Recently, I’ve been thinking about the HK scenario and wondering what I can do, but I can’t shake a nagging feeling that I could simply go over there and fight alongside the protestors. I often deflect with observations like “I don’t speak the language,” or “I don’t know what I would do to help,” and yet the thought keeps coming back.
I wonder whether Lafayette would have done the same if he were alive in our time. I think the answer is he would, and that I am more of a coward than I want to believe.
I'd say do it, if you feel this way. This guy did it: https://idlewords.com/2019/08/a_walk_in_hong_kong.htm
Even if you stay on the sidelines, you could probably still help by being a witness, spreading their message, and maybe forging contacts to provide material and logistical support later.
Though, be aware that pro-government propaganda is using photos of Westerners near the protests to fuel a fake-news narrative that they're being orchestrated by the CIA, but don't let stupid, uncontrollable stuff like that that stop you.
We know of their involvements in Central and South America, along with the Middle East. Wouldn’t this be a great opportunity for them to get involved?
> Wouldn’t this be a great opportunity for them to get involved?
There's no opportunity for their involvement. How, exactly would they get involved anyway? Direct CIA involvement would be counterproductive and against any goal they may have, since the protests are organically strong on their own and the CIA could only weaken them.
How to help HK protests from abroad:
Other ways to help include boycotting products made in China.
What about the people who say they want support? Do their needs matter? N
ational govements are convenient fictions, not natural laws. We are all kin on this planet Earth.
Imagine if the US civil war was never fought, because it was up to the slaves to "speak for themselves" (by which you mean fight by themselves) about their slavery.
Imagine if the US never joined WW II, because it was up to the Holocause victims to "speak for themselves".
If you view this conflict as only an opportunity to go out and "fight for glory" in a foreign country, to have some fun punching out foreigners, without understanding what precisely it is about, you're no better than a mercenary or a caveman with a club.
A basic test to see if you have this understanding is if you know what the other side would say to justify itself. And no, "they hate freedom" is not, and never has been, the right answer.
> People want to group up and go out to "fight for glory" against the hated enemy.
No. Speak for yourself. You simply and repeatedly omit the part about the moral dimension, and fighting against injustice, a person or nation becoming the enemy just because of what they did to others. Would you want to be put into a concentration camp just for the sadistic fancy of others? And if you were, would you say nobody should care about it? Unless the answers are yes and yes, you aren't practicing what you're preaching.
Yes, Hitler said he had to kill the Jews to save the world, and the world says Hitler was a mass murderer. You have to make up your own mind, you can't just shrug and say both sides think they're right, so it's neutral. I also wonder how much you actually know about the atmosphere under the Nazis, I would recommend a few books by Sebastian Haffner to start with. And do the people who fled the country to fight against the Nazis count, or the people who didn't dare to speak up, etc.?
I've been on the other side of this sloganeering. I'd say I'm a relatively patriotic American. I recently went to Europe and talked with a lot of very liberal Europeans, and they asked me precisely the same questions. To them, America had long ago become the enemy just because of what they did to others. They put kids in cages. They flagrantly violate international law. Their healthcare and police systems kill their own citizens just for the sadistic fancy of others. How could I live in such a terrible country, they asked me, and not spend every moment trying to leave or overthrow its government? Didn't I know that America had no respect for human rights?
The problem was that their favored news sources were incredibly biased, reporting nothing but the worst events happening in America, and ascribing the worst possible motivations to all Americans. They had literally heard about nothing good happening in my country in years.
That's the kind of distortion you get if you listen to stories for only one side. In that kind of bubble, you can be convinced that any group is morally reprehensible. That's why so many people enthusiastically signed up for the Nazi party so many decades ago. That's why I met Europeans that think America is its successor.
If the narratives you hear are so one-sided that you can't ascribe any motivations to your enemies besides pure hatred, then you don't understand what is actually going on. Think about the number of news stories you have read that attempt to paint a group in a bad light. Divide this by the number that try to paint it in a good light. If this ratio is worse than 10:1, then you never actually made a moral choice -- your emotions were decided for you by editorial slant.
