The Juche idea applied the philosophical principle that man is master of everything and decides everything to the sector of social history to elucidate socio-historical principle that the masses of the people are the subject of social history.
Leader Kim Jong Il said:
“The subject of the social movement consists in the masses of the people. Without the masses there would be no social movement itself, nor would it be conceivable to talk about historical progress.”
The principle that the people are the subject of social history answers the question of the subject of history, the basic question in understanding social development and revolution in the Juche-oriented standpoint and attitude.
In the history of philosophy, the term “subject” has been used with different meanings. But the term has been understood in general as the agent of movement.
But there is fundamental difference between materialism and idealism in understanding the agent as matter or consciousness.
The term “subject” in the Juche idea is a new concept meaning the agent that causes and propels social movement in an active, purposive and conscious way.
This is precisely the question of subject of history.
The answer to the question of whether there is such an agent or not and, if there is, who is the agent decides correct discovery of the peculiar law of socio-historical movement that is fundamentally different from the movement of nature. All the principles of socio-historical view and the whole contents of the view depend on how to answer the question of subject of history. Herein lies the reason why the question of the subject of history is the basic question in understanding social development and revolution in the Juche-oriented standpoint and attitude.
The Juche idea raised the question of subject as the basic question of view of social history and newly defined the meaning of the term. On this basis, the Juche idea clarified that there is no subject in the natural movement but there is in socio-historical movement and that the subject is the masses of the people. Thus, it provided basic principles to observe the socio-historical movement as the movement of the subject and discover the peculiar law of this movement.
Now then, what does it mean that the people are the subject of socio-history, and why they are the subject.
Usually, when people speak about noteworthy historical events or changes, they mention about wisdom, talents, outstanding ability of heroes or special individuals and find the basic factors in them. In these cases, the masses of the people are neglected. But this is wrong. Behind the historical events are plain and simple masses of the people and their creative wisdom and strength.
The subject of history is not special individual or small group, and the reactionary ruling class or exploiting class can never be the subject of history in any case.
The subject of history is only the masses of the people who cause and propel the socio-historical movement in an active, purposive and conscious way.
The masses of the people are social collective formed mainly with the working people who share common demand for independence and creative activities. In other words, it is the social collective formed with various classes and social strata that contribute to society and its development through their creative labor and struggle for independence against social subjugation in different stages of history.
In this sense, the masses of the people are the collective of the people who embody independence, creativity and consciousness, the essence of social being, and without the masses there would be no social movement itself, nor would it be conceivable to talk about historical progress.
Herein lies essential meaning that the masses of the people are the subject of socio-history.
Why, then, are they subject?
In one word, that is because the movements of socio-history are caused and propelled by the masses of the people.
Social movement is caused by the people’s demand for independence.
It is the essential demand of the people to live as masters of the world and their destiny, free from all sorts of subjugation. This demand is not temporary demand raised in certain stages of history but constant one raised in all the process. And this demand is not raised in a certain field of social life but raised in all fields. This is the fundamental demand. With this demand, the people cause social movement.
Human history has developed from primitive society into slave-holder society, feudal society, capitalist society and into socialist society. All the social movements that produced such process of history have been caused by the people’s demand for independence.
So are the slaves’ struggle against slave-hold system, peasants’ struggle against feudal rule, labor movement against exploitation and oppression of capital and the colonial national liberation struggle against imperialists’ colonial rule. These movements are inconceivable apart from the demand for independence of the people who want to live happily as masters of nature and society free from all sorts of subjugation.
The socio-historical movement is propelled by inexhaustible creative ability of the people.
In any era, it is the masses who demand for and propel the development of society. They are the most wise and powerful beings who can transform nature and society. If there is almighty being in this world, that is none other than the people.
There is no other being that is wiser being than the people. There is limit in individual’s strength and wisdom but there is no limit in those of the masses.
Everything in society is created and history develops by this inexhaustible strength and wisdom of the people.
We go into more detail.
The people transform nature and create material wealth with their creative wisdom and labor.
Some people say that capitalists are also interested in developing productive forces and increasing material wealth. but they are interested not in social progress but in profit and money-making. They don’t do creative labor to remake nature but only exploit and oppress the workers. Capitalists call themselves “producers”, “managers of business” by all means but they are no more than parasites of society. There are parasites not only in nature but also in society, and they are capitalists.
The producers of material wealth are only the working people who remake nature with their creative wisdom and labor.
It is historical fact that all the means of life and all technical means including ability to conquer space are the products of creative wisdom and labor of the people.
The people create not only material wealth but also ideological and cultural wealth.
Some people think the progressive ideology, scientific knowledge, art and literature and other ideological and cultural wealth humanity has accumulated have been made by special individuals or privileged class. But this is wrong view.
The people who observe the reality correctly can understand that all ideological and cultural wealth have been created on the basis of rich practical experience of the people and that all the talented persons have been produced from the masses of the people not from privileged class.
Reactionary exploiting class and privileged people produce only bad ideology, morality and decadent art and literature to defend the old contradictory exploiter society and corrupt the people ideologically. They oppress creative spiritual and cultural activities of the people by all means.
Humanity never forgets barbaric religious judgement in the middle age that executed those people who claimed progressive ideology and scientific truth. And it is known fact that so-called capitalist countries oppress freedom of ideology under the signboard “freedom of ideology.”
So is the case in transforming society.
The reactionary exploiting class is only interested in maintaining and consolidating the old exploiter system. Bourgeois rulers talk about “reform” but this is to cover the crisis and contradiction of capitalist society.
Progressive transformation of society and the change of the old system are carried out only by the revolutionary struggle of the people who are awakened and united. Any social change is inconceivable, apart from revolutionary struggle of the people.
Miracles were necessity created by the people not chance given by the Heaven.
Historical experience tells that miracles and innovations are created, when revolutionary zeal and creative ability are fully displayed in social movements to transform nature and society.
All the facts eloquently tell the masses of the people are the subject of social movement and of history.
However, this does not deny the role of individuals in history. Individuals contribute to history this or that way according to their quality and ability. But the role of individuals cannot replace the role of the people and cannot be better than the role of the people. Only when individuals depend on people’s wisdom and strength, can they lay positive role in history. Apart from the masses of the people, individuals cannot display talents, eventually falling to reaction of history. Small groups also contribute to history, when they join the people. This is the truth of history.
As mentioned above, the principle that the people are the subject of history tell that human history is not the history of individuals, small groups or reactionary exploiting class but history of people’s struggle and that social movement is not spontaneous process but the process of purposive and conscious activities. This is a new truth.