KIM JONG IL
ON SOME PROBLEMS OF THE IDEOLOGICAL FOUNDATION OF SOCIALISM
Speech Delivered to the Senior Officials of the Central Committee
May 30, 1990
Recently the imperialists are getting more and more frantic in their attempt to frustrate socialism. In step with their unprecedented intensification of anti-socialist machinations, various trends of thought, which distort and deny the ideal of socialism, are appearing. These anti-socialist trends have worn out the socialist system in some countries and made their societies capitalistic, giving rise to grave consequences in these countries. Such developments have been witnessed mainly in the countries which failed to maintain the revolutionary principles of the working class and which failed to formulate lines and policies creatively in conformity with changing situations, even though some have asserted that they were guided by Marxism-Leninism.
The countries that maintain independence are adhering to the revolutionary principles of the working class and advancing as ever along the road of socialism. They have applied Marxism-Leninism creatively in accordance with their actual situation and have not followed others blindly no matter what other people did.
Socialism is a society, which is based on the revolutionary ideology of the working class, and its development is guaranteed by scientific accuracy, revolutionary character and a realistic expression of the ideology and theory on which it is based. In order to defend and develop socialism in its fierce struggle against enemies of all hues, we must further develop the revolutionary ideology and theory of the working class and make them perfect as required by the times and the developing revolution.
As we have the Juche idea, we have solved with credit the problem of consolidating the ideological foundation of socialism. If we had not the Juche idea or had we blindly followed others, we would not have been able to build our unique form of socialism which is the most advantageous in the world.
Our socialism which applies the Juche idea is the most politically stable in the world and all aspects of life in it are full of vigour. As it is based on the Juche idea, it is confidently marching along the road of victory without vacillation in the face of every kind of pressure and slander from imperialists and reactionaries. The people’s support for and trust in our socialism are unshakable. Now people in many countries of the world are envious of our form of socialism, calling it a “model of socialism” and a “unique socialism”. Reality graphically proves that the Juche idea on which our socialism is based is the greatest ideology.
We must feel it the greatest honour and happiness to have the great Juche idea as the ideological foundation of socialism, and fully equip ourselves with this idea, defending and implementing it to the letter.
In this regard it is important to understand the originality and superiority of the Juche idea, the revolutionary idea of the great leader Comrade Kim Il Sung.
Long ago I said that we must put the main emphasis on originality while viewing it in context with derivations in the understanding of the correlation between the Juche idea and Marxism-Leninism. This means that we should put the main stress on its originality when we view the Juche idea, the revolutionary ideology of the great leader. The Juche idea must not be viewed as a simple inheritance and development of Marxism-Leninism; it must be viewed as a new and original idea. That we should see originality in context with derivations in understanding means that the Juche idea is not an ideology, which contrasts with Marxism-Leninism, and that the historical achievements of Marxism-Leninism must be acknowledged.
We acknowledge the historical achievements of the dialectical materialism of Marxism, as it smashed the reactionary idealistic and metaphysical outlook on the world, but do not view it as a perfect philosophy of the working class. We appraise the historical achievements of Marxism-Leninism as it proved the inevitability of the fall of capitalism and the triumph of socialism and clarified the idea and theory on building a classless ideal society free of exploitation and oppression, but we do not see it as a perfect communist revolutionary theory of the working class. As a matter of course we have so far not spoken much about the limitations of Marxism-Leninism. But today when its limitations are more and more evident, it is necessary to bring them home to our officials. Only then can they fully understand the originality and superiority of the Juche idea, the revolutionary idea of the leader, and make firmer their conviction on our style of socialism based on the Juche idea.
The revolutionary idea created by the great leader Comrade Kim Il Sung is an integrated system of idea, theory and method of Juche. It is a completely original idea that can be called upon only in association with the august name of the leader.
The Juche idea created by the great leader is an original philosophical ideology.
The first philosophy of the working class was created by Marx. His philosophy is a critical inheritance and development of preceding philosophies. By discarding what was unscientific and reactionary in the preceding materialism and dialectics and by inheriting and developing a reasonable core, Marx created dialectical materialism. By applying it to social history, he clarified historical materialism. He directed his main efforts to critically examining the existing philosophical theories so as to free the working class, which was making a fresh appearance on the historical stage, from the outdated and reactionary outlook on the world. He gave scientific answers to the questions of correlation between matter and consciousness and between being and thinking, which until then had yet to be resolved despite repeated debates; on this basis he developed his philosophical theory.
Entering the era of independence, history required that the outlook on the world of the working class be made perfect in an original way. The essential feature of this era of independence was that the popular masses appeared as the masters of their own destiny. The era required that the position and role of man as the master of his own destiny be correctly defined in the field of philosophy. The Juche philosophy, reflecting this requirement, newly presented the position and role of man in the world as the fundamental question of philosophy. Needless to say, the Juche philosophy includes the necessary principles of the dialectical materialism of Marxism. However, it is an original philosophy in that it presented, to start with, a new fundamental question of philosophy and systematized its structural system and content.
