A Sign Of Future Attitudes From The DPP Towards Taiwanese Activists?
If recent comments by incoming DPP minister without portfolio Chang Ching-sen have drawn fire for their disdain of student protestors, perhaps this is a sign of what the DPP’s future attitudes towards Taiwan’s student protestors will be. Chang’s comments are revealing about the possible future for relations between activists and members of the Tsai administration.
儘管民進黨在 2016 年大選一如預期當選了總統，也拿下國會多數，更加出人意表的則是時代力量這個從未參加過選舉的全新政黨異軍突起。而在最近這次選戰期間，我們看到了許多第三勢力政黨從太陽花運動過後的公民社會興起，包括時代力量、社會民主黨以及自由台灣黨。在這三個新政黨之中，唯有時代力量成功取得了立法院席次。但在時代力量、社會民主黨、自由台灣黨看來都有希望進軍國會的那段時期，我們注意到，關注臺灣政治的西方觀察家其實相當不安，他們擔心這會破壞掉臺灣兩黨政治的穩定結構。不過就算其他第三勢力政黨都未能成功取得立委席次，但在時代力量正積極於臺北之外的各地拓展權力基礎設立地方黨部之際，「多黨政治在臺灣是否可能」仍然是一個重大問題。
Is Taiwan A Third World Country?
Is Taiwan a third world country? There exists complications in asking this question, in the sense that there were two different versions of “three worlds” theory asserted during the Cold War. But the question has broader implications for Taiwan’s status as a country caught between the two superpowers of the United States and China.
The Hong Kong Airport Demonstration and Issues of Labor and Class in Hong Kong
Last week over one thousand gathered in demonstration in the arrival hall of Hong Kong International Airport. The sit-in was in demonstration of an earlier incident in which Leung Chai-Yan, daughter of Hong Kong chief executive CY Leung, left a piece of luggage outside of check in and called on her father to intercede in the matter. The demonstration was called for by the Hong Kong Cabin Crew Federation, a union for members of airplane cabin crews. But though this was a labor action, the labor angle of the demonstration has gone neglected.
Backlash Against The Cross Straits Oversight Bill From Activists
Controversy over the cross-straits oversight bill continues, with Sunflower activists criticizing the DPP’s version of the bill as insufficient in its ability to safeguard relations between Taiwan and China and demonstrating outside the Legislative Yuan on April 15th. The bill was originally proposed as a means to prevent a recurrence of the situation of a trade agreement with China being passed with little discussion of the measure in legislature, but the DPP under Tsai Ing-Wen still intends to pass the CSSTA trade bill which was what prompted the student occupation of the Legislative Yuan in 2014.
From Populism to Localism
The talk on Hong Kong identity has rattled for so long in the political realm, marking the fact that the rise of localism, together with the rhetorical style it makes fashionable, has unfortunately crowded out the conversations on other more important institutional issues.
The Formation of Demosistō in Hong Kong and Comparisons to 2016 Elections in Taiwan
Questions of activists entering electoral politics are back on the table in Hong Kong with the formation of the Demosistō political party from Umbrella Movement student leaders such as Joshua Wong and Agnes Chow. The formation of Demosistō occurs after the dissolution of the Scholarism, the student group which played a key role in the 2014 Umbrella Movement. We might draw comparison to the entrance of post-Sunflower groups into electoral politics in 2016 elections in Taiwan.
The Possibilities for Multiparty Politics in Taiwan
Of these three newly formed parties which ran in 2016 elections, only the New Power Party would be victorious in getting a representative into legislature. However, during the period in time in which the New Power Party, Social Democratic Party, and Free Taiwan Party seemed like viable third parties that would get into legislature, we may note that there was in fact much anxiety raised from western observers of Taiwanese politics that this would result in an upset to stable two party politics in Taiwan. Despite the failure of other political parties to get into legislature apart from the New Power Party, questions about the possibility for multiparty politics in Taiwan remain salient. Is it possible for there to be multiparty politics in Taiwan?
Questions of Art and Politics In The Controversy Over Ten Years
Hong Kong film Ten Years would have come to the world’s attention after unexpectedly winning best film at the Hong Kong Film Awards. A dystopian speculative fiction film about Hong Kong in the near future under Chinese rule, the win has provoked controversy. What is controversial is the unorthodox nature of its victory and the questions of art and politics which are at stake.
Why Does Everyone in Taiwan Want To Be Chinese After A Massacre Happens?
On March 28th, a child was ruthlessly murdered, leading to a tremendous panic in Taiwan. All kinds of methods to deal with the crime have been suggested, including: Requiring an identity card to purchase kitchen knives and everyday cutting tools. Reviving “guilt by association” from Taiwan’s martial law period, and make the parents of adult offenders also assume criminal responsibility. Strengthen police authority, and allow them the ability to force treatment on people affected with psychological disorders. Set up the death penalty as the only criminal punishment for child killers. Etc, etc. As for the reasons why these kinds of stabbing incidents have abruptly emerged in Taiwan over the last few years, both the local media and netizens have remained largely silent, and seldom discuss the issue.
The Controversy Over the Cross-Strait Oversight Bill
With the incoming Tsai administration less than fifty days away from office, it is now to be seen as to whether the DPP lives up to its campaign promises. Of course, concerning cross-strait relations, it will be seen as to whether the DPP fulfills the demand of Taiwanese civil society from 2014’s Sunflower Movement to the present calling for transparency and openness in cross-strait relations conducted between Taiwan and China. A draft bill to provide oversight regarding cross-strait relations is likely to be passed in the coming week, given the DPP-controlled legislature.
There Will Be Blood: Taiwan’s Rancorous Discourse On Capital Punishment
The ghastly random killing of a four-year-old girl in Neihu, Taipei on Monday has garnered widespread attention, nationally and internationally. What has almost simultaneously been triggered is a reinvigoration of the debate over the abolition of capital punishment in Taiwan. However, it is to be noted that this is hardly a real exchange of ideas, even by the standard of the Wild West that is the Internet, but more like a campaign of persecution against social activists who advocate the abolition of death penalty.
Does Taiwan Need a Founding Father?
Concerning debates about whether Sun Yat-Sen is Taiwan’s founding father or not, we might revisit the question of who exactly is Taiwan’s founding father. The notion of a founding father would be to point to a singular, historical figure as the originator of a nation-state. As part of nationalist discourse, a founding father is usually seen as a figure possessed of extraordinary, even superhuman qualities. The qualities of a founding father are to be reflective of the values of the nation-state.
Although His Years Are Now Withered, Continuing to Struggle
Open Letter from Hertencia Petersen Regarding Peter Liang
New Bloom presents an open letter from Hertencia Petersen, the aunt of Akai Gurley, regarding Gurley’s killing by Chinese-American NYPD officer Peter Liang, which has been much discussed in the Asian-American community.
What Do Recent Shifts in Taiwanese Identification Mean?
If recent polling from the United Daily News have indicated a significant increase in Taiwanese identification, probably this should not come as a surprise to anyone who has been keeping track of politics in Taiwan in the last year. What is a surprise, seemingly indicative of the probable accuracy of this polling, is that the results of this poll come from the pro-China and pro-KMT leaning press of the United Daily News. And it is that those who have not been attentive to Taiwanese politics in the last year are still playing catch-up regarding these recent shifts in identification. We might take a closer examination.
318 Two Years On
Looking back on the Sunflower Movement two years later, what can we say? It is, of course, that in some sense the sea-change in Taiwanese politics we have seen in past 2016 elections and nine-in-one elections began with the Sunflower Movement. But what remains to be done?
Mass Mining Workers’ Demonstration in Heilongjiang Coal Mine Town
Tens of thousands of mining workers in Shuangyashan city of Heilongjiang province in China have clashed with the police after four days of demonstrations, demanding the state-owned mining company to distribute wages owed to workers.
The Chinese New Left: Anti-Capitalist Within China, Imperialist Outside of China?
If the New Left’s nationalism trumps Leftism, it is because of the New Left’s view that the China model, however flawed, is still superior to the West. It is such that the New Left suggests that the China model can and should be exported outside of China, hence where they become apologists for Chinese imperialism.
What is the Chinese New Left?: Between Leftism and Nationalism?
Perhaps one of the most significant intellectual formations operating in today’s world, China’s New Left arose in the 1990s in opposition to the turn of China away from a centrally planned economy and a return to free market principles after the Deng Xiaoping period. More broadly, the New Left project emphasizes the growing disparities between rural and urban areas in post-Deng China, the sacrifice of principles of equality in order to drive toward development, and calls for a critical revaluation of China’s Maoist legacy in light of China’s present—inclusive of the Great Leap Forward and the Cultural Revolution.
