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Middle Class, Civil Society and Democracy in Asia
 1138483672, 9781138483675

Table of contents :
Half title
Title page
Copyright page
Table of contents
List of illustrations
Notes on contributors
Part I: Overview
1 Comparing the tripartite links of middle class, civil society and democratization in Asia: positive, dubious and negative
Part II: The positive links in Taiwan and South Korea
2 The tripartite links of middle class, civil society and democracy in Taiwan: 1980–2016
3 Democracy and institution building through civil societyactivism in Taiwan: the case of the Judicial Reform Foundation
4 The tripartite links of middle class, civil society and democratization in South Korea
Part III: The dubious links in the Philippines and Indonesia
5 The middle-class-led Left movement in civil society’s role in the Philippines’ democratization process
6 Coalition politics and the contested democracy in the Philippines
7 Democratization and religious NGOs in Indonesia
Part IV: The negative links in Thailand
8 Contingent authoritarians: why Thai civil society and the middle class oppose democracy
9 Thailand at the critical royal transition: the middle class,civil society and democratisation
10 From paragons to opponents of democracy: middle class in civil society’s role in Thailand’s democratization

Citation preview

Middle Class, Civil Society and Democracy in Asia

This book offers a timely analysis of the tripartite links between the middle class, civil society and democratic experiences in Northeast and Southeast Asia. It aims to go beyond the two popular theoretical propositions in current democratic theory, which emphasise the bilateral connections between the middle class and democracy on one hand and civil society and democracy on the other. Instead, using national case studies, this volume attempts to provide a new comparative typological interpretation of the triple relationship in Taiwan, South Korea, the Philippines, Indonesia and Thailand. Presenting a careful analysis and delineation of historical democratic transformation over the past thirty years, three discernible typologies emerge. Namely, there are positive links in Taiwan and South Korea, dubious links in the Philippines and Indonesia, and negative links in Thailand. Middle Class, Civil Society and Democracy in Asia will be of interest to students and scholars of Asian politics and democracy. Hsin-­Huang Michael Hsiao is Distinguished Research Fellow in the Institute of Sociology at Academia Sinica and Chair Professor at the National Central University, Taiwan. His recent publications include Citizens, Civil Society and Heritage-­making in Asia (2017) and Coping with China Risk: The Challenge to Japanese, Korean and Taiwanese Firms (2016).

Routledge Contemporary Asia Series

58 Energy Security in Asia and Eurasia Edited by Mike M. Mochizuki and Deepa M. Ollapally 59 Populist Threats and Democracy’s Fate in Southeast Asia Thailand, the Philippines, and Indonesia William Case 60 Energy Transition in East Asia A Social Science Perspective Edited by Kuei-­Tien Chou 61 Faces of Homelessness in the Asia Pacific Edited by Carole Zufferey and Nilan Yu 62 Political Participation in Asia Defining and Deploying Political Space Edited by Eva Hansson and Meredith L. Weiss 63 Religious and Ethnic Revival in a Chinese Minority The Bai People of Southwest China Liang Yongjia 64 Protecting the Weak in East Asia Framing, Mobilisation and Institutionalism Edited by Iwo Amelung, Moritz Bӓlz, Heike Holbig, Matthias Schumann and Cornelia Storz 65 Middle Class, Civil Society and Democracy in Asia Edited by Hsin-­Huang Michael Hsiao For more information about this series, please visit: www.routledge.com/ Routledge-Contemporary-Asia-Series/book-series/SE0794

Middle Class, Civil Society and Democracy in Asia

Edited by Hsin-­Huang Michael Hsiao

First published 2019 by Routledge 2 Park Square, Milton Park, Abingdon, Oxon OX14 4RN and by Routledge 711 Third Avenue, New York, NY 10017 Routledge is an imprint of the Taylor & Francis Group, an informa business © 2019 selection and editorial matter, Hsin-­Huang Michael Hsiao; individual chapters, the contributors. The right of Hsin-­Huang Michael Hsiao to be identified as the author of the editorial matter, and of the authors for their individual chapters, has been asserted in accordance with sections 77 and 78 of the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1988. All rights reserved. No part of this book may be reprinted or reproduced or utilized in any form or by any electronic, mechanical, or other means, now known or hereafter invented, including photocopying and recording, or in any information storage or retrieval system, without permission in writing from the publishers. Trademark notice: Product or corporate names may be trademarks or registered trademarks, and are used only for identification and explanation without intent to infringe. British Library Cataloguing-­in-Publication Data A catalogue record for this book is available from the British Library Library of Congress Cataloging-­in-Publication Data A catalog record has been requested for this book ISBN: 978-1-138-48367-5 (hbk) ISBN: 978-1-351-05426-3 (ebk) Typeset in Times New Roman by Wearset Ltd, Boldon, Tyne and Wear


List of illustrations Notes on contributors Acknowledgments


vii viii ix



  1 Comparing the tripartite links of middle class, civil society and democratization in Asia: positive, dubious and negative


H S I N - ­H U A N G M I C H A E L   H S I A O


The positive links in Taiwan and South Korea


  2 The tripartite links of middle class, civil society and democracy in Taiwan: 1980–2016


H S I N - ­H U A N G M I C H A E L   H S I A O

  3 Democracy and institution building through civil society activism in Taiwan: the case of the Judicial Reform Foundation


M A U - ­K U E I   C H A N G

  4 The tripartite links of middle class, civil society and democratization in South Korea Y O O N - ­C H U L   P A R K


vi   Contents PART III

The dubious links in the Philippines and Indonesia


  5 The middle-­class-led Left movement in civil society’s role in the Philippines’ democratization process



  6 Coalition politics and the contested democracy in the Philippines



  7 Democratization and religious NGOs in Indonesia




The negative links in Thailand


  8 Contingent authoritarians: why Thai civil society and the middle class oppose democracy



  9 Thailand at the critical royal transition: the middle class, civil society and democratisation



10 From paragons to opponents of democracy: middle class in civil society’s role in Thailand’s democratization


H U G H P E I - ­H S I U   C H E N




Figures 1.1 The tripartite links 6.1 Satisfaction with the general performance of the administrations and GDP growth, 1986–2015

10 114

Tables   2.1 Social movements and civil society organizations in Taiwan: 1980s   2.2 Social movements and civil society organizations in Taiwan: 1990s   2.3 Social movements and civil society organizations in Taiwan: 2008–2016   4.1 Social movements and civil society organizations in South Korea: 1979–1987    4.2 Social movements and civil society organizations in South Korea: 1987–1998    4.3 Social movements and civil society organizations in South Korea: 1998–2008    4.4 Social movements and civil society organizations in South Korea: 2008–2016    6.1 Employed persons by major occupation group (%), 1980–2000   6.2 Employed persons by major occupation group, 2005–2015   6.3 Employed persons by sector, 2000–2015   6.4 Social background of ATOM members (%)   6.5 Educational background of ATOM members (%)   6.6 Estimated number of registered NGOs, 1984–1995   8.1 Key civil society networks opposing Suchinda in May 1992   8.2 The yellow-­shirt alliance in 2005–6   8.3 The structure of Thailand’s unelected regime 10.1 Political participation of civil society and/or CSOs in Thailand 10.2 Survey of trust in institutions in Thailand

28 31 34 67 69 71 72 104 105 105 109 109 112 159 163 165 194 201


Hsin-­Huang Michael Hsiao, Distinguished Research Fellow, Institute of Sociology, Academia Sinica, Taiwan; Professor of Sociology, National Taiwan University and National Sun Yat-­Sen University; and Chair Professor of Hakka Studies, National Central University. He is also the chairman of the executive committee of the Center for Southeast Asian Studies, National Cheng-­Chi University. He currently serves as a senior advisor to the President of Taiwan. Mau-­Kuei Chang, Research Fellow, Institute of Sociology, Academia Sinica, Taiwan. Yoon-­Chul Park, Professor, Department of Chinese Studies, Hoseo University, South Korea. Teresa S. Encarnacion Tadem, Professor, Department of Political Science, College of Social Sciences and Philosophy, University of the Philippines, Diliman, the Philippines. She is also currently Executive Director, Center for Integrative and Development Studies, University of the Philippines. Yusuke Takagi, Assistant Professor, National Graduate Institute for Policy Studies (GRIPS), Tokyo, Japan. Jafar Suryomenggolo, Assistant Professor, National Graduate Institute for Policy Studies (GRIPS), Tokyo, Japan. Veerayooth Kanchoochat, Associate Professor of Political Economy, National Graduate Institute for Policy Studies (GRIPS), Tokyo, Japan. Pavin Chachavalpongpun, Associate Professor at the Centre for Southeast Asian Studies, Kyoto, Japan. He is also the chief editor of the online journal Kyoto Review of Southeast Asia. Hugh Pei-­Hsiu Chen, Distinguished Professor and Chairman of the Department of Southeast Asian Studies, National Chi Nan University, Taiwan.


This edited volume originated in two International Workshops on Comparing the Tripartite Links of Middle Class, Civil Society and Democratization in Asia held in August and December 2016 at the Institute of Sociology, Academia Sinica, Taiwan, and the National Graduate Institute for Policy Studies (GRIPS), Tokyo, Japan. The first workshop was organized and sponsored by the Institute of Sociology’s Thematic Research Team on Asian Social Transformation, of which I serve as the convener. The second workshop was organized and sponsored by GRIPS. The chapters collected in this book are revised versions of the papers previously presented and discussed at the two workshops. The current chapter on Indonesia was later added to the second workshop. I am thankful to all chapter authors for their genuine support and great contributions to the workshops and the final book. I am also indebted to Professors Takashi Shiraishi and Boo-­Teik Khoo of GRIPS for their generous support of the project to make the second workshop in Tokyo possible. As editor of this book, I would like to extend my sincere gratitude to the staff of both the Institute of Sociology, Academia Sinica, and GRIPS who helped in the organization of two successful workshops. During the course of preparing the manuscript for publication, the assistance of Miss Sherry Peng is much appreciated. Hsin-­Huang Michael Hsiao Taipei, Taiwan

Part I


1 Comparing the tripartite links of middle class, civil society and democratization in Asia Positive, dubious and negative Hsin-­Huang Michael Hsiao Democracy in Asia: a growing literature Over the past decade or so, there has been a growing literature on various aspects of the performance of democracy in Asia. Almost every country in East and Southeast Asia has been discussed and analyzed, either on its path to democratic transition or on the prospect of its democratic performance. The increasing publication of related books on Asian democracies is a reflection of the intense interest or concern over the retreat of new democracies and the rise of anti-­ democratic forces and authoritarian populism across countries in Asia. From a brief glance at all democracy-­related books published in the last ten years or so, the picture appears to be somewhat unpleasant and not promising. This has been persistently documented well in the annual Freedom in the World Reports over the past decade (Freedom House, 2018). The main objective of this overview chapter is not so much to assess the overall trends and specific fates of the democratic transformations in East and Southeast Asian countries, but rather to provide a theoretically inclined review of ten social-­ science-oriented books on comparative Asian democratic experiences, and by so doing to highlight what actual theoretical concerns are prevailing among the publications. Among the ten books on comparative democracy in Asia, two are the lengthy handbooks on democratization in both East Asia and Southeast Asia, and the remaining eight are individually edited or authored books on democracies in Asia overall, sub-­regions of Asia, or specific Asian countries. The Routledge Handbook of Democratization in East Asia (Cheng and Chu, 2018) consists of thirty chapters providing multi-­dimensional assessment of East Asia’s democratic paths. Among East Asia’s eighteen states, nine have experienced democratization while the other nine have remained authoritarian and are resisting democratic challenge. This handbook examines four viable democracies (Japan, Taiwan, South Korea, and Mongolia) and four authoritarian regimes (China, North Korea, Hong Kong, and Vietnam) as its country cases. Other chapters discuss regional trends, institutions, elections, political parties, democratic citizenship, governance, and political economy of democratization. Though some important emerging agents, actors, or other factors for democracy-­ making and governance are pinpointed in some chapters, such as class, gender,

4   Hsin-Huang Michael Hsiao new media, civil society, and social movements, no direct attention is paid to how democratic transition was started and by what social forces in East Asia. Certainly, no specific attempt is ever made to assess the theoretical propositions of the contingent roles of middle class and civil society in the making of East Asian third-­wave democracies. On the other hand, The Routledge Handbook of Democratization in Southeast Asia (Case, 2015), with twenty-­seven chapters included, takes a more vigorous stand to address the reasons for democracy’s decline, treat, and reverse in the region in the past decade. It also deliberately rethinks their democratic experiences and theorizing. In addition to tackling the stunted trajectories of democracy in some cases and unhelpful milieus in others, as well as uncertain institutions and democratic guises in seven country cases, a full section of eight chapters is devoted to the interesting analysis of various wavering social forces that either facilitated democratic transition and consolidation in Southeast Asia or failed to do so. Included in what the editor terms “social forces for democracy” are people power, the middle class, protests, civil society, ethnicity, religion, women, the internet, and social networking. The seven countries under investigation are the Philippines, Thailand, Indonesia, Singapore, Malaysia, Myanmar, and Vietnam, and, without much surprise, the tone of the discussion is generally pessimistic. To the benefit of the reader of this current volume, it is important to point out that the chapters on middle class and civil society have actually touched upon the theoretical links between the middle class, civil society, and democracy-­ making in Southeast Asian democratic experiences. Interestingly, the links are rather questioned in the discourse. The concept of “contingent democrats” is applied to describe the middle class’ democratic role (Sinpeng and Arugay, 2015: 103–104), and a resulting taxonomy of civil society–state relations is stressed so as to assess the consequential rather than initiating role of civil society in democratic experiences in several Southeast Asian states (Weiss, 2015: 136–138). Civil society is treated as a “dependent variable”, not an ‘independent variable”, vis-­à-vis democracy-­making. The author on civil society even suggests debunking assumptions of the liberalizing force of democracy in Southeast Asia (Weiss, op. cit.: 139). A similar typological analytical perspective was previously proposed in Muthiah Alagappa’s edited volume on Civil Society and Political Change in Asia (2004). He distinguishes three types of civil society in facing the state for the cause of political change. The first is the legitimate civil society negotiating democratic space, such as in Japan, India, Taiwan, South Korea, Indonesia, and the Philippines. The second is the controlled and communalized civil society challenging or reinforcing the state, such as in Singapore, Malaysia, and Sri Lanka. The third type is the repressed civil society being penetrated or coopted by the state, such as in Pakistan, Myanmar, and China. The issues remaining to be clarified are, however, how the status of the above three types of civil society was individually created and recreated historically, and what were the major class constituencies of those civil society organizations in the above Asian

Comparing the tripartite links in Asia   5 c­ ountries. Although a similar conception of “contingent connection between civil society and democracy” was also suggested by Alagappa, what constituted the propitious conditions for civil society to push for democratic transition remained unanswered (Alagappa, 2004: 479–484). Another comparative and typological analysis is offered by another volume I edited, on Democracy or Alternative Political Systems in Asia: After the Strongmen (Hsiao, 2014). This book examines seven East and Southeast Asian countries that were previously under dictatorial and authoritarian rule but then followed different trajectories of political transition following the fall of political strongmen: Taiwan, South Korea, Indonesia, the Philippines, Malaysia, Thailand, and China. Importantly, the case studies reveal the factors that may enable transition to a more democratic system and, at the other end, the factors that inhibit democratic take-­off and push countries down a more authoritarian path. As a result, three emerging typologies of the post-­strongmen political systems are delineated out of the seven cases. The first outcome is democratization with substantial reforms and consolidation, such as in Taiwan, South Korea, and Indonesia. The second output is limited democratization leading to weak democratic institutions and instability, such as in the Philippines, Malaysia, and Thailand. The third consequence is a sustained authoritarianism to resist any democratic transformation, like in China. The editor’s overall chapter considers pro-­democracy civil society to be the major contributing force to shape the political outcomes following a strongman’s fall. To follow such typological reasoning, one can then construct corresponding types of civil society dynamism: persistent or proactive force, weak or fragmented force, and nonexistence or suppressed force by which to explain the above post-­strongmen politics. The three typologies are constructed in terms of a civil-­society-centered perspective that can be distinguished from the ones made by Alagappa mentioned earlier. It is quite interesting to note that in another book on East Asia’s New Democracies, edited by Chu and Wong (2010), a typological assessment is also used to classify the current situations in a variety of political regimes and their respective democratic futures in East and Southeast Asia. Though the title states “new democracies”, the case of China is also analyzed in the volume. It is common knowledge that China is in no way a democracy, nor is Vietnam. However, the subtitle – Deepening, Reversal, Non-­Liberal Alternatives – is more instructive, as it suggests three possible alternative models of political futures under examination in a broader set of East Asian states. The first is to witness the deepening and consolidation of democratic institutions, such as in Taiwan, South Korea, and Indonesia. The second alternative is to see the reversal from a democratization process, such as in Thailand and Malaysia. And the third model is labelled by the two editors a “non-­liberal alternative.” But it is more proper to call this typology “conversion to authoritarian developmentalism” as noted by chapter author (Thompson, 2010: 96), or it can simply be described as being “resistant to democratization”, as seen in China and Vietnam. The unique contribution of that volume is that many chapter authors have explicitly examined the roles performed by civil society, social classes (including the bourgeoisie and

6   Hsin-Huang Michael Hsiao middle class), and strategic groups (ethnic as well as racial) on the path toward or transition to, consolidation of, reversal from, and resistance to democracy. Such attempts are much needed, but the editors do not make a clear assertion on the middle class–civil society–democracy connection in Asia’s democratization experiences as presented in this volume. Another interesting typological assessment of the overall democratic development paths in Asian countries can be found in the volume Democracy in Eastern Asia, edited by Fung and Drakeley (2014). In this book, four empirically based typologies of democratic experiences are established to classify the twelve Asian states. The first typology is the improving liberal democracies in Japan, South Korea, and Taiwan. The second type is the flawed democracies, developing democracies, and low-­quality consolidation in Thailand, the Philippines, Cambodia, and Indonesia. The third model is the democratization under hegemonic party regimes in Malaysia and Singapore. The fourth and last one is the uncertain transitions to democracy in Myanmar, Hong Kong, and China. The typology is all right and reasonable, but like the other typology constructions mentioned earlier, there is a lack of empirical indictors or relevant theoretical propositions from which the taxonomy can be made and substantiated. Though the editors openly assert that democracies in East and Southeast Asia are under stress, and facing an array of difficulties and challenges, most of the chapter authors do not make a conscious attempt to draw specific actors, agents, processes, or dynamics that can be used to account for the four different political outcomes. No wonder it is emphasized in the conclusion that the contributors of the volume have shown collectively that country-­specific circumstances are paramount. The above county-­specific perspective is highlighted even more clearly in the next edited book, Democratization in China, Korea and Southeast Asia? (Zhou, Rigger, and White, 2014). The title of the book is rather misleading, as the majority of the chapters (ten out of fifteen) are actually devoted to discussion on a wide range of political issues involved in “proto-­democratic changes or proto-­ democratization” in the obviously authoritarian China. Only four chapters analyze the good and bad democratic experiences in Taiwan, South Korea, Thailand, and other archipelagic nations in Southeast Asia. The use of a question mark at the end of the title is quite correct as far as the case of China is concerned. Again, like much other existing literature on Asian democracies, this book pays no special attention to the theoretical concern of the links and connections of social factors like middle class and civil society to the making of democracy and its future. Erik Paul’s Obstacles to Democratization in Southeast Asia (2010) offers a different angle to review the democratization of eleven Southeast Asian states (Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, Timor-­Lester, and Vietnam) by focusing on the obstacles to democracy. Unfortunately, the author does not offer a theoretical framework to systematically examine and pinpoint what the obstacles to democratization are in Southeast Asia as a whole, nor is a typological analysis ever applied to the individual countries under investigation. Although some insightful observations can

Comparing the tripartite links in Asia   7 be found on each country’s hindrances to democracy-­building or democratic consolidation, the book provides no systematic comparison of those obstacles. It seems that in many authors’ view, the obstacles to democratization lie in the very nature of political systems and political leadership in individual countries. A similar attempt is also made in another edited volume, The Crisis of Democratic Governance in Southeast Asia (Croissant and Bünte, 2011). The editors do make effort to develop a comparative approach to examine the specific crises of democratic governance in different groups of political regimes in the region. The first group consists of the long-­standing elected authoritarian regimes in Singapore, Malaysia, and Cambodia. The second group comprises unambiguously authoritarian regimes such as Vietnam, Laos, Myanmar, and Brunei. The third group consists of states that have been experiencing political transition to democracy in one way or another in the past two to three decades but without much improvement in democratic quality, such as Indonesia, the Philippines, Thailand, and East Timor. The various chapters then deal with an array of sources of crises for democratic government and rule. To many chapter authors, the respective crises can occur in political culture, civil society, political institutions and representation conflict management, security, and human rights. Unfortunately, no systematic comparative assertion is made on what crises are more prevalent in the above three different groups of political regimes. The last book under review is an edited book, Globalization and Democracy in Southeast Asia (Wugaeo, Rehbein, and Wun’gaeo, 2016). The title seems to suggest some important link between democracy and globalization in the region, but the included chapters have not really tackled the issue at all. However, each chapter does add something interesting about the democratic paths and their limits in Malaysia, Singapore, Cambodia, Laos, Vietnam, Myanmar, the Philippines, and Indonesia. In addition, another four chapters are devoted to the special case of Thailand’s democratic breakdown. Overall, this volume does not appear to be a theoretically or thematically coherent collection of essays. Perhaps it reflects the assertion that Southeast Asia offers a case study of negotiation between Western democratic philosophy and local political values, and a living laboratory for experiments with democracy. From the above extensive review of ten related books on democracy in Asia, the following interesting observations can be made on the outstanding features of the growing literature on democratic development and its prospects in Asia. First, most of the works seem to express great concerns about the overall situation of the declining performance of democracy in Asia, especially the retreat of democracy and even the reversal to authoritarian rule in Southeast Asia. Second, it is interesting to note that many publications have been taking a comparative and typological perspective to understand and assess the democratic prospects of all Asian political states. Generally speaking, the scheme of three types is the commonly accepted one: (1) the consolidated new democracies, of which the typical cases are Taiwan and South Korea in East Asia; (2) the weak and retreating new democracies and even the reversal to authoritarian rule, of which the most-­cited examples are Indonesia, the Philippines, Malaysia, and

8   Hsin-Huang Michael Hsiao Thailand, all in Southeast Asia; and (3) the sustained authoritarian regimes resisting any meaningful democratic reforms, such as China. Third, the majority of the published writings are mostly interested in portraying and assessing the present status of how democratic institutions are performing at both the regional and country levels. Less attention is paid to offering plausible theoretical explanations of the historical trajectories of how various democratization experiences have been shaped and reshaped over the decades. Fourth, in addition to a lack of historical dynamics and theoretical vigor to tackle the origins and causes of the rise and development of various democratic experiences, inadequate attention is given to the analysis of the possible roles played by critical agents and driving social forces such as the middle class and civil society. Fifth, even if the above two social forces are brought into the analysis, their respective roles are viewed in two separate bilateral connections vis-­à-vis democracy-­making and consolidation. None has tried to bring the tripartite connections and links of middle class, civil society and democracy into the critical assessment of Asian democracies. Sixth, the above two bilateral links of “middle-­class–democracy” and “civil society–democracy” are often not discerned in specific terms. The most-­used general descriptions are “possible connection”, “contingent roles”, and “necessary but not sufficient conditions”. The lack of necessary specification of the above two related bilateral links is also quite evident in the existing literature.

The tripartite links of middle class, civil society and democracy: specification and historical dynamics The main purpose of this volume tackles the tripartite links of the middle class, civil society, and democratization experiences in five frequently studied Asian countries – Taiwan and South Korea in Northeast Asia, and Indonesia, the Philippines, and Thailand in Southeast Asia. As pointed out explicitly earlier, the former two states are considered to be the consolidated new democracies, while the latter three countries’ systems have been experiencing weak and uncertain democratic transition. The first plausible theoretical question is to what extent the different formation of tripartite relationships can have been accountable for the different outcomes of democratic development in the above five Asian countries. The second necessary analytical issue is in what specific configuration could the two interrelated bilateral links – that between the middle class and civil society on the one hand, and that between civil society and democracy on the other – actually have contributed to the making of the initial, sound democratic transformation and even the later democratic consolidation. In other words, the typology of democratic experiences in the five Asian states is to be explained by the deliberate specification of the kinds of middle-­ class involvement and the kinds of civil society engagement in different phases of democracy-­making history. The two specification issues are quite crucial in the discussion of each of the country studies in this volume.

Comparing the tripartite links in Asia   9 The specification issue involved in the middle class–civil society–democratic experience links should be further elaborated. On the specific empirical questions concerning the middle-­class involvement in democracy, each chapter will ask what the overall political propensity and action tendency of that country’s middle class are as a whole. Is there a noticeable progressive and liberal segment and group within the middle class, and have they actually made contributions to that country’s political democratization? Are they predominantly composed of the professional and managerial white collar and intellectual new middle-­class members? Have they organized to voice their demands for political reforms and democratic change, and by so doing to even support and organize various pro-­democracy civic organizations? Have they ever changed their views and position toward democracy ideals or even reversed their support for democratic development? Each country chapter will also address the following empirical issues concerning civil society organizations’ engagement in facilitating and pushing for that country’s democratic transformation. What is the overall profile of each country’s civil society sector and related NGOs, and its differentiation between the service-­philanthropic organizations and advocacy-­protest organizations? Have those specific advocacy civil society organizations been the key driving force in making democratic transition possible? Is it a fact that the above-­ mentioned progressive and liberal new middle-­class individuals have been the major constituent members in those democracy-­making advocacy organizations? How exactly have those progressive-­liberal middle-­class-backed advocacy civil society organizations conducted themselves to exert substantial pressure on the authoritarian states to make concessions and move toward liberalization and democratization steps? Have they ever developed any political alliance with opposition parties in campaigning for progressive reforms and major elections? How have they reacted to and dealt with any regime change during the course of major political transformation? Have they ever withdrawn their support for democratically elected governments, and if so, why? On the different and specific phases of democratic transformation in each of the five Asian countries, the concerned chapters will also tackle some important issues. What are the feasible and plausible phases and stages that can be identified for a better understanding of each country’s democratic history? What exactly have those identifiable progressive-­liberal middle-­class-backed pro-­ democracy civil society organizations contributed to the different phases of democratic transition and consolidation in each of the five countries under investigation? Have the five countries experienced noticeable democratic changes, some of them progressing into democratic deepening and consolidation, while some regressed to democratic recession and decline? Can the different third-­ wave democratization experiences as demonstrated in the five Asian countries be explained by the different configuration of the triple links of middle class–civil society–democracy in each of the countries in the past three decades? In order to clearly highlight and illustrate the above, a diagram of the proposed tripartite links of middle class, civil society, and democratic experiences is shown in Figure 1.1.

10   Hsin-Huang Michael Hsiao ^ƉĞĐŝĮĞĚŵŝĚĚůĞĐůĂƐƐ





Kƌ ŐĂ Ɖƌ ŶŝnjĂ ĞƐ Ɵ ƐƵ ŽŶ ƌĞ Ă ů




Figure 1.1 The tripartite links.

The following nine chapters in this volume will deal with the tripartite links as illustrated in the analytical diagram shown in Figure 1.1 in order to examine how the different configurations of the triple links have actually influenced the outcome of democratic transformation. Three discernible typologies emerge after careful observations and review of the analysis in the country case studies. They are: (1) the positive links of middle class–civil society–democracy in Taiwan and South Korea (Chapters 2, 3, and 4); (2) the links of middle class– civil society–democracy in the Philippines and Indonesia (Chapters 5, 6, and 7); and (3) the negative links of middle class–civil society–democracy in Thailand (Chapters 8, 9, and 10).

The positive links: Taiwan and South Korea In Chapter 2, I first point out the importance of moving beyond the two separate conventional yet popular bilateral links of middle class–democracy and civil society–democracy connections to look into the integrative tripartite links of middle class–civil society–democracy to study Taiwan’s democratization experiences before and after the 1980s. I then divide the history of Taiwan’s democratic struggle into the following four phases: authoritarianism before the 1980s, the rise of liberalization in the 1980s, the politicization of democratic movements to push for regime change in the 1990s, and the decline of democratic development and setback of further progressive political reforms in 2000–2008, followed by the second democratic regime shift in 2008–2016 thanks to the resurrection of joint forces of the liberal new middle class and student-­led civil movements. In the substantive analysis, I document how the progressive new middle-­class individuals and groups have not only voiced their demands for democratic reforms but also joined, supported, and even organized their respective democracy-­related civil society organizations to physically pressure the

Comparing the tripartite links in Asia   11 authoritarian Kuomintang (KMT, or Chinese Nationalist Party) for democratic transformations since the 1980s. Although such specific liberal middle class and advocacy civil society alliances may have had ups and downs in their efforts to exert collective pressure on democracy-­making and consolidation, a strong degree of resilience has prevailed in different phases of the societal struggle for democracy in Taiwan between 1980 and 2017. Importantly, the Taiwan case, to a great extent, has not only confirmed the positive tripartite links of middle class–civil society–democracy, but also clearly demonstrated the necessity of specifying the kind of middle class and the type of civil society that could have contributed to the making as well as consolidation of democracy over the course of more than three decades. Furthermore, Taiwan’s case even requires a fourth link to be brought in, that is the existence of an effective opposition party to challenge directly the authoritarian rule so that the progressive middle class can render their support in elections, while the advocacy civil society organizations can further develop or forge a strategic democratic coalition with it to make desirable regime change possible. In Chapter 3, Mau-­Kuei Chang further explores the case of Taiwan. He uses a vibrant professional middle-­class civil society organization, the Judicial Reform Foundation (JRF ), as a case to illustrate how civil society did indeed affect institutionalization of democracy in Taiwan. Through this study, Chang not only supports the new middle-­class thesis for civil society and for democracy, but stresses the importance of public and professional interest (as lawyers’ interests are opposed to judges’ and prosecutors’), rather than other, narrow middle-­class-centered interests, and also suggests that for democracy-­building what matters most among many ­Taiwan’s many NGOs is the “critical mode” of civic participation rather than the “service mode”. In the main text, this chapter also documents the JRF ’s most ­critical rule-­of-law activities and contributions, such as judicial independence, transparency and accountability of adjudication, accountability and liability of administration power, procedural rules for promoting and protecting human rights from being violated in judicial matters, and providing legal aid and services to disadvantaged groups with public resources. Finally, this chapter draws the following essential conclusions. The JRF has made important contributions to the rule-­of-law aspect of democracy in Taiwan. It illustrates the primary feature of Taiwan’s burgeoning civil society: high on the level of activism but low on direct participation from below. The complexities of judiciary-­system reform are difficult for the general public to fully comprehend or to participate in, unlike the voting and electoral process, although such reform has great political significance for democracy. The great majority of members and supporters of the JRF have been autonomous professionals: lawyers and law scholars. The influences of the Foundation derive from its credibility with the public and the professionalism of its professional peers, especially in well-­connected law firms. And it serves as a network for activism in various chapters of Bar Associations. The JRF is a good example to illustrate the importance of “critical citizenry” with high skills in engaging public issues, even if their numbers are relatively small. In retrospect, the JRF alone could not amass

12   Hsin-Huang Michael Hsiao such great political influences without coalescing with other social movement agendas and activism. It is an independent professional organization, but it must involve itself with larger social movement networks made by plural social and political groups of different reform agendas. Chapter 4 by Yoon-­Chul Park deals with the South Korea case, where he also finds obvious triple links among the middle class, civil society activism, and democratic transformation and consolidation. Among them, he asserts there have existed elective affinities. The liberal middle-­class individuals have expanded civil society through social movement activities. In South Korea’s democratization history, the university students act as the reserve army for new middle-­ class members, owing to their strong critical social consciousness rooted in its Korean Confucian culture, and have played a very significant role in comparison to the Taiwanese case. Park also points out that it is the vulnerability of political parties that actually has created more political space and even reinforced the politicized role of the progressive young professional and managerial new middle-­class members, enabling them to transcend their own class position to more public-­interest-oriented “critical consciousness” needed for the formation of various pro-­democracy social movement agendas and organizations. It is indeed a unique Korean experience, where college life serves as the cradle for education of democracy, and many liberal professional and managerial new middle-­class individuals have been inclined to take part and even to initiate various social-­movement-oriented civil society organizations too. Those middle-­class-led civil society organizations have been established to pursue a wide range of political and social reform issues such as democratic institutionalization, economic justice, chaebol (large industrial conglomerates that are run and controlled by an owner or family) and media watching, protection of disadvantaged and minority groups, social welfare, community and regional development, and peaceful unification. Park’s chapter concludes that the civil society movements have successfully initiated, publicized, and even institutionalized various important reform agendas into laws over the decades of political democracy-­making and consolidation in Korea. They also performed the function as watchdogs to monitor related government agencies and chaebols’ monopolized economic power. In Park’s observation, Korea’s middle-­class-based civil society organizations also made contributions by introducing new values and discourses like nationalism, pluralism, and post-­materialism from the West to Korean society. That in turn has had a positive impact on the expansion of grassroots democracy. In the final analysis, the Korea case also witnessed and confirmed the positive links of a progressive middle class, pro-­democracy civil society, and their alliance which have contributed to various stages of democratization. Due to their elitist character, the civil movements are under criticism for being “civil movements without citizens”. There is a growing concern that the leadership of civil movements may face a serious talent drain, as many of them were recruited to government services when democratic regime shifts occurred. Finally, Park even warns about the increasing conflict within the middle

Comparing the tripartite links in Asia   13 c­ lass–civil society connection between the conservative and progressive social movements’ agendas and organizations.

The dubious links: the Philippines and Indonesia In Chapters 5, 6 and 7, the typology of dubious and precarious connections of the middle class, civil society and democratic experiences in the Philippines and Indonesia are explored. Chapter 5 by Teresa S. Encarnacion Tadem examines the role of the middle class in the Philippine Left movement in the country’s democratization process through its engagement in the civil society arena. It is indeed a uniquely Philippine phenomenon involving class and civil society. Such a middle-­class-led Left movement, whose progenitor comes from the Communist Party of the Philippines, the new People’s Army, and the National Democratic Front, might not be viewed as a typical middle-­class movement. However, given its middle-­class nature, this leftist movement has pursed middle-­class strategies in the civil society frontiers in pushing democratic reforms and changes. Focusing on the post-­martial law period, i.e., 1986 to the present, this chapter documents how such middle-­class strategies have taken the form of NGOs engaging in development work to empower the communities they were serving. They also created civil society networks to pursue political, economic, and sociocultural advocacies, in forging united front efforts with other like-­minded NGOs and civil society organizations for the cause of democracy. The Left movement’s middle-­ class qualifications also enabled them to translate their advocacies into national legislation as well as international political networks. They further succeeded in mobilizing grassroots support and elites’ endorsement of their causes. Like Taiwan and South Korea, a number of this movement’s leaders were pulled into democratically elected government positions including those of Cabinet Secretaries, or even facilitated their foray into electoral politics. However, there are also serious limitations to the extent to which this Left movement, through middle-­class strategies, has been able to push for democratic breakthrough. One is that their pursuit of political and economic policies through the executive and legislative bodies have often fallen short of what they wanted. Second is they could not win enough electoral seats, as they had to compete with more seasoned and better-­funded traditional politicians. Thus, this middle-­class Left movement has not been able to curtail the dominance of the powerful political families/dynasties in the Philippine Congress and the oligarchic politics at large. The party-­list electoral system, which is supposed to represent the marginalized sectors, has fallen prey to the political machinery of the Philippine ruling elite. It certainly failed to offer a feasible alternative to challenge the dominance of oligarchic interests in the country. To many critical democracy watchers, changing the oligarchic political system is, in fact, the ultimate goal which the Philippine democratic movement needs to pursue. Apparently, the middle-­class-led Left movement, which has utilized middle-­class strategies in the civil society arena, has brought about incremental achievements in advancing the Philippine

14   Hsin-Huang Michael Hsiao democratization process. But it has fallen short in achieving its ultimate goal to transform the long-­lasting political dynasties and oligarchic political system. In Chapter 6, Yusuke Takagi further elaborates the Philippine case. Admittedly, although the Philippine democracy has been experiencing a bumpy road toward consolidation since the People Power movement, with continued weak governing capability of the state and even deteriorating human rights conditions under the current Duterte government, this chapter argues for recognition of pockets of efficiency sustained by middle-­class professionals both in the government and civil society. Assuming the limitation of the class analysis, Takagi studies the Philippines’ contested democracy shaped by the political coalitions composed of politicians, bureaucrats, professionals, and activists, no longer led by the traditional left movements. The so-­called “middle forces” have emerged in the political landscape of the Philippines. The middle-­class individuals and groups have organized various cause-­oriented civil society organizations working in the fields of human rights and social welfare, though most of them remain incremental in nature, even working with the succeeding democratic governments. The subsequent regime changes after martial law reflect the nature of contested democracy shaped by coalition politics. The Ramos government, in cooperation with the business sector, aggressively carried out liberalization and deregulation. That dismantled the crony capitalism created by the authoritarian Marcos regime. But such a deregulation policy has been criticized by civil society activists for enlarging income gaps and social inequality amidst economic growth and the rise of new business interest groups. The succeeding Estrada administration appointed several progressive civil society leaders into his cabinet, but in the end he failed to complete his term. The Arroyo government survived for almost a decade, even with a historically low support rate and a series of scandals. The civil society and business elites even attempted to mobilize a social movement to topple Arroyo, but without joint support from the Church. In 2010, the Aquino administration came to power, with a high support rate, and began to launch several social policy reforms but without land reform. The current Duterte regime, though critical of Aquino, does not oppose continued socio-­economic reform policies. Land reform is still on his agenda. This chapter reminds one that the nature of the restored Philippine democracy may not be completely dominated by the oligarchs and the Left. The efforts by the middle-­class-led civil society leaders have revealed the capacity to shape the country’s direction. The development of the democratic tripartite has demonstrated the dynamic aspect of Philippine political development. In contrast to Tadem in the previous chapter, Takagi has portrayed a somewhat more optimistic image of the Philippines’ democratic path. In Chapter 7, Jafar Suryomenggolo discusses the case of Indonesia. The links between democratic transformation, the progressive young middle class, and civil society groups in the post-­Suharto era are the central theme of this chapter. Three Jakarta-­based religious NGOs are used to illustrate the tripartite connections. As Islam is deeply rooted in Indonesian society, religious civil society

Comparing the tripartite links in Asia   15 organizations have historically enjoyed a relatively high status in carrying out this conventional role as social service providers. They have developed extensive networks in poor communities and facilitated social changes at local levels. Beyond these traditional roles, the three studied NGOs are now even implementing institutional programs to engage in contemporary social and political issues. Post-­1998 Indonesia presents a new political reality for religious NGOs. The political opening up has indeed lessened authoritarian surveillance, and newly installed legal protections allow a relatively free civil society to address some political issues and engage in the political process. Three NGOs were established in the 2000s, after the consolidation of democracy in Indonesia. The political stability has opened up more space for their work in society. They see new roles for taking part in the public sphere. Although they have different foci in their respective agendas, they represent a typical new religious civil society force. They make it easier for a number of progressive young middle-­class Muslims to actively reread their religious texts beyond the theological questions dictated by their predecessors. They are reinterpreting Islamic teachings to support democracy and multiculturalism, and to offer alternative views of Islam in order to build an inclusive civil society for Indonesia. Though religious NGOs may not be the major actors pushing Indonesian democratic transformation, their contributions cannot be glossed over in today’s democratic consolidation process and the establishment of religious relativism. From the perspective of the tripartite links of middle class, civil society, and democracy, the religious NGOs in contemporary Indonesia have nevertheless been a crucial element in strengthening the vitality and resilience of civil society and stability of the democratic order. Their members are from the progressive middle class with a cosmopolitan world view that promotes new values such as equality, diversity, and open dialogues in the complex society. For now, their involvement in political and social affairs may appear to be congruent with the democratic course of the country. However, since religion and religious activism have never been the driving force for Indonesia’s democratic transition and transformation, how effective such Islamic NGO activism can be and how long it can last remain uncertain.

The negative links: Thailand The case of Thailand’s democratization experience has demonstrated that the links of middle class, civil society, and democracy-­making appear to have been not only precarious but also negative. This unique typology of the tripartite links in Thailand is analyzed in detail in Chapters 8, 9, and 10. Chapter 8 by Veerayooth Kanchoochat examines the tripartite links in Thailand from the departure of semi-­democracy in 1988 to the latest coup in 2014. He even conceptualizes Thai civil society and the Bangkok middle class as “contingent authoritarians”. Both social forces have intrinsic inclinations toward authoritarianism due to institutional dependence on state sponsorship. However, in the short term, the political actions of both actors are contingent upon the contextual settings, for the reason that they are consistent defenders of their own

16   Hsin-Huang Michael Hsiao privileged interests and conservative ideologies of political governance. The state sponsorship in both financial and organizational terms has been quite instrumental in forming and fostering the traditional and conservative middle-­ class elites and civil society leadership, and that in turn has made them inherently supportive of authoritarianism. Despite their authoritarian propensity, in the short run, they were able to conduct collective action in a pro-­democracy manner, as observed in the May 1992 event. This is because Thai politics in the 1990s was characterized by a fragmented parliament and rent-­seeking activities, and that situation had driven both the middle class and civil elites toward political reforms to steer clear of the corrupt provincial politicians who had bought their way into legislature. In this chapter, it is commented that all major choices taken by leading NGOs, especially by the Bangkok middle class, cannot be considered truly “pro-­democracy” in any formal and procedural sense. The majority of Bangkok-­based middle-­class civil society organizations have envisioned their dream government to be a special kind of governance that need not be democratic. Even before the rise of Thaksin, they had prioritized Thai-­style “good governance” over “bad democracy”. During the political drama of Thaksin’s rise and fall after 2000, the leading civil society organizations and the Bangkok middle class played a crucial role in the following political moves. They initially supported the first democratically elected Thaksin government but rallied against it in 2006, then redefined their image of state–society relations in 2006–2010, and finally paved the way for the coup in 2014. To the author, the four political moves and the choices behind them clearly reflect the incentive of both social forces to defend their own interests and ideologies subject to the new political situations. This chapter concludes that Thailand’s case has witnessed the emergence of an illiberal middle class and uncivil society organizations, which presents itself in sharp contrast to the previous four Asian experiences. Against this unique Thai historical background, the middle class–civil society connection is therefore vividly characterized as the “contingent authoritarians” vis-­à-vis democratic transition. As a result, the tripartite links are eventually rather negative in nature. Chapter 9 by Pavin Chachavalpongpun further explores the Thai experience. Like the previous chapter, this chapter explains how the middle class and civil society have perceived democracy as relying solely on the extent to which a political change affects their political interests. With the royal transition and uncertainties that come with it, the middle class and civil society have even viewed democracy with suspicion. But in contrast to Kanchoochat in Chapter 8, Chachavalpongpun begins his analysis by viewing the Thai middle class as “contingent democrats” because its affinity with democracy is mainly contingent on protecting its class interests, for which purpose it does not hesitate to cooperate with the military; it can thus be perceived as an unreliable partner of democracy. Other features of the Thai middle class include the wide internal differentiated backgrounds of its members, which prevents them from forming a unified group and from having a consistent ideology or political preferences.

Comparing the tripartite links in Asia   17 They are unpredictable in their choices of political actions and political alliance. They endorsed military coups, called for the King to intervene in political crises, and even gave consent to the appointment of unelected prime ministers. When the Thai middle class is able to firm up its political and class interests through the democratic process, they are willing to discuss political inclusion or even support the lower class as political allies. However, when their interests come under threat from the lower rungs of society, they switch to political exclusion in order to undermine those threats. On the other hand, Thai civil society organizations have worked closely with the middle class. They share much of their political consciousness with each other in safeguarding their political benefits at the expense of their possible support for democracy. This alliance has fortified a certain attitude toward the lower class; they see themselves as “philiang”, or caretakers, which suggests that they occupy a superior position with a responsibility to care for and guide the villages and lower-­class groups. Those civil society organizations consist of progressive civil servants and business leaders. The urban elitist civil society organizations have increased and gained more political clout vis-­à-vis their counterparts in the grassroots community. Their obligation toward promoting democracy is occasionally conditional. They can be highly politicized in order to fulfill the objectives of their members. This chapter further elaborates that the conservative urban middle-­class civil society organizations have thus become enthusiastic supporters of the infamous network monarchy that has controlled a wide range of key institutions such as the military and judiciary, and has cooperated with big business and influenced the media. Such an alliance between the network monarchy and the middle class–civil society connection has begun to isolate the rural–popular sector. It is apparent that the middle class and civil society are not always the agents of democracy under any conditions. The contingent class thesis is relevant to explain the collective conduct of the Thai middle class and civil society organizations. Through the recent decades, members of the urban middle class and elite civil society organizations have joined forces in a loose alliance to remove Thaksin from power, under the pretext of rescuing Thailand from corrupt politicians. Nevertheless, this chapter in the end also points out that one cannot ignore the other end of the spectrum of the tripartite links in Thai politics. The “red shirt” movement has also claimed to safeguard democracy and strived to set the Thai political system free from the dominance of the old power. Although most members of the red shirt movement are from the rural–popular class in society, they also include liberal intellectuals and academics, which are the liberal and progressive elements of the new Thai middle class. Apparently, these liberal progressive segments of the Thai middle class and their pro-­ democracy civil society organizations have not been effective at all in countering the powerful alliance of the network monarchy and conservative middle class–civil society organizations during the past two decades of dramatic political turmoil.

18   Hsin-Huang Michael Hsiao The final Chapter 10 by Hugh Pei-­Hsiu Chen also follows the same line of argument in viewing the contingent role of the Thai middle class and their civil society organizations in democratization, and explains why they even changed from paragons to opponents of contemporary Thai-­style democracy. Three perspectives are drawn on to tackle such a middle-­class attitude shift: civil–military relations, political culture, and elite politics. This chapter again takes the uneasy class position to explain the Bangkok middle class’ changing political stand. They had called for democratization to protect themselves from the abuse of power by the political elites. However, once democracy was in order, they found themselves in the structural minority. The urban middle class–civil society complex even interpreted the demands from the rural and lower class for equal rights and full participation in social and political life as “the poor getting greedy”. Once again, the discussion in this chapter reinforces the proposition that the serious lack of an effective progressive middle-­class-backed pro-­ democracy civil society in Bangkok and the rest of Thailand has been accountable for the failure of the Thai-­style democratic system to break free from domination by the ever-­lasting network monarchy.

References Alagappa, Muthiah, 2004, Civil Society and Political Change in Asia: Expanding and Contracting Democratic Space, USA: Stanford University Press. Case, William, 2015, The Routledge Handbook of Southeast Asian Democratization, London and New York: Routledge. Cheng, Tun-­jen and Yun-­han Chu, 2018, The Routledge Handbook of Democratization in East Asia, London and New York: Routledge. Chu, Yin-­wah and Siu-­lun Wong, 2010, East Asia’s New Democracies: Deepening, Reversal, Non-­Liberal Alternatives, London and New York: Routledge. Croissant, Aurel and Marco Bünte, 2011, The Crisis of Democratic Governance in Southeast Asia, UK: Palgrave Macmillan. Fung, Edmund S. K. and Steven Drakeley, 2014, Democracy in Eastern Asia: Issues, Problems and Challenges in a Region of Diversity, London and New York: Routledge. Freedom House, 2018, Freedom in the World 2018, Washington and New York: Freedom House. Hsiao, Hsin-­Huang Michael, 2014, Democracy or Alternative Political Systems in Asia: After the Strongmen, London and New York: Routledge. Paul, Erik, 2010, Obstacles to Democratization in Southeast Asia: A Study of the Nation State, Regional and Global Order, UK: Palgrave Macmillan. Sinpeng, Aim and Aries A. Arugay, 2015, “The middle class and democracy in Southeast Asia” in William Case (ed.), The Routledge Handbook of Southeast Asian Democratization, London and New York: Routledge, pp. 102–116. Thompson, Mark R., 2010, “Modernization theory’s last redoubt: democratization in East and Southeast Asia” in Yin-­wah Chu and Siu-­lun Wong (eds.), East Asia’s New Democracies: Deepening, Reversal, Non-­Liberal Alternatives, London and New York: Routledge, pp. 85–101. Weiss, Meredith L., 2015, “The middle class and democracy in Southeast Asia” in William Case (ed.), The Routledge Handbook of Southeast Asian Democratization, London and New York: Routledge, pp. 135–146.

Comparing the tripartite links in Asia   19 Wungaeo, Chantana Banpasirichote, Boike Rehbein, and Surichai Wun’gaeo, 2016, Globalization and Democracy in Southeast Asia: Challenges, Responses and Alternative Futures, UK: Palgrave Macmillan. Zhou, Kate Xiao, Shelley Rigger, and Lynn T. White III, 2014, Democratization in China, Korea and Southeast Asia? Local and National Perspectives, London and New York: Routledge.

Part II

The positive links in Taiwan and South Korea

2 The tripartite links of middle class, civil society and democracy in Taiwan 1980–2016 Hsin-­Huang Michael Hsiao Introduction: from bilateral to tripartite links About twenty years ago, Hsiao and Koo (1997) published a book chapter documenting how the middle class has affected democratization processes in Taiwan and South Korea since the 1980s. Among others, the following specific key questions were raised in order to clarify the “bilateral link” between the middle class and democracy-­making in the two countries. To what extent was a particular phase of the democratic transition attributable to the middle class? Which segment of the middle class played the most significant role at a given juncture? What were the major and particular goals launched by various middle-­class groups during each phase of democratization and how they were realized? The conclusion of that paper was that it is the “progressive and liberal new middle class segments” that have engaged and mobilized themselves to create the beginnings of democracy (phase 1), to sustain democratic transition (phase 2), and finally to deepen democratic consolidation (phase 3), by means of diverse and viable mobilization strategies and tactics. Though with some interesting contrasts, the cases of Taiwan and South Korea, to a great extent, have confirmed the positive link between the middle class and democratization, as has long been advocated in the related literature on middle class and democracy in the 1960s (Lipset, 1963, 1964; Moore, 1966). In that article, though not explicitly and openly, it is suggested that liberal and progressive new middle-­class segments have not acted alone in their individual capacities. Rather, they either organized themselves or supported various pro-­ change civic organizations, and even at critical junctures they rendered their political support to the pro-­democracy opposition parties. Thirteen years later, Hsiao and Ho (2010) published another book chapter reexamining another bilateral link of civil society with democratic changes in the case of Taiwan for the thirty years between 1980 and 2010. Furthermore, the thirty years were divided into soft authoritarianism (1980–1986), liberalization (1987–1992), democratizing (1993–1999), first regime change under the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) (2000–2008), and second regime change under the Kuomintang (KMT, or Chinese Nationalist Party) (2008–2010). The notion of civil society denotes an autonomous and opposition sphere of independent

24   Hsin-Huang Michael Hsiao and voluntary associations that resisted state control, with some publicized agenda to change the state–society power relations. Since 1980, as that article documented, Taiwanese civil society forces in the particular form of organized social movements and protests have had a consistently positive impact on the transition to democracy. It is confirmed that, in Taiwan, it is the segments of advocacy and pro-­democracy civil society organizations that have played the role of vanguard to collectively push, diversify, and safeguard the new democracy in Taiwan. As argued, the Taiwan experience once again supported the positive link between civil society and democratization that has been proclaimed by many theorists and observers since the 1980s (Taylor, 1990; Walzer, 1992; Cohen and Arato, 1994; Putnam, 1994, 2000). In that article, specific names of many active advocacy and pro-­democracy civil organizations were cited, but it did not provide evidence of the class backgrounds of their membership. From the organization names offered, it was quite obvious that the majority of the constituents of those organizations were in fact the above-­mentioned liberal and progressive new middle-­class groups. Having arguably established the two respective bilateral positive links of “middle class–democracy” and “civil society–democracy” for Taiwan and to, a lesser extent, for South Korea as well, that article certainly helped to portray a better picture of the democratization processes in these two new democracies in East Asia. However, it still lacks the holistic picture of the tripartite links of the middle class, civil society, and democracy-­making in Taiwan. To fill in such a missing link, Hsiao (2012a) went further to take on the task of exploring the mechanism and dynamics of such a tripartite link in the case of Taiwan. In describing the existence of the viable and positive triple links among the middle class, civil society, and the past three decades of democracy-­building processes as the “social foundations of political vitality” of Taiwan, Hsiao has formulated an empirically based theoretical proposition to depict the above positive tripartite linkage. The proposition goes like this: it is essential to witness the liberal and progressive new middle class as being actively involved in various advocacy- and social-­movement-oriented pro-­democracy civil society organizations and, in combined force, they have played a leading role in fulfilling the necessary function to bring about the democratic transformation, and even to consolidate the new democracy, during the different phases of Taiwan’s political democracy-­making history. It is important to identify the specific segment of the middle class whose members are more politically liberal and pro-­democracy among the overall first-­ generation middle class, which has been generally pro-­establishment and conservative under the authoritarian and developmental state. Such liberal and pro-­democracy new middle-­class professionals and intellectuals are certainly not the majority among the middle class as a whole in Taiwan (Hsiao, 2012a). It is also imperative to identify the particular type of civil society organizations that take on the objective to push for democratic transformation in Taiwan. Such advocacy civil society organizations are certainly different from other NGOs and nonprofit organizations (NPOs) whose goals have been set to provide service

The tripartite links in Taiwan   25 and philanthropy for the needy and society at large. It is estimated that only 10 percent of Taiwan’s overall civil society organizations can be classified as advocacy and pro-­change NGOs and NPOs (Hsiao and Kuan, 2016). The two necessary specifications are critical to the examination of the tripartite links of the middle class, civil society, and democracy in Taiwan. This should apply equally to other third-­wave democratization experiences in Asia. It seems almost plausible to assert that, judging from Taiwan’s democracy experience, the positive tripartite links have existed. However, this chapter intends to move further and deepen the assertion and argument by providing more concrete empirical evidence on who those liberal and progressive new middle-­class intellectuals and professionals were, what those advocacy civil society organizations were, and at what historical junctures both the progressive new middle class and advocacy civil society organizations have jointly fulfilled the function of critical agents for democracy-­making in Taiwan. Four basic questions will be raised to examine the tripartite links of the middle class, civil society, and democratization: who, what, when, and how? That is, who were those liberal and progressive middle-­class individuals and groups that appear to have been critical to the making of democracy in Taiwan? What kinds of advocacy and pro-­democracy civil society organizations turned out to be vital to the shaping of new democracy? When did these specific middle-­class segments mobilize themselves in those particular civil society movements to collectively bring about the rise, transition, and even consolidation of democracy as seen in Taiwan? Finally, how have the middle-­class individuals and civil society organizations managed to do so? Though contribution of international factors such as Taiwanese expatriate lobby groups in the USA (e.g., the Formosa Association for Public Policy, or FAPA, since 1982) and US government pressure cannot be ignored in the initial phase of the political opening up and liberalization of Taiwan, the domestic and internal driving forces have been the dominant factors.

The dynamics of the tripartite links in Taiwan in a historical perspective The political discontent and voices for political reform in Taiwan did not begin in 1980, but can be traced back as early as the 1960s under the KMT’s dictatorial and authoritarian rule. (Martial law was imposed in 1949.) But all of those demands for democratic reform were delivered by a few individual liberal intellectuals as well as some Taiwanese Presbyterian Church leaders. Over the two decades prior to the 1980s, the liberal intellectual individuals of Mainlander and Taiwanese origins alike had played the initiating and pioneering roles in leading the democratic outcry, and at the same time various intellectual magazines published in Taipei were the only vehicle for them to voice their political grievances and demands. The noted liberal intellectuals, activists, and Christian leaders were Lei Cheng (雷震), Lee Wan-­Chu (李萬居), Ying Hai-­Kuang (殷海光), Peng Ming-­Min (彭明敏), Wei Ting-­Chou (魏廷朝), Hsieh Tsun-­Min (謝聰敏), Lee Ao (李敖),

26   Hsin-Huang Michael Hsiao Kang Ning-­Hsiang (康寧祥), Huang Hsin-­Chieh (黃信介), Huang Tien-­Fu (黃天福), Chang Chun-­Hung (張俊宏), Chen Ku-­Ying (陳鼓應), Chen Hsao-­ Ting (陳少廷), Chiu Hung-­Ta (丘宏達), Hu Fu (胡佛), Yang Kuo-­Shu (楊國 樞), Yao Chia-­Wen (姚嘉文), Huang Hua (黃華), Kuo Yu Hsing (郭雨新), Rev. Huang Chang-­Huei (黃彰輝牧師), and Rev. Kao Chung-­Ming (高俊明牧師), among others. In the 1960s and 1970s, the following urban intellectual-­oriented magazines served in an enlightening role, spreading the ideas of Western liberalism, democracy, and free party-­formation: Free China (自由中國), Taiwan People Power News (公論報), Literary Star Magazine (文星雜誌), Intellectual (大學雜誌), Taiwan Political Review (台灣政論), The China Tribune (中國論 壇), and Formosa: The magazine of Taiwan’s democratic movement (美麗島). However, no organized collective protest actions were ever staged by any autonomous civil society associations or any other bottom-­up, secular, non-­ religious organizations prior to the late 1970s, as free association and freedom of speech were strictly prohibited by martial law. To put it simply, before the1980s, though some Taipei-­based liberal intellectual individuals with white-­collar backgrounds voiced their democratic demands through some popular intellectual magazines, no middle-­class-oriented civil society organizations ever existed to exert their collective influence on democratic change in Taiwan. 1980s: rise With the emergence of the first-­generation urban-­oriented middle class in the early 1980s (Hsiao, 2012b), more diverse reform-­minded, new middle-­class professionals such as lawyers, professors, medical doctors, and journalists spearheaded the development of self-­initiated civic associations and foundations with their public engagement. This period also witnessed the beginning of Taiwan’s organized collective movements for political liberalization and the beginnings of democracy. Wave after wave of pro-­reform advocacy social movements and civic protests were autonomously organized, many of which pursued social reforms in nature, demanding various concessions and changes to concrete policies from the authoritarian KMT regime. During the decade of the 1980s, three waves of middle-­class-based social movements and protests raged during the initial phase of democracy. The first wave (1980–1986) started even before the lifting of martial law on July 15, 1987, with seven social reform agenda arising for the first time. During this wave, both endowment-­centered foundations and membership-­oriented associations were mushrooming. Under the existing law governing civic organizations, establishment of membership associations was tightly restricted, and limited to one association of the same kind in one administrative city or county. However, the formation of endowment foundations was much less controlled. As a result, some groups of liberal professionals and intellectuals also opted to establish various related “operational foundations” to pursue their reform causes, such as the Consumers’ Foundation and the Awakening Foundation. The other noted associations established at that time were the Nature Conservation

The tripartite links in Taiwan   27 ­ lliance, Mountain Youth Magazine, Taiwanese Aborigines Rights Association, A University Reform Association, and many locally based anti-­pollution and self-­ rescue associations. Incidentally, the first home-­grown democratic political party, the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP), was also established during the first wave, on September 28, 1986. The second wave took place in one single year, 1987, with the emergence of another seven social movements advocating contentious social equity and political rights. The most important new middle-­class, professional-­backed civil society organizations in this wave were the Labor Legal Assistance Association (later changed to the Labor Front), the Teachers’ Human Rights Association, the Union for the Handicapped, and the Taiwan Human Rights Association. Even for non-­middle-class protest organizations like the Farmers’ Rights Association, Mainlanders’ Home Visiting Association, and Veterans’ Welfare Association, professionals and scholars also offered aid, advice, and support. Without a doubt, they directly and indirectly contributed to pressure on the KMT state to lift the martial law in July 1987. The third wave emerged in the first few post-­martial law years (1988–1990), which witnessed another ten social movements calling for a variety of ethnic, educational, judiciary, media, and parliamentary reforms. The most noticeable middle-­class-initiated civil society organizations in that period were the Humanist Foundation, Education Reform Alliance, Political Prisoners’ Human Rights Association, Hakka Magazine, Taiwan Environmental Protection Union (TEPU), Non-­Home-Owners’ Association, Judiciary Reform Foundation, Taiwan Journalists Association, The Intellectuals Anti-­Military Interference Alliance, and many university campus-­wide student activist groups. It is important to point out that, during the early post-­martial law years of 1988–1990, the bans on free press and free formation of political parties were also officially lifted in January 1988 and January 1990, respectively. With the middle-­class-initiated and backed social movement mobilization during that decade, as already pointed out above, Taiwan also saw the establishment of the first Taiwanese opposition party, the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) in 1986, the lifting of martial law in 1987, the death of the political strongman, Chiang Ching-­Kuo, in 1988, the abolition of the press ban in 1988, and the lifting of the ban on political parties in 1990. It is reasonable to assert that the collective protests and demands from the three consecutive waves of advocacy civil society organizations, initiated and supported by the liberal and progressive new middle class, made direct and indirect contributions to the above political liberalization and democratic transition for the whole decade of the 1980s. From Table 2.1, which lists the specific movements and their representative organizations between 1980 and 1990, three striking observations can be made about Taiwan’s civil society activism for democratization and early transition in the decade of the 1980s. One is that the major leadership and organizers of most of those “advocacy” civil society organizations clearly had new middle-­class origins: university

28   Hsin-Huang Michael Hsiao p­ rofessors, lawyers, journalists, Christian leaders, high school teachers, and writers. The reserved army of the future new middle class – the university student activists – also took part in many of the listed social movements organized by the above-­mentioned new, liberal middle-­class professionals and intellectuals. Nevertheless, the “Wild Lily” student demonstrations occupying Chiang Table 2.1 Social movements and civil society organizations in Taiwan: 1980s (1)  The First Wave: 1980–1986

1 2 3 4 5 6 7



Consumers movement (1980–) Anti-pollution protest movement (1980–) Nature conservation movement (1982–) Women’s movement (1982–) Aborigines human rights movement (1984–) Students’ movement (1986–) New Testament church protest (1986–1989)

Consumers’ Foundation Many local anti-pollution and self-rescue associations Nature Conservation Alliance Awakening Foundation Mountain Youth Magazine; Taiwanese Aborigines Rights Association University Reform Association New Testament Church

↓ Establishment of the DPP (September 28, 1986) (2)  The Second Wave: 1987 Movements



Labor movement (1987–)

2 3

Farmers’ movement (1987–) Teachers’ human rights movement (1987–) Handicapped and disadvantaged welfare protests (1987–) Political prisoners’ human rights movement and Truth for 228 Incident Movement (1987–) Mainlander Chinese home-visiting movement (1987–1989) Veterans’ benefit protest (1987–1992)

Far Eastern Textile Co. Union; Labor Legal Assistance Association (Labor Front) Farmers’ Rights Association Teachers’ Human Rights Association

4 5 6 7

Union for the Handicapped Taiwan Human Rights Association Mainlanders’ Home Visiting Association Veterans’ Welfare Association

↓ The lifting of martial law (July 15, 1987) continued

The tripartite links in Taiwan   29 Table 2.1  Continued (3)  The Third Wave: 1988–1990 Movements



Educational reform movement (1988–)


Black-listed Taiwanese home-returning movement (1988–1996) Hakka ethnic language and culture movement (1988–) Anti-nuclear movement (1988–)

Humanist Foundation; Education Reform Alliance Political Prisoners’ Human Rights Association The Hakka Magazine

 3  4  5  6  7  8  9 10

Non-home owners “shell-less snail” movement (1989) Anti-Civic Organizations Act Protest (September 26, 1989) (demanding complete freedom of association) Judiciary reform movement (1990–) Journalists’ professional autonomy movement (1990–) “Wild Lily” students demonstration (March 16–22, 1990) Intellectuals’ “anti-military interference in politics” demonstration (May 2–29, 1990)

Taiwan Environmental Protection Union (TEPU) Non-Home-Owners’ Association Alliance of many existing social movement groups Judiciary Reform Foundation Taiwan Journalists Association University student activists from many colleges Anti-Military Interference Alliance

↓ The lifting of ban on the press (January 1988) The lifting of ban on political parties (January 1990)

Kai-­Shek Square in downtown Taipei in March 16–22, 1990, demanding parliamentary reform and other democratic changes, was the most significant university student movement since World War II. The second observation is that even within the labor, farmer, and aborigine movements, the liberal new middle-­class professionals and scholars also played vital supporting roles. The third fact is that almost all the mentioned collective protests and rallies took place mainly in the capital city, Taipei, the political center of Taiwan. More specifically, the central target of the organized progressive new middle-­class demands and protests was the Legislative Yuan, the highest legislative body, which is also very close to the central power, the Presidential Office. It is interesting to note that during the whole decade of the 1980s, the authoritarian party-­state, in facing the collective pressures from the coalition between the liberal new middle class and civil society, was first resistant to change, then confused about the situation, and later reluctantly made selected reconciliatory measures in response.

