A New Period of Socialist Construction in DPRK and Wok Style in Kim Jong Un’s Era

Michael Vikulin

President, Moscow Society for the Study of


The eighth Congress of the WPK was held in Pyongyang from January 5 to 12, 2021. In accordance with the decisions of the congress, changes will take place in the economy and society, which are expected to bring the construction of socialism in the DPRK to a new level.

The Congress laid the foundation for a new political culture. The speeches of Comrade Kim Jong Un are unthinkable if we consider the DPRK exclusively from the point of view of the socialist states of the past. I was not able to find a single case in which the head of a party or government in the USSR or another socialist country publicly acknowledged the failure to implement an economic development plan. Now we know that not all the plans for the development of the national economy were implemented in these countries. At the same time delegates solemnly reported on their successes at party congresses. This created a false sense of the invincibility of socialism in the country. Many leaders did not have the opportunity to admit failure, because it could cost them a party career. N. S. Khrushchev did not recognize the failure of the industrial management reform until the end. N. S. Khrushchev was a party functionary who primarily expressed the interests of the party nomenklatura, and only secondarily the interests of the Soviet people.

«However, though the period of implementing the Five-Year Strategy for the National Economic Development ended last year, almost all sectors fell a long way short of the set objectives» [Opening Speech at the Eight Congress of the Workers’ Party of Korea // Korea today №2 (776) Juche 110 (2021). P. 12], — said Comrade Kim Jong Un from the rostrum of the congress.

Admitting mistakes requires a strong political will. At the same time, this is important, because now the political culture of the DPRK should include an intensified fight against anti-socialist phenomena, more active internal party criticism and public discussion of the shortcomings of the work. These are the measures necessary to 2 improve the state of the party. Moreover, such an attitude to the shortcomings of work should become natural for all socialists and communists, for all progressive countries.

On this account, V. I. Lenin said: «To cloak an unpleasant truth with a deceptive phrase is most harmful and most dangerous to the cause of the proletariat, to the cause of the toiling masses. The truth, however bitter, must be faced squarely. A policy that does not meet this requirement is a ruinous policy» [Lenin V.I. Defence of Imperialism Cloaked with Deceptive Phrases // Collected Works, Progress Publishers, 1964, Moscow, Vol. 24, p. 340—342].

The expansion of internal party criticism and the strengthening of discipline are two sides of the same coin. The changes that were adopted in the Charter at the congress strengthened the party's control bodies. The task of the central control audit commission is to control from above. However, the top-down control is not effective enough if it is not supported by a grassroots initiative. Therefore, it was decided to form provincial, city and county control and audit commissions.

«Party organizations and officials — says Comrade Kim Jong Un, — should absolutize and staunchly safeguard the authority of the Party Central Committee anytime and anywhere, and they should never tolerate or connive at even the slightest tendency to undermine the authority, but wage an uncompromising struggle against it» [On Comrade Kim Jong Un’s Report to the Eight Congress of the Workers’ Party of Korea // Korea today №2 (776) Juche 110 (2021). P. 33].

Internal party criticism, grassroots control and control from above should strengthen the party, purge it of unreliable elements. In this way, the party will fight against such dangerous anti-socialist phenomena as abuse of office, bureaucracy and corruption.

Comrade Kim Il Sung said: «If a working-class party is to be a motherly party, it is essential to oppose bureaucratic and aristocratic tendencies within it firmly, provide the people with fully independent and creative lives, and share life and death and fair and soul with the masses to the end of the revolutionary road» [Kim Il Sung. The historical experience of building the Workers’ Party of Korea // Works. Vol. 40, p. 90 (electronicversion)].

These precepts of Comrade Kim Il Sung are reflected in the report of the Central Committee, which Comrade Kim Jong Un delivered at the congress.

The new version of the Charter of the WPK returned the provision on the regular convocation of congresses, as was customary during the leadership of Comrade Kim Il Sung. This will strengthen internal party democracy and increase the involvement of party members in internal party life. At the same time, congresses of party cell secretaries and secretaries of primary party organizations will be convened every five years. These measures should strengthen the link between the party and the masses, strengthen the unanimity and unity of the WPK.

The campaign to strengthen party discipline should also lead to faster economic growth. Party bodies should not replace the administration in their work, but should lead politically. The report of Comrade Kim Jong Un says: «They must eliminate such tendencies as taking administrative affairs upon themselves as they are engrossed only in economic work, and regard it as an iron rule to resolve all problems arising in the revolution and construction strictly in a Party-oriented, political way of giving full play to the spiritual strength of Party members and other working people» [Concluding Speech at the Eight Congress of the Workers’ Party of Korea // Korea today №2 (776) Juche 110 (2021). P. 42]. Comrade Kim Jong Il said about this: «The senior Party officials of an enterprise must not take over administrative affairs, ruling the roost» [Kim Jong Il . Let us firmly equip ourselves with the theory of juche-oriented socialist economic management // Selected works. Vol. 11, p. 341 (electronic version)]. He separately stressed that the party committee is led politically, so its leadership «has nothing in common with the practice of taking administrative work upon itself» [Kim Jong Il . Let us firmly equip ourselves with the theory of juche—oriented socialist economic management // Selected works. Vol. 11, p. 335].