> That's why so many people enthusiastically signed up for the Nazi party so many decades ago.
Is it also the reason people condemn them? Does some people you know not being aware of anything good about the US change the fact that the Iraq war was a war of aggression, for example? You seem to think no atrocities or crimes are real.
> If the narratives you hear are so one-sided that you can't ascribe any motivations to your enemies besides pure hatred
Keyword being "if". And if that's not the case at all, but claimed, then that's you talking about a straw man, and who you met, completely ignoring what I said and asked. For all I know, you treated those people the same way, so until I talk with them, I won't take your word for what their positions are, either. I asked you to speak for yourself, you did anything but that.
> your emotions were decided for you by editorial slant.
No, they aren't, and more importantly, you don't get to tell me they just because it would fit your narrative.
I think what you describe is a very interesting experience.
I'm not an American, but I lived there for many years as a young adult, and I now live in Australia.
One thing both our countries have in common is that we both lock children in cages - refugee children - and we pay private contractors to do it in out of the way places - and extraordinary lengths are taken to avoid public oversight.
Terrible things happen in both countries, and overseas on behalf of both countries.
Currently a prominent former Australian solider appears to be under investigation for kicking civilians of a cliff (to their death) in Afghanistan because it was inconvenient to keep them prisoner. I say _appears_ because there is a lot of secrecy around the case.
Being challenged on the the ugliest truths about our nation or group is difficult, and it is rarely done in a way that is an example of elevated standard of generous and noble behaviour the speaker suggests we should be held to - If there is a European country that is an example unbroken principled dignified conduct I would be delighted to learn of it's existence.
That said, the anger at the hypocrisy of the person challenging us, is probably best separated from the shame we feel at the truth about the darkest sides of our nations.
Everything that is good and true about the United States and Australia as immigrant nations that allowed people fleeing poverty and war a new and better life, is not invalidated by, nor does it invalidate the reality that both nations were built on a genocide of the original inhabitants, that slavery and oppression were used to build the foundation of the wealth we now enjoy.
I think we are a better kind of patriot, when we see the horrors of our own countries and do no look away or excuse them, and we are even better when we work to fix the parts of our nations that are broken.
I've always felt the phrase 'my country, right or wrong', is a more noble statement if is taken to mean I take responsibility 'right or wrong' rather than the double speak interpretation of "right even when it's wrong".
If you are anything like me, then probably both of us are guilty of not being patriotic enough, of enjoying the privileges and wealth our nations provide and taking too little responsibility for helping steer its course.
Whichever mode of governance is simple a practice of value proposition that a particular regime sees as fit for their particular regional control/political reign.
While democracy has its ostensible upsides, is such a protest at length really what's on the high moral ground?
Many protestors are students who have a large amount of time, but have only seen less of this world, albeit believing in an idealistic view. The ones who suffer are the ones who reside in HK and are running out of methods to meet ends for their family that they have to feed. Consider the bus drivers for the tourism industry that are basically out of job and are powerless as figuring out what's the best course of action at this moment?
Sure, maybe you can say a change is in dire need, via a certain perspective, it's absolutely respectable, though in the wake of being respectful for the whole population and the region, is such a protest which has lasted over 100 days truly the right course of action?
Think for the HKers, is it truly better to pursue an unstable democracy in the merit of preaching a perceived sense of idealism, or is it perhaps better to focus on economic growth and enabling an entire population to a higher living standard? Nobody has the correct answer and it's definitely up to every single one of us individually to consider.
Disclaimer: I am a Chinese so I may indeed have perceived bias, or just bias. Feel free to have a rational discussion with me and educate me on other perspectives, or even downvote me, all opinions are welcomed and respected.
