페이지 정보작성자 편집국 작성일20-06-27 14:11 댓글0건
[Reminiscences]Chapter 8 4. A Comment on Ultra-Democracy in the Army
4. A Comment on Ultra-Democracy in the Army
The Soviet line was a Leftist tendency in the establishment of government; military ultra-democracy was a Leftist ideological tendency which occurred in the command\and administration of the army. It advocated absolute equality for every soldier, irrespective of his rank, in the command\and administration of the army. In other words, it advocated excessive equalitarianism in all aspects of military activity, regarding it as an absolute.
It was while we were directing the guerrilla army on our return to Wangqingrom the campaign in south Manchuria that we first encountered the practice of ultra-democracy in the guerrilla army. At that time the tendency was at an incipient stage,\and its effects were not serious.
As I acquainted myself with the work of the guerrilla army on my return to Wangqing after the battle of the Dongning county town, I realized that the ultra-democracy which had barely been germinating had now assumed definite weight in the command system of the army\and was paralysing that system.
The alarm was first raised concerning the danger of ultra-democracy in Dahuanggou, Hunchun County, in the autumn of 1933. Dahuanggou was a central guerrilla zone in Hunchun. Pan, the inspectorrom the Comintern, was murdered there by Pak Tu Nam. At the same place, 13 soldiers of the Hunchun guerrilla unit who had fought in the Dongning county town were all killed in a single incident, bringing grief to all the people in east Manchuria.
A group of guerrillas who had returned to the guerrilla zone after the review of the battle held at Luozigou broke the fatigue of their journey for a while at a solitary house, celebrating Chusok\or the day of the Harvest Moon. They relaxed the following day\and the day after that, with a guard posted. A Japanese garrison discovered them\and surprised them by surrounding the house by night.
The wisest thing to do in such a situation would have been to strike at the enemy’s weak point\and quickly fight a way through the enemy’s encirclement. To do this the commander needed to judge the situation properly\and make a prompt decision. But the company commander had no right to make a decision. One of the men was O Pin, an experienced soldier, but his words carried no weight because he had been demoted by the Leftistsrom the post of head of the military department of the county party committee to a mere soldier.
The Leftists who were in the higher levels of the leadership of the party bodies in those days did not allow the commanders the right to make a decision on military affairs. They maintained that everything concerning military operations must always be discussed at meetings\and decided collectively, on the principle of majority rule. This became an iron rule which no one could ever break in the command\and administration structures of the army, binding the commanders hand\and foot. This abuse of democracy in military affairs weighed so heavily even on able commanding officers that it produced a state of functional paralysis.
Even at the critical moment when the armed enemy was tightening his encirclement in\order to destroy them, they continued their nonsensical argument over whether to stand\and fight the enemy\or break out of the encirclement. Some sensible men insisted that they should fight,\and not continue their empty talk until they were all destroyed, but the ultra-democrats declared that no military action should be taken without a decision of the meeting.
This was nothing short of criminal suicide for the besieged guerrillas. While they continued their futile argument, the enemy fell upon them. Only then did the guerrillas stop arguing\and begin fighting. The enemy fire mowed down 13 guerrillas.
Only a few of them escaped death by a miracle. One of them came to Wangqing at O Pin’s request\and told me the details of how the 13 men had been killed.
Paek Il Phyong\and O Pin were among the dead.
The soldierrom Hunchun told me that, as he was elbowing his way through the heap of dead bodies, O Pin, with his intestines tumbling out of a wound in his belly, had said with his last breath:
“I have no right to\order you, but I am telling you as a party member to report this incident to Comrade Kim Il Sung without fail.”
I cursed the advocates of ultra-democracy\and the dogmatists who had blindly followed them in battle. Had it not been for the obstacle of this ultra-democracy, the Hunchun company could have broken the siege\and averted such tragic losses.
These 13 comrades are still fresh in my memory; they had shared life in the shadow of death with me in the Dongning county town. As we were withdrawingrom the town after the battle, they had come over freshrom their blocking mission, shaken my hands, set me on their shoulders,\and tossed me in the air, saying that the Wangqing company had fought well. At the memorial service for the fallen comrades they had cried bitterly as they made speeches.
