"Chinatown"-Official media of Chinese Australians

What is the living condition of migrant workers in the city? Migrant workers think that they can return to their hometown if they can’t stay in the city. If this is the case, would they still come out? Can I go back to my hometown if I want to go back in the future?

Many people who are concerned about China's current situation and future are asking a social question: What is the future of Chinese new workers. Why is the whole society asking this question? Because if China’s nearly 3 million new workers do not have a future, China has no future; because China’s future is related to the future of the world. The new workers mentioned here refer to workers who work and live in cities but whose household registration is in the countryside.

The current situation of new Chinese workers

This is a huge group: In 2014, the number of migrant workers nationwide was 27395 million. This is a group that has made a huge contribution: of the nearly 3 million migrant workers, 8400 million are engaged in manufacturing, and what we wear and use are all manufactured by them; 6000 million are engaged in construction, and we live in They built the houses and the roads and railways they walked on; 2000 million people are engaged in housekeeping work. They take care of other people's children and other people's elderly, but they can't see their own children. This is a group that has paid a huge price: 6102.55 left-behind children in rural areas across the country, and 3600 million migrant children in rural areas across the country. They cannot see their parents in the countryside, and they cannot enjoy equal education rights in the cities.

I came into contact with this group from working in Pi Village, Jinzhan Township, Chaoyang District, Beijing, in 2008. There are tens of thousands of workers in the village. They live in very poor conditions, but they work day and night. When asked: "What if I can't stay in the city?" 65% of the people answered: "Back to my hometown!" When asked: "What are your plans for the future?" Only 9% of the people answered "Go back to your hometown", yes 53% answered "Continue to work hard in the city". What is the living condition of migrant workers in the city? Migrant workers think that they can return to their hometown if they can’t stay in the city. If this is the case, would they still come out? Can I go back to my hometown if I want to go back in the future? Through investigation and understanding, a "puzzle" shows the unoptimistic status quo of new Chinese workers: cities that can't wait, rural areas that can't go back, and lost in between urban and rural areas.

1. Cities that can't stay

Migrant workers work in cities, but their jobs are very unstable, and many people do not have social security. According to my survey data, workers change jobs every one to two years on average. According to figures from the National Bureau of Statistics in 2014, only 16.7% Of the people have pension insurance, only 26.2% have work-related injury insurance; migrant workers live in cities, but they can’t afford a house in the city. Some people spend all of their savings and even borrow money to buy a house in their home town. Or build a house in the village, but that is a "home" that cannot be returned, because you must work in the city to make ends meet; the migrant workers are married and have children, but many of their children cannot go to public schools in the city Enrolled in school, they were raised and taken care of by their grandparents. Some of them simply studied and lived in boarding schools for many years; those children who were lucky enough to live with their parents were called "floating children" in the city. It's as if they want to repeat the fate of their parents.

2. Rural areas that cannot be returned

Agriculture is the lifeline of mankind, and rural areas and the earth are the roots of life. Without the healthy development of agriculture and rural areas, the development and construction of any city will be rootless and illusory. However, today, China’s rural land is a place abandoned by us. Agricultural income is very meager. In my field survey, the farmer's income from farming in Henan accounted for only half of the income from farming; the Sichuan farmer with the lowest income accounted for only 2% of the income from working due to the disaster; The agricultural ecosystem is disintegrating. For example, the “live pig-sweet potato-maize” breeding system that maintained the ecological cycle in Sichuan is on the verge of collapse; the role of grassroots organizations is missing. I have learned that in a village in Hubei, the members of the village committee are basically It is made up of gangsters and gambling debts are repaid by raising funds. If you don't pay, they will be charged. Under such circumstances, if the migrant workers do not return to their hometown now, but only think about going back when they are old, they may become even more homeless when they are old.

3. Lost between urban and rural areas

Working part-time is just to support the family. The survey results show that when asked "Why work?", most of the workers' answer is: to support their families. When our thinking only stays at the level where we can support our family, the first thing we think about is: as long as we work hard and work hard, our destiny will change, and we may not think of the relationship between other people and society to change everyone's destiny. To be more specific, it is actually impossible to protect the most basic rights and interests of earning a living and developing. If this is the case for most people, then it is possible that in the end nothing will be realized for individual wishes, and it will be difficult for everyone to support the family because no one will fight for everyone's interests.

