Creation of the CPJ. The labor and socialist movement in Japan in the 1920s
A series of lectures on the history of the communist and labor movement
In Japan, despite the prohibition of the socialist party and the persecution of socialists, Marxist circles continued to arise, the number of which was gradually growing. The Communists, against the backdrop of an ongoing labor struggle, understood the need for unification. The special position of Japan as the only independent Asian country was also aroused by the attention of the Comintern, which monitored the development of the situation and was ready to assist in the creation of a communist party.
In 1920, the Congress of the Peoples of the Far East was held, at which the Propaganda Council among the peoples of the Far East was established at the ECCI and the issues of unity of action of the national liberation movement were discussed. Sen Katayama, while in exile, conducted a large theoretical work, analyzing the situation in Japan and showing how to organize the struggle in its conditions.
Another milestone in the organizational design of the Communist Party of Japan was the First Congress of Communist and Revolutionary Organizations of the Far East, held in January 1922. The Japanese delegation at the Congress, headed by Sen Katayama, included: the chairman of the socialist Environment Society, Kyuchi Tokuda , chairman of the publishing committee of the Communist group of the Society for Awakening the People of Kiyoshi Takase, trade union leaders Hajime Yoshida, Kintaro Wada and others. At the congress, it was decided to create a communist Second Party of Japan (CPJ). On July 15, 1922, the constituent congress of the party was held, the Central Committee was elected and an interim charter was adopted, and then a resolution on joining the Comintern. At the same time, in the party, which was only uniting from circles and societies, there were many people who were influenced by social democratic or anarchist views, which subsequently negatively affected the work of the CPJ. So, Yamakawa was elected to the Central Committee, who later proved to be an opportunist.
The Comintern accepted the CPJ into its composition at the 4th congress, and Sen Katayama became a member of the Presidium of the ECCI and was given the opportunity to carry out general management of the activities of the CPJ and conduct theoretical work.
The CPJ immediately ran into problems, at the 2nd Congress, the delegates could not accept the program, only a common political line was determined, the immediate goal at that time was the struggle against intervention in Soviet Russia and the withdrawal of Japanese troops from the Far East. In November 1922, an emergency commission was convened to discuss the program. A project was created in which it declared the struggle for the overthrow of the monarchy, the introduction of universal suffrage, an 8-hour working day, the confiscation of landlords' lands, the abolition of the standing army, and the withdrawal of Japanese troops from Soviet Russia, Korea and Taiwan.
Shortly after the creation of the Communist Party, in April 1923, the Japanese Union of Communist Youth was created. A young worker, a communist Yoshitor Kawai, was elected Chairman of the Central Committee of the Union.
The central slogan of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union during this period was “a turn toward political struggle”, which was especially important since the proletariat should not be limited only to the economic struggle.
To conquer the masses, the CPJ focused on working with mass organizations and significantly strengthened their positions in Sodomei (Japan’s Labor Federation Nihon Rodo Sodomei, formerly Yuikai), created a number of new unions: their number increased from 300 to 389. Negotiations were launched to strengthen the labor movement on unification with anarchist unions that were not members of Sodomei. The union had opponents both among the leadership of Sodomei (from those who did not want to lose their sole leadership) and among the anarchists who defended the positions of federalism in the trade union movement and opposed the united center.
Overcoming the resistance of opponents of unity, progressive trade unions, with the support of the CPJ, succeeded in convening a congress of representatives of 60 different unions of Japan on September 30, 1922 with the aim of creating a single trade union center represented by the All-Japan Federation of Workers' Unions (Zenkoku Rodo Kumi-ai Sorengo). The conference was dispersed by the police, but, nevertheless, it rallied the most militant leaders of trade unions and communists, which affected the XI Congress of Sodomei. In October 1922, a class combat program was adopted at the congress, which stated that "peaceful coexistence between labor and capital is impossible." In addition, the program demanded "immediately withdraw troops from Russian territory, recognize the government of workers 'and peasants' Russia and begin negotiations with him."
