Activism and Revolution: Thoughts On Hong Kong and The PRC

Hong Kong and the Old Left

Here in America the news that Hong Kong protesters stormed the main Legislature’s building struck me with a rush of hope and excitement. As a student of history it is easy to understand how my minds conception of what was happening leaped to titanic proportions. I was hoping for a new storming of the Bastille, in actuality the protesters defaced some portraits and sprayed some graffiti. In many ways it reminded me of the chaotic London Riots or the general confusion of the Occupy movement. The commentary on the event was even more more depressing. The BBC World News Podcast featured guests raving on about how “shameful” this “vandalism” was, but in my mind this reaction embodies a faux morality in defense of the preservation of “sacred” bourgeois parliamentary procedures and customs. To me it is necessary to speak in class terms here since Hong Kong parliamentarism is bourgeois to its core. If anything they should have sprayed more “graffiti”.

In France the storming of the Bastille marked the end of the monarchy and the feudal order that had dominated France for thousands of years. In Russia the storming of the Winter Palace marked the end of bourgeois rule and the immediate seizure of power by the Bolsheviks. But today in Hong Kong the storming of the Legislature’s building marked what exactly? I am not here to say “oh they should have taken power” or to offer my “enlightened” advice on the situation in a city I have never visited before. My fear here is much more cynical, that even if things really did collapse, people would be too afraid to take power and upon taking it they would not know what to do with it.

One must remember how in 1871 the working class of Paris led a literal revolution when government arms fell into their hands through conditions of chance and war. “Proletarians arise!” such words rained down like thunder on the ears of the ruling class. Such a thing exists today only in the fantastical mind of the orthodox Marxist who, still ascribing to old “formulas”, thinks people are actually going to do such a thing today. It is a collective delusion brought about by a lack of critical thinking and the conversion of Marxism into ideology, into a political religion that in actuality betrays the very premise of Marxist thought. Bookchin in his day noticed this total decline of real radicalism among the working class, from the 30’s when tens, sometimes hundreds of thousands of factory workers would march in the streets with red flags to the 60’s and beyond where such groupings were found almost exclusively among the middle class intelligentsia. His essay ‘Listen, Marxist!’ attempts (though in my mind does not entirely succeed) to in many ways to reconcile leftist politics with this new world, and as such I highly recommend people read it. At the same time the “industrial proletariat” has, thanks to imperialism, moved largely to the third world where labor is much cheaper for the capitalist to exploit than at home. So in Hong Kong and China it is a bit more nuanced. Regardless, today I would have to give the diagnosis of “revolutionary erectile dysfunction”, not just in Hong Kong but practically everywhere. Perhaps conditions are not right, but the ecological imperative says they need to be.

Jordan Peterson in his debate (really more of a discussion) with Slavoj Zizek openly admitted to the oxymoron of his babbling on about “post-modernist Marxists”, since post-modernism and Marxism are in almost every instance, irreconcilably opposed to one another. Peterson explained that he used this comparison because both schools of thought have a tendency to group people and things together in such a way that the individual is swallowed up into the group identity, and one group is automatically good and the other bad. In many ways I think Bookchin’s critique of orthodox Marxism is an attempt to transcend this aspect of Marxism and Bolshevism specifically. It becomes not so much a question of unity and conflict on the basis of class but more and more a question of individuals against institutions vis-à-vis people of good will regardless of class who recognize radical social change to be in the interests of the species. It is partly for this reason that I speak on here less in class terms and more in general terms. In many ways I have used “the people”, “citizens”, and so forth as opposed to “the proletariat”, “the working class”, etc. This is not to say that I do not think the proletariat as it exists in our society has a role to play, but it is to say that not only has the formula changed, the whole drawing board has changed as well. Yet I still consider myself a Marxist. I do not have all the answers here, mostly just questions.

