Skip to comments.North Korea’s Dominant Power: Section 87 of the National Defence Commission
Posted on 10/06/2012 9:21:21 AM PDT by TigerLikesRooster
North Koreas Dominant Power: Section 87 of the National Defence Commission
September 28, 2012 By New Focus INTL
The effective role of North Koreas National Defence Commision has been increasing since the beginning of the Kim Jong-un regime. With the establishment and rise to prominence of the NDCs Section 87, the center of power in North Korea has firmly shifted away from the Party and towards the NDC.
Personnel management and administrative rights still belong to the organisational department of the Party. Nevertheless, the current setup is no longer like it was during the time of Kim Jong-ils rule, where the party had the monopoly over all decision making within the country. This is because Section 87 of the NDC can overrule the personnel management rights of the Party and can exercise its powers of inspection within an essentially unlimited jurisdiction.
Section 87 is composed of ex-Generals and it has military representatives in all 23 districts of Pyongyang City, each province, city and even within the 2nd Economic Steering Commission. The representatives are thus stationed to play an advisory role regarding the execution of the nations Military First policy and in addition, they make on-site inspections to check whether the Party policy is carried out in a suitable military spirit.
Moreover, they have the power to employ martial law there and then to deal with a person or situation disobedient to the policy. In practice, this power reaches to the remote parts of the country and even overrules the party mandate. The predecessor to Section 87 of the NDC is the NDC Inspectorate that was inaugurated around 2002. After Kim Il-sungs death, when Kim Jong-il declared martial law under the Military First policy, he appointment Ri Eul-sul, a General of the Peoples Army, as the head of the NDCs Inspectorate and the rest of the Inspectorate was also composed of ex-military personnel.
In its early days, the NDC Inspectorate was composed of retired military personnel who had held the rank of corps commander and above and of those who had held the post of Deputy Chair or above in the General Political Department and KPA General Staff. Unlike the gravity projected by the name, the NDC Inspectorate was in this way composed mainly of older generals and had no subordinate agency attached to it for practical purposes. It was effectively a top layer with a name but not a permanent and active entity. It would not be too much of an exaggeration to describe the early NDC Inspectorate as a convenient organisation through which honorary titles could be offered to retiring generals after a generational shift in the military occurred.
However, to make use of the existence of the NDC inspectorate, Kim Jong-il had now and then used it for directing Anti-socialist Company Movements. Previously, such movements in North Korea had been carried out with the co-operation of 5 organisations: the Central Party, Ministry of State Security, Armed Forces Supreme Command, Ministry of Peoples Security and Prosecutors office. This was so that mutual inspection would occur whereby the self-interests of a particular body or meddling intervention between bodies which made one more dominant could be checked.
The organisations co-ordinated for such campaigns only when a direct request was made by Kim Jong-il. In order to make the entity more concrete, he therefore assigned the date of ratification date as the name of the new entity. For example, if the 24th of September was the day he ordered one such campaign, Section 924 would come into effect. But Kim Jong-il had a problem. The conclusion of such campaigns was most often merciless purging or the handing out of severe punishments so there were benefits to fostering an atmosphere of terror. Yet such actions also damaged the prestige of the deification cult of Kim Jong-il.
Kim Jong-il needed another entity that could represent his powers, so he decided to make use of the NDC Inspectorate for on-site inspections and accompanying executions of immediate justice according to martial law.
As the activities of the NDC Inspectorate increased, the need for complementary powers was raised by various people. The transition of the NDC Inspectorate as an entity with a flashy name but no significant powers to an organisation named Section 87 which held practical powers occured around 2009 when Kim Jong-il decided to hand on succession to Kim Jong-un. In this regard, it comes as no surprise that the first public role given to Kim Jong-un was as Deputy Chairman of the NDC.
It seems that although for the duration of Kim Jong-ils rule he maintained solitary rule through the Party apparatus, he was preparing Section 87 of the NDC to become the vanguard of Kim Jong-uns stable succession. Kim Jong-il had weakened the apparatus surrounding Kim Il-sungs rule through various purges and finger-pointing, and consequently built up the systematic grounding for his solitary rule. Kim Jong-il must not have wished to leave behind a young Kim Jong-un in the hands of his loyal retainers who had managed to survive all these years.
New retainers and a new power apparatus had to be prepared for Kim Jong-uns succession. Perhaps Kim Jong-il thought that those who had been around since the time of Kim Il-sung would be better guarantors of the states stability than the real power-holders of his own regime. This would explain why Kim Jong-un and Kim Kyong-hee received the post of Deputy Chair of NDC at the same time: when the time for succession came, the power vacuum could be filled by the NDC.
VERY helpful, as always!!!!
Note how the maintenance of a "state religion" institutes a parallel but subordinate form of authority that greatly facilitates orderly state succession. Although there were conflicts (such as with the Church of Rome and England), ritual coronation and communion maintained a stable pretext for Divine ordination of state rule, thereby obtaining military protection of the Church's substantial assets.
Yet a singular feature of this parallel power structure is that the principles seldom die at the same time. Thus, one doesn't face a total power vacuum at any time, with both worlds seeking the stability that maintains them via perpetuation of the other.
Marxism, by its secular nature, possesses none of those features of structural stability, thus making transitions of power inherently more perilous.
So do you view the personality cult of divine Kim family as an attempt to address the problem to some extent?
Long time no see.:-)
Sure. Look at the iconography between Hitler, Marx, Lenin, Stalin, Mao, Ho, Kims, etc. Note also how hard it has been to maintain that pitch as the communist state matures and continues to fail to deliver on its promises. The idolatry ends, as it did with Khrushchev and our latter day ChiComs. With it dies the illusion and the political class devolves to common politico-thuggocracy and the society sinks into either depression or dog-eat-dog.
What the Norks have done that is so unusual is to impoverish and isolate the people to such a degree as to virtually shut off their ability to acquire input from the outside world (terrain helps there). That minimizes the influence of foreign media blowing their cover, allowing the Kims to keep the game going far longer than they might have done. I am certain they are very tough on anyone who has been outside their national prison to keep their mouths shut. I'd hate to have been on their Olympic team.