On the DPRK; Anti-Imperialism, Socialist Construction, and the Struggle for Reunification

By Josh – Aug 14, 2019

North Korea is a country that is shrouded in mystery and yet receives constant negative attention from the mainstream Western media. The standard narrative surrounding North Korea or the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, the DPRK, is portrayed as an authoritarian nightmare ruled by a tyrant who oversees a desperate population who at a mere whim may be whisked away to the world’s largest prison. Despite the supposed mystery surrounding the country, the media is in no short supply of so-called experts who supply fantastical stories about the latest outrage in North Korea. North Korea is frequently painted as paranoid and hyper militaristic. President George Bush Jr. even went as far to claim the DPRK is evil!

However, what is often missing from mainstream discourse about North Korea is any historical context regarding the brutal Imperialist violence which was inflicted upon the DPRK during the Korean War. Such wide scale violence that would make any country ensure they are able to protect their citizens and national sovereignty.

In short, what is lacking from mainstream coverage surrounding the DPRK is any shred of nuance. In order to gain more insight into the DPRK I asked Natalie to answer a few questions and provide a brief background about this fascinating country. Natalie is currently serving as both the General Secretary of the U.S. branch of the Korean Friendship Association, and Chairwoman of the International Network for the Defense of Socialist Korea (INDSK), an organization that she founded.

During our conversation Natalie and I discussed several topics regarding North Korea, including the effects of Imperialism upon the DPRK, how to combat the mainstream media narrative surrounding North Korea, reunification between the North and South, and why showing support and solidarity with the struggle for self-determination of the DPRK is essential today for all on the left and beyond.

We started off our interview on the topic of the Korean War, the DPRK’s fight for survival and the devastating amount of Imperialist destruction and violence that followed.

Remembering to Forget; Imperialist Violence and the Korean War

The Korean War is often stated as the “forgotten war” in American history. The conflict is often a minor side note in comparison to World War Two or the Vietnam War. Most Americans seem to share in a collective forgetfulness on the horrific violence that was inflicted upon the Korean people all in the name of “freedom” and “democracy.”

However, the brutal legacy of Imperialist violence is still very fresh in the minds of the majority of citizens of the DPRK and is burned deep into their collective psyche. I asked Natalie to provide a brief background on the Korean War, with a focus on the atrocities committed by American forces. Why would Americans want to forget their historical legacy in North Korea?

“Observers from the U.S. at that time who had witnessed the brutal bombing campaigns of Western Europe remarked that they had not truly witnessed destruction and death before they visited Korea during the war. U.S. generals boasted of “wiping off the map” nearly 80 major cities in the north of Korea. After quickly running out of significant military targets only a few months into the conflict, their attention quickly turned to every city, town, and village. Reporters on the ground as well as soldiers would regularly remark on the stench of burned flesh being carried for miles outside any town or village. The United States dropped more bombs on the Korean peninsula than during the entire Pacific campaign of the Second World War. By the time of the wars end they were certain that not a single building taller than one story existed in the entirety of the north.”

The sheer scope of criminal violence inflicted upon the Korean people is staggering. The U.S. actually dropped more napalm on Korea than on Vietnam. Napalm was a recent invention at the time and was a favorite among the US military top brass. An eyewitness account from British journalist Reginald Thomson provided a chilling testimony of napalm destruction. “ Every village and township in the path of war was blotted out.” He continued “ the slayer needs merely touch a button, and death is on the wing, blindly blotting out the remote, the unknown people, holocausts of death, veritable mass productions of death, spreading an abysmal desolation over whole communities.”

One of the main goals the US and UN forces hoped to accomplish during the Korean War which was relayed to counterintelligence personnel and political affairs officers was to “liquidate the North Korean Labor Party” and the complete “destruction of the North Korean labor party and government.” The Korean Workers Party was truly a mass organization, boasting upwards of 14 percent of the population of North Korea on its membership rolls. If the US forces had their way, around 1/3 of the population would have been “liquidated” due to their affiliation with the Korean Workers Party.