Revolutions: Hong Kong and the PRC

Great revolutions do not and never have begun with their most radical demands at the forefront of social upheaval from its outset. A revolution begins when a grave social ill, systemic and institutionalized, is confronted suddenly and at once by a conscious people. But social revolution does not stop there, it becomes more and more radical with time, and rightfully so. Here let me quote from a man whose dreams were too big for a world too young and immature to hear them, a man of many mistakes but in many ways, a man worth listening to insofar as one takes into account historical context, in times like these. Lenin once said that “Politics begin where the masses are, not where there are thousands, but where there are millions, that is where serious politics begin.”

What of the political struggle in Hong Kong today? Here, certainly there is real politics. The liberal ruling class of the prevailing socioeconomic order shares an interest with the common people of Hong Kong insofar as the opposition of the extradition bill is concerned. In this a United Front against the totalitarianism of the PRC has been rightfully made. But when demands are met the interests of the ruling class and the interests of the ordinary working people are not and cannot be the same. Should all be resolved then, the movement will be over. But should the iron still be hot, the people must strike then and there. This in and of itself is a peculiar situation given the historical context of the struggle. Understand I am not so naive to break out old Marxist formulas here or the traditional Marxist conception of class struggle. Here too I am a pessimist. I think Bookchin’s idea here on class struggle have merit.

We must remember that the modern People’s Republic of China is itself born of the Cold War. It is one of history’s greatest irony’s that “People’s Democracies” historically embodied and in China today do embody the will of a small, privileged ruling bureaucracy while liberal democracies that began as entirely bourgeois evolved into a form of bourgeois democracy that recognizes, more or less, that freedom is always the freedom of the dissenters, of the one who thinks differently (Luxemburg). Popular rule naturally means the rule of the people as they actually exist, not as they according to myth “will exist” in some far-off future, not as they “officially” exist according to some complex and esoteric social theory. Popular rule moreover can take either a reactionary and authoritarian form or libertarian and progressive form– the institutions by which democracy is enacted determine the course of a nation and a people and the forms by which the people rule. At the same time, people are lazy and stupid. A certain amount of bureaucracy is necessary to keep the water running and you want boring experts to be in control of things that require specialized knowledge. At the same time, radical change is needed.

The modern Hong Kong protests remind one of the East German uprising of 1953, a popular uprising against a system where the “People’s” government subdued by terror the masses in their millions, or the Prague Spring when the will of the people (at that time largely for a genuinely democratic form of socialism) was violently subdued by Moscow tanks, or more recently of the 1989 Tienanmen Square massacres by which the “People’s Republic” slaughtered thousands of students and workers, so-called vanguard of the “Communist” Party, whose only crime was the call for the realization in actuality of what rights and freedoms formally “already existed” and “currently exists” according to the Stalinist government and its constitution.

In all the above instances the “People’s” government refused to listen to the actually existing will of the people, opting instead to repress all social expressions of that will, claiming itself as the sole interpreter and guardian of it. Here the nail in the coffin should come from Marxism itself. Historical materialism would posit, naturally, that under such conditions social contradictions would inevitably erupt like a pressure cooker bringing forth the revolutionary overthrow of all existing social conditions and the abolition of the Stalinist order. These eruptions in 1989 were fast and irrevocable where politics had mostly stagnated years before. In other words as Lenin once said, “There are decades where nothing happens; and there are weeks where decades happen.” Now in many of these instances change only happened when the regime slipped up in some way. The USSR sneezed (legislatively speaking) and Eastern Europe threw off that faux red flag. An Eastern European politician made a mistake and people misinterpreted it so people flocked to the Berlin Wall. An order wasn’t sent by a lesser official, perhaps a wire didn’t function or someone was sick that day, and the police did not suppress the popular struggle. Hard-line Stalinists had enough of Gorbachev and told the world he was “sick” in his dacha while Stalinist hardliners tried hastily to take power. Yeltsin led the resistance and the USSR collapsed. Revolution happens when power is crippled, even if only for a moment, but such incidents are nonetheless inevitable, a statistical certainty. No social system is so pristine and stable as to suppress popular discontent forever, the PRC included. Today Hong Kong too has lost its grip.

Freedom and Communism

The irony of quoting Lenin does not escape me here, and naturally I must point to Rosa Luxemburg’s pamphlet ‘The Russian Revolution’ as the single most accurate historical foreshadowing during the early years of the Russian Revolution (later surpassed by Trotsky’s writings on the future of the USSR). Luxemburg understood the importance of unlimited individual liberty to any legitimate socialist society, “On the other hand, it is a well-known and indisputable fact that without a free and untrammeled press, without the unlimited right of association and assemblage, the rule of the broad masses of the people is entirely unthinkable.” Her writings here, are and should be used as an exorcism against what today transpires in the People’s Republic of China and other post-USSR Stalinist states. It is not the sayings of an “anti-communist”, but of a woman who gave her life defending the communist ideal.

“Freedom only for the supporters of the government, only for the members of one party – however numerous they may be – is no freedom at all. Freedom is always and exclusively freedom for the one who thinks differently. Not because of any fanatical concept of “justice” but because all that is instructive, wholesome and purifying in political freedom depends on this essential characteristic, and its effectiveness vanishes when “freedom” becomes a special privilege…

Public control is indispensably necessary. Otherwise the exchange of experiences remains only with the closed circle of the officials of the new regime. Corruption becomes inevitable. (Lenin’s words, Bulletin No.29) Socialism in life demands a complete spiritual transformation in the masses degraded by centuries of bourgeois rule. Social instincts in place of egotistical ones, mass initiative in place of inertia, idealism which conquers all suffering, etc., etc. No one knows this better, describes it more penetratingly; repeats it more stubbornly than Lenin. But he is completely mistaken in the means he employs. Decree, dictatorial force of the factory overseer, draconian penalties, rule by terror – all these things are but palliatives. The only way to a rebirth is the school of public life itself, the most unlimited, the broadest democracy and public opinion. It is rule by terror which demoralizes.

Without general elections, without unrestricted freedom of press and assembly, without a free struggle of opinion, life dies out in every public institution, becomes a mere semblance of life, in which only the bureaucracy remains as the active element. Public life gradually falls asleep, a few dozen party leaders of inexhaustible energy and boundless experience direct and rule. Among them, in reality only a dozen outstanding heads do the leading and an elite of the working class is invited from time to time to meetings where they are to applaud the speeches of the leaders, and to approve proposed resolutions unanimously – at bottom, then, a clique affair – a dictatorship, to be sure, not the dictatorship of the proletariat but only the dictatorship of a handful of politicians, that is a dictatorship in the bourgeois sense, in the sense of the rule of the Jacobins.”

It is necessary to beat such words and their historical context into the collective consciousness of a people fighting for a better world if they are to dare to create it. Such words seek not to exonerate the totalitarian experiments of the past but to condemn them with the very words of their earliest, most fervent advocates showing the degree of the totalitarian distortion and tragedy undergone. I quote Mao here because Mao knew how to lead a revolution, though not a country. In the context of world history he is like Sun Tzu and his writings will be studied for millennia.

Revolutionary Unity of The People of Hong Kong with The Chinese People: Its Social Necessity And The Future

The people of Hong Kong today must realize that their interests are no different than the interests of the people of mainland China. It is neither the government of Hong Kong that speaks for the people of Hong Kong nor the PRC government that speaks for the people of mainland China. In either instance the powerful speak for those they govern by neither popular consent nor the truly righteous invocation of the common interest. The people of Hong Kong should unite with the people of mainland China in the struggle for genuine freedom and a truly just, democratic society. This unity must aim far beyond the confines of liberal democracy or European social democracy, and far beyond Leninist styles of government as well. It must ignite the dreams of millions, forging ahead a new society entirely unlike the old. The abuses the Chinese people have suffered, both in mainland China and Hong Kong, are quite self-evident. Here we should evoke one of the founding documents of the American revolution to cast some light on the implications of such facts.

“When in the Course of human events it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature’s God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation.

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. — That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, — That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness. Prudence, indeed, will dictate that Governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes; and accordingly all experience hath shewn that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed. But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future security.”

