Marx Pays a Visit to Foxconn

Marx Pays a Visit to Foxconn

Translation of an illustrated piece recently circulated among electronics workers in the Pearl River Delta, followed by a commentary by Victor Grant. The Chinese version (马克思来到富士康,他惊呆了!) was originally published last spring on WeiGongHui (微工荟 — “WeChat Union”), an independent platform of news and analysis by and for young migrant workers in southern China. After more than a century, why are workers still living in such misery? Today is a special day: it’s Karl Marx’s 199th birthday. He has traveled through time to the present and come to Foxconn. Let us know if you see him! On the 5th of May, 1818, Marx was born into a lawyer’s family in the German Confederation, but when he saw the rising tide of the 19th century labor movement, he chose the working class and dedicated his life to their cause. He predicted the crisis of capitalism and the advent of socialism. But after the socialist revolution… “Oh my! It’s one thing to get rid of the bosses, but quite another to eliminate this repugnant system! We’ve still got a long way to go before the workers are truly liberated.” Marx decides to set aside his writing for a moment and go visit the world’s largest processing plant: Foxconn.[1]   Interviewing for a job   Foxconn, I’m here!   On the way to work Marx thinks, “With this many workers, what kind force would arise if their individual powers were consolidated into a movement?”   At work   Time to eat!   Back to work   After work   Repeat Repetition: day after day, year after year, it’s as if Marx has seen...
The Hermit and the Empire: China after the Collapse of the Developmental Regime

The Hermit and the Empire: China after the Collapse of the Developmental Regime

Reposted from the Verso Blog (February 6, 2018). The article below is an excerpt from the second issue of Chuǎng, “Red Dust,” scheduled to be released later in 2018. This is a slightly edited version of the introduction to the second part of our three-part economic history of China, the first of which explored the rise of the socialist developmental regime. Also included in the issue will be other original articles, interviews, translations, and intake pieces on China’s border territory and the greater region.  Chuǎng is currently raising funds for the printing of our second issue, via Patreon. We can also accept one-off donations through PayPal. Alongside the second issue of all new material, we will reprint our first issue (now sold out) on higher-quality materials and at the originally intended (larger) size. (Our sincere thanks to those who helped us sell out of the first run within a couple months of printing, and our apologies for any strain on your eyes caused by the small print.) Anyone who subscribes via Patreon at the “sustainer” level of $5 or more per month will receive a free copy of both the new issue (plus all future issues and any other printed works we produce), as well as the reprint of Issue 1. These funds will also go toward paying for new translations and on-the-ground interviews. If we are able to maintain funding, we hope to release a number of smaller-run, long-form print translations available first to subscribers. This is in addition to the material that we already post periodically via our blog, such as the recent translations of open letters...
“The Mastermind”: A Third Young Leftist Speaks Out on the November 15th Incident

“The Mastermind”: A Third Young Leftist Speaks Out on the November 15th Incident

On November 15, 2017, police[1] stormed into a student reading group at the Guangdong University of Technology and seized six young participants. Two of them, Zhang Yunfan and Ye Jianke, were held at the Panyu Detention Center for a month as suspects for the crime of “gathering crowds to disrupt social order,” along with two other young people involved with the reading group who were later seized at their residences: Sun Tingting and Zheng Yongming. After prominent intellectuals circulated a petition for Zhang’s release, all four detainees have been released on bail but are still awaiting trial. Four other young leftists connected to the reading group are on a wanted list and still in hiding. In a previous post, we presented translations of open letters by Zhang and Sun detailing their motivations for participation in the reading group and related activities, and their nightmarish experiences at the hands of state authorities. Here we present a third letter by the alleged “mastermind” behind the reading group, Zheng Yongming, released on January 17. The translation is still a little rough because we want to make it available as quickly as possible. (Scroll down for original Chinese text.) Chinese readers may also read this letter just released by one of the four people in hiding, Huang Liping: 我是否有罪,人民自有公论!(“The people will decide whether I’m guilty”). Also see dozens of related commentaries here. Left 21 has announced a demonstration to take place in Hong Kong today.  “I Will Always Be a Son of the Workers and Peasants” By Zheng Yongming Translated by A&A   I am Zheng Yongming, the organizer of the reading group...
Locked Up for Reading Books: Voices from the November 15th Incident

