With the proliferation of the internet, this is without question an information based society. Virtually any information that you could ever want is available to you with just a finger click. Still, the overwhelming majority of people remain woefully ignorant about pretty much everything to do with the world we live in. So, here we will attempt to provide a basic history and framework of North Korea in the hopes that we can begin to learn how to think for ourselves instead of relying on our enemies for even a portion of our world analysis.
The U.S., and the rest of the imperialist world, is painting a picture of North Korea as a "rogue nation" whatever that's supposed to mean, that is alienated from the rest of "humanity" while being hell bent on starting a war with the U.S. by threatening South Korea, Japan, and the rest of imperialism's "civilized allies." I think its helpful to start by viewing North Korea not as a nation led by insane people, but a country with a long history of fighting back against foreign intervention. Korea, before it was divided, was a country that had been fighting invasion since Japan invaded it back in the 1500s. After the Tzarist Russia/Japan war in 1905, in which U.S. marines invaded Russia by the way, Japan emerged from that conflict as the colonial master of Korea. After the Bolshevick uprising in Russia in 1917, socialist movements began to take shape around the world and Korea was no different. In the mid 1920s, the socialist party formation was originated in Korea. The Union of Socialist Soviet Republics (USSR) or Soviet Union's opposition to Japan during World War II ushered in the era of Kim Il Sung as the leader of Korea's socialist movement and he forged a relationship of strong support from the USSR as the war pushed the country into eventual separation. As of 1945, Kim began to consolidate his movement's ability to build a power base in the Northern portion of Korea with continued Soviet support. Of course, the Soviet Union during this time was governed with Joseph Stalin as its leader. History is complete with examples of Stalin's errors in building the Soviet Union although the story of why he did what he did (much of it out of fear of imperialist invasion, especially since as I mentioned the U.S. had already invaded Russia previously) is still untold. Stalin was on a mission to industrialize as a method of creating cash flow to buy weapons. The method that he believed would best protect the Soviet Union from imperialist aggression. Still, the errors of his vanguard approach and its absence of even a semblance of national liberation and the developing political education and mass character that it includes, is well documented. Instead of a mass based movement, Stalin relied on creating allies and Kim Il Sung was one of them. Consequently, Kim built his developing base in North Korea around a Stalinist model.
By 1950, Kim had consolidated enough support to win the North over to the Stalinist state. And, although this period of history is painted as one of Soviet aggression and manipulation, a much more balanced version is that the driving force of all of Kim's efforts was always based in the desire to unite Korea as one country again. And this was a view that was equally shared by just as many South Koreans. As a result, its important to realize that South Koreans, as well as North Koreans, opposed the U.S. military invasion into Korea in 1950 as the obstacle that it was in preventing the reunification of the country. In fact, North Korea, with great assistance from China, came incredibly close to toppling the South Korean Syngman Rhee regime. As quiet as its kept, the South was ripe with protest and unrest from the terroristic policies of the Rhee regime (and subsequent South Korean regimes have maintained the same intransigence). So, instead of painting North Korea as a monster and South Korea as a saint, as imperialism has spent the last 70 years doing, the truth is both regimes have struggled around developing people based societies as they have grappled with this issue of reunifying, something all of their people clearly desire.
Imperialism also tries to accuse North Korea of isolating itself. The truth is since 1950, imperialism has engaged in a nonstop effort to isolate North Korea. It has certainly meddled and sabotaged every effort North Korea has made to initiate dialogue with the South around unification for decades. Imperialism has maintained this veil of evil over North Korea which has served to intimidate other countries from developing any type of relationship with North Korea's leaders, despite the North Korean governments repeated attempts to forge relationships with the rest of the world. This is proven by the fact that in the U.S. today, when people are talking about South Korea, there is not even a need to say the word South. People, including descendants and citizens of South Korea, can designate the country simply as "Korea" because the North has been effectively eliminated from the vision of everyone in the U.S. except when its in imperialism's interests to demonize North Korea.