I felt my heart choked at the news that these men of such burning passion\and love had all been killed in one night.
Of these 13, O Pin was the most unforgettable. He had been introduced to me by Chae Su Hang when we were building revolutionary\organizations around the six towns in the northern frontier region of Korea. While Chae was attending the Taesong Middle School in Longjing, O Pin had attended the Tonghung Middle School in the same town. Both schools had produced many figures of social importance\and independence fighters. They had participated in the student movement together in Longjing. O Pin, together with Chae Su Hang, had attended the Kongsudok meeting and the winter Mingyuegou meeting which we convened. They had taken an active part in the discussion of the policy on the armed struggle.
It was probably in May 1931, that O Pin\and Chae Su Hang guided me to Jongsong, the birthplace of Chae. My first step on Sinhung village after crossing the Tuman River with them on a smuggling boat is still as vivid in my memory as if it happened yesterday. Drinking in with profound emotion the beautiful verdure on the willowy bank\and the ancient scene of the old castle site, we talked at length about the future of the motherland.
In the spring of that year, outside the north gate at Sinhung village, I met O Pin’s father, O Ui Son, who was the head of the Anti-Imperialist\union in Jongsong. He had been eking out a living by sharecropping in Chatiaogou, Yanji County; when his son became a career revolutionary he had moved to Sinhung village with his family,\and his house soon became a secret liaison point linking the AJPGA in the Wangqing area with all the underground revolutionary\organizations in Jongsong County in the homeland.
Every time I went to Sinhung village, O Pin’s family served me noodles. We spent the Tano festival\or the fifth day of the fifth lunar month at this house in 1933. On that occasion O Ui Son went to a market in Phunggye, eight miles away, to buy buckwheat flour,\and he made buckwheat noodles for us for lunch, noodles that reminded me of Pyongyang cold noodles.
One of the many things I still cannot forget is that we struck an artesian well in the yard of his house that day, to relieve the family’s sufferingrom a shortage of water. I worked with the spade as hard as if I were O Pin, who was then fighting in Hunchun.
When I met O Pin at Luozigou before the battle of the Dongning county town, I said that his father in Sinhung village had served us buckwheat noodles for the Tano festival. When he heard this, his pleasure was evident. Even though he had been demoted to a soldierrom the post of military department head of Hunchun County, he was not in the least disaffected\or dispirited.
As I encouraged him not to lose heart, he said, “I am in high spirits, as you can see. My demotion cannot make me Kim Pin\or Pak Pin. Nevertheless, I do not feel like working in Hunchun any more. I am thinking of moving to Wangqing after the battle, if my superior permits it. What do you think of the idea?”
I answered, “I will be happy if you come to Wangqing. But remember that there are a lot of Leftists willing to brand people as ‘Minsaengdan’ members in Wangqing, too.”
“Is that so?”
“The Leftist wind never dies away in Wangqing.”
“But I think I should feel light-hearted beside you. In any case, I shall come to Wangqing, come what may. When I say something I stick to it.”
When we attacked the fort in the west of the town, he led the line of advance with a grenade in his hand. He was highly commended for this at the meeting to review the battle.
When the units were parting with one another at Luozigou after the meeting he reaffirmed his firm intention. His resolve to come to Wangqing was unshakable. He said his determination had been strengthened when he saw the guerrillasrom Wangqing capturing the fort\and charging into the town during the battle. Naturally I promised him my full cooperation.
However, the sad news of O Pin’s death reached Wangqing before I could keep that promise. Ri Kwang had been murdered in the spring,\and Pan, the member of the provincial party committee, had been killed in the summer; today O Pin had gone to the world of no return without realizing his long-cherished desire.
The sad news of the death of 13 warriors including O Pin came as a boltrom the blue. Ever since then I have shuddered at the mention of ultra-democracy in military affairs,\and never tolerated the slightest tendency towards it in our ranks.
This tendency was so repugnant to me because it was utterly destructive of revolutionary practice.
We still regard it as an absolute principle that all questions concerning military operations must be discussed by Party\organizations\and welcome that the creative opinions of the masses must be incorporated into the planning of military operations via the Party\organizations. But we do not tolerate the encroachment of this principle of collectivism on the authority of the commanding officers who are in charge of the administration of their units.
