[EDITORIALS]Violence Won't Bring SolidarityFollowing its large-scale protest rally on Tuesday, the Korean Confederation of Trade Unions held another large rally Saturday afternoon in Daehangno in central Seoul. Then, after the rally, the members took to the streets on a march to Myeong-dong. The streets in and around the areas experienced severe traffic congestion, and scores of police officers including the chief of Dongdaemun Police Station was injured in the ensuing clash.
We express serious concern over the recent actions taken by the confederation and we call for a change in its stance that is becoming more and more extreme. The umbrella group came into being in 1995 proclaiming an agenda that is different from the other major labor group, the Federation of Korean Trade Unions, and has since established itself as a major force in labor.
But its recent tendency that runs to excessive violence and political ideology is alarming. It attempted trespass into the National Police Agency quarters in protest of forceful response to demonstrations, and set fire in front of the agency. Then, finally, it caused physical injury to a police official. These actions are enough to raise the question whether the confederation is attempting to neutralize public authority.
The confederation must understand that no one is above the law. And the government must show that it will not tolerate any challenge to public authority.
It would be a gross oversight of reality if the confederation leadership believes that violent protest is the only way to bring solidarity to workers. As times and economic conditions change, labor movements in other countries are transforming themselves.
Our labor conditions have also come a long way. If the confederation chooses to insist on the confrontational stance, which are really relics from the military regimes, it will only lose the support of the general public. It will be very difficult for the confederation to gain any national support for its fundamental opposition to economic restructuring, the necessity of which is accepted by most.