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The Essence of Conflict on the Korean Peninsula and the Response of the Working Class

 

Reject illusions of hawkish imperialist sect and capitalist ruling circle!

한반도 갈등의 본질과 노동계급의 대응  

  

<Contents>

 

1. Imperialism, The root of evil

2. Imperialism and the three types of war

3. Our position on these wars (quotes from our program)

4. A complex factor of conflicts on the Korean Peninsula

5. A sudden change in the situation: from the eve of war to the "mood for peace"

6. The characteristic of the three parties involved in the conflict on Korean Peninsula

7. The background of the Sudden "peace phase"

8. Some conjectures about the sudden change of the US attitude

9. Desires of North Korea

10. Does a peace treaty guarantee peace?

11. Similar cases from the past

12. Important overseas cases

13. The "peace phase" and the leftists

14. Our demands

 

Introduction


This document was written on June 18, 2018 during a period of peace phase on the Korean Peninsula. The brink of war between North Korea and the United States-South Korea in 2017 suddenly turned into a peace phase in 2018. And the fantasy of peace on the Korean Peninsula heightened in South Korea and around the world as Donald Trump and Kim Jong-un held their first-ever US-North Korea summit in Singapore just six days before this document was written. However, there have already been several inter-Korean peace phases since the '70s. And each time, the "peace phases" have never been able to develop into "peace" because of the imperialist nature of the United States, which wants to overthrow the workers’ state, North Korea. Thus, once again Lenin's stern lesson that only the funeral of either socialism or capitalism be hold, has been proven once again.

At that time, the South Korean working people were intoxicated with the scent of peace as if they had forgotten or wanted to forget the war crisis of just a year ago. Donald Trump and Moon Jae-in, those who tried to drive the peninsula into the flames of war last year, now pretended as the apostle of peace. Moreover, the left-wing labor camp in South Korea has been immersed in a peace phase, forgetting its duty to remind the working people of the past and point out what is the root of the conflict on the Peninsula and who is the real enemy of peace. On the contrary, they praised the ‘pacifism’ of Trump and Moon or refrained from criticism and eventually fell into accessories of the Democratic Party. Thanks to this, US imperialism and its South Korean stooges succeeded in tying the working people to the illusion of pacifism that would be shattered in the face of upcoming conflicts.

We saw through these dangers and resisted pacifist fantasies from the start. This article is a compilation of our lecture on the nature and prospects of conflict on the Korean Peninsula, and it was the only attempt to warn the working people of the sweet but deadly trap of pacifism. And just eight months later, the peace phase ended when the US demanded the disarmament of North Korean nuclear weapons program in Hanoi at no cost, and NK bureaucrats, who were in a pacifist fantasy but not completely fool, rejected it. What US imperialism wants is a delay, a stagnation of North Korean nuclear armament, and the dismantlement of its nuclear weapons. But the US never wants to give North Korea a windpipe. Eventually, South Korea and the US returned to a "normal" confrontation, in which the two allies are seeking for the invasion to the north and the NK is desperately preparing for its defense. Nevertheless, the pacifist fantasy on the Korean Peninsula has not dissipated and will probably be revived soon.

The pantomime on Korean Peninsula is by no means a unique phenomenon. This is nothing more than the expression of "pacifism" on the Korean Peninsula, which capitalist class and its underlings from the working class has exploited to block the revolutionary advance of the working class since the days of Lenin. Therefore, our document not only helps all sincere world Communists to understand the nature of conflicts on the Korean Peninsula, but it is also a struggle against the pacifism in general which drives the struggles of the working class and the oppressed of the world into self-contradiction and total catastrophe.

We hope this article would reach out to the militants who will rebuild the Fourth International, the vanguard of liberation of mankind, to emancipate the working class and the oppressed of the world on the basis of science, not fantasy. 



Imperialism, The root of evil

 

Today we are going to discuss the situation on the Korean Peninsula. However, most of modern social phenomena are related to capitalism, especially imperialism. In addition, imperialism is the root of almost all opportunism in this era. Because imperialism is the highest form of capitalist development and located at the highest point of the capitalist food chain, it is the strongest pressure imposed on the forces against capitalism. Opportunistic currents eventually distort the meaning of imperialism itself to conceal their opportunistic politics. Therefore, in order to look at the situation on the Korean Peninsula, we must first clarify our understanding of Marx-Lenin-Trotsky’s perspective on Imperialism which is the background of modern political, economic and social phenomena.

The simplest definition of imperialism along Lenin and Trotsky is the "expansionary policy of financial capital." The most well-informed account of Marxism on imperialism is provided by Lenin's "Imperialism, the highest stage of capitalism" which summarizes him as follows.

“In the market integrated by capitalism, i.e. nation state, competition among various enterprises transform into monopoly through aggregation and concentration. In this process, industrial and banking capital are combined, and develop into Finance Capital. It, which controls hegemony in the domestic market of an advanced capitalist country, enters areas that are pre-capitalist or premature capitalist or totally backward in order to realize excess profits, which are “profits above the profits which capitalists squeeze out of the workers of their “own” country.” The process of entering is also the process of checking and suppressing the resistance of other competing national finance capital and indigenous people by force. Thus, its entry is only possible through the military support of a country dominated by finance capital, or an apparatus monopolized violence just like the monopoly of finance capital. Thus, the world is divided in proportion to the size of capital and power.”

- All the emphasis in the quotations is on the writer. Same as below

Capitalism, especially the capitalism which has reached the stage of imperialism where it cannot stop looting abroad to obtain super profits, embodies an inevitable impulse toward war.

 

Imperialism and the three types of war

 

Therefore, almost every military conflict that have occurred since late 19th and early 20th centuries, the era which imperialism finally had taken its form, have been waged by imperialist motives. The aspects and types of the war can be divided into three main categories.

1. Imperialism vs. Colony: World-wide colonial aggression by imperialist countries such as the United States, Britain, France, Germany, Japan and Italy, etc. before and after World War I, including the Japanese annexation of Korea.

a) Capitalization, imposed by imperialists, had led to the growth of the working class in the colonies; b) the Russian Revolution has strengthened the power of the working class internationally; and c) since World War II, due to imperialists’ mutual conflict imperialist’s grip on its colonies weakened transformed their direct rule into indirect one (neo-colonialism).

Among colonies, nations which had toppled pro-imperialist regimes and achieved anti-imperialist national liberation through the people's uprising and anti-imperialist coup had emerged. Some of them developed into deformed workers’ states (such as North Korea, China, Cuba, Vietnam, Eastern Europe, etc.) with the help of the Soviet Union, while others remained as economical colony but achieved 'political' independence (Nasser’s Egypt, Algeria, Gadhafi’s Libya, Venezuela, Syria, Iran, etc.)


2. Imperialism vs. Imperialism: First and Second World Wars


3. Imperialism vs. Workers' State: a conflict between Soviet Union, a “degenerated workers’ state”, created by the achievements and limitations of the Russian revolution, and “deformed workers’ states” (North Korea, China, Cuba, Vietnam, Eastern Europe, etc.) established by combining the achievements of the Russian Revolution with the national liberation struggle, and imperialism trying to bring them back to capitalism.

