From North Korea – A Description of the Political Ideology of the DPRK

We are publishing a copy of  an article written by Pak Chol entitled “Foundation of Socialism: A Descriptive Article” we found on the website of the [North] Korean Friendship Association of the United States of America.  It is a nice, concise intro to the political ideology of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (North Korea).  It struck us as being such a fine encapsulation of the version of socialism being expounded by the political leadership of North Korea that it should be presented to our readers.

As part of our continual search for friends wherever we go, we took the liberty of introducing ourselves to the KFA by posting a comment on their website at the end of the article.  It’s our way of saying “hello” to our friends in the DPRK – while pulling no punches as to what we think of the many wide divergences from classical Marxism-Leninism that the leadership of North Korea have propounded since their world-historic victory over the forces of US imperialism.  Enjoy!



Foundation of Socialism: A Descriptive Article

The socialist society is one in which all the people are finally freed from all their fetters and they become the fully-fledged masters of nature, society and themselv
The socialist society is one in which all the people are finally freed from all their fetters and they become the fully-fledged masters of nature, society and themselves. In the society all the members of the society become fully-fledged social beings who are comprehensively equipped with an independent ideological consciousness and the creativity to suit the social character of them. Productivity reaches a high level, sufficient to ensure man’s independent and creative activities materially in all fields of social life. Accordingly, social relations become collective social relations whereby the whole of society forms a socio-political organism and both the individual and the community are guaranteed their independence.

The socialist society is one in which all the people are finally freed from all their fetters and they become the fully-fledged masters of nature, society and themselves.

The socialist society is one in which all the people are finally freed from all their fetters and they become the fully-fledged masters of nature, society and themselves.

In his classic work The Historical Lesson in Building Socialism and the General Line of Our Party Chairman Kim Jong Il clarified the decisive factor, which promotes the development of the socialist society and dominates its destiny, in consideration of the relations of man with social conditions. He wrote that the people with the socialist idea, masters of the socialist society, and a socialist government and a socialist economy, the social-political and economic conditions of the socialist society, are tied closely together. He also made it clear that the people with the socialist idea—the popular masses—are the decisive factor in promoting the development of the socialist society and determining its destiny, instead of objective conditions.

The foundation of socialism is the people because the people are placed above all else and their interests become the starting point of all considerations in the socialist society. In a nutshell, the people are the fundamental factor deciding the existence and development of socialism. The existence of socialism is inconceivable apart from the people. Socialism is the society where people become the masters of society and which embodies their demand and interests. In the socialist society the people are the most valuable beings, and it is the fundamental principle in socialist construction that the interests of the people are placed above all things and their demand and interests are the starting point of all considerations and thoroughly safeguarded and embodied. In the past the Workers’ Party of Korea has carried out all its activities in accordance with the aspiration and requirement of the people while leading the socialist cause.
The people are masters of everything in society. Because the popular masses create everything in society.

The people are masters of everything in society. Because the popular masses create everything in society.

The people are masters of everything in society. Because the popular masses create everything in society. If there is an almighty being in the world, it is none other than the popular masses. Thanks to the inexhaustible strength and wisdom of the popular masses everything in society comes into existence, and the revolution advances forward. Therefore, when a party builds socialism it must always map out lines and policies proceeding from the independent requirement and the interest of the popular masses who are responsible for the building of socialism, and implement them by relying on their exertions.

The WPK, regarding the people as the most valuable, is conducting all its activities to meet the interest of the people, thus leading the socialist cause towards victory amidst their absolute support. It is far from socialism when the interest of the people is neglected and violated and their existence is slighted and betrayed. Everything in the socialist society must be considered from the point of the people and put in their service. Herein lies the intrinsic character of the socialist society which is fundamentally distinctive from that of the society ruled by the exploiting classes.

Another reason why the people become the foundation of socialism is that socialism is founded, defended and developed by the people. The popular masses are the motive force of the establishment and development of the socialist society. The process of the establishment of the socialist system shows that first the socialist idea comes into being to represent the popular masses’ demand and aspiration against exploitation and oppression, and the socialist system is established by the organized struggle of the masses who are awakened to this idea. In this respect, the people are the foundation of the establishment of the socialist system.

