Kim Il Sung, leader of the Korean Revolution and founding president of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK), died 25 years ago on July 8, 1994. The Korean people are commemorating the anniversary with mass political meetings, performances and commemorations. The following appreciation of Kim Il Sung by Marxist leader Sam Marcy is abridged from an article originally published in the July 21, 1994, issue of Workers World newspaper.
By Sam Marcy
Comrade Kim Il Sung devoted his whole life to the Korean people’s struggle for national self-determination and the international working-class struggle for socialist emancipation. With his leadership, the Korean people defeated the Japanese colonial occupation and soon after brought about the first defeat of the U.S. imperialist military machine.
For over 40 years since the armistice, the U.S. military has continued to occupy the south of Korea with troops and nuclear weapons. This occupation has been the chief obstacle to peaceful reunification of Korea and poses the chief danger of a new war on the peninsula.
The recent nuclear crisis is the latest episode in a long history of Pentagon threats and provocation against Korea. At a time when the people of the United States are suffering from unemployment, racism and a general decline in living standards, another U.S. war against Korea would be a terrible crime against the poor and working people of the U.S. as well as against the people of Korea.
Comrade Kim Il Sung worked tirelessly to bring about the peaceful reunification of Korea and to forge a lasting peace on the peninsula. … Comrade Kim Il Sung’s great efforts to achieve peace and reunification met the aspirations of the Korean people and also benefited the poor and working people of the U.S.
It is Kim Il Sung’s remarkable achievement that in his own lifetime he became a symbol of national liberation and reunification for the Korean people, and a symbol of the anti-imperialist and socialist struggles of all the world’s peoples. Although U.S. imperialism tried at every opportunity to blockade, threaten and sabotage the construction of socialism in the north, the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea stands strong. The accomplishments of socialist construction will be a lasting monument to the leadership of Comrade Kim Il Sung.
International developments in the last few years have created great difficulties for the working class and oppressed peoples of the world. And in the face of these difficulties some have wavered or even abandoned the struggle. But Comrade Kim Il Sung and the Workers’ Party of Korea refused to let go of the principles of revolutionary socialist internationalism.
Leadership in times of great difficulties is what makes a leader truly great.
We are proud to have known Kim Il Sung as a great leader and a comrade in the international communist movement. And it is with the most profound sense of loss that we mark his passing. Yet it is also with the greatest revolutionary optimism that we are confident that Comrade Kim Il Sung’s legacy will live on with your efforts to win new victories for the Korean people. His contributions and achievements for the cause of international socialism for all humanity will never be forgotten.