Fenner Brockway

Fenner Brockway

Kim Jong Il and British Communism
Kim Jong Il and British Communism

December 19th, 2011, 6:32 am #1

The death of Kim Jong Il was announced about three hours ago. I would suggest that the response of British communists to the news will provide an interesting litmus test of the health of communism in Britain.

We know in advance that the Stalinist freaks in the NCP, RCPB (ML) and CPGB (ML) will shower the dictator with praise. These people are too embittered, inhumane and morally compromised to be capable of anything else. But the really interesting case is that of the CPB. If the Party's EC pays tribute to Kim Jong Il, it will show that it has learned nothing from history and that it is completely unfit to play a leading role in the labour movement. If it takes a critical perspective on North Korea, that will be an encouraging sign that a concern for democracy is slowly edging out Stalinist dogmatism.
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Perry Striker
Perry Striker

December 19th, 2011, 2:53 pm #2

I hardly think the CPB needs to be tested with regard to North Korea's model of 'socialism'. The CPB in line with the development and evolution of the British Road to Socialism since 1951 sees socialism as democracy and mass participation by the great majority of the working mass of the population in the running of government, administration and the economy. At its recent Congress, the CPB refused to accept an amendment to the International Resolution which described North Korea as a socialist country.

Even though a staunch supporter of (say) Cuba as most definitely a socialist country and its right to national independence and determination, the CPB is clear the British model of socialism will be different to that of Cuba's.

I do expect the CPB to be mindful of the international situation and aggressive imperialist manoeuvres to achieve 'regime change' in North Korea, mainly to help encircle the Peoples Republic of China and the Russian Federation. The CPB similarly opposes attacks and regime change in Syria and Iran, not because they regard those regimes as progressive, let alone socialist, but because such actions are about promoting the interests of imperialism, as well as, of course, resulting in the death, damage and suffering to the ordinary mass of working people in those countries.
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LoveMeLoveMyDog
LoveMeLoveMyDog

December 19th, 2011, 10:40 pm #3

The death of Kim Jong Il was announced about three hours ago. I would suggest that the response of British communists to the news will provide an interesting litmus test of the health of communism in Britain.

We know in advance that the Stalinist freaks in the NCP, RCPB (ML) and CPGB (ML) will shower the dictator with praise. These people are too embittered, inhumane and morally compromised to be capable of anything else. But the really interesting case is that of the CPB. If the Party's EC pays tribute to Kim Jong Il, it will show that it has learned nothing from history and that it is completely unfit to play a leading role in the labour movement. If it takes a critical perspective on North Korea, that will be an encouraging sign that a concern for democracy is slowly edging out Stalinist dogmatism.
I don't see the CPB bemoaning the loss of "Dear Leader" anytime soon. How anyone could seriously consider the Kim dynasty or North Korea to be socialist is absolutely ridiculous.

* The Rajin-Sonbong and Kaesong industrial zones are basically tools that allow the NK government to hire out slaves to S. Korean, Chinese and Russian corporate interests.

* The NK gov't also does the same, mortgaging its own citizens to Russian logging camps whose labour pays off Soviet-era debt. Nice.

* Don't forget the "official" (though not, they don't exist, remember) labour camps inside NK itself.

* The place is one huge clusterduck.

* Air Koryo has a rubbish timetable, and the hotels are lame - no one likes places whose airlines have rubbish timetables and lame hotels.


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Joined: January 6th, 2010, 9:32 am

December 20th, 2011, 12:35 pm #4

The Beeb's Woman's Hour had an interesting programme on North Korea this morning, thankfully free of hysteria, and available on Listen Again:

http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b018cdmx

topics discussed include: education of women in North Korea, and role of women in the changing economy since reversal of Socialism in former USSR.
From BBC website:
"With the dramatic announcement of Kim Jong-il's death, the world's media are once again focused on North Korea. Kim Jong-Il took over on the death of his father, Kim il-Sung in 1994. He presided over one of the world's most isolated and repressive regimes. The country was in the grip of a terrible famine for much of the 1990s. But what is life like for women in North Korea? Jane discusses with Hazel Smith, Professor of Security and Resilience at Cranfield University, and an expert on the country. Between 1998 and 2001 she lived in North Korea, working with the United Nations World Food Programme during one of the largest food aid operations in its history.
Her books include North Korea: History, Politics Economics, Society (Cambridge University Press, forthcoming); Reconstituting Korean Security (UN University Press, 2007) and Hungry for Peace: International security, Humanitarian Assistance and Social Change in North Korea (USIP Press, 2005).
Listen back to this interview with Barbara Demick, author of 'Nothing To Envy', an award-winning book about life in North Korea"
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Neil
Neil

