Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Will Chen Yunlin's Visit Precipitate a Schism within the Democratic Progressive Party?

Will Chen Yunlin's Visit Precipitate a Schism within the Democratic Progressive Party?
United Daily News editorial (Taipei, Taiwan, ROC)
A Translation
October 7, 2008

Chen Yunlin's announced visit in late October or early November is a problem for the Ma administration and the Hu administration in Beijing. Ironically, it has also become a hot potato for the Democratic Progressive Party also. If not handled properly, Chen Yunlin's visit could be the catalyst that precipitates a schism within the DPP.

Chen Shui-bian is rapidly gaining in influence. He initiated the first protest march against the Ma administration. The DPP was forced to dance to his tune. Tsai Ing-wen was originally reluctant to participate. Her reaction was, "Protest march? Didn't we just have a protest march?" But developments forced her to yield. A number of questions have now arisen. One. Are the DPP and Chen Shui-bian co-sponsoring this protest march? Two. Suppose the DPP chooses not to participate in Chen Shui-bian's protest march? Three. Will Chen Shui-bian hold his own protest march on the same day as the DPP? Four. Will the DPP refrain from holding its own protest march in order to avoid redundancy? Will it permit DPP officials and party members to attend the march?

In reference to the August 30 protest march, Chen Shui-bian has said only that "My heart is with you." Chen Shui-bian has gathered considerable political momentum. He is unlikely to pass up an opportunity to make political hay out of Chen Yunlin's visit. He will probably use the political momentum accumulated on the streets to consolidate his status as the standard-bearer of the Taiwan independence movement. Therefore we predict that when Chen Yunlin comes to visit, Chen Shui-bian will take to the streets.

The Democratic Progressive Party must decide how to respond to Chen Yunlin's visit. Tsai Ing-wen said the DPP must first arrive at a clear position and adopt a clear policy. DPP leaders must first clarify why they are protesting. Only then can they talk about whether they should launch a protest. But Chen Shui-bian has already seized the initiative, and is setting the agenda. Tsai Ing-wen and the DPP have lost the initiative, and have lost the opportunity to set the agenda. If they attempt to regroup, they will certainly be drowned out by Chen Shui-bian's high decibel rhetoric. Chen Shui-bian is rapidly consolidating his power. If the Democratic Progressive Party attempts to compete, many think Chen Shui-bian's protest march will prove more popular.

Therefore the DPP's real nemesis is not either Chen Yunlin or the Ma administration, but Chen Shui-bian. Chen Yunlin's visit means the DPP will find itself besieged from all sides. One. Will the DPP continue to take a hard line on Taiwan independence in response to Chen Yunlin? Will the DPP's cross-Strait policy still rest on founding a "Nation of Taiwan?" Two. The Democratic Progressive Party Central Committee and Chen Shui-bian may have a showdown. Will the DPP allow Chen Shui-bian to hijack the party, or will it find a way to make a clean break with him? Three. The DPP may be forced to choose between supporting A Bian and Taiwan independence, or blazing a new trail for itself. Four. The Democratic Progressive Party must answer to the public over Chen Shui-bian, Taiwan independence, and cross-strait policy.

Chen Shui-bian faces three or four more years of legal battles. In other words, the DPP must contend with Chen Shui-bian for at least three or four more years. Chen Shui-bian's strategy is to rally mob sentiment and use it as a bargaining chip in his criminal trial. This includes cultivating the notion that he deserves amnesty. He may lack the support of a majority of Democratic Progressive Party members. But he retains the support of a significant minority. If Chen Yunlin's visit provides this minority with an excuse to take to the streets, Chen Shui-bian's strategic plan will be finalized, and the Democratic Progressive Party's attempt to purge the party of Chen's legacy will have failed.

During the 2008 presidential election, the United Daily News was the first to predict Chen Shui-bian's strategy. We explained that Chen's strategy was not intended to help Frank Hsieh or the DPP win the election. Its purpose was to help Chen Shui-bian remain the standard bearer of the Taiwan independence movement following the election. Our prediction has come true. What's puzzling is how Frank Hsieh and the DPP allowed themselves to be held hostage for fear of losing the election. But having lost the election as well as the public's trust, Tsai Ing-wen and the DPP still can't free themselves from A Bian's grasp. They continue to offer their necks to the vampire, powerless to resist, perhaps unwilling to resist.

Tsai Ing-wen said the DPP must first arrive at a clear position and adopt a clear policy. If Chen Yunlin's visit consolidates Chen Shui-bian's brand of Taiwan independence, how will Tsai Ing-wen face reformers within the Democratic Progressive Party? How will she face members of the public who still look to the Democratic Progressive Party for reform? How will she face her own conscience?

