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Insurgency Trap: Labor Politics in Postsocialist China
By Eli Friedman
Cornell University Press/ILR Press, 2014.
By Jane Slaughter
October 15, 2014 -- Labor Notes, posted at Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal -- China is the world centre of wildcat strikes—given that no strike in China is officially allowed under the law. The government doesn’t issue statistics, but one source found 1171 strikes and worker protests from June 2011 through 2013.
The mass protests demanding democratic election of Hong Kong's chief executive are not the creation of US agencies.
By Dave Lindorff
October 10, 2014 -- This Can't Be Happening -- A number of progressive and left-leaning writers have jumped on a report by Wikileaks that the neocon-dominated National Endowment for Democracy (NED) and various other US-government linked organisations with a history of subversion and sowing discord abroad are operating in Hong Kong and on that basis are making the leap of “logic” that the democracy protests in Hong Kong must therefore be a creation of US policy makers.
By Sean Starrs
October 1, 2014 -- The Bullet (Socialist Project, Canada), posted at Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal with permission -- The largest student demonstrations and occupations in Hong Kong's history are unfurling in what is increasingly being called the “Umbrella Revolution”, in reference to the sea of umbrellas being used as cover against both pepper-spraying riot police and the rays of the sun.
It began as a Hong Kong-wide class boycott on September 22, with around 10,000 university and college students congregating on the Chinese University of Hong Kong campus for speeches and lectures on civil disobedience. Moving across town to a sit-in on September 24 in front of the main Hong Kong government buildings in the district of Admiralty, by the night of September 29 it had morphed into an unprecedented occupation of four major districts in Hong Kong involving at least 80,000 people, predominantly students.
Environmental activists attempt to gain access to the plenary session of the United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP17) in Durban.
By Patrick Bond, Durban
August 30, 2014 -- TeleSUR English, submitted to Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal by the author -- – The movement from below to tackle climate change is gathering pace in South Africa and elsewhere in the world in advance of the September 21 mass march against the United Nations.
Environmentalists lead, but this struggle invokes the world’s greatest class-race-gender-North-South conflicts, too. Ban Ki-Moon’s heads-of-state summit on September 23 may generate greater publicity for the cause, but if, as anticipated, world rulers simply slap each other on the back, activists will have to even more urgently intensify the pressure.
BRICS leaders in Fortaleza, Brazil.
By Patrick Bond, Durban
July 31, 2014 – Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal -- Contrary to rumour, the Brazil-Russia-India-China-South Africa (BRICS) alliance confirmed it would avoid challenging the unfair, chaotic world financial system at the Fortaleza, Brazil, summit on July 15, 2014.
Leaders of the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States in Cuba at its 2014 meeting.
[Michael Karadjis responds below. Read part 2 of this debate at http://links.org.au/node/3982.]
By Felipe Stuart
July 31, 2014 -- Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal -- Michael Karadjis, I read the exchange between Einde O and you where you state that:
"In the US and elsewhere, including Britain, a mass anti-war movement developed against the US war in Vietnam. By 1968, the International Socialists in the US and the IS in Britain changed their line [of neutrality between the 'two imperialisms'] and came out against the US and defended Vietnam. In the US they joined the mass demonstrations to 'Bring the troops home now!'"
Read more by Barry Sheppard HERE.
By Barry Sheppard
June 6, 2014 – Links
International Journal of Socialist Renewal -- In this two-part article I
examine the ramifications for today of the three theories of the USSR that
emerged from the Left Opposition: state capitalism, bureaucratic collectivism
and Leon Trotsky’s theory of the degenerated workers’ state. (Read more on the theory of state capitalism HERE.)
The most recent strike, one of the largest in China in many years, is taking place at a Taiwanese-owned factory complex, Yue Yuen, in the city of Dongguan.
May 3, 2014 -- Green Left Weekly -- Peter Boyle spoke to Kevin Lin, who is doing research for his PhD at the University of Technology Sydney on the labour movement in China, about the background to a new wave of strikes in the country.
Lin will be speaking at the “People's Power in the 'Asian Century'” conference, a one-day public event organised by the Socialist Alliance in conjunction with its 10th national conference in Sydney, June 7-9. Find out more about the conference and register (“early bird” discounts if you register before May 18) HERE .
