Dermot Hudson, Chairman
Juche Idea Study Group of England, December 8, 1999
As the Russian communist leader Dr. Nina Andreyeva remarked at the Copenhagen seminar on the Juche idea in 1995, although the anti-revisionist polemic of the Chinese and Albanian Parties is very well-known, communists in Russia -- and indeed elsewhere -- were totally ignorant of the more thoroughgoing and mature critique of modern revisionism made by the Workers' Party of Korea.
The WPK conducted its own struggle against revisionism from an independent position. Nevertheless, the WPK is in the camp of those who see modern revisionism as originating in the 1950s, particularly centring on the infamous 20th Congress of the CPSU, rather than in the camp of those who see modern revisionism as a phenomenon of the late 1980s, associated with Gorbachev.
Comrade Kim Jong Il, the new General Secretary of the WPK, said in 1995: "The process of the degeneration and collapse began with the emergence of modern revisionism which vilified the Leader and the revolutionary pioneers and distorted and debased the revolutionary ideas of the working class".
('Respecting the Forerunners of the Revolution is a Noble Moral Obligation of Revolutionaries'; Pyongyang; FLPH; 1996; p. 6).
The WPK defined revisionism as the denial of the leadership of the Marxist-Leninist Party and the dictatorship of the proletariat, plus opposition to class struggle. It also meant giving up fighting imperialism and compromising with it. Revisionism spread illusions about imperialism and obstructed the people's revolutionary struggle for social and national liberation in every way. The WPK also pointed out that in order to achieve their invidious aims, the modern revisionists concentrated on attacking the leader, the supreme person of the revolution, trying to impair his authority and damage his prestige.
The WPK launched its struggle against modern revisionism in 1955. The WPK saw the struggle against modern revisionism as being very closely tied up to the struggle to defend independence and to avoid copying other countries, or in, other words, to establish Juche. .
As Comrade Kim Il Sung said:
"In 1955, therefore, our Party set forth the definite policy of establishing Juche, and has been persistently urging an energetic ideological struggle to carry it through ever since. The year 1955 marked a turning point in our Party's consistent struggle against dogmatism. It was also at that time, in fact, that we started our struggle against modern revisionism that had emerged within the socialist camp. Our struggle against dogmatism was thus linked up with the struggle against modern revisionism". (Kim Il Sung: 'On Juche in Our Revolution'; p. 471).
Comrade Kim Il Sung in his famous and celebrated work 'On Eliminating Dogmatism and Formalism and Establishing Juche in Ideological Work' (December 23rd, 1955), pointed out that a faction within the WPK, on returning from a visit to the Soviet Union, had demanded that Korea should drop its slogan against US imperialism on the grounds the USSR was following the line of easing international tension. This was an early manifestation of attempts by factionalists within the WPK to spread revisionism.
It was in 1956 that things reached a very critical stage. Khrushchev had made his speech to the 20th Congress of the CPSU heralding the onset of modern revisionism (revisionists surfaced in a number of parties and tried to destroy, for example, the CPGB) and the imperialists launched a fierce international anticommunist campaign.
Within Korea, the Syngman Rhee puppet regime went wild, talking of a 'March North'. The DPRK had only just completed the post-war reconstruction and rehabilitation of the economy after the devastation caused by the war. The factionalists who had been lurking in the WPK seized the chance to try and overthrow the leadership with the backing of outside revisionists.
Indeed the CPSU fraternal delegate to the 3rd Congress of the WPK (who was none other than a certain L. I. Brezhnev) made a veiled attack on the WPK leadership. Events came to a head in August, when the factionalists tried to stage their coup under the manipulation of the great power chauvinists and revisionists. Their aim was to deny the Party's leadership role and paralyse the dictatorship of the proletariat. They also wished to stamp out the revolutionary conditions of the WPK forged in the flames of the anti-Japanese armed struggle. They even intended to proclaim Korea a pro-American 'neutral nation'.
