[The following open letter was submitted on behalf of the third-worldist reggae group, FC Apatride UTD, a Belgrade-based communist outfit whose latest album can be viewed here. Anti-imperialism provides a platform for anyone who shares a broad communist, anti-imperialist and third-worldist politics. For a a rosier piece on the recent talks in Korea, see our post here.]
To the leadership of the Workers’ Party of Korea and Chairman Kim Jong-un
As artists promoting the struggle against colonialism, imperialism and all forms of economic and military domination which Third World peoples have been subjected to for centuries, we are deeply saddened by the news that reaches us through world media, now on a daily basis, about the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea being willing to give up its nuclear weapons as a part of negotiations with the imperialists and their stooges in Seoul.
Taking into account all indicators, it is of no difficulty to point at the highly strong position of the DPRK within the actual standoff, a position attained as a result of decades of pursuing the correct political line and the momentous effort invested by its people and its leadership. It is precisely the policies deriving from that line that preserved and even further developed socialism in the DPRK during the world counter-revolution of the 1990s. Furthermore, it is the economic and military results of that political line that we see as an example to follow by progressive governments and movements in the Third World, in order to successfully delink from the world capitalist economy, and perhaps, later on, interconnect to form a world socialist market, one based on interchange according to needs – not profit.
The most severe sanctions imposed by the imperialists and those under their thumb, surely left a mark on the DPRK’s economy, which, as realists, we must never try to deny. But those effects are highly minimized by the keenly developed system of self-reliance that has enabled the DPRK to avoid a state of dependency in the first place. So, surprised by the recent chain of events, we had to wonder – was it recent sanctions that brought the DPRK’s leadership to the negotiating table?
We are compelled to reject that thesis, but we are, at the same time, unable to clearly understand the objective reasons for this reversal in the DPRK’s foreign policy. Could it be that a recent state visit to China and a series of meetings that have taken place since influenced this sudden impetus to compromise? Is the DPRK about to trade its full sovereignty for guarantees of becoming a sort of Chinese protectorate in a reorganized set of international relations? Is the new goal set by the DPRK not achieving a full independence, but a reintegration into the world capitalist economy? These are the questions that come to our minds in the current moment, and they are questions which could only be answered by the leadership of the DPRK in order to provide the DPRK’s global supporters – who never accepted fictive imperialist narratives and have fought the noxious propaganda against the DPRK by any means necessary – insight into the actual state of affairs of this recent diplomatic effort.
What we know so far is that all the UN Security Council members – permanent and non-permanent – and including the governments with interest in opposing imperialism, voted unanimously for sanctions against the DPRK. Even the most progressive government in Latin America – the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela – proved unable to escape their influence, although itself under the threat of the US sanctions at the time, threats which later came to life. To be clear, we will continue to support and defend Venezuela in its struggle against imperialism, but it would be a mistake to assume that we are deaf, dumb and blind, and therefore able to ignore or forget that shameful abandonment of proletarian internationalism.
As for the other Security Council members who voted for the imperialist resolutions to sanction and so attempt to strangle the DPRK, we do not consider their moves a reflection of their weakness to confront the West (officially known as the “international community”), but a lack of interest in defending the DPRK as a fully sovereign and independent state. Of course, if the DPRK opened its market to the inflow of their capital, that interest would certainly grow. It is therefore clear that socialist states do not benefit the nations positioning themselves as potential investors, but only the world’s peoples striving to break free from imperialism and the dependency it enforces.
What is it that the superpowers claiming to defend the interests of the DPRK have to offer us that we don’t already possess? Our opinion is simple: nothing. We have learned from the case of Iran that any sort of agreement with the imperialists is never mutual and, according to their terms, subject to change on the weight of their interests alone. So too have we learned from the recent deposing of Robert Mugabe that any further attempts at the nationalization of their economies by the progressive governments of the Third World would be countered by the superpowers, who will always pose as our friends, as friends of “the people.” It is, therefore, of great importance for the progressive governments of the Third World to carefully balance their politics and employ skill and convenience to achieve revolutionary advances whenever possible.
Yet the DPRK, thanks to its self-reliant economy and advanced military technology, is now the only country in the world with no need for reliance on such a strategy. Its nuclear weapons are the guarantee that its people will never again be driven into economic slavery and political submission. Therefore, it is of great difficulty for us to praise, and truthfully even difficult to understand, these recent developments.
We might have played it safe and adopted the role of the flock that never questions the shepherd, but that would have been a non-Marxist response. For a good propagandist, or even a mediocre one, it would have been easy to present the recent chain of events as highly progressive. We could have publicly claimed that our leadership achieved peace on the Korean peninsula, but we know that peace to the colonized is but the prolonging of colonization. We could have publicly – though naively – claimed that peace is what actually happens when the imperialists are not directly involved in negotiations, and that might have had a certain purchase with liberal-minded people. But the fact remains that the imperialists were involved in these negotiations, as it is clear that their puppets in the South are not making their decisions alone, and that they have no truly independent autonomy in reaching key decisions.
We could have publicly promoted these recent diplomatic overtures as a tactical move. But the fact remains that the DPRK is, according to world media, offering to dismantle the nuclear weapons it developed on its own, by the great effort and noble sacrifices of its people, which serve as a guarantee of its freedom and independence, while the colonized South would only remove the nuclear weapons that are there owned by the United States to serve as tools of intimidation and a guarantee of further attempts at colonization. Such is hardly a fair trade when the other side isn’t even an independent country, let alone a nuclear power. And, judging by the Iranian scenario, even if the imperialists temporarily stick to their part of the bargain, they could just as easily reverse their decision in the future and once again nuclearize the South.
Who could stop them? The member states of the UN Security Council?
It is quite obvious that we are often using the term “we” when referring to the DPRK. We consider the DPRK the frontline of the struggle against imperialism and a vanguard of all Third World movements with tendencies to delink from the parasitic way the global economy is run. The questions we are asking are these: Has that era come to an end? Is economic and military self-reliance not the condition we should strive to achieve? Or, more precisely, are the satraps in Seoul not the puppets of imperialism, and is the “dotard” a future Nobel Prize winner?
All supporters of the DPRK and the peoples in the neo-colonies await these answers, and as the leadership of the DPRK is the one of the people, for the people, by the people, our request should at the least be taken into account.
Viva the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea! Socialism or death!
On behalf of the FC Apatride UTD: