Capitalists are very cunning. They leave no stone unturned to maintain their position. They rear labour aristocrats among the working class and put them up to disorganize the ranks of the working-class movement. Here lies one of the major reasons why revolution does not break out in the developed capitalist countries now.
When I started the revolutionary struggle, some of my comrades advised me to go to Moscow and study at the university run by the Communist International.
They asked this because they wanted me to give good leadership to the revolutionary movement after a greater deal of study, but I declined. I did not go to Moscow, thinking that it would be better to learn while struggling among the people than studying at Moscow.
Our people, not people at Moscow or Shanghai, were my teachers.
In 1932 we organized an army against Japanese imperialism, but we had no experience in an armed struggle at the time. Nevertheless, we launched an armed struggle, acquiring and enriching our experience through the struggle. In the struggle the armed ranks grew, and the revolutionaries and young patriots became closely united.
My comrades respected me and I loved them. The soldiers of the Korean People’s Revolutionary Army treasured and loved one another in this way, waging an arduous armed struggle against the Japanese imperialists for 15 long years.
We did not receive foreign aid in our fight against the Japanese imperialists. Even if we wanted some aid in the procurement of weapons, there was no one to turn to for such aid. We armed ourselves by capturing weapons from the Japanese imperialists and fought the enemy with the support of the people.
The working-class party must not only evolve a correct guiding ideology and theories to accomplish socialism, but must also inculcate them efficiently in the popular masses.
Firmly arming the popular masses with socialist ideology is a decisive guarantee for strengthening the motive force of socialist society and for enhancing its role, so as to move the revolution and construction forward at full steam.
Effective education of the popular masses in socialist ideology enables us to awaken them ideologically and organize them solidly. It encourages them to fulfill their responsibility and role as the driving force of socialism and as the masters of the state and society. When they fight with a high level of ideological consciousness and in close unity, the popular masses can display immeasurable strength and wisdom and transform nature and society immensely.
An incomparable advantage and the indestructible strength of socialism lie in the fact that it gives full play to the unfathomable strength and wisdom of the popular masses, the makers of history. This is precisely the advantage and strength of socialist ideology, which are ensured by ideological work.
Parties in some countries which were building socialism in the past, clung to economic construction alone. They took a dogmatic approach to preceding socialist theory and failed to pay due attention to educating the popular masses. Therefore, they made economic construction itself stagnate and, in the long run, pulled the socialist system down and went the length of reviving capitalism.
Opportunists and renegade socialists abandoned ideological work in socialist society, and encouraged people to be egotistic and selfish.
They spread bourgeois ideology—which regards money as omnipotent—among people, by adopting the capitalist method of using financial incentives. They echoed reactionary bourgeois propaganda which preached the “effectiveness” and “advantage” of the capitalist market economy.
They proclaimed a “mixed economy” and destroyed the economic system based on socialist ownership. It is beyond dispute that the opportunists’ and renegade socialists’ maneuvers were an anti-socialist and counter-revolutionary scheme to distort socialism, paralyze its superiority and open up the way to the fall of socialism and the return of capitalism, to please the imperialists.
The process of the breakdown of socialism in a number of countries teaches us the serious lesson that, if one overlooks ideology and abandons ideological work in socialist society, this will make people ideologically sick. It will corrupt and destroy everything socialist. If the ideological bulwark falls down, socialism will be unable to defend itself no matter how great its economic and military power may be. On the other hand, this proves how great a role ideology plays and how important ideological work is, to accomplish socialism.
Unless ideological education and an ideological campaign are conducted to put an end to the abuse of power and bureaucracy they will be fostered and grow, and not disappear. If the abuse of power and bureaucracy are allowed to grow in socialist society they will alienate the popular masses from the party and state, and the enemies of socialism will exploit this.
The situation in those countries in which socialism has collapsed shows this. In every country the people demanded socialism free from the abuse of power and bureaucracy; they did not demand capitalism. But, in some countries the party and government were discredited in the eyes of the people due to the abuse of power and bureaucracy.
Taking advantage of this, acts of betrayal were committed in order to instigate people to oppose the socialist ruling parties and socialist power by misleading them with the preposterous slander that socialism was “totalitarianism” and with the promise that they would be provided with “humane and democratic socialism”.
What the people have got as a result of the collapse of socialism is not “humane and democratic socialism” but capitalism under which exploitation, oppression and social inequality are dominant and every type of crime and social evil prevails. In those countries where socialism collapsed and capitalism was revived the abuse of power and bureaucracy have not disappeared but have become institutionalized and legitimized and are now socially prevalent.
The establishment of the socialist system creates the social and economic conditions for all the members of the society to unite and cooperate on the basis of one ideology; however, unity and cooperation among the people cannot be achieved spontaneously. In order to strengthen the unity and cohesion of the whole of society, education in socialist ideology must be improved among them.
In the past, however, the remoulding of people’s ideological consciousness was neglected in socialist practice because of the failure to understand that the basic driving force for the development of a socialist society lies in unity and cooperation among the people based on a high degree of ideological consciousness. In particular, there were tendencies to raise people’s enthusiasm for production by means of such economic levers as material incentives, seeking the driving force for the development of the socialist economy in adapting the production relations to the character of the forces of production.
Of course, the lever of material incentives may be used in socialist society because it is transitional. But, this lever must be used on the basis of giving priority to education in socialist ideology. In other words, the principle must be maintained of putting the main stress on political and moral incentives and properly combining material incentives with them.
