The Democratic People’s Republic of Korea
Considering that the United States imperialist (and their toadying allies of the United Nations) were stopped in their tracks in their desire to dominate an erstwhile ally (in the fight against Japanese militaristic fascism) in a hugely destructive war – both in terms of lives lost and infrastructure destroyed – knowledge of the country that we now know as the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK) is bordering on the abysmal.
Some will argue that this is due to the ‘isolationist’ approach of the government of that country. However, this comes from a misreading of the history, the current situation and the role that the most dominant imperialist power (for the time being) has in shaping the perception of those countries that dare to refuse to kowtow to the bully’s threats, misinformation and attempts at so-called ‘regime change’.
The situation in which the DPRK finds itself at present is not new, is not unique.
The history of the last just over a hundred years demonstrates that capitalism/imperialism will do whatever it can to prevent the people from taking their own fate into their own hands;
- within months of the October Revolution in Russia (in 1917) there were attempts to destroy the attempts of the Russian workers and peasants to build a new society. This included the assassinations, sabotage and the promotion and support of reactionary forces within the country to do all that could be to attack the young Socialist State. This included an assassination attempt upon the life of the Bolshevik party leader, VI Lenin as well as the infiltration of such foreign agents as Sidney Riley to bolster and financially support the White Tsarist forces. This activity initially taking place when the various capitalist countries were still taking chunks out of each other during what came to be known as the First World War. At the cessation of hostilities those countries that had been trying to destroy each other for the best part of four years united and mounted a 14 nation invasion of a sovereign country. This ‘Civil War’ – better called a War of Intervention as it was a civil war by proxy – was won by the young Red Army under the leadership of Comrade Stalin and the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics (USSR) came into being and started the difficult road of the construction of Socialism;
- the People’s Republic of China (the declaration of which was made by Chairman Mao Tse-tung on 1st October 1949) only came into being after the Chinese People’s Liberation Army (PLA) had defeated the pro-imperialist, fascist forces of the Kuomintang who were supplied by weapons and finance from the United States. In April 1949, when the PLA, led by the Communist Party of China, was close to eventual nationwide victory the arrogant minor imperialist power Britain considered they had the right to enter a sovereign country with a fleet of warships. This became known as the Amethyst Incident after the name of the British Royal Navy ship that was severely damaged by forces of the PLA after going 104 miles (167 km) up the Yangste River. It scuttled away to safety after using a civilian ship as a shield. (People in Britain should remember the furore that accompanied a Russian flotilla that sailed through the English Channel (in international waters) in October 2016 before they get indignant about the fate of the battle fleet in the Yangste);
- the British found it impossible to accept that the People’s Socialist Republic of Albania had the right to determine its own future after the end of the Second World War. Providing a few arms to the Communist Partisans, it seems, meant the Albanians were beholding to the failing imperialist state. In 1946 the British Labour Government (the same government that tried it on in China in 1949 – see above) sent the Royal Navy to intimidate the Albanians by sending Leander class cruisers (formidable war machines at the time) very close to the Albanian shore in the area around Sarandë opposite the Greek island of Corfu, hence the Corfu Incident. The second time this was done, in October of that year, two of them hit mines, the ships themselves suffering sever damage and 44 sailors losing their lives and another 42 injured. After the ships limped back to Corfu harbour, like dogs with their tails between their legs, the reactionary Labour Party decided that they wouldn’t be successful in using such military tactics and instead resorted to espionage and the courts. With the latter the British stole the Albanian gold reserves and with the former sent (well into the 1950s) Albanian fascist agents who the British hoped would foment opposition to the legitimate government of Albania;
- in Cuba there has been an economic blockade enforced by the United States against the country since before the revolution of 1959 was two years old. This has been made tougher by successive US Presidents (not just the Republicans). The US sponsored Bay of Pigs fiasco of April 1961 was an attempt by the United States (at the time it had the darling of the liberals, Kennedy, as President) to use a coup to bring down the government of the people. In October 1962 the same ‘liberal’ President brought the world to the brink of nuclear annihilation by confronting the then revisionist Soviet Union over the stationing of nuclear missiles on the island. The fact that the US was at the time, and has been doing ever since, opening up more and more bases and basically surrounding the Soviet Union in whatever location possible with threatening nuclear weapons and the fact that it wasn’t a problem for the sovereign country of Cuba that the Soviet missiles were stationed on their soil didn’t matter – as the US didn’t like anything that the American imperialist considered challenged their idea of world domination and control. And there have been countless stories of how the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) have tried ingenious ways in which to kill Cuban leaders, especially Fidel Castro;
- the Geneva Conference of the early part of 1954 was a total sham. It was supposed to come up with a ‘final’ agreement following the signing of the armistice, in Panmunjom, between the government of North Korea and that of the United States (on July 27th 1953) – it didn’t, and to this day the countries are still technically at war. It was also supposed to come up with a long term solution to the war in Vietnam after the surrender of the French at Dien Bien Phu – which had happened the day before the Conference started (7th May, 1954). An agreement was made which allowed for elections in 1956 but the United States reneged on the agreement and the consequence was war in Vietnam until the end of April 1975. The treachery and duplicity of the Yankee imperialists was to pile untold suffering upon the Vietnamese people;
- and obviously we mustn’t forget the imperialist aggression against North Korea in 1951-1953 itself.
So here we have a number of examples where capitalist/imperialist nations had lied, cheated, reneged on agreements, used direct military force (often even breaking international laws they themselves had made or changing them if they didn’t suit), used malcontents and mercenaries to undermine the economy and political stability in sovereign countries, used sabotage and murder to pursue their goals of destruction of various countries in order to get them to kowtow to the will of the American dollar and imperialist interests.
Added to that we have countless examples of where imperialist nations had attempted to crush national liberation movements against colonialism and especially the many examples of where the United States, directly or indirectly, intervened in various countries in South and Latin America if governments or movements were considered as challenging US hegemony in that part of the world.
North Korea also has to face;
- financial and economic sanctions imposed upon it by the the United Nations – at the behest of the United States;
- a rocky relationship with China since the revisionist and capitalist roaders took control of the country following the death of Chairman Mao;
- various climatic natural disasters which have had a devastating effect on food production at various times in the past;
- and recently the covid-19 pandemic which forced the country to close its borders and thereby making any effects of economic sanctions even more difficult to deal with.
So ‘isolated’ the DPRK might be (just as Albania during its Socialist period prior to 1991) but an isolation that has been imposed upon it as the country doesn’t accept the world hegemony that the United States claims.
So this page will attempt to make materials produced in the DPRK available to a wider audience. People can then make up their own minds.
History and Culture
Travel in the DPRK