This year marks the 53rd anniversary of the victory of the progressive forces of the Korean people in their Fatherland Liberation War to liberate their country against US-led aggression. The Preparatory Committee to Celebrate the Victory in the Fatherland Liberation War held a Celebratory Meeting in London to mark the end of the war. A film was shown, following which militant and interesting contributions were made by various speakers, excerpts from some of which we reproduce below.
Keith Bennett, who chaired the meeting, recalled that 27 July 1953 was the day that the Armistice was signed between the US and the DPRK. It was the first victory of revolutionary peoples in armed struggle against US imperialism. The lesson in anti-imperialist struggle taught by the Korean people more than half a century ago is now completely relevant, necessary and timely for all those fighting imperialism today particularly Lebanon and Palestine.
As Kim Il Sung said: “The Korean War clearly shows to peoples all over the world that no force can conquer a people who have risen in defence of the freedom and independence of their country against colonialism and the time is long past when the imperialist could exploit and oppress the peoples of colonial and dependent country as they please”.
Harpal Brar, from the Communist Party of Great Britain (Marxist-Leninist), speaking on behalf of the Preparatory Committee, also emphasised the significance of this great victory of oppressed and revolutionary people against US imperialism. US imperialism had fought hundreds of war and been victorious, but on 27 July 1953 it had to sign a truce, because it had been fought to a standstill. This humiliation for US imperialism still rankled and made them want to take revenge on the Korean people for having inflicted such a laudable defeat on them. The Korean War gave proof, if indeed it was really needed, of important aspects of the anti-imperialist struggle.
1. The bloody-thirsty nature of imperialism in general, and US imperialism in particular, whose barbaric atrocities were then, as now, all done under the banner of a ‘democratic’ ‘freedom-loving’ agenda.
2. The strength of the progressive forces: the victory of the Korean people was a shining example of what can be achieved by heroic resistance and the unity of progressive mankind. Not only were the Korean people united as one under the leadership of General Kim Il Sung, but also the socialist camp was united. The Soviet Union sent material aid and the Chinese sent volunteers. Imperialism faced this united camp all speaking the same political language, and which could therefore not be defeated.
Comrade Brar noted that similarly, in a very small way, since the various organisations in the Committee started to combine for their work on Korea, solidarity achievements too had increased and he invited other organisations present at this meeting, who were not part of the Committee, to join.
3. The importance of waging armed struggle: Imperialism does not understand any language other than that of force. As Lenin used to say, “an oppressed class which does not strive to use the force of arms only deserves to be treated like slaves”.
The Koreans recently celebrated American Independence Day, 4 July, by having a great firework display – they fired several long and medium-range missiles! You would have thought, said Cde Brar, that the Koreans would have got a commendation for helpfully reminding people of what revolutionary people in America did 200 years ago, but no. George Washington, Thomas Jefferson would have been called ‘terrorists’ for waging a war against the colonial power, namely Britain.
Imperialism now claims that missiles disturb the peace and stability on the Korean peninsula. In fact the Korean missiles are actually defending peace in that part of the world. If it were not for north Korean missiles, weaponry and defence preparedness there would be no peace on the Korean peninsula. If one really wants to demilitarise, denuclearise the Korean peninsula let the 37,000 American army of occupation leave the southern part of the country along with all its lethal conventional and nuclear weapons. The US occupying force is the source of instability not the north Korean missiles.
Comrade Brar pointed out that imperialism arms itself with the most sophisticated technology, but wants to disarm everyone else. The American ‘defence’ budget is $450 billion a year – its military expenditure is more than that of the rest of the world put together! Its intended victims would be fools if they allowed their own gunpowder to get dry. It is because the DPRK is strong that imperialism is not prepared to launch an attack on it. Iraq made the mistake of disarming itself. That is not a mistake Korea is going to repeat.
Comrades here in Britain, said Comrade Brar, have a duty to fight on the side of the oppressed against our own ruling class which is waging war abroad and at the same time engaged in suppression at home and increasingly attacking working-class living standards and conditions of work. As Lenin said at the 2nd Congress of the Communist International in 1920, the “revolutionary movement in the advanced countries would actually be a sheer fraud if, in their struggle against capital, the workers of Europe and America were not closely and completely united with hundreds upon hundreds of millions of ‘colonial’ slaves who are oppressed by capital”. If people who call themselves Leninists cannot support those who are fighting our ruling class in a just war against the unjust war being fought by ‘our’ ruling class, then they are not worthy of being called socialists or communists.
Those who do not support these struggles are opportunists. Opportunism is not accidental; it has an economic base – the product of monopoly in the financial markets and in colonial possessions. The bourgeoisie of imperialist countries make profits through exploiting to the hilt foreign workers in foreign lands. The impact of monopoly on the working-class movement must be talked about.
We must break with opportunism. As Lenin said the only Marxist line in the world labour movement is to explain to the masses the inevitability and necessity of breaking with opportunism, to educate them for revolution by waging a relentless struggle against opportunism and demonstrating that opportunists are alien to the proletariat as a class, are the servants, the agents, of the bourgeoisie and the vehicle of its thinking. Unless the labour movement rids itself of them it will remain a bourgeois labour movement.
Some comrades say that this will cut us off from the working class and the masses. Lenin also answered this: “It is not so much a question of the size of an organisation as the real objective significance of its policy. Does its policy represent the masses, does it serve them, does it aim at their liberation from capitalism or does it represent the interest of the minority, the minority’s reconciliation with capitalism?” (Second Congress of the Communist International).
