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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Location: Bath, Maine, United States

Sunday, August 07, 2016

Lessons from Jeju Grand March for Life & Peace

The east & west teams met at a busy intersection in Jeju City - a very exciting moment

The totem banners were symbolically joined at the center of the intersection

Auto union workers performed during the finale rally - the guy on the far right was very friendly to me and he was quite a singer.  Their songs were about their struggle against lay-offs and the companies attempts to force workers into part-time (temporary) work - the same kind of issues that French workers have lately been protesting about.  

Joyakgol sings his new hit single 'drop the lawsuit', in reference to the recent $3 million lawsuit for damages filed by the Navy against the villagers of Gangjeong - just the latest in a brutal attempt to suppress the irrepressible resistance that characterizes the Gangjeong peace movement!

Some of the tired but happy crowd at the finale event.  We figured that at least 60% of the walkers were students.  Koreans do a great job of making their events inter-generational.
 
Throughout the peace march, back in Gangjeong village at the Navy base new front gate, activists kept the morning 100 bows ceremony going as well as the mid-day demonstration.

(Click on any of the photos for a better view)

Fellow Veterans For Peace (VFP) members Will Griffin, Ken Jones and I flew back to the Korean mainland yesterday afternoon to Daegu (the hottest city in Korea we were told) where we will spend the next two days resting.  Our events here were surprisingly cancelled on us.

After some challenges we found a nice hotel and I was happy to see they had a washing machine available to us.  I've been washing some of my clothes in the shower and it has been a chore to get them clean.

We are all online trying to get caught up with email and social media.  Will is making reservations to fly to Okinawa at the end of the month to metjoin another group from VFP who are heading there on a similar solidarity trip.  (It's great to see VFP taking on the Obama-Clinton Asia-Pacific 'pivot'.)

Ken flies to California tomorrow to attend the VFP national convention in Berkeley.  He hopes to be able to share his experiences in Korea at the confab.  Will and I will head to Seoul for more protest and conference events.  We will miss Ken as we all have become close during this time together.

In the meantime the two Korean-American women Juyeun Rhee and Hyun Lee who were to be our guides and translators on this trip are daily in contact with us even though they were deported by the South Korean government when they arrived in Seoul.  They also been doing media work about their deportation and the latest interview with them can be seen here

We all firmly believe they were deported because of their recent work to oppose the THAAD 'missile defense' system that the US will soon deploy in South Korea.  (THAAD has already been deployed in Guam.) It is clear that the reactionary South Korean government is doing everything possible to disrupt protest movements against THAAD as they clearly have been ordered by Washington to push the deployment of the provocative system forward despite the will of the people.

In particular the corporate controlled government in Seoul is trying to paint any critics of THAAD as agents of North Korea - a standard strategy by the government here to suppress the opposition.  So far it ain't working.

The Seoul government is trying to isolate anyone opposing THAAD - especially those living in the melon farming community called Seongju which appears to be the Pentagon's preferred deployment site.  Currently the government is working feverishly to create a climate of fear and intimidation to keep activists from around South Korea from going to Seongju who wish to express their solidarity with the local residents.

This attempt to drown democracy is something we now see happening all over the world as the corporate globalists attempt to stomp out people's efforts to protect their economic and human rights as well as peace and the environment.  It's a full scale war against the people as the regional capitalist oligarchies arm themselves to the teeth in preparation for their final push for control and domination.

The spirit we witnessed during the Grand March for Life & Peace indicates that the people here will not easily surrender to the forces of darkness.  People understand what they are up against and are facing the challenge with steady determination and much joy.  They are a good model for all of us.

Bruce

1 Comments:

Blogger Zinn Reader said...

NH VFP stands in solidarity with those in Korea who are fighting the US war machine as well as so many other groups across the world who are victimized by the predatory interests of mega-corporations, especially those producing weapons.

8/7/16, 10:04 PM  

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