(This is the second of a set of articles by long time political worker Jou Yi-cheng, who is now in business selling traditional crafts and foods. He is the thinker behind the “Third Society” and “Third Republic” theories of Taiwan’s political evolution. This piece is translated from his Facebook post, originally in Mandarin.)
Please stop using the term “Third Force.”
What we need is not one small party after another calling themselves the Third Force. What we need is to build Taiwan’s new post-war political society, what I call the Third Society.
The DPP represents the First Society. The DPP is the standard bearer of this pre-1949 society. It represents its sadness, its legends, its heroes; there is a complete historic perspective, and a complete language to express all of these things.
If the New Power Party (or any other new party) wants to rely on the First Society’s social foundation for its growth, instead of building its own social foundation, it may be convenient in the short term but the DPP can and will eventually recall this power.
The DPP does not represent just a political party. The DPP draws from the accumulated historic assets of a society that has been fighting against authoritarianism and for democracy since before the War.
Let’s not fool ourselves into thinking a few young celebrities can beat the DPP; let’s not fool ourselves into thinking a few pretty slogans can override the DPP.
Chen Chu, mayor of Kaohsiung, was right when she said “the DPP has sacrificed for Taiwan.” It is understandable that the DPP has a solid social foundation in Taiwan.
When your political interests conflict with those of the DPP, the DPP will call upon the solidarity of the First Society around itself.
This is not a conservative viewpoint, but a perspective on history. The Sunflower Movement has not really caused a fundamental paradigm shift in Taiwan. Your real power has not been released yet.
You must realize that history is bigger than you think, that social structures are stronger than you think. This does not mean you should give up or give in; but you should put even more energy into positively creating a new society to fundamentally change the existing structures.
Whether NPP’s Chiu Hsien-chi (邱顯智) ran against Ke Chien-ming (柯建銘) or not, as long as the DPP finds some reason not to step aside for the NPP, the NPP will not win.
This is not to say the DPP should step aside. Just the opposite. A new Third Society party shouldn’t have too much overlap with the DPP’s social base. If you can beat the DPP even when the DPP doesn’t step aside, that’s when you have a real social foundation.
Of course this also requires a reform in the political system; in other words, the Third Republic constitutional reforms that I told Chen Wei-ting about (you probably didn’t hear me).
Chiu has probably created some social foundation for himself. Historically this may just be more meaningful than the victories of his three other colleagues. We must find another social power outside of the DPP, to build the Third Society of Taiwan. I’m looking forward to it.
(Feature photo of Freddy Lim’s campaign poster with Tsai Ing-wen, by William Yang)