The Juche philosophy, by elucidating the philosophical principle that man is the master of everything and decides everything, gave the most correct answer to the question of man’s position and role in the world.
The philosophical principle of Juche has brought about a fresh change in the view of social history. The creators of Marxism set as their main task overcoming the idealistic and metaphysical view of social history which served to justify the reactionary exploiting system and applying the materialistic and dialectical principles to the field of social history; they clarified that society, like nature, exists objectively and it changes and develops according to the general law governing the development of the material world. They, however, failed to elucidate the essential differences between the movement of nature and social movement and the law inherent in the socio-historical movement. The new era implies that the most important requirement for making the view of social history of the working class perfect, is to clarify the law peculiar to the socio-historical movement whose motive force is the working masses. This historic task was fulfilled with credit by the Juche philosophy.
The Juche philosophy, by applying to social history the philosophical principle that man is the master of everything and decides everything, gave a fresh light to the principle that the masses are the motive force of history and the socio-historical movement is an independent, creative and conscious movement of the masses.
The philosophical principle of Juche that man is the master of everything and decides everything and the socio-historical principle of Juche, its embodiment, are based on the scientific education of the essential features of man. For the first time in history the Juche idea clarified that man is a social being with independence, creativity and consciousness and on this basis it indicated the most correct road to carving out man’s destiny.
The great leader created the Juche idea, not simply for the sake of elucidation of a new philosophical theory but in order to show our people the most correct road to carving out their destiny. The whole course of the Korean revolution was to apply the Juche idea. The basic key to how our socialism has been consolidated and developed to be the most superior one lies in the fact that we have applied this idea. The originality and superiority of the Juche idea is clearly demonstrated in the advantage of our style of socialism.
The basic advantage of our form of socialism is that it is a man-centred society, a society which considers everything with man at the center and makes everything serve him. This advantage is defined by the Juche idea, a man-centred idea.
Our socialism has splendidly applied the intrinsic requirements of man, as an independent social being.
Man, an independent social being, is by nature desirous of living and developing independently free from all manner of subjugation. The social movement aims to achieve the independence of the popular masses and the development of society means that the struggle of the popular masses to achieve independence is intensified. This is an essential characteristic of the social movement.
Since it viewed social history with the main stress on the objective material and economic conditions, Marxism considered the development of society to be the history of replacement of the mode of production taking place by the law of adaptation of the relations of production to the character of the productive forces. According to this opinion, one can understand that revolution is carried out in the main when a socialist mode of production has been established and therefore it is concluded that there remains only work to consolidate and develop the social mode of production. This can be said to be one of the reasons why the Marxist-Leninist classicists failed to provide details for the continuous revolution for the building of communism after the triumph of the socialist revolution, even though they gave much emphasis to the continuous revolution from the bourgeois democratic revolution to the socialist revolution. The principle of the Marxist materialistic view on history cannot give a correct answer to the question of revolution after the establishment of the socialist system. Socialist construction shows in practice that the advantages of socialism cannot be given full play and the masses’ cause for independence cannot be accomplished unless revolution is carried on in the field of ideology and culture after the establishment of the socialist system.
The Juche idea clarified anew that all forms of revolutionary struggle are those of the masses to win their independence and that revolution must be carried on until the independence of the working masses is fully achieved; by doing so, it gave a scientific solution to the question of continuous revolution in the socialist society. The independence of the masses is fully achieved when outdated relations of production are abolished and when the masses are completely freed not only from socio-political subjugation but also from the fetters of nature and outdated ideology and culture. With the establishment of the socialist system, the masses are freed from the socio-political subjugation but they are still bound by the shackles of nature and outdated ideology and culture. This is ascribable mainly to the remnants of the old society. Even after the establishment of the socialist system there remains backwardness in the fields of ideology, technology and culture, the vestiges of the old society, for a certain period: this constitutes the main obstacle in fully meeting the demand of the masses for independence. In order to eliminate the remnants of the old society after the establishment of the socialist system, revolution must be carried on in the fields of ideology, technology and culture. Holding high the banner of contiguous revolution, our Party and people are carrying out to the letter the line of three revolutions—ideological, technological and cultural. They are thus strengthening without letup the independent position they have taken up and are accomplishing with credit the cause of the masses for independence.
Our socialism is splendidly applying the intrinsic requirements of man, a creative social being.
Man, a social being whose intrinsic nature is independence and creativeness, is desirous of living and developing not only in an independent way but also in a creative way. Man performs creative activities to transform nature and society and constantly fosters his creative ability.