Who’s Afraid of Taiwanese Independence, Anyway?
The political spectrum is changing in Taiwan again, after the victory of the DPP in 2016 elections. With the split which has emerged between the positions of ROC independence and Taiwanese independence, perhaps we are seeing the early indications of a shift in the central dividing issue of the Taiwanese political spectrum. This would be the shift from the central dividing issue being independence versus unification to ROC independence versus Taiwanese independence. But what do recent attempts to eliminate Taiwanese independence as a political position in favor of ROC independence tell us? We might take a look, ultimately concluding that it may be overly hasty to consign Taiwanese independence to the dustbin of history in the name of political realism, as some have attempted recently.
「Homonationalism」（同性戀國家主義）應該是近十年內酷兒學術最被快速沿用與再生產的一個概念，描述同志人權如何被收編於「衡量國家主權優良等級」的一種國際機制，在 2007 年 Jasbir Puar 出版《Terrorist Assemblages》一書之後引起廣泛的辯論與修正。由「同性戀國家主義」延伸而出，形容以色列如何藉由「國家同志人權」的友善形象，來掩飾國家對於巴勒斯坦殖民暴力的「粉紅清洗」（pinkwashing）策略，近幾年也激起了一連串的北美酷兒「反粉紅清洗」的 BDS（Boycott, Divest, and Sanctions）運動，抵制以色列藉由文化、經濟、外交等等手段的同志友善形象建立。這次中央性／別研究室所邀請至台灣演講的紐約史坦頓島學院特聘教授莎拉·舒蔓（Sarah Schulman），正是酷兒反粉紅洗清 BDS 運動的主要支持者之一。舒蔓的演說，加上美國同志人權大使蘭迪·貝瑞（Randy Berry）的訪台行程，也引起台灣酷兒學界與運動圈的討論，問題的核心在於，如同以色列，台灣是否也展露了渴望藉由「同性戀國家主義」的同志友善與人權表述來「攀附（美）帝國的慾望」？或者，更直接地說，Is Taiwan already homonational?
The Keelung Massacre: The Day the KMT Occupied Taiwan
Last year, for the first time since 1947, the city government of Keelung planned a memorial with NGO groups to hold a memorial service for the Keelung Massacre which occurred on March 8, 1947, several days after the nation slipped into chaos over the 228 Massacre. The Keelung Massacre is less well-known than the 228 Massacre, but is among the major crimes committed by the KMT, or rather, the Republic of China government which was synonymous with the KMT at the time.
Eagles of Revolution: A Tribute to Women in Marxism
International Women’s Day, now celebrated all over the world and adopted by the United Nations, has a Marxist origin. Originally, the labor movement in the United States and the Socialist Party of America started the holiday. It was first called the International Working Women’s Day, and its inaugural celebration was organized by Clara Zetkin, a prominent German Marxist and later a member of the Communist Party of Germany, on March 19th, 1911. The liberation of women from oppression under capitalist society has always been one of the top priorities of the Marxist revolutionary program, and past revolutionary struggles sent shock waves throughout the world, which substantially contributed to the progression of women’s rights across the globe.
我們該怎樣看待 Peter 梁 的案子？
Perhaps There’s A Third Narrative on the Death of Akai Gurley and Conviction of Peter Liang
Instead of stopping at “Let’s hold police officers accountable,” we should be more vocal about policing. We should try to draw connections with the #freeliang camp on questioning policing techniques. We could be critical about the legal resources Liang has from the police as an Asian-American. We could be angry about why police academy does not train police in CPR very well. Then when we listen to, rather than dismiss, the anger from the #freeliang protesters, perhaps there’s chance to keep the dialogue going.
歲有榮枯，以身證道 ——關於台灣左翼革命家史明（施朝暉，1918- ）
史明（施朝暉，1918-）是台灣至今少數在世且經歷兩個世紀、不同殖民政權的左翼革命家。他出生於台灣士林、就學於日本東京早稻田大學，因為信仰馬克思主義，曾經前往上海擔任中國共產黨的地下情報人員，卻在戰後的華北地區見證土地改革、人民裁判的殘忍，才九死一生的回到台灣。因為見證台灣社會在 228 事件後的慘澹情況，他與同志們計畫刺殺蔣介石，卻從此流亡日本近四十年的歲月。在幾經波折的情況他以一間麵店——新珍味維持生計，並且在 1962 年出版第一本以台灣人立場書寫的台灣通史——《台灣人四百年史》。不管是地下武裝行動或者是著述立書，史明將他生命的大半歲月奉獻給台灣，1993 年返回台灣以後他仍孜孜不倦、各地奔波，宣揚台灣民族主義與獨立建國的思想。他與同志們矗立於宣傳車上敲鑼擊鼓的畫面在今日台北街頭幾是奇景，卻也是台灣獨立運動左翼精神猶存的唯一證明。
Peter Liang in China
Probably one of the stranger afterlives of the Peter Liang case would be the case having taken on a life of its own in China. We might examine responses from Chinese state-run media in relation to the broader political context of China.
What Would Transitional Justice in Taiwan Mean?
Why the need for transitional justice in Taiwan, anyway? Is it not that Taiwan is already “post-authoritarian”? Certainly, that would be what much of western commentary regarding Taiwan assumes, that Taiwan is unequivocally “post-authoritarian”. But the paradoxes of so-called Taiwanese democracy are many and the crimes of the authoritarian period have not been settled.
The 228 Massacre, The New Legislature, and Unresolved Issues of Transitional Justice in Taiwan
Transitional justice is a term increasingly used among Taiwanese since the explosion of civic awareness after the Sunflower movement. In the new political scene after the January 16th elections, calls for transitional justice are ever louder and bolder, as the new legislature is thought to be more capable of exerting political force regarding the issue of transitional justice.
Accusations of Fascism Against Hong Kong from the Pro-Unification Left?
Recent attempts to claim the Mong Kok riots were fascistic are just the pro-unification Left up to its old tricks. One suspects that they lack any real sense of what fascism is. Instead, as members of the pro-unification Left in Hong Kong or Taiwan do quite frequently, at the core, anything which resists China is deemed to be “fascistic” or “populist” in their eyes.
The Peter Liang Trial and Questions of Race and Politics in America
The past week has seen rallies across the country in protest of the arraignment of NYPD officer Peter Liang on charges of manslaughter and official misconduct. Liang, a Chinese-American police officer, shot and killed 28-year-old Akai Gurley in the dark stairwell of a Brooklyn housing project when his drawn gun went off. However, the Liang verdict has been divisive of the Asian-American community, raising broader issues of racial justice in the United States. We might examine and engage with some of the issues at hand.
從 2014 年十一月起，紐約華裔警察 Peter Liang （梁彼得）槍殺非裔 Akai Gurley 的事件，與 Ferguson 在美國鬧成的軒然大波，分裂了美國的亞裔社群。在美國主流媒體報導中，Liang-Gurley 的事件被視為整個 Black Lives Matter 運動中的一個小插曲，差別只在於 Peter Liang 成為第一位因射殺未持有槍械且未犯法的非裔人士而被法律懲處的警察，至於其他白人警察，比如發生於 Liang-Gurley 事件之前的兩起：勒斃 Eric Garner 的 Dan Pantaleo 與射殺 Mike Brown 的 Darren Wilson，都未被大陪審團要求起訴。
梁警員的判刑結果引起華裔社群的憤怒和不滿，也在去年與上週末（2/20）相繼舉辦了三次跨州的盛大遊行。各大華語媒體多數讚賞全美四十個城市的集會為「華裔在美國史上最大的示威遊行」，並認為華裔終於可以擺脫「少數族群典範」（Model Minority）的包袱，拒絕成為「啞裔」，為自己的權利發聲。弔詭的是，此次華裔集會運動的訴求：撤銷 Liang 警員刑責，絕非一件依照「種族正義」而生的行為，卻是迎合了白人優越主義下，維護國家警察執法正當性，與少數族群典範「反黑情結」（Anti-Blackness）的族群分裂思維。撤銷梁刑責背後的邏輯，即是：若是那些白人警察可以免於他們殺害非裔的罪行，為何身為亞裔不行？
Seeds: Japanese Volunteers at the Tainan Earthquake Site
On February 13th, at the Tainan earthquake disaster site, I saw about 20 Japanese volunteers wearing Taiwan Presbyterian Church vests with Japanese flags displayed on their clothes or badges. In the supply section, the Japanese volunteers outnumbered the Taiwanese volunteers. I spoke to a few of them, and the common sentiment among the Japanese volunteers was that the felt compelled to help with the rescue effort, since Taiwan donated the most money out of all the nations in the aftermath of 3.11 earthquake that ravaged Japan back in 2011.
