Chuch'e ideology

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Korean spelling
Korean alphabet : 주체 사상
Hanja : 主體 思想
Revised Romanization : Juche sasang
McCune-Reischauer : Chuch'e sasang

The Chuch'e ideology (from Korean 주체 Chuch'e , German 'subject'; often left untranslated or translated as 'independence' or 'autarky' ( English self-reliance ); pronunciation in IPA : [ ʨu.ʨʰe ], speak Dschutsche ), mostly written Juche ideology , is a political ideology that emerged under the first president of North Korea (Democratic People's Republic of Korea, DPRK), Kim Il-sung . She is part of the personality cult around the ruling Kim family.

In April 1992, Chuch'e replaced classic Marxism-Leninism as a worldview in the constitution of the Democratic People's Republic of Korea . Under the government of Kim Jong-il , the son of Kim Il-sung, the Songun policy was established as the main ideology alongside the Chuch'e ideology , which has been named first in the North Korean constitution since 2009. In the 2013 constitution, the Chuch'e ideology comes first.


Building on Marxism-Leninism, the Chuch'e ideology is intended to answer questions that arise after the victory of the socialist revolution in the construction of the new society. Kim Jong-il outlines its content as follows:

“The Juch ideology summarizes the ideas and theories that were developed, enriched and newly set up in the revolutionary struggle under the banner of Marxism-Leninism, and here one finds a scientifically sound answer to the new questions raised in the revolution and raised in the construction of our era. [...] Ever since Marx established the theories of scientific communism, humanity has waged an uninterrupted struggle for the realization of the ideal of communist society. And today communism is no longer the longing for a distant future, but is a real task on the agenda of history. "

The doctrine of the subject

The word chuch'e or juche literally means “ subject ” as opposed to “ object ”. The full name of the ideology, chuch'e sasang , can be translated as “subject thinking”, “doctrine of the subject” and the like. like translate.

In North Korea, people are often asked to "take a chuch'e attitude" on any question they can think of: agriculture , industrial production , construction, or the military . This consequently means playing "the role of a master of the house" in these areas (주인 의 지위 를 차지 하다 juin-ui jiwireul chajihada ) and enforcing one's own will (or the decisions of the party ) instead of one's own independence from external circumstances, whatever type they may be, to be restricted: the human being should be the subject, not the object of development and should take the development of society into his own hands.

From the "subject" thought, which forms the core of the ideology , three things are derived:

  1. In order to “achieve the Chuch'e”, the Korean people need their “ great leader ”. Only in this way can the whole of society as a “unified socio-economic organism” “exercise the chuch'e”, that is, appear and act independently in domestic and foreign policy.
  2. In order to "practice the chuch'e," the nation must put the interests of the military first ( songun ).
  3. The interests of one's own nation (Chajusong) are not subordinate to those of the communist world movement.

The role of the leader in the revolution

According to the Chuch'e ideology, man stands in the position of a creator and ruler of the world. However, the individual must submit to the popular masses, since he can only develop in a group. The popular masses, in turn, are to be guided by the party and the leader.

In the Chuch'e ideology, humans are indeed subjects, but unconditional loyalty is required of them. He can only play his role as a subject as part of the “unified socio-economic organism”, the nation, and then only if a leader forms its thinking and guiding center. The song “We know nothing besides you” says about Kim Jong-un : “The decision of the leader is the victory of the people” (령장 의 결심 은 인민 의 승리 ryongjang-ui gyeolsim-eun inmin-ui seungli ). In the song “We owe everything to the tenderness of the Führer” it says: “This happiness, who gave it to us? We owe this to the Führer ”(이 행복 을 그 누가 주 었나 수령님 의 은덕 일세 i haengbog-eul geu nuga jueonna? Suryeongnim-ui eundeog-ilse) .

In his speech "On the consistent development of the Juch view of the revolution", Kim Jong-il noted :

“The subject of the revolution is a unified whole of leader, party and masses. [...] Since the subject of the revolution is also a socio-political organism [...] the Juch view of the revolution must be underpinned by the revolutionary view of morality; it requires, based on revolutionary duty and comradeship, to share life and death, joys and sorrows with one another. [...] There is no doubt that the center of life is important in the existence and operation of an organism. Without a union around the leader, the popular masses cannot exist as a sovereign socio-political collective. We should come to the strong conviction that the leader is the center of the life of the socio-political collective and that we can only enjoy a lasting socio-political life through organizational-ideological and comradely union with him. "