The destruction of the North carried on tirelessly day and night with massive bombing campaigns, the scale of which were unheard of just a few years prior. US pilots were instructed to bomb only visible targets, but far too often the pilots bombed major population centers guided only by radar, and if primary targets were unavailable, napalm was dropped upon secondary targets. Author Bruce Cummins notes “ In a major strike on the industrial city of Hungnam on July 31st, 1950, 500 tons of ordinance was delivered through clouds by radar; the flames rose two or three hundred feet into the air.” Later on in the month of August the US dropped 800 tons of bombs on the young socialist republic, most of which being napalm.

Before the major Sino-Korean offensive which would eventually permanently push the US and UN forces from the North, on December 14–15 the US Air Force hit Pyongyang with “seven hundred 500 pound bombs, napalm dropped from Mustang fighters, and 175 tons of delayed-fuse demolition bombs, which land with a thud and then blow up at odd moments, when people are trying to rescue the dead from napalm fires.”

In November, red China decided to enter the war in defense of the DPRK. The entry of China into the conflict made the United States extremely nervous and triggered a major escalation in the bombing campaign and led US forces to consider the nuclear option. In fact General Bolte, Chief of Operations, suggested to General MacArthur the use of nuclear bombs “in direct support of ground troops.”

MacArthur was a believer that dropping atomic bombs would bring the war to swift end within 10 days. MacArthur stated “ I would have dropped between 30 and 50 atomic bombs..strung across the neck of Manchuria.” MacArthur confidently concluded the war would have been “a cinch.” President Truman gave his official approval to use nuclear weapons against Chinese and North Korean targets, yet the president’s order was never put into practice. The main reasoning was most likely due to the confusion surrounding the removal of General MacArthur from the conflict. Which happened to be a fortunate stroke of good luck for humanity.

In continuing our conversation, I asked Natalie to continue describing the massive bombing campaigns from the United States and the devastating loss of human life that followed.

“Beyond their significant focus on bombing population centers in attempts to “drive the Koreans into the ground” they also targeted all infrastructure, bombing dams so that they would flow tens of downstream villages and destroy the crops of the north. They dropped bombs containing germs and pests to destroy crops and spread disease, going so far as to even release mass amounts of pests like non-native reptiles and insects to try and disrupt the ecological balance in the north.

Very conservative estimates place the death toll of the war at around 3,000,000 while more moderate ones place it somewhere north of 5,000,000. It was an unimaginably brutal genocide perpetrated against Korea for 3 long years, and the fact that the Korean people were able to drive a firmly united western imperialist coalition to a stalemate and defend their country is an incredible achievement they still massively celebrate to this day every July 27, their victory day.”

“There were several decisive factors of why the DPRK was able to successfully defend its national sovereignty in the face of a massive western coalition composed of the United States as well as other imperialist powers like the United Kingdom, Japan, Canada, Australia, France, Belgium, the Netherlands, as well as Turkey, Greece, Cuba (pre-revolution of course), Spain, Italy, Denmark, Israel, India, West Germany, and well over 10 other nations.

In the west we are told that in the DPRK they are told that no foreign troops ever assisted in their defense but far from it you will find tens of major monuments as well as military cemeteries to fallen Chinese and Soviet martyrs who gave life and limb for Korea’s continued independent existence and began what the DPRK people feel is a history intertwined in revolutionary blood with the fraternal Chinese and Russian peoples. One of the most decisive factors was the unflinching loyalty and wishes to assist the Korean People’s Army by the working class people. Frequently they would alert the army to the location of enemy forces, tell them which routes they had taken, and give food and water to soldiers moving through to the front.”

Statue in front of the Liberation War Museum

It is difficult to overstate the amount of devastation that was wrought upon the Korean people and the astounding amount of bravery they showed in the face of such naked brutality.

Imagine if every major city in the United States, including San Francisco, New York, Chicago and Los Angeles was either completely destroyed or almost blown off the map.