* * *
There seems to be a new labour upsurge in China. What can you tell us about the recent strikes and their causes?
Tracking strikes in China is difficult because of censorship, but there does appear to be an upsurge in strikes in recent months based on reports collected by labour groups.
The strike at the Yue Yuen shoe factory in Dongguan, China, keeps growing: now 48,000 workers have joined. Activists are asking international supporters to leaflet stores, and to send workers encouragement via the Facebook and Twitter hashtag #ChinaSolidarity.
April 23, 2014 -- Labor Notes -- The strike at the Yue Yuen shoe factory in Dongguan, China, keeps growing. Now 48,000 workers have joined and local groups are calling for international solidarity.
Labour activists at the site, in touch directly with the workers, are asking supporters to target Adidas and Nike and demand they negotiate directly with the workers.
Yue Yuen, owned by Pou Chen Group, is the largest athletic shoe manufacturer in the world.
Workers began striking April 5 after finding out that the work contracts they had been signing with the company were fake, and that the company had been significantly underpaying their social insurance for nearly 20 years.
"Probably the most important Russian monopoly is Gazprom, the world’s largest gas company, which by 2008 had about 400,000 employees. The company is reported to control over 93% of Russia’s natural gas production and about a quarter of the world’s known gas reserves."
By Chris Slee
April 7, 2014 – Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal -- Russia and China both play an important role in world politics. This includes involvement in armed conflicts distant from their borders. Russia for example supplies arms to the Syrian government. Both Russia and China supplied arms to the Sri Lankan government during its war against the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam, who were fighting for an independent Tamil homeland in the north and east of the island of Sri Lanka. (The LTTE was defeated in 2009.)
In some cases, Russia and China intervene on the same side as the Western imperialist powers. This was the case in Sri Lanka, where the US, Britain, Israel and other Western powers also aided the Sri Lankan government in its brutal war against the LTTE, which was in fact a war against the Tamil people.
By Hao Qi
January 2014 -- Monthly Review -- In the past two decades, China’s economic growth has been increasingly dependent on investment.1 To maintain the growth of investment, China must sustain a fairly high rate of profit, and the fall in labour’s share has been seen as a crucial factor to sustain profitability.2 Using a raw measure of labour’s share—the compensation of employees as a percent of GDP—as shown by the bottom solid line in Chart 1, labour’s share has experienced a major decline from 51.4 percent in 1995 to 42.4 percent in 2007.
Striking Honda workers, 2010.
By Ellen David Friedman
November 27, 2013 -- Labor Notes -- More than 30 years since China opened up to foreign investment, wildcat strikes surge month after month. They are driven by workers with no meaningful access to union representation, to a worker centre, to the media, to legal mechanisms, or to government intervention on their behalf. And yet workers in industries from electronics to health care continue to strike, impelled by low wages as low as US$2 an hour.
This raw resistance has generally gotten employers to give in to strikers’ economic demands. The typical wage is minimum wage, but overtime and the mandatory social insurances are often not properly paid, so workers’ demands are frequently just to get their legal due, which employers can easily meet.
The South Durban Community Environmental Alliance takes on climate, BRICS, Transnet, truckers and big oil.
November 28, 2013 – Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal -- What is to be done, in the wake of Warsaw climate summit’s conclusive failure to cap CO2 emissions last weekend? The answer: walk out of the United Nations process when it needs de-legitimation, and work much harder to curtail pollution in your home sites of struggle, everyone in civil society agreed.
Billionaire sweatshop sponger Bruce Rockowitz's CEO in October 2011 Rockowitz married Hong Kong pop star Coco Lee in a ceremony that reportedly cost $20 million. The company he manages had a combined net worth of $6.2 billion in 2012.
By David L. Wilson
September 19, 2013 -- Climate & Capitalism -- Consumers are ultimately the ones responsible for dangerous conditions in garment assembly plants in the global South, Hong Kong-based business executive Bruce Rockowitz told the New York Times recently. The problem is that improved safety would raise the price of clothing, according to Rockowitz, who heads Li & Fung Limited, a sourcing company that hooks up retailers like Macy’s and Kohl’s with suppliers in low-wage countries like Bangladesh. ”So far”, he said, “consumers have just not been willing to accept higher costs”.