Songun and Chuch'e

Since the end of the 1990s, the so-called Songun ("military first") policy developed in North Korea as a supplement to the Chuch'e ideology , which is presented as a consistent implementation of the "Chuch'e attitude" towards the military and is exhausted to give the Korean People's Army preferential treatment over the rest of society on any matter. This concerned both the penetration of the party with military representatives and preferential treatment in the distribution of food, textiles and medical resources. Songun politics became the hallmark of Kim Jong-il's era . The Korean Central News Agency said:

“Leader Kim Jong Il clarified in a unique manner the philosophy on arms in which a revolution starts and advances and is brought to completion by dint of arms, the principle of Songun that an army precisely means a political party, state and people and the principle of giving priority to military affairs and putting the army before the working class and pursued Songun politics based on them. "

"Leader Kim Jong Il uniquely explained the weapons philosophy, according to which a revolution by weapons begins, proceeds and is brought to completion, the Songun principle, according to which an army is nothing but a political party, a state and a people, and the principle of preferring military affairs and giving priority to the army over the working class, and based on these principles he followed the Songun policy. "

The relationship between Chuch'e and Songun is presented in the following way in North Korean propaganda. Under the conditions of the collapse of the “ socialist camp ” and the alleged imminent threat from the US , the Korean people can only “practice their chuch'e” if they give absolute priority to national defense. To forego this would mean backing away from the USA - the opposite of a “Chuch'e attitude”. This is what the “Song About the Hwasong Artillery” says, which glorifies the North Korean ICBM program:

“With the great strength of our mighty land, our pride, the Hwasong artillery, is raining fire. Like a bolt of lightning, it flies towards the shouts of the imperialists. Songun-Korea ["Korea where the military is paramount"] uses nuclear warheads to torture the aggressors and provocateurs wherever they may be on the planet. But this power is the Hwasong artillery of limitless Chuch'e [“The Hwasong artillery of the subject who knows no boundaries”]. If our party makes the decision, we will strike anytime. In order to defend Chuch'e-Korea [“the subject Korea” or Korea as a subject, as an independent actor], we will fearlessly detonate the projectiles. With the Hwasong artillery we will sound the cannon salute of the reunification. "

Nation and Internationalism

The reunification of Korea is regarded as a necessary condition of political sovereignty ( Chajusong , from 자주 chachu, “ self-determination ”, pronounced Jajusong ). Political sovereignty, economic self-sufficiency (자립 charib, “ self-standing ) and military independence (자위 chawi, “self-protection”) are sometimes referred to as “three principles of the Chuch'e ideology”. The state has the task of ensuring political, economic and military independence, which among other things results from the economic dependence on Japan, which preceded Korea under Japanese rule .

To “practice his chuch'e” the Korean people must be united. Otherwise it has “no chajusong”. Like Chuch'e, the term Chajusong usually remains untranslated. In the 1986 speech by Kim Il-sung "On the Development of the Non-Aligned Movement" it says:

“The present era is an era of sovereignty. The formerly oppressed peoples have emerged as masters of the world and sustainably advance history. With the flow of time of sovereignty, the colonial system of imperialism is finally being liquidated on the globe, the peoples of numerous countries in Asia, Africa and Latin America have achieved political independence and are energetically advancing on the way to creating a new life. "

The syllable 주 chu corresponds in chu ch'e as well as in cha chu ' and cha ju song to the character 主 (Korean chu , Japanese shu , Chinese zhǔ ), which means "owner, master, master, control, landowner, master" and the like means. In his speech “Forward under the high banner of Marxism-Leninism and the Juch ideology”, Kim Jong-il explains the relationship between Chajusong and internationalism:

“The communists can develop the revolutionary struggle and the reconstruction work if, proceeding from the concrete reality of their country, they independently determine the policy and solve all problems in the revolution and during the reconstruction on their own responsibility. The Jajusong [Chajusong] is the basis for strengthening proletarian internationalism. Internationalist unity is the union of the peoples who strive for the Jajusong, and has the goal of eliminating all forms of domination and dependency from the world and making the Jajusong a reality. Anyone who does not proceed from the Jajusong is unable to achieve a truly stable unity and reliably implement national and international tasks. "

As a result, despite the prioritization of national independence over the unity of the “proletarians of all countries”, which the Communist Party's manifesto has placed across national borders, North Korea has a large number of nationalist, anti-imperialist, left-wing and / or socialist movements around the world militarily and economically supported. This includes:

Socialism and communism

The Chuch'e ideology deals with the shaping of the developed socialist society and the conditions of its transition to the communist social formation. In her approach to this problem her idealistic character emerges.

