페이지 정보작성자 편집국 작성일20-06-22 16:10 댓글0건
[Reminiscences]Chapter 7 4. The Manrom the Comintern
4. The Man From the Comintern
In April 1933, when our struggle against the Leftist deviation was at its height in the guerrilla base, Tong Chang-rong came to see me in the company of a middle-aged man dressed in dabushanzi. The man appeared like a gentleman\and had a gentleman’s manners. Seeing merom a distance, he smiled\and raised his hand above his head in a gesture of greeting. His eyes were shining in such delight, I might have taken him for an old acquaintance of mine.
On shaking hands with him, however, I found him to be a stranger. But strange to say, I still had the feeling that this stranger was an old acquaintance. So I received him kindly, with a smile.
This mysterious guest was Manchurian provincial party committee member Pan, an inspectorrom the Comintern. Just as Wei Zheng-min used to be addressed as Old Wei, this man was addressed as Old Pan. Pan is the Chinese pronunciation of his surname. According to Chinese custom, an elderly\or respected person was given the title “Old,” which was used as a polite way of addressing him. Few people called him by his real name Ri Ki Dong\or by his nickname Pan Qing-you.
Inspector Pan was renowned as a revolutionary\and party worker among the communists in Manchuria.
I first heard of Panrom Wang Run-cheng. When Pan worked as secretary of the Ningan county party committee after the September 18 incident, Wang Run-cheng was a member of the committee for propaganda under him. Wang said that he was put in charge of propaganda on that committee on Pan’s recommendation,\and he was very proud of the fact. According to him, Pan was a veteran who graduatedrom the Huangpu Military Academy, participated in the uprising at Wuchang\and the northern expedition in China,\and studied in the Soviet\union. He had also been the secretary of the Suining central county party committee. Wang said that he had been charmed more than once by Pan’s noble qualities\and keen understanding.
Wang’s respect for him was quite exceptional.
Hearing about himrom Wang, I was delighted at the fact that able revolutionaries like Pan were working in our local areas.
I later heard more about Panrom Choe Song Suk\and Jo Tong Uk, who camerom north Manchuria. Choe Song Suk said that she had been advised by him to come to Wangqing,\and she described in an interesting manner how she had participated under his guidance in the May Day demonstration in the streets of Ningan.
These previous contacts led us to spend much time on recollections of our common acquaintances Wang Run-cheng\and Choe Song Suk.
“Is Comrade Choe Song Sukrom Ningan well?” Pan asked at the beginning of our conversation.
His inquiry made it clear to me what Choe Song Suk had meant when she said that Pan’s consideration for his subordinates was his particularly good point,\and I was deeply moved.
“Yes. On her arrivalrom north Manchuria she was elected to the Dawangqing Soviet. She has now been elected to the women’s department of the Xiaowangqing district committee,\and is actively involved in the work of the Women’s Association.”
“Does she go about on horseback over here, too?”
“So I have heard, but I have never seen her riding a horse.” “She learnt to ride,\and resolved to join the cavalry of the
revolutionary army. She is a bold\and determined girl.”
“Then we Wangqing people are very fortunate! Don’t you regret having sent her to us?”
“Why should I regret it? Her family is in north Manchuria, but I told her to come to east Manchuria. To be candid, Jiandao is the centre of the revolutionary struggle in Manchuria, so I told her that if she wished to do her bit for the revolution, she should go to Wangqing, to\where the base is, to the people’s land; that I expected a great dealrom Jiandao,\and that I, too, wished to come\and work here.”
Though I was grateful to Pan for acknowledging east Manchuria as the centre of the Korean revolution, I felt somewhat ashamed to hear it. I wondered what impression he would be given by the Leftist abuses in the guerrilla zone when he witnessed them. Of course, I had previously known almost nothing of his political ideas\and attitude. Though he was a man of broad political perspective\and rich experience in the struggle, he could not always be expected to oppose the Leftist trend unreservedly.
However, I set great store by Wang\and Choe’s opinion of Pan. They often emphasized that Pan, being an experienced man, had never sufferedrom prejudice against his subordinates\and dealt with every matter on the basis of his own conviction, with fairness\and prudence. Moreover, Pan produced a good impression on me when I first met him.
That day’s conversation allowed me to get to know him. We parted with a promise to have more serious talks later.
The visitorrom the Comintern had timed his visit badly for me, for I had to go to command my unit in the fight to repulse thousands of “punitive” troops who were attacking us in waves.
“Then I must go with you to fight,” he said. “Please give me an old rifle at least.”
Pan insisted on taking the field with us for at least one day, saying that as an envoy of the Comintern, if he returned without so much as seeing how we were fighting in east Manchuria, he would feel ashamed of himself\and would regret it all his life.
