|Abstract: ||In the study of the Taiwanese labor movement, the prevailing consensus holds that democratization empowered the working class in Taiwan, while worker impact on democratization was minimal. While largely agreeing with this consensus, this paper seeks to offer some revisions by analyzing the rise of unionism in the China Petroleum Corporation (CPC). First, this paper argues that grass-roots militants played an important role in the making of autonomous unionism. Second, the worker activists themselves mediated the impact of democratization on unionism. Thanks to|
their workshop-level organizing, CPC workers cultivated a common anti-Kuomintang (KMT) outlook. This mentality served as a valuable mobilization framework for the union movement, building on the general resentment caused by KMT clientelism in the CPC. Third, the rise of autonomous unionism helped to clear away the KMT's authoritarian infrastructure within the CPC. Therefore, workers certainly made their contribution to democratization, no matter how local and indirect it might have been. This paper closes by putting these findings in a boarder perspective and suggesting directions for further research.