Stand with Socialistic North Korea
Against U.S./Australian Capitalism’s War Threats
15 August 2017 – Prime Minister, Malcolm Turnbull, has vowed to join with the U.S. should it wage war on North Korea. U.S. president Donald Trump threatened North Korea with “fire and fury like the world has never seen.” The people of North Korea– the Democratic Peoples Republic of Korea (DPRK) – have responded with brave defiance. Yet they have reason to be worried. Trump really is the cruel madman that he sounds like. He has slandered Mexicans as “rapists”, implemented despicable laws restricting entry of people from Muslim majority countries and created such a racist climate that race-hate attacks in the U.S. have skyrocketed. But Trump is not just your typical, hard-right wing nut job – he also happens to have his finger on the fire button of the most terrifying nuclear arsenal in the world! But the Australian regime backing him all the way is hardly any better. The regime here has overseen racist killings of black people in custody and the torture of imprisoned Aboriginal youth. New revelations last month have detailed the extent to which Australian SAS forces in Afghanistan are killing children and murdering other innocent civilians and then planting guns on them to make them look like enemy combatants. It is these shock troops of the Australian ruling class who would spearhead Australian military involvement in any war on the DPRK.
A glimpse of the horror that the people of the DPRK are threatened with can be seen in Mosul. There, to further their predatory goals, the U.S. and Australian imperialists and other allied powers conducted air strikes in such an indiscriminate manner that in just a four month period between February and June they killed 5,805 civilians according to the respected liberal, monitoring group Airwars. They killed thousands more through excessive artillery barrages and in airstrikes in other parts of Iraq as well as in Syria.
Part of the reason for the U.S. and Australian rulers’ crazed obsession with crushing the DPRK is the fear that other countries currently targeted by imperialism – like Syria, Iran and Venezuela – will be inspired by North Korea’s defiant building of a nuclear deterrent and themselves seek to stand up more to the Western powers.
However, the factors behind Washington and Canberra’s war drive against the DPRK are somewhat different to what’s behind their proxy war against Syria and their repeated invasions of Iraq. Those adventures are mainly about gaining dominance over the Middle East in order to seize control of the world’s oil supplies. However, the source of the U.S., Australian, British, Japanese and South Korean rulers’ enmity to the DPRK runs even deeper than oil: it is a product of the hostility of capitalist rulers to socialism. The fact that the North Korean people have courageously dared to reject capitalism and to, instead, build a system based upon collective ownership of the factories, banks, mines and land provokes fanatical hatred from the capitalist ruling classes. To be sure, the socialistic system in the DPRK is bureaucratically deformed. The intense military pressure that capitalist powers assert against her plus the economic strangulation of sanctions is an immense deforming force upon her. Nevertheless, the imperialist ruling classes cannot stand having any part of the world where they do not have the “freedom” to control markets and exploit labour at will. Moreover, the capitalists are denied this “right” not only in the DPRK but in her neighbour and ally, the world’s most populous country, the Peoples Republic of China. Although the ruling bureaucracy in China has strengthened pro-capitalist forces by ushering in pro-market reforms from the 1980s onwards, the PRC economy continues to be dominated by socialistic state-owned enterprises. That is why, from provocatively sailing warships through her waters to financing anti-communist “dissidents” and NGOs to targeting next-door neighbour, North Korea,, the U.S. and Australian ruling classes are so determined to undermine the state power in China. Although the national-centred leaders of the PRC and DPRK do little to encourage revolutionary class struggle in the capitalist countries, the mere existence of these socialistic states where the working class, in however a deformed way, rules provokes horror among capitalists. The horror that one day the toiling masses in their own countries will overthrow them and take power. That is why the enmity of capitalist powers to North Korea and China is more enduring and more deep-going than their current hostility to those capitalist-run, ex-colonial countries like Syria that refuse to kowtow enough to them. During their 1950-53 war on the DPRK, the U.S., Australian and other allied capitalist powers completely burnt to the ground the North Korean capital, Pyongyang, several times with bombs and napalm. Later, U.S. war criminals boasted of their deeds:
Over a period of three years or so, we killed off — what — 20 percent of the population,’ Air Force Gen. Curtis LeMay, head of the Strategic Air Command during the Korean War, told the Office of Air Force History in 1984. Dean Rusk, a supporter of the war and later secretary of state, said the United States bombed
`everything that moved in North Korea, every brick standing on top of another.