The WPK will adopt new methods of ideological work. Kim Jong Un criticized the formalism in the ideological work. He called for «the irrational Party work system and methods should be improved in line with the requirements of the developing reality»[On Comrade Kim Jong Un’s Report to the Eight Congress of the Workers’ Party of Korea // Korea today №2 (776) Juche 110 (2021). P. 34].

The Congress adopted the most important decisions in the field of economics. All the years of his leadership, Comrade Kim Jong Un has made efforts to strengthen the centralization and planning of the national economy of the DPRK.

In 1993, the next seven-year plan ended. At the plenum, the Central Committee adopted a three-year buffer period in order to implement the plan for key indicators. But due to the collapse of the socialist camp and the rupture of most foreign economic relations, the economy of the DPRK was experiencing a severe crisis. After the «Arduous March» of the 1990s, it took time to fully restore the economy, to adopt a long-term economic plan.

From 1997 to 2021, the DPRK did not adopt multi-year plans. In May 2016, at the seventh Party Congress, they approved a five-year development strategy-namely, a "strategy", not a plan. This strategy became a transitional link to the plan, which was approved by the eighth Congress. The adopted plan was the second five-year plan in the country's history. Before the Patriotic War of Liberation, a two-year plan was implemented in the country; from 1954 to 1956 — a three-year plan for the restoration of the national economy, and from 1957 to 1961— a five-year plan. Subsequently, theyadoptedseven-yearplans.

The goal of the new five-year plan is to restore and streamline the system of economic work, to strengthen the links between industries, to strengthen the independent base, so that no external influence can affect it. Moreover, it is separately mentioned that self - reliance remains the basis of the economy, and one of the tasks for the period is «reducing the degree of import dependence» [On Comrade Kim Jong Un’s Report to the Eight Congress of the Workers’ Party of Korea // Korea today №2 (776) Juche 110 (2021). P. 23].

In 2018, at the Third Plenum of the seventh convocation of the Central Committee of the WPK, Comrade Kim Jong Un announced the victory of the course of parallel defense and economic construction. At the same time, he urged to focus on the development of the economy. These decisions were reflected at the congress, which finally consolidated the new vector of development.

In the report of the Central Committee to the congress, Comrade Kim Jong Un said «the need to tighten discipline in ensuring unified guidance of the state in the economic work. strengthen the national system of unified statistics. property launch the work of boosting the mainstay of the national economy, and improve the conditions of industrial establishments to carry on their management activities» [On Comrade Kim Jong Un’s Report to the Eight Congress of the Workers’ Party of Korea // Korea today №2 (776) Juche 110 (2021). P. 27]

Comrade Kim Jong Un considers scientific and technological progress to be one of the most important elements in his economic policy, since it leads to an increase in labor productivity.

In accordance with the materialist understanding of history, each subsequent socio- economic formation differs from the previous one by higher labor productivity. Under socialism, higher labor productivity is possible than under capitalism. The advantage of the socialist economy is planning, which allows you to use the available resources as efficiently as possible. Due to the planning and centralization of resources, higher labor 5 productivity is achieved under socialism. Planning also allows the masses to manage production independently, relying on their own strength. The measures mentioned by Comrade Kim Jong Un in the report are aimed at advancing the cause of socialism. Comrade Kim Il Sung said: «Consolidating the people’s government while giving strong impetus to the three revolutions — ideological, technological and cultural — is the general line of our Party in building socialism and communism» [Kim Il Sung. Let us carry out the Party’s policy on effecting a revolution in light industry by stimulating officials’ loyalty to the revolution, the party, the working class and the people // Works. Vol. 42, p. 90 (electronicversion)].

Comrade Kim Jong Un, following the precepts of Comrades Kim Il Sung and Kim Jong Il , is working to strengthen the planned economy, strengthen party discipline, and combat anti-socialist phenomena. The success of the cause of socialism depends on the implementation of the decisions of the Congress, on the implementation of the new five-year plan.

Communists all over the world appreciated the fact that the anthem of the working class — the International-was played at the closing of the historic 8th Congress. In his report to the congress, Comrade Kim Jong Un set the task of developing relations with socialist countries, strengthening cooperation with revolutionary and progressive parties, and launching an anti-imperialist struggle on a global scale.

The practice of building socialism in the DPRK is the best confirmation of the correctness of the ideas of Comrade Kim Jong Un, which were expressed at the 8th Congress. I am sure that the 9th Congress of the WPK will confirm this.