Chinese state capitalism is far more efficient than any other form of modern capitalism. Its efficiency is rooted in its brutality, and its brutality is rooted in its efficiency. Still prone to the same economic crises as the Western world, its centralized nature allows for a certain degree of resiliency hitherto unknown to the Western world. The future of capitalism the world over is today found in China. That is why even if Hong Kong and the People’s Republic of China today abolish their present governments and found a liberal democratic republic in 20 or 30 years it will once again resort to methods both political and economic that are dictatorial and ruthlessly efficient, together with the rest of the world. Like the classical Judeo-Christian rite of exorcism, the exorcism of one demon will inevitably lead to the return of seven more demons lest the soul of the victim accepts Christ and is saved from perdition. By creating a liberal democratic regime the people of the PRC cast out one demon for a little while, but an even more terrible return of tyranny is inevitable down the road. Only a radical break with the existing socioeconomic and political order, chiefly in the form of a radically anti-authoritarian, libertarian, and democratic, ecological, socialist revolution, can ensure that such devils of tyranny never return. It is a practical, but also an ecological and thereby an existential imperative for the people of today and all future generations.

To The Vanguard of The Movement

While it is possible that such barbarism can take on a human face, becoming less tyrannical and oppressive over time, the risk to human freedom and to the planet is still far too great. For the sake of Liberty alone the Chinese people are just in taking up arms. But the ecological imperative is an even greater motivator. In ‘Remaking Society’ Bookchin makes the ecological case against capitalism quite clear:

“To speak of ‘limits to growth’ under a capitalistic market economy is as meaningless as to speak of limits of warfare under a warrior society. The moral pieties, that are voiced today by many well-meaning environmentalists, are as naive as the moral pieties of multinationals are manipulative. Capitalism can no more be ‘persuaded’ to limit growth than a human being can be ‘persuaded’ to stop breathing. Attempts to ‘green’ capitalism, to make it ‘ecological’, are doomed by the very nature of the system as a system of endless growth.”

The people of Hong Kong should dare to dream dangerously, far beyond the confines of mere autonomy or liberal democracy. Activists should read the “other” radicals, Luxemburg, Connolly, Bookchin, Zizek, Trotsky, Kropotkin, Tolstoy, Wolff, etc.

The experiment of Leninist methods in creating a society in the hands of the common people, the “workers and peasants” had its initial application in a society of material scarcity and extreme poverty and backwardness. But socialism in the minds of its chief exponents was never a social system to be applied to such societies, its initial and inevitable dictatorial methods a side effect of the infertile soil such ideas were planted in. But the Russian experiment did not end in Russia. It became crystallized into ideology, into Marxist-Leninist (a term coined by Stalin after Lenin’s death) political theory. The dream of a truly free society democratically controlled by the common people became the reality when seen through the rose colored glasses of the leader and the party. The brutal honesty of the early Bolsheviks was replaced by official declarations that the dream had been achieved by means of terror, never open or acknowledged as was the case under Lenin and Trotsky— a radical break from Bolshevism to be sure. The Soviet people were free so long as they did not step out of line, and when they stepped out of line it was never acknowledged that they disappeared or why. Such freedom of course is nothing more than a profound unfreedom, a grotesque and unspeakable tyranny. The fact that Gorbachev reconciled the early hopes of the revolution with the reality makes him a hero in my book. “Mao Tse-Tung thought” is no different in this respect, nor later developments of Deng Xiaoping Thought or Xi Jinping Thought. It was as if Jefferson himself crowned himself King and declared the abolition of monarchism and tyranny, killing anyone who pointed out the fact that those who criticized Jefferson disappeared as it contradicted the official narrative. In this sense there is a dark comedy in the horrors of the later half of the 20th century. “The people are in power”, proclaimed the tyrant.

