Jang_Jip_Choi

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Unformatted text preview: The papers in this volume grew out of a workshop Edith Hagen KOO sponsored by the Joint Committee on Korean Studies of the Social Science Research Council and the American Council of Learned Societies. in Contemporary ‘ Korea Cornell University Press / ‘7 9' 3 Ithaca and London wavy...- {f « o‘gfiv‘fiWV’ Political Cleavages in South Korea Iang Iip Choi Political conflict in South Korea takes place around political cleavages ere? ated after liberation in 1945. These cleavages were produced by the circum- stances in which the state and civil society emerged. Simply put, the South Korean state, from its inception, was authoritarian, while civil society was forcibly depoliticized. In this chapter I examine the history of South Korea’s authoritarian state and the popular masses' recurring demand for democra- tization and political participation from the end of the colonial period to the present, against the backdrop of rapid capitalist industrialization and diversification of economic interests. In this analysis, “state versus civil society” is the central motif. Civil society is conceptualized as a network of organizations or a structure of classes, which emerge at certain historical junctures as articulate political and social groups to advocate common interests. The state, however, is society’s ruling body and its central controlling _structure. If we examine South Korea’s political history with this interpretive framework, we see a long-standing alienation between the state and society in Korea from the First Republic to the present, punctuated by periods of intense conflict. In jang jip Cboi thus outlining the history of postwar politics in South Korea, two assump- tions are made: that the development of civil society is critical to the forma- tion of a political system based on widespread consensus, rather than force; and that the institutionalization of democratic structures, at the levels of politics and of culture, requires a counterhegemonic movement to dismantle the present structures of domination and oppression. By the time of liberation from Japanese colonialism in 1945, a revitalized civil society had emerged, one that contained the seeds of a new, more just political order. That the postliberation period actually laid the foundation for fratricidal war had less to do with sociopolitical conditions inside Korea than with developments in international politics. Weighing the relative im- portance of internal versus external factors in contemporary politics is in itself not important here. The purpose is, rather, to examine how the two interacted, how that relationship was structured, and what impact the rela- tionship had on the course of modern Korean history. In analyzing the fractious history of state-society relations since libera- tion, in this chapter I focus on three distinct but interlinked cleavages along which political confrontations have taken place: (1) democracy versus an- thoritarianism; (2) economic justice versus development; and (3) populist versus conservative reunification. The salience of any particular cleavage during a given historical period was determined by the changing interna- tional context and the shifting power relationship between the state and civil society within South Korea. ' Immediately after liberation, conflict between contending political forces raged along all three cleavages. HoWever, after the founding of the First Republic in 1948 and the elimination of leftist forces in the South, the second and third cleavages were deferred through both force and ideologi- cal measures. Thereafter, at specific historical junctures these three cleav- ages have appeared on the political terrain in a definite historical sequence: first, the issues of democracy, then those of economic justice, and finally the question of reunification. ‘ Liberation and the Burgeoning of Civil Society Liberation from Japanese colonial rule brought but a fleeting moment of jubilation. With the collapse of Japanese colonialism the political atmo- sphere decidedly favored revolutionary nationalism. Within days after lib- {14} Political Cleavages in South Korea eration, numerous political organizations were established spontaneously in cities and throughout the countryside,‘ attracting masses of workers and peasants. Of these organizations, the “people’s committees” were the most consequential. These committees, along with many labor and peasant orga- nizations, became the organizational base for “Kénjun” (Choson konguk chunbi wiwonhoe; Committee for the Preparation of Korean Independence) (CPKI) and “Ingong” (Chosén inmin konghwaguk; Korean People’s Re- public), with political structures that began to evince all the characteristics of an independent, functioning state.2 The division and occupation of Korea by Soviet and U.S. troops, how- ever, completely undermined the Korean people’s efforts to establish an independent political system. The division of Korea along the thirty-eighth parallel was unilaterally declared by the United States as a part of its post- war global strategy. In this way, without having given their consent, the Korean people became victims of U.S. and Soviet strategic interests. With the announcement that the United States would occupy the southern half of Korea, former Japanese collaborators and conservative forces in Korean society also began to organize. Thus, after the U.S. forces arrived, they encountered an array of revolutionary and counterrevolutionary political and social groups.3 1. These political and social organizations appeared before the arrival of the U.S. forces on September 8, 1945. By the end of August 1945 , 145 local branches of the Committee for the Preparation of Korean Independence (CPKI) had been organized. Minjujui‘ii minjok chonson, Cbosén haebangillyénsa [The Korean history of the first year of liberation] (Seoul: Munuin- sokwan, 1946), p. 81. Also, by the end of October 1945, people’s committees had been organized in 7 provinces, 12 cities, and 131 km: (counties). Kim Nam-silt, Namnodang yéngu [A study of the South Korean Labor Party] (Seoul: Tolpekae, 1984), p. 117. The actual number of social and political organizations, including labor, peasant, women’s, student, and various youth groups, was far higher. See Bruce Cumings, The Origins of the Korean War, vol. 1 (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1981), pp. 68—100, 265—350. 2. The Korean People’s Republic (KPR) was formed just before the U.S. occupation forces landed. The impetus for the formation of the KPR originated from the CPKI. The political framework of the KPR encompassed both the Left and the Right, but compared with the CPKI, the leadership of the KPR was dominated by the Left. On October 10, 1945, the U.S. military government refused to recognize the KPR’s authority. On the relationship between the KPR and the U.S. military government in South Korea, see Kim Nam—silt, Namnodang yéngu. pp. 117—57. 3. The sudden appearance of new political organizations, after the U.S. occupation forces arrived, is distinguishable from the phenomenon of spontaneous organizing which took place before their arrival. With the establishment of the U.S. military government, the rightists and the former Japanese collaborators hurriedly organized a variety of counterrevolutionary {15} Jang Jip Choi Here, we must take into consideration the intensity of politically sup- pressive measures carried out by the Japanese during the colonial period.4 Except for the state-sponsored and collaborating groups, the immense secu- rity system of the Japanese police had derailed all attempts to organize sociopolitical demands from below. In that sense, leadership of the Korean independence movements, whether Communist or conservative nationalist, had maintained a subterranean existence within Korea, while in the periph- eries of the Japanese empire the movements were scattered geographically, with multiple centers of leadership. With the sudden collapse of the Japanese empire, and with the nation divided and occupied by two ideologically opposing forces, a whole spec- trum of political leaders appeared, and several youth, student, women’s, religious, and cultural groups were organized with various political and social objectives. Postliberation Korean politics, then, has to be understood in historical terms: the harsh nature of colonial rule, the way in which the Pacific war ended, the temporary immobilization of the Japanese coercive apparatuses, tremendous population movement, and the sheer politicizing force of historical events. To this we must add additional—and what proved to be decisive—struc- tural factors: the unnatural division of Korea, occupation by foreign troops, and the insertion of U.S. and Soviet interests into Korean politics. It is in this context that the historical significance of political entities like Konjun and lngong should be evaluated. The Committee for the Preparation of Korean Independence and the Korean People’s Republic embodied all the characteristics of what Gramsci would call a “national-popular collective groups in response to the organized forces of revolutionary nationalism. Central among these was the Emergency Political Council (later referred to as the Emergency National Council), a right-wing united front. By February 1946, under the direct supervision of the U.S. military government, the Representative Democratic Council was'formed, with Syngman Rhee as chair— man and Kim Ku as vice chairman. This council was to have laid the basis for the formation of a separate regime in the South. And the organizations created by the right-wing conserva- tives during this period included shadow organizations, with faked membership lists and little mass support. These right-wing organizations were organized to increase the Right’s representation on the U.S.-Soviet Joint Commission established in early 1946. 4. On this, see Bruce Cumings, “The Legacy of Japanese Colonialism in Korea,” in The japanese Colonial Empire, 1895—1945, ed. Ramon H. Myers and Mark R. Peattie (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1984), pp. 478—96. {16} mwmmvw‘wwm—"vm mg... a... e.__ m. ._..... .v- .. .M , _ , W m.“ m, .. w. MW ,- 4. Political Clem/ages in South Korea will” based on an emerging progressive “historical bloc.”5 It was here that a principal postcolonial issue was projected, welding together a wide con- figuration of social forces, capable, it seemed, of mastering the moment of revolutionary change to usher in a new nation and a new history. In their various claims to political legitimacy and in their attempts to build a political base, nationalist leaders, whether conservative or Commu— nist, all aimed to establish an independent nation-state and rid Korea of all vestiges of colonial rule. Thus, in the immediate postliberation period, there emerged a common vocabulary and a political scene not yet split along rigid ideological lines. ' The intervention and ensuing rivalry between the United States and the USSR, however, rather than facilitating the emergence of a national consen- sus, polarized the political terrain and made it impossible for various Ko- rean groups to consolidate around a common axis of nationalism. Refusing to deal with the Korean People’s Republic organized and led by revolution- ary nationalists, the United States committed itself to Syngman Rhee, to the wealthy elites organized around Hanmindang (the Korean Democratic Party), and to that large pool of Koreans who had served the Japanese as administrators and functionaries. Police, military personnel, and bureau- crats who had served the Japanese empire now found new employment serving the interests of the United States. For the Korean minjung,‘ how- ever, the restoration of former Japanese collaborators to positions of power 5. On this notion, see Antonio Gramsci, Selections from the Prison Notebooks, trans. Quintin Hoare and Geoffrey Nowell Smith (New York: International Publishers, 1971), pp. 130—33, 421 and fn. 65. , 6. Miniung, as used in this chapter, is defined in terms of several overlapping meanings. First, in the context of capitalist production relations, i.e., in the contradiction between capital and labor, the minjung is made up of workers, peasants, the lower middle class, and the urban poor. Second, at the political level, the miniung consists of those who are made peripheral to, or alienated from, the political process because of direct and indirect restrictions placed on political participation by the authoritarian regime. Third, the miniung is made up of those sectors in society adversely affected by the division of Korean peninsula and South Korea’s dependent and subordinated relationship to the United States. Last, while the miniung exists objectively, as outlined