二月十三日，維冠大樓災區，我看見大約二十位身穿台灣長老教會背心，在衣服或吊牌上別著日本國旗的志工。物資站裡，日本籍志工人數也比台灣籍的還多。我與其中幾位交流以後發現，他們的共同認為幫助台灣救災是極其重要的事，尤其是日本311地震時，臺灣捐贈的金額是所有捐款國家中最多的。現居於台南的職業撞球選手–北山亞紀子 (Akiko Kitayama) 表示”當人們遭遇困難時，我們就要伸出援手。即使彼此互不相識，你也會幫助。更何況現在是有恩於我們的人們，當然要幫忙。日本與臺灣將會成為永遠的摯友。”
Interview: Tuhi Martukaw (洪簡廷卉)
Tuhi Martukaw (Jocelyn Ting-Hui Hung Chien) is an anchor and translator on Taiwan Indigenous Television Network (TITV) as well as coordinator and founder of the LIMA Taiwan Indigenous Youth Working Group. Parson Young and Brian Hioe of New Bloom interviewed her in December 2015 in New York City about her experiences with UN delegations of Taiwanese indigenous peoples and at the UN Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues.
Seeds: Notes from Earthquake Relief Efforts At the Site of the Disaster on February 12th
The relief workers and volunteers came from all over Taiwan. Some came from as far as Japan and Korea. Many had not slept for days. Some slept on the floor. One could easily fall asleep due to exhaustion. Survivors had not been found for more than a day. At around 2 AM, we heard that a survivor was found. Everyone was emotional and many cried. We eventually found out that the information was wrong, but a puppy was rescued. Christians. Daoists. Buddhists. Police officers. Firefighters. Rescue workers. Nurses. Volunteers. Monks. Activists. Soldiers. All working, resting, or standing by.
What Was The Fishball Revolution About?
Over 60 were arrested and over 120 were injured during the riot which broke out Monday in Mong Kok, Hong Kong. But the so-called “Fishball Revolution” was hardly about just fishballs, or even food hawkers. What was it that led up to Monday’s events? And what does this mean for Hong Kong going forward? Will this be, as some have claimed, the beginning of a year of resistance?
China’s Recent Attempts to Crack Down on Press Freedoms
With critics of wrongdoing in China increasingly disappearing, who is it that will dare speak out against China in the future? No one, nowhere seems off limits anymore. Present events trace back to the disappearance of five booksellers from Hong Kong, who worked in a bookstore that sold books banned in China. But we can point to a renewed offensive on press freedom in China, including renewed attempts at “Media Monopoly” and crackdowns on foreign journalists.
‘Open Data = Transparency?’: Ma’s Ludicrous Statement on Open Data
Recently, President Ma Ying-jeou has made a number of erroneous statements about open data, claiming that Taiwan’s number-one ranking on the Open Knowledge Foundation’s open data index is proof of his administration’s overall transparency. In response, Billy Lin, a prominent member of the civic-tech community “g0v” wrote an editorial response to Taiwan’s Apple Daily editorial board. We have translated the original editorial with the author’s permission.
What is ROC Independence versus Taiwanese Independence?
With reports of the victory of the “independence-leaning” or even “pro-independence” Democratic Progressive Party in international media reports on 2016 presidential elections, it may be worth revisiting what is discussed as “independence”. Namely, international media has a tendency of failing to make sufficient distinctions in regards to what is referred to as “Taiwanese independence.” Sometimes what is referred to as being “Taiwanese independence” in English language discourse is not actually Taiwanese independence at all.
Calls for Reform by Young People Within the KMT?
As the quip often goes, the KMT no longer has young people within the party. This would be another factor behind the crisis of the KMT, with the party’s actions in recent years having alienated much of Taiwan’s young. This has been a product of the KMT’s attempts to draw Taiwan too close to China than many find comfortable or on the basis of perceived corruption through the KMT’s sizable party assets or KMT politicians who have made themselves wealthy through using their political connections. But, surprisingly, there are some young people within the KMT calling for internal reform.
Marxist Basics with Parson: What Does the “Dictatorship of the Proletariat” Actually Mean?
One of the most common accusations against Marxism has been that its implementation inevitably leads to an authoritarian government like that of Stalinism or Maoism. Most point to the term “dictatorship of the proletariat,” a term used by Marx himself, as evidence that Marxism itself has theoretical basis in authoritarianism. In reality, this concept has been purposely distorted, misrepresented and taken out of context and analyzed through a bourgeois understanding of human society. These caricatures of the term, and Marxism in general, formed a strong ideological cult in capitalist society today. It is therefore prudent to peel away the layers of lies surrounding the term, and to examine what Marxists actually have to say about establishment of a worker’s state.k.
Why are Students at Hong Kong University On Strike?
Students at the University of Hong Kong are on strike, with demonstration against the appointment of Arthur Li as head of HKU’s governing Council. Demonstrations have included struggles with the police during an incident last night in which students surrounded a meeting of the Council chaired by Li. There are unconfirmed reports that pepper spray was used during these demonstrations. The student strike is scheduled to last the week.
In Taiwan, Dreams Change
Last week’s monumental elections represent a major historical moment for Taiwan: the nation’s first female president, the first majority in parliament for the democratic opposition, and a broad outpouring of civic engagement that shows democracy is alive and well. The striking results have come about not only because of “regular” rumblings of economic discontent or the “traditional cleavages” of identity politics. More importantly, the narrative of Taiwanese society has changed, redrawing the bounds for what is possible, and revealing novel sources of inspiration.
Mass Cyber-Trolling and Cross-Strait Relations
On January 20th, 7 PM, Taipei time, a massive wave of Facebook traffic sourced to China began to systematically “attack” any and all politicians, public figures, and media outlets that were identified as pro-Taiwanese independence. Instantly filling the comment section of these Facebook pages with pro-China patriotic sentiments, images, and arguments against all pro-independence comments, all of which procured “likes” in the thousands to allow them to be the “top” comments of the posts they attacked.
What To Do With The KMT’s Party Assets?
What to do with the KMT’s party assets? This has been a question which has persisted from the first DPP administration under Chen Shui-Bian up until the present. And that no satisfactory method of resolving the question of what do about KMT party assets reflects that there is still no satisfactory answer of how to resolve questions of lingering authoritarianism by the KMT.
Tsai and the Sunflower Generation
Can we trace the victory of Tsai Ing-Wen for president and the overwhelming victory of the DPP in legislature back to the Sunflower Movement? Both yes and no. Tsai invoked the abstract idealism of the Sunflower generation in her campaign quite often, but where the views of civil society can sometimes be inchoate or not totally thought out, this offered a convenient way of masking Tsai’s own lack of concrete policy. Yet if Tsai then turns her back on what youth activists of the Sunflower generation stand for, they would understandably feel betrayed.
The Fall of the KMT?
The recent defeat of the KMT was unprecedented, seeing as the KMT has never lost control of the legislature, if the KMT lost control of the presidency during the eight years of Chen Shui-Bian’s presidency. Now it has lost both the presidency and legislature. And the KMT remains only in control of 35 out 113 legislative seats and six out of twenty-two of Taiwan’s counties and cities. What will happen now with the KMT? Maybe, as Nietzsche said, when you see something about to fall, you should give it a push.
Is the Narrative About Taiwan Changing After Tsai Ing-Wen’s Presidential Victory?
Is the narrative about Taiwan changing after Tsai Ing-Wen’s presidential victory? We might note that, to date, there have at least not been very many foreboding warnings about Tsai guiding Taiwan in the direction of Taiwanese-independence and possibly provoking cross-strait conflict. Rather, news coverage to date has focused largely on Tsai as the first female president of Taiwan, that Tsai pledges to maintain cross-straits stability and is an unorthodox politician, a “female academic who loves cats and supports gay rights” as the title of a recent article stated.
Who are the Winners and Losers of 2016 Elections in Legislature?
If most international attention has focused on Tsai Ing-Wen’s victory over Eric Chu in presidential elections, who were the winners and losers of legislative elections? Does the overwhelming victory of the DPP over the KMT and the unexpected successes of the New Power Party foretell future trends in Taiwanese electoral politics?
What Happens Now That Tsai Ing-Wen Is President?
Last Words on 2016 Elections
When we look back on 2016 elections, will we find that it in the end it was just a choice between Pepsi and Coca-Cola, between two brands, in choosing between the KMT and DPP? Today, on the day of elections, we might think deeply on this fact.
