While Mao Zedong may have created the highly accessible “little red book” for communists around the world, North Korea has re-wrapped Kim Jong Un’s New Year’s speech into a “little green book” designed solely for North Korean citizens. And although many North Korea watchers regarded Kim Jong Un’s speech as nothing more than empty rhetoric, the transformation of the speech into a book and posters suggests that North Korean propagandists did not take his remarks lightly.
Consistent with the theme of North Korea – The “Space Conquerors“, an editorial in the state-run Rodong Sinmun yesterday stated that posters with the slogan, “Let Us Bring About a Radical Turn in the Building of an Economic Giant with the Same Spirit and Mettle as Were Displayed in Conquering Space!” have started appearing across the country. The editorial explained,
There are also posters portraying a scientist with the New Year Address in his hand. They call for rushing like a wind with the revolutionary stamina and fighting spirit on all fronts of the national economy including four leading sectors, light industry and agriculture, keeping apace with the same spirit as was displayed by space conquerors.
Another poster with the slogan, “Let Us Thoroughly Carry Out the Important Tasks Set forth in the Historic New Year Address!” suggests that Kim’s speech is now being thoroughly promoted for domestic consumption in North Korea.
In the same tone, a January 14 KCNA article detailed a number of meetings held throughout the DPRK to implement the tasks “set forth in Kim Jong Un’s New Year Address.” And nearly ten similarly themed articles have since payed homage to Kim’s speech, suggesting that propagandists are making strong efforts to underscore Kim Jong Un’s commitment to “improving the people’s living standard”.
So does this mean that 2013 might be the year that Kim Jong Un’s words go beyond rhetoric and into action? Contradictory editorials published today suggest otherwise.
Today it was business as usual as Rodong Sinmun issued a new editorial entitled, “Capitalism Has No Future” that explained, “it is a matter of time for capitalism which outlived its days to disappear from the arena of history.” So while the publication of the “little green book” is an interesting new development, hopes that any “rushing wind” of change might bring capitalist competitiveness to North Korea appear unlikely for now.