Workers Vanguard No. 873
7 July 2006
Defend North Korea!
Imperialist Frenzy Over Missile Tests
JULY 4—In the midst of concerted threats by the U.S. and Japanese imperialists, the North Korean deformed workers state today launched several missiles into the Sea of Japan. While the Japanese Kyodo news agency reports that they were medium-range Rodong missiles, CNN cites claims by U.S. government sources that several short-range Scuds were fired along with at least one long-range Taepodong-2 missile that failed in flight.
The imperialists have been claiming that North Korea was preparing to test-launch its multistage, Taepodong-2 rocket, with Japanese prime minister Junichiro Koizumi proclaiming that Japan would have to respond harshly. Today a senior U.S. State Department official denounced the missile launches as a provocative act. Last month, a North Korean diplomat at the United Nations commented: North Korea as a sovereign state has the right to develop, deploy, test fire and export a missile. We are aware of the U.S. concerns about our missile test-launch. So our position is that we should resolve the issue through negotiations (Washington Post, 22 June).
Leading representatives of the Democratic Party have been so rabid over North Korean missiles that they make even the demented Bush administration look relatively peaceable. Clintons former secretary of defense, William Perry, and Perrys former deputy Ashton Carter declared in a Washington Post (22 June) opinion piece that the U.S. should immediately make clear its intention to strike and destroy the North Korean Taepodong missile before it can be launched. This could be accomplished, for example, by a cruise missile launched from a submarine carrying a high-explosive warhead. An alarmed New York Times (26 June) editorialized against such Really Bad Ideas on Korea. Dick Cheney, no less, observed that if youre going to launch a strike at another nation, youd better be prepared to not just fire one shot.
The warmongers in Washington promote the absurd lie that North Korea may be about to attack the U.S. In fact, it is North Korea that is in the cross hairs of the U.S. military machine. The just-concluded annual Valiant Shield war games off Guam brought together three U.S. aircraft carrier strike groups in the Pacific for the first time since the Vietnam War. Japan last month dispatched ships and planes to monitor North Korea, while the U.S. intends to install its antimissile Patriot system in Okinawa. The U.S. has also deployed an advanced spy plane to South Korea, and North Korea has accused the U.S. of repeated spy flights over its territory.
The U.S. capitalist rulers have tried to crush North Korea ever since capitalist/landlord rule was overthrown there under the protection of the Soviet Army following World War II, freeing the northern half of the country from imperialist domination and establishing proletarian, collectivized property relations. While in the South the American occupation army sought to crush a revolutionary upsurge by Korean workers and peasants, the North became a deformed workers state, saddled from birth with a nationalist, Stalinist bureaucracy under the late Kim Il Sung that is currently headed by Kims son, Kim Jong Il.
The U.S. and its imperialist allies devastated the Korean peninsula in the Korean War of 1950-53, killing some three million Koreans. The imperialists leveled the entire peninsula with high explosives and napalm in their drive to roll back not only the social revolution in Korea but also the Chinese Revolution of 1949. This drive was stopped by the heroic struggle of Korean workers and peasants, with the aid of a massive Chinese military intervention. To this day, the U.S. maintains some 30,000 troops in capitalist South Korea alongside the South Korean military, dedicated to reversing that victory. U.S. troops out of Korea now!
Under Democrat Harry Truman, Washington made preparations to nuke North Korea during the Korean War, deterred only by Soviet military might, including its newly developed nuclear arsenal. Today North Korea is targeted by the U.S. imperialists massive nuclear arsenal, including the weapons at the disposal of the Pacific fleet. But the main strategic target of that arsenal is China, the strongest of the remaining bureaucratically deformed workers states. In a dangerous provocation against China, last year Japan and the United States ominously declared capitalist Taiwan a mutual security concern. U.S. imperialism continues to pursue the military encirclement of China, with plans for two huge new bases in Australia, as part of its drive for capitalist counterrevolution.