“Only if we give priority to the ideological revolution can we reshape the ideological consciousness of the people and transform them into communist people and successfully complete the economic and cultural development by giving the revolutionary zeal of the people the full opportunity to develop. If we do not intensify the ideological revolution further, outdated ideas could revive in people's minds, capitalist ideas could seep in from outside and the revolutionary enthusiasm of the people could gradually cool off, since they no longer have to worry about food, clothing and living space as their standard of living improves. Neglecting the ideological revolution will have serious consequences in the long run in the revolution and in construction. That is why we must never neglect the ideological revolution, but constantly deepen it in the course of building socialism and communism. Our party has given the ideological revolution the absolute first rank in the revolution and in the construction, has fought vigorously for its implementation, achieved a fundamental change in the ideological and moral traits and in the way of life of the people.The whole society is of the Chuch'e -Idea and permeated by a revolutionary way of life and work. All of our working people fight for the party and the revolution, for the country and the people and society, with infinite loyalty to the party and the leader. "

This approach stands in sharp contradiction to the Marxist conception of base and superstructure , which, according to changes in social ideology, cannot be carried out arbitrarily, but rather result from the development of its economic base. The state power is a guarantee for the realization of the plans of the party:

“The people's government is a great creation of our revolution, which took place under the banner of Marxism-Leninism and the Chuch'e idea. It is the most democratic government that is closest to the people and meets the requirements of our time and the conditions in our country. Our party and our people will hold a firm grip on the people's government, whose superiority and invincible vitality have been demonstrated in the prolonged struggle for revolution and construction, and will defend the achievements of the revolution from enemy encirclement and successfully defend socialism and communism erect. "

History of origin

The development of the Chuch'e ideology is directly attributed to Kim Il-sung. According to North Korean historiography, its main features already emerged during the anti-Japanese partisan struggle, and in December 1955 Kim mentioned the Chuch'e for the first time publicly. Others place the emergence of the Chuch'e in the 1960s and see it as a reaction by North Korea to the development of the Eastern Bloc in the early 1960s. Kim Il-sung had on the one hand rejected the de-Stalinization in the Soviet Union and also concluded from Khrushchev's indulgence in the Cuban Missile Crisis that the Soviet Union would no longer be a reliable ally in the event of a conflict; on the other hand, the failure of the great leap forward and the emerging cultural revolution prevented an increased reliance on China. Kim Il-sung therefore developed the Chuch'e as the third way, which documented the independence of North Korea.

History of ideas derivation

The Chuch'e ideology is understood by its followers as compatible with Marxism-Leninism , but it largely contradicts it. The central strands of ideology can still be classified into a stringent development in the history of ideas, albeit riddled with breaks, which leads back to GWF Hegel , the direct philosophical predecessor of Marxism and the last representative of German idealism . This applies to statements on the subject-object dialectic , on the national question and on the role of the individual in history.

A central point of reference is, for example, the Marxist-Leninist terminology of the “revolutionary subject”, which was not used by the “classics” ( Marx , Engels , Lenin ) - there the talk is more of the “ class for itself ” - but in the Marxist one Discourse describes the working class when it becomes aware of its historical role of overthrowing capitalism and building socialism . This class content is lost in the Chuch'e ideology, and other central Marxist concepts such as the class struggle or even the labor movement play no role. Only the fragment of ideas that a special awareness of one's own situation is necessary to reshape society is taken up and idealistically absolutized. Chuch'e is an approach to things that is supposed to make man almighty; In the materialistic conception of history of Marxism, people make their own history “themselves, but they do not make it of their own free will, not under circumstances of their own choosing, but under circumstances that are immediately found, given and handed down. The tradition of all dead generations weighs like an alp on the brains of the living. "

The Chuch'e ideology as part of the North Korean personality cult

In 1997, three years after Kim Il-sung's death, the Chuch'e calendar was officially introduced in North Korea. It differs from the Gregorian calendar in that it counts the year, which begins with the year Kim was born. Months and days are synchronized with the Gregorian calendar. Since then, the year 1912 has been known as "Chuch'e (also: Juche) 1"; the current year 2020 corresponds to the year 109 of the Chuch'e era. In everyday life in North Korea, Chuch'e year-counting and Gregorian year-counting are used in parallel.

As a monument to ideology, the monument to Chuch'e ideology in the North Korean capital Pyongyang was inaugurated in April 1982 on the occasion of Kim Il-sung's 70th birthday .