above, the actual social composition of the miniung, at the level of praxis, is constituted by a collective historical consciousness that is alienated from existing relationships of domination. This collective consciousness can be traced back to the experi- ences of the miniung during the great Tonghak Revolution at the end of the nineteenth century. Thus, the miniung is not a fixed or limited sociopolitical entity, but embodies a dynamic, liberating subjectivity that arises from a history of oppression. {17} jang jip Cboi negated the very meaning of liberation. The U.S. occupation meant salva- tion for the japanese collaborators, while for the Korean people, it meant the restoration and strengthening of the colonial structures of domination and control. The U.S. military government, in its bid to will the future of Korea, imposed its own agenda on Korean politics. Liberation, then, brought but a temporary reprieve from the intimidation and violence of the coercive state apparatuses, causing civil society to become rapidly alien- ated from the U.S. military government and its Korean allies. Formation of the Overdeveloped State and the First Cleavage ,With the early development of the cold war in Korea, the U.S. military government quickly settled for a strategy of creating an anti-communist bulwark in the South. Measures were taken to debilitate the nationalist forces on the Left and even on the Right,7 to depoliticize civil society, and to destroy the social foundations on which a unified nation-state could be established. These measures, carried out in the name of anti-communism, followed the dictates of U.S. strategic interests in opposition to the balance of social and political forces in Korea favoring revolutionary nationalism over anti-communism. In this process, the colonial state structure inherited by the United States was greatly expanded, while civil society was restrained and bound by a combination of oppressive laws and brute force. This process is clearly evident in the U.S. military government’s policies toward labor in southern Korea. By November 1945, “Chonp’yong” (Chosén nodong chohap Chon- guk p‘yonguihoe; National Council of Korean Trade Unions) had rallied 1,194 trade unions under its umbrella, representing two hundred thousand union members.3 By the end of 1945 this number had grown to over half a million—~—virtually the entire nonagricultural workforce. By September 1947, however, the number of union members under Chonp’yong had shrunk to almost zero, while the rightist trade union “Noch’ong” (Hanguk nodong chohap ch’ong yénmaeng; Federation of Korean Trade Unions) 7. For example, nationalists like Kim Ku and other leaders of the Korean Provisional Government were excluded from access to political power because of their opposition to the policies of the U.S. military government. 8. On this, see the Federation of Korean Trade Unions, Hanguk nodong chohap undongsa [The history of the Korean labor union movement] (Seoul: Koryo Séjok, 1979), pp. 265—66. {18} Wmmww- WWW pwmmmw.wm W w, wwwwwmmwm—r- aw... .—~ m. .. Political Cleavages in South Korea counted forty thousand members. Here we notice an interesting contrast with the Japanese occupation experience; in Japan it wasn’t until 1949 that the United States expelled leftist leaders from the trade union movement and took limited measures to depoliticize labor.’ In Korea, the “red purge” began almost immediately. The goal of U.S. policy was not limited to eras- ing the leftist slant of the trade unions. It was a policy that sanctioned extreme measures to root out leftist unions altogether, to replace them with anti-communist ones, and to otherwise thoroughly depoliticize labor. The nationwide people’s uprising in October and November 1946 dem— onstrated that civil society overwhelmingly opposed both the creation of a separate regime in the South and the class structure inherited from the colonial period. This event, and many others, challenged the very founda- tion of the U.S. military government’s policies and put civil society on a collision course with the U.S. occupation authorities. The political alliance struck between the U.S. military government and Korean elites encountered great difficulty in eliciting consent, not to mention support, from the K0- rean masses. The policy of depoliticizing civil society, then, was the neces- sary counterpart, and prerequisite, to efforts at organizing political and social forces that would support the American position. For its part, the military government authorities tried to build a political coalition based on three ideological goals: the creation of an anti-commu- nist state, the establishment of a capitalist economy, and the institutional- ization of democracy based on a parliamentary system of political representatiOn. Unfortunately, in post-1945 Korea, capitalism, anti-com- munism, and parliamentary democracy did not occupy privileged positions in the political discourse—nor were these three goals necessarily comple- mentary. The vast majority of Koreans, except those allied with the U.S. military government, would not accept capitalism and anti-communism if instituting them meant preserving the colonial structure of land ownership and division of the country.10 9. For the information of the labor union movement in the immediate postwar years, see Okochi Kazuo, Sengo Nihon no rodoundo [The labor movement in postwar Japan] (Tokyo: lwanami shoten, 1956). ' 10. Land reform was one of most important political issues of the postliberation period, and class conflict was very intense on this issue. The revolutionary nationalists, together with ~ the miniung, called for fundamental land reform, i.e., redistribution of land to tenant farmers without compensating the landlords. However, the U.S. military government, and the Korean rightists, either insisted on a very moderate land reform program or opposed land reform altogether. It was not until just before the outbreak of the Korean War that the law on land {19} jang jip Choi By creating a separate regime in the South (the First Republic), the U.S. military government privileged the establishment of a capitalist market economy and an anti-Communist state over the establishment of a demo- cratic political order. Thus while publicly championing the ideals of democ- racy, the occupation forces crushed popular democratic demands and helped Syngman Rhee establish autocratic power over a forcibly depoliti- cized society. Herein lies the origin of the first political cleavage: the contra- diction between the democratic ideals proclaimed by the state, on the one hand, and its authoritarian practice, on the other. Thus was set a pattern. that was to be repeated in subsequent chapters of Korean history: confron- tation over the legitimacy of the ruling regime on the basis of democratic norms versus authoritarian practice. From the beginning of the First Republic, institutions that were meant to give the regime a democratic facade faced severe challenges on two levels. First, a series of revolts followed the establishment of the First Republic, ranging from a full-scale guerrilla war on Cheju Island to subsequent upris- ings in Yosu and Sunch’on. These massive protests against the establishment of a separate government in the south were answered by a further expan- sion of the police force and the enactment of laws, most notably the Na- tional Security Law (enacted in December 1948), which gave the state complete freedom in the use of coercive powers. There is therefore a conti- nuity in the deployment and use of coercive power from the Japanese colo- nial period and the U.S. occupation to the creation of the First Republic in South Korea. The use of this power became institutionalized under the Rhee regime in its campaign to exterminate leftists—and to silence his conservative critics. The exclusion from politics of even the conservative opposition created another source of political challenge to the legitimacy and viability of the r parliamentary system under Rhee. There was an economic aspect to this as well. Specifically, Hanmindang, which had emerged as the party of the reform was enacted, but land reform was actually carried out only after the war. The radical land reform program in North Korea began in 1946, and the redistribution of land that took place under the auspices of the North Korean military when they swept southward at the start of the Korean War greatly influenced the politics of land reform in South Korea. There are numerous studies on the topic of South Korean land reform; for an overall analysis, see Yu ln-ho, “Haebanghu nongii kaehyukui sénggyuk" [The character of land reform after liberation], in Haebang cbénbusaui insik [Interpreting Korean history before and after libera- tion], vol. 1, ed. Song Kon-ho et al. (Seoul: Hankilsa, 1979), pp. 371—448. {20} wmmfimmmmwammh._w. . Political Clear/ages in South Korea landed class in opposition to Rhee, lost its economic base through the land reform program. The land reform program in the South, in contrast to the North, required that the landlord be compensated for the land turned over to the tenant. Even this moderate program, however, was opposed by the landlords and conservative elements, as represented by Hanmindang. Thus, soon after the war ended, the landed class was transformed into an urban class, and the power relationship between Rhee, who had com- mand over the powerful state apparatus, and Hanmindang, whose eco- nomic base had been expropriated, became lopsided. An acute conflict existed, however, between the Rhee regime and civil society. The strong state—weak society relationship imposed by the U.S. military government was carried over into the First Republic established in 1948. The state was strong because even th0ugh it lacked hegemony, it was equipped with coer- cive apparatuses able to suppress powerful emerging social forces that were principally responsible for activating civil society. But society was weak as a result of the exercise of repressive state power. If we compare 1948 with the period immediately after liberation, when a revolutionary atmosphere swept the country, the difference is striking indeed. This precipitous decline of civil society had little to do with the internal dynamics of South Korean society; rather, this decline must be attributed to U.S. military government policy and the vast resources mobilized to achieve its objectives. The legitimacy of the First Republic was fragile and vulnerable because the power of the South Korean state was perceived as deriving from its American benefactor. If the United States had reduced or withdrawn its support from the ruling regime, political conflicts or up— heavals could have (and indeed probably would have) occurred within soci- ety to restore the previous relationships of power. The Korean War, then, should not be interpreted as a confrontation between liberal democracy and communism, but, on one level, as a violent attempt to restore relation- ships of power established soon after 1945—relationships that had been established before the distorting influence exerted by division and the occu- pation by U.S. and Soviet troops. The Korean War and Its Political Consequences The Korean War was the most decisive turning point in modern Korean history, the denouement of everything that preceded it: the colonial experi- ence, liberation, division, and occupation. At the same time, it became the {21} Jung jip Choi point of departure for all post—Korean War politics. For the state—civil society relationship as well, the Korean War was critical in shaping the parameters of conflicts to come. Whereas before the war, the South Korean state had a weak local base of support, the war gave the state an ideological basis for building its legitimacy. Anti-communism, articulated and experi- enced in everyday life, became the premier motif for ideological legitimiza- tion of the South Korean state. For this reason, no other event comes close to the Korean War in terms of its determining force on the establishment of that relationship. The Korean War transformed the South Korean state from an extremely unstable and fragile anti-communist state into a powerful bureaucratic one ruled by an authoritarian regime. This regime, in turn, was supported by a military force that-was huge relative to the population and the size of the economy. The size of the Republic of Korea (ROK) Army grew from a mere 150,000 before the war, to over 600,000 at the time of the cease-fire.ll The police force also expanded greatly after the war. Obviously, it was the Korean War and not the productive growth of society that prompted such state growth, and it was mainly through massive aid provided by the United States that such a powerful state was maintained. It is in this sense that South Korea’s postwar state may be called an “overdeveloped state.”12 After the Korean War, the South Korean economy became fully incorpo- rated into the world capitalist system. With the economy devastated by war, the state came to dominate the economic and financial sectors through receiving and allocating foreign aid. Through this process, economic elites who emerged after the Korean War came to owe their socioeconomic status to the good graces of the regime in power. In the late 195 Os, when the war- torn economy was being reconstructed, about 70 percent of the govern- ment’s total revenue came from foreign aid.13 Since the government con- 11. Park Myung-lim, “Haebang, pundan, Han'guk ionjaengfii chonch’ejok insik” [The ho- listic understanding of Liberation, division, and the Korean War], in Haebang cbénbusafii insik [The understanding of the history before and after liberation], vol. 6, ed. Park Myung— lim et al. (Seoul: Hankilsa, 1989), p. 48. 