The characteristics of the socialist transformation of agriculture in Korea

 2022.8.5.

The socialist transformation of agriculture refers to the socio-economic reform in which the private peasant economy based on private ownership in the countryside is transformed into the socialist collective economy, which is also called agricultural cooperativization.

Agricultural cooperativization constitutes the basic problem to be solved in the solution of the rural problems at the stage of the socialist revolution.

President Kim Il Sung said:

"In the socialist stage of the revolution the peasant and agricultural questions consisted in emancipating the peasantry once and for all from every form of exploitation and oppression and freeing the productive forces of agriculture entirely from the shackles of the old production relations based on private ownership, by liquidating the capitalist element in the countryside and reorganizing the individual peasant economy into a socialist collective economy."

Although agricultural cooperativization is one of the basic tasks of the socialist revolution and presents itself as an inevitable requirement for the development of the socialist rural economy, it is not realized of itself under its slogan.

As it is a great socio-economic change in the countryside, it can be successfully realized only when it is matured enough.

The fundamental question arising in the socialist transformation of agriculture is how to solve the question of relations between the technical transformation of agriculture and the transformation of the economic form.

Here, the question of technical transformation is a matter of laying the material and technical foundations for cooperativization and developing the agricultural productivity to a higher level, whereas the question of transforming the economic form is a matter of reorganizing the relations of production along socialist lines and transforming the private peasant economy into a collective economy in the rural sectors.

The first characteristics of socialist transformation of agriculture in Korea is that the economic form of agriculture was reorganized on socialist lines prior to its technological transformation.

In the established theory on socialist revolution, the agricultural assimilation was put forward with the realization of country's industrialization as prerequisite. It was believed to be realized only when the country's industrial productivity had reached the level of development so high as to equip agriculture and all other branches of the national economy with advanced technology. This means that the former colonial and semi-colonial countries, after carrying out anti-imperialist, anti-feudal democratic revolution, should wait till the industrialization of the country is completed before starting the agricultural reformation. During that period, the private economy will grow further, leading to greater class division and deeper root of exploitation and poverty in the rural sectors.

Proceeding from the specific conditions of our country, President Kim Il Sung advanced a new theory that the economic form should be transformed along socialist lines prior to the technological transformation of agriculture.

That is a very effective way to reorganize the outdated economic form into a new socialist one in the countries which have inherited backward production forces.

It is effective partly because the decisive factor for the socialist transformation of the old economic form lies in not the level of development of the productive forces and technology but in the demands of the working masses for their living and the political forces that are capable of realizing them. If the working masses ask for the socialist transformation of the economic form and the political forces capable of undertaking it is prepared, the old economic form can be transformed successfully, even with the productive forces and the technical development at comparatively lower level.

And it is partly because the collective economy is superior to the private economy. The collective economy enables the production means to be used rationally and the economy to be developed in a planned way by taking advantage of cooperation and division of labour even though the means of production have merely been merged. It also encourages introduction of new technologies and technical innovations, resulting in more increased productivity than that under private economy.

The second characteristics of socialist transformation of agriculture in Korea is that the restriction policy was effected on rich peasants as part of class policy, who were then gradually transformed.

The rich peasants are the last exploiting class left in the countryside after the democratic revolution is over, so they constitute the main target of the class struggle at the stage of the socialist revolution.

The former Soviet Union, therefore, effected a strict policy of restricting rich peasants at the first stage, and, during the mass collectivization period, they were deprived and abolished as class, for the rich peasants at that stage opposed the Soviet regime and hindered agricultural cooperativization.

In Korea, however, the force of the rich peasants was weak and its growth was suppressed during the democratic revolution. Moreover, the rich peasants lost their target for exploitation in the period of socialist revolution. The majority of the rich peasants, therefore, could not consolidate their economic foundations, nor could they sustain their economy. They had no other way than to accept agricultural cooperativization.

Based on deep and detailed analysis of such situation, the President clarified that the rich peasants should not be expropriated and liquidated but should be restricted and then reformed gradually.

To reform rich farmers by restricting them is not to liquidate them by expropriation, but to admit them to cooperatives and transform them along socialist lines as conditions mature, while strictly restricting and controlling their exploitative tendencies.

At the time of agricultural cooperativization, the peasants in our countryside included 40 percent of poor farmers, 59.4 percent of mid-level peasants, and 0.6 percent of rich peasants.

Changing the social position of a handful of rich peasants and making them the socialist working people represented the embodiment of our Party's benevolent politics and broad-spectrum politics in remoulding people.

Agricultural cooperativization proceeded smoothly in a short span of time without great twists and turns because our Party, relying firmly on the poor peasants, enhanced their role as core and pioneer, strengthened the alliance with the middle peasants, by making them socialist working people, and gradually remoulding the rich peasants into agricultural cooperatives.

The profound socio-economic changes such as agricultural cooperativization in Korea were completed in a short period of time thanks to the great leader Comrade Kim Il Sung who clarified scientific and theoretical solutions to the problems arising in agricultural cooperativization.