Issue No. 6 of the Japanese journal Libero International - the final issue.
Libero International No.6 (March 1980)
PDF courtesy of Sparrows Nest Archive, Nottingham.
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".
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?
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.
PLUG ... PLUG ... PLUG
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.