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북녘 | [Reminiscences]Chapter 18 5. The September Appeal

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[Reminiscences]Chapter 18 5. The September Appeal

  

   

 

 

5. The September Appeal 

 

 In September 1937 we issued an appeal to compatriots throughout Korea to cope with the changing situation in the Sino-Japanese War,\and dispatched a large number of political operatives to the homeland. I also made up my mind to infiltrate the homeland at places\where there were large working class forces in\order to make a breakthrough in the preparations for an all-people resistance. My first destination was the Sinhung area in South Hamgyong Province,\and the second was the Phungsan area. A dozen men were to keep company with me.


In those days it was not a simple job to go into the depth of the homeland, a dangerous area under enemy rule, accompanied by only a small number of bodyguards.


The military\and political cadres asked me several times not to go. When I presented myself in a Western suit, old man Tobacco Pipe tried to dissuade me, saying, “You mean to say you are going all the way to Hamhung looking like that? I heard the enemy there is very vigilant.”


Nevertheless, I did not change my mind. At that time I was racking my brains as to how to stage a recovery after the failure of Kim Ju Hyon’s small unit in its attempt to penetrate the homeland.


I accepted the September Appeal rom the bottom of my heart as an appeal to myself.

Kim Ju Hyon\and his small unit members were most embarrassed when I announced my intention to visit the homeland. Kim Ju Hyon was under the impression that the Commander himself was taking the risk of working in the homeland because his small unit had made a mess of the great undertaking. For that matter, I was still not altogether free rom anger on that score.

In the appeal, which was called September Appeal because it was published in September, we attached importance to two major issues. One was giving our people a correct understanding of the correlations between the Sino-Japanese War\and the Korean revolution in\order to enable them to intensify, without losing confidence, their anti-Japanese struggle.


Among the regular readers of newspapers in those days were quite a few pessimists who, on reading about the development of the Sino-Japanese War\and the increasing battle results of the Japanese army, considered the independence of Korea to be impossible. rom early August of that year on, Choe Nam Son, Yun Chi Ho, Choe Rin\and other “renowned figures” published a series of articles in the home\and foreign papers preaching compromise with Japanese imperialism.


I, too, read these articles.


Choe Nam Son, defining the existence of Japan\and her development as the strength of Asia\and a beam of light in the\orient, wrote that the\oriental nations should all unite for the same cause under Japan’s leadership. A draftsman of the March First Independence Declaration, he had declared earlier, “Mt. Paektu is the heart of everything in the\orient, the nucleus of\oriental culture, the deepest root of the\oriental spirit, ancestral home of the\oriental people\and the main axis of their activities. The very air of the\orient\originates on Mt. Paektu,\and sweeping our foreheads at all times\and in all places is the wind that blows rom Mt. Paektu. We quench our thirst with the spring water of Mt. Paektu,\and plough, plant, harvest,\and till the earth of Mt. Paektu.” When this man so abruptly changed his attitude\and called the existence of Japan “the strength of Asia\and a beam of light in the\orient,” I could not but be astonished.


Choe Rin preached that “national devotion” should be demonstrated by Korea’s being one with Japan. This was too treacherous\and traitorous to be believed as a statement made by one of the 33 persons who had masterminded the March First Independence Movement.


Yun Chi Ho asserted that the Koreans\and Japanese were in the same boat sharing the same destiny. The people who are well versed in the modern history of Korea know him well, a high-ranking official in the last days of the Ri dynasty. In spite of his government post, he had been staunchly opposed to the “annexation of Korea by Japan”. For this he had been put behind bars. At the time of the July 7 incident, he was on the wrong side of 70. It is hardly imaginable that the old man would abruptly have begun to flatter Japanese imperialism in the hope of winning glory\or of saving his skin. It is said that he committed suicide at the age of 80\or more after liberation because he could not face living on. No doubt he was a man of conscience\and tried to atone for his crime by means of suicide. In my view he surrendered to the Japanese imperialists because he overestimated Japan\and misjudged the development of the situation.