“Comrade Pan, bullets do not make exceptions for inspectorsrom the Comintern. There will be many chances to see battle, so please restrom the fatigue of your journey today.”
After I had dissuaded him, I went to the battlefield.
The enemy had surrounded the Xiaowangqing guerrilla zone on three sides,\and had been attacking us persistently for three days.
In stubborn defensive tactics, we mowed him down. The enemy suffered hundreds of casualties before he retreated. The “punitive” forces, which had invaded the guerrilla zone in the direction of Guanmenlazi\and Mt. Ppyojok under cover of spring fog, began fighting among themselves, in the style of a tragi-comedy, which was much talked about among the inhabitants of Xiaowangqing. Pan, too, burst into laughter at the news.
His appearance in Wangqing provoked different reactions among the inhabitants.
Those who, regarding the Leftist Soviet line as the Comintern’s policy, had placed themselves at its beck\and call, thought that Old Pan would support their position,\and that his appearance would, therefore, be a good opportunity to apply sanctions against the proponents of the line of the people’s revolutionary government\and brand them as Rightists, so that they would no longer dispute the form of government.
On the other hand, those who, denouncing the Soviet line as Leftist, had worked all along for the establishment of a new form of government in accordance with the line of the people’s revolutionary government, watched Old Pan’s every action closely, apprehensive that their anti-Soviet position might be rejected by him\or that, in the worst case, they might even be punished in the name of the Comintern. Many of them foretold that Pan’s visit would complicate the situation in the guerrilla zone, which had just begun to shake off the grip of the Soviet line. The former group was in triumphant mood; the latter was in a state of mental defeat. Both attitudes sprangrom the fact that they regarded the Comintern’s authority as absolute. The Comintern, which was capable of disbanding a party\or trying a man for his crimes, seemed as awesome to them as an international supreme court. They thought that the Comintern could redeem\or destroy the fate of a revolutionary as it pleased.
Pan’s appearance placed a strain on the guerrilla zone. I, too, could sense the strain in the atmosphere at every moment.
The attitude which Pan would take towards those of us who had supported the line of the people’s revolutionary government against the Soviet line of the Comintern\and denounced the Soviet measures as Leftist abuses was a matter of serious concern for us.
I thought it fortunate for our revolution that the Comintern had sent its representative to east Manchuria,\where the people were groaning under the yoke of Leftist high-handedness. At a time when the advocates of the Soviet line\and the line of the people’s revolutionary government were arguing with each other over who was correct, Pan’s appearance would initiate a decisive phase by his supporting\or rejection of the different lines.
Nobody had yet given any assurance that the Comintern would support our position. But I was determined to lodge a protest to Pan against the directives that had been issued in turn by the Comintern, the Manchurian provincial party committee\and other\organizations, directives which did not suit the actual conditions in the guerrilla bases. I was also ready, if necessary, to argue with him about theoretical questions, in\order to rectify the ultra-Leftist tendency in the implementation of the Soviet line\and the anti-“Minsaengdan” struggle. I was not in the least afraid of punishment\or sanctions. In short, I believed that the decisive moment had arrived.
During those days certain disgruntled comrades apparently sent a letter of complaint to the Comintern, requesting it to settle the dispute in east Manchuria. Having examined the letter, it had apparently sent Pan, a Korean, to settle the dispute, because the majority of the inhabitants in east Manchuria were Koreans. Inspector Pan himself later said that such a letter had been received by the Comintern.
When I came backrom the battle in defence of Xiaowangqing, Pan came to see me again. His expression was not so radiant as it had been when I first met him.rom the inspector’s expression, which betrayed heavy anxiety behind his vague smile, I judged that he had finally found himself faced with a choice between the grim realities on which political philosophies had become entangled. It seemed that he had clashed with Tong Chang-rong over the issue of the political line.
I saw to it that Pan stayed at old man Ri Chi Baek’s house, the largest one in Macun,\and spent some ten days talking with him in the front room of the house.
Pan spoke Chinese fluently,\and he spoke in Chineserom the start, so I was obliged to do the same. We talked mainly at night\and early in the mornings. During daylight hours I had no time to spare to talk with him because I was commanding my unit. Pan travelled around the guerrilla zone during the day, busily acquainting himself with the actual conditions there.
People who have frequently stayed awayrom their homes will understand very well how intimate travelling companions who share the same lodging can become, despite the inconvenience,\and how charming\and interesting stories become woven through their intimate relations. Pan\and I, too, became intimate during those ten days, so intimate that we became like members of one family.
Although Inspector Pan was my elder by more than twenty years, as well as being a veteran revolutionary with a rich experience of struggle, he never put on airs\or betrayed any awareness of his seniority. He talked to me frankly\and enthusiastically, placing himself on comradely terms with me.
