The following manifesto was released on April 1st, declaring the formation of the Untouchables’ Liberation Area. The original Chinese language text can be seen here.
We are a group of long-term social movement participants, involved in allowing the people to “seemingly” gain political rights and stir themselves up in this protest movement. There is no precedent in Taiwanese history for the people occupation the legislature and this is not a commonly seen event in other countries, as well. This set of circumstances has not come out of nowhere, seeing as representative politics has not been able to respond to the daily life needs of the people in Taiwan for quite some time, which has led to the exclusion of people’s voices from the governmental system. with this empty, unchanging system, this has led to the system to fail to live up people’s expectations. We have participated in the movement since the first day of the occupation; some people entered into the Legislative Yuan, some people blocked off the police’s access points, some people volunteered for different working groups, and some people organized discussions outside of the Legislative Yuan…everyone has participated for the sake of adding further strength to the movement and participation for the sake of our political visions. Within this movement, we have struggle connect the movement inside and outside the occupation, and hope to create a channel between the inside and outside, and to find the shared path for this movement to advance.
Photo credit: Untouchables’ Liberation Area/Facebook
However, in this movement, although we have energetically participated and committed our efforts to the movement, we do not feel that we have the right of decision-making with this movement. Although it may appear that this movement is a collective one, in reality, many decisions within the movement have been made by a small minority regarding issues of leadership, discipline, and the management of the movement as a whole, duplicating the structure of the political system it claims to oppose. In the same way, the appeal to so-called reason or peace has become a means of control. This process of duplication reflects the lack of political imagination of the movement leadership, much less the appearance a diverse number of people thirsting to throw off the present political system much as we do. As movement participants, we do not accept the movement replicating the Taiwanese political system, something which has led to the people having no way to reclaim their rights, and placed limitations on the possibility of self-organized movements by the people, but consuming the energy of movement participants nonetheless. We are further unwilling to commit are time and energy to the self-flattering “reason” and “peace” of the central leadership of the movement, much less a mass protest of this nature.
Today, we, as individuals who have been instrumentalized in defending the Legislative Yuan, furthermore as movement who have been excluded from participating in decision making–as gathered outside of the steps of the NTU Alumni Association (台灣大學校友總會) and outside the public restroom set up in the occupation encampment, as workers, farmers, businesspeople, white-collar workers, and other individuals who have been allowed to participate in the decision-making of the movement. These people have gathered in the Untouchable’s Liberation Area, to advance their conception of the movement. Within the movement, there are all forms of life practiced within, and different members of different organizations have participated in discussion, have learned to sing different social movement songs, helped the injured during the attempted occupation of the Executive Yuan, have organized discussions of documentary films, or mini-electronic music festivals. Of these activities listed above, these have all involved the self-organization and mutual participation of members of the public, the aim being to listen to the wishes of anyone who came on-site, to through mutual dialogue come to an understanding, and mutual understanding, and without easily labelling or excluding others. In this process, we have targeted the political authority within this movement, and call for changes to how this movement decides on course of actions; from those who maintain order in the occupation, maintaining discipline or overseeing responsibilities, we hear that there is still not enough people taking on such responsibilities decisions are still primarily being made within the Legislative Yuan and there have been self-organized discussions of changing the structure of this movement. Outside of this, we have discussed with those maintaining order in the occupation and the medical volunteers on-site, in order that the lane kept open for medical emergencies can be made more flexible and less restrictive of people’s space.
Photo credit: Untouchables’ Liberation Area/Facebook
We advocate that, in response to the movement being controlled by a small group of people, the people should themselves be the center of the movement and every participant in the movement has the right to speak up and carry out their own forms of actions. It should not be that a small set of elites claim to “represent” or “lead” us using the same means as in mainstream politics. We also hope to see improvement in organization through dialogue, and that all participants in the movement should be those who make decisions from the movement, and in this way to arrive at consensus, to reflect the shared and collective voice of our movement.
Untouchables’ Liberation Area Principles
Dialogue will be listened to respectfully without exclusion, and with mutual understanding
We oppose elites and leaders, participation in the movement should be founded on mutual understanding, discussion, and decision-making
Self-participating, not blindly following orders
No replacing others in making speeches
If there is any skepticism, sit down to discuss
All shared decisions-making is decided by the Untouchables’ Liberation Area as a whole
(We will not directly tag individuals on Facebook, please assist! This list of names is those who wrote this shared statement on 3/31, anyone willing to join, please sign!)
Huang Jincheng (黃鏡丞), L.F. Chen, Pei Linong (裴立農), Micc Zhang, Smiao Lin, Yang Zixuan (楊子瑄), 謝政孝 (Jason Melian), Xie Shouyuan (謝碩元), Johnny Fan, Sha Fengjing (煞風景), Felix Chiu, Lian Ruoxin (連若馨), Chen Pincun (陳品存), Dust Ash, Posak Jodian, Xie Jingwen (謝靖雯), Li Ciming (李慈湄), Wang Zihao (王子豪), Guo Jiaying (郭家穎), Chen Shih-Ting (陳詩婷), Wu Yongyi (吳永毅), Chen Xiulian (陳秀蓮), Lu Qihong (盧其宏).