That is in fact what the DPRK suffered during their fight for survival. According to author Conrad Crane the war “had wreaked terrible destruction all across North Korea. Bomb damage assessment at the armistice revealed that eighteen of the twenty two major cities had been at least half obliterated.” Estimates show that the current capital, Pyongyang was 75 percent destroyed.

The U.S. Air Force showed no remorse in their relentless bombing campaigns. The demolition of the irrigation dams in the North obliterated the agriculture of the North. Entire villages were flooded and wiped off of the map; rice harvests were completely destroyed leaving many Koreans without adequate food.

Bruce Cummings states “after the war it took 200,000 man-days of labor to reconstruct the reservoir; still the Air Force marveled at how fast they were back up and running.” The cost of victory came a huge price for the DPRK, upwards of 3 million North Koreans died during the conflict including one million South Koreans and one million Chinese. One of the more tragically famous casualties was Mao Zedong’s own son whom is buried in Martyr’s Cemetery in North Korea.

Everyone in the North sacrificed and suffered dearly to achieve their right to self-determination. A right of which is not easily forgotten or abandoned in the DPRK. Is it any wonder why for decades the North followed Songung, or a military first policy? The DPRK was never given the luxury of a peaceful development. Yet, it is a country that continues to survive and defy US imperialism to this day.

Anti-Imperialism in the DPRK

Cuban President Miguel Diaz-Canal and Kim Jong-Un, celebrating a longstanding friendship between their two countries.

After driving back the forces of United States, the DPRK set to work rebuilding it’s country and continued their dedication against Imperialism. Historically, Kim Jong-il and the DPRK have inspired and aided many countries and revolutionary movements in their struggles against capitalism and Imperial domination.

Inspiration and material aid has ranged from the Black Panthers, the IRA, Angola’s war for liberation and Palestine. The list goes on and on, the fact is the DPRK has an impressive track record of supporting liberation struggles across the globe. Could this be another contributing factor of why the West detests the DPRK? I asked Natalie to go over a brief history of Anti-Imperialism in North Korea and how that shapes their collective worldview.

“The horrifying memories of Japanese and American imperialism are still very vivid in the minds of Koreans in the north where they do not let new generations go without a proper historical understanding of Korea’s long and fierce struggle for independence and for socialism. They are very politically conscious and are aware of ongoing conflicts around the world against western imperialism such as in Syria today, and it is not uncommon for them to reference examples of imperialism like the overthrows of nations like Libya and Iraq in their foreign ministry statements.

They also have very strong ties with Cuba, Palestine, Venezuela, Syria, Laos, China, Vietnam, and many nations in Africa on the basis of peace, friendship, and invariable support for anti-imperialist and national liberation movements. You’ll often see statements from the President of Cuba and Palestine praising the DPRK for their long history of friendship and material support.

They have put their anti-imperialist feelings into action on several occasions. Comrade Fidel said that Korea was an eternal friend of Cuba after President Kim Il Sung sent them 50,000 guns and many tons of ammunition, not requesting a single cent in return. They did similarly with many of the left-wing national liberation movements in Africa. They sent military advisers to Palestine, and during Israel’s war against Lebanon they sent many teams of experts to build tunnels under enemy lines, which was a crucial part of Lebanon’s victory over Israeli aggression.

They have also already pledged to significantly aid in the reconstruction of Syria following its unification under the leadership of President Assad. All of this coming from a nation under such immense pressure and the harshest sanctions campaign implemented in human history is so incredibly inspiring, contrary to what those who have no information on the DPRK’s foreign affairs history claim, they are a shining example of internationalism around the globe.”

I must admit, before talking with Natalie I had little to no idea the vast amount of aid and support the DPRK has shown for decades with anti-imperialist and anti-capitalist struggles around the world. I was under the impression that the North was incredibly isolationist, and kept to the confines of their so called “hermit kingdom.”

However, the facts totally fly in the face of this narrative. The DPRK does embody the spirit of international revolution. I am positive of the fact the DPRK so frequently stomps on the boots of Imperialism makes their country a primary target for negative press in the West. Western mainstream media has a habit portraying anti-imperialist and anti-capitalist governments in a particularly negative light.

