Socialist Workers League supports the demand of Industriall and other Global Union Federations for the immediate release of Chinese labour activists detained by the Chinese government in the southern Guangdong province and an immediate stop to the continued harassment of radical trade unionists and labour NGOs.
Not less than 4 labour NGOs have been targeted in the province by the Chinese government since it began a crackdown on the 3rd of December. At least 7 activists have also been arrested or cannot be contacted. These include Zeng Feiyang and Zhu Xiaome of the Panyu Workers’ Centre, He Xiaobo of the Foshan Nanfeiyan Social Work Services Organization and other activists such as Peng Jiayong, Deng Xiaoming, Meng Han, and Tang Jian.
In China, the official All-China Federation of Trade Unions is more of a governmental parastatal than a body representative of the Chinese workers. Its top leadership are part of the so-called Chinese Communist Party. But “Communism” in China is nothing but the rule of a bureaucratic class of the rich and powerful over a state capitalist system.
Keeping workers disciplined to expand capital with China as the “workshop” of global capitalism requires the state’s firm control of the trade union movement. But wherever there is repression, even if it disguises with the name “Communism” while it lacks the heart of working class-people’s self-emancipation, resistance will emerge sooner or later.
With the official trade union structure under the full direct control of the bureaucratic state-capitalist machinery in China, a lot of activists in the labour movement have had to organise on the platforms of labour NGOs. There have also been thousands of unofficial strikes and other forms of workers’ protests which the Chinese government describes as “incidents”.
As the global economic crisis refuses to abate, the Chinese government’s ability to continue expanding and with that throw more crumbs from the tables of the fat cats has become extremely difficult if not impossible. This explains the renewed attacks on labour activists in that country.
Trade unionists and socialist activists in Nigeria must join in condemning these attacks and demand the immediate release of all detained labour activists in China and an unconditional cessation of attacks on their democratic rights to organise and bargain without fear or favour as clearly stated in five core ILO principles which China has ratified.
SWL fully supports the Chinese workers in the Guangdong province and beyond in their struggle to defeat the oppressive system, which describes itself as “communist”, in China. It is only through its self-emancipatory struggle that the working class can break the shackles of capitalism and not through some fat cat bureaucrats who are keen on smashing working class militancy.