I’ve become aware of a tendency among anarchists to oppose the ownership of nuclear weapons by the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK). It seems they oppose the country possessing nuclear weapons on the grounds that they don’t want any state having nuclear weapons. I saw Marxists make a very reasonable argument that the DPRK needs them as a measure of self-defense against US imperialism. The DPRK has far less military and economic power than the US does, and thus they need a deterrent against invasion.
The anarchists I spoke to never really answer the issue of self-defense, they simply insisted that no one should have nuclear weapons. They want, as they said, is a world without any nuclear weapons at all. I wouldn’t disagree with that, I too would like a world without such weapons. The reality, however, is that we do have them. The reality is that the DPRK is under threat from US imperialism.
They simply denounce the DPRK for having nukes while ignoring that the US does. They acknowledge that the US has them, but doesn’t see a global scenario where they have them. To say that all nuclear weapons must stop being produced is to leave the existing weapons in the hands of the imperialist countries that use them to terrorise their victims. Such a stance is nothing less than siding with imperialism itself. They denounce the victim for attempting to procure the means for self-defense from an opponent many, many times more powerful. Would they denounce women for purchasing pepper spray to defend themselves from rapists? No, they wouldn’t. Once this phenomenon enters the global politics sphere, it seems the right to the necessary means of self-defense disappears.
It’s easy for them to simply denounce the DPRK for perusing nuclear weapons when they aren’t the targets of imperialism. They live in the exploiter country. What the anarchists are really saying is that they don’t want the DPRK to have the capacity to strike back against the US in the event of imperialist invasion. As we can see, this is another example of the individualism of anarchism. They only care about them possibly getting hit with such weapons, they care nothing for others who might. They cannot see past themselves and their own selfish individual wants.
Some have argued that the DPRK using nuclear weapons on the US would hurt workers. I’d remind such people that these are the same workers who are lining up to support attacks on the DPRK in the millions. These same workers are happy to have the DPRK invaded and destroyed as we can see from the attitudes of many of the anarchists. If they are so afraid of the DPRK using such weapons in self-defense, then they should invest effort into ending their own country’s imperialism. The problem is that most leftists, including anarchist, care little for what their country does and see no need to take any radical action to stop it. We see another example of how first world people are not the allies of the global proletariat, the global oppressed.
To simply want the world free of nuclear weapons, is utopianism. This is the thinking of such anarchists. We all just magically have no nukes in the world. In the real material world, the imperialist powers have nuclear weapons and threaten to use them. Unless you have a way to concretely disarm the US, you’re just advocating utopianism. The victim cannot put down the gun if the oppressor still has one. The reality is that the DPRK is under threat by the US and must use any means necessary to defend itself.
The anarchists do not see this, they only see what they want, not how to get it or how it would apply it in the real world.
Side note: While on Twitter the anarchists literally answer every argument with “nuclear war is bad.” They won’t answer anything. They won’t address the issue of self defense. They won’t acknowledge that the US oppresses other countries including the DPRK. I’ve never seen such cognitive dissonance.