However, Comrade Kim Il Sung led the people to smash the anti-Party counter-revolutionary factional clique. The WPK launched internally an anti-factional, anti-revisionist struggle. Comrade Kim Il Sung attacked factionalism and revisionism at a Party Conference on March 6 1958. Referring to factionalism, he said:
"No faction is better or worse than any other. All come from the same mould; they are all products of capitalist influence in the working class movement. And they are a poison that destroys our Party and the working class movement in Korea". ('On Juche in Our Revolution', Volume 1; p. 209).
Speaking of revisionism, Comrade Kim Il Sung said: "The imperialists and their servants the revisionists are now spreading revisionism in opposition to Marxism-Leninism and the communist movement. . . . It has made and is making inroads into our country too, and the anti-Party groups have exported it for their own ends. . . . To reject our Party's leadership means precisely to deny the revolution and capitulate to capitalism. Therefore it is necessary not only to fight against the revisionists who reject Party leadership, but also to combat relentlessly all the unsettling elements that provide good soil for revisionism". ('On Juche in Our Revolution', p. 213-14).
Speaking to soldiers of the 109th Army of the KPA on the 25th August 1960, Comrade Kim Il Sung stated:
"Revisionists refashion Marxism-Leninism. They laud themselves as cleverer Marxist-Leninists than Marx or Lenin. Certain countries have this tendency. Some people insist we must peacefully co-exist with the Yankees. How can we do so without opposing US imperialism?" (p. 225).
In the early 60s, Comrade Kim Il Sung made the struggle of the WPK against modern revisionism a major priority in the Party. He attacked modern revisionism at the 4th Congress. At the March 8 1962 3rd plenary meeting of the CC, Comrade Kim Il Sung defined the strengthening of the struggle against revisionism as a key task in Party work. He also with great clarity elucidated the true nature of modern revisionism:
"The sources of revisionism are acceptance of domestic bourgeois influence and surrender to external imperialist pressure. Both old revisionism and modern revisionism are one and the same in essence and in aims. Both deny the basic principles of Marxism and call for a renunciation of the revolutionary struggle on the pretext that times have changed". ('On Juche in Our Revolution', Volume 1: p. 317).
Around this time, the WPK daily newspaper RODONG SINMUN (Labour Daily) carried several articles attacking revisionism -- notable the article 'Let Us Uphold National Liberation' in 1962, and 'Let Us Defend the Socialist Camp', published in October 1963. These articles were translated into different languages and disseminated outside Korea.
Within Korea, a thoroughgoing campaign against modern revisionism was carried out. Comrade Kim Il Sung addressed army soldiers on the dangers of revisionism, as well as the League of Socialist Working Youth and other mass organisations.
As the 60s progressed, it became apparent that a serious split had developed within the international communist movement. Comrade Kim Il Sung and the Workers' Party of Korea took the position of opposing revisionism, but at the same time maintaining a principled position of defending the unity of the international communist movement. A special conference of the WPK was called in October 1966. At this conference Comrade Kim Il Sung attacked modern revisionism:
"Modern revisionism revises Marxism-Leninism and emasculates its revolutionary quintessence under the pretext of a 'changed situation' and 'creative development'. It rejects class struggle and the dictatorship of the proletariat; it preaches class collaboration and gives up fighting imperialism. Moreover, modern revisionism spread illusions about imperialism and in every way obstructed the revolutionary struggle of the peoples for social and national liberation". ('On Juche in Our Revolution', Volume 1: p. 531).
However, he also took to task left opportunism, which had appeared in the international communist movement:
"We must fight 'Left' opportunism as well as modern revisionism. 'Left' opportunists fail to take into account changed realities and dogmatically seek isolated propositions of Marxism-Leninism; they lead people to extremist action under super-revolutionary slogans. They also divorce the Party from the masses, split the revolutionary forces and prevent a concentrated attack on the principal enemy". ('On Juche in Our Revolution', Volume 1; p. 531)..
