|Dermot Hudson at the rostrum for the seminar|
By Dermot Hudson
I VISITED the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK) from the 6th September to the 13th September to participate in the International Seminar on the Juche Idea for Anti-Imperialism, Independence and Solidarity. The trip was organised by the Korean Association of Social Scientists (KASS) and the International Institute of the Juche Idea (IIJI) and included the celebrations of the 68th anniversary of the foundation of the DPRK, the sacred homeland of Juche!
I made the long journey from London to the DPRK travelling via Beijing. After a 10 hour flight from London I spent one night in Beijing and then proceeded to Pyongyang on Air Koryo. At Beijing Airport I was able to meet Comrade Mikel Vivanko of the Juche Idea Study Group of Spain and KFA Official Delegate for Spain, and also some Juche Idea followers who recognised me from Facebook.
Koryo is a most revolutionary airline, unlike capitalist airlines; the video screens said it was the "flight of Songun Korea". When we flew over the Amnokgang River the stewardess announced that we were flying over the sites of the anti-Japanese revolutionary battlefields where the anti-Japanese guerrillas lie buried. Our plane glided into Pyongyang.
I was met at the airport by the vice-director of KASS and my guide for the visit, Ms Ri from the Pyongyang University of Foreign Studies. She had been my guide in October 2015, and had been a most helpful and kind guide who made me feel at home. I also met the chair of the Writers Union of Korea at the airport.
Although some parts of Korea had been affected by floods, the situation in Pyongyang was quite normal. Looking out of the window of the bus I could see abundant and lush crops of rice and maize growing well in the fields. Later, on the road to the Pyongyang golf course, I also saw fine crops that were beautiful to look at. There was no sign of the crop failure or famine that the lying imperialist media continually claim exist in the DPRK. Indeed, living standards in the DPRK are continuously improving. The DPRK is pushing ahead with massive construction projects such as Ryomyong Street.
When I visited the DPRK in April, Ryomyong Street had simply been flat ground with many construction lorries running up and down. But this time I saw futuristic buildings towering high into the sky; they looked totally out of this world. When the DPRK build streets these are as big as small cities and house up to 20,000 people. The streets have not only apartments but also shops, service facilities and even hospitals. The flats are given to people free of charge – something Londoners could only dream of. Housing construction was also evident in the rural areas.
Pyongyang is a city of construction and People's Korea is a country of construction. It is amazing that the DPRK is capable of such large scale construction. In London it is said that it costs £150,000 to build one flat (which is then sold for up to £500,000 or more) so the cost of building 20,000 flats would be at least £3 billion!
This shows a number of things: firstly, that the DPRK is putting the people first and investing huge amounts of funds in raising living standards; secondly, the DPRK is also carrying out massive defence construction including the bolstering of the nuclear deterrent – this is the dual line of building up the economy and nuclear force in parallel. Only Juche Korea can carry out such a line.
In the past the revisionist USSR put emphasis on defence build-up but was unable to maintain a high level of economic growth. They asserted that it was impossible to develop the economy and defence in parallel. This is not true of course, as the experience of the DPRK proves. The USSR failed to maintain the building of both the economy and defence because of the malady of modern revisionism and lack of militant anti-imperialist spirit.
In the DPRK the massive construction is being carried out in the face of sanctions by the US imperialists and their executive enforcement agency, the UN Security Council, as well as other imperialists and big power chauvinists. The great self-development first idea and the revolutionary spirit of self-reliance enable the Korean people to carry out a high level of construction, despite the sanctions.
Dear respected Marshal Kim Jong Un said that the construction of Ryomyong Street would deal a blow against the sanctions and blockade of the imperialist reactionaries. The self-development first idea is a contemporary application of the great Juche idea and the revolutionary spirit of self-reliance. Some reactionaries and class enemies maintain that People's Korea should abandon Juche and adopt "reform" and "opening up". Such a course would be worse than death. Those countries that adopted "reform" and "opening up" have suffered disaster, despair, crisis and conflict.
