Communism? Yikes.

Dong Fang | Wikimedia Commons | Photo Courtesy
Communism might work better in theory than in practice.

This form of government might not be as exciting as you think

With the United States election finally coming to a close there has been a conversation of what it means to be democratic and what it could mean to be part of a more socialist society.

And despite what Twitter would like you to believe, neither Biden nor Trump are the biggest threat to our democracy. Who is the monster under America’s bed? The shadow in our closet? The creature in the corn we should be fearful of? Communist North Korea. 

Some Americans truly believe that a socialist and communist style of government would be more beneficial to America and her people. Yeonmi Park, a human rights activist and defector from North Korea, recommends that if you truly believe that communism is much better then you should go live there.

She details her escape in her book, “In Order to Live,” and also on her YouTube channel where she speaks even more in-depth about growing up in a communist regime and what motivated her to escape. 

She has spent a lot of time in the states talking about how her experience growing up in North Korea has shaped her as an individual. She talks about eating frogs, dragonflies, grasshoppers and anything else she could forage on the mountainside because she was so desperately hungry. How the mountains had no trees from people finding anything that can be burned to try and keep their families warm during harsh winters. How she grew up in a home with a maximum of two blankets and eating frozen potatoes to survive. 

There are also many things punishable by death or by a sentence to a prison camp. These things include watching foreign films, reading the bible or any religious text, attempting to defect, falling out of favor with the “dear leader” Kim Jung-Un and fortune-telling are among some of the reasons for listed executions. The executions themselves are often inhumane with public and brutal killings such as burning to death by flamethrower, which was the death of the dictator’s nephew. 

A fate worse than death is the infamous prison camps. There are consistent reports of sexual assault, starvation, torture, slave labor and infanticide, among other unspeakable horrors. There are estimated to be up to 200,000 prisoners in up to 12 camps, some of which have merged or been closed, and one known suppressed rebellion that left 5,000 dead.

Additionally, when one person commits a “crime” as determined by the regime, three generations of family members can be sent to prison camp: grandparents, parents and children, 

Life of a North Korean means living without power, without food, without blankets. The regime is meeting none of the necessities of its people. Those who do escape often end up as sex slaves in communist China. China also has a record of returning escapes to North Korea for execution. China’s influence makes the regime in North Korea possible. 

As Park put it, North Korea is not an oil-producing country. If we cut off China supplying the regime with oil, then the needs of the higher-ups will no longer be met and the regime will begin to collapse in on itself. She does express that food, water and other necessities should not be cut off because that ultimately only hurts the people, not the leaders. 

Many believe that the reason that North Koreans live in such dire conditions is that it’s a third-world country which, according to Park, simply isn’t true. North Korea accumulates wealth by manufacturing drugs and selling weapons to the middle east. The reason they choose not to feed and house people is that when people aren’t hungry, when people aren’t spending all their time trying to survive, then people begin to think critically and ask questions and the dictator doesn’t want that. 

North Korea should not have the privilege of hiding from the world. It is truly one of the darkest places on earth, and not just because there is rarely power. The people who live there should not have to continue to suffer. They deserve basic human rights and America shouldn’t continue to allow the regime to amass wealth and become a nuclear powerhouse. They have a population of 25 million slaves with no rights, no food, and no hope. 

People like Park are the courageous individuals we should be looking up to. She risked it all for food and found freedom. Her compassion for her people inspires us to take a closer look at the secrets that are hidden behind closed doors, and fight to give those without opportunities the chance they deserve. 

There are so many more crimes I could talk about like the forced military service, sexual assault, domestic violence, brainwashing, propaganda or the fact that the dictator’s wife hasn’t been seen in 9 months. All of which are problems that can arise from any system but are worsened by the regime’s suppression of people and their rights. 

North Korea isn’t the only country where communism is tearing itself apart. Communist and socialist Venezuela also has dire living conditions, no access to medicine and food and has refused any and all aid from the US and other countries as well.

As nice it sounds in practice, communism isn’t effective. Humans are selfish, greedy creatures and it doesn’t make sense to give one group all the resources and all the wealth and hope that they evenly and fairly distribute it. People are selfish and once they are in that position of unchecked power they have no reasons to fairly distribute their wealth. 

Capitalism isn’t perfect. It is flawed, as we’ve seen this year, and has many problems, such as those within humongous corporations like big tech. But at least we are given basic rights, we can speak freely, at least I have the freedom to get a job and provide for myself. I can choose my profession, control my finances. But these are not universal principles, and we should not be too quick to forget that, because the alternative is disastrous. 

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