In the early days of the war against the Japanese, however, ultra-democracy, on the excuse of collectivism,\limited the authority of the commanding officers\and paralysed the command system in the administration of military units\and conduct of operations.
In those days, in\order to stimulate the creative energy of the party members there were party group meetings, branch meetings\and committee meetings at all levels in the guerrilla army when military operations were being planned\or during a battle,\and there were also unit meetings similar to the general servicemen’s meeting nowadays. The principle was to consider every aspect of the situation.
For all this, the Leftists, who regarded ultra-democracy as being as absolute as Napoleon’s code of laws, maintained that all military matters, irrespective of their importance\and the prevailing circumstances, should be discussed at party bodies of all levels\and at unit meetings.
Suppose the revolutionary army was to attack a town. They discussed the plan first at a party group meeting, using a sketch map of the town without its name, deciding whether\or not it was necessary to attack it\and, if it was necessary, in what way, before a resolution was adopted.
When the need to do battle\and the possibility of victory was confirmed at the meeting\and a detailed plan of operations was mapped out, the same process was repeated at a branch meeting.
The same procedure was followed at the unit meeting, except that this was also attended by non-party members. They said: “We are going to attack a certain town, the attack will bring us great political\and military benefits with no losses\or few casualties, the plan of operations is such\and such, we will surely emerge victorious if we fight in accordance with this plan.” Then they passed a decision, issued battle\orders\and attacked the town.
Such meetings, which proceeded with agenda improvised as suddenly as a stone thrown into a lake, involved endless arguments, about the pros\and cons of every possibility, before conclusions were finally reached. The right to an equal vote required by ultra-democracy resulted in time-consuming uproarious arguments involving everyone.
Operational plans which had gone through different meetings at different levels turned out to be useless as the enemy situation changed in the meantime.\and when such an operation was undertaken the changed situation resulted in a heavy toll of the forces of the revolutionary army.
The death of the 13 courageous men at Dahuanggou was a glaring example of the influence of ultra-democracy on military affairs.
Another expression of this abuse of democracy was the striving to establish excessive equality\and impartiality in the revolutionary army.
Such abuses were also witnessed in the units under my command.
One day, with Kim Myong Gyun, head of the military department of the county party committee, I paid a visit to the barracks of the 1st company to learn about its work. I found the company commander sweeping the yard\and its political instructor chopping firewood with his men in a corner of the yard. I smiled at the laudable sight of officers working in harmony with their men.
For some reason, however, the sight left Kim Myong Gyun cold.
“I’m pleased to see the commanding officers setting an example,” I said, but the department head still seemed unimpressed. “Well, what about joining them?” I said, approaching a besom lying in a corner of the yard.
Kim Myong Gyun tugged gently at my sleeve, saying, “Let me show you an amazing sight.”
He\ordered the duty officer to summon the company commander\and political instructor immediately.
The officer answered, “Now is the morning cleaning time.” “Bring them here as you are\ordered\and no more idle talk!”
Kim Myong Gyun demanded with no more ado.
The officer’s response was not soft, either. “Then the company commander\and political instructor will be criticized at the unit meeting.”
I casually asked Kim Myong Gyun what the officer’s answer meant. He replied, “It means that the company commander\and political instructor must do the cleaning, setting aside everything else, when the soldiers are cleaning, for they are equal human beings.”
This incident occurred when ultra-democracy was still at its incipient stage. This blind idea of equality was soon put into practice by the guerrilla army,\and it paralysed its command system for some time.
It is needless to say that of course every man,\and every soldier, is equal as a human being. But in the revolutionary army–the Anti-Japanese People’s Guerrilla Army\or the Korean People’s Army– every soldier is given different assignments in accordance with his duty. One man is designated company commander, another man platoon leader\and another squad leader.
The various duties\and assignments performed by soldiers place them in the relationship of superiors\and subordinates in the revolutionary army, a company commander being superior to his platoon leaders, a platoon leader to his squad leaders\and a squad leader to his men. The service regulations of the revolutionary army stipulate that subordinates shall obey the\orders of their superiors without reservation. Otherwise it would be impossible to command the army\and maintain iron discipline.