 

Our position on these wars (quotes from our program)

 

Most of the political and military conflicts that are now taking place in the world are linked to imperialism, which puts maximizing excess profits on the foremost priority. That is expressed as 1)competitions with other imperialist countries to exclusively secure excess profits, 2)attempts to bring back a workers’ state that has broken away from capitalism to its own market, 3)conflicts with neo-colonial countries trying to liberate itself from imperialist over-exploitation and 4)civil wars against its own oppressed people led by the working class.

 

Our positions toward conflicts (war, etc.)

We, as a socialist, support neither side in all conflicts, including the war between imperialist states. Instead, we urge the working class of each countries to turn their guns to its own ruling class. The slogan Lenin put forward during World War I, "Turn Imperialist War Into Civil War," and the slogan of Liebknecht, "The Main Enemy Is At Home" are still valid today.

Meanwhile, in the case of conflict between imperialist countries and colonies, as in what is now Iraq, Afghanistan, and Venezuela, we insist on the defeat of the imperialist nation, regardless of which political forces lead the resistance against imperialism. In this case the position of neither side will be an act of betrayal, selling off the colonial people to imperialism, and the defeat of the imperialist nation will greatly inspire the struggle of the oppressed peoples and the working class around the world. However, our support on political forces that lead the resistance only means a military support, and if it is confused with political support, it will greatly undermine the political independence and orientation of working class in colonies.

On the other hand, if imperialism and deformed workers’ states (China, North Korea, Cuba and Vietnam) are at odds, we unconditionally defend the latter. The defeat of the workers’ state in this conflict means the restoration of private ownership, and as it did during the collapse of the Soviet Union, it will greatly disadvantage the dynamics between capital and labor on worldwide. Of course, the present deformed workers’ states are dominated by the reactionaries called Stalinist bureaucrats. But that doesn't absolve the socialist of defending the remaining achievements of revolution, namely defending the workers’ state.

 

A complex factor of conflicts on the Korean Peninsula

 

Conflicts on the Korean Peninsula are the result of a combination of various conflict factors caused by imperialism.

First, after World War II, the Soviet Union carried out a war to defend the achievements of the October revolution against German and Japanese imperialism. As the Red army marched to Eastern Europe and Northern part of the Korean Peninsula, Soviets transplanted its system and workers states were found. In other words, private ownership of means of production was abolished, and a political system ruled by bureaucrats along with suppression of workers’ democracy was formed.

Initially, Stalin and Soviet bureaucrats didn’t intend to abolish private ownership and move forward to socialist revolution. At that time, the class-collaborative People's Front, which seek to unite with a certain part of bourgeoise against fascism, prevailed. In the midst of World War II, the Soviet Union, which fought alongside the US, Britain and France as a member of the Allies, disbanded the Comintern in 1943 to confirm that it had no intention of fighting against imperialists which it called 'friendly'. This line continued after the end of World War II, the moment when the axis of international conflicts once again turned into the front line between imperialist camp and the workers’ state bloc led by Soviet.

However, the indigenous ruling classes in Eastern Europe and Korean peninsula were extremely weak in terms of their control over the means of production and seriously lacked legitimacy. In German and Japanese colonies most of the means of production were owned by imperialist capital, and indigenous rulers blatantly served Nazi and imperialist Japan during the occupation. The working people had a sense of hostility toward them. Thus, the defeat of German and Japanese imperialism resulted in the collapse of capitalist state in colonies, and the indigenous ruling classes that would uphold the capitalism also went to impotent.

Thus, in Eastern Europe and the northern part of the Korean Peninsula, where the state apparatus supporting capitalism collapsed after the fall of German and Japanese imperialism, the social revolution in which nationalized the means of production under the support of indigenous working people was carried out. 'Deformed workers’ states' ruled by Stalinist bureaucracy were established.

On the other hand, since the liberation of Korea followed by the fall of Japan, Southern part of peninsula was heated up by the ever-growing demands of the oppressed working people. Right after the fall of colonial rule which had sustained itself with the help of a few Korean capitalists and landowners, society fluctuated with the struggle of the working people under the slogan of "Unified Independent Korean Republic, Free Distribution of Land, Nationalization of Japanese owned means of production". But it didn't last long. Following the invasion of US troops and installation of US army’s military government, the “state of vacuum” caused by incapacitation of Japanese colonial apparatus had come to an end. US imperialism, which sought to prevent the worldwide anti-capitalist current, could not bear the social revolution in South Korea. Pro-Japanese traitors had resurrected from a crisis of extinction with the help of American imperialism. Along with it, US and ex-Japanese traitors wiped out “national liberation movement” stretching from Joseon Workers' Party (Communist party) to the Kim Gu’s nationalist right-wing movement. On its foundation, a staunch pro-American figure Syngman Rhee’s dictatorship was established. Before the Korean War, South Korea was already in a state of fierce civil war, with hundreds of thousands of people killed.

Let’s explain it further in the previous article

The process from national liberation to split

When the Japanese imperialist forces occupying the Korean peninsula were defeated by Soviet and US forces in 1945, the peninsula fell into a political vacuum. Into this empty political space surged the political aspirations of Korean workers and peasants, oppressed by Japanese imperialism for 35 years.

The majority of Koreans hoped to go the socialist way, and a socialist victory seemed quite possible. The Japanese capitalists, who had controlled about 90% of major industries, were kicked out of Korea; meanwhile the Korean ruling class had lost legitimacy due to their cooperative behavior for Japanese imperialist in colonial age and they were not having the power organ of the state. Meanwhile, the workers and peasants were supporting for socialist state by 77% and free distribution of land by 78%, in consequence of those eagerness, considerable number of them were supporting the leftist parties. So the way to go socialist country in Korean peninsula was seemed to be rather smooth way (Kang Jeong-gu, 2002, The Right to Live and Reunification of Nation).

But there was an anti-Soviet shift in US foreign policy when after the defeats of Germany and Japan the contradiction between imperialism and the deformed workers’ states became more important than inter-imperialist rivalry. US General MacArthur, commander of the US occupation of Japan after 1945, announced the ‘General Order No 1’, which demanded that the Soviet army not move below the 38th parallel, as a first step of US imperialist greed on the Korean peninsula, in order to take one more inch of their right of control. The Stalinist leadership of the Soviet Union accepted this demand, in line with its policy of diplomatic compromise with the imperialists and their anti-Marxist notion of ‘socialism in one country’. USA who took over South Korea started their imperialist policies on the one hand recollecting the native capitalists and landowners as subordinate partners and on the other hand relentlessly oppressing the demand of Korean workers and peasants who wanted socialism and one country. The regime of USA imperialist was essentially not different to that of Japanese, but only the facts that Korean peninsula was split and the boss was changed were the differences.

