World Perspectives 2018: VI. The Korean Peninsula: Imperialist Aggression, Capitalist Restoration and Revolutionary Defensism

 

 

 

127.        As we stated above, the Korean peninsula constitutes the second focus of the present world situation. The reasons for this are:

 

The central position of the Asia-Pacific region [1] as the most populous continent and a key region for the world economy;

 

It’s geographical position as a direct neighboring country to all four imperialist states in Asia (China, Russia, South Korea and Japan);

 

For this reason US imperialism tries to utilize the conflict with North Korea in order to threaten the latter’s allies (China and Russia) and to subjugate its own, militarily relative weak, allies South Korean and Japan;

 

Long standing historical tensions stemming from the Korea War in 1950-53 and the division of the country which emerged from it.

 

128.        The main reason for the recent escalation of the North Korea conflict is the aggressive determination of US imperialism to utilize this issue in order to re-establish its dominance in East-Asia. Of course, it has nothing to do with any real threat emerging from the small Asian country. Even if North Korea would have already succeeded to possess nuclear weapons, their number would not exceed 10-20, according to the latest SIPRI report. Compare this to this 6,800 nuclear heads owned by US imperialism! [2] The hysterical U.S. campaign about the North Korean threat is a mockery of history! While North Korea never attacked the USA, this biggest imperialist power indeed waged war against North Korea in 1950-53 in which one million people died. Since then the USA has built numerous military bases in South Korea and currently stations there 28,500 soldiers. It is US imperialism and its allies who pose a threat to North Korea and not the other way round!

 

129.        The Trump Administration is seriously considering a military attack on North Korea and one wing is actually advocating it strongly. According to a report of the Reuters news agency, “National Security Advisor H.R. McMaster has been the most vocal of Trump’s aides arguing for a more active military approach, while Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, Defense Secretary Jim Mattis and the military leadership have urged caution, stressing the need to exhaust diplomatic options, according to five officials who spoke on condition of anonymity.[3] Various neo-conservative ideologists are already beating the war drum. Edward Luttwak, one of their leading figures, recently published an article with the self-explaining title: ”It’s Time to Bomb North Korea. Destroying Pyongyang’s nuclear arsenal is still in America’s national interest”. [4] During an interview with ABC News on the last day of 2017, former chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Admiral Mike Mullen claimed that Trump was willing to launch an attack and concluded: “We’re actually closer to nuclear war with North Korea and in that region than we’ve ever been.[5] And another expert reported: “At a conference on international security last month in the US, I was privately told by a number of US experts with links to Washington that the Trump administration is determined to attack North Korea. The question was of when, not if.” [6]

 

130.        One option discussed by the Pentagon, according to the Wall Street Journal, “is known as the “bloody nose” strategy: React to some nuclear or missile test with a targeted strike against a North Korean facility to bloody Pyongyang’s nose and illustrate the high price the regime could pay for its behavior. The hope would be to make that point without inciting a full-bore reprisal by North Korea.[7] However, even the military die-hards are aware that such a strike bears an enormous risk of escalating into a full-blown war. As we mentioned above, a research institute of the U.S. Congress calculates that even a war with conventional weapons “only” could result in up to 300,000 dead in the first few days. Another, older study from the Pentagon arrives to the estimation that “a conflict on the peninsula would lead to at least 52,000 American and 490,000 South Korean casualties within the first ninety days. Former CIA chief James Woolsey has argued that 4,000 daily air strikes over a period of thirty to sixty days would be required to demolish North Korea’s nuclear programme as the US believes it exists, and to blunt its capacity to retaliate.[8]

 

131.        Naturally, all these estimations are speculations to a certain degree. However, there can be not the slightest doubt that a war on the Korean peninsula would have devastating consequences. It would be a catastrophe, first and foremost, for the Korean people who would have to bear the brunt of the American aggression. Secondly for the whole region in East Asia. And thirdly, it would certainly provoke a crash of the world economy as the peninsula is close to one of the, if not the, most important routes of shipping traffic for world trade. We emphasize once again our thesis that this lunatic war-mongering is another example of how desperate and aggressive U.S. imperialism is becoming when faced with its decay. It shows once more that the Armageddon faction of the American bourgeoisie has taken over the command in Washington.

