Progressive Party (South Korea, 2017)

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Progressive Party
LeaderKim Jae-yeon
See list
  • Ahn Joo-yong
  • Cho Yong-shin
  • Kim Ki-wan
  • Lee Kyung-min
  • Song Myeong-suk
  • Yoon Hee-suk
Secretary-GeneralKim Geun-rae
Chair of the Policy Planning Committeevacant
Founded15 October 2017 (2017-10-15)
Merger of
Headquarters11, Yeouidaebang-ro 67-gil, Yeongdeungpo District, Seoul
Political positionLeft-wing
Colors  Red
Seats in the National Assembly
0 / 300
Metropolitan Mayors and Governors
0 / 17
Municipal Mayors
1 / 226
Provincial and Metropolitan Councillors
3 / 824
Municipal Councillors
17 / 2,927

The Progressive Party (Korean진보당; Hanja進步黨; RRJinbodang), known as the Minjung Party (Korean민중당; Hanja民衆黨; RRMinjungdang) until June 2020,[1] is a left-wing,[2][3] nationalist political party in South Korea.[4][5] The party was formed by the merger of the New People's Party and People's United Party on 15 October 2017.[6]


The party initially had two members in the National Assembly, both from Ulsan, but was reduced to one on 22 December,[when?] when the supreme court convicted Yoon Jong-oe for breaking the campaign law.[7] On October 13, 2017, when the founding ceremony of the Minjung Party was held, American progressives such as Ramsey Clark and Noam Chomsky celebrated the founding of the party by advocating pacifism on the Korean Peninsula.[8]

In July 2018, members of the Minjung Party met with members of the North Korean Social Democratic Party in China. The meeting was not authorized by the Ministry of Unification which could have punished the party for violations of South Korea's National Security Act. Jung Tae-heung, the co-chair of the Minjung Party, stated that he was warned the party may be fined for the meeting.[9]

In August 2019, the party held events related to nationwide protests against Japanese prime minister Shinzo Abe and boycott against Japanese products.[10]

In January 2020, the Minjung Party surveyed at 1.5% approval rating ahead of parliamentary elections.[11]

The party lost its remaining seat in the 2020 legislative election.

In June 2020, the party renamed itself from the Minjung Party to the Progressive Party.

Political positions[edit]

Although the party has never officially put forward socialism or anti-capitalism, it is classified by some media outlets as "far-left" (Korean극좌; Hanja極左)[12][13][14] in the context of South Korean politics. The Progressive Party has "progressivism" as its main ideology rather than "socialism".[15][16]

The Progressive Party strongly supports direct democracy so that 'Minjung' can actively participate in politics,[4][17] and is also evaluated as "radical" or "radical-left".[18][19]

Economic policy[edit]

The party supports the redistribution of wealth and economically progressive positions such as imposing a 90% tax rate on more than 3 billion won (roughly US$2,500,000).[13]

In addition, the party sees chaebol very negatively and sees "decomposing the monopoly economy of transnational capital and chaebols" (Korean초국적 자본 및 재벌의 독점경제를 해체) as its official party theory.[20][4]

Foreign policy[edit]

The Progressive Party is an anti-imperialist party.[21][22] The party generally shows a strong left-wing nationalism tendency and is much more conciliatory to North Korea than mainstream left-liberals in South Korea, and the party argues that the remnants of colonialism from the Japanese imperialist era should be liquidated and unequal South Korea-U.S. relations should be dismantled to establish national sovereignty.[4][23]

Social policy[edit]

Major politicians of the Progressive Party oppose anti-communism and militarism and support pacifism and a volunteer military system.[24] The party also supports women's rights, LGBT rights and labor-oriented politics.[25] Kim Jae-yeon said the reason for running for the 2022 Korean presidential election was "to become a feminist president".[26]

Rights of immigrants and foreign workers[edit]

The Progressive Party is a Korean nationalist party, but it shows a pro-immigration tendency because it aims for a 'resistance nationalism' that differentiates it from 'right-wing nationalism'. In addition, the Progressive Party opposes neoliberalism, saying neoliberalism promotes discrimination against immigrants.[27][28][23]

The Progressive Party, along with human rights groups, accused the Moon Jae-in government's COVID-19 quarantine policy in March 2021 of being discriminatory against foreign workers.[29]

Controversy over the far-left label[edit]

The Progressive Party is usually classified as "far-left" in South Korean media; however, the Progressive Party does not officially advocate general far-left ideologies such as anti-capitalism, left-wing terrorism, communism or anarchism in the context of international politics. The Progressive Party supports the restoration of South Korea's sovereignty and full "independence" in the international community. The term "independence" here means strong support for hostile foreign policies against Japan, active reunification policy with North Korea, opposition to free trade with neighboring powers, protectionism, and establishment of completely equal diplomatic relations between countries.[4]

