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PSPD  l  People's Solidarity for Participatory Democracy

  • Civil-Political
  • 2000.07.31
  • 966

The CAGE Newsletter 4 :Support from various parts of society


Since the CAGE was created, the activities have been strongly supported by citizens. Some visit the office in order to encourage the staffs in person working there, and others participated in street campaigns, mass rallies and a signature seeking campaign. Furthermore, some artists donated their works to the CAGE.

Ordinary Citizens" Donation Makes the CAGE Continue!

A lot of ordinary citizens donated money in support of the activities of the CAGE. Up to the 7th of March, the total sum of the donated money is over 210 thousands U.S. dollars. It made a record in the history of Korean civil movements. Some citizens brought money to the office, others put it to the bank account of the CAGE, and others donated through the internet.

The leading member had staged a sit-down demonstration at Myungdong Cathedral from 2 to 6 of March. A lot of citizens visited the cathedral to encourage the working staffs of the CAGE. Citizens of various jobs showed their strong concern visiting the staffs; medical doctors, university professors, priests, lawyers, businessmen, actors and actress, artists and so one. Some donated money while visiting the cathedral, other brought food for the sit-down strikers. During this demonstration, 6 million won (around 6 thousands U.S. dollars) was collected excluding food. Even there was a case that one citizen, refusing to give his name, donated a piece of gold for the CAGE.

An Exhibition to fundraise

The Exhibition to fundraise for the activities of the CAGE was held from 3 to 14 of March in a Philosophy Cafe, Nutinamu, jointly run by the People"s Solidarity for Participatory Democracy and the Federation of Environment Movements. A number of painting and calligraphy were donated in support of political reform campaign organized by the CAGE. The number of donating artists reached 28. More than 10 thousands U.S. dollars were raised from this exhibition.

A Signature Seeking Campaign

To sign in the signature seeking campaign book is one of the easiest way for citizens to extend their support to the CAGE. However, it can have a strong effect on the political parties, if a large number of citizens participated in it. It is estimated that the campaign has been successfully going on. A nation-wide signature seeking Campaign is going on by the CAGE. Around 50 thousands signed the campaign book in Seoul area only up to the 7th of March. And the campaign will be going on, and the number is increasing throughout the country.

Classes for Democracy Throughout the Country

The second week of March was announced to be "the week of education for political reform by the CAGE". In order to achieve political reform, the education of voters is particularly stressed at this stage of the CAGE"s activities. Thus, the advisory committee of professors decided to have a special lecture or class for it at universities throughout the country. For instance, a big lecture was given at Sungkonghoe University in Seoul on the 15th. Professors of Mass Communications, Politics and Sociology had a lecture together at a big auditorium, where the significance of the CAGE movement was professed and it was followed by a debate between students and professors.

It was not only in universities, but in primary and secondary schools where this special classes were given. Korean Teachers and Educational Workers Union had special "Democracy Classes" in all the schools in Korea in the second week of March, which attracted a nation wide attention. Even though school boys and girls do not have a voting right in the coming general elections, they will play a great role in political reform if they realize importance of political reform through elections in the future. This is the reason why the Union decided to have a special classes in all the schools in Korea. This special class program was welcome by the CAGE and citizens who are yearning for political reform. And it is strongly expected that the young school boys and girls realize the reality of corrupted politics at the moment, and it would be reformed by the hands of electors.

A Nation-Wide Bus Tour Campaign

The CAGE is going to have a bus tour campaign throughout the country in order to spread the importance of political reform by the hands of electors, and organize electors. The tour starts on the 13th of March in Seoul. First the tour team will visit the southern provinces and then central parts and then the northern part of the country. It will have a mass rally wherever it visits in order to contact electors directly. On the 16th of March there is going to be a nation wide mass rally at a square in front of Taejon Rail Station, it is geographically located in the center of the country, so all the citizens could easily participate in the rally. The bus tour contacting electors directly would be the most powerful means that the CAGE can take because it will have a great influence on them in the general elections in April. Thus, it is expected that there will be a confrontation between authorities and the CAGE concerning the bus tour.

The CAGE Reject the Listed to Register as Candidate

The CAGE started its activities releasing the list of corrupted politician and strongly demanded that political parties should not nominate them as candidate. The list is strongly supported by voters and around 90% of citizens agreed that the listed were not eligible to run for the offices. However, the parties nominated some of them as candidate. Out of 227 offices, the Democratic Party of New Millenium which is in power at the moment nominated 11, the Party of Grand Nation, a major opposition party 21 and the Liberal Democrats 13. At first the CAGE strongly demanded that the parties should cancel the nomination of the listed but they refused.

According to the Law of Political Parties, candidates should be nominated through a democratic process provided by party regulations. Almost all the candidates, however, were appointed by the boss of the parties, or working machines of the bosses. This is the reason why they nominated the listed as candidate. This undemocratic process of nomination is strongly rejected by the general sentiments of voters. Therefore the CAGE sued the parties to withdraw the nomination of the listed in particular in order to stop the listed registering as candidate. It is the first time in the Korean history that the nomination of candidates for MP"s comes to be debated in court. The CAGE organized a plaintiff group for the lawsuit. The group includes university professors, lawyers, activists, ordinary citizens and members of the parties as well. Not only the CAGE but electors keep their eyes on the response from the court.

A Million Young Voters" Action Established

As the politics in Korea became more and more corrupted, the young came to be disinterested in politics including elections. However, as a result of the CAGE"s activities, the young come to be more and more interested in political reform participating in the general elections. Especially the 20"s in Korea either university students or working person in every field of the society. There also are yearning for political reform of the country, so the activities of the CAGE awakened their consciousness of democracy to participate in the general election. It should be estimated one good result of the activities organized by the CAGE.

Furthermore, the young people announced to organize "A Million Young Voters" Action" responding to the CAGE. On the 7th of March, A Million Young Voters" Action was established in Seoul, declaring that 'political reform in the country should be achieved by the hands of young voters.' 'We are not by-standers watching the electoral process disinterestedly any more, but must be a strong driving force for political reform. Therefore, now we declare that we are supporting the CAGE and joining all the political reform campaigns actively.'

The leading members of the Action are university students and young activists in various civil groups. They openly emphasized that the role of young voters should be maximized for political reform in the coming general elections. Their activities in the coming general elections would influence electors in general. They started organizing from grass root to collect voters" will to democracy.

Summoning of the CAGE staffs continues!

After the leading members, including representatives and head of Executive Committee already published in the newsletter, other staffs of the CAGE are summoned by the Public Prosecutors Office. Therefore, supports not only within the country but also from abroad are urgently required. Even though the CAGE has asked the supports from NGO"s from other countries, a few organizations sent us a statement of strong support. Once more we are asking your organizations to send us a statement of supporting the CAGE through email or fax. We are looking forward to receiving the statement as soon as possible. Thank you very much.

The Civil Action for 2000 General Election in Korea (the CAGE)
175-87 Anguk-Dong 2F Anguk Bldg Chongno-Ku Seoul,110-734 KOREA
Tel +82-2-732-0413 Fax -733-0413 e-mail: ngo0413@chollian.net, pspdint@pspd.org

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