The Weekly paper of the New Communist Party of Britain
Week commencing 21st September 2018

70 years of socialism

by Dermot Hudson

A KOREAN Friendship Association (KFA) delegation joined thousands of others from all over the world visiting Juche Korea in September for the 70th anniversary of the foundation of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK). Despite the bourgeois media continually harping on about the DPRK being isolated, Pyongyang was packed full of foreign visitors that included the famous French actor Gerard Depardieu and former East German Premier Hans Modrow.

Our five-strong delegation landed in Pyongyang on 4th September. We were driven into Pyongyang on a small bus together with a Swedish delegation. Through the window I saw green lush fields. Before our visit the imperialist media was full of lies about drought, ‘crop failure’, ‘famine’ and ‘mass starvation’, but it looked like an abundant harvest to me. During the visit we saw no homeless people on the streets, no beggars, no drug addicts or alcoholics or gang violence — so unlike London of today.

Our delegation visited the Korean Revolution Museum , Fatherland Liberation Museum, the Kumsusan Palace of the Sun, several factories, the Pyongyang Teacher training college, the Tower of the Juche Idea, the Pyongyang Metro, the Mangyondae Children’s Palace and many other places. It was good for the first-time visitors on the delegation to see the captured US spy ship the Pueblo and the magnificent Pyongyang Metro, which is truly a great sight to behold. We attended the ‘Prosperous Country’ mass games, and also the joint concert given by the State Merited Chorus and the Samijyon Orchestra, as well the grand military parade, civilian mass demonstration and torchlight procession.

We witnessed first hand the single-hearted unity of the Korean people around the leader, the Workers’ Party and the Juche idea by seeing the military and civilian parade, the torch light parade and the mass games. There is no doubt that the imperialists are trying to destroy this unity but have failed to do. Their sanctions have failed and the DPRK is in very good shape with well stocked shops.

At the Ryuwon Footwear Factory we learnt that it had already hit its target for the yearly plan in August, as have over a 1,000 factories and units in the DPRK. We also visited two other factories. What impressed us was that the factories we visited were remarkably clean, spotless in fact, unlike factories in Britain that would be full of dirt and grease. Each factory had a revolutionary history room as well as a room for studying ideology, plus excellent welfare facilities for the workers including swimming pools and sports courts. You would never see that in a capitalist country.

Despite the sanctions and blockade, the DPRK is investing heavily in science and technology. We were amazed by the Pyongyang Teacher Training College, which was celebrating its 50th anniversary. Here they were using the latest technology and applying it to teaching. There was even virtual reality, something which I could not imagine being applied to teaching. I even had a short conversation with a virtual pupil.

We participated in the international Seminar on the Juche Idea and the short study course of the Korean Association of Social Scientists (KASS). There was plenty of emphasis on self-reliance and self-development, and no talk of ‘reform’ or ‘opening up’. Indeed, we were given an excellent lecture by video which explained that the history of the Korean revolution is the history of self-development. Similarly, one of the papers presented to the International Seminar on the Juche idea was about the independent national economy.

At the Korean Revolution Museum, which had been renovated and I had not visited for 10 years, the guide explained how the DPRK has an independent national economy and a self-reliant munitions industry. We learnt in detail about the struggle to found the DPRK and in particular about the extremely radical land reform, in which land was given to the toiling farmers free of charge with no compensation being paid to the landlords.

At the Korean Revolution Museum and Fatherland Liberation War Museum we learnt that the DPRK consistently maintains the anti-imperialist line. In discussions with Korean comrades were told that the DPRK will keep the nuclear deterrent as long the US nuclear threat and hostile policy against the DPRK continue to exist.


The grand military parade and the torchlight parade were truly fantastic, totally out of this world, it’s always great to see a DPRK military parade. We were impressed by the incredible discipline and precision shown by the Korean People’s Army troops. It was great to see the tanks of the Korean People’s Army thundering by with the flags of the DPRK, the Workers’ Party of Korea and the Supreme Commander proudly fluttering on them.

Seeing the civilian mass demonstration after the military parade, we saw slogans such as “Forward along the road of socialism”, “Lets us live our own way” and “Long live the revolutionary spirit of Mt Paektu”, which implicitly rejected ‘reform’ and ‘opening up’, and were basically anti-revisionist and rejected big power chauvinism. Generally the emphasis in the DPRK is on ideology and this was evidenced in a number of ways, such as teams vigorously waving and swirling red flags to encourage people to hit higher production targets.

There were so many high points of the trip that it is difficult to write about them all. I think most in the delegation agree that the biggest highlight was actually seeing Korean leader Kim John Un at the parade and during the mass games.

One very special highlight was to ride on a trolley bus to the Arch of Triumph. It was no ordinary trolley bus but a 1960s trolley bus that had actually been used by the great leader Kim Il Sung and dear leader Kim Jong Il in the 1960s. This was a rare privilege indeed. In London trams were scrapped in 1952 and trolley buses went the same way in the 1960s, but People’s Korea still uses them.

It had long been my secret dream to ride a DPRK trolley bus or tram. I remember my mother saying that the trolley bus is the best way to travel, it’s sad that she is no longer alive so I could tell her I had been on a trolley bus!

As we walked along the streets to the trolley bus we saw red flags flying on the construction sites. Comrade Pak, a senior cadre of KASS, said: “‘Now you will travel like a Pyongyang citizen.” The ride was very smooth, just like my mother said it was. Public transport fares in Pyongyang are incredibly low, about 2p or 3p for a bus journey or Metro trip.

We were able to visit the Pyongyang Mission of the Anti-Imperialist National Democratic Front (AINDF) of south Korea, the vanguard of the south Korean revolution and patriotic anti-imperialist resistance organisation. We were shown a video about Korean reunification and the north—south summit. I was happy to be presented with a pot of sweet Korean honey by the AINDF comrades.

We also briefly met comrades of the Korean Committee for Cultural Relations with Foreign Countries, and members of the Korean Friendship Association who were staying in the DPRK.

Juche Korea is a paradise and it makes you feel younger being there. We would have liked to stayed on for a few more weeks and we were, naturally, sad to return to Britain after such a wonderful visit.