Issue No. 3 of the Japanese journal Libero International. The exact date of publication is unknown, but presumed to be in 1975.
Libero International No.3
Group profile: Hong Kong 70s Front
The 70s Front group consists of both Hong Kong Chinese and many libertarian refugees from the reaction which accompanied the so-called "cultural revolution" in China. Some members publish a magazine, "70s Bi-weekly" (in Chinese). Others have organized the Asia/Pacific branch of the Alternative Press Syndicate, and have put out three issues of "Minus 9," the local APS bulletin. This is from their statement entitled, "Our Position." You can contact them at 158 Shaukiwan Road, Hong Kong.
An active organization carrying out the social revolution, the '70s Front" is naturally ready to confront many questions, such as: What are your beliefs and ideals? How do you see the future Hong Kong revolution? And so on. Such questions are, honestly, hard to answer, but nonetheless demand thorough analysis, lest our action come to lose all its vitality, our words and deeds become rootless and our blindness laughable. The below can be said to be our first, tentative attitudes toward the above questions.
In certain cases people ordinarily say: "I'm an xxx-ist." Likewise, we are often asked, "What ism are you?," Questions such as these put us in a predicament which doesn't mean that we've no ideals nor beliefs, only that we've yet to come upon the perfect banner representing our thoughts. Those whose heads hanker after worn-out ways, treading the straight and narrow of rigid self-restraint; who, without a shred of principle, take the teachings of the prophets and priests and call them their own ideas - they represent the flight from freedom. The aim of revolution is to change society, not to register the correctness of this or that ism.
With an open attitude, we therefore recognize, criticize and welcome all progressive thought. Any "pure xxx-ism" is absolutely meaningless. So, to answer the questions above, usually all we can say is: "We are socialists." Socialism is a tide in which we find many currents, some of them mutually opposed. Those who insist on classifying the ultimate aim of socialism according to two distinct higher and lower stages, communist and socialist, bring up the "transition question," a theoretical basis advanced so as to perpetuate the state machine, oppress the people, and secure the advantage of a small elite after the elimination of capitalism.
In general, socialist currents and sects share one point: they all favor the abolition of private ownership and the return of production capital to the public ownership of society. They seek to remake society on an egalitarian base so as to establish an ideal society which meets people's needs. Since we too share these concepts, we too call ourselves "socialists." But compared to all the other socialist strands, we especially stress the humanist spirit to be found in socialism. As Marx stressed in his Economic and Philosophical Manuscripts, if communism lacks humanism then it isn't communism, and humanism lacking communism isn't humanism. One who seeks complete independence and freedom can only exist in a society both rational and prosperous. And a rational and prosperous society's existence, in turn, depends on whether the individual character is to fully develop.... The most revolutionary aspect of a revolutionary lies precisely in his/her independence and freedom. Come the day our individuality is wiped out, we're robbed of our freedom, and all is done at the direction of a solitary authority, leader or party, then we'll have reached the ideal society - if this isn't the biggest joke the world has ever seen, then it has got to be the most beautiful!
We are resolutely against all authority: authority suggests suppression. And against all power, no matter its shape or form. We affirm that, under freedom and equality, a socialist life is founded on mutual cooperation and free association. But unlike the proverbial thief who covers his ears that the ringing of the bell he's stealing won't give him away, we don't deceive ourselves by denying the existence of the class struggle in the society before us. We are, however, resolutely against encouraging class hatred as the driving power of the revolution. Hatred will only bring in its wake retribution, suppression, stripping of the people's rights and the distortion of the people's humanity....
Violence perpetuates the slavery and robbery of the masses - precisely this principle serves as the foundation of contemporary society. A violent socialist revolution is necessary, and if we are to radically transform society and construct in its place one of free workers, there is no way. for us to accomplish this save by a violent socialist revolution. But naturally we cannot encourage and sing the praises of violence. Rather than saying violence inevitably and logically proceeds from revolution, better to say that we are forced to resort to violence because, in order to secure their own profits, the anti-revolutionists suppress us with violence.
... In the last analysis is the Chinese social structure under the communist regime socialism? This, more than all else, calls for urgent analysis.
First the economic side. The Chinese communists are stuck as ever in the rut of capitalism... The economic system under the Chinese communists is simply one where the capital resources have been rationalized, domestic markets brought under state control and nationally-operated ventures come to replace private ones. But nationalizing production resources has little to do with socializing production resources, and even less to do with realizing a socialist economy.... In China, nationalizing production resources means only that the state has become the general capitalist; and its control powers are all concentrated in the hands of a small clique of party bureaucrats. Thus have the party bureaucrats, in turn, metamorphosed to where they've taken "protective custody" of productive resources.
As ever before, the industrial workers are wage labor, people plundered and repressed. Having failed to eliminate capitalism, the Chinese communists have driven the capitalist system to the extreme.... Not only do wages not reflect the value of labor itself, but are low compared to other capitalist countries. Not only are wages not subject to supply and demand, likewise neither is return on investment regulated, so that the push for attainment of the greatest scale of return on investment has been rendered into the guideline of the People's Economic Plan. This kind of policy is reflected in the universal low wages and shortage of consumer goods, and is reflected all the more in the flow of goods from the mainland to Hong Kong. The application of political force to the suppression of labor, to the increase in expropriation of value, and to the exalting of the return on investment rate all leave any traditional capitalist system trailing far behind in a cloud of dust....
The socialist economy we seek:
As for the political aspect in China, the party directs everything, and the Chinese Communist Party has been influenced by the foul weed of the Leninist vanguard party organized as a high-level, concentrated formation, founded on the principle of "democratic centralism." Theoretically, policy formulation involves a democratic-style discussion by standing party members or their proxies, thereafter to be collectivized and implemented. And should there be an opposing view, once the matter is put to a vote, the majority will must be obeyed absolutely.
On the surface this appears both democratic and collective; actual circumstances are quite the contrary. In this case ample democracy means nothing more than the opportunity for those attending the meeting to understand opposing views. But it does not necessarily follow that this will solve the problems, because a policy's correctness can only be tested in the crucible of actual implementation. Under centralism, minority opinions lose all chance of being tried and tested, and naturally which way is right cannot be determined. Therefore, when events reveal majority decisions and consequent policy to have been in error, the people must go on believing that that was the only way.
As far as those who hold democratic centralism sacred are concerned, to allow any chance of implementation to dissimilar ideas or policies represents the path of adventurism or the stupid dissipation of "actual energies." But we'd like to point out that the opinion of the majority is not necessarily the correct one. If it is majority opinion that serves as the refuge for all policies, is not this too a kind of adventurism? Rather, wouldn't it be far safer to allow different policies a chance at experimentation and actualization, so as to provide mutually complementary, supportive policies? And as for the line that this would mean a dissipation of actual energies, there's even less of a leg to stand on. For the concrete expression of actualized energies is to be found in the efficient application of all resources, and the quick - and accurate - attaining of projected targets....
Democratic centralization suffers from one serious defect: it becomes a warm bed to bureaucrats. This is the result of high-level centralization of power as well as information and materials. Consider the case of an ordinary party member: though s/he is legally entitled to criticize and review the policies of his/her superiors, yet, unable to obtain the relevant data, how is s/he to conduct a vigorous criticism or an effective review? In such cases where decisions flow top-down and not bottom-up, the slow development of absolute submissiveness to one's superiors is the result....
"Without the efforts of the Chinese Communist Party, without CCP members serving as the mainstream pillars of the people, the independence and liberation of China would have been impossible, as would the industrialization of China and the modernization of its agriculture." Selected Works of Mao Tse-tung, Vol. III, "on Coalition Government." This passage fully reflects a reactionary toward the interests of the revolution, the masses, and the party, etc. And it is with just such a attitudes that a small group of bureaucrats, regarding the advantage of the party as that of the revolution, see their own interests and theirs only as the interests of the party. And whenever they meet opponents of different mind, they immediately attack them as "counter-revolutionaries" or a "conspiracy party." Under the pretext of dictatorship of the proletariat, gradually all become subject to a progressively unscrupulous repression.
