Organizing Notes

Bruce Gagnon is coordinator of the Global Network Against Weapons & Nuclear Power in Space. He offers his own reflections on organizing and the state of America's declining empire....

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Tuesday, April 05, 2011

PAST AND PRESENT JEJU STRUGGLES


Following the defeat of the Japanese imperial Army the U.S. essentially took control of Korea. The U.S. put right-wing Koreans, who had collaborated with the Japanese during their occupation of Korea, in charge of the newly "liberated" country. This betrayal is what eventually led to the Korean war.

On April 3, 1948, the right-wing police on Jeju island fired on a demonstration commemorating the Korean struggle against Japanese rule. Outraged, the people of Jeju attacked 12 police stations. In the fighting many policemen and civilians were killed. They then issued an appeal urging the local population to rise against the occuping American military government. Up to 60,000 individuals were killed in fighting or execution on the island.

The brutal suppression of the rebellion by the South Korean army resulted in tens of thousands of deaths, the destruction of many villages on the island, and sparked rebellions on the Korean mainland. The rebellion, which included the mutiny of several hundred members of the South Korean 11th Constabulary Regiment, lasted until May 1949, although small isolated pockets of fighting continued into 1953.

Reporters from the U.S. military Stars and Stripes newspaper provided vivid and uncensored accounts of the South Korean Army’s brutal suppression of the rebellion, the local popular support of the rebels as well as the rebels' retaliation against local “rightist” opponents. The Koreans committed these atrocities in front of the U.S. military. The Americans documented the massacre, but never intervened. On May 13, 1949 the American ambassador to South Korea wired Washington that the Jeju rebels and their sympathizers had been, "killed, captured, or converted."

On the 63rd anniversary of the Jeju April 3 uprising, about 1,300 workers from the Korean Confederation of Trade Unions (KCTU) gathered for a cultural and peace evening event held near the naval field office in the Gangjeong village to express their solidarity with the Gangjeong villagers' struggle against the current naval base construction.

After the KCTU rally, villagers, workers and other citizens gathered together in the village ceremony hall. Jeong Young-Hee, a woman in the Gangjeong village sang a traditional song.

1 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

I love South Korea!!

5/16/11, 8:16 PM  

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