Libero International

Articles from the journal about Asian anarchism, Libero International, published in English by the group CIRA-Nippon in Japan from 1974 to 1980 in Kobe.

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.

Chuck Morse
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.

September, 1974.

Dear Friends,

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

  1. collecting the literatures, documents, materials, periodicals, bulletins etc. published in both past and present on the ideas and movements of anti-authoritarianism, anti-statism and libertarianism,
  2. putting them in order,
  3. preserving them, and.
  4. at the same time, opening them to the public.

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).

Management ...

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:

  1. Complete arrangement for management in order to deal with the daily affairs more smoothly.
  2. Make preparations for the opening CIRA-Nippon to the public,
  3. Establish the fiscal foundation that can make it possible to have a full-time manager.
  4. Make up a long, period plan especially to obtain independent land and house(including stack room, reading room and lodging).

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:

''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.


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)

  1. CIRA-Nippon will do the works necessary to achieve its purposes, for which CIRA-Nippon should hold the regular meeting (representatives RYOH Buichiroh) periodically.
  2. The regular meeting is managed under the autonomous participation and responsibility of its members.
  3. The regular meeting has to report on its finance and activity to all members once a year.

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)

Issue No. 1 of the Japanese journal Libero International.

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.
  • 1. Hu Shi (see Part One) later claimed that 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.
  • 2. Shi 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.

  • 3. Wang 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.
  • 4. This 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.
  • 5. See, for example, Fu Linran, 'Before and After May 4' (in Recollections of May 4 - Wusi yundong huiyilu, 1959, p. 170).
  • 6. Cited 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.

  • 7. From 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.

  • 8. Zhang 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).
  • 9. Huang 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.
  • 10. In 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).

  • 11. The 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.

  • 12. The 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).

  • 13. Zhangxindian 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.
  • 14. In 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.

  • 15. Anarchist 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).

  • 16. Rather 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.

  • 17. Shi 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.
  • 18. It 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.
  • 19. The 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.
  • 20. Anarchism 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.
  • 21. The '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.

  • 22. Chen 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.
  • 23. As 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.

  • 24. Huang 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.
  • 25. The 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.
  • 26. Although 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.

  • 27. Thanks 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".

  • 28. The 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.
  • 29. Weekly 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.
  • 30. Many 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.

  • 31. In 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".

  • 32. Idealistic 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.

  • 33. This 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)
  • 34. Liang 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.
  • 35. Mutual 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.
  • 36. Mutual 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.
  • 37. Epilogue: 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

First of a two part chronology published in the Japanese journal Libero International. Part 2 was published in issue no. 2.

DECLARATIONOF INDEPENDENCE CELEBRATED: Tokyo Conference of Assoc. of Japan Korean Students declares Korean independence in name of 'Young Koreans' Independence League'.
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.
PROVISIONAL GOVERNMENT ESTABLISHED: Provisional Government of Republic of Korea established in Shanghai; President Syngman Rhee.
'BAND OF HEROES' (ElYULDAN) FORMED: at Husain Men-wai, Kirin Province, new group formed to fight for national liberation; members mostly anarchists and nationalists.
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'.
BATTLE OF CH'ING-SHAN-LI: Korean Independence Army under anarchist general Kim Joa-jin wipes out entire division of Japanese Imperial Army.
BLACK CURRENT SOCIETY (KOKUTOKAI) FORMED: Socialists among Koreans in Japan form this new anarchist group in Tokyo; main figure Park Yul.
SHINANOGAWA MURDER CASE: Korean and Japanese activists organize joint conference to protest atrocities against Koreans in Japan.
BLACK FELLOWSHIP ASSOCIATION (KOKUYÜKAI) FORMED: first all-anarchist body among Koreans in Japan; main figures Lee Si-woo, Chang Soung-chung, Kim Kun.
SOCIETY OF REBELS (FUTEISHA) FORMED: new anarchist group; main figures Park Yul, Ryuk Hong-kwun, Choi Kyu-chong.
BLACK LABOUR ASSOCIATION (KOKURÕKAI) FORMED: first anarchist labour union among Koreans in Japan; main figure Lee Kang-ri.
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.
'NEW PEOPLE'S GOVERNMENT' FORMED: Korean anarchists Kim Joann, Choung Shin, others help organize commune among Korean refugees.
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.
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.
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.
BLACK MOVEMENT SOCIETY (KOKUSHOKU UNDÕ SHA) FORMED: plans to form blanket organization for all Korean anarchists in Japan launched by Won Sim-chang.
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.
BLACK BATTLE-FRONT (KOKUSHOKU SENSEN) FORMED: Society of Rebels renames itself, begins to publish 'Black Friend' (Kokuyü) newspaper.
MEETING OF JOINT CONFERENCE OF OPPRESSED PEOPLES OF THE EAST: Korean delegates to this conference in Nanking are 'anarchists Yoo Ja-myong, others.
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.
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.
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.
BLACK FELLOWSHIP ALLIANCE (KOKUYÜ REMMEI) FORMED: main figures Won Sim- chang, Lee Dong-sun, Cheong Tae-seoung.
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.
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.
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.
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.


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'

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. We regard as criminal anyone who, by whatever means, seizes the fruits of the labour of others without contributing his or her own labour.
  4. 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.
  5. 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.
  6. 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

That's right.

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?'

  • 1. Kaneko Ayako: Park Yul's common-law wife; she was arrested with him in 1923 and died in prison. See 'Chronology' above.
  • 2. Kim 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:

  1. 1. To arrange thematerials already acquired;
  2. To compile a catalogue of these;
  3. To complete arrangements for opening CIRA-Nippon to the public;
  4. To set up a section for international correspondence to:
    (a) collect information about foreign anarchist and libertarian groups and their activities; (b) send appeals and correspondence; and (c) exchange materials.
  5. To collect materials with a view to writing a history of the anarchist and labour movements in Japan.

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.

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...

Wot? Organization?

Federation issue in Japan - 1 (Part 2 was published in LI3)

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:

  1. Rejecting the 'leaders and led' syndrome, it stressed the spontaneity of individual groups;
  2. Once the movement's aims had been clearly set out, any political tendency was acceptable on condition that it contributed to these aims, and did not seek to coerce others' acceptance of its own premises. Consequently, Beheiren activists included Marxists, anarchists, social democrats, liberals, and all the shades in between.
  3. A positive appeal was made to people who belonged to no organization, and who had hitherto been denied a chance to take part in any activity.
  4. The concept of 'organization' was rejected in favour of that of 'movement'. As noted before, this amounted to a rejection of the centralized power structure common to most Left groupings in the past.


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.


  • 1. NOTE: "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.

1 Name of group: Iomu no Kai
Date of formation: March, 1973
Number of members: Twenty
Main location(s) of activity: Kobe and Osaka
2 Members' main occupations: Mostly laborers and students
3 Close relations with which other anarchist or political groups? Libertaire, Nagano Kyodo Shimbun, Paranka, Ribeero, CIRA-Nippon, Museifushugi-kenkyu. Also exchange pub'lns and info in meetings organized with Liberteeru.
4 Main activities. Publication of Iomu("Literature and Anarchism"); occasional lecture meetings on anarchism and related subjects.
5 Do you put out any publications? Iomu
Frequency of publication: Quarterly
Average number copies/issue: 500
Occupational category readers: Various
Format and number of pages: A-5, 60 pages.
Main pamphlets: Organization Prospectus for JAF (Japan Anarchist Federation).
6 What are the feelings of your group regarding the proposed all-Japan anarchist federation, establishment of the "JAF"? 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.
7 What, in your opinion, are the main responsibilities and problems which need coordination by anarchists in Japan today? We have not discussed this and so cannot answer at this pt.
8 Are you aware of CIRA-Nippon? What do you think of it? We cooperate with it.
9 Are you preserving materials and documents, and, if so, are you offering them for the use of other comrades and groups? March 1975 we opened our "Communal Library" in Kobe.
10 What sort of materials and documents do you presently hold? Do you have any non-Japanese language materials? Only anarchist stuff? Renmei Nyuusu. Various A organ papers. JAF pamphlets.
11 Do you maintain contact with foreign groups? If so, which? Publishers of New Echo, Ruta, etc.
12 Please describe the ideological position, objectives, etc., of your group. 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.

Chronology: The Pre-War Korean Anarchist Movement (2)

Second of a two part chronology published in the Japanese journal Libero International. Part 1 was published in issue no. 1.

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.
Anarchist organizer of Chong-yi Bu commune, Kim Joa-jin, murdered by communist agent.
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.
Anarchist Youth League (Anãkisuto Seinen Remei), Eastern Workers' Federation (Tõhõ Rõdõ Dõmei) formed in Osaka by Lee Mee-haek, Kim Yong-su.
Black Flag Workers'League (Kurohata Rõdõsha Remmei) formed; Chung Chan-jin main figure.
Korean People's Self-Governing Joint Council (Han-jok Cha-ji Ryong-hap-hoe) formed, chaired by anarchist Chong Shin-won.
Leader of Korean anarchist partisans, Kim Jong-jin, murdered by communist agent; total of six Korean anarchists murdered in 1930 and 1931.
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.
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.
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.
Assassination attempt in Shanghai on Japanese Minister to China Ariyoshi; 3 Korean anarchists, Paek Chung-kee, Won Sim-chang, Lee Gang-hyon arrested.
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.
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.
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.
After Japanese universities decide to discontinue use of Korean language in teaching, Korean students, graduates in Japan resolve to launch opposition movement.
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.
Autumn 1937
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.

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.

  • 1. NOTE: 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:

  1. Anarchism - the Idea: A History of the Ideology & Activities of the Free Men (a translation of George Woodcock's Anarchism, pt 1 only, by Ha Kee-rak; published by Hyung Sul Press).
  2. Anarchism - the Movement (a translation of pt 2 of Woodcock's book, by Choi Kap-ryong; same publisher).
  3. Modern Science & Anarchism / Anarchism & Morality (a translation of Kropotkin, by Lee Eul-kyu; issued by the Committee to Publish the Posthumous Manuscripts of Lee Eul-kyu, 1973).
  4. 1917 - The Lesson of the Russian Revolution (a translation of Voline's La Revolution Inconnue, by Ha Kee-rak; published by Sei Eun Press, Nov. 1973)
  5. Biography of Kim Jong-jin (written by Lee Eul-kyu, published by Han Heung Press, 1963).
  6. The Constitution, Programme & Policies of the Democratic Unification Party.
  7. The Free Individualists' League, July 17 - Sept. 17, 1973.
  8. The Collected Writings of Lee Jung-kyu (published by Sam Hwa Press, 1974; 500 copies, privatelydistributed).
  9. Correspondence.
  10. The Memoirs of a Nationalist Militant's Widow - History of the Struggle in West Chientao (written by Lee Eun-seung, published by Chong Eun Press, Jan. 1975).
  11. The History of the Anti-Japanese Independence movement in Korea (written by Lee Gang-hyon, published Chong Eun Press, 1974).
  12. Passion for Liberation (written by Lee Bom-sok, published by Chong Eun Press, 1972).

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.

Our Ideals

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:

  1. is not the nationalization but the socialization of production resources. In areas of production control, all responsibility for coordination and control will lie with Workers' Committees, comprising representatives chosen by the workers. As for the form of production, the division-of-labor system will be abolished - including the division between industrial and agricultural labor, between mental and physical labor, between that of managers and producers, and between dissimilar production processes, thereby ensuring that every last worker becomes the embodiment of creative power;
  2. abolishes the wage labor system;
  3. determines social production according to mass consumption, and plans an economy where need determines income.

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.

  • 1. an 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.

  1. Internationalist: The Origins of the Anarchist Movement in China (Coptic Press, London, 1968; many reprints including Solidarity-Chicago, 1971; now a Simian pamphlet, London): the pioneer libertarian study on the Chinese movement; much of the contents drawn from contacts with Chinese workers and sailors; weak on history, but the movement really comes to life. From 83a Haverstock Hill, London NW3.
  2. Robert A. Scalapino and George T. Yu: The Chinese Anarchist Movement (Berkeley, California, 1961): The lone book-length foray of the establishment scholars into the history of the Chinese movement; a very small book which conceals more than it reveals. Information on work-study movements and ideological exchanges, but nothing on the important anarchist movement which resisted communist centralization. Concludes that the anarchists were the losers from the start.
  3. Olga Lang: Pa Chin and His Writings (Harvard Univ. Press, 1967): a sensitive political and literary biography of the anarchist novelist who did so much through his books to expose the evils of the old society, and who was rewarded with the dunce's cap by Red Guards in 1968. More information on the movement background would have been useful though, and the lack of it probably reflects the position of Pa Chin, a "soft" anarchist. Bibliography gives many titles not included here.
  4. Chao Ts'ung: "Pa Chin Destined for the Trials in Purgatory", China Weekly, XXIV/7 (17/11/68), Hong Kong. Not seen.
  5. Pa Chin: "Dog", in Edgar Snow, compiled, Living China (New York, ca 1936) pp. 173-80: first translation of any of Pa Chin's work into English... "power. ful" (Beni). P. 173 has short biographical sketch of Pa Chin.
  6. Pa Chin: Family (Anchor, 1972, translated and introduced by Olga Lang, $1.95): Unfortunately, translated from the emasculated 1958 Peking version with all references to anarchists removed (item 3, above, discusses this emasculation). A stinging denunciation of the traditional Chinese family. Also translated into German, Polish, Russian and Italian. [
    *]"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".
  7. Victor Garcia: The Literary Suicide of Pa Chin: a pamphlet, translated into English. Not seen, details unknown.
  8. K. C. Hsiao: "Anarchism in Chinese Political Thought" Tien Hsia Monthly, 111/3 (Oct. 1936), pp. 249-63: very simplistic treatment of Lao Tse and other traditional utopian thinkers with little reference to the modem movement. Probably in university libraries with Asian studies sections.
  9. "La lutte des ouvriers chinois pendant la revolution culturelle," Informations Rassembles a Lyon, 4 (Nov-Dec. 1974), pp. 12-15: on the workers' struggles in industrial cities, especially Shanghai, in late 66 -early 67; evidence of anarchist organizations in the cultural revolution, though information is 2nd-hand and from official Chinese sources. From: HL, Boite Postale 543, 69221, Lyon Cedex 1; or xerox from us, $2.00 or Ll.
  10. "Workers on Trial in China," Anarchist Black Cross Bulletin, 7 (Jan. 1974), Chicago: some 300 workers charged with trying to get control of the workers' committees running their factories; charged simultaneously with "anarcho-syndicalism" and "hooliganism." Xerox from us, $1.00 or 50p.
  11. "Anarchists in China", Direct Action, IX/5 (May 1968). Not seen.
  12. "The Ultra-Left in China," 70s Biweekly, 29 (Hong Kong). Not seen.
  13. "Whither China?", International Socialism, 37 (June/July 1969), pp. 23-27; also excerpted in News and Letters pamphlet published at 1900 East Jefferson, Detroit, MI 48207: excerpts from the program of the Sheng-wu-lien, an anti-bureaucratic, libertarian group created in 1968 when Mao sent the cultural revolution into reverse. Criticized Mao for not practising what he preached; suppressed amid great ideological furror.
  14. "Chinese Anarchy," Freedom, 27/l/68: sees anarchism in the cultural revolution's attack on the bureaucracy. Overtaken by events. Xerox from us, $1.00 or 50p.
  15. "Conflict in China," Freedom, 27/4/68: a rejoinder to item 15. Denies that cultural revolution itself inspired by anarchists, but notes how the anarchists rebelled against the false promises and were put down by the army. Xerox from us, $1.00 or 50p.
  16. Martin Bernal: "The Triumph of Anarchism over Marxism," in M. C. Wright, ed., China in Revolution (Stanford Univ. Press, ca 1968), pp. 97-142: on the origins of the socialist movement and its immediate conversion to anarchism, including both traditional theories of universal harmony and new terroristic ideas; scholarly, useful.
  17. -------: "Chinese Socialism Before 1913," in Jack Gray, ed., Modern China's Search for a Political Forum (Oxford University Press, 1969): not seen, but probably has good background information.
  18. -------: An article on Liu Shih-p'ei, in Charlotte Furth, ed., Chinese Conservatism (Harvard University Press, forthcoming). Not seen.
  19. Robert A. Scalapino: "Early Socialist Currents in the Chinese Revolutionary Movement," Journal of Asian Studies, XVIII/3 (May 1959), pp, 321-42. Not seen, but again probably good background information.
  20. Chow Tse-tsung: The May Fourth Movement (Harvard Univ. Press, 1960, $4.50): important background text to the nationalist movement which provided the first steeling for many Chinese revolutionaries including the present Peking leadership.
  21. Michael Gasster: "The Anarchists," in his book, Chinese Intellectuals and the Revolution of 1911, (Univ. of Washington Press, ca 1969): on Chang Ping-lin, Wu Chih-hui, and Liu Shih-p'ei.
  22. Conrad Brandt: "The French-Returned Elite in the Chinese Communist Party," in E. F. Szcepanik, ed., Symposium on Economic Problems of the Far East, (Hong Kong, 1961), pp. 229-38: not seen.
  23. Annie Kriegel: "Aux origines francaises du parti communiste chinois," Preuves, Aug-Sept. (1968): not seen, but note that this magazine was allegedly published under the auspices of the CIA-sponsored Congress for Cultural Freedom.
  24. Marianne Rachline: "A propos de L'anarchisme chinois," Le Mouvement Social, 50 (1968): review of item 9, above. Not seen.
  25. Victor Garcia: Escarceos sobre China (Mexico City, Tierra y Libertad, 1962): chapter on Shih Fu, Pa Chin, others. Not seen.
  26. ------ : preface to his translation of the Japanese anarchist Yamaga Taiji's book: Lao Tse y su libro del Camino y la Virtud (Tierra y Libertad, Mexico City, 1963). Not seen.
  27. Jean Chesneaux: The Chinese Labor Movement, 1919-27 (publisher unknown, ca 1968): translated from the French original. Masses of detailed information on the labor movement; haven't seen it, but wouldn't trust author's Maoist politics to do justice to the anarchists.
  28. Ting Ling: Purged Feminist (Femintern Press, Tokyo, 1974): short biography and translation of two articles by the woman writer purged as a "rightist" in 1957 for criticizing the party's attitude towards women and towards sexual relations. From PO Box 5426, Tokyo Intl, Japan.
  29. "Voice of the 70s Front," Minus 9, No. 1, (Hong Kong): news of the local situation - anti-government strikes and Maoist collusion in their suppression. From Percy Fung, APS/Asia-Pacific, 158 Shaukiwan Road, Ground Floor, Hong Kong.
  30. Agnes Chan: "Liu Shih-fu: a Chinese anarchist and the radicalization of early Chinese socialist thought," (PhD thesis). Contact c/o History Dept., Univ. of California, Berkeley, CA.
  31. Paul Clifford: "The intellectual development of Wu Chih-hui," (PhD thesis): Wu was one of the founders of the Chinese movement. Contact c/o History Dept., SOAS, Univ of London, Malet St., London WC 1.
  32. Edward S. Krebs: "Liu Ssu-fu and Chinese anarchism, 1905-15," (PhD thesis): on Shih Fu. Contact c/o History Dept., Georgia College, Carrollton, Georgia 30117.
  33. Vallerie J. Steenson: "The work-study movement: Chinese students in France, 1912-24," (PhD thesis). Contact c/o History Dept., Univ of California, Santa Barbara, CA 93016.

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)

First of a two part article published in the Japanese journal Libero International. Part 2 was published in issue no. 4.

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.


  1. We stand for the overthrow of all dictatorships, and for the creation of a genuinely free Korea.
  2. We reject the market economy system, and propose a decentralized one based on scattered local units.
  3. We advocate realization of the ideal of "all the world one family" through the principle of mutual aid.

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:

  1. "Peace in Vietnam!"
  2. "American Hands Off Vietnam!"
  3. "Oppose the Japanese Government's Complicity!"

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.

  • 1. AMPO 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.
  • 2. The "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.
  • 3. Eight 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.)
  • 5. The 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".
  • 6. Konishi 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]).
  • 7. Japan'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.
  • 8. The 10-year struggle of local farmers against construction of a new international airport at Narita, outside Tokyo. (See AMPO Nos. 9-10, 11 & 15.)
  • 9. In 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?

Federation issue in Japan - 2 (Part 1 was published in LI2)

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:

  1. It has become an annual event - a kind of ceremonial festival in which not only has the sense of a workers' struggle all but disappeared, but which also allows unions to be totally inactive outside the "Spring Offensive" period.
  2. It has accelerated trends towards centralization within the labor movement. Since all effective negotiations are carried among the "bosses," the effect on the labor movement as a whole has been debilitating.
  3. It has been taken over by the goverment and by the opposition Communist, Socialist and Democratic-Socialist parties as a political strategem. In other words, the wage settlement achieved by the campaign is tied up with all sorts of political issues (i.e., parliamentary power struggles), and is used as a pawn in the political underworld.
  4. It benefits only workers employed in large concerns: the vast majority, those employed by small and medium-sized firms, are quite neglected. The present depression has encouraged this tendency, since the latter, unable to strike, are seen to be completely at the mercy of the former, who by their power to dictate the year's wage rise, constitute in effect no more than sub-contractors.
  5. It widens the class differences within the working class itself. The big capitalists, by their conciliatory approach towards the major unions, hive been able to cut them off from the lower-paid workers. In other words, a clever system of divide-and-rule has come about. We Japanese workers must fight to destroy this process!
  6. The time calls for a return to a real labor movement, one which embodies the image of the worker her/himself. Now that the absolute value of the economic pie has shrunk, the "Spring Offensive" style of movement, which shortsightedly relies on simply taking a larger share for itself has become redundant. From now on, a new kind of movement, one which combines voluntary efforts to increase the size of the pie with the assurance of its fair distribution, one with its sights firmly set on a society based on workers' self-management of production, may well be on the move!

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.

  1. Daidõkan-Kokin (Committee to Publish the Writings of lwasa Sakutarõ) No. 8: "A Refutation of the Syndicalists." Iwasa was a well- known figure in the anti-syndicalist, anarcho-communist faction both before and after the war.
  2. Libertaire No. 2 (1975): a special on anarchism and the occult.
  3. Museifu-shugi Kenkyü (Studies on Anarchism), No. 4. special issue on some of the problems raised by sex and communal living: contains articles on Osugi Sakae's views on sex; and some previously unpublished pieces by the anarcho-feminist Takamure Itsue. Also has articles on Nechaev, trying to refute the Machiavellian image hitherto accepted; and on Stirner (a translation of an essay by Albon). Quarterly.
  4. IOM: Anarchism, Literature and Ideology, No. 8: articles on anarchist attitudes towards work; report of a visit to anarchist centers in Sicily; and some criticisms of the Japan Anarcho-Communist Party of the 30s. Published in Kobe.
    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.
  5. War Resisters' International, Osaka branch: Kamagasaki Ettõ Tento-mura Yõkakan (Eight Days in the Winter-Survival Tent Village at Kamagasaki): Kramagasaki is the slum area of Osaka, where the population is 80% day laborer In the depression of 1973-74, few could find work, and this tent village was established to provide cover at night and also simple food.
  6. Anãkizumu, No. 7: special issue on organization; the revolutionary movement's obsession with organization; the rise of a new kind of left; translations of pieces on self-management from France; plus continuing translations In Kronstadt Izvestia and report on the development of a non-company-based union movement (gõdõ rõsõ).
    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,
  7. Takamure Itsue: Fujin Undõ no Tan'itsu Taikei (A Definitive Women's Movement): by the feminist militant heavily involved in the anarchist- Bolshevik controversies of the 1920s, the editor of several feminist journals; a very important but neglected figure who spanned the anarchist and women's movements at the time.
  8. Jiyü Rengõ/Jiyü Rengõ Shimbun (Free Federation/Free Federation Newspaper): complete reprint of the anarchist labor union journal of the early 20s.
  9. Dinamikku (Dynamic): reprint of the pre-war paper edited by Ishikawa Sanshirõ, a representative Japanese libertarian.
  10. Kokushoku Sensen (Black Battlefront): another reprint, this time of the militant paper published from 1929 into the 30s.
  11. Õsawa Masamichi: Rõdõ to Yügi no Benshõhõ (The Dialectics of Work and Play): by one of the foremost libertarian theorists in Japan today.
  12. Sato Shigeyuki: Purüdon Kenkyü (Studies on Proudhon): collection of essays on aspects of Proudhon's thought.
  13. Hasegawa Takeshi: Anãkisuto Undõ to sono Rinen (The Concept of an Anarchist Movement).
  14. Kikuoka Hisatoshi: Fukkoku Sanshishü (Reprint of Three Poems) by the anarchist poet.
  15. Anãkisuto Kakumei (The Anarchist Revolution): translation of the pamphlet by George Barrett.
  16. Anãkisuto (The Anarchists): translation of James Joll's The Anarchists.
  17. A. Berukuman: Roshiya Kakumei no Hihan (translation of Alexander Berkman's The Bolshevik Myth): reprinted.

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.

A letter....

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 occur to us that we might be taken to do so. The aims of Libero Int'l are set out quite clearly in issue No. I for all to see. Even as we write these lines debate over the issues presented by the Indochinese victories over Amerikan imperialism continues to rage within Japanese anarchist circles, and we doubt whether G.J.'s facile assertion that one particular group's view is "representative" would be taken seriously by anarchists in Japan.

Comrades who would like to make contact with other groups within the Japanese anarchist movement might like to to write to Augustin Miura of the 'Libertaire' group, whose English is very good. The address is:

Augustin Miura, 7-4-60, Yachiyodai-kita. Yachiyo-shi, Chiba, Japan

CIRA - Nippon

CIRA-Nippon, founded in 1973, is a federation of autonomous libertarian groups, including Section for International Correspondence (SIC), a small group of comrades living in the Osaka-Kobe area. The SIC works as the communication link between domestic anarchist groups associated with CIRA-Nippon, and various groups outside Japan.

To achieve its aim of improved solidarity through international communication and understanding, the SIC has three main functions:

  • to handle day-to-day correspondence between groups outside Japan and CIRA-Nippon;
  • to publish news and materials concerning libertarian movements in Japan and East Asia; and
  • to translate or summarize published material received from outside Japan and make them 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 new or largely unknown in Japan will be summarized, translated, etc., by the SIC, some sent to Fujinomiya to become part of the CIRA-Nippon collection, and some housed in the SIC collection in Osaka. We hope that our friends overseas will be interested in not only receiving Libero International and what other pamphlets and materials we produce, but will also help us communicate their own theory, practice and experience as widely as possible in Japan.

At present we plan to publish quarterly (bi-monthly proved over-optimistic). Sole editorial responsibility for the contents lies with the publisher, the SIC Editorial Collective. 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 SIC, at:

Libero International No.4

Issue No. 4 of the Japanese journal Libero International. The exact date of publication is unknown, but presumed to be in 1976.


We hope this issue will give an idea of the bum trip being laid upon the people of South Korea. South Korea has become the whore of the pimp Park Chung Hee, a psychopathic dictator who -once earned a living as an officer in the Japanese Imperial Army, putting down his own countrymen. Like the Korean women shangaied into prostitution in the name of "export tourism," the Park govt has leased he country out to Japan and the U.S. for protection.

South Korea provides an ideal setting for state repression. Park Chung Hee even has a choice of "foreign threats." According to time and whim, he can raise the specter of a new invasion from the north, or fan the embers of anti-Japanese hatred engendered by 35 years' colonialism. The reason is the key role the country lays in the strategies of the US and Japan. For the former, South Korea represents the next rotting plank of the tottering "bulwark against communism." As for Japan, the Korean Resistance has summed it up: "What South Korea is to Japan is what a narcotic addict is to a pusher." Japanese "economic aid," the narcotic, exerts profit-making control while offering nothing but hunger and misery in return.

America's 42,000 troops, stationed right up to the Demilitarized Zone as the "tripwire" assuring the immediate entry of the US into any fighting, are intended primarily to protect foreign economic interests. As of December '74, the Japanese share of such investment in South Korea was 65.4%, that of the US 27.6%. As in any colonial situation, the personal rake-off stakes are also high. 4% of Japanese investment funds goes directly to the cabinet.

Kim Chi Ha wrote his "Statement of Conscience" with prison floor dirt on toilet paper, using a filed-down toothbrush. The fact that voices like his still ring out in South Korea today is living proof of the strength of the human spirit under the most savage repression.

* * *

We were talking about the bread side of things the last few weeks. We really don't like the idea of "sub rates"- makes it sound like we charge a fee for the dubious pleasure of reading our outpourings. So what we propose to do from now on is continue sending to anyone who has an exchange with us, has sent us bread, is corresponding with us, and so on. We'll also send to prisoners or anyone who's broke, so if you can introduce some friends or if you can distribute extra copies for us, please let us know. Since Japanese postal rates went up 100% in January, it now costs us about L1.50 or $3.00 to send out a 4-issue sea-mail sub. Send what you can. Incidentally, we're now sending only to people who have contacted us up to the time of publication.

Just space to throw in a few quickies... Chinese, Korean and Japanese names are always given in their natural order-family name first. Kim Chi Ha's surname is Kim, given name Chi Ha... The use of "south" and "north" (uncapitalized) before "Korea" does not necessarily make one a libertarian: being divided only temporarily, Korea is only "one country," in the eyes of Koreans we've talked to.... The third part of "The Federation Issue in Japan" series will appear next time; no space this time, sorry... To all those who write asking for a copy of LI No.1, it's now out of print. Maybe we'll reprint someday... See you next time 'round!

