Howard Zinn Interview – 12/11/09


TYT Interviews
Published on Dec 11, 2009

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Pamphlet: “Occupy: Reflections on Class War, Rebellion and Solidarity”

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“Occupy: Reflections on Class War, ReBellion and Solidarity”

by Noam Chomsky

In this updated and expanded edition of “Occupy,” Chomsky speaks to and with supporters of the Occupy movement about the structural injustices of the current economic and political system and the prospects for real change. The new edition includes all the material of the first edition plus four new in-depth interviews. Throughout, Chomsky encourages people to continue organizing, to continue struggling, and to continue defending citizenship and community-driven democracy from predation from the relentless encroachments of corporate power and wealthiest few. What counts most, says Chomsky, is solidarity.

“Occupy” is another vital contribution from Chomsky to the literature of defiance and protest, and a red-hot rallying call to forge a better, more egalitarian future.”
–Alternet

“For decades, Chomsky has been marginalized for his insightful, levelheaded, and accurate observations about how our society functions. In “Occupy,” Chomsky… sets the record straight. And he’s got an answer for everything. “It’s necessary,” Chomsky warns, “to get out into the country and get people to understand what this is about, and what they can do about it, and what the consequences are of not doing anything about it.” “Occupy” begins with a powerful editor’s note from Greg Ruggiero, who comments on ‘the heartlessness and inhumanity of the system, ‘ where ‘people’s stolen homes are sold off to the highest bidder.’ And if it isn’t obvious to those who are still asking what the demands of Occupy Wall Street are, Ruggiero puts it plainly: ‘Occupy embodies a vision of democracy that is fundamentally antagonistic to the management of society as a corporate-controlled space that funds a political system to serve the wealthy, ignore the poor.’ One can only cringe at the thought of what will happen if we continue to ignore the wisdom of Noam Chomsky. He gives a clue in “Occupy.”…”
–The Coffin Factory, The Magazine for People who Love Books

“Chomsky advocates intelligent activism by those who see the divorce between public policy and public opinion. He is both optimistic and realistic towards this “first major public response to 30 years of class war.”
–IRISH TIMES, PICK REVIEW

“Occupy,” is at once a vivid portrait of the now-global movement and a practical guide to intelligent activism, infused with Chomsky’s signature meditations on everything from how the wealthiest 1% came to steer society to what a healthy democracy would look like to how we can separate money from politics. Alongside Chomsky’s words are some of the most moving and provocative photographs from the Occupy movement.”
–Maria Popova, Brain Pickings

“Having spent so much time thinking about and engaging with social movements, Chomsky is both optimistic about the energy of Occupy and realistic about the challenges it faces. He appreciates the “just do it” ethos and embraces its radical approach to participatory democracy…What makes Chomsky’s perspective so interesting, aside from the wealth of his political experience, is the range of his interests. He draws from examples around the world to demonstrate his points. …It’s a big agenda that Occupy has identified, nothing less than a complete renewal of U.S. society and the U.S. role in the world. Chomsky sees not only the radical agenda but also the radical practice of the Occupiers. “Part of what functioning, free communities like the Occupy communities can be working for and spreading to others is just a different way of living, which is not based on maximizing consumer goods, but on maximizing values that are important for life,” he concludes in this valuable set of remarks and interviews.”
–John Feffer, Foreign Policy in Focus, Pick Review

(Goodreads.com)

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Book: “How Democracies Die”

How Democracies Die by Steven Levitsky
How Democracies Die
by Steven LevitskyDaniel Ziblatt

Release date: Jan 19, 2018
A bracing, revelatory look at the demise of liberal democracies around the world—and a road map for rescuing our ownDonald Trump’s presidency has raised a question that many of us never thought we’d be asking: Is our democracy in danger? Harvard professors Steven Levitsky and Daniel Ziblatt have spent more than twenty years studying the breakdown of democracies in Europe and Latin America, and they believe the answer is yes. Democracy no longer ends with a bang—in a revolution or military coup—but with a whimper: the slow, steady weakening of critical institutions, such as the judiciary and the press, and the gradual erosion of long-standing political norms. The good news is that there are several exit ramps on the road to authoritarianism. The bad news is that, by electing Trump, we have already passed the first one.

