The fundamental sentiment underlying the vigil that was held on the eve of army corporal Hung Chung-chiu’s (洪仲丘) funeral was one of farewell.
By contrast, the sentiment underlying the ensuing demonstrations calling on the public to bring down the government was one of occupation.
Where the vigil was a dramatic and deeply moving event that touched upon the eternal issues of love and death, the protests were a ceremony aimed at highlighting the force of direct democracy that was described by some as “aggressive.”
Members of the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) ridiculed the demonstrations, saying that the participants were a group of highly frustrated individuals that were using the protest as a way to vent their frustrations and that it had nothing to do with the government’s demolition of houses in Miaoli County’s Dapu Borough (大埔).
What the KMT members, who are supported by the party’s ample assets, should be aware of is that the protests were also an expression of the collective public mood that has been built up by issues such as the Fourth Nuclear Power Plant in New Taipei City’s (新北市) Gongliao District (貢寮), Hung’s death and the government’s repeated spurning of civil society and constant deceit.
Slovenian philosopher and cultural critic Slavoj Zizek, who gave a speech during the Occupy Wall Street movement two years ago and who was ranked sixth in British magazine Prospect’s “World Thinker’s Poll 2013,” interprets these types of clashes that occur in capitalist society as “neo-apartheid.”
According to Zizek, capitalism and democracy are two sides of the same coin, even if some countries, like China and Vietnam, introduced capitalism and grew stronger, while avoiding democracy.
However, while capitalism has become more consolidated in capitalist societies, the wealth gap has grown increasingly wide. Wealth leads directly to power and the general public have been locked out of the so-called “democratic decisionmaking” of their governments.
The Occupy Wall Street movement said that 99 percent of people have been shut out from the political decisionmaking process and restricted by the corruption of the remaining 1 percent, dubbed the “new nobility.”
Furthermore, this new nobility is becoming hereditary, and Americans are discovering that the iconic “American dream” is dying a slow death as a result of the vicious circle created by this hereditary wealth.
People outside of the US may not know who the 1 percent are, but in Taiwan, the KMT has relied on its ill-gotten assets to build an enormous hereditary system of special privileges.
President Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) has developed this system into a black box for the inbreeding of loyal accomplices. When his approval ratings dropped to 13 percent, it was a hard blow to the president and he is now holding on even harder to the structure of accomplices financed by his party assets as he continues his arbitrary governance. To sum up, if the KMT does not collapse, then there is no justice in Taiwan.
The core KMT leadership the shifted to the legislature, so to bring down the government, it is now necessary to first bring down the party. The first step to accomplishing this is bringing down KMT legislators and then to stop the party from succeeding in next year’s seven-in-one elections.
The decision by Neil Peng (馮光遠) and others to launch a campaign to recall legislators loyal to Ma was the correct one and should be strongly supported by the public throughout the country as it will be a decisive battle.
Christian Fan Jiang is deputy secretary-general of the Northern Taiwan Society.
Translated by Perry Svensson