About 1,000 people yesterday rallied on Ketagalan Boulevard for the annual “autumn struggle” labor demonstration, voicing disappointment with mainstream politics and accusing major political parties of failing to benefit the public.
“Putting hopes in political parties is not practical as any growth in the economy would see unfair distribution, distribution that does not trickle down to the lower strata of society,” said Lin Tzu-wen (林子文), a long-time labor activist and the coordinator of the demonstration. “Labor unions are working to turn policies regarding workers benefits to the political left.”
“Trusting the political right has only brought pretensions to advancement,” he said.
Photo: Liao Chen-huei, Taipei Times
Organizers said the event was aimed at raising awareness of the need to challenge social class divisions and break through the division between the pan-blue and pan-green camps.
Citing the cross-strait trade accords, Lin said society should ask whether the deals benefit Taiwan, and how the pacts actually affect the lives of the lower classes.
Members of more than 50 social and labor groups took part in the rally, which later turned into a parade that took participants past the ministries of education and the interior, the Centers for Disease Control, the National Police Administration and Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) presidential candidate Tsai Ing-wen’s (蔡英文) campaign headquarters.
Photo: Liao Chen-huei, Taipei Times
Organizers said the event was aimed at highlighting four issues: education, land appropriation, gender equality and labor benefits.
The rally featured mobile drama pieces that aimed to show how right-wing policies have commercialized education, oppressed the working class, “gifted” land to corporations and “narrowed” the definitions of gender.
The Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) and the DPP were criticized for “idolizing” capitalism and supporting corporations. Participants were invited to step on a large pair of blue and white paper slippers symbolizing the KMT, while a green papier-mache piggy bank symbolizing the DPP was carried by some participants.
Demonstrators called for improvements to the pension system, full employment with all benefits for all workers, deprivatizing the education sector, protection of the labor rights of those who work on-campus jobs, more progressive gender policies and an end to abusive land development projects.
DPP Legislator Lee Ying-yuan (李應元), who served as chairman of the Council of Labor Affairs during the DPP’s administration, was at Tsai’s headquarters when the rally participants arrived.
Lee said that he was there to listen to their demands, adding that the DPP has policies in line with the groups’ calls, which would be put in place once Tsai is elected.
The paper piggy bank was set on fire outside the building.
Additional reporting by Loa Iok-sin and CNA
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