This never expected political situation made Korean people, who had believed that they can live in independent and good country after national liberation from Japan, stirred into resistance. The resistance against the USA imperialist policies, which want to make South Korea as a colonial and split country and outpost base of USA against Soviet, with the leadership of South Korean Labor Party and Preparatory Committee of Founding of a Country was gushed the supporting struggle on the Moscow talks in December 1945, Daegu(a city in South Korea) October struggle in 1946, and was erupted a military struggle in Yeosu-Suncheon and Jejudo in 1948 when the moving to build a separated government in South Korea was revealed clear.

USA imperialist reacted harshly on these resistances of Korean people with political mafias, police and army which were led by former subordinate partners of Japanese imperialism. The conflict between Korean people and the alliance of Korean native ruling class, who could not rule the South Korean by themselves alone, and USA became the civil war in South Korea, and developed a Korean war in whole peninsula (see ‘Korea: the forgotten war’). This war ended with the population loss more than 3 million and scorched land by air bombing by USA in 1953, but the eagerness of Korean working class and peasants who really wanted the one and socialist country was not achieved. South Korean people, who experienced how cruel the oppression of the ruling class and imperialist on their eagerness, became not to express easily their political desire after this harsh process. This might be one of the biggest fruits of the process to the South Korean ruling class and USA imperialism.

 

The social revolution in North Korea

In this period, North Korea pursued anti-feudalist and imperialist revolution with the leadership of North Korean Labor Party. Firstly, major means of production which had been the properties of Japanese capitalist were nationalized by the Law of State Ownership in 1946. This process proceeded rather smoothly without particular anti-revolutionary resistances in where the working class and peasants had overwhelming hegemony because the most capitalist had been Japanese and the native capitalists had gone to South Korea. Secondly, the land redistribution was another big task as much as nationalization of means of production because there were about 70% of peasants in whole population. The North Korean People’s commissar announced the Law of Land Redistribution and abolished the tenant farming system and built the independent farming system free from landowner. This was a huge step forward that freed millions of peasants from semi-feudal conditions. Besides these, North Korean government introduced the other reformations such as 8 hours work in a day, equal pay for same work, equal right of male and female. Through this social revolution, the North Korean regime was able to gain broad support from its people.

Following people’s democratic reformations and the transformations, North Korea launched the social revolution to integrate small commodity production system in farming and handicraft industry into Socialist production system until 1958. Meanwhile, in the same way, the collectivization of private commerce and industry was carried out and completed in August 1958.

The capability of North Korean economy had been successfully developed up to late 1960s to the extent that it was quite ahead of that of South Korean. The fact that this could be accomplished after the devastation of the country by the imperialist bombing in the war was largely due to substantial material support from the Chinese and Soviet Stalinist regimes. But the sharp increase of defense expenditure (6.5 % of total social expenditure in 1955, 32.4% in 1968, later generally 15%) due to the re-upsurge of the military tension with USA tackled the North Korean economy and the stagnation of the economy started (ibid). The collapse of workers states was naturally a serious disaster for North Korea as well. The collapse of old workers state countries struck North Korean economy strongly and, in addition to this, the natural disasters in 1990s made the North Korean economy cannot stand up by itself, combining the continuing economical sanction of USA.

There is a tendency which looks the present serious declination of North Korean economy as an example for the ultimate limitation of socialism. We can say the situation of present North Korea as an example of the limitation of Stalinist socialism in one country without spreading of revolution, run by a cultist and ultra- bureaucratic regime without workers’ democracy and the imperialist sanction, but we can not say that the idea of socialism is over.

The distorted shapes of present workers states show us the present level of socialist movement and prove the old expectation of Lenin and Trotsky that if the revolution cannot be spread to the other countries including advanced countries as a permanent revolution, it will be perished. Instead, the figures of North Korea up to 1970s show that the revolution in the distribution system itself can make the much better standard of life than that of previous capitalist society. Medical care, education and housing, which are the main concerns for South Korea working class, are free for North Korean. The benefit from social welfare for South Korean is under 2% in total family income, while it is 1-2nd for North Korea. South Korean have to pour whole income for more than 20 years to buy their own house, while the expenditure of housing of North Korean is under 1 % of total family expenditure (ibid).

- Bolshevik EA, Our Position on 17th presidential election of South Korea, November 15th, 2007


Without a doubt, China is another core variable that defines the situation on the Korean Peninsula. The working people of China also suffered from colonial encroachment and grew consciously and organizationally through the struggle against it. In particular, the struggle against Japanese imperialism, which tried to swallow up China as a whole, was one of the main struggles. In this anti-imperialist struggle, the working class and communists could not be the bystander. However, the Stalinist Chinese Communist Party did not maintain the political and organizational independence of the working class due to its pro-capitalist class cooperation. Beyond the United Front, the Communist Party disbanded and entered the Kuomintang of China . It has caused the destruction of the Communist Party's early resources, which had already grown to a considerable level, by the 1927 coup of Kuomintang. But the Chinese people, who were groaning under various layers of oppression, including feudal remnants, capitalism and imperialist aggression, revived the Communist Party, which presented the idea of radical liberation. The Communist Party and the working people of China led the anti-Japanese imperialist war to victory, and also won the class war, the civil war against Kuomintang which was in full swing again after the defeat of Japanese colonial rule. After winning this class civil war, in 1949, the People's Republic of China, a deformed workers’ state, was established in China.

Thus, the Soviet Union and its neighboring China, North Korea, became an area that broke through the imperialist exploitation net. That is why the South Korea, which borders NK, has become a very important strategic base for imperialism. Stopping the spread of the 'Communist' camp, it has become the front line of East Asia for the realization of the imperialist interests, especially US imperialism.

In this region, US imperialism has two strategic objectives. The first objective is passively maintaining the capitalist over-exploitation zone, second is to actively expand the over-exploitation area by driving the complete revival of capitalism in China and North Korea. For this reason, US imperialism has maintained military and economic pressure against the two adversaries, China and North Korea, and this is the essence of tensions in East Asia.

We have described this as follows.

Military conflict on the Korean Peninsula

Since it was divided by military occupation of US imperialism as soon as it was liberated from Japanese colonial rule, the Korean Peninsula has suffered from constant tension and conflict. Just recently, the sinking of the battleship Cheonan, the shelling of Yeonpyeong Island, and the joint military drills of South Korea and the US have represented the tension on the Korean Peninsula. The South and the North are using up huge social costs, including many casualties, to maintain or prepare for the conflicts and tensions.


Causes of endless military tension

The reason why the Korean Peninsula is constantly in such a high level of tension is that this is the boundary between the world's capitalist and non-capitalist camps. As explained in the last issue, when the power of imperialism and the capital camp was greatly undermined by the mutual war between imperialist countries after World War II, with the support of the Soviet Union, North Korea and China became workers’ states that abolished bourgeois ownership and established the form of proletarian ownership. Meanwhile, South Korea has developed into a strategic stronghold to deter the expansion of 'socialist camp' and to bring the Soviet Union, China and North Korea back to capitalism. As the two ownership systems and classes face the border, the highest level of tension is bound to continue.

