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Korean People's Association in Manchuria

Korean People's Association in Manchuria (KPAM, 1929–1931)[1] was an autonomous anarchist zone in Manchuria near the Korean borderlands,[1] populated by two million Korean migrants.[2] It was also known as Shinmin Prefecture[1] or Korean Anarchist Federation in Manchuria.

Korean People’s Association in Manchuria

재만한족총연합회 / 在滿韓族總聯合會
StatusHistorical unrecognised state
CapitalMudanjiang (de facto)
Common languagesKorean
Historical eraInterwar period
• Established
• Disestablished
Preceded by
Succeeded by
Republic of China (1912–1949)
Republic of China (1912–1949)
Korean People’s Association in Manchuria
Korean Anarchist Federation 1928.jpg
Founding members of the KPAM in 1928
Revised RomanizationJaeman Hanjok Chongyeonhaphoe
McCune–ReischauerChaeman Hanjok Ch'ongyŏnhaphoe
Korean Anarchist Federation in Manchuria
Revised RomanizationJaeman Joseon Mujeongbujuuija Yeonmaeng
McCune–ReischauerChaeman Chosŏn Mujŏngbujuŭija Yŏnmaeng
Shinmin Prefecture
Revised RomanizationSinminbu

The society was constructed upon principles of stateless communism, for it operated within the framework of a gift economy based upon mutual aid.



The KPAM formed in 1929[1] as a result of close collaboration between the Korean Anarchist Federation in Manchuria and the Korean Anarcho-Communist Federation, a project aiming to create an independent self-governing cooperative system against Japanese imperialism.[3]

The KPAM was part of the "autonomous village movement"[4] where anarchists and others, instead of focusing on some distant revolution or nationalist development plan, focused on meeting the material needs of the people and each other.[5] This was part of a coming together of nationalist and anarchist people as well as Korean peasants in partial response to hostilities from Imperial Japan and Communist Chinese forces. Though initially separate the two main affinities came together in a form of organization called "no rule" where social organization was based on individual liberty and mutual aid.[5]

After the assassinations of Kim Chwa-chin and prominent anarchist Kim Jon-jim, the former said to have been killed by an Imperial agent and the latter by a Communist one, the anarchist movement in Manchukuo and Korea became subject to massive repression.[5][6] Japan sent armies to attack KPAM from the south, while their former allies, the Chinese Soviet Republic, attacked from the north. By the summer of 1931, KPAM's most prominent anarchists were dead, and the war on two fronts was becoming untenable. Many anarchists soon went underground, and KPAM ceased to exist as a distinct political entity. The KAF-M and KACF continued to fight in China alongside the Chinese communists against Japanese Imperialism until 1945.[1]


Decision-making within the KPAM territories was based on the anarchist ideals of participatory democracy with the society being dominated by village assemblies and various council systems to create a grassroots society.[7]


The KPAM drew heavily from the economic theories of libertarian socialism and established mutual banks, worker cooperatives and democratic schools throughout their territories. Decentralised regional councils were also created to deal with agriculture, finance, industry and social services.[1] The KPAM operated without currency, private property, and any kind of class structure. Thus, the territory functioned as an scentary for anarcho-communist groups throughout Manchuria.


The army was composed mainly of experienced military officers, former soldiers and peasant guerillas who were trained at local guerilla schools.[1]


  1. ^ a b c d e f g "Cartography of Revolutionary Anarchism". Anarchy in Action. Retrieved 2 March 2017.
  2. ^ MacSimoin, Alan. "A Talk by Alan MacSimoin to the Workers' Solidarity Movement, Dublin Branch in September 1991". Anarchy Archives. Retrieved 2 March 2017.
  3. ^ Steven. "1894-1931: Anarchism in Korea". Retrieved 2 March 2017.
  4. ^ "Korean Anarchists Under Martial Law".
  5. ^ a b c Dongyoun, Hwang (2016). Anarchism in Korea: independence, transnationalism, and the question of national development, 1919-1984. Albany. ISBN 9781438461670. OCLC 959978940.
  6. ^ Ha Ki-rak (1986). History of the Korean anarchist movement (PDF). Seoul: Anarchist Publishing Committee. p. 25.
  7. ^ Gelderloos, Peter. Anarchy Works.