Category Archives: DPRK

Free a Pro-North Korea Political Prisoner in Australia – Free Chan Han Choi!

Defend Socialistic North Korea!

FREE CHAN HAN CHOI!

Free a Pro-North Korea Political Prisoner in Australia!

14 March 2018: Like in other capitalist countries, the government and mainstream media in Australia make wild claims about supposedly gruesome “prison camps” in North Korea (the Democratic Peoples Republic of Korea – the DPRK).  Yet, there is little evidence for this. The main supposed “evidence” are the stories of a few of the defectors from North to South Korea. Yet only a small percentage of the defectors make such claims. Moreover, even though these defectors represent that tiny proportion of North Korean citizens who think that life would be better in the capitalist world – if only because North Korea’s people have been so squeezed by severe UN sanctions – hundreds upon hundreds of these defectors actually end up going back to North Korea because they find life in the capitalist South so harsh and unfriendly! And that is very telling. Because for a defector to return they have to undergo great risk to sneak past a brutal South Korean regime that actually jails any person who is caught trying to return to North Korea. The few defectors who do make claims about “human rights” atrocities are those eager for the celebrity status and the resulting fortune that their tales of “suffering” can bring them in a South Korean society ruled by an ultra-rich capitalist class eager to demonise the socialistic DPRK. Moreover, many such high profile defectors have famously slipped up by accidentally contradicting their own earlier accounts; thus proving that their tales are indeed inglorious works of fiction (see for instance: http://thediplomat.com/2014/12/the-strange-tale-of-yeonmi-park/).

Yet, while most of the claims against North Korea are bogus, there is something that is patently true: and that is that there is right now a supporter of North Korea who is a political prisoner in Australia. This pro-DPRK person who is being jailed by the Australian regime is 59 year-old, Chan Han Choi. He is an outspoken sympathiser of the DPRK. Chan Han Choi is a working class Australian who rents a dwelling in Sydney and worked as a hospital cleaner until his arrest by the Australian Federal Police last December. Neighbours describe the now imprisoned man as “polite”, “nice” and “softly spoken.”

However, Chan Han Choi faces decades in jail after Australian police arrested him on charges of attempting to raise money for the DPRK – in violation of UN sanctions – by trying to broker the sale of North Korean coal to private buyers in Vietnam and Indonesia. They also claim that he discussed the sale of North Korean technology and expertise to overseas buyers, which they allege could have been used for missile componentry and guidance. Thus, they claim that he violated Australia’s hypocritical weapons of mass destruction act. Australian Police admit that he did not actually sell anything, just supposedly planned to. We have no way of knowing whether the claims are based on fact. But given the racist, anti-working class and pro-capitalist bias of Australia’s legal system we wouldn’t be surprised if Chan Han Choi is simply being persecuted for what, basically, amount to thought crimes. Yet, even if the claims against him turn out to be partially or fully true, he is no criminal from the standpoint of the Australian – and, thus, international – working class. Quite the opposite! In that case, Chan Han Choi was simply trying to help people being ground down and potentially starved by some of the most severe sanctions ever imposed on any country. These sanctions imposed at the behest of the U.S., Japanese, Australian, South Korean and other capitalist regimes ban 90% of all North Korean exports – including her main exports coal, textiles and iron ore and other minerals. They also ban all North Koreans from working abroad, freeze out the DPRK’s financial entities and limit North Korean people’s import of crude oil and refined petroleum products. Similar UN sanctions imposed on Iraq in a thirteen year period from 1990 are estimated to have caused the death of up to two million Iraqis (!!) due to increased rates of malnutrition, lack of medical supplies and diseases from lack of clean water. The U.S., British, Australian and other imperialist countries that pushed these sanctions actually killed even more people from the sanctions than they did from their subsequent brutal invasion of Iraq. Even the UN’s own agency, UNICEF, estimated that the first eight years of the sanctions alone had caused such an increase in infant and child deaths in Iraq that it led to the deaths of 500,000 Iraqi children under the age of five (https://www.unicef.org/newsline/99pr29.htm). If what the Australian regime allege Chan Han Choi did turns out to be true, he was laudably trying to save the children of North Korea, their mothers and the other people of the country from meeting a similar fate.

However, what Chan Han Choi allegedly tried to do was not only a selfless act of humanitarianism. If he, indeed, did try to enable the North Korean people to sell items to raise money he was, importantly, standing by a workers state. The DPRK is a socialistic state based on public ownership. The system of collective ownership of the means of production in North Korea means that the DPRK is, even when faced with the most extreme sanctions, able to provide jobs for all its workers as well as genuinely free education, free health care and almost free housing to all its people. To be sure, the workers state in North Korea is bureaucratically deformed – mainly as a result of intense imperialist pressure and isolation in a capitalist-dominated world. Nevertheless, the socialistic state that was formed from the overthrow of capitalist and landlord rule in the northern part of Korea at the end of World War II is a huge advance from capitalism. It represents a historic gain for the world’s working class in their struggle against the capitalist exploiters; just like a workers victory in a big strike does – but in a much bigger way. Working class people of the world must, therefore, defend to the hilt this conquest. In standing by the DPRK workers state, in whatever way that he did, Chan Han Choi should be considered a hero to the toiling classes of not only Korea but to the working class and all downtrodden of Australia and, indeed, the whole world.

For the very reason that he has heroically stood by working class interests, the Australian capitalist regime is imprisoning Chan Han Choi in especially harsh conditions. He has not been granted bail since his arrest some three months ago. Even though he has not been convicted of any crime and is still in the early stage of court proceedings, the Australian regime has outrageously detained him in a maximum security jail. Moreover, they have classified him as an Extreme High Risk – Restricted (EHR-R) prisoner which is the harshest, highest security classification that can be given to any prisoner. The EHR-R category was sold to the public as a measure reserved for those considered to be an extreme risk to others and “a threat to order and security within jails” (https://www.smh.com.au/news/national/baddestofthebad-convicts–ehrr/2008/10/17/1223750306676.html). It was said to be reserved for crime bosses and suspected terrorists. Yet, Chan Han Choi not only has no violent history but is not even accused of conducting or planning any violent act.

EHR-R prisoners receive the lowest stipend to buy food and are not allowed to receive money gifts from friend and family outside prison. They are allowed less phone calls than other prisoners and these phone calls and any postal mail must be in English. All EHR-R prisoners have their phone calls listened to and mail opened, read and copied. The inhumane system is designed to make it very hard if not impossible for friends and family to visit as prospective visitors must first go through a weeks long security check and then wait to have their visit approved by the prison warden. Those that make it through to a visit are locked in a sheet metal-lined box without adequate ventilation. Chan Han Choi’s detention in the most gruesome conditions possible in an Australian prison camp are clearly an attempt to break his spirit and isolate him.

17 December 2017, Sydney: Australian Federal Police arrest North Korea supporter Chan Han Choi. As part of the Australian ruling elite’s secrecy over this repression, media reports of his arrest have whited out the face of both Chan Han Choi and the arresting cops.
Australian Working Class: Stand by the DPRK Workers State! Oppose the Sanctions!

Precisely because the maintenance of the workers state in North Korea is in the interests of the Australian and whole world’s working class, the U.S., Australian, South Korean and other capitalist ruling classes are hell bent on destroying the DPRK. They see the existence of socialistic rule anywhere as a threat to their capitalist rule at home. And they are right! The existence of workers states – in however a tenuous and distorted form – necessarily sends a message to the working classes still subjugated under capitalism that another alternative is possible; that capitalism is not inevitable. And this terrifies the imperialist ruling classes of the U.S., Australia and Japan. Furthermore, they have a particular fixation on targeting the DPRK because over six decades ago during the 1950-53 Korean War, the North Korean masses did the unthinkable. Incredibly, they faced down and beat off a combined attack from the most powerful imperialist countries in the world: including the U.S., Britain, Australia, France and even the apartheid South African regime of that time. Ever since then, the U.S. and its allies have had a particular obsession with crushing the DPRK alongside their usual hostility to all workers states. That is what the extreme sanctions that they have imposed on the DPRK are all about. They want to weaken the DPRK workers state and starve its people into submission.

In order to deter public opposition to their threatening campaign against the DPRK, the U.S. and Australian regimes – and the big business or government-owned Western media – have been portraying the DPRK as a dangerous “threat” to peace. They even make out out that the DPRK is hell-bent on attacking Western countries with a nuclear first strike. This is a ridiculous assertion. The DPRK has made itself very clear that its nuclear weapons program is purely for self-defence. If one believes the notion that a country’s mere acquisition of nuclear weapons makes it a grave threat, what does that say for the U.S. which has nearly 7,000 nuclear warheads … as opposed to the DPRK which has less than ten and those not yet fully operational. What is more, the U.S. regime, with the support of Australian imperialism, is the only government to have ever actually unleashed nuclear weapons on human beings. We should never forget their horrific war crimes in Nagasaki and Hiroshima. In contrast, although Western media have themselves stated that North Korea has long had enough conventional missiles to quickly destroy Seoul as well as other cities in South Korea and Japan, she has never even started to make such an attack. This despite all the provocations she has faced. Indeed, the DPRK has actually never attacked a foreign country. The only war she has ever been involved in is the 1950-53 Korean War when her people with the backing of hundreds of thousands of Chinese communist volunteers defended the socialistic state against the imperialist godfathers and the capitalist regime that rules the south of the country.

