Party acting like civic groupThe Korean Alliance against the Korea-U.S. FTA held a rally in Marronnier Park, central Seoul, yesterday, to protest the ongoing free trade talks. The civic group failed to get permission for the demonstration from the police, which was concerned that the rally would cause a traffic jam and might turn violent. But the civic group finally succeeded in holding the rally due to the Democratic Labor Party. The party obtained permission for its assembly at the park and let the civic group demonstrate there. Accordingly, it can be said that the party got permission as proxy for the civic group.
As a result of the Democratic Labor Party’s move, 7,000 members of the Korean Alliance against the Korea-U.S. FTA held a rally and marched in the streets, as they had initially intended. It is not the first time such an expedient has been used.
On Dec. 6, the party held a rally to protest a new law about irregular workers at Marronnier Park and then handed over the place to the civic group. Now, the party seems to be a branch group of the Korean Alliance against the Korea-U.S. FTA, rather than a political party.
The Democratic Labor Party has the right to its own opinions about a free trade agreement between Korea and the United States. And it has the right to express opinions and to make efforts to reflect them in government policies. But it is a problem that lawmakers of the party are holding a sit-down in front of the Shilla Hotel, the venue for the sixth round of the talks on the pact. Moreover, the party is inciting illegal rallies and letting civic groups use the party’s name for the rallies. Now that the members of the party have entered the official political system through elections as representatives of Korean people, they need to act differently from when they were a civic group out of power.
The Democratic Labor Party said the government authorities should apologize first for infringing on the freedom to assemble and demonstrate guaranteed by the Constitution. But if a party with seats in the National Assembly challenges the authority of laws, ridicules the public power and incites illegalities, can it remain as political party in the Korean system? How can they make laws and require people to keep them?
A political party exists to publicly nominate candidates as representatives of the people, who will be entrusted with power by the people. The Democratic Labor Party should first unveil its identity, whether it is a political party in power or a group out of power that provokes illegal demonstrations.