[Reminiscences]Chapter 4 9. An “Ideal Village” Is Transformed into a Revolutionary Village > 새 소식

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[Reminiscences]Chapter 4 9. An “Ideal Village” Is Transformed into a Revolutionary Village

  

   


 

9. An “Ideal Village” Is Transformed into a Revolutionary Village 



 

At one time the independence fighters in our country conceived a plan to build “ideal villages,”\and they tried in every way possible to implement it. When one hears the word “ideal village,” one visualizes a village in which everyone is free rom any exploitation, oppression\and inequality\and leads an equally free\and happy life. rom time immemorial our people have dreamt of such a Utopian world.


The nationalists’ endeavour to build “ideal villages” might be considered a reflection of our ancestors’ aspiration to a rich, harmonious, peaceful\and comfortable life for everyone.


An Chang Ho was a proponent\and champion of the “ideal village” scheme. Immediately after the proclamation of the “annexation of Korea by Japan” An Chang Ho, Ri Tong Hui, Sin Chae Ho\and Ryu Tong Yol held talks in Qingdao, China,\where An Chang Ho put forward a proposal to build “ideal villages.” After serious consideration the leaders of the independence movement decided to buy the land of the Taedong Business Company (in Mishan County, China) which had been managed by Americans, bring it under cultivation\and train Independence Army soldiers by establishing a military academy there. They intended to build such “ideal villages” in\order to raise funds\and educate cadres,\and thus lay the material, personnel\and financial foundations for the independence movement.


Even after this plan had failed, An Chang Ho made painstaking efforts for many years to procure funds\and obtain suitable sites for such villages, because he felt the necessity for an independence movement base which could render material support to his “theory of the cultivation of strength.” The attempt to build such villages was a trend in the independence movement at that time. Many nationalists tried to realize their unsophisticated dream of cultivating strength by reclaiming uncultivated land\and making it suitable for farming\and establishing military academies.


The rural community on the Liaohe was born of this trend. This community was developed by the nationalists who had been active in south Manchuria. Some of the nationalists in south Manchuria, particularly Song Sok Tam, Pyon Tae U (alias Pyon Chang Gun), Kim Hae San, Kwak Sang Ha\and Mun Sang Mok drifted west before settling on the Liaohe. Saying that they were building an ideal Korean village, they created a community of 300 Korean families there\and began to develop it according to their own principles by cutting it off rom the surrounding world. This community was named Wujiazi (a village of five families—Tr.) after the five families that had settled there\originally.


Some of my comrades attending Wenguang Middle School in my days in Jilin were rom Guyushu\and Wujiazi. They used to say that Wujiazi was a good village. So I became interested in Wujiazi\and made up my mind to transform it into a revolutionary village.


I went rom east Manchuria to Wujiazi in October 1930.\originally I was planning to convene a large meeting in east Manchuria for the preparation of an armed struggle but, in view of the situation there at the time, I considered the place unsuitable for the meeting\and changed the site to Wujiazi. I decided to stay there for some months while I prepared for the meeting\and make the village revolutionary. I found the people kind-hearted\and their customs agreeable, as I had been told they were.


The people in this village, unable to roof their houses with tiles because of the strong wind, plastered clay on the roofs. The saline clay did not allow the rain in. They also built neat clay walls, walls of adobe which, they claimed, were even bullet-proof.


The founders of the village never tolerated the infiltration of any heterogeneous ideological trends into the village. They, together with the peasants, had converted the marshy land into paddy fields\and established a school in the village. They formed such mass\organizations as the Association of Fellow Peasants, the Youth Association\and the Association of Schoolchildren. They also formed a village council, an autonomous\organ. Every year on August 29, the day when Japan proclaimed the annexation of Korea by Japan, the village people gathered\and sang the song National Humiliation Day . It is no wonder that the people of Wujiazi called their village a “heaven,” it being out of the reach of the Japanese army\and police\and the reactionary Chinese warlords.


The majority of the population of the village was rom Phyongan\and Kyongsang Provinces. Those rom Kyongsang Province were under the influence of the M-L group in the General Federation of the Korean Youth in South Manchuria\and those rom Phyongan Province were mostly affiliated to Jongui-bu.


In view of the fact that I hailed rom Phyongan Province I stayed in most cases at the houses of the people rom Kyongsang Province, as I had done in Kalun before. If not, I might have upset them.


