With the rapid dissemination of Marxist-Leninist ideas through the activities of the members of the DIU\and secret reading circles a qualitative change began to take place in the thinking of the young people\and students. The progressive ideas gradually made them understand the tasks set before them by history\and the nation.
We united the young people\and students into various\organizations, while continuing to awaken them ideologically. Only through\organizations was it possible to disseminate Marxist-Leninist ideas wider\and train hardcore forces more rapidly.
I started my revolutionary activities in the youth\and student movement. I attached great importance to this movement partly because I was a student\and particularly because it played an important role in\and had an important influence on awakening\and\organizing workers, farmers\and other broad sections of the masses.
In Marxist-Leninist theory the youth\and student movement is likened to a bridge. In other words, the youth\and student movement is a bridge for the dissemination of progressive ideas, the enlightening\and awakening of the masses\and the encouragement of them to join the revolutionary movement. We supported this theory.
With the revolution progressing\and getting into its stride our view on\and attitude towards the role of the young people\and students changed radically. We defined the young people\and students as constituting the fully -fledged main force of the revolution, thus breaking awayrom the old viewpoint according to which the motive force of the revolution had been defined with the main emphasis on the workers\and peasants. This is proved to be correct by the course of the youth\and student movement.
Young people\and students fought bravely in the van of the March First Popular Uprising, the June 10th Independence Movement, the student incident in Kwangju17\and other historic events which constituted the peaks of the anti-Japanese patriotic struggle in our country before liberation. We opened a new history of the communist movement on the strength of the youth\and waged the 15-year- long anti-Japanese armed struggle with young people\and students as the backbone. Today, too, young people\and students are fulfilling the role of the shock brigade in our revolution.
Young people\and students are the main force of the revolution in south Korea, too. Young people\and students played an important role in triggering off the April 19 Uprising18, the leading role in the people’s resistance in Kwangju (1980)19\and were standard -bearers in the June Resistance which overthrew the political regime of the “Fifth Republic.”
As is well known, young people\and students were the vanguard of the May 4 Movement which the Chinese people regard as the starting-point of their new democratic movement.
The long\and rich history of the struggle of the Korean people in which they constantly accumulated new experience, clearing an untrodden path for mankind, has proved that the old theory which did not regard students even as a social stratum does not conform with the actual situation in our country.
The problem with our youth\and student movement up to the first half of the 1920s was that it did not stand firmly by the class\and anti -imperialist view\and was not rooted deep in the masses. Most of the top level of the movement were intellectuals,\and the main force of the movement attached too much importance to the enlightenment movement.
We made every possible effort to take a resolute first step while strictly guarding against any repetition of the shortcomings revealed in the youth\and student movement previously.
But the formation of the\organization\and the enlisting of young people\and students in it came up against complex problems. Our greatest difficulty in\organizing the young people\and students was deciding what method\and form to adopt in founding an\organization, in view of the fact that youth\organizations formed by the nationalists\and factionalists already existed. In Jilin there were already the Jilin Youth Association, the Ryogil Association of Korean Students in Jilin, the Children’s Association\and other\organizations.
If these\organizations had not existed, new\organizations could have been formed without hindrance, like building houses on an empty site. But various\organizations had already been formed\and were working among the young people\and students,\and they could not be ignored.
After serious discussion we decided to ignore\or renovate the\organizations which existed only in name\and were not active\and leave the\organizations which were active, though uninspiring, as they were,\and use\and reform them in the future.
The Association of Korean Children in Jilin was the first\organization we formed there. At that time there was the Children’s Association that had been formed by the nationalists in Jilin but it was an\organization in name only\and the Korean children in Jilin knew nothing of its existence. We formed the Association of Korean Children in Jilin, a legal\organization, in April 1927 at Son Jong Do’s chapel.
I, together with Kim Won U\and Pak Il Pha (Pak U Chon), presided over the meeting. At the meeting it was decided to set up\organizational, propaganda,\and sports\and leisure sections within the association\and to establish branches in schools\and regions.
Hwang Kwi Hon, who attended Jilin Girls’ Normal School\and was then in charge of the propaganda section of the Children’s Association, remembers this well.
