Fri, Jul 02, 2004 - Page 8 News List

What lies in a name is trickybusiness

By Chin Heng-wei金恆煒

Before asking what the difference is between the blue camp's Democratic Alliance and academia's Democratic Action Alliance, we should first ask what are the similarities. Looking at the names there is little difference, except for the word "action" in the second. Both begin and end with "democratic" and "alliance." Also, both emerged after the presidential election. If we wanted to compare their etymology, we might say that they were twins.

But there are areas of uncertainty. First, the Democratic Action Alliance is an actual entity that emphasized "a middle force and beneficial social consciousness" in its charter. The Democratic Alliance is, despite much passionate talk, no more than a castle in the air, and aims to achieve no more than approval from the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) and the People First Party (PFP) to incorporate its members into their camp.

Put another way, the Democratic Alliance, come the year-end legislative elections, will be an anti-green force and is completely in accord with the blue camp. It is something very different from the Democratic Action Alliance with its emphasis on a middle way and beneficial social knowledge, for it is blue to the core.

It is interesting to speculate why the Democratic Action Alliance, with its emphasis on balance and the public good, and the purely politically motivated Democratic Alliance have such similar names. Why do they brand themselves in such a similar ways? You might say that it was the result of political sleight-of-hand, or you might simply say that it was a lie.

Former US president Abraham Lincoln is widely thought to have said, "You can fool all of the people some of the time, and some of the people all of the time, but you can't fool all of the people all of the time." Lincoln was referring to deceit. Sadly, the Democratic Action Alliance could only fool us for a month. Even more sadly, it was their own people who saw through the illusion.

The foolish former DPP chairman Hsu Hsin-liang (許信良), who once vied for the presidency, has called for the creation of the Democratic Alliance only to be distained by KMT members who accuse him of being a "a third power who wants to create an alliance to suck the KMT dry." Hsu was forced to pull back and keep a low profile after that, but from beneath his banner came Cheng Li-wen (鄭麗文) ready for battle, even though the only weapons at her disposal were the well-worn ones of blue-versus-green conflict, saying that the KMT was attacking its own for the benefit of the DPP.

The battle between this third power and the KMT has nothing to do with public affairs, but the fact that Cheng has colluded with the Democratic Action Alliance cannot be denied. In the Democratic Action Alliance's anti-6108 declaration [against the proposed NT$610.8 billion arms deal], Cheng led the charge, proving that the two alliances have been made from the same mold. So the secret is out as to whom the two fake democratic alliances are really acting for.

Chin Heng-wei is editor-in-chief of Contemporary Monthly magazine.

TRANSLATED BY Ian Bartholomew

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