To: Detroit Workers' Voice mailing list
September 30, 2014
RE: Hong Kong
In the last week, massive student protests have broken out in the 2014 Hong Kong Class Boycott Campaign. The police used pepper spray, tear gas, water canons and batons against mass meetings, but the protests have continued, and grown, and become something even broader than the class boycott. A campaign to Occupy Central with Love and Peace (i.e. occupy the central business district), originally scheduled to begin on October 1, was moved up to join with the class boycott. There has been a major spontaneous outpouring of people into the streets.
After a few days, the movement started being called the "Umbrella Revolution" because of the use of umbrellas to protect against repeated police attacks with pepper spray and tear gas (more effective against the pepper spray than the tear gas). Workers have started to join the struggle, albeit in limited numbers. The Hong Kong Confederation of Trade Unions (HKCTU) has called for workers to strike in support of the democratic movement, and a few of its constituent unions are taking action. (The HKCTU is independent of the Chinese government and has, according to the Wikipedia, 160,000 members, while the Hong Kong Federation of Trade Unions is the pro-regime group, with 340,000 members.)
At present, the movement is demanding that the people have the right to elect the Chief Executive of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region. The Chief Executive has been elected by a special election committee of only 1,200 people, a committee dominated by the Chinese government. But in 2007, the Chinese People's Congress had promised that, by 2017, the Chief Executive would be elected by "one person, one vote". And then, recently the Chinese government has made a mockery of that promise of universal suffrage by insisting that the candidates for Chief Executive would each have to be endorsed by more than half of the election committee.
The present movement includes a number of different trends and sections of the population, as have democratizations movements elsewhere in the world. Workers and businesspeople have different interests and aims. But on the whole, this is a movement with the progressive and necessary aim of bringing about democratic change. In the long run, democratization is more important for the working people than for the bourgeoisie, which can do business under any regime.
The mass movement in Hong Kong, as well as the multitude of strikes and protests in China, show that China is ruled by a repressive government enforcing capitalist exploitation. The Chinese government claims to be a people's government with a socialist economy, but it is in fact a dictatorship where rich bureaucrats and capitalists rule. It suppresses the basic democratic rights of the people. Socialism will never again be a serious banner for workers' struggles unless it is distinguished from the sham that exists in China, and Marxism-Leninism will never again be a revolutionary tool of the workers, until it is distinguished from the lying and hypocritical cant that is spouted by the Chinese regime.
Solidarity with the mass struggle in Hong Kong!
Support the struggle for democratic rights!
Expose the "socialist" pretensions of the Chinese government!
-- Joseph Green, editor, Communist Voice
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