Like a number of his colleagues, Lee Seok Gi, the no. 2 proportional representation candidate for the United Progressive Party in the upcoming April 11th legislative elections, was once an active member of the National Democratic Revolutionary Party (NDRP, or ‘Minhyeokdang’ in Korean), a group which was labeled an “Anti-state organization based on the leadership ideas of Kimilsungism” by a South Korean judge at the time of its dissolution in the late 1990s.
However, what sets him apart is that, like comrade Ha Young Ok, Lee even continued his activities after the organization broke apart in 1997.
The NDRP was formed in 1992 by Kim Young Hwan and Ha, acting as the successor to the Anti-Imperialist Youth League, but in 1997 Kim and some other leading figures dissolved it after finding out more about reality in North Korea. Ha, who opposed the dissolution, continued to work with a core of non-converts, including Lee.
According to a legal judgment obtained by Daily NK, at the time of the NDRP’s dissolution in July, 1997, Lee, who was then the head of the organization’s south Gyeonggi Province branch, attempted to rebuild it with Ha, a law graduate from Seoul National University. Lee not only retained responsibility for the south Gyeonggi region, but was also handed the reins of the Yeongnam region as well.
Lee continued to reject ideological conversion, retaining faith in North Korea’s leadership and taking on a greater role in the organization.
At the time, Lee met with Mr. Park, another former leading member of the NDRP, telling him, “We’ve got serious problems in the organization; did you hear? A few people defected ideologically and were expelled from the party. Now, the people who got expelled are posing as members of the central committee and are trying to make others desert.”
Lee and Ha worked together until 1999, when the ‘Minhyeokdang Incident’ was publicly revealed. He then went into hiding for three years; however, he was tracked down and imprisoned in May, 2002. In the years following his release around a year later, Lee worked as chairman of the progressive online media outlet ‘The People’s Voice’ and president of the ‘Social Trend Institute’. He has not publicized his ideological position since.