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[Opinion] Let`s End the Corrupted Politics with People`s Power

[Opinion] Let`s End the Corrupted Politics with People`s Power

Posted January. 01, 2002 15:36,   


The Sun of New Year has risen. However, instead of being filled with new hope and resolution, I was reluctant to open my eyes in the morning of this New Year`s day due to the worries about how should I survive another long year. The reason is that this year is a year of politics. Straightforwardly speaking, I was anxious about how much the politicians will drive people to the dungeons of despair by the changing alignment of parties and the political maneuvering for the local government election and the Presidential election and by the deepening of the political hatred.

The politics has failed to provide hope to the people. To say nothing of the dark ages of the military dictatorship, the regimes of Kim Young-Sam and Kim Dae-Jung were not quite different. The pre-modernistic feudal politics of `the 3 Kim Politics`, the regionalism, and the whole corruption of the government shown in the Hanbo case and the recent various Gates, nullified the moral authority and the credit of the civil governments accomplished by the democratization movement. Particularly, the human resource management of the DJ administration, even though it took the power by the support of the alienated regions, has deepened the regionalism and has amplified the conflicts between the ruling and opposition parties in terms of the supporting groups and the regional backgrounds.

However, as a crisis is an opportunity, the despair could be a prelude of hope. In particular, by the resignation of President from the party`s presidency after the defeat of the by-election and re-election in October last year, the delayed collapse of the old 3 Kim Politics has been accelerated.

The problem is that the clearance of the 3 Kim Politics is only possible by scraping out the obsolete politics, not simply by the physical resignation of the 3 Kims. In fact, so-called the next generation or new generation politicians have betrayed their obsolete 3 Kim style political behaviors or even more sometimes.

The point is not so much who is going to win the coming election but the democratic procedure in the process of the competition. To make it brief, the privatized parties should be returned to the party members and the people and the remedial clues to overcome the regionalism must be searched out. And the politicians should show the constructive politics and the competition of visions, overcoming the antagonistic politics based on the mutual reprobation and the political aggressions, the politics of re-alignments for political power without considering a principle, and the opportunist politics of the migrating politicians and the circles of the military dictatorship taking advantages of the politics of re-alignments.

In relation, the following three must be indicated. The first is the fair play spirit to follow the rules of the game even if one may lose the game. The disobedience to the result of preliminary election in 1997 might have helped to change the regime to the alienated circles but the side effect of the result has grown the regionalism more seriously by altering the emotional regionalism to the strategic regionalism of the Yongnam area as shown in the incredible defeat of the Minkuk party. Therefore, the disobedience of the rule must not happen.

Secondly, through the process of the election, Korea needs to draw a consensus whether the neo-liberalism, which the DJ administration uncritically accepted the requests for the market economy by the International Monetary Funds (IMF), is a model for Korea in the 21 century that we should live with through the dynamic era fluctuating by the waves of globalization. And if not, the question of what is the most democratic and effective model of Korea should be seriously discussed.

Currently, Korea is encountering the international situation similar to that of the 19th century but there is no discussion about the issue in the political circle.

Finally, the political circles have repeatedly propagandized that they will compete with policies but they couldn`t because they did not have any policy difference between the parties. Therefore, they must open a space for a new alternative party.

In the New Year, I pray that the politics give hope and joy to the people at this time. Or I would rather pray that the politics do not bring frustration, cynicism, and hatred as it did in the past to the people. The primary responsibility lies in the political circle, of course. But if the people remained captured in the obsolete politics of the regionalism, the change of the political circle is far off. Therefore, the future of this year is absolutely in the hand of the people. Hence, let`s create a hopeful new year rather than just praying for it.

Sohn Ho-Chul (Professor of Politics and Diplomacy at Sogang University)