Marxism did not pay due attention to the question of improving the creative ability and role of the masses, because it considered the development of society to be a natural historical process which follows the objective laws, mainly the law of development of the material and economic conditions, attaching decisive importance to material production and the social and economic relations in the activities of the social man. Needless to say, man draws on the objective laws in transforming nature and society. But he doesn’t merely adapt himself to the laws. He recognizes and makes use of them on his own initiative. He has inexhaustible creative ability to transform nature and society to meet his demand for independence by drawing on the objective laws. Man’s ability to transform the world is limited in a particular period of history. However, this creative ability and role of man is being continuously enhanced. The development of society is attained, in the long run, with the improvement of the masses’ creative ability and role. The working-class party must pay deep attention to understanding the objective laws and making good use of them by improving man’s creative ability and his role. Socialist construction shows in practice that revolution and construction cannot be successful if the work of improving the creative ability and role of man is not performed efficiently. We have channelled great efforts to this work and found a correct solution to it and, as a result, all the working people are forcefully pushing ahead with revolution and construction and with high creative ability.
Our socialism gives the fullest play to the consciousness of man, a conscious social being.
Consciousness is an important attribute of man and it guarantees his independence and creativity.
Throughout history, there have been sharp arguments between the progressive and the reactionary on the issue of man’s consciousness. Idealists made the spirit absolute and mystic as if it was an entity that exists independently of the material being. Materialists, in opposition to idealism, insisted that the spirit is a reflection of the material world. The theory of reflection was an advance in opposing the mystification of spirit, but it could not be a scientific clarification of the role of consciousness. Marx made it clear that social consciousness is determined by social beings and the former actively reacts to the latter, but he failed to clarify the decisive role of ideological consciousness in man's activities.
The Juche idea clarified for the first time that ideological consciousness plays the decisive role in the activities of man. Man's activities are conducted under certain material world, but the role of consciousness is not confined to reflecting the material world and reacting to it. Consciousness determines all activities of man. Ideological consciousness is the basis of all thinking and activities of man. It plays the decisive role in man's cognitive activities and practice. Man has the consciousness of independence and for this reason he volitionally understands the objective world and performs creative activities.
The role of ideological consciousness is determined by its character and content. Determined by the character and content of ideological consciousness are all the activities of man—standpoint and attitude, method and style of work, way of life, etc. The ideological consciousness of independence, the revolutionary ideological consciousness, defends independence and propels the revolutionary struggle to transform nature and society on revolutionary lines whereas the reactionary ideological consciousness infringes upon the independence of the masses and holds back social progress.
The decisive factor of victory and success in the revolutionary struggle is the organized efforts of the masses who are equipped with revolutionary ideological consciousness. The historical fact that revolution emerged victorious in those countries in which the objective material and economic conditions were less mature proves that the decisive force that propels the revolution is the revolutionary ideological consciousness of the masses. The role of man’s ideological consciousness is further improved in socialist society where the masses have become the masters of society.
As ideological consciousness determines all actions of man, priority should be given to the work of remoulding his ideology in order to dynamically accelerate the revolution and construction. The most positive method of remoulding man’s ideology is the ideological revolution. To carry out the ideological revolution is the law-governed requirement of socialist and communist construction and it is the most important revolutionary task of the party and state of the working class after the establishment of a socialist system. The driving force of the revolution can be incomparably strengthened and the cause of socialism and communism will be achieved with success when all members of society are freed from subjugation of all hues of outdated ideology and fully ready to become communist revolutionaries through the ideological revolution.
Since ideological consciousness plays the decisive role in man’s action, conflict in the field of ideology always constitutes the basis of conflict between the progressive and the reactionary, between revolution and counterrevolution. The vicious attempt of the imperialists to infiltrate corrupt bourgeois ideology into the socialist countries is aimed at bringing about disintegration of socialism from the interior by impairing the ideological foundation of socialism. The most powerful weapon with which to smash this anti-socialist machination of the imperialists is the revolutionary ideological consciousness of the masses. Nevertheless, several countries neglected the ideological work and overlooked the infiltration of the bourgeois ideology in the past. This resulted in jeopardizing the cause of socialism. Historical experience shows that the more the imperialists scheme to infiltrate reactionary bourgeois ideology into the socialist countries, the harder these countries must struggle to prevent its infiltration and to equip all members of the society with the revolutionary ideology. We have conducted ideological revolution dynamically under the leadership of the Party so that the whole of society is brimming over with the revolutionary spirit of Juche. As a result, all manner of machinations by the imperialists and reactionaries to introduce bourgeois ideology into our ranks have been completely crushed and our socialism is able to give full play to its vitality.
Our socialism brilliantly embodies the collectivist demand of man, a social being.
Man is a social being who lives and acts in social relationships. Man, as a social being, can successfully shape his destiny only within the social collective, so collectivism becomes his intrinsic demand. Independence, creativity and consciousness of man can only be brought into full play on the basis of collectivism.
