Online archive of Libero International, the English-language journal about Asian anarchism published by the group CIRA-Nippon in Kobe, Japan from 1974 to 1980.
CIRA-Nippon was a Japanese group compiling an archive of documents related to anarchism based on the International Centre for Research on Anarchism (Centre International de Recherches sur l'Anarchisme - CIRA) in Switzerland. Their work is now continued in Japan by CIRA-Japana.
These articles were taken from the Negations website archive of Libero International. Below is the introduction from that site:
This site contains articles from Libero International, a journal published by CIRA-Nippon from 1974 to 1980. Although CIRA-Nippon and its journal no longer exist, I have posted these articles to help English speaking radicals learn about the history of Asian anarchism and to preserve the memory of CIRA-Nippon, one of the more remarkable projects in recent anarchist history.
I received the copies of Libero International from Phillip Billingsley, who was active in CIRA-Nippon. I have posted these articles with his permission. I have not attempted to copy the aesthetic of the original Libero International in the design of this site.
May 25, 1999
(Updated on July 21, 2006)
Note: in cases where a replica of characters used in Libero International would have a required a special download (for myself and site visitors), I have tried to create a close approximation.
Libero International introduction
A leaflet produced by CIRA-Nippon, an anarchist group in Japan, outlining their history and intentions at the start of the 1970s. It also introduces their publication Libero International.
It is about three years ago that we first knew about C.I.R.A. in Lausanne through OZEKI Hiroshi. The idea of C.I.R.A. took hold of us, and then our efforts to have a "C.I.R.A." in Japan began.
As you will see in the following short report, "C.I.R.A-Nippon" is just in its infancy. It will take much trouble to prow up and to go on somehow or other.
We will open the library of C.I.R.A.-Nippon to the public, especially to those who work or study for anti-authoritarianism, anti-statism, libertarianism and anarchism. We want to make it a library which can help those movement. For this purpose, there are left many works. And one of them is to get the informations of movements and groups of all over the world, which have the same purposes as we and those whom we want to serve, that is, which aim the libertarian world.
We hope you are interested in C.I.R.A.-Nippon add help us. In fact, we have unfortunately only narrow channels of the informations of foreign movements and they are not sufficiently spreaded.
Please write us the letters. And please send us your periodicals, bulletins and pamphlets. All those periodicals and pamphlets you kindly send to C.I.R.A.-Nippon shall be put to good use. They shall be opened to public. Any useful informations of yours shall be translated or summarized and put in "Libero Monthly".
*** *** ***
We have set up the section for international correspondence. This section shall treat practical affairs with foreign friends.' It is settled for a while in Kobe for our practical reason. At the same time we decide to publish "Libero International" as its organ. Through this we will send you the informations in Japan.
Again, we sincerely hope that you are interested in C.I.R.A.-Nippon and help it. First of all, please tell us about you; what you aim, what you are doing now, how your bulletins are, what kind of pamphlets etc. We thank you for say information of yours.
And we will give you any information you want as far as possible.
It is the solidarity with the friends all over the world that we want.
C. I.R. A. -Nippon (SfIC)
*** *** ***
CIRA-Nippon was established about three years ago in answer to an appeal done in October, 1970. Since then, its construction has been continued with the co-operation and supports of many comrades.
Our Purposes .....
The purposes of CIRA-Nippon are
For these purposes, we began to work in 1971, and the stack room was built in the summer of the same year. Since then our main works have been collecting them in order.
Present Position .....
Now CIRA-Nippon has a stack room about 30m2 large in Fuji-no-miya, 2000 books, many pamphlets, reviews and leaflets. The books and pamphlets are going to be arranged.
In last December, we got a detached house used as work-shop, reading-room and lodging, which makes our working very smooth. But unfortunately, we can not open our library to the public yet.
We also had two seminars in July, last year and in this July-August. Since September 1973, we have published the correspondence paper "Libero Monthly" and we also publish a review "Anarchism" (first two issues were published under the title "Libero") every two months (Now four issues published).
More than ten volunteers, whose leader is Mr. RYOH Buichiroh, the caretaker of the stack room, take charge of a portion of the management. The works and management are supported by the volunteers' autonomous activities. Once a month the regular meeting is held by the volunteers concerned.
For the widespread and continuing development answering the purposes of CIRA-Nippon, advices and suggestions are given by Mr. OHSAWA Masamichi, Mr. HASEGAWA Susumu, Mr. MUKAI Kou as our advisers.
Problems in Future .....
The most important problem of CIRA-Nippon in its forth year is completing arrangements to open it to the public. The second problem is to get other new land and house, partly because it is expected that in near future we shall get more books than the present stack room can receive and partly because the present physical condition is not sufficient to open CIRA-Nippon to the public.
Including these two problems in future, we should:
The second problem will be achieved through some steps. The first stop is to begin copy services of literatures, for which we have bought an electronic duplicator. For the time it can not but be put place to use books and literatures under some restriction.
The Problems in Near Future .....
Now we have shown you the progress till now and the problems in future very shortly. We will next report the works of CIRA-Nippon in the fourth year, that are what we are going to do. Those we report you in the following are confirmed in the two regular meetings which were held in last December and January.
Our basic works are:
- Arrangement of books, literatures etc.
- Making out the book catalogue.
- Setting up a section for international correspondences in order to
- collect the informations about foreign anarchist and libertarian groups and their activities.
- send the appeals end correspondence
- exchange the materials.
''Libero Monthly" and "Anarchism"
"Libero Monthly" has begun to be published as the correspondence paper of CIRA-Nippon. But now we have the new editorial department in Kyoto and has been published as an independent information paper since No. 14. Now 20 issues have been published. First two issues of "Anarchism" were published with the same name as "Libero Monthly". Since No. 3 the title has been changed to "Anarchism", which is published every two months and has a summary of two pages in Esperanto. Now four issues were published.
-- Some Notices on This Leaflet ~
Please send all your letters, pamphlets and periodicals etc. you kindly send to CIRA-Nippon to the Section for International Correspondence (SfIC) in Kobe.
CIRA-Nippon is an independent library corresponding to CIRA in Lausanne. It to settled in Fuji-no-miya but SfIC in Kobe for our practical reason. The address of SfIC is in page 2.
- This leaflet shall be published every four months. For a while most of its articles will be translations of those published in Japanese.
- It is English, French, German that we understand rather easily. We also read Spanish and Esperanto.
But we are willing to receive your pamphlets and periodicals written in any language.
- we will try to answer your questions and requests, and when they are too big for us to answer, We'll try to give you some information.
CIRA-Nippon aims collecting the literatures, documents, materials, periodicals, bulletins and so on published in both past and present on the ideas and movements of anti-authoritarianism, anti-statism and libertarianism, putting them in order, preserving them and opening them to the public.
CIRA-Nippon is made up of members who agree to its purposes and its activity and who pay their membership fee (more than 2000 yen per year).
(Working Body and Management)
July 1st, 1974 CIRA-Nippon
"Libero International", our little organ, is going to start now. It will not, perhaps, have the force of taking such a light flight as Jonathan Livingstone, that famous seagull. But soon, it will, we hope, have such force strong enough to connect us with our foreign friends all over the world. We hope sincerely that, through this leaflet, we can get good solidarity with you.
Libero International No.1 (January 1975)
First issue of the Japanese journal Libero International.
PDF courtesy of Sparrows Nest Archive, Nottingham.
A Note on Libero International
If the activities of anarchists in the west have been overshadowed and overwhelmed by those of opportunistic politicians and premature revolutionaries, those of their Asian comrades have been almost obliterated.
The experience of Asia in the first half of the 20th century, where the predominant trend was the nationalist struggle against foreign control, demanded that revolutionaries of all creeds pool their resources in the fight against imperialist domination. This has made it difficult to assess the range of political activity which took place in each individual country. In China the movement was upstaged by the Communist Party, following the success of the revolution in Russia; in Japan the assumption of the trappings of a bourgeois state after 1868 created social-democratic trends in the labour movement very early on; in Korea, efficient control by the Japanese occupation authorities after the 1910 annexation drove most political activists out of the country to Japan and China, where their energy, particularly that of the anarchists, often merged with that of the local movement.
Nevertheless, taking each country individually, there was much more variety of political belief than is immediately visible. Anarchism was an important element in all three countries. Many of the Chinese intellectuals who later founded the Chinese Communist Party had originally been anarchists, and the labour unions organised by Mao Tse-tung in his native province in the 1920s were in fact built on existing anarchist ones. The first intellectual to declare himself independent of the pacifist and Christian tendencies in Japan was the anarchist Kõtoku Shüsui, while the Oriental Socialist Party (founded in1881), Japan's first socialist organisation, was comprised largely of anarchists and was heavily influenced by the Russian Narodniks. Koreans exiled in Japan formed many anarchist and anarcho-communist groups among students and workers, many of the latter tending towards syndicalism, although the tenacious nationalist fostered by forty years of rule by Japan persuaded many anarchist groups to attempt to work within the political structure.
Part of the reason for launching Libero International has been the belief that the facts about the energetic libertarian history of Asia should be marshalled and made available for Western as well as Asian comrades. Much of the historical material will be based on translations of existing materials in Chinese, Japanese and Korean. At the same time, we will try to bring together the general threads of the Asian situation by producing chronologies, summaries, book reviews, biographies, and so on.
Libero International will not be entirely given over to historical material, however. As a general rule, we will try to divide historical and current material on a fifty-fifty basis, on the principle that although the struggle for human dignity now being waged throughout Asia is of crucial importance to a world free of political, racial, economic and psychological oppression, it is equally essential for libertarians to become acquainted with the history of that struggle. Much of the current material will come from Japan, where this magazine is being produced, and where most of our contacts are. For information from other parts of Asia we rely upon comrades to write to us and tell us of conditions where they are active.
By confining the above notes on Asia to the three countries of China, Korea and Japan, we don't mean to invite any assumptions, but simply to express the limits of our knowledge and experience. Once again, we look forward to hearing from comrades with knowledge or experience of historical or current struggles in other parts of Asia. The primary focus of Libero International will be on libertarian movements, broadly defined, both historical and current.
Other things which Libero International hopes to achieve are, first, an annotated list of the few available English language writings on Asian libertarian movements; second, to keep abreast of publications in Asian languages and, by summarizing or reviewing them, make their contents more internationally available; and third, to introduce the activities and viewpoints of local libertarian groups to non Asian readers. Yet again, we rely on the cooperation of comrades to let us know about English-language materials and to send us information about local activities in Asia.
* * * * * * *
CIRA-Nippon is a federation of autonomous libertarian groups, one of them being the Section for International Correspondence (SfIC), which is a small group of comrades living in the Osaka-Kobe area. As the name suggests, the SfIC works as the communication link between domestic anarchist groups associated with CIRA-Nippon, and various groups outside Japan. To achieve its aims of enhanced international communication, understanding and, hence, solidarity, the SfIC has three main functions:
- to deal with the day-to-day correspondence between groups outside Japan and CIRA-Nippon;
- to publish news and materials concerning the anarchist movement in Japan and East Asia;and
- to translate or summarize published materials received from outside Japan so that they may be made more readily available to our comrades in the movement here.
Publication of Libero International is meant to achieve the second aim. We are hoping that libertarian publications outside Japan will agree to an exchange of literature, to help us in achieving the third. Materials which are new or largely unknown in Japan will be summarized, translated, etc., by SfIC, after which they will be sent to Fujinomiya to become part of the CIRA-Nippon collection (see introduction to CIRA-Nippon in this issue). We hope that our friends overseas will be interested in not only receiving Libero International and what other pamphlets and materials as we may produce, but will also help us in making information relating to their theory, practice and experience as widely available in Japan as possible.
Our present plan is to publish bi-monthly. Future issues will probably be about the size and format of this one. Sole editorial responsibility for the contents lies with the Editorial Collective of the SfIC, the publisher. Correspondence relating to the contents, requests for further information, subscription inquiries, or letters dealing with other matters relating to the anarchist movement in Japan and Asia, should be addressed to the SfIC, whose address appears on the back cover.
Anarchists and the May 4 Movement in China
By Nohara Shirõ (translated by Philip Billingsley)
The rise and fall of practical activities
How did the anarchist students initially seek to realize their plans for social reconstruction? The activities of the 'Work-and-Learning Mutual Aid Corps' (Gongdu huzhutuan) movement, which spanned a period of some six months following the Corps' founding at the end of 1919, were one example.1 Centred on Beijing University students and supported by Hangzhou students from the Zhejiang New Tide group, members included the founder Wang Guangqi, Luo Jialun from Beijing, and Shi Cuntong and Fu Linran from Zhejiang. Financial support was provided by several well-known intellectuals including Cai Yuanpei, Chen Duxiu, Hu Shi, Li Dazhao and Zhou Zuoren.2 The movement also seems to have sprung up among students in Shanghai and Tianjin.
What the Corps students did, basically, was to promote in one small corner of Beijing a self-sufficient group lifestyle in which members, in addition to their studies, would work at least four hours a day, contributing their income to a pool which paid for living expenses and other outlays. Some opened printing shops, restaurants and laundries for students and teachers; others even tried selling handicrafts and so on. While there was little to distinguish this superficially from the life of the average student, their programme was in fact a sincere effort to tackle the problem of what was to become of China in the post-May 4 era. Believing that the class contradictions in society stemmed from the separation of mental and physical labour, they sought to create, by their own efforts in one isolated enclave, the prototype of a new society in which the two would be reunited, and from where they could begin to spread their influence to society at large. Wang Guangqi summed up their aspirations in issue No. 7 (January 1920) of their magazine Work-and-Learning Mutual Aid Corps:
The Work-and-Learning Mutual Aid groups are the embryo of the new society, and the first step in the realization of our ideals .... On paper we advocate a social revolution every day, but we have yet to begin to put it into practice. Our mutual aid organization is just the starting point for our real movement.... If it is successful, we can gradually expand it and simultaneously begin to realize the ideal of 'from each according to their ability; to each according to their needs'. This movement should indeed be called 'a peaceful economic revolution'. 3
Similar ideals were invoked in an article in issue No. 2 (August 1919) of Young China (Shaonian Zhongguo).4 Entitled 'My Plan for Creating a Young China', it too advocated the establishment of 'Small groups':
We must escape from the confines of the old society and head wll~ for the wilderness and forests, where we can create a truly free, truly egalitarian association. Then, by promoting economic and cultural autonomy through cooperative labour, we can cut ourselves off completely from the corrupting influence of the old society. After that we will set about the rebuilding of the latter on the pattern of our own society. Unlike the socialist parties of Europe, we do not declare war on the old society by the method of armed insurrection.
Strongly reflecting the influence of the currently-popular 'New Village' movement of the Japanese utopian Mushanok6ji, the group's proposals ultimately amounted to a mere caricature of the concept of 'uniting with the toiling masses'. Yet these students threw themselves dedicatedly into the work they chose, and, when Hu Shi dismissed their typical 'poor student', haphazard ways of making ends meet as no different from those of American students, they must surely have been deeply resentful.5 )
The previously-mentioned Work-Study Society of Beijing Higher Normal School, on the other hand, openly advocated anarchy, and made a fundamental distinction between their own doctrine of work-study and the position of the Mutual Aid Corps. Still, there was nothing to choose between them as far as practical activities were concerned, and both experiments ultimately ended in disappointment. Shi Cuntong, in a self-critical piece, described the failure of the Mutual Aid Corps as follows:
Present-day society is organized on a capitalist basis, and the capitalists keep a firm grip on all capital resources. There is absolutely nothing we can do about that, and to imagine regaining control of those resources is a mere pipedream! Pitting our feeble strength against such a treacherous, vicious society as this-how could we but be defeated? We tried to rebuild society, but found we could not even penetrate it, even after creating the Work-and-Learning Mutual Aid Corps. Rebuilding society? It was never even on the cards! From now on, if we want to rebuild society we must plan to do it wholesale and from the very roots!
Piecemeal reforms will get us nowhere. As long as society is not reformed at the roots, no experiments in new lifestyles are possible. So long as such experiments fail to distance themselves from everyday society, it follows that they will always be under its sway, and consequently come up against countless obstacles. The only way around this is a joint uprising of the peoples of the whole world, which will uproot those obstacles once and for all... 'To rebuild society, we must gain entry into the capitalist controlled means of production. ' This is our conclusion.6
Dai Jitao too, then a supporter of Marxism, looked back on the failure of the Mutual Aid Corps and counseled the students to go into the capitalist-controlled factories where, toiling side by side with the workers, they could then try to seize their leadership.7
Accordingly, a number of the more serious anarchists, among them one Huang Ai, began to throw themselves into syndicalist activities. In May 4 days Huang had been a Tianjin Students' Union delegate. Subsequently, at a joint preparatory meeting for the 'May 30 Petition Movement" Huang clashed bitterly with the General Secretary of the Beijing Students' Union Zhang Guotao over the advisability of such a movement.8 He and his supporters' position - that even though it would not achieve much in itself such a movement would effectively expose Premier Duan Qirui's collusion with the Japanese, prevent direct Sino-Japanese negotiations on the Shandong question, and awaken the entire people to the situation -eventually triumphed. Huang was arrested twice during the May 4 agitation, and early in 1920 returned to his native Hunan province in central China. There, in November he and another comrade named Pang Renquan organized the syndicalist Hunan Workers' Association (Hunan laogonghui) in the provincial capital of Changsha.9
The Japanese historian Suzue Gen'ichi writes of another incidence of syndicalist organizing activities:
In Shanghai there was an organization known as the Chinese Wartime Labourers' Corps (Canzhan Huagongtuan), a section of which showed syndicalist tendencies. In practice, though, the part it played was minimal, and it amounted to little more than a loose group of Chinese workers of various kinds linked solely by the fact that they had all worked along the French border during the war in Europe. There was very little of the labour union about it, whether of the industrial or the craft variety.
On the other hand, there was also a second group of French returnees, the Diligent Work and Frugal Study Association (Qingong jianxuesheng tuan) students. Sent to France after the war ended through a scheme arranged by Wu Zhihui to help poor students, on arrival they had found their lives to be all work and no study, and had promptly returned to China. Among them were not a few who had been deported for their attempts to form a communist party while in France, but many others had returned as syndicalists, and were becoming involved in practical activities.10
This latter group evidently owed something to the influence of the New Century Society formed in Paris at the end of the Qing dynasty by Wu Zhihui and Li Shizeng, but little is known about the actual activities of either of these two factions.11
Meanwhile, following the foundation under Comintern auspices of a Chinese Communist Party (CCP) core group in Shanghai in May 1920, similar communist groups were established in Beijing, Wuhan, Changsha, Jinan and Hangzhou, as well as in Paris and Tokyo (the names varied from place to place: some were simply called Societies for the Study of Marxism),12 and members began to apply themselves to the task of organizing labour unions. The following 2ol or three examples were typical. In mid-1920 the Shanghai group established in Xiaoshadu a Workers' Spare-Time School, where they began political education classes in Marxist theory; in November and December of that year China's first communist-led labour unions, the Shanghai Machine-workers' Union and the Shanghai Printers' Union were formed; and in January 1921 the Beijing group followed with another Workers' Spare-Time School in Zhangxindian leading to the establishment of the Zhangxindian Labour Union that May.13 With the membership of these groups as its nucleus, in July 1921 the CCP was finally inaugurated, followed by the Chinese Labour Union Secretariat, whose avowed role was to promote the development of the labour movement by setting up workers' organizations and directing strikes.
During this period, arguments between anarchists and communists continued unabated even within the communist groups. The Beijing group, for example, originally numbered Huang Lingshuang, Ou Shengbai, Yuan Mingxiong and other anarchists among its members. During discussions on the provisional draft for a general party programme which the group had independently drawn up, however, Huang and the others fiercely opposed a clause advocating the dictatorship of the proletariat, and in the end withdrew from the group. As anarchists they were all in favour of revolutionary activities, meaning direct political action that negated the present system; they rejected totally, as strategies for the pre- and post-revolutionary periods respectively, both parliamentary politicking and the seizure of political power leading to a dictatorship of the proletariat under a revolutionary government.
In line with this kind of reasoning, the anarchists, unlike the communists, sought to promote the labour movement independently of everyday political activities. This debate was the keystone of the anarchist-communist struggle in all countries; in China, like elsewhere, it never managed to get beyond the realms of abstract polemic. To go into the details of the argument would be extremely tedious, and I propose to ignore it.14 Even in Guangdong, where Shifu's influence persisted, the same conflict took place, and eventually the anarchists either withdrew from the communist group or were converted to Marxism.
Let us now pick up the string of Huang Ai's story once again. After returning to Hunan in June 1920, as I have said, Huang and Pang Renquan set up the Hunan Workers' Association (HWA) in Changsha in November. Its aims were to raise both the living standards and the educational level of local workers. The original membership consisted of students, mostly from Huang's and Pang's alma mater, Hunan Jiazhong Technical School. Gradually, technicians and workers of the No. I Textile Mill and the local mint joined, followed by construction workers, machinists and barbers. By the time of the December 1921 strike at the No. 1 Textile Mill, some 4000-5000 workers were said to be under the HWA's influence. This was perhaps the largest of all the workers' organizations established by the anarchists.15 The mill, founded in 1912 under joint management of officials and merchants, had been brought to a standstill by successive years of warlord conflicts, though its doors remained open. In the meantime the Hua Shi company, a Hunan capitalist concern, had colluded with the local warlord to acquire the management rights to the mill. Since the company's policy of importing capital and technology from other provinces had aroused the common resentment of Hunan's industrial, commercial and educational circles, the HWA achieved great popularity when, in April 1921, it began an all-out struggle to restore the mill to the Hunanese.
Just about this time Mao Zedong was also setting about organizing Hunan's workers, though his efforts to alter the direction of the HWA did not readily bear fruit. To the Marxists' contention that government was necessary provided it was established by the workers themselves, the HWA retorted scornfully that whatever the government it would be no different from warlord rule. Mao, unabashed, continued patiently trying to convince selected workers. At the same time as supporting Huang's and Pang's fight against the warlords and capitalists, Mao candidly criticized their anarchist activities and finally, after mutual discussions, managed to call a halt to some of their more radical activities. His proposal that the HWA be reorganized to admit the collection of membership fees and other formal procedures was also accepted, and soon it began to look like a regular organization.
The Hunan branch of the CCP was probably founded in the first half of 1921, and by the end of that year Huang and Pang are said to have joined the Socialist Youth Corps (Shehui zhuyi qingniantuan) set up at the same time.16 Shi Yang, another one-time believer in anarchism, had already changed his mind. After conducting on-the-spot investigations of working people's conditions and examining the problems of improving their livelihood, he had concluded that anarchy was but the product of a utopian dream, incapable in practice of liberating the working class; the idea of free organizations and federations in which people would work only according to their abilities and take whatever they desired, while a noble ideal, gave no suggestions for its practical realization. The only concrete and reliable programme, he had apparently come to feel, was that offered by communism.17 The change of heart experienced by Huang and Pang was perhaps similar: even the most minor economic struggles should be taken immediately into the political arena; without such a combined struggle not even the basic goal of improving the workers' living standards can be achieved. For them, that is, as people who had done actual battle with conditions in China, the anarcho-syndicalist rejection of political activity had ceased to have any meaning18
Not long after these events, spurred by the Nine-Power Treaty passed at the Washington Conference,19 the HWA organized an opposition rally followed by an anti-imperialism demonstration in which several dozen organizations and some ten thousand people, workers and others, took part. Mao Zedong, following the inauguration 'of the CCP, thus increased his efforts at cooperation with the HWA. In January 1922 the workers at the No I Textile Mill struck in support of their claim for a year-end bonus. Huang and the other anarchists began agitating to ensure the strike's success, but fell into the hands of Zhao Hengti, the local warlord who had been bought off by the Hua Shi company, and met an untimely end at his hands.20
Following these executions and the forced closure of the union which ensued, the leadership of the HWA fled to Shanghai, Tianjin, Hankou and other cities where they began the task of reconstruction. From that point on, however, their activities were solely concerned with resisting the CCP-controlled labour organizations. In Changsha, following the successful strike by construction workers and others in 1922, many former HWA workers began to join the CCP. Some, however, were bought off by local warlords, and others were later used in an attempt to destroy the great Shanghai strike which followed the May 30 Incident of 1925.21
On April 10 1924 the Labour Union Secretariat initiated an all-faction congress of labour unions in Shanghai, but the meeting was marked by constant and violent conflicts between Marxists and syndicalists. The Hunan anarchist delegate, Chen Xiaocen, was probably one of those who had fled the province following the execution of Huang and Pang. As usual, the syndicalists proposed a motion that unions should not engage in political activities, and fought bitterly against unification of the unions in the hands of the Marxists. Finally, they walked out of the congress altogether."22
Thus it was that anarcho-syndicalist strength within the Chinese labour movement all but disappeared.23 Huang Lingshuang, one of its principal proponents in the post-May 4 era, left soon after to study in the USA and, after receiving a Ph.D., became professor of sociology at Zhongyang University. Subsequently, it is said, he became a lesser light in the right-wing 'CC Clique' of the Nationalist Party.24 With other anarchists simply melting away and what have you, it was a dismal outcome to the movement. The ideological role played by anarchism, however, is a topic altogether separate from the fate of individual anarchists, and deserves further examination.
A man named Li Dazhao
The anarchist-bolshevik controversy in China reached a crescendo between the establishment of the first communist groups in May 1920 and the inauguration of the CCP in July 1921. The principal arguments unfolded in the pages of the magazines New Youth (Xin qingnian) and The Communist (Gongchandang), the latter a monthly put out by the Shanghai communist group.25 The self-styled bolsheviks, however, at the beginning at least, cannot be said to have consciously differentiated themselves from the anarchists; on the contrary, some of them even interpreted bolshevism in terms of anarchist premises. A good example, as we shall presently see, was Li Dazhao, a typical Chinese intellectual who worked ceaselessly and dedicatedly for the cause of the Chinese revolution from the end of the Qing dynasty, through the 1911 revolution and the May 4 Movement, right down to the amalgamation of the Nationalist Party and the CCP in 1924.26
During the stage of the anarchist-bolshevik debate, as was the case in every other country, the anarchists' criticism of the bolsheviks, centring on their demands for absolute liberty, rejection of political methods, opposition to proletarian dictatorship and centralized authority, and advocacy of an ideal society based on mutual aid, liberty and labour, raised from the latter no more than equally abstract, Marxist formulations. For the people of China, who since the revolution of 1911 had learned to mistrust all politics, they carried but little weight. Only after the sacrifice of Huang Ai and Pang Renquan and the struggle at the 1st Chinese Labour Union Congress, followed by the laying down of a tentative plan for the reconstruction of China at the 2nd Congress of the CCP in July 1922, did the bolsheviks begin to extract themselves from this quagmire:
The proletariat's support of the democratic revolution is not equivalent to its surrender to the bourgeoisie. It is a necessary stage in putting an end to the feudal system and in nurturing the actual power of the proletariat. We the proletariat have our own class interest. Even if successful, the democratic revolution would bring only some minor liberties and rights; it would be no total liberation. Indeed, the success of the democratic revolution will merely allow the bourgeoisie, at present in its infancy, to develop more speedily, and put it in an antagonistic position regarding the proletariat. When that stage is reached, the proletariat must launch the second stage of the struggle, allying with the poor peasants against the bourgeoisie to establish a dictatorship of the proletariat. If the organization and fighting power of the proletariat have been sufficiently strengthened, our efforts in this second-stage struggle, following on from the victory of the democratic revolution, will surely bear fruit.
The CCP is the party of the Chinese proletariat. Its aims are to organize the proletariat and, by means of class struggle, to establish a dictatorship of workers and peasants and abolish private property, so as to arrive at a communist society. The CCP, in the immediate interests of the workers and poor peasants, should lead the workers to support the democratic revolutionary movement and promote a democratic united front of workers, peasants and petty bourgeoisie. 27
With this manifesto, not only was the popular post-1911 political apathy overcome at last; it also marked the bolsheviks' first successful dissociation of themselves from the anarchists.