Not only is this true for extra-party affairs, but also within the party too - as demonstrated in the reactionary line, "No party outside the party, no faction within the party." If such a dictatorship is meant to protect the fruits of the revolution, and to bring the passage to communism, then it amounts to the most colossal absurdity. We must understand that dictatorship is only meant to maintain the special class interests of the ruling class, and the proletariat hasn't its own class property interests. So there's no such thing as a so-called class dictatorship. The entire process of stripping the bourgeoisie of all its capital should be a revolution involving the whole of humanity. To set up, at any point in this process, a controlling party dictatorship under the fine-sounding name of "dictatorship of the proletariat" is simply a dirty insult to, and shameless deceit of, the proletariat. No matter whose hands hold the reins of the state, the result is still suppression of the people. In a nutshell, "Power corrupts and absolute power corrupts absolutely."
Therefore we resolutely oppose the vanguard party concept, instead advocating a myriad of mass organizations, each producing its own ideas and policies. At the same time this assures a consciousness-raising struggle of the people on the broadest possible scale. The consciousness of the people is the main condition for the fruitation of the true socialist revolution. A revolution directed by a party or a few "heroes" cannot possibly be a revolution liberating humankind. Simultaneously, we oppose using the pretext of dictatorship of the proletariat to strengthen the instrument of the state.
Simply put, we oppose all dictatorships, all governments, all forms of statism. and all authority. We stand for endlessly-evolving freedom, for we sense, intuitively, that individual freedom is the prior condition for the freedom of all, and that once the individual is robbed of his/her freedom, freedom for all cannot possibly exist. Likewise, when the collective good ignores or suppresses individual interest, that spells the end of the collective good.
Where Is China Going?
In China, the true meaning of socialism has been distorted and corrupted. A cruel, relentless dictatorship, ubiquitous security agents, the impersonal concepts of the murky religion of "socialism"... made people feel dark and secretive. Just when all hope was lost, the "Great Cultural Revolution " burst forth in a shower of sparks, penetrating the darkness with a gleaming light, illuminating for China the road ahead, whereon performed those socialist fighters who, for the sake of truth, would not submit, but would fight back, struggle, and ultimately seize the victory.
The Great Cultural Revolution, beginning with a top-to-bottom false revolution, was transformed into a bottom-to-top genuine revolution. The masses would never again be made fools of, never again let themselves be led by the nose into bringing down those designated as the so-called class enemy.... On their own, they organized and took control, and they discovered that even without the bureaucrats and supreme directives, their factories could maintain and even increase production. And they found that their lives were fuller than ever before, the gap between people closed. In order to thoroughly smash the bureaucratic structure - the "revolutionary committees" - mass revolutionary organizations appeared.
This spontaneous mass movement was diametrically opposed to the religious socialism of Mao Tse-tung; the authority of the "pope" lost some of its glamor. Repression failed time and again, ideology momentarily came to life, and for the first time the people came into contact with the tide of true socialism. One by one, groups representing the vanguard of the masses, who had come to a socialist awareness, began to emerge in the ranks of the ultra-left. Their growth heralded the death of Mao Tse-tung Thought. The fear-stricken bureaucrats shed their masks, revealing their ferocious features, and mobilized the state apparatus to lord it over the people. Then the military fired its guns, and the revolutionary generation became a generation ground underfoot. The revolution died. Long live the revolution! The flesh may disappear, but the idea will stand strong in the face of armed repression.
The ultra-left factions of the Great Cultural Revolution symbolized the dawn of the Chinese revolution, but we must point out that, though they consciously opposed the bureaucrats and though they sincerely struggled for socialism, yet over 20 years of authoritarian control has forged an authoritarian character in a great majority of the people. Hence, even within the ranks of the ultra-left, not a few of the anti-bureaucrat fighters still subconsciously fashioned themselves after their rulers. This is history's tragedy, the poisoned legacy of the Mao Tse-tung dictatorship - and will become a great obstacle to the coming revolution. To mitigate this disaster, it is precisely here that we revolutionaries overseas who, taking advantage of our relatively free contacts with all the new trends in revolutionary thought throughout the world, should apply our energy.
The future of the Chinese revolution is tied up with the question of whether or not the ultra-leftists can spark off an all-encompassing socialist revolution; and that for Hong Kong with its success or failure. This does not mean that we in Hong Kong must wait by the stump for the hare1 in anticipation of the arrival of the Chinese revolution. On the contrary, we must fight to oppose all irrational systems and let the mass movement in Hong Kong serve as catalyst for the Chinese revolution. To prevent the Hong Kong mass movement from falling into the ruts of the toppled cart of Kronstadt, the Chinese revolution remains the only effective assurance.
- 1an old Chinese proverb which refers to the story of the man who, having seen a hare go down its hole, decided to sit down at a stump nearby and wait for it to come out again, the saying means to wait in vain, or to passively wait instead of taking constructive action.
Asian anarchism in western languages (2): China
Suggested reading list from Libero International.
*]"International News China," Black Flag, 111/19 (April 1975): about Pa Chin's public humiliation by Red Guards during the "Cultural Revolution" and befriending by the workers among whom he was sent for "re-education".
The criteria used to select this bibliography were (a) availability and (b) direct relevance. More detailed pieces, as well as background materials, can be found in the bibliographies to items 7, 9, 12, 14 (a separate volume titled Research Guide to the May Fourth Movement), 16, 24 and 25. Not much has appeared from the "China scholars," though some academic theses are in progress, as shown above. Good libertarian critiques of the Chinese regime will be introduced in a future issue. Thanks to CIRA Switzerland, Alan Charles, and Beni for help with sources. We'd appreciate hearing of anything we've left out.
The Post-War Korean Anarchist Movement (1)
Formation of the League of Free Social Constructors
In the Cairo Conference statement of December 1943, the heads of state of the U.S., Britain and China announced unequivocally: "We take note of the conditions of slavery endured by the people of Korea, and reassure them that, in due course, their freedom and independence will be restored to them." Moreover, at the July 1945 Potsdam Conference on the post-war order, this principle was confirmed. The Soviet Union, in its August 1945 declaration of war against Japan, also expressed its adherence.
With the Japanese emperor's surrender statement of August 15, 1945, the curtain finally fell on the Korean people's 36-year tragedy. For these 30 million people, the death of the Japanese empire and the end of over a generation of brutal colonial exploitation all added up to a sudden, electrifying emotional experience. In every corner of Korea, the moment surrender was announced the people rose as one to set about the building of a new nation. Not just the cities, but even the remotest of villages, saw the spontaneous creation of "Preparatory Committees for Building a New Korea". Simultaneously, "like bamboo shoots after the spring rain," peasant unions, labor unions, cooperative associations and so on appeared. Through these activities the 36-year grudge of a people deprived of a country was finally being settled.
In Korea, the expression "post-war" does not exist. North or south, the appropriate term is "post-Libe ration", because for the people of Korea liberation from Japanese rule was the overriding event. Liberation, however, had not brought freedom to Korea. In place of the defeated Japanese army now stood two new armies one American, one Russian, which occupied both north and south Korea and proclaimed military governments in their respective zones of control. If military government was not to become a fact, the people of Korea needed to construct their own representative organs through which to negotiate with their occupiers.
The home town of Ha Ree Rak (see LI-l) is Anwi, a medium-sized country town in central south Korea. Anwi has for years enjoyed a reputation for turning out well-known anarchists. Here too, after liberation, there appeared a "Preparatory Committee for Building a New Korea," centered on local anarchists. Comrades Lee Siu Ryung and Ha Kee Rak were elected chairman and vice-chairman. Ha, at the same time, was also chairman of the Free Peasant Union Committee of Anwi. For its first task, the union began providing food and living quarters and finding jobs for the comrades beginning to trickle back from exile in Japan and China.
The communists, meanwhile, with the help of the Russian army then occupying the north, were moving fast. All over Korea, the Preparatory Committees were speedily re-organized as "People's Committees," which gradually came to absorb all unions. Needless to say, the communists strewed vast sums of money about to expand their organization in this way.