Defining man’s essential quality as the ensemble of social relations, Marx clarified that man is a being who lives in social relations, but he failed to define that man, as a member of the social collective, regards collectivism as his intrinsic demand. The Juche idea elucidated for the first time that man can lead a worthwhile life and play his creative role only in the social collective; by doing so, it puts in a new light man’s collectivist demand.
A worthwhile life for man is to live for the social collective. Man, a member of the social collective, feels his worth in life and is able to enjoy the love and trust of the collective by performing his responsibility and the role assigned by the collective. To infringe upon the interests of the collective and to display greed in seeking one’s own happiness in disregard of the social collective is, in fact, not different from the actions of animals.
Collectivism is man’s need to lead a worthwhile life as a member of the social collective. It is also a fundamental requirement to strengthen the might of the social collective. The might of the masses, the driving force of the social movement, depends on how they display collectivism. Unless they are united, they cannot display their might as the motive force of the revolution. An individual can become a member of the collective, but he cannot become the driving force of the revolution which takes charge of the social movement and pushes it forward. Man can transform nature and society with success and achieve independence to the full not on an individual basis but through the effort of the collective. The powerful motive force of the social movement is the masses who are united on the basis of collectivism.
In the past people displayed the spirit of collective resistance in their struggle against foreign aggressors and the exploiting classes. They also showed the fine traits of improving their difficult living conditions by united efforts. Nevertheless, collectivism could not be popularized as a social ideology in an exploiting society which is based on private ownership. In particular, the reactionary ruling class, fearing the unity of the people, restrained collectivism from being displayed among the masses and instead inculcated individualism.
Collectivism, which is in accord with the intrinsic demand of man, a social being, became an ideology of the working class in tandem with the appearance of the working class on the stage of history and it became a dominant ideology in socialist society. That socialism is a society based on collectivism is a fundamental advantage of socialism over capitalism. By nature socialism must be developed in the direction of enhancing collectivism. Only then can the creative ability of the masses be brought into full play and their independence be completely achieved. Practical experience shows that if collectivism is not enhanced to suit the intrinsic demand of socialist society and if instead, individualism is fostered, it would entail the grave consequences of jeopardizing the development of socialism.
That socialist society is based on collectivism does not mean that it ignores the interests of individuals. Not only the interests of the collective but also those of the individuals are valued in socialist society: they are consistent with each other. The interests of the collective incorporate the interests of the individuals. Collectivism is opposed not to the interests of individuals, but to the violation of the interests of the collective for the sake of individual interests. Collectivism requires that precedence be given to the interests of the collective. Our socialist society which regards man as the most precious being by applying the Juche idea, respects the interests of both the collective and individuals and grants the utmost benefits to everyone.
Collectivism reaches its noblest high in a socio-political organism, that is, the unity of the leader, the Party and the masses. In the socio-political organism, collectivism is displayed on the basis of single-hearted unity, a solid unity in ideology, purpose, morality and duty of the Party and the masses with the leader, who represents the will of the social collective, at the centre. All the working people in our country are firmly equipped with the Juche idea and devote themselves to the Party and the leader, to the country and the people, united single-heartedly around the Party and the leader. A great advantage of our socialism finds its expression in the fact that all members of society are firmly equipped with the Juche idea and lead independent and creative lives to their hearts’ content, helping and leading each other as they are united single-heartedly around the Party and the leader.
All facts clearly demonstrate that the most advantageous socialism that suits the intrinsic demands of man can be developed only when socialism is built on the basis of the Juche idea.
The revolutionary theory created by the great leader is a perfect revolutionary theory of communism.
Marxism-Leninism has limitations not only in the outlook on the world but also in the theory of socialism and communism. It is not easy to clarify what a communist society, an ideal society of humanity, is. Moreover, it was difficult to go beyond the limits of prediction and supposition in clarifying the aspects of communism in a capitalist society since no country had raised the building of socialism and communism as a practical problem. Living in a capitalist society, Marx analyzed its contradictions and on this basis proved the inevitability of the fall of capitalism and the transition to socialism and put forward the revolutionary theory on the overthrow of capitalism. Lenin analyzed the crises and contradictions of imperialism, when capitalism reached the stage of monopoly. On this basis he elucidated the possibility of the victory of socialism in one country and put forward the revolutionary theory on the establishment of a socialist system. The founders of Marxism-Leninism, however, failed to expound a complete theory on socialism and communism owing to the limitations of their days. For them making the theory on socialism and communism perfect was not raised as an immediate practical issue and they had no practical experience to do so. For the first time in the world, Lenin organized and led to victory the proletarian revolution and, by generalizing the experiences, developed Marxism. However, his experience was too limited for him to put forward a perfect theory on socialism and communism.