12. The concept of an “overdeveloped state” comes from Hamza Alavi’s analysis of Paki- stan and Bangladesh after independence. The formation of the South Korean state after liberation does not necessarily follow the experiences described by Alavi. See Hamza Alavi, “The State in Post-Colonial Societies: Pakistan and Bangladesh,” New Left Review, no. 74 Only—August 1972). 13. This figure is estimated from Economic Planning Board, Korea Statistical Yearbook (Seoul: EPB), pp. 302—30. See also Chung ll-yong, “W6nio gyongjei'ii Chongae" [The evolution {22} «Mme..wmmvm.wwmyvhwa "WW... Political Clear/ages in South Korea trolled capital and financing, and since much of the capital for government investment and financing came from U.S. aid, the economic structure that was built after the war came to be heavily dependent on foreign capital. As for civil society, the Korean War caused tremendous suffering and psychological shock. The ferocity of war was felt immediately by every individual. Land and flesh were torn apart; no one was left untouched. But the cease-fire brought neither reconciliation nor peace. With the division reimposed ‘along the cease-fire line (thus perpetuating the prewar division of the country), fear became an integral part of the political culture—fear of communism and of being labeled a communist. The immediate experi- ence of war was thus appropriated by the South Korean state so that it could determine how the war would be remembered. The wartime experience and the suffering left in its wake were articulated and rearticulated through the ideological apparatuses of the state to control the language, to set the parameters of common discourse, and to produce and reproduce an anti-communist world view that was immediate and real. The political terrain was rearranged by the terror of war, and anti-commu- nism achieved a hegemonic hold Over civil society. Thereafter, the state could invoke anti-communism, or national security, I to shore up its legitimacy. Nationalism, in this context, became transformed into a statism that privileged anti-communism over unification. The Korean War therefore gave the Rhee regime two immediate windfalls: first, political order was restored with the elimination of all leftist and progressive forces, including guerrillas who had been active in the mountains and those who had advocated peaceful unification; second, anti-communism, vindicated by the war, provided the ideological basis on which the First Republic could be consolidated.’ So even as the physical scars of the Korean War were disappearing, civil society was gradually withering in direct proportion to the overdevelopment of the state. In the West, the growth of the state in the postfeudal period was histori- cally preceded by, or occurred simultaneously with, the growth of civil society under the leadership of the emerging bourgeoisie. In this process, which spanned a century or more, the state, as it came to be differentiated from civil society, came to embody the traits and characteristics corres- ponding to the formation and growth of different social classes. In South of the economy based on aid] in Hangulz jaboniufiiron [The discussion on Korean capitalism], ed. Lee Tae—gun and Chung Un—yung (Seoul: Kkach’i, 1984), p. 148. {23} fang Jip Cboi Korea, however, the state was established within an extremely short period of time, in the context of violent political upheaval, and historically prior to the formation of the proletariat and bourgeois classes. Before the Korean War, the state structure in South Korea, whether under the US. military government or under the First Republic, could not exercise hegemony over all forces in civil society. The South Korean state, to use Gramsci’s phrase, had to be “protected by the armor of coercion.”“ After the war, the capital- ist system of production was linked up with the world market economy led by the United States; the military establishment was newly incorporated into the state structure; and the entire governing structure of the state achieved a good deal of legitimacy, largely obscuring its fundamentally illegitimate historical origins. _ By the conclusion of the Korean War, the South Korean state had become a state that could sustain itself. So long as the North Korean regime existed, the state had its historical raison d’étre. The experience of war and the anti-communism as promulgated by the state became the most important and useful tools for penetrating civil society and consolidating the state’s legitimacy among the people. That anti-communism could limit the pa- rameters of subsequent political conflict testifies to the harshness of the wartime experience and the effectiveness of South Korea’s ideological state apparatuses. It was under these circumstances that the class structure and characteristics of civil society came to be “overdetermined” (in Althusser’s terms) by the state itself.” ‘ From an Overdeveloped State to Authoritarian Developmentalism As seen above, the period from 1945 to 1953 was filled with political upheaval, ideological polarization, death, and suffering. The overall frame— work for all subsequent political conflicts in South Korea was established during this period of turmoil. Immediately after the Korean War, these political upheavals and confrontations ended. However, the fundamental cleavages that had structured the politics of the pre—Korean War period made their appearance again in the post—Korean War period. When and 14. Gramsci, Selections from the Prison Notebooks, p. 263. 15. For this notion, see Louis Althusser, For Marx (New York: Vintage Books, 1970), chap. 3, “Contradiction and Overdetermination,” pp. 87-428. {24} "WWMWV-MWWW cm?" W m. . aw......-.-m....~ W"... «V “w”-.- was..." a“... m. . .44... .1. .t. . —-W Political Cleavage: in South Korea under what conditions these cleavages appeared over South Korea’s politi- cal terrain is examined below. , At the outbreak of the Korean War, a mere 18 percent of the South Korean population was living in Seoul and other urban centers.16 In terms of occupation, a little less than 80 percent of the population were farmers, with a minuscule 3 percent in manufacturing and mining, and the rest in the tertiary service sector.17 These simple statistics show that in 1950 South Korean society was still in a preindustrial stage, with an unspecialized agri— cultural economy, and a low degree of urbanization. The devastation and economic havoc caused by the war displaced a large number of people to Seoul and other administrative centers. The service sector became bloated relative to other sectors of the economy, but by the time of the April 19 Student Uprising in 1960, the overall social structure was not much differ- ent from that of ten years earlier. The uprising began with protests against Rhee’s scheme to prolong his rule through rigged elections. These protests were also aimed at government corruption and ineffectiveness, and denoted a political confrontation pitting the small urban middle class, represented by the university and the press, against the entrenched administrative and political elites. The April 19 Student Uprising, then, erupted not out of social pressure caused by capitalist development but out of political pres- sure. lnitially, the uprising emerged from what we have called the first political cleavage, that is, the cleavage, in existence before the Korean War, between the facade of democracy on the one hand and authoritarian prac- tice on the other. This uprising was the first direct challenge launched by civil society against the state since the Korean War, and it represented civil society’s first victory over the state. But, because the uprising failed to dismantle the repressive state apparatuses—the military, police, and bu- reaucrats—it represented only a limited victory. The political cleavage manifested during the April 19 uprising was ac- companied by a tremendous bulwark left as a lasting legacy of the Korean War: anti-communism. Within this limited political space, the struggle was perceived and defined in terms of democracy versus dictatorship, and the legitimacy of the Rhee regime was challenged on the basis of the norms of 16. David C. Cole, “Population, Urbanization, and Health,” in The Economic and Social Modernization of the Republic of Korea, ed. Edward S. Mason, Mahn Je Kim et al.,(Cam- bridge: Council on East Asian Studies, Harvard University Press, 1980), p. 392. 17. The Bank of Korea, Kyéngje t’onggye nyonbo [Economic statistical yearbook] (Seoul: Bank of Korea, 1966). ~ {25} jang jip Cboi parliamentary democracy and due process. By “consensus,” then, the forces that lined up against the Rhee regime did not speak for the class interests of the lower strata of society, nor did they try to organize mass political organizations. However, as the coercive power of the state became immobi- lized, the political fissure, contained at first at the top of the social structure, spread to the lower strata of society. With this, the boundaries of political conflict began to spread beyond that of the first cleavage, and the discourse strayed beyond the established parameters. After the Rhee regime was toppled, a radical faction of students tried to shift the direction of the struggle to include the issue of unifying the Korean peninsula. In speaking about reunification, the language employed by these students was idealistic, advocating an extremely open (many would say naive) stand on how unification was to be achieved. These students, for example, called on the students in North Korea to join them at Panmuniém so that they might touch off a widespread movement that would lead to reunification. The anti-communist response came in the form of the May 16 military coup led by Park Chung Hee. The course of events beginning with the April 19 uprising in 1960 and leading to the May 16 military coup in 1961 thus reveals another sequence of rapid expansion of civil society and subsequent reaction, and expansion, of the state-—-a pattern resembling that of the immediate postwar years. These events must be explained in political terms: the overdevelopment of the bureaucratic-military system both before and after the Korean War, versus a forcefully depoliticized civil society. The military coup of 1961 revealed shifting power dynamics within the power bloc, especially within the military: discontent over the political situation, corruption among the military’s top echelons, rank promotions, and so on. The structure of the government established by the 1961 coup, and the “Yushin” (Revitaliza- tion) regime put in place in 1972 display the following features of state— led, authoritarian developmentalism: consolidation of a stable political base through coercive force; accelerated industrialization through tightly staged authoritarian planning, with a heavy reliance on foreign capital; and the creation of a political alliance of civilian bureaucrats, technocrats, and in- dustrialists centered on military elites. This regime formulated policies that favored the upper strata of the bourgeoisie, in close connection with international capital through the me- dium of the state. With this came the downgrading of the National Assem- bly’s role in national affairs, the suppression of opposition parties, denial {26} Political Clear/ages in South Korea of civil rights, and the shriveling of civil society. Here, the wider public was excluded from policy formulation and political processes, while sociopoliti- cal issues were depoliticized by privileging the “technical rationality” of the administration. Thus, a strong authoritarian developmentalist state was established and consolidated before industrialization. _ Political considerations outweighed the economic in establishing the Yus- hin regime.