They persecute, torture, and imprison millions of Falun Gong practicers simply because of their religious beliefs (peaceful beliefs I might add). It's been estimated that 65,000 were killed for their organs between 2000 and 2008 (and many more since then). Some alleged eyewitnesses claim the people are cut apart with anesthetic to prevent possible damage to the tissue (the same thing is done in the US, but the patient is brain dead instead of being in extreme agony).
Then there is the Tiananmen Massacre. People tried to speak out. Millions of people in cities all over the country. Even the local soldiers refused to do anything, so the government spent a while braining and hyper-indoctrinating troops from the far provinces to come in and start butchering the dissenters.
Faced with such deaf ears and manifest brutality, protests hardly seem to be extreme measures. They'd obviously rather have a little debate with democracy than the so-called peace resulting from China's evil persecution and butchery.
Do you have any propositions of what citizens of HK, or China, can do to get more freedoms like freedom of speech or from random arrests on trumped up charges which is how the current situation started? I don't think anyone in HK want to be in this situation but for many they see it as a last choice they are willing to risk their life for.
In Beijing, you can walk in many taxis and hear the driver blabber on to no end regarding the state of existence in China and state defamatory words regarding the Communist, the past, or the current presidency.
In contrast, in America I often find myself in fear of coming forth and stating any merit that I thought of the potential Trump presidency, and the now presidency. In professional careers I'd fear a sense of being seen as a "demoral" person and I would fear for silent retaliation.
Propaganda and ideology come hand in hand, I certainly do not disregard Chinese propaganda, but likewise I am no different to the narrative on China's own political structure that's becoming ever stronger in the West since the uprising of China.
On the other hand, what is true "freedom of speech"? The narrative has been sounding more and more to me like a "freedom to uprise and overthrow the government". Due to my limited existence in the world, I can't claim merit or demerit to such ideal. But I am simply no fan of chaos caused due to the act of "trying to overthrow a government to seek ideal in the face of perceived oppression", especially when an entire region is almost shut down and hurt for many months.
Freedom of speech does not mean you are free to say anything to anyone and never face consequences for your choices. The concept of freedom is to be free from the government officially and legally restricting your right to publicly address your grievances.
China's citizens do not have this freedom. Just because taxi drivers are not afraid to express themselves in the privacy of their cab to other citizens does not mean they wouldn't fear for their livelihood to say the same thing on a stage where it would actually make a difference.
True freedom of speech is this:
In America, anyone can stand in the middle of a public square and shout whatever they want about the government and the police will do nothing. Other people are then allowed to also shout and demonstrate that that person is an idiot, or maybe right, but the government never gets involved.
In China, any demonstration like this is swiftly punished by authorities. On an exchange trip I went on about ~10 years ago an American college student decided it was good idea to shout "Free Tibet!" over and over in the middle of Tiananmen square. An unmarked white van appeared in < 5 minutes and he was gone. He was unharmed but that evening he was on the first flight back to America.
People may hate you and retaliate against you in America for what you say, but they cannot and will never arrest you.
That is freedom of speech.
Edward Snowden is in exile because of the things he had to say about America. The publishers of his book are being sued to ensure he is financially crippled and unable to support himself.
Sure, the charge is something other than speaking but the effect is the same. I'm sure in China people who are arrested for speaking out are not charged with the crime of "free speech" either but are instead charged with some other crime. The effect is similar.
I'm still happy to live in the USA over China but I still think that we can do better on this front.
This is a false comparison. Edward Snowden is in exile for revealing state secrets. That’s different from freedom of speech. He is not targeted because of what he said, but revealing state secrets. It’s distinct from freedom of speech.
I think what's interesting is the idea behind. Either your example or my example of freedom of speech is purely political, which we must recognize.
Let's take a step back and consider a company. The management sets up an orderly system (or so they think). If the company is progressing well, everyone is working towards a common goal, would there be a need to have people standing up to voice their opinions to influence others which they can't even claim righteousness to? Sure it's freedom, but I'm sure less would need it. When the company goes downhill however, and people want to uprise and cause a change, this is where having this freedom appears to be a necessity.
