(...) Our revolution has entered a new stage in very favourable conditions but the battle for complete independence and freedom throughout the country remains very difficult and complex. This calls for a vigorous all-round growth of the North, and consequently for the latter’s quicker and stronger advance toward socialism. That is the natural requirement born of the law of internal development of the socialist revolution itself in North Viet Nam. The Party’s Central Committee’s 22nd Plenum defined the North’s general tasks in the new stage as follows: unite the whole people, fight for the safeguarding of peace, actively carry out socialist industrialization, vigously impel the three revolutions, build the North and take it speedily, vigorously and steadily to socialism: closely coordinate economy and national defence, heighten vigilance, stand ready to foil every scheme of the US and its agents; do our best to discharge our duty in the revolutionary struggle for the completion of independence and democracy in South Viet Nam and for ultimate national reunification, fulfil our internationalist obligation toward the Lao and Khmer revolutions.
The North’s task in the two years 1974 and 1975 is: to rapidly complete the healing of the wounds of war, actively rehabilitate and develop the economy, promote culture, continue to lay the material and technical foundations of socialism, consolidate socialist relations of production, strengthen the socialist systern in every respect, restore to normal the economy and the life of the masses, consolidate national defence, do our utmost to discharge our duty toward the heroic South.
The above task is part of the initial steps to socialist industrialization aimed at providing the necessary facilities for the North’s construction to be carried out on an ever greater scale and at an ever quicker rate. Its purpose is also to strengthen the forces of revolution in the entire land and provide a firm basis for the fight to preserve peace and achieve complete independence and democracy in South Viet Nam.
The more vigorously the shaping of a new society is prosecuted, the heavier the responsibility of the working class and the tasks of trade unions become. In this connection, a clear realization as to what stage we are in on our way to socialism is necessary; we should have a clear view of what has been done and what has not been done and remains to be done in the immediate: and more remote future.
The greatest achievement of the North’s socialist revolution has been the elimination of oppression and exploitation, the liquidation of the exploiting classes as such and the replacement of small-scale and scattered production by co-operation. The class of individual farmers ground down for thousands of years by poverty and ignorance has been replaced by a new class — the collective peasantry — although the latter’s quality remains to be improved. A socialist intelligentsia consisting of an overwhelming majority of people of worker and peasant stock trained under the new regime has emerged, taken shape and has rapidly grown up. Our working class, motive force of our nation’s history for the last fifty years, has been growing qualitatively and quantitatively. Under the leadership of the working class whose representative is our Party, the working people of the North have become masters of our society and State and of their own fate. It is the biggest leap forward in our nation’s history and a source of inexhaustible strength for the great rear-base, bastion of the revolution in the country as a whole. It is the greatest motive force contributing to the process of wiping out poverty and backwardness and of building a strong and prosperous socialist country.
On the basis of such a basic change, our economy and culture have made initial advances. During the war years, when combat and assistance to the South had to be attended to, the North’s economic potential continued to be built and increased, understandably in a way suitable to the war situation, and under the serious limitations imposed by the war.
Though they were the target of the enemy’s most furious, relentless and concentrated strikes, transport and communications were kept going. Millions of workers were mobilized to do or help the fighting; yet production in the rear went on and even made progress in many respects. In some areas, intensive farming and labour productivity recorded gains. In industry, a number of branches continued to manufacture a considerable quantity of products in service of production and combat and to meet the people’s needs. Education, culture and , public health were not checked by the war in their vigorous advance. The training of technicians and skilled workers not only did not slow down but was even accelerated, in anticipation of large-scale post- war construction.
In the context of a mainly agricultural economy, of weak productive forces and of a host of handicaps caused by a protracted war — the most savage, most brutal and greatest war in size and in genocidal violence ever waged by the most affluent and powerful imperialism against a nation of medium size and population — an adequate supply of prime necessities, education and medical care was ensured for the people, and no great disturbances were recorded in the distribution of goods, their prices and the living standard of the masses, who were made safe from hunger and cold, the usual companions of a fierce and long-drawn-out war, as has been seen in many countries.
What is one to think of all this? One may describe it as a tremendous feat. Thanks to the superiority of the new relations of production, the North’s underveloped economy stood the bitter test of war and played its part in the signal success of the resistance against US aggression, for national salvation. No other social system could have survived in such conditions, let alone accomplished what we did in those gruelling years.
In 1973 alone, the first year of economic rehabilitation, important parts of the direct aftermath of the war were remedied. Production and the people’s living conditions are being stabilized, many aspects of production have surpassed the levels of 1965; economic management has made progress. These are but initial achievements; however, they prove the great vitality of our regime and reflect the strong will of the working class and people in the North who are entering a new stage of the revolution; they at the same time testify to, the correctness of our Party’s line.
When referring to our working class’ and people’s successes and achievements, we never forget the substantial, precious and many-sided contribution to them of the fraternal socialist countries, first of all the Soviet Union and China, of the world’s working class and working people, and of all countries and peoples who love independence, freedom, justice and peace.
I avail myself of the presence of trade union representatives from various countries in this hall to request them to convey to our fellow class members in the whole world, fresh expressions of our heartfelt gratitude for their support and assistance, imbued with the spirit of proletarian internationalism.
