May 1st, 2010
Written by Zengukaren.
We Zengakuren send heartfelt greetings of solidarity from Japan to you American students and workers who are rising in May Day struggle.
May Day is now the day of the fight of the worker of the whole world. We know May Day has its origin in the general strike by US-workers in 1886 that demanded eight-hour workday and it was set as a day of the international solidarity of the workers since foundation of the Second International in 1889.
It is historical thing that you in US-America has brought back May Day to today’s scene of class struggle and are fighting it as workers’ day, giving an enormous encouragement to us, who fights labor movement and student movement based on a class struggle standpoint here in Japan.
Now in Japan, May Day is regrettably under control of imperialistic labor movement leadership and Stalinist labor leaders. So we, as a class struggle current in Japan, are fighting in confrontation against the existing leadership and are striving for revitalization of labor movement from the inside.
In UC Berkeley, many students have been arrested and disciplined in the recent struggle. We, Zengakuren, strongly protest against this repression with full indignation. On this occasion, we are much excited and feel great solidarity to know that on both sides of the Pacific Ocean, students are unflinchingly fighting back against the disciplinary measures for free speech on campuses for the common cause.
On April 23, Zengakuren held a rally and demonstration at Hosei University with slogans: “Withdraw the disciplinary measures! Expel thugs from the campus! Stop privatization of education by the power of solidarity of students across the border!”
As we prepare the April 23 rally, it has become more and more clear for us that the focus of the Hosei student movement is essentially organizing. Responding to our petition campaign on the disciplinary measures (expulsion of brother Ikuma SAITO, president of the Federation of Cultural Clubs=FCC, and one-year suspension of sister Masami KURAOKA, vice-president of Zengakuren), more and more students are now courageously speaking out.
The affiliates of the FCC successfully recruited new students in early April, beginning of Japanese school year. The Hosei administration started flagrant repression on freedom of association and thought, following around new recruits who received our flyers and demanding their university ID cards. The new recruits refused the demand and 200 students surrounded the thugs and expelled them. A class of new students passed a resolution of protest against repression on campus.
On the day of the rally, the plain-clothes security policemen and the riot police deployed in front of the main gate. New students, however, began to join the rally in defiance of such intimidation. When the FCC organizes five or ten more students and widens their unity, solidarity and friendship, the Hosei ruling system, barely supported by physical violence of thugs, will surely collapse; all-campus uprising is near.
It is another great victory that we have received the solidarity messages from the students of USA as well as of Germany. When we visited the United States in March, we’ve got a conviction that students all over the world are suffering from the offensive of “privatization of education” and are now standing up with mounting anger against it for their future. Determined students mutually recognize each other as comrades and unite themselves sincerely who have never seen before, no matter how far they have been separated. Thus the slogan of “stop the privatization of education” has wonderful possibility. Japanese students are encouraged by this conviction, which is grasped through internationally united struggle.
Hosei University struggle has surely gained a grave significance, embodying universally the future of student over the world and its future actually depends upon how we’ll be able to gain newcomers of five to ten numbers to the Federation of Cultural Clubs, which is now represents fighting Hosei students. So, we are now struggling with this task. We must convert the over-all anger of students at the “privatization of education” into the organizational growth. We will resolutely advance, believing that we can reestablish the unity and construct the organization through the campaign of withdrawing punishments, calling on students, “Let’s raise your voice in protest against the attack on your friends on campus”.
We speak out loudly: Withdraw all unjust punishments for students of US and Japan! Reestablish the united students’ organization!
Japanese class struggle is now boiling up on the issues of the struggle of national railway workers and Okinawa problem.
1047 national railway workers, who were unjustly dismissed as the result of the Division and Privatization of Japan National Railway in 1987 as a starting point of neo-liberal offensives in Japan, have consistently been fighting for 23 years, demanding the withdrawal of their dismissal. To liquidate this proud and persistent struggle for reinstatement, an outrageous “settlement plan” has recently been proposed by the government and governing as well as opposition parties to bribe (by several billion Yen) the labor union bosses and lawyers, composed mostly of Social-democrats and Stalinists. Doro-Chiba (National Railway Motive Power Union of Chiba), in a fierce confrontation against this attack on labor movement, has called for a great mobilization of workers in a common slogan: “Don’t put off the fire of national railway struggle!” and has launched a new movement for revitalization of militant labor movement.
Another burning issue is Okinawa: 100,000 people out of 1.4 million Okinawa’s population gathered to the All Okinawa Prefecture Rally to demand withdrawal of military bases on April 25. As local mass media reported, the common slogan of the rally was: “All Okinawa islands united in an unyielding heart” “Firm determination to put an end to the military base issue” What was drastically materialized there through the huge mass rally was the uncompromising antagonism of working people against imperialist war.
The distinguishing character of the war today is not a conflict over scarce resources of means of production and means of living, but a fierce competition among imperialist world powers over the market as a result of surplus productive forces (means of production as well as means of living) and has a mean and rotten essence of making more money. It is an ultimate and explosive expression of the irreconcilability of capital and labor, exploitation and capitalist production. In other words, the current critical situation demands us the most radical solution.
Being unable to confront the challenge of today, all exiting political parties and currents excepting us are in a process of dissolving themselves. Democratic Party is rapidly losing popular support and Liberal Democratic Party, former governing party, is disintegrating into small political groups. Instead of the declining old-fashioned bourgeois parties, which have been accustomed to post-war style democracy, fascist or fascist-like political forces are going to appear on the stage.
On the other hand, widespread anger of working people at the lost perspective for future in a desperate situation of Social democrats and Stalinist leadership is posing a necessity of a genuine leadership of working class, a workers’ party. Our future depends on radical revitalization of labor movement as well as student movement and construction of their competent and powerful leadership. Even though our ability and power might be still insufficient to carry out the urgent task now, nothing can deny the fact that we are the mainstream of today.
Dear comrades in USA!
The neo-liberal offensive by imperialism aims at converting students into mere commercial goods and transforming education into mere business. We students as personification of future must defiantly stand up against this attempt and take back our future and everything. We are very proud that our own fight and action can change the world to come. Zengakuren of Japan, fighting on our own campuses, are resolutely determined to strengthen solidarity with the militant labor movement headed by Doro-Chiba and other fighting railway workers and will stand up for the Okinawa-struggle in May to crush Japan-US security treaty, imperialist military alliance.
Let’s confront the current global economic crisis!
Let’s stop war and privatization!
In solidarity with workers and students across the border we will never be defeated!
With confidence in our common cause and respect to your struggle,
Yosuke ODA, President of Zengakuren (All Japan Federation of Student Autonomous Bodies)
(If this appeal was useful for you, I would be very glad. Of course, you can use it abbreviated.)