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New Right Movement Finds Supporters

Posted November. 22, 2004 22:57,   


The New Right movement is gaining momentum.

Since Dong-A Ilbo reported the six-issue series “From Silence to Action” on November 8, criticizing that the leading power of the current government has an inclination toward a leftist, the moderate conservative forces have been extending its influence into various sectors of society. As the formerly mute voices of the moderate conservatives are increasingly being heard, the New Right movement is steadily redesigning popular sentiment.

Providing the theoretical basis for British Thatcherism and American Reaganism during the 1980’s, the New Right movement has established itself in Korean society as an influential ideology that strives for international market-oriented liberalism. With aid from academics, Donga has drawn up a definition of a Korean version of the New Right movement.

The Alliance for Liberalism, composed of the 386 generation (note: the democratic generation as of the year 1990 are those in their thirties who attended college in the 80’s and were born in the 60’s), held an opening ceremony and press conference on November 22 at the Cecil Restaurant located at Jung-dong, Joong-gu, Seoul.

On the same day, the pan-religious Protestant Social Responsibility Preparatory Committee held an opening ceremony with 300 members and followers.

The Alliance for Liberalism stated in its opening speech that “the historical traditions of liberal democracy and market economy manifested in Korea are being defamed by the current administration”, and that “we are holding this meeting in order to meet the historical duty to supplant backward policies and point to the path towards development”.

They also stated that “current politics, in which the administration is wallowing in leftist populism and the opposition party is standing by helplessly, should be brought to a close,” and that “only 21st century liberalism can solve the problems that Korea faces today.”

The Alliance for Liberalism is composed of Professor Shin Ji-ho of Sogang University (nominated as president), Hong Jin-pyo, policy director of the Citizens’ Group for Righteous Society, Cha Gi-hwan, a lawyer, as well as 60 others as members.

In its founding declaration, the group Social Responsibility stated that “in our country today, the working class is experiencing extreme financial difficulties, while the current administration is pursuing its political agenda through drastic reform. This has resulted in further disintegration of the populace and a widening of ideological values,” and that “we will strive to maintain our centrist stance, as well as voice, and our political views that do not lean towards the left or right.”

The founding declaration adds, “In order to achieve development nation status, our country should 1) resolve our ideological and political differences 2) overcome our economic crisis and resolve the financial hardships of the working class, 3) work for peace and stability in the Korean peninsula, and 4) provide a vision for the future.”

The group Social Responsibility is composed of 83 persons, including five heads composed of Pastor Kim Jin-hong of the Durae Church (located at Guri, Gyeonggi Province), President Sohn Bong-ho of Dongduk Women’s University, and 10 committee members including Professor Lee Hwa-sook of the College of Law of Yonsei University and Pastor Suh Kyung-seok of the Church for the Korean-Chinese. A founding assembly will be held next January after the scope of the organization is broadened.

Jae-Dong Yu Dong-Yong Min jarrett@donga.com mindy@donga.com