Ditch dogmaThe members of the left-wing Democratic Labor Party are sharply divided as they bicker over who’s responsible for the crushing defeat in the recent presidential election.
The minority People’s Democracy faction is asking the majority National Liberation faction to shoulder the responsibility. Some of the PD faction maintains that the party should rid itself of pro-North Korean forces.
They also say that some members pursue the juche ideology and have a pro-North Korean stance, which the entire party viewed as support for North Korea, which is a fair point.
In the presidential election, the party received 3 percent of all votes, down from 3.9 percent in the 2002 election.
In the 17th general election, which was held just three and a half years ago, the DLP won 12.5 percent of the vote, emerging as the third-largest party in the National Assembly.
Compared to that, the result in the recent presidential election is miserable. The very existence of the party is at stake, unless the party thinks seriously about why the people have turned their backs on them and then carries out much-needed reforms inside the party.
If the NL faction claims that party members must stick together to avoid an ideological battle since the general election is just 100 days away, the party will lose even more support.
There is a reason the Democratic Labor Party is now in crisis. The people and the world are distancing themselves from ideology, but the DLP is weighed down by theories and dogma. People won’t vote for a party that clashes with their needs.
The party can learn from the transformation of the Social Democratic Party in Germany. The German party was set up to represent the interests of the working class and the trade unions, but in 1959 the party rid itself of Marxism and instead adopted democratic socialism.
As a result, the party succeeded in assuming power. As long as the DLP remains as an ideological party, it cannot earn widespread public support.
Many left-wing values and progressive forces can serve as salt for our society. Such values include human rights for the underprivileged, a fair distribution of wealth and enhanced social welfare, for instance.
If the DLP collapses, fewer people will raise their voices to shout about these values in the political arena, and their voices will eventually die out.
This is the time for the Democratic Party to initiate some fundamental changes.
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