30   Hsin-Huang Michael Hsiao 1990s: politicization The decade of the 1990s can be characterized as the era which witnessed Taiwan’s actual democratic transformations, during which more and more visible and radical political demands were raised by many vocal civil society organizations for further political and constitutional changes. That decade even ended with the unprecedented political regime change in 2000, when the KMT regime was voted out and the DPP gained state power. It is crucial to point out that after the success of pushing for liberalization in the previous decade, a clear and open shift from the demand for social reforms to demand for institutionalization of political democracy was finally made in the 1990s. The publicized political agenda and demands included abolishing the Criminal Code Article 100 on control on freedom of speech, abolishing the National Unification Council and National Unification Guidelines – which advocated “One Taiwan, One China” – to join the UN with the name of Taiwan, “Saying No to China”, and advocating “anti-­nuclear energy policy” and a “referendum on the fourth nuclear power plant”. Other less-­political agenda also continued and expanded to demand for educational reforms, professional independence for journalists, and progressive legislation for social welfare policy changes. Table 2.2 lists the major democratic reform demands and the organizing civil society groups behind them in the decade of the 1990s. Like the previous decade, many liberal new middle-­class activists and leaders were once again noticed coming from those pro-­democracy intellectuals, university professors, journalists, and religious leaders from the Taiwan Presbyterian Church. The proactive civil society organizations in which the above liberal new middle class actively participated were, among others, the Taiwan Environmental Protection Union (TEPU), Taiwan Association of University Professors (TAUP), Referendum Promotion Association, Taiwan Journalists Association, and Taiwan Presbyterian Church. Another critical observation during this decade was that those new middle-­ class activists and their advocacy civil society organizations became more and more ready to develop a political alliance with the opposition party, the DPP. This was a big step forward in Taiwan’s middle-­class politics. They endorsed many causes put forth by the DPP regarding social reforms and political democracy, openly supported favored DPP candidates, and even campaigned as party candidates in the elections so as to forge a united front against the ruling KMT (Hsiao and Ho, 2010; Hsiao, 2012a). In the decade of the 1990s, the KMT under Lee Teng-­hui’s rule continued to be selectively conciliatory in its overall attitude toward the joint force of the liberal middle class and advocacy civil society. But in the early 1990s, Lee’s military-­General-turned-­Premier Hau Bo-­tsun tried to crack down on the environmental groups by calling them “environmental gangsters”. In the end, he was forced to back off, due to overwhelming criticism from the media and movement advocates.

June 28–July 1, 1997

September 1996

April 10, 1994 September 1, 1994

September 1994

November 1992

October 1992

September 21, 1991–May 1992

May 5–October 24, 1991

April 24, 1991

“Say No to China rallies”

Liberal professors collectively abandoned their KMT party memberships by burning their party IDs “505 anti-nuclear and save Taiwan demonstration”; 1025 Yen-Liao “No Tragedy, No Nuclear Fourth” memorial Action 100 Alliance (Abolition of Article 100 of the Criminal Code for freedom of speech) “One Taiwan, One China action alliance” (demanding the abolition of National Unification Council and National Unification Guidelines; abandoning One China policy; joining UN with the name of Taiwan) “Boycott the United Daily movement” due to its biased and coercive reporting from China Referendum on nuclear fourth movement (100,000 signatures collected in six days) “410 educational reform march” Journalists’ protest (demanding professional freedom of the press) “Social legislation action coalition”


Table 2.2 Social movements and civil society organizations in Taiwan: 1990s

Alliance of around 80 social movement organizations Hundreds of reporters on the street; Taiwan Journalists Association Alliance of social movement organizations on environment, welfare, education, and human rights Referendum Association; Taiwan Presbyterian Church; and many other social movement organizations

Referendum Promotion Association

Taiwan Association of University Professors (TAUP)

Action 100 Alliance; Taiwan Association of University Professors (TAUP) Alliance of 29 advocacy-social movements organizations; One Taiwan, One China Alliance

28 professors from seven universities and Academia Sinica Taiwan Environmental Protection Union (TEPU)


32   Hsin-Huang Michael Hsiao 2000–2008: decline The landmark achievement of regime change could not have occurred without the support and campaign assistance of many of the engaged middle-­class advocates and their pro-­democracy civil society organizations. However, during the DPP’s first term of 2000–2004, the two former allies of middle-­class-backed civil society experienced mixed relations ranging from “honeymoon” to “wait and see” and “disappointment”. Though some of the advocacy civil society leaders were appointed to various governmental advisory committees, such as labor, welfare, environment, ethnic, women, and culture policies, the advocates of welfare, environment, and labor were most frustrated and even resentful due to the hesitant and ambivalent positions on progressive reforms in these three general areas. Many liberal and pro-­democracy middle-­class intellectual leaders even severely criticized the DPP for its inaction and failure to enforce necessary “transitional justice” directives so as to effectively overthrow the KMT’s authoritarian legacy. Though the DPP won the 2004 re-­election with a small margin of victory, it made few achievements on a significant social and political reform agenda during its second term between 2004 and 2008, as the opposition KMT again blocked nearly all reform initiatives in the Legislative Yuan. The DPP government not only failed to break the political deadlock, but also took a rather conservative stand to face political opposition. Middle-­class activists and many social movement leaders further criticized the DPP for its betrayal of moral commitments and campaign promises. This is not to say that during the DPP rule nothing was achieved for democratic consolidation. In fact, democratic consolidation and deepening, such as protection of freedom of speech and free association, were well safeguarded in 2000–2008. However, the liberal intellectuals and civil society activists were very angry at and frustrated about President Chen Shiu-­bien’s family corruption scandals during his second term, and even became somewhat demoralized. What, then, were the relations between the liberal middle class and their pro-­ democracy civil society organizations, on the one hand, and the opposition KMT in 2000–2008? As the KMT remained conservative and even resistant to many of progressive civil society’s calls for social and political reforms, all those pro-­ democracy liberal middle-­class advocates and their civil society organizations did not change their distrust and antagonistic attitudes toward the KMT. No mutual trust was restored and no coalition on any reform agenda was ever formed between the two former rivals. The DPP government tried to regain the necessary public trust and support from civil society in its later years by promoting and enacting reforms long desired and sought by civil society movements and organizations, but all came too late to save it in the 2008 presidential election.

The tripartite links in Taiwan   33 2008–2016: resurrection In 2008 Taiwan witnessed its second democratic regime change, with the authoritarian KMT re-­installed in state power after its loss in 2000. To many pro-­democracy liberal intellectuals and advocacy civil society groups, it was a depressing experience to see Taiwan coming under the rule of the authoritarian KMT again. Moreover, even the slim hope that the KMT would transform into a new and genuine democratic party was not met at all, even though it did win the election in 2012 for another term. Over the whole two terms of 2008–2016, the KMT was constantly criticized for its ineffective policies to save Taiwan’s economy, its failure to remedy Taiwan’s worsening social inequality, its anti-­democratic policy-­making style, its lack of political strategy in facing China’s economic and political threats, and, most seriously, its ideological bias to push hard for “one China” and “unification”. Out of deep frustration and resentment, the liberal middle-­class advocates and their progressive civil society organizations recharged and reactivated themselves into consolidated social and political forces as early as 2009, in only the second year after the KMT regained power. Ironically, the declining middle-­ class activism and civil society force under the “unsuccessful” democratic DPP rule was once again resurrected under the returned authoritarian KMT regime. It was the sustained authoritarian KMT party-­state resisting transforming itself into a true democratic state that had facilitated the rebirth of the middle class–civil society democratic alliance that began in the 1980s. Table 2.3 provides detailed information on resurrected middle-­class-backed and student-­initiated social and political movements during the period of 2008–2015 under KMT rule after the second government change. A few critical features of the resurrected middle-­class civil society activism in this period should be pointed out. The first major feature of the resurrected middle class–civil society activism was to rescue the new democratic systems by demanding the monitoring and correcting of the workings of the Legislative Yuan, the prohibition of improper policies on illegal taking of farmland and cultural inheritances, nuclear energy, and injustice in the army. The newly established middle-­class-backed advocacy civil society organizations included the Citizen Congress Watch, Losheng Preservation Alliance, the Rural Front, and the Citizens 1985. The existing social movement organizations on environment, social welfare, women, labor, ethnicity, judiciary reforms, educational reforms, and media reforms were even reactivated and reorganized to march again during this critical period (Hsiao and Ku, 2010). The second significant feature of such reborn social forces was to protect Taiwan’s national integrity and independence from the threats from China, starting with activist student protests against the visit of a People’s Republic of China (PRC) envoy (Wild Strawberry Movement, 2008), followed by the protest against the attempt of a pro-­China business tycoon to gain a controlling share in local media (Anti-­Media Monopoly Campaign, 2012), and then ending with a

March 18–April    10, 2014

August 2013

March 2013






Liberal professors and intellectuals; civil society leaders and university student activists from various colleges

The Rural Front

University student activists from different colleges and other civil society groups Losheng Preservation Alliance

Citizen Congress Watch (CCW)


Alliance of various civil society organizations; Taiwan Environmental Protection Union (TEPU); and women’s organizations Citizens 1985; rise of netizens White Shirt Army rally mobilization • Led by Citizens 1985 group to protest the torture death of a young soldier in an army camp; 250,000 gathered in Ketagalan Square Black Island Youths; university students 318 Sunflower Movement activists from many colleges; many • To protest the flouting of Legislative Yuan (LY) due process by KMT in its other civil society organizations hasty push of Cross-Strait Service Trade Agreement (CSSTA) without proper democratic review process • Occupied LY for 24 days (March 18–April 10, 2014) • 500,000 citizens assembled showing their support in Ketagalan Square (March 30, 2014) • Many advocacy civil society organizations were directly involved in this student-initiated citizens’ movement

Congress Watch • Established by more than 30 social movement organizations • Remobilization of more than 10 key social movements to claim to march again The Wild Strawberry Student Movement to protest the KMT’s improper handling of the visit of the PRC’s envoy to Taiwan in November Losheng Sanatorium preservation movement • To rescue and prevent it from demolition for Mass Rapid Transit maintenance depot construction Save Taiwan’s farm lands and agriculture movements • To protest against illegal taking of farmland for industrial zones and to rescue urban residences in the name of “urban renewal” (first in Ta-Pu, Miao-Li) Anti-media monopoly campaign • To protest against the attempt of a pro-China business tycoon (Want Want China Times Group) to gain a controlling share in the Apple Daily and Next Media Group, who remain critical of China No-nukes demonstration • To march for abolition of fourth nuclear power plant • 200,000 citizens joined the demonstration


Table 2.3 Social movements and civil society organizations in Taiwan: 2008–2016

The tripartite links in Taiwan   35 large-­scale student protest against the KMT-­controlled Legislative Yuan’s pushing of the Cross-­Strait Service Trade Agreement (CSSTA) by occupying the Legislative Yuan for twenty-­four days (Sunflower Movement). The third feature is related to the changing constituency of the revived new  middle-­class civil society activism. During the most recent revived civil society movements, in addition to liberal intellectuals, professionals, and middle­class-background civil society leaders who remained the major force, many organized student activists, writers, artists, musicians, film directors, and typical urban middle-­class housewives also mobilized to join this round of social and political activism. The new segments and groups of the new middle class were drafted into the proactive civil society movements during the whole period of 2008–2016. Particularly notable was the fact that members of many groups became active participants in the case of the above-­mentioned Sunflower Movement. Though it was indeed a student-­initiated occupation movement, many familiar and existing active middle-­class-organized civil society groups were also deeply involved in the movement. The middle-­class civil society organizations actively involved in the Sunflower Movement included the Taiwan Association of University Professors, Awakening Foundation, Taiwan Human Rights Association, Citizen Congress Watch, Taiwan Labor Front, Taiwan Rural Front, Earth Citizen Foundation, Green Citizens’ Action Alliance, Taiwan Democracy Watch, and Citizens 1985. They served around the occupied Legislative Yuan to support and protect the students who were inside for the whole period of the movement. It is, therefore, proper to characterize the Sunflower Movement as a complex “citizens’ movement” rather than a simple “student movement”. The above movements can also be seen as another far-­reaching advocacy civil society mobilization following in the footsteps of its predecessors: the 1979 Kaohsiung (Formosa) Human Rights Protests, the 1987 Framers’ Protest Movement, and the 1990 Wild Lily student movement. Among the four most significant, large-­scale civil society pro-­democracy protests and demonstrations, all except the 1979 Formosa Human Rights Protests took place in the capital, Taipei. Among all major civil society movements, the locale of their protests and actions were, like their predecessors, also very concentrated, though not limited to Taipei. The Losheng Sanatorium Preservation Movement and the Rural Front, two of the newly established student–professor alliances, extended their protests to outside Taipei. The immediate political consequences of the Sunflower Movement were the consecutive defeats of the authoritarian KMT in the November 2014 local elections and later in the January 2016 Presidential and Legislative Yuan elections. The accumulated momentum generated by the rising civil society activism since 2008 finally brought the KMT down for the third time, and offered another fresh opportunity for the DPP to govern and consolidate the new democracy of Taiwan. The presidential and legislative election results have accelerated the pro-­ democracy momentum to bring Taiwan into a new era of political development

36   Hsin-Huang Michael Hsiao and democratic consolidation. They also have demonstrated that a vibrant civil society has been established to safeguard Taiwan’s new democracy and national integrity. The election results further reflect the new collective mindset of the Taiwanese public in what they stand for and who they really want to be. The bottom line is that, judging from the landslide victories of the DPP in both Presidential (56.12 percent of votes) and Legislative Yuan (sixty-­eight out of 113 seats) elections over the KMT after the latter’s eight years of rule, the DPP now has a clear mandate to rule Taiwan. The major significance of the 2016 elections should better be appreciated in the context of the above changing state–civil society relations during the preceding eight years under Ma’s and the KMT’s rule. To many pro-­democracy liberal intellectuals and advocacy civil society organizations, the defeat of the DPP and the victory of the KMT in the 2008 presidential election represented a conservative return to the rule of the once-­authoritarian KMT. Some, though, hoped Ma would transform the KMT into a more strongly democratic party and even lead Taiwan into a more consolidated democracy. Unfortunately, judging from the eight years of Ma’s governance, such expectations were not met. To many civil society activists and organizations, Ma’s KMT regime remained authoritarian and reactionary as it insisted on various conservative economic and social policies, tightened control over citizens’ political rights and civil liberties, disrespected the opposition parties in negotiations over important legislation, and, worst of all, even took an unabashedly conciliatory stand toward hostile China. On May 20, 2016, Tsai Ing-­wen’s resounding victory represented a clear affirmation of the rising Taiwanese identity and a directive to reverse the pro-­ China policy promoted by Ma for the preceding eight years. Because of this electoral pressure, Tsai did not mention in her inaugural speech the “1992 Consensus”, a manufactured “political promise” by the Ma regime to recognize the “one China principle”. In her roughly 6,000-word speech, entitled “Our Gratitude and Responsibilities”, President Tsai mentioned “Taiwan” forty-­one times while making only five references to the “Republic of China”. She placed cross-­ strait relations in the context of regional peace and stability, reversing the KMT regime’s strategic priorities which had put Taiwan–China links above regional and global relations. She declared that Taiwan has been a model global citizen, and that she would bring Taiwan closer to the world and the world closer to Taiwan. Her emphasis on deepening Taiwan’s relations and cooperation with “friendly democracies including the United States, Japan and Europe … on the basis of shared values” is a clear signal to situate relations with China within and under the new government’s global strategy (Hsiao, 2016). And that is exactly what the liberal new middle class and advocacy civil society organizations have long been driving for.

Conclusion In retrospect, Taiwan’s experience over the past thirty years has, to a great extent, confirmed the positive tripartite links of middle class, civil society, and

The tripartite links in Taiwan   37 democracy-­making processes. However, the importance of the following two specifications should also be explicitly pointed out. The first specification concerns the kind of “liberal and progressive” segments of the middle classes who have actually demanded democracy in Taiwan. The second specification concerns the type of “advocacy and pro-­democracy” civil society organizations that have physically and collectively facilitated necessary democratic transformations and even safeguarded democratic consolidation at various phases of the democratic building history in Taiwan. Of course, the case of democratic transformation was certainly bottom-­up in origin, and was therefore then able to make the positive tripartite links possible. As demonstrated in the empirical evidence presented in the discussion above, in Taiwan, the backbone or the major constituency of almost all advocacy civil society organizations and their independently initiated social and political movements have been liberal and progressive new middle-­class intellectuals and professionals. Among them, university professors, lawyers, writers, journalists, college students, and Christian religious leaders have been playing vital roles. The pro-­democratic function of university students and labor was also notable. All the middle-­class-led civil society organizations listed above in Taiwan have advocated a wide range of social and political reforms and changes required for democratic transformations at different phases of making and sustaining democracy. In Taiwan, it began with demand for social reforms and then shifted to political and constitutional changes, characterizing the interesting incremental nature of Taiwan’s democratization. At the same time, in Taiwan, such collective pro-­democracy middle-­class civil society activism could act differently vis-­à-vis the authoritarian and democratic regimes respectively. The participants tended to be more confrontational and antagonistic toward the authoritarian regime, and could be cooperative and could even act as allies with the democratic regime. Nevertheless, as shown, progressive new middle-­class groups and advocacy civil society organizations have also experienced distancing and alienated relations when the democratic state turned conservative on some major economic and political issues. In Taiwan, at times under democratic rule, the middle class–civil society politics could turn moderate, and the previous overt activism might experience a decline. But when the authoritarian rule returned, the middle-­class-backed civil society activism was resurrected. Moreover, in Taiwan’s experience, what made the positive tripartite links tick was the presence of viable political (opposition) parties struggling for democratic regime change. With the physical existence of democratic parties to challenge the authoritarian rule, the progressive new middle-­class segments were then able to render their political support to the rising democratic political parties. And the pro-­democracy civil society organizations were then able to further forge vital and plausible strategic coalitions for the historic moments of the initiation, consolidation, and even rescue of Taiwan’s new democracy.

38   Hsin-Huang Michael Hsiao

References Cohen, Jean L. and Andrew Arato, 1994, Civil Society and Political Theory, Cambridge: MIT Press. Hsiao, Hsin-­Huang Michael, 2012a, “Social foundations of political vitality” in Steven Tsang (ed.), The Vitality of Taiwan, pp. 37–56, UK: Palgrave Macmillan. Hsiao, Hsin-­Huang Michael, 2012b, “The first generation middle class in Taiwan: culture and politics” in David Blundell (ed.), Taiwan Since Martial Law, pp. 243–262, Taipei: National Taiwan University Press and University of California Berkeley. Hsiao, Hsin-­Huang Michael, 2016, 2016 Taiwan elections: significance and implications, Orbis FPRI’s Journal of World Affairs, Vol. 60, No. 4, Fall 2016, pp. 504–514. Hsiao, Hsin-­Huang Michael and Hagen Koo, 1997, “The middle classes and democratization” in Larry Diamond, Marc Plattner, Yun-­han Chu and Hung-­mao Tien (eds.), Consolidating the Third Wave Democracies: Themes and Perspectives, pp.  312–333, Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press. Hsiao, Hsin-­Huang Michael and Ming-­sho Ho, 2010, “Civil society and democracy making in Taiwan: reexamining the link” in Yin-­Wah Chu and Siu-­Lun Wong (eds.), East Asia’s New Democracies: Deepening, Reversal, Non-­Liberal Alternatives, pp. 43–64, London and New York: Routledge. Hsiao, Hsin-­Huang Michael and Chung-­Hua Ku (eds.), 2010, Taiwan’s Social Movements March Again, Taipei: Chu-­Liu Books. Hsiao, Hsin-­Huang Michael and Yu-­Yuan Kuan, 2016, “The development of civil society organizations in post-­authoritarian Taiwan: 1998–2014” in Gunter Schubert (ed.), Routledge Handbook of Contemporary Taiwan, pp. 253–267, London: Routledge. Lipset, Seymour, 1963, Political Man: The Social Bases of Politics, Garden City, New York: Anchor Books. Lipset, Seymour, 1964, The changing class structure and contemporary European politics, Daedalus, Vol. 93, No. 1, pp. 271–303. Moore, Barrington, 1966, Social Origins of Dictatorship and Democracy: Lord and Peasant in the Making of Modern World, Boston: Beacon Press. Putnam, Robert, 1994, Making Democracy Work: Civil Traditions in Modern Italy, Princeton: Princeton University Press. Putnam, Robert, 2000, Bowling Alone: The Collapse and Revival of Amer­ican Community, New York: Simon and Schuster. Taylor, Charles, 1990, Modes of civil society, Public Culture, Vol.  3, No.  1 (Fall), pp. 95–118. Walzer, Michael, 1992, “Civil society argument,” in C. Mouffe (ed.), Dimensions of Radical Democracy: Pluralism, Citizenship, Community, pp. 89–107, London: Verso.

3 Democracy and institution building through civil society activism in Taiwan The case of the Judicial Reform Foundation Mau-­Kuei Chang The conventional view of democracy is that active citizenship strengthens its foundation substantially. Active citizenship involves citizens’ willingess, knowledge and skills to engage in public affairs in dialogue or action, to participate collectively in pursuing the common good. This line of argument often alludes to Tocqueville’s study of Amer­ican town politics in the 19th century, and continues in Putnam’s and others’ recent research in the name of social capital (Putnam, 1993, 1995; Tocqueville, 2000). In recent years Diamond has highlighted the importance of civil society organizations (CSOs) when theorizing the relation between civil society and democracy and articulating the reasons why CSOs are important for expanding democratic politics (Diamond, 1999, p. 244, 2001).1 In line with this approach, civil society is used interchangeably with self­governing voluntary associations, social networks, the social capital of the entire community, or the civic dispositions among the public. This chapter has two tasks to complete. First, I use the notion of “critical citizens” to explain why Taiwan has vibrant civil society (hereafter, CS) activities but a low rate of participation in rights-­based CSOs. Second, I highlight the oversight of rule of law (ROL) issues by focusing on one of the rights-­based CSOs, the Judiciary Reform Foundation (the JRF ).

Introduction Since the 1980s, the dynamic relations between civil society and democratization in Taiwan have attracted much research interest (e.g., Chuang, 2013; Philion, 2010; Weller, 2005), which can be summarized in four categories of inter-­related arguments. Modernization and middle-­class arguments Studies focusing on modernization have suggested that a new generation of activism with a modern outlook, known as the “new” middle class (as opposed to the traditional middle class), gradually emerged in the early 1980s following

40   Mau-Kuei Chang decades of industrialization. Views of political pluralism and humanistic and environmental concerns were already forming before the outburst of political liberalization and the sprouting of civil society in the late 1980s. As Hsiao (1990) suggested, by the 1980s mainstream thought in Taiwan had gradually shifted from preserving the differential structure and old order of authoritarian rule to making assertions of individualism, equal rights for all groups, and social justice. Empirical evidence supporting this line of arguments includes the initiatives of urban, intellectual, and middle-­class professional organizations under the rubric of the Consumer’s Rights Movement in the mid-­1980s, as well as widespread grassroots collective action, including protests against industrial pollution and opposition to risky developmental projects, such as the building of large petrochemical plants and the siting of new nuclear power plants. Also developing in the late 1980s were many rights-­based movements seeking equality for women, workers, indigenous people, the disabled, etc. These arguments attributed social transformation to the growth of the middle-­class and the emergence of post-­ industrial values. Contentious politics arguments These arguments are about social movements and protests from below, as well as their relations to struggles within the political domain. Three areas of research interest take this approach. The first is research intended to understand civil society as an arena shaped by political struggles, like through social mobilization in electoral politics amidst political reform dynamics since the late 1980s (e.g., Ho 2012). The second strand is about why and how pro-­active CSOs or ordinary people take actions autonomously to influence party politics and state policies. This approach mostly looks at reform-­oriented advocacy groups and argues that an independent CS pushes for progressive and democratic changes in the political arena while transforming the CS itself in this process (e.g., Hsiao, 2004). The third area of research addresses conflict or competition between CSOs and possible discord existing within the CS domain. These studies suggest that members of different CSOs at the same level, living in the same territory, can have diverse interests that lead them to compete against each other with their respective political agendas, as well as alliances with other political groups (e.g., Ho, 2007). In short, according to this perspective, CS is seen more as an expression or an extension of real politics at the grassroots level, and less as a non-­partisan civic arena, and indeed not only as a reflection of post-­industrial values. CS and politics are thus regarded as being contingent on each other. The relations between the two are dialectic and interactive. Since the two reciprocate with each other, the line separating civil society activism from the formal political system is not clear.

Democracy and institution building in Taiwan   41 Renaissance of religion and culture arguments Studies that adopt arguments focusing on the renaissance of religion and culture have suggested that the Western view of CS is foreign to Taiwan. In Taiwan, the rise of CS is best expressed in the resurgence of traditional religions adapting to individualism and modernization, for example, by engaging Buddhism and Daoism in contemporary Taiwan (Madsen, 2007; Schack, 2009; Schack & Hsiao, 2005). Researchers adopting this argument have maintained that the transformation of traditional beliefs has helped strengthen the level of trust among members of the public in a secular world, mobilized by polarizing political forces. Religious organizations have helped the society hold together in contributing to the growth of civility in daily life for a new democracy. Engaged Buddhism and Daoism have provided the civil conditions for supporting the peaceful development of liberalism and democracy in Taiwan. The rising third-­sector approach In this approach, CS is conceptualized as an arena that exists between the market and the state, functioning as a buffer for political and economic inefficiencies or failures. By definition, the third sector incorporates most non-­profit civil organizations (NPOs) and non-­governmental organizations (NGOs).2 In addition, most CSOs can be sorted into three ideal types: advocacy, service-­welfare, and community-­based organizations (Hsiao, 2015, p. 8; Hsiao & Kuan, 2016).3 The third sector corrects or ameliorates the situation when the political sphere or the market fails to deliver on the promises they have made. The existence and the growth of the third sector is interrelated with grassroots democracy. Describing the characteristics of civil society in Taiwan: “small but beautiful?” What does CS look like in Taiwan? Using the third-­sector approach, Kuan, Duh, and Wang (2010) painstakingly counted the total number of NPOs in Taiwan, using a variety of sources. In total, they identified 53,123 organizations, many of which are associations or foundations associated with traditional religions. Relying on a selected sample, they also found three broad organizational goals: (a) social welfare (21.0 percent); (b) education (16.5 percent); and (c) religion (12.5 percent). Overall, social welfare and education NPOs have been the majority. Most of these groups, however, have a very limited number of salaried staff (with a mode of 3), and more than one half of the organizations do not have any system for volunteer participation (Kuan et al., 2010, pp. 122, 131, 142). Earlier, as part of the CIVICUS international research project that examined the state of CS in different countries (i.e., CIVICUS, the World Alliance for Citizen Participation), Lin, Liao, and Fields (2005) used measurements on four dimensions to characterize CS in Taiwan. In general, CS in Taiwan is weak on the structural dimension but very healthy on the other three dimensions: namely,

42   Mau-Kuei Chang the environment, values, and impact. Lin et al. elaborated that the extent and depth of citizen involvement are limited in Taiwan but the number of CSOs is large, while the range of issues is diverse and interrelated. In addition, the general outlook of organizations is well grounded in a belief in democratic values. Also, evaluating their political influence (the impact dimension), CS actions are useful in making political changes, while CSOs are mostly autonomous and protected so that they can grow in a friendly, broader environment. Therefore, as both Kuan et al. (2010) and Lin et al. (2005) agreed, CS (i.e., the third sector in Taiwan) is an important impetus for Taiwan’s democracy, despite the relative weaknesses of CSOs such as their small size, their limited number of members, and being understaffed. Kuan et al. thus characterized NPOs in Taiwan as “small but beautiful.” The overall picture of CSOs in Taiwan does not match the general theory of the Tocqueville–Putnam tradition, which views a high level of civic participation and democracy as being positively correlated. In Taiwan, although scholars also agree that the burgeoning CS is a positive factor for the beginning and the consolidation of a new democracy, CSOs are tiny in size and public participation is limited. Is declining and low citizen participation in CSOs a problem for Taiwan’s democracy? Longitudinal empirical studies have confirmed the low rate of the general public’s participation in CSOs in Taiwan. As R.  M. Marsh had initially reported (2003), Hsiung, Chang, and Lin (2013) and Hsiung (2014) also found that participation in instrumental associations has been low and declining since 1992, whereas participation in traditional and expressive groups (e.g., religious organizations) has been high and rising. The decline is especially pronounced among more educated people (Hsiung et al., 2013). This finding is the exact opposite of what one might expect about the relationship between the middle class and progressive politics.4 The term “civil society,” however, may be used to cover too wide a range of associations that have different forms of activities and agendas in surveys. Participation by itself may or may not increase the level of social trust among the public, and social trust may or may not increase political participation. As an attempt to modify Putman’s thesis, while focusing on Taiwan and other countries in East Asia, Ikeda (2013) demonstrated that the intervening variable between social trust and political participation is the extent to which individual citizens think that they are capable of having real political impact (i.e., their sense of political effectiveness). Therefore, political effectiveness is contingent on the nature of the regime or the type of political system. Ikeda further suggested that citizens’ distrust, not trust, can foster the growth of “critical citizens,” who support active participation in a relatively open political system. This especially applies when people expect that their actions can have an impact on regime transition in a young democracy.

Democracy and institution building in Taiwan   43 Two modes of CSO development since the late 1980s: the moral and the critical We can distinguish two modes of CSO activities: morality-­based activities, which are best illustrated by groups “engaging Buddhism/Taoism,” and rights-­ based activities, which are best illustrated by “critical citizens.” This chapter addresses the question of which one of the two is more important for democratic development in Taiwan, and what their respective functions are for Taiwan’s democratization. The first mode of CS typically aims to revive or continue the humanistic tradition in religion and classic Chinese works. It focuses on the daily lives of individuals, preaching self-­betterment, morality, compassion, and sympathy with others, and on ethics and duties, rather than on rights or system changes. The social engagements they advocate are primarily philanthropic, helping the disadvantaged and promoting altruism. These CS actions include mostly religious and some non-­religious do-­gooders. They may be reform-­oriented but are less likely to be contentious or confrontational. And they can provide social services to the needy when the state or the market mechanisms cannot respond efficiently, making up the force of the third-­sector CSOs. The social movement, protest, and advocacy organizations belong to the second category. Associations of this kind are usually non-­religious, with an emphasis on social disputes, justice, and legal matters. In contrast to the first mode, its repertoire of actions is more vocal, critical, and politically oriented, and focuses on striving for better government and governance. Associations of this type dwell on issues related to the expansion and protection of citizenship rights, including political, civic, or social rights, such as human rights, laborers’ rights, rights for new immigrants, and rights to gender equality, to food safety, to government information, to hold referendums more freely, and to make the government liable for administrative wrong-­doings.5 Movements and advocacies are not limited to the rights of the fellow members of here and now. They can include rights for the protection of animals or endangered species;6 defending the well-­being of future generations by rebuilding a more sustainable pension system in a fast-­aging society; and restricting risky projects like mining, highway construction, and nuclear power plants that could have severe impacts in the long run. The CSOs of this mode are more vocal and more engaged in shaping politics and public opinions, and can be more disrupting in their action repertoire than other religious NGOs. Their critiques and actions aimed at changing for the better tend to oppose the government and the market, and they may coordinate their strategies with different political parties to get their cases adopted in real politics. Liberal democracy and rule of law issues The other issue that concerns CS research in Taiwan is associated with elusiveness in defining democracy. In most instances, Taiwan’s democracy has been

44   Mau-Kuei Chang described as incrementally developed through the gradual expansion of electoral politics, namely, with regularity and increasing fairness in holding competitive elections from the very top presidential office to the grassroots community heads. Not only are elected officials becoming more representative and accountable, but also city councils and legislators of the national level have become so. For democracy, however, this conceptualization is at best minimalist or formalistic. Deeper and stronger liberal democracy assumes more than having fair and extensive elections. As Diamond (1999, 2001) noted, democracy must include other features, such as the separation of powers and the autonomy of the judiciary system, as well as protection of liberty rights. In short, the rule of law (ROL) is essential for the system to function appropriately and democratically. Diamond suggested that the features of ROL include the following: (a) citizens are politically equal under the law; (b) individual and group liberties are effectively protected by an independent, nondiscriminatory judiciary, whose decisions are enforced and respected by other centers of power;7 and (c) citizens are protected from unjustified detention, exile, terror, torture, and undue interference in their personal lives, not only by the state but also by organized non-­state or anti-­state forces. These features require the legal system to be respected and observed by both the government and the people. In addition, the government is expected to rule the society in the framework promulgated by the Constitution and other established public norms, rather than by its own arbitrary or discretionary power. On the other hand, people or groups with conflicts of interest ought to appeal to the law for arbitration and follow the procedures and judgments even when the laws are in opposition to their private interests. In sum, the ROL ought to function as a prerequisite for the protection of liberties, individual freedom, and political pluralism against the state’s arbitrary power and its tortious acts. Lastly, the ROL should grant all citizens, regardless of their background, equal access to the law’s protection. The requirement of access is especially important. Open information, legal institutions, and their procedures should be accessible to ordinary people to uphold their rights, settle their disputes, and protect them against abuses by public and private powers. At the bottom line, the typical ROL features require “independence of the judiciary” as its pre-­ condition, which in turn can ensure the equal treatment of all parties involved, increase the accountability of government and its representatives, and uphold justice when people are in conflict (Waldron, 2016).

The Judiciary Reform Foundation and the institutionalization of liberal democracy The full title of the Judiciary Reform Foundation (the JRF ) in Chinese is minjian sifa gaige jijin hui, which can be translated literally as the Foundation of Grassroots People for Reform in the Judiciary.8 The phrase “of grassroots people” included in its title was meant to be critical, to distinguish itself from the official Judiciary Reform Committee led by the President of Taiwan’s central judiciary

Democracy and institution building in Taiwan   45 agency (the Judiciary Yuan), Shi Chiyang in 1994. According to the Constitution of Taiwan, the Judiciary Yuan is the highest judiciary body to have the authority to administer justice and laws on behalf of the nation. Its organization includes Grand Judges (who function as an independent authority for constitutional interpretation), various levels of judges, from high to district, with different jurisdictions, and the office of prosecutions, which became incorporated into the Justice Department of the Executive Yuan in the year 1980.9 The term “grassroots people” also indicates the organization’s autonomy in facing the state by standing with the grassroots on law-­related matters. The founding of the JRF was first proposed at a board meeting in 1994 at the National Alliance of Bar Associations of the ROC (the NABA), which has been the umbrella organization of all bar associations in Taiwan.10 The Foundation became formally registered (thus legalized) only in 1997. Its current and past presidents since 1995 have all been in the law profession except for one sociology professor. In 2015, 11 out of the 17 members of the Foundation Board were lawyers, while six were professors. In 2016, the Foundation had 18 full-­ time and five part-­time staff members, as well as about 20 volunteers with a student background and 40 to 50 volunteers with a lawyer’s background.11 The JRF is thus a typical critical, advocating CSO whose members have a professional and middle-­class background, which has chosen to stand up to face the authority and opposing political power from above. In 1995, founders of the JRF stated their mission, summarized in the following: “Coordinate the strengths of grassroots people, push the government and related agencies carrying out judiciary reforms thoroughly and persistently, and rebuild people’s trust in the judiciary system to establish a fair, clean and enduring institution of justice.”12 They also characterized the organization’s features as follows: (a) standing by the grassroots people; (b) action-­oriented; (c) persistent efforts; and (d) non-­partisan.13 Who were the founding organizers? Records show that the majority of founders of the JRF include lawyers and law scholars, as well as one or two reform-­minded judges/prosecutors for a short period. This means that the JRF has had a vast network in the fields of law practitioners. But the influential force behind this was a small group of progressive lawyers of the Taipei Bar Association (the TBA), which has existed as an occupational and professional CSO since the 1940s. The call for creating the foundation occurred amid a power struggle between lawyers of different backgrounds: the so-­called Civilian School Alliance lawyers versus the Military School Alliance lawyers of the TBA. The Civilian School Alliance consisted of younger lawyers who had graduated from law school and had passed extremely competitive national bar examinations before they could qualify for the profession. Some of them also had degrees from overseas universities. By the late 1980s, the Civilian School Alliance began to grow from within the TBA. The Alliance was really a network of members who openly criticizing the political interference and

46   Mau-Kuei Chang corruption existing in the judiciary system. As for the Military School Alliance, it referred to the TBA members whose backgrounds were former military judges and prosecutors graduated from military academies who turned to law practice through special provisions of the veteran’s bill. They generally lacked sufficient professional training, and they were more likely to support the party-­state, be more political when practicing the law, and be more likely to be accomplices to a corrupting system in the early days. As differences between the two sides widened, struggles for leading the professional organizations intensified within the NABA and TBA in early 1990s. Eventually the civilian background and reform-­minded lawyers won leadership in both organizations, immediately prior to the launch of judiciary reform movement (Chen, 2014, pp. xx–xxi). In 1994, the NABA passed a proposal to create a new civil organization, a foundation to push for judiciary reform. And as part of the plan, the Judiciary Reform Magazine was launched in 1995. After its establishment, the Foundation gradually evolved into the most influential CSO advocating long-­awaited judiciary reform in Taiwan. What had preceded the initiative of the JRF (“judiciary has died”)? In the declaration of the launching of the JFR, one of the eye-­catching sentences selected to represent the existing problem was “[the] Judiciary has died.” The pronouncement was used repetitively in the media to sum up the feelings of the general public before the movement. The founding lawyers had first-­hand experience in their dealings in the system. It was commonly believed that the KMT party “owned the courts,” and that judges and prosecutors were generally inferior in quality, that they were taking bribes, and that they had received instructions from above and from the party to pursue its enemies. In its first campaign slogan for reform in 1995, the Foundation summarized its goals: “Anti-­ corruption, opposing interference and imprudence, and rebuilding the judiciary system to regain people’s trust.” At least two interrelated dimensions shaped the drive for judiciary reform. The political dimension: citizenship rights expansion and constitutional amendments The pace of democratization picked up very quickly beginning in the 1990s, especially after the outbreak of the March Student Movement (known as the Wild Lily Movement) in 1990 (Huang, 2010). The Movement erupted when the old guards from within the KMT attempted to hold back the momentum of reform by choosing a new president of their preference to replace the highly popular Lee Teng-­hui, who was a native Taiwanese and was acting as interim President for the remaining term left by the late Chiang Ching-­kuo. Lee eventually overcame the crisis with strong support (and resentment against the old guards of the party-­state) from the public, and he then began his legacy as “Mr. Democracy.” On the list of Lee’s reform agendas, as they were called by popular outcry, were revision of the Constitution and judiciary reform.

Democracy and institution building in Taiwan   47 Political changes in the 1990s were largely influenced by then-­President Lee Teng-­hui, who was also KMT Chairman. He stepped up the pace and scope of reforms during his presidency. Two aspects of changes are most relevant for this chapter: the expansion of electoral politics and the party realignment that followed. In this reform era, support for the young Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) began to grow when important openings in electoral offices and in the Legislature Yuan increased dramatically. And the old Chinese nationalistic KMT party began to break up because of severe internal power struggles related to drastic political changes. Electoral politics changed political tides, and prompted the calls to modify the outdated Constitution for expansion of citizenship rights. The Constitution of the ROC had been drafted in the 1940s in China, then championed by the KMT political camp. It was officially inaugurated in 1947 in Nanjing in the midst of rising civil war between the KMT and the Chinese Communist Party. The Constituion was never fully implemented in China, however, as the civil war escalated and the country was plunged into disintegration. It was put on hold for the emergency of “period of mobilization,” which gave the president the supreme power to supersede the Constitution in all aspects. This particular law for emergency rule was called “Temporary Provisions Effective during Period of Mobilization in Suppression Communist Rebellion.” It was passed in 1948 in Nanjing, China, and brought to Taiwan and remained in effect for another 42 years. The “Temporary Provisions” were finally abolished in 1991 by Lee Teng-­hui. By doing, Lee ended the country’s emergency status and paved the way to transform to a “normal” democratic regime of constitutional rule. It also opened up more reforms to widen citizens’ participation in politics, and to the following waves of campaigns for constitution revision. As the expansion of electoral politics required restructuring the government’s organizations, the KMT was pressed by its challengers to separate the party and the state, to relinquish the power it had monopolized while staging a stong fight by its hard-­line supporters. The constitution reform also became paramount in the agenda of different political camps competing for broader public support to battle against the conservative entrenchment. People wished to have more opportunities to exercise their voting power and more channels for electoral competition to form representative government, as well as greater legal protections of political and civil rights by the Constitution against both past and present misconducts of the administrative and congressional powers. To sum up the political background that preceded the founding of the JFR in 1994–95, it was a time of strong political mobilization in both electoral politics and the movement for constitutional amendments in Taiwan. The TBA was one of the CSOs that made for itself an important role amid the fervor for political mobilization. The TBA had a long organizational history that went back to the Japanese era. But it had been primarily a self-­interested occupational group, with little concern about social and political issues under the KMT’s watchful rule. This “silence” was the pattern for most CSOs during Taiwan’s martial law era. The lifting of martial law in 1987 then opened up the space for free association and speech, and came just in time after the rise of post-­industrial society and the

48   Mau-Kuei Chang awakening of citizens among the better-­educated professionals and the law practitioners. In June 1990, when the Wild Lily Movement pressed Lee Teng-­hui for the National Affairs Meeting to build a grand consensus for greater reform, the TBA issued a 10-point list of demands for constitutional revision. These included abolishing the Temporary Provisions, abolishing the National Assembly (which may have been suitable for representing China but not Taiwan), and, most of all, demanding that the Constitution must recognize the de facto separation between Taiwan and China’s sovereignty.14 Also in May 1991, in the “520 Grand Parade for Democracy,” the TBA and its members joined thousands of citizens and many other CSOs to march in the streets of Taipei, calling for abolishing “Article 100 of the Criminal Code.” The article had had a devastating effect on the freedom of expression because it had enabled the authorities to charge with treason dissidents who advocated Taiwan’s independence and others making anti-­state expressions, and sentences for the guilty were either a life sentence or death. This march marked the first time in Taiwan’s history that hundreds of lawyers marched in their professional attire in a public protest. We can argue that a new generation of activism by law professionals, especially lawyers of civilian school backgrounds, began to emerge in the late 1980s. These law professionals were inspired by their peers who had stood up for political dissidents in the early days during the military trials over the Formosa Incident, which took place in 1979. The late 1980s can be characterized as the high tide of political liberalization, as well as a new era of political learning for the general public. The reform-­minded lawyers became an organic part of the larger CS by siding with the larger democratic movement.15 The TBA was an influential group, especially because Taipei was the most cosmopolitan city in Taiwan, where many large corporations and law firms congregated. In the TBA, active lawyers were deeply involved in waves of citizenship rights movements, such as the campaigns for abolishing the “Temporary Provisions,” for constitutional reform, and campaigns for the right to freedom of expression, as guaranteed by the Constitution, including advocating decriminalizing expressions that supported Taiwan independence. This led to the eventual founding of the action-­ oriented, more independent Judiciary Reform Foundation in 1994–95. Because of members’ ties and overlapping networks, the TBA and the JRF have worked jointly on many occasions in pushing for the larger causes of civil and political rights, even up until today, although the JRF has enjoyed greater autonomy and room for self-­rule as a pro-­action group, whereas the TBA is a professional association with a broader constituency. The Judiciary Reform Movement dimension Despite these campaigns, the judiciary institutions remained mostly untouched and unaffected by openings for more room in political participation. First, in September 1990, soon after the TBA submitted its 10-point list of demands for

Democracy and institution building in Taiwan   49 constitutional reform and became involved in politics, the association helped organize the first grassroots judiciary reform organization network: the Judiciary Reform Movement Alliance (sifa gaige yundong lianmeng). Other law-­related organizations in the Alliance included the Taiwan Law Society, the NTU Law Foundation, and the privately funded National Institute for Policy Research, all from civil society. One of the Alliance’s goals was to fight corruption, the “black-­gold” problem that had become prominent, along with the expansion of electoral politics and intra-­party struggles from within the KMT. The Alliance set out to oppose the corrupt judiciary system, and initiated a petition to ask lawyers to go public and pledge self-­cleaning as well as refuse to be “accomplices” to corruption. In retrospect, this Alliance helped expand the reform network for the judiciary system and raise public awareness of the problems existing in the system. The Alliance can be said to be the real beginning to the founding of the JRF in 1995. According to Wang (2010), after several widely reported wrongdoings and violations of proper procedures in the preceding years, three unconnected, or only loosely connected, groups have made up the Judiciary Reform Movement since 1990: (a) lawyers and civil groups, as mentioned above; (b) judges, especially the young low-­ranking but reform-­minded judges of the Taichung District Court (between 1993 and 1995); and (c) the prosecutors who began to form the Association of Prosecutors for Reform in 1998. Wang (2010) also explained that these groups of judges, prosecutors, and lawyers originated from the institutional division of labor and powers, and they were supposed to be balanced from within the judiciary system. He suggested that the lawyers’ campaign for reform was the first to take place because they were least controllable and less threatening from the KMT regime’s point of view. In contrast, the prosecutors’ reform came last because the regime needed prosecution power to sustain law and order, and hold on to its grip on control of society. Wang’s interpretation focused on the state-­centered judiciary reform, or change from within; he suggested that the last two reforms were more crucial and decisive than the campaigns initiated by the JRF from civil society (see Wang 2007a, 2007b). However, in my view the interconnections among the three groups are more complicated than they appear. For example, the discontent with politics and distrust in the judiciary system were general and prevalent among the public even before the 1990s. The social atmosphere driving reforms was strong enough to justify greater reforms among all three groups of legal practitioners. In addition, distrust in the system was high enough that it threatened the legitimacy of all ruling authorities, especially during the process of transformation in the 1990s under KMT leader Lee Teng-­hui’s presidency. Consequently, once the call for judiciary reform and political reform was initiated by the network of lawyers in the early 1990s and followed by low-­ profile district judges with support from public intellectuals of the legal profession in 1993, President Lee Teng-­hui agreed to add judiciary reform to his agenda for consolidating the new democracy. In 1994, persuaded by reformers,

50   Mau-Kuei Chang mainly lawyers and scholars, Lee commissioned a special committee on judiciary reform, led by the newly appointed President of the Judiciary Yuan Shi Chiyang, in 1994. At that point, all reform camps seemed to be allying together, until the rupture widened between the reform lawyers of the NABA on the one hand and the reform judges in support of the official stand of the Judiciary Yuan on the other. The founding of the JRF was prompted by the rising of a larger judiciary reform movement, which the Judiciary Yuan was assigned to lead. The Foundation was a child born out of both distrust and the critical positions among the public and the law professionals, who were striving for greater reform in opposing the Judiciary Yuan authority. Some have suggested that the reason for the failure of the Judiciary Reform Committee in 1994, as it was unable to gain support from reform lawyers, was in effect caused by President Shi’s unwillingness and the system’s strong reservation in allowing the NGO and movement activists to have greater participation in the development of meaningful reforms. This set the stage for progressive lawyers to pursue their reform autonomously from outside of the system.

Contributions of the JRF to the rule-­of-law democracy Many of the JRF ’s past activities can be found in various chronologies16 that it has compiled. The following subsections outline several themes of the JRF ’s campaigns for the ROL and liberal democracy since 1995. Campaign for judicial independence Judiciary independence was at one time thought to be the most important agenda of judiciary reform in the 1990s and early 2000s. The regime’s political manipulation of the legal system in the past was a paramount problem. The regime had used judiciary power to obstruct opposition and to intimidate political enemies and disobeying citizens. Judiciary independence thus became an ideal strategy to achieve justice, by resisting political bias and interventions. The consequences of judiciary independence also have wider implications. The consequences are not limited to practitioners, but also apply to other social activism and progressive causes seeking to advance their agendas. One can illustrate the JRF ’s contribution in the following examples. First, the JRF succeeded in revising the Constitution in 1997 by adding an amendment to guarantee budgetary independence of the Judiciary Yuan, closing the window for political influence from the Administrative Yuan. This was a necessary condition for the judiciary system to function as a part of the state but with greater autonomy. Next, the JRF promoted the second and “genuine” National Judiciary Reform Conference in 1997, when Lee Teng-­hui became the first president to be elected through a direct popular vote. The conference was keen to advance substantial reforms, in contrast to the “superficial” ones in 1994. Conference conclusions

Democracy and institution building in Taiwan   51 were delivered to the newly appointed President of the Judiciary Yuan, Weng Yuehsheng, in 1998. Ten years later, Weng expressed that he thought that this conference did help to consolidate the demands for judicial independence greatly, stating that “judges have become more aware of the importance of their independence, the budget of the judiciary system has become independent, and there has been self-­restraint in the power of justice administration.” The result was “strengthening even more the independent and non-­biased roles of judiciary power in the state” (Weng, 2010, p. 32). Third, the JRF continuously lobbied to revise the organizational structures of the Judiciary Yuan to concur with the Constitution, though it was only partially successful. The revision of the Organization Act would have made the Judiciary Yuan consolidate the judiciary’s administrative power and adjudication power in one place, whereas the latter power has spread to different specialized adjudication courts and councils, as it is now. Had it become successful, the reform could have helped streamline judiciary power and make it more accountable to constitutionalism with check-­and-balance institutions. Fourth, the JRF has pushed for reforms in the laws regarding the Grand Judges and constitutional interpretation. Working together with other NGOs and with legislators of different parties, in 2013 the Foundation successfully revised the articles related to the necessary qualifications for Grand Judge candidates in the Judicial Yuan Organization Act. The revisions emphasized the professional qualities of experience instead of position in the hierarchy, and allowed lawyers and prosecutors to become qualified candidates. The changes successfully made the composition of Grand Judges more diverse and more accountable to the public. About transparency and accountability of adjudication The other contribution of the JRF is to democratize the system, which was often incomprehensible and opaque to the public. The JRF played a leading role in pushing for more transparency in the adjudication process by making it open and accessible to the public through various mechanisms. One of its measures was through the judiciary auditing practice. The JRF trained volunteers to “objectively” observe and record judges’ and prosecutors’ conduct and (un)professional performance in the courts. The recordings were compiled and analysed, and the JRF provided in an annual evaluation report of judges and prosecutors. The annual evaluation report enabled the public to comment on and criticize any incompetence or imprudence of judges and prosecutors while holding them accountable. The JRF ’s evaluation projects attracted wide media attention each year and generated pressure to help establish a formal mechanism of judges’ assessment, promulgated by the Judge’s Act in 2011.17 In addition, the Administrative Yuan adopted the Regulations of Prosecutors’ Evaluation in 2014.18 Establishing these mechanisms was a long process, however: they took almost 13 years, with many setbacks and revisions. Another important campaign of the JRF to democratize the system has been to promote a fully fledged jury system since 2009. The jury system is intended to

52   Mau-Kuei Chang take some of the adjudication power away from judges and award it to representatives of the commoners. The objective is to hold the power of adjudication of judges, and that of the prosecutors, in check, with direct participation of ordinary citizens. The implication of a jury system for democracy is evident: justice is to be determined by citizens, not by the legal officials as a part of the state. The jury system, should it become installed successfully, can be understood as a significant move toward the accountability and transparency of adjudication, as well as a move to democratize the judicial system.19 Clearly the JRFs’ efforts are contradictory to the interests of judges and prosecutors who are part of the state apparatus. As a result, only active lawyers of the JRF were able to stand up against the professional and bureaucratic interests of the system. They were aligned in the movement while focusing on the adjudication power by making it softer, more accountable, more up-­to-date, and more transparent. The “administrative three bills”: remedy for the people while restraining the administrative power A critical feature of the ROL is to give people the right to hold the administrative authority liable and accountable. The central thesis is to protect citizens’ legal rights from being encroached upon by the state’s unlawful or unfair practices, whether intended or unintended, by providing legal remedy channels to citizens. Scholars have maintained that the “Administrative Litigation Act would be the most important element in the embodiment of Constitution rule” and “Administrative Courts are guardians to ‘legal country’ (rechtsstaat)” (Lee, 2010, p. 20). The issues about regulating the state’s administrative power have been addressed in three bills, known as the “Administrative Three Bills”: (a) the Administrative Court Organization Act; (b) the Administrative Litigation Act; and (c) the Administrative Appeal Act. Together they make up the system of administrative litigation. The Three Bills were first in place before the 1940s in China, and they had seldom been revised during the entire authoritarian era. They were outdated, useless, and shelved, in effect, at the time when the Three Bills were proposed in 1997. The Three Bills were initially listed by the JRF in its first draft of the “Blueprint for Judiciary Reform.” In 1998, the JRF led the CSOs to form an Action Alliance for Administrative Remedy Legislations to push for its enactment. As a part of the conclusions in the final report of the National Judiciary Reform Conference, the proposal had been received positively by the legislators in 1999. Proposed revisions were modified and passed, and the new system became effective in 2000.20 The appeals procedures became streamlined, while the remedy channel increased significantly. Since then, the system has undergone several revisions. Although the system is not to everyone’s satisfaction, it has functioned to serve the general purpose of protecting citizens’ legal entitlements against the arbitrary power of the administrative body.

