Greetings and good evening everyone . I am Dr Dermot Hudson chairman of the UK Korean Friendship Association and Official Delegate of the Korean Friendship Association to the UK since March 2001 , also the Chairman of the British Group for the Study of the Juche Idea since 1985 .I am author of the books ‘ In Defence of Juche Korea’ , “ Korea of Juche ‘ and ‘In Defence of Songun ‘ and many other books , I am currently working a short book refuting the allegations of a famine in the DPRK during the 1990s.
I am going to talk tonight about a country which I visited 18 times since 1992 , the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea or People’s Korea or Juche Korea or socialist Korea . The media like to refer to the DPRK as north Korea but in fact historically and geographically there is no north and south Korea , the Korean people are one nation and one people. This is one of the first misunderstandings about the country and is basically used to deny the legitimacy of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea or DPRK which was founded in 1948 not just by the people of the northern part of Korea but the people of south Korea as well . The DPRK is the fruit of the struggle for independence of Korea from Japan that was waged under the leadership of President KIM IL SUNG over a period of many years .
Today the DPRK is one of the most vilified and demonized countries on the face of the earth , all because it is the most independent country in the world , once described by former British prime minister as a country with ‘undiluted sovereignty which was a sort of a backhanded compliment to the DPRK . When I was a kid years ago I once read a science book which had a section on Britain’s nuclear weapons which said that two keys are needed to fire a nuclear rocket from the UK and one of those keys is held by an American officer ! In People’s Korea , the right to fire the large sized ICBMs that you saw paraded on October 10th is entirely in Korean hands , no other country can make decisions about what weapons the DPRK can or cannot use . The DPRK does not have a single foreign soldier stationed on its soil , however south Korea is occupied by at least 30,000 US troops and even has to pay for the upkeep of the US occupation troops . In the UK we had a referendum about whether to stay in the EU or not ( I voted Leave myself) but in south Korea no referendum has ever been held on whether US troops stay in south Korea or not , South Korea is basically a modern type of colony .
Of course independence and sovereignty are not simply about what weapons you can fire . It is about control of the economy , of culture etc, Whether people can exercise control over all aspects of society or whether decisions are made by outside forces . As President KIM IL SUNG said ‘ Independence is what keeps man alive. If he loses independence in society, he cannot be called a man; he differs little from an animal. We might say that socio-political life is more valuable to a man than physical life. He is a social being. If he is forsaken by society and deprived of political independence although he seems alive, he is virtually dead as a social human being. That is why the revolutionaries deem it far more honourable to die in the fight for freedom than to remain alive in slavery.”
Someone asked UK KFA through facebook about a week ago about the Central Bank in the DPRK , this is indeed owned by the state and under the control of the people through their people’s government . The DPRK is not a member of the IMF or World Bank so decisions about the DPRK’s economy are made in Pyongyang not in Washington , Brussels or Tokyo . The DPRK is a planned economy run by the people and in the interests of the people .
The Juche Idea is the basic underpin of the independence of People’s Korea . So what is the Juche idea ? First I will answer what it is not . It is not simply nationalism as some claim . The Juche idea is internationalist . The DPRK has given generous assistance to other countries . It has supported revolutionary and anti-imperialist struggles in many countries such as Vietnam , Cuba, Angola and others . Several African countries have monuments built by DPRK for them and in Egypt and Syria there are war museums built by the DPRK .
Juche is not simply Marxism-Leninism applied to Korea as some claim . It contains original features but at the same time inherits features of classical Marxism-Leninism .In People’s Korea socialism had to be built through not only struggle against imperialism and class enemies but against a hidden internal enemy , dogmatists and factionalists . These people would argue against different policies of the Workers Party of Korea either saying that such and such policy was not in the classics of Marxism -Leninism or that it had not been done in a big country . Such elements claimed to be pure Marxists , purer than pure but in fact their approach was actually extremely reactionary and counter-revolutionary , for example opposing collectivisation. Juche meant that new and original solutions were found to previously unanswered questions. Of course Juche does not reject Marxism-Leninism out of hand .
Basically the Juche Idea is the idea that the people are the masters of the revolution and construction .
It stipulates that humans are the masters of their destiny and have the power to carve it . Juche , therefore, rejects all kinds of superstitious and fatalistic notions about the fate of humans either being predetermined or controlled by an unseen mysterious deity existing outside time and space.
The Juche Idea was authored by the great leader of the Korean people , President KIM IL SUNG who first outlined the Juche Idea at the historic Kalun meeting of young Korean revolutionaries in
June 1930. It was systematised and further developed by Chairman KIM JONG IL who wrote the classic treatise ON THE JUCHE IDEA in 1982.
Juche defines humans as social beings with independence , creativity and consciousness. The most important thing is to develop the independence and creativity of people during all stages of the revolution and construction . The key thing is to take the independent stand in the revolution , this
means establishing Juche in ideology, independence in politics , self-sufficiency in the economy and self-reliance in national defence .
