Position Statement of Old Revolutionaries on the Present Upsurge of Worker Action in China
Chinese version below and on Critique & Transformation.
Translator’s note: “Regarding the present upsurge of worker action in China, liberals have used their discursive power in the overseas media to frame the strike wave as a tale of workers’ struggle for ‘independent unions,’ as if this were a repetition of Solidarnosc. What do Chinese workers want? What is the direction of the Chinese workers movement? Those who support the movement and are concerned about the fate of the working class should provide an account matching the reality of the movement. This letter of support provides a perspective different from those predominant in the mainstream media.”
Uphold the Constitution, Respect and Ensure Human Rights,
Support Honda Workers’ Just Struggles,
Condemn Foxconn’s Inhumane Management
(June 6, 2010)
General Secretary Hu Jintao and Members of the Central Party Committee,
Chairman Wu Bangguo of the People’s Congress
Premier Wen Jiabao, Vice Premiers, and Members of the State Council
Compatriots throughout China, and all Media Outlets:
There have recently occurred numerous incidents in our country that signal intensified social contradictions. According to media reports, Shenzhen-based Foxconn with Taiwanese investment have treated workers as machines (or worse, just spare parts!) to generate profit for the company and instituted an inhumane management system that destroys the health and spirit of workers to the extent that some have felt that life is not worth living. Thirteen workers in this company have jumped to their own deaths in a short period of time. Their tragic deaths break our hearts. It is a situation that has shocked the world!
Based in Foshan, Guangdong, Honda Auto Parts Manufacturing Co., Ltd. is a Japanese-owned company. While the capitalist owner has made a huge profit, the wages are too low to support workers’ livelihoods and the company’s union does not represent the interest of the workers. Nearly two thousand workers have gone on strike in their struggle for wage increases and to initiate a reform of the union. But the Japanese management only agreed to a small increase, far from what the workers have asked. Moreover, the management unjustifiably demanded workers to sign a “no strike” commitment and threatened to fire workers who take part in the strike. They indeed fired two leaders among the workers.
Other incidents in the media also show increased conflict between capital and labor. Some workers in Chongqing Qijiang Gear Transmission Co. Ltd were forced to work overtime during weekends and died from overwork. The long-term exhaustion, low pay and management corruption led workers to strike. Close to 1700 workers from Taisheng Furniture Company, based in Dongguan, Guangdong Province, had a three-day strike to protest against overstress and low pay. Over a thousand workers in the spare parts factory that supply Beijing-based Hyundai went on a strike to demand a pay raise. Workers at Lanzhou Vinylon Company went on strike because they cannot sustain a basic livelihood. In Datong City (Shanxi Province), the state-owned enterprise Xinghuo Pharmaceutical Company was forced into bankruptcy and its laid-off workers had their numerous petitions refused. Following this, over 10,000 people staged a sit-in at the municipal government building; some of them were beaten up by armed police. Workers on strike from Pingdingshan Cotton Spinning Mill (Henan Province) were brutally beaten by thugs brought in by police vehicles, resulting in injuries of many women workers. In Shenzhen workers who are taking the lead to demand back pay or protect workers’ rights have had their names placed on various blacklist, which makes it difficult for them to obtain employment. These are just some of the recent incidents that illustrate the scope of the problem.
On the whole, the bourgeoisie have transferred the burdens of the economic crisis onto the workers and have waged a more fierce attack on them. The working class is forced to rise up and resist. But as workers have become a weak social group in recent years, and with the deprivation of basic rights prescribed by our country’s constitution, they are in the sad situation where their deaths are unanswered, their strikes unsupported, and their grievances unheard. According to our country’s constitution, particularly the four basic principles and the basic rights accorded to citizens, we issue the following appeal to address the current situation and problems.1
First, we should firmly support workers in Foshan Honda and other factories in their just struggles for survival and against oppression. Article 33 of our country’s constitution states, “the state respects and ensures human rights.” The right to strike is an inseparable part of human rights and is also a basic civic right prescribed by constitutions around the world. We firmly support all reasonable demands that Honda workers have raised so as to change their harsh working conditions and low wages. We are strongly opposed to the management’s threat to fire workers. The two leaders who were fired should be immediately given back their jobs.