The Children’s Association embraced all the Korean children in Jilin, including the children of workers, peasants\and small\and medium manufacturers\and merchants, as well as of nationalists. The aim of the Association of Korean Children in Jilin was to educate children in the anti-Japanese idea\and bring them up to be reliable reserves for the revolution.
In its programme the Children’s Association made one important task for its members to be to study the new progressive ideas\and explain\and propagate them to the broad sections of the people.
In May that year we reformed the Ryogil Association of Korean Students in Jilin into the Ryugil Association of Korean Students in Jilin.
The Ryogil Association of Korean Students in Jilin had no small number of members\and a certain influence.
Originally it had been formed to promote friendship among Korean students in Jilin\and had been aided by the nationalists. Son Jong Do was one of its advisers.
When we proposed to reform the Ryogil Association of Korean Students in Jilin into the Ryugil Association of Korean Students in Jilin, some people suggested that it be disbanded, criticizing it as a fraternity\organization directed mainly by the nationalists. They alleged that, as the\organization was based on nationalism\and heterogeneity, whatever might be done to it, it would still remain nationalist. The essence of their argument was that nationalism was an outdated trend\and should be done away with.
In those days there was intense rivalry in winning over the masses. The communists\and the nationalists, being in opposition to each other, vied to draw the masses to their side, while even within the same communist movement factions tried hard to attract the masses. If one day the Seoul group seized the leadership of the Young Communist League of Korea, the next day the Tuesday group would form the Hanyang Youth Association in opposition to it,\and if the following day the Tuesday group formed the General Association of Workers\and Peasants in Korea, the Seoul group in its turn would form the Kyongsong Association of Workers\and Peasants to counter it,\and this became the fashion. Factionalists even vied with one another in forming terrorist bands so as to contain other groups.
But we, the communists of the new generation, could not follow in their steps. If we had ignored the Ryogil Association of Korean Students in Jilin the way the factionalists did\and formed another youth\organization, it would have complicated our relations with the nationalists\and disrupted the ranks of young people\and students. The result would have been unwelcome\and harmful in every respect.
We proposed to join the Ryogil Association of Korean Students in Jilin\and gradually reform itrom a pure fraternity\organization into a revolutionary one, while continuing to preserve its status. I, a communist, became its honorary chairman, but as I acted under the patronage of the nationalists, I drew little attentionrom the Chinese warlord authorities. While leading the Ryogil Association of Korean Students in Jilin, I reformed it into the Ryugil Association of Korean Students in Jilin.
The Ryugil Association of Korean Students in Jilin, on the surface, professed itself to be an\organization for promoting friendship among Korean young people\and students but, in fact, it acted as a revolutionary youth\and student\organization for implementing the ideas of the DIU. The change in the name of the Ryogil Association of Korean Students in Jilin\and the reformation of itrom a fraternity\organization into a revolutionary one were a great experience for us in the youth\and student movement.
Influenced by the activities of the\organizations we formed the tide in Jilin began to turn.
The daily routine of the young people\and students changed beyond recognition. The young people\and children within the Children’s Association\and the Ryugil Association of Korean Students in Jilin met by districts every morning. On Sundays all members used to go to Beishan Park in a column, march through the streets singing\or hold an athletics meeting in the playground at the foot of Beishan Park.
In working among the young people\and children, we applied different forms\and methods to suit their tastes\and ideological levels.
There were many children of Christians among the pupils in the Children’s Association. They believed that God existed under the religious influence of their parents. However hard we explained to them that there was no God\and that it was absurd to believe in one, it was useless because they were under such strong influence of their parents.
One day I asked a woman teacher at a Korean primary school under our influence to take the pupils who believed in God to church for a service.
She took them to church\and made them pray all day as I had said; “Almighty God, we are hungry, please send some rice-cakes\and bread for us.” But they received no rice- cakes\or bread\and still felt hungry. Then I asked the teacher to take them to the wheat field after the harvest\and glean the grain. She did as I had said\and they gleaned many ears of wheat. She threshed them\and made some bread which she shared out among the pupils. While eating it, the pupils learned that it was better to earn bread by working than by praying to God for it.