Chronology of Despotism in South Korea

1960.4.19 Student demonstrations force government of Syngman ??? to resign.
1961.5 Coup d'etat led by Major General Park Chung Hee; declares martial law, bans political parties, dissolves National Assembly, introduces press censorship, opens court martials to try dissidents, creates KCIA.
1963.10 Park elected President.
1969.10 Constitution revised to allow Park a third term.
1972.10.17 Park declares Martial Law, announces 'October Revitalization' plan: dissolves National Assembly, closes colleges and universities, enforces total media censorship.
1972.11 Yushin (Revitalizing) Constitution makes Park president for life.
1973.10 Student demos denounce Park, attack Japanese economic invasion; demand dissolution of KCIA; hundreds arrested.
1974.1.8 State of Emergency declared: Emergency Measure 1 makes it illegal to "deny, oppose, misrepresent, or defame the Constitution" or to "assert, introduce, propose or petition for revision or repeal of the Constitution"; EM 2 sets up military tribunals to process violators of EM 1; arrest and detention without warrant or time limit.
1974.1.14 EM 3: centralized economic planning, controlled by President.
1974.4.3 The harshest EM, No. 4: death penalty for students cutting classes or taking part in demos, discussions, rallies and "all other individual or collective activities in or outside campus except for normal classes." Arrest and detention without warrant-800 arrested. Repealed 1974.8.22.
1974.4.26 Kim Chi Ha arrested, sentenced to death, later commuted to life.
1974.8 Under pressure, Park repeals Emergency Measures 1 and 4.
1974.12 Government gets businesses to cancel ads in Dong-a Ilbo
1975.1.22 Referendum announced for 2.12; discussion of issues (Park's policies), except by Park, prohibited.
1975.3.18 EM 6: up to 7 years in prison for airing anti-govt gripes to foreigners. Aim: to get foreign press pieces on ROK to read like domestic media.
1975A.8 EM 7: Bans campus rallies against government-10 years' jail. Eight alleged "People's Revolutionary Party" members hanged.
1975.5.13 EM 9: bans all criticism of Yushin Constitution or even medial reporting of same. Penalty unlimited. "Rumor spreading" banned; arrest and detention with: out warrant.
1975.6.21 US Defense Secretary Schlesinger: "We've deployed nuclear weapons in ROK... we can't foreclose any option on their use."
1975.6.29 Entire population mobilized on war footing.
1975.7.8 Four new laws: New Civil Defense Corps to cover all males 17-50; $400 million defense tax; severe restrictions and constant surveillance of former "anti-state criminals" (totalling 10,000 people); all university profs to resign by end of school year (1976.2) reappointments to be made by Defense Ministry.

The Post-War Korean Anarchist Movement – 2

Second of a two part article published in the Japanese journal Libero International. Part 1 was published in issue no. 3.

On December 25, 1945, the Moscow Conference of Foreign Ministers, attended by the U.S., Great Britain, the USSR and China, passed two key resolutions on Korea. The first prescribed a four-power "Trusteeship" for up to five years (though Roosevelt had originally demanded 40!). The second created a U.S.-Soviet Joint Commission which, "in order to assist in the formation of a provisional democratic Korean government," would "consult with democratic political parties and social organizations" north and south. To the people of Korea, the (U.S.-engineered) Moscow provisions were a supreme "national insult." Resistance to the accords, released on December 27, sprang up overnight as people of all political views joined forces in a movement to oppose Trust Rule. Serious riots which broke out all over the south were suppressed by the Americans. Yet the very next day, on orders from the north, the communists suddenly announced their support for the Moscow decisions.

Behind these events lay the machinations of the U.S. military command in Seoul, which, seeing the strength of anti-Trust Rule feeling and seeking to steal a march on the communists, had already begun negotiating a deal with the Korean Right. Trusteeship could be bypassed and the Right installed in power if they would support American policy plans for the south. Right-wing politicians were thus able to flourish their "patriotism" by appearing to oppose Trust Rule, while its only supporters, the Soviet Union and its allies in the north, were branded traitors. Left publications which tried to expose Trusteeship as primarily an American creation designed to lay the basis for a U.S. empire in Asia were suppressed.

The communists' about-face was partly an attempt to avoid a U.S.-sponsored Right-wing takeover. Only in the north did it entirely succeed, yet in the south too, racked by famine and unemployment, the holocaust unleashed by American supported death squads brought the communists considerable popular support. Only the anarchists remained firm in their rejection of dictatorship of any hue, and they paid in lost support.

The implications of the communist endorsement were plain. First, the Korean people's inability to govern themselves effectively; second, despite so-called "liberation," continuation of Korea's long colonial history; third, and most important of all, it led to the ultimate tragedy, the still-continuing division into north and south Koreas. For the north, Trust Rule meant Soviet manipulation through the structure of the People's Conunittees (LI-3, pp. 24-5). For the south, it meant American Military Government through the still-intact Japanese bureaucracy, using landlords, ultra-rightists, former collaborators and military officers. North or south, the new masters were equally hated by the people.

The indelible stain of the 38th parallel on the hearts and minds of the Korean people began here. The fundamental insistence upon class revolution rather than national independence and liberation led the communists to support Trust Rule. By thus crushing the passionate desire of all Koreans for a united independence, the CP turn-around was a clear stab in the back. For all the above reasons, the antiTrust movement from that point on inevitably became fiercely nationalistic and anti-communist.

The communists now resorted to violence to stifle anti-Trusteeship voices, particularly north of the 38th parallel where Soviet troops were in occupation. Drastic measures were enforced to ensure public support for the party line. On January 5, 1946, for instance, Red Army commissars approached Cho Man Sik, a leader of the moderate Korean Democratic Party's Pyongyang branch and representative of the "Five Provinces" Provisional People's Committee, to seek his support: "Adherence to the decision of the Moscow Conference is the correct line for the establishment of a democratic and independent Korea." Cho stood firm, demanding immediate, unconditional independence for all Korea: "I would rather suffer death itself than the humilation of Trust Rule." He disappeared the next day. The subsequent purge swept away all opponents of Trust Rule, including some communists, and left Kim Il Song in Cho's former position.

The bloody trail of Kim II Song's career begins here, with the Soviet Red Army backing the policy of the U.S. State Department. Kim later set out to eliminate all his rivals, beginning with the south Korean Workers' Party, led by Pak Hun Yong. Pak advocated unification rather than "socialism in one country." After a long struggle he finally disappeared after the Civil War and was executed in 1955. The next target was the "Yenan Faction," led by Kim Tu Bong and Mu Chong, which had fought with the Chinese People's Liberation Army against the Japanese during the war. The other two principal factions were also purged. With a ferocity and singIe-mindedness hardly rivalled even by Stalin, Kim flourished his autocratic powers in an orgy of blood.

If the communists flouted the popular will by endorsing the Moscow Accords and resorted to violence to suppress dissent, the Americans in the south had long been doing likewise by mobilizing the Right to suppress what people on the spot admitted was a "revolution involving perhaps millions of people." A vicious purge was instituted against the Left, though it was rightist violence which predominated. The Americans, like the British, French and Dutch in Indonesia, the Philippines and elsewhere in south-east Asia, actually ordered the Japanese imperial authorities to remain in their positions, and used them to put down the popular movement which they had once encouraged. As Halliday says in his pamphlet (p. 7), to conceive of a parallel would be like imagining the Allies landing in Yugoslavia in 1945, refusing to deal with Tito, reinstating the Nazis and their puppets, and releasing the SS to put down demonstrations.

By 1947 there were more political prisoners in occupation jails than at the end of Japanese rule. Local organizations were crushed by American troops helped by Japanese collaborators recalled (to even their own astonishment!) from hiding in the hills. Labor unions, even reformist ones, were smashed. Rightist-gangster mobs sent to break strikes and beat up workers (castration was their specialty) later formed the basis for the official union after 1948. Concentration camps were built to house strikers. Many starved to death. While events in the north are still shrouded in secrecy so that we must surmise much of what took place as Kim II Song consolidated his power, the facts of the American and rightist repression in the south are stark, and document one of the little-known but bloody episodes in the suppression of popular aspirations in Asia.

The following March the U.S.-Soviet Joint Commission was finally convened. Naturally enough, there was little room for compromise, for each side had already marked out its sphere of influence in south and north Korea respectively. Moreover, the two superpowers had every right to feel satisfied with the results of their post-war interventions in Korea-at least as long as they confined their economic, political and territorial designs to their own halves. The Americans had seen Korea as a chance to replace the European colonial powers and establish a "bulwark against communism" -i.e., an American Pacific empire. The Russians were primarily concerned with preventing an attack on Russia itself, and were therefore content with the north as a buffer.

With neither side willing to alter the status quo, therefore, it was no wonder that the Commission's "efforts" amounted to a series of stalemates or walk-outs. As early as May 1946 the talks had broken down, and finally, in October 1947, the Commission adjourned without setting a date for its next meeting. Against Russian opposition, the entire issue was handed over by the Americans to their creature, the UN, which proceeded to scrap the Trust proposal altogether and fulfil the promise made to the Right two years before. All but the furthest right of the Korean nationalists opposed the American move, obviously destined to create separate governments for north and south, but were powerless. In May 1948, after a rigged election, an American puppet government under Syngman Rhee was established in the south. That same September the north followed suit, inaugurating the "Democratic People's Republic of Korea" with Kim Il Song as premier. The Trusteeship issue thus became irrelevant.

The all-Korean anarchist congress, April 23,1946

In the fierce propaganda war between proponents and opponents of Trust Rule, the overwhelmingly anarchist League of Free Social Constructors (LI-3, pp. 26-7) had stood consistently in the front line of the latter, keeping in fine with its insistence on national liberation before social revolution. Huge demonstrations supported by the League had filled the streets of Seoul almost daily.

Amid the buffets of the Trust Rule storm, the anarchists decided to hold an All-Korea Congress in the spring of 1946. The site was Anwi in Kyong-sang Namdo province, the heartland of the Korean anarchist movement. Comrades returned from China, from Manchuria, from Japan, and those just released from Japanese jails and young post-Liberation recruits all got together in this great meeting of the libertarian left. Many of them renewing long-sundered friendships, nearly 100 delegates attended. They included Yu Lim (Yu Hwa Yong), Shin Pi Mo, Lee Eul Kyu and Lee Jung Kyu, Pak Sok Hong, Bang Han Sang, Ha Chong Chu, Lee Shi Yan, Han Ha Yan, Kim Hyan U, Yang 11 Dong, U Han Ryong, and Choi Yong Chun. The Anwi Congress was the greatest demonstration of strength ever achieved by the Korean comrades throughout the history of their movement, before or since. That alone should be testimony to the hardships endured by the Korean anarchist movement, for whose members it is to this day all but impossible to create horizontal relationships between different areas.

The Anwi Congress saw excited debates concerning the future of the anarchist movement in Korea, how best to promote the anti-Trust Rule movement, and so on. As the most pressing issues of the day, these were bound to demand attention. But boiling point was only reached in the fierce arguments centering on the Yu Lim group's advocacy of an anarchist political party: should anarchists form, or even take part in, political activities? And what position should the Congress take?

Before Liberation, Yu Lim had been in charge of the China branch of the General League of Korean Anarchists. At the same time he had been a cabinet member of the Korean Provisional Government (KPG) organized by various radical and moderate independence movement groups in Shanghai in 1919 (later moved to Chungking). In December 1945 he had returned to Korea with the rest of the KPG, still retaining his cabinet membership. The participation of anarchists in government, like Yu Lim in Korea or Federica Montseny and company in Spain, has confronted the international anarchist movement everywhere. The Yu Lim group's case was as follows:

"The situation in Korea is a very special one.. . . In other words, the Korean people today have neither a free country nor even a free government. Therefore, without the ability to govern themselves, the very right to do so has been torn away from them, and they are about to fall under the rule of a foreign Trusteeship. Under such conditions, even anarchists are bound to respond to the. urgent desire of the Korean people to build their own country and to set up their own government. Therefore, the anarchists must create their own political party, and play a positive part in building a new Korea. Should the anarchists stand by with folded arms doing nothing, Korea will surely fall into the hands of either the Stalinists to the north-or the imperialistic compradore-capitalists to the south...."

Yu Lim and his supporters, fretting for the future, felt a deep sense of impending crisis. "Only we anarchists can ensure for Korea a future of freedom, liberation, unity and independence. That is precisely the reason why we must play a positive part in politics. And in order to do so, we anarchists must create a political party of our own to wage that struggle."

In the end the Congress voted to accept the Yu Lim proposal. Still, product of unique Korean conditions or not, this decision's effect on the Korean anarchist movement would be felt right up to the present day, For as a result, the movement split into two tendencies, those who joined Yu Lim in organizing the Independent Labor-Farmer Party, and those who took the side of the brothers Lee Eul Kyu and Lee Jung Kyu, established the Autonomous Village League and the Autonomous Workers' League, and followed the line of slow but steady socialist revolution.

The Dong-a workers' struggle: Confronting the KCIA

Thanks to the brave struggle of less than 200 hundred workers at south Korea 's largest daily, the human rights movement broke free of the regime's tight grip on the media to reach a nationwide audience for the first time in years. What were the workers after? Was this a case of "workers' control" or simply another free speech movement? How and why were they defeated? The first of two parts.

With the declaration of martial law in 1972, the Korean press, hardly free in the first place, began slipping further into submissive helplessness, by degrees becoming dictator Park Chung Hee's main propaganda instrument. Step by step the regime encroached on "free press prerogatives" until the occasional cartoon barb or subtly ironic headline remained the only weapons left. By the end of 1973 KCIA agents sat in a's "assistant editors," checking the galleys for the slightest deviation from state-ordained orthodoxy, the slightest lapse from "responsible journalism." Haggling between editor and "assistant" over a story's appearance or its precise wording would often hold up an edition for hours. As the repressive machinery went into high gear in late 1973 to become full-fledged fascist repression by March 1974, as Park picked off segments of the student, church and parliamentary opposition, and as the prisons filled up with political cases to where ordinary institutions of "justice" could no longer handle them all, the press was too preoccupied with the "threat from the north" to give these events its attention. Or, at most, it simply printed the government hand-outs nearly verbatim. To the hundreds of people in Park's prisons could now be added each of the major dailies, not least among them the Dong-a Ilbo.1

So long as the press stood between the opposition and the people, no movement had any hope of breaking out into the open. Such movements, if reported at all, were treated as something akin to a communist fifth column. And this in a climate where the fear - rational or not - of invasion or subversion by Kim II Sung's stalinist minions to the north is the paramount political factor. By playing on these fears, Park held the upper hand, but only so long as the press went along, so long as many of the "facts" handed out by the government went unchallenged. But an important fissure in the iron edifice of state-press collusion appeared on October 24, 1974, when some 180 Dong-a reporters and deputy editors issued their "Manifesto for the Realization of Freedom of Speech." As much a quarrel with management as it was a struggle with the regime (for the reporters viewed the two as very nearly inseparable), it called for the reinstatement of several fired fellowreporters, better working conditions, greater job security, removal of the KCIA from the editorial rooms, the right of reporters and editors to freely report political news unhampered by government restraints, and for management to print the Manifesto in that day's Dong-a. As management continued to negotiate, especially on the last demand, the reporters shut down the presses. Finally, at 10:50 that night, management capitulated entirely, the presses rolled again, and the last two of the four regular editions appeared a half-day late (an evening paper, the Dong-a usually hits the street shortly after noon.) From that day on it was a different paper. No longer did it belong to Park and his management proxies, but to the people. The workers were in command!

Controlling The Worksite, Dethroning The Emperor

But to view the Dong-a struggle as simply one of workers' control is to not only gloss over some of their original demands, but is also to miss its wider political implications. For the reporters themselves saw their struggle as inseparably linked to the larger movement to dethrone the emperor.

Dong-a's role in the larger movement, and its free-speech origins can best be understood if we retrace the development of the human rights struggle from October 1973. Another outburst of student organizing, campus petition campaigns and street demos led to a rash of clubbings, gassings, arrests and tortures at the underground interrogation cells at the KCIA's notorious - Namsan headquarters. Among student demands was the end to Park's pet Yushin Constitution, which banned most forms of dissent right down to informal gatherings of three or more people. By the last week of November, hardly a day passed that didn't see a demo2 To stem the tide, Park closed the schools in December, two months early, pleading a heating fuel shortage (the oil shock was then two months old).

With the students out of the way until the beginning of the next term in April, the scene of action then shifted to the elders. With public opinion unpacified by Park's December 3rd replacement of 10 of his 20 ministers and the ouster of the hated KCIA chief, Lee Hu Rak, a group of prominent opposition party, church, academic and intellectual leaders joined in calling for an end to the Yushin Constitution. On December 24, they began a petition drive to that end, and succeeded by the end of the year in getting half their stated goal of I million signatures.

Park did not wait to find out whether they would succeed in getting the other half-million. On January 8, 1974, he decreed the first of four Emergency Measures. EM-1 made criticism of the Yushin Constitution or calls for its abrogation a crime punishable by 15 years' imprisonment. Civil disobedience cases would be disposed of without warrant and tried in a special. "High Military Tribunal" closed to all but the defendant, his/her lawyer, one family member and press members accredited by the Defense Ministry. Even criticism of the EM itself could get one 15 years. The EM was met with defiance and the petition movement continued into the new year. Jailing of several dozen of the petition's initiators swiftly followed, along with outspoken church and intellectual leaders, until, within a few short weeks, several dozen of the country's most prominent civil libertarians were behind bars. The trials were swift, "justice" peremptory and sentences severe. With most of its leaders in prison, the petition movement quickly fizzled out.

The next crisis came in March with the students' return to the campuses. As early as January, one observer had written: "The start of the long winter recess and a cold spell saved South Korea from mass student demonstrations Given the lack of genuine reforms, the crucial test facing the G[sic]overnment win be what to do when the students return to the campuses next spring and threaten to take to the streets again. Without a new wave of [K]CIA counterattacks, it seems unlikely that sporadic rallies by student and other groups for more freedom and reforms will subside."3 By March rumors were rampant that the students had been putting their long vacation to good use and that flash-in-the-pan rampages were a thing of the past. This time they were organizing -and nationwide.

The NDYSF - Subversion from the North?

The rumors were BORN out. On April 1, universities in four big cities including Seoul attempted to hold large demonstrations, but within minutes were frustrated by government infiltrators who had turned up both the detailed plans and fliers signed "the National Democratic Youth and Student Federation." With the police ready and waiting, most of the "demos" never left campus, and between 40 and 50 students were arrested as part of the NDYSF plot. (Opinion is divided as to whether the NDYSF' actually existed or not. While student planning for something "big" with inter-university coordination in April was no secret, the fliers enjoyed such limited circulation that many believe they were govt fabrications.) Deprived of central leadership, the "student spring" nevertheless continued on April 2nd and 3rd, with sporadic outbursts on campuses throughout the country, still holding forth the promise of igniting general mass revolt. Park, mindful of history's lessons (his predecessor was toppled by just such a student-led uprising in 1961), didn't waste any time in clamping down, with the decree of yet another Emergency Measure, No. 4. Adopted on April 3rd, it banned the NDYSF and made participation in, affiliation with, encouragement of, or sympathy with this student organization a crime punishable by "death, life imprisonment or imprisonment for not less than five years."4 Even reporting NDYSF activities could cost a reporter his/her life. Habeas corpus, warrants and all such human rights guarantees - which had become nothing but legalistic windowdressing anyway - were blatantly discarded. The fascist regime decided to drop its mask, for this was a real emergency.

The round-up commenced. By the end of May a total of 1024 people, according to government reports, were "being detained for investigation." 54 NDYSF members were formally indicted for violating EM-4, and on May 27th began an all-out propaganda campaign. The indictment's details filled page after page of the domestic press, complete with elaborate KCIA-concocted NDYSF organizational charts. "The NDYSF attempted to set up a provisional coalition government with the purpose of communizing the whole political structure after toppling down the present political system by means of a bloody and violent revolution..." 5 Masterminded in north Korea, the "student uprising" was orchestrated by an underground network of communist cells, called the "People's Revolutionary Party. " 28 of the 54 were claimed to be PRP partisans acting on instructions from Kim Il Sung, thus providing the student-north link so desperately needed by Park to thoroughly discredit the student movement and to justify such draconian decrees as his latest EM. By mid-October, a total of 203 people, including 114 students, were tried and convicted under the Emergency Measures, with 8 getting death (all of them alleged PRP members).

Through all of this, the press simply acted as govt typesetter, issuing page after page of "facts" on the North-PRP-student connection and "analysis" showing the perils of playing into Pyongyang's hands. One example: "The postwar generation, lacking the bitter experience of Communist atrocities and oppression, has apparently caught the delusion of communism and become the prey to the tricks of impure elements."6

Park's 'PRP' plot exposed

But reports of atrocities and oppression closer to home began to make the rounds after the cases had already been "legally" disposed of. On October Ist an American missionary, George Ogle, became the first to issue a non-government opinion on the case by openly praying for the families of the PRP. As he was to tell it later,7 he was not originally interested in their alleged communism nor the question of their guilt/innocence; his position was simply that, communists or not, their souls demanded Christian prayers. But once called in for an overnight grilling by the KCIA, and warned that communist souls, hell-bound anyway, were not the province of Christian concern, Ogle grew more suspicious. From his interrogator, chief of the KCIA's 6th Bureau, he learned that the only hard evidence that the PRP were communists, "the only thing he had, was one man's 'crime' of listening to the North Korean radio and copying a speech of Kim 11 Sung." He met some of the PRP families, checked back newspapers, researched further. His findings were issued in November: the PRP defendants hadn't even known each other, they were uniformly from middle-class families, and they had been tortured into false confessions. "The so-called communist conspiracy announced by the CIA in April of 1974 is basically a fabrication of the CIA itself."

That the main contentions of Ogle's report should find their way into the New York Times (November 26) was bad enough. But Park probably felt himself safe so long as the domestic press was under his thumb. By sitting on the churches, he could contain the scandal domestically - and Ogle could always be deported (he was in December). Again, the domestic press held the key. Until the Dong-a workers' Manifesto of October 24, Park could head off each crisis without serious challenge.

Towards workers' control - the Dong-a organizes

The Manifesto did not happen as suddenly as appeared to management, the regime or to other outsiders. While all the above events had been taking place, the Dong-a reporters hadn't been sitting idle, but had been struggling on their own. Here, in the words of one of the organizers, is how that struggle developed:8

"The so-called Dong-a struggle actually dates from 1971.4.15 with our 'Declaration of Freedom of the Press.' It came out just before the last election, which, like all election campaign periods, presented an atmosphere of relative freedom. I stress the word 'relative' of course. After the election, the 'Declaration' became just a piece of paper. In October 7 1, Park decreed his 'Declaration of State of Emergency,' and the reporter who led the movement, named Shim Jae Taek, and the popular editorial writer, Chun Kwan Woo, and the managing editor, Lee Tong Wuk, were fired. After that, every time someone tried to push for freedom of the press, he failed because there was no organization. But from late '73 to early '74 we began movements to organize a union. We concluded by that time that if you wanted to struggle for a free press, from the very beginning your status as journalists had to be guaranteed. The labor union was the only way to achieve this, both legally and organizationally.

"On March 6, 1974 we formally filed for registration of our union with the Seoul City government. Under the law, a trade union is recognized as having been established commencing from the date of its application filing. But in our case, there were some sophisticated maneauvers, various stipulations were attached. Registration would not be enough, and govt permission would be needed. On March 8, the Dong-a fired the whole union leadership core, all of them reporters (the union was made up of reporters, producers, engineers and announcers). The non-fired reporters countered with a support committee whose demands were modest enough: reinstate our fellow-workers. We did not threaten to strike. 8 more were fired on March 11, and 17 reprimanded with indefinite suspension. A total of 36 were out by that time. By then it was obvious to us that the govt and the Dong-a management were working hand-in-glove. Seoul City govt sent its letter of permission to form a union in mid-March, but management replied that there was no longer anyone there to accept the registration. Clear collusion. This was an important lesson for us.

"After we returned to the paper, we took Seoul City to court. We had come to the paper with the understanding that mass firing was illegal, so we regarded ourselves, just as we do now, as not having been fired. Seoul City's view, which only accounts for the management side, is invalid. We filed suit on July 12 and it has now reached the High District Court.

"But anyway, the union has existed since March 6,1974. The Dong-a union is a branch of the 'National Publishers' Union,' the first newspaper employees' union to belong. Officially it still. does not exist, but even so we have strong support among the reporters, announcers, producers, technicians and engineers. All told, there're 230 people in the newsroom and radio station.

"October 24th was a holiday, United Nations Day. Ha! Many reporters did not have to go out for news-gathering, and stayed around the office. About 30 people were in on the planning of the Manifesto, and we kept it a secret among us. No leaks. So at 9:00 a.m. we congregated in the newsroom. Management was totally unprepared. There were three points, and management gave in to the last one at 10:50 that night. The Manifesto appeared in the 3rd and 4th editions that night, and the Ist and 2nd editions the next day.

"Even though it agree to all of our demands, management was still dragging its feet, fearing govt wrath. It regularly tried to cut stories about the opposition. The next big confrontation came after the November Ilth Myongdong Incident.9 On the morning of the 12th we held a general assembly in the newsroom and demanded detailed coverage of the mass, with photos. This was a very important event, for it was the first time that the Catholics had raised the issue of the PRP. Also the truth behind Professor Tche's 'suicide'.10 But management stonewalled, insisting on an absolute black-out. We struck. The presses didn't move and all four editions didn't appear that day. The next morning management surrendered.

From \"subtlety\" to \"all-out war\"

"The government didn't get into gear for some time. It was easy enough to get management to go along with agents in the newsroom, and reporting everything with a government slant, because management was of course more interested in getting out a paper than it was in printing the truth. But short of firing several hundred of us reporters, there was no way for the govt or its proxy, management, to agree to their priorities. It was either let us print what we wanted or don't print at all. I don't mean that the govt and management were one and the same thing. Of course the govt is interested in printing lies, while management's ambition is to print anything, just so long as it sells. It just wants to make money for the owners. And if - speaking from management's standpoint - the govt, with all its agents, police, army, etc., is intent on seeing you print lies, then print lies you will or it's the end of your business. Profits come before the truth or any other motive. But - the bosses also knew that recourse to state power could prove very meaningless in a situation like this. All the king's army and all the king's men could not put out their paper again. Only we could, so the bosses had to play along with us for awhile, buying time, while at the same time hoping that the govt would not blow its cool and completely destroy their paper. In the meantime, though, the Dong-a was printing more and more of the kind of stories guaranteed to send Park into a rage the PRP, KCIA spies at church meetings, prayers for prisoners, etc. We knew that the govt couldn't sit by while we printed these very damaging allegations day after day, and while circulation continued to climb. Something would have to be done....

"On December 16 the govt's strategy became clear. Cancellation of ad space began trickling in. Sure, the govt was behind it and everybody knew it, but how could you prove it? Ask the advertiser, and he'd simply say: 'We regret that due to forces beyond our control.,.' or something like that. Hardly anyone dared to come out and say what everybody already knew: fiscal strangulation instead of an overt police invasion was Park's 'subtle' tactic. This continued until, on the 25th,11 we got this big 'Christmas present'- all our major advertisers called in cancellations. Every last ad right down to the size of your little finger - all in one day. Park had thrown subtlety to the winds, this was all-out war I "

The reporters decided to slug it out. Sooner or later the paper would go bankrupt, but the issue of freedom of the press came before the life of the paper or even their own livelihood. In the last few days of '74, huge blank spaces appeared in place of ads, but in January the reporters introduced a new tactic. They began selling space to all comers at the price of a "contribution." First isolated one-liners, like "Hang in there, Dong-a!" and "Away with 'all tyrants"', then quotes, from Jesus to Thomas Paine, poems, biblical passages, etc., began filling the "Freedom of Speech Support Colomn" so quickly that within a month the column came to cover several pages. More than the liberated front page, it was probably this column that was responsible for the Dong-a's sudden circulation jump from 600,000 to 800,000.

The attempt to strangle the paper had backfired. Insubordination from a few uppity reporters was bad enough, but getting the public into the act was more than any respectable dictator worthy of the name would put up with. Not only could the opposition in Seoul reach the countryside, the countryside could now reach the opposition. Plain for everyone to see, both at home and abroad, ridicule and vilification of the dictator had become public spectacle.

The battle escalated further at the end of January when "Relatives of the Accused in the So-called NYDSF Case" took out a large ad protesting the innocence of their sops and brothers, proclaiming, in part: "Even those who break the law have a right not to be tortured, not to be detained for unduly long periods, not to be punished... but nonetheless those accused in connection with the NDYSF were forced to confess under cruel tortures and were detained without warrants."12 On February 15th, 168 of the 203 people imprisoned under the Emergency Measures were suddenly released.Dong-a was ready and waiting to make their torture stories front-page reading. " href="#footnote13_x6sos3g">13 Their revelations made the Dong-a within days. Lurid tales of the torture of Na Byong Shik struck the public consciousness with his interview in the February 17th issue.

Public demand for the release of the PRP also mounted. Only a day after the Minister of Justice held a special news conference to announce that the govt's evidence of the PRP's part in a north-directed plot was not to be disputed, that they were proven communists, etc., on February 25th the Dong-a began a long serialization of Kim Chi Ha's prison memoirs, called "Penance." In it, Kim told of a prison yard conversation with Ha Chae Wan, one of the alleged PRP conspirators awaiting execution. Ha told Kim that the whole PRP business was a fabrication: "The govt dreamed it all up." "Then on what basis are they holding you?" "The interrogation. They kept at me until I confessed." Was the torture bad?" "Terrible, brutal. They ruptured my intestines... I couldn't stand it. They admitted they were trumping up the whole case.... ." Poet Kim was packed off to prison, this time on charges of violating the Anti-Communist Law. But that still left the struggling reporters of the Dong-a for Park to deal with.

(Most of the sources cited below can be found reprinted in The PRP-State Conspiracy-see reading list this issue, pp.42-43.)

