[EDITORIALS]A turning point for the leftThe Democratic Labor Party has won seats in the National Assembly for the first time in the party’s history. It has become the first left-wing or socialist party to enter the Assembly, where only nonsocialist parties had competed before, due to the special circumstance that North Korea occupies the other half of the peninsula. Politically, this means the ideological spectrum in South Korea’s parliament has widened to include the left. This also means that all power groups in our society have been absorbed into parliamentary politics, adjusting the National Assembly’s representation in accordance with reality. In other words, all issues in Korean society can now be solved within the framework of the parliamentary politics. In this sense, it is good that the Democratic Labor Party has won seats.
It will be a turning point in the history of South Korea’s labor movement. In the past, some labor figures won seats in the National Assembly, but they were no more than accessories of the conservative parties. The Democratic Labor Party, by contrast, has won seats through its own political principles and systems. Now the labor classes have a voice in the National Assembly.
But we cannot help expressing concerns about the party. First of all, some of its key principles are not compatible with the constitution of South Korea. The party regards the country as a society in which the public is exploited by conglomerates with monopoly power. It also describes our country as a kind of hierarchical society. The party asserts that the right of private ownership should be restricted and that the means of production should be socialized. All those ideas strike at the foundation of the free market economy. In national security and diplomacy, the party makes unrealistic arguments for accepting the federation system proposed by North Korea, and for the abolition of the military pact between South Korea and the United States. Of course, when a party outside parliamentary politics enters the National Assembly, it tends to soften radical principles. So we should wait and see whether the party changes. The party should keep in mind that the public will turn its back on it if it fails to change. And labor should see its entrance into parliamentary politics as a chance to change its methods.
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