What of these Hong Kong protests? Either the demands of the protestors will be met or a revolution will be had. A much more terrifying thought is that the masses, confused and tired, will merely give up any and all notions of a better future, but I am quite skeptical such a thing will come to pass, and perhaps the iron will be so hot when concessions are given that the people will demand more, more, more– and rightfully so. Here there is no alternative. The people of Hong Kong love their freedom, limited as it is in regards to what is possible, in regards to what ought to be. More than this they hope for their future and the future of their children that the tree of Liberty may grow, and that it may bear much fruit. If revolution transpires it may mean autonomy, it may mean a mere liberal democracy. But revolutions have a tendency of going to A to Z with exponential ferocity, growing more and more radical with the passage of time, the most radical sections of the movement taking the lead. Such a movement can act as a catalyst to building a better, freer, more democratic and just world if the lessons of history are taken to heart. Or it can mean a new tyranny no different from the old. Perhaps the most important lesson of history is that people do not learn the lessons of history, and in that a very real and conscious exception must be made in the hearts and minds of the Chinese people. Bookchin speaks of a “Third Revolution”, something I advise people to research if they are interested in the inner dynamics of revolutionary upheavals. After the Jacobins in the French revolution and the Bolsheviks in the Russian revolution came to power, there arose spontaneous movements from below for local autonomy and self-governance. Of course such anarchist ideals under such conditions were futile given the era of material scarcity of revolutionary France and Russia, but today in our era of material abundance such events should be read with an open mind. With a backbone of material abundance people can try pretty much anything, even a weird monarchy if they so desired it. If people are to progress beyond the status quo they must not be paralyzed from the fear that past horrors will be repeated, nor should they be too eager to act without keeping the lessons of history in mind. If history is worth a damn revolution must exclaim as Rosa Luxemburg once said that, “freedom is always the freedom of the dissenters”.

In the movie Reds there is a rather interesting dialogue between Zinoviev and Jack Reed aboard a train just before it is attacked by the White Army. I will quote it here.

“Jack Reed: Zinoviev, you don’t think a man can be an individual and be true to the collective, or speak for his own country and the International at the same time, or love his wife and still be faithful to the revolution, you don’t have a self to give! Would you ever be willing to give yourself to this revolution? When you separate a man from what he loves the most, what you do is purge what’s unique in him. And when you purge what’s unique in him, – you purge dissent.

Zinoviev: – Comrade Reed.

Jack Reed: And when you purge dissent, you kill the revolution! Revolution is dissent!”

Of course Jack Reed here was right, but the situation was, because of the poverty and material scarcity of Russia, more complicated. I claim that the Russian revolution was the last revolution that needed Jacobinism to function. Today we should take Reed’s warning to heart. In our era of material abundance, for socialist revolution (not civil war, which is a far worse thing) not to embody the spirit of individual liberty and dissent over terror and repression is to essentially give up on any hope of a better tomorrow. Revolution is dissent! The methods a revolution embodies must reflect its goals. You cannot have this Stalinist “we will subdue freedom in the name of a better tomorrow where there will be real freedom under communism”. It simply does not work. You cannot rely on a Lenin-like figure not dying as a safeguard against a Stalin. A revolution seeking to increase liberty must be libertarian. It must begin in the community and spread outward and upward.

What is the lesson to be had by the radical vanguard of protestors on the streets today who are looking to build a better world? A break has to be made, a criticism from the left of its own historic experiments far more ruthless and severe than Marx’s own critiques of Capital. The results of such a criticism should be in part, strikingly similar to Rosa Luxemburg’s own criticisms of the Bolsheviks, yet it must transcend this altogether. It is also an affirmation of Bakunin’s saying that “Freedom without socialism is privilege and injustice; socialism without freedom is slavery and brutality”. Bookchin also offers excellent critiques of mainstream Marxist thought. Without such a criticism there can be no such thing as “scientific” socialism, only the rotting corpse of a political religion artificially revived in a comatose state by people who cannot let the ghosts of the past die, the very kind of thing Marx criticized in his own day. Marxism has always regarded the state as harmful and unnecessary, but this recognition must extend to all forms of government that are overly centralized regardless of formal recognitions as to the “correctness” of Marxist theory and the often farcical declaration that the state is in “the hands of the proletariat”. Without freedom of dissent, without freedom to oppose the state, the social order, the government, the nation, the leaders, the prevailing social norms and laws there is no freedom, and a society is not and cannot be in the hands of the majority, of the common people, the “workers and peasants”. Apparently all a country has to do is make its flag red and have intellectuals and theoreticians formally declare it to be a “dictatorship of the proletariat and peasantry” and leftists the world over will flock to support it regardless of its actual political, social, and economic system, regardless of if it embodies Orwell’s Oceania or Franco’s Spain. If a movement does not ascribe upon its banner the words of Liberty with those of Socialism, all will be for naught. Socialism cannot be a closed society, it must be more open, free, and democratic than the old order. Such is the lesson of 20th century socialism. There are no ideas more toxic to the current PRC government than these.

