Despite the fact that socialist parties have proved to be a major political force across the world, this has not been the case in Asian countries. Socialism in South Korea is a quintessential example of this failure. Despite the existence of a socialist party and what would seem to be the right conditions for development, the Korean socialist tendency has failed to become a meaningful force in politics.
This book explores why and under what conditions Korean socialism has failed to develop into a social democrat movement in the post-war period. Within the context of the integration of structural and agency factors, it goes beyond the generally accepted view that the left failed because of suppression by the state and proffers that the real reason why socialism failed lay with its inability to develop beyond revolutionary socialism and build a more pragmatic social democracy that could develop a broad alliance within Korean society.
Also drawing on examples from Western Europe and Latin America, where left-wing forces have achieved power, this book will be of huge interest not only to students and scholars of Asian and Korean politics, but also socialism, comparative and international politics alike.
Table of Contents
Introduction 1. Challenging the Conventional Approach 2. Social Democracy in the Core and Periphery 3. Socialism in the Liberation Period (1945–50) 4. The Cold War and Its Impact on Socialism (1950s–1960s) 5. Socialism under the Military Dictatorship (1962–87) 6. The New Left and the Revived Socialism (1987–99) 7. The Democratic Labour Party (2000–7) Conclusion
Yunjong Kim is a South Korean born practical political scientist. He is a visiting Senior Lecturer at the Northern University of Malaysia.