On 19 June 1964, 57 years ago, Comrade Kim Jong Il of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea started working on the central committee of the ruling Workers Party of Korea, and in the DPRK this anniversary is celebrated as one of great importance.
This is owing to the fact that, contrary to the scornful dismissals of imperialist media, dutifully parroted by ‘respectable’ bourgeois academics and by sham socialists everywhere, the choice of leader in the DPRK is not one of mere family connection but is based on a long history of hard work.
In Comrade Kim Jong Il’s case, even as a schoolboy he was involved in politics. He was active in the Korean Children’s Union and the Democratic Youth League of north Korea (DYL), taking part in study groups of Marxist political theory and other literature.
In September 1957, he became vice-chairman of his middle school’s DYL branch (the chairman had to be a teacher). He pursued a programme of anti-factionalism and attempted to encourage greater ideological education among his classmates.
After admission into the Workers Party of Korea and subsequent elevation to the central committee, not only did he carry a heavy workload but his contribution was assessed by his peers to be such as to render him the person best suited to undertake such a heavy and difficult responsibility as leading the DPRK.
As it turned out, their judgment was not wrong.
The DPRK is a tiny country of 26 million people, geographically half the size of Britain, and with only 18 percent of its surface comprising arable land (most is mountains). As a result of its having taken an independent, socialist path, the country has ever since its founding been subject to devastating sanctions by the various imperialist powers, specifically designed to cripple its economy so as to ‘prove’ that socialism ‘doesn’t work’.
If these problems were not enough, Comrade Kim Jong Il took the helm in 1994, just three years after the collapse of its main trading partner the Soviet Union, which hugely disrupted the country’s economic activity. Then, to cap it all, the DPRK suffered several years of severe flooding which devastated crops.
These were the Herculean challenges that Kim Jong Il had to face as newly-elected leader of the country. Under his leadership, the Workers Party and the entire Korean people rose as one to overcome all difficulties. Through their strenuous efforts, they managed to greatly increase production capacity in record time, not least because of the ‘Songun’ (military first) policy proposed by Comrade Kim Jong Il, which led to Korea’s million-strong army being mobilised to serve the national effort.
When the ruling parties of various socialist countries were dissolved in the 1990s, Kim Il Sung was determined that the WPK should continue to hold high the banner of socialism, and to this end he wrote several books demonstrating its scientific accuracy and truthfulness.
Kim Jong Il mainted the firm mass foundation of the WPK. “The people are my God” was his motto, and he insisted that all party organisations and officials should go among the masses to share good times and bad with them, to listen to their demands and to make devoted efforts to serve them. He was determined that the party’s policies and line at all times should reflect the people’s demands and aspirations.
In the wake of the collapse of socialism in eastern Europe in the 1990s, the allied imperialist forces imposed further vicious sanctions to stifle and isolate north Korea, and gleefully expected that the DPRK, too, would soon collapse.
In the face of these harshest-ever trials, Kim Jong Il administered his Songun strategy as the means by which the sovereignty and dignity of the country could be safeguarded in the face of the manoeuvres of the allied imperialist forces.
Thus it was that despite incredibly difficult external conditions, the DPRK was able to strengthen its self-defence capabilities and win victory in the unprecedented anti-imperialist confrontation and in the struggle to defend socialism.
It went on to overcome its internal difficulties, laying firm foundations for the building of a powerful socialist country by dint of army-people unity.
These are the reasons that the DPRK’s people celebrate 19 June as enthusiastically as they do 10 October, the WPK’s founding day.