Jang Hae U, who guided us rom the neighbourhood of Samsu when we were on our way to the Sinhung area, was very anxious about the future of the Sino-Japanese War. I told him, “If you take a shortsighted view of the war, you will be driven to despair. The war will force the greedy Japanese militarists to scatter their troops over a vast area on their own accord, bringing disastrous consequences on themselves by suffering rom a lack of troops, materials, war supplies\and raw materials. That is why the war is opening a bright future for our independence war, not despair. In other words, it is offering us a golden opportunity for attaining our goal. This is why we must speed up the preparations for a nationwide all-people resistance\and a do-or-die battle with Japanese imperialism.”


The other issue to which we attached great importance in the September Appeal was the matter of clarifying the strategic ways to make preparations for an all-people resistance. We pointed out the following facts in the appeal:


The war between China\and Japan is becoming more\and more strained.

There is no doubt that China will ultimately emerge victorious. As there can be no better chance than this one for us, we must act in the most determined manner in the event of emergency.


It is especially imperative to form paramilitary corps\and workers’ shock brigades as vanguard executive\organizations for armed revolt\and subversive actions behind enemy lines. The paramilitary corps\and workers’ shock brigades must enlist their members in armed revolt,\organize subversive actions, set fire on\and destroy munitions factories\and other important enterprises in the rear...\and in the time of the all-people resistance join forces with the KPRA in its military operations, so as to defeat the Japanese army. Only in this way can we carry out our task, the independence of Korea.


We set out the strategic policy of expanding the preparations for an all-people resistance, centring on the workers’ shock brigades\and paramilitary corps.


We chose the Sinhung area as the first destination for our launch into the homeland after making public the September Appeal, because the area included Hamhung, Hungnam\and other big industrial cities\where most of the working class of our country was concentrated.


Thanks to our political operatives, several secret camps had already been set up in the dense forest at the southern foot of the Pujon mountains, which were used by small units as bases for their activities. The political operatives\and core members of the labour\and peasant\unions active in various places on the east coast such as Hungnam were to gather in one of those secret camps.


The Phungsan area was\selected as our second destination because a large number of labourers at a hydroelectric power station project lived there, as did the many believers in the Chondoist faith affiliated with the ARF.


As we had to go to Phungsan via Sinhung, it was more than 200 miles in a straight line on the map.

We mimeographed the September Appeal\and kept the copies in Kim Pong Sok’s pack when setting out on the journey. I gave one first to Jang Hae U. While we were having a rest halfway up Mt. Chongsan near Samsu, Jang read the appeal several times; he was especially pleased by our attaching importance to the\organization of paramilitary corps\and of workers’ shock brigades. He said that the general strike in Wonsan had fully demonstrated the esprit de corps of the working class.


It was true that in the general strike of 1929 what was most noteworthy was the unity, fighting power\and the spirit of cooperation of the working class.


The general strike was followed next year by a revolt of miners in the Sinhung Coalmine. Subsequently, workers’ strikes continued in various parts of Korea every year.


Nevertheless, most of the mass strikes were frustrated without realizing their demands.

When writing our appeal we tried not to repeat the bitter failures of the strikes. Instead, we assimilated the good points\and cast aside the bad points of the former labour movement in\order to pave a new road for the movement.

 

Modern industrial labour emerged in our country as a result of the open-door policy around the turn of the 19th century, which brought in an influx of foreign capital. Some people look back to the 18th century for the\origin of our industrial labour, but it can be said that it was still germinating at that time. After the feudal government opened the door, foreign capital flooded in without a hitch; in this context, ports were built, railways laid, factories set up\and mines opened, resulting in the rapid expansion of the ranks of such industrial workers as dockers, miners, railwaymen\and civil engineers.


The emergence\and development of industrial labour led to the formation of labour\organizations. Already at the end of the 1890s a man named Ri Kyu Sun had formed a dockers’\union, which some people call the\origin of labour\unions.


The early labour\organizations took the form of sworn brotherhoods\and mutual-aid associations, which gradually developed into workers’ associations\and\unions. After the “Ulsa Treaty” was rigged up, modern labour\unions similar to those in Jinnampho, Sinchang-ri in Pyongyang\and Kunsan were formed in many parts of Korea.


Needless to say, the\unions in those days were formed spontaneously with factories as a unit, but undoubtedly the mass struggle of the workers for the class interests started after the formation of these labour\organizations. Entering the 1910s, labour disputes arose in various parts of the country. In the 1920s such nationwide legal labour\organizations as the Workers’ Mutual-Aid Society, Labour Congress\and Labour League Congress were formed,\and these developed the workers’ struggle rom a simple dispute for the improvement of labour conditions to a patriotic, political movement opposing the aggression of Japanese imperialism. The Japanese imperialists, proclaiming the “Public Peace Maintenance Act”, began to suppress the mass labour\organizations.


They arrested the workers involved in labour disputes, disbanded labour\organizations\and banned assemblies. This was a telling blow to the labour movement in our country.


In this situation, the executive bureau of the Red International of Labour\unions adopted the resolution, Theses on the Tasks of the Revolutionary Labour\union Movement in Korea, also known as the September Theses, in September 1930. The resolution emphasized that labour\unions should be formed by industries\and keep factory committees\or labour consultation rooms there in\order for a\union to have a solid infrastructure.\and in October 1931 the secretariat of the Pan-Pacific Labour\union made an analysis of the actual situation of the labour movement in Korea\and set immediate tasks for forming underground Red labour\unions.


Supported by the international communist labour\union movement, a brisk campaign was unfolded in our country rom 1931 on to form Red labour\unions in such industrial cities as Pyongyang, Hungnam, Wonsan, Chongjin, Seoul, Pusan\and Sinuiju. The\unions played a considerable role in propagating Marxism among the working masses\and awakening them to class consciousness, but they were destined to end their existence without really coming into their own because of the schemes of factionalists\and harsh suppression by the enemy. At the time we were going to the Sinhung area with our September Appeal, most of the labour\union leaders were behind bars,\where they turned traitor,\or took shelter in a life of seclusion. In actual fact, the labour\unions existed in name only.


We had learned a serious lesson rom the history of the labour movement in our country, a movement full of twists\and turns because of the incorrect leadership of the revolutionary masses.


Analysing  the  history  of  the  previous  labour  movement critically, we came to the conclusion that the preparations for the all-people resistance could only be promoted in a proper way if we mixed with the working class, restructured the labour\unions as soon as possible\and relied entirely on the strength\and wisdom of the working masses.

In this sense, the publication of the September Appeal served as an occasion to revitalize the labour\and peasant\union movements, which had been extremely dull. Its publication would also bring about a turn in our line to cope with the outbreak of the Sino-Japanese War.


While climbing Mt. Chongsan, I talked with Jang Hae U about the labour\unions.

As he had travelled around Korea, China\and the maritime provinces of the Soviet\union on behalf of the independence movement, Jang was well-informed on the people in Hamhung\and Hungnam, who had been connected with the Pacific Labour\union in the past. He told me that the chief of the Korean branch of the Pacific Labour\union in Vladivostok, a subordinate to the Red International of Labour\unions, had been a Korean named Kim Ho Ban,\and that under his guidance a Hamhung committee was formed in February 1931, bringing the Hamhung Workers’ League for the first time under Red influence.


Through Jang I came to know the names of quite a few cadres of the Red labour\unions in Hamhung, including a Japanese worker named Baba Masao. According to Jang, Kim Ho Ban operated with his wife in Hamhung, Pyongyang\and Seoul, carrying with him 1,200 won sent by the Vladivostok branch of the Pacific Labour\union as\union funds. In the summer of 1931 he was arrested by the police. Even the Japanese members of the labour\unions in Hamhung affiliated with the Pacific Labour\union were arrested in 1932\or in 1933.


In\order to fill the vacuum created in the labour movement at Hamhung\and Hungnam,\and to breathe new life into it, we had already seen to it that Kwon Yong Byok dispatched to this area Pak Kum Jun, Kim Sok Yon\and other political operatives experienced in underground work. Nevertheless, they also were unable to escape the dragnet of the Japanese imperialists who were determined to root out the labour movement in this area. Several labour\union leaders, including Pak Kum Jun, had been arrested\or detained, leaving a lot of things undone.