Democracy and institution building in Taiwan   53 About procedural rules and human rights Procedural laws are necessary in other adjudications of the state, such as the powers of policing, investigation, and prosecution. The JRF had on many occasions advocated making procedural justice a basic human right, as stated in the Constitution since 2005. The goal was to insert the right to due process in the Constitution at the top of the list above all other laws, making it a stand-­out feature of the rule-­of-law democracy. The warrant principle and presumption of innocence are parts of procedural justice, also. Constitutional reform became practically impossible starting in 2000, however, because of the deepening rivalry between the ruling DPP and the opposition KMT, as well as the evolution of cross-­strait relations. As an alternative, the JRF took what were seen as wrongfully accused and severely sentenced individuals as a wedge to pursue procedural justice and save the innocent. In some of the cases, the volunteer lawyers brought the disputes to the Grand Judges for constitutional interpretation, in the hope of repealing the unconstitutional practices of law agencies.21 In the past, the JRF volunteer lawyers had helped clarify the legal conditions that would constitute “miscarriage of justice,” “unlawful interrogation,” and “compensation” in various laws and practices with interpretations of the Constitution of the Grand Judges. The strategy to include the Grand Judges’ interpretations of the Constitution for judiciary reform became a trademark of the JFR among all of the CSOs. Rectifying the wrongdoings of the system while saving individual clients proved to be an effective way to educate the public about the rule of law (Kao, 2014). Regarding the revisions of the Code of Criminal Procedure, the JRF has made several attempts and has successfully strengthened the protection of the rights of suspects under investigation. The first important step in 1997 was about revising the articles that regulate the exercise of detention power by law enforcement. A court judge must warrant detention in accordance with the procedures. The second significant change in 2004 was about the nature of evidence, included in the Chapter on Evidence in the Code of Criminal Procedure. The codes prioritize the presumption of innocence and the inadmissibility of tainted evidence in the procedures. If implemented properly, this chapter would have the effect of restraining the prosecutor’s office from abusing its investigation and prosecution powers. Another significant development took place in the early 2000s, due to the result of the decision issued by the Grand Judges regarding police power in spot-­ checking.22 The JRF gathered a group of scholars and studied police power from a comparative perspective and proposed to the Legislature Yuan a new bill titled Police Power Exercise Act. The bill was modified and passed, taking effect in 2003. The Act brought an end to the almost unchecked police authority in daily life which originated from the absolute power of the old regime. This new law obliges police to follow legal procedures when investigating or safeguarding public safety. It also gives citizens the right to apply and receive compensation if their rights are encroached upon by unlawful or unjustifiable police practices.23

54   Mau-Kuei Chang As a result, ordinary people can have more protections when facing the authorities. This is useful for the underclass or those who are in sectors of the population on the receiving end of discrimination, for example, the poor, young people, the homeless, gays and lesbians, etc. This enactment was regarded as a milestone achievement in Taiwan’s history of the ROL and the protection of human rights by the JRF. From proposing revising existing laws to advocating new enactments, the JRF has been a major proponent of human rights and ROL. As a result, the judiciary powers of the state are becoming more accountable and less arbitrary. The JRF was the leading CSO that contributed to making democracy take root in the rule of law.24 Accessibility of the judiciary system: the Legal Aid Act and Legal Aid Foundation In a liberal democracy, equal access to the judiciary system for all is an important condition. The first judiciary legislation for equal access, called the Legal Aid Act, was one of the “Three Bills for Judiciary Reform” advocated by the Alliance for Judiciary Reform in 2003. The rationale of this new enactment was that the costs and complexities of the judiciary process could prevent ordinary citizens, especially the disadvantaged, from having a fair chance to participate in the system. The Legal Aid Act aims to address this accessibility issue by assisting individuals or parties who cannot afford legal fees to have their disputes settled in the system with legal help. Semi-­governmental but civic in its nature, the new bill promulgated the establishment of the Legal Aid Foundation, which was commissioned to citizen groups for its management in 2004. The importance of the Foundation is self-­evident: helping the needy to have a better chance to resolve disputes through legal means. The enactment received support from many interested disadvantaged groups, reform judges, prosecutors, and legislators. The bill was the first of the “Three Bills” to be passed. The process was rather smooth, in contrast to the other two bills for reform. When judges, prosecutors, and lawyers collaborate, the ROL in Taiwan can be advanced more efficiently (Kao, 2014).

Conclusion The relationship between the ROL and democracy is not easily comprehensible for most ordinary people, especially in the transition to a new democracy. How a country goes beyond focusing on popular voting to start to institutionalize the ROL and make it an integrated part of democracy is a complicated and contentious process. This chapter suggests that studies of Taiwan’s democratization have overlooked the importance of the building of ROL institutions through judiciary reform campaigns. Studying the JRF can help us understand the relationship between middle-­class background professionals and democracy in Taiwan, while looking at the ROL issues in particular.

Democracy and institution building in Taiwan   55 The JRF has been an important, proactive CSO. It has often been at the center of an umbrella of CSO alliances in pursuing constitutional revisions and interpretations for enhancing fundamental human rights. Its actions have called for proper procedures, legislating remedies to administrative powers, promoting equal access to the judiciary system of the needy, and overturning sentences in some cases of miscarriage of justice. The JRF story tells us, however, that they are not representatives of the middle class or acting on behalf of post-­industrial values. They are progressive and critical professionals who had legacies associated with the rise of political opposition in the late 1980s, participated in the inner-­circle struggles within professional groups (i.e., the NABA and the TBA), and were prompted by their first-­hand experiences in dealing with the courts and prosecutors representing the power of the party-­state. In sum, what have we learned from the case of the JRF in Taiwan’s civil society? This chapter suggests the following. 1


The JRF is a good example of high activism with low public participation. Starting in 1995, the JRF evolved to become a medium-­sized, active association. It now has a respectable reputation in the larger field of CS and can form alliances on various topics with different advocacy groups. Public participation was notable, however, only in the early period of its founding, when “anti-­corruption” and opposing “imprudence” issues were evident to the general population, which required little elaboration. Its establishment in the mid-­1990s was in fact encouraged by the general social and political atmosphere after the Wild Lily Movement, amid the fever of constitutional reform and the widening of political mobilization by electoral politics.    The growth of the JRF since 2000, however, was not through a high level of participation from the general population. Rather, the strength of the association comes directly from voluntarism and donations from the network of reform lawyers, attorney firms, bar associations, and law scholars, as well as various networks associated with their business interests. Unlike in the early days, now issues of judiciary reform involve sophisticated legal knowledge and politics, and hence are less evident to the general public. The relevance of ROL reforms is directly linked to citizens’ daily lives but is often not evident to citizens.25 We can argue that the JRF is a “grassroots” association only in the sense that it is a professional group and that it chooses to be “non-­governmental,” maintaining a critical view of adjudication powers and initiating new legislation to promote democracy in the self-­insulated judiciary system. The founding of the JRF presupposes the existence and the rise of a liberal, educated class of professionals: lawyers. These lawyers were members of the new middle class, but we should be careful not to describe their actions and networks as class-­based. The number of reform lawyers has been relatively small, though their networks are extensive, and the association does not need to be representative of the “class” to which it belongs. In fact, the reason that the JRF was shunned by the Judiciary Yuan authority in 1995

56   Mau-Kuei Chang



for a leading role in judiciary reform was that the reform association looked like just “a small batch of lawyers” in the eyes of the system’s power holders. The case supports the importance of “critical citizens” and their influence on democratization. On the one hand, political reforms in the 1980s were led by dissidents who were highly critical of the regime, and the judiciary reform that arose in 1990s was also critical of the judiciary system. The two sets of reforms consisted of two waves of a continuous tide of transformation, because the separation between party-­state in democratization could not succeed without separating the executive from the judiciary powers and reaching a constitutional check-­and-balance. Consequently, when the regime began to lose its monopoly on political legitimacy, as political citizenships expanded with electoral institutions, the judiciary system was also under heavy pressure to reform to uphold justice in resolving increasing social and political disputes. The influence of CS on democracy came not from the operation of a single individual CSO but from CSOs’ ability to form networks or political alliances. The JRF did not work on judiciary reforms single-­handedly, despite its prominent position. Therefore, the CS is better conceptualized as a field of coalescences, with dynamic networks of associations connected with each other on related causes and with ties to other groups outside the field. This applies especially to the CSOs acting on the advocacy and movement mode in reforming and changing the system.

Having credited the JRF for its possible contributions, the struggles to further advance Taiwan’s ROL and democracy are hardly over. Today, the JRF continues its unfinished reform campaigns, including successfully lobbying the newly elected President Tsai Ing-­wen to set the stage for a new wave of human rights advancements, along with calling for judiciary reform. A new round of National Judiciary Reform Conferences began in March 2017. One can easily find the inputs of the JFR networks from their previous records. Its agenda includes implementing evaluations of and a compulsory retirement system for judges and prosecutors, institutionalizing a full jury system in criminal courts, furthering the protection of human rights in different stages of investigation and litigation, and improving the quality and effectiveness of the trial system. It would be difficult to imagine Taiwan’s democracy without the transition to rule of law. It would be even harder to imagine Taiwan’s civil society activism without the JFR and other similar-­minded associations of lawyers and law scholars in making the broader environment friendlier and more responsive to social activism.

Notes   1 For Diamond, the possible functions of a democratic civil society include limiting government power, holding the state accountable, helping the general public access

Democracy and institution building in Taiwan   57  2


 4  5

 6  7  8  9 10 11 12

13 14 15

16 17

and process complicated political information, and promoting cooperation and coordination in public affairs. According to the Civil Organizations Act, all civil organizations must register with proper authorities and follow self-­governing protocols, as stipulated by law, before they can obtain and maintain legal status. But as protected by the Constitution, no law is broken if organizations do not register with any authority. Unregistered organizations cannot raise funds from the general public. Legal status is important to group accountability but not necessary. To modify this typology, a 2 × 2 ideal type schema may better depict the diverse CSOs. The first dimension is about the nature of CSOs, advocacy, and service-­ welfare, while the second dimension is about the territorial aspects, such as the local/ community and the national/international dimensions. Hsiung et al. (2013) maintained that this social trend implies a danger for Taiwan’s young democracy. There is growing support for claims that rights should extend beyond the national boundary of citizenship, related to cosmopolitan values. Examples are universal humanity, sustainable ecology, and concern for the planet, human or non-­human, organic or non-­organic, that are prioritized and advocated by different CSOs. Examples are the movement to protect “Taiwan Matsu dolphins” in the Taiwan Straits and campaigns to protect a unique leopard cat species found in Miaoli County. This feature is also known as the separation of powers, or the independence of the judiciary system in facing the administrative and the legislative systems (Waldron, 2016). The origin of the JRF has been reported in various reports, such as Kao (2014) and Wang (2010). The story was also recounted by one of its founders, Chen C.-Y. (Chen, 2014). The Judiciary Yuan does not have prosecution power in its jurisdiction. Prosecution power belongs to the Administration. District prosecution offices are assigned to various courts, however, for coordination. The NABA of the ROC is now known as the Taiwan Bar Association, or simply Bar Associations of the Nation. The nation’s title ROC is not used for self-­reference, though it is still in the formal name registered with the Ministry of the Interior. This information was provided by the JFR’s secretary, Ding Y. Z., on August 5, 2016. The original statements taken from the Proposal for Preparation (for the JFR), which was included in the Judiciary Reform Magazine, no.  0, at https://digital.jrf.org.tw/ articles/5, was “[T]o ally with forces from the grass-­roots, to oversee and push relevant government agencies to pursue judiciary reform thoroughly and enduringly, rebuild people’s trust in the judiciary, and to erect a judiciary system that is fair and sustainable.” Source is the same as in the previous note. The TBA board was charged with committing the crime of treason for advocating this position. This was a violation of the notorious Article 100 of the Criminal Code, which was formally abolished in 1992. They were different from the early generation of lawyers who became leaders of the opposition movement, and the DPP, after 1986. The early generation consisted of the defense lawyers of political dissidents incriminated in the Formosan Magazine Incident or the Kao-­hsiung Incident (December 1978). The publicized Grand Trial of Formosan Magazine inadvertently made the 12 defense lawyers famous and allowed them to carry on the opposition movement as a new generation of activists. This chapter has relied on the following chronologies of different sources: Editorial Board for Judiciary Reform Magazine (2009), Grassroots Judiciary Reform Foundation (2006), Lee (2005), and the website of the Taipei Bar Association (n.d.). In 1995, when the first report on the judges’ problematic conduct was made to the public, the Board of the JRF was sued by the named judges.

58   Mau-Kuei Chang 18 These outcomes were not to the JRF ’s satisfaction. The evaluation now is considered an internal governing mechanism of respective bureaucracies, not overseen by formal laws. Meanwhile, the JRF continues its grassroots efforts to conduct its own evaluations of judges and prosecutors periodically, despite the new legislation. 19 When pressure increased in 2012, the Judiciary Yuan launched small-­scale experiments by allowing citizens to be in court to hear and observe the entire trial process. Participants could even “discuss” the case with presiding judges, but only the judges could issue the verdict. The experiments are not permanent, pending further studies of its outcomes. The JRF is not satisfied with the experiment proposal from the Judiciary Yuan and is concerned that this experiment would make a real jury system impossible in the end. 20 See Judiciary Reform Magazine, Issue 7, February 27, 1997, at https://digital.jrf.org. tw/magazines/7; Issue 14, April 15, 1998, at https://digital.jrf.org.tw/articles/256 and https://digital.jrf.org.tw/articles/264; and Issue 18, January 11, 1999, at https://digital. jrf.org.tw/articles/366. 21 Several well-­known cases include Xu Zijiang, Jiang Guochin, and the trial of the Trio in Hsichih (Qian, 2009). All cases involved death sentences or severe punishments. Because due process was not observed, however, there existed serious flaws involving reasonable doubt. In some cases, the right to appeal was not given, and in others proper procedures in investigation were not followed, while the human rights of the suspects were seriously violated. 22 This refers to Constitutional Interpretation No. 535, in which the Grand Judges declared that the exercising of police power may violate constitutional rights when police stop and randomly check or search individuals without sufficient authorization by law. 23 See Justice Reform Magazine, Issue 36, December 14, 2001, at https://digital.jrf.org. tw/articles/851; and Issue 37, February 14, 2002, at https://digital.jrf.org.tw/ articles/866 and https://digital.jrf.org.tw/articles/870. 24 The JRF and the Taiwan Human Rights Association have been the two leading groups in alliance that oppose the death penalty and call for its abolishment, known as the Feisi Lianmeng. 25 This chapter does not cover the JRF ’s efforts in law-­related education. The JRF did spend some of its resources providing supplementary law education to middle-­school students and education on ethical conduct for young lawyers, but the efforts have recently stopped. In 2006, some of the JRF ’s core members created a spin-­off NGO called the Grassroots Foundation for Citizenship and Law-­Related Education (Minjian Gongmin Fazhi Jiaoyu Jijinhui). The mission to educate the public is transferred mostly to this newly founded Foundation.

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60   Mau-Kuei Chang Philion, S. (2010). The impact of social movements on Taiwan’s democracy. Journal of Current Chinese Affairs, 39(3), 149–163. Putnam, R. D. (1993). Making Democracy Work: Civic Traditions in Modern Italy. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press. Putnam, R. D. (1995). Bowling alone: America’s declining social capital. Journal of Democracy, 6(1), 65–78. Qian, Y. K. (2009). The institutionalization of democratic civil society in Taiwan: A case study of NGOs working on the Hsi-­Chih trio case. Asian Survey, 49(4), 716–739. doi: 10.1525/as.2009.49.4.716 Schak, D. C. (2009). The development of civility in Taiwan. Pacific Affairs, 82(3), 447–465. Schak, D. & Hsiao, H. H. M. (2005). Taiwan’s socially engaged Buddhist groups. China Perspectives, 59. Retrieved from https://chinaperspectives.revues.org/2803 Taipei Bar Association. (n.d.). The chronology of reform participation. Retrieved from www.tba.org.tw/about.asp?id=10&class=37&classname. Accessed on June 10, 2016. Tocqueville, A. D. (2000). Democracy in America. H. C. Mansfield and D. Winthrop (Eds.). Chicago: University of Chicago Press. Waldron, J. (2016). The Rule of Law. In E. N. Zalta (Ed.), The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy (Fall 2016 ed.). Retrieved from http://plato.stanford.edu/archives/fall2016/ entries/rule-of-law. Wang, C. S. (2007a). Independent judiciary, dependent judges? Judicial independence and supervision under democracy since Taiwan’s democratization. Taiwan: A Radical Quarterly in Social Studies, 67, 1–38. Wang, C. S. (2007b). Judicial independence and democratic accountability. Taiwan Political Science Review, 12(2), 115–164. Wang, C. S. (2010). Judiciary System from the Margin of Storm to the Center. In S. R. Hwang (Ed.), Order but Colorful Years from 1990–2010: Marching toward Next Wave of Democracy (pp. 229–248). Taipei: Left Bank Cultural Publishing. Weller, R. P. (Ed.) (2005). Civil Life, Globalization and Political Change in Asia: Organizing between Family and State. New York, NY: Routledge. Weng, Y. S. (2010). The Tenth Anniversary of National Conference on Judicial Reform Retrospect and Prospect (Keynote Speech). In T. C. Tang & K. C. Huang (Eds.), The Tenth Anniversary of the National Conference on Judicial Reform: Retrospect and Prospect (Symposium Records) (pp.  13–83). Taipei: Institutum Iurisprudentiae, Academia Sinica.

4 The tripartite links of middle class, civil society and democratization in South Korea Yoon-­Chul Park

Introduction Since World War Two, the middle class in Korean society has played an important role in expanding the public domain and forming a civil society. It organized civil society organizations actively and developed social movements continuously. By doing so, it was able to overthrow authoritarian regimes and realize procedural democracy. Moreover, the middle class established new forms of civil society organizations under procedural democracy and mobilized legal means in leading social movements. Such social movements had a significantly positive influence on expanding and consolidating democracy in Korea. For an in-­depth understanding of the development of Korean civil society and democracy, it is necessary to identify the social context where the Korean middle class was created and its political characteristics. The professional class in Korea has universal characteristics as claimed by theories from Western society, but also includes specific political characteristics due to the unique historical conditions of Korea. Among various elements of the middle class, the ‘professional class’ led the democratic movements, and the ‘managerial (white-­collar) class’ had a significant backing role in them. The unique historical conditions of Korea have affected not only the formation of the characteristics of the middle class but also the contents of Korean social movements. The historical conditions have strengthened the social role of the middle class, and their initiative played a direct role in the goals and means of social movement. ‘Democratic movement,’ the social movement in the period of authoritarian regimes, took the form of ‘people’s movement’ in which the middle class united with students, laborers and farmers. Although the roles of students and laborers were important in the democratic movement, the major leaders were mostly the middle class. Particularly, the middle class created a new form of social movement, ‘civic movement,’1 after authoritarianism disintegrated, which converted the paradigm of social movement. Civic movements led by the middle class maintained organizational persistency and pursued specialization. This enabled continuous containment of the system of the government or chaebols (large industrial conglomerates run and controled by an owner or family) and such movements took the leading role in creating national agendas.

62   Yoon-Chul Park The goal and scope of civic movements are extensive, ranging from political reform, economic justice, media reform, universal welfare and protection of disadvantaged groups/minorities, to regional and grassroots movements. As such, civic movements have actively contributed to expanding and consolidating democracy. This chapter first aims to argue that the middle class played a leading role in Korean social movements, and its characteristics were formed in unique historical conditions, and that such historical conditions and the characteristics of the middle class had influence on the development of social movements. It then observes how civil society organizations led by the professional class activated social movements during each historical period. Second, the chapter claims that the civic movements newly created by the middle class after achieving procedural democracy diversified social movements and expanded civil society. Third, the chapter analyzes how civic movements contributed to democratic consolidation.

Theoretical review Theories from Western society insist that the middle class produced by industrialization generally have a liberal ideology, oppose monopolization of resources in society by a specific class, and pursue a harmonized and balanced civil society. In other words, they take an anti-­capitalist attitude and simultaneously show a preference to maintain the status quo. The middle class show very strong critical consciousness when social resources or authority are concentrated in the hands of capitalists, or when the distribution system is unfair or undemocratic. In addition, if the government protects only the interests of the capitalist class or shows authoritarian characteristics, the middle class make a strong demand for national democratization. Meanwhile, since they have grown based on the foundation of a free economy, they take a negative attitude toward huge labor unions (Lipset, 1960). The middle class are not homogeneous like the capitalist class or working class. The target of this study is the new middle class that have grown during the process of industrialization. The new middle class are the key subject of organization of a civil society and social movements. However, the new middle class are not homogeneous, either: they consist of various sub-­classes, including the ‘managerial (white-­collar) class’ and the ‘professional class’ of professionals or experts. Not only do they have different positions in the relation of production, but they also have considerably different socio-­political characteristics. Due to their positions in the relation of production, the managerial (white-­ collar) class take a critical attitude toward both the capitalist class and working class. However, since they also enjoy vested benefits in the capitalist system, they want to keep the capitalist system and have a conservative attitude toward social transformation. This does not mean that they are always conservative, though. The managerial (white-­collar) class support establishment of a democratic political system within the range wherein the capitalist system is maintained. This is because high levels of education and university experience have a bigger influence on their political attitude than their class position.

The tripartite links in South Korea   63 The professional class consist of professions and experts. In order to understand their characteristics, two factors need to be considered: the concept of ‘semi-­autonomy’ emphasized by Wright when classifying the professional class (Wright, Costello, Hachen & Sprague, 1982) and ‘educational experience’ (Fendrich & Turner, 1989). ‘Semi-­autonomy’ is a factor that makes the classes demonstrate political consciousness transcending their class position, refuse oppressive systems and hold desires for democratic reform. The professional class thinks on their own and independently, regardless of their positions in the relation of production – self-­employed or employed. Meanwhile, with higher educational levels, the professional class is deeply aware of democracy. In addition, their university experience plants strong desires for a democratic government in their hearts and provides a pre-­training opportunity for organizational activities. The impacts of educational level and university experience may be different according to the specific conditions of each country. According to the experience of Western society, a majority of those who have participated in student movements entered the professional class showing a consistent progressive attitude even when their society was becoming more conservative (Fendrich, 1997). Likewise, in Korea, many student activists became members of the professional class, including civil society activists. Despite changes over time, they have continuously participated in civil society organizations and social movements for democratic consolidation (Chung, 2003). Preceding research on the new middle class in East Asia has shown two different results. One emphasizes the progressiveness of new middle class. The new middle class in the region formed before the development of a capitalist economy or at the same time as the two basic classes – the capitalist class and the working class. Therefore, it is claimed that they play a leading role in social movements compared to their counterparts in Western society, and take the lead in democratization (Cheng, 1989; Burris, 1992; Rodan, 1993). The other is that the new middle class show different political attitudes according to the political situation (Koo, 1993). This is because the new middle class are not homogeneous but have significant differences among them. That is, when the professional class and managerial (white-­collar) class are separated to analyze their political characteristics, the managerial (white-­collar) class show different attitudes according to the political situation, while the professional class have consistently progressive characteristics (Chung, 2003). The issue of conservatization of the new middle class is highly related to the managerial (white-­collar) class rather than the entirety of the new middle class. As mentioned above, the managerial (white-­collar) class are likely to show conservatism, as they are beneficiaries of a capitalist economic system. However, even they desire to maintain the democratic political system within the range wherein the capitalist economy system is not threatened. Korea’s managerial (white-­collar) class mainly comprises university graduates. Therefore, because the managerial (white-­collar) class, as mentioned earlier, have experienced college life, which is a cradle for pro-­democratic education, they have

64   Yoon-Chul Park stronger democratic awareness than any other country’s managerial class, even after graduation. They are sensitive to social issues and participate in social movement organizations. In the crucial moment of democratization movements, they participated in demonstrations personally or organizationally. However, after their inclusion in the capitalist system they became sensitive to economic problems, and had a tendency to conservatize as they got older. When the economy became stable, they actively supported democratization movements, but in the period of economic crisis, they kept silent out of fear of social unrest decreasing their economic gains. In 1980, the period of Seoul’s Spring, when the dictator Park Chung-­Hee died, Korea was confronted with a very serious economic crisis. Consequently, the managerial class did not resist Chun Doo-­Hwan’s military coup. On the other hand, in the period of the 1987 June Democracy Movement, Korea was in an economic boom, so the managerial (white-­collar) class actively participated in the democratization movement which toppled Chun Doo-­Hwan’s regime. Some Koreans call this democratization movement ‘the White-­Collar Revolution.’ In Korean society, as long as the managerial (white-­collar) class is not confronted with economic crisis, they are still active supporters of social movements. Their participation often acts as a key vote. Also, in a candlelight rally in November of 2016, the managerial (white-­collar) class’s active participation was observed.

Social conditions, the middle class and social movements in Korea Historical conditions that differed from Western society played a considerably important role in the formation of Korea’s middle class. The colonization by Japan mostly collapsed the conventional status system, which made the Korean people have a strong awareness of equality. Regardless of the widespread equality, however, the ‘Confucian tradition’ sustained for 600 years during the Joseon Dynasty still had a wide range of influence in all sectors of society. The critical consciousness of the Confucian society had an especially significant influence on the Korean people. This became an important driving force for the middle class, in particular for the professional class to form political characteristics. At the same time, the rationalism and democratic ideology from Western society led the middle class to stick to their critical attitude toward authoritarian regimes. For a long time, Korean society has had a resistant socio-­cultural tradition; 600 years ago, at the start of the Joseon Dynasty, there was collective resistance by Confucians against the governmental system. At the end of the Joseon Dynasty, numerous civilian army activities, riots and revolutions occurred. Most of the leaders of such activities were intellectuals, including Confucians. Confucians were the intellectuals at that time, with the properties of students. According to the modern class classification, they may fall into the professional class. They considered critical social consciousness to be the best moral accomplishment, and criticism and resistance against national policies to be their social

The tripartite links in South Korea   65 responsibility. The social role of Confucians has been transferred to modern society. The intellectuals in the Japanese colonial period or in the 1960s and 1970s shared the same social consciousness as the Confucians. Under this tradition, Korean society considered university students to be in the same vein as Confucians during the Joseon Dynasty. Therefore, university students were considered ‘quasi-­intellectuals.’ In other words, the public regarded university students as on their way to becoming intellectuals rather than simply being educated, and as having a duty to lead society. Under such social demands, university students have played a leading role in realizing social justice beyond simply improving their knowledge. In Korea, Korean high school graduates’ university entrance rate increased to 83.3 percent based on the data of 2008. Almost every high school student enters university (and almost every schoolchild enters high school). Being an East Asian country, Korea is a ‘late-­late industrialized’ nation. Therefore, its history of forming the middle class is considerably different from that of Western society. As mentioned in the previous section, the middle class was created before the capitalist class and working class, or at the same time, within an almost equivalent relationship. This is how the middle class could maintain relative independence compared to other classes and acquire a specific social right to speak out. After independence from Japan, the Korean state became ‘an overdeveloped state,’ transcending the development level of society due to the heritage left by Japan. As such, the state had strong authority to control society almost completely. Moreover, the division into South Korea and North Korea made the ideology of anticommunism control Korean society. The ideology of anticommunism in Korean society served as the only standard for evaluating the values of socio-­political issues. Labor movements were fundamentally cracked down on by an oppressive state system, and the ideology of anticommunism made it difficult to receive social support. After a new nation was built, most tenant farmers disappeared and became small-­scale independent farmers; they lost their collectivist consciousness and fragmented into isolated individuals. Under the ideology of anticommunism, it was difficult for the middle class to make progressive claims, which resulted in a passive attitude toward solidarity with the working class. However, the middle class were relatively free from the suppression of the ideology of anticommunism than the working class. This provided the middle class with a chance to lead social movements. Meanwhile, since the class consciousness of the working class was extremely weak, labor movements were led by student activists who were on leave of absence or expelled, rather than the working class. They joined labor movements by disguising their status, getting jobs at plants, and inspiring class consciousness in the hearts of laborers. Meanwhile, Korean society is separated into extremes. That is, there exists fierce confrontation between conservatives and progressives. When Koreans elect a president, they almost do not consider the presidential candidate’s personality, ability, achievement and political view. They just consider the party which the presidential candidate belongs to.

66   Yoon-Chul Park A strong regionalism exists in Korean society as well. Regardless of political consciousness – conservative or progressive – people make political decisions based on their region. Regionalism has been a strong social factor transcending class consciousness. Korea’s two major parties are both based on regionalism. Consequently, people who are from the Geongsang province area mostly support the conservative party, whereas people from the Jolla province area mostly support the progressive party. For example, about 68.9 percent of people in the Geongsang province area supported the conservative party in the 2012 presidential election, whereas about 89.0 percent of people in the Jolla province area supported the progressive party. These social structural contradictions came out obviously in the general election and the presidential election. For example, many people thought Park Geun-­ Hye was disqualified for president because of her limitation in intellect and already disclosed scandals. Nevertheless, she was elected in the 2012 presidential election.2 The social structural contradictions had a significantly negative impact on the middle class deciding their political attitude. Even members of the middle class with progressive thoughts are making political choices based on regionalism. Such regionalism impedes political unification in the middle class and causes disunity of civil society organizations. As Korean political parties are on the basis of a specific region and are driven by the specific leaders, they have serious problems. Furthermore, as the foundation of support for political parties is limited to specific regions or people from specific regions, and reorganized based on specific leaders, their persistency is very low (Choi, 2000; Lee, 2009). The average life cycle of a political party is merely 4.9 years. This has led to a phenomenon in which civil society organizations are substitutes for political parties. In order to take the role of political parties, civil society organizations have various expert groups for responding to all political, economic and social issues, which has expanded the importance of the professional class in social movements. Lastly, Korea has been a nation wherein all social resources are highly centralized in the capital city, Seoul. Since all political power and authority is focused on the central government, the major target of social movements has been the central government. A genuine local governance system was finally started in 1995. Before 1995, there were few opportunities to organize social mobilization in local areas, and almost all social movements were conducted around Seoul. For example, 79 percent of the members of the Korean Federation for Environmental Movement (KFEM) are concentrated in the capital area. Such a centralized social structure and absence of local governance system made both local and national mobilization on the grassroots level difficult. Therefore, civil society organizations developed social movements through a strategy of publicizing and making issues rather than a strategy of organizational mobilization. For the former strategy, the role of the professional class with expertise is absolutely necessary.

The tripartite links in South Korea   67

Civil society organizations led by the middle class and social movements Period of authoritarian regimes and radical democratic movements: 1979–1987 During this period, political reform movements, student movements, labor movements and farmer movements led by the professional class were closely related and linked under the common goal of ‘democratization of authoritarian regimes.’ They leveled democratic movements up to ‘national movements’ under the banner of ‘democratization’ by attracting national support. Major social movements in the period included the human rights movement, Catholic/ Christian movement for democracy, democratic movement for freedom of speech, freedom of publication for critical culture, professors’ democratic movement, the poor movement and women’s movement, etc. as shown in Table 4.1. Various social movements were conducted individually or together. Table 4.1 Social movements and civil society organizations in South Korea: 1979–1987 Years




Human rights movement


Christian movement for democracy


Catholic movement for democracy Democratic movement for freedom of speech

The National Council of Churches in Korea (KNCC); Catholic Priests’ Association for Justice (CPAJ) KNCC; Korea Student Christian Federations; Ecumenical Youth Council in Korea; National Clergy Conference for Justice and Peace CPAJ; Association of Catholic Farmers; Union of Catholic Students Assembly for Democratic Movement for Speech Freedom; Korea Committee for Freedom of Speech Publishing companies and book stores

1979–1987 1979–1987 1979–1987 1979–1987 1979–

Freedom of publication for critical culture Professors’ democratic movement Literary writers for democracy The poor movement: antiresettlement


Women’s movement


Youth movement for democracy


Artists for democratic movement Constitutional amendment movement


Source: Hsiao and Park, 2016.

Many university professors; Association of Fired Professors Literati of Free Praxis Association Christian–Catholic Alliance in Capital City; many students, professors, lawyers and vendors’ associations Korea Legal Aid Center for Family Relations; Christian Academy; Korea Women’s Hotline; Gender Equality Association Youth Union for Democratic Movement; young intellectuals and young social activists Mass Culture Movement; National Art Association National Headquarters for Democratic Constitution; religious leaders and lawyers

68   Yoon-Chul Park Core leaders of each movement were all members of the professional class: social activists, lawyers, priests, ministers and professors. Most leaders of the feminist movement were also from the professional class. Leaders of the youth democratic movement were mostly student activists who graduated from university. Even those from labor movements, farmer movements and the poor movements were mostly from the professional class. As for labor movements and farmer movements, most of the leaders had been student activists, and leaders of the poor movements were student activists or ministers. The professional class fought legal battles based on their abundant scholastic and legal knowledge. Moreover, they supported illegal struggles by university students, laborers and farmers exerting all efforts, including legal aid. They took the attitude that minimal violence was acceptable in order to resist the violence of the authoritarian regime. Since each movement had the single goal of ‘democratization,’ solidarity among movements had high unity and persistency. During this period, significant levels of economic development were achieved and the educational levels of the people dramatically rose, which led to increasing demands of the people for political freedom. The managerial (white-­collar) class, which had especially high educational levels, aspired to political liberty, and they became important supporters of social movements. Through the ‘6.10 Democratic Uprising’ in 1987, the authoritarian government collapsed, which was made possible by aggressive participation of the managerial (white-­collar) class. Period of political liberalization and civic movements: 1988–1997 In 1987, the authoritarian government collapsed and a new constitution was implemented. Political liberty was expanded and procedural democracy began to be established. Based on such changes in social conditions, the professional class left the ‘democratic movement organizations’ and organized ‘new civil society organizations.’ They named their social movements ‘civic movements’ in order to distinguish them from ‘illegal pro-­democracy movements.’ The goal of their social movements was expanded from the reform of political systems to the reform of economic systems. This was because monopolistic corporations that had grown due to capitalist economic development started to dominate the political and social areas beyond the economic sector. Additionally, when it came to movements’ means, illegal and violent means were rejected, and legal and institutional means were adopted, for example, statements, press conferences, public hearings, debates, propaganda activities, investigations, observations, petitions, accusations, complaints, lawsuits, constitutional appeals and arbitration. Such movement means absolutely require expertise; therefore, the importance of expertise in social movements increased. As shown in Table 4.2, major civic movements included political reform movements, media reform movements, educational reform movement, consumers’ movement, election watch campaign, environmental movement, chaebol watch campaign, welfare movement for the handicapped, Congress watch campaign, etc. These were mostly conducted through legal institutional means, unlike the

The tripartite links in South Korea   69 democratic movements in the authoritarian period. In addition, specialization and systemization of civil society organizations started. This means that the role of the professional class got more important compared to the previous democratic movements. In the truest sense, the civic movements were social movements led by the professional class, but the support of the managerial (white-­collar) class became the major base for these civic movements. For example, in one large, important civic movement organization (the Citizen’s Coalition for Economic Justice), the academic background of 76.5 percent of its members is university graduate or above, and 57.3 percent of its members belong to the managerial (white-­collar) class.3 Civic movements were led by three important civic movement organizations: People’s Solidarity for Participatory Democracy (PSPD), Citizens’ Coalition for Economic Justice (CCEJ) and the Korean Federation for Environmental Movement (KFEM) (refer to Table 4.2). PSPD and CCEJ had unique structural forms that were similar to those of political parties or chaebols. They were organized in a way that all political, economic and social issues could be handled. In other words, they were ‘comprehensive civic movement organizations’ (Park, 2003: 4). This is because, as mentioned previously in this chapter, civil society organizations had to substitute for the functions of political parties. Table 4.2 Social movements and civil society organizations in South Korea: 1987–1998 Years



1987– 1987 1987– 1987–

Educational reform movement Women’s movement Intellectuals’ movement Consumers’ movement

1988– 1988–

Culture and art movement Human rights movement

1989 1989–

Democracy and reunification Urban civil movement

1989– 1989–

Election watch campaign Environmental movement

1989– 1990–

Chaebol watch campaign Welfare movement for the handicapped Congress watch campaign

The Korean Teachers and Educational Workers’ Union Korean Women’s Association United (1987) Professors for Democracy The Voice for Consumers; Korea National Council of Consumer Organizations; Green Consumer Network in Korea Korea Federation for National Artists Union for Catholic Justice; Lawyers for Democratic Society; Buddhist Human Rights Committee National Union for Democracy and National Unity Citizens’ Coalition for Economic Justice (CCEJ) (1989); People’s Solidary for Participatory Democracy (PSPD) (1994) CCEJ; PSPD Korea Federation for Environmental Movement (KFEM) (1993); Green Korea (1994) CCEJ; PSPD Korea Traffic Disabled Association



70   Yoon-Chul Park They conducted civic movements in various areas: political reform, disclosure of governmental information, watching governmental organizations and budgets, the reunification issue, financial structure reform, fair taxation, chaebol reform, protection of housing rent, protection of the environment, and demonstrations against the abolition of the screen quota system. KFEM was mistaken for an organization conducting only environmental movements due to its name, but it has actually participated in various social movements such as political reform, financial structure reform, chaebol reform and national pension-­system reform. These three civic movement organizations recruited experts from various fields so as to conduct various social movements. Period of cooperation and disunity between civic movements and progressive government: 1998–2007 The change of regime to the opposition party created a progressive regime which led to qualitative changes in the relationship between civic movements and the government. The relationship changed from a tense relationship to a relationship of criticism, support and cooperation. A great number of experts from civil movement organizations transferred to the government to participate in the decision-­making process. Therefore, the possibility of legislating and institutionalizing agendas of civic movements increased considerably. Civic movements tried to consolidate democracy through support for the progressive regime. For this, they developed media reform movements to contain conservative mainstream media. After the success of procedural democracy, the big three Korean newspapers – Chosun Ilbo, Joongang Ilbo and Dong-­A Ilbo – became extremely conservative, attacking the progressive regime on everything. Civic movement organizations checked those conservative media outlets through various means, including boycotts. Furthermore, by developing negative campaigning under the superficial goal of weeding out unqualified candidates, they opposed against the election of candidates from conservative parties and supported the progressive regime. During this period, the goal of major civic movements was expanded from political and economic reform to consolidation of public systems and social agendas, such as protection of disadvantaged groups and minorities. That is, as seen in Table 4.3, the goals included political and economic reform as well as health and medical treatment, media reform, cultural promotion, negative campaigning (against the election of candidates from conservative parties), and protection of the disabled, multiculturalism, immigrant laborers and sexual minorities. At the same time, civil society diversified and democracy was reinforced. Due to the vulnerability of the foundation of support and its political failure, the progressive regime lost its national support and became more and more conservative. Accordingly, civic movements withdrew their support and cooperation for the progressive regime and took a critical attitude. In the end, the progressive regime lost its important foundation of support. From the viewpoint

The tripartite links in South Korea   71 Table 4.3 Social movements and civil society organizations in South Korea: 1998–2008 Years



1998– 1998– 1998

Free information movement Anti-corruption campaign Movement for sexual minorities Media reform movement

PSPD; CCEJ PSPD Solidarity for LGBT Human Rights of Korea

1998– 1999– 1999 2000 2000 2000 2001 2003 2004

Citizens’ Coalition for Democratic Society; People’s Coalition for Media Reform Cultural movement Cultural Action Budget watch CCEJ; PSPD; Civil Action of All National trust movement National Trust of Korea Negative campaign Citizens’ Solidarity for General Election (with movement 977 civil organizations participating) Welfare movement for the Korea Federation of Organization of the disabled Disabled Health insurance reform Korea Federation for Medical Activist Group; campaigns Korean Pharmacists for Democratic Society Political reform movement Civil Solidarity for Political Reforms Migrant workers’ protection Network for Migrant Rights movement

of civic movements, the conservatization of the progressive regime meant they lost the support and cooperation of the regime, which were important factors for expanding social movements; democratic reform therefore encountered serious risks. Furthermore, the reappearance of the conservative regime rather degenerated democracy. Period of conflict between civic movements and the conservative regime: 2008–2016 In 2008, a change of regime brought about the reappearance of the conservative regime, and this led to a new change in civic movements. The conservative regime, just like the regime in the authoritarian period, showed a strong developmental ideology. They pushed ahead on the imports of beef with a risk of bovine spongiform encephalopathy without national consent, based on the goal of economic development and ratification of a Free Trade Agreement (FTA). However, the Korean people felt serious hostility toward this, and national opposition movements occurred under the lead of civic movement organizations. Moreover, under the guise of economic vitalization, the conservative regime started a huge civil engineering project called the ‘Four Major Rivers’ Development,’ causing serious natural degradation. Civic movement organizations mobilized various experts to point out problems with the development and launched opposition movements continuously. The conservative regime tried to abolish or incapacitate various democratic institutions created by the progressive regime. Civic movements tried to defend

72   Yoon-Chul Park democratic institutions, targeting the conservative regime directly. For this, they developed various political reform movements, for example, electoral system reform, party politics reform, and legislative, administrative and judiciary reforms, as shown in Table 4.4. In order to dominate the conservative mainstream newspapers as well as broadcasting companies, the conservative regime intervened directly in journalistic activities and personnel appointments at the two big public broadcasters in Korea, KBS and MBC. Moreover, they revised the act that bans newspapers from running broadcast companies so that conservative mainstream newspapers could launch broadcast services. During the process, civic movement organizations launched ‘movements against the revision of the broadcasting act’ and various media-­watchdog movements.

Table 4.4 Social movements and civil society organizations in South Korea: 2008–2016 Years




Campaign against US beef imports and FTA

Citizens’ Assembly on Mad Cow Disease (CCEJ, PSPD, Green Korea, National Students’ Solidary – 1,842 organizations joined) Green Korea; KFEM

2008–2011 Opposition to Four Rivers’ Development projects 2008– Political reform campaign: electoral systems, party politics, and legislative, administrative and judiciary reforms 2008– Chaebol reform campaign 2008– Community movements 2008– Peace and national reunification movement


Human rights campaign


Movement for media independence Return of cultural heritage movement Comprehensive welfare campaign

2010– 2010 2012– 2015

Cooperative movement Democratic institutionalization movement

CCEJ; PSPD; Jinbo Korea; Lawyers for a Democratic Society

PSPD; EECJ; Spec Watch Center Local community movement organizations Citizen’s Solidarity for Peace and Unification; Peace Network; National Community Headquarters (Buddhist organization) (88 organizations participated) Lawyers for Democratic Society; Catholic Human Rights Committee; Cultural Action; Dasan Human Rights Center Citizens’ Coalition for Democratic Society; People’s Coalition for Media Reform Cultural Action Pro-environmental free-meal grassroots coalition (2110 civil groups participated); Korean Women’s Association United Local cooperatives 2015 Political Reform Coalition (CCEJ, PSPD – 249 civil society organizations)

The tripartite links in South Korea   73 When it comes to North Korean issues, the conservative regime abolished the reconciliation policy and attempted a confrontational policy. This led to the collapse of the mutual exchange and cooperation between South and North Korea established by the progressive regime, and even the symbol of reconciliation between the two Koreas, the Kaesong Industrial Complex, was closed on February 10, 2016. Civic movement organizations insisted that one of the reconciliation policies for peaceful reunification, the Sunshine Policy, should be restored, and they tried to relieve the tension and create a peaceful atmosphere. In order to confront the chaebol-­oriented policy of the conservative regime, these organizations also started more active chaebol reform movements: reform of ownership structure of chaebols, fair trade, separation of industrial and financial capital, the concentrated vote system, the group litigation system, protection of small stockholders, protection of local businesses, monitoring of international speculation funds, support for labor movements (Hope Bus activities), and an increase in the corporate income tax. Furthermore, chaebol-­oriented economic development resulted in serious social polarization. As many people were experiencing economic difficulties, they started universal welfare movements such as ‘free school meals’ and ‘free child care’ to expand national welfare. Civic movement organizations started to recognize that democratic consolidation could not be realized by simple political reform or economic justice. Despite institutional reform through legislation, they witnessed revision of laws and regression of democracy under the conservative regime. For democratic consolidation, they realized that it was necessary to develop social movements from the bottom by actively organizing at the grassroots level in each region, beyond the limitations of civic movements by the professional class (Kim, 2010). Grassroots movements started to be activated through community movements, living cooperative associations and cooperative association movements, social corporate movements, back-­to-earth movements and alternative school movements, with expanded participation of the grassroots in social movements.

Civic movements and democratic consolidation Civic movements led by the middle class in Korea have been the mainstream of social movements, clearly showing Korean characteristics. There is no doubt that civic movements contributed significantly in expanding civil society and consolidating democracy. However, civic movements, due to their structural characteristics of being led by the middle class, revealed their limitations in spreading into the grassroots or regions. Civic movements were mainly led by the professional class, with its excellent expertise, members of which demonstrated outstanding skills in bringing up issues and publicizing the goals of movements. Civic movements created social agendas that were publicized through the media and elevated to national agendas. The national agendas were institutionalized through enactment of laws: establishment of the National Human Rights Commission of Korea and the Anti-­ Corruption and Civil Rights Commission, property registration for public

74   Yoon-Chul Park officials, a legislative hearing system, ordinance on human rights for students and a universal welfare system (free school meals, free child care, half-­priced university tuition and half-­priced apartments). Civic movement organizations appealed to reform political and economic systems individually or together, established authority watchdogs and conducted systematic and continuous activities to watch authorities including the legislature, the administration and the judiciary, to carry on campaign fights against political candidates from conservative parties, and to watch presidential authority over human resources and huge national construction projects. Since the 1990s, chaebols have dominated the Korean economy and monopolized economic activities in various unfair approaches. Furthermore, they have had direct impact on political power based on their economic power. People started to say “the power has already been handed over to the market” or “Korea is the Republic of Samsung (chaebol).” Civic movements recognized that containing chaebols is necessary to consolidate democracy. Keeping a close watch on chaebols has become one of the important goals for civic movements. The Korean mainstream media became extremely conservative, supporting conservative regimes or conservative parties unconditionally, and criticizing progressive regimes or progressive political parties indiscriminately. Furthermore, the conservatization of media meant disharmony with the powerful movement means for civic movements, which had a negative impact on the strategy of making agendas and publicizing. As such, civic movements contained them by criticizing and watching mainstream media or conducting boycotts. Moreover, they stopped chaebols from possessing media, and induced and supported the establishment of progressive media that can fight against the mainstream media. Korean society was culturally very conservative and a standardized society due to the Confucian tradition and authoritarian regimes. Civic movements aggressively adopted rationalism, pluralism and post-­modernism in Western society to develop various social movements for protecting disadvantaged groups and minorities. This diversified civil society created a culture of mutual coexistence and expanded democracy. Civic movements led by the middle class had the characteristics of being centralized in the capital city, Seoul, and being prone to organizational mobilization. Therefore, they had limitations in spreading democracy into the bottom or regional units by organizing the grassroots. It was urgent to realize grassroots activism or localization of social movements. Meanwhile, in the name of urban redevelopment, local society became colonized by developmental capitalism. Such factors played positive roles in expanding democracy into the bottom or regional units through various civic movements by regional units. Lastly, although citizens are perceived as their subjects in outward form, civic movements actually lack participation by citizens. This is a structural limitation of civic movements. That is, civic movements are led by the professional class, who have expertise, and are disconnected from grassroots citizens. They are even criticized as being ‘civic movements without citizens.’ For democratic consolidation, localization and grassroots activism of social movements are critical.

The tripartite links in South Korea   75 Therefore, new challenges are required for strategies or means of civic movements. Meanwhile, major leaders of civic movement organizations can easily move to other areas thanks to their expertise and social influence. In the short term, their transfer can have a positive effect on converting agendas of civic movements to the national agenda. In the long run, however, it means a loss of talent for civic movements. In order to maintain persistent and systematic operations of civic movements, further efforts are required for organizing and nurturing talent.

Conclusion In Korean society, the middle class has expanded civil society through social movements and made the most significant contribution in democratic consolidation. First, under the deep-­rooted impact of Korean Confucian culture, university students, who will mainly become the middle class, have had strong, critical social consciousness. Second, Korea is a late-­late industrialized nation. Therefore, the middle class has grown before the capitalist class and working class, or in almost an equivalent relationship. This has served positively in maintaining the autonomy of the middle class. Third, the ideology of anticommunism suppressed the working class and expanded the activity space for the middle class. Fourth, the vulnerability of political parties and national centralization have reinforced the social role of the middle class. In particular, the professional class segment among the middle class have ‘critical consciousness’ that can transcend their class position. This critical consciousness and their historical role were strengthened by Korea’s unique social conditions. During the authoritarian period, the middle class (especially the professional class) led democratic movements with quasi-­intellectuals (university students). The democratic movements by the middle class during the period were closely connected with students’ movements, labor movements and farmers’ movements, and supported even illegal social movements. After the establishment of procedural democracy, they kept their distance from people’s movements that united with university students, laborers and farmers, and created civic movements led by the middle class separately. They refused illegal and violent means, and adopted legal and institutional means instead. Civic movements were developed mostly by making agendas and publicizing rather than by mobilizing organizations, which absolutely required expertise. Therefore, the importance of the professional class among the middle class in civic movements increased. On the other hand, because the managerial (white-­collar) class had experienced college life, which was the cradle for pro-­democratic education, they had stronger democratic awareness than any other country’s managerial class. They were sensitive to social issues and participated in social movement organizations as members. In the crucial moment of democratic movements, they participated in demonstrations personally or organizationally. Civic movements led by the middle class were developed in various areas such as political reform, economic justice, watching chaebols and conservative

76   Yoon-Chul Park media, protection of disadvantaged groups or minorities, social welfare, community/regional movements, and peaceful reunification. They were also created in different relationships with conservative regimes and progressive regimes. Civic movements had an important contribution in expanding and consolidating democracy. However, they had limitations due to being led by the middle class. First, civic movements created social agendas and publicized them through the media to elevate them to national agendas; the national agendas were institutionalized through enactment of laws. Second, civic movement organizations appealed to reform political and economic systems individually or together, established authority watchdogs, and performed systematic and continuous activities to watch political and economic powers. Third, by watching conservative mainstream media, they contained the collusion of the mainstream media with conservative regimes or chaebols. They also stopped chaebols from possessing media. Fourth, civic movements actively accepted thoughts of rationalism, pluralism and post-­modernism from Western society to develop various forms of social movements. By doing so, they protected disadvantaged groups and minorities and contributed to diversifying the society. Last, in order to prevent colonization of local society by developmental capitalism and to spread civic movements to regions or the grassroots, regional movements and grassroots movements were developed. This had a positive impact on the expansion of grassroots democracy. In conclusion, there exist obvious tripartite links between the middle class, activation of civil society, and democratic consolidation, and these show ‘elective affinity’ between each other. Meanwhile, there are quite a few challenges for civic movements to continue playing an important role in democratic consolidation. Currently, civic movements are criticized for being ‘civic movements without citizens.’ For democratic consolidation, civic movements need to attract many citizens to participate in and spread the movements into grassroots society or local society. Additionally, leaders of civil movements shifting to other sectors including the political sphere may have a positive influence on converting civic movements’ agendas to national agendas in the short term, but it is a serious talent drain in the long term. Therefore, establishing long-­term talent organizational plans is required. Second, ironically, expansion of democracy provided not only progressive political parties but also conservative political parties with opportunities of easy mobilization. Consequently, conservative social movements that stand against progressive social movements are also activated, impeding democratic consolidation.

Notes 1 After achieving procedural democracy, the new middle class used the term ‘civic movement’ intentionally so as to separate it ‘people’s movement,’ where students, workers and farmers united with the professional class from their social movements led by themselves. By using the concept of ‘civic,’ they intended to emphasize ‘national movement transcending a specific class interest’ and ‘reasonable and legal social movement,’ which were different from the existing ‘People’s Movement.’ This is also

The tripartite links in South Korea   77 d­ istinguished from ‘new social movements’ in Western society. The goal and means of civic movements include factors from both ‘old social movement’ and ‘new social movement.’ 2 At that time, many Koreans satirized her as a ‘pocketbook princess,’ because she had serious problems in intellectual and thinking ability. She could not deliver her thoughts without dependence on her ‘notebook,’ which was organized in advance. Also, signs of the ‘Park–Choi Scandal’ were already revealed at that time. Park’s winning the election can be explained through three other reasons, in addition to two reasons in which Korean society’s contradictions are condensed. First, Korea is now stuck in a low-­ growth slump, and for that reason is confronted with problems of unemployment. Therefore, Koreans have strong desire for economic growth. Meanwhile, there is a kind of stereotype or myth in Korea. That is, because the conservative party led economic growth in the 1960s and 1970s, they are the ones who can easily solve economic problems. Second, Park Geun-­Hye basked in the glory of her father, who was a former president. Although Park Chung-­Hee was an oppressive dictator, because he was a leader who led the economic miracle people over their mid-­50s supported him, and most of them supported Park Geun-­Hye. Third, Park Geun-­Hye was the first woman presidential candidate in Korean history. Sexual discrimination is very serious in Korea. For instance, the proportion of women members in the National Assembly is a mere 16.4 percent (as of the 2016 general election). Many women believed that the emergence of a woman president would be a big event that will break the glass ceiling. 3 Source: Internal data of Citizen’s Coalition for Economic Justice.

References Burris, Val (1992), “Late Industrialization and Class Formation in East Asia,” Research in Political Economy, 13, pp. 245–283. Cheng, Tung Jan (1992), “Democratizing the Quasi-­Leninist Regime in Taiwan,” World Politics, 41, pp. 471–499. Choi, Jangjip (2000), “Democratization, Civil Society and Civic Movement in South Korea,” Korean Federation for Environmental Movement (KFEM) (ed.), The Path of Symbiosis, No. 80. (최장집 (2000), “한국적 민주화, 시민사회 및 시민운동,” 환경 운동 연합 편, 공생의 길, 제80호.) Chung, Chulhee (2003), The Trajectory of Civil Society in South Korea: The Dynamics of Civil Society after the 1970s, Seoul: Arche Press. (정철희 (2003), 한국 시민사회 의 궤적: 1970년대 이후 시민사회의 동학, 서울: 도서출판 아르케.) Fendrich, James Max (1997), “Keeping the Faith or Pursuing the Good Life: A Study of the Consequences of Participation in the Civil Rights Movement,” Amer­ican Sociological Review, 42, pp. 144–157. Fendrich, James Max & Robert W. Turner (1989), “The Transition from Student to Adult Politics,” Social Forces, 67, pp. 1049–1057. Hsiao, H. H. Michael & Y. C. Park (2016), “The Engagement of New Middle Class and its Pro-­democracy Civil Society Organizations in Taipei and Seoul 1980–2016. Kim, Jeonghoon (2010), “The Study on the Diversification and the Change of Social Movement in Democratization Process: Focusing on the Grassroots Social Movement and the Cyber Social Movement,” in Heeyeon Cho, et al. (eds.), From Big to Many in Differences: The Diversification of Social Movements in Korean Democratization, Seoul: Haul Press, pp.  217–244. (김정훈 (2010), “민주화 과정에서의 사회운동의 분화와 변화에 대한 연구: 풀뿌리사회운동과 사이버사회운동을 중심으로,” 조희 연 등 편저, 거대한운동에서 차이의 운동들로, 서울: 한울출판사, pp. 217–244.)

78   Yoon-Chul Park Koo, Hargen (1993), “The Social and Political Character of Korean Middle Class,” in Hsin-­Huang Michael Hsiao (ed.), Discovery of the Middle Class in East Asia, Taipei: Institute of Ethnology, Academia Sinica, pp. 55–76. Lee, Yoon-­Kyung (2009), “Democracy without Parties? Political Parties and Social Movements for Democratic Representation in Korea,” Korea Observer, 40(1), pp. 27–52. Lipset, S. M. (1960), Political Man, New York: Anchor Books. Park, Yoon-­Chul (2003), “The Mobilization Model of Social Movement and its Socio-­ Political Characteristics in South Korea: Focusing on New Social Movement,” Asia-­ Pacific Research Forum, No. 21, pp. 1–16. (朴允哲 (2003), 韓國社會運動的 動員模 式與政治社會性格: 以新興社會運動為對象, 亞太研究論壇, 第21期, pp. 1–16.) Rodan, G. (ed.) (1993), Singapore Changes Guard, New York: St. Martin’s Press. Wright, Erik Olin, Cynthia Costello, David Hachen, & Joey Sprague (1982), “The Amer­ ican Class Structure,” Amer­ican Sociological Review, 47, pp. 709–726.

Part III

The dubious links in the Philippines and Indonesia

5 The middle-­class-led Left movement in civil society’s role in the Philippines’ democratization process Teresa S. Encarnacion Tadem Introduction The Philippine middle class is generally viewed as a crucial component in the country’s democratization process, foremost of which was the part it played in the 1986 People Power revolution which overthrew the Marcos dictatorship. It continues to be perceived as a potent force in the post-­martial law period in challenging the oligarchical rule that has perpetuated poverty and widened socio-­ economic inequalities in the country. It is for this reason that the middle class is considered an important constituency of civil society, which includes all non-­ state actors and is generally considered in the Philippines to be a counter-­balance to an elite-­controlled government. It is thus of importance to look into the triple links of the middle class, civil society, and the pursuit of democracy in the country (Hsiao, 2015). This chapter, in particular, will situate the middle class and the role it plays in civil society’s democratization efforts through the Philippine Left movement, which has been dominated by the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP); by its military arm, i.e., the New People’s Army (NPA); and by its illegal united front, i.e. the National Democratic Front (NDF ); or the CPP-­ NPA-NDF, also referred to as the “mainstream Left.” The study, therefore, takes off from Rivera’s (2001a, 2001b, 2006) and Tadem’s (2008, 2010, 2015) writings, which highlight the important role that the Philippine middle class and civil society have played in the country’s democratization efforts through the Left movement. The first part of this chapter will therefore give a brief background of the situation that led to the rise of a middle-­class-led CPP-­NPA-NDF. The second part will highlight the role that the mainstream Left movement played in the democratization process through the establishment of civil society organizations (CSOs) and networks during the post-­martial law period (1986 onwards). Focus will be placed on the “rejectionist” or “RJ” faction which left the CPP in 1992. It will examine in particular a strand in the RJ faction which is known as the popular democrats or the “popdems,” which engaged in non-­governmental organization (NGO) development work through the Philippine Rural Reconstruction Movement (PRRM) and established a popdem think tank, the Institute for Popular Democracy (IPD), and the Movement for Popular Democracy (MPD).

82   Teresa S. Encarnacion Tadem

The emergency of a middle-­class-led Left movement during the martial law period (1972–86) Philippine politics during the pre-­martial law period was characterized by oligarchy-­building as best exemplified by the dominance of political dynasties (Hutchcroft 1988, 12). The general basis of wealth is the control of vast lands, generally described as haciendas. This situation has brought about agrarian unrest in the countryside which led to the rise of the Marxist-­Leninist Partido Komunista ng Pilipinas (PKP), or the Communist Party of the Philippines, on November 7, 1930 (Tadem 2006, 9). An important constituency of the PKP was its predominantly middle-­class youth sector, which it consolidated when it organized the Kabataang Makabayan (KM – Youth for Nationalism) in 1964.1 Because of ideological differences with the PKP leadership, the KM split from the PKP and formed the new Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP), which was founded in 1968. The “re-­established” or new CPP,2 “which was Marxist-­ Leninist-Maoist inspired,” was headed by Jose Maria Sison, a former University of the Philippines (UP) English instructor who denounced “the errors of the old party in misleading the revolution” (Daroy 1988, 19). As for the middle-­class origins of the founding members of the new CPP, Rivera (2001a, 234–235) pointed out that Sison came from a small landed clan. Of the 13 founding members of the new communist party, 10 came from middle­class families. For Ricardo Reyes (2016a), who was the former head of the CPP’s Komite Tagapagpaganap-­Komite Sentral (KTKS) or the Executive Central Committee, although the founders of the new CPP mainly came from the upper and middle classes, the members of the First Founding Congress of the CPP, which took place on December 26, 1968, were predominantly workers and peasants.3 A reason for this was that Sison was able to attract the workers and peasants who were disenchanted with the PKP and had left it (Reyes 2016a). CPP concerns The new CPP highlighted the three issues of imperialism, feudalism, and bureaucrat capitalism as a comprehensive framework for the analysis of the Philippine situation (Daroy 1988, 20). During this period, the Philippines was undergoing the economic crisis of the 1970s, which had its roots in the neo-­colonial economic arrangements that the U.S. imposed on the Philippines (Daroy 1988, 9). The concern thus for the educated, progressive middle class was the country’s subservience to Amer­ican political and economic interests in the region under the tutelage of powerful dynastic political clans who ran the government. There was therefore a need to flesh out popular programs that served as a nationalist and democratic alternative to counteract the status quo (Rivera 2001a, 234). These were among the major issues which attracted membership to the CPP. This brought in an initial core of cadres during its initial years, the overwhelming majority of whom were university students and intellectuals from middle-­class families (Rivera 2001a, 234–235) who were mainly from UP.

