Facebook Instagram Twitter YouTube

Millions on the Streets of South Korea

This year, South Korea has been the setting of important struggles and widespread discontent with the government and effects of the global economic crisis. Millions of South Koreans have gone from rejecting Park’s labor reforms to demanding her resignation in recent weeks.

Jimena Vergara

November 30, 2016
Facebook Twitter Share

Down with Park!

Last weekend, an estimated 2 million people rallied against South Korean President Park Geun-hye. The head of state is accused of assisting her close friend Soon-sil Choi with extorting millions and accessing confidential government documents.

Although official media outlets have understated the numbers, organizers say up to 2 million people have taken part in the protests.

According to BBC correspondent Stephen Evans, the social situation is becoming increasingly tense: “The protesters are more raucous than they were last week–still peaceful but there’s more chanting than there was then,” he stated.

Candlelight wave at the gates of Gwanghwamun Palace.

The demonstrations have centered on the public repudiation of the president and the demand for her resignation. The largest protests are being carried out blocks away from the Blue House (presidential palace). About 30,000 members of the security forces are on guard, to prevent the approach of the demonstrations; large metal barricades have been set up around the perimeter.

According to the press, these are the most massive protests that have taken place in South Korea since the 1980s–the rallying cry, “Down with Park!” can be heard in every corner of the country.

From the Struggle against the Labor Reform to the Repudiation of Corruption

This is not the first time that Park Geun-hye has faced public condemnation. In late 2015 and at the beginning of this year, Korean workers demanded her resignation as a result of her labor reform

The Korean Confederation of Trade Unions (KCTU) called a partial general strike in December 2015 against the new labor legislation. About 26 labor unions took part, led by the workers of Hyundai and Kia.

Yoy may interested in South Korea: The Fight Against Labor Reform and State Repression

The current corruption scandal has added considerable fuel to the fire of public discontent. These events have taken place against the backdrop of an unabated global economic crisis, which has had severe effects on the already impoverished South Korean working class and low-income sectors. It is estimated that South Korea has the largest proportion of precarious workers among countries included in the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD).

Throughout the year, unionists and activists have denounced the government’s heightened repression. They have even accused Park of “returning to the time of the dictatorship,” alluding to the 18 years of military dictatorship under her father, Park Chung-Hee, who took power after a coup in 1961 and ruled until his assassination in 1979.

In the midst of this scandal, the South Korean government faces a serious political crisis, as high government officials and business executives are directly implicated in the corruption case. A worsening crisis in South Korea, a strategic regional ally of the United States, has the potential to exacerbate the elements of crisis that have reverberated throughout the world after the triumph of Brexit and president-elect Donald Trump.




Facebook Twitter Share

Jimena Vergara

Jimena is an author of the collection "Mexico en Llamas" and lives and works in New York City.


China’s Rise, ‘Diminished Dependency,’ and Imperialism in Times of World Disorder

In this broad-ranging interview, originally published in LINKS, Trotskyist Fraction member Esteban Mercatante discusses how recent global shifts in processes of capital accumulation have contributed to China’s rise, the new (and old) mechanisms big powers use to plunder the Global South, and its implications for anti-imperialist and working-class struggles today.

Esteban Mercatante

September 22, 2023

Strike for Wages at Chevron-Australia Could Hit 5 Percent of Global Gas Production

Chevron workers in Western Australia are escalating a strike at two of the world's largest gas facilities. They are demanding wage rises and better working conditions.

Arthur Nicola

September 14, 2023

The Roots of the Rebellion at Foxconn

Jenny Chan is a researcher and professor at the Polytechnic University of Hong Kong. She is co-author of the book Dying for an iPhone. She spoke with La Izquerda Diario about the causes of the rebellion by workers at the Foxconn plant in Zhengzhou, China.

Josefina L. Martínez

December 7, 2022
Participants in a memorial ceremony lay flowers to pay respect to a deceased 23-year-old worker in front of the SPC headquarters in Seoul, Thursday. She died in an accident at a baking factory in Pyeongtaek affiliated with SPC on Saturday.

How Workers and Socialists are Responding to a Workplace Death at One of South Korea’s Largest Food Manufacturers

Following a workplace death at SPC group, one of the largest food manufacturers in South Korea, a consumer boycott quickly gained traction. Organized workers and revolutionary socialists are playing a role in this struggle.

Samuel Karlin

November 12, 2022


Black UAW workers, a black-and-white image, holding signs that say "UAW ON STRIKE."

To Achieve Black Liberation, Class Independence Is Key

A united, working-class party fighting oppression is our only hope for Black liberation.

Tristan Taylor

February 29, 2024
A banner reads "Real Wages Or We Strike" at a rally for CUNY, which is experiencing cuts from Mayor Eric Adams and Governor Kathy Hochul.

CUNY Faculty and Staff Have Gone One Year Without a Contract — It’s Time to Strike

CUNY workers have been without a new contract for a full year and the university has yet to make any economic offers. It's time to take action.

Olivia Wood

February 29, 2024
Aaron Bushnell, who self-immolated in protest of the genocide in Palestine.

Aaron Bushnell’s Cry of Despair in the Face of Genocide

The media and international community was profoundly affected by the self-immolation of U.S. soldier Aaron Bushnell in protest against the genocide in Gaza. His death and desperate act of protest starkly shows the cruelty and brutality of U.S. Imperialism and Zionism.

Enzo Tresso

February 28, 2024
Florida governor Ron DeSantis stands at a podium that reds "Higher Education Reform"

U.S. Higher Education Is Being Gutted, but We Can Fight Back

Across the United States, higher education is being gutted through program eliminations and budget cuts. We must prepare to fight these attacks with everything we have.

Olivia Wood

February 28, 2024