高潞。以用 Kawlo Iyun：為原住民及花東議題發聲的立委候選人
Policy Comparison Between Tsai Ing-Wen and Eric Chu
The Time is Now
This weekend, the Taiwanese working class will once again find itself in the midst of a tremendous change without playing any role in it. The presidential election of 2016 will mark another pivotal point in Taiwanese history, not as a victory of the working class, but as a turn in the bourgeois politics of Taiwan. While the defeat of the KMT in both the presidential in the parliamentary election is exciting to imagine, a DPP victory would make very little difference to the working people of Taiwan.
Leftism First or Independence First in 2016 Elections?
As we approach elections, currently a debate is raging among Taiwanese activists. What is at stake is the question of whether Taiwan should first aim at “Independence” then leftist aspirations or first aim to be “Left” before aspiring towards independence. In part, this debate reflects that present elections are different from past elections, with the rise of numerous “Third Force” parties that originate in civil society and provide a variety of political choices for activists. This would certainly differ from past elections in which there would seem to be few choices besides KMT and DPP and smaller parties offering different shades of pan-Green and pan-Blue.
Aesthetic and Political Experimentalism in 2016 Election Campaigning by the DPP and Third Force Parties
It may be interesting to note the biggest winners of 2016 elections will probably be those political parties who were most aesthetically effective, as well as inventive, in their approaches to political campaigning. As should obvious at this point, it will be the DPP that takes the presidency under Tsai Ing-Wen. Moreover, of the Third Force parties, it will likely be the New Power Party which wins the most.
The Third Force and the Question of Taipei-Centric Politics in 2016 Elections
In particular, the rise of new parties originating in youth activism—the so-called Third Force—has been a Taipei centered phenomenon. Though there are non-Taipei based candidates, Third Force political candidates are quite often running in Taipei, despite the fact that Taipei is historically pan-Blue. Taipei has been for the most a pan-Blue stronghold, although this depends on district. Why run in Taipei? What are the stakes of doing so?
The Race for Party Votes
In this upcoming election, voters will be entitled three votes, namely the presidential, district, and the party vote. The presidential vote and district vote usually took precedence in past elections, but in this upcoming election, party votes seem to have taken the spotlight. What exactly then is the party vote? The party vote largely decides the total number of seats each political party gets in the legislative.
Which Way Forward for the Third Force?
The Third Force adopted an electoral strategy which did not seek to directly challenge the DPP. But despite some parties vowing to avoid cooperation with the DPP, in the end this happened. What does this mean for the Third Force? Is there the possibility that the Third Force might turn on the DPP in the future?
Why Is the Voting Age in Taiwan So High?
After reform measures passed in Japan this summer to lower the voting age to eighteen, among Asia-Pacific countries, Taiwan will remain as having a relatively high voting age. Like Japan’s voting age before recent reform measures, Taiwan’s voting age is twenty. Taiwan’s voting age of twenty compares to a voting age of eighteen in 90% of 190 countries. Why is voting age so high in Taiwan and why have efforts at reform been stymied?
Ma Ying-jeou Stickers are Ruining the KMT’s 2016 Election Campaign
A sticker campaign has become the scourge of the KMT, with KMT legislative candidates having already reported dozens of citizens to the police for “defacing” their campaign material with the new stickers. The sticker consists merely of an endorsement from current President Ma Ying-jeou, and from Jennifer Wang, the KMT Vice-presidential candidate. As KMT legislators are facing their toughest re-election battles in Taiwan’s democratic history, KMT legislative candidates are doing everything they can to ensure their victory, including disassociating themselves from Taiwan’s lame-duck president, Ma Ying-jeou, and Eric Chu’s VP choice, Jennifer Wang, who has been embroiled in a housing speculation scandal for over a month.
Lessons for Taiwan 2016 from Hong Kong’s “Umbrella Soldiers”?
Many parallels have been drawn between Taiwan and Hong Kong by individuals have since the 2014 Sunflower and Umbrella Movements. But as we enter 2016 elections in Taiwan, we might draw further parallels between past November local elections in Hong Kong and Taiwan 2016 elections in regard to Taiwan’s “Third Force” and Hong Kong’s “Umbrella Soldiers.” Namely, both phenomena are elements of post-Sunflower movement civil society in Taiwan and post-Umbrella movement civil society in Hong Kong entering electoral politics. Do the “Umbrella Soldiers” offer any lessons for Taiwan’s “Third Force”?
Why Has There Been an Upsurge of Labor Demonstrations Before 2016 Elections?
A recent wave of labor protests in Taipei seems to be timed to coincide with 2016 elections. Workers are quite deliberately demonstrating in Taipei before elections, in order to make the public pay attention. Workers’ voices are largely marginalized from mainstream politics—by KMT and DPP alike.
Hong Kong’s Sporting Rivalry Turned Political?
Although the display of nationalistic sentiments is not a new concept to the sporting world, recent sports matches in Hong Kong highlight the tense relationship between Hong Kong and China in light of changing political realities. But does this mean that Hong Kong people reject the notion of “Chineseness” in their own identity? We might take a look.
When Heavy Metal Meets Activist Politics
Freddy Lim’s concert held at Freedom Plaza in Taipei on December 26th has drawn international attention on the basis of the unusual nature of a political rally which was, in part, a concert by a heavy metal band. The concert was also to mark the twentieth anniversary of Chthonic. Though Freddy Lim is currently an electoral candidate of the New Power Party, Lim originally rose to fame as frontman of symphonic black metal band Chthonic. We may more broadly view this concert as expressive of the past two year’s development of youth culture, aesthetics, and politics.
Will 2016 Elections Be The End of Taiwan’s Year of Protest?
If the past year was the entrance of a generation of young people who had been previously thought to be politically indifferent into politics, it remains to be seen what the political role of Taiwan’s young will be going forward under Tsai’s presidency. Will we see continued resiliency of youth activism as we saw in the past year? Or is it that we will see a precipitous decline in activism once the Tsai honeymoon is over?
The Case of Talum and the Plight of Indigenous Peoples in Taiwan
56-year-old Bunun man Tama Talum, also known as Wang Guanglu, was arrested for hunting with a shotgun to provide meat for his elderly mother. Talum was sentenced by a Taitung district court to three and a half years in prison as well as a fine of 70,000 NTD. The case has seen public demonstrations and criticisms by groups as the Legal Aid Foundation for unduly harsh nature of the ruling. But with the Talum case, we can point to broader issues of the status of indigenous peoples in Taiwan.
The Past Weekend’s Migrant Workers’ Demonstration and Broader Issues of Migrant Workers in Taiwan
The rally for migrant workers’ rights which took place in Taipei this past Sunday points to how the role of migrant workers in Taiwan remains precarious. Yet it is that migrant workers have come to occupy an integral place in Taiwanese society. We might venture an examination.
Is a General Strike in South Korea on the Horizon?
South Korea may be poised on the brink of a general strike, with a general strike called for December 16th. The weekend before last saw demonstrations of tens of thousands, after demonstrations in mid-November which brought over 60,000 onto the streets of Seoul. We can situate current events in South Korea within broader regional trends of labor activism and the actions of resurgent authoritarian governments in East Asia, as we can see with Asia’s past year of protest.
The Arrest of Guangzhou Labor Activists and the Chinese State’s Defense of Capital
With the recent arrests of Guangzhou labor activists, we see where the authoritarian Chinese state acts in defense of capital, with workers thrown under the bus by a state which nonetheless claims an ideology centered around worker rule. For all talk about the economic and political “rise of China”, is it any mistake that this rise is concurrent with a renewed period of authoritarianism and repression against workers by the Chinese state?
The Power of Anti-Ma Ying-jeou and KMT Facebook Fan Pages
Current Demonstrations in South Korea and Asia’s Past Year of Protests
Current protests in South Korea cannot help but appear familiar for Taiwanese activists, with between 60,000 to 130,000 South Koreans taking to the streets to demonstrate the Park Geun-hye government on Saturday. What strikes as reminiscent are the set of issues motivating protestors to demonstrate; namely, a right-wing government with an authoritarian past seeking to whitewash its crimes through new high school textbooks. But Asia’s past year seems to have been a year of protest. And we see this now in South Korea. Are there deeper causes?
After the Ma-Xi Meeting, Do You Still Think Taiwan Is Under the ROC Framework?
Many Taiwanese finally realize that they have been tricked into the frame of ROC. Let’s put the “1992 Consensus” or the upcoming “2015 Consensus” aside. Despite that Taiwanese has been fighting against KMT since 1945, when they shifted the ROC to Taiwan, Taiwanese ultimately accepted this regime till now.