Let us now return to the beginnings of this process. As I have said many times already, the thinking of the earliest communists was heavily laced with anarchism. This tendency can be discerned, for instance, in Li Dazhao's October 1918 essay 'The Victory of Bolshevism' -regarded as one of the earliest Chinese Marxist texts. According to the 'bolshevik' proposals presented there, everyone regardless of their sex will be required to take part in labour, and all working men and women must organize a single federation in which membership will be compulsory. Each federation must have a supreme central council, and those councils must organize governments for the whole world. Instead of secret committees, parliaments, presidents, premiers, cabinets, legislatures and rulers, there will be only the councils of the workers' federations, with whom all decisions will rest. All industrial concerns will become the property of those who work in them, beyond which there will be no property rights at all. The bolsheviks, uniting the propertyless poor of the whole world, will utilize the latter's powerful resilience to build a free homeland for everyone. The first stage will be a Federation of European Democracies, a base upon which to build the World Federation. This is the meaning of bolshevism.28
There is a common thread linking this proposal with the Beijing University Students' Weekly statement already mentioned, which foresaw how "workers of the whole world, irrespective of national boundaries, would organize labour boards at strategic points which would take over the duties historically assumed by so-called governments. " As a matter of fact, just before the previously-quoted passage in 'The Victory of Bolshevism', there is a paragraph in which Li states that "the revolutionary socialist party of the bolsheviks, with Marxism as their standard, will strive to smash the national boundaries which today stand in the way of the growth of socialism". In similar vein, part of Li's January 1919 piece 'New Era' went:
In the future, a drastic change will affect the system of production. The working class, united across the world, will set up a single rational association of producers, break down national boundaries, and overthrow the capitalist class everywhere. Their weapon will be the general strike.
To put it bluntly, Li's interpretation of bolshevism was essentially no different from the programme envisaged by the anarchist Huang Lingshuang when he wrote in the second issue of Progress (Jinhua, Feb. 20, 1919) that "the new tide in today's world is the great anarchist revolution". For that matter, certain contemporary opinions even attempted to explain the May 4 Movement entirely in terms of the effect of anarchism and other theories upon the students.
This apparently cosmopolitan trend in Li Dazhao's thinking recurs throughout his writings, and the following passage is a good example of what was to be for him a constant preoccupation:
Our demand right now is for a free, liberated self, and for a world in which people can love and be loved without obstacle. The motherlands, social classes, and racial distinctions which now stand between the self and the world are obstacles to evolution and interference in our daily lives, and must be done away with one by one. ('The Self and the World', in Weekly Critic (Meizhou pinglun) No. 29, July 6 1919).29
The May 4 Movement is directed against the aggressive policy known as 'Pan-Asianism', and does not harbour any deep animosity toward the Japanese people themselves. We reject all those, Japanese or otherwise, who use force to stifle people's rights. I believe it inappropriate to view this movement as no more than a patriotic one. Rather, it is but one part of a movement to liberate all of humankind. Friends, if we proceed with such a vision in our hearts, we will be helping to bring about the happiness of future generations! ('Talk at the Anniversary Celebration of the Citizens' Magazine, in Citizens' Magazine (Guomin zazhi) vol. 2 no. 1, Nov. 1919)
This theme, that a movement for the liberation of humanity implied a movement for liberation from world imperialism, is made explicit in the following passage from Li's article titled 'Secret Diplomacy and the World of Robbers' (Weekly Critic No. 22, May 18 1919): "The reason why Japan can flaunt her aggressive policies around the world is simply that the world today is a world of robbers!"
However, was Li Dazhao's cosmopolitanism the same as that of anarchists like Wu Zhihui? Far from it, for beneath Li's approach, which otherwise resembles that of the anarchists so closely, lies a theory of national liberation. It can also be perceived in his piece titled, Pan-Asianism and New Asianism', published in the Citizens' Magazine vol. 1 no. 2, Jan. 1 1919:
From the general drift of world affairs, there is little doubt that in the future the United States will construct an American Federation, and Europe a European Federation. We in Asia too must create a similar organization. Together these will provide the basis for a World Federation. Asians must join together in espousing a 'New Asianism' in place of the 'Pan-Asianism' advocated by some Japanese which, based on Ukita Kazutami's idea of a Sino-Japanese alliance, is intended to bolster the status quo. Our proposal is based on national liberation, and assumes fundamental social change. The peoples of Asia, now in the thrall of foreign annexation, will be liberated and become capable of self-determination. From there they must build one big federation, providing the third corner of the triangle alongside Europe and America. Then all three will cooperate in forming the World Federation, and so advance the well-being of all humankind.30
At the time of the '21 Demands' controversy in 1915 (see Part One), Li Dazhao was a student in Japan. Towards the end of that year, on behalf of the Association of Chinese Students in Japan, he wrote 'A Letter of Admonition to the Elders of the Nation' in which he began by describing in detail the foreign powers' invasion of China. After that he explained the disastrous crisis now confronting the country, exposed the real nature of the '21 Demands', and urged his elders, brothers and sisters to lose no time in joining hands to defend the beautiful mountains and rivers and the glorious historical tradition of their motherland. Later on, in a passage which unashamedly revealed his nationalistic yearnings, he recalled his departure for Japan:
Not long ago I left my homeland and sailed east across the sea. The sun set into the wind-lashed waves, all was a Jadecoloured moment. Once past the Yellow Sea the land of Korea came into view. I looked to glimpse some trace of our 1894 debacle [i.e. in the Sino-Japanese War of 1894-51, but all was swallowed in mist. I could only listen, the angry waves a doleful roll of drums as the waters flowed eastwards. It was as if the lonely ghosts of those who had died for China had buried their hatred there.
Xu Deheng recalls in his 'Recollections of May 4' how impressed he had been by Li Dazhao, who during 1918-19 had backed the Shanghaibased National Salvation Corps of Chinese Students in Japan, wrote constantly for the Citizens' Magazine, and was the only intellectual to consistently support the student movement from the students' own standpoint. At the time of May 4 itself, because Li had grasped the relationship between the Chinese people and the rest of the world in terms of anti-imperialism, he never became a mere chauvinist or cosmopolitan.31 Accordingly, while the May 4 New Culture Movement is generally said to have been destructive of China's native cultural traditions, Li displayed a somewhat different attitude. With regard to the criticism of Confucius, for example, Li advocated the overthrow not of Confucius himself but of the power bestowed on him by the idolatry of generations of rulers. ('Natural Ethics and Confucius')
These points presented problems for the anarchists. They too had voiced their opposition to the foreign powers' invasion of China, but in their case, since it stemmed from their abstract position of resistance to all arbitrary power, it never developed into straightforward national sentiment. From their standpoint, naturally, such things as race and tradition did not even merit consideration. The Reality Society's Notes on Liberty, for example, declared its rejection of such concepts as 'patriotism' and 'national essence' (Issue no. 2, 'Revolution and Conservatism') . In the Liu Sifu Commemoration Issue of Progress, too, we read:
Happily, not only did Liu Sifu not manifest the typical characteristics of Chinese civilization; on the contrary, he fervently hated them, and by overcoming them managed to preserve the spirit and the dignity of anarchism. ('The Reason for Publishing a Liu Sifu Commemoration Issue')
Although many other factors entered into it, this was surely a major reason why anarchism as an ideology, unable to adapt to the revolutionary ferment enveloping all China, went into a sudden decline.32
Nevertheless, as even a Chinese scholar has confirmed, anarchism left behind it one remarkable contribution to Chinese thought.33 During the early years of World War I, as Germany's armies went from victory to victory, ideas like the following enjoyed a vogue in China:
At the root of the world lies the will to live, and the struggle for existence forms the true core of evolution. States grow out of the will to live, while militarism is the extreme manifestation of the struggle for existence. In the past the great powers were constrained by mountains and seas, and contacts between them were rare. Each possessed its own territory and people, and, since their boundaries did not touch, conflicts between them were not violent. However, the modern age brought considerable easing of communication and increasingly frequent contact between the powers. As their economic systems also expanded, the struggle for existence grew accordingly more fierce. The end result was militarism, which sprang up to meet the demands of the time. The only way for nations of this age to protect their boundaries and their peoples is militarism. The only way to avoid- becoming the slaves of others is to take the road of militarism. The world today is a militaristic world. (New Youth, vol. 2 no. 3, Nov. 1916)
The theory of natural evolution imported into China since the late Qing period, as well as inspiring Liang Qichao's 'Theory of National Imperialism', had been highly stimulating for the nationalists of that period.34 Under the conditions of May 4, however, by which time the Chinese people were suffering under the crushing burden of warlord rule, it naturally had the adverse effect of promoting feelings of inferiority and defeatism, and of encouraging a trend toward militarism which supported the warlords' attempts to impede the democratic movement. Ultimately, the variety of Social Darwinism that grew up in China, since it contained elements of both determinism and fatalism, in fact became an obstacle to the development of revolutionary theory. Li Dazhao's essay 'New Era' provided a critique of these problems:
Up to now all the natural evolutionists have been telling us about the 'survival of the fittest': that the strong must prey on the weak; that the weak must sacrifice their right to life and happiness to preserve the position of the strong; that the strong must eat their fellows and the weak be eaten by them, etc. But today the fallacies of this argument have become abundantly clear. Biological evolution depends not on struggle but on mutual aid. If humanity desires life and happiness, we must love one another, not use force to exterminate one another.
Furthermore, as Germany's initial run of victories turned to defeats, and as revolution spread from Russia to Germany and then to Austria, Li saw the cast-iron proof of his case in the ongoing disintegration of the 'survival of the fittest' society which had been the original cause of the war.
The starting point for this new interpretation of evolution had been Kropotkin's 'theory of mutual aid'.35 This is clear from Li's article 'Class Struggle and Mutual Aid' (Weekly Critic No. 29, July 6 1919), which also raised a new and quite separate problem. Li, as a Marxist, felt compelled to unify the principles of mutual aid with those of class struggle. In no way a pure Kropotkinist, he began with Marx's dictum that "all history to date is the reflection of class struggles", acknowledged the role played by class struggle in the pre-history of humanity, and proclaimed that the one racking the world at present was the last they would be required to undergo. Unless this last struggle was definitively carried through, however, the world of mutual aid of the proletariat, in which that principle would reach its highest expression, would not be reached. Moreover, Li asserted, even in the pre-historical period the evolution of the social fabric had been brought about by the moral dictates of mutual aid in conjunction with class struggle. The ideal society would therefore be attained by means of one final class struggle in tandem with an upsurge in the spirit of mutual aid - in other words, through a combination of material and spiritual remoulding.
Present-day Chinese scholars have attributed this standpoint to Li's so-called "dualism", on the grounds that his thinking had yet to be fully permeated with Marxism. However, in another article titled 'From Vertical Organization to Horizontal Organization' (Emancipation and Reconstruction- Jiefang yu gaizao, vol. 2 no. 2, Jan. 15 1920), we read that "vertical organization" -i.e. all organization based on exploiters and exploited, rulers and ruled-is created through force; while "horizontal organization", such as in China's case the various federations formed by students, teachers, merchants, workers, peasants, women and so on as a result of May 4, is created through love. Horizontal organization, the article continues, uses the spirit of mutual aid to resist vertical organization. To overthrow vertical organization is emancipation; to establish horizontal organization is reconstruction.
In saying that the individuality of every oppressed person would also be restored through the liberation struggle of horizontal versus vertical organization, as we noted earlier, Li Dazhao was displaying his reluctance to treat the problem of the individual separately from that of the organization, from that of the whole. That is, individuality too was to undergo ideological reconstruction so as to bring about the spirit of mutual love based on class affinity: in other words, "all for one and one for all". Therefore, when he explained the meaning of reconstruction as the establishment of horizontal organization, he implied also ideological reconstruction. And so Li Dazhao's theory of 11 material change combined with ethical change", however rudimentarily developed, was an early hint of the thought reform movement later to become one of the most remarkable features of the Chinese revolution. With such a conception of individuality, needless to say, ideological reconstruction could not stop at mere closet enlightenment.
As a thinker, Li Dazhao was quite out of the ordinary. Spencer, Tolstoy, Kropotkin, perhaps even Dewey, all found a temporary lodging side by side with Marx within his mind. There was even a time when none of them could be easily singled out. This was what made Li stand out even among May 4 intellectuals. Neither-and this too was remarkable -could Li be labeled a mere haphazard, opportunist syncretist. By way of the May 4 Movement, Li Dazhao became aware that the task confronting the Chinese people ever more clearly with each passing day, that of striving for both national independence and democracy for the labouring poor, was closely connected with the fate of humankind and of the world at large.
At the risk of repetition we can put this another way: after absorbing the impact of the October Revolution in Russia, Li Dazhao then turned out, not a paean to Pure Marxism, but the idea of a "toilers' democracy" (see his article 'Victory of the Poor'). One might even say that this formed the very core of his thinking; any consideration of Li's post May 4 Political development must therefore take this idea into consideration. Li Dazhao, that is, from this new standpoint, became convinced that the age-old problem facing the Chinese people - national independence and prosperity - could be solved only in conjunction with a movement to liberate all of humankind.
On the basis of this conviction, Li Dazhao freely adapted and put to use any and all theories. For instance, in appraising the failure of the Work-and-Learning Mutual Aid Corps, he did not advise total rejection of their programme, but merely pointed out the number of obstacles posed for such an experiment by the urban environment, and advised instead that it be tried out in the countryside. ('The Weakness of the Work-and-Learning Mutual Aid Corps in the Cities', in New Youth, vol. 7 No. 5, April 1 1920)36 Unlike Hu Shi, Li took the Corps' experiment as a serious attempt to build the new society. Though one of the very first to initiate the study of Marxism, therefore, Li Dazhao did not assume its correctness from the start. Rather, while taking part-sometimes directly, sometimes indirectly-in practical activities addressed to national problems, and while simultaneously investigating other political doctrines, he began only gradually to lean towards Marxism.37
Appendix: Huang Ai & Pang Renquan in Hunan
Huang Ai and Pang Renquan were products of the introduction of technical education to China during the 1910s, representing a new class of working intellectual quite different from the philosophical variety that had dominated traditional Chinese society. They were thus able to bridge the gap between mental and physical labour (as well as that between the practitioners of each kind of labour) much more easily than their predecessors had, and as a result became leading figures in the early Hunan labour movement. Huang, after graduating from the Jiazhong Technical School in Changsha, had gone to Tianjin to continue his education and there become involved in the May 4 agitation. Pang had remained in Changsha and had taken part in the successful popular movement to oust the bloodthirsty provincial warlord Zhang Jingyao.
While working in Changsha factories as technicians, both Huang and Pang had become involved with local anarchists. Later they organized a workers' reading society, which in November 1920 was formally reorganized into the Hunan Workers' Association. The founding meeting was attended by representatives from the printers, tailors, mechanics, foundry workers, dyers, miners, surveyors, rattan and pottery workers' guilds, though most of the original seven thousand members, at the outset at least, were technical students. In these early days, moreover, since local merchants wielded much more control over the Association's executive than the anarchists did, the organization fell far short of being a syndicalist union.
The struggle at the No. 1 Textile Mill in Changsha had first begun in March 1921, but had been easily bought off by the mill-owners. Indeed, over and above the struggle by the workers at the mill was a battle for control between Hunanese and non-Hunanese capitalists. Conditions at the mill were appalling: ten people slept to a small room in the dormitories, the walls of which, through a lack of toilets, were lined with piles of excrement. The food was inedible, beatings were frequent, and the pay was barely enough to live on. Several workers did indeed die on the job rather than ask for sick leave without pay. After the strike began in April, Huang Ai was arrested and hold in jail for a month, but the owners were forced to admit some of the strikers' complaints. Despite the limited nature of the victory won at this stage-which included few gains for the workers themselves - this was one of the first instances in China. of organized labour actually achieving some of its demands. Marxists all over the country, until then concerned only with education and study of theory, began to prick up their ears. Among them was Mao Zedong.
Towards the end of 1921 a general movement began in Changsha to secure a bonus to offset reductions in pay or non-payment of wages. In January 1922 the mill workers demanded an extra month's salary. The management refused, the workers struck, and mill guards were palled in to disperse them. Two workers were killed in the melee, and when the others refused to call a halt to the strike warlord governor Zhao Hengti, a major shareholder in the mill, called in troops. After martial law was declared within the mill compound the workers began passive resistance, refusing to work, and finally the management asked Zhao to force a solution. Zhao promptly summoned Huang and Pang Renquan for "negotiations", but as soon as they arrived rested them and threw them into jail. They were executed before dawn the next day, and their heads were publicly displayed.
Although the Hunan Workers' Association was banned after this most of the strikers' demands were met. Non-Hunanese were oust from management positions and a New Year bonus was paid, yet conditions in the mill remained abysmal. Elite supporters of the union were given control over the mill ownership, and were thus able to sup press any hint of a revival of labour activity in Changsha until 1926.
From January to October 1921 the HWA published its own magazine, The Workers (Laogong). At this stage the union, though it led several actions in Changsha, did not favour a general strike, and the magazine reflected its moderate position. After October it was succeeded by the Workers' Weekly (Laogong zhoukan), in which Huang's and Pang's anarchist ideas were much more strongly reflected. Because of its radical position, however, the paper had to be distributed secretly to workers. From No. 14 on, after the suppression of the HWA, it was put out in Shanghai.
Following the Changsha tragedy the HWA's members scattered throughout the country, and various publications subsequently appeared dedicated to the memory of the two martyrs, including Sacrifice of Blood (Xuezhong) in Shanghai and !! (a double -exclamation mark) in Tianjin. In 1926, after the capture of Changsha by the armies of Jiang Jieshi's Northern Expedition, the HWA was revived and a new paper, Resurrection (Fuhuo), began to appear.
Huang's and Pang's deaths made them the Chinese labour movement's first martyrs, and tribute was paid to them from every quarter. Zhou Enlai, who had worked with Huang in Tianjin as a student organizer, wrote a special poem to their memory, and Li Dazhao wrote an article praising their role as "pioneers of the working class". Mao Zedong also added his voice. In later years, however, Mao was to be less charitable towards the pair, claiming many of their successes for himself. Relating his life story to Edgar Snow in 1936, he described the Hunan events as follows, and his version was faithfully transcribed in Snow's Red Star Over China.
In May 1922, the Hunan party, of which I was then secretary, had already organised more than twenty trade unions among miners, railway workers, municipal employees, printers and workers in the government mint. A vigorous labour movement began that winter.... Most of the big mines were organised, and virtually all the students. There were numerous struggles on both the students' and workers' fronts. In the winter of 1922, Chao Heng-t'i ... ordered the execution of two Hunanese workers, Huang Ai and P'ang Yuan t him. ch'ing, and as a result a widespread agitation began against Huang Ai, one of the two workers killed, was a leader of the rightwing labour movement, which had its base in the industrial school students and was opposed to us, but we supported them in this case and in many other struggles. Anarchists were also influential in the trade unions, which were then organised in an All-Hunan Labour Syndicate, but we compromised and through negotiation prevented many hasty and useless actions by them. (stress added)
By this time, of course, the label "right-wing" when applied to labour unions or Politicians generally meant "anti-CCP", and "hasty" meant "before Leninist hegemony was achieved".
NB. I have listed here those works which came to my notice too late to be used in preparing the previous instalment of this translation, together with those relevant only to issues raised in this instalment. For a complete bibliography, see Part One, pages 308-10.
- Bailey, Paul: 'The Sino-French Connection: The Chinese Worker-Student Movement in France, 1902-1928', in D. S. G. Goodman ed. : China and the West: ideas and activists. Manchester University Press, 1990: pages 72-102.
- ---- The Chinese Work-Study Movement in France', China Quarterly 115 (Sept. 1988), pages 441-461.
- Billingsley, Phil: Bandits in Republican China. Stanford University Press, 1988.
- Chan, Ming K. and Arif Dirlik: Schools into Fields and Factories: Anarchists, the Guomindang, and the National Labor University in Shanghai, 1927-1932. Duke University Press, 1991.
- Dirlik, Arif: Anarchism in the Chinese Revolution. University of California Press, 1991.
- Luk, Michael Y.L.: The Origins of Chinese Bolshevism: An Ideology in the Making, 1920-1928. Oxford University Press, 1990.
- Summerskill, Michael: China on the Western Front. Self -,published, 1982.
- Zarrow, Peter: Anarchism and Chinese Political Culture. Columbia University Press, 1990.
- 1Hu Shi (see Part One) later claimed that http://libcom.org/node/add/library?parent=3613Mao Zedong had also shown great interest in the Corps at this time (Nohara's note). Recent research has shown that Mao actually considered himself an anarchist until at least the end of 1920.
- 2Shi Cuntong (1890-1970) had become notorious in November 1919 for writing an article in Chejiang New Tide attacking not only filial piety (the basis of the traditional Chinese family) but also Confucian society as a whole. The government accused him of treason, the magazine was suppressed, and Shi moved to Beijing to join the Corps. The following June he went to Tokyo, where he became a founding member of the Communist Party group there; at the same time, however, his contacts with the Japanese anarcho-syndicalist Osugi Sakae convinced him of his anarchist beliefs, and he subsequently became one of the most energetic exponents of the "essential unity of Marxism and anarchism". See Dirlik 1989a: 203-16.
Zhou Zuoren (1885-1968); younger brother of the writer Lu Xun (see Part One), a liberal professor at Beijing University, was also a strong advocate of the New Village Movement mentioned below and in the first part of this translation. For background on the other figures, see Part One.
- 3Wang Guangqi (1892-1936), at the same time as being a prime mover of the Corps, was also a founder and leading member of the Young China Association (see next note). Though basically a liberal, he was then in a strongly anarchist phase and advocated social revolution. He had previously participated in the work-study programme in France.
- 4This was the organ of the Young China Association (Shaonian Zhongguo xuehui), founded in June 1918. Mao Zedong, Li Dazhao, Zhang Guotao (see below) and others of varying political persuasions joined, making it one of the strongest of the May 4 organizations (Nohara's note). After 1920 it split into Marxist and liberal factions. The article cited in the text was by one Zong Zhikui.
- 5See, for example, Fu Linran, 'Before and After May 4' (in Recollections of May 4 - Wusi yundong huiyilu, 1959, p. 170).
- 6Cited from 'Experiences and Lessons of the Work-and-Learning Mutual Aid Corps', in Weekly Critic (Xingqi pinglun) No. 48, May 1 1920, a special May Day issue.
These experiments perhaps offered more to the young people who took part in them, in the form of an escape from their oppressive families, than to the future of China itself. As an exercise in creating new kinds of social relations, they were a high point in anarchist idealism; their failure consequently had dire results for the future of Chinese radicalism, allowing Marxist notions of conflict to win out over anarchist values of mutual aid and cooperation. For a fuller discussion, see Dirlik 1989a: 91ff.
Shi's self-criticism is assessed sympathetically in Dirlik 1989a: 189.
- 7From his 'The Work-and-Learning Mutual Aid Corps and Capitalist Production', in New Youth, Vol. 7 No. 5, April 1920.
Dai Jitao (1891-1949) was a co-founder of the CCP who later defected to become an important theorist on the right of the GMD.
- 8Zhang Guotao (1897-1979) had been a student founder of the Commoners' Education Lecture Corps discussed in the first part of this essay. Later he was to be a co-founder of the CCP, a labour organizer and a Red Army commissar, and would eventually become Mao Zedong's most dangerous rival for the Party leadership. During the 1934-35 Long March when the Communist armies moved their base from southeast China to the north, Zhang lost out in a fierce power struggle with Mao, and finally led a dissident contingent of the force to Tibet. In 1938 he defected to the GMD side, and after 1949 moved to the United States where he spent the rest of his life. Zhang has published an important though self-seeking volume of memoirs titled The Rise of the Chinese Communist Party: the Autobiography of Chang Kuo-t'ao (University of Kansas, 1971-72).
- 9Huang Ai's presence at the debate is recalled by a communist veteran of the May 4 Movement, Zhang Jinglu, according to whom Huang (then using the name of Huang Zhengpin) was "the most vociferous detractor" of Zhang Guotao's proposals, and "resolutely insisted" that the petition march go ahead "regardless of the consequences". Since Huang was then acting as a student radical rather than as an anarchist, Zhang Jinglu's assessment of him is as positive as his attitude toward the party renegade Zhang Guotao is negative. Regarding Huang's later activities (see below), he reluctantly admits that Huang had "considerable success" in organizing Hunan workers, but explains that he was subsequently "reformed by Chairman Mao" and "took refuge in Marxism". The fact that Huang's successes were achieved through syndicalist. methods is completely ignored.
- 10In contrast to this Shanghai group, returnees in Guangzhou (Canton) used their experiences to organize 26 new unions, later considered among the first modern unions in China.
Almost 200,000 Chinese workers were sent to France after 1917 to help the Allied war effort, building roads, railways, factories, barracks and arms depots, and sometimes handling the dead (they were not considered sufficiently trustworthy to be put in uniform). For details, see Michael Summerskill, China on the Western Front (self-published, 1982).
Not all the 'coolies' who came back from Europe got involved with workplace organizing, by the way; most of them had no place to work except for those who found jobs as rickshaw-pullers. Many of them seem to have turned to what was then more or less a staple sideline in China: banditry. In May 1923, for example, the luxury 'Blue Express' from Shanghai to Beijing was derailed and several foreign captives taken for ransom along with scores of Chinese. The negotiations over the former's release lasted several months, and the 'Lincheng Affair' as it became known developed into an international cause celebre (it later inspired the 1932 Greta Garbo film Shanghai Express, directed by Josef von Sternberg -screenplay published in 1973 by Simon & Schuster). Most of the media, both in China and elsewhere, treated the affair as no more than yet another of the 'bandit outrages' for which China was then so notorious, but certain sources have pointed to a minority political faction within the gang, some of whose members spoke French, a fact which seems to link it almost unquestionably to the returned wartime labourers. The group (which according to reports may also have had connections to Sun Yatsen's radical movement) held out for a political solution to the incident, demanding the resignations of rapacious warlords and rejecting the time-honoured pattern of merely demanding a cash ransom for the prisoners.
How far the attack on that specific train had been planned is not clear. One of the passengers, named Lucy Aldrich, was actually the niece of the American millionaire John D. Rockefeller, but if the bandits were aware of this they certainly did not exploit it, for the women and children among the captives were released almost immediately. Eventually most of the gang were enrolled in the local military, in accordance with their leaders' demands. A few months later those leaders themselves were quietly bumped off and their followers chased back into the mountains -presumably in retaliation for the 'loss of face' the local army commanders had suffered over the affair. What became of the political faction, meanwhile, has never been investigated. For more details, see my book, Bandits in Republican China (Stanford University Press, 1988: page 73).
Suzue Gen'ichi (1894-1945) was a Japanese writer and activist very close to the Chinese labour and revolutionary movements. He wrote several books based on his intimate knowledge of Chinese affairs, including a biography of Sun Yatsen and a history of the proletarian movement. The citation here is from his History of China's Liberation Struggle (Chugoku kaihõ tõsõ shi).
- 11The link between the New Century Society and the post-war work-study scheme was the Society for Frugal Study in France (Liu-Fa jianxuehui), founded by Wu, Li, and others in 1912 (for information on these figures, see Part One). Its principles were very close to those of the Society for Promoting Virtue and the Conscience Society (see Part One).
The Society for Frugal Study in France also helped conclude contracts for the Chinese recruits sent to serve in France, who as a result came to enjoy all the liberties of French citizens, including (perhaps thanks to pressure from the then-syndicalist French CGT-General Confederation of Workers) that of forming trade unions (this would probably also account for the syndicalism of the Shanghai organization). Although the first recruits consisted entirely of illiterate workers, little by little teachers and students came to be included, principally as interpreters, and by 1918 their numbers had reached almost 30,000. (One of them was the anarchist author Ba Jin; for details, see Olga Lang, Pa Chin and his Writings: Ch. 6). The consequences for the Chinese mass movement were huge, for this was the first time that intellectuals had had the chance to live side by side with workers and to establish relationships of trust with them. Several industrial and social organizations were formed in France as a result, and between 1916 and 1918 there were at least 25 strikes by Chinese workers protesting against industrial conditions there.
Incidentally, the communist organization formed in France was not a party as such but a preparatory cell known as the New People's Study Society. Many of its members, however, were ,people who would take place in the founding of the CCP in July 1921.
The work-study programme reached a peak in 1921 when 1,000 or more students were sent to France, and anarchist activities continued among students and workers in Paris until well into the 1920s. In January 1922 the Chinese monthly After Work (Gongyu) was established, and put out 23 issues before October 1925 when it was merged with the Shanghai magazine Free Person (Ziyouren) following its editors' return to China. After Work (edited initially by the two sons of CCP leader Chen Duxiu, who until 1923 were among the most active anti-bolshevik polemicists) attacked the communists in France (represented by Zhou Enlai) on the grounds that the workers and peasants in the Soviet Union had actually lost their freedom since 1917, and that the Chinese communists were misleading the labour movement. These were perhaps the same students whom the Japanese anarchist Osugi Sakae tried to organize during his visit to Paris in 1923. For details on 6sugi's trip, see the small magazine Libero International No. 5 (Sept. 1978), available from the present translator. For details on the work-study scheme, see Paul Bailey, 'The Chinese Work-Study Movement in France', China Quarterly No. 115 (Sept. 1988), 441-61, and Scalapino and Yu 1961: pages 44-54.