The Washington Post, 24 March 2015
Lies, Distortions, Distractions and More Lies
In order to mobilise support for the war drive against North Korea, the mainstream Western media have been painting her as, on the one hand, an economic basket case and, simultaneously, as the “most dangerous threat to the world.” Yet it is not North Korea but the U.S. rulers, backed by Australia, who are the ones who have actually dropped atomic bombs on human beings. Meanwhile, the Australian big business or government-owned media have been deviously claiming that the DPRK has threatened to hit Guam with missiles. However, what the DPRK actually said was that if the U.S. and its allies continued to threaten North Korea, the DPRK would respond by launching missiles that would land in waters short of Guam. That’s very different to saying that they would land nuclear missiles on the people of Guam. Having the U.S. provocatively fly nuclear capable bombers from Guam past North Korea and having the U.S., Australian, South Korean and other capitalist militaries stage massive war games within kilometres of her border is an unbearable situation for the DPRK. By raising the possibility of landing missiles in waters just short of Guam, the North Korean people are giving the U.S. a taste of facing a threat within kilometres of their own territory. Moreover, the DPRK’s refusal to abandon its nuclear weapons program makes a great deal of sense. Gaddafi’s Libya gave up its nuclear weapons under a promise to be “rehabilitated” by the Western powers – and look what happened to them! Iraq never had any weapons of mass destruction which made it easier for the U.S. and Australia to invade and kill over a million of her people.
That North Korea – when strangled by such severe sanctions and military encirclement – has been able to advance its nuclear deterrence so quickly has stunned the imperialist rulers. It is a testament to the superiority of the socialist system. As a Trotskyist Platform comrade of Chinese origin put it:
“To master great weaponry is not an advantage of capitalist countries. Our socialist DPRK can master such powerful means in such difficult domestic conditions, which is really inspiring, encouraging and empowering our working classes around the world.”
Indeed, contrary to the media’s portrayal of North Korea’s economy, the DPRK’s socialistic system allowed it to recover from the devastation of the Korean War and, within a couple of decades, build up the second most advanced industrial economy in Asia (after imperialist Japan). However, following the collapse of the Soviet Union which had been the DPRK’s military protector, the embattled North Korea was hit hard as it then had no choice but to greatly increase the proportion of its income spent on defence. A period of serious privation in the country followed in the mid-1990s.
However, since then, partly helped by trade with Red China, the DPRK economy has steadily advanced. Media claims that North Korea is still impoverished (although made less frequently now since it is so ridiculous) are simply lies. This is proven by estimates of the proportion of children who are underweight due to malnourishment given by a noted imperialist agency, the CIA (hardly an organisation sympathetic to North Korea!). The CIA’s figures do not put North Korea within even the forty most impoverished countries in the world. Indeed, strong Western allies like India, PNG, Indonesia and the Philippines have much higher rates of child malnourishment than does North Korea.
Socialistic North Korea, despite the threats she is facing, has produced a warm and friendly society with a relaxed work environment and a rich musical, artistic, cultural, entertainment and sporting life. In contrast, capitalist rule in South Korea has not only led to a large amount of homelessness and poverty amongst the elderly there but also to one of the highest suicide rates in the world. This does not stop the Australian media from making much of the higher per capita income in South Korea. That is a product of, on the one hand, the sanctions and draining military encirclement of the North and, on the other, the fact that from the late 1960s onwards the U.S. provided massive aid to the South when they realised that dissatisfaction with capitalist rule and sympathy for the North amongst the South Korean masses was “threatening” the country with socialist revolution. Yet, today, most South Korean workers lack permanency in their jobs and many are forced to work terribly long hours. This and the cut-throat, dog eat dog nature of the society there has meant that hundreds of North Koreans who defected to the South in search of higher incomes have ended up defecting back to the North!
