Essay By Aaron Benjamin
The deceitful imperialist hounds of the western media attempt to portray the DPRK as a cruel, corrupt, and undemocratic individual dictatorship. Unsurprisingly, the gullible western population, including some so-called “socialists” that are against the DPRK, actually believe this slanderous nonsense and spew it fiercely to try and discredit the nation. What they don’t realize is that by poorly regurgitating western lies they’re not proving anything besides their own ignorance and idiocy. Here we will take a look into the actual government structure of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea and explain it and its functions in simplest terms possible so readers at any level can understand.
1.) Local and Political Power of Citizens of The DPRK and Local State Organs
Every single citizen of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea of or above the age of 17 has the right to elect and to be elected. If you’re coming from the view that the DPRK is an individual dictatorship then the last sentence might seem confusing, but the further we go into our investigation the more this will start to make sense.
Contrary to what the west claims, the citizens of the DPRK do in fact have ample amount of local political power as well as the right to submit complaints and petitions to higher state organs.
Aside from social cooperatives, which will be discussed in a future article on the DPRK’s economy, the most local organs of the state are the Local People’s Assemblies, which are provincial, municipal, and county level sovereign power organs for dealing with small scale economic management, local issues, and tailoring state policies to the conditions of that area. Accompanying the Local People’s Assemblies are the Local People’s Committees which take action when the Local People’s assemblies are in recess and they carry out administrative functions to put policies in practice.
The Local People’s assemblies are made up of elected deputies which serve 4 year terms and can be recalled if they do not uphold the will of the people. The members of the Local People’s Assemblies elect their chairman.
The Functions of the Local People’s Assemblies are as follows; To deliberate on and approve reports on local plans for the development of the national economy and their implementation, to deliberate on and approve reports on the budget and its implementation, adopting measures to exercise state laws in the area concerned, to elect or recall the chairman, vice chairman or secretary of the People’s committees at corresponding levels, to elect or recall judges of a court and people’s assessors, to abolish unwarranted decisions and directions adopted by a people’s committee and lower people’s assemblies.
The Local People’s Assemblies have two types of meetings; a regular assembly or an extraordinary assembly. Regular assemblies are brought together once or twice a year by a Local People’s Committee of a corresponding level. Extraordinary assemblies are held when the People’s Committee deems it necessary to do so and a minimum of one -third of the deputies must show at the Extraordinary assemblies. When assemblies are held and issues are raised, they are decided by a two-thirds majority vote.
Local People’s Committees are made up of the chairman, vice chairman, secretaries and members — the three former are elected by the Local People’s Assemblies and the term for these positions are 4 years.
The functions of the Local People’s Committees are as follows; To organize assembly meetings, To organize local elections, to do work with the deputies of the assemblies, To exercise laws,
decisions and directions of the people’s assembly at the corresponding level, and all state organs higher than itself, To organize and exercise will administrative work in their respective areas, to draft a local plan for the development of the national economy and adopt measures to exercise it, create a local budget and adopt measures to put it into effect, adopt measures to protect maintain order, protect the property of social cooperative organizations, the state and to safeguard the rights of the people, to do inspection, to guide and to abolish unwarranted decisions of lower people’s assemblies.
We’ve just scratched the surface of the government of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea and if you hadn’t noticed by now, it is not a dictatorship by any means (Unless by dictatorship you mean dictatotship of the proletariat). Unless, of course, Kim Jong-Un just holds all of these positions and makes every single decision, the thousands that there are, local and national and personally sees to it that every single of the 25 million DPRK citizens are doing what their told… Unfortunately there are some people that would believe the satire i just did over the reality of the matter.
2.) Higher State Organs
The highest organ of state power in the DPRK is the Supreme People’s Assembly. As of the last election, (9th of March 2014) the SPA consists of 4 political groups. The independents, who make up 8 of the 687 seats, which means there are more political independents in this “dictatorship” than there are in the American Senate and Legislature combined even though America is the “land of the free”. The next is the Chongdoist Chongu who are a religious party in this so-called “atheist” state, then the Social Democratic party who are the second largest political party in North Korea. The final and largest party in the DPRK is the Workers Party of Korea led by Chairman Kim Jong-Un.
Members of the SPA serve 5 year terms and are elected based on the principles of universal, equal and direct suffrage by means of secrecy ballot. As stated before, you can both vote and run for elections once you turn 17.
The SPA serves a legislative function with the guiding principle in practice being democratic centralism. There is total freedom of issues discussed and debated but once all members have voted and a policy is passed, all members must uphold that position. As Lenin said “Freedom of discussion, unity of action”. Policies that are not passed are either discarded entirely or discussions start up again and changes are made to said policy until a consensus a reached. In order for a policy to pass, it must gain a majority vote by members of the SPA with show of hand.
The SPA meets in the same fashion of the Local People’s Assemblies, having regular and extraordinary meetings. They also elect their own chairman and vice chairman and the chairman elected will preside over sessions.