The August 30 protest march, could be interpreted as a minor victory for Tsai Ing-wen. She temporarily suppressed support for A Bian. But Chen Shui-bian intends to use Chen Yunlin's visit to consolidate support for himself and Taiwan independence, and to use that support to hijack the Democratic Progressive Party. He intends to turn his rhetoric into reality. "If nobody is leading the Democratic Progressive Party, then I will return to lead it!" In other words, according to A Bian, Tsai Ing-wen is "nobody" and the DPP has once again reverted to Chen Shui-bian's "leadership."

Tsai Ing-wen and the reformists within the Democratic Progressive Party need not worry about how to respond to Chen Yunlin. Protesting his visit is merely for the sake of appearance. The person they really need to respond to is Chen Shui-bian. They must prevent the Democratic Progressive Party from becoming Chen Shui-bian's bargaining chip in the coming years.

Chen Yunlin's visit will either precipitate a schism within the DPP, or help Chen Shui-bian to hijack the DPP. Either alternative is intolerable to Tsai Ing-wen and the DPP.

2008.10.07 03:08 am


正在快速增加影響力的變數是陳水扁。他最先倡議舉行大遊行,民進黨無可迴避。蔡英文原本的態度顯有保留,她的反應是:「遊行,不是剛遊行過嗎?」但是,隨 著情勢的推移,似已把持不住。於是,現在的問題似乎變成:一、民進黨與陳水扁是否共同舉辦遊行?二、民進黨若排拒陳水扁參加黨辦遊行,陳水扁會不會自辦遊 行?三、甚至,陳水扁會不會與黨同日舉辦遊行,進行拚場?四、或者,為避免拚場,民進黨是否宣布不舉辦遊行,但也不限制黨公職人員及黨員參加陳水扁的遊 行。


如何因應陳雲林來訪,是民進黨的重大議題。蔡英文曾說,必須先建立論述及政策,亦即先辯明為何遊行,始能談要不要遊行?但是,如今卻被陳水扁奪佔了「議題 設定」的主導地位,蔡英文及民進黨已失去了重建「論述及政策」的空間,即使設法重建,屆時亦必將淹沒在陳水扁的高分貝中。陳水扁正在快速累積實力之中,若 與民進黨拚場遊行,恐怕有許多人會猜測:阿扁的場子也許會比民進黨熱。

因此,民進黨屆時真正的對手,其實不是陳雲林或馬政府,而是陳水扁。陳雲林來訪,對民進黨而言,其實宛如「四面楚歌」:一、民進黨是否仍將以明確的台獨立 場面對陳雲林,並仍以「台灣國」標定其兩岸政策。二、民進黨中央與陳水扁可能面臨攤牌情勢:或被陳水扁就此「附身」不去,或設法切割?三、民進黨內部勢將 陷入「挺扁/挺獨」的情感與路線的撕裂之中。四、民進黨勢須面對全體國人,就其對陳水扁、台獨及兩岸政策的基調作出交代。

陳水扁面對可能長達三、四年或更長久的貪案訴訟,換句話說,民進黨也將至少必須與陳水扁進行三、四年的角力。陳水扁現在的策略是:他必須擁有一股社會力量 作為他在訴訟及政治上的操作籌碼,包括預先醞釀未來要求特赦的街頭勢力;如今可見,這一股力量雖未必是民進黨支持者的大多數,但也絕非無關痛癢的少數。陳 水扁把持了這股勢力,若在陳雲林來訪時將他們帶上街頭,即可差堪宣示他的戰略部署已告完成。於彼同時,當然亦宣告民進黨「去扁化」的完全失敗。

在二○○八總統大選時,本報首先預言,陳水扁當時的戰略,並非為民進黨或謝長廷贏得大選,而是要為陳水扁自己在選後保全台獨旗手的地位。此一預言,已經應 驗。令人不解的是:大選時民進黨及謝長廷被挾持,終於葬送了大選及多數國人的信任;如今民進黨大選已敗,但民進黨及蔡英文卻仍被已經退黨的阿扁挾持,竟也 仍是伸長了脖子被這隻吸血鬼咬住,毫無抵擋之力,甚至亦無逃脫之心。


八三○遊行,也許可視為蔡英文的小勝利,因為她當時畢竟暫時壓制了「挺扁」的聲音;但是,如今陳水扁勢將運用陳雲林來訪,要把挺扁、挺獨及挾持民進黨「三 合一」綁在一起,不啻實踐了他近日的豪語:「民進黨若沒有人領導,我願回來領導!」倘係如此,蔡英文就成了「沒有人」,而民進黨則在實質上又落回陳水扁的 「領導」之中。



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