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The 52nd International Antiwar Assembly in Japan
August 3rd 2014

The Executive Committee for the 52nd International Antiwar Assembly

composed of
All-Japan Federation of Students' Self-Governing Associations [Zengakuren]
Antiwar Youth Committee
Japan Revolutionary Communist League (Revolutionary Marxist Faction) [JRCL (RMF)]

 
The Central Meeting in Tokyo

See The Overseas Appeal for the Assembly

The 52nd International Antiwar Assemblies were held on August 3rd in Tokyo and 6 other major cities in Japan: Sapporo in the Hokkaido region, Kanazawa in the Hokuriku region, Nagoya in the Tokai region, Osaka in the Kansai region, Fukuoka in the Kyushu region and Naha in Okinawa. All the assemblies were highly successful, attended by militant Zengakuren students, workers and citizens who fought in the forefront of the recent struggle against the Abe-led Japanese government's scheme to constitutionalize Japan's 'exercise of the right to collective self-defence'. Here is a rough outline of how the central meeting in Tokyo went.

'With mounting anger, we denounce the Israeli government for assaulting the Gaza Strip, for massacring Palestinians!' The comrade presiding over the meeting started off his opening address by delivering this fiery denunciation. 'You said it,' responded the audience all together. Everybody in the meeting was boiling with anger against the Netanyahu government which was continuing indiscriminate carnage.

The proceedings began with the screening of a video, which reported the recent struggle against the Cabinet decision to constitutionalize the 'exercise of the right to collective self-defence'. From the video, every participant clearly realized how the slogans that were carried by Zengakuren students - 'No to fascism!' and 'Down with the Abe government!' - came to be common calls among tens of thousands of protesting people and how they led the struggle to a massive upsurge.

Then, on behalf of the Executive Committee for the Assembly, Comrade Taku Ijuin took the platform to give the keynote address. Full of indignation, he called on the audience: 'Comrades, in the name of the International Antiwar Assembly, let us condemn the barbarities committed by the Israeli government!' He went on to say, 'Those barbarities the Zionist Israeli government is committing today must be what the Japanese imperialist Abe government will commit tomorrow.' Referring to the fact that the Abe government decided to constitutionalize the 'exercise of the right to collective self-defence' in the Cabinet meeting on July 1st, Comrade Ijuin revealed that the government was now making a dash, with the Obama administration, for the full-scale building of an offensive and defensive alliance against China. 'Abe is preparing to launch a war. At this critical moment, which marks a turning point in the history of Japan after WWII, we must rise up to overthrow the Abe government by a resolute struggle of workers and students.'

He continued: 'In East Asia, we are met with a hair-trigger situation caused by the antagonism between the US-Japan and China. In the western part of Eurasia, a clash is taking place between the US/EU and Russia over Ukraine. In Iraq and Syria, civil wars are entering a new phase. Amid the rivalry between the US and China-Russia, the danger of another world war is growing.' 'Facing up to this critical world situation, we must strengthen antiwar struggles internationally. However, the Japanese Communist Party, who calls itself the leader of the peace movement, is only placing its hopes on "diplomatic negotiations and political talks" between the rulers of the US/Japan and China/Russia within a framework that presupposes even the existence of the US-Japan military alliance - not to mention Japan's possession of military power "for national defence".' 'Such degenerate leaderships must be overcome. By so doing, we must create an international solidarity among the working classes, the masses and students who are fighting against <war and poverty> all over the world. This is the only way to overcome the impending crisis of a world war and carve out our bright future!' With this passionate and militant call, Comrade Ijuin concluded his address, which was met with an enthusiastic applause.

After an intermission, messages from abroad were presented. The Executive Committee received 19 messages from 11 countries. In every message, the audience found indignation burning at the Israeli government's genocide against Palestinians. We also felt an acute sense of foreign friends towards the fact that the world harbours the imminent danger of another world war, and that wars are raging in reality in the Middle East and Ukraine. We sensed that the messages were filled with indignation against the rulers that are plunging the workers and the toiling masses of the world into poverty. All messages were filled with the intention to exchange opinions with us fighting in Japan in order to develop antiwar struggles internationally. The participants of the meeting surely felt, from every one of these messages, a strong sense of solidarity with workers and people of the world.