  • 1. Korea's oldest newspaper, the Dong-a has proud tradition of stubborn struggle against the Japanese colonial tyranny. Within five months of its founding in 1920, the Japanese governorgeneral served it an "indefinite suspension order" for reporting anti-Japanese Korean Independence Army exploits in Manchuria. Three more such incidents punctuated its turbulent history until it was closed down for good in August 1940. In its short 20-year life it established a record that even Park's heavy-fisted regime may find hard to match: indefinite suspensions (4 times), banning of distribution (63), confiscation of printed editions 1489) and censoring of galley copy (2423). Immediately following liberation from Japanese rule, "anarchy" prevailed and the left-wing movement, which had either been underground or abroad for so. many years, abruptly emerged from its decades-long hibernation. Dozens, if not hundreds, of party papers, propaganda tabloids, labor organizing newsletters, etc., appeared overnight. The newly resurrected Dong-a then became the only remaining hope of the American-backed propertied oligarchy and forces of reaction. So absolutely did it abandon whatever liberal pretenses it had to "objectivity" and "freedom of the press" that, through family alliances, it became the unofficial mouthpiece of the Korean Democratic Party preceding the outbreak of Civil War in 1950. Ever since, resting on its laurels, it has waged war on communism while extolling the virtues of private capital. (Dong-a Ilbo Ryak-sa [Short History of the Dong-a Ilbo], Seoul, n.d., pp. 12-27, 29-31, 38-44.)
  • 2. See Korea Bulletin, Vol. 1 No.3 (April '74), for a detailed chronology of the October-November demos. On Oct 5th some 5000-10,000 students at Korea and Yonsei Universities clashed with police, and the govt placed a ban on media coverage. (Frank Gould, "The Student Spring," Far Eastern Economic Review, Dec 24, 1973.) Gould further reported: "Newsmen are also growing restless under the control of the KCIA censors. On November 30, the government called a meeting of newspaper publishers for 10 a.m., intending to order them to cease printing articles about demonstrations (after the first few demonstrations, which were 'reported' only in the form of blank columns in the Dong-a Ilbo on Oct 4 and Oct 5, brief reports were permitted.)"
  • 3. Kim Sam-o, "An Ominous Thaw," FEER, Jan 7,1974.
  • 4. William J. Butler, "Political Repression in South Korea," p.6.
  • 5. 'Defendants Maneuvered to Set Up Red Regime Under Common Front Tactics: Court Martial," Korea Herald, May 28, 1974, p.l.
  • 6. "League Activists Vanguard in Fulfilling P'yang Goals," Korea Herald, May 28, 1974, p. 2.
  • 7. This and the following are a brief summary of Ogle's mimeographed report, "'They're Under Sentence of Death," circulated in Seoul, November 1974. The full text is reprinted as Appendix 16 to Human Rights in South Korea: Implications for U.S. Policy, C'tee on Foreign Affairs, House of Representatives, Washington, 1974. (Quite a humdinger, as govt documents go.)
  • 8. Interview with Dong-a reporter, late March 1975, about a week after the occupying strikers had been forcibly evicted from the bead office. (Obviously his/her identity must remain a secret, a few days later Park's 6th Emergency Measure made passing "rumors" like these to foreigners punishable by years in jail.)
  • 9. In "the first nationwide mass held by Catholics on the issue of human rights," "about 2000 Catholics gathered at Myongdong Cathedral [the largest Roman Catholic church in south Korea] in a downtown [Seoul] area praying for 'those who suffer in cold prison cells for their acts aimed at justice and peace."' Mainichi Daily News, Osaka, Nov 13, 1974.
  • 10. "One issue [of the November student demos] not mentioned publicly is the strange case of Professor Tche... of the Law Faculty at Seoul National University, a supporter of the student movement. In late 06ober it was announced that Prof. Tche had committed suicide at the KCIA prison after confessing to being a North Korean agent. .. Tche's wife was not allowed to see the body." (Gould, "The Student Spring") Gould also reported the students' belief that Tche had been tortured to death in a KCIA attempt "to put a damper on the demonstrations by uncovering another 'spy ring."'
  • 11. Or on the 26th, as most accounts have it.
  • 12. Dong-a Ilbo January 28, 1974. Full translation in PRP, pp.50-51.
  • 13. The PRP defendants, as well as those NDYSF students said to be closely connected with them, were not included in the "general commutation" (not an amnesty, it was stressed). This "commutation," seen as a major capitulation by Park, could only have been prompted by intense and sustained pressure from someone, presumably in Washington-who else has so much "leverage" (troops, aid, grants, loans, trade deals, etc.)? While Ford, Kissinger et al publicly stonewalled on the issue of human rights vs "defense of a free ally" (emphasis added), it is conceivable that another Vietnam-in-the-making is beginning to penetrate the consciousness of the global big-game strategists. This seems even more plausible in that only Park's most powerf ul patrons might be expected to overcome what could only have been the strongest reluctance to free the prisoners precisely when a free Dong-a was ready and waiting to make their torture stories front-page reading.

Kim Chi Ha

The fire and the agony of Kim Chi Ha's verses are rooted in Korea's long and tragic history. Kim, one of Park Chung Hee's most dangerous critics, was born on February 4, 1941, in Mokpo, Cholla province, for centuries the scene of resistance to overbearing govts. While a student he spent two years -wandering" in the countryside to avoid the clampdown of 1961. Later he was tortured and imprisoned for joining the student movement against normalization of Japan-south Korea relations in 1964-65.

After acute tuberculosis had put him in a sanatorium for two years from 1967, his first long poem, "Five Bandits," was published in 1970. Kim, the editor and publishers of the paper that printed it, and other people were arrested under the Anti-Communist Law and the paper confiscated by the KCIA. After a long imprisonment, the charges were suspended and the defendants freed on bail. Three months later the anthology, "Yellow Earth," was published, and Kim took to the countryside to avoid arrest

After the 1972 publication of his next anti-establishment poem, "Groundless Rumor," the govt re-committed him to Masan sanatorium for penning material "likely to benefit north Korea," and threatened recriminations against his family if he kept it up. Still he continued to write clandestinely. After a Japanese writers' delegation, part of a global campaign for his release, visited him at the sanatorium, Kim was released in July 1972. By April 1974 he was once again in jail, this time for writing "Cry of the People," a biting attack on Park's ultra-oppressive Emergency Measures. In July he was convicted of helping plot a nation-wide student rebellion (the "NDYSF -see pp.8-15, this issue). In a hasty, closed trial he was sentenced to death, and only a new international outcry forced the govt to commute his sentence to life. He did not reappear until February 1975, when he and almost all of the NDYSF students were released. This breath of freedom lasted him but three weeks. After Kim revealed the truth of KCIA tortures in the Dong-a Ilbo, the gates clanged shut behind him once again.

Kim's poems attack govt and official corruption, erosion of human rights in south Korea, and the suffering and poverty of his fellow Koreans. They make you cry and laugh at once, such is their satirical power. As government oppression of Kim got ever more violent, so the tone of his poetry has hardened and sharpened, until it seems the pages must explode with the power of the images. As long as Kim Chi He remains alive and writing, the govt and Park Chung Hee will squirm in its iron-shod shoes. The "Statement of Conscience" below was smuggled gut of prison in mid-1975, soon after 8 of the PRP "spies" were hung. In it, Kim exposes the govt's plan to frame him on similar charges. Since its appearance, he has been refused all visits, and is still awaiting trial.

Statement of Conscience

To all who cherish justice and truth:
The Park regime is tying me up in a conspiratorial net of incredible lies. They say I am a communist who infiltrated the Catholic Church and pretended to be an advocate of democracy and human rights. I have been arrested and imprisoned on these charges.

The authorities will soon begin a courtroom charade to "legally" brand me forever as a treacherous Marxist-Leninist agent. I will be impressed into the ranks of that legion of govermnent-designated "communists."

I am not the only target of this conspiracy. It is directed at the whole movement to restore democracy and at the Christian Church which has been fighting for social justice. The authorities are particularly determined to label as procommunist the Association of Catholic Priests for the Realization of Justice, the National Council for the Restoration of Democracy, and all youth and student movements. This is the forerunner of a broad crackdown on dissent.

The government has been making these vile charges against me for more than a decade; they are nothing new. I should prefer not to waste words with a personal defense here. The Korean Central Intelligence Agency (KCIA) agents say, "If you have a statement to make about these charges, do it in court." For once I agreed with them. I intended to do just that: to bring out some of the truth about this travesty during the trial by challenging the prosecutor.

However, the current political situation compels me to speak out now. It is not just my convictions and my credibility that are endangered. The net has been thrown widely to encompass all democratic forces, my church and the student movement. I owe it to history and the Korean people to state my beliefs and the facts about my arrest as I know them.

Am I a Communist?
I have never in the past thought of myself as a communist, and I still do not. I am not a communist. The KCIA charges against me should be patently absurd. My lawyer has told me they have taken the "confession" I was forced to write and have made it public to prove that I am a communist.1 The "confession" in the pamphlet is called "Statement No. 2" but actually it was the third one. The KCIA discarded the second statement but still numbered the third version as No. 2. These details aside, it is true that the document was written by my hand.

But not by my mind and soul. It was not a voluntary statement. I was a powerless individual in an underground interrogation room of the KCIA's Fifth Bureau.2 They were the almighty agency of state terror, beyond any law or decency. How much truth do you think there is in those sheets of paper, my "confession?" From the time of my arrest I was pressured to say that I was a "communist who had infiltrated the Catholic Church." The government had decided to destroy me politically and religiously. They were going to crush me until I was flattened out like a piece of dried cuttlefish. I resisted my interrogators and refused to "confess." The grilling continued for five or six days, I think. Finally they wore me down. I had not been in good health before my arrest; I had fainted several times due to anemia, and I was suffering from chronic insomnia. The constant questioning left me physically exhausted and delirious. I knew the Park regime would use any means necessary to convict me as a communist. It did me no good to keep telling the interrogators that I was innocent. They had strict orders from their master to "Get Kim Chi Ha" regardless of the facts. The KCIA agents were cogs in the machine; they could not refuse that order. They were ashamed of what they were doing but they harnmered away at me day and night. I saw no point in continuing the nerve-wracking war of attrition against such pitiful men!

Finally, on the sixth day, I wrote out a statement which they dictated. I scribbled it down like graffiti on a toilet wall and threw it at them. That is how my "confession" was written.

As one might expect, the statement is full of lies and inconsistencies. There is the banal wording so dear to the KCIA hacks: "I became a communist out of a sense of inferiority and frustration due to poverty and illness."3 This is the vilest part of the document. They used the same phrasing over and over again when I was indicted in 1970 for writing "Five Bandits," for "Groundless Rumors" in 1972, and in the National Democratic Youth and Student Federation (NDYSF) case of 1974. There is a materialistic determinism in the phraseology, as if all the poor and afflicted are "Potential communist criminals." Would any self-respecting person write such craven drivel of her/his own free will?

According to the "confession," all my activities, including writing "Five Bandits" and "Groundless Rumors," were due to my communist ideas. I wonder if foreign readers of these poems were deceived by my communist propaganda? There must be many red faces among those foreign literary critics who praised my work and did not even realize that it was "communist propaganda." If "Five Bandits" is communist literature, why have the charges against me been pending for more than four years! And why was I not even indicted for "Groundless Rumors?"

The "confession" says that I am a communist and a Catholic. That is an antimony like being a "democratic fascist." Every school child knows that communism regards religion, especially Christianity, as the "opiate of the masses."

I understand that the KCIA pamphlet cites a few books I had in my possession as "proof" that I am a communist. They are so stupid! Their petty, frightened police state minds! No matter how severely intellectual freedom is restricted in south Korea, does reading a few marxist classics make a person a communist? The most avid readers of leftist books are the censors who check every piece of literature that comes into this country. If they can read these materials, why is it a crime for me? I have read hundreds of books; the authorities seized fewer than ten. Every one of those, without exception, is a classic that any foreign intellectual has read.

The KCIA pamphlet reproduces some of the notes I jotted down in prison from April 1974 until this February. Again those memoranda and notes are supposed to be "proof" that I am a communist. These notes contain all kinds of thoughts and emotions. Ideas that winged into my mind like birds flitting past my cell window. There are ruminations on this or that, outlines of projects I hope to write about in the future. Bits and pieces, unconnected fragments. They do not show that I am a person ideologically committed to communism. If the government will make public all my notes, the charges against me will fall of their own weight. Anyone who examines the material will see my values: my hatred of oppression and exploitation, my groping in the political wilderness for a way out of these iniquities. How I have driven myself in the quest for the answers! This search has nothing to do with communism.

How should I define my ideological position? Before I attempt that, two points require clarification. First, I regard myself as a free thinker not bound by any ideological system. I hope my ideas are neither shaped by personal ambition nor yield to intimidation and that they are also unfettered by any dogma or creed. Thus I have never defined myself as an adherent of any "ism." I belong in the creative tension formed by the chaos of freedom. A natural pool swirls with crosscurrents of ideas, values, systems, experiences. By diving into that pool again, and again I hope to come up with a few grains of truth. I stand beside that pool poised for the next dive.

Secondly, I am ideologically unfinished. That's a crude way of saying that I have never accepted one ideology as my operative value system. So far I have never found one system of thought that was logically convincing. I am still looking. In a sense, this is a shameful admission, but there are extenuating circumstances, I think. An individual's beliefs and conscience must be free, and the process that shapes them must also be open, competitive, eclectic. A person has a natural right to find her/his own values. Even the Yushin Constitution, promulgated by Park Chung Hee in. December 1972, guarantees this right to south Korean society. Nevertheless, intellectual life and value-formulation are totally controlled in our country. A single ideology with its priorities, preferences, taboos and sanctions is dominant.

Consider the spiritual ethos of south Korea. The flow of information is controlled. Once can only read a limited number of authorized books. Anti-intellectualism and pervasive secrecy are the rule. I have tried, though often with doubts and remorse, to find the truth in this darkness. I am not the only one. Every south Korean who sought to understand what is going on in this country and in the world has trod the same uncertain, dangerous path. My ideological education is incomplete.

Under such conditions there's surely no chance of autogenous communism sprouting here. Our conditioned reflex to "communists" was to imagine redfaced devils with horns growing out of their heads and long claws dripping with blood. Every south Korean below the age of thirty has been educated and indoctrinated this way. Furthermore, we have never been taught anything about communism except emotional diatribes against it. Even if a few curious people secretly read some leftist books, how could they turn into full-fledged communists with a firm grasp of dialectics, party history and doctrine? No "autogenous communist" could emerge from the younger generation. That includes me. Far from being a committed communist, as the KCIA charges, I have no reliable information about the nature of communism or what life is like in a socialist country. The charge that I am a communist is utterly groundless.

2. Democracy, revolution, violence
I want to identify with the oppressed, the exploited, the troubled and the despised. I want that love to be dedicated, passionate, and manifested in practical ways. This is the totality of my self-imposed task for humanity, the alpha and omega of my intellectual search. I hope that my odyssey will be understood as a love for humanity.

My desire to love the human family makes me hate the oppression and exploitation that dehumanizes. One who exploits others corrupts oneself. Thus I fight against oppression and exploitation -the struggle is my existence.

I became a Catholic because Catholicism conveyed a universal message. Not only that spiritual and material burdens could be lifted from humanity but also that oppression itself could be ended by the salvation of both the oppressor and the oppressed. Catholicism is capable of assimilating and synthesizing these contradictory and conflicting ideologies, theories and value standards into a universal truth.

My beliefs spring from a confident love for the common people. I have opposed the Park regime and ridiculed the "Five Bandits" because they are the criminal gangleaders looting the country. I have grown up as one of the oppressed masses. That perspective enabled me to see that a pernicious elitist bias permeates our society. The oppressors say the masses are base, ugly, morally depraved, inately lazy, untrustworthy, ignorant and a spiritless, inferior race. But the common people I have known were not like that. They were honest and industrious. They may have looked stupid to a Seoul bureaucrat but they were endowed with a rich native intelligence. Although they seemed listless, they possessed enormous inner strength and determination. They may have been rough, not very sophisticated, but they had genuine affection for their friends and neighbors. The common people I knew were proud and full of an unassuming vitality.

I have total confidence in the people. Given the opportunity they will find correct solutions to their problems. And their time is coming. The people cannot be denied their rights and justice much longer. My confidence in the people has led me to trust their ability to determine their own fate. Those who fear the people, who find the masses despicable, are ipso facto not democrats. When the going gets rough they will stand with the oppressors.

What is democracy? It is an ideology opposed to silence, a system that respects a free Logos and freedom of speech. It encourages the cacophony of dissent. A political system where everything is not revealed to the public is not a democracy. I believe that the truth, only the truth, will liberate humanity. A public consciousness dulled by soporific incantations and smothered in darkness can be liberated by the truth. Only when the people struggle out of the darkness, driven along by the very chaos of their opposition to authority, will they reach the sun-drenched fields. Then they can head toward Canaan, the land of justice and freedom promised by the Creator. This is my dream, my faith.

I cannot describe Canaan in detail. No one person can do that. I think it win be created by the collective effort of all the people. My task is to fight on until the people hold the power in their own hands to shape their destiny. I want a victory for real democracy, complete freedom of speech. Nothing more, nothing less. In this sense, I am a radical democrat and libertarian. I am also a Catholic, one of the oppressed citizens of the Republic of Korea, and a young man who loathes privilege and corruption and dictatorial power. This defines my political beliefs. I have nothing more to add.

Democracy does not require a "benevolent ruler who loves the people." A ruler who fears the people's wrath and weapons is preferable. Democracy entails an uncompromising rejection of oppression. There is no democracy as long as the people cannot depose an undesirable ruler. Thus democracy does not deny the people the right of revolution; on the contrary, that fundamental right is the last guarantee of popular sovereignty. This obvious truth must never be forgotten.

The right of revolution, the constant and eternal possibility of overthrowing illegitimate authority, is the ultimate sanction against misrule that enables the people to defend themselves from oppression and exploitation. Rulers, of course, make revolution illegal, even discussion of it is banned as subversive. Thus they can continue their political and economic domination. But that is why I must support resistance and revolution.

I feel enormous pride in our Korean traditions. The people have often protested against injustice and misgovernment., Unfortunately, the rulers, irredeemably callous and arrogant, often crushed the protests with force. Under these circumstances have the people any choice but revolution?

Catholic political thought since Thomas Aquinas has explicitly recognized the people's right and duty, based on natural law, to overthrow a tyrant who threatens their existence and the common good. Resistance abruptly changes the course of human affairs. The people themselves recover their humanity., The masses undergo a sudden and profound awakening; history makes up for lost time by encouraging the people to miraculous feats.

Sooner or later resistance and revolution lead to the phenomenon of violence. When the violence of authority sustains oppression, the people's will is crushed, their best leaders are killed, and the rest are cowed into submission. The "silence of law and order" settles grimly across the land. Then an antithetical situation exists where. violence must shatter this macabre order. To a degree, I approve of this kind of violence -no, that is not strong enough. I must approve of it! I reject the violence of oppression and accept the violence of resistance. I reject dehumanizing violence and accept the violence that restores human dignity. It could justly be called a "violence of love."

Jesus used his whip on the merchants defiling the temple. That was the "violence of love." It was force suffused with love. Jesus wanted the afflicted and their oppressive rulers to be reborn again as true children of God.

Violence and destructiveness obviously bring suffering and hardship. But we' must sometimes cause and endure suffering. Never is this more true than when the people are dozing in silent submission, when they cannot be awakened from their torpor. To preach "non-violence" at such a time leaves them defenseless before their enemies. When the people must be awakened and sent resolutely off to battle, violence is unavoidable. Gandhi and Franz Fanon agonized over this dilemma. Father Camillo Torres took a rifle and joined the people. He died with them, the weapon never fired. The fallen priest with his rifle epitomized godliness. I do not know if his beliefs and methods were correct or not, but the purity of his love always moves me to tears. He staggered along his road to Golgotha with uncertain tread. He was prepared to commit a sin out of his love for others. He was not afraid to bum in the depths of eternal hell.

True non-violence requires total non-compliance and non-cooperation. It concedes nothing to the oppressors. The superficial kind of non-violence which makes limited gestures of opposition is just another form of craven cooperation with the authorities. Cowardly non-violence is the moral equivalent to cruel violence because with both the people get crushed. On the other hand, the "violence of love" is essentially the same as a "courageous non-violence" in that it arms the people against their foes. I approve of the "violence of love" but I am also a proponent of true non-violence. The revolution I support will be a synthesis of true non-violence and an agonized violence of love. (I am now working on a long ballad, "Chang Il Tam," set against this background.)

To reach th it golden mean-a non-violence that does not drift to cowardly compromise and a violence that does not break the bonds of love and lapse into carnage -humankind must undergo an unceasing spiritual revival and the masses must experience a universal self-awakening. While I grant that the violence of Blanquism can light the psychological fuse to revolution, I do not anticipate nor support a "lucky revolution" achieved by a small number of armed groups committing terrorist acts of violence. That is why I have eschewed the formation of or membership in secret organizations and have participated in activities consistent with the democratic process: writing and petitions, rallies and prayer meetings.

My vision of a revolution is one to create a unified Korea based on freedom, democracy, self-reliance and peace. More fundamentally, however, it must enable the Korean people to decide on their own fate. I can confidently support such a revolution. That revolution will not follow foreign models or patterns, but will flow from our unique revolutionary tradition. The Tong Hak rebellion, the March First independence movement,4 and the 1960 April Student Revolution adumbrate the next revolution.

3. Revolutionary religion: the world of "Chang Il Tam"
The more I search for answers, the more contradictory ideas I find and the more confused I am. J. B Metz confessed to the same experience. Yet the antagonistic diversity of these systems of thought makes me strive even more for faith in the one absolute being. I believe such faith is attainable. Must revolution reject religion and religion be the foe of revolution? I think that the answer is "no." Perhaps by this reply I could not be a Marxist-Leninist. But the Marxist dictum that religion is the opiate of the masses is only a partial truth applicable to one aspect of religion.

When a people have been brutally misruled and exploited for a long time, they lose their passion for justice and their affection for their fellows. Committed only to self-survival, they lapse into an individualistic materialism. Their near-crazed resentment and rage at social and economic conditions, diverted into frustration and self-hatred, is repeatedly dissipated in fragmented, anomic actions. Our prisons are full of lower-class criminals, thrown there by the ruling elite that spits on the poor and flourishes on social injustice. The prisoners' roster of crimes is diverse: armed robbery, theft, murder, desertion from military service, kidnapping, etc. Yet their wretched tragedy has a common origin in frustration and isolation.

The chief priests and Pharisees defuse the people's bitter resentment and moral indignation with sentimental charity. The people are emasculated by mercy. The god of philanthropy serves the oppressor by turning the people into a mob of beggars. That is why I cannot admire Albert Schweitzer.

In similar situations of bondage and deprivation, prophetic religions of love arise in the wilderness and shake the emotions of the oppressed and mistreated people. The slumbering masses awaken like a thunderclap! Their human and divine qualities suddenly shine forth. The mystery of resurrection -revolution! That resurrection fashions people in God's image, opens their eyes to their own nobility and turns their frustration and self-hatred into eschatalogical hope. This kind of resurrection changes a selfish, individualistic, escapist anomie into a fraternal, united, realistic commitment to the common good. It becomes a struggle for a humane life and dignity for all the people. This resurrection prevents the people's bitter resentment and moral indignation from evaporating in self-hatred and converts it into a fierce demand for God's universal justice. If necessary, the people's enormous energy may also be directed to a decisive, organized explosion. This is a revolutionary religion. This miraculous conversion which conceived the mystery of revival may also bring a decisive spiritual revival. This conversion is the philosophy of tan-the determination to choose the circumstances of one's death-that my hero, Chang Il Tam, sings about.

Since my college years when I suffered from tuberculosis, I have passionately wanted to understand both my personal situation and my country's. How could I overcome my terror of death and how could south Korea find its way out of ubiquitous spiritual dehumanization and material poverty? I heard something then about the Tonghak teaching5 that "the human is Heaven." At first it was a pianissimo idea that made only a slight impression. Later, I learned more about the Tonghak rebellion, and an image took shape in my mind. I could see that awesome band of starving peasants, their proud banners proclaiming "An end to violence, save the people," as they marched off to fight. Suddenly that Tonghak teaching became fortissimo, as thunderous as the battle cries of those marching peasants.

I feel like writing a rude straightforward poem such as
no one has ever written before. It has been a long time
since I was beaten to hell for writing unsavory articles.
My body is itching for a beating, my mouth is eager
to speak and my hands are dying to write.
Since this impulse to write is beyond my control,
I have made up my mind to set down a story concerning
some strange thieves....

I do this knowing full well that I am asking for
severe punishment including physical pain. But it's the best
story that you ever saw with your belly-button or heard
with your asshole since this country was formed under the
Paektu mountain on the third of October a long time ago.

I have been grappling with that image for ten years. At some point I gave it a name - "The unity of God and revolution." I also changed the phrase of "the human is Heaven" into "Rice is Heaven" and used it in my poetry. That vague idea of "the unity of God and revolution" stayed with me as I continued my long, arduous search for personal and political answers, and as I became very interested in contemporary Christian thought and activism. European social reformism, including Ernst Troeltsch, Frederic Ozanam, Karl Marx and others, had been absorbed into the grand edifice of Christian thought. Their ideas were now being questioned anew, developed in new directions. I was intrigued by efforts to combine Marxist social reform and Christian beliefs as evinced in the 1972 Santiago Declaration of Christian Socialism.

The synthesis draws from diverse sources. One example is the adaptation of the teachings of Marx and Jesus. Marx's contribution is his structural epistemology which maintains that social oppression blocks human salvation. From Jesus's teachings we take his humanism, which advocates love for all people, the sanctity of the person, his emphasis on rebirth as the means to salvation, the idea of the God of hope who brings salvation, equality and liberation on earth, and the activities of Jesus of Nazareth during his lifetime. The synthesis tries to unify and integrate these concepts. In my view, this is not a mechanical process, a rote grafting of bits of Marxism onto Christianity. The union produces something entirely new. (The new synthesis is not finished. Its gestalt cannot be defined; it is still amorphous. Therefore I must decline to use the existing terminology. The Korean people are suffering from the tragic reality of a divided peninsula. This division has become the excuse for brutal repression; everything is done in the name of "national security," the threat from the North. Under this praetorian system, south Korean society has become rigid, intolerant, frightened; our intellectual life is as airless and barren as the valleys of the moon. The authorities, hyper-sensitive and always suspicious of new and possibly "dangerous thoughts," may attempt to label my ideas as a certain ideology. I reject this false labelling of an unfinished "product." I stand on my human right to be creative. Humankind's original ideas are not turned out on an assembly line.)

My image of the unity of God and revolution was clarified by Pope John XXIII's encyclical, Mater et Magistra. "The mystery of Jesus and the loaves of bread is a temporal miracle which shows the future heaven." I also benifitted from writings of the liberation theologians: Frederick Herzog, James Cone, Richard Shaull, Paul Lehmann, Jurgen Hartmann, J. B. Metz, Todt Hugo, Reinhold Niebuhr, Dietrick Bonhoffer, and others. The statements of the pope after Vatican II and encyclicals such as Rerum Novarum provided insights. The greatest single influence on my thinking, however, has been my participation since 1971 in the Korean Christian movement for human rights. This experience convinced me that the Korean tradition of resistance and revolution, with its unique vitality under the incredibly negative circumstances prevailing here, are precious materials for a new form of human liberation. This rich lode will be of special value to the Third World. Shaped and polished by the tools of liberation theology, our experience may inspire miraculous new forms of Missio Dei in the gritty struggle of the south Korean people.

My ballad, Chang Il Tam, attempts to express these ideas through the teachings and intellectual pilgrimage of one holy man who speaks in the form of gospels. However, the Park regime has seized my notes as proof of a "conspiracy to publish subversive materials."

Chang Il Tam is a. thief, the son of a prostitute and a paekchong.6 A failure in life and despondent, Chang suddenly attains enlightenment and becomes a preacher of liberation. Chang emulates Im Kok Chong7 in believing that the poor should "re-liberate" what the rich have stolen from them and divide it equally among the needy. He begins by stealing from the rich and giving to the poor, is arrested and thrown into jail, whereupon he teaches the other prisoners about revolution. One day Chang is unfairly disciplined. Angrily throwing caution to the winds, he shouts, "We must be liberated! Down with the hated bourgeosie!" (My working notes cover only a portion of his proselytizing in prison; these are his early radical ideas. The government claims they are identical with my ideas and therefore constitute irrefutable proof that I am a communist!)

Chang escapes from prison, is hunted by the police, and finally hides in a filthy back alley where some prostitutes are plying their trade. He calls to the prostitutes: "Oh, you are all my Mother!" He kisses their feet, and declares: "The soles of your feet are heaven!" "God is in your putrid wombs!" And "God's place is with the lowest of the low."

Chang later goes to live on Mt. Kyeryong and preaches about a paradise in the land of the Eastern Sea.8 He teaches a systematic religious discipline in three stages: Sich'onju, acceptance of God and service to Him; Yangch' onju, cultivation of God in your heart and subordination. of everything to God's will; and Saengch' onju.9 Chang preaches "community ownership of property," teaches about revolution, stresses the unity of prayer and action, and advocates "resistance against the tide." His major ideas include, "the transformation of the lowest into heaven," that the traveller's path from this world to heaven is revolution, the need to purge wild beasts that lurk within human heartssymbolic of the paekchong's occupation-and that this world is corrupt but in the next world they will visit the paradise in the Eastern Sea.

Chang Il Tam preaches to the workers and farmers. He builds an altar in the wilderness, starts a huge bonfire, and casts everything old into the flames. He teaches the people that although violence is unavoidable, tan is desirable. He leads the multitude toward the evil palace in the capital, Seoul. The throng all carry beggar's cans. At this point Chang proclaims that paradise is "to share food with others" and that "food is heaven." They reach the capital where food is abundant and continue through the city on the eternal journey toward paradise where food is shared by all. (This journey implies an endless transmigratory discipline: to the destination and then a return to a place where there is no food.)

During the march to Seoul, Chang is defeated in a battle. The government offers a reward, and the traitor Judas turns Chang in. Chang remains silent, saying nothing in his own defense. He is convicted of violating the Anti-Communist Law, the National Security Law and inciting rebellion. Chang is taken out to be executed and just before he is beheaded, breaks his silence to sing a song, "Food is Heaven."

Food is heaven
You can't make it on your own
Food should be shared
Food is heaven

We all see
The same stars in heaven
How natural that we
All share the same food.

Food is heaven
As we eat
God enters us
Food is heaven
Oh! Food
Should be shared by all.

Chang is resurrected three days later. His severed head seeks out the traitor Judas, decapitates him and places itself on his trunk. The traitor's body is joined with the saint's destiny. This weird union of holiness, goodness and truth, accomplished through Judas' wicked intelligence, is both Chang's revenge and salvation for the sinner. It expresses the manifold paradoxes of Chang's thought.

My tentative denouement for the ballad is "The song, 'Food Should be Shared' has become a raging storm sweeping into every comer of south Korea."

That is the general outline of the ballad. I repeat that Chang Il Tam's world is in flux. Religious asceticism and revolutionary action, the works of Jesus, the struggle of Ch'oe Che U (founder of the Tonghak) and Chon Pong Jun (commander of the Tonghak peasant army), a yearning for the communal life of early Christianity, and a deep affection for the long, valiant resistance of the Korean people are all part of Chang's kaleidoscopic world. So are Paulo Freire's The Pedagogy of the Oppressed, Franz Fanon's ideas on violence, the direct action of Blanquism, the Christian view of the human being flawed by original sin, the Catholic doctrine of the omnipresence of God and the Buddhist concept of the transmigration of the soul, the populist redistributive egalitarianism of Im Kok Chong and Hong Kil Tong,10 and the Tonghak teachings of Sich'onju and Yangch'onju. Some of these movements and doctrines combine and coalesce; others clash in mighty confrontations.

