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Tuesday, October 31, 2006

rekindled factional strifes in DLP

The recent events, starting from the North Korean nuclear test and continuing to the recent allegations of the participation of some recently or formerly highly placed Democratic Labor Party functionaries in illegal information gathering (read: spying) for the benefit of North Korea, have deepened the gap between the two main factions in the party, the "National Liberation" (NL) faction and "People's Democracy" (PD) faction. The former, forming the majority in the DLP high committee, for example prevented any formal condemnation of the nuclear test, and allowed only the expression of "regret" in the statement of the party. In the process, tensions were boiling high, and some members of the minority faction stormed out of the committee meeting, using even rather strong language such as kaesaekki.

Now the spy allegations have created strife also between the social democratic circles active within DLP (represented by "Autonomy and Solidarity for Social Democracy" and the marxist All Together, appearing in the DLP members' bulletin board. (Not that there had been much chance for constructive cooperation between the two, even though these movements are not really associated with either of the two main DLP factions, and they are not basically divided over the stand towards DPRK, as "NL" and "PD" factions are.) Autonomy and Solidarity published a statement which acknowledged that the authorities (NIS) are not all wrong in investigating the case and demanded that the party cease talking about "oppression by authorities." To this, All Together (which, as I said, in its unconditionally critical stand towards the DPRK government is basically different from the "NL" faction) responded by asking that "are we supposed to surrender to the witch hunt?". The pen name Hyônminokch'a, a member of the executive of "Autonomy and Solidarity," responded by giving a rather nasty description of All Together as playing to the sensibilities of the "NL" faction. It didn't take long for All Together to respond again, showing how insurmountable the divide between the two groups after all is.

An interesting piece of info from the latest All Together comment is that one of the Autonomy and Solidarity activists is operating operated a blog, in blog.chosun.com of all places, called T'ado chusap'a ("down with jucheists"). This sounds like the Finnish social democrats' relentless anticommunism from the late 1940s to early 1960s!

Väinö Tanner, the biggest noske of them all. This is his speech (ram) as a foreign minister on December 3, 1939 broadcasted by NBC in the United States.
Another interesting thing - the reason why I started to write this note in the first place - was that All Together compares Autonomy and Solidarity to Gustav Noske, the early 20th century German social democrat and the minister of the interior who gained notoriety in putting down the uprising of the Spartakist League in 1919. Here in Finland, "Noske" (or noskelainen) used to be a slur used by communists for social democrats.

For reference, a table of the two main DLP factions compiled by Daily NK; note the conservative and anti-DPRK leanings of the newssite when reading the table.
  자주파 (NL. 민족해방) 계열평등파 (PD. 민중민주) 계열
대표 이론주체사상사회민주주의, 사회주의
기반 단체

민노총 일부, 민노당 일부, 전국연합(한총련, 전농 등)

민노총 일부, 민노당 일부
당면 과제6.15연대 강화, 주한미군 철수,국보법 철폐

신자유주의 반대, FTA반대,  평화군축

당내 지분최고위원 11명 중 8명정책연구소 중심

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Comments to note "rekindled factional strifes in DLP" (Comments to posts older than 14 days are moderated)

<Anonymous Kotaji> said on 31.10.06 : 

Thanks for posting about this Antti - you know how much of a Korean left-geek I am (as well as a supporter of course).

To understand All Together's position you have to see it as a variety of united front tactic. Although they are internationalists and obviously disagree with the NL people on many different issues, they feel the best policy is to work with the left nationalists on issues they have in common in organisations like the DLP, while maintaining enough independence to criticise them openly. On the other hand, many of the former PD people who are now outright Social Democrats seem to prefer sectarianism and scoring points against their old NL foes. In other words, you could say that they seem to be putting their own faction before the movement as a whole.

I think that the SK intelligence people are well aware of this situation and are using the current 'spy scandal' in an attempt to cause strife in the DLP or perhaps even split it.

<Anonymous Antti> said on 8.11.06 : 

It was not intentional, but I knew that this post was a sure Kotaji bait...

Considering the factions of the left in the present-day Korea, it is fascinating to read a recent study of Finnish modern political history "Ghost of Revolution: The Left, Belyakov and Kekkonen in 1970" (approximate English title). Until that year the left had had a majority in the parliament for four years, Soviet Union was a considerable presence in the Finnish domestic policy, and the newly appointed Soviet ambassador (Alexei Belyakov) was in Finland to prepare ground for the sovietization of the country by non-violent means with a united leftist front. Despite the increase of "leftism" within the Social Democrat party and all the other leftist activity, the united leftist front never took off and the ambassador was called back after just half a year.

And South Korea should be at the verge of some kind of leftist takeover.

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