Monday, January 21, 2008

The DPP must transform itself from a Gang into a Party

The DPP must transform itself from a Gang into a Party
United Daily News editorial (Taipei, Taiwan, ROC)
A Translation
January 21, 2007

"Don't think of the DPP as a political party." When referring to the manner in which the DPP went about reflecting on the reasons for its election debacle, one Green Camp scholar noted with irony that the DPP is nothing more than an ad hoc alliance of political factions. For the DPP, elections are merely procedures by which to divvy up the loot.

In the eyes of pro-green academics the "ruling party" that has been leading the ROC for the past eight years is more "gang" than "political party." That's an astonishing notion. But based on the DPP's conduct, it is not far from the truth. Over the past several days voices within the party have been demanding self-introspection. Criticisms however have been directed exclusively at Chuang Kuo-jung, Hsieh Chi-wei, and other minor players. They have not touched on the party's political platform and principles of governance. Following a power struggle, Chen is out and Hsieh is in. The party machinery has already changed hands. It is combat ready and has already undergone redeployment. That the DPP is dealing with its defeat in such a cavalier manner leaves observers in stunned disappointment.

From being in the opposition to being the ruling party, the DPP's unchanging characteristic has been its pugnacity and its ability to reinvent itself. These make the DPP more like the "war council" of an organized crime family than a modern political party.

Because of its natural pugnacity, the DPP has always been able to develop innovative tactics and novel rhetoric in the service of its political struggles. But also due to this natural pugnacity, the DPP invariably lashes out full force. It is unable to settle down and put the welfare of the nation first. It lives only to fight. It has forgotten that the people only want to live in peace. It has forgotten that society needs a stable environment can to develop. As an old Chinese saying goes: "For those in authority making trouble is not an option." But over the past eight years the DPP has never been able to understand this principle. It has relentlessly been making trouble, until the public could not longer put up with its irresponsibility and decided to ruthlessly cast it aside.

After the DPP came to power, it had the opportunity to make the transition from an alliance of factions to a more stable, more effective modern political party. Unfortunately, faced with the seduction of power and a wealth of resources, the DPP immediately yielded to temptation. In order to rapidly expand its domain, the DPP eagerly absorbed local political machines and other political remnants. It attempted to undermine the Blue Camp by inducing members to defect. The result of its expansionist ambition was that economic advantage promptly supplanted the party's former political idealism. In the blink of an eye, a political alliance degenerated into a criminal gang. By contrast, many reformist-oriented elders were either ostracized or left in disgust. The lack of inclusiveness, the loss of idealism, and the emergence of a single voice suppressing dissent, all testified to the DPP's failure to transform itself into a modern political party.

Factions within the DPP proliferate. They attack each other. They jostle for advantage. They also engage in quid pro quo exchanges. This is one reason the DPP has not been able to transform itself into a modern political party. Yu Shyi-kun during his term as premier attempted to promote the eradication of factions. But the reality is that many small factions have encircled the more cohesive and organized New Tide faction. In the final analysis, this was merely an internal power struggle initiated by the DPP party hierarchy. As of now, factional power struggles within the DPP are no longer about political convictions, they are about realpolitik. Just take a look at the dominant Chen Shui-bian faction, at the Hsieh faction, sharpening its swords, at the Su faction, ready to rumble. What about Yu Shyi-kun? During his term as premier he built up the power of the Yu faction. The DPP's true colors as a criminal enterprise are becoming every more apparent.

When Frank Hsieh and Su Tseng-chang fought each other over the presidential nomination during the party primaries, Lee Ying-yuan angrily resigned as Chairman of the Council of Labor Affairs in order to help Frank Hsieh's campaign. Would such a thing happen in a normal political party in the modern era? A political appointee identifies more strongly with his political faction than with his role within the government? What is this, if not the nature of a criminal gang? Frank Hsieh's campaign committee shut out members of other factions. The party's nominees for the legislature had strong ties to local party machines. Frank Hsieh even refused to appear on the same podium with Chen Shui-bian. Chiou I-jen and Chang Chun-hsiung both resigned their positions as Hsieh camp campaign workers. Factionalism within the DPP is so rampant it can no longer be covered up. Such strange bedfellows, each with their own hidden agendas. How can one expect such a political party to assume collective responsibility for the failures of the past eight years?

