KIM JONG IL
ON THE JUCHE IDEA
Treatise Sent to the National Seminar on the Juche Idea Held to Mark the 70th Birthday of
the Great Leader Comrade Kim Il Sung
March 31, 1982
3. THE SOCIO-HISTORICAL PRINCIPLES OF THE JUCHE IDEA
The Juche idea clarifies the laws of historical development and social revolution. This idea has thrown a fresh light on the fundamental principles of the social movement, the revolutionary movement, of the working masses who create and develop history.
The socio-historical principles elucidated by the Juche idea constitute a new socio-historical outlook, the Juche outlook on history.
1) THE MASSES OF THE PEOPLE ARE THE SUBJECT OF SOCIAL HISTORY
The question of the subject of history is a basic question in understanding the development of society, the development of revolution, from the attitude and point of view of Juche.
As the leader instructed, the working masses are the subject of history and the motive force of social progress.
History develops through the struggle of the masses to transform nature and society. That history develops precisely means that the position and role of the masses as the subject of history are enhanced.
The socio-historical movement has its own peculiar laws which are different from those of natural motion. Of course, the social movement has something in common with the natural movement in that; it is also a motion of material. The social movement, too, is governed by the universal laws of the material world. But the social movement has its subject, whereas there is no such thing in the motion of nature. In nature the motion takes place spontaneously through the interaction of material elements which exist objectively. In contrast, the social movement is caused and developed by the volitional action and role of the subject.
The subject of the social movement consists in the masses of the people. Without the masses there would be no social movement itself, nor would it be conceivable to talk about historical progress.
The masses of the people are the masters of revolution and construction and the decisive factor in transforming nature and developing society. The revolutionary struggle and construction work are undertakings for the very masses and of the masses themselves. The masses of the people undertake the revolution and construction for themselves in order to shape their destiny. It is the masses that want the revolution and construction, and it is also the masses that carry them out. They produce all social wealth by their hands, and transform the world and advance history by their struggle. But for the creative activity of the masses, the social change and progress would be inconceivable. Human history shows that the masses’ wisdom and ability to understand and transform the world are unlimited, though the scope of the world created and changed by each of the generations is relatively limited.
The position of the masses grows stronger and their power increases through the transformation of nature and society. With the consolidation of their position and growth in their strength, their positive action on socio-historical progress increases.
The subject of history is the working masses, not the reactionary exploiting classes. The working masses carve out and develop history, but the exploiting classes try to arrest and turn back the historical advance. All exploiting classes, after all, constitute a reaction against history; they are the target of revolution. The whole course of the existence of class societies has been a history of sharp struggles between the creators of history and reaction against history, between the masters of revolution and the targets of revolution, that is, between the working masses and the reactionary exploiting classes. Society has advanced and developed through these struggles.
Although they are the subject of history, the masses of the people do not hold the same position and play the same role in all ages and in all societies. In the class society, unaware of their social status and class relationship and their strength for a long time in the past, the working masses could not unite into a political force. Therefore, they were deprived of all rights, subjected to exploitation and oppression, by a handful of ruling classes and denied their legitimate position as masters of society. Even in the exploiting society they created all material and cultural wealth by their own efforts, but they were unable to shape history in an independent manner, because they could not occupy the position of masters of society. Only by seizing state power and the means of production in their own hands and by establishing a socialist system can the working masses free themselves from exploitation and oppression and create history consciously as true masters of society and their own destiny.
In the socialist society the working masses undergo a radical change in their status and destiny, and their position and role are enhanced. This is due to the revolutionary leadership and struggle of the working class.
The process of development of a socialist society under the leadership of the working class is the process of working-classizing the whole society. When the whole society is reshaped completely on the pattern of the advanced working class under its leadership, the position of the popular masses, the subject of history, would be remarkably stronger, and their role in pushing forward the historical progress and revolutionary development incomparably higher.
If they are to hold their position and fulfil their role as subject of history, the popular masses must be brought into contact with leadership. Only under correct leadership, would the masses, though creators of history, be able to occupy the position and perform their role as subject of socio-historical development.
The link between leadership and masses is a very important question especially in the revolutionary movement, the communist movement, which is carried out by the working class and the broad masses of other people. Without correct leadership the communist movement would not advance victoriously because this movement itself is a highly conscious and organized one involving a serious class struggle.
