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Korean writer’s conservative comment

Posted October. 18, 2014 18:21,   


"Something Happened in Bali," Korean TV drama aired in 2004, portrays tragedy rising from love between an heir to a business empire and a poor young heroine. Korean stars Ha Ji-won, Jo In-sung, So Ji-sub appeared in that drama and it was such an enormous hit. The show had lines “classes did not exist only during the Middle Ages,” while showing the book "The Prison Notebooks" written by Italian Marxist Antonio Gramsci. The writer of the drama said it was to portray a character with antagonism towards an unequal society.

"For 20 years we must stop this brain from functioning," was a part of the court ruling at his trial. Gramsci protested Mussolini’s Fascism regime. Yet in his long imprisonment, his brain kept going and he introduced the concepts of a "war of position" and a "war of maneuver" at his fruitful Prison Notebooks. "War of position" is a theory upon research on why the Russian Revolution succeeded in 1917 and why it did not in Western Europe. In the Russian Empire, which was a backward society, it is possible to upset a regime by attacking the army and police. However, this did not work in Western Europe where liberalism and civic society were developed. Instead, he said a long-term strategy in order to seize cultural hegemony, namely "war of maneuver," would be more suitable.

Conservative novelist Yi Mun-yol has become a topic of conversation these days after mentioning Gramsci`s war of position at a lecture to CEOs of Samsung Group. "Conglomerates such as Samsung are a basic structure of a nation and at the same time must serve as a position," he said while stressing proactive communication with various intellectuals and artists. His advice was that Samsung, the beneficiary of the market economy and liberalism, should go beyond the industrial sector and contribute to cultural hegemony.

"Those who defend the free democracy we are aiming for have fallen and been destroyed," Yi said. This is the result of the left wing having consolidated positions in the battle for hegemony of cultural authority. It requires enormous resolve for a writer to express his conservative bent in the literary scene. No matter if the left or right wings gain cultural hegemony, we must establish a society that does not insist on self-righteous beliefs.