In October 1945, a National Congress of Peasant Union Delegates was called in Seoul. According to Ha Kee Rak, who took part, almost all the bodies represented had already been transformed into red unions, and the Congress was to all appearances a communist party one. Ha himself did not stay long, and the following day he resigned his delegateship.
By this time most of the exiled anarchists had one by one returned to Korea, and it was decided that the anarchists, too, should create a unified organization for rebuilding their country. This was to be the "League of Free Social Constructors." Two precious months had been lost to the communists, a delay that was to inflict a fatal handicap on the Korean anarchists for years to come.
At that time, of course, traffic was open between north and south, and when the call went out to set up the League, anarchists from every corner of the Korean peninsula gathered in Seoul to take part. More than 60 comrades turned up, including the brothers Lee Eul Kyu and Lee Chung Kyu, Kim Hyan Un, Han Ha Yun, 0 Nam Ki, Pak Ryung Hong and Bang Han Sang. All were fighters with long experience. Ha Kee Rak, too, after the disaster of the Peasant Union Co.. gress, eagerly took part in this new anarchist organization aimed at building a new Korea. Lee Chung Kyu has described the atmosphere at the time as follows:
"By early August 1945, Japanese imperialism's imminent defeat was obvious, and the tide of liberation was rising daily. Every comer of Korean society was affected. Among the scattered ranks of the anarchists there was an almost telepathic sensation that "this was it!" So they began busily contacting each other and preparing for the day of decision. When August 15 finally dawned, many more comrades were released from prison, and huddled meetings were convened to debate the future. In all, 67 comrades, some from remote parts of the country, some fresh out of gaol, gathered in Seoul.
"Within the Preparatory Committees, the reactionaries attempted to form a united front with the communists in order to seize total power at one fell swoop. To oppose them, the right wing, typically, flooded the committees with candidates from diverse parties and factions. Among the anarchists, however, some comrades, associated with the just-released Kim Ji Gang (now dead), and Cha Ik Hyun, proposed: 'The first step in the building of a new Korea is to take our revenge on the Japanese!' Consequently, at the beginning of September, the Japanese police official, Saiga Ichirõ, and the Secret Service agent, Harayoshi Tsubouchi, and others, were sentenced to death and successfully assassinated.
"In a period dominated by groups blinded by their lust for total -political power, direct action like this heroic revenge killing of the lackeys of Japanese imperialism represented a shout for joy. Yet we anarchists, who had always advocated a social revolution, had also to take charge of the constructive activities necessary for building the new Korea. Everyone agreed that we had to declare our principles, and produce a positive, constructive plan for a new Korea. And so, after numerous meetings, the following declaration and program were drafted and published at the end of September.
"In the meantime, however, comrades Chul Ri Bang and Lee Yu San were murdered in the continuing struggle with the communists. In December came the further bad news of the UN Trusteeship proposed by the Moscow. Conference of Foreign Ministers. The next day, December 30, was raised the first flag proclaiming the struggle to the death to resist the trusteeship decision."
Against this background, the first post-Liberation organization of Korean anarchists was formed.
Declaration and program of the League of Free Social Constructors
We have come from underground, shedding our disguises as we emerge into the light. With this declaration we sunder the chains of silence, proclaiming our principles to all the world.
All people thirst for freedom. Equality is the fundamental condition of social life. And mutual aid is the guiding factor in human evolution. Therefore, when this demand is not met, this condition not fulfilled, this basic factor distorted, society becomes corrupted and ruined.
Like it or not, we have fallen into the pit of this social ruin. When we, out of ignorance, overlooked these demands for freedom and equality in our own private interests, we forgot the principle of mutual aid, and our society took the first step along the road to impotence and corruption. For four centuries since* Im Jin [known to Japanese as Toyotomi Hideyoshi's 1772 unsuccessful expedition against Korea], the poisonous fang of Japanese aggression was pointed at our heart, and finally it came to plunder our lives and to suck our blood. With this, the dignity of the 30 million Korean people was trampled in the dust, and our long history of liberty came to an end.
Only by throwing out all the elements in our national ruin can we emerge from this pit of extinction to restore life to our people and our society, and set our history into motion once more. Therefore, not only must we overthrow Japanese imperialism, but also eradicate the internal evils of lack of freedom, inequality, and mutual antagonism. In their place we must lay a foundation of mutual aid, upon which to build a new society based on freedom and equality. No other method, and no other theory, will ensure the happiness and prosperity of our 30 million compatriots and their descendants for ever more.
With the support of the people, we have begun to propagate and struggle for this program a over the country. However, even with the support of the people, we could not fight on three fronts at once. Yet neither could we shirk that struggle - against, on the one hand, Japanese imperialism, and on the other, feudal and local capitalist elements who collaborated with the Japanese, plus the sharn-revolutionary advocates of dictatorship. In such conditions, it must be borne in mind, we sought to cooperate with all genuinely revolutionary nationalist groups of the left.
Looking back on the four-and-a-half centuries of our struggle, what sacrifices it has demanded from amongst the ranks of our comrades! Some have ended their days on the point of the enemy's sword, others on his gallows; stiff others have languished in his pitiless gaols, until their souls departed to become unrequited ghosts. The sweat and blood of all these comrades, blood stained by the melancholy of life behind bars, will never be forgotten. Just as the three-headed enemy still remembers its hesitation and fear before our bayonets, so, on the other hand, the precious blood shed by the martyrs of our struggle gives new impetus to our army. Seeing our many front-line comrades scattered all over the country, we confidently call for positive participation in the imminent task of constructing a new Korea. At the same time, we willingly assume the principal role. If not, would any others really seek to control and re-organize the wild gyrations of the power-hungry, and restore life and prosperity to the people disillusioned by their antics?
The struggle continues. Although the main enemy, Japanese imperialism, has fled in defeat, dark clouds hang over us still, like the trusteeship decision. Moreover, our two-headed internal enemy is not like the natural obstacles that inspire one with the thrill of challenge; on the contrary, they forbode many bloody struggles in the future in the name of total liberation, and demand protracted efforts for complete national reconstruction. For the moment, therefore, we should put aside current affairs, and strengthen our solidarity for the fight. The blood of our martyrs flows in our veins, and the experiences it has lived through teach us this.
Let us hoist high our flag without hesitation. An entirely free, entirely egalitarian new Korea based on mutual aid will only be created from a free federation of autonomous units covering the whole country. In this new campaign we will open a united front with all revolutionary left-wing nationalist armies, until the day that self-reliance, independence and complete liberation are realized.
The post-war Left in Japan
by Yamabe Yoshiyuki
Looking back over the past ten years or so of the left wing movement in Japan, it becomes clear that a great change has taken place. As soon as the Left, at the time of the 1960 anti-Ampo struggle,1 abandoned the "if it ain't the CP, it ain't Left" sort of "common sense" of the previous decade, the focus of political activities - both practical and theoretical - became the government's foreign policy. Attention rarely turned to broader issues, and what few lessons the Movement learned at this time were confined to some new insights into the nature of this policy. The favorite activity of the time was street demonstrations, followed by propaganda-leafletting. Compared with the state of things today, it was a very feeble movement indeed.
At the same time, thanks to the policies of the American occupation regime [1945-1952], "democracy" was still a word with strong popular appeal. For the Left, therefore, the call to struggle against the government's attempts to turn the clock back was a highly effective weapon in their appeals to the masses. The "democratic constitution,2 still weighed heavily as a factor in the Left's consideration of revolutionary possibilities.
At the beginning of 1965, the war in Vietnam escalated with the commencement of American bombing of the north. In April, a group of Japanese citizens demonstrated in the Ginza, [Tokyo's most fashionable boulevard], carrying banners and placards denouncing the war. This was the humble beginning of "Beheiren" ["Citizens' League for Peace in Vietnam"].
Politically, I suppose, Beheiren was less sophisticated than the student movement [Zenkyõtõ], whose biggest drawback was its members' doctrinal habit of employing complex conceptual and philosophical abstractions incomprehensible to the outsider. Beheiren, however, did not depend on any organization for its vocabulary. It was a new-style movement, in which individuals thought for themselves, then did whatever they could. Beheiren's membership stretched from middleschool pupils to old folks with sticks, a multi-layered movement with a rare richness of variety that gave it peculiar tenaciousness. In its organization, too, it broke away from the essentially exclusive, pyramidal Leninist pattern adopted by the CP and the student sects. Emphasis was on the self-discipline and spontaneity of each individual in the movement, with whom all responsibility lay.
