The League of Social Democrats, the left-most party in Hong Kong founded by Leung Kwok-Hung (affectionately known as ‘Long Hair’ for his refusal to cut his hair short until those that died during the Tiananmen Square Massacre are vindicated) and radio-host Wong ‘Mad Dog’ Yuk-Man has split after two of its legislators: Yuk-Man and Albert Chan resigned. They stated unfair accusations towards the rape allegations faced by Yuk-Man’s prodigy Yum Leung-Hin, in-fighting, and the lack of a strong response against the Democratic Party voting in favour of government proposed political reform, as reasons for their resignation.
While, I am sure Beijing and Donald Tsang will be happy with this split, and on the surface it looks pretty damaging for the organized left, I am hoping that this will act as a positive impetus pushing the party further left and more grounded in building a democratic mass movement. The China Worker article below is decent (though very much framed in Maoist rhetoric) in providing a background to whats going on in the party and HK politics, though, I disagree with the criticism that the party has overly-focused on activism. It is precisely the fact that people like Long Hair and the party has not shied away from direct action, that they have resonated in working-class neighbourhoods.
Getting back to the issue of the split, Wong and Chan’s defense of Yum echoes the rhetoric from certain folks that defend Assange, while disavowing the complaints from the women affected. A number of Hong Kong activists in the movement have come out with similar allegations of sexual abuse and party members have every right and in fact have a responsibility to address sexism and call for a resignation so that these matters can be investigated. That said, I do agree with the criticism that the LSD has taken the wrong response towards the Democratic Party. If the goal is to build a mass movement, there should not be any need to appease the liberal factions.
Given the fact that Wong, Chan, and his supporters stood on the right of the party, hopefully, their leaving will be a positive step towards the other direction, a step towards having a more democratic, mass-based organizing platform that puts the interests of workers, migrants, women, queer, differently abled, and other oppressed folks front and centre.
The League of Social Democrats (LSD) has split. The departure of two of the party’s three legislators, announced on 23 January, deals a heavy blow to the LSD. The news will be met with dismay by a great number of the League’s 150,000-plus voters, who looked to it as a thorn in the side of the pro-Beijing political establishment. Following these defections the League is on the “verge of collapse” according to the South China Morning Post. Unfortunately this is a realistic assessment.
The decision of legislators Wong Yuk-man and Albert Chan Wai-yip, who stood on the party’s right, to resign from LSD came as no real surprise. For half a year the League has been locked in an increasingly acrimonious internal battle. Debates over strategy, programme and tactics are normal and necessary for any genuine political party, especially one that aspires to organise mass struggle. But the most negative feature of the LSD’s “civil war” has been an almost complete lack of political substance to the debates. Instead of clarifying political differences, the struggle has seen a tendency for both antagonistic camps to trade personal attacks. This concentration on personalities rather the political content reflects a certain tradition in Hong Kong’s political life, but one that any left force must firmly reject as unhealthy. Much of the argument was aired not through democratic internal structures or members’ meetings but online and through the media, with sometimes bizarre clashes between the factions raging on Facebook for example. For these reasons, while under other circumstances the breakaway of a right-leaning group would be a positive development, opening the way for a leftward shift of the party, this has not been the case here.
Hong Kong’s most radical political party, the League of Social Democrats, has split apart after months of “dog-eat-dog” infighting.
After attending a meeting with about 600 members and supporters yesterday, two of the party’s co-founders – Raymond “Mad Dog” Wong Yuk-man and Albert “Big Guy” Chan Wai-yip – resigned from the four-year-old league because of their outrage at the present leadership.
At least 100 other members filed their resignations at the end of the two-hour meeting. The league has around 1,000 members.