[KS] North Korea says multiracialism is poison

Balazs Szalontai aoverl at yahoo.co.uk
Sun Apr 30 04:55:59 EDT 2006

Dear Owen (if I may),
  I would like to add that Kim Il Sung and his colleagues may have been thinking along racialist lines much before 1963, but they probably considered it advisable to avoid a direct conflict with the Soviets over this issue. After all, many of the mistreated foreigners were Soviet citizens. However, by 1963 Soviet-DPRK relations had deteriorated to such an extent that the KWP leaders did not care with possible Soviet disapproval anymore. What is interesting that this attitude was not peculiar to North Korea. The North Vietnamese authorities also discouraged mixed marriages, and in 1960 the CCP leadership instructed party and Youth League members not to marry foreigners. Moreover, the Albanian Communist leadership passed a law prohibiting mixed marriages as early as 1952. In all these cases (with the possible exception of the DRV), the aforesaid restrictive practices seem to have been related to conflicts with the Soviet Union. This is not to deny the existence of racialist
 thinking. After all, xenophobic nationalism started to permeate North Korean cultural politicies at least from 1955-56 on, if not much earlier. Thus the analysis of the political and international context is helpful in understanding why and when such ideas started to influence actual policies, but it may not explain the ideas themselves. 
  As for the term "black slaves": some North Korean cadres occasionally also made extremely racist comments on Africans (whom the DPRK officially regarded as revolutionary allies), and in 1963, the African diplomats accredited to Beijing bitterly complained of Chinese racism.

          I think if you look at the lineage (if you'll pardon the use of this term) of the racialist ideas of North Korea's ruling class it would not be difficult to find affinities with some of the ideas that lay behind Nazi ideology. The DPRK bureaucracy seems to have inherited much of the Social Darwinist 'survival of the fittest' ideology that informed pre-war Japanese fascist ideas and strongly influenced many of the Korean 'enlightenment' thinkers of the late 19th and early 20th centuries as well as Liang Qichao. In this sense I think we can probably find some common ideological ancestry. But then the influence of Social Darwinism and racialist ideas was (and is I suppose) very broad and never limited only to the far right.
  Of course we also have to look at the historical circumstances of North Korea's turn toward racialist ideas - I'm sure Balazs Szalontai is correct when he connects the dislike of mixed marriages in the early 1960s with the rift with the Soviet Union.
  Apologies to Dr Tikhonov for intruding somewhat into his specialist area - I'm sure he could provide more informed commentary on the connections between DPRK ideology and Social Darwinism.
  Owen Miller
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