Beheiren's three guiding principles were:
In the beginning its activities consisted of no more than a moderate, verbal demonstrations of solidarity with Vietnam - a foreign country - from a "peaceful" Japan. In other words, at that time the emphasis was on principles (1) and (2), while the meaning of (3) had yet to become apparent. As the movement developed, however, people gradually began to see for the first time that it was the third point in fact that was the most crucial for Japanese. They became aware of the sacrifices forced upon the people of both southeast Asia and Japan itself over the past 10 years of high Japanese economic growth geared to the American aggression in Vietnam.
Instances of a movement with humble beginnings growing, like Beheiren, into something far deeper and broader, are not difficult to find. The nationwide campus struggles which flared up after 1968, too, were at their outset nothing out of the ordinary, making only the usual petit-bourgeois demands for student autonomy, etc. It would be only fair to say, however, that neither the extent of the movement, nor the level of student consciousness, have changed much since 1968. Imprisoned, like most such movements, by fixed concepts of organization and ideology, the students were forced to choose direct confrontation with the authorities as the most radical form of struggle. This, together with the transformation of violent state repression into an everyday experience, is the stage reached by the student movement over the past ten years.
Today, "radical activities" have been monopolized by: (1) the fratricidal infighting of the various Trotskyite sects, (2) the world-wide "crimes" of the Japanese Red Army, and (3) the underground bombing campaign of the East Asia AntiJapanese Armed Front. As yet, the authorities have been unable to run any of these completely to ground.3 While such activities have no public support at present, I myself would not deny their part in the preparations for the coming revolution. Though such activities may be sneered at, in the long run their success in exposing the real nature of the government and its characteristically Japanese authoritarianism, by challenging it to a direct confrontation, will not be so easily dismissed. Nor will the direct and concrete injuries inflicted upon the enemy be so lightly appraised.
However, it is not only in terms of violence that the pressure on the authorities should be understood. Whereas in the past the Movement had simply taken a conceptual stand opposing the general line of the Japanese government and of the Japanese bourgeoisie, during the past 10 years, particularly from 1968 to 1970, it has broadened its attacks to include almost all aspects of the system. During this time, the piecemeal struggles of local residents and oppressed minorities have developed a new meaning, and taken on a truly dynamic image. These movements, hitherto isolated and ineffectual, have found a new kind of unity and solidarity, and a new means of communication, by studying the issues raised by the Zenkyoto and Beheiren movements.
Today, therefore, all over Japan, there are at least 300 groups with names like "Society to Oppose X," "Society to Protect Y," "Society to Demand Z." Although Small, they are waging fierce struggles against the authorities. They include the Burakumin Liberation Movement4 , the Ainu Liberation and Independence Movements,5 the anti-U.S. base movements, the soldiers' trials6 , the anti-pollution movement, the anti-nuclear weapon movement, 7 the cooperative movement, etc. Each of them, although an independent, concrete struggle, is helping to throw light on the common nature of class contradictions in Japanese capitalism, and the ugliness of the power structure itself. One important thing to note about this development is, while no one of these struggles is big or strong enough alone to pose a direct threat to the authorities, each of them has come to understand their relationship to the other struggles taking place, and the role which they play in the Movement as a whole. A second, related point, is that each independent struggle movement in turn recognizes the independence of other struggles, so that, by entrusting activities in certain sectors to those movements specifically concerned, solidarity is achieved as the movement develops.
Looking at it another way, I suppose you could say that the struggle has been brought down to the level of people's everyday lives - inconceivable in 1968, when the "Movement" meant either the student movement or the trade union movement. Putting it crudely, these two comprised the political movement, represented by street-fighting, and the economic movement, represented by strikes for higher wages. Today, however, every aspect of daily life has been taken up by a series of interdependent but united struggles - kindergartens, education, prices, pollution (in foods, medicines, the environment, etc.), working conditions... Some problems are restricted to certain areas, while others re-occur time and time again. From all this we can see that the nature of the power structure in Japan is really coming to be understood by the common people, both through its physical extent and over time.
Again, in the past no struggle was separable from communism or some other left-wing ideology. To put it another way, popular movements were always organized by communists or leftists of some sort, and directed at the kind of revolution which they prescribed. Today, though, in almost all cases this relationship has been reversed. Not infrequently, movements at first aided and supported by the political parties or student sects, only to be deserted by them later, have continued and even grown without them. The Sanrizuka struggle8 is the perfect example. Following the early departure of the Communist and Socialist parties, disgruntled at the rejection of the party line, now almost all the left-wing [student] groups have abandoned the peasants' cause. Yet the struggle goes on.9 To put it briefly, the anti-establishment struggles of today are no longer fought "for the people!", but are "for us, the People!"
The old Japanese climate in which a person could shrug off political involvement because s/he was not a party member, or because his/her student days were over, now seems exotic. The times when the political movement meant for the majority of its participants a temporary flaring-up of the fires of youth are fast disappearing. The fact that political involvement - for some people at least - has become an essential part of daily life marks a definite advance. So, too, does the new tendency to place equal value on one's daily life, family and political activities, instead of accepting that activists must sacrifice all else for "The Movement".
Unfortunately I do not have space here to sum up these political trends from a more global aspect. However, one can say that the fact that these local movements have concentrated on the individual contradictions nearest them proves the felt inadequacy of the old idea that the root of all evil was the state structure, whose overthrow would solve all problems at one swoop. In conceptual terms, it convinces me that the political revolution cannot march at the head of the social revolution - that the former will , only be achieved in intimate connection with the latter. I would also add that the ideal of a world revolution, of ties of international solidarity, are no longer a wild vision for us, thanks to this new kind of movement.
One of the factors primarily responsible for the reaching of this turning-point has been none other than - the Japanese Red Army. The days when "abroad" meant America seem far away to us now. Of course, when one thinks about it, the expansion of Japanese imperialism into southeast Asia has been a great impetus, [but the credit is undeniably due to the former]. Meanwhile, young Japanese are gradually beginning to take up the Korean language, to visit southeast Asia, and to express greater and greater interest in the countries of that area.
Compared with five years ago, the political movement today would seem to be at an unbelievably low ebb. As for me, however, I'm sure that the flood-waters are building up, soon to burst forth.
- 1AMPO is short for the "US-Japan Joint Security Treaty," designed to tie the two countries in a tight military partnership dominated by the U.S. nuclear umbrella. First signed in 1960, it is renewable every 10 years.
- 2The "democratic constitution" was written by U.S. occupation lawyers in 1947. In it, Japan renounces the right to maintain armed forces or to use force as an instrument of national policy: it transfers sovereign power to the people, and strips the emperor of his divine authority.
- 3Eight members of the Armed Front were arrested in May 1975. One committed suicide (according to the police) immediately, another was sprung by the Japanese Red Army in the Kuala Lumpur Incident of August 1975. Two other members remain at large.
- 4'Burakumin' are the untouchables of Japan, unable to get 'respectable' jobs, or even to associate with people not of their caste. (see RONIN No. 16.)
- 5The Ainu were the original inhabitants, the 'Red Indians', of Japan. Now only a few remain, living mostly in model villages in the far North as a result of expansion by the present race known as "Japanese".
- 6Konishi Makoto, a sergeant in the Air Self Defense Force (ASDF - i.e., the Japanese Air Force; see note 2), was arrested in 1969 for denouncing the AMPO treaty and calling for a boycott of "civil order training" then being conducted on all SDF bases. During the 5-year series of court hearings which followed, the first political prosectuion of an SDF member, a Support Konishi Committee was formed to help in his defense and gather public support. He was acquitted in February 1975. (See AMPO Magazine, No. 6 [Summer 1970] and Vol. 7 No. 2 [April-June 1975]).
