A PRESENTATION ON THE 20TH ANNIVERSARY OF THE PUBLICATION OF KIM JONG IL'S WORK
SOCIALISM IS A SCIENCE, DELIVERED BY SHAUN PICKFORD ON 11TH OCTOBER, 2014
Two decades have passed since the publication of "Socialism Is A Science". "Socialism Is A Science" was made public in "Rodong Sinmun", the Organ of the Central Committee of the Workers' Party of Korea, on November 1st, 1994. The environment in which KIM JONG IL published his November 1st, 1994 Treatise, was for the DPRK in particular and for the cause of socialism in general, a very testing time. A few months, before KIM JONG IL wrote "Socialism Is A Science", President KIM IL SUNG, had passed away on July 8th, 1994. It had been extremely traumatic for the Korean People and indeed for the Progressive Peoples of the world to have lost KIM IL SUNG so suddenly.
There had been huge speculation among the media circles and the think tanks in the imperialist countries, about whether the Democratic Peoples Republic of Korea would change its course or dilute its social system, since the demise of President KIM IL SUNG. Leader KIM JONG IL gave a clear and determined answer to the conjectures coming out of the corridors of power in Washington D.C., Tokyo, Seoul and London, with the expression "Expect, no change from me! This is my firm determination". Korea kept the Red Flag flying high throughout the tribulations of the 1990s, due to the Songun Revolutionary Leadership of Generalissimo KIM JONG IL.
On the international scene, the cause of socialism had suffered severe setbacks. Socialism in the USSR and in Eastern Europe had collapsed, owing to the traitorous leaderships in those countries and the revisionism and dogmatism practiced by those ruling communist parties. Even in some of the surviving socialist countries, there was a tendency to retreat from revolutionary principles and practice market economics and cultural opening. During the late 1980s - early 1990s, many academics and thinkers began to question the validity of socialism, both as an ideological and empirical concept. The prevailing consensus had been that capitalism, the values of so-called liberal democracy and economic liberalism, were universal and relevant.
It is against this background, that KIM JONG IL gave his thunderous reply in the form of his treatise "Socialism Is A Science". The work is divided into three chapters, dealing with the theory and practice of socialism. To quote from the opening passage of "Socialism Is A Science"; "Socialism Is a science, socialism has been frustrated in a number of countries, but scientific socialism is as alive as ever in the minds of the people. The imperialists and reactionaries are fussing about the end of socialism, with regard to the events in some countries which had been building socialism. The renegades of socialism try to justify their despicable betrayal, claiming that the ideal of socialism itself invalid. However, the truth cannot be concealed or obliterated. The crumbling of socialism in various countries does not mean the failure of socialism as a science, but the bankruptcy of opportunism, which corrupted socialism. Although socialism is temporarily experiencing a heart rending setback because of opportunism, it will without fail be revived and win ultimate victory for its scientific accuracy and truth".
KIM JONG IL puts forward the proposition that socialism is the ideal and banner of the popular masses, who are fighting for their independence. In other words, the masses achieve independence by means of socialism and communism. The Juche Idea sees that humans have as social beings, the intrinsic qualities of independence, creativity and consciousness. In class society, independence, creativity and consciousness are trampled upon by the exploiting ruling minority. As KIM IL SUNG once stated "Where there is oppression, there be resistance, where there is resistance, revolution will break out".
KIM JONG IL views the failure to attain the masses' independence, was because all exploiting societies were based upon individualism. Individualism is in reality, the ideological product of private ownership. Societies based on private ownership of the means of production, are split into antagonistic classes. Independence cannot be realised in societies based on individualism and private property, but in social systems where collectivism and social ownership prevail.
Human beings can exist and develop, only they operate as a social collective. Collectivism is a fundamental need for humanity's growth and development. People can transform nature and society and meet their desire for independence, not as mere individuals, but as a combined body. Individual and social demands are mutually beneficial, and not in opposition to each other. Individual demands divorced from the collective, became egocentric wants.
