The End of Empire

Dismantle oppression. Deepen democracy. Destroy tyranny.

Posts tagged protest

Jan 16

Yesterday and Today: A look at the 1950 film “United Together for Tomorrow”

I have a confession to make: I got a little bit teary-eyed while watching this 1950 Chinese propaganda film. It’s a fairly famous movie in Chinese film history. I’ve translated the title as "United Together for Tomorrow" [团结起来到明天]. Please let me know if there’s an established English name for it, as I haven’t seen one.

The whole film is available online here.

The film is set only a year before it was made, in 1949. The People’s Liberation Army is on their way to liberate Shanghai. There, workers in a yarn factory go on strike in response to their bosses attempts to take their identity card and rig their union election in favor of the ruling Nationalist Party. The Nationalists respond to the strike with a brutal crackdown, while the workers stand together and fight. At one point, some workers decide to stand down an advancing Nationalist tank, and one of them is crushed to death as a result.

Call me a sap, but every time I see that scene, my eyes get a little wet and my throat constricts - it’s a real tearjerker. Her comrades hold her as she dies. The crackdown becomes a rallying point for the workers, and they organize a massive demonstration against the ruling Nationalists and the imperialist exploitation [by the Americans, backing up the Nationalist government]. 

Perhaps what is truly sad is the terrible irony of this story as it may be seen today, now that the CCP has been in power for so many tumultuous decades. In this film from the 1950s, the workers looked to the CCP as their vehicle of liberation, that would soon make them masters of their own labor and their own society. Looking at the events of recent decades, I am not pointing out any secret when I say it won’t be the last time workers’ identification documents have been taken from them, as has happened to so many migrant workers, or that shop floor organizations have been corrupted to serve the ruling party, as has happened all too often with the ACFTU, or even the last time a dissident has stood down stands down a government tank…

I hope you can forgive the terse commentary on the film, but at the same time, I felt that I could not let these things go unsaid.

Here are a few pictures from the film:

Movie poster
 

Great picture of some of the main characters


Workers defiant, as they are asked to give up their identification cards
 


Great photo of strike leader “Big Sister Zhang”, lookin’ hard!
 


Government crackdown on a rally after the violence against the strikers


Jan 14
From a 1950 movie “Unite for Tomorrow” about a 1949 Shanghai strike of textile workers just before the arrival of the People’s Liberation Army.
Propaganda piece, but seriously made me teary-eyed at one point :) 

From a 1950 movie “Unite for Tomorrow” about a 1949 Shanghai strike of textile workers just before the arrival of the People’s Liberation Army.

Propaganda piece, but seriously made me teary-eyed at one point :) 


Sep 30

Sep 2

"State repression of activists in China

Here’s a TV clip commenting on the state repression of activists in China, more specifically the case of Zhang Shujie, a supporter of the Hong Kong branch of socialist grouping Committee for a Workers International (CWI).”

Off Libcom


Aug 22

More bourgeois hypocrisy

class-struggle-anarchism:

Russian State imprisons three women - press and politicians go crazy.

South African State massacres 34 miners - no one seems to give a fuck.

Because of course, Putin is a “baddie” and the ANC are “goodies”

Article: Defense minister says “sorry”, while Police Commissioner defends officers:

Police Commissioner Riah Phiyega was criticized this week for absolving her officers of guilt saying: “It was the right thing to do” to fire in alleged self-defense. No police officer was hurt in the shooting though two were savagely hacked to death by strikers last week.


(via sunshineandtechnology)


Aug 4
Thích Quảng Đức immolated himself in protest of the persecution of Buddhists by South Vietnam’s Roman Catholic government led by Ngo Dinh Diem.His last words: 

"Before closing my eyes and moving towards the vision of the Buddha, I respectfully plead to President Ngô Đình Diệm to take a mind of compassion towards the people of the nation and implement religious equality to maintain the strength of the homeland eternally. I call the venerables, reverends, members of the sangha and the lay Buddhists to organise in solidarity to make sacrifices to protect Buddhism."

Thích Quảng Đức immolated himself in protest of the persecution of Buddhists by South Vietnam’s Roman Catholic government led by Ngo Dinh Diem.

