Taiwan

The EVA Air flight attendants strike, led by the Taoyuan Flight Attendants Union (TFAU) ended on July 6th, 2019 after over two weeks of struggle. Management slightly relented on their previous hardline attitude as they reached an agreement with the union. From the perspective of the Taiwanese labour movement, this strike will not be the end, but merely an episode that shows the sign of times to come.

On 20 June 2019, the flight attendants of Taiwan’s private commercial airline EVA Air went on strike. Under the leadership of the Taoyuan Flight Attendants’ Union, with over 2,300 workers joining the strike, this is already the largest private sector strike in Taiwan since the end of the KMT dictatorship’s martial law in 1987. The strike has thus far caused more than 700 flight cancellations.

We are publishing the text of a leaflet produced by a sympathiser of the IMT in Taiwan and aimed at the students there, which explains what the Tiananmen movement in 1989 was about, how it was destroyed and what workers and students in both China and Taiwan should be working towards today.

On 17 April 2019, Taiwanese working people received a memo, signed by folklore sea goddess Mazu herself, that Foxconn’s CEO Terry Guo Tai-ming (郭台銘) should be their president. As any self-respecting bourgeois understands, an anointment should not go without a fancy feast. Thus, Mr. Guo officiated his heaven-endorsed bid for presidency at a KMT award ceremony where he was the recipient of an “award of honour.”

The so-called “February 28th Incident” (228, 二二八事件) is most remembered for the days of indiscriminate killings and repression that the Chinese bourgeois dictator Chiang Kai-shek (蔣介石) and his KMT forces unleashed on Taiwan in 1947. Thousands of civilians were murdered in cold blood. It marked the beginning of a long-standing sentiment for Taiwanese national self-determination that permeates a large part of Taiwanese masses to this day.

談到二二八事件,一般聯想到的是中國資產階級獨裁者蔣介石以及其國民黨政權於1947年在台灣進行的血腥屠殺。上千名民眾在連日的政府鎮壓下喪生,而此事件也成為了一大部分台灣社會至今訴求獨立自決的重要分水嶺。

谈到二二八事件,一般联想到的是中国资产阶级独裁者蒋介石以及其国民党政权于1947年在台湾进行的血腥屠杀。上千名民众在连日的政府镇压下丧生,而此事件也成为了一大部分台湾社会至今诉求独立自决的重要分水岭。

Xie Xuehong (Hsieh Shue-hong, 謝雪紅) was a key figure in the revolutionary movement in Taiwan in the early 20th century. Despite having to fight against the tremendous barriers that a backward patriarchal society placed before an impoverished, illiterate peasant woman, she was able to found and build the Taiwanese Communist Party (TCP, 台灣共產黨).

朱梅雪是华航企业工会现任秘书长。在2018年的桃园市长选举内,他以无党籍的身分参选,挑战台湾两大政党:国民党和民进党。朱梅雪的选战需求工人阶级应独立于两大财团政党,并以工人阶级观点提出多项政策,也推广了“工人不投蓝绿党!”、“百万劳工站出来!”、“为自己投一票!”等口号。

朱梅雪是華航企業工會現任秘書長。在2018年的桃園市長選舉內,他以無黨籍的身分參選,挑戰台灣兩大政黨:國民黨和民進黨。朱梅雪的選戰需求工人階級應獨立於兩大財團政黨,並以工人階級觀點提出多項政策,也推廣了“工人不投藍綠黨!”、“百萬勞工站出來!”、“為自己投一票!”等口號。

Zhu Meixue is the current Secretary General of Taiwan’s China Airlines Employees’ Union (CAEU). In 2018, he ran for mayor of Taoyuan as an independent against the candidates of both the KMT and the DPP, the two major bourgeois parties of Taiwan. In his campaign he called for the political independence of the working class from the two parties of the bosses, proposing policies from a working class perspective, with slogans such as “Workers don’t vote for the KMT or DPP!,” “The laboring millions come forward!,” and “Vote for yourselves!”

在台湾执政的民主进步党在近期的九合一大选中惨败。民进党的大败立即导致了总统蔡英文请辞民进党党主席一职,而行政院长赖清德和总统府秘书长陈菊也照样请辞。在选举同时举办的公投中,社会保守势力得以大举进击。然而,虽然表面上选票回到了现在在野的中国国民党,台湾的资本主义危机也正在准备将阶级斗争推向新一个阶段。

在台灣執政的民主進步黨在近期的九合一大選中慘敗。民進黨的大敗立即導致了總統蔡英文請辭民進黨黨主席一職,而行政院長賴清德和總統府秘書長陳菊也照樣請辭。在選舉同時舉辦的公投中,社會保守勢力得以大舉進擊。然而,雖然表面上選票回到了現在在野的中國國民黨,台灣的資本主義危機也正在準備將階級鬥爭推向新一個階段。

In Taiwan, the ruling Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) suffered a severe defeat in the recent midterm municipal elections, forcing the party leader and current President of Taiwan, Tsai Ing-wen, to resign as party chair, as well as top officials such as Premier William Lai and Secretary-General to President Chen Chu. The concurrently held referendum on a number of social issues saw a mobilisation of conservative votes. However, beneath the surface of this seemingly expected swing back to the opposition Kuomintang (KMT), the ongoing capitalist crisis of Taiwan is preparing a new phase of class struggle.

The Taiwanese working class has begun to move with mass demonstrations and the rise of new trade union organisations. Recent anti-worker legislation passed by the government has proven to be the whip that has driven them to action.

In an unsurprising turn of events in Taiwan, the new government led by the bourgeois Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) has begun its assault on the working class, by continuing the previous KMT administration’s policy of lengthening the working hours by cutting holidays, and refusing to legislate for a full two day weekend.

Taiwan's President Ma Ying-jeou is meeting Xi Jinping, the president of China, in Singapore on Saturday. Although Taiwan and China have very close economic ties, with Taiwanese capitalists investing massively in mainland China, and many unofficial meetings taking place, as well as many lucrative contracts being signed, this will be the first ever meeting between leaders of the two countries, a historic meeting indeed.

The crisis that has shaken the world economy since 2008 has pushed bourgeois ideologists to desperately seek a solution. They are looking for alternative ways of running their system, seeking to square the circle and maintain capitalism without its inevitable contradictions. As Asia, and China in particular, is doing so well, there is a burgeoning literature about the Chinese model, just as in the past there was so much made of the “Japanese miracle”. In Part One of this article Luca Lombardi looks at the experience of Taiwan.

Join us!

Help build the forces of Marxism worldwide!

Join the IMT!