I have no intention of trying to provide a consistent theoretical elucidation of Chang II Tam while I am still writing it. That is impossible. When the work is finished, I may be able to do so.

4. Did I violate the Anti-Communist Law?
The charge that I am a communist rests on three allegations. First, that. my notebooks for Chang II Tam and other works contain statements favorable to north Korea. Second, that my statements about the so-called People's Revolutionary Party (PRP) "praise, encourage and support" a subversive organization. Third, that my possession of several books was beneficial to north Korea because they "praise, encourage and support" subversive ideas.

National security laws have been misused in south Korea for many years. The constant, expedient, indiscriminate and conspiratorial application of the dreaded Article Four of the Anti-Communist Law has been the most malevolent restriction on the intellectual and spiritual growth of the republic.11 It has been used to deprive us of freedom of speech and to impose a suffocating culture of silence that has killed democracy and sustained a corrupt dictatorship. I oppose the misuse of Article Four with every ounce of strength in my body. It is repugnant to everything I believe in and stand for. I call on others to oppose the regime's attempt to gag me with this filthy rag of a "law". We must have freedom of thought and expression. Individuality -conscience and creativity -must be protected.

I shall discuss the state's allegations one by one. I was threatened by the KCIA interrogators to admit that some of my notes for Chang Il Tam were based on Mao Tse-tung's thought. As I stated above, the work draws on the seminal ideas, theories and accomplishments of world civilization. Mao's "On Contradictions" is an important contribution to politics. But the KCIA people were so proud of themselves! At last they had found a real "communist connection." They said I was a Maoist who joined the Catholic Church because I followed Mao's teaching on the transformation and unity of antagonisms. My notes included the words, "God and revolution, bread and freedom, the unity of earth and heaven" - all phrases that correspond to the resolution of contradictions. To my astonishment, the KCIA even attributed my use of the word "resurrection" to Mao! They said the "resolution" of death into resurrection was the resolution of a contradiction! Even perverse sophistry has its limits, one would think! Perhaps under the circumstances I can be excused for not admiring the vivid imagination and creativity of the prosecutor.

The police of the Republic of Korea are not much for subtle distinctions. They regard materialism as identical with metaphysics. At the faintest whiff of dialectics, they stick the communist label on you. In south Korea, Lao Tzu, Confucius, Jesus, the Buddha-anybody and everybody concerned with fundamental truth or essential reality would be a communist.

I said above that it would be premature to categorize Chang Il Tam But I can say that it is not socialist realism, a vehicle for Marxist ideas. The work is apocalyptical, prophetic, full of allegory, mystery, and symbolism. I use supernatural occurences and the fanciful events conjured up by the sensitivity and imagination of peasants and workers. I dab in a touch of the abstract with bizarre illusions. I use death, chaos, insecurity, terror, revolution, despair, melancholy, atrocities, executions and decadence to create the overall tone. I attempt to describe a ghastly, blood-soaked, transitional period by the use of furious language and violent incidents. My work bears no resemblance to the pallid tone, naturalistic descriptions and realistic plots of conventional socialist writings. There are no romances between steel workers and their blast furnaces in Chang Il Tam.

This is what I am working on. It is far from finished. Nevertheless, the government says it was written "to aid the Northern puppet regime." What can I say? There has been much publicity recently about the government's "Five-Year Plan to Encourage Literature." But what they are doing to me is really how they go about "encouraging" literature.

Let's look at the second charge. I had made notes for a play called "Maltuk," in which a day-laborer by the same name fights against the bourgeoisie. The police and the KCIA insist that this is Marxist writing which calls for the overthrow of the bourgeoisie by workers and peasants. They are so eager to find communists that they react like Pavlovian dogs to the word "bourgeoisie" and neurotically grab the Anti-Communist Law. Just because Marx called a flower a flower, am I supposed to call it something else? The word "bourgeoisie" is an internationally accepted historical term. If the mere use of the word, or the expression of contempt for something "bourgeois" proves a person is a communist, where does that leave France's George Bernanos, who said, "I hate the bourgeoisie?" One hardly need cite foreign examples. Don't we hear the word everyday as a half-humorous term for the rich? That is how I used it. To be more exact, my use of the word "bour.: geoisie" has the limited meaning of the "corrupt ruling elite" which dominates south Korea. It is synonymous with the "Five Bandits."

"Maltuk' is based on the rebellious servant character in traditional mask dramas. The plot evolves from a popular protest against corruption and privilege. The protagonist is a laborer but he is not trying to start a revolution to impose a dictatorship of the proletariat. I am trying to portray a rebel from the lowest stratum of society -far lower than organized industrial workers, in fact. My idea was to make my hero a "debased ch'onmin," a stratum shunned by society as subhuman. He is a typical dehumanized south Korean, spiritually and physically robbed of his manhood. I want to describe his despair and the divine inspiration that rescues him. I will show the "reciprocal effect of action and prayer" which leads Win to resist and regain his human dignity. I place this interaction in Maltuk, a "rebellious, sweaty, dirty south Korean peasant," and stressed hope. I tried to describe a certain world of "community" which appears in the resultant eschatological illusion. This is also an illusory manifestation of an oppression-free society, the eternal theme of true art. The drama is sustained by an imagination rooted in Christian eschatology; it is not derived from any political ideology. The allegation that it "was written to aid the Northern puppets" could not be more preposterous.

I want to explain why I wrote "Five Bandits," "Groundless Rumors," "Chang Il Tam," "Maltuk" and other works. So they could be used by someone? No! Because I wanted to write them. I had no choice. They were deep inside me, stirring and swirling. I had to, let them burst out. I wrote them because I had to. That was the only reason.

Next, the "People's Revolutionary Party" case, I wrote about the torture of Ha Chae Wan and I held a press conference to ask for the release of the PRP prisoners. The government terms these actions "support for the propaganda activities of the northern puppets" that "benefitted the People's Revolutionary Party, a subversive organization." For the sake of argument, let's say that my statement about the torture of the PRP prisoners was identical with the north Korean "propaganda" on the case. The question really is, Did I "support" their version or did they, "support'' mine? They did not meet Ha Chae Wan. I met him and I heard his, story directly from him. I just told the world what I heard. I did not say Ha Chae Wan was tortured on the basis of a north Korean broadcast. Does similarity of. content mean "support?" If it does, thousands of ordinary citizens, intellectuals,, religious leaders, students and politicians who demanded the "release of the democratic leaders ' arrested in 1974 must be fellow-travellers since the North certainly must have advocated the same thing. Don't they all have to be charged under the' Anti-Communist Law? Hasn't this nonsense gone too far?

Did I speak out to help the "People's Revolutionary Party, a subversive organ' zation?" How could that possibly have been my reason? I knew certain fact which every person in this country needed to know. I made those horrible fact public in the interests of civil rights and democracy in south Korea. Consider in position. I had no connection with the "PRP" and I did not even know the prison ers. I was aware, of course, that the Park regime would retaliate against me. Why should I go so far just to help a subversive organization? Didn't I have anything better to do? The government, as usual, has a ready explanation. They say I called the PRP case a "fabrication" to conceal my own "communist sympathies!" Unless my memory is wrong, even the Prime Minister is supposed to have said in the National Assembly that "Kim Chi Ha is not a communist." The KCIA assertion that I was trying to bide my "pro-communist sympathies" is absurdly illogical. Claiming the government had trumped up charges against the "PRP" men would obviously bring me under suspicion.

I know the "PRP" men were tortured. What is the KCIA anyway? We all know that they have tortured students and opposition party National Assembly members. Recently. the National Assembly floor leader of the ruling Democratic Republican party revealed that he also had been tortured by the KCIA. That is how they function; brutality and terror are their standard operating procedure. Anyone who thinks the "PRP" prisoners - people being set up as communists for execution were not tortured ought to have his/her head examined. I spoke only about facts I heard with my own ears and saw with my own eyes - facts I am absolutely certain of.

Was the "PRP" a subversive organization? Was there really a "PRP"? My suspicions have not been resolved by the Park regime's pronouncements. If the government wants me to accept its version and to convince the public that I was wrong, they should bring back to life the eight men executed on April 9 [1975]. Or perhaps they can call the ghosts of Ha Chae Wan and Yi Byong Su to testify on the state's behalf. I want to challenge the legality of these "PRP" - related charges.

Finally, we come to the most absurd items in the indictment, that some of the books in my storage shed were a threat to the state. The magazines, Hanyang and Chongmaek I read, in 1964. Mao's "On Practice" and "On Contradictions" I read about 1969. I read these books and put them away years ago. How did these volumes gathering dust in my shed help north Korea?

I believe that all who oppose repression and dictatorship and defend freedom, justice and the rights Of conscience still remain committed to the struggle against the corrupt Park regime. When I was released from prison on February 15th, I reconfirmed my vow to resist this dictatorship as long as I live. I have explained in this statement the spurious charges against me. All those who know me will disregard any kind of slander against me which is at variance with this statement. Your understanding comforts me.

My prison notebooks contain ample proof that this statement is true. And more. Prison was not easy for me. But I gained precious experiences and inspiration through my fellowship with the other prisoners, supposedly the dregs of our society. The notebooks are not just about me: the truth about this period of our history is also there. I hope you can prevent their destruction.

Why have we been fighting against the Park regime? For human liberation. To recover the humanity God gave us, to be free people. Nothing is more important. We must press ahead. We will not be stopped. We shall overcome.

The government constantly asserts that the threat from north Korea is so serious as to make civil rights an impermissible luxury. But a corrupt, immoral dictatorship is the greatest spur to communism. What better argument do the communists have than the Park regime? Dictatorial rule will never make south Korea secure. A country is strong and viable only when its people are defending their freedom. If we have no basic rights or representative-government, then what is there left for us to defend? Our hopeless privation and disease, our endless despair and humiliation? Are we to risk our lives for these? In every neighborhood and village we must shout our opposition to this sterile dilemma.

We are not alone in this struggle. Men and women all over the world concerned with freedom will generously support our struggle. Our age demands truth and the passion to endure the suffering necessary to learn the truth.

We want to be free. To taste, feel and transmit to our children the freedom so long promised in south Korea. To this noble cause we must commit everything we are and hope to be. My -prayers are with all of you in this courageous struggle.

Kim Chi Ha
May 1975


Just before I was arrested in March the authorities searched my country house and the home where my child is staying. They seized four or five of my private notebooks. At first I wasn't sure what they were after, but the interrogators' questions provided a clue. They asked: "Weren't you asked to write a poem about the Kim Dae Jung kidnapping?" and "Where is that manuscript?"12

I am not allowed to receive visitors or mail, to write anything, or even to read the Bible. I cannot move around very much. This gloomy, cramped cell is a bit less than seven feet by seven.

I sit here in the dark angrily thinking about the uncertain future. But prison has not dimmed my spirits. These miserable conditions and the endless waiting have made me more determined than ever. I feel a quiet composure, almost serenity. But I am terribly worried about what may happen to the individuals involved in making this statement public. My friends, please help these good people.

Do not grieve for me. We will surely see each other again soon.

Kim Chi Ha, May 1975

The Yellow Dust Road

Along the vivid blood, blood on the yellow road
I am going, Papa, where you died.
Now it's pitch dark only the sun scorches.
Two hands are barbed-wired
The hot sun burns sweat and tears and rice-paddies
Under the bayonets through the summer heat.
I am going, Papa, where you died
Where you died wrapped in a rice-sack
When the trouts were jumping along the Bujoo brookside.

When the blaze rose from Opo Hill every night
On that day when the sun brightly shone on the yellow land
The muddy land resilient as the gorses that grow intrepidly green
Shall I we cry out the hurrah of that day?
Shall we sing the song of that day?

In the small Whadang village embraced among sparse bamboo bushes
Blood wells up in every well, every ten years
Ah, born in this barren colony
Slain under the bayonets, my Papa.
How could the dews that spring in the bamboo buds
Forget, ever forget the crystal brightness of May?
It was a long and cruel summer
Even kids were starving to death
The sultry summer of blatant tyranny
That even didn't know of the Heavens
At last, all the time of the motherland, the yellow road,
And our hope.

Along the muddy beach where the sun burns old wooden boats to dust
Again through the rice paddies
And over the bleached, whitish furrows
It's been ten years since the hurrah of that day
That thundered the ever blue and high firmament
In the flesh, in the breath, the barbed wires keep tightening
Hearing, and sobbing, in your voice I am going now, Papa, where you died.

When the trouts were jumping along the Bujoo brookside
Wrapped in the rice-sack
Where you died.

This poem commemorates a village rising in Cholla Province
against the govt of Syngman Rhee before the Korean War.

(All notes are by the translator and editors.)

  • 1. The KCIA, shortly after Kim Chi Ha's arrest, put out a pamphlet entitled "The Case Against Kim Chi Ha: The True Identity of the Poet." Containing Kim's "confession," excerpts from his prison notes, and a list of books ostensibly seized from his home, it attempts to "prove" that he is a communist.
  • 2. The Korean Central Intelligence Agency, modeled after its American namesake, is so ubiquitous in daily Korean affairs, that, rather than saying someone was picked up by the KCIA, people always specify the Bureau. For torturing students, imprisoning priests and pastors and manufacturing domestic cases of "subversion" and "communist rebellion," the Fifth Bureau is responsible. For keeping up with the sinister schemes of the north Koreans abroad and other international affairs, the Sixth Bureau is in charge (most of the appointments to foreign embassies and legations are now filled by Sixth Bureau men, whose job it is to keep an eye on dissident south Korean activities). Within Korea itself, the two Bureaus compete, to the point where they now operate as nearly separate agencies (indeed, two years ago it was rumored that the Fifth Bureau was hauling in Sixth Bureau people for a working over.)
  • 3. Kim's forced "confession" states: "After advancing to college, I suffered from frustration and an inferiority complex. I could not enjoy normal campus life because of sickness and family hardship, compared with other students, and these feelings developed into a sense of resistance against our social system.... Through my readings on communism, I have come to the conclusion that all irregularities and contradictions in our society derive from the capitalist system, and that the means to rooting out such irregularities is to overthrow the existing system via a proletarian revolution in accordance with the teachings of Marx. ("The Case Against Kim Chi Ha," p. 11)
  • 4. The three rebellions that changed modern Korean history. The Tonghak Rebellion was the name for a wide-spread peasant rebellion that swept the lower Korean peninsula in 1893-94. Though it had Tonghak ("Eastern Learning" - see following note) religious origins, by the 1890s it had developed strong anti-government and anti-foreign overtones. Like the Boxer Reballion in China, it marked the end of dynastic rule and the collapse of the old order. And also like the Boxer Rebellion , it provided the pretext for foreign intervention - this time not by the Western powers, but by the "would-be Western power," Japan. The Rebellion was put down with the Japanese occupation of Seoul in June 1894, which led to 35 years of outright annexation and brutal suppression which did not end until Liberation Day, August 15, 1945.

    March First refers to the date on which, in 1919, religious and cultural leaders throughout Korea simultaneously read in public a secretly-prepared "Proclamation of Independence:" "We herewith proclaim the independence of Korea... in witness of the equality of all nations, and we pass it on to our prosperity as their inherent right.... Victims of an older age, when brute force and the spirit of plunder ruled, we have come after these long thousands of years to experience the agony of ten years of foreign oppression, with ... every restriction of the freedom of thought, every damage done to the dignity of life.... The result of annexation, brought about against the will of the Korean people, is that the Japanese are concerned only for their own gain ... digging a trench of everlasting resentment deeper and deeper...." Japanese revenge was merciless as they set to applying their trench-digging talents to burying corpses. Thousands were killed outright; sometimes whole villages (in one village the people were locked in a church and it was set afire). In 1919-20 alone, some 7000 Koreans were killed.

    The April 1960 Revolution refers to one of modern Korea's few successful rebellions. In protest against government corruption and widespread voting fraud, students took to the streets in April 1960. It led to the fall only days later of the American-supported strongman, Syngman Rhee (only to have a two-bit general that hardly anyone had heard of, Park Chung Hee, come to power a year later).

  • 5. Partly in opposition to and partly as an imitation of Jesuit teachings (Sohak, or "Western Learning") into Korea, in the 1860s a religious cult, called Tonghak ("Eastern Learning"), was established by a young man of lowly Kyongsang province origins. Ch'oe Che-u (1824-1864) claimed to have received a direct divine mandate, on May 25, 1860, in which he was personally directed to lead a movement that would make the East as strong as the West. A syncretic thought "system" combining elements of Taoism, Buddhism, Confucianism, native shamanism and even Jesuit cosmology, it spread the word of a "world of re-creation," a new turn of the historical wheel that would see the poor and lowly come into their own. The Beatitudes bit. The movement spread like a prairiefire, especially among the impoverished peasantry in the southernmost provinces remote from Seoul. It was put down after a long and brutal campaign in 1863-64, and fell largely dormant after the capture and beheading of Ch'oe in 1864. The movement revived again in the '80s and early '90s, finally breaking out in full force with the Tonghak Rebellion of 1893-94 (see preceding note.)
  • 6. Paekchong: a member of the lowliest caste, considered to be defiled and dirty. Paekchong could not marry outside of their caste or carry on other normal social discourse, nor were they permitted residence outside slum-like ghettos, where their labors were confined to trades considered beneath the dignity of "humans" -animal slaughter and butchery, tanning, garbage and manure disposal, cremation or burial of the dead, etc. Such discrimination still exists today.
  • 7. Im Kok Chong: Hero of an early 17th century popular novel, the leader of a bandit band that set out to redistribute unjustly gained wealth to the poor. Sort of Korea's Robin Hood, he and his band came to inspire a number of peasant uprisings later.
  • 8. The Eastern Sea is China's (the "Central Kingdom's") name for Korea; in ancient times travel to Korea was usually by boat from the Shantung Peninsula.
  • 9. Author s term, meaning obscure.
  • 10. Hong Kil Tong: a leader of Im Kok Chong's band (see note 7).
  • 11. Article Four of the Anti-Communist Law reads in part: "(1) Any person who has benefitted the anti-State organization by praising, encouraging or siding with or through other means the activities of an anti-State organization or their components or the communist organizations outside the Republic of Korea shall be imprisoned at hard labor for not more than seven years; (2) the same penalty shall apply to any person who has, for the purpose of committing the acts as provided for in the foregoing paragraph, produced, imported, duplicated, kept in custody, transported, disseminated, sold, or acquired documents, drawings and/or any other similar means of expression." ("The Case Against Kim Chi Ha," pp.44-45.)
  • 12. Kidnapped from a Tokyo hotel in August '73 by KCIA goons and spirited back to Seoul to stand trial for "election law violations" in the presidential "race" of '71, Kim Dae Jung is the most prominent "opposition politician" in Seoul, America's hope for a Korean Kerensky to replace the Tsar in the south and the Bolsheviks in the north.

"Combatting Communism and capitalism": Reviving village autonomy

This is a report on a visit of one of our collective members to Seoul and the surrounding countryside over New Year 1976. It reveals both the dark and the light sides of the current situation in south Korea, showing the effect of government policy on the farms, but also the way in which a gathering number of villages (though still a tiny minority) are taking steps to protect themselves and create some degree of autonomy.

The plight of South Korean peasants

The people of south Korea have become pawns in the economic and political strategy of Kissinger's global chess-game. Nevertheless, as I found on a recent trip there, these down-trodden people are still struggling for control over their lives.

Seoul, the capital of south Korea, has a population of 6.8 million, which includes 2.5 million slum-dwellers squashed into narrow strips of shacks, each housing five or six families. Over 80% of these people have recently come from the countryside looking for work. Such work is increasingly scarce. The government manages to contrive a national jobless rate of 3 to 4% by counting even one hour-per-week as "employment." The Soyang University's Institute for Labor and Management, however, estimates it at over 20%. Separate slum figures are not available, but are acknowledged to be high. While the government pursues its "slum clearance policy of bulldozing the people from one slum to another, the lower middle and middle classes are buying up the "lowincome citizen apartments" originally intended for, but beyond the purchasing ability of the slum-dwellers.1

According to various reports, the migrants are starting to trickle back to the farms, but the basic hardships that first drove them to the cities remain. In the two northern provinces the land is mountainous, sustaining only subsistence farming. On the other hand, the rich rice-land of the south draws heavy taxes. And the farmers must sell, at less than cost price, a percentage (20-30% according to one estimate) of each rice harvest to one of the government-run National Agricultural Co-operative Federation. A group close to farmers2 states that 80 kiloliters (100 kiloliters equals 2.8 bushels) of rice fetch only W23,292 (W480=US$l), W3792 less than it costs to produce it, while another source estimates that it is as much as W 10,000 below cost. No wonder, then, that the amount of paddy land under cultivation has declined 17% in the last seven years.3

Although Korea used to be a rice-exporting country, now 30% of its rice comes from abroad, mainly from Japan and the U.S. Title I of Public Law 480 ("Food for Peace"), for example, provides Korea with long-term credits at 2-3% interest for the purchase of rice and other grains, to be repaid in 30-40 years. U.S. farmers sell their surplus to the Commodity Credit Company, a private agency which obtains government money to collect the grain. The big profits, however, go to the big grain firms, such as Cargill, Cook Industries and Continental, the people who own the elevators where the grain is stored and receive government financing for their grain exports and subsidiaries abroad.4 Between January and June 1975 alone, the U.S. sent 208,020,000 metric tons of rice to south Korea through PL480. Far from philanthropic, this "aid" has promoted American agribusiness interests in other countries while undermining their domestic production. Indeed, PL480 has already made south Korea "the fastest-growing market for U.S. farm goods in the Far East,"5 often creating markets where none had existed and undercutting domestic prices. Thus PIA80 shipments to south Korea allow President Park Chung Hee to satisfy the hunger of the poor urban workers who otherwise would find it difficult to eat6 at the expense of the farmers, who are thus forced to move into the cities. As long as rural labor migrates to the cities, increasing the already large pool of cheap labor, farms will deteriorate and wages remain low. Hence the plight of urban and rural workers is intimately linked.

Workshops and co-ops

Since 1971 the government-imposed Saemaul ("New Countryside") Movement7 has pursued irrigation, road-building and various superficial projects. Some Koreans have voiced approval. However, all decisions come from the top and the villagers have no choice or voice in development plans, nor even in whether or not they are to take part. In 1971, therefore, the farmers organized a nationwide association (hereafter referred to as the XXXA), with two basic goals: (1) to develop village autonomy and (2) to build up producers' and consumers' co-ops.

The Autonomous Village Movement, directed from the XXX Institute in Seoul, is seeking to revive the traditional Korean village and attract back those who have fled to the cities. The Institute also trains students to go to the countryside and, by encouraging farmers in the revival of traditional ways, persuades them to stay on their farms. Its workshops teach native Korean crafts -woodcarving, enamel work, straw wall-hangings, embroidery, toys, artificial flowers, shellwork, etc. An everhopeful director, Mr. Y, views these as potential future exports, to replace south Korea's current dependence on foreign investment.

As Mr. Y sees it, re-introduction of home industries and the building of new factories in the villages will make the rural economy stable and self-reliant again. He emphasizes that such factories must be village-owned and run. With this in mind, the Institute supported a sweater-knitting workshop built by young people of a village 20 km. outside of Seoul. In the communal workshop, which now employs over 100 people, every shop and home in the village has its own machine. Although such home industries have increased in the last ten years, the government has stopped the communal program and replaced it with a workshop system of its own, in which each workshop is controlled by a single "big owner."

The government-run co-ops not only supply produce to the city, but also factory goods and fertilizer to the farmers of each county, in return for more of their rice. Most factories producing urea, the primary ingredient of fertilizer, are under government ownership. As of January 1976 fertilizer is available only at the government, co-op. The Federation structure is fundamentally different from that of the Producers' Co-ops. Government co-ops are organized from top to bottom, starting with the National Agricultural Co-operative Federation in Seoul. At the bottom are the 2000-odd government-run stores, one in each county (myon), the lowest administrative sub-unit. The Producers' Co-ops, however, run from bottom to top, using the villages (ri) as the basic sub-unit. One county comprises 10 to 20 villages, each of which contains 2 to 5 sub-villages of 20 to 30 families each. The XXXA believes that, by organizing on the village or sub-village level, they will not interfere with the country-level government structure, and that the farmers will have at least some local autonomy.

The XXXA's Producers' Co-ops, modeled on Robert Owen's "Rochdale Principle," have a current membership of more than 800 farmers in fourteen provinces. The XXXA has also organized a Consumers' Co-op among college graduates and teachers in Seoul. Through person-to-person contacts, this Co-op is slowly growing (it now has about 70 members). The underlying principle is that consumers must run their own "shops" and not go through a middleperson. Under a "5-day market system" the farmers rotate their sales within a five-town circuit, selling produce in a different town each day. Union dues cover Producer Co-op members' transportation costs to Seoul. At present, they supply eleven or twelve products, including peppers, garlic, cucumbers, potatoes, and oil, but not rice. They hope to start selling rice this year, but must sell cheaply in order to match the government's prices. Should private channels sell at a price the government feels threatens its cheap rice/ low wages policy, it can immediately flood the market with its own stocks (supplied by imported shipments, and by forcing peasants to pay loans and land taxes in grain).8 This year the s. Korean government expects to have 800,000 metric tons of rice in reserve storage (an increase of 100,000 tons over last year).

Through organizing to reduce prices, the city consumers also increase the number of their social contacts. In this way, the Consumers' and Producers' Co-ops can unite Seoul consumer with village producer. As Mr. Y put it: "By direct contact with the farmer-producer, the urban consumer may see why we consume-for others, for people." Thus, both consumer and producer may understand their mutual dependence.

In a village

Mr. Y invited me to visit NX, regarded as a model village. After learning so much about the "plight of the peasant," I was expecting to find some concrete documentation. However, my efforts were fruitless. Although the standard of living may be considered 'low" (but then, what "standards" does one use?) I was surprised to see and hear of so much "prosperity." Further, the village was very stable; except for students studying in Seoul, no one has migrated to the cities, due basically to reforms initiated by the village leaders, the Kim brothers.

Keep in mind that certain factors hampered objectivity. For one thing, as a "model" village NX is richer and stronger than the "average," even by the residents' own admission. I visited them in the midst of winter, shortly after New Year's, when activity was nil. What limited time I had was reduced by a snowstorm. I had the opportunity to visit only one home and to talk to only a few people. Finally, Mr. Y himself exudes a contagious optimism. Even so, assuming that whatever problems a rich community has are multiplied in a poorer one, this glimpse may still provide some perspective on rural south Korea.

NX is several hours' arduous travel from Seoul. It consists of 63 families, about 500 people, in two sub-villages. As in most traditional Korean villages, one surname predominates. Here it is Kim. Many Korean villages have a history of a thousand years or more, and the descendants of the original founder usually continue to dominate village life. I stayed in the home of the younger village leader.

As a foreigner, the first to ever visit them, I was treated as a man. That is, Mr. Y, the Kim brothers, another villager and I talked into the night in the sarang-dang, a living room reserved for the use of male visitors in a separate building in front of the house's main quarters, Women visitors go to the kitchen in back. I saw Mrs. Kim when I came and left and only briefly in between -when bringing in and taking out the low tables of food. Although the two-year old son stayed with us for a while, I caught only a glimpse of Kim's four daughters.

The men told me that though most villages have tap water, they still use the well. The government will be installing electricity this March; until then they will continue to use the traditional oil lamps. Although the government will absorb part of the cost of electrification (W5 million), each family must still pay W50,000. Mr. Kim regarded it as a necessary investment and not unreasonable -but then, Mr. Kim was "upper-class" even in this rather rich village. He estimated his yearly income at W2 million, and guessed that the average family earned about half that.9 Yet all the villagers were planning to pay for the electrification.

All the villagers send their children to school. At present, about 60 children attend primary school, 30 middle school, 10 high school (about 7 km. away), and college. Primary school tuition is W300 per month per child. Kim sends two sons to a private middle and high school in Seoul where tuition costs W 11,000 per child for three months. Kim saves money for his children's education, and for the cost of electrification. -All the rest he ploughs back into the land. Most of the food the family eats is home-grown; they also raise chickens and keep a cow.

The growing season for rice lasts from June to October. The Kims have 1.3 hectares of rice, 0.7 hectares of barley, beans, and garlic, and two hectares of nut trees. They supply half of their fertilizer needs themselves, using compost made from grass, rice straw and manure, purchasing the remainder from the co-op. Last year Kim bought sixty 25-kg. bags of locally-made fertilizer at W 18,000 per bag. This year he will have to pay W30,000 per bag, because, although the local fertilizer is cheaper and the company delivers it free, the government has forbidden farmers to buy from any other place than the government co-op. Since Korean farms are being run down, there seems little sense in allowing them cheap fertilizer, and in any case the government prefers to channel as many resources as possible into exports.

Another major expense is insecticides.. Last autumn due to an unusual outbreak of rice blight, Kim had to buy ten bags of insecticide at W2000 per bag. Since he must spread five or six times a year, he thus estimated the total cost of insecticides alone -at W 100,000 per year. Finally, the tax on rice paddies is especially high. Of the W40,000 total for land and residence taxes, Kim pays W33,000 a year for his rice fields alone.

As if this weren't enough, Kim also told me that he and all the villagers are very agitated about the low rice prices, and especially, about "America's rice policy." Kim asked whether he could pose a few questions to me, the most urgent of which was, "Why does America give us such destructive aid?" According to Kim, all the farmers in the whole area were very disturbed about this. To me, the most surprising thing was that they blamed the U.S., not their own government. Moreover, if such a relatively prosperous community suffers from PL480, how much more so must the poorer ones!

Local self-sufficiency

The villagers in the area produce a light linen called moshi, worn in the summer because it absorbs sweat. The farmers of NX are planning to build a village factory to make moshi, at present a cottage industry. There already is one such factory in another village about 3 kin. away, and the Kims took me to see it. The "factory" consisted of two long rooms, each housing three looms, built on one side of the open courtyard of one of the village houses. Stalls-for sheer), pigs, chickens, and a cow-and the family's living quarters comprised the other three sides. Whenever the village women had time, they would come and weave some cloth, for the village owned the looms collectively. Farther away, in an open field,, they had built a greenhouse in which they spun and dried the moshi fibers into long threads for weaving. Mr. Y says Gandhi's example of spinning and weaving as a village industry inspired them. They hope to rebuild such cottage industries as village industries.