Let’s also not lose sight of the fact that it is not North Korea that twice attacked Iraq, that totally destroyed Libya and that devastated Serbia in the 1999 war on Yugoslavia. It is not North Korea that is committing an ongoing series of war crimes by murdering tens of thousands of civilians in Afghanistan (and more recently Syria and northern Iraq) through air strikes which the bombers knew would kill many civilians. No: all these crimes were the foul handiwork of the U.S. rulers and always with the direct or indirect assistance of their Australian, British and other junior imperialist partners. It is these capitalist powers that are the real threat to the world’s peoples and not at all the DPRK. What the DPRK’s nuclear weapons program does “threaten” to do is to make the North Korean people less intimidated by the menacing military “exercises” that the U.S., Australian and South Korean capitalist regimes regularly stage on her doorstep. Most importantly, North Korea’s highly effective weapons program “threatens” to make it harder for the capitalist powers to launch a new Korean War against her. That is why the Western capitalist powers are so obsessed with stopping the DPRK acquiring a nuclear missile capability.

In targeting the DPRK, the imperialist powers have in their mind an even bigger target. That target is the DPRK’s neighbour and ally, the Peoples Republic of China (PRC): the world’s largest socialistic country. Although decades of pro-market measures by China’s government has dangerously allowed capitalists to gain a foothold in China, these capitalists do not hold state power there. China remains a workers state whose key economic sectors are dominated by socialistic state-owned enterprises. It is this that has enabled the PRC to spectacularly lift hundreds of millions of its people out of the terrible poverty of its capitalist days. However, the greedy ruling classes of the capitalist powers know that the presence of such a socialistic power as China is a threat to their “right” to bully and exploit most of the world. That is why they are working feverishly to contain China’s rise and foster capitalist restoration there. The assertion that China’s development is “challenging Australia’s interests” that’s contained in the Australian regime’s foreign policy White Paper unveiled in November and the increasingly frequent government and media scare campaigns alleging that China is “aggressively influencing” Australian affairs show the efforts that the capitalist rulers are going to in order to mobilise the population behind their anti-PRC campaign; just as they manufacture the bogey of a “North Korean nuclear threat” to deceive the masses into accepting their war drive against the DPRK.

A key method that the Western capitalist rulers use to tighten the military, diplomatic and economic screws on the PRC is to menace its socialistic neighbour, the DPRK. That is why the PRC government’s policy of seeking to meet the imperialist powers half-way over the DPRK is harmful to socialistic rule in China itself. The PRC should recall the internationalist spirit of its heroic support to the DPRK during the Korean War. She must immediately end participation in all sanctions against the DPRK and, instead, strongly stand by her socialistic neighbour – including by defending the DPRK’s development of a nuclear deterrence.

Should the imperialists powers succeed in using some combination of military power, intimidation and extreme sanctions to bring down the socialistic order in North Korea they would be able to greatly embolden the forces of capitalist counterrevolution in China as well. And if the, currently fragile, workers state in China were to be smashed by capitalist counterrevolution it would be a terrible disaster for the working class and downtrodden of the world – on a par with the 1991-92 destruction of socialistic rule in the former USSR. Capitalist restoration in China would lead to hundreds of millions of Chinese people being plunged back into poverty while the country would be turned into one huge sweatshop for exploitation by not only local Chinese capitalists but by Western and Japanese ones – just like in the pre-1949 capitalist-feudal China. This would then be used as a giant wedge to drive down the wages and conditions of workers around the globe – including in Australia. Meanwhile, triumphant capitalist rulers from the U.S. to Mexico to Britain, Germany, Egypt, India, Thailand, the Philippines and Australia would be emboldened to attack the rights of workers and the oppressed in their own countries, just as they did after the overturn of socialistic rule in the USSR. That is why it is doubly important for the working class and all the downtrodden of Australia and the entire world to stand by socialistic rule in China and North Korea and to also defend the other workers states in Cuba, Vietnam and Laos. By standing by the DPRK in whatever way that he did, Chan Han Choi has taken the side of the international working class in this crucial battle. For this stance he is being persecuted by the Australian regime. The working class and downtrodden of Australia and the world must stand by him. We must demand: Free Chan Han Choi! Drop all the charges now!

Chan Han Choi should be considered a working class hero. However, we do not advocate that other working class people politically aware enough to understand the need to defend socialistic states like the DPRK do what he is alleged to have done. The reason is that the chances of getting caught are too high. Australia is a police state where the authorities engage in massive spying on the population for the sake of enforcing the interests of the big end of town. As the 2013 unveiling of classified documents provided by former U.S. National Security Agency (NSA) contractor, Edward Snowden, proved, the Australian spy agency, the Australian Signals Directorate (ASD), is part of a sinister global surveillance apparatus involving the American NSA, the UK’s GCHQ and Canada’s CSEC. These Five Eyes partner agencies are harvesting email contact lists, searching email content and tracking and mapping the location of cell phones of millions of everyday internet users as well as secretly accessing Yahoo and Google data centres to collect information from hundreds of millions of account holders. The Sydney Morning Herald of 29 August 2013 also reported that:

The nation’s electronic espionage agency, the Australian Signals Directorate, is in a partnership with British, American and Singaporean intelligence agencies to tap undersea fibre optic telecommunications cables that link Asia, the Middle East and Europe and carry much of Australia’s international phone and internet traffic.

Meanwhile the powers granted to the ASD, ASIO, the police and other repressive police and spy agencies are being ever increased. Therefore, covert activities to support working class interests and workers states are not the best strategy. What we need to do is to openly appeal to the interests that the Australian working class and downtrodden have in defending socialistic states in order to mobilise these layers in solidarity with the workers states as part of the fight for the workers’ own liberation.

Why a Working Class Immigrant from South Korea Living in Australia Would Want to Stand By the DPRK

When the Federal Police (AFP) announced the arrest of Chan Han Choi, the Australian media got itself all excited and jumped on the story. They made this headline news and pointed to it as “evidence” of the “North Korean security threat.” Yet, before long they realised that this story could punch a hole in their narrative about North Korea. They have spun the lie that everyone in South Korea is fearful and hostile to the North and that North Koreans themselves are desperate to escape to capitalist South Korea. Yet here is a man who grew up and worked in South Korea – and what’s more then lived in “democratic” Australia – and then allegedly took a huge risk to support North Korea in a way that, the cops admitted, sought no personal gain. On ABC current affairs programs, reporters and anti-DPRK “Korea experts” twisted themselves in knots trying to “address” this question. One expert admitted that there are people in South Korea who do support North Korea. Of course, they didn’t go into why. So let us fill in the blanks here. The reality of South Korea is that working class people there face a harsh life in that cut-throat, dog-eat-dog capitalist society. A very high proportion of workers in South Korea work as casuals with no job security whatsoever and minimal rights. Yet even with a large number of part-time workers, South Koreans endure one of the highest average working hours in the world. The brave trade unionists involved in organising to fight for workers’ rights face brutal repression. Currently, at least nine leading South Korean trade union activists are languishing in jail. Among those are the leader of the country’s biggest oppositional trade union federation, the KCTU. KCTU head Han Sang-gyun is currently serving a three year jail sentence for … organising a series of street marches that blocked traffic! Far from being the “democracy” portrayed by the mainstream Australian media, South Korea is a brutal capitalist dictatorship. Just over three years ago, the South Korean regime banned the left-leaning Unified Progressive Party (UPP) and stripped its MPs of their parliamentary seats for not being hardline enough against North Korea. This party had been the third biggest party in parliament with a vote share slightly larger than that which the Greens receive in Australia. With the aid of such repression, the South Korean regime is able to impose cruel living conditions on the working class. For example, there is no universal old-age pension in South Korea and there are large numbers of homeless people forced to sleep in train stations every night (see: http://www.trotskyistplatform.com/an-eye-witness-account-of-capitalist-south-korea/). Little wonder that the country has the fourth highest suicide rate in the entire world.

Given this harsh reality of life for working class people in capitalist South Korea, it is no surprise that there are people there sympathetic to the DPRK. Indeed, in the mid-1960s, the Western imperialists were terrified about how much sympathy there was for the DPRK in South Korea. Since, at that time, North Korea had better levels of health care, education and working conditions than the South, the U.S. was so fearful for the stability of their Cold War frontline state that they started pouring massive subsidies into South Korea. It is this aid which underpinned South Korea’s supposed “economic miracle.” Nevertheless, there continued to be a large degree of sympathy for North Korea amongst the South Korean masses up until the 1991-92 destruction of the USSR that left the DPRK isolated and led to a large drop in living standards there. Even today, the most politically aware working class people in the South remain sympathetic to the DPRK at some level. North Korea is seen by some in the South as the real, independent Korea whereas South Korea is viewed as a lackey of U.S. imperialism, founded by former collaborators with the much hated previous Japanese colonial occupiers of the whole Korean peninsula.

