2013 Now in Korea: Die Plattform der UPP

Südkorea, 2013

The Platform of the Unified Progressive Party (as of 2012.05)

Toward a World for the Working People

The Unified Progressive Party (UPP) follows in the footsteps of past Korean struggles such as the Kab-O Peasants War against Feudalism and the Righteous Army Resistance during the Late Joseon Dynasty, various anti-Japanese occupation movements, national liberation movements and labor liberation movements during the Japanese colonial period, the April 3rd Uprising and the April 19th Revolution in the Lee Seung-man regime, the Busan-Masan Uprising, the 5.18 Kwangju Uprising, the June Democracy Struggles and the Great Labor Workers’ struggles during the military dictatorship, and the recent candlelight vigils. The Unified Progressive Party seeks to uphold the Korean spirit of resistance and struggle that is exemplified in these movements.

The UPP critically analyzes and continues to develop the historical accomplishments of social movements in Korea as well as the world in order to overcome harmful effects from Capitalism. The ultimate goal is the establishment of a new alternative society, where progressive values such as self-reliance, equality, peace, freedom, welfare for all, ecological justice, human rights, minority rights, solidarity, and so on are fully realized.

The UPP represents and works for the interests and needs of the working class—workers, peasants, small and mid-sized entrepreneurs—and considers them to be the main base and power of the party. With their power and knowledge, we will bring forth a society for the working people. The UPP is determined to be the voice of the youth, women, small and mid-sized entrepreneurs, the urban poor, and especially the irregular workers, so as to effectively represent the various needs and interests of our society as a whole.

Korean history is tainted with imperialistic invasions, national division, military dictatorship, tyranny and exploitation by multinational monopoly capitals, social inequality and environmental destruction, gender discrimination. In recognition of this, the UPP strives to overcome social economic crises that stem from neoliberal policies, political crises that arise from non-democratic authoritarian practices, food sovereignty crises caused by opening the agricultural market to foreign products and conducting non-protective agricultural policies, ecological crises on a global scale, and war crises that stem from military competition among nations.

The UPP will establish an independent and democratic government, and build a progressive and democratic society that will enable the working people to truly acquire control over the politics, economy, social issues, and culture of Korean society.
The UPP will put forth a non-nuclear peace mechanism and achieve independent peaceful reunification in the Korean peninsula and build a new society where humanity and labor will be respected.

Visions: The world we want to create

Toward abolishing the corrupt political structure that benefits the privileged few, and establishing a progressive and democratic politics, the UPP will:
① Establish the separation of legislative, executive, and judicial powers and democratically restructure institutions of state power;
② Reform the justice system by creating an independent internal investigation team to the corruption of public officials and by breaking the prosecutor’s monopoly on indictment;
③ Introduce presidential runoff election and German style party-list proportional representation for political renovation through reforming the Political Party Law and the Election Law, and expand direct democracy by institutionalizing the monitoring by and participation of citizens in budgets oversight and policymaking;
④ Establish democracy within political party in which the party members have decision-making powers and abolish sectarianism and regionalism, which have been chronic problems in Korean politics;
⑤ Abolish anti-democratic systems and laws, namely, the National Security Law, outlaw all the surveillance and interferences on domestic affairs by special agencies, such as the National Intelligence Services and the Defense Security Command, and strengthen the democratic control over the special agencies;
⑥ Effectively implement equal rights and rectify all the discriminations by enacting anti-discrimination and equality law, and by normalizing the operation of the National Human Rights Commission;
⑦ Carry out national balanced development policies. Promote decentralization of power and regional sovereignty, especially by enforcing local government budgetary adjustment, so as to reduce over-population in Seoul and developmental discrepancy among different regions, and to sustain local developments utilizing local resources;
⑧ Establish sovereignty in all national policies in politics, military, diplomacy, and economy; and
⑨ Complete the historical evaluation of past pro-Japanese and pro-dictatorship activities, and of the accomplishments for national liberation, freedom, and democracy so as to have right historical identity.