Socialism is defended and developed by the people. The main force in defending and developing socialism is the high revolutionary zeal and creative activity of the popular masses who are equipped with the socialist idea and united behind their political party. Of course, the material factor plays an important part in developing the socialist society, and an advanced social system is a significant factor in opening up a broad avenue for the development of the socialist society. But the decisive factor after all lies in the people. If the people fail to equip themselves with the socialist idea and rally around their party, socialism will lose the powerful driving force for its development and fall into stagnation. Worse still, it will inevitably collapse in the face of the anti-socialist offensive of the imperialists and reactionaries despite its enormous economic potential and strong military power.

When the people unite behind their party and their leader single-heartedly, the driving force of the revolution will be powerful in every way and its role be greater, thus dynamically advancing socialism in all fields including politics, defence, the economy and culture while demonstrating its invincible might. The practical experience of the Korean revolution clearly shows that when the people are awakened ideologically and firmly united around their party, they will steadily adhere to socialism and achieve rapid development in all fields in defiance of unfavourable material and economic conditions and vicious moves of the imperialists and the class enemy.

The DPRK waged the struggle for building of socialism by adhering to the socialist ideology and theory of Juche and by applying the idea of “The people are my God” under the wise leadership of President Kim Il Sung and Chairman Kim Jong Il. In the course of this, the people-centred socialist system, a genuine people’s society, was established in Korea. The popular masses are regarded as the most valuable in the country, and all lines and policies of the Workers’ Party of Korea and the state are mapped out in accordance with the desire and demand of the people, and are successfully implemented by the voluntary zeal and struggle of the masses. The Party and the state seek the promotion of the people’s well-being as the supreme principle in their activities while holding high the slogan “We serve for people!” And they do not tolerate it in any case when someone violates the people’s interest and misuses his authority and behaves himself bureaucratically while lording it over the people.

Socialism in the DPRK is advancing amidst the absolute support and trust of the popular masses, winning victory after victory in the face of all sorts of perverse moves of the US imperialists. The secret is that socialism is deeply embedded in the mind of the Korean people.

Pak Chol

[Source: Korean Friendship Association of the USA website at ]




November 9, 2013 at 2:52 pm

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Greetings to our brothers and sisters in North Korea and to all revolutionary socialist workers worldwide!
We’d like to express our admiration for the tremendous achievement of North Korea’s revolution and for the brave defense of the North Korean workers state from US and NATO imperialism. We defend your right to defend North Korea by any means necessary, including by the use of nuclear weapons. Long live the North Korean workers state!
This article is an excellent description of the version of socialism expounded by the DPRK leadership. We will post it up on our website today.
We would like to point out, in as comradely a fashion as we can, what we believe to be a few of the shortcomings of your party’s version of socialist ideology. We believe that it does no one any good – especially in the revolutionary workers movement – to hide from the truth no matter how ugly it may be, or to lie to our friends in order to shield them from our true feelings. Only the most open and frank discussions between comrades can lead to the fullest understanding and cooperation between them. Lying to the working class and to each other should be considered utterly unthinkable among communists, or else we are no better than mirror images of the facile liars of the capitalist world’s diplomatic corps. “The practised insincerities of the career diplomat” have no place among those who wish to lead the workers to build a world far superior to the capitalist world.
1) Your political program as expressed here is redolent of the Stalinist “socialism in one country” dogma, which ultimately led to the degeneration of the USSR and the restoration of capitalism there. It is a complete abandonment of Marxist principles to claim that socialism can be built in one country; neither Marx, Engels, Lenin or Trotsky ever made such an assertion. The development of socialism – to say nothing of communism – requires the close cooperation of at least several countries in which capitalism has been overthrown and replaced by socialism. North Korea, Cuba and Vietnam are great examples of this – without external support, providing food, as well as other vital materials, these countries and yours simply can not and will not be able to compete against an imperialist capitalst world that is dedicated to destroying every workers state that exists. Even in China – a country whose, mineral wealth and amount of cultivable land , obviously, is vastly greater than that of the rest of the world’s workers states combined – has shown itself incapable of developing socialism in economic isolation from the rest of the world. If vast China can’t do it, then tiny North Korea certainly can’t survive if it remains economically isolated. The question is: how does North Korea break out of its economic and political isolation without surrendering itself to the forces of capitalism and the gradual restoration of capitalism in North Korea – as is happening right now in China with the full cooperation of the criminally corrupt top leadership of the Chinese Communist Party. The answer is: by helping build revolutionary workers parties all over the world that can overthrow capitalism and establish socialist workers states that will then repay your efforts a millionfold by joining hands with the North Korean workers state and render all possible aid to you and continue the struggle to overthrow capitalism worldwide. Revolutionary internationalism is the answer, not bunker-mentality nationalism as espoused by the leadership of the DPRK.

