Marxist Majors Wanted in Vietnam

To encourage the study of "communist sciences," the nation is offering free courses to those who commit to a four-year program

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An armed policeman stands guard next to a portrait of late president Ho Chi Minh, founder of today's communist Vietnam, and Russian communist leader Vladimir Lenin, in Hanoi on January 17, 2011.

The job market is tough, and for Vietnamese students, it’s unlikely that non-governmental employers hire based on applicants’ understanding of class consciousness or state socialism. That could explain why Vietnamese authorities are offering free tuition to students who spend four years taking courses in Marxism-Leninism and Ho Chi Minh studies.

Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung signed a decree last month waving university fees for philosophy students who study “communist sciences,” which focus on the teachings of the nation’s founding father Ho Chi Minh, German philosopher Karl Marx, and Russian revolutionary Vladimir Lenin, the BBC reports. The new policy also applies to medical students focusing on tuberculosis, leprosy, mental illnesses and surgical science. In boosting culture, the Communist Party also supports traditional Vietnamese opera and drama students, who will receive a discount on school fees.

(MORE: LGBT Rights Blossom in Repressive Vietnam, but No Sign of Further Freedoms)

Though currently all students take at least three compulsory courses in Marxism-Leninism and Ho Chi Minh studies, Pham Tan Ha, head of admission and training at the Social and Human Sciences University in Ho Minh City, said his school has been struggling to attract students to go beyond the minimum requirement. Annual school fees typically range from $250 to $400 at state-backed schools to $5700 at private universities.

Students are bypassing the major in part because of limited job opportunities following graduation. Competition for employment is intense, and often international companies are seeking out employees for factories and the service industry, not experts in the country’s political ideology. Vietnam refuses to abandon its authoritarian Communist regime, yet embraces capitalism in an effort to modernize its economy.

MORE: Internet Censorship Is Taking Root in Southeast Asia

9 comments
Jorein_Versteege
Jorein_Versteege

They don't want Marxist majors, they want loyal people who support the state-capitalist party. This has nothing to do with communism. Because any genuine communist would tell the Vietnamese workers to rise up against the party. What the Communist Party of Vietnam ( CPV ) wants is loyal people who do that parties bidding. But how many still believe the lies about a ''Socialist'' Vietnam? How can you as a communist support a party that is following a state-capitalist ideology? As a revolutionary socialist and communist, I oppose the CPV because they are stalinist and state-capitalist. 

The ruling caste of the CPV will not give its power win out a fight. That is why a genuine workers party must be build. Vietnamese workers must understand that their nation is not socialist and that the party is telling them lies since 1975. But most know this already, most young Vietnamese have no loyalty towards the party. Most party leaders are 60+, just look at the party's president who is 71 years old. The president of Vietnam is 65 years old. Old men are the rulers of the communist party. The youth wants nothing to do with them!

mbahippe
mbahippe

@Jorein_Versteege Do you even know what socialism/communism is??? Marxism calls for the development of the productive forces, and when they reach, for the lack of a better word, "maturity" revolutions occur.... Lenin (though he later recanted and introduced the NEP) and Stalin believed you could "jump" over the "capitalist mode of production" and immediately begin the construction of socialism. Which, from a classical Marxist perspective is perplexing, since Marx stated that for a socialist society to develop capitalism have to meet the very same end as feudalism.. The feudalist mode of production was replaced when it was no longer effective, and because of that, the old ruling class was replaced by the "new", capitalist class... When capitalism ends, according to Marx thought, the only thing that will happen is that the capitalist ruling class is replaced by a new ruling class, which they believe will be the working class. What the Vietnamese and Chinese are doing is simply to develop the productive forces to that they can begin developing socialism (its a reason why the Chinese say they are in the "primary stage of socialism" and the Vietnamese have a "Socialist-oriented market economy") ......

I'm no communist, but I'm shocked how a person who calls himself a communist does not know what communism is or stand for.. Of course, its not that surprising, since communism has stopped having anything to do with Marxism and has "collapsed" into a pathetic, pro-Totalitarian movement.....

steven.mendelson
steven.mendelson

I'd take an eight week course, but four years and in Vietnamese is too hard for an old man.  Marxism consists of two separate issues.   Is capitalism a system with contradictions such that it is bound to fail?    Is there a way out?   Capitalism is clearly bound to fail as it doesn't allow the rational allocation of resources but rather private ownership of resources, private control of the raw materials, the labor, and manufacture and the distribution of a society's wealth.  On the other hand, is there a way out?  The ruling elites will not give up ownership voluntarily, so does a violent revolution work?   Does the acts of committing violence needed to crush the ruling class necessarily have to taint what comes afterwards?   These are the much more difficult issues.  I personally am pessimistic and feel that the ruling elites will destroy the environment, cause horrific weather, and/or have wars with horrible agents of death and destruction.  But still I hope.... can't say why, just do.  

Lbrto
Lbrto

for academic purposes, it might be good as a pre-requisite for those taking economics and political science courses... 

SuperNovaLovah
SuperNovaLovah

It's a purely religious course. There isn't one iota of actual economic science behind marxism.

DanielBerman
DanielBerman like.author.displayName 1 Like

@SuperNovaLovah It is an economic philosophy, not science - and you shouldn't dismiss it all just because of cold war antagonism. Marx's main criticism of capitalism is that the money flows to the top, resulting in the inevitable collapse of the middle class. Of course, he recanted that prediction later in life when he saw that (due to regulation and overall economic prosperity), the middle class was actually growing rather than shrinking. 

In a purely capitalist system with no regulation on workers rights, he would have been right, as we saw in the late 1800s and are seeing again now. Government is a spectrum, not an ideology. It exists to make informed decisions, not to make absolutist value judgments based on nationalism and pride. 

SDDave72
SDDave72

Yep. Must be hard to get students to study political theory proven to be a hopeless failure in practice. Jeez, they might have to throw in an internship in Cuba. Whoopee!