Treatise published in Rodong Sinmun, organ of the Central Committee of the Workers’ party of Korea (November 1, 1994)
Socialism is a science. Socialism has been frustrated in a number of countries, but scientific socialism is as alive as ever in the minds of the people. The imperialists and reactionaries are fussing about the “end of socialism”, with regard to the events in some countries, which had been building socialism. The renegades of socialism try to justify their despicable betrayal, claiming that the ideal of socialism itself is invalid. However, the truth cannot be concealed or obliterated. The crumbling of socialism in various countries does not mean the failure of socialism as science but the bankruptcy of opportunism, which has corrupted socialism. Although socialism is temporarily experiencing a heart–rending setback because of opportunism, it will without fail be revived and win ultimate victory for its scientific accuracy and truth.
Socialism is the ideal and the revolutionary banner of the popular masses who are fighting for independence. The masses achieve their independence by means of socialism and communism.
The people’s independence was ruthlessly trampled upon in the hostile class society. Where there is oppression, there will be resistance; where there is resistance, revolution will break out. The popular masses have vigorously struggled to win their independence for a long time. During this, class societies have changed and the struggle of the masses for independence has developed. However, the only changes brought about when hostile class societies were replaced, were in the forms of oppression of the popular masses’ independence; the masses were not freed from social and political subordinat1on.
The failure to attain the masses’ independence in hostile class societies was because all these societies were based on individualism. Individualism is the product of private ownership. Society, based on private ownership and its product, individualism, inevitably splits into hostile classes, produces class antagonism and social inequality, and is accompanied by the exploitation and oppression of the popular masses by a small ruling class. History shows that independence for the masses cannot be realized in a society based on individualism. A historical review of the development of human society proves that, in order to realize the masses’ independence, a society based on individualism must be replaced by a society based on collectivism, by socialism and communism.
Capitalism has turned individualism into the unlimited greed of a handful of capitalists; it has precipitated antagonism in the society of individualism to the utmost. Meanwhile, the masses’ struggle for independence has entered a new stage of development. Ours is an age of independence, when the popular masses have emerged as masters of their own destiny, as masters who dominate the word. This show that the transition of a society based on individualism to a society based on collectivism is an inevitable demand of historical development.
Collectivism is man’s intrinsic need. People can exist and develop only when they work as a social collative. People can transform nature and society and meet their desire for independence, not as individuals, but only through collective cooperation among members of society. If people are to live in a social collective, they must meet both their collative and individual demands for independence. The collective demand for independence is the common requirement of members of society for the existence and development of the social collective. The individual need for independence is the need as an equal member of a social collective; it is the need, which should naturally be met through collective efforts in return for his contribution to society. The individual need for independence fundamentally differs from selfish greed, which ignores the collective and subordinates everything to the interests of an individual. Both the collective and individual needs for independence can be satisfied to the fullest only through collectivism. Individual demand divorced from collectivism becomes selfish greed. Such greed encroaches upon the demands of other members of the collective for independence, and hampers the unity and cooperation of the collective. Collectivism alone makes it possible to strengthen the unity and cooperation of the collective, to simulate the creative zeal of all collective members and to properly combine both the collective and individual demands for independence and thus fully meet them. Because working in a social collective is the mode of man’s existence, and because man’s demand for independence can be satisfied only through collectivism, society based on collectivism, socialist and communist society, is the most progressive society, which conforms with man’s independent nature.
Certainly, collectivist principles are not fully applied in al1 spheres of social life immediately after the establishment of a social list system, because in socialist society the vestiges from the old society remain for some time. The survival in socialist society of the remnants of the outmoded society is a Passing phenomenon. With the development of socialism, these vestiges are gradually overcome and collectivist principles are implemented more fully in all areas of social life.