The farmers were very proud of their self-reliance. The government now has to support most villages financially, but not NX. According to Mr. Y and the Kims, villagers' incomes were relatively equal"no one is very rich and no one very poor." The three or four poorest farmers who have only 500 pyong (3000 pyong= I hectare; 1/2 hectare supports a family) and some grassland each, support themselves by working on their neighbors' fields. Although this seems to indicate a sizeable gap between the Kims and the poorest villagers, as far as I could see the size of the houses all seemed to be much the same, and evidence of social differentiation wasn't visible. The Kims seemed to lead a very simple life, judging from the inside of their home. On a purely comparative basis, though, unless the figures got twisted in the translation process,10 equality in the village was by no means absolute. The village is about 70% selfsufficient, against an estimated national average of less than 40%.

Village co-ops and mutual aid

The richer villagers also help the poorer ones through the traditional Korean village co-ops. The strength of the XXXA organization is that it is rooted in the village kei, or autonomous village co-ops.

Most villages have three kei: the jo chuk kei, or savings co-ops; dae dong kei, or village commons; and cho kun kei, which oversees village customs (It formerly punished unfilial behavior, but now only supervises funerals, helping those who can't afford the expenses).

The jo chuk kei, or savings co-op, is most reponsible for NX's relative equality. The Kims, through this organization, started a kind of 'rice bank' in 1962. Every year it collects ten liters each of rice and barley from each family. In the first year, Drily 70% of the villagers participated, but now all do. They've collected 210 eightkiloliter bags of rice so far. Sixty go to the government co-op, the money from which (W 10,000 per bag) they deposit there as stock. The other 150 bags are stored in the village. Part will be used to finance the electrification, the rest to assist the poorer villagers if necessary. Whereas the going interest rate on rice is 50%, NX at first lent at 30%, then lowered it to 20%. In the beginning, everyone wanted to borrow, but for three years now no-one has asked, indicating NX's overall well-being. The three or four neighbouring villages, comprising about 90 don't save much rice, Kim said.

Each of NX's two sub-villages' dae dong kei, or village commons, has land that it uses for public benefit. One has 800 pyong of land and over W500,000 in savings, the other has 800 pyong and W200,000. Villagers who die leaving behind no sons bequeath their money to these funds, which are used for the upkeep of graves and for village and national celebrations. In addition, unique to NX, a "miscellaneous tax fund" pays out the various government taxes and fees levied on each family.

* * *

I found on my trip that mutual aid and a long tradition of local autonomy form the backbone of the south Korean villages. In Mr Y's opinion, a strong village organization is enough to offset any north Korean threat. He is confident that the farmers can re-assert themselves and make rural Korea prosper, thereby saving both the countryside and the cities. In his words, the Autonomous Village Movement is "the peaceful way to combat both Communism and Capitalism."

  • 1. The government gives the slum dwellers "tickets" entitling them to one of the apartments, provided they pay the equivalent of US$800 in key money. Unable to do so, most sell their tickets to members of the lower-middle class, who live in them, or to the middle class, who rent them out.
  • 2. Henceforth, all Korean sources and names will be omitted for their protection. Emergency Measure No. 9, implemented in May 1975, enables the government to imprison Koreans for up to seven years for conveying any "disparaging" information to foreigners.
  • 3. Agricultural Yearbook, 1975.
  • 4. Cargill, for example, received US $151,363,000 in PL 480 funds for the period 1972-74 alone. For further information on how PL 480 enriches the grain companies and furthers American foreign policy objectives, see the NACLA report, "U.S. Grain Aresenal," Vol. IX No. 7, October 1975 (Box 57, Cathedral Station, NY 10025, or Box 226, Berkeley, Cai. 94701).
  • 5. Bernie Wideman, "The plight of the Peasant," in Frank Baldwin, ed., Without Parallel, p. 282.
  • 6. Statistics released by the Federation of Korean Trade Unions reveal that the average wage of textile union members, for example, is only W35,000 a month, compared with an average family's cost of living of approximately W90,000 a month. Non-union members and temporary ("provisional") workers make even less, of course.
  • 7. See Baldwin, pp. 294-96 for details.
  • 8. Also see Baldwin, p. 279.
  • 9. One agricultural economist estimates farm villagers' annual income at W75,000, while one govt official interviewed in a remote village in the northwest estimated it at W60O,000.
  • 10. Figures extrapolated from Wideman, for example, indicate that a family of five would need about 750 pyong, or 1/4 hectare, just to feed themselves. Says Wideman: "But many peasants, especially the 1/3 with holdings of 1/2 hectare, come very close to financial disaster each year." (p. 277)

Some readings on Korea

Political prisoners/human rights

  1. Kim Chi Ha: Cry of the People and Other Poems (From Autumn Press, 2113 Isshiki, Hayama, Kanagawa-ken, Japan, 1974). All Kim's best poems, plus some 1972 conversations with a Japanese writers' delegation which visited him in a sanatorium. Kim's poems are just incredible.
  2. -------: "Groundless Rumour" and other poems (Index on Censorship 11/1 [Spring 19731, pp. 39-52).
  3. Matsui Yayori: Why I Oppose Kisaeng Tours: Exposing Economic and Sexual Aggression Against South Korean Women (Femintern Press, 1975, translated Lorna Sharnoff). ROK govt's hand in white slave trade ("Kisaeng").
  4. Japanese Women Speak Out (Tokyo, 1975; parts 3 and 4). Contains articles on Korean women in Japan, south Korean women exploited by Japanese capitalism, and a denunciation of 'kisaeng.' From PARC, PO Box 5250, Tokyo Int'l, Japan.
  5. David Valence: "Opposition in South Korea" (New Left Review No. 77, [Jan/Feb. 19731 pp. 77 - 89). Explains the process by which Park Chung Hee and the KCIA consolidated control after 1971. Describes student and labor movements at that time, resulting in the 'National State of Emergency' declared in December 1971.
  6. The PRP State Conspiracy (Ashiya, Japan, May 1975). Analysis plus collection of press cuttings documenting the arrest of the 'People's Revolutionary Party' in 1974, and the false spy charges laid against them. Eight have since been executed. Cry of the People C'ee, PO Box 37, Ashiya, Hyogo, Japan.
  7. William J. Butler: Report of the Commission to South Korea for Amnesty International (London, A.I., 1974). Butler was sent to Korea in 1974 to investigate charges of torture used against political prisoners. He interviewed several antigovernment politicians, and produced a total condemnation of the Park regime's policies. From A.I. , 55 Theobalds Road, London WC 1., England.
  8. Save the Soh Brothers (Tokyo, Sept. 1972). The Soh brothers, Koreans resident in Japan, were arrested by the KCIA in 1971 on spy charges. Soh Sung was tortured beyond recognition. Both still in jail. A few copies left, will send for postage.
  9. Korea Newsletter Published by the Korean resistance. Very valuable source of first-hand information on oppression under Park Chung Hee and the KCIA. From 33-6-8 Kanda Ogawacho, Chiyoda-ku, Tokyo. Monthly, ask for subscription rates.
  10. Korea Link C'tee for the Support of Human Rights in South Korea. Bi-monthly, put out by activists in the US 944 Market St., San Francisco, CA 94102. $5/yr.
  11. Cry of the People Newsletter. Occasional, from Cry of the People C'ee, c/o Naniwa Kyokai, 3-20 Koraibashi, Higashi-ku, Osaka.
  12. AMPO A mine of information on current conditions in south Korea, wellresearched and well-written. See especially Vol. 7, No. 2. From PO Box 5250, Tokyo Intl, Japan.
  13. Ronin Also vital reading, though it ceased publication last year and merged with AMPO. More cultural material than AMPO. Back copies from us.
  14. Asian Eye Photographic quarterly which often contains pictures from south Korea. Text is Japanese, but the pictures speak for themselves. Write us, and we'll pass it on.
  15. Korean Bulletin Monthly quick with the news on repression in the south, only glowing reports of the north. Good chronologies. PO Box 1952, SF, CA -94101 $2 per year.
  16. Matchbox Latest issue has information on Korean political prisoners. Put out by Amnesty International- USA, Room 309, 2112 Broadway, N.Y., N.Y., 10023.

Other important reading material

  1. Frank Baldwin ed.: Without Parallel, The American-Korean Relationship Since 1945 (Pantheon, 1974, $3.95). Well-researched, radical essays on American policy since 1945, the Korean Civil War, capitalism in South Korea, the plight of the south Korean countryside, and the destruction of democracy since 1948. Must reading.
  2. Jon Halliday: Three Articles on the Korean Revolution, 1945-53 (from AREAS, 22 Chepston Crescent, London W.1 1) Korea's role in US military eff ort to counter Russian expansion; the resistance to American rule in the south and American repression of the revolutionary movement. Halliday goes overboard for Kim 11 Song, ignoring the devastation and horror unleashed by the north in 1950.
  3. Jon Halliday and Gavan McCormack: Japanese Imperialism Today (Penguin, 1973, 60p) Really freaked out the liberal establishment when it appeared. A Penetrating study of the new 'Co-Prosperity Sphere' and Japan-US designs in Asia. Chapter 5: "The Tokyo-Seoul -Taipei Nexus."
  4. D. Gordon White: "Report from Korea: The DPRK Through the Eyes of a Visiting Sinologist" (China Quarterly No. 63 [Sept. '75] pp. 515-22). "A more fully mobilized society I have yet to see, one which makes China seem casual by contrast."
  5. Han Sung joo: The Failure of Democracy in South Korea (Univ. of Cal. Press, 1974). Not seen, but good on events which created Park Chung Hee fascism.
  6. Gregory Henderson: Korea, The Politics of the Vortex (Harvard Univ. Press, 1968). A study of Korea's political culture, examines authoritarian tendencies which created regimes like Park Chung Hee's.
  7. Vincent S.R. Brandt: A Korean Village (Harvard Univ. Press, 1971). Not seen. Probably good agrarian background. Fieldwork studies of rural Korea are rare.
  8. Cornelius Osgood: The Koreans and Their Culture (Tuttle, 1951, $1.95). Anthropological study with an interesting chapter on village society; also some history.
  9. Mark H. Scher: "U.S. Policy in Korea 1945-1948: A Neo-Colonial Model Takes Shape" (Bulletin of Concerned Asian Scholars, Vol. 5 No. 4, pp. 17-27) Academic research into US's 1945 invasion and installation of puppet regime. Important background reading. From CCAS, 604 Mission Street, Room 1001, SF, CA 94105.

Asian anarchism in western languages (3): Korea

Suggested reading list from Libero International.

  1. Chong-sik Lee: The Politics of Korean Nationalism (Univ of California Press, 1963), DeDetailed account of the anti-Japan struggle from the late 19th century to 1945, suggesting that nationalism permeated the thinking of communists and anarchists, creating a very negative -kind of movement. Three chapters (9- 11) on practical activities in China between 1919 and 1945 mention the anarchists briefly, but the main focus is on the right-wing and "pure" nationalists who occupied the center of the stage.
  2. Nym Wales and Kim San: Song of Ariran, A Korean Communist in the Chinese Revolution (Ramparts Press, 1972), $2.95. Exciting first-hand account of one Korean revolutionary's passage from pure nationalism, through terroristic "anarchism," into putschism at the command of the Chinese Communist Party, and finally, dissillusioned with all the bloodshed, to a more fundamental understanding: "To be in advance of your time does not qualify you for leadership but only for propaganda work and criticism."
  3. Robert A. Scalapino and Chong-sik Lee: "The Origins of the Korean Communist Movement," (Journal of Asian Studies XX/1 (Nov. 1960), pp. 9-31, XX/2 (Feb. 1961), pp. 149-67. Mainly useful as background material, showing the birth of the radical movement amid the nationalistic reaction to Japanese annexation in 1910.
  4. --------: Communism in Korea (Univ of California Press, 1972, 2 vols.) Tersely-documented, unbelievably detailed, almost readable study. A careful sifting-through will reveal important information on the anarchists, but mainly useful, like the article, for background. Volume 1 is on the pre-1948 movement, volume 2 on north Korea. Highly unsympathetic to anything "un-American."
  5. Dae-sook Suh: The Korean Communist Movement, 1918-1948 (Princeton University Press 1967). Not seen. Vaguely sympathetic academic study. Lots of good background again.
  6. ------: Documents on Korean Communism, 1918-1948 (Princeton University Press, 1970). Companion to above item, not seen.
  7. "The Pre-War Korean Communist Movement" (Libero International No.1, pp.28-30, No.2, pp.32-33). A chronology.
  8. "The Present Korean Movement Under Martial Law" (Libero International No. 1, pp.32-40, No.2, pp.38-45). On the organizations set up by the anarchists to cope with the repression of Park Chung Hee's regime. -Part 2 describes current publications.
  9. "The Post-War Korean Anarchist Movement" (Libero Int'l No.3, pp.24-28, and cont. in this issue.)
  10. "Shin Chae-ho" (Libero Int 1, No.2, pp.34-37). Biography of a well-known anarchist historian.
  11. Pearl Buck: The Living Reed (London, Pan, 1963). Well-written and moving historical novel following the fortunes of a liberal Korean aristocrat and his revolutionary son from the late 19th century to the American invasion in 1945. Hero is based on Kim San. Great until the last 100 pages or so, when the all-American anti-communism gets a bit too strong. Climax sees the revolutionary committing suicide in protest at American illiberalism and his brother becoming keeper of LIN cemetery after the civil war. Still, it's a good book with thoroughly researched background.

As can be seen, there is (to our knowledge, anyway) simply nothing dealing specifically with the anarchist movement itself except the pieces in LI. While the Korean movement has had its historian, in the person of Lee Jung Kyu (LI 1, 2), the problem of translation has kept him almost completely unknown outside Korea. However, much of the information in LI is taken either from conversations with Lee or from his memoirs, published in Seoul, in 1974.

CIRA Nippon

CIRA-Nippon, founded in 1973, is a federation of autonomous libertarian groups, including the Section for International Correspondence (SIC), a small group of comrades living in the OsakaKobe area. The SIC works as the communication link between domestic anarchist groups associated with CIRA-Nippon, and various groups outside Japan. To achieve its aim of improved solidarity through international communication and understanding, the SIC has three main functions:

  • to handle day-to-day correspondence between groups outside Japan and CIRA-Nippon;
  • to publish news and materials concerning libertarian movements in Japan and East Asia; and
  • to translate or summarize published material received from outside Japan and make them 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 new or largely unknown in Japan will be summarized, translated, etc., by the SIC, some sent to Fujinomiya to become part of the CIRA-Nippon collection, and some housed in the SIC collection in Osaka. We hope that our friends overseas will be interested in not only receiving Libero International and what other pamphlets and materials we produce, but will also help us communicate their own theory, practice and. experience as widely as possible in Japan.

At present we plan to publish quarterly (bi-monthly proved over-optimistic). Sole editorial responsibility for the contents lies with the publisher, the SIC Editorial Collective. 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 SIC, at:

Libero International No.5 (September 1978)

Issue No. 5 of the Japanese journal Libero International.

This issue concentrates on the influence of the Russian anarchist Bakunin in Japan.

Bakunin and Japan

1. Introduction

When Michael Bakunin suddenly arrived, via Yokohama, San Francisco and New York, at the London home of Alexander Herzen in the autumn of 1861, governments and financiers all over Europe shuddered at what they saw as the resurrection of the Devil Incarnate. Common knowledge though this fact may be, the time which Bakunin spent in Japan en route back to Europe remains a largely-unrecorded episode. None of the available Western-language biographies or appraisals spare more than a few lines on the subject. Even in Japan there has been no systematic attempt to find out what Bakunin did, though there are odd items about him scattered here and there, mostly dating from before the war. The failure of Western writers working on Bakunin to search for these and make efforts to have them translated is yet another example of the (at best) ignorance, or (at worst) scorn which continues to surround things oriental within the bourgeois establishment.

It is possible to put together what scraps of information exist, though, and the attempt to do so by a Japanese comrade, Wakayama Kenji (see below), has revealed still another problem: the reason for the lack of Bakunin research to date is not simply the absence of materials, but also the problem of getting access to those which do exist. The doors of barbarian Japan opened far more easily to Michael Bakunin in 1861 than do those of so-called research libraries to us common mortals and anarchists in 1978. The details (if, indeed, there are any, which is a point yet to be ascertained) of Bakunin's life in Japan, and no doubt those of other revolutionaries at other times in other places, have become the jealously-guarded property of the academic establishment, who fear inroads into their monopoly of information too much to allow people like us to cross their threshold.

Still, such scraps as are available can be put together to form a rough picture. The following pages are the result of an attempt to do that for some of the existing materials, though there remain a number yet to be read. No doubt there will be mistakes and omissions, but these are best treated by exposure to the light of day.

2. An Enigma, and a Contrast

Whatever its effect upon Indochina, the Philippines, China, Korea, Hawaii, Micronesia and almost any other part of Asia one cares to mention, American imperialism's arrival in Uraga Bay, Japan, in July 1853 was certainly a triumph of fate for Michael Bakunin, But for the forced entry of Commodore Matthew Perry's four heavily-armed 'Black Ships' (two steam-powered, two sail) into the hermetically-sealed world of the Tokugawa shoguns, Bakunin would have remained a Siberian exile until the after-effects of prison scurvy finally claimed his ravaged body. Actually, he might have rendered an additional prayer of gratitude to the Tsar himself, whose messengers, after knocking at Japan's north and west gates for a couple of centuries, finally followed Perry's example and found the front door all but undefended. They subsequently wrung a series of treaties of trade and commerce out of the unwilling bureaucrats of Edo (present-day Tokyo).

Fortunately or unfortunately, Bakunin did not waste any time in supplication during his flight, and idled long enough in Japan only to await the arrival of a ship that would take him out again and across the Pacific. Meanwhile, as far as can be judged, he passed his time upon the first snooker table ever imported into Japan, while sampling the cellar of a hotel bar, also the first of its kind in that country.

Until 1865, when Bakunin's libertarianism was first made explicit in the principles of the International Brotherhood, he was a firm believer in nationalism as a liberating force, and in the revolutionary potential of the oppressed peasantry. At the time of his visit to Japan four years before, the country was not only in the throes of emerging from 250 years' totalitarian isolation under the Tokugawa shoguns; not only experiencing, like Poland twenty years earlier, an upsurge of bourgeois nationalism; but was also a predominantly agrarian country racked by peasant uprisings, Nevertheless, Bakunin, as far as can be seen, made no attempt to apply to this situation any of the energy which he had already so willingly dedicated to the efforts of the Poles and Hungarians, and would later dedicate to those of the French, the Italians and the Finns.

In stark contrast to Bakunin's apparent indifference, the militant Japanese anarcho-syndicalist Ôsugi Sakae, celebrating May Day in Paris in 1923, made strenuous attempts to contact survivors of Makhno's movement; visited striking women garment-makers at a typical Paris sweetshop; harangued French workers for allowing their May 1 festivities to be confined to suburban parish halls; got himself arrested for illegal political activities; and inscribed "Ôsugi was here" on the walls of his dungeon before being finally shipped back to Japan under custody after the intervention of the Japanese embassy.

What lay behind the obvious differences in their ways of thinking? They were, after all, cast in similar situations, even if the condit ions surrounding them, given sixty years of rapid change, were vastly different. However great these differences may have been, it seemed an interesting problem.

3. The Origins of this Pamphlet

In the beginning this piece was to be no more than a translation of a short article in Japanese, 'Bakunin's Stop-Over in Japan' (Nihon ni Tachiyotta Bakunin) by veteran militant Henmi Kichizô, which brought together some of the information concerning Bakunin mentioned already. At that time (early 1976) it seemed to be an interesting sidelight on Bakunin's career, fair enough for the centenary year but, after all, no more than a sidelight since the sojourn seems to have been of no personal significance as far as Bakunin hi self was concerned. It was to have been a sort of cameo sketch.

For one reason and another, we were never able to get around to the printing and publication of the translation. In the meantime, discussions within the Libêro editorial group convinced us that the insignificance of Japan for Bakunin constituted itself something both intriguing and, possible, important. In other words, why did he make so little of what was probably the only opportunity offered any 19th century militant European anarchist to visit the mysterious Orient? What was the motivation that sent him back post-haste to Europe, ignoring even the recent outbreak of a so-called "liberation struggle" in north America? Had he escaped west instead of east, would he have spent two weeks shooting pool as he did in Yokohama? All these things, from the vantage-point of Asia, seemed to us to call for reflection, lest we all get so euphoric over the centenary celebrations that we forget that no person - least of all one who calls his or her self an anarchist - is beyond criticism. An episode hitherto ignored as far as Bakunin's career was concerned, we felt, might just prove to contain the seeds of a fresh consideration of the very word "revolutionary", as well as provide the chance for a new approach to Bakunin the man.

These were interesting speculations, but there was only a very bare minimum of facts from which to draw conclusions. Apart from the article mentioned already, there was just one other easily available 'Bakunin and Hakodate, Yokohama and Kanagawa' by Wakayama Kenji. Part of a collection entitled 'Our Bakunin' (Warera no Bakúnin) published in 1976 by the 'Libertaire' group in Tokyo in commemoration of the centenary of Bakunin's death, it goes into considerable detail about various aspects of Bakunin's stay in Yokohama, even citing two early specialized items dealing respectively with the bar and the billiard table with which Bakunin reportedly consoled himself! Wakayama also traces, by way of various documents, the site of the hotel where Bakunin stayed. Since most readers of this present pamphlet would probably not be in a position to conduct a walking tour of the streets of Yokohama nor would the precise design of the bar add much to our appreciation of Bakunin, it was decided to incorporate only the essential sections of the article and of another, shorter piece since written by Wakayama into the body of the original article by Henmi.

Tagged onto the end of the Henmi article were several loosely-related pages recording Ôsugi Sakae's role in the Rice Riots in Osaka in 1918. Ôsugi's part in these events was pretty-well exemplary of Bakunin's criteria for revolutionary militants - not leaders, but catalysts or stimulators. the article also mentioned briefly Ôsugi's trip to Europe in 1923 to attend an international anarchist conference. The interesting resemblance between Bakunin's incognito flight from Siberia in 1861 and Ôsugi's similarly-incognito visit to Europe sixty years later, was the inspiration for the present pamphlet.

None of us are professional historians with the leisure to while away the days in research libraries. Nor are we experts on either Bakunin or Ôsugi, and concrete aspects of their experience apart from their foreign trips have not been considered unless they had a direct bearing. Research on Bakunin, especially, was hampered by lack of materials here In Western languages.

Japan In 1861

The sudden appearance upon the Pacific horizon of Perry's blackhulled, smoke-belching warships was calculated to send a shook of consternation through the insular Japanese authorities. As a popular tanka (short poem) of the time put it,

"Taihei no nemuri o samasu Jôkisen, tatte shihai de yoru mo nerarezu" Translated literally, this would come out something like "Jôkisen (a strong green tea) disturbs our peaceful dreams; just four cups and sleep escapes us night or day"

There is a hidden meaning, however. "Taihei" also refers to the Pacific Ocean; Jôkisen written with different characters and pronounced "shôkisen", means "steamships"; and hall means not only "cup" but also "vessel". The allusion is thus an ironic one to the fact that with just four ships Perry, appearing over the Pacific horizon, was able to put Japan - the Japanese authorities that is - a state of restless agitation.

The effect of Perry's arrival was to launch the first ripples of uncertainty within the ruling Tokugawa elite. The apparent superiority of the culture newly discovered via the medium of the Dutch trading post in Nagasaki, moreover, had already been exciting the interest of upper-class intellectuals. Eventually the elite split over the question of whether to respond to the westerners' demands, and in the midst of the political strife that followed even assassination became commonplace. As for the ordinary people, they too, for reasons they could never fathom, became immersed in a sea of uncertainty and responded in the most fundamental way: by joining forces and attacking the officials who they connected with the new state of affairs.

In the capital, Edo, the struggle between the anti-shogunate forces who, with the emperor himself at their head 1, opposed opening the country and advocated expulsion of all foreigners, and the shogunate, which by and large favoured giving in where necessary to foreign demands, continued to rage for several years. Finally, only three years before Bakunin's visit, the leader of the pro-foreign faction Ii Naosuke (negotiator with Perry in 1853 and later to fall victim to an assassin's sword) took the fateful decision to Open Japan to foreign influences. Rather than admit the barbarians to Edo, however, the tiny fishing village of Yokohama, where the first JapanUS treaty was signed in March 1854, was scheduled to be rebuilt as the first Japanese port open to foreign trade and the first foreign settlement. Bakunin's Yokohama, therefore, was a bustling new community still echoing with the sound of the carpenters' hammers. Hakodate and Kanagawa had been opened to trade but not residence, and one by one other ports were opened up. The general ban on free movement by West-erners remained, though, and while the business of trade got under way between Western adventurers and Japanese entrepreneurs, political circles continued cutting each other's throats both literally and figuratively.

Outside the city of Edo it is unlikely that this political crisis made much impact. After successive crop failures and the resulting rise in prices, the Japanese peasants' discontent focussed primarily on the hardships which this situation had brought about, Their landlords, moreover - needless to say - did not see fit to reduce their levies on their tenants' produce, and the effect was to provoke numerous risings against the exploiting classes. These risings, however, were always scattered and disconnected, and with the poor communications which characterized pre-modern Japan, probably produced little stir in the capital.

All in all, the Japan in which Bakunin found himself was enjoying the lull before the storm. Unable to move outside the settlement, it must have seemed to foreigners a tranquil spot. It was only in the rears following Bakunin's departure for San Francisco that the storm was to break. The unease which had remained mostly beneath the surrace in the early days of foreign contact then, thanks to the government's trade policies, burst into the open. Levies on the people were increased to pay for the "modernization" programme, one which provided for little improvement in the people's standard of living.

Among the sufferers were the samurai class, whose fixed salary fell f ar below the level required for sustenance, reducing many to penury. 'he natural result was the growth of anti-shogunate and anti-foreign feelings among them, and the presence of a large proportion of intellectuals served to propagandize their discontent and bring the common people into the fray. In 1859 a Russian naval officer, a sailor and Dutch merchant captain were murdered. In January 1861 the interpeter attached to Townsend Harris, the first US ambassador, was cut own in Edo. In July and again in 1863 the British legation was burned. Wherever foreigners were found similar incidents occurred, and were usually sparked off by some trivial transgression of Japanese customs.

Much of the trouble was caused by the unequal treaties forced upon the government by the imperialist powers. Foreign expl ' oitation of the relatively-low gold-silver exchange rate (6:1 as compared to 15:1 elsewhere) produced wild fluctuations in prices. Their import of cotton fabrics and other cheap manufactured goods, as in China, ruined domestic industries. The shogunate, fearing for its survival, tried to restrict trade, but was defeated by the overbearing nature of the foreigners and the hunger for profit manifested by the Japanese merchant class (plus ça change...).

The early stages of the struggle, however, marked by armed clashes, assassinations and counter-assassinations, were no more than a struggle for political survival between the more reactionary diehard clans of western Japan, Satsuma and Chôshu, and the progressive conservatives of Edo. In the course of the struggle, ironically enough, it was the former, originally aimed at the restoration of ancient imperial rule and expulsion of all foreigners, which came to appear more progressive than the latter, which while attempting to move with the times sought simultaneously to maintain the political status quo unchanged. The common people had yet to take any concrete role.2 The rare exception was a socio-religious reaction to the unease slowly settling over the country: the "Eija Nai Ka" movement of 1867.

One morning people all over central Japan and along the "Tôkaidô" route passing through Yokohama woke up to find holy talismans of the Ise shrine, most sacred of all Shinto shrines, fallen from the sky. The strange occurrence, repeated several times in various places, was taken as a message from the gods, and people immediately abandoned whatever they were doing and began dancing and drinking in the street and chanting the phrase "Eija Nai Ka?" (isn't it good!). Many of the groups began to converge upon the shrines at Ise, burning down as they went the homes of rich merchants and village headman who refused to acknowledge of the talismans: that the day of the people had come, blessed by the gods. Others contented themselves with turning the streets of their town into a people's fairground, disrupting the activities of merchants and Passing out sake freely in the streets.

The poor of all countries possess an unerring ability to lay the blame for their hardships where it should lay: at the feet of the rich, their oppressors. The people of Japan were expressing their resentment at the fact that Shinto, originally a popular, natural way of life, had been appropriated by their rulers and turned into a means of reducing them to superstitious quietism. The most prominent of the street dancers were, significantly, women, the most oppressed class in Japanese feudal society then as they remain today. It was. an indication of the oppressiveness and tedium of Tokugawa society that similar outbreaks - mass hysteria, blind rebellion, instinctive insurrection: call them what one will - had occurred on average once in every generation for 200 years. In all of them, moreover, women played a prominent part, as they have done in all revolutionary uprisings.3

The movement possessed no formal leadership and no organizational structure. It was, despite rumours of its being initially instigated by anti-government politicians seeking to create confusion, a totally anarchic popular phenomenon, a manifestation of the bewilderment which the spiral-Ling prices and land taxes had sparked off among the common people, and at the same time a warning that the latter would not take things lying down.

Had Bakunin stayed a little while longer in Yokohama, the "Eija Nai Ka?" movement could hardly have failed to come to his notice. Would he have reacted to it in the same way as he did to the news of the 1846 revolution in France or the 1849 risings in Dresden and Prague?

To sum up, at the time when Bakunin was in Japan there was not only no socialist movement akin to that currently emerging in Europe (since there was no proletariat), but no significant popular agitation at all. By the time they did occur he was gone, and it would be almost a quarter or a century before the first conscious popular rebellion against the state, the 1884 Chichibu Revolt spearheaded by the Chichibu Destitutes' Party (Konmintô) would take place.4

  • 1. The Japanese emperor in pre-Perry days had become no more than a figure-head whose continued existence in Kyoto, the traditional capital, sanctified that of the Tokugawa shôguns or generals who eff ectively ran most of the country from what was then Edo, now Tokyo.
  • 2. From 1863 to 1867 there were 61 recorded peasant uprisings; the most violent year was 1866 with 32. In 1867 the number fell off to only twelve and, it is said, a kind of calm pervaded the whole country. Soon after that the 'Eija Nai Ka’ movement broke-out (see below).
  • 3. E.H. Norman, the Canadian progressive academic, suggested that the anti-Korean, anti-socialist pogrom whipped up by the Japanese govern ment after the 1923 Great Kantô Earthquake (see below) was made easier by the still-powerful social pressures on the people, which had forced them to keep their emotions in check for so long that they seized arty chance for emotional release (in his 'Feudal Background of Japanese Politics', contained in John W. Dower (ed.) Origins of the Modern Japanese State: Selected Writings of E.H. Norman (Pantheon paperback, 1975).