His last words: 

"Before closing my eyes and moving towards the vision of the Buddha, I respectfully plead to President Ngô Đình Diệm to take a mind of compassion towards the people of the nation and implement religious equality to maintain the strength of the homeland eternally. I call the venerables, reverends, members of the sangha and the lay Buddhists to organise in solidarity to make sacrifices to protect Buddhism."


Aug 3

Jul 26

Pussy Riot, Russian feminist punk band, was arrested in February, just a few weeks before the elections, for preforming the song “Punk Prayer” at a cathedral in Moscow, which calls upon the Virgin Mary to drive away Putin and prevent a third term. 

They recently sent a letter of thanks from prison. They could face up to seven years in prison on “hooliganism”.

Seriously

"Hooliganism" 

Here are the lyrics:

(Chorus)

St. Maria, Virgin, Drive away Putin
Drive away! Drive away Putin!
(end chorus)

Black robe, golden epaulettes
All parishioners are crawling and bowing
The ghost of freedom is in heaven
Gay pride sent to Siberia in chains

The head of the KGB is their chief saint
Leads protesters to prison under escort
In order not to offend the Holy
Women have to give birth and to love

Holy shit, shit, Lord’s shit!
Holy shit, shit, Lord’s shit!

(Chorus)
St. Maria, Virgin, become a feminist
Become a feminist, Become a feminist
(end chorus)

Church praises the rotten dictators
The cross-bearer procession of black limousines
In school you are going to meet with a teacher-preacher
Go to class - bring him money!

Patriarch Gundyaev believes in Putin
Bitch, you better believed in God
Belt of the Virgin is no substitute for mass-meetings
In protest of our Ever-Virgin Mary!

(Chorus)
St. Maria, Virgin, Drive away Putin
Drive away! Drive away Putin!

(end chorus) 


Jul 25
Dr. Martin Luther King and the Poor People’s CampaignPart of the legacy of a more radical Dr. King than we usually hear aboutThe history of the march itself is also quite interesting. Occupying before it was cool:

But Martin Luther King was committed to Revolutionary Pacifism. If you listen to the speeches we hear on Martin Luther King Day, they usually end with the March on Washington in 1963––“I have a Dream,” and so on. But he had a much broader dream. And right after that he began to expand the activities of the Civil Rights Movement to the North. That didn’t get very far. First to Chicago, for an anti-slum movement, housing, jobs, and so on. He then began to speak openly about the Vietnam War, partially denounced imperialist wars, directly confronted racism and oppression in the North, and his popularity sank. The Civil Rights Movement fractured and sank.
[King] was assassinated while joining a sanitation workers strike, a public servant strike, on his way to organize a march to Washington as part of an effort to establish a Poor People’s Movement. The march took place after the assassination, went through the places in the South where there had been bitter, brutal struggles and finally ended up in Washington.
The marchers set up a tent city, Resurrection City. Congress just dismissed them with contempt. The security forces were called in to forcefully drive them out of the city, just to make it clear who was boss. They came in the middle of the night and tore down the tent city, drove the people out, and that was the end of that.

Dr. Martin Luther King and the Poor People’s Campaign

Part of the legacy of a more radical Dr. King than we usually hear about

The history of the march itself is also quite interesting. Occupying before it was cool:

But Martin Luther King was committed to Revolutionary Pacifism. If you listen to the speeches we hear on Martin Luther King Day, they usually end with the March on Washington in 1963––“I have a Dream,” and so on. But he had a much broader dream. And right after that he began to expand the activities of the Civil Rights Movement to the North. That didn’t get very far. First to Chicago, for an anti-slum movement, housing, jobs, and so on. He then began to speak openly about the Vietnam War, partially denounced imperialist wars, directly confronted racism and oppression in the North, and his popularity sank. The Civil Rights Movement fractured and sank.

[King] was assassinated while joining a sanitation workers strike, a public servant strike, on his way to organize a march to Washington as part of an effort to establish a Poor People’s Movement. The march took place after the assassination, went through the places in the South where there had been bitter, brutal struggles and finally ended up in Washington.

The marchers set up a tent city, Resurrection City. Congress just dismissed them with contempt. The security forces were called in to forcefully drive them out of the city, just to make it clear who was boss. They came in the middle of the night and tore down the tent city, drove the people out, and that was the end of that.


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