Koreans, Korean Americans and other activists from around the country converged in Seattle to protest the proposed Korea-U.S. Free Trade Agreement (KorUS-FTA), which opponents argue does not offer adequate labor, agriculture and environmental protections.

During the protests, which occurred from Sept. 6 – 9, about seven women’s groups organized a women’s forum that addressed the struggle against neoliberalism.

“Neoliberalism is not just an economic model. It is also a system of social control, through the direct application of market dynamics onto society,” reads the announcement for the forum. “Free trade policies leave society vulnerable to rapid changes resulting from the unbridled, global flow of capital in search of cheap labor, agriculture and resources.”

Activists continued to state in the announcement that “under these conditions, women are the most at risk. The majority of subsistence farmers are women.”

During the forum, one representative from Korean Women Peasant Association discussed the difficulty of her life as a farmer. She, along with many other farms, works hard to pay off large debts for farming.

Other points discussed about the situation in Korea is that when companies are restructured, the first jobs to go are that of women. Moreover, if the KorUS-FTA passes, women may be forced into prostitution or pedaling. Women, they said, must lead the way to fight against the FTA.

A Korean forum leader said, “We will continue to fight to live in a better place.”
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