Vietnam’s ongoing freedom struggleBy Asia Sentinel Aug 25, 2013 3:39PM UTC
Calls for political reform have grown increasingly loud
On September 2, 1945, Vietnam declared itself independent from France. History, of course, shows that France did not formally leave Vietnam until cessation of hostilities in 1954 upon the conclusion of the First Indochina War.
It has long been the narrative from the Communist Party of Vietnam that they and only they fought for their nation’s independence. Such a view, however, ignores other nationalist elements that, while united in cause with the communists, differed in ideology; and it was this ideological divide that would lead to the Second Indochina War involving the United States.
Party Factionalism Grows
As September 2 nears, 68 years after Vietnam’s declared independence from France, there are clear signs that its citizens have not, if ever, given up on their struggle for freedom. Whether reforms are undertaken this year or the next, or sometime within the decade, it has become increasingly clear that the Communists’ grip over Vietnam is slowly weakening bit by bit. Yet, perhaps this is not so surprising.
The Internet and social media have allowed common citizens to plug into the global community, to become global citizens with increased awareness of the world and politics around them. The Internet and social media have also allowed members within and affiliated with the Communist Party to monitor discontent within their borders, and see what happens when this discontent gains too much momentum.
Perhaps it is merely cynicism to believe that dissident elements within the party are simply seeking to preserve their standing in society and politics by aligning with democratic activists. Nevertheless, the factionalism shouldn’t be ignored. When a political organization such as that of the Communist Party is not only the dominant political party but only political party in the state, it will necessarily attract those who may not share the same political philosophy. The party will become a vessel for those most opportunistic individuals not necessarily cut from the same ideological cloth.
For some within the party, “Communist” is merely a label that could be shed at any point if necessary. The party’s symbols and history may have their roots in communism and it, but there is nothing communist about it today. Marxist-Leninism has long since given way to socialist-oriented capitalism. To party members and common citizens, communism is archaic and irrelevant. However, the metamorphosis to multi-party state remains unrealized.