This simple instance demonstrated how the thinking of the young people\and children was remoulded\and old conventions were abandoned.
In dissuading the childrenrom going to church\and constantly educating them so that they would not fall a prey to superstition, our aim was not to do away with religion itself. We wanted to prevent themrom becoming weak-minded\and enervated\and so useless to the revolution if they were to fall a prey to religion\and hold the Christian creed supreme. There is no law preventing religious believersrom making the revolution, but young people\and schoolchildren who lacked a scientific understanding of the world could be adversely affected by non-resistance advocated by religion.
In Jilin I saw members of the Children’s Association singing psalms in the street. That was how great was the influence exerted by religion on the children. But singing psalms would not block the enemy’s gun muzzle. We needed fighters who sang of decisive battles more than religious believers who sang psalms.
So we disseminated many revolutionary songs among the children. Soon the members of the Children’s Association who had been singing psalms in the street marched through the streets singing the Song of a Young Patriot\and the Song of the Association of Korean Children in Jilin.
I still remember the short course in Korean arranged in that summer holidayrom among our activities after the birth of the Association of Korean Children in Jilin\and the Ryugil Association of Korean Students in Jilin. We saw to it that the short course was attended by all the Korean children at Chinese primary schools\and other Korean children who did not know their mother tongue. Most of them were born in Manchuria. They spoke Chinese better than Korean.
We proclaimed, “Koreans must know about Korea!” Kye Yong Chun, Kim Won U\and Pak So Sim each gave lectures. Until then we had no qualified teacher. All the hardcore members of the\organization were teachers\and lecturers. The children who attended the 20-day course could all read children’s magazines after finishing the course.
The Children’s Association\and the Association of Korean Students arranged an excursion to Mt. Lungtan, a picnic in Jiangnan Park, visits to sites of historical interest, public lectures, discussions, study sessions, debating contests, readers’ meetings, singing lessons, art performances\and other extracurricular activities.
In most cases we used Jiangnan Park\and Beishan Park for our secret rendezvous. Jiangnan Park was situated on a beautiful islet in the River Songhua, reminiscent of Rungna Islet. Some capitalists in Jilin had created a beautiful landscape there, like a botanical garden, by planting many trees; they earned money by charging for admission. They even grew peanuts in one empty place. In this park we often held secret meetings, in the guise of picnics.
Beishan Park was a more ideal rendezvous point than Jiangnan Park. Beishan Park could be used in all seasons,\whereas Jiangnan Park was mainly used in summer when it was covered with greenery. Bei-shan Park was usually full of the people of Jilin, so there were many public service facilities in\and around Beishan Park. The street running up to Beishan Park was lined on either side with restaurants, sweet shops, toyshops, tobacconists, general stores, tea houses\and places of amusement. There was also a big shop which specialized in Western goods.
People used to swarm to Beishan Park, attracted not only by the fine scenery there but also by the many sites of historical interest such as Yaowang Shrine (a place for worship to the God of Medicine)\where sacrificial rites were performed.
In Jilin the three days of June 4 to 6 were fixed as a time for a festival at the shrine\and every year during the festival under the auspices of the provincial government an official function was held in Beishan Park in honour of the birthday of the God of Medicine. The function was attended not only by\ordinary people but also by local officials. The three days of the festival were a holiday.
When the festival was being celebrated the police authorities set up a temporary branch station on the east side of the road up to Beishan Park\where they installed a telephone,\and they stationed police squads on the hill to maintain public\order\and keep a constant watch\and supervision so that sparks given off by the sticks of incense burning at the shrines of Yaowang, Guandi\and Niangnian would not cause a fire. During the three days of the festival cabmen\and rickshaw-men earned ten times more money than at\ordinary times.
While the merchants were concerned only with making money, taking over the three days of the festival, the influential figures\and far-sighted people of the town conducted social education designed to enlighten people, advertising popular short courses sponsored by the province.
Enlightenment championsrom different professions comingrom various places, brandishing their fists, delivered fervent speeches on patriotism, morals, the defence of law, aesthetics, unemployment, physical culture, hygiene\and other subjects. This was a splendid spectacle, the like of which could not be seen elsewhere.
