HOT TOPICS ▶ Climate Change     Undoing The New Deal     The Real Baltimore     Reality Asserts Itself     United Kingdom    

  August 19, 2017

What South Koreans Can Teach US About Resisting Trump

As thousands of South Koreans protest the U.S. THAAD missile system in their country, journalist Tim Shorrock says the grassroots movement that drove out a corrupt president in 2016 offers lessons to Americans resisting Donald Trump
Members don't see ads. If you are a member, and you're seeing this appeal, click here


Share to Facebook Share to Twitter

I support The Real News Network because it lets viewers voice their uncensored opinions. - David Pear
Log in and tell us why you support TRNN


AARON MATE: It was about a year ago when in South Korea ... you had this massive protest movement that ended up driving out the previous President, Park Geun-hye, and ultimately bringing in Moon Jae-in. Now, that was over corruption allegations. Hundreds of thousands of people taking to the street, those amazing visuals we saw. I'm just wondering your thoughts on that now in the context of in this country you're seeing protests against President Trump over his defense this week of white supremacists, but not nearly the kinds of protests that we saw in South Korea. I think it was the writer and activist, Shaun King, who tweeted out something this week with a picture of the protests last year in South Korea saying that, "We need to replicate this here in the U.S."

TIM SHORROCK: Yeah, I saw that too, and he's right. The thing is that the South Korean people and citizen's organizations were organizing for months and months on this. These candlelight vigils and demonstrations took place over almost a year in the dead of winter. It was freezing cold. They were standing out there in the cold in all these cities in South Korea. They were angry at the Park government for many reasons, for the corruption that you mentioned, for its treatment of the people during this very disaster that killed so many people, and their neglect, absolute negligence in that accident. The misuse of power, the use of the intelligence services to intervene in elections, possibly even the last election where Moon lost to Park Geun-hye. Also, police use of police power and force to put down demonstrations, so these undemocratic leanings of this government.

People were out there for months, and months, and months, and they gradually drew more and more people. It takes patience. It takes strategy. It takes ... They also had sort of all-encompassing political align in a way. I mean, they were able to create one voice with this, calling for impeachment and they didn't get lost in lots of smaller issues. They all came together, citizen's groups, peace groups, labor unions, farmer's groups, families of victims of the Sewol ferry that sank. They all came together in this demand to get rid of this government for its corruption and its actions. I think we can learn a lot from that. Plus, in the years before ... The two years before the impeachment, they made sure in elections, they elected people that would be in their favor that would vote against Park Geun-hye.

Local elections before that were planned and organized with that in mind. They took a kind of long view and they also, the South Koreans have decades of experience doing this. They also took to the streets and by the millions in 1987 when they finally won their democracy and in periods before that it was massive demonstrations against the previous dictator, Chun Doo-hwan, that led to his martial law crackdown in 1980 where hundreds of people were killed in the city of Gwangju in the southwest. That's seen as sort of the birth of Korea's modern democracy and seen as its birth by even Moon Jae-in himself, who took part in those demonstrations in the ‘70s and ‘80s against the military dictatorship. I think we have a lot to learn from South Korea, and their patience, and the longterm organizing, and their ability to unite people around a call that resonates among all groups that are opposed to a government. It's very important.

AARON MATE: Tim Shorrock, journalist covering the Korean peninsula. You can read his writings about South Korea and North Korea at The Nation and in other publications. Tim, thanks very much.

TIM SHORROCK: Thank you.

AARON MATE: Thank you for joining us on The Real News.


Our automatic spam filter blocks comments with multiple links and multiple users using the same IP address. Please make thoughtful comments with minimal links using only one user name. If you think your comment has been mistakenly removed please email us at

latest stories

Trump Keeps US in Syria and Sets Off New War
Korean Olympic Unity Gives US War Plans a 'Bloody Nose'
Massive Oil Spill in East China Sea Is the Size of Paris
Set Up By FBI Informant, NODAPL Activist Pleads Guilty
Prosecutors Push on Against 59 Protesters Despite Defeat
Mayor Announces New Baltimore City Community Grants Program
The US is Arming and Assisting Neo-Nazis in Ukraine, While Congress Debates Prohibition
Cape Town Water Wars: A Literal Shitstorm
After Hawaii Scare, Trump Worsens Nuclear Danger
Baltimore Mayor Fires Police Commissioner Kevin Davis
2017 Hottest Year On Record Without El Nino Push
Yemen's Crisis is Far Worse Than We're Told
IRS Private Debt-Collection Program is 'Indefensible'
New Orleans Human Rights Resolution Under Attack Because It Could Affect Israel
The Grenfell Community's Silent Steps for Justice
Abbas Gives Up on US, but Palestinians Give Up on Him
Whistleblowers: Congress Has Entrenched the Surveillance State
Catalonia Independence Crisis Intensifies Spain's Political Divide
Repression Against Honduran Opposition Intensifies
The Jobs Trump Promised to Save Are Disappearing
#TheAssistance: Democrats Hand Trump Warrantless Spying
Freddie Gray Protesters Take Police Officers to Court
Targeting Undocumented Leaders, Trump Deportation Regime Escalates
UN Mission Helped Plan Haitian Raid that Ended in Civilian Massacre
Congressional Candidates Pledge to Move Off Fossil Fuels
Fire and Fury: The Extreme-Right in the White House (Pt. 2/2)
Why is Trump Targeting Palestinian Refugees?
The Fight for a $15 Minimum Wage in Maryland Returns, With Force
Public or Private Ownership of Banks: Which is More Efficient?
Sex-For-Repairs Victim: 'I Felt Like I Had to Do This to Keep My Home',, The Real News Network, Real News Network, The Real News, Real News, Real News For Real People, IWT are trademarks and service marks of Independent World Television inc. "The Real News" is the flagship show of IWT and The Real News Network.

All original content on this site is copyright of The Real News Network. Click here for more

Problems with this site? Please let us know

Web Design, Web Development and Managed Hosting