    Norman also worried (he was writing in 1944) that the Japanese authorities would provoke a similar outbreak if Japan was defeated in the war. On the contrary, the zaibatsu (financial cliques) had already arranged the enrolment of most citizens into a home defence corps precisely to prevent any kind of outbreak that would give the Americans cause to rule Japan with a heavier hand than necessary, and to stifle any chances of social revolution before they, the zaibatsu leaders, had had time to ingratiate themselves with their new rulers. The significant fact about the 1867 movement was that there was no open political interference, unlike 1923, when the government and police actually invited people to take revenge on their "enemies" the Koreans and the socialists.

  • 4. Also known as the Shakkintô or Debtors' Party. The incident was one of the many which broke out in the early Meiji period in connection with the movement for civil rights. Local peasants, supported by militant liberals, created their own political organization and rais- ed the flag of rebellion against the central government. When the police and troops arrived the peasants resisted, but failed to get support from neighbouring, areas and were forced to flee, The leaders were arrested and executed, while soldiers were allowed to pillage and rape their way through the villages in a way that has not been forgotten to this day.

Bakunin's Stop-over in Japan

1. The Road to Yokohama

In 18471 in the midst of a famine that was wasting much of Europe, Bakunin suddenly felt the need for a peasant revolution, as expounded in his 'Appeal to the Slavs'. What sparked his attention was the sight of peasants ransacking the castles of their seigneurs and burning the land registers and other official documents that reified their subjection. His speech at the anniversary that year of the 1830 Polish Uprising, in which fie condemned the Russian government as the enemy of the Polish as well as the Russian people and called for a pan-Slav federation, brought the audience to a white-hot fervour and widely reported. The Russian government, enraged and nervous, demanded his expulsion from France, but in February, with the outbreak of the 1848 revolution, Bakunin was back in Paris.

Finally persuaded to leave Paris by a loan of two thousand francs from the Provisional Government, Bakunin headed east, and by the end of March was in Germany. That May, news of a widespread uprising which had broken out in Prague was brought to a pan-Slav conference then under way in the city. Of all the delegates, Bakunin was alone in deciding to seek out the action rather than flee to his home. When the revolt was put down at the end of May, he managed with some difficulty to his way to Breslau, from where he was expelled first to Berlin, then to Cöthen. In March 1849 he moved to Dresden, where he made the acquaintance of the composer Richard Wagner. In May of that year the Dresden Insurrection broke out.

Bakunin, in company with Wagner, hurried to the public hall where the Provisional Government had set up its HQ. While internal wrangling took place concerning the leadership of the insurrectionary army, a strong force of Prussian troops drew near, and by the sixth of May defeatism had heavily infected the revolutionary authorities. While most of the leadership miraculously disappeared Bakunin remained and fought the Prussian troops alongside the .,.,orkers of bres he was captured finally while trying to escape, but thirteen years later he would have an almost-impossibly coincidental reunion with one of his co-fighters.

After thirteen months' confinement, Bakunin received the death sentence from the Government of Saxony. Since the -overnments of Russia and Austria were also after his head, it was commuted to life, and in June 1850 he was handed over to Austria. At the end of nother eleven months he received a further death sentence, but this too was commuted to life imprisonment. At last, in May 1851, came that which Bakunin had feared most of all, the delivery of his person to the Russian authorities. Three years in the underground dungeons of the notorious Fortress of St Peter and St Paul were followed by another four in the castle of Schlüsselberg.

Even Bakunin's robust disposition gave way under this treatment, and I after eight years of torment his vitality had sunk to the point where he even requested his brother to bring him poison. In February 1857, after his mother's pleas to Tsar Alexander II were finally heeded, Bakunin was allowed to go into permanent exile in the western Siberian city of Tomsk. A year later he married the daughter of a Polish merchant, Antonia Kwiatkowski.

In August of 1858 Bakunin received a visit from General Count Nicholas Muraviev, his second cousin. Muraviev had also been Governor of Eastern Siberia for the past ten years. He was Popular with the Tsar both for having manipulated the weak Chinese government into conceding territory to Russia, and for having opened an important trade outlet by establishing the port of Nikolaevsk at the mouth of the Amur River. -'He was also a liberal, and enjoyed patronizing the political exiles in Siberia (so long as they behaved themselves). Bakunin, as his relative was a particular favourite, and he had already tried unsuccessfully to secure his release from exile. In the following spring, with Murav'iev's help, Bakunin was given a job with the Amur Development Agency at an annual salary of two thousand roubles. As a result he and Anton-, is were able to move to Irkutsk in the eastern province. A plan was 'already slowly taking shape in Bakunin's mind.

That summer Muraviev visited Japan as the plenipotentiary of the Tsar, ,instructed to open diplomatic and trade relations between the two countries. According to Japanese records of the occasion

"In July of the sixth year of the reign period Ansei of the Emperor Kômei, seven Russian warships appeared suddenly off Kanagawa (on Edo Bay). When a foreign affairs official of the shogunate attempted to discover their business he was informed, 'I am Grand Plenipotentiary Count Nicholas Muraviev, Governor of the Eastern Province and a noble of Imperial Russia. As such I do not deign to treat with minor officials. Let a high-ranking official formally present himself.'

"The shogunate then dispatched two second-level officials, Endô Tajimanokami and Sakai Ukyônosuke, who were treated to a banquet on board ship. At the end of it the Joint Ratification of the Japan-Russia Treaty was announced. This followed upon those of the first (1854) and fifth (1858) years of Ansei, when the harbours of Shimoda, Hakodate and Yokohama were opened to shipping."

Having heard from Muraviev of the opening of the Japanese ports and of the frequent calls paid there by American ships (apparently two calls a week on average following the signing of a commercial treaty in 1858). Bakunin had begun gradually to construct a plan of escape. T o escape west through Russia was nigh-impossible, but eastwards... A hitherto inconceivable route began to take shape: to Europe via Japan and America which, if pulled off, would be the longest escape on record! Although Muraviev had been disgraced for his liberal views earlier that year, his successor, as luck would have it, was also distantly related to Bakunin and was relatively indulgent. On June 5 1861, after announcing his departure to Antonia, Bakunin left Irkutsk under cover of company business. He was ostensibly employed by a Siberian merchant to make a trip to the mouth of the Amur, and had received an advance of a thousand roubles. It was a complicated journey, involving first an overland trip to the Amur to find a ship, but after transferring to the river he reached Nikolaevsk on July 2.

Fifteen days later he was safely aboard the Russian warship 'Strelok bound for Kastri, from where he was supposed to return overland to Irkutsk. Quite by chance, however, the 'Strelok' , while passing through the Mamiya Straits separating the mainland from Sakhalin Island, happened to take in tow an American sailing ship the 'Vickery', At the final Russian port of call, Olga, Bakunin managed a smooth transfer by persuading the American captain to take him on board, and by August2 had achieved his primary objective: the port of Hakodate in the northernmost Japanese island of Hokkaido.3

Just as Bakunin was about to leave Hakodate there was a dramatic moment. On board the ship, whose captain had promised him, a passage to Yokohama, he war taken for an aristocrat and invited to join a banquet being prepared for a "special guest", The "special guest", when he appeared, turned out to be none other than the Russian consul stationed in the city! It was like a cliff-hanger scene from a Marx Brothers movie, absurdly dangerous. Here was Bakunin fiery anarchist revolutionary and avowed enemy of the Tsar, purportedly in Siberian exile, actually sitting in an American boat in Japan!

Bakunin took the situation in hand. He engaged the consul in conversation without waiting to be challenged explained that he was given permission to go sightseeing, and assured him that he would be returning to Irkutsk via Shanghai and Peking. "Then you won't be returning with us?" said the consul (for at that very moment a Russian naval squadron was moored nearby and preparing to set sail for Nikolaevsk). No, for I've just arrived and there are still many things I want to see here", replied Bakunin, and the matter was closed. By the time the banquet was over he and the conSul were the best of friends, and the next morning he sailed, beneath an American flag, under the very noses of officers of the Russian Imperial Navy! It must have been one of the closest shaves of his life (and, had it been ten years later, would probably have ended quite differently; the introduction of the telegraph to Asia in 1871 would have made it a simple thing for the consul to check on the truth of his story).4 As it was he was away and-free, and must have regarded it as a good omen. By late August he was in Yokohama.

2. The Yokohama Hotel

Bakunin, as soon as he set foot on Japanese soil (he was not allowed to land at Hakodate), must have put up at the sprawling 'Yokohama Hotel' (also known as the Hotel Hufnagel after its original proprietor, a Dutchman), for this was then the only lodging-house in Japan catering for foreigners. His name,,however, is not to be found alongside those of his fellow-boarders; the closest to a positive identification is the claim made by Henmi Kichizo to have found a note left by one of them that "a big man, in flight from Russian exile, was also resident" (others have denied the existence of such an entry).

When you think about it, Bakunin, so jumpy as to be startled by the sighing of the wind, was hardly likely to stay under his own name, concerned as he must have been to leave no trace of his passing. An examinntion of the hotel registers of the time, however, reve!als another name, and a totally unexpected one at that: Wilhelm,Heine, the artist who had fought alongside Bakunindn the final days of the Dresden Insurrection!

Heine, after eluding arrest at Dresden, had fled to New York and then to Central America, where he travelled extensively. Returning to New York in 1852, he was signed on as official artist to the Perry Expedition. While in Japan Heine visited the capital, Edo, several t imes _ though it was officially closed to foreigners - and recorded the events and customs of the time with a vivid brush. His four hundred sketches and paintings add colour to Perry's Official 'Narrative of the Expedition of the American Squadron to the China Seas and Japan'. published in 1856, By this time Heine seems to have been forgiven for his youthful escapade at Dresden, for in 1859 he returned to Germany and was immediately invi ted to join a Prussian expedition to Asia, again as official artist. (This was the expedition led by the aristocrat Eulenberg, whose description of the Yokohama Hotel appears below.)

On its way back to Germany from Japan, the Eulenberg Expedition spent some time in China-where, after its mission was completed, Heine decided to part company and make his own way back to America. The first stage of his journey took him from Tientsin to Yokohama, and thus occurred the almost-impossible chance meeting with his old comrade-in-arms Bakunin.5

The emotion and disbelief which must have beset the pair as they bumped into each other in a small foreign hotel in Japan after more than ten years' separation can be imagined. It must have seemed like a dream. The backslappings, the embraces, interrupted only when one of them peered into the otherts face to make sure it was real ... One an exiled revolutionary whose long confinement chained to the walls of reeking, dripping underground dungeons had become a legend; the other an impassioned adventurer who had burned his European boats and gone to live in the New World. Who could ever have grown bored at the stories these two had to tell?

The hotel at which they stayed crops up from time to time in foreigners' memoirs of Japan, as W611 as in histories of Japan's hotel industry, and we can get a little of its flavour from the account of the Prussian traveller Eulenb erg who had stayed there the previous year:

"(It had) a big garden, faced on three sides by wooden single- storied buildings. On one side was the dining room, which joined onto the bar and billiards room, while on the opposite side were situated the living and sleeping quarters. Behind them, facing the main buildings, was a barn. The whole place was hastily put together, the architecture half Japanese-style, half Western-style. The kitchen and cellar were excellent, 10 and the host extremely accomodating..."6

In 1859, immediately after the opening of Yokohama Port, a "hotel" opened nearby what was then the Customs Office (now Kanagawa Prefectural Office), facing onto Honchô-dôri Street. Managed by a Dutchman named Eufnagel, it was Japan's first hotel (as opposed to Japanesestyle inn). "Hotel", though, is rather a misnomer for what was simply a largely-Japanese style house surrounded by a tiled wall. In the big room containing the bar, which also served as a general meeting place for the guests, a black waiter named Macaulay7 apparently saw to their needs.

Evenings were the time for shooting practice, for which it seems the big clock over the door served as target. All in all, the place might easily have inspired many a Wild West drama. In the same room stood the billiard table which, as soon as it was installed, proved a great success as a means of killing time. As mentioned earlier, an early Japanese historian named Itabashi Tomoyuki has looked carefully into the question of how Bakunin spent his time and concluded (since we have not yet seen the original article we cannot vouch for his conclusion) that he probably whiled it away on the billiard table, and also blew much of his money in the bar - the first ever in Japan. More than likely there was not much else for Bakunin to do: foreigners were not allowed to leave the settlement without per-mission, and since it is on record that many other interesting guests were staying there beside Bakunin himself, he probably felt quite at home.

There were eight guest rooms, all of them windowless and unheated, and one traveller left a grumbling record of how almost unbearably cold it could be in the gusty, rainy days of November, In those early days, nevertheless, for the foreigners then beginning to reach Japan with increasing frequency, this was the only place to stay, or even just to rest; no-one visited Yokohama without dropping in at least once at the Yokohama Hotel. Sad to say, the hotel was razed to the ground just a few years after Bakunin's visit, one of the few casualties suffered by the foreign settlement of Yokohama, which otherwise remains today much as it was 100 years ago, It is possible, however, even today to stand on the site of the hotel where Bakunin spent his days and nights.

Among Bakunin's other fellow-residents at the Yokohama Hotel, luckily enough, were the scientist Siebold and his son Alexander, whose memoirs Provide one of the key documents concerning Bakunin's stay in Japan. ,;iebold had already been expelled once by the Tokugawa government as a result of the so-called 'Siebold Affair' of 18298, but in 1861 had been invited back as diplomatic advisor to the shogunate. In the diary of this second visit we find the following entry:

"In that Yokohama boarding-house we encountered an outlaw from the Wild West Heins, presumably as well as many other inter. esting guests. The presence of the Russian revolutionist Michael Bakunin, in flight from Siberia, was as far as one could see being winked at by the authorities. He was well-endowed with money, and none who came to know him could fail to pay their respects.

3. Across the the Pacific

David Hecht in his memoir 'Russian Radical's Look at America' (translated from Japanese; original title unknown) records that Bakunin while in Japan "perhaps met a politically-progressive American businessman". Not only the identity of thin man, but even the place where Bakunin met him are a mystery. Indeed, one of the greatest difficulties in tracing Bakunin's activities in Japan is to Din him down in one place. Sources differ: while all agree that his first port of call was Hakodate in Hokkaido, James Guillaume's biographical sketch relates that Bakunin went straight from there to Yokohama, while a Japanese source has him instead going to Kanagawa. Max Nettlau's 'Michael Bakunin: a Biographical Sketch' mentions "several" ports, but according to his 'The Life of Michael Bakunin' Bakunin’ Bakunin’ left Kanagawa for San Francisco along with Heine. Since Kanagawa is just along the bay from Yokohama there is a large possibility that Bakunin may have taken a small boat and joined the ship at Kanagawa, or that the ship called first at Kanagawa before making the Pacific crossing. However, there was no settlement there and foreigners were not allowed to reside. As of yet the "Kanagawa Connection" has not yet been investigated, but when it is there is a good chance that a whole new range of evidence concerning Bakunin ' 'a activities might be opened up.

Anyway, the evidence so far indicates that Bakunin left Yokohama in midSeptember on board the American merchant-ship the 'Carrington' bound for San Francisco.9 His fellow-travellers, apart from Heine, included the English clergyman Koo, the discovery of whose diary by Bakunin's biographer E.H. Carr was highly praised by Max Nettlau. Kos says of Bakunin that he was "more 'like a friend than anyone I have met for a long time". Before the voyage ended the two were great friends, Bakunin expressing sympathetic feelings towards Protestantism and telling Kos the story of his life before finally requesting a loan of $250.10

Also on board ship one would have found a Japanese speaking perfect English. This was Joseph Hiko (Hamada Hikozô), a pioneer of the newspaper world in Japan who would later shake hands with three American presidents: Pearce, Buchanan and Lincoln. Pure luck fated these men, as well as H eine, to be on board the same ship as Bakunin when he left Japan, and a closer investigation of Kos's diary, Heine's books (see note 9) and Hiko's unpublished writings promises now leads.

When Bakunin arrived in San Francisco on October 15 he found more congenial company than that of a clergyman and an acquaintance of presidents. It was the time of the Gold Rush, and among those seeking a quick fortune were many Russian and Polish immigrants, some of whom, according to one source, clubbed together to raise the money for Bakunin's passage to New York (what happened to Koe's loan we do not learn). In New York he borrowed more money from an Englishman named Smith, enough to buy a ticket for Liverpool, where he arrived on December 27, six months after leaving Siberia. He entrained immediately for Orsett House, Herzen's residence in London, and the same evening burst into the drawing-room where the family was having supper. "What! Are you sitting down eating oysters! Well! Tell me the news. What is happening, and where?!"

  • 1. Section three is a partial and amended translation (with personal comments added) of Henmi Kichizô's article 'Nihon ni Tachiyotta Bûkunin’, to which have been appended extracts from Wakayama Ken-ji's 'Bakûnin to Hakodate, Yokohama, Kanagawa'. It should be said here that the former, though officially credited to Henmi, is actually the work of Mukai Kou, Osaka libertarian poet and esperantist who, after hearing the bones of the story from the ailing Henmi, filled it out and wrote it up himself. Both these articles are based on earlier ones by Kubô Jô and Itabashi Tomoyuki, which will be incorporated into the second edition of this pamphlet.
  • 2. Dates of Bakunin's movements at this time differ according to the source. It has not always been possible to verify which are correct, and usually only rough dates have been given.
  • 3. There are several conflicting theories concerning Bakunin's escape route from Siberia. The one related here is that given by Masters (Bakunin: The Father of Anarchism), which follows the one in E.H. Carr's Bakunin.
  • 4. There is some confusion as to whether this meeting took place in Hakodate or in Yokohama, Masters, following Carr's account, locates it in Yokohama, though most Japanese sources give Hakodate. Herzen's 'Bakunin and the Polish Question' is unclear but seems to suggest Hakodate (Yokohama is not mentioned at all in this account). In any case, a moment's thought suggests that the port could only have been Hakodate. Had the ship in which the encounter with the consul took place been bound for America instead of southern Japan, Bakunin's story would hardly have held water.
  • 5. Heine is rather an elusive character, but we took trouble to investigate him since his writings, if there were any, seemed to offer leads for new information on Bakunin. So far we have discovered the following information.

    Peter Bernhard Wilhelm Heine (1827-1885):

    After escaping from Dresden Heine went first to New York, then to Central America where he travelled for several years. The record of this expedition was published in 1853 as the Wanderbilder aus Centralamerika. Soon after that he returned to New York, where he was selected from among several score of applicants for the post of official artist to the Perry expedition.

    After arriving in Japan he made several visits to Edo, possible only because of his position on Perry's staff, since Edo was officially closed to foreigners. His sketches of the city as it was before the foreigners arrived in force are thus a unique record.

    When he returned to New York in 1855 he published several mementoes: a collection of prints entitled Graphic Scenes of the Japan Expedition; 400 sketches which were included in Perry's official report; and his memoirs, Reiss um die Welt nach Japan (Leipzig, 1856). The memoirs apparently proved an enormous success, and were immediately translated into both French and Dutch.

    Two years later Heine published a German translation of the report of the Rodgers Expedition sent by the US government to te Japan, China and Okhotsk Seas, under the title Die Expedition in dir Seen von China, Japan und Okhotsk (Leipzig, 1858-9). in which he also urged the Prussian government to send more expeditions to Asia before the Americans became established there.

    In 1859 he returned to Germany, where he published Japan und Seine Bewohner (Leipzig, 1860). While in Berlin he received an invitation to join a projected Prussian expedition as official artist once again, and was simultaneously given a premium to send back reports for a Cologne newspaper. This expedition, the Eulenberg one mentioned in the text, went on from Japan to Tientsin, and here Heine left to return to America alone; it was while he was waiting in Yokohama for the connection to San Francisco that the historic meeting with Bakunin took place.

    Once back in America he took part in the Civil War on the Union side and was made an officer. In 1864 he published his major work, a voluminous book on travel in the Orient, Eine Weltreise um die nordliche Hemisphare in Verbindung mit der Ostasiatischen Expedition in den Jahren 1860 und 1861 (Leipzig, two volumes), After the war ended Heine was named US consul in Paris and Liverpool concurrently, but after the establishment of the Hohenzollern Empire in Germany in 1871 returned to Dresden where he wrote his last book about Japan, Japan, Beitrage zur Kenntnis des Landes und Seiner Bewohner (Berlin, 1873-80).

    The reason for going into such detail about Heine's life is not for the sake of promoting archaeological research, but in the hope that comrades who can read German - unfortunately, none of us can - be able to look into these sources for information about Bakunin. We hope that you will let us know if you have any luck.

  • 6. All quotations have been translated into English from Japanese, and may thus vary from the original.
  • 7. Proper names - apart from those of well-known people - have had to be guessed from the Japanese transliteration.
  • 8. Philipp Franz von Siebold, a German, had been attached to a Dutch company at Deshima, Nagasaki, from 1823 to 1828 as doctor and naturalist. During that time he received the shôgun's permission to instruct Japanese doctors in Western medicine, and gathered about him quite a body of disciples. On his return to Germany, however, he tried to take away with him forbidden articles such as maps of Japan, and was discovered. After a year's confine. ment he was deported and ordered never to return. His friends and disciples were persecuted and many imprisoned. This was the "Siebold Incident".

    After being rejected for the Perry Expedition, he was able t return to Japan in 1859 after a diplomatic treaty had been sign ed between Japan and Holland the previous year. This time he came as political advisor to the shôgun.

    The five years he spent in Deshima, despite the black cloud he fell under as a result of the "Incident", were very influential for the development of modern medicine in Japan. The daughter born to him. and his Japanese second-wife (sic) later became Japan's first Western-style midwife.

  • 9. Some sources give the date of departure as September 7, while others name the ship as either the 'Peterson' or the 'Wellington'.
  • 10. Evidently Bakunin had disposed of much of the money he was carr ing when Siebold met him, either on the billiard table or in buying his passage to San Francisco.

Preliminary Conclusions

Bakunin's revolutionary career, though it had almost no conscious connection with Japan, thanks to that momentary contact made possible by the opening of the country in 1853, was enabled to reach its full fruition.

Had the Japanese government sustained its isolationist policy of the past 250 years for a few years longer, the growth of Bakuninist anarchism after 1864, the struggles with Marx at the First International, and thus the whole shape of today's revolutionary movement would have been drastically different. The opening of the ports of Yokohama and Hakodate thus coincided perfectly with Bakunin's decision to return to Europe, giving concrete shape to his plan of escape. Had it been otherwise, there is very little doubt that today Bakunin would be no more than another Russian martyr.

Japan, though Bakunin never acknowledged it, hence played an enormous part in his destiny. Some comments concerning his stay there will Put the episode in a clearer light.

The world of 1861 was very different from that of 1923, when Ôsugi Sakae made his trip to Europe. In opening Japan to foreign influences for the purpose of building a strong nation-state, the "progressive" samurai who seized control of the country in the Meiji Restoration of 1868 allowed certain (from their point of view) unsavoury principles in by the back door. By the turn of the century intellectuals like Kôtoku Shûsui had introduced Japanese revolutionaries to the ideas of Kropotkin, Bakunin, Marx and other writers, and along with a massive forced industrialization programme (helped by two imperialist wars in ten years), a radical labour movement had been born Ôsugi Sakae, born in 1885, grew up in this atmosphere.

By 1861, following Perry's gate crashing exploit of eight years before, American ships had become regular visitors to Japanese ports, joining those of Holland, since the 17th century the sole Western nation permitted to trade with the empire. Other nations, like Germany, Russia, England and France, seeking to extend their existing domains in India and Southeast Asia, had also been quick to force the Japanese authorities to allow the opening of consular offices, dazzled by the prospects of unlimited trade and urged on by soul-hungry mission organizations eager to claim the benighted heathens for the one true god.. As an added attract ion, Japan provided an ex~ cellent location of refuelling and refurbishing, both for warships patrolling the Pacific and for whalers en route to the Arctic.

The shogunal authorities, despite their initial fright, had bowed to all this pressure with good grace, but taken care to confine all foreigners to riven areas within certain of the ports open to trade. Hence not only the Yokohama Hotel itself, but even the very area in which Bakunin Found himself was likely to be closed to Japanese, and patrolled by to keep the foreigners from having any unnecessary influence upon them. It is thus conceivable, though not very likely, that Bakunin never even saw a Japanese; if he did meet any it was certainly not under conditions conducive to his -etting a run-down on the state of the nation. This would have to be taken account of in any criticism of Baki)ninls behaviour in Japan, and allowances made accordingly,

Failing personal contact, then, newspapers might have provided a source of information for Bakunin had he wanted any. We followed this up, and found ironically enough, that the first foreign-language newspaper pub- in Japan moved from Nagasaki to Yokohama in October 1861, one month too late to catch his eye. Judging from the quality of other expatriate newspapers, however, such as those published in the Chinese treaty ports , this one, the 'Japan Herald', would not have told him much about Japan anyway, Still, it might have given him a perspective on political affairs into which his seasoned revolutionist's eye might have read the germs of a ripe situation. Unfortunately, though, his visit ended a month too soon, and we abandoned that line of speculation.

One also has to consider, apart from these objective factors, the state of Bakunin's mind. He was on the run, moving incognito, jumping at shadows - certainly, after twelve years' mind-killing and body-racking imprisonment, in no mood to take chances. His identity seems to have been known to his fellow-travellers at the Yokohama Hotel, and he must have feared exposure. It was difficult enough for any foreigner, let alone one looking like Bakunin, to disappear in Japan (and remains so today). His heart, moreover, was already speeding towards London and the revolution in Europe, and he was little disposed to take careful note of the things around him, Thus, despite the strangeness of the surroundings, and the quaint popular customs he could have found had he looked (it seems certain that he must have heard many fascinating stories from Heine), to say nothing of his being in a country whose capacity for revolution was entirely unknown, Bakunin has left no impressions whatever of his stay. This omission is made all the more startling by the fact that Herzen, who after Bakunin's return to London was obliged to support him, suggested that he raise money by writing the story of his escape from Siberia. Bakunin, it seems, could not be bothered.

Finally, there was one more factor which undoubtedly lent wings to Bakunin's heels once he managed to leave Siberia This was the story of the Bakhmetiev Fund. Since the story is related in the major biographies of Bakunin there is no need to go into detail here. In 1858 a Russian landowner named Bakhmetiev had disposed of all his property and gone to London to contact Herzen. His idea was to buy a small island in the Pacific and there set up a utopian community. Before leaving he had left with Herzen a sum of L800 to be used to further the Russian revolutionary movement. Bakhmetiev himself was never seen again, but the money was paid into a joint bank account in London held by Herzen and Nicholas Ogarev, to await a time when it could be put to good purpose. Bakunin heard about the existence of this money from a letter of Herzen's received before he decided upon his escape, but it would probably be too much to suggest that this was the primary motivation for his return to Europe. At the very least, though, the thought of the money lying untouched in London probably made him want to get back there as quickly as he could. When he did get hold of it it was used for the printing and distribution of revolutionary literature in Russia, principally the pamphlet 'Catechism of a Revolutionary'.

With all these things in mind, it has to be admitted that circumstances did not encourage Bakunin to throw himself into the Japanese political scene. Bakunin, however, in all other situations, was not a man to be Put off by mere objective circumstances. He would be a marked man even after his return to Europe, but that did not deter him from immersing himself in revolutionary activities there. One would have expected that the very existence of the void surrounding him in Yokohama would press him to find out more about it. Perhaps he did; but if so, we do not know, Most of all, had Bakunin any real interest in Japan he would surely have left some record of his visit. As far as can be gathered, he Posted a letter from Siberia before boarding his ship, and another from San Francisco, but nothing from Yokohama. If there was no postal service he could have sent a letter in the charge of one of his hotel acquaintances, as other residents must have done. He never mentions his stay in any of his writings, and actually ignored Herzen's suggestion that he write his memoirs. In our opinion, the time spent in Japan (and in America, of course, where an even bigger case could be made out for his staying longer) was no more than an interlude, a chance to relax before returning to where the action really was: Europe.

Ôsugi Sakae

1. Ôsugi and Bakunin

"For Kropotkin one feels respect, but not attraction. There is a man who is much dearer to me ... a born anarchist, one so constitutionrilly rebellious that he would have remained a rebel even in an anarchist society. A man who was neither regular nor ordered in his habits, who lived a life which was bohemian and unruly. I cannot help but smile at myself when I reflect upon the life of our ancestor Bakunin."
Ôsugi Sakae

Ôsugi himself was a born rebel, a truly uncompromising anarchist who put his numerous prison sentences to good use by resolving to learn a new foreign language with each imprisonment. Despite his reputation as a thinker and translator in the fields of natural science and human philosophy (he translated 'Mutual Aid' and 'Origin of Species', as well as much of Romain Rolland and several works by the French biologist Fabre), one would have to say that, though it was Kropotkin from whom he drew most of his scientific inspiration. it was Bakunin that exercized the greater sway over him as a man.

Ôsugi, it is said by the few surviving Japanese anarchists to have seen him perform, would come striding onto the stage where he was to deliver his speech, wrapped in a black cloak, his eyes flashing with fire: "I am Ôsugi!'' he would shout. He came across, maybe, as a kind of politicized Mick Jagger-in-his-prime, but the very sight of him at the rostrum was enough to cause the waiting police to allege a breach of the peace and declare the meeting closed. His popularity among socialists was fantastic, and the news of his arrival in some place, as with Bakunin, brought people crowding to meet him and hear him speak.

