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Proletarian issue 20 (October 2007)
Building a revolutionary party – the Korean experience
In celebration of the 62nd anniversary of the founding of the Workers’ Party of Korea, 10 October 1945.
One of the central and most essential lessons that needs to be drawn from the struggles of working and oppressed peoples throughout the world is that if there is to be a successful revolution, if the people are to throw off the chains of exploitation and successfully build a new society, then they need a general staff.

All experience, since the days of the Paris Commune in nineteenth-century France, shows that this general staff can only be a revolutionary party with a correct ideology and principled leadership. This is one of the greatest lessons to be learned from the revolutionary experience of the Soviet Union, China, Vietnam, Cuba and Korea, just as today it is being earnestly debated and struggled over in Venezuela.

In common with other peoples who had fallen victim to colonialism and imperialism, the Korean people learned the bitter lesson that, no matter how hard they struggled, and how much blood they shed, all their struggles came to nothing until such time as the communist partisans, led by Comrade Kim Il Sung, stepped forward to begin the work of revolutionary party building in conjunction with organising and waging an armed struggle against Japanese imperialism in firm and fraternal unity with their Soviet and Chinese comrades.

This work of revolutionary party building finally led to the founding of the Workers’ Party of Korea (WPK) on 10 October 1945. Since then, in the words of the country’s leaders, the party has “organised and led all the victories of the Korean people”.

Between 1950-53, it led the people to defeat the ferocious war of aggression which US imperialism and its allies unleashed, aiming not only to crush tiny Korea, but also to overturn the Chinese revolution and even launch a nuclear strike against the Soviet Union.

After the war, the party organised the workers and farmers to not only overcome the devastation, but also to complete the transition to socialism and build advanced industry and a splendid culture that is national in form and socialist in content.

The WPK is also an internationalist party. Even before its founding, Comrade Kim Il Sung put forward the slogan ‘Let us defend the Soviet Union with arms!’ and many thousands of Korean communists also fought for the victory of the Chinese revolution.

Our Korean comrades were among the first to speak out against modern revisionism, which systematically undermined the gains of socialism, whilst exerting all possible efforts for unity of the socialist camp and the communists against the main imperialist enemy.

From Vietnam to southern Africa to Latin America, the WPK has consistently lent its support to all those taking an active stand against imperialism.

When the Soviet Union’s collapse placed the destiny of the communist movement in the balance, the Korean party did not waver, but rather intensified its internationalist activities, initiating the Pyongyang Declaration, ‘Let us defend and advance the cause of socialism’, which has been signed by hundreds of parties all over the world, including the CPGB-ML.

Today, more than half a century since the Armistice Agreement called a halt to the Korean war, the country remains divided. US imperialism refuses to relinquish its military occupation of south Korea, seeing it as a vital base not only to threaten the socialist north, but also the People’s Republic of China, Russia, and other independent states and progressive and revolutionary movements in the region.

To remove the US occupation and reunify the country is not only the highest national goal of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK), but also its greatest duty to the common anti-imperialist struggle.

The cause of independent and peaceful reunification is one shared by the working-class movement in south Korea and all patriots, increasingly including even parts of the ruling circle in south Korea. Just as the Irish people developed the political concept of Sinn Féin (‘Ourselves Alone’) to embody their struggle for the reunification and independence of their country, so the WPK has advanced the slogan of ‘By our nation itself’.

This means that the Korean people must solve their own problems and reunify the country themselves, rejecting any interference from foreign imperialists. To do this successfully requires the broadest possible patriotic united front, which can isolate the diehard anti-national, pro-US forces in the south of the country.

The correctness and vitality of this policy may be seen in the steadily improving relations between north and south over recent years, and especially in the historic visit made to the DPRK by the then south Korean President Kim Dae Jung in 2000 and the second such visit, to be paid on 2-4 October, by President Roh Moo Hyun, which is expected to constitute a real landmark on the road to reunification.

Like the Irish people, the Korean people, too, can now not only say, ‘our day will come’, but also ‘our day is coming’.
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