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"FTA has already begun to change the Korean society"
Confernce: Changes that FTA will bring about in Korea
La Eun-young, Reporter
"Granted, deterring the congress from ratifying the pact is important. However, what we should put more focus on is that FTA has already begun to change public policies and to make some statutory measures." That is to say, a process to transform the Korean society into something in which FTA can be incorporated is underway.

On August 12, Professors, Academic Research Organizations against Korea-US FTA (PAROa-FTA) hosted an open forum on the subject of 'Changes that FTA will bring about in Korea', where most of panels pointed out that FTA would bring about changes in political geography and stir up the social fronts.

  An open forum was hosted by PAROa-FTA on the subject of 'Changes and effects of FTA in Korea' on August 12. Prof. Lee Jin-kyong is announcing.

Lee Kwang-il, a professor of SungKongHoe University analyzed "Variations among activist groups in opposition to FTA" saying that political liberalists are transforming themselves into neo-liberalists, in which some civil movement groups are being immersed and that the globalized capitalism is beating democracy and having it retreat. The retreating democracy in question means, he says, substantial democracy of mandatory administration in contrast to procedural democracy.

He also said "We need political solidarity between the left and the radical democratic" assuming that the progressive left movement groups are all in bad shape.

Kim Chang-gun, a professor of Kyung-sang University, stressed that "FTA is a result of imperialist strategy of the US like WTO, which is merged with Korean government and huge conglomerates." and "Korea is becoming semi-imperialist and trying to jump the bandwagon of US imperialism."

Lee Jin-Kyung, a professor of Seoul National University of Technology asked how to make ourselves the innovated left and said "There is a phenomenon called Socio-economic polarization along with polarization of social movements, which is emerging as the one front or contradiction in Korea."

Shim Kwang-hyun, a professor of the Korean National University of Arts pointed out "Even if the ratification in the Congress fails, the FTA is already working." and forecasted its ill effects over the culture and service areas and pointed to the dubious aspects of the pact itself.

Lee Jong-hoe, a member of Preparatory Committee of Progressive Strategy Research said "The reforms of labor section that Korean government is already pushing ahead are coincident with the requirements of FTA with Japan and the US, and moves of the capital are going along with the development of labor-controlling measures."

And he added "In the move of the capital what plan KCTU (Korean Confederation of Trade Unions) will make in terms of organizing workers, especially irregular workers, remains to be seen, but it will be determinative." and emphasized that various movements of a diverse of groups such as Democratic Labor Party and local industrial unions should be aware of the changes in the capitalists' strategy and make an effort to build a proper form of organization.

In this forum the panels put focus more on discussing about general aspects of various realms of politics, economics and society than taking a close look at particular details of them. The panels agreed on that further studies and debates are needed to make them in practice and finally conclude the debate.

translated by Cho Eun-seok

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