North Korean Class Structure
Reporting from Pyongyang, North Korea, Han Young Jin of the Daily NK has written a vivid glimpse into the North Korean class structure. He paints a portrait complete with the brushstrokes of internal paranoia pervasive throughout communist systems.
If a person is discovered to be in opposition to the regime they will be brutally punished and so a person is cut off early if they are found to show any signs of anti-Kim Jong Il. The people who inflict the greatest control are the military high commanders. North Korea’s military can be seen as a branch of national politics that really does represent half of the regime. Political elites from the military closely control high commanders with under cover spies whose job is to specifically tattle on suspicious officers to the Party. Then, the protection agency in command contacts an expert who equipped with bugging devices carefully monitors the high commander’s every move, 24 hours a day.Han's words also reveal the watermarks of hollow position, self-service and fear of change among North Korea's most priviledged and powerful.
There is a popular story of an elite North Korean official who visited the South and frankly revealed “Though we may crawl and be worn, we cannot follow South Chosun’s economy.” It is also a well known fact that elite officials preferred Samsung digital cameras and showed interest in Hyundai cars at a South-North Cabinet talks and Aug 15th event in Seoul. Nonetheless, when it comes to acknowledging the need for capitalist reform, North Korea's central class discards it with a wave of the hand. The reason that capitalist goods are preferred but reform rejected is a result of the ideology that their individual power will be lost with change to the regime. Those who have loyally followed authorities have no mindset nor special skills that will enable them to survive a capitalist system. Rather than confronting a competitive society, they prefer their current position and the glory that comes with it.Read the rest of Han's Analysis of North Korea’s Class Structure: A 3 tiered web control system. It's quite good.