Drawing on decades of research and a wide range of historical and global examples, from 1930s Europe to contemporary Hungary, Turkey, and Venezuela, to the American South during Jim Crow, Levitsky and Ziblatt show how democracies die—and how ours can be saved

(Goodreads.com)

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The Growing Movement To Create City-Run Public Banks

As activists pressure governments to remove their deposits from banks that back bad policies, cities are considering a new option: become their own financial institution that serves the needs of the citizens, not investors.

The Growing Movement To Create City-Run Public Banks

[Photo: Etienne Martin/Unsplash]

BY ADELE PETERS

When the movement to push the city of Los Angeles from keeping its money at Wells Fargo grew in 2017–as in other cities that decided to pull money from the bank because of its fake accounts scandal and funding of the Dakota Access Pipeline–organizers of the campaign realized that they faced a challenge: Where to put the money next.

The largest city accounts are too big for small community banks to handle, so divestment from one major bank typically means moving money to another major bank that likely has social responsibility issues of its own. In addition, even ethical smaller banks aren’t directly accountable to the public. L.A., along with other U.S. cities, is now considering another option: a public, city-owned bank that would keep money inside the community, and follow a socially and environmentally responsible charter.

“This started as a divest campaign,” says Phoenix Goodman, cofounder and policy director for the activist group Revolution LA, which runs both Divest LA and Public Bank LA. “I was tasked with doing research on alternatives and what that would entail financially, and in looking into it, I realized, wait a minute, we have so much money that the only other banks that can handle our accounts are other huge Wall Street firms, all of which are complicit in this same system, more or less. Maybe Wells Fargo is the most egregious, but in a way it’s a smaller victory, because we’re just going to move to another big bank, and we’re not changing the system, we’re changing a symptom of the system.”

[Photo: susandaniels/iStock]

A public bank, they realized, could be designed to bar unethical business practices. It could also save the city money. Los Angeles, for example, paid private banks more than $100 million in fees in 2016. Instead of taking out loans for infrastructure projects from major banks, and sending fees and interest outside the city, a public bank could handle the city’s needs itself. Public banks can be set up to hold government deposits and give loans to the government and work as a “banker’s bank” for smaller community banks; in another model, they can also be set up to take consumer deposits. The initial capitalization can come from a variety of sources, including long-term investments, bonds, and crowdfunding.“That’s our tax dollars that get siphoned off to profits on Wall Street,” Goodman says. “If that same mechanism can be owned by the people themselves within the city, that interest can be reinvested as profits for the bank to be used and reinvested again into new projects, so it would be profit for the city rather than private interests. Because it can save money, fiscally conservative people have found value in that as well.”

In the U.S., at the moment, only one public bank exists: The Bank of North Dakota. “The whole idea of the Bank of North Dakota, when it was set up in 1919, was to keep North Dakota money in North Dakota for North Dakotans,” says Ellen Brown, an attorney and founder of the nonprofit Public Banking Institute. Her interest in the model was piqued after the 2008 financial crisis. As Wall Street banks collapsed and most state treasuries went into debt, the Bank of North Dakota grew assets and profits because the model, Brown says, is more efficient than traditional banking.

Several cities are now considering the idea, driven in part by the same divestment movement at work in Los Angeles. Santa Fe, New Mexico, which began working on the concept earlier than most, completed a feasibility study in 2016. Washington, D.C. has money allocated in the 2018 budget for a feasibility study. Seattle and Portland are considering the idea. Oakland is beginning a feasibility study, and a grassroots group of advocates is raising money for a business plan, the next step in the process. San Francisco is also pursuing the idea. New Jersey’s new governor talked about his support for a state public bank as he campaigned (a state bank would work in a similar way, and could also work in conjunction with city banks).

In California, marijuana legalization is providing another push for public banks. Other banks won’t give dispensaries accounts because of discrepancies with federal law. “The whole situation is ridiculous,” says Susan Harmon, an advocate with Friends of the Public Bank of Oakland. “It’s absurd. The cannabis industry in Oakland pays taxes to the city in cash. They deliver huge bags of cash in armored cars to the city.” Harmon says that it takes city staff five hours to count taxes from Harborside, one large dispensary.

Once the city takes the cash to Chase, the bank can accept it; having a city-owned bank would remove the need to use cash at all. “The DOJ hasn’t come down on Chase for money laundering,” Harmon says. “So there’s something about the magic hand of government touching this cash that launders it, in a good way. It somehow cleans it up and makes it respectable, and lets Chase accept it as a deposit, even though they wouldn’t if Harborside went directly to Chase to try to open an account.”

