Saturday, March 01, 2014

The following is shared via Richard Chen with the International Bolshevik Tendency:

"On February 25th, 2014, a United Front rally was held in front of the Korean Consulate in San Francisco in defense of the Korean Rail Workers Union (KRWU).

This is the third demonstration in the last four months. At the last rally (January 17, 2014), the Korean Consulate, working with the US State Department, attempted to disrupt the rally by organizing right-wing Koreans in a counterdemonstration. The right wingers also attempted to disrupt this rally, but this time they were outnumbered and drowned out by union supporters and a contingent of drummers and youth from the Korean and Asian/Pacific Islander communities.

The KRWU waged the longest rail strike in South Korean history in December 2013 against a privatization drive by the right-wing government of Park Geun-hye. The Park government declared the strike illegal, put out arrest warrants for the union leadership and forced them into hiding.

On December 22nd, 2013, the Park government then assaulted the offices of the Korean Confederation of Trade Unions (KCTU) with 5,000 police, who used tear gas and pepper spray on protesters. 130 unionists were arrested and the government succeeded in breaking the strike. As of this writing, the government intends to continue privatizing the railways.

The demonstration coincides with a "People's Strike" organized by the Korean Confederation of Trade Unions (KCTU) on the same day. The KRWU and other Korean unions went on a one-day strike, and a mass rally drew 100,000.

Organizations which endorsed the rally:

Transport Workers Solidarity Committee - San Francisco Labor Council - Sacramento Labor Council - Inlandboatmen's Union/ILWU SF Bay Area - United Public Workers for Action - Workers World - Socialist Organizer - ANSWER Coalition SF Bay Area - Communist Workers Group - International Bolshevik Tendency - Hella Organized Bay Area Koreans (HOBAK) - Inter-Union Organizing Committee at CDPH - Labor Video Project - Facts for Working People - International Action Center - International Socialist Organization - Social Justice Committee, Berkeley Fellowship of Unitarian Universalists"


Text below is part of a letter stating Numsa's (South African metal workers union that broke with the ANC recently) solidarity with the striking South Korean workers:

"We sent you warm and militant greetings from 350,000 metalworkers organized under Numsa. We are very humbled by your solidarity rally at the time workers internationally are battling for organization and policies to take control of their lives
Our hearts are with the Korean workers as they battle Park Geun-Hye regime against its campaign to annihilate unions in the railways in the preparation of the privatization of these assets. As Numsa we expect less from our bourgeoisie
state in South Africa as demonstrated during the Marikana massacre that it will stop at nothing to defend capital."

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