RES: a trip to North Korea

Yoshie Furuhashi furuhashi.1 at
Mon Apr 24 13:30:22 PDT 2000

Bruce Robinson wrote:

> > >>Yoshie Furuhashi wrote:
> > >>> >> No, I'd criticize North Korea more freely, *if* I were a North
> > >>> >> Korean, but I'm *not*.
>Where are these North Koreans freely criticising their country's policy? In
>jail or worse, I think. Unless you believe that even in the midst of
>famine, everyone is so contented with their lot that they have no reason to
>be critical!

I'm afraid you're the one who cannot trust the critical intelligence of North Koreans. In every former socialist society, there existed many dissidents of all sorts -- intellectuals, workers, etc. -- some of whom admirable, others mere wannabe patriarchs & capitalists. You assume that North Koreans are too slavishly obedient to authority -- in a good Oriental fashion, I suppose -- to exercise the spirit of critical judgment, hence incapable of consenting or refusing to consent rationally.

The image of North Korea as a society of the cult of personality *per excellence* -- to the degree *unknown* in other societies, socialist or capitalist -- seems to be an Orientalist slander against ordinary North Koreans, though it pretends to be a "criticism" of the North Korean party elite.

>...and exploits and oppresses its own working class and peasantry. Rather
>than hiding behind the argument that Americans have no right to criticise
>North Korea, perhaps one of the apologists for this 'socialist' state based
>on the hereditary principle can explain what exactly it is in North Korea
>they are defending.

You are slow on the uptake, but it is the U.S. military threat which gets used by the North Korean party elite to curtail the freedoms -- for instance, of movement -- of North Koreans. So, to the extent that your yucking about North Korea, *by reproducing doxa*, helps the U.S. government to *use doxa as pretext* for continued military presence in the Korean Peninsula (and elsewhere), you are in effect *helping* the North Korean party elite to discipline North Korean workers and peasants. Why don't you focus on removing the U.S. military threat if your objective is indeed to help North Koreans gain more freedoms?


More information about the lbo-talk mailing list