Thursday, February 09, 2006

Chinese Unions, Protesting Stars, and New Writing on North Korea

A bit of a miscellaneous posting today.

First, here's an interesting article in yesterday's Choson Ilbo about pressure from the All China Federation of Trade Unions for a collective bargaining agreement at Hyundai's China operation. Very interesting indeed. I'm really not sure what this spells out for the future of working class organization in China, but it is very signficant because it seems that something is indeed going on in regards to skilled labour there. There is indeed a level of repression against popular protest in China, but if it is to deserve the developmental state label which it has lately been garnering, the existence of collective bargaining structure would run against our conventional understanding of labour as demobilized within that model. Could the ACFTU be heading down a social corporatist path? It's too early to tell. I'm also curious what this means for workers in India, where Hyundai motors is expected to roll out its millionth car this month. The threat of more docile labour to be found in China may be running out.

Today's second item is a story from Labourstart Korea's newsire and is on Korean movie stars and filmakers protesting South Korea's plans to abolish its screen quota as part of their bilateral free trade agreement with the United States. On Monday, South Korea's top movie star, Jang Dong-gun, held a one-man protest at the Gwanghwamun intersection in downtown Seoul. Choi Min-shik, another well-known film star and my personal favorite, held his own protest there on Tuesday, returning a government medal he had recieved for his work.

Finally, Kotaji has a link to an article in this month's ISJ about some recent writing on NK by the Korean internationalist left, and written by Kotaji himself. Should be a good read, I can't wait to get to it myself.

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