In view of this situation, we had dispatched since spring 1937 several political operatives trained in West Jiandao to the Hungnam area.


When we reached the summit of Mt. Chongsan, Han Cho Nam, head of the small unit operating in the secret base of the Sinhung area, came to us unexpectedly.


When I asked him why he had come when I had told him to wait for us in the secret camp, he said that he could not feel easy, for there was a Noguchi’s villa in Pujon,\and the enemy surveillance in the region was stricter than ever before. As he arrived, I sent Jang Hae U back to Sinpha. rom there Han guided us.


Soon a wide, blue lake appeared before us. Han explained that this was dam No. 2 of Pujon Lake. Walking along the left shore of the lake, we could see the dam No. 1. There was a police station near the dam,\and Noguchi’s villa was one mile up rom there, Han said.


In\order to build up a munitions industry in Korea\and monopolize the power\and chemical industries in the country, Noguchi, head of a newly-emergent financial combine, had built hydropower stations, a Korean Nitrogenous Fertilizer Co., Ltd\and a munitions plant in Hungnam. Then he had a villa built in a place convenient for supervising the construction of the hydropower stations at Pujon\and Hochon.

 

If one traces the tragic history of Pujon Lake, one can see how cruelly Noguchi exploited Koreans.


After inspecting the Pujon Plateau in 1925, Noguchi wrote to Governor-General Saito that the area was rich in water\and forest resources\and that labour was cheap. He added that he would like to build power stations there. Saito replied that he was free to start the projects with the cheap labour since the Constitution of the Empire of Japan guaranteed his right to do it.


The Pujon dam project started in the mid-1920s\and during the construction of the watercourse, 3,000 Korean workers lost their lives in various accidents because no safety measures had been taken. When the dam project was finished, they closed the sluice gates without bothering to move the peasant households on the lake because they were in a hurry to fill the dam. As a result some 600 peasant households were left homeless in this man-made flood disaster. They then claimed that the dam would be protected by the god of water if a girl was offered as a sacrifice\and committed the atrocity of throwing a young girl into the water on the opening day of the waterway.

Noguchi always babbled about his conviction that Korean workers should be regarded as simple draught animals. He behaved so cruelly during the project that even the Japanese people were disgusted, saying, “Not a grass grows on the places trodden by Noguchi.”

As the surveillance in the vicinity of Noguchi’s villa was strict, we skirted around it\and arrived at the Tongogol Secret Camp in Sinhung, our main destination, after some days.

On our way we met nearly 20 young men who were living in mountains to escape the Japanese imperialists. Their reasons for taking shelter on the mountains were different. One had run away after killing a vicious foreman with a stone at the construction site of the Pujongang Hydropower Station; some had escaped when discovered stealing dynamite at the site;\and others had run away after being caught by police while carrying around leaflets reading “Down with Japanese imperialism!”\and “Noguchi manufactures fertilizer out of our blood”. These leaflets they had picked up on their way rom Hamhung to Hungnam.

A tall young man nicknamed Choe Myonjang, hailing rom Kowon, called himself an “officially-approved communist”. “Myonjang” is a nickname his fellows had given him, not because he held an official post, but because his face was long, like a radish. (In Korean, Myonjang has two meanings—one, subcounty chief\and the other, long face.) “Communist” was a nickname he had given himself. Leaving middle school in Seoul in mid-course, as his family could not afford the school fee, he had returned to Kowon\and wandered about the streets for some time with no particular job. Around that time a Red labour-union incident had broken out in a factory nearby. The enemy had detained not only the people involved in it but also those under suspicion, “Choe Myonjang” being one of them. During interrogation he had told them he knew nothing. They had put him under torture for allegedly telling a lie, even pouring water mixed with ground pepper into his nostrils.


Unable to bear any more, he had falsely confessed that he had engaged in the labour\union movement. Ironically, it was a detective rom the special political division that at this point turned him into a communist by inadvertently teaching him things of which he had been unaware.


