An Anarchist in North Korea

From Fifth Estate - by Pierre Garine

The Opposite of Freedom: A Journey to Pyongyang

The Democratic Peoples Republic of Korea (DPRK)–North Korea. The very mention of the country’s name and a blizzard of buzzwords are released: Cult of Personality, Mass starvation, Nuclear-armed, Thought Control, Defectors and Reverse-defectors.

A land completely closed to the outside world? Since the 1960s, a small but steady stream of foreign delegations, diplomats, NGO representatives, and regular tourists have been permitted to visit North Korea, albeit under tightly controlled conditions with official minders watching every move and word.

So, the door is open, and the opportunity presented itself to me (a China-based expatriate)–a four day trip to Pyongyang with a Chinese tour group a few months after the snowy funeral of Dear Leader Kim Jong Il.

But as an anarchist, why visit this graveyard of freedom? What good would come of such a journey? These pointed fingers jabbed me as my plane set down in Dandong, the Manchurian border gateway city on the Yalu River.

The internet-savvy North Korean authorities Google your name to check that you are not a journalist and if it is your first visit, they green light you.

No visa application, just a scan of your passport and a photo.

Chinese pay a low price for the package, EU citizens or Hong Kong, Macau or Taiwan Chinese double that and Americans are admitted at a 200 percent, markup, but are denied access to the local train ride from the border to Pyongyang and must fly in from Shenyang on Air Koryo, the North’s rickety but functioning airline. My EU passport was a boon in this regard.

An evening walk in Dandong revealed much. On the Chinese side of the river stood towering high-rise luxury apartments, nearby, glaring multi-colored neon displays touting restaurants, Korean-style bathhouses, and hotels. Souvenir shops selling a full line of Korean goods stood alongside Pyongyang-style restaurants staffed with costumed waitresses from the North trying to pull in customers from the sidewalk.

A Christian café provided a base for the bible thumpers reaching out to desperate defectors. Chinese-owned shops hawked second-hand hardware, tools, and generators to the fortunate Northern shoppers holding Chinese currency.

I was reminded of an American or Mexican border town, like El Paso or Juarez. A half-bridge from the Chinese-side (the other half bombed into rubble with precision by the US Air Force early in the Korean War in 1950) was lit up with neon next to the new working road and rail bridge linking China’s Dandong with the North Korean city of Sinuiju.

Across the deep river, on the North Korean side, not a single light could be seen. Not a candle, not a cigarette, nothing, only the dim outline of two factory smokestacks and that of a long-halted Ferris wheel at a riverside amusement park.

A Chinese tour member and I looked across silently, then we made our way to one of the North Korean restaurants on the Chinese side which stayed open all night. The gruff middle-aged female manager holding court at a table with a group of chain smoking border traders swiftly summoned a waitress to take our order as a TV pulled in a grainy official broadcast of the Pyongyang Channel 1 where we could just make out the boy-emperor, Kim Jong Un, engaging in field inspection of some facility. Tomorrow, our bus with a Chinese tour group would cross the Yalu for our four days and three nights in the Paradise for People.

North Korean tourism has its detractors and defenders, and it is safe to call it a moral grey area. As I wrestled with my reasons for visiting, my Chinese companion’s motive was pure curiosity.

The Chinese people seemed to look at their North Korean brothers in the way a parent might regard their autistic child. The Mao Revolution had inspired Kim Il Sung and his Korean Workers’ Party (KWP) to build a copycat state in the North in 1948, complete with little books of the Supreme Leader’s Juche (Self-Sufficiency) philosophy for the people to quote from and wave.

I decided to go, because it was possible. Because maybe I could, against all odds, make contact with someone on the other side and let them know there is an alternative, there is a hope of regaining their freedom, real freedom, not just the right to buy a Big Mac.

I had a few pieces of subversive media I wanted to give away, but I knew that to be caught with something could bring heavy charges for a North Korean. I knew my presence would probably be used by the state and that my minders would be in charge every minute of my visit. Nevertheless, I bought my ticket and took my chance.

The 1960s era Soviet-built train lurched and shook its way across a thawing landscape of fallow farmland, past desolate, barren hillsides and thatched-roofed villages where everyone walked. Not a single bicycle or motorcycle could be seen, it was all foot traffic with the occasional ox-cart. The land looked as if some cosmic hand had gone over it systematically with a blowtorch and a sandblaster.

At the border, there had been second thoughts before the bus, poised at the Yalu bridge, received a green light and the barrier lifted. The customs shed held a moment of drama as a special comrade was called in by the uniformed inspectors to have a close look at my laptop which the tour office had strongly recommended I leave behind.

While waiting, I couldn’t help but notice one of the guards tapping away on an obviously confiscated Apple 4, but the plainclothes tech gave my deck a quick check and waved me through. I learned later he was looking for Google Maps or a smart app that would give precise coordinates for the military targeting of installations.

Our group had two Korean guides; a Chinese speaking one for the thirty mainland and Hong Kong tourists and an English one for me. Mr. Park was an alert mid-thirties loyalist who would recite the approved line and verse guidance for me but at times would reveal bits about himself.