- 12The original Shanghai group, for example, took this name, though it seems to have included more anarchists than communists at the beginning. In those early days of Marxist activity, the meaning of 'Marxism' was extremely broad. As late as 1921 Marxian socialism was being acknowledged by Chinese communist leaders as including orthodox Marxism (represented by Kautsky), revisionist Marxism (Bernstein), syndicalism, guild socialism, and bolshevism (Lenin and Trotsky). There were even some who considered bolshevism to be a faction of anarchism rather than of Marxism because of its militant tactics; others saw socialism as comprising two branches: collectivism (Marxism) and communism (Kropotkinism). It's not so surprising therefore that we find so many anarchists in at the founding of the CCP and working on the local communist groups, magazines and so on. The differences were sorted out within a year or two, under the influence of the returned students and of Comintern emissaries, but for a short period there was a genuine mood of revolutionary solidarity in China. Following the ascension of the communists it was never to return. For a discussion, see Dirlik 1989a: Ch. 8 and 10.
Some examples of this collaboration can be traced. The original Beijing nucleus of the CCP, the Society for the Study of Marxist Theory (based on the membership of the Commoners' Education Lecture Corps discussed in Part One), was almost exclusively anarchist when formed in September 1920. Before their final decision to walk out in November, these anarchists took responsibility for worker-oriented propaganda. According to Zhang Guotao's autobiography noted above, in those early days the anarchists were strong enough to insist on and secure a non-hierarchical form of organization for the group. The Guangzhou branch too, formed at the same time as the Beijing one, was almost totally anarchist. Its weekly magazine The Worker (Laodongzhe), first published in October, promoted anarchism, with contributions from Huang Lingshuang on the general strike and the role of labour unions in the revolutionary struggle. The Workers' World (Laodongjie) of the Shanghai communist group (later renamed The Communist, Gongchandang) also carried, among others, an article by Huang Ai on the founding of the Hunan Workers' Association (issue 17).
- 13Zhangxindian had already been the site Of an anarchist- organized preparatory class for students intending to go to France on the work-study programme. The communist school was presumably built upon this basis. Many of the students who supported the school's activities were former members of the Work-and-Learning Mutual Aid Corps. Situated along the Beijing-Hankou railway line, the town already had a strong nucleus of militant railway workers who had recently been organized into a union by Zhang Guotao.
- 14In actual fact, a classic in the way of political exchanges took place in 1920-21 between the Marxist Chen Duxiu and the anarchist Ou Shengbai, Originally carried in the magazines New Youth arid People's Voice, an English summary is given in Scalapino and Yu 1961: pages 55-59. For an astute discussion, see Dirlik 1989a: Ch. 10, especially pages 234-45.
For the communists, the attack on anarchism was intended more as a means to purify their own ranks than as an attack on political rivals. At this stage of the revolutionary movement the debate was still conducted in very friendly terms, focussing upon the means to achieve political change rather than the end. Fundamentally it was a clash between social and cultural revolution: the communists' rejection of the cultural revolution-type thinking that had characterized the May 4 period (see Part One) reflected not only changes in the political climate but also their growing loss of faith in the ability of the classes they claimed to represent to change their circumstances without coercion from above. In this sense the victory of bolshevism in China has to be seen as the failure of the egalitarianism and idealism that had characterized May 4.
- 15Anarchist and syndicalist labour organizations of the mid-1920s were somewhat stronger than is generally supposed. Even after control over most of the movement had fallen into the hands of the communists, anarchists continued to be active (see, for example, letters to the London anarchist journal Freedom, mentioned in Lang 1967: page 300). In 1925, for instance, anarchists predominated in the Shanghai-based Confederation of Labour Associations (Gongtuan lianhehu), said to comprise 37 unions with 50,000 members. The Confederation was anti-bolshevik and tended towards syndicalism, for which reasons it has been consigned by Beijing to the dust-heap of history and included among the so-called "yellow unions" in, Chinese labour movement histories. It published its own periodical, the China Labour Herald. Even the veteran communist labour organizer Deng Zhongxia admitted later that the anarchists, despite their reputed decline, remained a significant influence over the Chinese working class for ten years, and were a force to be reckoned with by the communists until as late as the mid-1920s.
In Guangzhou it was 1925 before the communists were able to make any headway in the labour movement at all, so strong were the anarchists there, and Chen Duxiu, first Secretary-General of the CCP, refused to allow the Party centre to move there on the grounds that "anarchists are all over the Place" (quoted in Dirlik 1989a: 214).
Incidentally, Pang Renquan is the same individual referred to in Edgar Snow's Red Star Over China as Pang Yuan-ch'ing (see also below, appendix).
- 16Rather than a formal branch of the CCP, which was not set up until July 1921, the organization mentioned was probably a Marxism Study Society. The SYC too, largely established in the aftermath of the anarchist-bolshevik split, was more or less a communist front.
Anarchists have always denied the claim that Huang and Pang joined the SYC, and even some communist writers avoid stating categorically that they did so.
- 17Shi Yang was also known as Zhao Shiyan. Born in 1900, he had been an active student leader during May 4, and after working with the Commoners' Education Lecture Corps in Beijing in 1920 went to France on the work-study scheme. Forming a branch of the SYC in Paris, he led students there in a protest against the Nine-Power Washington Treaty (see below), and in December 1921 helped found a CCP cell with Zhou Enlai. Back in China he was one of the most active organizers of the 1927 strike which took over Shanghai, helping form pickets to take over the city from the warlord government. When Jiang Jieshi turned against the workers, however, Zhao was arrested and executed together with Chen Duxiu's son Yannian.
- 18It is not clear from Nohara's text whether this remark is being attributed to Huang and Pang themselves, to Shi Yang, or to some other source (Nohara himself?). At any rate we have to be careful of reading too much into this so-called "change of heart". For anarchists of the time, the crisis was not so much one of belief as one of organization: in other words, it was frustration born of the inability to get themselves organized rather than loss of faith in the ideas of anarchism themselves that caused many anarchists to move towards the CCP, which they saw as the only available vehicle for carrying out the social revolution they advocated.
- 19The Washington Conference was held from November 1921 to February 1922. The Nine-Power Treaty passed in the latter month agreed in principle to respect China's territorial integrity and political independence, but did nothing in practice to alter the privileged position of foreigners themselves in China. To further incense nationalistic Chinese, Japan retained its railway and other rights in Manchuria and Shandong, and was allowed to strengthen its naval position in the Pacific.
- 20Anarchism had been as influential in Hunan as anywhere else in China at the time, and Changsha anarchist groups included the Youth Study Society, the Health Bookstore, the Hunan Rain and Poetry Society, the Enlightenment Society, and the Young People's Club. Anarchism, via Kropotkin's federalist ideas, also had a strong effect on the Hunan self-government movement which Mao Zedong espoused for a time in 1920 (see Angus McDonald, 'Mao Tse-tung and the Hunan Self-Government Movement', China Quarterly No. 68, 751-77). A detailed account of Huang's and Pang's role in the Hunan struggle may be found in the Appendix to the present translation.
- 21The 'May 30 Incident' was the shooting by British police of Shanghai workers protesting conditions in Japanese factories that had led to the death of one female worker. The protest movement that ensued developed into a protracted boycott of foreign products and series of strikes which took up where the May 4 Movement of 1919 had left off.
Nohara's allegation of strike-breaking by the syndicalists follows the argument set out in the Beijing publication, Introduction to Periodicals of the May 4 Period (see Part One), particularly Book 2, pages 153 ff, and is a good illustration of the care required in handling such materials. Reading between the lines of that publication, it becomes clear that what the syndicalist unions did was to encourage the strikers to act on their own initiative rather than follow CCP directives. The slaughter which followed the communist-organized 1927 strike (see below, note 95) showed the correctness of their position.
- 22Chen Xiaocen, a veteran of the Tianjin, Awakening Society (see Part One), had indeed worked on the Workers' Weekly in Changsha. He was also a strong supporter of women's rights, working on several magazines which took up that position. After 1922, after belonging briefly to the SYC, Chen was active in the Shanghai Confederation of Labour Associations mentioned above, and in 1926 was asked to return to Changsha by the provisional government there to organize a labour movement to counter the Leninist-controlled one. For this Chen has been castigated ever since as a "scab" organizer (gongzei) in orthodox historical materials, but by 1926 everyone opposed to the CCP's position of centralizing the labour and political movements under its own leadership was being called either "scab" or "Trotskyist". Unfortunately, historians of the Chinese labour movement have all tended to accept uncritically Beijing's descriptions of its enemies, resulting in a distorted version of the country's revolutionary history.
- 23As these notes have already pointed out, syndicalist influence in the labour movement, though certainly weaker after the mid-1920s than earlier, did not decline quite as rapidly as communist materials have suggested. The HWA continued to affiliate to the Shanghai Confederation mentioned above, and their refusal to take part in communist-organized bodies, I was told by veterans of the struggle, was natural given the latter's intolerance of other factions. Allowing themselves to be taken under the communists' wing would have been tantamount to suicide, they pointed out, and the presence of several old anarchists in the upper ranks of the GMD suggested that that party would be more amenable to syndicalist demands than the communists could be. Indeed, for a time in the late 1920s, following the establishment in 1927 of the Shanghai Labour University, it seemed as if that might even be true. See the previous instalment of this translation, pages 305-6. For a detailed study, see Chan & Dirlik 1991.
Outside the labour movement, too, anarchist groups continued to exist all over the country, following the establishment in August 1923 of an Anarchist Federation. In that year a list of existing anarchist groups appeared in the Beijing daily Sea of Learning (Xuehui), whose contributors included Huang Lingshuang, Ou Shengbai and Jing Meijiu. In 1922 the paper had reprinted the polemic between Ou and Chen Duxiu mentioned above, as well as carrying translations of Osugi Sakae, Kropotkin, Tolstoy, Bakunin, Oscar Wilde, Romain Rolland, Emma Goldman and others, all in the short space of nine months between October 1922 and its closure in June 1923. According to the paper's investigation, admitted to be incomplete, the following anarchist groups existed in China: Sichuan - Fit Society, People's Voice Society, Half-Moon Society, Equality Society, Light Society, People's Vanguard Society, Common Society, Youth Mutual Aid Corps, Red Society, Action Society, Levelling Society, Benefit Society; Beijing - Anarchist Alliance; Nanjing - Peace Society; Shanghai - Dao Society; Hubei - Light Society, Humanitarianism Study Society; Guangzhou - People's Voice Society. Other groups not mentioned included the Red Heart Society, Black Labour Society, Free Women Society, Chinese Village Movement Society, Beijing Daobao Press, Cock-Crow Society, Dawn Society, and the Village Movement Alliance.
One of the longest-lived and most influential of all the anarchist groups was that which formed around the People's Bell (Minzhong; also referred to in English as the People's Tocsin). Co-founded by Ou Shengbai and Huang Lingshuang in July 1922, the group continued to publish its magazine until July 1927, first in Guangzhou and later in Shanghai. Its aims were to establish an "anarchist-communist society", and to fight against the four "principal enemies of the Common people", namely: state and government (citing Bakunin); private property and private ownership (citing Proudhon and Kropotkin against Marx); religion (citing Marx and Nietzsche); and the family (citing Edward Carpenter and Emma Goldman). People's Bell also published translations of many Western and Japanese anarchists. Contributors included, apart from Ou and Huang, Liang Bingxian, Li Shizeng, Wu Zhihui, Jing Meijiu, and Ba Jin. Many of the founder-members had previously worked with Shi Fu (see Part One), and volume 2, number 3 of the magazine was a special Shi Fu commemoration issue.
Another important journal of the time was the Mutual Aid Monthly (Huzhu yuekan), founded in Beijing in March 1923. It rejected all forms of power and authority, severely criticized Sun Yatsen and Chen Duxiu, and opposed the imminent union of the CCP and the GMD (a Moscow-inspired tactic to give the former a chance to seize power by tying it to the bourgeois -revolutionary forces represented by the latter; the two parties were united in 1924, but the alliance was reneged by Jiang Jieshi's coup against the Shanghai workers in 1927). In 1923 Mutual Aid Monthly conducted its own investigation of the state of the anarchist movement in China, and listed 21 different organizations. It also estimated that up to 1923 more than seventy anarchist books and periodicals had been published, not counting translations. For an overview of the situation up to the late 1920s, see Dirlik 1991: pages 10-26.
- 24Huang Lingshuang remained one of the most active anarchists in China until the mid-1920s, when he went temporarily to the United States to study sociology at Columbia University. He subsequently returned to China to teach at the Shanghai Labour University, and f 1nally threw in his lot with the GMD right wing as an evil preferable to working with the communists.
- 25The Communist, successor to the Workers' World mentioned earlier, published several articles on anarchism, often enthusiastic ones. They included 'Kropotkin's Manifesto to the Workers of the World', which appeared in issue no. 3, April 1921.
- 26Although Li Dazhao never considered himself an anarchist as such, his ideas were fundamentally libertarian, and as we shall see he was later to be profoundly moved by the ideas of Kropotkin. As early as 1917-18, his instinctive reaction to the October Revolution in Russia was basically an anarchist one. Reflecting his early interest in Tolstoy, he welcomed the revolution as a victory for the "common people" that would bring them the "bread" they needed. Biographers such as Meisner, mistakenly equating anarchism with terrorism, have simplistically concluded that Li was opposed to anarchism because of his rejection of assassination, with the result that anarchistic influences on his intellectual development have been underrated, and 'populist' ones emphasized, when in fact they came from very similar Russian intellectual roots. The main thing was that the Russian Revolution was seen as the first social revolution in history (as opposed to mere political turnovers), and because it was the anarchists in China who insisted that a social revolution took priority over the political one, the revolution came almost inevitably to be seen in anarchist terms.
The most comprehensive source of information on Li Dazhao is the above-mentioned Maurice Meisner's Li Ta-chao and the Origins of Chinese Marxism (Harvard University, 1967; Atheneum reprint, 1974). Unfortunately, Meisner's concern with Li's role as a pioneer communist leads him to skirt many of the issues that present Li in a different light, such as the analysis of horizontal versus vertical organization (see below). He thereby ignores much of the libertarianism implicit in Li's thinking. For a more recent and more penetrating critique, see Dirlik 1989a.
- 27Thanks to this opportunist pseudo -ideology, during the 'Great Revolution' of Shanghai in March 1927 when working-class organizations had taken over almost the entire city, the communists were so bewildered by theory that they were evidently unable to see that a social revolution was already under way in the city. They thus refused help from anti-Jiang Jieshi forces and ordered workers, once the city was in their hands, to lay down their weapons and surrender to the armies of the "bourgeois- democratic revolution" led by Jiang. The result, after Jiang unleashed death squads composed of reactionary secret societies and military units on the unarmed workers, was a horrific orgy of blood and cruelty which filled the streets with the rotting corpses of thousands who had trusted the judgement passed down from the CCP's Olympian heights. The aftermath as far as the communists were concerned has been described by the American writer Harold Isaacs, an eyewitness:
In the cities the workers left the ranks of the Communist Party by the thousands. In April 1927, it had been an organisation of nearly sixty thousand members, 53.8% of them workers. Within a year that percentage fell by four-fifths and an official report admitted that the Party "did not have a simple healthy party nucleus among the industrial workers". Thus in their own way the workers passed their verdict on the party that had led them to disaster. They never did return to its ranks. The essentially nonurban character of the Chinese Communist Party, originating in these circumstances, was preserved right up until its conquest of Power two decades later. (The Tragedy of the Chinese Revolution, Stanford, 1961, pages 273-4)
For all that the Maoist line of going to the villages to mobilize the peasants that formed some 90% of the Chinese population was attuned to the real circumstances of the Chinese situation, then, it should not be forgotten that the CCP's reluctant abandonment of the cities was to no small degree a decision forced upon it by its integrity having reached a nadir among the workers there.
The anarchist workers, incidentally, remained aloof from the 1927 strike on the grounds that it was putschist and premature and bound to fail, bringing only suffering to those it was supposed to liberate. They were proved only too correct, and many underlined their better judgement with their own blood nevertheless, but their organizations have continued to this day to be condemned in orthodox histories as "scab unions".
- 28The closeness of 'bolshevik' proposals such as these to the ideas of anarchism may be seen from the fact that the same ideas had already been put forward in the pioneer anarchist magazine Labour (Laodong-see Part One) earlier in 1918 - and in fact were taken directly from the writings of the European anarchists Bakunin and Proudhon. Li's conception of the role of the "bolsheviks" was closer to Bakunin's image of a core of professional intellectuals and agitators moving among the people than to a Leninist vanguard mapping out the path from above. Like Bakunin, that is, Li saw the role of the intellectual as little more than that of a catalytic agent whose activities would release the spontaneous energies of the masses; he attributed no significant role to the vanguard party, and had little concern for party organization as such. His role in the founding of the CCP and the subsequent iconization of him by that party have tended to obscure the many profound differences between Li's thinking and that of Leninist-style revolutionaries.
- 29Weekly Critic (Meizhou pinglun) was begun by Chen Duxiu in December 1918 as an endeavour to inform Chinese people of the events in the Soviet Union (Nohara's note). 37 issues appeared before the Beijing government suppressed it in September 1919. It was one of the first magazines to present a political (rather than cultural) critique of the Chinese situation. Other contributors included Hu Shi and Wang Guangqi.
- 30Many of Li's ideas on internationalism had already been expressed by the anarchist Liu Shipei (see Part One), another Tolstoyan, several years before. Liu had felt that the world revolution would be triggered off by an uprising of the colonial peoples against their imperialist oppressors. To cope with it, the latter would have no choice but to increase their exactions against the proletariat at home, who would then be forced to rise up in protest, thus completing the world socialist revolution. While Li Dazhao has been hailed for this breakthrough in theory, Liu Shipei's contribution, because of his subsequent apostasy, has been forgotten. Liu also took this internationalist position a stage further by insisting that such a world revolution would come about only if links were created with the socialist parties in the developed nations, who would then coordinate the struggle at home.
Ukita Kazutami (1858-1945) was a liberal Japanese intellectual whose book Imperialism (Teikokushugi) had been translated into Chinese in 1895.
- 31In order to incorporate his fierce nationalism into his vision of the revolution to come, Li subsequently developed the curious notion of a "proletarian nation". The theory was that economic changes leading to the impoverishment of China resulted from outside forces, while those in the Western nations arose from internal causes. Hence the suffering of the Chinese people under world capitalism was worse than that of the Western proletariats, who were oppressed only by their indigenous capitalists. Thus "the whole country has gradually been transformed into a part of the world proletariat". In other words, China as a nation had become a revolutionary class, embodying revolutionary ideas, and therefore qualified to participate in the world proletarian revolution even though its own proletariat was almost non-existent.
Although the roots of this kind of thinking were embedded in the ancient concept of China as the centre of the world, Li Dazhao, unlike later right-wing, ex-Marxist ideologues, did not include bureaucrats, "evil gentry" and Chinese compradores representing foreign interests among the ranks of Chinese proletarians. Insisting that -China's internal class struggle be intensified, he condemned Chinese capitalists as fiercely as he did foreign ones, and consistently attacked warlords and landlords although they were theoretically part of the "Chinese proletarian nation". Nevertheless, the contradictions showed through. One result was the massacre of Beijing-Hankou railway workers in February 1923 by the warlord Wu Peifu, with whom Li, in charge of organizing labour in north China on behalf of the CCP, had reached an 'agreement".
- 32Idealistic as the anarchists, projections may sound, they have been borne out by developments in China since 1949. Basically their position was that, unless the entire structure of authoritarian conditioning in the Confucian canon was torn down and a new I society built in its place, any revolution in China, particularly one carried through by a bolshevik party, would merely result in a despotism more sophisticated than ever before. In short, a revolution could only be as good as the forces that brought it about; an organization that behaved dictatorially, both internally and in its relations with other social forces, could never bring about a truly revolutionary, egalitarian society. Whatever they lacked in terms of concrete methods for bringing about a revolution in China, and however overoptimistic they may have been about the possibility of achieving cultural change in a short time, this crucial insight by the anarchists has only now begun to be given the recognition it deserves.
The anarchists lost influence over the revolutionary process in China because, as well as refusing to espouse patriotism (meaning love of the nation-state, which anarchists distinguish from nationalism, meaning cultural or regional pride), they saw that China was not ready for a proletarian revolution and would suffer even more if one were imposed willy-nilly from above. Insisting on the need for social revolution before political revolution, however long it took, they therefore counselled consolidation of the revolutionary forces instead of expending them on useless putsches. As a result, they were submerged not only by the tide of anti-imperialism sweeping the world in the aftermath of World War I , but also by the revolutionary romanticism of the Leninists. The latter, by their slogans of "high tide of the working-class movement" and so on, succeeded in convincing many Chinese workers that the revolution was "just over the crest of the next wave". How many people would be swallowed up by the wave was evidently immaterial to them.
- 33This point is raised by the Chinese scholar Li Longmu in an article titled 'Comrade Li Dazhao and the Propagation of Marxism during the May 4 Period', carried in the magazine Historical Research (Lishi yanjiu) No. 5 (1957), page 12. (Nohara's note)
- 34Liang Qichao (1873-1929) was a historian, philosopher, journalist and politician active in the anti-Manchu movement and subsequently as leader of a reformist party after 1911. For a discussion of his significance, see Grieder 1981: Ch. 5. The importance of evolution theories for Chinese intellectuals in general is also discussed in the same book, especially on pages 148-52 and 245-8.
- 35Mutual aid and federalism had become key planks in the anarchists' platform by 1907. Kropotkin's Mutual Aid had been published in 1902, and was soon translated into Chinese for serialization in the magazine New Century.
- 36Mutual aid and federalism had become key planks in the anarchists' platform by 1907. Kropotkin's Mutual Aid had been published in 1902, and was soon translated into Chinese for serialization in the magazine New Century.
- 37Epilogue: early in 1927 the reactionary warlord then in control of Beijing, Zhang Zuolin, began a purge of radicals in the city. Li and others took refuge in the Soviet Embassy, from where Li continued to issue radical polemics against the Chinese authorities. In April Zhang's soldiers raided the embassy and Li was arrested. He was executed by strangulation soon after.
Nissan Motors: New Developments
The cruel victimization of workers at factories of the Nissan Motor Corporation all over Japan, and the collusion of union leadership and company management in this system, have been painfully described by Matsuo Kei in the Solidarity Pamphlet: DATSUN MOTOR: HELL'S BATTLEFIELD (reprinted from AMPO No. 20, pp 35-47). The facts revealed in this report are an unequivocal condemnation of the Japanese system of 'goyo kumiai' or company-patronized unions.
The latest event in the process of the Nissan company union's assimilation to the state machinery came in a statement of November 1974 by the union leadership announcing that it had decided, "on behalf of the membership", to forego this winter's regular bonus payment. The twice yearly bonus system here amounts to sheer blackmail, and is one of the excuses traditionally offered by Japanese bosses to rationalise the usually miserable wages paid by Japanese firms to their employees. The statement came amid a chorus of whimpering by the major firms that they could not afford to pay bonuses to their workers this year on account of the increasing business slump in Japan. The union leadership is thus clearly acting as the mouthpiece of the management on the issue, seeking to avoid a confrontation like those which have already achieved major gains for workers in other sectors.
The specific line taken by the union statement in renouncing the New Year bonus was that the long-term future of Japan's economy had to be taken into account; in the interests of the nation, therefore, the workers of Nissan Motor had decided to tighten their belts as an example to those of other firms.
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.
Kõtoku Shüsui: Founder of Modern Anarchism in Japan
Kõtoku Shüsui, whose name has become a kind of legend since the war (although in the country town where he was born, people still look embarrassed if you mention his name), was Japan's first real anarchist and the Japanese movement's first revolutionary martyr. At the time when Japan was launching its imperialistic programme, Kõtoku opposed nationalism and militarism despite the popular fervour aroused by the way against Russia in 1904. In 1906 he predicted an eventual war with the US.
He was born in a small country town in southern Japan, one with strong traditionalistic tendencies, in 1871, At the age of ten (!) he began publishing his first political newspaper; at 15 he ran away to Tokyo, but was soon expelled under the new Peace Preservation Law. From the beginning, Kõtoku was a warrior in the samurai tradition. Thus he opposed Christianity at a time when the dominant trend in the Japanese movement was Christian Socialism (his last work was titled 'Rubbing Out Christ'), and never really trusted parliamentary socialism.
In 1893 he got a job translating cables from Europe, so he became familiar with developments overseas. Soon after, his family provided him with a submissive Japanese wife from his home district. Within two months he sent her back and divorced her, saying that she did not match his ideal of a wife.
By 1897 Kõtoku had announced his intention to "investigate socialism". Since he had previously placed responsibility for checking Japan's moral decline' in the hands of a few upright individuals, it was a big step to take. In 1898 he began working for a radical scandal-sheet named Yorozu Chõhõ; as a result of his editorials it became the most popular paper in Japan. At the same time, following the railway workers'strike in 1897, modern Japan's first big labour dispute, Kõtoku saw for the first time the need for union organization and helped form the Rõdõ Kumiai Kisei-kai (Association of Labour Unions), Japan's first body aimed at promoting unionism. Shortly after this, he became a member of the Society for the Study of Socialism along with many future socialist leaders. It was a kind of Fabian Society. Meanwhile, Kõtoku had got married again, this time to an intellectual; it was another disaster.
As a member of the Society Kõtoku grew closer to socialism, though he as yet placed little importance upon the labour movement. Finally, in April 1901 he wrote a famous article under the heading "I am a Socialist and a Member of the Socialist Party". Although there was no such party at the time, a Social-Democratic Party was formed just one month later, only to be banned within hours. Many large newspapers had already printed the party's manifesto however, which, based upon that of the German SDP, had called for Socialism, Pacifism and Democracy, to be achieved within the limits of the law. Pacifism was the offending element: Japan had just defeated China and was preparing a war with Russia. The Social-Democratic, Party was the only one to oppose these trends, and was thus regarded as unpatriotic.
Kõtoku's writings of this time included 'Imperialism: The Spectre of the 20th Century', in which he accused the Japanese government of shifting the people's attention from their economic problems onto foreign adventures. Shortly after, he published 'The Quintessence of Socialism', the leading Japanese treatise on socialism before World War 1. However, he had not yet read Marx, and retained a naive loyalist belief that socialism could be established under the benevolent gaze of the Emperor.
In February 1904 the Japanese Navy launched a surprise attack on Russia. Up to this time, the 'Yorozu Chõhõ' had given Kõtoku and its other socialist writers a mouthpiece for their pacifist views. When circulation began to drop however, the paper changed its line to one of support for Japanese policy, Kõtoku and the others immediately resigned. The result was the 'Heimin Shimbun' (Common People's Paper), which soon became the leading radical paper in Tokyo, until its anti-war position persuaded the government to crack down on the news stands which sold it. In summer 1904, it carried a "letter to Russian Socialists" calling for international socialists to fight a united struggle against militarism and patriotism; 'Iskra' responded with a similar article. Subsequent issues printed articles calling on teachers to strike and denouncing religion. Although the line was predominantly parliamentarian and direct action was rejected, the government grew more and more concerned. Finally, when the paper announced that its anniversary issue would carry a translation of the 'Communist Manifesto', the government acted. The issue was banned, the Society for the Study of Socialism closed, and Kõtoku and the others arrested. The last issue of 'Heimin Shimbun' appeared in January 1905, and soon after Kõtoku began a five-month prison spell.
In prison he translated works by Engels, and then came across Kropotkin's "Fields, Factories and Workshops', his first encounter with anarchism. Under this influence he began to criticise the Emperor for the first time. When he left prison, he decided to travel to America to improve his failing health. In San Francisco he was welcomed by the local branch of the 'Heiminsha', the group which had put out 'Heimin Shimbun', and made contacts with many local anarchists, many of whom were émigré Russian revolutionaries. Later he became a member of the American Socialist Party, and addressed meetings of the IWW. This was his first introduction to the theory of direct action.
His experiences in California convinced Kõtoku that the new trend of world revolution was anarchism; he thus began to advocate direct action and the General Strike. The primitive socialism which briefly followed the great earthquake of April 1906 strengthened his belief; reaction against the radicalism of the Wobblies persuaded him that "there is no country... that pretends to be as liberal, but is in fact as illiberal, as America".
