Reflections on the lessons from the Jasic (Shenzhen) movement of 2018
Written by: ICOR on 3 May 2021
On 29 August, 2018 we reported on the arrest by the Chinese authorities of a young student, Shen Mengyu, a young Marxist-Leninist-Maoist who had left her university studies to help workers trying to organise at a privately-owned, US-based manufacturer of welding equipment, Jasic International.
A number of the youths who were involved in the struggle have reflected on the lessons they learned, and discussed this with the International Coordination of Revolutionary Parties and Organisations (ICOR), to which we are affiliated. We reproduce their comments, unaware of the details of their situation, but supportive of their cause.
Young revolutionaries from China reported in detail to ICOR about the emergence, the achievements, the shattering, and their reflections on conclusions of the struggle at Jasic. The ICOR wants to share these important experiences and to support the discussion about necessary conclusions. By no means does it want to interfere in the affairs of the Chinese revolutionaries, but to facilitate the discussion and processing among them. With this aim it has extracted the following nine theses from the reports of the comrades:
1.Today the imperialist world system has created a globally organized production. In this process new imperialist countries have come into existence. This has aggravated the exploitation of the workers and intensified the interimperialist contradictions. In many countries resistance against that is developing, also in China.
2.China is unmistakably part of the international capitalist production. Starting in the 1990s revolutionary workers and intellectuals have been raising awareness about the situation of the workers. It was correct and courageous that quite a number of students from all over the country got organized and moved to the industrial centers. They want to live among the workers and to build trade unions and a truly communist party.
3.In the construction of the organization the Chinese state and party apparatus has been underestimated. After the arrest of a comrade national and international successes of propaganda were achieved very quickly. For the first time since the beginning of the “reform and opening” by Deng Xiaoping a Marxist-Leninist-Maoist workers' organization was made known on a national level. From this moment at the latest the organization was on the radar of the huge apparatus of informers which belongs to the most experienced and technically best equipped one worldwide. At the same time the successes of propaganda tempted the comrades to become careless.
4.In this situation it was a mistake to regard many Chinese “Lefts” (old party cadres of the revisionist degenerated CP of China and intellectuals) as a system changing force. They could not be the main ally. Their connections and popularity were without use in a situation where they were forced to adopt a position against the Chinese state. They lack the connection to the workers. These experiences can be summed up in a quotation by Mao Zedong: Who is our friend and who is our enemy, that is the main problem in the revolution. The enemies in the revisionist state apparatus were underestimated and the true friends were misjudged.
5.In the strike of the Jasic colleagues the roots among the workers and their conviction were not mature enough to come to grips with the intimidations and manipulation of opinion. At a public rally only the most conscious workers' cadres and students stood in front of the factory. Thus they could easily be identified, because they were lacking the protection from the masses.
6.The organization was severely set back. That was a bitter defeat. The evaluation and processing of this defeat is a basis for the reconstruction of a revolutionary party.
7.The state apparatus used arrest, pressure on families, torture and possibly also drugs with full force. Not all comrades withstood that. But there are such valuable cadres who have not betrayed anybody. The international revolutionary and working-class movement has demanded the release of these comrades and must continue to support them.
8.The new construction of a revolutionary party in China must be brought about in a strictly non-public way. This requires patience and a protected core of steadfast cadres.
9.The contradiction between capital and workers is extremely pointed in China. The Chinese revolutionaries will again disseminate the ideas of Mao Zedong among the workers and provide them with consciousness and strength. The esteem of Mao Zedong is still very high among the workers and peasants in China.
Especially in the works of Lenin valuable experiences of the Bolsheviki on the work under these conditions are elaborated:
”The main conclusion to be drawn from our appraisal—the Party appraisal—of the situation is that the revolution is necessary and is coming. The forms of the development leading to the revolution have changed, but the old tasks of the revolution remain. Hence the conclusion: the forms of organisation must change, the forms of the “nuclei” must be flexible, their expansion will often occur through the expansion, not of the nuclei themselves, but of their legal “periphery”, etc. […] Legal organisations are strong-points for propagating the ideas of illegal nuclei among the masses. In other words, we change the form of exerting influence to ensure that former influence continues along illegal lines.“
(Lenin: “The Illegal Party and Legal Work“, works, volume 18)