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South Korea: Rail workers strike against privatisation, general strike called

Railway workers' three-week strike against privatisation garnered wide support—and government repression. Photo by DDanzi Ilbo.

By Li San

January 8, 2014 -- Labor Notes -- South Korea’s railway workers have ended a 22-day strike, the longest such stoppage in the country’s history. Though they didn’t win a clear victory, they succeeded in placing the issue of privatisation in public focus.

The government’s and management’s attack on the strike was ruthless to the point of recklessness, while the public’s solidarity and sympathy with the striking workers continued to rise.

And the full impact of the action has yet to ripple out. Amid rising political tensions, the country’s biggest union umbrella, the 700,000-strong Korean Confederation of Trade Unions (KCTU), has called for a one-day general strike February 25.

Privatisation Plans Sparked Strike

About 15,000 unionists, or about 45 per cent of the workforce, of Korea Railroad Corporation (Korail) walked off the job December 9 to protest what they saw as a preliminary step to privatising rail service—a plan by management to spin off the most lucrative slice of its business.

France, WSF, Korea ... International left solidarity with the Egyptian people's uprising

Melbourne solidarity celebrations, February 12, 2011. Photos by Sue Bolton, beats from Al Aqsa Intifada by Rootsman and Muslimgauze, edited by Nick Fredman.

Below are a number of statements and reports of solidarity actions around the world following the overthrow of the US-backed Egyptian dictator Hosni Mubarak. They include a statement from organisations attending the New Anti-Capitalist Party congress in France, solidarity from the World Social Forum in Dakar, Senegal, a statement by leaders of the Socialist Party USA and a report on trade union organised protests in South Korea. Check back for more.

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Statement from left organisations present at the New Anti-Capitalist Party congress

February 12, 2011 -- The overthrow of Ben Ali and Mubarak change the political situation not only in the Maghreb but on the international scale.

South Korea: First-hand report -- Day 1 of the anti-G20 Seoul International People's Conference -- Army of cops prevent march

Roddy Quines is a Socialist Alliance of Australia member living in South Korea. This is his first-hand account of the first day of anti-G20 actions on November 7, 2010, in Seoul.

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On the afternoon of November 7 I attended an event called the Seoul International People's Conference. It was organised by trade unions, NGOs and church leaders as an alternative to the G20 conference. The People's Conference is taking place from November 7 to 10. Topics to be discussed include, among others, “Alternatives for the global economy”, “Climate change and civil societies” and “Structural adjustment and labour's strategies for resistance”. November 11 is reserved as a day for direct action with a planned rally and march, and on the morning of November 12 a press conference and strategy meeting are planned. 

(Updated August 4) South Korea: Ssangyong workers face brutal police/thug attacks as factory occupation continues

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See also the statement by the Korean Confederation of Trade Unions, ``Call to Action: Stop Police Suppression against the Striking workers of Ssangyong Motors!''

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Scroll down for earlier coverage.

Urgent Appeal: Ssangyong Motor workers’ lives in danger! Solidarity urgent!

Monday, August 3, 2009

Korean Metal Workers Union (KMWU)

inter@metal.nodong.org

Dear friends,

We urgently request your solidarity regarding Ssangyong Motor Workers’ dispute. It is urgent for the Korean government to step up and play a role toward a peaceful settlement!

Our union members’ lives are in danger.

South Korea: The general election and leftwing politics

By Won Youngsu

April 30, 2008 -- For the South Korean left, the general election of April 9 was another fiasco following the presidential election last December, in which the election of Lee Myung-bak brought forth the return of the conservative government, while Democratic Labor Party (DLP) candidate Kwon Young-gil received just 3 per cent of vote, less than the previous result in 2002 -- a drop of 300,000 votes.

The DLP won two constituency seats and three seats from the party list, with 5.6 per cent or 973,345 votes. The DLP's seats were halved compared with the result of the previous election in 2004 of 10 seats, two constituency seats plus eight list seats, respectively. The Progressive New Party, which split from the DLP, won no seats; it obtained 2.94 per cent, less the threshold of 3 per cent. In sum, the two leftwing parties suffered defeats in the election.

Main results of the election

How an NGO-union partnership suffocated the anti-asem struggle in Korea

By Iggy Kim

On October 20 (O20) and the days before, a series of lively demonstrations against the third Asia-Europe Parliamentary Meeting (ASEM) signalled Seoul's entry into the growing worldwide movement against the global generalisation of neo-liberalism.

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