That summer Japanese socialists asked Kõtoku to return to help form a new party, the Japan Socialist Party. Before he left he organized the Japanese radicals of California into the Social Revolutionary Party of Oakland in June. When he got back he announced that his ideas had changed; in the future parliamentary politics were irrelevant to the social revolution - only strikes, leading up to the General Strike would have the necessary effect. Despite the immediate split which this caused in the Japan Socialist Party, in January 1907 the new (daily) 'Heimin Shimbun' began to appear. At the party convention in February, the two sides fought it out; while not strong enough to carry the whole party, Kõtoku's influence was sufficient to prevent inclusion of the phrase "within the limits of the law" in the party platform. A few days later the party was banned, and the 'Heimin Shimbun' voluntarily dissolved in April. Kõtoku left for the country to translate Arnold Roller's 'The Social General Strike', and Kropotkin's 'The Conquest ofBread'.
In November 1907, on the Emperor's birthday, an 'Open Letter to the Emperor of Japan from Anarchist Terrorists' appeared on the door of the Japanese Consulate in San Francisco. The result was the chain of events which led to Kõtoku's execution three years later. While Kõtoku denied responsibility, he was probably influential at the very least. From this point on, the Japanese government decided to have his head. He was placed under constant surveillance and his family was harassed by the police.
In the 'Red Flag Incident' of June 1908 and the repression which followed, almost all the known socialist leaders were arrested. Kõtoku, who had been living in the south for his health, was almost alone and seems to have begun talking about bombs and things. While there is no evidence of a plan on his part, the people he talked to took him seriously and began gathering materials and testing explosives in the mountains in preparation for an attack on the Emperor's life. Two things suggest that Kõtoku was actively involved: one, he was suffering from advanced TB and had only a few years to live anyway; two, the continuing police repression made it impossible to organize constructive revolutionary activities. He seems to have approved the plan, even if he took no active part in the preparations.
The planning continued through 1909 and the date was set for August 1910. In May 1910, in a routine investigation, the police discovered explosive chemicals at the home of one of the conspirators. Within a few days all were arrested, Kõtoku himself being the last, although the evidence suggests that he was more interested in publishing at that stage. The trial, which began in December, was a mystery. It was held in camera and the records have never been made public. Some compared it to the Chicago Anarchists' trial in 1886. Despite the seriousness and complexity of the case, the trial lasted less than three weeks. When Kõtoku arrived at the courtroom, in a dramatic scene, the socialists in the room for the trial judgment unfurled the red flags for him to see.
On January 18, 1911, Kõtoku and 23 others were found guilty of all the charges against them, most of which were "crimes against the throne", and sentenced to death. Before the court was cleared by guards, it rang with shouts of "Long Live Anarchists!" and "Long Live Anarchy!" While twelve of the convicted later had their charges commuted to life imprisonment, those for Kõtoku and the others stuck, and he was hung in the morning of January 24, 1911 after smoking a final cigarette.
Notehelfer's 'Kõtoku Shusui' is a detailed, academic study which, in its attempts to be objective, succeeds in totally destroying the atmosphere which surrounded the early20th century Japanese radical movement. Since it is the only full-length study of a Japanese anarchist in English, it is a very important source. Yet comrades reading it will come away with the feeling that they have learned a lot about Kõtoku's personal hang-ups but very little about the movement itself. Partly this is because most of Kõtoku's activities predated the radical phase of the movement. Much of the book is thus spent trying to relate him to other Meiji intellectuals rather than to other trends in the revolutionary movement. Hence developments in his radicalisation process are dotted here and there amongst a stream of socio-psychological theorising and long quotations. It would be nice if someone from the movement could start from the other end and write a history of the movement which puts Kõtoku in his proper place. At the moment, however, we have to rely on the offerings of academics.
Chronology: The Pre-War Korean Anarchist Movement
[col]DECLARATIONOF INDEPENDENCE CELEBRATED: Tokyo Conference of Assoc. of Japan Korean Students declares Korean independence in name of 'Young Koreans' Independence League'.[/col]
[col]DITTO: at Kyong Sung Dae Wha Park, Seoul, the Declaration is read out; further reading at meeting of students and others at Tab Dong Kong Park marks start of Manse (Long Life)movement.[/col]
[col]PROVISIONAL GOVERNMENT ESTABLISHED: Provisional Government of Republic of Korea established in Shanghai; President Syngman Rhee.[/col]
[col]'BAND OF HEROES' (ElYULDAN) FORMED: at Husain Men-wai, Kirin Province, new group formed to fight for national liberation; members mostly anarchists and nationalists.[/col]
[col]FIRST 'BAND OF HEROES' INCIDENT: Pyungnam local government office; Shin Eiju station; Pusan and Milyang police stations; Korean Governor-General's office; Chongro police station; Dongchuk and Kyum I iron works all simultaneously exploded or bombed by members of the 'Band of Heroes'.[/col]
[col]BATTLE OF CH'ING-SHAN-LI: Korean Independence Army under anarchist general Kim Joa-jin wipes out entire division of Japanese Imperial Army.[/col]
[col]BLACK CURRENT SOCIETY (KOKUTOKAI) FORMED: Socialists among Koreans in Japan form this new anarchist group in Tokyo; main figure Park Yul.[/col]
[col]SHINANOGAWA MURDER CASE: Korean and Japanese activists organize joint conference to protest atrocities against Koreans in Japan.[/col]
[col]BLACK FELLOWSHIP ASSOCIATION (KOKUYÜKAI) FORMED: first all-anarchist body among Koreans in Japan; main figures Lee Si-woo, Chang Soung-chung, Kim Kun.[/col]
[col]SOCIETY OF REBELS (FUTEISHA) FORMED: new anarchist group; main figures Park Yul, Ryuk Hong-kwun, Choi Kyu-chong.[/col]
[col]BLACK LABOUR ASSOCIATION (KOKURÕKAI) FORMED: first anarchist labour union among Koreans in Japan; main figure Lee Kang-ri.[/col]
[col]PARK YUL INCIDENT: massacre of Koreans following Great Kanto Earthquake; Park Yul and ten other Korean anarchists, with Kaneko Ayako and three other Japanese anarchists arrested on false charge of planning to-kill Japanese Emperor; Park and Kaneko given death penalty.[/col]
[col]'NEW PEOPLE'S GOVERNMENT' FORMED: Korean anarchists Kim Joann, Choung Shin, others help organize commune among Korean refugees.[/col]
[col]BLACK FLAG ALLIANCE (HEUK KI YUN MAENG) FORMED: first nationwide anarchist organization in Korea itself established in Seoul; main figures Seo O-sun, Seo Sang-kang, LeeChang-shik.[/col]
[col]TRUE FRIENDS' ALLIANCE (JIN WU RYONG MONG) FORMED: new, powerful anarchist group established in Taegu by Shin Jae-mo, Bang Han-sang, Choung Myong-kun, others.[/col]
[col]TRUE FRIENDS' ALLIANCE INCIDENT: on charges of planning to assassinate Japanese citizens and blow up government offices Japanese authorities arrest entire Alliance membership including two Japanese, Kurihara & Ryakumoto.[/col]
[col]BLACK MOVEMENT SOCIETY (KOKUSHOKU UNDÕ SHA) FORMED: plans to form blanket organization for all Korean anarchists in Japan launched by Won Sim-chang.[/col]
[col]EASTERN WORKERS' ALLIANCE (TÕKÕ RÕDÕ DÕMEI) FORMED: in Tokyo Choi Nak- chong, Choi Hak-ju, Yang Il-dong and others form most powerful organization of Korean workers in Japan at that time.[/col]
[col]BLACK BATTLE-FRONT (KOKUSHOKU SENSEN) FORMED: Society of Rebels renames itself, begins to publish 'Black Friend' (Kokuyü) newspaper.[/col]
[col]MEETING OF JOINT CONFERENCE OF OPPRESSED PEOPLES OF THE EAST: Korean delegates to this conference in Nanking are 'anarchists Yoo Ja-myong, others.[/col]
[col]CASUAL WORKERS' UNION (JIYÜ RÕDÕSHA KUMIAI) FORMED: the first union among Korean casual labourers in Japan; organized by anarchists Mun Seong-hun, Lee Si-woo, 0 Seong-mun, others.[/col]
[col]KWANG SOH BLACK FELLOWSHIP ASSOCIATION FORMED: a Pyongyang organization designed to unify separate groups like Hanju Casual Labourers' Union, Pyongyang General Workers' Union, Social Livelihood Study Society, Free Youth Association, Village Movement Society etc; main figures Lee Hong-kun, Choi Kap-ryong, Lee Ju-seong.[/col]
[col]DANJU BLACK FELLOWSHIP ASSOCIATION FORMED: alliance of Danju Black Fellowship Society, Danju Shin Heung Youth Alliance, Sun Duk Shin Heung, Youth Group, Kwangduk Tenants' Union, etc; main figures Jo Chung-bok, Kim Nak-ku, Kim Chul.[/col]
[col]LEAGUE OF FREE YOUTH (JIYÜ SEINEN REMMEI) FORMED: main figure Han Ha-yun.[/col]
[col]BLACK FELLOWSHIP ALLIANCE (KOKUYÜ REMMEI) FORMED: main figures Won Sim- chang, Lee Dong-sun, Cheong Tae-seoung.[/col]
[col]BLACK FELLOWSHIP ASSOCIATION INCIDENT: Mutual Love Society (Sang Ae Hoi), reactionary pro-Japanese Korean group, leads police to raid HQ of Black Fellowship Association and Black Fellowship Alliance.[/col]
[col]LEAGUE OF EASTERN ANARCHISTS (TUNG-FANG WU-CHENG-FU CHU-I-CHE LIEN-MENG) FORMED: Korean anarchists in China meet in Nanking to form this organization, the first of its kind; main participants Yoo Ja-myung, Lee Jung-kyu, Lee Eul-kyu, Baek Chung-kee, Shin Chae-ho, ChungHwa-am.[/col]
[col]STUDENTS' CLUB (GAKUYÜKAI) INCIDENT: Korean anarchists Won Sim-chang, Lee Si-woo, Han Ha-yun, Yang Sang-ki and others attack Gakuy 5kai, communist-sponsored organization of Korean students in Japan; fierce dispute follows between anarchism and bolshevism.[/col]
[col]ANJU BLACK FELLOWSHIP ASSOCIATION FORMED.[/col]
[col]GENERAL LEAGUE OF KOREANS (HANJOK CHONGRYONG HAPHOI) FORMED: all Korean anarchists in Manchuria, including Kim Joa-jin, Kim Wan-jin, Lee Hae-bung Lee Eul-kyu, meet at Nan-tla-kuan-a-chleng to form a new commune-type organization.[/col]
(TO BE CONTINUED)
The present Korean movement under martial law
Power in South Korea has been seized by the fascist clique of Park Chung-hee, as cruel as, if not worse than that of Franco in Spain in the 1930s. Is there an anarchist movement in a country such as this?
Well, yes and no. You cannot understand without realising that the anarchist movement among Koreans before the war was, by and large, a national independence movement, and that conditions within the movement after the war (here they call it "post-liberation") were terribly chaotic. To be more specific, on the one hand you have some anarchists who have become involved in political or popular movements I think it would be difficult to refer to these as an anarchist movement as such. On the other hand, there is a more ideological anarchist movement which got under way a year or so ago but, apart from erecting a monument to Kaneko Ayako1 at the birthplace of Park Yul, it does not seem to me to have achieved very much. This group is known as the Jajyuin Yuenmaeng (the "Korea Free Men's Federation" - FMF), and perhaps it is the only group which could truly be referred to as 'anarchist'.
When you say that anarchists are active in the political and popular movements, what exactly do you mean?
By 'political movement' I mean the Korean Democratic Unity Party (DUP) of Yang Il-dong, Chung Hwa-am, Ha Kee-rak and others. The 'popular movement' is the 'Autonomous Village Movement,' centered upon the National Cultural Research Institute, whose members include Lee Jung-kyu, Lee Mun-chang, Cho Han-ku and Park Soung-han. Strictly speaking, these two, plus the FMF, should be thought of as constituting the anarchist movement in Korea today. There are also efforts such as Lee Dong-sun's 'Commune Movement,' and Lee Hong-kun's activities, as well as Choi Hea-cheung's 'Educational Cultural Movement, but these have to be classified as individual endeavours. Of course, anarchist activity is always individualistic, but I have to confess that I don't know too much about them myself, so I would prefer to leave them out for the moment. Nevertheless, l want you to keep in mind these truly anarchistic and individualistic activities, even if they are scattered; I would like to tell you about them on another occasion.
Activities Of The FMF
First of all I'd like a few facts about the FMF. About when was it established, and what are its aims?
Here is a copy of the 'General Principles of the FMF' which comrades have sent to me. Let me explain to you the parts which can be admitted openly:
'The General Principles Of The FMF'
Each of us is an individual, a free person with control over his or her own actions, We aim to build a free society where free people have come together of their own free will. All individuals have equal sovereignty over their own actions, No one can violate this right. We reject all political concepts which divide the people into rulers and ruled. We regard as criminal anyone who, by whatever means, seizes the fruits of the labour of others without contributing his or her own labour. In this free society of free men and women, economic life should be organized along the lines of 'from each according to his or her ability, to each according to his or her need. In line with these basic principles, the free society of the future will allow the development of a variety of modes of life according to the special nature of each district and each occupation. At the same time as transmitting the distinct cultural characteristics of each nation as they have been passed through the ages, we aim at the achievement of world peace through the harmonization of those many colorful cultures.
The remaining seven principles I would prefer not to mention here. The Federation is managed plurally by a four-man committee, one member of which is invested with responsibility. His term of office is one year. Because, with a few exceptions, almost all the pre-war anarchists seem to have joined the FMF, it has the look of a National Federation. Yet the atmosphere is predominantly a salon-type one among the pre-war people - most of whom are over 50 - and few attempts have been made to get ideas across to younger people. They do publish anarchist literature and hold lecture meetings for young people, but these don't seem to me to have gone very well. Still, there is nothing else. They meet twice a week to talk at coffee shops.
Even so, under the present conditions of martial law in south Korea, they have done well to sustain any activity at all.
This is the reason that the FMF has become a secret, illegal organization. All publications are produced in secret and passed around by hand. Repression under martial law also meant that the FMF could not be openly called an anarchist federation; this is why its general principles are so moderate as to astonish anyone familiar with the Korean anarchist movement in the past.
There is one peculiarly Korean point which must be kept in mind: this is that 'anti-communism' is a position on which both the anarchists and Park Chung-hee are in accord. It may well be that, because of the anarchists' services to the independence movement in the past, and also because he wants to instill anti-communism as deeply as possible into people's minds, that Park Chung-hee cannot crack down on the anarchists as ruthlessly as he would like. But more than this - more than anything - the saddest point of all - is that the FMF has yet to cause even the slightest inconvenience to Park's regime. Even the members themselvesadmit, 'We are probably tolerated because we have caused the authorities not even so much as a fleabite.'
The national liberation movement and the anarchist position
Next I want to ask you about the DUP. Mr. Yang Il-dong is the man who met Mr. Kim Dae-jung just before he was kidnapped, isn't he?2
Is he an anarchist?
I would think so, yes. Although he is at present engaged in political activities, his spirit remains an anarchist one. His anarchist career is well-known. Before the war he went to study in Tokyo, where he helped organize Korean workers into the 'Eastern Labour Union,' co-edited the 'Black Newspaper,' the organ of Korean anarchists in Japan, and worked on Jiy5 Rengo (Free Federation), the Japanese anarchists' newspaper. He was also held for a time in the Ichigaya prison in Tokyo. His career as an anarchist really ought to be better known to the Korean people than it is.
Eh? I don't understand. Wouldn't it be damaging, under present political conditions, for people to discover that Yang Il-dong, leader of the DUP, has a history of anarchist activity and has even been imprisoned for it? Would it not simply give the government a means of attacking the opposition?
No, on the contrary! The point should be played up! You see, there is absolutely no one in the ruling party who has risked his life to fight Japanese imperialism. Even the New Democratic Party, which is little different from the ruling party, is a party of petty bourgeois national capitalists and completely lacks such staunch fighters in the independence movement as Yang Il-dong and Chung Hwa-am. This contrast is what makes the present DUP so distinctive, and in my opinion they should publicize it much more.
How do you explain the mere fact that anarchists are taking part in political party activities at all?
This, too, reflects the special conditions surrounding the Korean anarchist movement. As of way back, from the establishment of the Provisional Government in Shanghai following the March 1st Incident, to the formation of the independent Workers' and Peasants' Party after Liberation, and right up to the creation of today's DUP, the Korean anarchist movement has adopted a political posture. The entire Korean people, for years under the rule of foreign invaders, have longed to be able to create their own nation and form their own government, even the anarchists. No one, not even anarchists, who disregarded this national longing, has ever been able to organize a mass movement in Korea. Even now this remains the case. One might say, too, that the movement to set up a viable nation and to fight for genuine independence still continues today. In this sense the Korean anarchists who have joined the DUP probably still see themselves as they did in the pre-Liberation independence movement days, wouldn't you agree?
And another thing, also a reflection of Korean conditions: as you well know, with the current political repression in Korea, a straightforward anti-government movement is totally out of the question. The only way remaining to them in this situation is to build up a legal political party and to criticize the government from within it. Leaving aside the real nature of South Korea, the impression of outsiders is that it is a parliamentary democracy in which political parties compete for power. Hence the ruling group cannot ban the opposition parties and create a one-party dictatorship. So the anarchists concentrate their activity upon this last remaining gap in the edifice of power.
Then is the DUP an anarchist party?
No, not quite. To begin with, let's look at the way in which the party was founded. After the election of the President in 1971 the left wing of the Now Democratic Party became dissatisfied with the way the party had moved towards the government, split away, and made a broad appeal to all democratic forces in South Korea. The new party which was formed as a result was the DUP. Mr. Yang Il-dong was one of those who left the New Democratic Party. One cannot help feeling that the DUP is the only bastion of the broad democratic united front in South Korea, especially in the light of its recent persecution by the government. However, the fact that Yang Il-dong is head of the party, that Chung Hwa-am is his top advisor, that Ha Kee-rak heads the Policy Advisory Committee, and that these three occupy places on the five-man central committee shows that, while the party itself is not an anarchist organization, it has most certainly come under the influence of anarchism.
Since the Kim Dae-jung Incident, the Park Chung-hee authorities have been increasingly strengthening their dictatorship through suppression of the student movement and of free speech. But how much practical influence does the DUP have amidst all this?
For the moment, at any rate, it has only two seats in parliament. Although the DUP put up candidates in almost all election districts in that preposterously rigged election of 1971, all but Mr. Yang Il-dong and Mr. Ha Kee-rak were defeated. Even they were only elected through an oversight on the part of the government. Therefore, while as a political party it has almost no activities or influence in the parliament, most of its energy is concentrated on the popular, non-parliamentary movement. Surely this kind of activity is interesting from an anarchist point of view? Again, the activities of the rather grandiose-sounding 'Party Committee on Women's Rights' were in fact much the same as those of the Women's Liberation Movement elsewhere: its chairwoman, in fact, was the daughter of an anarchist. All-in-all, I think that one useful barometer of the social influence of the DUP is the degree of repression inflicted upon it by the government. For various reasons, I cannot go into detail here, except to say that the pace of repression is accelerating. Mr. Yang Il-dong once described present-day conditions in South Korea to me as ones of 'see nothing, hear nothing, say nothing' - the truth about daily events in South Korea, even in Seoul, can only be had through reading the Japanese newspapers. In other words, our comrades are counting on us - on the things we know, the things we write, and on all our efforts. Please remember this, above all else. I too will do what I can from now on.
The Commune and Autonomous Village Movements
I see your point. Finally, what kind of people are the anarchists now active in the village movement, concretely speaking?
They are Kropotkinists, to put it briefly. Lee Eul-kyu, a well-known anarchist once called the 'Korean Kropotkin', is still living in South Korea today. His younger brother, Lee Jung-kyu, also well known as an anarchist, is a leading light in the movement. Since Liberation, Lee Jung-kyu has been president of the Confucianist Sung Kun Kwan ('Equality Creating Hall') University. Hence, many people in the educational world who have come under the influence of his ideas have begun to gravitate towards the village movement.
Incidentally, most people are aware that it was the 'Student Revolution' of April 1960 that overthrew the South Korean 'Godfather' Syngman Rhee. However, that revolution's road to victory was not quite so straight as it has been portrayed in retrospect. Before the student-led riots of April 26-28, there had already occurred the confrontation which became known as 'Bloody Tuesday' on April 19th, followed by the celebrated 'Faculty Demo', on the 22nd. According to Lee Mun-chang, Lee Jung-kyu was one of the professors who participated in that second demonstration. Their appeal used the slogan: 'At a time when our own students are being beaten before our very eyes, what can we teach them in the classroom? Let us respond to the blood of our students!' The 'Faculty Demo' apparently consisted of the professors, lecturers, middle- and high-school teachers who responded to this appeal.
I've digressed a bit from my main point, but the thing I want you to remember is this: among the teachers and students who gathered at that time, there was a strong feeling that it was 'too late for returning to school! There is nothing to teach, nothing to learn. The time requiresaction!' It was when this feeling reached its peak, through 1960 and 1961. that the search for methods of action led them to the village movement. I think, however, that the decision to go back to the villages also stemmed largely from Lee Jung-kyu's Kropotkinism - his ideal of a federal society based on autonomous, self-defensible farming villages. When I heard of this movement, I immediately thought: 'The Narodniks of Korea!'
So it was not the same as the commune movement?
I don't know what you mean by 'commune movement', but at any rate it is different from the cooperative movements in Japan. According to the model in Kropotkin's 'Field, Factory and Workshop', the former students and teachers went to the villages - or rather, went back to their own native villages where they became primary-school teachers, farmers or local functionaries, and tried to build autonomous, self-defensible villages.
Is each individual working on his own?
No, not at all. They keep in touch with each other through an office established in Seoul. For some reason the signboard reads, 'National Culture Research Institute', although in fact this office is the headquarters of the 'National Conference of Village Activists'.
What exactly do they do?
I don't have too many details, since I lack materials and also because of the language problem, but one concrete example of their activities is their attempt to grow seed potatoes in one place and distribute them throughout south Korea through the Conference. For another, they are trying to activate a relief movement for poor villages which cannot support themselves by agriculture alone, by establishing, wherever possible, light industry, handicrafts, or cloisonne-making as secondary pursuits
I still don't really understand.
I'm not too clear myself, since I haven't been to the villages and have to rely on other people's reports. However, when I explained the four struggle principles of our own cooperative movement in Shimane Prefecture, Japan - 1) turn the villages into communes, (2) set up our own distribution network, (3) supply organic food to local urban consumer organisations, and (4) establish commune schools and educational institutes - they were very pleased and said that it was much the same as their own movement. In fact, I heard them talk about the struggles against pollution, and against the capitalist system of distribution.
So does there exist anywhere in South Korea the kind of society that Kropotkin envisioned?
As I just said, I don't know for sure because I haven't looked into it as carefully as all that, but there do seem to be some interesting cases. However, this movement belongs to the future, too. At any rate, it has been going on for almost ten years, and so its real value will be appraised from now on. I feel sure that it has a great future, for I saw many young students and workers going in and out of the office from early morning till ten at night. Of all the places where I went to meet anarchists in Korea, only here did I see so many active young people. You came away with a very strong impression, though maybe I'm over-estimating...
You've told us that Mr. Lee Jung-kyu is an anarchist and that the movement inspired by him is a Narodnik-type one aiming at an anarchist society. So what are they like, the young people who have joined the movement?
I suppose that there are few whom we could really call anarchists. Most of these people, however, have probably come around to a de facto anarchist position without themselves realising it, through experience in the movement and through contact with Mr. Lee Jung-kyu. Hence the FMF is trying to create an anarchist awareness by holding lectures on anarchism and by organizing propaganda activities based on the question, 'What is anarchism?'
- 1Kaneko Ayako: Park Yul's common-law wife; she was arrested with him in 1923 and died in prison. See 'Chronology' above.
- 2Kim Dae-jung: unsuccessful New Democratic Party presidential candidate in 1971; he was abducted from a Tokyo hotel in August 1973 by agents of the Korean CIA and taken back to South Korea to face charges of electoral law violations.
CIRA – Nippon: A short introduction
CIRA-Nippon was established in 1970 and modeled upon CIRA in Lausanne (now moved to Geneva). The aims of CIRA-Nippon are to collect literature, documents, periodicals, bulletins and other materials on theoretical and practical aspects of anti-authoritarian, anti-state and all libertarian movements; to arrange them and classify them; and eventually to open them to the public.
CIRA-Nippon consists of members who agree to its purposes and activities and who each pay an annual membership fee.
Regular meetings are held to coordinate the activities of CIRA-Nippon.
These meetings are run according to the autonomous participation and responsibility of the members.
These meetings must report to members twice a year on the financial situation and the activities of CIRA-Nippon.
At the moment CIRA-Nippon has a thirty square-metre stackroom in Fujinomiya, halfway between Tokyo and Osaka, containing two thousand books as well as many periodicals, pamphlets, reviews and leaflets from Japan and all over the world. Last December we were given a house to use as workshop, reading room and living space. The materials are now being arranged, but unfortunately cannot yet be opened to the public.
CIRA-Nippon has two publications at present. 'Libero Monthly' (in Japanese) was originally published in 1973 as a CIRA-Nippon newssheet, but since issue number 14 has been published separately in Kyoto as an independent information bulletin. 24 issues have appeared to date. 'Anarchism' (also in Japanese) is a two-monthly review (originally titled 'Libero') of which four issues have so far appeared.
The regular meetings of CIRA-Nippon, held in December 1973 and January 1974, decided upon the following as the immediate tasks of CIRA-Nippon:
(a) collect information about foreign anarchist and libertarian groups and their activities; (b) send appeals and correspondence; and (c) exchange materials.
CIRA-Nippon hopes to receive letters from foreign comrades. Please send us any materials you publish. They will be put to good use, will be opened to the public, and useful information will be translated or summarized and put in Libero Monthly or Libero International. Please send your letters, publications, etc., to the Section for International Correspondence, whose address is given on the back cover of this issue.
We will try to answer your questions and to fulfill any requests that you make. We are most proficient in English, French and German, while we also understand Spanish and Esperanto; but we are hoping to receive materials in all languages so as to make CIRA-Nippon a truly international library.
We sincerely hope that you are interested in CIRA-Nippon and will help us make it grow. Please tell us about yourselves - your aims, activities, publications and so on. Our aim is to create solidarity with our friends all over the world. CIRA-Nippon has been created to further this aim.
Libero International No.2
Issue No. 2 of the Japanese journal Libero International. The exact date of publication is unknown, but presumed to be in 1975.
PDF courtesy of Sparrows Nest Archive, Nottingham.
Where We’re At
Phew! After a constipated couple of months, we finally made it with No. 2. Like someone said once, when you decide you want to put out a new paper, you first decide what you want it to be, aim for it in the first issue, and usually miss by miles. Then the second time you take better aim, get a bit closer, and so on. We think we got closer in this second issue to what we originally planned to do, which was to present a libertarian perspective on Asia, past and present: in a word, "to protect the future by opening up the past".
For the past two centuries or so, Asian history has been the constant casualty of successive rewriting attempts. First came the Western imperialists, under whose guiding hand educated Asians came to date the birth of their history and culture to the day when the "long ships", "black ships" etc. first appeared on the horizon. The mental distortions which this myth created kept the great mass of the Asian peoples in check for more than a century (with a few exceptions, such as the Korean anarchist/nationalist historian, Shin Chae-ho).
Nationalism, much maligned though it is, was the strongest weapon with which to fight the corrupt, semi-feudal regimes foisted upon the people by their colonial-educated elites and their white masters. Stifled in the beginning by the subtle process of cultural imperialism (recently displayed in the carrying-off of Vietnamese babies to the US), it found a voice in the post-Lenin programme for colonial liberation. However, instead of freely encouraging nationalist feelings, this programme ultimately subordinated them to a precisely mapped-out future. "Nationalism" meant "bourgeois nationalism", through which the aspirations of the great mass of the people were again stifled in the interests of the Kremlin.
The corollary to all this was that, just as the pre-liberation history of the peoples of Asia began with their colonization by Western imperialism, so the history of their struggle for liberation began with the founding of the CPs in each country. China, Korea, Indochina - all are victims of this process. Before the event, there was only chaos; from that time the light shines at the end of the tunnel. All ruling elites, in Asia as elsewhere, seek to justify and whitewash their acquisition of power, fearing the avenging wrath of history.
