Archive for the ‘North Korea’ category

Hitchens the muddled Marxist

December 29, 2011

With North Korea in the news a lot these days, I’ve heard numerous mainstream liberal commentators wrongly referring to North Korea as a “fascist state”.

Many of these deluded liberals seem to be influenced by the late Christopher Hitchen’s essay A Nation of Racist Dwarfs.

If MSM commentators actually knew anything about fascism, they would notice that North Korea is in fact one of the least fascist countries in a region which has a lot of fascist characteristics. In economics terms for example, China, South Korea and Japan with their state-directed market economies are much more fascist-like than hard-core communist North Korea.

North Korea has a more dogmatic attachment to Marxist economic principles than any country on earth and is the only nation in the region which refuses to allow any kind of free market activity. In North Korea was a fascist state with a mixed corporate economy, then it wouldn’t be so poor.

For a supposedly fascist state, North Korea doesn’t pay much respect to fascist traditions either . Its government employs no fascist imagery, and produces no positive propaganda about ironic fascist states like Nazi Germany or Fascist Italy. By contrast, the flash and circle of the Italian fascists is a widely used symbol of the Singapore’s People’s ActionParty, while  Nazi-themed bars are quite popular in various Asian countries. But as you would expect, North Korea’s ruling regime does produce plenty of old-school Stalinist imagery which glorifies the working class (and supports OWS).

Hitchens make a big thing about North Korea’s apparent obsession with “racial purity” but ignore the fact that North Korea is a culturally homogenous country which has no racial minorities like western states. Also, the regime’s “racist” criticisms of other nations are mainly directed at wealthy, powerful countries which oppose communism. In other words, North Korean “racism” is largely ideological (and classically Marxist) rather than biological. North Korea doesn’t produce racist rhetoric about poor groups like Blacks in Africa or Indians in South America. The Hitch also fails to mention that most nations in East Asian, are “racist” in the liberal sense, since they pursue restrictionist immigration policies, don’t celebrate multiculturalism and don’t sign up for UN refugee quotas.

So why, characteristic North Korea as fascist when it most clearly isn’t?

There seem to be two main reasons. One reason is that many liberals like Hitchens are ex-Marxists who still have some sympathy for communism. Western Marxists and ex-Marxists often like to say that authoritarian, economically unsuccessful Marxist states have strayed from socialist principles, so as to imply that socialist states don’t have to be authoritarian and can be economically successful if they don’t pursue anti-democractic policies (a dubious idea since most people don’t find communist ideology appealing unless it’s tied to nationalism). The second reason is to characterise fascism as a more extreme ideology than communism.

The reality of course is things aren’t so black and white, and fascist ideas and policies still can be found in many countries around the world. But you won’t hear that kind of heresy from mainstream talking heads like Hitchens.

 

 

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