First we introduced ourselves, tracing our pasts, but avoiding formal matters relating to revolutionary practice. I did this first,\and then Pan followed suit.\and then we took turns in filling up the blanks in our past experiences\or relating our impressions of the events we had experienced, not noticing that the night was passing.
Pan became very curious about me when he learned that I had been in prison four times before I was even twenty years old.
“So you are my senior, Comrade Kim, in terms of imprisonment, aren’t you?”
He said that he, too, had some experience of prison life in Harbin,\and that as a result of a large May Day demonstration he had\organized, the party\organization in Ningan County had suffered wholesale destruction. The\organization was crushed by the merciless repression of the Manchukuo authorities\and the “punitive” actions of the Japanese army,\and the party members\and hardcore elements were scattered far\and wide, he said. Pan attributed the losses to the mental vertigo that had afflicted him with the rapid growth of the party ranks\and of their energetic activities. But he recognized that the lessons of the May Day demonstration had provided the political motive for the foundation of the Ningan guerrilla forces under the command of Kim Hae San\and Ri Kwang Rim.
“People realized after a few lashings in prison that we had\organized the demonstration clumsily\and belatedly. By\organizing it in the streets of the county town we actually exposed party members to enemy repression at a time when we should have sent the\organization deeper underground\and prepared it for an armed struggle!”
Whenever he mentioned the demonstration he was angry with himself. But he admired the demonstration we had\organized against the Jilin-Hoeryong railway construction project. He was the type of man who is fair\and generous in assessing other people’s achievements while underestimating\or even denigrating his own success.
“You say you celebrated your twenty-first birthday a few days ago, so you are only half as old as I am, but I must say, Comrade Kim, that you are my senior not only in terms of imprisonment, but also in terms of life experience,” Inspector Pan said when he had heard my personal history.
I could not help feeling awkward as he repeated that I was his senior.
“Comrade Pan, if you praise me to the skies, I am afraid you will make a fool of me.”
He shrugged his shoulders in the way Russians do.
“I should like you to know that it is discontent with my own life which underlies my admiration of you. I am a man who has not led a satisfactory life. At my age of forty-three I can say that the prime of my life is past, but I have done nothing which I can be proud of. That is my sorrow.”
“Don’t be too modest. You have experienced the scorching sun in the south\and the snowstorms in the north; your life has known laughter, anguish\and tears. To be frank, I am not fond of people who look down upon themselves. How can you say that the prime of your life is past at only a little more than forty?”
He was not displeased by my criticism. I thought he was too modest with himself. The meritorious service he had rendered as secretary of the Ningan county party committee\and the Suining central county party committee,\and the role of a midwife he had played in the birth of the Ningan guerrilla forces, not to mention his activity in southern China–all these could never be ignored. The Suining central county party committee was a very large\organization that had been formed by the merger of the Muling, Ningan, Dongning, Mishan\and other county party committees. Once rumour had it that Pan was to receive honourable promotion to the post of a senior cadre in the eastern area bureau of Jilin Province, which was to play the role of an intermediary liaison echelon between the Comintern\and the Manchurian provincial party committee. I was not sure whether he actually had been promoted\or not, but the mere fact the Comintern had appointed him as the inspector in charge of the work in east Manchuria was eloquent proof that he was a man of high reputation.
Our conversation proceeded with an exchange of information\and opinions concerning the current political questions of mutual interest.
The first subject of our discussion was the Comintern\and the international communist movement. This discussion was extremely valuable to me, for although I was in touch with the workers of the Comintern’s liaison office, I had never had candid\and serious talks with them.
I explained to him the efforts made by the Korean communists to implement the decisions of the Comintern,\and then clarified our position\and attitude towards its line\and directives.
“We consider that the Comintern fulfils the role of the General Staff of the international communist movement excellently. Over the past years it has achieved a great deal by rallying the communists throughout the world into an international alliance\and struggling against imperialism, for peace\and socialism. In the clear understanding that the Comintern is the international centre which performs the function of centralized control of the communist movement, we will, in the future as in the past, remain loyal to its rules\and its line. But, Comrade Pan, I would like to take the liberty of telling you something else about the activity of the Comintern.”
The final part of my statement immediately made him tense. “How should I take what you have said? You don’t happen to
hold any opinion opposed to it, do you?”
“Perhaps an opinion,\or a complaint. I have wanted to tell to the Comintern a few things for a long time.”
“Speak up, whatever you have on your mind.” He gazed at me with curiosity.
I believed the time had come when I should speak out to the Comintern.
“I do not support any faction, but I very much regret the Comintern’s decision in the past to disband the Korean Communist Party. Factions existed not only in the Korean Communist Party; the forging of signatures by means of potato stamps was also practised by the Indochinese Communist Party\and other parties, wasn’t it?”