Although socialism is an inevitable stage of historical development and socialist society is the most progressive one, which conforms to man’s independent nature, socialism will never be realized spontaneously. In order to realize socialism, we must prepare the revolutionary forces capable of doing this and evolve a correct method of struggle. Unless the revolutionary forces and the method of struggle are prepared, the desire for independence of the popular masses who aspire after socialism will remain a mere wish.
The idea of eliminating exploitation, oppression and social inequality, as well as the private ownership on which these are based, and of setting up an equal society based on public ownership, was put forward by utopian socialists a long time ago. However, the utopian socialists, despite their sympathy for the misery of the exploited working masses, failed to see them as the revolutionary force capable of burying the exploitative society and building a new society. They considered that enlightening people and appealing to the “good will” of the exploiter class could correct the irrational aspects of capitalist society. It is an unscientific illusion to expect “good will” from the exploiter class, whose nature is greed. The utopian socialists’ expectation of “good will” from the exploiter class was their historical limitation.
The exploiter class and their stooges put forward the “theory of class cooperation” and tried to block the struggle of the exploited working masses against exploitation and oppression. Within the communist movement, reformists and revisionists demanded “class cooperation” and seriously harmed the revolutionary movement, Today, traitors to socialism are also clamoring for a return to capitalism, harboring illusions about capitalism and expecting “aid” and “cooperation” from the imperialists. History shows that to expect “good will” or “class cooperation” from the exploiter class is to make a mess of the revolution.
Marxism combined the demands of working people who aspire to socialism, with revolutionary forces and a revolutionary fighting method. Marxism made clear that contradictions existed between the productive forces and relations of production in capitalist society; that these contradictions could be resolved through the class struggle of the exploited working people against the exploiter class; and that the working class would take charge of and led this class struggle. Thanks to Marxism, the inevitability of the collapse of capitalism and the victory of socialism was proved, and the demands of exploited working people who aspire to socialism were linked with practical revolutionary forces and a revolutionary fighting method capable of meeting their demands’ Socialism was thus coned from a utopian scheme into a science, and a revolutionary change took place in the history humanity’s struggle for liberation.
However, the theory of socialism in the preceding age, based on a materialist outlook on history, was not free from historical limitations. This theory did not regard the social and historical movement as a movement of the motive force, as a movement which begins and develops on the initiative and through the roe of the popular masses, its motive force, but as a natural historical Process which changes and develops due to material and economic factors. According to the materialist outlook on history, the mere the predictive forces develop in a capitalist society, the more intensive the incompatible contradictions between the productive forces and relations of production and the antagonism between the exploiter class and the exploited class grow, the mere the working class and other revolutionary forces develop in strength and, accordingly, the more the revolution matures. Seeing material and economic factors as fundamental in the revolutionary struggle, the preceding theory of socialism failed to raise the task of strengthening the motive force of the revolution and enhancing its role as the basic way to cap out the revolution.
As for the influence exerted by the development of productive forces in capitalist society, we must no approach it from only one side. The development of the productive forces in capitalist society intensifies the bipolar differentiation, which results from the increasing imbalance between rich and poor. It sharpens class contradictions, while at the same time; it provides the monopolists with increasing possibilities to spend part of their high profits on soothing class contradictions. In addition, the development of the productive forces results in the expansion of the ranks of industrial workers by their incorporation of peasants and other high bourgeois classes, and also in an increased proportion of worker engaged in mental and technical labour in the productive sectors, as well as those in nonproductive sectors.
Of course, objective conditions have a great influence on the revolutionary struggle. But the decisive factor in the victory of the revolution lies not in objective conditions, but in how to strengthen the motive force of the revolution and how to raise its role. Whether in a developed capitalist country or an underdeveloped one, socialism can emerge victorious if the motive force of the revolution is strengthened and its role enhanced through efficient work. History shows that socialism first triumphed in relatively backward countries, not in the countries where capitalism had developed. The experience of our revolution, which has advanced under the banner of the Juche idea, shows that if we strengthen the motive force of the revolution and enhance its role, we can not only avail ourselves of the given objective conditions but also to unfavorable objective conditions into favorable ones and ensure the victory of the revolution by turning a misfortune into a blessing.