Juche was established in People ‘s Korea as a result of the struggle not only against Japanese colonialism and US domination but also the struggle to be independent from big powers such as the USSR and China which although supposed allies of the DPRK tended to interfere in the DPRK and put pressure on it .The Soviet big-power chauvinists and modern revisionists tried to subordinate the DPRK economy to their own but President KIM IL SUNG was having none of it and adhered to the line of economic independence .The big power chauvinists tried to induce the DPRK to join the CMEA by offering to supply to the DPRK electricity from the Lake Baikal power station.
At that time President KIM II SUNG told them: “We will not use electricity generated by the power station; if we become dependent on electricity from you and then you fail to supply it, then we would suffer greatly; if we have funds for transmission cables from the power station to our country, it would be more effective for us to use these funds to build another hydroelectric power station in our country. It has become more clear today that our decision to build socialism by our own efforts on the principle of self-reliance and not enter the CMEA was quite correct’.
In fact the USSR basically cut economic and military aid to the DPRK in 1962.
It is thanks to the independent Juche line that when socialism collapsed in the USSR and other Eastern European countries , the DPRK did not collapse but instead marched on holding high the red flag of socialism and serving as an example to other countries.
Guided by the Juche idea and led by the Workers Party of Korea guided by President KIM IL SUNG and Chairman KIM JONG IL and now Marshal KIM JONG UN , the Korean people have made great achievements in building a new country.
The economy of the DPRK grew 431 times in terms of industrial output value and 65 times in national income between 1946-1984 ! This is an extremely high rate of growth. Two Western economists Brun and Hersh in their book “Socialist Korea a Case Study in comparative economic development” quoted an economic expert as stating that the DPRK’s annual average economic growth rate between 1954 and 1970 was 23.5 % . Probably the highest growth rate in the world and a genuine Korean economic miracle(by the way the term Korean economic miracle was actually used by the eminent Cambridge economist Professor Joan V Robinson in 1964 to describe the DPRK economy). All this was done under conditions of sanctions and blockade by the US and other countries. Moreover it was entirely by the DPRK’s own efforts not by ‘aid’ from the imperialist countries and certainly not favourable trade terms.
At a time when the Western countries had enforced a virtually total sanctions regime and blockade in the late 1950s the DPRK economy grew at a rate of 36.6% per annum between 1957 -1960 . In 1957 its rate of growth hit 44% undoubtedly the highest in the world.
.Free education and free health care were introduced, long ago, indeed the free health system was introduced in the flames of war in 1953. The DPRK has 300 universities compared to 130 in the UK even though the DPRK’s population
Korean people receive great social benefits such as free housing and taxation was abolished in 1974. Now under the leadership of dear respected Marshal KIM JONG UN the WPK is pushing forward all manner of projects to improve living standards.
Visiting the DPRK several times since 2012 I have seen with my eyes the fast changing reality of the People’s Korea led by the WPK and Marshal KIM JONG UN . Whole new streets have appeared such as Changjon Street, Mirae Scientists Street and Ryomyong Street . I can remember visiting the DPRK in April 2016 and Ryomyong Street was just bare earth with lorries moving around . One year later I came back in April 2017 a whole new street the size of a town or a new city had appeared . We were told that Professor Ri Mu Il who had been our guide in 2012 had moved into Ryomyong Street . Also new health care facilities such as the Okryu Children’s Hospital and the Ryugyong Ophthalmic Hospital were constructed , both of which I have visited .
Today People’s Korea is the only country in the world without Covid 19 . This is not simply an assertion of the DPRK but is confirmed by the World Health Organisation.
2 weeks ago on October 10th the DPRK held a massive military parade to mark the 75th anniversary of the foundation of the Workers’ Party of Korea .Only People’s Korea guided by Juche was able to hold such a large-scale parade at the time of the worldwide pandemic . Moreover People’s Korea in the grip of the stranglehold of the reactionary imperialist sanctions . Since 2016 the UN Security Council have imposed 5 rounds of sanctions and also the US , EU and Britain have imposed sanctions on People’s Korea . On top of the sanctions imposed by the imperialist hostile forces on People’s Korea , the country suffered severe natural disasters such as flood and typhoon .If other countries faced the same situation of the DPRK they would not have been able hold such a magnificent and grand parade . The DPRK recovered from the flood and typhoon damage in double quick time and by its own efforts , without outside aid , in the spirit of self-reliance.
The parade itself had a number of striking features different to previous DPRK military parades . Firstly , it was held at midnight . This is something quite unprecedented . I have attended five military parades in the DPRK but they have always been during the daytime , usually in the morning , occasionally in the afternoon .This time was different , it was the parade was held before dawn , This shows the strong discipline and devotion to duty of the officers and soldiers of the Korean People’s Army . The imperialists like to say that there is no electricity in the DPRK but the parade was bathed in the light of powerful floodlights . Secondly , a fine array of state of the art weaponry was displayed including a giant Intercontinental Ballistic Missile that looked far bigger than the old Soviet ICBMs . The DPRK was not
sweet-talked by the imperialists into unilateral disarmament or the so-called ‘Libyan model ‘ . The DPRK is not soft like the old Soviet Union which did deals with the imperialists only to be undermined from within by them and destroyed in the end. At the same time it was stressed by Marshal KIM JONG UN that the DPRK’s nuclear deterrent is after all a nuclear deterrent and will not be used for a pre-emptive strike . Thus the DPRK’s mighty Hwasong 16 is an ICBM for peace , an ICBM for independence .
