Wed. Dec 1st, 2021

By Lam Chi Leung

Two years ago, a huge mass movement broke out in Hong Kong against the government’s passage of amendments to the Extradition Law Amendment Bill and for democratic elections. During the six-month anti-Extradition Law Amendment Bill movement, we experienced two marches of over two million people, a relatively successful political strike, and street clashes of varying sizes.

This mass movement was eventually stopped, and the Chinese government bypassed the HKSAR government and passed the National Security Law (NSL) at the end of June last year.

In the 15 months since the implementation of the NSL, things have been grim in Hong Kong.

More than 10,000 people have been arrested for participating in the ELAB movement of two years ago, and more than 2,500 have been prosecuted.

At the same time, some 100 people have been arrested for NSL offences, members of opposition groups, and demonstrators.

Many political and civil organisations from the opposition camp, Includes Hong Kong Alliance, the Hong Kong Confederation of Trade Unions(trade union coalition,), Professional Teachers’ Union (Hong Kong’s largest teachers’ union ) and Hong Kong alliance in support of patriotic democratic movements of china have announced that they are disbanding.

The freedom of speech and press freedoms that Hong Kong residents have enjoyed for the past 40 years are now seriously imperilled.

For many years our position has been that in order to win democracy and autonomy for Hong Kong, (1) We need the self-organization of the masses, and direct action such as strikes. For this we need to combine the demands for political democracy with anti-capitalist social and economic demands; (2) We need to express solidarity with the struggles of workers and peasants in mainland China for their rights, so as to link the progressive forces of Hong Kong and mainland China.

To pin the future of Hong Kong’s democracy on America or other Western imperialist countries will only turn it into a geopolitical tool in the struggle between China and Western imperialism.

Therefore, I’m opposed to Hong Kong’s independence, and I am even more opposed to co-operation with Western imperialism.

To a large extent, the future of democracy in Hong Kong depends on whether there are outbreak of economic or political crisis in mainland China. If the bureaucratic rule is not weakened, then Hong Kong is facing a grim period, one even more difficult than at present.

However, the Global capitalism system, even in China or Western imperialism, is currently in deep crisis. China’s crisis is brewing.

One of the major features of the world economic crisis that began in 2008 is that it has been combined not only with a profound political and social crisis, but also with an ecological crisis. If the current world economic crisis is not dealt with in a truly socialist manner, it is likely to lead the world into a depression and catastrophe as long and serious as the 1930s. China will soon be caught up in this global vortex. The so-called “The rise of China “, “China Model” and “Beijing Consensus” are in fact just the same old paths followed by contemporary monopolistic capitalism.

We recognize that when the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) seized power from the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) in 1949, breaking with the domination of Western imperialism, and eradicating the landlord and capitalist as a social class, it was a great advance. But these achievements did not equate to the establishment of a socialist system. A system of State ownership was not the same as socialism.Workers’ democracy was needed. Marxist Left recognized the then China as a bureaucratically deformed workers’ state, just on the ground that the CCP bureaucratic regime have liquidated the landlord class and the bourgeoisie, and established a system of state-owned property and planned economy which is essential to the dictatorship of the proletariat, and that in this sense, the CCP regime served the working class, just as the case that the degenerated Soviet regime (Stalinist regime) maintained the system of state-owned property and planned economy. Such deformed workers’ state could be defined as a kind of functional workers’ state.

However, by the l980’s, the ‘reform and open-door policy’ primarily designed by Deng Xiaoping became progressively broadened in scope and deepened in its content, so that the planned economy system was no longer protected and promoted by the state, but progressively weakened and eventually destroyed. Meanwhile capitalist firms were allowed to reappear and enjoyed increasingly greater governmental connivance and encouragement. At this point, the question of ‘whom the state is serving’ became a big question. The above trend continued to develop until the end of the l980’s, when it was crystal clear that the function of the state now was no longer the protection and promotion of state- owned property and planned economy, but rather the promotion of capitalist restoration. Therefore, at this point Marxist Left should have grasped the fact that China was no longer a workers’ state, but rather a bourgeois state.

Although state-owned enterprises (SOE) still account for a large proportion of China’s economy, they have completely abandoned the planned economy approach. They have definitively adopted a “market-oriented” mode of operation, production for profit, and SOEs have become a state capitalist economy which is essentially part of the capitalist economy, rather than a part of the non-(post-)capitalist economy.

At the domestic scene, according to the classical Marxist definition, China has become an imperialist state, that mean the rule of monopoly capital. In terms of the class nature of the state, China is not fundamentally different from Western imperialist states. What is distinctive about China is that it is bureaucratic capitalism, or party-state-led state capitalism. This model of state capitalism, on the one hand, facilitates the corruption and appropriation of state property by the bureaucracy, on the other hand, allows for greater control of the economy than the typical neoliberalism. However, this model of state capitalism is only beneficial to the bureaucrats and capitalists, while it is more exploitative and oppressive to the working mass.

In the international scene, China no longer represents anti-imperialism forces, nor is it anti-capitalism. Rather, it has become a late coming but powerful competitor among the dependent third world countries. China is becoming a regional hegemony in Asia through its capital exports through the Belt and Road Initiative and military expansion.

All the horrible things in capitalist society are now particularly acute in China. In fact, the labour share of income in China substantially declined from the mid-1990s to the late 2000s. China Premier Li Keqiang remarked last year that China has 600 million people with a monthly income of 1,000 RMB(US$140). That is more than 40% of the Chinese population. The sharpening of social contradictions has compelled even official academics to sound the alarm in the strongest note. The appeal for social justice is gathering strength. Gigantic social disruption may blow out at any time.

Under China’s bureaucratic authoritarian rule, self-organisation and open dialogue among young people and workers is extremely dangerous, almost impossible. But space for the private exchange of ideas still exists. Further, there are some indications that progressive youths in mainland China are increasingly interested in the ideas of revolution and communism as they are seeking an alternative outside of Liberalism and Maoism (China-style Stalinism) .There are even some young people who identify with the Marxist Left.

The new socialist future of China must be one in which the organised working people as a whole take political and economic hegemony, abolishing the privileges of bureaucrats and exploiters, and let China as a genuine People’s Republic. China’s new generation of socialist youth and working people will hold three new banners: Political Freedom, Social Equality, and Worker Power.

“At present, it is imperative that primarily propagandistic, preparatory work be carried on which will yield large-scale results only in the future.”(The Transitional Program)The most valuable work we can pursue at the moment is the fundamental task of spreading the ideas of Marxism to mainland China .

October 1, 2021

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