Monday, March 16, 2015

My Opinion: Bupkis Forum Doesn't Mention Taiwan's Vacuum of Workers' Rights

My Opinion: Bupkis Forum Doesn't Mention Taiwan's Vacuum of Workers' Rights

Without mentioning how forming independent labor unions in Taiwan has always been illegal, the one-sided forum on the eve of the one year anniversary of the so-called "Sunflower Movement" protests ignores the five hundred pound gorilla that has been sitting in the room in Taiwan since 1947's protected massacre of Taiwan intellectuals: The United States government. 

The  forum participants one-sidedly blame every red herring as cause of last year's social unrest, except the United States capitalist New World Order and DPP's power sharing scheme. It blames "classic imperialism of the Japanese colonial period, through the US’ informal empire during the Cold War and the neo-liberal US hegemony in the post-Cold War period" like the cold war was a period and not a general policy. The U.S. has had a cold war against workers since 1886 when dozens of workers were gunned down by police at Haymarket Square in Chicago for demonstrating against police brutality and for the forty-hour work week. The U.S. government was anti-worker then and is anti-worker now. 

Show me once when the U.S. spoke out for workers' rights as Western carpetbagger carved up Taiwan  and the sweatshop movement crossed Central America into Asia. What is this crap about "the latest new imperialism of a rising China” when Taiwan keeps the dirty water never trying to find a clean spring?

The naive followers dubbed the "Sunflower Movement," their egocentric leaders, and predatory DPP instigators and talking heads better take note: Taiwan workers would have better lives and higher standards of living without their rhetoric if they could see clear to organizing themselves. 

It is a major injustice that, given the opportunity of neo-liberal two party system from a one-party dictatorship, the DPP has chosen to be a part of the ruling class instead of going for higher ground: There is no criticism of the U.S. government for outsourcing a work force from Taiwan without outsourcing union representative demands. Instead the DPP chooses to keep Taiwan workers in purgatory to keep China and its KMT promoters out dismissing the major downward influence in Taiwan: the privatization of social services and franchised low no-future wages for its youthful workers, Sixteen years of no growth for workers' salaries, not all of them under the KMT (some under a DPP president) cannot be blamed on China, either.

This bupkis academic panel of experts only helps the DPP become the new bosses of the Taiwanese worker adrift without union representation. 

When will the DPP start talking about instituting a living wage in Taiwan? 

When will the DPP start talking about enforcing a forty-hour workweek with paid overtime, time and a half, and double time for work done on holidays? 

When will the DPP raise the roof about the enslavement of workers who wait all year long under oppressive conditions for their kind boss to give them a bonuses?

 When will they make a stink about oppressive child labor, overseas bridal abuse, and the sex trade? When will they stop "importing" (to use Mayor Ko's accurate but lambasted terminology) slave labor at the lowest possible wage? 

When will the DPP cry one crocodile tear for the tips from customers workers are forbidden to take, tips that go directly into the bosses pockets, anyway?

This forum is blind or corrupt. The problem for workers in Taiwan will not materialize when Chinese business comes; it has been here for sixty-seven years with  U.S.A. "Free China" rhetoric. 

When workers can freely organize themselves in Taiwan, when the Sunflower youth can get jobs and protest against their bosses instead of hitting their heads against government walls, workers of Taiwan will surely realize that their best friend is not the DPP, KMT, China, or the U.S.A.

Their best friend is their fellow worker in a union of collective decision making and collective bargaining. A Union is the best friend workers can have, There is singly no one government or political party that can raise our standard living but a union of brave, strong-willed, like-minded union of workers. 

