‘Anti-War Committee of 1000’ was founded in March, which has rapidly produced its regional bodies across the country. Over 30 prefectures have already organized or prepared a branch to stop the government to go to a war. The committee’s organizational efforts are unique and attract attention as they rightly fit to the current situation and respond to people’s anxiety.
LET’S ORGANIZE LOCAL COMMITTEES ACROSS THE COUTNRY!
The Anti-War Committee of 1000 was created by leading intellectuals, artists and civic activists, including Oe Kenzaburo, a Nobel laureate, and continues to work with the Peace Forum and regional Peace Movement Centers as a core.
The Peace Forum is composed of labor unions affiliated to the former Sohyo, General Council of Trade Unions of Japan, and those which do not belong to the Rengo, a new national center, the Japan Trade Union Confederation, as well as civic groups for democracy. The forum has led mass movements against nuclear weapons and energy and in favor of Constitution. The recently established committee of a thousand members employs a new way in organizing people.
Firstly, it emphasizes to organize local committees across the country. Secondly, it calls for every individual and every group who support its campaign. The policy exceeds a traditional framework of mass movements. Local offices of the Peace Movement Centers take an initiative as a secretariat in many regions to organize individuals and civic groups. They provide consultation, too.
One Step Forward
Activists in the labor unions affiliated to the Zenrokyo, National Trade Union Council, and those which do not belong to the Rengo as well as those belong to the latter center work in fact together with local citizens to set up a committee, for instance in Tokyo. It is encouraging that labor unions have begun to play an active role in political agenda and seek for solidarity with civic groups.
This fact reflects anxiety of broad mass of people against the Abe government as it is rampant in deforming Article Nine of the Constitution in order to legalize the right of collective self-defense which the Constitution has outlawed. A notion is shared in common with individuals and entities who understand that routine efforts cannot afford to oppose the government.
There lies people’s aspiration behind the proposal of local anti-war bodies that they want to rebuild a political front to defend the constitutional principles and remove neo-liberal policies. For over a decade beginning with the Koizumi administration and the first-round Abe government people have been annoyed with tactics to rewrite the Constitution, being tired of the governments of the Liberal Democratic Party. That has actually led to emergence of the coalition government of Hatoyama led by the Democratic Party of Japan (DPJ) in 2009.
The DPJ, however, has failed in reacting to people’s wishes. Dissatisfactions and reactions have, consequently, invited right wing forces, like the second-round Abe government and the Restoration Party. The DPJ has fallen in chaos. The Social-Democratic Party and the Communist Party have too little impact. Aspiration grows among those keen to politics to create a certain influential entity to cope with the situation. Time is limited before elections of 2016 for both of the Houses.
Responses to Calls
Enthusiasm may be hampered as the ruling forces try to divide people. Not a few labor unions find it hard to behave freely due to restraints. The governments have strived to ‘put an original constitution on the altar’ since late 1980s; they disunited the Sohyo and the Socialist Party to kill those who favor the Constitution. Our challenge is to push back these attacks.
It is people’s power that could overcome difficulties. It is necessary to organize an anti-war committee of 1000 on the prefecture basis. We, the New Socialist Party, are requested to do so, too. Let’s make the maximum efforts.
June 17, 2014