A look of surprise, rather than tension, flitted across his face. My words had taken the inspector by surprise, a man who had been through all manner of bitter experiences.
“As a Korean communist like yourself, Comrade Kim, not as an inspectorrom the Comintern, I regarded the disbandment of the Korean Communist Party as a disgrace,\and share you in your regret that the Comintern had declared its disbandment. But there is one thing you must understand in this matter,\and that is, why the Indochinese Communist Party remains in existence, while the Korean Communist Party was disbanded. It is because a prominent figure like Ho Chi Minh represented Indochina in the Comintern. By contrast, in those years the ranks of the Korean communist movement contained no such outstanding figure\or centre of leadership who would be recognized by the Comintern.”
His view that one of the major reasons for the party’s collapse was the absence of a leader\or a centre of leadership shocked me, for I had considered factional strife within the party to be the primary cause of its disbandment. It took Pan’s cogent analysis to discern that the disbandment of the Korean Communist Party was due to the absence of a leader, a man of world renown acknowledged by the Comintern, who could resist his party’s disbandment.
In addition to the matter of the Comintern, we also had a valuable discussion concerning the practical questions arising in the Korean revolution.
Inspector Pan said that the Korean communists must work hard to found a new party of their own, instead of living in a state of frustration,\and sharing lodgings with the party of another country because most of their party members were in exile after the party had ceased to exist.
“I am not saying this because I am a Korean revolutionary, but I do believe that the Koreans must have their own communist party. If the Korean communists regarded the disbandment of the Korean Communist Party as depriving them for good of the chance to rebuild their party, that would amount to suicide. It is the legitimate\and inviolable right of the Koreans to have their own party. One may share another man’s room for a couple of years, but not for ever.”
Pan’s conviction that the Korean communists must rebuild their party completely was in agreement with our policy of founding a party, which had been adopted at the Kalun meeting.
“You are right,” I said, encouraged by his words. “If a Korean does not strive to rebuild the party, he should be regarded as having abandoned the Korean revolution. We must not be like a man who shares another man’s room, studying his expression,\and wasting time. On the basis of this point of view, we put forward a new policy of forming grassroots party\organizations first,\and then establishing the partyrom bottom to top by expanding\and strengthening them,\and we established a party\organization, the Society for Rallying Comrades, three years ago in line with this policy.”
I went into the details of the historical background to the formation of the first party\organization, as well as describing my own involvement in this work\and its expansion.
Pan listened to me with close attention.
“Comrade Kim, I may be a man of fancy, but you are a man of thorough practice. It is simply marvellous. But, look here. It’s a problem that there are too many factions in the Korean communist movement. So you must not recognize the factionalists, but make a fresh start among young people. You can do nothing with factionalists around you. Many of them have become dogs of the Japanese.\and many of the confirmed factionalists who are not Japanese dogs are involved in a tug-of-war struggle for hegemony, instead of working for the revolution. In\order to combat factions, we must fight the Japanese successfully. If our ranks grow stronger,\and the hardcore elements are united in the course of the struggle, they will lay the foundation for the establishment of the party.”
His words excited me greatly. They were, of course, not new to me. The basic policy we had maintained was that the party should be formed with young people who had not been infected with factionalism.
I renewed my resolve to found the party by uniting the Korean people\and building up its core, so as to accomplish the basic task of national liberation.
It was fortunate that Pan\and I had the opportunity to discuss questions concerning the international communist movement, the Comintern,\and the founding of the party in Korea,\and reach complete agreement.
Our conversation naturally turned to the issue of Soviet power, which had been occupying everybody’s attention in Jiandao. I was honestly eager to hear Pan’s opinion of the Soviet government to which the people had turned their backs, at which they had spat,\androm which they stood aloof.
“Old Pan,” I said casually, “what is your impression of the guerrilla zone you have looked around on your first visit to Jiandao?”
“I would like to pay my respects to the people of Jiandao\and the revolutionaries who have built a wonderful society on this barren land,” Pan said in a loud voice, unbuttoning\and opening the front skirts of his gown. “The people here have done a lot of work\and endured tremendous hardships. But I must say that it is a matter of great regret that an unwelcome spectre is hovering over this marvellous land.”
From his emotional tone, I could tell that he was greatly excited.
“A spectre? What do you mean by that?” I asked.
He picked up a large pinch of cut tobaccorom the pouch which old man Ri Chi Baek offered\and began to roll a thick cigarette.
“I mean the Leftist Soviet line. It is pulling down the tower which has been built by the strenuous efforts of the people of Jiandao. I can’t understand this at all. How is it possible for the revolutionaries of Jiandao, who pioneered the Manchurian revolution, to take leave of their senses to such an extent?”
