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THE FUNAMBULIST PODCAST Nº140

Struggles & Solidarities from Hong Kong to Black Lives Matter

Caroline Honorien in conversation with Ellie & JN
from Lausan 流傘, recorded on June 21, 2020.

This episode features Ellie and JN, two members of Lausan, a collective of activists, writers and artists from Hong Kong. Through writing, events and activism, their work articulates the struggle for Hong Kong emancipation in nuanced and complex terms, examining both Chinese and American imperialisms while questioning Hong Kong political state of being as well as activists political positions and tactics. They also discuss collective and global emancipation in a way that allows to imagine internationalist solidarities not only worldwide (whether in the West or in the Global South) but also with people in mainland China.

ABOUT LAUSAN ///

For generations, Hongkongers have resisted Western and Chinese imperialisms in an ongoing struggle against dispossession, exploitation, and erasure. Competing and successive imperial regimes have subordinated Hong Kong to their capitalist interests, constraining Hong Kong’s ability to build their own political futures. Worse yet, local capitalist elites have been more than willing to profit from this geopolitical entanglement.

Under these daunting conditions, the Hong Kong left has struggled to maintain a foothold in the mainstream. Though what constitutes “the left” in Hong Kong is far from clear, we hold the multiple meanings of this term and political category together in tension. Nevertheless, the left has been an active presence in Hong Kong’s history of direct action and political mobilization, from the dockworkers’ strike in 2013 to the grassroots resistance against the gentrification of Lee Tung Street. In this most recent uprising, Hongkongers have attacked the Emergency Regulation Ordinance, the Hong Kong Police Force and the rigged Legislative Council, all colonial holdovers defined by the collusion of government and business. We believe that by challenging these institutions, Hongkongers are laying the foundation for a decolonial politics.

Through writing, translating, and organizing, we build transnational left solidarity and struggle for ways of life beyond the dictates of capital and the state. To that end, we hold multiple imperialisms to account. Trapped in the inter-imperial rivalry between the US and PRC, we see Hong Kong as an apt site from which to critique nationalism, neoliberal extraction, and the nation-state form, both here and elsewhere. Because our work is international in scope, we believe a radical imagination of Hong Kong’s future must center cross-border solidarity based on class struggle, migrant justice, anti-racism, and feminism.

傘 (“san”) is the character for umbrella, referencing our ongoing critical engagement with Hong Kong’s social movements. 流傘 is also a homophone of 流散 (decentralized/diaspora), referencing our dispersal across the world. Lausan is a collective of writers, translators, artists, and organizers. We have no founders, only members. We are 100% independent and volunteer-run.