[Photo: Tim Evans/Unsplash]

The problem of weed money will only grow, since recreational marijuana is now legal in California, as of 2018, along with medical marijuana. In 2017, the state treasurer said that the state should begin considering public banks as one option to deal with the hundreds of millions in cash that will be due in taxes.In L.A., organizers say that while they support the idea of using public banks for cannabis money, the idea can move forward with or without cannabis. A task force looked at the legal requirements for a public bank, potential regulatory barriers, and financial benefits and risks, and found the idea feasible on the surface; a next step will be a more detailed examination.

If it works, the city would also have to create a governance model to make the bank responsible. A charter might outline, for example, that profits will be reinvested for the public benefit, and list sectors that would be restricted from investment, such as fossil fuels and private prisons, along with sectors that would be prioritized in line with the city’s goals, such as affordable housing and community land trusts. Bank policy could also limit executive pay and require governance from a board with expertise in issues like sustainable development.

“You can technically have a public bank that is still propped or beholden to the wrong interests, or incompetently run,” says Goodman. “A public bank is not enough. It’s just one pillar of the system that we’re trying to create–one [pillar] is that it’s public. Two is that it’s beholden to the people in a transparent way, completely barred from unethical business practices and encouraged to follow socially and environmentally responsible business practices.”

Goodman and other advocates are also in talks with legislators in Sacramento, pushing for a bill that would create a regulatory framework for public banks in the state as a whole. It’s a step that isn’t necessary, but would help city banks in the state work together in a more coordinated way. The biggest barrier, he says, is getting people to realize that another model is possible. “I think all we need is one victory,” he says. “We think Los Angeles could be the first. I think it’s going to be a chain reaction.”

New Jersey could also potentially move quickly, says Brown. The state’s recently elected governor, Phil Murphy, who talked about his support for public banks in his campaign, previously worked at Goldman Sachs. That understanding of the banking industry–and the fact that his background at such a lucrative institution might persuade some voters that government-owned bank could be well-run–could be key.

“It seems to me that the big issue is political will,” Brown says. “Any state or city could do it if they had the political will. But the problem is overcoming this resistance from politicians and from big banks, who will say things like ‘politicians should not be bankers.’ The politicians aren’t going to be the bankers; you’re going to hire the best bankers you can find, of course.”

If it succeeds, the model could reshape the larger financial system. “What we’re basically changing is the relationship between private financial firms and public entities like state and city governments,” says Goodman. “By changing that relationship, we can have a tangible effect on the entire economy as a whole. Because everything emerges from banking. Every single thing needs funding, so the source of that funding will determine everything else that unfolds in the economy.”

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Adele Peters is a staff writer at Fast Company who focuses on solutions to some of the world’s largest problems, from climate change to homelessness. Previously, she worked with GOOD, BioLite, and the Sustainable Products and Solutions program at UC Berkeley.

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“Alienation 2.0: Commodification of the Soul In Late-Stage Capitalism” by John Laurits

January 7, 2018 (johnlaurits.com)

alienation marx labor digital revolution information emotional labor work 768x405 - Alienation 2.0: Commodification of the Soul In Late-Stage Capitalism

Alienation. Noun, the state of being an outsider — a feeling of separation. The sensation that a familiar person, place, or thing has become unfamiliar, strange, or distant — like passing through a neighborhood where you used to live. Or maybe it’s you who are the stranger now — like walking by somebody you used to know without saying a word.

ALIENATION:
How the Job-Search & the Search for Meaning Tears People in Half

“It has so happened in all ages of the world that some have labored, and others have, without labor, enjoyed a large proportion of the fruits…”
-Abraham Lincoln

There are many kinds of work. Some work is subsistence — in fact, for the larger part of history work was mostly related to survival. Whether people worked the soil, raised livestock, hunted, raided, or scavenged, most of the toil was only to wrest their daily bread directly from nature. Sometimes work is meaning — sure, humans can survive without Van Gogh’s Starry Night or the poetic rhythm of Omar Khayyam but wouldn’t it be almost inhuman to say such art was not worth the effort? Some work expresses human values or ideals — tidying up the kitchen helps roommates show respect for one another and volunteering to cook hot meals for the homeless at a local mosque is one way to fight poverty.

And then there is wage labor.