The present historical condition is fundamentally different from what it was when the founders of Marxism-Leninism were active. Not a few countries have carried out the socialist revolution, conducted socialist construction and gained various experiences. The experiences acquired through building socialism in several countries incorporate not only successes but also lessons in failure; they include excellent achievements as well as mistakes. All these experiences and lessons, when analyzed, summed up and generalized, are the basis for completing the revolutionary theory on communism.
Socialism and communism differ from each other in their degree of development and maturity, but they are the same type of society that rests upon common politico-economic and ideological foundations. Socialism, a low stage of communism, has communist characters as its essential features; so the course of further developing and perfecting socialism is immediately the course of building communism. We can say that today conditions have become mature enough to complete the revolutionary theory of communism by generalizing the practical experiences gained in building socialism.
The historical task of completing the revolutionary theory of communism was fulfilled with credit in our era by the great leader as he elucidated the Juche-oriented revolutionary theory and method of leadership.
The revolutionary theory of communism he created by applying the Juche idea is a revolutionary theory developed with the working masses at the centre and revolutionary strategy and tactics based on their role. It is a perfect revolutionary theory of communism which comprehensively expounds the theories on national liberation, class emancipation and man’s freedom and the theories on the transformation of society, nature and man.
Thanks to the revolutionary theory of Juche created by the great leader, the theories on the anti-imperialist national revolution, the anti-feudal democratic revolution and the socialist revolution were systemized in an original way and new theories on building socialism and communism were expounded in a comprehensive way. Marxist-Leninist theory on building socialism and communism was put into a state of serious confusion by opportunists. Consequently confusion arose in socialist construction and socialism experienced severe pains and setbacks in several countries. This theoretical and practical problem which the times presented as an acute requirement could be solved with credit by the great leader. His revolutionary theory on building socialism and communism clarifies comprehensively the views of communist society, the law-governed course to society and the strategic goal and line of building socialism and communism. It concludes the policies for struggle and specific methods for all spheres of revolution and construction.
Thanks to the Juche-oriented theory on the leadership method created by the great leader, all problems arising in leading revolution and construction, ranging from the principle of leadership to the method and style of work were expounded with perfection. Of particularly great significance is the fact that he method of leadership in the building of socialism and communism was put in a new light and comprehensively systemized. The great leader created the theory on the leadership and the revolutionary work method, his own method of work, in the course of blazing the trail of the Korean revolution and leading it to victory; they serve as a powerful weapon for victory in the cause of socialism and communism. Our Party could thus achieve the single-hearted unity of the leader, the Party and the masses and dynamically accelerate the cause of socialism and communism.
The ideology, theory and method of Juche created by the great leader represent the most correct guiding ideology, guiding theory and guiding method for building socialism and communism in our era.
The Juche ideology, theory and method are the brilliant fruition of his gifted intelligence and the sum total of the extremely rich and profound experiences he has accumulated. A new revolutionary idea and theory are not things that can be created by anybody because the changed time and reality demand them. They are created only by a leader of the working class who is possessed with outstanding wisdom. Only such a person can put forward a new ideology, theory and method by generalizing the experiences gained in the revolutionary movement. He does this with deep insight into the requirements of the times and aspirations of the people and can continuously enrich them in the course of applying them to reality and bring them to perfection. The great leader in his early years created the immortal Juche idea by embracing the demands of the era of independence and the aspirations of the masses for independence and, by applying this idea, accumulated rich practical experiences and priceless achievements in all fields of revolution and construction. In the course of wisely leading all forms of social revolution and construction work over 60 years, the great leader scored the most profound and richest practical experiences and achievements and, by generalizing them, perfected the Juche ideology, theory and method in a comprehensive way.
The actual situation of our times testifies to the fact that the cause of socialism can be led to brilliant victory only on this basis. For their truthfulness and viability the Juche ideology, theory and method are recognized as the most correct guiding ideology, guiding theory and guiding method of the revolution and construction of our times and studying the Juche idea has become an irresistible trend.
Marxism-Leninism is an ideological theory at the preceding stage of the development of the revolutionary ideology of the working class. One cannot therefore be successful in the revolution and construction if he clings to it, overlooking its historical limitations. It is now clear to everybody that one cannot build socialism properly by drawing on a theory that was put forward based on prediction and supposition a century ago.
We must not deny even the working-class principle of Marxism-Leninism on the grounds that it has limitations. Its limitations are its historical task. We must overcome its historical limitations but not give up the working-class principle that runs through it. To adhere to the revolutionary principle of the working class is a fundamental requirement of the revolutionary cause to realize independence of the masses. Although Marxism-Leninism has limitations and failed to clarify the specific ways for building socialism, those parties that are building socialism can prevent the degeneration of their class character if they correctly maintain the revolutionary principle of Marxism-Leninism.
The imperialists and reactionaries are now fussing about the “crisis of socialism”, claiming that this means the “collapse” of Marxism-Leninism. Their slander on the creators of Marxism-Leninism is aimed at justifying their reactionary sophistry that the idea of socialism itself was incorrect from the outset and that it was a mistake to have conducted socialist revolution to begin with.
