By Ana Traynin

On this May morning at the 34th People’s Commemoration
We are full of color
Red spilled blood
Black death and cherished memory
Yellow ribbons of hope
Green spring explosion of life
Sitting between the graves
Fists raised to the fallen martyrs
Feeling their blood, tears and spirits seep from below
We weren’t there then, but we remember now
Singing, shouting, crying
Marching forward with the beloved

On this May morning in Mangwol Cemetery
We carry on the legacy
Rulers are not benign, but corrupted by power
Freedom is not given, but born of struggle
People are not weak, but invincible together
Lifeless bodies give us all life
So onward we march

Locating Resistance, Commemorating Struggle

In any political movement, the act of raising political consciousness among new members is a crucial aspect of spreading awareness and building the movement. “Work classrooms” held for young female workers served this purpose for Korea’s labor movement in the ‘70s, as does the ISC’s own “Korean History, Economics, and Politics Program” for the international solidarity movement today. My first such experience occurred during college with the Asian American Student Union, through which I learned about the historical context and political meaning to the term “Asian American” [1]. Although small, the moment I became exposed to the term’s original radical aims was the beginning of understanding my life and experiences as political and part of a greater story of struggle – in other words, a tipping point.

May 18: Truth from within Solidarity

The atrocities that ravage countries are pushed into the shadows of history by those who are threatened by the weight of its truth. In the late 1970s Korea was very different. The country was still under military dictatorship. Citizens fought tirelessly for their basic rights. The assassination of President Park Chung Hee on October 26th 1979 sparked unrest across the country. Army general Chun Doo Hwan quickly replaced Park. In an attempt to divide and weaken the unified voices of the people he executed martial law. In response, students and citizens rose up in protest.

국제전략센터 연구보고서 1 한국의 주민참여예산제

주 민참여예산제는 지방 자치 차원에서 주민의 의견을 수렴하고 정책 결정 과정에 주민의 참여를 독려하는 제도 중 하나이다. 1989년 최초로 브라질에서 시행된 이후 세계 각국에서 주민참여예산제를 채택하고 있다. 이전에는 관료에 의해 예산 편성권이 독점되어 예산의 낭비와 비효율적 운영이 문제가 되어왔지만 주민참여예산제를 통해 예산 편성권을 분권화해 예산 편성의 효율성을 높일 뿐만 아니라 주민의 정치적 의식을 높일 수 있다. 이 연구는 현재 정치 과정에서 대의민주주의로 인해 발생하는 문제를 해결하는 한 방안으로 대두되고 있는 주민참여예산제도에 대해 분석해보았다.

이 보고서는 첫째, 대표적인 국제적 주민참여예산제의 사례인 브라질 포르투알레그레시와 독일의 리히텐베르크구에 대한 간단한 소개를 담았다. 그 다음으로 한국의 주민참여예산제의 역사와 현황에 대한 내용과 어떤 제도적 뒷받침으로 시행되고 있는지를 기술하였다. 그리고 한국에서 진행되고 있는 주민참여예산제의 사례 중 모범사례로 평가 받고 있는 인천 연수구의 주민참여예산제에 대한 상세한 연구 내용을 담았다. 마지막으로 10년의 역사를 가진 한국의 주민참여예산제의 성과와 과제를 알아보았다.


Participatory Budgeting in Korea: Finding Solutions to the Limitations of Representative Democracy

Participatory budgeting is a way for citizens to be involved in policy decision-making and encourage municipalities to consider constituents’ opinions. Since its inception in Porto Alegre, Brazil in 1989, cities around the world have adopted this program. Wasteful budgets and inefficient operations had been attributed to public officials’ monopoly over the allocation of public resources; by decentralizing this power, participatory budgeting allowed a more efficient allocation of the budget, while increasing citizens’ political awareness. This study examines participatory budgeting as a solution to the problems and limitations of representative democracy.

Demonstrations Continue in Protest of NIS, Government

Demonstrations were held in Seoul and other cities over the weekend in protest of NIS intervention in last year’s elections. Many are unhappy with the government’s continued stance of non-involvement as well as their continued attempts to divert public attention away from the issue.

During the open mic, many spoke about the contrast between prosecution times for the NIS and that of Lee Seok-Gi, a lawmaker of the Unified Progressive Party, who was recently charged with allegations of conspiring to stage a rebellion in support of North Korea. The National Assembly voted with an overwhelming majority to have Lee’s parliamentary immunity waived.

The UPP and many others believe the allegations were made in order to distract the public from the NIS issue.

The Past, Present and Future of Korean Democracy: Stories from Busan’s Kim In-Gi

Mr. Kim and his wife outside their restaurant, Min Ga in Busan's PNU area

Mr. Kim and his wife outside their restaurant, Min Ga in Busan’s PNU area

By Taryn Assaf

Korean University Students Demand Accountability in Election Scandal- VIDEO

대학생들-민주주의 유린한 국정원 폐지하고 박근혜는 하야하라 기습시위후 연행

Students call for an investigation into election tampering by the National Intelligence Service and former director Won Sei-Hoon, who is indicated on charges of ordering a smear campaign against opposition candidates in last year’s election. Many are disappointed in the Park administration’s lack of a strong stance against the allegations and in maintaining non-involvement in the issue. According to The Hankyoreh, one Saenuri official has been quoted as saying:

“Principle, trust, and following the law are supposed to be President Park’s trademark. Now that the prosecutors have finished their investigation, the President has a responsibility to follow the Constitution and national law by apologizing to the public for the NIS’s misdeeds and taking steps to make sure such things don’t happen again. It is irresponsible for her and the Blue to play dumb on such a major incident.”

Resolution to Struggle: a Declaration for Human Liberation

Translated from the 22nd Commemoration Ceremony for Martyrs and Victims for the Nation and Democracy  June 8, 2013, Seoul, South Korea

Since the time of the Gabo (Tonghak) Peasant Revolution[i] through Japanese colonial rule and then military dictatorship until today in the 21st century, the worker’s and people’s progressive social transformation movement has continuously been marching towards national and social liberation. Our martyrs have always been at the frontlines sacrificing their lives.

Our martyr’s frontline struggles have always lent great moral authority to the workers and peoples[ii] struggles. Unlike the few who ruled for their interests, the noble deeds of our martyrs were dedicated to the progress of society and history.

Photo Essay: Remembering Fallen Comrades On the Road to the New Day

On June 8, 2013, the ISC Media Team attended the 22nd National Commemoration of the Martyrs and Victims in the Struggle for Our Nation and Democracy. The first commemoration ceremony was held amidst tear gas in 1990 under Roh Tae Woo’s presidency.

A shrine composed of over 350 martyrs who sacrificed their lives for the nation and for democracy

A shrine composed of over 350 martyrs who sacrificed their lives for the nation and for democracy

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