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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Saturday, December 05, 2015

Progressive Mobilization in South Korea Expanding


Workers marched in Seoul, South Korea yesterday wearing masks after the right-wing government had declared that anyone wearing face coverings at their protest would be arrested.

The corporate dominated administration of President Park (daughter of former brutal dictator and US puppet) is trying to destroy progressive labor unions in South Korea in order to essentially get rid of the idea of full-time work.  The Park regime also wants to re-write the nation's school books in order to whitewash the period of time her father terrorized South Korea.  Labor, farmers, and other sectors of the growing progressive coalition in South Korea are stepping up their national mobilization to defend social progress.

Korean Confederation of Trade Unions (KCTU) has announced that the labor group will organize a general strike on Dec. 16 and hold a similar rally again on Dec. 19.

Just days ago I posted on this blog an article printed in The Nation by Tim Shorrock about the attempted crackdown by the Park regime on the progressive movement in South Korea.  Apparently the government was not happy about the story and complained to editors at The Nation.  One of the editors sent the following note to Shorrock.

You'll be pleased, I'm sure, to find out that the Korean government is very upset about your article. I received an e-mail, followed up by an phone call--actually, a spate of phone calls--from the Korean Consulate General here in New York wanting to have a meeting, in our office, with me "to discuss" your article. Of course I said no, even as I welcomed a letter to the editor addressing any points in the piece they take exception to. And I urged them to tell me as soon as possible if there were any factual mistakes. The man I talked to on the phone did not go into any details, nor did he point out--or even claim--that there were factual errors. Just vague words along the lines of the "remarkable progress Korea has made over the past four decades."

As I see it, you're doing one of the primary jobs of journalism--afflicting the comfortable and comforting the afflicted. Power on.

 Today our Veterans For Peace delegation will travel to Jeju City for a visit to the April 3 (4-3) massacre museum and then we have two meetings - the first with a key organizer from Seoul who will brief us on the current progressive mobilization throughout South Korea opposing the Park regime's crackdown and then a meeting with Catholic Bishop Kang who has been a strong supporter of the Gangjeong village Navy base struggle.  More later.

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