 

132.        As China and Russia are neighboring countries and strongly opposed to a US war against North Korea, it is unlikely that they would stand idle in such a case. While we do not consider a World War III as likely in the near future, such a scenario can not be excluded. In any way, a military conflict on the Korean peninsula would have massive repercussions for the world political situation. It would not only escalate the tensions between the U.S. and China and Russia. It would likely provoke mass protests in Asia and around the world. Such an attack against the Korean people could provoke the emergence of a global mass anti-imperialist movement and result in an abrupt change of the world situation.

 

133.        U.S. imperialism is beating the war drums against North Korea for several reasons.

 

First, it wants to subjugate a nation which is a historic enemy since the Korean War in 1950-53 and which has since then refused to subordinate to Washington. Dealing a “bloody nose” to Korea would also send a message to other people in the South that Washington knows no mercy with people resisting its dictates.

 

Secondly, waging a war at their borders could serve as deterrence against Moscow and Beijing.

 

Thirdly, it could strengthen the U.S. political and military hegemony over its imperialist allies – first and foremost South Korea and Japan. For all these reasons, the Trump Administration is looking very favorable to launching a war against North Korea.

 

Fourthly, it could rally some patriotic support for the battered Trump Administration.

 

134.        China’s and Russia’s main interests in this conflict are that they want to stop the U.S. waging war in front of their borders. They want to keep North Korea as a buffer state to South Korea, i.e. a state which is allied to Washington and which is home to a number of U.S. military bases. In order to defuse the tensions, they have agreed several times to vote for economic sanctions against North Korea at the U.N. Security Council. While they have links with the North Korean regime it would be wrong to see the latter simply as their proxy. In fact, Moscow and Beijing consider Kim Jong-un as unreliable. According to reports, China backed a plot by Kim Jong Un's half-brother and uncle who, however, were both killed after the North Korean ruler uncovered it in 2013. [9] Currently, both China and Russia try to defuse the situation by, on one hand, appeasing the U.S. by agreeing to economic sanctions and, on the other hand, by opposing Washington’s saber-rattle and secretly supporting North Korea’s trade.

 

 

 

Capitalist Restoration in North Korea and the ruling Stalinist-Donju Class

 

 

 

135.        In past statements, the RCIT has characterized North Korea as a Degenerated Workers State. By this we meant that the political regime represents a counter-revolutionary Stalinist bureaucracy ruling over the working class. However, in contrast to capitalist states, its economic basis was a planned economy. We do not longer consider such a characterization as accurate. In fact, in the past years – in particular with Kim Jong-un coming to power in 2011 – the North Korean bureaucracy has made a decisive turn towards capitalism. Since then, the ruling elite attempts to copy the Chinese model, i.e. to combine the preservation of the one-party regime with the introduction of market reforms.

 

136.        In the early 1990s North Korea suffered a dramatic social and economic crisis when Soviet and Chinese aid was suddenly withdrawn. Being deprived of subsidized fuel, electricity and spare parts, the economy collapsed, with many factories coming to a complete halt. Things were ultimately exacerbated by a series of devastating floods in 1994 and 1995, which destroyed around 1.5 million tons of grain and ruined much of the nation’s infrastructure. Around 85% of North Korea’s power generation capacity was lost as a result. Harvests plunged and hence the government soon had no food to feed much of its population. The result was a serious famine between 1994 and 1998 that claimed the lives of between 200,000 and three million North Koreans. [10]. As a result, the regime allowed a number of market reforms which resulted in the emergence of numerous official or hidden private enterprises in the 2000s. Hence in many places markets – called jangmadang (“marketplace”) – emerged illegal, yet tolerated. “A 2009 study came to the conclusion that some 58.5 percent of all restaurants in North Korea are de facto privately owned. Similar trends exist in the retail industry. While the fiction of state ownership is maintained, many shops are, essentially, private. The managercum-owner buys merchandise from wholesalers as well as (technically) state-owned suppliers, and then sells it at a profit. Th e earnings are partially transferred to the state, but largely pocketed by the owner himself (or rather, herself). The above-mentioned study estimated that in 2009 some 51.3 percent of shops were actually private retail operations. Transportation underwent similar changes.[11] According to a 2008 estimate, by that time the average North Korean family drew some 80% of its income from the private economy, not from salaries and rations from the state. [12]

