* you can download the yongsan action radio/struggle news media file at http://www.archive.org/download/Struggle406-09-2009/DjDopeGiraffe-StruggleNews4-20090609.mp3
Struggle News #4, reporting from the Candle Light Media Center in Yongsan, Seoul, South Korea. Listen to find out what happened in Korea last week and what's going to happen next week. This episode is about 1 hour and 30 minutes.
Listen again next tuesday and come to the candle light media center and take part in the radio action.
Struggle News #4, June 9, 2009
Last week news
Sometime last week the Korea Press Consumerism Organization launched a new boycott of
companies that do not advertise in the Hankyoreh and Kyunghyang newspapers. Last year, this
group launched a boycott of companies that advertise in the major conservative dailies including the
Chosun daily, the JungAng daily and the Dong-A daily. The KCPOs plan is to concentrate the
boycott on one company at a time, demanding advertising policy change. The first companies that
will be targeted are those that advertise in the major conservative dailies but don’t advertise in the
Hankyoreh or Kyunghyang newspapers. The KPCO is an NGO that was established in August 2008
in order to “monitor biased and distorted media and contribute to the development of media that
practices fair and objective reporting.” In last year’s boycott, the KPCO organized people to
telephone companies and ask that they stop advertising in the major conservative dailies. 24
members of the KPCO were held in court and in February, they were sentenced to up to 10 months
in jail for using the internet in appealing for a boycott. The conviction states that using the internet
to appeal for a boycott is against the law. The crime is called “interference of work” and is based on
the guilty party exercising a type of power based on threats and undermining the victim’s free will.
The boycott had a major impact on the conservative dailies’ advertisement revenues. This
conviction means that the only legal boycotts are ones that are accepted by the courts and which
don’t exercise power that can affect companies.
Subjective reporting, direct action, propaganda machine, alternative media, just do that shit.
Candle Light Media Center, Media Redevelopment Action Radio, oh yeah.
Thursday, June 4 ? Lee Myung Bak had a meeting with religious leaders and the catholic
bishop mentioned that the police and corporate thugs forcefully evicted people in order to build a
fence around a building in yongsan on friday, june 29. The police and thugs used brutal violence
against catholic priests and people during a catholic mass at 7am in the morning. Myung Bak
apologized to the bishop about that incident.
Thurday, June 4th ? The five wives of the five comrades who were killed by police on
January 20th went to the prosecutor’s office in SeoChoDong and they were told at the front gate
upon arrival that there is nobody available for them to talk with. They succeeded in entering the
prosecution office and found that the Attorney General was at the 3rd floor of the office building.
The five wives went into the elevator to go to the 3rd floor and as they were going up, the elevator
suddenly stopped and started going down to the basement. The 5 wives and several activist were
locked in the basement and prosecutor officials told them they have to wait. They were locked in
the basement for several hours until 1pm. At 1pm the officials let them go to the waiting room to
file an application to meet with a prosecutor. The 5 wives went to the front of the building and sat
down in protest, demanding that the prosecutor’s investigation 3000-page report be available to the
defense team. Then cops came and arrested everyone. During the arrest, one woman was beaten
until she passed out and was taken to a hospital.
Friday, June 5-Sunday, June 7 ? The Human Rights Film Festival was held in CheonGye
Plaza. The festival organizers applied to use the CheonGye Plaza in January 2008 and received
permission from the Seoul Metropolitan Government to use the plaza for the festival. On June 3rd, a
formal document was sent from Seoul Metropolitan Government to the preparation team, stating
that the permit is canceled because the government feared that there would be demonstrations or
riots. On June 4th, the preparation team launched a nation-wide outreach campaign and wrote a
petition to the government, protesting the permit cancel. The Seoul Metropolitan Government
received so many criticisms and letters that they decided to give the permit at night, June 4th. On
the opening day, friday June 5th, preparation team arrived at the plaza around 6am, but police had
blockaded the plaza area. The preparation team showed the police the permit, but the police said
they don’t care. At 9am, the police finally moved out of the way. The film festival was well attended
for 3 days and successful.
Sunday, June 7 ? Politicians from the major opposition Democratic Party to the sit-in location in
Yongsan. The politicians promised to do everything they can in the National Assembly in order to
help the Yongsan struggle. The politicians still haven’t decided when they will open the next
National Assembly session for June.
Mon, June 8 - The Korean Cargo Transportation Workers Union(KCTWU) held a press
conference in the Korean Confederation of Trade Unions office in yeongdeungpo yesterday. said
that they refuse the current working conditions for transportation workers and announced a strike of
more than 1000 transportation worker union officials beginning on monday, June 8. The KCTWU
announced that until the 10th, they will be hoping and waiting for open communication in order to
resolve this pending issue. The Korean government’s Ministry of Labor announced that if the
KCTWU doesn’t secede and withdraw from action, then they threatened to outlaw all transportation
workers’ labor organizing activities. The KCTWU said that the arrest of the KCTWU’s Daejeon
office leader is consistent with the government’s refusal to engage in open communication with
workers and responding with violent repression. The KCTWU main office leader Kim Dal Shik said
that they are trying to make open communication possible in order to solve these problems.
However, the government and the capitalists have refused to communicate as time goes on. The 10th
is the last day for communication and after that, there will be no more communication. All the
branches of the Korean Transport Worker’s Union, including harbor, taxi, bus, airport, etc
workers...about 50,000 workers will join the general strike on the 11th of June.
Monday, June 8th ? SsangYong Car factory workers closed down and occupied the factory
after the company announced that it will lay off 1,000 irregular workers. The workers occupying the
roof of the factory near the chimney started fasting without food or water on the 8th. The workers on
the roof of the factory have been up there for 27 days, starting before the strike and occupation.
They said they will stop eating and drinking water and said they will die if the lay off plan is not
June 10th On the anniversary of the 1987 June 10 protest movement for democracy, there will
be a cultural gathering to mourn the dead at Seoul City Plaza. Politicians and mainstream liberals
also planned to participate in the gathering. The police and Seoul Metropolitan Government said
that there is a danger that the gathering will become violent and disorderly, so they are not allowing
the gathering to happen. They are banning the gathering.
June 10th ? Art Culture Action Festival will happen in Yongsan. At least 140 artists will come
to participate. There will be music performances, spoken word, poetry, a stencil-graffiti workshop, a
really really free market free redistribution festival and a guerrilla gardening action in the streets
behind the Candle Light Media Center.
Saturday, June 13 ? Striking workers, KCTU members, evictees, squatters, student activists,
professor activists and lots of other people will have a huge demonstration somewhere in downtown
Seoul. The exact location is not yet known, but will be announced last minute in order to avoid