The Communist Daily

The revolution starts here!

Archive for the tag “Japan”

Unfathomable, Unacceptable!

Good day readers, I have been busy and away from this blog for a while, but today I was compelled to write about something I saw, thanks to twitter. Before I get started, thanks for following my blog, even when I don’t post for a while. Now on to the topic of the day.

UNTHINKABLE

The Yomiuri Shinbun (Shinbun means newspaper in Japanese) is a right-wing newspaper that is known for its far right stance. However, the latest editorial from that fascist rag takes the cake in terms of insensitivity, historical revisionism, and blatant misogyny. In an editorial on August 2nd titled

“Refute recent moves in U.S. to distort comfort women issue”

the newspaper issued the opinion that Korean-Americans who have set up monuments to the victims of Japan’s war time sex slavery system administered by their armed forces is “distorting” the “comfort women” issue. First the paper ridiculously refers to those trying to honor the memory of those victims as “anti-Japanese” as if to be honest about history and mourn the oppressed is to hate Japan. Of course that doesn’t say much for the moral character of Japan, but leaving that alone for the moment; the newspaper is once again, like many right-wing fascists in Japan have done for decades, is trying to revise history to be one that fits their agenda, and fits with their nationalist myth making. Let’s go through some of these ridiculous claims, and see if they hold any water. Just because I’m fair like that.

They point out that the monument erected in California reads “In memory of more than 200,000 Asian and Dutch women who were removed from their homes…to be coerced into sexual slavery by the Imperial Armed Forces of Japan between 1932 and 1945.” The newspaper refutes this with “The distorted and exaggerated phrases “sexual slavery” and “more than 200,000” are enough to significantly degrade the honor of Japan.”

Let’s examine those two claims. One, they are asserting that the so-called “comfort women” system was not sexual slavery. Is that true? Well, what is the definition of slavery? According to Merriam-Webster online the definition of slavery is:

slav·ery

noun \ˈslā-v(ə-)rē\

1 : drudgerytoil
2: submission to a dominating influence
3
: the state of a person who is a chattel of another
: the practice of slaveholding
Now take that definition and read this testimony of a Korean woman about her servitude:

“[…] it was not out of our own will, we were forced into it. I was beaten until I lost hearing. I was tortured. They didn’t see us as people, but as objects.” –Lee Ok-sun, comfort woman (as cited in Wabnitz, 2007)

Well, that certainly sounds like slavery to me. There is a colossal mountain of historical documentation that shows that these women were forced into sexual slavery in service to the Japanese Imperial Army.  There are journal articles upon newspaper articles upon photos and government papers and reports and on and on and on that verifies the reality of the sexual slavery of these women. Yet apparently the Yomiuri doesn’t let a little history deflect them from “upholding the honor of Japan,” Those honoring the victims of that horrible fascist government aren’t dishonoring Japan, those who built the “comfort women” system of sex slavery are the ones who dishonored Japan. That’s like claiming the witnesses of a murder are more guilty of killing because they reported it. It’s cognitive dissonance on crack.

Ok, so let’s examine the second claim, that being that 200,000 sex slaves is an exaggeration. Let’s turn again to an academic source for that.

