[OPE-L:3885] Re: Nationwide Strike in S.Korea Against Neoliberal Policies

seongji (seongjin@gshp.gsnu.ac.kr)
Sat, 28 Dec 1996 17:10:34 -0800 (PST)

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Gerald Levy wrote:
> Chai-on, Rieu, Seongjin: can you tell us some more about the following?
> In solidarity, Jerry
> ---------- Forwarded message ----------
> Date: Sat, 28 Dec 1996 11:13:10 -0600 (CST)
> From: "Harry M. Cleaver" <hmcleave@mundo.eco.utexas.edu>
> Subject: Nationwide Strike in S.Korea Against Neoliberal Policies
> The News
> Mexico City, December 28 1996.
> ----------------------------------------------------------------------------
> Reuters
> SEOUL, South Korea -- South Korea's biggest group of labor unions on Friday
> threw its 1.2 million-strong membership behind a nationwide strike until the
> end of the year, while the government and employers sought to soothe worker
> anger.
> Nurses at 14 hospitals joined strikes that have almost halted production of
> cars and ships and that threaten transport chaos when bus drivers and subway
> staff walk out on Saturday.
> More than 15,000 workers raised clenched fists at a rally in Seoul, chanting
> anti-government slogans as they vented their fury against a labor law passed
> on Thursday.
> The usually moderate Federation of Korean Trade Unions added its muscle to a
> battle over the law that gives employers the right to lay off workers, adopt
> flexible work hours and replace strikers.
> Originally, it planned a 24-hour action starting from midday Friday to noon
> on Saturday.
> But at a news conference, its chairman Park In-sang announced the walkout
> would now last until next Tuesday, and possibly into the new year depending
> on a vote on Monday.
> Bus services in major cities would be halted on Saturday, Park said. Subway
> lines in Seoul operated by federation workers would stop on Monday morning.
> ----------------------------------------------------------------------------

Dear Jerry:

Thanks for your intersts in the explosion of workers' struggle aginst the
railroading of retrogressive 'neo-liberal' labor law with the
revival of hysteric anti-Communist law last 26th, Dec. in my country,
South Korea.
It is the first time for the independent and democratic labor unions have
launched the nation-wide general strike since the late 1940s in South
Kora, and they are expected to reach the level of spontaneous Great
Workers' Struggle in 1987.
However, it is hard to say that they will lead to a revolutionary
conjuncture for following two reasons at this point.
First, current confrontation between the government and labor unions
(with opposition parties) seems to be tactically initiated or
masterminded by President Kim Young Sam in order to aggravate social and
economic crisis, which might contribute to strenghtening incumbent party
coming Presidential election.
Second, the leadership of seemingly militant labor unions (Federation of
Democratic Unions) is dominated by reformist and economistic labor
However, it is clear that ongoing workers' struggle will wreak a damaging
blow to the neo-liberal restructuring policy of Kim Young Sam Government.
Anyway, as I am in Michigan at this point, my compatriots, Chai-on and
Rieu may have more vivid things about the current struggle in South
In addition, I would recommend you to refer following article of NYT


In solidarity,