Furthermore he pointed out that the struggle against both Right and 'Left' opportunism was closely linked to the struggle for the unity of the socialist camp and the cohesion of the international communist movement. Lastly, he saw the struggle for the unity and cohesion of the international communist movement and against modern revisionism and 'Left' opportunism as being integral to the fight for independence within the socialist camp. Comrade Kim Il Sung pointed to the danger inherent in losing independence:
"If we lack independence and identity, and follow in others' steps in present-day conditions, we cannot have principle and consistency in our lines and policies. This will not only eventually do enormous harm to our revolution and construction, but will inflict a great damage on the international communist movement". ('On Juche in Our Revolution', Volume 1: p. 549).
Comrade Kim Il Sung also combined the struggle against revisionism with the struggle against US imperialism. Comrade Kim Il Sung wrote many works attacking US imperialism.
Entering the 1970s, the WPK renewed its struggle against modern revisionism. At the 5th Congress of the WPK in November 1970, Comrade Kim Il Sung said:
"We must continue to intensify ideological work against revisionism among the Party members and working people". (Kim Il Sung: 'Report on Fifth Congress of the WPK', p. 158).
An energetic campaign was waged against revisionism. In February 1971, 'Rodonag Sinmun' (the daily paper of the WPK, and other daily papers in the DPRK published an article entitled 'Let Us Uphold the Dictatorship of the Proletariat and Proletarian Democracy'. This article was also published in the DPRK English language publications and broadcast over the English Language service of Radio Pyongyang.
Amongst other things, the article said that recent events within certain socialist countries (where people had turned against their Parties and their governments) were due to the fact that these countries had abandoned the dictatorship of the proletariat. The article identified the dictatorship of the proletariat as a key question:
"Whether one recognises or denies the dictatorship of the proletariat, whether one holds to the dictatorship of the proletariat or abandons it, is a criterion distinguishing Marxism-Leninism from opportunism, the revolutionary stand from the counter-revolutionary stand".
It pointed out that the imperialists, the open enemy of the working class, along with the concealed enemy of the working class, the opportunists, always turn the spearhead of attack against the dictatorship of the proletariat. The article stated:
"The most dangerous enemy of Marxism-Leninism, of the dictatorship of the proletariat, in the labour movement and communist movement is revisionism, which provokes them point- blank under the mask of Marxism-Leninism. The revisionists, the betrayers of the revolutionary cause of the working class, have left no means untried in an effort to substitute bourgeois democracy for proletarian democracy, in opposing the dictatorship of the proletariat, in combating the dictatorship of the proletariat. The dictatorship of the proletariat and democracy have historically been the crux of the problem in the struggle between Marxism-Leninism and revisionism".
Although, as Comrade Kim Il Sung explained later in 1971, modern revisionism had been effectively crippled by anti-revisionist struggle waged by Marxist-Leninist Parties throughout the world, it still remained a danger in the international communist movement. So throughout the 70s and 80s, the WPK remained on guard against revisionism.
Comrade Kim Jong Il, who is now the General Secretary of the WPK and had emerged as one of the leaders of the WPK in the 1970s, in particular constantly stressed the need to combat revisionism. Speaking on December 25, 1978 to officials from the Agitation and Propaganda Dept. of the CC of the WPK, he said:
"Revisionism is a reflection of the capitalist ideology that has cropped up in the communist movement, and it is the most dangerous counter-revolutionary ideological trend. Party organisations should bring home to Party members and other working people the counter-revolutionary essence of revisionism, the form of its expression, and the harm it does. In particular, they should give a detailed understanding of the erroneous lines, policies and economic theories of the revisionists so they can fight against them with vigour". (Kim Jong Il: 'Let us Increase the Party's Fighting Efficiency and Bring About a Fresh Turn in the Building of Socialism'; p. 36).
The mid and late 1980s saw the emergence of the most dangerous and destructive form of modern revisionism in the form of Gorbachevism. Comrade Kim Il Sung, the great leader of the Korean revolution, was one of the first leaders in the socialist world to see through it and attack it. In December 1986, speaking to the Supreme People's Assembly, he stressed:
"The people's government must guard against the poisonous ideas of capitalism and revisionism and resolutely fight against all attempts to infringe upon the socialist system". (Kim Il Sung: 'Works', Volume 40; p. 216).
Comrade Kim Il Sung put forward the concept of the complete victory of socialism, which struck a blow against the revisionists.
