Why do social movement participants turn to elections to advance their goals? Little scholarship has examined movement–election connections at the micro level, and cases from nondemocratic settings are few. After the 2014 Umbrella Movement in Hong Kong failed to achieve substantive results, very few occupiers ran as candidates in the next two general elections. Drawing on interviews with Umbrella candidates and campaign assistants, I argue that after being politicized by the occupation, those candidates used the authoritarian elections to prolong their challenge. They ran to prove that the occupation, though it had failed, did enjoy popular support, thus turning the elections into electoral “moments”: eruptions of civic energy. Their campaigns were also direct challenges to the existing parties. However, they were constrained by electoral logic. Candidates therefore devised various tactics to justify their decision, and to differentiate themselves from conventional candidates.
Why and How Umbrella Movement Participants Ran in the Authoritarian Elections in Hong Kong: Bringing Umbrellas Indoors
Chit Wai John Mok is a Ph.D. candidate in the Department of Sociology at the University of California, Irvine. The author is grateful to Edwin Amenta, Yang Su, David S. Meyer, Samson Yuen, Ma Ngok, UCI Social Movement/Social Justice workshop, numerous colleagues at the UCI Department of Sociology, and the anonymous reviewers for invaluable feedback on earlier drafts. Previous versions of the paper were presented at the third Mobilization-SDSU conference and the Pacific Sociological Association 2019 annual conference. This study was supported by UCI’s Long U.S.-China Institute, Center for Asian Studies, and Center for Global Peace and Conflict Studies. Email: <email@example.com>
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Chit Wai John Mok; Why and How Umbrella Movement Participants Ran in the Authoritarian Elections in Hong Kong: Bringing Umbrellas Indoors. Asian Survey 3 December 2020; 60 (6): 1142–1171. doi: https://doi.org/10.1525/as.2020.60.6.1142
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