Le Flanc Radical (基進側翼), also known as Radical Wings, was one of the political groups active during the Sunflower Movement that was critical of the movement’s mainstream. With its origins in a blog started by Taiwanese overseas students studying in France, “Beyond Blue or Green” (超克藍綠), Le Flanc Radical refers to itself as a “left independence” group and was founded in 2011, with its initial formation also having in part as its impetus Chen Yunlin’s (陳雲林) visit to Taiwan, which was also the start of the Wild Strawberry Movement. Le Flanc Radical later made moves to become a political party after the end of the movement, running its candidates as members of the Taiwan Solidarity Union. However, its critics sometimes instead deem it to be a “right independence” group.
Le Flanc Radical was critical of what it saw as the Sunflower Movement’s central leaders not being willing to take drastic action necessary to defend Taiwan’s de facto independence and held soapbox talks within the occupation site. Some members of Le Flanc Radical had been among the original planners of the occupation, but disagreed with some of the direction that the movement later took, such as the decision to withdraw from the Legislative Yuan after a large rally on 330.
Le Flanc Radical in Fall 2014. Photo credit: Le Flanc Radical/Facebook
This led to accusations by Le Flanc Radical that the movement leadership was seeking to constrain its actions, something for which Lin Fei-Fan (林飛帆) later apologized. An incident also took place on 330 in which volunteers on the occupation encampment claiming to be following Huang Kuo-Chang’s (黃國昌) orders mistakenly destroyed print materials belonging to Le Flanc Radical, leading to an apology from Huang as well as further criticisms from Le Flanc Radical about what they perceived as a lack of democracy within the movement. Le Flanc Radical also disagreed with the leadership within the Legislative Yuan regarding issues such as how Chinese students should be treated in Taiwan, including Chinese students who had participated in Taiwanese social movements.
Le Flanc Radical subsequently ran in 2014 nine-in-one elections and 2016 legislative elections, with its candidates running as part of the Taiwan Solidarity Union (台灣團結聯盟). It was supported in this by some post-Sunflower Movement student activist groups, such as Youth Against Oppression (臺左維新), with members of Youth Against Oppression working as volunteers in Le Flanc Radical. Le Flanc Radical has not yet been victorious, but it has a strong base in the benshengren heavy Taiwanese south, particularly in Kaohsiung and Tainan. Consequently, Le Flanc Radical later changed its name to the Radical Party (基進黨).