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Digital Archive International History Declassified

August 30, 1956

DRAFT OF A STATEMENT BY YUN GONG-HEUM AT THE CC PLENUM OF THE KOREAN WORKERS' PARTY IN AUGUST 1956

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    Yun Gong-heum presents a lengthy criticism of Kim Il Sung's dictatorship. He accuses "sycophants" of straying from Marxist-Leninist principles and preserving Kim's personality cult.
    "Draft of a Statement by Yun Gong-heum at the CC Plenum of the Korean Workers' Party in August 1956," August 30, 1956, History and Public Policy Program Digital Archive, GARF, Fond 5446, Opis 98, Delo 721, Listy 191-211. Translated by Gary Goldberg. https://digitalarchive.wilsoncenter.org/document/120175
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Translation from Chinese

DRAFT OF A STATEMENT BY YUN GONG-HEUM AT THE CC PLENUM OF THE KOREAN WORKER'S PARTY IN AUGUST 1956

Comrades!

We are discussing a quite serious and important question at the present time in order to strengthen our Party.

I think that a sincere discussion and polemics might help fully reveal a number of serious shortcomings and mistakes made by our Party in the past both in intra-Party life as well as in work with the masses, and also explain the sources from which these shortcomings and mistakes arose in order for our Party to become a fighting Party, loyal to proletarian internationalism, so that the entire people rally around our Party more closely for the purpose of the triumphant peaceful reunification of the motherland, the successful building of socialism in its northern part, so that there actually is Leninist unity inside our Party.

Methods of threats and surveillance are being employed with regard to our comrades, who are devoted to the Party and the revolution and who offered constructive opinions and suggestions, and in this case are no ordinary Party members but members and candidate members of the CC expressing their opinions and suggestions.

He himself* grossly tramples on intra-Party democracy and suppresses criticism; these actions completely contradict the Party charter and the Leninist norms of Party life; this means undermining revolutionary Marxist-Leninist principles.

* This evidently means Cde. Kim Il Sung.

Comrades!

As you know, the unhealthy phenomena existing in our Party are unusual and quite serious.

First, Leninist principles are not being observed in the life of our Party. The ideology of the cult of personality has become widespread inside the Party. This causes enormous harm to the life of the entire Party. There is no genuine unity in the Party ranks, and bureaucratism, the cult of the hero, and factionalism have become widespread; intra-Party democracy, criticism, and self-criticism are being suppressed; a toleration of flattery, sycophancy, and blind submission is occurring; and arbitrary actions of some comrades are possible in the Party.

Second, a misuse of Party power with respect to the people is taking place.

All this weakens the people's trust in our Party and a feeling closeness to it.

It goes without saying that our Party is devoted to internationalism and Marxism-Leninism.

Therefore our Party should diligently study the experience of fraternal Parties, especially the experience of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union.

As everyone knows, the 20th CPSU congress has the greatest historical importance for the international Communist movement. A deep Marxist analysis of the contemporary international revolutionary movement was given in the decisions of this congress; they should become the action program of Marxist Parties and worker's parties of the entire world, including our Party, too.

In spite of this, under the pretext of a so-called "national spirit" and soc-called "national features" part of the officials of the leading nucleus of our Party did not intend to put the decisions of the 20th CPSU congress into effect, and what is more, they consider [them] incorrect, as a result of which a number of serious mistakes continue to be made at the present time with which our Party, being loyal to Marxism-Leninism, cannot tolerate.

I think that the aforementioned issues are in no way immaterial issues; on the contrary, they are all extremely critical contemporary issues of a quite principled nature having vital importance for the strengthening of our Party and its leadership of the revolution.

Right now I want to touch on some specific issues.

Concerning the decisions of the 20th CPSU congress and the 3rd congress of our Party.

