Let Them Eat Cake
The mise-en-scene was carefully arranged in the Lotte courtyard, the bastion of Korean capitalism, where a prince regent from IMF waits somewhat embarrassed to hold court with the ringleader of the labor class KCTU.
The court eunuchs from the Labor Ministry were also at hand assuring the prince that the rendezvous with the pariah would not last too long to disturb his other assignments and begging him that he shows the opulent amount of commiseration to the riffraff.
Upon his entry to the court with hat in hand, Mr. Lee, the president of KCTU, has bowed courteously with right foot forward, left foot behind, back bent, head up, lips parted and arms held out toward prince's delicate hands.
The meeting was the utmost epitome of chicanery and hypocrisy, a farcical comic drama that played by the titular head of the Wall Street robber barons and a court jester who prostitutes himself to the King, his mob, and people.
They were fiddling while Seoul was burning.
Mr. Lee demands playfully that Mr. Camdessus stops to meddle in the Korean economic policy reminding him of the restructuring program has brought about massive layoffs and fire-sales of public facilities, and also requests that some of Korea's external debt be written off because IMF should assume the responsibility of the current chaos in the region.
Mr. Camdessus replies derisively that his organization has never forced the Korean government to adopt the restructuring program, and the polarization of the rich and the poor was structural problems that had existed long before IMF has intervened.
However, the prince, like Marie Antoinette, would feel the pain of workers and advises Mr. Lee: "Let your people eat cake."
They both laughed profusely and departed. (Ronald Reagan, known as an amiable dunce during his presidency, suggested that school kids should eat lots of ketchup when they complained about the lack of vegetables in their lunch menu, because the ketchup is made of tomatoes.)
Are Korean Union Leaders a bunch of puppets?
The executives of KCTU, the most aggressive labor organization, has become the furtive fellow traveler in DJ Kim's endeavor for the capitalistic neo-liberalism.
Last Spring, Yoon Young Mo, international secretary of KCTU, laid out the union's perspective in an interview with the Reuters new service after the end of the subway strike: “ The onus is on us to come up with creative strategies to get away from a head-on collision because it would not be good for either us or the government.
What the government should recognize is that union actions help douse the flames of discontent, which could to lead to eruptions that would be even more dangerous.”
It was clear from Yoon’s comments that the union is not concerned with the jobs, conditions and rights of workers but seeks to exploit the strikes and protests to demonstrate to the DJ Kim’s government that its services are required to head off any ‘dangerous eruptions’ of the working class and so Kim should reward its union executives with privileges and benefits.
They seem to be oblivious about fact that the American unions had been busted so effectively since Carnegie, Rockefeller, and Mellon era through the acquiescence and backdowns in the demand of living wage.
Many would gape in disbelief that KCTU was too naïve to seek for such an idiotic meeting with the Wall Street mammon. (I think there never were such meetings in any country and it was so meaningless that the mass media around the world simply ignored it.) --I do not know who has initiated the idea of an audience with the prince.
It was quite possible both court eunuchs and jesters have colluded with the conviction that the former would curry favor with the latter and the latter might have an excuse to join the tripartite committee again.
Voila, they have got their leader released from the jail and kept mum for several months about many burning issues of mass layoffs and restructuring programs.
When Kim’s government challenged the privileges of the union executives, not the worker’s rights and layoffs, the union leaders seek for the support of the rank and files who obliged blindly like a pack of lemmings.