Thursday, March 24, 2011

Ask a Korean! News: The Korean Saw This Move Before...

The Korean previously wrote that what goes on in Korea sometimes presages American politics and social phenomena. But this is just astounding:
Clashes at state capitols over organized labor have become commonplace this year, with protesters throughout the country objecting to proposed limits on collective bargaining and cuts in benefits. Maine’s governor, Paul LePage, has opened a new — and unlikely — front in the battle between some lawmakers and unions: a 36-foot-wide mural in the state’s Department of Labor building in Augusta.

The three-year-old mural has 11 panels showing scenes of Maine workers, including colonial-era shoemaking apprentices, lumberjacks, a “Rosie the Riveter” in a shipyard and a 1986 paper mill strike. Taken together, his administration deems these scenes too one-sided in favor of unions.

A spokeswoman said Mr. LePage, a Republican, ordered the mural removed after several business officials complained about it and after the governor received an anonymous fax saying it was reminiscent of “communist North Korea where they use these murals to brainwash the masses."
Mural of Maine’s Workers Becomes Political Target [New York Times] (emphasis the Korean's).

Wow, really? For those of you who don't know, one of the favorite tools that the dictators in South Korea used to suppress Korea's labor movement (which was intimately linked to Korea's democratization movement) was to constantly associate labor unions with North Korea and communism. Many labor activists of South Korea -- which includes a member of the Korean's extended family -- went to jail for the trumped up charges of espionage and aiding North Korea.

The world sure is an ironic place.

Got a question or a comment for the Korean? Email away at


  1. Governor LePage should take heed of what Ronald Reagan has said (Youtube):
    "They remind us that were free unions are collective bargaining are forbidden, freedom is lost."
    Oh, he was talking about Poland under Communism.

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  3. Well, it is also worth mentioning that some of the labour activists (collectively referred to as "the left"...) were actually loyal to North Korea (so to say). The stance to North Korea was basically the deciding factor in determining whether one was in the pro-North faction (NL) or straight international socialist faction (PD) of the labour activism in Korea. Believe it or not, the former was the dominant faction till very recent and you can still find lots of writings praising "Kim Jong Il's grace" on (South) Korean web... which usually get censored. Even the latter wasn't completely critical towards north Korea until after the North Korean famine in the 90's. When did they officially denounce the regime in North Korea as dictatorship? The day before yesterday (yes, March 2011).

    Just to throw it out there. I don't think The Korean intended the correspondence to be an exact analogy, but still, the situation was, and is, quite complex, probably more so than one might assume it to be.

  4. It's typical of corporatists and fascists to associate labor unions and liberals with Communism, when common sense dictates that NO ONE wants a gulag in South Korea or the U.S., but these scum (because that's what they are) don't want to let other people on any unethical business practices they have, for fear of losing their money through less sales.

    Ewan, is anyone is loyal to Communism or otherwise, he or she should be exposed and humiliated. It just happened in the Spanish-language newspaper El Diario from New York - Vicky Pelaez, a Peruvian left-wing commentator who frequently wrote op-eds condemning the U.S. administration for the Cuban embargo (among other things) turned out to be a spy paid by Russia. But these are cases brought about because sometimes there isn't adequate support from people who really should be supporting the cause.

    Why do the Japanese whose family members were kidnapped by North Korean agents turn to right-wing uyoku dantai organizations for funding and promotion? Because neither the Japanese Socialist Party, Chongryon, or the Japanese Communist Party would help them. People will always side with whoever helps them, until the helper is exposed as scum.


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