Through the Union of Communist Youth, the Communist Party maintained constant contact with the workers and peasants and revolutionary students. Of particular importance was the strengthening of the influence of the Communists in the League of Progressive Student Organizations in Tokyo (Gakusei Rengokai) and the Union of Student Organizations (Koto Gakko Rammae). Here, the Marxists had to struggle with the influence of the anarchists, who, after being supplanted by the League, created their own organization, the Union of Builders, which was mainly engaged in street performances.
The sharp intensification of the workers 'and peasants' movement after the First World War, the emergence of the CPJ and the rapid growth of its influence among the masses caused great alarm in the ruling camp. In an effort to control the domestic political situation in the country, the Kato government made an attempt to pass through parliament reactionary bills “On control of the socialist movement”, “On control of trade unions” and “On the settlement of rental conflicts”. The CPJ called on all mass organizations to protest against reactionary laws; the All-Japan League of Workers' Unions of the Struggle Against Three Reactionary Laws was created. It included not only trade unions from Sodomei, but also students and progressive intelligentsia. Massive protests forced the government to abandon the adoption of these laws, the Communist Party won a major victory.
The government did not forgive the CPJ of this company and the beginning of the repression on June 5, 1923. Police raided Waseda University in Tokyo. The reason was the fight between opponents and supporters of military training of students. The police, along with the dispersal of the fighting, arrested Sonno Gaku, a member of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of Ukraine, who worked as a laboratory assistant at the university, found party documents in the laboratory and began the arrests of communists and sympathetic professors. The press hysteria arose about the transformation of universities into strongholds of the Communists.
On September 1st, a powerful earthquake occurred in Japan, which provoked fires. The prefecture of the capital and its neighboring territories suffered a lot of damage: the telephone service stopped, transport stopped, from 80 to 90% of industrial enterprises suffered serious damage or were completely destroyed. In these conditions, rumors and panic began to spread, which the police took advantage of. On September 2, a rumor was launched that the Koreans were poisoning the wells. Right-wing and police provocateurs began to create detachments of "self-protection" that began the pogroms of the Korean population. Along with the pogroms, arrests and massacres of leftist and trade union activists began. In Kameda Prefecture, police arrested more than 750 people, many of whom were killed at the police station. Among them were the head of the Communist Youth League Yoshitoro Kawai and the anarchist Osugi Sakae with his wife and children. The killings and arrests were carried out together with a propaganda company stating that "the socialists are plotting a civil war," and "the Koreans organized a riot." Repressions temporarily undermined the political struggle of the working class, the arrests of the Communists strengthened the position of the opportunists in the Communist Party, primarily Yamakawa, who raised the question of liquidating the Communist Party, since its creation was premature: it was necessary to wait until the working class ripened before the creation of the party. This situation was determined by several factors: first, the working class of Japan was still not so large and possessed numerous peasant feudal vestiges in consciousness; secondly, the CPJ has developed as a federation of circles, and therefore, it was influenced by both the Social Democrats and the anarcho-syndicalists. At the same time, everyone, including the Social Democrats, ideologically exposed the anarchists, and they themselves were not subjected to serious criticism.
The party, formed as a federation of circles and working with the working class through trade unions, did not have cells in enterprises and was built on the territorial principle, which led to its rapid weakening as a result of repression, and this also led to the rapid departure of trade unions "to the right."
In January 1924, Sodomei published a statement about the "new course", where he indicated that he was returning to his original policy (labor and capital cooperation). However, all these events could not stop the economic struggle of the workers. According to official figures, in 1924 the number of labor conflicts was 933 against 647 in 1923, and the number of participants increased from 68,814 in 1923 to 94,047 in 1924. In many cases, labor conflicts grew into strikes. In 1924 there were 333 such strikes, and 54 526 workers took part in them.