A full realization of the great significance of our achievements is necessary but it is equally imperative to be perfectly clear about what stage our socialist construction is now in and what key problems need solving at this juncture to get to socialism. More than anyone else, trade union cadres and all politically conscious workers must ask themselves that question, must ponder over it. There must be full realization that the working class as the ruling class, as the leading class of the State, is the vanguard class in the transformation of the old society and in the moulding of a new society. As a result, the conditions of trade union work have radically changed. If one of trade unionism’s principal functions is to uphold the interests of the working class, its supreme and most basic interest once that class has taken power is to successfully build socialism. The trade unions must drive this home to all their members, to all toilers, in order to instil in them the sense of responsibility, as collective masters, for all happenings in our society, a personal interest in, and the habit of pondering over, every important and burning issue which may arise in the course of the shaping of a new society.
It is obvious that we have recorded great achievements, but there is still much room for dissatisfaction in many respects, most particularly in our economic situation. We must not be complacent and we are still far from having any grounds for complacency, about what we have accomplished. It could have been more if it had not been for our mistakes and shortcomings. We will be even less complacent if we check our results against the noble objectives of socialism.
Looked at from this angle, the North’s economy faces great difficulties and problems requiring radical solutions. There is a lot to be done immediately and urgently. Otherwise it will be impossible even to inch forward on the road to socialism. Otherwise even what are called the initial fruits of socialism will be in jeopardy.
We do not hesitate to speak of our difficulties. If we want to advance, we must realize them all in order to surmount them; we must be aware of all our problems, of all our tasks. As a matter of fact, building socialism is never and nowhere an easy job. Even in normal conditions, that is, when material prerequisites have been prepared by developed capitalism, free from war and aggression, such an undertaking is by no means plain sailing, let alone in our special situation where the stage of capitalist development must be by-passed and the economy has been heavily damaged by the wars of aggression and destruction.
With the highest level possible of military deployment against our country, with millions of tons of bombs and shells, the US imperialists destroyed nearly all the economic structures our people had built at the cost of a tremendous amount of energy. Without the war, the North would have been in much better shape economically. The war has rolled back our originally underdeveloped economy, which had just made a step forward, to where it was more than ten years ago. Apart from material damage estimated at many billion dong, other after-effects will take a rather long time to overcome.
When recalling these problems we do not entertain any feeling of regret. No, we nevel feel any regret over the price of independence and freedom. For our nation, our class and for each of us independence and freedom is priceless. Our view about it has been expressed by President Ho Chi Minh: “Hanoi, Haiphong and other cities may be flattened, but this prospect will not cow us into submission. Nothing is more precious than independence and freedom. When the battle is won, we shall rebuild our country into a better, bigger and more beautiful one.”
Nearly a century of colonial domination has caused our people to realize clearly what independence and freedom really mean to them. Socialism, this truth of our times, has brought out in bolder relief the fact that independence and freedom are invaluable. Now that peace has been restored in the North, we must seize the opportunity and give a big boost to our construction, thereby raising our economic and national defence potential and making our country sufficiently strong to preserve peace and force our adversary to fully and strictly implement the Paris Agreement, which is the dearest wish of our entire people. If the enemy should fail to learn the lesson, which is still fresh, and starts a new war of destruction against the North, we must be instantly ready to make every sacrifice, and “with hammer or plough in one hand, and rifle in the other,” to confront and crush the aggressor. In construction and combat alike, our only motive is to defend independence and freedom.
Our present most important daily task here in the North is to build. It is precisely because of this that we must know every aspect of our present economic situation well, be aware of all our difficulties and of their causes, if they are to be overcome.
The great, varied and ever increasing requirements which are placed on our economy, which is poor and unbalanced in nature, and whose problems have been compounded by our mistakes and shortcomings in leadership, guidance and management, only highlight its imbalance and fundamental weaknesses.
Our social labour force is considerable but it is not made full use of, and its productivity is still very low. The state apparatus, particularly administrative bodies, non-productive organs, have swollen excessively in recent years. Salaries and similar expenditures have outstripped the possibilities of the economy. Moreover, a population explosion (a ten-million rise from 1954 to 1973) has worsened the lack of equilibrium between the multiple needs of life and our present financial and economic resources. Agricultural production is still unstable and very uneven, unable to meet the people’s needs in foodstuffs, in raw materials for industry, in export products. In industry most of the important factories were destroyed during the war and while a large number of them have been rehabilitated production has not been brought back to normal. Life has been restored only to a small degree of normalcy, the supply of food still falls short of plans, many consumer goods are still not available. Due to a low level of production, a population explosion, a low national income which does not meet adequately the needs of consumption, we cannot yet ensure a balance between imports and exports. In short, the outstanding feature of the North’s present economic situation is that social labour and economic potential are not made the most of, while social production is still very low, domestic capital accumulation absent and the life of the masses still hard.
The root cause of such a situation lies in the fact that there are mistakes, shortcomings and immaturity in our economic leadership, guidance and management. There have certainly been serious mistakes which we must severely criticise and resolutely make good.
However, to get to the root of the problem, we must ask ourselves this question: if we had made no mistakes at all, how good would the situation have been? Naturally, it would have been better, and, in some respects and in some places, far better. But our poverty and backwardness would not have been basically done away with. For, starting from a very low level, the North has been engaged in socialist construction for less than 20 years — 12 of which were taken up by the war and only eight of which were really devoted to construction — and, as pointed out above, our severe losses have substantially impeded our progress.
Then, what is the crux of the matter now? It is the fact that we are still in an abnormal, unnatural position. We are building socialism, but a small-scale, basically agricultural economy still prevails. There are new relations of production, but we cannot yet say that we have a socialist mode of production. So we may say we do have and at the same time do not have full socialism. There lies the paradox of our development. All things considered, the crux of the matter is that we have not been able to lay the material and technical foundations of socialism. While these are lacking, nothing else can survive and develop normally, naturally. Thus, many difficulties are inevitable. As we all know, capitalism in its manufacturing stage could not be said to be viable because, as Marx explained, “it had not acquired a material framework independent of the worker himself.” Only when machines were invented could it secure such a framework. “Capitalism could in the end stand on its feet only thanks to the economic force of things.“ . Capitalism could not survive in the context of handicrafts, let alone socialism.
