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Digital Archive International History Declassified

November 11, 1980

TELEGRAM FROM THE HUNGARIAN EMBASSY IN PYONGYANG, 'NEW PARTY RULES OF THE KOREAN WORKERS’ PARTY'

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    A report on the new party rules of the Korean Worker's Party, which seems to replace Marxism-Leninism with the Juche ideology.
    "Telegram from the Hungarian Embassy in Pyongyang, 'New Party Rules of the Korean Workers’ Party'," November 11, 1980, History and Public Policy Program Digital Archive, MNL OL XIV-J-1-j Korea 25-006569/1980.Obtained by North Korean Materials Archive, IFES, Kyungnam University, and translated by Imre Májer. https://digitalarchive.wilsoncenter.org/document/123781
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EMBASSSY OF THE HUNGARIAN PEOPLE’S REPUBLIC
Serial number: 303/1980
Produced in 3 copies:
-        Central (2 copies)
-        Embassy (1 copy)

TOP SECRET!
Pyongyang, 1980 November 11

Subject: New Party Rules of the Korean Worker’s Party

On the third day during the Korean Worker’s Party’s 6th Congress held between 1980 October 10 and 14, the new Party Rules have been discussed and then accepted in unison. Similarly to the 5th Congress in 1970 November, the document and the changes detailed in it have not been made public this time either.

Last time our embassy sent home the translation of the Party Rules that we received via our friends in document 31/Szt/1971, and recently it did so with the new German translation as well in document 155/SzH/1980. In the meantime, we had the opportunity to look into the Korean version of the rules. I will detail the most important changes in the Party Rules in the following.

The introduction part dealing with the Korean Worker’s Party determines that the “Korean Worker’s Party is a juche-type, revolutionary Marxist–Leninist party, which was founded by Comrade Kim Il Sung… The Korean Worker’s Party considers the teachings of the Great Leader Comrade Kim Il Sung: the juche ideology, as its sole guiding principle.” (In comparison, the relevant part of the previous Rules stated the following: “The Korean Worker’s Party considers Marxism–Leninism and Comrade Kim Il Sung’s constructive application of Marxism–Leninism, the grand “juche” ideology, as its only guiding principles in its activities.”)

The new document marks the ultimate goal of the party in “…arming the entire society with the juche ideology and building the communist society”. Previously there was no mention of society’s “juchefication” in this form. The following sentence of the Party Rules was completely missing from the previous one: “The Korean Worker’s Party is incessantly fortifying the ideological and willpower unity and integrity of the whole party based on the juche ideology”.

Based on the aforementioned, it is obvious why there was no reference to Marxism–Leninism during the congress, and why the “juche ideology” was emphasized more than ever before.

There was an entirely new paragraph in the current rules. According to this, the Great Leader Comrade Kim Il Sung created the first communist organization of the country in 1926 (he was 14 then)… and later founded the Korean Worker’s Party. The referenced statement contradicts historical facts, and among others, conceals the existence of the Communist Party of Korea between 1925 and 1928.

We could not avoid noticing that even though the current Party Rules talk about the dictatorship of the proletariat, but they do not mention strengthening it against anti-classification, they do not detail the “revolutionary spirit of self-reliant prosperity”.

The Party Rules accepted ten years ago summarize the reunification policy of the party as follows: “The Korean Worker’s Party consistently follows the direction for the peaceful unification of the Nation; actively provides help and support for the South Korean people in their anti-American fight to expel the American imperialism – the sworn enemy of our country – from South Korea; against the resurging aggressions of Japanese militarism; to overthrow the landlords, and the puppet system of the comprador, reactionary bourgeoisie; to take over the power; and to finish the South Korean revolution”. In contrast, the corresponding part currently sounds like this: “The Korean Worker’s Party is fighting for the withdrawal of the aggressive troops of the American imperialists from South Korea, for eradicating their colonial system, for foiling the new aggressive plans of the Japanese militarism; it is providing active support and help in the fight of the South Korean people for democratizing society and for the basic rights; it is fighting for an independent, peaceful reunification based on the principles of great national unity, and for the unified development of the nation”. The obvious content change reflects the main points of the 1972 joint statement between the North and the South in its principles for reunification, the change that happened in the DPRK’s reunification policy in the meantime.

The principles of the unique foreign political directions of the party are reflected in the corresponding part of the new Party Rules, which states that “The Korean Worker’s Party is fortifying unity with the socialist countries and the international movement based on principles of independence (previously Marxism–Leninism) and proletarian internationalism…”. In this paragraph, not only the fight against imperialism, but against dominationism is present as well.

The first point of the chapter about the party members stated the criterion of party membership in the following: “A member of the Korean Worker’s Party is a conscious revolutionary fighter, who uses all their power to fight for the party, the Nation, and for the ultimate triumph of socialism and communism”. The corresponding part currently is: “A member of the Korean Worker’s Party is a juche-type communist revolutionary who devotedly fights for the party, the leader, the people, and the grand cause of socialism and communism”.

A change in the central organization chapter of the party is that the party’s congress has to be convoked once in every 5 years now, whereas it had to be held once in every 4 years before. However, both the Party Rules from ten years ago, and the current one as well contains the possibility that “the Central Committee of the party can also convoke the congress earlier or later if necessary”.

The constitution of the party enables it again to establish and elect members into the Standing Committee of the Political Bureau that was functioning until 1970. (This did happen during the congress.) The modified Party Rules do not determine, as before, that the Political Bureau has to hold a session no fewer than once a month.

Compared to the previous practice when the Central Committee’s Military Committee was also elected – among others – during the Central Committee plenary session, a significant changes is that from now on they will “establish” and “organize” it. It is thus likely that determining the composition of the Military Committee was removed from the scope of the Central Committee, as there is no mention of future elections. It is also worthy to note that Kim Jong Il, the son of Kim Il Sung, is in second place among the members of the Military Committee. He became a member of all the most important leading organs of the party during the congress, or more accurately, his positions were made public during the congress.

There are changes in the number of members in the organizational units of the party, and in the objectives awaiting various high ranked party organizations of the People’s Army. The regulations in the latter mostly became stricter.

It is noteworthy that paragraphs about Labor Unions, the Alliance of the Agricultural Workers, the Alliance of the Socialist Working Youths, and the Women’s Alliance were completely omitted from the chapter detailing the organizations of the party and the workers.

Finally I would like to mention that I have doubts regarding the originality of the previous and current Party Rules that the Koreans gave to our friends. I am assuming that the two Party Rules, which are the subject of this report, are not completely the same as the actual Party Rules that the KWP members who live in the DPRK received. It seems that the analyzed Rules were written for informing foreigners and the KWP members who do not reside in the DPRK. (Party members can be… Korean citizens, thus South Korean, Korean living abroad, etc. who are legally considered the citizens of the DPRK by its constitution.)

This assumption seems to be supported by the opinions of our Soviet friends, and the fact that according to some party members whom we asked after the 6th Congress, they have not received the new Party Rules yet.

Independently of whether the contents of the previous two paragraphs will be confirmed later or not, the following can be asserted: The Korean Worker’s party attempts to replace Marxism–Leninism with the “juche ideology” or – as quoting foreigners from the press or the Koreans living abroad – “Kimilsungism”. The maverick Korean political direction that derives from the unique mixture of revisionism and dogmatism may hold many surprises for us in the future. These could be – depending on the internal power relations – positive for us, or the opposite as well.

Etre Sándor
Ambassador