Thus Asian history, already one re-written, was re-re-written yet still with a view to obscuring the truth in the name of preordained destiny. The Asian anarchists were but a tiny minority of those affected by these successive master-plans for cultural/political hegemony, yet their experience was typical. What we'll be trying to do in Libero International is, among other things, to set the historical record straight, to document the role of the Asian peoples themselves in their fight for freedom and dignity. "To protect the future" means to destroy the myth that only thru the all-seeing eye of the CP can Asians view the road ahead. "Opening up the past" means showing that the Asian peoples existed long before the imperialists arrived, and began struggling against the foreign yoke long before the party line told them how to do it. Confidence in the past creates confidence for the future.
On the other hand, this is not to advocate some minority position which denies the facts of life in Asia today. The dominoes are falling neatly into place - SE Asia is "going communist" (as we type this, PRG soldiers are marching into Saigon), and anarchists must be very clear about where they stand. "Neither Washington nor Hanoi!" was the rallying-cry of the 60s. This slogan is out of date. An anarchist society will not be created overnight, least of all in Asia, where a "workers'state" led by the CP is a very likely outcome of all the liberation movements for some time to come. For authoritarian Marxism is a logical outgrowth of capitalism; it sustains and exploits the mental contortions generated by "free competition".
The CPs in Asia not only would not, but could not create a libertarian society in an area devastated by high explosive, defoliated by super-insecticides, de-humanized by population control measures, and now, most probably, to be de-stabilized by CIA intrigue. However, what they have achieved, through calling upon the power to resist of the people themselves, is the most important revolutionary task in Asia today: the discrediting and expulsion of Amerikan neo-fascist imperialism. Western anarchists who do not recognize these facts only perpetuate the West's inherent blindness towards Asia. The Marxist liberation movements in Asia today, in the post-Amerikan (Amerikan military, that is - the CIA is far from defeated) era, must be given critical support, just as the Russian anarchists initially supported the Bolsheviks. When they begin to turn the revolution back on itself, however, as the Bolsheviks did, they must be attacked and exposed without fail.
This demands, as Kropotkin said, that we not only talk about revolution, but actively prepare ourselves for the work to be done during the process, particularly economic work. It also demands that we understand the importance of nationalism for popular mobilization in Asia. In a future issue we mean to put together a more comprehensive treatment of this question, probably the most important one facing anarchists in Asia today. For the moment though, the short biography of Shin Chae-ho should provide food for thought.
Anyway, like we said, it was quite a strain to get this issue out. The four of us in the collective have all had various things to keep us busy - one was in Korea, another in Europe. We've also been flooded with letters - they're piling up, too. Worst of all, the Yasaka coop, mentioned in the Korea article in this issue, was totally burned out last month. Everything was lost - farm buildings, personal things, clothes, even cash. A lot of work is going to be needed to get it back to normal, and an appeal has gone out for cash here in Japan. So please be patient if the "bi-monthly" sometimes stretches the time limit a bit.
We forgot to say last time, Libero Int'l costs 20p/50c per single copy;Y1.20/$3.00 for a ''users'' sub (6 issues). Institutions' rate is double, to cover the losses we make on selling cheap to individuals. "Government agencies" get hit for YlIV7 in the UK, and for $2.50/15.00 in the US. Prices in other areas available on request.
We also made some cock-ups last time - some through carelessness, some through translation problems, some just because we're still learning ourselves. These are listed at the back. Since we'll no doubt make more mistakes, this will probably become a regular feature.
A lot of people were late getting No. 1. This is because the air mail rates are just too heavy for the price we want to sell the magazine at. That goes for people who wrote for samples too - a bit of patience, 'hif you don't mind. Since there is this great time-lag between mailing and delivery, we'll continue to send free to all the addresses we have until the next issue. People who don't respond by then will not receive any more our lists are a bit out of date, and we can't afford to keep mailing out free unless it's in exchange. Although our main aim is free exchange, we need to sell as many copies as possible to keep going in this format. PLEASE SUBSCRIBE!!
One more thing: when you send us bread, please don't send cheques - they cost too much to cash here. Send either money orders or just plain old cash. DON'T LET THE BASTARDS RIP US OFF!!
Thought you might like to know who we are (or who we say we are, at any rate):
KUSAURA NAOHIDE: the organization freak - into economic history, Proudhon and international solidarity. Now running SFIC, and trying to translate Solidarity's Workers'control & the Economics of Self-Management into Japanese.
OZEKI HIROSHI: took part in the International Congress at Carrara - where he got well pissed off with the traditional-type anarchist movement. Since then he's translated Brinton's Bolsheviks and Workers' Control into Japanese and wondered where it's at.
QUINCE O'TOOLE: for the last five years has worked hard in the movements to free Taiwanese, South Korean and Amerikan political prisoners; keeps two cats called Kropotkin and Krishna, and a 16-month human called Natania Miwako.
WAT TYLER: is hung up on the lessons of history, especially Chinese and Korean, and is working on a book about the Chinese anarchist movement. Thinks anarchist theory is all very well, but that the answer probably lies in the soil anyway...
One way or another, few anarchists in Japan these days are able to ignore the current debate over the need for a new national organization. The ball was first put into play two years ago by young Kyoto activists who then, last summer, suddenly issued a program and statement of principles for the new organization they advocated. The clearness with which these two drafts were set out suggested a great deal of preparation, and most people were taken by surprise. Once they recovered, however, the issue of anarchists' attitudes towards organization in no time became the central one within the Japanese movement. While not everyone supported the suggestion, few people were left untouched by the succession of arguments which exploded everywhere.
What was it that made young Japanese anarchists, almost without exception, throw themselves into this discussion despite the suddenness with which it emerged? The answer lies, beyond a doubt, in the current low ebb in anti-establishment activities in Japan, and the need which most people feel for a basic re-evaluation of the anarchist movement's fundamental tenets.
In the immediate aftermath of the voluntary dissolution of the Japan Anarchist Federation (JAF) in 1968, discussion of forming a new national organization was sporadic and uncoordinated. Once the heady days of the late 60s / early 70s passed, however, and the anarchists entered upon a period of circumspection - the "period of winter", as they call it - voices again began to be heard urging the rebuilding of group relations: in particular, the reconstruction of the national federation. The realization that the "summer" had not been fully exploited (see below) made these voices the more strident.
At the centre of the new movement were the 'Japan Anarchists' League Preparatory Committees' in the Tokyo, Nagoya, and Kansai (Kobe-Osaka-Kyoto) districts. Their minimum suggestions were, first, concrete contacts between Tokyo and the provinces; and second, a national information centre.
In this three-part article we'll summarize the proposals of the Preparatory committees and the criticisms that have been made of them, describe the progress of the new movement to date, and finally add some notes of our own. First of all, however, in this first part it'd be useful to look back briefly at conditions before and after 1968, for the arguments surrounding the recent revival of the national federation issue can be said to date back to JAF's self-dissolution in that year. Hence the main theme of the arguments coming from the preparatory committees has been the old JAF and the situation which it left in the wake of its disappearance.
The situation preceding JAF's demise in 1968
1. JAF's Political Failure
The best English-language source on the recent circumstances of the anarchist movement in Japan is Tsuzuki Chushichi's article 'Anarchism in Japan' in Apter & Joll's Anarchism Today (see 'Now Read On...' in this issue). The paper is brief and to the point, especially in its evaluation of the post-war movement. After quickly dealing with pre-war conditions, Professor Tsuzuki then focuses on the anti-war activities launched by students and local citizens' groups all over Japan in the 60s and 70s. In particular, he makes the important point that, while these did not call themselves anarchist movements, they should be recognized as having been highly anarchistic in their aims and methods. In choosing to lay the stress on this area, Tsuzuki accurately reflects the post-war development of the Japanese anarchist movement.
After the war, Japanese Marxists, skillfully riding the waves of 'Potsdam Democracy', succeeded in seizing the lead of the labour and social movements, and quickly turned them to their own purposes. The anarchists, meanwhile, missed the bus, failed utterly to expand their support, and never neared achieving anything which might truthfully have been called a real movement. Despite the vigorousness of the labour and student movements in those early years, very few anarchists took an active part, and it must be confessed that what few activities they did promote were largely ineffectual. The one exception was their work in the pacifist movement - such as the Japanese branch of War Resisters International - yet this bore little relation to the dominant trends of the time.
JAF, for its own part, concentrated on putting out its bulletins, and one would have been hard-put to pinpoint any concrete activities amongst its isolated and scattered groups of members (except however, for a few in the Tokyo, Nagoya and Kansai regions). Meanwhile, social conditions in Japan, and the overall trend of the Left in general, were changing dramatically.
In common with developments in the rest of the world, the violent confrontation policy of the Japan Communist Party's (JCP) immediate post-war days was bankrupted by the events in Hungary in 1956 and the international criticism of Stalinism which followed. The myth of the CP as the pre-ordained vanguard of the revolution crashed. The effect on Party members and on the Japanese Left in general was catastrophic. The first indication of the new state of affairs was the eruption in 1960 of the AMPO (Amerika-Japan Joint Security Treaty) struggle - the first great popular outburst in post-war Japan.
JAF, unlike most other revolutionary organizations, was left far behind by the rapidly accelerating rate of change. For the anarchists, this new criticism of Stalinism was already a fundamental part of their programme. The repression in Hungary should merely have confirmed their arguments: the opportunity was a golden one, but did they exploit it? Far from it - JAF completely underestimated the traumas which the events had sparked off among the Marxists. As a result, when the anti-AMPO struggle broke out, JAF took no part, and members ignored it as they threw themselves into their own local activities.
Criticism of JAF's obvious impotence began almost at once. "JAF is just another group; while it may claim national boundaries, it has absolutely no meaning as a federation. We should concentrate on our own local activities and ignore it." Views of this sort were commonly held - particularly among the Kansai members - and were voiced as early as the autumn of 1953 in a speech entitled 'On Rebuilding the Federation, and the Present State of the Movement', delivered to that year's National Conference by the delegate Yamaguchi:
"We have an elaborate programme for current activities, but have never considered how to put it into practice. We have an ideal set of principles, but they remain unrealized. We have a few members dotted around the country - most are simply names on the register who make no real contribution; others are just sympathizer types, whose allegiance we can never rely on. Then there are a few "old" anarchists who, if you run across them, give you a little money "for the cause" and chat a bit, and finally the young ones who, no sooner than they become members, withdraw again. With only these people to call upon, cooperation between local branches has become comatose. Instead, we have a few scattered efforts, and that's the lot.
"On the positive side then, what do we have? Well, we have an irregular bulletin, Anakizumu;and then we have sporadic, unplanned meetings which nobody pays much attention to..."
While JAF thus amounted to little more than a political contemplation circle, there were in fact some who wanted to make it into something more, such as the same delegateYamaguchi:
"Since the federation is no more than a circle, why don't we just face facts and reorganize it accordingly? I don't mean that we should destroy the federation - it is what it is, so we simply acknowledge the truth by changing both the form of the organization and our own attitudes accordingly. We have three tasks: number one, to face the facts; number two, on the basis of these facts, to make a clear-cut decision as to what direction we want to go in; and number three, after considering concrete measures to take us in that direction, to agree amongst ourselves to concentrate the strength of all members of the federation to implement those measures." [quoted in Mukai Ko" Yamaga Taiji,p 1771]
Consequently, in 1962, just as people were beginning to assess the meaning of the now-finished anti-AMPO struggle, JAF at last amended its principles to state specifically: "JAF is not a movement organization", but a "study group on theory and ideology". Few practical changes followed, however, as this merely made the name fit the facts.
On the other hand, unforeseen consequences were to follow. What - the principles it laid down for itself, just the name 'Japan Anarchist Federation' gave the impression of are volutionary organization engaged in practical and useful activities. Hence many young people drawn to it for this reason were quickly disillusioned. Behind the decision to turn the federation into a pure study group had been the desire to prevent disillusionment with the federation by reducing the gap between theory and practice. By retaining the name 'Anarchist Federation', however, the effect was to destroy people's faith in anarchism itself, as well as in JAF.
2. The 'New Left' in Japan
The 1960-1970 period witnessed a new flowering within the anti-establishment movement of the Japanese Left. Most significant was the growth in the late 60s of the 'non-sect radicals' - anti-Stalinist militants opposed to the hegemony of the JCP. This was the principal factor distinguishing the first anti-AMPO struggle, peaking in 1960 - which was led for the most part by the established (ie, JCP-dominated) Left - from the second, aimed at preventing the renewal of the Treaty in 1970. In fact, this second phase was no more than one aspect of a broad popular movement emerging simultaneously on several fronts.
The movement at that time comprised a union of students, particularly the non-JCP radicals, under the banner of the 'Students' Joint Struggle Committee' (Zenkyõtõ), and the group representative of the anti-war sentiments strong among the Japanese people, the 'Citizens' Committee for Peace in Vietnam' (Beheiren). The students' tactic, that of making each university a separate "storm centre" of the revolutionary struggle, had a great effect, one which continues to this day even though the movement itself has entered a quiet phase.
In the mid- to late 60s, Beheiren groups were born all over the country, and immediately began to initiate local struggles to eradicate local grievances through their own efforts. While they recognized, people like Oda Makoto, the first to advocate a citizens' movement, as their theoretical and practical leaders, this anti-war, anti-JCP popular movement was certainly not one to allow itself to be led by the nose. It was a genuine social movement capable of drawing in all people living in Japan, free of domination by either the labour movement or the students.
'Citizens' group' was simply a generic term to apply to a whole multitude of spontaneous popular activities. When activists decided to come together to give their spontaneity some kind of "movement form", therefore, the idea of an 'organization' was strongly resisted. "Beheiren is born when we ourselves declare it so!"; "Not an organization, but a movement!" Consequently, Beheiren existed so long as there was an active movement involving its members in their own local struggles. Since that movement has itself disappeared because of the new conditions in Indochina, Beheiren too has been dissolved.
Beheiren was like a breath of fresh air to the Japanese Left, its style something completely new in the history of popular movements in Japan. In its dependence upon horizontal relationships, based on a nationwide mutual consciousness of solidarity in the same struggle, it was a manifest criticism of the centralized organizations hitherto dominant on the left. In the Beheiren movement, we caught a glimpse of the kind of solidarity which only a free federation could achieve.
The characteristics of the Beheiren movement may be listed as follows:
Japan was no exception to the ferment which hit the world's universities following the 1968 May Days in Paris, and the non-sect radicals played a major role. Although the alliance later degenerated into a struggle for hegemony over the student movement, in the beginning these groups placed a premium upon spontaneous activity. The organization which they created, Zenkyõtõ, constituted a major revolt against the establishment, and it is significant that the most violent attacks on the new style, physical as well as political, were launched by the JCP-oriented section of the students (known as Minsei).This period of student rebellion is usually referred to as the "ZenkyõtõMovement".
Zenkyõtõ, with branches in every university, rebelled specifically and violently against the university authorities. From here, the struggle exploded naturally and simultaneously against the authority of the Japanese system itself. The solidarity created by the realization of a common aim was the strongest characteristic of the Zenkyõtõ Movement. In the most popular slogan of the time "Strength in Solidarity, Without Fear of Isolation" - can be seen the all-important combination: self-reliance and determination, and the knowledge of complete solidarity within the movement. In short, the characteristics which we already noted as typical of Beheiren, were equally representative of Zenkyõtõ.1
In terms of political results, these two movements, Beheiren and Zenkyõtõ, achieved little. However, what they did achieve was something far greater - through their concrete activities and agitation, they played an immeasurable educative role which affected not only those taking part, but also the consciousness of vast numbers of people throughout Japan. This effect can now be seen in the multitude of anti-pollution, anti-inflation, anti-war and other groups existing all over the country. Practically every issue, however minor, is capable of giving rise to a new citizens' group.
The conditions of the time were a thorough exoneration of anarchist theory. In fact, one could say that, for a time, to use a time-worn phrase, "anarchy prevailed". There was a general tendency to look beyond Marx to explain the theoretical meaning of this multi-centred, spontaneous movement. So fertile was the soil at this time! The only problem for the anarchists was that, while this great upsurge was taking place, JAF wasnowhere to be seen.
3. JAF's Death Agony
In the late 60s, 'Anarchism Study Groups' had sprung up in practically every university of Japan. Members took an active part in the Zenkyõtõ Movement, gaining a reputation as the 'Black Helmet Brigade' (although, since they generally abstained from the kind of street-fighting designed to enhance one's own group's position as ideological standard-bearer of the Left, they did not receive the international acclaim that many ofthe quasi-Trotskyist factions did).
JAF was way out of line with all this activity. Most members of the federation simply forgot it as they got on with their own thing. JAF therefore found itself stranded - both by the movement itself and by the rapidly-changing social situation. Subsequently observing the difficulty of raising any enthusiasm in its ideology study groups, and seeing its mutual contacts with local groups falling off, JAF, via a succession of self-critical reviews (an anachronistic occupation at the time, for a start!), gradually began to get the message.
At the same time, however, the attitude towards it of anarchist activists also began to harden. From "the movement can get along fine without a national federation", the general feeling turned to "this national federation is a positive hindrance to the movement!" The final breakdown came as a result of the crack which yawned within the federation itself over the Haihansha (Society of Rebels) Incident. This was a raid on a Nagoya factory carried out in the name of the anti-war movement by a small anarchist group affiliated to JAF. From this incident may be dated JAF's last days. In 1968, at long last, it resolved upon voluntary dissolution. The last issue of its bulletin, Free Federation (Jiyü Rengo), which appeared in January 1969, announced the move as "progressive dissolution", and even as "deployment in the face of the enemy". Be that as it may, JAF, in 1968, finally acknowledged what had been the truth since the early 60's, and voluntarily put an end to itself. Ironically enough, this ignominious end came at the peak of a new upsurge in the anarchist movement, and amongst increasing activity by the "new" anarchists. As for the reasons for JAF's demise, only now, midway through the 70's, is the work of evaluation beginning.
(TO BE CONTINUED)
- 1NOTE: "Zenkyõtõ" should not be confused with "Zengakuren," the National Union of Japanese Students, which was a child of the 60s and played no role in this new struggle. Although it continued in name, after the first anti-AMPO struggle ended in defeat, its organization was fragmented and fell apart. Moreover, while Zengakuren was a single organization, Zenkyõtõ should rightly be regarded as a movement.
Toiler’s Tales: Report from a Hospital Doctor in Japan
For more than a year now, nurses at the T. hospital here have been demanding repeatedly that the director show them a copy of their conditions of work. Thus far, they have been gently fobbed off with excuses like, "Well, the only copy we have is 15 years old, and rather out of date, so it would be quite pointless to show it to you. We are in the process of having a new one printed - wait a little longer please".
Since mid-February I have questioned the administrative chief at least four times on whether they weren't actually liable to be reprimanded by the Labour Standards Bureau for not providing copies of either the conditions of work or the wage structure: "Yes, indeed, the Bureau has also demanded that we make these things known. They're almost ready; two-three days - a week at the outside. Please be patient till then".
A month passed in this way. Meanwhile, I later discovered, the same people had been at work behind the scenes, trying to pacify the nurses: "You must realize that a hospital is a very busy place. Please stop encouraging Or Haguma!" was whispered in friendly undertones. Since the director (a former Japanese CP member) won't allow the 70-odd nurses to form a union, his talent for this kind of politicking reigns supreme in T. hospital.
"How has he been able to prevent the nurses from forming a union?" you might ask. Well, in the first place, all the responsible positions are occupied by the director's relatives. The nursing school, for example, is run by his wife. Lower down the scale, too, five or six members of his family defend the breach. His two sons work as hospital doctors.
In the second place, the nurses are split. The older and more experienced ones, living in this tradition-bound castle city for many years, are the double captives of giri-ninjo- ties of obligation and humanitarian feeling. They acknowledge the absolute control of the director: "We do not make any demands - but only because we fear his anger".
As for the young nurses, they have only two lives. One complaint is tolerated; a second, and they lose their jobs. The way of getting rid of them is quite simple. The nurses are originally recruited from the director's own birthplace: Oita, in far-off Kyushu, Western Japan. When it takes them on as student nurses, the hospital takes complete charge of them: "We will direct you in your daily life, as well as in your work", is the friendly reassurance. So, when any trouble threatens, a quick word to the parents, who come rushing to the hospital to see what's going on. Under pressure from both sides, the poor nurses have little choice: give up or shut up! "Because I felt I owed the hospital something for the two years' training it gave me, I stayed on for a few years; but the conditions are so bad that I'm going to quit before long!" is the unanimous sentiment of the young nurses.
Yet T. hospital still manages to carry on. Once again, the reason is simple: a constant store of replacements is kept, in the form of the "student nurses" - anywhere else they would be called junior nurses - who are made to work in return for a skimpy allowance. Along with the young nurses, they are simply products to be used up and thrown away.
Since the conditions of employment are unknown, the sum payable to a nurse who quits the hospital is equally mysterious. Several who left last year, for example, apparently had to come back five times to demand their dues. Even when it is forthcoming, the sum is often paid out on an instalment basis!
The hand-over-fist profit accruing from this situation has allowed the hospital to extend its buildings almost constantly. Last year, for instance, a senior nursing school was added. Incidentally, there was enough left over to build new houses for the director's two sons.
The director's autocratic rule at T. hospital, bolstered by his divide-and-rule policy, is complete. I can screw things up a bit myself, by going to the director himself to complain. But for the nurses, male nurses and other medical staff, it's quite different though. Unless they send their complaint through the "proper channels" - the chief nurse and the administrative offices - they face the director's anger. On the other hand, the "proper channels" are feared and hated just as much as the director himself, for they are linked to him by personal ties and ties of obligation: family connections, treatment of their own family's illnesses, their status in the hospital, the fact that other members of their family are also employed there, and so on.
The director's despotism is summed up in his two favourite remarks: "The age of democracy is dead"; "Mere talk gets you nowhere - if you want to get something done, do it!" Lately, the nurses, who're well pissed off with his power politics, are beginning to take him at his word. The mood for action is spreading.
Now read on … Asian Anarchism in English (1): Japan
Suggested reading list from Libero International.
Frank Gould: Anarchism in Japan (Anarchy (London), special issue, 1972): quite good, detailed information on anarchists in the pre-war labour movement, and on the struggle with the CP; not so much on the post-war period, mainly for lack of things to write about. Summaries of current (1970-71) groups' positions and activities are useful and interesting, but need up-dating.
C. Tsuzuki: "Kõtoku, Õsugi and Japanese Anarchism" (Hitotsubashi Journal of Social Studies, March 1966): written by a university professor; a history of the early movement based on biographies of Kõtoku and Õsugi. Tries to show that Japanese anarchism grew out of traditional Eastern nihilism; plenty of facts, but hardly inspiring reading.
C. Tsuzuki: "Anarchism in Japan" in D.E. Apter/J. Joll (ed): Anarchism Today (anchor: 1971): the best source on the modern movement, concentrating on the popular movements of the late 60s/ early 70s. He stresses that these were highly anarchistic in their aims and methods, and puts his finger on the pulse of what is happening today.
Phil Billingsley: The Japanese Anarchists (Leeds Anarchist Group, 1969): a brief history up to 1923, concentrating on Kõtoku and Õsugi; very short, and inaccurate in places, but useful as a summary and in combination with the previous two.
Martin Bernal: "The Triumph of Anarchism over Marxism, 1906-1907" (in M.C.Wright: China in Revolution, Stanford University, 1968, pp 97-142): actually concerns the Chinese movement, but the publishing and other activities of the Chinese anarchists in Japan are described, along with their relations with the Japanese comrades; written by a scholar - very detailed and copiously footnoted, most useful for showing the inter-relationship between the two movements.
F.G. Notehelfer: Kõtoku Shüsui (Cambridge University, 1971): this is also written by a scholar - a very detailed biography which tries to show, almost apologetically, that his anarchism was an inevitable result of the cultural strains placed upon the traditional samurai ethic by the sudden political changes after 1868. See the review piece in LI 1.
More detailed articles, especially on Kõtoku, are listed in the bibliography to Notehelfer. There are several books on the labour movement, none of which do justice to the anarchists. Still, odds and ends of information can be found in them, and also in the relatively rich "preventive scholarship" - type stuff on the communist movement. When we've had a chance to look at these, we'll suggest some titles. Meanwhile, Cecil H.Uyehara: Leftwing Social Movements in Japan: Annotated Bibliography (Tokyo:1959), though out of date, might be useful (it's probably in university libraries in England and the States). These are all the titles we know at present specifically concerning the Japanese anarchist movement. We hope people will let us know of anything we've left out.
Group Profile: Iomu no Kai
The LI Editorial Collective sent out a questionnaire to various Japanese anarchist groups. We shall be serializing the profiles of each group beginning with this issue of LI.
[col]Name of group:[/col]
[col]Iomu no Kai[/col][/row]
[row][col] [/col][col]Date of formation:[/col][col]March, 1973[/col][/row]
[row][col] [/col][col]Number of members:[/col][col]Twenty[/col][/row]
[row][col] [/col][col]Main location(s) of activity:[/col][col]Kobe and Osaka
[row][col]2[/col][col]Members' main occupations:[/col][col]Mostly laborers and students
[row][col]3[/col][col]Close relations with which other anarchist or political groups?[/col][col]Libertaire, Nagano Kyodo Shimbun, Paranka, Ribeero, CIRA-Nippon, Museifushugi-kenkyu. Also exchange pub'lns and info in meetings organized with Liberteeru.
[row][col]4[/col][col]Main activities.[/col][col]Publication of Iomu("Literature and Anarchism"); occasional lecture meetings on anarchism and related subjects.
[row][col]5[/col][col]Do you put out any publications?[/col][col]Iomu[/col][/row]
[row][col] [/col][col]Frequency of publication: [/col][col]Quarterly[/col][/row]
[row][col] [/col][col]Average number copies/issue:[/col][col]500[/col][/row]
[row][col] [/col][col]Occupational category readers:[/col][col]Various[/col][/row]
[row][col] [/col][col]Format and number of pages: [/col][col]A-5, 60 pages.[/col][/row]
[row][col] [/col][col]Main pamphlets:[/col][col]Organization Prospectus for JAF (Japan Anarchist Federation).
[row][col]6[/col][col]What are the feelings of your group regarding the proposed all-Japan anarchist federation, establishment of the "JAF"? [/col][col]Most of us feel the need for a national confederation. As an experiment in that direction, we participated in the opening, in the summer of 1974, of an interchange meeting program with Liberteeru.
[row][col]7[/col][col]What, in your opinion, are the main responsibilities and problems which need coordination by anarchists in Japan today?
[/col][col]We have not discussed this and so cannot answer at this pt.[/col][/row]
[row][col]8[/col][col]Are you aware of CIRA-Nippon? What do you think of it?
[/col][col]We cooperate with it.[/col][/row]
[row][col]9[/col][col]Are you preserving materials and documents, and, if so, are you offering them for the use of other comrades and groups?
[/col][col]March 1975 we opened our "Communal Library" in Kobe.[/col][/row]
[row][col]10[/col][col]What sort of materials and documents do you presently hold? Do you have any non-Japanese language materials? Only anarchist stuff?
[/col][col]Renmei Nyuusu. Various A organ papers. JAF pamphlets.[/col][/row]
[row][col]11[/col][col]Do you maintain contact with foreign groups? If so, which?