I think inherently there is a discussion hidden here somewhere between order and chaos. And with everything being a spectrum, we must recognize that the level of "freedom" people will need, and people should have will also need to vary depending on the current state of existence.
To many of those in China who do not wish to practice in politics, especially since the Communist has produced an unprecedented growth in the last decade, little are finding a need for such a level of "freedom". Sure this system will not be perpetual functional. When the economic growth slows or when China becomes a super power level entity, global clashes causes ideology shifts and needs, China may need to continually seek a structural shift in its own pace.
What's being preached often in the western world however, is a utilization of a "lack of freedom of speech" as a weaponry towards an uprising China that will threaten US's dominance. There is nothing wrong with that, it's only a bit hypocritical that's all, but thus is politics.
I think what's important is that, if HK must feel like they will need the fight, then I respect the fight and wishes them best on achieving what they can. Though I do at the same time wish for a peaceful resolution versus a degraded society after an endless fight to achieve a perceived ideal ideology. I have friends in HK and I definitely wish for them to prosper.
The Communists certainly take credit for that growth, but did they cause it?
> What's being preached often in the western world however, is a utilization of a "lack of freedom of speech" as a weaponry towards an uprising China that will threaten US's dominance. There is nothing wrong with that, it's only a bit hypocritical that's all, but thus is politics.
That's a misreading. Free speech and the suppression of civil rights are genuine and very important moral issues in the western world. It's not some hypocritical political "weapon" deployed to maintain "dominance."
What utter nonsense.
The game has been rigged specifically to benefit China alone. The system is slowly being corrupted by pro Chinese force. Out of the last 3 CE, one was indicted for corruption. One took 8mil USD in consulting fee and then through China having to save his face, had his investigation dismissed by firing the investigator. The current one even admits she solely takes orders from Beijing.
There is no good faith governance from the beginning.
Whatever we may think is morally right, HK does not seem to be putting together that hard resistance, nor is it building up its own armed forces to declare and maintain independence with. China thinks HK is legally theirs and nothing we say or do will change their position over it.
That's why I don't see these protests achieving anything.
Note that there has historically been another way, to force the oppressor to be brutal enough that they, or the people sent to do it, will turn on the government. This worked in India against the British and almost worked in Tiananmen, rural army units had to be called in. I don't think it will work currently against China, but it is the only thing HK protestors are willing to do which I respect them for.
China is as strong and determined as ever, I really don't see any way the protesters would get what they ultimately want.
I understand that Deng Xiaoping's doctrine was first economic growth and only then political change, but I highly doubt the CCP would ever allow itself to be challenged by organising truly free elections.
You can buy physical gold, silver or Bitcoin (I prefer the 3rd option, though I know that it's the most controversial).
To be honest, the reality is that Hong Kong is just not worth the costs of a US-Chinese military conflict. Given the Chinese view of history and how they view the partition of China among the European powers in the 19th century, this is likely a red-line issue for them that they are willing to go all out on. For good reason, no other country sees it that way.
Also, aren't the "masks" worn by many of the protesters the kind of thing that's often worn in Asia for hygiene and pollution reasons, so this would ban even innocent behavior?
This might be a problem for the HK government, but I'm not sure rule of law is as big of a selling point to global capital as it used to be.
If there were months of mass protests in the US, the national guard would be called in to stop them, with full military equipment. This is what happened in Ferguson, for instance, and the police there did shoot and kill at least one protester.
What happens domestically, we refer to as riots. What happens internationally, we refer to as protests. During the LA Riots, over 10,000 national guard troops were called in, and the police and Guardsmen killed at least ten people - either rioters, or protesters, depending on your perspective.
Many of the protests in Hong Kong have been anything but peaceful. They are throwing Molotov cocktails, destroying buildings, smashing and flipping cars, setting fires, breaking into the Legislative Council building, taking over the airport, physically attacking the police.
