Tue, Aug 12, 2003 - Page 8 News List

Editorial: Taiwan's color spectrum widens

The KMT is a political party for industrialists; the DPP is a representative of disadvantaged groups. These were their basic positions for many years. Since the DPP came to power, however, it has moved closer to business. Although the recent establishment of the Alliance for Fairness and Justice, or the Pan-Purple Alliance, formed by several social activist and disadvantaged groups does not represent a split between the DPP and social-activist groups, it does mean that these groups have issued a challenge to the DPP. Whether the alliance will become a friend or an enemy in next year's presidential election will depend on the party's response.

Since its inception, the DPP has reflected the opinions and power of social-activist groups. From environmentalists, labor unions, women's groups, handicapped-people's groups, educational and Aboriginal movements, we can see the DPP's support and encouragement. After coming to power, however, the DPP found it difficult to realize its ideals -- and meet the expectations of many activist groups. For example, it was forced to resume construction the Fourth Nuclear Power Plant issue in the face of the fierce political opposition, international pressure and a weakening economy. Even though the DPP had at least made an effort to stop construction of the plant, the anti-nuclear groups are still unhappy with the party. As a result, the DPP has no choice but to rebuild its relations with anti-nuclear groups by pushing a referendum on the future of the Fourth Nuclear Power Plant.

The DPP has positioned itself as a reformist party on most social issues. However, the party's revolutionary spirit has now been replaced by the capitalist consideration of competition. As the blue and green camps vie with each other to curry favor with vested interests, the idea of fairness, justice and helping the disadvantaged have been sacrificed. In the eyes of many activists, the DPP has forsaken its ideals. The changes in the party's social foundations and loss of its core values were key factors in its defeat in the recent Hualien County commissioner by-election.

Looking at street demonstrations in the past year -- from the labor protests against the hike in health-insurance fees, to farmers' protests against agricultural-financing reforms, to protests against educational reforms -- we can see the KMT's vigorous effort to transform itself.

Now, with the establishment of the Pan-Purple Alliance, we can see the loosening of the DPP's basic support. The DPP can absorb some support from business circles, use the independence-unification issue to distinguish the green camp from the blue camp, or use the referendum issue to solidify its support base. However, whether the Pan-Purple Alliance fields its own candidate or remains neutral in next year's election, it could still take votes from the DPP.

The blue camp stands to benefit from the Pan-Purple Alliance. The alliance may act as a pressure group in the election and force both the blue and green camps to accommodate its opinions. This will help correct the one-sided social values of both the blue and green camps. But if the Pan-Blue Alliance gets too involved, it will become a campaigner for the blue camp.

The question is: which side is more sympathetic to the ideas of the purple alliance, the blue camp or the green?

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