- 7Japan's government subscribes to the "three non-nuclear principles": non-production of, non-possession of, and non-transit of nuclear weapons in Japan. Recent events, however, have exposed its secret collusion with the American military in allowing U.S. Navy ships to call at Japanese ports while carrying nuclear weapons, and the U.S. Army to store its warheads in Okinawa.
- 8The 10-year struggle of local farmers against construction of a new international airport at Narita, outside Tokyo. (See AMPO Nos. 9-10, 11 & 15.)
- 9In the latest stage of the Sanrizuka struggle, the farmers have launched a movement to sell shares in an iron tower they have constructed to prevent the use of the airport runway. (See "SANRIZUKA" on pp.37-42 of this issue.)
What kind of organization?
The Japan Anarchist Federation (JAF) dissolved itself in 1968. In the words of its dissolution manifesto, the move was a "deployment in the face of the enemy." Social conditions were heading for a new high point, and all sorts of new social movements were being born. JAF's decision to deploy was thus based on the expectation of a re-birth (of the anarchist movement, that is) in the midst of this refreshing atmosphere. What it amounted to was, in fact, JAF's admission of failure to relate to people as it was currently constituted.
Of these new social movements, two are most worthy of notice. One was the student rebellion (Zenkyõtõ), a link in the world-wide chain of student outbursts of the late 60s. The other was Beheiren (see part 1), a movement which denounced the rape of., Vietnam by U.S. imperialism and the Japanese government's complicity therein. Although with the subsequent lapse of the overall social movement into a "quiet" phase, the former fell into the hands of the so-called "New Left" Marxist-Leninist sects, both Beheiren and Zenkyõtõ were once distinguishable by their reliance on individual spontaneity.
Neither of the two were movements of anarchists, nor did either of them profess anarchist beliefs. Truth to say, very few people involved made the connec- tion between their activities and "anarchist" ones. In any case, the nature of the two movements made such distinctions irrelevant. When a movement is prospering, and in practical terms moving towards the realization of anarchy, not only do such arguments and false distinctions not arise, there is no time even for debating them.
Overall, conditions at the time were very close to the theoretical projections of anarchism. That is, the movement seemed to be heading towards a state of anarchy, to judge from the attitudes and actions of its participants. Even the mass media were forced to confess that the revolutionary doctrine of anarchy, so long hidden under the shadow of Marxism, had been rediscovered. For the first time, reflected in the mass media as well as in general publishing activities, anarchism began to receive the serious attention it deserved. For example, it was at this time that Daniel Guerin's Anarchism was published and attracted a wide readership, to be followed by a spate of publications concerning anarchism. The appearance of Guerin's book marked the first time since the war that the ideas of anarchism had been made available in a genuine, complete, compact and, moreover, cheap form. For many young Japanese, I think, this book worked as an introductory course to anarchy.
With the popular movement at its height, interest in anarchism was widespread, and many "new" anarchists were appearing. The problem was, to what extent were the anarchists themselves able to grasp the significance of the fact that many people were becoming acquainted with anarchism through a movement which was developing, by and large, independent of the anarchists? Frankly speaking, not well enough, though some people admittedly worked hard to realize their proposals for restructuring anarchist theory to suit the changing social conditions and to anticipate future developments.
Even after JAF's dissolution, local anarchists continued to form their own groups and engage in local activities as before. For some, indeed, it could even be said that the end of JAF offered a fresh opportunity for action. Apart from the anarchism study circles up and down the country, other groups which immediately spring to mind are the Mugi Sha (Barley Society - so named because the character used to transliterate the "ba" of "Bakunin" into Japanese means literally "barley") and the Libertaire group in Tokyo; the Rebel Association (Futei Sha), Osaka Anarchism Study Society and Kyoto Anarchism Study Society, both in Kansai; and the Liberty and the Pale Horse Society groups in northern Japan. There must surely have been many more than that which we don't know about. Most of them seem to have been small. The biggest was the Libertaire group in Tokyo, still active today, holding regular meetings and putting out a small magazine, Libertaire (in Japanese). However, one more group which formed at this time demands attention. This comprised the people who formed around the monthly Osaka publication Jiyü Rengõ (Free Federation).
The Osaka Jiyü Rengõ published its first "preparatory issue" on March 10, 1969, and ceased publication 3 1/2 years later on October 15, 1972. Circulation grew from 1000 at the outset, through 1800. a year later, to 2500 when publication ceased. The regular readership also grew, from 800 after the first year to 1800 at the end. While many of the readers lived either in Tokyo or in the Kyoto-Osaka-Kobe areas, distribution was nationwide. In social terms, while a large proportion of the readership naturally comprised young people and students, in fact there was a very broad mix. Space does not allow a detailed examination of the part played by the Osaka Jiyü Rengõ. What follows are just the impressions left by its most outstanding features.
In the first place, it should be pointed out that the Osaka Jiyü Rengõ took its name from that of an earlier JAF broadsheet of the same name. However, as the Osaka Jiren (we use this abbreviation to distinguish it from the JAF paper, which was usually known as Jiren) stated time and time again, while it retained the name of the JAF paper, it was not the organ of any one group. Instead, it insisted, by paying for the paper through taking out subscriptions the readership was expressing and concretely proving its "sincere desire to create a free federation within the movement." Thus was a new kind of managerial form created. The idea which its title suggested, of an anarchist organ, was wrong.
"Through this paper we are aiming at a broad, anti-establishment, free-federated movement, including but not restricted to anarchists. This is because we believe that, above all else, the complete equality of every movement, joined together in a federation allowing complete freedom of action, is essential if the present anti-establishment struggle is to wage a successful fight.
"Jiren must at all times correspond to actual conditions. The idea of a 'free federation' with no relationship to current conditions is simply nonsense. This is why the backbone of Jiren is on-the-spot, subjective reports from actual participants in concrete struggles." (No. 13, 20/3/70)
In other words, what the Osaka Jiren was aiming at was to encourage awarenesss that the kind of organizational forms then being created within the Beheiren and Zenkyõtõ movements amounted to free federation forms. For this purpose, it would provide an open forum and a meeting place for people actually involved in these struggles. While anticipating that it would be confused with the old JAF Jiyu Rengo, the Osaka Jiren insisted that the name was simply the most appropriate to express the position of the Osaka group. So the question which cropped up over and over again during the 3 1/2 years of the paper's life was: What is a free federation?
As the above quote made clear, Osaka Jiren did not want to be labelled an anarchist paper produced by anarchists, and deliberately assumed a ppsture which rejected such a position. For outsiders this must have seemed a highly curious situation. The paper was rich in information about anarchism and news of anarchist groups - in fact it was the only national outlet for such material. For people trying to find out more about anarchism (as we said, great numbers of young people were then turning on to anarchism), and for the anarchists themselves, there was simply no other source covering the whole country. Hence the impression of an "anarchist monthly" which Osaka Jiren gave was quite inevitable.
Nevertheless, the paper rejected the strict anarchist standpoint, on the grounds that it sought to create a much broader-based, federated social movement. For the establishment of the "open forum" envisaged by Osaka Jiren, its members felt that to accept the label of "anarchists" would have been a hindrance.
That they were reasonably successful in this attempt can be seen from the figures for circulation and subscription. Very few other libertarian papers went beyond the groups which published them, and almost all circulated only in a limited area. For people without a strong interest in anarchism, they were extremely boring and suggested a closed shop. Osaka Jiren, on the other hand, was somewhat different. The "liberated" impression which it gave was largely due to its attempts to break away from the anarchist framework. Its subscribers, scattered all over the country, and including senior and middle-school students and many non-anarchists, were the measure of its success.
So what exactly did the Osaka Jiren people mean when they talked about a "free federation?" We will pass on to this in part III.
One of our intreped editors recently returned, with a running nose and a battered camera, from a weekend at Sanrizuka. There he took part in a support demonstration for the local farmers, and this is what he saw and heard.
In the rolling hills of Narita, cabbages and burdock grow where once blossomed molotov cocktails. Yet the struggle of the people of Sanrizuka for the right to live and die and be buried in the sod they love has not diminished. Only, a new stage has been reached. Their unity was manifest in the twin iron towers poised above the rain-soaked land that Sunday.
