U.S. and Korean Workers Call for Lasting Peace in Korea and End to U.S. Militarism in East Asia

Report by Wol-san Liem

After a hassle with cancelled flights, a US Labor Against the War delegation arrived in Seoul May 1. They will spend a week in Korea showing solidarity for Korean workers and peace-loving people’s fight for peace and unification and to imprisoned labor leaders and discussing steps for collective action to end US militarism in East Asia with their Korean counter parts. On Tuesday, they participated in the Korean Confederation of Trade Union’s (KCTU) International Workers Day (May Day) rally and march. Korean workers are welcoming the improvement in North-South relations following the inter-Korea summit on April 27. They are calling for a peace treaty and other real measures to ensure a lasting peace ahead of the U.S.-North Korean summit. They are also clear that they want the new era of peace to be accompanied by greater rights and equality for workers and ordinary people. To this end the May Day rally focused on the KCTU’s demands for reform of the chaebol-centered economic system, eradication of precarious work, and amendment of the Constitution and labour law to expand workers’ rights. The rally also highlighted the labor movement’s work for peace and unification, including exchange with North Korean workers, and efforts to bring the #MeToo movement to the workplace.

Report by Jason Roe

Standing in front of the US Embassy in Seoul, South Korea, workers from Korea and the United States of America held a joint press conference demanding the US end its interventionist policies and work toward a path to peace on the Korean Peninsula. Among their demands is that the US military stop the Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) missile system in South Korea, an extension of Cold War era policies. Speakers were affiliated with the Korean Confederation of Trade Unions (KCTU) and a delegation of American workers, students, and organizers lead by US Labor Against the War (USLAW).

(Source: U.S. Labor Against the War)

“As a grandchild of someone who fought in the Korean War, I understand my role in what we’ve done to your country,” said Elandria Williams of People’s Hub.

“We are calling on the US government to rise up to this occasion and opportunity for peace and end its historic role in the world as a force for evil, oppression, and colonization,” said Aaron Goggans, a member of the Industrial Workers of the World (IWW).

“It is an opportunity for the people in the United States to discuss our own transition from a military economy and towards a peaceful, just, and sustainable economy,” said Michael Leon Guerrero, Executive Director of Labor Network for Sustainability.

The May 3rd event comes days after the April 27th Inter-Korean Summit where South Korean President Moon Jae-in, and Chairman of the Workers’ Party of Korea Kim Jong-un met. This was the first meeting of Korean heads of state on the divided peninsula in 11 years. US foreign policy has an integral role in achieving a lasting peace in Korea.


Wol-san Liem is Director of international and Korean Peninsula affairs, KCTU-Korean Public Service and Transport Workers Union (KPTU)

Jason Roe is a member of the U.S. Labor Against the War Solidarity Delegation to Korea.

All images in this article are from the authors.

Articles by: Wol-san Liem and Jason Roe

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