September 28, 2021
From The Anarchist Library

Thirty-two years later, the basic details of the events that transpired
at Tiananmen Square between April 15, 1989 and June 4, 1989 are agreed
upon by all but the most intractable propagandists. Angered at what they
viewed as delays in the implementation of market reforms, student
protesters gathered at Tiananmen Square and attempted to insert
themselves into an arcane and largely imaginary factional dispute inside
the Chinese Communist Party (CCP). The protesters made a series of
standard liberal demands about democracy and freedom of the press and
prepared for a hunger strike during Mikhail Gorbachev’s visit to China
for the 1989 Sino-Soviet Summit—which broadly failed in terms of gaining
leverage over the Party internally but rallied the rest of Beijing to
their cause. As the student movement began to wane and descend into
factionalism and petty bickering, the workers of Beijing took the stage
of history—despite being barred from the stages and microphones of
Tiananmen Square itself.

In an incredible display of nearly spontaneous self-organization,
Beijing’s working class began to fortify the streets around Tiananmen
for the oncoming assault of the army. They successfully halted the army
for several weeks and forced the CCP to draw troops from the rest of the
country as military units in Beijing refused to fire on their own.
However, the workers’ luck ran out on June 4 and the army wiped out the
workers who were defending the square and attacked the students
themselves, crushing the movement entirely. This caused a wave of
international outrage that accomplished nothing apart from revealing the
powerlessness of the liberal intelligentsia in the face of the demands
of international capital. Not long after, China would be seamlessly
integrated into this international order when it was allowed to join the
World Trade Organization in 2001. 

The meaning of Tiananmen

But if the details of the events of 1989 are now clear, their
significance is still not. Over 30 years later, accounts of Tiananmen
continue to focus entirely on the students and their role in China’s
pro-democracy movement. Other internationalist accounts tie the Chinese
pro-democracy movement to pro-democracy movements in South Korea,
Taiwan, and Hong Kong. However, they too, repeat the mistake of narrower
pro-democracy accounts and focus only on the similarities between
student protests. A
few  have done better, particularly Andrew G. Walder and Gong
Xiaoxia, whose work on the Beijing Workers’ Autonomous Federation in the
early 90s was drawn on
by  over two and a half decades later to finally produce a coherent
account of the broader politics of the workers’ movement. What they
discovered was a crucial divide at the core of the movement itself. The
students at Tiananmen—to the extent that their democratic principles
were sincere and not simply cover for a deeply authoritarian version of
liberalism that demanded rule by a new class of intellectuals to oversee
market reforms—believed in a narrow conception of political

This political democracy operates at the level of the state, its core
tenets being: free citizens, equal status before the law, participation
in elections for representatives who pass laws and generally oversee and
manage the state bureaucracy. Crucially, this model of political
democracy relegates the workplace to a separate, economic sphere into
which democracy does not extend. The capitalist firm, or its state-owned
equivalent, would remain under the absolute dictatorship of the
capitalists and their managerial flunkies. Even the progressive wings of
the pro-democracy movement in Taiwan and South Korea maintained this
private dictatorship. Workers would be given rights under the
progressive regimes: permission to form unions, access to the welfare
state, limited protection from the worst physical and psychological
abuses their bosses could inflict. But no matter how progressive the
pro-democracy movement, the legitimacy of the dictatorship of the bosses
was not up for dispute. To them, democracy meant a democratic state, not
a democratic workplace.

The workers of Tiananmen alone disagreed. They stood against not only
the rest of the world’s pro-democracy movements but the tide of history
itself. By applying the principles of the pro-democracy movement to
their own concerns—skyrocketing inflation, mounting debt, rampant
corruption by government officials, spiraling inequality, and petty
bureaucratic oppression—Beijing’s working class reinvented an old and
now largely forgotten tradition of democracy in the factory: democratic
self-management. The
re-emergence of the principle of democracy in the factory for the last
time in the 20th century was, in many respects, the real significance of

The battle between the Chinese army and workers of Beijing was the end
of a century and a half long struggle between the core of the classical
workers’ movement—which advocated for democracy in the factory—and its
opponents (communist, fascist, and democratic capitalist alike) who
insisted on one-man rule in the factory. The final victory of one-man
rule in the factory and in every other workplace, forged the fundamental
structure of our society—shaping it in ways we are only beginning to
comprehend. It is only by placing the massacre at Tiananmen in its true
context—the collapse of the classical workers’ movement and the death of
the democratic principle in the workplace—that we can begin to untangle
the shifts in the global economy and the underlying changes in the
nature of the working class itself that produced the modern world.

