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Communist Party of Britain-Marxist Leninist (CPGB -ML) and Stop the War Coalition on the Trump/Kim Jong Un Meeting.

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Image result for CPGB-ML Harpal Brar discusses DPRK on BBC’s primetime The One Show

On BBC’s One Show. Really…

On Monday 11 June, CPGB-ML chairman Harpal Brar joined guests on the BBC’s primetime One Show to discuss the historic meeting between US President Trump and Marshall Kim Jong Un, chairman of the Workers Party of Korea, in Singapore this week.On this video, you can see both the package that was broadcast by BBC One and the rest of the comments made by Comrade Brar during the course of the hour-long recording session.As the only person in the room supporting the people of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK),

Comrade Brar put a strong and persuasive case in favour of the Korean people, their government and their hopes for peace and reconciliation on the Korean peninsula. Contrary to years of hysterical hyperbole demonising the north, its socialist system and its leaders, journalists in the capitalist press are now having to concede that the DPRK’s decision to arm itself with a nuclear deterrent was a wise one, and that the leadership of Comrade Kim Jong Un and the Workers Party of Korea (WPK) has been anything but ‘crazy’.For our part, we have always fully upheld the Korean people’s right to work for peace and reunification without outside interference. It is US imperialism that stands in the way of this strong desire of the masses of both the north and the south of Korea, not the DPRK government, which has long pursued a policy of striving towards reunification.

That is why one of the most popular slogans of the WPK and the DPRK masses for decades has been and remains:
Korea is One!

This is closest we’ll get in Britain to the DPRK’s response.

It is laughable but Harpel Brar is seen strutting around – unchallenged – on most London left demonstrations.

Some on the left are more concerned with what they claim are “regime change” plans for North Korea than about the reality of this tyranny.

Just before the summit (11th of June) the Morning Star was issuing warnings on this theme:

Nagging doubt hang over Trump’s talks with North Korean leader

But, until reality dictates otherwise, a nagging doubt remains that Washington — especially the plethora of neoconservative cold warriors surrounding the president — has something more sinister in mind.

The likes of John Bolton and Mike Pompeo find it difficult to talk in anything but ultimatums, demanding “the Libya model” as the basis for Pyongyang’s agreement to renounce its nuclear weapons programme.

After the summit this was their response:

Trump and Kim agree to work towards the denuclearisation of Korea

While the global response to the meeting has been largely positive, Iran warned North Korea against trusting the US after Mr Trump recently pulled out of the 2015 international nuclear deal and reimposed sanctions on Tehran last month.

John Rees of the Stop the War Coalition takes the regime change angle equally seriously while dismissing depth of the concluding agreement,

Sound and Fury, Signifying Nothing.

What does the Trump-Kim summit mean? Not much, says John Rees.

We may all welcome the retreat from earlier war-mongering rhetoric but this deal will not preclude it’s sudden return because there’s nothing of substance in it.

Kim Jong Un must be laughing all the way to the DMZ. In a single bound he’s escaped from the dunce’s corner of international relations and now bestrides the world as, well, if not quite a colossus, then at least the admired ally of the most powerful head of state in the world.


What Trump has actually done is to tear up a functioning nuclear deal with Iran and replace it with a meaningless multilateralist statement of intent with North Korea.

We may all welcome the retreat from earlier war-mongering rhetoric but this deal will not preclude it’s sudden return because there’s nothing of substance in it.

Kim Jong Un must be laughing all the way to the DMZ. In a single bound he’s escaped from the dunce’s corner of international relations and now bestrides the world as, well, if not quite a colossus, then at least the admired ally of the most powerful head of state in the world.

China too will be relieved that any likely further pressure to contain their ally has just sharply decreased.

The real lessons of the circus in Singapore are two-fold.

One, this is another episode in the decline of US power. The initiative was taken out of US hands when North and South Korea began another round of détente at the Olympic games and it has never regained it. Trump has merely managed to grandstand on a stage that he neither created nor on which does he control the action.

