RESPECTING THE FORERUNNERS OF THE REVOLUTION IS A NOBLE MORAL OBLIGATION OF REVOLUTIONARIES
by KIM JONG IL
Discourse Published in Rodong Sinmun,the Organ of the Central Committee of the Workers’ Party of Korea
December 25, 1995
Seventy years has elapsed since the dawn of the Korean revolution, which has advanced under the banner of the Juche idea. In this noble revolution several generations have shed their precious sweat and blood for people’s freedom, national independence and sovereignty and for the victory of socialism. A large number of revolutionaries have performed distinguished services and made brilliant achievements.
Our people respect the revolutionaries of the previous generations as their revolutionary seniors, set great store by their spirit and achievements in the struggle, and are carrying faithfully forward and developing the revolutionary cause pioneered by them. This is a noble morality developed by our people from generation to generation, as well as a basic factor that ensures the steady, triumphant development of our revolution even in the most complex situations.
The history of the world socialist movement provides the serious lesson that a revolution advances victoriously when revolutionary forefathers are respected and their accomplishments are preserved and developed, and that a revolution is abandoned and frustrated when revolutionary predecessors are betrayed and their accomplishments are negated. In several countries that had built socialism in the past, opportunists occupying the leadership of the parties and states defamed their revolutionary predecessors and obliterated their achievements. In consequence of their traitorous acts, the reputation of communists has been damaged, the image of socialism clouded, and the socialist system itself has ended in collapse.
Establishing a correct viewpoint and attitude towards revolutionary seniors is most important for the development of the socialist movement.
Only when the red flag of the revolution raised by the revolutionary forerunners is carried forward down through generations can the cause of independence for the popular masses, the socialist cause, emerge victorious.
To respect its pioneers is the demand of the revolution and the noble moral obligation of revolutionaries.
Socialism advances to consummation as the successors carry on and develop down through generations what their predecessors achieved for the revolution. Their attitude towards their revolutionary forefathers means their attitude towards the revolution. It is an important matter relating to the destiny of the revolution.
Holding revolutionary seniors in esteem means putting forward in every way the revolutionaries who devoted everything to the struggle, championing and preserving their revolutionary ideas and achievements and carrying forward and developing these ideas and achievements. The predecessors’ noble revolutionary ideas and the results of their arduous struggle constitute the gains of the revolution and precious wealth for carrying out the revolution. Only when all succeeding generations champion, preserve and develop their predecessors’ ideas and accomplishments can the revolutionary cause continue to advance to brilliant consummation. Taking a nihilistic approach to their predecessors’ struggle and achievements, or denying them, amounts to retreating from the road of revolution and betraying it. Vilifying revolutionary seniors and defaming their ideas and accomplishments means disgracing the revolution and grovelling at the foot of the enemy of the revolution. The working-class party must, with unbroken consistency, unfailing loyalty to the revolution and unshakable confidence in this cause, carry forward and develop the socialism pioneered and advanced by the revolutionary predecessors. It must pay close attention to giving prominence to the revolutionary pioneers and to educating the people in the ideas and through the accomplishments of these pioneers.
The attitude towards revolutionary forefathers reflects the attitude of revolutionaries towards the revolution, as well as their morality.
Morality is a basic criterion for defining the qualities of a revolutionary. A revolutionary must hold not only revolutionary ideals as his belief, but also be equipped with genuine human qualities supported by noble moral principles. Conscience and the sense of obligation are laudable virtues unique to the human race; these are the source of the spiritual force that encourages people to conscientious and noble deeds. Even a person with advanced ideas cannot acquire noble human qualities, nor can he be a true revolutionary, unless he has a strong conscience and the sense of moral obligation.
Even in the old society, conscientious people valued morality, by which they evaluated personality and regarded immoral behaviour as unworthy of human beings. In an exploitative society, however, genuine morality cannot thrive or become dominant. Individualism, which is the basis of the exploitative society, cannot be compatible with true morality, and no relations of moral obligation can exist between the exploiting and exploited classes. Moral hypocrisy is the true nature of the exploiting class, and moral corruption is an inevitable product of the bourgeois society.
The most ennobling human qualities belong to the communists, who love their fellow people and fight in the cause of independence for the popular masses. Love for and trust in people are the basis of genuine human relations, the basis of human morality. Promoting the benefit of others rather than of oneself and working with devotion for one’s society and collective are an expression of a person’s noble morality. Because they treasure and love people and place social and collective interests above those of an individual, communists struggle with devotion for the good of their fellow people, their society and collective, not for selfish interests or personal fame. Communist revolutionaries love their comrades and fellow people with noble feelings of love for humanity, and devotedly struggle solely for the people, for their independence, with revolutionary conscience and a lofty sense of moral obligation. A man who shuts his eyes to the people’s interests, who is devoid of love for them and lacks conscience, loyalty and sympathy, cannot be a communist or a revolutionary.
Regarding revolutionary pioneers with respect is an inviolable revolutionary obligation. In spite of the difference in seniority in the relationship between seniors and juniors in the revolution, their relations are the comradeship of revolutionaries who fight in the same cause. The relationship between parents and children is kinship resulting mainly from actual physical birth, whereas the relationship among revolutionaries is the comradeship of fighters who share the same ideas, hardships and successes on the road of revolution and exalt their socio-political integrity, which is more precious to them than their physical lives. The kinship among revolutionaries represents a truly communist human relationship based on comradely love and revolutionary obligation. Communist revolutionaries’ outlook on morality and their moral qualities are characterized by their regarding it as a noble duty and honour to love their comrades most ardently and fulfil their revolutionary obligation to them. That is why revolutionaries consider it most shameful and treacherous to betray their comrades or to abandon conscience and loyalty in their mutual relationship.
