The article which we are publishing below has been sent to us by a comrade of the "Left Communist Group" (LCG), previously known as the "Socialist Political Alliance" which our readers will remember organised the Marxist Conference held in October 2006 in Seoul and Ulsan.
The recent "candlelight demonstrations" in South Korea, against the newly elected government's decision to allow the import of beef from the United States (banned some years ago over fears of BSE), reached enormous proportions in June, with up to one million people on the streets of Seoul. Clearly, there is more to these demonstrations than a concern for public health, however real this may be. The general degradation of workers' living conditions, with full-time permanent work contracts being increasingly replaced by precarious and part-time working is a world wide phenomenon that has struck Korean workers hard. The newly installed government of Myung-bak Lee has moreover shown itself particularly arrogant and heavy-handed in launching a series of attacks on workers' livelihoods and living conditions.