Such examples that spring to mind include, Bolivarian Venezuela, Cuba and China. One is hard-pressed to find a positive word on the pages of the New York Times on President Maduro or China. Perhaps the western “free press” is not so free after all? And perhaps Americans are not immune to propaganda.

The Free Press at Work

I continued my interview with Natalie on the topic of propaganda. However not in the DPRK, but rather propaganda in the United States. More specifically anti-communist and anti-North Korean propaganda which is extremely widespread and infects almost every media outlet ranging from Fox News, CNN to even “leftist” Jacobin magazine. The willing conscious or unconscious standard uniformity propagated in the mainstream western media is truly astounding.

I asked Natalie how we on the left can better refute some mainstream tropes about the DPRK and how to better combat mainstream media narratives about the DPRK.

“Deep skepticism of mainstream reporting about the DPRK is an absolute must. A lack of skepticism is shown most clearly by those we see who believe the DPRK is just some grey dystopian nightmare, where every building ever constructed is just a flat facade, where every person is just an actor trying to perform just for you, where you simultaneously must be atheist but also literally believe Kim Jong Un is a deity, where watching people be tortured and shot is just a normal daily activity for school children, where everyone subsists off of rats, bark, and grass.

These beliefs are not only incredibly ignorant, but a direct result of white supremacist ideology and orientalism in the west against Koreans. I mean these are people who are so deep into the racist myths that they believed reporting from just a couple years ago that claimed that both drinking alcohol or using sarcasm were made execution-worthy offenses, or reports that claimed both that Kim Jong Un’s haircut was mandatory for all citizens and then just weeks later that all citizens were banned from having Kim Jong Un’s haircut at threat of execution.

It’s difficult to reason with those people who just read some headlines or a couple wiki pages and think they know what is best for Korea. I think it is most important to show the real daily lives of people living the DPRK and to give accurate historical context to the plight of Korean independence, reconciliation, and reunification, to serve as loudspeakers echoing the messages of actual Koreans yearning for peace, yearning for their families and loved ones across the division.”

Natalie raised some incredibly insightful points. We only hear one side of the story in the west about the DPRK, we usually only hear from high profile “defectors” who are paid handsomely for their testimonies. The mainstream press hardly mentions the many of defectors who actually wish to return to their lives in the DPRK! Little attention is given to the citizens of North Korea or their side of the story.

The only image we see on the news of the Korean people is of them marching in military parades. The people of the DPRK are portrayed as mindless automatons, void of emotion or depth. This is an extremely racist and orientalist perspective. Could the constant dehumanization of Koreans be the reason why a third of Americans would support a nuclear strike on the DPRK?

Another major factor that is missing from nearly all mainstream media outlets is the stunning social and economic achievements of the DPRK. Despite suffering from inhumane and crippling sanctions, North Korea has managed not only to rebuild all of its major cities and villages but also provide a robust social safety net for all citizens.

Healthcare in the DPRK is absolutely free and available to all. The DPRK’S health system led WHO director-general Margaret Chan to state the country had “no lack of doctors and nurses”. The DPRK also maintains a life expectancy of 71 years on average, which is higher than most developing countries and much higher than even some cities in the United States! Unfortunately, people of color and Indigenous people in the United States suffer from much shorter life expectancies than their rich white counterparts. For example, in Englewood, Chicago, Illinois, the life expectancy is 59 years while in Stilwell, Oklahoma it is a shameful 56 years!

A Classroom in the DPRK

Another, achievement is the education system in the DPRK. Education is also free and available to everyone, even higher education. Meanwhile many students in the United States go into tremendous amounts of debt just to receive a degree. The literacy rate in the DPRK is an amazing 99 percent while in comparison more than 30 million Americans in the US cannot read, write or perform basic math!

The DPRK is a country with a fraction of the wealth of the United States and faces crippling economic sanctions, yet they continue to defy the odds and manage to provide for the basic needs for all citizens, a feat which the United States has yet to pull off.

