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Proletarian issue 34 (Februrary 2010)
Korea calls to boost living standards and raise prestige of socialism
New Year editorial sets tasks for 2010.
The Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK) has declared 2010 to be a year in which this socialist country will make a decisive effort to improve its people’s standard of living by concentrating on the development of light industry and agriculture.

In this way, the Workers’ Party of Korea (WPK), which also celebrates the 65th anniversary of its foundation, as well as the 65th anniversary of the liberation of the Korean peninsula from Japanese colonial rule, this year, aims to decisively demonstrate the superiority of socialism over the rule by exploiting classes.

This theme was elaborated in the New Year editorial issued jointly by all the main newspapers in the DPRK on 1 January. Since the death of President Kim Il Sung (who always delivered a personal New Year address) in 1994, this has been the principal means by which the party leadership has elaborated its priorities for the coming year to the Korean people and the wider world.

Shifting the focus to light industry and agriculture, the economic sectors with the most direct bearing on the standard and quality of life of working people, is seen as the next stage in the campaign to build a “great, prosperous and powerful nation” by 2012, the centenary of President Kim Il Sung’s birth, which already rests on successes gained in rehabilitating and modernising a number of heavy industrial sectors in the last year, not to mention 2009’s second nuclear test and the launch of a satellite.

As the editorial described it, 2010 should be “a year of general offensive, when all-party and nationwide efforts should be concentrated on improving the people’s standard of living on the basis of the laudable victory and achievements of the great revolutionary upsurge.

Noting that the Korean people had, in recent years, “braved severe hardships together with the party”, it further quotes the Korean leader Comrade Kim Jong Il as saying: “Our building of the country into an economic giant is aimed, to all intents and purposes, at radically improving the people’s standard of living. When the people’s living standards are decisively improved, hooray for socialism ... can ring out louder across the country and the gate to a prosperous nation be opened.

To this end, the editorial observed: “We should implement the people-oriented policies of the party and the state to enable all the people to substantially enjoy the benefits of socialism.

This, the article explained, meant enhancing the traditional policies of free education and free medical care and decisively improving the quality of welfare services. This, in turn, necessitated giving “full play to the superiority of the highly-organised, socialist planned economy”.
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