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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The collapsing US military & economic empire is making Washington & NATO even more dangerous. US could not beat the Taliban but thinks it can take on China-Russia-Iran...a sign of psychopathology for sure. We must all do more to help stop this western corporate arrogance that puts the future generations lives in despair. @BruceKGagnon

Tuesday, January 31, 2012


Prof. Yang Yoon-Mo, who nearly died from a hunger strike of 74 days last summer, carries water and crawled underneath a cement-mixer truck on January 30

Sung-Hee Choi reports from Gangjeong village:

It was a long, emotional day again for many villagers and activists here in Gangjeong on January 30. Strong direct actions were combined with gentle approaches. In right timing, AWC (Asian Wide Action Committee) activists came to be the witness of the struggle.

From early morning, some activists went to a neighboring town to delay the construction vehicles.

In Gangjeong, it was around noon that Br. Park Do-Hyun reading his statement in protest of illegal destruction has tried again and again to block the trucks with his own body. Every time, the police forced segregation on him, surrounding him with a wall of about 20 ~30 young policemen who came from Seoul to Jeju, knowing little about how the village has been called the ‘best village,’ in Jeju for its heaven-blessed condition for agriculture and how its environment is full of protection zones; how more than 94 % of the electorates in the village oppose the naval base; and how there are many people’s tear and pains in nearly 5 years’ struggle.

Br. Park Do-Hyun has already been arrested six times for less than a year. It is his second time that he has publicly shown his readiness to be imprisoned. But the authorities being afraid to make issue by arresting Catholic priests, seems to determine not to send the Catholic priests to jail but with segregation.

A young woman activist, covering all her face, diligently chased trucks for long hours with a small sign written in both sides: “Stop construction, please!” “Run slowly, please,”

Otherwise, a woman activist, Deulkkot was violently hit in her wrist and broken down her flag by a couple of the villagers who are in favor of naval base. She was walking along with an old Quaker, Mr. Oh Chul-Keun, to protect him. Mr. Oh has been daily doing three steps one bow for peace for nearly three months around construction site, in traditional cloth. The couple also tore the cloth sign in his back. The abusive couple also committed violence to a group of the Catholic followers and people across the gate. The police were slow to stop that violence committed by that couple.

No people including those who joined regular Monday morning Catholic mass could not leave the site. Tension was continuing and people were there to protect Br. Park from possible arrest and to show signs to passing vehicles. People ate lunch on the cement road across the gate.

As there was another Catholic mass around 4:00 pm, the struggle became intensified. Many more people including villages came to the site to join the struggle.

It was Br. Park again who entered underneath the construction vehicle that was illegally entering into the naval base business committee building complex as the Catholic Fathers in robes blocked the main construction (destruction) gate. His fragile body was on the cold cement ground so people cared for him putting mat underneath his body and covered him with blankets.

It was Mr. Song Chang-Wook who stopped another truck. He is a graduate of the ROK Military Academy, admitted to it as the top in its passing examination long years ago, and now an activist of an Island people’s self-governing solidarity organization. He firmly and resolutely stood, despite a police threat, in front of a truck that was following a former vehicle.

Around that time, it was Prof. Yang Yoon-Mo who agilely entered underneath a cement mixer trucks crossing the bridge over the Gangjeong stream. One could see only his white hair under a monster-like heavy vehicle. All the cement trucks following that truck were but stopped.

It was Fr. Moon Kyu-Hyun of more than 60s years old, who stopped another truck, by laying his body underneath a truck. He has been operated years ago in his heart and a heart beat instrument has been hung inside his body since then.

Except for Br. Park Do-Hyun, the three were eventually arrested.

In many faces of young woman activists, tears were constantly flowing down as they appealed to the cement truck drivers with signs and flowers to find another job other than that of naval base destruction. The drivers could only sigh. It was apparent that in their deep hearts, they didn’t want to make living with such destroying works, either. Young activists appealed them for a vision of the Peace Park instead naval base.

Dr. Song Kang-Ho was dragging down a destroyed boat damaged by the navy’s partial burning of it with cigarettes last year, all along the struggle sites, displaying it to the world. The Navy has been seldom hearing his demand on damage compensation on it.

It was right timing that the 8 representatives of the Asia Wide Action Committee (3 from Taiwan, 2 from Japan, 1 from Philippine, 1 from the United States, and 1 Korean guider, Mr. Heo Young-Koo, a renowned labor activist) came to the site after their international conference on both days of Feb. 28 and 29 (see and saw all those wretched scenes. They recorded the scenes of the late afternoon with cameras.

On the contrary, the police, Navy, and Navy-contracted company staffs were in all chaos. They were perplexed and downhearted.

While some went to the police station to meet the 3 arrested, the others had their daily candle vigil. Prof. Yang was told later to have told them not to send more people to visit them in the police custody room but to encourage them to continue fight.

In the candle vigil, many who happened to visit the village on the day expressed their solidarity to the struggle. The 8 representatives of the AWAC shouted slogans in their own languages. People wholeheartedly responded them by repeating them. There were no more language barriers then.

Benji reported his visit to the Amnesty International meeting in Seoul on Jan. 28. He brought much good news. It is expected that about 15 people from the meeting wish to come to the International [Global Network] conference on Feb. 24-26. He also said the "Amnesty International is planning to set up coordinator roles to increase their level of activity this year relating to Gangjeong issue. A senior researcher of Amnesty International is expected to visit Gangjeong soon."

It was confirmed that an event will be organized on the 2nd of March in Seoul. An awareness and money raising concert called "Rock and Resistance", where the Gangjeong issue will be the main topic. Four famous music bands are invited and 200 to 250 people are expected to come to the event. Some of the money raised would naturally go to Gangjeong activism.

A long day passed again.

And today will be another struggle, too. It is also the date when 12 Catholic Fathers stand in the court again.

Let’s bless our struggle for peace and love.


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