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New Political Movement Rejects Pro-Ruling or Pro-Opposition Party Labels

New Political Movement Rejects Pro-Ruling or Pro-Opposition Party Labels

Posted May. 17, 2005 22:39,   


“There are no real conservatives or liberals in our society.”

A new movement of intellectual society has begun with the slogan of “centrist” ideology and the “advancement” of the country. Reverend Suh Kyung-suk, Professor at Information and Communications University Lee Gak-bum, and Professor emeritus at Seoul National University Gwon Tae-jun, all early members of the Citizens’ Coalition for Economic Justice, are set to embark on a “Policy Project for Advancement” on June 13.

On May 17, through a meeting with Reverend Suh and Professor Lee, the paper sheds light on the project’s specifics and goals.

Q: You came forward with the slogan of the “advancement.”

A: “The fight between liberal and conservative is the fight between falsehood and false reputation. Liberalism is social ideology of the 19th Century aimed at advancing historical development, and liberalism cannot continue to be real liberalism in the 21st Century. Conservatism maintains the moral principles for the development of society. However, in Korea, conservatism is a poster child of corruption and the cozy relationship between politics and business. Now is when intellectuals should be free from falsehood and hypocrisy, and build their wisdom together for the advancement of the country in a ‘truth-seeking manner based on actual fact.’”

Q: Explain this more specifically.

A: “The campaign seeks open-minded nationalism, rather than closed nationalism. The country needs liberalistic reforms, but these should be mixed with the collective interests of the society. Breaking away from the debate of either freedom or equality, we should provide an optimal economic environment where posterity can thrive. The movement will offer a guideline to enhance future-oriented and unity-promoting policies, and will discourage seeking interests for certain regions, classes, and groups.”

Q: What about the relations with the political sector? (The two raised their voices.)

A: “Whether it be the ruling or opposition parties, we will support a party with the right policy and criticize a party with the wrong one. We are against any attempt to identify the movement with either side based on the ideological gauge. Labeling the campaign liberal or conservative, or pro-ruling or pro-opposition, will only distort the true meaning of the campaign.”

Q: What is the campaign’s goal?

A: “The objective of the campaign is to lay the foundation for the advancement of the country through combining the wishes of the intellectuals who love the nation.”

Q: What led you to work together?

A: “We all participated in the forum on the administrative capital relocation plan sponsored by the Internet media company ‘Up Korea’. During the discussion, we decided to find out ways to resolve the disagreement with those who support the relocation plan through alternative plans based on thorough studies, rather than blindly opposing the plan.”

Q: What are your positions on the issues of the Korea-U.S. relationship and inter-Korean relations?

A: “We are for Korea-U.S. relations on an equal footing. Yet, we will not get to the issue with closed nationalism. We should see where we stand objectively. We want a unified Korean peninsula, but we do not support the government’s approach of blind acceptance of the North’s demands. Korea should raise its voice on North Korea’s dismal human rights record and its nuclear weapons program. It should voice its conscience based on thorough deliberations and studies.”

Young-Chan Yoon yyc11@donga.com