The Left movement in Philippines’ democratization   83 This development for Reyes (2016a) brought about a shift in the membership and in the 1968–71 CPP Central Committee (CPP-­CC), when this became predominantly middle class. He noted that of the CPP-­CC members during this period, only three were from the peasantry, i.e., NPA founder Bernabe “Dante” Buscayno, and NPA members Juanito Rivera and Benito Tiamzon.4 Nathan Quimpo, a former CPP member, confirms this observation.5 For Reyes (2016), a number of these middle-­class CPP members who ultimately became members of the CPP-­CC were small landowners. He observed, however, that land was not really their source of wealth, as they were more professionals. The declaration of martial law by President Ferdinand E. Marcos on September 21, 1972 witnessed the arrests of top and rank-­and-file members of both of the PKP and the CPP-­NPA-NDF. This led to the further split of an already decimated PKP, when a faction of the party members surrendered to the government (e.g., the Lava brothers), while other leading Politburo members chose to continue the armed struggle but no longer under the PKP. The dominantly middle-­ class-led CPP-­NPA-NDF, however, remained intact and pursued its revolutionary struggle. The leadership of the CPP-­NPA-NDF were one and the same (Reyes 2016a; Quimpo 2016). Members of the middle class found themselves assuming the leadership of the CPP regional organizations. In the process, they also became party politburo members, party cadres, NPA guerrillas, and part of the NDF. Organizing the united front with the marginalized sectors of society As during the pre-­martial law period, the CPP-­NPA-NDF gave primacy to the armed struggle, relegating the forging of united-­front alliances with members of society as a secondary arena for contestation. Despite this, however, the latter strategy for the CPP remained important because of its analysis that Philippine society was still not a full-­blown capitalist society ready to transition to socialism. This was described by Sison, who wrote under his nom de guerre Amado Guerrero, as “semi-­feudal and semi-­colonial” (Guerrero 2014). Thus, the CPP found it necessary to ally with the country’s national bourgeoisie to develop the Philippines into a capitalist society and in the process also to overthrow the ruling elites, who were allied with U.S. imperialism. This was also the very rationale for the formation of a national democratic front. This, however, was limited not only to the national bourgeoisie but also to elements in society who shared the views of the CPP-­NPA-NDF. This led to the recruitment of and formation of alliances with marginalized sectors of society (e.g., peasants and workers). In the process, what emerged was the formation of left-­wing groups under the wings of the NDF, which for Isagani Serrano, former member of the CCP-­CC and currently president of the Philippine Rural Reconstruction Movement (PRRM), became the foundation of left-­wing-oriented civil society with these united-­front alliances, leading to the incipience of the civil society arena (Serrano 2016).

84   Teresa S. Encarnacion Tadem The emergence of development NGOs Another middle-­class strategy which the CPP-­NPA-NDF pursued was the formation of NGOs. A prominent area where these left-­wing-oriented groups were established was in the rural areas. This was because the peasantry provided the fuel for the communist insurgency, and thus the CPP-­NPA-NDF continued to organize the peasant movement through the formation of national democratic (ND) NGOs. This was the movement’s way of empowering as well as providing peasants with sources of livelihood. The end goal of this was to ultimately recruit them into the Left movement. Party tensions, however, emerged in this endeavor as the CPP cadres in these ND NGOs began to view the CPP as more involved in the armed struggle rather than in the well-­being of the communities. Such tensions were also replicated in other NGOs which carried out advocacies for women and the environment, as well as the Moro and indigenous peoples, among others. For the Party, these issues were all secondary to the armed struggle, a view that was not shared by everyone involved in the ND NGOs.

The middle-­class-led Left movement in civil society struggles during the post-­martial law period (1986 to the present) The transition from authoritarianism to democracy with the advent of the 1986 People Power Revolution, which ousted the Marcos dictatorship, offered a widening space for united-­front activities in the civil society arena for the CPP to further pursue its goals. The country’s political transition, however, also intensified the tensions which were brewing within the Party. In the case of those involved with ND NGOs, this was the primacy of the armed struggle over peaceful means for reform, e.g., NGO development work. A popular sentiment in the movement was that, with the opening up of democratic space in the country, NGO organizing and development work could now be treated as a priority.6 By 1992 there were already reports of the split in the CPP, but it was in 1993 that this was made official. The split was between the “reaffirmists” or “RAs” and the “rejectionists” or “RJs”. The RAs were those who reaffirmed the CPP’s orthodox Marxist-­Leninist party line, while the RJs were those who rejected this (FOPA 1993, 12). The new political dispensation, even before the split, also brought about a re-­ theorizing of the role of the CPP-­NPA-NDF. Among the national democrats (NDs or “natdems”), there emerged the popular democrats (“popdems”), whose main concern was to work for a broad Left front. This was, the popdems believed, the only way that traditional elite democracy could be replaced with “popular democracy,” i.e., the people’s exercise of direct participation in government so as to be able to exert a certain amount of power (Timberman 1991, pp. 310–312, cited in Encarnacion 1997). Spearheading the popdems was Horacio “Boy” Morales, former head of the NDF. The popdem expression had three important dimensions, which were the following: (1) NGO development work, exemplified through their endeavor with the Philippine Rural Reconstruction Movement (PRRM) and its

The Left movement in Philippines’ democratization   85 sister organization the Cooperative Foundation of the Philippines (CFPI); (2) establishment of a popdem think tank, the Institute of Popular Democracy (IPD), which focused on issues of governance and electoral reforms, as well as popular democracy and participation; and (3) a social movement, the Volunteers for Popular Democracy (VPD), which later on became known as the Movement for Popular Democracy (MPD). The abovementioned efforts of the popdems through the establishment of NGOs and popular movements were given impetus by the collapse of actually existing socialism in the late 1980s. This event witnessed the emergence of civil society as the primary arena of struggle, and was reflective of the worldwide debate during that period on the alternatives for change as presented by Marxist theorists. The movement away from focusing mainly on an organized political force to win state power, as emphasized by Leninism in its “war of movement” at a concrete conjuncture, was heavily criticized by those who agreed more with the alternative presented by the Italian Marxist Antonio Gramsci. Gramsci, who recognized “the crucial importance of such transformative moments,” also argued for a “war of position” that “spans successive conjunctures, shifting the balance of forces through intervention at various sites particularly within civil society …” (Femia 1981, 53 cited in Encarnacion 1997, 10). The split in the CPP thus saw the emergence of civil society as not only an arena of contention, but also as a primary social force in society to bring about change. This was within the context of the need to strengthen people’s empowerment, which is viewed as the “process of building up ‘parallel power’ in ‘civil society.’ This was brought about by the realization that democratization will come not from the state but from the people’s movements, which are the major catalysts for strengthening civil society” (FOPA 1993). People’s empowerment would “reduce class power and ultimately transform the exercise of state power” (FOPA 1993, 17; see Tadem 2015). “Civil society” as a term is therefore used to include all non-­state actors that challenge the state. Thus, it was in the 1990s that the usage of the terms “civil society” and “civil society organizations” came to the Left movement (Serrano 2016). NGO development work NGO development work provided the Left activists with an opportunity to continue “serving the masses” through the implementation of economic projects, particularly in the countryside. Development work through the NGOs provided a venue for harnessing what the Left perceived as the “middle forces,” e.g., professionals, in a civil society which fought the Marcos dictatorship. NGO work also provided a venue whereby people who were part of the movement and who wanted, like Serrano, to engage in new activities, given the change in political dispensation, could segue in. These undertakings also allowed the integration issues broadly classified under “new politics,” such as environment and gender, which appealed to the middle classes. Thus, a broad coalition alliance was made possible through NGO development work (Encarnacion 1997, pp. 14–15; see also Tadem 2006, 2015).

86   Teresa S. Encarnacion Tadem The PRRM and CFPI With Morales as head in 1986, the popdems saw the PRRM as an important vehicle for continuing the Left movement’s efforts in organizing and empowering the rural communities. The PRRM was established in 1952 by James Yen, President of the New York-­based International Mass Education Movement (IMEM). Yen viewed the PRRM as a vehicle for promoting educational and socio-­economic reforms to prevent any form of communist takeover by peasants, as experienced by China. Philippine President Ramon Magsaysay supported such a project, viewing the PRRM as a tool for dealing with the communist insurgency (Valsan 1970, 256 cited in Encarnacion 1997, 17). Serrano (2016) viewed this as a “positive rural development,” and during the post-­martial law period the PRRM focused on agrarian reform whereby it introduced strategies which focused on reorganizing tenurial relations and aimed at improving the production capability of the tillers (Tadem, E. 1991, 99–100). Such efforts, together with rural development, were complemented by the CFPI when Morales became its Executive Director in 1986. The CFPI was perceived as a quasi-­government agency because, although those who organized this came from the government sector (e.g., Orlando Sacay,7 who founded the CFPI), its main funding came from foreign sources. This included the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), which initially gave around PhP4 million. The World Bank (WB) was another major donor (Encarnacion 1997, 215). Unlike the PRRM, the CFPI focused mainly on cooperative development. The PRRM also diversified into other activities at the grassroots level such as disaster relief and rehabilitation, as was the case after the 1989 earthquake and the 1992 Mt. Pinatubo explosion, which wreaked havoc in several provinces in Central Luzon (Serrano 2016). Organizing the marginalized sectors of society Both the PRRM and CFPI emphasized the need for people empowerment, with emphasis placed on power and issues such as livelihood, health, and education. Similar to the martial law period, the focus of these NGOs were sectoral organizations such as the landless and poor peasants, who were the major beneficiaries of the PRRM/CFPI programs. Within these two major classes were the women and youth sectors (Diliman Review Staff, 1988, 36, cited in Encarnacion 1997, 219). An important ingredient of the empowerment process is participatory planning at all levels. Morales expounds that at the provincial sphere, for example, there can be a creation of provincial federations of people’s organizations that will take on the responsibility of consolidating development plans (Morales 1990, 10, cited in Encarnacion 1997, 219). In relation to this, Serrano pointed out that the PRRM set up the following major federations in several sectors, e.g.: coconuts (Niyugniyugan or Coconut); organic, sustainable agricultural farms (SAKAHAN); fisheries (Pambansang ng mga Manginigsda sa Luzon, Visayas at Mindanao or the National Coalition of Fisherfolks in Luzon, Visayas and

The Left movement in Philippines’ democratization   87 Mindanao); and women (INDALUYONG). PRRM chapters were also established all over the country such as in Luzon (i.e., Nueva Vizcaya, Nueva Ecija, Bataan, Cavite, Quezon, Camarines Sur, Camarines Norte, Albay), in the Visayas (i.e., Negros Occidental, Camiguin), and in Mindanao (i.e., in North Cotabato). The major aim of the PRRM was to develop the autonomy of these local chapters, allowing each to determine the parameters of rural reconstruction and to raise their own money (Serrano 2016). The CFPI, on the other hand, focused on organizing cooperatives with its Cooperatives for the Poor (CfP) program which, as Morales pointed out, is based on the idea that society’s marginalized sectors can generate surplus (Morales 1990, 21, cited in Encarnacion 1997, 229). Like the PRRM, it believes that the way to strengthen people’s organizations like cooperatives is through the formation of cooperatives’ federations, which it did when it established the NGO-­ Coalition for Cooperative Development (NGO-­CCD). NGO-­CCD’s main objective in cooperative development was “to strengthen the people’s primary cooperatives and to establish federative structures towards the realization of associative economies” (NGO-­CCD 1992, 11, cited in Encarnacion 1997, 228). The CFPI also initiated projects under the National Integrated Protected Areas System (NIPAS) law.8 The CFPI’s NIPAS project brought in other NGOs in a joint venture in areas which are traditionally not seen as part of the cooperative arena (Encarnacion 1997, 228). The initial funding of the CFPI came from two NGO Dutch partners, CEBEMO and ICCO (Encarnacion 1997, 232). The CFPI also organized farmers, a number of whom had received land through land reform and were thus threatened former landlords, in an attempt to regain the land into cooperatives. The CFPI’s affiliate organization was the Partnership for Agrarian Reform and Rural Development Services (PARRDS),9 which was established during the martial law period to assist farmers. Identified with the RJs, PARRDS pursued the following roles, among others: facilitating engagement with government but at the same time continuing grassroots organization and mobilization; policy formulation; development of issues and policies; finding out how government works and when to compromise; accessing government data resources; studying land tenure and land transfers; and providing for a program for support services (Reyes 2016b).10 Through PARRDS, the CFPI was able to provide services which the Department of Agrarian Reform (DAR) is mandated to perform but cannot do due to lack of resources or sheer incompetence. These include providing legal services to farmers who have court cases filed against them by their former landlords who wanted to take back their lands. There are also situations where, because of incompetence, the DAR failed or was late in awarding the agrarian reform beneficiaries (ARBs) their Certificate of Land Transfers (CLTs), enabling the landowners to hold on to their lands. A worse situation is when the DAR officials, e.g., the Provincial Agrarian Reform Officer (PARO) or Municipal Agrarian Reform Officer (MARO), are in cahoots with the landowners in undermining the interest of the ARBs. The CFPI’s CSO network also helps the farmers with agricultural concerns such as farming technology, farm-­to-market roads, and the establishment of

88   Teresa S. Encarnacion Tadem post-­harvest facilities (Encarnacion 1997, 305–309). An active member of PARRDS11 was the People’s Ecumenical Action for Community Empowerment (or PEACE), which was established during the martial law period as an ND NGO. It was set up by the CPP to be its peasant-­community organizing arm. Its head was Steve Quiambao and its members included Saturnino “Jun” Borras. Borras was formerly the deputy of the biggest ND peasant movement, the Kilusang Mambubukid ng Pilipinas (KMP), which was formed during the martial law period.12 During the post-­martial law period, PEACE moved to the RJ faction and continued to be actively involved in agrarian reform advocacy work and in assisting farmers in fighting for their agrarian reform rights. PEACE also involved itself with environmental issues that are destroying farmlands, such as pollution coming from piggeries or poultry, which are usually owned by the big capitalists (Encarnacion 1997, 297). PARRDS was also at the forefront of ARBs who are victims of illegal land conversions (see the case study of the CFPI-­assisted cooperative Baka-­ bakahan Multi-­purpose Inc. in Pandi, Bulacan, in Encarnacion 1997). The creation of other civil society networks: the Freedom from Debt Coalition The PRRM also played a crucial role in the creation of other network formations, either by coordinating and/or bankrolling these on various advocacies which were not necessarily limited to agrarian and rural development issues. This was part of their popdem advocacy to create multiple sites of engagement in civil society, as advocated by the Gramscian perspective of empowerment. The PRRM was at the forefront of setting up the two biggest coalitions in the country of Left political blocs.13 These are the Congress for a People’s Agrarian Reform (CPAR), which was established in 1986, and which fought for a genuine agrarian reform program under the Corazon Aquino Administration (1986–2002), and the Freedom from Debt Coalition (FDC), which was established in 1988 because of the country’s US$26 billion external debt which was left by the Marcos government. FDC in particular called for the following: (1)  debt repudiation, i.e., not to pay for any of the Marcos’ debts; (2) a debt moratorium, whereby the country would not pay its debts until able to recover from its impoverished state; and (3) selective debt repudiation, whereby the country would only pay for the debts it had benefitted from, and not the debts which went into the pockets of the dictator, his relatives, and his cronies (see Ariate & Molmisa 2009). Both FDC and CPAR provided important forums to coordinate advocacy work, develop experience together on campaigns, and develop analyses and strategies that genuinely cut across some of the traditional divisions between political blocs (FOPA Democracy Cluster Group 1993, 171, cited in Ariate & Molmisa 2009, 32). Morales, representing the Volunteers for Popular Democracy (VPD), raised the bridging financial assistance for the setting up of the FDC secretariat and its

The Left movement in Philippines’ democratization   89 operations. According to Ariate and Molmisa (2009, 32), “most of the funds came from the Northern CSOs that had previously worked and expressed its solidarity with Philippine CSOs in the fight against the Marcos dictatorship.” FDC’s first secretary-­general was Filomeno Sta. Ana III.14 From 1992–96, the FDC grew substantially in its reach and scope of influence. From 90 founding members, the FDC expanded to 250 members. The CSO’s positions and proposed alternatives on key economic issues served as important rallying points for the progressive movement as a whole (Ariate & Molmisa 2009, 36). CSOs emerging from CSOs: Action for Economic Reform A reality of left-­wing-oriented CSOs during the post-­martial law period was the splintering of its organizations due to the debates which ensued as a result of the growing complexity of issues and new developments. This has generally been brought about by vicissitudes in the political dispensation. An example of this was the FDC. As this CSO network began to take on other issues, such as structural adjustment programs and privatization, issues which were no longer as black and white as the debt issue, debates emerged within the FDC in the 1990s on the direction in which the CSO network was heading. Sta. Ana and FDC President Leonor Briones,15 being an academic, wanted to focus more on engaging the government on policy issues. But in the case of the other political blocs like BISIG (Bukluran sa Ikauunlad ng Isip at Gawa or Movement for the Advancement of Socialism), they wanted FDC to be a platform for the political blocs to strengthen themselves, i.e., chapter building. Thus, a debate that ensued was where the resources of the CSO network would be focused, that is, to mobilize the FDC regional chapters for staging protest actions, among others, or for policy research issues and engagement of government officials (Sta. Ana 2016)? Sta. Ana (2016) also noted that another major division in FDC during his time was the substance of the issues which FDC was to undertake. The political blocs wanted to discuss ideological positions, while the other members wanted these to be more attuned to policy, with ideology as just secondary. As Sta. Ana (2016) pointed out, one may have political values but one also has to look at the rigors of policy. What happened was that the political blocs, which were then dominant in FDC, were always able to get their way. In the case of Sta. Ana, Briones,16 and others, they decided to leave FDC to focus on establishing other CSOs which could address the gap they saw in the policy areas in which civil society was not engaging, like tax issues and changes in the exchange rate. With this in mind, Sta. Ana established Action for Economic Reform (AER) in 1996.17 The AER took a more nuanced position on the government’s Comprehensive Tax Reform Package than its counterparts in FDC (Sta. Ana 2016). It became a major force behind the reform coalitions, which successfully lobbied for the enactment of the SIN Tax Law.18 This reform coalition was made up of the following diverse components (Sidel 2014, 13):

90   Teresa S. Encarnacion Tadem 1 2 3 4 5

“reform entrepreneurs”, activists, experts and policy wonks from the world of civil society, non-­governmental organizations, and the academe; “reform champions” from the incumbent (Benigno Aquino) administration, lodged in various departments, agencies, and the Office of the President; “reform champions” with Congress, represented in both the House of Representatives and the Senate and in key committees in both houses; “advocacy groups”, allied associations, organizations and pressure groups with some kind of mobilization capacity; and media outlets, ranging from investigative journalists to newspaper reporters and columnists, to social media and internet websites.

As pointed out by Sta. Ana, the building of a broad base for the SIN tax coalition was reminiscent of what they did in the early days of the FDC. The issue was framed in such a way that they were able to draw on the support of a broad segment of society, for example, on issues ranging from revenue generation to health measures (Sta. Ana 2016). The global dimension of democratization through CSOs Another prominent feature of CSOs during the post-­martial law period was the emergence of global CSOs. The FDC is one such example, which morphed from a local to a transnational CSO, with its targets being international financial institutions, i.e., the International Monetary Fund (IMF ) and the World Bank (WB), as these were the major creditors to the Marcos dictatorship. FDC is also considered the world’s longest-­running coalition tackling debt issues (Ariate & Molmisa 2009, 25). At the global level, FDC was at the forefront of the establishment of the Structural Adjustment Participatory Review International Network (SAPRIN), which called for popular participation in the structural adjustment process and a change in the orientation of the IMF towards short-­ term solutions (Ariate & Molmisa 2009, 47). By the 1990s, the internationalization of CSO activities became the norm due to the advent of globalization.

Government engagement and collaboration Despite the inroads made by CSOs at the global level, the reality was that the very foundation of their advocacies was the local level. Thus, an important development in NGO work was engagement with government, which was not present during the martial law period. In the case of the CFPI, for example, Morales pointed out that the NGO’s main intention was: to build cooperatives to handle community organizations to take care of the basic needs of society’s marginalized sectors. These organizations are intended to form the basis of power in the community through political structures such as people’s councils, which would interact with government. (Diliman Review Staff 1988, 36, cited in Encarnacion 1997, 219)

The Left movement in Philippines’ democratization   91 Thus, the experience of AER with the SIN tax reform, having to engage and collaborate with government for its CSO advocacy, has been more the norm rather than the exception during the post-­martial law period. Aside from engaging with agencies under the executive branch, the legislature also provided an arena wherein CSO advocacies could be pursued. In the case of the CFPI, its efforts, together with those of the cooperative movement’s members, bore fruit with the enactment of two new laws on cooperatives on March 10, 1990. According to Encarnacion (1997, 225), “these were Republic Act (R.A.) 6938 known as the Cooperative Code of the Philippines, creating an organic law for cooperatives and R.A. 6939 establishing the Cooperative Development Authority (CDA) as the government agency to implement the Cooperative Code”. FDC has also been successful in influencing a significant segment of the legislature to adopt an alternative debt moratorium (Ariate & Molmisa 2009, 36). It was also the first NGO to be invited by Congress to brief the legislators on the debt issue. For FDC President Briones, one of the major achievements of the NGO was the formation of the Joint Legislative–Executive Foreign Debt Council through R.A. 6724 (Ariate & Molmisa 2009, 36). Local government units (LGUs) are also perceived by CSOs as vital partners in pursuing the promotion of their goals. In the case of the PRRM, for example, it was important for its local chapters to engage the local government to bring about sustainable development and poverty eradication by making use of public resources to attain this. Serrano (2016) pointed out that the PRRM was able to achieve this in Nueva Vizcaya, where he noted that the poverty levels when the PRRM entered the province were at least 45 to 50 percent, and this was brought down to 4 percent. Serrano (2016) attributes this to the PRRM’s ability to initiate livelihood projects and provide financing schemes through the establishment of two branches of rural banks, with its main branch in Laguna. Nueva Vizcaya is also an important source of organic vegetables. For other CSO players, the only way to further the advocacies of CSOs is to join the government. For Serrano (2016), this is understandable, as government remains the major delivery mechanism. Such a reality paved the way for the PRRM’s Morales accepting the post of Secretary of the Department of Agrarian Reform under the Estrada Administration (1998–2001). He brought with him former members of the CPP to be part of his administrative staff.19 Challenges to confront Despite the headway which CSOs have achieved in their engagement, collaboration, and even joining of government, much is still to be desired in furthering their advocacies (see Tadem 2015). In the FDC experience, for example, although it was able to get Congress to override the Corazon Aquino administration’s veto on its bill that debt payments must not exceed 10 percent of export earnings, the government found a way to get around it through the so-­called Brady securitization program (Nacpil n.d., cited in Ariate & Molmisa 2009, 38). This may explain why the national government’s outstanding debt by the end of

92   Teresa S. Encarnacion Tadem 2016, during the term of President Corazon Aquino’s son Benigno, reached P6.42 trillion, equivalent to a debt of P62,235 for each of the 103 million Filipinos (FDC Bulletin 2016, 4). With a very dominant and powerful Philippine oligarchy, it also does not help that the Left movement has also been weakened by the split in the CPP-­NPA-NDF between the RAs and the RJs. The RAs, for example, have left the FDC, thus this CSO network is not able to present a broad Left front in its advocacy for a debt cap or moratorium. As the RAs kept control of the NPA areas, it is also difficult for “RJ” CSOs to organize there, as in the experiences of the CFPI (see Encarnacion 1997). CSOs in general have also noted that there has been a lessening of funding for their advocacies, particularly in the 1990s onwards (Serrano 2016; Reyes, 2016a; Sta. Ana 2016). The situation has been aggravated by the fact that donors have become more discriminating of where they would want their funding for CSOs to go.

The Left and embarking on electoral politics Although the Gramscian view of pressuring the state from the outside through popular empowerment. such as through the CSOs among others, seemed to have worked out in the first decades of the post-­martial law period, a reality which has emerged is that, at the end of the day, capturing state power is still the most important. As noted by Serrano (2016), it is the government that has the resources needed to bring radical change in society, not the CSOs. Such a view they saw for themselves when the popdems, through Morales, got into government positions during the Estrada Administration. This perspective is nothing new, though, as even during the earlier years of the post-­martial law period electoral politics was viewed generally by the Left as an important strategy to embark on as a way of harnessing civil society allies. Thus, even before the split in the CPP, the Left movement immediately joined the electoral fray, as seen in the May 1987 congressional elections. The Left participated for the first time since it was banned by the government from electoral participation in 1946. The Alliance for New Politics (ANP) was formed as an umbrella organization for the Partido ng Bayan (PnB), which was created by BAYAN in late August 1986 specifically for the 1987 national elections. With the exception of Buscayno, who was a peasant leader, the rest of the PnB’s senatorial slate were prominent Left leaders who were from the middle class (Timberman 1991, 207). The ANP, however, performed badly, including Morales. None of its members made it to the Senate or the House of Representatives. The reality was that electoral politics continued to be the forte of the country’s elites, as can be attested by the continuing dominance of political dynasties in the Philippine Congress. Electoral politics, however, remained part of the strategy of the Left political blocs, and the popdems were no exception. This was brought about by the reality of the limitations of what civil society organizations could do in pushing for reforms. One formation the popdems were active in setting up was Akbayan:

The Left movement in Philippines’ democratization   93 Citizens’ Action Party. A foremost popdem in Akbayan was Joel Rocamora, the former president of the Institute for Popular Democracy (IPD), who became Akbayan president. Akbayan saw the party-­list system as a venue whereby it could make an inroad into electoral politics. The institution of the system of party-­list representation gave some hope to members of the Left to get into electoral positions. Section 5 of Article 6 of the current Philippine Constitution specified that: “The party-­list representatives shall constitute twenty per centum of the total number of representatives of the party list” (Park 2008, 121). The purpose of the party-­list system was to remedy the problem of under-­representation by the lower echelon of society. The previous electoral system in the Philippines, characterized by simple plurality or first-­past-the-­post, had allowed only members of the major established parties to compete in electoral politics and be represented in Congress (Park 2008, 121). 20

Limits in Left electoral politics There are, however, several negative aspects for the Left movement in this electoral party-­list system. One is that the party-­list system limits the party to at most three seats, which is 6 percent of the party-­list votes cast nationwide (Park 2008, 121). Second is that traditional politicians have also begun to form their own party-­list parties. An example of this is President Gloria Macapagal-­ Arroyo’s son Juan Miguel, who formed his own party-­list party, Ang Galing (The Great) for the well-­being of security guards, a concern which he had never worked for prior to the electoral campaign (Tadem 2015, 145–146). These Left party-­list parties have also been losing out to party-­list parties established by evangelical groups like Alagad, the political party of the powerful and influential Iglesia ni Cristo (Church of Christ) (Tadem 2015, 145–146). In relation to this, political dynasties have also encroached into the party-­list system because of the Supreme Court ruling in 2013 which allowed for “political parties and groups not representing marginalized and unrepresented sectors to participate in party-­list elections” (Santos 2016, A3). One way by which the Left parties sought to address their losing out to these traditional politicians and evangelical political parties was to form alliances with the former to gain support for their party. An example was the Alliance for Rural Concerns (ARC) party list, which was formed by PEACE. The ARC got the support of a traditional politician, former Senator Miriam Defensor Santiago.21 In exchange for her support, the ARC22 party-­list candidate was Santiago’s son, who had nothing to do with agrarian issues prior to the campaign. Such a strategy, however, was not supported by all the members of PEACE and created divisions within the CSO, leading to some of its prominent leaders leaving the NGO (Reyes 2016b). This split in PEACE23 also meant the end of PARRDS. For Akbayan, although it did manage to win three seats in the earlier years of the party-­list elections, it was later reduced to winning only two seats, and in the 2016 national elections Akbayan only won one seat.

94   Teresa S. Encarnacion Tadem Supporting traditional politicians in elections Because of their dismal performance in the party-­list system, the party-­list parties identified with Left movements have moved towards the support of traditional politicians in electoral politics with the aim of obtaining positions in government. This was the case of Akbayan when it supported the presidential candidacy of Benigno S. Aquino, who won in 2010. A number of his Akbayan supporters were awarded government positions in the Aquino Administration (2010–16), foremost of which was the appointment of Rocamora as Head of the National Anti-­Poverty Commission (NAPC) with Cabinet Secretary rank. Akbayan’s participation in the Aquino Administration was, however, mired with controversy, as a significant number of its members did not agree with a number of President Aquino’s economic policies such as its support for the neo-­liberal paradigm of trade liberalization and privatization. The Sentro ng mga Nagkakaisang Progresibong Manggagawa (Center for a United and Progressive Workers Movement) or SENTRO, a labor group headed by Joshua Mata, an Akbayan member and also a member of the FDC executive committee, has openly expressed his criticisms of Akbayan’s adherence to the Aquino Administration’s neoliberal policies. Mata sees these as very detrimental to the working class. SENTRO has also been very active with the anti-­globalization campaigns in the Philippines (Tadem 2016). Such a position is supported by Walden Bello, a former Akbayan party-­list representative in the Philippine Congress who ultimately resigned from his seat in Congress in 2016, as he disagreed with the manner in which President Aquino addressed the Mamasapano massacre.24 During the 2016 national elections, Bello ran for Senator without Akbayan’s support. FDC provided the secretariat for his electoral campaign. Among those who worked in his electoral campaign was Ricardo Reyes, a current FDC Board member who previously served as its president from 2010 to 2014. Reyes earlier resigned from Akbayan because he was disgusted with what he perceived as the political party’s catering to the whims of the traditional politicians, among others (Reyes 2016b). Such seems to be the fate of left-­wing-oriented CSO players who have been pulled in to join government. As Reid (2008, 25–28) points out, the basis of such alliances remains ambiguous, and there was no evidence of the existence of mechanisms for facilitating participation within the government on the basis of distinct programs and policies. A reality is that their appointment was a reward for supporting the new government. Reid refers to this as a form of semi-­ clientelism.

Conclusion This chapter has traced the incipience of left-­wing-oriented civil society organizations (CSO) through the triple links of the middle class and civil society in the pursuit of democracy during the post-­martial law period. This began in the pre-­ martial law period with the recruitment of students from the middle and upper

The Left movement in Philippines’ democratization   95 classes, mainly from the University of the Philippines (UP), which provided the core of the Kabataan Makabayan (KM), the youth arm of the CPP-­NPA-NDF. The trajectory of the student movement through the KM was the building of united-­front alliances between the Left movement and other sectors in Philippine society, e.g., the workers and peasants as well as the elites who carried the same nationalist and anti-­imperialist sentiments of the Left movement. Coming from middle-­class origins, this enabled them to link lower-­class and upper-­class elements of Philippine society to come together for nationalist and anti-­imperialist struggles. Being educated, the student movement also provided the intellectual leadership to the marginalized sectors as well as the elites in articulating the causes of poverty and underdevelopment. Although the concept of civil society was not yet, at that time, popularly used by the Left movement, the idea of forging broad alliances for a united front to push for the democratization process in the country may have during this period very well laid the underpinning of what is meant by “civil society,” that is, the non-­state arena of society. Tensions, however, emerged with the declaration of martial law in 1972, and these drove the KM youth sector to go underground. The students from the middle- and upper-­class segments of Philippine society were transformed into the heads of the CPP’s regional organizations, which in the process catapulted them into the leadership of the CPP Central Committee. This seemed only logical given their educational backgrounds, leadership potential, and capabilities to lead the mass movement. The NDF was the vehicle in which middle-­ class undertakings such as the forging of united front alliances was pursued with the various sectors of society. It was also at the forefront of the emergence of ND NGOs engaged in development work and other advocacies. The aftermath of the ousting of the dictatorship reinforced the differences of views on the analysis of Philippine society and strategies, among others, developing within the CPP. Foremost among these was the desire of some CPP members to engage in NGO development work and to regard this as primary over the armed struggle. Together with the other issues which brought about debates in the CPP, the Party split in 1992 between the RAs and the RJs. This ultimately facilitated the pursuit of civil society as the major arena of contention for the RJs. For the RJs, a major strand of this faction was defined by the popdems, who were guided by their threefold approach towards societal transformation, i.e., the development of CSOs (e.g., the PRRM and CFPI); the establishment of a left-­ wing-oriented think tank, the IPD; and the establishment of a political movement, i.e., the Movement for a Popular Democracy. The popdems saw these three approaches as a way of asserting themselves in the arena of civil society, with the goal of empowering the marginalized sectors. These three pillars were very much geared towards the potent role of the middle class in seeing this through, as it involved the combination of intellectuals, e.g., theorizing and practical work such as organizing or praxis. Importance was also placed by the RJs on the need to coalesce with like-­minded civil society players. Their efforts were also complemented by the other efforts of the RJ factions which were also

96   Teresa S. Encarnacion Tadem involved in CSOs. The PRRM, however, did not only limit itself to agrarian and rural development concerns. Following the Gramscian perspective of allowing a “hundred CSOs to bloom” so as to create several pressure points on the state, it played a key role in helping to establish other CSOs as well as CSO networks in other areas of civil society. An example of this was the assistance it extended in the establishment of the FDC. A reality, however, is that through the years the issues confronting CSOs have become more complex as new political and economic developments emerged. Debates inevitably ensued which impacted the vision as well as the strategies to be pursued by the CSOs. In the case of the FDC, such tensions led to the establishment of another CSO, the AER, which focused mainly on the issue of taxation. Another phenomenon of left-­wing-oriented CSOs is their transnationalization in an era of globalization. This is because local advocacies are also global and vice-­versa. In terms of tactics, unlike during the pre-­martial law and martial law periods, the post-­martial law period witnessed the engagement and collaboration of CSOs with government, as well as CSO players assuming government positions. These activities further highlight the pivotal role which the middle class has played, given the nature of the requirements of such endeavors. Increments have certainly been gained in the efforts of CSOs, as well as their networks, at both the local and national levels. This has come in the form of popular empowerment, improvement in the livelihood of rural communities, and even legislation (e.g., a cooperative act and a fisheries act) which CSOs have actively participated in the formulation of. At the transnational level, FDC, for example, has been successful in institutionalizing aspects of the global debt relief campaign. But formidable hindrances remain, foremost of which is the continuing elite domination in Philippine society. The reality is that CSOs can indeed push for reforms but only to a certain extent, as the country remains an “oligarchical democracy” (Sidel 2014). Because of this, electoral politics emerged as key in furthering the advancement of CSO advocacies. CSOs therefore have formed as well as transformed themselves into political parties – the former in the case of PEACE, which established the party-­list ARC party, and the latter in the case of the popdems’ involvement in Akbayan. Although gains have been made in winning seats in the Philippine Congress, trade-­offs have also been made to achieve this, such as the forging of alliances with traditional politicians. This has brought about tensions within the CSOs and the left-­wing-oriented party-­list parties such as the ARC and Akbayan, leading to its break-­up as in the case of the former, or members leaving it as in the case of the latter. As for the CSO players who got pulled into government, what generally happens is that they are not able to carry the agenda of their respective CSO or the CSO movement they are representing. Thus, they are not able to present an alternative vision of society to what the traditional politicians are offering. The Philippine Left experience thus shows that the middle class has played a crucial role in the forging of broad united fronts and alliances in the civil society

The Left movement in Philippines’ democratization   97 arena and the establishment of CSOs among others, pushing for the democratization process in the country. The challenge for its middle class now is determining what the next trajectory will be for its civil society formations, given the continuing growing tensions of the urgent need for a radical transformation of Philippine society.

Notes   1 KM would later be joined by another radical student movement, the Samahang Demokratikong Kabataan (SDK) or Organization of Youth for Democracy. The leading members of the SDK were initially part of the CPP, but because of differences with the party it split from the CPP, only to join it again in 1971 (Daroy 1988, 20).   2 The PKP by 1957 had been effectively decimated by the Philippine government (Daroy 1988, 19).   3 Among the founding members of the CCP who belonged to the middle class were the following: Nilo Tayag and his brother Pandong Tayag, Charlie del Rosario, Rosalie Guevarra, Ibarra Tubionosa, Herminio Garcia, Leoncio Co, and Jose “Pepe” Luneta. Founding members from the lower class included Reuben Guevarra and Rey Casiple (Reyes 2016a).   4 Tiamzon later on became the CPP head before he was arrested in May 23, 2014 together with his wife Wilma. In 2016, the Tiamzons were both released from prison to participate in the peace talks between the Government of the Philippines (GPH) and the NDF.   5 Among those identified with the CPP Central Committee who belonged to the upper class in the Philippines were: Luis Jalandoni, who was a priest from the sugar-­landed elite of Negros Occidental and is married to a former nun, Connie Ledesma, also a member of the CPP and also from a sugar-­landed elite family from the Negros province – Jalandoni was the first NDF chief peace negotiator with the current Philippine government (Mallari 2016, A1); Fidel Agcaoli, who later on replaced Jalandoni as the NDF ’s chief peace negotiator; Sixto Carlos, Alan Jazmines, and Hermino Garcia, (Quimpo 2016).   6 The other sources of tension within the CPP were the following: (1) the primacy of the class over non-­class issues, e.g., environment, women, ethnicity as in the case of the Moros and indigenous peoples; and, (2) the priority of the protracted people’s war (PPW) over urban guerrilla warfare. These tensions came to a head during the 1986 presidential elections when the CPP-­NPA-NDF called for a boycott of the elections, which was ignored by a substantive number of members of the movement who actively campaigned against the dictatorship.   7 Sacay during the martial law period was the Department of Local Government and Community Development undersecretary for cooperative development (AngKoop 1991, 13, cited in Encarnacion 1997, 215).   8 Also known as Republic Act 7586, NIPAS law was a product of the environmental CSO movement in collaboration with like-­minded legislators. “This law gave greater protection and local community participation in the management of national parks, marine reserves and wildlife sanctuaries” (Lusterio-­Rico 2006, 240).   9 One of the people’s organizations (POs), whose members are also its constituency, involved in PARRDS is the demokratikong Kilusang Mambubukid ng Pilippinas (dKMP). This PO, which is identified with the RJs, split from the Kilusang Mambubukid ng Pilipinas (KMP) and ND national peasant association established in 1984. The KMP is identified with the RAs. Jaime Tadeo became chair of dKMP with Saturnino Borras as his vice-­chair. 10 For a case study of the role of PARRDS see Encarnacion 1997.

98   Teresa S. Encarnacion Tadem 11 The NGO/PO membership of PARRDS, e.g., PEACE, dKMP and the Center for Agrarian Reform and Transformation (CARET), are identified with the Siglo ng Paglaya (Siglaya or Era of Freedom) political bloc, which is a breakaway group from the national democratic movement, the MPD, and the Bukuluran sa Ikauunlad ng Sosyalistang Isip at Gawa (Movement for the Establishment of Socialist Thought and Action), which consisted mainly of independent socialists, former NDS, former PKP members, and democratic socialists or demsocs. 12 Borras is currently Professor of Agrarian Studies, Institute of International Studies, and editor of the Journal of Peasant Studies. 13 These political blocs included the NDs; the social democrats or socdems who are anti­Marxist; the demsocs, and BISIG. BISIG consists of independent socialists, former NDs and demsocs. 14 Sta. Ana, who was formerly with the CPP, came from a middle-­upper-class landed family in Pasig. He attended high school at the Ateneo de Manila and went to UP, obtaining a degree in economics. Sta. Ana was also a fellow at the IPD, where he contributed to Conjuncture, a newspaper of the Institute for Popular Democracy, which published the various debates going on in the Left movement in the post-­1986 People Power Revolution period (Sta. Ana 2016). 15 Briones is Professor Emeritus of the National College of Public Administration (NCPAG), University of the Philippines, Diliman. She is also currently Secretary of the Department of Education of the Duterte Administration (2016 to the present). Her previous government positions include Commissioner of Audit (Corazon Aquino Administration 1986–92) and National Treasurer (Estrada Administration 1998–2001). Briones was also formerly a member of the PKP. 16 Briones became Leading Convenor of Social Watch, which monitors and asserts social development for peoples’ rights and empowerment (https://socialwatchphilippines.wordpress.com – downloaded on October 27, 2016). 17 Sta. Ana has served as coordinator of AER since its inception to the present. Carlito Anonuevo, a UP Los Banos professor of economics and head of a formerly ND fisherfolk NGO, Tambuyog, served as its president until he assumed the position of Department of Agrarian Reform (DAR) Assistant Secretary from 1998–2000. After his stint in DAR, he resumed his position as president of AER until he passed away in 2007. 18 This is officially known as REPUBLIC ACT NO. 10351 AN ACT RESTRUCTURING THE EXCISE TAX ON ALCOHOL AND TOBACCO PRODUCTS BY AMENDING SECTIONS 141, 142, 143, 144, 145, 8, 131 AND 288 OF REPUBLIC ACT NO. 8424. OTHERWISE KNOWN AS THE NATIONAL INTERNAL REVENUE CODE OF 1997, AS AMENDED BY REPUBLIC ACT NO. 9334, AND FOR OTHER PURPOSE. 19 This included Anonuevo, who was one of his assistant secretaries. Morales also established the Policy Research Institute for Development Initiatives or PRIDI. This was the policy advisory group in charge of foreign assistance. PRIDI was mainly composed of former NDs such as Serrano of PRRM, Borras, and Quiambao. 20 Akbayan generally consists of three major Left political blocs, i.e., the popdems, the demsocs and BISIG. 21 Defensor Santiago was also formerly Secretary of Agrarian Reform under the Corazon Aquino Administration (1986–92). 22 Other prominent members of the ARC were former CPP members Gerardo Bulatao, Edicio de la Torre, and Oscar Francisco. Bulatao under the Benigno S. Aquino Administration was appointed as member of the Board of Directors of Land Bank of the Philippines, representing the Agrarian Reform Beneficiaries sector; de la Torre was one of the prominent leaders of the popdems’ Volunteers for Popular Democracy and founder of the Education for Life Foundation (ELF ), an NGO that runs a grassroots leadership-­formation program; and Francisco was one of the key

The Left movement in Philippines’ democratization   99 persons of the Basic Christian Community-­Community Organizing (BCC). Both de la Torre and Francisco were formerly with the CPP’s Christians for National Liberation. 23 The split saw the parting of ways of two main stalwarts of PEACE, Quiambao and Borras. A faction of PEACE formed the Kilusan para sa Tunay na Repormang Agraryo at Katarungang (the Movement for Genuine Agrarian Reform and Justice) or Katarungan. Among its members are Ricardo Reyes and Danny Carranzo of dKMP. Katarungan is currently campaigning to get the Duterte Administration to approve the Congress bill that would free “P73-billion coco levy fund for use of the impoverished farmers” (Mallari Jr. 2016, A6). 24 On January 25, 2015, 44 Special Action Force (SAF ) troopers who were on an anti-­ terrorist mission were killed in a clash with Moro rebels in Mamasapano, Maguindanao. President Aquino reportedly knew about this mission, which was planned with the suspended Philippine National Police (PNP) chief director Alan Purisima, a good friend of Aquino. Senator Juan Ponce Enrile blamed Aquino for the role he played as president in the police operation (http://newsinfo.inquirer. net/759474/enrile-blames-president-for-saf-44-massacre).

References Ariate, Joel F. Jr. & Ronald C. Molmisa. 2009. “More Than Debt Relief: Two Decades of the Freedom from Debt Coalition.” In Teresa S. Encarnacion Tadem (Ed.), Localizing and Transnationalizing Contentious Politics: Global Civil Society Movements in the Philippines. New York: Lexington Press, pp. 25–60. Daroy, Petronilo B.N. 1988. “Chapter One: On the Eve of Dictatorship and Revolution.” In Aurora Javate-­de Dios, Petronilo B.N. Daroy & Lorna Kalaw-­Tirol, Dictatorship and Revolution: Roots of People’s Power. Metro Manila: Conspectus, pp. 1–25. Encarnacion, Teresa S. 1997. “Non-­Governmental Organization Approaches to Cooperative Development: Two Case Studies of the Philippine Experience.” PhD dissertation, University of Hong Kong, August. Unpublished. FDC Bulletin (The Official Newsletter of the Freedom from Debt Coalition). 2016. “Unpacking the Debt Burden: A Report on the Philippine Debt Situation,” Q.C. FDC, pp. 1–11. FOPA Crisis of Socialism Cluster Group. 1993. “The Dual Crisis of the Philippine Progressive Movement.” In John Gershman & Walden Bello, Re-­Examining and Re-­ Inventing the Philippine Progressive Vision. Papers and proceedings of the 1993 Conference on the Forum for Philippine Alternatives (FOPA), San Francisco Bay Area, California, April 2–4, pp. 11–23. Guerrero, Amado. 2014. Philippine Society and Revolution. Sixth Edition. Philippines: Institute for Nationalist Studies. Hsiao, Hsin-­Huang Michael. 2015. “The Comparative Study of the Triple Links of Middle Class, Civil Society, and Democratization in Taiwan, South Korea, the Philippines and Thailand (A Research Agenda).” Academia Sinica, Taiwan, and the Graduate Research Institute for Policy Studies (GRIPS), Tokyo, Japan. Hutchcroft, Paul D. 1988. Booty Capitalism: The Politics of Banking in the Philippines. Quezon City: Ateneo de Manial University Press. Lusterio-­Rico, Ruth. 2006. “The Environmental Movement and Philippine Politics.” In Tadem, Teresa S. Encarnacion & Noel M. Morada (Eds.), Philippine Politics and Governance: Challenges to Democratization and Governance. Quezon City: University of the Philippines Diliman, pp. 229–245.

100   Teresa S. Encarnacion Tadem Mallari, Delfin T. Jr. 2016. “Farmers Urge Duterte to Certify Coco Levy Bill.” Philippine Daily Inquirer, A6. Park, Seung Woo. 2008. “Oligarchic Democracy in the Philippines: Democratization Sans Disintegation of Political Monopoly.” In Hee Yeon Cho, Lawrence Surendra & Eunhong Park (Eds.), States of Democracy: Oligarchic and Asian Democratization. Mumbai: Earthworm Books, pp. 117–136. Quimpo, Nathan. 2016. Interview. Quezon City, February 13. Reid, Ben. 2008. “Development NGOs, Semiclientelism, and the State in the Philippines: From ‘Crossover’ to Double-­crossed’.” Kasarinlan: Journal of Third World Studies, 23(1), pp. 4–42. Reyes, Ricardo. 2016a. Interview. Quezon City, February 19. Reyes, Ricardo. 2016b. Interview. Quezon City, September 16. Rivera, Temario C. 2001a. “Middle Class Politics and Views on Society and Governmnet.” In Hsin-­Huang Michael Hsiao, Exploration of the Middle Classes in Southeast Asia. Taipei, Taiwan: Academia Sinica. Rivera, Temario C. 2001b. “The Middle-­Classes and Democratisation in the Philippines: From the Asian Crisis to the Ouster of Estrada.” In Abdul Rahman Embong (Ed.), Southeast Asian Middle Classes: Prospects for Social Change and Democratisation. Penerbit Universiti Kegangsaan Malaysia Bangi, pp. 230–260. Rivera, Temario C. 2006. “The Middle Class in Philippine Politics.” In Teresa S. Encarnacion Tadem & Noel M. Morada, Philippine Politics and Governance: Challenges to Democratization & Development. Department of Political Science, University of the Philippines, Diliman, pp. 179–203. Santos, Tina G. 2016. “All in the family: Pols use party-­lists for dynasties.” Philippine Daily Inquirer, May 1, A3. Serrano, Isagani. 2016. Interview.  Sidel, John T. 2014. “Achieving Reforms in Oligarchical Democracies: The Role of Leadership and Coalitions in the Philippines.” Research Paper 27. Developmental Leadership Program: Policy and Practice for Developmental Leaders, Elites and Coalitions, April, pp. 1–31. Sta. Ana, Filomeno III. 2016. Interview. Quezon City, March. Tadem, Eduardo C. 1991. “Disabling a Centerpiece Program.” In ICAR (International Conference on Agrarian Reform) Proceedings and Documentation, PRRM Convention Center, San Leonardo, Nueva Ecija, Philippines, January 28 to February 2, pp. 79–109. Tadem, Teresa S. Encarnacion. 2006. “Chapter 1: Philippine Social Movements before Martial Law.” In Teresa S. Encarnacion Tadem & Noel M. Morada, Philippine Politics and Governance: Challenges to Democratization & Development. Department of Political Science, University of the Philippines, Diliman, pp. 1–22. Tadem, Teresa S. Encarnacion. 2008. “Situating NGO Advocacy Work in Middle Class Politics in the Philippines.” In Takashi Shiraishi & Pasuk Phongpaichit (Eds.), The Rise of Middle Classes in Southeast Asia. Japan: Kyoto University Press and Australia: TransPacific Press, pp. 177–194. Tadem, Teresa S. Encarnacion. 2010. “The Middle Class and Political Reform: Examining the Philippine Technocracy.” In Yuko Kasuya & Nathan Gilbert Quimpo (Eds.), The Politics of Change in the Philippines. Manila: ANVIL Publishing, pp. 216–238. Tadem, Teresa S. Encarnacion. 2015. “Philippine Civil Society and Democratization in the Context of Left Politics.” In N. Ganesan & Colin Durkop, Civil Society and Democracy in Southeast Asia and Turkey. Ankara, Turkey: Konrad Adenauer Stiftung, pp. 129–159.

The Left movement in Philippines’ democratization   101 Tadem, Eduardo. 2016. Interview. President, Freedom from Debt Coalition (FDC). October 16. Timberman, David. 1991. A Changeless Land: Continuity and Change in Philippiine Politics. Singapore: Institute of Southeast Asian Studies. Manila: The Bookmark Inc. (https://socialwatchphilippines.wordpress.com. Downloaded on October 27, 2016).

6 Coalition politics and the contested democracy in the Philippines Yusuke Takagi

Introduction Philippine democracy has experienced a bumpy road toward consolidation. The Corazon Aquino administration faced several serious coup attempts by a faction of the military in the late 1980s. Duly elected President Joseph Estrada was ousted as a result of popular mobilization and a defection of the Philippine Armed Forces from the administration in January 2001. Gloria Macapagal Arroyo faced record-­low popularity, cabinet member resignations after electoral fraud, and several coup attempts, although she somehow completed her term. President Benigno Aquino succeeded in carrying out his electoral campaign against corruption at the beginning of his term, but failed to escape being criticized for his use of a patronage budget for political purposes. Both the official and self-­claimed successor candidates of this popular Aquino administration lost to an outsider, Rodrigo Duterte, in the 2016 election. Duterte has upset those who have supported a restoration of democracy by his brutal anti-­drug campaign, his abusive language, and a de facto ‘go’ signal for the burial of the body of late dictator Ferdinand Marcos at the National Hero’s Cemetery. Meanwhile, we can find several bright spots after democratization. Corazon Aquino was somehow able to survive the all coup attempts and restore democracy with a new Constitution. The next President, Fidel Ramos, largely dismantled crony capitalism with an aggressive liberalization policy. Under the Estrada administration we can still find a certain progress in the area of land reform. The Arroyo administration strengthened the foundation of the macroeconomic environment with a capable governor of the central bank who stayed in power even in the successive two administrations. The Aquino administration promoted a series of social policy reforms which had been neglected or opposed in the previous administrations. It is striking to see that controversial President Duterte is apparently adhering to the socio-­economic policy reform done by the previous administrations. There is still some opposition in both chambers, despite tempting institutional arrangements to join the presidential bandwagon (see Kasuya 2008). The Human Rights Commission and the Ombudsman have not yielded easily, even faced with massive pressure from the President. Moreover, the younger generation of political activists in the streets and in cyberspace

Politics and the democracy in the Philippines   103 are actively voicing their concerns about human rights violations and Marcos’ burial. We cannot be satisfied, therefore, with any ‘black or white’ judgment over the performance of Philippine democracy. It is rather intriguing to know that those who blame low quality of democracy often mention social class and politics. Some may say that the elite have dominated Philippine politics, while others may claim that the masses seeking patronage deteriorate the reform-­ oriented politics. The studies on civil society and civil society organizations (CSOs) more or less resonate with these debates. While there are careful observations pointing out corruption or favoritism within the CSOs, there are also studies figuring out the pockets of efficacy sustained by the CSOs. How can we understand the political development in the last three decades? In this chapter, we study the dynamics of political coalitions. As Abinales argues, Philippine politics has been shaped by coalitions of politicians, business groups, religious groups and CSOs sustaining the presidency (Abinales 2005, 2001). It is, in fact, important to study the dynamics of coalition politics in the restored Philippine democracy, where most of the political parties are not well organized (Kasuya 2008). The politicians often organize their own new parties or abandon the existing parties. They frequently change their party affiliation, especially after a presidential election to join the “presidential bandwagon” (Kasuya 2008). Because of the flexible nature of the party system, political society is largely open to political activists who are not necessarily professional politicians. Because of the coalition politics, several CSOs can make a difference by creating pockets of efficacy in certain areas (Abinales 2005). This chapter sheds new light on the contested nature of Philippine democracy in two ways. As Nathan Quimpo puts it, Philippine democracy has been contested by those who use elections to claim power to rule, and by those who make use of the electoral process as an opportunity to promote participatory democracy (Quimpo 2008). The concept of contested democracy allows us to cast doubt on those who often depend on the concept of oligarchy to describe Philippine politics. In Philippine politics, the left has struggled for deepening democracy while it has countered the power of oligarchs. Quimpo distinguishes two different approaches to elections within the left: one only exploits electoral competitions as tools to expose the contradiction of the existing political order, while another integrates elections into a part of democracy. Because the latter works within the existing political order, it can work with other political actors such as politicians and CSOs. While the chapter by Tadem in this volume further studies the tradition of the left in the CSOs in the Philippines (see Chapter 5), this chapter will expand the concept of contested democracy, which is not necessarily led by the traditional left movements and their descendants. The remainder of this chapter is composed of four sections and a conclusion. The first section revisits the politics of the middle class in the Philippines, which will show a limitation of class analysis for understanding Philippine democracy. The second section then revisits the political process of democratization, where numerous CSOs have emerged, re-­emerged or transformed. By unpacking the

104   Yusuke Takagi coalition resulting in the People Power Revolution, it aims at revealing the diverse nature of CSOs promoting democratization in 1986. The third section traces the development of CSOs after democratization. The fourth section studies the transformation of Philippine democracy after the transition, paying special attention to the role of the CSOs in coalition politics. The conclusion summarizes the findings and briefly points out the nature of Philippine democracy three decades after the transition.

Middle class and Philippine politics Following traditional classification of the middle class based on occupation, we can see gradual expansion of the middle class, as shown in Table 6.1. Table 6.2 shows the recent occupational trend of the middle class. It is also obvious that the Philippines witnessed a steady decline of the agricultural industry in terms of occupation, as Table 6.3 shows. The Philippines has enjoyed so-­called service-­sector-driven economic growth. While it is easy to find changes in the socio-­economic structure, it is much harder to consider the political implications of these changes. Most observers have, for instance, criticized the conservative nature of the outcome of the People Power Revolution, which supposedly reflected the voice of the middle class. There are scholars reiterating the dominance of the traditional political elite (Anderson 1988). The restored democracy after 1986 has often been criticized for its undemocratic nature (Nemenzo 1988). Traditional politicians came back to Congress after the elections in 1987. Those who study the profile of legislators found that Congress was dominated by a dynasty whose origin can be traced back the Amer­ican colonial era (Coronel et al. 2004). Table 6.1 Employed persons by major occupation group (%), 1980–2000 1980 Professional, technical and related 6.1 workers Administrative, executive and managerial 1 workers Clerical workers 4.5 Sales workers 10.2 Service workers 7.6 Agricultural, animal husbandry and 51.1 forestry workers, fishermen and hunters Production and related workers, transport 19.2 equipment operators and laborers Others 0













4.2 12.9 8.3 48.4

4.4 13.4 9.2 44.5

4.3 14 9 43.7

4.7 15 10.3 39.2









Source: data from 1980 to 1995 are from NEDA/NSCB, Philippine Statistical Yearbook, cited by Hattori, Funatsu and Torii (2002: 290); data on 2000 are from NSO, Philippine Labor Force Survey, January 2000.

Politics and the democracy in the Philippines   105 Table 6.2 Employed persons by major occupation group, 2005–2015 2005



Officials of government and special interest organizations, 11.6 corporate executives, managers, managing proprietors and supervisors Professionals 4.4 Technicians and associate professionals 2.7 Clerks 4.4 Service workers and shop and market sales workers 9.2 Farmers, forestry workers and fishermen 19.5 Trades and related workers 9.1 Plant and machine operators and assemblers 7.7 Laborers and unskilled workers 30.9 Others 0.5



4.7 2.6 5.6 10.9 16.2 7.4 6.3 32.4 0.4

5.2 2.6 6.5 12.9 13.5 6.6 5.3 31.5 0.3

Source: NSO, Philippine Labor Force Survey, various years.

Table 6.3 Employed persons by sector, 2000–2015

Agriculture Industry Services





39.5 15.3 45.2

35.9 15.7 48.4

34.0 14.5 51.4

29.6 15.9 54.5

Source: NSO, Philippine Labor Force Survey, various years.

Leading scholars have reproduced the image of Philippine politics dominated by strong warlord-­type politicians, or patronage-­driven bosses (e.g., McCoy 1994). One keen observer of Philippine politics also argues that the middle class is missing in Philippine political development, and that despite their relatively high educational standard and command of English, the middle class fail to make their voice heard in domestic politics because of the massive scale of outgoing migration for their study and work (Abinales 2008). Some can still see the dynamic of restored democracy by looking at the style of the presidency and social class. Thompson, for instance, points out a cycle of three types of leadership: patronage-­driven, reform-­oriented and populism (Thompson 2012). Although the middle class supported the reform-­oriented politics which the Corazon Aquino, Fidel Ramos and Benigno Aquino administrations seemingly represented, the reform-­oriented politics failed to consolidate support in society in general, mainly because of an emphasis on liberalization and deregulation. In this context, those who were not satisfied with the reform politics supported a former movie star, Joseph Estrada, which resulted in the emergence of a populist regime led by Estrada in 1998. President Estrada could not serve out his term and was toppled by so-­called People Power II; power was taken over by Gloria Macapagal Arroyo, who was supported by those who had

106   Yusuke Takagi supported reform politics. Arroyo began to disappoint the reform-­oriented policymakers and the public in general, and to depend on patronage politics for her political survival. Campaigning against the corruption inherent in patronage politics, Benigno Aquino, the son of Corazon Aquino, won the presidency in 2010 and ran a reform-­oriented administration. Those who were not satisfied with these reform politics subsequently supported Rodrigo Duterte, who arguably represented the anti-­establishment voice and exploited populist discourse (Abao 2017). The actual satisfaction rate of the next administration does not necessarily reflect a clear linkage between the cyclical nature of presidential politics and class politics, however. A survey done by the Social Weather Stations, a leading survey institute in the Philippines, shows the satisfaction rate of each administration based on social class (SWS 2017). First, interestingly we can hardly find a large gap based on the class in most of the years covered by the survey. Second, the reform-­oriented administrations such as those of Corazon Aquino, Fidel Ramos and Benigno Aquino were supposedly supported by the upper and middle classes, but they were also supported by the poor and poorest. It is indeed impressive to know that President Ramos, often portrayed as a president promoting liberalization or the supposed agenda of the upper class, was more popular among the poor and the poorest rather than the upper and middle classes. Class analysis is not enough to understand the dynamics of current Philippine politics. Democratization has opened a political space where we can see pockets of efficacy in the midst of the general ineffectiveness of the government. Observers have, for instance, recognized pockets of efficacy sustained by professionals with a middle-­class background (Shiraishi 2008, Abinales 2008). These pockets, managed by reform-­oriented professionals both in the government and in civil society, do not necessarily represent the interests of the middle class. For instance, they resulted in legalization of generic medicines, urban land reform, and legislation against violence against children and women (Abinales 2008; also see Tadem 2008). The above-­mentioned satisfaction rate of the reform-­ oriented administrations among the poor and the poorest supports this assertion. In addition, the private sector played a role as the incubator of technocrats working for the government with their expertise (Tadem 2005). No single class can dominate restored Philippine democracy. The following section revisits the process of democratization in the 1980s, when various types of CSOs emerged or were revitalized in the anti-­Marcos struggle.

