Kim Jong Il Grew Stronger While Ignoring Party

[imText1]Kim Jong Il has always feigned interest in Juche Ideology as a method to acquire and consolidate power. He saw benefits in his ability to interpret the purposefully mysterious ideology as he saw fit.

Juche ideological bases were subsumed in the politics of the 1970s for several reasons. (1) Power sharing and cooperation existed between Kim Il Sung and Kim Jong Il, (2) The study of Marxism-Leninism was suppressed, (3) Juche Ideology was established as one containing multiple philosophies, (4) Juche Ideology was separated from political theory and, (5) A climate in which people were dissuaded from political discussion and encouraged instead to memorize the speeches of Kim Il Sung and his son, became the norm.

While the Propaganda and Agitation Departments of the Workers Party were focusing on the idolization or Kim Il Sung and Kim Jong Il, North Korean communist ideology lost what vitality it had and interest in communism waned. Propaganda officers concentrated on survival instead of promotion and Workers Party authority weakened.

Without offering concrete reasons, Kim Il Sung ignored the Party, issued direct orders, and otherwise took control of a government whose national conventions were no longer held. High party officials occupied themselves with interpreting the moods of Kim Jong Il as party authority continued to weaken. Leadership malaise soon spread to the entire party.

At the same time the National Security Agency and departments overseeing political concentration camps strengthened rapidly. Large numbers of citizens were imprisoned without charges and fear spread over the country.

From North Korea’s foundation through 1967, communist ideology and the North Korean Workers’ Party were the two main pillars of state. Between 1967 and the 1980s, fear was a core element of state control. Thereafter, the forced idolization of Kim Il Sung and Kim Jong Il has been a more useful tool than the fear.

Primary historical trends include (1) the idolization of Kim Il Sung and Kim Jong Il, (2) the establishment of absolute authority and power, (3) the departure from Marxism-Leninism and, (4) the power dilution of the North Korean Worker’s Party.