“It was not until 1993 that the Japanese government stopped denying its involvement in the creation of comfort stations—establishments that saw the systematic rape, torture, and in some cases murder, of approximately 200 000 so-called comfort women.”
and another
“Comfort women” is the bitterly ironic euphemism for the approximately 200,000 women, mostly Korean (about 90%) that the Japanese Imperial Army tricked or abducted into military brothels, called “comfort stations” and forced into sexual slavery during World War II. Although most of the comfort women were Korean, women from Taiwan, Malaysia, Indonesia, China, the Netherlands, and the Philippines were also forced into this sexual slavery. The comfort women system was a sweeping network that existed throughout Japan and its growing empire in China, Hong Kong, Indochina, the Philippines, Malaysia, Singapore, Borneo, the East Indies, Burma, Thailand, Papua New Guinea, Saipan, Guam, and the Coral Sea Island Islands (Factbox: Disputes, 2007).” ()
Sorry, seems like a pretty established fact. I could pull out hundreds of articles of evidence that shows that the sex slavery system of Imperial Japan was that extensive, but I figure these idiots would ignore the evidence, or just claim that it’s a vast “anti-Japanese” conspiracy like they always do. Un-fucking-believable.
The end the article by claiming there is no evidence for that which the rest of the goddamn world knows there is a mountain of evidence for, and claim that the famous “Kono statement” of 1993 needs to be changed, or redacted. At the same time they try to appear humanitarian by writing “It is true there were actions by the Japanese government in wartime that injured the honor and dignity of many women. If the comfort women issue were to be judged under the standards of human rights awareness that exist today, there would be no chance for Japan to politically win the issue.”
No fucking sir, nice try you weasel fascist fucking ratfink, whoever you are. They were crimes against humanity by the standard of human rights OF THAT ERA, which is why so many of your leaders were hung like the fascist fucking rats they were. You can’t on one hand say that the Japanese government committed atrocities, and on the other hand say that they weren’t that bad of atrocities and so Koreans have no right to be angry about Japan’s continued idiocy, and stubborn historical revisionism.
Dear Japan, stop trying to weasel out of the horrible history of your imperialist expansionism. Stop trying to wiggle out of the responsibility your government still holds for the deaths, tortures, and rapes of millions of people. Stop trying to prop up your bullshit national myth on the backs of the victims of your imperialist fascist aggressions. Take responsibility for your history, and establish a future where no one will ever again be afraid that that horrible history would ever repeat itself. Take a note from Germany, that has to its credit, largely owned up to the sins of the past, and has criminalized the denial of the holocaust, and Nazi symbolism. Those who forget the past, are doomed to repeat it.
SHAME, SHAME, SHAME on Japan, and SHAME on the Yomiuri Shinbun. You are not fit to print advertisements, let alone speak about serious issues. Either stop distorting history, drop your projections, and own up to the past, or just at least do the world a favor, and shut the fuck up.
Postscript
Inb4 “you hate Japan”: I live here, and my wife and children are Japanese citizens.
 Inb4 “What about America”: I have no great love for the fascist US government, and I fully acknowledge the crimes of the US state. No red herrings or diversions allowed here.
Sources:
Durham, Helen, and Bebe Loff. “Japan’s “comfort women”.” The Lancet357.9252 (2001): 302.
Heit, Shannon. “Waging sexual warfare: Case studies of rape warfare used by the Japanese Imperial Army during World War II.” Women’s Studies International Forum. Vol. 32. No. 5. Pergamon, 2009.
Advertisements

The JCP still red and not dead

Communist Party: Still Red And Not Dead http://www.japansubculture.com/viva-la-revolucion-the-japanese-communist-party-still-red-and-not-dead/#.UbHEgF7zKdo.twitter

The Asian Century

Being sick and having nothing better to do at the moment, I started surfing the internet, reading articles and of course taunting a few people on twitter, as I am wont to do. I happened across an article in the Huffington Post by the senior program director at the Carnegie Council, Devin Stewart. In this article, entitled “The Asian Century Crumbles” Devin tries to dispel the idea that the age of American dominance and hegemony is coming to an end.  He cites such works as Fareed Zakaria’s “The Post-American World” and other works as examples of a the wrong headed idea that America was declining, and that Asia was rising. He states that not only was the idea of an America in decline wrong, but that Asia isn’t doing so hot either. He states that the Asia we are seeing emerge is not one of internationalist harmony, but one of conflict and regional disputes. He describes a few problems with the idea of an “Asian century”. First he says that it can’t be because of the aforementioned territorial and nationalistic disputes, and the fact that just recently Japan, and South Korea as well as others have elected nationalist conservatives to the highest offices. China’s expanding military strength is of concern to her neighbors, he says then accusing China of destabilizing the region. However, let’s really look at the facts. The US and Western colonial powers have been instrumental in helping to create most of the instability that now exists in Asia. From the colonial possessions of India, Indonesia and others, to the carving up of China, and even the militarization of Japan, it falls largely on the shoulders of the West. Furthermore, the most threatening force in Asia, militarily has been, and still is the US. Especially with the US’s recent announcement of a “pivot” to the Asian region, now that they’ve finished completely fucking up the Middle East, is proof that the US can’t leave Asia or control of it, to the people who actually live here. No, the US is determined to now shape Asia in its image, as it has tried to do so many other places. In fact, that point comes through very clearly in his absolutely ridiculous article. The whole thing reeks of ethnocentric bias, of bullshit liberal insanity and hubris, and a good strong helping of that sickening concept known as `American Exceptionalism`. In fact, I’m going to skip the other bullshit part of his moronic article, and take a quote by him at the end that really sums up the condescending way he looks at non-Western countries. “Instead, for many decades to come, Asians will likely seek to increase their freedom and equality to accompany their growing prosperity – the universal values that define the American Century.” Really? The so called “American Century” was one that was defined by equality? We’re talking about the 20th century, right? The one that had Europe killing more people than ever? Is that the American century where, for more than half of that century the US had a system of racial segregation, lynchings and an overtly racist political system? Was that the same century where we had a Great Depression that killed off an estimated 7 million Americans thanks to the greed of Wall Street? Is this the same century that ended with millions of Americans going homeless, hungry and uneducated? Is this the same century that the US invaded tens of countries killing millions of people? How interested do you think Vietnam is in becoming a little America? How interested do you think  Iraq and Afghanistan are in becoming part of America? Universal values my ass. The only values America has ever seemed to have is a combination of arrogance and hubris. This article is the epitome of the intellectually vacuous nature of the political discourse in the US. This guy claims ten years of study in Asian politics, but I honestly think he understands less than any given person walking down the streets of Beijing, Seoul, or Tokyo. This region is growing, it is evolving and it is changing. I hate to break it to you Devin, but America is in decline. So is Europe. Your so called “democracy” has suffered faked elections, riots in the streets, assassinations, civil wars and political corruption on a grand scale. This isn’t even mentioning the torture and lack of human rights in the US and Europe, nor does it even touch the “freedom” the millions of prisoners have in the US. The whole world is moving toward equality and freedom, but it is not going to come under the star spangled banners of the west. It will come with the popular liberation of the peoples of the world, the revolutions of the proletariat that will shake of the plague of capitalism like a bad case of the fleas. And all the American Exceptionalism in the world cannot stop the forward progress of humanity. All the American hubris in the world cannot stop the destruction of the capitalist empire. All the bombs in the world can’t kill the resolve of the working class when they rise up and decide that they’ve had enough. The only universal value, is that one day the means of production will be for the benefit of all humanity, instead of just for a few. Think outside the box, and reject this wrongheaded and intellectually vapid idiocy of capitalist imperialism.