The limitations of the preceding theory based on the materialist outlook on history have been revealed more clearly in the course of socialist construction since the establishment of the socialist system.
In general, the more a society develops, the greater the role played by the popular masses, the driving force of social movement, becomes. This is because their independent consciousness and creative ability increase with the development of society. The role of the popular masses as the driving force of social movement is raised to an unprecedented level in socialist society. Socialist society develops thanks to the creative power of the popular masses, which are at with a high level of consciousness and are united as one. In socialist society, the transformation of man, his ideological remolding, becomes a more important and primary task than that of creating the material and economic conditions of socialism. Only when precedence is given to the transformation of man, will it be possible to strengthen the driving force of the revolution and increase its role, and thus build socialism successfully. If the ideological remolding of the popular masses is regarded as and of secondary importance and the work of strengthening the driving force of the revolution and enhancing its role is neglected in socialist society, while attaching decisive importance to the objective material and economic conditions and concentrating only on economic construction, the building of socialism as a whole cannot be carried out properly and economic construction itself cannot avoid stagnation. These practices were very apparent in some countries, which had been building socialism in the past. Taking advantage of this, the renegades of socialism carried out “reforms” and committed counterrevolutionary acts, destroying the socialist economic system itself.
In the past, the founders of Marxism evolved socialist theory by putting the main stress on material and economic conditions. This is to do with the fact that it was regarded as an important historical task to disprove the bourgeois reactionary theory, which consecrated capitalism and preached its “eternity”, while maintaining mysticism and fatalism. But now, the renegades of socialism are advocating the material-is-almighty doctrine and the economy-is-almighty doctrine in order to restore capitalism, of which they harbor illusions.
Putting socialism on a new, scientific basis was regarded as a very urgent task, not only to overcome the historical limitations of the Preceding theory of socialism, but also to defend socialism against all kinds of opportunist distortions and imperialist attacks.
The great leader comrade Kim Il Sung, who created the Juche idea and, on this basis, evolved an original socialist theory, successfully solved the historical task of putting socialism on a new scientific basis. The respected Comrade Kim Il Sung discovered the philosophical principle that man is the master of everything and decides everything. He explained a new law, which governs social movement, the movement of the motive force, and he thus put socialism on a new, scientific basis. The socialist and communist cause as clarified by the Juche idea is the cause of the popular masses for their complete independence. Socialism as scientifically systematized by the great leader Comrade Kim Il Sung is man-centered socialism and socialism centered on the masses. Ours is socialism where the popular masses are the masters of everything, where everything serves them, and which is developing through there united efforts. The Juche-orientated theory of socialism scientifically clarified the essence of socialism and the law governing its development, by placing man at the center. On this basis, the theory explained that if the building of socialism is to succeed, a vigorous struggle must be waged to occupy the two fortresses of socialism and communism, the ideological and material fortresses, and that here, absolute Precedence must be given to the struggle to take the ideological fortress.
The scientific accuracy and truth of the Juche orientated theory of socialism have been proved by the practical experience of our revolution. Our people began to wage the struggle for socialism in the backward circumstances of a colonial semi-feudal society. They had to carry out the revolution and construction under unusually difficult circumstances. Despite this, our Party could successfully blaze the trail for socialism by constantly making its main task that of firmly uniting the popular masses around the Party and the leader, organizationally and ideologically, as required by the Juche idea, thus strengthening the driving force of the revolution and enhancing its role. Our Party is increasing the political and ideological might of our revolution in every possible way by giving definite priority to the transformation, of man, to ideological remolding, in all work in the building of socialism, while at the same time, strengthening our self reliant national economy and defense. As a result, it is vigorously advancing the revolution and construction without vacillation, even under the present comp1ex circumstances. Practical experience clearly shows that our socialism, the embodiment of the Juche idea, is the most scientific and viable socialism.