(Monthly Review Foundation) -- On December 19, the South Korean Constitutional Court delivered a devastating blow against the progressive movement when it disbanded the Unified Progressive Party (UPP) with immediate effect. That act came as the culmination of a long campaign by South Korean President Park Geun-hye to shackle the labor movement and smash political opposition.
The Constitutional Court case was initiated over a year ago when the Ministry of Justice filed a petition with the court to ban the UPP. The pretext for the petition was the arrest of six prominent members of the UPP on the charge of plotting a rebellion to overthrow the government. As evidence, the government offered a speech National Assembly representative Lee Seok-ki delivered to fellow UPP members, which was recorded by a turncoat acting as a spy for the National Intelligence Service (NIS). The NIS released to the media a transcript of the speech that it had substantially altered, replacing ordinary words and phrases with inflammatory rhetoric. By attributing words to Lee that he had never spoken, the NIS succeeded in whipping up hostility against the UPP.