The Dis-Possessed Legislature

The Occupied Legislature situation has been resolved for now, in that some of the people currently in power have accepted the students' demands. They were accepted with a lot of wiggle room in what was promised, so it remains to be seen what is actually done. Yet the acceptance allows the students to 'succeed' and then peacably disband, and allows the halls of power to get back to their normal business, or to get back to work at least.

There are now a lot of questions to be answered.

One of the students' demands was for a Citizen's Constitutional Assembly. KRW asks,
"Is [the future we work for] one where the people of Taiwan are no longer mediated subordinates, with regard to domestic and overseas affairs, but its immediate determinants?"

Before we discuss this question, let us discuss the concept of Negative Freedom and Positive Freedom.

Negative freedom is easier to describe. You can call it 'freedom from'.  It means you are free from restrictions, obstacles, or constraining commitments/responsiblity.  You're 'freed up' to do whatever you want, there is a lack of limitations.

Positive freedom is a little trickier.  You can call it 'freedom to'.  It has a strong relationship with taking initiative, or having the right conditions.   That is to say, you're free to do something through the availability of resources, through being given social support, through possessing collaborators.   Positive freedom is often realised through commitments to other people, or through taking on responsibility.

Saying 'positive' and 'negative' implies that one is more desirable than the other, but actually the terms are about presence and absence, not good and bad.


Were the students+ in the protests excercising negative or positive freedom?
What would constitute negative freedom for these protestors? What would constitute positive freedom?
Which kind of freedom is more effective in getting their demands met?
What are they lacking, in their strive to get demands met?


Our guy KRW says:
"All neoliberal democracies, in practising market capitalism, privilege the private interests of a multinational ruling class over the public interests of its ruled classes. This is no secret. And without exception this is sanctioned as authoritatively as its subjects are willing to tolerate. More in some places, less in others; yet the form is identical."


We rarely talk about democracy in tandem with market capitalism. Sometimes I think one is assumed to be another, since most of the political systems labled 'democratic' also have a market-capitalist economy. Let's talk this through.

What is Market Capitalism, what is Democracy?
What allows people to confuse the two?
Do they automatically go hand-in-hand, i.e. do you have to have democracy to have a market-capitalist system?
Do you have to have a market-capitalist economy to have democracy?

What is Neoliberal Democracy, as compared to plain old vanilla Democracy?

Does having a democracy automatically create free citizens?
What kind of freedem are citizens accorded in a democracy? Negative freedom? Positive freedom?


[A protest] is the struggle for new conditions where such disagreements are taken for the truths they are. The corrupt political parties, stupefying and manipulative media, and other conservative state-apparatuses are the ones that deal in the consensual. They impose it as the absolute framework where disagreements are neutralised, protests are obsolete, and truths are reduced to opinion. This “absoluteness” is false and best bypassed, not accommodated. Yet articulation also implies that we need not interpret (which is another form of neutralising opinion). We can convey what is already in process instead. Collectively, the movement is undertaking an unprecedented, non-violent revolutionary action. And is so because its measures include extra-parliamentary and extra-legal tactics.

If the movement is bold enough to revolt against the existing order then it is already in the process of inventing its future. Please allow me to speculate for a moment on this future—strike me if I am wrong. But is not the justice that the movement serves the beginning of a new political order altogether? Is it not one where the people of Taiwan are no longer mediated subordinates, with regard to domestic and overseas affairs, but its immediate determinants?
--Open Letter to the Sunflower Movement


Part of what KRW is saying here is that there is revolutionary potential in the Sunflower Movement.

What is the different between revolutionary and reformist?
What are some examples of revolution? of reform?
e.g. a revolutionary use of tech is subverting is commercial and marketing purposes and using it for real human purposes.

Which is more attractive to you? Which do you feel is more effective to get the change required?

Does reform require dismantling the 'old' system? Does revolution?

Is there positive freedom within our current system? Do you consider our current system to be democratic?
What kinds of structures are required for positive freedom? For 'real' democracy?


So, to return to our original question,
"Is [the future we work for] one where the people of Taiwan are no longer mediated subordinates, with regard to domestic and overseas affairs, but its immediate determinants?"

Are we striving to make the people of Taiwan the immediate determinants of governance? To rephrase: are we trying to make it that the people of Taiwan are directly in power, with direct control over what the government says and does?


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