Toward a self-reliant and sustainable economic system focused on improving people’s livelihoods, the UPP will:
⑩ Increase control over international speculative investment capital by introducing the Tobin Taxes, abolish unequal economic treaties, and develop a domestic-demand-led economic system while minimizing the harms of the export-led economic system. In terms of trade, fair trade policies should be preferred, which would be beneficial to domestic sustainable economic development as well as to all of the trading partners;
⑪ Terminate the privatization of nationally owned industries and public services such as water, electricity, gas, education, telecommunication and finances, and diversify the ownership of production means by strengthening social interference such as nationalizing. In addition, implement democratic and participatory management and increase transparency in public service sectors to best serve public interests;
⑫ Dismantle the “chaebol” centered economic system by getting rid of monopolistic managements by chaebel, and establish a democratic economy where small and mid-sized entrepreneurs are protected, unequal subcontracting practices are banned, and large chain distribution stores are carefully regulated;
⑬ Promote a grassroots economy by cultivating the growth of small and mid-sized enterprises with alternative management structures, such as cooperatives, worker-owned businesses or social enterprises, and establish financial institutions for small and mid-sized enterprises and low-income people in order to increase financial services for the economically disadvantaged;
⑭ Protect agriculture as an ecological and strategic industry, guarantee food sovereignty and incomes of farmers by implementing state purchase of major agricultural products and build sustainable, independent, ecological rural communities;
⑮ Guarantee working people’s participation in various pensions and funds, including the National Pension Plan, and develop participatory economy for workers and citizens in management of enterprises and formulation of national economic policies; and
Establish a sustainable economic system by increasing employment and environmentally friendly industries, and secure organic connectivity in economy by revitalizing local economies.

Toward a social welfare community through solidarity and participation, the UPP will:
Expand general social services to encompass all periodic needs “from the cradle to the grave,” including childbirth, child-rearing, education, healthcare, housing, senior services, funerals, so as to guarantee quality of life for all members of our society;

Discontinue the privatization of healthcare, provide free universal healthcare, implement a primary care physician system, increase the number of public healthcare facilities, and enhance the coverage for national healthcare plans. In addition, improve related base social and cultural structures and systems so that all members of our society can lead healthy life;

Improve the public education system by revising the entrance exam system, standardizing high school education, removing the college ranking system, and increasing the number of national and state colleges and universities. Expand mandatory and free public education gradually to higher education, including colleges, and reform the educational system to provide opportunities for adult continuing education;

Enhance the concept of public land and housing ownership and guarantee housing rights. Implement a public housing management system, expand social housing policies, pursue “cyclic redevelopment”, Guarantee tenant rights, and increase subsidies for housing costs for low-income working people;
Abolish the familial duty standard for welfare recipients and introduce a relative poverty line in order to guarantee a basic living standard for people and increase social welfare coverage. Enhance the general welfare of people by implementing unemployment benefits and children’s allowance;

Guarantee the comfort and livelihood of seniors by providing national basic pension plan, long-term care facilities, and various local cultural activities; and

Enhance social redistribution and accomplish taxation justice in order to support overall social welfare reform and reduce wealth inequality, and achieve tax finance reform through tax hikes for the rich.

Toward a society of economic equality that respects labor and guarantees the livelihood of the working people, the UPP will:
Create decent works and strive to maintain a balance between work and rest through a radical reduction in work hours;

Solve the problem of irregular employment and create job security by restricting irregular employment, abolishing the dispatch labor system, regulating indirect (subcontractor) employment, proactively working to convert irregular employment to regular, permanent employment, and guaranteeing equal pay for equal work;

Normalize employment conditions for low income workers by implementing minimum wage and guaranteeing a living wage;

Guarantee the three primary labor rights for all workers, including teachers, government workers as well as special employment workers, advance democratic labor-management relations, including systematization of industrial bargaining, and strive to increase unionization rates; and
Recognize the economic presence of street vendors, terminate forcible crackdowns on subsistence street vendors, and guarantee their right to livelihood. In addition, revise Security Services Industry Act and Administrative Vicarious Execution Act in order to abolish violence by hired service agency during the crackdowns on street vendors.

