A Movement-Based party Uniting the Will of All
Movement-Based party as an Extension of Social Activism
To encourage self-motivation in social movements in the popular community and to strengthen interactions across all sectors in civil society, Demosistō shall develop a brand new platform for self-initiated political discussion among citizens. By uniting the will of all, we shall extend social activism to a whole new level of politics - we are forming a movement-based party.
First: Establishing a Petition System
Current political parties have failed to establish a close linkage with the public. Many of them believe that initiating social movements is not of their concern, or stick with top-down operations lacking effective mobilisation of talents in the popular community. Mainstream parties hold massive resources, yet fail to convert the power of such resources into the hands of civil society, marginalising themselves from social movements. This, we believe, is why the general masses of Hong Kong are often distanced from these parties.
In light of this, Demosistō proposes the establishment of a petition system, providing a channel for direct communication between citizens of the popular community and party members. We want to listen to your voices on an equal footing, because we believe that what a party must do is to stand side by side with citizens and to promote actual changes in civil society, rather than working for the sole sake of a seat in parliament.
Through transparent petitioning procedures, the general masses can initiate petitions from a bottom-up approach, spurring political discussion, exploring new ideas, and forming common goals together. We promise that once your petitions reach a sufficient amount of support, we will formally address your concerns, and might even bring your opinions into the Legislative Council. By directly bringing voices of the popular community into the movement-based party, the power of the masses can be effectively extended into the realm of parliamentary politics
Next: Public Proposal for Civic Actions and Cross-Sector Organisation
Beyond petitioning, bottom-up approaches by the power of the masses shall also be applied in many issues through public proposals for civic actions and cross-sector organisation.
By public proposal, we mean that the general public shall be able to directly initiate and offer their own proposals of social changes through a crowd-sourcing platform. These proposals, no matter concerning major institutional issues or petty district affairs, shall all be self-initiated and determined by the popular community, in which all who propose shall have the crowd-given power to organise district, social and political movements for themselves. Through this, we can create a whole new wave of democratic power-building, and abolish the sole reliance of a top-down structure of social mobilisation.
Citizens of different sectors and professions can help each other in the formation of civic proposals, and the movement-based party shall facilitate citizens of diverse skills and knowledge to engage in proposals requiring respective assistance. Depending on circumstances and the content of proposals, even the district offices of our elected representatives can be converted into publicly shared working areas. We want to bring your voices from the virtual world of the Internet to the actual field of district matters and parliamentary issues. As long as you are willing to propose, we shall help you become your own organisers of your own social movements.
A Bridge Between the Political Field and Civil Society
Demosistō believes that the power of parliament and its members should not be limited to the hall of conference. Rather, what a party, a movement-based party must do, is to build up a close relationship with civil society, supporting civil participation in social affairs as well as assisting the masses by resistance in parliament. With the mutual assistance of civil society and the movement-based party, we can cooperate in enacting self-initiated reforms and in bringing about real social change.
Shaping the Character of Hong Kong and Embracing Multiplicity
The Character of Hong Kong: We Embrace Multiplicity
Demosistō believes that defining the character of Hong Kong relies neither on the superiority nor inferiority of specific groups of people. Rather, it is constructed by society as a whole along with its historical background, humanitarian values and common experiences of citizens. All these features form our conception of the unique character of the city, bringing us together with a sense of belonging.
We believe that difference in ethnicity does not come into conflict with our conception of local protection and resistance. Crises of our national identities develop, rather, due to the fact that the performance of our current government has shown never Hong-Kong-oriented, and always ignoring the legitimate rights and the basic dignities of Hong Kongers, without any effort of building a free and democratic system for us to choose our own future pathways. What we have to do is to re-grasp our bargaining power by constructing an analysis of Hong Kong’s present and an imagination of its future based on our historical experiences, and liberate ourselves from the dictating, imperialistic governance of the CPC, without falling into the emotionally-appealing trap of populism that divides among "us" and "them" based on nationality.
To resolve deep conflicts from the roots, we must re-evaluate the complications in society, and deliberate the city from its colonialistic ideology. Movements for embracing multiplicity - from gender equality and labourer interests to humanitarian education policies - can be wider spread among the masses only by cross-sector collaborations, focusing our aim on those in hold of oppressive political power, rather than having such movements divided and suppressed by differences in ethnicity or national identity.
The China Factor
In face of the China factor, it is insensible for us to let be and to only concern with what is within our own borders. As a Hong-Kong-oriented organisation, Demosistō shall strive to convert the China factor into a driving force for local democratic development. For instance, in helping immigrants adapt to our civil society, we propose more opportunities for them to learn about our history and culture. We propose that the government support more local organisations in opening related programmes for permanent Hong Kong residents of social minorities, so as to resolve cultural conflicts from the roots.
