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[Editorial] Civic Movement Should Not Be Politically Biased

[Editorial] Civic Movement Should Not Be Politically Biased

Posted August. 09, 2001 08:22,   


General secretary of the Citizen`s Coalition for Economic Justice (CCEJ) Lee Suk-Yeon`s critique of civic movement renders us to think about the present stage of civic movement in our society.

Lee, who is active in the front line of civic movement as a lawyer, reproached civic movement activists at the guest lecture at the Korea National Police University. Lee said that there were many cases in which activists went into politics as well as government after having worked for civic movement with politically biased tendency, which was betrayal of civic movement. As a result, this has often distorted genuineness and neutrality of civic movement, Lee pointed out. He also expressed his concern about the civic movement`s tendency to `transcend law` and to `aspire power` in his book `Constitution Keeper` two months ago.

Although Lee expressed his concern by giving `examples of the past`, his point cannot be overlooked, as the present situation is not different from the past. This is because some of methods of civic movement in our society are often not genuine, and, thus, civic movement should find a way out of this problem.

In fact, many civic organizations have tended to be apart from political neutrality since the inauguration of `people`s government`. Especially, people are concerned whether civic organizations tend to be biased without watching over corruption or unfairness of the power.

One example is the tax investigation on media companies. Some of the civic organizations have been taking an active role in attacking particular newspapers, as if they represent the government. They homogeneously make one voice, while indiscriminately criticize other opinions on the issue of tax investigation on media, in which various interpretations are possible. Some of them, trapped in self-conceit of `infallacy`, tend to push others into the corner, as if they are the `judge of justice`.

Of course, activities of civic organizations are important. Civic organizations should raise their voices when the government or the media do not play their own roles. This contributes to the maturity of civil society. We should evaluate civic organizations based on their contributions to the preservation of environment, improvement of human rights, protection of consumers, and the realization of economic justice.

However, civic movement should reflect whether they have become powerful like political organizations and whether they have manipulated this situation as a stepping- stone to participate in politics. In the same vein, some of civic organizations` attempt to participate in the local election next year is not desirable.

Civic organizations` activities should be non-partisan in order to gain people`s support. Only when they are non-partisan, genuineness and universality of civic movement can be insured. This is what makes civic organizations distinctive from other profit-oriented organizations or particular ideology-oriented organizations.