If you apply that standard your are not cutting yourself off from anyone except the bourgeois labour movement when you want to mobilise people in support of the correct policies for the overthrow of capitalism and in support of the national liberation movements.
We are in the business of getting rid of this hideous system which has drenched humanity with blood for too long. We are in the business of supporting all those who are fighting against the system. We must build a strong solidarity movement, which supports the slogan: Victory to the oppressed people against our own ruling class. We will welcome all to join us as long as they accept the basic slogan: The oppressed people have the right to defend themselves.
Comrade Jong In Song
Comrade Jong, speaking on behalf of the Embassy of the DPRK in London, noted that this celebration marked the triumph of the Korean people over the mighty USA on 27 July 1953.
The US provoked the Korean War, with the aim of invading Korea, China and Russia. They brought in over two million troops (the Korean population was less than 10 million at that time) and resorted to every kind of cruel means of warfare including germ warfare, but 1,566,000 of the aggressors were killed or wounded, including 400,000 Americans, and the heroic Korean people were victorious.
Although American had a larger and technically superior military air force, 10,220 American aircraft were shot down using any available means, including ordinary rifles, because of our determined defence of our homeland. Our victory showed that the US is not invincible and proved to the world the possibility of its ultimate downfall.
In 1953 the US was forced to sign the Korean Armistice Agreement – the official signatories of the Armistice were the US and the DPRK (it did not include south Korea). The US nevertheless reneged on its undertakings in the Armistice Agreement. The Agreement stipulated that a Political Conference would be convened within three months where negotiations would take place in order to replace the Armistice with a permanent Peace Agreement, yet over 50 years later this has not taken place because the US refuse to sit down with us.
A few days ago Sir Christopher Hill, US Assistant Secretary of State for east Asia and the Pacific, was insisting that the DPRK must cease testing missiles before any further progress can be made. Yet the Armistice Agreement stipulated that there should be no more deployment of US forces on the Korean front but the US is continuing to do so in violation of this Agreement. Where is the UN resolution or the ‘international anger’ at this hostile act?
The US is now engaged in a media campaign to demonise our government for so-called ‘human rights violations’, ‘starving’ our people, ‘threatening the world with nuclear weapons’, etc., with a view to preparing public opinion for a new war against us.
It should remember that when the Korean War broke out in the 1950s, my government was only two years old, very young, undeveloped and weak, but it still defeated America. Now Korea has fully grown up – politically, ideologically, militarily and economically, despite the imposition of sanctions. Now we will defend our government proudly.
Since the Americans are trying to stifle and isolate us, it is important to strengthen our military defence. All our people desire peace, but desiring it is not enough. Peace must be achieved through struggle.
We have built our small country to be fortified like a hedgehog – very hard to attack. They threaten us with sanctions, but it will not work in Korea because we have already faced US sanctions for 50 years. If more sanctions are imposed we are not afraid. Even with sanctions we rebuilt our country. They refused to sell us glass, for instance, so we built our own glass factories.
It is our right to use armed struggle to defend ourselves. We are supported by the world’s progressive peoples including our friends here tonight. Victory is certain.
Following a standing ovation for Comrade Jong, the meeting took many contributions from the floor in particular from the Committee Secretary, Michael Chant (Revolutionary Communist Party Marxist-Leninist), John McLeod (Socialist Labour Party), Salvinder Dhillon (West London Respect), Ella Rule (Secretary, Society for Friendship with Korea (SFK) and International Secretary of the CPGB-ML) and Dermot Hudson (Vice-Chair of SFK and Chair of Juche Study Group), as well as hearing an inspiring Punjabi song from Mrs Sekhon entitled ‘Keep Marching Forward’.
In concluding the formal part of the celebration, the resolution reproduced below was proposed and accepted unanimously.
The celebration continued with a wonderful barbecue prepared and served by our comrades from the Korean Embassy, together with local Indian food and drink.
The Preparatory Committee must be congratulated for bringing together so many comrades in order to strengthen the solidarity of the British people with the people and government of the DPRK who are continuing to stand firm against all the brigandage of the US-led warmongers.
RESOLUTION carried unanimously at the Celebration
This meeting organised by the Co-ordinating Committee of Friends of Korea to celebrate the 53rd anniversary of the Korean people’s historic victory in the Fatherland War:
Expresses its absolute support to the leadership, party, government and people of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea in their struggle to defend the socialist system they have chosen against the pressures and threats of US imperialism and its followers and to build a prosperous and powerful nation.
Extends its complete support to all those countries, parties, movements and peoples engaged in the struggle against US imperialism, in particular:
i) The peoples of Iraq, Afghanistan, Lebanon, Palestine, Syria and Iran, and their resistance movements, in their heroic struggle against the wars of aggression and occupation waged by US and British imperialism and their Israeli zionist puppets, and for independence and self-determination;
ii) The governments and peoples of Cuba, Venezuela, Bolivia and Zimbabwe in their anti-imperialist struggle for socialism.
Calls on all progressive forces throughout the world to unite in the broadest possible international united front against US imperialism.
As part of such a united front, calls on the anti-war, working-class and progressive movements in Britain to extend their full support and solidarity to the peoples engaged in struggle against US and British imperialism and Israeli zionism and to wage a more active struggle against the reactionary and war-mongering Blair government.