December 20th, 2011, 2:22 pm #5

I hardly think the CPB needs to be tested with regard to North Korea's model of 'socialism'. The CPB in line with the development and evolution of the British Road to Socialism since 1951 sees socialism as democracy and mass participation by the great majority of the working mass of the population in the running of government, administration and the economy. At its recent Congress, the CPB refused to accept an amendment to the International Resolution which described North Korea as a socialist country.

Even though a staunch supporter of (say) Cuba as most definitely a socialist country and its right to national independence and determination, the CPB is clear the British model of socialism will be different to that of Cuba's.

I do expect the CPB to be mindful of the international situation and aggressive imperialist manoeuvres to achieve 'regime change' in North Korea, mainly to help encircle the Peoples Republic of China and the Russian Federation. The CPB similarly opposes attacks and regime change in Syria and Iran, not because they regard those regimes as progressive, let alone socialist, but because such actions are about promoting the interests of imperialism, as well as, of course, resulting in the death, damage and suffering to the ordinary mass of working people in those countries.
Whilst agreeing with both Perrys sentiments and his interpratation of this matter he obviously isn't an advocate of Facebook. On both the CPB and Morning Star supporters page yesterday readers were treated to a jolly posting from the administrator of both sites expressing solidarity with the Korean people at their loss and ending with the call "Viva DPRK". When met with a volley of justified criticism from real communists they, at first, defended this stance and then backtracked and eventually deleted any dissenting comments stating "all political point scoring posts would be deleted"(whatever that means!). I think the whole thread has now been removed but,as a potential CPB supporter, I find the whole thing worrying, not least for the undemocratic editing of comments that were more in line with Perrys perception of CPB policy on this matter than that of the partys facebook representative. More education of your cadres needed I think. Let me know when you are up to speed on this and I may think about joining!
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Perry Striker
Perry Striker

December 20th, 2011, 11:10 pm #6

You are correct about myself and Facebook.

My interpretation and analysis, however, is straight from the top of the Party.

There are some members, who, not wishing to fall for the generalised anti-communist ideological offensive, do tend to have a somewhat romanticised view of the DPRK.

They - like I - would not wish to see the current DPRK 'overturned' in favour of a state aligned to imperialism.

That does not mean we necessarily regard the DPRK as a viable or credible model of socialism.

The central point I was trying to make is that we the CPB see socialism in Britain as being effected by the great majority of working people in this country, and that socialism has to be real power by the majority, in the hands of the majority, exercised by the majority, or it will not be socialism.

No way can that description be applied to the regime or system in North Korea.

As I said, an attempt to describe North Korea as socialist was specifically rejected by the CPB Congress last year. Congress and the elected EC make Party policy, not Facebook commentaries.
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Joined: February 7th, 2011, 7:26 pm

December 20th, 2011, 11:57 pm #7

The Beeb's Woman's Hour had an interesting programme on North Korea this morning, thankfully free of hysteria, and available on Listen Again:

http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b018cdmx

topics discussed include: education of women in North Korea, and role of women in the changing economy since reversal of Socialism in former USSR.
From BBC website:
"With the dramatic announcement of Kim Jong-il's death, the world's media are once again focused on North Korea. Kim Jong-Il took over on the death of his father, Kim il-Sung in 1994. He presided over one of the world's most isolated and repressive regimes. The country was in the grip of a terrible famine for much of the 1990s. But what is life like for women in North Korea? Jane discusses with Hazel Smith, Professor of Security and Resilience at Cranfield University, and an expert on the country. Between 1998 and 2001 she lived in North Korea, working with the United Nations World Food Programme during one of the largest food aid operations in its history.
Her books include North Korea: History, Politics Economics, Society (Cambridge University Press, forthcoming); Reconstituting Korean Security (UN University Press, 2007) and Hungry for Peace: International security, Humanitarian Assistance and Social Change in North Korea (USIP Press, 2005).
Listen back to this interview with Barbara Demick, author of 'Nothing To Envy', an award-winning book about life in North Korea"
So the Probation, Immigration and DWP officers decided the bona fides of North Korea.
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Joined: May 13th, 2005, 7:50 am