Not Opposition to Both Sides But Solidarity with the Socialistic DPRK
Turnbull has claimed that he would send Australia to war with North Korea because of the ANZUS treaty with the U.S. However, what is really driving the Australian capitalist regime is that they share the same reasons for wanting to destroy socialistic rule in North Korea – and ultimately China – as their U.S. allies. Indeed, as a capitalist ruling class located in Asia, the Australian rulers’ obsession with crushing Asian socialistic states is if anything more intense than their U.S. counterparts’. It was the Australian Menzies regime that pushed for the U.S. to escalate its anti-communist war in Vietnam in 1965. Indeed, the Australian government even pressured the then U.S.-puppet South Vietnamese government “to request” Australian troops to support it!
Just as it is not only the right-wing Republican Party in the U.S. but also the liberal American capitalists who are charging towards war on North Korea – and ultimately China – it is not only the right-wing Liberal Party that is beating the war drums here. ALP Opposition leader Bill Shorten ranted that it was the “bellicose and provocative actions” of North Korea, and not Trump’s rhetoric, which was of “big concern” adding that:
“I and the government share the same concerns and the same views, and Australians should be reassured that on this matter of North Korea and our national security, the politics of Labor and Liberal are working absolutely together.”
– The Australian, 11 August 2017
The Greens leader, Richard Di Natale, has for his part at least criticised the war drive of the Australian government. However, he has very wrongly put socialistic North Korea in the same category as the Western imperialist rulers:
“Malcolm Turnbull by backing Donald Trump has just put a target on our back.”
“What we’ve got is two dangerous, paranoid and unhinged world leaders goading each other into a conflict which puts the very survival of each and every person on the planet at risk.
Such equating of North Korean leader Kim Jong Un with Donald Trump or Turnbull on the part of supposed opponents of war is very harmful. For, regardless of personalities, these leaders are not the same at all because the systems that they preside over are not at all the same. Today, Trump covered for his fascist backers when he made excuses for these white supremacists after they unleashed racist “fire and fury” in Charlottesville culminating in a murderous terror attack that killed an antiracist protester, Heather Heyer. Meanwhile, like the previous ALP government, the Turnbull regime locks up asylum seekers in hell-hole offshore camps. Turnbull has also re-instituted the union-busting ABCC system against construction workers and attacked the rights of unemployed workers while giving tax cuts to millionaires. Trump, for his part, wants to deny millions more poor people in America access to medical care while giving huge tax cuts to the rich. Both he and Turnbull administer a system that has left large numbers of people homeless. In contrast, while Kim Jong Un may be a “dictator” who rides on a personality cult that is almost as gross as the establishment’s glorification of the British Royal Family, he administers a system that not only ensures zero homelessness in North Korea but also guarantees employment and virtually free housing for all of its people. Furthermore, North Korea’s leaders have never made a predatory intervention into another country. In contrast, the capitalist regimes in the U.S. and Australia have, between themselves over the last thirty years, invaded or otherwise intervened in – and often largely destroyed – Iraq, Afghanistan, Syria, Libya, Serbia, East Timor, Bougainville, Yemen, Somalia, the Solomon Islands, Tonga, Panama, Haiti and more! Therefore, what the working class and all opponents of imperialism and capitalism in Australia and the U.S. must do is to stand in solidarity with the DPRK against all the war threats from the imperialist powers.
Unfortunately, much of the Left in Australia is instead tailing the Greens’ line of “neutrality” in the current crisis. Thus, the Hiroshima Day Sydney Committee and the Australian Anti-Bases Campaign Coalition, with the support of the Sydney Stop the War Coalition (coalitions which include among them prominent activists within the Communist Party of Australia as well as the Socialist Alliance, Solidarity and Socialist Alternative groups) have announced a rally for this Saturday in Sydney “to call for negotiations to resolve the crisis on the Korean peninsula.” Such a call steers anti-imperialists and anti-capitalists away from strongly politically opposing the U.S. and Australian military forces arrayed against the DPRK and also pushes them into supporting demands on the DPRK to wind back its nuclear deterrence development and acquiesce to imperialist diktats. It is acting like those small-l liberals who call for “reconciliation” between the Australian rulers and Aboriginal people – as if Aboriginal people should have to compromise with the racist, genocidal ruling class. It is of a piece with a nominal supporter of workers’ rights who, during a conflict between unions and a capitalist boss, argues that “both sides should negotiate not escalate.”