Finally I will just answer some common arguments of People’s Korea thrown up by opponents . Firstly , some claim that the DPRK is a dictatorship . Is the DPRK a dictatorship , the answer is no . Marshal KIM JONG UN is the elected head of state and elected Chairman of the Central Committee of the Workers’ Party of Korea is enjoying far more popular support than any Western head of state in history . In the DPRK general election held in March 2019 99.97 percent of all the voters took part in the election and 100 percent of them voted for the candidates . A demonstration of decisive support, and single-hearted unity . but what of the so-called Western’democracies’ ? In the US presidential election in 2016 , voter turnout was only 55 per cent .In the UK General election in December 2019 , 67 percent of electors voted and the ruling party was elected with the votes of 27 percent of electors . Clearly the leaders of the imperialist countries have no real democratic mandate to rule whereas Marshal KIM JONG UN and the Workers’ Party of Korea does . The DPRK is a people’s democracy , a socialist democracy . In People’s Korea , deputies to the Supreme People’s Assembly, the highest organ of power are honorable servants of the people . Ordinary workers are deputies to the Supreme People’s Assembly.There is no need to compete for a place in parliamentary easy street but rather a matter of the people choosing the best people for the job , people they will have confidence in . Thus elections in the DPRK are a civilized affair and people dance and sing on election day . In the DPRK people exercise power at all levels from the humble people’s neighourhood unit to the Supreme People’s Assembly.
From time to time the real rulers in so-called “democracies ‘ when faced with a serious crisis , dispense with the facade and rule by force , this is what happened in Germany , Italy and other countries in the 1930s . A dictatorship is when the capitalist megacorporations sink their differences and entrust power to one individual or a group of individuals to rule on their behalf . However in the DPRK where social ownership prevails there are no big private corporations so a dictatorship cannot arise.
Secondly some criticise the DPRK over human rights .Now on the issue of human rights .
Well years ago someone told me that human rights are a political football . You can score a goal in the game against an opposing political and economic system if you kick the ball marked ‘human rights ‘ into the net and yes it is a bit like that . Human rights can be a weapon of regime change .
People cite the UN Commission of Enquiry in 2014 .The UN Commission of Inquiry never visited the DPRK even once nor did it actually bother to interview a single DPRK citizen or give the DPRK the chance to answer the allegations . The Commission of Inquiry was a farce , it produced one of the most one sided and biased and partisan documents in the whole history of the United Nations . What it did show was the UN is a puppet , a marionette of the United States and other Western imperialist countries.
If you actually read the ‘Commission of Inquiry ‘ report you find it is actually full of institutionalized anti-communism and anti-socialism .It is basically ‘Juche-phobic ‘if there is such a thing . The DPRK is actually condemned for being a socialist country .
Visiting the DPRK 18 times I have never seen giant ‘forced labour camps’ and ‘concentration camps’ that the imperialists allege exist in the DPRK ? I could not see such a thing in fact I didn’t even see one barbed wire fence in the countryside nor large numbers of police or security personnel.
The imperialists claim that there are hundreds of thousands of people held in camps in the DPRK , such camps would have to be massive and with a huge number of guards but I did not see such a thing in the DPRK countryside. Moreover the DPRK is very peaceful and calm; you rarely see emergency vehicles rushing through the busy streets. If it what the imperialists say about “human rights ” and ” forced labour camps ” in the DPRK was true, then you would say police or security personnel on the streets arresting many people and putting them in lorries to go to “labour camps ” or “concentrations camps ” but I saw no such thing happen. I did not see heavily armed police on the streets that you sometimes encounter in London , either on the streets or at railway stations or at airports . Indeed I was able to go for a walk near the Mansudae Assembly Hall, the home of the DPRK Supreme People’s Assembly , the highest organ of legislative power in the DPRK and roughly equivalent to the parliament. Now in London the area around parliament is a restricted area where movement is controlled and armed police units patrol. However in Pyongyang I saw no police or security personnel in the area surrounding the Mansudae Assembly hall. Of course the DPRK is a stable and harmonious unified society based on single hearted unity so there is no terrorism and no riots. In the DPRK there is unity between the armed forces and civilians so people do not fear or despise the armed forces.
In fact the DPRK has taken a number of measures to consolidate human rights protection such as establishing the DPRK Association for Human Rights Studies on August 27, 1992. In addition to provisions in the constitution on gender equality and the law on sexual equality of 1946, the Law of the DPRK on Protection of Women’s Rights was passed on December 22, 2010 and supplemented in 2011 . Legislation on children’s rights and the rights of the disabled was also passed. Recently a general amnesty for those convicted of crimes against the country was announced effective from the 17th of September 2020. So now there are no prisoners at all in the DPRK.
To conclude, People’s Korea is hated by the imperialists and a target of industrial scale propaganda and demonisation because it upholds independence , it upholds Juche and is a real socialist country .
Thank you for listening .