If, instead of doing so, emphasis is put merely on material incentives, this will reduce people to egoists who seek only their own interests, with the result that society will stagnate and the foundations of socialism will be destroyed. In those countries which abandoned education in socialist ideology and encouraged egoism, the building of the socialist economy floundered and, taking advantage of this, the leadership of the working-class party and state over the socialist economy was rejected on the excuse of opposing the administrative command system and the capitalist market economy was introduced.
Political leadership and the centralized and systematic guidance of the economy is a basic task for the working-class party and state in socialist society. This is because they are in duty bound to take care of the popular masses. For the working-class party and state to abandon their function of guiding the economy means ignoring their responsibility in taking care of the livelihood of the popular masses.
The way the party and state should give guidance to the economy in socialist society may differ from one country to another, according to their specific situation and the requirements of the developing revolutions, but they must on no account abandon their guidance of the economy. An economy without guidance from the working-class party and state is not a socialist economy, and the society which is not based on a socialist economy cannot be called a socialist society. How much scope is given to the superiority of the socialist economy depends on how the party and state give guidance to it.
Our experience shows that the economy can be managed particularly well in keeping with the intrinsic nature of socialist society when, in the management of the economy, the collective guidance of the party committee is ensured, the mass line is implemented, political work is given precedence in all undertakings and the revolutionary method of work and popular style of work are established among officials.
The renegades of socialism are converting socialist ownership into private ownership, claiming that the “administrative command system” relies on the absolute dominance of state ownership. The socialist ownership which consists of state and all-people ownership and cooperative ownership forms social, economic foundations which enable the popular masses to occupy the position of masters of the state and society and play their role as such.
It is clear that if socialist ownership is dissolved and converted into private ownership, the means of production, having been privatized, will be concentrated, sooner or later, in the hands of privileged people, speculators and a handful of other exploiters, no matter what the method of privatization may be. It is not long since privatization was carried out in those countries in which socialism had collapsed, but millionaires have already appeared while the vast majority of the working people are suffering because of unemployment and poverty.
As the facts show, rejecting the guidance of the economy by the working-class party and state and doing away with socialist ownership is nothing more than reviving the capitalist exploiting system, whatever pretext may be cited.
All the anti-socialist, evil propaganda accusing socialism of being ”totalitarian”, “barracks-like” and “administrative and commanding” is nothing more than mud-slinging at socialist collectivism and the extolling of bourgeois individualism. So the struggle between socialists and the renegades of socialism is a struggle between socialism based on collectivism and capitalism based on individualism.
In order to counter the vilification by the renegades of socialism and to defend the cause of socialism, we must embody the principle of collectivism thoroughly in all areas of social life.
Disregarding the opinions of the people and not believing in their strength are the traits of a renegade. If such a renegade holds power, the misfortune the people will suffer will be immeasurable. The greatest misery for people is to have the wrong leader.
If continuity of leadership is to be ensured in a socialist society, the party should be strong.
In general, the personality and qualities of the leader of a communist movement are formed through a process in which he is tempered and tested in a fierce class struggle. But the personality and qualities of the leader of the new generation in a socialist society are shaped in the course of his being tempered and seasoned through a party life and the practical work of building socialism.
If an admirable leader is to come forward, a leader who has been tempered and tested through a party life and revolutionary practice in a socialist society, the party should be powerful.
Historical experience shows that it is quite possible for an excellent leader to come forward who is faithful to the cause of socialism and the people and is well-qualified and can carry forward the cause of socialism successfully if the problem of continuity of leadership is solved in a foresighted way on the basis of strengthening the party organizationally and ideologically and observing party principles.
The collapse of the socialist ruling parties and the destruction of the socialist systems in many countries are a great loss to the cause of independence for the popular masses. But if one learns a lesson from one’s failure and opens up the revolutionary path of party building independently and creatively, one will be able to build a more revolutionary and militant party and continually promote the cause of socialism under the leadership of the party.
Another historical lesson to be learned from the collapse of the socialist ruling parties and of the socialist systems in some countries is that continuity of leadership must be ensured if one is to complete the cause of socialism.
We cannot regard the responsibility for the disintegration of the socialist ruling parties as resting with ordinary party members. In any of those countries ordinary party members have faithfully supported the cause of the working-class party and grieved at its collapse. The problem was that the continuity of revolutionary leadership was not ensured.
The destiny of the cause of socialism, which emerges in the fierce struggle against the class enemies, depends on how leadership of it is ensured. The struggle for socialism has developed in many countries over a long historical period, but correct leadership for it has not always been ensured. Leadership of the cause of socialism can be ensured only when an outstanding leader stands at its centre.
There is no greater fortune for people than being guided by a leader who enjoy their absolute trust for his brilliant wisdom, outstanding leadership ability and noble virtue as well as for his lasting achievements. This does not mean that people who have no such great leader cannot carry out the cause of socialism. The most valuable of the traits of a leader who leads the cause of socialism is his loyalty to this cause and to the people.
A leader derives wisdom, leadership ability and virtue from the popular masses. The people are teachers, and there cannot be a prominent leader who is isolated from the people. Correct leadership will be ensured when the leader mixes with the popular masses at all times, listens to their opinions and solves everything by relying on their strength, and the leader who has such popular leadership qualities is a true leader of the people.