Democracy in the factory

In its earliest days, the classical workers’ movement was resolutely
democratic. In the 1840s, it struggled for parliamentary democracy
against the monarchies of Europe, culminating in the wave of revolutions
that swept the continent in 1848. Even as the revolutions were defeated,
cracks began to emerge between the coalition of liberals and socialists
that had fought together in the streets mere months before over the
familiar issue of the limits of democracy. In the French Revolution of
1848, as in the Chinese Revolution in 1989, liberal pro-democracy forces
wanted to narrow the scope of democracy to the political sphere while
workers sought to expand it to the question of control over production
itself. Further fractures emerged inside the workers’ movement itself
over what precisely workers’ control over the means of production would
mean. For the most radical factions, control over the means of
production meant that workers would control the production process
directly through free associations of workers, direct democratic unions
(a position later known as syndicalism), or workers’ councils.

But more conservative factions became enamored with the bureaucratic
technologies of the state. They watched with envy as the industrializing
powers of the 1860s and 1870s engaged in increasingly
elaborate : first of roads, canals, and railroads, then of entire cities,
with complex grids of electrical wires, gas lines, and plumbing systems,
and began to believe that centralized state planning—not democratic
associations of workers—could bring about the long-sought-after
cooperative commonwealth of socialism.

These factions would grow to comprise nearly the entire social
democratic left: from revisionists like Eduard Bernstein, who renounced
Marxism and revolution entirely in favor of reforming capitalism and the
state from within, to Karl Kautsky, the hardline orthodox Marxist who
would become Bernstein’s great enemy in the struggle for control of the
powerful German
left. Disastrously
for the workers’ movement, none would become more enamored with the
state’s planning capabilities than Vladimir Ilych Lenin. As David
Graeber pointed out, Lenin’s obsession with the German postal service
was such that he included this passage about the future socialist state
in his famous State and Revolution, a text written between the February
and October revolutions of 1917:

A witty German Social-Democrat of the seventies of the last century
called the postal service an example of the socialist economic system.
This is very true. At present the postal service is a business organized
on the lines of a state-capitalist monopoly. Imperialism is gradually
transforming all trusts into organizations of a similar type
organize the whole national economy on the lines of the postal service,
so that the technicians, foremen, bookkeepers, as well as all officials,
shall receive salaries no higher than “a workman’s wage,” all under the
control and leadership of the armed proletariat—this is our immediate

Lenin’s idealized form of socialism would thus take the form of a total
state bureaucracy tasked with planning the entire economy, a model that
made him one of the greatest enemies of the factions of the workers’
movement that sought democracy in the factory.

The struggle between bureaucracy and democracy in the workers’ movement
mirrored the struggle between the workers’ movement and the capitalist
state. By the 1880s, the workers’ movement had created veritable “states
within a state” in countries like Germany and Italy. These “states” were
vast networks of workers institutions, ranging from “free schools,
workers’ associations, friendly societies, libraries, [and] theaters” to
unions, co-ops, neighborhood associations, tenants unions, mutual aid
societies, and political parties ran democratically by workers
themselves, which provided vital services to workers and their families
and served, so the workers hoped, as the basis for a new, socialist
society. Fearing
the popularity of these democratic workers institutions, Otto von
Bismarck created bureaucratic, state-run versions of the libraries,
theaters and welfare services to replace them, telling an American
observer, “My idea was to bribe the working classes, or shall I say, to
win them over, to regard the state as a social institution existing for
their sake and interested in their

In time, various socialist movements would confuse the welfare state
Bismarck had created to keep them from seizing power with socialism
itself, which caused them to replicate the bureaucratic nature of
Bismarck’s programs. But the popularity of the older conception of
socialism as democracy in the factory continued to rise even as its new
bureaucratic opponents on the left and the right solidified their hold
on their respective movements. More importantly, the workers who engaged
in spontaneous uprisings instinctively began to form democratic
institutions—particularly workers’ councils. The most famous of which
were the workers’ councils formed during the spontaneous Russian
Revolutions of 1905 and 1917. These councils, called soviets, were
originally formed in 1905 out of ad hoc strike committees that became
formalized, elected bodies of representatives from the various factories
who worked to coordinate the general