We believe that our call will be supported by all those who uphold the authority of the constitution, respect human rights and stand for justice.
Second, we should demand Foxconn and other similar enterprises to immediately stop their inhumane and harshly exploitative management methods. We demand that the management respect workers’ integrity and dignity, obey the state laws, improve working conditions, strictly implement a 8-hour working day and compensate workers’ for overtime. They must ensure that workers are paid wages that are enough for their own sustenance and their reproduction. This is the only way to ameliorate labor-capital conflicts and reduce or prevent the so-called “psychological” problems. To elide the fundamental labor-capital contradiction by one-sidedly emphasizing “psychological counseling” is to intentionally cover up the contradiction and to confuse cause with effect. It has been reported by the media that some who committed suicide also showed signs of bodily injuries caused by beating. There was also suspicion of some being pushed off buildings. These already warrant a criminal investigation. Government agencies should deal with it seriously and find out the truth.
Third, unions should clearly stand on the side of the working class to represent and uphold the interests of the working class as prescribed by the constitution. If any union organization ignores the constitution and “take the boss’ shillings and do the boss’ bidding,” then they will be spurned by the working class. The leadership of the union in each enterprise must be democratically elected by its members. Relatives and representatives of the bosses should not be allowed to take any leadership position in the union. If such a case is found, it should not be approved by the union at higher levels. The union at higher levels should instead help such enterprise-based unions organize an all-members meeting and help rebuild the enterprise’s union through democratic election.
Fourth, government at all levels, particularly the local government should protect civic rights by strictly following the law, earnestly resolve labor-capital conflicts and ensure citizens’ freedom of speech. Government should administer according to the law and should prevent and stop incidents that violate basic civic rights prescribed by article 33 of the constitution and other related regulations. It should actively deal with cases of labor-capital conflicts according to the law. Ignoring workers’ reasonable demands either through inaction or siding with management should be resolutely corrected. In order to ensure people’s right to information and right to supervision, media should be allowed to freely and truthfully report on labor-capital conflicts and other cases and convey people’s voices without obstruction and interference.
Fifth, we call for the restoration of the working class as the leading class of our country and the re-establishment of socialist public ownership as the mainstay in our national economy. Article 1 of our country’s constitution states, “The People’s Republic of China is a socialist state led by the working class on the basis of a worker-peasant alliance.” Article 6 of the constitution states, “The basis of socialist economy of the People’s Republic of China is socialist public ownership of means of production, that is, all people’s ownership and laborers’ collective ownership.” “In the primitive phase of socialism, the state should build an economic system with public ownership as the mainstay and co-development of the economy through other ownership forms. Distribution should be based mainly on each according to his/her labor, with co-existence of other distributive methods.” The Chinese Communist Party must be the real vanguard of the working class, strengthen its leadership of the people’s polity, and reinforce the people’s democratic dictatorship. We call for a reestablishment of public ownership as the principle part of the national economy. Only in this way can workers, peasants and people in general become masters of enterprises and the country and truly implement a distribution system primarily based on labor contribution. At present, it is imperative to improve working conditions and increase wages and benefits in the private economy (funded by domestic and foreign investments). It is completely just to actively support workers’ struggles towards that end. But in so far as the capitalist privately-owned economy rather than the socialist publicly-owned economy dominates, the working class cannot change their weak position under structures of exploitation, nor the unfair distribution system and the disparity between the rich and poor. Under this condition, it is also impossible to transform our export-oriented economy to one that is independent, self-reliant and seeks to satisfy the material and cultural needs of people in the country.
