We associate Taiwan with economic miracle and peaceful transition to democracy. But to many in Taiwan today, Taiwan means growing inequality and flawed governance. Young people feel trapped by stagnant wages, while the media is filled with glamorous lives of well-connected wealthy families, and student activists feel no recourse but take to the streets.

Prof. Fan Yun has been watching since she herself helped bring democracy to Taiwan as a leader of the Wild Lily Movement in the 1990s, when she was just a college student. Today she teaches sociology at NTU, but last year, she helped found the Social Democratic Party, a left-wing party seeking to promote better social justice in Taiwan. She is running for member of parliament in Taipei’s Da’an District.

(In our two part interview, we also talk with Freddy Lim of the Taiwanese heavy metal band CHTHONIC, who is also running for parliament, but with the Taiwan New Power Party. We will have that interview next week. Here is our interview.)

 

Ketagalan Media (KM): Thank you Prof. Fan for your time today. First, why did you decide to found a party at this time, after working in academia on social issues for so long?  

Fan Yun (Fan): I think to start a party you need to be at the right place at the right time. The past two elections I’ve always supported new parties (other than the two major parties, the KMT and the DPP). Whether it’s the Green Party, or Third Society Party, I believe that a more progressive third party will push the two major parties to be progressive too, and bring new thinking into Taiwan’s politics.

Taiwan has a party-list ballot, and after two rounds of that people now have a better idea what that is. As for new political parties, I think the past few years Taiwan’s civil society gone through a lot of changes, and new civic powers have emerged. This new progressive civil power is not proportionally represented in our legislature. Therefore when a group of friends started this new political party, I encouraged and supported them. I never thought I would be at the center, but somehow I picked up this role. It’s a new chapter for Taiwan’s political society that I look forward to.

KM: Speaking of changes in Taiwan’s civil society, can you explain?

Fan: We saw that a string of events like Corporal Hung Chung-chiu, or Miaoli Dapu, the Sunflower Movement, neither the DPP or KMT stepped up. The DPP as the opposition party did not do its part in educating the public about the issues, but it was only after students, NGOs and citizens stormed the parliament that the society at large understood the seriousness of the problem. Civil society is ahead of our politicians, because our progressive power has not been represented. So I’ve always been encouraging something like this, just never thought I would become a core member.

KM: Surprisingly the name “Social Democratic Party” wasn’t already registered.

Fan: There was actually a “Chinese Social Democratic Party” founded by Chu Kao-cheng, and a

“Taiwan Social Democratic Party”. The former no longer exists, and the latter is pretty unknown. We just went with the plain vanilla “Social Democratic Party,” just to be more succinct.

KM: In contrast our name is rather not succinct. My impression of “Social Democratic Party” is from continental Europe, so how is Taiwan’s SDP similar or different from your European counterparts?

Fan: The idea of Social Democracy is a universal concept. Like Green Parties all over the world all subscribe to the same ideals. The central tenet of Social Democracy is liberty, equality, and solidarity. People must have freedom, but there is no real freedom without equality. Solidarity means that the winners and losers in the market work together and share, so the economy can sustain itself democratically.

Taiwan lacks all of these ideas. We have freedom and democracy, but we do not have equality, nor solidarity. In Taiwan, if you make a lot of money, people think that’s because you are capable. He doesn’t feel he should share. But his accomplishments are all attributable to the functioning of the society as a whole, such as transportation, labor, education, the land, etc. This is something we should realize at our stage of economic development.

But Taiwan has always focused on the question of unification versus independence, and ignored social issues. I think it’s about time. Also, Taiwan’s economic development was built on sacrificing labor conditions, sacrificing our land, sacrificing women, family, gender rights. We have hit a bottleneck for this kind of development. We have come to a time of reflection. In a new social economy, the state should be responsible for taking care of its citizens. People should not have vastly different living standards. Social Democracy believes that the things everyone needs should be public, and not turn into commercial commodities. If education becomes a commercial product, then only those who can afford it will get it, but everyone needs education for self-realization, or move up the social ladder. Therefore, education should be public. Same with healthcare, and senior care. We already have public healthcare, but we don’t have public senior care. We are not an agricultural society anymore, people don’t have the time to take care of seniors and kids at home. When you leave it to the market, you get what you see in Taiwan today: people hiring nannies, foreign nurses and maids, etc. Not everyone can afford that.

