chapter  3
24 Pages

The tide turns: 1970–80

ByAdrian Buzo

In 1964 Kim Il Sung had defined three revolutionary fronts in the struggle for Korean reunification, within the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK), within the Republic of Korea (ROK) and internationally – and in 1970 a survey of these fronts may well have given him some cause for encouragement. Within the DPRK, he would have noted with approval that the political system of the DPRK had graduated through the collectivist, Leninist party stage to exclusive dependence on his personal authority and judgement. In the 1960s, Kim Il Sung had erected the Kimist system on the pillars of personal autocracy, a militarised economy and society, and independence within the international communist movement. However, as the 1970s progressed, the system he had created proved to be rigid and ineffective in identifying and responding to an array of significant challenges. The Kim Jong Il succession was a reactionary move, centred on the need for a 'model revolutionary' to consolidate Kim's ideological system.