Such activity led to the fact that the government was forced to resort to a policy of appeasement so that Sodomey did not radicalize again. Bourgeois parties also pressed the government (in their own interests, of course). This led to the creation of party offices. The first of these was the cabinet led by Kato, the leader of the Kenseikai party (bourgeois-landowner party). Party cabinets took the path of combining partial reforms and minor concessions with repressions against communists and struggling unions.
In the CPJ, in 1924, after repressions, an ideological confusion and vacillations began. The Yamakawa group, which held the positions of liquidationism, proved to be the strongest of all and in March without convening a congress announced the dissolution of the party. To reassure ordinary communists and revolutionary members of the Central Committee. the liquidators were forced to create a committee on campaigning and international relations. There was no unity in the committee, the liquidators were in the "propaganda faction", and the left was in the "action group."
The self-liquidation of the Communist Party attracted the attention of the Comintern, which did not recognize the decision to dissolve itself and gave instructions on the restoration of the party. With the support of the Comintern and Sen Katayama, a party conference was convened in January 1925 in Shanghai. In accordance with the recommendations of the Comintern, the conference in Shanghai reorganized the Committee on International Relations and Propaganda to the Central Bureau, introducing party members who did not lose the confidence of the masses and showed perseverance and courage during the police persecution - Kyuichi Tokuda, Masanosuke Watanabe, Shoichi Ichikawa and etc., thus, preparations were begun for the restoration of the party.
In accordance with the decision of the Shanghai Conference in September 1925, the newspaper Musansya Shimbun (Proletarskaya Gazeta), which played the same role as Iskra for Russian Social Democracy, began to appear as the party’s legal body.
Yamakawa and his supporters disagreed with the policy of rebuilding the party. They continued to propagate the liquidationist theory, stating that in Japan there was no need for a communist party, that in Japanese conditions only a legal political party like the “united front” was needed, and the labor movement should be kept within the framework of only the economic struggle.
The liquidators also appealed to the policy of partial reforms pursued by the Kato cabinet. So, in 1925 universal suffrage was introduced for men over 25 years old. However, even such partial concessions were accompanied by repression. Thus, the police law “On the Protection of Public Order” adopted on April 21, 1925 was even more reactionary than it was in force until now. It provided for punishment of up to 10 years of hard labor for any ideas or actions to eliminate the monarchy or the system of private property. No less draconian was the resolution on control of print media adopted in May 1925. An important weapon in the hands of the government in the fight against the labor movement was the law adopted in April 1926.“On Arbitration in Labor Conflicts.” According to it, administrative institutions could intervene in labor conflicts, carrying out forced arbitration even “in the absence of the requirement of interested parties”. At the same time, the law considered the management of strikes by the trade unions as the intervention of “disinterested persons” and forbade it.
Demonstration of the democratization of the political life of the country (1925)
Nevertheless, concessions in the electoral law gave the workers the opportunity to vote, and the CPJ faced the question of whether the organization of a legal proletarian party is necessary for using the parliamentary rostrum in campaigning. Under the new censorship law, the Communists really needed it to conduct agitation.
Therefore, the CPJ, restoring the illegal organization, at the same time launched a company in support of the creation of a legal party of workers. The first step for this was to be the unification of all mass organizations of workers. The initiative was taken by the Japanese Peasant Union, which in June 1925 suggested that the trade unions create a preparatory committee to organize a party of workers.
However, at that time, a split occurred in Sodomei, dissatisfied with the right course of the Bunzu Suzuki class fighting trade unions were expelled from the federation. The split was almost equal. Thirty expelled trade unions and two other trade union organizations formed the Council of Trade Unions of Japan in June 1925 (Nihon Rhodo Kumiyai Hogikai - abbreviated Hogikai). There were 35 unions left in Sodomei. In the creation of Hyokigai, the Communists (Kenzo Yamamoto, Masanosuke Watanabe) enjoyed the greatest influence, so he immediately accepted the proposal of the peasant alliance.
