December 19, 2011, northern Korea’s “Dear Leader” Kim Jong-il is reportedly dead at age 69. Kim Jong-il had ruled northern Korea since 1994. He was the third son of Kim Il-sung, the leader of the Korean independence movement, who died at age 82. Just as Kim Jong-il inherited power from his father, now his son Kim Jong-un is set to officially inherit power. Although northern Korea has established a monarchical system, it is not clear how stable the system is. Some observers believe that it is possible that the young, Korean heir will be sidelined in the coming months by more established leaders. It is possible that the imperialists will use the death to their advantage. For now, the official line from the Korean state can be characterized as “the King is dead. Long live the King!”
Although the mainstream media often points to the northern Korean regime in an effort to discredit socialism and communism, the system in northern Korea is not socialist nor communist-led by any stretch. The revolution there is stagnant. It is not socialist and it is not aiming at communism. It is a bourgeois nationalist regime with many feudal characteristics. Over time, the regime has dropped its pretense of Marxism, instead endorsing Kim’s ideology of Juche, so-called “self-reliance.” Although Juche is just window dressing in some ways. According to some sources, Marxist classics are not read there except by special permission. Northern Korean ideology blends bourgeois and nationalist notions of social unity with traditional, feudal, Confucian ones. Socialism and communism were replaced by nation and family, with Kim and his male heirs taking the roles of great patriarchs (and, also, matriarchs) of the nation-family.
The northern Korean regime has been under siege since it was founded. The imperialists killed millions in the Korean War. They have been under threat ever since. The northern Korean regime has every right to defend itself, including the acquisition of nuclear weapons that they have used to get food and agricultural aid from the West. Northern Korea did not follow the Libyan example of giving up weapons to the West. The Libyan regime of Gaddafi paid dearly for this mistake. The northern Korean regime has reportedly traded some its weapons technology, especially missile technology, to other countries, including those that have been threatened by imperialism. However, communists do not see northern Korea as a model. Northern Korea is neither socialist nor is it communist-led. Even so, defending Korea from imperialist aggression is part of upholding the broad united front against imperialism. As always, Leading Lights uphold the broad united front against imperialism in an intelligent, critical way.