Monday, September 2, 2019

Labor Notes Regional Conference in Taipei

Dear David,
This Labor Day, I’m feeling inspired, uplifted, and as committed as ever to our common struggle for global labor rights. I’ve just returned from Taipei, Taiwan, where ILRF co-organized the Labor Notes Asia Regional Conference. It was wonderful to be surrounded by over 200 rank-and-file workers, activists, and trade unionists from 17 countries and regions, to listen to their stories and share organizing and campaign skills with each other.
Across Asia, multinational corporations are pushing an agenda of outsourcing, subcontracting, and short-term contracts to minimize their responsibility for labor rights violations and to keep out independent, democratic unions. Millions of migrant workers have few legal protections and face precarious employment and unsafe conditions. Despite mass dismissals, the risk of arrest, and increasing restrictions on civil society, workers and grassroots labor organizations continue to fight back.
In this context, conference participants explored challenges to organizing precarious workers in repressive contexts and discussed strategies to cultivate women workers’ leadership and address gender-based violence. Conference participants came together across electronics, apparel, seafood, and other industries for skill-building workshops, panel discussions, and cross-sector networking and strategizing.
The conference featured inspirational speakers, including the organizers of the Taiwanese flight attendants’ union who recently concluded a 17-day strike (the longest strike in several decades in Taiwan), Hong Kong labor and union activists who supported the general strike in Hong Kong, and a report from the frontlines of the new wave of strikes in Myanmar.
It was a rare opportunity for emerging and experienced rank-and-file union and labor activists to share and learn organizing approaches, discuss strategies around defending workers and labor activists under threat, and strengthen existing and build new cross-sector and international solidarity necessary to confront global capitalism.
In a show of international solidarity, more than 70 conference participants joined a demonstration at Foxconn’s headquarters in Taipei in support of Filipino migrant workers dismissed at its subsidiary company in Japan. This action gained media interest in Taiwan, not least because the head of Foxconn, Terry Gou, may run as a presidential candidate in the Taiwanese election. Participants also showed solidarity with labor activists in the Philippines who have been organizing under martial law.
This conference would not have been possible without the generous support of our committed donors. This Labor Day, I hope you will support our work at ILRF by joining as a Monthly Sustainer or with a one-time gift.
Many thanks for your support and please let me know if you plan on joining the 2020 Labor Notes Conference in Chicago and would like to connect there. 
In solidarity,
Kevin Lin
China Program Officer