When I was in Kalun, I had sent some members of the Korean Revolutionary Army to Wujiazi as political workers but they had proved ineffectual because they could not win over the leading figures of the village who were obstinate, yet well established.


I spent the winter there through the good offices of my comrades. I stayed in that one place for so long, more than just a week\or two, because we attached such great importance to Wujiazi. We regarded this village as the last stronghold of the nationalist forces in central Manchuria. If successful here, we could turn Wujiazi into a model for making the rural areas revolutionary\and, drawing on that experience, bring the rural villages in the whole of Manchuria\and the northern border areas of our country under our influence.


We recognized that the workers, peasants\and working intellectuals were the main force of the revolution,\and made particularly great efforts to transform the peasants into revolutionaries in view of the position they occupied in the class composition of our country. The peasantry accounted for more than 80 per cent of the population of our country. The situation in Jiandao was the same. More than 80 per cent of the population of Jiandao were Koreans about 90 per cent of whom were peasants. Owing to the persecution by the warlords\and the ruthless expropriation by the landlords\and usurers, they were living in dire poverty, enjoying no rights,\and were subjected to harsh exploitation through land rents\and to such physical extortions as those imposed upon serfs\and slaves. The case was similar with the peasants in the homeland. This showed that the peasantry, along with the industrial working class, was the class which had the keenest interest in the revolution\and that the peasants, together with the workers, should become the main force of our revolution.


To make the rural areas revolutionary was the foremost task in laying the mass foundation for the anti-Japanese armed struggle.


As the young people in Wujiazi grew more\and more enthusiastic about our cause as a result of the activities of our political workers, the village elders shook their pipes\and threatened that those who would introduce socialism onto the Liaohe plain would not be safe; they complained that the young people in those days were affected by an alien ideology. Some of them warned that, if the crazy communist ideology that had ruined Jiandao was tolerated in Wujiazi, the village would not be safe, either.


If we were careless\and rash, we might fall before the pipes of the old people. Some of the young people wavered. They wanted to march to the communist tune, but they hesitated lest they should offend their elders. Only a few determined young men opposed the elders.


On hearing a report rom the political workers, I judged that the prerequisite for making Wujiazi revolutionary was to work well with the influential people. Unless we corrected their way of thinking we would be unable to awaken Wujiazi rom its pipe dream of building an “ideal village”\or execute our plan to transform the village on the Liaohe into a model village in central Manchuria. Once the elders were reformed, the others would follow us.


Our political workers, however, had not approached them for three months,\and had only been feeling out their views. It was no simple job to deal with such people. No\ordinary man dared argue with them, these learned people with theoretical views as well as records of conducting the independence movement. The group of elders had the village under its control.


One old man, Pyon Tae U, ran the village council behind the scenes\and supervised all the affairs of the village. He was at the head of both the group of elders\and the village itself. The villagers called him Pyon Trotsky because he frequently mentioned Trotsky. Pyon had travelled through the homeland\and various parts of Manchuria in his early years in the interests of the independence movement. At first he had established schools in Hanchon (South Phyongan Province), his home town,\and Jasong,\and Daoqinggou (in Linjiang County, China), working as a teacher. He had been involved in armed activities rom 1918, the year when he joined the Independence Army unit which had its headquarters at Maoershan, Linjiang County. In those days he had frequented our house to contact my father. When he was unable to come, my uncle, Kang Jin Sok, would maintain contact between them. Having held the posts of propaganda chief of the Korean Independence Association, deputy-commander of the National Independence Army, chief of the military law section\and commander of the 1st battalion of the Liberation Corps\and then head of the business section of Thongui-bu, he had devoted himself to building up the movement of the Independence Army. He retired rom his military posts in 1926,\and applied himself to building an “ideal village.” Once he had been to the far eastern region of the Soviet\union, allegedly to launch a communist movement. He had the blue-covered membership card of the Communist Party of Koryo.


It was impossible to reform the bigoted village elders\and make the village revolutionary unless old man Pyon was won over.

 

Learning that I had arrived in Wujiazi, the old man’s son, Pyon Tal Hwan, came to see me. He was in charge of the Association of Fellow Peasants. He said that he had intended to transform the “ideal village” into a revolutionary village by prevailing on the nationalists, but had been unable to do anything because of his father\and the other village elders. He suggested that, now that I was there, we should do away with those good-for-nothings.