In case you want to see this moron’s idiocy for yourself, please check it out here: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/devin-stewart/the-asian-century-crumble_b_2352088.html?show_comment_id=216874197#comment_216874197

War is in the Air

It’s no secret that things are heating up in the Asia-Pacific region. After more than a decade of focus on the Middle East, including two disastrous wars fought by the US against helpless foes in the region, the US has decided that its hegemony in the Pacific region is being threatened by an ascendant China, and changing balances of power. The USA Today newspaper reported back in June that the US is planning on shifting 60% of its warships to the Pacific by 2020. The report came as a result of remarks by Secretary of Defense Panetta on the “re-balancing” of the US military towards the Asian region. The US has announced greater presence in Australia, building new bases there just recently, in addition to restructuring of other Asian partnerships in the region. Just today however, it was announced that the US is planning on moving more and more troop activity to the Philippines, claiming that it is aimed at helping victims of natural disasters. This is widely seen as a convenient excuse for increased US pressure on the region. Tempers have been flaring over territorial disputes, such as China’s dispute with the Philippines over the Scarborough Shoals, or their dispute with Japan over the Senkaku Islands. Those are just two examples of many territorial disputes that are threatening to endanger the peace in Asia, and the actors that are maneuvering are not backing down in the slightest. China is a growing regional power that is increasingly rubbing shoulders with its neighbors, claiming that it has to protect its territorial integrity. Meanwhile, Japan, China’s old arch-nemesis is electing politicians who are promising to revise Article 9 of the Japanese Constitution, allowing Japan to throw away the peace part of their so called “Peace Constitution”. Such moves towards militarism should be viewed with great caution and reserve, as what happens in the coming months could forever change the course of history.

Now you might be thinking that I am being a bit too alarmist. I don’t think that I am, at all. Tempers are really heating up. The newly re-empowered Liberal Democratic Party of Japan has not only set their sights on revision of the pacifist constitution, but are also have said that they will not back down or compromise on the issue of the Senkaku Islands. Japan refuses to even admit there is a dispute. Japan is also at loggerheads over the issue of the Dokdo Islands, claimed as well by Korea, and with Russia over islands the Russians seized at the end of WW2. China has a large military, and recently announced their first operational aircraft carrier, a huge leap for a growing military force. China is a force to be reckoned with, and they are not afraid to assert their new found strength. In an article in the news site “RT”, a Russian news organization, they reported on the coming growth in the US military presence in the Philippines. In case you are thinking I am overstating the threat to the region from different directions,read what RT reported at the end of the article

“Chinese Communist Party Chief Xi Jinping urged his military to prepare for a struggle, without mentioning the potential aggressor.

“Push forward preparations for a military struggle,” he told the People’s Liberation Army, which consists of 2.3 million servicemen.”

It is my hope that things calm down in the area. A blow up in Asia could, and probably would start another world war.