The revolution of 1905 was crushed by the Tsar but in 1917, the Russian
working class would once again form workers’ councils as another
revolution commenced. This time the councils would take control of
production directly, coordinating between various factories and
industries as well as serving as a workers counter power to the new
revolutionary government. The Russian Revolution kicked off a period of
open warfare that stretched from Italy to Argentina between the forces
of democracy in the factory and the newly-formed, anti-democratic
alliance of social democrats and capitalists. Between 1917 and 1920,
workers’ councils formed in Germany, Poland, Austria, Ukraine, and
Ireland, and were matched by revolts by syndicalist unions in Brazil.
These uprisings were all crushed. In Italy, which saw some of the most
intense conflicts between syndicalists and the Italian state,
the  was ended not by the Italian government but by the
Italian Socialist Party and their union, the General Confederation of

The worst defeat of the democratic workers’ movement would come—not at
the hands of capitalists or social democrats—but from Lenin and the
Bolsheviks, the very party that the workers’ councils had put in power.
Lenin began to undermine the soviets within days of taking power.
Published mere days after the October Revolution, his Draft Decrees on
Workers’ Control
 stated in no uncertain terms that real power and
authority lay with the new state and the Bolshevik-dominated trade
unions. In
the face of massive and unexpected resistance from the workers’
councils, the decrees needed to be modified before they could be
implemented. But
while publicly declaring his support for the workers’ councils, Lenin
continued to chip away at their power until he finally admitted his real
position on democracy in the factory in 1918 in “The Immediate Tasks of
the Soviet Government”:

Unquestioning submission to a single will is absolutely necessary for
the success of labor processes that are based on large-scale machine
 today the Revolution demands, in the interests of socialism,
that the masses unquestioningly obey the single will of the leaders of
the labor

Lenin was more candid about what one-man rule in the factory would
entail than most but if his prose was more direct, the result was little
different than one-man rule in any other political system. Bolshevik
rule in the factory, then, would be no different than capitalist,
social democratic, or even fascist rule. The movement for democracy in
the factory now faced four implacable enemies willing to put aside their
ideological differences to ensure that workers would not run their
workplaces directly—as the 20s bled into the 30s, the movement seemed to
have all but disappeared. 

The instinct of the workers’ movement

Unfortunately for the Leninists, no matter how many workers they killed,
the demand for democracy in the factory simply refused to die. For over
100 years, the development of the mass factory system and the logistical
infrastructure necessary to support it—perhaps most importantly coal
mines and the railroads used to transport them—generated an especially
militant working class that saw democratic control over the workplace as
the fundamental aspect of its liberation. Ideologically, this manifested
in a set of interlocking beliefs about the nature of the working class
and class society, all of which were necessary for the instinctive
formation of workers’ councils to manifest itself in moments of
revolutionary crisis. In the midst of the rapid technological expansions
of the second and third industrial revolutions, workers came to see
themselves as the creators of the new world. This produced the second
belief that drove the classical workers’ movement: The producers of the
new world should also be its inheritors. Thus, the goal of the workers’
movement was to take control of production itself and manage it for the
common benefit of the workers themselves.

These two beliefs in and of themselves were not unique to the democratic
wing of the workers’ movement, they broadly comprised the ideology of
the movement as a whole—from social democratic trade unionists to the
intellectual heads of the Leninist vanguard
parties. What
made the democratic wing unique was its concern with the fundamental
alienation of factory life, with the condition of being reduced to an
object by bosses who simply used workers as human tools. For the
Leninists and social democrats, alienation was simply a product of
ownership or distribution. The liberation of the working class would be
found in its productive capacity, not in its innate humanity and
creativity. But for the democratic wing of the workers’ movement, this
solved nothing. As long as the fundamental reduction of being an object
of one-man rule in the factory persisted, changes in ownership
structures and health benefits missed the entire point. That degradation
could only be solved by returning agency and autonomy to the working
class—by giving the class itself control over the production processes
that had for so long controlled them. 

In 1936, Spanish workers decided to take matters into their own hands
and seized control over their workplaces unprompted en masse. The
Spanish Revolution, as it later became known, would become the largest
and most extensive experiment in democratic workers self-management
before or since. Everything from public utilities to bakeries to
hospitals to shoe factories, fell under the control of the direct
democratic unions and once their former bosses were chased from the
premises, the workers began transforming the entirety of Spanish society
along democratic lines. They pooled their collective resources and
allocated them democratically for the benefit of Spanish society as a
whole. For a brief moment, the triumphant experiment in democratic
self-management delivered on its promises: output increased
dramatically, social services were expanded, and Spanish workers even
self-organized a universal healthcare system that dramatically expanded
service into rural areas where care was previously
inaccessible. But
the revolution had begun amidst a brutal civil war in Spain and under
the guise of an anti-fascist alliance, liberal, socialist, and Stalinist
forces violently stamped out any attempts at democratic self-management
and returned the factories to their managers before losing the war to
the fascist armies of Francisco Franco. 

