by Andy Brooks
KOREAN PEOPLE on both sides of the divided peninsula and amongst the overseas Korean community paid tribute to Kim Il Sung last week on the 95th anniversary of his birth on 15th April 1912. Kim Il Sung was an outstanding communist leader and thinker who will always be remembered by working people all over the world.
The great leader, comrade Kim Il Sung, was one of the giants of communism – the man who led the people in a war of liberation from Japanese occupation and then defended that victory against invasion by the United States and its allies in 1950, using the fledgling United Nations as a puppet.
He then went on to lead his country in building its own, independent socialism, steering a careful path during the period of Sino-Soviet ideological conflict and managing to remain on good terms with both parties.
And after the demise of the Soviet Union and the loss of the eastern European socialist countries, an enormous setback for communism globally, when parties were becoming demoralised and failing around the world, Kim Il Sung stopped the rot by summoning a global conference of communist and workers’ parties in Pyongyang in 1992.
When Kim Il Sung formed the Down with Imperialism Union at the age of 14 no one, least of all the Japanese imperialists, could have dreamt that within 20 years Korea would be free.
Kim Il Sung saw the hopelessness of the sectarians, flunkeyists, dogmatists and factionalists who called themselves communists in the 1920s. So he decided to form a communist movement from the youth and the grass-roots of the villages and factories, and surprised everyone with the emergence of the mighty Korean communist movement that led the people to victory in 1945.
When Kim Il Sung gathered a small band of heroes to form the first guerrilla units to take on the Japanese Army no one could have imagined that this would become the People’s Army that brought the American imperialists to their knees begging for an armistice in 1953.
Kim Il Sung not only grasped Marxism-Leninism but he applied it to the concrete conditions of the Korean people. He knew that once the masses realised their own strength they would become unstoppable. He knew that serving the people was the be-all and end-all for the Korean communists and for the Workers’ Party of Korea that he launched in 1945. He developed Korean style socialism into the Juché idea – which elevates the philosophical principles of Marxism-Leninism as well as its economic theories – and focuses on the development of each individual worker, who can only be truly free as part of the collective will of the masses.
Kim Il Sung was born in a world of oppression and exploitation. He lived and fought to end that rotten system and he lived to see the construction of a modern socialist system in the north of Korea. But he wasn’t just a Korean communist. He was a great internationalist.
The leader of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea championed the struggle for colonial freedom, non-alignment and Third World co-operation. He pioneered the call for south-south co-operation which is now bearing fruit today. He sent technical and military assistance to the African and Arab peoples struggling for independence and he constantly strove to strengthen the world communist movement.
Some members of the New Communist Party, like myself, had the honour of meeting Kim Il Sung. All of us know him as a great friend and teacher. The President of the NCP, Eric Trevett, met Kim Il Sung on a number of occasions because Comrade Kim was very interested in the British communist movement. Kim drew parallels with the problems the Korean communists faced in the 1920s but always maintained that communists had to resolve their problems in their own way, based on their own conditions – like the Koreans themselves.
Today, the Workers’ Party of Korea, with Kim Jong Il at the helm, is relentlessly advancing into the future to fulfil the dream of all Koreans, the peaceful re-unification of the country.
Kim Il Sung worked tirelessly all his life to end the cruel partition of Korea but all his efforts were rebuffed by American imperialism. More than six years ago, on 15th June, Kim Jong Il signed the historic joint declaration with south Korean leader Kim Dae Jung that outlined the way forward to achieve this goal. But the forces of US imperialism have moved to stall progress and prevent the Korean people from achieving their undeniable and inalienable right to the end of partition and to reunify their country.
Democratic Korea began to develop its nuclear industry in the 1990s but agreed to suspend its programme following an agreement with the United States that was to have led to the construction of two light water reactors in the DPRK. This agreement was never honoured and it was virtually torn up by the Bush administration. The American diplomatic and economic blockade on the north since the end of the Korean War was maintained.
The DPRK was branded by the American imperialists as part of the “axis of evil”, and one of the “outposts of tyranny”, that include Cuba, Syria and Iran, and was topped by Iraq until that country was invaded by US-led imperialism in 2003. The US army and its south Korean puppets rehearse the invasion of the north in annual war-games and the south Koreans have developed a cruise missile of their own targeted on the DPRK.
In face of these renewed threats the DPRK has had no alternative but to develop a nuclear deterrent to defend its socialist system. At the same time it has pledged that it will never be the first to use nuclear weapons and it has also vowed never to threaten the use of nuclear weapons or allow the transfer of nuclear technology to other countries.
We believe that the will of the Korean masses, expressed in concrete terms by their vanguard party, the Workers’ Party of Korea, will overcome all obstacles to fulfil the revolutionary tasks that faced the Korean people when they began their long march to socialism in the struggle against Japanese imperialism.