Dumbfounded, I asked him, “Do away with them? What do you mean by that?”

“I mean we must form our own\organizations, ignoring what the old men say,\and make Wujiazi a socialist village on our own,” was his absurd answer.


“No, we cannot do that. It will split the village into two.\and it is not in accordance with our policy, either.”

“Then, what shall we do? We can’t leave Wujiazi in the hands of these backward old men, can we?”

“The point is that we should win their support. I am going to work with your father. What do you think of that?”

“It will be useless. Many people have been here rom Kukmin-bu, rom the Korean Provisional Government in Shanghai\and rom the committee for rebuilding the communist party affiliated to the M-L group, to establish footholds in this village, but they have all been given the cold shoulder by my father.\ordinary people have not even been granted an interview with him,\and even high-ranking nationalist leaders have been thrown out after being taught a good lesson.”


“Your father\and mine were on friendly terms\and you\and I are old friends. So I think I stand a better chance than a total stranger.”

 

Pyon Tal Hwan said with embarrassment that an old friendship would not influence his father. He had been to my house in Linjiang 10 years before with a letter rom his father to mine.


I talked with Pyon Trotsky for days at his house,\where the village elders used to gather.

On the first day Pyon talked more than I did. He sat haughtily, his legs crossed,\and as he spoke he now\and then tapped his pipe on the floor. He said he was glad to see Mr. Kim’s son but he treated me as just a boy. He merely gave me condescending advice, every time addressing me as “you youngster.” He was a man with good features\and a gallant spirit\and he had a high theoretical level, so I found him awesome rom the start.


When he asked me how old I was, I answered that I was 23, five years older than I actually was. If I had said I was 18, he would have treated me as a mere boy. I looked older than I was, so no one doubted me if I said I was 23 years old. In those days, I always claimed to be 23\or 24. That was favourable for me in my work with both the village elders\and the young people.


I behaved politely, listening to old Pyon with patience, not retorting\or interrupting him even though what he said did not stand to reason. He said that young people would find fault with him, labelling him as feudalistic\and so on, while not understanding even one out of the ten words he said. He said it was interesting to talk to me.


One day he invited me to dinner. He said that he had frequently been accorded warm hospitality by my father in Linjiang\and that, therefore, he had prepared a dinner, though humble, for me.


After chatting with me for a while, he asked me suddenly:

 

“Is it true that you youngsters have come here to do away with our ‘ideal village’?”


Pyon Tal Hwan had been right when he said that his father was guarding against the communists with the highest vigilance.

“Do away with your ‘ideal village’? Why should we destroy the results of you old people’s hard work, if we are unable to help you? We do not have the strength to destroy it.”


“Hm, is that so? But the youngsters in Wujiazi who follow my son Tal Hwan are always finding fault with the ‘ideal village’; they think only of knocking down the old people\and hoisting the red flag in this village. Rumour has it that you, Song Ju, are manipulating the youngsters in Wujiazi. Do the young people rom Jilin hate the ‘ideal village’? Tell me frankly what you think.”


“We don’t think it bad. Why should we hate the ‘ideal village’? You have built it to get the wandering Korean exiles in this foreign land to settle down in one place\and live in comfort. It is marvellous that you have built a Korean settlement of this size on the swampy land on the Liaohe. You old people must have worked very hard to build it.”


Satisfied at my complimentary remarks, he stroked his moustache. He no longer called me “you youngster.”

“Yes, that’s it! As you will learn, there is neither a policeman nor a prison nor a government office here. All the village’s affairs are dealt with in a democratic way by the Koreans themselves through an autonomous\organ called the village council.\where else in the world is there such an ideal village?”


I thought that now was the time to state our opinion of the “ideal village” clearly.

“Sir, I think it is patriotic of you to have built a village\where the Koreans lead a fair life by democratic methods through an autonomous body. But do you think we can achieve the independence of the country by building villages like this?”


The old man who was speaking in a dignified manner with his legs crossed, waving his pipe, shut his mouth\and raised his eyebrows. Then, he heaved a sigh.


“No, we can’t. You have touched me on the raw. We have built an ‘ideal village,’ but it is of no help to the independence movement. That is why I am in anguish. How good it would be if we could win the independence of the country by building ‘ideal villages’!”