Based on the present conditions, it will only be through a long-term struggle that the working class can restore its leadership position and the national economy can be transformed into one primarily based on public ownership. We have the guidance of Marxism-Leninism-Mao Zedong Thought and have the constitution, particularly the four basic principles at its core, as our legal instrument. All members of the Communist Part and all people should abide by the constitution. The socialist modernization that we uphold fits the interest of the broadest range of people and corresponds with historical development of mankind. If all people who support socialism, love their country, and abide by the constitution are united and persistent, then through a long-term struggle, we will be able to realize our goal.
Li Chengrui (Former Director of the State Statistic Bureau)
Gong Xiantian (Professor of Beijing University)
Han Xiya (Former Alternate Secretary of the Secretariat of All-China Federation of Trade Unions)
Liu Rixin (Former Researcher at the State Planning Commission)
Zhao Guangwu (Professor at Beijing University)
最近，我国连续发生社会矛盾加剧的多起事件。据媒体报导： 位于深圳市的台资企业富士康工厂，把工人当作为老板赚钱的机器（甚至是机器零件）看待，实行摧残人性的管理制度，使众多工人身心俱损，甚至使有的人感到生 不如死。在最近短期内竟连续发生十三名工人跳楼自杀的血腥惨剧，令国人痛心！世人震惊！
位于广东佛山市的本田汽车零部件制造公司是一家日本独资公司。该企业资本家发了大财，而劳动条件恶劣，工人工资过低、无法养家糊口；企业工会也不代 表工人利益。近二千工人为争取增加工资、自主改造工会而集体罢工。但日本资方只答应增加少许工资，与工人要求相差甚远，且无理要求工人签署“不参加罢工承 诺书”，威胁要开除参加罢工的工人，还悍然开除了两名领导罢工的工人。
媒体报导的近期发生的劳资矛盾激化事件还有：重庆綦江齿轮厂有的工人在双休日被强迫加班、劳累过度致死，引发工人因长期来劳动过累、待遇过低和领导 腐败而举行罢工；广东省东莞市台升家具公司1700职工抗议工资太低、工作压力过大而集体罢工3日；北京现代汽车公司的零配件供货单位，千余职工罢工要求 加薪；兰州维尼纶厂工人因基本生活条件无法保证而集体罢工；山西大同市国企星火制药厂被强令破产，大批下岗职工多次上访遭拒，聚集万人在市府门前静坐，被 武警殴打；平顶山棉纺厂工人因罢工，遭到警车载来的黑社会人员的殴打，众多女工被毒打致伤；深圳市流传的（多种“版本”）打工者黑名单，将带头进行讨要拖 欠工资等维权活动的工人列入，使这些工人无法就业。此类事件，不胜枚举。
总的看来，资产阶级为了转嫁经济危机，向工人阶级展开了更加猖狂的进攻。工人阶级被迫起而抗争，但在近年来已经沦为弱势群体的条件下，我国宪法规定 的公民基本权利遭到剥夺，从而陷于惨死徒叹，罢工无援，伸冤无门的悲惨境地。我们根据国家宪法，特别是宪法中规定的四项基本原则和公民的基本权利，针对当 前情况和问题，发出如下呼吁。
