2nd November 2013
Live for Your Dream – Debates Between Left and Right Wingers
In early September, Claudia Mo Man-ching and Gary Fan Kwok-wai together with around 300 people placed a anti-sinisication advertisement. Fan proposed a motion on “adhering to the need to ‘put Hong Kong people first’ in formulating policies” on 30th October. Debates over taking back the One-Way Permit approval right triggered a heated online debate between the pan-democrats and social activists in Hong Kong about “left plastics (pseudo left wingers) and right plastics (the local left wingers started calling those who criticise them for monopolising social movements “right plastics”)”. The free-to-air TV license issuance issue also brought about criticism over “left plastics” hijacking the HKTV Union’s demonstration and the “left plastics” raised fund at the demonstration illegally. Many began to worry that the movement will end without results if the HKTV Union part with the social movement groups. Some with good intention, who worry that Hong Kong’s social activists will split just like the pan-democrats, began to ask both sides to stop the argument and be united to focus on the common enemy – Hong Kong’s Communist Government. The citizens of Hong Kong who support democracy and anti communist also began to worry about the argument/debate, and feel losing direction.
However, the citizens’ worry and the good intention people cannot stop the debate and the split of the social activists. In fact, the debate is probably a good thing to Hong kong’s social movements.
What is “plastic”? It’s probably referring to people’s mind are as rigid as “hard plastic”, it is referring to an ideology . It is a system formulated by imaginations, value judgement and concepts, and often are biased concepts that have no value and pure stubbornness, a combination of “the vision of political movements, special interest groups, and political parties”. Karl Marx believed that ideology is a superstructure to deceive and legitimise the power relation. Of course, Marx did not imagine that authoritarians also use Marxism as their ideology.
“Left plastics” are very different from the “left wingers” in Hong Kong in the past decades. The latter refers to those who support China Communist Party and its power. If one is a lefter winger, that means he only follows China’s directions with no capacity of independent thoughts. “Left plastics” refer to those who are controlled by ideologies including equality, anti-discrimination and support the disadvantaged, and those who claim to be socialists, but refuse to face the reality, especially the social endurance level.
There is, in fact, no such thing called “right plastic” in Hong Kong. The so called “right plastics” in Hong Kong are those who emphasis that people of Hong Kong should come first (in terms of policy formation), take back OWP approval right, limit the number of new immigrants, ask new immigrants to integrate into Hong Kong’s existing culture and lifestyle instead of demanding the locals to accommodate them, anti the over inflow of Individual Travel Permit Chinese tourists who have an adverse impact on Hong Kong’s living space, etc. Those who are anti these so called “right plastics” emphasise the ideologies of equality and anti-discrimination, their mentality is likely to be caused by their deeply rooted “one country” ideology.
All the problems in recent years, including the TV license issue, debate over OWP approval right, problems related to new immigrants and “New Hong Kongers”, Hong Kong Ballet’s self-censorship incident, the split in the pan-democrat circle, and debates between “left wing” and “right wing” in the social movement circle, are essentially caused by the people of Hong Kong’s nativism awakened by the erosion of local interests and core value under “one country”. The force that is oppressing Hong Kong’s nativism does not only come from China Communist Government, Hong Kong SAR Communist Government and their followers, but also from the theories derived from concepts that are completely controlled by the “one country” ideology, for example equality.
The split within the pan-democrats circle and social movement circle is not a disaster but a common phenomenon in democratic movements around the world. In Vaclav Havel’s book Letters to Olga, he said “I often heard that someone suggests that a major disaster is coming and warns that everyone in our circle is arguing with others; no one is doing anything beneficial, they drink, they flee to countries and everyone only care about oneself and make money that does not belong to him. Those who are famous, on the other hand, only seek their own fame and leave everyone else behind.”
Was he pessimistic though? He was in prison when he wrote this letter. The quarrels between dissidents outside had almost no impact on him. He thinks that if he’s decided to adopt the views of the dissidents, it means a certain meaning has been injected into his life, he then will have insights, hope and purpose. He lives for his ideology and stand firm for the meaning of his live. Hence, other dissidents’ arguments do not affect him much. Are the arguments of dissidents laughable though? This is the weakness and limitation of all people. People argue for their own fame and interests everywhere. No one can claim to be perfect.
The dissidents in Czech then were seen as the absolute minority. The foundation and power of the anti China Communist Party in Hong Kong is bigger than the that in Czech. If the arguments between dissidents back then did not impact those who believe in their own meaning of life, the people of Hong Kong who believe in democracy should not be afraid of losing their direction. Not matter how serious these arguments are, it will not affect the core of Hong Kongers’ longing for democracy. From the debates, citizens will gradually grasp the idea that “democracy is always native” and can understand this clearer every time a new debate starts. Hong Kong citizens will become more and more engage in defending the nativism of Hong Kong and our core values which was formulated in the colonial era.
Adam Michnik once said that democracy is “a permanent imperfection. Democracy is a mixture of thugs, gentlemen and monkey show”. One one says that he’d rather not to live his life with this show as a backdrop, does that mean he’d prefer to live his life in a constant threat of tanks killing people and his homeland’s billions of dollars of reserve being drained without saying a word?
Lee Yee – Public Affairs Commentator