Undeterred by the mounting casualty tolls of pro-managerial massacres,
revolutionary workers formed democratic councils and mass assemblies in
the factories once again in Hungary in 1956 and then in France, Italy,
and Czechoslovakia in 1968. To the dismay of capitalist and communists
alike, the development and implementation of the democratic solution to
alienation these revolts provided was largely instinctual and it often
emerged in places without established workers’ movements and their
political education efforts. Typical of such movements was the course of
the revolution in Algeria. The limited political education Algerian
workers had was from the nationalist, vanguardist National Liberation
Front (FLN), which had carried out the war against the French
colonizers. The FLN’s ideology emphasized the decisive role of the state
in national development. Upon taking power, however, Algeria’s first
president Ahmed Ben Bella discovered that the question of economic
structure had been answered for him. Production would be managed by
democratic workers’ councils built on the property seized by Algerian
workers after the mass exodus of French settlers who fled the country en
masse following independence, leaving the property uninhabited. Ben
Bella’s administration took a page out of Lenin’s book and publicly
supported the councils while privately undermining them, but the whole
dispute was made irrelevant by a military coup two years later that
dismantled the councils completely and reimposed one-man rule in the

The road to Tiananmen

The persistence of these revolts in the face of pure military repression
caused capitalist managerial elites to look for ways to dismantle the
systemic structures that produced the democratic revolts without giving
up their power. The instinctive embrace of democracy in the factory was
only possible so long as the factory functioned as a point of
encounter—a sort of dark agora that at once exploited workers and
facilitated the interactions that allowed workers to find and produce
collective meaning and identity with each
other. Thus,
the fundamental thrust of the attack against democratic self-management
would be an attack on the shop-floor as a site of collective identity
formation and as a space that could be seen as in any way liberatory.
This took a number of forms: most famously, de-industrialization itself
as well as the spatial relocation of factories from urban centers into
the suburbs—where workers could be turned into homeowners and bought off
with a combination of cheap credit and the promise that their new homes
would also function as assets.

The “democratization of finance” replaced the democratization of the
factory as the capitalist class funneled the remaining union pensions
into the stock market, thus tying what remained of organized labor to
the stock market. Corporations began to turn the workplace into an
immense propaganda apparatus, replete with mass ideological programming
designed to promote identification with the corporation itself and not
the working class as a whole. Worst of all, the mobility of capital and
the immobility of workers combined with the new logistics networks and
technological advances in containerized shipping meant that if workers
ever started to get the upper hand, capitalists could simply move
elsewhere. This dynamic increased, as the total size of the industrial
working class contracted, spitting vast populations out of the
traditional workforce entirely. These developments would eventually
destroy the classical workers’ movement, but in order for the
anti-democratic counter revolution to succeed, it needed access to a
large and exploitable labor supply. The capitalist class found that
answer in China.

The system that prevailed in Chinese factories from the Communist’s
victory in the Chinese Civil War in 1949 until the market reforms of the
1980’s was different in some respects from the American or Soviet
systems. Without the ability to fire workers or a piece-rate system, it
was extremely difficult to compel workers to expend labor without
gaining their consent for any action taken, which was achieved by a
combination of mass ideological work—a paternalistic, semi-democratic
system for determining the heads of work teams that, while rigged by the
Party, ensured that managers would be at least somewhat popular, and
took suggestions from workers themselves on the production
structure. Though
the process was strictly managed, workers had the ability to criticize
the cadre who governed them and combined the work unit system’s folding
of social and home life into the factory system. This resulted in urban
Chinese workers experiencing alienation differently than in their French
or Algerian contemporaries.

