Since 1997, when it ceased to be the last major colonial holding of Great Britain, Hong Kong has been a part of the People’s Republic of China, while maintaining a distinct political and legal system. In February, an unpopular bill was introduced that would make it possible to extradite fugitives in Hong Kong to countries that the Hong Kong government has no existing extradition agreements with—including mainland China. On June 9, over a million people took the streets in protest; on June12, protesters engaged in pitched confrontations with police; on June 16, two million people participated in one of the biggest marches in the city’s history. The following interview with an anarchist collective in Hong Kong explores the context of this wave of unrest. Our correspondents draw on over a decade of experience in the previous social movements in an effort to come to terms with the motivations that drive the participants, and elaborate upon the new forms of organization and subjectivation that define this new sequence of struggle.
In the United States, the most recent popular struggles have cohered around resisting Donald Trump and the extreme right. In France, the Gilets Jaunes movement drew anarchists, leftists, and far-right nationalists into the streets against Macron’s centrist government and each other. In Hong Kong, we see a social movement against a state governed by the authoritarian left. What challenges do opponents of capitalism and the state face in this context? How can we outflank nationalists, neoliberals, and pacifists who seek to control and exploit our movements?
As China extends its reach, competing with the United States and European Union for global hegemony, it is important to experiment with models of resistance against the political model it represents, while taking care to prevent neoliberals and reactionaries from capitalizing on popular opposition to the authoritarian left. Anarchists in Hong Kong are uniquely positioned to comment on this.