Occupy Central in Hong Kong is just one of the many protests taking place around the world today and can be summed up in just one word. Anti-Capitalist. The protest essentially followed the same model as Occupy Wall Street, even down to not notifying the police of their protest. The general atmosphere was largely docile seemingly with more reporters and photographers than protestors.
Social networking played a huge role in organising this protest with Twitter and Facebook at the forefront spreading the word.
The leaderless protest was a collection of NGO’s, individuals and organisations brought together, through the inspiration of organised chaos from Occupy Wall Street. A member of the Leftist 21 group even said that if it wasn’t for Occupy Wall Street they wouldn’t even be there today.
The protest was highly diverse with groups such as: Leftist 21, Globalisation Moniter, CWI (Community Workers International: Socialist Action), People Power, Students and Scholars Against Corporate Misbehaviour, Narrow Church and Anonymous present.
Individuals represented multiple personal causes and ideas such as Neoliberalism, Anti-Communism and “Progressive Utilisation Theory” (prout.org). All the individuals and people from these groups were university students and full time workers.
Despite the diversity and differences in motivation for being at Occupy Central they were all united by their idea of “down with capitalism”. Jack Ti a protestor said that there was no agenda or procedure or even leader for Occupy Central and that people were there to protest against capitalism. They were also there today to show their solidarity with those at Wall Street and arouse higher awareness of problems in the financial world.
Another protestor a University student unaffiliated with any group was there to protest the future of our generation. When interviewed he said that “We have no future ahead of us – we need to change that” and “political leaders have lived out their historical function, and are no longer necessary. We are the people of the future who need to take control.”
Keeping this in mind, individual causes protested ranged from destroying hedge money, pro-socialism to eradicating nuclear power and calling for pensions. These are the things that those people represented and wanted for their future. These unique causes, though different were united under one theme “anti-capitalism.”
Hong Kong a finance capital is a haven for multibillion dollar corporations. They are only subjected to paying 16.5% of their total income for tax. They can also easily evade paying taxes by lying about their total income and bribing. This contributes to the already high income gap for the people of Hong Kong who have one of the worlds largest.
There is also a law (MPF) in Hong Kong which forces working residents to give a set amount of money to any bank they choose. Once the money is handed over though, they have no choice in where and what it is used for. In the case of another recession, the money is swindled away and gone.
It is because of laws like MPF that are infuriating the people of Hong Kong and influencing their anti-capitalist ideals. Making a clear difference between the occupation of Wall Street and themselves. The Occupy Wall Street protest is against corporate greed not capitalism.
The protests which were quite docile and peaceful had a moderate police and security presence. Despite no cases of police brutality, protestors were aware of their presence and conscience of what could happen. China known for having little tolerance for protests and revolutions had the protestors fearing backlash once their numbers dwindled. Some willing to continue protesting to Monday were only willing if their number was in the hundreds.
The Occupy Central protests although passionate and as serious as Occupy Wall Street did not seem to have enough momentum to escalate into Occupy Wall Street. When asked, their ideas and motives were largely polarised with some groups contradicting the others motives. But we should be grateful knowing that though groups contradicted each other, they are able to work together peacefully for a single cause.