After the introduction of overseas messages, two speakers took the platform in succession on behalf of the militant workers and students. Firstly, a postal worker expressed his determination: 'In order to stop the Abe government's ultra-reactionary offensive, I have been resolutely striving to create an antiwar, anti-Ampo [US-Japan military alliance] struggle from within my workplace. I have been doing this in opposition to the degenerate trade union leadership's oppression of the struggle.' He reported very vividly about his efforts to organize a struggle in his workplace and expressed his new resolve to keep fighting. His remarks brought loud applause from the audience.

Next stood the Chief Secretary of Zengakuren, Nagatomo Hirokawa. 'Right now, the Chairman of Zengakuren is in Okinawa, fighting in the forefront of the dauntless action to stop the new US Marine base construction in Henoko. So, today, I am going to speak on his behalf,' he said. Cheers rang out in the hall with enthusiastic applause. 'At this very moment, workers, students and residents of Okinawa are fighting actions to literally block construction vehicles from entering the construction site. They have been combating every day to drive back the lorries, and up till now, the construction work has been checked.' A storm of applause engulfed the hall, mixed with the yells of 'Well done!' 'That's the way!'

He then gave a report of the urgent protest that Zengakuren lodged against the Israeli Embassy in Tokyo on July 18th, the very day when the Netanyahu government launched its ground operation in the Gaza Strip. This fight of Zengakuren really encouraged hundreds of Muslim immigrants who had rallied there to stage their own protest and evoked their keen sympathy.

Lastly, the presider of the assembly called on all the participants to keep advancing antiwar struggles: 'Denounce the massacre of Palestinians by the Netanyahu government! Stop the US base construction in Henoko! No to the strengthening of the US-Japan military alliance! Stop the restart of nuclear power stations! No to the consumption tax increase! No to the revision of social security systems!' All the participants of the assembly shouted these slogans in unison and sang The International, thus pledging to each other to continue fighting.

Workers and students in Okinawa are going on with their fights, both on land and see, to stop the new US base construction in Henoko. We, the Executive Committee, are resolved to advance our antiwar struggle, in solidarity with the comrades fighting in Okinawa, against the strengthening of the US-Japan military alliance and against the building of Japan into a military power.

Comrades all over the world!
Let us advance struggles against warmongering between US/Japanese and Chinese/Russian rulers!

 
 

   
 The Tokai Assembly in Nagoya   The Hokuriku Assembly in Kanazawa 
   
 The Kyushu Assembly in Fukuoka  The  Kansai Assembly in Osaka 
   
 The Hokkaido Assembly in Sapporo  The Okinawa Assembly in Naha



Overseas Appeal for the
52nd International Antiwar Assembly in Japan


Arise to stop a world war breaking out!
Fight against warmongering between the US / Japan and China / Russia!

Build up international solidarity against <war and poverty>!

 We call on working people all over the world!
 On the 3rd of August ? the month when atomic bombs were dropped for the first time in human history on Hiroshima and Nagasaki ? we are holding the 52nd International Antiwar Assemblies in Tokyo and six other cities in Japan.
 Today, one hundred years after the shot in Sarajevo triggered off the First World War, the world is once again witnessing acute tensions building up, which reminds us of the eve of the war that engulfed the whole world for the first time in history. The US and China plus Russia are clashing with each other in both the east and the west parts of the Eurasian Continent. Conflicts that could provoke another world war are raging in many parts of the world.
 Comrades of the world! Blow up the dark clouds of warfare with the united power of workers and the toiling masses! Stir up the flames of antiwar struggle all over the world!