Modern revisionists, too, are making a fuss about “mistakes” revealed in socialist construction in the past and slandering the founders of Marxism-Leninism, relating the “mistakes” to their idea. Originally, slandering the authority and dignity of the leaders of the working class constitutes the essence of the reactionary nature of revisionism. Modern revisionists are abusing Marxism-Leninism and its founders in an attempt to remove from the people’s minds their faith in the socialist cause pioneered by the leaders of the working class and to justify their counterrevolutionary scheme to regress to capitalism from socialism.
As for the mistakes revealed in socialist construction in some countries, their parties which allowed dogmatism and revisionism, not Marxism-Leninism and its founders, are to blame for them.
The people who were said to have been building socialism guided by Marxism-Leninism in the past failed to put forward new revolutionary theories in step with the changed historical conditions, as they have applied Marxism-Leninism dogmatically. Dogmatic application of the revolutionary theory of the working class means its derogation. The dogmatic attitude towards Marxism-Leninism further exposed the limitations of Marxism-Leninism and rendered it impossible to display the advantages of socialism to the full. In particular, modern revisionism abandoned the revolutionary principle of the working class and seriously affected socialist construction. Owing to the revisionist policy in several countries, their parties were not built up soundly and their leadership role was paralyzed; society lacked discipline and order, class enemies cut a wide swath and society degenerated ideologically from the influence of bourgeois liberalization.
The aftereffect of dogmatism and revisionism in several countries was that socialism could not display its viability to the full; it gradually degenerated and obstacles were created in socialist construction. Availing themselves of this opportunity, the imperialists and reactionaries resorted to unscrupulous schemes against socialism and, at their instigation and with their support, modern revisionists, asserting “social democracy”, openly adopted the policy of returning to capitalism.
Social democracy, as an ideological trend of rightist opportunism, appeared long ago. Opportunist ideologies of all hues including social democracy are reactionary trends of thought which the imperialists and reactionaries made use of in earlier times to destroy the communist movement and the working-class movement from within.
The imperialists and reactionaries openly abused and slandered Marxism and ruthlessly suppressed the revolutionary working-class movement. At the same time, they bribed and pulled strings with those in the high echelon of the working-class movement, the degenerates and renegades of the revolution in order to emasculate the revolutionary essence of Marxism. As a result, there appeared revisionism that tried to comprehensively revise Marxism and emasculate its essence to the liking of the imperialists and capitalists. Revisionism has several trends of thought but its main ideological standpoint is to deny the contradiction and struggle between the working class and the capital class, advocate class cooperation and to negate the socialist revolution and proletarian dictatorship, giving prominence to election campaigns and parliamentary activities. It also tries to emasculate the class character of the working-class party, turn it into a reformist party, a powerful club for debate, embellish imperialism and to oppose the anti-imperialist revolutionary struggle of the people. Revisionism, an ideological trend of rightist opportunism, was frustrated by the struggle of the communists, but the trend has reappeared under various names, one being social democracy. It advocates the so-called “third road”. According to it, it aims, under the signboard of “statism” and “welfarism”, to achieve a “high rate of growth and welfare” by combining the “effectiveness of the capitalist economy” with “socialist public policy”. This is a changed mask of the former opportunist social democracy that appeared in the early revolutionary movement of the working class against capital, an ideological trend which the renegades to the revolution espoused, in their attempt to oppose the revolutionary social democracy.
The reactionary nature and absurdity of social democracy that asserts the “third road” has already been laid bare by history. Scores of years have passed since its appearance, but no country in the world has realized a “welfare society” along the “third road”. There are people who claim that the so-called “social democracy” has been realized, but such countries are none other than capitalist societies in which “the rich get ever richer and the poor get ever poorer” and bourgeois democracy holds dominant sway. In this contemporary world there exist only two roads, socialism and capitalism. There cannot be anything like a “third road”. The “third road”, the road of social democracy, is the road to capitalism.
Even though the reactionary nature of social democracy has been revealed thoroughly, modern revisionists have embellished it and are advocating it today. In order to realize their strategy against socialism, the imperialists are openly forcing the socialist countries to introduce bourgeois liberalization involving a multi-party system, capitalist private ownership and the market economy. Rightist opportunism that serves their anti-socialist strategy is none other than modern social democracy. Social democracy that pursues socialist ideals in the revolutionary struggle of the working class against the oppression of capital was abused by opportunist in its early days and today it is used as an anti-socialist means of the imperialists. As a result, it has become a synonym for the most despicable treachery to revolution and socialism.
The reactionary nature of modern social democracy is that it attempts to destroy socialism and turn it back to capitalism. There is no difference between opportunistic social democracy of the past and modern social democracy in that they both pursue capitalism. The former plays the role of a brake, checking the revolutionary transition to socialism, whereas the latter plays the role of a guide, opening the road to a “peaceful transition of socialism to capitalism”. In a word, the former is a trend of bourgeois reformism while the latter is a trend of bourgeois restorationism.
