Fri, Jan 04, 2013 - Page 8 News List

Taiwan’s meek join forces, hit back

By Chiu Yu-bin 邱毓斌

A recent example can be seen in the recent strike by workers at textile producer Hualon Corp. In the past, this sort of movement would never have gained much attention outside of labor circles. However, in the recent Hualon strike, students played a prominent role, helping the strike staged by the workers to gain strength during the more than 100 days of its duration, giving mainstream media no choice but to report on the issue.

In addition, cyberspace is also making it easier to start collective actions. A recent example of this can be seen from the protests held by students on school campuses against media monopolization.

Looking back, we can see that the interaction of the real world and the Internet has strengthened public resistance to the government.

Finally, more people are realizing how important it is to make donations in support of lively civic groups. In the past, public donations mostly went to faith-based charity groups and political parties. However, faith-based charity groups are not willing to get involved in the deeper structures of our society and after the Democratic Progressive Party’s efforts on many social issues were ignored by social movements, the public has started to realize the social significance of civic groups and to donate to them. This has led to the strengthening of many social movements. The experience of many democracies has shown that a strong and independent civil society is a prerequisite for a democratic and fair society.

The average citizen must overcome a perceived lack of political power and learn to pay attention to a greater number of public affairs issues. People also need to make donations, work as volunteers and join organizations to take concrete action.

This year, this trend has become clearer than in the past. As our political and economic systems become more influenced by neoliberalism, it would not be surprising if groups of powerless citizens were to join hands to form larger and stronger social movements.

Chiu Yu-bin is an assistant professor in the Department of Social Development at the National Pingtung University of Education.

Translated by Drew Cameron

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