For a General Strike against Police Repression and for Democratic Rights! Down with the Reactionary CCP Dictatorship!
Statement of the Revolutionary Communist International Tendency (RCIT), 2.10.2014,www.thecommunists.net
1. In Hong Kong, mass protests have erupted against the planned reform for the next scheduled elections in 2017. On 31 August, the National People's Congress Standing Committee announced that, while Hong Kong’s future chief executive can be elected by popular vote, no more than three candidates will be able to compete, and these three must be approved in advance by a 1,200 person nominating committee composed of Beijing loyalists. According to the decision, only candidates “who love the country and love Hong Kong" (i.e., who love the rulers in Beijing) will be allowed to stand for election. When student protestors organized a series of street-protests, the police attacked them with tear gas. This has provoked a massive surge of popular solidarity – including trade unions calling for solidarity strikes – and culminated in the call for the resignation of Hong Kong’s pro-Beijing Governor Leung Chun Ying. Socialists in Hong Kong and internationally must support these democratic protests. The task is to transform them into a general strike and to spread to the mainland the struggle against the Stalinist-Capitalist regime.
2. Hong Kong is a former colony of British imperialism which was reunited with China on 1 July 1997. Because the ruling “Communist” Party promoted the restoration of capitalism in China in the early 1990s, both Hong Kong’s and the mainland’s economies operate on the same basis – exploitation of workers for the profit of the small minority of capitalists. While Hong Kong is known to be one of the richest cities in the world, its wealth is concentrated in the hands of a small group of tycoons, such as Li Ka-Shing. At the same time, the mass of the working class is living in poverty. However, as part of the treaty between Beijing and London, Hong Kong became a Special Administrative Region which effectively meant that it could retain various aspects of the old political and juridical system. (This arrangement is known under the slogan “One country, two systems.") As a result Hong Kong has a restricted bourgeois democracy where out of the seventy members of the Legislative Council only forty are elected by popular vote (the rest are “elected” by so-called functional constituencies consisting of a small number of professional people). However, this means that the working people in Hong Kong have comparatively more rights to democratically express their opinion and to protest than do their brothers and sisters on the mainland. But the Stalinist-Capitalist regime with Xi Jinping at the top is determined to ensure that the future Governor of Hong Kong is loyal to Beijing. As a result it is not willing to comply with the protestors’ demand for democratic elections.
3. The protest movement was initiated by university and school students – led by the Hong Kong Federation of Students (HKFS) – who organized strikes and street demonstrations starting from 22 September. Popular support surged after the violent crackdown of the police on 26 September. On 28 September the Hong Kong Confederation of Trade Unions (HKCTU) – albeit a small union – issued a call for a “general strike.” The HKCTU demands – reflecting the desire of the popular masses: “i) Police must release the arrested protestors immediately. They must guarantee the basic human rights of the arrested protestors during retention; ii) The government and police must stop suppressing the peaceful assembly and apologize to the people; iii) National People’s Congress must withdraw the ‘fake universal suffrage’. The Hong Kong government must restart the consultation of political reform. Workers have been demanding a fair election system to rectify the longstanding problem of the business-leaning government. However, the ‘fake universal suffrage’ framework proposed by NPC is merely ‘old wine in a new bottle’; iv) Chief Executive Leung Chun Ying must step down to bear the responsibility of violent suppression of protest.” Despite its small size, the union federation’s call was followed up in a number of sectors (i.e., water workers, bus drivers, some bank employees, workers at the Coca Cola factory in Sha Tin, schoolteachers, university lecturers).On 29 September, more than 180,000 people (in a city of seven million) demonstrated against the repression!
4. The Stalinist-Capitalist regime in Beijing is determined to smash the protests. It fears that the demands for democracy could provoke similar protests in mainland China. For this reason it is attempting to suppress the spread of any news about the demonstrations in Hong Kong by massively censuring news and social media. In the past few years, there has been a significant increase in the number of protests by mainland workers as well as peasants. The regime also brutally suppresses the growing unrest among the national minorities of the Uyghur and the Tibetan peoples (as evidenced, for example, by the life sentence handed down against the moderate Uyghur scholar IIham Tohti for his political dissent). In addition, Xi Jinping is currently engaged in a factional struggle against the so-called "Shanghai gang" (former President Jiang Zemin and his protégés) and the group around former President Hu Jintao. Any failure to suppress the current protests in Hong Kong could weaken Xi’s position.
5. In its struggle against Governor Leung Chun Ying and the Beijing regime, the protest movement faces various obstacles within its ranks. Among them are the bourgeois-liberal politicians of the “pan-democracy camp” who just want to utilize the movement to achieve a better deal with Beijing as they have in past years. Among them are also the middle-class intellectuals, like Benny Tai – a law professor, who areleading the “Occupy Central” movement. They totally ignored the student movement which organized the protests in September, but hope to take over the leadership after others have achieved such great success. Socialists must organize to counter the influence of these petty-bourgeois and bourgeois leaders and to win over the movement to a working class perspective. As such, socialists should call for democratic mass assemblies to discuss the demands and tactics of the movement and to act against the self-appointed petty-bourgeois leaders. The workers and students should form action committees to organize the struggle. Based on delegates elected by such committees, the movement could be democratically led by a coordinating body. Such action committees could also be the organizing bodies to found self-defense forces against the looming crackdown by the police.