What of those in the mainland PRC? Dare to dream dangerously. Take the hypocritical proclamations of the powers that be, insofar as they are just, too seriously. The constitution says you have a right to freedom of press, speech, protest, religion, etc. Publish papers, speak loudly but anonymously, protest in the streets, advocate real freedom of religion in China and pray for those who persecute you. Perhaps the best contribution to world politics by the American legal school is the institutional subjugation of power to the written letter and spirit of the law (along with, naturally, trial by a jury of ones peers, the presumption of innocence, the right to remain silent, the prohibition of cruel and unusual punishment, and so forth). China has no such system in place, no means for itself to take its own laws seriously. Laws are followed only insofar as they are deemed acceptable to those in power. Is this not true in the United States? Only to a certain extent. Without our constitutional safe-guards the United States would be a tyranny far more severe than that of the PRC. But laws exist regardless of their unjust implementation. The constitution allows for political repression do not forget, but the rights of the people can and should transcend such totalitarian declarations. If the People’s Republic is not really an expression of the will of the People as they actually exist, then it itself has no right to exist.

A Question of Violence

Violence should be avoided at all costs, here I am more willing to quote Gandhi than Lenin. But at the same time one shouldn’t give into this naive notion that all social problems can be solved without even the threat of violence from below. Remember in our country that the Civil Rights movement was not as peaceful as it appeared, without however many hundreds of riots Martin Luther King’s movement likely would not have been so accepted by the liberal elites as a concession. The question is one of strategic acceptability and morality. I am in every instance opposed to terrorism, but a people have a right to revolution. The liberal sanctification of non-violent protest is just up to a point, beyond which the people must invoke their right to collective self-defense through force of arms if necessary. This is not advocacy of violence, but a mere statement of the facts. Jefferson himself said that the tree of Liberty had to be watered from time to time with the blood of patriots and tyrants. Mao Tse-Tung understood this fact quite well (though he did not understand how effective non-violent forms of action could be), and so should the people of Hong Kong and the PRC today (while keeping in mind the usefulness of non-violent protest). This point, however must be understood cautiously. Violence should be used as a last resort, better the threat of violence than violence itself, and violence ought to come from below spontaneously, not organized by a small clique of intellectuals outside of mainstream society– that is how you get terrorist groups and the nightmare of a bloody civil war. Mao once said that when there is great disorder under heaven, the situation is excellent. While this is true, it is not at all the case that “the worst things are the better it is”. This nonsense belongs in the dustbin of history. These “zero level” situations are precisely how you get another Mao or Stalin.

“War can only be abolished through war”, said Mao. Sometimes police clubs can only be rendered powerless by the power of a mob. Had only the people in Tienanmen Square understood this in 1989! Understand that this is what I mean by violence, self-defense against the violence of the state, not the addition of violence to a peaceful society. Violence is deplorable but at times indispensably necessary. The state is a weapon of the ruling class with a sole legal monopoly on violence, but the masses carry the sole legitimacy in deciding when and how to use violence in the true self-defense of life, limb, and liberty. For if the state gains legitimacy from the will of the people and the consent of the governed, and it acts neither with the people’s will nor consent, then the people are right to overthrow it by force if necessary. For the armed weapon of the state gains legitimacy from the people, and none are more right in wielding it than the people themselves provided the forms by which they wield it are just. Here I am advocating the opposite of gun control, the people should be armed.