Ôsugi interpreted Bakunin's dynamism as figuring in the chaotic transitional period between the decline of European feudalism and the rise of modern capitalism; whereas Kropotkin's scientific bent was more suited to (and in fact grew out of) the half-century of relative peace which followed the triumph of capitalism in Europe. With World War I, however, and the revolutions in Russia and Germany, the world had been ushered into a new phase-of disorder which would eventually mean the death of capitalism and the victory of freedom and justice. In Japan, the repression following the execution for treason in 1911 of Kôtoku Shûsui and eleven others had sent what remained of the socialist movement underground. As for Ôsugi himself, a three-year prison spell from 1908 to 1910 had given him the opportunity not only to avoid the 1911 mass reprisals, but also to expand his knowledge. From Bakunin, Malatesta, Kropotkin and Jean Grave, the focus of his reading shifted to works of science and philosophy, and for the next five years or so until the socialists began to stick their heads up out of their holes once more he went through a period of high-powered reading and translation. Then came the war, and a fresh departure in the tone of his thinking.

The revival of the popular movement in Japan after the war - particularly the sudden outbreak of the 'Rice Riots' of 1918 - convinced Ôsugi that the time for action had come again: Japanese capitalism was dying and the people were revolting. Bakunin had ooze beat into his own. From then until the end of his life ^Ôsugi remained a Bakuninist, while advocating anarclao-syndicalism as the most practical method of organization in Japanese conditions. Though he continued to read and translate Kropotkin, publishing Japanese editions of, 'Mutual Aid' (Sôgo Fujo Ron; 1917) and 'Memoirs of a Revolutionist' (Kakumeika no Omoide; 1920), the main focus of his studies was Bakunin. In 1926 there appeared a posthumous reprint of Ôsugis essays 'Studies on Bakunin' (Bakûnin Kenkyû), which included 'The Father of Anarchism'. 'Life of Bakunin', 'Marx and Bakunin', and 'An Examination of the Peasant Problem' (on the Lyon insurrection of 1870). This collection was a companion to his 'Studies on Kropotkin' (Kropotkin Kenkyû), published in 1920.

As the best-known agitator in the country (and No. 1 on the Kempei-tai's death list), Ôsugi, prolific as he was, was never given the chance to set down his ideas systematically. As in the Europe of Bakunin, there was always too much happening, and Ôsugi's natural inclinations, like Bakunin's, led him to the heart of any fight that was taking place. To find the core of "Ôsugi-ism" one has to read between the lines of his many translations or, even better, examine his actions.

2. Ôsugi and the Rice Riots1

The Rice Riots - three weeks of near-rebellion - were the greatest mass uprising in modern Japanese history, expressing popular anger at the profiteering of money-grabbing rice dealers amid the post-war inflation. Most important of all was the fact that the impetus came as much from the peasants in the countryside as from the urban proletariat. A total of around ten million people took part in the "riots". which occurred at 636 points mainly in western Japan and largely in the rice-producing areas. The army intervened in 107 places, including the three major cities Tokyo, Osaka and Kyoto, where the Burakumin, an oppressed outcaste ethnic class played a militant role. The overall number of-victims is unknown, though the army killed dozens of people during some of its interventions. The number of arrested ran to several thousand, with an indictment rate of 90% or more.

It was established custom in the Japan of 1918 for rice dealers to sell on credit. No matter how poor the family, as long as they had an add~ ress they could count on receiving rice on credit with the understanding that the bill would be settled every autumn and year-end (traditional periods for settling debts in Japan). What was more, the rice would be delivered t their door.

For those unable to pay on the appointed day, however, the results could be dire. Many a family tragedy was sparked off in this way, particularly on the last day of the year; whole households frequently dropped everything and fled before the dawning of the New Year.

Consequently, there was nothing outwardly unusual when housewives In Namerikawa, Toyama prefecture, marched into their local rice merchants' and walked off with their supplies of rice. Although they did not seek to pay, there was no thought of robbery in their minds - who ever paid for rice on the spot? The rice merchants, however, had their own views on the matter, for the price of rice was rising daily, and rice sold tomorrow brought more Profit than today's. They tried to hold on to the rice. The housewives of Namerikawa, angered by the merchants' attempt to hoard the rice, thus merely helped themselves and walked away. The "Rice Riot" only came into being when certain merchants sought to resist.

At the time these events were taking place (early August), Ôsugi Sakae was on a train returning from Kyushu to Tokyo. Upon reading in the newspaper of the disturbances he left the train at Osaka and went straight to the house of Henmi Naozô,2 where the sole topic of conversation became, inevitably, the "rice riots".

"There's going to be some action here in Osaka too, mark my words. Meetings and things are being held all over the place already."

"Ah. Sounds interesting. Where's the agitation going on?"

"Well, I reckon it's going to start down by Kamagasaki a [workingclass ghetto district in downtown Osaka]."

"Right. Let's go down now and take a look."

Leaving their police tails with the impression that they were still talking inside the house, Henmi and Ôsugi changed their clothes and slipped into the street, When they arrived in Kamagasaki, though, they found little out of the ordinary. Even in front of the rice dealers' there were no signs of any people gathering. Only when the went through into a backstreet tenement block did they find a group of women gossiping. One of them, who knew Henmi, Promptly greeted them with a question:

"What do you think then, about these women up in Toyama sorting out the rice dealers?"

"Twenty-sen rice is selling for fifty sen now here in Kama - let's go and get them to reduce it to twenty-five - all of us just walk in and tell them to. That's what we've been talking about just now. We can't take much more."

Ôsugi, who had been standing listening with arms folded, now grabbea Henmi's arm and hustled him out into the main street where they hailed a rickshaw.

"What's up? Where are we going?"

"Never mind, just stick close to me, There's going to be some fun soon."

Getting the rickshaw to wait for them, Ôsugi and Henmi made the round of Osaka's newspaper offices:

"Down in Kamagasaki they've started agitating for rice hoarders to sell all their stocks at twenty-five sen. He and I have just been there and seen it happening. The sparks from Toyama have already drifted down to Osaka!"

This was pure Ôsugi, agitation mixed with bluff. As soon as the editor was sold on the story the pair moved on to the next paper. Before they had even finished their rounds the sensational press had brought out their early evening editions with great headlines splashed across the front pages: "Kamagasaki Rice Dealers Forced to Sell at 25 Sen!!''

Sure enough, by 4 pm that day tens of thousands of People were converging at top speed upon Kamagasaki in search of cheap rice. One after an other they began to crowd into the dealers' shops, but:

"Twenty-five sen!? We can't sell at that price! You'd better try some where else…"

So went the initial response. Soon, however, cowed by the mounting numbers of people, dealers began to sell at the demanded price after all, but instead tried to limit each person to one sho (1.8 litres). After that it was not long before people began helping their selves. There was little the dealers could do about it.

When one shop's stocks ran out the crowd would move off in search of the next, shouting victory cries, milling around on the corners and growing ever bigger until someone shouted the location of another dealer, when they would surge off in the appointed direction. Gradually the agitation spread through the city.

For example, at that very time the lnukai/kidô faction of the opposition National Party (Kokumintô) was holding a public meeting in nearby Tennô-Ji on the subject of - ironically enough - the rising price of rice.

"O-oy! Fuck your public meetings! They selling rice at twenty-five sen!"


"All over the city!"

The hall was empty in seconds.

After gathering in Tennôji Park for a few minutes to get the adrenalin going, the crowd moved off in search of rice, taking in as they went liquor shops and goal merchants. Moving haphazardly about the streets, they invaded every shop they could find until a shout went up:

"The Sumitomo warehouse in front of Minato-machi station is stocked cram full of rice! What are we waiting for!?" No-one paused to elect a leader. The agitation was developing into a full-scale riot, even an insurrection, for Sumitomo was one of the major zaibatsu with close ties to many political figures.

With the approaching darkness the crowds had begun to swell to even greater proportions. When, they reached the Sumitomo warehouse, however, they found drawn up in front of it the 8th and 37th regiments of the Imperial Japanese Army. no less, part of the division based permanently in Osaka. The troops responded to the bamboo staves and stones wielded by the crowd with blank volleys fired over their heads and with bayonet charges. After several hours of similar skirmishes and minor conflicts all over the city, people at last began to drift away to their homes The fire, however, was only dampened, not extinguished, and the embers remained to be fanned into new life the next day.

Henmi and Ôsugi, meanwhile had gone home.3 There they found several local anarchists waiting to greet Ôsugi, including Takeda. Denjirô, Kanasaki Dômei, Iwade Kinjirô, Yoshimura Otoya and Yamazaki Shôjiro.4 Ôsugi, wearing an air of innocence, went back into town once more that evening in their company. His police tail, though there was no evidence of his involvement in the afternoon's events, had suddenly multiplied twenty-fold.

"Thanks!" he told them, "with so many of you to look after me I can relax! OK everybody, we can go sight-seeing without any worries. . . "

Ôsugi, openly delighted, visited every inch of Kamagasaki, responding to the comments of the others with "Uh", "Right!", "I see" more as if he were talking to himself. Finally the police chief who was following us around complained :

"Sensei! (a term of respect] Give us a break, will you! Call it a day. If anything happens, it's awkward, and if HQ finds out about it I'm in a fix."

After a while it was decided to call a rest at an inn run by a sympathizer of the movement.

At the time I was still a mischievous boy of no more than sixteen. I ran about the town watching A the day's events as if in a trance. It was my first meeting with Ôsugi. My initial impression had come when his police tail, strung out in a line behind him, attempted to enter our house along with him:

"You bastards get back down there!"

They all jumped as if they had seen a tiger and fell back immediately to the stipulated twenty-metre distance. The sound of Ôsugi's voice, filled with dignity despite his famous stutter, has rung in my ears ever since.

That night, the gathering having moved to the house of Yamazaki Shô-Jiro, Ôsugi described his impressions of what had happened riots" had cleared the way for a new surge my the popular movement; whatever the authorities' reaction, the people were now uncrushable; their movement had bared its strength for the first time; we ourselves now had to get down to serious work, go even deeper among the people then we had already, and stand in the forefront of the struggle. he had never felt so confident as he did today. The rest of us too, infected by what we had seen and heard that day, discussed spiritedly the various ideas which people raised.

Early next morning , Ôsugi, his face a picture of unconcern, took a train for Tokyo, leaving Osaka and the still-simmering rice agitation behind him. He never, subsequently, touched upon his activities in Osaka that day, nor did he ever mention them to anyone. Henmi Naozô, though the words were on his lips any number of times, also kept his mouth sealed. He could only wonder at Ôsugi's unique combination of careful insight, boldness, and unashamed prudence, The way he described these three qualities was as follows.

In the first place, Ôsugi , after one look, had immediately sized the situation up and selected the most appropriate way of exploiting it. There had been no plan, no strategy worked out on paper, just his political instinct.

Secondly, he selected a method for carrying out his propaganda which was at once the most effective and the most reliable. The newspapers' reporting of the reaction to the Toyama rice riots was suddenly turned into an Osaka problem, ensuring the maximum effect upon their readers. As Ôsugi had guessed, the papers never tried to verify the story.

Thirdly, Ôsugi successfully resisted the desire to talk about his own role in the unfolding of the Osaka rice riots, and never gave way to the temptations of heroism and self-indulgence. Had he divulged the matter to even his closest comrades, there is little doubt that it would have come out one day under police interrogation, and Ôsugi would have been for it. Perhaps even everyone present on that day would have been implicated. Such was the prudence which invariably accompanied even the boldest of Ôsugi's actions.

The rice riots themselves, having started with such a spontaneous flourish, were only too soon put down by the military, Before the flames had turned to embers, the police too were in action, frenziedly arresting people up and down the country until the gaols overflowed. For the people involved, having seen for themselves the power which lay within them, a new sense of self-confidence and arousal meant that there was no returning to the world of yesterday. The shock which they had dealt out to the authorities was inestimable.

The "rice riots" were the signal for all kinds of activities to break out. The socialist movement which had emerged in the early Taisho period (1911-1925), confined largely to a small intellectual minority of enlightened pioneer agitators, now spread to the workers themselves and their families. In 1919, with a large worker following, Ôsugi founded his magazine 'Labour Movement' (Rôdô Undô). The stage was set for the late Taishô movement, one which was to sink its roots deep among the people before being crushed by the combination of military and secret police which marked the opening of the bloody reign of Hirohito in 1926.

At the same time the politicians, following the fall of the govern ment of the time due to opposition pressure, saw the writing an the wall and set about making minimal changes to protect their base. In 1920 the franchise law was reformed by reducing the property qualification from ten to three yen thus increasing the electorate to just over three million. The authorities had survived, but only by the skin of their teeth.

  • 1. This section is an amended translation of the final Dart of Hen mi's article, in which he gives his own eye-witness account of Ôsugi's activities during the "rice riots".
  • 2. Henmi Naozô: militant anarchist, the father of Henmi Kichizô. In his youth he stayed in America and worked with Alexander Berkman and Emma Goldman. He died later in 1923.
  • 3. Ôsugi's part in the riots seems to come close to the "behindism" castigated by the Situationist Internationale. A closer reading of these pages though, surely, reveals that what he did was more akin to what - at least in my interpretation of the concept - is called "creating a situation". He did not begin the riot then fade away; he listened to the complaints of the women, then went to the newspapers, and left the people to react in whatever way they saw fit. One could compare it to Durrutti's tactic during the Spanish Civil War, which was, when passing through a village, to merely point out the traitors, explain a few political facts to the villagers, then pass on having created a situation in which the villagers could act as they saw fit.
  • 4. Takeda Denjirô: took part in several attempts to popularize libertarian socialism; his elder brother had received life imprisonment in the High Treason Plot (Taigyaku jiken) trials of 1911 in which twelve anarchist militants were murdered by the state.

    Kanasaki Dômei/lwade Kinjirô: both later became communists.

    Yamazaki Shôjirô: died in prison after arrest in connection with the Guillotine Sha anarchist-terrorist group affair in 1924.

    Yoshimura Otoya: disappeared soon after the riots in unexplained circumstances.

Ôsugi Sakae in Paris

1. Alias \"Chin Chen\"

At the fiftieth anniversary commemoration of the 1872 international anarchist conference in St Imiers, Switzerland, it was decided to reconvene in Berlin in February 1923 in order to set up a now international federation. An invitation went out to the anarcho-syndicalist Rôdô Undô group In Tokyo, addressed personally to Ôsugi Sakae, who was already in contact with anarchists in France. On the night of December-11 1922, Ôsugi, after borrowing enough money for the trip and fooling police agents into believing that he was critically ill in bed, set off via Korea and Manchuria for Shanghai, the first stage on his ,journey.

It was only a few months since an irrevocable split had taken place in Japan between the Anarchists and the Bolsheviks (that is, supportera of the revolution in Russia), and the anarchists were seeking to form new international ties instead of the purely national ones they had concentrated upon up to then. Ôsugi himself placed greatest emphasis upon building links with other Asian anarchists and creating an organization which would allow them to cooperate better. He had already visited Shanghai two years earlier, during the anarchists' abortive attempt at collaboration with the Comintern; on this second trip he was resolved to renew the contacts he had first made a dozen years earlier when he enrolled Chinese students in Tokyo into his Esperanto School. Fear of being discovered by the secret police, however, now that his absence from Tokyo had surely been detected, made it too risky, and all he could do was wait for the others to contact him in a flea-bitten foreigners' hostel.

Ôsugi, for obvious reasons, was not likely to get a passport in Japan. Korea having been since 1919 part of the Japanese empire, he had no difficulty in getting as far as the Chinese border, which he presumably crossed by posing as a (dumb) Chinese coolie. The plan from Shanghai onwards was to use the even-closer Chinese anarchist contacts of Yamaga Taiji, another Japanese anarchist and esperantist who had agreed to precede Ôsugi to China in order to help forge him a set of Chinese identity papers. After Yamaga had wasted several days in Paking waiting for the anarchists there to secure the papers, they were finally put together in Shanghai with the help of a doctor, formerly head of the Sino-French Institute in Lyon, Cheng Meng-hsien. Dr Chang also supplied Ôsugi, alias "Chin Chen", alias !'Tong Chin Tangle (both names applied to him by the Paris press after his arrest in May), with a place to settle in France: the address of young Chinese anarchists then studying at the Institute, who then numbered only about ten.1

With this passport Ôsugi, ostensibly a Chinese student going to study in Lyon, left Shanghai on January 5 1923 and arrived in Marseilles on February 13. The next morning, after bidding farewell to one "Madame N" whom he had met on board ship, he left for Lyon bearing a letter of introduction from comrades in China. After a week in Lyon he went on to Paris, where, at the HQ of the French Anarchist League's organ 'Le Libertaire' in the Boulevard de Belleville (shared with 'La Revue Anarchiste' and 'La Librairie Socials'), he was able to meet Coromel, from whom the original invitation had come.

It was a time when reactionary forces all over Europe were flexing their muscles, and the post-1917 euphoria was dying away in the cold light of recognition. 1922 had seen Mussolini's March on Rome at the head of his fascists, while 1923 brought Hitler's "Beer Hall Putsch" in Bavaria. The latter had been sparked off by France's occupation of the Ruhr just a few weeks before Ôsugi's arrival, and the confrontation between the French Left and the increasingly-powerful Right brought about as a result of the occupation remained at its height.

The atmosphere, therefore, was hardly auspicious for the success of Ôsugi's trip, particularly his plan to cross from France into Germany. He arrived, moreover, to find that government persecution in Germany had forced the postponement of the Berlin conference to April. The general conclusion was that it would not open at all, and., sure enough, it was finally put back to an indefinite date. Ôsugi was disappointed, but took advantage of the opportunity to meet the many anarchists then living in exile in Paris. Most Important of all, from the multitudes who had fled or been expelled from post"revolutionary" Russia he was able to get a clearer picture of the state of things there than he could have got in Japan. What he heard confirmed the rumours which had been trickling through, already borne out by the behaviour of the Japanese communists, which had caused the Anarchist - Bolshevik split mentioned earlier.

Ôsugi also seized the opportunity to meet with the twenty or so Chinese anarchists then living, on a half-work, half-study basis, in Paris. Meeting every day, they laid plans for a conference, to be held after the Berlin meeting, which would lay the groundwork for an organization of Chinese anarchist students in Paris. What the fate of this organization was is unknown, but the importance which Ôsugi attached to China's role in the international anarchist movement is clear.

Soon after his arrival in France Ôsugi had contacted an old comrade from the Syndicalism Research Group formed in Tokyo in 1913, an artist named Hayashi. Though Ôsugi had decided upon a policy of avoiding all Japanese while in Europe in order to maintain secrecy, Hayashi was to be the means by which he could keep in contact with the Rôdô Undô group and with Itô Noë, the feminist with whom he had been living for the past seven years, Unknown to him, however, the Japanese government, having lost track of him in China, had instructed its French embassy to watch Nayashi since, as they rightly guessed, he was the first personÔsugi would visit if he happened to arrive in Paris. Consequently, Ôsugi was under constant surveillance from the day of his arrival.

One of the more curious aspects of Ôsugi's stay in Paris was his apparent ignorance of the anarcho-syndicalist Association Internationale des Travailleurs (AIT), whose founding conference had been 'held there the previous December 25 to January 2. As an anarcho-syndicalist him- self, Ôsugi should have been concerned, and ought to have sought to meet members of the organization, but he did not. The only imaginable explanation is that factional squabbles among the French anarchists kept him in ignorance, for otherwise it is difficult to understand his total failure to mention the AIT in his memoir of his French trip.

2. May Day, 1923

Ôsugi and Hayashi, after taking a room together in a cheap Paris hotel, spent their days and nights in the cafes of Montmartre while Ôsugi quietly continued his efforts to acquire a visa to enter Germany. On March 17, after getting wind of the Japanese embassy surveillance, the two moved to Lyon, where also the prospects of getting the German visa seemed more promising. For the next six weeks Ôsugi was confined to Lyon, paying daily visits to the local police HQ, the passports section and the security office. As March turned into April and his frustrat ion became unire irable, he wrote to Ito Nod telling her of his intention to cross the border illegally.

Dissuaded of this plan by his friends in Lyon, who feared the backlash, Ôsugi remained where he was, but his funds were dwindling away and the trip, even had the visa come through, was fast becoming impossible. On April 29, finally despairing of the visa, he left secretly for Paris where he had been invited to take part in a rally to be held in a hall in the suburb of St Denis.

On the morning of May 1 Ôsugi got up to sniff the atmosphere of the city. He was shocked. It was as quiet as the grave. The only distinguishing sight was that of streams of French workers taking advantage of the holiday to depart with their families for the countryside. This set the tone for the rest of the day. Ôsugi has recorded some of his feelings about the state of affairs in Paris in his book 'Diary of an Escape From Japan' (Nippon Dasshutsu Ki):

"... Outdoor meetings had been banned, and no-one seemed inclined to ignore the order, Communist politicians, as well as the bureaucrats of the CGT [Confederacion Generale du Travail] , were terrified of a clash with the police, and did everything they could to keep a damper on things. Consequently, only the CGT's main rally was to be hold in the city centre, while the others, including the St Denis meeting, were confined to the suburbs. Even the protest demonstration against the US government's plan to murder the Italian-Americans Sacco and Vanzetti was forcibly re-routed by its communist stewards into the suburbs."

Ôsugi, when he arrived at the meeting, was not impressed at all. This is his account of it:

"The slogans of the day were explained at interminable length by some horribly self-satisfied orator, while the applause from the audience grew weaker and weaker... 'It's too much! Let's go out and leave him to it!' called someone - a comrade from either 'Le Libertaire' or 'La Revue Anarchists#. But no-one echoed his call, and meanwhile the speaker on the rostrum was urging him to behave himself... I was supposed to meet Coromel after the meeting, but by this time I didn't 'give a damn. I wanted to get up and shout from the platform, 'Let's get outside, where we should be...!'"

Unable to stand it any longer, Ôsugi finally demanded the microphone. The gist of his speech (the original printed version, when it appeared, was so heavily-blue-pencilled by the Japanese censor that it is impossible to restore it) was as follows:

"The history of May Day in Japan is still very short the first demonstration was held in 1920 , and the number of workers who take part still very small. But those Japanese workers are quite clear about what May Day is! Japan's May Day rallies do not take place in the suburbs. They take place in the city centres. Neither are they held in halls for the benefit of would-be orators. They take place in the parks and streets and public squares, and their objective is to demonstrate. Japanese May Day is no mere carnival!"

After speaking for twenty or thirty minutes, Ôsugi stepped down from the rostrum amid thunderous applause and walked outside - straight into the arms of several plainclothesmen waiting there to arrest him. He was then carried off bodily to the nearest police station. When the crowd inside heard what had happened they at once marched to the police station to free him, led by a score or so of women workers. Few knew anything about him beyond the fact that he was a Japanese, or perhapsa Chinese comrade; most knew not even his name. He was just a comrade in need of help. In the scuffle that took place in the street in front of the police station, 100 or so were arrested and many more injured by police nightsticks. Ôsugi himself wrote later of hearing from his cell the sound of the Internationale, followed by that of beating, mixed with that of thuds and screams as the crowd was forcibly dispersed by the police.

While the French newspapers continued to refer to him as a Chinese, the police were already on the scent of Ôsugi's real identity. Ôsugi, who on the advice of Coromel and others had originally insisted that his Chinese papers were genuine, admitted his real identity when he found that the police knew all about him already. As soon as the fact that he was Ôsugi Sakae, Japanese anarchist without a passport, was confirmed, he was sent to the notorious detention centre at La Santa', temnorary home for so many political prisoners. On May 3, following the visit if a man from the Japanese embassy, he was arraigned on charges as familiar today as they were then: insulting a policeman, resisting arrest, disturbing the peace, and being without identity papers. Mean-, while the right-wing press, notably 'Le Figaro', began to use the inci dent to whip up an anti-anarchist scare. The only thing new about it was the variation upon A Ôsugi's Chinese alias, which changed with every issue.

Ôsugi found conditions in La Santa luxurious compared with the insanitary dungeons where he had spent his previous sentences. In a letter, to Itô Noë he wrote, "It's an easy-going place for a gaol. I spend all day lying down on my bed blowing smoke-rings; there're bottles of wine and beer on the table, and I can swig away at them all day if I feel like it."2 Even so, gaol is gaol, and his thoughts went immediately to his family particularly his favourite daughter, four-year old Mako. In order to reassure Mako of his safety he wrote her a poem, 'Mako yo, Mako!', and sent it to her. In it he describes his life of luxury, picturing himself eating Western food, nibbling chocolate and smoking cigars while lying on a sofa.

When his case came up for -trial on May 23, all charges save that of breaking the passport regulations had been dropped, and he was sentenced to three weeks' detention. Since he had already been held since May 1 he was released the next day. Before finally quitting his La Santa cell , Ôsugi inscribed on the wall the following message to posterity:


LE 1 MAI 1923.3

As soon as he stepped through the gates of the gaol he was hustled off to Police HQ and issued with a deportation order. The French government had originally intended merely to dump him over the Spanish border but, at the insistence of the Japanese embassy, agreed to allow him to be sent back to Japan via Marseilles.

With a week to kill before his boat left, and finding that police surveillance had been called off, Ôsugi made up his mind to travel around Europe illegally. Before he could leave Paris, however, a letter arrived from Itô Noë asking him to return as quickly as possible. Apart from complications arising from Noe's fifth pregnancy, it appears that there was friction within the Rôdô Undô group. At the end of the week he gave himself up to the police and, on June 3, 101 days after his arrival, Ôsugi was escorted to Marseilles and forced to board a Japanese passenger ship bound for Kobe.

When he arrived, on July 11 , he was bundled into a small police launch which took him to the local harbour police HQ, thus avoiding the hordes of reporters waiting for him on the quay side. After a five-hour grilling conducted on orders from the Interior Ministry, which was furious at his being able to get as far as Paris without their knowing, Ôsugi was released. He was greeted like a conquering hero, newspapers clamoured for the rights to the story of his secret trip, and amid all the fanfare he and Itô Noë and Mako were able to return to Tokyo next morning by first-class carriage, paid for by the papers, of course.

The last word, however, belonged to the state and the police. Two months Ôsugi was dead, along-with 6000 Korean and Chinese forced-immigrants and hundreds of revolutionary militants, caught in the government-engineered bloodbath which followed the Great Kantô Earthquake that September. His body, along with that of Itô Noë and their sevenyear old nephew Sôichi who had been beaten and strangled to death with his in their Kempeitai cells, was thrown into a well to decompose. In the trial which followed the discovery of the putrefying corpses, themurderer, a secret policeman on orders from Emperor Hirohito, was given ,just tan years' gaol. Released by personal order of Hirohito himself four years later and assigned to "special duties" in Manchuria, he finally committed suicide in 1945 before his crimes could be avenged by the many anarchists after his blood.

For Ôsugi, though rendered a lifeless corpse, there was yet one more vindictive twist of the state's knife to come. On December 16 comrades of the three victims gathered to say one last farewell to their ashes be fore seeing them formally interred (according to Buddhist ritual this ceremony must take place three months after the death occurred). On that day right-wing thugs slipped into the room before the ceremony began, posing as mourners. When no-one was looking they picked up the casket containing the ashes of Ôsugi and fled, and the ashes have never been seen since (needless to say, the police made only a half-hearted search). The farewell ceremony took place, in unprecedented fashion, without the ashes of Ôsugi, while the state laughed up its sleeve,

3. Trying to Reach Makhno

Ôsugil's recollections of his three months in, France give the impression that he was just having a lot of fun, going backwards and forwards between Paris and Lyon, meeting with the Chinese comrades, occasionally staying with 'Madame NO, etc. To some extent this was true. Trying to keep a low profile to avoid being arrested and prevented from attending the Berlin conference, Ôsugi and Hayashi had held aloof from all political activities and become regular customers in the cafes and dance-halls of Montmartre. Ôsugi also struck up a relationship with a young danseuse named Doré.

At the same time, however, Ôsugi relates in his memoirs that he took the opportunity of being in Paris to make an intense investigation of an episode which had been a great inspiration to him: the Makhno Movement in the Ukraine, 1918-1921. Ôsugi regarded the Makhno movement as the most important aspect of the Russian revolution - indeed the only real revolution to have taken place and also one embodying the most important lessons for the Japanese anarchists. On this point he was highly critical of the Russian anarchists for ignoring the movement. His view of Makhno may be paraphrased as follows:

"In their excess of fervour for the $revolution' the Russian anarchists allowed themselves to be used by the Bolsheviks and, dazzled by their revolutionary battle-cries, lost the opportunity for organizing and marshalling the people's strength. Meanwhile the Makhno movement in the Ukraine was aiding and encouraging the creative activities of the peasants and so carrying out the real social revolution. The Makhno movement was not a movement based on anarchist theory, but a spontaneous rising of the peasants themselves which in broadening its bass turned naturally in an anarchistic direction. The role of the anarchists there was not that of leaders, but of supporters, not commanders but catalysts."

Ôsugi's efforts to enter Germany despite the cancellation of the anarchist conference stemmed from his desire to get more information about the movement. "My greatest regret of all concerning my European trip". he wrote later, "was that I had no chance, since I could not enter Germany, to meet the many ex-Makhnovists then living in exile in Berlin, particularly the so-called 'Head of General Staff' Voline." Ôsugi satisfied himself by gathering all the newspaper end magazine articles he could find in Paris, and by talking with whomever he could, and when he returned to Japan put the information thus pained together in his last written work, 'An Anarchist General: Nestor Makhno' (Museifu Shugi Shôgun: Nesutoru Mafuno).

  • 1. For more information on Chinese anarchists in France see Robert A.Scalapino and George T. Yu: The Chinese Anarchist Movement, pp. 44-53.
  • 2. Standard requirements in Japanese prisons even today require the prisoner to sit all day cross-legged inside a ring drawn in the centre of the cell, facing the door. If they want anything, even to take a piss, they must first ask permission from the warder, who they are obliged to call "teacher" if they do not want a beating.
  • 3. Ôsugi's given name "Sakae" can also be read "Ei", and he apparently sometimes used this version to avoid confusion with another socialist militant of the time, Sakai Toshihiko.

Conclusion: On Nationalism

Without attempting to present, on the one hand, Bakunin as less than A revolutionary or, on the other, Ôsugi as a hero (on re-reading the text it sometimes seems that such an impression might be construable), their respective behaviour was, nevertheless, extremely revealing.