The service regulations of the anti-Japanese guerrilla army fully reflected the collective opinions of the soldiers\and required the commanding personnel to abide by the regulations willingly.
However, the Left opportunists ignored the relationship between superiors\and subordinates stipulated in the service regulations of the AJPGA,\and this inflicted serious damage on the living tissue of the AJPGA, whose lifeblood was discipline,\order\and unity between the officers\and men,\and it undermined the army’s moral basis.
Ultra-democracy in the army was an expression of ultra-egalitarianism. It even produced the unsavoury practice of soldiers not respecting the superiors they had elected, speaking impolitely to them\or disputing their\orders on the excuse of equality.
An army in which subordinates do not salute their superiors, speak to them impolitely,\or dispute their\orders\and instructions, is no longer an army. It is a rabble. Can one ever expectrom such a rabble the noble comradeship\and unity of ideology\and purpose that encourage men to shield their commandersrom danger\and the latter to protect their men at the risk of their own lives? Can one ever expectrom it the steel-like unity that enables them to speak with one voice, walk with the same gait\and breathe as one?
Ultra-democracy in military affairs also required that a commander should do exactly what his men did in battle. The proverb, “Horns on the head, rosary beads on a string,” states the simple truth that everything has its place. In other words, a commander\and his men have different duties to perform in battle. A suckling infant is capable of understanding this.
Ultra-democrats in the army, however, preached that the commanders should fight in the front rank both in attack\and defence, unafraid of death. This sermonizing made it impossible for the commanders to perform their duties properly. Commanders who were duty bound to study the combat situationrom the best vantage point all the time\and command the battlerom a broad viewpoint, had to move about in the rank\and file. That was why they were unable to control their units in accordance with the situation.
Certainly, a commander sometimes needs to take his place at the head of the attacking men,\or to inspect the trenches\and encourage the men by going through fire. When his personal example is required to change an adverse situation into a favourable one, he must, of course, stand in the front rank\and encourage his men to destroy the enemy. But doing this in every situation is not the correct way to set an example.
When summing the results of battles in those days, commanders who moved in the front rank of the attacking formation, awayrom their command posts, were always extolled. Men would compete with one another in praising their commanders–one saying that his platoon leader did not fear the hail of bullets as he stood on the hill, commanding the battle, another boasting that his company commander jumped into the enemy’s trench several metres ahead of his men,\and another bragging that no battalion commander could be braver in fighting the enemy hand to hand than his battalion commander.
In this climate, the adventurist tendency to plunge, single-handed, into the enemy’s position became endemic among the platoon leaders, company commanders\and battalion commanders of all guerrilla units in east Manchuria, the very commanders who should have maintained the positions defined in the battle regulations, calculated the general development of the battle\and determined their forces’ future course of action. This tendency led to the deaths of many platoon\and company officers, the basic unit commanders of the guerrilla units, in the early days of the war against the Japanese.
A great number of these single-handed heroes were produced in Wangqing–men such as Kim Chol, Kim Song Hyon\and Ri Ung Man. Kim Chol\and Kim Song Hyon fell while leading charges in battle,\and Ri Ung Man was wounded in the ankle while leading the fightingrom the front.
Choe Hyon\and Jo To On in Yanji were master-hands at the bayonet charge, famous throughout the whole of east Manchuria. They even carried out reconnaissance missions themselves, instead of sending their men. They were innocent adventurers, as naive in their actions as schoolboys, rather than military commanders.
Jo To On was a famous adventurer produced by the Yanji guerrilla unit. He was so good at whistling thatrom the early days the people in Yanji called him by the nickname of “Whistling Jo.”\wherever he went, his nickname attracted the people’s attention.
Even when his hair was grey\and he had long given up whistling, he used to be known as “Whistling Jo,” an expression of people’s affection for this veteran who always braved the hail of bullets at the head of his men during the war against the Japanese. He became so accustomed to the nickname throughout his life he felt uncomfortable when he was called by his real name.
Once a visitor knocked at his door\and asked, “Is this the house of Comrade Jo To On?” He answered bluntly, “Not Jo To On, but ‘Whistling Jo.’ ” This reply embarrassed his visitor, but it showed how fond he was of the nickname his comrades-in-arms had given him during the anti-Japanese war.