That Sunday was October 11, 1975, the day of a solid solidarity-happening with the peasant defenders of Sanrizuka. 6000 people snaked between the desolation of "civilization" on both sides from Narita to the main tower.
Three bus-loads of people attended the demonstration from the Kobe-Osaka-Kyoto area, where a parallel struggle is being waged against construction of a new and equally superfluous Kansai International Airport. Other buses came from as faraway as Kyushu, 700 miles to the west. Cerebral palsy victims were wheeled along the route of the march, while students and young workers with flags and helmets of many colors zig-zagged and clashed with the riot police , Who are always spoiling for a fight.
Behind the Sanrizuka struggle
Sanrizuka, some 70 kilometers east of Tokyo, is the site of the so-far abortive 'New Tokyo Int'l Airport.' The airport "is one of the main pillars of a redevelopment plan for [Japan's] entire economic structure." (AMPO 9-10.)
The peasants of Narita (the name of the city in which Sanrizuka stands) are fighting on two fronts at once.The first is economic - for the right to continue living on land granted to them by the government after World War II "for eternity." The government's redevelopment plan, however, would, among other things, involve the re-routing of all the rivers in the area to serve new industrial requirements: in other words, the DEATH of the farmland which is the peasants' birthright. As for the farmers, they would be forced to leave the land to seek work in the cities, there to swell the reserve labor force so necessary to capitalism to keep profits high and wages low. Already, almost every major Japanese city has its own ghetto comprised of farmers forced off the land, some of whom cannot even afford the fare to return home, but must endure fife as semi-employed day-laborers until they die of fatigue or cold.
The other front is political, for the airport, though innocently billed as part of the inevitable industrial progress of the "new Japan," is tightly bound up with the provisions (many of them secret) of the U.S.-Japan Joint Security Treaty (Ampo). Ampo gives the U.S. military free access to all Japanese civil airports. At the height of the Vietnam War, Haneda, the present Tokyo airport, was used extensively by U.S. charter flights ferrying people and supplies to and from Vietnam. When Haneda got over-crowded, the Japanese government claimed it needed a new airport. Since the military privilege will naturally extend to the new airport, the peasants of Sanrizuka say they don't want to help the U.S. fight other Asians. They have sworn to fight "to the death" for their land, and have often compared their struggle to that of their brothers and sisters in Vietnam.
A further problem is the "Blue 14" air route, reserved under Ampo for sole use by the U.S. military, which makes it impossible to build a new airport west of Tokyo where Yokota airbase takes up land and airspace. Suggestions that Yokota itself, only one of numerous U.S. air bases in Japan, be given to the goverment for development as a civil airport have been brushed aside with excuses. The farmers of Sanrizuka, therefore, are not only fighting on two fronts: on one of those sides, they must fight a double enemy - their own government and the U.S. military.
Origins of the farmers' movement
The Sanrizuka struggle began in a rainstorm on June 28, 1966, when 1000 farmers resolved to fight the government's decision to build the new airport here in utter contempt for their homes and family graves. Having already been forced by the strong resistance of local farmers to abandon plans to build the airport at its first choice, Tomisato, however, the government was determined not to lose face again. Sanrizuka had an added advantage in that one-third of the land to be requisitioned was part of the imperial estate - which of course offered no resistance. Of the land owned by the farmers, much had been occupied only since the end of the war, and so, thought the government, community resistance would be weaker than in areas like Tomisato, which had a long tradition of peasant resistance behind it. Now as their struggle approaches its decennium, the smoke of war and the fumes of tear-gas have dispersed. Many farmers have accepted the government's compensation offers and left the area. More remain, to protect the future. In another rain storm, the October 12 meeting drew several thousand members of the Opposition League (Hantai Dõmei) and its supporters.
Political support for the Sanrizuka struggle has fluctuated. When the parliamentary opposition parties made it clear their support was conditional upon the issue's usefulness for their own petty politics, the farmers realized that only their own strength would prevent the building of the new airport. For a time, the Sanrizuka struggle provided a focus for the "non-sect" anti-establishment student movement of the late 60s, until this too drifted into realms of obscurity far from the practical fight for life and the land. Today, the farmers of Sanrizuka have themselves become the forefront of the people's struggle in Japan, a source of imagination for those who believe in the need to oppose state violence, and the most important obstacle to the Japanese government's plans to obliterate an archipelago.
Credit for the successful delaying tactics which have taken the Sanrizuka struggle towards its tenth anniversary is due to the stand taken by the Opposition League. Since 1966 it has maintained its solidarity before the bland promises of airport corporation officials, who have offered big cash payments in return for a sell-out. It has also led a series of struggles, sit-ins, and demonstrations to oppose the surveyors sent to draw up plans for the airport, and even more, with the riot police detailed to protect them. The farmers employed a simple but devastating weapon: human shit, liquefied for use as fertilizer. It sure was powerful stuff Sanrizuka has inspired a succession of' popular struggles all over the country.
New stage in the struggle
The October 12 demonstration came just one day after a decision by the local establishment which sent the Sanrizuka epic into a new stage. The government's plans to ship jet fuel to the airport by rail had long been opposed by citizens of two towns along the proposed route. On October 11, however, the local assembly of Kamisu Town in lbaraki prefecture withdrew its opposition, and the other town is expected to follow suit. Sure enough, the Kamisu officials had been bought off: promises by the government to extend a Japan National Railways line into the town and to improve the town's transportation system were the bait, calculated to appeal to the officials' desire for re-election, and while the assembly took the necessary steps to make its decision binding, 600 riot police provided "security" against 200 irate local citizens reluctant to see the lethal cargo passing through the midst of their homes.
Rail transportation of the fuel was first put forward by the New Tokyo International Airport Corporation three years ago, when earlier plans to build a pipeline through Chiba City to the east were abandoned in the face of similar local opposition. The townspeople refused to give their land to these transports of death, fearing accidents, and voiced their solidarity with their neighbors in Sanrizuka.
The corporation claims that the rail plan is a stop-gap measure until a pipe-fine is built from, Chiba Bay according to the original plan - doubtless expecting to buy off the citizens' "representatives" with hollow promises in the usual fashion of Japanese money politics. The citizens themselves, though, remain steadfastly opposed to the plan, and the rail link is likely to remain for some time to come. Meanwhile, the railwaymen expressed their own opposition to their management's collusion with the government by turning out in strength at the demonstration. They received applause from all the people gathered there.
The airport was originally scheduled to open in April 1971. Now, after 4% years of dashed predictions, the Transport Ministry has given up making guesses when the airport will be opened. Instead, they confirm that it will not be opened before the end of 1976,- still an optimistic opinion in the minds of many, especially the Sanrizuka farmers themselves.
Sanrizuka farmers are angry - angry because, whatever this land is today, they made it, from reclaimed wasteland where once feudal daimyo lords exercised their war ponies; angry because of the government's blatant reneging on its promises, such as its plan to develop a silk industry in the area, launched in 1964, and scuttled in 1966 by the airport plan, after farmers had gone deeply into debt converting their farmland over to mulberry leaves.
The iron towers and international support
Today, 'New Tokyo International Airport' stands an empty, rusting skeleton, testimony to the will of Sanrizuka to resist. In hangers built for Jumbo jets, and confidently emblazoned with the letters JAL (Japan Air Lines), buses stand in rows. The only people manning the ghost-like structure are the security and main tenance staff. It has already become too small to take the overflow from Haneda, and is quickly becoming obsolete. Cracks have appeared in the one completed run, way. Upkeep is costing 25 million yen a day, and the total cost has already topped 300 billion yen!
The one completed runway, moreover, is unusable. The farmers and their supporters have erected an iron tower on Opposition League land at a height which prevents the take-off or landing of modem jets. The tower is strong, 62 meters high with foundations sunk deep into the soil that symbolize the steadfast will of the Sanrizuka farmers. Surrounded by friendly fields, gleaming emerald that day in the ram, the tower exuded strength. Its steel girders, meshing and intermeshing like the joined arms of its defenders, wield an uncanny power of attraction. A tower of power indeed! As if the secret forces of the earth had come together at this point to replenish the struggle of those pledged to defend it, against those who would spread the pall of death.
