| Anti-war and Anti-globalization Movement in Korea.|
(in Beirut Meeting)
PSSP (People's Solidarity for Social Progress)
Contrary to neoliberalists' promise, neoliberal financial globalization doesn't suppose the highest stage of peace. Because US, as a center of promoting neoliberal financial globalization, accelerates militarization to protect it. Militarization doesn't go to settlement of strife but focuses on protection of private property as a result of financial globalization and trade liberalization.
We know that globalization worsen the economic social inequality by increasing insecurity, hence military disorder brought about violence and new wars. If maintaining and managing these situations can be called "armed globalization", we should recognize that "armed globalization" is the strategy of ruling class including US. Up to now anti-war movement against US militarism and anti-neoliberal globalization movement appeared separately. Ruling class coped with unitive strategy, but we coped separately. Then we should make unitive strategy against armed globalization.
2. Anti-war Movement
1) Struggle against US' occupation in Iraq and Korea's dispatching troops to Iraq
After Mar 20, US' invasion on Iraq, Korean government decided to send troops to Iraq. We struggled against the deploying policy and the US-Korea war alliance. Almost everyday we had press conferences, street demonstration, sit-in struggle in front of the National Assembly. But finally President Roh government sent about 700 troops to Nasiriyah in Iraq. In Oct, President Roh declared additional deployment and it brought about mass protest. Workers, peasants, students, women, youths and most social movements struggled against National Assembly's passage of the proposal for additional deployment. The proposal was passed in Feb 2004. In June, Korean worker Kim Sun-il was headed by armed group in Iraq. We censured the government strongly because President Roh reaffirmed the additional deployment during the negotiation and it drove the group to kill him. We requested President Roh, who was blamed as a war criminal, to resign. In Aug, Roh government sent about 3,000 troops(mainly consists of combat soldiers) to Iraq, so Korea became the third scale deployment country in the world. We are still fighting and will fight for complete withdrawal of Korean troops and end the occupation.
2) Anti-US military bases movement
There are about 80 US military bases in Korea. Where there is a base, there is a anti-base campaign. Up to now US and Korea governments have held the FOTA(Future of the Alliance Policy Initiative) and decided to reduce US army in Korea. They plan to gather US bases in three regions and to move the largest base, Yongsan US base in the middle of Seoul, to Pyeongtaek. If so, Pyeongtaek US base are extended to 1600ha. In Pyeongtaek, most of the residents oppose the extension. They've suffered from US base for scores of years. Now, they are organizing the joint struggle committee with social movements. Actually this US base replacement program is in accordance with US' GPR(Global Posture Riview). The US has said its troop curtail in South Korea is part of its new global strategy to streamline its Cold War-era fixed military bases overseas into more flexible, mobile units to better cope with new security threats such as terrorism and troop reduction would not weaken the deterrent against North Korea, citing its commitment to spend $11 billion on new sophisticated weaponry systems for US forces on the peninsula over the next three years. But we oppose US military bases and forces in Korea and demand total withdrawal of US military.
3. Anti-globalization Movement
During the 5th WTO Ministerial Meeting in cancun, around 180 delegates traveled to Cancun to fight against neoliberal globalization and WTO DDA talks. In the middle of the struggle in front of the barricades blocking the convention center, Mr. Lee Kyong Hae, sacrificed himself crying out "WTO Kills Farmers". His Death represented the situation of all farmers in Korea and all around the world under the WTO, and it made the struggle more vigorous. Immediately after his death, Korean delegates got started sit-in struggle in front of the "Kilometer Zero" where Mr. Lee immolated himself. All of Korean delegates and other people in Cancun had candle light vigil, commemorating him and protesting the talks inside the convention center in the spirit of him. Finally, the negotiation was derailed. Being moved by the victory, peasants, workers, women, and other social movement activists who joined this struggle determined to keep up this struggle until achieving our basic right destroyed by the WTO. This event was a good opportunity for Korean people's movements to strengthen solidarity with the anti-globalization movements in the rest of the world.
In June of 2004, the World Economic Forum East Asia Summit took place in Seoul. The Korean people's movement, which had been inspired by the victory in cancun, mobilized against the neoliberal globalization and organised 'Asian People's & Social Movements Assembly'. A lot of social movements such as trade unions, peasants' groups, anti-war movements in Korea built the organizing committee together. Over 100 organization from the rest of the Asia endorsed the proposal of Korean people's movements, and roughly 180 international delegates gathered together in Seoul. All the participants of this event came to recognize that neoliberal globalization and militarism go hand-in hand. The US occupation of Iraq and the WTO/FATs, symbolizing the two faces of armed globalization, was brought as key sites of our struggle. As a result of the Assembly, international day of action on September 10 which is the first anniversary of the death of Lee and international mobilization for Hong Kong WTO Ministerial in 2005 was adopted as common action plan.
Now Korean people in various sectors are struggling against neoliberal agenda, such as AoA, renegotiation for tariffication of rice, GATS, and Korea-Japan Free Trade Agreement. 6th to 12th September has been designated as a week of action to commemorate Lee and to struggle against liberalization of rice and for food sovereignty. During this week, the Korean Peasants League was mobilizing hundreds of thousands of peasants in 100 town around the country, KCTU and other social movements joined in the demonstrations that took place simultaneously in nine major cities. About 10 representatives of the Via Campesina were in Korea, to join in the protest. Social movements has been protesting against Korea-Japan Free Trade Agreement in the solidarity with Japanese Social movements. Hundreds of peopele gathered in Kyeong-ju, where the 5th negotiation of Korea-Japan FTA took place. In November they are going to Tokyo, where the 6th negotiation will take place, to hold various events with Japanese social movements against this FTA. Teachers and workers in public sector are preparing large mobilization against commodification of basic services and privatization of infrastructure in October. They are gathering together again at the moment of a week of action against neoliberal globalization in November.