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Protest politics… August 22, 2019

Posted by WorldbyStorm in Uncategorized.

Thought this from the Weekly Worker and Paul Delmarty was spot on. Discussing the protests in Hong Kong it notes that:

If the general character of the protests remains the same, the most relevant model in recent years would appear to be the gilets jaunes in France; like the Hong Kong protestors, the French movement was politically heterogeneous, displayed considerable courage in facing down the state response, and brought into action substantial sections of the popular classes.

The result, ultimately, was that the movement fizzled out. You cannot just protest forever, as has been shown by countless movements (the anti-war upsurge in this country against the invasion of Iraq is another example): eventually, the numbers shrink, and the mood passes.

A politics based on such protest is one that is time limited – either to going after successive issues or by having a single central issue addressed. It is one of the reasons for my scepticism about a ‘new politics’ on foot of the referendums in this state in the past number of years. It is in no way to dismiss the huge efforts of those involved to say that the nature of the political exercise there was very different to that of day to day politics. And of course it necessitated different approaches.

But we’ve seen the limits of such an approach politically in relation to parties of the further left who, and again I have to stress the enormous work put in and in some cases outcomes achieved by them, when the economic tide changed direction, have found themselves becalmed and worse – or, and this is somewhat ironic, overtaken by other forces such as the Green Party who offer a softer gentler sort of ‘radicalism’ but never quite deliver.

Delmarty makes an interesting case that in the case of Hong Kong the PRC may be actually content to sit things out, knowing that the protests will eventually subside and that there is no programmatic political approach to the state.

I’m always wary of over-reifying programmes but I’m also wary of under-reifying them too – politics in general, as Delmarty puts it, is where politics is.


1. CL - August 22, 2019

“What began as a targeted protest against a controversial extradition bill in June has transformed into what feels like a battle for the future of Hong Kong…
In 1984, after lengthy negotiations, British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher and Chinese Premier Deng Xiaoping signed a Joint Declaration on the future of Hong Kong….
It gave Hong Kong its own judicial, executive, and legislative powers….
The pro-democracy uprising that has rocked Hong Kong for the past several months began as a protest against proposed amendments to Hong Kong’s extradition law….
Critics worried that China would take advantage of this law to arbitrarily detain Hongkongers…
“once the extradition bill is passed, there is no more protection of Hong Kong against mainland China’s criminal system,” …
China has tried to bring Hong Kong closer and closer into its orbit. It wants Hong Kong to embrace the country’s ruling Communist Party and not care so much about those pesky freedoms Hong Kong citizens love so much…
It’s also important to note that a key date is coming up: October 1, 2019, the 70th anniversary of the founding of the People’s Republic of China. It’s a bad look to crush a popular movement if you’re trying to celebrate the greatness of your country.”


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