I just got a call from Jamie Kim. She is an organizer for Korean Americans against War and neoliberalism, a coalition group working with some 280 national groups in Korea that are opposing the upcoming Free Trade talks between South Korea and the United States thanks to the collapse of the WTO.
- Website: http://morfng.blogspot.com/
Free Trade talks will be happening in Seattle between Korea and the US. The dates are September 5th through the 9th. The group "Korean Americans against War and Neoliberalism" is scrambling to find people in the Seattle area who are willing to put on cultural exchange events, help organize and attend speeches and meetings with local, state and national level elected officials, and give the FTA talks a run for their money.
Jamie contacted me because she found my name on the Progressive Democrats of America (PDA) website as the primary contact in the Seattle area.
I did some searching online, and while I didn't find her specific group by name, I did find these links:
- Korean Alliance against KorUS FTA - http://nofta.or.kr/en/
- ‘Unite all workers against neoliberalism!’ - http://www.workers.org/2006/world/oh-jongryul-0615/
I'm trying to spread the word and get people to contact her to help. I recommended that she contact Rep. McDermott's office, along with Sen. Patty Murray and Sen. Maria Cantwell. She might even want to contact Hong Tran's campaign. I can also send her links to the King County Council and Seattle City Council. Maybe the King County Democrats and State party as well.
I need contacts with the labor unions. The UFCW Local 21 is hosting the Wake up Walmart Bus Tour on September 4th (Labor Day), just one day before these talks begin. If we can get the word to people on that stage, and they can say it to the crowds, all the better.
Any help and ideas that you can offer to spread the word about this would be very helpful. Please contact Jamie first.
- (213) 249-0836
Email, August 15, 2006Edit
Here is a general support letter that KAWAN started to circulate, FYI.
Once I return home tonight I'll have a better sense of what we can ask specifically from the Seattle supporters--will follow up shortly. I do think it is important to get support from the elected officials who support "fair trade."
Thank you so much for your assistance. I didn't realize Judith was part of PDA--this is great!
On behalf for Koreans Against War and Neoliberalism (KAWAN), I am writing to ask you to support our organizing against the [[South Korea-U.S. Free Trade Agreement]] (FTA), formerly known as Mobilize & Organize to Resist the US-South Korea FTA & Neoliberal Globalization (MORFNG), Below is brief background on the FTA and a summary of the struggles in rounds 1 and 2 of the FTA negotiations.
In February 2006, the George W. Bush and Roh Moo-Hyun administrations began to negotiate a South Korea-U.S. FTA. Farmers, workers, film and television actors, unions, non-profits, church groups, student groups, and millions of others throughout South Korea overwhelmingly oppose the FTA.
Some of the devastating impacts of the FTA agreement are:
- Many of South Korea’s small farmers, already struggling, will be forced into
Bankruptcy by corporate agribusiness dumping their products, destroying Korea’s long heritage of rice cultivation.
- Workers’ wages will be cut, jobs will be eliminated, and the number of
temporary workers with no benefits and no security will exponentially increase.
- Regulations that protect the environment by encouraging consumers to buy cars
with smaller engines will be abolished.
The impact of the FTA would parallel the effects of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) on North America. After NAFTA was signed with Mexico and Canada, many Americans saw their jobs disappear. Meanwhile, workers in Mexico faced displacement from their land, declining wages and unsafe workplace conditions. Millions of Mexican migrants, fleeing these conditions, cross the border in search of work and face exploitation, discrimination, and marginalization in this country. This is the reality that faces the Korean people as well, along with millions of others displaced by neoliberal globalization.
FTA Negotiations & Protests
Round 1 of the FTA negotiations took place the week of June 5, 2006, in Washington, D.C. About 50 delegates from South Korea, representing a wide range of sectors of the South Korean movement, were able to travel to the United States for a week of struggle. We collaborated with them to organize a week of colorful, creative protests against international finance organizations, transnational corporations and the office of United States Trade Representative. We also held meetings and press conferences with various U.S. national and grassroots organizations and government officials.
In South Korea the media's response was excellent. The protests dominated its coverage of the FTA negotiations. Although the coverage was comparatively buried in the US, where trade agreements don't usually make the news until they are ready to be voted on by the Congress, the protests did make national headlines in major newspapers.