 

137.        However, at that time the ruling Stalinist caste had not definitely decided about its economic policy and a strong faction still existed which opposed the market-reforms. In the second half of the 2000s, various counter-reforms were undertaken and pro-market politicians were purged. [13] Andrei Lankov, an expert on North Korea, describes the situation as follows: “However, the North Korean state looked upon these developments with great unease, and never explicitly approved market activities. Between 2004 and 2009, the North Korean government even tried to push the genie back into the bottle by getting rid of the private economy and returning to the old Leninist economic model. These efforts ended in failure, and after 2010, the government decided to leave the economy alone.[14]

 

138.        Since then, i.e. effectively with Kim Jong-un coming to power in 2011, the restorationist faction clearly got the upper hand and has since then advanced the introduction of capitalism. Obviously, they face various difficulties, in particular as North Korea suffers from international sanctions, the country receives only few foreign investment. Hence, the process of capitalist restoration is rather characterized by primitive accumulation and semi-legal profiteering. Nevertheless, a combination of state-capitalist, private market and grey-market sector is becoming the dominant characteristic of North Korean capitalist economy. [15] According to a recent assessment of Lee Byung-ho, director of South Korea’s intelligence service, at least 40% percent of the population in North Korea is now engaged in some form of private enterprise. Today the rising class is the so-called Donju, the word North Koreans use to describe the new class of traders and businessmen that has emerged. These “red capitalists” have close relations with the regime and often receive medals and certificates in return for their donations. A North Korean defector appropriately observed: “Donju wear the socialist hide, operating as part of state-run companies. But inside, they are thoroughly capitalist.” A Korean journalist reports: “A growing class of merchants and entrepreneurs is thriving under the protection of ruling party officials. Pyongyang, the capital, has seen a construction boom, and there are now enough cars on its once-empty streets for some residents to make a living washing them. (...) Since 2010, the number of government-approved markets in North Korea has doubled to 440, and satellite images show them growing in size in most cities. In a country with a population of 25 million, about 1.1 million people are now employed as retailers or managers in these markets, according to a study by the Korea Institute for National Unification in Seoul. ‘Competition is everywhere, including between travel agencies, taxi companies and restaurants,’ Rüdiger Frank, an economist at the University of Vienna who studies the North, wrote recently after visiting a shopping center there.[16] Another journalist who interviewed many North Korean defectors concludes: “In theory, North Korea is a bastion of socialism, a country where the state provides everything, including housing, health care, education and jobs. In reality, the state economy barely operates anymore. People work in factories and fields, but there is little for them to do, and they are paid almost nothing. A vibrant private economy has sprung up out of necessity, one where people find ways to make money on their own, whether through selling homemade tofu or dealing drugs, through smuggling small DVD players with screens called “notels” over the border or extracting bribes. (...) North Korea technically has a centrally planned economy, but now people’s lives revolve around the market. No one expects the government to provide things anymore. Everyone has to find their own way to survive. (...) The ability to make money, sometimes lots of money, through means both legal and illegal has led to visible inequality in a country that has long touted itself as an egalitarian socialist paradise. This could be a potential source of disruption. Bean traders and drug dealers and everyone in between have the prospect of making a decent living. Those working only in official jobs, whether they be on a state-owned ostrich farm or in a government ministry in Pyongyang, earn only a few dollars a month and get little in the way of rations to supplement their meager salaries.” [17]

 

