A conference involving members from the Committee for a Workers’ International (CWI) groups in China, Hong Kong and Taiwan was held in Hong Kong last month. The debates and discussions over the weekend reflected the leaps and bounds that the CWI has made across this crucial region in recent years. CWI members from Sweden, the US and Australia also participated in the event.
The opening night saw a discussion on the world capitalist crisis. The conference discussed the processes of revolution, counterrevolution and war. Every corner of the globe is affected by this economic, social and political crisis – not least Asia.
Speakers reinforced the crucial need for an international revolutionary organisation capable of providing the ideas and leadership necessary to take society towards socialism – a system based cooperation and solidarity as opposed to conflict and division.
The second day of the conference was devoted to an in depth and lively discussion on the China region. Sally Tang, a member of Socialist Action in Hong Kong, introduced the discussion on perspectives for China and Hong Kong.
She explained that the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) dictatorship is in crisis. It is terrified that the dire economic reality for the masses will lead to revolution but it is torn about what to do. Moderates in the party want some democratic safety valve but anti-reform factions point to the former Soviet Union as an example of the dangers of democratic concessions.
Both roads present dangers for the regime and will lead to revolutionary convulsions. The fortunes of the Hong Kong ruling elite are tied closely to that of the CCP. This connection reinforces the pressing need for people in both Hong Kong and China to struggle jointly against their oppressors.
Vincent Kolo, the editor of the popular labour movement website chinaworker.info, introduced a discussion about strategy, tactics and methods of mass struggle. Among other things the discussion touched on the recent Wukan and Shangpu uprisings, the Hong Kong dockers’ strike, the anti-brainwashing mass movement and Taiwan’s anti-nuclear movement.
In all of these movements there has been a lack of democracy and the leaderships have been unclear about the nature of the CCP and the role of the state. Flowing from this some of the movements have suffered demoralising defeats while others have come to abrupt and unexplained endings.
The common theme was the need to bring socialist and class politics into the movements. Socialist ideas, based on the historical experience of the working class, give struggles the best chance of winning and developing into movements for long lasting social change.
The conference took place shortly after the conclusion of the Hong Kong dockers’ strike. The depth of the discussion and the high level contributions about this strike reflected the fact that the strike was a turning point for our organisation in Hong Kong.
Members of Socialist Action made an incredible intervention into the dispute. They were able to make deep connections with the most political workers involved and learnt many lessons about the role of the trade union bureaucracy and its servants in the petty-bourgeois student groups. The experience has strengthened our young organisation no end.
CWI members from Taiwan have also been involved in crucial work recently campaigning against racism in a climate of street violence against Filipino migrant workers. This work has given our organisation there more confidence and political clarity not to mention new found respect.
This successful conference, and the development of our forces in the region, should give all the sections of the CWI confidence that we will be at the forefront of the wave of revolution that will inevitably sweep this region in the future. It is our responsibility to follow the lead of our members in China, Hong Kong and Taiwan and support their work by building a revolutionary organisation across the rest of the world that is capable of sweeping aside capitalism and introducing a new socialist future.
By Chris Dite