Back in the 1990s ,I presented a paper to the then ‘ National Committee for a Marxist-Leninist Party ‘ which was titled ‘ The Struggle of the Workers’ Party of Korea against revisionism ‘ . My paper gave a historical outline of the long standing struggle of the Workers’ Party of Korea led by President KIM IL SUNG and Chairman KIM JONG IL . Previously the struggle waged by the Workers’ Party of Korea and its leaders against modern revisionism had been ignored , airbrushed out of history by some people and only the polemics launched by the Communist Party of China and Party of Labour of Albania were known to the world . My paper aimed to put the record straight . However this paper met disapproval from one Bill Bland , a veteran ‘anti-revisionist ‘ and former member of the Communist Party of Great Britain . Bill Bland was credited by some as being one of the first people in Britain to expose modern revisionism and struggle against it . Whilst Bland opposed modern revisionism , he increasingly took ultra leftist and sectarian positions, for example believing that revisionism started with Georgi Dmitrov ! . Bland also was to attack the Communist Party of China and Chairman Mao ,Bland took the position eventually that Albania was the only true existing socialist country in the world and apparently (or so I have been told ) even had some nitpicking criticisms of Albania.( there is a bad habit among some on the British left to continual make criticisms of this or that country saying ‘ they should have done this ‘ ,’no they should have done that ‘ whilst sitting in an armchair )Bland for a time in the early 1990s was briefly allied to the neo-Trotskyite ‘Provisional Central Committee of the Communist Party of Great Britain ‘ but this alliance did not last long .
Bland issued a document titled ‘ The Workers’ Party of Korea and Revisionism’ which is full of pedantry and takes quotations of Korean wildy out of context , grossly distorting the meaning of them like a dodgy and dishonest lawyer . Bland, like many ‘left ‘ or dogmatist opponents of the Juche Idea, actually ignored what I had written .
At the time I issued a handwritten refutation of Bland’s piece and recently comrades of the Juche idea Study Centre in Milan and KFA Italy Piedmont Region issued a refutation .(https://juche007-anglo-peopleskoreafriendship.blogspot.com/2020/04/against-bill-bland-answer-to-article.html). I am grateful to them for writing it .
I am now adding some of my own comments as Bland’s work is being dredged up from the past and used as a stick to beat People’s Korea and the Juche Idea with .It is disappointing and regrettable that some people continue to argue against Juche saying it is not Marxist Leninist etc , I have heard the same thing now for 30 years or so . It is a pity that some people did not learn the lessons of the frustration of socialism in Eastern Europe and embrace the Juche idea like many progressive and revolutionary people in the world .
Before answering some of Bland’s slanders against People’s Korea , it is necessary to say something about the source material Bland used . Bland drew heavily on Keesing's Contemporary Archives which was a cheap and dumbed down bourgeois reference source of the pre internet days which was basically an abstract of reports from the bourgeois press in the imperialist countries , hardly a reliable source ! . As far I know Bland himself never actually visited the DPRK once ..
Bland claims that the DPRK ‘gave up the dictatorship of the proletariat. In fact in 1958 addressing Judicial workers President KIM IL SUNG actually said “ Today , there are two kinds of dictatorship in our era . One is the dictatorship of the bourgeoisie and the other is the dictatorship of the proletariat’ ( KIM IL SUNG ‘ For the Implementation of the Judicial Policy of Our Party.” 29th of April 1958 ) . This makes the position crystal clear , even to someone like Bill Bland .
In 1967 President KIM IL SUNG wrote the work ‘ ON THE QUESTIONS OF THE PERIOD OF TRANSITION FROM CAPITALISM TO SOCIALISM AND THE DICTATORSHIP OF THE PROLETARIAT ‘ in which he criticised both modern revisionist and left opportunist policies on the dictatorship of the proletariat . In particular he criticised the Right opportunist (ie Soviet ) line of giving up the dictatorship of the proletariat in favour of a ‘state of the whole people’.
He pointed out that class struggle continues under socialism saying ‘ Also, within our social system subversive counter-revolutionary influences infiltrate from without and the survivors of the overthrown exploiter classes agitate within; so, the class struggle is necessary to suppress these counter-revolutionary activities.
In this way, there is, in a socialist society, a form of class struggle exercising dictatorship over both external and internal enemies, along with the basic form of class struggle which aims to revolutionize and remould the workers, peasants and working intellectuals through cooperation so as to achieve unity and solidarity.’