[/col][col]Publishers of New Echo, Ruta, etc.[/col][/row]
[row][col]12[/col][col]Please describe the ideological position, objectives, etc., of your group. [/col][col]Our first objective is publication of Iomu. Contents are varied, but largely deal with anarchist thought and its relation to literature and the larger movement. Until now we've concentrated on the translation and discussion of "old anarchist" thinkers, but this is not with the aim of dwelling on the anarchist past or an over-indulgent penchant for "history for history's sake," but in examining the relevance of past anarchist thought to today's problems.[/col][/row][/table]
Chronology: The Pre-War Korean Anarchist Movement (2)
[col]KWANGJU STUDENTSINCIDENT: trouble involving rival Korean and Japanese school students in Kwangju develops into nationwide patriotic student movement; 54,000 students in 194 schools strike, creating anti-Japan movement which continues until March 1930.[/col][/row]
[col]Anarchist organizer of Chong-yi Bu commune, Kim Joa-jin, murdered by communist agent.[/col][/row]
[col]League of Eastern Anarchists (Tung-fang Wu-cheng-fu Chu-i-che Lien-meng) reorganized as South China Korean Youth League (Nan Hua Han-jen Ch'ing-nien Lien-meng); principal members: Chong Hwa-am, Kim Ji-gang, Park Kee-seung, Lee Eul-kyu, Hwang Eung, Yoo Ja-myong, Park Kee-byeung, Ryu San-bang, Lee Yong-kyu, Kim Kwang-ju, An Kyong-kun.[/col][/row]
[col]Anarchist Youth League (Anãkisuto Seinen Remei), Eastern Workers' Federation (Tõhõ Rõdõ Dõmei) formed in Osaka by Lee Mee-haek, Kim Yong-su.[/col][/row]
[col]Black Flag Workers'League (Kurohata Rõdõsha Remmei) formed; Chung Chan-jin main figure.[/col][/row]
[col]Korean People's Self-Governing Joint Council (Han-jok Cha-ji Ryong-hap-hoe) formed, chaired by anarchist Chong Shin-won.[/col][/row]
[col]Leader of Korean anarchist partisans, Kim Jong-jin, murdered by communist agent; total of six Korean anarchists murdered in 1930 and 1931.[/col][/row]
[col]KOREAN ANARCHO-COMMUNIST LEAGUE (Cho-sun Mu-chung-bu Kong-sanZu-ui-ja Ryong-myung) INCIDENT: Japanese authorities clamp down on few anarchists remaining in Korea in attempt at 'final solution': Ryu Hwa-yong, Choi Kap-ryong, Lee Hong-kun, Kang Chang-gi, An Bong-yong, Cho Tsung-bok, Rin Tsung-hak, Kim Dae-hwan, others arrested.[/col][/row]
[col]In front of the Imperial Palace's Sakurada Gate, Korean anarchist Lee Pang-chang hurls bomb at Japanese emperor's car returning from military review.[/col][/row]
[col]Korean anarchist Yun Pang-gil hurls bomb into Japanese emperor's official birthday celebrations in Hung-k'ou Park, Shanghai; General Shirakawa, several civil, military officials killed, hurt.[/col][/row]
[col]Assassination attempt in Shanghai on Japanese Minister to China Ariyoshi; 3 Korean anarchists, Paek Chung-kee, Won Sim-chang, Lee Gang-hyon arrested.[/col][/row]
[col]DAI-ICHI RO INCIDENT: police raid Chinese restaurant where reconstruction of anarchist movement in Korea is being discussed; anarchists Chae Yin-kok,0 Nam-gi, Choi Hak-ju, Lee Jung-kyu, Lee Eul-kyu, others, arrested.[/col][/row]
[col]KOREAN GENERAL WORKERS' UNION (CHOSEN IPPANRÕDÕ KUMIAI) FORMED: Korean Casual Labourers' Union (Chosen Jiyü RõdõshaKumiai) reorganized; main figures Lee Kyu-uk, Lee Chong-mun, Lee Yun-hee, Lee Chong-shik, Chong Kwang-shin, An Heung-ok, 0 U-yong.[/col][/row]
[col]While reactionary elements participate in National Foundation Day celebrations held same day, total of 289 Korean anarchists, 298 'Bolsheviks', jointly organize boisterous May Day rally.[/col][/row]
[col]After Japanese universities decide to discontinue use of Korean language in teaching, Korean students, graduates in Japan resolve to launch opposition movement.[/col][/row]
[col]JAPAN ANARCHO-COMMUNIST PARTY (NIPPON MUSEIFU-KYÕSANSHUGI TÕ)INCIDENT: terrorist party formed in 1933; spies reveal its plans to the police, several Korean anarchists, Lee Dong-sun, Han Kuk-tang, Lee Chong-mun, Chin Rok-chul arrested.[/col][/row]
[col]KOREAN REVOLUTIONISTS' LEAGUE (CH'AO-HSIEN KO-MING-CHE LIEN-MENG) FORMED: Chong Hwa-am, Yoo Ja-myong, other Korean anarchists take part in broad anti-Japanese front following the full-scale invasion of China.[/col][/row]
Chae-ho, Shin: Korea's Kõtoku
"Lives of the Asian Anarchists" No. 2, about Shin Chae-ho, one of the founders of anarchism in Korea.
Shin Chae-ho, a veteran of the Korean anarchist movement and regarded as one of its "fathers", was born in 1880 in Chongju, Chungchong province. In many respects, his life bore a striking resemblance to that of Kõtoku Shüsui, the first Japanese anarchist [see LI 1]. By the age of 20, like Kõtoku, he was the foremost Korean journalist of his time, having worked on the prominent Hansong News and Dae Han Daily. His main reputation was as a writer of elegant prose, and his talent was put to good revolutionary use when, in 1923, he was asked to compose the draft of the Korean Revolutionary Manifesto. It was issued by the 'Band of Heroes' (Eiyuldan - see 'Chronology' in LI1),1 a revolutionary terrorist group responsible for a campaign of anti-Japanese violence in the 1920's. Similarly, Kõtoku's journalistic gift was put at the service of the Ashio copper miners in 1907 when, at the request of their representative, he wrote a petition to the Emperor on their behalf. The protest was against copper poisoning caused by the mining company's failure to take safety measures; this incident marked the beginning of Japan's continuing history of fatal pollution problems.
Shin Chae-ho was a Bakuninist anarchist. In the manifesto he wrote of the "mutuality of destruction and construction": "The revolutionary path begins at destruction, thus opening up new ways for progress. However, revolution does not stop at destruction. There can be no destruction without construction; no construction without destruction... In the mind of the revolutionist, these two are indivisibly linked: destruction, ergo construction'.'
Where Shin Chae-ho differed from Kõtoku was in his elaboration of a personal historical vision. His Japanese biographer points out: "What was essential for Shin Chae-ho was to take this image of history and spread it as widely as possible among Korean youth - who in the last analysis would be the bearers of any ideological banners to be unfurled."
In a word, Shin's view of history might be described as 'Pan-Koreanism'. It traced the lines of Korean history and culture back as far as the days of the Hun and Mongol empires, and even included Japan as having once been under Korean cultural influence. In his view, therefore, in all of East Asia only Korea could match, in both civil and military achievements, the record of the Hans the Chinese. This was the starting point for Shin's historical vision. If it seems less than anarchistic to us, one has only to remember the total racial and cultural obliteration which Japanese rule aimed at for the Korean people. Needless to say, it provided a solid spiritual basis for the national independence movement.
Shin Chae-ho is today one of that rare breed of scholars who receive positive appraisal both north and south of the 38th parallel. It goes without saying that the anarchist side of his character has been obliterated; it is as a pure nationalist that his memory is being preserved, and within the ranks of past Korean scholars that his reputation has been imprisoned. Hence it is all the more important for us to throw light on his anarchist belief.
So, what kind of man was Shin Chae-ho? Well, in the first place, it seems that he was generally a bit dirty! Totally heedless of his clothes and overall personal appearance, he would wear things for days even after they turned stiff with sweat and dirt. Nevertheless, this same man was a teacher at the Osan High School, especially set up to teach the offspring of the Korean middle class and using the finest methods of Western bourgeois education.
One day, Shin happened to go to the public bath-house with a colleague from school. While they were taking off their clothes, this man noticed that Shin seemed to be wearing a pair of bright red women's bloomers. Queried about them, Shin replied nonchalantly: "Oh, as I was walking along the street yesterday I passed a shop selling these beautiful coloured knickers, so I popped in and bought a pair!" This colleague, Lee Kwang-sop, later recalled in his memoirs the absurd image of Shin Chae-ho the eminent historian, with his bald, pointed head and several days' growth of whiskers because he couldn't be bothered to shave, standing there in a pair of bright red knickers looking totally unconcerned.
Another of Shin's idiosyncrasies was as follows: whenever he washed his face, he would do so standing erect, with the result that he always drenched himself with water. When someone asked him what the problem was, he replied: "Because I refuse to lower my head for anyone till the day I die!"
Anyway: Shin Chae-ho first entered the anarchist movement in 1928 when he joined the League of Eastern Anarchists, organized in Nanking by the brothers Lee Jung-kyu and Lee Eul-kyu [see 'Chronology' in LI-1]. Members were from China, Korea, Japan, Taiwan, the Philippines, India, Vietnam an Asian Anarchist International, in fact. On the other hand, while it called itself an anarchist organization, it acted more as an international contact point for all those fighting in exile for independence from the Japanese yoke.
However, Shin's espousal of anarchism dated from much earlier - at least from the period 1920-23, we would guess. For by the time he came to draft the Korean Revolutionary Manifesto in 1923, he was already clearly an anarchist.
It seems that Shin first turned to anarchism after reading Kõtoku's book Rubbing Out Christ - yet another link. There was more to it than that, however. Forced to leave Korea and go into exile early in his life, he saw first the militarism and political repression of the Bolsheviks, then the state of affairs in China, dominated by the Chinese CP. "So this is where the communists lead us; then it has to be anarchism..." he must have felt.
In 1929, Shin was involved in plans to set up an Oriental Anarchists' League (Tung-pang Wu-cheng-fu Chu-i-che Lien-meng) in Peking. In order to raise funds for a new magazine, he concocted a plan with a Chinese comrade working in the Peking Post Office. It was arranged that Shin would go to Dairen, Manchuria (then controlled by the Japanese) with a forged international money order provided by the Chinese comrade. By presenting this, he could pretend to have money deposited in Peking, and demand payment in Dairen. Suspicions were aroused, however, when he presented the receipt, and both he and his partner were arrested by the Japanese police. Shin was given 10 years' hard labour on a charge of belonging to a secret organization, but before he could complete his sentence, he died in prison in Dairen on February 21 1936.
In conclusion, two points stand out about Shin Chae-ho. The first is that he, a privileged intellectual and established historian, in the course of the independence struggle, turned not as so many did to communism, but to anarchism - inevitable given his experiences. The second was the clear expression in his thinking of that peculiarity of Korean anarchism: the mixture of anarchism and nationalism.
In 1945 following the Japanese defeat, some former comrades of Shin Chae-ho including Chong Hwa-am and Lee Ha-yu established in Shanghai a publishing house which they named in his memory the 'Shin Chae-ho Study School'. Here, up till 1949, they printed and published anarchist materials and historical works, until they were closed down by the communists.
- 1NOTE: While some anarchists did take part in the Band of Heroes' activities, it is best known as an organization of nationalist terrorists. It provided Park Yul (see Chronology, part I) with explosives for his activities in Japan.
Korean Anarchists Under Martial Law (2) - Publications
Information for this article was gathered on two separate trips South Korea by collective members Ozeki Hiroshi and Nat Tyler, to in 1973 and 1975 respectively.
We were able to bring back with us copies of the publications mentioned (apart from the translations that is), and are looking for ways to have them translated into English. Most of what we know about them was learned from conversations at the National Culture Research Institute in Seoul. At least, they show that, despite horrendous repression, the idea is not dead in South Korea; on the contrary, it shows signs of a new revival among young people, as we tried to show in part 1 of this article.
In South Korea today, the anarchist idea is sustained by twelve, freely- or not-so-freely available publications:
Struggling to exist despite Park Chung-hee's fascist dictatorship, the anarchist movement in South Korea naturally has to put up with severe restrictions and almost total obstructionism. Before we go any further, people reading this should understand that the activities described here are taking place under conditions where even the right to hold discussion meetings, let alone publish their materials, are denied the Korean anarchists.
Still, in early 1973 anarchists living in the capital, Seoul, managed to put together the Jajyuin Yuenmaeng(Free Men's Federation - FMF) [see pt 1]. With this group as the nucleus, publishing activities gradually got under way. The first two items on the list represent a two-volume translation of George Woodcock's Anarchism. The subtitle. History of the Ideology & Activities of the Free Men, was a tactical measure adopted after long consideration as a necessary sacrifice to get the book past the censors. 500 copies of pt1, The Idea, were printed and distributed by a regular commercial press which normally handles university textbooks.
Pt 2, however, The Movement, was not so easily disguised. Thought control, obviously, is an essential part of the South Korean government's martial law set-up, and the publishers naturally hung back even after completing the printing. Only when FMF members finally decided to buy up and distribute all the printed copies themselves did this second part see the light of day. Since that experience, all actual anarchist publications in South Korea have been produced at the movement's own expense and distributed privately.
Modern Science & Anarchism / Anarchism & Morality is a translation of Kropotkin's Modern Science & Anarchism, together with selections from his Ethics. The translator, Lee Eul-kyu, was widely known as 'Korea's Kropotkin' until his death a few years ago. During his exile days in China, he fought in the front line of the Korean independence and anarchist movements. With this career behind him, the influence of his ideas and personality has become strong not only among young Korean anarchists, but even on a national scale.
The Voline translation is an interesting illustration of the curious political relationship between the anarchists and the government in South Korea founded on the mutual opposition to communism which we mentioned in pt 1. Because it comes down against the Bolsheviks in their conduct of the revolutions and condemns their suppression of freedom of speech and organization in order to consolidate their Power, the book was able to find an outlet through a Commercial publisher. Hence it can be bought in any of the student bookshops of Seoul. Even the word 'revolution' is no longer anathema in the contorted jargon of South Korean politics, and is thus used to describe the officers' coup d'etat which in 1961 overthrew the elected government and put Park Chung-hee in power.
Biography Of Kim Jong-jin is the story of one of the outstanding figures of the little-known pre-war Korean anarchist movement: the organizer of the anarchist partisans in north Manchuria, Kim Jong Jin. The author, Lee Eul-kyu, fought alongside Kim, and has put this book together from his experiences and memories. The circumstances of Kim's career bear an amazing resemblance to the Russian Makhnovschina of 1918-21: Kim as Nestor Makhno; Lee Eul-kyu as his Voline; and north Manchuria as the Ukraine. The contrast, too was merely one of degree. Whereas Makhno was suppressed by Bolshevik arms and forced into exile in Paris, where he later died in a sanatoriums Kim Jong-jin was surreptitiously murdered by a communist agent on July 11, 1931.
Of all the books which have reached us from South Korea, this one is easily the most important. Not only the Koreans living in Japan, but also young Japanese anarchists, as well as comrades elsewhere, should all read this book if they have a chance. We are trying to translate it, to make that possible. For, more than anything else, Kim's story gives living proof that, in the Korean independence movement hitherto shown as monopolized by communists and pure nationalists, there were also anarchists who fought sincerely in the front line of that movement, and who sacrificed their lives as anarchists to the struggle for national dignity.
Apart from the FMF, whose members are mainly concerned with maintaining the anarchist 'idea' the remaining activities can be broadly divided into two separate movements. These are, first, the group which has set up the Democratic Unification Party (DUP) in order to carry on legal Political activities; and second, the trend which has become known as the 'Autonomous Village Movement.'
The three major figures in the DUP are the party head, Yang Il- his chief advisor, Chong Hwa-am; and the chairman of the Policy Advisory Committee, Ha Kee-rak. Yang helped set up the Eastern Worker's Alliance (Tõkõ Rõdõ Dõmei), a union for Korean casual labourers in Japan, in Tokyo in 1926; he also co-edited the Black Newspaper (Kokushoku Shimbun), the organ of Korean anarchists in Japan before the war. Chong is often called the "father" of the Korean anarchist / independence movement; he was active in Korea, China and Manchuria before the war. Ha also has a career as a fighter behind him. In short, strange as it may sound, the DUP is the only south Korean opposition party which was organized by anarchists!
The Constitution, Programme & Policies of the DUP and the Free individualists' League piece present the political policies of the DUP, together with accounts of press interviews with its leaders. Since the regular press is forbidden to publish such things, it would be impossible to learn anything of the party's activities without these items. Most important of all, they explain the special nature of the anarchist movement in South Korea - why, after 'Liberation' in 1945, a section of the movement took the risky decision to soil its hands with politics [see pt 1]. The circumstances suggest a certain resemblance with the situation of the Spanish anarchists late in the Civil War.
The second main trend, the Autonomous Village Movement, operates from its newly-established centre, the National Culture Research Institute in central Seoul. This is headed by Lee Eul-kyu's younger brother, Jung-kyu. It originally evolved out of the Narodnik-type activities to which many intellectuals - mainly teachers and students - resorted after Park Chung-hee's military coup in 1961, and has now come to lead that movement. Its Narodnik ideology was inevitable, given the strong Kropotkinist leanings of the two Lee brothers. Lee Jung-kyu, thanks to his former position as head of the famous Confucianist 'Equality-Creating Hall' University, also wields considerable influence among educational circles in South Korea. Out of this, through admiration of Lee's ideas and personality, many young people are beginning to turn to anarchism.
Most of Lee's experiences and ideas are contained in his Collected Writings, 500 copies of which were privately printed and distributed by the FMF. This is another vital book for anarchists to read, and parts of it are now being translated into both Japanese and English. As well as a detailed chronology of Lee Jung-kyu's long life (he's now 80), the book contains his experiences in the anti-Japanese struggle in Korea, China and Manchuria; the history of the political and educational activities of the anarchists in Korea since Liberation; and the background to the National Culture Research Institute / Autonomous Village Movement. Although his late elder brother, Eul-kyu, actually acquired the nickname of the 'Korean Kropotkin', Lee Jung-kyu surely deserves that title today for the respect in which he is held by young and old alike.
Correspondence is the organ of the Autonomous Village Movement's main organization department, the National Conference of Village Activists. It contains reports on activities, discussions of the direction of the village movement, and so on. The conference chairman, Park Seung-han, is a young anarchist and a former high school geography teacher who resigned to live in the countryside. He now combines teaching with his work in the Conference.
Incidentally, Yasaka collective, near Hiroshima, Japan, is now planning to set up a kind of 'student exchange scheme' with the Korean movement, to give young anarchists from both countries a chance to change places. The first step will be, we hope, a summer camp in Korea this July. When you think about it, there are many points at which the Japanese and Korean situations coincide: turning the villages into communes; building an autonomous, self-defensible society; creating an awareness of actual conditions; even the aims and methods of each movement. We expect to learn a lot in the way of concrete strategies, methods and tactics. We hope it will be possible to put such an exchange scheme into practice despite the obvious difficulties.
Although the FMF, as we said, originally decided to finance and distribute all future anarchist publications itself, of course this severely limited the amount of material they could put out. The last three titles represent one way of getting around this problem. As we explained in part 1, the history of the Korean anarchist movement is tightly intertwined with that of the (noncommunist) struggle for national independence. So it's very simple to portray someone as a hero of the anti-Japanese resistance (anti-Japanese sentiment is still felt by practically every Korean) without mentioning that he was at the same time an anarchist. On the other hand, for those prepared to read between the lines, as well as for those who already have some personal experience of the movement, the message comes through quite clearly. If this seems an unsatisfactory situation, you have to remember the reality of political repression in South Korea today - particularly the almost infinite applicability of the fascist government's anti-communism legislation.
Items 10 and 11 are ideal examples. Lee Eun-seung's Memoirs contain her reminiscences of the anarchist / independence struggle in Manchuria, China and Korea up to 1945. The book makes no theoretical or ideological pretensions - it hardly could in current conditions; instead it contains a wealth of information about the pre-war movement that cannot be found elsewhere. Lee herself (she's now 86) was in the thick of the struggle with her husband. The publishers, a straight commercial outfit putting out cheap editions much like Penguins, attached the title to the book to distract attention from its contents. Whether this was out of dedication to the movement, or whether they simply smelt a scoop, is not clear. At any rate, the book is selling like hot cakes, and in March 1975 won a major literary award carrying a prize of 500, 000 won - Y500. Lee Eun-seung's husband, Lee He-yong, was a hero and martyr of the Korean struggle and one of the first Korean anarchists. When he was arrested by the Japanese secret police in 1932, to avoid betraying his friends under torture, he bit out his own tongue and died a few hours later. The book describes this incident and many others in a moving description of the conditions under which comrades struggled at that time.
Lee Gang-hyon's History is similar. Lee himself is a veteran of the Korean and Chinese anarchist movements, and one of the few prominent anarchists in Manchuria to escaped being bumped off by the CP in its bloodstained campaign for control over the Korean nationalist movement. He still lives in Seoul, is a member of the FMF, and is at present writing a book of memoirs. The History, also published as a cheap paperback, is a detailed history of the Korean Independence Movement beginning from the March 1st 1919 Incident [see 'Chronology' in LI 1]. Lee taught in primary schools in Manchuria for twelve years before going to Shanghai, where he was later arrested for an assassination attempt on the Japanese ambassador. His book is more than just a history though; it tells the confused and little-known background of the Korean anarchist movement in China and Manchuria at first hand, and is a very important book which deserves translation.
The last book is a bit different. The author, Lee Bom-sok, is a pure nationalist, and his book contains his memories of the movement from the point of view of a nationalist, rather than that of an anarchist. Although for that reason it's probably the least important of these books for understanding the anarchist movement, the distinction between the anarchist and nationalist movements was often very blurred, and Lee, a former military leader, was around for many of the important events affecting both. For example, he was co-commander with Kim Joa-jin of the Korean Independence Army when it was enticed to take refuge in Siberia in the early 1920's. Both turned anti-communist as a result of this experience, and Kim later became known as an anarchist until his murder by a communist agent in 1930. One other effort deserves mention. The workers at the National Culture Research Institute are planning a History of the South Korean Agrarian Movement. Volume one should be published by the end of 1975. It will be based upon information provided by local groups in touch with the Institute, student activists, and contemporary newspapers. Lee Mun-chang, who will be one of the principle editors and who writes regularly for Correspondence, told us that he hopes the book will reflect the Korean people's own ideas on how to organize and improve rural life, and also show the direction in which they want the countryside to develop, as opposed to that in which it is being pushed by the government's unpopular 'New Village' campaign.
Finally, other South Korean comrades, notably Yang Hee-sop, have set up the 'Freedom Library' (Jayu Munko). Their aim is to gather the scattered materials on the Korean movement in order to compile a history of Korean anarchism. They also want to set up correspondence with comrades abroad. Anarchists everywhere should do all we can to enable the 'Freedom Library' to become a CIRA-Korea; by offering encouragement from outside, we can help it escape from the jaws of the tiger, giving South Korean anarchists the opportunity to take part in the international anarchist movement. Yang Hee-sop himself has told us of his desire to receive news of developments elsewhere in the world, and is waiting for letters from us all.
Libero International No.3
Issue No. 3 of the Japanese journal Libero International. The exact date of publication is unknown, but presumed to be in 1975.
Group profile: Hong Kong 70s Front
The 70s Front group consists of both Hong Kong Chinese and many libertarian refugees from the reaction which accompanied the so-called "cultural revolution" in China. Some members publish a magazine, "70s Bi-weekly" (in Chinese). Others have organized the Asia/Pacific branch of the Alternative Press Syndicate, and have put out three issues of "Minus 9," the local APS bulletin. This is from their statement entitled, "Our Position." You can contact them at 158 Shaukiwan Road, Hong Kong.
An active organization carrying out the social revolution, the '70s Front" is naturally ready to confront many questions, such as: What are your beliefs and ideals? How do you see the future Hong Kong revolution? And so on. Such questions are, honestly, hard to answer, but nonetheless demand thorough analysis, lest our action come to lose all its vitality, our words and deeds become rootless and our blindness laughable. The below can be said to be our first, tentative attitudes toward the above questions.
In certain cases people ordinarily say: "I'm an xxx-ist." Likewise, we are often asked, "What ism are you?," Questions such as these put us in a predicament which doesn't mean that we've no ideals nor beliefs, only that we've yet to come upon the perfect banner representing our thoughts. Those whose heads hanker after worn-out ways, treading the straight and narrow of rigid self-restraint; who, without a shred of principle, take the teachings of the prophets and priests and call them their own ideas - they represent the flight from freedom. The aim of revolution is to change society, not to register the correctness of this or that ism.
With an open attitude, we therefore recognize, criticize and welcome all progressive thought. Any "pure xxx-ism" is absolutely meaningless. So, to answer the questions above, usually all we can say is: "We are socialists." Socialism is a tide in which we find many currents, some of them mutually opposed. Those who insist on classifying the ultimate aim of socialism according to two distinct higher and lower stages, communist and socialist, bring up the "transition question," a theoretical basis advanced so as to perpetuate the state machine, oppress the people, and secure the advantage of a small elite after the elimination of capitalism.
In general, socialist currents and sects share one point: they all favor the abolition of private ownership and the return of production capital to the public ownership of society. They seek to remake society on an egalitarian base so as to establish an ideal society which meets people's needs. Since we too share these concepts, we too call ourselves "socialists." But compared to all the other socialist strands, we especially stress the humanist spirit to be found in socialism. As Marx stressed in his Economic and Philosophical Manuscripts, if communism lacks humanism then it isn't communism, and humanism lacking communism isn't humanism. One who seeks complete independence and freedom can only exist in a society both rational and prosperous. And a rational and prosperous society's existence, in turn, depends on whether the individual character is to fully develop.... The most revolutionary aspect of a revolutionary lies precisely in his/her independence and freedom. Come the day our individuality is wiped out, we're robbed of our freedom, and all is done at the direction of a solitary authority, leader or party, then we'll have reached the ideal society - if this isn't the biggest joke the world has ever seen, then it has got to be the most beautiful!
We are resolutely against all authority: authority suggests suppression. And against all power, no matter its shape or form. We affirm that, under freedom and equality, a socialist life is founded on mutual cooperation and free association. But unlike the proverbial thief who covers his ears that the ringing of the bell he's stealing won't give him away, we don't deceive ourselves by denying the existence of the class struggle in the society before us. We are, however, resolutely against encouraging class hatred as the driving power of the revolution. Hatred will only bring in its wake retribution, suppression, stripping of the people's rights and the distortion of the people's humanity....
Violence perpetuates the slavery and robbery of the masses - precisely this principle serves as the foundation of contemporary society. A violent socialist revolution is necessary, and if we are to radically transform society and construct in its place one of free workers, there is no way. for us to accomplish this save by a violent socialist revolution. But naturally we cannot encourage and sing the praises of violence. Rather than saying violence inevitably and logically proceeds from revolution, better to say that we are forced to resort to violence because, in order to secure their own profits, the anti-revolutionists suppress us with violence.
... In the last analysis is the Chinese social structure under the communist regime socialism? This, more than all else, calls for urgent analysis.
First the economic side. The Chinese communists are stuck as ever in the rut of capitalism... The economic system under the Chinese communists is simply one where the capital resources have been rationalized, domestic markets brought under state control and nationally-operated ventures come to replace private ones. But nationalizing production resources has little to do with socializing production resources, and even less to do with realizing a socialist economy.... In China, nationalizing production resources means only that the state has become the general capitalist; and its control powers are all concentrated in the hands of a small clique of party bureaucrats. Thus have the party bureaucrats, in turn, metamorphosed to where they've taken "protective custody" of productive resources.
As ever before, the industrial workers are wage labor, people plundered and repressed. Having failed to eliminate capitalism, the Chinese communists have driven the capitalist system to the extreme.... Not only do wages not reflect the value of labor itself, but are low compared to other capitalist countries. Not only are wages not subject to supply and demand, likewise neither is return on investment regulated, so that the push for attainment of the greatest scale of return on investment has been rendered into the guideline of the People's Economic Plan. This kind of policy is reflected in the universal low wages and shortage of consumer goods, and is reflected all the more in the flow of goods from the mainland to Hong Kong. The application of political force to the suppression of labor, to the increase in expropriation of value, and to the exalting of the return on investment rate all leave any traditional capitalist system trailing far behind in a cloud of dust....
The socialist economy we seek:
As for the political aspect in China, the party directs everything, and the Chinese Communist Party has been influenced by the foul weed of the Leninist vanguard party organized as a high-level, concentrated formation, founded on the principle of "democratic centralism." Theoretically, policy formulation involves a democratic-style discussion by standing party members or their proxies, thereafter to be collectivized and implemented. And should there be an opposing view, once the matter is put to a vote, the majority will must be obeyed absolutely.
On the surface this appears both democratic and collective; actual circumstances are quite the contrary. In this case ample democracy means nothing more than the opportunity for those attending the meeting to understand opposing views. But it does not necessarily follow that this will solve the problems, because a policy's correctness can only be tested in the crucible of actual implementation. Under centralism, minority opinions lose all chance of being tried and tested, and naturally which way is right cannot be determined. Therefore, when events reveal majority decisions and consequent policy to have been in error, the people must go on believing that that was the only way.
