[Marxism] Can North Korea still be considered a deformed workers state?

Jscotlive at aol.com Jscotlive at aol.com
Sun Nov 20 05:43:44 MST 2005

In a message dated 19/11/2005 23:50:28 GMT Standard TiReplyme, 
govi0006 at umn.edu writes:

> From what I've
> heard, Pol Pot basically hadn't read Marx. The regime was essentially a
> khmer medievalist one. Even if that was the case, opposing any US assault
> of any form on NK is still a necessity.  


Thanks for raising this topic. Traditionally, on the Left, North Korea has 
been the crazy Aunt locked away in the attic; the one whom everybody living in 
the house daren't mention and pretends doesn't even exist.

I think that every socialist state, or proclaimed socialist state, that's 
ever been could be called a deformed workers state, given that none has passed 
far beyond an initial, or lower stage of development to higher. The pressure 
exerted against them by Capitalist encirclement has in every case dictated their 
development, necessitating that their priority remain defense against military 
and economic intervention.

NK has been involved in a low intensity war against US imperialism since the 
end of the war in 1953, during which it was decimated by US bombs, resulting 
in a horrendous loss of life (3 million or thereabouts), and has been under a 
state of economic and military siege without respite. Any analysis of the state 
under such conditions must focus on the cause of the obscurantist isolation 
in which it now exists - i.e., US imperialism. Under ideal conditions nobody I 
think would ever consider the present regime in NK to be a desirable one. But 
this is not the time to offer such an analysis, when the objective and 
material conditions for socialist development in the country do not exist. It is a 
garrison state, defined by a siege mentality and the belief that an attack by 
the US is imminent. Whether or not Kim Jung IL is using and manipulating this 
mentality to keep an iron grip on power is another question, one that can only 
be answered once the US ruling class no longer poses a threat to its self 

Ultimately, the question for NK, Cuba, China, Vietnam, Venezuela isn't 
whether they are socialist or not. In theory, because the material conditions for 
socialism can never exist whilst capitalism exists, none of them are. The 
question we should be asking is: Are they attempting to build socialism? 

If the answer is yes then we should support them unequivocally. If the answer 
is no, but they are under threat from US imperialism, then our support should 
be based on the right to self determination.

NK, I would argue, falls into the latter category. 


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