Revisiting democratization and CSOs The People Power Revolution spearheaded the wave of democratization in East Asia starting from the 1980s. Some may say the revolution was a catalysis of the anti-­Marcos struggle, which had been overwhelmingly led by the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) and its military, the New People’s Army. Once we seriously examine this assertion, however, we should wonder

Politics and the democracy in the Philippines   107 why it ­happened only in 1986 rather than much earlier, because they had organized themselves already in 1968, even earlier than the declaration of martial law in 1972. Although the CPP could once claim membership of 35,000 with 25,000 guerrillas (Rocamora 1994: 9), they could not defeat the authoritarian regime. In a nutshell, democratization ended both the Marcos administration and the domination of the anti-­Marcos struggle by the CPP. In this section, we revisit the final phase of the anti-­Marcos struggle, in which so-­ called “middle forces” emerged in the political landscape (Thompson 1996: 116). In the late 1970s, there was a changing tide within the administration. The first treatment for Marcos’ failing kidney in September 1979 aggravated a power struggle over the problem of who would succeed him (McCoy 1999: 226; Sicat 2014: 352–353). Imelda Marcos, the first lady, did not hide her ambition to take over from her husband, while Defense Minister Juan Ponce Enrile more or less successfully projected himself as one of the capable members of the cabinet. Resonating with the power struggle at the Malacañang Palace, or Presidential Office, Enrile gradually nurtured his ties with reform-­ minded young Turks who were critical of the administration. Besides, Fidel Ramos, then the Chief of the Constabulary, was upset by the President’s decision to appoint Fabien Ver, who was close to Imelda Marcos, as the Chief of Staff (McCoy 1999: Ch. 7). Facing the twilight of the strongman’s rule, traditional politicians began to shift their positions. Some were in loyal opposition, such as the members of the Liberal Party, while others such as the Laurels of the Nacionalista Party, who had once worked with Marcos, defected to the opposition. These politicians organized coalitions such as the United Democratic Organization (UNIDO) in 1980 (Thompson 1996). Besides UNIDO, Partido Demokratikong Pilipino (the PDP) was formed by reform-­oriented politicians such as Raul Manglapus and Aquilino Pimentel in cooperation with social democrats and Christian democrats in February 1982, and then merged with another reform-­oriented party, Lakas ng Bayan (LABAN), formerly led by Benigno Aquino (Thompson 1996: 109). UNIDO and PDP-­LABAN then cooperated with the communist-­originated People MIND and boycotted the presidential election in 1981. They would, however, seriously reconsider their decision to boycott the elections after the death of Benigno Aquino in August 1984. The blatant killing of Aquino triggered massive rallies against the administration, which have been called ‘the parliament in the streets’ (Thompson 1996: Ch. 7). Almost two million people joined his funeral procession in Manila, followed by more than 100 protest demonstrations from October 1983 to February 1984. Francisco Nemenzo, then a University of the Philippines (UP) professor and a leading figure on the left, argues that those who joined the funeral and the subsequent rallies were from the upper and middle classes, and calls them “middle forces” (Thompson 1996: 116). It is worth mentioning that Nemenzo called them not the middle class but the middle forces because of their mixed nature in terms of social background.

108   Yusuke Takagi The middle forces did not come from nowhere. Much earlier than the killing of Aquino, Catholic Church and business leaders created their organizations. Catholic bishops who were concerned about poverty as well as the expansion of communism organized the Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) in 1967 to boost “the integration of faith with daily concerns” (Hedman 2006a: 97). Facing the rise of the Communist Party of the Philippines, they were concerned about possible revolution, similar to Cuba, Guatemala and Vietnam. The CBCP shared their concern with several business leaders who believed that they lived “in an age of social unrest” (Hedman 2006a: 101). The CBCP shifted its policy toward the administration because of massive-­scale human rights abuse by the military. Cardinal Sin, the CBCP President, supported the opposition, while it opposed any violent move from both sides. Meanwhile, 50 business leaders organized Philippine Business for Social Progress (PBSP) in 1970. Prominent founding members included Washington Sycip of SGV, the largest accounting firm, Vicente Jayme of the Private Development Corporation of the Philippines, the leading investment house, and Andres Soriano Jr. of the Atlas Consolidated Mining & Development and San Miguel Corporation (Hedman 2006a: 101). The PBSP worked for poverty eradication programs through capacity building for small-­scale entrepreneurship. The PBSP was not vocal enough to criticize the Marcos administration, fearing the possible spread of communism, though some of them worked closely with the CBCP to organize the Philippine Bishops–Businessmen’s Conference for Human Development in February 1971 (Hedman 2006a: 105). Throughout these collaborative actions, Sin of the CBCP cultivated cooperative relations with Jose Concepcion of the Republic Flour Mills, who would lead revitalization of the electoral watchdog, the National Citizens’ Movement for Free Elections, or NAMFREL (Thompson 1996: 126). NAMFREL was at first organized with support from the CIA and watched the elections in 1951 and 1953, which resulted in the emergence of the Ramon Magsaysay administration (1954–1957). The revitalized NAMFREL was heavily supported by the Catholic organizations as well as organizations of World War Two veterans, both of which were able to provide necessary logistical support, especially in cities throughout the country (Hedman 2006a). It succeeded in keeping the 1984 Congressional elections fairer and quicker than the previous ones (Thompson 1996: 127). Some of the business leaders became more active in public in the face of the deteriorating economic situation, especially after the second oil crisis in 1979 (Sicat 2014: Ch. 13). In disgust at how the administration had favored firms depending on their political connections, Jaime Ongpin, the manager of the Benguet Corporation, contributed an open letter criticizing them as “cronies” in the country to the Asian Wall Street Journal on June 6, 1981, which may have reflected the voice of the opposition, unlike the censored domestic media (Joaquin 1990: Ch. 17). Ongipin led so-­called “business activism” and organized the Makati Business Club (MBC) in order to mobilize business leaders opposing the Marcos administration on October 29, 1981 (Hedman 2006a). The MBC is

Politics and the democracy in the Philippines   109 not an organization for their own business but rather a forum to consider “governance, politics, and media control” (Buenaventura 1997). According to the first chairman, Cesar Buenaventura, the MBC invited the top 1000 corporations and declared its opposition against bail-­outs of cronies’ corporations around the Marcos administration. The streets were filled with new political movements led by newly organized movements such as Justice for Aquino and Justice for All (JAJA) a month after the killing of Aquino. JAJA was first led by former Senator Jose Diokno in cooperation with the CPP, but gradually changed its nature after recruiting Agapito Aquino, younger brother of the late Benigno, from his private business in TV and elsewhere. Agapito inherited close ties with communists from Benigno but at the same time expanded the supporting base to the business community. He organized the August Twenty One Movement (ATOM) in cooperation with his high school classmates and Diokno’s wealthy friends (Thompson 1996: 122). JAJA and ATOM are often assumed to have been a symbol of middle-­class participation in the anti-­dictatorial struggle only after the killing of Aquino (Kimura 2002). Just before the snap election in February 1986, ATOM had 114 members, mostly from a middle-­class background who studied in university – see Table 6.4 and Table 6.5. Those who joined JAJA and ATOM continuously engaged in democratic movements, although they split, dissolved and/or reformed several organizations, which are collectively called cause-­oriented groups (COGs). The COGs differentiated themselves from traditional politicians who had been in politics even before the declaration of martial law, and campaigned for “new politics” (Kimura 2002: 187). The COGs were also different from the communist-­led opposition, which had boycotted the elections and engaged in militant struggle Table 6.4 Social background of ATOM members (%) Capitalist Middle class Worker N.A.

3.5 70.2 19.3 7.0

Source: Kimura (2002: 188).

Table 6.5 Educational background of ATOM members (%) Graduate school University graduate University drop-out High school graduate High school drop-out Source: Kimura (2002: 188).

6.1 60.5 19.3 9.6 4.4

110   Yusuke Takagi against the administration. According to Mark Thompson, a keen observer of Philippine politics, The first demonstration [led by the COGs] in Makati on September 14, 1983, set the tone for subsequent weekly anti-­Marcos rallies: one hundred thousand well-­dressed office workers marched down the streets of the business district showered by tons of shredded yellow paper thrown from windows of the surrounding skyscrapers. (Thompson 1996: 120) In other words, those who joined the anti-­Marcos struggle in the 1980s set a new tone of the movements symbolized by yellow, differing themselves from the one marked by the red of the communists. In the context of these growing popular movements, Corazon Aquino, the widow of Senator Aquino, suddenly rose as an icon of the anti-­Marcos struggle. She was an inexperienced housewife, although retrospectively we can highlight the fact that Corazon was a daughter of the rich Cojuanco family, who owned one of the most notorious plantations, Hacienda Luisita, and widow of a seasoned politician. After Benigno Aquino’s death, Corazon Aquino transformed his image as one of the traditional politicians into one of a national martyr, sacrificing his own life for the sake of the nation, similar to Jose Rizal, who led the independence movement but was killed by the Spanish authorities in 1896 (Ileto 1998: Ch. 7). Without Corazon Aquino, Salvador Laurel, a seasoned politician who had once worked with Marcos, could have been the opposition presidential candidate (Thompson 1996: 132–137). The killing of Benigno Aquino prompted those who clearly worked with the administration to reconsider their positions. For instance, Edgardo Angara, who had been appointed the president of the University of the Philippines by none other than President Marcos, revealed, In 1983 I dared to do what nobody else in the administration dared to do. Even the press was afraid to carry reportage on the Ninoy funeral, knowing it would bring on Marcos wrath and retaliation. But I publicly hailed Ninoy as a distinguished UP alumnus and an honor to the country. Because of this I fell out of grace with the President but drew nearer to Cory Aquino and the resistance. (Joaquin 2006: 108) The defection of Angara represented the atmosphere after Aquino’s assassination. Not only activists but also more cautious members of the establishment, such as Angara, gradually joined the National Citizens’ Movement for Free Elections (NAMFREL) (Joaquin 2006). The critical defection occurred within the military. After the snap election in February 1986, the situation was tense not only outside but also inside the Presidential Palace. Defense Minister Enrile took a decisive move to lead the

Politics and the democracy in the Philippines   111 coup attempt but failed to keep his plot secret. In despair, Enrile and his close aids barricaded themselves within a military base along Epifanio de los Santos Avenue, the ‘EDSA,’ and Cardinal Sin, aimed at protecting the rebel group, succeeded in mobilizing people outside of the military base. This would be later called the People Power Revolution in 1986. The EDSA symbolized the life of the middle class, most of whom lived in suburban Quezon or Marikina City and commuted to the business district of Makati City through the EDSA (Hedman 2006a: 173).

CSOs in restored democracy Democratization, however, resulted in a disappointment for not a few people who had expected a lot from it. A scholar working on the history of NAMFREL, for instance, points out that the dominant bloc composed of the Catholic Church, capitalist class and the U.S. government has dominated Philippine politics “in the name of civil society” (Hedman 2006a). It is not difficult to see conservative nature in the newly drafted Constitution. The Catholic Church, for instance, sent at least one representative in all preparatory committees to draft respective parts of the Constitution (Youngblood 1987: 1250). As a result, it succeeded in inserting clauses into the Constitution that ban abortion and stipulate the responsibility of parents in terms of family planning (Youngblood 1987). The business elite maintained their lands and other economic resources of the country, and opposed redistribution policies such as the land reform (Putzel 1992). The military brutally cracked down on a group rallying for land reform at the Mendiola Bridge near the Presidential Palace in January 1987, which caused around 80 casualties and was later remembered as the ‘Mendiola Massacre’. We can hardly underestimate the reforms after democratization, however. While there are several conservative clauses, the framers of the Constitution institutionalized a participatory mechanism for CSOs (Kawanaka 2001: 144–145). The Constitution says, for instance, “the state shall encourage non-­governmental, community-­based, or sectoral organizations that promote the welfare of the nation” (Republic of the Philippines 1987: Section 23, Article II). The Constitution also requires the President to provide for regional developmental councils composed of local government officials, regional heads of the departments and representatives from non-­governmental organizations to promote local autonomy and to accelerate the economic and social growth of the region (Republic of the Philippines 1987: Section 14, Article X). The Local Government Code of 1991 has also articles stipulating the active participation of NGOs (RA No. 7160). Table 6.6 shows a steady increase of CSOs in the early period of restored democracy. Clarke estimates these figures based on the registered number of non-­profit entities at the Securities and Exchange Commission (Clarke 1998: 70). It is important to note that the figures tend to underestimate the actual number of organizations because they cover only registered CSOs. Neither CSOs nor NGOs need to register at the Commission. He calculates the figures based on the number of non-­profit enterprises at the Commission.

112   Yusuke Takagi Table 6.6 Estimated number of registered NGOs, 1984–1995 1995 1994 1993 1992 1991 1990 1989 1988 1987 1986 1985 1984

70,200 65,000 58,200 53,000 44,400 41,100 34,000 32,600 29,900 27,900 26,900 23,800

Source: Clarke (1998: 70).

The government and CSOs worked closely together in some fields (Kawanaka 2001). One of the pioneers in this endeavor can be found in the story of the Philippine Rural Reconstruction Movement (PRRM). Juan Flavier, a well-­respected medical doctor, led the PRRM for decades. The PRRM was organized in 1952 in order to address socio-­economic issues, especially in rural areas. The movement dispatched young doctors to rural areas and promoted the wellness of the people (Flavier 1970). The prominence of the PRRM had once declined during the Marcos administration but was revived by inviting Horacio Morales, former CPP executive member, as the leader of the movement. Morales had defected from the militant wing of the CPP and shifted to social reforms by legal means. The Department of Environmental and Natural Resources and the Department of Health worked closely with the NGOs and made up for the latter’s lack of knowledge and human resources (Lee 1994). In the process of legislation on generic medicine under the Corazon Aquino administration, the Philippine Drug Action Network (PDAN), a coalition of the CSOs working in the health sector, played a significant role. Predecessors of the PDAN began their advocacy under the Marcos administration but faced neglect by the administration. They accelerated this advocacy after democratization and achieved a pioneering Philippine National Drug Policy represented by the Generics Law, providing medicines with decent prices in the country. Aside from the incremental development of CSOs working with the government, the splitting of the Communist Party in the early 1990s accelerated the changing nature of restored democracy. The Communist Party, which had led the anti-­Marcos struggle until the boycott strategy in the 1986 election, experienced a frightful schism in the early 1990s when the moderate faction left the party and began promoting social democracy through a new party, the Akbayan Citizen’s Action Party (hereafter Akbayan). According to Quimpo (2008), Akbayan is competing with not only traditional politicians exploiting electoral politics but also with the Communist Party, which only uses elections to promote its views through electoral campaigns and to make use of the budget allocated to

Politics and the democracy in the Philippines   113 individual legislators. In this context, it is virtually impossible for both factions to abandon electoral politics, even though they do not share their understanding of the elections. There seems to be no room for those who reject the electoral process and solely depend on the militant strategy in Philippine politics. The last section of this chapter traces the political development after democratization.

Democratic transformation Those who had advocated a progressive agenda under the Aquino administration could not win the internal power struggle within the administration and the general elections in 1992. In the election, they supported former Senate President Jovito Salonga and Aquilino Pimentel, but were defeated miserably (Kawanaka 2001: 141). Instead, Fidel Ramos, who had led the suppressive operations against several coup attempts against the Aquino administration, won the elections. The Ramos administration aggressively carried out liberalization and deregulation, which has been criticized by those who were concerned about the enlarging income gap amidst economic growth (Raquiza 2012). Those who were concerned about social issues supported Senator Raul Roco but lost in the next elections in 1998 (de Quiros 2015). As a result of the 1998 elections, Joseph E. Estrada came to power as an outsider of the democratic coalition, having given birth to the Corazon Aquino administration. Estrada had been in the opposition throughout the post-­People Power period. He could mobilize support from those who had been dissatisfied with the politics of the EDSA coalition. The EDSA coalition was composed of politicians, business elites and various CSOs, but failed to capture the support of the poor people. Joel Rocamora, as a leading figure of the Akbayan party, revealed his view when he summarized his observation on the Estrada administration. He said, “[t]he Erap [Estrada] phenomenon provides dramatic illustration of the failure of the left to connect with the very people who are supposed to be their social base” (Rocamora 2009, 62). The succeeding Gloria Macapagal Arroyo administration survived for almost a decade even with a historically low support rate. President Arroyo suffered from a series of scandals such as electoral fraud in 2004 and bribery in the deals for public infrastructure projects with China. While the Arroyo administration survived a series of coup attempts, it ran the risk of facing another demonstration similar to the ones in 1986 and 2001 when it encountered the disclosure of probable electoral fraud, and the subsequent resignation of leading cabinet members in protest, in 2005. The CSOs and business elites attempted to mobilize the people to topple the government. The Church, which had played a pivotal role in 1986 and 2001, did not join the movement, however (Hedman 2006b). Observers believed that the Church did not wish to antagonize the Arroyo administration, which opposed the controversial reproductive health bill which the Church viewed as a bill to promote a culture of death through artificial family planning (Takagi 2017). Instead of protesting in the streets, leading opposition parties prepared for elections in 2010 in which Benigno Simeon Aquino, the only son of the late

114   Yusuke Takagi President Aquino, won the presidency and completed his term without any coup attempts, and with a historically high support rate. The administration at first concentrated on eradication of corruption related to the former President Arroyo and then worked for several policy reforms (Sidel 2014; Takagi 2017). Before mid-­term elections, the administration announced landmark legislation and selected five social policies out of ten bills (Takagi 2017). It is telling to know that the administration chose only one industrial policy. Considering the low support rate of the Arroyo administration despite relatively healthy macroeconomic performance and steady economic growth – as shown in Figure 6.1 where the black line represents the GDP growth rate and the dotted line reflects satisfaction toward the administration – we can speculate that the Aquino administration learned that industrial policy did not help to cultivate popular support, and shifted its focus to social policy directly dealing with the lives of the people. Considering the historically high support rate of the Aquino administration from 2010, as shown in Figure 6.1, we should scrutinize who the key policymakers were within the administration. Aquino was a member of the Liberal Party, which had worked for making a program-­based party in cooperation with CSOs and academics. Two of the key players were Florencio Abad and Jose ‘Chito’ Gascon, who worked for reconstruction of the party (Rocamora 2010). Abad was, for instance, a member of the Federation of the Free Workers, which supported progressive labor laws but stayed away from the communist-­led movements, while Guscon was the youngest member of the Constitution Committee drafting the 1987 Constitution. Another key player of the administration was Ronald Llamas, political advisor to the President, of the Akbayan. The ϴϬ

ϵ͘Ϭ ϴ͘Ϭ ϳ͘Ϭ ϲ͘Ϭ


ϱ͘Ϭ ϰ͘Ϭ


ϯ͘Ϭ Ϭ


GDP growth rate (%)

Satisfaction rating (%)




Ϭ͘Ϭ ʹϰϬ


GDP growth rate

Satisfaction rating

Figure 6.1 Satisfaction with the general performance of the administrations and GDP growth, 1986–2015. Source: World Bank, World Development indicators and SWS, Social Weather Survey.

Politics and the democracy in the Philippines   115 Akbayan is very small in number but not negligible in terms of its influence. Although they belong to two different parties, they came from the tradition of social democratic movements against the Marcos administration (Tolosa 2011). Besides, in the case of educational reform, the business sector played a pivotal role to extend the length of basic education from ten years to 12 years, plus one year of kindergarten (Takagi 2017). On this issue, the specialists in the education sector failed to mend the division between those who wished to fix the existing problems, such as lack of teachers and facilities, and those who wanted to introduce a new system with a 12-year education cycle. Some of the business leaders organized the Philippine Business for Education and took an initiative to break a stalemate among the educational specialists. They supported the reform to extend the educational cycle so that college graduates would be more competitive, especially at an international standard. Interestingly, newly elected President Rodrigo Duterte did not oppose the socio-­economic policy of the Aquino administration, though he has been critical of the Aquino administration. During the campaign period he announced a ten-­ point agenda for socio-­economic development, ensuring that his administration would continue the existing macroeconomic policy as the first of the ten points. He supported the educational reform and even supported the controversial law on reproductive health, which the Catholic Church has still opposed. He has also made clear his support of the conditional cash transfer which the Arroyo administration started and whose implementation the Aquino administration improved. Despite governmental changes, we can observe continuous expansion of social policy.

Conclusion This review of the process of democratization in the Philippines reminds us of the dynamic nature of the restored democracy, which has not necessarily been dominated by the oligarchs and the left. It is remarkable that the contested nature of Philippine democracy has been underestimated for decades and that the literature on contested democracy has been confined to the literature on the left. A review of the rapid pace of civic mobilization after the killing of Aquino prompts us to reconsider what the CSOs are. There were those which became active in the early 1980s and went beyond the boundaries of traditional business and religious orders. In terms of businesses, the MBC was a creation of civic engagement by a section of business leaders, which can be differentiated from those who are often called tycoons. They are still active in promoting certain policy agenda, such as the educational reform under the Benigno Aquino administration. By the same token, the transformation of the CBCP has reflected the dynamic nature of restored democracy. The CBCP was really serious about protection of human rights, but at the same time it was very conservative in terms of family planning and some social issues. It succeeded in inserting the very conservative, even reactionary, clauses on responsible parenthood and abortion into the Constitution. However, the CBCP might recover its image as a

116   Yusuke Takagi conservative political force in the midst of the abusive anti-­drug campaign by the Duterte administration. The efforts by the CSOs and their leaders have revealed the capacity of those who have the will to govern the country. They have accumulated their economic and social capital, which they can make use of. They have become confident and vocal in both elections and policymaking. There are ones who problematize the quality of democracy and criticize it. Their existence, however, endorses the expectations for democracy in the country, where the key political actors have accumulated knowledge and experience in democratic governance, while those who are afraid of development have precipitously mobilized their remaining assets.

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118   Yusuke Takagi SWS, Social Weather Stations (2017) Third Quarter 2017 Social Weather Survey. Retrieved on October 21, 2017 from www.sws.org.ph/swsmain/artcldisppage/? artcsyscode=ART-20171019095516. Tadem, T. S. Encarnacion (2005) The Philippine Technocracy and US-­led Capitalism. In After the Crisis: Hegemony, Technocracy and Governance in Southeast Asia, eds. T. Shiraishi T. and P. N. Abinales, pp. 85–104. Kyoto: Kyoto University Press. Tadem, T. S. Encarnacion (2008) Situating NGO Advocacy Work in Middle Class in the Philippines. In The Rise of Middle Classes in Southeast Asia, eds. T. Shiraishi and P. Pasuk, pp. 194–216. Kyoto: Kyoto University Press. Takagi, Y. (2017) “Policy Coalitions and Ambitious Politicians: A Case Study of Philippine Social Policy Reform.” Philippine Political Science Journal, 38(1): 28–47. Thompson, M. R. (1996) The Anti-­Marcos Struggle: Personalistic Rule and Democratic Transition in the Philippines. Quezon City: New Day Publishers. Thompson, M. R. (2012) After Populism: Winning the ‘War’ for Bourgeois Democracy in the Philippines. In The Politics of Change in the Philippines, eds. Y. Kasuya and N. G. Quimpo, pp. 21–46. Pasig: Anvil. Tolosa, B. T. (ed.) (2011) Socdem: Filipino Social Democracy in a Time of Turmoil and Transition, 1965–1995. Manila: Friedrich Ebert Stiftung. Youngblood, R. L. (1987) “The Corazon Aquino ‘Miracle’ and the Philippine Churches.” Asian Survey, 27(12): 1240–1255.

7 Democratization and religious NGOs in Indonesia Jafar Suryomenggolo

Introduction Compared to South Korea and the Philippines, Indonesia’s democratization process began later, precipitated by a regime change in 1998. During a transition period from then to the first general direct election in 2004, the country had a chance to establish democratic institutions, and democracy is now taking hold. The path ahead is by no means smooth, however, as various actors are ready to take advantage of the democratization period and exploit institutions still in their infancy for their own interests. The decentralization program that started in 1999 has also brought a number of challenges,1 especially in terms of the distribution of power at the local level, an issue that has also been haunting the Philippines. Despite the challenges, economic indicators point to an improving economic performance with positive prospects. Indonesia’s GDP has increased from US$510 billion in 2008 to US$888 billion in 2014, and GDP per capita has steadily increased from US$7,511 per year in 2008 to US$10,517 in 2014. During the period 2008–2015, Indonesia’s economy grew by 4–6.5 percent, the highest rate in Southeast Asia. Despite ideological differences, each of the post-­ 1998 administrations has focused efforts and resources on boosting the country’s economic performance. This shows that the rhetoric of economic progress remains an important currency in post-­1998 Indonesia, and as Shiraishi (2014) suggests, the politics of economic growth is meant to gain national consensus and spur economic development to achieve macro-­economic stability that, in turn, will raise the living standard of the population. Unlike the pre-­1998 New Order regime that resorted to repression and violent means to gain this national consensus, the post-­1998 Indonesian state can be sanctioned by the populace and therefore needs to justify its actions to avoid losing control and legitimacy. In the current climate of democracy, state institutions are now pushed to develop under the rhetoric of “good governance” in order to meet increasingly complex and diverse demands from society. It is important to note that the growing demands of civil society in post-­1998 Indonesia are partly, though not mainly, facilitated by an expanding middle class that primarily lives in the urban areas.2 The Indonesian middle class, similar to that in Thailand, Malaysia, and the Philippines, is a product of market regionalization

120   Jafar Suryomenggolo efforts in East Asia. They share similar economic, social, and political demands, which include the ownership of the “standard package” of consumer products,3 education for their children (preferably with English as the language of instruction), better leisure and entertainment, and tourism opportunities (both domestic and international).4 With the rise of religious identity in post-­1998 Indonesia, there are also huge demands for Islamic boarding schools, Islamic housing, properties, and merchandise, and Islam-­oriented tourism, all to satisfy the appetite of the middle class to express their religious beliefs in their contemporary life-­style. Some of these economic and social demands are met by the state through liberalization of the market, better provision of healthcare services,5 and the development of infrastructure to address inadequate public services and to facilitate the expansion of trade throughout the country. It is not a surprise that these priorities have become part of the macro-­economic policy of the current administration of Joko Widodo. Notwithstanding his administration’s efforts, the state remains unable or unwilling to respond to several social and economic issues (including rising income inequality and failed poverty reduction) due to its limited institutional capacities. The state, after all, has its own interests to take care of and priorities to address. In the meantime, the political opening brought about by democratization has allowed members of the middle class to enter formal politics at both the national and local levels.6 As a result, post-­1998 political leadership, despite coming from diverse professions, is dominated by men with middle-­class backgrounds. This is in stark contrast to the democratic experiences of 1950s Indonesia.7 The middle class is changing the distribution of power, and through a number of political parties has secured its economic and political interests by many means. In dealing with the political contestation, various administrations have been taking similar approach. That is, through various coalitions the ruling government negotiates a share of executive power by offering leaders from different political parties (including the opposition) positions with decision-­making power in the Cabinet and various ministries. It is in this context that the government is trying to deal simultaneously with the political demands of civil society. Another common method of doing this is the appointment of NGO representatives to government posts. This practice illustrates that the NGO movement in Indonesia is now no longer marginalized. Activists are relatively free to voice their concerns and demands, unlike the regular harassment and threats that they endured during the New Order regime. The NGO movement is accepted as part of the political landscape in post-­1998 Indonesia, and its activists are given the opportunity to participate and take part in the running of the government. From the perspective of the state, this addresses the demands of civil society for political inclusion. The state needs the participation of NGO activists not merely to legitimize its control over the society, but also to develop the state’s institutions, to speak in the language of the society, and to meet social and economic demands effectively.

Democratization and religious NGOs in Indonesia   121 Most major NGOs in Indonesia are based in Jakarta (see the list in the box). Their members and staff come from different walks of life, but they are predominantly young urban people with a tertiary education (and thus have some professional skills to offer). Although many NGOs depend on foreign funding (Eldridge 1995; Hadiwinata 2003), they offer the young urban middle class the next best alternative after the private sector for a decent-­paying job, while also providing a way to get involved and gain recognition in the nation’s political scene. Although many NGO workers come from a middle-­class background, through their work they learn to articulate demands on national issues that touch many within the population as a way to claim representation.

• •

Legal issues/human rights: Lembaga Bantuan Hukum Jakarta (LBH/Jakarta’s Legal Aid Institute), Perhimpunan Bantuan Hukum Indonesia (PBHI/ Indonesian Legal Aid Association), Lembaga Kajian dan Advokasi Independensi Peradilan (LeIP/Foundation for Research and Advocacy for the Independence of the Judiciary), Indonesian Corruption Watch (ICW), Lembaga Bantuan Hukum-­Asosiasi Perempuan Indonesia untuk Keadilan (LBH-­APIK/ Association of Indonesian Women for Justice), Komisi untuk Orang hilang dan korban tindak kekerasan (KontraS/Commission for “the Disappeared” and Victims of Violence), Lembaga Studi dan Advokasi Masyarakat (ELSAM/Institute for Policy Research and Advocacy), Pusat Studi Hukum dan Kebijakan (PSHK/Indonesian Centre for Law and Policy Studies). Environmental issues: Wahana lingkungan hidup Indonesia (WALHI/Indonesian Forum for Environment), Indonesia Hijau (Green Indonesia), Jaringan Advokasi Tambang (Jatam/Mining Advocacy Network), Yayasan Keanekaragaman Hayati Indonesia (KEHATI/Indonesian Biodiversity Foundation), Konsorsium Pembaruan Agraria (KPA/Consortium for Agrarian Reform). Development issues: Lembaga Penelitian, Pendidikan dan Penerangan Ekonomi dan Sosial (LP3ES/Institute for Social and Economic Research, Education and Information), Yayasan Lembaga Konsumen Indonesia (Indonesian Consumers’ Association), Indonesia for Global Justice (IGJ), Forum Indonesia untuk Transparansi Anggaran (Fitra/Indonesian Forum for Budget Transparency), Yayasan Pusaka (Center for Study, Advocacy and Documentation of Indigenous Rights). Anti-­discrimination: Solidaritas Nusa Bangsa (Solidarity of the Nation), Yayasan Setara (Institute for Democracy and Peace). Gender issues: Solidaritas Perempuan (Women’s Solidarity), Institut Lingkaran Pendidikan Alternatif Perempuan (KaPal Perempuan/Institute of Alternative Education for Women), Kalyanamitra (Women’s Communication and Information Centre), Yayasan Kesehatan Perempuan (YKP, Women’s Health Foundation), Suara Kita (Our Voice), Arus Pelangi (Indonesian Federation of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender, Transsexual and Intersexual Communities). Workers and urban poor issues: Trade Union Rights Centre (TURC), Urban Poor Consortium (UPC).

122   Jafar Suryomenggolo •

Migrant workers: Konsorsium Pembela Buruh Migran Indonesia (KOPBUMI/Consortium of Indonesian Migrant Workers Advocacy), Perhimpunan Indonesia untuk Buruh Migran Berdaulat (Migrant Care), Jaringan Buruh Migran Indonesia (JBMI/Indonesian Migrant Workers Network), Serikat Buruh Migran Indonesia (SBMI/Indonesian Migrant Workers Union). Media/journalists: Institut Studi Arus Informasi (ISAI/Institute for the Study of the Free Flow of Information), Aliansi Jurnalis Independen (AJI/Alliance of Independent Journalists), Lembaga Studi Pers and Pembangunan (Institute for the Study of Press and Development).

While a number of studies already assess the contribution of NGOs to Indonesia’s democratization process (see for example, Priyono, Prasetyo, and Törnquist 2003), little attention has been given to the role of religious NGOs, either due to a lack of interest in their activities or the relatively minor roles they played as captured in the public imagination (see Fauzia 2013; Latief 2016).8 Studies of societies that are deeply shaped by religious identities have, however, noted the transformative power of religious institutions to effect social and political reform. Candland (2000), for example, uses the involvement of Nahdatul Ulama (established in 1926) in influencing social progress and community development in Indonesian society to illustrate the importance of “faith as social capital.” Likewise, Sulistiyanto (2006) shows how Muhammadiyah (established in 1912), with its profound identity, history, and extensive social networks, has been playing important roles in the local fabrics of the society. Nahdatul Ulama and Muhammadiyah are the two largest Muslim organizations in Indonesia and have tens of millions of followers among the 87.2 percent of the country’s population that identifies as (Sunni) Muslim. Although Indonesia is constitutionally a secular state, Islam and its institutions have a long history in the country. Both organizations have deep roots in Indonesian society as they guide the socio-­economic lives of millions. Both have also been hailed as representing a “moderate” view of Islam in their religious teachings (Bush 2009; Nakamura 2012). Despite the dominant presence of both organizations in the society, militant Islamic groups have flexed their muscles and gained a following, and are spreading intolerant forms of Islamic teachings that include a violent interpretation of the jihad. After the 9/11 attacks in the United States, some organizations in Indonesia have been identified as having links with Al-­Qaeda and their leaders have been detained; those who planned and carried out the 2002 Bali bombings were executed (see Hasan 2006; Jones 2013; Sidel 2006). However, the message of violence and intolerance promoted by these groups, coated in the grammar of religion and moral superiority, has gained some traction within local communities.9 A number of vigilante groups such as the Front Pembela Islam (FPI/ Islamic Defender Front), and intolerant civil society organizations such as the Forum Ukuwah Islamiyah (FUI), Hizbut Tahrir Indonesia (HTI), and others, are expanding and have recruited new members (see Hefner 2005; Sidel 2006).10 Within this context, both Nahdatul Ulama and Muhammadiyah have been

Democratization and religious NGOs in Indonesia   123 pushed aside and forced to adopt a defensive stance; in recent years, some of their leaders have echoed messages of more radical organizations that take a “conservative turn” (see Bruinessen 2014). Contemporary studies from other countries have noted how intolerant Islamist civil society organizations have built their strength by derailing state projects, driving a wedge between the state and society, and creating prolonged political stalemates that can be exploited for their own political benefit. In Egypt, the expansion of conservative Islamist organizations has replaced the state in providing needed public services, and instead of pushing for a political change, they have become “an incubator for illiberal radicalism” (see Berman 2003). In Tunisia after Ben Ali, the emergence of Salafism with its strong political mobilization has hindered the country’s political transformation process (see Merone 2015; Boubekeur 2016). Seen from this perspective, intolerant religious organizations pose a serious threat of political instability to Indonesia’s fragile democracy. Facing the rise of such organizations in the local Indonesian context and reflecting on international news in Egypt, Turkey, and Tunisia, a number of concerned local scholars and activists have raised their voices to offer alternative interpretations of Islam. Azyumardi Azra, for example, has emphasized the historical roots of Islam in Indonesia as part of “the heritage of Islam in Southeast Asia” (see Azra 2014). A group of young Muslim scholars set up Jaringan Islam Liberal (JIL/Liberal Islam Network) in 2001 to counter the intolerant messages of fundamentalist groups.11 The confrontational style of JIL soon gained attention from mainstream media that were looking for a defiant counter voice to fundamentalist groups, including the conservative voice of Majelis Ulama Indonesia (MUI/Indonesian Council of Ulamas), a government-­funded organization set up by the New Order regime in 1975. More recently, some young activists affiliated with Nahdatul Ulama have also actively promoted the term Islam Nusantara or “Indonesian Islam” to refer to the inclusive interpretation of Islamic teachings that they practice.12 It is against this background that three Jakarta-­based religious NGOs, the focus of this chapter, are working in parallel towards the common goal of offering alternative views of Islam. As the chapter will show, the activities of these NGOs are important in the process of democratic consolidation in Indonesia. Voicing economic, social, and political demands to the state is not solely under the monopoly of mainstream secular NGOs; religious NGOs are also calling for social and political changes. This has been observed not only in Indonesia but elsewhere in the region.13 Religious NGOs may not be the vanguard of the civil society movement in Indonesia, but they make specific contributions that cannot simply be ignored or brushed aside. In acknowledging these contributions, it is important to understand the context in which religious NGOs are working and the significance of their activities for the community in order to understand how they take part in shaping the discourse of democratization in post-­1998 Indonesia. In the context of the Islamic revival in Indonesia, examining religious NGOs is critical to understanding the complexity of the democratization process and “transformative politics” (Törnquist 2013).

124   Jafar Suryomenggolo There is no reason to assume that Islam is less compatible with democracy than other religions. Hence, the questions addressed in this chapter are not about Islam versus democracy (see Azra 2006; Hefner 2000; Hilmy 2009), but rather what kind of conditions allow Islamic NGOs to become promoters of democracy, who the actors involved are, and how their programs deepen democratic values in the society. This chapter starts with a brief discussion of the historical roles of religious NGOs in Indonesia, especially their “conventional” function as providers of social welfare and its limitations. This is contrasted with the works of three contemporary religious NGOs whose members are young progressive Muslim activists with middle-­class backgrounds. These NGOs were established in the 2000s, after the consolidation of democracy in the country that has opened up more space for their work in the society. They are concerned with today’s social issues, are equipped with critical analytical skills, and are reinterpreting Islamic teachings to support democracy, multiculturalism, and an inclusive worldview far beyond what can be simply labeled as “moderate” or “Islamic Left” (see Miichi 2001). The work of these NGO activists accommodates the quality of middle-­class aspiration they share together to effect changes in the society, especially in the Muslim community where they come from and which they belong to. The chapter closes with a conclusion on the meanings of their activism to the Indonesian democratization process.

“Conventional” roles of religious NGOs As noted earlier, Nahdatul Ulama and Muhammadiyah are the two oldest and largest Islamic organizations in Indonesia. They are mainly concerned with religious issues and providing moral guidance for their followers. As such, they are not structured like the non-­governmental organizations that were established later, in the 1970s and 1980s. They do have subsidiary associations, however, that deal with the daily lives of their members. For instance, Muhammadiyah set up Aisyiyah (Young Women’s Association) in 1917 as part of its women’s section, and Fatayat Nahdatul Ulama (Young Women of Nahdatul Ulama) was established in 1950 to provide an institutional space for young women to gather and also to learn religious teachings, under the direction of Nahdatul Ulama. Since their establishment, both organizations have developed beyond their original purposes to address health and welfare issues, topics that have long been attributed as part of women’s expected gender roles (or “job”) in a male-­ dominated organization. In the mid-­1980s, Fatayat was involved as a partner of UNICEF ’s Child Survival Project (CSP), along with 11 other religious organizations. The CSP’s goals were universal child immunization and reduction of the infant and child mortality rate, as both were major concerns in developing countries like Indonesia. Fatayat’s involvement was sought due to its programs on child-­rearing and family welfare, but more importantly because it was expected that the religious leaders of Fatayat (members of the Nahdatul Ulama) would communicate the

Democratization and religious NGOs in Indonesia   125 importance of the project to Fatayat members (young women and mothers, aged 20–45) and thus ensure its success. Fatayat’s leader, the late Lily Zakiah Munir (1990: 275), notes that: The program has religious leaders or religious teachers at the grassroots level [who] serve as motivators to disseminate information on health and its related aspects. Since they hold special positions in the society, religious leaders are highly respected and recognized among their followers as role models. The settings where motivation activities take place include Al Qur’an reading or religious learning sessions, marriage counseling, Majlis Ta’lim (place for learning) meetings, gatherings to commemorate important Islamic events and interpersonal motivational efforts. Fatayat as an organ of Nahdatul Ulama was an important instrument in the implementation of the UNICEF project due to its extensive networks within the communities (especially the project target population of young mothers) and its relatively high standing in the society. For Fatayat itself, as an organization, the project expanded its awareness of concrete issues directly related to daily social welfare and its capacity to deal with those issues. It has since developed its institutions along the lines of other developmental NGOs in Indonesia, and Fatayat’s activists now consider the organization to be part of the women’s movement (Rinaldo 2008). Fatayat is not the only religious NGO that has partnered with foreign organizations to develop and run projects for social service provision in Indonesia. Aisyiyah has also been working together with international NGOs to promote issues of reproductive health. Much like Fatayat, through its cooperation with foreign and international agencies, Aisyiyah has also expanded its activities and now “bears a resemblance to NGOs specializing in women’s issues” (Latief 2010: 548). In addition to Fatayat and Aisyiyah, the Perhimpunan Pengembangan Pesantren dan Masyarakat (Association for the Development of Pesantren and Society) was established in 1983 with a ten-­year funding grant from a German NGO. By the mid-­1990s, it was being supported by the Ford Foundation. As its name suggests, its activities were to support the development of the lives of people in the pesantren (Muslim boarding schools). Lies Marcoes-­Natsir is one of the main driving forces behind this organization.14 Also established in 1983, Lembaga Studi Agama dan Filsafat (LSAF/Institute for the Study of Religion and Philosophy) receives financial support from the Asia Foundation. It was initiated by Dawam Rahardjo15 to generate discussion on Islamic teachings in the modern world.16 Both Lies Marcoes-­Natsir and Dawam Rahardjo are widely known in the NGO circles in Jakarta, and both have cleared a path for younger activists in building their religious NGOs in post-­1998 Indonesia. These religious NGOs, through their interactions with foreign donor agencies, have developed programs to improve the welfare and development in some areas in Indonesia.17 Their work, similar to those of their secular counterparts, was

126   Jafar Suryomenggolo constrained within the political structure of the New Order authoritarian regime that limited direct participation from the civil society. Religious NGOs have therefore historically had few options to tap domestic funding sources, resulting in foreign donors having been the major source of funding to support the work of religious NGOs in Indonesia.18 To counter this situation, there have been some attempts to promote local funding for NGO activities. One attempt is through philanthropy activities; Yayasan Dompet Dhuafa (Foundation of the Wallet of the Poor) is considered a success case. Founded in 1993 and made public in 1996,19 the foundation has attracted the urban middle class to donate money through the zakat, the obligatory alms or religious tax that is one of the Five Pillars of Islam (see Retsikas 2014). The main activity of the foundation is managing charitable clinics in Ciputat and Cipulir (in Jakarta) and in Bekasi (West Java) and a maternity clinic in Bandung (West Java) that cater to patients from low-­income families. This is in contrast to Muhammadiyah’s clinics, which cater mainly to middle-­class clients (see Latief 2010; Fuad 2002). It also provides scholarships for university students and counseling services for Indonesian migrant domestic workers in Hong Kong. Despite its success as a model Islamic religious NGO in Indonesia,20 its work is still strictly based on charity-­driven activities (in particular, health care services) and limited to a few localities. While its pioneering work is appreciated, the government’s universal health services through its Sistem Jaminan Sosial Nasional (SJSN/National Social Security System), which allows low-­income families to easily access public and national hospitals throughout the country, are pushing the Foundation’s charitable clinics to the margin where they primarily serve those who are not yet registered in the government’s system. Post-­1998 Indonesia presents a new reality for religious NGOs. The political opening has lessened authoritarian surveillance, and legal protections allow a relatively free civil society to engage in the political process. At the same time, as the government expands and improves its constitutional functions to provide public services that were once ignored or neglected by the authoritarian regime, the work of religious NGOs is no longer restricted to the ghetto of apolitical social welfare and charitable activities but can expand to issues beyond their comfort zone. With the expansion of state capacities in the public sphere, religious NGOs are forced to redefine their priorities. It is in the context of the consolidation of democracy in Indonesia, with the first direct presidential election in 2004, that a number of religious NGOs working on issues of democratization were established.

Beyond social charities While many religious NGOs (still) concentrate on charitable activities, several newly established ones are carrying out institutional programs to engage with contemporary social and political issues that are related to the democratization process in post-­1998 Indonesia. Many local NGOs are also being established to

Democratization and religious NGOs in Indonesia   127 address local issues and strengthen the capacity of local civil society. For instance, young women activists in Aceh are developing programs along with some national women’s organizations and international funding agencies that are operating in the province (especially after the tsunami in 2004) to advance gender equality and the status of women at the local level (see Afrianty 2015). Despite the cultural, social, and political barriers these women have to face in their activism, they keep pushing boundaries for change in their society. The following sections describe the works of three religious NGOs: Rumah Kita Bersama (Rumah KitaB), Pusat Studi Agama dan Demokrasi (PUSAD), and the Wahid Institute. The founders all come from middle-­class backgrounds and were educated in part during the late New Order period. They have some experience living under authoritarian rule, and in one way or another, this experience has contributed to their understanding of (and passion for) a free and democratic society. With the consolidation of democracy, they see new roles for their participation in the public sphere. Although they have different focuses in work, they represent the typical new religious NGO. Staffed by young progressive Muslim activists, they are pushing the boundaries of their activism beyond social charities. Rumah Kita Bersama (Rumah KitaB)21 Rumah KitaB was officially established in 2010,22 with its focus on the study of kitab kuning (literally, the Yellow Books).23 The kitab kuning is considered a starting point to bring Islamic teachings in tune with current social life and to encourage critical thinking in the pesantren world.24 Rumah KitaB intends to show the importance of re-­interpreting Islamic teachings through the kitab kuning as the traditional legacy of Islam in Indonesia, and inject that reinterpretation into contemporary debates. Its main organizational strength is that all of its main staff graduated from the pesantren, are well-­versed in Arabic, and have attended tertiary education (some graduated from Al-­Azhar University in Cairo, Egypt).25 The activities of Rumah KitaB have broadened religious understanding and strengthened the foundation of religious tolerance within the pesantren world and across the society as a whole. Over the past six years, Rumah KitaB’s activities have centered on a number of projects that are considered important beyond the pesantren alone as a means to reach wider audiences. The organization selects contemporary issues in society that are controversial and deemed crucial to open up dialogues within the Muslim communities in the country. These include the importance of family planning and women’s economic rights, as well as the issues of child marriage, women and Islamic fundamentalism, and most recently, LGBTQ and Islam.26 On each of these issues, Rumah KitaB has published a number of pamphlets and pocket books and carried out various projects. Rumah KitaB conducted fieldwork in six cities in Java (Jakarta, Bogor, Cirebon, Yogyakarta, Surakarta, and Malang) in order to identify religious understanding and problems vis-­à-vis the importance of family planning.27 It

128   Jafar Suryomenggolo notes that Islamic fundamentalist groups have rejected the practice of family planning based on certain religious understandings. Their rejection stayed dormant during the New Order regime, which did not allow any social protest against the government’s family planning policies, but strong religious and political arguments against family planning programs (under the fundamentalist interpretation) have (re)surfaced since 1998. Rumah KitaB tries to offer a more balanced understanding of the issue by showing that family planning is still important and relevant today, regardless of the political legacies of the New Order regime. It also publishes a guidebook that discusses three main arguments against family planning put forth by the Islamic fundamentalist groups, and offers counterarguments to each of them.28 On the issue of child marriage, also, Rumah KitaB provides a guide for “religious arguments” to protect the rights of girls as children.29 According to the Marriage Law of 1974, with parental consent, females in Indonesia can legally marry at age 16 and males at 19.30 After conducting its study in nine regencies (Lamongan, Sumenep, Serang, Bogor, Sukabumi, Cirebon, Depok, Lombok Utara, and Makassar) in five provinces (West Java, East Java, Banten, Nusa Tenggara, and South Sulawesi), Rumah KitaB documented 52 cases of child marriage31 and found that 95 percent of them involved girls who had not finished primary school. The cases showed that a legal approach alone is not enough to tackle the associated problems of child marriages, including the dim prospects for girls to sustain employment in the formal sector and gain independence.32 Although Rumah KitaB notes that there are some “cultural strategies” to mitigate the problems (such as persuading parents to allow girls to finish primary school before marriage), initiatives that employ these strategies remain localized to certain areas and are hindered by limited resources. Notwithstanding with the educational and economic effects that still need to be addressed comprehensively, the issue of child marriage is getting more complicated as the practice becomes accepted based on religious reasons, and marriages are being attended by local religious authorities or leaders to witness and/or bless them. This binds girls under certain religious understandings that are now considered incompatible with the contemporary notion of personal liberty and the rights of the child. Hence, Rumah KitaB provides a reinterpretation of religious texts on child marriage as a proposal for a more nuanced religious reasoning (fiqh) that is beyond the male-­biased fiqh33 and based on the best interest of the child.34 In analyzing the various roles women play in Islamic fundamentalist groups, Rumah KitaB highlights women’s agency and power, again providing an alternative interpretation of religious practice.35 It narrates the life histories of 20 women from many different backgrounds who have various degrees of involvement in a number of organizations, including as a spokesperson of Muslimah Hizbut Tahrir Indonesia (MHTI/the women’s organization of Hizbut Tahrir Indonesia), a leader of the women’s division of Majelis Mujahidin Indonesia (MMI/Indonesian Mujahedeen Council), an activist of Kesatuan Aksi Mahasiswa Muslim Indonesia (KAMMI/Action Group of Indonesian Muslim Students), and many others. Although some of these women are no longer active in

Democratization and religious NGOs in Indonesia   129 these groups, they see their participation as part of expressing their personal beliefs and working for the welfare of the ummah (“the people”/the Muslim community) as a whole. Thus, by narrating their stories, Rumah KitaB reveals that these women are willingly making active decisions to join the movement; they are not simply passive followers or empty-­headed devotees.36 It further suggests that these women, by making decisions for themselves, are asserting their agency as women within the post-­1998 social environment that encourages female participation in publics. Many women see this as an opportunity to empower themselves, regardless of how patriarchal these organizations are. In that sense, women’s participation in Islamic fundamentalist groups, or in any movement, is made possible as part of the democratization process that has created equal opportunity for every woman to join any organization she likes. Through participation in these organizations, women learn skills and knowledge that were beyond their reach prior to 1998. Once women see the limits of these organizations to their own freedom, they can choose to leave them, as some of the women in Rumah KitaB’s study have done. In addition to conducting research, Rumah KitaB also organizes regular bahtsul masa’il (discussion forums) and public seminars. Some of these seminars are conducted in the pesantren as a way to reach out to the young students of Islam (santri) so they will be well versed not only in Islamic teachings but also in contemporary issues. Some others are conducted on university premises as a way to open dialogues with members of the faculty and university students. Rumah KitaB acknowledges that their projects and activities are mainly supported by foreign donors (mediated by funding agencies), and they receive hardly any local donations. Financial support is used for research, publication, and overhead expenses. For example, the research project on child marriage is supported by the Ford Foundation, while the project on women and Islamic fundamentalist groups (including publication of the book) is partly supported by the Norwegian Centre for Human Rights (Faculty of Law, University of Oslo). While Rumah KitaB understands that foreign donors will not last long to support its activities, it aspires to keep its activities up to date with the current demands and challenges of democratization in the country. Pusat Studi Agama dan Demokrasi (PUSAD/Center for the Study of Religion and Democracy) Established in 2007, PUSAD is affiliated with the Paramadina Foundation37 but maintains an independent status.38 Much like the Paramadina Foundation, PUSAD’s target audience is the Indonesian urban middle class (especially in Jakarta) that seeks active participation in society based on respect for Islamic values and democracy. Despite recent organizational changes in the Paramadina Foundation brought about by internal issues, members of PUSAD still consider its activities as reflecting Paramadina’s institutional spirit of nurturing young Muslim intellectuals to face the challenges of reform and modernization of Islam. They would describe PUSAD as more grounded compared to Paramadina

130   Jafar Suryomenggolo during the leadership of Nurcholis Madjid, when it was mainly concerned about theological issues. In employing fieldwork and sociological research, PUSAD offers empirical analysis of socio-­political issues, such as the challenges of religious pluralism, the settlement of religious conflicts, and democratic empowerment. Based on its research activities, PUSAD aims to inform policy development on religious issues by providing critical recommendations to related government agencies and overseeing their implementation of changes. Since its establishment, PUSAD has been directed by one of its co-­founders, Ihsan Ali-­Fauzi.39 In 1988 he co-­founded the Forum Mahasiswa Ciputat (FORMACI/the Forum of Students in Ciputat), a discussion group whose members are predominantly students of UIN Syarif Hidayatullah Jakarta (whose campus is located in the Ciputat area of South Jakarta).40 His continuing involvement in FORMACI has linked a number of UIN Syarif Hidayatullah student activists to PUSAD’s activities. Both PUSAD’s current program manager, Husni Mubarok, and research manager, Irsyad Rafsadi, were once actively involved in Formaci during their undergraduate days; this brought them into contact with PUSAD.41 Indeed, all PUSAD activists come from a middle-­class background and have a tertiary education. Since joining PUSAD as full-­time staff in April 2013, Husni Mubarok and Irsyad Rafsadi have been involved in taking charge of its programs. Both are still young, and the NGO provides a good working opportunity for people of their background. One of PUSAD’s main programs focuses on religious conflicts and the role of the Indonesian National Police (POLRI).42 It was financially supported by the Asia Foundation (Jakarta office). After carrying out research between January 2012 and September 2013 on both intra- and inter-­religious conflicts,43 PUSAD found that “the police often do not dare to act decisively against the parties which clearly violate the rights of other groups to exercise their freedom of belief, or they submit to the pressure of the dominant social groups” (Panggabean and Ali-­Fauzi 2015: 5). The police’s ineffective action (and in many instances, non-­action) has led to the loss of civilian lives and also the low level of trust society has in police capacity. Through this project, PUSAD hopes to raise the issue of how the police, as an institution that has gained autonomy from the Indonesian armed forces (ABRI/TNI) as part of the democratization process in 1999, should act effectively and professionally to maintain public order and protect the rights of every citizen, specifically to exercise his or her freedom of religion.44 Hence, with this project PUSAD has contributed to the discourse around institutional roles and responsibilities in the protection of human rights in Indonesia. As part of its advocacy program, PUSAD has organized the annual Nurcholis Madjid Memorial Lecture (NMML) since its establishment in 2007, inviting a number of prominent scholars (both local and international) to give public lectures on various issues about democracy, such as identity politics, religious fanaticism, market and equality, and non-­violence in Islam.45 By taking the name of Nurcholis Madjid, this public lecture wants to uphold and disseminate the legacy of Nucholis Madjid’s thoughts on the crucial issues of religion and

Democratization and religious NGOs in Indonesia   131 d­ emocracy. The annual lectures (and their publication in book form) are partly supported by the Asia Foundation and the Ford Foundation. This lecture program corresponds to PUSAD’s main concern on creating a space for a formal dialogue among various stakeholders. Although this space is limited, they are bringing these issues for debate.46 As one of the 16 partners of the Knowledge Sector Initiative (or KSI, which is supported by Australian Aid),47 PUSAD is involved in the Forum Nulistik (Nulistik Forum) and benefits from KSI funding and technical support to develop the capacity of its researchers and strengthen its institutional specialties.48 While PUSAD currently still relies on foreign funding to support its programs, it is expected that in the long run PUSAD will be able to secure sustainable support through its collaboration with government agencies that will act as demand-­side institutions that need research-­based results. This expectation may sound ambitious, but the possibility for such involvement is improving (albeit slowly) as local government institutions’ need for research-­based evidence for formulating policies to serve the society rapidly increases amid Indonesia’s decentralization changes. The Wahid Institute Established on September 7, 2004, the Wahid Institute has a high profile due to the name of one of its founders, Abdurrahman Wahid, the former president of Indonesia (October 1999–July 2001).49 It is interesting to note that a number of former government officials in post-­1998 Indonesia, taking advantage of the democratization process, have established various kinds of institution (foundations, think tanks, etc.) bearing the name of its founder(s), and the institute follows this pattern.50 The institute identifies its core specialization as multiculturalism/pluralism, and peace and interfaith dialogues. These issues have long been associated with the works of Abdurrahman Wahid,51 even prior to his political career, and this is expected to continue after his death, despite his impeachment from the presidency.52 The institute’s main activities are advocacy and campaigns to promote freedom of religion in Indonesia.53 In its efforts to raise public awareness on the importance of the freedom of religion, it monitors cases of religious intolerance, government-­imposed restrictions on religious freedom, and religious hate-­speech at the local and national levels, and produces an annual report about these cases.54 Although the annual report is based only on reported cases (from newspaper coverage and other related news), it has become one of the key documents to scrutinize the level of religious freedom in Indonesia.55 As part of this program, the institute raised the cases of violence against the Ahmadiyya communities in 2011–2012 as an urgent concern for all and a national crisis.56 The institute is a member of Aliansi Kebangsaan untuk Kebebasan Beragama dan Berkeyakinan (AKKBB/National Alliance for Freedom of Religion and Faith), a network of 72 NGOs and religious institutions that advocates for the government to reform its policies and resolve cases of religious intolerance without discrimination (2005–2012).57

132   Jafar Suryomenggolo In 2009 the institute published a book entitled Ilusi Negara Islam (The Illusion of Islamic State) that discusses the ideology and “infiltration” of “transnational Islamic networks” in many organizations (including government agencies) in Indonesia.58 Although the topic was already discussed much earlier in the public, the book still stirred controversy when it was published. The book clearly links the indictment by “transnational extremist networks” of different scriptural interpretations as bid’ah or worse, un-­Islamic, to increasing cases of religious intolerance.59 The endorsement of the book by respected religious leaders is its biggest strength. It includes a prologue by Ahmad Syafi’i Maarif, the leader of Muhammadiyah (1998–2005), an introduction by Abdurrahman Wahid that condemns the “transnational extremist networks” as an “enemy in the blanket” (akin to sleeping with the enemy), and an epilogue by A. Mustofa Bisri, the head of the pesantren Raudlatuth Thalibin in Rembang (Central Java). It also includes official statements by both Muhammadiyah and Nahdatul Ulama that reject the ideology of the “transnational extremists” movement. The inclusion of the official statements and writings by three respected leaders reflects the concern of organizations that notice a “conservative turn” in many of their members (caused by the “infiltration”) and their desire to avoid further radicalization. As for the ummah, the book provides formal guidance to follow. On inter-­religious relations, the institute advocates for non-­discriminatory treatment and protection of minority groups as part of the teaching of Islam.60 It encourages progressive young scholars to reformulate fiqh (religious reasoning) beyond the classical understanding based on fiqh al-­aqalliyyât.61 In 2016 it conducted a national survey of Indonesian Muslim communities’ perceptions of minority groups.62 Less than 40 percent of respondents said they had no dislike of minorities. The survey was a first step in identifying common perceptions shared in the society that lead to incidents of intolerance toward minority groups (including LGBT communities) and what types of interventions could successfully address the issue. It is interesting to note that although the institute acknowledged LGBT communities as “victims of intolerance” in its annual report in 2010–2012, it does not yet have any program, nor has it collaborated with other institutes or NGOs, on LGBT issues. As part of its advocacy program, the institute organizes a number of training workshops for high-­school students in some areas in West Java that have a high number of religious intolerance cases to educate and disseminate the peaceful messages of Islam.63 It also organizes several one-­day seminars on freedom of religion in religious-­conflict-prone areas, with local participants from various backgrounds.64 In addition to its advocacy and campaign activities, the institute has also coordinated distribution of disaster relief in Indonesia (known as the “Dompet Gus Dur”)65 as part of its philanthropy project that is based on financial donations from the public (both individual and organizational). It also provides women’s economic empowerment training as part of its community economic development program.66 While its charitable activities, similar to those of other organizations, may not have a direct impact on the deepening of democratization in the society, they form a basis for public participation.

Democratization and religious NGOs in Indonesia   133 As the institute has operated for more than a decade, it has become one of the most established NGOs in Jakarta. Its work and activities are respected. Nonetheless, it still relies on foreign donor agencies (and foreign embassies in Jakarta) to support its main activities of advocacy and economic empowerment programs. Unlike other advocacy NGOs in Jakarta, it does receive some local donations. However, as these are primarily to support the philanthropy project, the institute still has to find other innovative ways to achieve financial sustainability to run its main activities.

Religious NGOs and young middle-­class aspirations Various motivations drive young activists to work for these religious NGOs and get involved in the contemporary discourse of political transformation and democracy. While fully acknowledging the problems of democratization, they are also looking for inspiration in the teachings of Islam to guide their life and work for the society. For example, Mukti Ali (of Rumah KitaB) has a personal dream of becoming a writer because he believes that through writing he can get involved in the contemporary issues facing Islam, contribute to public debates, and bring about change.67 Likewise, Irsyad Rafsadi expresses that his work at PUSAD gives him kepuasan batin or inner satisfaction; instead of just sitting on his hands or being silent, he knows he can do something about contemporary problems as a way to show the contributions that Islam can make to democracy in Indonesia.68 Such aspirations are not unique to these activists, but reflect their status as young persons with tertiary educations (some from universities abroad) and middle-­class backgrounds. Their common aspiration for socio-­political change starts from their experiences and educational background that opened them up to the issues of protecting religious freedom and respecting democratic values. Their pesantren background does not limit their worldview. On the contrary, due to their pesantren education, they are well versed in Islamic teachings and fluent in Arabic, a facility that links them to the “Arabic cosmopolis” and beyond (see Ricci 2011). The digital world has also opened up a new medium of activism among young progressive Muslims. Mohamad Syafi’ Ali, a young pesantren-­graduated media activist, is managing www.islami.co, an online platform for social and political discussions.69 He sees his project as fardhu kiyafah, an obligation for the common good. He understands that radical groups are spreading their message of intolerance and violence through online media, and he therefore intends to counter them by providing more balanced news with the peaceful messages of Islam. Other young Muslim activists working on the website Islam Bergerak are also advocating for a radical political transformation with social justice as its core.70 The common aspiration of these activists reveals their middle-­class ideals of certain values that are closely associated with democracy: individual freedom, protection of rights, and redistribution of power. These young activists are highly motivated individuals who identify closely with their work as NGO workers.