Tuesday, August 27, 2019

Jokers to the Left and Right of Me For Hong Kong

「Video of H.K. demonstrators cutting down face recognition surveillance pole」的圖片搜尋結果
     On August 19, 2019, the administrator from Taiwan Writers Facebook page, William Stimson, lost any future writing contributions from me by being unrepentant about sharing a prejudiced post against China in the Hong Kong crisis. Taiwan Writers had not been for political posts in the past. When I protested in a comment, Mr. Stimson dug in deeper by adding Chinese re-education camps in Xinjiang to his condemnation. When I objected to his posting irrelevant shares from western media sources, he implied everyone would support him on the page. Two other Taiwan based Facebook pages that went against their own mission statement have since stopped sharing political posts; that's why I still share my posts with them, but not Mr. Stimson; a joker to the right of me.
         I get so frustrated defending Chinese actions in Hong Kong, especially to progressive people. Why can’t anarchists realize that the protesters are pro-capitalistic opposed to a world of of unions, forget about worker self-management, while China, though a long way to go, is holding its ground and fighting against capitalist imperialism?
      Jon, my former Fellow Worker from the Industrial Workers of the World (IWW) union troubled me the most. He doesn’t know much about the reality of a no-longer cheap China (read End of Cheap China by Shaun Rein), but  I respect Jon. I won’t give up until he realizes China is not the enemy of anarchism; it's in the right direction.  
I got upset watching Taiwan TV news shorts about Hong Kong taken from CNN and other corporate media. I don't pay attention to news about the world from Taiwan media; I get my news on the internet from sources I trust but, even so, some anarchists are dazzled by the sea of humanity in Hong Kong and share the excitement; how cool it is that protesters are using lasers to confuse the face-identification cameras!
      The Chinese are not prepared for U.S. crowd control tactics like having thousands of SWAT teams putting up steel barricades, penning people in, not allowing anyone in or back if they leave, noisy helicopters buzzing overhead, sonic sounds sirens upsetting everyone's stomach. The demonstrations in Hong Kong look like the ones I joined in New York City before the 911 clampdown. There are fewer and fewer demonstrations in the U.S. and all are highly controlled, seldom seen in corporate media. 
Most English language Facebook group pages in Taiwan are against China; I leave when they show their real colors and  share no more poems, education or cultural blog articles with them, but the man from Taiwan Writers was getting on my nerves, so I had a plan: He approved my friend request on my  Indydaiwan page but the first post I sent about Hong Kong ("Where the Money Goes") wasn't approved; I piggy-backed comments on a few of his anti-Chinese posts. Wouldn't you know it, Facebook sent me a letter:
Changes to What Group Admins Can See. This message is just for your information. It is not in response to anything you've posted, and does not mean we've removed any of your content. Our Community Standards help keep Facebook safe and welcoming for everyone. If we find that content in a group goes against the Community Standards, we remove it from Facebook. We may also tell the group's admins which standard the content violated, and in some cases we may allow the group admins to see the removed content for up to 7 days. Ha-ha. 
 How many Facebook and Twitter accounts that don't support the chaos in Hong Kong have been shut down under the premise of them being Chinese cyber-attacks? Look at how my rebuttals on Facebook pages have been treated; ignored, deleted, or argued against by trolls. I am not working for the Chinese secret police. Twitter and Facebook claimed Chinese hackers were filling the internet with pro-Chinese comments and blocked six hundred! Meanwhile, a video being shared by some anarchist Facebook groups of protesters cutting down a pole in Hong Kong  was going viral on Google.
     The video of a face recognition surveillance pole being cut down by youthful protesters has been shared by six  progressive-minded Facebook friends, so far; pages that don't realize the irony of such an act; impossible outside H.K. in any U.S. or European city because the cop watching through the monitor would have sent someone to stop it and beat the shit out of them. Go to Google and you will see a dozen references to the video, none supporting Chinese restraint. Corporate western media is the teapot calling the kettle black. 
             I'm not writing any more explanation to Jon, either. I have explained what the problem in Hong Kong; I'm finished. It's time for him to start reading my taIWWan blog and digging deeper. My anarchist professor friend wasn't seeing it my way. "It is a question of organization, mass support and determination - not government tolerance," he wrote. "Our rulers tolerate what they must, biding their time until the balance of forces enables them to crush us. Because our fellow workers in Hong Kong have organized and are putting up a fight, they can do many things of which we can only dream. But if they splinter or slack off, then they will all be herded to the concentration camps China has maintained for decades to control those who it fears might question the regime." I have more tolerance for Jon, an old friend so I replied: 
     "There is a reason sweatshops are moving out of China, some even to Wisconsin in the case of Foxxcon. How many Chinese workers have you worked with, worked for, lived with, or talked to," I asked."Do you know that most Chinese workers intrinsically know all the ways to sabotage their bosses? Every obstruction and tactic you can imagine, and some you can't. Have you read or studied Sun-Tzu Art of War? I can e-mail you a PDF book an expat friend wrote as a primer to direct action that most Chinese apply as second nature when under attack. The Chinese government knows what it's doing in Hong Kong." What I wrote didn't make a dent. Instead he dug deeper, too; a joker to the left of me.  

     I was not happy about Jon's insult to my comment about the labor-rights reporter that was sentenced to prison and lashes in Iran recently. Of course, I am on her side and resent the obstruction and detention and punishment of workers' voices, but Iran is in an extraordinary situation, under siege from Israel and the U.S., What this woman was doing was good but at the wrong time; it is like treason. It's like if someone called a strike in the U.S. during WWII with the Nazis attacking Europe; a strike during WWI would have been acceptable though. Of course I would condemn the strike, until the Nazis were defeated. The U.S. is the 21 Century Nazis. Jon had the nerve to link my comment with my support for China during the Hong Kong subterfuge and question my worker solidarity. I countered that by writing, typically, anarchists were short-sighted and unpractical. 
       Hong Kong protesters are not 'fellow workers'; most workers and a major union is against them. There is so much more chaos in China and liberty in Hong Kong where selfish impressionable people are drawn into going against their class interests. Their privileges are being challenged; a distinction between their 'sophisticated' British-Americanized selves and rich 'bumpkins' from China raising their property prices out of reach and clogging their streets. It has nothing to do with the right to assemble. They have that right, more so than protesters in the U.S. and NATO demonstrations against austerity and capitalism. And what did my friend say about 'it a question of organization, mass support and determination; does that make Hitlers Nazi rallies right? 
     I have been to H.K. a number of times. As in Taiwan, Hong Kongers are proud of their Western leanings and style. They  think they are better than mainland Chinese; they resent them. However, these protests have no interest raising wages or starting unions; They are are brainwashed that the Honk Kong government is not on their side. But they must understand the H.K. government has a mandate of absorbing and normalizing it into their social system. It won't happen in a day on the fiftieth the anniversary of Chinese administration; it has been twenty-three years already.  China's interest is keeping their threatened borders secure; look  at  the western media subterfuge and misinformation in Hong Kong, Taiwan,  Xinjiang  and Tibet; the threat is real.
     I blocked William Stimson on Facebook from sharing anti-Chinese propaganda with me. I complained to the administrators of the two Taiwan Facebook pages, too. One of them responded and subsequently removed Mr. Stimson's irrelevant share. 
     The riots are not in response to austerity programs, union crackdowns, or anti-racism, in fact they are racist (not including Kong Kong's immigrant workers) anti-union (a major Hong Kong union opposes it) and is being carried out by privileged petite bourgeois capitalists. The biggest shame is seeing 'anarchists' sharing the titillating scenes without understanding the circumstances. When I see it on corporate TV, we switch channels. Of course I don't buy Taipei Times with headlines about Hong Kong daily; the DPP government is using the anti-Chinese riots as a scare tactic for Tsai Ying-Wen to win the election and keep Taiwan in the U.S. camp. 
     China has shown amazing restraint these few months of turbulence. Perhaps it is time they send in the PLA and crack down.  I hope the PLA doesn't have to come to Taiwan, too, but they'd be justified if they did. I hope the next Taiwan government starts a process, like the Koreans, of unification, since independence,with the U.S. pulling the same shit as in Hong Kong, is impossible. 
Copyright © 2019 by David Barry Temple. All rights reserved 