‘8 The Yushin constitution marks a self-made change of course on the part of the Park Chung Hee regime, a change that further narrowed the political space. The reasons for this change lie less in the exacerbation of contradictions caused by the industrialization of the 19605 than in Park’s efforts to extend his term in office fOr life. The rewriting of the constitution sought to transform the political system into a vehicle for personalized, Caesaristic rule, so that Park, at the pinnacle of the state structure, could manipulate both the state and civil society. A pattern therefore emerges, beginning with the establishment of the Rhee regime under the auspices of the U.S. military government and continuing under the Park adminis- tration. First, in a situation where the state has a monopoly over compulsory economic, symbolic, and ideological apparatuses, a power elite develops in possession of those apparatuses. In the process of forming a new regime, no channel for dialogue or participation is open to social or political groups representing the interests of other classes in society. The new regime, after consolidating its hold over the state structure, then defines the national interest—autonomous of popular pressures and demands, whether from the newly emerging bourgeoisie or the working classes. In determining what the “national interest” is, and how it is to be served, the regime seeks to lay the basis for its legitimacy and to institutionalize its rule. When a new regime comes to power, overturning the old by violent means, political institutions, political parties, and interest groups must be either reconsti- tuted or their leadership reshuffled. In this sense, an overdeveloped state 18. There are a number of studies on the causes of the installation and character of the Yushin system that are, more or less, different from my point of view. Many of them apply Guillermo O’Donnell’s notion of “bureaucratic authoritarianism” and assume economic fac‘ tors to be the principal cause. See Kang Min, “Kwanryojék kwonwiiufiifii Han’gukjok saeng— song” [The emergence of Korean bureaucratic authoritarianism], Korean Political Science Review 17 (1983), and Han Sang-jin, “Bureaucratic Authoritarianism and Economic Develop- ment in Korea during the Yushin Period,” Dependency Issues in Korean Development, ed. Kim Kyong-dong (Seoul: Seoul National University, 1987), pp. 362—74. {27} lung jip Choi implies a weak civil society: in spite of the social differentiation and diversi- fication of economic interests brought about by industrialization, the net- work between political and social groupings that reflect divergent interests is kept fragile, tenuous, and incapable of setting the political agenda. In such a situation, it is unlikely that the state elites will feel pressured to include political and social groups in the ruling bloc; this in turn de- creases the possibility for political compromise through institutional means. Important policies or decisions are thus made within a small closed circuit, that is, by the head of state assisted by an entourage of bureaucrats and technocrats. This is how Park and his Democratic Republican Party dic- rated in the early 19605 what the supreme national goal was to be: national security and economic prosperity through export-oriented industrial— ization. State-Led Industrialization and the Shaping of a Second Cleavage Having come to power in 1961 through a military coup, the Park regime tried to compensate for its lack of legitimacy by pursuing a program of accelerated economic growth. Beginning in the mid-19605, the South Ko- rean economy grew rapidly, with light industry leading the way. During this period a large industrial workforce was created, and tremendous socio— economic changes occurred, leading to intensified conflict between social strata. Clashes over production relations and over the distribution of bene- fits of economic growth then resulted in the formation of the second cleavage. The socioeconomic condition of South Korea, which until the early 19605 exhibited only incremental change, underwent drastic and fundamental changes during the 19605 and 1970s. Within a short span of time, by the mid-19705, the bulk of the population had migrated to the cities and the farming population had declined by nearly half. While the agricultural sec- tor became subordinated to the export-industrial sector, the movement of farmers from the countryside to the cities exceeded the speed of industrial- ization. This population shift, involving nearly 20 percent of the population within a ten-year period, is quite unprecedented—even greater than that which took place during the course of the Korean War.19 This movement 19. Between 1967 and 1976, about 6.7 million people migrated from rural areas to cities and between 1949 and 1955 the population movement is estimated about 1.8 million. See {28} is, E E: g Political Clem/ages in South Korea to the cities to seek employment accelerated the process of occupational differentiation and diversification of economic interests and engendered aspirations that were pluralistic and multitiered. Although these newly cre- ated interests were prevented from being expressed politically, they never- theless provided the social basis for the expansion of civil society. Out of this process, the structure of society was reconstituted in pyrami- dal form. At the top rested the upper bourgeoisie favored by the political regime, high technocrats and bureaucrats in the public sector, and senior executives from the major firms, along with a collection of small-business owners. Below this elite lay the middle echelon managers, the petite bourgeoisie, and white-collar workers. And forming the huge base for this structure were the industrial and service sector workers, peasants, miners, fishermen, peddlers, the underemployed, and the jobless.20 Although income levels for the population as a whole significantly in- creased, the social and economic gap between classes widened even more. For the lower classes, despite the increase in the absolute income, what amounted to a revolution in expectations brought about a keen sense of deprivation and alienation from the sociopolitical system. The extent of this alienation among the fundamental classes, especially among industrial workers, was manifested eloquently in protests throughout the Yushin years. The political power structure remained paralyzed between Park’s assassi- nation by his own intelligence chief in October 1979 and the proclamation of martial law in May 1980. Workers nationwide launched a series of strikes and other collective actions, for example, at the Sabuk coal mine in Kangwon province, the Tongguk Steel Mill in Pusan and lnchon, and at the Hyundai Group’s lnchon Steel Mill. Scenes Such as these, and the possi- bility that the strikes could spread even further, caused the political elite and the bourgeoisie to feel a sense of crisis. It is worthwhile to compare this period with the situation immediately following the April 19 Student Uprising in 1960. In 1960, as in early 1980, the coercive apparatuses were temporarily immobilized. In 1960, labor disputes increased more than two- fold, over the year before, while in 1980, in the four-month period preced- Song Byung-nak and E. 5. Mills, Séngjanggwa tosihwa mun/e [Economic growth and urbaniza— tion] (Seoul: Korean Development Institute, 1980), p. 78. 20. For a discussion about the changing trend in class structure during 19705, see Kim Chin—kyun, “Hanguk sahoefii kegfip kujo” [The class structure in Korean society], in Hanguk sahoe pyfindong ydngu [The studies of social change in Korean society] (1), ed. Chung Yun- hyung, Kim Chin-kyun et al. (Seoul: Minjungsa, 1984). {29} jang jip Choi ing the proclamation of martial law, the number of labor disputes increased by more than fourfold compared with all of 1979.21 From this we can infer the following: In 1960, as in 1980, crises within the ruling regime and the concomitant paralysis of the coercive apparatuses allowed workers to demonstrate their class aspirations through collective action; however, in both relative and absolute terms, the strikes and other actions in 1980 were much more massive and intense, reflecting the tremen— dous expansion of the industrial workforce in the twenty-year period, as well as the depth of its accumulated discontent. The income of the industrial workers at large plants, compared to that of the urban poor, is relatively high. However, the wages of these workers still amount to less than a fifth of middle-level managers and white-collar workers. To this source of dissatisfaction can be added other factors: a system of health insurance tailored for the middle class, paucity of social services, and a “development first” logic that had little regard for the plight of the workers. Here, then, was the structural basis for the political alien- ation of a large segment of the economically active population. This alienation was articulated politically as rejection of the authoritar— ian political system and of the highly exploitative and oppressive system of production. Opposed to this, the collective vision that emerged from the workers’ struggles was radically egalitarian and communitarian.22 The mili- tancy of the workers, then, and the countervision that they projected, had ' as its structural basis the absence of institutional mechanisms through which workers could articulate and assert their views and interests. The existing mechanisms of industrial relations, because their essential function was to limit and control the workers’ demands, became impotent in times of intense labor strife. Mobilized through rapid industrialization, yet excluded from the sociopolitical system, and with only a top-down chain of com- mand linking the workers to the state elites, the workers responded by organizing democratic unions through which they solidified their ranks and 21. There were 848 disputes during the four-month period from january to April 1980. See Economic Planning Board, “Nodong kwankye charyo" [The material concerning labor] (Seoul: EPB, 1980), p. 108. 22. This description of the labor movement is based on my empirical study of the labor union movement during the 19605 and 1970s. See my Labor and the Authoritarian State: Labor Unions in South Korean Manufacturing Industries, 1961—1980 (Seoul: Korea University Press, 1989). {30} Political Clem/ages in South Korea pressed their demands. With the declaration of martial law in May 1980, however, the political terrain was restored by brute force to its former state. The similarities to the past are readily apparent: In a situation where the central power structure was not yet consolidated, the waves of demonstra- tors led by students failed to dismantle the authoritarian political system. This failure, so similar in its outcome to the immediate postliberation pe- riod, when the masses demanded the liquidation of the colonial structure, and similar also to 1960, when the people tried to overthrow Rhee’s au- thoritarian regime, nevertheless disclosed a crucial difference with its'his- torical predecessors. In opposition to the workers, the industrial bourgeoisie and the upper segments of the petty bourgeoisie, together with the greatly expanded mid- dle class, formed a political alliance—albeit not in the form of a political party. This political alliance, through its silence and political passivity, actu- ally helped maintain the existing political power structure. The emergence of this type of alliance marks a sharp break from the character of previous political struggles. Specifically, military intervention had been the decisiVe factor in the demise of the progressive—nationalist forces in the immediate postliberation years, and in the failure of the April 19 uprising in 1960. In 1980 another military coup, led by Chun Doo Hwan, again determined the outcome of political confrontation; but here, for the first time a new political force composed of the upper and middle classes emerged, which, through its quiescence, allowed the new regime to consolidate its power. Thus it is not accurate to say that history was simply repeating itself in 1980. Rather, the historical significance of that year lies in the fact that at a critical historical juncture the progressive forces could not draw support from the middle class that now constituted the central social strata in Seoul. Here, Seoul must be given special consideration because of its critical place in national life—its centrality in terms of politics, economics, society, and culture. Seoul had more than its share of poor, marginalized, and potentially explosive sectors. Throughout the period of accelerated indus- trialization, Seoul had served as an economic magnet that drew the bulk of the demographic exodus from the countryside. Compared with other cities in Korea, moreover, Seoul had developed an extensive international network, had received most of the benefits of export-led growth, and had adopted a