Communism as a test of democracy

Chu Yen-ming 朱言明, Taipei Times, Tuesday 19 June 2001, Page 8

Since the lifting of martial law and the ban on political parties on June 15, 1988, over 90 political parties have been established in Taiwan. Attempts have even been made to apply for the establishment of a Communist Party based on Article 8 of the Civic Organization Law (人 民團體法), without a full understanding of the main points of the law.

Not long ago, Wang Lao-yang (王老養) submitted, for the ninth time, an application to the Ministry of the Interior for approval of the establishment of the Taiwanese Communist Party. But, as on previous occasions, the application was rejected in accordance with Article 2 of the Civic Organization Law: Civic organizations and activities may not promote communism. Not only the ministry, but also a majority of people in Taiwan today understand that a Communist Party will implement or promote communism, which of course would be preposterous.

With the great changes in Eastern Europe and the break-up of the Soviet Union, the international communist movement has suffered overwhelming defeats. Communism really does embrace some lofty goals—its just that its methods are completely unacceptable. Sun Yat-sen (孫逸仙) said, It’s OK to study the meaning of communism, but not to use its methods. The French, Spanish and Italian Communist Parties are still as influential today as they used to be, but the French Communist Party is an improved party. The Spanish party went its own way after the 1968 Soviet invasion of Czechoslovakia and is now completely independent. The Italian Communist Party is a reformed party different from traditional Communist Parties. All of these are walking the parliamentary road. The Polish and Mongolian Communist Parties have remade themselves and won back political power after defeating the opposition in parliamentary elections.

In December 1999, Reuters examined the ideas of economists in a bid to establish who had exerted the greatest influence on economics over the past few centuries. Karl Marx came in third, second only to Adam Smith and John Maynard Keynes, with many Nobel laureates ranking behind him. Marx says, in his theory of the accumulation of capital, that the communist revolution becomes necessary when the gap between rich and poor becomes too wide. This warning has made capitalists and rulers in capitalist countries struggle to find ways to improve labor conditions and salaries, to care for the poor and the weak, and to establish comprehensive social welfare policies. Modern countries all emphasize social welfare, and this is in many respects due to Marx.

Before Song Qingling (宋慶齡), Madame Sun Yat-sen, passed away, she was allowed to become a member of the Communist Party in May 1981. Chiang Ching-kuo (蔣經國) became a member of the Komsomol after he arrived in Moscow in November 1925. He later became a party member in waiting and applied for full membership in November 1936, an application that was temporarily stopped due to the Xi’an Incident (西安事變). He returned home the following year, never to become a party member. Papers can also be found that state that former president Lee Teng-hui (李登輝)became a member of the Communist Party upon his return to Taiwan after World War II. They were all attracted by ideas: capitalism conforms most with the human character, socialism strives for humanism, and communism is full of idealism.

There are about 110 communist organizations in the world today. One example is the Japanese Communist Party, which has over 80 mass organizations and groups under its leadership. It is treading the path of European Communism (as opposed to Soviet communism)—the path of peace, democracy and parliamentarism, opposing the strengthening of self-defense forces, dis-patching troops overseas and militarism.The Chinese Communist Party is also in constant evolution, trying to find itself.

There is idealism in Wang’s desire for the establishment of a Taiwanese Communist Party. Since Taiwan lacks left-wing parties, what would be the danger of letting him become a litmus test for democracy in Taiwan?