He stressed that the dictatorship of the proletariat must be continued . Bland was either unaware of this work or deliberately chose to ignore it .
The DPRK has continued the line of class struggle against socialism In October 2012 , respected Marshal KIM JONG UN addressing peoples security workers said ‘The security men should wage a fierce struggle against the enemies on the invisible front as they did always"’
Later in 2013 the modern factionalist clique in the DPRK were exposed and smashed . The report of the December 2013 Political Bureau at which the factionalists were exposed stated that ‘the Jang group weakened the party's guidance over judicial, prosecution and people's security bodies, bringing very harmful consequences to the work for protecting the social system, policies and people.
Such acts are nothing but counter-revolutionary, unpopular criminal acts of giving up the class struggle’
Only recently respected Marshal KIM JONG UN referred to class struggle under socialism . In his letter to the 10th congress of the Socialist Patriotic Youth League of the DPRK he wrote that ‘ At present the dangerous poison that blemishes the original features of socialism is the anti-socialist and non-socialist practices.
Now a large-scale clean-up operation to wipe out these practices is underway on a nationwide scale. It is another class struggle, a patriotic struggle, to defend the purity and future of our young people and to provide them with a more wonderful home of socialism.’
Far from giving up the class struggle , the DPRK is unfolding a powerful struggle against anti-socialist and non-socialist ideas .
Bland uses the Soviet Union as an absolute model , a yardstick to judge the DPRK and to criticise the DPRK . However Bland, like a true dogmatist fails to take into account the difference in size between the DPRK and the Soviet and also levels of development . When the October Socialist Revolution occurred in 1917 Russia was a capitalist country , albeit a backward one . The system of serfdom had been abolished in 1861 , 56 years before the October revolution , capitalism was developing in agriculture . However the DPRK had been a colony of Japan from 1910 to 1945 and also a feudal society in which the working farmers , the vast majority of the population, were oppressed and exploited by feudal landlords . It was quite impossible for Korea to take the same road to socialism as Russia . There was a need for original policies suited to the realities . Trying to use the Soviet Union as an absolute model as Bland does as disingenuous as it is stupid .
Bland claims the Juche-based , Korean style socialism is a ‘spurious socialism ‘ , a vile insult and slander basically . However , Bland needed to ask himself if the DPRK is not a socialist country then how was it possible for the DPRK to abolish taxation in 1974 and give people homes free of charge plus free healthcare and free education whilst being under intense sanctions by the imperialists ? Such a high level of social benefits is not possible in a capitalist society even in developed capitalist countries and imperialist countries .
Bland, whilst striking the pose of an ardent ‘anti -revisionist ‘ , ‘Marxist -Leninist ‘ and ‘harder than hardline' , actually recycles bourgeois and revisionist arguments about the ‘cult of personality ‘ . The whole question of the ‘cult of personality ‘ is a bourgeois and revisionist construct used to slander and defame real socialism in the DPRK . It was Khruschov who put forward the concept of the ‘personality ‘ in his infamous speech to the 20th Congress of the CPSU. Is Bland implying that Khruschov was right ? .One wonders whether Bland had a problem with the Albanians using the slogan ‘ Parti Enver ‘ ?
It is maybe so surprising but shocking nevertheless that Bland in attacking the DPRK even uses material from the south Korean puppet fascist regime ! What kind of communist uses filth from the south Korean puppets to attack a socialist country ?
Those who prate about the "cult of personality" are those who fail to see society as a collective, instead are influenced by a bourgeois concept of society which sees society as made up of atomised individuals, typically an extreme and nihilistic variant of these world outlook was expressed by ex premier M Thatcher who once claimed that "there is no such thing as society"
Indeed the leader is the supreme brain of the revolution , the supreme brain of society . Society is like a living organism or a body. The brain requires a brain , a body without a brain would be impossible . Yet some people think you can have a body without a brain. No one thinks of the brain enslaving their own body.
In the DPRK the masses , the party and the leader form an integral and harmonious whole the like of which has never been witnessed in any exploitative capitalist society and not in any revisionist countries either . People in the DPRK are united in a single heart and a single mind, they move as one.