The main reason why PP is classified as "far-left" in the South Korean political context is anti-Americanism. The PP sees South Korea's socio-economic contradictions as the main cause of the U.S. rather than China/Japan, and thus supports the "anti-American struggle" (반미투쟁). This is therefore a crucial difference from mainstream liberals like DPK and JP, who are negative for China/Japan and are somewhat friendly to the United States to counter their China/Japan hegemonism. In particular, the PP argues for the "Dissolution of the U.S.-South Korea alliance" (한미동맹 파기).[30][31][32]

Democratic socialists in South Korea, including the Labor Party, criticized the Justice Party and Progressive Party as merely "liberal", not "progressive"; however, due to the difference in diplomatic views between the two parties, the Labor Party is considered more moderate than the Progressive Party in the context of South Korean politics.[33] Some equate the Progressive Party's line with the Justice Party and the Labor Party's centre-left social democracy.[34]

For this reason, on Namuwiki, the most popular wiki in South Korea, an editorial battle took place over the political position of the Minjung Party and the Progressive Party, and eventually a "Talk" forum was held. The conflict stemmed from a dispute between editors over whether or not the party could be accurately described as "far left". However, Namuwiki's administrator (Korean관리자; Hanja管理者) concluded that it was right to define the political position of Minjung Party and the Progressive Party as "far-left".[35][36]


The merger of the New People's Party and People's United Party has been controversial, due to their status as parties that were largely a continuation of the Unified Progressive Party, which was dissolved and banned in 2014 due to purported pro-North Korean and "anti-constitutional" activity by a Constitutional Court ruling.[37][38] Conservative critics of the party argued that the Minjung Party is merely an attempt to reestablish the Unified Progressive Party.[39]

Election results[edit]

Presidential elections[edit]

Election Candidate Votes % Result
2022 Kim Jae-yeon 37,366 0.11% Lost

Local elections[edit]

Election Metropolitan mayor/Governor Provincial legislature Municipal mayor Municipal legislature Election leader
0 / 17
0 / 824
0 / 226
11 / 2,927
Kim Jong-hoon
Kim Chang-han
0 / 17
3 / 824
1 / 226
17 / 2,927
Kim Jae-yeon


See also[edit]


