This fascinating book is among the first to examine state workers’ protests against privatization in China. Philion discusses how Chinese state enterprise workers have engaged a discourse of ‘workers democracy’ in the process of struggle with the new social relations of work that are engendered by privatization oriented policies in China today. By the 1990s, this discourse was being deployed by the state in an effort to minimize the social obligations of the Party and enterprise to state workers and to win the latter over to faith in markets. Philion reveals that Chinese workers have recently engaged this discourse in order to do something they never envisioned having to do: fight for what Chinese state socialism had always promised them as the ‘masters of the factory’, namely the right to a job and basic social security.
1. Locating a Discourse in Transition 2. The Origins of China’s Discourse of Workers’ Democracy 3. China’s Post-Mao Political Economy in Transition 4. The Discourse of Workers Democracy and Economic Restructuring in Post-Mao China: The 1980s 5. The 1990s: Chinese Privatization and Reframed Discourses of Workers’ Democracy 6. Workers’ Democracy versus Fraudulent Privatizations 7. Conclusion: A Future Discourse of Workers Democracy in China?