What do you think of the current situation in Asia? Leave me a comment with your thoughts.

 

The Problem with China

Before I begin this post, I want to head off some possible criticisms, nip em in the bud, to use the common parlance. I am not promoting the US, Japan, the EU or any capitalist run system over that of China. I am not, I repeat, NOT advocating various forms of nationalist and imperialist aggression, I am simply highlighting a problem I see on the left, everywhere, and particularly in the case of China. I also want to highlight the fact that I am not an expert, I am a student, and I am still struggling with a variety of positions that I have been considering. This is meant to spark dialog, to incite discussion, and to provoke thought. Please join the conversation in the comments section below, and feel free to criticize my position on this, and really anything. If you feel I am wrong, and you want to challenge me on it, please do so, but come prepared with documentation, and sound reasoning. And since every discussion of nationalism or China is bound to cause tempers to get a little heated, please keep this a civil discussion. Attack ideas, not people. At least in this case. Now, without further ado, the question at hand.

Is China Socialist?

I understand why many revolutionary communists support the government of China. I really do. However, I feel that there is a growing current of communist thought which discourages any criticisms of China and its program, and the government that runs it. Being one of the few “socialist” countries in the world, many wish to protect the legacy of the Chinese proletarian revolution, and further the cause of socialism in the world. The problem I see, is that this is self defeating. As scientific socialists, as scholars, we should be held to a high standard of intellectual honesty. The name of a political party is not as important as the real material conditions on the ground. It doesn’t matter if the flag over them is red, yellow, blue or green. It matters how the division of labor is carried out, who is benefiting from the state, and who is running the country. When we examine China closely, we see that there have been deep and systemic problems in its model from the very start. To answer our question of whether or not China is socialist, we need to look at China’s history, and see the basis for the modern state of China, and where it is headed.

A Great Revolution

China was once called “The sick man of Asia”. It was dogged by imperialist aggression during the 19th and early 20th centuries, and under the weak and corrupt imperial government of China, it let the Western powers walk all over it. There were signs in Shanghai that read “No Chinese or dogs allowed.” China was humiliated, abused and exploited. Without going into a detailed history of China (you can study that in your own time comrades) let me just say that what China was subjected to under imperialist aggression is despicable and disgusting. The British forced opium on the people, the Americans enjoyed extraterritoriality, as did many Western powers, and China was being carved up like a Christmas ham to please the palates of the capitalists and aristocrats of the capitalist powers. The government of China was powerless to stop them. Japan also took part in this aggression, taking Chinese land and humiliating the Chinese in war and in the peace treaty that followed. (See the Treaty of Shimonoseki for more information) Japan would eventually even go as far as to massacre thousands in Nanking, and take possession of Manchuria, establishing a puppet regime there called Manchukko. What happened to China is wrong, what the imperialist did is wrong, and that can be said without reserve or any caveats.

Long story short, the Communists, led by Mao Zedong eventually helped to defeat the Japanese, and then defeated the KMT nationalists under Chiang Kai-Shek. On the 1st of October, 1949, Mao declared the People’s Republic of China as a sovereign state. It was a huge victory for the people of China, and they regained their pride as a people, as a nation. Eventually even the Western powers acknowledged the rightful government of China as being in Beijing, not Taipei, and China then embarked on economic expansion that allowed it to raise millions out of poverty, and establish itself as  world power. (I realize that this is a very short version of China’s modern history, please don’t think I’m trying to be comprehensive here)

China Today

The problem is that China today has lost much of its connection to the revolution that culminated in a communist victory, and it has abandoned many of the original goals and methods of the revolution. Let’s look at some facts about China. Is it a socialist country? We will tell by the material conditions of the Chinese people, not by the mere claims of the government of China.

International corporations

International corporations have been allowed to run rampant in China, fearlessly and blatantly exploiting the Chinese people. Horrible working conditions, low pay and heavy handed control tactics have combined to create a multitude of problems that only benefits China’s ruling class. Foxconn comes to mind. China has allowed, for the benefit of the government, horrible terrible abuses of the Chinese people. These abuses include dangerous working conditions, long working hours with little or no overtime pay, suicides, and much much more. This benefits such companies as Motorola, Apple, Amazon.com and others. This kind of worker abuse is being allowed in China, and protests against it are squashed by the government.

