PSPD l People's Solidarity for Participatory Democracy
PSPD English Newsletter, December 2015
- 2015.12.01 (14:51:38)
PSPD English Newsletter, December 2015
Happy participation, Heartwarming solidarity _ This month of the PSPD
● Fighting against tenacious interruptions for activities to find the truth of Sewol Ferry disaster
▶ The Ministry of Oceans and Fisheries has drawn a document [How to respond to issues related to the Special Investigation Committee for Sewol Ferry] and distributed it to committee members recommended by the leading party to take collective actions. When the Special Committee tried to investigate whether Chengwadae handled the situation properly, leading party side members held a press conference and threatened to resign as directed in the document. In the line with the 416 Solidarity activities, PSPD instantly criticized such political behavior and urged to reveal how and why the Ministry of Oceans and Fisheries composed such shocking document. PSPD keeps monitoring activities of the Special Committee by hearing meetings and continues civil discussion ‘They could be saved’ in regions. The Special Committee is planning to hold hearings in December so that the 416 Solidarity has started to organize things that should be proved through hearings.
● Freedom to assembly is blocked by vehicle walls and hidebound
▶ PSPD has collected and submitted signatures of members and citizens to the Prosecutors wishing for Baek Nam-ki to get well soon who felt in coma after being stroke by water cannon of the Police and urging for complete investigation concerning an abuse of public powers. It also sent contents of the report to the press and spread it out on SNS which was written and sent by the government to the UN insisting that freedom to assembly was fairly secured. In prior to this, UN reviewed human rights status in Korea at the consideration of freedom of rights and adopted unprecedentedly powerful recommendations to ensure not only freedom of peaceful assembly but also improving various human rights violations including discrimination against sexual minorities and immediate release of all conscientious objectors. Since PSPD has contributed to adopting recommendations, it has written columns and distributed press release about its contents and meanings, and gained good responses.
● Last general session of the 19th National Assembly, Pass livelihood related bills before too late!
▶ PSPD is concentrating on activities for the National Assembly to swiftly handle and pass livelihood related bills. In the meeting with the New Politics Alliance for Democracy and the Justice Party, PSPD urged followings for priority; a revised Franchise Business Act, a revised Housing Lease Protection Act to ease house rent and lease problems, a special bill for designating small and medium business, a bill to regulate chabeol owned shopping complex and adoption of young employment quota for private conglomerates. It also requested to pass a revision of Telecommunications Business Act which would eliminate a basic charge to reduce mobile communication cost and a revision of Device Distribution Act to remove bubbles in device cost.
▶ The Tripartite agreement made on 15 September already asks great sacrifices of the labor. However, the government and Saenuri party are still trying to pass a revised Labor Act which is much more retrograded than 9.15 agreement. Therefore, PSPD has asked the people to vote on government’s labor policy and held a press conference with civil and social organizations to raise voices to demand abolition of a revised Labor Act.
● Urging Fair Taxation and Resisting against reducing welfare for the weak
▶ Despite of state’s debt increasing like a snowball and lack of tax income, the government and the leading party do not show even a little intention to secure budget from fair taxation. PSPD urged the National Assembly at revising taxation discussions to resolve five big tasks for fair taxation, specifically adjusting corporate tax rate to the ordinary level, applying cumulative rate on capital gain tax, reconsidering ISA (Individual Savings Account) which risks special treatment in taxation favorable for the rich, taxing religious persons and strengthening taxation on free transfer of the wealth.
▶ Regional welfare projects are in danger to be reduced or abolished because the government is demanding regional government to organize similar and duplicated welfare projects. Projects to be reconsidered include not only living cost subsidiaries for sex slave victims for Japanese Military which was controversial but also welfare expenditures for securing the right to live and for the weak of our society such as health insurance for the poorest, supporting activities of the disabled, house heating cost for the disabled and the low income households and helping homeless.
▶ While the National Assembly is discussing a proposed bill for privatizing medical industries, concerns are raised that the bill would let the public health on a hand of market which pursues commercial profits. PSPD is collecting voices of opposition against a bill of the Service Industry Development and the International Medical Business Support which the government intends to pass to achieve medical industry privatization. It also brings the issue to the public regarding human clinical testing which is publicized as a sweet casual job for low income families.
● Politician never voluntarily reform
▶ The National Assembly failed to decide constituency by legal deadline and the Political Reform Special Committee extended its mission period. After having activities of ‘Political Reform Civil Solidarity’, PSPD has demanded to place a priority in seat distribution according to votes earned and increasing proportionate representation but Saenuri Party on the contrarily, tries to increase regional and reduce proportional representation. Therefore, PSPD and civil groups held a press conference and picketing demonstration requesting lawmakers to stop changing the election law to backwards and work for political reforms. Furthermore, they placed an advertisement with the support and donations of citizens. It is very regret to accept but we should stop politicians and giant political parties from retrograding before asking them to reform. They never change for the better by themselves.
● Claps and thanks to whistle blowers for public interests!
▶ According to inspection of Seoul Metropolitan Office of Education, corruptions were found in Hana high school entrance exam. The school attempted to punish a teacher Jeong Kyeong-won who revealed the fault and one person demonstration asking the school to stop unfair retaliation was held in front of the school. PSPD is preparing a yearly event <2015 Whistle Blowers for public interests and Righteous Citizen Awards> for the purpose of supporting and encouraging whistle blowers for public interests. They try to disclose corruptions and injustice in our society to keep safety and rights of the public but sometimes become a victim of isolation, punishment and dismissal.
● Sending out Troops does not bring the peace
▶ The National Assembly is reviewing to enact the Dispatch Troops to Overseas Act which the Ministry of Defense has tried for a long time. Even though Korea already has the Peacekeeping Operation Participation Act and the Emergency Relief Act, the Ministry wants this Act to justify overseas dispatch regardless of purposes whether commercial or emergency relief. Korea has actively participated in the US leading anti-terror war by sending out large scale of troops and consequently, inordinate terror forces such as IS has grown. As PSPD has strived to stop enactment of Dispatch Act, it has made card news to inform citizens telling problems of the bill and continued activities to stop enactment. Meanwhile, agendas to extend troops to UAE and Cheonghae Unit to Somalia are being requested. The troop to UAE is unconstitutional because they are sent for a commercial reason, receiving nuclear power plant orders. The reason for a dispatch to Somalia is said to be to protect vessels from pirates but in fact there are none near the Gulf of Aden. The intention of the Ministry of Defense is impure and the National Assembly has been negligent and failed to control dispatch matters properly. Hence, PSPD has presented a statement to reject extension of dispatch period and sent it to the National Defense Committee members.
▶ Myanmar is heading to end long-term military dictatorship. Activists of civil society including PSPD have participated in Myanmar election as an inspection group. They organized ‘Wind of democracy in Myanmar’ to share live stories of historic election sites and talked about the future of Myanmar.
● The Youth PSPD starts its sailing
▶ The Youth PSPD has established last month. In cooperation with the Institute of Participatory Society, a forum was held on 4 November to discuss worries of current youth activities and roles in the Korean society. It was also a venue to share activities between the Youth PSPD and the Youth Community Union, the Union Slug and the Youth Government Network of Seoul Metropolitan City. It has requested the National Assembly on 17 November to revise the Higher Education Act to limit college entrance fee to actual costs and not to levy tuition fee to tertiary students who postpone a graduation.