Lessons from June uprisingThis year marks the 20th anniversary of the June 1987 democratic uprising. Yesterday, a celebration to mark the movement was held by the government for the first time in 20 years.
The uprising was carried out not by one person in power or certain forces. It was the people who were able to triumph because middle-class and working-class people joined the uprising.
In his speech at the 20th anniversary event, President Roh Moo-hyun used the term, “We ― the democratic forces.”
The president must symbolize the unity of all people.
But he arbitrarily divides the people between “democratic forces” and “conservative forces” and incites conflict.
During the last part of his speech, the president said the era of the democratic movement against dictatorship is over.
He said we cannot talk about the legitimacy of conservative forces anymore.
He continued to say that we need to accept them as a rival in a democratic competition and compete with them in a fair way.
That is right.
But in the same speech, he raised his voice, saying that we need to eliminate conservative forces, and later he suddenly changed his words.
It is hard to see which part is the truth.
Ten years have passed since the ruling circles assumed power.
They should not keep using resistance against the old paradigm as a reason for their failure in running the country.
President Roh underlined the current Constitution and the revised election law as achievements from the June democratic uprising.
We can revise them again to make them better, whether it be the Constitution or the election law.
But to start a debate on the revision with the presidential election nearing will produce nothing, and may impact the election results.
The other day, at a lecture at Wonkwang University, President Roh said that because there is always a chance that power will corrupt if misused by a few individuals, there exist institutions to keep the misuse of power in check.
These institutions include constitutionalism, separation of powers and the independence of judicial power and legal procedures.
But the president ignores the election law, the ruling of the Constitutional Court and the warning of the National Election Commission.
He constantly makes remarks that appear to violate the law.
That shows he ignores legal procedures.
His role is to manage the election in a fair way.
He must not disregard the law and order that was established via a difficult process through the June uprising.