cosmopolitan-bourgeois culture. The dominance of Seoul’s mid- dle class extended into the cultural and intellectual life of the entire city, and the lower strata of society, however marginalized they may have been {31} fang jip Choi politically and economically, nevertheless followed the example of the mid- dle class at the key historical moment. This, then, explains why the lower classes of Seoul remained passive in 1980, while in Kwangju, Pusan, and other urban and industrial centers, the lower classes aligned with the dissi- dent forces to launch massive protests against the regime. In cities and industrial centers outside Seoul the political and economic position of the middle class, compared with the middle class in Seoul, had been peripheral, and at the moment of insurrection, a portion of the middle class had aligned with the dissident forces. In the end, however, the political confrontation in Seoul, or lack thereof, proved decisive. Thus after the debacle of 1980, no one could deny that the new middle class in Seoul had established a strategic position in contemporary South Korean society. The Second Cleavage: Just Distribution versus Developmentalism On one level, the inability of the dissident forces to win the support of V the middle class in Seoul in 1980 has to be explained historically. The installation of the Yushin system in 1972, which obliterated all semblance- of democracy from the political scene, marked a critical point in the politi- cal development of the middle class and produced diverging political out- looks between the middle class and the dissident forces. With the proclamation of the Yushin constitution, Park and his Democratic Republi- can Party had scrapped democratic pretensions, and as an alternative basis for its political legitimacy, the Yushin system offered to guarantee stability, security, order, and efficiency, while pursuing high growth and prosperity. The Yushin system tried to replace the ideals of freedom and democracy with the logic of national security and bureaucratic economic development. With this came a shift in the structure of the existing political fissure, from one located around the democracy-dictatorship axis to one revolving around the just distribution—developmentalism axis. If this displacement could be made permanent, the legitimacy of the political regime could no longer be challenged on the basis of democratic norms alone. A new ques- tion would have to be asked: Could a different political system maintain or improve the nation’s gross national product? This ideological move, accompanied by high-handed exercise of the state’s coercive power, led to the political fragmentation of the middle class. The urban middle class, which had so strongly supported the April 19 {32} Political Cleavages in South Korea Student Uprising and student protests against the 1965 treaty normalizing relations with japan, slowly withdrew its support from the dissidents after 1972. This evolution of middle-class politics was in a sense forced; the middle class had to choose between economic growth and democracy. It did not have the luxury of choosing both. This evolution, then, produced its anticlimax in the spring of 1980. It should be emphasized here that the sense of crisis felt by the middle class in 1980 cannot be traced to economic interest alone. The threat of invasion from North Korea served (and continues to serve) as a tremendous resource for the state; the stability of the existing political order was linked with the threat of invasion from the North. Thus in a time of acute crisis for the political order, as in the spring of 1980, a portion of Seoul’s middle class remained on the sidelines, while the majority defended the status quo. The dissident forces in 1980 consisted of students and middle-class intel- lectuals, industrial workers, and the radical wing of the church. The history of the dissident movement after the establishment of the First Republic shows that students had always played a central role in the opposition movement, providing intellectual leadership as well as an ability to organize and mobilize. The. genealogy of the present student movement should be traced to its emergence under the regime of Syngman Rhee and his Liberal Party. In the late 19505, the Rhee regime’s popularity and credibility had declined even further because it was corrupt and used increasingly repres- sive measures to remain in power. Thereafter, students emerged as the leading force in the formation of antiregime groups; they projected a demo- cratic outlook, were autonomous from the ruling bloc, and eventually led the opposition against the Rhee regime in the April 1960 uprising. The student movement had not been allowed to create formal organiza- tions outside campus through which the students could freely and independ- ently interact with the political system. No mechanisms were available fer students to incorporate their demands into public policy, and no meaningful exchange could take place between the students and the permissibly “loyal” opposition party, to say nothing of the ruling party. This alienation of the student movement from party politics continued even under the post—Rhee regime that briefly came to power after the April uprising. Throughout the 1960s the student movement remained within the confines of urban intellectual life, with no affiliation to political parties or any other social groups. It is within this context that the Chun Tae ll incident of November 1970 marks a turning point in the direction and character of the student {33} jang jip Choi movement. Chun Tae II had worked as a tailor in a garment district of Seoul. After repeatedly failing in efforts to better the working conditions of the young employees in his charge, he committed suicide in public, calling on employers to adhere to standards set by labor laws. (For more discussion of this incident see Chapter 4 by Hagen Koo in this volume.) The death of Chun Tae ll set the framework for intense self-reflection. This incident, and the tremendous moral and emotional energies generated by it, catalyzed attempts to organize democratic labor unions and trans- formed the labor question into a general social concern. Clubs, circles, and “underground unions” were formed inside and outside the factories. Though few in number, students and church activists became involved in these organizations—thus forming the beginnings of a link between the urban intellectual groups and the working class. These encounters between the workers and the urban intellectual groups, reacting against the repres- sive policies of the Park Chung Hee regime, radicalized both the student and labor movements. A segment of the church was also radicalized. Traditionally, the Korean church has been very conservative in its political orientation. The appear- ance of a radical wing within Korean churches, however, mirrored the development of radical Christian movements in other parts of the Third World. The church in Korea, with its extensive international‘network, was an active participant in the theological transformations that took place in the 19605. Parallel to Vatican 11 and the emergence of Liberation Theology in Latin America, the radical wing of the Korean church put forth a People’s Theology, and created as its organizational expressions the Urban Industrial Missions, the Catholic and Protestant Farmers Federations, and human rights organizations}3 What we see emerging in the 19705, then, is a close network of dissident groups composed of students and critical intellectuals, urban industrial workers, and the radical wing of the Korean church. These dissident groups, in the course of opposing the authoritarianism of the Yushin regime, merged into a loose but powerful political alliance. Toward the end of the 19705, the opposition party, at this time called the New Democratic Party, joined this alliance. The leadership of the New Democratic Party was 23. On this subject, see Hak-kyu Sohn, “Political Opposition and the Yushin Regime: Radicalization in South Korea, 1972—79,” PhD. thesis, Wolfson College, Oxford Univer— sity, 1988. {34} Political Cleavages in South Korea shared by Kim Dae' Jung and Kim Young Sam. This alliance between the _. New Democratic Party and the dissidents outlined as a common goal the return to a democratic system. It should be noted, however, that on the issue ofieconomic justice (i.e., just distribution of income) the New Democratic Party was much more conservative than the mainstream of the dissident movement; it did not play an important role in confronting the regime over the second cleavage. In its challenge to the ruling bloc, the dissident alliance argued that demo- cratic principles are not contradictory to stability, security, and prosperity; rather, they contended, these goals can be more effectively realized within a democratic system. Opposed to the dissidents, the bourgeoisie and the conservative middle class raised the specter of political chaos and the possi- _ bility that continued political instability would undermine all previous eco- nomic accomplishments. This social configuration still perpetuates political conflict along the second cleavage. Drastic Changes on the Political Terrain The composition of the military authoritarian regime under Park Chung Hee had been bolstered by military elites, upper bourgeoisie, state man- agers, technocrats of the state and private sectors, and the omnipresence of US. strategic and economic interests. Compared with this ruling bloc, civil society was weak, and thus enabled the longevity of the Park regime. Despite this power imbalance between the state and civil society, 'the oppo- sition was able to mobilize the masses at favorable historical moments, forcing the regime into crisis and breakdown, as in 1960 and in the spring of 1980. The political liberalizations that followed, however, were in both cases cut short by military coups. This pattern changed entirely when the population of Kwangju rose up, en masse, to reject the imposition of military rule. The subsequent mass killings carried out by the military in that city created a new dialectic, which was to alter the political terrain. Not since the Korean War had the civilian population been so brutally victimized by the military." The massa- 24. Kwangju, a city with a population of one million, is the center of Chélla province, located in the southwestern portion of South Korea. Cholla province was largely excluded. from the industrialization process that took place in the 19605 and 19705 under the Park ‘ regime. Park Chung Hee came from Kyongsang province; in the process of consolidating his power, he filled the top political posts with men from his own province. At the same time, {35} Jang jip Cboi cre in Kwangju proved to be a tremendous liability for the Chun regime; whereas during the Yushin years the Park regime had ruled through the issuance of emergency decrees, the Chun regime had to resort to direct military rule. The Chun government developed out of the breakdown of the Yushin regime, yet Chun did not set out to reform the governing structure, nor did he change the government’s major policies. In fact, his economic policies favored the big conglomerates even more, at the expense of other sectors of the economy; his highly repressive tax system, which taxed salary and wage incomes at much higher rates than income from capital and land, placed the burden of supporting the expanded state on the shoulders of the lower and middle classes.“ At the same time, Chun copied Park’s privatized authoritarian style and placed himself at the apex of a vast network of corruption and extortion. As later revealed during the National Assembly Hearings into Corruption during the Fifth Republic, this concentration and misuse of power generated visibly negative effects on the economy. In the process, the upper classes came to have ambivalent attitudes toward the Chun regime, recognizing on the one hand that Chun was a reliable guaran— tor of their monopoly interests, but disgruntled on the other by the extor— tion of political contributions and the state’s meddling in business. Among the masses, which make up about three-fourths of the economi- cally active population,“ dissident organizations made significant gains in and with the help of Park's regime, the socioeconomic hierarchy also came to be dominated by men from Kyongsang province. This phenomenon both overlapped and reinforced the deeply rooted antagonism between Chélla and all the other provinces in South Korea. The Park regime’s discrimination against Cholla province was one of the critical factors behind the Kwangju uprising of 1980. The hard-line military clique that grabbed power in 1980 was also led by men from Kyongsang province, and the military force these men unleashed against Kwangju in 1980 was particularly savage and brutal. When the democratic movement began to challenge the Chun regime a few years later, the issue of regional discrimination (i.e., discrimination against Cholla province), in particular the massacre in Kwangju, became a central political issue. For a comprehensive documentation about the Kwangju massacre, see Han’guk Hyondaesa ' Saryo yonguso, Kwangju owél bangjaeng saryojip [Complete collection of the historical mate- rials on the May people’s uprising in Kwangju] (Seoul: P‘ulbbit Publications, 1990). 