The detective said, “How come you believe in communism? I want to know your reasons. You will say you don’t know. All the communists say that they will wipe out exploitation\and oppression in this world\and build worker-peasant power. So, didn’t you engage in the communist movement for that purpose? Tell me.” He had answered, “Yes, I did.” During a three-month-long preliminary examination of this kind, he acquired an elementary knowledge of communism,\and by the time he had served his one-year prison term, he had become a full-fledged “communist”. The Japanese police continued to shadow him. “Communist Choe Myonjang”, brought into existence by the detective of the Kowon police station, had set off northward, scaling mountains in search of the true communist movement. On his way he had come across other young men\and had been living with them in the mountains.


He said that all the young men present there were determined to fight the Japanese\and fight for communism.


Kim Phyong laughed most at his story. Saying that even Marx\and Engels would burst into laughter at his tale, Kim Phyong told us, “I learned that Marx said the bourgeoisie was producing not only commodities profitable to them but also the proletariat who would entomb them. Now the Japanese imperialist police have manufactured a communist who will entomb them.”


I told my men, “You see? Had we not come to the homeland, would we have come to know this reality? The young people here are wandering in the mountains, searching for us, determined to fight Japanese imperialism.”

I gave the young people a copy of the September Appeal\and told them to get in touch with the secret base on Mt. Okryon.


On my journey through the Pujon mountains I inspected some secret camps\and studied the terrain. I found the area most suited for the armed struggle for the future all-people resistance. The range was linked to the Paektu mountains.

Arriving at the secret camp in Tongogol in a dense pine forest, we found about 30 political operatives, heads of revolutionary\organizations, core members of labour\and peasant\unions rom the east coast area along the Pujon mountains.


Wi In Chan, Kim Kong Su\and Kim Hyok Chol, who had built up secret\organizations in the Hungnam area under the guidance of Kim Jae Su\and Kim Jong Suk, appeared in the camp. They reeked of fish. When I asked them what the matter was, they said that they had each brought a pack of mackerel in\order to disguise themselves as fish peddlers to hoodwink the enemy. Three of them were bosom friends who had grown up together in Taoquanli rom childhood. In their boyhood they had longed for the Soviet\union so much that they had gone on an adventurous journey to her maritime provinces without the knowledge of their parents. The parents\and relatives of the three men were very sound in their ideology.


On assignment rom the ARF\organization in Taoquanli, Wi In Chan infiltrated the Hungnam area around May 1937. He was soon reinforced with Kim Kong Su\and other operatives. At that time Ho Sok Son was dispatched to Wonsan, Ri Hyo Jun to the Sinhung Coalmine\and Kang Pyong Son to Changsong. Pak U Hyon in Chongjin began to work with the ARF\organization there.


The Hungnam chapter of the ARF had been formed in August of that year, I was told. The\organization had already embraced quite a number of workers\and was running in a lively manner. Wi In Chan, head of the chapter, had his mother keep a snack-bar for workers\and used it as a liaison place; then he reported his work to Kim Jae Su rom time to time. The story about how they formed the first\organization in Hungnam was very instructive.


The operatives rom Taoquanli set foot first in the construction site of a chemical factory in Pongung. There was a 14-year-old boy among the workers whose job it was to bring heated rivets\and throw them up to a riveter working in a high place. One day a tragic accident resulted in the death of the boy. A heated rivet he had thrown up hit an iron rod that was falling down; the rivet fell straight into a carbide drum, exploding the drum. The boy was burned all over\and by the time the other workers had rushed over to him, he was already dead.


A Japanese foreman made haste to take the dead body to a hospital. If he made it seem as if the boy had died after receiving medical treatment, he could appease the workers, who were bound to complain about the lack of safety apparatus. He could also avoid having to compensate the boy’s family for his death. When our operatives exposed the foreman’s calculations to the indignant workers, they raised a hue\and cry. Frightened, the foremen did nothing with the corpse. The workers held a funeral for the boy\and put pressure on the factory authorities to compensate his family.