Healthcare, education, and senior care should be nationalized, according to Social Democracy. We want to harness the power of the whole, so every individual has the chance to pursue their own goals and happiness. This is something we should have in Taiwan.

KM: But Taiwan has had labor movements and gender movements for many years, for example in the 50s and 60s, there were left-wing leaders as well (of course, they were also oppressed by the anti-communist martial law regime). Why do you think Taiwan has not accepted social democratic ideals?

Fan: I think we just haven’t really discussed it properly in Taiwan. The party of Chu Kao-cheng didn’t do this, nor did the so-called Labor Party or Workers Party in the past. We don’t know if Taiwanese society cannot accept these ideas, we just haven’t tried hard enough.

We believe this is the way of the future. If the only difference between the Pan-Blue and Pan-Green camp is national identity, then that era is over because less than 10% of the people want unification with China. The only problem left is how to practically deal with China. So we should begin to talk about how to build Taiwan into a country where every person has the chance to pursue his or her own happiness.

KM: In other words, the old political axis was along national identity, but now you want to turn the axis around to be left and right, progressive and conservative?

Fan: Yes, because as a society we will face these questions sooner or later.

KM: More specifically, last year’s Sunflower Movement against the trade deal with China, some people were against it because they were against trade, but others are against it because it was closer ties to China. If today we are talking about a trade deal with the US like the Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP), or with Japan, Korea, or another democratic friendly nation, what is SDP’s position?

Fan: Our basic principle is against any trade that sacrifices labor, environment, gender, or any kind of rights. We are against trade for the sake of trade, that is prioritized over people themselves. This is a critique of the past. China will be part of this discussion, but the point is Taiwan’s next economic developmental model. If we can answer this question, our relationship with China may also change. We may not need to rely so much on trade with China to cut our costs. Therefore, our economic strategy will also affect cross-straits relations. If we look at this question this way, it has a lot of potential.

KM: Social democracy has a long history in Europe. But in Taiwan, how do you convince people in everyday situations? What do you say to people when you canvass in markets, parks and on the streets? In your district of Da’an (in Taipei), I assume they are mostly upper middle class, won’t they have mostly conservative views? How do you persuade them?

Fan: Actually upper middle class won’t necessarily reject us. Everyone wants a better quality of life, and more stable retirement. For most of our policies only the top 1% of less will feel threatened, say multi-million dollar conglomerates. From another angle, if people are thinking about their children’s welfare, a better overall environment is attractive to them.

Social Democracy is about internal cooperation and unity. So when we talk to people, we pinpoint the policies most relevant to them. For example, government pensions affect everyone, and we need pension reform. Everyone, even people in Da’an, wants better politics.

KM: And what are your voters’ reactions?

Fan: We talked to a lot of neighborhood wardens (lizhang) about this, and there’s always one policy they like. We feel quite encouraged. We just need more time to explain. After we talk to them, they’re usually quite supportive. Some care about senior care, or pensions, or tax reform. There’s always something.

KM: And The Palace [a luxury residential complex where KMT Taipei mayor candidate Sean Lien and Foxconn president Terry Guo lives] is also in your district…

Fan: That’s right! We haven’t tried talking to them, it’s harder to run into them.

KM: Previously, we have covered electoral systems and constitutional reforms about parliamentary systems. European social democratic parties are often part of the parliamentary system, either as the left-wing or the ruling party. Taiwan has direct presidential elections. How do you see the legitimacy of your party, when you don’t have a presidential candidate? How can SDP be involved in the presidential campaigns?

Fan: Presidential candidates can help with rallying voters. We don’t want to see presidential candidates from only the two major parties. We want to go beyond the two major parties, and we want to give people a third vision of politics. We want to get rid of the KMT, oversee the DPP, so support the SDP. Even if the DPP wins the presidency and majority in parliament, that makes many people uneasy too. If there is a progressive key player in parliament, I think that’s better.