The question of leadership in this movement is precisely the question of leadership given by the party and the leader to the masses of the people.
The working-class party is the general staff of the revolution, and the leader of the working class is the foremost leader of the revolution. How the masses are awakened to consciousness and organized in a revolutionary way, and how they perform their revolutionary duties and historical mission, depend on whether or not they are given correct leadership by the party and the leader.
Only when they receive correct guidance from the party and the leader, would the working class and the masses of other people be able to vigorously develop the deep-going and complicated revolutionary struggle to transform nature and society, achieve national and class liberation, build a socialist, communist society successfully, and run it properly.
As the leader said, the masses of the people have now emerged as masters of history, masters of revolution and construction, and are transforming the world more and more as they desire.
The working people including the working class are standing firmly in the central place of the historical development of our time. Hundreds of millions of people who have long suffered class and national oppression and exploitation are vigorously advancing on the road of sovereignty and independence and social progress and playing a greater role in shaping the destiny of humanity and the future of the world. Because of this grand forward movement of our time capitalism and imperialism, which has grown fat on the blood and sweat of the working masses and lorded it over their destiny for centuries, is precipitating irreversibly into bankruptcy and towards its downfall, deep into the grave of history.
The masses of the people who have become legitimate masters of their own destiny are transforming the world and creating a new history of mankind in accordance with their aspirations. This is the basic trend of modern history which no force can ever stop.
2) HUMAN HISTORY IS THE HISTORY OF THE PEOPLE’S STRUGGLE FOR INDEPENDENCE
The history of human society is the history of the struggle of the popular masses to defend and realize independence.
The leader said that all revolutionary struggles are struggles of the popular masses to defend their independence.
Throughout the long history of human society people have ceaselessly struggled to free themselves from the fetters of society and nature. All the struggles to transform society, nature and man are struggles to defend and realize independence for the masses of the people.
The struggle for social reform is an undertaking of the masses to provide themselves with social and political conditions for their independent life, free from class and national subjugation. If they are to live and act independently, people must destroy the outdated social system which tramples upon independence. Only when they wipe out the old social institutions and set up a social system which provides people with independence, will the masses of the people be able to become true masters of society and their destiny and lead an independent life.
The struggle to transform nature is an effort of the masses to create material conditions for an independent life, free from the fetters of nature. If people are to live and make progress, they must work to harness nature and produce material wealth. Only through the transformation and conquest of nature can they free themselves from its fetters and prepare material conditions for an independent life.
The struggle to transform man is the struggle of the masses to create ideological and cultural conditions for an independent life, free from the shackles of outdated ideas and culture. Only when they are completely free from the shackles of outdated ideas and culture and acquire the consciousness of independence and sound culture, will people be able to hold their destiny firmly in their hands, reshape it, and live and act genuinely as independent beings.
The transformation of society, nature, and people is the main elements of the masses’ struggle for independence. Man can realize independence completely only when he is free from social bondage, natural fetters, and the shackles of outdated ideas and culture. The struggle for independence should be carried out on a full scale in all spheres of social reform, natural transformation and human remoulding.
The primary question arising in the struggle of the popular masses for independence is to realize independence socially and politically.
Since man is a social being, independence must first be guaranteed socially and politically. This is the key to man’s freedom from natural fetters and also to his ideological and cultural development. As long as they are subjugated socially and politically, the masses of the people cannot adequately benefit from the productive forces, even if these are developed, nor can they be free from the bondage of reactionary ideas and culture.
The history of human society ever since its division into hostile classes has, above all, been a history of social revolutions to realize social and political independence for the popular masses. Through social revolutions the masses have carved out their destiny and developed society.
Owing to slave revolts which were, so to speak, the first struggle in history of the exploited working masses for independence, and to peasant struggles against feudalism in the Middle Ages, the slavery and the feudal system collapsed. That meant progress in the struggle of the working masses for independence. But that was only a replacement of the chains of slavery with feudal fetters, which in turn were replaced with the yoke of capital, not the abolition of class domination and oppression itself. In the history of human society, capitalism is the last exploiting system which tramples upon the masses’ aspirations and demand for independence. It is a violently oppressive system which combines class domination with national oppression.
