The speech titled 'LET US EMBODY THE REVOLUTIONARY SPIRIT OF INDEPENDENCE, SELF-SUSTENANCE AND SELF-DEFENCE MORE THOROUGHLY IN ALL BRANCHES OF STATE ACTIVITY' was delivered by President Kim Il Sung to the First Session of the Fourth Supreme People’s Assembly of the DPRK on December 16th 1967. The work sets out the political programme of the DPRK and the ideas contained in it form the basis of Juche Korea’s policy. It is an extremely comprehensive speech, so I will only summarise its main points.
President Kim Il Sung starts by asserting that the DPRK should thoroughly implement the line of independence, self-sustenance and self-defence to consolidate the political Chajusong of the country. This will in turn strengthen the foundations of an independent national economy capable of ensuring the complete reunification, independence and prosperity of Korea. He makes it clear that these goals can only be achieved by establishing the Party’s idea of Juche in all fields. Indeed, the DPRK has been able to achieve great victories and successes in the revolutionary struggle and construction work, because it has persistently tried to solve all problems independently. Kim Il Sung states that the Korean people should not follow others blindly, but instead they must appraise foreign ideas critically instead of unreservedly copying or accepting them without question. The DPRK strives to solve all problems according to the conditions that exist in the country rather than looking to outside big powers for ideas. Thus, only by firmly establishing Juche was the DPRK able to repudiate flunkeyism towards great powers as well as dogmatism.
Kim Il Sung argued that the concept of independence must equally apply to question of Korean reunification. He was clear that Koreans must regard all attempts to affect the country’s reunification by relying on outside forces as treacheries against the nation aimed at placing the whole of Korea in the hands of foreign aggressors. The question of Korean reunification is an internal affair of the Korean people, one which cannot be settled by any outside forces. He explores this issue further by asserting that it is the DPRK’s duty to force the US imperialist aggressors out of Korean territory, liberate south Korea and reunify the country by combining their strength with that of the south Korean people. Kim Il Sung’s greatest aim in the speech and throughout his life was to bring about national reunification. This task is still in the process of being accomplished as south Korea today has been completely turned into a colony and military base of the US imperialists. This speech highlights that the national industry of south Korea has been reduced to dependency on foreign capital, and its agriculture is also in a serious state of crisis. In addition, the national culture and the beautiful customs inherent in the Korean people have been utterly trampled underfoot.
Kim Il Sung further elaborates that the idea of independence should be adopted by every country as all nations are equal and have the sacred right of national self-determination. That means deciding their own destinies for themselves. A nation can secure independence, freedom, happiness and prosperity only if it achieves complete political self-determination and controls its own economy. He clarifies that economic independence is the material foundation for political independence. A country which is economically dependent on outside forces becomes a political satellite of other countries.
However, economic construction can only be continued by at the same time building up the DPRK defences. Comrade Kim Il Sung confirms that the DPRK will always give substance to the Party’s spirit of self-defence by thoroughly preparing the people and soldiers for war, both politically and ideologically. He said that an independent national economy provides the basis for increasing military power. Kim Il Sung’s goal was to strengthen the DPRK’s capabilities to such an extent that the KPA would be in a position to defend the security of the country on the basis of its own strength. In order to repel imperialist aggression Kim Il Sung wanted to create a firm unity between the army and people. To this end he ordered that the KPA should serve the country and the people. The entire people should in turn love and aid the KPA. By following this doctrine, the soldiers and people developed a spirit of unity between them. In case of emergency, Kim Il Sung envisaged that the whole nation should unite as true revolutionary comrades and fight with single-hearted devotion in order to safeguard the DPRK and the gains of the revolution. One of the basic functions of a socialist state is to keep increasing its defence capabilities while going ahead with economic construction. The imperialists continue to perpetrate acts of aggression and plunder and, as long as imperialism exists, the threat of war will not disappear. Under these circumstances, Kim Il Sung argues that the Korean people can only protect the gains of the revolution against imperialist aggression and preserve the security of the people by reinforcing the DPRK’s defences.
If the masses are to defend the revolution they must first feel the benefits of living in a working-class society. Interest in promoting the people’s well-being is the supreme principle governing the activities of the DPRK according to President Kim Il Sung. He said that the battle to build socialism and communism is aimed, in the final analysis, at fully satisfying the material and cultural demands of all the people and providing them with a rich and cultured life.
In order to build socialism and communism Kim Il Sung saw it necessary to carry out a vigorous campaign to revolutionize and working-classize the peasants, intellectuals and all other members of society by further stepping up the ideological education. The ideological revolution was intensified so as to root out all the remnants of outmoded bourgeois ideology that still existed in the minds of the people at the time when the speech was delivered. The most important thing in revolutionizing and working-classizing all the members of society through the ideological revolution is to firmly arm the people with the policies of the WPK and thoroughly establish the Party’s monolithic ideological system among them. Only when all the working people were revolutionized and working-classized through the promotion of the ideological and cultural revolutions would it be possible to successfully build Juche socialism and accomplish the revolutionary cause of reunifying the country. According to Kim Il Sung once the whole of society had been imbued with the Juche idea would the people become resistant all unsound, counter-revolutionary ideology, such as revisionism, “Left” opportunism, flunkeyism to great powers, bourgeois ideas, feudal Confucian ideas, factionalism, parochialism, and nepotism. The primary targets of the struggle to revolutionize people were individualism and egoism, which were a legacy from the exploiter classes. He expresses his desire to cultivate among the working people the collectivist spirit. In this way, the needs of the collective are placed above personal interests.