Saturday, July 27, 2019

Hong Kong and Taiwan’s Colonial Legacy

Li Peng died a few days ago. He was ninety. With the market reforms of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) that reigned in the excesses of the Cultural Revolution and opened a new kettle of worms from the west, Li Peng made hard decisions to declare martial law after out-of-control students, not unlike those in Hong Kong now, could not realize how harmful they were to their nation. How are the protests in Hong Kong related to Taiwan's Sunflower youth?
         At Tienanmen Square in 1989, demonstrators would not go back to school and work; the market was free and so were the fancies. The engine of capitalism is infantile satisfaction in materialism. Its propaganda is used for commercial purposes, to make consumers feel inferior to their competition, indoctrinating us to buy the newest gadgets, co-opting our youth in their rebellious stage of development. China is learning how to deal with this subversion. The Hong Kong protest is anti-socialist. The inciters are non-government organizations (NGO) with the goal of destabilizing Hong Kong and keeping it capitalist. Hong Kong may need a new Li Peng and People's Liberation Army to deal with the subversion.
 Second-class Chinese citizens in undemocratic Hong Kong, a British colony, were easily mesmerized by shiny objects in their cradle of capitalist filth. The pride Hong Kongers felt when the British were forced out after 156 years of colonial exploitation has been eroded by fear-mongers alarming the undisciplined about losing privileges. The greater good of being part of a socialist world against racist, anti-worker U.S./NATO led White Angelo-Saxon Protestant (WASP) fascists is lost on them. The People's Republic of China (PRC) leadership is not good at pointing this out, so Hong Kongers who have forgotten the past are destined to repeat it.
“Manifest destiny” of English WASP supremacy makes people of color indebted to their corporate masters’ greed and religious superiority. Li Peng helped Deng Xiao-Ping stop the counter-revolutionary subversion, what would have turned China into a capitalist hell with worker exploitation forever, but who can help the PRC now? Back in 1989, the CCP did the right thing in counter-revolutionary Tienanmen Square protests and they would be justified to put down the riots in Hong Kong now.
Look at what China has achieved in the thirty years since the so-called “democracy movement” that culminated in the showdown at Tienanmen Square. China is on the verge of becoming the largest economy in the world, one that has made great progress in eradicating poverty, as workers in Taiwan, the last U.S. stronghold on Chinese soil, wallow in a neoliberal two-party political circus. Taiwanese workers remain nation-less, unable to gain independence, or reunification, because of U.S. interference, and real wages are stuck at the same rate as twenty years ago, thirty years since the “democracy movement” in China "lost" and “Free China’s” workers “won”. Won what? Taiwanese, in workplaces under thirty employees, have no right to unionize. Women are still oppressed by their male bosses. A legacy of environmental sickness and occupational hazards remains.
In Taiwan, a sham democracy, one party of corrupt politicians, the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) kowtows to underworld bosses and steers the election of populist pro-unification clowns while the other party, the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) keeps Taiwan in the U.S. sphere of influence with media fear-mongering and biased reports of Hong Kong protests. Which party in Taiwan is raising workers out of their doldrums? Neither. A spark for independence in Taiwan existed during Chen Shui-Bian's (陳水扁) presidency. Now Tsai Ying-Wen's (蔡英文) DPP only wants to hold the line for the U.S. at the cost of reunification with China. A populist mayor from Kaohsiung, Han Kuo-Yu (韓國瑜), or arrogant independent from Taipei, Ko Wen-Je (柯文哲) may be the only way to lead the way back. The "Sunflower Movement", anti-Chinese, was promoted and co-opted by the DPP to win their presidential election over the KMT

