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Thursday, September 02, 2004

Workers and seomin

Pressian introduces and prints in full a critical essay on the present state of the Korean labor movement by Pak Sûng-ok (Park Seung-ok?), who should have credentials for his criticism. He's a long-time labor activist, at present a researcher at the Korea Democracy Foundation (민주화운동기념사업회), and he's been a representative of the Chôn T'ae-il Labor Archive (? 전태일노동자료연구실). Lack of representativeness (only 12% of labor force is organized), lack of constructive alternatives, concentration on only wage hikes, need to discard violence etc.

Chôn T'ae-il (Jun Tae-il/Chun Tae-il) Memorial organization has a nice and informative homepage, all in Korean though. See especially the touching and revealing cartoon of his life.

But all they were given by the owner, labor office, and the police was a false promise, and nothing changed.
- "Don't sleep, work! Don't get fooled by all that talk, or it's going to be your end as well."

Chosun Ilbo editorial: no light at the end of the tunnel of recession for the 'small people' (seomin)". Associating the term sômin (庶民) with the undeniable signs of bleak economy makes a nice but usual combination for some criticism of the government.

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