第一，坚决支持佛山本田汽车厂以及其他工厂的工人为争生存、反压迫而举行的正义斗争。我国宪法第三十三条规定：“国家尊重和保障人权。”罢工权是人 权中不可分割的组成部分，也是世界各国宪法规定的公民的一项基本权利。我们坚决支持佛山本田汽车厂工人在集体罢工中为改变恶劣的劳动条件和过低的工资待遇 而提出的各项合理要求；坚决反对资方威胁要开除参加罢工的工人，已被开除的两位领导罢工的工人应立即复职。
第二，坚决要求深圳富士康以及其他类似的企业，迅速改变其违反人性、残酷压榨的管理方法。我们坚决要求资方尊重工人的人格和尊严，认真遵守国家法 律，改善劳动条件，严格执行八小时工作制，加班必须发加班费，切实达到能保障工人维持本人生存及延续后代所必需的工资待遇。只有这样，才能缓解劳资矛盾， 减少或杜绝所谓“精神问题”的发生。抛开劳资矛盾这个根本问题，不去正视和解决这个矛盾，片面强调“精神疏导”的做法，是有意掩盖矛盾、本末倒置的。有媒 体报导，在有的自杀者身上发现被殴伤痕，还有的被质疑是否被人推下楼而非自杀，这已涉嫌犯罪问题，政法机关必须查明真相，依法严肃处理。
第三，工会应当明确地站在工人阶级立场上，代表和维护宪法规定的工人阶级的权益。任何工会组织，如果无视国家宪法，“吃老板（或其代理人）的饭，为 老板（或其代理人）说话”，必然为工人阶级所唾弃。企业工会领导班子必须由会员民主选举产生，资方的亲属和代理人不准担任工会领导职务；这类工会，上级工 会不要予以批准，并帮助有关企业职工会员召开代表大会，另行民主选举重建。
第四，各级政府特别是当地政府，应当严格依法保护公民权益，认真解决劳资纠纷，并保障公民的言论自由权。政府应当依法行政。对宪法第三十三条及其他 有关条文规定的公民基本权利受到侵犯的事件，应当及时地切实地予以制止。对于劳资纠纷事件，应当积极地依法处理。任何不作为、甚至“傍大款”而无视工人合 理要求的做法，应当坚决改正。为了保障人民的知情权和监督权，对劳资纠纷和其他事件，应当允许媒体记者自由采访，如实报导，传达人民呼声，决不应加以阻挠 和干涉。
第五，恢复工人阶级在我国政权中的领导地位，重建社会主义公有制在国民经济中的主体地位。我国宪法第一条规定：“中华人民共和国是工人阶级领导的、 以工农联盟为基础的人民民主专政的社会主义国家。”宪法第六条规定：“中华人民共和国的社会主义经济基础是生产资料的社会主义公有制，即全民所有制和劳动 群众集体所有制。”“国家在社会主义初级阶段，坚持公有制为主体，多种所有制经济共同发展的基本经济制度。坚持按劳分配为主体，多种分配方式并存的分配制 度。”中国共产党要真正作为工人阶级的先锋队，加强对人民政权的领导，巩固人民民主专政。要重建公有制在国民经济中的主体地位。只有这样，才能使工人、农 民和所有人民重新成为国家和企业的主人，才能实现按劳分配为主体的分配制度。当前，在私营经济（包括内资企业和外资企业）中，适当改善职工劳动条件，增加 工资和福利待遇，是完全必要的，对于工人们为实现这一要求而进行的正义斗争，积极地予以支持是完全应当的。这有助于在一定限度内改善工人阶级的处境。但 是，只要资本主义私有经济而不是社会主义公有制经济占主体地位，工人阶级仍然不能改变被剥削的弱势群体的地位，也不能改变收入分配不公、贫富悬殊的状态。 在这种条件下，要使我国国民经济的发展，由出口导向型转变到以满足国内人民日益增长的物质和文化需要为目的、独立自主、自力更生的轨道，是不可能的。
从当前实际情况看，恢复工人阶级领导地位和公有制经济主体地位的目标，是要经过长期奋斗才能实现的。我们有马列主义毛泽东思想的指导，有国家的宪法 特别是其中的核心——四项基本原则作为法律武器。中国共产党全体党员和全国人民都应当遵守宪法。我们所坚持的社会主义现代化的发展道路，是符合全国最广大 人民的利益和历史发展的客观规律的。只要全国一切拥护社会主义、热爱祖国、遵守宪法的人民团结起来，坚韧不拔，逐步推进，经过长期的艰苦斗争，我们的目标 是一定能够实现的。
签 署 人：
李 成 瑞 （原国家统计局局长）
巩 献 田 （北京大学教授）
韩 西 雅 （原全国总工会书记处候补书记）
刘 日 新 （原国家计委研究员）
赵 光 武 （北京大学教授）
- The four basic principles include socialism, people’s democratic dictatorship, the leadership of the Community Party, and Marxism-Leninism-Mao Zedong Thought. ↩