April 11, 2014
We were so fortunate to have Joyakgol (aka dopehead zo), an activist-musician-writer who has been integrally involved in many struggles in South Korea over the past fifteen years, visiting the Bay Area on March 25th to tell us about the History of Korean Anarchism at Os Qilombo. This video, kindly produced by Lilly O and Stevie Sanchez, records Joyakgol’s introduction to the history and present of anarchism in Korea, and is one of few lectures on this topic available in English. The two-hour talk is just the tip of the iceberg for understanding the rich history of this movement, one of the oldest anarchisms in Asia.
The talk covers the beginnings of anarchism as a movement—as an alternative to both communism and nationalism—on and around the Korean peninsula during the Japanese colonial period in the early 1900s, its near disappearance during the Cold War from the 1950s to the 1990s, and its reemergence in South Korea following the democratization movement and the rise of neoliberalism in the 1990s. As a key participant in the movement since the 1990s, Joyakgol shares some of his own work: anti-urban redevelopment and gentrification squats, peace activism against militarism and military bases, anarcha-feminist projects, radical environmentalisms, and cultural activism to support precarious labor struggles.
Many thanks to Os Qilombo, the videographers, and all who came out to attend this event. We hope there are many more opportunities to share knowledge of the histories of third world anarchisms in the near future.
To learn more about a critical struggle in South Korea currently, the fight of the Gangjeong village community on Jeju Island, South Korea, to stop the construction of a navy base (part of the US’ Pivot to Asia military realignment), please check out http://savejejunow.org/ .