There is power in the hands of working folk. 
For One Big Union
Solidarity Forever

Sunflower movement ‘not accidental’

SOCIAL PHENOMENON::Academics discussed the historical context and impact of the student-led protest on Taiwanese politics, society and culture at a Taipei forum

By Alison Hsiao  /  Staff reporter

Sun, Mar 15, 2015 - Page 3

The birth of the Sunflower movement might have been unexpected, but its emergence as a demonstration of civic power in the face of Taiwanese capitalists’ colluding with a rising China was not accidental, academics said yesterday at a forum in Taipei.
Days before the first anniversary of the Sunflower movement — the civil protest that broke out in March last year in opposition to the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT)-dominated legislature’s ramming through a controversial cross-strait service trade agreement — academics gathered to discuss its impact on Taiwanese politics, society and culture.
Participants included sociology and history researchers who placed the Sunflower movement in a larger geopolitical setting and a longer time frame, saying it was the culmination of past movements and called for a rethinking of Taiwan’s nationhood, its relationship to China, and its reaction to and suspicion of the so-called China factor.
Academia Sinica’s Institute of Taiwan History associate research fellow Wu Rwei-ren (吳叡人), who has been studying the history of Taiwanese political thought and the theoretical foundation for civic nationalism, said that the 318 movement — as the Sunflower movement is also known — signifies a “leftist turn” of the social base of Taiwanese nationalism.
“Contemporary Taiwan has emerged after wading through different periods of capitalism/imperialism — from the classic imperialism of the Japanese colonial period, through the US’ informal empire during the Cold War and the neo-liberal US hegemony in the post-Cold War period, to the latest new imperialism of a rising China,” Wu said.
Different from the earlier democratization period in which nation-building was based on forming strong ties with capital owners, the 318 generation, struggling in a world where China engages in “free trade imperialism” and with Taiwan’s capital turning into “comprador capital,” has come to define the question “Who are Taiwanese?” with the 1-percent-versus-99-percent distinction, Wu said.
Wu Hung-chang (吳鴻昌), a postdoctoral researcher at Academia Sinica’s Institute of Sociology, said the Sunflower movement should be viewed in the fabric of a post-Cold War world.
Taiwan’s status has been changing — from being considered an “unsinkable aircraft carrier” against communist China to a precarious state in a world where the US first befriended China, but now regards it as a potential rival, he said.
“The Sunflower movement can be seen as a statement for correctly positioning Taiwan: that Taiwanese will not be fooled by the attempts [of the Chinese Communist Party and the KMT] to label the cross-strait relationship with ‘Chinese Civil War’ rhetoric,” he said. “The movement has also demonstrated that Taiwanese youth are not persuaded by China’s ‘great nation’ framework.”
Academia Sinica’s Institute of Sociology associate research fellow Wu Jieh-min (吳介民) put the movement in the context of a shorter time frame, saying that resistance against the “China factor” had been building up since 2008, when the visit of then-Association for Relations Across the Taiwan Straits chairman Chen Yunlin (陳雲林) sparked accusations of police brutality, a phenomenon that had not been seen in the country for at least 20 years.
It was followed in 2009 by the government’s rejection of exiled Uighur leader Rebiya Kadeer’s application to visit Taiwan, and in 2012 by the protests against media monopolization, which also carried elements of Chinese influence, as China Times Group chairman Tsai Eng-meng (蔡衍明) is “unabashedly pro-Beijing,” Wu Jieh-min said.
The social movement against the “China factor” has been a “long-wave” one, as Beijing’s highly modern politico-economic statecraft, which takes the form of a commercial mode to bargain for political fidelity and is exactly what the “China factor” is about, has been making and continues to find its way into the nation, he said.
While the Chinese government has tried to appear unconcerned about the movement and called the result of the nine-in-one elections last year “a glitch,” Chinese President Xi Jinping’s (習近平) recent mention of the so-called “1992 consensus” betrayed the shock it felt,” he said.
“The consensus had not been mentioned by the Chinese supreme leader for some time. Beijing has always tried to turn the screw on Taiwan by pushing forward from the consensus to a solid ‘one China’ framework. Moving back to the consensus is an adjustment made on the part of Beijing,” he said.

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