In the first paragraph of the Decree of the CPSU Central Committee "Overcoming the Cult of Personality and Its Consequences" it says:

"The CPSU Central Committee notes with satisfaction that the decisions of the historic 20th congress of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union have encountered the complete approval and warm support of our entire Party, the entire Soviet people, fraternal Communist and worker's Parties, the workers of the great commonwealth of socialist countries, and millions of people in capitalist and colonial countries. This is also understandable since the 20th congress of the Party, which marked a new stage in the creative development of Marxism-Leninism, gave a deep analysis of the contemporary international and domestic situation, armed the Communist Party and the entire Soviet people with a majestic plan of further struggle to build Communism, and opened new prospects for the joint activity of all Parties of the working class to avert the threat of a new war, and for the interests of the workers".

As the comrades well know, the fraternal Parties and progressive people of the entire world warmly support and approve the historic decisions of the 20th CPSU congress; the fraternal Parties will combine the spirit of the decisions of the 20th congress with the specific situation in their countries and take it as a fighting action program in the life and policy of the Party.

However, how did the 3rd congress of the Korean Worker's Party, convened after the 20th CPSU congress, go? The 3rd congress of the Worker's Party was not guided by the spirit of the decisions of the 20th CPSU congress.

In the report of Cde. Kim Il Sung all the shortcomings and mistakes in work were blamed on anti-Party elements Pak Heonyeong, Ri Sung [Yon], and others, and also on factionalists [He Ka Yi], Pak Il-u, and others; criticism and self-criticism were not developed with respect to the series of mistakes and shortcomings which occurred in Party work in the past and in the leadership of the revolution; it was asserted that the cult of personality occurred only with respect to Pak Heonyeong and the importance of the decisions of the 20th CPSU congress was belittled.

It was not noted in the summary report to the congress, in the resolutions of the congress, or in the statements at the congress how necessary it is to learn from the 20th CPSU congress.

After the congress members of our Party discussed the issues of collective leadership and the 20th CPSU congress; however at the city conference of Party activists Cde. Kim Chang-man intimidated Party members, saying that there is no cult of personality in our Party and [he] thereby prevented the spirit of the decisions of the 20th CPSU congress from penetrating the work of our entire Party.

Therefore in our country the decisions of the 20th CPSU congress are actually considered incorrect, and comrades discussing these issues are subjected to threats and intimidation; surveillance of them has been established.

In such a situation no one is bold enough to openly talk about the serious facts which tell of the harm which the cult of personality is bringing to our Party. This cannot fail to be considered strange.

However, this abnormal situation was not created for any other reason, but with the assistance of some senior comrades in our national governing Party apparatus. Thinking about this, we cannot fail to be concerned for the revolution and for our Party, which is going forward under the high banner of Marxism-Leninism.

Why not bring the spirit of the decisions of the 20th CPSU congress to the people and the members of our Party? One of the most important rules of Marxism-Leninism is to explain the role of the popular masses, the Party, and individual personalities in history, to explain that the main force of historical development is the popular masses, and to also explain how great are the merits of political leaders; a cult of personality cannot be permitted with regard to them.

Why did the third congress of our Party did not want to hold a deep discussion of the different issues touching on the principles of Party life, the ties between leaders and the Party and popular masses and the leadership of the revolution and policy, based on the experience of the 20th CPSU congress and the experience of the fraternal Parties?

As is well-known, the liberation of our country was by no means accomplished with the support of our own revolutionary forces, but with the support of the great Soviet Army. Our victory in the difficult period of waging war was also inseparable from the international support of the great Soviet people and the aid of the fraternal Chinese people's volunteers.

The postwar restoration and construction would also have been unthinkable if not for the sincere and unselfish aid from the peoples of the Soviet Union, China, and other fraternal countries.

Based on our own practical experience our people and the members of our Party consider international friendship and solidarity our highest banner. We hope to get constant aid from the fraternal countries, and especially the Soviet Union, not only materially, but spiritually.

Therefore in the spiritual life of our people and the members of our Party it is impossible to walk away from the spirit of the decisions of the 20th CPSU congress, and it is also completely impermissible to suppress the ideology of internationalism among the members of our Party.

Attempts to exterminate the spirit of the 20th CPSU congress from our Party life are by no means an expression of the will of our Party members, but are the expression of some comrades from our Party's governing apparatus.

The reason that the 20th CPSU congress is considered incorrect ought not be sought anywhere else.