"Don't think of the Democratic Progressive Party as a political party." This assessment reveals the secret behind the swift rise and and even swifter fall of the DPP. It also reveals the vulnerability of the ROC's constitutional structure. Looking back we realize that every one of the Democratic Progressive Party's self-styled virtues, from "honesty, diligence, love of the land" to "Champion of Taiwan independence and statehood" was a Big Lie, was political treachery. How this is a modern political party? Isn't this more akin to a street gang?

For years, DPP leaders were seen as fearsome electioneering experts. But after eight years in power, these electioneering experts have sunk to this level. Can they blame an electoral system they now denounce as unfair, but which they themselves rammed through the legislature? The DPP had better engage in some serious soul-searching about how it destroyed the nation's constitutional structures, abused its power, and lost the public trust. Otherwise it will remain nothing more than a gang of political thugs only capable of stirring up trouble and only concerned with getting their share of the loot.

2008.01.21 03:01 am


領 導台灣八年的「執政黨」,在親綠學者眼裡,竟是「幫派」成分多過「政黨」,豈不令人駭然?但對照民進黨的表現,此話又顯然不假:連日來黨內發出的檢討聲 音,皆集中在莊國榮、謝志偉之類的小角色身上,完全未觸及黨的從政路線和治國方針;一番權鬥後,「扁下謝上」黨機器易手,馬上又進入新的戰鬥部署。民進黨 因應敗局如此舉重若輕,令人錯愕亦復失望。


由 於它強烈的戰鬥天性,所以能源源不斷研發新穎的戰術及議題,進行政治鬥爭;但也因為這種好鬥善鬥的本能,它將全副精力用來部署攻擊,而無法安靜下來思考治 國。它沉湎於硝煙征戰,卻忘了老百姓需要休養生息,忘了社會需要安定的環境才能扎根、發展。所謂「當家不鬧事」,但民進黨八年來始終無法體悟到其中道理, 它終於鬧到讓人民忍無可忍,狠狠地將它唾棄。

民進黨執政後,本來有機會從「派系聯盟」轉型為更穩定、更有效能的現代政黨;可惜,面對誘人 的權力和豐盛的資源,民進黨立即向現實主義屈服。為了迅速擴張版圖,民進黨大肆吸收地方上渴望分享權力的派系散兵游勇,同時為了挖藍軍牆腳,而廣為招降納 叛。如此貪圖擴張的結果,使得黨內原來政治屬性較強的「派系聯盟」,在轉眼間就惡化為利益取向的「幫派聯盟」;相對的,不少具有改革理想的黨外「前輩」遭 到排擠或選擇出走。包容性的缺乏、理想性的喪失、一言堂的出現,在在驗證了民進黨向現代化政黨轉型的失敗。

民進黨內派系林立,彼此攻伐、 彼此掣肘,或彼此利益交換,也是妨礙它蛻變為現代政黨的主要原因之一。雖然游錫?在主席任內推動消滅派系,但其真相其實是眾小派系聯合圍剿組織力較凝聚的 新潮流系,歸根究柢,這只是一場黨中央發動的內部權鬥。此時,民進黨內派系生態已走向以「現實勢力」而非「政治理念」為結合的架構,只消看龐大的扁系、磨 刀霍霍的謝系、蠢蠢欲動的蘇系,乃至游錫?在擔任主席期間收編壯大的游系,民進黨的幫派色彩只是有增無減。

試想:在謝蘇初選相爭期間,李 應元憤而辭去勞委會主委,回去為謝長廷抬轎;若在一個正常的現代政黨,這種事如何可能發生?一個政務官的派系認同,遠大過自己執政角色的認知,這不是幫派 政治的表徵嗎?再看,謝營的助選團隊排拒「外系」人馬進駐,黨內立委提名充滿地方利益色彩,乃至謝長廷拒絕與扁同台,以及張俊雄和邱義仁雙辭謝營輔選工 作,不都說明民進黨幫派現象已到無法遮掩的地步嗎?這種同床異夢、各懷鬼胎的政黨,又如何奢望它為執政八年的失敗負起共同責任?


許 多年來,民進黨一直被視為可怕的「選戰高手」,但八年大權在握後,這個慓悍的「戰鬥團體」竟淪落到今日的慘況,它能怪自己一手強力推動的新選制對它太不公 允嗎?民進黨如果不深刻反省自己如何摧毀了民主真諦、如何濫用了權力、如何失去了人心,它恐怕永遠只是一個興風作浪、坐地分贓的政治幫派而已。

No comments: