Look it up — the one-day general strike on Feb. 25 in south Korea. The only place you can find pictures and an explanation of what happened is on websites connected to the Korean Confederation of Trade Unions. There you will see amazing photos of the enormous rallies held in downtown Seoul and other cities. You’ll also see pictures of solidarity rallies held by unionists in other countries.
But you won’t find a word about the strike on the sites maintained by the Associated Press, Reuters, Al Jazeera, the New York Times, the Washington Post, etc.
This strike was called for two main reasons: to try to stop the planned privatization of public services and health care by the right-wing government of Park Geun-hye, and to protest the regime’s illegal intervention and fraud in the 2012 general election.
The conditions that led to the general strike included a massive government assault on the railroad workers. On Dec. 9, the Korean Railroad Workers Union went on strike against privatization plans that would threaten their jobs, benefits and services. Immediately, the government fired 4,000 workers and announced a plan to hire 660 strikebreakers.
On Dec. 16, hundreds of police surrounded and invaded the headquarters of the KRWU in an attempt to arrest union leaders. Workers in the union building tried to keep the police from entering their offices, and after hours of pushing and shoving, the police had to leave empty-handed.
However, the government continued to seek the arrest of the leaders and levy steep fines on the union, so on Dec. 27, 100,000 workers marched and rallied in Seoul in support of the KRWU.
The railroad strike was called off on Dec. 30, after the National Assembly agreed to set up a subcommittee on railway development that would take advice from experts, including the union, in order to come up with a plan to prevent privatization in the short term. However, the struggle continues against a government committed to big business’s agenda of austerity and layoffs.
Hardly a day passes that there isn’t some article in the U.S. corporate media attacking the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea — socialist north Korea. But when it comes to reporting on the workers’ struggle in U.S.-occupied south Korea, their eyes and ears are closed and their mouths shut.
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