Friday, June 29, 2007

Korean caucus at the USSF


Saturday, June 30, 2007
"Fighting US Militarism in the Asia Pacific Region" Westin Hotel International G (NOTE ROOM CHANGE)

"Approaches to Organizing on Trade" 1 PM International B Room at the Westin Hotel

As someone who is new to blogging, please bear with me as I develop a blogging style that is suitable for our blog.

It's Friday night and I'm at the Westin Hotel. It's been a full day at the USSF. We started today's sessions with an incredible Korean caucus. We had all of our Kawan members--over 20--and then some 30 new Korean faces. We went around the room introducing ourselves and where we came from, and there were cities never represented before by KAWAN--Atlanta, Burlington, and several others.

Then JC did an off the hook brief history of progressive Korean activism stemming from the turn of the last century. We're hoping to upload the presentation since it was so good and concise. I wont attempt to go into the history but one statistic that stayed with me was the fact that Koreans in the US had sent $88,000 despite earning something like 65 cents per day over 35 years to Shanghai province to support independence struggles during japanese occupation. After that, Hyun brought us to the present and updated us on the work that KAWAN has done in the past year around Pyongtaek and the Korus FTA. It was remarkable to hear how we've managed to organize resistance at every negotiation from DC to Seattle to Montana to DC. We've also managed to publish several opeds and even organize a legislative lobby strategy! Plus we organized the eyewitness delegation to Pyongtaek and for the FTA struggle in Seoul.

But KAWAN is significant because it is the first time that Coreans in the US are coming together since the 1980s when they were supporting the pro-democracy movements. Plus we are very diverse in age, generations, language, gender, politics, etc. We then discussed our challenges and opportunities, which were a remarkable list of what's possible. We closed our caucus with the Assata Shakur quote:
"It is our duty to fight for our freedom.
It is our duty to win.
We must love each other and support each other.
We have nothing to lose but our chains."

Tears welled up in my eyes as I looked around the circle and saw the powerful young leaders who will carry on this work of reunification and equality. We then finished with some groups photos, which I will post later.

There's so much going on here at the US SF, but there seems to be alot of energy around the Right to City campaign organized by CAAAV, Miami Workers Center, and several other movement-based organizations around the country. Keep your eyes peeled for this exciting movement.

More to come,

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

what a load of crap. lots of KA groups have come and gone over the years, and there are currently many groups that are alive and active. you need a proper history lesson (and a brain scan) if you think your group is the first KA formation since the 80s.