134   Jafar Suryomenggolo Their choice to work for NGOs reflects an interest in working for social change and also maintaining these values for their interests as members of the middle class. With their educational background (and some professional skills), they see the post-­1998 NGO movement as one of the media to advance their middle-­class ambition for upward mobility. They may see NGOs as a stepping-­stone to other career paths (or to upgrade their individual bargaining power), but they have to work to prove their inclination towards social change. As long as they see democracy provides this mechanism to secure their social interests, they have no other intentions than to uphold it. As Muslim activists, they completely understand that the current discourse is no longer solely a theological debate, as it was under their intellectual predecessors (such as Nurcholis Madjid and Abdurrahman Wahid), but has become more empirically grounded. As public intellectuals, they show their agency through research and advocacy on specific issues. They do not focus on religious teachings and the social world around the pesantren alone, but work on various contemporary issues and deeply engage with social and political problems to promote democracy and pluralism. In that sense, they are part of the burgeoning civil society movement that is based on the social and political commitments of middle-­class youth who aspire to make a change in the society.

Conclusion Religion and religious idioms still remain among the most potent forces of political mobilization. Islam, specifically, provides guidance to Muslims in different aspects of their private and public life, including politics. In Turkey, for example, Islamic ideas were injected into the national debates in the 1990s over the meaning of nation and political life that allowed the society to define the public sphere, secularism, and political community. Since the 1980s, Indonesia has taken a similar path with the social intervention and intellectual contributions of Nurcholis Madjid, Abdurrahman Wahid, and many others. Their legacies are felt beyond the boundaries of the Muslim communities they represented and have provided a foundation for the next generation to build upon in post-­1998 Indonesia. In the meantime, however, the democratization process in Indonesia is not without challenges. The introduction of liberalization and pluralism, in conjunction with the building of accountable state institutions to address the growing demands from the middle class, has affected the roles of religion in politics and society. Militant Islam, with intolerant forms of Islamic teachings, has entered into the public discourse and captured the moral compass of a significant portion of the Muslim community, turning it into a “new form of Islamic populism” (see Khoo and Hadiz 2010; Hadiz 2016). Coated in the grammar of religion, a number of vigilante groups and intolerant civil society organizations have undermined the democratization process that allowed them to express their views publicly in the first place; despite taking advantage of this new space, they view pluralism as a ploy to weaken Islam. These groups are building a model of a

Democratization and religious NGOs in Indonesia   135 strong civil society that is socially and culturally rooted – some would say entrenched – in their leaders’ political interests, with the ambition of replacing state institutions in the provision of public services, a situation similar to that unfolding in Egypt. Such groups, if they believe it is advantageous to their interests, can disrupt and subvert the democratization process. Amid these socio-­political tensions, the three religious NGOs discussed in this chapter, the Rumah KitaB, PUSAD, and the Wahid Institute, are working in parallel, in the spirit of the legacies of Nurcholis Madjid and Abdurrahman Wahid, to offer alternative views of Islam in order to build an inclusive civil society. These religious NGOs help a number of progressive young middle-­class Muslims to actively reread their religious texts beyond the theological questions proposed by their predecessors, to offer reinterpretations of these texts to understand the contemporary situation they face in the democratization process, and also to campaign for positive changes on critical issues such as the importance of family planning, respecting women’s economic rights, ending the tradition of child marriage, and protecting freedom of religion and the rights of minorities (including the LGBTQ community). They are not only resisting the narrow interpretation of religious texts as disseminated and practiced by fundamentalist groups, but are also offering a model of inclusive civil society. The consolidation of democracy after 2004 provides a fitting social environment for their activism and intervention in the society. Equipped with religious vocabulary and inspirations, and belief in the values of democracy, they have become one joint in the backbone of social changes in contemporary Indonesia. Their articulations are not as confrontational as those of JIL,71 and their message for change is strongly backed up with empirical data and field research. Their concerns may contain a typical middle-­class bias, but they are dedicating their work to the progress of the Muslim communities they come from and belong to. Their movement does not challenge the state’s control over the society directly, and in fact would seek cooperation with the state institutions to strengthen political processes for inclusion. With the limited space and capacities they have, these religious NGOs are placing their demands for social and political change in the context of democratization shaped by market regionalization, and by doing so are enabling the emergence of liberal religious discourse. Notwithstanding their sincere efforts in developing “moderate” Islamic thought as part of the global Islamic revival, they are facing critical challenges that may define the movement they are part of and the contributions they make. With the reinterpretation and contextualization of religious texts, they have offered a more nuanced understanding of contemporary issues. However, their work is still within the boundaries of a moral guidance that is rooted in a claim to truth made by elitist authorities. This will remain the case unless they liberate their thoughts beyond the paternalistic attitude of the ulama that is institutionally represented in the MUI (see, for example, Mardhatillah 2009). There is also a need to expand their work to include urgent and grounded issues, such as rural poverty and the struggles of the urban poor, environmental degradation, and climate change, topics that have received

136   Jafar Suryomenggolo a­ ttention from other religious NGOs for years.72 Their lack of attention to such issues seems to reflect their urban middle-­class characteristics and subsequent institutional limitations which restrict direct contact with grassroots movements. In terms of the financial sustainability of their activities, these religious NGOs have been receiving institutional support from foreign funding agencies, as do their secular counterparts. Although they are free to design, propose, and direct their own programs, they do not have enough alternative resources to implement these programs without the support of foreign funding agencies. They understand that they cannot endanger the work of these foreign funding agencies – as JIL might have done in the past with its confrontational style. This understanding encourages maintenance of the relationships they have and intrinsically fosters continued cooperation with foreign donors, regardless of how asymmetrical it may be. Indonesia’s state–society relations are changing fast during this democratization period. The NGO movement is no longer considered “the third sector” in the nation’s common aspiration for economic development, but instead has been taking part in some areas of government. Their participation is in contrast to the ambition of intolerant civil society organizations that conduct various projects to undermine democratic values and present a challenge to the sustainability of democracy in Indonesia. In comparison to South Korea, which established democratic institutions in a relatively short period, Indonesia’s ethnic, religious, and regional diversity has indeed become an Achilles’ heel during the early phase of the transition period to democracy (Aspinall 2013). As Indonesia may need a longer path to develop institutional mechanisms to fairly manage, negotiate, and accommodate this diversity (that is in fact one of the country’s valuable assets to advance its democratic integration), religious NGOs, together with their secular counterparts, will continue to facilitate a push by more of the nation’s best young people for multiculturalism, respect for human rights, and peaceful cooperation in society. To support their work, they also need the sympathetic ears of some people in the government to channel and meet the demands from civil society.

Notes   1 Aspinall and Fealy (2003: 3) note that Indonesia’s decentralization program is “one of the most radical decentralization programs attempted anywhere in the world.”   2 Indonesia has become urbanized: In 1999, 40.7 percent of the Indonesian population lived in urban areas, in 2011 it was 50.7 percent, and in 2015 it was 53.7 percent. The World Bank (2015: 81) notes that “total urban population density increased sharply in Indonesia between 2000 and 2010, from 7,400 people per square kilometer to 9,400. This is the largest increase in urban population density of any country in the [East Asia] region.”   3 The term “standard package” refers to a set of core consumer products that define the consumption standard of the middle class. The package may change across generations and purchasing power, and each culture or society has its own standard of ownership. These consumer durables are often placed in the living room or kitchen, turning these areas of a home into spaces of display. In post-­1998 Indonesia, the “standard package” includes a television set, refrigerator, washing machine, air-­ conditioner, and automobile.

Democratization and religious NGOs in Indonesia   137   4 The dominant rise of popular travel books and adventure fiction in the post-­1998 Indonesian literary scene is one signal of the rising tourism demand of the middle class.   5 National health indicators have steadily improved despite having been the lowest in the region for years.   6 For discussion on the rise of the middle class in the 1980s, see Dick 1985.   7 Despite rhetoric to defend the interests of the wong cilik (the underprivileged), hardly any current parliamentary members have a working class or peasant background, or represent these classes. On democracy in 1950s Indonesia, see Feith 1962. It is also important to note that the percentage of women in the national parliament and local legislative bodies is still below the mandated 30 percent quota. Although direct election provides structural opportunities for women to enter politics, their participation is still constricted under the oligarchic male-­dominated atmosphere.   8 The Priyono et al. (2003) study does include the Institut Sosial Jakarta (ISJ/Jakarta Social Institute), a Roman Catholic NGO under the directorship of Sandyawan Sumardi that operated in the greater Jakarta area until around 2006.   9 In addition to internet sites, a number of television and radio channels are known to broadcast intolerant content. Although the government has closed down some internet sites, some radio channels are still operating freely and can be accessed easily. Some of these radio stations receive foreign funding. See Haeril Halim and Fadli, “Salafi movement gains ground in public sphere,” Jakarta Post (September 2, 2016). 10 On November 4 and December 2, 2016, FPI organized a series of demonstrations against Basuki Tjahaja Purnama, then governor of Jakarta. It accused him of defamation of the Quran, based on his speech (on September 27, 2016). The demonstration garnered support from diverse Islamic groups, including some radical groups that saw it as a chance to assert influence on national politics. On July 13, 2017, president Joko Widodo issued a regulation in lieu of law (Perppu no. 2 Year 2017 on Civil Society Organization) to ban the HTI from operating in the country on the grounds that its vision of establishing a transnational Islamic caliphate conflicted with the Constitution and state ideology of Pancasila. The HTI, in response, filed for a judicial review of the Perpu at the Constitutional Court. As of October 2017, the case is still ongoing. The regulation was heavily criticized by a number of progressive NGOs and legal experts as arbitrary and unwarranted. It was seen an abuse of state power, similar to the way in which the New Order government silenced its critics. 11 Key figures of JIL include Ulil Abshar-­Abdalla (born in 1967), Hamid Basyaib (born in 1962), and Luthfi Assyaukanie (born in 1967). It received generous support from the Asia Foundation and the Freedom Institute, a foundation funded by an Indonesian conglomerate, Abu Rizal Bakrie. Partly due to the lack of funding, by 2005 JIL was no longer as active as it had been, and key members have shifted their main activities elsewhere. Luthfi Assyaukanie, for example, founded a new online site, Qureta (www. qureta.com), and is now its chief editor. 12 Islam Nusantara literally means “archipelago Islam,” with archipelago referring to the “Indonesian style” of Islam. 13 Khoo (2010: 14) notes that in Malaysia “[a] few religious NGOs – such as the (Muslim) Jamaah Islah Malaysia and the (Catholic) Penang Office of Human Development – have joined civil protests and demonstrations against the state’s intensifying authoritarianism.” 14 Lies Marcoes-­Natsir (born in 1958) graduated from IAIN Syarif Hidayatullah Jakarta (1982) and holds a master’s degree from the University of Amsterdam, the Netherlands (2000). She worked with the Asia Foundation as its Senior Program Officer for gender programs and Aceh programs (2001–2013), and currently is one of its consultants. 15 Dawam Rahardjo (born in 1942) graduated from Gadjah Mada University (1969). Upon graduation, he worked at Bank of America (Jakarta office) for a couple of years.

138   Jafar Suryomenggolo

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He is one of the founders of the LP3ES (Lembaga Penelitian, Pendidikan dan Penerangan Ekonomi Sosial)’s Institute for Social and Economic Research, Education and Information, Indonesia’s first development NGO based in Jakarta (established in 1971). The institute also publishes the quarterly journal Ulumul Qur’an (“Qur’anic Studies”). Its contents include interpretations of the Quran, analysis of Islamic teachings, dialogues with other religions, and coverage of contemporary issues. Foreign religious NGOs are also developing programs with local partners. Brot für die Welt (Bread for the World), a Protestant-­funded NGO from Germany, is working with a number of local NGOs in Indonesia. Development and Peace, a Catholic-­ funded NGO from Canada, has a number of programs in rural Indonesia. The Amer­ ican Friends Service Community (the Quaker movement) operates a number of projects in some parts of Indonesia, such as West Timor. Similar to Thailand and the Philippines, the Tzu Chi organization from Taiwan is expanding its presence with its secondary schools and hospitals in some big cities in Indonesia. This situation is also the norm for many NGOs that are affiliated with the Wahhabi organizations. The Dewan Dakwah Islamiyah Indonesia (DDII, or Indonesian Council for Islamic Propagation) has also received foreign funding since its establishment in 1967 by some Masyumi activists upon the political merger of Islamic parties under the New Order regime. Hasan (2006: 43) notes that “since 1975, DDII has received twenty-­five grants every year to be distributed to all Muslim organizations” in Indonesia. On Masyumi and its political ideology, see Madinier (2012). In addition to DDII, the government of Saudi Arabia also founded the Lembaga Ilmu Pengetahuan Islam dan Bahasa Arab (LIPIA), a Jakarta-­based teaching institution of higher learning on Islam and Arabic, in 1980, and financially supports its activities. LIPIA is well known for its strict tradition of Wahhabi Salafism (based on textbooks from Saudi Arabia) and many of its graduates are prominent Salafis that have become members of radical groups. The Foundation was established by some young activists affiliated with the Republika group, an Islamic newspaper company based in Jakarta. Since 2001, the Foundation has operated independently from Republika. The Foundation received the Ramon Magsaysay Award in 2016 in recognition of its dedication and work in the community. The name translates literally as “Our Common House.” Its abbreviation could also mean “Home of Scriptures.” Rumah KitaB was initiated in 2005 by Affandi Mochtar (born in 1964), then staff at the Directorate of Islamic Education, Ministry of Religious Affairs and one of Nahdatul Ulama’s leaders. He earned a master’s degree from the Institute of Islamic Studies, McGill University (Canada) in 1993 and a PhD from IAIN Syarif Hidayatullah Jakarta. Kitab kuning are books written by local Islamic scholars as a means to transmit various lessons in the pesantren. Some books cover quite basic skills, such as Arabic language and grammar, but many are about the teaching of Islam and the rules and social life according to Islam. Although the kitab kuning tradition is of non-­Indonesian origin, it is respected as a medium of learning in many pesantren throughout the archipelago. On the subject of kitab kuning and its importance in religious learning in Indonesia, see Bruinessen 1994. One of Rumah KitaB’s missions is: “To perform regenerations of Islamic critical minds based on repertory of classical intellection or the Yellow Books.” Rumah KitaB’s current director is Lies Marcoes-­Natsir. The main staff are four young activists who are working as researchers: Jamaluddin Mohammad (born in 1979) is an alumnus of the pesantren Lirboyo Kediri (East Java) and graduated from UIN Syarif Hidayatullah (Jakarta); Mukti Ali (born in 1979) is an alumnus of the pesantren Lirboyo Kediri (East Java), graduated from Al-­Azhar University in Cairo (Egypt), and

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30 31 32


34 35 36


is currently taking a master’s course at UIN Syarif Hidayatullah (Jakarta); Roland Gunawan (born in 1982) is an alumnus of the pesantren Al-­Amien Prenduan (Madura, East Java) and graduated from Al-­Azhar University in Cairo (Egypt); and Ahmad Hilmi (born in 1985) graduated from Al-­Azhar University in Cairo (Egypt). One young staff member is Ms. Fadilla Dwianti Putri who graduated from the University of Indonesia. The issue of LGBTQ was taken up after it gained public attention due to controversial homophobic statements made by certain state officials in early 2016. Rumah KitaB uses (and introduces) the term Keragaman Hasanah Orientasi Seksual (KHOS/diversity of sexual orientations) in its program, which is supported by HIVOS (Humanistisch Insitituut voor Ontwikkelingssamenwerking), a Dutch funding agency operating in several developing countries in Asia, Africa, and Latin America. See Lies Marcoes-­Natsir and Lanny Octavia (eds.), Peta pandangan keagamaan tentang keluarga berencana: hasil penelitian lapangan Yayasan Rumah Kitab di Jakarta, Bogor, Cirebon, Yogyakarta, Surakarta dan Malang (Jakarta: Rumah KitaB, 2012). See Lies Marcoes-­Natsir (ed.), 3 dasar penolakan KB di kalangan Islam fundamentalis (Jakarta: Rumah KitaB, 2013). See Jamaluddin Mohammad, Achmat Hilmi, Mukti Ali, Roland Gunawan, Badriyah Fayumi, and Lies Marcoes, Panduan upaya memenuhi kebutuhan argumentasi keagamaan dalam perlindungan hak anak perempuan dari perkawinan usia anak-­anak (Jakarta: Rumah KitaB, 2016). The Marriage Law of 1974 is, in fact, outdated, as it contradicts the Child Protection Law of 2002 and international standards recommended by international human rights treaty bodies. See Lies Marcoes and Fadilla Dwiantri Putri (eds.), Kesaksian pengantin bocah (Jakarta: Rumah KitaB, 2016). A UNICEF report (2016) notes that girls who marry before age 15 have lower educational attainment levels than girls who marry before age 18, and child marriage is likely to end a girl’s education as it is more likely for married girls to never attend or to not complete primary school as compared to unmarried girls. See UNICEF, Progress on Pause: An analysis of child marriage data in Indonesia (Jakarta: UNICEF, 2016). Its importance is undeniable, as Munir (2005: 4) notes: “The reform of fiqh should be geared toward promoting the humanistic face of Islam especially on women. This could be done only if we could get out of the current fiqh on women and move to a fiqh that is more humane and incorporates current socio-­cultural realities.” See Mukti Ali, Roland Gunawan, Ahmad Hilmi, and Jamaluddin Mohammad, Fikih kawin anak: membaca ulang teks keagamaan perkawinan usia anak-­anak (Jakarta: Rumah KitaB, 2015). See: Lies Marcoes-­Natsir and Lanny Octavia (eds.), Kesaksian para pengabdi: kajian tentang perempuan dan fundamentalisme di Indonesia (Jakarta: Rumah KitaB, 2014). Roland Gunawan, “Islam, Perempuan dan Fundamentalisme di Indonesia,” in Lies Marcoes-­Natsir and Lanny Octavia (eds.), Kesaksian para pengabdi: kajian tentang perempuan dan fundamentalisme di Indonesia (Jakarta: Rumah KitaB, 2014), p.  2 notes: “Para perempuan yang diperistri ini bukanlah tanpa latar belakang pengetahuan keagamaan. Mereka juga umumnya anak-­anak dari tokoh lokal agama yang bergerak dalam kegiatan keagamaan. Sangat mungkin mereka memiliki ideologi dan keyakinan yang sejalan dengan cara pandang suaminya.” The Paramadina Foundation (Yayasan Wakaf Paramadina) was established in 1986 and conceptualized by Nurcholis Madjid, Dawam Rahardjo, and other middle-­class Muslim intellectuals. It started as a learning club on religious issues and since then has received generous financial support from local donors that allowed it to expand. By 1998 it had established a university. Nurcholis Madjid was active in multi-­faceted dialogues that represented moderate Islam. As a public intellectual, he was highly

140   Jafar Suryomenggolo 38 39



42 43



respected in Indonesia and gained international recognition. On Nurcholis Madjid’s intellectual contributions, see Munawar-­Rachman 2010. PUSAD was established as an independent organization on the twentieth anniversary of the Paramadina Foundation. It has its own office space, financial accounts, and programs. Ihsan Ali-­Fauzi graduated from UIN Syarif Hidayatullah (Jakarta) and attended a master’s course on Southeast Asian history and political science at Ohio University (USA). The other co-­founder is Samsu Rizal Panggabean, who is an alumnus of the pesantren Gontor (East Java), graduated from Gadjah Mada University (Yogyakarta) in 1990, and obtained a master’s degree from George Mason University (USA) in 1996. He is a lecturer at the Department of International Relations, Gadjah Mada University. Fellow co-­founders are Saiful Mujani, Arief Subhan, Hendro Prasetyo, and Budhy Munawar-­Rachman. All of them are middle-­class Muslim intellectuals, active in society, and represent moderate Islam. Budhy Munawar-­Rachman is working as the program officer on Islam and Development at the Asia Foundation, one of the PUSAD’s main sponsors. Both Husni Mubarok and Irsyad Rafsadi (born in 1987) graduated from UIN Syarif Hidayatullah (Jakarta). Husni Mubarok is a member of Jaringan Masyarakat Anti Kekerasan (Anti-­Violence Network Society), a loose alliance of a number of NGOs and individuals who campaigned for the state to end and settle religious violence (in 2011–2012). Since graduation, he has also worked as a lecturer at Paramadina University. See: Husni Mubarok, “Memahami kembali arti keragaman: dimensi eksistensial, sosial dan institusional,” in Harmoni: Jurnal Multikultural & Multireligius, 9(35) (2010): pp. 32–45. See Rizal Panggabean and Ihsan Ali-­Fauzi, Policing Religious Conflicts in Indonesia (translated by Natalia Laskowska) Jakarta: PUSAD, 2015. Intra-­religious conflicts included two anti-­Ahmadiyya cases in Manis Lor (Kuningan, West Java) and in Cikeusik (Pandeglang, West Java), and two anti-­Shi’a cases in Sampang (Madura, East Java) and in Bangil (Pasuruan, East Java). Inter-­religious conflicts involved places of worship, including two cases related to Christian churches (the HKBP Filadelfia church in Bekasi (West Java) and the GKI Yasmin church in Bogor (West Java)), and two cases related to mosques (the Nur Musafir mosque in Kupang (East Nusa Tenggara) and the Abdurrahman mosque in Ende (East Nusa Tenggara)). PUSAD also states that it is collaborating “to run the Police, Civil Society and Religious Conflict in Indonesia program to contribute to the protection of religious freedom in the country.” PUSAD is also collaborating with the local Forum Kerukunan Umat Beragama (FKUB/Interfaith Harmony Forum) to organize workshops and seminars on religious freedom. On October 4–7, 2016, in collaboration with FKUB of Tasikmalaya regency (West Java) and Gabungan Organisasi Wanita (GOW/Women’s Organization Federation), PUSAD organized a workshop with 30 female participants. In August 2016, PUSAD facilitated the meeting of a working group of researchers and policy makers on religious issues in Indonesia. The speakers were: Komaruddin Hidayat (in 2007), Goenawan Mohamad (in 2008), Ahmad Syafii Maarif (in 2009), Karlina Supelli (in 2010), William Liddle (in 2011), Faisal Basri (in 2012), Sidney Jones (in 2013), Franz Magnis-­Suseno (in 2014), and Chaiwat Satha-­Anand (in 2015). On Goenawan Mohamad’s lecture, see Ihsan Ali-­Fauzi and Samsu Rizal Panggabean (eds.), Demokrasi dan Kekecewaan (2009); on Syafii Maarif ’s lecture, see Samsu Rizal Panggabean and Ihsan Ali-­Fauzi (eds.), Politik Identitas dan Masa Depan Pluralisme Kita (2010); on Karlina Supelli’s lecture, see Ihsan Ali-­Fauzi and Zainal Abidin Bagir (eds.), Dari Kosmologi ke Dialog: Mengenal Batas Pengetahuan, Menentang Fanatisme (2011); on William Liddle’s lecture, see Ihsan Ali-­ Fauzi and Samsu Rizal Panggabean (eds.), Memperbaiki Mutu Demokrasi di Indonesia:

Democratization and religious NGOs in Indonesia   141



48 49

50 51 52 53 54


Sebuah Perdebatan (2012); on Faisal Basri’s lecture, see Dinna Wisnu and Ihsan Ali-­ Fauzi (eds.), Menemukan Konsensus Kebangsaan Baru: Negara, Pasar, dan Cita-­cita Keadilan (2013); on Franz Magnis-­Suseno’s lecture, see Ayu Mellisa and Husni Mubarok (eds.), Agama, keterbukaan dan demokrasi: harapan dan tantangan (2015); on Sidney Jones’ lecture, see Husni Mubarok and Irsyad Rasfadi (eds.), Sisi gelap demokrasi: kekerasan masyarakat madani di Indonesia (2015); on Chaiwat Satha-­ Anand’s lecture, see Ihsan Ali-­Fauzi, Rizal Panggabean and Irsyad Rafsadi (eds.), “Barangsiapa memelihara kehidupan …”: esai-­esai tentang nirkekerasan dan kewajiban Islam (2015). The publication of some of these books is supported by PT Newmont Pacific Nusantara, a mining company operating in Indonesia. PUSAD also organizes the bi-­annual Ahmad Wahib Award, a writing contest for young scholars to seek inspiration based on Ahmad Wahib’s thoughts. The writing contest was initially organized by FORMACI in 2003 and 2005 with the support of the Freedom Institute, a Jakarta-­based think tank founded by Rizal Mallarangeng. It was halted for five years due to lack of funding. PUSAD revived it in 2010, 2012, and 2014, with the support of the Freedom Institute (Jakarta) and HIVOS. With the closing of the Freedom Institute, the writing contest was once again halted. See Saidiman Ahmad, Testriono, and Husni Mubarok (eds.), Pembaharuan tanpa apologia? Esai-­essai tentang Ahmad Wahib (2010); Zen Rs and Siswo Mulyartono (eds.), Me-­ WAHIB: Memahami Toleransi, Identitas dan Cinta di Tengah Keberagaman (2015). To commemorate the 1000-day anniversary of the death of Nurcholis Madjid, PUSAD organized a writing contest in 2008. See Ihsan Ali-­Fauzi and Ade Armando (eds.), All you need is love! Cak Nur di mata anak-­anak muda (2008). The publication of this book was supported by PT Newmont Pacific Nusantara. The Knowledge Sector Initiative (KSI), which started in May 2013, has been supporting research-­based organizations in Indonesia to promote their research works and findings to some government agencies, and to facilitate collaborations, especially on social development issues. For more about KSI, see www.ksi-indonesia.org/index. php/about-2/ (accessed on November 1, 2017). In their collective effort to collaborate with government agencies, the KSI and its partners organized a one-­day seminar on research-­based policy making (Mendorong Kebijakan Publik Berbasis Riset) on May 19, 2016 in Bandung. The institute lists four names as its founders: Abdurrahman Wahid, Gregorius Barton, Yenny Zannuba Wahid, and Ahmad Suaedy. Yenny Wahid (born in 1974), daughter of Abdurrahman Wahid, is its current director (since 2011). Ahmad Suaedy (born in 1963) was its first director for seven years (2004–2011). Gregorius Barton writes the authorized biography of Abdurrahman Wahid; see Abdurrahman Wahid: Muslim Democrat, Indonesian President: A View from Inside (Honolulu: University of Hawaii Press, 2002). The discussions to form the institute had begun as early as August 2001. B.J. Habibie, president of Indonesia (May 1998–October 1999), established the Habibie Center on November 10, 1999. He set this trend in post-­1998 Indonesia. On Abdurrahman Wahid’s intellectual contributions, see Munawar-­Rachman, 2010. Due to his conflicts with some members of the political elite, being voted out by the parliament (MPR), Abdurrahman Wahid was forced to step down from the presidency on July 23, 2001. He died on December 30, 2009 (at the age of 69). It lists its program areas as Aceh, Jakarta, Banten, West Java, Central Java, East Java, West Nusa Tenggara, South Sulawesi, and Sangihe island. The institute has published an annual report on the condition of freedom of religion in Indonesia from 2008 until 2015. With financial support from the TIFA Foundation, it also published a 16-page Monthly Report on Religious Issues (albeit irregularly) from August 2007 until November 2012 (issue no. 46). See also Ahmad Suaedy, “Religious freedom and violence in Indonesia,” in Islam in Contention: Rethinking Islam and the State in Indonesia, edited by Ota Atsushi, Okamoto Masaaki, and Ahmad Suaedy (Jakarta: Wahid Institute, 2010), pp. 139–169.

142   Jafar Suryomenggolo 56 It also documents cases of how some government agencies, especially local civil registrars and the office of religious affairs (KUA/Kantor Urusan Agama), failed (in some cases refused) to provide equal access to administrative services for Ahmadiyya communities. 57 The Alliance was initiated, among others, by Dawam Rahardjo. On June 1, 2008, to commemorate the 63rd anniversary of Pancasila, the Alliance held a rally at Monas Square. To their surprise, the rally was attacked by the FPI under the direction of Muhammad Rizieq Syihab and Munarwan. Many Alliance members were seriously injured and hospitalized. On June 5 Rizieq was arrested by the police, and on June 10 Munarwan joined him in detention; both were charged with a crime against public order. In October, both were found guilty as charged by the Central Jakarta District Court and were sentenced to 18 months in prison. 58 Abdurrahman Wahid (ed.), Ilusi Negara Islam: ekspansi gerakan Islam transnasional di Indonesia. Jakarta: Wahid Institute, 2009. In the introduction, Abdurrahman Wahid states that the book is a result of a two-­year research project under the sponsorship of the LibForAll Foundation, a US-­based organization of which he was a co-­founder. 59 The book notes that “transnational Islamic networks” include the Wahhabi, Ikhwanul Muslimin, Hizbut Tahrir, and the Partai Keadilan Sejahtera (PKS/Prosperous Justice Party). 60 In 2014, the institute ran a campaign demanding that public agencies provide services to minority groups without discrimination. See Subhi Azhari, Alamsyah M. Djafar, and Abi Nugroho, Policy Brief: Layanan Adminduk bagi kelompok minoritas. Jakarta: Wahid Institute, 2014. This project is supported by the TIFA Foundation. 61 See Ahmad Suaedy, Alamsyah M. Dja’far, M. Subhi Azhari, and Rumadi, Islam dan kaum minoritas: tantangan kontemporer (Jakarta: Wahid Institute, 2012), in particular Chapter 2 (Islam and discourse on minority), which is written by Rumadi. Rumadi (born in 1970) graduated from IAIN Walisongo Semarang (1994) and earned his PhD from UIN Syarif Hidayatullah Jakarta (2006); he is a senior researcher at the institute. Alamsyah M. Dja’far (born 1979) graduated from UIN Syarif Hidayatullah Jakarta (2003) and works as program officer for research at the institute; he is a member of the Jaringan Masyarakat Anti Kekerasan (Anti-­Violence Network Society). The publication of this book was supported by the Australian embassy in Jakarta. 62 The survey involved 1,520 respondents from all of Indonesia’s 34 provinces. All respondents were Muslims above 17 years old. The survey found that while 38.7 percent of respondents did not harbor any dislike toward minority groups, the percentage of respondents that dislike the LGBT community (26.1 percent) is relatively higher than the percentage that dislike communists (16.7 percent) and Jews (10.6 percent). The survey was conducted in cooperation with the Indonesia Survey Institute (LSI), with support from the Asia Foundation. See Hans Nicholas Jong, “LGBT community most disliked by Indonesian Muslims: Survey” in Jakarta Post (August 1, 2016). 63 In 2014 it organized media training for students from 11 high schools with support from the Canada International Development Agency. With support from HIVOS, it organized advocacy training for 600 youths in Cirebon, Sukabumi, and Tasikmalaya. On November 15, 2016, Alamsyah M. Dja’far gave a talk in a seminar on inter-­ religious dialogue in Bekasi (West Java), organized by the Agency for the Unity of Nation and Politics (Badan Kesatuan Bangsa dan Politik) of the Bekasi regency government. 64 For example, it organized a one-­day consultation forum in Jayapura, West Papua on September 17, 2016 on “protection of the freedom of religion,” with support from the TIFA Foundation. 65 The institute distributed humanitarian aid and social services for tsunami victims in Aceh (2004), earthquake victims in Yogyakarta (2006), and Babelan flood victims in Jakarta (2007), and provided assistance to victims of the Merapi eruption and Mentawai tsunami (2010).

Democratization and religious NGOs in Indonesia   143 66 In 2014, it organized an “economic empowerment for peace” program in cooperation with eight Majelis Taklim women’s groups in Sukabumi, Garut, Tasikmalaya, and Bandung (all in West Java), with support from the Ford Foundation. It also organized a similar program in Depok (West Java), with support of the Body Shop and the Finland embassy in Jakarta. 67 Interview with Mukti Ali (August 9, 2016). 68 Interview with Irsyad Rafsadi (August 11, 2016). 69 See http://islami.co/kenapa-aku-bikin-islami-dot-co/ (accessed on November 8, 2016). Mohamad Syafi’ Ali graduated from IAIN Sunan Kalijaga Yogyakarta. 70 See www.islambegerak.com (accessed on November 8, 2016). Islam Bergerak (Islam in Motion) is an online platform for young Muslims to express their concerns on diverse contemporary issues: politics, the environment, inter-­religion, cultural analysis, and social change. It claims to be the “face of progressive Islam in Indonesia.” Its editors are Roy Murtadho and Muhammad Al-­Fayyadl. Roy Murtadho (born in 1983) is an alumnus of the pesantren Lirboyo Kediri (East Java) and the pesantren Al-­Munawwir Krapyak (Jogjakarta), and attended the Driyarkara School of Philosophy (Jakarta). Based in Jombang (East Java), he is also active in the Front Nahdliyin untuk Keadilan Sumber Daya Alam (Front of Nahdliyin for Justice of Natural Resources), an ad-­hoc committee of young members of the Nahdatul Ulama. Al-­ Fayyadl (born in 1985) is an alumnus of the pesantren Annuqayah, Sumenep (East Java) and the pesantren Al-­Munawwir Krapyak (Jogjakarta). He graduated from IAIN Sunan Kalijaga Yogyakarta (2009) and earned his master’s degree from Université de Paris VIII (2014); he is based in Probolinggo (East Java). 71 Religious NGOs have also learned from the inability of JIL to gain wider acceptance in society. 72 Jaringan Kerja Lembaga Pelayanan Kristen di Indonesia (JKLPKI/Network of Christian Social Ministry Institutions in Indonesia) has developed programs on pluralism, democracy, and climate change. Interview with Woro Wahyuningtyas (August 6, 2016). See also Rainy Hutabarat, Merajut kebhinnekaan memaknai Indonesia (Jakarta: JKLPK Indonesia/Yakoma-­PGI, 2015). On November 9, 2016, Mukti Ali from Rumah KitaB posted a short essay on land reclamation; see “Reklamasi dalam nalar santri” (http:// rumahkitab.com/reklamasi-dalam-nalar-santri/, accessed on November 10, 2016).

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Part IV

The negative links in Thailand

8 Contingent authoritarians Why Thai civil society and the middle class oppose democracy Veerayooth Kanchoochat

Introduction: Thailand’s democratic zigzag Democratisation in Thailand is neither a linear nor a smooth process. At the time of writing (mid-­2017), the latest valid general election was held in 2011, five years after a military coup in 2006 and one year after a violent crackdown on the ‘red shirt’ protesters in 2010. In the early 2010s, most political analysts were pessimistic and feared the worst for post-­election prospects. With deeper social division after the crackdown, and Thaksin Shinawatra’s sister, Yingluck, poised to be the next prime minister, another round of chaos seemed inevitable. However, contrary to the pessimistic mood, the election was generally peaceful, while Yingluck appeared to reach an informal settlement with the opposition, including the army. Political stability was increasingly realised from late 2011 onward. And once the Yingluck government passed the two-­year milestone that marked its half term in office in August 2013, many leaders of the ruling parties started talking about the next election in parallel with analysts thinking about the country’s democratic consolidation with renewed optimism. One example of the latter is found in Democracy in East Asia: A New Century (2013), in which in the very first sentences Larry Diamond says of Thailand: For many comparativists, Thailand is a puzzle. It has a per capita income and a human-­development score roughly equivalent to those of Poland when it made its transition to democracy around 1990 (and not that much lower than what South Korea could boast in 1988). In terms of modernization theory, then, it seems well placed to become a stable democracy … …  At least the military seems to have learned from the political turbulence and polarization of the last decade that its direct intervention will not solve the country’s political problems. If the 2006 coup does prove to be the last in Thailand’s history, democracy will sink firmer roots over the coming decade as modernization further raises incomes and education. (Diamond, 2013, pp. xi–xii) With the benefit of hindsight, we now know that the path to democratic consolidation was not taken. Just one year after publication of that book, the military

150   Veerayooth Kanchoochat staged a coup to remove the Yingluck government on 22 May 2014, and the country has been run by the military junta until now (mid-­2017). Thailand proves to be an even more puzzling case for comparativists. While pessimism was misplaced in 2010–11, optimism was mistaken in 2013–14. Democratisation seems to have taken a non-­linear, and rather zigzag, trajectory in Thailand. Moreover, the route leading to the recent military coup involved a sequence of unprecedented moves by leading civil society organisations and the Bangkok middle class, which collectively called for the replacement of an elected government with a ‘special administration’. In other words, not only did the military not learn about political neutrality, as analysts expected, but actors who paved the way for the coup included the two groups – civil society and the middle class – who are supposed to be pro-­democratic social forces. The behaviour of civil society and the middle class in Thailand raises a more general question about the relationship between social forces and democratisation in the context of late development. This chapter examines the tripartite link between civil society, the middle class and democratisation in Thailand from the departure of semi-­democracy in 1988 to the latest coup in 2014. The discussion is organised in five sections. The first section briefly explores a theoretical debate on democratic agents, and summarises my argument for conceptualising Thai civil society and the Bangkok middle class as ‘contingent authoritarians’. It is argued that both social forces have the intrinsic inclination towards authoritarianism due to their dependence on state sponsorship, but in the short term their political actions are contingent, such as taking a pro-­ reform stance in the mid-­1990s, in order to defend their interests and ideologies within a specific context. The second section traces the formation and evolution of civil society and the middle class to illustrate how both social forces have increasingly been dependent upon the Thai state and its traditional elite. Sections three and four discuss how, in defending their interests and ideologies, various groups of civil society and the Bangkok middle class turned from a pro-­democratic position in 1992 to a pro-­coup stance in 2006–14. In addition to the institutional tendency of both groups towards authoritarianism, this chapter highlights different contextual settings in those two periods that shaped different incentives for their collective action. A short conclusion follows to recap the interaction of institutions, interests and ideologies that determine the political actions of Thai civil society organisations and the Bangkok middle class in recent decades.

Theoretical issues and the argument Whither democratic agents? There exists a long tradition in political science that perceives certain social forces, especially capitalists and organised labour, as democratic agents. This is because, historically, their material interests were most likely to collide with non-­democratic states, as seen in much of the Western European history (see Moore 1966; Rueschemeyer, Stephens, and Stephens 1992). Nonetheless, the

Contingent authoritarians in Thailand   151 assumption about democratic agencies proves unfounded in the context of late development, where the experience has varied considerably. Before the 2000s, organised labour was both an active champion of democratisation (in Korea, Chile and Zambia) and an anti-­democratic alliance (in Mexico, Tunisia and Egypt). Likewise, capitalists have been either agents of democracy (in Korea by the mid-­1980s and Brazil by the late 1980s) or the opposite (Sueharto’s Indonesia and Singapore). This leads to the general conclusion that, in late-­developing countries, there is no deterministic relationship between particular social forces (labour and capital) and political positions (democratic or authoritarian). Saying that there is no deterministic relationship does not mean there is no plausible explanation. However, level of development, as measured by per capita gross national product, and cultural heritage, such as colonialism or religion, were initial explanatory variables that proved to be insufficient (see Teorell 2010 for detailed discussion). Bellin (2000) pays more attention to specific conditions of latecomers and makes an argument for ‘contingent democrats’ – arguing that peculiar conditions of late development often make capital and labour much more ambivalent about democratisation than was true for early industrialisers. Like early industrialisers, capital and labour in late-­developing countries will stand up for democracy only when democracy tends to be advancing their own material interests. The important factors are historical circumstances, such as state dependence, fear of uprising and aristocratic position, that determine whether the interests of capitalists and labour contradict authoritarian regimes. As a result, ‘capital and labour are contingent democrats for the very reason that they are consistent defenders of their material interests’ (Bellin 2000: 179, original italics). In cases where there has been extensive state sponsorship, structural weaknesses of social forces and pervasive poverty, capital and labour are likely to ally with authoritarian states rather than championing democratisation. If capital and labour are inconsistent democratic agents, why should we assume otherwise for other social forces? This chapter begins with a presumption that the above ‘indeterministic relationships’ argument is applicable to the case of civil society and the middle class – whose interests are inclined to be even more diverse, both internally and between them, than those of capitalists and organised labour. In early literature, civil society was seen as ‘the realm of organised social life that is voluntary, self-­generating, (largely) self-­supporting, autonomous from the state, and bound by a legal order or set of shared rules’ (Diamond 1994: 5). Following this positive definition, in democratic transitions civil society was expected to play a major role in mobilising pressure for political change. Afterwards, civil society should play a major role in counter-­ balancing state power and encouraging wider citizen participation in the process of democratic consolidation. However, recent experiences of social movements in Latin America, Eastern Europe and Southeast Asia have witnessed a number of ‘uncivil societies’ which employed violent ideas and tactics to achieve undemocratic goals (see Boyd 2004; Weiss 2015). Likewise, the middle class was expected to perform the role of democratic promoter (Lipset 1959; Huntington 1991).1 Economic growth and industrialisation

152   Veerayooth Kanchoochat are supposed to create the middle-­class masses, who would demand more rights to protect and enhance their economic gains. Yet across the developing world, from Russia and Ukraine to Venezuela, Honduras and the Philippines in the 2000s, we have witnessed the middle classes rage against democracy because they perceived electoral politics to be the primary source of economic instability, populist policies and corruption (Kurlantzick 2013). Moreover, the economic success of China has demonstrated that the rise of the middle classes does not always lead to democratic demands. These new middle classes can form part and parcel of a high-­growth authoritarian regime (see Chen 2013). Yet again, the messy fact about their indeterministic relationships should not deter us from finding a plausible explanation. Rather, it should remind us to begin an analysis by acknowledging the complicated nature of their causal links. To take up this analytical challenge, I therefore resort to Peter Hall’s (1997) troika of ‘interests, ideas and institutions’ as alternative frameworks for explaining political economy phenomena. The argument: contingent authoritarians This chapter conceptualises the political characters of civil society and the middle class in Thailand as ‘contingent authoritarians’. Different from the interest-­based framework of Bellin (2000), my analysis considers the dynamic political actions of these social forces as stemming from the interaction between material, ideological and institutional factors. In the case of Thailand, an institutional factor, namely state dependence, is the most foundational one in shaping the political actions of these two social forces. Compared to early industrialisers, both civil society and the middle class in Thailand have a relatively short historical evolution. State sponsorship, in financial and organisational terms, has been instrumental in forming and fostering both social forces, making them heavily dependent on the state as well as the traditional elite, and thereby inherently supportive of authoritarianism. Nonetheless, despite their authoritarian tendency, in the short run they may conduct collective action in a ‘pro-­democracy’ manner, as observed in the May 1992 event. This is because Thai politics in the 1990s was characterised by a fragmented parliament and rent-­seeking activities. Within this context, civil society organisations and the Bangkok middle class were incentivised to topple the Suchinda regime and demand political reform in a way that enhanced their interests (privileged positions in the country’s political economy) and ideologies (morally conservative mode of governance), as evident in the 1997 Constitution. When the political game changed from 2001 towards monopolistic politics and the surge of appointed bodies, their political stances shifted again to defend their material interests and group ideologies. An ideological issue deserves further elaboration. In this chapter, the focus is on governance ideologies that define the way social actors think about desirable intra-­state and state–society relations. With special reference to Southeast Asia, Rodan and Hughes (2014) classify governance ideologies into three types:

Contingent authoritarians in Thailand   153 democratic, liberal and moral. The key question to distinguishing between them is whose authority is advanced by accountability practices: Democratic accountability ideologies advance the authority of the sovereign people; liberal ideologies advance the authority of the freely contracting individual in the political or economic sphere; moral ideologies advance the authority of established or charismatic moral guardians who interpret or ordain correct modes of behaviour for public officials. (Rodan and Hughes 2014: v) Classifying ideologies in this subtle fashion facilitates an understanding of the political choices of civil society organisations and the middle class in Thailand. For example, although the alliance for the May 1992 demonstrations was rather broad, covering cross-­class liberal and democratic groups, it was a liberal–moral coalition that took advantage and successfully pushed forward its agenda in the 1997 Constitution. In sum, this chapter argues that the short-­term, inconsistent political stances of Thai civil society and the middle class, between the 1990s and 2010s, can be attributed to their incentives to reinforce their privileged positions and moral ideologies vis-­à-vis other social forces, especially provincial politicians and their rural constituencies. Meanwhile, their long-­term orientation towards authoritarianism is shaped by their organisational and financial dependence on the state, a crucial point which the next section shall take up in fuller detail.

Thai civil society and the Bangkok middle class Thai civil society: increasing state dependence Thailand’s civil society is composed mainly of non-­governmental organisations (NGOs), community-­based organisations, and people’s movements. All of them began to expand from the mid-­1980s onwards and have been increasingly centralised and state-­dependent as time passes. Only after the decline of communism in the mid-­1980s were the NGOs in Thailand officially permitted to expand. This early period was marked by a proliferation of small, local NGOs which operated as welfare providers and concentrated on economic benefits. The Thai state tried to exert its influence on civil society organisations from the beginning. However, in the early period of coordination, the NGOs ‘has never been a tame partner of the NESDB [National Economic and Social Development Board] or of any other government agencies and has been unwilling merely to supplement the work of the government agencies’ (Shigetomi 2006: 7). Foreign donors were the key source of finance from the mid-­1980s to the early 1990s, thereby allowing most local NGOs to distance themselves from the Thai state. Nonetheless, from the 1990s funding from foreign donors fell into decline, encouraging Thai NGOs to reconfigure their relationship with the Thai state.

154   Veerayooth Kanchoochat They gradually developed a strong alliance with reformist technocrats and business sectors (Kanokrat 2012: 20). Upon the process of drafting the eighth national plan in the mid-­1990s, the NESDB appointed Paiboon Wattanasiritham and Prawes Wasi, two key civil society leaders, to its committee on decentralisation and rural development. Another fruit of this changed approach was the founding of the Community Organisation Development Institution (CODI) in 1996. The CODI has since developed to become ‘one of Thailand’s most expansive and resourceful development organisations’ of the present time (Thorn 2016: 521). The aftermath of the Asian financial crisis in 1997–8 further embedded civil society organisations into the Thai state. As detailed in Shigetomi (2006), in the process of mediating with local people and villages that suffered from the crisis, NGOs came to work more closely with the state. The Chuan government (1997–2001) ordered the Government Savings Bank (GSB) to manage a rescue scheme (Social Investment Fund or SIF ) and assigned Paiboon Wattanasiritham as the Director General of the GSB. The size of the fund was enormous, with 120 million dollars equivalent to 4,700 million baht. Moreover, the fund had to be distributed within a short period of time (40 months), according to the World Bank’s plan to alleviate the impact of the economic crisis at grass-­roots level. Regional and provincial committees were set up to screen the proposals but the personal networks among local NGOs played a crucial role in this process. By the end of this project, the fund had been distributed to support approximately 7,000 organisational activities, covering one-­tenth of the total number of villages in Thailand. After this ad hoc rescue programme came to an end in the early 2000s, there was the initiative to locate peak civil society organisations, especially the CODI and the newly established Thai Health Promotion Foundation, as the ‘hub and spokes’ of civil society with a capacity to fund local NGOs and community-­ based organisations (Thorn 2016: 524). In 2001 the CODI began its fully fledged operation for this purpose, with 2,850 million baht inherited from other civil society organisations and 270 million baht from the government, in addition to 21,273 local organisations in its network (Shigetomi 2006: 16). Accordingly, there has been an increasing centralisation of Thai civil society organisations, with the state being a new cradle of financial and organisational resource that replaced the foreign donors since the mid-­1990s. Bangkok middle class: product of Thai state The middle class is not easily defined. Some influential work, such as that by Easterly (2001), classifies the middle class as those in the second, third and fourth quintile of the distribution of per capita consumption expenditure, while Birdsall, Graham and Pettinato (2000) include individuals earning between 75 and 125 per cent of a society’s median per capita income. The Asian Development Bank (2010) used an absolute approach, defining the middle class as those with consumption expenditures of $2–20 per person per day in 2005 purchasing

Contingent authoritarians in Thailand   155 power parity (PPP), and found that Thailand is one of the five Asian countries with the largest middle class by population share.2 Although the urban middle class has existed in Thailand since the early twentieth century, its expansion to become a significant part of society began in the 1960s, and especially from the 1980s onward, with the number of the workforce with a tertiary degree growing from 0.2 million in 1970 to 1.8 million in 1990 and nine million in 2014 (Baker 2016: 398). A study by Funatsu and Kagoya (2003)3 defines the Thai middle class based on occupation, dividing it into two groups: (a)  the ‘new middle class’, those upper-­white-collar people employed in ­professional–technical jobs, administrative–managerial jobs and non-­routine clerical jobs; and (b) the ‘old middle class’, the lower-­middle strata consisting of proprietors and routine non-­manual employees, including routine clerical, sales and service workers. A few interesting findings are as follows. First, if calculated based on occupation, the number of middle class citizens in Thailand continually rose from 15 per cent in 1960 to 33.7 per cent in 2000 (p. 248). Second, birthplace does matter for social mobility in Thailand. The study finds that more than 60 per cent of those belonging to the middle classes (occupation-­based definition) are from metropolitan Bangkok, with the proportion reaching only 70 per cent if those from local cities are included (p. 252). Third, despite having different social backgrounds, what the Thai middle class share in common is ‘education-­based homogeneity’. This is because the important variables determining an individual’s income are the years of schooling and the age cohort (p.  257). Fourth, when it comes to national problems, the Thai middle class is most concerned with ‘the spread of corruption’ (65.1 per cent), followed by deterioration of the environment (62.8 per cent) and excessive wealth gap (34.9 per cent). Residing in Bangkok seems to be the major route that takes Thai people to middle-­class status, because public expenditure is extremely biased towards Bangkok. A report by the World Bank (2014) found that 72 per cent of the country’s public expenditure is concentrated on Bangkok and the adjacent provinces, despite the capital region having only 17 per cent of the population and producing only 26 per cent of the GDP. In stark contrast, the northeast region receives only 6 per cent of total expenditure, the least of all the regions, although it has 34 per cent of the population and contributes 11 per cent of the national output. Put together, when we talk about the middle class in Thailand, it is basically the Bangkok middle class. There exists some opportunity for social mobility through education, but such an opportunity has been concentrated in Bangkok. Moreover, what would the Bangkok middle class’ primary concern about Thailand be? It is corruption first and foremost, while inequality is far less important. In short, if one wants to be part of a middle-­class community in Thailand, one needs to do three things: move to Bangkok, have a good education, and get worried about corruption. Furthermore, it should be noted that corruption in the eyes of the Bangkok middle class has a specific meaning – one that reflects the bias against provinces and elected politicians – due to the influence of continuous campaigns conducted by civic groups. These anti-­corruption campaigns, which have

156   Veerayooth Kanchoochat attempted to redefine desirable democracy to mean ‘clean politics’, have comprised four related discourses: (1) politicians are extremely corrupt; (2) politicians come to power by buying votes; (3) an election does not equal democracy; and (4) democracy means a moral, ethical rule. As financially supported by the military and bureaucrats, the anti-­corruption campaigns have a clear target, which is elected politicians: ‘[a]lthough corruption is as widespread in the bureaucracy and private corporations as in politics, politicians are portrayed as and believed to be the bigger fish and the origin of more serious corruption’ (Thongchai 2008: 24). In a nutshell, Thai civil society organisations and the Bangkok middle class have been increasingly dependent on state sponsorship over time. State dependence is the most important factor shaping the long-­term preference of both social forces towards authoritarianism. Yet, in the short term, civil society organisations and the middle class may have varying political choices in response to the different circumstances, some of them even seeming ‘pro-­reform’, as seen in the 1990s. These inconsistent actions are easier to extrapolate when we delve into the next sections concerning the evolution of the broader political contexts.

The fragmented and rent-­seeking era, 1988–2000 Leading civil society organisations and the Bangkok middle class made four critical political choices in the 1990s. Generally, both social forces opposed the Chatichai and Suchinda governments, while advocating for the Anand administrations and the 1997 Constitution. These four political choices well reflect the incentive of both social forces who sought to defend their own interests and ideologies in the context of fragmented politics and rent-­seeking. Contexts: fragmented parliament and rent-­seeking prevalence On the one hand, Thai politics in this era was characterised by fragmented, multi-­party governments. Even the previous ‘semi-­democratic’ regime of General Prem Tinsulanonda (1980–8) rested on this sort of politics in parliament. In eight general elections held between 1979 and 1996, no political party attained a majority in parliament. The largest parties won between 21.9 per cent (in the 1992 election) and 31.8 per cent (in the 1996 election) of all MPs’ seats. Factional conflicts, both intra- and inter-­party, led to the downfall of five of 11 governments. Cabinets in the 1990s lasted an average of only nine months (Kuhonta 2011: 167). On the other hand, the political economy of this era was laden with rent-­ seeking activities. Particularly prior to 1997, the rent-­seeking pattern in Thailand was conceptualised as ‘competitive clientelism’ (Doner and Ramsay 1997). The ruling coalitions, either military or civilian, were highly factionalised. Thai firms were able to earn rents by gaining oligopolistic positions in the market, but the level of those rents was limited by a degree of competition within the system. The military and bureaucracy were also factionalised. The private

Contingent authoritarians in Thailand   157 banks, dominated by six Sino-­Thai families, were at the centre of rent-­seeking activities. However, with few absolute monopolies, most firms had to invest both in political networking and technological capability. As a result, the endemic rent-­seeking was accompanied by a high level of investment and economic growth (see Thanee and Pasuk 2008). Distasted for Chatichai, glorified Anand The Chatichai government (1988–91) The declining popularity and stepping down of Prem were followed by the triumph of provincial politicians. After the 1988 general election, Chatichai Choonhavan, the leader of the Chat Thai Party, was an elected civilian prime minister taking office for the first time since the 1973–6 democratic spell. But Chatichai’s six-­party coalition government lasted for only two-­and-a-­half years before the military coup on 23 February 1991. The coup was executed with strong support from the civilian bureaucrats and urban businesses, who deemed elected politicians and political parties a threat (Chai-­Anan 1997: 52). From the start, the Bangkok middle class did not favour the Chatichai government. Although the government gained some popularity from its economic and foreign policies, it was more widely known as a ‘buffet cabinet’, a take-­ what-you-­like group of government ministers. With a huge proportion of ministers who were provincial politicians, there was a widespread sentiment that the government was dominated by local and corrupt mafias (Englehart 2003: 257). Thus there were only minor protests over the 1991 coup. No crowds emerged in Bangkok, as they would later on in 1992 for a different reason. The Far Eastern Economic Review reported that the 1991 coup ‘was widely accepted, almost popular’ and the Thai stock market even rose after the military junta named Anand Panyarachun as the new prime minister (Englehart 2003: 258). The fact that the Bangkok middle class welcomed the coup that removed the elected government and cherished the technocratic government of Anand reflected its priority of ‘good governance’ over democracy. For civil society, especially local NGOs, the relationship between them and the Chatichai government worsened from political alliances to enemies. Initially, Kraisak Choonhavan, Chatichai’s son, and some former left-­wing activists who were the prime minister’s policy advisers, had close links with NGOs. A cabinet meeting was held outside Bangkok for the first time to discuss provincial matters, resulting in the formation of a committee of officials, with NGO representatives, to solve villagers’ problems in forest reserves. However, as documented in Prudhisan and Maneerat (1997: 201–6), the Chatichai government continuously adopted numerous ‘free-­wheeling’ economic policies that caused rifts. During the high-­growth period, the demand for rural resources increased sharply, leading to a large number of conflicts between NGOs and provincial business involving local environmental issues. Accordingly, the relationship between the Chatichai government and the NGOs deteriorated during his tenure.

158   Veerayooth Kanchoochat The Anand governments (1991–2 and 1992) In sharp contrast, the first regime of Anand Panyarachun (March 1991 to April 1992), a diplomat-­turned-businessman, was glorified by the Bangkok middle class. Anand formed a cabinet of senior technocrats and businessmen, and strongly pushed forward policies for further export-­oriented industrialisation. Starting from late 1991, Anand fell into fierce conflict with the generals who had installed him. However, the business associations publicly sided with Anand and opposed the military’s attempts to enhance its power (Pasuk and Baker 1997: 29). From the perspective of the Bangkok middle class, the Anand government did not succumb to vested interests, as had the Chatichai government, and was therefore able to forge ahead with a number of reforms, not least infrastructure projects for Bangkok. Anand’s second term in office after the May 1992 event (May to September 1992) was no less popular. Furthermore, by the time he left office, there was a strong calling from the Bangkok middle class for Anand to enter party politics, indicative of the high demand for a ‘professional’ party that represented the urban business and middle class (McCargo 1997: 130). For civil society, Anand’s popularity increased over time. Anand recognised the growing influence of civil society and tried to become its ally. In legal terms, the government modified the old Associations Act of 1912 prohibiting registered associations from engaging in any political activity (Chai-­Anan 1997: 44). Anand publicly praised NGOs as communicators of social grievances and facilitators of community self-­help, and for their scrutiny of the government’s work (Prudhisan and Maneerat 1997: 204–5). The relationship between Anand and key civil society figures got closer when they formed the alliance for the 1997 Constitution (more on this later). In sum, the Anand governments have been seen by many Thais, especially the Bangkok middle class, as the most effective in their lifetime. A business magazine declared the 1991 military coup a ‘coup de technocrats’ and considered Anand’s cabinet the ‘dream-­list’ of the World Bank. After Anand left office in September 1992, he was praised as ‘the unofficial leader of conservative activism’ as well as ‘the pin-­up hero of the good governance set’, and was later chosen in 1996 to be chairman of the Constitutional Drafting Committee (all quotes from Callahan 2005: 501). May 1992 Alliance ≠ 1997 Constitution Alliance Following our division of governance ideologies into three types – liberal, democratic and moral – it is further argued that the alliance for the May 1992 demonstrations was rather broad, covering cross-­class liberal and democratic groups. However, it was a liberal–moral coalition that took advantage of the incident and successfully pushed forward its agenda in the 1997 Constitution.

Contingent authoritarians in Thailand   159 Black May 1992 There was a general election in March 1992 when the first Anand administration came to an end. The military junta’s puppet, the Samakhi Tham Party, gained the largest number of seats and formed a government by ‘inviting’ General Suchinda Kraprayoon, one of the key leaders of the 1991 coup, to be the premier. This invitation was supported by a group of provincial-­based coalition parties – mostly the same as the Chatichai government that the coup had toppled a year before. As a result, the junta’s claim to selfless virtue and national interests was undermined, and the military leaders, particularly Suchinda, were now seen as ‘greedy, self-­interested, and corrupt’, like provincial politicians (Englehart 2003: 261). The street protests began after Suchinda came to office and expanded into a full-­blown uprising within a month. At the height of the crisis, more than 200,000 protesters reportedly occupied the main arteries of Bangkok. A massacre ensued during 17–20 May 1992, with approximately 600 people killed. The so-­called ‘Black May uprising’ eventually ended when King Bhumibol summoned General Suchinda and Chamlong Srimuang, the opposition movement leader, and called for an end to the conflict. A survey by the Institute for Social Research, Chulalongkorn University, between 28 May and 10 June 1992 with 8,450 responses found that the demonstrators were of various backgrounds – they were not a ‘middle-­class revolt’, as commonly believed (cited in King 1992: 1113). Moreover, the casualty figures also indicated that, despite ‘white-­collar professionals’ constituting 38 per cent of reported casualties, labourers and students were also featured, with 29 per cent and 14 per cent respectively (Englehart 2003: Table 8.1). Civil society organisations played a key role in mobilising the demonstrations, especially the Campaign for Popular Democracy (CPD) and the Confederation for Democracy (CFD) (see Table 8.1). The CPD was not founded in 1991 but first appeared in 1981 with an aim to build public awareness of the constitution. However, the CPD deactivated afterwards and re-­activated again on 19 April 1991. Nineteen organisations representing not only NGOs but also labour, academics, slum dwellers, women and students Table 8.1 Key civil society networks opposing Suchinda in May 1992 Peak organisation/network

Key organisational members


Campaign for Popular Democracy (khana kamakan ronarong phuea prachathipatai – CPD)

•  Foundation for Ecological Recovery •  Union for Civil Liberty •  Slum Organisation for Democracy •  Teachers for Democracy Coordinating Committee


Confederation for Democracy (samaphan phuea prachathipatai – CFD)

•  Duang Prateep Foundation •  State Enterprise Labour Relations Group •  Heroes for Democracy Foundation •  Democratic Businesspeople •  Artists Confederation for Democracy

Source: author’s compilation.

