Past, Present and Future of the Political Left in South Korea | Vladimir Tikhonov

May 11, 2018 @ 3:00 pm – 5:00 pm
Room 208N, North House
1 Devonshire Pl
Toronto, ON M5S 3K7

Korea has a long and proud history of socialist/Communist political radicalism, dating back to the colonial age (1910-45) when the dual (class and national) oppression created the conditions under which the Communists came to constitute one of the most influential ideological sectors of the national movement by the mid-1920s. Koreans were also prominent in the Communist parties and movements in China, Japan and the Soviet Far East (until their forced deportation from there in 1937). Under the anti-Communist dictatorships of the 1950-70s, the South Korean Left mostly struggled underground to survive; however, it underwent a spectacular revival in the 1980s in the wake of South Korea’s high-speed industrialization, spearheading the struggle for both national liberation (vis-à-vis US hegemony over South Korea) and social justice.

Today, however, the left-nationalist passions of the 1980s are largely seen as a thing of the past, while South Korea’s working class is on the defensive, struggling against fragmentation under the conditions of the neo-liberal regime. What will be the way forward for the South Korean Left in an increasingly multi-ethnic, globalized neo-liberal society? This presentation will deal with the past, present and the possible futures of the South Korean Left.

This event is presented as part of the Transformative Politics in the Transnational Korea series at the York Centre for Asian Research with support from the Faculty of Liberal Arts & Professional Studies.

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