[OPE-L:3930] Re: Nationwide Strike in S.Korea Against

Seongjin Jeon (seongjin@gshp.gsnu.ac.kr)
Sat, 4 Jan 1997 20:58:41 -0800 (PST)

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As I well know that OPE-L is not so appropriate place to discuss the
ongoing workers' struggle in S.Korea, my response to Chai-on will be as
brief as possible.

I still think, President Kim Youg Sam in South Korea very well expected,
and already prepared for the strong people's resistence before he had
railroaded two virulent laws, neo-liberal labor laws and strengthened
fascist anti-Communist law. It is obvious that he is trying to manipulate
the resultant political and social tensions or crisis in favor of his
would-be successor in coming Presidential election. Kim Youg Sam seems to
be more intersted in the effect of railroading vicious laws on the coming
Presidential election than on revitalizing the ailing economy. In short,
current workers' struggle have not started as offensive but defensive
struggle, and did not come as a thunderbolt from blue sky as did the
Great Workers' Struggle in 1987. Despite the fact that current general
strike has been consciously organized on a nation-wide scale by
independent labor union, Federation of Democratic Unions, it still seems
to me inferior to previous spontaneous struggle in 1987 in that it is
going as 'BUREAUCRATIC' general strike. Reformistic and collaborative
leardership of labor unions seems to avoid doing anything which would
help current struggle develop into revolutionary situation, instead, they
try hard to bureautically control the more militant rank and file workers
It is highly probable that current 'bureaucratic' general strike would
end up nothing but a sort of ritualism, and would be fully exploited by
or absorbed into the political games in coming Presidential
election between contending bourgeois parties, unless spontaneous
struggle of rank and file workers succeed to overcome their reformistic
leaders and proceed to the general mass strike in the sense of Rosa
As to current situation in S.Korea, I am not so optimistic as Chai-on,
but I do believe in the final victory of workers' struggle in South Korea
and all over the world.

In solidarity,
Seongjin Jeong
Jan 3, 1997