He had lived in the West as his parents had been North Korean diplomats to some U.N. Agency in North America. He wore the required Kim Jong Il lapel pin and referred to the new successor Kim as, “my General.” He steered my questions about North Korean life back at me and regarded my EU passport listing a US birthplace with slight suspicion. Later, he correctly outed me as being an American, at least culturally. He spent much of the trip ignoring me, chatting instead with the female Chinese-speaking guide.

Anarchists in Korea?

Anarchist thought and direct action were a potent third force in the Korean resistance to the Japanese occupation of 1894 to 1945. Since 2000, South Korean government records and school textbooks now honor the lives of four anarchist independence fighters: Shin Chae-ho (1880-1936), Yu Rim (1894-1961), Park Ryol (1902-1972) and Yu Cha-myong (1891 1985).

Another prominent anarchist Kim Jwa-Win, together with independence activists and local peasants, set up a short-lived anarcho-communist zone in ethnic-Korean Manchuria in 1929 known as the autonomous Shinmin region.

Park Ryol was arrested in 1923 with his Japanese lover, Fumiko Kaneko, and sentenced to life imprisonment on the charge of planning to assassinate (then) Crown Prince Hirohito. Released from a Japanese prison in 1945, he returned to North Korea. Differing accounts claim he was forced back against his will; another states he joined the ruling KWP and served as government official until his death in 1974.

Other anarchists in Korea were exposed, harassed, and imprisoned by the two new states set up in the North and South between 1945 and 1950. Then, the Korean War of 1950 through 1953 scorched the land, killing an estimated four million civilians.

Our guides ran us through a daily pattern very much designed to keep us moving. After breakfast in the Yanggakdo Hotel (located strategically on an island in the Taedong River and from which we were not allowed to leave at night), we were put on our bus and driven two hours to a distant attraction such as the demilitarized zone border with South Korea, then lunch on the road, then afternoon visits to the monumental landmarks of Pyongyang.

These included an Arch of Triumph slightly larger than the one in Paris, a massive three armed glory monument to the KWP with hands holding a sickle, a hammer, and a calligraphy brush into the sky, and the restored birthplace and childhood home of Kim Il Sung, done up in the style of Stalin.

Then, dinner in another special restaurant for foreign guests (one with singing and dancing waitresses) before we were released to amuse ourselves at our guarded hotel in the evening.

The guides’ decisions as to which Pyongyang sites we were permitted to see seemed to depend on the availability of electrical power. In one restaurant, we were led down pitch black hallways, asked to wait while the door was unlocked, and then a few more seconds until the light switch was found and the overhead bulbs flickered into life, revealing an already set table with cold kimchi and Korean starters.

Official access to food, education, rank, and privilege in the North is based on class background and loyalty to the Kim cult.

In 1957, following a post-Korean War census, Supreme Leader Kim Il Sung proclaimed a permanent class system (known as Songbyun or Constituent Origin) which divided all of North Korean society into three groups: a loyal ‘core class’ (25 percent) of party cadres, a wavering class (55 percent) of average working North Koreans, and a hostile class (20 percent)of former landowners, Christians, or those accused of collaboration with the Japanese or South Korean authorities.

Labels go back three generations and children can grow up without knowing their Songbyun.

Author Barbara Demick, in her excellent 2009 book on daily life in North Korea, Nothing to Envy, describes Songbyun as an updated caste system combining elements of both traditional Confucianism and 20th century Stalinism. Grandchildren of the hostile classes are said to have tainted blood, like the Indian Dalits or Untouchables.

During the famine of the early 1990s, brought on by the end of cheap fuel and bartered goods from the Chinese and the former Soviet bloc, Songbyun decided who lived and who starved.

Today, while the North triumphantly announces its latest satellite launch or nuclear weapons test, malnutrition continues in the rural areas with western NGOs issuing occasional reports of starving people desperately gathering wild roots, tree bark, and grasses to make bread or soup. An entire generation of rural children has grown up short, weak, and stunted. One recent party slogan exhorted the population–”Let’s all eat two meals a day!”

While the privileged residents of Pyongyang seemed better fed, many could be seen walking the streets with empty carts and shopping baskets, searching for extra protein or rations. Meanwhile, the Kim dynasty smuggles in food, imported alcohol, and luxuries for itself, the Army officer corps, and the party loyalists. The cynical triage of Songbyun writes off nearly half of the population, who must fend for themselves to get enough to eat.

While I made sure my conduct did not attract the suspicion of my guide, some of the Chinese in our group had more courage and attempted spontaneous acts of charity.

At one rural museum a regular road passed in front and one tour member attempted to give away boxes of colored pencils to grade-school aged children walking by. They ran away in fright and he earned himself a tongue lashing from the Chinese-speaking guide. “No North Koreans will accept such gifts from a stranger, they are provided with everything they need!”