Therefore we are faced with a grave choice: either rapidly create the “material framework” of socialism or keep whatever new things have been engendered by socialism in a permanent state of debility and instability. Either move quickly forward, or reverse back to individual production, bankruptcy and destitution.
There is only one course of action to choose: give a strong impulse to socialist industrialization, advance quickly to large-scale socialist production. This was the basic objective of the resolutions of the 19th, 20th and particularly the 22nd sessions of the Party Central Committee. These dealt with many facets of economic construction and development, of economic leadership and management. But all aspects were geared in the discussions to the implementation of the central task, i.e., to develop socialist industrialization and rapidly take the North to large- scale socialist production. They were all geared to the satisfaction of the central requirement, i.e., to vigorously expand the forces of production and concurrently to consolidate and constantly perfect socialist relations of production.
To develop the forces of production, we must rely on the new relations of production, which must be readjusted and consolidated, and whose superiority must be brought into play. Any farming or handicraft co-operative which works badly or whose members have “one foot in and the other out” must be promptly and resolutely set right, otherwise, its production and productivity cannot be raised. On the other hand we must regard the all-out development of the forces of production as the basic method to consolidate and perfect the new relations of production. Clearly, the new relations of production have not been consolidated (in the state-owned sector or in the collective sector, but chiefly in the collective sector). This is due to many causes. So a series of measures must be undertaken simultaneously. But all things considered, the development of the forces of production remains the most decisive means to consolidate and perfect the new relations of production. And to this effect, socialist industrialization must be impelled forward, and the whole economy must be shifted over to large-scale socialist production.
There cannot be, there will never be, socialism in a society based on small production. Even capitalism could emerge only from large-scale production, let alone socialism which is a socio-economic structure higher than capitalism, for on the basis of the large- scale production created by the latter, socialism will develop a social production of much larger scale after overthrowing capitalism and removing the antagonistic contradictions inherent in large-scale capitalist production. The triumph of socialism over capitalism can only be regarded as definitive when it is able to give birth to a social productivity higher than that of capitalism; such productivity is the outcome of highly and widely mechanized production, capable of making full use of the newest achievements of modern science and techniques.
Large-scale socialist production is a system of social production based on the socialist ownership of the means of production existing in the form of owernship by the entire people and collective ownership, and with large-scale industry as its foundation. It is a production embracing many branches, many sectors, many different economic undertakings operating along the line of specialization and co-operation and expanding in a balanced and harmonious fashion into an organic entity of a national economy under the centralized and unified leadership of the State of proletarian dictatorship. In large-scale socialist production every link, from production to circulation and distribution, even distribution to each individual, even a handicraft enterprise or a family sideline, is a cog in the common machinery of the social division of work in service of the national economy. In economic activity as a whole, each private individual’s labour is not taken separately and opposed to social labour. It is labour with a social character aimed at directly meeting first and foremost the common needs of society, and, on this basis, meeting the needs of every person, every family, every community.
Large-scale production is the negation of small production with its scattered and petty character, with its rudimentary tools, with its small output of each product, with each producer “turning out enough for his own use,” at best with a small surplus which he can barter at a small local market. In mankind’s history, small production has been replaced 1 by large-scale capitalist production. Thus, according to the general law, the task of socialism is no longer to expand small production into large scale production, but to bring about a basic change in large-scale capitalist production, according to the principles of socialism. It is also to bring into play the superiority of socialist relations of production and reorganize and greatly improve the existing large-scale production and enable it to satisfy to the maximum society’s ever-growing material and cultural needs, on the basis of ever higher techniques.
However, such is not our path. By-passing the stage of capitalist development and advancing straight to socialism implies that with us, it is not capitalism but socialism that is responsible for expanding small production into large-scale production. And, naturally, what we have to create should be large-scale socialist production, that is to say a large-scale production! which is much higher than large-scale capitalist production not only in its socio-economic nature bnt also in its size and degree of development. So the burden placed by history on the shoulders of our working ciass is a double one. We have to create a large-scale production with an efficiency not only superior to that of small individual production but also to that of large- scale capitalist production. Otherwise there will be no ultimate and total victory of socialism.
“Socialism begins where large-scale production begins”, Lenin said. “Only these material conditions, the material conditions of large-scale machine industry serving tens of millions of people, only these are the basis of socialism, and to learn to deal with this in a petty-bourgeois, peasant country is difficult, but possible.”. The task of enlarging small production into large-scale socialist production is a complete novelty indeed. With the realities of life helping us to acquire a clearer and clearer idea of this, and with the Party’s correct line, we believe that this extremely complex and tough task can still be brought to fruition.
To turn our country from a backward agricultural land with a system of mainly small-scale production into one with large-scale socialist production, there is for us no other alternative than socialist industrialization, which the Party’s Third Congress defined as our central task for the whole transitional stage in our country. The process of building large-scale socialist production in our country is that of transforming the relations of production coupled with the technical revolution, with the turning of handicraft labour into mechanized labour. It is also that of a new division of labour, of expanding new branches of activity, of greater specialization and closer co-operation. It is also a process of building a national, sovereign economy and of concurrently broadening economic relations with the outside world, first of all with the countries of the socialist system. The path to large-scale socialist production, the shortest way to socialism, is to wield with a firm hand the dictatorship of the proletariat and to carry out three simultaneous revolutions: a revolution in the relations of production, a technical revolution, and an ideological and cultural revolution. They are three facets, closely connected and interacting, of the same process, with the technical revolution occupying the key position.
To advance to large-scale socialist production, it is not possible to develop industry one-sidedly, it is not possible to build heavy industry one-sidedly. Industry cannot grow, short of prerequisites supplied by agriculture like foodstuffs, raw materials, manpower, markets — hence the necessity of a balanced expansion of agriculture and industry.
It is not possible to build heavy industry one- sidedly, to develop industry in the absence of a balanced growth of agriculture. But it is wrong to recommend leaning on agriculture alone to advance to large-scale production. It is tantamount to failure to grasp, or to denying, the role of industry. It is a virtual negation of the historical role of the working class. As a matter of fact, agriculture cannot on its own achieve large-scale production. When we say agriculture is the basis for industrial development, we mean that such an agriculture must be one which has started to record high yields and a high percentage of marketable products. Short of this, it cannot serve as a basis for industrial expansion. And to attain such a rate, agriculture needs aid from industry right from the start; industry must exert an immediate beneficial influence on agriculture.
Thus we should not wait until a developed modern industry comes into being to launch large-scale agricultural production nor should we try to advance to large-scale production from agriculture. In our country the process must be: priority rational development of heavy industry on the basis of the development of agriculture and light industry, building the centrally- run economy coupled with expansion of the regional economy, and co-ordination of economy and national defence. It is the only suitable line for the specific conditions of our country. It shows consideration for the leading role of industry, and for the law of priority development of heavy industry, a fundamental law from which any departure makes it basically impossible to create large-scale production. It will help us avoid unnecessary strains in our economic and social life, bound to be caused by the one-sided development of heavy industry. It will help us solve two sharp contradictions in our industrialization: first, the contradiction between the need for rapid and substantial capital accumulation and the context of a poor and backward economy; second, the contradiction between the necessity of capital accumulation and the necessity of improving the masses’ living, conditions, since our job is not capitalist industrialization but socialist industrialization, since our aim is large-scale socialist production and not large-scale capitalist production, and since we carry out our undertakings with the revolutionary enthusiasm of the working masses who are the collective masters of the country concerned with, the steady betterment of their own welfare instead of being exploited by capitalism. These two contradictions were exacerbated by the necessity to reserve a considerable amount of manpower and resources to wage a nationwide war. At present, though peace has been brought back to the North, the task of strengthening national defence, defending it and assisting the South still retains its full importance.
Organically co-ordinating industrial and agricultural development on the basis of priority rational development of heavy industry — and this right from the beginning and all through the process of industrialization. It is essentially the path of the worker-peasant alliance, with the working class as leader. By this path, the working class leads the peasantry to socialism in the shortest time and without having to suffer the pangs of capitalist development. By this path, our country will be able to wipe out a centuries-old state of backwardness and stagnation within a few decades.
The North’s agriculture went through an early co- operativization, prompted by the need to reorganize labour, to make a more rational use of land, to have the necessary forces to carry out hydraulic works and also to benefit from the latest achievements of agricultural science. Such a course of action was possible thanks to the revolutionary zeal of our peasantry who right from the birth of our Party have been loyal followers of the working class. If in the national democratic revolution the foundation of the worker- peasant alliance was the realization of the slogan “national independence and land to the tiller,” the slogan in the present socialist revolution is agricultural co-operation and socialist industrialization. Without the former, the worker-peasant alliance is inconveivable. And a co-operativized agriculture can only be viable if based on large-scale industrial production. This is a specific feature of North Viet Nam according to which we can carry out agricultural cooperation before mechanization has been effected, and this course of action has proved to be suitable. It is however time to speed up socialist industrialization if the new relations in agriculture are to be consolidated, the worker-peasant alliance is to be strengthened and the leading role of the working class is to be confirmed.
Expanding small production into large-scale socialist production is the greatest, most far-reaching and most radical revolution. It is a most difficult and complex revolution whose success will have a decisive impact on the whole socialist cause in the North. This is fundamentally a revolution which changes small production into large-scale socialist production. It will radically transform the economic foundations of our society, in terms not only of the relations of production but also of the forces of production, and not only in the field of production but also of distribution. It will provide the entire economic life and activity of the North with a modern, socialist basis.
In the process, the working class will keep pace with the incessant growth of industry and so will its economic, social and political standing and leading role. The worker-peasant alliance will be further consolidated and expanded in the course of the development of agriculture into large-scale socialist production and of the growth and coming of age of collective relations of production and of the collective peasantry. Thus the foundations of the dictatorship of the proletariat will become more solid. Parallel with the vigorous development of the technical revolution, of culture and science, during the advance toward large-scale production, the socialist intelligentsia will grow quickly in numbers. As an extremely important motive force of the advance from small production to large-scale production, the alliance of the workers, collective peasants and socialist intellectuals will be further strengthened. This will be a firm social basis for our State and for the political and spiritual like-mindedness of our society. The revolution designed to take small production to large-scale production will not only be the process of creating the socialist mode of production, of consolidating and expanding the economic foundation of our politico-social life, but also that of discarding die- hard conservatism, lack of concentration, casualness and indiscipline inherent for thousands of generations in small production. In short, it is an all-sided revolution.
