Thursday, March 20, 2014

My Opinion: Confused Courage of Taiwan Student Activists

Workplaces with under thirty workers cannot be legally unionized in Taiwan. There is no overtime pay for most workers who are obliged to work overtime, anyway. The year-end bonus is a tool for the boss to control his workers, and workers look forward to getting it in lieu of higher wages. Mom and pop stores and factories use child labor, usually their own children, and relatives who work for peanuts out of guilt. There is hardly any occupational safety. It seems natural to do business like this in Taiwan.

The work conditions have been poor in Taiwan even before the Japanese imperialists took over the island in 1895. They codified the small farm system as colonial slavery letting the wealthy Han bosses be masters of their own coolie workers brought over by the Dutch, Portuguese, and Chinese to pick tea leaves and distill sugar and opium. Nowadays, American business know-how has modernized the wage slavery with Fast Food Nation mentality; mostly part-time jobs without worker benefits. Taiwanese entrepreneurs  have taken well this newfangled exploitation. The Japanese can do it, the Americans can do it, the interlopers from China after WW II can do it, the neo-liberal upstart second party DPP can do it, then why can't the neo-communist unifiers from China today muzzle in on the Taiwan territory and take their own piece of the pie from the workers; why not the whole pie?

What the ruling class has in mind is a sappy mix of Japanese, American, and Chinese bosses. The ruling class has no nationality of its own; it has no home. It has no family, friends, or true love when push comes to shove. The ruling class would sell out their own children and parents to keep its own prestige and power. The ruling class wants only to rule, to sit  and tell other people to work for them rather than do the work themselves.

There is nothing the ruling class and the working class have in common.

The students and demonstrators  have used guerrilla  theater to take over the legislature and barricade themselves in to protest the unilateral trade agreement the Chinese-leaning Kuomintang oppressors would make with their Chinese counterparts. They may see the little picture; lost jobs in Taiwan to imported lower-waged Chinese workers and their bosses. They may see the bigger picture of lives without job security and careers because of the Fast Food Nation franchises. But they don't see the biggest picture: wage slavery without union power and protection. You can't miss something you've never had and Taiwan has never had the right to collective bargaining unions for all workers. Never.

Workers must build the new society out of the shell of the old by organizing in a union against the ruling class. The class war is a war to end all wars. Let the headstrong activists throw their shoes at politicians and barricade themselves in government chambers until the S.W.A.T teams remove them. They will get arrested, go on trial, and eventually be released into a Taiwan society no better or worse for their effort and discomfort. They may be black-listed or face expulsion from college.

For workers, no matter what color the ruling class is - red, blue, and green or red, white, and blue - they will still be victims of the ruling class. They will still need to learn that there is power in the hands of working men and women when they stand hand in hand. It is a power that must rule in every land; One Industrial Union grand.

Solidarity Forever,
x 347367

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