KM: If you do get elected to the parliament, and it’s a multi-party parliament, how do you work together with either the two major parties or the smaller parties?

Fan: Once we are in, we will push for cross-party alliances based on issues. For example, we want to form a inter-party labor rights alliance, anyone from KMT or DPP, or New Power or any other party is welcomed. In Europe, this works quite well. We have a lot of experience working as alliances as NGOs, so I think it’s workable. We will also work with the Green Party, and we will have to see if other alliances are possible.

KM: So the SDP and Green Party will nominate one candidate list (run as one party in the proportional representation party ballot)?

Fan: Yes. We have similar ideals.

KM: Finally, say 50 years later if the KMT and DPP are both gone, how do you see SDP doing then?

Fan: Well, of course we would like to be the ruling party. Ideally, there will not be any pro-unification parties in the future, or if so, a tiny party. We could have two pro-independence parties, one progressive, and one conservative. Taiwan could be a parliamentary system, like northern Europe, there are many parties each representing a different sector of society, like farmers, laborers, the teachers; and the different parties can work things out together. If SDP can galvanize support from blue and white collar workers, women, environmental and other forces, we will have a chance to be the ruling party. As long as Taiwan’s society keeps progressing, we can be a better leading force for Taiwan.

KM: Thank you so much for your time.

台灣,曾經是創造所謂經濟奇蹟與和平民主轉型的社會。但是,對於今天的許多人,台灣更是貧富差距拉大,和民主缺陷的地方。年輕人為了停滯的薪資煩惱,媒體充斥了崇拜揮霍的畫面,學生認為為了他們的理念,不得不上街頭,佔領政府。

台大社會系的范雲教授從參與野百合學運的時候,就都一切看在眼裡。1990 那時候,范雲還是大學生,就投入台灣民主化運動;之後她繼續關心社會運動,性別議題,直到去年她組織社會民主黨,參與台北市大安區的立法委員選舉。

(我們下禮拜將訪問閃靈主唱林昶佐 Freddy Lim, 現為台灣時代力量黨台北市中正萬華區立委參選人。)

 

Ketagalan Media (KM): 那我們今天就謝謝范雲范教授,我知道你叫我叫你范雲就好。但是我還是尊敬點叫您范教授。那麼就謝謝您今天的時間,第一,我第一個想要問的問題是您在耕耘這樣的社會民主的議題或是立場也耕耘了一段時間,那為什麼選擇在這個時候,組黨,參加參與這個選戰。

范雲教授(范):我想組黨可能都有一點天時地利人和。長久以來,過去這兩次的選舉,我都已經比較傾向於支持藍綠之外的新政黨。我不管是綠黨、或是第三社會黨,總覺得,如果有個更進步的第三個小黨的話,有可能逼迫兩大黨更進步。那也會讓台灣的政治,有些新的思維。

而且我們有政黨票,就剛剛談過的,投過兩次,就人們是在投票的過程當中,比較知道什麼是所謂的政黨票。那什麼叫做一個不同的政黨,我想過去的這兩三年來,台灣的公民社會,有很多的變化,有獨立於政黨之外的影響力。如果我們去反省,這股、這波進步的公民,並沒有在國會裡面有等比例的代表。所以有一些朋友覺得要組新政黨的時候,就很鼓勵、很支持、就一起參與。只是原來是沒有想說,我自己要擔任一個主要的組織者的角色,後來就因緣際會,我就成為了這個主要的組織者了。是有這樣一個,對台灣政治社會的一個期待,還有我自己身份的一個偶然的轉化,這兩個部分。」

KM: 所以就是說台灣公民社會在過去幾年來的轉變?

