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那些認為雨傘運動失敗了的人需要學點歷史

2017/10/11 — 13:09

【文:Stephen Vines】

(原刊於Hong Kong Free Press;並由中國人權翻譯,英文版在文末。)

雨傘運動是浪費時間嗎?在運動三周年之際,各方民眾對這個問題給予了正面的回答,包括那些認為自己是民主派的人。

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那些認為雨傘運動失敗了的人,且不論他們來自哪裡、如何得出這樣的結論,他們都嚴重缺乏歷史觀,不切實際地冀望此類運動能一蹴而就達成目標。

在這方面,雨傘運動的發展與那些在世界其他地區發生的重大社會和政治運動非常相似。

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一個非常相似的例子就是1960年代美國的民權運動;該運動差不多動員了全美數以百萬計的民眾為黑人爭取平權。

隨著運動的發展,反對的力量也在加強—其背後是鐵了心要把制度化種族主義進行到底的南方各州政府。 州政府不僅鼓勵執法人員的流氓行徑,還動用法律監禁示威者,並將該政策廣泛推行。

當民權運動面臨這些挑戰舉步維艱時,越來越多的人認為運動已將自身耗盡,除了令追隨者坐牢和挨打之外,乏善可陳。

一些歷史學家相信,即使是這一運動最著名的領袖馬丁·路德·金博士,也曾質疑過這場運動的意義所在。

隨著運動參與者被毆打乃至被謀殺,抗爭的代價越來越大,懷疑的論調也越來越高。 然而,金博士被刺殺一事反而增強了人們的決心。

馬丁·路德·金生前看到了這場運動的許多主要訴求被納入法律,也目睹了運動內部那苦澀的分裂——那發生在他為了改變法律而做出妥協,並因此受到譴責的時候。

而今天在香港,越來越多的示威者被送上法庭,關進監獄,支援運動的立法會議員被趕出立法會,不僅香港那糟糕且不完善的代議政府制一點兒都沒改變,而且現任香港特區首長已經宣佈這個問題不用再進行討論了。

所以,這整個就是一場失敗嗎?你可以有信心地斷然回答:「不」。 事實上,可以毫不誇張地說,那一天將會到來--人們會搖頭不願相信竟然在2017年成熟智慧的香港人還在被一個腐敗的、違背大多數人意志的選舉制度所欺騙,不允許他們選出自己的政府。

未來的一代人也難以理解,為什麼當今香港的所謂「領導人」甘願淪為褫奪特區已被承諾的自治權的幫兇,將香港置於更嚴厲的獨裁統治之下。

這未來的一代人將與今天在美國學校裡的那些孩子們有同樣的反應——當告訴他們黑人只被允許坐在公車後排,甚至不能與白人在同一處用餐時,他們會認為是在教古代史;然而,僅僅在半個世紀前,這是司空見慣的事情。

我們能從中領悟到的是,今天的「現實」將成為明天的「天方夜譚」;改變是一個漫長且非線性的過程,進程中會伴隨著巨大的挫折。

香港對這一切再熟悉不過了,從以前的殖民地政府,到今天唯唯諾諾的特區政府,它們都編織著同一個謊言:香港向來是個缺乏政治熱情且自私自利的社會。

早在香港人口多由來自大陸的移民構成之時,大規模的抗議活動就已經湧現。 從1960年代反對天星小輪加價,到1970年代主要由教師和教會有關團體領導的、針對工薪階層糟糕的居住環境和窮人劣等教育的抗議,香港的社會運動參與者與日俱增。

到1980年代,民眾的抗議活動主要是圍繞著反對建造大亞灣核電站的大規模運動進行的;接著,是香港社會聲援1989年天安門抗議活動的空前動員,成為這十年中重要的一頁。

接下來的十年,伴隨著各種政治黨派的出現和許多社會運動的開展,出現了對民主的需求。 這些運動的力量在世紀之交再次顯現,大規模的抗議迫使政府放棄了嚴苛的反顛覆法案並撤回了在學校進行政治灌輸的計畫。

香港在進行改革的歷史上既有成功,也有失敗,然而,最重要的是,這是一段人們永遠不會被嚇倒的歷史。

所以,佔中運動應被視為先前這些運動的承繼者。 當然,提出的訴求不同,抗議的方式也有所改變,然而貫穿這些運動的寶貴主線是香港人明確的決心和主張:香港人要對自身事務擁有更大的主導權。

雨傘運動代表了一種歷史的連貫性,並以更可持續的方式在發展。 譬如,它促進了獨立網路媒體的繁榮;它深入到年輕一代,而這代人將比本專欄的作者活得更久。 當然,它也引起了巨大的反彈,然而我們可以爭論說,這只不過是那些潛伏著的力量浮出水面而已。

雨傘運動把幽靈釋放出魔瓶。 今後再也沒有人,包括北京的強硬派可以還抱有幻想,認為對香港自治和原有生活方式的冒犯可以不遭到反抗。

眼下,當局試圖以關押和恐嚇來報復示威者。 但是,即使他們加劇鎮壓規模,最終仍將失敗,因為這除了造就義士以外,他們將一無所獲。 所以,誰才是真正的失敗的一方呢?