2) Peaceful coexistence with the capitalist world is impossible! Asserting that it is possible is anti-Marxist and anti-revolutionary and plays right into the hands of the capitalists. The capitalist world is now preparing for World War Three – a war that threatens every worker on the face of Earth and which will have as its primary goal the utter destruction of all the workers states in existence today, from China to Cuba. In the face of this standing threat to every workers state – which the DPRK is heroically defending itself against! – we must not abandon the principles of revolutionary internationalism by succumbing to revolutionary defeatism and the chimera of somehow building “socialism in one country”; that road leads to defeat.

3) Revolutionary socialist consciousness does not, can not and never has arisen “spontaneously” amongst the working class and especially not amongst the peasantry: it is brought to them via the intervention of cadres of professional revolutionaries, i.e. revolutionary communist political parties. As the great Bolshevik leader Leon Trotsky wrote in his essay “Lessons of October”: “[E]vents have proved that without a party capable of directing the proletarian revolution, the revolution itself is rendered impossible. The proletariat cannot seize power by a spontaneous uprising. Even in highly industrialized and highly cultured Germany the spontaneous uprising of the toilers – in November 1918 – only succeeded in transferring power to the hands of the bourgeoisie. One propertied class is able to seize the power that has been wrested from another propertied class because it is able to base itself upon its riches, its cultural level, and its innumerable connections with the old state apparatus. But there is nothing else that can serve the proletariat as a substitute for its own party… [w]ithout a party, apart from a party, over the head of a party, or with a substitute for a party, the proletarian revolution cannot conquer.”
It is not a question of developing a single “great leader” to lead the workers and peasants in revolutionary struggle; a revolutionary socialist workers PARTY must be developed in which each and every member is trained in the history and political philosophy of revolutionary Marxism-Leninism and the scientific discipline of dialectical materialism, so that each and every member of that party can step up and assume a leadership role in the inevitable event of the loss of a senior party leader. Thus and only thus does it become impossible for the enemy class to behead the party with a single assassin’s bullet.

4) Kim Il Sung, in his autobiography, does not assert that he alone led the Korean workers and peasants’ revolution, nor does he assert that he alone was responsible for its successful outcome. Hero-worshipping, when it degenerates into a cult-like almost religious fawning over a single personality, horrifies and alienates workers all over the world. Kim Il Sung was indeed one of the greatest revolutionary leaders of the 20th century; but he was not a god and should not be worshipped as one. Nor should his family be turned into a socialist version of a hereditary monarchy. There appears to be very little that is so outstanding about his grandson that he should be automatically elevated to the same level of respect as that accorded to the great Korean revolutionary leaders who, along with Kim Il Sung, led the Korean working class and peasantry in their long, bloody struggle to their ultimate victory against the imperialist powers. To workers here in the modern capitalist world, North Korea looks like a strange sort of hereditary socialist hero-worshipping society. We can understand the tremendous respect paid to Kim Il Sung and his peers; but the devolution of his deservedly high degree of respect to every male heir in his line smacks of nothing less than a repulsive hereditary monarchy, completely at odds with the socialist ideal of the development of the most thoroughly implemented meritocracy ever to exist. If the future success of socialism is placed in the hands of only one “infallible leader”, we might as well be following the repulsive Dalai Lama. Marxism-Leninism has never claimed that there could be any such thing as an “infallible leader”; ALL of the great Marxist revolutionaries have made errors in their long careers because they, though brilliant thinkers and leaders, were not gods but human beings, and therefore, inherently FALLIBLE. Kim Il Sung was not a god and he made mistakes, which he admits in his autobiography many times. His grandson is no better or worse than any one else in the top leadership of the DPRK today. The accident of his being born into the family of Kim Il Sung should not place him on the inside track to run North Korea. How is it possible that he can be a better military leader than the actual veterans of the Korean revolution, many of whom are still alive and whose military experience Kim Jong Un hasn’t even had an inkling of in his entire life? If socialism is going to lead to revolutions in which once a great leader is anointed then his heirs will lead that nation until the end of time then it is a monarchy and not anything but a more or less successful parody of socialism.