(1)

 In East Asia, military rivalry between US / Japanese imperialist rulers and the Xi Jinping-led Chinese government is intensifying day by day. Right after US President Barack Obama concluded his Asian tour with the signing of a new military pact with the Philippine government, the Xi Jinping government started to set up an oil rig near the Paracel Islands in the South China Sea in early May. In protest, the Vietnamese government, which also claims the Paracels, sent patrol boats to the waters. Chinese Coast Guard vessels repeatedly rammed them and used water cannons against them. There was even an incident where a Vietnamese fishing boat was sunken by a Chinese vessel. Meanwhile, over the East China Sea, a Chinese fighter jet came flying within 30 metres of a Japanese plane which was allegedly reconnoitring the Chinese military. The same dangerous encounter occurred more than once. Thus East Asia is in a tense situation where the slightest incident can touch off a war.
 In the western part of Eurasia, the Russian government led by Vladimir Putin, who seeks to strengthen the unity of CIS countries under the banner of a ‘Eurasian Union’, has started a new challenge. On seeing a pro-Western government appearing in Ukraine, Putin the Terrible placed the Crimean peninsula under military occupation and annexed it for the purpose of securing the home port of the Black Sea Fleet. He still keeps Russian troops assembled near Russia’s border with Ukraine, waiting for a chance to divide Ukraine and annex its eastern part to Russia. On the other hand, the newly formed Poroshenko government, backed by imperialist governments of the EU and the US, is now carrying out military operations to suppress pro-Russian militias in cities in the eastern and southern parts of Ukraine, while fanning Ukrainian nationalism against Russians.
 This is not all. In the Middle East, Iraq has plunged into a civil war. The ISIS (Islamic State in Iraq and Syria), a Sunnite armed organization which is descended from al-Qaeda, has started a military offensive to topple down al-Mariki’s Shiite-led government. The al-Maliki government is supported by Iran, the US’s archrival. Against the ISIS, the Syrian al-Assad government has also launched an attack by crossing the border with Iraq. (The US government aided the ISIS in Syria.) Behind the scenes, Iran and Iraq are backed by Russia and China, while the emirs of Saudi Arabia and other Gulf states are giving support to the ISIS below the surface. On top of that, the greater Iran’s influence grows, the more Israel is eager to launch a military attack on Iran because Iran is intent on nuclear development with the ambition to become the ‘leader of the Middle East’. All this has plunged the Obama administration, now a lame duck, into an impasse.
 In the Middle East, tragic conflicts between religious sects, between ethnic groups, are intensifying, especially in Iraq and Afghanistan, where US imperialists started war, perpetrated all possible atrocities and fled in the end. The civil war in Iraq, which is connected with hostilities between religious sects, is nearing the break-up of the state and aggravating the danger of throwing the whole Middle East into war.
 The world where we live has now entered a new phase. US imperialism is suffering a decline and yet is anxious to keep its hegemony over the world. By taking advantage of America’s downfall, China and Russia are rapidly strengthening their offensive against it. The rivalry between the two sides is intensifying more fiercely than ever, connected with their competition for resources.
 US imperialism, which boastfully enjoyed the status of the ‘sole superpower’ after the collapse of the USSR and arbitrarily repeated arrogant and barbaric acts in the name of ‘freedom’, is now in a predicament, suffering from successive defeats in the wars of aggression in Iraq and Afghanistan, as well as from the Great Recession since 2007. Its political prestige has completely declined while its dollar-based economic dominance, along with its domestic economy, is also shaken and depressed. Yet, by resorting solely to its overwhelming nuclear military capability, the Obama administration is desperate to contain rising China, according to the strategy of ‘Rebalance toward the Asia-Pacific Region’. However, the Obama administration, which is obliged to cut military expenditure due to a massive budget deficit, is no longer able to contain China by itself. It is hence desperate to mobilize the military forces of pro-American states in the Asia-Pacific region. With the US-Japan new military alliance as a pivot, it is intent on forming a multilateral military alliance (by incorporating South Korea, Australia, the Philippines and so forth) as an Asia-Pacific version of NATO. At the same time, it is going ahead with the reorganization and strengthening of US military bases in the region.
 On the other hand, seizing the favourable opportunity, Chinese and Russian rulers have launched a new challenge to US imperialism. Xi and Putin declared a ‘new stage of the China-Russia comprehensive strategic partnership of coordination’ and disclosed their intention to vie with the US by saying, ‘It is for the people of Asia to uphold the security of Asia’ (Xi’s speech at the 4th summit meeting of the Conference on Interaction and Confidence Building Measures in Asia on May 21st).
 Inspiring Sinocentric nationalism, the Xi government is ambitious to build China into a ‘superpower in the 21st century’ and a ‘sea power’, and for that purpose, has started actions to seize command of the East and the South China Seas, and further of the western Pacific, from US imperialism. The Chinese government is also aiming to monopolize seabed resources of this area. It claims that now is the time for the Chinese to retrieve all that has been deprived of them by Japanese and other imperialist powers since the 19th century. In the meantime, the Putin government of Russia is intent on reuniting former constituent republics of the USSR with an ambition to build a ‘Eurasian Union’ with ‘great Russia’ as its core while foiling the eastward expansion of NATO and the EU. In opposition to Obama complaining that ‘international law prohibits the acquisition of another state’s territory through coercion or force’ (at the G-7 summit on March 24th), the Russian and Chinese rulers flatly rejected it by saying that they were making justifiable efforts to maintain the ‘postwar international order’ established through the defeat of Nazism, fascism and Japanese militarism in the Second World War.