Wage Labor vs. Other Work

Wage Labor, by Dr. SeussAlthough wage labor is a lot like subsisting in many ways, wage-earners do not possess the materials, tools, or space needed for their labor while subsisting workers can access the natural resources they need to make a living. Unlike work chosen because someone finds it meaningful or because it expresses a cherished value, the activity of wage-earners is determined by others and what they create does not belong to them. The wage-earner can make 10,000 things in a factory but she does not own a single one until she buys it from Walmart like anyone else. Wage labor is different from other labor because workers neither control the activity of labor itself nor the goods or services they produce.

And this is when the alienation starts to kick in…

 How Does a Person Learn to Feel
That What They Do Is Meaningless?

If labor improves a worker’s life or if it gives him a sense of worth and meaning, the worker is the author of his labor and working expresses the worker’s self. When work is a means of self-expression, labor not only produces value in an economic sense but also has value in itself as the spontaneous process of self-development by workers. To put it simply, Mondays are not so bad for anyone wealthy or lucky enough to hold a job they would not quit if they won the lottery — labor like that comes from inside of a worker as an expression of who he is. Whether a person is an iron worker, astronaut, or street musician is irrelevant — the question is whether it matters to him if a 2-ton beam or space shuttle or voice is even lifted to the sky at all.

Alienation, ABCs of Marxism, Socialist WorkerAlienation happens when a person uses her labor for activity that has nothing to do with herself as an individual or fulfilling her own intention, desires, or goals. In wage labor, the work-activity of employees is decided by an employer and — since wages are the market-price exchanged for labor as a commodity — a wage-earner understands her own activity as an external object owned as property by another. The worker treats her work as an object instead of a process under her control — she is alienated from her own actions. Labor moves outward as an expression of self-development and alienation reverses it — alienated labor invades the worker as an activity developing from the outside in.

The Psychology of Alienation:
Dissociation & Derealization

“…labor appears as loss of reality for workers; objectification as loss of the object and object-bondage; appropriation as estrangementas alienation.
— Karl Marx

AlienationPsychology did not exist in 1844 when Karl Marx described alienated labor but, if he could have studied some of the ideas psychologists would develop, he may easily have used them to support his own. The core concept of Marxian alienation is that workers experience a part of themselves as something alien to them and that sounds a lot like dissociation, which psychologists described as experiences of detachment from part of a person’s reality. Dissociative states are a spectrum– on the mild side, a person may not feel a sense of time passing when she ‘loses her self‘ in a good book or someone may “not know himself anymore” during a hard time. On the darker side, people can be “taken over” by emotions that do not feel like their own, lose control of their physical actions, or have no memory of what they say or do.

Two kinds of dissociation known as derealization and depersonalization are experienced as “estrangement, detachment, and/or disconnection from the self,” often accompanied by the  persistent feeling that a person is “not in charge” of her own behavior. These could easily be the words an alienated worker might choose to explain his actual experience of not being in charge of his behavior and of being estranged from the real part of himself that is meant to enjoy his own day-to-day activities!

Alienation 2.0:
Disconnected by the Digital Revolution

“This life activity [the worker] sells to another person in order to secure the necessary means of life. […] He does not count the labor itself as a part of his life; it is rather a sacrifice of his life. It is a commodity that he has auctioned off to another”
— Marx

Four Types of Alienation, Marx CartoonIn a wage system, the worker is immediately alienated by the act of production because all that is produced is automatically another person’s property, disconnecting workers from work itself and its results. This actual loss of controlover the material products of labor is how people become alienated from what they do and who they are because of it — but how does this play out now that labor and its products are less “material” today than they used to be?

Information & Non-Material Commodities

Commodification of Nature Cartoon
A diagram illustrating how “economic rent” works

The tragedy of alienation is that it turns part of a person into an object owned by others (and we claim slavery has been abolished!). But the tragedy is not that the person’s activity is objectified — in fact, every product is just labor in its objectified form — the tragedy is that it is sold to the highest bidder. Until recently, the non-physical aspects of human experience were more resistant to commodification because the value of dreams, tastes, ideas, and feelings was pretty difficult to objectify and control in a material way.

Before stuff like telecommunication, microchips, and the internet, the only ways to store and exchange information were by human memory or physically printing it. “Printing” sight and sound was impossible until the last few centuries and no real music industry existed until the mid-1900s. Fast-forward to 2016 and there are pocket-sized disks that can store every published book in human history — with room to spare. During the Age of Industry, new technologies allowed the body’s labor-power to be commodified but in the Age of Information a new business opportunity stands at the door and knocks — the commodification of the soul.

Psychic Capital

“A squirrel dying in your front yard may be more relevant to your interests right now than people dying in Africa”
— Mark Zuckerberg

Today, new and strange commodities are stirring in the web-like deep of the internet. “Likes,” for example, can be purchased from Facebook that (at least mostly) are from real users and bundles of people’s search-terms, most-visited sites, and online behaviors are sold to companies who use them to target groups more likely to click their ads. When Facebook offers its users’ preferences and tastes as commodities on a market, users’ personalities become owned and controlled as property in a very real way — they become capital. By exchanging human traits and tendencies in bundles of data, the human psyche — which is Greek for “soul” — is objectified and its value is seized by marketing firms.

Could the human psyche be turned into an alien psyche?

Cognitive & Emotional Labor
In the Production of Identity

“Material production – the production, for example, or cars, televisions, clothing, and food – creates the means of social life. … Immaterial production, by contrast, including the production of ideas, knowledges, communication, cooperation, and affective relations, tends to create not the means of social life but social life itself
— “Multitude” by Michael Hardt & Antonio Negri

Labor Creates All Wealth

Much of what is called “personality” and “character” is produced in the same way that things are produced economically. Goods — whether iPhones or heaps of grain — are produced by a certain pattern of actions mixed with a set of specific resources and the same is true about character traits. Social or educational activity often produces new political or religious views and an activity like travel may produce new tastes in food or music and interests in subjects like history or culture. Even highly subjective activities like suffering may produce compassion for others facing similar hardships or the urge to create art. The quirks, tendencies, and traits that add up to form a person’s identity are produced by labor in the Marxian sense. And if the means of producing the psyche fall into the Monopoly Man’s hands, humans may soon find themselves in theoretically deep shit — if they find themselves at all, that is.

The Market Price of a Human Soul

“It will be the workers, with their courage, resolution and self-sacrifice, who will be chiefly responsible for achieving victory”
— Marx

The internet is the center for a lot of human activity — people get their news, discuss their lives, and express their identity and creativity through social media, blogging, and dank memes. In fact, the value of the internet may be greater than any invention in human history but the source of that value is not in the cables or signals that deliver it or the servers that hold it. Its value is in its capacity to act as a medium for the creative power of the species who invented it. But while the bias of technology is to liberate people from toil, too often it is used to enslave them. At the start of the industrial era, many thought the rising productivity would increase the value created by their labor until anyone could live off a few hours’ wages per day. They were right about the value part — but that value went to people who owned the technology, not the ones who created it.

So — does history repeat itself? Today’s technology has also vastly increased the amount of value we produce but that value only matters to the people who own it. History teaches us that the only real value is having the power to decide how we produce value. The question is who will control the selves produced by our labor and the value it imprints in the virtually infinite medium of the web — will the soul’s value be appropriated by techno-capitalists? One thing is for sure — if they can, they will. And if they do, the only question I’ll have is what the capitalist could possibly do with a soul…

In solidarity,
John Laurits

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Lincoln on labor and capital

It is not needed, nor fitting here [in discussing the Civil War] that a general argument should be made in favor of popular institutions; but there is one point, with its connections, not so hackneyed as most others, to which I ask a brief attention. It is the effect to place capital on an equal footing with, if not above, labor, in the structure of government. It is assumed that labor is available only in connection with capital; that nobody labors unless somebody else, owning capital, somehow by the use of it induces him to labor. This assumed, it is next considered whether it is best that capital shall hire laborers, and thus induce them to work by their own consent, or buy them, and drive them to it without their consent. Having proceeded thus far, it is naturally concluded that all laborers are either hired laborers or what we call slaves. And further, it is assumed that whoever is once a hired laborer is fixed in that condition for life.

Now, there is no such relation between capital and labor as assumed, nor is there any such thing as a free man being fixed for life in the condition of a hired laborer. Both these assumptions are false, and all inferences from them are groundless.

Labor is prior to, and independent of, capital. Capital is only the fruit of labor, and could never have existed if labor had not first existed. Labor is the superior of capital, and deserves much the higher consideration. Capital has its rights, which are as worthy of protection as any other rights.

This is an excerpt from Abraham Lincoln, Annual Message to
Congress, December 3, 1861.

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I’ve Been Buked and I’ve Been Scorned- Mahalia Jackson


KJ McRae
Published on Apr 26, 2015

Mahalia Jackson, March on Washington, August 28, 1963.
ALL RIGHTS TO CBS.