After this incident our operatives in Hungnam won the confidence of the workers\and formed the first\organization among the workers of the hydrochloric acid workshop. They ran it as a legal\organization under the name of “Aid Association”. One day an unusual event took place. A middle-aged man appeared abruptly in front of the association\and introduced himself, saying, “I’m rom Profintern.” Profintern was an abbreviation for the Red International of Labour\unions. Apparently he had been active in the Pacific Labour\union at one time. Introducing himself pompously in this way, he went on to advise them: “I warn you, be prudent. The Japanese have gone wild these days with the start of the Sino-Japanese War. Don’t offend them. I advise you not to make yourselves unnecessarily conspicuous just to get something like compensation. You might ruin me, as I’m on their blacklist.”


He then disappeared in haste.


From then on the operatives in Hungnam began to guard against those who had been related with the labour\unions, saying they changed themselves rom ultra-left to ultra-right.


Kim Sok Yon, who had been dispatched on a mission to expand party\organizations in the labour\unions in Sinhung, Hungnam\and Soho, grumbled that many of those who had been involved in labour\unions in the past became frightened by the Japanese imperialist suppression\and were following the road of compromise, just like the “White labour\unions” in Japan\and the trade\unionists in Europe.


According to Jang Hae U, the Red labour\unions in the Hungnam area had fought efficiently against Japan in their early days. In 1930 the labour\union there had built a cellar near the factory to keep secret documents\and had conducted their activities briskly. The\union members printed appeals in the cellar\and at night put up anti-Japanese leaflets in the streets.\where had the brave Red labour\union gone?


I pointed out that it had been wrong for them to neglect the people involved in the Pacific Labour\union\and that these people would not take the road of trade\unionism if they were given some good revolutionary guidance. I also indicated the way they should follow in their future struggle.


“First of all, we must form more\organizations subordinate to the ARF in towns, rural communities, fishermen’s villages,\and mines on the east coast. We must discover all the people who were formerly involved in labour\and peasant\unions\and are hiding now, so as to prepare the resistance force of tens of thousands in Sinhung, Hungnam, Hamhung\and Wonsan in at least a few years. Secret guerrilla bases should be built centring on the Pujon mountains\and in the immediate future a number of armed units, each with hundreds of men, should be formed. Shock brigades should be\organized among the workers,\and paramilitary corps among the peasants. These must all be invisible secret\organizations.


“We must ensure that the September Appeal penetrate into the masses as silently as an underground current.

 

“In the early days of the anti-Japanese revolution our men outnumbered our weapons, but now we have more rifles than men. We must arm all the young people in the homeland with our surplus rifles so that they can rise up in an all-people resistance at a decisive moment.” This is the gist of what I said at that time.

The next day, after the talk, I proceeded to the Sinhung Coalmine,\where enemy surveillance was less severe. Ri Hyo Jun, representative of the mine at the meeting, guided me along with Han Cho Nam.

The unfortunate miners’ families, numbering 300, were leading a suffocating life in decayed, ramshackle barracks. At the mine scores of people died every year rom labour accidents\and various diseases. I gathered the\organization members\and core elements of the labour\union in a secret place on the mountain behind the mine\and explained the September Appeal to them.


During my visit to the mine an\organization member called on me\and told me that his cousin had been a cadre of a Red labour\union\and was now living under an assumed name. I found that his cousin had come to Sinhung when there was a crackdown of labour\union members. As the\union had misguided a strike, many had been arrested\and others had become stooges of the Japanese imperialists, giving away the\organization’s secrets. As the police were arresting the labour\union leaders, the man had narrowly escaped to the mine. He was not appearing in public because he was ashamed to see his colleagues of the labour\union.


Before leaving the mine I met him\and asked him to wage the revolution with us. He said that he would come out rom his hiding place, put the damaged\union back in\order\and meet the demands of the September Appeal at any cost. He had the list of the\union members\and knew most of the people who had been engaged in the labour\unions in the Hungnam area.


Having established a link between him\and the members of our organizations in Hungnam, I left for Phungsan with a light heart. I slept a night at the Phungsan Secret Base on Pulgaemi Hill\and proceeded directly to the building site of the Hwangsuwon dam. The pitiable existence of the labourers there, who were building a dam despite the rain\and wind in the rough land of Ryongbuk, was no different rom that of the coalminers in Sinhung who suffered rom backbreaking labour\and diseases.


