in any practice of economic democracy, one must consider types of products and production methods that will not be absorbed or canceled by transnational capital, as well as how to transform human desire constructs and lifestyle values. In other words, I learned the importance of self education from the autonomous development of economic democracy at the Hsinchu Glass Factor y. Therefore, the practice of economic democracy at any site requires self education that transforms the existing consensus and desire construct.
Lien Fu Employees Self-help Group Disabling the System with Its
Historical Background Under pressure from the U.S. plan to end financial aid to the Republic of China in 1965, Taiwan's Ministry of Economic Affairs promulgated its Statute for the Establishment and Administration of Export Processing Zone. Following the establishment of the Kaohsiung City Nanzih Export Processing Zone one year later, the island of Taiwan gradually became a global manufacturing hub. In 1987 when the order was given to end martial law, industries started moving abroad in search of cheaper labor, thus generating a series of bankruptcies to protect investors but rarely workers. These malicious factory closings reached their peak in 1996. On August 16, 1996, The Lien Fu Garment Factory suddenly posted a sign on the door announcing its immediate closing. They hadn't informed workers, and never disbursed worker pensions, severance pay or salaries. The factory owner made use of his dual citizenship to leave Taiwan and has refused to return, He still has yet to fulfill his obligation regarding worker rights and interests. Over 300 women workers who had worked in the factory from 20 to 30 years sewing clothing appealed to the Ministry of Labor and struggled for 12 years with assistance from the National Federation of Independent Trade Unions. They employed protest tactics such as shutting down the railroad by lying on tracks just to get the government and society to take their pleas seriously. In 2008 the factor y was auctioned off by the
court. On November 11 of the same year, the new owners demolished the factory after the police had to forcibly remove women workers who were protesting at the site. These unemployed women lack the basic legal protection of the Taiwanese government, as a result, they still have not received the pensions, severance pay and salaries owed to them.
Contemporary Interpretation Although these women protested for many years and never received justice, when they worked with me on my video Factor y, I heard many stories revealing the profound folk wisdom they developed regarding protest strategies through this experience. From these workers I realized there is no such thing as an impenetrable system. Following their continual and vehement protests, the Taiwanese government had no choice but to pursue subrogation, which requires the state owned bank to pay the women on behalf of the negligent factory owners. But several years later the state bank could not recoup the funds from the negligent factory owners and required the workers to return the money. Facing great difficulty, the women forced the state bank to give up this preposterous requirement using a simple and legal strategy. These more than 300 workers assembled at the state bank and lined up at a single teller window. They each opened an account with NTD100 and then returned to the end of the line so they could withdraw NTD10. Each of these 300 workers went to the bank every day and repeatedly deposited and withdrew a small sum of cash, which wreaked chaos upon the bank's system. In the end, this strategy forced the bank to give up on its dunning practices. T h e wo m e n u s e d w h a t I b e l i e ve i s a l e g a l m e c h a n i s m: re p eti ti o n th at ove r l oad e d th e system's capacity and made it cease functioning. From a certain perspective, taking mechanization and repetition to their limits is a way to open a gap in the law.