Students and Scholars
Against
Corporate Misbehaviour

Year Month

[Video] Those Were the Years, When I Was at Foxconn

Labor Politics under Three Stages of Chinese Capitalism

By Ho-Fung Hung

[Abstract]

This essay outlines the three stages of Chinese capitalist development in the 1980s through the 2000s and discusses how labor politics played out differently in each of the three stages and helped shape the next stage. Whence the erosion of living standards of urban workers amid out-of-control inflation and corruption in the late 1980s led to workers’ participation in the 1989 democratic movement, the full-fledged neoliberal reforms implemented by the post-1989 authoritarian state in the 1990s urged many laid-off workers in state enterprises to take to the streets. In the wake of these struggles by the declining rank of socialist state workers was the surge of militant resistance by the new working class [...]

Reflections on Labor in China: From a Moment to a Movement

By Tim Pringle

[Abstract]

This essay contrasts the scattered resistance of Chinese urban workers to the restructuring of state-owned enterprises at the turn of the century with the long march of migrant workers from victims to subjects. I argue that the “functional authoritarian” nature of the Chinese state and its policy of embracing globalization created the conditions for the defeat of China’s traditional urban working class. Coinciding with this moment has been the gradual emergence of a new movement of labor headed by migrant workers who have taken advantage of structural flaws in China’s development trajectory to pursue collective interests. This movement in the making has demonstrated a capacity to overcome spatial [...]

The Spatial Politics of Labor in China: Life, Labor, and a New Generation of Migrant Workers

By Ngai Pun and Jenny Chan
[Abstract]
China’s capitalist transformation offers us a non-Western perspective to understand the contradictions of transnational capital mobility, the working people’s lives, and the changing role of the state. This economic and social transformation continues to require the acceleration of a specific proletarianization—successive generations of rural migrant workers (nongmingong) have become the mainstay of the country’s export-processing sector, but they cannot become “free” laborers in the market. Within the dormitory labor regime, in which work and residence are tightly interconnected, workers turn the workplace and dormitory spaces into a battlefield to [...]

The Labor Question in China: Apple and Beyond

[Abstract]

This essay, by Ralph Litzinger,  introduces recent efforts by activists, NGOs, and academics to investigate and report on the working conditions for Chinese workers along Apple’s supply chain in China. Tracking the “suicide express” at the Foxconn factory complex in Shenzhen in 2010, the work of the Hong Kong–based activist labor organization Students and Scholars against Corporate Misbehavior, a coalition of environmental organizations headquartered in Beijing, and reporting by journalists, the essay shows how Apple was forced to go public about the myriad environmental, health, and labor problems in its outsourced factories. This essay also [...]