The basic principle of socialist pedagogy is to revolutionize and working-classize the children and youth through communist education.
It is a legitimate demand of the building of socialism and communism to revolutionize and working-classize the people. In order to build a socialist and communist society, we must conquer the ideological fortress by revolutionizing and working-classizing all members of society, at the same time capturing the material fortress by developing the productive forces.
Advancing the theory of building communism, Marx and Engels laid great stress on its economic aspect, but wrote little about its ideological aspect. They thought that once the working class in power dispossessed the capitalists of the factories, railways, land and other means of production and placed them under state ownership and developed the productive forces a little more, a communist society would arrive where all would work according to their ability and receive according to their needs.
There are facts which we must take into account when studying the theory of Marx and Engels on building communism: they evolved their theory without having had personal experience in the building of communism; they lived in the era of premonopoly capitalism; they studied the question of building communism bearing in mind the conditions in the developed capitalist countries where they lived. They believed that the proletarian revolution would break out almost simultaneously or successively in the major capitalist countries and that world revolution would triumph relatively soon. They thought that once the working class in a country had taken power and nationalized the means of production, it would take a rather short time to lay the material and technical foundations of communism. Consequently, they thought that the period of transition from capitalism to communism would be short. They failed to foresee clearly that the remnants of the old ideas in the minds of people and the bourgeois ideology infiltrating from outside would greatly impede the building of communism, and that many difficulties would crop up in the course of communist construction.
Lenin carried out the revolution in Russia, then a backward capitalist country, and personally guided the building of socialism. Therefore, he did not consider the period of transition from capitalism to communism to be as short as Marx and Engels did, but relatively long. However, Lenin did not specify the need for the state of proletarian dictatorship to carry through an ideological revolution in the period of transition from capitalism to communism.
Lenin formulated his idea of communist construction in the proposition that Soviet power plus electrification of the whole country is communism. In this context the word electrification would have to be construed as meaning that through a technical revolution all production processes should be automated and the country’s material foundations built solidly. And by Soviet power he meant the dictatorship of the proletariat. Of course, if we stretch the meaning of this word, it can be interpreted as signifying that the state of the working class should carry on the class struggle and an ideological revolution. However, Lenin failed to expound the idea that in order to build socialism and communism, people have to be revolutionized and working-classized through the ideological revolution, and the ideological fortress as well as the material fortress must be conquered without fail.
The building of communism cannot be said to have been completed simply when the working class has taken power and the country has been electrified. In our country today, every ri has electricity, every farmhouse has electric light and electricity is widely used even in farm work. Thus, the country has attained a very high degree of electrification. The Soviet Union has also achieved electrification far beyond Lenin’s electrification plan. Yet, it still has a long way to go to realize the communist principle that each works according to his ability and receives according to his needs. Even if production processes have become highly automatic and material wealth is sufficient, the building of communism cannot be declared complete.
In order to realize the communist principle of distribution, we must educate and remold people along communist lines through an ideological revolution, while augmenting the material wealth of society. It is true that if the material wealth is increased by successful economic construction, the people can live in affluence. But if we fail to remould the thinking of people along communist lines, only emphasizing economic construction and neglecting the ideological revolution, it would be impossible for us to build a communist society.
Indeed, people’s thoughts are influenced by their material environment, yet they cannot be remoulded along communist lines of their own accord even when the economy has developed and the material standards of living have risen. Only when economic construction and the ideological revolution are promoted vigorously and simultaneously can a firm material and technical basis for communism be built and the thinking of people be remoulded along communist lines. This is an absolute necessity for the successful construction of a communist society.
The period of transition from capitalism to communism may be shorter or longer in the developed and less developed capitalist countries. However, whatever the country concerned, the socialist state has to undertake this task of revolutionizing and working-classizing people in the transition period.
Only by waging a successful struggle to revolutionize and working-classize people can we uproot the poison of bourgeois ideology remaining in their minds and prevent the revival of capitalism. Moreover, imperialism still exists in the world and persists in its ideological and cultural infiltration so as to disintegrate the socialist countries from within. Under these conditions a working-class party and state cannot defend the socialist gains effectively unless they step up the ideological education of the working people.
An effective ideological education of the working people is a prerequisite to successful economic construction. The socialist economy can only be consistently developed by the conscious and positive efforts of the working people who have been freed from exploitation and oppression and have become masters of the country. Therefore, inspiring the revolutionary enthusiasm of the working people by strengthening their ideological education is a decisive factor in the vigorous promotion of socialist economic construction.
Since the survivals of capitalist ideology in the minds of people remain, if the socialist state fails to strengthen the ideological education of the working people, they may become selfish people who hate to work, yearn for a life of idleness and are interested only in money and pleasure. This would preclude the possibility of accelerating economic construction aimed at laying the material and technical foundations of communism and might even nullify the achievements gained in the building of socialism and communism.
Certain people are advancing the theory that when the socialist economy reaches a certain stage of development, its rate of growth drops gradually. This is but a sophistry put forward to justify the fact that the rate of economic construction is slow and the economy marks time because the working people are not educated in a revolutionary way and, consequently, they lose revolutionary activity and loaf about instead of working hard.
Our experience shows clearly that if the working people are encouraged through an intensified ideological revolution to display collective heroism and creative initiative, a socialist society can always develop its economy at a high rate. In the last few years our country has suffered a great deal from a shortage of electric power because of continued drought. Because the supply of coking coal from other countries has been insufficient, we have had great difficulty in normalizing industrial production. We had a shortage of manpower and, moreover, we had to channel considerable forces to strengthen the nation’s defence capacities in the tense situation fraught with the threat of another war because of incessant US imperialist provocations, including the Pueblo incident. In spite of such difficult and complex problems, our Party intensified political work amongst the working people and aroused their revolutionary enthusiasm, so that it succeeded in overcoming all difficulties in economic construction and developing the economy at a high annual rate.
From our historical experience in the socialist revolution and in building socialism, we have drawn the conclusion that if we are to build a communist society we should carry on not only economic construction but also the struggle for the revolutionization of people, that is, the struggle to take the material and ideological fortresses simultaneously.
(Kim Il Sung, Works, vol. XXVI, Foreign Languages Publishing House, Pyongyang, 1985, pp. 463-467)