Podcast: S. Korea workers’ 77-day factory occupation broken by violent police assault

ssangyong
Image from the Hankyoreh

Yesterday the 10-week-long occupation of the Ssangyong automotive plant in Pyeongtaek, South Korea, by striking workers was broken by a final, violent police assault. When Ssangyong went bankrupt and announced the firings of thousands of assembly-line workers, they armed and barricaded themselves inside the plant. I spoke with Loren Goldner, an author writing a book on the Korean working class who visited the factory in June, on Friday about the situation. The workers’ struggle has received stunningly little attention in the US corporate and alternative press. He was speaking to me from New York City. Please share and re-broadcast.

MP3. Cross-posted to Radio Indymedia and libcom.

Update: The podcast does not convey the “epic,” in the BBC’s words, nature of the final four-day fight the workers put up against the police. Below are pictures and videos collected from Youtube and libcom.org.

4 thoughts on “Podcast: S. Korea workers’ 77-day factory occupation broken by violent police assault

  1. This should of course have been on the evening news everywhere. Good interview. Thanks.

    • Honestly, it’s to be expected that the corporate media would ignore this. I’m more disturbed by the utter lack of attention to the occupation by the alternative/independent media. Democracy Now had two headlines on the release of American journalists from N. Korea, which was covered everywhere else, but never even mentioned this story.

      One KPFK radio host, Suzie Weissman, interviewed Mr. Goldner but weirdly spent most of the time asking about the history of class warfare in S. Korea, not the Ssangyong occupation. To my knowledge that’s the only other place this issue has been covered, besides anarcho-websites libcom and Infoshop News.

      • Fox News can afford to make conscious choices about what to cover much more often than Democracy Now, which, I’d imagine, sometimes just can’t manage to cover what it should. Mostly, it takes capable people and lots of time to do research. Just as often, I’d think, DN misses important stories because they don’t really come to their attention enough, which is a result of lack of activism on particular issues in this country. If U.S. labor unions or other activist groups had been actively supporting the Korean workers, for example, they might have put out press releases and maybe held demonstrations at Korean consulates and embassies, which would have attracted the attention of Democracy Now and other media. They didn’t choose to cover Bill Clinton’s heroics so much because they thought it was important as because it was already being covered and was easily within reach. It may not be ideal journalism, but sometimes you take what you can get.

        • Good points all, and I don’t mean to pick on Democracy Now! – though I don’t think it’s too much to expect that over the course of a 77-day workers occupation they could give the story at least a single headline, particularly as the police attack escalated.

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