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Program Information
Renewing the Anarchist Tradition 2
Toward a New Conceptualization of Anarchist Politics
Seung-Kuk Kim
 Michael Caplan  Contact Contributor
May 17, 2002, 12:14 p.m.
A review of the unusual history of Korean anarchism, its cooperation with nationalist and electoral movements, and what can be learned from this experience.
Producer: Michael Caplan
Uploaded by: George King
Korean anarchism has been criticized for deviating from the orthodox line of Western anarchist practices. Yet Shin Chae-Ho, the founding father of Korean anarchism, emphasized the necessity of reinventing anarchism as a Western implant and building a uniquely Korean anarchism that could reflect the characteristics of Korean society. Thus, Korean anarchists developed a creative (but contradictory) formula of "a government of nongoverning" (noncoercive ruling in the Taoist sense). Korean anarchists joined the nationalist coalition government to fight against Japanese imperialism, and on liberation in 1945, organized an anarchist political party (Independent Workers' and Farmers' Party) through which they engaged in conventional politics and tried to establish an anarchist government. Given the bloody power struggle between the Soviet-backed Left and U.S.-supported Right, Korean anarchists' resolution to politically seek a third way was not so much unanarchist behavior as a creative destruction of the unchallenged dictum that anarchy is against all governments. This talk will explore the nationalist political engagements of Korean anarchism as a starting point for a twenty-first-century anarchism -- linking lifestylist micropolitics and social anarchists' globalized struggles -- to break through the iron cage of political powerlessness.

This talk was presented at the third Renewing the Anarchist Tradition conference, at the Institute for Social Ecology, August 2001.

For further information on the conference, please visit

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00:38:43 1 Jan. 1, 1
Institute for Social Ecology, Plainfield, Vermont
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