Saturday, February 6, 2010

Found Poetry in the North Korean Constitution

Regular readers will know that I am a bit of a fan of the language of Constitutions. Here we have some great lines from the Constitution of North Korea (1998; there has been a change since then, replacing the last references to 'communism' with 'Juche*' the late eternal leader's own interpretation of Marx which emphasizes how they are alone against the world. It means self-reliance or some such thing, like Sinn Fein and similar groups of crazed obsessives who think they're the only ones going in the right direction up the motorway. Socialism still gets mentioned repeatedly, though; I don't know how Christopher Hitchens would explain that away). I am sure the enslaved and tyrannized people of that great paradise are delighted to know that their lives are governed by such deathless prose. Of course, most of it doesn't really mean anything, and much of the rest is not such as would make the heart of the simple citizen jump with joy. I wouldn't count on making it stand up in court, either. It's largely a hymn of praise to the great leader and eternal president, and is of no use whatsoever to the oppressed serf whose country and life has been stolen by these miserable scum.

*The concept of Juche is discussed here, with what precision I couldn't say, and, though it's not strictly relevant to the subject, Spanish speakers may find this bunch of nutters interesting.

The Democratic People's Republic of Korea is a socialist fatherland of Juche which embodies the idea of and guidance by the great leader Comrade Kim Il Sung.

Comrade Kim Il Sung founded the immortal Juche idea, organized and guided an anti-Japanese revolutionary struggle under its banner, created revolutionary tradition, attained the historical cause of the national liberation, and founded the DPRK, wisely guided the social revolution and construction at various levels, strengthened and developed the Republic into a people-centered socialist country and a socialist state of independence, self-sustenance, and self-defense.

Comrade Kim Il Sung clarified the fundamental principle of State building and activities, established the most superior state social system and political method, and social management system and method, and provided a firm basis for the prosperous and powerful socialist fatherland and the continuation of the task of completing the Juche revolutionary cause.

Comrade Kim Il Sung regarded "believing in the people as in heaven" as his motto, was always with the people, devoted his whole life to them, took care of and guided them with a noble politics of benevolence, and turned the whole society into one big and united family.

The great leader Comrade Kim Il Sung is the sun of the nation and the lodestar of the reunification of the fatherland. Comrade Kim Il Sung set the reunification of the country as the nation 's supreme task, and devoted all his work and endeavors entirely to its realization.

Comrade Kim Il Sung, while turning the Republic into a mighty fortress for national reunification, indicated fundamental principles and methods for national reunification, developed the national reunification movement into a pan-national movement, and opened up a way for that cause, to be attained by the united strength of the entire nation.

Comrade Kim Il Sung was a genius ideological theoretician and a genius art leader, an ever-victorious, iron-willed brilliant commander, a great revolutionary and politician, and a great human being.

The DPRK and the entire Korean people will uphold the great leader Comrade Kim Il Sung as the eternal President of the Republic, defend and carry forward his ideas and exploits and complete the Juche revolution under the leadership of the Workers ' Party of Korea.


Article 1

The Democratic People 's Republic of Korea is an independent socialist state representing the interests of all the Korean people.

Article 2

The DPRK is a revolutionary state which has inherited brilliant traditions formed during the glorious revolutionary struggle against the imperialist aggressors, in the struggle to achieve the liberation of the homeland and the freedom and well-being of the people.


Article 18

The law of the DPRK reflects the wishes and interests of the working people and is a basic instrument for State administration.

Respect for the law and its strict adherence and execution is the duty of all institutions, enterprises, organizations and citizens.

The State shall perfect the system of socialist law and promote the socialist law-abiding life.


Article 79

Citizens are guaranteed inviolability of the person and the home and privacy of correspondence.

No citizens can be placed under control or be arrested nor can their homes be searched without a legal warrant.

Article 156

The court has the duties to:

1. protect through judicial procedure the State power and the socialist system established in the DPRK, the property of the State and social, cooperative organizations, personal rights as guaranteed by the Constitution, and the lives and property of citizens,

2. ensure that all institutions, enterprises, organizations and citizens abide strictly by State laws and staunchly combat class enemies and all law-breakers

It goes on and on, and gets worse and worse. Quiet unrelated to any reality, and much less the reality of North Korea. Badly translated, aspirational stuff, ignored by the leaders, but fawned over by apologists and fellow travellers who point out that it guarantees (how? it's only a piece of paper, and the twisted midget who's in charge has a large army awaiting his whim) the rights of women, foreigners and the old, and guarantees free universal health care and education. Much like in Cuba, which has higher literacy and longevity than almost anywhere in the world, according to the figures that Fidel makes up and which too many people take at face value.

Follow the link and read the constitution in all its cynical, tawdry, semi-literate glory, and be thankful you live in a better place. If you can read this, at all you are at least not in that obscene communist hell-hole, forced to live out a script excreted by some demented troglodyte.

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