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Organization and Guidance Department

Organization and Guidance Department of the Korean Workers Party (OGD): The Organization and Guidance Department, a party oversight body, is possibly the most powerful organization inside the DPRK. The Organization and Guidance Department was one of 22 departments comprising the KWPs Secretariat. In reality, it was the most powerful organization within the KWP and provided guidance to all KWP, Cabinet, and National Defense Commission organizations through personnel management, supervising the activities of subordinate political departments, and conducting political surveillance and investigations. In pursuing its mission, the Organization and Guidance Department generally concerned itself with individuals at the provincial secretary level or higher within the KWP, vice director and above within the Cabinet, and general grade officers and above within the National Defense Commission and MPAF.

Unlike traditional Korean leaders and many more intellectual or theoretical communists, such as Pak Hon-yong Kim pursued a style of mass leadership, using his considerable charisma and the practice of visiting factories and farms for "on-the-spot guidance," and he encouraged his allies to do the same. There are raised plaques at spots in the middle of roads where Kim stopped to give on-the-spot guidance. Subway seats where he sat are roped off as memorials. There are signs over the doors of factories and day-care nurseries marking the date that Kim visited. Objects that he touched on these visits are covered with glass or draped with a veil and often set aside in a special room.

Kim Chong-il preferred to maintain ultimate control within the party apparatus. In the period from 1972 to 1974, Kim Chong-ils leadership position within the party was defined. At the 7th plenum, 5th session of the Central Committee in September 1973, he was elected to the Secretariat, holding the portfolios for both the Organization Guidance Department and the Propaganda and Agitation Department. In 1974, he was elected to the Politburo.

As Kim Chong-il began to assume more control over the party, the power that Kim Il-sung had delegated to the state began to revert to the party. At the same time, the roles and functions of the president and the CPC began to be curtailed. Kim Chong-il used the Organizational Guidance Department and a rigorous inspection guidance system to identify and co-opt critical nodes within the party, state, military, and security apparatuses. His network resembled that of the old Soviet network, relying on second echelon apparatchiks to perform surveillance and control functions. Particular focus was placed on the organizational elements within ministries and departments. These parts of the bureaucracy reported directly to Kim Chong-il via the Organizational Guidance Department.

Once this foothold had been established within a bureaucracy, tentacles were spread out to other offices through guidance and discipline measures. In addition to this informal apparatus of control, Kim Chong-il took increasingly bold measures to undermine, compromise, and otherwise bend the senior leadership to his will. This included a system of phone tapping and other measures of surveillance, which stretched all the way up and included Kim Il-sungs personal office. By the 1980s, a dualistic power arrangement a duopoly of sorts existed within the North Korean regime. There were two semi-independent hierarchies of authority and two self-sustaining chains of commandone leading to Kim Il-sung and another leading to Kim Chong-il, with little interaction and communication between them.

According to the Committee for Human Rights in North Korea, the OGD oversees the efficacy of the internal security agencies . . . and inspects all official organizations on their mission of upholding regime security. The Committee also reports that the OGD approves all policy, including policies pertaining to the abuse of human rights, and quotes Kim Il-sung as saying, the OGD is the doctor and the [Korean Workers Party Propaganda and Agitation Department] is the medicine.

The Organization and Guidance Department focused primarily upon the military (e.g., general level and above) and power-holding elite (e.g., department director and above). It was believed to produce a daily report highlighting the activities, attitudes, and political reliability of selected individuals that is submitted to the leader. These internal security reports served as a check to those produced by other agencies (e.g., State Security Department). The General Political Bureau compiles similar reports, but for selected KPA officers and soldiers below the military elite.

The OGD is also instrumental in implementing the DPRKs censorship policies. When a party official deviates from the official message in public remarks, the OGD dispatchs an official to monitor a self-criticism session. The OGD also steps in and assumes oversight responsibilities over organizations undergoing party audits to inspect for ideological discipline. The OGD also had a role in the disappearance of Pak Nam Gi, the former Director of the Finance and Planning Department, according to a report by the now deceased former 1st Director of the OGD Ri Je Gang.

There are two kinds of party members: regular and probationary. Membership is open to those 18 years of age and older but is granted only to those who have demonstrated their qualifications; applications are submitted to a cell along with a proper endorsement from two party members with at least two years in good standing. An application is acted on by the plenary session of a cell; an affirmative decision is subject to ratification by a county-level party committee. After approving an application, a one-year probationary period is mandatory, but it may be waived under certain unspecified "special circumstances," allowing the candidate to become a full member. Recruitment is under the direction of the Organization and Guidance Department and its local branches. Associations and guidance committees exist at all levels of society, with a local party cadre serving as a key member of each committee.

It is natural for individuals to assume - even if theyve been told otherwise - that their conversations are private and that the only person listening is the one they are talking to. The reality is different. Any agency within the DPRK with the capability to intercept communications - and there are a number - can utilize that capability to monitor the communications of potential political rivals. Presenting the Organization and Guidance Department, with a recording or transcript of a political opponents conversations would be an ideal means of neutralizing or disadvantaging him.

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Page last modified: 11-07-2016 17:42:59 ZULU