[OPE-L] North Korea, used to be What Ahmadinejad actually said - lost in translation...

From: Martin Kragh (Martin.Kragh@HHS.SE)
Date: Fri Jan 26 2007 - 10:43:13 EST

Re: [OPE-L] What Ahmadinejad actually said - lost in translation...

PS. It is obvious beyond all doubt that Kim Jung Ill is a complete maniac, it is not really a loaded question anywhere in the world. I was simply trying to make a point that you cannot equate for example Venzuelian or Australian military development with that in a country like North Korea, or Saudi Arabia, countries which are more than likely to use that force to suppress their own people in a direct way.  
Paul wrote:
Why is this obvious beyond all doubt?
Because the news media tell you this?
Are there any instances you can show of the North Korean govt using the armed forces to suppress its people?
From what I had gathered those forces are trained and prepared for a war against the USA not for suppressing internal dissent. The building of nuclear weapons and missiles only makes sense in the context of them being targeted on US bases in South Korea and Japan. 
Martin reply:
Hi Paul! I think for example Human Rights Watch is a pretty informative organization, and I look for my information there among other places, before I formulate my opinion. It is interesting to see how this debate has turned into a debate about "bourgeois" so called "imperialist" countries, and "other" nations, that should be respected when they pursue rational self defense against their capitalist aggressors. Pretty far from the orginal thread... 
Why is this obvious beyond all doubt?
Because the news media tell you this?"
I have already written also that I do not really trust mainstream media, so asking me whether or not I get all my cues from CNN doesn't really contribute to this debate. As a matter of fact, your comment can be read as an insult.   
This is however what HRW writes in a report on a North Korean factory:
"It is generally accepted that North Korea prohibits organized political opposition or independent civil society. The country has an abysmal human rights record, including arbitrary arrests, pervasive use of torture, lack of due process and fair trials, and executions. There is no freedom of information or freedom of religion. There are no independent trade unions or labor activism. Most North Koreans do not enjoy the freedom to choose their own occupation, because job assignments follow the state’s central economic plan, rather than individual talents or wishes.2  "
I have not studied the North Korean society in detail, but I do pursue a PhD on the economic history of the USSR, and I have thus had the opportunity to acquaint myself with questions regarding the type of things mentioned in the HRW report, though in a Soviet context. This is really so obvious that I feel a little silly writing it, but it is not possible to hold a population hostage without the use of force. Now from what I can see North Korea is not only like Stalin's Russia, I am confident that it is many times worse. Because of geographical matters, Soviet leadership could never control the whole country by pure force, and they had to rely on many different forms of cooperation. In North Korea it seems to me, this is however possible to a greater extent. HRW confirms this:
"    Pyongyang flatly denies all allegations of human-rights abuses, though arbitrary executions, torture, forced labor and strict limits on freedom of speech and association have been amply documented. North Korea is a country where collective punishment against entire families is used to respond to political dissent, whether actual or perceived. The family of the "perpetrator" is sent to forced-labor camps -- sometimes for the rest of their lives. Leaving the country without official permission is considered an act of treason, punishable by the death penalty, which is why China must end its practice of returning North Koreans.  
In North Korea, imprisoned women are often forced to abort fetuses and prisoners are routinely executed in public, often in the presence of children. Pluralism and civil society are nonexistent. There is no religious or press freedom.  
Now why would you want to defend Kim Jung Ill? Because he is "anti imperialist" ? If this is the result you get from applying imperialist equations on reality, well then I reject that theoretical framework.  
"The building of nuclear weapons and missiles only makes sense in the context of them being targeted on US bases in South Korea and Japan. "
This is what scares me the most, that the maniac Kim Jung Ill would actually do something like that, and thus wipe out large parts of South Korea's and Japan's civilian population. I know that the military presence of US in Japan and South Korea is not necessarily something they embrace over there, however, that's for them to decide, not Kim Jung Ill. A "anything goes as long as it is anti-imperialism" model is not really beneficial I think.
Someone said that George Bush is a "bourgoies" leader. I do not know what that is really, but Kim Jung Ill owns one of the largest private collections of exclusive liquor in the world. He also has his own harem and he likes to party well into the morning, according to people who have visited him or managed to run away. His lifestyle really sounds more bourgeois than the lifestyle of anybody else I can think of.
Oh yeah, he is also the world's greatest golfer.  
Kind regards

Från: OPE-L genom Jerry Levy
Skickat: to 2007-01-25 16:49
Ämne: Re: [OPE-L] SV: [OPE-L] What Ahmadinejad actually said - lost in translation...

> This I think is false logic, presuming that nuclear weapons in the hand of maniac
> leaders like Kim Jong Ill would somehow balance the economic and political strength
> of America, Russia or the UK. 
He may or not be a 'maniac'  -- a loaded expression and one which could equally
be used to refer to many current or former bourgeois  leaders including  G.W. Bush
and Sharon.
Of course if North Korea had nuclear weapons it wouldn't balance the _economic_
and _political_ strength of the US, Russia, or the UK, etc.  It wouldn't
even balance the _military_ strength of those powers.  But, it  might -- or might not -- 
serve as a military deterrent. 
> I cannot anywhere see how such a development would be beneficial for progressive
> political movements in other parts of the world. Venezuela recently (last year) agreed
> with Russia that they would upgrade their military equipment tout court over the nearest
> future, including the building of a Kalshnikov-factory in Venezuela. A contract all in all
> worth billions of dollars. These types of transactions happen all the time, and even
> though the US does not approve officially, they wont do anything about it. Most likely,
> it's not enough to deter a potential attack from the US more that a few days anyhow.  
> Sweden is now negotiating with Saudi Arabia so we can sell them some fine artillery that
> they can use to further oppress their people. I cannot see how this would be progressive
> or beneficial for the democratic movement anywhere.
Do you agree that the Venezuelan people have the right to self-determination and that the
sovereignty of that nation should be respected?  If so, then they have the right to
self-defense, don't they?    If we recognize that right then who are we to tell them from
afar what weapons they should have?  What's wrong with Kalshnikov rifles, anyway?   
The US-sponsored coup failed because the people took to the streets and risked their
lives to keep  their democratically-elected president from being ousted by military strength.  
A lesson of that failed coup, just like a lesson from the Bay of Pigs in Cuba, is that the
people have to be prepared to repel an imperialist attack.  Arming workers and the
poor in militias is a more democratic and popular model than just relying on the
professional military, isn't it?   (This raises the issue of 'gun control':
so long as the police and the military have guns [i.e. so long as the agents of the state
have guns], shouldn't workers have the right to be armed as well?  I think that most
of the arguments for nuclear disarmament and gun control are based on liberal
principles including a liberal perspective on the role of the state. A  non-state
centered perspective would be different.  For that reason most anarchists strongly
oppose gun control legislation.)
In solidarity, Jerry

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