The DPRK ( North Korea ) is not even a classic Stalinist people's republic anymore. In 1972, the Juche ideology of Kim Il Sung, replaced the dogmatic ideology of Joseph Stalin imposed on North Korea since 1945. Kim Il Sung became leader of the Workers Party of Korea because of Stalin. He saw that the 36 year old Korean was a perfect Stalinist dictator. Unknown to Stalin, Kim Il Sung had a mind of his own and although he claimed to be loyal to Russian stalinism, he soon turned away from the USSR after the death of Stalin in 1953!
Between 1948 and 1972, the Workers Party of Korea was the ruling force of the nation. Today the party only rules on paper. The Kim family and the Korean People's Army are the true rulers of North Korea. But this rule of one family started under Kim Il Sung. He made sure that his son Kim Jong Il became a very high ranking party member by 1974. Kim Jong Il took control of the party propaganda and manipulated the state media to portray himself and his father as semi-gods.
This is complete opposition to what Karl Marx said. A cult of personality is anticommunist by nature, because communism does not worship gods or state leaders. Unfortunate very few people knew how anticommunist Kim Il Sung was. Most members of the Workers Party of Korea never understood genuine Marxism, because Stalin made sure that any Marxist critic of Kim Il Sung was removed from the party!
When the party was founded in 1945, it was divided between factions. There were about four factions in the new Workers Party at its foundation:
- The Domestic faction led those who worked in Korea during the Japanese occupation
- The Soviet faction led by communists who came with the Red Army in 1945
- The Yanan faction led by those who lived in China and joined the Chinese maoists
- The Guerrilla faction led by Kim Il Sung and came from Manchuria in China
The domestic faction was attack very early, because those members were close to the Korean people. Also the domestic party members had no support from any of the two major stalinist states. The USSR supported the Soviet faction and the People's Republic of China supported the Yanan faction.
Kim Il Sung purged the Workers Party of Korea ( WPK ) from its Domestic faction in 1953. Many innocent party members were jailed and murdered. After the death of Stalin, the reformist stalinists in Moscow took control of the Soviet-Union. The 1956 secret speech marked the end of classic stalinism. Many Stalinist leaders in the world were replaced with reformed stalinists. But in North Korea, Kim Il Sung was able to defeat the Soviet and Yanan factions!
The Soviet faction attacked Kim Il Sung after his return from Moscow in 1956. But because of his hero status, he rallied many young party members against the Soviet faction. Those young members used any means to silence the Soviet faction. Many of them were harmed and intimidated. Kim Il Sung promised to be more moderate and got the majority of party members be-hide him. His promises were never kept, North Korea remained classic Stalinist!
After purging the Soviet faction in 1956, he went after the Yanan faction. Only two years later the WPK was completely purged from any opposition. The Soviets and Chinese tried to re-install some opponents of Kim Il Sung, but they failled. One likely reason for the failure of the Soviet and Yanan factions to depose Kim Il Sung was the nationalist view by younger members of the party who had joined since 1950, that the members of these factions were "foreigners" influenced by alien powers while Kim Il Sung was seen as a true Korean!
Kim Il Sung remained loyal to stalinism in one way. His jailing and killing of opponents is a classic Stalinist thing to do. In so he was no less anticommunist then Stalin and Mao. But classic Soviet stalinism he never liked. Kim Il Sung was a nationalist and he only cared about Korean problems. Like many stalinists he build his regime on nationalism and ''love'' for his people. After his son got control over the propaganda in the 70's, Kim Il Sung became a living God. Soon the WPK lost its position as ruling force. The last party congress was in 1980, were Kim Il Sung called his son to be the next leader of North Korea. After this congress, the party transferred all political power to the Kim family turning North Korea into a monarchy with a revolutionary face!