The motive force which speeded up the emergence of large-scale capitalist production was the unquenchable lust for profit of the capitalists, the desire to exploit, exploit more, exploit always. That of large-scale socialist production is diametrically opposite. It is the eagerness for revolution, more revolution and uninterrupted revolution. It is the will to emancipate labour, to win the right to collective mastery for the toilers. It is the dictatorship of the proletariat with three revolutions: revolution in the relations of production, technical revolution, and ideological and cultural revolution, in which the technical revolution holds the key position. It is the self-imposed, selfless, heroic and creative labour of the working class, collective peasantry, socialist intellectuals, and of all workers by hand and brain, led by the Party of the working class, following the objective laws of development of society. If we carry out these three revolutions strictly step by step in every production base, in every branch of activity, in every locality and throughout the country, we shall rapidly create the motive forces required to bring about large-scale socialist production.
Our working class in North Viet Nam has become the ruling class of the country. As for the trade unions, they are no longer a tool for struggling against oppression and exploitation, but are assuming the role of an extremely important link in the system of the dictatorship of the proletariat. One cannot imagine the working people’s regime of collective mastery without the existence of the trade unions with their extensive rights guaranteed by laws of the State. Lenin said: “The trade unions must collaborate closely and constantly with the government, all the political and economic activities of which are guided by the class-conscious vanguard of the working class — the Communist Party. Being a school of communism in general, the trade unions must, in particular, be a school for training the whole mass of workers, and eventually all working people, in the art of managing socialist industry (and gradually also agriculture).” 
The trade unions actively participate in the political life of the country, in the all-sided development of our society; and, especially, they should draw all the workers and employees into the work of building and developing the economy and of promoting culture. Expressing the sense of the ruling working class, of being masters the trade unions should have a general view of the whole of industrial activity, of economic activity embodied in concentrated form in the State plan. Each worker or toiler should be made to realize clearly the basic objectives of the State plan, and understand his duty as well as his real interest in the successful fulfilment of the State plan.
In order to carry out their tasks, the trade unions have extensive rights. We already have the Trade union Law. Recently in the Rules on the organization and activities of the Government Council there have been laid down the broad principles of the relations between the State and the trade unions. On the basis of these principles, there should soon be documents having legal force which stipulate concretely the responsibilities and rights of the trade unions to participate in the management of the economy and the State. The trade unions have the right to take part in the drawing up of these documents as well as of all other laws and regulations of the State concerning labour productivity, working conditions and the life of workers and employees.
The bases of union activities are the trade union organizations in the enterprises. Therefore, to strengthen the role of the trade unions in the enterprises is the most important direction in the work of improving union work. It should be done in such a way that the unions in the enterprises can work with full capacity as representatives of the workers and employees’ interests in these enterprises, in any field dealing with their production, their labour, their material and cultural life. It is necessary to discover and make full use of various measures suitable for workers and employees to take part in the management of enterprises, in discussing and deciding on production plans, in realizing plans for application of new techniques, labour plans, wages and bonuses, plans to build workers’ housing, and other undertakings concerning the collective social and cultural welfare of the enterprises. There should be fixed and ensured for the trade unions the right of organizing the mass control by workers and employees of the various aspects of the realization of production plans, the implementation of managerial systems, the protection of socialist property as well as the implementation of labour rules and regulations. In towns and industrial areas, the trade unions may also organize the control and supervision of the implementation of policies on food distribution, and of prices of consumer goods. The above-mentioned control activities aim at finding out for the Party and Government acts contrary to the lines and policies laid down, helping the managerial organs to overcome shortcomings, contributing to the consolidation of socialist relations of production, of the socialist State system.
By nature, the relationship between the trade unions and the State in general, and between the trade unions in the enterprises and the directors of the enterprises in particular, is a harmonious one. Because both are organizations of the ruling working class, both have a common goal: to develop society and economy, to constantly raise living standards and broaden the rights of the working people as collective masters. On this basis, the directors of enterprises — in their capacity as representatives of the State, with great rights and responsibilities in the whole development of the enterprises — for the sake of fulfilling their own tasks, need to win the close collaboration of the trade unions, to respect trade union rights, which will soon be expounded very concretely in the Rules on the rights and responsibilities of unions in the enterprises, to be worked out by the trade unions and ratified by the State. For their part the leading bodies’ of the enterprise unions have the task of using trade union rights first and foremost to reach the goals set for the enterprises by the State by increasing productive and economic effectiveness, and successfully achieving the norms of the plans of the enterprises.
The enterprise unions should give priority to production problems, and together with the enterprise managers find out and make full use of all reserve sources, all potential capacities in all fields, especially in the field of labour organization, to develop production and fully ensure the fulfilment of the plans of the enterprise. It is necessary to introduce widely collective contracts, signed between the enterprise director, who is the State representative, on the one hand, and the trade union on the other, which is the representative of workers and employees, in order to strive together to ensure the realization of the production plans. These collective contracts need to clearly stipulate the tasks and objectives to be attained in production, the principal measures ensuring the realization of the objectives, the work to be done in order to improve the living standards of the workers and employees, and to expand collective welfare in the enterprise. The collective contracts must become programs for daily action, concrete rules of the enterprise, which must be strictly observed and fully carried out by all, from the director downwards.
The signing and implementation of collective contracts should be regarded as the content for the education of the masses in the sense of linking their personal interests closely with the interests of the enterprise and the State. The thorough and full implementation of collective contracts should be made a focus of attention and greatest concern of the leading organs of the enterprise, all mass organizations and all cadres, workers and employees of the enterprise. The signing of collective contracts, the implementation of these contracts and the control of the implementation of contracts by the masses organized by the trade union are an important and most effective formula to intensify the sense of responsibility of the enterprise director and of each worker, inculcate the conception of being collective master, unify the rights and obligations of the trade union in the enterprise, and concretely carry out in the framework of the enterprise the relations of cooperation between the State and the trade unions.
