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Proletarian issue 38 (October 2010)
Eye-witness to socialism in Korea
Public meeting: Saturday 9 October, 6.00-9.00pm at Saklatvala Hall, Dominion Road, Southall, UB1 3QF
A CPGB-ML delegation has just returned from visiting the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK). This meeting will be a unique opportunity to come and hear about their experiences, see photos and video clips, ask questions and find out for yourself about the reality of life under socialism in the DPRK – about its nurseries, schools, housing, hospitals and other social services, as well as its industry, agriculture, infrastructure, arts and culture.

The delegation included our party’s General Secretary and also two doctors and a former nurse, so as well as reporting on the general situation and standard of living, the speakers will be particularly well placed to give information about how the DPRK’s health service operates, and how it is affected by the international sanctions which deny the country access to many of the drugs and medical equipment that are generally available elsewhere.

Ranjeet Brar, one of the delegates, had the following words for Proletarian as he arrived back into China from Pyongyang:

“Far from being isolated, we found Pyongyang full of international tourists and delegations from across Europe, Asia, Africa and the Americas, including the US. Ironically, most had come precisely because of the incredible media hype surrounding the country’s alleged ‘isolation’ and wanted to see the country for themselves!

“Contrary to the words of imperialist media hacks, who sit in Seoul interviewing US and south Korean ‘experts’, and pronounce north Korea to be secretive, oppressive and sinister, all these visitors agree that Pyongyang is a wonderfully modern, clean and beautiful city, whose inhabitants are relaxed, warm, confident, friendly and open.”

Among the visitors our delegation spoke to was an 80-year-old US army veteran of the Korean War of 1950-53, which cost some 4 million Korean lives and has left the Korean peninsula artificially divided at the 38th parallel to this day.

They asked him about his recent visit to the Fatherland Liberation War museum in Pyongyang, which relates the history of the illegal US occupation and barbaric war in Korea by means of documentary video footage, panoramic reconstructions of its major battles and captured US army weaponry.

“The museum was a real eye-opener,” he told them. “Needless to say, they didn’t tell us any of that then. I was just what I would now call a young dumb kid.”

When asked for his impressions of the country, 60 years after the outbreak of the war, he said:

“I’ve recently been to the south of Korea, and I gotta say that I think the north is doing well. Pyongyang is a great city. I think the north is a much better environment to live in. There are no beggars here, people are well clothed and fed, and proud of their country and culture. I’ve been really impressed.”

Journalists in the West are falling over themselves to paint the leadership of the DPRK as sinister, feudal and dynastic, rather than socialist and popular. According to our delegation though, WPK members really do enjoy tremendous prestige among the people of Korea, as does its leadership. To become a member requires ability, steady work, dedication, and, above all, a great love for the people.

On 15 June 2000, a joint declaration was signed by Comrade Kim Jong Il and then south Korean president Kim Dae Jung, which set the slogan “Koreans together without outside interference” to guide the reunification process. This enormously popular move, branded the ‘sunshine policy’ in the south, made Kim Jong Il an overnight hero to south Koreans.

But the US needs a hostile and divided Korea to justify keeping its 2,000 nuclear missiles and thousands of troops in the occupied south (as well as its bases throughout Japan), not to mention its programme of hostile ‘military exercises’ in the South China Sea, which threaten not only the DPRK, but China as well.

Workers and progressive people all over the world are visiting the DPRK, and coming away inspired. Come to our delegation’s report-back meeting and find out why.

The meeting, which will also celebrate the 65th anniversary of the founding of the Workers’ Party of Korea, will be followed by good food and drink, with plenty of opportunity to continue discussions informally.
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