It is capitalism which turned individualism into the unlimited greed of a handful of plutocrats. Capitalism is a society where wealth and power have become concentrated into the possession of a minority of the superrich, while the working masses must sell their labour power. In capitalist society, the working people are increasingly alienated from the sources of political, economic and cultural power, the role played by the masses is one of producer and consumer, and not of a master of society.
An expression of the desire for collectivism, socialist ideal arose. The search for a socially just order persisted throughout the centuries, from the aspirations of John Ball, Thomas Moore, Henri Saint Simon, Robert Owen, Pierce Proudhon, Kier Hardy, Sydney and Beatrice Webb. Socialism was presented in its early forms, as a utopia, which required just good will and understanding to implent.
Marxism transformed socialist ideology from a prescription to a science. Karl Marx, Frederick Engels and later on Lenin, with their dialectical materialist comprehension of this historical processes, came to the conclusion that socialism can be achieved through class struggle, through the proletarian revolution and the dictatorship of the proletariat. The scientific bedrock of Marxism-Leninism, consists of three elements; dialectical materialistic philosophy, political economy and proletarian socialism.
KIM JONG IL in his work regards the theory of socialism based on a materialist outlook on history, not to be free from limitations. The preceding revolutionary theory did not view the social and historical movements as movements of the motive force, as a movement which begins and develops on the initiative and through the interaction of the popular masses. In general, the more a society develops, the greater the role played by the working people, the driving force of social development. Economic and social conditions have a substantial influence on the struggle for progressive change, but the decisive factor in the victory of the revolutionary forces lies not in the objective environment, instead it is how to strengthen the motive force and how to emphasize its role. The motive force in question, being the popular masses. Dialectical and historical materialism excellently explained the natural processes and laws, humanity is not a passive object. Instead, man is the active subject, the master of nature, social wealth and social relations.
Putting socialism on a new scientific basis, was seen as a very urgent task, not only to overcome the limitations of the preceding socialist theory, also to defend socialism against all kinds of opportunist distortions and imperialist slanders. KIM IL SUNG created the Juche Idea, so as to reflect the ideological demands of the age of independence, an era when the popular masses had enter the arena of history. The Juche Idea elucidated the philosophical principle that man, the social being, is the decisive factor in development and decides everything.
The Juche Idea arose in the conditions of the Korean Revolution. Korea, as with a lot of countries oppressed by imperialism, encountered situations were not covered by the existing proletarian theory. The early 20th century, became a time when the masses' aspirations for national and social emancipation were overwhelming and indeed attainable. So as to overcome the repeated failures of the Korean Nationalist and Communist Movements to overcome dogmatism and flunkeyism, KIM IL SUNG created the Juche Idea, during the late 1920s - early 1930s. Juche upholds the revolutionary principles of Marxism-Leninism, while having its own philosophical and social historical structures. KIM IL SUNG's Juche Idea can be seen to have its roots in the Chiwon Idea (Aim High), expounded by KIM HYONG JIK, in the ideal of aiming high for the good of the people.
KIM JONG IL in the second chapter of "Socialism Is A Science, "focuses on the significance of ideology and ideological consciousness in the revolutionary struggle and the effort to construct a new society. So as to be an independent and creative agency of history, the working people must be equipped with an independent ideological consciousness. Circumstances may produce favourable objective conditions for social progress, if independence, creativity and consciousness of the popular masses are low, then the advantages offered by the prevailing situation will be wasted. Even if objective conditions are disadvantageous, the revolution and construction, can develop rapidly, when independence, creativity and consciousness are high among the working people. When the Korean People's Revolutionary Army had to face the well-armed Japanese occupation forces in the 1930s and 1940s, and when the Korean People's Army had to fight the US imperialists and their allies during the 1950-1953 war, was due to the extremely high ideological consciousness and revolutionary optimism of the Korean Peoples Revolutionary Armed Forces, that defeated the so-called strong enemies, Japan and the United States.
