Hands Off the DPRK! No to Nuclear Armageddon
22-09-2017 – The irony may not have been apparent to immediate observers, but in the body allegedly set up to prevent war between nations, days ago US President Donald Trump issued perhaps the greatest ever threat of war against the world. While Trump thundered against Iran and Venezuela, he openly threatened to “totally destroy” North Korea (its real name is the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea – DPRK). While the US Empire has previously used the platform of the United Nations (UN) as a basis for announcing war plans, e.g. Colin Powell’s 2003 speech about “weapons of mass destruction” in Iraq, this is arguably the first time in UN history that one nation has directly threatened another with elimination. The DPRK has only perhaps a handful of nuclear weapons ready to be deployed, which can only act as a deterrent. On the other side, the US has literally thousands of nuclear missiles, “locked and loaded” to use a Trumpism. Nuclear Armageddon, despite all the advances of modern technology, culture and science, is unfortunately closer than ever. Where do the interests of working people stand?
Socialism vs Capitalism
The current state of war between the US and the DPRK is due to a number of historical factors, tied in with the current geopolitical situation globally. The DPRK was founded in 1948, after a 40 year struggle against Japanese militarist occupation. In 1950 to 1953, the Korean people suffered immeasurably under a barbaric war against them led by the US, but also including the military forces of other countries including Australia. Four million lives were brutally extinguished. One could say this was the first time that the US “totally destroyed North Korea”. However, despite the staggering losses, the Koreans in the north of the peninsula, aided by Chinese volunteers, fought the US to a standstill, leading to an armistice being signed on July 27th, 1953. Despite the DPRK’s efforts, the US never signed a peace agreement, which was supposed to follow according to the armistice agreement.
Since that time, the US and the DPRK have remained technically at war. However, what the Western corporate media never tells is that the DPRK since then has built arguably the most advanced socialist system in the world. Not only does the DPRK’s socialist state provide universal and free health care, education, housing and a lifetime guarantee of employment – it does this while charging its citizens no tax at all. The retirement age for men in the DPRK is 60, and for women it is 55. Eight months of fully paid maternity leave is automatically given to pregnant women. Despite fears of a “rape culture” in the capitalist West, in the DPRK women can walk the streets, or anywhere in the country, at any time of the day or night, in complete safety. Visitors to the DPRK may notice children walking around outside late at night, with some friends, also in complete safety. Crime is almost non-existent, as the state meets virtually every need, free of charge or at heavily subsidised nominal rates.
The comparison with living and working conditions for working people in the US, Europe and Australia could not be more different. The clear advantages for workers of collectively owned industry and commerce, administered through a planned economy, stand out in stark relief. Despite these gains, the political system in the DPRK is distorted, given that the immense threat of being wiped out by the US has remained for more than 60 years. Arguably, this enormous pressure has produced a system where it appears workers are not able to influence or exercise political decisions, and has contributed to a somewhat mythologised acclaim for its historical and current leaders. What drives Western capital into a frenzy, however, is the fact that due to the DPRK’s socialist system, which has produced a warm and friendly society based on solidarity, the DPRK is off limits to exploitation and plunder. In the same way, the giant next door neighbour, the People’s Republic of China (PRC) is also barred to Western capital – despite the pro-market measures the PRC uses to develop its economy. Thus the bitter vitriol which the US and Australian rulers spew towards the DPRK and the PRC is ultimately the hatred of capitalism for socialism.
This is why it is in the vital interests of working people to stand with the DPRK and the PRC against the threats of nuclear war. It is not enough just to call for “peace” and “negotiations”, for this lets the system which creates and foments the crisis in the first place, directly off the hook. As Lenin analysed 100 years ago, imperialism is monopoly capitalism which has outgrown the system of national boundaries. Capital expands or it dies, and despite there being endless opportunities for infrastructure development and provision of services to “their own” people, Western capital will only do so if there is what they regard as an adequate return in the form of the rate of profit. For example, there is a dire need for a modern, up to date internet system to all rural and regional areas right across Australia. But due to a lack of customers being able to pay, capital could not be bothered. Hence, we have the decidedly second rate National Broadband Network (NBN), which covers some areas with slow speeds, and other areas not at all.
PRC’s rise and rise
The PRC’s vast economic expansion over the last 30 years has pushed the US ruling class to the brink. Gross Domestic Product (GDP) growth in the PRC, from 1978 until now, grew faster than the world’s total economic growth for 30 years. Yet this is only possible because of the PRC’s overwhelmingly state owned and run socialist economy, which is protected by the workers state which emerged out of the 1949 revolution. While the PRC leadership has allowed a large degree of capitalist free enterprise which causes some political dangers, these capitalists have little or no chance of competing with China’s vast State Owned Enterprises (SOEs) which, by law, totally dominate the commanding heights of the economy. Banking, Finance, steel making, infrastructure construction, rail, roads, ports, telecommunications and more are either state owned or majority state owned. This strong collective state underpins planned economic expansion which, according to their Five Year Plans, must meet social goals such as employment and overall development – and not just a rate of return.
