This Month at PSPD
The Time for a Paradigm Shift towards a Caring Society
Everyone depends on someone else’s care or support. Especially with population aging and low birth rates, in addition to a growing number of one-person and dual-income households, the publicness of care has become vital. However, care continues to be perceived as an individual’s problem, and it is especially easy for a woman to end up carrying the burden of care. Care should be recognized as a basic human right, and future policies should be designed to ensure that society as a whole shares the responsibilities of care. On June 15, PSPD and 11 other labor civil society organizations established the ‘Civil Union for the Securement of Public Care and the Realization of Care Rights’ and made the following three demands.
✔ Ensure Non-Discriminatory Care Rights for All Care is a citizen’s legitimate right. No one should be excluded from receiving or providing care. Related policies, including proper care leaves and sickness benefits that would allow one to rest when ill, should be introduced.
✔ Establish a National Care System Care responsibilities should not be left to the individual, family, or, especially, women; they should be shared between society and the state. However, most care providers currently operate in the private sector. Poor service quality and poor working conditions are problems as well. Care Basic Rights (tentative title) should be legislated, and local community-based integrated care services should be expanded nationally.
✔ Ensure Care Labor Rights that are Safe for All While the number of care laborers has increased in tandem with the increase in demand for care services, pay for these laborers is notably low, and they experience employment uncertainty. As a result, it is difficult for a care relationship based on trust with service users to develop. A standardized pay system should be introduced in order to ensure adequate pay for care laborers, and job insecurity must be rectified as well.
Why Increased Direct Control of the Police by the Ministry of Public Administration and Security is Problematic
On June 21, the Ministry of Public Administration and Security’s Advisory Committee on Reforming the Police System recommended the establishment of ‘the Police Bureau,’ which would assist the minister in police-related tasks, and the reinforcement·expansion of the ministry’s authority to directly control the police. While the government has stated ‘checks on an enlarged organization’ as a justification, the aforementioned recommendations contain various problems.
The greater the authority over the police, the weaker the police’s impartiality and independence become, and this may result in the police being directly subordinated to political power. We must remind ourselves that the Police Act of 1991, recognizing the importance of police impartiality, established the police as an external agency from its previous arrangement as the Headquarters of the National Police within the Ministry of Interior. In addition, there is no plan currently in place to reduce and break up police authority which has become much larger from acquiring powers from the Prosecution Service and the Korean Central Intelligence Agency. Another problem is that the Advisory Committee on Reforming the Police System announced these recommendations in about one month without any process of public debate and without making public the names of its members. Furthermore, establishing the police bureau within the Ministry of Public Administration and Security is a matter of amending the National Government Organization Act; establishing the police bureau by merely issuing enforcement ordinance amendments goes beyond the mandate enshrined in the National Government Organization Act and infringes on the National Assembly’s legislative power.
PSPD once again recognizes ‘strengthening democratic control and the breakup·reduction of authority as the key principles of police reform. PSPD made our position public and held a press conference.
Peace Action Against the President of the Republic of Korea Attending the NATO Summit
President Yoon attended the NATO (North Atlantic Treaty Organization) Summit held in Madrid, Spain, between 29 and 30 June. Given the global intensification of militarism and conflicts between rivaling blocs, we cannot help but express concern about the Republic of Korea’s involvement in the US-led global network whose objective is to contain and pressure China and Russia, as well as about its efforts to strengthen military alliances. Independent and balanced strategies towards peace are nowhere to be seen, while efforts to take ‘the US’ side’ are apparent and rapidly pushed ahead, as evidenced by measures to strengthen the US-ROK military alliance, US-ROK-Japan military cooperation, cooperation with NATO, and more. This will result in raising military tensions across the East Asian region and exacerbating the ‘New Cold War.’ On 22 June, in front of the Yongsan Presidential Office, PSPD organized a peace action against President Yoon’s attendance at the NATO Summit. In addition, we took part in the online peace action event <24 Hour Peace Wave: No to Militarization - Yes to Cooperation>, co-hosted by the International Peace Bureau (IPB) and World Beyond War.
We Demand a Complete Revision of the Yoon Administration’s Economic Policy
On 16 June, the Yoon Administration released <The New Administration’s Economic Policy Direction>. While stating ‘overcoming low growth and promoting a growth-welfare virtuous cycle’ as objectives, there are concerns that its content seems to be an extension of ‘JulPoohSae (lower taxes, deregulation, and tough on crime)’ policies pushed by the previous Geun-hye Park Administration. Given that an economic recession is projected due to unprecedented levels of inflation·interest rate hikes, stubbornly pursuing deregulation and putting excessive trust in the market economy cannot serve as a fundamental solution to tackling an economic crisis. We demand a complete revision towards a public-led major reform of the people’s livelihood.
Let’s Hang Out in the Forest! We Spent Time with Whistleblowers.
Countless whistleblowers endure being ostracized by their colleagues and losing their jobs. We have expressed our gratitude for their courage and service, and, for this year’s ‘Whistleblower Day’ event to promote exchange and build solidarity between whistleblowers, we went picnicking in Baeksasil Valley, Seoul. We had a pleasant time, enjoying traditional games and packed lunches. ▶ 2022 Support Whistleblowers! Campaign bit.ly/3A2Wj5v
The National Assembly Should Repeal the Legislative and Judiciary Committee’s Power to Examine the System and Wording of Bills, and Finalize the Formation of Leadership!
The first half of the 21st National Assembly has ended. However, the formation of leadership for the second half is being delayed due to political strife over the chair of the Legislative and Judiciary Committee. Confirmation hearings for minister nominees are not being held; discussions for legislations related to people’s livelihood are being postponed, and the formation of the special committees for Judicial Reform and Political Reform is being pushed to the side.
The key issue here is the Legislative and Judiciary Committee's power to examine the system and wording of bills. This power has invested the Committee with authority to examine whether bills that have passed committees are not in conflict with related legislations and whether the wording of these bills are appropriate. PSPD takes the position that this power should be abolished by amending the National Assembly Act and that examination of the system and wording of bills should be performed by an organization specialized in legislative affairs within the National Assembly such as the Legislative Council Office. PSPD demands that the two major parties agree on repealing the Legislative and Judiciary Committee’s power to examine the system and wording of bills and finalize the formation of leadership in a deliberate manner.