I did not lose the opportunity to prove the absurdity of the building of such villages. I said: “It is impossible for a ruined nation to build ‘ideal villages’ in a foreign land. It is true that Wujiazi, thanks to your efforts, has become a more comfortable village to live in than other Korean settlements, but we cannot say that the ideal of the Korean people has been realized. The ideal of the Korean nation is to live in their motherland which is independent of the Japanese\and free rom exploitation\and oppression by landlords\and capitalists. How can you say you are living an ideal life when you are in debt to landlords? When the Japanese invade Manchuria Wujiazi will not be safe.\and sooner\or later Japan will invade Manchuria. They do not want the Korean people to lead an ideal life.”


“Then, you mean we should give up the idea of building an ideal village?” he asked with irritation.

“We wish to transform this village into a revolutionary village that fights for the liberation of the country, rather than seeing it so quiet.”


“That means you are going to spread socialism in Wujiazi? No, you can’t. I detest socialism. When your father said in Kuandian in 1919 that we should switch over to the communist movement we all supported him. But, while following the Communist Party of Koryo, I discovered the communists all to be crazy. They were all involved in factional strife. Since then I’ve been disgusted by the mere mention of communism.”


Then he showed me his membership card of the Communist Party of Koryo.

“However hard you may be working for the revolution, you don’t have such a membership card, do you?” the old man said in a casual manner, looking at me craftily.


I opened the card\and examined it before putting it in my coat pocket. He found this so unexpected that he looked at me in blank dismay.


“Allow me to keep as a souvenir your membership card of the Communist Party of Koryo that has gone bankrupt on account of factional strife.”


I thought he would want it back, but he didn’t. He asked me if we had any special policy for making the village revolutionary.

I spent a good while explaining to him how we had made such villages as Jiangdong, Xinantun, Naidaoshan, Kalun\and Guyushu revolutionary. He listened to me attentively. Then he said, “What you say smacks of Stalinism, but I am not against you. Nevertheless, you should not pay tribute only to Stalin. There is some sense in what Trotsky said.”


He then expounded Trotsky’s theory. Yet he did not seem to be opposed to Marxism-Leninism. I learned that he had an extremely good impression of Trotsky. I had talked to many people who were known to be well-versed in communist theory, but none had spoken so highly of Trotsky as he did. Out of curiosity I asked, “Why do you worship Trotsky?”


“Frankly, I don’t worship him. I just don’t like the young people nowadays worshipping people rom major powers indiscriminately. Trotsky is Trotsky\and Stalin is Stalin. Young people nowadays are in the habit of quoting rom them, but I don’t see what is so great about their propositions. It is for the Russian people to consider their propositions. The Korean people should speak in the spirit of Korea in\order to promote the revolution in their own country, don’t you think?”


The old man was right in a sense. In the course of my conversations with him over several days I found him to be no\ordinary man. At first I wondered if he was a Trotskyite, but I learned that, tired of factional strife, he was just warning us young people, warning us against the blind worship of everything, against talking only about other countries, about Russia\and Stalin,\and against copying everything rom Russia. In short, he was telling us to live in the Korean spirit.


He continued: “I don’t care what the young people do, nor do I interfere in my son’s work. Whatever he does, it is up to him. But I will fight to the end against those who put on airs, chanting foreign propositions without having their own principles.”


What he said convinced me that our consistent stand against factionalism, flunkeyism\and dogmatism was correct\and that our policy of carrying out the revolution through the efforts of our own people\and by believing in our own strength was correct.


The following day I talked a lot more than the old man. I explained to him in detail the line we had adopted at the Kalun Meeting. He seemed to be strongly impressed by my explanation that we should form a party\and an army of a new type,\organize an anti-Japanese national united front by enlisting all social strata irrespective of ideology, religious belief, status of property, age\and sex\and liberate the country through the resistance of our 20 million people. In particular, he hailed our intention to\organize an anti-Japanese national united front.

 

Pyon Tae U was a widower\and his son was a bachelor. The old man’s daughter kept the house, but she could not sweep away the lonely, dull air prevailing in the family. After repeated discussions with Pyon Tal Hwan\and other comrades about choosing a suitable match for him, I singled out a girl with the surname Sim who lived in a rural village near Wujiazi\and got my comrades to prepare for a wedding ceremony for them. I felt it presumptuous\and awkward for a bachelor to arrange the marriage of his elders, but after their wedding the villagers were happy,\and gave me unstinted praise.