Two, the age of populist leaders is an age in which foreign policy goals are determined as much by domestic campaigning priorities as by traditional international relations strategy. US Presidents are supposed to at least make a show of pursuing goals agreed on by the entire foreign policy elite, otherwise known as the ‘national interest’. Trump isn’t interested in that, although he sometimes has that approach forced on him by the wider US power structure.


If there is one thing more dangerous than a US President following the dictates of the foreign policy elite, as Bush did with the Project for the New American Century, it’s a President following his own mercurial interpretation of what viewers of Fox news think is a good idea. But that is where US economic decline wedded to overwhelming military power, plus the aftermath of defeat in Iraq, has brought us.

In other words Trump is still a danger.

There remain three principal points to make:

  • North Korea, the DPRK, is a totalitarian tyranny. Yet, “Trump seemed to play down the severity of human rights violations in North Korea. “It’s rough,” Trump allowed after being asked about North Korea’s human rights record. He then said: “It’s rough in a lot of places, by the way. Not just there.” (Kim Tong-Hyung). We did not expect the CPGB (M-L) to mention this either, but Rees, acting as a chess strategist on the world stage, fails to tackle the issues which the New York Times has just summed up as “Atrocities Under Kim Jong-un: Indoctrination, Prison Gulags, Executions”. Perhaps these are more important than the “decline of US power.
  • On the DPRK some parts of the left have a serious analysis. Shiraz reposts a piece from the US Socialist Worker by David Whitehouse. It says, “During a period of famine in the 1990s, Kim’s father looked the other way while Northern citizens developed private markets for farm produce and other goods. If Kim Jong-un really shifts resources away from military investment, North Koreans can look forward to making even more money from their private efforts.Meanwhile, soon after coming to power in 2012, Kim embarked on structural economic reforms that provide freedom to managers at the enterprise level — freedom to hire and fire at will, set wages at variance with national guidelines, and cultivate their own suppliers and buyers without going through the national planning process.

    These reforms, which mirror the early measures of Chinese economic liberalization in the 1980s, have promoted the development of a new middle class, at least somewhat independent of the ruling party hierarchy. This group definitely has an interest in Kim following through with diplomatic engagement that can open the economy even further.

    North Korea’s working class is overwhelmingly poor. Anecdotal reports, including from asylum-seekers who make it into South Korea, suggest that workers harbor intense hatred toward the rich upper layers of the party hierarchy and toward residents of the city of Pyongyang, where wealth is concentrated.

    To some extent, Kim seems to be able to use the popular cult of the Kim family to deflect popular anger away from himself — and toward those just a few layers below him. Right now, says North Korea specialist Andrei Lankov, “Kim Jong-un is popular. Everyone supports him.”

    Kim wants to keep it that way. The burden of domestic expectations has helped drive him toward the Singapore summit, where he hopes that de-escalation of hostility with the U.S. will bring relief from sanctions — and open up export possibilities, access to international finance, and investment from countries such as China and South Korea.

  • If Rees suggests that ‘populism’ is now the engine of US foreign policy, does this mean that Trump tore  up the Nuclear deal with Iran to please Fox News watchers? What exactly does the term American imperialism mean if instead of “military industrial” interests we have crowd pleasing as the motor of decision-making? Does it mean that ‘anti-imperialism’ now signifies fighting the mob and its leader’s “sound and fury”?

It may well be that there will be less than a massive response in London to a Stop Trump protest against the US President who’s a”walking shadow, a poor player,that struts and frets his hour upon the stage.”


8 Responses

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  1. Is Harpal Brar still involved with The Stalin Society? He was stark raving bonkers thirty years ago when he was denying that there had been famine in the Ukraine, massive repression, Gulags or any of the things that have been admitted from 1956. He really is the last man standing from that era and that mind set.

    People like him get on these programmes because they are articulate and the researchers don’t do enough background checks. I recently saw that serial crook and fraudster Lee Jasper on a chat show about multi culturalism, what a joke.

    Dave Roberts

    June 14, 2018 at 11:32 am

  2. The CPGB (M-L) certainly is, as Cde Google rapidly informed us,

    “To mark the 73rd anniversary of the victory over fascism, Comrade Daniel O’Brien of the CPGB-ML will be giving this presentation revealing the dark truth about Britain’s ‘legendary war leader’ and ‘fighter against fascism’.