Toward a truly gender equal world, the UPP will:
Remove gender discrimination in the labor market and discrepancies in wages by instituting an “equal pay for equal work” policy, and enhance public responsibility over care labor and domestic labor;
Expand the gender quota system, enhance political representation of women and guarantee actual decision-making rights by strengthening the representation of women in various areas;
Guarantee the decision-making rights to the body for women who are directly involved in pregnancy and child-birth, and remove sex-related violence and exploitation against women; and
Recognize the legal and social status of civil partners out of marriage, and remove discrimination against sexual minorities in family, religion, school, media, and working places.

Toward a sustainable social system where justice and peace are realized, the UPP will:
Initiate social reforms in accordance with climate justice, strive to abolish all nuclear power plants gradually, switch over to a decentralized renewable energy system and gradually reduce greenhouse gases. Strive for the just transition of workers to the green industries without losing their works in this process as well.

Recognizing that ecological crises are connected to human crises, UPP will discontinue indiscriminate construction policies, respect life and ecology at the same time, seek the harmonized co-existence of humans with nature, and create an ecologically friendly society where resources will be circulated. UPP will also work to restore the currently damaged ecosystem and recognize the rights of the nature.
Advocate and support scientific and technological developments for the public and the ecosystem, prevent monopolization of scientific and technological advancements to a certain enterprises or class, and make them contribute to the advancement of the whole society and all of the people. In addition, guarantee the working people’s participation in the decision making process of these advancements.

Guarantee the freedom and independence of the press, enhance the public nature of necessary services such as broadcasting and telecommunications, reduce consumer fees, and reduce discrepancies in the dissemination of information.

Revoke “the comprehensive programming channel licenses” of the “chaebol” press, increase the public nature of the newspaper and broadcast media, democratize the management structure, and support alternative forms of media and press.

Create cultural democracy where cultural diversity is respected by funding independent cultural and art activities and guaranteeing cultural rights for all people.

Enact universal anti-discrimination law so that no one will be discriminated against due to their gender, ability, medical history, age, nationality, race, ethnicity, color of skin, location of hometown, appearances, and all other physical conditions, as well as marital status, pregnancy or delivery, family composition, family status, religion, ideology, or political opinions, criminal history, sexual orientation, sexual identity, education, employment status, or social status, in order to guarantee all can be equal and healthy in our society.

Recognize that national responsibility lies in developing the innate talents of all children, guarantee equal opportunities assist their growth into healthy adulthood, and enact laws to protect the human rights of the children and the youth so as to do leading roles in building the communities and the nation.

Assist employment and visibility of the youth extend the franchise by lowering the minimum age to vote, and enhance the political representation of the youth. Support independent youth culture, and initiative policies promoting participation of the younger generation in various fields of society.
Promote social services to assist activities, secure transportation rights, accessibility, and housing rights in order to guarantee disabled people’s equal rights in local communities. In addition, abolish discrimination in educational and working environments, so that they can acquire social economic status and maintain their independent lifestyles.

Respect diversities in race, ethnic groups, languages, nationalities, and cultures in accordance with change to a multicultural society and increased migrant populations, abolish discrimination against migrants, and protect universal human rights.

Toward a self-reliant and peaceful Korean peninsula and a national unification system, the UPP will:
Replace the armistice with a peace treaty and create a Korean peninsula/Northeast Asia nuclear-free peace system. Remove U.S. forces from Korea, abolish the subordinating ROK-US military alliance, and create a Northeast Asia multilateral peace cooperation system. Prohibit the overseas deployment of the military and implement a preemptive military budget freeze as well as mutual disarmament between North and South Korea.

Carry out balanced development of the three armed services as well as reforms in national defense such as increasing transparency in defense procurements including weapons purchases. Strengthen democratization and democratic control of the military by adopting alternative military services and protecting the human rights of soldiers, and achieve human security.

Honor the July 4 North-South Joint Statement and the spirit of the Inter-Korean Basic Agreement, carry out the June 15 and October 4 Joint Declarations, and pursue self-reliant peaceful unification; and

Abolish all unequal treaties and agreements, overcome the world orders centered around global superpowers such as the United States and China, pursue self-reliant balanced diplomacy, construct a peaceful and equal Northeast Asian community, and actively carry out progressive international solidarity.