The event won us the trust of the village elders. One day Pyon Tal Hwan came to see me\and inform me of his father’s attitude. He quoted his father as saying to the village elders, “Some new masters who will take over the ‘ideal village’ rom us have now appeared. They are


Song Ju\and his friends. If socialism is what they adhere to, we can accept it without a worry. We must not take Song Ju for a mere youngster. We are old\and lagging behind the times, so let us hand over the whole of Wujiazi to Song Ju\and his friends,\and help them in all sincerity.” The other elders were said to have expressed their admiration for what we had said.


Hearing this, I went to old man Pyon. I said, “I have come to return you your membership card of the Communist Party of Koryo.” But he replied, without so much as glancing at it, that he did not need it. I was at a loss what to do with it. Later the card was passed around my comrades.


In 1946, the year following the liberation of the country, the old man came to Pyongyang to see me. When I reminded him of the happenings in Wujiazi, he looked back upon the old days with emotion\and then grinned. He said that now that he had witnessed the northern half of the country having become a great\and ideal land, a land of perfect happiness, he would not regret it even if he were to die there\and then. He was 67 years old at that time. That year he passed away in Yitong County, Jilin Province, China, so I learned much later.


His son Pyon Tal Hwan worked in Wujiazi as the head of the Peasants\union\organization. On the charge of having been involved in the anti-Japanese struggle under our guidance, the Japanese put him in Sinuiju prison in 1931,\and there he served a term of several years.


Thus the breakthrough in making Wujiazi revolutionary was achieved. After that, the village elders’ attitude towards the political workers rom the Korean Revolutionary Army changed. They vied with each other to invite them to dinner.


During the revolutionary transformation of Wujiazi I made great efforts to win over the Chinese people. Without winning over influential Chinese people, it would have been impossible for us to establish a foothold for conducting free activities in central Manchuria. Therefore, I did not hesitate to bring even landlords around to our side\and make use of them, if it was possible.


At that time a landlord named Zhao Jia-feng was living near Wujiazi. Once he quarrelled with another landlord in the neighbouring village over some farm land\and resolved to bring a law suit against him. But he did not know how to write the indictment. He had a son who had received secondary education in a nearby town, but the son did not know how to draft it, either. It seems he had idled away his time at school.


Zhao Jia-feng asked Kim Hae San, a doctor of Korean medicine in Wujiazi, to recommend someone capable of writing the indictment for him. Kim Hae San came to see me one day\and asked me if I knew how to write it. When we were engaged in underground activity, books on the composition of letters, funeral orations\and indictments had been available in China for students\and the public in general to use as reference.


Kim Hae San\and I were invited to a dinner at the landlord’s house. The host explained at length that he was seeking judgement over a land dispute. I wrote an indictment in Chinese for him\and went with him to the county town\where I helped him behind the scenes to win the case. Had it not been for my assistance, he would have lost dozens of hectares of land. The landlord told me that I was a very good man, not a communist. Regarding me as his benefactor, he gave me unqualified support in everything I did. On holidays he never failed to invite me to dinner. There I met many influential people in China\and gave them anti -imperialist education. Thus my revolutionary activities, including the work of the Korean school at Wujiazi, became legitimate,\and the foothold for our revolutionary struggle began to be consolidated.


After winning over the village elders\and other influential people, we set about reforming the mass\organizations into revolutionary ones. First we restructured the Youth Association, making it the Anti-Imperialist Youth League. It had previously been under the nationalist influence. Thanks to the activities of the detachment of the Korean Revolutionary Army, the core members of the association had been educated. But the association itself was not yet completely free rom the remnants of nationalism. First of all, its fighting objective\and tasks were not clear. In addition, its membership was small\and it had no proper working method. It was an\organization that existed in name only, doing almost nothing to rally the young people. The Wujiazi area consisted of hamlets sprawling over distances of 4, 8\and even 24 kilometres away rom one another, but the association had no branches in those hamlets. This being the situation, the youth organization could neither strike root among the young people nor motivate them.


Some people insisted that we should reform the Youth Association into the AIYL right away. But it was premature to reform the existing\organization into a new one without taking into account the political\and ideological preparedness of the young people, they being still under nationalist influence\and still believing in the association.


