Workers' Party of South Korea

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Workers' Party of South Korea
Namchosŏn Rodongdang
General Secretary Lyuh Woon-hyung
Hŏ Hŏn
Pak Hon-yong
Standing Committee Hŏ Hŏn
Founded November 23, 1946 (1946-11-23)
Dissolved June 30, 1949 (1949-06-30)
Merger of South Korean Branch Bureau of Communist Party of Korea and New People's Party of Korea
Headquarters Seoul
Newspaper Haebang Ilbo (Daily Liberation)
Roryŏk Inmin (Working People)
Ideology Socialism
Political position Left-wing
Politics of South Korea
Political parties

The Workers' Party of South Korea (Korean: 남조선로동당) was a communist party in South Korea from 1946 to 1949. It was founded on November 23, 1946 through the merger of the South Korean Branch Bureau of the Communist Party of Korea, New People's Party of Korea and a faction of the People's Party of Korea (the so-called 'forty-eighters').[1] It was led by Pak Hon-yong.

The party was outlawed by the U.S. occupation authorities[why?], but the party organized a network of clandestine cells and was able to obtain a considerable following. It had around 360 000 party members.[2] In 1947 the party initiated armed guerrilla struggle. As the persecution of party intensified, large sections of the party leadership moved to Pyongyang.

The party was opposed to the formation of a South Korean state. In February–March 1948 it instigated general strikes in opposition to the plans to create a separate South Korean state.[3] On April 3, 1948 the party led a popular uprising on Jeju island, against the unilateral declaration of the foundation of the Republic of Korea. In the suppression of the revolt, thousands of islanders were killed (see Jeju massacre).[4]

In one of its first official acts, the South Korean National Assembly passed the National Traitors Act in September 1948, which among other measures, outlawed the Workers' Party of South Korea.[5]

On June 30, 1949 the party merged with the Workers' Party of North Korea, forming the Workers' Party of Korea.[6] The WPNK leader Kim Il-sung became party chairman, whereas Pak Hon-yong became deputy chairman. Pak Hon-yong and other leaders of WPSK in North Korea were later purged.[7]

The clandestine trade union movement, the All Korea Labor Union (Chŏnp'yŏng) was connected to the party.