 

Imperialism and Deformed Workers’ states: China, North Korea

Imperialism is a system in which each country in the world must be placed under its own military, political and economic influence to exploit super profits to survive. Thus, imperialism uses all means to protect its (neo) colony from "socialist" or imperialist rivals, and restore its dominance in areas where its influence is reduced or unable to be exerted due to anti-imperialist revolutions (Iran, Libya, Venezuela, etc.) or anti-capitalist revolutions (such as Eastern Europe, North Korea, China, Cuba and Vietnam). Bringing China and North Korea back to capitalism, an anti-capitalist country in Northeast Asia, is a coveted and immediate target of U.S.-Japan imperialist financial capital. Therefore, military pressure cannot be stopped while mobilizing political, economic and media means against China and North Korea.


Effect of military tension

The causes of the collapse of the Soviet Union and Eastern Europe should be analyzed in many respects, but in the absence of support from the ensuing international revolution, excessive military competition with imperialist countries is one of the important reasons that led to the collapse. As you know, the Soviet Union and Eastern Europe were inferior in terms of productivity and productive capability than imperialist countries such as the United States, Britain, Germany, France and Japan. Spending enough military money to deter aggression from the world's most powerful countries in these areas means that society must spend a huge portion of its available labor on the unproductive military sector, and the continuation of this situation intensifies the economic difficulties of those countries. In this sense, military tensions on the Korean Peninsula and Northeast Asia have the effect of greatly threatening the existence of China and North Korea's workers' states, even if they do not lead to direct military provocations. It will also have the effect of encouraging political courage for those who want to restore capitalism (such as Yeltsin of the Soviet Union), which is growing in China and North Korea.

 

Bourgeois pacifism

However, there is a movement within the left-wing movement to respond to this issue from a pacifist perspective. They think that peace can be achieved in Northeast Asia by "signing a peace treaty." Therefore, it is the position that we should press imperialist through public demands to “make it gives up its hegemonic policy.” But as described above, imperialist military hegemonism is not a "policy" but a "nature." That is what we have verified in Iraq, Afghanistan, Haiti, and Libya, at the expense of countless lives. War stops when imperialism cease to exist and will eventually disappear if class society is abolished.

A pacifist attitude is to beg for peace before the imperialist, the very roots of war. This attitude glosses over the true causes of military tension and conflict and instills a fantasy among the working class that peace might be achieved even under the current capitalist world system. They even witnessed the catastrophe of Iraq but make a topsy- turvydom diagnosis that the North Korean nuclear weapons, which has been developed for self-defense, is the cause of the destruction of peace on the Korean Peninsula. Meanwhile, they serve as missionaries to convey to the working class their imperialist stance that nuclear weapons should be put down for peace. Countries without self-defense are leaving their fate to the taste and disposal of imperialism, as seen in Libya, Iraq, Afghanistan and so on.


For the construction of the Northeast Asian Socialist Union!

The socialist revolution is the only solution to bring lasting and stable peace. The socialist revolution in South Korea, the political revolution in China and North Korea, which working class overthrow the Stalinist bureaucracy removing the reactionaries’ attempts to restore capitalism, will trigger another revolution, whichever comes first. The process will also lead the Japanese working class to the socialist revolution and sink Japanese imperialism. The working class in the region, which has succeeded in the revolution, will build a "Northeast Asian Socialist Union" to prevent the imperialist invasion. The "Northeast Asian Socialist Union" will be a powerful epicenter of the global socialist revolution, and the oscillating waves of the revolution will electrocute the working classes of all countries in the world, including imperialist countries, with thunderous inspiration. At that time, mankind will finally shut down the devil's mouth of capitalism, which kills countless people and wastes resources and productivity. There will be no more waste of energy in developing and equipping weapons. All weapons of mass destruction will disappear in one fell swoop.

 

A sudden change in the situation: from the eve of war to the “mood for peace”

 

Following the inter-Korean summit held at Panmunjom in April, the first North Korea-US summit in Singapore is arousing an unprecedented "spring wind" on the Korean Peninsula. It seems like the military and economic confrontation on Korean Peninsula, which has lasted for more than 70 years, is now over, and Peninsula is filled with expectations that there will only be a path of "peace and prosperity" in the future. Moon Jae-in and Democratic party, those who reluctantly had joined the struggle against Park Geun-hye and reversed a pledge of stopping deployments of THAAD right after the inauguration and initiated outright assaults on labor movements, are now being praised at record high, ever since they led this “peace mood”.

The current shift is even more dramatic considering that just a year ago the situation was so tense that a war was about to break out. Both sides insulted each other as "old lunatic" and "a little rocket man in Pyongyang". The codename of the US-South Korea joint drill aimed at the North was a decapitation strike drill "to cut the head of the enemy’s leader," and Trump declared "fire and fury that the world had not seen." The North did not budge, but responded by saying, "We will burn the den of evil, including the Blue House and the White House," warning of a siege targeting Guam.

But just as hot iron was put into cold water in a blacksmith's barn, a sudden change took place.

 

The characteristic of the three parties involved in the conflicts on Korean Peninsula

 

Before we look at the causes of this sudden change, let's look at the basic nature of the three parties in the previous article. 

The counter revolution maneuver to North Korea

It is the common purpose of the bourgeoisie of South Korea and US to overthrow the deformed workers state of North Korea, which has collectivized economy, and to restore capitalist order. It means that all industrial facilities are privatized; all welfare systems such as education, health care and housing and so on are abolished; whole North Korean people become wage slave.

If the counter revolution succeeds in North Korea, the capitalized North Korea will become the military and economic base of the US and the world to China which is a juicy prey for them and the morale of South Korean and USA capitalists will raise, and the oppression for workers and workers organizations will be strengthened.

Les’s analyze the political characters of US and South Korean bourgeoisie and South and North Korean working class who are involved in this would-be counter revolution in North Korea.

Firstly, USA is a country which consumes the military budget which is almost tantamount to the whole amount of the other 20 highest countries in military budgets. So the US military industrial complex has unprecedentedly become corpulence. The US military industrial complex has to make artificial devils in order to persuade the USA people the heavy military budget. And they need war fields where take experiments of their war products and clear the goods in stock. Therefore, the USA has not complied with a request of North Korean governments who wants the economical interchange, making every excuse. This is the reason why the USA has maintained the military tension against North Korea, prescribing North Korea as ‘the axis of evils, the rogue states and the terror supporting countries.’

However, the need of devils and war fields to prop up the military industrial complex is a subordinate purpose to the capitalist restoration of the whole world. So USA also supports the ‘Sunshine policy’, that means the advance of South Korean capitals to North Korea.

Secondly, the South Korean’s circumstance is little bit different to that of the USA. The influence of the military industry of South Korea is not so strong because much of the military industries are subordinated to the USA. The rising of the military tension affects negatively on the rate of profit and war will be a disaster to South Korean capitals as well. Therefore, South Korean bourgeoisie prefers the moderate capitalization of North Korea rather than the military tension. This attitude has been expressed as ‘Sunshine policy’ from Kim Dae-joong regime to Noh Moo-hyun.