(2)

 Seeing China’s rise in Asia, the Shinzo Abe-led government of Japan has a growing sense of crisis as an imperialist power. For this reason, this government is proactively responding to demands from the Obama government for ‘a greater role of Japan in the US-Japan alliance’. Putting up the deceitful flag of ‘proactive contribution to peace’, the Abe government dared to make a Cabinet decision to revise the established interpretation of the Constitution in order to authorize the Japanese state ‘to exercise the right of collective self-defence’. This means a rejection of the Constitution that states ‘the renunciation of war’ and ‘no possession of war potential’. This is for carrying out his agreement with Obama that US and Japanese governments will formulate new ‘guidelines for US-Japan defence cooperation’, known as ‘a war manual against China’, by the end of this year. The two imperialist powers are now reinforcing their ‘security alliance’ as a full-scale offensive and defensive alliance against China.
 This is not all. Taking this opportunity, Shinzo Abe, as a ‘strong nationalist’, is intent on building up Japan’s ‘Self-Defence Forces’ into a powerful imperialist army ‘with the capability to attack enemy’s bases’. What he aims for under the slogan a ‘leading nation’ is such a militarily strong nation that can engage in war with China and use armed forces everywhere in the world. He aims at a restoration of militarist Japan and therefore glorifies the aggressive war by the Tennoist state of Japan in the past. Abe’s jingoistic words and deeds are sowing the seeds of a new war in the heat of the rivalry between the US and China / Russia.
 At home, the Abe government is oppressing opposition movements and reinforcing the authoritative ruling system. Above all, this government is frantic to establish the National Security Council (that is presided by the prime minister and comprised of the foreign and defence ministers, as well as the heads of the self-defence forces and the police) and to operate it as the supreme decision-making body beyond the parliament and the cabinet meeting (after the model of the wartime one). In this way, the Japanese neo-fascist ruling system is being drastically strengthened. The Abe government is also determined to secure a financial basis for a ‘strong nation’ that he aims at. Under the slogan ‘Revive the strong economy’, the government has raised consumption tax rates and cut down social security expenses while reducing corporation taxes and taking every possible measure to support monopoly capitalists. Abe said boastfully, ‘The government will remake Japan as the world’s best country for companies to do business’. His government is now scheming to abolish the legal standard for working hours, thus depriving the workers of the rights which the working class has won historically. Abe’s scheme is to throw the workers into a status with no right as in the 19th century.
 This is not all. The Prime Minister is visiting economically emerging countries in person to sell Japanese nuclear plants. Shamelessly he is spreading complete lies such as that ‘Japanese nuclear plants are the safest because we went through the Fukushima nuclear accident’, or that ‘the Fukushima No.1 nuclear plant is under control’. In fact, Fukushima reactors are continuing to emit terribly high-level radiation and to discharge massive contaminated water into the Pacific Ocean. Furthermore, the Abe government is pressing evacuees to return to their hometowns, where amounts of radiation are still large, for giving the impression that the accident was not disastrous. The government is victimizing them to sell the ‘safety’ of Japanese nuclear plants. Abe is not only selling nuclear plants. He abolished the ‘three principles controlling arms export’ and started to undisguisedly encourage the exportation of Japanese-made military weapons, for the interests of ‘merchants of death’!
