Each year, 200 million workers from China’s vast rural interior travel between cities and provinces in search of employment: the largest human migration in history. This indispensable army of labour accounts for half of China’s GDP, but is an unorganized workforce—‘scattered sand’, in Chinese parlance—and the most marginalized and impoverished group of workers in the country.
For two years, the award-winning journalist Hsiao-Hung Pai travelled across China, visiting labourers on Olympic construction sites, in the coal mines and brick kilns of the Yellow River region, and at the factories of the Pearl River Delta. She witnessed the outcome of the 2009 riots in the Muslim province of Xinjiang; saw towns in rubble more than a year after the colossal earthquake in Sichuan; and was reunited with long-lost relatives, estranged since her mother’s family fled for Taiwan during the Civil War. Scattered Sand is the result of her travels: a finely wrought portrait of those left behind by China’s dramatic social and economic advances.
Chuang is a collective of communists who consider the “China question” to be of central relevance to the contradictions of the world’s economic system and the potentials for its overcoming. Our goal is to formulate a body of clear-headed theory capable of understanding contemporary China and its potential trajectories. In this first issue, we outline our basic conceptual framework and illustrate the current state of class conflict in China. We also include translated reports and interviews with the proletarians engaged in these struggles, pairing our theory with primary sources drawn from class dynamics that might otherwise remain abstract.
The selection below comes from our centerpiece article on the socialist era, “Sorghum and Steel: The Socialist Developmental Regime and the Forging of China,” the first in a three part economic history of China. The full first issue including this article will be released in print and online in a few months. To read more, including a sample article from the issue, visit our website.
Chuang Issue 1 is now available to purchase from AK distro, here.
Renowned intellectuals including Alain Badiou, Frédéric Lordon and Thomas Piketty put their names to a call first raised by students and professors: to welcome into schools and universities all those fleeing war, persecution and economic and environmental disasters. This article originally appeared in Libération and was translated by David Broder.
Red Rosa by Kate Evans has been shortlisted for the Bread and Roses Award for Radical Publishing 2016! Presented by the Alliance of Radical Booksellers for the fifth year, the prize celebrates excellence in radical political non-fiction. Previous winners include Hsiao-Hung Pai’s Scattered Sand: The Story of China’s Rural Migrants.
The winner will be announced by guest judges Natalie Bennett and Nina Power at the London Radical Bookfair on Saturday 7th May 2015. Also announced at this ceremony will be the ARB’s children’s prize, The Little Rebel’s Children’s Book Award.