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OpEdNews Op Eds    H2'ed 10/12/20

Applying Juche's lessons to our revolutionary struggle in America

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The Democratic Peoples Republic of Korea
The Democratic Peoples Republic of Korea
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Juche, the guiding ideology of the Democratic People's Republic of Korea, is not just applicable to Korea itself. After the African countries were decolonized, there was an enormous push among the continent's indigenous peoples to replicate Juche; many saw Korea's triumphant revolutionary struggle against Japanese and U.S. imperialism as reflective of their own struggles against the European colonial powers. Numerous African socialist parties forged ties with the DPRK while adopting the details of the Juche ideology.

This desire to bring Juche to post-colonial Africa is still held by many of the most politically involved Africans, especially in the highly unequal and corruption-stricken country of Nigeria. According to one of these Korea-tied Africans Andray Abrahamian, Juche's essential principles that humanity is the author of their own destiny and that all nations should be built upon the spirit of self-reliance make the ideology easily applicable to Nigeria, or to any other land which has been liberated from colonialism. He's said that this broad aspect of Juche "lets people fill in the gaps as they see fit and " apply the idea to their own circumstances. This can be at the personal level, too."

These decades-long explorations from African communists into how Juche can be applied outside of Korea show that for communists in any other part of the world, it makes sense to try to apply Juche to their own conditions. For us communists in the colonized continent currently called "North America," attempting to apply Juche in this way helps us find lessons which are very useful in our own revolutionary struggle.

The fundamentals of establishing Juche in revolution include eliminating dogmatism, flunkeyism, and class reductionism. Dogmatism can be combated through following Mao's advice to avoid"book worship"; for the communists of the imperial core, a way to do this is to not arrogantly decry the perceived impurities of the socialist revolutions in other countries, whether in China or in Venezuela or (of course) the DPRK. These types of counterproductive critiques often stem from factions like anarchism, Trotskyism, and Hoxhaism, which hold revolutions up to standards that often aren't fair to apply them to given the material conditions these revolutions exist within.

Combating flunkeyism-which is the practice of holding a servile attitude towards authority figures-can be done by not idealizing leaders. Bob Avakian, who's leading the Revolutionary Communist Party into petty bourgeois reformism through his endorsement of Joe Biden, is one example of a self-proclaimed communist leader whose line shouldn't be accepted uncritically.

Combating class reductionism goes hand in hand with combating colonial chauvinism, which is one of the pitfalls that's especially applicable within the United States and the continent's other settler-colonial countries. Communists in the U.S. too often assume that the working class as a whole represents the revolutionary vanguard within the country, but the contradiction of colonialism make it more complex than this; should a revolutionary vanguard emerge within this continent, it will have to primarily be guided by the colonized peoples, as their struggle lies at the heart of the continent's subjugation by capitalism, colonialism, and imperialism.

When studying Juche and its goal of creating a fortified nation which is free from colonial control, it becomes apparent that the notion of a "Socialism with American Characteristics" runs counter to the idea of liberating this continent. The United States and the continent's other settler-colonial states do not represent legitimate countries. Their existence impedes the freedom of the indigenous nations whose lands they exist on. So applying Juche to the material conditions here entails fully rectifying the colonial contradiction, and returning all the land to the Natives. As Kim Jong Il said:

To wage the revolutionary struggle in a way which is suitable to one's own actual situation, one must correctly assess the subjective and objective conditions of the revolution in one's own country and define the line, strategy and tactics in accordance with them. Should one fail to take into good account these conditions, one would fall into subjectivism in mapping out the policy and would inflict a great loss to the revolution and construction.

Which necessitates an approach to carrying out our revolutionary tasks on this continent that's based in realistic estimations of what we can do in the moment, not in adventurist overestimations of our capabilities. Right now, our most important task as communists is to reach the masses, because the masses are still mostly not on our side and would not lend us aid if we were to try to overthrow the state in this moment. Building our organizations and spreading propaganda for our cause are currently our most urgent goals, next to preparing for the violent reactionary backlash that we'll face throughout our revolutionary struggle.

As for the latter goal, it's also important to recognize that getting ourselves armed is only part of what we'll need to do to properly get our groups equipped; we also need to figure out how to grow our own food, supply our own medical aid, and gather the kinds of wilderness survival tools that Che Guevera's forces used in the midst of Cuba's revolution.

These practical measures are common sense for someone who's seriously planning to try to carry out a revolution. But they relate to Juche in that they're the inevitable outcome of applying Juche to our situation. The African comrades who've taken up the Korean approach to Marxist development show that Juche can be applied to any revolution, so long as that revolution serves to liberate colonized nations rather than create a "socialist" version of a settler state. And Kim Jong Il himself encouraged communists all around the world to integrate the Juche idea into their revolutionary praxis:

To establish Juche in ideology means having the consciousness that one is the master of the revolution and construction, thinking and doing everything, centring on the revolution in one's own country, and acquiring the viewpoint and attitude of solving all questions by one's own talents and initiative. The party and people of a country are masters of the revolution in that country, and to carry out the revolution in one's country successfully is the basic mission of the party and people of one's country. The world revolution, too, will only be successful when the revolution in every country is successful and when, on this basis, mutual support and cooperation is given. For this reason, the party and people of every country must firmly establish Juche in ideology, and carry out the revolution and construction in their country in a responsible manner, with the attitude of masters.

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Rainer Shea is writing articles that counter the propaganda of the capitalist/imperialist power establishment, and that help move us towards a socialist revolution. Donate to me on Patreon here:

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