PSPD in English Newsletter 2022-01-22   531

PSPD English Newsletter, December 2021

This Month at PSPD

 

December 2021

 

 

The twentieth Presidential Election will take place on March 9th, 2022. Now that the candidate for each party has been decided, it is time for real competition and examination. PSPD hosted a press conference titled <Objection! 2022 Presidential Election that lacks vision and policy> last November 1st, and presented thirty-one agendas under six topics that must be covered during the election period.

 

 

월간참여사회 2021년 12월호 (통권 291호)

 

 

Motion for a stronger social safety net and guarantee of working rights

When one is poor, sick, has lost their job, or gets injured during work, they should be able to live a humane life under the protection and responsibility of the state. In order to achieve this, a sturdy social safety net is needed, but especially after the COVID-19, it has been revealed how much the safety net in Korea is insufficient in sectors such as a guarantee of income, medical service, and care.

 

The national basic livelihood institution of Korea should be enhanced so that no more people would be in pain because of poverty, and the public character should be strengthened in the social service sector so that the situation would shift for the responsibility would not be thrust onto the family units and women. One part that has received much attention due to the COVID-19 is public health. While Korea is a country that has a well-functioning medical infrastructure, public sickbeds and public hospitals are in shortage, which situation calls for policies in order to expand public medical care. Another task for the next administration would be the basic rights of the workers, for them to work safely and be properly protected.

 

Motion for the stabilization of residence and alleviation of property inequality

For a long basis of low-interest rate, the real estate policies of the Moon administration failed multiple times, which led to a rapid rise in the real estate prices and the residential rights of half of the whole household which do not own a house, and the rights of the residentially disadvantaged are being threatened. As the despair arises from the fact that there is no way to accumulate assets other than owning a house, young and old are lining up to scrabble every possible penny or invest with a huge debt. Under these circumstances, the real estate speculation of public servants such as the LH incident and preferential treatments of the Daejang-dong development brought people to rage and a sense of deprivation.

 

In order for the housing to be stabilized, public rental housing, as well as the guarantee of tenant rights, should be further pursued, while taxation on lands with excess profit should be considered as a way to fully retrieve unearned income. To prepare the resources for welfare and to alleviate the inequality in assets, tax should be increased, and the real tax rate of property holding should be raised. 

 

Recently, Candidate Yoon Seok-Yeol has argued for a complete reexamination of the comprehensive real estate holding tax, and the People’s Party is pushing for an increase of nontaxable subjects for the transfer income tax. The two parties are competing to come up with ways to lower taxes for the rich. However, what the presidential candidates should be doing is not backstepping the real estate tax system, but to suggest solutions to alleviate real estate inequality and asset gaps.

 

Motion for the democratization of the economy and protection of the small and medium-sized merchants

Now is the time to cut out the illegal actions of the president’s family, who dominates the whole conglomerate group with a small amount of share and succeeds managerial rights through illegal or bypassing methods. In order to do this, Fair Trades Act and Commercial Law should be amended so that the economic concentration on Chaebols could be prevented and a proper checking device could be arranged. Fair Trades Act should also be revised in a way the unequal market status between differently sized corporations could change and the small and medium-sized companies and the subcontract companies could be protected.

 

It is also urgent to establish a fair trading order in the online platform industry. While the size and the influence of the online platform industry have skyrocketed and both the sellers and the consumers have grown more reliant on the platform, preventive methods for the platform’s monopoly regulation have been inadequate.

 

On the other hand, the rights of commercial tenants should also be protected. The share of the rent burden between the tenant, the lessor, and the government should be institutionalized, and there should not be a restriction in exercising the tenant’s right to renew the contract if there are no special circumstances. As a way to relieve mass consumer damage due to corporate malfeasance, such as the humidifier disinfectant disaster, chain fire accident of BMW, and large scale financial damages incidents, class-action suits, and punitive damages should be adopted.

 

Motion for the reform of agency of power and reinforcement of democratic control

While the reform on the agency of power under the Moon administration had some meaningful policy enhancements, the aggregate sum of the authority of the agencies has increased in some aspects, and a democratic control mechanism has not been properly installed. The upcoming government should materialize democratic control on police, which now has risen to have big power, install a municipal police system, and make a way to systematically separate investigation and prosecution, in order to prevent the abuse of investigation and prosecution rights. Another task would be to disperse huge authority on the Chief Justice, which was the central reason for the judicial manipulation and reform the judicial branch by expanding the courts and diversifying the composition of the justices of the Supreme Court.

 

Additionally, in order for the National Assembly, the representative body, to be able to properly represent the people’s will, the system should be enhanced to a fully interlinked proportion system that allocates the seats based on the support rate of the party, as well as guarantee the freedom of expression of the voters during the election period. Property registration and exposure system of public servants should be amended to cover the blind spots, and an exclusive organization for anti-corruption should be installed to manage the overall public service ethics work.

 

Motion to guarantee everyone’s human rights and basic rights

Climate crisis is a problem that threatens humanity the most in the whole world. Korea has been called “the climate villain” and only recently managed to announce response plans and full-swing discussions, but we are a long way to go. One of the essential tasks of the upcoming government should be a full-scale response to the climate crisis. On the other hand, cases of artificial intelligence technology violating human rights and basic rights are continuously occurring.

 

While the fourth industrial revolution and the development of the new industry are important, the baseline should be the protection of human rights and basic rights. Enacting a basic law that rejects discrimination and hate according to gender, disability, race, religion, sexual orientation, and gender identity, which could practically guarantee “equality” is another crucial task that needs to be done. Moreover, it is now a time to come up with ways to protect the human rights of the refugees, who are hanging through the most precarious state in Korean society.

 

Motion for peace and arms reduction

For the last seventy years, the Korean peninsula has always been in fear of war, with victims from big and small clashes. The vicious cycle that heightens the hostility and militaristic tension between North and South that also deepens the cold war structure of Northeast Asia should now be broken. The upcoming administration should respect the agreements made between the two, carry them out, and move towards establishing a peace agreement. Another task would be to drastically cut the defense budget which increased at a record in the Moon administration, and discard various weapon adoption under the ambiguous cause of “omnidirectional security threats”.

 

If the still unequal relationship between the U.S. and ROK is not put into place, a democratic control on the security policies or an independent establishment of military strategies is impossible. We should retrieve the wartime operational control unconditionally, and also revise SOFA which works as a reason for the U.S. Army to avoid pollution generated from the camp base.

 

Another recent issue that caused much debate is the conscription system. Due to the “demographic cliff”, it is not sustainable to keep the current way of 500,000 people to be put in service for 18 months. The standing force should be decreased to 300,000 by 2040. Last but not least, enhancing human rights status in the military and abolishing the military court in peacetime should be considered for the sexual violence and other cruel treatments would not be continued.

 

 

Translated by Hyewon Yoon  (Volunteer of PSPD)

 
 

 

 

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