Covering politics, history and social movements across Asia from a socialist perspective. Based in South Korea.
The Zainichi Experience: Koreans in Japan w/ Haruki Eda
Both Koreas have a historically frought relationship with Japan, due to the history of colinization. Beginning in the late 19th century, there were waves of Korean immigration to Japan. This accelerated dramatically with Japan's formal annexation of the Korean pennisula in the early 20th century.
In Japan today, the descendants of these Koreas are known as Zainichi.
We are joined on this episode by our friend Haruki Eda, a third generation Zainichi. We talked about the complex and fascinating history of Koreans in Japan, the politics of the community, how this diaspora relates to both North and South Korea, and so much more.
Haruki Eda is an interdisplinary social scientist specializing in ethnicity and nationalism, international political economy, gender/sexuality, and cultural ecology. He recently completed his PhD in Sociology at Rutgers University and is preparing to publish his first book, Queer Unification: Community and Healing in the Korean Diaspora.
He is also an activist with the U.S. based Korean organization Nodutdol, comprised of diasproic Koreans and organizing for a world free of imperialism, and for Korea’s re/unification and national liberation.
You can follow him on Twitter @zainichipoetics and check out his website here: https://www.harukieda.com/
And follow Notdutdol on twitter @https://nodutdol.org/ and their website: https://nodutdol.org/
Korean Confederation of Trade Unions (KCTU) Police Raid
The South Korean intelligence services and police raided the headquarters of a major umbrella labor union in central Seoul in late January 2023, on dubious suspicion that some members had violated national security laws. This is the audio version of a recent video livestream correct the record and discuss how this is an attack on South Korea's young democracy that risks dragging us back to the dark times of military dictatorship.
South Korea Truckers' Strike
This is audio from a live stream on the South Korea truckers strike.
In November, South Korean cargo truckers representated by the Korean Confederation of Trade Unions (KCTU) launched a nationwide strike around the extension of a minumum wage guarantee and related work safety issues. The Yoon administration has responded aggressively, issuing an executive order for truckers to return to work or face steep fines, possible jail time and other penalities. In response, KCTU held a one day all-union national strike on Tuesday, December 6th. Joining for this special livestream to help us understand the strike and what's at stake are:
Yeonwoo Choi, a student activist and organizer in Seoul
Sanggu Gang, a member of KCTU's young wing in Busan
Bori, a co-host of Red Star Over Asia, but also currently a staff organizer for KCTU in Seoul, so he will also be sharing his analysis.
Labor Militancy in Vietnam ft. Joe Buckley
We're thrilled to present this new epsiode with Joe Buckley, author of a fascinating new book, 'Vietnamese Labour Militancy:
Capital-labour antagonisms and self-organised struggles'
Vietnam has been undergoing significant changes, with a new Labour code that became law in 2021 allowing workers to join ‘worker representative organisations. Together with the increasing penetration of global capital into Vietnam, the situation in the country rasies a lot of interesting questions. And it's quite difficult to get solid, Marxist analysis of Vietnamese labor and social movements in English, so we were thrilled to have this conversation with Joe and we think you will find it insightful as well.
Slight disclaimer, we did have some tech equipment and connections issues on both ends so it's not the clearest audio, but we did clean up the majority of the background noise in post-production. It's certainly very listenable and you, like us, will learn a lot from Joe's analysis!
Joe Buckley received his PhD from the School of Oriental and African Studies, University of London, UK and recently published a book: Vietnamese Labour Militancy Capital-labour antagonisms and self-organised struggles. He is a labour consultant focusing on Southeast Asia and has written and taught widely on labour issues in the region, especially Vietnam.
You can find him on Twitter here: @JoeJBBuckley
And check out his book: https://www.routledge.com/Vietnamese-Labour-Militancy-Capital-labour-antagonisms-and-self-organised/Buckley/p/book/9781032003139
And a recent article from him on Vietnam's labor reforms: https://thediplomat.com/2021/12/the-limits-of-vietnams-labor-reforms/
2022 South Korea Presidential Election Livestream (Bonus EP)
This is the raw audio/podcast version of a YouTube livestream recorded the evening of 3/8/22 (election night), before the results were announced. We are posting this the morning of 3/9/22 and we now know that Yoon Suk-yeol, the main conservative candidate, is South Korea's President-elect and will take office in May.
However, much of the commentary and analysis here is still very relevant and worth listening to. We discussed how the campaign played out, major themes of it, and most importantly, what the terrain of struggle will look like over the next five years for the South Korean left and social movements + much more!
We'd like to thank special guest Dae-han Song of the International Strategy Center for joining us on the stream.
To find out more about International Strategy Center, check out their website here:
Korea's Socialist Century w/ Vladimir Tikhonov (Pak Noja/박노자)
Vladimir Tikhonov, also known by his pen name Pak Noja/박노자, is a Russian-born scholar of Korean Studies and a Professor at the University of Oslo in Norway.
He has written numerous articles and books on Korean politics, particularly on the history and legacy of Korean socialist and Communist movements.
His lastest book (currently only available in Korean) is available here: https://tinyurl.com/2p95684y
In this episode, building upon our previous discussions with Owen Miller (see our episodes 'Early Korean Communism Pts I and II), we talk about the general arch, legacies and lessons of Korean Marxism and socialism of the 20th century.
Pak Noja is also a member of the Labor Party (South Korea)/노동당 and you can find many of his articles in English here: https://uio.academia.edu/VladimirTikhonov
He's also on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/vladimir.tikhonov.5
Cool to see a show starting with this scope. Looking forward to future episodes!