21
Dec
11

The Kim Is Dead or Anti-Imperialism: Why Lesser Evil is Still Evil

This past Saturday saw the death of North Korea’s leader, Kim Jong-Il, the reigns of government to be passed onto his youngest son, Kim Jong-Un. Kim Jong-Un, having been chosen over his two bothers, Kim Jong-Nam and Kim Jong-Chul, has only recently been selected as Kim Jong-Il’s heir- his eldest son having been involved in an embarrassing incident in 2001 (reportedly attempting to enter Japan and visit Disneyland using a false passport) and his middle-child having fallen out of favor for reasons unknown. While the exact nature of Kim Jong-Un’s remains to be seen (that is, whether he will directly take control or whether a temporary regent will be put in place), it is generally accepted that…

 

You know what? You can look it up. The basic biographies, state of the country, the internal politics at play- you can all get the gist of them from reading any news article or doing some basic research- it’s not what I wanted to talk about today.

No, what I wanted to discuss was some of the responses I’ve been seeing to the death of Kim Jong-Il, largely among Marxists, and a growing problem in the Left.

Now there can be no doubt that for all the sectarianism, vendettas, and backbiting that plagues the radical left, perhaps the one unifying element among us is a common understanding that whatever Communism is, North Korea doesn’t practice it. From the Anarcho-Syndicalists to the Trotskyists to the MLers to the Third-Worldists to the New Left, perhaps our sole, shared position is our distaste for the DPRK.

Well, that and our penchant for epic facial hair...

Now just a note for my non-leftist readers; you might be thinking to yourselves “But North Korea is perhaps the one last Communist country on earth (now that Cuba’s starting reforms, anyways)!”. But in a humble counter to that, allow me to submit this:

...yeah...

Ok, but then again, who hasn’t used a pretentious, melodramatic picture of himself on Facebook?

A young Kim Jong-Il serves as a primitive GPS...

Ok, so that kind of egotism is a bit harder to explain in a Communist context, but at least it’s not-

Literally the center of the universe...

Alright, that’s just crazy… And it really serves to demonstrate how far North Korea has shifted from anything even remotely resembling Marxism. It’s bad enough that North Korea is a brutal dictatorship has rejected Communism’s core element of the power belonging to the people, and it’s worse that the aforementioned dictatorship acts as a patriarchal monarchy, passing power down from father to son, but for these dictators to go so far as to assume a role vying with the pharaohs of ancient Egypt is total and utter madness. To put it simply, Kim’s abuse and misrepresentation of Communism is so demented, that even people who I’d argue are pseudo-Communists themselves express their disgust with the regime.

 

And despite this, you will, against all reason, find individuals and groups supportive of North Korea, and it’s part of a disturbing trend I’ve been noticing over the years.

Now don’t get me wrong, the supporters of the regime in North Korea are few, and generally the type of individuals who’ll support anything with a hammer and sickle slapped onto it. But beyond North Korea, I’ve encountered support among professed Leftists for such regimes as Gaddafi in Libya and Ahmadinejad in Iran. As far back as the ill-fated Green Revolution in Iran, I recall hearing “Marxists” claim that support should be not given to the protestors but to the Iranian regime. Similarly, during the Libyan uprising against Gaddafi and his regime, I encountered “Marxists” asserted that unwavering support should be given to the Libyan government, in spite of the will of the people.

The reasons for these baffling stances?

“Anti-Imperialism”.

The basic concept of the supporters of the Ahmadinejad, (formerly) Gaddafi, and Kim regimes is that these dictators are “Anti-Imperialists”; they’re authoritarian governments are capable of fending off the horrors of globalization and Western dominance, and are therefor excusable and even defensible.

Now don’t get me wrong on this point- I’m anti-imperialist and anti-globalization. I’ve seen the effects of neocolonialism, and I know that its and evil that does need to be combated. However, this common idea that we, as Communists, should defend despots and tyrants on the basis that they are “anti-imperialist” is ridiculous. The enemy is not Western dominance, it is any and all dominance- there’s nothing better about being exploited and oppressed by someone from your own nationality than by someone from somewhere else. Tyranny is still tyranny, no matter who conducts it. A lesser evil (and exactly how much less of an evil it is can be debated) is still evil.

 

See, the implications of this really bug me. The fact that some “Communists” ascribe to this line of thinking indicates two vital points:
I. First, this line of thought is demonstrative of a complete and utter lack of faith in the people. Who can say that the rebellion will not be just as anti-imperialist, if not even more strongly anti-imperialist, than the regime it is attacking? In short, this is elitism.
II. Second, this line of thought endorses straight-up nationalism and statism. Through offering unconditional support to a tyrannical “anti-imperialist” regime, we have to be supportive of almost all elements of the nation and the state. Should one country go to war with another, we must, regardless of who is correct or justified, give our support to the “anti-imperialist” nation. Likewise, we must give our support to the maintenance of the nation, including the state- a total divergence from Marxism. In short, this is jingoism.

No one oppresses North Korea but North Korea!

I’m not saying I’m any better- too often I’ve made excuses using similar logic. And I’m not saying that I expect a flawless revolution that will produce government free from these kinds of challenges- nothing is ever perfect. In the end though, we need to keep our priorities straight. Watch this clip of Che Guevara lambasting imperialism:

He states that the West employs imperialism out of fear of the revolutionaries “fight for freedom”. Freedom is the end goal, and “Anti-Imperialism” that sacrifices freedom is, in fact, the very thing it seeks to fight off.

Let’s keep our real goals in sight, comrades.

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