With the election of US president-elect Barack Obama, Taiwan’s chapter of Democrats Abroad, the official overseas branch of the US Democratic Party, is seeking to build on momentum gained from a fresh wave of supporters.
Democrats Abroad Taiwan (DA Taiwan) will hold a meeting on Saturday at the Yanji Street branch of Larry’s Pizza in Taipei to welcome new members and elect a new board of directors, a key requirement for the group to upgrade its status from a “non-voting” to a “voting” country committee.
With voting status, DA Taiwan would be able to participate in elections within the international Democrats’ Abroad organization, which is represented as a state party at the Democratic National Convention and holds its own caucuses for the Democratic presidential primaries.
“Membership is at an all-time high, and this is the right time for us to do this,” John Eastwood, the group’s chairman, said in a recent press release. “A few years ago it was a real struggle, but there’s a massive new energy we’ve seen with the Dems [Democrats] retaking both houses of Congress in 2006 and now with the inspiration the Obama campaign gave many Americans.”
DA Taiwan’s membership “quintupled” thanks to the intense interest in Obama’s campaign, Eastwood said in an interview with the Taipei Times. He declined to reveal the group’s exact membership numbers, but said that for the first time “in memory,” DA Taiwan held election-viewing events outside of Taipei. Its events in Taichung (台中) and Kaohsiung (高雄) each attracted hundreds of Obama supporters, he said.
One of Democrats Abroad’s mandates is to assist US citizens living abroad by providing absentee ballot request forms and registration information, regardless of their political affiliation, Eastwood said.
“One of the areas where we are of the most service is that we’re able to fulfill [every US citizen’s] right to vote,” he said.
Joining Democrats Abroad, which is open to any US citizen over the age of 18, also gives people the chance to “have a voice” and participate in the representation process of the Democratic Party, said Tammy Turner, an executive committee member at DA Taiwan for 15 years.
Like all Democrats Abroad country committees around the world, members in Taiwan can contribute to the Democratic Party’s policymaking by formulating platforms on issues, which are presented to party leadership, she said.
Members decide what to cover based on their interests and concerns, whether broader issues like the environment or health care, or issues affecting US citizens: the US role in China-Taiwan relations or tax rules for US citizens living abroad.
With a new administration in the White House, DA Taiwan is hoping its membership will keep growing.
“Especially at this juncture, we need a lot of thinking from a lot of people,” she said.
The meeting’s agenda on Saturday also includes instating a new set of bylaws to govern the committee, as well as discussing future projects and social events.
Those interested in joining DA Taiwan should first register online at www.democratsabroad.org, and those who have questions about this Saturday’s meeting or are interested in running for a position on the board should contact John Eastwood at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The meeting starts at 2pm at Larry’s Pizza, located at 2, Lane 137, Yanji St (台北市延吉街137巷2號).
PAST TACTICS: In what some see as a return to hardline strategies, the new Afghan rulers hanged the body of an alleged kidnapper from a crane as warning to criminals The Taliban hanged a dead body from a crane parked in a city square in Afghanistan on Saturday in a gruesome display that signaled the hardline movement’s return to some of its brutal tactics of the past. Taliban officials initially brought four bodies to the central square in the western city of Herat, then moved three of them to other parts of the city for public display, said Wazir Ahmad Seddiqi, who runs a pharmacy on the edge of the square. Taliban officials announced that the four were caught taking part in a kidnapping earlier on Saturday and were killed by police,
Kim Yo-jong, the influential sister of North Korean leader Kim Jong-un, reached out to South Korea for a second time in recent days, saying Pyongyang would consider taking part in another inter-Korean summit and declaring an end to the war if Seoul adopts a less hostile policy. “I felt that the atmosphere of the South Korean public desiring to recover the inter-Korean relations from a deadlock and achieve peaceful stability as soon as possible is irresistibly strong,” Kim Yo-jong said in a statement issued by the official Korean Central News Agency. “We, too, have the same desire.” Kim’s statement follows one she
A potential lurch to the left in Germany’s election on Sunday is scaring millionaires into moving assets into Switzerland, bankers and tax lawyers say. If the center-left Social Democrats (SPD), hard-left Linke and environmentalist Greens come to power, the reintroduction of a wealth tax and a tightening of inheritance tax could be on the political agenda. “For the super-rich, this is red hot,” said a German-based tax lawyer with extensive Swiss operations. “Entrepreneurial families are highly alarmed.” The move shows how many rich people still see Switzerland as an attractive place to park wealth, despite its efforts to abolish its image as a
‘SMOKESCREEN’: An agreement to declare an end to the Korean War would be ‘of no help at all’ and used to cover up ‘US hostile policy,’ a North Korean official said The influential sister of North Korean leader Kim Jong-un yesterday said it was “admirable” of South Korea to propose a formal end to the Korean War, but demanded Seoul first drop its “hostile policies” towards Pyongyang. Kim Yo-jong’s remarks, carried by the state-run Korean Central News Agency, were in response to South Korean President Moon Jae-in’s recent calls for declaring an official end to the 1950-1953 conflict that ended in a truce, not a peace treaty, leaving the two sides technically at war for more than half a century. In a speech at the UN General Assembly earlier this week, Moon proposed