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Red Banner Philosophy

The Red Banner Spirit is the spirit of devotedly defending the Suryong (Leader) and the spirit of self-reliance, which Pyongyang claims was created and developed by the "three generals of Mt. Paektu," referring to current North Korean leader Kim Jong-il, his father Kim Il-sung and his natural mother Kim Jong-suk. The spirit encourages the North Korean people to step up the construction of a Kangsong Taeguk (a strong and prosperous state) with an absolute loyalty toward the Suryong.

North Korea has used the term Red Banner since 1996. The term, "Red Banner Spirit," first appeared in an editorial carried in Rodong Shinmun, the Workers' Party newspaper, on Jan. 9, 1996, along with the term, "Red Banner Philosophy." It said to be the " all-victorious symbol of the Korean revolution." North Korea says the Red Banner Philosophy came from Kim Jong-il. It is defined as a "revolutionary, profound philosophy which clarifies the fundamental principle of the revolution based on juche (self-reliance, or self-identity)." The Red Banner thought emphasizes a greater revolutionary spirit and an greater reliance on the military.

As it had done during the previous six years, North Korea presented its policies for 2001 in an editorial carried on New Year's Day [1 January 2001] simultaneously in the newspapers of its three major institutions: the Workers' Party, the People's Army and the Kimilsung Socialist Youth League. The editorial presented a new ruling theory of the "socialist advance in the 21st century under the red flag" and dealt with practical problems while mentioning specific policies. This theory was contrasted with the theory of the Socialist Three Positions and that of a Kangsong Taeguk (a military and economic power), which are to safeguard and reinforce its sociopolitical systems. The following passage was noteworthy: "The socialist advance in the 21st century under the red flag is an honorable campaign to thoroughly embody leader Kim Jong-il's politics of independence, unity and love for the country and nation."

The New Year's message issued as a joint editorial by its three main, state-run newspapers, North Korea said "The year 2001 is a year of new advance and a great turn in which a broad avenue will be opened for the building of a Kangsong Taeguk (strong and prosperous state) in the 21st century guided by the great party." North Korea would "march through the new year in full forces, holding high the Socialist Red Banner," said the editorial carried by organs of the ruling Workers' Party, the People's Army and the Kimilsung Socialist Youth League. The New Year's message called on all North Koreans "to live and struggle under the Red Banner philosophy."

The 2001 editorial repeatedly called for their unity behind the leader, saying: "Unity is the basis of socialist politics..., and the might of a single-hearted unity is guaranteed by devotedly defending the leader." The North again exhorted the North Korean people to " ... safeguard the Suryong (Leader) even at the cost of their lives, the requirement which is the core element of the ideology of red flag, army-first politics and the Kanggye Spirit..."

Despite frequent reference to the Red Banner Philosophy and the Military-first Politics in North Korea, Juche Ideology still holds as the guiding principle in the country.

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Page last modified: 09-07-2011 02:38:01 ZULU