Parliamentary fights!
July 14, 2017 11:16 AM   Subscribe

Taiwan's feisty parliament, the Legislative Yuan, descended into fistfights, water balloon launches, and chair throwing again this week over a massive infrastructure spending plan. Members of the opposition Kuomintang clad in blue swarmed the podium. against the green-wearing Democratic Progressive Party, the latest in decades of dust-ups between the two camps.

After the end of one-party rule, Taiwanese politics was locked in struggle between, simplified, the largely pro-indepedence DPP and the pro-reunification KMT., with fights most often started by the opposition party when other avenues have been exhausted. Fights have broke out over a fourth nuclear power plant, trade deals with mainland China, featuring slapping speakers, eating legislation, and food fights. The Legislative Yuan was awarded an Ig Nobel "demonstrating that politicians gain more by punching, kicking and gouging each other than by waging war against other nations."

Elsewhere around the world, South Koreans have barricaded doors to prevent quorums and launched tear gas (previously) into the chamber. Fights have also happened in Ukraine, Georgia, Turkey, and Russia.

Other nations have also had legislative violence, which was more common in America's younger days. In 1856, South Carolina Rep. Preston Brooks savagely beat Massachusetts Sen. Charles Sumner with a cane. One Alabama state representative punched another. More recently, scuffles broke out at the Texas state house when one legislator called Immigration and Customs Enforcement on protesters.
posted by Hollywood Upstairs Medical College (6 comments total) 7 users marked this as a favorite
The Turkish Parliament fight set to Minor Threat is one of my favorite internet small things ever.
posted by Ufez Jones at 12:19 PM on July 14, 2017 [1 favorite]

I was laughing a bit at the videos today too, as my workday was full of talk about it. But I find it really sad that when this happens is the only time that most people in the U.S. hear anything about Taiwan really.

It's important to note that crazy brawls like these happen way less often than they used to. Over the last few decades, the LY has been slowly transforming itself from a sort of wild west - with local gangsters serving as legislators and these kinds of fights quite often - into a more serious and professional parliamentary body. They have more power over national policy and the executive branch than they used to, and the reduction in the number of legislators in 2008 has made each individual LY member more powerful. There are even some professional staff developing of the kind that the U.S. Congress relies on to function.

But the members of the LY - like the citizens of the island - care passionately about their democracy. The domestic political situation can be volatile and complicated, not to mention that there are strong differences in thinking between parties about domestic, cross-Strait, and global policy. That their passion sometimes spills over is not surprising, or all that bad IMHO. Sometimes I wish that the U.S. Congress would feel this strongly about serving their constituents too... At the same time I also wish the LY members didn't consistently become the butt of jokes over it.
posted by gemmy at 6:04 PM on July 14, 2017 [6 favorites]

Yeah I'm not even being a smartass when I say that I prefer this kind of politics—unobfuscated and sincere—to what we get in the US.

In Taiwan the violence happens between politicians, because they passionately believe what they believe. In the US the violence perpetrated by politicians upon the citizenry, but they have neither the courage to be honest about it nor the sincerity to do it for any reason other than money/power.
posted by danny the boy at 6:31 PM on July 14, 2017 [5 favorites]

But the members of the LY - like the citizens of the island - care passionately about their democracy.

When your society was under martial law only decades ago, during which almost 30,000 dissidents were executed or disappeared, I'm guessing democracy becomes a far more precious thing worth protecting and nurturing. I worry that that's what it takes.

I spent January and February in Taipei with Dr. Tully Monster, who was on sabbatical. It was amazingly therapeutic.
posted by tully_monster at 7:25 PM on July 14, 2017 [4 favorites]

I secretly love when grown-ass adults get in inappropriate fistfights, like in parliaments or during sports matches, so this post is highly relevant to my interests!
posted by Eyebrows McGee at 5:32 PM on July 15, 2017 [1 favorite]

Another video of brawling.
posted by jenfullmoon at 6:35 PM on July 18, 2017

« Older sent you sms... did you get it??   |   Earthquake Safety Bed: The Bed That Eats! Newer »

This thread has been archived and is closed to new comments