It is often talked about alleged victims of socialism and communism in the modern mainstream media. And even though many of the allegations were proven false already by world renowned scholars and institutions, even though the allegations come from intelligence services and politicians which have been proven liars, the “red scare” era fabrications of “evils of socialism” pertain today in the public consciousness.
However, let us take a look at victims of capitalism and imperialism on the day we remember the Kwangju uprising and massacre. Let us look at the victims that are rarely mentioned in the mainstream media, within a modern colony built upon a sea of blood and despair, known as south Korea. After all, the victims that are not heard about are still victims, right?
When the US colonized the south of Korea by drawing a line on a map like a colonial empire it is, it installed a bourgeois nationalist dictator called Syngman Rhee as their puppet “president”. They, in mutual conformity, installed a military dictatorship regime in the south in order to repress the reunification sentiment that was growing amongst the popular masses, who also wanted to live in a socialist country like the DPRK was, where all of their basic rights, like free housing, healthcare and social care, would be ensured and not in a capitalist jungle where they would be exploited by their colonial masters and their local goons. The government of the colony of south Korea at the time was made up of failed nationalist politicians who compromised with the Japanese in the anti-Japanese war, as well as a lot of outright Japanese collaborators who, did the following themselves or helped organize, tortures, murders, kidnappings and mass rapes and other war crimes for the Japanese while Korea was a Japanese colony. This demonstrated clearly what kind of colony the U.S. was building in south of Korea, one built upon blood and desperation of Korean people, especially Korean patriots, socialists, communists and reunification fighters who wanted to join their brothers in the north to build an independent happy socialist society free from imperialist occupation, and who wanted to kick the occupying American military force out of Korea.
The American colonists, with help from their lackey, traitor of Korean people, Syngman Rhee, seem to have killed some 3 million or more Koreans (not counting military deaths of the KPA) during time of his administration in events such as Jeju massacre which were results of political repression of the Syngman Rhee government (up to some more than 100. 000 dead), Mungyeong massacre (a large part of victims of this massacre where schoolchildren), Bodo League massacre (some more than 200. 000 dead), Yeosu-Suncheon rebellion (with several thousands of civilians who sympathized with the reunification cause of insurgents and patriot insurgents themselves killed), Hill 303 massacre where US army shot into a crowd of hundred thousand students who marched in support of jailed unemployed coal miners who were jailed, well, because they were unemployed (an editorial from the locality where the massacre happened described the situation: “We cannot take the humiliation any longer and must fight against imperialism and the barbarity of the U.S. Army. . . . In north Korea, Japanese exploitation was abolished and land was given back to the people through the agrarian and labor laws. In south Korea, the property of the Japanese imperialists was taken over by the Americans and Korean reactionary elements. . . . The people are suffering from oppression and exploitation. This is democracy?”.), many other killings because of “overcrowded prisons” and revolts where US army was called to restore order which is another proof of south Korea just being their colony, killing of civilians in the Fatherland Liberation War, or Korean War, up to 2.000.000, which is 20% of the entire population of the DPRK, of civilians in the DPRK were killed in American air raids, and with accordance to American “scorched earth” doctrine, which implied leveling to the ground everything American and south Korean army passed through, and even civilian casualties in south Korea can be ascribed to south Korean paramilitary organizations like the “Peace Maintenance Corps” and US military who killed civilians (for example No Gun Ri Massacre) suspected as communists, even if they just took rice from communist public kitchens because they were starving and also the civilians who died by Syngman Rhee’s call to persecute anyone who neighbors might suspect is a communist in their neighborhood, the Masan incident during the April Popular uprising which was repressed in blood and any more “incidents” and massacres against Korean patriots, fighters for reunification, communists and anti-imperialists whose crime was that they didn’t want a foreign boot on their head.