范:對。像1985洪仲丘的事件、或是像苗栗大埔的土地的爭議、反服貿的太陽花的運動,看到其實藍綠兩個政黨都有失責。就民進黨的立場,可能在太陽花的時候,跟反服貿一樣,但沒有在全台灣、社會好好的把這個議題教育給群眾。反而是因為學生、公民、跟NGO衝進立法院之後,台灣社會才理解到,這個因素很嚴重,立法院要通過這樣一個法案。對於我們來講,其實公民社會致力的是比既有的政黨還進步的。可是這股力量,一直沒有被政治化,沒有等比例的力量在國會裡頭。這個部分也是,後來有朋友想要組一個新政黨的時候,一直都是抱持支持、參與、跟協助的態度,只不過是沒有想到自己要成為這樣一個主事者。

KM:其實我蠻訝異社會民主黨這個名字沒有早就被人家登記去。

范:對,其實已經有個被登記的中華社會民主黨,是被朱高正。也有台灣社會民主黨,這兩個都被用過了。只不過朱高正那個已經不存在了,台灣社會民主黨也沒有人知道。所以我們登記的是社會民主黨。我們覺得這樣剛好,名字也簡短一點。

KM: 所以剛好也就他們名字也比較落落長。就剛好有這樣社會民主黨。那一般社會民主黨,我的印象就是歐洲,普遍每個國家的這個社會民主黨。台灣現在的這個社會民主黨,跟歐陸的社會民主黨,有什麼相同的地方,有什麼不一樣的地方呢?

范:應該是說,在思維上,社會民主本來就是一個跨越國家界線、國際界線的。就好像說,綠黨,這個反思為主的思維,也是一個國際的品牌。那我想,在這個政治的思維上面,其實是一樣的。那他的核心的概念,譬如說是:自由、平等、團結。覺得人應該要有自由,可是說如果沒有平等的話,就沒有真正的自由。那團結這個概念就是,市場當中的優勢者跟劣勢者是彼此合作,分享,這樣經濟才有可能有更長遠的民主的繁榮。

這些思維我們覺得都是台灣社會蠻缺乏的。我們可能擁有了自由跟民主,我們並沒有落實平等。那從來也沒有這種團結的概念。我們覺得,你賺很多錢是你個人很厲害,他沒有覺得說,他應該要分享更多。實際上,他的整個成果,肯是整個社會的合作,才有機會,可以賺這麼多的錢的。不一定是他個人,可能很不錯,可是來自社會的,包括交通、勞工的教育、這片土地、等等。對我們來講的話,經濟發展到某個程度,應該要有的反省。

可是台灣社會可能過去因為統獨的問題,這樣的東西並沒有機會好好的討論。我覺得其實是時候了。而且過去長期以來,犧牲勞動權益、犧牲土地、然後犧牲婦女、家庭、性別的這種經濟發展的模式已經到了一個瓶頸。我覺得應該是要到了一個反省的時候。然後我們新的經濟跟社會的思維,其實國家有責任要照顧到每一個人,不管在市場當中他是優勢者或是劣勢者,他基本的生存條件不該差異太大。所以說,社會民主主張,某些東西必須要公共化,每個人都需要的東西就應該要公共化。公共化的意思就是說,不要變成商品。如果我們把教育變成商品的話,你有錢買得起,沒錢買不起,可是每個人都需要教育才能發展自我、可以追求幸福、或是可以向上流動,那這一個東西就應該要公共化。醫療、健保,我們台灣已經有健保是比較公共化,但是照顧,就只是還在推動中,沒有做出來公共化。因為當大家都去工作的時候,不是農業時代,其實老人跟小孩就都沒有人照顧。如果用市場來解決的話,就會造成現在台灣的情況。有錢的人去請外籍幫傭、或是說丟給家裡的阿公阿嬤、或是說私立托兒所、或是說請保姆,他可能是年薪不是很多、賺的錢不是很多的人無法負擔的。我們認為這個照顧也應該要公共化。

醫療、教育、照顧,這些都應該要公共化,這其實就是社會民主的想法。就是我們應該要集結集體的力量,讓每一個人可以有一個比較好的發展自我的機會跟得到幸福。那我想這個東西其實是台灣社會,應有的思維,只是說並沒有人好好的去把它推動跟發展。」

KM: 那過去,為什麼台灣社會想這樣子的,比如說勞工運動、性別運動,這些也不是說是最近幾年才有的事,那台灣社會可能一直都有。比如說,在五、六零年代,所謂的左派。那當然那個時候,可能是因為,反共產黨,打壓所謂的左派。你覺得在台灣的社會,為什麼到目前為止,還比較難接受社會民主這樣的一些理論或一些想法呢?

