Monday, 19 December 2011

The passing of a despot

Kim Jong Il is dead. This changes little in terms of either world politics or the situation of those within North Korea - unless his "great successor" Kim Jong Un is secretly a radical social reformer ready to transform the Democratic People's Republic. Unfortunately, this is highly unlikely and the country will almost certainly remain in the grip of totalitarianism.

Not that you could tell from the reaction of Red Youth, the youth wing of the Communist Party of Great Britain (Marxist-Leninist);
We send our deepest condolences to our friends and comrades in the Workers Party of Korea and to the people of the DPRK on the tragic loss of this much loved and lamented leader of their party and their nation. As the upholder of the Korean revolution, he was not only a great Korean but also a great leader of the world proletariat and peasantry in our common struggle against imperialism and for socialism.

Long live the memory of Kim Jong Il!

Long live the memory and legacy of Kim Il Sung!

Long live the Workers Party of Korea!

Long live the DPRK!

Long live the friendship between British and Korean workers!

Fight warmongering imerialism!

Korea is One!
Yes. Really.

This reaction becomes less surprising when you consider that CPGB-ML is one of the groups behind The Stalin Society, which exists to "defend Stalin and his work on the basis of fact and to refute capitalist, revisionist, opportunist and Trotskyist propaganda directed against him." However, this doesn't alter the level of barnpot apologism for tyranny on display.

For Red Youth, Kim Jong Il "led the struggle of the tiny but defiant Korean nation to defeat the goliath of US imperialism." Through him, "the Korean people stand united and defiant with an uplifting spirit of ‘single-hearted unity’ that is their abiding strength."

However, a cynic might suggest that the fear of being thrown in a concentration camp is the real inspiration for "single-hearted unity." With 150,000 to 200,000 people in such camps, and reports of torture, starvation, rape, murder, medical experimentation, forced labour, and forced abortions, anything less is a frightening option. Such a level of fear and brutalisation also explains the personality cult around Kim Jong Il and his father Kim Il Sung as something akin to a national Stockholm Syndrome.

Now that the dictator is dead, as I've said, all that seems likely to happen is his son will take his place. The people of North Korea will continue to suffer until either they can rise up and overthrow the regime or some outside event displaces it. Nonetheless, the world is no poorer for being rid of Kim Jong Il.