Human Rights

The same people who protest angrily against the violations of civil liberties in the US and Europe, are the same ones who ignore horrible human rights abuses in China. Unfair trials, massive use of the death penalty for a wide variety of crimes, censorship of radio, TV, the internet and newspapers and every other possible medium, China is not upholding the rights of  human beings in their country. The suppression of the people means that they are losing the support of the people, and are undermining the validity of the revolution they claim to be continuing. (Once again, before I get inundated with “the US does it too” note that I don’t consider the US a socialist country either.) You cannot claim to be the voice of the people, when you crush protests, throw political opponents in prison, censor all media that dares criticize the actions of the government and kills thousands of Chinese citizens every year. That is not the work of socialism.

The rulers of the Chinese communist party have established themselves as the bourgeoisie in China. They have allowed capitalism to spring up, they have ignored the contradictions in their ideology, and they are building the fall of the people’s republic. They have established a state capitalist form of economics, and one that has abused and betrayed millions of Chinese. The Chinese communist party has become a end unto itself, for its own power. There is no accountability, there is no transparency, there is no democracy, and it is NOT a socialist country. It once was, it once had the promise of socialism, but has now thrown that out the window. It has sold its soul for entrance to the WTO and the capitalist club, and it cares not about the material conditions of the Chinese people.

I am fully aware that I am going to catch hell from some of my comrades for expressing this opinion. I fully understand that some think that it is more important to support China,than criticize it. However, if we cannot criticize, we cannot think, and if we cannot think, then why are we communists at all?

Communism must be democratic, it must uphold economic equality, it must uphold the people as the ruler, not a government that is beyond criticism. We will not achieve communism by handing over the lives of our people to corporations, but by handing over the means of production to the working class. I will not continue to support the Chinese government. It silences dissent from the left, those who dare to push for economic equality and rights for workers are silenced, that is not socialism. China has become a country that is ruled by those who are communists in name only. If we cannot admit that China is no longer socialist, if we cannot think critically about China, then we should just throw in the towel now. China is ruled by the bourgeoisie of China. Party members who run state corporations are becoming millionaires at the expense of the workers. This must not stand. China needs to change course, it needs to acknowledge these problems, instead of diverting attention by attacking its neighbors with territorial claims and stoking nationalist hysteria. China has already fallen to capitalism. It is not upholding socialism. If we are to be communists, we must be honest.

In conclusion, China is not socialist. It is not democratic. It is not free. It is not what it purports itself to be. Until the working class is truly in control of the government, and the means of production, it is not a socialist country. State ownership in and of itself is meaningless. What matters is who runs the state, and who benefits from that ownership. What do you think? Is China a socialist country? Am I overreacting? Bring your argument. Let’s talk about this.

 

 

 

Lies, Damn Lies, and Statistics

I went to a forum at my university tonight on the subject of the US election. What I heard was people blatantly lie about both the political process, and the policies being enacted. I had the strong feeling that I was the furthest left person in the room as well, so that certainly made things interesting. I also got dressed down by an elderly woman who was incensed that I wasn’t voting for Obama. Long story short, it got me thinking about the political process in the US, and why it is so, so far out of whack. Why things can’t be improved in the current paradigm, and why we need radical change in our political systems.

Wealth Inequality

One speaker made a load of bullshit accusations and false characterizations about the occupy movement. I answered his stupidity, but it pissed me off that he could stand up there and blatantly lie about a movement he probably never went to, and held such contempt for. This man is white, a lawyer, obviously not poor; in short the poster child for the GOP. He thinks that the protesters were all violent hipsters out to get everything for free, that we just want a free ride in life. Untrue. We’ve worked our asses off for years, for low pay, only to be swallowed in debt, with uncertain futures, a lack of jobs, and a fractured world while men like him play the fiddle and pretend all is well. His material was mostly from the Heritage Foundation, a hack think tank if there ever was one. He slandered and lied the entire time he was slated to talk.

Here are some of his claims:

There is too much debt, the deficit keeps rising, and we’re sinking in debt, and it’s all the democrats fault.

The TRUTH:

Yes, the US is in debt, but why? Because of the democrats and their love for the welfare state? Oh hell no. We’ve spent over a trillion dollars on illegal and pointless wars in the middle east, in addition to massive tax breaks for the wealthy and huge government expansion. (Think PATRIOT Act, NDAA, Dept. of Homeland Security) Bush created a MASSIVE amount of debt, never balanced a budget, and ruined the US economy. Then the GOP gets mad at Obama for CONTINUING THOSE GODDAMN POLICIES.

Another claim: Liberals and the left just want everything handed to them on a sliver platter

The TRUTH: The fact is that in the US, the rich are really scared of something completely different. They’re scared that people will notice that the capitalist class has had everything handed to THEM on a silver platter. They have for too long taken for granted their positions of privilege, and they are now scared that they’re going to lose it. Wanting a society that can provide the basic human needs to the people is not asking for everything on a silver platter. The capitalist class sits around making money off the hard work of the proletariat, and then cries bitter tears of pain when they’re asked to sacrifice a tiny bit of their ill gained wealth for the common good. This only goes to prove that you can’t let the capitalists maintain power and still hope for socialism, or hell, even for some goddamn social progress.

