Not sure if it's relevant lol
From the early 1960s to the early 1990s, meetings and study sessions constituted a large part of the daily routine of every North Korean. Such sessions typically occupied between two and four hours every day! These days North Koreans spend less time listening to eulogies of the "Great Leader," but these sessions still loom large in their lives.
The most important and dreaded of these sessions are known as "self-criticism meetings." Actually, in Korean they have a different name which is quite difficult to render into English - saenghwal ch'onghwa (something like "Meetings on drawing the results of life"). Nevertheless, I'd rather call them self-criticism sessions, since this descriptive name reflects their nature quite well.
As with many other institutions, North Koreans insist that they, or rather the "Dear Leader" Kim Jong Il (whom else?), invented the self-criticism meetings. Once again, this is not quite correct, since these meetings were once commonplace in Mao's China, whence they were obviously borrowed in the early 1960s.
However, it is true that in the early 1970s, the then 30-year-old Kim Jong Il developed a new model for these meetings and it had been followed ever since. Since that time in most work units the self-criticism sessions have taken place once every week. For some reason farmers hold them every ten days, and people in some sensitive positions are required to deliver public self-criticism with greater frequency. Aside from the weekly sessions, there are also "self-criticism" meetings of a higher level that are held once a month or once a year.
The work unit to which a particular person belongs organizes the weekly sessions. By definition, every North Korean is a member of some organization. There are about four million members of the KWP - the North Korean version of the Communist Party (the exact number of KWP members is kept secret). Youngsters aged from 14 to 30 are members of the Party Youth. All other adults are members of the Trade Unions. Those farmers who are not KWP members, are supposed to attend sessions arranged by the Farmers' Union. Even housewives are not left without ideological guidance and spiritual care: unemployed females are members of the Women's Union. These bodies are charged with responsibility for the self-criticism sessions.
Everybody must prepare for a self-criticism session in advance. One is required to write down all his or her sins and transgressions in a special notebook. When the time comes, one has to report all the transgressions of the preceding week. But what does one confess? Soldiers confess that they did not clean their rifle properly or missed targets during a shooting practice, students express their penitence about badly done homework, housewives admit that they cleaned the neighbourhood's streets without proper zeal. However, mere admission of mistakes is not enough, one has also to suggest measures for correction of the admitted mistakes.
After everybody has completed their repentance speeches with obligatory quotes from Kim Il Sung and Kim Jong Il, the time is ripe for a bout of "mutual criticism." This means that each participant must denounce some actions of his or her colleagues. Nobody can avoid participating in those dreaded rituals.
The average group, be it a Party cell or a Women's Union team or a Trade Union group, consists of 7-10 members, and the average length of a session is about 1.5 hours. In other words, there is about 10 minutes to disclose and condemn the sins of every member. This is more than enough, since every single North Korean is supposed to undergo this ideological treatment once every week, month after month, year after year, decade after decade.
As a rule, family problems are not discussed during these sessions - unless something really serious has happened, domestic matters remain in the confines of the family. Most people prudently report only minor transgressions and hope that nothing serious surfaced during a session.
The weekly public repentance has long become a habit for most North Koreans. Often people transform them into carefully arranged public performances. It is very common to pre-arrange the exchange of criticisms with one's friends and then follow the planned scenario. However, such a scenario may be broken easily if someone else draws attention to a more serious transgression (of course, in such a case the protagonist would risk retaliation). In other words, there is always a real threat that some wrongdoing will be exposed in such a session.
"Self-criticism sessions," in spite of their useful formalism, cannot be taken lightly. Indeed, for most North Koreans they are a dreaded institution. They cause everyone to be mindful of their words and deeds and, from the authorities' viewpoint, they impose a strong social cohesion. They also break mutual trust, providing co-workers with opportunities for back-stabbing which would be undreamed of in the world of "normal" office politics. A defector once observed that "self-criticism" sessions had made the greatest contribution toward political stability in North Korea.
Maybe he is right. After all, as every criminologist knows, the certainty of punishment is as good a deterrent as its severity, and peer pressure works wonders. The "self-criticism sessions" are very good in uncovering minor deviations from the prescribed code of behaviour. And this is a reliable way to ensure the obedience and docility of the people. Those who are afraid to create minor disturbances are far less likely to be involved with something more serious.
Originally Posted by Chatbox Ana
let me give u a lil love