December 21st, 2011, 11:48 am #8

Not sure why communists should be attacking civil servants. It's the tories who want no controls on the flow of capital, no state pensions, and no state-funded authority aimed at rehabilitating law-breakers (just lock them up is their view). So public servants such as these are doing jobs the left should be defending - as indeed it generally is. More tax officers means less evasion of tax by the rich. More probation officers means generally more help for those who need it, although here there are reservations regarding the class-nature of the legal system under capitalism. And I have found the UK pensions officers efficient and helpful. What's the alternative? Private pensions schemes that siphon off gigantic amounts for middlemen? That's what readers of the Daily Telegraph seem to want. But why anyone on the left should want it beats me.
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Neil
Neil

December 21st, 2011, 2:01 pm #9

You are correct about myself and Facebook.

My interpretation and analysis, however, is straight from the top of the Party.

There are some members, who, not wishing to fall for the generalised anti-communist ideological offensive, do tend to have a somewhat romanticised view of the DPRK.

They - like I - would not wish to see the current DPRK 'overturned' in favour of a state aligned to imperialism.

That does not mean we necessarily regard the DPRK as a viable or credible model of socialism.

The central point I was trying to make is that we the CPB see socialism in Britain as being effected by the great majority of working people in this country, and that socialism has to be real power by the majority, in the hands of the majority, exercised by the majority, or it will not be socialism.

No way can that description be applied to the regime or system in North Korea.

As I said, an attempt to describe North Korea as socialist was specifically rejected by the CPB Congress last year. Congress and the elected EC make Party policy, not Facebook commentaries.
Perry,thanks for the clarification and I agree with every word. However, be it right or wrong, the Facebook site is probably accessed by more people than the official party or Morning Star websites are and,as I understand,are officially sanctioned by both organisations. Here is the original(and official) posting that people took offence to:-
"Morning Star Readers & Supporters Group
Solidarity and condolences to the people of the Democratic People's Republic of Korea over the loss of leader Kim Jong Il. Viva DPRK!"
Note the same listing also appeared on the CPB page too as an official post. The adminstrators have not,as I first thought, withdrew the comment.They have tried to justify it but not apologise for it. They have deleted well argued and thoughtful comments and barred the contributers. They have allowed juche loving comrades to post comments about "class traitors and mouthpieces of imperialism". Hence my concern comrade Striker.



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Act of Defiance
Act of Defiance

December 21st, 2011, 3:39 pm #10

I hardly think the CPB needs to be tested with regard to North Korea's model of 'socialism'. The CPB in line with the development and evolution of the British Road to Socialism since 1951 sees socialism as democracy and mass participation by the great majority of the working mass of the population in the running of government, administration and the economy. At its recent Congress, the CPB refused to accept an amendment to the International Resolution which described North Korea as a socialist country.

Even though a staunch supporter of (say) Cuba as most definitely a socialist country and its right to national independence and determination, the CPB is clear the British model of socialism will be different to that of Cuba's.

I do expect the CPB to be mindful of the international situation and aggressive imperialist manoeuvres to achieve 'regime change' in North Korea, mainly to help encircle the Peoples Republic of China and the Russian Federation. The CPB similarly opposes attacks and regime change in Syria and Iran, not because they regard those regimes as progressive, let alone socialist, but because such actions are about promoting the interests of imperialism, as well as, of course, resulting in the death, damage and suffering to the ordinary mass of working people in those countries.
The CPB, in true Eurocentric fashion, clearly know better than Johnny Foreigner, you know, those hot-headed Latino types who use too much grease in their hair.

Cuba has declared three days of national mourning for Kim Jong Il. Obviously they made a mistake after drinking too much rum at an all night party, or they have been fooled by inscrutible Orientals. In the cold light of the morning after the morning after, they will listen to the wise words of the CPB Oracle, and throw another party instead.
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