North Korea, which has abundant cheap work forces speaking in same language, abundant undeveloped and relatively unpolluted lands and the transportation land roads which reach to the China and Russia, is a huge opportunity for South Korean bourgeoisie.

Meanwhile, the reactions of North Korean bureaucrats are the dual one. They strongly stand against the threatening of the USA, saying ‘Songun politic (the politic which sees the army as the main pillar of the state)’ or ‘Kangseong Daegook (the militarily strong country)’, while they proceed the anti-working class policies such as the popular front (Tong-il front), the illusion they can peacefully co-exist with capitalist countries and the market economy drive. The nuclear experiment in 2006 represents the former, while the critical support to liberal bourgeois party against Grand National Party, the federal reunification policy and the admission of South-North Summit Talk which means the advance of South and USA capitals in North Korea represent the latter.

These dual characters come from the conditions of the North Korean bureaucrats, that is that they are being parasitic on the collectivized economy as Trotsky described like following.

The bureaucracy has not yet created social supports for its dominion in the form of special types of property. It is compelled to defend state property as the source of its power and its income. In this aspect of its activity it still remains a weapon of proletarian dictatorship. ……It continues to preserve state property only to the extent that it fears the proletariat.

- L. D. Trotsky. “Revolution Betrayed.” Chapter 9 Social Relations in the Soviet Union

The NL group, which has many activists in the South Korean social movement organizations including KDLP, believes that Kim Jeong-il regime is the defender of North Korean workers state and even the leadership of South Korean people. But the reality is totally different.

Stalinism is a viewpoint of the bureaucrats who fall in the political panic resulted from the military pressure of the imperialists. They pursue the immediate and short term interests of them rather than the long term and international interests of working classes, because they are suffocated by the threatens of the imminent imperialists attack. This is the reason why the Comintern led the Chinese and Spain revolution in 1925-27 and 1930s to defeat, in 1972, when the U.S. was raining bombs down on Vietnam, Mao sealed his anti-Soviet alliance with U.S. imperialism, which was a logical outcome of the bureaucracy’s working for “peaceful coexistence” with Washington. Mao’s policy was extended under the regime of Deng Xiaoping, who in 1979 invaded Vietnam, acting as a cat’s paw for U.S. imperialism (quoted and retrieved from Workers Vanguard. Defend, Extend Gains of Chinese Revolution), North Korean bureaucracy insists the critical support tactic, standing on the class collaborate policy, on the South Korean elections, instead supporting the KDLP.

If some elements of the North Korean bureaucracy think that they can survive even in the process of market economy, that is capitalization, they will go to that way.

Therefore, it is the South and North Korean working class who will relentlessly defend the past gains and fight the future fruit in Korean peninsula, allying with international working class. These are the duties of the South and North Korean workers and the revolutionary party which must be built to defend the collectivized economy in North Korea against counter revolution policy, to overthrow the North Korean bureaucracy through political revolution, to achieve the social revolution in South Korea and to contribute the international revolution.


The background of the sudden “peace phase”

 

The above analysis is still valid for understanding the basic attitudes of the main players of the Korean Peninsula. However, the motivation and specificity of the current "peace talks" phase should be further analyzed.

Why does the US, which first spoke of "fire and fury that the world has never seen," has changed its attitude dramatically and talks of "peace treaty and regime security"? Like the faith of naive people, has the US abandoned its imperialist ambitions of seeking the collapse of the North and China?

The greed and ferocity of imperialism comes from its objective existence, not from the will of good and evil or from a matter of selection. The antagonism against the North is caused by the hostility between the Socialist/Capitalist form of ownership of means of production. Therefore, if there is a chance, they are trying to collapse the North Korean regime. However, the means are changeable. The strong have not only the hawkish tactics of force, but also the deceitful intrigues of disarming the opponent internally. In this regard, the current "reconciliation phase" is only a temporary and tactical change.

In this regard, our analytical objective should be the background of that drastic tactical change.

 

Some conjectures about the sudden change of the US attitude

 

1) The US dilemma over North Korea's nuclear weapons:

The NK openly challenges the US hegemony by developing nuclear weapons. All countries around the world are watching this. If it is not punished, it could give wrong signals to other countries around the world. otherwise, they will try to develop nuclear weapons of their own and stand against just like the NK did. Therefore, it must be punished. But is it possible? It seems unclear whether the NK can fly nuclear warheads to the US mainland. However, NK has proved its capability through multiple tests that its missiles can reach Alaska or Guam, including Japan. If an all-out war breaks out, the US mainland might be intact, but South Korea, Japan and even some parts of US territories can’t avoid serious damages. The US is in dilemma.

However, the NK has long been eager to open its economy. Allowing its economy opened may provide another opportunity (for US). Moreover, if NK gives up its nuclear armament on its own in exchange for US approval, it would be a diplomatic achievement beyond expectations. The NK is already showing signs of doing so. If US pretends to make concessions and successfully removes NK’s nuclear program, it will be a triumph of saving the face of a sole Superpower and removing its thorns.

 

2) Severity of Middle Eastern situation:

Ever since the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991, US has planned to punish African and Middle Eastern colonial countries that had toppled pro-US. regimes. Seven countries, including Syria, Iran, Iraq, Lebanon, Libya, Somalia and Sudan, were on hit list.

“‘We learned that we can use our military in the region, in the Middle East, and the Soviets won’t stop us.’ He said, “And we’ve got about five or ten years to clean up those old Soviet client regimes – Syria, Iran, Iraq – before the next great superpower comes along to challenge us.’” 

– Wesley Clark, November 5th, 2007 

 

“When I returned to the Pentagon six weeks later, as we were striking Afghanistan and chasing off the Taliban, I asked the same general if there was still a plan to go after Iraq. "Oh, it's worse than that," he said, and held up a memo on his desk. "Here's the paper from the Office of the Secretary of Defense outlining the strategy. We're going to take out seven countries in five years!" And he named them, starting with Iraq and Syria and ending with Iran.” 

– Wesley Clark, A Time to Lead: For Duty, Honor and Country, p.316

The plan, which US strategic experts expected to take about five to 10 years, was put into practice in Afghanistan 2001 and Iraq 2003. Before the Syrian operation, the plan seemed to go smoothly. In Libya, which was just before Syria, a “civil war” broke out in February 2011 and took only eight months to remove Gadhafi in October of that year. But things were very different in Syria. The problem in the first place was that Syrian “rebels” were less popular than the Assad government, but more importantly Russia and Iran, who clearly understood the US’s plan, interfered with all their might. The imperialist "regime change" operation under the guise of "a civil war" in March 2011 has resulted in more than 10 million refugees and hundreds of thousands of casualties so far in 2018. But the result of war is still in the fog. Moreover, the embers of war are shifting to neighboring countries such as Kurdistan and Yemen.

The United States has fallen into the deep mire of the Middle East. Not only North Korea's military capabilities, but also the presence of China and Russia make US harder to achieve victory once a military conflict occurs. The United States cannot deal with both the Middle East and East Asia. While focusing on the Middle East, the Korean Peninsula can be put on hold for a while. If things get better in the future, US will come back.