In August of this year, the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) held public hearings in Seoul in the Republic of [South] Korea to investigate the whole spectrum of the crimes against humanity carried out by North Korea. The very few survivors and escapees from the North’s Gulag Archipelago of forced labor and punishment camps gave their testimony to an international body for the first time.

Shin Dong-Hyuk was born in one such camp in 1982 and only escaped in 2005. His story is the subject of a 2003 book by David Hawk, The Hidden Gulag: Exposing North Korea’s Prison Camps and a new animated documentary by German director Mark Weise, “Camp 14–Total Control Zone.”

At age 14, Shin heard his mother and brother discussing an escape and, in an attempt to gain better treatment, he informed on them. For his trouble, he was tortured and then, with his father, forced to watch, along with the rest of the camp inmates, as guards shot his brother and hung his mother. The powerful documentary also includes accounts from a camp guard commander and a former secret police member who also defected to the South, strengthening the accuracy of Shin’s account of camp life.

Any number of crimes from illegally crossing the border with China, smuggling food, DVDs, or banned literature, to overheard complaints or listening to or watching foreign broadcasts can earn one a possibly one-way trip to the camps. There, prisoners live in a vacuum, without the hope that anyone even knows of their fate. Conditions are, in the words of one survivor, worse than the Nazi extermination camps in that at least those WWII era inmates knew the Allies were waging war non-stop against the Germans and that liberation was a possibility. Certainly, some of these inmates, labeled as enemies of the state, must be our comrades in spirit.

At our hotel in Pyongyang, in its cavernous basement network of halls and shops, there is an entertainment facility open to the local elites. It includes restaurants, a bowling alley, karaoke, bars, and a swimming pool/sauna complex. For foreigners with hard currency, there was even a Macau Chinese-run casino.

Residence in the capital is a privilege and to ensure loyalty, access to food and such entertainments are rewards from the Red Emperors.

Later, I met some Russian diplomats in the three-lane bowling alley and we talked about the new boy-ruler. “His Western education means little,” said one to me between rolling strikes. “He has a role to play, and that is upholding the system created by his grandfather. There will be minor reforms and some peace offerings to the South, but that will be all.”

At one point, our group was waiting at a special entrance to the railway station and as we stood in front of a small group of North Koreans who regarded us in silence, I smiled at one middle-aged man and, in a deliberate voice, spoke two words to him in English, “Good luck.” He smiled back and repeated my greeting, but by then the door opened and we were hustled into our special waiting room.

The North Korean economy today survives mainly on barter exports of minerals and rare earth metals with the Chinese, thus, maintaining a lifeline through the long list of U.N. and Western-issued sanctions. China, having fought for the North in 1950 through 1953, looks the other way at the border as these sanctions are breached. After the North’s latest rocket/satellite test, in a rare rebuke, China temporarily shut down the operations of North Korea’s largest bank in Beijing, their only clearing house for finance and trade.

For their part, the Chinese have repeatedly invited North Korean leaders and officials to visit and see for themselves the results of China’s free-market, state-managed, economic reforms, advising their comrades that they could create more wealth for the elites and food for their people while maintaining single party control. Except for a few reforms like tolerated trader markets (called jangmadang), the North has maintained its system of state control under the moribund self-sufficiency philosophy of Juche. In the border regions near China, technically cross-border trade by individual North Koreans, both permitted and illicit, has also brought in DVDs of Chinese, South Korean, and Western movies and TV serials as well as Chinese cell phones capable of international dialing.

At the very least, the state’s iron lock on the minds of its population has at last been broken.

On day two of the tour, our bus took us north into the mountains to a resort town and it was there we were shown the crown jewels of the regime. Past guards with silver-plated AK-47s, we were ushered into two separate treasure palaces, built deep into the mountain side, with museum hall after hall displaying every single gift ever brought by a visiting world leader or delegation to bestow upon Supreme Leader Kim Il Sung and Dear Leader Kim Jong Il.

I saw a gold-plated scimitar from Muammar Gaddafi of Libya, a pearl inlaid desk from Hafez al-Assad of Syria, an ornate carpet from the last communist president of Afghanistan, a bullet-proof limousine from Stalin and hall after hall of thousands of smaller offerings of tribute–paper weights, portraits, stuffed animals, carvings and books, never to be read. Here, North Koreans are shown how the whole world respects their country and honors its leaders.

I knew that this is how our presence as tourists was explained to the average person in North Korea. I knew I made myself a willing pawn through my curiosity to see all this and it gritted my teeth to even think about it.

In a final hall there was a display of “A”-class gifts, including a gift of a Michael Jordan autographed NBA basketball sent by President Bill Clinton in 2000, and delivered by Secretary of State Madeline Albright. As I stared at it in amazement, I noticed the two guides arranging our tour into two lines by height in front of the last door. I was assigned a place and we were told to reform the lines once inside the next hall.

We walked in and at the end of this hall, behind a low barrier, was an open diorama, the kind one might see in a natural history museum, with a sunny illuminated outdoor background, and there, in the center was a life-size mannequin of Supreme Leader Kim Il Sung, beaming a waxy smile to us.

