[OPE-L] Appeal from graduate economics students at Seoul National University

From: glevy@PRATT.EDU
Date: Sun Dec 23 2007 - 00:24:55 EST

via aut-op-sy


 Save the Marxian
Tradition at Seoul National University , South Korea

Dear colleagues,

This is an urgent appeal for solidarity in the struggle against
neoliberalism-dominated economics in universities. Marxian economics at
Seoul National University (SNU) is hovering on the brink of elimination.
We are aware that these processes are also happening at University of
Marburg now and a lot of universities in the world have already begun
eliminating the critical or non-mainstream traditions in social sciences
under claims of efficiency, market principle, and restructuring of
university, etc.

The only Marxian
economist in the faculty of SNU, Prof. Soohaeng Kim is going to retire in
Feb.2008. He is famous in Korea for having translated Marx's Capital into
Korean and his translations have sold about 350 thousand copies since
1988. Marxism has been one of the serious weapons against long-standing
military dictatorship and domination of capital in industrial relations
here in South Korea , and therefore Prof. Kim's lecture of Marxian
economics has been overcrowded with many students enthusiastic about
radical change and true democracy of Korea . He has taught 'Introduction
to political economy' and 'Marxian economics' at the undergraduate level,
and 'Studies in Marxian economics' at the graduate level and supervised 15
Ph.d. dissertations about Marxian and non-mainstream themes in

However, it is highly
likely that his position will be replaced by a neoliberal economist when
he retires in February. Unsurprisingly, 32 of 33 faculty members are
pro-market conservative economists and 30 of the 33 have gotten their Ph.D
degrees from universities in the United States . In fact, Prof. Kim was
able to join the faculty of SNU in 1989 as a result of graduate students'
demonstrations with a boycott of classes back then. Most of the faculty in
the department of economics in SNU have assumed a displeased stance
against the Marxian tradition in SNU, often called 'the highest ranking
university of Korea', and Prof. Kim's retirement is a good chance for them
to wipe out this tradition at SNU.

We graduate students are preparing to fight to preserve the Marxian
tradition at SNU. While we are preparing concrete actions here, including
a graduate students sit-in and protest assemblies, it is crucial that our
struggle not be isolated and thus we are appealing for international
support through a signature campaign. Marxian economics is still an
important branch for critical social science and its role as a lens for
understanding class dynamics between capital and labour has grown even
more crucial as the neoliberal attack is winding around every corner of
Korean society, let alone the universities.

We are urgently appealing for your support. Please take a minute
to act in solidarity by sending an e-mail with your name, school or
organization, and country to vorwarts@naver.com to indicate your support
for our cause. If you need any further information, please do not hesitate
to contact me. We would be tremendously grateful if you could also further
distribute this to sympathetic colleagues, comrades etc. We will be taking
signatures until Tuesday, February 5 , 2008 and urge you to please take
the small but very important solidarity action by sending the e-mail

Thank you very much for your
consideration and support.

May our struggle meet
with solidarity and the May Marxian tradition in economics survive the
neoliberal attack at SNU!

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