Fall elaborated model of ‘political stratification, discrimination, and

Fall 2017

POLS 102

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Helen Sharpe

Prof. Fornella-Oehninger

 

 

 

 

          The Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, also known as
North Korea, was established on September 9th 1948.  Before then, North Korea and South Korea were
together to form their own Korea. It was until the end of WW2 that the US and
Russian forces had to set up their occupation areas to defeat the Japanese
forces. Korea was split along the 38th parallel with the Soviet Union taking
the northern half while the United States took the southern half. After both
forces trying to help the country govern itself after 36 years of the Japanese
rule, tensions began to rise between the communists and the capitalists. In the
South, the US supported Syngman Rhee as the Soviet Union supported Kim Il-Sung
in the North. After the North refused to participate in the UN led elections,
the South decided to have their own and elected Syngman Rhee as their
president. Shortly after, the North chose to have an election and brought Kim
Il-Sung to power. In the early months of 1948, communists that were still in
South Korea created a bloody rebellion but were eventually defeated with Rhee’s
forces in 1949. In 1950, both Stalin and Kim then invaded South Korea, which
this is known as the Korean War. This war ended in a stalemate and sealed the
separation of the two Korea’s. 

 

        Under the rule
of the Kim regime, this country is anything but democratic. “… The two views of
political classification which are both in theory and in reality. In theory,
Kim Jung-Il and his late father, Kim Il-Sung had over 50 years to perfect their
political system. They created the idea that their dictatorship can afford to
grant its people both social and political equality but as well they
constructed a more elaborated model of ‘political stratification,
discrimination, and persecution’ than most dictatorships compared to other
countries. In North Korea’s case, the only way to achieve socialism or equality
is to be personally loyal to Kim Jung-il and his regime. In the year 1967,
Il-Sung then classified his country into three classes. A core class, a
wavering class, and a hostile class. Then after this, each member of society is
then into 51 different sub-categories based on whether or not they owned land,
were communists, or lived in ‘South Korea’ before 1945. In this idea, all of
the leaders in the past and future were able to locate who was truly loyal to
power and who was not. A citizen’s loyalty was also examined based on how they
approached authority such as applying for a job or owning a house. Only these
people who were loyal to the government were able to obtain responsible
positions in the DPRK. Sadly the loyalty doesn’t influence the state to be a
socialist one. In fact, the socialist economy does not work. 85% of the country
lives in poverty and millions are starving. Those who are loyal and work for
the government tend to bend and break the rules to make their lives better for
themselves and their immediate family. The country also runs on bribery such as
getting out of jail with money and also illegally buying necessities such as
employment, healthcare, food etc. The North Korean Society is unstable in
general and most of the DPRK are not allowed to flee the country. The reason
for this is that the Kim Regime would not want its people to see the possible
political alternatives rather than living in North Korea (Oh).” The DPRK’s
government has a strong pull on its people since the majority respects and
obeys its leaders. For example, it is illegal for the North Korean people to
leave the country without the regimes consent. The same goes for traveling
inside of the country. In order to even travel to a different providence, you
must have permission from the regime. 
The only other way to leave the country is to escape and not get caught.
“Since the famine, North Koreans who have been able to have been fleeing the
country in their thousands, even risking their lives to do so. Over 28,000
North Korean refugees have made it all the way to South Korea, with an unknown
number still in limbo in China…. They have provided much of the information we
know about North Korea today. In addition, because it is illegal to leave the
country without state permission, crossing the border is an act of defiance
against the repressive government. As more North Koreans become aware of the
rising numbers of their fellow countrymen ‘voting with their feet’ and leading
better lives in more affluent neighboring countries, this presents a growing
challenge to the legitimacy of the North Korean regime (Liberty in North
Korea).”

 

 

       Due to having
the constraint over its people, the DPRK is currently ruled under a
dictatorship of the Kim Regime. Kim Jung-Un, the current supreme leader of
North Korea, learned from his father and grandfather on how to keep his hold onto
the people. Along with ‘trapping’ the citizens in their respective province’s.
Most of the people of the country genuinely believe that their leaders are the
equivalent to the modern day Messiah, the supreme leader being their God. When
children are in school, they are forced to learn that South Korea and the
United States of America are the ‘bad’ guys. That they exist only to destroy
all North Korean’s including their God. But when it comes to their identity,
they claim themselves to be ‘Korean’ just like the South Koreans do. They plan
to always defend their country, no matter what the cause. “‘We would never
think of eating for pleasure,’ North Korea defector admits. In North Korea, the
people believed that the dictator Kim Jung-Un knew all. He could read
everyone’s thoughts and that if a person would to think badly about the
government, they must turn themselves in or face harsh punishment or even
death. In the households of the DPRK, a picture of Kim IL Sung and Kim Jung IL
is proudly placed onto the walls of the living room. This idea is that they are
always watching the people to see if they were communicating with the outside
world or to be planning an attack inside the country. Kim Hak Min, a defector
who now lives in South Korea states that only 10% of the people of the country
have access to foreign media and that 9.5% of that is illegal. People can face
the North Korean Death Penalty if they are caught with any foreign media that
is banned from the country. This article shows that the right to privacy does
not exist in North Korea post WW2 and that its government is very restricted
when it comes to possessing any form of it. The unfiltered media can definitely
cause an uproar in the DPRK community and that is the last thing that they want
and need (Maresca).