The US Political System

Switching gears now away from the crazy claims of a disingenuous lawyer (also known as a lawyer), the talk tonight really highlighted for me the problem of our political system. There are only two sides. There are the democrats, and the republicans and they will decide what happens to the country. Don’t like the two party system? Too goddamn bad. Don’t like either party? Too bad. While the world is worried about a possible financial meltdown, a possible world war, increasing political tensions worldwide, a lack of jobs, the death of our environment, more war, income inequality, no money for education or housing, no money for anything other than the rich, real fucking problems… While all that is going on our political process consists of two people whose political positions are near enough that they could easily fit into the same political party, arguing on national TV about things that have NOTHING to do with the real problems we face. These same two will not be elected by a popular vote, they will be elected by an unaccountable electoral college, the names of whom no one knows, and political candidates for congress being the same old same old oligarchy that has ruled us since the dawn of this country. No other voices or concerns may enter the debate. No other parties can compete. No other way can be found. Status quo status quo status quo. Neither party candidate wants to end our overseas wars immediately, neither candidate wants us to close our excessive overseas bases, neither of them cares about changing American foreign policy, neither cares about ending the war on drugs, neither cares about anything other than getting elected so they can ensure four full years of power. Nothing changes, and they don’t want it to change. Things are just the way they like it because they can play you all off the other party, and get you so used to this bullshit that you are not educated or brazen enough to speak out against it. “If you don’t vote Republican, the Democrats will win” “If you don’t vote for the Democrats, the Republicans will win”. I said something on twitter the other day that really sums up how I feel about these two corrupt parties. I said “Having to choose between the Dems and the GOP is like being made to choose between salmonella and E.Coli. When will we wake up and see the truth for what it is? The US is nothing more than an oligarchy, a sad corrupt oligarchy that will come crashing down under the weight of its own hubris.

The lawyer who spoke tonight said many damned lies, and tried to back it up with shitty statistics. Like the BS claim that half of all Americans don’t pay tax. (Nearly every American pays tax of some sort)

But this is par for the course. We accept these lies as legitimate debate, when they are not. They are simply lies. Lies like the idea that the human beings who make up the populace of the USA can’t control their own political process, that we are beholden to a hundreds of years old document that we didn’t agree to. The idea that we are to sit down and shut up and not raise these questions. Why are there so many Americans on welfare? Good question, why are there so many Americans who NEED welfare? Are Americans just inherently lazy? It think not, and data backs me up. We’re one of the hardest working countries in the developed world. Why is it then? Maybe it’s because the people hoarding all the money in the US are not the real producers of wealth. Those are the grease stained engineers, the school teachers, the bakers. They are the street sweepers and the hotel desk clerks, they are the mothers and the fathers who bust their asses ever day to provide for their families, and are depressed, hurt and ashamed when there is more month than money. We are the people, teh strugglers, the fighters and the hopeful, and we are the ones who make the wheels of the economy turn. Assholes like that lawyer want you to believe that YOU are lazy, that you don’t want to work that YOU just want welfare. Fuck no. I don’t want welfare, I want socialism. I want a system wherein the workers own the corporations, and there are no CEOs. I want a truly transparent, money free political system that values ideas over political party apparatus. I want a system that believes in free and equal rights for all, including so called illegal immigrants, LGBT et al. I want a better world, not a world where the only way of making it big is to step on the corpses of your downtrodden worker brethren. We can, and indeed we must DEMAND and end to this ridiculous and unacceptable status quo. We need socialism bad, we need real workers democracy bad, we need equal rights for all bad, we need an end to capitalism. That may not be the popular thing to say, but it needs to be said. I will never stop advocating revolution in the US until we overthrow this militaristic fascist state. I will not give in and support Obama and the democrats. I will never OK the current treatment of Palestinians, Libyans and others. I will not accept capitalist imperialism, and I never will

So what are you going to do? Are you going to accept the status qo? Are you going to accept the rhetoric of lies, damn lies and statistics on Fox “news” and CNN? Or will you join me in demanding a better world, and a new political system to bring about that better world. You supported the overthrow of the regime in Egypt, right? Are you too cowardly to advocate the same in the US? It’s high time for a change, it is high time for an uprising, it is high time for a better world.