If he had been alive, I would wish to recollect him by his nickname which was so popular among the masses.
Jo To On did not know how to write even his parents’ names; only when he was much older than school age did he learn how to read\and write the Korean alphabet, as well as studying the multiplication table\and a Children’s Reader. As soon as he was able to read\and write, he became a member of the\organization\and the guerrilla army\and then developed further to shoulder the heavy responsibility of a company commander. This company commander would go himself to reconnoitre enemy strongholds within sight, come back to his company, issue\orders for a raid,\and then dash like hurricane in the vanguard of the attack.
When he had captured several rifles at one time after reconnoitring\and raiding positions of the enemy’s self-defence corps in broad daylight, the Leftists gave wide publicity to his distinguished deed at various meetings\and in the official papers. But this was one-sided propaganda which gave no consideration to the fact that Jo was a commanding officer who should have refrainedrom such adventures. However, as a result of that propaganda he became famous as a soldier throughout almost the whole of east Manchuria.
He was seriously wounded in the battle of Dadianzi while rushing at an enemy machinegun emplacement at the head of his unit. He was so near the machinegun that a bullet which hit him in the belly emerged diagonallyrom his back. His life was saved by miracle, but he had to live in hospital for six years because of the wound he received. He was unable to return to his beloved company.
He was bedridden while the anti-Japanese armed struggle was developing to the level of victorious, large-unit operations over wide areas in south\and north Manchuria\and the homeland. The Korean People’s Revolutionary Army became a legendary army known to the whole world\and its just struggle became a beacon of light to the oppressed peoples of the world. This war required efficient commanders\and veterans capable of directing new regiments\and divisions. If he had not been disabled, Jo To On could have rendered tremendous service when the war against the Japanese was at its triumphant high tide.
The Leftists refused to pay attention to the safety of commanders until the distorted concept of democracy was finally eliminatedrom the army; it was only some time later that guards were\organized in each of the regiments\and divisions to protect the commander.
The abuse of democracy in the revolutionary army was also expressed in the indiscriminate use of reward\and punishment. The anti-Japanese guerrilla army had a system of reward\and punishment designed to strengthen its fighting efficiency. We rewarded soldiers who were exemplary in combat, training\and everyday life,\and punished those who seriously violated the service regulations, applying various standards according to specific merits\and demerits.
Ultra-democrats, however, disputed this system by arguing over why one comrade was awarded the first prize,\and another the second prize, when they had both performed the same duty in the same squad, over why somebody was only given a reprimand\and somebody else was given a warning when they had committed the same mistake; thus they bolstered opinion in support of indiscriminate application of regulations\and brought pressure to bear upon us.
This surrealistic attitude undermined the basic aim of a system of reward\and punishment. In short, ultra-democracy was a pernicious ideological trend that ran counter to our aspirations\and efforts to foster the military, political\and moral superiority of the anti-Japanese guerrilla army\and advance the anti-Japanese armed struggle towards ultimate victory. If we had not eradicated this ideological trend in good time, all the commanders of the guerrilla army would sooner\or later have been reduced to mere figureheads,\and the guerrilla army to a lawless collective in which there was no distinction between the commanders\and the rank\and file,\and ultimately to a rabble disarmed by itself.
Ultra-democracy, no matter what specific forms it took, was an opportunist trend derivedrom petit bourgeois ideology. It was, in effect, an anarchic tendency which had nothing in common with the revolutionary ideology of the working class.
Anarchism, a reflection of petit bourgeois ideology, derivesrom an extreme hatred for authority in general\and a resistance to the political power of the bourgeoisie in particular. It attempted to introduce anarchic disorder\and immoderate conduct into society, extolling ultra-democracy, radical freedom\and self-indulgence.
Some radical ideologists, who represented the distress of the petit bourgeoisie, which was economically bankrupt\and politically disenfranchised under the pressures of capitalist mass production\and the political dictatorship of the bourgeoisie, attempted to lead the masses in opposition to state power in general by alleging that the political power of the capitalist class should be overthrown by violence\and anarchism established.