The men of the KRA visited the nearby hamlets with cadres rom the association\and conducted ideological work for forming the AIYL. In the course of this our revolutionary line was propagated among the young people. I also had conversations with them every day.


After making such preparations we formed the Anti-Imperialist Youth League of Wujiazi in a classroom of Samsong School. The league established branches in the hamlets. Choe Il Chon was elected chairman of the league committee,\and Mun Jo Yang chief of the\organizational section.


Later the Association of Fellow Peasants was reformed into the Peasants\union, the Association of Schoolchildren into the Children’s Expeditionary Corps\and the Wujiazi branch of the Educational Federation of Korean Women in South Manchuria into the Women’s Association,\and thus a fresh upsurge was brought about in the activities of the mass\organizations in Wujiazi. After their restructuring the\organizations admitted many new members. Almost all the people living in Wujiazi became affiliated to an appropriate\organization\and led a political life.


We also restructured the village council, an autonomous administrative\organ, into a self-governing committee, a revolutionary one. The pioneers of Wujiazi had formed the village council in the first half of the 1920s. The council paid primary attention to economic\and educational affairs\and improving the peasants’ life by maintaining normal relations with the Chinese government authorities\and operating a rice sales agency at Gongzhuling\and similar agencies under it.


But the people of Wujiazi openly accused the councillors of having no popular spirit\and of being dishonest.

In the course of talking to the peasants I learned that the councillors were not distributing some foodstuffs\and daily necessities that had been purchased by the sales agency at Gongzhuling to the peasants equitably\and were disposing of them as they pleased out of their own selfish desires. I sent a man to Gongzhuling to ascertain whether this was true. On his return he told me that the village council was corrupt. He confirmed that the councillors were misappropriating money collected rom the peasants\and were feathering their own nests.


Because the village head was dealing with most of the affairs of the council by himself in a subjective\and arbitrary manner, the opinions of the masses were ignored. As they had no right to participate in the work of the council, the masses did not know about the mistakes made by it. Since the people, their life\and the way they worked were all in the process of being transformed, the village council could not work as the masses required with the existing\organizational structure\and conservative work method.


We called a consultative meeting attended by the cadres of the council, the chiefs of all the hamlets\and the chairmen of the\organizations of the Peasants\union,\and reviewed the work of the village council. At the meeting we restructured the council to form a self -governing committee. The committee eradicated subjectivism\and arbitrariness as we had intended\and gave full play to democracy in its work.

 

We paid particular attention to the rice sales agency at Gongzhuling which was under the control of the self-governing committee. The peasants of Wujiazi had previously had to take their rice as far as Gongzhuling 25 miles away on oxcarts\or horse carts to sell it. Normally it was good business to store it somewhere when the price of rice was low\and sell it when the price had risen. But there was no one for them at Gongzhuling to entrust with their rice. This being the case, they had sold it to anybody without waiting for a better price. Then, in the autumn of 1927, in\order to remedy the situation they installed a rice sales agency at Gongzhuling.


We appointed to the agency the most popular people rom among the members of the mass\organizations. We also sent Kye Yong Chun, Pak Kun Won\and Kim Won U, men of the KRA, to help the agency in its work. After we had taken over the agency it performed the secret mission of establishing contact with revolutionary\organizations\and providing the KRA with the information it needed in its activities while still fulfilling the function of a legal commercial\organ serving the peasants.


Our restructuring of the village council to form a self-governing committee\and our conversion of such a legal commercial\organ as the rice sales agency at Gongzhuling into a servant of the revolution were a great experience in our revolutionary struggle in the early 1930s.


In Wujiazi we sent political workers to many parts of Manchuria to expand our\organizations\and widen the scope of our activities. In those days we also sent several political workers to the Kailu area. Pak Kun Won, one of the first members of the DIU\and a former pupil of Hwasong Uisuk School, worked for some time in that area.

 

Many Mongolian people lived in the Kailu area. Cut off rom the civilized world, they did not know how to treat illnesses\and, when they were sick, they only prayed to God. So our comrades took medicines with them whenever they visited that area\and administered them to the sick, which were very effective. rom that time the people of Kailu treated Korean visitors with hospitality.