2017年10月1日,晚上11点

Those who think the Umbrella Movement failed need to learn a little history

Was the Umbrella Movement a waste of time? On the movement’s third anniversary this question is being answered in the affirmative by all sorts of people, including those who consider themselves to be democrats.

Wherever they are coming from, the people who see the Umbrella Movement as a failure are profoundly lacking in historical perspective, and are unrealistic in expecting that a movement of this kind would be able to secure its aims overnight.

In this respect the Umbrella Movement’s development is remarkably similar to that of other significant social and political movements in other parts of the world.

An excellent example here is the American civil rights movement of the 1960s, which mobilized literally millions of people across the nation demanding equality for black people.

As the movement grew the backlash against it also grew, bolstered by the governments of the Southern states who were determined to cling onto institutional racism. They mobilized the thuggery of law enforcement officials alongside a widespread policy of using the law to incarcerate protestors.

As the civil rights campaign ploughed on in the face of adversity there was a growing feeling that the movement had exhausted itself and done little more than get its adherents put into jail and beaten up.

Some historians believe that even the movement’s most prominent leader, Martin Luther King, had moments when he questioned whether it had been worthwhile.

These doubts deepened as the price of protest rose and participants were beaten and murdered. The assassination of Dr King himself however strengthened resolve.

He had lived to see many of the movement’s key demands put into law and witnessed the bitter divisions that arose as he was denounced for accepting the compromises required to change the laws.

And that brings us to today in Hong Kong where an increasing number of protesters are being hauled away to jail, legislators supporting the movement have been turfed out of office and not only has Hong Kong’s woefully inadequate system of representative government not changed at all, but the current leader of the HKSAR has declared that discussion on this matter is pretty much off the table.

So was it all a failure? The emphatic answer is no, and that can be said with some confidence. Indeed it is not that much of stretch to say that the day will come when people will shake their heads in disbelief on hearing that even in 2017 Hong Kong’s sophisticated and intelligent people were being fobbed off with a rotten election system guaranteed to block the will of the majority, and that they were not allowed to elect their own government.

A future generation may well also find it hard to understand why Hong Kong’s so-called leaders of the day were willing accomplices in stripping the SAR of its promised autonomy, bringing it more firmly under the control of a dictatorship.

This future generation will share some of the reactions from today’s American school children who think that they are being taught ancient history when told that black people were only allowed to sit at the back of the bus and could not even eat at the same places as white people; yet this was commonplace just half a century ago.

What we learn from all this is that today’s ‘realities’ are tomorrow’s ‘unbelievabilities’ and that change is a long drawn out process lacking in linear progression, punctuated by enormous setbacks.

Hong Kong knows all about this because although the previous colonial government and the current tremble-and-obey government have helped foster the myth of a historically politically apathetic and selfish society it is simply a lie.

Even when the vast majority of the population consisted of immigrants from the Mainland, mass protest movements emerged. The 1960s mobilization against fare rises on the Star Ferry was followed in the 1970s by a growing mass of social movements led primarily by teachers and church-associated bodies rebelling against poor living conditions for working people and inferior education for the poor.

By the 1980s mass protests coalesced around a massive campaign to try and prevent the building of the Daya Bay nuclear plant; the end of this decade was bookmarked by an unprecedented mobilization in solidarity with the 1989 Tiananmen protests.

The following decade saw the emergence of a focus on the need for democracy, accompanied by the growth of political parties and a host of social movements. The strength of these movements was seen again at the turn of the century when mass protests forced the government to abandon draconian anti-subversion legislation and pull back on plans for political indoctrination in schools.

Hong Kong has a history of success and failure when it comes to reform but, most importantly, it is a history of people who will not be cowed.

The Occupy Movement should therefore be seen as the offspring of the movements that preceded it. Sure, the issues are different and the methods of protests have changed but the golden thread connecting these movements is a clear assertion of Hong Kong people’s determination to have greater control over their own affairs.

The Umbrella Movement represents a kind of continuity and developed in ways that are more sustainable. It fostered, for example, a flourishing of an independent online media, it reached deep into a younger generation who will be around much longer than the author of this column and, yes, it fostered an enormous backlash but it can be argued that in so doing it merely brought to the surface forces that were lurking beneath.

The Umbrella Movement let the genie out of the bottle. No one, even the hard men in Beijing, can be under any illusion that attacks on Hong Kong’s autonomy and way of life can be delivered without resistance.

For the time being the response of the authorities has been to try and lock away and intimidate protestors. But, ultimately, this will fail even if they escalate the scale of repression, as it will achieve little more than creating martyrs. So who’s really the failed party here?

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