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East asia and the socialist experience - Essay Example

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The experience of communism in Korea can be put within the historical context of the upsurge and triumph of other communist movements in Europe (Russia specifically) and in China in the early part of the 20th century. Consequently, the 1921 Manifesto of the Korean Communist Party struck a fraternal cord with other struggles of socialist, communist and nationalist movements that were fighting against exploitation…
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East asia and the socialist experience
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Download file to see previous pages The 1921 Korean Communist Manifesto thus stated in relevant part that:
In the experience of Korean communism, the Japanese annexation of Korea and its imposition of colonial rule is just an example of capitalist exploitation and imperialism. Japan's claim of colonizing Korea under the pretext of helping Korea to modernize was thus not unnatural or unrealistic. This is because, Japan represents the capitalist bourgeoisie and Korea represents the proletariat who are being exploited. The natural tendency is the bourgeoisie to exploit and it is only when the proletariat fight for their emancipation that they can be free from the exploitative powers of the bourgeoisie. These Marxist notions of class struggle reverberate strongly in the Korean experience of communism. The fight against Japanese colonization was thus a fight of the proletariat against the capitalist bourgeoisie - the colonizing Japanese - and was seen in the Korean experience of communism as being in keeping with the teachings of Marxism.
The struggle against the colonizing Japanese however reflected only one aspect of the struggle against the bourgeoisie. In a wider sense, the Korean Communist Party saw its fight against the capitalist bourgeoisie in a universal light. The 1921 manifesto for instance states that:
"Our national emanc...
ipation movement is merely a step to the ultimate purpose of social revolution, and we are striving for the complete elimination of all of the classes of our present society. This is our belief and, at the same time, the common objective of all the toiling masses of the world. Thus, our enemy is all the exploiting classes of the world, as well as the Japanese militarists and financiers, and all the masses who share the common fate under the oppressions of the ruling class must unite their efforts." (cited in Suh 1970, 27)2
The motif of the class struggle between the proletariat and the bourgeoisie is consequently not a localised struggle in Korea alone. It is part of a fraternity of international movements that aim to bring an end to all forms of bourgeoisie exploitation. Korean communism is thus seen as an essential microcosm playing its necessary part in the wider macrocosm of effecting social change through a communist revolution. Hence the enemy is not only the Japanese colonizers but "all the exploiting classes of the world". (cited in Suh 1970, 27)3 The 1921 Manifesto of the Korean Communist Party thus extended a hand of fraternity and goodwill to other communist parties and movements in Russia, China, and even in Japan (i.e. the Japanese Communist Party)
It is note worthy that the fight against capitalism was not laid to rest even after the overthrow of Japanese rule in Korea after World War II. Sung (1955)4 saw American involvement in South Korea as a perpetuation of the capitalist agenda. Consequently, just as the communist movement in Korea fought against the Japanese, they were duty bound to fight against the American 'imperialists' as well.
Also, the localised or domestic class struggle in the Korean experience of communism had totalitarian implications on ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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