Read "Sunflower Movement Co-opted by DPP" here

  What Hong Kongers and Taiwanese have in common is a contempt for immigrants and visitors from China "invading" their territory. If you did a demography of the Hong Kong protesters, I bet you would find a majority of them are descendants of long time Hong Kong residents. Their resentment of the new wave is not unlike the European/United Staters contempt for immigrants. They distinguish between the old and new. In the same way, many Taiwanese disliked the influx of Chinese after World War II, being usurped by a interloping ruling class, KMT Chinese replacing Japanese, PRC Chinese replacing British. Rich Chinese have raised the price of housing in Hong Kong while tourists from China are perceived as 'low-class'. Ironically, In Taiwan, Tsai Ying-Wen and the DPP have no problem with an influx of European and United States expats, in fact it is an initiative. Is that the Anglicization of Taiwan  to keep it in the western camp as the anti-extradition protests a smokescreen for the same western tendency? 
          Protesters in Hong Kong have forgotten how lucky they are to be reunited with the mainland, their cultural cohort, and be represented by a government that shields them from U.S. imperialism. Meanwhile Taiwan remains in its colonial past. At least the interlopers that followed Chiang Kai-Shek to Taiwan remember which culture they stem from. Perhaps only a populist from Kaohsiung can rally them back, but China will take whatever it can to end foreign exploitation of its people. Hong Kongers should count their blessings and Taiwanese should see the wolf in sheep’s clothing.
Copyright © 2019 by David Barry Temple. All rights reserved 

Wednesday, July 10, 2019

Lin Piao Anachronistic Red Book

The Lin Piao book, The Life and Writings of China's New Ruler, saved from the dustbin of history, is an anachronism. A year after it was published in 1970, Lin Piao was gone. The first half of the book is a gossipy biography with insulting digressions and innuendos. The second half is a selection of Lin Piao's writings. The book itself, bound in clear plastic cover, is massive with classical, uneven, soft pages, a bit moldy but smelling more like the fifty-year-old "U.S. Army" library property hard cover that it is. With The History of the Little Red Book of Mao's Quotations I got a few weeks ago, it's a set. It came so quickly from the owner in France. The Lin Piao book came with a nice note, in French, hoping I enjoy the book.
       I had a series of weird out-of-breath dream lone night triggered by reading in Mao's Little Red Book; A Global History, edited by Alexander C. Cook, how loud speakers played Mao's Quotation in songs in China in the '60's. How firmly the PRC kept out subterfuge from the western powers. But I was disturbed by the thought of hearing loud speaker messages on the streets into homes. The book didn't specify how long the broadcasts were; only that the songs were a few minutes in length and mixed with speeches, local news and weather. Centralized speakers were used instead of shortwave signals to prevent outside subterfuge or clandestine tuning; I guess that was before signals could be jammed. 
     The notion of loud speaker announcements and songs is not strange to China and Taiwan; we still hear temple event announcements, political campaigns, and advertisements blaring from speakers in the street mounted to slow-passing vehicles.
       Lin Piao's Red Book was made into music, not unlike pop music of the west, and spread under everyone's skin. Today the west uses the internet of smartphones with Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, ubiquitous outside China. China doesn't let it in.
     Today, China has its own controlled social media and, we learned,  used as surveillance. We now know Western media, thanks to revelations by Snowden, Manning, and Assage's WikiLeaks, is worse because of it's clandestine nature. China's is up front about theirs. Western propaganda derides China for not letting western propaganda in but doesn't mention not letting Chinese news into the U.S. without twisting it.
    I fell asleep uneasy about mandatory political socialization, but Mao's Quotations disseminated, was necessary to spread revolution against capitalist imperialism. The quotations ring true today to revolutionaries everywhere, inciting us as they do, I can see why they aren't promoted in China today; their people have passed through that phase and there are more subliminal ways, pioneered by the CIA and Western media, that China uses, too, for a better purpose than corporate and religious domination. 
     I ordered a 6"x 4" bilingual facsimile of Mao's Quotations so I don't have to use a magnifying lens to read the tiny edition I got at Alishan a few years ago. They sell it as a souvenir now but I have always taken it seriously. It has the main reasons why a revolutionary should fight opposing imperialist capitalism. Everyone should refer to it, but not necessarily memorize it. I like using it with DeFrancis Annotated Quotations to study Mandarin. I have given up hope of influencing anarchist Facebook pages, or friends, that criticize me for accepting state communism, yet I remain a Wobbly in my heart; anarchism in the workplace, socialist states.

Thursday, June 20, 2019

U.S. Role in Hong Kong Protests- IAC

U.S. Role in Hong Kong Protests