    Behind the carefully constructed myths that surround one of the 20th century’s most misrepresented figures lie facts that tell a completely different story. Winston Churchill was an aristocratic despiser of the working class at home and executioner of the oppressed masses abroad; a racist imperialist to the core, who only dropped his backing for European fascism when it started to impinge on the interests of the British empire.2
    Sunday 20 May 2018
    2pm – 5pm
    Red Lion Square Meeting Hall.”


    Andrew Coates

    June 14, 2018 at 11:39 am

  3. It’s come to something, hasn’t it, when John Rees comes over as a voice of relative sanity.

    Jim Denham

    June 14, 2018 at 11:44 am

  4. I was quite shocked when Andrew first posted this but I thought the discussion from BBC’s primetime One Show was balanced and interesting, Harpal and the defector I forget his name, made sense especially about who will benefit from removing sanctions. I have no doubt the Koreans played a blinder they have for decades attempted to gain the attention of the US oval office and that they succeeded by chucking a few second rate missiles about shows they had the measure of Trump, or rather his massive ego.

    All credit to them for that, one only has to watch Pilger’s film War on China to understand who is the main threat to peace in that part of the world and it’s not the leader of the DPRK.

    Like them or loath them they can think outside the box, the US dollars counterfeiting racket with the sticks was an example of that.

    Mick Hall

    June 14, 2018 at 12:43 pm

  5. Hasn’t Pilger been debunked?


    June 14, 2018 at 12:53 pm

  6. Mick it’s not the threat to world peace that is the problem here, it’s the hideous tyranny that people live under in the DPRK which Brar defended on the BBC as a state where democracy and harmony between people and leadership reigns.

    Andrew Coates

    June 14, 2018 at 1:37 pm

  7. I have no doubt that fools and lunatics will continue to produce apologia for such a regime, but what do you think of the nuclear agreement itself? I think that both the Islamic Republic of Iran and the DPRK are deeply exploitative and oppressive regimes, but it does not follow that isolating them through sanctions and threats of military destruction is preferable to diplomatic engagement. Even if the DPRK has successfully used its nuclear arsenal to purchase legitimacy on the international stage, that is still preferable to the threat of nuclear war, is it not?

    Over on the Alliance of Syrian and Iranian Socialists’ website I read of Iranian comrades demanding resistance to the US-Saudi-Israeli war drive as part and parcel of our solidarity with Iran’s revolutionary opposition. Would not the same logic hold for North Koreans as well? It seems to me that capitalist development in North Korea opens the door to a revolutionary change there more easily than the regime of sanctions and threat of total destruction which Trump was making on the floor of the UN a few months ago.

    Someone could object that, if relaxation of international pressure were the way to give counter-regime forces breathing room, then why would the ruling classes of these countries want it? and to that I would respond: in Iran the ruling classes are split, with the “principalists” trying to capitalize on resuming hostilities while the “pragmatists” around Ruhani think they can manage the transition to membership in the “international community” with their own dominance intact (and either of these groups could be mistaken about where their true long-term interest lies; history is open and actions always have unforeseen consequences, as when the meteoric rise of ruling-class wealth in the Shah’s Iran in the 1970’s ignited revolutionary anger). Meanwhile, in the DPRK I have to assume that part of what motivates Kim’s strategy of achieving security promises through using nukes as a bargaining chip is genuine fear of US military encirclement and the attack it could foretell.

    Henrik Steffens

    June 14, 2018 at 6:54 pm

  8. I know that Andrew, and the bit about democracy and harmony between people and leadership reigns is text book Stalinist gibberish. There is not even harmony within the leadership for like Harpal’s great hero before them they have periodic culls of leading members, which include members of the great leaders own family.

    My point was mainly about the programe and the way the DPRK manoeuvred Trump and handled these negotiations although I did add, like them or loath them, while Bra clearly likes them, I loath them and their regime.

    Mick Hall

    June 15, 2018 at 11:45 am

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