From Regional to National Movement: The Thailand Democracy Movement in Isan
Though less discussed as other student movements of the past year in Asia as the Sunflower Movement and Umbrella Movement, we might look at the student activists of Thailand’s democracy movement. Dao Din is a circle of law students whose initial mission was to help locals protect the environment. Since then, Dao Din has expanded into demonstrating the military junta which seized power in the 2014 coup.
馬英九的作為不但不是「賣國」，甚至可以說是中華民國憲法最佳的捍衛者。畢竟，這部憲法所預設的，就是所謂「大陸地區」與「自由地區」的台灣兩者終極統一，馬英九只是照著憲法所寫的去做罷了。所以，無論馬英九對中華民國憲法的表態是不允許「一中一台」，或是「九二共識」的「一中各表」只剩下「一中」（One China Principle）而獨漏「各表」的實際內涵；就算有「各表」，也只敢在台灣對內說。不過這些都不再是重點了，因為「各表」的中華民國也不過是一個舊中國政權。然而，這個舊中國政權現在卻是實際上統治著台灣，而在國際上仍欲代表著「中國」，隨時可以跟「大陸地區」接軌的 ROC，Republic of China。
Article on Impeaching President before Ma-Xi Summit Censored
As news reports and analysis of the Ma-Xi meeting were flooding news networks around the world, a story about the loss of freedom of speech for one Taiwanese law scholar was being shared wildly on Taiwanese Facebook feeds. A column published on Taiwan’s Commonwealth Magazine’s Opinion web page written by Cheng-yi Huang was taken down by site administrators, citing a need for society to “strictly and fully understand the Ma-Xi meeting”. Huang’s article, titled “The Legislative Yuan should impeach the President immediately”, offered a scathing critique of Ma’s plan to meet with China President Xi Jinping without first briefing Taiwan’s Legislative Yuan about the matter and advised Taiwanese legislators to begin impeachment proceedings in order to stop Ma from going through with the meeting.
Before the Ma-Xi Summit, Did Commonwealth Magazine “Harmonize” my Article?
Because a lot of my friends have asked me, how come we can’t see your article “Should the Legislative Yuan promptly impeach Ma Ying-jeou?” on “[email protected]”, I simply had to make an explanation.
The Legislative Yuan Should Impeach President Ma Immediately
President Ma’s reckless political behavior has already violated his pledge of “observ[ing] the constitution [and] faithfully perform[ing] my duties”, and has reached the level where impeachment proceedings should take place.
The Taipei Pride Parade: Not Yet a ‘Gay Utopia’?
The gay pride parade which is held yearly in Taipei took place this past Saturday. We might use the occasion to more broadly look at the current state of LGBTQ politics in Taiwan. Perhaps it is that Taiwan is still far from being the “gay utopia” it is sometimes touted as being relative to other Asian countries.
Youth Politics in Hong Kong and Taiwan
For those of us who lived through the Sunflower Movement and its aftermath, Joshua Wong’s announcement of his intent to run for legislator in Hong Kong would strike as eerily familiar. Where drawing parallels and comparisons may be useful, it is to allow Hong Kong activists to better understand themselves through comparison to Taiwan and Taiwanese activists to better understand themselves through comparison to Hong Kong activists. We might compare and contrast the phenomenon of young activists entering electoral politics and general attitudes towards youth activism in both locations.
很多在 2014 年無法令人想像的情景，在今年一一實現。台灣第三勢力的興起也不例外。當今有很多論點堅持點出台灣政壇的異常與世界各地的變動的不同之處，並聲稱台灣與世界政治流動毫無關聯。因此，本文希望以馬克思主義分析的角度，來對台灣及世界新興政治勢力作出重要比較，進而指出這些動態其實是源自各地人民對深陷危機的全球資本主義的反應。我們唯一的出路是與全世界勞動人民團結一致，將我們自己從資本主義的枷鎖中解放出來。
The Link Between Taiwan’s Third Party Forces and New Political Forces Around the World
Many phenomena that would have been considered unimaginable in 2014 have unfolded in the past year, and the blossoming of Taiwan’s ’Third Political Force’ is no exception. While there are many analyses that insist on highlighting the difference, and therefore the disconnection between Taiwan’s unusual political tremors and those of the world’s, an important comparison must be made with a Marxist perspective in order to underline the plight that chains all of us—global capitalism—and the necessity for the international solidarity of the working class to overcome it together.
On the Significance of the Umbrella Movement
More than a year since the Umbrella Movement took the world by storm, the debate over its significance remains shrouded in a cloud of propaganda, censorship, or worse, a distorted form of leftist Orientalism. Instead of reducing the significance of the Umbrella Movement to a naive romanticism with liberal democracy, we could learn much more by understanding that each generation, nation, or civilization may need to learn their own lessons from their own concrete experiences, and through the creation of new theories and cultural symbols.
When Tsai Goes to Japan
Tsai Ing-Wen’s recent trip to Japan would seem to mark the second of trips abroad by Tsai in the lead up to 2016 presidential elections. The first, of course, was Tsai’s visit to the United States in June. We can point to the obvious foreign policy implications of both trips. Tsai’s visit to the United States was aimed at building better ties with America in order to shore up relations with America in order to counter the threat of China. But what political forces would it be that Tsai is seeking to ally herself with in Japan?
A Changed Hong Kong and Taiwan One Year after the Umbrella and Sunflower Movement?
As part of recent moves at centralizing its authority and expanding regional power, China wishes to firmly consolidate its rule over Hong Kong, and at least in public rhetoric, seeks to resolve the longstanding Taiwan question as soon as possible. This will not be easy for China, especially after 2014 saw the outbreak of Hong Kong’s Umbrella Movement and Taiwan’s Sunflower Movement. As we reach the one year anniversary of the Umbrella Movement’s beginning, we might look back on Hong Kong and Taiwan after the year of the Umbrella Movement and Sunflower Movement.
What’s In A Passport?
What’s in a passport? This would be seem to be a question up in the air for Taiwan lately. A recent incident involving a Taiwanese citizen being refused admittance to the UN office in Geneva using a Republic of China passport as proof of identity has only driven home the point of Taiwan’s exclusion from the international community. China, in the meantime, has announced the implementation of an electronic card system replacing the “Taiwan compatriot travel document” used previously. Months previously, a campaign to put stickers on the “Republic of China” passport to make it read “Republic of Taiwan” was started by artist Denis Chen. Subsequent attempts by the Bureau of Consular Affairs to crack down on usage of such stickers has led to protest by civil society groups in recent days.
RCA Taiwan and Its Victims
In 1969, the Radio Corporation of America, an international company from the developed world, chose Taiwan, a developing country which had lower wages but high quality labor, not to mention loose labor and environment regulations, to establish its new factory. Sadly, the famous company did not tell its employees that, during the process of manufacturing, large amount of dangerous chemical pollutants was used and later discharged into the air, water and ground of the RCA factory.
Marxist Basics with Parson: How Did Stalin and Mao Betray Marxism? Part II
Mao not only betrays correct Marxism on a practical level, he also invented a number of “theories” which is now known as Marxism and considered by some to be a legitimate “branch” of Marxism. Today, we can find traces of obsessive followers of Maoism from within China to around the world, from academics, students, and even terrorist organizations. The readers of Taiwan usually are familiar with the horrors happening in China under Mao, but there is seldom an exploration of how Mao’s betrayal of Marxism resulted in these horrors.
Can We Understand Article 9 Protests in Japan Alongside Other Asian Social Movements?
Recently we have seen widespread protest in Japan against the reinterpretation of Article 9 of the Japanese constitution, traditionally understood as the “pacifist clause” of the Japanese constitution which forbid the waging of future war by Japan after the brutalities of World War II. With the mass participation of young people in recent protests, can we point to parallels between present events in Japan and other recent Asian social movements?
The Ministry of Education Occupation From Beginning to End
One month after the end of the Ministry of Education occupation which took place in August, we might look back on the series of events which took place during the past month. This is the complete account of last month’s Ministry of Education occupation from New Bloom editor Brian Hioe, who was present for most of the occupation from the beginning to end.