As Trotskyists, we call for the unconditional military defense of North Korea and China—as well as the Cuban and Vietnamese deformed workers states—against imperialist attack and internal counterrevolution. In the face of U.S. imperialisms unchallenged global nuclear hegemony, the only meaningful guarantee of any nations sovereignty today is the possession of a credible nuclear deterrent, as the imperialist threats against capitalist Irans nuclear program highlight (see U.S. Hands Off Iran! WV No. 863, 3 February). North Korea claims to have developed nuclear weapons, and the Taepodong-2 could be critical to making them deliverable. Such weapons are necessary to deter imperialist attack and defend the workers state, a historic gain of the international working class.
Chinese premier Wen Jiabao has treacherously echoed imperialist warnings against North Korea, appealing last month to the various parties to proceed from the greater interest of maintaining stability on the Korean Peninsula and refrain from taking measures that will worsen the situation. Moreover, Beijing continues to pressure Pyongyang back to the six party talks with which the imperialists hope to gain North Koreas nuclear disarmament. The Beijing Stalinists illusion that there can be peaceful coexistence with imperialism undermines Chinas own defense. Likewise, Kim Jong Ils nepotistic, cultist Stalinist regime heads a parasitic bureaucratic caste whose extreme nationalism and class-collaborationist politics stand in the way of defending North Korea.
We fight for the revolutionary reunification of Korea—for socialist revolution in the South and workers political revolution to oust the Stalinist bureaucrats in the North. The fight for revolutionary reunification must be linked to the struggle for proletarian political revolution in China and to the extension of proletarian power to Japan, the industrial heartland of Asia, and to the U.S. imperialist colossus. Key to this struggle is the creation of Leninist-Trotskyist parties as sections of a reforged Fourth International.
Doves on Iraq, Hawks on North Korea
It is one thing for the U.S. to invade semicolonial Iraq, where American forces are bogged down in the occupation, and quite another to go after North Korea, which has some means to defend itself. Many of the Democrats who opposed Bush on Iraq complained that that war was a distraction from the real threats to U.S. imperialist interests, singling out Iran and North Korea. Thus black Democratic Congresswoman Barbara Lee, quintessential spokesman for the partys progressive wing, asked then secretary of state Colin Powell in a House committee hearing just prior to the invasion of Iraq: What will it take for the Administration to focus as much attention on North Korea, which has demonstrated its nuclear and missile capabilities, as it is focusing on Iraq? As an alternative to Bushs doctrine of preemption, Lee favors the kind of engagement carried out under Clinton, when Perry (among others) drew up plans for air strikes in 1994 on North Korean nuclear facilities.
Yet it is just such antiwar Democrats that reformist groups like the International Socialist Organization (ISO) and Workers World Party (WWP) have promoted throughout the Iraq invasion and occupation in their class-collaborationist peace coalitions. The WWP, which proclaims its political support to the Stalinist Kim Jong Il regime, and the anti-Communist ISO, which is openly hostile to the North Korean deformed workers state, share the same program of pressuring the liberal wing of U.S. imperialism to give its bloody rule a more human face.
The ISOs political godfather, the late Tony Cliff of Britain, broke from the Trotskyist movement during the Korean War when he refused to defend the Soviet Union, China and North Korea against the counterrevolutionary war waged by democratic U.S. and British imperialism. The ISO hailed the counterrevolutionary destruction of the USSR in 1991-92, which was a massive defeat for the world working class. The collapse of the Soviet Union played out particularly harshly in North Korea, which faces economic isolation and increased vulnerability to imperialist attack.
It is in the class interests of the American proletariat to defend North Korea and all the remaining deformed workers states against the U.S. capitalist rulers, whose wars and occupations abroad are combined with a war at home against the working class, black people, immigrants and all the oppressed. The U.S. imperialists murderous depredations will not be ended through the reformists appeals to the capitalist rulers to become peaceful but only through socialist revolution in the belly of the beast. We fight to forge the revolutionary workers party needed to lead that revolution to victory.