In August, a congress was convened to organize the party, which was called the Peasant Workers. The congress adopted a program that contained a number of radical demands: repeal of police laws; granting the people wide suffrage; the abolition of secret diplomacy and unequal treaties with dependent countries; restriction of militarism; the abolition of indirect taxes, the introduction of a progressive income tax; control over the production and distribution of agricultural implements and fertilizers, etc. The government, seeing the danger in such a batch, immediately banned it.
Now the initiative has been seized by the right-wing Social Democrats and Sodomei. The leadership of Sodomei said that when the party was created, it would make every effort so that it was hostile to the CPJ in its views.
The initiators of the creation of a new party this time were the Japanese Peasant Union, together with the Federation of Trade Unions of Government Enterprises. Left-wing organizations were not invited there, and Hyokigai initially refrained from participating, but then recognized this decision as erroneous.
At the constituent congress of the Workers 'and Peasants' Party held on March 5, 1926 in Osaka (Rodo nominto - abbreviated as Ronoto), the right-wing elements were dominant. By a decision of the Central Committee, admission to the party of leftist organizations was prohibited. However, representatives of the Hyokigai protested and began the struggle against this decision of the Central Committee and for changing the course of the party in order to organize the protection of the rights of workers. Of particular relevance at this time was the unfolding movement of the struggle against “rationalization,” that is, against the reduction of workers, higher production standards, lower prices and the introduction of Taylorism.
This struggle unfolded against the backdrop of the campaign for the immediate dissolution of parliament and its re-election under the new law of 1925, which began the CPJ. The petition campaign was attended not only by workers, but also by progressive representatives of the petty and middle bourgeoisie.
In 1926, a massive struggle began against the three reaction laws, which resulted not only in mass protests, but also in the creation of standing committees to coordinate protests. They included not only leftists, but also representatives of Sodomei. All this changed the situation inside the Workers 'and Peasants' Party, a discussion began about the admission of the left into it. Proponents of the right course suffered a defeat not only in local organizations, but also in the Central Committee, and therefore went to extreme measures. In October 1926, the Sodomei leaders left the Workers 'and Peasants' Party, along with some centrists, and created their own Social Democratic Party.
The departure of the right and some centrists ensured the victory of the left in the party. The leader of the Workers 'and Peasants' Party was elected prominent leftist Ikuo Oyama. And although the party has significantly decreased, it has become more organized and strong. However, the strengthening of the left put the party in a difficult position, it was forced to act in a semi-legal position. Because of this, the right wing of the peasant union left it and, combined with the left wing of Sodomei, created the Japanese Workers and Peasants Party (Nihon Ronoto).
As a result, by the end of 1926, three legal parties of workers appeared in Japan: the Workers 'and Peasants' Party led by Ikuo Oyama (over 15 thousand members), the Social Democratic Party led by Iso Abe (88 thousand members) and the Japanese Worker-peasant party led by Hisashi Aso (about 20 thousand members). Each party formed its own trade union federation. The Communists tried through the Workers 'and Peasants' Party to achieve unity in the actions of all parties of the working people, but the Social Democrats disrupted the negotiations.
In March 1927, a financial crisis erupted in Japan, which had a great impact on the entire economic and political life of the country. The government has implemented a number of financial measures to help large banks, increased population taxes and accelerated the “rationalization” of production, during which tens of thousands of workers were thrown into the streets, wages were reduced, and the already brutal exploitation of Japanese workers was intensified. For the people, chauvinism was proposed as a substitute for social benefits.
In 1927, Tanaka’s cabinet came to power, which set its sights on open intervention in the affairs of China. Therefore, propaganda directed against the Kuomintang and the NRA, which during this period launched an offensive to the north, intensified. Propaganda demanded "protect the interests and dignity of Japanese citizens in China."