  1. ^ Deok-ho, Son (20 June 2020). "민중당, 진보당으로 당명 변경 ... 김재연, 신임 당대표 선출 (Rename the Minjung Party to the Progressive Party ... Kim Jae-yeon Elects New Party Leader)". The Chosun Ilbo. Retrieved 7 July 2020.
  2. ^ Jae-hyuk, Park (17 August 2018). "CJ Logistics criticized for death of part-timer". The Korea Times. Retrieved 12 April 2019. The left-wing Minjung Party criticized CJ Group's logistics arm for shifting its responsibility for the death to the subcontractor.
  3. ^ Hincks, Joseph (25 May 2018). "Confusion and Protests. How Seoul Reacted to President Trump Quitting the North Korea Summit". Time. Retrieved 12 April 2019. In the city’s Gwanghwamun Square Friday, a group of about 30 protesters holding the banners of South Korea’s left-wing Minjung party had gathered to demonstrate against the cancellation of summit.
  4. ^ a b c d e "진보당 강령 (Progressive Party code)".
  5. ^ "South Korea Government and Politics". Ministry of Foreign Affairs (South Korea). Minjung Party: Nationalism (in English)
  6. ^ 민중당 공식 출범 "민중 승리시대 열 것" 포부. 인천일보 (in Korean). 15 October 2017. Retrieved 16 October 2017.
  7. ^ 울산 북구 단일화 양보했던 이상헌 "윤종오는 무죄". Ohmynews (in Korean). Naver. Retrieved 25 December 2017.
  8. ^
  9. ^ "Minjung Party may face fine for meeting NK party". koreatimes. 26 July 2018.
  10. ^ Herald, The Korea (14 August 2019). "Anti-Abe rallies to sweep Seoul on Liberation Day".
  11. ^ "S.Korean political parties' approval ratings mixed ahead of April parliamentary election: poll". 16 January 2020. Archived from the original on 16 January 2020. Retrieved 1 April 2021.
  12. ^ "Female prosecutor opens up about sexual harassment". koreaherald. 30 January 2018. Retrieved 19 March 2020. "Members of the far-left minor opposition Minjung Party protest, demanding the Prosecution’s apology and an investigation into a female prosecutor’s sexual harassment allegations, in front of the Supreme Prosecutors’ Office in Seoul on Tuesday."
  13. ^ a b "[4·15 총선 앗싸①] '극좌'에서 '극우'까지 ... '배당금黨'에 '결혼당'도 출현" [[April 15 general elections] From 'far left' to 'far right' ... 'Dividend Party' and 'Marriage Party' have also emerged.]. 뉴스웍스. 26 January 2020.
  14. ^ "김영호, 민중당 비례대표 2번 받고 출마" [Kim Young-ho ran after being assigned the proportional representative No. 2 of the Minjung Party.]. 내포뉴스. 1 April 2020. Retrieved 14 December 2021. ... 극좌 성향의 진보정당으로서 정의당과 쌍벽을 이룰 정도로 뿌리가 튼튼한 데다 고정적인 지지층이 있어서 기호 2번은 당선 안정권에 속한다. ... [... Minjung Party is a far-left progressive party, and candidate No. 2 belongs to the stabilization of the election because the roots are strong enough to form a barrier with the Justice Party and there is a fixed support base. ...]
  15. ^ "Minjung Party press conference". Yonhap News Agency. 11 October 2018. Retrieved 16 June 2020. Members of the progressive Minjung Party hold a press conference in front of former President Chun Doo-hwan's home in Seoul on May 18, 2020.
  16. ^ "South Korea Backtracks on Easing Sanctions After Trump Comment". The New York Times. 11 October 2018. “The dog barks, but the caravan moves on,” Lee Eun-hae, a spokeswoman at the minor progressive Minjung Party, said in a statement about Mr. Trump and closer relations with North Korea.
  17. ^ Song Young-hoon (14 April 2020). "민중당 비례후보 누가 나왔나 (Who's the proportional candidate for the Minjung Party?)". NEWSTOF.
  18. ^ "대선후보 나선 김재연 진보당 상임대표 "무상급식, 무상교육, 기초노령연금, 아동수당 ... 우리 공약이었다"". Kyunghyang Shinmun. 23 August 2020. Retrieved 15 December 2021. 대선공약으로 주4일제 도입과 토지공개념 전면 실시, 1단계 연방통일공화국 진입 등을 내세웠어요. 급진적이라는 시선이 있어요.
  19. ^ "진보당 김재연 "이재명 오락가락, 윤석열 부자에 표 구걸 ... 자격 없다"" [Progressive Party Kim Jae-yeon said, "Lee Jae-myeong goes back and forth, and Yoon Seok-yeol begs for votes from the rich ... They are not qualified (to be president)".]. 파이낸셜뉴스. 15 November 2020. Retrieved 14 December 2021. 김 후보는 2012년 통합진보당 비례대표로 19대 국회에 진출했으나 '통진당 해산'명령으로 의원직을 상실한 급진 좌파 정치인이다. 이후 민중당을 거쳐 지난해 6월 진보당 상임대표로 선출됐다. [Candidate Kim entered the 19th National Assembly in 2012 as a proportional representative of the United Progressive Party, but is a radical left politician who lost his seat due to an order to dissolve the Unified Progressive Party. Since then, he has been elected as a standing representative of the Progressive Party in June last year after passing through the Minjung Party.]