“To tell you the truth, I find the Leftist deviation so upsetting that my hair may turn white.”
“How can they be so blind\and stupid?... I talked with them,\and they were totally ignorant of the Soviet government in Russia. Comrade Tong Chang-rong is a man of rich fighting experience\and gentle character....
“What a preposterous mistake! It is clearly no accident that letters of complaint were addressed to the Comintern. You have had plenty to worry about, I expect.”
He glanced at me in commiseration.
“I wouldn’t mind personal distress, no matter how great. My heart ached at the sight of people who were suffering under Leftist high-handedness.”
Pan puffed at his cigarette nervously\and continually, as if to give vent to his anger.
“I have encountered a stroke of good luck in the midst of misfortune, which is that the line of the people’s revolutionary government was born of the soil overgrown with Leftist weeds, the government which enjoys the people’s support\and will save our revolutionrom the crisis. Comrade Kim, a short while ago I informed Comrade Tong Chang-rong that your proposal is marvellous.”
“Do you mean to say that you also support the line of the people’s revolutionary government?”
“If not, why should I have said so to Comrade Tong Chang-rong? He has also expressed his support for the line. He seems to have been strongly impressed by your statement that anything the people like is good. Let us now work better, with firm confidence in ourselves.”
Pan grasped my hand in an unconscious but significant gesture,\and then released it.
In this way the Comintern’s support for our line on the people’s revolutionary government was confirmed.
Pan said it was a remarkable success for us to have gained the freedom of activity of the guerrilla army by forming a special detachment\and improved relations with the national salvation army of the Chinese nationalists. He encouraged us revolutionaries in east Manchuria to follow up this success.
Saying that our line on the people’s revolutionary government was basically in accord with the line of the revolutionary masses’ government proposed by the Chinese party, he explained the Chinese line briefly.
The Chinese line proposed a new\and clear strategy on the Manchurian issue, centring on the switchover of their political line. It had been formally issued in the name of the Central Committee of the Chinese Communist Party, but was in fact drafted by the Comintern. It could be said, therefore, to represent the will of the Comintern.
Their idea of forming peasant committees as\organs of rural government attracted our attention. The proposal was that the peasant committee should manage relations between the peasants\and the guerrilla army, supplying food to the army\and\organizing armed self-defence guards on a routine basis,\and that the party should ensure that hired farm hands\and poor peasants become the leading force in the peasant committee,\and thus rally the masses of middle peasants around them.
In other words, the Comintern had recognized the irrationality of the Leftist Soviet line in the question of political power,\and had acknowledged the need to replace it with a new form of government. After all, this was the confirmation of the correctness of the line of the people’s revolutionary government which we had proposed.
However, Inspector Pan was very concerned about the name of the peasant committee. Although peasant committees were better suited than Soviets to the situation in Manchuria, he said, a policy which was\orientated towards the hired farm hands\and poor peasants would not be able to rally the broader masses behind them. He stressed that the people’s revolutionary government was an improvement\and advance, a type of united front which was capable of rallying all sections of the population–workers, peasants, students, intellectuals\and others–who were opposed to the Japanese. He said he would express this opinion in a letter to the Comintern\and the Manchurian provincial party committee.
“What does it matter whether we call it a peasant committee\or a people’s revolutionary government? All that is required is to satisfy the people’s desires. A people’s revolutionary government will do in a place\where we can put up such a sign,\and a peasant committee will do\where a committee is more suitable, won’t it?”
In this way, I tried to calm the inspector’s anxieties, but he was still not at ease.
“You are right in general, but the name of the government must cater to the people’s preferences. In any case, I must bring the matter to the Comintern.”
I am not sure whether he did express his decision in a letter to the Comintern\or not.
In the wake of these events, the Soviets in all the guerrilla zones in east Manchuria were replaced by people’s revolutionary governments\or peasant committees, the Worker-Peasant Guerrilla Army was renamed the Anti-Japanese People’s Guerrilla Army,\and the Red Guards were reorganized as the Anti-Japanese Self-Defence Corps.
The inspector’s visit raised a whirlwind that swept away the outmoded political\order of the guerrilla zone. The Juche-orientated revolutionary policy which we had maintained since our days in Jilin won international support\and encouragement,\and the correctness of all our lines\and policies was confirmed yet again.
This does not mean, however, that we agreed with everything that the Comintern did\or that we obeyed its\orders blindly. While respecting the measures taken by the Comintern, I applied my own independent judgement to them, regarding themrom the point of view of the interests of the Korean revolution\and the world revolution.
The most doubtful aspect of the Comintern’s strategy\and the steps it had taken were its views on,\and its manner of dealing with, the Korean revolution as a link in the overall chain of the world revolution.
