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

I grew up in a military family and joined the Air Force in 1971 during the Vietnam War. It was there that I became a peace activist.

Thursday, March 02, 2017

Oppose THAAD - Boycott Lotte


On March 1 about 400 people gathered and marched in Seongju, South Korea to protest against the land swap between the government and the Lotte corporation.

Lotte turned over a golf course that will be used as the deployment site for the US THAAD (Terminal High Altitude Area Defense) missile defense system that will be aimed at China and Russia.


Already a fence is being erected around the former golf course as the South Korean government readies the land for the US military to take over.

The people of Seongju (once largely right-wing party members and supporters of the current corrupt government) have been building a national movement to oppose the US THAAD deployment.

 
South Korea's progressive newspaper the hankyoreh reports:

“I think relevant parties know full well the opposition of the Chinese people to the deployment of THAAD by the US and the ROK. I believe they have noted the voice of the Chinese people in recent days,” said Chinese Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Geng Shuang in the regular press briefing on Feb. 28. “The Chinese market and consumers will determine whether a foreign company is successful in China.” This was Geng’s response to a reporter from the Global Times who said, “Many Chinese people say recently that they want to boycott the Lotte. Will the Chinese government take punitive measures against the Lotte Group?” The Chinese government basically said that it could do nothing about a potential boycott.

The day before, the Chinese media unanimously criticized the South Korean government and Lotte in connection with Lotte’s decision to provide land for THAAD and urged their audiences to participate in a boycott. In an editorial on Feb. 28 titled “Hurting Lotte and punishing South Korea: China has no other choice,” the Global Times urged readers to refrain from buying South Korean vehicles and mobile phones and to cancel plans to travel to South Korea. The paper called for restrictions on the import of South Korean cultural products to be gradually strengthened until there was a complete embargo and said that it was right and proper for China to drive Lotte from the Chinese market to set an example for others.
Lotte is fretting about these indications from China. Currently, Lotte has 22 subsidiaries doing business in China and more than 20,000 Chinese on its payroll. The group is operating five department stores, 99 hypermarkets, 16 supermarkets and 12 movie theaters in cities such as Beijing, Shanghai, Tianjin, Shenyang, Weihai and Chengdu, and it has so far invested more than 10 trillion won (US$8.78 billion) with some subsidiaries even locating their production bases there. Since the end of last year, the Chinese government has been carrying out audits and fire safety and hygiene testing of Lotte’s workplaces in China.
There has also been a boycott of Lotte declared inside South Korea by the Buddhist Won sect whose spiritual founder's home is next door to the THAAD deployment site.

The US does not care about any of this - all they want is THAAD deployed in South Korea in order to expand the Pentagon's so-called missile defense (MD) capability in the region.  Various types of US MD systems are currently deployed in Guam, Taiwan, Japan, Okinawa, Hawaii, South Korea and onboard Navy Aegis destroyers deployed throughout Asia-Pacific waters.

MD is the shield that would be used after a Pentagon first-strike sword is thrust into the heart of China or Russia.  

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