Kim dynasty drags on

From the January-February 2012 issue of News & Letters:

World in View

Kim dynasty drags on

by Gerry Emmett

The body of late North Korean dictator Kim Jong-il will be placed on display in Pyongyang, beside that of his father Kim Il-sung. The official news agency reported “natural wonders” following Kim’s death, including that “…a Manchurian crane was seen flying around [Kim’s] statue three times before alighting on a tree. The crane stayed there for quite a while with its head bowed and flew in the direction of Pyongyang.”

His son Kim Jong-un has been named new head of state and will be surrounded by advisers, like unclein-law Chang Song-taek. They will make sure that the system stays intact, including the doctrine of “military first” when it comes to appropriating food and other necessities. For them there is too much at stake to allow divisions to show, which might encourage rebellion.

The North Korean state has managed to reduce its “materialism” to that one idea, military first. It is what ties the alleged miraculous deeds of the Kims to the tacit non-existence of the people, who are left to starve when the leaders deem it necessary. A brutal example of the failure of Stalinist state-capitalism that continues to exist largely because no other capitalist state wants to pick up the expenses of its collapse.

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