In contrast, Trotskyist Platform is fighting to convince other leftists and supporters of working class interests to not be neutral in the current crisis but to stand resolutely with the socialistic state against the capitalist powers! That means we must stand unconditionally with the socialistic DPRK – and ultimately socialistic China – against the capitalist war threats. We should also welcome the DPRK’s development of a nuclear deterrence capability. What sincere anti-capitalists and anti-imperialists must do is to build actions that demand: End all U.S.-Australian- South Korean war games threatening the DPRK! U.S. troops out of South Korea, Japan and Guam! Close the joint U.S.-Australian military facilities and bases in Pine Gap, Darwin and elsewhere – Down with ANZUS! End all sanctions against the DPRK! Get rid of the U.S.’s THAAD missile defence system in South Korea that targets not only the DPRK but also the PRC!
Australian Working Class: Let Us Defend the DPRK
Like We Should Defend Our Unions!
The fate of the DPRK will be affected much by its much larger and powerful socialistic neighbour, the PRC. The PRC is the DPRK’s only significant ally and over 90% of North Korea’s trade is with China. To a significant degree, the PRC provides protection for the DPRK and certainly its presence has acted as a major deterrent against imperialist attack on the DPRK. However, at the same time the vacillating rulers of Red China, who pursue a futile policy of seeking “co-existence” with capitalist powers, bend to imperialist diktats by publicly condemning DPRK missile and nuclear tests. Nine days ago, China’s leaders treacherously joined the Western imperialists and capitalist Russia in voting for a new round of even more crippling economic sanctions against North Korea. Although it is true that the PRC does try to somewhat limit the damage done by these sanctions and does more to stand by the DPRK militarily than it admits publicly, its public position does matter as it serves to increase diplomatic and political pressure on the DPRK. Any acquiescence to imperialist demands against the DPRK is suicidal for the PRC as it is the PRC itself which is the ultimate target of capitalist moves against its socialistic little sister, North Korea.
The question of what attitude to take towards the DPRK is the subject of intense debate within China. Those pushing for China to move away from solidarity with its socialistic neighbour tend to be the most right-wing elements within China who are simultaneously pushing for greater “rights” for the capitalist private sector and more political “freedom” for pro-capitalist forces. In contrast, those advocating greater PRC solidarity with the socialistic DPRK are also those fighting to preserve and strengthen China’s own socialist foundations. The debate within China over its position on North Korea is a fight over the very soul and direction of China itself. That makes it triply important that politically aware workers and leftists the world over must call for the PRC to stand resolutely behind her socialistic sister, the DPRK. China: Abandon all participation in sanctions against North Korea! Support the DPRK’s nuclear deterrence development instead! Strengthen solidarity between workers states to strengthen China’s own commitment toward socialism! Recall the spirit of the PRC’s heroic support for the DPRK during the 1950-53 Korean War!
Trotskyist Platform is proud that we have been at the forefront of organising every single action in Sydney defending the DPRK workers state over the last seven years. We want to help cohere a layer of activists both inside and outside our group who are both firmly committed to defending the DPRK workers state and who are striving to become very knowledgeable about the question. These activists would then be the core of building actions in solidarity with the DPRK – and also the PRC – in the near future.
We understand that durable solidarity with socialistic states can only be built by appealing to the interests that the working class and its allies have in supporting workers states. To those workers in Australia who currently buy the anti-North Korea propaganda we say: Do you believe the media and politicians when they say that the CFMEU construction workers union are a bunch of thugs who threaten “innocent” people for no reason? Of course not! So why do you then believe these same people when they say that the DPRK is the biggest threat to world peace? Indeed, the attacks on the DPRK and China have much in parallel with the bosses’ attacks on our unions. Except that the capitalist hostility to socialistic states is a lot more fanatical because in those countries the masses have not just organised workers to resist how much the bosses can exploit them… they have actually taken over the whole country. Let us trade unionists and all opponents of capitalist exploitation mobilise in action to oppose both the bosses’ attacks on our unions at home and their attacks on workers states abroad. For unconditional solidarity with the socialistic DPRK!