The SPA has the ability to perform the following; Amend and supplement the constitution (actions on the constitution pass with a two-thirds majority vote), Amend or supplement departmental laws, approve major departmental laws adopted by the SPA Presidium in intervals between SPA sessions, establish basic principles of domestic and foreign policies, elect or transfer the chairman, first vice-chairman or vice-chairman of the national defense commission on recommendation, elect or transfer any members of the SPA Presidium, elect or transfer the Premier of the Cabinet, appoint the vice premiers of the Cabinet, chairmen of commissions, ministers and other members of the Cabinet on recommendation of the Premier of the Cabinet, appoint or remove the Prosecutor-general, elect or transfer the Chief Justice, elect or transfer the chairmen, vice chairmen and members of the committees of the SPA, examine and approve the State plan for the development of the national economy and a report on its fulfillment, examine and approve a report on the State budget and on its implementation, receive a report on the work of the Cabinet and national institutions and adopt measures if necessary, and decide on the ratification or repeal of treaties submitted to the SPA.
Much like what the Local People’s Committees are in relation to the Local People’s Assemblies, the SPA has the SPA Presidium.
The SPA Presidium has the same amount of national power that the SPA has but they are accountable to the SPA and mostly serve in between meeting intervals of the SPA. Leaders of the SPA presidium are elected by the SPA. and serve the same number of years in office.
The functions of the SPA Presidium are largely similar to that of the Local People’s Committees but on a national scale. They are as follows; To organize SPA meetings, to examine and adopt new departmental bills and regulations, raised when the SPA is in recess, and examine and adopt drafts of amendment and supplement to departmental bills and regulations in force, and receive approval from the next SPA session on important departmental bills which will be adopted and implemented, to examine and approve the State plan for the development of the national economy, the State budget and its adjusted plan, raised when the SPA is in recess due to unavoidable circumstances, to interpret the constitution and laws that are in practice, supervise the observance of laws of State organs, and adopt measures, to abolish decisions of other state organs which violate the constitution, to elect various people into the offices of the National Defence Commission and courts, to organize elections and work with SPA deputies.
The Supreme People’s Assembly and its presidium overall serve a legislative function within the role of the people’s state.
The DPRK state Cabinet serves an executive function and is with the SPA and the SPA Presidium in serving as the highest level of government, terms within the Cabinet are the same as they are in the SPA, 5 years. The functions of the Cabinet are like i said earlier, executive but let’s take a closer look and specify.
The Cabinet of the DPRK shares a lot of the same functions as the two previous state organs discussed but from an executive standpoint. Some unique functions of the Cabinet although are to organize and exercise works in the DPRK state owned enterprises and tourism. The Cabinet can also conclude treaties with foreign nations and other external activities.
The Cabinet is accountable to the SPA, so if the Cabinet members for example, make and attempt to implement a law that violates the constitution then the SPA can step in and stop that from happening.
3.) Defence and Courts
The Korean Armed forces are headed by the National Defence Commission. The NDC is accountable to the SPA. The term length of leader in the NDC remains the same as those of the SPA, 5 years. The Leaders of the NDC can appoint major military cadres and also remove or transfer them if necessary. All military actions within the DPRK are guided and organized by the National Defence Commission.
Justice in the DPRK is guided and administered by authority of the Central Court through a chain of command from national to municipal and county wide. The Central Court appoints all judges and they are accountable to the SPA, terms here are also 5 years long and all courts of a lower level than that of the Central Court have judges appointed by the Central Court.
The Central Court observes all of the courts in the country to make sure they abide by DPRK law and remain constitutional in action. All courts in the DPRK function case by case with law-breakers and counter-revolutionaries and punish them accordingly based on the crime they’ve committed. The most important function of the courts, in my opinion at least, is making sure that every organization, institution and enterprises and within the borders of the DPRK are following laws and are not violating the constitution or any of its principles.
The Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, a proletarian state founded in the aftermath of world war two and risen from the ruins of war and japanese imperialism. Straight from the get go they were facing problems with the United States as the south of Korea was effectively seized by the imperialists and the peninsula was divided. Through years of struggle and conflicts with the imperialists constantly hounding the small socialist nation they have undoubtedly made quite impressive advancements all around considering their historical context with surrounding conditions.
To just do as the Mccarthyists and ancoms do and slander the DPRK by calling it a “fascist state capitalist dictatorship/monarchy” is not only insulting to the reality in which we occupy, but also to your own intelligence and credibility. Not to mention the decades of struggle and conflict against japanese imperialism that the people of Korea fought against with massive spirit and determination, discrediting what they’ve created as a “fascist monarchy” is just lunacy on several different levels. The DPRK was founded as a workers state through struggle of the working class and to this day is one of the last remaining workers states, it should be praised by us socialists! Not treated with a fierce campaign of lies and slanders like the capitalists do, which is a purely anti-communist form of action.
“In the face of sustained U.S war threats and economic sanctions, North Korea has still remained a revolutionary country that values people over capitalist profit and greed. It has kept foreign capitalist investments from massively exploiting its people and taking over the country. This is the real crime of North Korea in the eyes of the imperialists” -Jason Unruhe
In sections where i list the functions of the certain state organs, they are directly quoted but simplified versions of what the constitution states for ease of reading.