5) North Korea must jettison its “Juche Idea”: the false assertion that the socialist North Korean workers state can survive all by itself in a hostile capitalist world. The “Juche Idea”, to be completely honest, is a wholesale abandonment of Marxist principles, which state that it is the duty of every revolutionary socilaist workers party to fight for the overthrow of capitalism WORLDWIDE and which asserts that the long-term survivability of a lone socialist workers state in a hostile capitalist world is an absolute impossibility. The single-minded nationalist aims of the Korean revolutionary movement are not reproducible in any other nation-state that exists today and whose workers are trying to overthrow capitalism. It is ridiculous in the extreme to claim that what should be done to attain socialism globally is for future workers revolutions to develop as a series of fiercely independent nation-states, each pursuing its own national goals independently of each other. This is a complete and total abandonment of the internationalist principles that are the fundamental basis of revolutionary Marxism, and which were the fundamental principles that led the Korean worker-revolutionaries to play such a crucial leading role in the development of the workers revolution in China as well. The modern independent nation-state is a creation of the bourgeois capitalist revolutions which overthrew feudalism and established bourgeois-democratic capitalist nation-states in its place. Communism can only exist in a world where the nation-state has been subsumed into a global workers state in which national borders have gradually been done away with in their currently existing forms and replaced with a supra-national democratically run global communist economy (a highly evolved political formation that is difficult to even describe from our vantage point, mired as we are in the morass of a degenerate capitalist world economy based on continuous and mutually destructive competition between each and every nation-state on Earth). This is the goal that the North Korean workers state should have at its heart – doing all it can to help build revolutionary workers parties all over the world, teaching the workers the experiences of the Korean workers revolution and developing methods of struggle tailored to the historical and cultural development of each capitalist state. Instead of digging deeper and deeper bomb-proof shelters in North Korea in a vain attempt to survive World War Three, North Korea, China, Cuba and Vietnam should be doing all they can to spread revolutionary ideals amongst the workers of the world. To a certain, limited extent, North Korea does this; but where is your modern equivalent of the early Comintern? It doesn’t exist, because your leaders are chasing the chimera of “peaceful coexistence” and the absurd “Juche Idea” of building socialism in a country – due to its limited land mass and geographic location in the mid-north-latitude of the northern hemisphere, which no amount of propagandizing of any ideas – “Juche” or otherwise – cannot overcome! – climatologically incapable of even providing a steady supply of fresh vegetables year-round in the necessary quantities for its own citizens. Meanwhile, the workers of the west are being daily propagandized to believe that the capitalist system is “the best of all possible worlds” as the capitalist class prepares to lead them into the greatest mass slaughter of human beings in the history of the world. We need your help, comrades, to build our revolutionary socialist workers parties and to assist us in the struggle to overthrow U.S. imperialism! Time is not on our side, comrades!

We sincerely hope that this perhaps overly long essay outlining our political ideals is taken by you, our brothers and sisters in the DPRK, for what it is: an honest statement of a few of our political disagreements; and that it will be the basis for our future cooperation in the great work of overthrowing capitalism worldwide.

“Long Live the DPRK! Workers of the World, Unite!”

Independent Workers Party of Chicago


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