25. For some critical evaluations of the economic policy under the Chun regime, see Shind- ong—a, ed., Kaiiniawa mot Izajinja [The haves and the have-nots] (Seoul: Dong—a Ilbosa, 1988). 26. This estimation of the size of the popular sectors during the early 19805, including the working class, peasants, and lower middle class, is based on Suh Kwan-mo, “Han’guk sahoefii kyegfip kujo” [The class structure in Korean society], in Han’guk sahoeron [Studies on Korean society], ed. Kim Chin-kyun, Kim Hyung-ki et al. (Seoul: Hanul Publications, 1990), p. 122. {36} Political Clem/ages in South Korea organizing the workers, farmers, and urban poor. The’Kwangju incident made the student movement even more militant in its tactics. From this point onward, student activists began to move in large numbers beyond the university campuses into .the factories to establish links with the labor movement. Also, as Koo describes in Chapter 4, in the 1980s the center of theworkers’ movement shifted from labor-intensive, light industry (tex- tiles, electronics, etc.), where women formed the bulk of the workforce, to heavy industry (automotive industry, shipping, etc.), made up predomi— nantly of male workers. In all the sectors, moreover, the leaders of the official labor unions, which had heretofore adhered to the state’s repressive labor policies, was challenged by the rank and file. The “no-hak yéndae” (the worker-student alliance) became a powerful force, capable of challeng- ing the coercive regime.27 Meanwhile, the middle strata, comprised of mid-echelon functionaries in the state and private sectors, urban professionals, intellectuals, and the self- employed, also turned against the regime. This middle class provided the impetus for a mass campaign in 1987 to revise the constitution of the Fifth Republic, and after a series of events, including the death of a student after police torture and Chun’s public declaration of opposition to the constitutional amendment, the popular mood turned decisively against the regime. Throughout June 1987 the streets became a battle zone between the riot police and masses of demonstrators.28 Chun’s decision to defend his constitution sharply divided the ruling military elites into “hardliners” committed to ending the demonstrations through force, and “softliners” who were ready to come to terms with the opposition.29 The June 29 declaration by Rob Tae Woo, then, represented the ascendancy of that faction in the military that was unwilling to repeat the bloody events of 1980—just when a stalemate existed between the severely weakened, di- vided power bloc and the vastly expanded populist democratic alliance. The 27. On the no—hak yéndae,’see Lee Chong-o, “P’alsip nyondae nodong undongron Chongae kwachongfii ihaeri'il wihayé” [Toward an understanding of a theory of labor movement for the 19805], in Han'guk nodong undongfii inyém [Theories in the Korean labor movement] ed. Han’gfik Kitokyo Sanép kaebalwén (Seoul: Chongamsa, 1988), pp. 212—306. 28. For detailed information on the June 1987 Uprising for Democracy, see Hin’guk kido— kyo Sahoemunje Yonguwén, 6‘wol miniuhwa taet’ujaeng [The great june struggle for democ- racy], Kisayén Report no. 2 (Seoul: Minjungsa, July 1987). 29. On this concept, see Guillermo O’Donnell and Philippe C. Schmitter, Transitions from Authoritarian Rule: Tentative Conclusions about Uncertain Democracies (Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 1986), pp. 15—17, 63. {37} jang lip Choi declaration, however, succeeded in separating and annexing an important section of the populist democratic alliance, namely, the urban middle class. With the urban middle class demobilized, the populist democratic forces were not strong enough to dismantle the power bloc. The mainstream popu- list democratic forces were therefore compelled to compromise with Rob by giving up their maximalist goal and consented to containing the conflict to the first political cleavage, that is, around the issue of democracy versus dictatorship. If the movement had gone further, pushing the struggle to include both the first and second cleavages (democracy/just distribution versus dictatorship/developmentalism), the ruling bloc would have un- leashed the full power of the repressive state apparatuses in a final show- down, and the populist democratic forces would have suffered tremendous bloodshed and crushing defeat. Roh’s declaration stabilized the immediate crisis by giving in to popular demands for direct presidential election. This modus vivendi enabled the state to emerge from this crisis unscathed, while the urban middle class congratulated itself for having forced the regime to carry out democratizing measures. Such a carrot thrown to the middle class, however, had done little to change the socioeconomic condition of the workers, and they now came to the forefront of the struggle. Not surprisingly, the middle strata did not join the workers’ struggle. What was unexpected, however, was the scope and intensity of labor unrest and the speed with which the middle class abandoned the populist democratic movement. The declaration, then, decoupled the first cleavage from the second and isolated the workers along the second cleavage. A wave of labor unrest after Roh’s declaration started in Ulsan, a newly built industrial city with a heavy concentration of large, heavy, and chemi- cal industries, and spread rapidly to Pusan, Kwangju, and the Masan- Changwon areas, and then turned northward to Taegu,.l(oomi, and finally arrived in the Seoul-lnchon a_rea._30 These strikes were initiated by young male workers who were skilled and had higher salaries than workers in the light industries located around the Seoul-Inchon area. (The size and the pattern of these labor strikes are described in Chapter 4.) Compared with the spring of 1980, the difference is clear. The social 30. For the detailed information, see Han’guk kidokyo Sahoemunje Yonguwon, 7—8 wél nodongja taejung t’ujaeng [The Great July—August workers' strugges], Kisayén Report no. 3 (Seoul: Miniungsa, September 1987). {38} Political Clear/ages in South Korea forces unleashed in 1980 were an outcome of the temporary immobilization of the repressive apparatuses of’the state, combined with the decrease in the real income brought about by the recession. At that time, the strikes were largely limited to small and medium-size industries and the issues were mainly economic (i.e., concerned with wages and working conditions), while the methods of protest were comparatively mild.31 p The workers’ movement of 1987, however, took place during a period of economic expansion. The workers’ stance going into the strikes was very militant; their unity and organization were strong, and their methods went far beyond the legal boundaries. Many of the workers’ demands were politi- cal, focused on changing repressivelabor laws and obtaining the right to organize independent unions free from state and company control. Through these strikes, both the workers and the state/upper bourgeoisie became acutely aware of the strategic importance and power of the workers in the monopoly enterprises. Because of the vertical integration of the production system created by the monopoly enterprises, with its system of contractors and subcontractors, a protracted strike at any level of the production sys- tem could arrest the entire production process and create a political and economic crisis. In response to the striking workers, the state and the upper bourgeoisie renewed their historical unity, while the state-controlled media portrayed the workers as destructive and influenced by pro-communist infiltrators. By thus utilizing all its repressive and ideological resources, Roh’s ruling bloc succeeded in separating the middle class from the populist democratic forces. In confronting the workers along the second political cleavage, the ruling bloc defined the clash in terms of “bo-hyuk” (conservative—radical), that is, as conflicts between conservatives who uphold capitalist order and liberal democracy, on the one hand, and leftist revolutionaries who strive to overthrow the existing order through violent means, on the other. Through the media, memories were evoked of the left-right struggles during the turbulent postliberation years. That the middle class was vulnerable to this ideological interpellation is not surprising. For both the middle class and the workers the central concept embodied in their political struggles of 1987 was, and continues to be, democracy. 31. Shin Kum-ho, “Nodong undongfii taejungjok chéngaewa choiikhwafii kwaie” .[The evolution of the labor movement and the task for its organization], in Chénhwan [Transmon] (Seoul: Sagyeiol Publications, 1987), pp. 190—208. {39} Iang Jip Choi But democracy as articulated by the middle class was limited to the dis- course whose parameters were demarcated by the first political cleavage, a discourse that revolved around procedural norms of liberal democracy. But democracy as articulated by students and workers invoked a different dis- course, one that gave centrality to the concepts of equality, social justice, and community, in addition to its minimum definition circumscribing deauthoritarianization with the opening of political space. It is here, then, between the terrain marked out by the first and second political cleavages, that the middle class and the dissident movement begin to speak different languages. Evolution of the Third Cleavage: The Issue of Reunification Analyzing why, when, and under what circumstances the issue of reunifi- cation came to the fore of South Korean politics is extremely important for understanding the entire structure of conflict established since liberation. All other political and social issues, including those of democracy and distri- bution, are at some level linked to the division of the Korean peninsula. It is the iniquity of history that this most fundamental issue necessarily ap- peared last in the sequence of unfolding political struggles. The state and civil society in South Korea will probably clash again in full force over the issue of reunification. Reunification, which came to the forefront of political discourse during the middle of 1988, has become the most heatedly debated issue in South Korean politics. The reasons for this include the activation of the reunifica- tion movement within the opposition forces; recognition of the need for lessening of tensions by both the South and the North; and the changing international circumstances, that is, the end of the Cold War, the impact of German reunification, and the overall reconstitution of the world system. With the reemergence of the reunification issue in South Korea, the con- flict and confrontation of the immediate postliberation period have reap- peared. All three cleavages now appear linked over the political terrain. How these 'cleavages are resolved will greatly influence subsequent develop: ments in the relationship between the state and civil society in the South, and how and under what circumstances reunification will take place. Reuni- fication has been the most severely suppressed issue in South Korea because of the historical/structural circumstances under which the political system > {40} Political Clem/ages in South Korea in South Korea was formed. The very existence of an anti-communist state in the South, established under US. auspices after liberation, was predi- cated on the fact of national division. A separate regime in the' South formed part of a Great Crescent, a system of state established by the United States to encircle the communist bloc countries, linking South Korea to a global system led by the United States.32 The Korean War was the critical event consolidating this system, and it was in Korea that the power of this global system was especially concentrated. It is under these circumstances that the subject of reunification was kept outside the boundaries of allowable political discourse. ' The appearance of reunification as a central political issue, then, took an entire generation. The circumstances making this possible were outlined above. The specific historical events that led up to this moment were the Kwangju uprising in 1980 and the June 1987 uprising, followed by massive workers’ struggles. Through their activism, the workers developed a politi- cal consciousness, as they began to rethink, to rearticulate, and to challenge the mainstream perspectives on North Korea, as well as the role of the United States in Korean history and contemporary politics. The reunification movement sought to portray North Korea in a nonhos— tile, positive way and to draw attention to US. responsibility for the divi- sion of Korea after Japan’s surrender in 1945 and for the Kwangju massacre of 1980.33 A variety of groups and associations tried to meet their counterparts in the North and set off a wave of discussions and public forums centering on postliberation history and reunification. The reunifi- cation movement thus brought to the center of the political stage the issue that most fundamentally challenged the existing political system in South Korea. Roh responded by issuing a declaration on July 7 (1988), setting new guidelines for the state’s reunification policy. Roh’s Nordpolitik defined North Korea as part of one “national community” and introduced over~ tures for almost unlimited economic and cultural exchanges. This major policy redirection required the state to alter radically its conception of North Korea and other communist bloc countries, and to tone down, rhe- 32. Interpretive works that seriously address the concept of the Great Crescent include Michael Schaller, The American Occupation of japan (New York: Oxford University Press, 1985). 