The Chinese urban working class was also, in many respects, a privileged
class under the 1949-1980s class system. A worker with
urban hukou status was given job security, insurance benefits, and
access to welfare services, whereas, a worker with rural hukou did not
share the same
benefits. These
benefits were financed by intense grain extraction from the countryside,
whose inhabitants saw little of the benefits of the fruits of their
labor. These
factors—combined with structural ideological features of Maoism—resulted
in a focus on targeting individuals rather than systems. This meant that
despite bold proclamations of fighting bureaucracy, revolts during this
period ended up simply replacing one manager with another. Elections on
the basis of the Paris Commune were a popular demand during the Cultural
Revolution—especially in the early January Storm in Shanghai and Hunan
province—but almost no one writing about them seemed to know what they

The most significant impact of the Cultural Revolution on a Chinese
movement for democratic self-management was the fact that the most
militant factions of the Chinese working class were wiped out by the
PLA-managed white terror that carried out most of the killing during the
upheaval. At least two-thirds of the 1.1–1.6 million deceased were
killed by various conservative
authorities. In
their wake, politics moved toward intellectual-driven liberal democratic
politics that broadly ignored the working class entirely, as Deng
Xiaoping unleashed the One Child Policy in an incredibly draconian and
ultimately successful attempt to re-establish the state’s patriarchal
control over the household and strip hundreds of millions of women of
even the limited autonomy they had clawed out of the Cultural
Revolution. But the beginning of marketization, the gradual dismantling
of the socialist welfare state, and a wave of inflation produced a
series of economic changes that turned Chinese society into a powder

The death of the workers’ movement

By 1989, the classical workers’ movement was on its last legs. Unable to
spark its own uprisings, it latched on to a series of other social and
political movements, most notably the pro-democracy movement in
China. Yet,
the development of the principles of democratic self-management and its
critique of one-man rule in the factory were utterly alien to the
pro-democracy movement, which meant that its development by Chinese
workers was a spontaneous product of their application of the principles
of democracy to their own situation. This led to formulations that would
have been unfamiliar to previous incarnations of the workers’ movement.
One worker interviewed by Walder said this about democracy in the

Why do a lot of workers agree with democracy and freedom? 
 [I]n the
workshop, does what the workers say count, or what the leader says? We
later talked about it. In the factory the director is a dictator; what
one man says goes. If you view the state through the factory, it’s about
the same: one-man rule
 Our objective was not very high; we just wanted
workers to have their own independent organization
 In work units, it’s
personal rule. For example, if I want to change jobs, the bus company
foreman won’t let me go. I ought to go home at 5:00, but he tells me to
work overtime for two hours, and if I don’t he’ll cut my bonus. This is
personal rule. A factory should have a system. If a worker wants to
change jobs, they ought to have a system of rules to decide how to do
it. Also, these rules should be decided upon by everybody, and then
afterwards anyone who violates them will be punished according to the
rules. This is rule by law. Now we don’t have this kind of legal

This is an extremely conservative framing of the classical critique of
one-man rule in the factory, couched in the dominant political rhetoric
of the rule of law. But any attempt to actually implement a system by
which workers controlled which factories they work in, how long they
worked, and what their bonus rate is democratically through an
independent organization could only end in workers democratic
self-management. As Walder and Zhang have pointed out, the workers of
the Beijing Workers’ Autonomous Federation were uniformly uneducated and
had no connection to any of the various liberal intellectual circles.
This was as pure a workers’ movement as any in Chinese history, and for
one final time the instinct of that working class was to demand
democracy in the factory. This demand, above all others, was politically
unacceptable. When the army marched on Beijing, it was the Chinese
working class they wiped out. Even the memory of the demand for
democracy in the factory would be scrubbed from the records of the CCP
and the pro-democracy movement alike, thus ensuring that the meaning of
the events would be lost. 

What then, was Tiananmen? In some sense it was the transition point
between two different Chinese working classes. The protests were the
high-water mark of political mobilization of the old industrial working
class, who, in the streets surrounding Tiananmen, mounted the final
attack of the classical workers’ movement. Their defeat ended the old
working class as a political force and they were annihilated altogether
in the economic restructuring of the 90s. They were replaced by a new
working class, drawn from the rural and semi-urban under-classes of the
old socialist system, who were dragged into the cities to fill the ranks
of the 277 million migrant workers that today comprise the backbone of
China’s working

This new working class—with rural hukou and no way into the remaining
state-owned factory system—would have none of the benefits of the
previous one. It would instead face a full raft of capitalist ideology
baked into every aspect of workplace culture and massive attempts to
homeownership. Where
the previous working class could at least posit a democratic form of the
factory through which life could be improved, this new working class’
greatest desire is to leave the factory entirely and become a business
owner. In this sense, it considers itself to be a temporarily
embarrassed petite bourgeoisie. Such ideological self-conceptions are
inimical to the formations of the classical workers’ movement, and
indeed, the new Chinese working class has largely failed to find a
collective identity in the workplace. Their situation is not unique. The
death of the classical workers’ movement has everywhere seen the
collapse of demands for democratic self-management in the face of a
working class that refuses to cohere itself in the factory. In this
sense, China was just late to the game. 

