This panel talk is the launch of Socialist Education in Korea: The Politics and Pedagogy of Resistance and Revolution, a volume of selected writings by Kim Il Sung on education edited by Riley Seungyoon Park and Cambria York. The editors are joined by a panel of discussants in this celebration of the volume’s publication.
This webinar took place on Zoom Sunday 27 November. It was livestreamed on YouTube and you can watch it here.
This launch was cohosted by The International Manifesto Group, Nodutdol, The People’s Forum, The Hampton Institute and the volume’s publisher, Iskra Books.
Buy the book here.
The webinar introduced and explored themes connected to the recently-published book Socialist Education in Korea,.
Publishing such a book is a controversial move in the United States. In fact, there’s almost a proportional relationship between the demonization of the DPRK and the level of ignorance one has about the state, the country, its government, its people and society, and its history. This is particularly striking given the recent interest in decolonial and anti-colonial education, in socialist and communist educational methods, and in socialism and communism more generally.
Socialist Education in Korea, edited by Riley Park and Cambria York, not only provides key insights into the socialist educational project in Korea – including its pedagogical philosophies and practices, organisations, purposes, government institutions, and more. It also helps provide a more accurate description of the DPRK’s socialist project as articulated by the state’s founder and, for almost five decades, central leader.
Our webinar featured the editors of the book, along with longstanding Korea solidarity activists and experts in Korean history and politics.
Riley Seungyoon Park is a masters student in psychology at the University of Indianapolis. Their research interests center on community-based psychotherapy from an anti-imperialist, Marxist, and disability justice orientation. They co-edited Socialist Education in Korea: Selected Writings of Kim Il-Sung and have written other works on Korea for the Hampton Institute. Park’s an organizer for the ANSWER Coalition and the Party for Socialism and Liberation. Since 2019, they’ve been a central people’s leader in various movements in Indianapolis, organizing around reproductive justice, the war on Black America, capitalism, and imperialism. Additionally, Park is active in the internationaal Korean movement for peace and reunification, participating in the Global Peace Forum on Korea in 2019 and, this month, was a part of the first U.S. delegation to visit Chongryon–the General Association of Koreans in Japan–since the COVID-19 pandemic began. You can watch Riley’s introductory remarks here.
Derek R. Ford is a teacher, educational theorist, and organizer currently serving as associate professor of education studies at DePauw University, USA. Ford’s published eight monographs, including Encountering Education: Elements for a Marxist Pedagogy (2022) and Marxism, Pedagogy, and the General Intellect: Beyond the Knowledge Economy (2021). Ford organized the last U.S. delegation to the DPRK before the U.S.-imposed travel ban and, together with Kiyul Chung and Curry Malott, leads the only U.S. academic exchange program with Korea University in Japan. You can watch Derek’s introductory remarks here.
Keith Bennett is an active member of the International Manifesto Group and a consultant specialising in Chinese and Korean affairs. He is the Deputy Chair of the Kim Il Sung Kim Jong Il Foundation (KKF) and the Deputy Secretary General of the European Regional Society for the Study of the Juche Idea. He has closely followed events in Korea and the Korean road to socialism for nearly half a century and first visited the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK) in 1983 as a delegate to the World Conference of Journalists Against Imperialism. He has subsequently visited the country on some 50 occasions and was twice awarded the DPRK Order of Friendship by President Kim Il Sung. He has delivered papers on the Juche idea and on Korean reunification at conferences in Europe, Asia and Latin America. Keith took part in the webinar via a pre-recorded video; you can watch it here.
Betsy Yoon works as a librarian at Baruch College, CUNY and is a member of Nodutdol for Korean Community Development. Betsy has coordinated Nodutdol’s Korea Education and Exposure Program (KEEP) since 2011, which takes members of the Korean diaspora to visit the northern and southern halves of our homeland. As part of KEEP, Betsy has led 3 delegations of Koreans to north Korea. Our visits to north Korea have been suspended because of the ban on travel to the north that was instituted by Trump in 2017. Betsy is part of Nodutdol’s Tongil Solidarity Committee, which is currently working to get the ban on travel to north Korea lifted so that we can resume our delegation trips to the north. You can watch Betsy’s introductory remarks here.
Cambria York is a self-described ‘recovering academic’, voice actor, folklore-inspired musician, theatrical technician, and tribal sovereignty advocate.
She is the co-editor of Socialist Education in Korea: Selected Writings of Kim Il-Sung. York is an organizer with the Party for Socialism and Liberation, the ANSWER coalition, and the Indianapolis Liberation Center where she coordinates the People’s Power Urban Farm in coalition with area mutual aid groups to combat food apartheid and environmental racism, and as a vehicle to educate her community and demand land reform for the people, not the banks.
York was born and raised in the Central Gulf Coast sub-region of the Deep South and left for the Midwest to pursue a Masters degree in historical and cultural musicology, but quickly became disillusioned through the sheer amount of anti-communist, historical revisionist narratives which continue to run roughshod over what few anti-imperialist perspectives exist in music scholarship. It was this turning point which pushed York to continue her studies independently and internationally – as part of the movement.
York is a Journeyman technician in her trade union, the International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees (IATSE), and has been active in the performing arts (whether onstage or backstage) all her life.
As a voiceover artist, you can hear Cambria on the upcoming audiobook launch of Socialist Reconstruction: A Better Future for the United States, and on Liberation Audio on most streaming platforms, where she regularly contributes in recording articles published through Liberation School and Liberation News to provide greater accessibility and availability of geopolitical news, theory, and analysis from a working-class, internationalist, and Leninist lens. You can watch Cambria’s introductory remarks here.
Moderator – Radhika Desai is a Professor at the Department of Political Studies, and Director, Geopolitical Economy Research Group, University of Manitoba, Winnipeg, Canada. She is the author of Geopolitical Economy: After US Hegemony, Globalization and Empire (2013), Slouching Towards Ayodhya: From Congress to Hindutva in Indian Politics (2nd rev ed, 2004) and Intellectuals and Socialism: ‘Social Democrats’ and the Labour Party (1994), a New Statesman and Society Book of the Month, and editor or co-editor of Russia, Ukraine and Contemporary Imperialism, a special issue of International Critical Thought (2016), Theoretical Engagements in Geopolitical Economy (2015), Analytical Gains from Geopolitical Economy (2015), Revitalizing Marxist Theory for Today’s Capitalism (2010) and Developmental and Cultural Nationalisms (2009). You can watch Radhika’s introductory remarks here.
This article was updated on November 29, 2022 to include revisions to the speakers’ list and links to their video clips.