It is that in the decisions of the 20th congress a deep Marxist-Leninist analysis of the work in the past was given, an irreconcilable struggle against the cult of personality of Stalin was unleashed, and measures were outlined to decisively overcome its harmful consequences.

The fact is, these decisions are opposed to and declare a fight against the cult of personality, which leads to a reduction of the role of the Party and the popular masses and a reduction of the role of collective leadership inside the Party, often carrying with it serious oversights in work and gross violations of socialist legality.

What they fear is that the more the spirit of the decisions of the 20th congress are implemented consistently, the stronger will be the blow to the ideology of the cult of personality, which is seriously spreading in our Party; the more the Leninist principles of Party life are guaranteed the more an atmosphere of democracy will develop, and the more successfully the shortcomings which exist in Party life and Party work will be exposed.

I am thinking of the following: not to follow the spirit of the decisions of the 20th congress when working out the policy of our Party itself means intolerable factional actions betraying Marxism-Leninism; such a situation is intolerable in our Party, one of the constituent parts of the international Communist movement.

The 3rd congress grossly violated and trampled on intra-Party democracy; not one of the statements at the congress escaped censorship.

Therefore I suggest: in accordance with the spirit of the decisions of the 20th congress conduct an inspection of the work and policy of our Party in the past in the spirit of criticism and self-criticism.

Concerning the issue of the cult of personality in our country.

First of all, before moving to this issue I should engage in self-criticism myself.

In the past I have myself shouted: long live Cde. Kim Il Sung, and during this period I considered this correct.

However, checking my actions in the past in accordance with the spirit of the decisions of the 20th congress, I understood that such an understanding was wrong.

An extraordinarily strong cult of personality of Cde. Kim Il Sung exists in our country, and its consequences are very great.

In our country the name "Kim Il Sung" is used as a symbol of law and authority, as a synonym of the struggle and the happiness of the people, as a synonym of the Party, the government, victory, and the revolution.

Next, I will cite some songs and verses as an example:

"The Song of General Kim Il Sung" to words of Ri [Tsan], music by Kim [Won Kyon], playing an important role in spreading the cult of personality.

"The Wonderful Motherland" to words by Pak [The Yon], music by Kim [Puk Wen]:

"Spring has Come to the Wonderful Motherland of Green Willows and Pure Springs, to the Land given by General Kim.

The Songs of Ploughmen Ring Out In the Sky ".

"The Song of the Transplantation of Rice" to words by [Tzo Yon Cher], music by Kim [Puk Wen].

"Transplant the Seedlings! Transplant the Seedlings! Transplant the Seedlings to These Watered Fields, to those Watered Fields,

to the Land Given by the Leader.

You will Greet the Rich Autumn Harvest".

It is evident from these examples that all the good deeds are described such that they come not from the Party and government, but are the gifts of one man, Cde. Kim Il Sung.

In this period, there were very many such descriptions in verses, novels, songs, plays, films, and other works of art.

In a 1956 textbook for teacher's schools, "The Methodology for Teaching History" on page 18 there is such an expression:

"It is necessary to teach students that the organizing role of the Korean Worker's Party is inseparable from the life and activity of its creator and organizer, Marshal Kim Il Sung. Regarding this aspect of history, it is not necessary to limit oneself to the materials included in the program: it is necessary to use additional materials, to explain in addition that the inflexible will in battle of Marshal Kim Il Sung, his wisdom, courage, love for the motherland, and self-sacrifice are an example, to instill in the students a feeling of love and admiration toward him".

Such textbooks of the Ministry of Education are filled this year with laudatory speeches, songs, photographs, and stories making a fetish of Cde. Kim Il Sung.

During the 11 years since liberation during an assessment of the great successes achieved by our people and Party members under the leadership of the Party and thanks to international aid, they do not say that they result from the creative struggle of a brave people and Party members led by our Party, patriotism, and a spirit of self-sacrifice but, on the contrary, they ascribe them to the brilliant leadership of a single person, Cde. Kim Il Sung. This has given rise to praise of supernatural qualities and a fetish of a single person, an underestimation of the strength of the people and Party, has belittled their creative struggle, political consciousness, and collective wisdom.