范:台灣社會為什麼沒辦法接受。我覺得是沒有一個機會被好好真正的討論吧。譬如說,朱高正的那個時候,我們也沒有感覺到,去好好的討論說,什麼是社會民主。那過去有工黨跟勞動黨,可是他討論的方式也跟我們今天講的社會民主也不完全一樣。我覺得是說,我們還不知道台灣社會能不能接受,但是是至少沒有被好好的引介。

我們會覺得,他至少會是未來要走的方向。因為藍綠的差別到底是什麼?如果藍綠的差別是在國家認同的話,可是台灣現在只剩下,不到百分之十的人認為要跟中國統一,所以本土的認同已經完成了。但是比較務實的是說,兩岸關係怎麼處理的問題。那我們應該要有更多的能量、更多的機會來討論,怎麼樣來把台灣建立成一個,讓每一個人都覺得他有機會,都追求他的幸福的國家。這才是我們應該要去辯論的。

KM: 我可不可以這樣講,以前的政治光譜是統獨,或政治的主軸,是統跟獨。那現在可能要把他翻轉成,是左或右,或所謂進步跟保守。至少在經濟議題上是。

范:對,我們希望是往這個方向去思考、辯論、跟討論吧。因為這個社會要再往前走的話,要面對這些問題。

KM: 那我想請教一下個比較specific的問題。去年大家反的服貿,跟中國的這個服務貿易協定。很多人可能是因為自由貿易而反對他、很多人可能是因為他是跟中國而反對他,如果他今天的對象不是中國,如果說他今天的對象是跟美國的泛太平洋夥伴協議(TPP),或者是跟日本、韓國、跟台灣友好的這些民主國家,簽訂這個自由貿易協定。那社民黨、或是社會民主的立場會是怎麼樣的一個立場呢?」

范:我想我們基本的立場會是,反對任何犧牲勞動、犧牲環境、犧牲性別、犧牲任何權益的貿易。我想那是一個根本的立場,我想我們應該會反只是這種追求發展,並沒有把人當成發展的目的的這種過去的經濟思維。我想這是我們對於過去的一個反省。但是中國是一個這一波的討論,但是台灣的下一波的經濟發展模式,這其實是大家要一起去反思的。政治會認為說,如果我們把一個新的經濟的模式,思考清楚的話,也許跟中國的關係會改變。就不會覺得你要這麼的依賴,跟他的一個貿易,去把成本降低。所以說,國內的經濟思維,也會回過來影響我們所謂的兩岸關係。那我覺得,如果比較積極的去看待這樣一個議題的話,是有一個潛能的。

KM: 那社會民主的這樣一個理論、一個立場,其實就是剛剛講的,在歐陸國家有一個很長的歷史跟傳統。那在台灣,比如現在已經是進入選戰,在一個比較執行或是比較實際的面上,如你現在去選區內跟選民、去菜市場啦、去公園啦、跟一般這些選民,我想大安區大部份應該都是中產、中上階級的。那他們的一些觀念、一些價值,是不是就比較保守呢?如果是這樣的時候,你怎麼去說服他們,或是怎樣去跟他們溝通?

范:就是說,未必中上階級就會不支持社會民主的想法。事實上每個人可能都希望得到一個比較好的照顧品質,也有一個比較安穩的老年生活。但就很多政策上,真正會覺得可能會有一點點不會受益的可能就百分之一,甚至更少的人。比如我們講,百億以上的大財團。多數的人其沒有到那麼的極端。另一方面其實說,如果他們為下一代著想的話,其實整體來講有個好的環境的話,那對下一代也是好的。所以我們會覺得,未必中上階級不會贊成這樣的一個理念。

另外一方面,他本來就會是一個內部合作的概念。所以對我們來講,在對基層、草根的時候,我們其實是拿出各個不同的政策內容來跟大家對話,包括年金的改革。其實大家都知道,台灣已經有越來越多債務的問題,遲早要做一個年金的改革,而怎樣的改革是合理的,是應該要討論。所以我會覺得,大安區的民眾其實也想要有一個更好的政治。不是說,現在有那麼多的口水戰,但是卻沒有好好討論說政策的內容。

KM: 所以,當您這樣在跟選民的反應接觸,那他們的反應是?