The second and third runways remain on the drawing-board. The detemination of the last 24 families to stay on the land required for building these, promises more bloody struggles for the future. "In the name of Japanese peasants, we reject land confiscation!" - the slogan which has inspired the struggle for almost 10 years, resounds still. More than once in the past, the Sanrizuka farmers likened their fight to that of the Vietnamese people against similar forces of darkness and destruction. Another tower, 32 meters high, has also been built as a second line of defense. The Airport Corporation has conducted flight checks, and confirmed that the airport cannot be used until the two towers are removed. To do this, heavy cranes and earth-moving equipment will be necessary. Although the Corporation has begun to build a road from the airport down towards the towers, it has come to a full stop at the point where the land owned by Opposition League farmers begins. Meanwhile, the farmers continue to till their land, in the shadow of these twin sentinels.
The land surrounding the main tower is farmed collectively with the cooperation of work brigades from radical labor and student organizations. A small group of supporters has guarded the tower 24 hours a day while living in a bus parked at its base; more recently, a platform-residence was built part-way up the tower to house families who have made the tower their home.
The towers, symbols both, stand as proud reminders of a heroic past, and as defiant obstacles to an unsolicited future. The defence of Sanrizuka is rooted in these two towers. The Opposition League has appealed to the people of Japan to buy shares in the ownership of the towers as an act of solidarity with the farmers of Sanrizuka. (The farmers were originally taken to court by the Airport Corporation over the towers, but under traditional Japanese law it is illegal to buy agricultural land and change its use without the. consent of the owner. The judge upheld the farmers' ownership rights. He also announced that he would order the towers' removal two months before the opening of the airport as they would constitute a public safety safety hazard.) Unfortunately, it takes a minimum of four months to give pilots simulator training for new flight paths, and simulator programs cannot be made without the real airport to fly into! The future of the airport hangs on these two towers.
Already many shares have been sold. Now the Opposition League asks foreign friends to join in this movement, to add their strength to the popular resistance to the Japanese government bulldozer. Sanrizuka will become a battleground again. It is important that new support be gathered from all quarters. The farmers' struggle for their lives will gain new strength from your contribution to the share movement. One may buy as many shares as s/he wants, at 100 yen (15p/50c) each. When we receive money, we will send you share-holders' forms, together with instructions for filling them in (the forms are in Japanese). Money sent to us will be sent on to the International Support Group for Sanrizuka in Kobe. Money is also needed for the Medical Aid Fund.
But it is not just the money that counts. Supporters overseas can play a vital obstructionist role: if the government is to take possession of the towers it must first obtain permission from all the shareholders, contacting each and every one of them by mail. The more shareholders there are, and the further-flung they are, the bigger the hassles for the government (can't say its our fault - we didn't make the laws!)
Tell your friends, don't delay!
Help bankrupt a gov't today!!
For further reading material on Sanrizuka, see AMPO Magazine, especially the early issues. AMPO: Box 5250, Tokyo International, Japan.
Japanese labor today: Spring Offensive Offensive?
For better or for worse, the astonishing post-war recovery of the Japanese economy has become a celebrated phenomenon. But few people, save the Japanese consumers themselves, are aware of the accompanying, and equally astonishing, rise in consumer prices - some 10 to 20% annually. As a result, the labor movement in Japan has established as its major premise that wage rates should rise by at least an equivalent amount every year (see chart A).
The strategy devised to carry through this premise has been the uniquely Japanese "Spring Offensive" (Shuntõ). Generally speaking. the strategy runs as follows: at the beginning of each spring, representatives of the labor unions meet to formulate a proposed wage demand for that year, based on the current rate of price hikes. After arriving at an agreed figure, unions all over the country then begin negotiations with the management. As a rule, the lead is taken by the big, powerful unions, while the smaller, weaker ones follow behind them (chart B). The figure which the former manage to wrest from the employers (the "wage-hike index") more or less decides the fate of the latter and of all workers in Japan.
Needless to say, however, negotiations between the two sides run less than smoothly. So, when the talks break down, unions all over the country, led by Sõhyõ (General Council of Trade Unions, the main labor grouping), begin a strike campaign. "Strike;" though, is hardly the word for what takes place. Stopping the trains for two or three hours, knocking off work for half a day, holding a meeting instead - this is the usual pattern. In other words, a form of struggle feasible only for workers in the large corporations. On the other hand, when, as has become usual, the national railway workers announce a one-day strike, all of the mass media - television, radio, newspapers - let out a unanimous shriek of protest about the "inconveniece caused to innocent people" and so on. A radical labor movement in Japan thus faces the same problems as do those elsewhere.
When the wage negotiations finally break down, the government's arbitration council is empowered to intervene. From his point on, all decisions are made by repeated meetings of the "bosses" on both sides, with the result that the union leaders are usually cajoled into accepting a figure which the government mediators think tolerable - high enough to satisfy the unionists, and low enough to appease the company directors. Of course, once this "bosses only" stage is reached, the rank-and-file workers have no clue at all of what is happening to their wage demands. They are like puppets, dancing to the tune of the instructions which reach them from on high.
Anyway, like it or not, the "Spring Offensive" strategy for seeking wage hikes has persisted for the past twenty years, thanks to the prodigious growth rate of the Japanese economy. In the past couple of years, however, sudden changes have been set in motion. The "oil panic" of October 1973 brought Japan nose to eyeball with its greatest business slump since the war. First textile circles, then the motor car manufacturers, the steel industry, and the makers of small electrical appliances, one by one felt the pinch. Throughout Japanese industry, production fell. The consequence for wage negotiations, naturally, was to reduce the size of the "pie" to be shared out between company and employees.
Japan has now entered a phase of "minus" or, at best, slow economic growth. Logically, it is now being said, the "Spring Offensive" strategy should also be abandoned. In fact, though, this strategy has always done more harm than good to those who should reap the benefits. Why? The reasons are:
Anarchist press in Japan
The following are some of the more interesting developments in the libertarian publishing field in Japan. All are in Japanese, and are published in Tokyo unless otherwise stated. The titles we have given are all taken from review/news columns of anarchist magazines here. There is also much good libertarian materials coming out of areas like the women's movement too, though, and these are not usually listed. When we hear about these, we'll include them in our listing.
IOM, No. 9: contains a school teacher's criticism of compulsory education; report of a trip to anarchist centers in France and Holland; the first part of a short story; and the final part of the article on anarchists and work.
Anãkizumu, No. 8: special issue on the emperor system in Japan; also articles on anarchism and terrorism; on kibbutz; on the movement to withhold military taxes; plus the continuing biography of the Korean anarchist Kim Jong Jin; translation from Kronstadt I Izvestia, etc,
Indochina and Anarchists
The following letter was sent to us by Mit-Teilung (London), in whose No. 22 (October '75) issue it appeared. Our reply doesn't represent our last word on the subject (especially on "Nationalism," about which we'll be writing more later.) We hope that readers (G. J. included) will send us their comments and criticism.
I too noted the comments in LIBERO INT'L No. 2, re. Marxism-Leninism and Asia. Those Japanese & English intellectuals write a good magazine, extremely good, But they are not workers and have not learned the bloody lessons of Anarchist History since 1917.
It is one thing to recognize that the Marxist-Leninists are the major revolutionary force in Asia (with excellent cadre, Moscow gold, and weaponry from China, USSR & Czechoslovakia). This necessitates "tactical" considerations. But it is quite another to become Anarcho-Bolshevists, as so many Russian Anarchist TRAITORS did.
It is crass stupidity to write "... just as the Russian anarchists initially supported the Bolsheviks. When they begin to turn the revolution back on itself, however, as the Bolsheviks did, they must be attacked and exposed without fail ..."
What goddam shit! The most foolish, suicidal thing the Russian and Ukrainian Anarchists did was to ally - for one minute even - with the Bolsheviks - who turned and butchered, massacred, exterminated 1/4 million Anarchists and peasant supporters. The Bolsheviks were counter-revolutionary from day one, so are the Marxist-Len inists: What of the 1945 massacre in Saigon? The extermination of the Viet Trots? The murder of 10,000 Red River peasants in 1956...? What of the Chinese "terrorists," anarchists, in labour camps in the "People's Republic?" The Army crushing of worker revolts in Shanghai and Canton? The mass-murder of Inner Mongolians and Uighur Moslems ... ?
