Tendance Coatesy

Left Socialist Blog

Kim Jong-il: A Socialist Obituary.

with 3 comments

Dead, but the Dynasty Continues – for now.

Kim Jong-il, the “dear leader” still venerated by many in North Korea but reviled abroad, has died aged 69, state media announced on Monday morning. ” reports the Guardian.

The overwhelming majority of socialists, Marxists and leftists, do not care an iota about the death of this figure.

The French Communist Daily, L’Humanité,  says the Leader died of ‘overwork’ (surmenage).

It descriibes him the following terms,

Dictateur à la tête d’un régime totalitaire dont on ne sait que peu de choses, il a organisé un véritable culte autour de sa personne (voir la vidéo). C’est aussi l’homme qui a doté la Corée du Nord de l’arme nucléaire, déstabilisant la région et provoquant une rare hausse des tensions avec les pays voisins. L’importance des ressources investies dans le militaire, la volonté d’autosubsistance du pays comme les blocus internationaux font que sous son règne, la Corée du Nord a connu une terrible famine, dont on ne peut estimer le bilan.

A dictator, at the head of a totalitarian regime about which we are badly informed, he organised a true personality cult around himself (see video on site). He was also the person who equipped North Korea with nuclear arms, which destabilised the entire region and provoked a rare rise in tensions with all his neighbours. The diversion of funds to the military, the drive for self-sufficiency, and international sanctions, provoked a famine, whose extent we are still not able to gauge.

In place of this, what would we like to see?

We would hope that this death brings closer the moment when  the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK) will fall.

That democracy will come to the people of this country.

Others take a different view (at least officially),

Liu Weimin, Chinese foreign ministry spokesman said,

“We were distressed to learn of the unfortunate passing of the senior-most North Korean leader Kim Jong-il, and we express our grief about this and extend our condolences to the people of North Korea. Comrade Kim Jong-il was the great leader of the North Korean people and a close friend of the Chinese people. He made important contributions to the development of socialism in North Korea, and the development of friendly, neighbourly and co-operative relations between China and North Korea. We hope the two countries could carry on working together for peace in the Korean peninsula.” (BBC)

The Morning Star Readers & Supporters Group takes a very different line to their French Communist  comrades,

“Solidarity and condolences to the people of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea over the loss of leader Kim Jong Il. Viva DPRK!”


Another whole-hearted, genuine, expression of grief comes from this quarter,

The  Friends of Korea, New Communist Party and the Revolutionary Communist Party (M-L)– I note Scargill’s Socialist Labour Party is linked to the Friends.

Below is an extract from their recent ‘seminar’ on the regime.

“This Seminar convened to celebrate the 66th anniversary of the foundation of the Workers’ Party of Korea conveys to you its warmest and most fraternal greetings. It also wishes you the very best for your continued successes on the occasion of the 14th anniversary of your election as the General Secretary of the Party, and on the occasion of the 85th anniversary of the formation of the Down-with-Imperialism Union by the great leader Comrade Kim Il Sung.”

Now the RCP (M-L) have issued this,

“NORTH KOREA: FROM COMMUNIST PARTY GREAT BRITAIN, ML. http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=nqscnaZ8kNA It is with great sadness that we learn of the death of Kim Jong Il, leader of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, General Secretary of the Workers Party of Korea and son of legendary freedom fighter Kim Il Sung, who was born nearly 100 years ago on 12 April 1912, and who led the struggle of the tiny but defiant Korean people to defeat that imperialist goliath US imperialism.” (Hat-Tip – Lee)  

A member of the Friends of Korea, of Indian origin, once said to me that as “Westerner” I could never understand why people supported the Kims.

Let us discard the cultural patronising this claim involves.

North Korea’s tyranny is not hard to grasp.

It is a form of military Stalinism – ‘Communism’ in quotation marks’.

The template was the first decades of the Chinese People’s Republic.

As Frank Dikötter  describes this in the recent Mao’s Great Famine (2010), the state was run on the military model that had successfully triumphed in China against the Nationalists and Japanese.

North Korea sharpened this model during its war with the South.

Does this mean that we should think of the DPRK as a land of autonomous obeying their Socialist Sovereign?

Dikötter  describes how during Mao’s Great Leap Forward, faced with mass starvation and economic collapse,there was ferocious opposition.  Peng Dehuai, a military leader himself,  paid with  his life for this. Others too perished in the purges that followed.

By their willingness to resist, the Chinese seem to have less differences  to anybody else’s  political history  than some might think.

The evidence from South Korea, in films, reporting and literature, is that they are indeed similar to ourselves: there a right, a left, a workers’ movement, and people’s lies are extremely similar to our urban existence.

I suspect that the people of the DPRK would be the same given a chance.

They too have experienced a Great, and very long-standing, famine.

When the DPRK crumbles to dust, we will know in full of those who nobly resisted Kim Jong-Il,  his family and his ‘party’.

Written by Andrew Coates

December 19, 2011 at 11:46 am

Posted in Communism, Stalinism

Tagged with ,

3 Responses

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  1. Oh he’s dead is he? I wonder what over the top title his heir will have.


    December 19, 2011 at 3:46 pm

  2. […] Tears for Kim Jong […]

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