范:其實我們跟很多里長討論這些東西,他總有一個政策是他喜歡的耶。所以我們覺得蠻正面的。就只怕沒有時間跟他們講主張是什麼。通常你講後,他們其實通常都還蠻支持的。他會說,例如這裡面我比較關心的是照顧的議題、我關心的是年金改革,有人說我關心的是稅改。都會有他所關心的東西。

KM: 那,帝寶也在您的選區裡面呀。

范:對對對對對。還沒嘗試跟住戶聊天。帝寶的選民可能比較難接觸到吧。

KM: 之前我們的網站有提到過選舉制度和憲政改革,或者是總統制和內閣制,歐陸的社會民主黨在內閣制的體制下,或是左翼或是側翼或是主力。台灣是民選總統,如果一個黨沒有推出自己的總統候選人,新興的政黨如何在總統選戰中佔據一席之位?

范:如果有總統候選人,利於造勢。目前只有藍綠總統候選人的話,不是我們想走的路,我們本來想跳脫藍綠的思維,除非未來我們有代表自己理念的總統。目前沒有總統候選人更好,有機會讓大家跳脫藍綠的思考,有沒有第三種對政治的想像。大家都知道:總統和國會是不一樣的,陳水扁的經驗告訴我們如果總統和國會不同調,會有很多的問題。我們這次講淘汰國民黨,監督民進黨,支持社會民主黨。很多人覺得聽起來很有說服力,因為民進黨中央要執政,民進黨國會執政人數過半,大家也不會覺得放心。如果有一個進步的理念的關鍵的政黨進入(國會)的話,大家也覺得是蠻不錯的。在這部分來講的話,是蠻有空間的。

KM: 假設進到國會之後,它是一個多黨的國會,會有什麼樣的想像跟其他新興的或者非兩大黨之外的政黨做合作的關係,有什麼合作或縱橫的可能嗎,在國會裡面?

范:應該分兩個部分,一旦進入國會之後,跨議題的合作是我們想推動的,譬如我們想推動跨黨派勞動權益聯盟,藍軍或綠軍裡願意的,時代力量和其它的想參加都很好,因為在歐洲,跨域藍綠的結盟就非常成功,在法案議題上。國民黨長期佔多數的情況下,民間團體如何推動法案的改革,事實上我們有很多成功的經驗,所以就是說以議題為主,跨越政黨是可以操作的。另外這一次國會的大選,我們就在推動小黨的合作,綠黨和社會民主黨應該會合作,會不會再增加未來的政黨,就要看未來的進展。

KM: 所以就是說共同推不分區的名單?

范: 對,對,因為大家的力量結合在一起,大家的理念蠻接近的。

KM: 最後一個問題,50年之後前面​​提到的政治的光譜,從統獨,或者認同的主軸轉換到保守或進步,左跟右,如果國民黨和民進黨都消失不存在了,你希望的社會民主黨是什麼樣子的?

范:當然希望社民黨是一個執政黨,我想比較理想的狀態是台灣以後沒有統派的政黨吧,因為依照民調,應該是一個很小的政黨,如果都是本土的政黨,一個比較左,一個比較右,但人們會有不同的想法和不同的利益。如果說台灣是內閣制的話,譬如以北歐的很多國家,以農民為主的政黨有社會民主黨,有軍工教黨,是多元力量可以展現,在國會裡協商的可能性。如果社會民主黨能夠結合包括勞工的,上班族的,性別的,婦女的,環境的好幾個力量能夠集結在一起的話,是很有機會執政的,只要台灣社會慢慢前進,展現讓台灣成為一個更好國家的領導力量。

KM: 今天謝謝您的時間,聊的非常愉快,學到很多。

(Feature photo of Prof. Fan Yun, from her campaign Facebook page.)

 

About The Ketagalan Project

History and culture are the frames that prescribe how we understand the world around us. Our co-hosts present in-depth interviews on how art, culture, history and politics intertwine throughout time and space to connect us. Find out about the cosmopolitan modern Taipei downtown in the 1920s, regional trade, the future of aboriginal culture and more.