Sunday, April 30, 2017

The Capitalist Unconscious: From Korean Unification to Transnational Korea by Hyun Ok Park

Democracy and Class Struggle says looking at Labour Migration between North Korea and China and Korean Chinese migration to South Korea  as a Transnational Korean framework  is quite productive - some may even say provocative. 

We do not agree with all  the views of Hyun Ok Park but find her approach from migrant point of view an innovative thinking approach to Korean Reality.

Hyun Ok Park explains the sorts of narratives that have been generated in South Korea about North Korea and their contradictions and how South Korean activists who call themselves Leftists end up supporting "free market" ideology.

We are reminded of Trojan Horse Strategy of Kim Dae Jung :

Kim Dae Jung’s strategy is to help Pyongyang with aid and development, tap its cheap labor and build goodwill and infrastructure that are also in South Korea’s interest 

Everyone has to keep up the pretense that nothing will happen to the North Korean regime, that you can open up and keep your power and we’ll help you make deals with the International Monetary Fund and World Bank… But ultimately, we hope it does undermine them. It’s the Trojan horse

The unification of North and South Korea is widely considered an unresolved and volatile matter for the global order, but this book argues capital has already unified Korea in a transnational form.

As Hyun Ok Park demonstrates, rather than territorial integration and family union, the capitalist unconscious drives the current unification, imagining the capitalist integration of the Korean peninsula and the Korean diaspora as a new democratic moment.

Based on extensive archival and ethnographic research in South Korea and China,

The Capitalist Unconscious shows how the hegemonic democratic politics of the post-Cold War era—reparation, peace, and human rights—have consigned the rights of migrant laborers—protagonists of transnational Korea—to identity politics, constitutionalism, and cosmopolitanism. (not to Class Struggle )

Park reveals the riveting capitalist logic of these politics, which underpins legal and policy debates, social activism, and media spectacle.

While rethinking the historical trajectory of Cold War industrialism and its subsequent liberal path, this book also probes memories of such key events as the North Korean and Chinese revolutions, which are integral to migrants’ reckoning with capitalist allures and communal possibilities.

Casting capitalist democracy within an innovative framework of historical repetition, Park elucidates the form and content of the capitalist unconscious at different historical moments and dissolves the modern opposition among socialism, democracy, and dictatorship.

The Capitalist Unconscious astutely explores the neoliberal present’s past and introduces a compelling approach to the question of history and contemporaneity.


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