Ideological consciousness, that is class and revolutionary consciousness, that ensures the masses are fully aware of their independent aspirations in the endeavour to remould nature and society. To have the recognition of one's place in the social-historical movement, in the development of the community, the class, the nation and the world, that is to acquire independent consciousness. In the 1988 film, directed by John Carpenter, "We Live", the main protagonist John Nada discovers in a rubbish bin, a pair of sunglasses and when he puts them on, his view of the world radically changes. Nada sees the conditions around him as they really are, and not as they presented to him by advertising companies and the capitalist state. So an ideological consciousness, assists us in making sense of the social relations, in which we find ourselves. A socialist and communist society demand the highest ideological consciousness of the popular masses, essentially socialism is a system where the people are the masters of everything in society.
Independence is the lifeblood of human beings. Men and women as independent social agents, desire to live independently, free from natural and social subordination. Socio-political integrity is the prime expression for people to enhance their independence, creativity and consciousness, leading worthy human experience as social beings. The collective is the parent body of man's social-political integrity. Humans have both an organic and a social-political life. It is social-political integrity, which is unique to the human race. Organic life may have a limited time span, but social-political integrity is immortal. When we recall all the revolutionaries, political leaders, philosophers, scientists, artists and cultural figures throughout history, is not their organic being which we remember, but their contribution to society.
In the DPRK, one can visit the Revolutionary Martyrs' Cemetery on Mount Taesong, the Patriotic Martyrs' Cemetery and the Fatherland Liberation War Martyrs' Cemetery. There you can see that the Anti-Japanese Revolutionary Fighters and the KPA Soldiers laid down their lives for their Leader, Party and People, thus having immortal political integrity. An existence with social-political integrity, to fight and die for the collective, is a truly worthwhile one. To have just a biological life without having political-social integrity is pointless and futile. Leading an exclusively biological life, men and women lose their genuine nature as social beings.
The greatest weapon possessed by the working class is organisation, without organisation the progressive forces cannot fulfil their mission for independence. With organisation, we are everything; without organisation, we are nothing. National and social liberation requires organisation, democracy requires organisation and socialism demands organisation. To attain social-political integrity, individuals have to be a part of a collective. In the DPRK, everybody leads a social-political life in an organised formation. The people of the DPRK participate actively in social-political-economic organisations, such as The Workers' Party of Korea, The Kim Il Sung Socialist Youth League, The General Federation of Trade Unions of Korea, The Union of Agricultural Working People, The Democratic Union of Korean Women, The Children's Union, and the Democratic Front For The Reunification of Korea.
The revolutionary idea of self -reliance is the through-going spirit of independence. KIM JONG IL constantly maintained that revolutionaries should have absolute trust in their own ability to wage the revolution and construction. Producing what is unavailable and finding out what are lacking by enlisting one's own strength - this is the spirit of independence. The spirit of fighting against the class enemy, is a fundamental demand of revolutionary struggle. Only those forces which are determined in the fight to destroy the aggressors and oppressors, and safeguard the sovereignty of the country and the gains of the revolution, can emerge as victors in the struggle for independence.
In imperialist society, the ruling elite, regard the popular masses as a means of generating surplus value, to be brought and sold as commodities. The bourgeoisie consider the human being to be dominated by capital. Capitalism regards unemployment and poverty as a way of pressuring people in order to force them to compete and increase exploitation. In an exploitative society, it is impossible for the working people to be the masters of political and economic power. Bourgeois ideologists view the role of human beings in a purely biological manner, that is humanity is governed by animal instincts.
In "Socialism Is A Science", KIM JONG IL made a critique of the notion that material and economic factors are the most indispensable components in the building of a socialist society. Preceding theories of socialism did not view the social historical movement as a movement of the motive force, that is a movement which begins and develops on the initiative of the popular masses. But the materialist outlook regarded social changes as being as a result of a natural historical process dependent on economic circumstances. In other words, the more the production forces and the production relations became more and more advanced, the superstructure, the working people would have a socialist mentality.