The liquidation of the capitalist system and establishment of a new socialist system mark a historic turning point in the development of the revolutionary struggle for independence. With the establishment of the socialist system, all exploiting classes and institutions which trample upon the aspirations and demands of the masses for independence, are abolished, and the masses are provided with the necessary conditions which enable them to hold state power and production means in their hands and lead a fully independent life.
The transformation of nature and man, along with social reform, is an important historic task in the struggle of the popular masses for independence.
In the whole course of development of human society, the masses of the people have continuously struggled to free themselves from the fetters of nature and enhance themselves ideologically and culturally.
At the dawn of human society, people’s creative power was weak, and their ideological and cultural levels were very low. By their age-long hard-fought struggles the masses have increased their ability to conquer nature, enriched their knowledge, developed the productive forces, and steadily raised the levels of their ideological consciousness and culture. Modern science and technology, progressive ideas and culture which have been developed by human society, are without exception the result of the historical struggles of the popular masses.
The transformation of nature and man, that is, the historic cause of freeing the popular masses from the fetters of nature and outdated ideas and culture and developing them to be powerful beings capable of dominating nature and real possessors of revolutionary ideas and culture, can be fully undertaken and achieved with success only under socialism where the working masses are masters of society. Under socialism where the question of revolutionary change in the social system has already been resolved in the struggle for independence, the major tasks are to reshape nature and re-educate people to emancipate the masses, who have eliminated social oppression, from the shackles of nature and outdated ideas and culture. When the work of transforming nature and re-educating people is pushed forward in a complete way on the basis of steadily consolidating the socialist system, the independence of the masses will be more completely realized in all spheres.
Today, the struggle to defend the masses’ independence assumes an international character. Since the forces of imperialism which oppress independence are allied on an international scale, the struggle to oppose imperialist domination and oppression and defend independence, too, cannot but be an international undertaking. Because of the community of their historical backgrounds and interests, the formerly oppressed nations and peoples who have been subjected to colonial slavery, with their independence and sovereignty downtrodden by imperialism, are united together on the same front of struggle to oppose imperialism and defend independence. All countries, all nations, and peoples the world over that advocate independence must struggle jointly, in close unity under the revolutionary banner of anti-imperialism and independence. This is the only way to abolish the imperialist world order which is based on unequality and full of contradictions, and to set up a new international relationship based on independence and equality amongst countries and nations.
The age-long, ceaseless struggle of the masses for independence can win its ultimate aim by building socialism and communism. The struggle for socialism and communism is the highest stage of the struggle for independence. It is a struggle to end once and for all the exploitation of man by man, the oppression of class by class, and the domination of state by state in human society, to wipe out all remnants of old societies handed down through history, and to finally free the people from their shackles. In a communist society the masses of the people will lead a completely independent life as masters of nature and society and as true masters of their own destiny.
Defending independence is an absolute requirement of man as a social being and his inalienable fundamental right. It is natural that man who regards independence as his life and soul, combats any encroachment on his independence. The popular masses rise in the revolutionary struggle for independence against the oppressors. And for the sake of independence they devote all their creative talents and energies to building socialism and communism.
If independence is to be defended, an independent stand must firmly be maintained in the revolution and construction.
As the leader instructed, the independent stand is the fundamental stand that must be adhered to in the revolution and construction. Sticking to this stand is the requirement of the revolutionary struggle, the struggle for independence.
The independent stand is a thoroughly revolutionary stand, the working-class stand. The working class is the most independent class which struggles to emancipate itself by its own initiative and to become the master of its own destiny. The cause of socialism and communism is the historic cause of the working class, aimed at completely realizing the independence of the masses of the people. Any stands which are contrary to the independent stand are alien to the working-class stand, the stand of the popular masses, and they are all harmful to the cause of socialism and communism.
The independent stand finds expression in the exercise of the rights as masters of the revolution and construction. This means that the masses of the people handle all problems of the revolution and construction in their interests, according to their own independent judgment and decision. The right to deal with all these problems belongs solely to the people, the masters, of the country concerned. All questions related to the revolution and construction in a country must naturally be disposed of by the judgment and decision of the people of that country. This is the only way the people of each country can defend their interests and carry through their will and desire. The people of each country must not tolerate any foreign pressure or interference. Failing to resolve one’s own problems by one’s own decision under pressure or in bondage to others means losing one’s rights as master; following will of others and acting against one’s own interests means giving up one’s rights as master.