This exerts an unfavorable influence on the people, Party members, and cadre at all levels, suppresses the free expression of opinion by the people, and paralyzes the activity of the people in fighting for the interests of the revolution and the state. The diminution of the democratic rights of Party members has led to bureaucratism and glory-seeking spreading among part of the leaders, that is, inattention to the interests of the people, a widespread atmosphere of flattery, and a blind submission to leaders, to Cde. Kim Il Sung, for example.

At the present time even such a situation is being created that in an assessment of Party-mindedness the matter is decided to a very great degree by the degree of worship of Cde. Kim Il Sung.

Such a situation does not provide the people and Party members with an opportunity to develop criticism.

Because the labels of "factionalist", "anti-Party elements", and "hostile element" are often pinned on [people] for correct criticism.

Some comrades say that a "system of collective coordination of decisions" which previously existed in our Party has acquired a comprehensive guarantee.

However, frequent convocations of the Central Committee do not at all mean that a system of collective leadership is being ensured.

There has been a shortage of criticism and self-criticism in the recent space of time at CC meetings.

A collective leadership should not only regularly convene a plenum, but should also conscientiously accept sincere opinions offered by comrades, discover shortcomings in work, boldly exercise self-criticism, and thus educate the entire Party not to allow a repetition of mistakes.

In the past the cult of personality caused serious damage inside the Party, democracy was crudely trampled in Party life, criticism and self-criticism were suppressed, and the Leninist principles of Party life were violated.

For example, why were Cde. Pak [Yon Pin] and Cde. Choe Yong-geon, who were not members of the Central Committee in the past, additionally elected to the Central Committee and the Politburo?

Choe Yong-geon, who in the past headed the Democratic Party, was unexpectedly elected Deputy Chairman of the Worker's Party. Could this really not harm the work of our Party in the area of a united front?

I think that this is contempt for the work in the united front and an insufficiently careful method. This will be a great hindrance in work to rally together broad circles of unaffiliated leaders and the people.

Comrades!

Before and after the 20th CPSU congress, before and after the 3rd congress of our Party, part of the comrades working in the Central Committee of the Party began to openly distort history.

I want to cite an article by Cde. Han Sung-do printed in Rodong Sinmun on 12 March 1956: "In May 1935 the 'League for the Rebirth of the Motherland' issued a great 10-point program having historical significance. The popular character of a Korean government and the prospects and goals of a revolution for the future were defined in this historical document, the very first revolutionary program in the history of the Korean people.

This revolutionary program of the 'League for the Rebirth of the Motherland' received the warm approval of the Korean people, and soon after its formation the League expanded and developed into an enormous force encompassing several hundred thousand people.

During this period, in spite of the repressions of the Japanese imperialists, the partisan detachment of Cde. Kim Il Sung and the 'League for the Rebirth of the Motherland' established close ties with the Union for the National Liberation of the region of [Kapsan], created and led by Pak [Tar] and other prominent revolutionary figures, and also with the other main revolutionary organizations in the country; in the '30s, they played "the direct leading role, even up to the 15 August liberation itself, and were the traditional main current in the revolutionary movement in Korea" during this entire period in a strike movement widely spread throughout the entire country, in events in Laojiao, and in other revolutionary acts of the people.

This was an example of an intentional falsification and praise of the  "League for the Rebirth of the Motherland".

Although in approximately 1935 rumors also spread that a  "League for the Rebirth of the Motherland" had been created in Northeast China under the leadership of the Chinese Communist Party, however its role was undeservedly embellished and exaggerated in spite of the fact that people in Korea did not know about the existence of the system of this League before the 15 August liberation of Korea. On the one hand, any revolutionary movement which occurred in the past both inside the country and beyond its borders is denied and viewed as factional activity, but the partisan warfare of Cde. Kim Il Sung and the system of the "League for the Rebirth of the Motherland" is exaggerated in every possible way. On the other hand, the place of the only legal successor in the re-creation of our Party stands out; completely unseasoned cadre from the [Kapsan] group are being promoted to the most important Party and government posts.

