19/09/2017 by socialistfight
By Gerry Downing
“The days are gone forever when our enemies could blackmail us with nuclear bombs”. Kim Jong-un said in his first public speech since assuming office in April 2012. He had learned the lesson of Iraq and Libya; is Saddam and Gaddafi had retained their “weapons of mass destruction” then they would still be line today. And the “axis of evil” comprised Iran, Iraq, and North Korea and “beyond the Axis of Evil” comprised Cuba, Libya, and Syria. Only three have survived Bush’s 2002 targets and they are all in the crosshairs of the USA today.
Trump got elected on the basis of ‘America First’ with vile racist attacks against Mexicans, Muslims, women and every target reactionary forces traditionally used to divide the working class. He has consciously encouraged the rise of the far right by his equation of the far rightist and neo-fascist KKK with the anti-fascist defenders of the Black population and immigrants in Charlottesville in August and his Trump pardoning of the racist thug-Sheriff Joe Arpaio also in August. When he launched his cruise missile attack on Syria on 6 April it was also a threatening shot across the bows of North Korea.
On 1 August Sen. Lindsey Graham said: “There is a military option to destroy North Korea’s (missile) program and North Korea itself,” Graham said on NBC’s “Today” show. “If there’s going to be a war to stop them, it will be over there. If thousands die, they’re going to die over there, they’re not going to die here and (President Donald Trump) told me that to my face. I’m saying (military options are) inevitable if North Korea continues.”
On 8 August Trump made his most bellicose threat:
“North Korea best not make any more threats to the United States. They will be met with fire and fury like the world has never seen. They will be met with the fire, fury and, frankly, power, the likes of which this world has never seen before.”
US Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley said on 4 September that North Korean leader Kim Jong Un was “begging for war” as she urged the UN Security Council to adopt the strongest sanctions measures possible to stop Pyongyang’s nuclear program.
Haley also indirectly called out China for its trade with North Korea, saying the United States would look at every country that does business with Pyongyang “as a country that is giving aid to their reckless and dangerous intentions.” She said that quickly enacting the strongest possible sanctions in the Security Council was the only way to resolve the issue diplomatically. “We’ve kicked the can down the road long enough,” Haley said. “There is no more road left.”
On 4 July Kim Jong-un launched an intercontinental ballistic missile and said this is a “gift” to “American bastards” on their Independence Day. In March 2016, he boasted; “If the American imperialists provoke us a bit, we will not hesitate to slap them with a pre-emptive nuclear strike. The United States must choose! It’s up to you whether the nation called the United States exists on this planet or not.”
Many got the impression from all the recent warmongering between the USA and North Korea that war was imminent but they would be wrong. Although China and Russia have accepted more sanctions on North Korea they were far less than the US wanted. The threats against China are not feasible nor could Sen. Lindsey Graham’s aspiration of allowing millions of South Koreans and Japanese to be incinerated be seriously contemplated; it would bring WWIII dangerously close were that to happen. Kim has a hydrogen bomb and, despite his silly bellicose threats of first strike against the US, it is clear that these weapons are for defence of North Korea and not for conquering or even threatening his neighbours. They are quite entitled to launch missiles over Japan in the upper atmosphere, the US does it all the time as does the EU.
Socialist should defend North Korea and even the regime of Kim Jong-un not only because it is a poor, semi-colonial nation which the US wants to invade but because that would make any future attack on China so much easier. The Chinese are aware of this, that is why the fought the Korean war from 1950 to 53. But also, it is a workers’ state in the sense that there are no capitalists there and production is for need and not for the profits of individual capitalist enterprises. Therefore, despite its isolation, it does plan its economy relatively efficiently and there are no unemployed, homeless or beggars, such are seen in even the most advanced capitalist countries. There is free medical care, education, and housing and there are no taxes. Literacy is 100%, compared to 54% in Pakistan and 63% India. The famine of 1994-98, caused by loss of trade and subsidies after the collapse the East European and USSR Stalinist states and the natural disasters like floods and droughts, is long past.
Moreover, the population of North Korea remembers the war of the early 1950s when the Southern Korean dictator Syngman Rhee executed some 200,000 leftists. American planes dropped 635,000 tons of bombs on Korea –including 32,557 tons of napalm, compared to 503,000 tons of bombs dropped in the entire Pacific theatre of World War II. The number of Korean dead, injured or missing by war’s end approached three million, ten percent of the overall population.
Kim’s uncle, Jang Song-thaek was a “traitor for all ages”, he was “worse than a dog” and “despicable human scum” who had committed an unbelievable list of crimes, like Stalin accused the victims of the Moscow Trials.
No Socialist Nirvāṇa
But we have no wish to paint the regime or the country as the socialist nirvāṇa. Kim Jong-un heads a truly barbaric regime guided by a reactionary philosophy which justifies appalling oppression of all political opponents. He even had his own uncle, Jang Song-thaek, executed in December 2013 for no more than voicing mild criticisms, he was a “traitor for all ages”, he was “worse than a dog” and “despicable human scum” who had committed an unbelievable list of crimes, like Stalin accused the victims of the Moscow Trials.
