China's Infrastructural Capitalism and Infrastructural Power of Labor : The Making of the Chinese Working Class

Ngai PUN*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Journal PublicationsJournal Article (refereed)peer-review


This article anticipates a political project that underlines China's infrastructural capitalism and the infrastructural power of labor in the making of the Chinese working class. This project embarks a re‐departure of the left movement after the Jasic struggle, which inspired a rebirth of global Marxism and Maoism that attempts to confront the failure of the first wave of socialist movements and the neoliberal turn of global capitalism. Meeting this historical conjuncture, this project is situated in the legacy of the Chinese Revolution and its firmly held belief in the class struggles of the working masses who fought for a vision of communism since the early 1920s. As part of a global project in preparation for the new wave of emancipatory movements, this project is also located in a global anti‐capitalism movement and attempts to overcome the parochial and nationalistic approach of existing Chinese Marxism. Specifically, the author conceives that Chinese capitalism has entered a new age of monopoly supported not only by new phases of high technology but also, more importantly, by state power in constructing infrastructural bases such as building projects, new economic zones, highways and high‐speed railways, digital platforms, and logistics, both internally and externally, to reproduce expanded capitalism, resulting in fierce imperial battles among global powers. The article conceptualizes this historical process not only as “infrastructural capitalism,” a term that vividly embodies the materiality of expanded capitalism, but also the infrastructural power of labor to take root.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)341-369
Number of pages29
JournalPositions: asia critique
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - May 2024


  • left movement
  • radicalism
  • Chinese Revolution
  • infrastructural capitalism
  • Chinese working class


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