Silently, following the guides’ hand signals’ we reassembled our lines. I knew that the North Koreans still considered Kim Il Sung their living President, even though he was 18 years dead. I also knew what was coming next, and I had only had a split second to decide.

Following the guides’ example, both lines of our tour group made a formal bow to the dead wax dummy of the Supreme Leader, holding it for at least a minute. Mr. Park looked sideways at me directly. My mind in rebellion, I slowly allowed my head to nod forward in the slightest of bows.

Then, shuffling in our clean room cloth overshoes, we made our way out. I could still feel the false eyes of the Supreme Leader’s mannequin burning into my back as I exited. I swore to get back my dignity, somehow, later. The younger version of myself would have shouted something and made a futile gesture then and there. Instead, I would save mine for later.

On our last morning, on the way to the train, we were allowed ten minutes to briefly roam the massive Kim Il Sung Square, the site of the mass million man rallies and military march-bys. A high, temple-like supreme reviewing stand looked down on the empty square. Painted numbers on the cobble stones marked the standing spots for the masses. Then, we were taken to the main Pyongyang train station to catch our rusty train back to the Chinese border.

At a rural station, the main line met a trunk line that pulled off into the bare interior and where there was confusion on the tracks as scores of North Koreans, returning home from a traditional family holiday, were transferring hysterically to and fro. Many, carrying half-full sacks of grain or rice, submitted to spot checks by aggressive, fully armed soldiers. The energy and panic of the people reminded me of earlier scenes of wartime chaos, like Vietnam 1975 or Japan 1945.

Two old women begged our carriage conductors to be allowed to ride without tickets to the next stop but were told no, because there were foreigners aboard. An attempt to photograph the women and give them something brought a quick rebuke from Mr. Park and the cameras were put away. Soldiers ordered the ticketless away and the train pulled out of the station at last.

Underway again, I joined some of the Hong Kong tourists in the dingy club car where a surprised waitress was happy to serve us soju liquor and beer for foreign currency. With a phrase book, we tried to invite some soldiers at the next table to join us for a drink, but they smiled and kept their distance. Then, we were alone.

Making our way between the carriages, the Chinese who had tried to give away the colored pencils pointed to a gap in the protective covering between the cars. He tossed his items through them onto the track. I pulled out the items I had hidden until now– a few leaflets from my archives (anarchist, surrealist, subgenius), all in English, some Western DVDs with Korean subtitles such as “Game of Thrones” Season I (I thought any viewer would recognize the cruel young King Geoffrey), and, in a plastic slip, a copy of Anarchy Comics.

Someone scavenging for coal would find them and perhaps they could be explained away if they were caught with the contraband. My feeble attempt at propaganda over, I returned to my seat.

At the border post, there was no inspection as the power went out and we had to sit in total darkness for nearly twenty minutes until the light was restored and our documents returned. I bid Mr. Park goodbye and wished him too, good luck.

Back on the Chinese side, I tried to make sense of it all, but I couldn’t. At the Dandong Airport, a Western model stared down at me from a massive brand-name advertisement, as if to mock my efforts. I had bowed to a wax idol and had been fed food denied to the common people.

I had been led past the official sites, but I had also snapped forbidden snapshots and dropped a few leaflets behind; a few pin pricks that would quickly heal. I closed my eyes and tried to imagine a day when the long-oppressed people of North Korea might overthrow the dynasty and liberate themselves without any help from the outside.

Then, I would return to the borderlands and with my slight experience, render some assistance to those stumbling out of the nightmare. I vowed never to forget the people I had seen there and I hope you readers will not forget them either.

Suggested further reading

Nothing to Envy, Barbara Demick–best account in English of the ’90s famine with in-depth interviews from defectors from Chongjin, the DPRK’s third largest city in the far Northeast.

The Orphan Master’s Son, Adam Johnson–a well researched novel in the spirit of Orwell’s 1984.

The Hidden Gulag: Exposing North Korea’s Prison Camps, David Hawk–Shin Dong-Hyuk’s incredible escape from the North, also the subject of the new animated film “Camp 14–Total Control Zone.”

Koryo Tours koryogroup.com and Young Pioneer Tours youngpioneertours.com

The Daily NK website provides in depth and balance coverage of all issues relating to the DPRK at www.dailynk.com

The shrill boastings of the regime can be viewed here kcna.kp and its visuals at youtube.com/user/stimmekoreas

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Comments

I don't know Korea seems pretty awesome to me.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AAbokV76tkU