I’ve Been Buked
Mahalia Jackson

I’ve been buked and I’ve been scorned
I’ve been buked and I’ve been scorned
Children
I’ve been ‘buked and I’ve been scorned
Tryin’ to make this journey all alone
You may talk about me sure as you please
Talk about me sure as you please
Children, talk about me sure as you please
Your talk will never drive me down to my knees
Jesus died to set me free
Jesus died to set me free
Children Jesus died to set me free
Nailed to that cross on Calvary
I’ve Been Buked lyrics © Music Sales Corporation

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Martin Luther King, Jr., on the hearts of men

Martin Luther King Jr.

It may be true that the law cannot change the heart, but it can restrain the heartless.

― Martin Luther King Jr.

It may be true that you can’t legislate integration, but you can legislate desegregation. It may be true that morality cannot be legislated, but behavior can be regulated. It may be true that the law cannot change the heart, but it can restrain the heartless. It may be true that the law can’t make a man love me, but it can restrain him from lynching me, and I think that’s pretty important also. So while the law may not change the hearts of men, it does change the habits of men. And when you change the habits of men, pretty soon the attitudes and the hearts will be changed. And so there is a need for strong legislation constantly to grapple with the problems we face.

–Martin Luther King, Jr., at UCLA on April 27, 1965

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After tough year, Hong Kong democracy protesters sound warning to China on New Year’s day

JANUARY 1, 2018 (Reuters.com)

HONG KONG (Reuters) – After a year that saw democracy advocates in Hong Kong jailed and ousted from public office, thousands marched through the streets of Hong Kong on New Year’s Day to warn China not to meddle further in the city’s affairs and undermine its autonomy.

Over the past year, Hong Kong, a former British colony which returned to Chinese rule in 1997, has experienced what critics and pro-democracy activists describe as an intensifying assault on its autonomy by China’s Communist Party leaders.

This is despite Beijing’s promises to grant the city wide-ranging freedoms including an independent judiciary, under a so-called “one country, two systems” framework.

Besides the controversial jailing of several prominent young activists for unlawful assembly over the massive 2014 “Occupy” pro-democracy protests, authorities also ejected six pro-democracy lawmakers from the legislature for failing to take proper oaths of office.

The city’s reputation as one of Asia’s most robust legal jurisdictions has also come under a cloud amidst accusations of a politicization of certain legal cases.

The protesters, who included many middle-aged and elderly citizens, held up banners and chanted the march’s main theme to “Protect Hong Kong” during a walk of several kilometers to the city’s government headquarters.

Others decried an unprecedented move by China’s parliament last week that said part of a high-speed railway station being built in Hong Kong would be regarded as mainland territory governed by mainland laws.

“We are here to tell the government that we will not give up,” said Joshua Wong, one of the democracy activists jailed last year, but who is now out on bail pending an appeal. 

Pro-democracy protesters gather inside civic square, reopened for the first time since Occupy Central movement in 2014, at the government headquarters in Hong Kong, China January 1, 2018. REUTERS/Bobby Yip

“We have encountered many difficulties last year, including some of us being sued and jailed, but we will stand with Hong Kong people. We will fight for the rule of law, fight for Hong Kong, fight for the future, fight for the next generations.”

Two protesters who dressed up as People’s Liberation Army soldiers said they were concerned about the reach of China’s security apparatus. Others called for full democracy as the only lasting means to safeguard the city’s way of life.

The organizers of the march said some 10,000 people had showed up. Police, however, put the figure at 6,200.

The demonstration was largely peaceful, though some protesters who tried to later gather in a forecourt of the government’s headquarters skirmished briefly with security guards.

The so-called “Civic Square” was where the 2014 pro-democracy protests first kicked off when a group of protesters stormed over a fence and faced off with local police.

Despite the defiance on show, some said they feared Hong Kong would continue to be squeezed by Beijing.

“Everyone’s doing what they can,” said Andy Lau who was among the marchers. “If we have the right to demonstrate then we should. But I‘m not feeling positive. I think things will get worse.”

The Hong Kong government, in a statement, said it “fully respects the right of Hong Kong people to take part in processions and their freedom of expression”.

China’s leader Xi Jinping has said that while Hong Kong enjoys a high degree of autonomy under “one country, two systems”, Beijing still holds supreme authority over the city and won’t tolerate any challenge to its authority.

Additional reporting by Chermaine Lee; Writing by James Pomfret; Editing by Adrian Croft

 
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