Similar to the DPRK, however, working people struggle to exercise political decision making, and the Communist Party of China (CPC) leadership is almost solely concerned with internal matters – rather than the extension of world socialism. Of course, these aspects do not concern the US and European ruling classes. What concerns, and even spells danger, for them are plans such as the PRC’s vast new infrastructure development plan, the “New Silk Road” as well as initiatives such as the establishment of the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB). These massive economic offerings to underdeveloped, and even some developed countries with ailing capitalist economies, mean that China is assuming world economic and political leadership, regardless of whether or not this is its aim. This is occurring while the profit based economies of the US, Europe and Australia are crumbling into ruin.
Defeat in Syria
While the US Empire’s frenzied threats against the DPRK and the PRC are to a large extent driven by the challenge of socialism, there is the additional factor of the comprehensive defeat suffered by the US with their attempt at regime change in Syria. As we go to press, the Syrian Arab Army has advanced to within 6 kilometres of the last ISIS base in Raqqa, despite the US backed Kurdish “Syrian Democratic Forces” (SDF) abstaining or working with ISIS in an attempt to seize Syrian territory for themselves. Overall, however, the unspeakable US strategy of arming and funding death squads in order to bring down the Syrian government – arguably the dirtiest war in history – has collapsed. Syria, with the assistance of Russia, Iran and Hezbollah, have inflicted perhaps the first defeat of the US since the war on Vietnam. The Australian government is also culpable, having dispatched troops and warplanes to back the US marauding throughout Iraq and Syria. This defeat has halted – for now – US plans for the inevitable next stepping stone – regime change in Iran.
Enraged that anyone would have the temerity to not only question, but take action to repel, the US war machine in its tracks, the US Empire is lashing out in any other direction it can. The DPRK is the next obvious target, as the US preparations for invasion and war are well practiced, and garrisons of US troops are already stationed and primed for war. 30 000 US troops are permanently based in South Korea (officially the “Republic of Korea” – ROK), and 50 000 US troops are permanently based in Japan. The annual war games on the border of the DPRK, including US, ROK and Japanese troops, have been expanded this year. This military “exercises” are nothing less than a dry run for the invasion and overthrow of the DPRK. Yet again, Canberra sends Australian troops to participate alongside the US in this reckless provocation, one that potentially pushes the world closer to the cliff of nuclear destruction.
War abroad linked to war at home
The sheer insanity of nuclear Armageddon provoked by Washington, with the backing of Canberra, has reduced many to stunned disbelief. This may be understandable, but if working people can draw the links from the war abroad to the war at home, we can begin to comprehend why degenerate politicians are prepared to flick the switch to cause the deaths of tens of millions, and take action to prevent it. The wars being prepared against China (via the DPRK) and Russia (via the Ukraine and Syria) are directly linked to the intractable crisis of the Western economic system of production for profit, which went into severe recession in 2008, and has barely recovered. This depression, known as the “Third Slump” (the first two being the Great Depression of the 1930s and the second being the onset of the recession beginning around the mid-1970s), has accelerated the ongoing assault on working people, many of whom have been barely surviving for the last thirty odd years. Australian workers, similar to workers in the US and Europe, face mass unemployment, unaffordable housing, skyrocketing bills for basic utilities, crumbling infrastructure, the privatisation of public assets and virtually non-existent wage growth. Public transport is unreliable and expensive, and only covers some areas. The privatised banks charge outrageous fees, securing billions of dollars in profit, much of which goes into paying million dollar CEO salaries. Schools and universities are turned into profit gouging racketeers, as academic standards fall further and further. Government funding for vital public services is stripped from service after service.
To top it off, basic bourgeois democratic rights and civil liberties are being shredded day by day. Para-military like fare inspectors threaten public transport users. Email, phone, internet access and other forms of communication are monitored, and, as whistle-blowers such as Edward Snowden revealed, details are routinely handed over to US intelligence agencies. Western governments are aware that masses of people will inevitably rise up against the limitless inequality which capitalism generates, and the unacceptable burdens it places upon working people. One of the key methods they use to head this off is to present us with an “external threat” which is supposedly so “evil” that war – even nuclear war – must be declared. It is a classic case of projection – the system they represent is the only real evil.
Stand with the DPRK and the PRC against war
This is why it is imperative that working people internationally stand with the working people of the DPRK and the PRC against the threatened US led nuclear holocaust. While Koreans currently face annihilation, this horror is but the extension of the same attacks that working people here face at home – the job losses, the abolition of elementary rights, and the daily struggle to survive under capitalist exploitation. To a large extent, the workers of the DPRK do not endure these hardships by virtue of their socialist system. To a lesser extent, the socialist system in the PRC also shields workers there from untrammelled plunder.
Capital’s assault on humanity cannot be upheld by calls for “peace” or “negotiations”. It neither knows nor understands such concepts. It is a monster which will not stop until private capital becomes the property of all working people, for the common good. The workers of the DPRK and the PRC have already achieved this, despite the at times wayward direction of their political leaders. Working people here need the leadership of a workers vanguard party, which can lead the struggle against imperialist war through combining working people’s efforts for a decent life with the working class victories achieved in Asia. Such a revolution necessarily leads to the foundation of a workers republic. HANDS OFF THE DPRK!
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