Locked Up for Reading Books: Voices from the November 15th Incident

Translations of letters by two of the four young activists arrested at Guangdong University of Technology two months ago, and our brief commentary. The translation of a third detainee’s letter is forthcoming. On November 15, 2017, police stormed into a student reading group at the Guangdong University of Technology (GDUT) and seized six participants, including four current students at the university and two recent graduates from other schools. The former were released the next day, but the latter were placed under detention as suspects for the crime of “gathering crowds to disrupt social order”—a charge we have seen increasingly leveled against multiple feminists, labor activists, striking workers and bloggers over the past five years. Authorities alleged that the reading group was an “anti-party, anti-society organization” that was discussing “sensitive topics.” Despite Beijing’s massively staffed policing of the internet and cellular networks, a petition managed to circulate calling for the release of 24-year-old Zhang Yunfan—one of the initial two among what would turn out to be at least four young people detained for weeks as suspects in this case. Apparently the petition mentioned only Zhang, a “Left Maoist,”[0] because the authors were unaware of the others when it was penned. Although it was repeatedly blocked only moments after being reposted, over 400 people soon signed the petition, including many prominent intellectuals who risk repercussions because they are based in China. On January 15, after 30 days in the Panyu Detention Center, two weeks under house arrest and two weeks of recovery, Zhang published the open letter that we have translated below. The letter mentioned three associates who had also been...
Adding Insult to Injury: Beijing’s Evictions and the Discourse of “Low-End Population”

Adding Insult to Injury: Beijing’s Evictions and the Discourse of “Low-End Population”

Image: EpochTimes.com Translation of an article and a photo-essay from the Chinese media platform Tootopia (土逗公社), followed by our commentary.   “They are indeed ‘low-end labor-power,’ but who isn’t?” (他们就是“低端劳动力”,但谁不是呢?) By Lu Bu (卢布) Tootopia, November 24, 2017 Translation by Ignatius Wu   As long as it is “labor-power,” it is low-end.   Nearly a week has passed since the deadly fire at Jufuyuan (“Gathering of Good Fortune”) apartments in Beijing’s Daxing District on November 18. Though the bodies are not even cold yet, the city of Beijing has initiated a total clearing out of its migrant population. Jufuyuan, located in the Xihongmen neighborhood of Daxing District, was a typical residential area for migrant workers outside Beijing’s Fifth Ring Road. 400-or-so migrant workers were crammed into a small building of three stories, one of which was occupied by shops. They slept in bunk beds with an average living space of perhaps one or two square meters each. Every day, facing a nasty and chaotic environment with freezing winters, scorching summers, and overcrowded toilets, they lived inhuman (不是人过) lives, hidden from view. This fire not only took 19 lives but also marked the destruction of millions more as yet another wave of evictions swept the periphery of Beijing. [Video removed by censors. Caption: “After the fire, the police negotiate with a migrant worker about moving that same night.” — Trans.] They cannot really be expelled from the city Since the early 1980s, when the first batch of migrant workers entered Beijing in a phenomenon given the derogatory label “blind flow” (盲流),[1] evictions have never stopped. To use a popular expression,...
Donate to Chuang through our new Patreon & PayPal accounts

Donate to Chuang through our new Patreon & PayPal accounts

Update (January 17): Because some readers have expressed interest in making larger one-off donations rather than Patreon’s monthly donations, we’ve also set up a PayPal account — click here or the yellow “Donate” button on the right-hand side of this page. (At present this account can accept only US dollars, but Patreon can accept multiple currencies.) Before we can print issue 2 of the journal and a higher-quality reprint of issue 1, we still need to raise another 3,000 USD. These one-off donations will be a big help in speeding up the process as we finish producing issue 2 over the next few months. Several readers have contacted us asking how they can donate to help us produce new content more quickly and afford to print higher-quality copies of the journal. In response, we’ve set up a Patreon account, where you can sign up to donate small amounts of money every month until you choose to cancel your subscription. If you just want to donate, become a “supporter” and pay $2 (USD) per month. If you’d also like to receive copies of all our printed works, become a “sustainer” and pay $5 per month. When we print issue 2 of our journal later this year, we’ll also produce a slightly larger and higher-quality reprint of issue 1, mailing a copy of each to our sustainers. After we’ve raised enough money to cover that, any additional funds will be used to produce the first in a possible series of book translations or collections of translated texts, to be printed in addition to future issues of the journal. Sustainers will receive...