The anti-Japanese partisan warfare pursued by Cde. Kim ll Sung in the region of Eastern Manchuria of China is a glorious page written in the history of the national liberation struggle of the Korean people. However, there is no need to excessively embellish the anti-Japanese partisan warfare of Cde. Kim ll Sung.

It is generally known that partisan warfare against Japan in the region of Northeast China was waged by Chinese and Korean patriots located there under the leadership of the CCP;  Korean comrade Ri [Hon Kwan] was already operating in the south of Manchuria even before Cde. Kim Il Sung launched anti-Japanese partisan warfare.

Inasmuch as in the course of the partisan war of Cde. Kim Il Sung against the Japanese it was constantly necessary to deal with the punitive acts of the Japanese troops, but his bases could not establish sufficient ties with the popular masses and there was no opportunity to continue to extend the war further, in approximately the end of 1940 Cde. Kim Il Sung left Northeast China together with part of the Chinese comrades.

However, in the cities and villages of Korea patriots, workers, peasants, and student continued to actively wage a revolutionary war; outside Korea itself, in Japan, and in regions of North China the Korean Volunteer Army under the direct leadership of the CCP CC waged an armed struggle to overthrow Japanese imperialism even up to the very moment of liberation, 15 August 1945.

Why was it necessary to distort these historical facts and ignore them?

In the words of some comrades, for a study of a map of the "League for the Rebirth of the Motherland" system the publication of which was already halted after its compilation.

However, is the matter so in reality?

In very fact, the situation is this: a map of the system of the "League for the Rebirth of the Motherland" (three or four of the already-published versions of which do not agree with one another) was sent everywhere after publication and included this year in lists as training material for various schools, that is, for instructing the multi-thousand generation of youth with a falsified, distorted history.

In addition, work to expand and develop the system of the "League for the Rebirth of the Motherland" was done until very recently.

Is the real state of affairs with some comrades' assertion that in order to carry out research the publication of the system of the "League for the Rebirth of the Motherland" after its compilation was halted compatible from the point of view of logic?

The facts irrefutably reveal the falsity of this.

But shouldn't Cde. Pak [Kem Chor], deputy chief of the department, and Cde. Han Sung-do, Chief of the Organization Department, who worked for several years in the Organization Department, bear responsibility for the intentional dissemination of such a fabricated and distorted history inside and outside the Party?

They should bear political responsibility for this.

What about, how are the consequences of the cult of personality not serious?

In connection with this, the influence of comrades who participated in the [Kapsan] group and various unconscionable elements and sycophants is increasing in our Party, and in the governing state institutions; they are not doing Party work on the basis of Party principles, the Leninist principles of the development of democracy, a strengthening of the unity of the Party through mobilization, education, and conviction but by brutally trampling intra-Party democracy, using police methods of interrogation, intimidation, threats, and surveillance in work.

As regards the principled struggle and the principled disputes about such issues as the attitude toward the 20th CPSU congress, the ideology of the cult of personality which exists in our Party, about the system of the "League for the Rebirth of the Motherland", about policy with respect to cadre, about a number of shortcomings which exist in organizational and ideological work, which recently developed inside the Party, they did not proceed from a unity of views inside the Party when solving these problems but, on the contrary, for the purpose of threats and intimidation, they pinned labels of so-called factionalists and anti-Party elements in order to avoid eliminating the serious shortcomings and mistakes which exist in our Party.

Unity cannot be maintained inside the Party in such a manner.

If one is to strive for genuine unity inside the Party then it is necessary to unite all the comrades who were engaged in revolutionary activity both inside and outside Korea, to not exalt individual personalities infinitely, to not falsify history, but correctly assess the entire revolutionary activity of the past period; at the same time, it is necessary to be completely unflinching in the area of questions of Party work and policy, to exchange opinions from comradely positions, to encourage criticism, to help comrades who are launching correct criticism, it is not necessary to create any more such organizations inside the Party, it is necessary to have the same good attitude toward all comrades, and to use them in work in accordance with their merits, abilities, and moral qualities.