WHAT THE HELL IS ALL THIS!? I'm visiting my brother's house and my nephew says I can use his computer to send an email AND I FIND THIS ON THE SCREEN,,,,WHAT THE HELL IS ANARCHISTNEWS!? DON'T THE NTH KOREANS HATE CAPITALISTS!? SHOULDN"T YOU PEOPLE BE SUPPORTING THEM AND CRITICIZING THE EMBARGOES THAT THE UN IS IMPOSING UPON A PEOPLE WHO MAY NOT BE LAWLESS ANTI-STATIST FANATICS but like all of us, because let's face it, 99% of the world is sheeple all obeying some religion or ideology. Interesting enough that they allow catholic worship in NTH Korea, but not the rich church institution that goes with it. YES THATS RIGHT YOU CAN WORSHIP A GOD IF YOU WANT JUST KEEP IT TO YOURSELF! Don't see any substance abuse not even coffee BECAUSE COFFEE IS THE DRUG OF CHOICE FOR CAPITALIST WORKERS SO THAT THE CAN ENDURE MINDLESS TOIL IN SOUL DESTROYING JOBS. Don't see any sweat shops making shoes and clothes for the western consumerist society there BECAUSE EVERYONE JUST DOES WHAT THEY REQUIRE FOR SELF-SUFFICIENCY NOT FOR WAGES AND INCREASED PRODUCTION FOR CAPITALIST TRADE!
I think its good that cobble stones have numbers on them BECAUSE LIKE I SAID EVERYONE IS REALLY WHEN YOU THINK ABOUT IT A BRICK IN THE WALL OF THE INEVITABLE TOTALITY. I see happy simple nth Koreans being slandered with propaganda SO GET OVER IT I"M NOT EVEN A MAOIST MARXIST OR ZERZANIST ALTHOUGH A WORLD CONTROLLED BY PRIMITIVISTS WOULD RESEMBLE NTH KOREA IN IT DOMESTIC INFRASTRUCTURE!!

Dennis Rodman?

Umm let's just say I CAN SHOOT A HOOP DUDE!

No substance abuse? Actually, the north koreans love making and snorting meth.
They smoke a lot of the devil's lettuce too.

NOW THATS JUST CHRISTIAN FUNDAMENTALIST PROPAGANDA from a troll!

Maybe … but you should look it up. I certainly don't judge them for it.

OK, granted, they POSSIBLY indulge in these substances, but meth and marijuana ARENT weapons of mass destruction. This flakey reporter mentions mass starvation WHAT ABOUT THE MASS STARVATIONS THE CAPITALISTS INDUCE IN UNDERDEVELOPED COUNTRIES!? At least the Nth Koreans keep their own problems to themselves and ARENT DEPENDENT ON INTERNATIONAL CHARITY WHICH IS A MASK DISGUISING THE INSIDIOUS OBLIGATION TO BECOME AN ALLIED SUBSERVIENT COLONY STATE! I found out my nephew ISNT THIS EMILE GUY but has been BRAINWASHED BY HIM and seems to be a major spokesperson for your team WELL NTH KOREA HAVE A YIN_YANG ON THEIR FLAG FOR CHRISSAKES and when I find out where your offices are Im gonna come down AND BREAK EVERY FINGER ON THIS EMILE GUYS FINGERS SO HE CANT GO NEAR A KEYBOARD FOR THE REST OF HIS GODDAM DESPOTIC LIFE!!1

Anarcho-Primitivism... It's like North Korea.

That's true BUT ANARCHO_PRIMITIVISM WITH YIN_YANG BALLS NOT EMILE METAPHYSICAL BALLS I wouldnt mind living in a laid back simple agrarian society without all the taxes and rent and traffic jams AND NOT HAVING TO SLAVE AWAY AT SURPLUS PRODUCTION IN A CAPITALIST URBAN GULAG!!

Right, because anarcho-primitivism advocates a totalitarian state, complete with hierarchies, caste system and gulags. It's all laid out in Zerzan's books, right?

Kill yourself, dumb fuck.

you must be primitive here

Snark goes way above some people's heads.
Not gonna kill my self. Just gonna laugh at your butt hurt.

FYI, that was a response to the first comment on the page.

Sarcasm aside, Zerzan commits to transitional stages in the transformation of society from an industrial to an organic primitive communism, this being his utopian goal. Since totalitarianism is an ideological blue-print dedicated to the pursuit of total social order and perfection, and primitive communism most resembles the raw imperfect form of the latter Marxism, which borrowed heavily from Engels references to hunter-gatherer societies, there are striking similarities between the N Korean non-intensive agricultural and Zerzan's crude burn and slash model. For instance, Zerzan admits that widespread famine would eliminate 70% of the Earth's population when his system of sustainable food production comes into FORCE, [caps to emphasize loss of freedom, ring a bell!]. N Korea doesn't FORCE people to die from starvation, nature decides that. Caste! I don't know why you specifically use a socio-religious term when 'hierarchies' does well enough!? The main similarity a primitivist society would have with N Korea would be solely from the domestic technological perspective, you know, no washing machines, cars, tractors, TVs, computers, airconditioning, powergrids, freeways, mobile phones, ipods, the list goes on. Armaments are only developed in N Korea because of the paranoia of imperialistic invasion, when this disappears, so will the army and missiles.
Also, there are no pedophiles in N Korea, think about it!

Ever since you have been "exiled" to France, I knew you would eventually appear on anarchistnews. You've been #1 Troll for a long time, adding your Stalinist snarky comments.