As far as those who hold democratic centralism sacred are concerned, to allow any chance of implementation to dissimilar ideas or policies represents the path of adventurism or the stupid dissipation of "actual energies." But we'd like to point out that the opinion of the majority is not necessarily the correct one. If it is majority opinion that serves as the refuge for all policies, is not this too a kind of adventurism? Rather, wouldn't it be far safer to allow different policies a chance at experimentation and actualization, so as to provide mutually complementary, supportive policies? And as for the line that this would mean a dissipation of actual energies, there's even less of a leg to stand on. For the concrete expression of actualized energies is to be found in the efficient application of all resources, and the quick - and accurate - attaining of projected targets....
Democratic centralization suffers from one serious defect: it becomes a warm bed to bureaucrats. This is the result of high-level centralization of power as well as information and materials. Consider the case of an ordinary party member: though s/he is legally entitled to criticize and review the policies of his/her superiors, yet, unable to obtain the relevant data, how is s/he to conduct a vigorous criticism or an effective review? In such cases where decisions flow top-down and not bottom-up, the slow development of absolute submissiveness to one's superiors is the result....
"Without the efforts of the Chinese Communist Party, without CCP members serving as the mainstream pillars of the people, the independence and liberation of China would have been impossible, as would the industrialization of China and the modernization of its agriculture." Selected Works of Mao Tse-tung, Vol. III, "on Coalition Government." This passage fully reflects a reactionary toward the interests of the revolution, the masses, and the party, etc. And it is with just such a attitudes that a small group of bureaucrats, regarding the advantage of the party as that of the revolution, see their own interests and theirs only as the interests of the party. And whenever they meet opponents of different mind, they immediately attack them as "counter-revolutionaries" or a "conspiracy party." Under the pretext of dictatorship of the proletariat, gradually all become subject to a progressively unscrupulous repression.
Not only is this true for extra-party affairs, but also within the party too - as demonstrated in the reactionary line, "No party outside the party, no faction within the party." If such a dictatorship is meant to protect the fruits of the revolution, and to bring the passage to communism, then it amounts to the most colossal absurdity. We must understand that dictatorship is only meant to maintain the special class interests of the ruling class, and the proletariat hasn't its own class property interests. So there's no such thing as a so-called class dictatorship. The entire process of stripping the bourgeoisie of all its capital should be a revolution involving the whole of humanity. To set up, at any point in this process, a controlling party dictatorship under the fine-sounding name of "dictatorship of the proletariat" is simply a dirty insult to, and shameless deceit of, the proletariat. No matter whose hands hold the reins of the state, the result is still suppression of the people. In a nutshell, "Power corrupts and absolute power corrupts absolutely."
Therefore we resolutely oppose the vanguard party concept, instead advocating a myriad of mass organizations, each producing its own ideas and policies. At the same time this assures a consciousness-raising struggle of the people on the broadest possible scale. The consciousness of the people is the main condition for the fruitation of the true socialist revolution. A revolution directed by a party or a few "heroes" cannot possibly be a revolution liberating humankind. Simultaneously, we oppose using the pretext of dictatorship of the proletariat to strengthen the instrument of the state.
Simply put, we oppose all dictatorships, all governments, all forms of statism. and all authority. We stand for endlessly-evolving freedom, for we sense, intuitively, that individual freedom is the prior condition for the freedom of all, and that once the individual is robbed of his/her freedom, freedom for all cannot possibly exist. Likewise, when the collective good ignores or suppresses individual interest, that spells the end of the collective good.
Where Is China Going?
In China, the true meaning of socialism has been distorted and corrupted. A cruel, relentless dictatorship, ubiquitous security agents, the impersonal concepts of the murky religion of "socialism"... made people feel dark and secretive. Just when all hope was lost, the "Great Cultural Revolution " burst forth in a shower of sparks, penetrating the darkness with a gleaming light, illuminating for China the road ahead, whereon performed those socialist fighters who, for the sake of truth, would not submit, but would fight back, struggle, and ultimately seize the victory.
The Great Cultural Revolution, beginning with a top-to-bottom false revolution, was transformed into a bottom-to-top genuine revolution. The masses would never again be made fools of, never again let themselves be led by the nose into bringing down those designated as the so-called class enemy.... On their own, they organized and took control, and they discovered that even without the bureaucrats and supreme directives, their factories could maintain and even increase production. And they found that their lives were fuller than ever before, the gap between people closed. In order to thoroughly smash the bureaucratic structure - the "revolutionary committees" - mass revolutionary organizations appeared.
This spontaneous mass movement was diametrically opposed to the religious socialism of Mao Tse-tung; the authority of the "pope" lost some of its glamor. Repression failed time and again, ideology momentarily came to life, and for the first time the people came into contact with the tide of true socialism. One by one, groups representing the vanguard of the masses, who had come to a socialist awareness, began to emerge in the ranks of the ultra-left. Their growth heralded the death of Mao Tse-tung Thought. The fear-stricken bureaucrats shed their masks, revealing their ferocious features, and mobilized the state apparatus to lord it over the people. Then the military fired its guns, and the revolutionary generation became a generation ground underfoot. The revolution died. Long live the revolution! The flesh may disappear, but the idea will stand strong in the face of armed repression.
The ultra-left factions of the Great Cultural Revolution symbolized the dawn of the Chinese revolution, but we must point out that, though they consciously opposed the bureaucrats and though they sincerely struggled for socialism, yet over 20 years of authoritarian control has forged an authoritarian character in a great majority of the people. Hence, even within the ranks of the ultra-left, not a few of the anti-bureaucrat fighters still subconsciously fashioned themselves after their rulers. This is history's tragedy, the poisoned legacy of the Mao Tse-tung dictatorship - and will become a great obstacle to the coming revolution. To mitigate this disaster, it is precisely here that we revolutionaries overseas who, taking advantage of our relatively free contacts with all the new trends in revolutionary thought throughout the world, should apply our energy.
The future of the Chinese revolution is tied up with the question of whether or not the ultra-leftists can spark off an all-encompassing socialist revolution; and that for Hong Kong with its success or failure. This does not mean that we in Hong Kong must wait by the stump for the hare1 in anticipation of the arrival of the Chinese revolution. On the contrary, we must fight to oppose all irrational systems and let the mass movement in Hong Kong serve as catalyst for the Chinese revolution. To prevent the Hong Kong mass movement from falling into the ruts of the toppled cart of Kronstadt, the Chinese revolution remains the only effective assurance.
- 1an old Chinese proverb which refers to the story of the man who, having seen a hare go down its hole, decided to sit down at a stump nearby and wait for it to come out again, the saying means to wait in vain, or to passively wait instead of taking constructive action.
Asian anarchism in western languages (2): China
Suggested reading list from Libero International.
*]"International News China," Black Flag, 111/19 (April 1975): about Pa Chin's public humiliation by Red Guards during the "Cultural Revolution" and befriending by the workers among whom he was sent for "re-education".
The criteria used to select this bibliography were (a) availability and (b) direct relevance. More detailed pieces, as well as background materials, can be found in the bibliographies to items 7, 9, 12, 14 (a separate volume titled Research Guide to the May Fourth Movement), 16, 24 and 25. Not much has appeared from the "China scholars," though some academic theses are in progress, as shown above. Good libertarian critiques of the Chinese regime will be introduced in a future issue. Thanks to CIRA Switzerland, Alan Charles, and Beni for help with sources. We'd appreciate hearing of anything we've left out.
The Post-War Korean Anarchist Movement (1)
Formation of the League of Free Social Constructors
In the Cairo Conference statement of December 1943, the heads of state of the U.S., Britain and China announced unequivocally: "We take note of the conditions of slavery endured by the people of Korea, and reassure them that, in due course, their freedom and independence will be restored to them." Moreover, at the July 1945 Potsdam Conference on the post-war order, this principle was confirmed. The Soviet Union, in its August 1945 declaration of war against Japan, also expressed its adherence.
With the Japanese emperor's surrender statement of August 15, 1945, the curtain finally fell on the Korean people's 36-year tragedy. For these 30 million people, the death of the Japanese empire and the end of over a generation of brutal colonial exploitation all added up to a sudden, electrifying emotional experience. In every corner of Korea, the moment surrender was announced the people rose as one to set about the building of a new nation. Not just the cities, but even the remotest of villages, saw the spontaneous creation of "Preparatory Committees for Building a New Korea". Simultaneously, "like bamboo shoots after the spring rain," peasant unions, labor unions, cooperative associations and so on appeared. Through these activities the 36-year grudge of a people deprived of a country was finally being settled.
In Korea, the expression "post-war" does not exist. North or south, the appropriate term is "post-Libe ration", because for the people of Korea liberation from Japanese rule was the overriding event. Liberation, however, had not brought freedom to Korea. In place of the defeated Japanese army now stood two new armies one American, one Russian, which occupied both north and south Korea and proclaimed military governments in their respective zones of control. If military government was not to become a fact, the people of Korea needed to construct their own representative organs through which to negotiate with their occupiers.
The home town of Ha Ree Rak (see LI-l) is Anwi, a medium-sized country town in central south Korea. Anwi has for years enjoyed a reputation for turning out well-known anarchists. Here too, after liberation, there appeared a "Preparatory Committee for Building a New Korea," centered on local anarchists. Comrades Lee Siu Ryung and Ha Kee Rak were elected chairman and vice-chairman. Ha, at the same time, was also chairman of the Free Peasant Union Committee of Anwi. For its first task, the union began providing food and living quarters and finding jobs for the comrades beginning to trickle back from exile in Japan and China.
The communists, meanwhile, with the help of the Russian army then occupying the north, were moving fast. All over Korea, the Preparatory Committees were speedily re-organized as "People's Committees," which gradually came to absorb all unions. Needless to say, the communists strewed vast sums of money about to expand their organization in this way.
In October 1945, a National Congress of Peasant Union Delegates was called in Seoul. According to Ha Kee Rak, who took part, almost all the bodies represented had already been transformed into red unions, and the Congress was to all appearances a communist party one. Ha himself did not stay long, and the following day he resigned his delegateship.
By this time most of the exiled anarchists had one by one returned to Korea, and it was decided that the anarchists, too, should create a unified organization for rebuilding their country. This was to be the "League of Free Social Constructors." Two precious months had been lost to the communists, a delay that was to inflict a fatal handicap on the Korean anarchists for years to come.
At that time, of course, traffic was open between north and south, and when the call went out to set up the League, anarchists from every corner of the Korean peninsula gathered in Seoul to take part. More than 60 comrades turned up, including the brothers Lee Eul Kyu and Lee Chung Kyu, Kim Hyan Un, Han Ha Yun, 0 Nam Ki, Pak Ryung Hong and Bang Han Sang. All were fighters with long experience. Ha Kee Rak, too, after the disaster of the Peasant Union Co.. gress, eagerly took part in this new anarchist organization aimed at building a new Korea. Lee Chung Kyu has described the atmosphere at the time as follows:
"By early August 1945, Japanese imperialism's imminent defeat was obvious, and the tide of liberation was rising daily. Every comer of Korean society was affected. Among the scattered ranks of the anarchists there was an almost telepathic sensation that "this was it!" So they began busily contacting each other and preparing for the day of decision. When August 15 finally dawned, many more comrades were released from prison, and huddled meetings were convened to debate the future. In all, 67 comrades, some from remote parts of the country, some fresh out of gaol, gathered in Seoul.
"Within the Preparatory Committees, the reactionaries attempted to form a united front with the communists in order to seize total power at one fell swoop. To oppose them, the right wing, typically, flooded the committees with candidates from diverse parties and factions. Among the anarchists, however, some comrades, associated with the just-released Kim Ji Gang (now dead), and Cha Ik Hyun, proposed: 'The first step in the building of a new Korea is to take our revenge on the Japanese!' Consequently, at the beginning of September, the Japanese police official, Saiga Ichirõ, and the Secret Service agent, Harayoshi Tsubouchi, and others, were sentenced to death and successfully assassinated.
"In a period dominated by groups blinded by their lust for total -political power, direct action like this heroic revenge killing of the lackeys of Japanese imperialism represented a shout for joy. Yet we anarchists, who had always advocated a social revolution, had also to take charge of the constructive activities necessary for building the new Korea. Everyone agreed that we had to declare our principles, and produce a positive, constructive plan for a new Korea. And so, after numerous meetings, the following declaration and program were drafted and published at the end of September.
"In the meantime, however, comrades Chul Ri Bang and Lee Yu San were murdered in the continuing struggle with the communists. In December came the further bad news of the UN Trusteeship proposed by the Moscow. Conference of Foreign Ministers. The next day, December 30, was raised the first flag proclaiming the struggle to the death to resist the trusteeship decision."
Against this background, the first post-Liberation organization of Korean anarchists was formed.
Declaration and program of the League of Free Social Constructors
We have come from underground, shedding our disguises as we emerge into the light. With this declaration we sunder the chains of silence, proclaiming our principles to all the world.
All people thirst for freedom. Equality is the fundamental condition of social life. And mutual aid is the guiding factor in human evolution. Therefore, when this demand is not met, this condition not fulfilled, this basic factor distorted, society becomes corrupted and ruined.
Like it or not, we have fallen into the pit of this social ruin. When we, out of ignorance, overlooked these demands for freedom and equality in our own private interests, we forgot the principle of mutual aid, and our society took the first step along the road to impotence and corruption. For four centuries since* Im Jin [known to Japanese as Toyotomi Hideyoshi's 1772 unsuccessful expedition against Korea], the poisonous fang of Japanese aggression was pointed at our heart, and finally it came to plunder our lives and to suck our blood. With this, the dignity of the 30 million Korean people was trampled in the dust, and our long history of liberty came to an end.
Only by throwing out all the elements in our national ruin can we emerge from this pit of extinction to restore life to our people and our society, and set our history into motion once more. Therefore, not only must we overthrow Japanese imperialism, but also eradicate the internal evils of lack of freedom, inequality, and mutual antagonism. In their place we must lay a foundation of mutual aid, upon which to build a new society based on freedom and equality. No other method, and no other theory, will ensure the happiness and prosperity of our 30 million compatriots and their descendants for ever more.
With the support of the people, we have begun to propagate and struggle for this program a over the country. However, even with the support of the people, we could not fight on three fronts at once. Yet neither could we shirk that struggle - against, on the one hand, Japanese imperialism, and on the other, feudal and local capitalist elements who collaborated with the Japanese, plus the sharn-revolutionary advocates of dictatorship. In such conditions, it must be borne in mind, we sought to cooperate with all genuinely revolutionary nationalist groups of the left.
Looking back on the four-and-a-half centuries of our struggle, what sacrifices it has demanded from amongst the ranks of our comrades! Some have ended their days on the point of the enemy's sword, others on his gallows; stiff others have languished in his pitiless gaols, until their souls departed to become unrequited ghosts. The sweat and blood of all these comrades, blood stained by the melancholy of life behind bars, will never be forgotten. Just as the three-headed enemy still remembers its hesitation and fear before our bayonets, so, on the other hand, the precious blood shed by the martyrs of our struggle gives new impetus to our army. Seeing our many front-line comrades scattered all over the country, we confidently call for positive participation in the imminent task of constructing a new Korea. At the same time, we willingly assume the principal role. If not, would any others really seek to control and re-organize the wild gyrations of the power-hungry, and restore life and prosperity to the people disillusioned by their antics?
The struggle continues. Although the main enemy, Japanese imperialism, has fled in defeat, dark clouds hang over us still, like the trusteeship decision. Moreover, our two-headed internal enemy is not like the natural obstacles that inspire one with the thrill of challenge; on the contrary, they forbode many bloody struggles in the future in the name of total liberation, and demand protracted efforts for complete national reconstruction. For the moment, therefore, we should put aside current affairs, and strengthen our solidarity for the fight. The blood of our martyrs flows in our veins, and the experiences it has lived through teach us this.
Let us hoist high our flag without hesitation. An entirely free, entirely egalitarian new Korea based on mutual aid will only be created from a free federation of autonomous units covering the whole country. In this new campaign we will open a united front with all revolutionary left-wing nationalist armies, until the day that self-reliance, independence and complete liberation are realized.
The post-war Left in Japan
by Yamabe Yoshiyuki
Looking back over the past ten years or so of the left wing movement in Japan, it becomes clear that a great change has taken place. As soon as the Left, at the time of the 1960 anti-Ampo struggle,1 abandoned the "if it ain't the CP, it ain't Left" sort of "common sense" of the previous decade, the focus of political activities - both practical and theoretical - became the government's foreign policy. Attention rarely turned to broader issues, and what few lessons the Movement learned at this time were confined to some new insights into the nature of this policy. The favorite activity of the time was street demonstrations, followed by propaganda-leafletting. Compared with the state of things today, it was a very feeble movement indeed.
At the same time, thanks to the policies of the American occupation regime [1945-1952], "democracy" was still a word with strong popular appeal. For the Left, therefore, the call to struggle against the government's attempts to turn the clock back was a highly effective weapon in their appeals to the masses. The "democratic constitution,2 still weighed heavily as a factor in the Left's consideration of revolutionary possibilities.
At the beginning of 1965, the war in Vietnam escalated with the commencement of American bombing of the north. In April, a group of Japanese citizens demonstrated in the Ginza, [Tokyo's most fashionable boulevard], carrying banners and placards denouncing the war. This was the humble beginning of "Beheiren" ["Citizens' League for Peace in Vietnam"].
Politically, I suppose, Beheiren was less sophisticated than the student movement [Zenkyõtõ], whose biggest drawback was its members' doctrinal habit of employing complex conceptual and philosophical abstractions incomprehensible to the outsider. Beheiren, however, did not depend on any organization for its vocabulary. It was a new-style movement, in which individuals thought for themselves, then did whatever they could. Beheiren's membership stretched from middleschool pupils to old folks with sticks, a multi-layered movement with a rare richness of variety that gave it peculiar tenaciousness. In its organization, too, it broke away from the essentially exclusive, pyramidal Leninist pattern adopted by the CP and the student sects. Emphasis was on the self-discipline and spontaneity of each individual in the movement, with whom all responsibility lay.
Beheiren's three guiding principles were:
In the beginning its activities consisted of no more than a moderate, verbal demonstrations of solidarity with Vietnam - a foreign country - from a "peaceful" Japan. In other words, at that time the emphasis was on principles (1) and (2), while the meaning of (3) had yet to become apparent. As the movement developed, however, people gradually began to see for the first time that it was the third point in fact that was the most crucial for Japanese. They became aware of the sacrifices forced upon the people of both southeast Asia and Japan itself over the past 10 years of high Japanese economic growth geared to the American aggression in Vietnam.
Instances of a movement with humble beginnings growing, like Beheiren, into something far deeper and broader, are not difficult to find. The nationwide campus struggles which flared up after 1968, too, were at their outset nothing out of the ordinary, making only the usual petit-bourgeois demands for student autonomy, etc. It would be only fair to say, however, that neither the extent of the movement, nor the level of student consciousness, have changed much since 1968. Imprisoned, like most such movements, by fixed concepts of organization and ideology, the students were forced to choose direct confrontation with the authorities as the most radical form of struggle. This, together with the transformation of violent state repression into an everyday experience, is the stage reached by the student movement over the past ten years.
Today, "radical activities" have been monopolized by: (1) the fratricidal infighting of the various Trotskyite sects, (2) the world-wide "crimes" of the Japanese Red Army, and (3) the underground bombing campaign of the East Asia AntiJapanese Armed Front. As yet, the authorities have been unable to run any of these completely to ground.3 While such activities have no public support at present, I myself would not deny their part in the preparations for the coming revolution. Though such activities may be sneered at, in the long run their success in exposing the real nature of the government and its characteristically Japanese authoritarianism, by challenging it to a direct confrontation, will not be so easily dismissed. Nor will the direct and concrete injuries inflicted upon the enemy be so lightly appraised.
However, it is not only in terms of violence that the pressure on the authorities should be understood. Whereas in the past the Movement had simply taken a conceptual stand opposing the general line of the Japanese government and of the Japanese bourgeoisie, during the past 10 years, particularly from 1968 to 1970, it has broadened its attacks to include almost all aspects of the system. During this time, the piecemeal struggles of local residents and oppressed minorities have developed a new meaning, and taken on a truly dynamic image. These movements, hitherto isolated and ineffectual, have found a new kind of unity and solidarity, and a new means of communication, by studying the issues raised by the Zenkyoto and Beheiren movements.
Today, therefore, all over Japan, there are at least 300 groups with names like "Society to Oppose X," "Society to Protect Y," "Society to Demand Z." Although Small, they are waging fierce struggles against the authorities. They include the Burakumin Liberation Movement4 , the Ainu Liberation and Independence Movements,5 the anti-U.S. base movements, the soldiers' trials6 , the anti-pollution movement, the anti-nuclear weapon movement, 7 the cooperative movement, etc. Each of them, although an independent, concrete struggle, is helping to throw light on the common nature of class contradictions in Japanese capitalism, and the ugliness of the power structure itself. One important thing to note about this development is, while no one of these struggles is big or strong enough alone to pose a direct threat to the authorities, each of them has come to understand their relationship to the other struggles taking place, and the role which they play in the Movement as a whole. A second, related point, is that each independent struggle movement in turn recognizes the independence of other struggles, so that, by entrusting activities in certain sectors to those movements specifically concerned, solidarity is achieved as the movement develops.
Looking at it another way, I suppose you could say that the struggle has been brought down to the level of people's everyday lives - inconceivable in 1968, when the "Movement" meant either the student movement or the trade union movement. Putting it crudely, these two comprised the political movement, represented by street-fighting, and the economic movement, represented by strikes for higher wages. Today, however, every aspect of daily life has been taken up by a series of interdependent but united struggles - kindergartens, education, prices, pollution (in foods, medicines, the environment, etc.), working conditions... Some problems are restricted to certain areas, while others re-occur time and time again. From all this we can see that the nature of the power structure in Japan is really coming to be understood by the common people, both through its physical extent and over time.
Again, in the past no struggle was separable from communism or some other left-wing ideology. To put it another way, popular movements were always organized by communists or leftists of some sort, and directed at the kind of revolution which they prescribed. Today, though, in almost all cases this relationship has been reversed. Not infrequently, movements at first aided and supported by the political parties or student sects, only to be deserted by them later, have continued and even grown without them. The Sanrizuka struggle8 is the perfect example. Following the early departure of the Communist and Socialist parties, disgruntled at the rejection of the party line, now almost all the left-wing [student] groups have abandoned the peasants' cause. Yet the struggle goes on.9 To put it briefly, the anti-establishment struggles of today are no longer fought "for the people!", but are "for us, the People!"
The old Japanese climate in which a person could shrug off political involvement because s/he was not a party member, or because his/her student days were over, now seems exotic. The times when the political movement meant for the majority of its participants a temporary flaring-up of the fires of youth are fast disappearing. The fact that political involvement - for some people at least - has become an essential part of daily life marks a definite advance. So, too, does the new tendency to place equal value on one's daily life, family and political activities, instead of accepting that activists must sacrifice all else for "The Movement".
Unfortunately I do not have space here to sum up these political trends from a more global aspect. However, one can say that the fact that these local movements have concentrated on the individual contradictions nearest them proves the felt inadequacy of the old idea that the root of all evil was the state structure, whose overthrow would solve all problems at one swoop. In conceptual terms, it convinces me that the political revolution cannot march at the head of the social revolution - that the former will , only be achieved in intimate connection with the latter. I would also add that the ideal of a world revolution, of ties of international solidarity, are no longer a wild vision for us, thanks to this new kind of movement.
One of the factors primarily responsible for the reaching of this turning-point has been none other than - the Japanese Red Army. The days when "abroad" meant America seem far away to us now. Of course, when one thinks about it, the expansion of Japanese imperialism into southeast Asia has been a great impetus, [but the credit is undeniably due to the former]. Meanwhile, young Japanese are gradually beginning to take up the Korean language, to visit southeast Asia, and to express greater and greater interest in the countries of that area.
Compared with five years ago, the political movement today would seem to be at an unbelievably low ebb. As for me, however, I'm sure that the flood-waters are building up, soon to burst forth.
- 1AMPO is short for the "US-Japan Joint Security Treaty," designed to tie the two countries in a tight military partnership dominated by the U.S. nuclear umbrella. First signed in 1960, it is renewable every 10 years.
- 2The "democratic constitution" was written by U.S. occupation lawyers in 1947. In it, Japan renounces the right to maintain armed forces or to use force as an instrument of national policy: it transfers sovereign power to the people, and strips the emperor of his divine authority.
- 3Eight members of the Armed Front were arrested in May 1975. One committed suicide (according to the police) immediately, another was sprung by the Japanese Red Army in the Kuala Lumpur Incident of August 1975. Two other members remain at large.
- 4'Burakumin' are the untouchables of Japan, unable to get 'respectable' jobs, or even to associate with people not of their caste. (see RONIN No. 16.)
- 5The Ainu were the original inhabitants, the 'Red Indians', of Japan. Now only a few remain, living mostly in model villages in the far North as a result of expansion by the present race known as "Japanese".
- 6Konishi Makoto, a sergeant in the Air Self Defense Force (ASDF - i.e., the Japanese Air Force; see note 2), was arrested in 1969 for denouncing the AMPO treaty and calling for a boycott of "civil order training" then being conducted on all SDF bases. During the 5-year series of court hearings which followed, the first political prosectuion of an SDF member, a Support Konishi Committee was formed to help in his defense and gather public support. He was acquitted in February 1975. (See AMPO Magazine, No. 6 [Summer 1970] and Vol. 7 No. 2 [April-June 1975]).
- 7Japan's government subscribes to the "three non-nuclear principles": non-production of, non-possession of, and non-transit of nuclear weapons in Japan. Recent events, however, have exposed its secret collusion with the American military in allowing U.S. Navy ships to call at Japanese ports while carrying nuclear weapons, and the U.S. Army to store its warheads in Okinawa.
- 8The 10-year struggle of local farmers against construction of a new international airport at Narita, outside Tokyo. (See AMPO Nos. 9-10, 11 & 15.)
- 9In the latest stage of the Sanrizuka struggle, the farmers have launched a movement to sell shares in an iron tower they have constructed to prevent the use of the airport runway. (See "SANRIZUKA" on pp.37-42 of this issue.)
What kind of organization?
The Japan Anarchist Federation (JAF) dissolved itself in 1968. In the words of its dissolution manifesto, the move was a "deployment in the face of the enemy." Social conditions were heading for a new high point, and all sorts of new social movements were being born. JAF's decision to deploy was thus based on the expectation of a re-birth (of the anarchist movement, that is) in the midst of this refreshing atmosphere. What it amounted to was, in fact, JAF's admission of failure to relate to people as it was currently constituted.
Of these new social movements, two are most worthy of notice. One was the student rebellion (Zenkyõtõ), a link in the world-wide chain of student outbursts of the late 60s. The other was Beheiren (see part 1), a movement which denounced the rape of., Vietnam by U.S. imperialism and the Japanese government's complicity therein. Although with the subsequent lapse of the overall social movement into a "quiet" phase, the former fell into the hands of the so-called "New Left" Marxist-Leninist sects, both Beheiren and Zenkyõtõ were once distinguishable by their reliance on individual spontaneity.
Neither of the two were movements of anarchists, nor did either of them profess anarchist beliefs. Truth to say, very few people involved made the connec- tion between their activities and "anarchist" ones. In any case, the nature of the two movements made such distinctions irrelevant. When a movement is prospering, and in practical terms moving towards the realization of anarchy, not only do such arguments and false distinctions not arise, there is no time even for debating them.
Overall, conditions at the time were very close to the theoretical projections of anarchism. That is, the movement seemed to be heading towards a state of anarchy, to judge from the attitudes and actions of its participants. Even the mass media were forced to confess that the revolutionary doctrine of anarchy, so long hidden under the shadow of Marxism, had been rediscovered. For the first time, reflected in the mass media as well as in general publishing activities, anarchism began to receive the serious attention it deserved. For example, it was at this time that Daniel Guerin's Anarchism was published and attracted a wide readership, to be followed by a spate of publications concerning anarchism. The appearance of Guerin's book marked the first time since the war that the ideas of anarchism had been made available in a genuine, complete, compact and, moreover, cheap form. For many young Japanese, I think, this book worked as an introductory course to anarchy.
With the popular movement at its height, interest in anarchism was widespread, and many "new" anarchists were appearing. The problem was, to what extent were the anarchists themselves able to grasp the significance of the fact that many people were becoming acquainted with anarchism through a movement which was developing, by and large, independent of the anarchists? Frankly speaking, not well enough, though some people admittedly worked hard to realize their proposals for restructuring anarchist theory to suit the changing social conditions and to anticipate future developments.