The fall of the Soviet-Union in 1991 ended the ideological support North Korea received. The new capitalist Russian Federation was not so kindly and the state-capitalist People's Republic of China also demanded market prices. North Korea could not pay for food, oil and many other basic needs, soon a famine started. Yet because of the Juche ideology, Kim Il Sung refused to change the nature of his rule. By 1991 the means of production in the DPRK were outdated and in need of repair!
About 3 million people died because of the famine. This famine started in 1991 and ended only around 1998. Kim Il Sung never felt the pain of his people. He grew fat because of the luxury he owned. While he had enough food, many children died because of hunger. There is nothing more anticommunist then denying food for your own people. The old dictator's life ended on 8 July 1994, he died after a heart attack.
The state media ( under control of Kim Jong Il ) turned his death into a massive act. People were crying in the streets, some were forced but many felt genuine pain. After years of indoctrination, the death of their leader was a great shock for many. Kim Jong Il took power and turned the WPK into a party on paper. Party members had only one role left to do, to worship him and his death farther. The political rulers became the members of the National Defense Commission headed by Kim Jong Il.
Kim Jong Il also introduced a new ideology to the ruling Juche idea. Songun became the second ideology of the WPK after Juche. This ideology claims that the military ( not the workers ) are the revolutionary class. Because of Songun, the Korean People's Army has priority in everything. Soldiers get the best food, the best houses and many bonuses, ordinary workers don't get. In this way the DPRK has turned massive anticommunist.
Today we see three main anticommunist elements in North Korea
- A monarchistic system were the son of a death leader becomes the next leader!
- A cult of personality around two death leaders!
- A system of extreme nationalism and militarism led by hated and paranoia!
The main enemy of the North Korean propaganda is the United States of America and the Republic of Korea ( South Korea ). There are many propaganda songs made against the US Army and the South Koreans. What makes North Korea so hypocrite is its stand on imperialism. They claim to oppose it, yet the way their soldiers behave reminds us of Japanese imperialist soldiers. North Korean soldiers speak very aggressively and their way of speaking seems more like shouting.
There is little left of classic stalinism. While totalitarian in nature, the Russian Stalinist system was not that religious as North Korea's one. Joseph Stalin's cult never became a organized religion. Perhaps this is because Stalin's rule was 29 years, compare to that of Kim Il Sung, who ruled for 49 years. Also after Stalin's death, the Communist Party of the Soviet Union reformed and allowed more criticism. This never happened in North Korea were the last opposition to Kim Il Sung ended in 1958, after the purge of the Yanan Faction.
Also the death of Kim Il Sung in 1994, changed the cult of personality into a genuine religion. People are now forced to bow down to statues and portraits of Kim Il Sung. Anyone who does not follow this crazy religion of the ''dear leader'' is arrested and jailed. After the death of Kim Jong Il on 11 December 2011, he became the next god of North Korea. The state propaganda is now worshiping both Kim Il Sung and Kim Jong Il as gods.
In 2013 the leader of North Korea is Kim Jong Un, the youngest son of Kim Jong Il. He was introduced in 2010 and took over after his father's death. The young leader was only 27 ( or 28 ) at that time his father died. That makes him the youngest head of state in the world in 2011. But even the death of Kim Il Sung and Kim Jong Il did not end their status as rulers. Kim Il Sung is still president of the DPRK and Kim Jong Il is still party leader. North Korea is led by a death president and a death party leader!
Tensions are rising today. The DPRK has turned its back on the world again and claims to be ready for war. The 1953 cease fire as been revoked by the north. Is Kim Jong Un ready for war? We don't know, but a war would mean the end of the DPRK and the monarchist regime. What is the position of revolutionary socialists on North Korea? Many revolutionary leftists are blinded by the propaganda that is coming from Pyongyang. Some leftists remain dogmatic in their defend of all nations who stand up against US imperialism, totally forgetting the horror that workers face every day. The fear of the secret police, the forced religion and the dictatorial state, many western leftists should know better then defending this anticommunist Juche-Songun dictatorship!