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Column: The Democratic Labor Party's Identity
[ Issue 102 Page 6 ] Sunday, November 28, 2010, 17:48:21 Hojae Jin natejin77@hotmail.com

North Korea’s “Dear Leader” Kim Jong-Il has publicly declared Kim Jong-Eun, his third son, as the next leader of the Democratic “People’s Republic” of Korea. Kim Jong-Eun has engaged in official activities since the declaration made on the anniversary of the day the Communist Party was created. Now, since Kim Il Sung, the first leader of North Korea, Kim Jong-Eun becomes the third leader of the Kim bloodline. This process of hereditary succession of power cannot be explained even by the ideology of socialism; it is an anachronism dating back from the feudal age.

However, some political parties and public organizations are maintaining silence or even going a step further by advocating this progression of events. The most conspicuous of these political parties is the Democratic Labor Party. The head of Democratic Labor Party, Jung-Hee Lee, commented on a newspaper interview that in order to continue holding talks with North Korea, we need to keep our mouths shut and that if we criticize the inner problems of North Korea, there would be no hope for peace in Korea. Her comment arouses doubts to whether this could be a comment coming from the leader of the political party that champions progress. Now we cannot help but throw serious questions about the real identity of the Democratic Labor Party which is reaching the level of accepting the nonsensical hereditary succession of power.

Hereditary succession of power was thought to be something possible only during the feudal age. Even the prestigious Chinese daily newspaper “People” has criticized the hereditary succession of political power in 1980 through its Opinions section. It argued that a leader should be chosen by the people. Now, a political party in South Korea is attempting to protect this nonsense, making us suspicious of whether the party is just a group of North Korea followers.

Mrs. Lee of the Democratic Labor Party argued that if we criticize North Korea’s hereditary succession, the tension would climb and we will not be able to have conversations with the North anymore. Does that mean if the Democratic Labor Party criticizes the South Korean government, the party is declaring its intent to cease conversations with the government? Also, what about all the raw criticism the North is making that is aimed at our government? Does the North have the sole right to criticize the other side of the 38th Parallel?

Mrs. Lee criticized that “the United States and Korea always devise plans to directly attack Pyongyang and capture the top officials if any kind of small military conflicts arise.” However, the party has not mentioned anything about the fact that the North’s Labor Party has ruled that the Korean peninsula has to be unified under the Communist cause. Also, it would be harder to unify with the North in peaceful means if this hereditary kingdom continues.

The most important issue is the identity of the Democratic Labor Party. In order to become a legitimate political party, the Democratic Labor Party at least has to clarify its ideology and values that it is advocating. It also has to clearly reveal what it wants politically when the Korean peninsula is unified. It cannot ask for the people’s support without clearly defining these fundamental aspects of a political party.

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