  20. ^ "진보정당 첫 대선출마 김재연 "민주당 정부는 개혁 대상"" [Kim Jae-yeon, the first presidential candidate of a progressive political party, said, "The Democratic Party government is subject to reform".]. Media Today. 5 August 2020. Retrieved 14 December 2021. ... 그는 “최저임금부터 끌어올리겠다던 ‘소득주도성장’도 ‘재벌주도성장’으로 바뀐 지 오래이고 박근혜 정권만도 못한 최저임금 인상률과 무려 160조원을 재벌대기업에 쏟아 붓는 ‘한국판 뉴딜’이 오히려 ‘K양극화’를 부추기고 있다”며 “‘노동존중 정부’의 약속도 ‘노조 탓하기 정부’로 변질됐다”고 비판했다. ... [... She said, "The 'income-led growth', which was intended to raise the minimum wage from the beginning, has long changed to 'chaebol-led growth'. The Park Geun-hye administration's minimum wage increase rate and the "Korean version of the (fake) New Deal", which pours as much as 160 trillion won into conglomerates, are rather encouraging (Economic) "polarization", he said, criticizing "the labor-respect government's promise has also turned into a "government to blame the union." Even the Democratic Party, which has survived on the basis of support for opposition to water polo forces, has become an vested group, he said. "The Democratic Party's government is not the subject of reform, but just the subject of reform." ...]
  21. ^ "민중당 "이란 슬픔 함께 할 것, 미국 강력 규탄"…한미방위조약 파기 요구도 (The Minjung Party "will share the sorrow of Iran, strong condemnation of the United States" ... Demands to Destroy the South Korea-U.S. Defense Treaty)". Korea Economic Daily. 8 January 2020. Retrieved 16 June 2020.
  22. ^ "아베의 화이트리스트 한국 배제 규탄 김종훈 원내대표 기자회견문". Minjung Party : Commentary/Briefing. 2 August 2019. 제국주의 망령에 사로잡힌 아베 정권을 규탄합니다. (The Abe administration is obsessed with the specter of imperialism.)
  23. ^ a b "[박노자의 한국, 안과 밖] 노래를 불렀다가 '죄인'이 되는 나라, 대한민국" [[Pak Noja's (South) Korea, inside and outside] A country where you sing song and then become a 'sinner'. (That's the) Republic of Korea.]. The Hankyoreh. 26 May 2020. Retrieved 14 December 2021. ... 민중당은 조직 노동자, 비정규직 노동자들의 지지를 받으며 좌파민족주의적 입장에서 신자유주의를 비판하는 정당이다. ... [... Minjung Party is a political party that is supported by organizational and non-regular workers and criticizes neoliberalism from a left-wing nationalist standpoint. ...]
  24. ^ "진보당 김재연 후보 공약 "징병제에서 모병제로 전면 전환하겠다"". OhmyNews. 12 December 2021. Retrieved 13 December 2021.
  25. ^ "진보당 김재연 "8만 당원 중 절반이 비정규직, 노동중심 정치 세우겠다"". Voice of the People. 12 September 2021. Retrieved 13 December 2021.
  26. ^ "김재연 "페미니스트 대통령이 되기 위해 출마했다"" [Kim Jae-yeon said, "I ran to become a feminist president".]. OhmyNews. 24 December 2021. Retrieved 25 January 2022. 진보당 대선후보 "국민의힘-민주당, 경쟁적으로 이대남에 구걸" [Progressive Party presidential candidate said, "People Power Party and Democratic Party are competitively begging Angry Young Men".]
  27. ^ "진보당 인권위원회" [Progressive Party Human Rights Commission.]. Facebook (in Korean). 4 December 2018. Retrieved 14 December 2021. 2. Neoliberalism and immigrant human rights. [2강 신자유주의와 이민자 인권]
  28. ^ "[김능구의 20대 대선후보 직격인터뷰] 김재연 진보당 대선후보② "'노동중심성' 세워 진보정체성·진보단결 해내는 새로운 게임체인저 될 것"". 폴리뉴스. 8 December 2021. Retrieved 14 December 2021.
  29. ^ "'외국인 노동자'를 제물로 삼는 코로나19 전시행정 중단을 요구한다". People's Solidarity for Participatory Democracy. 21 March 2021.
  30. ^ "[민중당 결의문] 한미동맹 파기하고 자주국가 건설하자".
  31. ^ "광화문에서 다시 울려 퍼진 '내정간섭 중단! 미군철수! 한미동맹 해체!' 함성". 14 December 2020.
  32. ^ "트럼프 방문에 '국회 철통경호'…지하철역 출구·지하주차장도 폐쇄". 20 July 2020.
  33. ^ ""준비된 사회주의 후보, 공약만으로 충분한 지지 얻을 수 있다"" [If you are a prepared socialist candidate, you will gain sufficient support with just a pledge.]. 참세상. 11 September 2021. Retrieved 13 December 2021. 정의당이나 진보당의 색깔은 우리와 같지 않다. ... 민주노동당에서 파생된 정의당과 진보당은 사회주의라는 용어를 다 뺐다. 진보를 포기한 거다. [The color of the Justice Party or the Progressive Party is not the same as ours. ... The Justice Party and the Progressive Party derived from the Democratic Labor Party do not use the term socialism. They are no different from giving up true progressivism.]
  34. ^ 탁양현 (11 January 2019). 진보주의 정치철학, 수운 최제우, 안토니오 그람시 (in Korean). e퍼플. p. 33. ISBN 9791163473008 – via Google Books.
  35. ^ "민중당(2017년) (토론)" [Talk:Minjung Party (2017)]. Namuwiki (in Korean). 9-12 May 2019. Retrieved 15 December 2021.
  36. ^ "진보당(2020년) (토론)" [Talk:Progressive Party (2020)]. Namuwiki (in Korean). 8-12 August 2019. Retrieved 15 December 2021.
  37. ^ "S Korea court orders dissolution of leftist party". San Diego Union-Tribune. 19 December 2014.
  38. ^ "Official court opinion (in Korean)".
  39. ^ 김경희 (15 October 2017). 민중당 오늘 출범 ... 옛 '통진당' 재건 논란도. 연합뉴스 (in Korean). Retrieved 16 October 2017.

External links[edit]