 Comrades of the world!
 We are fighting in Japan with all our strength to smash the offensives that the Abe government has launched, such as the constitutionalization of the ‘exercise of the right of collective self-defence’, the full-scale strengthening of the US-Japan security alliance as an bilateral offensive and defensive alliance against China, and the reinforcement of the Japanese neo-fascist ruling system. We are also fighting resolutely against Abenomics, which gives preferential treatment to the monopoly capitalists and imposes all sacrifices onto the workers. In the middle of the struggles, we are calling on the toiling masses to form a ‘united front against fascism’. Encouraged by our tenacious struggles, the voices of protest are echoing everywhere in Japan: ‘Stop constitutional revision!’ ‘Down with the Abe government!’ In Okinawa, where the US and Japanese rulers are launching a new US Marine base construction, workers, students and local residents are rising up in struggle, voicing in unity, ‘Don’t let them drive even a single pile at Henoko!’
 The Japanese government carries out propaganda about the ‘threat of China’. Its aim is to suppress opposition movements rising like a flood tide. The government is trying to divert complains and angers of the masses to the outside. We are striving to reveal the true nature of such a nationalist campaign and to promote antiwar struggles in solidarity with the toiling masses of China, Korea and all over Asia.
 But, at this critical moment, the leadership of Rengo, the largest national centre of trade unions in Japan, has willingly participated in the ‘tripartite consultation among the government, management and labour’ that is initiated by Prime Minister Abe. While accepting every offensive of the government, including the strengthening of the US-Japan military alliance and constitutional revision, the Rengo leadership is only desperate to fill the role of putting a brake on workers’ struggles.
 On the other hand, the Japanese Communist Party (JCP) styles itself the leadership of the peace movement in Japan. But this party cannot resist Abe’s ‘threat of China’ campaign. What the JCP leadership is doing is to beg the government to use the Japan-US Security Treaty only for a defensive purpose as ‘stipulated in its text’. They are making only a little complaint within the same framework as the government, i.e. ‘how to defend Japan’. This reminds us of the degenerate Second International adopting a position of defending the homeland.
 We decisively protest against the building of the US-Japan alliance up into a bilateral offensive and defensive alliance against China in name and substance. Neo-fascist Shinzo Abe, who glorifies the ‘Greater East Asia War’, is now leading the Japanese imperialist state again into a war that imposes sufferings on Asian peoples. We absolutely foil it! At the same time, we oppose provocative military actions in East Asia by Chinese and Russian rulers. We call on the toiling masses in China, East Asia and Russia! Let us fight together in firm solidarity against the competitive build-up of nuclear military power between the US/Japan and China/Russia!

(3)