Round 2 of the negotiations took place in Seoul in July. They were met with large-scale protests of over 50,000 people. The final day of negotiations was cancelled and the talks ended in a stalemate. So on many fronts the struggle so far has been an overwhelming success.
The next round of negotiations is scheduled to take place in either Seattle, Washington from Sept. 5-8th.
We refuse to stand by and watch while corporations hack Korea’s economy to pieces. The people’s movement in Korea has declared stopping the FTA as its number one priority, and is resolved to build a united coalition of people and organizations around the world in opposition to neoliberal globalization, militarism, large-scale exploitation, and environmental destruction.
We call on everyone to unite with farmers, workers, and all others to resist the FTA. Let’s struggle together for the liberation and self-determination of all people! These are ways in which you can help us:
1. Endorsement Please let us know if you are willing to sign on as an endorser of the struggle against the FTA.
2. Send a representative to the protests against Round 3. The delegation from Korea this time will be about 150 people. We welcome people who are fighting for immigrant rights, environmental justice, womyn’s rights, and other social justice issues to join us in Seattle for a week of struggle. During this week we will be planning press conferences, international solidarity events, and other actions. We will also be engaged in community building and create a space for dialogue between the South Korean delegates and US-based organizers and activists working in various struggles.
3. Donations We need donations to support our transportation and lodging for the round of talks, as well as for logistics such as flyer distribution. You can write checks to KIWA and write “FTA” on the memo line. Please mail these checks to:
KIWA (Koreatown Immigrant Workers Alliance) 3465 W. 8th St. Los Angeles, CA 90005
For more information, visit http://morfng.blogspot.com. If you have any questions please contact Jamie Kim (213)249-0836, firstname.lastname@example.org. Please pass this letter on to other allies and keep a look out for more updates and announcements.
Toojeng! (Struggle!), Korean-Americans Against War and Neoliberalism (KAWAN)
Email: August 17, 2006Edit
Thank you so much for your patience.
Again, the dates for the Korea-U.S. FTA negotiation talks and activities are from September 5 through 9 (with a possible action on the Labor Day weekend) in Seattle.
For this round of negotiations, we will focus on the disproportional, negative impact on women & environment worldwide under the U.S.-led trade liberalization model and show how this is undermining family values, livelihood and community in the U.S. and beyond. Tentative schedule for the week of actions are as follows (this is subjective to change depending on resources and strategy).
Monday, 9/4 Labor Day Event Wake Up Wal-Mart Bus Tour
Wednesday, 9/6 Press Conference 10 am – 11:30 am Koa & KAWAN reps
Opening Rally 2 pm - 4 pm 1. Welcoming remark & solidarity statement – Seattle host, elected official, fair trade rep 2. Declaration by KoA & KAWAN 3. Performance
Thursday, 9/7 Possible press conference and an event focusing on Environment
Friday, 9/8 Possible press conference and an event focusing on Women
Saturday, 9/9 International Forum Part 1. Presentations on trade liberalization impact on environment & women Part 2. The roadmap to fair trade campaigns in the U.S. – what has been done and where is it going, w/ highlights on local to global connection & tools and strategies for future.
Our specific requests to the Progressive Democrats of America are as follows:
1. Would your organization be willing to sign on as an endorse of the struggle against the FTA? 2. Would you be able to participate or send a representative from PDA to the week of actions (Sept. 5-9) to speak about the PDA’s position on free trade ? The key activities are the opening rally/press conference on the 6th, women/environment event on the 7th/8th and an international forum on the 9th. We are also planning other forums and activities during the week of action 3. Would you be able to connect us to some of the key elected officials who has made a positive stance on women and environment such as Congresswoman Diane Watson, Congresswoman Maxine Waters, Congresswoman Lynn Woolsley, Congresswoman Barbara Lee, State Rep. Kyrsten Sinema, Medea Benjamin, Mimi Kennedy. I noticed that they are on the advisory board of PDA. Some of the members can be either present at any of the events that we are planning during the week of action, or they can send a statement of support/solidarity to us. I think PDA can play a key role in this. I am very much open to Chad's idea on Rep. McDermott's office and Sen. Patty Murray and Sen. Maria Cantwell. I would like to seek PDA's advice on who would be the strategic ally in giving the focus to women and environment. 4. Once we have our action alert letter drafted, we will contact the PDA national coordinator to post on the PDA website.