The fact remained, however, that the global economic system has lurched
from crisis to crisis for the better part of my lifetime, setting off in
its wake an increasing number of revolutions even as the dark agora of
the factory ceased to function as a place to form identities. If a
collective identity could not be forged in the factory, it would be
forged in the street instead. Lacking a positive identity to cohere
itself around, workers were only able to mobilize on a mass basis in
direct opposition to a force that threatens it on a cross-sectoral
basis. The state—with its ability to increase the price of basic
commodities and slash welfare benefits—became the only available enemy
and the constant fight against the police became the sole basis for
forming new collective identifications. Contemporary revolts thus take
the form of mass street movements and almost continuous confrontation
with the state. Factory occupations were replaced with square
occupations, and as the squares were revealed to be indefensible, they
too were replaced by running street fights with the police. But this
placed the new revolutionaries in a dangerous bind. Without the leverage
against the state that the classical workers’ movement’s control over
the workplace provided, they lacked the ability to bring down a
government firmly committed to fighting it out.

Massive general strikes in Peru, India, France, Hong Kong, and Sudan in
the last three years were, as Malatesta had predicted in the early
1920s, easily defeated without the accompanying factory
occupations. But
with current labor conditions exceedingly unlikely to produce another
wave of factory occupations, the way forward for any political movement
that seeks to re-introduce democracy into the economic sphere is
unclear. Perhaps that is the greatest legacy of Tiananmen. The workers
who assembled outside Tiananmen Square had already abandoned their
factories. For all that they spoke the language of the old workers’
movement, they stood and fought like we do: in the streets. They were
the bridge between the world of the workers’ movement and the world we
live in today and thus they faced the same revolutionary crisis we face:
the crisis
of  and ,
of  and ,
of  and , of victory just beyond the horizon that nevertheless cannot yet
be grasped. The workers of Tiananmen have, I suspect, no answers to give
us now. But expecting answers from the departed is demanding too much of
those, past and present, who died fighting for liberation. All we can do
now is find our own way and with the names of the dead on our lips,
build the world they fought for.

[1] “Tiananmen Square and the March into the
Institutions.” Chuang Volume 2. June 3,

[2] Gong Xiaoxia and Andrew G. Walder. 1993. “Workers in the Tiananmen
Protests: The Politics of the Beijing Workers’ Autonomous
Federation.” The China

[3] Endnotes 4,

[4] David Graeber, The Utopia of Rules: On Technology, Stupidity, and
the Secret Joys of Bureaucracy
. Melville House,

[5] Graeber, The Utopia of Rules,

[6] Graeber, The Utopia of Rules,

[7] Oskar Anweiler, The Soviets: The Russian Workers, Peasants, and
Soldiers Councils, 1905–1921
. Pantheon Books,

[8] Maurice Brinton, The Bolsheviks and Workers’ Control 1917–1921: The
State and Counter-Revolution
. 69.

[9] Brinton, The Bolsheviks and Workers’ Control,

[10] Brinton, The Bolsheviks and Workers’ Control,

[11] Endnotes 4,

[12] Sam Dolgoff, The Anarchist Collectives: Workers’ Self-Management
in the Spanish Revolution, 1936–1939
. 102. Black Rose Books,

[13] The author thanks Vicky Osterweil for this observation. (Author’s

[14] Joel Andreas, Disenfranchised: The Rise and Fall of Industrial
Citizenship in China
. 64. Oxford University Press,

[15] Hukou is the household registration system used in

[16] “Sorghum and Steel: Development” Chuang Issue 1.

[17] Walder, Andrew G. “Rebellion and Repression in China, 1966–1971.”
Social Science History Vol. 38, No. 3–4.

[18] The world witnessed a brief resurgence of the classical workers’
resistance in the broad conglomeration of movements that comprised
the resistance to the IMF in Chile in 2001. There, the relative
ideological continuity between the new left and the remains of the
classical workers’ movement meant that autonomist Marxist activists
could move seamlessly between factory occupation and square
occupation, though the forces of globalization had by then already
gained too much ground

[19] Gong and Walder, “Workers in the Tiananmen Protests,”

[20] “Red Dust: Sinosphere.” Chuang Volume 2.

[21] “Red Dust: Sinosphere.” Chuang Volume 2.

[22] Carloff, Andy. (1923). “The Occupation of the Factories.” Life and
Ideas: The Anarchist Writings of Errico Malatesta
. PM