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Saturday, July 19, 2014

In defense of “Tankies”- Part 2

One person and government that anti-tankies really don’t like is Kim Jong Un (김정은) and his Democratic People’s Republic of (North) Korea (DPRK). Despite the fact that the DPRK is the result of a socialist revolution, many on the left treat it as if it were straight fascism. It is a very regimented regime and lacks any real freedom or democracy.
The present ruler Kim Jong Un (김정은) uses the ideology of his father and grandfather as a guide for the country—Kim Jong Ilism((김정일) and Kim Il Sungism (김일성). The country is a throwback to the cold war, a country that never fell, as with Cuba. Unlike Cuba Kim Jong Il declared Marxist-Leninism obsolete and replaced it by the ideology of the Juche as interpreted by the elder Kims.
I don’t believe Kim Jong Il is a bad writer, even though it is limited in its appeal to those outside of Korea. DPRK is not really a one party state, but a coalition of parties. The Workers' Party of Korea is the main party, but Korean Social Democratic Party, Cheondoist Chongu Party and General Association of Korean Residents in Japan are all legal.
As with the last article:
Kaitlin Ulyanov “We should support the working class struggles within countries which are targets of imperialism. The best way, ultimately the only way to fight imperialism is though class struggle. In countries where there isn't a coherent or effective left advocate independent working class politics and demands, such as Ukraine (the Ukrainian CP are pro-Russian, voted against allowing protests, I don't know much about Borotba, what I hear they don't sound much better) we can raise the slogan of independent working class politics as a nucleus to build a movement.”

Again; how do we determine what the people of this government really want? There is no organized opposition. Since this country went through a socialist revolution shortly after World War II, will the people be willing to support another worker’s state or will the majority want to imitate their neighbor to the south.
If this government is as repressive as its critics claim, a simple revolution might send it right into the US imperialist camp. That is a real possibility. There is a logic to a complete rejection of a political system if it is repressive, but examples in East Europe—Germany, show us what kind of negative things can happen when such a government implodes. If we want to see what would happen if DPRK collapsed, East Germany is a good place to look. And it is likely that events similar to that would happen if the tankies get their way and help bring down DPRK.  
The German Democratic Republic (Deutsche Demokratische Republik or DDR) was the cold war haven for the Soviet Union in Eastern Part of Germany. The Socialist Unity Party (SED) ruled the country under the banner of Marxist-Leninism. Many people from Eastern Europe have compared their former governments to military dictatorships with little emphasis on political ideology. Before the fall of the Berlin Wall, the DDR was a sovereign government even if it was under the tight control of the Soviet Union. UNLKE DPRK the DDR was imposed on Germany by the Soviet Union. Kim Il Sung, the founder of DPRK was a guerilla leader and had political bases and party committees in both Koreas. The US imposed a capitalist country on the south of Korea[1], while the Soviets allowed Kim to develop his regime in the North. It remained an independent government during the time of the Soviet Union. It has always had way more sovereignty that the government of East Germany. The communists of East Germany were part of an underground during Hitler, but never formed any real opposition movement or guerrilla movements of its own.
When the Berlin Wall came down and the countries were reunited, the DDR was simply annexed into West Germany. State run corporations were taken over by the west. The Western government had its members arrested and put on trial for violating the laws of West Germany, even though that country was never part of the West. The ruling party’s assets were taken from them.
Unlike DPRK there were opposition parties which were more progressive than parties in the West. Those parties survived but the East was only a third as large as the West. When national elections were held, those Eastern parties were drowned out by the more established Western parties. The former SED ruling party changed its name to  Party of Democratic Socialism (PDS) and became a socialist democratic party. It continued to get nearly 50% of votes from Easterners for many years, but like the small new parties, the PDS got swallowed up in elections to the much larger West.
In the following article, it notes that so called unity talks included turning all of the East’s economy to match the Western market economy. Nothing of the East’s methods was kept. Here is DW:
.....The Unity Treaty was brokered by negotiators from East and West Germany and sought to ease and regulate the process of East Germany becoming part of a reunited country again, as well as its transition from a planned economy to a free market system.
But in a recent interview with the German weekly magazine Spiegel, the premier of the eastern state of Brandenburg, Matthias Platzeck, used the word "annexation" to describe what happened between the two Germanys on October 3, 1990.

Another article from Spiegle:
Germany's Disappointing Reunification: How the East Was Lost
By Alexander Neubacher and Michael Sauga
July 1 marks the 20th anniversary of the introduction of the deutsche mark in East Germany in the runup to full reunification. But the economic benefits that West German politicians promised failed to materialize. What went wrong?
There are some Maoist parties that have made friendly overtures from DPRK. One is the Communist Party of the Philippines.
by CPP Information Bureau 

The Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) today congratulated the people and government of the Democratic People's Republic of Korea for successfully and safely carrying out its first-ever nuclear test and hailed the successful test as a “militant assertion of national sovereignty and the right of an independent country to develop its own powerful self-reliant defense capability amidst constant efforts by the US to impose its imperialist hegemony over the world, maintain its monopoly of nuclear weapons along with a few other powerful countries, and subvert the sovereign will of the DPRK.” Yesterday, the DPRK government announced that it has successfully carried out an underground test of its nuclear weapons, developed after four decades of painstaking self-reliant efforts, “with 100% of sheer indigenous wisdom and technology… under secure conditions… at a stirring time when all the people of the country are making a great leap forward in the building of a great, prosperous, powerful socialist nation.” There were no reports of radiation leak from the test site. The announcement was met expectedly, however, with condemnation by the US government which called the test a “provocative act threatening international peace and stability.” 
So it is short cited to simply demand that a more humane revolutionary movement take place in DPRK. I too would like a more democratic government. But until imperialism is smashed and defeated in Asia, there is really no chance of that at all. As with the people of the DDR, North Korea’s people will not get a better government. They will likely be annexed by the southern government and they will lose any privileges they have now. The government in the South has a long history of fascist governments. We don’t have to “stand in solidarity with DPRK” but opposing them or supporting efforts to bring that system down are destructive and work against the left.
Only an anarchist would take such a position and that position is destructive to those trying to defeat imperialism.
-សតិវ អតុ

[1]Bruce Cumings, The Course Of Korean-American Relations, 1943-1953, pp. 847-859,/Randall Woods, Willard Gatewood, America Interpreted, Vol II, (Harcourt Brace Collage Publisher, Fort Worth) 1998.

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