 

Tattoos, Japan, and Hashimoto

It may seem a bit frivolous to write on this rather political blog about tattoos in Japan. After all, this is a political blog, and most people would wonder (at least in the English speaking world) what the hell tattoos have to do with politics. In Japan though the issue of tattoos is currently a small manifestation of a much larger problem. Before we cover the political implications of this story, let’s cover briefly how tattoos are viewed in Japan, as it will be important to understanding this problem

Irezumi & Japan

Irezumi is Japanese for tattoo. It has a connotation of the flowery swirling artistic tattoos replete with crashing waves and jumping carp. Many people around the world will be familiar with this type of art, having seen it in one place or another before. The problem is that in Japan tattoos of any kind are associated with Yakuza, Japan’s famous mobsters. Yakuza are known in Japan for having extensive body tattoos that cover much of their bodies. Because of this connotation, different businesses ban anyone with tattoos altogether. Many public baths, hot springs, swimming pools and other businesses will deny entry to people who are tattooed. There is still a social stigma against the body art. The younger generations though, have a different view of tattoos. Like many old attitudes in Japan, the social stigma against tattoos is not as strong as it used to be. However, that doesn’t stop some old fashioned people from trying to use the old stigma to their advantage.

Enter Hashimoto

 

Toru Hashimoto (橋本徹)used to be the youngest governor of a prefecture in Japan, when he was Governor of Osaka Prefecture. In 2011 he was elected mayor of Osaka, leading his new local political party, the “Osaka Restoration Association.” A hardline nationalist, he has made huge waves ever since he entered politics by being a lot bolder compared to many of his older and more reserved colleagues. However, it’s not just his youthful demeanor that is catching the world’s attention.; it’s also his right wing policies.  While one thing he did was good (opposing the reactivation of nuclear power plants in Japan) many of his actions since being in politics makes one wonder. He recently forced all Osaka teachers to sing the national anthem “Kimi ga yo” that many have a problem with. Kimi Ga Yo is a remnant of the emperor worshiping past when Japan was attempting to colonize all of Asia. He is fighting to prevent municipal employees from engaging in any political activity, denying them their constitutional right to participate in their government and their communities. His most recent one though, is the most bizarre. He is making city employees take surveys, asking them if they have any tattoos in any place that might possibly be visible at any time. If the workers do have tattoos, they are to get the removed. He has threatened that all who refuse to answer the survey will not only be denied any promotions or raises, but may also be  suspended.

Why this Story?

You may be wondering why I’m blogging about this issue. Surely most of the world doesn’t care about tattoo policies for public servants in Osaka, Japan. This is important, because it is, I believe, very indicative of the problems that Japan faces.

Japan is facing a tough time of it, and the future is not looking too bright for many of its citizens. Due to one of the lowest birth rates in the world, Japan’s population is shrinking. This means that , along with their extraordinarily high life expectancy, that their society is rapidly ageing. With more people leaving the workforce, and not nearly as many people entering  it to replace them, Japan faces a monumental demographic problem. This could cause very dire problems for the Japanese not too far down the road.

Japan is littered with US military bases. From Sasebo, to Okinawa, to Yokosuka, to Misawa, thousands upon thousands of US military personnel are stationed there. The people of Japan want them gone, but the government continues to ignore the cries of the oppressed people such as the citizens of Okinawa who have put up with a heavy military presence since the end of World War II. Rapes, assaults and environmental disasters have marked the long visit of the Americans, and there is no end in sight.

Japan is facing energy problems left and right. The price of gasoline is going through the roof as Japan struggles to keep its lights on. All of its nuclear power plants deactivated, Japan is mostly surviving on the power of oil for its power. Even before the nuclear crisis, Japan was using far too much oil. They need to transition to clean, safe, affordable and renewable energy to meet the needs of the Japanese people.

I raised all these issues to make a point. Just like in other countries like the US or the UK, reactionary politicians are using trivial, unimportant hullabaloos to gain popular support, all while the country sinks further into trouble. While the Japanese people are facing terribly important decisions, the Japanese government, with nationalists like Hashimoto play the fiddle while Osaka burns. Instead of focusing on really addressing the problems that Japan faces, he prefers to attack innocent city workers for the non-crime of having tattoos. I hope the Japanese people reject this idiocy, and demand substance from their politicians. They need to rise up and tell the likes of Hashimoto that they will not be bullied, they will not be intimidated, and they want results from their government. He is restricting civil and human rights with these policies and he must be stopped. He is not good for Japan, he is another self-serving careerist who wants nothing more than to stroke his own narcissistic ego and hold more power. Unless Japan starts demanding a change in their useless government, they may not like the changes that are coming. When you keep putting off your problems instead of facing them, you’re just making things worse.