During the period of my visit, Juche Korea carried out its 5th nuclear test, on the 9th of September, fully displaying the spirit of Juche and self-reliance. It was an act of militant anti-imperialism that defied the sanctions, blockades and threats of the US imperialists and their followers, as well as the big power chauvinists, revisionists and class enemies. I saw on TV the veteran DPRK news announcer Ri Chun Hee announce the nuclear test. Earlier, on 6th September, the DPRK had conducted the most impressive test of a road-launched Inter Continental Ballistic Missile (ICBM). Both the ICBM test and nuclear test dealt heavy blows against US imperialism. I feel excited to be in the DPRK at a time when the DPRK conducted these tests.
Anti-Imperialism, Independence and Solidarity were the themes of the International Seminar on the Juche Idea, attended by delegates from Spain, Germany, Britain, Russia, Italy, Sri-Lanka, Nepal, India, Pakistan, Nigeria, Uganda, Democratic Congo and Japan. The seminar was presided over by Dr Harish Gupta of the IIJI and was held in the presence of comrade Kim Ki Nam, vice-chair of the Workers Party of Korea (WPK). The speeches were very lively and militant, with diverse opinions given on the situations in various countries but with overall unity around the Juche Idea and Songun Idea. Of particular note were the speeches by Dmitri Kostenko of Russia, by Mikel Vivanko of Spain, Mr Jain of India and one of the Nepalese delegates.
We had excellent video lectures on human rights, the dual line of building the economy and defence in parallel, and Korean folk traditions, which had been prepared by KASS. These lectures proved very useful and increased greatly my understanding of the DPRK. We will share them amongst our members.
We were also given an excellent lecture by Professor Mun Jong Suk on the 7th Congress of the WPK. This lecture was packed full of information. I learnt a lot about the self-development first idea of the DPRK – for example that the DPRK even produces its own sugar Okdang from maize. Truly the DPRK is the most self-reliant country in the world that can stand on its own two feet.
I had the honour of meeting with vice-chair Kim Ki Nam of the WPK twice during my visit. I was also happy to pay a visit to my old friends at the Pyongyang Mission of the Anti-Imperialist National Democratic front of south Korea, which is headed by veteran south Korean revolutionary comrade Zo Il Min.
We had excellent discussions and my hosts showed me two excellent videos, which I enjoyed. We had detailed discussions on the struggle and I met the comrades from the Korean Committee For Cultural Relations and had cordial discussions. The KASS organised a wonderful Joint Friendship Gathering for us at the Pyongyang Golf Course. This consisted of some sports games, then a barbecue and picnic lunch, rounded off by a singing performance.
Sports are a big challenge for me because I have never played any sports since I was at 6th form college 36 years ago. For singing I chose to sing the song the Red Flag, which is common to both Korea and Britain but the Korean version is much faster and differently paced to the British version, which is slow and a bit sombre. In Britain the Red Flag used to be sung at Labour party conferences until arch-traitor Tony Blair banned them from singing it. I think my rendition of the Red Flag was appreciated by the audience. All the foreigners sang the song We will go to Mt Paektu but this was a challenge to me because I think it would take several months for me to learn properly to do the song justice. All Korean people are like professional singers and seem very talented.
On this visit I was able to see the newly constructed Pyongyang Orphans Secondary School on the outskirts of Pyongyang. This has 21 classrooms including an anti-imperialist class education room. It has all the latest facilities and equipment. The school has a massive swimming pool, as well as a multi-use sports hall and a splendid dining room. This dining room did not look like a school dining room at all but like a hotel or a restaurant.
On display in the anti-imperialist class education room were pictures showing the history of US imperialist aggression on Korea. By carrying out anti-imperialist class education the DPRK makes sure that the US imperialists and capitalists do not sneak their ideology into People's Korea. Bourgeois ideology is highly corrosive and poisonous; it can spread insidiously unless resolute and decisive preventive measures are taken. The Pyongyang Orphans School was a good example of the people-oriented policies of the WPK and the dear respected leader Marshal Kim Jong Un.