During a talk to senior officials of the Economic Sector on the 3rd of January 1987, Comrade Kim Il Sung made the following analysis of the DPRK's position vis a vis the socialist world:
"Modern revisionism which has appeared in the international communist movement is also creating a lot of difficulties for our revolution. On the pretext of 'reforming' and 'reorganising' socialism, the modern revisionists are following the road to capitalism and abandoning internationalist principles. It is, therefore, difficult for us to expect from them co-operation based on internationalism in the building of socialism. What is worse, they are applying economic pressure on us because we do not follow their wrong, revisionist policy". (Kim Il Sung: 'Works', Volume 40; p. 231).
Speaking to officials from the chemical industry on March 20 1987, Comrade Kim Il Sung also stated:
"The officials should strongly oppose revisionism and reformism and establish the revolutionary habit of living our way. . . . We must always live our own way, without having any illusions about the revisionist and reformist policies which are pursued in some countries. In particular, the officials in responsible positions, the backbone of our Party, must not vacillate in the least. There will be no failure if we live our own style". (Kim Il Sung: 'Works', Volume 8; p. 274).
Thus, the slogan 'Let Us Live Our Own Way!' was put forward in the 1980s as a means of combating revisionism. Moreover, Comrade Kim Il Sung, with wisdom and clarity stated:
"If the officials are to be completely rid of revisionism and reformism, and live in their own style; they must be firmly armed with the Juche idea of our Party". (Ibid.; p. 274).
Thus a powerful campaign to 'Live Our Own Way' and oppose revisionism was waged by the WPK in the late 80s. Emphasis in particular was placed on the advantages of socialism and on building a national culture. Thus when socialist countries in Eastern Europe collapsed in 1989, the DPRK was as solid as rock and was able to hold successfully the 13th World Festival of Youth and Students.
The WPK's struggle against modern revisionism was always closely bound up with the struggle to establish Juche, the struggle to maintain independence. The Juche idea is itself a profound concept which is based on the principle that the masses are the masters of the revolution and construction. To ensure the people play the role of the master in the revolution there must be independence and creativity. A revolutionary party must not simply copy other parties' policies, no matter how good. Comrade Kim Il Sung once pointed out:
"To establish Juche means, in a word to approach revolution and construction in one's own country with the attitude of a master. This means adhering to the independent stand of rejecting dependence on others and using one's own brains, believing in one's own strength, and displaying the revolutionary spirit of self-reliance, thus solving problems for oneself on one's own responsibility. It also means the creative stand of opposing dogmatism and of applying the universal principles of Marxism-Leninism together with experiences of other countries to suit the historical conditions and national peculiarities of one's own country". (Kim Il Sung: 'Selected Works', Volume 5: p. 500).
Juche meant that the WPK adhered to the line of independence in politics, self-sufficiency in the economy and self-reliance in defence. Thus the WPK has solved all problems arising in the revolution and construction as dictated by its own ideology and belief, on its responsibility and on the revolutionary principle of self-reliance in their own way to suit their situation and the supreme interests of the Korean revolution.
The WPK has been totally opposed to the worship of big powers, dogmatism and all other ideas of relying on foreign forces, and rejected categorically any pressure and interference from outside --whether from the bigger socialist countries or from US and Japanese imperialism. he WPK guided by Juche was able to be unfettered by established formulas and theories, thereby judging everything from the point of view of the Korean revolution, and hewed out the road for the complicated and arduous Koran revolution.
The Korean people value and preserve the revolutionary conditions of the WPK. By emphasising education in the Juche idea, the WPK has empowered the Korean people with the revolutionary lines and policies of the Party, instilled in them high national dignity and pride, and given play to their revolutionary spirit of self-reliance and their revolutionary love of 'Living Their Own Way'.
As they strictly adhered to the Juche stand and the line of independence, the WPK and the Korean people have not vacillated in the raging wind of opportunism, contesting modern revisionism, and in the trying situation in which socialism collapsed in a number of countries; instead, they have been able to defend and add lustre to the Korean style of socialism.