139.        In our book on the capitalist restoration in Cuba, as well as in other works, we have discussed in detail the complex nature of the process of social transformation from a workers state towards capitalism. It would go beyond the scope of this document to reproduce the Marxist discussion on this issue and on our own experience given the process of capitalist restoration in the former Stalinist countries after 1989-91. At this place, we limit ourselves to quote the conclusion of the RCIT’s analysis: “When can we state that such a capitalist restoration has taken place? The answer is: when a Stalinist bureaucratic workers’ government is replaced by or transforms itself into a bourgeois restorationist government. Such a bourgeois restorationist government is one which is firmly resolved, both in words and deeds, to reestablish a capitalist mode of production, i.e., to move decisively against planned property relations in favor of creating a capitalist economy based on the law of value.[18] Such an approach is in accordance with Trotsky’s method when he discussed the possibility of capitalist restoration in the USSR in the later 1930s. He also insisted that the decisive criterion is not the exact degree of privatization of the economy: “Should a bourgeois counterrevolution succeed in the USSR, the new government for a lengthy period would have to base itself upon the nationalized economy.[19] It is rather the class character of property relations which the regime is defending: “The class nature of the state is, consequently, determined not only by its political forms but by its social content; i.e., by the character of the forms of property and productive relations which the given state guards and defends.[20] As we saw the transformation of the old Stalinist regimes into Stalinist/Capitalist regimes in China, Vietnam, Laos or some Central Asian countries, we see a similar development taking place in North Korea.

 

140.        It seems to us that such a restoration of capitalism has taken place in North Korea in the last years, effectively with Kim Jong-Un coming to power. With some differences but essentially similar, the North Korean bureaucracy has gone along the Chinese road and has transformed itself into a new ruling class. This means that the ruling elite keep the political superstructure with its one-party dictatorship intact but today this regime serves the restoration of the capitalist mode of production.

 

141.        In the case of North Korea the regime is even more grotesque as it represents a dictatorship in the form of a monarchy where only one and the same family rules the state since its foundation in 1945 respectively 1948. Such a development is not without historic precedent as the French House of Bourbon comes into one’s mind: it first ruled the feudalistic monarchy before the revolution in 1789 and later, after the restoration in 1815, the same family – actually the brothers of the executed King Louis XVI – ruled the capitalist state for another 15 years.

 

142.        In summary, the Stalinist regime transformed from a bureaucratic caste into a ruling class. Naturally, this class is certainly not without inner contradictions as it combines – as it has been the case in China and Vietnam – both party functionaries related to the “old” sectors of the planned economy as well as those who are closely connected or partly even identical with the new layer of Donju, i.e. “red capitalists”. As a result of this process the task of the North Korean working class has changed – similar to China and Vietnam: on the table is no longer a political revolution against the Stalinist bureaucracy but a social revolution against the ruling Stalinist-Donju Class.

 

143.        This does not mean that the process of capitalist restoration has been completed. In fact, such a process usually takes a number of years. We have seen this is in Russia and even more so in China and Vietnam that it can take many years until all enterprises in the industrial and banking sector are subjugated to the capitalist law of value and until the whole working class is transformed into labor commodities. Likewise there are still many tasks for the restorationists in North Korea to complete. But the Rubicon has definitely been crossed and North Korea has to be characterized as a capitalist semi-colonial state.

 

 

 

South Korea: an Imperialist State

 

 

 

144.        In a comprehensive study about the development of capitalism in South Korea (and Taiwan) in the post-war period, published in 1996, we have elaborated how – due to specific historic circumstances related to the Cold War [21] – South Korea has been able to become a relatively advanced capitalist economy. [22] Since then we have recognized that South Korea has become an imperialist state given the dominance of the chaebols (as the country’s monopolies are called) as well as their global role. This analysis has been confirmed as we saw that South Korea, a country with a population of 51 million, has become one of the top economies in the world behind the leading states like the U.S. and China. Today, South Korea’s economy is the fourth-largest in Asia and the 11th largest in the world. Its Per Capita Gross Domestic Product is expected to edge past Italy’s in 2018. [23] In the ranking of the biggest monopolies in the world, South Korea is number 5 (Forbes Global 2000) respectively number 7 (Fortune Global 500). There can be no doubt that South Korea has become an imperialist nation.