The so-called “theory of anarchism” of such ideologists as the French petit bourgeois, Proudhon,\and Bakunin\and Kropotkin in Russia, which found expression in an extreme hatred for political power\and unreasonable demands for social equality, was a destructive ideological trend which made it impossible to rouse the working masses to the struggle against the repression of the capitalists, to safeguard the gains of the revolution\and establish truly popular\and democratic systems in those countries which had overthrown the dictatorship of the exploiting class; it was condemned by the impartial judgement of history.
Nevertheless, for some time this ideological trend gave the petit bourgeoisie illusions about ultra-democracy\and unrestricted freedom\and it spread to some extent to the regions\and countries\where capitalist industry had not been developed on a large scale\and the petit bourgeois\and peasant mentality remained dominant. This is the major reason why quite a few people thought that anarchism made certain contributions to the struggle against capitalism.
Some working-class parties enlisted anarchic forces in the struggle to overthrow the reactionary regime of the landlords\and bourgeoisie. It is well-known that the Soviet government cooperated with Makhno\and his clique, an anarchic collective in the Ukraine, during the Civil War.
In the early days, when ultra-democracy emerged in the guerrilla army, anarchism still existed as a political idea that served a certain social stratum, the petit bourgeoisie in particular, as an expression of their revolutionary character,\and it inflicted tangible harm on the revolutionary theory\and practice of the working class.
This does not mean, however, that the only form taken by ultra-democracy was anarchism. The activities of the revisionists who emerged in the international working class movement also had elements in common with ultra-democracy. Under the cloak of democracy, they promoted bourgeois liberalism, anarchism, immoderacy\and disorder,\and they gave rise to social confusion\and self-indulgence. In the light of this experience, we cannot but conclude that there is an ideological community between extreme bourgeois democracy\and anarchism.
If ultra-democracy finds its way into the military sector, it will eventually produce anarchic confusion. Had it not been eliminatedrom the guerrilla army before it was too late, ultra-democracy could have irretrievably damaged the process of building up the guerrilla army\and its military operations,\and could have seriously hampered the overall development of the revolutionary movement. When we were involved in combatting it, with the firm determination of wiping it out, a meeting of commanders\and political commissars of the guerrilla units in east Manchuria was convened in Shiliping to review the work done in the year\and half since the guerrilla zones had been established\and to take measures to defend these zonesrom the enemy’s large-scale “punitive”
I met Kim Il Ryong\and Kim Jong Ryong at this meeting. The former was the commander\and the latter the political commissar of the Antu guerrilla unit. The meeting was also attended by Jang\and Cha Ryong Dok, commander\and political commissar of the Helong guerrilla unit,\and Ju Jin, Pak Tong Gun\and Pak Kil, general commander, commander\and political commissar of the Yanji guerrilla unit. Some comrades also camerom the Hunchun guerrilla unit, but I cannot remember who they were.
This meeting also discussed measures for overcoming the ultra-democratic tendency in the command\and administration of guerrilla units.
We maintained that the main factor in the command of a guerrilla unit was the authority of its commander\and the establishment of rigid discipline\and centralization, that the method of administration should give priority to political work. At the meeting I stressed the following points: The distinctions between the superior\and the subordinate in a unit should be clear\and absolute. A commander should be steadfast\and positive in executing the\orders issued by his superior\and unswervingly carry out a decision once he had made it. He should always take the initiative in commanding\and act with determination, without wavering\or hesitating in complicated\and difficult circumstances. But this on no account means that he may resort to subjectivism\and arbitrariness in commanding. He must know how to draw on the energy\and wisdom of the masses in executing the\orders of his superiors\and in the command of battles. He should not command his unit only by means of\orders, but engage the soldiers’ conscious enthusiasm by giving priority to political work. Today’s war is not like wars in the days of slave-owning\and feudal societies, when one contended for victory on a solitary horse; it is a modern, people’s war in which the army\and people fight as one. The outcome of a war is decided by the ability to allow fuller scope to the enthusiasm\and creativity of the army\and people. This requires that political work should be given definite precedence. Party meetings, unit meetings, explanations\and propaganda by agitators are powerful means for political work. Commanders should therefore make effective use of these means.
I criticized the Hunchun guerrilla unit for its mistake in Dahuanggou\and warned the representativesrom the guerrilla units in all counties of the harmfulness of ultra-democracy in military affairs, showing that it had led to the loss of 13 guerrillas.