 The world of today, a world that experienced the collapse of the USSR, is now witnessing a head-on clash between the two powers: the US, a declining imperialist state, and China, which maintains the signboard of a ‘socialist state’ in name only. Imperialist America, which was enraptured in early 1990s at the collapse of the USSR, saying boastfully that it proved the supremacy of ‘freedom, democracy and the market economy’, arrogantly proclaimed itself as the ‘sole superpower’ and painted a rosy picture of a US-centred ‘new world order’. But now US imperialism is heading for a downfall. Meanwhile, the Stalinist bureaucrats of China, who saw the collapse of the USSR as if it were their own, schemed to maintain its bureaucratic ruling system by transforming the economic foundation into capitalism. They Stalinists place the toiling masses under poverty and autocratic rule. Rising China led by those bureaucrats is now taking every possible measure to become a ‘superpower of the 21st century’.
 Showing the unrestrained egoism of their own states, rulers of US imperialism and China are confronting with each other. Amidst the confrontation between the US and China (plus Russia), religious nationalism and national egoism are being inflamed. A spark of conflict that could lead to an ethnic or religious war is now smouldering, or burning, everywhere in the world. Workers and people are in the depth of suffering.
 Irrespective of advanced countries or developing countries, the rich are piling up greater riches, growing fat on money games. The misery of workers and the toiling masses who groan in poverty seems to have no end. The governments of the US, Japan and Europe carry out policies of monetary easing, such as a quantitative monetary relaxation policy (the US), a quantitative and qualitative monetary relaxation policy (Japan) and the ECB introduction of a negative interest rate (EU). With the aim of emerging from deflation and depression or of avoiding an impending deflation, rulers of the imperialist states have adopted these policies. For workers, however, it only means that more sufferings are being imposed on them. Authorities of advanced countries are issuing an immense amount of money, and financial institutions are using it for money games. Buffeted by their greedy games, so many people are in dire poverty because of the ‘globalization of the economy’. No jobs to live on and no houses to live in. And people who also have no food to eat are increasing day by day.
 The moribund capitalism is rotten to the core. In the midst of a crisis of capitalism, the government and the ruling class of every country are throwing workers and the toiling masses into severe poverty. Undisguised class divisions that evoke the 19th century capitalism are prevailing. By yelling the interests of the nation, the governments are driving workers and the toiling masses into wars under the slogan a ‘fight for the nation’.
 This misery of the world we must annihilate completely. When the state power tries to extend ‘national interests’ to the outside beyond its borders with armed forces, it always insists on the ‘historical legitimacy’, or emphasizes the ‘blood and soil’ of each country, in order to justify wars of aggression, while forcefully oppressing oppositions of its own people. In the form of ‘national interests’, the ruling class gives a semblance of universality to its particular interests. By presenting such false universality to both the inside and the outside of the country, it mobilizes the ruled class in wars against other nations. Now let us expose the deceitful nature of ‘national interests’ and ultra-nationalism propagated by rulers. We must eradicate war and poverty, abolish oppression and slavery, and therefore stand together, beyond borders, to fight against it right now! Workers and people of the world! Let us build up international solidarity against ?war and poverty?!
 ‘Workers have no country,’ said Marx. The proletariat of each country is itself national, but rises above national differences based on the universality of the proletariat. It was Gorbachev, General Secretary of the Communist Party of the USSR, who threw away Marxism by labelling it as a relic of the 19th century. Shouting for the need to break through ‘stagnation’ of the USSR, he however had no intention whatsoever of examining the root cause of the ‘stagnation’, Stalinism. Instead, he knelt before the western values of ‘freedom, democracy and the market economy’ in the name of ‘de-ideologization’. Here we see how the USSR was disintegrated. And here lies the origin of the misery reigning over the world of today.
 The ‘socialist’ USSR became another name for ‘tyranny and stagnation’. However, what has distorted the Soviet Union is not Marxism but Stalinism, which destroyed Marxism created by Marx.
Comrades all over the world!
 Call to mind the words of Lenin in the midst of the First World War! He denounced the leaderships of labour movements for having degenerated into the standpoint of defending homelands. He called out, to the workers of the world, that it was time to overthrow the governments continuing the bloody war.
 Be alert to the rise of fascist parties and neo-Nazi groups! Taking advantage of workers’ sufferings and grief, those fascists are pretending to side with the toiling masses under the slogan ‘against ultra-capitalism’ or a ‘national unity’. In Europe, especially in its southern parts, people are groaning in poverty under the government-led severe austerities. The youth are suffering from massive job losses or starvation wages. Fascists are exclusively agitating for ultra-nationalism, splitting the working class and fanning hatred among workers. No to the rise of fascism! Don’t let fascists lead the world to another war!
 We appeal to workers and the toiling masses, who are in the midst of fights against the governments imposing war and poverty! Only the internationally united fight of the working class, overcoming the degenerate leaderships of labour movements, can eradicate wars raging amidst of confrontation between the US / Japan and China / Russia, root out environmental destruction and poverty, and hence open a way for building a new world. Now is the time to raise our voices all over the world: ‘Workers of all countries, unite!’  (July 1st, 2014)






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