Modern social democracy, denying the leadership of the working-class party and the unified guidance of the socialist state, advocates that it aims to build a “humanitarian and democratic socialism” in place of an “administrative-bureaucratic socialism”. Needless to say, socialism may have different specific features according to the guiding ideology it relies on and the methods of building and managing it. However, socialism is inconceivable separated from the political leadership of the working-class party and the unified guidance of the socialist state, which are the fundamental principles of socialism. That socialism is developing in different forms is one thing, and that socialism is returning to capitalism is another thing. The former means that it is built and managed to suit the specific situation and national characteristics of each country, invariably maintaining the working-class character. The advantages of the different types of socialism may differ from one another according to their characteristics, but any type is superior to capitalism. Giving up the basic principles of socialism is nothing but degeneration in a capitalistic way, no matter whether it is called “democratic socialism” or “humanitarian and democratic socialism”. If a “humanitarian and democratic socialism” is to be built true to its word in place of an “administrative-bureaucratic socialism”, the capitalistic method must not be introduced and socialist principles must be applied more thoroughly. Originally, bureaucracy was a ruling method of the outdated exploiting society. It has nothing in common with the intrinsic nature of socialist society. It is revealed in socialist society because the remnants of the old society linger in the society. The introduction of a capitalist method does not eliminate bureaucracy. On the contrary, it revives bureaucracy. Some people are now advocating “democracy” in opposition to the “administrative-bureaucratic style”. But this is not new. It is merely a repetition of the reactionary sophistry of the revisionists in the Second International who abused democratic centralism as a “bureaucratic rule” and prattled about pure, superclass “democracy” in opposition to proletarian dictatorship. This they did in an attempt to destroy the party, an organized unit.
Modern social democracy is based on a bourgeois viewpoint and attitude towards social phenomena. It advocates unlimited freedom in social life and unbridled competition through the market, which means that such laws of the biological world as spontaneity and the struggle for existence should be applied in socialist society. It is in essence a reactionary viewpoint and attitude aimed at making the law of the jungle, the law of bourgeois society, function without restraint.
Modern social democracy reveals its reactionary nature in a concentrated way in its viewpoint and attitude towards man.
It regards man as an instrument necessary for material production. Material production is needed for man; man does not exist for the sake of material production. A developed machine, if it does not serve man, is nothing but a worthless scrap of iron. Nevertheless, some people do not hesitate to trample upon the basic rights of man for material production. It is explained by a simple fact that they advocate the use of unemployment as a means of pressure to increase labour intensity. The right to labour is a basic right of man. The “socialism” that deprives the working masses even of their labour right cannot become a humanitarian and democratic socialism. To violate without mercy the working masses’ right to labour is a phenomenon inherent in an exploiting society. Capitalists regard man as a commodity and an accessory of a machine. For them the working masses become meaningful only when they bring about profit. Modern social democracy and the bourgeois viewpoint both estimate man’s value by means of money and material.
Modern social democracy regards man as a being that pursues only the material desire of individuals, not as a being with ideological consciousness of independence. Some people claim that all forms of human relationship should be turned into that of a commodity and currency, insisting that the material incentive on individuals is absolute. To view man as a being that pursues only his material desire is wrong in that it regards man as a mean being.
Modern social democracy regards man as a being dominated by material and economic conditions, not as a powerful being possessed with creative ability. Proceeding from this point of view, some people try to find the basis of social development in the objective conditions, not in the work of training people to be powerful beings and enhancing their creativity, and are thus restructuring the economic system.
The viewpoint and attitude of modern social democracy towards social history is bourgeois viewpoint and attitude. Accordingly, the road of modern social democracy is not a road to socialist democracy; it is a road to bourgeois democracy and none other.
Modern social democracy is an outcome of illusions about capitalism. Out of illusions about “material prosperity” of developed capitalist countries, some people have been seduced by it and are giving up the revolutionary principle. If anyone analyzes the conditions of history experienced in the developed capitalist countries and socialist counties and their characteristics, he would never harbour such foolish illusions. The developed capitalist countries entered the road of capitalist development in an earlier period whereas the socialist countries were either those whose level of economic development was lower or those that were colonies or semi-colonies. The former achieves “material prosperity” through merciless exploitation of the working masses and neocolonial plunder of third-world countries; however, the latter cannot do so. The socialist countries have incomparable advantages in economic development, but they are still relatively backward in the field of material life, compared to the developed capitalist countries. One cannot correctly distinguish the basic difference between socialism and capitalism if he considers only the present level of economic development in disregard of the characteristics of the developed capitalist countries and the socialist countries. And yet, some people, under illusions about capitalist society, see only its luxurious appearance, overlooking its exploitative nature and corruptness; they see only luxurious goods that cater to the abnormal tastes of the rich, failing to see the unemployed, beggars and abandoned children wandering the streets.
