By Andy Brooks
Millions of workers in the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK) have been celebrating the giant strides their people’s government has taken in recent days. Last month the DPRK tested its first thermo-nuclear bomb. Last week they successfully launched a satellite into space. Next week they will pause to mark the anniversary of the birth of Kim Jong Il, who led the nation in overcoming the natural disasters and defeating the renewed imperialist offensive that came soon after the death of great leader Kim Il Sung in 1994.
In Democratic Korea Kim Jong Il’s birthday has long been known as the Day of the Shining Star. Across the world overseas Koreans, progressives and communists will hold their own events in honour of the DPRK leader who died at his post on 17th December 2011.
Communists in Britain will be joining them in holding events in solidarity with the Workers’ Party of Korea, which has led the Korean people to victory after victory in a struggle that began in the 1920s and continues to this day across the divided Korean peninsula.
The modern Korean communist movement was founded by Kim Il Sung and the young militants around him to fight the Japanese colonialists and to build a revolutionary movement that would give the Korean workers and peasants a new life under socialism. Building a guerrilla army that took on the might of the Japanese Empire, Kim Il Sung mobilised the masses in a struggle that ended in victory in 1945 and the establishment of a people’s government in the north of the country. Kim Jong Il was born in the midst of that struggle, in a Korean guerrilla camp on Mount Paektu, on 16th February 1942.
Kim Jong Il’s early days were of hardship and struggle that ended in victory in 1945 and the liberation of Pyongyang. Five years later the country was plunged into new horrors when the US imperialists and their lackeys attempted to crush the DPRK and plunged the peninsula into war.
The American imperialists and their lackeys were fought to a standstill and the guns fell silent in 1953. Like millions of Koreans of his generation Kim Jong Il dedicated his life to the Workers’ Party of Korea and the socialist system that they were determined to build to create a better life for the Korean people.
Kim Jong Il went to university where he developed his ideas in the political, economic and cultural fields. But like all Korean students Kim Jong Il took his turn at manual labour with the people in the fields and on the construction sites.
The Workers’ Party of Korea, with Kim Il Sung at the helm, led the battle for land reform, education and socialist construction in the 1950s and 60s, and then pushed forward on the engineering, technical and scientific fronts to build a modern socialist republic, where every individual worker is master of his or her own life. The DPRK stood shoulder-to-shoulder with the peoples of the Third World struggling to break the chains of colonialism, and gave technical and economic aid to help them defend their freedom and independence.
This was Korean-style socialism. Kim Il Sung stressed that Marxism–Leninism goes far beyond simple economic formulae and the Soviet “model”. He not only grasped Marxism–Leninism but he applied it to the concrete conditions of the Korean people. He knew that once the masses realised their own strength they would become unstoppable. He knew that serving the people was the be-all and end-all for the Korean communists. Kim Il Sung developed Korean-style socialism into the Juché idea – which elevates the philosophical principles of Marxism–Leninism as well as its economic theories – and focuses on the development of each individual worker, who can only be truly free as part of the collective will of the masses.
Kim Jong Il developed the Juché idea, applying it to all spheres of economic construction and for the promotion of north–south dialogue for the independent peaceful reunification of Korea. His modesty, faithful service, tireless work, total loyalty to Kim Il Sung and the Korean revolution, and undoubted ability meant that when the Workers’ Party of Korea considered the question of the succession – and this was decided long before Kim Il Sung’s death – Kim Jong Il was the unchallenged candidate to be the successor to great leader Kim Il Sung.
When Kim Il Sung passed away, Kim Jong Il told the Korean people and the world that they could “expect no change from me” and under his leadership the Workers’ Party of Korea won further victories. Natural disasters were overcome. Imperialist diplomatic isolation was broken and the intrigues of US imperialism exposed.
Now Kim Jong Un is following in the footsteps of Kim Il Sung and Kim Jong Il to lead the DPRK into the 21st century. Democratic Korean citizens enjoy full employment, free education and medical care, virtually free housing and a vast array of consumer goods largely made in the DPRK itself. Democratic Korean scientists have mastered the secrets of the atom to guarantee the DPRK’s defence and energy needs, and Korean rockets now reach for the stars.
The tragedy of Korea is that it has been divided since the Second World War and that division is entirely due to the United States, which has propped up a puppet regime in south Korea to maintain American imperialism’s military, strategic and economic dominance of north–east Asia.
A monstrous concrete wall divides Korea. Tens of thousands of American troops remain in the south, backed by a US nuclear armada that threatens the DPRK and its neighbours. The communist movement is outlawed in the south and contacts with the north are tightly controlled by the puppet regime.
The Democratic Korean government has worked tirelessly to end the partition of the country. It has called on the United States to normalise relations with the DPRK. A proposal for the re-unification of Korea based on the principle of “one country-two systems” – similar to the one that led to the peaceful return of Hong Kong and Macau to the People’s Republic of China – remains on the table.
Democratic Korea threatens no one, but the imperialist campaign to demonise and isolate the people’s government continues as a smokescreen to cover US plans to dominate the entire Pacific basin.
Whilst we join the Korean people in their celebrations we must redouble our efforts to build solidarity with the DPRK and raise the demand for the withdrawal of all American troops from south Korea, the release of all political prisoners and an end to the partition of the country.