160   Veerayooth Kanchoochat coalesced to re-­establish the CPD. The CPD’s key leaders were Somchai Homla-­or, who acted as general secretary, and Vanida Tantiwittayapitak and Pairoj Polpetch, who represented the Foundation for Ecological Recovery and Union for Civil Liberty respectively (Kanokrat 2012: 188). Another group, the CFD, was a loose coalition formed in the movement towards May 1992. The most prominent founding members were Chamlong Srimuang, then a member of parliament and a former governor of Bangkok, with Prawes Wasi, Prateep Ungsongtham (of the Duang Prateep Foundation) and Weng Tojirakarn, a leftist medical student activist from Mahidol University. The CFD was led by seven board members who were a mix of labour leaders, educators and medical professionals. Meanwhile, the Heroes for Democracy Foundation was the CFD’s key network that operated as a public persona and fund-­raising arm (Quigley 1996: 270–1). Engineering the 1997 Constitution The alliance for the 1997 Constitution was different from that of May 1992. In ideological terms, it was the liberal–moral coalition, with the liberal wing being more powerful.4 The bloody May 1992 incident encouraged a movement of political reform from various social forces. Prawase Wasi, a leading royalist intellectual and key figure in Thai civil society, was appointed by the parliament to chair the newly established Democracy Development Committee. However, the reform was set in motion later under the Banharn government in 1995 when Anand Panyarachun was elected president of the Constitution Drafting Assembly (CDA). It was this mixture of democratic conservatism and the seemingly liberal position on state accountability and rights that secured broad support for political reform (see Connors 2003). The 1997 Constitution is known as the ‘People’s Constitution’, since it was the first constitution to be drafted by an elected CDA, and is widely hailed as a landmark in Thai constitutional history. Yet it is worth noting that Thailand’s 1997 Constitution emerged not from an anti-­authoritarian drive but from disenchantment towards the fragmented, corrupt parliamentary politics of the 1990s. NGOs lobbied for clauses to include an extensive catalogue of the ‘rights and liberties of the Thai people’, which was rationalised through the formation of unelected bodies. In summary, this section has discussed the political role of civil society and the Bangkok middle class in the 1990s. The fragmented and rent-­seeking context drove both social forces towards political reform, a reform that was meant to steer clear of the provincial, corrupt politicians who bought their way into parliament, as exemplified by the Chatichai and Suchinda governments. After all, all four major choices taken by leading NGOs, especially the Bangkok middle class, cannot be considered truly ‘pro-­democracy’ in any formal or procedural sense. The fact that the majority of both forces thought of the Anand governments as their dream administration reflects their preference for a specific kind of governance that need not be democratic. Even before the rise of Thaksin, civil society and the Bangkok middle class had already prioritised Thai-­style ‘good governance’ over ‘bad democracy’.

Contingent authoritarians in Thailand   161

The monopolistic and reign-­seeking era, 2001–14 With the Asian financial crisis in 1997–8 and the 1997 Constitution in place, the political game in Thailand shifted again in the 2000s. While the power of parliamentary politics has been consolidated in the hands of the ruling parties, the appointed positions of regulatory bodies have also expanded to recruit a wide range of unelected experts. Within this new context, the leading civil society organisations and the Bangkok middle class played a crucial role in: (a) supporting the first Thaksin government; (b) rallying against it in 2006; (c) redefining state–society relations in 2006–10; and (d) paving the way for the coup in 2014. Again, these four political choices clearly reflect the incentive of both social forces, which sought to defend their own interests and ideologies subject to the new situation. Contexts: monopolistic politics and reign-­seeking incentives The 1997 Constitution introduced new regulations such as the single-­memberdistrict voting system, national party lists and all-­elected senators. All these facilitated, first, the landslide victory of Thaksin’s Thai Rak Thai (TRT) party in 2001 and, later on, the first-­ever single-­party government in Thai history in 2005, with more than 75 per cent of the total seats in the lower house. Thaksin also exercised close control over key appointments within the police, military and civil service to reward TRT sympathisers and punish its critics (see McCargo and Ukrist 2005). Parliamentary politics turned more monopolistic during Thaksin’s tenure (2001–6). However, while the 1997 Constitution strengthened the authority of the prime minister and party leaders, it also inaugurated a group of politically independent agencies or, as many called them, ‘guardian institutions’ to monitor, evaluate and discipline elected politicians and political parties. Key institutions included the Election Commission, Audit Commission, Human Rights Commission, Ombudsman, Supreme Court, Supreme Administrative Court, Constitutional Court and National Counter-­Corruption Commission. This institutional reconfiguration has motivated unconventional political actors, such as technocrats, academics, senior officials and civil society leaders, towards what I call the reign-­seeking incentive, which explains why these supposedly non-­partisan actors made collective efforts to topple an elected government in exchange for gaining selection to ‘reign’ in the wide range of appointed agencies (see Veerayooth 2016). Alliances for and against Thaksin, 2001–6 Thaksin and civil society Thaksin’s TRT party, established in 1998, comprised not only members of the new business elite but also a group of former left-­wing student leaders from the 1970s. Upon founding the TRT, Thaksin developed close ties with pro-­poor

162   Veerayooth Kanchoochat NGOs and brought into his party prominent intellectuals and NGO leaders (Kuhonta 2011: 173). The party also consulted health reformists to study how to utilise the existing health-­care resources and gain cooperation from both the public and private sectors. Such consultative relationships encouraged the TRT to pursue a complete overhaul of the health system, as well as address hospital accreditation and methods of financing (Selway 2011: 178). Despite initial close ties between Thaksin and key actors of civil society organisations that led to TRT’s first electoral win in 2001, the relationship has degenerated over time. Toward the end of 2002 Thaksin expressed obvious frustration at the demonstrations of the Assembly of the Poor, Small-­Scale Farmers’ Assembly and Pak Mun Dam activists. The rift went deeper as the government rushed into signing several free-­trade governments without public hearings. Moreover, Thaksin’s rural policies, notably a moratorium on rural debt and a one-­million-baht fund for each village, also heightened tensions between civil society organisations and their local constituencies. For local NGOs, Thaksin’s policies not only contradicted their rural development strategy but were also sufficiently popular to draw farmers away from them (Somchai 2016). For example, while local NGOs urged farmers to reject commercialised farming and rely on the subsistence economy, Thaksin encouraged farmers to join the market economy. Local NGOs in turn criticised Thaksin for bringing materialism to destroy the ‘unique culture’ of Thai villages. When Thaksin continued to win elections, NGOs turned to blaming the electoral process as the root cause of the ‘Thaksin problem’ (Thorn 2016: 522). Thaksin and class conflict The Bangkok middle class welcomed the rise of Thaksin and TRT in the early period. Generally, this group of people had no problem with Thaksin’s tendency towards globalisation and liberalisation, but was more concerned about corruption scandals and populist policies.5 The last straw seemed to be the Shinawatra family’s tax-­free sale of the Shin Corporation in January 2006, which provoked a ‘gut reaction in the tax-­paying middle class’ (Pasuk and Baker 2008: 77). The rage of the Bangkok middle class came to reinforce the royalist opposition to Thaksin that arose earlier through disenchantment with Thaksin’s populist leadership in rural Thailand (see Hewison 2010; Pavin 2014). The military coup on 19 September 2006 was preceded by several months of street protests, led by the People’s Alliance for Democracy (PAD), the so-­called ‘yellow shirts’. The PAD was a loose alliance of civil society, royal circles, Sino-­Thai billionaires, trusted intellectuals, judges and some senior military personnel, police and administrators. Its campaigns focused on the issues of corruption, protection of the monarchy and rejection of electoral democracy. Such a class alliance deserves attention, as Hewison (2014: 5) notes: ‘What is unusual, and definitive of this conflict, is the class’s alliance with the royalist elite to defend and promote a feudal institution – the monarchy – while rejecting electoral democracy.’

Contingent authoritarians in Thailand   163 Organising the yellow shirts It is also worth noting that the anti-­Thaksin movements had internal variation, as detailed extensively in Naruemon (2016). To begin with, the PAD was an issue-­ based network alliance coalesced against a common enemy. It tied the principles of democracy to the discourse of good governance, anti-­corruption efforts and clean politics. The PAD consisted of a wide range of professional organisations (teachers, medical doctors, lawyers and government officers), state enterprise unions, fundamental religious organisations, communitarian NGOs, networks of small-­scale farmer organisations, and urban middle-­class individuals. Each came to the street for a different reason. For example, state enterprise unions opposed Thaksin’s policy of privatisation, while primary-­school teachers went against the downsizing of public schools (see Table 8.2). State–civil society: embedded dependency Being part of the victorious anti-­Thaksin alliance took civil society leaders to the centre of the Thai state’s power. From 2006 to 2010 there were further Table 8.2 The yellow shirt alliance in 2005–6 Type of organisation/network

Major organisation/network


Manager-ASTV Media Thai Media Group for People Business Society for Democracy Alliance of Democratic Artists Health Professional Network Law Society of Thailand Federation of State Enterprise Worker Unions State Enterprise Railway Group Santi-Asoke Buddhist Commune Dharma Army Local community members Rural Development in the Southern Network of Thailand Northern Farmer Federation Network of community farmers Alternative Agriculture Network Southern Federation of Small-Scale Fishers Indebted Farmers Network Young PAD Student Federation of Thailand FTA Watch Truth and Transparency Society Friends of People Network of Citizen Volunteers Protecting the Land Council Network of People Organization Social Venture Network


State enterprise unions Religious groups Local NGOs Farmers’ organisations

Students Others

Source: author’s compilation based on Pye and Schaffar (2008) and Naruemon (2016).

164   Veerayooth Kanchoochat institutional reconfigurations of the state–civil society relationship, following the initiative of the 1997 Constitution, in an ‘embedded dependency’ orientation. After the 2006 coup, the junta’s government worked closely with civil society leaders, especially Paiboon Wattanasiritham, who was appointed Minister of Social Development and Human Security of the Surayud government (October 2006 to January 2008). His vision of ‘communitarian democracy’6 has been turned into a large-­scale, state-­funded development programme called the Council of Community Organisations (CCO). The CCO programme founded community councils across the country and linked them with a newly established national assembly of representatives from community-­based organisations (Thorn 2016: 530–1). A chaotic period ensued from 2008 to 2010. The TRT party was dissolved and 105 of its executives, including Thaksin, were barred from political participation for five years. With the behind-­the-scenes manoeuvring of the military, several smaller coalition partners changed camps to provide sufficient votes allowing the Democrat Party’s leader Abhisit Vejjajiva to become the next prime minister (December 2008 to August 2011). A contentious moment took place in mid-­2010 when the military decided to crack down on the ‘red shirt’ protesters who supported Thaksin and called for a fresh election (see details in Naruemon and McCargo 2011). To deal with the criticisms of the controversial crackdowns in May 2010, Abhisit coalesced with key figures of civil society organisations and launched a massive ‘reform programme’. A group of NGOs close to CODI considered the programme to be their opportunity to gain access to the state to foster the ‘community self-­determination’ ideology. Hence, CODI was very active in sending participants to represent ‘Thai civil communities’ in the drafting process, as well as mobilising local community leaders to join the related forums (Thorn 2016: 529–30). This participation facilitated network-­building between a key section of civil society and the conservative ruling elite, who also consider the communitarian democracy discourse to be reinforcing its own interests. Paving the way for the 2014 coup The Abhisit government remained in power from 2008 to 2011. When the general election was held on 3 July 2011, it was Thaksin’s sister, Yingluck Shinawatra, who led the Pheu Thai party to another electoral landslide. Yingluck and the anti-­Thaksin forces seemed to reach a détente between August 2011 and late 2013. Nevertheless, resistance to Yingluck’s populist policies, not least her loss-­ridden rice-­pledging scheme, increasingly developed. However, the street protests began to gain momentum in November 2013 when the Yingluck government introduced an ill-­considered amnesty bill that would have included Thaksin (see Veerayooth and Hewison 2016 for a detailed chronology).

Contingent authoritarians in Thailand   165 Parts of the PAD joined several other anti-­Thaksin and royalist groups in a  new movement, originally called the People’s Committee for Absolute Democracy with the King as Head of State, later changed to the People’s Democratic Reform Committee (PDRC) to distance itself from the palace. The PDRC’s street protests adopted a rhetoric that opposed electoral politics and paved the way for the military coup on 22 May 2014. Similar to the PAD, the PDRC focused on the anti-­corruption issue, protection of the monarchy and rejection of electoral politics. The PDRC was a network of the old wealth, aristocrats, technocrats, presidents of university councils, judges, independent organisations, civil society leaders and some from the business class (see Baker 2016). Reign-­seekers and the rise of the unelected7 An unelected regime in Thailand, especially the coup-­installed Prayuth administration (2014–), could be considered as generally creating the two parallel structures as summarised in Table 8.3. The first structure is the junta’s administration, which comprises three tiers of pecking order: the coup council; the cabinet and constitutional drafting committees; and the legislative and reform bodies. The second structure is supposed to hold longer term in office, with the three tiers being protected in a constitution or royal decrees: judicial organisations; the guardian institutions; and newly established committees and subcommittees. The 1997 and 2007 Constitutions founded a large number of appointed agencies to be filled with ‘non-­partisan’ experts and therefore created the incentive for people considering themselves to be prospective candidates to reign in these organisations. In addition to street protests, the collective action by university leaders and professional associations was instrumental in toppling the Yingluck government. Three groups of players are of political and symbolic importance: the Council of University Presidents of Thailand (CUPT), the medical networks and the peak business associations. Of 34 portfolios in Prayuth’s first cabinet, 12 were retired or active military officers, with four being the premier’s former military school classmates. Ex-­bureaucrats accounted for another 12 posts. The rest had either academic or business backgrounds. For example, Rajata Rajatanavin, a former rector of Table 8.3 The structure of Thailand’s unelected regime Junta’s administration (Interim governance)

Reign-seeking posts (Medium-term governance)

Tier 1

Junta Council

Judicial organisations

Tier 2

Cabinet and Constitutional Drafting Regulatory and technocratic bodies Committees

Tier 3

Legislative Assembly and Reform Councils

Newly appointed committees and subcommittees

166   Veerayooth Kanchoochat Mahidol University and a key member of the CUPT, was appointed public health minister. A number of active or retired academics were appointed to the Constitution Drafting Committee, the National Legislative Assembly and the National Reform Council. That many university rectors made it to the appointed positions was obviously recognition of their support. As one report put it: ‘High-­profile academics who have made it onto the National Legislative Assembly clearly have one thing in common – a stance against the so-­called Thaksin regime’ (The Nation, 2 August 2014). In short, within the new context of monopolistic and reign-­seeking politics, the leading civil society organisations and the Bangkok middle class supported the first Thaksin government in 2001 before rallying against it in 2006. These two social forces later redefined state–society relations in 2006–10, and recently paved the way for the coup in 2014. All these political actions evolved around the issues of corruption, populism, good governance and democracy. Yet all these words are neither universal nor neutral. They have specific meanings in the contexts of the Thai political economy and always carry certain implications for interests and ideologies.

Conclusion In the context of late-­developing countries, there hardly exists a deterministic relationship between certain social forces and political leanings. After capital and labour already proved to be contingent classes (Bellin 2000), civil society and the middle class have become the next potential candidates for being democratic agents. However, recent comparative studies suggest otherwise. Uncivil societies working in concert with illiberal middle classes have been emerging in recent decades. Thailand is usually selected as one of the prominent examples in this vein, yet without systematic explanations about the incentives and historical backgrounds. This chapter has sought to examine the political role of these two social forces, from the departure of semi-­democracy in 1988 to the latest coup in 2014. It conceptualises Thai civil society and the Bangkok middle class as contingent authoritarians and argues that state dependence is the most foundational factor shaping their long-­term authoritarian inclination. However, in the short term, the political actions of both social forces are contingent upon the contextual settings, for the reason that they are consistent defenders of their own interests (a privileged position in the country’s political economy) and group ideologies (a morally conservative mode of governance). Local NGOs and community-­based organisations in Thailand flourished only from the mid-­1980s, the same period as rapid industrialisation, democratisation and the decline of foreign aid. Under this historical setting, traditional elite and state sponsorship became the Leviathan to which civil society organisations needed to resort. When parliamentary politics was still fragmented in the early 1990s, leading NGOs actively campaigned for reform that would not only consolidate parliamentary politics but also incorporate themselves into their favoured positions in the state apparatus. Since the mid-­1990s state finance has

Contingent authoritarians in Thailand   167 turned out to be the major source of revenue, but increasing state dependence has been accompanied by the centralisation of civil society, pretty much replicating the hierarchy of state structures. Leaders of peak NGOs, such as Paiboon and Prawase, function as the social nodes that connect civil society to the network of the traditional elite. In ideological terms, the communitarian democracy discourse provides the ethical ground for redefining democracy in a way that facilitates their alliance with the establishment against electoral politics. Such political realignment and ideological manipulation were brought into play in the movements that toppled all Thaksinite parties from 2006 to 2014. While civil society becomes more dependent on the state over time, the Bangkok middle class is actually the product of the Thai authoritarian state. There seems to be only one way to join the Thai middle class – that is living in Bangkok, having a good education and being anxious about politicians’ corruption. This recipe is created and underpinned by structural gaps between Bangkok and the remaining regions and provinces in various dimensions, especially the economic one. Public expenditure in general, and on health and education in particular, is extremely concentrated on Bangkok, as if it were a colonial governor of other areas. At the simplest level, the classic question of cui bono (to whose benefit?) might already be sufficient to explain a series of rages of the Bangkok middle class against the provincial-­dominated governments of Chatichai and Suchinda and the provincial-­populist machinery of Thaksin and Yingluck. However, this chapter also indicates the importance of historical backgrounds and discursive politics that shape and form the Bangkok middle class. Moreover, its political actions in the short term are also subject to broader political contexts. While fragmented and rent-­seeking politics (in the 1990s) aroused the Bangkok middle class to political reform, the era of monopolistic and reign-­ seeking politics (from the 2000s) has seen a remarkable role reversal. Talking about democratic agents may already be obsolete, since authoritarian agents are emerging to be the ‘new normal’ of the twenty-­first century.

Notes 1 Although Huntington (1991) is usually cited as the argument for the democratic middle class, he also raised some cautions about the ‘conservative middle-­class groups’ that may go against democracy. 2 The remaining four are Azerbaijan, Malaysia, Kazakhstan and Georgia. 3 The analysis of Funatsu and Kagoya (2003) is based on a survey conducted by the Institute of Developing Economies in 1994. From this, 1,043 responses were obtained in the Bangkok Metropolitan Area, 1,034 in local cities and 1,053 in the rural areas. 4 This differs from the alliances for the 2007 Constitution, in which the moral wing was more powerful than the liberal one. 5 As elaborated in Pasuk and Baker (2008), Thaksin’s populism was more complex than his policy offering. It was developed in response to social demand and had strong affinities with political trends in the developing world. 6 This discourse perceives the village as the core institution of Thai society and underscores ‘subsistence, local wisdoms and traditions’ as the solution to the economic problems of rural people (see Thorn 2016). 7 This part draws on my work on reign-­seeking (Veerayooth 2016).

168   Veerayooth Kanchoochat

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9 Thailand at the critical royal transition The middle class, civil society and democratisation Pavin Chachavalpongpun Introduction Scholars on the whole concur that growth of the middle class and civil society organisations plays a pivotal part in the promotion of democracy. In other words, the expansion of the middle class and civil society organisations is partly responsible for a functioning democratic system. They closely monitor a government’s performance and its commitment to good governance. The middle class also demands access to political resources, while reiterating the importance of participatory democracy. In Thailand, however, the orthodox concept of the middle class serving as agents of change towards democracy seems to be challenged. Since the Thai political crisis of 2005 that eventually culminated in a military coup a year later, overthrowing the government of Thaksin Shinawatra, it became apparent that the Thai middle class and an army of civil society organisations are no longer agents of change, but instead became guardians of the ancien régime to protect their political advantages. In 2005, Bangkok-­based members of the middle class took to the streets in order to topple Thaksin, largely considered a champion of the poor, on the grounds that he abused power for his own benefit. Clad in yellow shirts, these protesters also accused Thaksin of disrespecting the much-­revered monarchy – an inviolable institution in Thailand – and therefore the mission of removing Thaksin’s regime became imperative and legitimate. (Yellow is the colour of King Bhumibol Adulyadej.) On the part of the middle class and civil society, what they claimed to be guarding was democracy, supposedly tainted by self-­interested politicians like Thaksin. At a deeper level, the fear of Thaksin and his assertive populist policy to empower the marginalised rural residents explains why the middle class and civil society rejected his kind of democracy. The monarchy, long regarded as a symbol of prosperity of the Thai middle class, conveniently provided itself as an instrument for its supporters in disparaging democracy à la Thaksin through a binary explanation: moral and immoral politics, with the monarch representing the moral force versus immoral and selfish politicians. The middle class and civil society thus exploited the royal institution for their own gains and only offered their support for democracy when it responded to their needs. However, the era of King Bhumibol has recently ended.1 He passed

172   Pavin Chachavalpongpun away on 13 October 2016, paving the way for his unpopular son, Vajiralongkorn, to be enthroned. The anxiety that accompanies his departure has further alienated the middle class and civil society from their supposedly usual role as agents of change towards democracy. This explains why the Thai middle class and civil society endorsed military coups – with the latest coup occurring in 2014 when the military removed Yingluck Shinawatra, sister of Thaksin, from power. The 2014 coup was testimony to the way in which the Thai middle class and civil society rejected democracy. This chapter argues that, based on the above context, how the middle class and civil society organisations treated democracy relied primarily on the extent to which any political change affected their political interests. With the royal succession and uncertainties brought about by the new king, the middle class and civil society voiced their suspicion towards democracy mainly because, without King Bhumibol, the monarchy can no longer guarantee political interests in the transitional period. The Thai case is not uncommon and can be witnessed in other parts of Southeast Asia, including the Philippines, when democracy ceases to deliver stability for the middle class and civil society.

Understanding the Thai middle class Edward Palmer Thomson argues in his seminal work on The Making of the English Working Class (1963) that the “middle class” is what is often known in the literature as the “new middle class” and not the “old” one of small shopkeepers and petty clerks.2 Among “new” elements, the focus here is on more highly paid professionals and administrators, as well as on students, intellectuals and non-­governmental organisation (NGO) activists, whose status is defined largely by education and may not necessarily be expressed by wealth. Thompson’s definition can be used to describe the nature of the Thai middle class, even when in reality this group is far from being a monolithic entity. Thus, the plural form of it – middle classes – is used in some circumstances. The empirical study of Tsuruyo Funatsu and Kazuhiro Kagoya on “The Middle Classes in Thailand: The Rise of the Urban Intellectual Elite and their Social Consciousness” shows that the process of the emergence of the middle classes has been characterised by “intermingling” among those of different social backgrounds but with similar educational credentials, by the existence of channels for upward mobility internal to cities, and that under the strong effect of educational credentials the middle classes have attained an economically distinct status and are separated from their strata by very stable boundary lines. Meticulously, their study investigates occupations among employed persons in Thailand, their monthly salaries, their social and economic status, and their educational background.3 “Class” is one among several factors elucidating the state of Thai democracy because it provides a rightful context and indeed a theoretical concept in analysing the anti-­democratic behaviour of the educated and urbanised members of the Thai middle class or, as it is known in Thai, Chonchan Klang.4 At the same time, I do not make a claim that the modernisation school, which elaborates a

Thailand at the critical royal transition   173 connection between the level of the people’s income and the sustainability of democracy, is especially wrong. In certain societies and at certain points in history, the middle class demonstrated its commitment in consolidating democracy too. Champions of the modernisation school posit that when a nation reaches a high degree of economic development, leading to a better livelihood among citizens, what follows is the consolidation of democracy, supposedly promoted by the new middle class. As people become richer, they appear to entertain certain liberal attitudes. These liberal attitudes in turn represent a key ingredient behind the making of a more democratic society. Education solidifies the liberal attitude of the new middle class.5 In this same theory, the more affluent middle class is likely to develop a tolerance vis-­à-vis the lower class or working class, therefore nurturing coexistence, despite conflicting interests, between classes to live side by side with democracy. But critics of the modernisation school point out some shortcomings in its argument. Countries like Singapore and Malaysia, which were able to generate high economic growth, continue to centralise political power at the expense of the countries’ enlarging middle class. The People’s Action Party (PAP) government of Singapore has maintained a firm grip on political power, transforming the city-­state into a semi-­ authoritarian regime with little resistance from its populace. In Southeast Asia, successes of economic growth did not always engender conditions favourable to democratisation. Instead, as evident in Singapore’s case, it has led to “performance legitimacy” of the state in its ability to reduce economic grievances. In return, it guarantees regime stability and continued authoritarian rule. In contrast, countries undergoing wide fluctuations in economic growth are more likely to experience a regime change. Hence, it is of utmost importance for the Singaporean government to keep the national economy on a steady track. The term “authoritarian regime” may suggest a government operating outside of a system of regular checks and balances. But in this case, as Francis Fukuyama argues, any regime capable of effective action must be based on some principle of legitimacy. Singapore manifests that the middle class has long embraced the PAP government, even when it has not been strictly democratic, simply because of the leaders’ performance legitimacy. Fukuyama states: A tyrant can rule his children, old men or perhaps his wife by force, if he is physically stronger than they are, but he is not likely to be able to rule more than two or three people in this fashion and certainly not a nation of millions.… Legitimacy is thus critical to even the most unjust and bloody-­ minded dictatorship.6 In refuting the modernisation school, this chapter employs a more relevant term to discuss the Thai middle class as being the “contingent class”. In the past decades, through a series of political incidents, it was manifest that the Thai middle class sought to cooperate with the military to defend its own political interests. Occasionally, the middle class organised months-­long street protests to overthrow elected governments, purportedly because the latter failed to protect

174   Pavin Chachavalpongpun the interests of the former. The middle class has since been perceived as an unreliable partner of democracy. The Thai middle class only lent its support for democratisation on its own conditional terms, thus earning the title of the “contingent class”.7 There is a myriad of characteristics of the Thai middle class, some of which, however, are not unique to the Thai case. The Thai middle class shares similar traits with those of Thailand’s neighbours in the region, including the Philippines and Indonesia. The wide array of backgrounds of members of the Thai middle class, ranging from intellectuals, civil society organisations, NGOs and white-­ collar workers to entrepreneurs of all sizes, prevents a unified group from forming. Besides, it unveils an inconsistent ideology or variable political preferences of the Thai middle class. This can be affirmed through its unpredictable, anti-­democratic standpoint, from endorsing the military coups and calling for the king to intervene in the political crisis, to giving consent to the appointment of unelected prime ministers. The Thai middle class fiercely guards its own interests, which include the domination of political power, the manipulation of the democratic process and the monopoly of the state’s economic resources. When the Thai middle class is able to firm up its political position through the democratic process, it is willing to discuss political inclusion or even support the lower class under types of alliances. However, when its interests come under threat from the lower rungs of society, the middle class switches to its preference of political exclusion, at the same time as it begins to undermine those posing threats. For example, the Thai middle class creates and recreates the identity of the lower class, specifically its poorer counterparts in the remote regions, as being stupid, uneducated, easily manipulated and money hungry. Giles Ji Ungpakorn asserts that for the anti-­democratic groups in the military and civilian elite, disgruntled business leaders, and neo-­liberal intellectuals and politicians, Thailand is divided between the “enlightened middle-­classes who understand democracy” and the “ignorant rural and urban poor”. He said, “In fact, the reverse is the case.”8 For instance, Chitpas Kridakorn, a member of the upper class and heiress of the Singha Beer Company in Thailand, advocated that rural people did not deserve to vote since they have neither knowledge nor understanding of democracy.9 In viewing the Thai middle class as a contingent class, Aim Simpeng and Aries A. Arugay argue, “The middle class is not inherently democratic and would only support democracy under specific conditions.”10 Examples reflecting these assertions are ample. In the 1970s, although members of the Thai middle class generally disapproved of the despotic regime of Field Marshals Thanom Kittikachorn and Prapas Charusathien, they were also reluctant to back pro-­democracy movements led by students and intellectuals. Indeed, the Thai middle class played a large part in painting students, the proletariat and peasants as enemies of the state who caused political turmoil and upset the political status quo. Nominating these enemies as communists and anti-­monarchists, the ultra-­conservative middle-­class groups, including the extreme right-­wing Nawaphon, interpreted its endorsement of the massacre of the students in 1976 as legitimate.11 In May 1992, thousands of

Thailand at the critical royal transition   175 middle-­class protesters demanded the resignation of the self-­appointed prime minister, General Suchinda Kraprayoon, who staged a coup a year earlier by ousting an elected government of General Chatichai Choonhavan. The protesters claimed that their movement was genuinely pro-­democracy, as they rejected a military strongman assuming the top political position. Yet some cast doubt over this claim. The middle class appeared to favour the 1991 coup as a way to eliminate the supposedly corrupt regime of Chatichai. It was the middle class’s perception that a coup was an acceptable mode for regime change. But the advent of the Suchinda regime, which renewed an alliance between the military and certain businesses, turned the middle class against the government.12 The violent crackdowns on demonstrators put a stain on the civil–military relationship but in the meantime paved the way for a deepening of democratisation in the 1990s. The 1997 Constitution, dubbed the people’s charter, boldly symbolised the triumph of the middle class against dictatorship. Almost a decade later, the middle class once again disclosed its ambivalence vis-­à-vis democratic governments. In 2005, the People’s Alliance for Democracy (PAD), comprising primarily the educated, rich, urbanised middle class, occupied Bangkok for months, calling for the sacking of the Thaksin government. The PAD legitimised its anti-­government protests based on allegations that the Thaksin government was corrupt and diminished the dignity of the monarchy. The PAD was successful in combining its anti-­Thaksin stance with a royalist position, witnessed through the exploitation of royal symbols – the royal family’s portraits and the use of yellow shirts – to add a layer of legitimacy for its movement. Of course, a more profound analysis on the real motives of the PAD is necessary. Suffice it to say, Thaksin, who rode on his repeated political successes through the electoral process, emerged as a threat to the old power structure. This old power structure was crafted and manoeuvred by the authoritative political network centred on the monarchy, and had long safeguarded the interests of the middle class. Meanwhile, Thaksin’s populist policy designed to improve the living conditions of the poor further threatened the middle class, forcing the latter to engage in a discourse of a political exclusion against the former. Apparently, the mission to exterminate the Thaksin threat was thinly veneered by the more legitimate need of the middle class in sorting out dirty politics and corrupt politicians. Here, it demonstrated to the Thai public its duty as an agent of change for better democracy. The PAD stressed the importance of moral politics, and supposedly morality can only be found in educated citizens. The PAD was able to build a platform for the Thai middle class to inculcate its affinity for clean politics, responsible government and good governance at the same time as it was able to secure its political status against new political alternatives led by Thaksin, even if by so doing they had to denounce elections. Michael H. Nelson confirmed that certain members of the PAD rejected elections as long as Thailand had the current breed of politicians. Elections were not the solution for Thailand.13 But Thaksin’s electoral successes had already been embedded in the political consciousness for those outside the realm of the middle class. As a result, the

176   Pavin Chachavalpongpun 2011 elections brought a new proxy of Thaksin into politics: his sister Yingluck was elected as the new prime minister. Haunted by the ghost of Thaksin, the PDRC (People’s Democratic Reform Council), the reincarnation of the PAD, returned to the streets of Bangkok in late 2013 in an attempt to topple the Yingluck government, condemning her for committing corruption and for scheming to whitewash Thaksin through a blanket amnesty.14 The PDRC did not hide the fact that its organisation was elite-­driven. The core components of the PDRC were prominent members of the Democrat Party, a favourite political party among urbanised Bangkokians and southern voters, as well as individuals from an elitist background. The anti-­Yingluck protests, although analogous to the PAD demonstrations against Thaksin in 2005–2006, were more intense and aggressive because of the imminent critical royal transition. Political violence erupted prior to the February elections in 2014 after the dissolution of parliament. The anxiety over the royal succession created an image among the Thai middle class about its struggle against the Thaksin ghost just like engaging in a zero-­sum game. Federico Ferrara stated that the PDRC tried to revert to the position that democracy must once again be suspended in order to rectify the failure of the 2006 coup to fully eradicate the “Thaksin System” and install an “absolute” version of “Democrat with the King as Head of State”.15 The military’s intervention in politics became ultimately necessary, seemingly for the survival of the middle class amid the rapid political change in Thailand. As this chapter will elaborate subsequently, the Thai middle class only agrees on certain terms and conditions before committing to democratisation. Its ideology might not be democratic, but it is surely motivated by political interests.

Civil society organisations: which road to take? Civil society organisations also play a critical part, paradoxically, in consolidating as well as weakening democratisation in Thailand. Like the middle class, civil society organisations in Thailand are diverse and multi-­faceted. Civil society is both a system and a sphere in which NGOs, pressure groups, interest groups and other non-­state actors execute their policies and carry out their operations to accomplish their desired objectives. Conventionally, civil society organisations have an acclaimed responsibility in enhancing participatory democracy by involving citizens, particularly those marginalised, in the political process. Political participation no longer means just going to the polls or engaging in street protests. Active citizens are able to take part, through becoming members of civil society organisations, in directly interacting with the state, and demanding government transparency and accountability in the implementation of national policies that affect the lives of specific groups of people. A more powerful definition of civil society can be found in Larry Diamond’s work: Civil society is conceived here as the realm of organised social life that is voluntary, self-­generating, (largely) self-­supporting, autonomous from the state, and bound by a legal order or set of shared rules. It is distinct from

Thailand at the critical royal transition   177 “society” in general in that it involves citizens acting collectively in a public sphere to express their interests, passions, and ideas, exchange information, achieve mutual goals, make demands on the state, and hold state officials accountable.16 Although Thailand was transformed from a royal absolutist state to a constitutional democracy in 1932, democratic institutions in the country were weakened, due mainly to periodic interventions in politics on the part of the military and the monarchy. Hence, the development of Thai civil society organisations has been slow. They only commenced their political activism in the context of the political violence in the 1960–1970s when successive governments, with the backing of the army, cracked down on pro-­democracy movements spearheaded by students and intellectuals. The first Thai NGO, the Thai Rural Reconstruction Movement, was established in 1969, but volunteer activism only started to proliferate after the students’ uprising in the 1970s and was consolidated as part of a more forceful civil society in the 1980s.17 The Asian Development Bank reported that rapid economic growth in the two decades (1977–1997) contributed to the environment for a large number of diverse NGOs to emerge in Thailand. In the 1980s, and increasingly in the 1990s, there was an explosion in the number of NGOs operating in Thailand: by 1989, for example, there were 12,000 local NGOs, of which 44 percent worked in the field of development and welfare.18 In the political arena, civil society organisations worked closely with the middle class, as became evident during the anti-­government demonstrations against General Suchinda in 1992. From this perspective, civil society organisations shared much of their political consciousness with the Thai middle class. Ideally, civil society organisations are designed to operate as a significant pillar in the strengthening of democracy. They are expected to work alongside other political institutions, including political parties and interest groups, to ensure the government’s good governance, accountability and its commitment to eliminate corruption. Civil society emerges as a sphere that permits NGOs to engage in social and political interactions with the government. Essentially, civil society’s role is to vigorously check and monitor state power outside the parliamentary system. By so doing, civil society assigns itself the role of a mechanism for its members to strive towards achieving greater democratisation. However, civil society organisations need to possess certain characteristics to be able to perform this duty. They must prove that they are independent and above politics. They must be dynamic, active and effective in their collective actions. They must represent themselves as private, non-­profit and professional organisations in order to maintain their “corporateness”. They must appeal to the population and be able to attract membership on a voluntary basis. These characteristics obviously separate civil society from other types of organisations, most of which work towards gaining political benefits, thus occasionally taking their obligation to solidify democracy for granted. In sum, civil society organisations must not only act as counterweights to the government, but be willing to act as a channel of communication between those they represent and the government, to guarantee the

178   Pavin Chachavalpongpun process of political participation. They must champion social pluralism, tackle even the most sensitive issues (which state or other political institutions fail to address) and defend the rights of their membership.19 But rapid economic growth in Thailand had implications for the development of Thai civil society organisations. While some work for a better livelihood for marginalised residents in remote regions, others forge their association with the middle class to safeguard their political benefits at the expense of their support for democracy. Gawin Chutima links the NGOs – and by extension civil society – to the middle class by claiming that there is no doubt that the people in NGOs come from the middle class and the NGOs owe their fundamental strength to the student and intellectual movement of middle-­class people.20 The alliance with the middle class has fortified an attitude of having to bear the burdens of the lower class, depicting such burdens as the obligation of civil society to care for those who are underprivileged, as Bruce Missingham explains through the term philiang, or caretakers. Missingham asserts, “To refer to the activities as philiang suggests that they (civil society organisations) occupy a superior position with a responsibility to care for and guide the villagers.”21 But this is not to deny that some civil society organisations are serious about protecting the wellbeing of the poor communities in Thailand, ranging from those working on health issues such as HIV/Aids, environmental problems and natural resource management, to agricultural issues including sustainable and organic farming practices. There are also plenty of civil society organisations which focus specifically on human rights issues, namely migrant labour rights, ethnic minority rights, the rights of women, children and the disabled, access to education, victims of state violence, freedom of the media, religious freedom and rights from lèse-majesté, which is the crime of insulting the Thai monarchy, punishable by between 3–15 years’ imprisonment.22 Among well-­known civil society organisations working for the communities are, for instance, the Forum of the Poor, Ban Krua Community (Muslim community) and Pavena Foundation (protection of children and women). They set their own agendas, most of which strive to establish improved economic livelihoods for specific communities and manage issues pertaining to their welfare by informing relevant authorities of what must be done. Naruemon Thabchumpon defines the middle-­class-based civil society as “elite-­urban”, which consists of, for example, progressive civil servants and the business community. Because of the national economic development policy, the elite-­urban civil society has increased and gained more political clout vis-­à-vis its counterpart in the grassroots community, represented by the “rural-­ Naruemon highlights certain attributes of elite-­urban civil society as being Bangkok-­based or concentrating mostly in the urban centres, forging a close communications network with the mass media (and today social media) to encourage free debates on issues affecting their way of life, and promoting political reform in order to attain a more efficient and rational government while rejecting corrupt and paternalistic forms of administration. But Naruemon also cautions that the elite-­urban civil society can be considered a force for democracy as long as it plays a role in opposing the bureaucracy, especially the

Thailand at the critical royal transition   179 military. Taking on Naruemon’s thesis, one would agree that the elite-­urban civil society’s obligation towards promoting democracy is undoubtedly conditional. The conditionality has made this section of civil society highly politicised in order to fulfil the objectives of its members. The key question in Naruemon’s thesis is how to establish a linkage between “elite-­urban” and “rural-­popular” elements in Thai civil society. The answer is not easy. The politicisation and class-­consciousness of the civil society, in general, represents its weakest point and in part obstructs the Thai democratisation process. Pro-­democracy civil society organisations are naturally perceived by authoritarian states as a threat to national security, even when they are in fact a threat to the regime. Accordingly, they have been struggling to propagate their messages and to follow through on their agendas. Furthermore, they lack support from political parties, particularly in connecting them with the parties’ supporters in various constituencies. The variety of backgrounds and different approaches among civil society organisations are also responsible for the lack of unanimity among them, thus making it more arduous to accomplish their ultimate objectives. 24

Democratisation in Thailand: rise and fall This section briefly revisits the political landscape of Thailand, at least as far back as the political violence in 1992 and throughout the 1990s, when the middle class and civil society organisations were most active in their attempts at putting forward their pro-­democracy agenda. The activism bore fruit with the launch of the 1997 liberal Constitution. In the aftermath of the military’s crackdowns on the protesters, Prime Minister Suchinda was forced to step down. Meanwhile, the military retreated back to the barracks as the tide of democratisation in Thailand gained traction. From 1992, the Thai middle class, mostly steered by intellectuals and professionals, embraced an anti-­authoritarianism stance, not immediately after the coup in 1991 but after Suchinda declared his premiership. The Thai middle class together with the elite-­urban civil society organisations feared losing their political privileges following the new power arrangement between the army and influential conglomerates. Hence, again, the desire to safeguard their own interests induced the middle class and its associated civil society organisations to embark on an anti-­Suchinda movement. Ultimately, they were able to rally support from rural-­popular groups to remove Suchinda from power. From 1992 to 1997 the democratisation process gained speed, culminating in the 1997 constitutional proclamation which highlighted the decentralisation of governance, making it possible for ordinary people to participate in public policymaking at all levels.25 Arguably, this situation paved the way for Thaksin to stride into the premiership with his own new competitive political script, through the broadest electoral system. The 1997 Constitution built immunity against possible interventions in politics from extra-­parliamentary institutions. Moreover, new mechanisms were set up to enforce a government’s good governance and transparency.

180   Pavin Chachavalpongpun Right at the beginning, the Thaksin administration enjoying overwhelming success by riding the wave of a pro-­poor policy and embarked on shifting the power equilibrium, which was bound to shake the political and economic status of the middle class. As he completed his first tenure in office, becoming the first prime minster to see out a full term, the political landscape of Thailand had been geared towards a greater space for rural residents, those who were supporters of Thaksin’s populist programmes. Revisiting earlier arguments posited in this chapter, one would understand why members of the middle class, mainly those in Bangkok, felt that they had been deprived of their privileged political position under the Thaksin government – a government which assumed power through a democratic channel made possible by the constitution championed by the middle-­class members themselves. Thaksin offered a new identity to his supporters in marginalised regions as well as a sense of political belonging; this gave rise to the realisation that they could control their destiny from then forward with the power of the ballot. Being aware of rising competition from the lower class in taking control of political resources, the middle class turned against the Thaksin government, staging widespread protests which on the surface pertained to issues of good governance and accountability. In reality, the protests obscured their call for political exclusion, a kind of self-­defence mechanism employed by the middle class as it was threatened by the working class. An alliance between the urban-­elite and rural-­popular sections, which had been cultivated in 1992 was used to topple the despotic government of Suchinda, was broken down. The middle class moved to protect what was seen as intrusion into its political territory. This explains the middle-­class-led PAD which came about in 2005. Chakrit attests that Thaksin was the first prime minister who sought to deal with civil society systematically. He set out to coopt those who could be coopted, and to discredit those who could not, either by dividing them from their supporters or through more devious means, such as directing the Anti-­Money Laundering Unit to investigate movement leaders and using legal manoeuvres to suppress movements and the effectiveness of civil society.26 Thaksin’s strategy focused on fostering the non-­political activities of civil society, for example, activities concerning community development and the rights of women and children. But by selectively choosing to support certain civil society organisations, Thaksin also helped promote a culture of corruption and nepotism. Critics interpreted this as Thaksin’s devious way of buying allegiances and loyalty from his constituencies. Those civil society organisations that were continuing to cooperate with the Thaksin government were perceived by critics as politically superfluous. Meanwhile, others that challenged the integrity of his government were viewed with scepticism and possibly harassed. The divide-­and-rule tactic characterised the relationship between the Thaksin government and civil society in general. But the rural-­elite civil society finally gained an upper hand over the government by joining the PAD. The ultimate goal was to strip Thaksin of political power. The middle class and some civil society organisations conveniently created a situation for the political intervention by the military, and in September 2006 the army staged a coup against the Thaksin government. In 2014, as Prime

Thailand at the critical royal transition   181 Minister Yingluck began to consolidate her power on populist programmes inherited from her brother, the middle class and civil society organisations returned to street politics, reviving the old trick of assigning themselves the role as the moral guardians of Thai politics against the supposed evil of Yingluck’s power. Like her brother, her premiership ended in a military coup. The rise and fall of democracy, as demonstrated in two successive coups removing elected governments, can be described on the one hand by the assumption that the middle class and civil society could no longer tolerate corrupt regimes and by explaining away their support for the coups, ironically based on their democratic ideology. But a deeper analysis is imperative in order to comprehend the complexity of Thai politics beyond a struggle between the so-­called “moral” middle class and civil society versus “immoral” politicians. British scholar Duncan McCargo argued that Thai politics is best understood in terms of political networks. The predominant network of the period 1973–2001 was centred on the palace and is termed “network monarchy”. This involved active interventions in the political process by the late king, Bhumibol, and his proxies, notably former Prime Minister and current President of the Privy Council Prem Tinsulanond, together with groups of the traditional elite and powerful businesses.27 Network monarchy had dominated Thai politics for decades until the arrival of Thaksin in power. The domination was sustained through a variety of means, from controlling the organisational reshuffles of key institutions such as the military and the judiciary, to coopting big businesses and to propaganda work at the national level. In this process, the middle-­class and urban-­elite civil society became enthusiastic supporters of the network monarchy, exploiting the revered status of the royal institution to reap benefits from the system. Gradually, the alliance between the network monarchy and the middle-­class members and civil society began to isolate the rural-­popular residents. Björn Dressel explains that the royal intervention during the political crisis is just one aspect of today’s intro-­elite struggles that pitch the traditional military and royal networks, supported by the urban middle class, against Thaksin and his inner circle, whose modern bourgeois interests, backed by decisive popular electoral support, directly challenged the old power arrangements.28 While the network monarchy was able to redefine the political landscape by placing the monarchy at the top of the political structure, the rural population was allowed to participate in the electoral politics on certain conditions – that their chosen governments must be subservient to the dominant network monarchy, otherwise they would be overthrown in a coup. This kind of structure permitted members of the network monarchy and supporters among the middle class to defend their political territory while at the same time appearing to adhere to the democratic process, even when this appearance was superficial. Thaksin indeed constructed his own political network by highlighting the fact that the electoral process could serve as a mechanism for overturning the power equilibrium and dismantling the status quo. He hence concentrated more on winning votes from the two regions long marginalised by the network monarchy – the north and the northeast. These two regions together comprised the majority

182   Pavin Chachavalpongpun of the electorate, and in fair and free elections Thaksin was able to count on those votes owing to his generous populist programmes. As a consequence, his political party, Thai Rak Thai, won landslide elections twice, causing grave concerns among the network monarchy and the middle class, who retaliated against Thaksin through extra-­parliamentary means.29 The network monarchy, drawing on the powerful moral authority of King Bhumibol, might have dominated the political realm for several decades. But Bhumibol died, and Vajiralongkorn undoubtedly brings concerns among supporters of the monarchy, particularly in the face of the rising Thaksin phenomenon. The dark reality subsumed within this anxiety has further driven the middle class to divorce itself from trust in the democratic apparatus. At the critical royal transition, both the middle class and the urban-­elite civil society do not even hide their taste for authoritarianism. It is manifested in politicisation and self-­interest on their part.

Clash of the titans The latest, protracted Thai political crisis, which began as early as 2005, brought serious damage to the democratic system. The middle class and civil society organisations utilised street protests to oust elected governments and, in a broader context, belittle electoral politics. Long-­term damage can also be detected from the deep political polarisation, crudely between two political groups – one represented by the pro-­elite middle class and civil society organisations, and the other by the rural-­popular movements and their allies in civil society. The term “crudely” is used here to clarify that, in reality, it is impossible to draw a precise line between pro-­elite and pro-­poor middle factions in Thailand. One may find middle-­class members to be advocating for popular democracy and for the benefits of the poor, whereas some rural residents may appear to be pro-­monarchy and therefore see their political benefits as tied to the wellbeing of the royal institution. But largely, it suffices to depict Thai politics based on class struggle. It is important to re-­ evaluate the dynamics of class politics in Thailand by examining two powerful groups – the elite-­urban middle class and civil society organisations versus the rural-­popular movement. The aim is to investigate the links between these groups and the democratisation process, particularly at the critical royal transitional period. Although this chapter argues that the overall middle class and civil society organisations in Thailand are not always acting as a surrogate for democracy, this part attests that certain civil society organisations do contain a progressive element which contributes to ongoing democratisation. The blurring line between two groups of middle classes and civil society organisations proves the dubious links between these actors and the democratisation process. PAD/PDRC PAD commenced its first anti-­Thaksin protests in 2005 with an agenda of eliminating his corrupt regime. Corruption proffers the classic justification for anti-­ government movements in Thailand. Thaksin was accused of several corruption

Thailand at the critical royal transition   183 cases, from cooperating with his wife, Potjaman, to buy a plot of land at a lower-­ than-market price, and offering soft loans to the Myanmar government so that his company, Shin Corp, would be granted a concession in a contract to upgrade telecommunications inside the country, to selling his company to Singapore’s Temasek tax-­free. From this perspective, the PAD and its middle-­class supporters demonstrated their affinity with democracy. Fighting against corruption, in the Thai context, was made a part of enshrining morality in politics. Rebuilding moral politics became a utopian state of mind among the PAD supporters and symbolised an important trademark and ideology of the movements. Riding on this supposedly legitimate anti-­Thaksin theme, several civil society organisations participated in the PAD. The PAD possessed its own extensive media networks, including TV stations (ASTV) and printed media, such as a newspaper (Manager) and a magazine (Weekly Manager). It also had its own social media networks, which encompassed different organisations and powerful professionals who shared the same anti-­Thaksin sentiment. Although on the surface embracing democracy, PAD’s move indeed represented the middle class’s trepidation of Thaksin’s empowerment programmes for its rural supporters. But to further legitimise its own anti-­Thaksin scheme, the PAD used the image of the monarchy to drive the government out of power. An anti-­Thaksin agenda now became a duty of pro-­monarchists, who included some rural residents too. The portraits of King Bhumibol and Queen Sirikit, the colour yellow (symbolic of the Thai monarchy), and banners which carried phrases like “We Fight for the King” were repeatedly used to justify the protests. Of course, in the process, Thaksin was also accused of disrespecting the much-­revered king. Being anti-­ monarchy is deemed a serious crime in Thailand.30 Just when the PAD was convinced that it finally could deracinate the Thaksin influence in politics, after the coup of 2006 and the military-­sponsored elections, Thaksin’s proxies returned to politics through a series of overwhelming victories. The PAD immediately implemented the next plans to destabilise the Thaksin-­backed government by creating chaotic situations such as intensifying disputes with Cambodia over the Preah Vihear Temple and occupying Suvarn­ abhumi International Airport in 2008.31 While these incidents failed to remove the governments from power, it was the Constitutional Court, acting on behalf of the traditional elite, which intervened in politics and played a major part in the collapse of these governments. From late 2008 to the middle of 2011, the pro-­elite Democrat Party formed a government from the minority, made possible because of a backroom deal brokered by the military. Abhisit Vejjajiva was nominated as prime minister. During the Abhisit administration, there were clashes between the state and the red shirt supporters of Thaksin, who demanded Abhisit to step down amid a call for fresh elections. The red shirt demonstrations ended in bloodshed: almost 100 people were killed and more than 2,000 injured. Eventually, Abhisit announced a new round of elections, held in July 2011. Yingluck won a massive majority in parliament, marking a new era of the Shinawatras in  politics. She held the premiership until 2013 when the middle class and civil  society organisations launched new anti-­government protests, as part of

184   Pavin Chachavalpongpun s­ afeguarding their own political exclusiveness. They accused the Yingluck government of scheming to enact a blanket amnesty which would acquit Thaksin from all corruption charges. She was also accused of committing corruption though a rice-­pledging scheme.32 The emergence of the PDRC resurrected the Thai political crisis, which was prerequisite to the coup in May 2014. Led by a former MP from the Democrat Party, Suthep Thaugsuban, the PDRC became a consortium of the rich upper-­ middle class and various professionals, from actors and artists to doctors and monks. They were able to close down financial districts, seize government offices, disrupt businesses and even prevent voters going to the polls in February 2014. The PDRC’s illegal acts were tolerated by the military, reinforcing the argument of cooperation between the middle class, civil society organisations and the army. The timing of the anti-­government protests and the coup (from 2013–2014) was crucial, following the king’s deteriorating health. Being aware of the upcoming succession, and the possibility that the Thaksin faction could hijack the transition for its own interests, the middle class and civil society organisations, with solid yet implicit backing from the military, staged a months­long campaign to undermine the power base of Thaksin and Yingluck. During the demonstrations, the PDRC employed certain discourses to delegitimise the rural-­popular residents, for example, by denouncing the one-­man-one-­vote principle, arguing a lack of education of the rural residents. This kind of discourse echoed the political strategy of the middle class and its allies in the civil society to disqualify the political rights of their counterparts in the lower class. Red shirt movement The red shirt coalitions emerged in the context of a popular mandate being removed in illegitimate and illegal manners by the state’s machinations. The popular mandate, for the red shirts, was the only channel through which their demands could be fulfilled. Pitting themselves against the elite’s overwhelmingly dominant power within the formal system, the red shirts began to form loose coalitions before eventually transforming into a mature movement. Civil society coalitions elsewhere may be a part of the creation of a sphere that keeps the state in check. The red shirt coalitions have, however, moved one step upwards in redefining their own roles and functions as non-­state actors working to radically change the Thai traditional political structure, from one that serves the elite to one that serves the underprivileged class. But such a mission has proven to be arduous. First, the old elite, depicting the red shirts as a systemic threat to their power interests, have gone on the political offensive to eradicate them, including, if needed, the use of force. The red shirts’ political stakes have reached an all-­time high. Second, despite their effective agendas and image of a well-­organised movement, the red shirt coalitions comprise strange political bedfellows – an amalgam of pro-­Thaksin, pro-­democracy, anti-­elite and even anti-­ monarchy factions. Consequently, they have entertained different strategies, ranging from peaceful to violent measures. Such diverse views have sometime

Thailand at the critical royal transition   185 prevented them from producing a unified stance, thus revealing certain vulnerabilities within the movement. Within the domain of Thai studies, little attention has been paid to the significant role of the red shirts as civil society coalitions, especially the way in which they have embarked on overthrowing the old political consensus. Early analyses on the red shirts delivered a misleading conclusion that their movement was merely a proxy for another set of pro-­Thaksin elite. Indeed, the birth of the red shirt coalitions was as a result of developments in Thai politics during the past two decades. Civil society coalitions may have been around in Thailand for some time, but the red shirt movement is the first organisation that has campaigned for a larger political space for the Thai masses at a national level while engaging supporters from across different sectors in society. Undeniably, the red shirt civil society coalitions are the first real mass movement that Thailand has ever produced, due to their approach of directly involving the grassroots population. The prolonged protests of the red shirt movement have exceeded all expectations and defied all the expressions of contempt against them by the Thai urban elite. The modern Thai political system is best viewed as a place dominated by the elite, who were never radically threatened “from below”.33 Apparently, the red shirt movement is a bottom-­up threat, a challenge from the lower class against the upper-­middle class, and the embodiment of a rhetorical class war in a deeply divided Thailand. The country has long been ruled by power “from above”, but this kind of politics is increasingly coming apart at the seams. The red shirt civil society coalitions have actively played their part in accelerating that from-­below process.

The dubious links: concluding note It can be concluded that, first, there are two types of middle class, characterised through different schools of thought: the modernisation and contingent class theories. In the Thai case, it seems apparent that the middle class is not always an agent of democracy, but rather functions under certain conditions. Therefore, the contingent class theory is more relevant in elucidating the behaviour of the Thai middle class and civil society organisations. This theory attested that, at least in the past decade, the middle class and a part of civil society even embraced an anti-­democratic position and relied on the military to defend their power interests from strong elected governments. The normative view of the middle class, as frequently espoused in the West, fails to clarify the psyche of the Thai middle class. In many ways, it is more difficult in the Thai case to define the traits of middle class. Members of the Thai middle class and civil society are not inheritably democratic and lack a fixed ideology about democracy and its principles. They only reach out to support those in the lower class when the latter are not perceived as a threat. In this process, the middle class and civil society organisations do not hesitate to promote political inclusiveness. The middle class and civil society organisations have repositioned themselves at the forefront of Thai politics, particularly driven by fear of their interests

186   Pavin Chachavalpongpun being harmed by an emergent alternative network constructed by Thaksin and his proxies. But the advent of the Yingluck administration also coincided with the ending of the era of King Bhumibol. This coincidence reinforced the middle class’s apprehension in regards to the instability of its position in the post-­ Bhumibol era. Through the decades, members of the middle class and civil society organisations have joined forces in loose alliances, from the PAD to the PDRC, emphasising their determination to remove the Thaksin influence from politics under the pretext of saving Thailand from corrupt politicians. That the military governments themselves have become sullied by a string of corruption allegations has mostly been ignored by the so-­called democrats of the middle class. From the controversial Rajapakdi Park to the appointment of relatives and cronies of the junta to various posts in the government and bureaucracy, both the PAD and the PDRC remained silent, as if the military’s corruption were acceptable.34 From this angle, what they were protecting was not democratic or clean politics but their own alliances and networks. But the PAD and PDRC are not the only representatives of the middle class and civil society in Thailand. The red shirt movement has also claimed to safeguard democracy and strives to set the Thai political system free from the domination of the old power. Although most members of the red shirt movement are from the rural-­popular class in society, they also include intellectuals and academics, as well as some individuals in the middle class. This underlines the fact that the middle class in Thailand has many facets, and that the links between the middle class, civil society organisations and democratisation are dubious and not sufficient to provide a ready answer to why these actors are sometimes antagonistic towards democracy.

Notes   1 King Bhumbol Adulyadej, born in 1927, was crowned in 1946 following the mysterious death of his brother, King Ananda Mahidol. The subject of Ananda’s death has remained taboo to the present day.   2 Edward Palmer Thompson, The Making of the English Working Class (New York: Vintage Books, 1963), p. 641.   3 Tsuruyo Funatsu and Kazuhiro Kagoya, “The Middle Classes in Thailand: The Rise of the Urban Intellectual Elite and their Social Consciousness”, The Developing Economies, Vol. XLI, No. 2 (June 2003), p. 260.   4 Robert Albritton and Thawilwadee Bureekul, “The State of Democracy in Thailand”, Asian Barometer (2008) www.asianbarometer.org/publications/feb6def773ed9f0f8cc96e8209b243f8.pdf (accessed 29 July 2016).   5 James Ockey, Making Democracy: Leadership, Class, Gender and Political Participation in Thailand (Honolulu: University of Hawaii Press, 2004), p. 153.   6 Francis Fukuyama, The End of History and the Last Man (New York, London, Toronto, Sydney: Free Press, 1992), pp. 15–16. Fukuyama also argues that authoritarian regimes on the Right and Left have sought to use the power of the state to encroach on the private sphere and to control it for various purposes – whether to build military strength, to promote an egalitarian social order, or to bring about rapid economic growth (p. 15).   7 Eva R. Bellin, “Contingent Democrats: Industrialists, Labour, and Democratisation in late Developing Countries”, World Politics, Vol. 52, No. 2 (2000), p. 179.

