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One week ago ICC(*) published the following "breaking news":


The S. Korean ruling class tears aside the veil of its “democracy”


We have just received news from Korea that eight militants of the “Socialist Workers’ League of Korea” (Sanoryun) have been arrested and charged under South Korea’s infamous “National Security Law”.1 They are due to be sentenced on 27th January.


There can be no doubt that this is a political trial, and a travesty of what the ruling class likes to call its “justice”. Three facts bear witness to this:


• First, the fact that South Korea’s own courts have twice thrown out the police charges against those arrested.


• Second, the fact that the militants are charged with “forming a group benefiting the enemy” (ie North Korea), despite the fact that Oh Se-Cheol and Nam Goong Won, amongst others, were signatories of the October 2006 “Internationalist Declaration from Korea against the threat of war” which denounced North Korea’s nuclear tests and declared in particular that: “the capitalist North Korean state (...) has absolutely nothing to do with the working class or communism, and is nothing but a most extreme and grotesque version of decadent capitalism's general tendency towards militaristic barbarism”.


• Third, Oh Se-Cheol’s speech leaves no doubt that he opposes all forms of capitalism, including North Korean state capitalism.


These militants are accused of nothing other than the thought crime of being socialists. In other words, they stand accused of urging workers to defend themselves, their families, and their living conditions, and of exposing openly the real nature of capitalism. The sentences required by the prosecution are only one more example of the repression meted out by the South Korea ruling class against those who dare to stand in its way. This brutal repression has already targeted the young mothers of the “baby strollers’ brigade” who took their children to the 2008 Candlelight demonstrations and later faced legal and police harassment;4 it has targeted the Ssangyong workers who were beaten up by the riot police who invaded their occupied factory.


Faced with the prospect of heavy jail sentences, the arrested militants have conducted themselves in court with exemplary dignity, and have used the opportunity to expose clearly the political nature of this trial. We reproduce below a translation of Oh Se-Cheol’s last speech before the tribunal.


Military tensions in the region are on the rise, following the provocative shelling of Yeonpyeong Island in November last year and the killing of civilians by the North Korean regime’s canon, answered by the despatch of an American nuclear aircraft carrier to the region to conduct joint military exercises with the South Korean armed forces. In this situation, the statement that humanity today faces a choice between socialism and barbarism rings truer than ever.


The propaganda of the US and its allies likes to portray North Korea as a “gangster state”, whose ruling clique lives in luxury thanks to the ruthless repression of its starving population. This is certainly true. But the repression meted out by the South Korean government to mothers, children, struggling workers, and now socialist militants shows clearly enough that, in the final analysis, every national bourgeoisie rules by fear and brute force.


Faced with this situation we declare our complete solidarity with the arrested militants, notwithstanding the political disagreements we may have with them. Their struggle is our struggle. We address our heartfelt sympathy and solidarity to their families and comrades.


http://en.internationalism.org/node/4172

 

* "International 'Communist' Current"

 


Related contribution (2008.8.31):
http://blog.jinbo.net/CINA/1600

 

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