A source has told Daily NK that North Korean authorities are conducting public lectures on “squashing anti-socialist and non-socialist acts” as a follow-up measure to the Eighth Party Congress.

According to a Daily NK source in South Pyongan Province on Monday, cadres from the provincial and city parties are visiting workplaces to give the lectures.

In a lecture described by the source, the lecturer first called on audiences to remember that “non-socialist acts are frightening crimes that render cracks in our single-minded unity firmly bound to the party and disintegrate the socialist system,” encouraging them to “keep up the fight” to “squash these phenomena.” 

The lecturer called on people to “get their heads together” and conduct a mass struggle to break the spirit of “those who brazenly carry out non-socialist acts that violate the interests of the nation and its people” so that they “cannot lift their heads again.”

This suggests the lecturers intend to generate fear as they warn of harsher crackdowns and punishments for state-designated non-socialist acts. They also revealed the authorities’ intention to put a complete stop to transgressions by stressing people’s obligation to watch one another.

In particular, the lecturer said enemies are “wickedly plotting” even today to damage the authority of “our highly august party” and “endanger the socialist system” by sowing “internal political instability and chaos,” as they “have also done in the past.”

In a reflection of North Korea’s typical propaganda technique of promoting internal unity by stressing efforts against enemies, the lecture basically claims that the war against non-socialist phenomena such as South Korean pop culture is “sacred activity” to protect the regime. 

Market official on patrol in Sunchon, South Pyongan Province
Market official on patrol in Sunchon, South Pyongan Province. / Image: Daily NK

Specifically, the lecturer addressed factories and enterprises by mocking “the phenomenon of people gaining money and items under different pretexts” and “the phenomenon of people looking out only for themselves while not going to work.”

This essentially betrayed the intention to punish not only “extra economic burdens,” as called for by the Eighth Party Congress, but also the practice of “August 3 money,” in which employees pay their companies a sum of money to skip work so they can engage in other businesses.

North Koreans are reacting coldly to the warnings, however. Many reportedly complain that “nothing has changed” despite decades of “struggle” to root out all sorts of “non-socialist acts,” and that there is no reason to show up to work when “they don’t pay our salaries.”

Meanwhile, many also say authorities have a wildly unrealistic view of the state of “non-socialism” in North Korea. The source said, “Suddenly the leadership is complaining about how the phenomenon of early marriage is growing serious among the youth, but people are mocking this, asking who would try to get married early now.”

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