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The Powerful Political Manifesto

2015/2/16 — 12:03

During Occupy I once had a conversation on the footbridge leading to Legco with a very smart guy.

We talked about what the future had in store for Hong Kong, and even though the Admiralty camp lay sprawled out below us in all of its bohemian, artistic glory, our conversation was mostly concentrated around Mongkok. My friend's main point was, if the Mongkok Occupy could somehow get the working class masses living nearby in Sham Shui Po and Cheung Sha Wan on their side, then it really would be a powerful force for change.

As we know, that didn't happen and the Occupy petered out into a lesson of how not to win friends and influence people.

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But it didn't end there, while those attached to the idea of Occupy, as a means of political struggle, entered a period of self-reflection, the localist groups had already begun to sew the seeds in a new, much more fertile soil for insurrection, the districts, nourished by the growing anti-smuggler sentiment. This wasn't an over night thing. Before they could spectacularly explode onto the scene with the actions in Tai Po, Tuen Mun and Shatin, they had put in 1000s of man hours, slowly building the message in these districts and creating trust within the community. The whole campaign has been anything but mob tactics, but rather an outreach program by small groups of politically astute young people who have identified that the most powerful force for change in Hong Kong right now is local people tackling local issues.

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This is the power that my friend alluded to on the footbridge that day in Admiralty. How do you make politics and a lack of an accountable government an issue with people who are just struggling to get by everyday and live?

Localist-driven protests have multiplied, from a few dozen, to a few hundred, to 500 to who knows how many. It was impossible to say how many people were protestors and supporters in Shatin yesterday. We can only say, they shut down the entire place, except for the food stores, cus this is Hong Kong and people always need to eat.

People now know, if they can shut down Shatin, they can shut down anything they want, whenever they want. There will surely be more to come and more people will tip towards this type of politics and protest.

In reality, this is real revolution. Mao got it right when he said the countryside was the force for change in China and in Hong Kong today, it's proving to be the same. The districts are where the fight for Hong Kong will be won or lost and the localists have already set out an attractive stall for people who are not interested in politics, but need urgent relief on their day to day stresses; or

*Stop swamping us with outsiders
*Stop using us as a supermarket and and a trash can
*Return our local communities back to normality
*Protect the values that we grew up with.

This is a powerful political manifesto that has mass appeal. The DAB will have to start dishing out a lot more bags of rice if it wants to win back the districts from the new localists revolution.

The fire is lit, certainly it could burn out of control, but many of these people have very little to lose right now.

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