Anarchist Yondae have provided a short excerpt as an update to their piece, which was originally written last year. If you are interested in learning more about the group, you can read our interview with them here.
1. At the time when we produced this article, COVID-19 was spreading massively after the extreme right-wing Christian fundamentalists held a massive demonstration. Even though it was found out that there were several infections among the participants, the fundamentalists broke out from quarantine, moved around the Seoul metropolis, purposely coughed and spat with masks off yelling ‘You commies get COVID!’. We believe this was a definite attack on the community.
2. The South Korean state specifically condemned ‘massive demonstrations’, but not the ‘anti-communal behaviours' of the right-wing. Meanwhile, some of the so-called ‘progressives’ agreed with the statist condemnation of massive demonstrations.
3. We, as anarchists, saw the need of not only condemning the anti-communal behaviours of the right-wing fascists, but also defending their right to demonstrate. We believe that countering their ’demonstrations’ and neutralising their disgusting demands should be the task of the direct anti-fascist struggle of popular masses. We firmly believe that blaming demonstrations themselves, or censoring them with statist power will be nothing but suicidal to social movements.
4. On September 2, 2021, after about a year from when we wrote this article, such a suicide of social movements occurred.. The president of KCTU, the biggest radical union of South Korea, was arrested and imprisoned for holding a demonstration of 8,000 participants. In reaction to this, Anarchist Yondae (Solidarity) produced the short article of Swines, too, Have Their Freedom of Grunting, Part 2.
5. This is the reason why this article emphasises the preciousness of the freedom of the people, and the need for direct action by the popular masses. So this article may appear to be suggesting that the disinfection of Korea was caused by a spontaneous, communal consensus amongst the people. This may be one of the reasons, we think, but not the only reason.
6. We think that the successful disinfection in Korea was the cumulative result of the social movements of decades—decades of struggles of health care workers to prevent the privatisation of health care systems, a series of strikes by social insurance workers to protect the National Health Insurance system, and a general strike of the public sector to prevent 'general dismissal' and 'performance-based salary,' which may have forced people to work even when they are sick. The struggles of the working masses, created in their own interest while society was collapsing under capitalist privatisation, turned into a social force that saved Korean society from the pandemic.
7. The struggles of the working masses were created for their own interest while Korean society was collapsing under capitalist privatization. These struggles became a social force that saved Korean society from the pandemic. It is not any state-led disinfection or legal action that makes society safer and a better place. It is our actions and struggles.
8. Hang in there, comrades. We will do our best with our struggles here.
ps. "투쟁!" (Struggle!) is a greeting used as 'let's fight more strongly' among Korean activists.
On the COVID-19 re-outbreak in Korea
Get the test, Stay in hospital
Right-wing extremists of Korea, including Pastor Jun Kwang Hoon and his fanatic followers of the Sarang Jeil Church (Church of Love First) have broken a social rule which Korean people implicitly agreed upon, on the fatal day of August 15, 2020. The people of Korea have participated in social distancing, or have put masks on autonomously, not because they were forced to, but to prevent COVID-19 from destroying society. Still, the extreme right have committed white terrorism through public demonstration to denounce ‘liberal’ government, by not wearing masks, and by spitting on passers-by in the hopes they will get infected. This caused the number of confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Korea, which had been stable for months, to explode again.
They are so obsessed with conspiracy that they claim diagnostic testing are a plot by communists to isolate Sarang Jeil Church. Those who are confirmed to be positive do not stay in hospital but escape from hospital. They are spreading not only the virus, but also anxiety, insecurity, and fear throughout the community.
Direct Action Needed
We hereby declare that those right-wingers, or white terrorists, do not want to cohabitate with people other than the members of their own community. We demand that they stop their epidemic terrorism and instead concentrate on getting tested, staying in a hospital if needed. If this is not done, we will go to all our efforts, with other members of Korean social community, to stop the terrorism by the means of communal direct action. If they dare to risk the communal security stabled by social agreement, our direct action will risk their security to commit fascist actions.
On the Governmental Attempt to Resurrect Fascism
We also denounce the Korean government’s attempt to restrict people’s freedom in the name of disinfection. By that name, the Korean government is trying to restrict people’s right to assemble, and saying they will ‘arrest without warrant’ and will ‘demand the legally maximum sentence’ if people demonstrate or assemble. This makes it not only impossible to effectively prevent an epidemic, but also, and most importantly, it kills freedom, which is indispensable. Hierarchical structures have always taken advantage of some kind of fear to kill individual freedom and to establish totalitarian regimes.
Are public demonstrations the main cause of the virus spreading? For the last few months of the outbreak, has the virus spread where the public demonstrations were held? It has not. The government, who have been proud of themselves and their so-called ‘K-quarantine’ with the principles of ‘Test, Trace, Treat’, should know best. Therefore, we, as anarchists, reject this government created fear measures considering them a kind of martial law.
The main reason why Korea and its ‘K-quarantine’ have been successful is due to the Korean people’s individual, voluntary, and autonomous effort to stay sanitary and to not hurt themselves and their community. It was not any restriction or governmental force that made people wash their hands and put masks on. This autonomous action by the masses is the most effective, and moreover, the only effective weapon against COVID-19.
If the government, as they formally say, is aware of the lives and safety of the Korean people, they should just stay out of the scene. Governmental restriction of individual freedom is just making those right-wing extremists turn into ‘militants of freedom’. Or maybe it is their liberal wish to smash the extreme right first and then smash all the rest of the opposition, such as us radicals.
We Will Take Care of It, by Ourselves
Therefore, we hereby call for abolishing every governmental attempt to violate individual freedoms. We will put on masks, waive meetings unless it is urgent, get tested, get isolated, socially distance ourselves voluntarily, and we will do so not because the government gives us ‘orders’ to put on masks at the risk of a ‘maximum sentence’, but for our own and our collective safety.
Sarang Jeil Church, Pastor Jun, and his extreme-right followers might be fascist swine, but they still have their precious freedom to grunt. It is the masses, true masters of the society, who are to muzzle and leash those filthy swine. The Government should leave us alone.
Image by Piotrus on Wikimedia Commons
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