Democracy in the DPRK

One of the most prevalent mainstream narratives about the DPRK is that the country is an authoritarian nightmare. We are made to believe that a ruthless tyrant who assumes total control over every single aspect of his citizen’s lives rules the country. This narrative is taken at its face value from those on the left, right, and center. Which begs the question, is there any democracy in the Democratic People’s Republic? I asked Natalie to expand upon this question.

“We are all taught as fact, as if it as just a factual as the earth being round or water being wet, that the DPRK is an unimaginable wasteland, where half the country are in concentration camps and the other half live in the worst kind of poverty. We are not shown or told about the actual policies of the state, merely anecdotes from defectors.

As I understand it, electoral politics in the DPRK is collective. Candidates are selected among upstanding citizens and are all approved by the governing coalition consisting of the Workers’ Party of Korea, the Korean Social Democratic Party, and the Chondoist Chongu Party, all of which have seats at every level, the city, county, and provincial people’s assemblies as well as the national legislature, the Supreme People’s Assembly.

Candidates are discussed and debated by the working people of that constituency at their workplaces, farms, etc, until there is as broad a consensus as possible. People will often say that DPRK elections are rigged because there is only one candidate for a position, which gives an inaccurate perspective on their democratic functions, the vote itself is simply meant to either ratify or reject the candidate that the people and parties agreed upon. Their system builds consensus and unity, not partisanship and division. Every time elections roll around I’ll see headlines claiming Kim Jong Un has gotten 100% of the vote when in fact he appeared on no ballots because he wasn’t seeking any elected offices, so it’s really all about creating the perception of one-man rule to justify further aggression and provocation.”

It is clear that the DPRK does in fact have a democratic political system, a system that is different from most western countries, and represents a variation of democracy that exists in other socialist countries like Cuba and China. There are multiple parties in the legislature of North Korea and many cabinet positions in the top echelons of government. It is also interesting to note that the economy of the DPRK has also been democratized.

The economy of the DPRK is a mix of state run enterprises and cooperatives. The countryside is predominately run by agricultural co-ops and small family farms, while the vast majority of the economy is run by the state. The DPRK operates under the Taean work system. Meaning, each factory has an elected committee of 25–30 members from the ranks of workers, managers and engineers.

Perhaps the United States is projecting when it slams the DPRK as undemocratic. It is a bit ironic that the country with the largest prison population in the world and effectively run by a two party state of billionaires and millionaires, has the audacity to call another country undemocratic.

Reunification of North and South

Arch of Reunification in Pyongyang

Reunification between the North and South has been a primary goal for North Korea since the end of the war. For decades the United States has done its utmost the halt any kind of progress towards reunification between the North and South.

The United States has key geopolitical interests in maintaining South Korea as an effective client state. Recently, the progress towards realizing the dream of reunification has taken several small steps towards becoming a reality. I asked Natalie if she could elaborate on the process of reunification.

“What peace looks like could vary greatly, and depends entirely on the willingness of the United States to reconcile fundamental issues of contention like that of their permanent military presence on the peninsula, their bases, their bombers, their weapons systems like that of THAAD which are grave threats to Northeast Asia. North and South by themselves would have reconciled decades ago had it not been for U.S. subjugation of the South, the genocide of left-wing and pro-reunification activists supported by the U.S. so that a generation later many people are still afraid to be openly left-wing, and so on.

Recent polling showed that only 6% of those in the South wish for the current system, that is two separate divided countries, to continue. People often mistake reunification as being the only form they’ve personally read about, that of German reunification, so they assume reunification means a single country with a single system and a single government, but this is not the case for Korea.

While the form of reunification that comes will be decided when those discussions come, the form which the DPRK has proposed tens and tens of times (unfortunately the south, in modern history dominated by the far-right, has never proposed a single plan for reunification or peace) is for a loose form of confederation, two systems but a single country, wherein both sides would have degrees of autonomy but there would be no division. It is likely that this would be preceded by significant reductions in armed forces by both sides which is what President Kim Il Sung proposed, suggesting that North and South lower their active military forces to below 50,000 each.