In many of the former socialist countries of Eastern Europe and the Soviet Union, the strengthening of the driving force in socialism, the working people was neglected and ideological work was of a superficial nature. Modern revisionism advocated the material is mighty doctrine and the economy is might theory in the construction of socialism. Building socialism, without conducting an ideological offensive and without replying on the masses, is the path to capitalist restoration and counter-revolution.
Socialism in the DPRK, has been consolidated due to the Three Revolutions, ideological, technical and cultural. Ideological transformation of the working people, was set as a priority goal of The Workers' Party of Korea. Only an ideologically mobilized people can purposely build socialism. Another strategic task for a revolutionary party is to eliminate the difference between mental and physical labour during the construction of socialism. The intellectualization of the working people was carried out successfully in Socialist Korea. KIM JONG IL in February 1974, proclaimed the programme of modelling the whole society on the Juche Idea. Keeping up the effort of fashioning society on the Juche Idea, KIM JONG UN, made a speech on February 25th, 2014, entitled "Let Us Hasten The Final Victory Through A Revolutionary Ideological Offensive."
The maximum participation of the working people in the building of socialism and communism is absolutely imperative. Socialism can only grow and develop through the independence, creativity and consciousness of the popular masses. A socialist society is one where the social relations and the social wealth are in the hands of the workers, peasants and intellectuals. In a socialist society, the struggle against the abuses of power, bureaucracy and corruption is the paramount duty of a ruling working class party. KIM IL SUNG and KIM JONG IL commenced the initiative to combat bureaucracy with the introduction of The Chongsan Ri Method and The Taean Work System, giving the working masses control over the political and economic administration. The DPRK is slandered by the imperialist reactionaries and their agents, over the human rights' issue, but is it Peoples Korea which upholds true human dignity. Democracy in its classical sense, that is rule by and for the people, is fulfilled in the reality of Juche Korea.
Korean style socialism centred on the masses, totally embodies unity and cooperation in all spheres of social-political activity. In the DPRK, the politics of Love and Trust are practised, which means the masses of the people have been transformed from the objects of politics to the masters of political power. What is unique to the Korean revolutionary process, is the conception of the single minded unity. Single minded and hearted unity consists of the Leader, Party, Army and People as a unified social organism. Civil society and the political state have become unified. In many ways, the single hearted unity of the Leader, the Party and the People can be seen as relations of a revolutionary family, as comrades sharing the one ideal and destiny. I was able to witness an example of the might of the single hearted unity of the Korean People centred around Marshal KIM JONG UN at the April 15th, 2012 military parade on the Kim IL Sung Square, Pyongyang. The Thriving Socialist Nation of Juche is triumphing due to the unity and determination of the Korean Party, Army and People centred around the Dear Respected Comrade KIM JONG UN. The mightiest force in the world today, is not the arsenals of nuclear weapons or the treasuries of the G7 countries, no, it is the single minded revolutionary unity of the Korean People defending and perfecting the Juche-orientated socialism.
KIM JONG IL's "Socialism Is A Science" sparked immense interest and debate among anti-imperialist activists and progressive academic circles, when it is was first published and continues to do so. Infact, for many months in late 1994, "Socialism Is A Science", was discussed within the pages of "The New Worker", the newspaper of The New Communist Party of Britain. The work "Socialism Is A Science" by KIM JONG IL can be described as the most outstanding treatise on socialist theory and practice, to have been authored during the 20th century and still stands as an outstanding theoretical work for the 21st century. Can I recommend to the audience and to all progressive people, to study The Great Leader Comrade KIM JONG IL's "Socialism Is A Science". Thank you for attention.
A presentation on the work "Socialism Is A Science" made by Shaun Pickford, the Secretary General of the Group for the Study of the Juche Idea of Britain, in London, UK, 11.10.2014.