A small item on the KCNA on April 4 caught our eye: the International Preparatory Committee of the World Conference on the Juche Idea and the DPRK Preparatory Committee of the World Conference on the Juche announced that they would convene the World Conference on the Juche Idea. However, there is a very tight constraint; the conference is coming up on the April 12-13 in Pyongyang. We sometimes cut it close in preparing papers for conferences, but not this close. And then there is that small issue of getting a visa and booking a flight…
On the other hand, if we were really in the loop we probably would have received our invitation in a more timely fashion. The conference will draw on a deep well of expertise because “delegates of the International Institute of the Juche Idea and the groups for the study of the Juche idea in continents and countries as well as Juche idea followers from around the world” will participate in the conference.
Just as there is a DPRK Preparatory Committee, other countries have their Preparatory Committees humming as well. You think we are kidding; see the news item–reproduced in full–below. Some countries appear to have more than one possible member of the network. A post on the Korean Friendship Association website, although several years old, provides a good history of the Juche Idea Study Group in Britain over the first decade of the 21st century. As it turns out, the Study Group has a rapidly-multiplying number of sister organizations: the UK Association for the Study of Songun Politics, The Society for Unity and Independence of England and the Anglo-Peoples Korea Friendship Association.
On the website of The International Institute of the Juche Idea, there are pictures of crowds at seminars in Okinawa and Dhaka that well exceeded what we drew at the International Studies Association meeting in San Diego last week. A more recent KCNA post reveals that Vishwanath, director-general of the International Institute of the Juche Idea and secretary general of the International Kim Il Sung Prize Council, has already arrived in Pyongyang.
But perhaps our favorite is the Russian delegation. The delegates of the Far Eastern Association for the Study of the Juche Idea and the Songun Policy of Russia led by its Chairman Anatoli Dolgachev, A. I. Donchenko, chief of the Blagobeshensk, Russia, Group for the Study of the Juche Idea and Songun Idea, and a delegation of the Russian Group for the Study of the Juche Idea, History and Culture of the DPRK led by its Chief Anatoli Kulkov have all showed up. No, we did not make this up.
If you need a quick introduction to the issues, the Asia Times periodically gives Kim Myong Chol a platform. Warning: unlike this website, they do not label the articles “Not Satire” like we do, so caveat emptor.
Adam Cathcart has alerted us that North America is not slacking in its reverence; the North American Juche-Songun Ideas Study Group now has a website; it joins together people living in the “areas now known as the US and Canada.” We are studying the ideological significance of this new formulation—“Juche-Songun”—and putting a study team on the question of whether it marks a departure in the general line. The website notes that anyone seeking to join will need to pass through a candidate stage so that the organization is not penetrated by agents provocateurs.
But what really interested us as academics was the prospect of a new journal outlet for some of our new work on North Korea. The IIJI journal The Study of the Juche Idea. I know it will sound like sour grapes, but it probably gets as many readers as some of the journals that have rejected our work. Or that have accepted our work.
On a more serious note, do we need to point out what an incredible waste of resources this fictionalized internationalism is?
Foreign Delegations, Delegates And Guests Here
Korean Central News Agency
Pyongyang – Delegations and delegates of different regions and countries and foreign guests arrived here on Monday to participate in the World Congress on juche Idea.
