Review: Monthly Local Struggles

The people-eating, pollution-shitting conglomerate which is industrialized Japan today reminds you of a great bloated hippo straddling the country and crushing the people.

The fore legs of this colossus are represented by the government, the hind legs by big business. When people here struggle against the danger and destruction caused by rampant economic expansion, therefore, they are taking on the full might of the political status quo in this country.

The variety of resistance movements which have nevertheless sprung up all over Japan to fight for basic human survival is only comparable to the variety of murderous excrescences inflicted upon the Japanese people by industrial plants which operate with the open or concealed approval of the government. The degree to which the Japanese people have realised the need to take the future into their own hands before it is too late (for some it is already too late: the 100th pollution death since 1970 in Amagasaki, near Osaka, occurred in November) has to some extent become known outside Japan through the struggles against the New Tokyo International Airport at Narita, and the fight to squeeze compensation for the victims of Minamata Disease out of the smelting company responsible.

A prominent role in publicizing these local struggles and in providing a link between different struggle groups is played by the monthly magazine LOCAL STRUGGLES (CHI-IKITÕSÕ). This magazine, put out by a local group which names itself after Don Quixote's horse Rossinanti, has been published without interruption since October 1970. An average issue contains about 15 pages dealing with a problem selected for consideration that month, such as the anti-pollution struggle in one particular area or the education of children to understand the reasons for pollution; a 'notice board' section giving details of meetings, victories, new struggles and so on; on-the-spot reports from struggle areas such as Narita; reports from local groups; discussions of new publications; readers' letters etc.

The editorial statement reads: "All manuscripts should be from people actually involved in struggle; 'reportage', critiques, and scholarly studies are not welcome. The independence of each struggle group, and the right to open criticism within this magazine are guaranteed. We have absolutely no links with any one political party or faction. The funds to produce this magazine are provided by the capital invested in Rossinanti Press on an individual basis at 5000 yen per share. Anyone is able to buy such shares.

The drawback to Local Struggles as a liaison medium is that being monthly, and with the added problem of distribution outlets, much of the information concerning forthcoming meetings and so on is out of date before it reaches the readers. A move towards fortnightly and eventually weekly publication is essential for this part of its role to be fully exploited.