Our younger generation might not easily understand\or believe the episodes I have briefly mentioned here,\or the childish nature of the infantile disorder of ultra-democracy as demonstrated in these episodes. But these are the true facts.
The infiltration of this malady into the guerrilla army in the early days of the armed struggle was a trial for those of us who bore the heavy burden of defending the guerrilla bases\and creating the allied front while also being responsible for administering the army.
At the meeting we stressed once again that guerrilla units should be commanded\and managed in accordance with the principle of individual responsibility on a basis of democracy.
After the incident in Dahuanggou two contradictory tendencies appeared in the guerrilla units. One supported the enforcement of one-man management system with a single commander,\and the other insisted upon continued adherence to the democratic principle in army administration. These two positions each had merits\and demerits.
Rendering the one-man management system absolute might give rise to arbitrariness\and subjectivity in the command\and administration of the army, while making democracy absolute might deprive the army of promptness\and efficiency in its command\and management. So I proposed the principle of one-man management system based on democracy for discussion. According to this principle a commander’s responsibility to command\and administer his unit was based on a decision made by the party\organization following collective discussion. Collective discussion based on democracy would enable complex\and difficult military tasks at each period to be carried out satisfactorily by exploiting the masses’ collective wisdom,\whereas the one-man management system based on the discussion would enhance the commander’s sense of responsibility\and role in accordance with the military requirements, the prerequisite for which was a high degree of promptness, determination\and concerted action.
We also stressed the need to establish iron discipline in the guerrilla army by maintaining a well-regulated system of command within it. A commander’s\orders are not an expression of individual opinion; they are an expression of the democratic\and\organizational opinion of the body of a higher level. Military\orders possess legal force\and a commander is responsible before the law for the\orders he has issued. The rank\and file should never in the least degree discount\or dispute\orders; they are duty bound to execute them promptly\and without fail, whatever the circumstances. Commanders should command\and supervise the carrying out of their\orders in an appropriate manner.
We also discussed the tasks of creating a sound ideological atmosphere in the units\and of consolidating revolutionary unity between the superiors\and subordinates by intensifying the study of communist ideology\and the struggle against such petit bourgeois ideologies as the infantile equality\and anarchism pursued by ultra-democracy in military affairs.
The meeting at Shiliping enlightened the commanders of the guerrilla army. In the subsequent trials of repeated battle ultra-democracy was eliminatedrom the army once\and for all.
Had we not completely overcome ultra-democracy in the army in the early days of the anti-Japanese war, we would not have been able to consolidate the invincible ranks of the Korean People’s Army in such a short period of time after liberation, nor would we have emerged victorious in the fight against the international allied forces of imperialism headed by US imperialism.
It is now a matter of course that our People’s Army contains neither those who insist on unprincipled equality\and impartiality nor those who dispute their superiors’\orders. The soldiers answer their superiors’\orders only by saying, “I understand!” Our People’s Army is a collective of loyal soldiers who live in a spirit of unity of superiors\and subordinates, unity of army\and people, a spirit of constant self-reliance\and fortituderom the day they take the oath of the military code of conduct to the moment they are dischargedrom the service.
If anyone wishes to know our soldiers’ attitude towards democracy, he need only understand their militant slogan, “When the Party decides, we do everything!” If he wants to see the genuine features of unity between superiors\and subordinates manifested in the deeds of our soldiers, he need only learn of the last moments of Heroes Kim Kwang Chol4\and Han Yong Chol5, who had sacrificed their lives for the sake of many of their comrades-in-arms.
Ultra-democracy was liquidated a long time ago, but it must still be guarded against.
We safeguard democracy but oppose ultra-democracy; we maintain equality but we regard ultra-egalitarianism as taboo, because both of these extremes invite revisionism. There are quite a number of people on the Earth who are anxious to see our style of socialism corrupted by the filthy germ of revisionism. Our people\and the People’s Army therefore never tolerate the infiltration of our ranks by revisionism. We do not want our Party to be reduced to a club\or a market-place by the tendency of ultra-democracy. The suffering inflicted upon us by the evils of ultra-democracy in military affairs during the anti-Japanese war\and the lessons of Eastern Europe cry out to us that we must not allow this.
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