Kim II Sung

[First printed in Workers Vanguard # 125, 17 September, 1976]

4 September 1976

To the Editor:

Your recent article entitled “American Imperialism Rattles Sabre in Korea” (WV No. 123, 3 September 1976) exposed the anti-proletarian character of the Stalinist bureaucracy in North Korea, in particular citing the monstrous cult of Kim II Sung and the complete political disfranchisement of the working masses. Kim & Co. have sought to buttress their oligarchic regime through authoritarian regimentation and leader-cultism, requiring the workers and peasants to attend daily “study sessions” devoted simply to extolling (in the words of a typical Stalinist tract) “the wise leadership of Comrade Kim II-sung, a great revolutionary leader, a brilliant Marxist-Leninist, an ever-victorious steel-like general. and a kind, paternal leader of the people who devotes himself to the utmost for them.”

It also should be noted that the Kim clique has backed up its voluntarist exhortations with unlimited terror and repression aimed at eliminating all opposition to the bureaucracy. During 1956-59, after a decade of trumpeting the “victory of socialism” in North Korea, Kim II Sung launched a “collective guidance campaign” to suppress all suspected “disloyal elements.” Virtually the entire population of North Korea was subjected to police interrogation, and thousands were imprisoned in labor camps after kangaroo-court “trials.”

Moreover, the reactionary policies of the Pyongyang regime do not stop at the 38th parallel. During 1965-70, when Washington set its sights on an all-out military victory in Indochina, the Pyongyang bureaucracy was not presented with any opportunity to angle for “detente” with U. S. imperialism and its South Korean puppet. But by 1972, following the U.S.-China rapprochement and on the eve of the Paris “peace” accords on Indochina, the North Korean Stalinists negotiated a “detente” communique with South Korea which called for “peaceful reunification of the fatherland as soon as possible.” This diplomatic overture legitimized the 40,000 “neutral” U. S. imperialist troops then stationed in South Korea as well as the South Korean troops in Vietnam (equal in number to the U.S. forces there at that time).

Equally criminal has been the “detente” Pyongyang has proferred Japan, which still entertains imperialist ambitions to conquer all of Korea. During the Korean war, the mass organizations of the Koreans in Japan were mobilized by the Japanese Communist Party in struggles against U.S. imperialist aggression and the capitalist-landlord regime in Seoul. But after the Korean War, when Pyongyang began to seek “detente” with Japan, the Korean mass organizations in Japan were instructed by North Korean Stalinists to cease all “subversive” activities and propaganda. Thus, Kim II Sung tamed one of the most combative sectors of the working-class movement in Japan and set back the struggle against capitalism in the imperialist citadel of Asia.

Likewise, North Korea has pursued “peaceful coexistence” with the Suharto regime in Indonesia, which came to power over the corpses of at least 500,000 Communist workers and peasants in the bloody coup of 1965. In 1972 Pyongyang dispatched an ambassador to Jakarta who hailed “the success of the Indonesian people in consolidating their independence and national economic progress” (quoted in Far Eastern Economic Review, 11 March 1972).

Most recently, the North Korean Stalinists demonstrated their willingness to collaborate with imperialism against the interests of the international proletariat by sending at least 100 military advisors to Zaire last year to replace the Chinese agents training troops of the National Front for the Liberation of Angola (FNLA). At that time, when the civil war in neighboring Angola had already become internationalized, the anti-communist, tribalist FNLA forces were fighting alongside the South African army and Portuguese colons to massacre the Russian backed/Cuban-led Popular Movement for the Liberation of Angola and “every communist in Angola.”

The role of the North Korean Stalinists in courting the Indonesian butchers, and in training the henchmen of the Pentagon and Pretoria in Angola, should disabuse “critical Maoists” of illusions in the “revolutionary” and “anti-imperialist” pretensions of the North Korean Stalinist bureaucracy. As WV stressed, the revolutionary gains represented by the collectivist property forms of the North Korean deformed workers state can be protected and the road to socialist development opened only through workers political revolution to topple the Stalinist bureaucracy, establish soviet democracy and extend the revolution internationally.

Charles O’Brien