Bakunin, for all the praise heaped upon him by his successors in the anarchist movement (anarchists in general may be said to be rather uncritical of. themselves and to possess a tendency to be over-lavish with their selfcongratulation - which is what the praise of Bakunin often amounts to), for all but the last ten years of his life was primarily a Slav chauvinist. In a letter to Herzen, for example, written after arriving in San Francisco on October 15 1861, he wrote of "the Polish-Slavonic question, which has been my 'Idea Pixel since 1846....the glorious free Slav federation, the one way out for Russia, the Ukraine, Poland and the Slavonic peoples generally" (emphasis added). He even, during his imprisonment, went so far as to appeal to Tear Nicholas I to attack Western Europe bearing the message of Slavism. and to bring down the parliamentary democracies that flourished there. He hated Germans, he hated Jews (these, incidentally, seem to have been the fundamental reasons for his antipathy towards Marx) - perhaps he even hated Japanese?

In other words, the simple answer in our opinion to why Bakunin aid not spend longer in and retain a memory of Japan is: he was just not interested. That in itself would not put him in a minority of one, by any means, but there do seem to be certain implications which are worth raising.

The thing we are criticizing here is not merely Bakunin himself, for in his Euro-centredness he was the victim of conditioning and anyway, at this stage, still in his Blanquist 'revolutionary dictatorship', pre-anarchist phase. No, the thing which must be attacked, more than any one individual, is the essence of nationalist ideology, and the mind-distorting myth of nationalism as a revolutionary force. Bakunin .himself definitively exploded this myth after he throw off its shackles in the years following his escape from Siberia.

Nationalism does not appear out of the blue: it is the major component of all statist educational propaganda, for the creation of an externalenemy is the state's greatest weapon in its battle against its subject peoples. Nationalism's most vociferous believers in Russia, China, and in present-day Indochina have always been the intellectuals (at least, in those countries which lacked a comprehensive education system; in Japan, where such a system was introduced almost immediately after the Meiji Restoration, the effect was to allow nationalism to penetrate to every corner of the country, with results that need no describing here).

Bakunin was no exception to this rule. During the 1840s, before his capture and imprisonment, his natural audience comprised Polish intellectuals, despite his faith expressed in the downtrodden poor, To appeal in nationalistic terms to the poor to revolt against the established order (as opposed to jingoism, which by mystifying the process of subjection turns the poor into enthusiastic slaves-of the state) is about as effective as King Canute ordering the tide to ebb. But this home truth was not recognized by Bakunin until almost twenty years later. The result of this "conditioning" was his lack of interest in Japan, a lack of interest which clashed sharply with his call in the 'Appeal to the Slavs' (1847) for an end to national frontiers.

Ôsugi Sakae, except for a brief period in his extreme youth, did not embrace the doctrine of the Rising Sun. Indeed, when he was only 21 years old he joined the Japan Esperantist Association, and in the same year, 1906, opened an Esperanto school. His feelings towards international solidarity, already touched upon in the text, may be surmised from his description of himself as a "socialist in translation". He continued, "most of my socialist ideas come from translating European works on socialism and the social movement, which I have digested with eagerness and with satisfaction", A natural linguist, he was proficient in English, French, Italian, Russian, German, and Esperanto.

No doubt, in this self-effacing description he was doing himself less than justice. Still, it should be clear enough that he had managed from almost the very start, to overcome the enticements of the establishment -'perhaps stronger in pre-war Japan than anywhere else, and always backed up by the assassin's sword as Ôsugi found.

There is no question that the contemporary situation had much to do with the contrast between Ôsugi and Bakunin;. The 19th century Slavonic peoples were enslaved to the West by the Austro-Hungarian empire, and to the East by the Russian empire, so that Bakunin could conceive of the emancipation of the Slavs from the yoke of these two great despotisms as a giant step towards worldwide revolution. Ôsugi's Japan, on the other hand, had already defeated China in 1894-959 and was beefing up its jingoist propaganda at the very time when Ôsugi entered the socialist movement in 1903. His initiation to socialism therefore, was by way of a concrete struggle: that of Japanese social!:,t3 against the brewing Russo-Japanese War, and Ôsugi threw himself into it whole-heartedly with his first published article 'To the New Constripts’, translated from a French original in the magazine ‘L'Anarchie’.

* * *

Historical conditions thus played a great part in forming the respective attitudes of Bakunin and Ôsugi. Had their birth dates been switchad around, Bakunin would have found himself operating in a post-world war I Europe where nominal independence at least had been granted to the Slavs; Ôsugi, for his part, would surely have joined in the movement to wrest Japan from the shackles of the Tokugawa dictatorship and thrust it, as a powerful nation-state, into the modern world. in either case their ways of thinking would have been very different from what they were in reality.

The question, then is why the force of nationalism was so strong in the case of Bakunin, and so weak in the case of Ôsugi. Bakunin was an extremely Perceptive revolutionary. His approach to nationalism and the concept of the "Fatherland" is summed up in two paragraphs cited in 'Anarchism and the National Liberation Struggle' by Alfred M. Bonnano, published by Bratach Dubh collective in 1976:

"The State is not the Fatherland, it is the abstraction, the meta- physical, mystical, political, juridical fiction of the Father land. The common people of all countries deeply love their father- land; but that is a natural, real love. The patriotism of the people is not just an idea, it is a fact; but political patriot- ism, love of the State, is not the faithful expression of that fact: it is an expression distorted by means of an ,?bstraction, always for the benefit of an exploiting minority.

"... Only that can be called a human principle which is universal and common to all men; qnd nationality separates men, therefore it is not a principle. hat is a principle is the respect which everyone should have for natural facts, real or social. Nation ality, like individuality, is one of those facts, Therefore we should respect it. To violate it is to commit a crime, and, to speak the language of ..azzini, it becomes a sacred principle each time it is menaced and violated. And that is why I feel myself always sincerely the patriot of all oppressed fatherlands."

These paragraphs (with suitable editing to remove sexist assumptions) could stand as an epitaph to the misguided efforts devoted to the anti-Vietnam War struggle. Yet the fact remains that Bakunin, like other Russian revolutionaries of the 19th century, was primarily a fighter for oppressed Slav fatherlands.

In discussions within the Libêro group we developed the idea that perhaps it was the vastness of the Slav regions that made Slav consciousness so difficult to overcome. In other words, one is governed to a large extent by one's horizons. A close examination of revolutions in agrarian countries like Vietnam or China reveals that the broad majority of peasants were fighting, not for the establishment of a state or even a nation, but to regain the autonomy over their own lives which they had enjoyed in the past. Their horizons, that is to say, were village ones. Such was not the case with intellectuals, whose horizons had been expanded by education to create the idea of a nation or state as the object of political activity. The transformation of struggles for personal autonomy into struggles for "national independence" has been one of the major counter-revolutionary achievements of this century, and the primary responsibility lies with bourgeois intellectuals out to seize the reins of power from the foreign imperialists. Bakunin, to his credit and our advantage, forecast such a development more than a century ago.

Yet, for a long period his own horizons were determined by his Slav consciousness, horizons which set him apart from those Russian peasants whose physical and mental boundaries were determined by their mir or community. The sheer extent of one's mental horizons when one identified with the Slav race as a whole effectively blurred one's vision of non-Slav peoples (compare today the Great Russian chauvinism of the "New Tsars" in Moscow towards national minorities like the Uighurs, Kazaks and so on).

By way of contrast, quite the opposite set of circumstances might be cited to explain the behaviour of Ôsugi Sakae. The awareness of Japan's smallness compared with China triggered off very early in Japanese history a sense of "uniqueness", a defensive reaction which ultimately le d to the national fascism of the 19300 (Wilhelm Reich's "small man complex" on a national scale). At the same time though, while the Chinese have always maintained a strict lack of interest in things non-Chinese, the Japanese, on the contrary, have traditionally been eager to keep abreast of foreign events and ideas. The isolationist policy of the Tokugawa shoguns was a historical aberration brought on by fear of social change; yet even during those two centuries the rulers in Edo kept in touch with developments in the West through compulsory regular visits by Dutch trade missions to the Shogun's palace. Long before, both Korea and China had been taken as models for the shaping of Japanese civilization, and when the Tokugawas' hold was finally broken the sudden rush to absorb Western learning was a return to normalcy rather than the historical. curiosity it is usually taken to be.

Japan, then, was a small country, and the horizons of its educated class narrower than those of the Slav intellectuals. In those early days, Japanese intellectuals on the Right and on the Left saw, nothing strange and nothing shameful in borrowing foreign ideas, if those ideas appeared definitively to be good ones, As time went by, reactionary politicians turned the sense of Japan's uniqueness into a national myth, adorned it with a veil of Shinto and closed the doors on foreign ideas once again. At the time Ôsugi Sakae was alive, however, the West still offered an exciting source of new inspiration. The readiness with which he initially applauded the Russian revolution, sought to absorb the lessons of the Makhno movement, set up his Esperanto school, translated Western writers, and, finally, set out for the international conference in Berlin, can thus be understood.

Ôsugi's Japanese-ness itself made him both open to external influences and eager to take part in overseas activities. Bakunin's Slav-ness rave him an outlook that was at once broad - thanks to the geographical spread of the Slav peoples - yet narrow. That restriction precluded him from responding positively to the opportunity offered by his visit to Japan.


It can be readily seen that little is known about Bakunin's activities in Japan (but, see below). As indicated in the text and in the footnotes, however, there are numerous leads which, if followed up, promise new revelations.

Among these are Kee's diary and Heine's post-1861 writings. We would like to appeal to interested readers (particularly, in the case of Heine, German readers) to check out these sources and let us know if they provide any important new information.

* * *

Just as we were about to begin typing the final draft of this pamphlet Wakayama Kenji sent us a dozen or so new documents concerning Bakunin's stay in Japan, including two by the anarchist Kubô Jô and the historian Itabashi Tomoyuki on which both Henmi's and Wakayama's own article draw heavily. The problem was, whether to hold up printing and incorporate the now information contained in these documents into the text, or to publish the original text as it was and put out a further edition later. Although Wakayama urged us to read the new material before publishing the pamphlet, insisting that they took precedence over his own, after discussion in the group we decided to go ahead. We reasoned that, not only were we anxious to put out a new issue after a break of two years, but we had already sent out an announcement to the effect that this pamphlet's publication was imminent (it had in any case been delayed by the failure of a typewriter). Since it would take several months to read and digest the new documents and rearrange the text accordangly, the best idea seened to be to go ahead and print, and that is what vie did. The new edition (or rather, supplemental edition) will, if all goes wall, become 'Libero International' No. 7.


This is the 5th issue of Libero Int'l, coming out almost 2 years after No. 4. The reasons for taking so long are many: reduction of the group to 3 members; preoccupation of 2 of them with newly-experienced father hood; doubts about L.I.s contents; and increasing involvement in other things; plus a new typewriter that broke down 3 times and held us up for 6 months.

The present issue may not be as visibly pleasing as former ones, but it represents an attempt to go ahead on a shoestring budget & very limited time & resources, on the general principle of "out and paste up",

In order to try to create more feedback, we have decided from now on to include a questionnaire with each issue. Please fill in and return it if you have any comments, or just send it back to acknowledge receipt. Please enclose with it the stamps on the wrapper we're avid collectors! (By the way, why not send any other old stamps to the Anarchist Black Cross? There are people who'd love to receive them!)

On our shoestring budget we have to pay attention to mailing costs, up to half our outlay. From this issue we have cut out all those from whom we have had no response at all since No. 1. If you want to go on receiving L.I. please send back the questionnaire and/or send us an exchange publication.

Since we cannot guarantee regular future publication, we no longer have fixed subscription rate. Ideally, we'd like to send out free to everyone, but our mailing list, even after trimming, runs to some 200 addresses, only 20 or so of which are subscribers, and the cost is extortionate. So if you feel that L.I. makes a contribution to the int'l libertarian movement, please send us whatever cash you think appropriate - no bank cheques please, but IMOs are OK.

To our subscribers we apologize for our long silence, and hope this special issue on Bakunin both raises enough problems and tells a good-enough story to make you forgive us.

Libero International No.6 (March 1980)

Issue No. 6 of the Japanese journal Libero International - the final issue.

A Message from the S.I.C.

We are sorry to say that we temporarily stop the Publication of our 'Libero International'. We thank you, those individuals arid groups who have written to us, subscribed to 'L.I.1', and exchanged materials with us. And now we must add that we also closed the PO Box of Kobe. From now on please send all materials and letters to: ( * * * )

Although 'Libero' shall sleep for a while, this does not mean that CIRA-Nippon will cease all its activities. We are very pleased to continue to have your periodicals, pamphlets etc. if you kindly send them to us. Those we receive shall be sent to the CIRA-Nippon library at Fujinomiya just as they have been, and will be available to anyone who wants to see them. We can still supply some copies of 'Libero' issues 2,3 and 4. but No. 1 is out of Print and No. 5 running short.

To subscribers: do we have any debt to you? If you think so, please say so. But now we don't have any money to pay you back (!) We hope you kindly await the day when we can re-start.

Now please let me explain the reasons for our closing 'Libero'. Firstly, we are now interested in a new project, a translation of a history of the Korean Anarchist Movement. The first volume of the original Korean edition is a large book of 460 pages including many documents, from which we want to make the abridged Japanese and English translations. This work is too big for us to treat as a sidejob. (Please see Hiroshi Ozeki's article later in this issue.)

Secondly, we are now able neither to have much time for the magazine, nor to add new members to the collective. Five years have passed since the first issue, and much water has passed under the bridge. At the starting-point we had four members with a few supporters, and now have only three; one was married but is now out of employment, and other two have become fathers with two children each. They are busy with their jobs and their children.

These children are still too young to help us. We hope they will help us to publish 'Libero' in some days: maybe after fifteen years at least. But now these babies disturb us with their angels' smiles and devils, crying. The situation will be improved in a few years, we hope.

In other ways too, the situation has changed much compared with that of our starting-point. We are sorry that we have failed to attract new members, partly because of our own weak activities; but we are also sorry that few young Japanese have shown their concern for publishing a revue in English. And these years the general social movements, especially the student movement, became weak, though we have some small exceptions.

Finally, let me speak of myself. I have been semi-unemployed these four years and now I am a little tired, because I have to take on much part-time teaching to make money. I feel that I have some danger to make it an excuse for myself to treat the daily affairs of SIC. Every week our post-box received so many periodicals, pamphlets and letters. I was very interested in this work, but now I came to feel this a heavy duty. This isn't a good tendency, I think. This is why I handed the work to Wat, who will do it when he has time.

Six years ago when I intended to make a bulletin of CIRA-Nippon, the result was a tiny news letter with only eight pages ('Libero' No. 0). But we made an editorial collective and so came about the 'Libero International' that you know. The result surprised me very much and so did the responses to it. This taught me how little information had flowed out of Asia, even from Japan. I think that 'Libero' is a necessary channel for both you and us, though I am afraid, it has carried rather few articles on up-to-date situations of Asia and Japan.

We hope to and will re-start our publication of 'Libero'; the restarting issue will be the first part of the translation of the history of the Korean Anarchist Movement. I myself want to issue some kind of newsletter instead of 'Libero', even if only once a year, but I/we can't promise it. But anything we publish will of course be sent to you.

You have some information channels from Asia in English, one of which was our 'Libero'. Though 'Libero's editorial collective will continue their activities, both joint ones (publication of the Korea book) and independent ones (commune movement, anti-nuclear movement, coop movement etc.), 'Libero' for the time being goes to bed. So, we say "Goodnight", not "Goodbye"; and "See you later", not "Sayonara".

Kusaura Naohide

PS from Wat Tyler: as KN says above, in the future I will be handling correspondence and coping with the remaining bureaucratic tasks. I'd like to apologize in advance for the delays and mix-ups that this is bound to cause.

Museihushugi: The Revolutionary Idea in Japan

Over the past two years I haven't been able to put as much energy as I would have liked into the regular production of 'Libero'. Apart from having become heavily involved in child-care and other activities as well as having taken on a new and demanding job, much of my time has been absorbed by the compiling of a full-length history of the anarchist movement in Japan.

The project was originally a response to a request from Stuart Christie of Cienfuegos Press (though addressed to the entire collective, the task eventually fell on my shoulders alone) to edit the English translation of Victor Garcia's short book Museihushugi: el anarquismo japonés (Mexico City, 1976). Over the space of time, after discussions among the people concerned, it was decided to work the text into a comprehensive movement history. The result was Museifushugi: The Revolutionary Idea in Japan, jointly authored by Victor Garcia and Wat Tyler, to be published by Cienfuegos Press in mid-1980.

Ever since coming to Japan and helping to form the Libero International Editorial Collective in the autumn of 19749 it had been one of my aims to write a history of the anarchist movement here. In various articles in L.I. we tried to put together the bones of such a history, but the task was a daunting one. Even in Japan there are no (to my mind) satisfactory histories of the prewar movement, while no history at all has been written of the movement since 1945. Anarchist history in Japan, like that elsewhere (see Hiroshi Ozeki's article following this one), has been obliterated by the combined efforts of scholars and party hacks. Without the proposal to edit Victor Garcia's book, I would probably still be wondering where to start. Our Museifushugi is thus the first complete history of the Japanese anarchist movement in any language.

The principal contents of the book are as follows: I. HISTORICAL SYNOPSIS - Struggles for Power/Christian Century/Isolation/Tokugawa Society/Arrival of the 71est/Centralization of Power/ Rise and Fall of Militarism; II. HISTORICAL ANCESTRY OF ANARCHISM Exponents of Libertarian Collectivism/Revolts of the Middle Ages/ Synthesis of Zen/Andô Shôeki; III. MODERN ANARCHIST MOVEMENT (1) Oriental Socialist Party/Introduction of Socialist Theory/Nakae Chômin and the Popular Rights Movement/Kôtoku Shûsui and the Intellectual Rejection of the State/Ôsugi Sakae and the Anarchist Labour Movement/Anarchist Martyrology/Pure Anarchism versus Syndicalism/11th Hour Proposals/Women and the Anarchist Movement/Popular Resistance During the War.; IV. POSTWAR JAPAN - The Emperor System/August 1945/ The Economic 'Boom'/The Labour Movement/Political Parties/Student Movement; V. MODERN ANARCHIST MOVEMENT (2) - Survivors of State Brutality/Anarchist Movement after 1945/Second Phase, 1951-1968/Anarchist Movement after 1968/Anarchism Today/Summary and Conclusions. PLUS: Notes/References/Photographs/Movement Addresses in Japan/Index/Maps.

The Japanese anarchist movement, from its beginnings soon after the Meiji Restoration of 1868, has been one of the most dynamic in the world. Fighting against a government for which totalitarian repression was second nature, the movement gave up a series of martyrs right up to the outbreak of World War II and the crushing of all independent political initiatives. From the early 1920s on it also had to contend with the hostility and arrogance of the Leninists, thanks to which much revolutionary energy was wasted in frustrating ideological squabbles (which is not to suggest that the anarchists were free of all blame). Although this is the point at which the anarchists are usually written off by straight historians, the truth is that they continued fighting and suffering until the last hours of prewar Japan.

Following the defeat of Japanese militarism in August 1945, the anarchist survivors (some of whom had remained quietly active during the war years) emerged once again to fight an energetic campaign against the American Occupation and the gradual re-militarization of the Japanese economy. Dormant, like anarchist movements everywhere, during the 1950s, the Japanese anarchists burst into the public eye once again with the resistance to the Vietnam War and in the student movement, and since then have continued to maintain a minority presence on the Left. In the last ten years or so, anarchist methods - non-hierarchical organizing, direct action etc, - have spread beyond the anarchist movement itself to the growing citizens' resistance movements, and anarchist ideas have become widely known.

Up to now there has been no history of this movement. Even the few histories in Japanese tend to be mainly ideological accounts, stopping at 1937, with only a brief reference to postwar developments The lack of such a history always troubled us at 'Libero', and thanks to Victor Garcia's original effort and to Stuart Christie's invitation to edit it, at last we have been able to help remedy that lack. In Museifushugi we have tried to tell the whole story of the Japanese anarchists.

The book is more than just a history of the anarchist movement, however. On the assumption that the average reader will be unfamiliiar with conditions in Japan, the authors have tried at the same time to give a clear Picture of the social, political and economic background to the unfolding of anarchist activities. Together with the section on the history of Japan up to 1868, therefore, the movement history has been interweaved with explanations of the post-1868 transformation of Japanese society, Japanese social structure, and the political situation. Chapters on the labour movement, the women's movement, the student movement, the emperor system and so on also help put the anarchist movement into correct perspective.

While mainly western sources have been used for the background chapters, those describing the movement itself have as far as possible used the memories of actual Participants to supplement the overall accounts. Support for the editing work was also given by the comrades at 'Libertaire'. in Tokyo, and most of all by Mukai Kou, veteran militant and currently secretary of WRI-Japan, who gave up much of his time to help in various ways. Some sections of the text, such as those concerning the burakumin (social outcaste) anarchist movement, are actually based on drafts originally prepared by Mukai.

Speaking for myself, finally, I tend personally to go along with the idea of the radical feminists that all male revolutionaries up to now - including Proudhon, Kropotkin and the rest - have been mere reformers in that they did not recognize seek to promote the role of women in the revolutionary movement. Japanese anarchists, past and present, can unquestionably be criticized on this point, and I made my position clear in the text, particularly the conclusion, of Museifushugi. Digging out the anarchists' activities, however, also helped me to uncover much information previously unknown about libertarian women's activities. While the book as it stands is, therefore, a history first and foremost of Japanese anarchist men, it has meaning for me in this sense. By throwing light on the hitherto "hidden from history" activities or anarchist men, it Proves that what can be done for men can, with a little extra effort, be done for women too (one might say that anarchist women have been "hidden from history" twice over). When that second task is completed it will be possible to say for the first time that a truly "anarchist" history of the anarchist movement has been written. It's a task which, despite reservations stemming from my being, after all, a man, I'm looking forward to. Any helpers?

Wat Tyler

The Korean Anarchist Movement

Let me first explain how I personally came to be involved with the anarchist movement in Korea. It's a story that goes back ten years.

There was a friend of mine then living in Osaka, an American anarchist named Frank Gould (Frank later disappeared in the Philipines, and is now believed to have been murdered by government agents), who was about to make the statutory trip over to Korea in order to renew his visa (something which foreigners on tourist visas had to do every 2 months). I had already received the names and addresses of some "old anarchists" still active in Korea from the secretary of the Japan Anarchist Federation. Most of them had been active in Japan together with Japanese anarchists before the war when Korea had still been a Japanese colony. I asked Frank to look them up, find out who was still alive, and to report on what they were doing,

The report which Frank made on his return two weeks later went beyond my wildest dreams, and Frank himself was hopping with excitement. "Over in Korea they had a Makhno too! His name was Lee Nestor, and he was one of the most active of all the anarchists. In Manchuria too before the war, the Korean anarchists had their own army, led by Kim Chua-chin, a hero they called the "Anarchist General". In China the Korean anarchists took part in the Shanghai Labour University and helps build rural communes and a peasant militia in Fukien province Frank's report was an eye-opener, for we had had no idea that the Korean movement was so rich in its history.

3 months later I hurried over to Korea to see for myself. In order to prepare for the trip I had consulted every avail able piece of written material on Korea in Japanese, but almost nowhere was there any mention of the anarchist movement there. In materials put together by the communists, the anarchists are dismissed as a faction of the nationalist movement, while in nationalist materials they are written out of the picture completely. In the course of this crash course in Korean history, I realized the immensity of the task at hand: it amounted to no less than digging out the history of the Korean anarchists from the heaped-up slanders of both the communists and the nationalists, and seeing that their history gets the recognition it so deserves.

There are today some 650,000 Koreans still living in Japan, half of them born here since the war. Divided into communist and nationalist factions reflecting the political division on the Korean peninsula itself, none of the postwar generation have thus been told the true history of their country. There is a crying need for them to know the history of those who fought and shed their blood with the vision of building a new Korea which was truly free, one which had nothing in common with either of the regimes which control present-day Korea.

My first surprise upon arriving in Korea was to find that, much as the anarchists there might be mainly "old" prewar veterans, many of them in their 70s, they had a solid organization, and were, moreover, very active. What surprised me even more, though, was to find 'that there already existed an 'Editorial Committee for the History of the Anarchist Movement in Korea'. It had gathered a considerable number of materials, and was well-advanced in the work of editing them. I had arrived right in the middle of the editing work. When I suddenly turned up to announce that "I wanted to write the unknown history of the Korean anarchists and publish it in Japan", the effect was to push them into a new burst of energy. Nevertheless, it was to be a further eight years before the book would be published in Korea. In the meantime I made several trips there, jotting down all the stories I could hear from the veterans I met, collecting all the documents I could lay my hands on, succeeding little by little in shedding the first rays of light onto an area of Far Eastern revolutionary history that was almost totally unknown in Japan.

The book which finally emerged in Korea was truly a credit to the long years of work that had gone into it. 460 pages long, it bore the subtitle 'Part One: The National Liberation Struggle Period'. The sequel, to be called 'The Period of Constructing a Free Nation'. treats the period after 1945 and is scheduled for future publication. Initial responsibility for compiling Part One from the mass of documents that had been collected was undertaken by Choi Kap-ryong. Part Two was to have been the work of another veteran, Cho Han-yung, but Mr Cho tragically died when the work was only half-completed, and the task has presumably been taken over by the other comrades. Overall responsibility for composing and editing the final text, adding explanatory introductions and so on lay with yet another veteran, Ha Ki-rak. The principal contents of Part One are as follows: A. INTRODUCTION - Anarchist Movement in C19 Europe/Anarchist Movement in China/Anarchist Movement in Japan/Libertarian Elements in the Korean Tradition; B. HISTORY OF THE KOREAN ANARCHIST MOVEMENT: PART ONE, THE NATIONAL LIBERATION STRUGGLE: 1. The Embryo Period - Li He-yong in China/Shin Chae-ho and the Korean Revolutionary Manifesto/Pak Yul and Kaneko Fumiko; 2. The Organized Period - The Domestic Movement in Various Centres/The Korean Movement in Japan: the Emergence of Terrorism/After the 1923 Earthquake/The Black Friends' League; The Korean Movement in China: Korean Anarchists' League/Participation in the Chinese Movement/Tung Fang Anarchist League; 3. The Struggle Period - The Movement in China: Korean Youth League in South China/Bombing of the Japanese Ambassador/Elimination of Pro-Japanese Traitors/Wartime Construction Corps/Participation in the Provisional Govt/Korean Studies Institute and Shin Chae-ho Institute; The Movement at Home; The Movement in Japan: Black Friends' League and the 'Black Newspaper'/ The Movement in 1933/The Movement in 1933-34/The Movement and the Sino-Japanese War; PLUS: Index/Postscript.

The English translation of this book by 'Nat Tyler will be based on the Japanese edition put together jointly by comrades Shirakawa , Kanda Esaka and myself, at the same time taking care to see that the text does not deviate significantly from the original Korean version. However, as you can see from the contents, much of the material in section A is already familiar to western readers, while other parts would require lengthy introductions to make them satisfying. In any case, it is quite beyond our capacities at the present time to produce a translation of the entire text. The English translation will thus be a partial one. Some sections will be omitted, others shortened or summarized. Still, we think that the end result will be worth waiting for. How soon it appears will depend on the energy of comrade Wat Tyler.

Ozeki Hiroshi


The Libertaire group in Tokyo has published a documentary history of the Japanese anarchist movement that perfectly complements our own. Translated writings include those of Nakae Chômin, Kôtoku Shûsui, woman militant Kanno Suga, Osugi Sakae, syndicalists Kondô Kenji and Mizunuma Tatsuo, terrorist Furuta Daijirô, Kropotkinist Hatta Shûzô, feminists Itô Noe and Takamure Itsue, individualist Tsuji Jun, veterans Ishikawa Sanshirô and Iwasa Sakutarô, the Village Youth Movement and the Anarcho-Communist Party. The collection stops at 1937. The edition is a limited one of 500 copies, and the cost is $10 or its equivalent (inc lusive of sea-mail charge), from Le Libertaire c/o S. Hagiwara, 2190 Oizumi-gakuencho, Nerima, Tokyo a historical sketch of the movement, a chronology, and some fascinating photographs.

Pa Chin: the Latest News

Pa Chin, of course, is the Chinese anarchist writer, also known as Li Fei-kan.

Though he had a tremendous following in the 1920s and 1930s, his books were banned after 1949 and later allowed to be published only in expurgated editions with all references to anarchism and all libertarian ideas/characters edited out. During the "Cultural Revolution" Pa Chin was pilloried by Red Guards as a "bourgeois element" and forced into seclusion. In the past few years he has emerged once again, has been seen in various official literary positions, and has even been reported to be in the process of writing a new novel. Lest it be assumed that the post-Gang of Four authorities are taking a softer line towards non-party activities, however, it is important to understand the true basis of the new "lenient" attitude. A recent article on Pa Chin explains it all- for us: he was never an anarchist at all!

The article is one entitled 'A Tentative Discussion of Pa Chin's World Outlook and His Early Writings' by Li To-wen in the magazine 'Literary Review' (Wen-hsüeh P'ing-Lu un), 1979 No. 2. Li discusses Pa Chin's literary activities during the 1920s and his "flirtation" with anarchism, pointing out that he was criticized for advocating anarchism, because it drew young people away from Marxism. Pa Chin was denounced as an advocate of personal freedom more than a foe of feudalism and imperialism. Li then goes on to say that this view was the result of a too-selective treatment of Pa Chin's writings. If one looks at his whole literary output one finds that he was never an anarchist at all, merely a democratic revolutionary! (though still inferior to Marx-Leninist "true" revolutionaries of course). Pa Chin's anarchism was not true anarchism at all, merely the influence of western anarchist ideas brought in through the May 4 Movement of 1919. Slogans like "absolute freedom" and "absolute democracy" were no more than expressions of opposition to feudalism and imperialism.

The article ends on an apparently conciliatory note, suggesting that perhaps it was necessary for young people to absorb anarchistic ideas in order to sharpen their awareness of the oppressiveness of Chinese society (many Red Guards found them helpful once again in 1966! - WT). The underlying message, however, is that anarchism is not a revolutionary position at all, just a transitory idealism limited to the stage of the bourgeois revolution. "Proletarian revolutionaries", of course (though the article doesn't say so), have to swallow their ideals and compromise with the most gullible or opportunistic elements on the reactionary side in order to "capture power by any means". Whoever seizes power in the end, it is the anarchists who must bear the brunt of the repression that always follows. Pa Chin is a living example.

Article index by country

This list collects all articles published in the Japanese journal Libero International according to the country they deal with, in the order they were published.


(that part of Southeast Asia colonised by the French comprising of Vietnam, Cambodia and Laos)