Workers must take lead in Hong Kong

Yesterday Chief Executive, de facto ruler of Hong Kong said she was considering using Emergency Regulations –

Hong Kong’s emergency powers are viciously totalitarian.

They are a remnant of HK’s colonised past – last used against ‘Cultural Revolution’ Maoists in 1967. They could be a stepping-stone into potential HK absorption into the China regime.

Many protestors expect invocation of Emergency Regulations soon and there are no end of tweets with the hashtag #HKlastwords. They expect the total closure of the Internet and their own arrest facing life imprisonment or extradition to China to face worse.

At the same time the police banned the more radical trade union federation, the CTU, holding a rally. The implications for CTU affiliated workers who work at the target of the protest – Cathay Pacific airline who have sacked 20 democrats – are extreme. They would face immediate dismissal.

The rally has been relocated but may still face legal harassment.

Hong Kong teachers, one of the most militant sections of HK workers and also affiliated to the CTU, are being named as trouble-makers by the People’s Daily of the Chinese regime. They are clearly targeted for arrest.

I think Carrie Lam is making threats on Emergency Powers that she may not be able to deliver. She doesn’t have sufficient forces of repression to enforce the totalitarian elements of the emergency powers.

The Chinese regime is known to be divided between ‘hawks’ and ‘doves’ regarding Hong Kong. If Beijing sends their army in, it will massively damage not only the Hong Kong economy but that of the whole of China.

The protestors need to stick to their demands, refuse to be intimidated and seek out additional and alternative working class methods of struggle; strikes, defiance built in working class neighbourhoods etc.

However the Hong Kong trade unions are still new. Unlike the South African trade unions during the dying days of apartheid that were modeled on the Lula-led Brazilian unions, the Hong Kong ones are modeled on British unions of the post-Thatcher era. Focusing almost exclusively on workplace bargaining. There is no history of them organising united working class political struggle.

They need to learn fast. A successful fight for democracy in Hong Kong needs them.

And new layers of working class activists are getting involved.

A general strike is planned on Sept 2-3. It’s announcement an hour ago is the first picture.

There is an informative Twitter thread on

If you are on Twitter, Kong Tsung-Gan’s well worth a follow

Students are marching today as universities start up -2nd and 3rd pictures.

The CTU Cathay workers have just started their rally now.

There is both determination and hope in spite of the shameful silence from elsewhere in the world.

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