On Monday, the Korean Central News Agency confirmed the passing of general secretary of the Workers’ Party of Korea and de facto leader of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, Kim Jong Il.
In a statement released on December 19, KCNA wrote:
“Leader Kim Jong Il had received medical treatment for his cardiac and cerebrovascular diseases for a long period.
He suffered an advanced acute myocardial infarction, complicated with a serious heart shock, on train on December 17, Juche 100 (2011) for a great mental and physical strain caused by his uninterrupted field guidance tour for the building of a thriving nation.
Every possible first-aid measure was taken immediately but he passed away at 08:30 on December 17.
An autopsy on December 18 fully confirmed the diagnosis of his diseases.”
Crimson Satellite wishes the best to the people of the DPRK in this time. My understanding of the DPRK is best stated in the Spartacist League’s Workers Vanguard:
Despite the rule of a nationalist Stalinist bureaucracy, the overthrow of capitalism in the North was a historic defeat for imperialism and a victory for the working people of Asia and the world. The existence of a planned, collectivized economy brought real advances to the working people of North Korea. Until the mid 1970s, North Korea’s planned economy significantly outperformed the South, creating a modern industrial infrastructure. At the same time, the situation of a nation bifurcated by a “demilitarized zone” packed with more weaponry per square meter than any place on earth severely distorted the economy in the North. Particularly in the aftermath of the collapse of the Soviet Union, which provided the vast bulk of military and technological aid to North Korea, the situation became dire. In 1992, China cut off shipments of cheap oil to the North as a concession to obtain diplomatic and economic relations with South Korea. Starting in 1995, the country was hit by natural disasters producing a famine of historic proportions.
The disastrous situation in the North has been compounded by the extreme form of economic autarky pushed by the North Korean bureaucracy under the rubric of Juche (self-reliance). The political outlook of the bureaucracy was and is rooted in the Stalinist lie that socialism —a classless, egalitarian society based on material abundance—can be built in one or even half a country. This anti-working-class, nationalist dogma undermines defense of what remains of the collectivized economy and is counterposed to any perspective for international socialist revolution, and particularly to a struggle for workers revolution in the South.
(U.S. Imperialism Hands Off North Korea! Workers Vanguard No. 795, 17 January 2003.)