Simone Pieranni: Hong Kong, the first revolt against surveillance capitalism

Simone Pieranni, China desk editor for the newspaper Il Manifesto, wrote this piece for the Italian online journal Sinosfere, following up on my own contribution in that venue. We translated it and republished here, as it fits well with Rebecca Karl’s post and explores the crucial dimension of “surveillance capitalism.” Thanks to Simone and Sinosfere.

Fabio Lanza’s piece on Sinosfere about what has been happening in Hong Kong since last June has the merit of broadening our perspective. Beyond the limitations that people “from the left” have singled out—folding back on localism, appeals for help to London and Washington, all contradictions that, in different forms, can be found even within instances of mobilization that have faced and kept in check the repressive apparatuses of other nation-states, like the gilet jaunes or Catalunya—Lanza signals how the Hong Kong protests reflect “in a polysemic and complex manner, a crisis within capitalism, specifically the explosion of the tension between, on the one hand, assertions of political subjectivity and desire to participate and, on the other, a system that systematically represses these aspirations in the name of market freedom.”

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