For the heirs to the revolution to respect their revolutionary predecessors--the forerunners who dedicated their lives to the revolution and left a great heritage behind them—can be said to be a noble expression of revolutionary morality. Our revolutionary forerunners gave their lives unhesitatingly in the fight and made precious achievements for the country, the people and the happiness of the coming generations, not for the sake of personal interest or honour; our revolutionary forefathers shouted, “Love the future!” in do-or-die battles, or at the last moment of their lives on the gallows, precisely because they loved the coming generations. By their heroic struggle, the revolutionary forerunners paved the road of revolution, brought about enormous gains for the revolution, and ensured the flowering of an independent and creative new life for people. To respect their revolutionary predecessors, who fought devotedly for those who came after, is the next generations’ natural revolutionary obligation, its noble moral duty.
The highest representative of revolutionary elders is the leader, and loyalty to the leader is the highest expression of the sense of revolutionary obligation.
The leader of the working class is the guiding intellect and leader of the revolution. The popular masses make history, but they can hold the position of true masters of their destiny as independent makers of history and fulfil their role as such only when they receive the guidance of a pre-eminent leader. The leader puts forward scientific revolutionary ideas, strategy and tactics, inspires the masses with revolutionary consciousness and organizes them, guides the revolutionary struggle to victory, provides people with noble socio-political integrity and teaches them to lead honourable lives on the road of revolution. Under his leadership tens of thousands of revolutionaries grow up, and people come to struggle for the revolution. Under his leadership the socialist cause is pioneered and advanced victoriously. Thanks to his noble ideas and outstanding leadership, great revolutionary achievements are made, and the honour and dignity of the revolutionary generations are exalted.
Carrying forward the cause of independence for the popular masses, the cause of socialism, means none other than the continuation of the cause of the leader. Inheriting the ideas and achievements of the revolutionary predecessors means inheriting the leader’s revolutionary ideas and the achievements made under his leadership. Respect for revolutionary predecessors finds typical expression in loyalty to the leader. Being unfailingly loyal to the great leader through all generations is the duty of revolutionaries and the highest expression of the sense of revolutionary obligation. Revolutionaries must resolutely defend the ideas and exploits of the leader and loyally carry forward his revolutionary cause.
Historically, in opposing socialism, imperialists and renegades from the revolution have directed their attacks on the leaders of the working class and the revolutionaries of the preceding generation. This is because socialism was pioneered and has triumphed thanks to the guidance of the leader and the self-sacrificing struggle of the revolutionaries of the preceding generations, and because the dignity of socialism is associated with their honour. Modern revisionists and socialist renegades have caused socialism to degenerate and collapse by disgracing the leader and their revolutionary elders and by obliterating their exploits. The process of the degeneration and collapse of socialism began with the emergence of modern revisionism, which vilified the leader and revolutionary pioneers and distorted and debased the revolutionary ideas of the working class. Because of modern revisionists, socialism began to go off the track and crumble from within. Its collapse was due to the policy of “reform” and “restructuring”, pursued by socialist renegades who denied and obliterated every historical achievement of socialism. Opportunists and socialist renegades slandered the leaders of the working class and debased the sacred revolutionary struggle and great revolutionary achievements of their revolutionary predecessors. They destroyed socialism and revived capitalism. This is a most despicable counterrevolutionary crime that betrayed the revolution under the pressure of imperialism, an immoral perfidy that discarded loyalty to the revolution and trampled underfoot elementary human morals. Traitors to the revolution left no stone unturned in slandering and defaming their revolutionary predecessors. Thus they created ideological vacillation and confusion among the people and gave the imperialists and reactionaries the chance to slander the communists and socialism even more viciously.
The traitors gained the leading positions of the party and state through an intrigue and tarnished the honour of their revolutionary forerunners in an attempt to enhance their popularity and win support from the people. However, the top hierarchy of the party and state does not necessarily mean the leader, or enjoy the support and respect of the people. People’s confidence cannot be earned by means of power or fraud. If one wants to become a leader and enjoy people's confidence and support, one must have the personality and qualifications that befit a leader and fulfil the responsibility and role as such. A leader must, above all, be the people’s servant who loves and devotes himself to them. Love for the people and respect for revolutionary predecessors are inseparable. A person who loves the people and is loyal to them is bound to highly respect his revolutionary forerunners who struggled self-sacrificingly for the people. however, one who despises the people and lords it over them does not hesitate to disgrace his revolutionary elders in the most despicable way. The renegades from socialism attempted to vilify the revolutionary leaders and predecessors in a crafty way in order to enhance their own prestige. However, they have revealed their true colours as traitors, as well as their inhuman qualities. Those who have deceived their people and betrayed the revolution will inevitably be forsaken by the people.
True revolutionaries who fight for the people and for the victory of socialism must not forget their revolutionary forefathers; instead, they must defend and develop their achievements. This is the way to keep their revolutionary honour and dignity and lead the revolution to victory.