 

145.        However, while South Korea has become an advanced capitalist country due to the specific conditions of the Cold War, its political characteristics are also peculiar for the same reasons. Given the history of the Cold War and the ongoing tensions with Pyongyang, South Korea has been always strongly subordinated to Washington’s foreign policy interests. The U.S. military has 28,500 troops, hundreds of tanks and air forces stationed in dozens of bases. Recently, Washington deployed the so-called THAAD Missile Battery in South Korea. In short, South Korea faces a strong political dominance by Washington.

 

146.        The South Korean bourgeoisie itself is divided about the approach to the northern neighbor. A traditional right-wing conservative faction, closely linked to several influential chaebols families, still looks favorable to the “good old days” of the military dictatorship (1950-1987) when the ruler did not have to worry about elections but only about a coup by another general. These conservatives are strongly anti-communist and support the American war-mongering. However, another sector of the bourgeoisie considers these military tensions as an unnecessary obstacle for doing business. The background for this is, first, that China has become South Korea’s biggest trade partner (both export as well as import) and, second, that these capitalists would like to use the Northern neighbor as a place for super-exploitation of its cheap labor. Between 2003 and the recent escalation in 2016, North Korea ran the so-called “Kaesŏng Industrial Park” at the border to South Korea in which 123 South Korean corporations operated. The South Korean capitalists made huge profits from the super-exploitation of 53,500 North Korean workers employed at the industrial park who received wages of only about $160 per month. This is one-fifth of the South Korean minimum wage, and about a quarter of an average Chinese wage.

 

147.        Last year, the right-wing President Park Geun-hye was forced to resign after a huge corruption scandal provoked a wave of mass protests. In the subsequent election, the liberal candidate Moon Jae-in was elected as new President. He tries to improve the relations with China. Beijing imposed unofficial economic sanctions against South Korea after the U.S. deployed the THAAD system. However, Moon Jae-in could improve relations with Beijing at a recent visit in China, despite the massive pressure by Washington. Beijing lifted the sanctions after Moon Jae-in accepted several military constraints known as the “three No’s”. Concretely, Seoul agreed “there will be no further anti-ballistic missile systems in Korea, no joining of a region-wide US missile defence system and no military alliance involving Korea, the US and Japan.[24] Likewise, Seoul improved relations with Pyongyang resulting in collaboration around the upcoming Winter Olympics. Hence, we see that Washington saber-rattle also serves the purpose to stop this accommodation and to bring Seoul back into line.

 

148.        Finally, it is important to bear in mind that South Korea’s working class and student movement have a proud tradition of militant struggle for their social and democratic rights. Take for example the famous Kwangju Uprising in 1980, when the people in this southern city took over local control for ten days in May 1980 in protest against the dictatorship of General Chun Doo-hwan. The regime finally succeeded to smash the insurrection and to kill up to 600 people. However, later the dictatorship was brought down by mass protests and since then South Korea has experienced a series of militant class struggles, resulting in the formation of the militant KCTU trade union federation and a left-wing student movement. A military attack of U.S. imperialism against North Korea could provoke a revolutionary upsurge of the South Korean working class and youth.

 

 

 

Amid Sanctions and War Threats: Defend North Korea! Defeat U.S. Imperialism!

 

 

 

149.        The RCIT has put forward its position on the North Korean crisis in several statements. We unreservedly oppose all attempt of the imperialist Great Powers – first and foremost the USA – to pressurize and subjugate North Korea. We call for an end of all sanctions and for mass protests against the military provocations by the U.S. and its allies. In case of a military conflict the RCIT calls for the defeat of the imperialist forces and their allies and for the defense of North Korea. A successful defense of North Korea against US imperialism would weaken the biggest power and hence the biggest enemy of the world’s working class and oppressed people. It would encourage the anti-imperialist liberation struggle all over the world. This is why the international workers movement – including the social democratic, Stalinist, Maoist and centrist parties and trade unions – must unite in waging all forms of class struggle resistance. For demonstrations, strikes, sabotage etc. in order to stop such a reactionary imperialist war! They must strive to turn such a war into a defeat for the imperialist rulers. [25]

