2. Martin Heidegger’s critics:
a. Marx used the “Small” to explain the “Big” (utilizing the infrastructure to explain the superstructure). Marx used the economic individual to explain all other human phenomenons like culture, philosophies, religions etc.therefore going against usual scientific logic.
b. Marx claimed himself as a materialist but Heidegger saw him as delusional with his “metaphysical subjectivity”. He saw Marx’reasoning is an ontological reasoning when the later declared that “all capitalist economic contradictions” would inevitably lead to a “Communist paradise” following the inevitable historical course. I dare anybody to show the way history would lead us to. To make the meaning of “ontological reasoning” clearer for the reader, I would take another ontological reasoning from Descartes during the XVIIth century: “Nature is perfect. Since God is perfect. Then God exists”. We already know that Immanuel Kant had ridiculed this type of reasoning as unscientific.
Heidegger went even further. He labelled Marx’ materialist theory with the term “ontotheological”. Being a materialist and now with his theory treated as a theology, Marx should have turned in his grave.
3. Joseph Schumpeter. (the Economist magazine has an editorial named Schumpeter in his honor).
In the beginning of the 20th century, this illustrious Austrian economist later emigrated to the USA, has convincingly demonstrated that every economic turmoil in history so far was not created by capitalist economy contradictions or by the enslavement of workers by employers but by technological discoveries that upset the routine. I mentioned earlier the anger of the French weavers at the discovery of the weaving loom. Nowadays we witness right in front of us the impressive information technology, the robotic innovations combined with globalization. Middle class people in the West are losing jobs.
The gap between poor and rich widens. We see multibillionaires (0.1% of the entire population) controlling 10% of national wealth. Do we have to return to Marxist religion in order to level the disparity? Again are we going to kill millions of people in order to level the playing field? My answer is a sound NO. Schumpeter had demonstrated that immediately after a technological explosion, the current generation will lose its traditional jobs. It will take one or two generations for the new technology to create much more jobs in the future. We just have to wait. During the mean time, what should we do? Raising taxes to the rich? Yes, but we have to be careful. We have to leave the wealthy enough capital so could expand their businesses and hire more people.Look at socialist French stagnant economy. Eventually, the new technological advances will create jobs. Should we wait until then and let people suffer? People begin to think about the so-called Universal Minimal Income for jobless people. Who knows? At any rate, we seem much better prepared than the 19th century.
For all the theoretical critics mentioned above, I personally think we could conclude that Marxism is just an unfounded dream causing so many deaths and any intellectual has the duty to oppose it. Only Vietnamese Communist members, not caring about reading books will continue to argue for it like a parrot. Moreover, the Marxists do not realize that the capitalists also has read Marx’ books and counteracted by forming worker’s unions, holidays schedule, health insurance. With these progressive improvements, economically the free market world surpasses by far the Socialist world. It still keeps the competitiveness by letting the business people run their own affairs rather than trust the rigid administration run by officials.Incompetent bureaucrats can only lead to bankruptcy soon.
This would have been be a lesson for intellectuals like Bertrand Russel of Great Britain and Jean-Paul Sartre of France. Too bad they die before the Communist system went bankrupt.
Communism, apart form VietNam, North Korea and Cuba is no longer the urgent problem for the world. We now have to face globalization. The genie of globalization has got out of the bottle. No way to put it back. We have to be patient to find a viable solution for the blue-collar workers of developed countries in a humane, reasonable way. We need time, understanding and a lot of negotiations.
B. “We only fight against violence”.
This second part of Ms Trần Kiều Ngọc is superfluous since Communism is literally synonym with violence. According to current census, Stalin killed from 8 to 50 millions souls. Under Mao Tse Tung, the experts estimated the killing of 1 to 2 millions peasants, not counting those who succumbed during the war with Chinese Nationalists and the Cultural Revolution . Mao himself had anticipated the need of “annihilating” 50 millions during the Agrarian Reform.
During the same agrarian reform in Viet Nam Ho Chi Minh followed the footsteps of Mao and killed around 900,000 to 1million innocent people. these 3 despots have killed more than Hitler. It obvious that to fight against violence, we have to eradicate Communism.
C. How about National Reconciliation?
Lately many Vietnamese individuals or organizations living abroad begin to promote “National Reconciliation between Communists and Nationalists”. I would like to ask them a question: after 30 years of a bloody war, the only hope for any reconciliation would be the yielding of certain privileges from both sides. Are the Vietnamese Communists ready to yield some of their power and privileges?What power are they going to share with us? Claiming that the Vietnamese émigrés are the extensions of the country’s heart is empty and far from enough. Destroying the free South Viet Nam with its duly elected government with their military forces, how can they talk about reconciliation if we don’t have any representatives in their government? Reconciliation while they still keep their Communist nature will make us fall into the conundrum between pro or against Communism.
Writing this article, I do not hope to convert Ms Trần Kiều Ngọc or other individuals ready to shake hands with Communists. They have chosen their paths. One day, they will wake up and pay the price like Phan Khôi, Nguyễn Mạnh Tường, Trần Đức Thảo or all the writers in the Nhân Văn Giai Phẩm movement, etc…etc…
My simple dream is to leave a legacy to the younger Vietnamese generation living abroad. On the surface the Vietnamese Communist regime claims to be a socialist country following the “Market Economy according to President Ho Chi Minh’s teaching (he never advocated Market Economy)”. Pure hypocrisy. Knowing that Communism is dead, the Vietnamese Communists follow the footsteps of the Chinese and create a “Red Capitalism”. This results in a filthy rich Communist Party leaders, sending their children to the US or Australia for safety or education (notice they never send their children to Russia or China) while the average people still try to make their ends meet. Looking at new buildings in Saigon or Hanoi, naive people presume that the Communist regime has succeeded and the best way is to side with the successful. They never think that wealth falls solely in the hands of the Party members holding power, such wealth the average people can never reach. We have seen quite a few people living abroad investing their money in different businesses in Viet Nam, believing in the regime’s fairness. Not only they lost their investment but risk to be jailed for precooked reasons. Look at the case of Mr Trịnh Vĩnh Bình from the Netherlands.
Nguyễn Ngọc Khôi, MD
1.The Manifesto of The Communist Party
2.Leninism by Neil Harding
3.Luc Ferry: Karl Marx 3CDs
4.Marx: Qui suis-je? Nicolas Tandler
5.Karl Marx Biography by Francis Wheen