The independent stand is expressed in fulfilling the responsibility as masters. This signifies that the popular masses resolve all questions in the revolutionary struggle and construction work on their own responsibility and initiative as befitting masters. As the revolution and construction are their own undertakings, they ought to resolve all problems arising in these undertakings by their own initiative on the principle of self-reliance. One might receive aid from others in the revolution and construction, but in any case the main thing is one’s own initiative. Trying to get one’s own work done by others or to get one’s own problem solved by others is tantamount to shirking one’s responsibility as master and relinquishing one’s position as such.
Only when one upholds the independent stand can one always resolve the question of revolution in one’s country, the question of one’s nation, in accordance with one’s own views and conviction and in the revolutionary spirit of self-reliance, and carry out the revolution and construction successfully, whatever the circumstances.
The people of each country must not only oppose aggression and subjugation in firm defence of their independence, but should also fight against imperialism and dominationism which trample upon the independence of other peoples. Only when one opposes such encroachment on one’s own independence and the act of trampling upon that of others, can one be said to be standing truly in defence of independence.
The revolutionary struggle of the popular masses against imperialism and dominationism which trample upon independence, and for the victory of the cause of socialism and communism is steadily being strengthened and developed. Nothing can stem the current of historical development which demands independence and advances on the road of independence. Not only today but also the future belong entirely to the people who are struggling for independence.
3) THE SOCIO-HISTORICAL MOVEMENT IS A CREATIVE MOVEMENT OF THE POPULAR MASSES
The socio-historical movement is a creative movement of the popular masses to transform and change nature and society.
The masses’ activity for an independent life is characterized by creativity. Man realizes his desire in life through his creative activity.
The objects of man’s creative activity are nature and society. By means of his activity to transform nature which surrounds him and to reform the society in which he lives, man creates new material and cultural wealth and builds a new system and a new life.
The masses of the people are creators who remake and change nature and society. They are desirous of abolishing the old and creating the new and have creative ability to transform nature and society.
Human history is the popular masses’ history of creation.
Since the beginning of human history, the masses of the people have been conquering nature and making what is necessary for their existence and development by their creative labour, and effecting social progress by their creative activity to change the old. Their continuous creative activity has advanced society.
Their creative activity to conquer nature and bring about social progress accompanies struggle. The process of creation is precisely the process of struggle. Without struggle the creation of new things would be inconceivable. The process of replacement of an old social system with a new one and the social emancipation of the masses in particular is a process of fierce class struggle. A revolution begins with struggle and ends with struggle. The forces which go in for the preservation of an old system and life never give up their place of their own accord. A new system and life can be created only through the struggle to wipe out the old forces. All progress and changes made by humanity throughout history, after all, are the fruit of the popular masses’ creative struggle.
The process of their creative struggle is the process of developing themselves to be more powerful beings.
The masses of the people have increased their creative ability while at the same time transforming nature and developing society. The history of social productive forces is the history of the growth of men’s creative capability to conquer nature. The history of social revolutions is the history of the process to strengthen the revolutionary power of the masses to reshape society.
With growth in the creative ability of the masses, the socio-historical movement advances further.
The communist movement organized and developed by the working class is the highest form of creative movement in human history. This is a movement to build a society where the independence and creativity of the masses of the people are fully realized, the highest ideal of mankind which is fundamentally different from all class societies that have existed in history. The creative power of the masses, too, is exploited fully in the revolutionary movement of the working class. It is not until their involvement in the revolutionary movement of the working class, the communist movement, that the working masses whose creative activity has been restrained by the ruling classes during the whole period of antagonistic class societies, become genuine creators of history who transform the world to meet their own will and desire and shape their destiny in an independent manner.
The revolutionary movement, the creative activity of the masses, requires that the creative stand be always maintained firmly in the struggles to reshape nature and society.
Adhering to the creative stand is indispensable to leading the revolutionary movement to victory. Only when they adhere to the creative stand, can the popular masses keep properly their position as masters of the revolution and construction, and fulfil their role as such.