It goes without saying that reunification would be incredibly lucrative for the Korean people on both sides. Often in the South you’ll hear talking points from the right on how economically devastating it would be if suddenly those in the South were also responsible for the debt of the North, but this is a talking point meant to play to those too ignorant to find out that the North has only roughly $10 billion in debt while the south has a debt upwards of $600 billion. Anti-reunification forces are and always have been extremely desperate to keep the Korean people divided, but momentum is growing steadily for North-South reconciliation and many blatant lies are coming apart piece by piece.”

At first I was unsure of what reunification would look like, I was confused as to why the North would want to abandon their political and economic system and form a single country. The reunification of East and West Germany was heavy on my mind. But the situation became clearer from the explanation Natalie provided. I also found it extremely interesting that the North was more than willing to lower the number of active military forces on both sides. This disproves the notion that the North is an active aggressor hell bent on destroying the world. It is abundantly clear that reunification would be beneficial for both sides and would bring steps towards a deep and lasting peace on the Korean peninsula.

Left Anti-Communism

At this point, it is clear much of what we have been told about the DPRK from mainstream media outlets, is nothing but lies and misinformation. The DPRK has continuously defied the odds and continues to survive and build up socialist construction. However, many people on the left refuse to engage in any kind of dialogue about the DPRK and won’t allow for a positive word to be uttered in favor of Korea. I asked Natalie for her response to those who refuse to show support or solidarity for North Korea. What would she say to those who only “support the people of North Korea”? Are these naysayers just ill-informed or being disingenuous?

“I run into a lot of different reasons why some comrades have difficulty coming to better conclusions on issues related to Korea, but I think what is most important here and what should be emphasized is that we have no place to tell Koreans how to live, how to structure their governments, how to develop their culture. We are the greatest perpetrators of genocide and imperialism in human history, by far, and have zero right to attempt to lecture or make demands of any oppressed peoples, ever.

If you truly care for the rights and welfare of Korean people, all of your time and thought and energy on this issue should be spent trying to push others towards the ideals of peace, reconciliation, and exchange. To me, to really care about Koreans and their wishes is to put all of my effort into fighting the U.S. narrative and policies, to stop my own government from attempting to starve and bomb them a second time. The only thing helped by leftists by going after the DPRK is the perpetuation of racist stereotypes, myths, and a genocidal regime change agenda.

It would be extremely difficult to grow up in America and not be grossly misinformed about history and current events. We are taught history from an often Eurocentric perspective that ignores the centuries of pain and suffering experienced by people of colour, and many are only just now beginning to explore history and culture outside of the glorification of western imperialism and tales of white male saviors. I think immense patience and care should be shown to those who are sincere in wanting to learn more, and zero tolerance should be shown to those who obstinately wish to parrot U.S. State Department talking points .”

I asked Natalie to comment on the common notion of only supporting the Korean people, but not the government, or nation as a whole. Why is this flawed? Does this so-called support even mean anything of substance?

“To attack and slander People’s Korea is precisely to attack and slander the Korean people struggling for peace and independence. They would find themselves in complete agreement with the rhetoric of the anti-DPRK far-right forces in southern Korea who have keenly picked up on the mainstream American liberal lines towards developing countries fighting imperialism, to support “the people” (also known as “we want regime change ASAP”) and not “the dictator” (aka any socialist state with overwhelming popular support).

Statements like these make it blatantly obvious that they have not and do not take into consideration the opinions of actual Koreans who overwhelmingly wish for a permanent peace and the peaceful reunification of their country through mutual agreement, not pressure, not sanctions, and especially not nuclear war. To stand against the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea is to spit in the face of the Korean peace and reunification movements and their decades long history of struggle. When they spout such absurd rhetoric, it is simply a poorly veiled attempt at advocating for more aggression and pressure against Korea. If they think regime change will come to the DPRK in any other form than a US-sponsored coup followed by a western puppet state to drain the DPRK of its protected natural resources, they are woefully ignorant of the current geopolitical situation, and I do not think they are ignorant of this reality.”