 

     In modern time,
there are many issues facing the DPRK today. One of them, being widely known,
is the famine. Over 90 percent of the population is currently affected by the
famine and yet the people are supposedly fine with it. In the beginning of the
1990’s the DPRK entered a dark time where necessities were available to the
public. Everything that was donated by the United Nations was given to the
Government and never seen by the eyes of the people. At this time, more than
3/4ths of the country had little to no access to food, clothing, etc. The
famine was caused by the state’s inability to fulfill the ‘economic obligations
that is had assumed, forcing institutions, enterprises, and households to cope
with the ensuing challenges of maintaining stability with limited cooperation
between the Korean government and the international community.’ The response to
this crisis that was caused by the famine then led to thousands fleeing the
country.  This book goes into depth onto
the cruel government that the DPRK has adopted and how the citizens are
definitely unhappy. It also came from the interviews of those who escaped this
terrible crisis so it is very much reliable (Haggard).” The cause for the
famine one of the main topics currently being discussed within the United
Nations due to being a Human Rights violation.

 

     Another issue that
is happening in North Korea is the tensions with the United States and Nuclear
War. For the past few months, President Donald J. Trump and Leader Kim Jung-Un
have been constantly arguing with each other through different forms of social
media with the idea of nukes being involved. Lately the use of threats,
sanctions, and missile tests have been introduced and used but the only thing
different between now and the Cold War is that each country knows what the
other is thinking. With the help of Soviet Russia, the DPRK have begun
developing a nuclear site in the 1980’s, known as Yongbyon.  North Korea claimed that it was peaceful at
the time then even signed the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty in 1985 then
enacted in 1991 that promised not to produce or use nuclear weapons, which
South Korea also signed onto. In later years, the International Atomic Energy
Agency then wanted access to the DPRK nuclear sites but then the country
threated that they would leave the NPT. In the early years of the Clinton
Administration, Bill decided to negotiate with the DPRK to end its nuclear
program. They even threatened to send a strike to Yongbyon but was terminated
when Kim Il-Sung died and his son took over. The negotiations eventually came
to be with the Agreed Framework in late 1994. This Framework then collapsed in
2002 when President George W. Bush came into office and took a hardline
approach to North Korea. The country as a whole took this as a threat and
pulled out immediately. In the summer of 2006, North Korea finally decides to
start its first nuclear test. The explosion was less than a kiloton, so they
did not officially break any treaty. But the United Nations did respond with a
resolution for North Korea to stop testing their nuclear weapons and to tear
down their program. The DPRK believed that this was in reaction to the
pressures that the United States has put upon them. Eventually the DRK had shut
down its nuclear facilities in Yongbyon and it also agreed to disable the
facilities for any future needs. When President Barack Obama began his
presidency, only three months in, North Korea decided to launch another nuclear
test. The launch did fail and the United Nations did tightened their sanctions
for any future needs. When President Barack Obama began his presidency, only
three months in, North Korea decided to launch another nuclear test. The launch
did fail and the United Nations did tightened their sanctions. But when it came
to the Trump administration, everything turned for the worst. Threats began to
become more common and more countries began to get involved. Both the citizens
of the US and the DPRK are in danger now.

 

 

 

 

 

Wikipedia.

Yaduvanshi.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Works Cited.

Oh, Kongdan. (2003). Political
Classification and Social Structure in North Korea. Brookings. https://www.brookings.edu/testimonies/political-classification-and-social-structure-in-north-korea/

Liberty in North Korea. (2015). A
Changing North Korea. Liberty in North Korea. https://www.libertyinnorthkorea.org/learn-a-changing-north-korea/

Maresca, Thomas. (2017). We would
never think of eating for pleasure, North Korea defector admits. USA Today. https://www.usatoday.com/story/news/world/2017/09/05/noth-korea-defectors-provide-rare-glimpse-isolated-life/625916001/

Haggard, Stephan. (2011). Witness to
Transformation: Refugees Insights into North Korea. Peterson Institute for
International Economics.

 

Wikipedia. (2016). 2006 North Korean
nuclear test. Wikipedia.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/2006_North_Korean_nuclear_test

Yaduvanshi, Amit. (2017). What’s the
distance between North Korean and USA?. Quora. https://www.quora.com/Whats-the-distance-between-North-Korea-and-USA