Friday, February 24, 2012

From the Net: 'China: The Wukan uprising and its lessons' (Socialist World)

China: The Wukan uprising and its lessons


Workers’ strikes and new local rebellions use the slogan “Learn from Wukan”

Vincent Kolo and Zhang Shujie,

Wukan is the fishing village in southern China’s Guangdong province that achieved worldwide fame as a symbol of mass resistance. Like thousands of other rural communities in recent years, the 13,000 inhabitants of Wukan rose up against corrupt local officials who have stolen land and made millions in profits. But Wukan achieved something else, by displaying a new level of organisation and mass mobilisation, setting up independent popular committees and campaign structures. In so doing, Wukan has become a benchmark for future struggle in China. 


(...) the impact of the Wukan uprising is enormous and goes far beyond its boundaries and even those of Guangdong province. This was, according to numerous commentators, the first time since 1949 that the CCP totally lost control of an administrative area. During a few short weeks the struggle in Wukan shattered the idea that the Chinese people need one-party dictatorship and are incapable of governing themselves democratically. 


Along with several other concurrent struggles – including some very significant workers’ strikes – Wukan shows that mass protests in China are becoming more organised, more bold, and their methods and tactics more sophisticated. In short, they are adapting to the changing situation, studying and taking stock of the evolution of the one-party dictatorship as it upgrades its repressive methods. (...)

“What is happening in Wukan gives an extraordinary view of the social tensions that exist in China,” noted BBC reporter Martin Patience, who was one of several foreign journalists inside Wukan during the struggle. Incredibly, China experienced more mass protests last year than the entire Arab world, based on sheer numbers. (...)

Official figures show that 43 percent of China’s villages have suffered from land seizures over the last decade, and every year four million peasants lose their land. A whole generation of local ‘communist’ politicians have become millionaires as a result of this lucrative trade in what is technically still ‘collectively-owned’ land. This massive sequestration of land, smashing the fiction of communal ownership, has been a major ingredient in China’s booming economy. 


... full article at Socialist World. Found via Kasama.

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