The Digital World: Erasing The Digital Footprint

Hong Kong citizens are reportedly “terrified” of leaving a digital footprint. If they fail in their goals, the PRC will know everything they have ever done, including their activities on the streets. Here I advocate the use of censorship resistant, anonymous networks and encryption. I am talking mainly about Tor, I2P, Freenet, and ZeroNet. These are darknets designed for such purposes. Look them up, install them, use them. For activists I would have to recommend Tor with bridges and Freenet in darknet mode, ZeroNet can run on top of Tor as well and I2P is potentially viable as well though it is not difficult to tell you are connecting to it. Do not use Google, do not use WeChat to organize protests. Encrypt your communications. has excellent resources. Encrypt everything without exception. If you clean up your digital life, help 5 more activists to clean up theirs, and get those 5 people to help 5 more people. Turn Hong Kong into a digital fortress, a bastion of Liberty surrounded by tyranny on all sides. Mask up when you take to the streets if you are concerned about your privacy. Cover your ears as well as ears are as unique as fingerprints. It is better to show up anonymously than to sit at home.

Some Final Thoughts On The Future

What does democracy mean? What does Liberty mean? What does socialism mean? A people need community, and politics should not be mere statecraft but local autonomy and self-governance. Sun Tzu said that “all warfare is based on deception” and Mao said that “politics (really statecraft) is war by other means”. People should be in control of their own lives, they should have political democracy but also industrial democracy (democracy at work). This industrial democracy, or socialism, is a prerequisite to real political democracy in the hands of the common people and not merely a ruling oligarchy. But what of coordination and cooperation and united action? What of centralization? Certainly what is needed today is the subjugation of the nation state in its arrogance to the general interest. But the expansion of the range of coordination must at the same time come with the abolition of centralized authority. The worst thing would be a global superstate, the goal here should be a stateless society. How can the general interest be defined? There is no such thing, but I think we should look after love of Liberty, self-rule (in the political and economic sphere) and the long term survival of the species. The nation state cannot be the highest power. Let me cite one example of this: Brazil’s Bolsonaro thinks it is his “right” to tear down the Amazon rainforest, favoring short-term profit over preservation. Naturally environmental scientists and climatologists are being silenced. This is the far-right in power, but do not forget that the far-right is in power precisely because of the catastrophic failure of the left. For such issues united action is necessary, transnational united action with real power. But without such power being decentralized, applying only to the bare minimum of what is absolutely necessary (ecological preservation, chemical weapons, bio-genetics, etc.), then there is a real risk of a nightmare. But what balance can there be between centralization and decentralization? I do not have the answers, but if the people of the world remain paralyzed, then all is lost. The most radical thing today is the belief that we can keep going the way we are going. A break has to be made. Are the people of Hong Kong brave enough to make that leap? To go in the name of peace for all mankind? Dare to dream dangerously.



One thought on “Activism and Revolution: Thoughts On Hong Kong and The PRC

  1. Barry Wells

    In October 1917 a man named Alexander Kerensky started the Revolution in Russia. Lenin was shipped across Germany in a ‘sealed’ train to a location where he could get into Russia. The Germans wanted the Russians to leave the war (WWI ) so they could move their troops to the Western Front. Lenin’s group took over the revolution in November of 1917. (Vladimir Ilich Ulyanov AKA Lenin) Kerensky’s group became the Mensheviks ( minority) and Lenin’s Group became the Bolsheviks( majority) (The word bolshevik is a derivate of Bolshoi meaning large or big as in the Bolshoi Balet) Kerensky originally put the tsar and his family under house arrest in one of the palaces. when Lenin came in Kerensky fled to the American Embassy and was subsequently taken to The States where he taught at a California University. In 1967 he was on the Today show to comment on the 50th anniversary of the Russian Revolution. If you can read Russian then look at some of the red banners, I noticed one that had ‘Socialist Party’ on it. I think it’s incorrect to refer to it as the Bolshevik Party as opposed to the ‘Socialist Party’.


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