Some readings on Korea

Political prisoners/human rights

  1. Kim Chi Ha: Cry of the People and Other Poems (From Autumn Press, 2113 Isshiki, Hayama, Kanagawa-ken, Japan, 1974). All Kim's best poems, plus some 1972 conversations with a Japanese writers' delegation which visited him in a sanatorium. Kim's poems are just incredible.

"Combatting Communism and capitalism": Reviving village autonomy

This is a report on a visit of one of our collective members to Seoul and the surrounding countryside over New Year 1976. It reveals both the dark and the light sides of the current situation in south Korea, showing the effect of government policy on the farms, but also the way in which a gathering number of villages (though still a tiny minority) are taking steps to protect themselves and create some degree of autonomy.

The plight of South Korean peasants

The people of south Korea have become pawns in the economic and political strategy of Kissinger's global chess-game. Nevertheless, as I found on a recent trip there, these down-trodden people are still struggling for control over their lives.

Kim Chi Ha

The fire and the agony of Kim Chi Ha's verses are rooted in Korea's long and tragic history. Kim, one of Park Chung Hee's most dangerous critics, was born on February 4, 1941, in Mokpo, Cholla province, for centuries the scene of resistance to overbearing govts. While a student he spent two years -wandering" in the countryside to avoid the clampdown of 1961. Later he was tortured and imprisoned for joining the student movement against normalization of Japan-south Korea relations in 1964-65.

After acute tuberculosis had put him in a sanatorium for two years from 1967, his first long poem, "Five Bandits," was published in 1970. Kim, the editor and publishers of the paper that printed it, and other people were arrested under the Anti-Communist Law and the paper confiscated by the KCIA. After a long imprisonment, the charges were suspended and the defendants freed on bail.

The Dong-a workers' struggle: Confronting the KCIA

Thanks to the brave struggle of less than 200 hundred workers at south Korea 's largest daily, the human rights movement broke free of the regime's tight grip on the media to reach a nationwide audience for the first time in years. What were the workers after? Was this a case of "workers' control" or simply another free speech movement? How and why were they defeated? The first of two parts.

With the declaration of martial law in 1972, the Korean press, hardly free in the first place, began slipping further into submissive helplessness, by degrees becoming dictator Park Chung Hee's main propaganda instrument. Step by step the regime encroached on "free press prerogatives" until the occasional cartoon barb or subtly ironic headline remained the only weapons left.

The Post-War Korean Anarchist Movement – 2

Second of a two part article published in the Japanese journal Libero International. Part 1 was published in issue no. 3.

On December 25, 1945, the Moscow Conference of Foreign Ministers, attended by the U.S., Great Britain, the USSR and China, passed two key resolutions on Korea. The first prescribed a four-power "Trusteeship" for up to five years (though Roosevelt had originally demanded 40!).

Chronology of Despotism in South Korea


1960.4.19 Student demonstrations force government of Syngman ??? to resign. 1961.5 Coup d'etat led by Major General Park Chung Hee; declares martial law, bans political parties, dissolves National Assembly, introduces press censorship, opens court martials to try dissidents, creates KCIA.


We hope this issue will give an idea of the bum trip being laid upon the people of South Korea. South Korea has become the whore of the pimp Park Chung Hee, a psychopathic dictator who -once earned a living as an officer in the Japanese Imperial Army, putting down his own countrymen. Like the Korean women shangaied into prostitution in the name of "export tourism," the Park govt has leased he country out to Japan and the U.S. for protection.

South Korea provides an ideal setting for state repression. Park Chung Hee even has a choice of "foreign threats." According to time and whim, he can raise the specter of a new invasion from the north, or fan the embers of anti-Japanese hatred engendered by 35 years' colonialism. The reason is the key role the country lays in the strategies of the US and Japan.

Libero International No.4

Issue No. 4 of the Japanese journal Libero International. The exact date of publication is unknown, but presumed to be in 1976.

CIRA - Nippon

CIRA-Nippon, founded in 1973, is a federation of autonomous libertarian groups, including Section for International Correspondence (SIC), a small group of comrades living in the Osaka-Kobe area. The SIC works as the communication link between domestic anarchist groups associated with CIRA-Nippon, and various groups outside Japan.

To achieve its aim of improved solidarity through international communication and understanding, the SIC has three main functions:

  • to handle day-to-day correspondence between groups outside Japan and CIRA-Nippon;
  • to publish news and materials concerning libertarian movements in Japan and East Asia; and

Indochina and Anarchists

The following letter was sent to us by Mit-Teilung (London), in whose No. 22 (October '75) issue it appeared. Our reply doesn't represent our last word on the subject (especially on "Nationalism," about which we'll be writing more later.) We hope that readers (G. J. included) will send us their comments and criticism.

A letter....

I too noted the comments in LIBERO INT'L No. 2, re. Marxism-Leninism and Asia. Those Japanese & English intellectuals write a good magazine, extremely good, But they are not workers and have not learned the bloody lessons of Anarchist History since 1917.