Yesterday's DailyNK (DPRK-friendly? Not at all!!) published the following (disputable, but not uninteresting) piece:
Searching for a New Left and Cooperation
Hereditary succession through three generations is unprecedented in modern history. Anywhere a country has adopted republicanism over monarchy, regardless of whether it is in capitalist or socialist form, a three-generation hereditary succession is a historical abomination hard even to imagine.
Furthermore, since the French revolution of 1789, a majority of countries have adopted the core values of a republic; government by and for the benefit of the citizenry, with elected representatives replaced on a regular basis under universal suffrage.
This is supposed also to be the case in North Korea. The official title of the nation, “Democratic People's Republic of Korea,” clearly states that sovereignty is with the citizens.
However, ever since Kim Il Sung founded an independent government in the northern half of the Korean Peninsula in 1948, there has not been a single change of power by the citizens in that area.
From immediately after the liberation until the 1970s, Kim Il Sung formally imposed a class dictatorship by a supposedly proletarian party, then, since successfully beginning the hereditary succession to Kim Jong Il, the state has been governed by a totalitarian dictatorship even more degenerate than an absolute monarchy. The basic stance of this dictatorship is that authority in North Korea belongs to Kim Il Sung's family, while the citizens and organs of state exist for their benefit.
During the recent Chosun Workers' Party Delegates Conference, North Korea changed the wording of the preamble to the Party regulations from a "Juche-type revolutionary Marxist-Leninist party founded by comrade Kim Il Sung" to the "Party of Great Supreme Leader Kim Il Sung". They might even be lamenting having not changed it to the “Kim Il Sung Party”.
With this act, the Chosun Workers' Party proclaimed to the world that it is the party of the Kim dynasty, by the Kim dynasty, and for the Kim dynasty.
Now, North Korea has only to squeeze Kim Jong Eun, the third son of Kim Jong Il, into the absolutist role. In order to achieve this, they have given this mere 28-year old man the rank of general in the Chosun People's Army and made him Vice Chairman of the Central Military Commission of the Chosun Workers' Party.
Three generations of hereditary succession related in no way to the will of the citizens is being attempted, yet there are no visible signs of chaos. Why would North Koreans not complain about this? Inside sources are even saying that Kim Jong Eun is worse than his father. The answer is that the people are resigned to it, since they understand the tragedy which can befall a whole family with one word of complaint about Kim Jong Eun.
And yet, regardless of this unfolding disaster, “progressive” leftist parties in South Korea are watching on from the sidelines. The comment of one leading party of leftists, the Democratic Labor Party (DLP), was, "It is appropriate to consider it a matter North Korea will decide on, especially for inter-Korean relations.”
The Democratic Party (DP), whose own highly democratic leadership contest came to a conclusion last night, speaks better, but the result is much the same. Take a look at their comment of September 28th, which starts well, "For people with faith in democracy like us, this is a task which is logically hard to understand, no matter how different the system may be."
However, their conclusion is less auspicious, "The shortcut is to promote opening through interchanges and cooperation." They claim that the answer can only be found in the “Sunshine Policy” of the Kim Dae Jung administration, even though 10 years of such sunshine oversaw the three-generation hereditary succession, while repression of the citizenry did not stop.
Civil society is doing no better. South Korea’s largest NGO, People's Solidarity for Participatory Democracy caused a big stir last June when it sent a letter to the president of the UN Security Council to raise suspicions about the results of the South Korean government's investigation into the Cheonan incident, but is now pretending not to see the hereditary succession. It is the same for Citizens' Coalition for Economic Justice and other leftist groups working towards unification.
This stands in contrast to the attitude of conservative groups like Network for North Korean Democracy and Human Rights or Citizens United for a Better Society, the former stating immediately after the formalization of the third generation hereditary succession at the Delegates’ Conference, "The Kim Jong Il regime should stop this historically extraordinary comedy show now.”.
However, this does not mean that all progressive forces are silent.
One voice of dissent is that of the minority New Progressive Party (NPP), which separated from the Democratic Labor Party after an ideological disagreement in 2008. On September 29th, the Party said of the succession, "This is a considerable distance from the universal sentiment of the citizens or general consciousness of modern democracy."
NPP lawmaker Cho Seung Su, who is running for the office of party representative, also criticized the succession on September 30th, asserting, "The progressive camp needs to presents a clear stance (on the third generation hereditary succession)."
He commented, commendably, "It is important for the progressive camp to decide their attitude towards North Korea. If we do not clarify our position, we will not be acknowledged as a normal organization."
However, the general perspective of the progressive leftist camp is to consider the issue a North Korean domestic matter which South Korea should not get involved in. They mean that we should not aggravate North Korea, which they see as a counterpart for communication and cooperation.
However, communication and cooperation with North Korea is ultimately meant to be for the purpose of unification, and the target is meant to be not only the administration but also the integration of the South and North Korean citizenry. Therefore, it is time for serious concern to be given to what kind of pain the extension of the Kim dynasty through three generations will have on the North Korean citizens.
Based on this thought, an article appeared last week written by Son Ho Cheol, a professor at Sogang University. Entitled, “Progressive Camp Needs to Initiate North Korean Democratization Movement”, it was published in the progressive “Pressian” on September 30th.
In it, Professor Son pointed out that even though left wingers harshly criticized former Minister of Foreign Affairs and Trade Yu Myung Hwan for the scandal that led to his recent resignation, the same people have kept silent about the North Korean third generation succession. He said they should discard the double standard whereby it is possible to criticize the South Korean government while advocating for the North Korean situation due to the special Korean Peninsula circumstances.
He also commented, "We need to start worrying about the progressive North Korean democratization movement as well.”
However, he also asserted, "Fundamentally, the democratization of North Korea should be reached by the independent will of the North Korean people. It should not be achieved by outside forces like the new right, which is stepping up to help in the democratization of North Korea from the forefront of the 'anti-democratization movement' in South Korean society, which is where we live."
Of course, the feeling of hostility toward this so-called new right camp within Professor Son's assertion is very prejudiced, and the authority to exclude anyone from working towards North Korean democratization is given to no one. The democratization of North Korea is not the exclusive property of any one individual or group which claims moral superiority or a specific philosophy.
North Korean democratization is one proposition which left and right and progressive and conservative can discuss jointly. Through this, we can leave an important stamp on humankind's log book by freeing the poor North Korean citizens, who have no choice but to serve the Kim dynasty.
Therefore, we need to consider the fact that Professor Son urged the awakening of the progressive camp on the issue of North Korea's democratization movement. As can be seen from the situation of the Democratic Labor Party, the issue of pro-North Korea sentiment is not something that can be solved easily.
However, it does not mean the task is impossible. Any group with a healthy and reasonable outlook within the progressive leftist camp can initiate a sincere discussion on its negligence toward North Korean democratization. Indeed, Social Democratic Solidarity, which is led by Joo Dae Hwan, a representative and former member of the Democratic Labor Party, is actively seeking a role for leftist group in North Korean human rights and democratization.
Within North Korea's third generation hereditary succession, which is blocking the advance of humankind, lays an opportunity. It is to be hoped that an honest discussion of the “progressive democratization movement theory” proposed by Professor Son will soon come to pass.
The Korean version (well, it could/should be a basis for discussion!!) you can read here:
☞ 南 진보는 北 민주화 위해 보수와 경쟁할 때다