Vietnam Academy Of Social Sciences

International Conference “Karl Marx's thought on the relationship between social justice and democracy and its current relevance”


October 29-30, 2018, in Vinh Phuc, the Institute of Philosophy under the Vietnam Academy of Social Sciences (Academy) held an international conference entitled Karl Marx's thought on the relationship between social justice and democracy and its current relevance. On the occasion of the 200th anniversary of Karl Marx's birthday, the conference was sponsored and co-organized by the Rosa Luxemburg Foundation (RLS: Rosa-Luxemburg-Stiftung). It attracted the attention of nearly 100 scholars from the German Federal Republic, Japan, Korea, the United States, and Russia; with the participation of scientists from research institutes, universities, and academies in Hanoi and neighboring areas.

  Prof.Dr. Pham Van Duc, Vice President of the Academy, delivered the opening speech

In the opening speech, Prof.Dr. Pham Van Duc, Vice President of the Academy, affirmed that: Karl Marx was one of the great thinkers of humanity. His thoughts have profoundly influenced in the course of the historical development of humanity and have remained value and vitality to this day. As a great thinker,  a pioneering warrior for democracy - a universal and eternal value that humanity has always aimed for, Karl Marx has given deep thoughts on democracy. According to him, the highest value, the most basic and essential feature of democracy, is that all power belongs to the people. The fundamental difference between bourgeois democracy and socialist democracy is that in the socialist, people have the right to participate broadly and equally in the affairs of the state. At the same time, Karl Marx also has given valuable thoughts about social justice as a fundamental human right.

Vice President of the Academy believed that the conference would become an academic forum for scientists to look back at the Karl Marx's thought through lenses of lively reality to continue to affirm the scientific and revolutionary values of his heritage of thought.

In response to Prof.Dr. Pham Van Duc, Assoc.Prof.Dr. Nguyen Tai Dong - Director of the Institute of Philosophy and Mrs. Liliane Danso Dahmen - Director of RLS shared: It has been 200 years since the birth of Karl Marx, but the world still has so many people immersed in poverty with about 1 billion people still living in misery. Poverty could only be solved when we eliminate injustice in society and the struggle for the realization of values: progress, democracy, social justice, freedom, and human well-being. That was also credible evidence for scientific, humanity and the vitality of Marxism in general, of Karl Marx's thoughts in democracy and social justice in particular.

With that spirit, scientists discussed nearly 30 papers in four sessions that mentioned issues such as the views of Karl Marx and the Communist Party of Vietnam on justice; the views of Karl Marx, social justice, democracy, and political philosophy; Karl Marx conception of the relationship between social justice and  democracy; Sustainable values in Karl Marx’s thought of social justice and democracy with the creative manipulation in Vietnam; The role of mass media in the implementation of democracy in our country today; Perception of social justice and democracy in Vietnam and some proposed problems; The relationship between social justice, democracy and the use of the Communist Party of Vietnam today; Social justice, democracy and the issue of tax socialization in Vietnam; Implementing social justice and democracy under the influence of the 4.0 industrial revolution in Vietnam; The policy of implementing social justice and income gap between rural and urban areas in Vietnam over the 30 years of Doi Moi...

Sharing the experience of implementing social justice in the German Democratic Republic, Dr. Brangsch Lutz (RLS) said: In the 1980s, due to the lack of interest in resolving the demands of innovation, the socialist realism has failed economically. This has shown the effectiveness of social justice as a motivation for development depends on many factors;  The "undervaluation" and the "lack of interest" of policies can lead to "decline" or "collapse" of the system. The failure of Germany in the effort to develop the overall factors of a post-capitalist society (especially in the field of economics) of this stage that was a typical lesson for having to always apply the views of Karl Marx as the basis for the analysis and application of conditions of social justice and democracy.

According to Prof. Rodney G.Peffer (Philosophy Department, University of San Diego), the main reasoning tasks of our time has been to build the rule of law democracy socialist. Specifically, the "Socialism" element of this vision which means that the economy of these societies must bear the following characteristics: Firstly, economic enterprise and natural resource with large scale must be owned by the whole society (public/private ownership). However, this requirement didn't prohibit small or medium ownership if it is conducive to the promotion of the common good (meaning for social justice). Secondly, the Basic Law governing the economy must be set up to achieve common interests rather than promoting private/group interests. Third, the "democracy" component of this vision must: 1. Satisfying the universality of the rule of law; 2. Civil liberties were respected and protected; 3. The legitimate interests and preferences of the people were calculated until the government makes the decision, and if there are conflicts about these interests and needs, then it needs to be considered fairly.

Assoc.Prof.Dr. Nguyen Tai Dong – Dỉrector of the Insitute of Philosophy stated at the conference Ms. Liliane Danso Dahmen - Director of RLS stated at the conference

Discussing the "hot" issues related to democracy in developing social emerging in Vietnam before the impact of the 4.0 industrial revolution (IR 4.0), Assoc.Prof.Dr. Le Huu Ai (the University of Economics, the University of Danang) said that: The IR 4.0 has provided positive opportunities for social actors to develop their capacity as well as to create tools and means to satisfy their needs. Due to IR 4.0, the connection with factors such as capital, human resources, technology, infrastructure... that become more convenient. Moreover, the strength of the connection has made it easier and more effective to fight the phenomenon of injustice. On the negative side, the accessibility of subjects in other regions was very different. In disadvantaged areas with low intellectual standards, infrastructure has not developed, the creation and application of technology products encountered many difficulties. This led to the labor market divided into two groups: low skills/low wages and high skills/high wages. This has been the cause that increased social inequality. Therefore, it was necessary to promote measures to raise people's intellectual standards, complete and enforce the legal corridor, to promote the role of the state in the realization of democracy and equality, to create trust and towards the objective of equitable and sustainable development.

From the contents discussed in the conference, scientists have clarified a number of issues: 1. Karl Marx thought about social justice, democracy, and their relationship, 2. The contemporary values of Karl Marx on social justice, democracy, and their relationship, 3.  The practice of Vietnam in implementing progress, democracy, and social justice...

Conference overview The delegates took souvenir photo at the conference

Conference summary, Assoc.Prof.Dr. Nguyen Tai Dong appreciated the speeches and comments of scholars. At the same time, with the academic quality achieved, he said that the papers would be edited quickly for publication in December 2018. This was not only good news for scholars but also the pride of the Institute of Philosophy and the RLS in the dissemination of the universal and human values of Karl Marx's thought of justice, democracy, and time meaning. The results showed that the issues of democracy, freedom and social equality in any country express human aspirations towards the goal of development for human progress. Thereby affirming the values of heritage in the thought of Karl Marx has always been of great importance and have received the admiration of many intellectuals in every nation, every country.

Pham Vinh Ha


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