This paper explains the difference between Korea’s vocal movements and feeble parties versus Taiwan’s stable parties and dependent movements from the political dynamics formed under the authoritarian state. Taiwan’s party-based authoritarianism provided ground for party development but not for independent social movements. Korea’s personal dictatorship was inimical to party development but engendered a contentious movement sector.
Against existing explanations based on economic structural and organizational differences, this paper contends that patterns of union activism in newly democratized polities are shaped by unions' interaction with political institutions and actors, particularly political parties. Unions' propensity for militant mobilization or accommodation is molded by the permissiveness of political institutions and electoral incentives for partisan alliances.