Even after JAF's dissolution, local anarchists continued to form their own groups and engage in local activities as before. For some, indeed, it could even be said that the end of JAF offered a fresh opportunity for action. Apart from the anarchism study circles up and down the country, other groups which immediately spring to mind are the Mugi Sha (Barley Society - so named because the character used to transliterate the "ba" of "Bakunin" into Japanese means literally "barley") and the Libertaire group in Tokyo; the Rebel Association (Futei Sha), Osaka Anarchism Study Society and Kyoto Anarchism Study Society, both in Kansai; and the Liberty and the Pale Horse Society groups in northern Japan. There must surely have been many more than that which we don't know about. Most of them seem to have been small. The biggest was the Libertaire group in Tokyo, still active today, holding regular meetings and putting out a small magazine, Libertaire (in Japanese). However, one more group which formed at this time demands attention. This comprised the people who formed around the monthly Osaka publication Jiyü Rengõ (Free Federation).
The Osaka Jiyü Rengõ published its first "preparatory issue" on March 10, 1969, and ceased publication 3 1/2 years later on October 15, 1972. Circulation grew from 1000 at the outset, through 1800. a year later, to 2500 when publication ceased. The regular readership also grew, from 800 after the first year to 1800 at the end. While many of the readers lived either in Tokyo or in the Kyoto-Osaka-Kobe areas, distribution was nationwide. In social terms, while a large proportion of the readership naturally comprised young people and students, in fact there was a very broad mix. Space does not allow a detailed examination of the part played by the Osaka Jiyü Rengõ. What follows are just the impressions left by its most outstanding features.
In the first place, it should be pointed out that the Osaka Jiyü Rengõ took its name from that of an earlier JAF broadsheet of the same name. However, as the Osaka Jiren (we use this abbreviation to distinguish it from the JAF paper, which was usually known as Jiren) stated time and time again, while it retained the name of the JAF paper, it was not the organ of any one group. Instead, it insisted, by paying for the paper through taking out subscriptions the readership was expressing and concretely proving its "sincere desire to create a free federation within the movement." Thus was a new kind of managerial form created. The idea which its title suggested, of an anarchist organ, was wrong.
"Through this paper we are aiming at a broad, anti-establishment, free-federated movement, including but not restricted to anarchists. This is because we believe that, above all else, the complete equality of every movement, joined together in a federation allowing complete freedom of action, is essential if the present anti-establishment struggle is to wage a successful fight.
"Jiren must at all times correspond to actual conditions. The idea of a 'free federation' with no relationship to current conditions is simply nonsense. This is why the backbone of Jiren is on-the-spot, subjective reports from actual participants in concrete struggles." (No. 13, 20/3/70)
In other words, what the Osaka Jiren was aiming at was to encourage awarenesss that the kind of organizational forms then being created within the Beheiren and Zenkyõtõ movements amounted to free federation forms. For this purpose, it would provide an open forum and a meeting place for people actually involved in these struggles. While anticipating that it would be confused with the old JAF Jiyu Rengo, the Osaka Jiren insisted that the name was simply the most appropriate to express the position of the Osaka group. So the question which cropped up over and over again during the 3 1/2 years of the paper's life was: What is a free federation?
As the above quote made clear, Osaka Jiren did not want to be labelled an anarchist paper produced by anarchists, and deliberately assumed a ppsture which rejected such a position. For outsiders this must have seemed a highly curious situation. The paper was rich in information about anarchism and news of anarchist groups - in fact it was the only national outlet for such material. For people trying to find out more about anarchism (as we said, great numbers of young people were then turning on to anarchism), and for the anarchists themselves, there was simply no other source covering the whole country. Hence the impression of an "anarchist monthly" which Osaka Jiren gave was quite inevitable.
Nevertheless, the paper rejected the strict anarchist standpoint, on the grounds that it sought to create a much broader-based, federated social movement. For the establishment of the "open forum" envisaged by Osaka Jiren, its members felt that to accept the label of "anarchists" would have been a hindrance.
That they were reasonably successful in this attempt can be seen from the figures for circulation and subscription. Very few other libertarian papers went beyond the groups which published them, and almost all circulated only in a limited area. For people without a strong interest in anarchism, they were extremely boring and suggested a closed shop. Osaka Jiren, on the other hand, was somewhat different. The "liberated" impression which it gave was largely due to its attempts to break away from the anarchist framework. Its subscribers, scattered all over the country, and including senior and middle-school students and many non-anarchists, were the measure of its success.
So what exactly did the Osaka Jiren people mean when they talked about a "free federation?" We will pass on to this in part III.
One of our intreped editors recently returned, with a running nose and a battered camera, from a weekend at Sanrizuka. There he took part in a support demonstration for the local farmers, and this is what he saw and heard.
In the rolling hills of Narita, cabbages and burdock grow where once blossomed molotov cocktails. Yet the struggle of the people of Sanrizuka for the right to live and die and be buried in the sod they love has not diminished. Only, a new stage has been reached. Their unity was manifest in the twin iron towers poised above the rain-soaked land that Sunday.
That Sunday was October 11, 1975, the day of a solid solidarity-happening with the peasant defenders of Sanrizuka. 6000 people snaked between the desolation of "civilization" on both sides from Narita to the main tower.
Three bus-loads of people attended the demonstration from the Kobe-Osaka-Kyoto area, where a parallel struggle is being waged against construction of a new and equally superfluous Kansai International Airport. Other buses came from as faraway as Kyushu, 700 miles to the west. Cerebral palsy victims were wheeled along the route of the march, while students and young workers with flags and helmets of many colors zig-zagged and clashed with the riot police , Who are always spoiling for a fight.
Behind the Sanrizuka struggle
Sanrizuka, some 70 kilometers east of Tokyo, is the site of the so-far abortive 'New Tokyo Int'l Airport.' The airport "is one of the main pillars of a redevelopment plan for [Japan's] entire economic structure." (AMPO 9-10.)
The peasants of Narita (the name of the city in which Sanrizuka stands) are fighting on two fronts at once.The first is economic - for the right to continue living on land granted to them by the government after World War II "for eternity." The government's redevelopment plan, however, would, among other things, involve the re-routing of all the rivers in the area to serve new industrial requirements: in other words, the DEATH of the farmland which is the peasants' birthright. As for the farmers, they would be forced to leave the land to seek work in the cities, there to swell the reserve labor force so necessary to capitalism to keep profits high and wages low. Already, almost every major Japanese city has its own ghetto comprised of farmers forced off the land, some of whom cannot even afford the fare to return home, but must endure fife as semi-employed day-laborers until they die of fatigue or cold.
The other front is political, for the airport, though innocently billed as part of the inevitable industrial progress of the "new Japan," is tightly bound up with the provisions (many of them secret) of the U.S.-Japan Joint Security Treaty (Ampo). Ampo gives the U.S. military free access to all Japanese civil airports. At the height of the Vietnam War, Haneda, the present Tokyo airport, was used extensively by U.S. charter flights ferrying people and supplies to and from Vietnam. When Haneda got over-crowded, the Japanese government claimed it needed a new airport. Since the military privilege will naturally extend to the new airport, the peasants of Sanrizuka say they don't want to help the U.S. fight other Asians. They have sworn to fight "to the death" for their land, and have often compared their struggle to that of their brothers and sisters in Vietnam.
A further problem is the "Blue 14" air route, reserved under Ampo for sole use by the U.S. military, which makes it impossible to build a new airport west of Tokyo where Yokota airbase takes up land and airspace. Suggestions that Yokota itself, only one of numerous U.S. air bases in Japan, be given to the goverment for development as a civil airport have been brushed aside with excuses. The farmers of Sanrizuka, therefore, are not only fighting on two fronts: on one of those sides, they must fight a double enemy - their own government and the U.S. military.
Origins of the farmers' movement
The Sanrizuka struggle began in a rainstorm on June 28, 1966, when 1000 farmers resolved to fight the government's decision to build the new airport here in utter contempt for their homes and family graves. Having already been forced by the strong resistance of local farmers to abandon plans to build the airport at its first choice, Tomisato, however, the government was determined not to lose face again. Sanrizuka had an added advantage in that one-third of the land to be requisitioned was part of the imperial estate - which of course offered no resistance. Of the land owned by the farmers, much had been occupied only since the end of the war, and so, thought the government, community resistance would be weaker than in areas like Tomisato, which had a long tradition of peasant resistance behind it. Now as their struggle approaches its decennium, the smoke of war and the fumes of tear-gas have dispersed. Many farmers have accepted the government's compensation offers and left the area. More remain, to protect the future. In another rain storm, the October 12 meeting drew several thousand members of the Opposition League (Hantai Dõmei) and its supporters.
Political support for the Sanrizuka struggle has fluctuated. When the parliamentary opposition parties made it clear their support was conditional upon the issue's usefulness for their own petty politics, the farmers realized that only their own strength would prevent the building of the new airport. For a time, the Sanrizuka struggle provided a focus for the "non-sect" anti-establishment student movement of the late 60s, until this too drifted into realms of obscurity far from the practical fight for life and the land. Today, the farmers of Sanrizuka have themselves become the forefront of the people's struggle in Japan, a source of imagination for those who believe in the need to oppose state violence, and the most important obstacle to the Japanese government's plans to obliterate an archipelago.
Credit for the successful delaying tactics which have taken the Sanrizuka struggle towards its tenth anniversary is due to the stand taken by the Opposition League. Since 1966 it has maintained its solidarity before the bland promises of airport corporation officials, who have offered big cash payments in return for a sell-out. It has also led a series of struggles, sit-ins, and demonstrations to oppose the surveyors sent to draw up plans for the airport, and even more, with the riot police detailed to protect them. The farmers employed a simple but devastating weapon: human shit, liquefied for use as fertilizer. It sure was powerful stuff Sanrizuka has inspired a succession of' popular struggles all over the country.
New stage in the struggle
The October 12 demonstration came just one day after a decision by the local establishment which sent the Sanrizuka epic into a new stage. The government's plans to ship jet fuel to the airport by rail had long been opposed by citizens of two towns along the proposed route. On October 11, however, the local assembly of Kamisu Town in lbaraki prefecture withdrew its opposition, and the other town is expected to follow suit. Sure enough, the Kamisu officials had been bought off: promises by the government to extend a Japan National Railways line into the town and to improve the town's transportation system were the bait, calculated to appeal to the officials' desire for re-election, and while the assembly took the necessary steps to make its decision binding, 600 riot police provided "security" against 200 irate local citizens reluctant to see the lethal cargo passing through the midst of their homes.
Rail transportation of the fuel was first put forward by the New Tokyo International Airport Corporation three years ago, when earlier plans to build a pipeline through Chiba City to the east were abandoned in the face of similar local opposition. The townspeople refused to give their land to these transports of death, fearing accidents, and voiced their solidarity with their neighbors in Sanrizuka.
The corporation claims that the rail plan is a stop-gap measure until a pipe-fine is built from, Chiba Bay according to the original plan - doubtless expecting to buy off the citizens' "representatives" with hollow promises in the usual fashion of Japanese money politics. The citizens themselves, though, remain steadfastly opposed to the plan, and the rail link is likely to remain for some time to come. Meanwhile, the railwaymen expressed their own opposition to their management's collusion with the government by turning out in strength at the demonstration. They received applause from all the people gathered there.
The airport was originally scheduled to open in April 1971. Now, after 4% years of dashed predictions, the Transport Ministry has given up making guesses when the airport will be opened. Instead, they confirm that it will not be opened before the end of 1976,- still an optimistic opinion in the minds of many, especially the Sanrizuka farmers themselves.
Sanrizuka farmers are angry - angry because, whatever this land is today, they made it, from reclaimed wasteland where once feudal daimyo lords exercised their war ponies; angry because of the government's blatant reneging on its promises, such as its plan to develop a silk industry in the area, launched in 1964, and scuttled in 1966 by the airport plan, after farmers had gone deeply into debt converting their farmland over to mulberry leaves.
The iron towers and international support
Today, 'New Tokyo International Airport' stands an empty, rusting skeleton, testimony to the will of Sanrizuka to resist. In hangers built for Jumbo jets, and confidently emblazoned with the letters JAL (Japan Air Lines), buses stand in rows. The only people manning the ghost-like structure are the security and main tenance staff. It has already become too small to take the overflow from Haneda, and is quickly becoming obsolete. Cracks have appeared in the one completed run, way. Upkeep is costing 25 million yen a day, and the total cost has already topped 300 billion yen!
The one completed runway, moreover, is unusable. The farmers and their supporters have erected an iron tower on Opposition League land at a height which prevents the take-off or landing of modem jets. The tower is strong, 62 meters high with foundations sunk deep into the soil that symbolize the steadfast will of the Sanrizuka farmers. Surrounded by friendly fields, gleaming emerald that day in the ram, the tower exuded strength. Its steel girders, meshing and intermeshing like the joined arms of its defenders, wield an uncanny power of attraction. A tower of power indeed! As if the secret forces of the earth had come together at this point to replenish the struggle of those pledged to defend it, against those who would spread the pall of death.
The second and third runways remain on the drawing-board. The detemination of the last 24 families to stay on the land required for building these, promises more bloody struggles for the future. "In the name of Japanese peasants, we reject land confiscation!" - the slogan which has inspired the struggle for almost 10 years, resounds still. More than once in the past, the Sanrizuka farmers likened their fight to that of the Vietnamese people against similar forces of darkness and destruction. Another tower, 32 meters high, has also been built as a second line of defense. The Airport Corporation has conducted flight checks, and confirmed that the airport cannot be used until the two towers are removed. To do this, heavy cranes and earth-moving equipment will be necessary. Although the Corporation has begun to build a road from the airport down towards the towers, it has come to a full stop at the point where the land owned by Opposition League farmers begins. Meanwhile, the farmers continue to till their land, in the shadow of these twin sentinels.
The land surrounding the main tower is farmed collectively with the cooperation of work brigades from radical labor and student organizations. A small group of supporters has guarded the tower 24 hours a day while living in a bus parked at its base; more recently, a platform-residence was built part-way up the tower to house families who have made the tower their home.
The towers, symbols both, stand as proud reminders of a heroic past, and as defiant obstacles to an unsolicited future. The defence of Sanrizuka is rooted in these two towers. The Opposition League has appealed to the people of Japan to buy shares in the ownership of the towers as an act of solidarity with the farmers of Sanrizuka. (The farmers were originally taken to court by the Airport Corporation over the towers, but under traditional Japanese law it is illegal to buy agricultural land and change its use without the. consent of the owner. The judge upheld the farmers' ownership rights. He also announced that he would order the towers' removal two months before the opening of the airport as they would constitute a public safety safety hazard.) Unfortunately, it takes a minimum of four months to give pilots simulator training for new flight paths, and simulator programs cannot be made without the real airport to fly into! The future of the airport hangs on these two towers.
Already many shares have been sold. Now the Opposition League asks foreign friends to join in this movement, to add their strength to the popular resistance to the Japanese government bulldozer. Sanrizuka will become a battleground again. It is important that new support be gathered from all quarters. The farmers' struggle for their lives will gain new strength from your contribution to the share movement. One may buy as many shares as s/he wants, at 100 yen (15p/50c) each. When we receive money, we will send you share-holders' forms, together with instructions for filling them in (the forms are in Japanese). Money sent to us will be sent on to the International Support Group for Sanrizuka in Kobe. Money is also needed for the Medical Aid Fund.
But it is not just the money that counts. Supporters overseas can play a vital obstructionist role: if the government is to take possession of the towers it must first obtain permission from all the shareholders, contacting each and every one of them by mail. The more shareholders there are, and the further-flung they are, the bigger the hassles for the government (can't say its our fault - we didn't make the laws!)
Tell your friends, don't delay!
Help bankrupt a gov't today!!
For further reading material on Sanrizuka, see AMPO Magazine, especially the early issues. AMPO: Box 5250, Tokyo International, Japan.
Japanese labor today: Spring Offensive Offensive?
For better or for worse, the astonishing post-war recovery of the Japanese economy has become a celebrated phenomenon. But few people, save the Japanese consumers themselves, are aware of the accompanying, and equally astonishing, rise in consumer prices - some 10 to 20% annually. As a result, the labor movement in Japan has established as its major premise that wage rates should rise by at least an equivalent amount every year (see chart A).
The strategy devised to carry through this premise has been the uniquely Japanese "Spring Offensive" (Shuntõ). Generally speaking. the strategy runs as follows: at the beginning of each spring, representatives of the labor unions meet to formulate a proposed wage demand for that year, based on the current rate of price hikes. After arriving at an agreed figure, unions all over the country then begin negotiations with the management. As a rule, the lead is taken by the big, powerful unions, while the smaller, weaker ones follow behind them (chart B). The figure which the former manage to wrest from the employers (the "wage-hike index") more or less decides the fate of the latter and of all workers in Japan.
Needless to say, however, negotiations between the two sides run less than smoothly. So, when the talks break down, unions all over the country, led by Sõhyõ (General Council of Trade Unions, the main labor grouping), begin a strike campaign. "Strike;" though, is hardly the word for what takes place. Stopping the trains for two or three hours, knocking off work for half a day, holding a meeting instead - this is the usual pattern. In other words, a form of struggle feasible only for workers in the large corporations. On the other hand, when, as has become usual, the national railway workers announce a one-day strike, all of the mass media - television, radio, newspapers - let out a unanimous shriek of protest about the "inconveniece caused to innocent people" and so on. A radical labor movement in Japan thus faces the same problems as do those elsewhere.
When the wage negotiations finally break down, the government's arbitration council is empowered to intervene. From his point on, all decisions are made by repeated meetings of the "bosses" on both sides, with the result that the union leaders are usually cajoled into accepting a figure which the government mediators think tolerable - high enough to satisfy the unionists, and low enough to appease the company directors. Of course, once this "bosses only" stage is reached, the rank-and-file workers have no clue at all of what is happening to their wage demands. They are like puppets, dancing to the tune of the instructions which reach them from on high.
Anyway, like it or not, the "Spring Offensive" strategy for seeking wage hikes has persisted for the past twenty years, thanks to the prodigious growth rate of the Japanese economy. In the past couple of years, however, sudden changes have been set in motion. The "oil panic" of October 1973 brought Japan nose to eyeball with its greatest business slump since the war. First textile circles, then the motor car manufacturers, the steel industry, and the makers of small electrical appliances, one by one felt the pinch. Throughout Japanese industry, production fell. The consequence for wage negotiations, naturally, was to reduce the size of the "pie" to be shared out between company and employees.
Japan has now entered a phase of "minus" or, at best, slow economic growth. Logically, it is now being said, the "Spring Offensive" strategy should also be abandoned. In fact, though, this strategy has always done more harm than good to those who should reap the benefits. Why? The reasons are:
Anarchist press in Japan
The following are some of the more interesting developments in the libertarian publishing field in Japan. All are in Japanese, and are published in Tokyo unless otherwise stated. The titles we have given are all taken from review/news columns of anarchist magazines here. There is also much good libertarian materials coming out of areas like the women's movement too, though, and these are not usually listed. When we hear about these, we'll include them in our listing.
IOM, No. 9: contains a school teacher's criticism of compulsory education; report of a trip to anarchist centers in France and Holland; the first part of a short story; and the final part of the article on anarchists and work.
Anãkizumu, No. 8: special issue on the emperor system in Japan; also articles on anarchism and terrorism; on kibbutz; on the movement to withhold military taxes; plus the continuing biography of the Korean anarchist Kim Jong Jin; translation from Kronstadt I Izvestia, etc,
Indochina and Anarchists
The following letter was sent to us by Mit-Teilung (London), in whose No. 22 (October '75) issue it appeared. Our reply doesn't represent our last word on the subject (especially on "Nationalism," about which we'll be writing more later.) We hope that readers (G. J. included) will send us their comments and criticism.
I too noted the comments in LIBERO INT'L No. 2, re. Marxism-Leninism and Asia. Those Japanese & English intellectuals write a good magazine, extremely good, But they are not workers and have not learned the bloody lessons of Anarchist History since 1917.
It is one thing to recognize that the Marxist-Leninists are the major revolutionary force in Asia (with excellent cadre, Moscow gold, and weaponry from China, USSR & Czechoslovakia). This necessitates "tactical" considerations. But it is quite another to become Anarcho-Bolshevists, as so many Russian Anarchist TRAITORS did.
It is crass stupidity to write "... just as the Russian anarchists initially supported the Bolsheviks. When they begin to turn the revolution back on itself, however, as the Bolsheviks did, they must be attacked and exposed without fail ..."
What goddam shit! The most foolish, suicidal thing the Russian and Ukrainian Anarchists did was to ally - for one minute even - with the Bolsheviks - who turned and butchered, massacred, exterminated 1/4 million Anarchists and peasant supporters. The Bolsheviks were counter-revolutionary from day one, so are the Marxist-Len inists: What of the 1945 massacre in Saigon? The extermination of the Viet Trots? The murder of 10,000 Red River peasants in 1956...? What of the Chinese "terrorists," anarchists, in labour camps in the "People's Republic?" The Army crushing of worker revolts in Shanghai and Canton? The mass-murder of Inner Mongolians and Uighur Moslems ... ?
"Attacks and exposes without fail." What shit! From where? The security of Tokyo? When the Commies take power, there's no time to "attack" and "expose"! You are jailed or shot. Ask the Bulgarian Anarchists about that one. It is one thing to recognize cultural & regional needs, desires, demands for independence. But to support nationalism - the nation State - that is not Anarchism. Nor is Anarcho-Bolshevism.
Yes, we know that the Communists will seize most of Asia. That is in the cards. But if the Revolutionary and non-communist forces fight hard, we can establish our own bases - as Makhno in the S. Ukraine. But, as with Makhno, it is suicide to ally or allow entry to communists. Co-oridinate, yes! Alliance, no! We are always devoured in that position....
If others can organize, so can we. Otherwise, give up the farce! I support more the position of the Augustin Miura in Libertaire No. 8. 1 support East-Asia Anti-Japanese -even though some Marxism, basically libertarian. No support for authoritarian Red Army concept or for the concept of the Japan Anarchist Communist Party 1934-35.
Help protect jailed, yes! But no public alliance with ideology.
I don't think you've the authority to say that Libero Int'l represents the Japanese Anarchist movement. Libertaire and Idea Publishing represent larger groupings.
G. J. Toronto
... And a reply
The problem with all, anarchist critiques that we have seen of Indochinese and other Bolshevik dictatorships - including both G.J.'s letter and our own original editorial - is that they rarely amount to realistic, down-to-earth practical ones. It seems a contradiction to accept, on the one hand, the existence of cultural needs, customs, desires and so on, while ignoring the effect which these might have on the regimes set up in response. The point is: though the "communist" regimes have been more or less uniform in their treatment of those whose ideas fall outside the straight and narrow, it isn't enough to dismiss them as being all of a piece. To do so is to resurrect the McCarthyite demon of "monolithic communism." Before we can begin to adopt a definitive position, we must know why such a regime emerged in a given place; what it depends on for its existence; who (doesn't) support it and why (not).
Our "critical support" for "marxist liberation movements in Asia today" was too broadly phrased and is, justly, the object of G.J.'s condemnation. Actually, our "critical support" was meant in the Indochinese context, where, in the face of the most colossal imperial intervention imagineable, such movements succeeded - and could only have succeeded - because the vast majority of the Indochinese peasants wanted them to. We did not say that a Marx-Leninist triumph would usher in freedom. All the same, the image of a million sweating peasants, with enemy swords at their throats and NLF guns at their backs, is by-and-large a CIA fiction.
In other words, the problem really boiled down to one of utter social and enviromnental dislocation wrought by an imperial power gone mad. While we offered no constructive suggestions for the future, we did at least say that a libertarian outcome to the war was out of the question. The possibility of an Indochina promising its people social justice and individual freedom was the fir st casualty of Amerikan intervention, the most savage in history. One wonders how G,J.'s "bases" would have fared under a blanket of napalm. What few choices there had been in pre-war Indochina were reduced by the war to a bare alternative: death, destruction and colonial slavery under Amerika and its Saigon lackeys; or national independence and collective self-reliance under the communists. The "Third Force," which had no program beyond the vague promise of "democracy," was thus forced to the sidelines as the battle for the "hearts and minds" of the people degenerated into a test of brute strength. In other words, there was no choice -and no revolution - Amerikan bombs rained down. We repeat the need to comprehend the impact on Asian people of 100 years' imperialist control.
"But to support nationalism - the nation State - that is not Anarchism." Hold it! We never equated nationalism with the state, nor did we ever suggest any kind of support for the nation-state, let alone the alleged "alliance with ideology" (whatever that means). The nation-state concept was undoubtedly played up by the communists, just as it was by Thieu and a 'he other puppets, but the communists didn't invent nationalism. It was a natural result of imperialist repression and colonial strangulation. The Indochinese communists, like the Chinese and others before them, succeeded because they responded to powerful popular emotions, and comprehended that the essential first step to the regaining by the people of control over their lives was the riddance of the outside aggressor.
There is a time, events have shown, when the national revolution runs parallel to the class struggle. As in China, so in Vietnam. This phase lasts only until the foreign rulers are thrown out and the native people find a home-grown government telling them what to do. They will in all probability find that national independence, once won, is a life-crushing burden. From this point on, nationalism works only to the benefit of the rulers. To keep nationalism alive, the rulers must then invent a foreign threat (as in China - first Amerika, now Russia), or else exploit the fear of internal subversion financed from abroad (as in South Vietnam now). What we should be doing a propos of Indochina is attacking the communists for blinding popular aspirations to independence with the concept of nation-state independence, instead of complaining what a hard time we anarchists would have.
In the sense that the peasants of Indochina still till their fields and the workers work their lathes in the interest of some distant master, the revolution there has certainly been set back further. But now is not the time to expect any broad resistance. Resistance there will be, undoubtedly, but not until the people have enough occasion to discover the true meaning of "people" as used in Leninist parlance. Only then can we expect to see anything like a restaging of the revolt in China, where the workers finally saw through their masters' deceit and the betrayal of the revolution in their name.
Having in mind the kind of "resistance" that can be expected now - backdoor financing by the U.S. - therefore we spoke of "critical support." Indochina is in far more danger from that quarter than the Soviets were in 1918, for the CIA can and does act without our knowledge. (To take just one example, how are we to regard the stories of mass starvation in Saigon? Are they true, or just another CIA fabrication off the AP wire in Bangkok?) CIA de-stabilization is intended to prepare public opinion for any counter-revolutions to come by creating the fiction that the new governments have no control and no support.
We "have not learned from the bloody lessons of Anarchist history since 1917." Name a decade since then, and you will find libertarian sacrifices to the god of power. How long must we go on learning the lessons before we become the teachers? How much blood do we have? What is going to be our strategy? The time is past for tactics.
The Russian anarchists did not commit "suicide." Without historical precedents to go by, they fell for the Bolsheviks' deceits - as did many others, erstwhile Bolsheviks not excepted. This is the lesson, and it is the anarchists who must be the teachers. For we do have precedents to rely on. We expect the present-day Bolsheviks to trample on the revolution - it is in their authoritarian nature! So, where their victory is inevitable, we wait for it, denounce and expose it. But it is only the people themselves who will judge - and act!
How is that only libertarians appear to know about the 1945 massacre in Saigon... the murder of 10,000 Red River peasants in 1956... the Chinese anarchists in labor camps... the mass murder of Inner Mongolians and Uighur Moslems to say nothing of Kronstadt and similar atrocities? How do we - the "Revolutionary and non-communist forces" - face up to this challenge? Or are the anarchists just going to inherit the earth some fine day when the sole wears down on the last fascist jackboot? Long before then, it will have been too late!
We must make the facts known. It is not enough to simply take a doctrinaire position and wait for events to prove its correctness. It is essential, for one thing, to begin the systematic documentation of the bloody history of Marx-Leninist movements throughout the world since 1917 - to take it out of the realm of anarchist propaganda and so perform a service to the overall revolutionary movement.
One way we don't think the anarchist revolution will be brought any closer is through writing the kind of letters that G.J. does. We don't make any excuses for our choice of words - rabid accusations of "anarcho-bolshevism," of being "traitors" (a funny one, that), and denunciations of "intellectuals" (a false Marxist/ bourgeois category anyway), are some indication of what can be unleashed by it. This kind of fratricidal conflict is best left to the Trots, who, after all, are so much better at it. Indochina has already presented-and will continue to present-anarchists with any number of very challenging problems. These cannot be painted all black or all white, as some would prefer- nor will they be solved by frenetic namecalling in third-party papers.
Another way we don't think the libertarian millenium will be brought any closer is by looking on any group, anarchist or otherwise, as representing anyone other than itself. We don't pretend to represent the anarchist movement in Japan, nor did it ever