Taiwan

Amidst a global microchip shortage, the Taiwanese chipmakers are doing everything in their power to keep up production and meet demand, despite a new outbreak of COVID-19 cases on the island. To make the maximum profit out of this surge in sales, they are plunging their workforces – which largely consist of migrants from Southeast Asia – into utterly inhumane conditions.

Talk of a potential military confrontation between China, the United States, and Japan over the question of Taiwan have escalated recently. The Biden administration is continuing the Trump administration’s policy of confrontation with China over the issue, with Japan following in tow. Meanwhile, China is rapidly expanding its military activity across the Taiwan Strait. The lives of people in Taiwan and the entire region are relegated to the chess pieces of the feuding powers. Why is this happening now? Where will it lead? And what is the way out?

The mass movement of March 2014 that became known as the ‘Sunflower Movement’ was a pivotal event in Taiwan's recent political history. Its impact continues to be felt today. From 18 March to 10 April 2014, students took over and occupied the country’s legislature, while tens of thousands of workers supported them in the streets for 24 days.

We are happy to announce the launch of The Spark(火花), a website operated by the members of the International Marxist Tendency (IMT) in Taiwan who organise a group of the same name. The website will feature Marxist news, analysis and theoretical materials in traditional Chinese. It will also provide old and newly translated articles by Marxists such as Marx, Engels, Lenin and Trotsky, as well as Ted Grant. This is an important step in building the forces of revolutionary Marxism in Taiwan and amongst Sinophone people!

On 30 July, Ex-Taiwanese president and former KMT chairman Lee Teng-hui died. Despite being a lifelong KMT bureaucrat, the series of political changes under his presidency in the 1990s earned him praise from bourgeois liberals and a nickname of “Mr. Democracy.” The fact remains that, after the democratic reforms of the 1990s, the KMT still exists as a major party in Taiwan. We take this opportunity to consider how it managed to transform from an apparatus of a dictatorial party-state into a party adapted to a bourgeois democratic system.

On 20 May, Tsai Ing-wen officially began her second term as Taiwan’s president. Against the backdrop of the world capitalist system rapidly descending into a historic crisis, Tsai’s inauguration speech betrays her and the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) government’s intention to maintain the status quo for Taiwan as per usual. Yet, in the context of the unabating pandemic, the collapsing global economy, and the class struggles that inevitably will follow, the Tsai government, with its “progressive” image, could only pursue the course of attacking the workers to protect the status quo for the capitalists. The workers and youth of Taiwan must be prepared for these attacks ahead.

The results of Taiwan’s presidential and legislative elections were largely as expected. Incumbent President Tsai Ing-wen won over 8.1 million votes (57 percent), defeating the KMT’s populist candidate Han Kuo-yu, who got 39 percent of the votes. Tsai’s Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) maintains its majority in the Legislative Yuan (Taiwan’s parliament), while the newly established conservative Taiwan People’s Party (TPP) replaces the liberal New Power Party (NPP) as the third-largest party in the Legislative Yuan. Behind these seemingly clear results, however, lurk significant contradictions. The Taiwanese workers, youth and oppressed still need to actively seek their own political

...

On 11 January 2020, the Taiwanese voters will decide who will be in charge of the Presidential Palace and the Legislative Yuan for the next four years. These are two key ruling class institutions under Taiwan’s “Republic of China (ROC)” bourgeois-democratic system. After witnessing the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP)’s catastrophic defeat in the 2018 municipal elections and the Chinese Communist Party (CCP)-backed repression against the Hong Kong democratic movement, many Taiwanese workers and youth dread a future where the CCP begins to take away Taiwan’s hard-earned democratic rights by way of its local comprador, the KMT, returning to power.

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.