I could not agree more with Natalie. I think there is a fine line between those who are genuinely interested in learning more about the DPRK and are engaging in good faith. And those armchair revolutionaries who spout state department talking points and think they alone know what is best for the Korean people.

It is extremely demeaning to ignore the fact the DPRK has had its back up against the wall it’s entire existence while simultaneously effectively combating the largest military power in the world. In order for one to think the problems in the DPRK are due to some moral failing of its leaders or obscure notions of “authoritarianism,” to fail to support the DPRK because it does not live up to your own personal lofty ideals of socialism is anti-materialist at best and reactionary at worst.

As socialists we should always use a concrete material analysis when evaluating our current day and age. Historical and material conditions do indeed matter and can have unforeseen effects upon revolutionary movements. As Marx put it “Men make their own history, but not as they please.”

I myself, for a long time failed to show support for the DPRK. I believed every lie I was told in the mainstream news while failing to engage in any critical examination of the facts. After time, I became more and more interested in learning about North Korea. I started by finding out those major headlines such as the execution of high officials or the Kim Jung Un haircut law, were all absolutely bogus. From there I set to find out what else I was told about the DPRK was untrue. I urge all of those on the left and beyond to be critical of any mainstream news about the DPRK. Use critical examination and keep in mind that the dominant class, in our case the bourgeoisie, and economic system shapes the view of a whole society. One cannot be a centrist in the face of genocidal imperialist aggression; you will automatically side with the aggressor.

In short, the DPRK is a fascinating country with a long and rich history. Whatever challenges and problems they face is up to them to solve. Interference in their political and economic system will not bring about peace on the peninsula or benefit the Korean people. It is up to the citizens of North Korea to solve their own problems and continue to build socialism; I have complete faith they are up to the task.

Closing Statement

I asked Natalie if she had any closing statements to wrap up our conversation. Also, I asked if she had any resources where people can learn more about the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea.

“Those who wish for peace and prosperity for the Korean people should stand shoulder to shoulder with them in staunch opposition to the presence of our soldiers, our missiles, our bombers, our ships, our bases. The United States has occupied and divided Korea for well over 70 years.

Seventy years of heartwrenching pains, families irreversibly broken, brothers and sisters torn apart, millions of innocents slaughtered for the strategic interests of the U.S. in Northeast Asia. The history of the unimaginable terror we have imposed upon Korea for decades can hardly be adequately described in words, and how to go about rectifying such a horrific past is not something being discussed in the mainstream, instead pushing us toward inflicting further tragedy upon Korea via preemptive thermonuclear warfare.”

“The mission for peace-loving people today on the issue of Korea, to my mind, is to build better understanding and solidarity with People’s Korea, in politics, history, culture, and economics. Showing people the average daily lives of Koreans is particularly powerful and frequently shatters the image most people in the west have built up from the incessant anti-communist propaganda.

Finding this kind of information and materials can be a daunting task in large part due to how buried this information can be behind the nonstop mountain of click-bait articles and “”analysis”” basically telling us that Koreans actually love being divided, hate one another, and how only the brave noble Americans can save them from themselves.

I would encourage those seeking more information to look into perspectives and news from progressive Koreans themselves, whether in the north, south, or abroad. A couple ways this can be done is via state sources that have English site translations like that of kcna.kp, naenara.com.kp, rodong.rep.kp, or by looking to Korean organizations here in the United States and south Korea like that of Nodutdol, One Korea Coalition, Hella Organized Bay Area Koreans, Sahngnoksoo, Action for One Korea, Korean Women’s Movement for Peace, and so many others. I also personally cover news and provide information on Korean history, politics, and culture on platforms like Twitter (@NatalieRevolts).”


Josh: Writer, worker, and communist. In my writing I strive to bring a critical and principled Marxist viewpoint to current events, history, and political theory.

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