Kimppai, a former believer in the Chondoist faith\and a political operative we had dispatched to the area, guided us in Phungsan, wearing a Western suit\and wielding a walking stick.


Then we passed by the county town of Phungsan\and met Pak In Jin in a secluded hunter’s house in a slash-and-burn farming village. I still remember the night in that village,\where we shared our anxiety over the destiny of the country while eating roasted potatoes freshly harvested that year.


That night Pak In Jin denounced Choe Rin as the worst quisling in the country. He hated most Choe Rin, Choe Nam Son\and Ri Kwang Su, the so-called “three patriots”. The reason he loathed them especially, he said, was that they despised blindly the Korean nation as uncivilized.


“I’ve never yet seen any man who regards his nation as inferior follow the right path,” he said.

He was right. A man wages revolution with faith,\and faith puts confidence\and pride in his compatriots above confidence in a political ideal. If a man has no confidence\or pride in his fellow countrymen, how can he have patriotism?


Walking in the dark night after saying good-bye to Pak, I thought about it all the way. I quoted his words when I explained the idea of the September Appeal to the political operatives in Phungsan. I emphasized that the only way for us to follow was to prepare for an all-people resistance with confidence in our people, in our working class.

 

The secret visit we paid to the homeland with our great programme for the liberation of the country, at a time when the mountains\and fields were rich with autumnal tints, was not futile.


After we had made our rounds in the Sinhung\and Phungsan areas, the forces for nationwide resistance increased rapidly in various parts of the country—Pujon, Hamhung, Hungnam, Wonsan, Tanchon, Phungsan\and Sinhung.


One after another, news arrived of the formation of Huchiryong paramilitary corps following the creation of workers’ shock brigade at the construction site of the Hwangsuwon dam. Strikes were continually being staged in factories\and contract labourers deserted their workplaces en masse.


Workers’ shock brigades were formed in many factories\and coal-mines in the Hamhung-Sinhung area. They\organized slow-downs\and sabotage through faulty construction\and a succession of explosive accidents.


It was around that time that a propaganda poster on the September Appeal was found plastered on the railing of the Manse Bridge\and at the Kuchon Pavilion on Mt. Tonghung in Hamhung. A rumour also spread that Kim Il Sung had had his hair cut at a barber’s in downtown Hamhung, while another rumour had it that Kim Il Sung had even been admitted to a Japanese army hospital.


The heads of\organizations in Hamhung\and Hungnam took a new turn in their work with labour\unions after receiving the September Appeal. They discovered nearly 100 people who had been involved in labour\unions\and were in hiding,\and embraced them all in the ARF. The labour\union in Hungnam became a reservoir for workers’ shock brigades.


Had it not been for the “Hyesan incident”, the members of the\organizations in the Hungnam area would have carried out even greater amounts of work. Owing to the aftermath of this incident, Wi In Chan, Kim Kong Su\and Kim Ung Jong were arrested\and confined in Hamhung Prison.


The activities of our\organizations in Wonsan, Munchon\and Chonnaeri were also brisk. The members of the\organization in the Chonnaeri Cement Factory\organized a strike involving 1,000 workers in the autumn of the year when the September Appeal was published, throwing the enemy into confusion.


Jong Il Ryong, who was once Vice-Premier, had worked at the Munchon Smeltery. He was proud of the fact that there were many\organization members in his smeltery before liberation. He said that he fought against the Japanese foremen on many occasions under their influence, but at that time he was not aware that it was the members of secret\organizations who were pulling the strings. The very day when I made a speech in Pyongyang at a triumphal return ceremony after liberation, the smeltery started turning out its first molten\ore. This was also a patriotic deed, initiated by the members of the ARF who had been engaged in underground activities.


Our political operatives\and\organization members continued their struggle even in prison, giving publicity to the September Appeal.


Our September Appeal exerted a truly great influence\and played a decisive role in linking the revolutionary movement in the homeland to us on Mt. Paektu.


