Tuesday, August 09, 2011

Rooting out injustice

What we need is development with a heart, or a road to modernity minus the bulldozers and police contingents

Hardly a week goes by nowadays without farmers, environmentalists, unions and rights activists petitioning the central government over issues of corporate predation upon the land and the individual. While every instance could be looked upon as isolated and unrelated, their frequency in the past two years means that one cannot help but see a trend.

It would be easy to blame President Ma Ying-jeou’s (馬英九) administration for all the ills that have befallen the farmers who toil this land or the inhabitants of areas that are to be destroyed to make room for industrial projects. However, the problem is a more fundamental one, one that has deeper roots than the policies of a single administration. The answers and solutions, if ever we find them, will only emerge when people and organizations that purport to fight for freedom and justice in Taiwan themselves stop exploiting those who work for them.

Sometimes this hits so close to home that we don’t even see it.

My editorial, published today in the Taipei Times, continues here.

1 comment:

Michael Fagan said...

Although I don't agree with all of that, I think the gist of that piece is much better than previous pieces I've seen in the TT whimpering pathetically about "insufficient legal negotiation" and "environmental concerns" in cases of land expropriation.

This is the first time I've seen someone other than me in the pages of the TT finally calling it for what it is: theft.

That being the case, I've now accomplished one of my narrow objectives in writing letter after letter to the TT for the past three years.

"As for the Democratic Progressive Party, it will have to go beyond the usual vapid slogans and clearly articulate an alternative policy for national development that is just and avoids government-sanctioned theft of private property."

In a somewhat similar vein to that, I would say they should conceive a program of rational depoliticization... a program for the repudiation, and limitation of both government powers and presumptuously arrogated responsibilities - things which necessarily stretch the budget and which at the same time enable a dangerous growth of centralized political power.