In Hong Kong, the protests began over an extradition bill which would have subjected Hong Kongers to Mainland China's opaque justice system. That's a pretty good cause for protest, but it doesn't strike me as significantly more noble than wanting the police in the US to stop shooting young black men, for instance.
Here's my weird position: I support the Hong Kong protesters and their goals, and even their methods. At the same time, I think it's weird that Western media consistently portrays the police in Hong Kong as aggressive. To my mind, they've been significantly _more restrained_ than the police in most Western countries would be.
If people are rioting, it's perfectly natural the police would take aggressive actions to stop that. No one gets to decide that it's okay to riot without repercussion.
At the same time, some of the fastest positive change that has happened in society came as a result of rioting. Only history gets to decide if it was justified.
No arrests, nobody got hurt. There is more than one way to operate.
Protesters in America need permission from the government. If we were to block roads like they are doing in Hong Kong it would spell certain disaster. More than a few places offer legal protection to people who run over protesters with their vehicle.
Edit: Especially curious if downvotes in heavily political, democracy vs. tyrant topics are legitimate or suppression; another reason downvote mechanism is terrible: if you have something legitimate to counter, then spend any effort writing something qualitative.
Google "gent forum spies" sans quotes, look for cryptome(dot)org. Should be an article from july, 2012ish.
Give it a read. It's a bit of an eye opener for the uninitiated.
Some of the topics:
> Techniques for dilution, misdirection and control of a internet forum..
> Twenty-Five Rules of Disinformation
I knew this was done, but this is essentially the guide book. Jeez.
I'm curious though - why didn't you directly link to it?
Particularly in Hong Kong related threads.
Spread it far and wide. Never let anyone stop the Signal.
Upvoted, just in case...
Anyway, that article comes #1 on DDG by searching that string both with or without quotes.
At the moment? Do you mean the past 70 years?
Give people enough important motives to protest united against their government (that is, no food, no house, no jobs) and you will see bullets and corpses pretty soon, no matter their nationality/religion/color/sex/whatever. Maintaining the status quo at all costs against well motivated protesters always escalates into violence and deaths; it happened in 3rd world countries and in one of the most developed places in the world, why should we believe it can't happen to us?
Otherwise you paint an unrealistic, bleak picture which isn't grounded in reality if there's optimism and humanity included.
True, still many western countries had examples of episodic police brutality causing tortures  and fatalities among protestors, and probably it was other people humanity and optimism, along with public outrage, to keep these events episodic. But the point is: what happens if after the first protestor dies the crowd doesn't disperse and the public is too distracted? I don't see either police or the military saying "oh sorry, we pushed it too much... feel free to continue but please don't smash windows".
I also see as a revealing sign of corruption the almost ubiquitous police immunity: keeping them untouchable is what ensures their total alignment to the higher powers.
 plenty of examples in the 60s, also search for "genoa 2001 diaz": the Wikipedia article sums up pretty well what happened, and there are some rather graphic videos around showing it. That carnage, whose most explicit videos needed some time before surfacing, didn't make the news globally as it should have probably for happening less than 2 months before 9/11, an event which obviously hit the reset button on just about everything.
Having lived in China for several years, my opinion is that Warren and Sanders are probably the two politicians pushing big government ideas that if unchecked are most likely to devolve into something resembling Chinese style authoritarianism. Both are the "I know what's best for you" central planner fallacy. Unfortunately, that that think they know what's best for you are never the ones that pay the price for being wrong. China is a place where big government is never wrong and the population is disarmed just in case they disagree with the government.
Anyways, that’s my theory on the downvoting you’re getting. That said, I wouldn’t worry too much about downvotes on HN these days. It’s become far more ideological on here in the past few years, that it's highly likely that you’re going to encounter downvotes out of disagreement. With tech being mainstream and a major social justice battleground, the HN on yesteryear is long gone. We've had several years of eternal september by now.
then what is the alternative that you propose?
