Protestors walk on a march in Hung Hom, 17 August 2019. Photo: Alex Yun for Lausan
In the months ahead, Lausan will be publishing reading guides addressing specific issues about the city, from histories of colonial-era Hong Kong to the challenges migrant workers currently face. We see it as a crucial part of our project to create and disseminate leftist, anti-capitalist, decolonial knowledges about and for Hong Kong; without returning to the work that already exists, we risk myopia, cordoning ourselves off from a rich history of thoughtful critique and grassroots organising that Hong Kong has always had. Some of the pieces included here have been written by Lausan members: Listen Chen has an even-handed analysis and critique of the anti-ELAB movement, and Brian Ng pushes back on the notion that the city is bereft of literary possibilities for writers. We offer this preliminary reading list as an invitation—though by no means exhaustive, this list contains multiple entry-points for those vested in the city’s liberation.
Abbas proposes that analysis of Hong Kong culture suffers from both “negative hallucination,” a misrecognition, not seeing what is there, and a state of “disappearance,” which is defined by its pending erasure in the face of the Handover. He analyzes Hong Kong cinema, architecture, photography, and literature to think radically in search of a Hong Kong identity.
Ng argues that the setbacks on creating a viable political resistance in Hong Kong are an opportunity to imagine a new aesthetic. Leveraging the complex specifics of Hong Kong’s political situation, rather than excluding those not in its public, can create insightful, unstable categories of transnational solidarity.
A seminal history of Hong Kong labor movements, organizations, and key figures throughout the colonial period. Crucially establishes the unique position of Hong Kong’s labor struggles especially in relation to the Qing administration in the north.
A crucial analysis of the 2019 protests from a local leftist anarchist perspective. This critical and intimate interview makes levelheaded observations about the paradoxes in Hong Kong’s history and culture that create contradictions in the political movement, but nonetheless do not preclude the creation of an emancipatory future.
Minor Transnationalism’s contributors challenge the notion that transnationalism is necessarily a homogenizing force through minor-to-minor global analyses, and move beyond a binary model of minority cultural formations that presupposes a vertical relationship of assimilation and opposition between minorities and majority cultures.
In a moving essay, poet and writer Henry Wei Leung reflects on the political meaning of Hong Kong’s solitude, observing that “the circumstances of Hong Kong’s liminality are unique, but its experience is shared by a whole postcolonial modernity.”
An account of the June 12 protests, Hong Kong’s history of protest, and a critique of international media’s focus on the “drama” and “romance” of large-scale demonstrations, while ignoring details of the sociohistorical context.
Lowe’s influential text reveals the submerged link between various forms of labor, including enslaved, coolie, and indentured, as enabled by the violence of liberal economics, politics, and culture as well as how this violence continues in liberal humanist institutions and practices today.
This essay underscores the need for solidarity with the Chinese working class and the class struggle and offers a rigorous critique of the discourse of “independence” or even “self-determination,” challenging its readers to imagine a future for Hong Kong by “building revolutionary, cross-border class struggle.”
A searing letter from the writer to her future daughter, articulating anger and grief at her forced departure from Hong Kong, and the impossible choice faced by some as to whether to leave or to stay, with uncertain futures at the end of both horizons.
An alternative conception of the relationship between the concepts of nation and freedom—of death, rather than life—through close readings and analyses of German Romantic, Kantian, and postcolonial texts.
In this seminal text, Chow argues that Hong Kong’s colonization by the British and subsequent transfer to the Chinese state problematizes narratives of tidy decolonization, a “fascist manipulation of the idea of the [Chinese] folk,” and nation-statehood itself.
Sinophone Studies is the study of Sinitic-language cultures born of colonial and postcolonial influences. Beginning from an analysis of all Sinitic-language cultures outside Mainland China, this anthology examines the nature of Chineseness in historically specific contexts of multiculturalism and multilingualism through place-based analyses that extend and refute the diasporic framework.
An anarchist post-mortem of the Umbrella Movement focused on describing the foundations of the movement, causes of discontent, short-sightedness of some aims, the class character of the protests, and the way Umbrella fundamentally changed Hong Kong to its very core.
Former domestic worker turned award-winning photographer, Xyza Cruz-Bacani crafts a photographic narrative that centers on the multi-faceted lives and sometimes contradictory experiences of Hong Kong’s Southeast Asian domestic migrant worker population.