North Korea in the eyes of Turkey’s Socialists
In the following paragraph’s you’ll see what a group of socialist’s from Turkey, who were invited to North Korea by the DPRK itself, saw and what they thought about the country.
Interviewer: You went to Korea as Anti Imperialist Front (AIF). What was the purpose of your destination and how did you go?
The main purpose of our journey was to establish a dialogue with the DPRK and to recognise each other politically. We went as we were aware that the peoples of Korea and Turkey could do good things together. The anti-imperialist stance of Korea and the policies that the United States has pursued over the years have revealed that we should not go to Korea and that we should not establish any kind of connection with them. After all, our enemy is a partner. But we had no contact with each other. Of course, one of our goals for going to Korea was to include them in the AIF and strengthen the AIF. In this context, we have invited them to the International Eyüp Symposium which will be held next year and has been held annually. They accepted our offer. If we can tackle the visa problem, one person who represents KDHC will come to Turkey next year.
Let’s talk a bit about how we actually went to the DPRK. First of all, the Korean government invited us for the first time this year. In fact, we’ve been trying to reach them for years and we can say that we have finally communicated with them. They sent us an invitation letter. The reason we were invited was Kim Il-sung’s 105th Birthday. In this context, we visited the place. In order to reach Korea, first you have to get a Chinese visa. After we get our Chinese visas, we need to go to Beijing and get a Korean visa from the DPRK embassy there. So we went to China at first. The employees of the Embassy of the DPRK there welcomed us. We stayed in Beijing for 1 night to complete the visa process. After all the operations and journeys, we reached Korea on the evening of April 13th.
Interviewer: What is the current situation of North Korea? What kind of country is it? What can you tell us if you explain socialism through North Korea?
They do not really like being called the north. Because they see Korea as a single state. The southern part of the country, South Korea, is a part of the US occupation, according to them. In fact, in 1948, DPRK was founded in all of Korea. Later in the early 1950s, the country was divided into two by the intervention of the USA and NATO. I think this reaction of DPRK is historical and right. The official name of the country is the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea.
If we talk a little bit about the present condition of Korea; Korea is a far-eastern country with a population of 24 million and an area of 120,000 km^2. About 8 million people live in the capital Pyongyang. Surrounded by China, South Korea, Russia and Japan. Even though they seem to be a little geographically stuck, they are a country that has cultivated and developed themselves from every angle. It’s a very different world there. I mean, not a lot like the capitalist world. It’s a developed country in many ways with socialist alternatives (for example, technology). It would be better to call it a clean world. That is, you can understand this very clearly in this country where it has not been exposed to the heat and dirt of capitalism.
If we look at what the current political situation in Korea is; It is very clear that they are anti-imperialists. They both historically and ideologically own this. It is clear that they are against America and that they will not compromise. It is clear where they stand by the statement’s they release. I mentioned above about their position against South Korea, if I could open it a bit more. There is no official relationship with South Korea. According to them, the state in South Korea is a puppet founded by the USA. If we look at the Korean War, then it really is, we can see it. Because of that, there are always dreams of taking that land and forming a united single Korea, and they also believe that they will achieve it.
Since 1948, DPRK has been governed by socialist principles and methods. Kim Il Sung, the leader of the country, established this state as a result of a national liberation struggle against the Japanese occupiers. Of course, it started by establishing a guerrilla movement in the first stage against the Japanese. Because of this, the Korean state attaches great importance to the guerrilla and loves it. They have a historical commitment. Kim Il Sung’s entire family was martyred in this guerrilla war against the Japanese. That’s why Kim’s family has become important to the Korean people. This is the reason why the presidents who manage the country are always out of Kim’s family. Kim Jong Un is sitting in the chair right now.
If we will explain socialism through Korea; the situation that affected me the most was that there was no degeneration. In Korea, people are very loyal to their tradition and protect it as it is. Things that decay society, such as drugs and prostitution, do not exist in North Korea. Of course this is a social aspect of socialism. A socialist Korea has learned to produce everything on its own over the years. Because there is socialism for 70 years. Of course, it is also effective as a result of the collapse of the socialist front in the 90s. Because the countries which they traded with most where these one’s before the 90s. As a result of their integration into the imperialist system, DPRK now has a self-contained, closed economy. They produce all the products themselves and offer them to their people, except for a few raw materials which are mandatory to be imported from China. This is important, of course. They do not suffer from poverty because they do not have a consumption culture and because the planned economy works. In fact, Korea is a country with very limited resources. But the power of the planned economy can be seen very easily through Korea. I am sure that if there was a capitalist system in Korea, a large part of the people would suffer serious poverty.
