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Support Korean workers & peasants

Published May 26, 2006 6:16 PM

John Choe
WW photo: G. Dunkel

From a talk given by John Choe of the Korea Truth Commission at the May 13-14 conference on “Preparing for the Rebirth of the Global Struggle for Socialism” in New York City.

A South Korean free-trade agreement (FTA) with the U.S. is now being negotiated. It got underway in February 2006 with a meeting between President Roh Moo-hyn of South Korea and President Bush. This trade agreement follows major defeats in establishing the next round of neoliberal interventions in the Third World.

Spectacular people’s victories-from Seattle to Hong Kong, where thousands of Korean peasants and movement activists blocked the ministerial meetings, and 300 farmers swam in Victoria Bay to avoid police repression—have made a mark, and have forced these types of bilateral agreements to now be the norm. Next month, from June 4 to 9, Korean workers, peasants and activists are going to bring the war against imperialism to the belly of the beast, and stage protests in D.C.

listen Listen to full talk (MP3 audio)

The FTA would allow U.S. companies to dump imports like agribusiness-grown, U.S. taxpayer-subsidized rice in South Korea, sounding the death knell for 3.5 million Korean peasants. The FTA would also eliminate many of the worker rights achieved by decades of militant struggle and sacrifice.

Once the FTA is implemented, 15 million workers will overnight become a highly dispensable and exploitable contingent labor force. The FTA would also expand a growing militant labor force around the world, forcing families apart, dislocating people from traditional villages and communities, many of them later facing discrimination and criminalization here in New York City and abroad.

Finally, the FTA would also destroy the social fabric of South Korea, opening up Korean culture to the mercies of the monstrosity we call Hollywood. We will slowly see the Korean-owned, struggling artistic and film industry strangled to death.

As an immigrant and a byproduct of U.S. imperialism, I hope you can help me bring down imperialism through [the June 4-9] event and many other events in the future.