If the lavishly paid journalists in the mainstream media were struggling to explain why a person who had grown up in South Korea would risk his freedom to support North Korea, they were completely unable to deal with the fact that this person who had allegedly harmed Australian “national security” interests for the sake of North Korea was also someone who had lived here for almost three decades. After all, they could not pass him off as someone brainwashed by religious zealots – as they could with ISIS supporters – as sympathy for the DPRK is not based on religion. Yet, if one looks at the reality faced by working class people in Australia, especially those from Asian and other non-white ethnicities, then why someone like Chan Han Choi would want to stand by a socialistic state opposed by the Australian ruling class is not really such a mystery after all. Even as the profits of corporations go through the roof and the likes of Andrew Forrest, James Packer, Gina Rinehart, the Lowy family and all their ilk amass ever more billions, the income of most workers are not keeping up with price increases and many workers face the reality of casualisation and having almost no job security. Meanwhile, especially with governments slashing public housing, landlords are charging exorbitant rents which means that low-income workers living in urban areas are being squeezed tight. As a cleaner, Chan Han Choi would face both low pay and poor job security. In the suburb where he rents a house, the average rent for a two bedroom house is $510 per week – that’s more than 80% of the after-tax minimum wage! Who can then blame a low-income worker renting in Sydney for being sympathetic to a state like the DPRK. In North Korea, even though sanctions and threatening military encirclement severely constrict the economy and hence people’s wages, at least rent is almost free and workers don’t have to face the indignity of being bullied by greedy capitalist bosses and high-handed landlords and their agents.

Furthermore, like other Asian-descent residents of Australia, Chan Han Choi would likely have experienced the racist hostility that this capitalist society engenders. It is Aboriginal people who have always suffered the brunt of White Australia racism. In a society which churns through the unfortunate targets of racism, one after the other, almost according to the changing whims of fashion, it is Muslims who are currently the number two victim. Over the long term, however, it is Asians who have been second only to Aboriginal people in being subject to racist oppression in Australia. Asian-origin residents – especially the majority who are not wealthy enough to shield themselves somewhat from the brunt of racist hostility – face threats or even real acts of violence from rednecks on the streets, abuse on public transport, bullying of their children at school and discrimination in employment. Chan Han Choi had a lot of good reasons not to have loyalty to the Australian ruling class and the socio-political order that they have created. Indeed, so do, ultimately, all working class people in this country!

Political Prisoners and Persecution in Australia

Chan Han Choi is certainly not the first person in Australia jailed for standing by the interests of the working class and oppressed. In 2004, Victorian secretary of the Australian Manufacturing Workers Union Craig Johnston was jailed for nine months for leading a completely justifiable, militant protest of dozens of union activists through the offices of two companies that were involved in the union-busting sacking of 29 workers. In the same year, several Aboriginal people and their supporters were jailed for periods ranging from a few months to up to two years for their involvement in a brave resistance struggle in Redfern that responded to the racist police murder of 17 year-old Aboriginal youth, TJ Hickey, and subsequent continued police intimidation of the Redfern black community. Then nine months after the Redfern resistance struggle, several Aboriginal people on Palm Island, off the coast of Queensland, were persecuted for their participation in a hundreds-strong uprising on the island that responded to the bashing to death of 36 year-old Aboriginal man, Mulrunji Doomadgee, by a racist cop. Several of the arrested community members were jailed including the leader of the struggle, Lex Wotton, who spent in total three years in jail. Meanwhile, the murdering policeman, Chris Hurley, got off completely free! The authorities had intended to jail Lex Wotton and the other Palm Island and Redfern Aboriginal resistance heroes for considerably longer but a spirited on the streets campaign in support of the persecuted people – culminating in a stop-work action by Maritime Union of Australia-organised waterfront workers in Sydney in support of Lex on the day of his sentencing hearing – made the ruling class and their courts realise they could not get away with even more severely, unjust sentences.

Two peace activists are also amongst the people who have been political prisoners in Australia in recent years. David Burgess and Will Saunders were each jailed for nine months of weekend detention for simply painting the words “No War” on the Opera House in March 2003, in protest at the then impending U.S. and Australian invasion of Iraq. That brutal invasion murdered hundreds of thousands of Iraqi people and was sold on the now notorious lie that Iraq had weapons of mass destruction. However, unlike the jailed peace activists, those who ordered and implemented the blood-soaked invasion and perpetrated the “weapons of mass destruction” hoax were never brought to justice.

Aside from jailing some of the people who have taken firm stands for the interests of the oppressed, the Australian regime carries out daily repression against many others participating in pro-working class and leftist struggles. Over the last few years, they have persecuted in the courts well over a hundred trade unionists from the CFMEU construction workers union as well as other unions. Many of these union officials and activists have received hefty fines and other punishments for the “crime” of standing up to greedy bosses or leading industrial action. Two participants in last year’s ten thousand-strong, Invasion Day protest against the Australian regime’s brutal oppression of Aboriginal people have also been fined and given criminal records. Outrageously, they were convicted for rightly attempting to protect the crowd against a dangerous and unprovoked police charge into the rally which ended up with the marauding police barging over a woman so forcefully that she was knocked into a coma and sustained a level of permanent brain damage. Of course, no police were charged or disciplined over their riotous behaviour. Meanwhile, in a few months time, four pro-working class activists will be on trial after heavy-handed riot police arrested them following their involvement in a spirited, eighty-strong union/community/leftist protest occupation of public housing dwellings in the inner city suburb of Millers Point. The struggle rightly demanded that these homes, from where the NSW state government had driven off the working class tenants, be again made available to those on public housing waiting lists or the homeless rather than be sold off to wealthy developers and speculators as the government plans. Police have also arrested dozens of activists during protests against the Australian government’s brutal treatment of refugees. In December, five activists from the Whistleblowers, Activists and Citizens Alliance were fined a combined $20,000 for hanging banners on top of the Opera House that read “Australia: World Leaders in Cruelty #BringThemHere” and “Evacuate Manus”.

The fact is that the Australian state is far from a “democracy” where every person has an equal say in shaping its direction. Instead, it is ultra-rich business owners who through their ownership of the media and their greatly disproportionate ability to fund political parties, pay for political advertising, finance NGOs and use financial and career inducements to sway politicians and bureaucrats alike who monopolise the “democratic process” and the agenda and outcomes of elections. Moreover, the state machine which Australian parliaments administer is itself tied by thousands of threads to the capitalist elite. This racist, rich peoples’ state was originally founded to murderously uphold the dispossession of this country’s first peoples and to subjugate the poor. Ever since, whenever this state machine attacks the resistance of the masses to their own oppression – like when police attack union picket lines, courts ban workers’ strikes (as they did when they banned the Sydney rail workers strike that was to take place on January 29), the justice system persecutes union activists and the riot cops attack worker, anti-racist and leftist struggles – the institutions of this repressive machine and its enforcement personnel become ever more hardened in their role as enforcers of the current, anti-egalitarian social order. The imprisonment of political prisoner Chan Han Choi in inhumane conditions is simply a particularly cruel example of this capitalist state in action. It is notable that just two months before Chan Han Choi was arrested, the very same agency that arrested him, the Australian Federal Police (AFP), was busy intimidating the union movement. The AFP conducted heavy-handed raids on the Sydney and Melbourne offices of the Australian Workers Union over trumped up allegations about union donations to political campaigns more than twelve years ago.

This capitalist nature of the Australian state conditions its “human rights” practices. Today, due to the rampantly racist nature of Australia’s justice system and continuing discrimination against Aboriginal people in every aspect of their lives, Aboriginal people are the most imprisoned people in the entire world. Meanwhile, the Australian regime locks up innocent refugees and migrants branded “illegal” in hell-hole prison camps in Nauru, Manus, Christmas Island, Villawood and elsewhere. Let’s never forget too the horrific crimes of the Australian capitalist regime in the PNG-controlled island of Bougainville. When the people of Bougainville rose up in 1989 against the arrogant destruction of their land and the refusal to pay any decent compensation by Australian owned mining giant CRA (which later merged with a British company to form Rio Tinto), the then ALP-led Australian government directed its puppet PNG government to brutally put down the resistance. They provided arms, intelligence and helicopter pilots flying as “mercenaries” to aid the war. Then they helped to enforce a cruel years-long blockade of the island. As a result, in all, some 15,000 to 20,000 people on the island were killed as a result of either gunfire or the lack of medicines and food caused by the blockade. Later, the Australian government and Australian-owned corporations Woodside Petroleum and BHP so savagely plundered the oil wealth of East Timor that the people of that resource-rich country have the highest rate of child stunting in the entire world! Figures from the United Nations Children Fund, WHO and World Bank show that 57.7 % of all children under five in East Timor have stunted growth due to malnourishment (see page 120 of Global Nutrition Report 2016, https://data.unicef.org/wp-content/uploads/2016/06/130565-1.pdf )! All this due to the greed of the Australian regime and the corporate bigwigs that this regime serves.

