What Are the ‘Ten Principles’?

The “Ten Principles for the Establishment of the One-Ideology System” are regulations that govern the everyday lives of the North Korean people. They were officially announced by Kim Jong Il in 1974. The original Ten Principles, to which the name “General Kim Jong Il” has now been added, are as follows:

1. We must give our all in the struggle to unify the entire society with the revolutionary ideology of Great Leader Kim Il Sung.

2. We must honor Great Leader comrade Kim Il Sung with all our loyalty.

3. We must make absolute the authority of Great Leader comrade Kim Il Sung.

4. We must make Great Leader comrade Kim Il Sung’s revolutionary ideology our faith and make his instructions our creed.

5. We must adhere strictly to the principle of unconditional obedience in carrying out the Great Leader comrade Kim Il Sung’s instructions.

6. We must strengthen the entire Party’s ideology and willpower and revolutionary unity, centering on Great Leader comrade Kim Il Sung.

7. We must learn from Great Leader comrade Kim Il Sung and adopt the communist look, revolutionary work methods and people-oriented work style.

8. We must value the political life we were given by Great Leader comrade Kim Il Sung, and loyally repay his great political trust and thoughtfulness with heightened political awareness and skill.

9. We must establish strong organizational regulations so that the entire Party, nation and military move as one under the one and only leadership of Great Leader comrade Kim Il Sung.

10. We must pass down the great achievement of the revolution by Great Leader comrade Kim Il Sung from generation to generation, inheriting and completing it to the end.

The ten main principles and 65 sub-clauses of the Ten Principles describe in detail how to go about establishing the one-ideology system. All North Koreans have to memorize them. Not only that, they have to put them into practice; during regular evaluation meetings, people criticize themselves on the basis of whether or not they have been living up to the Ten Principles in their everyday lives.

For example, Clause 8.5 declares, “The people shall participate actively in evaluation meetings every two days and fortnightly, wherein the Great Leader’s instructions and Party policies should be used as the yardstick by which to set high political and ideological standards for the evaluation of their work and lives, carrying out ideological struggles through criticism, and forging revolutionary ideals and continuously improving themselves through ideological struggles.”

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