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S. KOREA. 10.19/Last week's struggle report...

by KCTU/ETU-MB Tuesday, Oct. 19, 2004 at 1:50 AM MSSC (Myeong-dong Sit-in Struggle Collective), now since 338 days in strike against the policy of mass arrests and deportations, for legalization, work visa, human and labor rights for migrant workers.


Last Tuesday passed without “big deals” for us – just some of our activists went to their home areas for organizing. Some in Myeong-dong used the time for relaxing, some for studying.
But on Wednesday it was past with our quietness: Again Korea Times and Yonhap linked our struggle with fundamentalist Islam and network al-Qaeda. Under the headline “Anti-State Islamic Group Members Deported” Korea Times (KT/English version of Hankook Ilbo) agitated against our struggle. ``Illegal foreign workers negatively affect not only the nation's labor market but also its security,'' KT quoted Rep. Kim. Here you can read the whole mug’s game. We only can warn the government and their idiotic media: Don’t go too far! We call that RACISM!
On last Thursday, like usually, we’d our weekly struggle night rally on Myeong-dong cathedral’s compound, our strike area. Many student activists, but also some construction workers from Gyeongi-do (province) joined.
Like every day, last Friday the activists from Cheongjin 6-dong protested in front of Jongno-gu District Office.

Cheongjin 6-dong is an area downtown Seoul (near Kyobo Building), where the construction mafia want to tear down a whole quarter, where are the rented shops and flats of hundreds of families are located (we already reported about their struggle and the background here).
In the late afternoon MSSC got visitors: eight activists from the Australian Metal Workers Union (AMWU), being KCTU’s guests.

They were very interested in our struggle, but also shattered about the conditions under witch migrant workers in S. Korea have to live and to work. We explained our demands, our strategy and tactics. During the meeting they donated some money and promised us to stay in touch and support us more effective. THANX A LOT, COMRADES!
For Saturday afternoon the freight drivers union (KCWU), taxi driver union (KFTWU) and railway workers union (KRWU) organized a mass rally on Yeoui-do – and 10.000 workers followed the call.

After the rally a powerful demonstration to Yeongdeungpo to the head quarter of Their Close Party (some call it Our Open Party) – KCTU announced before - took the streets, but some hundred meters from the finishing point the demo was blocked by the riot cops and their huge busses. Thanks to the new policy of KCTU no fight followed the police provocation, even many of the demonstrators were angry and cross with this provocation. (Here you can read a (Korean) article about the rally and demonstration.
In the night in Kyonggi University a solidarity night for the Metal Workers Union, Seoul Regional Branch took place. Many “culture workers” (they call them self like that), but also several metal workers performed their songs and expression dances. The night was a really great getting together, because you could meet a lot of workers who are still in fierce struggle to get their labor rights. For example the female workers from Hitec Korea are now the third year in strike against the owner of the company to get the right to act as trade union.
For Sunday some organizations organized an anti-war rally and demonstration “International Day to Act Against the War”. In fact, beside S. Korea and London, where the European Social Forum took place, nowhere else was a demonstration.
In the beginning of the rally only few people (even KCTU was not mobilizing for the rally!), mainly members of All Together gathered in Morronier Park in Seoul’s Hyehwa-dong (district). In the beginning a band was playing and the atmosphere was getting really nice even it was more an informal atmosphere.

After the band in several speeches the speakers came out very sharp against the occupation in Iraq and Palestine and demanded to bring the S. Korean troops back home.
The representative of MSSC condemned in a strong speech government and S. Korean bourgeois media remarks about possible links between migrant workers struggle and the network of al-Qaeda. Totally absurd was the speech of the presenter before and after our speech, greeting us with as-Salam Aleikum and stuff like that. Only a minority of migrant workers are from a Islamic country! Like SWP in Britain – to get a "broader" anti-war alliance they have no problems to work together with reactionary Muslim fundamentalists – it is at least absolutely opportunistic, if not worse.
During the rally more and more people gathered there and in the late afternoon about 1000 people formed a demonstration and marched in the direction of Kyobo Building, downtown Seoul.
Here on the march just slogans like “Bush is terrorist!”, “Blair is trerrorist!”, "Sharon is..." were shouted – like mantras, just very loud. No speeches for the citizens, no message transferred… No connection between the militarization and the social question… It seems like the whole thing was just to entertain the demonstrators. So on the end point just a pitifully rest arrived and finished not really powerful the event. After all it just showed the weakness of the movement and if we don’t find a way, how to strengthen our efforts the movement will be weak until the end of our days. Here you can read another article in Korean.
And finally: What’s that?

Because there is no real alternative – with Kerry there will be no change, he only will sell the same policy on a smarter way – what we’ve to do with the U.S. elections?

.Here just some more impression from Sunday’s rally and demonstration

If we continue like that, then they just will be defeated by their enemies from their own rows!


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