However, there is still a lack of fidelity to principle in the work of our Party cadre workers; they cannot work calmly because of unprincipled repression and constant transfers of cadre workers, but worry about tomorrow; manifestations of sycophancy are widespread, a large number of sycophants and yes-men incapable of work are concentrated in Party and government managerial bodies who are creating their own kind of nepotism, and there is an atmosphere of patriarchy.

This unavoidably causes harm to the Party and the revolution.

The harm of such a sort of ideology of a cult of personality has already seriously poisoned the work of our Party cadre. Such a situation needs to be corrected.

Next. The consequences of the actions of the cult of personality are also being expressed in such broadly distributed phenomena inside and outside our Party as bureaucratism, glory-seeking, sycophancy, and servility.

One can cite as an example a case which occurred with Cde. Kim [Sung Sung], the former Chief of the People's Committee of the province of North [Pyongan] [Pinan Pukdo] and Cde. Pak [Sung Bam], former Chief of the People's Committee of the province of North Pyongan [Pkhenan Pukdo], when work was being done on the winter grain purchases in 1954.

Seeking glory, they made a false report, distorting the facts, and in order to conceal their actions they resorted to bureaucratic methods, ignoring people's fates.

But in the national governing bodies of the Party they believed the words of such sycophants and acted together with them. As regards this issue, then although it is not known whether the rumors are correct about what was said about the grain purchases in any event, however, it needs to be noted that, without having precise figures, the higher authorities bureaucratically demanded lower authorities carry out orders about the purchase of 220,000 tons of grain which were not available; as a result of this the grain which they needed to feed themselves was taken away from peasants by force; occurrences were caused of a serious estrangement of the Party from the popular masses.

We should understand how serious are the obstacles which are created by such actions for strengthening the alliance between the working class and the peasants.

Therefore in 1955 the peasants of our country knew more sorrow than in any year of the 10 years since liberation, and the people's lives had reached the limit; you tremble from fear when recalling that period.

It ought not be forgotten that all our comrades fervently love the motherland, fervently love the Party and the revolution; they did not even submit in the face of the death with which the enemy threatened, and they continued to wage an underground struggle in difficult conditions.

However, why has a monument not been erected in honor of the comrades who heroically fell in battle at BaoTianBao [Translator's note: Pochonbo in Korean], but a bronze statue of Cde. Kim Il Sung was built? Why are monuments not built in honor of the people's warriors, the Chinese people's volunteers who died, in honor of our people, but bronze monuments of Cde. Kim Il Sung are being built everywhere?

Thus are the affairs of a small group of sycophants handled so incorrectly.

I think that the statements of some comrades from the governing Party group that inasmuch as our Party is a Marxist-Leninist Party in which the collegial nature of leadership is ensured, there is no cult of personality in it, are nothing more or less than absurd rubbish.

But perhaps a cult of personality existed in the CPSU because it is not a Marxist-Leninist Party?

Perhaps our Party is a more mature Party than the CPSU?

Such assertions are completely incorrect.

After the 3rd congress some of the senior officials of the CC governing bodies in our Party lied to the Party masses that no cult of personality exists in our Party.

These comrades, denying the real facts which clearly exist in our Party, openly deceived the Party masses in broad daylight; what is more, they assert that the honest comrades speaking before the Party are indeed factionalists trying to split the Party at the present time.

Are these really the morals and justice of Communists?

In accordance with the aforementioned the ideology of the cult of personality in our Party has already caused enormous harm to intra-Party life and the solidarity of the popular masses. It has weakened the democratic collective leadership in the Party, reduced the creative enthusiasm of Party members and the people, weakened Party solidarity, weakened the ideology of internationalism, the combat banner of our Party, and brought serious consequences with it in the form of the broadest flourishing of manifestations of an incorrect style of work in the Party (bureaucratism, careerism, glory-seeking, factionalism, flattery, secretiveness, threats, intimidation, etc.)

Concerning some shortcomings in agitation and propaganda work

Serious shortcomings continue to exist in the agitation and propaganda work of our Party.