When the October Socialist Revolution triumphed in Russia,\and the ideal of socialism became a reality, the communists of all countries were faced with the noble task of both preserving the gains of the revolution\and following up its success on a world scale.
In response to the requirements of the times, Lenin established the Third Communist International in 1919. Its historic mission was to\organize the struggle of the working class\and the oppressed nations of the whole world to free themselvesrom imperialist oppression\and the chains of capital,\and to develop this struggle on an international scale. This was a militant mission that differedrom those of its predecessors, the First\and Second Internationals,\and fitted with the requirements of new times.
One of the major tasks of the Comintern at the time was to safeguard\and defend the Soviet\union. The defence of the positions of victorious socialism was inseparablerom the expansion of the socialist cause. Without defending them, it was impossible to spread\and further develop the success of the October Revolution on a global scale. It was quite natural that the defence of the Soviet\union became an international slogan for all communists,\and that the implementation of this slogan became the major content of the international communist movement.
These relations, which were historically inevitable\and essential, supplied grist to the mills of those who opposed communism\and lent plausibility to the reactionary bourgeois theoreticians who denounced the communist parties of various countries which implemented the\orders of the Comintern as “stooges of the Soviet\union”\or traitors to their own nations.
The communists in every country should have learned a lessonrom this\and combined their national\and international duties in an appropriate manner. The Comintern should also have regarded this matter as highly important. If it was to fulfil its mission satisfactorily, the Comintern, while emphasizing the defence of the positions of victorious socialism, should have given sincere support to the communist movements in other countries,\and should, in particular, have championed the interests of the lesser nations suffering under imperialist oppression\and assisted their revolutionary struggles.
The Comintern, however, paid little attention to this need. Some officials of the Comintern talked loudly about the revolutionary movements in large countries, but dealt in a slighting\or arbitrary fashion with matters relating to the revolutions in small countries. They discriminated too much in their views\and their attitudes towards the revolution in different countries, in proportion to the share they could contribute to the building of an international bulwark for the defence of the Soviet\union.
Certain individuals\and theoreticians occupying important posts in the Comintern spread the view that victories for the revolutionary movements in large countries would automatically lead to victories for the revolutionary struggles\or independence movements in the adjacent small countries. Figuratively speaking, they held the view that if the head ripens, the ears will also ripen of their own accord.
This view gave rise to a sycophantic tendency among communists of small countries, who abandoned the independent position that one’s own effort\and the efforts of one’s own people were the motive force of revolution,\and began to rely on large countries. It also produced a chauvinistic tendency among the communists of the large countries, who ignored the communists of small countries\and restrained their independent activities.
Thus it was not fortuitous that the revolutionaries’ confidence in,\and unsullied devotion to, the Comintern\and the international communist movement became stained, despite the fact that these communistsrom different countries had been tremendously inspired by the great events of the birth of the socialist state\and the foundation of the Comintern,\and looked up to them as an ideal\and a beacon-light as they advanced through the flames of struggle.
After the victory of the October Socialist Revolution\and the foundation of the Comintern, loving support\and a yearning for communism surged across the face of the world in an inexorable wave.
Renowned persons in all parts of the world were quick to join the ranks of those who espoused communism. Many of the major figures of the time, regarding communism as the only idea that represented the future of mankind, made efforts, through different channels,\and regardless of their political affiliations\and religious beliefs, to establish contact with the newborn Soviet Republic\or the Comintern\and receive aidrom them.
Many of the nationalists in Korea also espoused, supported\or sympathized with the idea of communism. Authoritative Christians, Chondoists\and other religious believers were among them. For instance, Hyon Sun, the third minister of the Seoul Jongdong Methodist Church, represented the Korean religious\organization of “Faith in Jesus” at the Far Eastern People’s Congress held in Moscow in January 1922.
Hyon Sun was a minister of high reputation in Korea\and he was elected one of the members of the Korean Provisional Government when it was formed in Shanghai. According to material which our comrades obtainedrom the Comintern’s archives in the Soviet\union a few years ago, when he attended the conference he carried with him a letter of attorney signed by Kim Pyong Jo, one of the group who drafted the Independence Declaration of March 1, 1919,\and by Jo Sang Sop, Son Jong Do, Kim In Jon, Song Pyong Jo\and other ministers. When Hyon Sun filled in the form issued by the Koryo Department of the Russian Communist Party, he stated that he was connected with the Shanghai Communist Party,\and that he had spent three weeks in Russia in September 1919. In answer to a questionaire, on his “Aims\and hopes,” he wrote, “I aim for the independence of Korea\and hope for the realization of communism.” This document was only recently obtained by our comrades.