So, as a result, the only thing people in the U.S., including many South Koreans, know about North Korea today is that (imperialist propaganda) they are a military based country. No democratic rights. Famine everywhere and an economy in shambles. What's not said is after the negotiations of the early 50s, North Korea did emerge with control of some of the countries strongest industrial capacities. The problem of course is the U.S. knew it had every intention of snuffing out the ability of any of those industries to trade with other countries and maintain growth. As a result, a few years later and those industries were effectively shut down while the U.S. is accusing the country of isolating itself. Meanwhile, North Korea received almost none of the arable land in its portion of the country which accounts for its struggles in growing and providing food for its people. And the subsequent issues that have impacted production in North Korea since then, like the 1995 floods that devastated the country, caused further reduction of the countries limited capacities. You don't remember any worldwide campaign to bring aide to North Korea after those floods because no such campaign existed. With the Soviet Union gone, the only humanitarian support they received after the floods was from socialist countries like Cuba and Vietnam. So much for them isolating themselves.
Finally, much has been said by those in the U.S. left about North Korea's credentials as a legitimately socialist country. Kim Il Sung's abandonment of the phrase "Marxist/Leninist" to describe their system in favor of the Juche system and then Kim Jong Il's pronouncements that Juche was being replaced by the Songun philosophy, have confused many and been the cause of much misrepresentation of the North Korean reality. In this age of imperialist domination, developing socialist countries are forced to sacrifice some individual rights in order to insure social justice and the implementation of equitable policies. For example, people cannot be permitted to make as much money as they want because the conditions are favorable for the petti bourgeois thus giving them advances the mass working class and peasants do not possess. To ignore this reality of colonialism would perpetuate class oppression which those countries are attempting to wipe out. These are issues that have to be worked out in any country struggling to build socialism while lacking a solid industrial base of its own. And Western leftist imposing bourgeois standards of democracy is not the answer. North Korea, like Cuba, is struggling to implement ways to improve cash flow as a method of industrializing. Small, limited, private ownership is a way to increase cash flow and North Korea has introduced reforms, like Cuba, to permit this to happen. This occurred in 2002, but the effects will take time to play out. That's why I believe its not possible, and totally unfair, to write off North Korea as a socialist country at this point. The question is still in the air and the North Koreans know this which is why they themselves refer to their country as a "developing socialist" country. The pure white socialists in the U.S., committed to a perfect brand of socialism where there is no development, no struggles of working with people, no errors, no interference from imperialism, are doing nothing except exposing themselves to the hypocrisy of their vision and their complicity in helping imperialism in its attempts to discredit North Korea, Cuba, the former Libyan Jamihiriya, and all developing socialist countries. And of course, white supremacy is firmly rooted in the white left's racist analysis. Much has been written in this blog about that.
So, none of this is to reduce and/or run away from the notion that North Korea is building nuclear capacities. They are apparently even engaging in underground testing of nuclear tipped Inter-continental Ballistic Missiles (ICBMs). No one with any intelligence is going to express favor for nuclear weapons, but as long as imperialism has them, no one can honestly blame the North Koreans for wanting some to protect themselves. North Korea has never invaded the U.S., but the U.S. has invaded North Korea. North Korea has never used any nuclear capacity against anyone, but the U.S. has used nuclear weapons to kill thousands in Hiroshima and Nagasaki after World War II was declared over. These are facts. So, with that reality, how could we ever come to a place where the U.S. is accepted as the approving entity for deciding who can possess nuclear weapons? Or even what the rules are for those who possess them? That's like adorning the fox with power over protecting the chickens.
The U.S. has broken practically every promise it has made to North Korea to help with reunification efforts and North Korea's development. For example, promises from the Clinton administration were made during the 90s to help with agricultural development in exchange for changes in North Korea's nuclear program. North Korea made the changes, but they are still waiting for the U.S. to make good on its promises. So, North Korea may be developing weapons, but the U.S. already has weapons threatening North Korea in the Peninsula in Japan and other places. This they don't want you to know.
At the end of the day, North Korea is certainly far from perfect, but unlike the white left purist and perfectionists, this to us doesn't qualify them for dismissal. Since we understand the complexities of developing any type of infrastructure, we know that they deserve time to try different things, make errors, and if there comes a point where they are simply incapable of progression, it is in the hands of their people, and no one else, to determine regime change. To suggest anything else is pure white supremacy because you are advancing the notion that they don't have the capacity to decide what is in their best interests. On the other hand, the brutish U.S. regime and its imperialist allies cannot risk the chance that North Korea will figure out its shortcomings and grow its socialist brand. This would be a complete disaster because it would inform the masses in North Korea, Japan, Singapore, and the other countries shadowed by imperialism in the region, that there is another way. A better way. Maybe as the last word, that is the real threat that North Korea poses.