B. R. Myers youtube interview: The Myth of Juche
B. R. Myer’s The Cleanest Race traced the origin of the northern Korean state and its ideology to Japanese fascism. In his latest interview, B. R. Meyers continues debunking the claim that northern Korea is a far-left state. Even though northern Korea ended up allied to the Soviet Union and China, even though Kim il-sung had been involved in the anti-imperialist struggle, those who constructed the ideology of the northern Korean state borrowed heavily from Japanese fascism. Even the word “Juche” itself, claims Myers, is from the Japanese.
Northern Korea is not and has never been a socialist society. It has always been an ultra-nationalist state that has projected a socialist message when it is useful. According to Myers, the propaganda that is created for domestic consumption in northern Korea is very different from the more socialist-sounding propaganda that is exported. Looking at the origin of Juche reveals what its purpose is. Myers states:
“To understand the fraudulence of Juche, you have to walk yourself back through the Juche story… and you can tell me how plausible it sounds, OK? Kim il-sung waits until 1955 to declare the ideology that has been guiding him since his guerrilla years. Does he do this at a Party congress? No. He does this at a relatively undistinguished gathering of propagandists. And the declaration of the ideology doesn’t even take up the whole speech, just the first half of it. The speech doesn’t mention self-reliance nor does it criticize the USSR. In fact, Kim il-sung tells his listeners that loving the USSR is just as good as loving Korea. And yet somehow it manages to be an anti-Soviet declaration of self-reliance. And even more magically, just by using the word ‘Juche’ in its usual Korean sense of the acting subject or main actor, Kim somehow turns it into a uniquely North Korean coining that must be left untranslated in English with a capital ‘J’ if possible. That is not where the strangeness ends, strangely enough, Kim does not revisit the topic of Juche at any length until 1965. So he didn’t even mention it again until 1960. And he didn’t revisit it at any length until 1965 when he happens to be in Indonesia. OK, then in 1972, Juche ideology was dramatically redefined into a human-oriented “man is the master of all things” ideology. But this was done in a manifesto delivered to Japanese journalists. So they got it before Kim il-sung’s own people did… Yet, according to Bruce Cummings…, Juche thought is only fully accessible to the Korean mind. Ok, I could go on and on… But I think you’re getting the idea here.” (1)
There is no question that northern Korea must be defended from imperialist attack. However, defending it from imperialist attack does not require misrepresenting the class nature of northern Korea. It is our duty to the proletariat to tell it the truth. There are no revolutionary societies today. Initiating the next great wave of revolution will not come about by opportunistically cobbling together the fragments of the past, cobbling together the dogmatic Marxist-Leninists and Maoists. And it certainly won’t be made by relying on northern Korean ultra-nationalism posing as socialism. Real revolutionary waves have always come about by elevating and advancing the science. The revolutionary wave that began in 1917 was not merely a product of repeating the past in dogmatized form. Gramsci, called the Bolshevik revolution a revolt against past Marxism. Similarly, the Maoist wave did not merely repeat 1917. Rather, revolutionary waves are made by advancing science. Learning from the past and then going forward with new ideas adapted for today’s reality. Those who look to northern Korea for direction are not even looking to past socialist dogma, they are looking to past ultra-nationalist dogma packaged to look like socialism. Leading Light is about science, pure and simple. The light of true science will guide the masses to the future.
* Also see video of B. R. Myers speaking on The Cleanest Race http://www.c-span.org/video/?292562-1/book-discussion-cleanest-race
** Also see our review of B. R. Myers on The Cleanest Race http://llco.org/book-review-the-cleanest-race-2010-by-b-r-myers/