Since the city became open for trade, the local history of Hong Kong has been, no matter before or after the Handover, constantly dwarfed and marginalised in curriculums. We propose that the local history of Hong Kong be fairly evaluated and educated to the public, so as to let all citizens gain a deeper understanding of their own origins and form a fuller picture of their past, present and future. Only this can help us all build a consciousness of the unique character of Hong Kong and raise the awareness for more Hong-Kongers to stand up and protect the city.
A Vision of Multiplicity, and a Politics of Progressiveness
The autonomy of Hong Kong can never be achieved by a single referendum, and can never be genuine if it ignores the social and economic autonomy of the city. What Demosistō stands for, is not a narrow view of political autonomy, but a realisable imagination of Hong Kong as a city of justice and multiplicity.
Under the domination of the CPC as well as that of local economic hegemonies, Hong Kong has been suffering under conservative policies of the government for more than a decade. Our socio-economic and political systems have only been protecting the interests of the privileged class, and the livelihood of the general public has constantly been ignored. For instance, while our Gini Coefficient has been ranking first within the developed world in previous decades, our government has remained unwilling to provide more social protection to those who are suffering, despite having a fiscal surplus of billions of dollars every year.
To reclaim our autonomy, not only that in a political sense, but also in terms of the basic dignities and standards of living of the people, Demosistō shall stand up for the value of multiplicity and social progressiveness - up for multiplicity as to protect the vulnerable, including sexual minorities and the youth in society; and up for progressive policies, as to urge the government to take up their responsibility to offer social protection to all people in need.
The foundation of politics of progressiveness builds upon the joining forces of different activists, overcoming differences among ethnicities, genders and generations, as we unite as the people of Hong Kong, fighting for a fair and just future. Such politics shall not be a passive resistance against systemic violence, but an active and advancing social and political movement, standing on a combination of civic action and policy advocacy.
To reclaim our autonomy and to fight for progressive social policies, it is essential for us to stand firmly against the government through social and political struggle, both inside and outside the Legislative Council. By cooperating with civic and public discourse as well as policy suggestions of related issues, it would become possible for us to push for better reforms for our society.
Reimagining our Future - "Charter of Hong Kong"
Another perspective on our project of cultivating the autonomy of Hong Kong concerns the Basic Law, i.e. the constitutional document of Hong Kong. Due to the lack of legitimacy of the Basic Law, such constitutional framework would be inappropriate in the discussion of the Second Question of Hong Kong. In order to regain our autonomy, it is essential for the people of Hong Kong to discuss and form a consensus on our future social, economic and political arrangements after 2047.
Our project to formulate a "Charter of Hong Kong" aims to reimagine the future of Hong Kong, and to reshape its constitutional order through means of deliberative democracy. In the Charter, institutional arrangements concerning the autonomy of Hong-Kongers shall be discussed, and this project shall act as a base for discourses and proposals for future referendums.
Determining Our Own Future through Democracy
In the 1997 negotiation on the future of the city, Hong-Kongers were forced voiceless, ever since enduring the distresses brought by birdcage politics. This time, in face of our upcoming "Second Question of Hong Kong", we shall stand up for our own say.
It is clearly stated in the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights that "all peoples have the right of self-determination. By virtue of that right they freely determine their political status and freely pursue their economic, social and cultural development." Yet, being crossed out from the UN’s list of colonies due to the PRC’s proclamation of Hong Kong as its territory, our right of self-determination was wiped off. The Question of Hong Kong was thus negotiated between only two parties: the UK and the PRC, turning down our hopes for determining our own future.
It had been the optimistic wishes of Hong-Kongers to interact well with the Central Government, hoping that the principles of "Hong Kong people ruling Hong Kong" and "High Degree of Autonomy" would be safely upheld. What resulted was continual disappointment. Repeated atrocities (such as the NPCSC’s dictating interpretations of the Basic Law and the suspicious missings of Hong-Kongers within the city’s borders) have led us to realise that we were all fooled by the PRC and that the fantasy of "One Country, Two Systems" was mere delusion. Hong Kong, in reality, is on the hard-to-return path of "One Country, One System", its government utterly authoritative and distrusted by the people.
Demosistō believes that, to liberate ourselves from the birdcage now and to take hold of our own fate, we must change the rules and re-grasp our political agenda through democratic self-determination. Through democracy, we must put together the opinions of Hong-Kongers on their wishes after "remaining unchanged for 50 years", and launch a ten-year project of organising a "Charter of Hong Kong", reshaping a new, self-governing constitution and socio-political order for the city. Considering the "deadline" of the Second Question of Hong Kong in the near 2047, it is our estimate that by 2030, we must start with the deliberation, and fight for our own say on the question of the city’s sovereignty.
It is our vision that the Second Question of Hong Kong shall be put up for negotiation after 14 years. It is time for citizens of Hong Kong to come up with a consensus in society on our future aims, and fight for our own initiative power as well as international support. Demosistō establishes democratic self-determination as its ultimate mission, and sets goals of popular referendum and international urge for the support of the world, pushing for the self-determination of Hong Kong to rise as an agenda in the international realm of politics. Hong-Kongers must have a say on our own future pathways, and must retain our own rights of self-determination.