 

150.        The international workers movement – in Asia and around the world – must respond to a looming imperialist war against North Korea with global mass protests. The war-mongers must be attacked wherever possible. The Leninist maxim “Turning the imperialist war into a civil war against the ruling class” must be followed wherever possible. Naturally, South Korea and Japan are the places where such a strategy is most appropriate given the fact that these countries are allied with Washington and, at the same time, they are directly affected by such a war.

 

151.        We reject all those reformist and pacifist strategies which appeal to the UN to solve any of the world’s conflicts. It is only the consistent proletarian class struggle against imperialism and against reactionary ruling regimes leading to the international socialist revolution which can remove these threats to peace for once and all.

 

152.        Our defense of North Korea against any imperialist aggression must not be confused with any political support for the regime of Kim Jong-Un that rules the country. This grotesque form of monarchic dictatorship only serves to defend the interests of the Stalinist-Capitalist bureaucracy. The North Korean working class, while defending its country against imperialism and its allies, must aim to prepare for a social revolution with the goal to overthrow this regime and to create a healthy workers state based on workers and peasant councils and militias. Part of such a revolution must be its extension to South Korea whose proletariat has demonstrated a proud tradition of class struggle in the past decades. The rallying cry must be: “For the revolutionary unification of the Korean peninsula!” and “For a Korean Workers and Peasant Republic!

 



[1] We remark, as a side-note, that we deliberately use the term “Asia” or “Asia-Pacific” and not “Indo-Pacific”. The later is a term introduced by US imperialism and advocated by its allies like Japan, Australia and India.

[2] SIPRI Yearbook 2017 (Summary), p. 16

[3] John Walcott, David Brunnstrom: Korea talks ease war fears in Washington, but for how long? Reuters, January 12, 2018, https://www.reuters.com/article/us-northkorea-missiles-usa/korea-talks-ease-war-fears-in-washington-but-for-how-long-idUSKBN1F033N

[4] Edward Luttwak: It’s Time to Bomb North Korea. Destroying Pyongyang’s nuclear arsenal is still in America’s national interest, Foreign Policy, January 8, 2018, http://foreignpolicy.com/2018/01/08/its-time-to-bomb-north-korea/

[5] ABC: Interview with former Chair of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Admiral Mike Mullen, 31.12.2017, http://abcnews.go.com/ThisWeek/video/chair-joint-chiefs-staff-admiral-mike-mullen-joins-52069186

[7] Gerald F. Seib: Amid Signs of a Thaw in North Korea, Tensions Bubble Up, Wall Street Journal, January 9, 2018, https://www.wsj.com/articles/amid-signs-of-a-thaw-in-north-korea-tensions-bubble-up-1515427541

[8] Paul French: North Korea: State of Paranoia, Zed Books Ltd, London 2014, p. 421

[9] Greg Heffer: North Korea leader Kim Jong Un 'killed relatives over China coup plot', 24 August 2017, http://news.sky.com/story/north-korea-leader-kim-jong-un-killed-relatives-over-china-coup-plot-11002869

[10] Daniel Tudor and James Pearson: North Korea Confidential, Tuttle Publishing, North Clarendon 2015, p. 19

[11] Andrei Lankov: The Real North Korea. Life and Politics in the Failed Stalinist Utopia, Oxford University Press, New York 2013, p. 85

[12] Andrei Lankov: North Korea: Not so 'Stalinist' after all. North Korea's burgeoning black market has effectively 'opened' the country's economy, 13 Apr 2014, http://www.aljazeera.com/indepth/opinion/2014/04/n-korea-not-so-stalinist-after-a-20144210422363163.html

[13] An interesting description of the bizarre circumstances of this crisis in 2009/10 can be read in Andrei Lankov: The Real North Korea. Life and Politics in the Failed Stalinist Utopia, Oxford University Press, New York 2013, pp. 126-132