 

3) A leverage to block China:

Again, the ultimate target of US in East Asia, is the greatest bonanza, China. If the conciliatory gesture could lure NK and alienate its relationship with China, NK would be a useful strategic bridgehead for the imperialist camp.

 

Desires of North Korea

 

1) Opening the market

The "pure socialist" aspect of the NK, which is praised by some naive leftists, is not intended but forced. The NK has long pursued the introduction of capitalist elements, or "market opening." Especially after the collapse of Eastern Europe and the Soviet Union, Vietnamese or Chinese style “market opening” was raised as a breakthrough. Starting with the proposal of Rason Special Economic Zones in 1991, areas proposed to be opened by NK had expanded to Sinuiju, Kaesong, and Mount Geumgang in the 2000s. However, the NK’s wish has been largely thwarted by the US economic sanctions and insufficient supports from China. However, if the US lifts its economic sanctions and injects capital into the special economic zone, including the suspended Kaesong Industrial Complex, the NK will feel relieved.

 

2) Nuclear missiles and regime guarantee

In conventional military competition, the NK is no match. Even if NK tries to chase South Korea, the 14th-largest economy and supported by US army, its military capability will always be three or four steps behind South. In addition, NK had witnessed how Libya and Iraq, those who abandoned nuclear weapon programs by themselves, were devastated. In this regard, developing nuclear weapons is not only efficient but also the only means of self-defense for the NK. Though it’s not 100% certain, but NK is making a gesture as if it’s going to disarm. To that extent, the economic breakthrough is desperate for the NK.


3) 'New equidistant diplomacy'

Although China is the same "workers’ state," as NK but it has not been reliable. NK had conducted 'equidistant' diplomacy during the Sino-Soviet split and enjoyed independent positions and benefits from both countries. But when the Soviet Union collapsed, relations with China became unilateral. As seen in the conflict between the Soviet and Chinese bureaucracy, China does not want NK to take independent posture. China has taken the attitude of defending NK against US coercion, but only under the consideration of its own national security. The dynamics between labor and capital is not viewed from the international perspective of the working class, but from the national perspective based on the interests of the bureaucracy. Even with North Korea's desperate possession of nuclear weapons for self-defense, China has given an unfavorable look. North Korea's possession of nuclear weapons would have been completed in an instant if it had been actively assisted by China. Due to China's non-cooperation, NK had to suffer for decades.

If relations with the US improve, the NK will be able to raise its ransom and benefit from US and China. It was China who did the same during the conflict between Soviet Union.

 

Does a peace treaty guarantee peace?

 

It is the United States that is likely to change the current of situation. We don’t know what whims US will make in the future. It has been so far, and there is plenty of probabilities that the situation will be precipitated by making excuses like this and that. But if the peace agreement goes smoothly, will peace come to the Korean Peninsula and East Asia?

Not at all.

Military conflict is not a matter of choice. Warmongering is the inevitable nature of capitalism and imperialism. It cannot be controlled by the subjective will, agreement, or policy of several leaders. Just as hyenas cannot be herbivores just because they are called deer and everyone believes so, the "agreement" is only a temporary situation and a temporary expedient on demand, and cannot change the essential relationship.

Marxist distinguishes itself from “pacifism” in this respect.

“The Kautskyite advocacy of “disarmament”, which is addressed to the present governments of the imperialist Great Powers, is the most vulgar opportunism, it is bourgeois pacifism, which actually—in spite of the “good intentions” of the sentimental Kautskyites—serves to distract the workers from the revolutionary struggle.”

- V. I. Lenin, The “Disarmament” Slogan,December 1916

 

“Theoretically and politically, pacifism has just the same basis as the doctrine of social harmony between different class interests.

The opposition between capitalistic national states has just the same economic basis as the class struggle. If we are ready to assume the possibility of a gradual toning down of the class struggle, then we must also assume the gradual toning down and regulation of nationalistic conflicts.”

-L. D. Trotsky, “Pacifism as The Servant of Imperialism, 1917

 

“The pressure of the working class around the world, especially in individual countries, strengthens the resistance of exploiters. In this situation, the exploiters cannot but seek capitalist international solidarity through organizations like the League of Nations. The International Solidarity Organization of Capitalists systematically organizes the exploitation of all peoples on earth at a global level. And concentrate all the capabilities to immediately suppress the revolutionary movement of the working class in every country. As a result, each country's revolutionary war inevitably becomes a civil war. And in a workers’ state, workers organize self-defense and the oppressed people fight against the yoke of imperialism. Thus, the pacifist slogans, the international arms reduction within the capitalist system, and the arbitration tribunal are not only reactionary utopia, but only blatant deception against the working people. Through this deception, the imperialist powers seek to disarm the working class. And encourage the working class to turn their backs from the task of disarming the exploiters and pay attention to other things.” 

– 1919 Party program drafted by Lenin and adopted by party convention.

 

Similar cases from the past

 

South Korean ruling class and NK prefer peace, although they have different intentions. Therefore, at moments when US eases intimidations on NK or under the permission of US, peace phases between the South and the North often have come. Then, when the situation changes, it immediately returns to its original extreme confrontation.

The so-called “inter-Korean reconciliation and peace phase” had been created several times by the political and economic needs of both regimes. Park Jung-hee regime’s “July 4th South and North Korea Joint Statement” in 1972, Kim Dae-jung regime’s June 5th North-South Joint Declaration in 2000 and Roh Moo-hyun regime's Oct. 4th joint declaration in 2007, are the examples. The so called “peace mood” was mainly attempted because of the need for each regime to recover from the crisis at that time. Park Chung-hee was only able to win the 1971 presidential election by mobilizing rigged elections against his rival Kim Dae-jung. Park Chung-hee and South Korea's ruling elite had plans to eliminate any presidential election that would create a periodic crisis. To do so, public support was needed. Furthermore, at the time Nixon was in serious trouble over the Watergate scandal. Meanwhile year of 2000, the phase when inter-Korean reconciliation was on its way, was the phase of seething social discontent due to the 1997 South Korean financial crisis. It was a time when the number of irregular workers and the suicide rate soared. Finally, 2007 was the last year of Roh Moo-hyun regime. At that time, true colors of the regime and Democratic party had been revealed to the bottom and approval rating of Roh was down to 20%. Of course, approval ratings soared to 40% in the month of the summit.

Each “reconciliation phase” soon withered when the need disappears or the US fickle. Every time there was a sudden bloody clash. In October 1972, right after the July 4th Joint Statement, the “October restoration”, Park’s self-coup to establish harsher dictatorship, was announced, and in 1976, the so-called “Korean axe murder incident” took place. In June 2002, two years after the June 15 Declaration, “Second battle of Yeonpyeong” broke out. Despite the Oct. 4th joint declaration, conservative and hawkish Lee Myung-bak was elected in 2007 presidential race. In the following year, the murder of Mt. Geumgang tourist “Park Wang-ja” occurred. South Korean authority banned its citizens to visit Mt. Geumgang, and inter-Korean relations were in a state of emergency.