Modern social democracy is an outcome of the surrender to imperialism. The imperialists are threatening the socialist countries by means of nuclear weapons on the one hand and on the other hand they are appeasing them with money. Unable to bear such pressures and appeasement, some people yielded one step after another and in the end they have accepted the demand to give up socialist principles and introduce the capitalist method. “A new way of thinking” which they claim is reactionary sophistry aimed at beautifying the imperialists, disarming themselves in front of them and restoring capitalism by restructuring socialism to cater to the tastes of the imperialists.
Modern social democracy that opens up the road to a “peaceful transition of socialism to capitalism” will inevitably fail just like the former opportunism of all hues. Although it is spread over several countries, a dangerous trend, it is doomed to fail. Revisionism that appeared in the Second International as an international trend of thought was spread over almost all the parties affiliated to the Second International, causing great difficulties and setbacks in the international communist movement, but it went bankrupt in the end.
In the countries where modern social democracy holds sway, a great confusion is already taking place in all spheres of social life. “Democracy” and the “multi-party system” are making political life reactionary; they have not made social life democratic. The working-class party is being destroyed by political double-dealers who have made their way into it and various good-for-nothing political parties and organizations have raised their heads in opposition to socialism under the cloak of “political pluralism”, misleading public opinion and taking command of parliament and government. Modern social democracy is aggravating disputes and conflicts between nations and regions and splitting society. The capitalist market economy it introduced has caused decreased production, skyrocketing prices, mass unemployment and a gap between the poor and the rich, making life more and more difficult for most of the people. Bourgeois liberalization ushered in by “glasnost” and the “open-door” policy is giving rise to various kinds of crimes, and a decadent bourgeois way of life. Immortality and depravity are rampant. This is the result of the “perestroika” and “reform” policies pursued by modern social democrats.
Reality is a strict judge. The crises created artificially by modern social democracy clearly show that any scheme to make a socialist society capitalistic under the cloak of social democracy cannot escape total bankruptcy. The counterrevolutionary nature of modern social democracy, which has negated in to the socialist cause, the achievement gained at the cost of the sweat and blood of the people, and smeared its history, luring the people with honeyed words, is being disclosed thoroughly. The people who were enticed by modern social democracy are gradually becoming aware of its true colours; they are growing vocal in their curse of it. Modern social democracy is being denounced by genuine revolutionaries, by the people of the socialist countries and other progressive people of the world.
Although modern social democracy, instigated by the imperialists, is inflicting tremendous losses upon the people’s cause for independence, the socialist cause, socialism will endure the suffering and continue to open up the road to victory. No force can check the people’s aspiration for independence and advance to socialism. Socialism is not someone’s invention; it is the wish and aspiration of humanity. It is a law in the development of history that human society advances towards socialism. People have for ages wished for a new society of independence in which everyone leads an equally affluent life free from exploitation and oppression, and their wish is getting more intense with the passage of time. Where there is exploitation and oppression, there is always resistance. Capitalism cannot realize the wish of the masses to lead an independent and equal life even though it can develop economically.
It is not that the resistance of the working masses against exploitation and oppression weakens with an increase in material wealth. The material wealth created by mankind has increased along with history, but the people’s struggle against exploitation and oppression has been intensified. This is an inevitable outcome of the development of the exploiting society where “the rich get ever richer and the poor get ever poorer”. The “material prosperity” of capitalism will increase antagonism between the rich and the poor, precipitating bottomless political and economic crises for imperialism and capitalism. If the imperialists and their followers continue to attempt to enforce the “peaceful transition of socialism to capitalism”, they will face a stronger resistance from the people. The people of today are not those of yesterday who wished for socialism and knew socialism only by theory; they have experienced through their practical lives the advantages of a socialist system which is free from exploitation and oppression. True revolutionaries and the people who are being awakened to their consciousness as the days go by, will not connive at the machinations of the imperialists and their followers. They will raise their voices in denunciation and pursue an active struggle against them. They want those countries, which are maintaining the revolutionary principle in their struggle against the machinations of the imperialists and their followers, to continue to advance along the road of socialism. In particular, they expect a great deal from us and trust us as we build socialism centred on the masses, ensuring the continuity of the revolutionary cause, under the unfurled banner of the Juche idea, and earnestly hope that we bring the advantages of socialism into fuller play.
Building our style of socialism more successfully is a lofty historic mission entrusted to us not only for the prosperity of our motherland and the happiness of our people but also for the ultimate victory of the cause of independent humanity, the socialist cause. Bearing this in mind, we mist fully equip ourselves with the Juche idea, the ideological foundation of socialism of our own style, and apply it in a thoroughgoing fashion to accelerate the revolution and construction more dynamically.