Due to ever growing anti-imperialist sentiment in south Korea when Syngman Rhee was forced out of the country and had to be rescued by CIA, the US once again conspired to put a strongman in power to take care of their capitalist colony in the south of Korea by ushering a new age of terror and murder as a way to keep people in line for their colonial masters. In July of 1961, with passive support from US, a military strongman, Park Chung Hee (who was infatuated with Japanese militarism from the days of Japanese occupied Korea) led a coup and installed a military dictatorship in the south of Korea. The first thing Park did when coming to power was arresting children and vagrants on the street to put them into child slave labor in a campaign he described as “cleaning up the streets”. Although there is hardly any data about deaths caused by this regime, since the political repression was heightened during the period of Park’s rule, expanding the secret services of south Korea, and continuing malpractices of Syngman Rhee’s government by calling upon laws that it implemented (frequent imprisonment and torture for example for suspicion of communist activity) it is hard to imagine that there were no casualties under the Yusin regime, in fact, it would be logical to conclude that blood of many Korean patriots, reunification activists, socialists and communists fell on Parks hands. This would also be the first time that infamous Chaebol (south Korean corporations) would gain much prominence, whose owners are considered to be above the legal authority.
After Park Chung Hee was assassinated, the military, led by Chun Doo Hwan tried to keep their regime in place, which brings us to the Gwangju Uprising of 1980. which we are remembering today. The protests were similar to the ones described previously in the article, with thousands of casualties, however they are known by the special brutality with which the military suppressed them. The military killed, raped, beaten and tortured protesters, even going as far as using attack helicopters to fire at them. The military government’s response stands as a testament to seemly never-changing attitude of the supposed south Korean government towards the plights of the Korean people who struggle for reunification and anti-imperialism.
However, let us mention one more horrific event which happened after the Gwangju Uprising, more than worthy of notice, showcasing the real horrors of the south Korean so-called government’s crimes against their own people. Since 1982 up to 1988 Seoul Olympics, thousands of “vagrants”(in quotations because 90% of the locked up didn’t even meet the definition of vagrant but were actually just working class), mostly children and the disabled were rounded up and taken to, what was called “Brothers’ Home”, to be raped, murdered and tortured by police officers in a bid to “clean up the country” ahead of the Olympics. Children were, often falsely, accused of stealing bread and then taken to the detention center where they were violently raped and murdered by security guards. Much like policies of Park Chung Hee, the children were also abused as child slave labor. This crime, as many others committed by the so called south Korean government, still remains unresolved, with surviving victims demanding justice for what had happened to them.
It is important to note that in this article only the direct killings are taken into account, with victims of the capitalist jungle of an economic system not even taken into account. All of the starved people (especially under Syngman Rhee regime and Park Chung Hee regime), the women forced into prostitution just to survive and feed their children, the rampant child pornography made for profit (the largest child pornography ring recently broken up in south Korea in 2019.), all of the jailed unemployed workers, all of the suicides that happen because of the broken system that is colonial capitalism in south Korea (south Korea still ranks highest in suicide rates, economic uncertainty being one of the main causes) and other unseen victims of capitalism and imperialism…
Even in the recent history Korean peoples in the south continue to struggle more and more vocally against US imperialism, and specifically US forces in their country who are continuously called to get out of the peninsula, and still the so called south Korean government cracks down on reunification protesters, most notably crack downs during the Park Geun Hye regime. However the plight of the Korean people might just come to an end soon as the numbers of protestors against US imperialism grows by the day, and Korean people will finally be able to join their brothers and sisters in the north in building their country independently in their own way. The DPRK has not, and will never bow down to imperialist demands of subordination of the whole of Korean people. The DPRK continues building its socialism and creating a society and country which takes care of its people and will continue doing so forever. In the DPRK a socialist society, where the needs of the Korean people are above demands of foreign imperialist powers, is maintained unlike in the south, and nobody will be able to change that. The DPRK stays on the path of anti-imperialism until the final victory is achieved and the US occupying forces are finally kicked out from south of Korea and the whole of Korean people are liberated from the chains of their colonial tendencies.
Let us remember forever the victims of the Gwangju Massacre,
Let us remember forever all of the victims of capitalism and imperialism in south Korea,
Long live the DPRK, the true independent state of the Korean people!