4. "Passenger mentality" of migrant workers

"Passenger mentality" is the most significant feature of the loss of migrant workers. Migrant workers live in factory dormitories in the south and in areas where workers live in the north, and their living conditions are very poor. However, because everyone thinks that part-time work is only temporary, so you can just endure it. The "passenger mentality" in life prevents them from fighting for many practical needs, such as the right to reside, the living conditions and environment, and the right to compulsory education for their children in the city. The "passenger mentality" at work prevents them from fighting for the rights that workers deserve. More importantly, this kind of "passenger mentality" leaves the migrant group without any motivation to fight and negotiate. In fact, from the perspective of the stability of the place of residence, it is obvious that migrant workers tend to settle in one place. My investigation in Picun Village in Beijing found that there are not a few workers who have lived in Picun Village for more than 5 years. Many workers who have worked in Shenzhen and Guangzhou have also "temporarily lived" there for more than XNUMX years, or even more than XNUMX years. . The “passenger mentality” of migrant workers may seem like a helpless choice, but it is actually the victory of capital hegemony. Capital is originally a “passer-by”, and its goal is always the cheapest labor, while the “passer-by mentality” of migrant workers is completely It conforms to the logic of capital and caters to and supports the expansion and escape of capital.

Future possibilities for new workers

Where is the future of new workers? Or, will the children of new workers have a better future than their parents? I see two possibilities: one is that the future is worse; the other is unpredictable. The future of new workers depends on the new workers’ own thinking and efforts, and on the political and economic environment of society. I have encountered many stories in the investigation. A worker, Su Haomin, belongs to the typical “working to earn a living” type. With his own efforts, he built a three-story building in his hometown in Hubei last year (a total of more than 30 was spent, and his deposit of 20 was spent, and he borrowed More than 10). Another worker, Wang Haijun, is a thinking young man. Of course, in order to survive, the Navy worked very hard, and borrowed money to buy a small apartment on a construction site in Suzhou (down payment of 14, loan of 14, monthly repayment of 1600 yuan). Later, I saw Haomin and the Navy at the same time. Both of them said they regretted it. Haomin said: "I can't go back after building a house. I regret it now, but if you want to sell it, no one will buy it." The Navy said: " The size of the house is not enough for the children’s local enrollment requirements. My mother has recently been in poor health and she can only take care of her when she returns to her hometown. She has to repay the loan every month and she is firmly trapped by her job. I really regret it.” Haomin and the Navy are both skilled workers and migrant workers. For those with a slightly higher middle income, the situation is also extremely unoptimistic.

Therefore, when education fairness cannot be achieved, and when the house is built for capital profit rather than for living, no matter how hard the individual workers work, they cannot change their destiny.

Many migrant workers work hard, hoping to change the fate of their children. In fact, the situation of migrant children is not optimistic. At the beginning of the small rise, they cannot be enrolled in the city and they become left-behind children. Many who do not want to stay behind drop out of school early. In addition, many children lose their lives early due to lack of care and learning fun. Motivation to learn.

If we want a way out, we first need to know what is not a way out. First, if, as a worker, you think that there is a way out only by becoming a boss, then there is no way out. This is because, first of all, the boss must be a minority, or even a very small minority; second, under this logic, not only will not fight for the rights and interests of workers, but will even agree with the deprivation of workers by the boss. Second, self-employment is indeed a lot freer on the surface, but in terms of working hours, it is often more serious self-deprivation than working in a factory. Third, when all the migrant workers only work to "support their families," they may not have a good life. Fourth, when everyone has a "passenger mentality", we not only don't have the present but also the future.

Looking at it now, there are two realistic possibilities to improve the status and future of migrant workers: one is to coordinate labor relations through collective bargaining within the enterprise to protect the rights and interests of workers; the other is to create cooperative labor relations outside the enterprise , Seek a collective development path for ordinary workers. No matter what path we choose, the premise is that we need to know "who we are" and "what kind of people we want to be". "Knowing who you are" determines the individual's choice, and "what kind of person to be" not only determines the destiny of the individual, but also the destiny of the society. If a migrant worker agrees that he is a "migrant worker," he accepts his fate of being "come and leave when he is recruited," and if he strives to be a "new worker", he will become a member of the initiative to fight for the rights of himself and the group. .

China's destiny is closely linked to the destiny of the world. Today, when the United States and Europe are perilous, the world even places its hopes on China. There is a historical heritage of serving the people in Chinese politics, as well as various historical burdens. History has passed, let us face reality, reflect seriously, and work together.

The article is reproduced from the author of "Daily Political and Commercial Internal Reference" / Lu Tu


[Welcome to the news to discuss cooperation! 】Editor-in-chief of "Chinatown" WeChat/QQ: 28771796