There have been several agreements between the US and North Korea, but all of them have been canceled due to the failure of the US commitment. The Geneva Agreement between the US and NK, in which the US would provide light water reactors and suspend military threats against the NK in exchange of giving up its nuclear weapons program after the war crisis in 1994, soon failed due to the failure of the US On October 12, 2000, after the June 15 Joint Declaration, there was a joint North Korea-US communiqué, which pledged to "compliance with the Geneva Agreement, end the ceasefire regime, and turn it into a peace regime," but it was once again thrown into a scrap of paper due to the Second battle of Yeonpyeong in 2002 and the Bush administration's "axis of evil" remarks.

 

Important overseas cases

 

In 1993, leaders of Israel, the PLO, Syria, Lebanon, the United States, Europe, and Russia gathered to sign the Oslo Accord. It was a deceptive agreement to appease the Palestinian people's "Intifada" sparked in 1987. It contained "the permission of the Palestinian autonomy, the gradual withdrawal of Israeli troops from Gaza and the West Bank," but was not kept at all. Prime minister Rabin, a member of Israeli Labor Party, was awarded a Nobel Peace Prize for the accord but assassinated in 1995. The far-right Likud party won the subsequent general elections, and the notorious Netanyahu took power.

The Libyan Gaddafi government declared on December 19, 2003 that it would not develop so-called "Weapons of Mass Destruction." In return US promised not to execute a (subversion) maneuver against the Libyan leader and gave him a full "guarantee on regime security". The declaration was also widely seen as a solution to the North Korean nuclear issue in 2003. Eight years later, in February 2011, the rebels secretly trained by the US ignited a civil war, and in October of that year, NATO imperialist troops invaded and brutally murdered Gaddafi. On April 29, 2018, US National Security Adviser John Bolton argued that the very "Libyan model" is an appropriate way to resolve North Korea's nuclear weapons program.

On May 8, just a month ago, the Trump administration unilaterally withdrew from the “Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action” signed in 2015. The agreement involved all permanent members of the UN Security Council and Germany. It was a condition to exchange "easing economic sanctions that had been pressuring Iran with the suspension of nuclear weapons development." France, China, Russia and others immediately expressed discontent, while Obama, the US president at the time of the agreement, hypocritically warned of a "new war in Iran or the Middle East with nuclear weapons." But the Trump administration did not care about breaking the three-year-old agreement.

Just as marriage documents do not guarantee love, a peace treaty does not guarantee peace.

According to Victor Cherbulliez, from 1500 B.C. to 1860 A.D. no less than about eight thousand peace treaties were signed, each one supposed to secure permanent peace, and each one lasting on an average two years!”

- Erich Fromm, “The Sane Society

 

The “peace phase” and the leftists

 

The "leftists" that we are trying to critically examine are organizations that are oriented toward so-called "revolutionary socialism," not the reform of the system. Although it will be further verified and selected in the field of class struggle in the future, for now, the front lines of the working class are established by these organizations. In this regard, we applaud to the hard works and dedication given by these groups and activists.

But at the same time, as they are at the forefront of working-class politics, the groups' routes should be analyzed and criticized by the strictest criteria. This is because the groups' unruly political line on the stern situation on the Korean Peninsula will serve as a starting point for instilling misconception into the working class and breaking down our line of defense.

 

<Socialist Revolutionary Workers’ Party> & <Socialists>

For the Socialist Revolutionary Workers’ Party, the problem-solving method is very simple. In other words, the US can stop being imperialist and "completely remodify its strategy on Korean Peninsula" and thus "clear up hostile relations between NK and the US." It is full of hope that everything will go well since the peace treaty was signed. Though they surely know what happened to Libya and Iraq, they insist that not even a "nuclear freeze" should be allowed and NK must give up its nuclear weapons after signing peace treaty.

“The situation is very stern and more disturbing, but the way the problem is solved is simple. It is a complete revision of the U.S. strategy on the Korean Peninsula for the implementation of the peace regime.” - The Korean Peninsula is dangerous - The Dark Days of North Korean Nuclear Weapons

We must not only ban the possession of nuclear weapons on the Korean Peninsula, but also the transportation of nuclear-armed ships or aircraft, as well as the passage of territorial waters and airspace, and achieve denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula in the full sense that the US and China, the nuclear powers around the peninsula, will not conduct nuclear attacks on the Korean Peninsula. Second, for this to happen, we must transform the current armistice into a peace regime. The US and North Korea should end their hostile relations, the cause of the NK's nuclear armament. We must prevent not only nuclear war but also conventional war crises.... It is problematic that the US and South Korean conservatives say "guarantee the regime safety after nuclear dismantlement" or some organizations and activists say “swap the nuclear freeze with the a peace treaty.” The former is virtually demanding for unconditional surrender to NK, the latter recognizes Pyongyang's possession of nuclear weapons even after the signing of a peace treaty.

- Socialist Revolutionary Workers Party, The volatile situation on the Korean Peninsula. The nature of the North Korean nuclear issue and the direction of the struggle of the working people toward a peace treaty on the Korean Peninsula and denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula

<Socialists> also recommend imperialism to be reformed.

Sung Doo-hyun, a main columnist of <Socialists> who said, "I'm trying to see not only the status quo but also the essence and the situation on the Korean Peninsula in a historical context," seems to think as if he were an American strategist. He shamefully tries to teach imperialists a lesson that "The one should look back on the wrong and take its mistakes seriously.”

For those who have tried not only to see the status quo but also to see the essence of the situation, and to see the situation on the Korean Peninsula in a historical context, the development of the current situation is not quick but rather slow. Preparations for a meeting between the leaders of North Korea and the US were already agreed upon in October 2000 in preparation for a meeting between Clinton and Kim Jong-il at the "North Korea-U.S. Joint Communique," and the transition of the armistice to a solid peace guarantee system was agreed upon.

Before demanding denuclearization, the US and Trump should first look back on their roles and mistakes on the Korean Peninsula and engage in negotiations with its will to settle past mistakes seriously. Only by doing so will the negotiations produce substantial results. The U.S. should now make a historic judgment that it should end its long-standing involvement in the Korean Peninsula and engage in negotiations.

- Socialists, "The US-North Korea summit should be a historic turning point in resolving the Korean Peninsula issue."

In our opinion, it would be easier to transform hyena into herbivore by force than making imperialists to look back on their own faults.

 

<Solidarity of Struggles for Labor Liberation> and <Worker Solidarity (South Korean branch of International Socialists)>

We have pointed out opportunistic distortions of Solidarity of Struggles for Labor Liberation (SSLL) on imperialism a few times. The principle of state capitalism, an important framework for them to see the world, also stems from its opportunism. SSLL believes the cause of the conflict in East Asia is the struggle between "imperialists such as the United States, China, Japan and Russia." Yes, the conflict does exist, but its essence is not "the conflict between rival imperialists." (See also - "Roots Group’s Opportunistic perceptions on Imperialism""China is neither Imperialist nor Capitalist" "Imperialism: the frontline of Leninists against Cliffites")

First, defeatism toward imperialism stands out. SSLL thinks that the victory of US imperialism is inevitable.

