George Eaton is a man obsessed. Away from the scenes of thousands of distraught Democratic Koreans mourning the passing of Kim Jong-il, here is a man no less consumed by thoughts of the late Dear Leader. In the space of just two days, he has a produced three separate pieces for the New Statesman’s official weblog, two discussing the passing of the former leader of the DPRK and one openly mocking the Communist Party of Great Britain (Marxist-Leninist) for not leaping on the band-wagon of apologists for imperialist and shameless orientalists.
In the first of these three articles, “Kim Jong-il’s death: the world responds” (19/12/11), Mr. Eaton jokes openly about the death of a national head of state: “The Kim is dead, long live the Kim.” He even finds time to throw in a little “amusing” trivia: “Kim Jong-il, who, like Gaddafi and Saddam Hussein, died at the age of 69 (an age that is to dictators what 27 is to rock stars) will be remembered as yet another tyrant toppled in this year of revolt.”
Good taste, when it concerns the late enemies of Western imperialism, is clearly not considered to be important.
This is proven doubly true in the second of two, “North Korea: a portrait of tyranny” (19/12/2011), where, switching from crass imperialism to smug orientalism, he waxes literary by preceding a video of weeping, agonized Democratic Koreans with a quote from George Orwell’s “1984”. One can only imagine the kind of response that might have been elicited if this quote had preceded footage of the many thousands of Americans who were traumatized by the death of President John F. Kennedy in 1963. Seemingly, when it comes to the Orient, what looks like national mourning is just brainwashing, as far as Mr. Eaton is concerned.
And god forbid any Westerners should mourn the passing of Kim Jong-il. In the third, and most amusing, of his three contributions, “Communist Party mourns for ‘Comrade Kim Jong-il’” (20/12/2011), Eaton gives column inches to the Communist Party of Great Britain (Marxist-Leninist) who he describes as “deeply sinister”. What has earned the CPGB-ML such high-praise from such a lowly lapdog of imperialism? Those dastardly Stalinists dared to hold a contrary opinion of the DPRK than that which is mandated by our corporate and national mass media. They dared to “pledge our firm resolve to maintain and strengthen our unconditional support and solidarity to the revolutionary cause of the Korean people”.
To quote Mr. Eaton in context: “We all joke about the Judean People’s Front and the People’s Front of Judea but the CPGB-ML is a reminder that parts of the far-left remain deeply sinister.” So there you have it: as long as you’re a schismatic Trotskyite talking shop, which doesn’t care to test the length of its chains, you’re an acceptable amusement; fodder for the world’s worst Monty Python routine but not a cause for any real concern from the British establishment. Dare to present an alternative account of an implacable enemy of Western imperialism? And suddenly even a small band of Stalinists from Southall can be “deeply sinister”.
But this is, in fact, quite true. Marxism-Leninism, however much its opponents try to paint it as an irrelevant relic of the Cold War, still inspires real fear from the privileged classes and their graduated flunkies. It is for this reason that the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, whatever one’s view of its dominant ideology (Juche) or one’s analysis of its economic and political institutions, continues to be demonized and hounded; demonization which often reaches such absurd levels as claims that Kim Jong-il has an “$800,000 cognac bill” (according to Mr. Eaton) or that he is “followed-around by a team of 16 hair stylists” (according to the BBC). It is for this reason that the 2003 congressional sanctions report produced by the Library of Congress continues to list one of the four primary justifications for continued sanctions against the DPRK as the fact that “North Korea is a Marxist-Leninist state, with a Communist government”.
Those brazen orientalists, such as George Eaton, who seemingly view the people of the DPRK as ideologically brainwashed would do well to remember that it is the elected representatives of the American people who are ordering economic sanctions against the people of the DPRK on the basis of ideological disagreement with their government; sanctions which have contributed massively to food-shortages and poverty in the DPRK, causing considerable hardship and even starvation. The real and documented impact of the United States’ obsession with ideology is far more worrying than even the most lurid tabloid conspiracy theories concerning “death camps” in the DPRK or the most ostentatious bronze statue of the Dear Leader.
George Eaton may fancy himself something of a George Orwell and, indeed, he probably is. Both he and Orwell are styled as “left-wing”, but their tired tirades against totalitarianism are about as revolutionary as they are readable, and they represent, at best, Eurocentric bombast against the people of formerly oppressed nations for daring to reject both subjugation and Western “democratic” values, or at worst, an ideological justification for imperialist aggression. More often the latter than the former.
The CPGB-ML should be pleased to be receive Mr. Eaton’s endorsement as “deeply sinister”. If nothing else, it proves that they are deeply enough involved in the anti-imperialist struggle to earn the ire of the imperialist media and to be tarred with the same brush as such consistent anti-imperialist fighters as the people of the DPRK. The party’s task now is to carry on with its sterling work revealing the lies of said media, whomever they might concern and from whoever they might emerge.
Tuesday, December 20, 2011
Defending the DPRK
Solomon Lamb's excellent blog has changed its name. It started out as The Class Struggle, but in the last week it has been changed to Stalin's Pipe. Whatever the name, it is an excellent blog, and Lamb a fine writer. Enjoy and spread the word: