The Making of a Transnational Grassroots Migrant Movement

A Case Study of Hong Kong's Asian Migrants' Coordinating Body

Author: Hsiao-Chuan Hsia


As capitalist globalization has intensified in recent years, academic studies of international labor migration have gained significance. Studies have shown how globalization has increased the extent of labor migration and how it has greatly affected the lives of migrant workers. Few studies, however, have documented how migrant workers collectively resist capitalist globalization. By collaborating with migrants from different countries, migrant workers have created transnationalism from below, vehemently challenging capitalist globalization. This article focuses on the development of the Asian Migrants' Coordinating Body (AMCB) in Hong Kong to illustrate how grassroots migrant organizations resist capitalist globalization. Most studies of Hong Kong as a "site of transnational activism" overlook the unique importance of grassroots migrant organizations and their distinctions from migrant nongovernmental organizations (NGOs). The AMCB is particularly interesting and important not only because it is the first coalition of migrants from different Asian countries but also because it is a coalition of grassroots migrant organizations from several nationalities. By focusing on the AMCB, this article analyzes how migrant workers from the Philippines, Indonesia, Thailand, Nepal, and Sri Lanka have worked together across nation-state, racial, and gender boundaries. This article describes the AMCB's origins and achievements and asks what makes the AMCB possible and what lessons in grassroots transnationalism are to be gleaned from the AMCB's efforts and its relationship with NGOS.

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© Arthur Jones, PhD