BY LOLA CAMPOS
It seems like everyday since U.S. President Donald Trump’s inauguration, the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, DPRK — or North Korea, as it is misnamed in Western media — is in the media cycle.
The DPRK is the proverbial boogeyman coming after the United States’ precious “freedom,” “democracy” and “liberty.” Every story out of the First World seems sure that the communist nation is on the verge of dropping a nuclear bomb or missile on the U.S. at any moment. Alongside orientalist caricatures and abundant historical amnesia, imperialist aggression against the DPRK is hard to miss.
Much like during the colonization of the territories of Puerto Rico, Cuba, Hawai’i, Guam and the Philippines at the end of the 19th Century, Western media conglomerates pump out highly racist and xenophobic images of the “enemy” that stands between the U.S. and its colonial conquest.
Source: Wikimedia Commons
On the islands, it was the “unfit” Black or Indigenous populations that were depicted as “savage,” “unruly” and “uncivilized” and thus incapable of self-governance. The media played a key role in swaying legislators — and more importantly, the U.S. public — that these Third World nations, for their own sake, needed a white, “benevolent” overlord like the United States.
Does this sound any different from the propaganda we’re oversaturated with about the DPRK? Hardly.
To go only by the words of Western media, one would think that the DPRK is a real-life television saga with dynastic rulers and endless suffering. A simple web search draws up dozens of the latest “news” and images of the DPRK.
An infantilized leader depicted with slitted eyes and small stature challenging the U.S. for attention, if they’re nice. The following image does not even attempt to hide its racism. It places DPRK leader and Chairman of the Workers’ Party of Korea Kim Jong-un in a diaper. The text alone is enough to disgust you.
Source: Los Angeles Times
We stand at a pivotal moment in the Korean Revolution, one that calls for international solidarity. Not only out of respect for the self-determination of Third World peoples, but also to honor our allies.
Let’s remember: it’s the United States that bares the crown for using nuclear weapons, not the DPRK. It was also the United States that purposely obliterated the entire infrastructural makeup of the country and used biochemical weapons against the DPRK that continue to impact the northern Korean Peninsula. To this day, the United States has refused to sign an end to the Korean War, meaning it is still technically engaged in military conflict with the DPRK.
The United States has also started countless wars against our Latin American homeland, not the DPRK. In a concerted effort to eliminate any socialist state or progressive leadership in Latin America, the United States has propped up ruthless right-wing dictators. This not a relic of history, but a consistent piece of foreign policy — the 2009 U.S.-backed Honduran coup against President Manuel Zelaya is proof.
The U.S. propaganda machine is the best of its kind and controls millions of people’s perceptions of the world. As oppressed peoples in the First World and as descendants of Third World peoples, it’s our duty as Latinx to stand with the DPRK. We must vehemently defend the DPRK’s right to their sovereignty and autonomy.
In the same way the empire deprives our home countries of leftist leadership, it attempts to sway us into believing the DPRK should also be deprived of their independence.
The U.S. hides the incredible gains the DPRK has made despite being completely destroyed by aerial bombings during the Korean War. The U.S. wiped the country’s farms, buildings, hospitals, schools, historical monuments and more off the face of the earth.
However, under the leadership of Kim il-Sung and the Workers’ Party of Korea, the DPRK rose from the ashes. The DPRK now provides its inhabitants with free education, free healthcare, free housing, free public transportation and paid maternity leave. The DPRK also has one of the highest literacy rates in the world, invests heavily in education, science, technology and sports for the complete benefit of its people.
The same companies that are locking up Black and Brown youth — GeoGroup, General Electric and Boeing — are also investing in war against the DPRK. Like prisons, wars are profitable ventures for wealthy elites under advanced capitalism.
For the capitalist-imperialist core, Venezuela, Iran and the DPRK are ripe for invasion. The three hold major natural resources, such as oil and rare earth minerals, needed by the First World. It is no surprise then that their unapologetic autonomy threatens the First World and an international campaign slandering them is a necessity to preface invasion.
Chinese communist leader Mao Tse-tung once said that every revolutionary must know their enemy. It’s clear that for Latinx people, the enemy is the First World and the capitalist-imperialist system, which forced them to leave their homelands to begin with.
Mao also affirmed that revolutionaries must know who their true friends are. For Latinx, the people of the DPRK must be seen as friends and comrades in the struggle against this system, which has oppressed both in distinct ways.