For more information, please contact me at (213) 249-0836 or (323) 205-3032. You can also contact me via email: email@example.com
I would really love to hear your feedback!
Jamie Kim Korean-Americans Against War and Neoliberalism (KAWAN) Formerly known as Mobilize & Organize to Resist the US-South Korea FTA & Neoliberal Globalization (MORFNG): Korea Democratic Labor Party (KDLP), National Association of Korean Americans (NAKA), Nodutdol for Korean community development, Corean Action Network for Unification (CAN-U), Congress for Korean Reunification (CKR), LA FTA/PT Action Taskforce, Korean Americans for Peace, Koreatown Immigrant Workers Alliance, One Korea LA Forum, minjok.com, Pan Korean Alliance for Reunification, KDLP-Westcoast, Korea Truth Commission, Korean American National Coordinating Council and Korean Women for Peace
For more information: Korean Alliance Against the Korea-U.S. FTA (KoA) http://www.nofta.or.kr/en/ http://www.bilaterals.org/rubrique.php3?id_rubrique=140 http://www.kctu.org/ http://cafe.naver.com/ftakiller.cafe
- Act Now to Stop War and End Racism (A.N.S.W.E.R. Coalition)
- Addicted to War
- Alberto Lovera Bolivarian Circle, L.A.
- American Friends Service Committee, Oakland, CA
- Anakbayan, L.A.
- Andolan Organizing South Asian Workers
- Audre Lorde Project
- BAYAN USA
- BAYAN USA, L. A.
- Boston Korea Friendship Association
- CAAAV: Organizing Asian Communities
- Center for Constitutional Rights
- Channing and Popai Liem Education Foundation
- Chinese Progressive Association, San Francisco
- Coalition for Humane Immigrant Rights of Los Angeles (Chirla)
- Colombia Action Network
- Committee in Solidarity with the People of El Salvador (CISPES), L.A.
- Community Organizing Collective, PA
- Congress for Korea Reunification (CKR)
- Corea Action Network for Unification (CAN-U)
- Desis Rising Up and Moving
- Domestic Workers United (DMC)
- El Instituto de Educacion Popular del Sur de California/ Institute of Popular Education of Southern CA (IDEPSCA)
- Fabulous Independent Education Radicals for Community Empowerment (FIERCE)
- Filipino Community Support (FOCUS), Santa Clara County, CA
- Free Palestine Alliance
- FTA Action Task Force - L.A. Grassroots Global Justice Alliance, Habiarts, L.A.
- Han Pan Korean American Cultural Group, Maryland
- Ignacio Martin-Baro Fund for Mental Health and Human Rights
- Immigrant Justice Solidarity Project
- International Action Center (IAC)
- Korea Truth Commission - Joint Office
- Korea Truth Commission - USA
- Korean American Cultural Center, Virginia
- Korean American for Korean Democratic Labor Party
- Korean American National Coordinating Council
- Korean Cultural Center-Han Pan(Maryland)
- Korean Democratic Labor Party - U.S. East Coast Branch
- Koreatown Immigrant Workers Advocates
- Left Turn Magazine
- Malcolm X Grassroots Movement
- Miami Workers Center
- Multiethnic Immigrant Workers Organizing Network (MIWON)
- National Association of Korean Americans (NAKA)
- National Committee to Free the Cuban Five
- National Network for Immigrant and Refugee Rights (NNIRR)
- National Network of Indochina Activists
- Network in Solidarity with the People of Philippines (NISPOP)
- Nodutdol for Korean Community Development
- One Korea L.A. Forum
- Palestine Right to Return Coalition
- Pan-Korean Alliance for Reunification in USA
- People Organized to Win Employment Rights (POWER)
- Pilipino Workers Center of Southern California (PWC)
- Prison Moratorium Project (PMP)
- Project South
- Puerto Rican Alliance of L.A.
- South Asian Network
- Southeast Regional Economic Justice Network
- Southwest Workers Union
- Sweatshop Watch
- Tenants and Workers United
- Troops Out Now Coalition
- United Electrical, Radio and Machine Workers of America (UE)
- United Electrical Workers (UE) Local 1421
- VietUnity, Bay Area, California
- War Resisters League
- Workers World Party