United We Fail - Should HKFS Dismantle?Translated by Poppie, Written by Gnimm
|(Screen capture from aTV)|
[Translator's note: After the Umbrella Revolution, there are different opinions towards the performance of Hong Kong Federation of Students (HKFS). Students from HKU has proposed HKUSU to quit HKFS (as the current FS is composed of eight students unions of 8 universities). They have called upon a referendum in school to decide whether to stay or quit. HKFS has since responded the bill by saying this will only please the Communist Party as pro-government student organisations has been established since 1989, eg Hong Kong Tertiary Student Alliance, or HKTSA.]
I am not sure if the Communist Party would be the happiest one if college student unions quit Hong Kong Federation of Students. But I do know that the pan-democrats and leftards will be the most frustrating ones if it happens. From my point of view, that is a pretty good reason to propose the issue to upset those who have been dragging the democracy development of Hong Kong for twenty to thirty years. There's no point of being together and accusing each other if different SUs are not of similar minds.
To respond to the proposal of quitting HKFS from HKU, HKFS reacted quickly to show they have always been non-profit and with not dependent on [strong] power. However, after the Umbrella Revolution, people realise the discrepancy between the truth of the organisation and its self-portrait and description. The things about being composed of all universities' student unions therefore being responsible to member; the election of university representatives and the whole structure of HKFS respects different voices are all measurements to attract people.
HKFS knows very well that the current agenda is not easy to be moderated. So as the general direction. People are inherently lazy. Being "Greater China supporters", supporting integration of Hong Kong and China, tolerating new immigrants are all under the general line of the federation. There are very few people who will advocate for change. The existence of HKFS is very solid as long as we all think it is better than nothing. What HKFS is really afraid is that some new power can walk the walk and not to abided by rules. Then it would be abandoned and ignored completely. Not even getting any spotlight. Then, pan-democrats and leftards cannot piggyback on students.
There are always doubts on whether university reps and the consensus system is as important and running smooth as HKFS claimed it to be. The decision of accepting the government to join the debate has never been consulted within the organization. Using "pseudo-escalation", but putting protesters at risks - such acts were never agreed by the members. The relationships between HKFS and its member has been abused. HKFS claims they are the elected organisation when they need the say; they put the blame of not monitoring well on the members when the split proposal comes out. This is the same as the Democratic Party saying all their decisions have supports from the voters. Shameless.
It is without doubt that the universities have their own organisation. However, it is clear that all the organisations are small and cannot compete with FS. Even though there are Current Affairs Committees Councils, University Affairs Committees under HKUSU, all with self-autonomy and measures to speak out, it is still incomparable against HKFS. This has nothing to do with whether FS is pressuring the universities but the fact that HKFS has always been regarded as the entity that represents the eight universities. Their status is above others. FS is using this non-influential units to prove that it is unnecessary to quit FS. They are using it as an excuse for their incapability. This is simply unreasonable and unconvincing. It is pathetic for them to frame reasons in order to guarantee their status and avoid the so-called "split of power".
The image of HKFS has been ruined. Unless there is another new determined cabinet to take over, there will not be any progress in the tertiary student sector. It does not matter if the bill of HKUSU does not pass this time. What truly matters is that, the next group of people will be there to fight after making a breaking point. The initial phase of the advocacy has to be fierce and high-profiled.
Quitting FS will definitely not cause a split in the tertiary student sector. It will also never lessen the whole power of FS. It is because there will only be progress when there is competition. The die hard supporters of HKFS should regard this as a voting within a political party instead of a challenge to the authority of HKFS
The tertiary student sector is a very vague concept. It is the people, which means it is also the crowd with no opinion. Splitting into two sides and the one who is capable of being a leader will become stronger in the competition and lead the crowd at the end. The enlightenment of freshmen will be accelerated. The strength of the tertiary student sector will be consolidated. It is important to have a leader and this leader has to be trained. This is a simple fact that will not change even with the democratic systems. Split, in whatever sense, is only doing good deed. It should be done and is worth doing. The sooner the better.