|John McLeod speaking|
By New Worker correspondent
FRIENDS of Korea met at the John Buckle Centre in London last Saturday to celebrate the birth of great leader Kim Il Sung with a panel of speakers who have all visited Democratic Korea over the years.
Kim Il Sung advanced and developed Marxist philosophy throughout his long and active life – a theme taken up by the panel, which included Michael Chant of the Revolutionary Communist Party of Britain (Marxist-Leninist), NCP leader Andy Brooks, John McLeod of the Socialist Labour Party and John Rainsborough from the UK Korean Friendship Association.
Born on 15th April 1912, Kim Il Sung dedicated his life to the emancipation of the Korean people, which he did until his last breath in 1994.
Kim Il Sung developed and advanced Marxist-Leninist theory and led the struggle against Japanese colonialism and US aggression. He was a fighter, a thinker and a leader, Kim Il Sung was an outstanding communist of the 20th century whose name will forever be remembered as the founder of the modern Korean communist movement that began amongst the patriotic youth of Korea when he was a student in the 1920s.
Kim Il Sung founded the communist movement that liberated the country from Japanese colonialism, defeated the might of US-led imperialism in the Korean War and led the drive to build the modern, socialist republic that exists today in the north of the divided peninsula.
Kim Il Sung was a great commander in war and a great leader in peace. In the north of Korea, so brutally partitioned by imperialism, he built a modern communist movement dedicated to serving the working people of Korea and he led the people in the mass struggle to build a new life after they had won their freedom in 1945.
The Workers’ Party of Korea, with Kim Il Sung at the helm, led the battle for land reform, education and socialist construction in the 1950s and 60s and then pushed forward on the engineering, technical and scientific fronts to raise living standards and the quality of life for the millions of workers and peasants who had fought for a better tomorrow.
In western Europe communists understood the economic case for scientific socialism but ignored the philosophical aspects of the teachings of Marx and Engels. Though the role of mass action was clearly understood, the role of the individual was often ignored. Though the achievements of the Soviet Union led by Lenin and Stalin were studied, they were often not properly understood.
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 and 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.
In the western world Juché is simply described as “self-reliance” but it is much more than that. Kim Il Sung said that working people could only become genuinely emancipated if they stood on their own feet. But the Juché idea doesn’t negate proletarian internationalism. The Soviet Union, People’s China and the people’s democracies of eastern Europe all closed ranks behind Democratic Korea during the Korean war.
The Korean people responded with their trade and assistance whenever they could, while Korean experts and advisers helped the Vietnamese, the Arabs and the Africans struggling to break the chains of colonialism and they continue to do so today. And Kim Il Sung’s successors, dear leader Kim Jong Il and leader Kim Jong Un are following his footsteps to build a modern socialist republic, where every individual worker is master of his or her own life.
The Friends of Korea committee consists of the New Communist Party of Britain, Revolutionary Communist Party of Britain (ML), Socialist Labour Party, European Regional Society for the Study of the Juché Idea and the UK Korean Friendship Association. The committee organises friendship meetings throughout the year in London, which are publicised by the supporting movements and on the Friends of Korea blog.