Taking advantage of the crowd we, too, sought out the masses\and implanted progressive ideas in their minds; at times we held secret meetings. The basement of the Yaowang Shrine was a marvellous meeting place used exclusively by us. The priest of the temple had been won over to our side.
While attending school in Jilin, I gave lectures on many occasions. At times I delivered speeches at discussion meetings arranged by the nationalists. O Tong Jin, Ri Thak\and other leaders of Jongui- bu often gathered together their fellow countrymen\and the young people\and students of the town\and held lecture\and discussion meetings for them on National Humiliation Day (August 29), March first\and Tangun’s birthday (October 3).
Members of the Ryugil Association of Korean Students in Jilin often argued whether Ri Jun’s method was right\or An Jung Gun’s method was right. However much they argued, they could not reach a decision. So, in the summer of the year when the Ryogil Association of Korean Students in Jilin was reformed into the Ryugil Association of Korean Students in Jilin we submitted the question to debate, gathering together all the Korean students of the town at Son Jong Do’s chapel. The discussion served to awaken the younger people of Jilin ideologically. Firstly they realized that the terrorist method did not serve the proper purpose\and that a petition, even less so. They learned that it was a daydream to expect helprom great powers\and unanimously deemed it necessary to explore a new path for the independence of Korea.
At the symposiums\and readers’ meetings held in Jilin in those days questions relating to practical aspects of the Korean revolution were often discussed.
We fixed the first Sunday of May for Children’s Association Day\and created an atmosphere of unity by holding an athletics meeting attended by the Korean young people\and students, their parents, influential figures\and independence champions in Jilin on that day every year.
By uniting the children in this way we ensured that they took part in the work of educating\and enlightening the people. Even the members of the Children’s Association who were only ten years old went out to Jiangdong, Liudamen, Xinantun, Dahuanggou\and other rural villages nearby in their holidays\and enlightened the peasants there, while helping them in their work. It was a valuable achievement\and a great experience for us to have made the children who had been breathing one hundred kinds of breath share the same breath,\and this in Jilin\where the factional strife was rife.
With the activities of the Association of Korean Children in Jilin, the Ryugil Association of Korean Students in Jilin\and Marxist-Leninist reading circles proceeding briskly, a revolutionary forcerom the new generation grew rapidly in the Jilin area with the members of the DIU as its backbone.
Recognizing this, the Japanese consul general resident in Jilin turned his attention to our activities. Alarmed at the appearance of a new revolutionary force in the Jilin area\and its rapid expansion, the consul general warned in his official report to the foreign minister of Japan that it was deserving of special attention since it was well\organized\and was likely to grow stronger in the future.
More than the factions of the Korean Communist Party which was disunited\and disrupted\and the nationalist force whose practical ability\and ability to penetrate the masses were weak, the Japanese imperialists feared us who had broken with factional strife and were clearing an\original revolutionary path, penetrating the masses deeply.
The news that a new movement had been launched in Jilin spread not only to different parts of Manchuria but also to the homeland\and to China proper. The news was spread mainly by the students studying at schools in Jilin\and their parents.
Many young people flocked to Jilinrom the homeland, Japan, the Maritime Province of Siberia\and Manchuria to join our movement. We were visited by all sorts of young peoplerom different backgrounds with different political opinions comingrom different groups such as young peoplerom the Independence Army, those who had been studying under adversity in Japan, those who had fought the white party, those who had taken part in the revolt in Guangzhou after graduatingrom the Huangpu Military Academy, those who had been evading pursuit by the Kuomintang reactionaries,\and followers of Lenin, Sun Yat-sen\and Rousseau. In this period Kim Hyok, Cha Kwang Su, Kim Jun, Chae Su Hang, An Pung\and others joined us.
We admitted them to the DIU after educating them\and extended our\organization to the various schools in the town.