I want to talk a little bit about their ideology about socialism. They believe in and follow Juche’s ideology. In fact, when the Korean Labour Party was first established, it was a Marxist Leninist party. In this respect, they are closer to Stalin in the first years of the country. Of course, Kim Sung did not give up being ML after the ruling revisionists arrived in the Soviet Union. Especially in Soviet-Chinese tensions that lived in 1965, the DPRK leader suggests that they should create ideologies and practices which continue Marxism Leninism. Thus, an ideology that we call the Juche ideology is beginning to be formed. Certainly, it is an ideology developed in practice. Looking at its basic principles is enough to understand it. If we would roughly count the basic principles of the Juche ideology; political independence, economy self-sufficiency, politicised soldiers which means people and peace. As you can see, the experiences of the Korean state in history are effective in the formation of this ideology.
Interviewer: What kind of people are the Korean people? What were your observations?
Koreans are really a different people. I will explain how we realised this. On our return from Korea, we came to Beijing, the capital of China, and we really understood that the people of Korea were different. The smile on the faces of people in Korea and the innocence of being clean is more than China. The lives of the people of China is reflected because after President Mao the country integrates itself into the imperialist system. For example, theft rate in Beijing is very high. In Korea, when we asked our guide if there was any theft’s occurred here, he responded with a question saying “Why should people steal?”, and also probably did not understand what we meant. We’re talking about someone who has not seen any theft in their life.
As I have mentioned in the last question , there is no corruption in the Korean people. If we were to open it like this; no begging, no drug use and no prostitution. I do not think the state has strict measures on these issues. Because the people have not absorbed these things and there is no need for any law’s. The fact that there is the absence of degeneration, and that people are fond of their traditions made it possible to preserve them at first. This indulgence, of course, is not a nationalist conservative form. The Korean people are also very open to other people’s games and music. For example, they were able to dance accompanied by cowboy songs. This shows us that the hostility there towards the USA is only at a class level. They have no reaction to the American people, they even love to play American folk games culturally.
I want to talk a little about the politics of the Korean people. Militarisation is very important for the Korean people. Because they want to be prepared for a constant American occupation. They do not want to be caught unprepared when they face a situation like the Korean War. So military training is very important for all the people. There are more than 1 million soldiers in Korea today. I think, however, that the actual strength of Korea is that in the case of war, all its people have the capability to fight. In this respect, it is very natural that they are a politically organised people. People are aware of everything. Therefore, they want to protect their state by finding such a method.
From what I have mentioned above, you probably think of the Korean people as a very hard and serious people because of their military aspect. But not at all. People are constantly prepared for this war situation but they are very cheerful in daily life. I mean, it’s not that strange that people who are so organised and militarised smile so much. Despite such constant threats, Koreans are hopeful for the future and they like to pursue their ideals.
Interviewer: Can you review the birthday party you attended? The imperialists have widely used images of this ceremony. But they used it as a means of propaganda against Korea. You were there. Could you tell us what you’ve been through?
Yeah, it was a truly impressive ceremony for us. I remember becoming excited as it was like I had been watching this and other similar exhibits in the Soviets for years. Of course, the red star on the horses of the soldiers walking was effective in my life. As far as I understand these celebrations, there was a very clear message to the world: Socialism is not dead, it is alive. Most foreign press media organisations have said it is a show of strength. And many of them have hidden the truth. This transition was actually a traditional ritual. In other words, it was held every year as part of Kim Il Sung’s 105th Birthday. However, most of the bourgeois press reports that these demonstrations are the a show of strength and that they are being regulated due to the growing tension with the USA. They are hiding this simple truth from the people even when they give news about Korea, you should think about the rest. There was another truth in this ceremony, PEOPLE. The people were all there. None of the bourgeois press gave this fact. For example, after the military crossing ceremony was over, people were passing by in an ordered fashion. The foreign media did not want to report them. Of course it is not the variety and the size of the weapons in my opinion from my point of view. It was the intense participation of the people. Because no power can defeat a united people. You understood very clearly the unity of the people here. The gigantic slogans and flags that they created with the cotton in their hands in this huge square screamed this to the whole world.
Of course, we had a chance to see Kim Jong Un there. A very sympathetic and beloved leader is among the Korean people. I want to talk about an event we are experiencing in terms of understanding the public’s commitment. During our ceremony we were accompanied by our Korean host Pak Hyong Lee. At that time, Kim Jong Un came to the area and our host was very emotional. When we asked what happened, our host said “It is the first time seeing my leader so closely”, and that is why he was so emotional. So it is a situation that decays many of the black propaganda that is said about their leaders. That’s why I wanted to tell you.
Interviewer: What is the political significance of this trip to Korea?
Politically, it’s a big deal for us. We’ve been trying to reach DPRK for years, and we’ve reached it. I was also honoured to accomplish this through ourselves. We talked about ourselves there in general. We talked politically about what we were doing, how we were acting, and how we were Marxist-Leninist's. Of course, this situation attracted attention. We can also understand this situation as they had a private interview with us. I mentioned above that there were participants from 24 countries. We were the youngest among them. That was very interesting for us and we also found it weird. Because they were very surprised that we came to Korea with 2 young people representing 47 years of a movement.
I believe it was a very productive trip politically. We have learned a lot from each other and I am confident that we will learn more in the coming years. I believe that in the following years DPRK will be a member and a developer of the Anti Imperialist Front. Thank You.