6. The main task now is to unite the resistance of the workers and students in an indefinite general strike in Hong Kong in order to bring down Governor Leung Chun Ying and to force the regime to immediatelyaccept full universal suffrage. Socialists should also call for the expropriation of the tycoons who are the powerful backers of the regime.
7. However it is equally important not to limit the struggle to the peninsula. The protest movement must fight for democracy not only in Hong Kong but also in the whole of China. Uniting Hong Kong workers and students with their brothers and sisters in Beijing, Shanghai, East Turkestan, and Tibet is crucial to winning the struggle for democracy. It is imperative because the regime in Beijing controls a huge apparatus of repression with which it could easily crush the protest movement in Hong Kong. Hua Chunying, Chinese Foreign Minister, recently held a news conference in order to emphasize Beijing’s control over peninsula: “Hong Kong is China’s Hong Kong.” Socialists will gladly confirm that Hong Kong is no longer the property of British imperialism but they will add: “China will become the Worker’s and People’s China!” They will also state that they oppose China as an imperialist power – such as they oppose all other imperialist powers like the USA, Japan, EU or Russia.
8. In addition, socialists should argue for spreading the revolutionary-democratic struggle to the mainland in order to combat backward, localist sentiment which is widespread among the middle-class of Hong Kong. Such sentiments were nurtured during the 155 year-long colonial rule of Britain and by the influx of anti-communist elements after the social revolution took place under the leadership of the Stalinist party after 1949.
9. Socialists should fight for the formation of an independent workers’ party. Such a party should combine the struggle for democratic rights with the struggle against growing social injustice. Social inequality and dictatorship are caused by the same people: the ruling capitalist class and its “Communist” dictatorship. Such a party should also call for the expropriation of the big capitalists – including the numerous “princelings.” It should fight for the nationalization of the domestic and foreign corporations and banks under workers’ control. And, it should also raise the banner of permanent revolution, i.e., the intermeshing of the democratic and socialist revolutions, which will lead to an armed uprising of the workers and poor peasants with the aim of overthrowing capitalism and founding a workers’ and peasants’ republic.
10. Revolutionaries in Hong Kong and China should unite to build an authentic Marxist organization based on a program for permanent revolution. They should combine such a perspective with their participation in the struggle to create a new World Party of Socialist Revolution which, in our opinion, will be the Fifth Workers’ International.
* For the immediate release of all arrested protestors! Down with Chief Executive Leung Chun Ying!
* For the people, and not a few selected bureaucrats, to decide which candidates truly “love China and Hong Kong”! For democratic elections without any restrictions on the candidates!
* For mass assemblies and action committees to democratically organize the protest movement! For the establishment of self-defense units against police repression!
* For a general strike in Hong Kong!
* For democratic rights throughout all of China! No restrictions on the right to demonstrate, strike, organize parties and trade unions, nor on the free flow of information in the media!
* For higher wages! Full citizenship rights for “migrants” wherever they live!
* Support the national liberation struggle of the Uyghur and the Tibetan peoples!
* Expropriate big business and nationalize the banks! Place large industrial and service enterprises under workers’ control!
* Down with the reactionary CCP Dictatorship!
* For a workers’ and poor peasants’ government based on councils and popular militias of the armed masses!
International Secretariat of the RCIT
For more RCIT analysis and statements on China, see among others:
Michael Pröbsting: China‘s transformation into an imperialist power. A study of the economic, political and military aspects of China as a Great Power, in: Revolutionary Communism No. 4, http://www.thecommunists.net/theory/why-china-is-imperialist/
Michael Pröbsting: Russia and China as Great Imperialist Powers. A Summary of the RCIT’s Analysis, 28 March 2014, http://www.thecommunists.net/theory/imperialist-china-and-russia/
Michael Pröbsting: More on Russia and China as Great Imperialist Powers. A Reply to Chris Slee (Socialist Alliance, Australia) and Walter Daum (LRP, USA), 11 April 2014, http://www.thecommunists.net/theory/reply-to-slee-on-russia-china/
RCIT: The Conflict over the Paracel Islands in East Asia: No to China’s Imperialist Threats against Vietnam! 16.5.2014, http://www.thecommunists.net/worldwide/asia/conflict-paracel-islands/
Michael Pröbsting: No to chauvinist war-mongering by Japanese and Chinese imperialism! Chinese and Japanese workers: Your main enemy is at home! Stop the conflict on the Senkaku/Diaoyu-islands in the East China Sea! No to chauvinist war-mongering by Japanese and Chinese imperialism! 23.9.2012, http://www.thecommunists.net/worldwide/asia/no-war-between-china-and-japan/
Michael Pröbsting: The Great Robbery of the South. Continuity and Changes in the Super-Exploitation of the Semi-Colonial World by Monopoly Capital Consequences for the Marxist Theory of Imperialism (Chapter 10), 2013, http://www.great-robbery-of-the-south.net/
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