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Influence of Socialism on Manners and Labor Customs among North Korean Fishermen

  • The Review of Korean History
  • 2015, (118), pp.355-390
  • Publisher : The Historical Society Of Korea
  • Research Area : Humanities > History

JinA Chung 1

1건국대학교

Accredited

ABSTRACT

Agriculture and Fisheries, important objects in People’s democratic reformand socialist cooperation, underwent ground-breaking changes in 1946~1960, and the lifestyles of North Korean farmers and fishermen were also greatly changed. This was because the People’s democratic reform and socialist cooperation were processes in which North Korea was not only changed into a People’s democratic and socialist regime, but also engaged in the creation of anti-feudal and socialist humans. Before the Korean War, North Korea took on the nationalization of important industries but recognized the existence of private commerce and industry to drive productivity, and fisheries were developed on the basis of small-size fishing industries. The North Korean regime’s policies for fisheries at that time were to make grounds for developing fishing industries under the fishermen’s scientific recognition by eliminating superstitions in a way of anti-imperialist/ anti-feudal People’s democratic reform, and to indirectly lead the fishermen to understand the superiority of national and cooperative organizations and be willing to enter the road to cooperative efforts with activation of national enterprises and fishing companies. In the course of her post-war regime competition with South Korea, North Korea was faced with the task of building socialism based on her poor productivity. North Korea did not follow the general path to socialism, that is, changes in production relations based on productivity, but came up with the way of ‘Our Way of Socialism,’ which would enhance productivity in terms of changes in production relations, and rapidly drove socialist cooperative efforts. This way might be effective when it was based on the subject’s awakening and requirement, but could never work well where the subject’s readiness was poor. Especially, in the field of fisheries, where experiences in group work and red cooperation movement were totally absent, the plan for productivity improvement in terms of the subject’s awakening was not fruitful but only showed retardation. Thus, Kim Il-seong, driving the first 5-year plan in 1957, referred to fisheries as a representative field of retardation, and strengthened the nation’s direct intervention and guidance. This was oriented toward a shift in generations in terms of aggressive allocation of new-generation communists and a rapid transition for the creation of new fishing culture with women’s engagement. This paradoxically tells us that the socialist cooperation and the creation of socialist humans could not be reached without the nation’s direct intervention and powerful guidance, and at the same time shows the way in which ‘Our Way of Socialism,’ which prioritized political leadership and ideological reform rather than socio-economic conditions, was accomplished in fisheries.

Citation status

* References for papers published after 2022 are currently being built.

This paper was written with support from the National Research Foundation of Korea.