Sunday, March 1, 2015

My Opinion: Why Unions Must Sprout from Taiwanese Soil.

It is clear that Taiwan needs more indigenous proponents of labor unions; it won't come from the anti-union West, and it can't come from China.  Taiwanese workers need a homegrown movement fighting for their rights.

I am a foreign EFL teacher, tolerated in Taiwan, sometimes even looked up to, for the wrong reasons. As an educator, proven methods of language acquisition are frowned upon here unless I can teach to the test; teach how to join the ruling class and make more money exploiting others. Almost no one in Taiwan will listen to a foreigner telling them that their education is killing them. For centuries, foreigners have been what is killing Taiwan culture; why should I be trusted now? 

I am an old foreigner to the young "Sunflowers." They know that they are being screwed economically and have come to blame China because the KMT is kissing up to China and the DPP isn't. However, it is western capitalist business people who have been exploiting Taiwan for sixty-seven years, not China, but the underpaid youth blame China, not the West. Strange. Great American propaganda, right?

The Japanese put fear into Taiwan's heart years ago, but at least they were inclusive, within a glass ceiling. Taiwanese was spoken and used in schools and business. The Chinese ruling class came in '47 and took over without giving anything in return; only Mandarin language and Chinese patriotism. They slaughtered Taiwanese intellectuals and took over the land and schools after the 228 massacre. 

Today, the Democratic Progress Party (DPP) blames China and the KMT for the economic regression; look at the rhetoric of the "Sunflower Movement." Sixteen years of no salary increase, not because of China; because of America, yo. They should be blaming America and the Western capitalists who have carved up Taiwan with Starbucks and McDonald franchises, and low salaries. 

China is a peoples' republic with worker sensibilities in their constitution, more than in Taiwan. The Three Principles of the People of socialist Father Sun Yat-Sen has been trampled upon in Taiwan. Socialism is good. The Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) merely wants to keep its wealth and power in Taiwan in the event of a Chinese takeover, so they quote it. It sounds good. With the DPP in the American camp, China has no choice but to court the KMT; at least the KMT is still in control of the island if worst comes to worst. The United States, with forked tongue, supports the DPP despite the rhetoric that they agree with China that Taiwan is a part of it. It is so sad. The Three Principles are good. The United States government couldn't care less.

A workers' party in Taiwan that China should love would be the answer; a party that would not protect American interests in Taiwan, a party that would be more involved in protecting the interests of the Taiwanese people. If China could agree with the DPP about the corruption of the KMT without tumbling into the American camp, cast the KMT out, China could easily win the hearts and minds  of the Taiwanese people, but no; they support the KMT. The DPP doesn't care any more about workers' rights. They are into power-sharing; a neo-liberal fake democracy, just like in the U.S.A. 

How ironic it is that to defend workers' right and unions in Taiwan today is misunderstood as being pan-blue; a supporter of the KMT. That is what I was called on a blog here. How strange that the White Terror of KMT martial law is counter-productive for workers to fight for their rights today; workers are afraid to speak out. The Taiwanese worker has no place to go. 

Taiwanese workers have the will and they must find a way to raise their salary to a living wage. Forget China. Forget America. They can do it through an industrial union at each of their workplaces, no matter how big or small. The Industrial Workers of the World has a plan, but it takes guts, a whole lot of  guts. The IWW is a union for all the workers, a grassroots union that fights underground, the only means where, above ground, independent unions are illegal. We workers must fight for our rights; no one will give it to us. The Taiwanese must look into their empty pockets and stop blaming others for their misfortune. 

For One Big Union. 
Solidarity Forever! 

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