SWP: ‘US forces out of Korea! Lift economic sanctions!’

By Brian Williams
September 27, 2021

“We stand in solidarity with the Korean people’s struggle to reunify the country and restore Korea’s national sovereignty,” Steve Clark wrote for the Socialist Workers Party in a Sept. 9 letter to the North Korean government on the 73rd anniversary of the founding of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea.

Since assuming the presidency, Democrat Joseph Biden has reversed openings begun under the Donald Trump administration for a breakthrough toward the denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula. Trump held three face-to-face meetings with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un in 2018 and 2019 that resulted in the government there dismantling some of its nuclear facilities and cease testing intercontinental missiles. But the talks stalled over Washington’s refusal to ease crippling economic sanctions.

In a news conference last May, Biden rejected holding such meetings with Kim. For years, Washington has imposed far-reaching trade and banking sanctions against North Korea that hit working people the hardest.

This month the White House decided to continue a 2017 ban on travel to the DPRK. And in mid-August the Biden administration stepped up joint military exercises with the South Korean government that Trump had suspended in 2019. This nine-day operation involved computer-simulated military maneuvers targeting North Korea.

“In addition to calling for an end to these anti-working-class policies imposed by the imperialist Democratic and Republican parties,” the letter said, “we demand that the US government immediately and unconditionally:

  • Lift all economic and banking sanctions against the DPRK.
  • End its ‘nuclear umbrella’ over South Korea and Japan.
  • Sign a peace treaty ending the bloody war the US rulers waged against the DPRK from 1950 to 1953, during which US imperialism suffered its first military defeat in history.”

Korea was divided into North and South, against the will of the Korean people who rose up in revolutionary struggle following World War II. With the agreement of the Stalinist regime in Moscow, U.S. troops occupied the South, installed the dictatorship of Syngman Rhee and crushed the uprising there. In the North, workers and farmers carried out a revolution that put an end to the rule of the capitalist and landlord classes.

The U.S. rulers attempted to reverse these gains, invading the North in 1950 and bombing much of the country to rubble, killing over 4 million people, including at least 2 million civilians. When Washington’s forces neared the Chinese border, volunteers there joined North Korean troops and drove the U.S.-led army back. The fighting ended in a stalemate in 1953.

Washington continues to maintain 28,500 troops in the South, as well as hundreds of fighter jets and bombers, including nuclear-capable ones.

“Supporters of the 2021 Socialist Workers Party local and state election campaigns advance a working-class foreign policy,” Clark said, “as we mobilize solidarity with strikes against attacks on working and living conditions by United Mine Workers members at Warrior Met Coal in Alabama, workers in the Bakery, Confectionery, Tobacco Workers, and Grain Millers International Union at Nabisco,” and others.

The SWP calls on the unions, Clark says, “to lead a massive campaign to get the population fully vaccinated against COVID-19, so working people can get back on the job and fight alongside each other as a class.”

“We join in every struggle with an eye to advancing the revolutionary course toward workers power — toward a socialist revolution in the US.”

“Working people engaged in such fights can and will be won to opposing brutal imperialist sanctions and wars,” Clark writes, including “championing the Korean people’s efforts to reunify their country.”

The SWP, Clark says, joins with others today in saying:

“US military forces out of Korea!

For a nuclear-free Korean Peninsula!

Korea is one!”