Monday, January 18, 2010

Happy MLK Day..

And to celebrate this day, I provide you a small clip from Meet The Press over a year ago featuring Michael Dyson. The clip features an interview of MLK discussing the segregation in churches and Dyson highlights how many Black Church leaders like Jeremiah Wright follow the same traditions and analysis MLK brought to his sermons. Considering how many people frequently liberalize MLK and "soften" his image to a nice moderate integrationist, it is important we understand these aspects of his life so we can truly understand MLK's impact and influence in America.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Lack of updates..

I apologize for the lack of updates since about mid-December. Recently I've had problems finding stuff to write and what direction to take this blog. When I originally started this blog, I was going on with the plan of going to Korea and doing alot of posting about the stuff I see there. Unfortunately, my trip there has been delayed indefinitely (I will not be there until March at the earliest) which has kinda thrown that plan out of the loop. I posted on numerous subjects earlier to help get me use to writing, but now I am struggling to figure out what to do.

As much as I like to focus on labor and social movements in Korea, the blog is kinda stagnant during down turns especially when I am not there. I have thought about expanding it a bit to talk about Korean history or just Asian issues in general. I can also just make this a fairly broad blog that discusses numerous issues, from politics to video games which would make this blog more personal and allow for more updates, but really cost its focus.

I am going to think about it for a bit while, but I am wondering what you all think I should do. You are more wonderful audience afterall.

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Getting life-saving transplants hard for mixed-race patients..

ABC news has a little article on organ donating and the problems mixed people face when needing these life-saving operations. You can check it out over here. I can only imagine this can be even more problematic for adaptees who might not be even completely aware of their background (Like me to some degree)

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Hyundai union avoids strike for the first time...

For 15 straight years, the Hyundai Group Trade Union Council has gone on strike every year in protest of wage cuts, working conditions and numerous other issues. That streak ended this week as the Union agreed to wage freezes without going on strike. This has been actually fairly large news as I've seen numerous news groups reporting on the news event which should give you an idea on how militant the Hyundai Group Trade Union Council is historically.

This itself isn't that shocking if one has been paying attention to labor news. Earlier this year the Hyundai union voted in a more "moderate" union President who openly ran on the grounds he will be less political and hostile than previous leaders. Overall, there seems to be a major gutting of the militancy within Korea's auto-unions, traditionally a very militant workforce. Along with the stuff involving Hyundai, the gutting of the Ssangyong Union's militant union members also is going to have lasting impact on labor relations in the auto industry. How far this goes is still up in the air especially among the small domestic auto companies in Korea where militancy and class conflict is still common.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

KORAIL union leader arrested...

In recent news that would only shock those who have not been paying attention to the news recently, the KORAIL union leader has been arrested for carrying out an illegal strike.

Expect news of the pending lawsuits to hit over the next few months and further arrests. Atleast there isn't any black cars randomly coming to peoples houses like in the good ol days.... yet.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Second English teacher union founded in Incheon

In an attempt to stop the numerous problems English teachers face in Korea, several teachers at a hagwon in Incheon have formed a union to deal with this issues. The idea of making a giant union for foreign English teachers has never been that popular in the ESL circle. Outside of the obvious high turnover problems, its pretty easy to see the government cracking down on such union due to the ambiguity of Korean law on what "political activity" actually means for foreign workers. ATEK in some ways is suppose to act like an alternative, but its history has been uneven in certain areas and seems to be more than a place where English teachers can meet up. For the most part, English teachers in Korea are pretty much left to their own devices even when it comes to clear violations of their contract. Even public jobs aren't guaranteed as the last minute canceling of numerous ESL teachers last August showed us. It is a cutthroat industry that can tarnish how someone views Korea permanently.

Monday, December 7, 2009

Multi-union law delayed, alliance over..

Last Friday, a last minute deal between the FKTU and Labor Ministry was reached that delayed implementation of the new labor laws until 2010. You can read about the deal here. Very few people are happy with what happened, from both business side and the KCTU. The KCTU has announced it will hold demonstrations against the new tripartite agreement. The Hankyoreh has a short interview with the KCTU chairman right here. Korea Times also has a decent article citing the breakup here. The KCTU was not aware of any negotiations and seems received the news the same way I did on Friday, by hearing it from the news.

Overall, this is a disaster and the worst realistic scenario imaginable. Not only is the labor movement completely blocked, it looks like this is going to be one of those issues that will tie up the movement for a while. This issue will be going on for around 15 years when this labor revision takes affect (assuming it passes the National Assembly). Out of all the issues within the Korean labor movement, this is not something we need to be spending 15 years on, especially when the government is still refusing to do its job on the irregular worker issue or when numerous major strikes are failing due to lack of support and state violence.

In other news, Korail is going to take major action against union members during the weeklong strike that took place about two weeks ago. The Labor Ministry also continued its war against public employee unions by refusing the application of the new integrated civil servant union, demanding more information on membership rules, how elections are run and demanded the chairman to send in a stool sample to show that his digestive system is not red. Some scotch sounds good right now