Those Claims About “Atrocious Human Rights” in North Korea

So what of the capitalist powers’ propaganda about “atrocious human rights” in the DPRK. Other than for dubious claims from certain defectors, the main “evidence” that capitalist politicians and media present for their assertions are restrictions placed on those who visit North Korea. Visitors do face some additional restrictions in the DPRK. For example, while North Koreans freely use mobile phones, visitors must leave their mobiles in lockers at the airport before picking them up on their way out. There is a level of paranoia in the DPRK about Western visitors. However, this is a paranoia borne out of reality. The North Koreans know that the capitalist powers really are out to destroy their socialistic system and will use any means possible to do so – including by sending in agents disguised as tourists or journalists to stir up trouble. For today, the DPRK is the most embattled country in the world. Not only do her people face the most grinding sanctions imposed on any country, they also face constant threat from the most fearsome military power in the world – the United States. The U.S. has close to 30,000 troops ready to attack the DPRK across the border in South Korea. Moreover, the hard right-wing, racist U.S. president, Donald Trump, has openly threatened to “totally destroy North Korea.” The people of North Korea know that this is no idle threat. During the Korean War, the U.S., Australian and other capitalist armies actually did all but “totally destroy North Korea” (but still failed to defeat her) as they dropped millions of litres of napalm to repeatedly burn Pyongyang and other North Korean cities to the ground. Long after the war, some 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

It is with this background that we should look at the case of Otto Warmbier, an American who was imprisoned in North Korea and died a few days after his release. Warmbier’s tragic death has been used by Trump and the Western establishment as an excuse to escalate their war drive against the DPRK. The son of a wealthy company owner, Otto Warmbier, was a university student who had the self-declared aim of becoming an investment banker. While on vacation in North Korea, he was sentenced to jail after he snuck into a staff-only area of his hotel and attempted to steal a pro-socialist poster declaring: “Arm ourselves with strong socialism.” Security footage released by North Korea shows him ripping down the poster but then abandoning it because it was too large to carry off. He later confessed to the deed saying that a member of a Methodist Church in Ohio had made a large bet with him to take down a North Korean political poster and bring it back to the U.S. as a trophy. Warmbier added that the Z-Society – a shadowy, secret society in the university traditionally based on elite, upper class students – had encouraged him in this act. The Western media screamed at the severity of the sentence given to Warmbier. The sentence was on the harsh side. However, if one knows the mass murder that the imperialists committed during the Korean War, then one can understand how North Korean people would view Warmbier’s act with the same anger that Jewish people, Roma people, LGBTI people and leftists would view a German person taking down a sign at a memorial to victims of the Nazi holocaust or an Aboriginal person would look at a white Australian who defaced a site commemorating a racist massacre of Aboriginal people.

A month into Warmbier’s sentence, he suffered brain damage that according to North Korea was caused by an adverse reaction to medication given to treat an infection. The DPRK later released him on humanitarian grounds and he returned to the U.S. in an unconscious state. American doctors assessed that his brain damage had been caused by a lack of oxygen to the brain caused by cardiac arrest. However, even the viciously anti-DPRK Western media reported that his American physicians found no evidence of physical abuse or torture and that scans of Warmbier’s neck and head were normal outside of the brain injury. Indeed, when Otto’s grieving parents falsely claimed that his body showed signs of torture, the American coroner who had investigated the matter denied that there were any signs of torture, even adding that Warmbier had been “well nourished” and that, “We believe that for somebody who had been bedridden for more than a year, that his body was in excellent condition, that his skin was in excellent condition” (https://www.nbcnews.com/health/health-news/otto-warmbier-had-breathing-tube-n-korea-exam-shows-n805191). Warmbier’s death was indeed tragic: for although his deed in North Korea was that of an arrogant, American rich kid he did not deserve to die for that. Yet, the most likely root cause of his death was the extremely severe sanctions imposed on the DPRK. These make life and medical care more rudimentary in North Korea than they otherwise would be; and since, as in every other country in the world, conditions for prisoners are not as good as for other residents, this makes life for prisoners poorer as well and, thus, increases the probability of prisoners getting serious infections while reducing the range and quality of available medication. In a way, what Chan Han Choi was allegedly attempting to do – easing the effects of sanctions on North Korea – would have helped people like Warmbier as well.

In the very worst case – and there is absolutely no evidence for this at all – it is possible that North Korea may not have provided an adequate quality of medical assistance to Warmbier in the early part of his incarceration (yet that North Korea was able to hand to the U.S. sets of MRI brain scans of Warmbier shows that North Korean doctors certainly did make valiant efforts to treat him later). However, even if one assumes that this worst possible variant occurred, the DPRK authorities’ treatment of Warmbier was not anywhere as brutal as the way Western Australian police treated 22 year-old Aboriginal woman, Julieka Dhu. Ms Dhu died in police custody in August 2014 just days after being imprisoned, so outrageously, for the late payment of fines! Unlike Warmbier, who the American coroner admitted showed no evidence of having been physically hurt in custody, Julieka Dhu was definitely physically harmed by police. In one case, video footage shows a police officer yank a very ill Ms Dhu violently by the arm and then cruelly leave her to flop down and smash her head on the concrete cell floor. The cop does not even then check to see if Ms Dhu had been further injured. And while DPRK authorities at least attempted to treat Warmbier’s medical condition, Julieka Dhu was cruelly denied treatment on multiple occasions – even when she cried out in pain from the severe infection that she was suffering. Yet the way the Australian media have handled the two cases could not be more different. They reported on Ms Dhu’s case as a tragic occurrence and in a small number of reports as a case of police neglect and discrimination. However, never did the mainstream media – and certainly never did any ruling class politicians – use the case to highlight the barbarity of the Australian regime. In contrast, the tycoon and government-owned Australian media railed that Warmbier’s death shows the “terrorist and brutal nature of the North Korean regime.” For Warmbier was a white American, yuppy rich man who died following imprisonment in a socialistic country. Whereas Julieka Dhu was a low income, Aboriginal woman killed by the criminal neglect and racist brutality of Australia’s capitalist authorities.

The truth is that Julieka Dhu’s case is hardly an exception in Australia. Police and prison guards here have outright murdered Aboriginal people both in and out of state custody. Eddie Murray, John Pat, Lloyd Boney, David Gundy, Daniel Yock, Colleen Richman, TJ Hickey, Mulrunji Doomadgee and David Dungay are the names of just a small proportion of the Aboriginal people who have been bashed, rammed, hung, suffocated, lethally injected or shot to death by Australian state authorities in recent years. Indeed, so many Aboriginal people have been killed in state custody that relative to the total current Indigenous population, approximately one out of every 1,200 Indigenous people have died in Australian prison camps or police cells since 1980. For the U.S. and Australian regimes to make accusations about North Korea based on the death of Otto Warmbier or based on highly contentious accounts from a handful of detectors is not only deliberately misleading, it is also the height of hypocrisy. Indeed, in U.S. prison camps the number of people dying in custody numbers from some 4,000 to 6,000 every year! This is in part because the U.S. regime is so biased against blacks, Hispanics and the poor of all races that the U.S. is by far the world’s biggest jailer. Indeed, the U.S. regime imprisons it population so much that the total number of people that it incarcerates, 2.4 million (!!), is more than three-quarters of the entire population of free-living residents in North Korea’s capital city, Pyongyang. Put another way, imagine if the overwhelming majority of the population of North Korea’s biggest city was locked up in jails – well that is what is happening … not at all in North Korea but in the United States of America!

There are a few people that the DPRK state does indeed deal ruthlessly with. These are mostly those that try to subvert its socialistic system and open the road to capitalist restoration. In this way, the DPRK workers state is acting just like staunch trade unionists on strike do when they take firm action against filthy scabs trying to cross a picket line; it is resolutely acting to defend the collective interests of the working class. In a sense, the DPRK can be thought of as one huge, more than 70 years-long strike against capitalism by its masses. It is a yet unfinished struggle because two-thirds of Korea still languishes under capitalist rule and because the workers conquest in the northern part of Korea is so threatened by imperialist powers. And just as the more up against it a workers strike is, the more harshly they must deal with strike-breaking scabs, so also the more embattled a workers state like the DPRK is, the more firmly they must deal with counterrevolutionary enemies.

Although the DPRK acts strongly against pro-capitalist threats to the workers state, it is very gentle in its treatment of the working class masses. Thus, while many Australian workers lucky enough to have a job spend a large proportion of their time worried about being bullied by their boss or about being the next one to be retrenched, the DPRK offers its masses a relaxed work life and a guaranteed right to full-time, secure employment. Indeed, this guaranteed employment, the tenderness of the DPRK state towards its masses and the society’s laid back work culture combine to mean that the North Korean state actually sometimes struggles to spur adequate productivity from its workforce!

There is, however, a more serious defect in the DPRK workers state. As well as rightly coming down hard against those trying to undermine socialistic rule, the state also represses genuinely pro-socialist elements who raise dissenting views to government leaders on various issues. It is possible – although not certain – that North Korean leader, Kim Jong-un’s uncle, Jang Song-thaek, was executed because he led a rival faction of the DPRK government (by contrast the claim made by Western Australian governments and media that the DPRK leader had his half-brother Kim Jong-nam assassinated at Malaysia’s Kuala Lumpur International Airport is far from proven and the killing is more likely to have been the work of Western or South Korean intelligence agencies desperate to further isolate the DPRK by poisoning her relations with Malaysia – the one capitalist Asian country that had friendly, diplomatic ties with North Korea). Suppression of alternate views from those loyal to the workers state is actually harmful to socialistic rule in North Korea – as it prevents the free discussion of ideas necessary to work out the most effective course for the embattled workers state to navigate. This lack of workers democracy reflects the fact that although the DPRK has an egalitarian system based on socialistic public ownership, there is a somewhat privileged bureaucratic layer who believe they know what is best for the country and who fear their, fairly petty, privileges being questioned by the masses. However, as long as the DPRK faces such intense threats from the capitalist powers, it will be hard for her to be re-directed onto the road of socialist democracy that the workers state needs to follow. For as long as such acute threats remain, much of her masses will be resigned to accepting the administration of a know-it-all, slightly privileged bureaucracy because they fear that any political turmoil could open the way for a far, far greater evil: capitalist restoration and the return of domination by imperialist powers. Moreover, just as any half-heartedness and weakness (even serious ones) in Australian union leaders – and even any corruption on their part – does not change the main point that trade unions are workers organisations that must be uncompromisingly defended from the capitalist bosses and their state, so too the lack of socialist democracy in North Korea does not change the fundamental fact that the DPRK is a socialistic state based on public ownership that must be unconditionally defended against capitalist military and political threats.

The U.S., South Korean and Australian governments and media have made much of the execution of Kim Jong-un’s uncle and the far from proven claim that he had his half-brother assassinated in Malaysia. However, we need to put any problems in North Korea in perspective. In the U.S. or Australia one does not need to be a factional rival to a political leader to be killed by the authorities. One only needs to be the wrong skin colour or a person living in poverty … and accused of being intoxicated or of infringing a traffic law! In 2016 alone, U.S. police killed 1093 people on the streets of America! (https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/ng-interactive/2015/jun/01/the-counted-police-killings-us-database). Then there are the horrific crimes of the U.S. and Australian regimes abroad. Together in the anti-communist Korean and Vietnam Wars they slaughtered more than five million people, killed hundreds of thousands more in their two wars against Iraq, their invasion of Afghanistan and their more recent indiscriminate bombing campaigns in Syria and northern Iraq. Then there are the U.S. drone strikes in Pakistan, Yemen and Somalia – conducted with the support of joint U.S-Australia spy bases in Australia – which have killed thousands of civilians. The fact is that other than from the standpoint of the capitalist big end of town whom these racist, rich peoples’ states serve and that of a broader upper-middle class layer who are comfortable under the current social order, it is the U.S. and Australian regimes who are the most atrocious violators of the human rights of the world’s peoples. Compared with these regimes, the North Korean rulers come off as saints!

Australia’s Capitalist Rulers and
Their Obsession with Attacking the DPRK

It is not surprising that there is a pro-DPRK political prisoner jailed in an Australian prison camp. When it comes to attacking the DPRK, the Australian capitalist ruling class is not merely following the U.S. out of loyalty to the superpower that protects its own plunder in the South Pacific. Rather, the same motives that drive Washington’s hostility to the DPRK drive Canberra’s own enmity to North Korea. Thus, just as the U.S. ruling class is bitter that it was not able to crush a small, socialistic country during the 1950-53 Korean War, so too are Australia’s rulers. They had unleashed a massive force of 17,000 troops into the Korean War – nearly nine times what they later sent to participate in the 2003 U.S.-led invasion of Iraq. Moreover, as an imperialist ruling class that considers the Asia-Pacific region as its “backyard,” where it should have the “right” to super-exploit darker-skinned workers and loot natural resources at will, Australia’s capitalists know that the existence of workers states in four Asian countries – China, North Korea, Vietnam and Laos – is a big problem for them. For the mere existence of these truly independent, workers states in countries formerly subjugated by colonial powers sends a powerful message to the toiling masses in the Asian-Pacific countries still grinding under neo-colonial domination. It sends a message to the masses of Indonesia, India, the Philippines, Bangladesh, Thailand, PNG and East Timor that by taking the road of anti-capitalist revolution you too can free yourself from imperialist subjugation.

This is why Australia’s right-wing government was so annoyed by the presence of North Korean athletes, cheerleaders and artistic performers during the recent Winter Olympics in South Korea. They feared that this would damage their regime’s efforts to falsely portray North Korea as a cold, cruelly oppressed society. Meanwhile, Australian warships and the Australian military continue to take part in threatening war games on the DPRK’s borders.

The Australian ruling class is also up to its neck in the imperialist propaganda war drive against the DPRK. Former Australian high court judge, Michael Kirby, was chosen to head the UN’s “Commission of Inquiry on Human Rights” in the DPRK. This 2013-2014 inquiry was meant to produce a report condemning the DPRK in order to justify further imperialist aggression against her. And Kirby duly delivered! He produced a thoroughly deceitful report based on “accounts” from gold-digging defectors and Western-backed NGOs. Kirby in the past had tried to cultivate the image of a small-l liberal. However, as a high court judge he was a top-level judicial enforcer of the racist, capitalist order. He has also been outspoken in defending the current social order in Australia. Thus, he is a raving monarchist who insists on maintaining the Crown in the Australian constitution and was one of the principal founders of Australia’s main pro-monarchy campaign group, Australians for Constitutional Monarchy. Indeed, he is such a reactionary that none other than the hard right-wing, former prime minister, Tony Abbott, is not only an open admirer of Kirby but considers him a mentor (see this fawning article praising Kirby from Abbott: https://www.theaustralian.com.au/business/legal-affairs/kirby-true-to-himself/news-story/1d080f4607675de6df618f3ed3a56bbb ).

As part of fighting for its own interests, the working class and oppressed of this country must stand against the all-sided campaign of the rich ruling class to destroy the DPRK workers state. Let us stand together to say: Down with the monarchist Kirby and his lying human rights propaganda against the DPRK – Down with the monarchy! U.S. and Australian troops get out of South Korea and surrounding waters! End all the war games threatening the DPRK! Close the joint U.S./Australia military and spy bases in Darwin, Pine Gap and Geraldton that are used to prepare imperialist military attacks against the DPRK and China! End all the sanctions against the DPRK! In the same way that we must always support a strike of fellow workers against capitalist bosses, we must unconditionally defend the DPRK workers state against all the military, economic and political threats that she faces. In whatever way that he did, Chan Han Choi bravely tried to do this. For this he is being cruelly persecuted. We must stand by him and demand that he be freed immediately.

Stand with Socialistic North Korea Against U.S./Australian Capitalism’s War Threats

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!

Issue 19

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  1. As Capitalist Rulers Beat on the Unions and Poor: Opposing Racism & “Aussie First” Economic Nationalism Key to Defending Working Class People’s Rights
  2. Tens of Thousands Protest in Australia on the Day of Land Theft & Genocide Rally Attacked by Ruthless Police
  3. A Hard Right, Racist Bigot Enters the White House Capitalist “Democracy” is a Sham Unleash Industrial Action to Demand Jobs for All Only Workers United with All of the Oppressed Can Bring about Real Change
  4. Expand the Union Action in Defence of Public Housing in Sirius: Fight for a Massive Increase in Public Housing throughout the Country! Still a Chance to Prevent the Destruction of Public Housing in Millers Point and The Rocks
  5. Trotskyist Platform May Day (International Workers Day Statement We Need Militant Class Struggle to Win Secure Jobs for All Workers
  6. Workplace Safety Now Better in China Than in Australia Australian Rulers Union Busting Drive against the CFMEU Union
    Threatens Construction Workers Lives
  7. Good News: China’s Arrest of Crown Executives Endangers Packer’s Barangaroo Project James Packer’s Crown Versus Millers Point Public Housing
  8. Free All the Victims of Australia’s Racist Torture! Jail the Cops and Prison Guards Who Killed David Dungay, Ms Dhu, Rebecca Maher, Wayne Morrison, TJ Hickey, Mulrunji & the Many Other Victims of the Racist, Rich People’s State!
  9. Long Live China’s 1949 Anticapitalist Revolution! Protect the Great Benefits for Workers & the Rural Masses Won through the Revolution: Stop Imperialist Funding for Those NGOs that Seek to Overthrow Socialistic Rule in China
  10. Defend the Dominance of Socialistic, State-Ownership in China’s Economy! China: Pro-Worker and Pro-Private Sector Forces Lock Horns
  11. Racist Atrocities in Kalgoorlie
  12. Force Profitable Companies to Increase Hiring – Make Them Wear the Resulting Lower Profits Stop Billionaire Bosses from Retrenching Workers! No to Slave Wage Internships and Work for the Dole! For Fully Paid, Permanent Jobs for All!

10 January 2015: Defenders of the Socialistic DPRK Support the DPRK Soccer Team at the Asia Cup

DPRK Asia Cup photo outside stadium
From the moment the DPRK soccer team arrived in Sydney for the January 2015 Asia Cup Finals, the capitalist-owned media went all out to demonise the team as highly secretive, repressed and without support. This is part of their general propaganda war against socialistic North Korea. The aim of this campaign is to justify to the Australian masses the Australian ruling class’ participation in the relentless imperialist drive to crush the DPRK workers state through military, economic and political pressure.
However, the media narrative took a blow when soccer fans coming to watch North Korea’s match against Uzbekhistan as well as Sydney public transport users came across a contingent of supporters of the socialistic DPRK coming to support the DPRK team. The contingent – including supporters of Trotskyist Platform, the Australia-DPRK Friendship Society and the Communist Party of Australia – chanted:
“D-P-R-K! Workers State is Here to Stay!”

Down with the Right-Wing Campaign OF Lies about North Korea!

Above: Democracy in capitalist South Korea? Leftist South Korean parliamentarian Lee Seok-ki shouts as he is escorted into prison by security agents in September 2013. The Unified Progressive Party (UPP) MP was jailed for nine years on bogus charges of inciting a socialist insurrection. Later, the South Korean regime banned the UPP and kicked all its MPs out of parliament. Until it was banned, the UPP was South Korea’s third largest parliamentary party with a vote share equivalent to The Greens in Australia.

“Human Rights” Attacks on Socialistic North Korea & the Trade Union Royal Commission Here:
Both are Campaigns of Lies to “Justify” Attacks on Anyone Standing in the Way of Capitalist Exploitation

22 August 2015: This month, people around the world marked the 70th anniversary of the two most horrific terror attacks on civilians ever perpetrated in the whole of human history. Seventy years ago the U.S. regime, fully backed by the Australian ruling class, was responsible for the nuclear incineration of the people first of Hiroshima and then of Nagasaki. Yet these very same ruling classes have the hide to wage a campaign against the Democratic Peoples Republic of Korea (DPRK or North Korea) over “human rights.”

Indeed, the DPRK is probably the last country that the Western powers should be raising the issue of “human rights” about.  During the 1950-53 Korean War, the U.S. and allied militaries – including those of Australia and South Korea – killed between two to three million North Korean citizens. In the beginning of January 1951, American General Mathew Ridgway ordered the air force to hit the North Korean capital, Pyongyang, “with the goal of burning the city to the ground with incendiary bombs,” which they did in two strikes on January 3 and January 5 (“Consequences of the ‘Forgotten War,’” Bruce Cummings, printed in Le Monde Diplomatique, December 2004). Pyongyang and just about every other city in North and Central Korea was again levelled by U.S. bombing in December 1952. Those North Koreans that survived were by then literally living in caves.

Yet the capitalist powers and the big business-owned media that serve them have never shied away from gross hypocrisy and never been bound by the truth. Recall, for one, their now infamous lie that Iraq possessed nuclear weapons. Such lies are spread for a purpose. In the case of the lie about Iraq it was used to justify the 2003 U.S.–led invasion and conquest of that oil-rich country. Here, the Liberal/National Party regime’s lies demonising our trade unions are used to grease the skids for further union-busting attacks and anti-strike laws.

So why are they lying about North Korea then? Because the workers and farmers of North Korea have dared to adopt a socio-political system that is not based on capitalist exploitation. The masses of North Korea have dared to insist that they will not subordinate themselves to Western imperialism. For this “crime,” the imperial powers have slated the DPRK for destruction. Their outrageous claims about “appalling human rights abuses” in North Korea are used to justify the ongoing stiff economic sanctions on that country as well as the extreme military pressure that the U.S. and its allies exert on the DPRK. Not only are tens of thousands of U.S. troops stationed in South Korea to threaten the DPRK but U.S. aircraft and warships regularly move in and out of North Korean airspace and waters to amplify this threat. Ultimately, the imperialist powers see the “human rights” crusade against North Korea as a means of preparing the population in their own countries for a future, full-scale military assault on that country – something that has to date only been stymied by Red China’s alliance with its socialistic sister, the DPRK.

As part of the big lie campaign against the DPRK, the South Korean Consul General in Sydney – in other words the South Korean government – hosted a week of events in Australia from August 17 to August 21 titled “North Korea Human Rights Week.” These events were timed to coincide with the 70th anniversary of the liberation of North Korea from Japanese colonial occupation on 15 August. The Sydney Branch of the Australia-DPRK Friendship Society protested outside the Opening Ceremony of this “Human Rights Week” at Sydney City’s main cinema strip near Town Hall station. Participating in the snap protest were several Trotskyist Platform comrades as well as supporters of the Australia-DPRK Friendship Society including one member from the CPA and a representative from the Supporters of the Iranian Peoples Fadaee Gureillas. Among the placards we carried were signs that read, “Human Rights” Attacks on Socialistic North Korea Are Like the Trade Union Royal Commission Here: A Campaign of Lies Used to Justify Attacks on Organisation/s Standing In the Way of Capitalist Exploitation and “Human Rights” of imperialism = bombing Afghanistan, torture at Guantanamo, killings of Aboriginal people in custody, support for murderous regimes in Egypt, Israel, Philippines and Colombia. How dare they attack socialistic DPRK, China and Cuba over “human rights.” Some passers-by stopped to express sympathy with the protest. Among these were a woman who knew much about the South Korean regime’s jailing of trade unionists and a woman of South Korean origin whose husband was a political activist murdered by the capitalist South Korean regime.

For the brutal, anti-working class South Korean regime to be talking about “human rights” is truly the height of hypocrisy. Yet its attacks on the socialistic North are totally expected. Whilst the DPRK was founded by Korean leftists who heroically fought the Japanese imperialist occupiers and with the vital assistance of the Soviet Red Army freed the Northern part of the peninsula from colonial rule, South Korea was established by the U.S. using many local collaborators with Japanese colonial rule as their henchmen. Among these U.S. henchmen were rich industrialists and big landlords during Japanese rule who defected from the North after the new socialistic power there nationalised industry and divided big landholdings amongst the impoverished poor peasants. Thus for a long time many amongst the Korean masses viewed North Korea as the real Korea and South Korea for what it really was –  a U.S.-occupied puppet state. The South Korean regime and its U.S. patrons could only maintain their rule through the most bloody terror and the support of the occupying U.S. military forces.

14 November 2015, Seoul: Capitalist South Korea’s brutal police unleash water cannon, pepper spray and tear gas to disperse a 70,000 strong anti-government demonstration of workers and civil rights activists.
14 November 2015, Seoul: Capitalist South Korea’s brutal police unleash water cannon, pepper spray and tear gas to disperse a 70,000 strong anti-government demonstration of workers and civil rights activists.

Against the lies being spread by the South Korean regime and the U.S., British, Japanese and Australian ruling classes, we present here some important facts:

  • In the DPRK there is full employment. All workers have a right to work. This does not exist in capitalist South Korea and certainly not in capitalist Australia where greedy bosses feel that they can even get away with sacking workers in strongly unionised workplaces by text message!
  • The liberation in the latter part of World War II of the Northern part of Korea from Japanese colonial rule by the Soviet Red Army and communist-led Korean partisans led to the establishment of a workers state in North Korea. This workers state is, however, weakened by bureaucratic deformations. Thus, although the DPRK defends a pro-working class system based on collective ownership of industry, agriculture and services, the bulk of the working class is kept away from political administration which is in the hands of a relatively narrow bureaucratic layer. There is also a personality cult around leader Kim Jong Un and his late father, previous leader Kim Jong-Il and his deceased grandfather, founding head of the DPRK and former anti-colonial resistance leader, Kim Il Sung. Furthermore, those who form the administrative layer of the DPRK have special material privileges (although these pale in comparison to the extreme wealth of big business owners in capitalist countries). Yet despite these bureaucratic deformations, the existence of a workers state in the Northern part of Korea represents a significant conquest for the international working class. Furthermore, fixing the bureaucratic deformations that weaken the DPRK workers state demands relieving her of the tremendous pressure that is bearing down upon her from the imperialist powers and their South Korean ally.
  • Working in a society where workers have guaranteed jobs and are proclaimed as the ruling class means that North Korean workers enjoy a relaxed, friendly work environment. Indeed, if Aussie bosses saw how laid back North Korean workers were and how much they like to talk to each other whilst working on a production line then they would truly have a fit!
  • In contrast to the North, most South Korean workers toil in insecure casual or temporary jobs. Though the trade union movement there has waged many brave struggles for their rights in the face of fierce repression, still workers are forced to work very long hours. In fact, South Korean workers endure amongst the longest working hours in the world and the large number of workers forced to work part-time there means that the statistics, actually, hide the full extent of the reality.
  • Despite an industrialised economy, in capitalist South Korea, large numbers of homeless people sleep every day in railway subway tunnels. Many frail elderly people are forced to collect recyclables for petty cash since an aged pension barely exists in this country. In contrast, in North Korea, homelessness is non-existent and all citizens are guaranteed heavily subsidised public housing.
  • Despite being devastated in the 1950-53 Korean War, over the following two decades the DPRK built the second most advanced economy in Asia. Up until the late 1960s, the DPRK not only had much better health care, social welfare and education than South Korea but a higher average level of income. At that time, the U.S. decided to massively subsidise South Korean economic development as the U.S. rulers feared that hatred of the South Korean regime and sympathy for the North amongst the South Korean masses would lead to revolution. Thus, South Korea’s industrialisation was based on huge U.S. backing as well as cruel exploitation of its own workers.
  • Up until the collapse of the USSR in 1991-92, North Korean citizens continued to enjoy a high standard of living. However, the destruction of the USSR had a devastating effect on the DPRK. Faced with sanctions from the capitalist world, trade and technical exchanges with the former Soviet Union had been the DPRK’s economic lifeline. Furthermore, the USSR acted as a guarantor of the DPRK’s defence. Now, the DPRK had to provide for its own defence (China’s military was, especially at that time, not comparable to the USSR’s and incapable of providing the same deterrent to imperialist threats to the DPRK) at a time when the imperial powers felt more emboldened than ever. This forced the DPRK to divert a much larger proportion of its economy to defence which in turn squeezed her economy. A period of serious hardship in the country followed. However, by the start of the 21st century this started to turn around and especially over the last few years the DPRK economy has picked up. The military encirclement and the sanctions still hurt the DPRK – for example there is a shortage of fuel and spare parts for machinery and automobiles. Yet the North Korean masses are standing strong much like defiant workers who lose wages whilst on strike. Embarking on the struggle against their enemy brings hardships but they stand firm understanding that victory will open the road to a brighter future.

    The Australian capitalist regime that attacks the DPRK over “human rights” has overseen the death of over 500 Aboriginal people in state custody since 1980. Some of the more well-known cases of Aboriginal people being outright murdered by racist police or killed as a result of racist treatment while in custody include: Eddie Murray (Top Left) who was killed by police in June 1981 in Wee Waa, northern NSW, within an hour of being arrested (merely for being allegedly drunk); 17 year-old TJ Hickey (Top Right) who in February 2004 was chased by racist police in Redfern who then rammed his bicycle causing him to fly through the air and be impaled on a fence; Mulrunji Doomadgee (Bottom Left) who was barbarically beaten to death by racist police officer Chris Hurley in Palm Island in November 2004 and Julieka Dhu (Bottom Right) who while imprisoned in WA’s South Hedland watch house in August 2011 was repeatedly denied medical assistance by racist police as she cried out for help. When eventually taken to hospital on two occasions she never got to see a doctor as police lied to hospital staff that, “she was faking it.” She eventually died as a result of this torture-like denial of medical assistance 48 hours after being jailed for unpaid fines.
    The Australian capitalist regime that attacks the DPRK over “human rights” has overseen the death of over 500 Aboriginal people in state custody since 1980. Some of the more well-known cases of Aboriginal people being outright murdered by racist police or killed as a result of racist treatment while in custody include: Eddie Murray (Top Left) who was killed by police in June 1981 in Wee Waa, northern NSW, within an hour of being arrested (merely for being allegedly drunk); 17 year-old TJ Hickey (Top Right) who in February 2004 was chased by racist police in Redfern who then rammed his bicycle causing him to fly through the air and be impaled on a fence; Mulrunji Doomadgee (Bottom Left) who was barbarically beaten to death by racist police officer Chris Hurley in Palm Island in November 2004 and Julieka Dhu (Bottom Right) who while imprisoned in WA’s South Hedland watch house in August 2011 was repeatedly denied medical assistance by racist police as she cried out for help. When eventually taken to hospital on two occasions she never got to see a doctor as police lied to hospital staff that, “she was faking it.” She eventually died as a result of this torture-like denial of medical assistance 48 hours after being jailed for unpaid fines.
  • In the above sense, North Korean defectors can be compared to weak workers who sneak back to work during a strike because they are looking for short-term economic security at the expense of the long-term well-being of their fellow workers. Some of these defectors, either out of the quest for fame or because of cajoling from the South Korean and Western governments and anti-communist NGOs, have given harrowing tales of life in North Korea. Yet such tales have often been exposed as lies. These included the tales told by the most famous North Korean defector, Yeonmi Park. Her lies were so blatant that even anti-communist news agencies had to report on it. Meanwhile, hundreds of defectors disillusioned with the cut-throat life in the capitalist South with its unemployment and underemployment have, actually, defected back to the North.
  • Even despite the hardships that being squeezed by powerful capitalist powers brings, the North Korean masses manage to have their basic needs met. Contrary to the utter lies of the Western mainstream media there is no starvation in North Korea. Indeed, even statistics compiled by Western agencies hostile to the DPRK reveal this. Thus, the list of the percentage of a country’s population under the age of five who are underweight due to malnourishment estimated by the CIA – an institution thoroughly hostile to and biased against the DPRK – shows that North Korea is not only not among the top ten countries with the highest proportion of malnourished children but not even in the top 40! Indeed, not only do India, Pakistan and Sri Lanka have much higher rates of malnourished children but so do other strong Western allies like Indonesia, the Philippines and Papua New Guinea.
  • Similarly, the UN’s World Health Organization estimates life expectancy in the DPRK at 70 years. This is not only decisively higher than in India, Pakistan and PNG but also, actually, slightly higher than in Russia (suffering as Russia is, of course, from the capitalist counter-revolution that dismantled the world’s first workers state, the Soviet Union, in 1991) as well as the Philippines.
  • Despite the external pressure it faces, the DPRK has completely free health care and education. As a result, the DPRK has one of the highest literacy rates in the world for both women and men and a highly educated population.
  • North Koreans enjoy a rich social and cultural life. Peoples’ favourite hobbies include sports, dancing and playing music. As in much of Asia, people love karaoke. A recent craze there are amusement parks which have started springing up all over the country.
  • North Korea is a sports mad country and you can often see people jogging in the streets, playing in parks or training in the country’s many sports pavilions. At the last Olympic Games in London, the DPRK finished 20th in the medal tally – punching above its weight for a country of its size.
  • Many North Koreans play musical instruments and sing. Classical Korean and classical Western music, light semi-classical Korean tunes and pop music are all popular. The most popular band in North Korea at the moment, the extremely talented, all-female Moranbong Band plays all these styles alongside Western pop pieces.

    North Korean children having fun at a playground near a housing complex. Photo: Trotskyist Platform
    North Korean children having fun at a playground near a housing complex. Photo: Trotskyist Platform
  • In South Korea (the Republic of Korea), the very tough work environment for workers and the cut-throat nature of the capitalist society in general has led to it having the second highest suicide rate in the world. To put this in perspective, the suicide rate in South Korea is more than two and a half times that of Australia’s and nearly four times that of the Peoples Republic of China.
  • Despite having the hide to attack the DPRK over “human rights,” it is South Korea that has an appalling record of crushing the human rights of workers. The Seoul regime regularly arrests and imprisons trade union activists, including several trade union leaders who were arrested only two months ago .
  • Many people are persecuted under South Korea’s draconian National Security Law. In 2010 a woman was given a two year jail term for possessing MP3 files of instrumental music that was alleged to have pro-North Korea titles!
  • Last December, the South Korean regime banned the country’s third largest party in parliament, the left-leaning Unified Progressive Party (UPP), and stripped its MPs of its parliamentary seats. The UPP was accused of organising a pro-North Korea rebellion as the party’s actually quite critical attitude to the DPRK is, however, not hard line enough for the South Korean authorities. The UPP had won over two million votes (just over 10% of the total) in the proportional representation side of the last South Korean elections in 2012.
  • Capitalist rule in South Korea was consolidated by fanatical right-wing terror. From April 1948 to May 1949, the U.S. military government and their South Korean henchmen killed over 30,000 people on South Korea’s Jeju Island after the population rose up following repeated police shootings of pro-communist activists. Even the South Korean regime’s own commission – some 60 years after the fact – accepted that at least 20,000 people jailed for participation in the Jeju uprising were later massacred shortly after the outbreak of the Korean War.
  • More broadly, at the start of the Korean War, the South Korean rulers with the connivance of the U.S and Australia killed communists and those suspected of being communist sympathisers in what was known as the Bodo League massacres. Estimates of the number of people murdered ranged from 100,000 to 1.2 million. For decades in South Korea those who even spoke of these massacres were jailed. Although today South Korea flaunts an image of “democracy” and finally acknowledges, in part, the Bodo League massacres, it remains ruled by a brutal anti-working class regime.
    In May 1980, the South Korean military and police massacred over 2,000 people in the city of Kwangju after leftist students and workers there staged a rebellion demanding an end to martial law and an increase in minimum wages.
  • The South Korean regime for decades either pressured or coerced local women to work as “comfort women” prostitutes for stationed American troops. They then stigmatised the women and left them to live in poverty. Over 120 surviving comfort women are now suing the South Korean regime.
  • The South Korean regime is far from the only hypocrite amongst those falsely attacking the DPRK over “human rights.” So are the rulers of the U.S., Britain, Australia and other Washington allies. In Vietnam, these forces killed over two million Vietnamese people in their cruel but, ultimately, futile and losing war against the heroic Vietnamese revolutionaries. Over the course of the 1991 First Gulf War attack on Iraq, the subsequent starvation-causing UN sanctions on Iraq and the 2003 invasion and occupation, the U.S., British and Australian regimes caused the death of over one and a half million Iraqi people. In 2001, they invaded Afghanistan to replace the fundamentalist cutthroats that they, themselves, had helped bring to power with a new lot of misogynist tyrants that are, however, even more slavish to them. In the process they bombed Afghanistan back to the stone-age and massacred thousands of civilians in countless “accidental” air strikes on wedding parties and civilian travel convoys. In neighbouring Pakistan, U.S. drone strikes unleashed against the wishes of Pakistan’s government kill hundreds upon hundreds of civilians. Meanwhile, four years ago, the NATO imperialists, egged on by the Australian government, violently deposed the then Libyan government. In doing so they not only killed tens of thousands of Libyan people in savage air strikes but turned that once peaceful and affluent country into a nightmarish “failed state” ruled by rival gangs of religious extremists and warlords and caused tens of thousands of Libyans to flee in dangerous boat trips to Europe.