Of course, I am not sure how deep an understanding he possessed of the new idea of communism,\or how warmly he sympathized with it, but it seems that he expected a great dealrom the Comintern.
Ri Tong Hwi, the first Prime Minister of the Korean Provisional Government in Shanghai, was involved in the communist movement. It is well known that he was sent as a representative to Moscow to report to the Comintern on the results of a joint conference of the Koryo Communist Party.
The reformist force of Chondoism also sought alignment with the Comintern.
Choe Tong Hui, a son of Choe Si Hyong, the second leader of the Chondoist religion,\and a grandnephew of Choe Je U, the founder of Chondoism, represented the reforming wing of Chondoism. In his capacity as chairman of the foreign affairs committee of the Emergency Supreme Revolutionary Council of Chondoists, he spent some time in Vladivostok in Russia, working hard for negotiations with the Comintern. He wrote letters to Katayama Sen, Injelson,\and other officials who were working at the\oriental Department of the Comintern, requesting them to give the support needed by the movement for Korea’s independence,\and declaring that active cooperation between the Chondoists, the servants of the poor people,\and the Comintern, the vanguard of the working class, would guarantee the success of the revolution in the\orient.
Choe Tong Hui even sent a letter to Chicherin, at that time People’s Commissar for Foreign Affairs of the Soviet Republic, requesting him to send within two years the weapons, explosives, ammunition, cavalry equipment,\and means of transport required to equip fifteen composite brigades of the Koryo National Revolutionary Army which it was planned to\organize. The fact that the reformist forces of Chondoism sought a new route for the independence movement, despite the hatred\and denunciation of conservative Chondoists, was worthy of national admiration. But neither Soviet Russia nor the Comintern complied with their request.
Ryo Un Hyong, alias Mong Yang, also visited Moscow in 1919\and spoke with Lenin on the question of Korea’s independence.
People would not believe it if they heard that an anti-communist element such as Syngman Rhee once supported Soviet Russia. But it seems to be true. There is information that he once visited Moscow\and requested a colossal amount of financial aid,\and that when his request was ignored, he turned against Soviet Russia\and the Comintern\and became ultrapro-American.
Korea, the territory of which was only a hundredth of the Soviet\union, a land of thatched mud huts huddled together\and skinny, hobbling donkeys, obviously appeared too small\and too miserable to attract the attention of the Comintern officials. Even in the years when we were waging an armed struggle against the Japanese in Manchuria, their views on Korea did not change greatly. I greatly regretted the fact that the Comintern was so indifferent to the fate of the peoples of small countries\and the national liberation struggles of the communists of small countries. Needless to say, this unkind treatment\and cold attitude merely poured oil on the flames of our determination to establish the principle of Juche in the revolution\and liberate our nation by our own efforts.
I was annoyed most of all by the fact that we lacked the strength to oppose\or correct the attitudes\and activities of the Comintern with which we disagreed,\and were unable to control the way in which the Comintern’s work was\organized\and its chronic malady of red-tapism, although we knew this might lead to the sacrifice of the Korean revolution\or place a stumbling block in the path of its Juche-oriented development.
We, the communists of the new generation, longed for the Comintern to understand the problems of the Korean communists\and march in step with our aspirations\and our unshakable resolve to carry out the revolution in our own way.
Pan’s appearance in east Manchuria at a time when we were struggling with complex problems requiring prompt solutions was welcome. My acquaintance with him was one of the most significant events in my life. It was a good thing that there were people in the Comintern who understood us\and supported us. His statements that the ranks of the Korean communist movement should be renewed with trained hardcore elements who had not been infected with factionalism,\and that a party of the Korean people should be established produced an especially strong impression on me. His advice encouraged me\and strengthened my sense of independence in thinking\and in practice. Had it not been for his influence\and comradely encouragement, it would have been impossible for me to fight effectively, even though I risked my life, in defence of the Juche spirit of the Korean nation\and our revolution at a time when the struggle against the “Minsaengdan” was being conducted in such a dreadful manner.
Pak So Sim introduced me to Marx’s Capital, Shang Yue taught me the Dream at the Red Mansion,\and now Inspector Pan had given me sincere support, encouragement\and sympathy\and so strengthened my conviction that Koreans must not forget Korea.
In all history of my revolutionary struggle against the Japanese imperialists I never discussed the fate of the Korean revolution\and the political line of this revolution so enthusiastically, sincerely\and so seriously as I did with Inspector Pan. He was a rare theoretician, with an unshakable commitment to the revolution. Had he been alive to work with us when we advanced to the area of Mt. Paektu in command of large forces in the latter half of the 1930s, he could have made many theoretical\and practical contributions to the solution of the difficult problems facing the Korean revolution.