Kim Jong-un`s ruling circle seeks to escape the danger of a military clash with the US, which will inevitably end up in the collapse of the North Korean regime in any way. Even if there is no direct war, the collapse of the North Korean regime is inevitable if the all-out economic blockade does not come to an end…... it is obvious: Who holds the first key to the Korean War? It is the American capitalist class. If their interests were pointing to war with North Korea, the Korean Peninsula would have already been sucked into the flames of war months ago."

-  Solidary of Struggles for Labor Liberation, The Double Play: The Inter-Korean Summit and THAAD -- No to the Moon Jae-in and Kim Jong-un but Solidarity of the Workers of the World!

Class struggle is not merely determined by the superiority of military power. If so, the ruling class or imperialism, which always holds the upper hand in the day-to-day period, will always prevail. And while it is true that the United States is powerful, it is not as omnipotent as the SSLL’s writing exudes. The world doesn't all come true at the US will. That's why the US is torn now.

Another problematic perception of SSLL lies in its trade unionism. In other words, it misses what struggles taking place at the border means to working class and recognizes class struggle narrowly as only a matter of "wage and working condition."

(If the peace and harmony come true on Korean Peninsula) With the temporary lifting of the curtain on inter-Korean confrontation and threats of war on the Korean Peninsula, the real problems will be clearly revealed before the working class of the two Koreas. The capitalist exploitation system concealed behind the fog of democracy and nation will emerge.

- Solidary of Struggles for Labor Liberation, A clear frontline on Korean Peninsula that will emerge soon - Capitalism or Socialism?

The issue of "Confrontation", "War Threats," "Democracy" and "Nation" between states that take place internationally is not "temporary curtain or fog." It's not a 'fake' problem. The ultimate struggle between classes takes place over state power. It is the "real problem" of the working class, as the ruling class of the future, that must be overcome.

The Worker’s Solidarity (WS) is a South Korean branch of “State Capitalism” adhering International Socialists (IS). It is well known that IS took a position of neutrality in Korean War by condemning both US and Soviet, imperialists. This is the same even now.

WS repeatedly points out that the roots of the problem lie on US imperialism but defines North Korea as a "system no different from South Korea" for the "development of nuclear weapons" against US.

“North Korea has finally moved on to developing nuclear weapons over the past quarter century. And this indicates that North Korea is no different from South Korea in that it suppresses and devotes workers and clings to military competition.”

– Workers Solidarity, A Frankenstein created by the pressure of the imperialist world system

However, WS’s warning of a “fantasy that an agreement will open an era of peace” is appropriate.

“It is problematic that some in the labor movement argue that the North Korea-US summit "has opened an era of irreparable peace on the Korean Peninsula," and workers should support the talks between government authorities and focus on supporting its success. It is impossible to realize permanent peace amid capitalist competition.”

- Workers Solidarity, The Uncertain Future of the North Korea-U.S. Summit

 

<Association of Workers’ Politics>

The Association of Workers’ Politics (AWP) has been relatively principled and active in its struggle against imperialism. But it harbors excessive expectations for the current "peace phase" led by the capitalists and imperialists. So they criticize our claim to guard against "the illusion that peace will come true by a peace treaty."

"If the peaceful atmosphere matures under the agreement, we can move on to disarmament, and we can also call for the welfare of the working people."

- Association of Workers Politics, The era of “war and peace,” the significance of the struggle for a peace treaty, the bias of Trotskyism to deny its significance

In the opinion of AWP, ‘agreement is the starting point for all good things.’ So, they believe that once the peaceful atmosphere matures under the agreement, the foundation of not only "Arms-Reduction" but also "Welfare of Workers" will be laid.

Contrary to the expectations of AWP, however, the situation is going very strange. On the eve of the April inter-Korean summit, when the "peace mood matured," the deployment of the THAAD system, not " Arms-Reduction" was accomplished. Furthermore, a few days before NK-US summit in June Moon Jae-in government, who gained a benefit from the peace mood, unilaterally cut down the increasing rate of minimum wage for next year.  

In May, AWP rightly had pointed out that, "the advent of a dialogue between the two Koreas and the US, don’t be enraptured by the scent of peace!" However, judging from its recent writing, it seems that the one who’s “enraptured by scent of peace” is AWP itself.

Since the <Chosun Ilbo> (Conservative, Right-wing newspaper) said it was "outrageous and absurd," the agreement is extremely normal and reasonable.... The outcome of the talks is meaningful in that it contained a general declaration of peace regime, security guarantees and "complete denuclearization" steps. And that's also significant in that we agreed on phased and simultaneous implementation measures under mutual agreement, not just one-sided measures.

- Association of Workers Politics, "Read <Chosun Ilbo> Upside down to learn the 'historical' meaning of the U.S.-North Korea summit!

 

*     *     *

 

We have fought for the establishment of “the vanguard of the working class towards the liberation of mankind.” Peace is the essential value of its liberation. It's precious. In this respect Marxist is a vanguard for peace.

But mere wishes or subjective wishes alone do not bring peace. Marxists are distinguished from “pacifists” in that they have the most stubborn and most scientific attitude in analyzing the cause of the problem and drawing up effective measures to eliminate the actual cause. In this regard Marxist is a true peace lover.

We are not pessimists who pursue something dark. How good would it be if the current "peace phase" was the way to real peace, or if peace could be completed with an imminent "peace treaty"? But as Marxists, we have an obligation to call things by their right names and speak the truth to the masses, no matter how bitter it may be.

 

Our demands

 

Defend the achievements of the October Revolution and the national liberation!

Defend the deformed workers’ states of North Korea and China against imperialist aggression and the revival of capitalist private ownership!

Support the right to possess nuclear weapons, a deterrent to war and a means of self-defense!

Abolish the National Security Law and win freedom of thought and expression!

Kick US army out of Korean Peninsula!

Eliminate US imperialism and establish a workers’ government!

Chinese and North Korean bureaucrats, who are captured by class-collaboration, cannot properly defend their working-class states. Replace the Stalinist bureaucracy of North Korea and China with revolutionary leadership! Democracy of working class is the only way to maximize the people's will to defend the workers’ state. Establish a working-class democratic system!

The working classes of East Asia, including the working classes of the United States unite! We fight together against the imperialism which drives the world to endless war and devastation!

The expansion of the working-class revolution is the only way to end the war. Establish the East Asian Socialist Union with the Workers' Revolution in South Korea and Japan and the Political Revolution in China and North Korea!

Under the capitalist and imperialist system, peace does not come with an agreement. Prepare for another conflict in East Asia, including the two Koreas, after the peace phase! Reject any illusions about the imperialist and capitalist ruling groups that are essentially Warmonger!

Watch out for pacifism, which infuses the illusion that peace will be possible even in the midst of capitalism and imperialism! Overthrow the illusion lifting the political armaments of the working class!

Build a revolutionary party of the working class!

 

16 June 2018

 

Bolshevik EA

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