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Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Why is The Democratic People's Republic of (North) Korea suddenly interested in the support of hard-core Maoists movements in China and else where?

It has been reported that The Democratic People's Republic of (North) Korea sent ambassadors to be present at the opening ceremony of the Communist Party of Nepal-Maoist at the start of their recent national congress. This was reported by Liam Wright, in a comment on an article he wrote about his presents at the national congress. The article was in The Kasama Project.
As most readers of both this blog and The Kasama Project know by now, representatives from various revolutionary Maoist parties from around the world have been invited to this national congress in Nepal. China also sent some ambassadors to the congress, which has confused some of the people reading and following this event.
The non-Chinese groups invited are Maoist in ideology and not supporters of the present leadership in China. Even more interesting is why the DPR(North) Korea sent ambassadors? That country has never been “Maoist.” The DPRK has been an ally of China, especially during the Korea war, when China moved in and saved the regime from being over-run by US troops.
But why is the DPRK interested at all in what a group of devout Maoists want to do?
There is no doubt that the new younger leader Kim Jong Un (김정은) is more of a reformer than the two Kims before him. News articles out of the mainstream press have reported on changes he has already brought to the country, allowing more cultural diversity in clothing style and a few other things, such as foods.
One interesting article is in the Economist, “Chinese Maoists in North Korea.” An un-named reporter from that publication accompanied 15 Chinese tourists to the DPRK.  The Reporter called the tourists:
“Die-hard Maoists, they believe that China’s leaders are betraying the ideals of the communist country’s founder and leading it to enslavement by the West and perdition. The past few months have seen the purging of their idol, a Mao-quoting member of the Politburo, Bo Xilai, and the closure by the Chinese government of some of their most outspoken websites.”
The Reporter went on to say the group stopped the tour and;
“…Stood at a bronze bust of Mao Anying,( 毛岸英) the eldest son of Mao Zedong(毛泽东). This was their holy grail. One by one they laid wreaths and bowed in reverence. One man kowtowed. Several wept as they delivered speeches in honor of the younger Mao, who died during the Korean War. “We must clean China up and turn it a brilliant red,” said one. Another led the group in chants of “Socialism will be victorious!”