近日來，支持兩岸統一的左派人士似乎對太陽花學運意見分歧，更準確來說有兩派不同的看法：其中一派比較認同太陽花學運表現出台灣社會的聲音，另一派則是認為運動整體來說不可取。劉紀蕙近日在《破土Ground Breaking》網站（註：有別於本網站，《破土New Bloom》）上刊登一篇專文討論太陽花學運，並批判趙剛等人的傳統左統聲音；我們也許能以這樣的方式，來看待台灣左統論述的兩派看法。在接下來的爭論之中，社群媒體上有年輕一輩的堅定左統人士（如苦勞網記者王顯中），試圖替趙剛辨護，指責劉紀蕙將個體與群體經驗混為一談；而後，趙剛也在Ground Breaking網站上撰文回應劉紀蕙。這項激辯後來又引來一些與新左派運動相關的中國學者的注意；這顯示出了中國新左派、香港親中左派，與台灣左統之間的共同論述。劉紀蕙後來又在另一篇文章中發表回應。
From the Sunflower Movement to the Anti-Textbook Revision Movement
Looking back we can maybe say that in some way that the textbook protests which have rocked Taiwan in the past week occurred in the shadow of last year’s Sunflower Movement. Though I think it true to say that the movement eventually developed its own identity as distinct from the Sunflower Movement, this was true from the beginning, where the original plan to surround the Ministry of Education which was publicly announced by activists several months in advance was called a “Second Sunflower Movement.” With the end of the occupation, if we are to look back on the movement, was it really a second Sunflower Movement?
The Crisis of Taiwanese Politics as Expressed Through the Anti-Textbook Revision Movement?
Political reactions to the occupation were revealing is in regards to the deep splits within the KMT which have been made quite evident in recent days. The strategy by which the DPP has positioned itself relative to the textbook controversy are also in some way revealing of its current stances relative to issues which have been raised since last year’s Sunflower Movement concerning KMT authoritarianism—and more broadly threats to maintaining Taiwan’s status of de facto independence relative to China. Lastly, the role of independent political forces within Taiwanese society at present can also be seen from how they engaged with the political crisis.
For Truly Democratic Education, Taiwanese Must Overthrow Capitalism!
Taiwanese conservatives, “Left” unificationists, and ultra-left sectarians, all happen to understand the non-stop stream of student movement as the DPP’s manipulation of nationalism, or its buying of the agitation of young students of Taiwan. This kind of short-sighted and limited analysis, only reflects the lack of understanding of how society changes, but also lacks a recognition of the political and economic reasons for the growing anti-government demonstration
Why Are Self-Proclaimed Members of the Taiwanese Radical Left Afraid of the Anti-Textbook Revision Movement?
Why are certain self-proclaimed members of Taiwan’s radical Left so afraid of the current anti-textbook revision movement? And in this case, it would look like the political Left is afraid of a bunch of children—high schoolers, that is. So very radical that is. Going back to last year’s Sunflower Movement, once again we find ourselves in the situation where a small segment of the self-proclaimed Left backs away from a mass uprising of Taiwanese society, proclaiming it to be a mere expression of right-wing populism.
Five Days of Struggle Against Black Box Education In Taiwan
After an attempt to occupy the Ministry of Education on July 23rd in which student occupiers got as far as the office of the Minister of Education, since July 30th the Ministry of Education courtyard has been occupied after demonstrators forced down the razor wire barriers and pushed back the police the night of the 30th. The actions of July 30th had been motivated by the suicide of Lin Kuanhua, a student activist who was apparently the first of the student occupiers who was arrested in the Minister of Education’s office. Five days into the occupation we might note international responses to date and future prospects for the movement.
Lessons from the Greek Referendum for Referendum Reform in Taiwan?
Even as Taiwan’s political Left has, like much of the international Left, been enraptured with the ongoing drama of SYRIZA and Greece, it seems the Taiwanese Left has largely not seen where lessons from current circumstances in Greece apply to Taiwan. Namely, a key part of the drama in Greece was a public referendum among the Greek public which took place on July 5th as to whether to accept the bailout conditions of the European Union or not. Like Greece and, for that matter, Scotland, Taiwan is one of the few countries in the world where large-scale public referendum is on the table as a political possibility. Yet there has been little commentary regarding what lessons the Greek and Scottish referendum can offer Taiwan in terms of lessons.
Article 9 and Japan’s Democratic Crisis
Once again, we find ourselves in the situation where tens of thousands of individuals gather on the streets in an Asian metropolitan area, but the situation is largely not reported globally. Today we find ourselves in Japan, where up to sixty thousand gathered last Wednesday in front of the Diet to protest the repeal of Japan’s Article 9 and one hundred thousand are expected to gather over the weekend against the planned repeal and in favor of that Article 9 remain as part of the Japanese constitution. Though the actual crowd count is unclear, over ten thousand gather daily.
Marxist Basics with Parson: How Did Stalin and Mao Betray Marxism?
Nowadays most people would associate the word “Communism” with a twisted society plagued by poverty, totalitarianism, and a cult of personality. In the past century there certainly were politicians such as Joseph Stalin, Mao Zedong, and Kim Il-sung who shamelessly built such societies in the name of Marxism. However, can the formation and the eventual collapse of these governments really prove that Marxism is fundamentally wrong?
How Could A Demonstration of 50,000 in Shanghai Not Be Reported in International Media?
Shanghai in the last month has seen massive mobilizations, some reports of which claim that up to 50,000 participated in environmental demonstrations against the building of a chemical plant. This has not at all been reported upon in western media, although details in Sinophone media are also sparse. The past week of actions dates to June 22nd, when a demonstration in which protestors occupied the space outside the Jinshui District Government in the suburb of Jinshui, Shanghai. Protestors were demonstrating against the building of a PX chemical plant in Shanghai, despite government claims that such a plant was not being built.
Taiwan’s Textbook Controversy and the Struggle Over Taiwanese History
Yesterday afternoon, demonstrators gathered at a site near the Ministry of Education for an afternoon of speeches, before marching at just before 6 PM to the Ministry of Education to throw paper airplanes into the Ministry of Education courtyard. The paper airplanes were made from folded up letters written by students expressing their dissatisfaction with planned textbook revisions. These changes have been referred to as a “black box” in line with the CSSTA trade agreement that the Ma administration attempted to push through legislature last year, as well as a “second Sunflower Movement.”
At Heart, What are the Fears of the Pro-Unification Left?
It would seem that there is something of a divide among the so-called pro-unification Left about the Sunflower Movement these days. Namely, there seems to be a divide between those who are in some way more sympathetic to the Sunflower Movement as an expression of Taiwanese society and those who would seek to dismiss the movement as a whole. This is perhaps how we can understand the divide within the Taiwanese pro-unification Left in regards to Joyce Liu’s recent article concerning the Sunflower Movement published in Ground Breaking and its critique of older, more traditional voices of the pro-unification Left as Zhao Gang.
美國民主黨總統大選候選人希拉蕊．柯林頓 24 號在臉書公佈了她最新的競選短片，以數個同志婚禮場景的影像，並以自己的聲音做旁白，表明自己對同志權益特別是對同志婚姻的支持。諷刺的是，希拉蕊在 2013 年之前都曾數次表達自己反同婚的立場，例如她在 2008 年角逐民主黨總統候選人時的理念，認為婚姻是屬於「一個男人和一個女人間的結合」。當去年民主黨黨內總統候選人初選正如火如荼進行中時，在一則 National Public Radio 的訪問裡，希拉蕊表明他支持「同志權利即是人權」的立場，但這些權利必須讓各州政府去決定，換句話說，她並不支持同志婚姻在國家聯邦層級受到認可。
Beyond Targeting Hung Hsiu-Chu
In the project of actively eliminating the KMT from Taiwan, civil society will have to take the leading role, but it will only be able to do so if it is able itself to arrive at the awareness of that the Hung Hsiu-Chu candidacy is reflective of the crisis of the KMT as a whole and that the Hung Hsiu-Chu candidacy is too valuable an opportunity to damage the KMT as a whole to pass up.
The South Korean Hydis Workers and Taiwanese International Capitalism
What the actions of the Taipei police in the last several days have demonstrated is not only racism, as can be seen in the how police treated South Korean Hydis workers demonstrating in Taiwan, but, as can be seen during the initial arrest of Hydis workers and the reaction to Taiwanese Hydis supporters who rallied afterwards, Taipei police has become prone to overreacting with overwhelming force to protests. But we can also point towards racism on the part of the Taipei police as a reason for why they would react so violently this time around? More generally, regarding the dilemma of Hydis workers, can we relate the dilemma of the Hydis workers to the broader question the role of Taiwanese companies who own factories in other parts of Asia, and are often responsible for exploitative conditions?
Marxist Basics with Parson
“Socialism” is a term that’s often conjured up in public discourse, yet seemingly amorphous in our political vocabulary. Taiwanese Social Democratic Party leader Fan Yun publicly discusses her approval of socialism. US politician Bernie Sanders, who is seeking the Democratic nomination for presidential candidate, calls himself a “Scandinavian socialist.” The President of France Francois Hollande’s political party is called the Socialist Party. On the other hand, the former USSR referred to itself as a “socialist country”—as does today’s China. This one single term seems to cover so many different political philosophies. What is the basic demand of socialism, then?