Minister of Construction Choe Jae Ha, who had been a worker at the Suphung Hydropower Station, said, while he was still alive, that rom the end of the 1930s on nearly all the workers in big factories\and construction sites in northern Korea apparently acted under the influence of the\organizations connected with Mt. Paektu,\and that he had participated in strikes\and slow-downs on several occasions.


It was true. The ARF took root in all industrial regions of the country at the time\and the working class waged a dynamic struggle under its influence. This was an answer to the Japanese imperialists who had provoked the Sino-Japanese War\and were hell-bent on suppression\and exploitation of the Korean people.


No matter how zealously those men who had abandoned their\original aim of anti-Japanese national salvation\and surrendered to Japanese imperialism conducted anti-communist, pro-Japanese propaganda, our working class fought\and remained loyal to their principle of patriotism.


One day five\or six years after the issuance of the September Appeal, newspapers carried Jo Man Sik’s article advising the Korean students to volunteer for the Japanese army. There is no knowing whether it was written by Jo Man Sik himself\or invented by the Japanese imperialists, but anyhow the article startled the public. It seems that the people at that time thought, “As even Jo Man Sik turned traitor, which of the leaders of the national movement will be converting next?”


Nevertheless, the working class did not waver; they sped up the preparations for an all-people resistance in response to our policy. In a secret munitions factory in Hungnam,\where special weapons were being developed, a tremendous explosion took place. According to the enemy’s investigation, it was a deliberate explosion, not an accidental one. The members of our revolutionary\organizations infiltrated into such strictly guarded factories\and\organized silent activities, dealing blow after blow to the enemy. Our working class actively carried out the September Appeal.


The September Appeal served as a powerful weapon for communists engaged in the anti-Japanese armed struggle. When the situation changed at the outbreak of the Sino-Japanese War, we went deep among the ranks of the working people\and used this weapon to awaken them to revolutionary consciousness\and to rally them around the great cause of national liberation.




 Related articles

[Reminiscences]Chapter 15. Expansion of the Under-ground Front 7. A Written Warranty for a Good Citizen

[Reminiscences]Chapter 16. Crossing\and Recrossing the River Amnok  1. Expedition to Fusong

[Reminiscences]Chapter 16. Crossing\and Recrossing the River Amnok  2. Hundreds of Miles rom Xiaotanghe at One Go

[Reminiscences]Chapter 16. Crossing\and Recrossing the River Amnok  3. Guardsmen

[Reminiscences]Chapter 16. Crossing\and Recrossing the River Amnok  4. Across the Whole of Korea

[Reminiscences]Chapter 16. Crossing\and Recrossing the River Amnok  5. Kwon Yong Byok

[Reminiscences]Chapter 16. Crossing\and Recrossing the River Amnok  6. Events to Which I Could Not Remain Indifferent

[Reminiscences]Chapter 16. Crossing\and Recrossing the River Amnok  7. The Mother of the Guerrilla Army

[Reminiscences]Chapter 17. Korea Is Alive 1. Flames of Pochonbo (1)

[Reminiscences]Chapter 17. Korea Is Alive 2. Flames of Pochonbo (2)

[Reminiscences]Chapter 17. Korea Is Alive 3. Joint Celebration of Army\and People at Diyangxi

[Reminiscences]Chapter 17. Korea Is Alive 4. Photographs\and Memory

[Reminiscences]Chapter 17. Korea Is Alive 5. The Battle of Jiansanfeng

[Reminiscences]Chapter 17. Korea Is Alive 6. The Boys Who Took Up Arms

[Reminiscences]Chapter 17. Korea Is Alive 7. My Thought about Revolutionary Obligation

[Reminiscences]Chapter 18. In the Flames of the Sino-Japanese War 1. To Meet a New Situation

[Reminiscences]Chapter 18. In the Flames of the Sino-Japanese War 2. Kim Ju Hyon

[Reminiscences]Chapter 18. In the Flames of the Sino-Japanese War 3. Getting the Peasantry Prepared

[Reminiscences]Chapter 18. In the Flames of the Sino-Japanese War 4. Choe Chun Guk in His Days in the Independent Brigade



    

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