To Make Peasants Owners of Land
- Promulgation of Agrarian Reform Law -
It was the first spring in the liberated country.
On March 5, 1946, President Kim Il Sung, peerless patriot and legendary hero of anti-Japanese war, promulgated the Agrarian Reform Law, the first democratic reform in Korean history.
After his triumphant return home, he founded the Workers' Party of Korea and established the Provisional People's Committee of North Korea, the first independent power in the hands of the people.
Then he buckled down to enforcing a series of democratic reforms. Of all reforms, his first priority was land reform to make tillers owners of land.
He went among the peasant masses to know what they really wanted in the reform.
Looking in at a peasant house, he sat with the host, knee to knee, listening to his story -- how he had been squeezed by the landowner, how many acre of land he could manage to tend and how things had been going on with their struggle for 30% tenant fee against the landlord.
The President said…Our peasants had toiled and moiled, but what they had gathered in from the field would be taken away by the landlord because the peasants had no land of their own.
We are going to have a land reform, and you will live better off, tilling your own land. The landlords will certainly oppose the land reform. You have a great deal to do before the land reform such as raising the class consciousness of the peasants, rallying them around the peasant associations and fighting for 30% tenant fee.
Anti-Japanese War Hero Kim Jong Suk accompanied the President that day. She said….Land will be shared out among the peasants and you should do well with your farming to repay the great leader's benefits.
Later, the President visited many other farm villages and talked with many peasants to find the best possible way for enforcing land reform.
His visits helped him much. He could define whose lands must be confiscated, what would be the best way of land distribution and of eliminating the tenant system.
He promulgated the agrarian reform law on March 5, 1946.
The slogan he put up was "Land to Tillers!" to make the peasant the owner of land. He saw that the land reform must be enforced on the principle of free confiscation and free distribution to make the landless peasants the owner of land.
Dropping in at a big house of former landlord, the President suggested that the ex-servant of the house must be its master, because he had suffered most as servant there. All the household belongings must go to the new master, now, he declared. That day he wrote the former servant's name Pak Jang Ban on the doorplate and also on the pole to be erected in the land he had been distributed in the land reform.
Looking at the doorplate and signpost, our agricultural working people feel greater pride that the peasants are the owners of land in this country.
Story by Kim In Son
Seeing the former servant's name on the doorplate,
Photo by Ri Jin Myong