In the course of this we came to believe that it was necessary to create an\organization which was bigger than the DIU\and capable of embracing more people. Out of this necessity we reformed the DIU into the Anti-Imperialist Youth League (AIYL) on August 27, 1927\and the next day formed the Young Communist League of Korea (YCLK)rom the core elements of the DIU. The AIYL was
a mass illegal youth\organization which was anti-imperialist\and took over the aims\and programme of the DIU. It was basically composed of young Korean people but we also allowed young Chinese people with a strong anti-imperialist stand to join.
The AIYL made a great contribution to rallying the anti-imperialist young people into the revolutionary ranks\and to strengthening the mass foundation of the anti-Japanese struggle.
The\organization spread to all the schools attended by Koreans in the town including Wenguang Middle School, Jilin Middle School No. 1, Jilin Middle School No. 5, Jilin Normal School, Jilin Girls’ Middle School\and Jilin Law College\and struck root in Jiangdong, Xinantun\and other rural areas around Jilin\and in Liuhe County, Huadian County\and Xingjing County. It spread to every place\where there were Korean young people.
Soon the AIYL began to issue propaganda with the help of a mimeograph.
On Saturdays we used to go out to the rural villages nearby immediately after school to rally more young people. Leaving after school on Saturday, we returned home on Sunday afternoon after doing our work.
We reorganized the DIU into the AIYL\and, following it, founded the YCLK because, since various\organizations embracing young people\and students in the Jilin\and Fusong areas had been formed in a little over six months, an\organization capable of leading these\organizations in a unified manner was badly needed.
The formation of a new vanguard\organization for the young people was a necessity for the development of the youth movement in those days.
As I had connections with all of these\organizations, connections among them used to be established through my activities. In the case of Choe Chang Gol, Kim Won U\and Kye Yong Chun, they had a hand in youth\and student\organizations as individual young communists.
The formation of a new vanguard\organization was also an urgent need in the light of the prevailing situation.
At that time the Japanese imperialists were hastening their invasion of Manchuria. They ran wild to suppress the anti- Japanese feelings of the Korean\and Chinese peoples, in collusion with the reactionary warlords in Manchuria, while intensifying their oppression of the Korean people.
The Korean youth rose in a widespread struggle against the Japanese imperialists\and the reactionary Chinese warlords. This required a powerful vanguard\organization to rally the young people\and students\organizationally, to control them in a unified manner\and to lead their struggle.
Because the youth movement was on the road to disruption due to the strife for hegemony among the bigoted nationalists\and factionalists the communists of the new generation were faced with the urgent task of forming a vanguard\organization to save the young peoplerom the danger of becoming disunited\and guide them to unity\and cohesion.
In northeast China at the time the Korean Young Communist Association of Manchuria was formed as an underground youth\organization\and such overt youth\organizations were founded as the General Federation of Korean Youth in South Manchuria, the General Federation of Korean Youth in North Manchuria, the General Federation of Korean Youth in East Manchuria, the Jilin Youth League, the Kilhoe Youth League\and the Samgakju Youth League.
The factionalists of different hues tried to draw these youth\organizations to their side,\and the nationalists of different factions vied with one another to stretch their hand out to these\organizations with the result that the members of these\organizations were not clear whether their\organization was a communist one\or a nationalist one. So the young people\and students were divided into different groups. Some students were under the influence of the M-L group\and others, under the influence of the Tuesday group. As for the sons\and daughters of the nationalists they sided with Jongui-bu, Chamui-bu\or Sinmin-bu according to which\organization their fathers belonged to\and, further, were divided into a conservative group\and a progressive one. As the young people\and students had different opinions\and belonged to different\organizations, they were always at loggerheads with one another.
There was a need for a new vanguard\organization to put the disrupted youth movement on the right track, remove young peoplerom under the influence of the nationalist forces\and factionalists\and lead them along the true path of the communist revolution.
Frankly speaking, if the Korean Communist Party had played its part reasonably well, we would have been spared the trouble. There existed a party with communist ideas\and many youth\organizations, but they were of no benefit to us at all. This was a matter of regret\and annoyance.
The Korean revolution was faced by many complex problems due to its specific character. It was beset with manifold difficulties\and bottlenecks.