The struggle to proliferate working-class ideas throughout society is the job of WPK and state officials. Kim Il Sung warned that bureaucrats should never become divorced from the masses. He was adamant that all state officials are workers selected by the people and they are the servants of the people. They should never forget that their job is to protect the interests of the workers, peasants and the rest of the working people and serve them. In order to eliminate bureaucracy and establish the revolutionary mass viewpoint, he wanted all officials to acquire the revolutionary work method of mixing widely amongst the masses by consulting them. Kim Il Sung’s guidance in this speech ensured that the WPK has always been a mass party because it did not become alienated from the working class. Many communist parties in other countries because estranged from the people and socialism was overthrown by reactionary forces. However, Kim Il Sung’s insistence that officials must strictly follow the Chongsanri method in their activities has meant that the WPK is centre of life in the DPRK. Therefore, this speech recognises that the speed at which socialism is built depends in part on the unity of the people and party. This relationship is pivotal as it shows that the WPK looks to the Korean masses and not outside influences for inspiration.
This demand for DPRK independence in the speech does not rule out economic relations and trade with other countries. However, any economic relations with other countries must be based on the principles of proletarian internationalism, complete equality and mutual benefit. Thus, the development of an independent, comprehensive economy in DPRK through Korean efforts does not imply that the DRPK should reject international economic ties or that it produces everything for itself. Kim Il Sung emphasised that the DPRK should develop the relations of trade and commercial exchange with all countries which have different social systems if they respect DPRK sovereignty and want to have economic ties with the Juche Korea. The economic business relations of socialist countries with capitalist countries, however, should always be of secondary importance in foreign trade and should not be made the basis of their economic relations with foreign countries. This lesson about focusing on socialist development rather concentrating on trading with capitalist countries should be headed by a certain big power that likes to claim it is still socialist. Using this Juche based model for external economic relations Kim Il Sung was able to warn against entering into imperialist dominated trade networks. The imperialists pursue a policy of enslaving other countries economically by offering “aid” as bait and then riding roughshod over the sovereignty of those countries. The “European Common Market”, the “integration of the world economy” and the like, loudly advertised by the imperialist powers today, all pursue the heinous, aggressive aims of strangling the economic independence of states and subordinating these countries to imperialist rule.
Kim Il Sung stated that imperialism can only be defeated by all progressive countries uniting. The speech makes us aware that it is the internationalist duty of communists to do all that they can to support each other in the battle against imperialism, their common enemy, and each country should strive to strengthen this international solidarity in the struggle against imperialist forces. This address confirms that the DPRK will continue to strengthen and develop these relations of friendship with foreign countries and strive to make more friends throughout the world. It was and is committed to aiding anti-imperialist struggles around the globe. At the time this speech was given the Vietnamese people were fighting US imperialism and Kim Il Sung made it clear that the DPRK was fully prepared to fight side by side with the Vietnamese people whenever requested to do so by the Government of the Democratic Republic of Viet Nam. This materialised in the form of sending fighter pilots to Vietnam and allowing Vietnamese students to receive free education in the DPRK. The close fraternal bonds between Cuba and the DPRK are made clear in this speech. Kim Il Sung was adamant that the socialist countries and the revolutionary peoples throughout the world have an internationalist duty to defend the Cuban revolution and actively support the revolutionary struggle of the Cuban people. He goes on to put forward a comprehensive strategy for the progressive peoples to defeat US imperialism. All the socialist countries and anti-imperialist forces the world over should form the broadest possible anti-US united front, thoroughly isolate US imperialism and strike a united blow against it in all areas and on all fronts where US imperialism has stretched its tentacles of aggression. Only by doing this is it possible to disperse and weaken the forces of US imperialism to the maximum. Kim Il Sung relates the anti-imperialist struggle to modern revisionism and ideas of so called peaceful co-existence. The attitude which the socialist countries take towards US imperialism is the proof of whether they are really fighting for the development of the international revolutionary movement at the present time or not. Their attitude towards US imperialism is a touchstone which distinguishes between the revolutionary position and the opportunist position. So, he warns that the socialist countries should do away with all deviations in the anti-US struggle and maintain an unswerving struggle against US imperialism by working together.
However, although Kim Il Sung believes in internationalism he also stresses the need for each country to independently defend themselves against imperialism. If communists pin their hopes solely on foreign support and aid, without developing their own revolutionary forces, they cannot be certain of defending the security of their country and their revolutionary gains against imperialist aggression. Therefore, self-reliance is a completely revolutionary stand for a people to accomplish the revolution in their country by relying mainly on their own forces.
In conclusion, this political programme has provided the basis for turning the DPRK into a richer, stronger and more advanced socialist nation, independent in politics and self-sustaining in the economy and self-reliant in national defence. Its main goal is to ensure a happy life for all the Korean people. Today the key elements of this programme are being fully implemented by dear respected marshal Kim Jong Un. By following this line set out by President Kim Il Sung the Korean people are bravely marching towards final victory and a bright socialist future. No force on earth can stop the advance of the Korean people, who, with the Juche based leadership of the Workers’ Party of Korea, hold power firmly in their hands. There revolutionary cause is a just one, and victory is on the side of the Korean people.