By Patrick Bond, Durban
August 28, 2013 -- Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal -- The northern hemisphere summer has just peaked and though the torrid heat is now ebbing, it is evident the climate crisis is far more severe than most scientists had anticipated. The latest report of the UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change – a notoriously conservative research agency – will be debated in Stockholm next month, but no one can deny its projections: “widespread melting of land ice, extreme heat waves, difficulty growing food and massive changes in plant and animal life, probably including a wave of extinctions.”
[English at http://links.org.au/node/3355.]Michael A Lebowitz intervjua av Darko Vesić og Aleksandar Stojanović.
– Kapitalismen har vore i krise i mange år no, og dei kapitalistiske statane svarer på krisa med såkalla innstrammingstiltak. Ser me på dynamikken til kapitalismen dei seinaste femti åra, så var svaret på krisa på 1970-tallet det som no er kalla «nyliberalismen». Om ny vekst er svaret på krisa, kan me seie at nyliberalismen på 70-tallet hadde suksess. Men gjeld det same dagens «innstrammingstiltak»?
- Eg trur me må sjå på somme av premissa i spørsmålet. For det første meiner ikkje alle marxistar at kapitalismen som eit heile er i krise, i motsetning til kapitalismen i spesielle område. For det andre, om kapitalismen er i total eller partiell krise, kva er årsaka?
Michael A. Lebowitz interviewed by Darko Vesić and Aleksandar Stojanović
Darko Vesić and Aleksandar Stojanović: Capitalism has been in crisis for several years now and in response to this crisis the capitalist states practice so-called austerity measures. If we look at the historical dynamics of capitalism in the last half century, we see that they responded to the crisis of the 1970s with what is now called “neoliberalism”. If the restoration of growth is what must be carried out as a response to the crisis, we can say that neoliberalism of the 1970s was successful. Yet, can we say same of present-day “austerity measures”?
Workers and protesters holding a defaced portrait of Hong Kong billionaire Li Ka-shing march on May Day, May 1, 2013. Thousands of workers, local labour rights groups, socialists and striking dockworkers joined in. The Hong Kong Confederation of Trade Unions said a record 5000 people took part in its march from Victoria Park to government headquarters before ending near tycoon Li Ka-shing’s Cheung Kong Center.
By Ellen David Friedman
May 7, 2013 -- Labor Notes -- The 40-day strike of more than 500 dockworkers at the Port of Hong Kong ended on May 6 with a settlement that included a 9.8 per cent wage increase, non-retaliation against strikers and a written agreement, all of which had been fiercely resisted by the four contractors targeted in the strike.
Strikers accepted the offer by a 90 per cent vote.
April 17, 2013 -- Labor Notes -- A new video shows Hong Kong dock workers walking off the job March 29 and describing apalling working conditions at the world’s third-busiest port, where their dramatic strike has brought transport to a virtual halt.
Their energy is palpable. “It’s like—the things we’ve suppressed for 10, 20 years, it’s all blowing up now”, one worker says (at 3:59 in video above). He points to a co-worker seriously. “Look at his face. He’s done 24. That’s what a 24 looks like.” Then he cracks a smile. “Actually, you know, he used to be pretty [bleep] good-looking—at least if you shave that beard!”
The workers are appealing for protest letters to be send to support their strike. Please visit Dock workers defy Hong Kong's richest person, seek solidarity, attract huge support for sample letters and more background the struggle.
The video was produced by students from Left 21, a left organisation in Hong Kong. Richard Chen, who translated it, writes:
Striking Hong Kong dockworkers and supporters march at the world's third-busiest port. The two-week-old strike has bottlenecked cargo and gained enormous public sympathy. Photo: Left 21.
By the Union of Hong Kong Dockers
April 9, 2013 -- Text via ESSF -- Hundred members of the Union of Hong Kong Dockers (UHKD) are striking to demand pay rise while their wages have not risen in the past 15 years. Moreover they are also fighting for the collective bargaining right to negotiate with the management.
We ask you to send protest letters to the Hong Kong International Terminals (HIT) as well as its parent companies Hutchison Port Holdings Trust (HPHT), Hutchison Whampoa Ltd (HWL) and the Hong Kong SAR government to support the dockers.
For this purpose we attach a template which you can adapt and send, with a copy to the Hong Kong Confederation of Trade Unions (firstname.lastname@example.org).