우물 안 개구리

5/12/2006

Manifesto from the Suyu Research Institute on the S.Korea-USA FTA plans – The Twilight of Empire?

Filed under: — noja @ 5:07 am Print

Dear colleagues,

Below I put the English text of the manifesto penned by two of the most promising post-nationalist scholars I know in South Korea, namely Dr. Ko Byeong-gweon (고병권) and Prof. Yi Jin-gyeong (이진경), both affiliated with Suyu Research Institute – an autonomous community of post-nationalist scholars, many of whom are working on the early modern period. The manifesto, dealing with the pressing issue of the planned conclusion of the FTA (Free Trade Agreement) between ROK and USA, raises questions, which are of great significance for the whole “progressive” (use this word for the lack of a better term) movement in South Korea (and elsewhere). What is the real strategy beyond promotion of the FTA by the empire in (arguably, terminal) decilne? Why does the ruling bureaucracy in South Korea prefer to ally itself economically, in the form of FTA, with the “old”, declining hegemon, instead of making the best out of its growing interdependence with the new, regional hegemonic force? Will the logic of almost unconditional support for Pres. Roh’s camp, simultaneously pursuing the strategy of co-optation of North Korean bureaucracy and following the imperial agenda on the FTA issue, divide and split the left-nationalist camp into “unification activists” (playing down their anti-US sentiments so far the USA does not harm Pres. Roh seriously) and an “anti-American group”? I personally do not agree with some of the theses proposed by Dr. Ko and Prof. Yi, but the manifesto is an interesting and thought-provoking reading, showing very well the directions of “progressive” thought in S.Korea today.

Vladimir (Pak Noja)

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