"Attacks and exposes without fail." What shit! From where? The security of Tokyo? When the Commies take power, there's no time to "attack" and "expose"! You are jailed or shot. Ask the Bulgarian Anarchists about that one. It is one thing to recognize cultural & regional needs, desires, demands for independence. But to support nationalism - the nation State - that is not Anarchism. Nor is Anarcho-Bolshevism.
Yes, we know that the Communists will seize most of Asia. That is in the cards. But if the Revolutionary and non-communist forces fight hard, we can establish our own bases - as Makhno in the S. Ukraine. But, as with Makhno, it is suicide to ally or allow entry to communists. Co-oridinate, yes! Alliance, no! We are always devoured in that position....
If others can organize, so can we. Otherwise, give up the farce! I support more the position of the Augustin Miura in Libertaire No. 8. 1 support East-Asia Anti-Japanese -even though some Marxism, basically libertarian. No support for authoritarian Red Army concept or for the concept of the Japan Anarchist Communist Party 1934-35.
Help protect jailed, yes! But no public alliance with ideology.
I don't think you've the authority to say that Libero Int'l represents the Japanese Anarchist movement. Libertaire and Idea Publishing represent larger groupings.
G. J. Toronto
... And a reply
The problem with all, anarchist critiques that we have seen of Indochinese and other Bolshevik dictatorships - including both G.J.'s letter and our own original editorial - is that they rarely amount to realistic, down-to-earth practical ones. It seems a contradiction to accept, on the one hand, the existence of cultural needs, customs, desires and so on, while ignoring the effect which these might have on the regimes set up in response. The point is: though the "communist" regimes have been more or less uniform in their treatment of those whose ideas fall outside the straight and narrow, it isn't enough to dismiss them as being all of a piece. To do so is to resurrect the McCarthyite demon of "monolithic communism." Before we can begin to adopt a definitive position, we must know why such a regime emerged in a given place; what it depends on for its existence; who (doesn't) support it and why (not).
Our "critical support" for "marxist liberation movements in Asia today" was too broadly phrased and is, justly, the object of G.J.'s condemnation. Actually, our "critical support" was meant in the Indochinese context, where, in the face of the most colossal imperial intervention imagineable, such movements succeeded - and could only have succeeded - because the vast majority of the Indochinese peasants wanted them to. We did not say that a Marx-Leninist triumph would usher in freedom. All the same, the image of a million sweating peasants, with enemy swords at their throats and NLF guns at their backs, is by-and-large a CIA fiction.
In other words, the problem really boiled down to one of utter social and enviromnental dislocation wrought by an imperial power gone mad. While we offered no constructive suggestions for the future, we did at least say that a libertarian outcome to the war was out of the question. The possibility of an Indochina promising its people social justice and individual freedom was the fir st casualty of Amerikan intervention, the most savage in history. One wonders how G,J.'s "bases" would have fared under a blanket of napalm. What few choices there had been in pre-war Indochina were reduced by the war to a bare alternative: death, destruction and colonial slavery under Amerika and its Saigon lackeys; or national independence and collective self-reliance under the communists. The "Third Force," which had no program beyond the vague promise of "democracy," was thus forced to the sidelines as the battle for the "hearts and minds" of the people degenerated into a test of brute strength. In other words, there was no choice -and no revolution - Amerikan bombs rained down. We repeat the need to comprehend the impact on Asian people of 100 years' imperialist control.
"But to support nationalism - the nation State - that is not Anarchism." Hold it! We never equated nationalism with the state, nor did we ever suggest any kind of support for the nation-state, let alone the alleged "alliance with ideology" (whatever that means). The nation-state concept was undoubtedly played up by the communists, just as it was by Thieu and a 'he other puppets, but the communists didn't invent nationalism. It was a natural result of imperialist repression and colonial strangulation. The Indochinese communists, like the Chinese and others before them, succeeded because they responded to powerful popular emotions, and comprehended that the essential first step to the regaining by the people of control over their lives was the riddance of the outside aggressor.
There is a time, events have shown, when the national revolution runs parallel to the class struggle. As in China, so in Vietnam. This phase lasts only until the foreign rulers are thrown out and the native people find a home-grown government telling them what to do. They will in all probability find that national independence, once won, is a life-crushing burden. From this point on, nationalism works only to the benefit of the rulers. To keep nationalism alive, the rulers must then invent a foreign threat (as in China - first Amerika, now Russia), or else exploit the fear of internal subversion financed from abroad (as in South Vietnam now). What we should be doing a propos of Indochina is attacking the communists for blinding popular aspirations to independence with the concept of nation-state independence, instead of complaining what a hard time we anarchists would have.
In the sense that the peasants of Indochina still till their fields and the workers work their lathes in the interest of some distant master, the revolution there has certainly been set back further. But now is not the time to expect any broad resistance. Resistance there will be, undoubtedly, but not until the people have enough occasion to discover the true meaning of "people" as used in Leninist parlance. Only then can we expect to see anything like a restaging of the revolt in China, where the workers finally saw through their masters' deceit and the betrayal of the revolution in their name.
Having in mind the kind of "resistance" that can be expected now - backdoor financing by the U.S. - therefore we spoke of "critical support." Indochina is in far more danger from that quarter than the Soviets were in 1918, for the CIA can and does act without our knowledge. (To take just one example, how are we to regard the stories of mass starvation in Saigon? Are they true, or just another CIA fabrication off the AP wire in Bangkok?) CIA de-stabilization is intended to prepare public opinion for any counter-revolutions to come by creating the fiction that the new governments have no control and no support.
We "have not learned from the bloody lessons of Anarchist history since 1917." Name a decade since then, and you will find libertarian sacrifices to the god of power. How long must we go on learning the lessons before we become the teachers? How much blood do we have? What is going to be our strategy? The time is past for tactics.
The Russian anarchists did not commit "suicide." Without historical precedents to go by, they fell for the Bolsheviks' deceits - as did many others, erstwhile Bolsheviks not excepted. This is the lesson, and it is the anarchists who must be the teachers. For we do have precedents to rely on. We expect the present-day Bolsheviks to trample on the revolution - it is in their authoritarian nature! So, where their victory is inevitable, we wait for it, denounce and expose it. But it is only the people themselves who will judge - and act!
How is that only libertarians appear to know about the 1945 massacre in Saigon... the murder of 10,000 Red River peasants in 1956... the Chinese anarchists in labor camps... the mass murder of Inner Mongolians and Uighur Moslems to say nothing of Kronstadt and similar atrocities? How do we - the "Revolutionary and non-communist forces" - face up to this challenge? Or are the anarchists just going to inherit the earth some fine day when the sole wears down on the last fascist jackboot? Long before then, it will have been too late!
We must make the facts known. It is not enough to simply take a doctrinaire position and wait for events to prove its correctness. It is essential, for one thing, to begin the systematic documentation of the bloody history of Marx-Leninist movements throughout the world since 1917 - to take it out of the realm of anarchist propaganda and so perform a service to the overall revolutionary movement.
One way we don't think the anarchist revolution will be brought any closer is through writing the kind of letters that G.J. does. We don't make any excuses for our choice of words - rabid accusations of "anarcho-bolshevism," of being "traitors" (a funny one, that), and denunciations of "intellectuals" (a false Marxist/ bourgeois category anyway), are some indication of what can be unleashed by it. This kind of fratricidal conflict is best left to the Trots, who, after all, are so much better at it. Indochina has already presented-and will continue to present-anarchists with any number of very challenging problems. These cannot be painted all black or all white, as some would prefer- nor will they be solved by frenetic namecalling in third-party papers.
Another way we don't think the libertarian millenium will be brought any closer is by looking on any group, anarchist or otherwise, as representing anyone other than itself. We don't pretend to represent the anarchist movement in Japan, nor did it ever 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: