loupaulsen at attbi.com loupaulsen at attbi.com
Thu Dec 12 10:02:15 MST 2002

In all this wave of red-baiting which has been directed against WWP, and
against ANSWER because of the participation of WWP members in that coalition,
since last September, one constantly repeated theme is that we are supposed to
be followers of Kim Jong Il of the Democratic People's Republic of Korea.

Now of course this is not really an insult or a slander by my standards,
although it is intended to terrify people.  Certainly any serious Leninist
organization would defend the Korean revolution against imperialism.
Furthermore, in this epoch of counterrevolution, any socialist government that
has been able to avoid surrendering to imperialism deserves the respect of
serious socialists.

For years many people on the 'left' in the US derided the DPRK as a 'closed'
society.  On the other hand, more 'open' socialist governments in eastern
Europe, the USSR, and the PRC, took loans from capitalist banks and the IMF,
opened the door to imperialist investment, and established 'normal' relations
with the imperialist powers.  Susequently, counterrevolution triumphed in the
USSR and Eastern Europe, and capitalist power in China is very great.  But not
in the DPRK, despite the presence of a massive nuclear-armed US force on the
southern half of their country.

During the worst years of the Sino-Soviet split (roughly 1969-1985), which was
a triumph for imperialist strategy and a disaster for socialism, the
leadership of the DPRK distinguished itself by not taking sides and by
maintaining good relations with both the USSR and the PRC.  I remember Kim Il
Sung saying something along the lines of "Some people say we are 'sitting
between two stools.'  Why do they say such silly things?  We are sitting on
our own Marxist stool."  This was an entirely correct position, and we in WWP
respected that.

Most people in the US left who scoff at the DPRK do not know anything more
about it than they read in Time magazine.  I think there is possibly a
subconscious Eurocentrist element too: because they are Asian, because the
Korean language is not widely taught in US schools, because the culture is not
respected, it is harder for the average U.S. resident of European ancestry to
get a feel for what is going on there, and easier to believe it when the US
imperialist media tell us how weird and horrible things are there.

However, if the regime is really so terrible and warlike, then you would
expect Koreans in the U.S.-occupied southern part of the peninsula to be the
most vocal in denouncing the Kim government and to be demonstrating their
support for the U.S. army which is 'protecting' them.  In fact, though, it
turns out that the people of southern Korea are among the most anti-American
in the world, according to the recent international Pew survey.

So, not only do I not think that we in WWP have anything to apologize for in
our support for the DPRK, I wish we were doing more in the way of education.
I hope for example that we can do more to support and publicize the work of
the Korean Truth Commission, which by the way is a participant in ANSWER, and
which has been exposing the truth of the massacres of socialists and other
civilians by U.S. and puppet troops during the Korean War.  I hope we can do
more to support the demand "U.S. Troops Out of Korea" which is being raised in
Korea right now.

- - -

Therefore, when the red-baiters paint us as 'followers of Kim Jong Il', it
certainly doesn't create any desire on my part to run out and disassociate
myself from Kim or from the DPRK.  On the contrary.  I swear, this wave of
nonsensical 'charges' makes me want to run out and buy Kim Jong Il's books
just out of a spirit of defiance.

As a matter of fact, however, we are an independent party and are
not 'followers' of any party or leader on the world stage.  Furthermore,
anyone is free to go to our website at www.workers.org and type 'Kim Jong Il'
in the search engine box.  I don't think the number of positive references
will strike anyone as out of the ordinary for a revolutionary party.  I would
bet that the number of positive references to Fidel is much higher - this is
not to say that "Fidel is better than Kim". as if it made sense to talk in
such terms, but Fidel's writings and speeches are more accessible to most of
us here, travel there is easier, etc.  Yet they don't "charge" us with being
Fidelistas, they "charge" us with being supporters of Kim.

This notion that WWP is -especially- devoted to supporting the DPRK
and "following" Kim Jong Il, -rather than- supporting the DPRK as a -necessary
element- of our full program of socialist, working-class, anti-imperialist,
anti-racist, anti-sexist, anti-LGBT oppression, and other activity, is a
fabrication.  It's a fabrication with a definite source.

The "intellectual source" (if that is the term) of this wave of anti-WWP and
anti-ANSWER red-baiting is an article that was printed in the Washington Times
just before the anti-war demonstration of September 29, 2001.  Since the
Washington Times is controlled by forces around the reactionary Korean
religious leader Sun Myung Moon, a self-proclaimed "victim of the North Korean
communists", it was natural that this particular slanderous article took pains
to link WWP with the DPRK.

This issue of the Washington Times must have come into the hands of "Chuck0"
Munson, an anarchist who was on hand in DC for an anti-globalization protest
on the same day.  Munson incubated the Washington Times material on his
infoshop.com website and spread it around the internet.  Now, in the post-
October 26 red-baiting wave, we have the spectacle of liberal anti-communists
uncritically adapting uncritical anarchist adaptations of right-wing "Moonie"
slanders!  Naturally, since these are 'serious' writers and intellectuals
engaged in the anti-communist crusade, elementary fact-checking is utterly
beyond them.  Only we street Marxists have to take such things seriously.

I say all this, not because I really care what the red-baiters are saying, but
because now I am starting to see ANTI-redbaiters quote the same fabrications
for good coin, along the lines of 'even though the WWPers all have the picture
of Kim Jong Il on their walls, they do good organizing work.'  I am naturally
grateful for any compliments, although I have to emphasize that the October 26
demonstrations, like the upcoming January 18 demonstration, were the work of
many forces in coalition.  But, just for the record, I would like to pass the
word around that our red-baiting opponents of the yellow press are not
providing a reliable picture of us.

Lou Paulsen
member, WWP, Chicago

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