The below article discusses the withdrawal of the Hong Kong extradition bill, the increasing repression deployed by the Hong Kong ruling class and its overall strategy of defeating the masses, as well as the direction the movement must take from here on out if it wishes to succeed.
In short, the workers and poor of Hong Kong will be crushed if they allow the current mess of liberals and "democrats" at the head of the movement to remain in charge. These people are anti-working class interlopers who will leave the toiling masses defenceless against the attacks of Chinese capital.
Hong Kong: extradition bill withdrawn – class struggle must continue!
The mass movement in Hong Kong has just won its key demand – the withdrawal of the hated extradition bill that would allow anyone the Beijing government suspects of criminality to be extradited to the mainland. But none of the other four demands, such as for an independent investigation into police brutality, have been won.
Hong Kongers remain without universal suffrage in one of the most unequal places in the world. This movement (and the state's uncompromising reaction to it) has transformed Hong Kong to such an extent that it is hard to imagine how the situation can be resolved and the status quo being restored. The movement must continue until the government is decisively defeated.
From the beginning of the movement, severe repression from the police has shocked and provoked Hong Kongers. In the last two weeks this has been stepped up, in an attempt to further provoke, divide and weaken the movement.
But the sustained nature of this campaign of police violence, and especially its recent escalation, has completely undermined popular illusions in the police and the state. They are now despised by millions, seen for what they really are: a gang of heavily armed men who exist to protect the property of the super-rich and maintain order on their terms.
The strategy of the regime is to utilise the disorganisation of the movement to divide it. It knows there is a hardcore of protesters ready to take dramatic and dangerous direct action which, in itself, is impotent, such as the smashing up of the Legco (Hong Kong's parliament).
The authorities hope that by provoking such actions, the hardcore will isolate themselves, justifying a further intensification of repression and the movement's exhaustion.
For these reasons, on Friday 30 August, Joshua Wong and Agnes Chow, high-profile protesters and leaders of the Demosisto party, along with Legco members Jeremy Tam and Au Nok-hin, were arrested in broad daylight. Another prominent protester who was arrested, Jimmy Sham Tsz-kit, was physically assaulted in the process.
Unfortunately, the provocation seemed to work. Rather than using the arrests as the pretext to press ahead with the planned mass protest on the Saturday, the movement's leaders in the Civil Human Rights Front cancelled the protest. As a result, a far smaller group of a few hundred hardcore protesters were left to themselves.
Either out of frustration or in an attempt to inject some radicalism into the now small protest, they proceeded to surround the police station in Wan Chai and throw molotov cocktails at it. The police responded by spraying them with blue ink from their new cannons, and then launched the indiscriminate attack in Prince Edward station mentioned above.
The danger of liberalism
These radical but fruitless actions are a product of the liberal and disorganised leadership of the movement. In truth, it would be far more radical – and effective – to organise the movement on a class basis. This would mean building for a powerful general strike, for which the mood is clearly present. This would also give the movement a more structured and disciplined character, because in the building of this strike workers and students should call mass meetings and elect strike committees to coordinate it and prevent reckless and impotent direct action taking place.
Migrant workers need to be included in the struggle
A cosmopolitan city, Hong Kong is home to over 385,000 migrant workers, most of whom hail from the Philippines and Indonesia and work as domestic helpers. While contributing to over 3.9 percent of Hong Kong's GDP, these workers are nevertheless extremely oppressed by their employers, facing bullying and sexual harassment, and live in abject conditions. According to Hong Kong Free Press, only 18 percent of migrant workers have a bank account and 85 percent are in high levels of debt.
The purely liberal democratic demands of the present movement are unable to address the capitalist social contradictions from which the recent explosion arose, let alone the needs of oppressed migrant workers. However, the pressure of events is also pushing the migrant workers to take a stance. On 28 August, the Filipino Migrant Workers' Union in Hong Kong announced that many employers have been trying to take advantage of the unrest and pressure migrant workers to forgo their already minuscule rest days. The Indonesian Migrant Workers' Union also explained that many workers found it hard to adjust to the new schedules demanded of them from the employers.
This is an important section of the working class in Hong Kong that, with a consistent socialist leadership, can be won over to the present struggle with a fighting programme that applies to them as well. Including this section of the working class also opens the way to spread the class struggle into Southeast Asia and could deal an extra blow to Chinese imperialism's interests and enhance the appeal of the entire movement. For example, as the right-wing Filipino president visited China seeking to lean on Chinese capital to enhance the rule of the bourgeoisie in the Philippines, a Filipino trade union declared their solidarity with the Anti-Extradition movement on their fourth Congress in late August.
The movement must clearly include the demands of migrant workers as part of a fighting socialist programme that benefits all workers equally. If such demands are energetically put forward and thus attract the support of migrant workers, then the class nature of this movement would be greatly enhanced, and in turn show the workers on the mainland that this is a class struggle worth joining. This would also explode the one-sided coverage by the pro-CCP media that seeks to divide the Hong Kong and mainland working class. Including the migrant workers' struggle also means the entire movement must break with their bourgeois or petit-bourgeois employers, who may at present insert themselves into the struggle against the extradition bill.
The full article can be read using the link below: