Rhetorical Strategies of the Regime Legitimization
After the division of Korea between the United States and the Soviet Union in 1945, two parts of one state had to accept different political views, provided by the states that occupied them. The regimes of both North and South Korea acknowledged the need to unite the country under their own political views and strived to be accepted as the legitimate political system of the united country. By analyzing the works of Kim Il Sung Let Us Embody More Thoroughly The Revolutionary Spirit of Independence and Park Chung Hee Our Nation’s Path, which are directed to assert the power of their regimes and to maintain their dominant role of their parties in society this paper shows that, although they supported different ideologies, both of them used similar methods to demonstrate that the political program and the views of exactly their party are capable of bringing prosperity and successful development of the state.
At first, both political leaders refer to the people of Korea as to one of the main sources of the change in the state and as a mean of making their ideology become realized. Since the majority if the society accepts and supports them, their regime is legitimate. Kim Il Sung states that all the citizens took part in the elections of deputies to the Forth Supreme People’s Assembly, which shows their total support of the Party and their desire to carry out the building of socialism. Kim Il Sung asserts that this unity and cohesion of the people create the foundation of the state and is the source of the might of the country. Park Chung Hee asserts the mission of a new elite is to provide a new kind of government and administration to fight the slavish mentality created by the Japanese colonial rule, to liberate the nation from poverty and to rebuild democracy.
Although Kim Il Sung and Park Chung Hee are political opponents and thus, criticize the ideologies of each other, both of them emphasize the role of the economic development as a main source of the support and maintenance of the existing political system of their particular state. By appealing to the necessity to protect the country and by waking patriotic feelings both leaders make the population want to develop economy. Kim Il Sung states that to free the working people from arduous labor the Worker’s Party will carry out the development of technology. He asserts that labor is the most honorable thing for the good of the state and society, thus, it should be cultivated among the working people. According to him, scientists and technicians should find solutions to utilize the existing economic foundations to the fullest extent and to explore new domains of science and technology to develop economy and to find ways to use the natural resources of the country effectively.
At the same time Park Chung Hee states that since the great poverty was a cause of theft and other social crimes, which offered the route for Communist infiltration and caused a threat to liberal democracy, the Government endeavors to give security to individual economic life, the National Construction Service Program and the Five-Year Economic Development Plan are directed to achieve economic reconstruction, increase of the national incomes and industrial reconstruction. Park Chung Hee asserts that the goal of the economic development is to improve the living standard and welfare of the people, including each individual in the nation under the ideology of free democracy. He believes that only with developing the economy and living standards the building of democracy in the state becomes possible.
Another way used by both leaders to win popularity and support of the people is the declaration of their ideology as the only one right and correct and depicting the political regime of their neighbor as a threat to the future prosperity of the united country and nation. Kim Il Sung states that it is important to establish the Party’s idea of Juche, the most correct Marxist-Leninist idea of leadership. He asserts that the workers have to acquire the traits of a revolutionary, who does not follow others blindly. The leadership of the Party will act independently, following the interests of the revolution. Relying on foreign forces is regarded as treachery to the country and the nation, the question of the Korean policies is an internal affair, which can not be settled by foreign forces. Based on the independent national economy, the Government of the Republic will prepare the people politically and ideologically to cope with war, make preparations to defend the country and increase the military might to protect the state from imperialist aggression thus, the officers of the People’s Army should never be captivated by pacifistic mood and must prepare themselves to fight the enemy without a slightest confusion.
At the same time the policy of Government of the Republic, based on the state and social system free from exploitation and oppression, will be directed to fight imperialist U.S. aggression against socialist countries and will struggle to drive the U.S. imperialists out of South Korea. In order to eliminate bureaucracy and establish the revolutionary mass viewpoint, the functionaries should go deep among the masses, consult them and make people take part consciously in the implementation of the revolutionary task. Literary and art workers must contribute to the revolutionization of the whole society by creating revolutionary works that show the anti-Japanese struggle of the people and the pulsating realities.
Park Chung Hee in his turn emphasizes that externally the state is facing the threat of Communist aggression, he accuses the Communists in pretending to be the only true patriots and asks the people not to be deceived by their promises and to be ready to reject their agitation and propaganda. He asserts that pro-Communist and neutral elements brought the chaos and disorder, therefore, a nation needs to be rescued from disintegration. Also he states that “privilege consciousness”, which was brought by various groups of interest formed on the basis of mutual bonds harmed the national unity, thus, class superiority should be eradicated from the society. In order to move away from the master-slave relationship the society has to develop an independent and spontaneous ego, which will help eradicate all forms of injustice in the country. Park Chung Hee emphasizes that to change society in which only money and birth made sense and where people without power or political connections were eliminated, modern society has to develop a harmony between the interests of the individual and the interests of the whole. Only on this conditions all people will be able to enjoy prosperity and social justice will be realized.
In addition, both leaders tend to demonstrate that the Government and the policy of their parties are aimed only for improvement of the living conditions of their people. Kim Il Sung reports that the demands of people are met with high-quality consumer goods provided by the light industry. Therefore, the successful acceleration of socialist economic construction makes the people’s material and cultural standards rise. Other accomplishments of the Party are the supply of commodities to the working people even in remote mountain areas, where they could hardly see commodities before; making possible for one-fourth of the population to study free of charge, which brings the generation of reliable successors of the technical and cultural revolution; the establishment and improvement of free medical care for the working people, which is possible only under the socialist system, where the masses of people are the masters of the country.
Park Chung Hee states that the Constitution provides various basic human rights like the freedom of thought and speech, which the Government strongly protects. The promotion of the public welfare, freedom from exploitation and the fair distribution of income among the people are the main social and political goals. To reach these aims the Government tries to create a long-range development program which includes the policy of strengthening productive power and increasing employment. Also, private ownership of production is encouraged. Every human and material resource should be mobilized for the construction of a free and prosperous welfare state and for elimination of poverty. One of the ways to reach the economic freedom is to eradicate the poverty of the farmers, thus a campaign to support the Agricultural Cooperatives Movement should be started. To provide all the people of the country with decent lives various forms of social insurance like old-age pension systems must be arranged, Park Chung Hee believes that politics should rebound to the economic benefit of the people.
Comparing rhetorical strategies of Kim Il Sung and Park Chung Hee it is possible to notice that although both of their ideologies are directed one against each other, the leaders use the same tactics to legitimize the domination of their political views. Both of them appeal to patriotic feelings, emphasize the need to unite the country and demonstrate that the Party cares about the people and does everything to make the state prosper, which results in the acceptance of their ideology among the people and makes the regime legitimate. Thus, it can be asserted that the only difference between the two works of the Korean leaders is their political views, the expressed goals of their parties and the methods to achieve them demonstrate that both of them wanted the same prosperous future for their nation.