The creative stand is one that the masses of the people ought to maintain as transformers of nature and society, as shapers of their own destiny. Without maintaining this stand it would be impossible for them to reshape nature and society to meet their will and desire or hold their own destiny in their hands and shape it for themselves. Adherence to the creative stand is a sure guarantee for solving all problems by the efforts of the masses themselves to meet the requirement of the revolution and in accordance with their interests.
As the leader instructed, the creative stand constitutes the fundamental method that must be relied on in the revolution and construction.
The revolutionary movement requires that one should depend firmly on the creative wisdom and strength of the masses and utilize them to the full. The masses are masters and the motive force of the revolution and possessors of inexhaustible creative talents and strength. Only when one depends on their creative talents and strength, will one be able to understand the objective world correctly, solve all problems to suit the reality, and transform nature and society successfully. The creative stand provides the method by which to give an active stimulus to the creative power of the masses, push forward the revolution and construction on one’s own initiative, overcome the difficulties in the path of progress by the struggle of the masses, and ensure continued innovations and ceaseless advance.
The revolutionary movement takes place in a specific reality which is always diverse and undergoes ceaseless changes. It rejects all sorts of schemata and dogmas and opposes the outdated attitude of imitating others mechanically. A schematic viewpoint and a dogmatic way of thinking restrain creativity and prevent correct understanding of the ever-changing diverse realities and block the possibility of working out a scientific method of revolution and construction. Only when one bases oneself firmly on the specific reality and maintains a creative attitude towards everything, will one be able to identify the correct method of transforming nature and society and apply it skilfully. The creative stand represents the method whereby one rejects a dogmatic attitude and grasps the reality in its true perspective and concretely by one’s own thinking and solves all questions accordingly.
The creative stand constitutes the revolutionary method which enables one to meet most effectively the requirements of our time when the masses of the people have emerged as masters of history and when the revolutionary movement is highly developed. Our time requires that the role of the masses in the revolution and construction be enhanced to the highest degree and that all questions be solved creatively. The creative stand offers a sure guarantee for the victory of the revolution by enabling one to formulate a scientific revolutionary strategy and struggle policies in keeping with the development of our time and the new requirements of the revolution and ceaselessly increase the creative power of the popular masses.
4) THE PEOPLE’S CONSCIOUSNESS OF INDEPENDENCE PLAYS THE DECISIVE ROLE IN REVOLUTIONARY STRUGGLE
The revolution is propelled forward to victory by the conscious struggle of the masses of the people.
The leader put in a new light the principle that the masses’ consciousness of independence plays the decisive role in the revolutionary struggle.
Ideological consciousness determines and regulates all actions of man.
Consciousness, essentially, is the highest quality that makes man superior to all beings and the most powerful in the world. It is the sophisticated function of man’s brain, the most developed of his physical organs. The brain plays the central role in the activity of human life, and consciousness which is the function of the brain, commands all actions of man.
Ideological consciousness reflects man’s desire and interests, and for this reason, it has the most active effect on his conduct. Without the determination and regulation of ideological consciousness, man’s independent and creative activities would be inconceivable.
If a man is to be an independent creative being, he must have the consciousness of independence. This consciousness means the awareness of one’s being the master of one’s own destiny and signifies the will to shape one’s destiny by one’s own initiative. Only when a man has the consciousness of independence can he conduct conscious activity to conquer nature and actively struggle against the oppressors who encroach and trample upon his independence. Man’s endeavour to acquire a scientific understanding of the world and transform it actively is none other than the manifestation of his consciousness; man’s role in transforming nature and society, after all, is the role of his ideological consciousness.
The consciousness of independence plays the decisive role in the masses’ revolutionary movement for independence.
All revolutionary movements are conscious movements. A revolutionary movement begins with awakening people to an advanced idea and emerges victorious on the strength of the masses of the people who are armed with the advanced idea.
Ideological consciousness is the decisive factor that determines man’s role in the revolution and construction.
Ideological consciousness determines the class character of the actions of people who participate in the revolutionary movement. There can be no super-class ideology in a class society, and what is basic to man’s ideological consciousness is his class awareness. People’s attitude towards the class struggle is determined by their class consciousness. Of course, people’s activities are based on their social and class positions and limited by them. But their social and class positions have effect on their actions always through their ideological consciousness. Which class interests people struggle for in a class society depends on which class ideology they have. Only when they have the ideology of an advanced class, the consciousness of independence, can they have a correct class standpoint and struggle for the victory of the revolution.
