Localism's Contradictions in Hong Kong

Li, Promise
http://solidarity-us.org/localisms-contradictions-in-hong-kong/

Publisher:  Solidarity
Date Written:  01/08/2019
Year Published:  2019  
Resource Type:  Article
Cx Number:  CX23782

Localism, as a recent political phenomenon in the Hong Kong political landscape, stresses Hong Kong’s political and cultural autonomy as distinct from that of China, while older pan-democratic organizations tend to stress this continuity between democratic struggles in Hong Kong and China. Localism has politicized the younger generations in many ways – but is localism a coherent political ideology, and how does it square with an anti-capitalist, mass-led political practice?

Abstract: 

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Excerpt:

Localism, as a recent political phenomenon in the Hong Kong political landscape, stresses Hong Kong’s political and cultural autonomy as distinct from that of China, while older pan-democratic organizations tend to stress this continuity between democratic struggles in Hong Kong and China. Localism has politicized the younger generations in many ways – but is localism a coherent political ideology, and how does it square with an anti-capitalist, mass-led political practice?

Those trying to make sense of who’s left and who’s right in Hong Kong’s political landscape in the States usually fall into three broad camps of analysis. The first view, more prevalent in mainstream liberal narratives, positions the pan-democratic and localist camp as generally progressive, standing up for human rights against the right-authoritarianism of the Chinese regime and pro-Beijing legislators in the LegCo. The second view, more nuanced, accepts that there is a complex jockeying of power between left-leaning, centrist liberals, and right-leaning forces within the large umbrella of opposition. The third view is essentially reactionary, and receives little support beyond a few pundits and ultra-left sects: parroting the Chinese government’s official talking points, these ‘left’ critics demonize any opposition to China’s neoliberalism and neo-colonialism as ‘counter-revolutionary’ and imperialist....

To put it another way, many of these new parties and activists do not descend from any traditional leftist or right-wing tendencies. In fact, arguably speaking, left-wing formations have never quite existed as strong independent political forces in Hong Kong history. To be sure, there have been Trotskyists and anarchists in the city even before the communist revolution in China in 1949. But these tendencies have struggled to thrive (in the face of both British colonial suppression and internal sectarian conflicts), and survived only in very small numbers up to this point.
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