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Youngsu Won

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Another impeachment and the collapse of the conservative opposition: South Korea holds general elections amid COVID-19 crisis

 

 

By Youngsu Won

April 17, 2020 — Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal — South Korea held its 21st general election to elect MPs on April 15. The final result was pretty decisive: the ruling Together Democratic Party (TDP) won an absolute majority of 163 seats on the constituency ballot, plus another 17 seats on the party list ballot, for a total of 180 seats in the 300-member parliament. 

In contrast, the main opposition United Future Party (UFP), a new party formed out of a merger of various parties including that of former president Park Geun-hye who was impeached in 2017, won 84 constituency seats and 19 party list seats for a total of 103 seats. This represented a huge defeat for the UFP, and led to party leader Hwang Gyo-ahn resigning even before the final vote was published.

South Korea's COVID-19 crisis: The work of a millennial sect?

 

 

By Youngsu Won

March 2, 2020 — Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal — The abrupt mass outbreak of COVID-19 has shocked most of South Korea - with the exception of a small millennial sect. 

By March 1, the number of diagnosed cases of COVID-19 had risen to more than 3700, including 20 confirmed deaths, representing a huge rise compared with the less than 100 cases just two weeks before.

More than 60% of those infected are members of a religious sect: the Shincheonji Church of Jesus. Shincheonji means New Heaven and Earth in Korean and implies a millennial Christian utopia. Its leader, Lee Man-hee, controls this monolithic organism from top to bottom.

South Korea's ugly refugee phobia

 

 

By Youngsu Won

 

August 1, 2018
Links International Journal of Socialist RenewalThe historical candlelight movement of 2016-17 finally turned South Korea from one of the most reactionary anti-communist regimes into a normal democracy. However, the recent debate over Yemenis refugees revealed the naked face of deep-seated racism of many Koreans.

 

Contextualizing South Korea’s Winter Olympics

 

 

By Youngsu Won

 

February 6, 2018 — Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal — This winter has been extremely cold in South Korea, with temperatures regularly reaching well below -10oC – perhaps another sign of climate change. One of the coldest places has been Pyeongchang, a small town in Gangwon Province, which is just below the demilitarized zone (DMZ) and is set to host the Winter Olympics between February 9 to 25.

 

Korean Crisis - A South Korean Perspective

 

 

By Youngsu Won

 

November 29, 2017 
 — Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal reposted from Europe Solidaire Sans Frontières — Will a verbal war between a senile dotard and a little rocket man result in an actual war? Probably not, but at the very moment, the risk is unprecedented, the highest without question. The reason?

 

Simply because the consequent of any action will be beyond imagination, and extremely catastrophic in every sense of the word. This is the only imaginable deterrent of any possible war, unfortunately.

 

Corea del Sur: Victoria del movimiento de las velas, destitución de la presidenta Park y convocatoria de elecciones

 
 

Por Youngsu Won

 

Marzo 22, 2017 — Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal, traducido por Enrique García para Sin Permiso— El 10 de marzo, a las 11:22 de la mañana, el juez del Tribunal Constitucional Lee Jeingmi leyó la última frase de la sentencia, que declara que el tribunal había decidido por unanimidad, destituir a la Presidenta Park Geun-hye. Después de un juicio de 92 días, la presidencia de Park Geun-hye había terminado.

 

South Korea: With Park Geun-hye’s impeachment confirmed, the 2016-17 candlelight protest movement has won an important victory

 
 

By Youngsu Won

 

March 12, 2017 Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal — On March 10, at 11:22 am, Chief Justice of the Constitutional Court Lee Jeingmi read the final sentence of the verdict, declaring that the court had unanimously decided to dismiss President Park Geun-hye. With that, following a 92-day trial, Park Geun-hye’s presidency was over.

 

Pro-impeachment protesters present at that time in front of the courthouse applauded the verdict, filled with a huge sense of joy and the feeling of a moment of emancipation. On the other side, desperate anti-impeachment protesters were deeply disappointed, resorting to verbal and physical assaults, causing the tragic and unnecessary deaths of some poor old people.

 

It was a historic moment, signifying a gigantic political victory for the millions of people who participated in the grassroots candlelight protests – South Korea’s indignados – and for those who led the 134 days of consecutive mobilisations that all together brought more than 15 million people onto the streets. Park now joins the list of presidents ousted in disgrace; her collapse has sent nostalgia for her father’s time in power (Park Chung-hee 1961-79) to the dustbin of history.

 

The candlelight protests that refuse to go out: Understanding the significance of South Korea’s latest protest wave

 

 

By Youngsu Won

 

January 5, 2016 –– Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal –– The last day of 2016 witnessed another historic moment in South Korean history: once again, a huge mobilization involving 1 million people took place, taking the total number of people mobilized in 10 successive national days of candlelight action to over 10 million. These historical mobilizations of people power have had a tremendous impact on every sphere of South Korean society and politics.

 

South Korea: After President Park’s impeachment, candle light protests continue

 

 

By Youngsu Won

 

December 12, 2016 — Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal — On December 10, downtown Seoul was lit up by candles once again. One million people turned out for candle light rallies across the country, a day after President Park Geun-hye’s impeachment. In Seoul, a huge crowd of eight hundred thousand people gathered at Gwanghwamoon Square and marched toward the Blue House (presidential palace).

 

A wave of historically unprecedented mobilisations by South Korean indignados forced parliament to impeach the incompetent and corrupt president. It was a significant victory for peoples power. However, in the wake of this historical triumph, the popular struggle is heading into uncertain terrains.

 

South Korea’s historic candle light protests bring down President Park

 

 

By Youngsu Won

 

December 9, 2016 — Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal — On December 9, Parliament voted in favor of a presidential impeachment by 234 votes to 56, with 7 invalid votes and 2 abstentions. Over 30,000 protesters were present to celebrate the impeachment. The votes in favor of impeachment exceeded what was expected, though it was slightly lower than the 81% support for impeachment among public opinion.

 

South Korea's civic revolution: Another mega-protest puts impeachment process back on track

 

 

[For more background on South Korea's çivic revolution, read Youngsu Won's previous article here.]

 

By Youngsu Won

 

December 6, 2016 — Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal — December 3 saw another mega-protest hit President Park Geun-hye’s regime, with more than 2.32 million angry South Koreans participating in the 6th national candlelight protest called in recent weeks. Concerns of a lower turn out were swept aside, with the turnout surpassing the recently set record of 2 million people for the largest mobilisation in the country's history. Protesters demanded Park’s immediate and unconditional resignation. The massive outpour of anger has put back in motion an impeachment process that Park had hoped to derail.

 

South Korea shaken by new civic revolution

 

 

By Youngsu Won

 

December 3 — Green Left Weekly / Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal — South Korea is currently in a vortex of an unprecedented political crisis.

 

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