I would have liked to have be-bopped with Che!!

Don't see any sweat shops making shoes and clothes for the western consumerist society there BECAUSE EVERYONE JUST DOES WHAT THEY REQUIRE FOR SELF-SUFFICIENCY NOT FOR WAGES AND INCREASED PRODUCTION FOR CAPITALIST TRADE!

Oh, REALLY!? By "EVERYONE" including his highness Kim Jong-Il and his decadent family? What about his best buddies or uncle (and family) before his regime murdered them, or the '25%'(lol)? Because judging by the fucking gold plated sabres and shit i'm really having my fucking doubts.

Killing corrupt and ambitious relatives before they kill you IS SELF_DEFENSE and whats wrong with a little pageantry and pazzazz like they say IF YOUVE GOT IT FLAUNT IT!!

"Killing corrupt and ambitious relatives before they kill you IS SELF_DEFENSE"

omglol you're the best i luv you

keep on keeping on

Thank you comrade, forgive me for not replying earlier to your positive response. I am happy that you understand the nuance implied by 'self-defense', and that you therefore also comprehend the opposite dynamic between what oppression and justice really entail in their praxis.

The account of a visit to this nightmare land was interesting. The parts where the author insists on drawing attention to being the kind of sanctimonious and hapless crank who finds an ideological bunk bed at the long obsolete 'Fifth Estate' was not.

awesome article, in spite of being about some crazy sad shit.

Anarchist? Where is any evidence this guy is anarchist and not some Apple liberal reporter posing as such?

In 10 years from now, even presidential candidates will claim to be anarchists just because it's so trendy. Then they'll probably start a Church of Anarchism, or something.

You ought to be the priest in the Church of Anarchy and issue cards to designate who is an anarchist and who isn't, that way we know s/he is cool and meets your standards of approval. It apparently is so trendy to be an anarchist that they use it in court to try to assassinate the character of our comrades and friends. Or the media to turn people against each other in popular struggles.

Seriously though, fuck attitudes like yours. Person identifies as an anarchist and hasn't done anything to seriously compromise that position and even in this they propagandized for anarchism to the extent s/he was able, therefore they are an anarchist. That's all it takes.

But of course! If John McCain or Alex Jones start calling themselves anarchists we HAVE to accept them as such. Just as some liberal reporter is an anarchist because he's using an Apple laptop. Coz you know... they're free to do so and it's anarchism!!! I also beat Jews and Roma people, coz you know, I'm an anarchist!

Where the FUCK it say their using an apple laptop?

Your reasoning:

--If Alex Jones said he was an anarchist, it would be bad

--Therefore this person who went to N. Korea saying that she's an anarchist is bad

You're a fucking moron.

No, the reasoning is that there are people who simply aren't anarchists, whatever crap they claim to be, and some that are. Period.

Too bad for you words have no inherent value. Curry blade petrol jump.

You got dissimilar cover value WRONG, or not. Follow me on Twitter!

I'm sorry that I called you a moron (and apparently got Pierre's gender wrong). But the problem is that you have to make a convincing argument that the author is not an anarchist for your claims to hold any water whatsoever, and you haven't even tried to do that. I wouldn't run around accusing people of not being anarchists unless I had something really concrete to back it up with. If you really are concerned that we're permitting people who aren't anarchists to be recognized as such, you really shouldn't be associating your critique with trigger-happy shit-talking that includes no argumentation. That just makes people stop listening whenever they hear your accusation.

Wait, I did ask: "Where is any evidence this guy is anarchist and not some Apple liberal reporter posing as such?"

So please point me to something in that article that supports the claim this person is anarchist.

Ok well... I just noticed it's from the Fifth Estate, so I suppose it her more relevance as an anarchist. But her review of N. Korea's authoritarianism could have been written by any CNN reporter, which is the source of my apprehension. It sounds somewhat liberal as an analysis. But perhaps things are just indeed as rude and simple as that in this country.

Ha, "Fifth Estate" are the second and third words of the article, with a link. You need to take it a little easy there on the flying off the handle part. There are good targets for your rage, but it probably isn't poor Pierre.

Stop oppressing my personal cognitive processes! I'm usually inclined to read texts first, then the source links. But of course that's after looking at the images...

Is this anarchist could go report in Haiti as well? Or in CIA secret prisons?

While their at it they can go to Oakland and beat up some nerds.

This reportage is the usual propaganda that is fed to the herds in the crony collective of sovereign states [the secularized theological system of authoritarian organization that was the necessary instrument of Europe’s colonial expansion].

Here’s the recipe for dumbing down the mind that this reportage is following.

1. Assume that the system you are investigating is an independently-existing system-in-itself with its own internal components and processes-driven and directed behaviour. This assumption means that analytical inquiry is sufficient, and that the dynamics of the system-in-itself can be understood in terms of its internal components and processes.

2. Assumption number 1. implies that the system under investigation enjoys ‘independent being’ which means that its behaviour is fully and solely its own as if it were an absolute space and absolute time ‘operating theatre’ [reference frame].