My acquaintance with Pan opened my eyes to the vital need for a theoretician capable of guiding\and steering the practical struggle, in addition to the man of practice who was also important in the revolutionary struggle.
Following our unforgettable discussions at Xiaowangqing, Pan became my most intimate friend\and comrade. Although he was more than twenty years older than me, we forged a relationship as friends\and comrades in a matter of ten days,\and this friendship\and comradeship were as intimate as those of ten years duration. But they were not cemented by any material\or personal interests. This exceptionally warm friendship was derivedrom a common, long-cherished desire for the liberation\and freedom of Korea\androm a shared way of thinking\and aspiration to independence in all matters.
The depth of a friendship cannot be measured by the length of its duration\or by the number of conversations. A long period of association does not necessarily indicate a deep friendship, nor does a short period of association mean friendship is shallow. The essential thing is the viewpoint\and attitude one maintains in approaching man\and his destiny, in approaching one’s nation\and its destiny. Depending on this viewpoint\and attitude, the warmth of friendship may be redoubled\or it may cool. Love for man, love for one’s fellow people,\and love for one’s country are the touchstone of friendship.
When Inspector Pan was leaving Xiaowangqing, I saw him off on horseback as far as the boundary between Wangqing\and Hunchun Counties. Because he limped a little, I had seen to it that he could travel on horseback.
During our ride we talked a lot,\and during a two days’ stopover at the village of Shiliping, we discussed a host of subjects, including the international communist movement, our relations with the Chinese party,\and matters relating to the Korean revolution at the present\and in the future. We also made firm pledges to one another.
The subjects we discussed at the time would be good material for the plot of a novel. Ri Pom Sok’s military academy was in that village, the O Jung Hwa’s family were taking refuge there.
Pan even touched on his own family life. He said his wife was only half his own age. I don’t remember exactly whether he called her O Yong Ok\or O Pung Ok.
I asked him why he had only married when he was over forty. “Ha, ha!” he laughed, “no need to ask why. I did not have the
charm a husband needs, so girls stayed awayrom me. Who would ever love a lame man like me? If it were not for Madam O, I might have remained an old bachelor.”
He seemed to have been born with a low opinion of himself. I sympathized with him deeply for his delay in marrying.
“I expect Madam O has a sharp eye for a man. I have heard that she is a rare beauty. Late love must be as sweet as honey.”
“Of course, but strangely enough, it was she, not I, that proposed. Anyway, late love is indeed exceptionally sweet.”
“Rumour has it that she is the envy of all in north Manchuria.” “But, Comrade Kim, I hope you will not take so long as I did, if
only for the sake of male dignity.”
“Well, I, too, may be late. It does not depend on what I wish.” We chatted\and laughed, sitting in a grass field near the village
of Shiliping,\and deepening our friendship.
Pan said that he had become deeply attached to Wangqing,\and regretted parting with me. His next destinations were Hunchun\and Helong.
“Comrade Kim, I will carry your image in my memory all my life. I am very happy to have met you in Wangqing, Comrade Kim Il Sung,” he said, with a serious look, his eyes brimming with tears, his hand squeezing mine, as he crossed the border.
“So am I. I am most fortunate to have met you, Comrade Pan. Frankly, I don’t want to bid you farewell.”
“How could I wish to part? I wish that after this journey I could come to east Manchuria with my wife\and work hand in hand with you, Comrade Kim. I am outdated in some ways. A little stained.... Please be Korea’s Ho Chi Minh.”
With these words, Inspector Pan took his leave of Wangqing. When he was some distance away, he turned round\and raised his hand above his head. Looking at his hand as I had when I first met him, I felt as if a long time had passed. The details of his expression seemed to have been imprinted on my eyes to remain there for decades.
Feelings of loneliness\and sorrow at partingrom a man with whom I had forged a friendship in so short a time gripped my heart as he looked back at me,\and I wondered why the farewell was so sad. Pan was smiling, but he, too, looked sad. His smile lay heavy on my heart. If he had not smiled, my heart would have been much lighter. He left me, wishing that he could return but died in Hunchun\and we never met again.
He was murdered by Pak Tu Nam, the political commissar of the Hunchun guerrilla battalion. Pak Tu Nam was criticized most severely by the inspector at an enlarged meeting of the Hunchun county party committee which discussed the change in the revolutionary line. Branded as a ringleader of factional strife, he was dismissedrom his post as political commissar. While the inspector’s guards in the yard of the house were looking at some Model 38 rifles that had been capturedrom the enemy,\and the inspector was busy writing something, the traitor picked up one of the rifles\and shot the inspector dead. The news shocked the people in Wangqing.
When I heard the news, I locked myself up in the front room of Ri Chi Baek’s house,\where Pan\and I had discussed the revolution\and the meaning of human life,\and wept over his death all day long.
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