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New Right Group in Action

Posted November. 08, 2004 22:55,   


“Stop the Unbalanced Diet on Ideology”

The movement of the New Right group, which supports the values of liberalism and the market economy, has spread even among civic and religion groups that have generally showed progressive and reform attitudes towards pending social or national issues. Most had demonstrated distinctive reform features during the early period of the Kim Dae-jung administration, but they are now on the move to pursue a shift with the start of the current administration. They reason that it is time to restore the balance of social ideologies since they have severely leaned towards the “left wing.” While they are determined to tell right from wrong on every issue included in the current government’s “reform drive,” they appear unwilling to cross a certain line regarding conservative ideas.

Civic and Religion Groups on the Move—

Several attempts to organize moderate groups have been made. With Reverend Kim Jin-hong (representative of the Doorae Community Organization) at the center, Son Bong-ho, president of Dongduk Women’s University, and senior Reverend Ok Han-heum of the Sarang Community Church are preparing a moderate Protestant group: “Korea’s Protestant Reform Movement.”

“The initiative of this group is to create a new image of Korean Protestant churches based on Christian morality with no ideological inclination,” said president Song, the originator of this project. “We will distinguish between right and wrong of social pending issues such as the National Security Law and private school law, respectively,” he added.

Along with this, another Protestant NGO pursuing moderate and conservative ideas named “Christian Social Responsibility,” is about to launch. This group is a sister organization of “Korea’s Protestant Reform Movement.”

“In this ideologically polarized society, we will present reasonable alternatives from moderate standpoints,” Park Seung-ryong, the informally designated head officer of “Christian Social Responsibility” said. The two groups are planning to pursue the values of liberalism and the market economy.

"The right voice is what we care about,” said Seo Gyeong-seok, head minister of the Seoul Ethnic Korean Church, which is planning a civic organization with a provisional name called, “Thoughts of the Nation.” This group has its emphasis on suggesting ideas and opinions for saving the nation in multiple areas.

“Until today, there has been no need for the mainstream to speak up since the world has moved towards the direction the mainstream had wanted. But now, without rousing one’s voice, it is highly likely for the world to move in unexpected directions. Now is time to gather our powers,” Seo pointed out.

Third Lawyer’s Group Emerges—

A moderate group of about three hundred lawyers in their 30s or 40s, who have not favored the activities of the Lawyers for Democratic Society, also called MINBYUN, are now planning to organize a third lawyer’s group of their own—with lawyer Lee Seok-yeon at the center—, and it is scheduled to launch next month. Currently, excluding the Korea Bar Association that all lawyers are required to join, Korea has two volunteer lawyer organizations: the MINBYUN, established in 1988 is a group with 450 member lawyers, and the Constitution Law Advocates, established in 1998. It is a group of senior lawyers with 200 members.

“Those who have different opinions against the powerful MINBYUN have tended to be isolated, and it has been hard for them to find a chance to speak up their voices. A small group of lawyers who have believed the activities and ideas of MINBYUN are ideologically biased are willingly taking part in it,” said 33-year old female lawyer Lee Du-a, who is now taking charge in arrangement work for the preparatory committee of the third lawyer’s group.

“The new group will serve as a stage for both young and senior lawyers to pursue their balanced ideas, while respecting constitutional values and the rule of law and supporting the market economy,” lawyer Lee explained.

Education World Calls for Balance—

The recent campaign of “Restoring the Educational Rights Movement of Parents” also stems from the idea of refreshing the atmosphere of the education world that has long been controlled by the Teachers and Educational Worker`s Union. At the center of this campaign, the moderate Citizens United for Better Society are preparing for the launch of “Practices for Better Educational Rights,” which will support parents’ balanced movements. The group will hold a preparatory meeting on November 18 and launch the group headquarters on February 2005.

“Until now, school reform has been proceeding excluding parents, which results in today’s ideologically inclined education favoring teachers,” Professor Nam Seung-hui of Pedagogics at Myongji College pointed out.

The new group will adopt the initiative to study the scope of parents’ rights, and thus it will be able to claim their rights to choose schools, which are not available under the High School Equalization Policy, and their right to know the results of the government-sponsored scholastic aptitude test for university education.