DP needs a new world viewThe main opposition Democratic Party is hyping up a new slogan - a party serving for the powerless and weak. In Gwangju, its political home base, the DP announced its declaration to become a “party for the eul” (a Korean term referring to the weaker or supplying end of a business contract). The manifesto is part of the party’s efforts to reinvent itself under the new leadership of Kim Han-gill, who promised to end factional strife within the party. It is also the party’s desperate move to grab public attention after Ahn Cheol-soo hinted he would create a new center-left party.
The Gwangju declaration has several impressive promises. The party pledges to serve the people with humility. It says it will divorce itself from dogmatic and domineering ways. It will expand its focus to include the people’s interests and, most of all, try to eliminate factionalism.
The DP may finally be emerging from the long power struggle between the rival factions loyal to Roh Moo-hyun and Kim Dae-jung. Now that it has set itself in the right direction, it must take action. The opposition party must be active in order to keep the ruling party in check - a goal that will benefit the nation and all its people.
But we would like to point out one thing. The DP must refrain from using the word eul. The 1,600-word manifesto in Gwangju used the word eight times. It said it believed the true spirit of the May 18 Gwangju Democracy Movement would be bringing greater justice for the eul pained under the economic power of the elite (or kap). In a statement commemorating Buddha’s birthday, the biggest celebration of the country’s second-largest religion, the party said it hoped all the troubles of the eul would be relieved by the teachings of the Buddha.
It is again stirring conflict between the elite class and the commoner, the powerful and the weak, the rich and the poor. The DP has long been criticized for being narrow-minded and one-sided. The new leadership paid tribute to former President Kim Dae-jung and passed on other presidents at the National Cemetery.
A party for “all the eul” is vague rhetoric. Who exactly is the kap and eul in this world? A person who is the stronger party to someone often is weaker to another. A company supplying products to a large company is its eul but also plays kap to smaller subcontractors. A homeowner may be a kap to a tenant but eul to a mortgage lender.
The party will see the real world when it gives up its divisive view of the world. It cannot come up with realistic and feasible policies if it cannot see the world in its entirety.