3. These are the usual bullshit assumptions that shape the Western culture’s worldview. They derive from Western man’s view of himself; i.e. as an ‘independent internal components-and-processes driven and directed system-in-itself’.

4. As systems scientists like Russell Ackoff have pointed out, every ‘system’ is included in a ‘relational suprasystem’ which outside-inwardly orchestrates and shapes its behaviour. In other words, the real dynamic is yin/yang and not all-yang-no-yin as this reportage presents it, speaking of North Korea as if its behaviour jumpstarts from the weirdos inside of it who are ‘running it’.

5. In Ackoff’s terms, because every system is included in a relational suprasystem that is outside-inwardly shaping its behaviour, analytical inquiry must be grounded in synthetical inquiry [yang inquiry that looks at inside-outward asserting actions must be grounded in yin inquiry that looks at outside-inward orchestrating, behaviour shaping influences.]

6. There are many peoples who hate the colonial system globally imposed by the crony alliance of colonial powers and all that it stands for and who do not want to become junior members or mini-clones of the great icon of secularized theological authoritarianism, the United States.

7. The global alliance of colonial powers who call themselves ‘leaders of the free world’ do not offer the option to any people or region to ‘do their own thing’. The web of relations that constitutes the world dynamic can become very toxic to the health of a people who opt to ‘do their own thing’, and when organizings develop in toxic soil, they often become stunted, warped, weird.

8. The stunted warped, weird development of people who detest and reject the only other option of becoming a junior member, a miniclone of the icon of secularized theological authoritarianism, the United States, does not jumpstart out of the interior of the weirdo rogue state, it derives from the toxic soil that the weirdo rogue state is growing up in.

9. Past U.S. secretaries of state have been open about the fact that their aim is to break rogue states and bring them back into the fold [into the ‘free world’] by putting sanctions on those states that will make the people so miserable that the people will rise up against their leader and install a new leader friendly to the crony alliance of colonial powers. Of course, there are offers of weapons and future positions of power and wealth made clandestinely to potential insurgents who will ignite civil war.

10. What kind of paranoid, warped system would one expect to see develop under these conditions? A Cuba where CIA assassination attempts against its rogue leader Castro were in the hundreds, and paranoia was well founded, as was closing of borders, secret police etc. Qaddafy’s Libya was the same with overt bombings of his quarters by Reagan. In the end, Qaddafy made the mistake of not maintaining a strong enough military to deal with insurgents supported by the crony alliance of colonial powers, and therefore without the resources of an Assad to undergo a multi-year civil war. Sanctions against the regime of Iraq’s Saddam Hussein led to the deaths of hundreds of thousands of Iraqi children (estimates vary from 300,000 to 1,500,000).

11. This reportage on North Korea amounts to analytical inquiry ungrounded by synthetical inquiry, examining the strange practices and closed door policies, as if this weirdo system has sprouted up from some weirdo genes and is not shaped by the weirdo soil/habitat it is inextricably included in. It is the morally judging stare of the voyeur observer that excludes himself from any/all influence in shaping the form 'out there' that he is examining. Moral judging automatically puts the moral judge on moral highground. He stares pitilessly at the distorted, cringing being in front of him, as she is pulled up from his own dark cellar, still in chains, looking decidedly psychotic and showing the effects of repeated beatings and rape. What an ugly thing SHE is. In reality, this ugliness is a reflection of him coming back on himself. Will the crony alliance of colonial powers ever admit this? Will the U.S. ever admit this? To make moral judgement is to, in the same stroke, declare the ugliness to be jumpstarting from within the notionally ‘independent’ thing-in-itself 'out there' that one is judging.

12. The world of global colonialism, of secularized theological authoritarian states is a moralizing world. In order to morally judge ‘individuals’, one must assume that they are independently-existing things-in-themselves that are fully and solely responsible for their own development and behaviour. This is never true in the real world of our experience. It is the propaganda method of Western colonizer civilization. This reportage is Western colonizer civilization propaganda. How gallant of him to attempt to rescue those poor deformed and paranoid beings from the forces which have made them that way, by the clever strategy of befriending them, helping them to rejoin ‘the free world’. They could then break out of their chains simply by accepting that being beaten and raped is a part of one’s free-world life; what a dream of freedom that is!

“Because maybe I could, against all odds, make contact with someone on the other side and let them know there is an alternative, there is a hope of regaining their freedom, real freedom, not just the right to buy a Big Mac.”

Warped system...
Strong military, dead children

deluded moralist if not hippy; imagery of rape

Hey, let's send emile to North Korea!

Haha fuck yeah so he can SEE HOW YIN_YANG WORKS IN REAL LIFE AND NOT FROM BEHIND AN INTELLECTUALIZED KEYBOARD VERSION!!

This reportage is the usual propaganda that is fed to the herds in the crony collective of sovereign states [the secularized theological system of authoritarian organization that was the necessary instrument of Europe’s colonial expansion].

Here’s the recipe for dumbing down the mind that this reportage is following.

