A weird cult shakes the nation

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A weird cult shakes the nation

Dongyang University professor Chin Jung-kwon is a notable progressive critic known for his biting remarks, and I personally do not agree with many of his opinions. However, when it comes to the pro-Pyongyang sympathizers issue, I cannot help but acknowledge his outstanding insight.

On the transcript from a secret meeting of the Revolutionary Organization within the Unified Progressive Party, Chin called it “a total madhouse” and said, “In order to get psychological rewards for the realistic helplessness from social isolation, they developed a violent illusion.”

He continues, “When their grounds for revolutionary romance disappeared, they created a virtual scenario of a war breaking out with a provocation by the U.S. Forces and tried to play “partisan warriors.” Chin said they are suffering from a “psychological developmental delay.” He is right. How else can we describe the people who discuss “a speedy battle to attain people’s revolution” in a country with the world’s eighth-largest trading volume?

I carefully reviewed the motion to arrest Lee Seok-ki of the UPP, and it reminded me of the nostalgic 1980s. I recalled old friends who sang “The Song of Brotherhood,” which goes, “Let’s not break the firm pledge, let’s admire One Star,” and “Red Flags,” whose lyrics go, “Cowards can leave, but we will defend the red flag.”

These songs were not the popular activist songs sang at rallies like “The March for the Beloved.” Rather, they were secret ceremonial songs that the pro-Pyongyang National Liberation group had sung in the back room. At first, I did not know what “One Star” meant, but when I later learned that it referred to Kim Il Sung, I was quite shocked.

Some of the young student activists in the 1980s and 1990s under the military regimes may have had reasons to sing such songs. However, it is more of a cult to sing praises for Kim Il Sung in 2013. In fact, the juche (self-reliance) philosophy itself is a cult of personality admiring “the Great Leader.” Perhaps, it may be natural for RO members to feel religious toward North Korea. The transcript actually sounds like conversation during a religious meeting.

It wouldn’t have been a big deal if the group went deep into the woods and ran a farm. But the moment they jump into politics to plot a revolt, their illusion turned into a realistic threat. In fact, they are not dreamers but meticulous strategists and masters of demagoguery. They joined Rhyu Si-min and Sim sang-jeong to found the Unified Progressive Party for last year’s general election and then successfully used the second-stage unification front tactic to secure their stake by tactful coalition with the main opposition Democratic Party.

Currently, the Unified Progressive Party holds six seats in the National Assembly, but if it hadn’t used outside figures, it wouldn’t have been able to get even a single seat. Now that the shocking face of Lee Seok-ki’s group is revealed, those who created the problem must solve it.

The Democratic Party and the Justice Party, led by Sim, need to acknowledge their mistake of assisting the anti-constitutional figures to become lawmakers and do some soul-searching. Bringing Lee and the far-left party to justice will be the first task for the liberal forces to reorganize the terrain for a better future of progressivism.

*The author is a deputy political and international news editor of the JoongAng Ilbo.

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