The nature of social movement is to reform the society that is unreasonable; so that the welfare of the people is maximized. The goal of each sector of the social movement is to realize the ideal society as seeing by those activist. Therefore, most social movement organizations have been engaged in long term struggles of propagation of the ideology, organizing and interaction with the people and becoming political influential. The goal of changing national policies and legislation is always of high priority. This is why the social movements cannot be without political dimension. However, the relationship between social movements and political movements is dynamically adjusted by the activists to maximize the political influence of the social movements.
After the martial law was lifted during the end of 1980s, Taiwan experienced a period of social force explosion as evidenced from the vigorous social movements. In the social context of political democratization, the social movements, aimed at changing the existing social structure, naturally worked hand in hand with the opposition parties. This is the historical reason why most of Taiwan’s social movement organizations have supported the biggest opposition party, Democratic Progressive Party, during last ten years. However, over this time, the main opposition parties are getting stronger with more political powers. They have changed their strategy and currently implemented the policy of total compromise with the existing structure in order to be elected to office. This transformation in position of the opposition parties from opposition to compromise was so fundamental that most social movement organizations started to question the opposition parties and terminate their relationship with them. The non-affiliated independent politician, without the support of political organizations and appropriate political ideologies, was simply too weak to resist the political pressure from the three major parties in Taiwan, the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP), the Chinese New Party (CNP) and the Chinese nationalist party Komitang (KMT). As a result, Taiwan’s social movement organizations face the difficult situation of losing their political representatives completely. How to overcome the situation of resource scarcity and keep the social movements moving with vigor? How to enlarge the popular support of social movements to influence the politicians to change the current policy and legislation? These are the common difficulties faced by the social movement organizations.
Better communication networking and cooperation between the social organizations is one direction worth trying. During the last six months, different sectors of social movement organizations united under the umbrella of Social Movement Solidarity Alert. The purpose of forming the Social Movement Solidarity Alert is to push the Legislative Yuan, Taiwan’s parliament, to speed up the legislation of the laws on environmental protection, human rights protection, social welfare, education and any other issues that are of concern by the social movement organizations. However, what the legislators of the three major parties did was very disappointing. Since they only care about their re-elections, they decided to cancel out all the parliamentary meetings for one month before their election day with monthly salaries continually paid to them. It is very clear that the current political structure is not just. It is impossible that social justice can be resulted from this kind of poor representational parliament structure.
With this social context, there comes the idea of Parliamental Monitoring Organization and the proposal of Political Waste Recycling. Political Waste Recycling calls for elected National Assembly representatives to contribute 80% of their salary to the Parliamental Monitoring Organization and social movement organizations. In a word, it distributes acquirable national resources to social movements. Today, we have formed Green Party Taiwan to achieve these goals. This is a method for the minorities and social movements to help themselves.
We desire to reaffirm the principle of ecolgical sustenability and social justice for green politics. In Taiwan, high water and energy consumption industries were publicly challenged for polluting Taiwan, exhausting resources and uncompetitive marketing. The government began the importation of foreign workers for cheap labor and lowered environmental standards in order to keep the incompetitive polluting industries. Taiwan’s environment heads towards deep crisis. We believe that the use of green politics and the development of those industries that are compatible with natural environment is the only way out. Environmental ecologists realize that global resources are limited and realize the diversity of natural species. Thus, our goal is to create a healthy, global, environmentally benign and safe society. In order to achieve this goal, society and its lifestyles and beliefs must be altered for the better.
Using social movements to change society’s ethos and a country’s social and polital structure is the only way to move toward our goals. Green politics is a long-term effort needing everyone’s contribution. Taiwan’s green movement is simply a small part of the global green movement for ecological conservation. By using the various social movements of Taiwain as a base and the environmental movement as a guiding light, with grass-roots democracy as the organizational principle, green believers shall coalesce into a formidable power. The founding of Green Party Taiwan and the entrance of its political candidates in general elections are our first steps toward our common goal.
We hope to gain the support of the Taiwanese people. Together, we will achieve the common goals of ecological sustenablity and social justice of Green Taiwan.