The present primary task of the trade unions is to launch among the workers and employees a surging revolutionary movement of emulation to work and produce, to raise labour productivity and strictly practise thrift and carry out successfully the resolution of the 22nd session of the Party’s Central Committee. Lenin said: “Following its seizure of political power, the principal and fundamental interest of the proletariat lies in securing an enormous increase in the production forces of society and in the output of manufactured goods.” This teaching by Lenin must penetrate deeply into our understanding and conceptions, into all trade union activities and into each toiler’s daily work. In order to carry out industrialization and build up large-scale socialist production, we should follow this teaching. This task can only be accomplished by painstakingly, persistently and valiantly engaging in work.
To say “the trade union is a school of socialism and communism” means first of all that it must educate the working people in the socialist and communist ideology. But it is by no means an ordinary school. The educational work described here can only be done successfully in the course of and on the basis of a movement for productive labour of a mass and revolutionary character with a view to successfully building socialism. The central point of this education al work is to foster in every worker a really new and correct attitude towards work. Such an attitude has begun appearing among the masses of workers, leading to substantial achievements in the emulation movement in the past years. In the course of the destructive war in the past, many enterprises, warehouses and communication lines were heavily damaged, but the workers and employees with deterimination stuck to their positions in production and work, fulfilling at all costs their production tasks and defending their production bases. Living up to the watchword “hammer in one hand, gun in the other,” and “to fight when the enemy comes, to resume production when the enemy leaves”, at many places workers fought back at the enemy and carried out production simultaneously; there were places which were attacked by the enemy day and night over a long period, but the workers resolutely maintained production and valiantly fought back at the enemy to limit to the lowest level losses in lives and equipment. That was a bright embodiment of the new attitude towards labour, of the virtue of devotion to independence, freedom and socialism of the working class. One year elapsed, and this tradition was constantly upheld and developed. As a result many enterprises overfulfilled their 1973 plan, healed an important part of the wounds of war and speedily restored and developed production.
However, the socialist attitude toward labour is not yet found in every worker. Many people have not yet become fully conscious that they are the ruling class, the masters of society. The trade unions have the task of awakening these people. We should set out to uproot the sense of being a hired labourer, the old habit of looking on labour with the eyes of a slave, of taking on the least burden possible and of taking as much as one can from society and the State.
Labour was and is always the source of life of society. Slave society existed on the surplus labour of the slaves; feudal society on the land-rent contributed by the peasants; and capitalist society, on the surplus value created by the proletariat. Socialism is the replacement of hired labour with labour for oneself, for the society of which one is master. This is the greatest change in the history of mankind. Socialism is a society of free workers, in which personal interests merge with the interests of society, the interests of each worker and his family merge with the interests of the production collective and of the State. Only when the society is prosperous, can each member be well-off. What is beneficial to society also benefits each member. And what is harmful to society is also detrimental to each member. Society takes care of the life of each person and consequently every person must do his best for the benefit of society. Working for society means working for oneself. Working for the collective is the highest interest and the loftiest obligation, the very foundation of the new sentiments and ethics, the basis for the building of a new society and a new man, the source of a spiritually and materially abundant life, the motive force for the development of socialism. The trade unions must make each worker by hand and brain, each State employee, fully possessed of that sense, so that he may display all his ardour in his work. Public opinion must be mobilized in strong condemnation of parasites and lazy persons who live off the resources of others, the administration at all levels should by all means give jobs to able-bodied working men and, at the same time, should give high consideration to the obligation to work of each citizen as promulgated by the State. Any person reaching working age and having the capacity to work should work. The person of working age who is not yet provided with legitimate work should be placed under the manpower authority of the State. With regard to the idle and jobless elements, indulging in trouble making, we must compel them to work or punish them severely. The principle “work much, earn much; work less, earn less; and no work, no earnings”, a basic law of socialism, must be strictly carried out.
When speaking of labour, we also mean labour productivity. At the present time, labour productivity is still too low. In some branches, labour productivity is even lower than in 1965. In the meantime our machines operate at only half their capacity. Materials are short in some places, whereas in other places they are left unused, or has even been damaged or lost. That is a serious waste. Industrialization is a fundamental way of creating the material foundations for speedily increasing social labour productivity. But, in order to achieve industrialization, it is necessary to increase to the maximum labour productivity on the basis of the present material and technical conditions. Attention should be attached to mechanization, to renewing partly or wholly the process of production, to improving, modernizing or supplementing equipment, machinery and instruments, while giving consideration to a better utilization of raw materials and processed materials in the most economical and effective way. The attitude of wait-and-see, of relying solely on machinery, must be criticized. In working, if machines are not available, we must make full use of hand tools and renovated ones. In the conditions of limited mechanization, importance must be attached to technical innovations, to the rationalization of production and to the improvement of the organization of production and labour which should be considered as specially important factors for increasing labour productivity. Without mentioning the necessity of making still greater efforts, I would like to stress only the necessity of making fuller use of the production capacity of existing machines, of organizing work well, of good management, of using in the most rational way and with a high sense of economy the materials at our disposal, of making every worker strictly fulfil the fixed working days and hours. Only by so doing can we increase labour productivity and produce more material wealth for society.