1. Assume that the system you are investigating is an independently-existing system-in-itself with its own internal components and processes-driven and directed behaviour. This assumption means that analytical inquiry is sufficient, and that the dynamics of the system-in-itself can be understood in terms of its internal components and processes.

2. Assumption number 1. implies that the system under investigation enjoys ‘independent being’ which means that its behaviour is fully and solely its own as if it were an absolute space and absolute time ‘operating theatre’ [reference frame].

3. These are the usual bullshit assumptions that shape the Western culture’s worldview. They derive from Western man’s view of himself; i.e. as an ‘independent internal components-and-processes driven and directed system-in-itself’.

4. As systems scientists like Russell Ackoff have pointed out, every ‘system’ is included in a ‘relational suprasystem’ which outside-inwardly orchestrates and shapes its behaviour. In other words, the real dynamic is yin/yang and not all-yang-no-yin as this reportage presents it, speaking of North Korea as if its behaviour jumpstarts from the weirdos inside of it who are ‘running it’.

5. In Ackoff’s terms, because every system is included in a relational suprasystem that is outside-inwardly shaping its behaviour, analytical inquiry must be grounded in synthetical inquiry [yang inquiry that looks at inside-outward asserting actions must be grounded in yin inquiry that looks at outside-inward orchestrating, behaviour shaping influences.]

6. There are many peoples who hate the colonial system globally imposed by the crony alliance of colonial powers and all that it stands for and who do not want to become junior members or mini-clones of the great icon of secularized theological authoritarianism, the United States.

7. The global alliance of colonial powers who call themselves ‘leaders of the free world’ do not offer the option to any people or region to ‘do their own thing’. The web of relations that constitutes the world dynamic can become very toxic to the health of a people who opt to ‘do their own thing’, and when organizings develop in toxic soil, they often become stunted, warped, weird.

8. The stunted warped, weird development of people who detest and reject the only other option of becoming a junior member, a miniclone of the icon of secularized theological authoritarianism, the United States, does not jumpstart out of the interior of the weirdo rogue state, it derives from the toxic soil that the weirdo rogue state is growing up in.

9. Past U.S. secretaries of state have been open about the fact that their aim is to break rogue states and bring them back into the fold [into the ‘free world’] by putting sanctions on those states that will make the people so miserable that the people will rise up against their leader and install a new leader friendly to the crony alliance of colonial powers. Of course, there are offers of weapons and future positions of power and wealth made clandestinely to potential insurgents who will ignite civil war.

10. What kind of paranoid, warped system would one expect to see develop under these conditions? A Cuba where CIA assassination attempts against its rogue leader Castro were in the hundreds, and paranoia was well founded, as was closing of borders, secret police etc. Qaddafy’s Libya was the same with overt bombings of his quarters by Reagan. In the end, Qaddafy made the mistake of not maintaining a strong enough military to deal with insurgents supported by the crony alliance of colonial powers, and therefore without the resources of an Assad to undergo a multi-year civil war. Sanctions against the regime of Iraq’s Saddam Hussein led to the deaths of hundreds of thousands of Iraqi children (estimates vary from 300,000 to 1,500,000).

11. This reportage on North Korea amounts to analytical inquiry ungrounded by synthetical inquiry, examining the strange practices and closed door policies, as if this weirdo system has sprouted up from some weirdo genes and is not shaped by the weirdo soil/habitat it is inextricably included in. It is the morally judging stare of the voyeur observer that excludes himself from any/all influence in shaping the form 'out there' that he is examining. Moral judging automatically puts the moral judge on moral highground. He stares pitilessly at the distorted, cringing being in front of him, as she is pulled up from his own dark cellar, still in chains, looking decidedly psychotic and showing the effects of repeated beatings and rape. What an ugly thing SHE is. In reality, this ugliness is a reflection of him coming back on himself. Will the crony alliance of colonial powers ever admit this? Will the U.S. ever admit this? To make moral judgement is to, in the same stroke, declare the ugliness to be jumpstarting from within the notionally ‘independent’ thing-in-itself 'out there' that one is judging.

12. The world of global colonialism, of secularized theological authoritarian states is a moralizing world. In order to morally judge ‘individuals’, one must assume that they are independently-existing things-in-themselves that are fully and solely responsible for their own development and behaviour. This is never true in the real world of our experience. It is the propaganda method of Western colonizer civilization. This reportage is Western colonizer civilization propaganda. How gallant of him to attempt to rescue those poor deformed and paranoid beings from the forces which have made them that way, by the clever strategy of befriending them, helping them to rejoin ‘the free world’. They could then break out of their chains simply by accepting that being beaten and raped is a part of one’s free-world life; what a dream of freedom that is!

“Because maybe I could, against all odds, make contact with someone on the other side and let them know there is an alternative, there is a hope of regaining their freedom, real freedom, not just the right to buy a Big Mac.”

I for one found this article really great, it's good to see some actually well-put-together content on @news. I was just doing some research on NK because I didn't know much about it, and look what popped up on my favorite news site.

Despite the trolls, great article!

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