In\order to improve the political\and professional qualifications of those in charge of\organizations, we gave a short training course to the heads\and core members of every\organization. Cha Kwang Su, Kye Yong Chun\and I gave lectures for two\or three hours every night on the Juche line of revolution\and the strategic\and tactical policies adopted at the Kalun Meeting, as well as on how to conduct political work among the masses, how to expand\organizations\and consolidate them,\and how to educate the\organization members\and guide their life in their\organizations. After the short course we took the people into the field\and taught them working methods—how they should form\organizations, train core elements, give assignments\and review their fulfilment, conduct meetings, talk to individuals\and so on. Then the leading personnel of Wujiazi went boldly among the masses.


We put great efforts into enlightening\and educating the people of Wujiazi.

We paid primary attention to education. We appointed men of the KRA\and able young men rom among the members of the underground\organizations as teachers at Samsong School\and ensured that they played the leading role in improving the education provided by the school in a revolutionary manner. It was after we began to run the school that the subjects which inculcated nationalist\and feudal-Confucian ideas were discontinued\and political subjects were included in the curriculum.\and it was around this time that tuition fees were abolished at Samsong School. The upkeep of the school was financed by the self-governing committee. All the children of school age in Wujiazi were given free education rom that winter.


We later included an article on free\and compulsory education in the Ten-point Programme of the Association for the Restoration of the Fatherland, but in fact the communists of Korea first tried\and implemented free education in Guyushu, Kalun\and Wujiazi. Samsong School in Wujiazi, along with Jinmyong School in Kalun\and Samgwang School in Guyushu, was an important educational establishment, the first to introduce free education in our country.


We also ran night schools for the education of the grown-ups, particularly housewives, who could not go to school. I saw to it that night schools were\organized not only in the village but also in the surrounding hamlets,\and that all these people were enrolled in them.


Drawing on the experience we had gained in launching Bolshevik in Kalun, we published a magazine Nong-u in Wujiazi. The magazine played the role of the\organ of the Peasants\union. While Bolshevik was a little hard to understand, the articles in Nong-u were written in a concise\and plain fashion so that the peasants could understand them. This magazine, along with Bolshevik, was circulated as far as Jiandao.


In those days we propagated many revolutionary songs to the villagers through the pupils. If the Red Flag\and Revolutionary Song were taught at the school, they would spread throughout the village on the same day.


In Wujiazi we had formed an art troupe. This troupe was based at Samsong School\and worked successfully under the guidance of Kye Yong Chun. I worked hard to complete the libretto of The Flower Girl which I had begun to write in my days in Jilin\and then staged rehearsals for it. Once the libretto was finished, Kye started the production of the opera with the members of the drama group that had been formed at the school. We staged this opera in the hall of Samsong School on the 13th anniversary of the October Revolution. This opera was not seen on stage for many years after liberation,\and then was improved\and adapted for the screen, re -written as a novel by our writers\and artistes under the guidance of\organizational Secretary Kim Jong Il\and presented to the public in the early 1970s. At that time the\organizational Secretary did a lot of work.

With the strong support of the people of Wujiazi, we transformed the village on the Liaohe into a reliable operational base for the KRA in a short span of time. We had worked among the peasants in the outskirts of Jilin\and in the vicinity of Changchun, but we had never so thoroughly transformed a rural village into a revolutionary one as we did with Wujiazi.


Kim Kwang Ryol, a liaison officer of the Comintern, expressed his admiration for all the success we had achieved in Wujiazi.


Because we had put forward an\original revolutionary line\and were paving the road of revolution in an independent way, the Comintern showed great interest in us. It seems that the\oriental Department of the Comintern discussed us a lot at that time. They seemed to have been curious about the emergence in Korea of revolutionaries of a new generation who were quite different rom those of the previous generation\and who, while not affiliated with any faction, were working independently\and without fuss on a sound mass foundation. It must have been out of curiosity that the Comintern sent a liaison officer.

 

Kim Kwang Ryol, who had been at the liaison office in Harbin, came to Wujiazi\and talked to my comrades, the heads of the revolutionary\organizations\and the village elders. After talking to many people, he met me\and made many encouraging remarks concerning our work. He said that the young communists of Korea had been paving an\original road for the communist movement\and for the struggle for national liberation rom colonial domination,\and that in the course of this we had accumulated rich experience. He gave his full support to our revolutionary lines\and policies.