The biggest shortcoming in the agitation and propaganda work of our Party is the following: the issues of our revolution, of the popular democratic system, and also of the role of the Party and the people are not at all constantly explained from positions of historical materialism, but propagandized completely antithetical to historical materialism, especially the reactionary and harmful theory of subjective idealism that personalities, heroes, create history.

As a consequence of this it is propagandized that Cde. Kim Il Sung personally distributed land, created people's power and the Party, carried out democratic reforms, led to victory in the Patriotic War, and saw to it that the work concerning the postwar revival and construction were crowned with brilliant success, and that henceforth the people will be able to achieve happiness and unity only with the aid of Cde. Kim Il Sung. Without Cde. Kim Il Sung there could not have been a revolution, victory, a future, and happiness; his words, his actions, his manners are the concentrated expression of the will of the Party and state; he is a talented leader, an incomparable and unique patriot, an invincible supreme commander-in-chief, a legendary hero, and he is the creator of all history.

Before and after the 20th CPSU congress and the 3rd congress of the Korean Worker's Party articles written by Pak Jeong-ae, Pak Geum-cheol, Han Sung-do, Ri [Il Kyon], and other comrades, articles were placed in the journal "Genlochsha (the publication of the CC of the Korean Worker's Party - [Soviet] translator's note) and in the agitator's notebook; textbooks used this year in educational institutions, verses, stories, plays, films, songs, operas…all other means of propaganda are overflowing with praise and admiration of Kim Il Sung. Just recently writer Son [Kyon] published memoirs under the headline "The White-Headed Mountain is Visible Everywhere" glorifying the cult of personality. In the 5 August edition of the newspaper Rodong Sinmun under the headline "Our Party was Created and Grew in a Severe Revolutionary Struggle" an article was published by Cde. Ri [Ho] which praised the "League for the Rebirth of the Motherland" and promoted the cult of personality.

I want to ask Cde. Kim Chang-man, who manages agitation and propaganda: in the final account, based on what motives, and after the 20th CPSU congress do they still continue to constantly publish stories, articles, and other works promoting and praising the cult of personality?

With such an approach that all victories were created by Cde. Kim Il Sung, we will not be able to understand in what historical conditions and situation these victories were won under the leadership of our Party; thanks to all the successes achieved by all the patriots through the specific efforts and struggle of all strata of the population, a struggle which was waged with a specific ratio of our forces to the enemy's; we will not be able to understand what is the strength of our social system of people's democracy, the great strength of the socialist means of production, and the laws of historical development. All this can unavoidably weaken the political self-consciousness of the people, weaken the class consciousness of the working class, paralyze their productive enthusiasm and thirst for struggle, and might weaken the consciousness that they are the true masters of the country, the motive force of history. This is only able to darken the conscience of our Party members and the people.

The worship of Cde. Kim Il Sung has also created many obstacles to the development of science in our country. Some officials from our scientific circles and some political workers have not been researching creatively and have not looked deeply into the reality which exists in our country, but have reduced their work to the quoting and the rote learning of phrases from the reports, statements, and speeches of Cde. Kim Il Sung.

As a consequence of this there are no discussions, no is no criticism,  and there is no deep Marxist-Leninist analysis in our country with regard to social reality; mechanically blind recitation, dogmatism, and formalism have dominated in the field of agitation and propaganda. Such phenomena are even more serious in the governing bodies of the Party. For an entire 10 years the Party CC Department of Agitation and Propaganda has mercilessly suppressed all views relating to an analysis of the reality which exists in Korea which do not coincide with the guidelines given by Cde. Kim Il Sung.

Hypocrisy, vanity, and sycophancy have unavoidably accompanied the spread of the ideology of the cult of personality.

Successes are exaggerated, regardless of the what the real lives of the people are, and it is asserted that, "the lives of the people are quickly stabilizing and improving", that there are "the very greatest successes", etc. Events which had an extremely insignificant, limited, or a partial nature are presented in propaganda as ubiquitous events. In the postwar period, although the lives of the people were stabilized, and a whole serious of serious mistakes were made, propaganda however has always showed that the people are living rather well. Therefore propaganda has become a hypocrisy and a lie in some way, it cannot enjoy the people's trust, and seems powerless to mobilize the people to struggle.