Electoral Politics for 2016 in the US and Taiwan
Though it proves too early to forecast the results of 2016 elections in either Taiwan or America, we might use this time to provide some sketches as to how elections are shaping up to be at this juncture. Namely, we might point towards a homology between the situation in America and in Taiwan. Broadly, we might point towards the structural condition between two-party liberal democracies that operate under a free market economic system as the reason for similarities between the situation in Taiwanese and American elections.
The Pro-Independence Left versus the Pro-Unification Left in the Sinophone World
It would seem after the Sunflower Movement, the actions of the pro-unification Left in and outside Taiwan has become increasingly aggressive in its criticisms and attacks conducted on Taiwanese civil society. Namely, what is aimed for by these groups, mostly Marxist or socialist in orientation, is the establishment of a single socialist nation, inclusive of China, Hong Kong, and Taiwan. We might venture a criticism of our own.
How is the KMT Still a Thing?
We can write mountains of books condemning the KMT and calling for its destruction, as we’ve done for decades. Yet, it remains not only a major political party, but also a democratically elected ruling party of our country of 8 years. There isn’t another authoritarian political party in the world that survives and adapts to liberal democracy as well as the KMT. We already know that the reason for their resilience certainly isn’t the righteousness of their ideology or moral integrity. It is then worthwhile to find a material, historical analysis on how KMT was able to adapt, morph, and remains in control of the Taiwanese society.
想想看，假如海外台灣人和台裔美國人社群在太陽花運動期間不是全力支持學生抗爭，而是極力質疑抗爭學生不懂複雜的經濟問題，進而完全忽視他們，說他們操之過急，這種問題最好還是交給政府決定，會帶來怎樣的結果。確實，有些人就是用這種論調回應的。但海外台灣人和台裔美國人社群在去年三月，多半還是積極聲援學生，並呼籲全世界關注台灣民主政治的危機。那時，全世界各地都發起了聲援太陽花抗爭的示威遊行。但馬英九政權片面決定讓台灣申請成為中國主導的亞洲基礎建設投資銀行（Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank，簡稱「亞投行」AIIB）會員的舉動，卻在部分海外台灣人及台裔美國人社群中引發了和去年大相逕庭的回應。
Neoliberalism, Ethnocentrism, and Taiwanese Independence
Imagine if during the Sunflower Movement, instead of rallying in support of student activists, the reaction of the overseas Taiwanese and Taiwanese-American community had been to remark skeptically as to the understanding of student activists’ understanding of complicated, economic manners, then to write them off as having been overly hasty in their actions. For the most part, overseas Taiwanese and Taiwanese-American groups, came forward in support of students and sought to call attention to Taiwan’s crisis of democracy during March of last year. Yet the response of some Taiwanese-American groups to the Ma administration’s recent unilateral decision for Taiwan to apply to the Chinese Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank may be surprising.
Why Socialism is Taiwan’s Only Hope for Independence
The chief reason why Taiwanese independence still resides in the margins of Taiwanese politics despite widespread support is because of Taiwan’s capitalist sociopolitical system. If the Taiwanese Left truly wants to realize an independent, sovereign Taiwan, it must recognize that our current political establishment needs to be replaced by one that truly reflects the majoritarian opinion, rather than a system that is controlled by the wealthy.
太陽花運動是從 2014 年 3 月 18 日開始的，正是整整一年前。事件發生一年後，在我們這些有心參與台灣前途的人們看來，結論是很明確的：太陽花運動創造了歷史。而今，太陽花運動走進了歷史。太陽花運動將與過往爭取台灣民主的漫漫長路上一連串的鬥爭並列，像是 1979 年的美麗島事件，以及 1990 年的野百合運動。但我們要怎麼在歷史上指出太陽花運動的具體影響，則仍未明朗。事實上，此刻其實還言之過早。但我們至少可以分析過去一年裡那些能夠追溯到太陽花運動的事件。
How to Become a Meaningful New Party in Taiwan?
The spirit of Sunflower is at the gates of the Legislative Yuan again. This time, it aims to rescue Taiwan’s hard-earned democracy by challenging the bipartisan gridlock that has stymied the nation for far too long. How can Dr. Fan Yun’s Social Democratic Party and Freddy Lim’s New Power Party emerge as true Leftist alternatives for the Taiwanese people? Should they be elected, how can they avoid being bullied into the margin by the two parties of the ruling class? Which direction should they pursue to grow into a true force of change for Taiwan?
The Significance of 330 for Taiwan
Despite the very transparent success of 330, another way of looking at it, 330 was a failed revolutionary situation. 500,000 had descended upon Taipei—some five percent of the Taiwanese population—but the opportunity had actually been missed where no demands were realized from the government that day. Though protest had taken place during 330 on a scale not seen in decades, the protest had just been a large-scale demonstration, much larger than any of the large-scale demonstrations in previous months or years, but not substantially different where it was a one-day act of protest. Yet how are the possibilities for Left politics in Taiwan changed after 330?
Police Violence in the Sunflower Movement
Police violence was intimately tied up with the history of the Sunflower Movement from the beginning. The initial occupation by students on the night of March 18th, 2014 was resisted by police from the get-go. Did anyone, after all, expect police to simply step aside as students forced their way into the Legislative Yuan chambers? But it is as a result that police violence has also been a controversial issue, with some pointing towards the brutality of police, still others offering that police were only doing their jobs, and some pointing towards the illegality of police actions altogether. We might take a look back at major incidents of police violence.
A Year of Sunflowers?
The Sunflower Movement began on March 18th, 2014, one year ago today. One year after the fact, for those of us who concern ourselves with Taiwan’s future, the verdict is clear: the Sunflower Movement made history. And now, the Sunflower Movement has passed into history. The Sunflower Movement will take its place alongside past struggles in the long journey of Taiwanese democracy as the Wild Lily Movement of 1990 and the Kaohsiung Incident of 1979. But less clear is what, in history, we will be able to point to as the concrete effects of the movement. In truth, it is still too early to tell. But we can examine the past year’s events as we can root them in the Sunflower Movement.
Fukushima Four Years on in Taiwan and Japan
On March 14th, 60,000 Taiwanese took the streets across Taiwan in order to protest nuclear power. This was largely in Taiwan’s major metropolitan centers, Taipei, Kaohsiung, and Tainan. Taipei saw around 40,000, Kaohsiung 11,000, and Tainan 5,000. Smaller protests also took place in Taitung County and on the Penghu Islands, but the total amount of protestors is generally estimated to be between 40,000 and 60,000. How are to look at this in the broader context, four years after Fukushima?
Twilight of the Idols?
Recent weeks have seen defacements of Chiang Kai-Shek statues in Taipei, Taichung, Taoyuan, Keelung, Tainan, and other metropolitan areas. Namely, Chiang Kai-Shek statues are to be found all over Taiwan, so far as part of the “official history” of Taiwan mandated by state education, Chiang Kai-Shek is the heroic founder of the Republic of China whom Taiwanese citizenry should hail as an embodiment of patriotic and civic virtue. But what this flags for us is that the recent campaign of defacements of Chiang Kai- Shek statues across Taiwan, more or less in the period surrounding the yearly commemoration of the 228 Massacre in 1947, is a struggle over history.
Interview: Ian Rowen
On January 19th, New Bloom’s Brian Hioe interviewed Ian Rowen, a Ph. D candidate at the University of Colorado who was present in Taiwan during the Sunflower movement and Hong Kong during the Umbrella movement, making him one of the few individuals to have experienced both movements in the past year. He has written on both movements in publications including The Guardian, the Journal of Asian Studies, The BBC (Chinese), Occupy.com, and Thinking Taiwan.
Against Both KMT and DPP?
That on February 21, Chthonic frontman and longtime Taiwanese independence activist, Freddy Lim, declared his intent to run for legislator of his native Daan district in 2016 has been the latest development in Taiwanese electoral politics as we approach 2016 legislative and presidential elections. Lim plans on running as a candidate of the New Power Party, which was founded in late January. But more broadly, we can point to Lim’s candidacy as one of a series of developments which occur in the aftermath of the Sunflower Movement and the victory of Ko Wen-Je during nine-in-one elections of November of last year.
Profile: Gongsheng Music Festival (共生音樂節)
In early February, New Bloom interviewed Yeh Jiunn Tyng (葉俊廷) concerning the 2015 Gongsheng Music Festival (共生音樂節), a music festival held annually at Freedom Plaza in Taipei in order to commemorate the 228 Massacre Incident, which is currently the largest 228 commemoration event in Taiwan. Yeh Jiunn Tyng is one of the founders of the event, as well as one of the founding editors of New Bloom.
