South Korea's National Security Law enables the government to arrest all people who oppose the Republic of Korea ( ROK ). This law made it easy for the dictatorial right-wing government of Syngman rhee to eliminate opposition to his autocracy. In the years of Syngman Rhee, South Korea was almost a totalitarian state. Anticommunism was forced upon the people, children were learned to hate communism and all left-wing ideals. It took until 1987 before the government stopped with its harsh anticommunist politics. Yet the dictatorial; National Security Law remained, enable the government to arrest people who praise socialism and oppose capitalism!
In South Korea that means that if you read Marx and Lenin, you are a risk to national security. If you are a member of a revolutionary socialist group, you can get arrested for opposing the Republic of Korea. This happened to Oh Sei-chull, Yang Hyo-seok, Yang Joon-seok, Choi Young-ik, Park Joon-seon, Jeong Won-hyun, Oh Min-gyu and Nam-goon.
They are members of the anti-stalinist; Socialist Workers League of Korea. The SWLK seems to be the only South Korean revolutionary socialist group. Other progressive left-wing parties have always been social democratic or social liberal. Socialist groups had little chance of working in the conservative anti-socialist South Korean society. The SWLK claims that North Korea is a ''state-capitalist'' dictatorship and does not support Kim Jong Un. Yet for the South Korean government, it was enough to arrest them on the grounds that they oppose capitalism and praise socialism!
The judge sentenced as follows;
- O Se-cheol, Yang Hyo-sik, Yang Joon-seok and Choi Young-ik : imprisonment of 1 1/2 years, but conditional delay of imprisonment for 3 years for violation of National Security Law, and a fine of 500,000 won ($500)each for violation of Assembly-Demonstration Law.
- Park Joon-seon, Jeong Won-hyun, Nam-goong Won and Oh Min-gyu : imprisonment of 1 year, but conditional delay of imprisonment for 2 years for violation of National Security Law, and fine of 500,000 won each for violation of Assembly-Demonstration Law.
- The SWLK (Socialist Workers League of Korea) is judged to be an organization for propaganda and agitation for national disturbances, violating Article 7 of the National Security Law. It shows the political nature of Korean judicial branch, which is a part of state apparatus serving for the capitalist class.
- The conditional delay of imprisonment can be recognized as the result of Korean and international protest movement. The conditional respite for 3 years means that the imprisonment is suspended for 3 years on the condition of that there will be no other sentence for another crime, and after 3 years the validity of imprisonment sentence expires. But if there is another sentence during the next 3 years, imprisonment from this sentence will follow independently of any imprisonment for further convictions. So, the conditional respite of imprisonment is only a bit better than immediate imprisonment.
- We, the 8 accused will appeal this sentence to the high court.ed for three years.
A. Pro-North groups are neither leftist nor progressive. They are nationalists. They are often called leftists in Korea, but they are not. I think the issue will be resolved organically by the public. One elderly man grabbed Lee by the collar during a recent gathering of farmers. Nobody told him to do it. He was just angry at Lee.
Q. Through what prism do you view North Korea?
It is not a leftist state, but rather a kind of mutant, derived from Stalinism. From Adolf Hitler to China to North Korea, they are all the same. They are not socialists but fascists.
Q. What would be the best way for the South to mend ties with the North?
South Korea can support the North financially because we are better off. The Lee Myung-bak administration’s stance toward the Kim Jong-un regime will make the North even more of a mutant. It will also cement its role as an underling to China and China’s brand of capitalism.
Q.What is your take on the third hereditary succession of the North’s governing dynasty?
I’m totally against it. It is eccentric. I feel embarrassed by that and I can’t even bring myself to tell people I’m Korean when I visit other countries.
Q. As the presidential election approaches, economic democratization has become one of the newest catchphrases. Should it be?
There is no such expression. It relates to society’s class structure and income disparities, and the chaebol are at the center of the controversy. To tackle the issue, we first have to decide whether a form of “good” capitalism is even possible.
Q. What do you think about the financial crisis in the euro zone?
I see it as a crisis of capitalism, not finance. Capitalism thrived after World War II, especially for the first 25 years. I think the situation is at a boiling point now. Not only Europe, but the entire world is facing a crisis. I doubt it will be resolved within the next two decades.
Q. What do you tell your students?
I tell them to live by constantly thinking about the future. All the books I use for my lectures are so-called “red books.” They were once on the list of seditious titles. We could only read them secretly on the bus or subway to avoid public censure. But young people today can read them openly. Families and schools should nurture such freedom of thought.
Q. Doesn’t South Korea already have freedom of expression?
It should have developed more than it has. People fought for it, and to a large degree they achieved it. The kind of freedom of thought and expression that we enjoy wasn’t just handed to us by the authorities. If [late presidents] Kim Dae-jung and Roh Moo-hyun thought their administrations were democratic, they should have scrapped the National Security Law. Or they should have introduced an alternative.
Q.You often say South Korea needs revolutionary Marxism, but isn’t North Korea an example of how awry things can go?
You’re right. What those brainwashed North Koreans need is capitalism. If they can’t do it by themselves, we should help them along. We should help them adopt capitalism by cooperating with the regime, only to pave the way for a historic class struggle so true communism can take root*.
*USP-RSM does not support Prof. Oh Sei-chull position that North Korea must first become capitalist and then socialist/communist. Also we don't support the theory of ''state-capitalism'' in North Korea. For USP-RSM, North Korea is a deformed ''workers'' state, were the economy is in the hands of society, but were only a parasite caste of elitists have control over!