In an editorial, the Hankyoreh notes that courts have been ordering parties to pay damages for excessive red-baiting, including the use of terms like “pro-North Korean.” The Hani liked this, considering what they feel is the need to draw a legal line against some conservative groups maligning progressive civic groups as “pro-North Korean forces.”
One of these cases involved a Seoul High Court decision ordering a conservative civic group to pay 45 billion won in damages for parking cars with signs that read “KTEWU, a pro-North Korean group brainwashing children with Juche, get your salary from North Korea!” in front of schools with Korean Teachers and Education Workers Union (KTEWU) teachers. This group had held similar protests in the past.
Another Seoul court ordered another group of conservative school parents to pay 2 billion won in damages for sending letters to 60,000 KTEWU teachers in which they claimed the KTEWU was run by pro-North Korean forces.
The Hani thought the rulings were a stern warning against anachronistic McCarthyism, noting that Cold War-era red-baiting continues as seen in the NLL debate in last year’s presidential election (ahem). It also pointed out that after Liberation and the Korean War, pro-Japanese Koreans hid behind the shield of anti-communism, and the term “commie” became a useful weapon for the pro-Japanese entitled classes. And now, the term “commie” has been resurrected as “pro-North Korean.”
The Hani finishes with some stuff about how democracies need both conservatives and progressives and how radical behavior that fundamentally denies this can threaten the very democratic system.
Marmot’s Note: I don’t need to spell out the ironies here, do I? I’m no fan of Korea’s far, far right, but still…