33. On this, see Lee Sam-sung, “Kwangju bonggiwa migukui yokhwal” [Kwangju uprising and the US. role in it], Saboewa Sasang, February 1989 (Seoul: Hankilsa). {41} Jang ]ip Choi “torically at least, its anti-communist stance. The declaration thus signaled a drastically different approach toward maintaining control over the issue of reunification. Looking back at post—Korean War history, we can locate important times when civil society broached the issue of reunification: Cho Bong Am, the presidential candidate of the Progressive Party in 195 6, campaigned on a platform advocating peaceful reunification; and the April 19 student activ- ists had called for a North-South meeting between students. That Cho Bong Am was executed by the Rhee regime and that a military coup ended the students’ initiative reflect the degree to which reunification had been force- fully displaced from the arena of legitimate, everyday discourse. In 1988, however, rather than simply repressing the reunification move- ment, the Roh regime in effect tried to repeat the accomplishments of the June 29 declaration, that is, to fragment the reunification movement by adopting a portion of its demands while imposing additional constraints. That the Roh regime tried to compromise with the movement forces and to pull the reunification issue into the confines of the “chedokwon” (institu- tionalized political arena) indicate the degree to which the strength of the forces had grown. The reunification issue had opened up a whole new political space in which the dissident movement could organize a broad coalition: farmers hurt by- imports of US. agricultural products, thousands of separated families, teachers struggling to reform the curriculum and the educational system as a whole, and so on. In this way, the issue of reunifica- tion brought together a variety of groups and a whole range of issues that emanated from the fact of national division. The july declaration, however, also unified the power bloc on the basis of confining the reunification issue to official channels, and provided conser— vatives with an opportunity to rearticulate their Cold War stance in a new language. Nordpolitik came to mean economic penetration into the socialist bloc countries; annexation of the conservative opposition parties from the populist nationalist movement; maintenance of the highly oppressive Na- tional Security Law; and the achievement of Southern predominance over the North in line with a drastically changing international environment. Taking advantage of the changing international scene, a grand conservative alliance was forged around the state’s formulation of the issue of reunifi- cation. The formation of such a coalition can be attributed to the internalization of the division within South Korean society. The problem of reunification {42} Political Clear/ages in South Korea is embedded in the overlap between international structures and class strati- fication within South Korea. Simply put, a wide configuration of groups and sectors in South Korea had benefited from the division. The technocrats, the military establishment, and the upper bourgeoisie, which previously constituted the core bloc advocating a nonconciliatory reunification policy, have now rallied around Nordpolitik based on the model of West Ger- many’s absorption of East Germany. Nordpolitik represents the conserva- tive bloc’s aggressive reaction to both the collapse of communism in the Soviet bloc and the emergence of a populist reunification movement in South Korea. Thus it is against this backdrop that the formerly antireunifi— cation conservative bloc, which had developed in the processes of separate state formation and state-led industrialization, is now turning out to be a force for reunification. Democratization is fundamentally linked to reunification. This becomes readily apparent when we recognize that North Korean society was simi- larly affected by division, leading to the emergence of a particular power structure within North Korea. This perspective, which has not been ade- quately addressed within the reunification movement in South Korea, tends to see North Korea only in abstract or idealized terms. But North Korea has its own internal logic, distinct from that of the South. To put it differently, reunification implies the existence of a concrete other. Thus reunification should not mean the absorption of one by the other, nor should it mean the simultaneous dismantling of both. What is needed is a reunification that comes about as a result of the prolonged preservation of two states within one unified Korea, linking the issues of national self—determination and democratization. In this sense, the task of reunification transcends the state—civil society conflict within South Korea. The Political Opening and Its Consequences From the vantage point of the early 19903, after a few years of political opening, there has evidently been a high degree of continuity in the conser- vative ruling power structure between the ancien régime and the new Roh regime. This does not necessarily mean, however, that there have been no substantial changes in the composition of the ruling power bloc, the internal structure of the state, and the state—civil society relationship. The transition from authoritarian rule since 1987 has unmistakenly had a great impact on every important aspect of both the state and society. The upsurge of {43} jang jip Cboi popular democratic forces led by the minjung unleashed the forces of civil society and enormously expanded the scope of conflicts along all three cleavages (democratization, economic justice, and reunification) to the fore- front of the political agenda. The ruling bloc’s response to this political crisis was quite familiar; it defined the political situation as a public security crisis (kongan cbungguk) in April 1989, representing a backlash to the democratization process led by the hardliners in the new regime. Its aim was to put the brakes on the mounting two-front opposition movement, the labor-led movement de- manding substantive benefits for workers and the populist reunification movement led by the students and progressive church groups. But this time, unlike the coups of 1961 and 1980, the state elite’s attempt to impose authoritarian rule was modest: its methods were moderate and its target was limited mainly to the radical sections of the movements. This reflected a political atmosphere in which the new regime’s elites were not strong enough to recoup their losses since 1987, but at the same time the demo- cratic forces in civil society were not powerful enough to remove them. Nevertheless, the conservative ruling elites were able to remain in power and keep the political system authoritarian to a considerable extent. The partial success of the ruling elites is related to the weaknesses of the democratic forces. For the latter, two factors are crucial. One is the hori- zontal fissure that exists between social classes, particularly between the middle class and the working class. The middle class has proved how deeply it has accepted the dominant ideology and how easily it could become conservative and hostile to the working-class movement, which was becom- ing increasingly radicalized and vociferous as the political conflicts devel- oped not only on the terrain of the first cleavage but also on that of the second and third ones. But middle-class complacency did not derive merely from ideology. The middle class has clearly benefited from the current economic system, so it had no reason to align itself with the working class for substantive reforms. The general prosperity of society made the labor movement a minority among the democratic movements. The other important factor is the vertical division of society along re- gional lines, that is, the rise of regional discrimination against Chélla prov- ince.34 In a way this regional discrimination is so powerful that it may 34. For a comprehensive collection of the studies concerning the regionalism, see Kim Hak- min and Lee Tu-yop, eds., Chiyélz kamjéng yéngu [Studies on regional sentiments] (Seoul: Hakminsa, 1991). {44} Political Clear/ages in South Korea constitute the fourth cleavage in South Korean politics. But it should not be understood as another cleavage, not only because it is not a kind of conflict that can be reduced to a certain fundamental and structural variant, . but also because it is a cumulative result of other conflictual factors like political and economic democratization whose failure has strengthened dis- crimination against a particular region. Yet no matter how spontaneous or manipulated, people from outside Cholla province, particularly the political and social ruling strata from Kyongsang province, fear the possibility of radical reforms should the Party for Peace and Democracy (PPD) and its leader, Kim Dae Jung, win in elections. So for most of Korean society, a transfer of power to the opposi- tion party would have been identified not as a transition to democracy but as a power shift from people from Kyongsang to those from Cholla. The majority of people outside Cholla province have also come to hold this view. Voting patterns since the opening of the electoral arena, from the presidential election of 1987, to the March general election of 1992, and to the December presidential election of 1992, reveal the predominance of this regional consideration, which is likely to continue.” In South Korea, this regionalism has had a particularly regressive impact. on politics. Ultimately, regionalism represents the displaced concentration of the cleavages discussed above, not irrational, collective sentiment or ideology. Thus it led not only to the installation of the security-defined political calculations (whose initiators came from the so-called TK region (Taegu-Kyongsang Pukdo) but also to the formation in early 1990 of a grand ruling party named the Democratic Liberal Party (DLP) through co-opting the formerly South Kyongsang province-based opposition, Kim Young Sam’s party, to complete the Kyéngsang province-based conserva- tive coalition. Regionalism has not been confined merely to electoral politics. It has had an even more profound effect on the opposition movement, including the 35. Here I refer to the three elections since 1987: the presidential election of December 1987, the general election of April 1988, and the general election of March 1992. For the analysis of the first case, see Kim Hyung—guk, “Taet’ongryfing songoui T’up'yo haengt’aee taehan chijonghakjék yonku” [The geographical approach to the voting patterns in the thir- teenth presidential election], in Han’gukfii séngé chéngch’ibak [Political science on elections in Korea], ed. Kim Kwang—ung (Seoul: Nanam Publications, 1990); for the second, Park Ch’an- uk, “Séngé kwajéngkwa taeui chéngch’i” [Electoral process and representative politics], in ibid.; and for the third, Park Ch’an-uk, “14-dae Kukhoeuiwon ch’ong séngéesoui chongdang chiii punsok" [Analysis on support for the party in the fourteenth general election], unpub— lished manuscript, July 2, 1992. {45} jang fip Choi labor movement, by vertically dividing and fragmenting it and thereby pre- venting it from becoming a strong political force. 