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A distinct characteristic of Green Parties worldwide is that they promote ecological sustainability and social justice. Green Parties were formed by activists of social movements, to politically represent the weak, the minority and their new visions. The Green Party is a political extension of social movements. International Green Parties are remarkably different from those traditional capitalist or socialist parties which are in fact representing the strong while claiming to represent the whole. Four basic principles are: ecological sustainability, grass-roots democracy, social justice and world peace. The Green Party of Taiwan adopted these basic principles. Following from these principles, the program of the Green Party of combines the programs of social movement organizations while under the constraint of Taiwan's current social reality.
Political Waste Recycling : The First Voice of Green Politics in Taiwan
During the general election period for Taiwan's national assembly representatives in March 1996, some social movement activists formed the Green Party of Taiwan. Thirteen Green Party candidates, as political representatives of social movements, in 52 election districts, joined the election race. We took this chance to promote the political representative system and our green political program. The common program of our candidates was:
- political waste recycling: the elected national assembly representatives would donate 80% of their salary to the movements for social justice and ecological sustainability,
- organize a parliamentary monitoring foundation: to promote and speed up the enactment of laws crucial to people's daily life,
- promote the movement for a green constitution based on Taiwan's ecological circle.
A political representative system is our version of grassroots democracy. Those Green Party members who hold office at any level should politically represent the social movements by adopting the program of social movements. Some different electoral regulations apply to minority and female candidates. Our objective is to have women candidates make up 5O% of our candidates. Our, current policy is at least one third.
...the 13 Green Party nominees won over 100,000 votes in the National Assembly election while spending far less than any other party.
Despite the adverse atmosphere of heavy political campaigning from the three major political parties and the four presidential candidates, the 13 Green Party nominees won over 100,000 votes in the National Assembly election while spending far less than any other party. In all election districts where the Green Party of Taiwan participated, our candidate won an average of 2.97% of the vote! In fact, our candidate in Yun Lin County won the election and earned the first government position for the Green Party of Taiwan. Although we have not yet crossed the 5% line necessary to become an official party, we have shown our independence and potential through this first election! In order to realize grassroots democracy, social justice, and environmental protection, the Green Party of Taiwan will actively participate in all elections starting now! The Green Party of Taiwan is not only the new tool to facilitate the social progress of' Taiwan; the Green Party of Taiwan is also a fresh new political choice for the people in Taiwan!
The Green Party of Taiwan's Energy Policy
On May 25, 1996, the Legislative Yuan passed the Abolish Nuclear Power Plant Act. This stimulated a big debate on energy policy. For energy policy Green Party Taiwan believes that environmental protection and public safety are the first things to be considered. Energy conservation and improving energy efficiency are the major target of energy policy. The industry policy, transportation policy, housing policy and environmental policy should be consistent with the energy policy. For energy policy we propose:
- 1. Abandon the project of the Fourth Nuclear Power Plant. Shut down all the nuclear power plants in Taiwan as early as possible.
- 2. Promote energy conservation projects and improve energy efficiency.
- 3. Deregulate the energy business.
- 4. Promote the co-generation of electricity and heat, the use of natural gas and renewable energy to replace fossil fuel and nuclear power.
- 5. Development of environmentally benign small scale power plants.
- 6. Restructure the various industries in Taiwan by developing the low energy consumption, less polluting industries. In particular, we oppose the expansion of the petro-chemical industry, steel industry, and cement industry.
- 7. Develop high volume public transportation systems and the bicycle sidewalk.
- 8. Reform the Atomic Energy Commission. The agency should turn out to be Taiwan's atomic national regulation committee.
- 9. Promote the research and development of energy conservation and a pollution prevention policy.
Declaration of the Green Party of Taiwan's Founding Assembly
After martial law was lifted during the late 1980s, Taiwan experienced a period of social force explosion as evidenced by 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, the Democratic Progressive Party, during the last 10 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 Kuomintang (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 was to push the Legislative Yuan, Taiwan's parliament, to speed up legislation on environmental protection, human rights protection, social welfare, education and any other issues that are of concern to the social movement organizations. However, what the legislators of the three major parties did was very disappointing, Since they only care about their re-election, they decided to cancel 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.
With this social context, there comes the idea of a Parliamentary Monitoring Organization and the proposal for Political Waste Recycling. Political Waste Recycling calls for elected National Assembly representatives to contribute 80% of their salary to the Parliamentary Monitoring Organization and social movement organizations. In a word, it distributes national resources to social movements. Today, we have formed the Green Party of 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 ecological sustainability 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 uncompetitive 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 the 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 political 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 Taiwan as a base and the environmental movement as a guiding light, with grassroots democracy as the organizational principle, green believers shall coalesce into a formidable power. The founding of the Green Party of 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 sustainability and social justice of Green Taiwan.
January 25, 1996