 

 

Japanese Sovereignty & US Hegemony

Ever since the end of WWII, U.S. forces have been stationed in Japan. Although the country is no longer a threat to its neighbors, or anyone, and is an officially pacifist nation, the U.S. has opportunistically used Japan as its footstool since the 1940s. The Japanese people are tired of the foreign occupation, and rightfully want the US troops gone.

In a recent story from Japan Times, the U.S. government is asking the government of Japan to fork over about a billion dollars US to aid the movement of Marines based in Okinawa to Guam. This is going back on the US government’s promise to shoulder the costs alone. Even though the US is trying to move fewer Marines than it promised, it not only wants Japan to pay the agreed amount (82 billion Yen) but pay more on top of that as well. This is another example of the weight of the US’s occupation of this island archipelago nation. While Japan struggles to raise itself from heavy debt, a sluggish economy, and problems arising from last year’s earthquake and tsunami, the US government, in its greed, is trying to walk all over the people of Japan.

This is a common occurrence, and one that the Japanese are well familiar with. In a related story, Foreign Minister Koichiro Genba traveled to Okinawa, negotiating parts of the movements of the Marine bases in Okinawa. The US government wants to relocate Marines within the prefecture, a plan that has been met with fierce opposition by the people of Okinawa, who dislike the foreign military presence in their homeland.

As I have said on this blog before, I support the right of self determination for Japan, and the immediate departure of all foreign bases from Japan. It’s time to return sovereignty to the people of Japan, who have been denied this right by imperialists for so long.

Free Japan from American hegemony, NOW.

Disaster in Japan: 1 Year Later

I was sitting at home messing around on the computer when I heard the horrific news. A major earthquake had struck Japan. I sat glued for hours to the news, watching the terrible event unfold on my screen. Having lived in Japan for almost  four years, and planning on living there again, the country is kind of an adopted home for me. Even if you know nothing about Japan, it is hard to watch something like that. Whole towns washed away, families torn apart, so very many people lost.

As Japan pulls themselves up from the debris of the disaster, they’re mustering up their courage to continue. In spite of a government disconnected from the Japanese working class, and corporations whose greed cost life and property, the Japanese perseveres. On this first anniversary of the Great Eastern Japan Earthquake and Tsunami, pause for a moment, and remember the many who lost their lives. Remember as well by doing what you can to make the world a better place. Events like this remind us just how fragile life is, and the strength of the human race. We should also remember that we are stronger together than we will ever be alone. To make a better world, to rebuild Japan, to live better lives, we need to understand that we are all connected. Here’s my hope that Japan will rebuild, will recover and will move on into a brighter future for all Japanese.

日本ガンバレ!

Japan: A Colony of the US

At the end of WW2, Japan lay in ruins. Cities destroyed, industry gone and millions dead. Japan paid the ultimate price of their imperialism and fascism. Fast forward to present day Japan, and much has changed. Japan is now a constitutionally mandated pacifist country. They do not have a military, only a self defense force. They swore in their new constitution that Japan would forever renounce the right to attack any other country. I applaud this. Japan is a beautiful place, with a rich heritage and great people, many of whom want to put the dark years behind them, and move on into a better, more peaceful future.

Centuries later, and what is the greatest threat to Japan’s status as a peaceful and progressive nation?  I’ll tell you what it is. It is their unending subservience to the fascist demands of the US.

In a news story from Reuters, they announce that Japan will be cutting oil imports from Iran by 11% as the result of negotiations with the US government. They admit that this could prove harmful to the Japanese economy, in a time when they are struggling.

This is just another example of why Japan needs to throw off their subservience to the blood thirsty dogs in Washington. They have pulled Japan into supporting their morally bankrupt wars, hosting thousands of US troops at the expense of the Japanese people, and made the Japanese government forget who they really should be working for, the people of Japan.

Japan: Kick out all US troops now, close all foreign bases. End trade agreements with the US, and develop trade and relations with Asia. It is time for Japan, and the world to throw of the parasite of US hegemony and imperialism. Do not be attached to fascists and imperialists, you went down that road once, and you don’t want to go down it again.

Edit: Here is the link to the Reuters story: http://www.reuters.com/article/2012/02/21/us-japan-usa-sanctions-idUSTRE81J1FK20120221?feedType=RSS&feedName=wtMostRead&utm_source=Greg+Stanski&utm_medium=twitter&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+reuters%2FMostRead+%28News+%2F+US+%2F+Most+Read+Articles%29

Post Navigation