Thursday, September 27, 2007

What's "Juche" in English?

KM Lawson at Frog in a Well, looking at a piece in the Chosun Ilbo by New Right intellectual Shin Ji-ho, notes
how easily the “New Right” can expose the hypocrisy and backwardness of the nationalism of Korea’s mainstream left, and champion, with apparent ease, the forces of tolerance, international cooperation, and cosmopolitan identities.
"English" obviously plays the leading role in the construction of "cosmopolitan" identities, and the NL Left wants nothing to do with it. (Never mind that "English" could help the movement make connections with communities of resistance elsewhere.) It's only response is to attack "English" in all its manifestations: the hagwons, the publishers, the foreigners who teach it.

This is a mistake, this refusal to engage with the discourses surrounding "English." People have invested enormous resources, financial and emotional, into Englishes. Desire, even when it is "manufactured," will not be challenged by denial, the absence of challenge.

NL intellectuals in the DLP need some new ideas, desperately. I think this is what 47% of the membership was in part telling them.

2 comments:

Owen said...

To be fair, there are plenty of followers of Hardt and Negri and other strands of autonomist thought in South Korea (eg the Suyo Research Institute people). In fact, according to some of my Korean friends, the autonomist-Marxist/Neo-Marxist/postnationalist tendency has come to dominate the leftwing of Korean academia in recent years. Unfortunately, I'm not sure that is an altogether good thing. And, as you observe, the ideas current in Korean left academia bear little or no relation to what is happening in the mainstream of the activist left, which is still dominated by the left nationalists, along with a good proportion of out and out social democrats.

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