They included Kenichi Ogami, secretary general of the International Institute of the juche Idea, and his party, a delegation of the Asian Regional Institute of the juche Idea led by Director-General Harish Gupta, a delegation of the European Society for the Study of the juche Idea headed by Director General Edmond Jouve, a researchers’ group of the International Institute of the Juche Idea led by Director Takao Kamakura, Secretary General Matteo Carbonelli and Deputy Director-General Bruno Amoroso of the European Society for the Study of the juche Idea, a delegation of the Japanese Society for Studying Kimilsungism headed by Keizo Sumiya, chairman of the Society for Supporting Korean Schools in Fukuoka Prefecture, a delegation of the Japanese National Liaison Council of Societies for the Study of the juche Idea led by President Seiichi Sakugawa, a delegation of the Mongolian Association for the Study of juche Idea-songun [military-first] led by its executive chairman, a delegation of the Bangladesh Institute of the juche Idea led by Chairman M. Gamrul Huda, a delegation of the Ukrainian “Treasured Sword of songun [military-first]” Association for the Study of the juche Idea led by Chairman Nikolai Polishk, a delegation of the Ethiopian Youth Study Group of the juche Idea headed by Chairman Nigatu Dagnachew Cherinet, a delegation of the Nigerian National Committee for the Study of the juche Idea, a delegation of the Slovak Association for Supporting the juche Idea led by Chairman Ivan Draksler, a delegation of the British Association for the Study of Songun Policy led by Chairman Dermot Hudson, a delegation of the Brazilian Center for the Study of the juche Idea led by Aleksandr Neves Rosendo da Silva, a delegation of the Organization for the Study of the juche Idea of Thailand led by Chairman Songchit Pullarp, a delegation of the Group for the Study of the juche Idea “Kanggye” of Colombia led by President Jairo Gonzalez Trujillo, a delegation of the Group for the Study of the juche Idea of Kyrgyzstan led by Chief Anarbek Usupbaev, a delegation of the French Group for the Study of the juche Idea led by Chief Jean Marie Lambret, a South African delegation for studying the juche idea led by Garth Lawrence Shelton, a delegation of the Group for the Study of the juche Idea of Poland led by Roman Orlowski, a delegation for studying the juche idea of Slovenia led by Igor Jurisic, Omar Lopez, chairman of the Venezuelan National Society for the Study of the Juche Idea, a delegation of the Ecuadorian Cultural Institute for the Study of the juche Idea led by Chairman Milton Burbano Borquez, Mohammad Aslam Nagi, chairman of the Pakistani Committee for Studying Kimilsungism, Hessou Kohovi, chairman of the Benin National Committee for the Study of the juche Idea and of General Kim Jong Il ‘s Works, Garib Newaz, chairman of the Bangladesh Self-Reliance Research Centre, Francisco Davila Bale, chairman of the Costa Rican Institute for the Study of the juche Idea, Francis F. Lyimo, chairman of the Tanzanian National Coordinating Committee of the juche Idea Study Groups, Rohekele Andre, vice-chairman of the National Coordinating Committee of the Group for the Study of the juche Idea of the Working Citizens• Association of Democratic Congo, David Cuschieri, general secretary of the Group for the Study of juche Philosophy and songun [military-first] Politics of Malta, Samir Diyab, chairman of the Lebanese Youth Group for the Study of the juche Idea, Saber Ballul, head of Department of the Political Faculty of University of Damascus of Syria, Oskar Molleby, chief of the Swedish Group for the Study of the juche Idea, Thomas Losh, chief of the Group of Youth for the Study of Kim Jong Il juche Idea in Vienna, Leos Sedlacek, chairman of the Czech Group for the Study and Materialization of the juche Idea, and Adamos Katsantonis, chairman of the Cyprus Famagusta Musicians’ Association, and his party, Shafqat Ullah, delegate of the Pakistani Organization for the Study of the juche Idea, and David Anibal Jimenes Sardon, Peruvian delegate for studying the juche idea.
Arriving here on the same day were Ahmed Tidjani Cisse, minister of Cultural Heritage of Guinea, and his party, Hyuha Samali Dorothy, deputy secretary general of the Uganda National Resistance Movement, and his party, Ashanti Regional Secretary Joseph Yammin, representative of the National Democratic Congress of Ghana, Andy Brooks, general secretary of the C.C. [Central Committee] of the New Communist Party of Britain, and his party, a delegation of the Socialist Party of Romania led by Vasile Orleanu, chairman of the Supreme Council, a delegation of the Czechoslovak Communist Party headed by Josef Servista, secretary of its C.C. [Central Committee], Torsten Schoevitz, vice-chairman of the Communist Party of Germany, and a delegation of the Party for Free Motherland of Brazil led by Vice-President Rosanita Campos and Dimitris Palmyris, president of the World Federation of Democratic Youth.