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April 16, 2004

South Korea Shifts Left

In a historic change, conservative forces lost control of South Korea's parliament. The change was fueled by a backlash of the public of attempts to impeach the current progressive President, but the result also includes the first presence of a small labor-backed party, the Democratic Labor Party, in parliament as well. In a country where parties were built around strong leaders and regional patronage groupings, the DLP is distinctive with a clear ideological position:

The party began as an offshoot to the Korea Confederation of Trade Unions and draws its support from trade unionists around the country. It boasts of having a paid membership base of over 50,000. The party itself refers to its membership as "ordinary, common people."

The membership has thus far voted for a policy platform that opposes free trade agreements and favors higher taxation for corporations and high-income earners. It wants to use the increase in tax revenue to support more social welfare spending.

From Latin America to Asia, the DLP is part of a more general growth in new left parties that will hopefully harbor new global alliances for justice.

Posted by Nathan at April 16, 2004 08:27 AM