Juche, the official North Korean ‘philosophy’ is a medieval doctrine which has nothing in common with socialism or even modern capitalism. It belongs in the dark ages of human degradation before the masters of life. And it has even ceased to claim any relationship to the less barbaric doctrine of “Marxism-Leninism” as practiced by Mao Zedong. This is the official doctrine which all those 100% literate school children must learn by heart:
Definition: The regulations that reign supreme over the everyday lives of the North Korean people, proposed by Kim Young Joo in 1967 and officially announced by Kim Jong Il in 1974:
- We must give our all in the struggle to unify the entire society with the revolutionary ideology of the Great Leader Kim Il-sung.
- We must honour the Great Leader comrade Kim Il-sung with all our loyalty.
- We must make absolute the authority of the Great Leader comrade Kim Il-sung.
- We must make the Great Leader comrade Kim Il-sung’s revolutionary ideology our faith and make his instructions our creed.
- We must adhere strictly to the principle of unconditional obedience in carrying out the Great Leader comrade Kim Il-sung’s instructions.
- We must strengthen the entire party’s ideology and willpower and revolutionary unity, centring on the Great Leader comrade Kim Il-sung.
- We must learn from the Great Leader comrade Kim Il-sung and adopt the communist look, revolutionary work methods and people-oriented work style.
- We must value the political life we were given by the Great Leader comrade Kim Il-sung, and loyally repay his great political trust and thoughtfulness with heightened political awareness and skill.
- We must establish strong organizational regulations so that the entire party, nation and military move as one under the one and only leadership of the Great Leader comrade Kim Il-sung.
- We must pass down the great achievement of the revolution by the Great Leader comrade Kim Il-sung from generation to generation, inheriting and completing it to the end.
In 2013, Clause 2 of Principle 10 of the new edited Ten Principles further states that the party and revolution must be carried “eternally” by the “Baekdu (Kim dynasty) bloodline”. The North inserted new clauses stipulating the Kumsusan Palace of the Sun, which contains the corpses of Kim Il-sung and Kim Jong-il, as a sacred place to protect the images of the two leaders. At the same time, the phrase “completion of communist achievements” has been deleted, switching the focus purely to the national arena.
We will leave the reader to make what s/he will of this philosophy, except to observe that it is socialism in a single country gone mad; a purely national, inward-looking reactionary view of the world dedicated only to defending the privileges of the ruling bureaucracy; more reactionary than Stalin’s was in the late 1930s up to the invasion by the Nazis on 22 June 1941 which broke the Hitler/Stalin pact of August 1939.
On the social criteria, its infant mortality rate is 23 per 1,000 live births (improving) compared to the South’s 3 per 1,000. Its life expectancy is 70.34 (improving) compared to the South’s 82.16. GDP per capita of South Korea: $33.2k (2016), North Korea: $1.8k (2014, regressing), on a par with Kenya, Zambia, Tanzania, Burma and just behind Bangladesh. Cuba is $10.2k, Dominican Republic is $9.7k and Haiti is only $1.2k, by comparison. 
It is likewise futile to attempt to deny the existence of concentration camps where opponents of the regime, with all their close relatives, are incarcerated. Hoeryong concentration camp in the northeast in a secluded valley contains 50,000 inmates who are never to be released. Reports of torture, malnutrition, and executions are too numerous to deny and the camps’ existence is proven by too many aerial photographs to be an invention. But then there were many back in the 30s and 40s who were not able to defend the USSR whilst admitting to the crimes of Stalin at the same time.
The similarity with Mao’s Red Book and the hero-worship of a god in the sun-burst imagery could not be further from the revolutionary socialism of social and economic equality based on the super-abundance of wealth envisioned and fought for by Marx, Engels, Lenin, and Trotsky.
Amnesty International tells us that there are an estimated 200,000 offenders and families in total held in two types of zones:
- Total Control Zone – those whom the authorities perceive to have committed serious crimes, including anti-regime crimes. No one is ever released.
- Revolutionary Zone – those whom the authorities perceived as having committed less serious crimes including being critical of government policy or illegally crossing the border. Sentences
can range from a few months to ten years.
It is the duty of every socialist, militant trade unionist and anti-imperialist fighter to defend North Korea against Trump’s imperialist war machine. This is unconditional but critical defence; in the event of war, we are for the defeat of any imperialist attack. Despite the mass executions Stalin committed in 1937-8 (over 1,000 a day) and the millions who perished in the Gulag, nonetheless the USSR was still a planned economy and we should always defend that mode of production, and seek only a political revolution to overthrow the regime to restore workers’ democracy and the perspective of world revolution. Similarly, with Kim Jong-un now. We should defend the state planning, the free education, healthcare, housing, full employment, etc despite the reactionary regime outlined above.