Thailand at the critical royal transition   187   8 Gile Ji Ungpakorn, A Coup for the Rich: Thailand’s Political Crisis (Bangkok: Workers Democracy Publishing, 2007), pp. 7–8.   9 Niti Pawakapan, “Emotions and Awareness of Rights among the Thais”, Suvannabhumi, Vol. 7, No. 2 (December 2015), p. 111. Niti also wrote, Her comment led to an outcry among Thai people, especially those who lived in the rural area. Her father later apologized to the Thais on his daughter’s behalf via the mass media and explained that she had changed her surname to “Kridakorn”, the maiden name of her mother. This explanation was intended to tell the Thai public that the Bhirombhakdi, her fathers’ family, which owned Boon Rawd Brewery, one of the country’s largest breweries, had distanced itself from Chitpas and her political activities (Khaosod online, December 23, 2013). It was speculated that such action was to prevent any damage to the family’s business caused by her comment. 10 Aim Sinpeng and Aries A. Arugay, “The Middle Class and Democracy in Southeast Asia”, in Routledge Handbook of Southeast Asian Democratization, edited by William Case (London and New York: Routledge, 2015), pp. 102–3. 11 Charnvit Kasetsiri, editor, Chak 12 Thueng 6 Tula [“From 14–6 October”] (Bangkok: Thammasat University Press, 1998), pp. 61–4. 12 Chai-­anan Samudavanija, “Old Soldiers Never Die, They are Just Bypassed: The Military, Bureaucracy and Globalization”, in Political Change in Thailand: Democracy and Participation, edited by Kevin Hewison (New York: Routledge, 1997), p. 53. 13 Michael H. Nelson, “Vote No!: The PAD’s Decline from Powerful Movement to Political Sect?”, “Good Coup” Gone Bad: Thailand’s Political Developments Since Thaksin’s Downfall, edited by Pavin Chachavalpongpun (Singapore: Institute of Southeast Asian Studies, 2014), p. 156. 14 The Yingluck government, in mid-­2013, proposed to pass an amnesty bill in the parliament. The amnesty bill was designed to set free those involved in the political crises since 2006, which included Thaksin Shinawatra, the military, the opposition party – the Democrat Party – and red shirt political prisoners. The bill was rejected by both yellow and red shirts, as they did not want their political opponents to walk free from justice. 15 Federico Ferrara, “Democracy in Thailand: Theory and Practice”, Routledge Handbook of Southeast Asian Democratization, edited by William Case (London and New York: Routledge, 2015), p. 364. 16 Larry Diamond, Development Democracy: Toward Consolidation (Baltimore: The John Hopkins University Press, 1999), p. 218. 17 Reflections on Thai Civil Soceity, KEPA (Helsinki: December 2011), p. 2 www.kepa. fi/tiedostot/reflections-on-thai-civil-society-2011.pdf (accessed 15 July 2016). Kepa is the umbrella organisation for Finnish civil society organisations that work with development cooperatives or are otherwise interested in global affairs. At the moment Kepa has more than 300 member organisations, ranging from small, voluntary-­based organisations to major national organisations. 18 Towards Asia’s Sustainable Development: The Role of Social Protection, OECD, Emerging and Transition Economies Series (Paris: 2002), p. 139. This study draws on various Thai language studies. This is the most recent figure available: no additional surveys seem to have been undertaken since then. Quoted in Civil Society Briefs: Thailand, ADB (November 2011) p. 1 www.adb.org/sites/default/files/publication/29149/ csb-tha.pdf (accessed 15 July 2016). 19 Jessica C. Teets, Governance in Non-­Democracies: The Role of Civil Society in Increasing Pluralism and Accountability in Local Public Policy, PhD Dissertation, Department of Political Science, University of Colorado, Boulder, 2008, p. 60. 20 Chutima Gawin, “Thai NGOs and Civil Society”, Thai NGOs: The Continuing Struggle for Democracy (Bangkok: Thai NGO Support Project, 1995), p. 140. Quoted

188   Pavin Chachavalpongpun

21 22 23 24 25

26 27 28 29

30 31

32 33


in Chakrit Tiebtienrat, “Change: Civil Society, Street Politics and Democracy in Contemporary Thailand”, Rangsit Journal of Social Sciences and Humanities, Vol.  2, No. 2 (July–December 2015), p. 80. Bruce D. Missingham, The Assembly of the Poor in Thailand (Chiangmai: Silkworm Books, 2003), p. 183. Quoted in Gawin, ibid. For further details on lèse-majesté law, see David Streckfuss, Truth on Trial in Thailand: Defamation, Treason, and Lèse-majesté (London and New York: Routledge, 2011). Naruemon Thabchumpon, “Grassroots NGOs and Political Reform in Thailand: Democracy behind Civil Society”, Copenhagen Journal of Asian Studies, Vol.  13 (1998), p. 37. Narumon, ibid. M. Shamsul Haque, “Decentralising Local Governance in Thailand: Contemporary Trends and Challenges”, Public Sector Reform in Developing and Transitional Countries: Decentralisation and Local Governance, edited by Christopher J. Rees and Ferhad Hossain (Oxon and New York: Routledge, 2013), p. 98. Chakrit, “Change: Civil Society, Street Politics and Democracy in Contemporary Thailand”, quoted in Chris Baker and Pasuk Phongpaichit, Thaksin: The Business of Politics in Thailand (Chiangmai: Silkworm Books, 2004), pp. 145–8. Duncan McCargo, “Network Monarchy and Legitimacy Crises in Thailand”, The Pacific Review, Vol. 18, No. 4 (December 2005), p. 499. Björn Dressel, “Thailand: Judicialisation of Politics or Politicisation of the Judiciary?” in The Judicialisation of Politics in Asia, edited by Björn Dressel (London and New York: Routledge, 2012), p. 92. The Thai Rak Thai became Thailand’s first political party to achieve massive electoral successes. After Thaksin was overthrown in a coup, his Thai Rak Thai Party was disbanded. He then formed a new party, the People’s Power Party (PPP), led by Samak Sundaravej. But the Constitutional Court ordered the dissolution of the PPP on the grounds of electoral fraud. With the collapse of the PPP, Thaksin set up the Pheu Thai Party, which won an election in 2011, landing Yingluck the premiership. See Michael J. Montesano, “Political Contests in the Advent of Bangkok’s 19 September Putsch”, in Divided over Thaksin: Thailand’s Coup and Problematic Transition, edited by John Funston (Singapore: Institute of Southeast Asian Studies, 2009), p. 4. In mid-­2008, the Samak Sundaravej government announced that it would support Cambodia’s bid to have the Preah Vihear Temple listed as a UNESCO World Heritage site. The PAD politicised the government’s support for Cambodia by claiming that Samak was willing to trade the disputed areas for business interests of Thaksin in Cambodia. The disputed areas involved 4.6 square kilometres surrounding the temple. The campaign was able to stir up a sense of nationalism against Cambodia, which led to armed clashes along the two countries’ border. See Pavin Chachavalpongpun, “Temple of Doom: Hysteria about the Preah Vihear Temple in the Thai Nationalist Discourse”, in Legitimacy Crisis in Thailand, edited by Marc Askew (Chiang Mai: Silkworm Books, 2010), pp. 83–117. Suchit Bumbongkarn, “What Went Wrong with Thai Democracy”, in Southeast Asian Affairs 2005, edited by Daljit Singh (Singapore: Institute of Southeast Asian Studies, 2015), p. 365. Speech of Pasuk Phongpaichit and Chris Baker at the “Review of Thai Social Movement” seminar held on 17 September 2010 at Chulalongkorn University, Bangkok, Thailand. In “The Implications of Coloured Movement”, Bangkok Post, 23 September 2010. In 2015, the military government of General Prayuth Chan-­ocha was accused of condoning or even being involved in corruption regarding the construction of a park which houses statues of Thailand’s past kings, named Rajapakdi Park. The government threatened to arrest those attempting to unveil the irregularities of the project and silenced the media from reporting news about the case.

10 From paragons to opponents of democracy Middle class in civil society’s role in Thailand’s democratization Hugh Pei-­Hsiu Chen Introduction Is the middle class a harbinger of democracy? This question has been one of the most enduring issues in the study of comparative politics. Much of the literature has leaned toward the perspective that the middle class serves as a core force for democratic transition, but there is also much evidence to suggest that the middle class is not necessarily a fortress for democracy. What is even worse is when the middle class becomes a turncoat in democratization, leading to democratic retreat and authoritarian restoration. According to the Brookings Institution’s statistics, the Asia-­Pacific region will account for two-­thirds of the world’s middle-­class population by 2030 (Kharas 2017). Although this will inevitably increase the influence of the Asian middle class, growing numbers and power do not translate into democratization in any straightforward manner. If modernization theorists were to be believed, the rise of the Asian middle classes would accelerate the Westernization of political systems to achieve the goals of democratization. Nowadays, however, Asia offers ample evidence to challenge these perceptions and predictions. A comparison between the level of democratization based on the Bertelsmann Transformation Index (BTI) and the size of the middle class in some selected Asian countries reveals that there is only a loose correlation between these two variables (Bertelsmann Stiftung 2014a). In fact, we have witnessed conservative members of the middle class often use their numbers and political clout to prevent democratization from happening or to turn coat en route, resulting in a democratic retreat. Across the Asia-­Pacific region, sections of the middle classes are supporting anciens régimes (Bertelsmann Stiftung 2014b). This scenario is particularly typical today in Thailand.

Middle class, civil society, and democracy Probably the earliest and best-­known example of research on ‘the middle class and democracy’ is Seymour Martin Lipset’s essay, ‘Some Social Requisites of Democracy: Economic Development and Political Legitimacy’, first published in the Amer­ican Political Science Review in 1959 and later incorporated into his

190   Hugh Pei-Hsiu Chen Political Man (Lipset, 1963). There, Lipset argued ‘democracy is related to the state of economic development. The more well-­to-do a nation, the greater the chances that it will sustain democracy.’ Lipset’s findings have been supported by a number of more recent studies. Emphasizing the importance of the middle class in the transition and consolidation of democratic societies may well be regarded as an overall tendency in modern social sciences. This affirmative approach to middle class dynamics primarily rests on the assumptions that a highly developed middle class would temper conflicts in a pluralistic society by rewarding moderate and democratic choices, and that a highly developed middle class would contribute to the endeavors for transition to democracy (Ozbudun 2005: 95). Nevertheless, despite the considerable weight of these interpretations in contemporary political thinking, one should also pay attention to several examples in which the middle class did not take an active part in the democratization processes, or even actively supported authoritarian rule under certain circumstances. Therefore, it seems vital to ask what types of middle class members under what kind of circumstances prefer to play an active role in the transition to and the consolidation of democracy. Civil society has been comprehensively recognized as ‘the third sector’ of a state. The strength of civil society is its influence and participation in politics and public affairs relevant to the state and the market (White, 2004). Moreover, it is seen as an important agent for promoting good governance, especially on responsiveness, effectiveness, transparency, and accountability of government. Civil society also has been regarded as a kind of representative and ally of the vulnerable and marginalized people in a society, the voice of the unheard. Civil society may be defined and characterized in various ways, including in terms of actors, agendas, processes, spaces, and outcomes. But defining or characterizing civil society is an uncomfortable exercise, given that labeling necessarily involves imposing norms and boundaries from a particular political stance. Perhaps it is best to not define, so as to remain inclusive, participatory, and adaptable, and to avoid reproducing top-­down agenda setting and processes. Moreover, it is also best not to define so as to fully acknowledge and embrace the complexity, dynamism, and multi-­faceted nature of civil society itself. However, it is necessary to have perception and conceptualization toward civil society when exploring the roles of non-­governmental organizations (NGOs), civil society organizations (CSOs), and the middle class in democratization. Civil society hence can be understood to be a political space where voluntary associations deliberately seek to shape the rules that govern aspects of social life. CSOs target formal rules; they seek to change and/or impose social constructs or the social order. Civil society can also encompass many sorts of actors, and it is much wider than the formal world of NGOs (Scholte 2004: 213–15). If civil society matters, is civil society activity legitimate? Jan Aart Scholte (2007) suggests that civil society engagements are not inherently legitimate or illegitimate. He articulated four criteria that can be used to assess the legitimacy of civil society activities: (i) morality; (ii) effectiveness; (iii) democracy; and (iv) social cohesion.

From paragons to opponents of democracy   191 In terms of civil society and democracy, civil society activism on development might be deemed legitimate on the grounds of democracy, as it has widely been argued that contemporary globalization has generated large democratic deficits. Civil society has given voice to parts of the public who would otherwise have been largely or completely excluded at the global level. That said, some civil society associations have limited public participation and have not been interested in enabling public accountability. Another reason why a large, autonomous middle class favors democracy is that, in its absence, the state tends to ‘control a vastly greater share of the most valued economic opportunities (jobs, contracts, licenses, scholarships, and development largesse)’, whereas, as Gaetano Mosca foresaw, democracy requires ‘a large (middle) class of people whose economic position is virtually independent of those who hold supreme power’ (Dimond 1992: 459). As a result of the control of scarce economic resources by a political class, the state itself becomes the principal determinant of class formation, and electoral competition takes on the nature of a zero-­sum game. Under these circumstances, the loss of political office also means the loss of control over a very significant portion of the country’s economic resources and, as Lipset rightly argues, ‘if loss of office means serious losses for major power groups, they will seek to retain or secure office by any means available’ (Lipset 1963: 51). The role of the middle class also figures prominently in the literature regarding recent transitions to democracy. Huntington observes that ‘in virtually every country the most active supporters of democratization came from the urban middle class’, and he cites the examples of Argentina, Brazil, the Philippines, Taiwan, Korea, Spain, Peru, and Ecuador in the late 1970s and the 1980s (quoted in Ozbudun 2005: 98). At a more general level, it has often been argued that capitalist economic development, even though it may well take place under an authoritarian regime, tends to create a large and autonomous middle class who, in turn, becomes a major force in democratization. One of the major challenges to the thesis that the rise of the middle class is associated with the rise of democracy that came from the dependency school that emerged in the 1970s. Peter Evans (1979) argues: Dependent development is a special instance of dependency, characterized by the association or alliance of international and local capital. The state also joins the alliance as an active partner, and the resulting triple alliance is a fundamental factor in the emergence of dependent development. In the context of dependent development, the association of bourgeois democracy and capitalist accumulation no longer holds. Wages must be kept low in order to maintain the attractiveness of a semi-­peripheral country involved in the process of dependent development. This, in turn, requires the political repression of popular mobilization. Thus emerges ‘a strong rational association between capitalist development and autocracy’ (Evans 1979: 47–49). Examples range from Italy, which might easily be considered part of the

192   Hugh Pei-Hsiu Chen center, to Thailand, which is clearly part of the periphery. They include small rich countries, like Sweden and Belgium, and large poor countries, like India and Indonesia.

Middle class and civil society in Thai democracy Although democratization in Thailand is often seen as an illustration of modernization theory, the extent of middle-­class support for democracy is actually unclear. The greatest advance for Thai democracy in the 1990s was the promulgation of the 1997 Constitution which is, however, more closely linked to economic globalization than modernization. Thai democratization in the 1990s is commonly characterized as a classic case of modernization theory in practice. The modernization argument holds that economic development in Thailand created a substantial, well-­educated urban middle class that pursued an accountable democratic government. Thus, when a military coup overthrew a fledgling democratic regime in 1991, it led to middle-­ class demonstrations in 1992 that ejected the junta and put Thailand firmly on the path to democratic consolidation. These events purportedly demonstrated that military governments are no longer tenable in the face of middle-­class demands for democracy. Does modernization theory provide an accurate account of the Thai case? Neil A. Englehart (2003: 253–254) indicates that close examination of the evidence shows that it does not. The Thai middle class cannot be characterized as having coherent political preferences. Some in the middle class are pro-­ democracy, while some are not. Other groups in Thai society are similarly divided, and many members of these groups also participated in the 1992 demonstrations. Furthermore, it is unclear to what degree the 1992 demonstrations were really about democracy; arguably, they had more to do with suspicions of official corruption. Civil society and CSOs in Thai politics According to Civil Society Brief: Thailand, published by the Asia Development Bank (ADB 2011), CSOs in Thailand can be separated into three geographical zones, which reflect the characteristic political features of CSOs in different areas. 1  Central Thailand and Bangkok CSOs in central Thailand and the Bangkok area are diverse, and represent most current issues through cooperation with the political and intellectual elite, including health, education, environment, social welfare, gender, economy, and politics. These CSOs have strong knowledge and management in political affairs, enabling them to advocate some issues nationwide by transferring information and tactics to other areas of Thailand.

From paragons to opponents of democracy   193 2  North and Northeast Thailand In the north and northeast of Thailand, most CSOs are grassroots groups with the main focus on rural poverty, indigenous peoples, water, and natural resource issues (ADB 2011). These CSOs concentrated on political enlightenment and mobilization of rural people to participate in policy-­related movements. In northern Thailand, many CSOs are based in and around the second biggest city, Chiang Mai (ADB 2011). In northeastern Thailand, CSOs’ network in non-­profit management is supported by USAID in Khon Kaen. 3  South Thailand In southern Thailand, independent CSOs are active in smaller numbers; for example, the Andaman Organization for Participatory Restoration of Natural Resources. The presence of conflict in the south has been influencing the CSOs, and most of them are organized by livelihood or religious background (ADB 2011). Obviously, most CSOs are concerned about local issues. However, some strong ‘people’s organizations’ are able to participate in the national policy-­ making process; for example, Assembly of the Poor (AOL) and the fisherfolk network. Furthermore, NGOs, which are a kind of CSO, work with support from the public on behalf of children, women’s rights, and human rights. Some NGOs act as watchdogs on government policies (Phongpaichit 2000). The political participation of civil society and/or CSOs in Thailand relating to specific events is shown in Table 10.1. The changing civil society in contemporary Thailand Politically, prior to the ascendancy of Thaksin Shinawatra as prime minister in 2001, Thai governments had dealt with civil society on an ad hoc basis in reaction to movements that aggressively made demands, especially those that went to Bangkok to demonstrate (Pasuk & Baker 2009: 226). Thaksin was the first prime minister who sought to deal with civil society systematically. He set out to co-­opt those who could be co-­opted and to discredit those who could not, either by dividing them from their supporters or through more devious means, such as directing the Anti-­Money Laundering Unit to investigate movement leaders, and using legal maneuvers to minimize movements and the effectiveness of civil society (Pasuk & Baker 2004: 145–148). Thaksin’s genius lay in providing funding for development to communities and their activists. For activists concerned primarily with community development and not with politics or political empowerment, this provided them with opportunities that had previously been unavailable. Others, often middle-­class activists from Bangkok, were concerned that such policies disempowered individuals and communities and corrupted civil society, which outweighed the benefits of development. In many cases, those who

194   Hugh Pei-Hsiu Chen Table 10.1 Political participation of civil society and/or CSOs in Thailand Time

Political events

Political participation by civil society and/or CSOs


• Shift from absolute monarchy to constitutional monarchy • Democracy under powerful elite • Establishment of Communist Party of Thailand (CPT) with an armed force • Short period of developmental state, authoritarian government • Centralized planning • Strong bureaucratic polity • First student uprising against authoritarianism, and ruling junta stepped down due to King’s intervention • Democracy blooming until 1976 • Political violence – Thammasat University Massacre, and protests against return of authoritarianism and Prime Minister Thanom Kittikachorn • Right and left ideological conflict • Half-democracy • More liberalized polity

• State initiated groups, i.e., trade unions, cooperatives

1948 1959–1960s

14 Oct 1973

6 Oct 1976

1970s–1980s Late 1980s

May 1992


• Underground opposition movement and armed conflict • State initiated groups, i.e., trade unions, cooperatives, farmers’ groups • State mobilized participation • Student movement led by National Student Center of Thailand (NSCT), and workers, farmers’ association, and middle class • Students from various universities • Right and left wings in civil society

• Ex-student activists turned to NGOs in community development • Legitimacy crisis of civilian • Strong NGOs in environmental government movement • Return of the military coup– • Politicization of environmental National Peace Keeping Council issues (NPKC) in 1991 • Dominance of new middle class • Bloody May incident, missing in politics victims in protest against military coup and taking power. • Student movement triggers re-democratization Violence for three days, ended by King’s intervention • Re-democratization and political reform • Constitutional reform process • People’s participation • Competing elitist and populist nationwide in drafting constitution versions of democracy • Consolidation of grassroots and radical democracy, e.g., Assembly of the Poor (AOP) • Localization of civic actions on political reform continued

From paragons to opponents of democracy   195 Table 10.1  Continued 1997

• Asian economic crisis • Promulgation of new constitution • Decentralization in progress • Legacy of bureaucratic polity and resistance to change


• New political institutions • New elected Senate • Public sector reform in the process • Representative vs. participatory democracy • Political atmosphere of distrust • Military coup ousted prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra


2010 2013–2014

• Spontaneous civic groups on crisis • Good governance and civil society as national strategy for economic crisis • Sustained grassroots movements against national development scheme • Formation of anti-corruption civic network • Corporate good governance • State mobilized civic in national development planning exercise • NGOs and grassroots movements • NGOs and civic groups interface

• Civilians’ anti-corruption movements • Led by Peoples’ Alliance for Democracy (PAD) • Red Shirt protest • Led by United Front for Democracy against Dictatorship (UDD) • Anti-government rallies mainly • Led by People’s Democratic in Bangkok; other Reform Committee (PDRC) with demonstrations across provinces background of political party • Ended by military coup

Source: Noair (2015: 6–8).

opposed Thaksin saw civil society as a third way in politics, a means of rescuing democracy from corrupt politicians, and they wanted to maintain it as an oppositional force free of the flaws of parliamentary rule. Such activists saw Thaksin as buying the loyalty of their constituents so that, at some level, competition existed philosophically and for the support of individuals. For example, the Assembly of the Poor split, with one of its NGO activist leaders seeking to bring the Assembly into the anti-­Thaksin People’s Alliance for Democracy (PAD), while most of its members were supporting the pro-­Thaksin United Front of Democracy against Dictatorship (UDD). Pasuk and Baker conclude that, as a result of Thaksin’s tactics, ‘civil society become superfluous’, though perhaps it should be seen rather as a key battleground between competing visions of development and democracy (Pasuk & Baker 2004: 147). The two most powerful movements in contemporary civil society have grown, in part, out of this divide engineered by Thaksin. This division is only part of a larger conflict driven by politics and politicians that have come to encompass civil society. The two most powerful movements to emerge have been the PAD,

196   Hugh Pei-Hsiu Chen along with its later evolution as the People’s Democratic Reform Committee (PDRC), and the UDD. To understand Thai civil society and its relationship to politics, it is beneficial to explore the leadership, followers, and money behind the movement. The PDRC’s emergence in 2013–2014 provides the most significant movement in Thai politics. To understand the PDRC it is important to view the PAD as its foundation. The PAD developed from a split between Thaksin and media executive Sondhi Limtongkul, who had been close associates. Thaksin had helped rescue Sondhi’s business during the Asian economic crisis, and Sondhi had helped Thaksin in his efforts to attain favorable media coverage. While their relationship had become increasingly troubled over time, the falling-­out came when, on his television talk show of September 9, 2005, Sondhi read a letter from a follower with the pseudonym ‘Luk Kae Longthang’ (‘Lost Lamb’), which explained how the misbehavior of the oldest lamb against its siblings led to serious concerns by their father. This caused public concern as well as public interest. Sondhi then took his program to the streets, holding public rallies in place of the television broadcast. Since then, street politics has become a symbol of civil society in 21st-century Thai politics (Tiebtienrat 2015: 81–83). The PAD/PDRC’s main support rests on the Democrat Party. After 2008, PAD support went into decline due to the lack of Democrat participation. Following introduction of the Universal Amnesty Bill of 2013, the middle-­class movement revived, drawing from the old PAD support group under the leadership of former Democrat members and former PAD core leaders, and became the PDRC. The PDRC has become one of the largest and most significant movements in Thai civil society since the start of the 21st century. Chakrit Tiebtienrat (2015) evaluated these two most powerful movements in contemporary civil society in Thailand through the context of leadership and followers. In terms of leadership, the major leaders of the PAD, Sondhi Limtongkul and Major General Chamlong Srimuang, are figures of the older generation. Under their leadership, many of their demands, including the return of a non-­ elected prime minister, are conservative rather than transformative. From 2008 to 2013, the PAD leaders experienced a significant decline in support. By 2013, the PAD and its network had to integrate into the PDRC movement. The most significant change in the movement’s leadership is the rise of politicians. The faction that created the PDRC comprises lots of the Democrat Party members, headed by Suthep Thaugsuban. In terms of supporters and followers, the PAD’s most important constituencies are capitalists and the middle class, which are generally, though erroneously (Tiebtienrat 2015: 83), thought to have been the primary force behind Thailand’s democratic movement since 1973. This group includes not only those with large­scale capital, but also owners of small and medium enterprises (SMEs). Tiebtienrat argues that the PAD’s organization and policies are in line with NGOs, which means they specialize in a ‘narrow range of capitalist and middle class interests, while the wider policies were very vague in order to maintain cooperation from other sectors in the society’. He sees NGOs as inherently

From paragons to opponents of democracy   197 middle class, which for him means they are conservative. In 2013, the conservative elite, middle class, and small-­business owners of Sino-­Thai descendants remained at the PDRC’s core. Significant numbers of shops in Sino-­Thai ethnic areas decided to shut their businesses on a regular basis to join the PDRC throughout its active periods. The PDRC’s formation in 2013 demonstrates that its core remains within the Thai middle class, especially among State-­owned enterprises (SOEs), those of Sino-­Thai ethnicity, southern Thais, and SMEs. Therefore, little difference exists between PDRC and PAD supporters, though PDRC supporters are much more numerous. Their main argument cites the immoral passage of the 2013 Amnesty Bill, which the Yingluck administration passed by employing a suspicious procedure. By then, dissatisfaction with the administration had reached its peak. Numerous newspapers and online media used phases such as ‘E-­Ngo’ (‘dumb lady’) to identify Yingluck when she spoke poorly. Her low approval rating sank even further on accusations of corruption over a disastrously expensive rice-­ buying scheme to prop up farmers by promising to pay them at prices far above market levels. This led to significant numbers of followers joining the PDRC in a bid to oust the government. Examining the changes in civil society through its leadership and followers in the context of a large-­scale social movement highlights important features. The current movement has demonstrated that civil society cannot stay above politics, just as it could not in the past. In 1976, civil society movements on the left and especially on the right were closely connected with politicians. In 1992, the two best-­known leaders of the uprisings, Chamlong Srimuang and Chawalit Yongchaiyudh, were both party leaders. Both sides of the 2013–2014 movement have been guided largely by politicians: Suthep and his factions for the PDRC, and the pro-­Thaksin MPs for the UDD. A deeper understanding of Thai civil society requires an examination of the relationship between civil society and politicians, and in particular of the reason civil society turns to politicians for support, and even for leadership, in times of crisis. Some reasons for politicians having played prominent roles in civil movements in contemporary Thailand include: Politicians can provide an organizational structure and committed followers for a range of issues. As shown with the PAD and PDRC, new forms of technology can create a near-­organizational structure: for the PAD and PDRC, these were the 4G internet network and social media, along with media organs including ASTV Manager, Bluesky Channel, and even RSU Wisdom TV (Tiebtienrat 2015: 85). In addition, civil society networks are generally issue-­oriented and can have difficulty in maintaining loyalty. However, political networks are loyal and committed to their leaders over the long term on a range of interests. This greater commitment seems to be the key to the role of politicians when civil society movements set out to overthrow a government. Regarding civil society and democracy, in Thailand there has been a tendency to insist that other institutions, from the monarchy and the courts to the military and civil society, remain somehow above politics: pure and unsullied by dirty

198   Hugh Pei-Hsiu Chen politics. Whether intended or not, this discourse has delegitimized the parliamentary system; it is not trusted to solve political crises. Inevitably, crises lead to demands for intervention from one or another institution seen as being above politics, which precludes parliament and renders it ineffective in resolving crises.

Dilemma of Thai middle class under Thaksin regime Middle classes from Bangkok to Istanbul and from Cairo to Kiev seek to overthrow elected governments outside of the electoral cycle. Wary of majority rule, the middle class in the capital is ready to form alliances with the traditional elite to disenfranchise ordinary citizens and even overthrow electoral democracy. Like their Egyptian peers, well-­heeled Bangkokian protesters called for military intervention to deal with the rural masses and their ‘populist’ masters (Saxer: 2014). This anti-­democratic behavior seems to contradict liberal notions of the middle class. In Seymour Martin Lipset’s modernization theory, the equation was straightforward: the more middle class, the more democracy. Alexis de Tocqueville should, however, serve as a reminder that the middle classes have always been wary of ‘the tyranny of the majority’. Middle class rage No matter how the elite power struggle ends, the future of Thai democracy will depend on the political orientation of the middle classes. Will political entrepreneurs continue to mobilize mass protests for elite interests, or will the middle classes settle for a social compromise to safeguard their own interests? In order to bring the Bangkok middle class back into the democratic flock, it is important to understand the root causes for what Marc Saxer (2014) suggests is the ‘middle class rage’, which is driven by fear and anger. If Thai society wants social peace, middle-­class fear and anger must be addressed. The Bangkok middle class called for democratization and specifically the liberalization of the state, with the political rights to protect themselves from the abuse of power by the elite. However, once democracy was institutionalized, they found themselves to be the structural minority. Mobilized by clever political entrepreneurs, it was now the periphery who handily won every election. Ignorant of the rise of a rural middle class demanding full participation in social and political life, the middle class in the center interpreted demands for equal rights and public goods as ‘the poor getting greedy’. From the perspective of the middle class, they feel like they are ‘being robbed’ by corrupt politicians, who use their tax revenues to ‘buy votes’ from the ‘greedy poor’. Or in more subtle language, the ‘uneducated rural masses are easy prey for politicians who promise them everything in an effort to get a hold of power’. Besides, to the urban middle class, policies delivering to local constituencies are nothing but ‘populism’ or another form of ‘vote buying’ by power-­hungry politicians. Consequently, time and again, the ‘yellow’ alliance of

From paragons to opponents of democracy   199 the feudal elite along with the Bangkok middle class called for the disenfranchisement of the ‘red’ mob of uneducated and poor bumpkins, or even more bluntly for the suspension of electoral democracy (Saxer 2014). Political economists point to the ‘sandwich position’ of the middle class in the capital between the abusive elite on the one side, and those in the process of being emancipated – that is the peripheral middle class, urbanized villagers, and the rural poor – on the other. Thailand’s middle class found himself or herself sandwiched between the two greedy camps, the abusive political elite and the urbanized villagers and rural poor, and became a ‘structural minority’ in the Thaksin era. ‘Sandwich coalitions’, as Arun Swamy suggests, are formed when political actors occupying or seeking the apex of a political hierarchy undercut the power of middle-­level actors by championing the needs of politically excluded or marginalized actors further down. They can occur in both electoral and non-­electoral settings (Swamy 2012: 12). Thaksin was ousted from power in a 2006 coup that was welcomed by the same Bangkok middle class that had firmly opposed military rule and brought democracy to Thailand in 1992. Thaksin’s success in creating a sandwich coalition in Thailand with a far less stratified social structure suggests, rather, that relevant cleavages can be engineered by political entrepreneurs (Ukrist 2016: 136–138).

The shift of middle class attitudes toward Thai democracy Besides the relative deprivation from its ‘sandwiched’ position in the social structure, the turning of the Thai middle class against democracy can be understood through different perspectives. In 2006, middle-­class Bangkok residents overwhelmingly supported the military coup that displaced the elected government of Thaksin Shinawatra. Survey research shows that opponents of Thaksin had a stronger commitment to liberal democracy and possibly to royalist values, while rural voters supported Thaksin because he fulfilled their social demands. Kai Jäger (2012) introduced the ‘information gap’ hypothesis that opposition to Thaksin was not motivated by economic interests, but rather that there is some evidence that urban middleand upper-­class voters disliked Thaksin because they heard negative reporting about him, which was less available in the countryside. The information-­gap hypothesis does not imply that urban Thaksin opponents are better informed than rural Thaksin supporters in the sense that their knowledge also approximates the truth. Rather it suggests that they have a greater exposure to political information as conveyed by their cultural surroundings. Features of political changes in Thailand were embodied by three classical theses in relation to democratization: the correlation between civil–military relations and democracy; the influence of political culture on democracy; and the role of the elite in democratization. The shift of Thai middle class attitudes toward democracy can be analyzed based on these perspectives.

200   Hugh Pei-Hsiu Chen Correlation between civil–military relations and democratization Samuel P. Huntington (1968) states, while discussing the development and decay of politics, that there is a positive correlation between the degree of institutionalization and political stability. The higher the degrees of institutionalization, the more stable the politics, and vice versa. Military coups play the most crucial role in the institutionalization of politics because the impact and changes they bring to a political system are most enormous and evident (Huntington 1968). Talking about military coups in the political scene of Thailand, Sulak Sivaraksa (1998: 74), a social leader from the country and a prominent political commentator, made a concise yet comprehensive comparison: ‘In Thailand, an unsuccessful coup d’état is like a re-­election, a successful one is like a general election.’ Ratapraharn, a Thai word for coup d’état, is different from the general perception of the meaning of the phrase. Japanese scholar Somsakdi Xuto (1987: 172) suggests that the goal of a coup d’état in Thailand is not to execute the country’s leadership, but to adjust its political structure and ‘modify’ its constitution. When coups d’état have taken place in Thailand, they have been simple and easy to control. The coup leaders have not had to mobilize the public to create an image of popularity, and very often they have not been met with mass resistance. Furthermore, the coups have never caused social unrest. As a result, only governmental organizations and the ruling clan have been directly impacted. Successful coup leaders have two ways of arranging the new regime: first, set up a military government and the coup leader becomes the prime minister (1951, 1958, and 1971); second, after appointing an interim prime minister to organize the provisional government, the coup leader announces his return to the military. Regardless of the methods, coup d’état signifies a way to change the prime minister and his government (Chen, 2004). A comparison and analysis of the political and military organization in Thailand can illustrate the reason behind the frequent military coups d’état there. In terms of political organization, a weak constitutional foundation, inefficient party system, chaotic electoral politics, and the parliamentary politics paved the way. In terms of military organization, a tradition of military coups and the practice of military participation in politics were the driving forcing behind military coups. Behind the chronic political dominance by the military in Thailand, decreasing political institutionalization is the key. In regards to this issue, deficiencies in the party system and the hollowing out of such politics have been the two greatest challenges to political institutionalization in Thailand (Chen, 2003). Lucian Pye (1985: 55–57) once mentioned, while discussing political systems in Southeast Asia, that political parties in the region were not able to perform their function fully as there was a fundamental existing problem. Not only were the parties unable to integrate the ruling class with the general public effectively, but political participation of parties was also not enough to set into motion the institutionalization of politics; it was merely enough to cause fissures among the ruling class. Thailand is a perfect example of this inference.

From paragons to opponents of democracy   201 While on the other hand the chronic dominance by the military in Thailand also matches the theory of Huntington (1968), a party system is weak or almost non-­existent in a conventional monarchy. In a society lacking colonialism, it is difficult to provoke a mass movement and this is unfavorable to the development of parties (Huntington, 1968). The positions held by the military in the political society of Thailand and the social support that they gained never waned following the nation’s economic development and political reform. They are the power, which is trusted by the people, behind national development and stability. According to a nationwide survey conducted by the King Prajadhipok’s Institute (KPI) in 2003 on the good governance and development index of the Thai government, the top three social and political institutes in Thailand ranked by the public in terms of trustworthiness were: (1) the Constitutional Court; (2) the military; and (3) the Anti-­Corruption Committee. The last three were: (1) political parties; (2) newspapers; and (3) police. See Table 10.2 for more information. Indeed, this is an interesting phenomenon. The three institutions (the Constitutional Court, National Counter Corruption Commission, and Election Commission set up under the new Constitution in 1997 were well trusted by the public, whereas political parties and parliament, which the new Constitution tried to strengthen, were not so well received. Even more thought provoking was the ‘newly apolitical’ Thai military, which was highly trusted by the public. This clearly demonstrates the contradiction in the political consciousness of the Thai people between ‘political authoritarian’ and ‘participation in democracy’. It is noteworthy that the three constitutional institutions were newly established; hence the high degree of trust by the Thai public was a reflection of Table 10.2  Survey of trust in institutions in Thailand Political institution


Don’t trust

The Constitutional Court The military The National Counter Corruption Commission Television The courts The Election Commission The government system The national government Local government Local MPs Parliament NGOs Police Newspapers Political parties

81.8 80.0 79.8 79.5 73.4 70.0 69.3 69.3 68.1 62.5 60.6 59.7 58.6 55.7 51.7

18.2 20.0 20.2 20.5 26.6 30.0 30.7 30.7 31.9 37.5 39.4 40.3 41.4 44.3 48.3

Source: King Prajadhipok’s Institute (2003: 34).

202   Hugh Pei-Hsiu Chen s­ ubjective expectation of their future function. The high degree of trust gained by the Thai military leading the government was objective proof of the closeness between the Thai armed forces and its civil society. Correlation between political culture and democratization Lucian Pye, in Asian Power and Politics: Cultural Dimensions of Authority (1985), summarizes and analyses how Asian culture bred authoritarianism, and proved the reliance on tradition of political changes. Nurtured by Confucianism in East Asia, which is based upon authority and under the influence of religion (mainly Buddhism), the worship of authority in Asian democratic societies is deep-­rooted. Although absolute monarchy was abolished and constitutional monarchy adopted in Thailand in 1932, Thai politics has always been under the monarchy’s control. Its worship for power and individual authority has resulted in its inability to rid the society of comprehensive control by the military, royal family, and bureaucratic groups. In terms of the authority of the royal family, despite the tradition of criticism among academic circles and the media in Thailand, the majority of scholars and media do not criticize the royal family, and do not even make neutral comments. This phenomenon is likely to derive from fear of punishment for lèse majesté prescribed in Thai laws, but is also likely to stem from the belief that ‘the King can do no wrong’ (Streckfuss, 1996: 13). Despite the fact that foreign scholars are not likely to be tried for lèse majesté, their comments regarding the Thai King are often reserved. The psychological constraint is evident.1 A prominent example is that of a politics professor, Giles Ji Ungpakorn, with dual British–Thai citizenship, who wrote the book A Coup for the Rich specifically about the military coup in 2006, the content of which involved criticism of the royal family. He was prosecuted for lèse majesté and subsequently exiled to the UK. As much as this chapter emphasizes the role of the Thai royal family, there is never the intention to apply indiscriminately the ‘great man’ theory in historical studies or the ‘strongman’ point of view in actual politics. What the chapter is intended to point out is that the role of the Thai royal family is often easily overlooked; it is the key factor that influences and even determines the orientation of democracy in Thailand. This discourse from the observation on the perspectives of political culture is particularly distinct (Hewison, 1997: 59). To quote Karl Marx, the street democracy movement of PAD and its offbeat proposal of new politics, replacing elections with political selection, is typical of the counter-­revolution of the bourgeoisie revolution. Only a middle class deeply under the influence of East Asian authoritarian culture would propose such an anti-­democratic demand. Correlation between elite politics and democratization Proposed by Robert Michels, the ‘iron law of oligarchy’ (Michels 1966) reveals the essence behind the ruling of the contemporary political elite, and it is still

From paragons to opponents of democracy   203 applicable to this day. The elite can be the creators of social creativity and wealth, advocates of liberty and equality, and guardians of democratic values. However, they can also be looters of public wealth, creators of social castes, and representatives of corruption and decay. Researchers such as Juan Linz, Philipe Schimitter, and Robert Dhal generally agree that elite behavior is a crucial variable in the transformation and consolidation of democracy. Such behavior is not constant, and the elite make a different choice given differences in the system background, stage of development, and culture and tradition (O’Donnell & Schimitter 1986; Dahl 1991). For instance, the elite from ‘semi-­democratic’ Turkey behave completely different from those in Thailand. During the political crisis in Turkey in 2008, the elite, made up primarily of customary bourgeoisie and military, chose to protect the long-­established democracy that has always protected the bourgeoisie since the independence of the country. The upper class and military of Thailand, on the other hand, insisted on the establishment of a parliamentary system based on selection that suppressed the voting rights of the general public (Ungpakorn 2007). Entrusting the political modernization and democratization of a country to the strengthening and elevation of the position of the elite or bourgeoisie is equivalent to continual consolidation of existing interests of the upper class. To consolidate its collective interests, the upper class, a product of authoritarianism, will continue to form an alliance with the political elite while participating in the suppression of political demands of the lower class. Buddhism and culture were employed as ideological tools by the elite in Thailand, supplemented by worship of the King, for tight control of politics as well as to monopolize economic benefits. The bourgeoisie in Thai cities was not firm believers in democracy and some even supported authoritarianism, as can be gathered from the military coup in 2006 to the social unrest in 2008. The military coup in 2006 abolished the 1997 Constitution, and the military interim government held an unprecedented referendum in 2007 to legalize the constitutional draft proposed by the military. The 2007 Constitution is a regression of its constitutional politics. Article 237, which states that the courts have the right to dissolve political parties, is regarded as an ‘open conspiracy’ by the conservative elite to prevent Thaksin from staging a comeback through election, and to turn the political situation around and return to negotiation politics. Both Samak Sundaravej and Somchai Wongsawat were core members inside the Thaksin group. The former was well trusted by Thaksin and became prime minister after the military coup, whereas the latter was his brother-­in-law. Demonstrations by the Yellow Shirts could not force the two out of office and eventually the court did so through judiciary adjudication. This was criticized by academic circles in Thailand and the international media as a ‘judicial coup’, as the court ‘collaborated’ with the political mainstream to determine its adjudication (Ungpakorn 2008: 45–47; Noi 2009: 113–115).

204   Hugh Pei-Hsiu Chen

Conclusion During the 1990s, Thailand made some promising steps on the path toward democracy. The support that democratic reforms enjoyed among the middle class was consistent with the empirical finding that economic development consolidates democracy. But just one decade later, the rise and popularity of Thaksin Shinawatra changed the attitudes of the middle class radically. As Kai Jäger (2012) indicates, the urban bourgeoisie publicly accepted a military coup d’état against the elected Thaksin government and even called for electoral reforms to restrict political participation. Thailand is not the only developing country in which urban middle-­class groups have initiated massive demonstrations against an elected populist government; this has also happened in the Philippines, Bolivia, and Venezuela, and Joshua Kurlantzick (2009) has called this ‘the bourgeois revolution’. Besides, as Gordon and Webber (2011) illustrate, the 2009 military coup in Honduras against the elected Zelaya administration also shares similarities with the political situation in Thailand, as in the Honduras mostly middle-­class activists celebrated the coup on the streets of Tegucigalpa. And in China, the ascension of the ‘conservative middle class’ might similarly foil any moves toward democratization since the urban elite fear a loss in status if the peasant majority decide who rules. Why might the urban bourgeoisie in developing countries turn against majority rule, even though academic researchers have argued that the middle class is the precursor of democracy? Thailand is one of the most ‘unequal’ societies in Asia. These inequalities lie behind Thailand’s political turmoil in this century. As Kevin Hewison (2015) underlined, Thailand’s inequality has a prodigious influence on the whole course of society, giving a certain direction to state ideology and a particular tenor to the laws by imparting maxims to the governing powers and habits to the governed. The influence of inequality extends beyond politics and law: it creates opinions, engenders sentiments, suggests the ordinary practice of life, and modifies whatever it does not produce. The inequality of conditions in Thailand is the fundamental fact from which all others are derived. Visions of civil society as a force for democracy, of the middle class working with the poor against the selfish interests of politicians, and of civil society actually being civil, look increasingly implausible. The PAD/PDRC have openly called for coups on many occasions during the 2013–2014 movements, as well as a new form of government with a non-­elected prime minister and a largely appointed parliament. In the end, their political demands were met, since the military coup ousted the Yingluck government in May 2014 and most recently the constitutional referendum was approved in August 2016. This willingness of the middle class, activists, and civil society more generally to abandon democracy’s basic principles contradicts the ideal established in the literature. In conceiving of civil society as a third way, as a fortress of hope against a corrupt but democratic system, and as necessarily oppositional, it

From paragons to opponents of democracy   205 became inevitable that civil society would find itself openly opposed to the democratic system. It seems that only a greater recognition that civil society cannot be above politics, but must be fully engaged with politicians and the political process, can lead to a better outcome. Thailand needs to re-­negotiate its social contract in its ‘arrested democracy’, as indicated by Macro Mezzera (2014). The new social contract cannot be imposed by one side but must be a negotiated compromise. It is this universally accepted social compromise where the difference between a facade of democracy and a real democracy lies. When the middle classes realize that social justice best guards their interests, the doors to new social development will open. However, the re-­ negotiation of the social contract will not be easy to achieve. Threatened by majority rule and mass politics, the elite seek to safeguard their interests outside the constitutional framework. Given their financial, ideological, and coercive power, they have the muscle to take any democratization process hostage. From paragons to opponents, Thailand’s middle class has shifted its role during democratization, whereas Thai-­style democracy has gotten bogged down and an authoritarian atmosphere prevails. Genuinely democratic movements are marginal in Thai society. Protest movements are time and again abused by political entrepreneurs to advance their vested interests. What is needed is a broad societal coalition where pro-­democratic actors can join forces to struggle together for a revived democratic polity in Thailand.

Note 1 According to Kevin Hewison, the four reasons that foreign scholars are not willing to criticize the Thai royal family are: first, they and Thai scholars share the view that the royal family may not be criticized; second, they are concerned that their criticism be misinterpreted as defamation of the royal family, and subsequently be prohibited from entering the country by the authority; third, they do not want to hurt their friendship with Thai scholars by criticizing the royal family, and they also worry about implicating people from the academic circle in Thailand; and fourth, it is difficult to find publishers in Thailand who are willing the publish articles or books that criticize the royal family. Furthermore, international publishers are worried about retaliation from the Thai government as well as damage to their business in Thailand.

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Page numbers in bold denote tables. Abad, Florencio 114 Abhisit government 164 Abinales, P.N. 103 Action for Economic Reform (AER) 89–90 active citizenship 39 Adulyadej, King Bhumbol 186n1 advocacy groups 90 Aisyiyah 124, 125 Akbayan 112, 114 Alagappa, Muthiah 4, 5 Alliance for New Politics (ANP) 92 Alliance for Rural Concerns (ARC) 93 American Political Science Review 189 Anand governments 158 Angara, Edgardo 110 anticommunism 65, 75 anti-Marcos struggle 106 Aquino, Benigno 102, 107 Aquino, Corazon 110, 112 Ariate, Joel F. Jr. 89 Arroyo, Gloria Macapagal 102, 106, 113 Arugay, Aries A. 174 Asian Development Bank 154, 177 Asian Power and Politics: Cultural Dimensions of Authority 202 Asian Wall Street Journal 108 August Twenty One Movement (ATOM) 109 authoritarian developmentalism 5 authoritarianism 150 authoritarian rule 11 Baker, Chris 195 Bangkok 192 Bangkok middle class 15, 16, 18; and Thai civil society 153–6; Thai state, product 154–6

Bellin, E. 151, 152 Bertelsmann Transformation Index (BTI) 189 bilateral links 23–5 Birdsall, N. 154 bourgeois revolution 204 Buddhism 41, 43 business activism 108 Candland, Christopher 122 Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) 108, 115 cause-oriented groups (COGs) 109 Chang, F.B. 42 Charusathien, Prapas 174 Chatichai government 157 Chiang Ching-kuo 46 child marriage 128 Chonchan Klang 172 Choonhavan, Chatichai 175 Chosun Ilbo 70 Chutima, Gawin 178 Chu, Yin-wah 5 civic movements 61, 62, 68–71, 73–6; period of conflict 71–3 Civilian School Alliance 45 civil movements 12 Civil Organizations Act 57n2 civil society 4, 39, 42, 62, 176, 177, 190; Thaksin and 161–2 civil society activism: contentious politics arguments 40; liberal democracy 43–4; modernization and middle-class arguments 39–40; religion and culture arguments, renaissance 41; rule of law issues 43–4; in Taiwan 39–58; thirdsector approach, rising 41

Index   209 Civil Society and Political Change in Asia 4 civil society coalitions 185 civil society-democracy 8, 24 civil society movements 197 civil society networks 88–9 civil society organizations (CSOs) 12, 27, 39, 62; Action for Economic Reform (AER) 89–90; advocacy 37; authoritarian regimes 67–8; citizen participation in 42; civic movements 68–70; cooperation and disunity 70–1; democratization, global dimension 90; democratization, revisiting 106–11; middle class and social movements 67–73; middle-class-backed advocacy 33; modes of development, moral and critical 43; political liberalization 68–70; pro-democracy 25; radical democratic movements 67–8; in restored democracy 111–13 Clarke, G. 111 coalition politics: in Philippines 102–16 Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) 82, 95, 106, 107 comprehensive civic movement organizations 69 Confederation for Democracy (CFD) 159 Congress for a People’s Agrarian Reform (CPAR) 88 conservative Islamist organizations 123 conservative regime 71 constitution alliance 1997 158–60 contentious politics arguments 40 contested democracy: in Philippines 102–16 contingent authoritarians 15, 149–68 contingent democrats 4, 151 Cooperative Foundation of the Philippines (CFPI) 86, 87, 90 Cooperatives for the Poor (CfP) program 87 Council of Community Organisations (CCO) 164 Council of University Presidents of Thailand (CUPT) 166 The Crisis of Democratic Governance in Southeast Asia 7 critical citizens 42, 43, 56 critical consciousness 12, 75 critical royal transition: Thailand 171–88 Cross-Strait Service Trade Agreement (CSSTA) 35 Daoism 41 Deepening, Reversal, Non-Liberal Alternatives 5

Democracy in East Asia: A New Century 149 Democracy in Eastern Asia 6 Democracy or Alternative Political Systems in Asia: After the Strongmen 5 democratic accountability ideologies 153 democratic agents 150–2 democratic consolidation 73–5 democratic movement organizations 68 Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) 23, 27, 30, 32, 33, 35, 47 democratic transformation 9, 113–15 democratization 14, 23, 24, 68, 106; in Asia 3–8; in Indonesia 119–43; paragons to opponents of 189–205; Philippines 81–99; in Thailand 179–82 Democratization in China, Korea and Southeast Asia? 6 Diamond, L. 39, 44, 149 Dompet Gus Dur 132 Dong-A Ilbo 70 Drakeley, Steven 6 Dressel, Björn 181 dubious links of middle class, civil society and democracy 13–15, 185–6 Duh, C.R. 41 Duterte regime 14 Duterte, Rodrigo 102, 106, 115 East Asia’s New Democracies 5 Easterly, W. 154 economic crisis 64 electoral politics 92–4; Left electoral politics, limits 93; traditional politicians, support 94 Englehart, Neil A. 192 Enrile, Juan Ponce 107 environmental gangsters 30 Estrada Administration 91 Estrada, Joseph E. 102, 113 Evans, Peter 191 Far Eastern Economic Review 157 Fatayat 124, 125 Flavier, Juan 112 Formosa Human Rights Protests 35 fragmented parliament 156–7 Framers’ Protest Movement 35 Freedom from Debt Coalition (FDC) 88 Free Trade Agreement (FTA) 71 Funatsu, T. 155 Fung, Edmund S.K. 6 Gascon, Jose ‘Chito’ 114

210   Index Globalization and Democracy in Southeast Asia 7 Gordon, T. 204 governance ideologies 152 Graham, C. 154 Gramsci, Antonio 85 grassroots people 45 haciendas 82 Hall, Peter 152 Hewison, Kevin 205n1 Ho, Ming-sho 23 Hsiao, H.H.M. 23, 24, 40 Hsiung, R.M. 42, 57n4 Hughes, C. 152 Huntington, Samuel P. 191, 200 Ikeda, K. 42 illegal pro-democracy movements 68 Ilusi Negara Islam 132 Indonesia 13–15; democratization in 119–43; GDP 119; religious NGOs in 119–43 industrialization 62 International Mass Education Movement (IMEM) 86 Islam Bergerak 133 Islam Nusantara 137n12 Jäger, Kai 204 Joongang Ilbo 70 Joseon Dynasty 64, 65 Judiciary Reform Committee 50 Judiciary Reform Foundation (JRF) 11, 39–58; adjudication accountability 51–2; administrative power 52; administrative three bills 52; citizenship rights expansion 46–8; constitutional amendments 46–8; founding organizers 45–6; judicial independence, campaign 50–1; judiciary system accessibility 54; political dimension 46–8; procedural rules and human rights 53–4; rule-oflaw democracy 50–4; transparency 51–2 Judiciary Reform Magazine 46 Judiciary Reform Movement Alliance 49 Judiciary Yuan 45, 51 Kabataang Makabayan (KM) 82, 95 Kagoya, K. 155 Kaohsiung (Formosa) Human Rights Protests 35 Kilusang Mambubukid ng Pilipinas (KMP) 88

Kittikachorn, Thanom 174 Komite Tagapagpaganap-Komite Sentral (KTKS) 82 Koo, Hagen 23 Korean Federation for Environmental Movement (KFEM) 66, 70 Korea’s managerial (white-collar) class 63 Kraprayoon, Suchinda 175 Kuan, Y.Y. 41, 42 Kuomintang (KMT) regime 23, 25, 26, 30, 32, 33, 35, 36, 47, 49 labor movements 68 land reform 14 Lee Teng-hui 46–50 Legal Aid Act 54 Legal Aid Foundation 54 Legislative Yuan 29, 33, 35, 47 LGBT communities 132 liberal democracy 43–4; institutionalization of 44–50 liberalization 23 Lin, T.C. 42 Lin, Y.F. 42 Lipset, Seymour Martin 189, 190 Llamas, Ronald 114 Losheng Sanatorium Preservation Movement 35 Maarif, Ahmad Syafi’i 132 Madjid, Nurcholis 130 The Making of the English Working Class 172 Maneerat Mitprasat 157 Marriage Law of 1974 128 Marsh, R.M. 42 Mendiola Massacre 111 Mezzera, Macro 205 Michels, Robert 202 middle-class civil society activism 33, 35 middle-class-democracy 8, 24 middle-class-led Left movement: challenges 91–2; civil society networks 88–9; in civil society struggles 84–90; CPP concerns 82–3; electoral politics 92–4; government engagement and collaboration 90–2; marginalized sectors of society 83; martial law period 82–4; NGO development work 85–8; NGOs, emergence of 84; in Philippines 81–99; post-martial law period 84–90; united front, organizing 83 middle forces 14 Military School Alliance 46

Index   211 Missingham, Bruce 178 Molmisa, Ronald C. 89 monopolistic politics 161 Morales, Horacio 87, 88, 92 Muhammadiyah 124 Munir, Lily Zakiah 125 Nahdatul Ulama 123, 124 National Citizens’ Movement for Free Elections (NAMFREL) 108, 110 National Economic and Social Development Board (NESDB) 153, 154 National Judiciary Reform Conference 50 negative links of middle class, civil society and democracy 15–18 network monarchy 181 NGO-Coalition for Cooperative Development (NGO-CCD) 87 NGO development work 85–8; marginalized sectors of society 86–8; PRRM and CFPI 86 nonprofit organizations (NPOs) 24 Obstacles to Democratization in Southeast Asia 6 Panyarachun, Anand 158 Park-Choi Scandal 77n2 Partido Komunista ng Pilipinas (PKP) 82 Partido ng Bayan (PnB) 92 Pasuk, Phonpaichit 195 Paul, Erik 6 People Power Revolution 104 People’s Action Party (PAP) 173 People’s Alliance for Democracy (PAD) 162, 175 People’s Democratic Reform Committee (PDRC) 196 People’s Democratic Reform Council 176 People’s Ecumenical Action for Community Empowerment (PEACE) 88, 93 Pettinato, S. 154 philiang 17 Philippine Business for Social Progress (PBSP) 108 Philippine Drug Action Network (PDAN) 112 Philippine Rural Reconstruction Movement (PRRM) 84, 86, 88, 96, 112 Philippines 13–15; coalition politics in 102–16; contested democracy in 102–16; democratization process 81–99; middle-class-led Left movement in 81–99; politics and middle class 104–6

political consciousness 63, 66 political liberalization 68–70 Political Man 190 political reform movements 72 positive links of middle class, civil society and democracy 10–13 post-1998 Indonesia 15 Prayuth administration 165 presidential bandwagon 103 progressive government 70–1 progressive political reforms 10 Prudhisan Jumbala 157 purchasing power parity (PPP) 155 Pusat Studi Agama dan Demokrasi (PUSAD) 127, 129, 133, 140n44, 141n46 Pye, Lucian 202 Quimpo, N.G. 103, 112 Rafsadi, Irsyad 133 Ramos, Fidel 107, 113 red shirt movement 17, 184–5 reform champions 90 reform entrepreneurs 90 regionalism 66 Reid, Ben 94 reign-seekers 165–6 reign-seeking incentives 161 religious NGOs: anti-discrimination 121; “conventional” roles of 124–6; development issues 121; environmental issues 121; gender issues 121; in Indonesia 119–43; legal issues/human rights 121; media/journalists 122; migrant workers 122; workers and urban poor issues 121; and young middle-class aspirations 133–4 religious organizations 41 religious relativism 15 renaissance 41 rent-seeking prevalence 156–7 Republic Act 7586 97n8 Reyes, Ricardo 82, 83 Roco, Raul 113 Rodan, G. 152 The Routledge Handbook of Democratization in East Asia 3 The Routledge Handbook of Democratization in Southeast Asia 4 rule-of-law democracy 50–4 rule of law (ROL) issues 43–4, 54 Rumah Kita Bersama (Rumah KitaB) 127–9

212   Index Saxer, Marc 198 Scholte, Jan Aart 190 semi-autonomy concept 63 Sentro ng mga Nagkakaisang Progresibong Manggagawa (SENTRO) 94 Serrano, Isagani 86, 91, 92 Shinawatra, Thaksin 171 Shinawatra, Yingluck 164 Shiraishi, Takashi 119 Simpeng, Aim 174 social charities 126–33 social consciousness 12 social movements 61, 62, 64–6 social policy reforms 102 social transformation 62 soft authoritarianism 23 ‘Some Social Requisites of Democracy: Economic Development and Political Legitimacy’ 189 South Korea 10–13, 24; civil society organizations 67, 69, 71, 72; middle class in 64–6; social conditions in 64–6; social movements in 64–6, 67, 69, 71, 72; tripartite links 61–77 Sta. Ana, Filomeno III 89, 90 standard package 136n3 state-civil society: dependency 163–4 state-owned enterprises (SOEs), 197 state sponsorship 152 student-initiated occupation movement 35 Sulistiyanto, Priyambudi 122 Sunflower Movement 35 Tahrir, Muslimah Hizbut 128 Taipei Bar Association (TBA) 45, 46, 47, 48 Taiwan 10–13, 23–37; civil society activism in 39–58; civil society, characteristics 41–2; civil society organizations in 28, 31, 34; decline 2000–2008 32; democracy and institution building 39–58; dynamics of tripartite links 25–36; politicization 1990s 30; resurrection 2008–2016 33–6; rise 1980s 26–9; social movements in 28, 31, 34 Taoism 43 Thabchumpon, Naruemon 178 Thai civil society 15, 149–68; and Bangkok middle class 153–6; state dependence and 153–4 Thai civil society organizations 17

Thai democracy: civil-military relations and 200–2; elite politics and 202–3; middle class and civil society in 192–8; middle class attitudes, shift of 199–203; political culture and 202 Thailand 15–18; changing civil society in 193–8; civil society organisations 176–9; critical royal transition 171–88; democratisation in 179–82 Thailand’s democratic zigzag 149–50 Thai middle class: understanding 172–6 Thai politics: civil society and CSOs 192–3 Thai Rak Thai (TRT) party 161 Thai-style democracy 18 Thaksin regime: civil society and 161–2; and class conflict 162–3; Thai middle class, dilemma 198–9 Thompson, M.R. 105, 110 Thomson, Edward Palmer 172 Three Bills for Judiciary Reform 54 Tiebtienrat, Chakrit 196 Tinsulanonda, Prem 156 titans, clash of 182–5; PAD/PDRC 182–4; red shirt movement 184–5 Tocqueville-Putnam tradition 42 transformative politics 123 transitional justice 32 transnational extremist networks 132 “transnational extremists” movement 132 tripartite links 8–10, 10, 23–5, 61–77; South Korea 61–77 Tsai Ing-wen 36 ummah 129 Wahid, Abdurrahman 132 Wahid Institute 131–3 Wang, C.S. 49 Wang, S.T. 41 Webber, J.R. 204 Weng, Y.S. 51 White-Collar Revolution 64 Widodo, Joko 120 Wild Lily student movement 35, 46, 48, 55 Wong, Siu-lun 5 World Bank 155 Yayasan Dompet Dhuafa 126 yellow shirt alliance 163 yellow shirts, organising 163 young middle-class aspirations 133–4