Such a statue of a foreign person is rare in the DPRK. Most statues in that country are of one of the leading Kims, or Korean workers or soldiers.
Other notes of the reporter include;
“Many of China’s new middle class regard the Maoists as members of a nutty fringe. But to the poor and marginalized, as well as a few idealistic intellectuals, their views are appealing. During their four days in North Korea in October, the Maoists found a country that appeared to be following the right path: one that, in their view, Mao had started down but which his diminutive successor, Deng Xiaoping, had abandoned. “Dwarf  Deng destroyed the lives of peasants,” says one member of the group, staring from the bus at new two-storey houses in the countryside on the way to Mao Anying’s memorial in Hoechang county….
……Though the Maoists are Communist Party loyalists at heart, their thinly veiled disdain for many of the country’s current leaders makes the authorities uneasy. They listened to a fiery speech by Zhang Hongliang, an academic from Beijing. “This has been a year of decisive battle between left and right,” said Mr. Zhang, denouncing the authorities’ measures to curb Maoist websites as “fascist”. Were a “color revolution” to occur in China, he said (referring to recent uprisings around the world) “it could turn into a red revolution…..
….. Few analysts believe a leap backwards to Maoist totalitarianism in China is possible. But Mao-veneered populism such as Mr. Bo displayed enjoys real support. Over breakfast in a run-down Pyongyang hotel, the tourists engaged in a lively defense of Mao’s decision to launch the Cultural Revolution in 1966. Maoist websites often argue that Mao’s critics exaggerate the horrors of that decade,”
Here the reporter regurgitates the same old western horror stories we constantly hear over and over by anti-Maoist propagandists; “when hundreds of thousands were killed or persecuted by fanatical Red Guards.”
There never was anything like the Cultural Revolution in the DPRK. And the official ideology of the DPRK has always been Juche, developed by Kim Il Sung. So even if the economy in the DPRK is similar to the old Maoist one, why did the DPRK invite Chinese Maoist there? And why did they send ambassadors to the Communist Party of Nepal-Maoist national congress?
So far Kim Jong Un has not said anything new in his public writings about linking up with Maoism or moving away from the ideology his country has followed since its founding.
Here are some excerpts from Un’s own writings, Which have come from the site North American Juche-Songun Ideas Study Group;
Talk to Senior Officials of the Central Committee of the WPK
April 6, Juche 101 (2012)
Here Un re-iterates the long held ideology of the DPRK’s former leaders;
“The guiding ideology of the WPK is the great Kimilsungism-Kimjongilism. It is a glorious Kimilsungist-Kimjongilist party whose guiding ideology is Kimilsungism-Kimjongilism and which struggles for its realization.”
He is talking about ideology based on the writings and beliefs of Kim Il Sung (김일성) and Kim Jong Il. (김정일)
One of the complaints of modern Maoist is that the Kim leadership and personality cult has had a tendency to leave out the role of the masses in the system. That may explain the following emphasis Un gives us on developing and expanding the party’s cadre;
“We should continue to direct great efforts to building up the ranks of cadres.
Cadres are the leading personnel of the revolution and the backbone of the Party; the development of the Party is decided by the qualitative composition of the ranks of cadres.
By radically improving personnel administration, we should build up the ranks of cadres with faithful and competent persons who are ready to share the destiny of the Party forever. Personnel administration should put the main emphasis on the ideological preparedness, qualifications and competence of the persons concerned. We should build up the ranks of cadres with those who are promising, are possessed of organizing abilities and drive, and never fail to see what they do through to the finish once they are entrusted with it.
By intensifying ideological education and organizational activities of cadres and constantly training them through revolutionary practice, we should ensure that they discharge their responsibility and duties as befit the leading personnel of the revolution.”
There is no doubt that Un sees his country as socialist as well as revolutionary;
“By increasing state investment in education, putting education on a modern basis, radically improving the level of general secondary education and intensifying university education, we should train in larger numbers world-class scientific and technological personnel, who could shoulder the building of a thriving socialist country. We should give full play to the advantages of the socialist healthcare system of our country, create and disseminate greater numbers of excellent literary and artistic works of the times, make sports mass-based and raise a hot wind of sports across the country. In this way, we should ensure that our people become creators and enjoyers of socialist culture, noble and civilized, and the whole society brims over with joy and optimism.”
On the matter of the military Un does use the term “Young Red Guards” for the country’s military cadets;
“An atmosphere in which military affairs are given importance should be created throughout society, and all-people, nationwide defense system consolidated for the turning of the whole country into an impregnable fortress. Members of the Worker-Peasant Red Guards and Young Red Guards should make every preparation for reliably defending their native homes and villages and their socialist motherland by intensifying military training.”
It is unlikely that there is anything more in common with China’s “Red Guards” than using that name.
So far in Un’s writings, there is no huge difference between the ideology of the DPRK today and that of its early days under Kim Il Sung. They have recently taken down the statues of Karl Marx and VI Lenin, so if anything, the country is even more nationalistic than it was before.
So why the sudden interest in supporting the more hard core of today’s Maoist, both inside of China and elsewhere? It is possible that Un simply believes the new Maoist movements will be more supportive of his country than the status quo of today. China has not been a very supportive ally in the last few years and has treated the country as easily expendable. Perhaps Un believes that an increase in Maoist led countries, inside and outside of China, would be more willing to back his regime against imperialist aggression, such as that of the one and only world-wide-super-power the United States of America. At this point it is only guess work. But don’t expect the DPRK to suddenly switch to Maoism anytime soon.   -សតិវ អតុ
Picture from Kasama Project.

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