Labour discipline constitutes a basic manifestation of the new attitude towards labour, a very important factor in increasing labour productivity. The trade unions must pay especial attention to educating the workers and employees in this sense. We must carry out an energetic and radical struggle to eliminate all manifestations of indiscipline, of disorganization, of slackness, of negligence in work. But ideological educational activity must be carried out in conformity with the fixed quotas, norms, standards and processes. Every task must necessarily be carried out according to the set norms. Norms set before the war and abolished during the war must be restored right away. Old and unsuitable norms must be changed. The trade unions must contribute their efforts together with the managerial organs to the setting of norms where, norms have not yet been set for certain kinds of work. On the basis of such norms, we can broadly apply payment on a piece-work basis. The trade unions must work together with the managerial organs to work out better norms in order to contribute effectively to the consolidation of labour discipline, stimulate the working people to work well and increase their productivity.
Raising the professional qualifications of the workers has great significance with regard to increasing labour productivity. In the past years, our contingent of workers and technical cadres has gone through a speedy development, but the quality is still poor as compared with the requirements of production and construction. The average technical level of the workers in many production units is still low compared with the demands of the concrete tasks. That is one of the reason why the productive capacity of the machines still remains low; a great number of machines have been damaged, the quality of products is poor. So labour productivity simply cannot increase.
The trade unions, together with the organs of economic management must take charge of the technical and cultural education of the workers, must broadly develop different forms of technical guidance and training in production teams, organize after-hours technical courses, vocational schools, complementary education and correspondence courses for the workers. Special attention must be paid to the training of highly-qualified workers such as production team leaders and foremen, to the popularization and application of advanced experiences in production, to innovations aimed at the rationalization and improvement of production and technique.
To carry out large-scale production, we need instruction and knowledge to master modern science and technique. If we lack education, we cannot build socialism. The workers also need instruction and knowledge to develop their initiative and their creative capability in organization. To become masters, we must, firstly, have a correct, socialist, ideology; secondly, have education and knowledge, fully grasp science and technique, thoroughly understand the process of modern production in its technical as well as organizational aspects. The new man is not a man who only has a correct ideology, high revolutionary ardour, a socialist attitude toward labour, but also a man with a high educational level, first of all knowhow in production and management.
We are now badly in need of more and more able cadres of working-class stock. Being “a school of management”, the trade unions must actually be the biggest source of supply of management cadres for the industrial branch, for the national economy as a whole, and for the State machinery as well. President Ho Chi Minh taught us: “In order to achieve the aim of ‘speeding up production and practising thrift,’ trade union cadres must firmly grasp the Party’s policies, take a correct mass line, exercise a democratic leadership, share the weal and woe of the workers, form a bloc with the workers and set a good example to them. If they don’t form a bloc with the workers, they are bureaucratic-minded people. Whether the workers are good or bad in production, are united and enthusiastic or not in production — this is the touchstone for establishing whether trade union cadres are good or not.”  Trade union cadres are revolutionary militants who live and thoroughly understand the life of the workers, the feelings, aspirations, needs and thoughts of the masses, and are fully trusted by them. Trade union cadres are at the same time good organizers with a wide and deep knowledge of economics, technology and the production process. Only in this way can the trade unions take part in management in the name of the workers.
A very important task of the trade unions at present is, together with the State, to care for the stabilization and gradual improvement of the lives of workers and employees. After years of a fierce war, this is an urgent task aimed at alleviating the difficulties, maintaining and replenishing labour capacity, creating conditions to ensure enthusiatic labour in production and construction, while solving adequately the problems left behind by the war. At present the State’s economy and finances are very limited. As loans and aid for consumption are not permissible, the State, along with the people, will have to overcome the difficulties met in daily life. In this respect, the trade unions’ responsibility is therefore all the greater.
When conditions do not allow notable improvement the settlement of the problems of daily life must be focused on key points, on the most pressing needs, such as housing, food, education, medical treatment, assistance to war-stricken families. Special attention must be paid to the solution of women workers’ and employees’ difficulties. Regarding food supply for instance, it must be conducted according to the present quotas, priority being specially reserved to those who are directly engaged in production. The arbitrary cutting or reducing of producers’ food quotas shall be strictly prohibited. In the present conditions regular supply, equitable distribution, well- organized collective dining rooms, complete elimination of corruption and waste in circulation and distribution, this alone will help eliminate numbers of difficulties in the workers’ life. The managing boards and the trade unions, the local party committees and administrative authorities will seek ways and means to give the workers and employees better meals. In places where conditions permit we must promote a movement of producing foodstuffs to improve our daily meals. We must try to solve the problems of manpower and building materials to speed up the building of houses and schools for the working people’s children. At the same time, the families of war dead and war invalids, demobilized servicemen, and people wounded or disabled in the war, must be cared for.
Given the present economy of North Viet Nam, the trade unions must help the workers and employees to understand thoroughly the relationship between consumption and the needs of accumulation. It is quite clear that we are making an initial, small step on our way to socialism, starting from a poor, backward economy severely devastated by war. The numerous difficulties we are encountering in our daily life at present are unavoidable. To change this state of things, there is no other way than to do our best to build our country with a high sense of thrift, ensure the accumulation of capital for industrialization, and steadily advance toward large-scale socialist production.
Capitalism accumulates its capital first by reducing to misery and ruthlessly exploiting the working people. Our line of socialist industrialization helps us to quickly accumulate capital while gradually raising the people’s standard of living, a fact which reflects right from the beginning the superiority of socialist relations of production. To raise the people’s standard of living constantly is a requirement of the basic economic law of socialism which reflects the lofty goal of socialist production. But that goal cannot be attained without the means for it. That is why the first requirement of the basic economic law of socialism is to increasingly develop production with ever higher technique on the basis of the working people’s right to be the collective master. As the goal and result of the development of production, the improvement of the people’s living standards will consequently become a motive force impelling production forward. But living standards can never surpass production capacity. If one consumes all one produces, this means there is no accumulation at all for industrialization, for extended reproduction; in this way one cannot raise living conditions in a fundamental and steady manner. Therefore, in the first stage of industrialization, in order to correctly solve the relation between accumulation and consumption, we cannot help giving priority to accumulation. Thus there must necessarily be sacrifices, hardships in the immediate future for the sake of a bright morrow. The trade unions should help their members and all workers and employees to become fully conscious of this matter. Everyone should deeply understand that only by working, toiling very hard with high productivity, can we ensure both the enlargement of accumulation and the constant improvement of living standards. This is the sole measure which can create a practical possibility of associating immediate interests with long-term interests.
