March 24, 2023

North Koreans care less about KWP membership than ever

Private economy creates alternative means to privileges once only accessed by party members

If Western publications are to be believed, being a member of the Communist Party in a communist country entitles to you a long and luxuriant list of privileges. When Western journalists talk about life in a communist country, one can often hear that some type of goods were “only available to party members” or some resort was “built just for party members,” as if those members were a kind of modern-day priesthood, eligible to assorted perks by the virtue of their status alone.

Such statements can produce only smiles from people who actually lived in such countries. We knew well that party membership was an important privilege, but it was never as simple and straightforward as many Westerners might think.