In capitalist societies orphans are regarded as rejects and outcasts. Children's homes exist in capitalist countries but are fearful places where abuse, physical and sexual, of the children can take place. Usually in my country children who are raised in children's homes become unemployed when they grow up or drift into crime.
DPRK attaches great importance to youth. Recently the 9th Congress of the Kim Il Sung Socialist Youth League (now renamed the Kimilsungist-Kimjongilist Youth League) was held in the presence of the dear respected leader Marshal Kim Jong Un. On the TV I saw the massive torchlight parade of youth. My guide Ms Ri told me that she had participated in it. A splendid Museum of Youth Movement History has been built in Kwangbok Street. Here we could see how the history of the Korean youth movement developed under the guidance of President Kim Il Sung, Chair Kim Jong Il and Marshal Kim Jong Un.
There were also pictures and relics showing the contribution of anti-Japanese revolutionary heroine Madame Kim Jong Suk to the youth movement. Ms Ri asked me if we have a youth league in Britain, of course the answer is no.
Some political parties maintain small youth leagues and there are organisations such as the Boy Scouts, which are seen as a joke (in the case of the scouts highly discredited because of their founder's support for fascism and numerous paedophile scandals). Only People's Korea has its own mass youth league. The DPRK trusts young people and puts them forward as one of the pillars of society.
We also visited the Kumususan Palace of the Sun, Mangyondae, the Fatherland Liberation War Museum, the Sci-Tech Complex and the Circus. We enjoyed an excellent art performance at the splendid Pyongwha Art Theatre, which I had never been to before. The performance was based on the legendary Korean song Aririang. I liked the Songun Aririang and the piece about Generalissimo Kim Jong Il ascending the steep Chol pass.
The DPRK is developing excellent cultural facilities for people. I had visited the Pyongyang Zoo four years ago in 2012 but was surprised by the change this time. I did not recognise the entrance to the Zoo, which had totally changed. The Zoo has been reconstructed and expanded; it is very modern with a nature museum. Visitors can also observe fish at close quarters because you can actually walk through a transparent passage that is under water. There are electric cars to ferry visitors around the zoo, thus affording great convenience to people. Ms Ri told me that entrance to the Pyongyang Zoo is nearly free-of-charge so that working people may visit it. But the London Zoo at Regents Park charges £25 for an adult to visit and £29 for a fast track ticket! A ticket for a child costs £17.
In People's Korea of Juche, recreational and cultural facilities are not a means of money making for capitalist parasites but a means of enriching the cultural and emotional lives of the people. The DPRK is pursuing a genuine people-oriented policy thanks to the Juche Idea and the leadership of the dear respected leader Marshal Kim Jong Un.
was deeply impressed by the hospitality shown by the Korean people. I was given a big hotel room that seemed bigger than my residence (which is 50 square metres) and had a balcony from which I could see Mirae Scientists Street and even glimpse the River Taedong. My guide, Ms Ri, was very helpful, always working hard to arrange my schedule and did everything possible to make my stay convenient as well as providing some short but good explanations of the Juche Idea.
Everyone was very friendly to me even though I had come from a hostile imperialist country, a country that to my eternal shame even sent troops to fight against People's Korea and to prevent reunification.
Although I have visited the DPRK 12 times, each time I learn something new. Being in the DPRK is like being in a dream – a country where there are no homeless or beggars sleeping in shop doorways or in pedestrian subways; a country without internal conflict or contradictions; a society based on single-hearted unity! I think if I lived in the DPRK I would only miss a cup of British tea and fish and chips, as well as my family and friends.
I was sad to leave People's Korea and return to London. Visiting the DPRK for the 12th time I became convinced that the road I had taken was and is the correct one and that I should not deviate from it. I pledged myself to study the Juche Idea and Songun Idea even more intensely and to carry out our work better.