The will and fighting power of people demonstrated in the revolutionary movement are also determined by their ideological consciousness. The level of the willpower and strength demonstrated by the people is determined by their ideology. Only those who have a firm consciousness of independence will be able to take an indomitable attitude towards the revolution, actively participate in it with a strong will, and struggle to the end, overcoming all difficulties and trials.
The masses’ revolutionary ability is unfathomable, but it cannot find full expression if they are not ideologically awakened. Ideologically unawakened masses are unable to rise in the revolutionary struggle in spite of exploitation and oppression imposed upon them, nor can they successfully transform nature and society to meet their needs. Only those masses who are conscious of their class interests can demonstrate their revolutionary force to the full and guarantee victory in the revolution.
The role of ideological consciousness steadily increases with the development of the revolutionary movement.
By nature, the communist movement, the highest stage of the revolutionary movement, requires a high degree of consciousness from people. The socialist and communist societies are built by the purposeful and conscious efforts of the popular masses. The role of ideological consciousness is incomparably enhanced when building socialism and communism after the seizure of political power and the establishment of the socialist system by the working class. Capitalism depends on the discipline of hunger and the rod, but socialism and communism rely on the high level of people’s consciousness. True, control is necessary in the socialist society which is transitional. But the more the remnants of old society are eliminated as progress is made in building socialism and communism, the greater becomes the significance of people’s consciousness. Socialism and communism provide all conditions for increasing the role of people’s ideological consciousness to the full. In the socialist society, the advanced ideology of the working class prevails all over the community. Capitalism subordinates even man’s thinking and action to money considerations, but socialism and communism make the masses of the people true masters of society, and therefore give full play to the revolutionary enthusiasm and creative zeal of the masses.
The tremendous role of ideological consciousness in the revolutionary struggle for socialism and communism is also connected with the characteristics of the revolutionary thought of the working class.
The role of ideological consciousness in social progress depends on its class character and content. The reactionary ideology of the exploiting class hampers social progress, whereas the advanced ideology of the progressive class gives impetus to the development of society. The revolutionary ideology of the working class, the most independent class, has an incomparably greater revolutionary influence than any other advanced ideas in history. The revolutionary thought of the working class mirrors the laws of social development and the aspirations of the masses in a scientific manner, so that it becomes a great material force in social progress. It is a weapon with which to understand and change the reality and create the future. Unlike the reactionary thinking of the exploiting class which hinders the forward movement of history and advocates the old moribund system, the revolutionary thought of the working class performs the mission to push forward and lead historical progress.
The revolutionary movement is a conscious movement, and for this reason one must always hold fast to people’s thinking as the main thing in the revolutionary struggle and construction work. Doing this is an important principle that must be maintained in the revolution and construction.
Grasping man’s thinking as the main thing in the revolution and construction means solving all problems by attaching decisive importance to the ideological factor and enhancing the role of ideological consciousness.
Attaching decisive importance to the ideological factor is a law of revolutionary movement. Material factors, too, play a great part in the revolutionary movement. But the existence of material conditions does not give rise to the revolution automatically. How to make use of these material conditions depends on people’s conscious activity. Whether these material conditions are prepared quickly or not depends on man’s activity. The revolution can be pushed forward only by the active struggle of the revolutionaries and the popular masses. Fundamentally speaking, a revolution does not always break out when all the necessary conditions exist, nor is it carried out always in favourable circumstances.
Waiting with folded arms for all conditions to ripen is tantamount to refusing to make a revolution. Primary importance, therefore, should be given to the ideological factor in the revolutionary struggle and construction work, and on this basis strenuous efforts should be made to create all the necessary conditions.
Solving all problems by raising the level of people’s consciousness is the method inherent to the communists. The communists who struggle for the freedom and happiness of the people, lead the revolution to victory and fulfil their noble mission by awakening people ideologically and making them conscious and encouraging them to undertake the struggle of their own accord. The communists have a powerful ideological weapon capable of awakening all the people to activity. Although the capitalist class, too, strives to spread its ideology, capitalist thinking cannot be accepted by the masses as their own because it fundamentally conflicts with their interests. Only the working-class ideology which champions the interests of the working masses can be accepted by all the people, and it alone can dominate the whole society.