International significance

In the 1970s and 1980s, North Korea also succeeded in gaining supporters for the Chuch'e ideology internationally. In Asia, Africa and Latin America in particular, “Chuch'e Ideology Study Groups” emerged. They were generously supported with study materials. Followers reading the works of Kim Il-sung and other representatives of the Chuch'e ideology have been featured frequently in the North Korean media. These groups were also drawn to the idea of national development independent of the then great powers of the Soviet Union and the USA . Government representatives from some African countries were also supporters of the Chuch'e ideology. The "International Scientific Seminar of the Juche Ideology", which took place from September 28 to 30, 1976 in Antananarivo , Madagascar, was opened by the then President Didier Ratsiraka . Other heads of state also spoke positively of the Chuch'e ideology during state visits to North Korea in the 1980s.

The RAF - terrorist Ulrike Meinhof was referring in her last, in the JVA Stammheim written, writings positively on the ideology. In January 1976 she wrote:

“The struggle itself proletarianises the fighters. Propertylessness and - that is the Korean party's concept of the proletarian relationship to the struggle for communism : the juch characterize the proletariat as an antagonist of imperialism , that is, as a subject of liberation. "

She refers to the literal meaning of "chuch'e" as "subject".

On April 9, 1978, the International Institute of the Juche Idea (IIJI) was founded in Tokyo. According to the founding declaration, the aim was "to disseminate the classical works of the esteemed and beloved President Kim Il-sung, to organize seminars and lectures as well as to publish papers, to coordinate the cooperation of the Juche study groups and to open libraries for studying the Juche- Ideology and book exhibitions to spread the Juche ideology ”. The first general director of the institute was the Japanese Yasui Kaori. From 1985 to 1989 the IIJI was headed by the former Austrian Federal Minister of Justice, Hans Klecatsky . The current general secretary is the Japanese Kenichi Ogami. The organ of the IIJI is the journal Study of the Juche Idea , the last issue of which appeared in October 2018.

Today, the Chuch'e ideology has little influence outside of North Korea. There are still Juche study groups in some countries, especially in Latin America and Africa, but also in Europe. In Germany, one of these groups is the “Friends of the Juche Ideology” in the KPD East .

From 1996 to 1998 the Party of Labor of Germany (PdAD) existed, which was based on the Party of Labor of Korea . The PdAD had brief contact with the NPD , where the ideology was received as part of the propagated anti-Americanism . As part of its cross-front strategy , the neo-Nazi " Kampfbund Deutscher Sozialisten " ( Kampfbund Deutscher Sozialisten ), which was disbanded in 2008, was also oriented towards the Chuch'e ideology.

On April 12th and 13th, 2012, on the occasion of Kim Il-sung's 100th birthday, a “World Conference of Chuch'e Ideology” took place in Pyongyang.

In France , the Parti Juche de France (PJF) refers to the Chuch'e ideology. The Communist Party of Malta has its own study group on Chuch'e ideology.

In Marxism, the Chuch'e ideology remains controversial; several critics classify this ideology as anti-Marxist.

Primary literature (North Korea)

  • Kim Jong-il: About the Juch ideology. Pyongyang: Foreign Language Publishing House, 1982.
  • Kim Jong-il: About the Juche philosophy. Pyongyang: Foreign Language Literature Publishing House, 2002.
  • Kim Il-sung: On the elimination of dogmatism and formalism, and on the creation of Juche in ideological work. Publishing house for foreign language literature, Pyongyang 1971 ( Juche library ).
  • Kim Il-sung: On Juche in our Revolution. Volumes 1-3. Foreign Languages ​​Publishing House, Pyongyang 1975-1982.
  • Kim Il-sung: On the Juche Idea. Foreign Languages ​​Publishing House, Pyongyang 1979, no ISBN.
  • The International Seminar on the Juche Idea. Foreign Languages ​​Publishing House, Pyongyang 1977, no ISBN.
  • The Immortal Juche Idea. Foreign Languages ​​Publishing House, Pyongyang 1984, no ISBN.

Secondary literature

  • Markus Fiedler : The Juche philosophy in North Korea. An introduction to the origins and political thinking of North Korean state ideology. Verlag Traugott Bautz, Nordhausen 2018, ISBN 978-3-95948-345-2 .
  • J. Thomas Belke: Juche. A Christian Study of North Korea's State Religion. Living Sacrifice Book Company, Bartlesville 1999, ISBN 0-88264-329-0 .
  • Luise Rinser : North Korean Diary. Fischer, Frankfurt am Main 1986, ISBN 3-596-24233-9 .
  • Alfred Pfabigan : Sleepless in Pyongyang. About the failed attempt to turn a skeptical European into a member of the Great Red Family. Christian Brandstätter Verlag, Vienna 1986, ISBN 3-85447-204-8 .
  • Colin Mackerras : The 'Juche' idea and the thought of Kim Il Sung. In: Colin Mackerras, Nick Knight: Marxism in Asia. Croom Helm, London 1985.

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