'While the Roh regime has allowed a considerable degree of political democratization in the middle and upper classes, it has not changed its repressive policy toward the popu- lar sector-based movements, notably the labor movement."5 Therefore, the transition to democracy under the new regime may be characterized as highly class-specific. Under such harsh circumstances the student-led social movements and working—class movements have been subjected to their own dynamics of disintegration, which gained momentum toward the end of the 19805: the acceleration of radicalism and fragmentation along ideologi- cal lines, which caused the loss of a sense of realism and of moral support, not only from other social sectors but also from their own ranks. No doubt, the weakening of radical social forces was prompted by the combined ef- fects of the regime’s antipopulist campaigns, both political and ideological, and the collapse of state socialism. And perhaps most important, the bulk of the working class has benefited so materially from the sustained eco~ nomic growth that workers have become increasingly reluctant to support their radical leadership.37 The rapid disappearance of the minjung forces from the political scene in the late 19805 is as remarkable as their potent advancement during the early 19805. Yet the weakening of the popular democratic forces need not immediately lead to the decline of social forces as a whole, or that of civil society. This phenomenon determines not whether civil society expands or not, but how civil society is shaped in its progressive advancement. In other words, the deauthoritarianization process in the political sphere irreversibly unleashed the forces of civil society. But civil society, in turn, has not necessarily evolved toward a progressive democracy, but in a conservative liberal direc- tion. Under such circumstances the fragile presence, if not absence, of pro- gressive democratic forces would, to some extent, give way to the rise of 36. From March 1988 to july 1991, 1,736 workers were imprisoned as a result of their labor movement activities—more than under the Chun regime. See Cht‘inguk Nodong Johap Hyfipuihoe (National Council of Labor Unions), “Che 6 Konghwaguk Ch’ulbom ihu Kusok nodongja Hyonhwang chosa” [Survey of the present situation concerning the workers under imprisonment since the inauguration of the Sixth Republic], Cbosa t’onggye, no. 91—93 (july 31, 1991). 37. An indicator of this is the remarkably rapid increase in real wages: the rise in real wages during the period from 1987 to 1991 was 11% on average. For this, see the EPB, Kyéngje tonghyang [Economic trends] (February 1992), p. 135; and Han’guk Nodong yongu- won, Quarterly Labor Review 4, no. 4 (April 30, 1992), p. 26. {46} Political Cleavages in South Korea the bourgeoisie, and pave the way for its ascendance vis-a-vis the state elites and eventually its colonization of the state. The traditional relation- ship between the state elites and entrepreneurs, which can be characterized as cohesive and undifferentiated, albeit dominating and subordinating, has been rapidly changing to one that is more differentiated, autonomous, and mutually dependent. Under the Roh regime the upper bourgeoisie con- sciously strive to convert its economic power to political power as it became increasingly distrustful of the regime’s economic policies, which were incon- sistent, unreliable, and often hostile to its interests. Its manifestation was the Hyundai Group chairman Chung Ju Yung’s bold challenge to the ruling political elites and his subsequent creation of a political party named the Unification National Party (UNP). This signifies that the state is no longer omnipotent. However, the UNP is not a full- fledged liberal party similar to those in Western countries. Under the new regime big business is coming to play a significant role as the role of the military has declined considerably.38 This helps to explain how the regime could maintain itself in the face of the populist initiative surrounding reuni- fication. As the capitalist class attempted to replace the military elites in maintaining conservative social order, capitalism cum efficiency and devel- opmentalism may effectively supplant the previously hegemonic ideology of anti-communism. Therefore, the regime could handle the reunification I issue with ever greater confidence vis—é-vis both domestic oppositions and North Korea. The grip of the state elites and civilian politicians on the private economic sector has substantially weakened. Market forces supported by their own economic rationality and neoliberalism on a global scale have gained pre- dominance over the state-regulated economy. The opening of the electoral arena has made political elites more dependent on entrepreneurs for cam- paign funds. The loci of political decision-making have widened, dispersing contact points between decisionmakers and private interests. But most im- portant, as the nation’s economy continues growing, whether quickly or slowly, private economic power itself, which is almost identical to the chae- bols’ influence, has risen correspondingly. Under such circumstances, it is 38. One indication of the political significance of the capitalist class is the UNP’s success in the March 1992 general election. The December 1992 presidential election, however, dem- ' onstrated that it still lacked organizational strength and popular base to pose a serious threat to the state. {47} Jung Jip Cboi inevitable that entrepreneurs are coming to play a much greater role in politics. That is, the chaebols’ political advance is a direct result of eco- nomic “success.” However, continuous pressures for political and economic reforms from below have placed the Roh government in a very vulnerable and contradic- tory position, forcing it to pursue inconsistent and schizophrenic policies that alternate between the time-honored, growth-oriented economic policy and a mildly reformist policy aimed at more balanced growth and stabiliza- tion. No matter how ineffective, the Roh regime was the first one that seriously attempted to pursue reform-minded policies, to reduce the eco- nomic monopoly of the chaebols and to improve welfare.” Though timid and inconsistent, the reformist policy was threatening enough for entrepre- neurs and stimulated their attempts to undo it, by supporting, behind the scenes, the establishment of the DLP, or by creating their own party out- right in the case of the UNP. To some extent, therefore, the democratization process had effect of widening the schism between the state elites and chaebols. i Conclusion Through the historical unfolding of three cleavages, traced from the lib— eration to the present, this chapter analyzes the conflictual relationship between the state and civil society in South Korea. From this history, we have seen that the South Korean state has maintained a dominant position over civil society. But in recent years, especially after the political transition of 1987, the state—civil society relationship has been substantially changing, allowing the vigorous expansion of civil society. State power grew during three historical periods. The first period began directly after the liberation and ended in the late 19505. During this inter- val, the South Korean state was challenged first internally by leftist nation- alist forces and then by the Korean War. Externally, the South Korean state was challenged by the military standoff with North Korea. By the 39. The government policy during Cho Soon’s tenure as EPB chief in 1989—90 can be referred to as reformist, with an emphasis on stabilization, balanced growth, and equity, which sought to curb the monopoly power of the chaebols by means of reform of the land tax system, strict control on bank credits, introduction of the “real name financial transactions system,” tougher taxes on inheritance and allowance, and so on. Throughout the early 19905 this reformist policy line has been pushed back and reappeared. {48} Political Clear/ages in South Korea circumstances of its inception, and in the course of meeting subsequent challenges, the South Korean state became “overdeveloped.” The second period was the 1960sunder the Park Chung Hee regime. The state was able to increase its power by extracting increasing amounts of material resources from the socioeconomic sphere, resources that were greatly augmented because of accelerated economic growth. State power thatfunctions to demobilize and disarm the radical opposition movement must be characterized as a negative power. But it was the Park regime that, throughout the 1960s and 1970s, transformed state power into a catalyst for economic development. ' During this period, however, the power of civil society expanded propor- tionately more than that of the state. How much civil society has matured is reflected in the proliferation of political issues, and in the intensification and inter—linking of conflicts along the three cleavages. The escalation of political conflicts, then, has to be attributed to the collisions between the state and civil society as they both grew. Even though the socioeconomic conditions for democratization exist in South Korea today, the state’s lead- ing role in capitalist industrialization has had a boomerang effect on the process of democratization. In the course of allocating capital for industrial- ization, the state’s economic management structure developed tremen- dously, but so did the repressive state apparatus often mobilized to control labor. As a consequence, the coalition between state elites and capitalists has been maintained. Thus the Korean bourgeoisie was unable to playithe historically progressive role played by the Western bourgeoisie. Moreover, in this process of state-led industrialization, the middle class was also incor- porated into the power bloc’s political, economic, and ideological hegemony. The third period covered the transition to democracy since the mid- 19805, which witnessed an explosion of civil society that both caused the democratic political change and was made possible by it. The factor that contributed the most energy and vigor to democratization and reunification efforts has been the growth of popular democratic forces. The state has been the most hegemonic with regard to reunification. Along this cleavage, the state could mobilize all its potential resources, and this is why of the three struggles the populist nationalist struggle for reunification is the most difficult. The vigor and energy for reunification, which came from the bot- tom, has been continuously co—opted from above by the state elites. Al- though the reunification issue is very important, it seems unlikely that this {49} fang jip Choi issue by itself will decisively influence the process and direction of democra- V tization. In the final analysis, the most critical variable is the balance of power between contending classes within civil society, that is, how effectively the populist democratic forces can mobilize and organize their strength vis-a- vis the ruling power bloc within civil society, and whether they can outma- neuver and neutralize the power of the state. If the counterhegemonic forces weaken, or are outmaneuvered, the course of history is quite predictable-— the most we can hope for is Gramsci’s passive revolution, that is, limited gains within the existing power structure.“0 40. On this nation, see Gramsci, Selections from the Prison Notebooks, pp. 59, 105—20, 206. {50} The State, Politics, and Economic Development in Postwar South Korea Stephan Haggard and Chung—in Moon There have been two central debates about the role of the state in South Korea’s rapid development. The first concerns the relationship between policy and economic outcomes, and pits market-oriented, neoclassical inter- pretations against statist alternatives. The central issue in this debate is the extent to which direct state intervention in markets contributed to this rapid growth. Neoclassical interpretations identify the crucial turning point in South Korea’s economic growth in the transition to an export-oriented growth strategy in the early 19605.1 The South Korean state continued to intervene This chapter draws on Stephan Haggard, Pathways from the Periphery (Ithaca: Cornell University Press, 1990), chap. 3; Stephan Haggard and Chung-in Moon, “Institutions and Economic Growth: Theory and a Korean Case Study,” World Politics 42 (january 1990): 210—37; Chung—in Moon, “The Demise of a Developmentalist State?: Neoconservative Re- forms and Political Consequences in South Korea,” journal of Developing Societies 6:1 (1988): 67—84; Stephan Haggard, Byung-kuk Kim, and Chung-in Moon, “The Transition to Export- led Growth in South Korea: 1954—1966,” journal of Asian Studies 50 (November 1991): ' 850—73. 1. Prominent neoclassical interpretations of South Korean economic growth can be found in Anne 0. Krueger, The Development of the Foreign Sector and Aid (Cambridge: Harvard ...
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