Next Korean Monarch Groomed
Last week, Kim Jong-un made his first appearance in front of the world’s media. Kim Jong-un, the youngest son of the current “dear leader” Kim Jong-il, is expected to succeed his father. His public “coming out,” days before the celebration of the 65th anniversary of the ruling Workers’ Party, signals the beginning of a transitional period where the son is expected to rule jointly with his aging father.
Just last month, Kim Jong-un was given several top leadership promotions, including a position as second in command of the Central Military Commission just a day after being made a four-star general. Prior to the promotion, Kim Jong-un had not served in the military. It is thought that the rapid succession of Kim Jong-un is due to the sudden decline in his 68-year old father’s health.
The passing of power from father to son, along familial lines, is another sign of the revisionist nature of northern Korea’s ruling party. In northern Korea, power has transferred from the “great leader” Kim Il-sung to his son, the “dear leader,” Kim Jong-il to his son Kim Jong-un. Northern Korea’s is not the only revisionist state where the top leadership position is kept “within the family.” In revisionist Cuba, power was recently transferred from Fidel Castro to his brother Raúl. Even so, few revisionist states developed a full-blown, multi-generational dynasty as northern Korea has. Patriarchy and this kind of nepotism, although in lesser degrees, was a problem in socialist societies also. This problem was one of the reasons why Maoists launched the Cultural Revolution in China. Maoists sought to prevent growing inequalities and the rise of a new capitalist class in China. During the Cultural Revolution, Maoists criticized the northern Korean leadership.
Socialism in the twentieth century never decisively solved the problem of how to continue the revolution, to continue the forward march to communism. Socialism never completely solved the problem of succession either. Today there are no socialist societies. However, the next time the proletariat has state power it will be faced with the problem of revisionism and counter-revolution, including the problem of preventing corruption, patriarchy and nepotism.