THE INAUGURAL DECLARATION OF THE ASSOCIATION FOR
THE RESTORATION OF THE FATHERLAND
May 5, 1936
Compatriots, brothers and sisters at home and abroad,
It is already 26 years since the 20 million Korean people with a long history of five thousand years were robbed of their dear homeland by the enemy, the Japanese imperialists. Under the colonial oppression of Japanese imperialism, our compatriots lead the miserable life of a ruined nation, worse than that of animals, undergoing all manner of hardships and privations and dripping with sweat and blood. No longer able to endure the Japanese imperialist tyranny, large numbers of our fellow countrymen were compelled to leave their beloved home villages and wander about in quest of a livelihood. Even in strange lands, all alone, they are subjected to every form of humiliation and contempt and are being trampled underfoot and slaughtered everywhere they go.
Our nation is, indeed, in an unheard-of wretched plight. Which road should our people take now, deprived of their homeland and weighed down with a terrible misfortune? For our nation there is no alternative but to fight against the Japanese imperialist marauders. This is the only way to usher in the dawn of national liberation.
That explains why tens of thousands of Korean youths burning with love for their country joined the Korean People’s Revolutionary Army and are fighting bravely against the Japanese imperialists with arms in hand. Now, in all parts of the country the struggles of workers, peasants, youth and students against Japanese imperialist colonial rule are taking place one after another.
In the past, too, the ardent patriotism of our nation was displayed fully.
A great many people took part in the Righteous Volunteers’ Army Movement and fought bloody battles for several years against Japanese imperialism’s occupation of Korea, and at the time of the March First Movement the whole nation rose in an anti-Japanese uprising in every nook and comer of the land. As a result, the spirit of our nation, ingenious and valorous, was demonstrated to the whole world. This fact proves that the Korean nation with its earnest desire for independence and sovereignty and a passionate fighting spirit will certainly accomplish the cause of national liberation.
However, the aim of national independence and liberation was not achieved, though in the past many patriots had fought courageously, falling and dying. The principal cause is that all movements for the country’s liberation were not conducted according to a unified political programme and a correct line of struggle, and that an unsupported fight was fought without achieving the solid unity and cohesion of the anti-Japanese patriotic forces. Not only that. An allied front against the common enemy, the Japanese imperialists, was not built up in close contact with countries and nations opposed to Japan. This is also a major reason for failing to win the final victory.
We put forward the main political programme and the struggle tasks to fulfil the sacred duty for the liberation of the country on the basis of the bitter lessons and experience of the past. In accordance with this programme, we are setting up the Association for the Restoration of the Fatherland as a general leading body for uniting as one all the anti-Japanese forces at home and abroad and ensuring a unified leadership for them, and are adopting its Ten-Point Programme.
On the basis of the main content of the Ten-Point Programme of the ARF, we declare to all our compatriots at home and abroad as follows:
1. The whole Korean nation will fight in unity against the enemy, the Japanese imperialist aggressors, irrespective of class, sex, social status, party affiliation, age and religious belief, so as to win back the country and establish a genuine people’s government in Korea.
We 20 million Korean people are leading the life of a homeless race, condemned to indescribable national oppression and ill-treatment and cruel exploitation under the colonial rule of predatory Japanese imperialism. The Korean nation’s liberation is the supreme task facing all Koreans.
If all 20 million of us, united in a body, join the anti-Japanese national liberation front, those with money contributing money, those with food donating food and those with skill and knowledge devoting their skill and knowledge, whether men or women, young or old, regardless of all distinctions, the Japanese imperialists will be destroyed and our national liberation and independence will be achieved.
2. Koreans living in Manchuria will strive to overthrow the aggressive machines of Japanese imperialism and its puppet state “Manchukuo” through a close alliance with the Chinese people, and to bring about genuine national autonomy for the Koreans in Chinese territory.
The national autonomy of the Koreans in Manchuria we assert has nothing in common with the “autonomy in Jiandao” advertised by the predatory Japanese imperialist aggressors and their agents to hoodwink and alienate the Korean and Chinese nations from each other. All Koreans in Manchuria will achieve genuine national autonomy for the Korean residents in Manchuria by resolutely opposing the deceptive enemy-vaunted “autonomy in Jiandao” and overthrowing the Japanese Manchurian rule in close alliance with the anti-Japanese masses in China.
3. For the liberation of the fatherland, we will expand and strengthen the revolutionary armed ranks. The Japanese imperialists and their agents are villainous aggressors and hangmen armed to the teeth. We must counter the armed foes with arms.
We can topple the accursed system of colonial rule and achieve the independence of Korea only when we further strengthen the Korean People’s Revolutionary Army and form various armed units with the revolutionary masses everywhere to defeat the Japanese imperialist aggressive army by fighting bloody battles against the enemy.
4. In order to build a wealthy and mighty independent and sovereign state, we will carry out economic and cultural policies that are genuinely popular and democratic.
We will unconditionally confiscate factories, mines, landed estates, shops, banks and all other property owned by the predatory Japanese imperialist aggressors and treacherous pro-Japanese agents, promote the steady development of national industry, agriculture and commerce, ensure our people freedom of speech, press, assembly and association and equality of the individual, abolish the system of slave education and introduce an eight-hour day for the workers.
In order to facilitate the cause of national liberation, we will receive special donations and other forms of active assistance from capitalists with national conscience and from conscientious patriots and personages.
5. We will form a common front against the enemy, the Japanese imperialist aggressors, in close alliance with states and nations which express goodwill and maintain neutrality towards the Korean national liberation movement.
We should crush the robber-like Japanese imperialist aggressors in close alliance with China and other countries hostile to Japanese imperialism and with the people oppressed by Japanese imperialist colonial rule.
We must regard as friends the countries and nations which sympathize with the Korean national liberation movement and approach it with good faith and treat as enemies those who help the Japanese imperialist marauders and oppose the Korean nation.
Compatriots, brothers and sisters, who love their country and nation and want to cast off the yoke of bestial slavery and lead a worthwhile and hopeful existence as human beings.
We sincerely hope that you will immediately form organizations of the ARF in the factories, mines, railway service establishments, schools, newspaper offices, army barracks, shops and elsewhere in the urban and rural areas and will wage a vigorous struggle to win back the country through the concerted action of the whole nation under the banner of the Ten-Point Programme of the ARF.
The cause of our people fighting in firm unity for the country’s liberation is invincible.
Let us all fight for the complete independence of the country and the freedom and liberation of the nation!Long live the Association for the Restoration of the Fatherland