huge protests force chinese government retreat over pollution

By Adam Ford

Shifang demonstrators squaring off against riot cops earlier in the week

Locals are celebrating in the Chinese city of Shifang today, following the government’s decision to scrap its plans for a copy alloy plant which many feared would poison them. This sensational policy reversal was apparently forced out of the Communist Party dictatorship by rioting, followed by a sit-in in support of those arrested. In making this concession, the regime has shown its vulnerability at a time when the national economy is being hit by the economic crisis in Europe and the US. Continue reading “huge protests force chinese government retreat over pollution”

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wukan peasant victory sets stage for chinese turmoil

Adam Ford reports on the Wukan rebellion and asks what it means for the future of social struggles in China

The villagers of Wukan in south-east China appear to have won a victory over the misnamed Communist Party regime, and prevented the sale of some communal land. This triumph is the result of direct action, direct democracy, and the community’s ability to get the word out, in spite of government censorship. These factors will be crucial in 2012, as factory workers come into conflict with multinational corporations in the cities.

Xue Jinbao addressing a meeting before his death at the hands of the state

The struggle began in September, when Wukan residents became suspicious that the local government was in the process of selling common farming land to Country Garden – a company which builds residences for the rich. The 21st sawhundreds of villagers gathered at nearby Communist Party offices, to nonviolently protest against the sale. But as crowds grew and grew in numbers, so too did their confidence. Protesters began blocking roads and attacking buildings in an industrial park. Continue reading “wukan peasant victory sets stage for chinese turmoil”

risk of infection: the strike wave in china

Bristol members of The Commune are holding a public meeting, ‘Risk of Infection: The Strike Wave in China’. Details below.

6th April 19.00 – 21.00 @ Hamilton House.

In mid-2010 a strike wave rolled through China’s factories, the most widespread and militant expression of China’s internal migrant workers so far. Their struggle shook the Chinese regime and provoked a world-wide debate about the end of the low-wage-model that stands behind China’s rise to the “factory of the world” and provides Europe and other regions with cheap consumer products.

We will look at the social conditions that stand behind the militant outbreak – the situation and struggles of different groups of migrant workers, such as construction, factory, domestic and sex workers, before examining the strike wave and its implications and discussing the formation of a new working class
movement in China.

risk of infection: the strike wave in china

London public meeting on the 2010 strike wave in China, 7th April

In mid-2010 a strike wave rolled through China’s factories, the most widespread and militant expression of China’s internal migrant workers so far. Their struggle shook the Chinese regime and provoked a world-wide debate about the end of the low-wage-model that stands behind China’s rise to the “factory of the world” and provides Europe and other regions with cheap consumer products.

We will look at the social conditions that stand behind the militant outbreak – the situation and struggles of different groups of migrant workers, such as construction, factory, domestic and sex workers, before examining the strike wave and its implications and discussing the formation of a new working class movement in China. Continue reading “risk of infection: the strike wave in china”

a spectre of communism haunts china’s rulers…

Adam Ford reports on recent upheavals in China

With the US empire in terminal decline, the Chinese economy has become essential to the globally integrated capitalist economy. China is now the world’s second largest economy, having officially overtaken its neighbour Japan, with a gross domestic product of over a trillion US dollars in the second quarter of 2010. It has long enjoyed gargantuan economic growth, and even weathered the storm of the global economic crisis up to this point.

But its status as “sweatshop of the world” now seems extremely vulnerable to both internal and external shocks, and a period of huge social upheaval is on the horizon. Continue reading “a spectre of communism haunts china’s rulers…”

manchester class struggle forum on china, 19th august

The next meeting of the Manchester Class Struggle Forum will take place on the subject of class struggle in China.

Recent years have seen a rise in class conflict in China, as workers in “the sweatshop of the world” become increasingly confident in asserting their demands against an authoritarian state, multinational corporations, and servile trade unions. We will be discussing the implications of these developments, and what lessons we can draw from them for the future.

The meeting will be introduced by a presentation on the subject, before moving to open discussion. Continue reading “manchester class struggle forum on china, 19th august”

reading group: international working-class organisation

The next of The Commune’s London reading groups on ‘communism from below’ takes place from 7pm on Monday 15th June at the Artillery Arms near Old Street. The meeting will be focussing on the question of how the working class can organise on an international footing.

The recommended reading for the group includes two articles on ‘economic nationalism’ and protectionism in the workers’ movement, both of which appeared in Against the Current in summer 2000.

The articles by left communist Loren Goldner (click here) and Labor Notes editor Kim Moody (click here) relate to the US trade unions’ attitudes towards free trade during the upsurge in ‘anti-globalisation’ struggles a decade ago, unpicking the issues of identification with ‘national’ capitalism, the unions’ supposed sympathy for Chinese workers, and to what extent communists can support workers who mount powerful collective actions despite holding protectionist attitudes. Continue reading “reading group: international working-class organisation”