We are living in the most glorious period of our national history, and at the same time facing heavy historical responsibilities.
The anti-US resistance for national salvation has ended in a great victory. But the revolutionary objectives in South Viet Nam have not yet been reached, our country has not yet been reunified. Therefore our people still have to carry out simultaneously two strategic tasks: to build socialism in the North and to struggle for the completion of the national democratic revolution in South Viet Nam, and to proceed to the peaceful reunification of the country.
The Vietnamese working class, the leading class of the Vietnamese revolution, constitutes a part of the international working class, a class standing in the very centre of our era. The Vietnamese revolution constitutes a part of the world revolution, and is directly linked to the three great currents of the proletarian revolution in the present era, that is: the building of socialism and communism in the world socialist system; the struggle of the working class and labouring people in the capitalist and imperialist countries; and the national liberation movement and the upsurge of the forces fighting for national independence with a view to leading their countries straight to the path of non-capitalist development, The revolutionary cause of our people is a concrete embodiment of the lofty objectives of mankind in the present era: national independence and socialism. It is because our people have stood on the common offensive position of the world revolution, and made full use of the combined strength of various revolutionary trends of the era, that they have acquired that supremacy in the balance of forces which has enabled them to defeat the US imperialist aggressors and their henchmen. On the other hand, the victory of our people’s anti-US resistance for national salvation has further consolidated the position of socialism in the world; strongly stimulated the struggle of the peoples of the countries in the Third World against old and new colonialism, and influenced the revolutionary struggle of the working class and labouring people in developed capitalist countries; at the same time, together with these revolutionary currents, it has made deeper and sharper the general crisis in the imperialist system. It is quite obvious that today the positions of imperialism headed by US imperialism are being weakened, and that the offensive position of revolutionary forces in the world and the possibility of preserving peace are stronger than ever before.
Identifying class interests with national interests, and national interests with international interests, the Vietnamese working class is constantly raising high the banner of socialism, independence and democracy, determined to lead the entire people ahead to complete the revolutionary cause in the new stage. We will undoubtedly implement the Testament of President Ho Chi Minh in the building of a peaceful, reunified, independent, democratic and prosperous Viet Nam, contributing an active part to the common struggle of the working class and people all over the world for peace, national independence, democracy and socialism.
At the present time, the revolutionary struggle in South Viet Nam is a struggle to achieve national independence and at the same time an extremely sharp class struggle. The US imperialists are still obstinately maintaining their neo-colonialism. Their agents, the clique of fascist, militarist, bureaucratic and comprador capitalists are now frenziedly countering the aspirations to peace, independence, democracy and national concord of our people. Under the banner of the National Front for Liberation of South Viet Nam and the Provisional Revolutionary Government, our South Vietnamese compatriots are determined to push ahead their struggle to defend and secure strict implementation of the Paris Agreement, developing the victories already recorded with a view to completing the national democratic revolution in South Viet Nam and proceeding to the peaceful reunification of the Fatherland.
Through the delegation of the South Viet Nam Federation of Trade Unions for Liberation, the toiling people in the North would like to convey to their blood brothers and sisters in the South their most affectionate feelings and pledge to them that under all circumstances the socialist North is resolved to fulfil its duty of being the rear-base for the revolution in the whole country. We are acting upon the teaching of President Ho Chi Minh — “Let the people of the North redouble their efforts in emulation” — to rapidly rehabilitate and develop the economy, promote culture, boost socialist industrialization, strengthen economic and national defence potential in order to make North Viet Nam a mainstay for the revolutionary struggle of our Southern compatriots.
The common revolutionary cause of our country is facing extremely bright prospects. No reactionary forces whatsoever can subdue us. Our people will win. Our compatriots in both South and North will certainly be reunited under the same roof.
We have the right to be proud of the extremely heroic tradition of the working class of our country, in struggle as well as in labour. The working class of our country has also the right to be proud of its vanguard Party founded and educated by President Ho Chi Minh, the great leader of the class and the nation, a Party which is thoroughly revolutionary and entirely faithful to Marxism-Leninism.
Being a vast organization linking the Party with the working class, the trade unions, with the important resolutions adopted at this National Congress, will surely fulfil their responsibilities in the education, mobilization and organization of the broad masses of workers and employees so as to successfully carry out the political and economic tasks set by the Party.
 Le Duan’s speech at the third Viet Nam Trade Union Congress (February 11-14, 1974).
 Revolution in relations of production, technical revolution, and ideological and cultural revolution.
 K. Marx: Capital (in Vietnamese), Su That Publishing House, Hanoi, 1960. Vol. 3, p. 288.
 V.I. Lenin: Collected Works, Progress Publishers, Moscow, 1965. Vol. 27 p. 298i.
 V.I. Lenin. Selected Works. Progress Publishers, Moscow, 1967. Vol. 3, p. 656.
 V.I. Lenin. Op. cit., p. 655.
 Instructions given by President Ho Chi Minh at the Conference of trade union cadres (March 14, 1959).
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