He expressed great surprise at our line of the anti-Japanese national united front. He said that a serious discussion about the definition of the supporters of,\and sympathizers with the revolution was being conducted in the international communist movement,\and asked me how he should understand our alliance with the bigoted nationalist forces, religious believers\and even the propertied class.


I said: “A revolution cannot be carried out by a small number of communists\or by workers\and poor peasants alone. In\order to defeat Japanese imperialism we have to enlist even middle-of-the-road forces. I don’t know about the situation in other countries, but in Korea most of the national capitalists\and religious believers are all opposed to foreign forces. Only a handful of landlords, comprador capitalists, pro-Japanese elements\and traitors to the nation are against the revolution. We intend to mobilize all the rest of the people in a nationwide resistance. The key to liberating Korea through the efforts of the Korean people is to win all the anti-Japanese forces over to our side.”


After hearing my explanation he said, “I am most gratified with the\original way you are dealing with everything, without being restrained by the classics.” Then he advised me to study in Moscow, saying, “The practical struggle is important, but since you are a promising young man, you should study.”


Then he produced a suitcase containing a suit, a shirt, a tie\and a pair of shoes,\and told me that it would be a good idea for me to comply with his request because the Comintern was expecting a great deal rom me. He had probably been to the Comintern\and come to me with instructions to persuade me to go to Moscow.


I answered, “I am very grateful to you for your interest in me, but I intend to go to east Manchuria, to the masses. If I go to the Soviet\union\and eat Russian bread, I may become a pro-Russian, which I do not want. There are many factions in Korea such as the M-L group, the Tuesday group, the Seoul group15\and others which I find distasteful. I cannot be the same. I shall learn Marxism-Leninism rom my books.”


Cha Kwang Su, Pak So Sim\and other comrades, too, had once advised me in Toroju to go to Moscow, after preparing daily necessities needed in my studying abroad.


Later in December that year I called a meeting of the leading personnel of the KRA\and heads of the revolutionary\organizations in Wujiazi. The meeting was to review the experiences\and lessons gained in the struggle to implement the tasks put forward at the Kalun Meeting\and to expand\and develop the revolutionary movement as required by the prevailing situation.


Militarist Japan, resorting to the force of arms, had spurred up her preparations for war to seize new colonies\and expand her territory by mobilizing all her strength. She ruthlessly destroyed anything she found standing in her way.


We were planning to go to east Manchuria, anticipating Japan’s invasion of Manchuria,\and to entrench ourselves there to fight against the invasion. In\order to go to east Manchuria we had to review our activities in the central part of Manchuria\and take the necessary measures for preparing for an armed struggle,\and the Wujiazi Meeting was convened for this purpose.


All the core members of the KRA\and heads of the revolutionary\organizations attended the meeting. Chae Su Hang\and many other heads of revolutionary\organizations came to Wujiazi rom the Jiandao, Onsong\and Jongsong areas, braving the severe cold of 30 degrees below zero. Many young revolutionaries, who had not known one another, became acquainted, exchanged opinions\and conducted a serious discussion on the future of the Korean revolution.


The focus of the debate at the meeting was the matter of radically strengthening our activities in east Manchuria. We were firmly resolved to move the main theatre of our activities to east Manchuria. This was a pressing need in view of the prevailing revolutionary situation. That was why I, though staying in Wujiazi, did not forget east Manchuria\and was waiting impatiently for the day when I could move there.


At the meeting I also proposed that the preparations for the anti-Japanese armed struggle be speeded up\and solidarity with the international revolutionary forces be strengthened.


The meeting fully displayed our determination to switch over rom the youth\and student movement\and rom the underground movement in the rural areas to an armed struggle\and a decisive offensive against the enemy. While the Kalun Meeting had crystallized the will of the Korean nation to defeat Japanese imperialism by force of arms\and liberate the country, the Wujiazi Meeting reaffirmed that will\and indicated a shortcut to the theatre of the great war against the Japanese.

 

This meeting served as a bridge between the meeting held in Kalun\and the meetings held in Mingyuegou in the spring\and winter of 1931\and the meeting held in Songjiang in the same year, meetings which led us young communists to the field of the decisive battle against the Japanese imperialists.


Our youth\and student movement finally developed to the stage of the armed struggle in the 1930s. Wujiazi played the role of a springboard, so to speak.


When I was leaving Wujiazi, Mun Jo Yang followed me for 4 kilometres to see me off, with tears in his eyes.


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