Complex problems constantly arose in our relations with the factionalists, nationalists, the Chinese people\and the Comintern. On top of that, the Korean communists active in Manchuria were threatened by both the Japanese imperialists\and the Chinese reactionary warlords.
In the light of this situation, the effective leadership of the revolution required a seasoned leadership core capable of countering it\and a correct guiding theory.
Many fine young communists developed in the course of the struggle to implement the ideas of the DIU. A new type of young communist immune to factional strife, flunkeyism\and the lust for power\and untainted by the past developed into genuine core elements capable of leading our youth movement\and communist movement along a new path.
We acquired a guiding theory for the Korean revolution in the course of studying the new trends in Huadian\and Jilin\and paving the way for the struggle in the DIU.
Having decided to found the Young Communist League as a vanguard\organization with a guiding theory, I set about to draw up a programme\and rules for it.
Its programme emphasized that the Young Communist League should be guided by a theory that was bound up closely with the practice of the Korean revolution\and should fully repudiate factionalism.
With these preparations as our basis, we held a meeting to found the Young Communist League of Korea (YCLK) beneath the Yaowang Shrine in Beishan Park on August 28, 1927.
The meeting was attended by Choe Chang Gol, Kim Won U, Kye Yong Chun, Kim Hyok, Cha Kwang Su, Ho Ryul, Pak So Sim, Pak Kun Won, Han Yong Ae, core elements of the AIYL\and other young communists.
I delivered a report, which was published in pamphlet form. That day we sang the Internationale side by side as we had
done when founding the DIU.
The YCLK was an underground youth\organization fighting against imperialism\and for national liberation\and communism,\and which was formed by seasoned\and tempered young peoplerom different revolutionary\organizations, the core elements of the AIYL forming its backbone.
The YCLK, the advance detachment of the Korean young communists, was the vanguard of the various mass\organizations.
After founding the YCLK, we paid special attention to ensuring the purity of its ranks\and strengthening their\organizational\and ideological unity\and cohesion. If we had not done so it would have been impossible to maintain its existence because of the manoeuvres of the military\and civil police\and the frantic subversive activities of the reactionaries\and factionalists.
The YCLK attached great importance to the ideological education of its members\and ensured that they made great efforts to study so as to raise their political, theoretical\and leadership levels. They conducted serious study sessions\and discussions on imperialism, colonies\and national problems, as well as the immediate fighting tasks of the Korean revolution.
We attached importance to the\organizational life of its members. In those days the YCLK held meetings for examining the conduct of its members once a month\and reviewed their life. The members of the YCLK were tempered through their\organizational life\and it grew into a collective with a strong\organization\and rigid discipline.
We constantly tempered the members through practical activity, giving them a variety of assignments such as to lead lower\organizations, enlighten young people, students\and other people\and make the rural villages revolutionary.
We constantly replenished the YCLK ranks with fine young people tempered in revolutionary\organizations. As a result, the YCLK rapidly spread not only in\and around Jilin but also to wide areas of Manchuria including Dunhua, Xingjing, Huadian, Fusong, Antu, Panshi, Changchun, Harbin,\and to Korea including its northern part. The YCLK played the vanguard role in the Korean revolution. It is common knowledge that in the communist movement the party assumes the leadership of the mass\organizations. But in our country the party was not playing its proper role, so the YCLK had to guide the\organizations of workers, peasants\and women, as well as of young people\and students, taking upon itself the work devolving on the party.
After founding the YCLK, we went among the masses quietly\and without a fuss. It is enough to do things for the revolution\and the people whether others recognize it\or not. This was our view\and attitude. When others went about, claiming to be legitimate out of a desire for hegemony, the young communists of the new generation advanced along the path of revolution step by step, shunning vanity.
The YCLK played a glorious role in promoting the\organizational unity of young people, training hardcore elements\and strengthening the internal forces of our revolution. The founding of the YCLK was a great impetus to the work of the young communists to found a new type of party\and played a pivotal role in expediting it. Most of the members of the first party\organization formed in the summer of 1930 were vanguard young fighters trained through the YCLK.
Recently we have fixed August 28, the day of the foundation of the YCLK, as youth day.