Second, it is necessary to point out that the so-called "national spirit" and the so-called "national features" weaken education in the spirit of internationalism.

Internationalism is propagandized very insufficiently in newspapers, magazines, novels, and illustrated publications; the section in the newspaper Rodong Sinmun familiarizing [readers] with life in the Soviet Union has already been eliminated; the international aid unselfishly given by the Soviet Union, the People's Republic of China, and the remaining countries of people's democracy is very poorly propagandized; and there is no mention of the Soviet songs and dances beloved by our people.

This cannot be considered a propaganda policy of our Party which is appropriate to a spirit of internationalism.

As is evident from the above, the serious mistakes which exist in the agitprop work of our Party consist of tolerance regarding idealism in agitprop work.

We should vigorous destroy the ideology of the cult of personality, which contradicts the theory of Marxism-Leninism, should educate Party members and the people that our victories are the people's victories, won under the Party's leadership; we should point to the great vitality of the popular democratic system; point to successes and failures clearly, fairly, and openly; it is necessary to strengthen criticism and self-criticism in agitprop organizations, encourage all scientific workers to think creatively, analyze and discuss phenomena; and it is necessary to vigorously put an end to dogmatism and formalism.

We should check all intra-Party training manuals, school textbooks, newspapers, verses, stories, songs, plays, films, etc. again; wash away the traces of everything that promotes the development of the cult of personality, and increase the international education of the proletariat in every possible way.

The 20th CPSU congress has the greatest importance with respect to the agitprop work of our Party because the 20th CPSU congress gave a detailed Marxist-Leninist analysis of our strength and the enemy's strength at the present stage, and clearly pointed out a course of guidance of the revolution of the Communist and worker's Parties of the entire world. As a result the 20th congress revived the Leninist principles of Party policy, and also gave a Marxist-Leninist analysis of relations between Parties, the people, and leaders in historical development.

The 20th CPSU congress has actually become a beacon of the world revolutionary movement. Its policy documents have enriched Marxist-Leninism even more, and clearly indicated the movement's path forward to the workers of the entire world and Marxist-Leninist Parties.

The propaganda and the implementation of the spirit of the decisions of the 20th CPSU congress in our Party signify a need for a Marxist-Leninist analysis of our work, a clear understanding of the contemporary situation, a creative understanding of the ways to achieve the reunification and independence of our country, and the building of socialism; it signifies a need to strengthen intra-Party Leninist solidarity even further.

The fact that the decisions of the 20th CPSU congress are considered incorrect in our Party is the most mistake of the agitprop organizations. I think that such a mistake contradicts Marxism-Leninism and is therefore intolerable.

And, finally, I am submitting several suggestions to the CC:

1. Vigorously guarantee intra-Party democracy in the CC and in Party organizations at all levels; immediately cease attaching the labels of factionalists or anti-Party elements on comrades who touch on the cult of personality; immediately halt the surveillance, the application of pressure, and other such methods with respect to members and candidate members of the CC. At the same time I suggest that all the above points be entered into a resolution of this Party CC plenum.

2. [We] ought to make a decision about the ideology of the cult of personality, the center of which is Cde. Kim Il Sung, and about its serious consequences in order to further strengthen and develop our glorious Party CC. I also suggest handing this decision over to the entire Party for discussion along with the minutes of the plenum.

Comrades! In offering some of the above suggestions I deeply believe that in the interests of the revolution and the strengthening of the Party our glorious Party will be able to quickly eliminate all the unattractive phenomena caused by the ideology of the cult of personality, and will be able to further strengthen Party discipline and achieve a solidarity of a genuinely Leninist type inside the Party.

Translated [by]:  [signature] (Dubrovsky)

[signature] (Shlyapnikov)

six copies printed at. tf. ef. ak.

Drafted by Dubrovsky and Shlyapnikov

Nº 1226

14 September 1956

Translated by:    (Dubrovsky)

(Shlyapnikov)

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