    Workers at North Korea’s Taedongang Tile Plant. North Korea has a relaxed and friendly work environment where at least two people are stationed at assembly line node points that would, in places like Australia or Indonesia, have only one worker doing all the work. Photo: Trotskyist Platform
    Workers at North Korea’s Taedongang Tile Plant. North Korea has a relaxed and friendly work environment where at least two people are stationed at assembly line node points that would, in places like Australia or Indonesia, have only one worker doing all the work. Photo: Trotskyist Platform
  • As part of all these neo-colonial wars of conquest, the U.S. and their allies have used torture to advance their goals. There was the notorious torture of Iraqi political prisoners by the U.S. at Iraq’s Abu Ghraib prison, NATO’s torture in Afghanistan’s Bagram Air Base and the ongoing U.S. hellhole prison camp at Guantanamo Bay.
  • The Australian capitalist ruling class has perpetrated such atrocities not only as junior partners of the U.S. but sometimes from neo-colonial interventions it has itself led. In the late 1980s, when the people of the PNG-controlled island of Bougainville rose up to resist the terrible destruction of their livelihoods by Australian mining company CRA (this company which operated the huge Panguna mine in Bougainville with callous disregard to the local people later merged with British RTZ to form Rio Tinto), the Australian regime and its PNG government henchmen orchestrated a brutal war and naval blockade against the Bougainville people. As a result 15,000 to 20,000 Bougainville people perished – all for the sake of the profits of Australian capitalist bigwigs.
  • Here at home, the Australian rulers who attack the DPRK over “human rights” continue to preside over genocidal attacks on Aboriginal people, including forcibly closing down Aboriginal communities, stripping Aboriginal children from their families and police killings of Aboriginal people in custody. Meanwhile, refugees arriving in this country are thrown into hell-hole offshore detention camps where they face beatings, torture and in some cases murder at the hands of camp guards.
  • In the U.S., racist police and white supremacists murder blacks, Asians and Hispanics at an alarming and seemingly ever increasing rate. Meanwhile, the U.S. has the largest prison population in the world – more than the entire population of Brisbane! The rate of imprisonment in the U.S. is close to four times that of Venezuela and nearly six times that of China.
People get set for a ride in one of North Korea’s many fun parks. Visiting amusement parks is one of the latest crazes in North Korea. You certainly would not know that from the mainstream Western media coverage about North Korea which seeks to do everything possible to demonise the society. Photo: Trotskyist Platform.
People get set for a ride in one of North Korea’s many fun parks. Visiting amusement parks is one of the latest crazes in North Korea. You certainly would not know that from the mainstream Western media coverage about North Korea which seeks to do everything possible to demonise the society.
Photo: Trotskyist Platform.

The truth is that the only “rights” that those waging the anti-DPRK “human rights” campaign are truly concerned about is the right of greedy corporate bigwigs to exploit the toil of working class people and the right of their mouthpieces to propagate the “virtues” of such a system. These rights do not, thankfully, exist in North Korea. And let’s keep it that way!

Defend the DPRK workers state! Down with the right-wing campaign of lies about North Korea! U.S. troops get out of South Korea and Japan! End all sanctions against North Korea! Remove the U.S. troops from Darwin and the U.S. spy facilities at Pine Gap and elsewhere in Australia which are used primarily for furthering U.S.-Australian ruling class threats against the DPRK and the Peoples Republic of China!

Apart from facilitating attacks on the socialistic DPRK, the lies about the “human rights” situation in the DPRK are used to distract the masses in South Korea, the U.S.A and Australia from the distinct lack of rights that working class people have in their own countries. So we demand: Repeal South Korea’s fascistic National Security Law! Revoke the ban on South Korea’s Unified Progressive Party! Free all imprisoned trade union activists in South Korea! Free all the refugees in Australia! Down with the police murder of Aboriginal people in state custody in Australia! End the Australian regime’s forced closure of remote Aboriginal communities! For the guaranteed right to a full-time job in Australia – just like people enjoy in North Korea!

Supporters Greet Arrival of DPRK Soccer Team for Asia Cup Finals

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6th of January 2015 Sydney Airport Supporters Greet Arrival of DPRK Soccer Team for Asia Cup Finals.

When the DPRK soccer team arrived in Sydney for the January 2015 Asia Cup Finals, the capitalist-owned media went all out to demonise the team as highly secretive, repressed and without support. This is part of their general propaganda war against socialistic North Korea. The aim of this campaign is to justify to the Australian masses the Australian ruling class’ participation in the relentless imperialist drive to crush the DPRK workers state through military, economic and political pressure.

However, the media narrative took a blow when people at Sydney Airport coming to pick up their arriving friends and relatives found an enthusiastic group of DPRK supporters welcoming the arrival of the team. Supporters of Trotskyist Platform, the Australia-DPRK Friendship Society and the Communist Party of Australia rallied at Sydney Airport to welcome the DPRK soccer team.

An Eyewitness Account of North Korea and Its People

An Eyewitness Account of North Korea and Its People:

Bravely Building a Friendly, Socialistic Society While in the Cross Hairs of Imperialism

As my trip to North Korea approached, I started to feel excited. I was going to see for myself what this country was really like – this country that has been so vilified by the mainstream Western media.

I will not pretend that I went to North Korea with no pre-conceived ideas. This is unlike the Western capitalist media who pretend to be “unbiased”, “neutral” observers who are supposedly “shocked” when they go to North Korea for an “investigative” report. Before I went to North Korea – or, as it is properly known, the Democratic Peoples Republic of Korea – I understood it to be a workers state. By this I understood that capitalist rule had been smashed in North Korea and a state defending socialistic, collectivised property to be ruling there. This represented a huge step forward for social progress and for the global struggle of socialism against capitalism. However, the way that the socialistic system was run in the DPRK was somewhat deformed from the way a truly socialist order would be run because the administration of the country was monopolised by a bureaucratic layer that kept the masses out of real decision making power. Nevertheless, the DPRK was courageously holding out for socialism in the face of both economic sanctions and the most intense military threats from U.S. imperialism and its South Korean capitalist and Japanese and Australian imperialist allies. I understood that this intense pressure on the DPRK brought hardship to the North Korean people and made the bureaucratic deformations to its socialistic system more significant. Yet despite these difficulties, as a workers state embodying great gains for the exploited and oppressed of the whole globe, the DPRK must be unconditionally defended from military or propaganda attacks by capitalist countries and from external or internal forces seeking to undermine socialistic rule there. Continue reading An Eyewitness Account of North Korea and Its People

An Eye Witness Account of Capitalist South Korea

An Eye Witness Account of Capitalist South Korea

Seoul’s subway at 7pm where 33 or more homeless people are resting. This situation in South Korea is in stark contrast to that in its northern socialistic neighbour where housing has been expropriated from the landlords and collectivised to provide free public housing.
Seoul’s subway at 7pm where 33 or more homeless people are resting. This situation in South Korea is in stark contrast to that in its northern socialistic neighbour where housing has been expropriated from the landlords and collectivised to provide free public housing.
An elderly working class man doing it tough in South Korea: it is common to witness many resorting to collecting recyclables for petty cash in a country where an aged pension is virtually non-existent.
An elderly working class man doing it tough in South Korea: it is common to witness many resorting to collecting recyclables for petty cash in a country where an aged pension is virtually non-existent.
South Korean Ssangyong workers armed with metal pipes during their 2009 industrial struggle with the car company. In South Korea workers have a strong history of resisting their exploiters and subsequently being brutalised by the capitalist state.
South Korean Ssangyong workers armed with metal pipes during their 2009 industrial struggle with the car company. In South Korea workers have a strong history of resisting their exploiters and subsequently being brutalised by the
capitalist state.

I met relatives for the first time at Incheon Airport, South Korea. As we travelled towards Seoul, I looked out the car window. Out there were signs of highly urbanised life: tall, twenty storey buildings clumped together in the distance and we hadn’t even reached Seoul, the capital city, just yet. I remember being eager to see every aspect of South Korea, especially the ‘development’ of an ‘Asian Tiger Economy’ under capitalism. In the following article I will share my experiences of and some of my discoveries about South Korea: conversations with the people, a rally for workers’ rights that I attended and my thoughts on the situation in general of socialists and left-wing activists in South Korea. Continue reading An Eye Witness Account of Capitalist South Korea

2011 Feb, Rally Leaflet: Down with the Capitalists’ Provocations Against Socialistic North Korea!

Do you hate capitalism? Well if you truly do then you must take a stand with the socialistic DPRK against the intense threats it is facing from capitalist states.

Rally to demand: U.S. Military Get out of the Korean Peninsula and the Yellow Sea!

Down with the Capitalists’ Provocations Against Socialistic North Korea!

12 February 2011, Saturday 2pm, Sydney Town Hall Square

The governments of the U.S., Japan, South Korea and Australia have launched a volley of threats against North Korea. It is only support for the DPRK from the Peoples Republic of China that has thus far prevented an all out U.S.-led invasion of North Korea.

Continue reading 2011 Feb, Rally Leaflet: Down with the Capitalists’ Provocations Against Socialistic North Korea!

Speakout Demands: Stop The Capitalists’ Provocations against Socialistic North Korea!

Yeongpyeong Island, Korea, December 2010: Troops from capitalist South Korea prepare for a highly provocative live fire exercise in this military outpost, lying in disputed waters.

Speakout Demands:

Stop The Capitalists’ Provocations against Socialistic North Korea!

Late last year the capitalist countries, led by the U.S., were on the verge of provoking a full-scale war with North Korea. This followed a clash on November 23 between the militaries of U.S.-backed, capitalist South Korea and the North Korean workers state. Continue reading Speakout Demands: Stop The Capitalists’ Provocations against Socialistic North Korea!