Anti-Nuclear Activism in Taiwan and Japan
When we find ourselves in the situation of trying to point to lessons that social movements in one national context can offer to social movements in other contexts, the difficulty we rapidly encounter is that sometimes social movements are the product of particularities of their respective national contexts. But can a transnational comparison between the Taiwanese anti-nuclear movement in 2014 and the Japanese anti-nuclear movement in 2012 shed light upon future paths for anti-nuclear activism in Asia?
A Sexualized Movement Without Sexual Rights
The scandal which has rocked Taiwanese activist circles in the past week has been Sunflower movement leader and Miaoli legislator hopeful Chen Wei-Ting’s admission of several sexual harassment incidents. Why the scandal over Chen Wei-Ting would become such a large incident was because the significance of Chen entering electoral politics was viewed in terms of Chen’s personal appeal as a political actor and individual rather than in terms of what Chen represented. In this way, the actual questions at hand in regards to deep-rooted issues of male sexism and chauvinism in Taiwanese activist politics and society end up buried.
Storming the Legislature a Second Time?
On December 9th, Chen Wei-Ting of Sunflower Movement fame announced his plans to run for legislator of his native Miaoli. A recent poll conducted by TVBS week suggests that Chen would be victorious in elections. But what are we to make of that Sunflower Movement activists are now running for electoral positions? What would Sunflower Movement activists accomplish through running as political candidates and by way of participation in electoral campaigns?
A Month of Labor Demonstrations in Taiwan
Although as was to be expected, media was mostly preoccupied with nine-in-one elections, the past month in Taiwan has been one marked by no shortage of activity by organized labor. In particular, this was driven on by two groups: the Former Toll Collectors’ Self-Help Organization and employees of Hualon Group. But if the past nine-in-one elections represent something new for Taiwanese politics, can new avenues of possibility be forced open for Taiwanese organized labor?
Hong Kong’s “New Normal”
Is Hong Kong’s Umbrella Revolution over? This has been the question that many have asked themselves over the past month, both in Hong Kong and outside of it. As the Umbrella Revolution stretched on past one month, then over two months, the international news coverage which drew the world’s attention to the movement has slowly dwindled. The fact that people both in and outside of Hong Kong have been continually asking themselves whether the Umbrella Revolution is over is, in fact, proof enough that it is not over. Yet if the Umbrella Revolution has already succeeded in transforming Hong Kong, it remains a salient question as to how it will end.
Profile: Taiwan Alliance for Victims of Urban Renewal
On August 27th, New Bloom’s Brian Hioe interviewed Chen Hung-Ying and Long San-Peng from Taiwan Alliance for Victims of Urban Renewal concerning Taiwan Alliance for Victims of Urban Renewal’s work concerning urban renewal and forced eviction in cities in Taiwan. This is the fourth of a series of interview profiles that New Bloom will be doing with Taiwanese NGOs and civil society organizations, in an effort to present a picture of Taiwanese civil society to an international audience.
New Bloom UK Editor Sam Sussman sat down with Hong Kong social movements researcher Larry Au to chat about the specifically Hong Kongese political experiences and traditions from which the movement developed its organizational and rhetorical strength. Larry is an M.Sc in Global Governance and Diplomacy at the University of Oxford, and previously researched Hong Kong social movements at Brown.
Eye of the Storm: Dian Dian
As part of our continuing Eye of the Storm: Voices from the Hong Kong Occupation series of interviews conducted by New Bloom with participants, organizers, and observers of the Hong Kong democracy movement, we interviewed Dian Dian, editor of the Queer Lala Times (酷拉時報) on October 9th.
Storm Clouds over Hong Kong
In the face of the suspension of negotiations to protest police inaction against the assault of pro-Beijing mobs, Hong Kong Chief Executive Leung Chung-Ying now declares that protestors have until the early morning hours of Monday to withdraw. As protestors refused, the coming hours will prove decisive for Hong Kong, with the threat of violence once more on the table. Will Hong Kong’s democracy movement be able to weather the coming storm?
Eye of the Storm: Lucetta Kam
This is the first of an upcoming series of interviews conducted by New Bloom with participants, organizers, and observers of the Hong Kong democracy movement entitled “Eye of the Storm: Voices from the Hong Kong Occupation”. We interviewed Dr. Lucetta Kam, who is a professor at Hong Kong Baptist University and an organizer of Hong Kong Scholars Alliance for Sexual and Gender Diversity, on September 29th.
Hong Kong in Crisis
Where just a month ago, it seemed as though Occupy Central was on the decline, that Hong Kong would see no mass protest over China’s refusal to permit free elections, Hong Kong’s student activists have seized the day.
Crisis and Resurgence
The Sunflower Movement has inspired a new wave of overseas Taiwanese student movement. The March 30th global mobilization against the undemocratic procedure of the Cross-Strait Services Trade Agreement with China that the Ma’s Administration pushed the Congress to sign behind backdoor organized overseas Taiwanese people across 16 countries and 49 cities.
Looking Back on 323
Bolao (伯勞) is the pseudonym of an American of Taiwanese descent living in Taipei. Through a strange set of circumstances, though an American by birth and upbringing, he was involved in the attempt invade and occupy the Executive Yuan, Taiwan’s executive branch of government. The following is his investigation into and personal account of the Executive Yuan and Legislative Yuan occupation, both of which he was a participant in.
The Impossibility of Democracy in Hong Kong?
Does the possibility exist for Hong Kong to attain democracy? This question has yet to be settled. In the face of China’s refusal to allow non-vetted candidates to run for Hong Kong’s Chief Executive, the highest political position in the Hong Kong government, the stage is set for Occupy Central to once again seize control of Hong Kong’s Central district, the city’s financial and economic heart.
Social Movements from an International Perspective
I have participated in social movements for close to two years, thanks to the Ma administration, but this year, Taiwan social movements surged up with a raising of people’s consciousness of social issues. But while these can be called “movements,” these usually address domestic issues such as urban renewal, land development, labor disputes, and conservation. Issues which are not domestic such as cross-strait relations, the military, and discussions of foreign affairs are not usually talked about.
筆者本次到美國，是受福爾摩沙基金會（Formosa Foundation）之邀，以太陽花運動參與者的身分參加該基金會今年的大使計畫（Ambassador Program 2014）。該營隊為期 12 天，第一週的內容是授課，講者從學者、智庫、到商業協會都有，內容包括台美關係發展史、東亞軍事、世界貿易/協議/組織、中國崛起等，第二週則是計畫的重頭戲，分組至國會各辦公室遊說，為期四天，每組一天約拜訪十個辦公室，整個計畫共計拜訪了將近120個議員辦公室（包括參議院與眾議院）。
台灣2014年三月太陽花運動在新加坡引起了兩種比較明顯的反應。星國主流媒體和官方一般以亂象看待太陽花。民間和社會媒體則藉著這次運動，開始從新認識政府權限和公民參與的問題。怎麼說是「從新認識」？其實，上世紀五、六十年代，也就是台灣戒嚴、白色恐怖時代，正是星國反殖民、學生、公會等運動最活躍的時候。五、六十多年後的今天，星國在人民行動黨長期嚴厲執政下，似乎遺忘了自己的這段歷史。而太陽花在台灣盛開的時候，也正好碰上了英國政府開放大量外交與英聯邦辦公室（Foreign and Commonwealth Office）和殖民地辦公室（Colonial Office）的歷史檔案。這兩件似乎沒有關聯的事情放在一起，再加上星國近幾年在人口、公共交通、貧富懸殊、房價、物價上受到的衝激，啟發了關心社會議題的新加坡人對政治制度的反思。
Where Have All the Sunflowers Gone?
During one of the initial planning meetings for New Bloom approximately a month after the end of the Legislative Yuan occupation, one editor wryly pointed out that during the height of the Sunflower movement, it was very hard to find sunflowers in flower shops—but now it was easy to do so again.
It would seem that Asia is in the streets these days. Three months have passed since Taiwan’s Sunflower movement. With the revival of Hong Kong’s Occupy Central in new form, sovereignty issues regarding mainland China and questions of democracy have generally taken center stage whereas Chinese speaking countries and territories on China’s periphery are concerned.
What the Sunflower Movement unveiled for Taiwan
ON THE NIGHT OF March 18th 2014, a number of Taiwanese young people rushed into the Legislative Yuan, and began an occupation of the legislative chamber that lasted over 20 days in protest of the Cross-Strait Agreement on Trade in Services (CSSTA) which had been passed by legislators without detailed examination.