The SA Communist Party in Gauteng recently held a meeting addressed by North Korean Ambassador Jo Yong Man. According to the SACP press statement, he shared "the history of the Korean revolution, its current contradictions in the fight against US Imperialism and the South Korean puppet regime."
He invited the SACP to jointly celebrate North Korea’s 50th anniversary of independence on 27 July 2013. It’s mind-boggling that a political party in democratic South Africa finds affinity with the ghastly repression and backwardness of North Korea.
It epitomises George Orwell’s fear about Stalinism: "If you want a vision of the future, imagine a boot stamping on a human face – forever." North Korea is a vast prison camp for 24 million people that tramples on every single human right.
Escapees have testified about concentration camps and "total control zones" where dissidents are imprisoned for life. They suffer hard labour, torture, starvation, rape, murder, medical experimentation and forced abortions.
A Korean Nelson Mandela or Archbishop Desmond Tutu would be swiftly disposed of.
Its centrally managed economy is a dismal failure, including a three year famine starting in 1994 that killed up to one million people.
Compare this to the glittering success of capitalist South Korea. Its per capita income is 17 times higher than that of North Korea. A satellite picture at night shows South Korea with sparkling lights, but the north is almost completely dark.
South Korea is Asia’s fourth largest economy and the world’s 15th largest economy.
It has corporations like Samsung and LG that are the first and third largest mobile phone companies in the world. Hyundai and Kia motor cars are popular too.
We can learn much from South Korea in educating our people and spurring economic growth. Like former West and East Germany, the two Koreas show how a market-based economy surpasses state-control on virtually every measure. What further proof does one need as people with the same culture perform so differently under the two systems?
Another lesson is how economic freedom assists political freedom, as South Korea has evolved from dictatorship to free elections. The SACP’s embrace of North Korea shows that it is a hypocritical dinosaur of the highest order.
Its tired Marxist rhetoric is a cover for a political elite to use state power for its own ends. It doesn’t have the courage to face the electorate on its own, choosing rather to infiltrate and manipulate the ruling party.
The ravings about imperialism overlook the Soviet domination of Eastern Europe and sponsorship of repressive states like North Korea. The SACP should be honest enough to say they don’t actually believe in our Constitution. They hunger for the days of commissars who arranged "elections" in which they were endorsed by 100% of voters.
Are they really serious in celebrating a country where leadership is passed from father to son in a hereditary dictatorship? North Korea’s latest constitution actually drops all mention of communism, and its official ideology has been described as racial nationalism.
Armed with nuclear weapons, it is a threat to world peace.
The SACP’s love affair with North Korea exposes an ugly truth that even Jeremy Cronin can’t explain away.