No to union repression in South Korea!
On January 18, 2023, the political police of the fascist South Korean regime, the NIS, raided the premises of the Korean Confederation of Trade Unions (KCTU). An operation of this type has just taken place at the beginning of the week against the premises of the union in Busan. The KCTU union had seen its general secretary Han Sang-gyun sentenced to 5 years in prison and fined 500,000 won in 2016. Just over a month ago, when 25,000 South Korean truckers went on strike to better working conditions and wage increases, far-right president Yoon had threatened the strikers with 3 years in prison and a $22,000 fine if they did not stop the strike.
These offensives against the labor movement are led by new President Yoon Seok-youl, an ultra-fascist anti-Communist who was elected last year on a pro-business platform. His program included measures to intensify the exploitation of the working class, such as the transition to a maximum 69-hour work week or the abolition of the minimum wage. These methods of brutal repression against the labor movement obviously make us think of the various fascist dictatorships that South Korea has known. A reality far removed from the idyllic picture of the “great liberal democracy” sold by our champions of neoliberalism who have never set foot in Korea.
Yoon is also a declared admirer of the dictator Chun Doo-hwan known for his use of torture against trade unionists in the 80s. Yoon justifies his repressions by accusing the KCTU trade unionists of being “pro-North Korea” – the regime's magic pretext against any opponent – which has been illegal since the National Security Act (an anti-Communist law put in place by the fascist and puppet regime of Syngman Rhee) was put in place in 1948. McCarthyist hysteria in South Korea has therefore never stopped, it has only varied in intensity, especially when the democrats alternate with the conservatives nostalgic for the military dictatorship.
Indeed, anti-communism has been a constant since the South Korean regime, put in place by the United States, was created to divide the Korean peninsula and thus to destroy the popular aspirations of the Korean working people to sovereignty, to national independence and the construction of a new socialist society. The former collaborators of Japanese colonialism had been reused to lay the foundations of this new occupation regime, as in West Germany (FRG) where the former Nazis reconverted to democracy after a short passage in holy water had founded the FRG on the orders of Washington.
Recall that the Workers' Party of South Korea (Marxist-Leninist party) was banned by the National Security Act when it was the most influential party (360,000 members in 1947) in the part occupied by U.S. imperialism. Its members were moreover almost all exterminated by the puppet regime of Syngman Rhee and by the American army during the Bodo League massacre in 1950 (about 200,000 dead). Elements that curiously never appear in school textbooks in our country, in the same way as the Indonesian anti-communist genocide.
The historic leader of the People's Korea, Kim Il Sung, notably gave many speeches concerning the prospect of peaceful reunification. Yoon is obviously the man of the Chaebols (Big South Korean capitalist conglomerates) and an ardent supporter of the foolish pursuit of Washington's interests and therefore of maintaining tension with the "enemy" of the North responsible for all the evils of the Earth. . Indeed, in addition to the measures allowing the intensification of the exploitation of the South Korean proletariat, he pardoned the former CEOs of Samsung and Lotte.
The outspoken communist activists of the PRCF and the JRCF call for an outpouring of internationalist solidarity with the persecuted trade unionists in South Korea and more broadly with all the working people of South Korea who are fighting against capitalist exploitation and occupation. brutal attack on the Korean peninsula by the US military. Internationalist solidarity also with the DPRK which continues the construction of socialism despite the criminal economic sanctions and the threats of world war emanating from Washington from Ukraine to the Korean Peninsula via the Taiwan Strait.
Solidarity with South Korean trade unionists!
Stop brutal and criminal economic sanctions against the DPRK!
Down with the occupation of U.S. imperialism and long live Korean reunification!
This article was translated and republished from Initiative Communiste.