Bland distorts aspects of the strained DPRK-USSR relationship in the early 1960s and in fact glosses over the tensions between the DPRK and the USSR . Bland ignores the fact that the Soviet revisionists tried to overthrow the leadership of the DPRK in August 1956 , although this is mentioned by Bland’s hero and god Enver Hoxha several times .Rather than a cosy relationship between the DPRK and USSR , the latter actually imposed de-facto sanctions on the DPRK in 1962 . The Soviet media attacked the DPRK by name in 1964 . For its part the DPRK carried many articles in their media attacking revisionism and both President KIM IL SUNG and Chairman KIM JONG IL wrote works attacking revisionism and big powers.
The Workers Party of Korea did not go along with Khruschov’s attack on Stalin . As observed by Mikhail Vikulin of the Moscow Juche Idea Study Group ;
(In)November 1957. An international meeting of representatives of communist and workers` parties was taking place in Moscow. Almost all prominent figures of the communist movement made reports. A kind of “tribute” to Khrushchev was criticism of Stalin. Mao Zedong succeeded in this, and in addition to fighting the cult of personality, he praised the current head of the CPSU Central Committee. Even EnverHoxha, a well-known defender of Stalin and a fighter against Khrushchev’s revisionism, spoke about the heroic struggle of the «Leninist Central Committee» of the CPSU against the «mistakes of Stalin» and «against the revisionist group», that was, against the Anti-Party Group. All this is shorthand and is in the public domain.
In contrast, comrade Kim Il Sung remained principled. He became one of the few leaders of the socialist countries who did not participate in the «struggle against the cult of Stalin’s personality». In his speech, he did not say a word about Joseph Stalin.
The split in the international communist movement in the 1960s caused new problems: in 1962 the «great polemic» between the CPSU and the CPC began, and then, from August 1966, the «Cultural Revolution» in China. In this situation, the DPRK didn`t stand on either side and criticized both the Khrushchevites and the Maoists. At the same time, comrade Kim Il Sung argued that the contradictions between the socialist countries were non-antagonistic and it was necessary to unite forces to fight imperialism.
In the Korean political culture of the 1950s, it was not accepted to name modern revisionists by their first names. Therefore, you need to look at exactly what positions were criticized by comrades Kim Il Sung and Kim Jong Il. They were called by their names only after the collapse of the USSR."
‘WPK in the fight against Khrushchev revisionism’ 2019 North European Juche Idea Seminar
It is an interesting observation that Khruschov visited Albania in 1959 for over a week but never visited the DPRK . Indeed no CPSU general secretary or First Secretary ever set foot in the DPRK .
If Bland was still alive , I would ask him how come ‘pure socialist ‘ , anti-revisionist Albania disappeared along with the rest of the socialist camp , why Enver Hoxha appointed the revisionist and traitor Ramiz Alia , who became the Albanian Gorbachov , as his chosen successor ? Indeed whilst the DPRK has always prioritised the struggle against the infiltration of imperialist ideology and culture and has recently renewed it , socialist Albania appeared to have neglected it ?( Enver Hoxha even encouraged Norman Wisdom films from Britain ).
It is a very telling fact that the Communist Party of Albania , the successor to the Party of Labour of Albania , actually visited the DPRK and signed the 'Pyongyang Declaration ' . Clearly , unlike Mr Bland they wanted to learn from the DPRK.
The DPRK shines as an independent anti-revisionist country . At the same time the DPRK does not live in the past and is completely un-dogmatic .
Although some people even today uphold Bland’s attack on my paper on the WPK’s struggle against modern revisionism , in fact it is a document full of massive distortions that border on outright falsification . Some may see Bland as some kind of pure anti-revisionist but in fact his attack on the DPRK was actually no different to fake Left , revisionist and liberal attacks on the DPRK . Such attacks are motivated by Euro-centrism and social chauvinism . Bland’s only achievement is to dress them up in ‘anti-revisionist ‘ , ‘communist ‘ and ‘Marxist -Leninist ‘ clothes . Underneath the outward trappings , the content is the same ; nitpicking , pedantry , fault-finding ,words taken out of context .
It is high time that communists , anti-revisionists and socialists ended their negative and dismissive attitude towards People’s Korea and Juche . It is now very long overdue .
Dr Dermot Hudson .
Chairman British Group for the Study of the Juche Idea
President Association for the Study of Songun Politics
Chairman KFA UK.