Likewise, Trump's behaviour is in a completely different league than what any other politician in the US has presented - regardless if self-labeling as Democratic or Republican; albeit it is becoming more and more clear who is a disgrace to humanity.
Warren I'm not sure of, with Sanders I agree - at least with the Federal Jobs Guarantee is the wrong solution because it kills the power and efficiency that capitalism allows in a free market, fluid system - that efficiency which requires hierarchy of expertise to lead and teach, and that require making micro and macro decisions quickly for every decision possible; a bureaucratic government agency simply can't incentivize people, leaders, to reward them for what they deserve for who they are and what they know they are leading towards. I agree with your sentiment that "big government knows best for you" is badly implemented in most cases - and why I believe POTUS candidate Andrew Yang (yang2020.com) will win: his Freedom Dividend (UBI, Universal Basic Income) of giving every adult American $1,000 / month is taking the decision making away from the government and giving it to each individual to decide for themselves; the small, simple role of the government here then is simply collecting the VAT tax and distributing the $.
I don't worry about downvotes - however the mechanism generally infuriates me though as it's horrible for learning opportunities, self-development, communication/language and community development. A huge thank you to you for taking the time to respond, even though someone (not me) downvoted you - someone lazy or inarticulate - under developed, unchecked thoughts through critical thinking process nor peer review perhaps fear of ridicule or finding it would be a "waste of time" - so they simply "contribute" by a quick click of the downvote.
P.S. I had to wait initially 1 hour before I last tried replying - as I apparently some mechanism triggered - presumably by the small number of downvotes all of my comments were getting - to say I was "posting too frequently." And it's been 3+ hours now that I try again. If this doesn't work then I've been blocked from commenting - for how long then I wonder, and why.
this is just my interpretation but, i’m not sure that would kill capitalism as much as mean that employees wouldn’t be scared as much from being fired, would be less afraid to be entrepreneurial (worst case in failure, you have a job until you can try again or find a better job in the private sector) etc...
same goes for medicare for all and tuition free college... i don’t see the authoritarian part (as your previous post alludes to) but maybe i’m missing something.
Society only functions well if everyone makes a reasonable effort to be useful to one another.
If it seems that way, it's because we've stopped fighting for it. Any regime without some basic level of true democratic representation and civil liberties should be the subject of official embargoes and individual boycotts. Unfortunately, many have sold out democracy to please the all-important shareholders or just to take advantage of cheap stuff.
People were self-organizing large civil society organizations and marching through clouds of tear gas and worse in the 1960-90s... and yet this current generation seems to think that posting a rant on Facebook is valuable?
Incoherent, naive anger is useless.
But there's always been a major disparity between capital owners and everyone else. Even in the 60s. And certainly at the turn of the century (1850-1920), when US antitrust law was actually first created.
So maybe media centralization? But the 1960s featured a limited number of media channels controlled by a few owners (albeit with some paragons of objective, journalistic integrity). And the turn of the century was the heyday of centralized newspaper control.
I'm honestly casting about for an external why and am hard-pressed to enunciate a coherent narrative.
And in lieu of one, the only thing that's left are that people simply aren't actively protesting.
Whether they're making that choice because of hopelessness or laziness, I don't really care. Because ultimately, it's a choice.
Make the other one.
(And it seems we might finally be, with regards to climate)
If you don't want to be banned, you're welcome to email firstname.lastname@example.org and give us reason to believe that you'll follow the rules in the future.
True. But those in power can suppress voter turnout through a variety of means, whether thats spread of misinformation ("voting is [wrong day] at [wrong location]!"), literal voter suppression (intimidation tactics at places of voting, illegally collecting and destroying mail in ballots), to structural rigging, like gerrymandering.
We're definitely seeing a mixture of both. Democracy is certainly facing a lot of challenges. Many of them have been around for years, but are finally having a light cast on them... while others are newer, more nefarious.
(Obviously this means that any party not pandering to rich is doomed to lose, unless there's a general uprising.)