The many strands of Marxist thought had led to many a “splitter”, Tankies, Trots, even Hoxaists, but are there Juche supporters around the world? The short answer is that ye there is and that they are quite an eclectic bunch.
What is Juche?
We have dealt with Juche through a great article, so will just do a beginners course here. It is essentially the North Korean state version of Marxism to suit the Korean situation, much as Maoism kinda did for China.
The essentially tenet of this can be summarized as self-reliance, with us for now at least ignoring the Military-First policy of the country.
Juche as a global belief?
In the 1970’s North Korea was heavily involved in not just Africa, but in independence struggles as diverse as the Black Panther Party in the United States.
In these countries they heavily supported Juche Study groups, as well as Friendship Associations, with these intensively being independent, but also the government of Democratic Peoples Republic of Korea also giving legitimacy via making certain groups “official”.
They would also provide liaison officers, as well as invite individuals to visit the DPRK where they would not only learn about Juche, but also be quoted both when in and outside North Korea by state media, such as the KCNA.
You can read about the state media of North Korea here.
These groups existed in many countries across the world,, but particularly in Africa. This is evident at the Juche tower where you will see blocks donated by various global groups from around the world. India are also heavily represented.
And while many of these groups no longer exit, some certainly do, with Nigeria for example having a huge amount of Juche followers. May of these groups were also formed before Juche was in popular parlance with Kimilsungism also being used interchangeably with the Juche idea.
Despite being very much uniquely Korean part of its popularity, ao at least what the DPRK wanted to portray was that it was “adapted for the Korean circumstances”, which gave supporters autonomy to adapt it to their own national beliefs.
Juche Supporters in America
People may not realize, but there has generally beeb a big left-wing in America. During the 1970’s a Korean Friendship Association as formed with the tacit support of the DPRK, although t remained independent of it.
This tried to galvanize anti-war support to get the US out of Korea, but ultimately failed.
Following this there were a number of controversial groups such as the Rural Peoples Party, as well as Songun Politics Study Group, with Songun being the military firsts policy of General Kim Jong-Il. These groups were controversial to say the least, with allegations of links to right-wing extremists, as well as religious cults.
There is a fabulous article about the American supporters of Juche that you can read here.
Group supporting North Korea still exist in the United States, although they have to an extent been superseded by the Korean Friendship Association – which we will deal with next.
Juche Supporters and the Korean Friendship Association (KFA)
The KFA was formed by Spanish national Alejandro Cao de Benós he got his group officially recognized, but then to gain global support some feel he might have embellished his credentials.
For example he has claimed tone a North Korean cisterns, as well as a member the Supreme Peoples Assembly, which are generally considered not true.
And while his organization very much has global reach and offices, he and the KFA are from the only official association. In fact numerous other independent Friendship associations exist, such as the New Zealand-DPRK Friendship society.
There are also popular Juche Study groups of some fame in the United Kingdom. And there’s even famous Maoists such Marxist Rebel News, who support the DPRK, but very much not the KFA.
Alejandro Cao de Benós is currently wanted by the FBI, although the KFA, at least at first sight seems to still be working under some kind of structure.
Are there Juche Political parties?
There are many communist parties that support, or at least recognize Juche as valid ideology, such as the signatories to the Pyongyang declaration. These parties in general though would not describe themselves as exclusively Juche supporters in the same way that there are Trotskyist, to Hoxhaist parties,
There are though many parties that are very much fervent supporters of the DPRK, such as the Communist Party of Great Britain (Marxist-Leninist), as well a political parties from most major countries.
Is there an “International” for Juche Supporters?
Quite amazingly there is not, despite the fact that most other factions don get their own one. For example Hoxhaist Parties, who are members of the rather small International Conference of Marxist–Leninist Parties and Organizations (Unity & Struggle)?
This is as opposed to the larger and more generally accepted International Meeting of Communist and Workers’ Parties.
Both of these groups would have parties that support, or do not support the DPRK to certain levels, with some even having factionalism within giving different options.
So, is there Juche Supporters around the world? There most certainly are and you will find them in some real places that you might not have expected to see then.
You can see Kimilsungism for yourself on one of our DPRK Tours.