[14] Andrei Lankov: North Korea: Not so 'Stalinist' after all. North Korea's burgeoning black market has effectively 'opened' the country's economy, 13 Apr 2014, http://www.aljazeera.com/indepth/opinion/2014/04/n-korea-not-so-stalinist-after-a-20144210422363163.html

[15] See on this also Andrei Lankov: Capitalism in North Korea: Meet Mr X, one of the new business elite, theguardian.com, 29 April 2014, http://www.theguardian.com/world/2014/apr/29/north-korea-capitalism-new-business-elite

[16] Choe Sang-Hun: As Economy Grows, North Korea’s Grip on Society Is Tested, The New York Times, April 30, 2017 https://www.nytimes.com/2017/04/30/world/asia/north-korea-economy-marketplace.html

[17] Anna Fifield: Life under Kim Jong Un, Washington Post, Nov. 17, 2017, https://www.washingtonpost.com/graphics/2017/world/north-korea-defectors/?utm_term=.f62e25578ac7

[18] Michael Pröbsting: Cuba’s Revolution Sold Out? The Road from Revolution to the Restoration of Capitalism, August 2013, p. 54, https://www.thecommunists.net/theory/cuba-s-revolution-sold-out/

[19] Leon Trotsky: Not a Workers‘ and not a Bourgeois State? (1937); in: Trotsky Writings, 1937-38, p. 63

[20] Leon Trotsky: Not a Workers‘ and not a Bourgeois State? (1937); in: Trotsky Writings, 1937-38, p. 61

[21] These factors have been in particular the massive economic support for South Korea by the Western imperialists given its nature as a front state in the Cold War. Furthermore decades of iron rule of military dictatorships, fully supported by U.S. imperialism, created the necessary conditions for a rapid capital accumulation based on the super-exploitation of the working class.

[22] Michael Pröbsting: Capitalist Development in South Korea and Taiwan (1997), https://www.thecommunists.net/theory/capitalism-in-south-korea-taiwan/

[23] South Korea’s Per Capita GDP to Overtake Italy in 2018, August 07, 2017, https://financialtribune.com/articles/world-economy/69808/south-korea-s-per-capita-gdp-to-overtake-italy-in-2018

[24] David Josef Volodzko: China wins its war against South Korea’s US THAAD missile shield – without firing a shot, South China Morning Post, 18 Nov 2017, http://www.scmp.com/week-asia/geopolitics/article/2120452/china-wins-its-war-against-south-koreas-us-thaad-missile

[25] The RCIT’s position on the North Korea crisis has been summarized in several documents: RCIT: North Korea: Stop the American Warmongers! Defend North Korea against the Madman of US Imperialism! Down with the imperialist sanctions against North Korea! No political support for the Stalinist Kim Regime! 11 August 2017, https://www.thecommunists.net/worldwide/asia/stop-us-madman-threatening-north-korea/; RCIT: US Sanctions against Russia, Iran, and North Korea are an Economic Declaration of War, 30 July 2017, https://www.thecommunists.net/worldwide/north-america/us-sanctions-vs-russia-iran-north-korea/; RCIT: North Korea: Stop the War Mongering of US Imperialism! 4 April 2017, https://www.thecommunists.net/worldwide/asia/us-aggression-vs-north-korea/; RCIT: New Imperialist Threats in East Asia: Hands off North Korea! 12.3.2013, https://www.thecommunists.net/worldwide/asia/defend-north-korea/; RCIT: No War against North Korea! Call for Protests on the Day when a War starts! 6.4.2013, https://www.thecommunists.net/worldwide/asia/no-war-against-north-korea/; Michael Pröbsting: US Aggression against North Korea: The CWI's "Socialist" Pacifism. Hippie Day-Dreaming is an Impotent Tool in the Struggle against Imperialist War! Authentic Socialists say: Defend North Korea! Defeat US Imperialism! 12.09.2017, https://www.thecommunists.net/worldwide/asia/cwi-and-north-korea/