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'민주대연합' #1

Today's Hankyoreh reported following (*):


Progressives launch coalition focused on

improving social welfare
 

Conference announces ambitious list of policy goals, but having so many different interests represented could be an obstacle


Progressive and reformist elements dispirited since the “candlelight” died down have gathered together again. The “Conference of Political Parties, Civic Groups, and Important Figures from Various Circles for Overcoming the Economic and People’s Welfare Crisis” was officially launched at the National Assembly office building December 4. Some 300 people were in attendance. Park Seok-un of the progressive group Jinbo Corea read a report on developments leading up to the event, and the opening remarks by representatives of various areas of progressivism included comments by Civil Society Organizations’ Network in Korea Chairperson Lee Hak-yeong, Korea Confederation of Trade Union vice Chairwoman Jin Yeong-ok, National Confederation of Farmers Conferences (Jeonnong) Chairperson Han Do-suk, and Korea Youth Corps President Chun Jun-ho.


Five political parties participated in the conference: the Democratic, Democratic Labor, Renewal of Korea, New Progressive and Socialist Parties. Civic groups and organizations in civil society that participated included most of the country’s progressive organizations, including the People’s Solidarity for Participatory Democracy, MINBYUN-Lawyers for a Democratic Society, Korean Women’s Association United, and Green Korea United. Also present were representatives from the KCTU, Jeonnong, the National Union of Media Workers, the National Association of Professors for Democratic Society, and others.


Where to go from here? An Jin-geol, general secretary for policy at the National Congress for the Welfare of the People and Democracy said it is “about being a temporary union for the popular welfare.” It is a policy union, he said, not a political confederation that could be characterized as “anti-Grand National Party” or “Alliance for democracy”.


At the meeting, participants announced “three major directions” and “ten policies.”


The “three major directions” the conference wants are to have the “chaebeol conglomerates and the wealthy share the burden,” have state spending concentrate on “improving the well-being of the common people and the middle class,” and have the conference facilitate the “great awakening of President Lee Myung-bak and the complete reform of the way the country is governed.”


The “ten major policies” include some that are very specific, including “the creation of one million jobs of 20 million won a year by injecting 20 trillion won,” “making unemployment payments go longer than one year and six months and have the amount be more realistic,” an “end to the attempt to extend the period of employment for irregular workers,” provide “guaranteed loans for families that own only one house and an extension of maturity periods on those and educational loans, and lower interest rates,” and “the use of the whole of the 2.3 trillion won surplus at the National health insurance for lowering hospital costs and for greater health insurance guarantees.”


Will it happen? It will not be easy. If policy proposals are to be implemented they need to be reflected in the budget. The success of this “union of policy”, therefore, depends on the Democratic Party, since it forms a “negotiating group” on the National Assembly floor. The party’s chairman, Chung Sye-kyun, in his address to the conference, pledged to “go on a budget struggle until the end of December and definitely block anti-democratic laws” from passing. But there is no knowing how long the party will be able to endure the public relations offensive coming from the ruling Grand National Party and conservative news media, which accuse it of holding the budget hostage and ruining state affairs in the process.


Another obstacle is the fact that the participating parties and groups have different interests. The New Progressive Party wants a “union opposing neoliberalism,” while some elder members of the progressive movement are interested in policy about North Korea.


The road ahead will be a long one if the conference is to have the momentum it needs to implement the progressive and reformist values it seeks to have make a difference. It is also too early to have former President Kim Dae-jung and some in the Democratic Party talking about a “democratic union.”


“This is the first point of departure for inspiring hope, and getting beyond the desperation,” said Park Seok-un.


http://english.hani.co.kr/arti/english_edition/e_national/325869.html



Related articles, published by Chamsesang and KCTU:
비상시국회의(연석회의) 개최, 민주대연합 씨앗? (12.4)

'민주대연합'의 트라우마가 부른 과잉 논쟁 (12.5)  

정당·시민단체·각계인사 "민생대책마련" 한목소리 (12.4)

 


* Be sure: sooner or later - but definetly not today or tomorrow - I'll add my comment...(^^)


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