The evolution of the Communist programs in colonial-era Korea went through several stages. The first Communist groups of the early 1920s were keen to emphasize that their revolution aims at Communizing Korea as a part of the world revolution project initiated by Russian Bolsheviks, although such Communist groups as the “Shanghai” Communist Party were in reality more nationalist than socialist in orientation. Then, the underground Korean Communist Party, founded in April 1925, following the current Comintern theories, defined Korea’s coming revolution as “bourgeois-democratic” in character, and stronger emphasized the importance of united front struggle together with the more radical nationalists. Changing Comintern line and general radicalization brought by the Great Depression led Korean Communists of the later 1920s-earlier 1930s to revise their programs and accentuate the mobilization of broad social strata to the anti-colonial struggle, rather than alliance with nationalists. The post-colonial political system was redefined as a “people’s democracy.” The “agrarian revolution”—land redistribution—was emphasized as its main project. After 1936, the Communists switched back to the united front strategy, but “agrarian revolution” retained a prominent place in their programmes. These programmes, with their visions of democratized new nation state, played a role in forming the Left’s visions after Korea’s liberation in 1945.
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