Monday, October 18, 2010

Worker's Party of Korea Elects Leaders

By Deirdre Griswold
Published Oct 14, 2010 9:44 PM

Since 1948, the year of the founding of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, there have been only three national conferences of the Workers’ Party of Korea. These events, under the party’s charter, can take place between national party congresses in order to debate and decide the party’s direction, policy and personnel changes.

Each of the three conferences has dealt with important junctures facing this embattled country, which has survived more than six decades of unrelenting aggression and hostility from 11 different U.S. administrations, headed by both Democrats and Republicans. The Koreans call their party “the general staff of the Korean Revolution,” underscoring their constant need to defend the social gains won through their epic struggles against first Japanese and then U.S. imperialism.

The first two party conferences were held in March 1958 and October 1966. The third conference of the party was held this September 28-29. Delegates from all over the north of Korea met in Pyongyang, the capital, to chart the course for the future development of the Korean Revolution and elect the leaders of the WPK.

As usual, U.S. imperialism, together with the rightwing, pro-imperialist party ruling in the southern half of the Korean Peninsula, had been trying to put the DPRK on the defensive by blaming it for the sinking of a south Korean ship in March. However, outside of Washington’s closest imperialist allies, the world refused to accept that the DPRK was to blame and the frantic U.S. efforts to line up condemnation fell flat.

Even as the conference was taking place, however, the U.S. and south Korea were carrying out huge joint military exercises and an anti-submarine drill in the waters around the Korean Peninsula, some of which involved a nuclear-powered aircraft carrier.

The Pyongyang meeting exuded confidence in the Workers’ Party and its ability to continue to modernize the economy of the DPRK while keeping the country’s defenses strong and flexible.

The delegates elected 125 members and 105 alternates to the party’s Central Committee. That body then met and elected a Political Bureau of 17 members and 15 alternate members, as well as a Presidium of five members. This structure ensures that the experience and dedication of the entire party is reflected in the choice of leaders.

The conference reelected Kim Jong Il as party general secretary and head of the Central Military Commission of the WPK. Kim has been in charge of the party and the nation since 1997. In that time, the DPRK has weathered many crises and military threats from the U.S. without giving in to pressure.

It also elected Kim Jong Un to the Central Committee and made him vice-chairman of the Central Military Commission of the WPK. The commander of the Korean People’s Army had awarded him the rank of general before the conference met.

Despite comprehensive economic sanctions imposed by Washington in an effort to weaken the DPRK’s centrally planned economy, it continues to develop according to socialist principles that put the needs of the people first. As a result, literacy is 99 percent for both males and females and everyone is guaranteed jobs, housing and health care.

In a letter to the National Committee of Workers World Party in the United States, the Central Committee of the WPK wrote that their party “is now engaged in an energetic struggle to effect great innovation and a big leap forward in building a great, powerful and prosperous nation, relying on the revolutionary zeal of all the party members, the KPA servicepersons and the Korean people that has soared after the party conference.”

In an answering letter to Comrade Kim Jong Il, congratulating him on the success of the party conference, WWP wrote that “The working class here in the United States is suffering massive unemployment and a loss of housing, education and health care due to the worldwide capitalist crisis. More than ever, we need to forge anti-capitalist unity between U.S. workers and the struggling peoples of the world.

“Solidarity with the DPRK and all the Korean people resisting U.S. domination and war threats will continue to be a crucial part of Workers World Party’s program as we combat racism and great power chauvinism and build an independent, working class movement for socialism in the United States.”

The conference was followed by a celebration of the 65th anniversary of the founding of the Workers’ Party, in which hundreds of thousands of people participated in mass artistic displays, dancing and calisthenics.

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