In response to these actions, the CPJ and Hyokigai began their campaign against the offensive on workers' rights and against chauvinism. A company of meetings of representatives of all plants on joint actions against the onset of capital was organized. Not only the Hyokigai unions joined the fight, but also Sodomei and even factories where there were no trade union organizations.
Musansya Shimbun posted a number of sensitive materials demanding an immediate withdrawal of troops from China and an end to the aggression in any form. And she called on all working people to join the protest against interference in the affairs of the Chinese revolution.
In May 1927, the League of Non-Interference in the Affairs of China (Taisi Hikansyo Domei) was created, speaking with the slogans: "Hands off China!", "Defend the Chinese Revolution!".
There were also attempts to organize the united actions of the two workers' peasant parties, but after several joint meetings, the Japanese workers and peasants party refused to continue cooperation.
The success of the Communist Party could be more significant if it had not appeared in 1925-1926. left bias, or fukumotoizm. Kazuo Fukumoto studied for a long time in France, where he got acquainted with the works of Hegel, Rosa Luxemburg and Lenin. To a certain extent, Fukumoto reacted to Yamasaki's right-hand bias. He demanded that the theoretical struggle be put at the forefront, since, in his opinion, the state of Japan corresponded to the position of Russia before the organization of the RSDLP. The result of the theoretical struggle was to be a period of schisms and associations that would help to identify the right revolutionary subject.
Moreover, the daily economic struggle of workers was considered economism. Accordingly, Fukumotism looked at trade unions as a kind of burden that prevented it from rising to a class-wide political struggle. The tasks of political struggle were assigned to them by mass organizations: the Workers 'and Peasants' Party and the Council of Trade Unions. In this state of affairs, the Communist Party should have been just about isolating the right revolutionary subject from itself and the theoretical struggle. The Communists had to separate their minds from trade unionism and opportunism. Thus, the party was to become not a mass proletarian organization, but a narrow group of intellectuals.
In 1925-1926, when Fukumoto was heavily weighted, all party publications were filled with scholastic-theoretical articles, which most ordinary members of the party did not understand. Since a significant part of the communists was in prison, and for new comrades, especially workers, the path to the Communist Party was practically closed, its number in was very low - several hundred people. At the same time, Fukumoto argued that Japanese capitalism had already exhausted itself and an imminent proletarian revolution was inevitable.
As a result, the Comintern and Sen Katayama intervened. Yamakawa and Fukumoto offered to come for consultations, the first only sent theses, and the second agreed. As a result of consultations, the theses of the Comintern were created. They noted that Japan had become the only imperialist state on the entire Asian continent, and indicated that Japanese imperialism was preparing an aggressive war against China and was "the most dangerous enemy of the Chinese revolution."
At the same time, it was emphasized that the Japanese military was carrying out plans to launch a war against the Soviet Union. The aggressiveness of Japanese imperialism is caused, first of all, by a very great dependence on the external markets of Korea and China and the militaristic traditions of the aristocracy, which are closely connected with the big bourgeoisie or directly bourgeois. The Comintern pointed out that the struggle against the aggressive war of Japanese imperialism is the primary task of the CPJ.
At the same time, Japan remained a significant problem for Marxists because of its characteristics, the level of monopolization and communication of monopolies with the state was extremely high. Mikado (emperor) was the owner of the land, a major shareholder in many companies and owned a powerful bank, as well as up to 30% of the capital invested in industry and railways. Thus, the old feudal forms were given bourgeois content.
On the other hand, the two parties of the bourgeoisie - Seyukai and Kenseikai - were directly connected with the companies of Mitsui and Mitsubishi, representing their interests in the government, alternately composing cabinets. At the same time, Seyukai was closely connected with the military and aristocratic circles, therefore, took an irreconcilable position in relation to the USSR, and Kensekai, who did not have such ties, on the contrary, tried to play democracy. Thus, the bourgeoisie was already admitted to power and turned into a counter-revolutionary factor. Her interests were closely intertwined with the aristocracy and the military, since without an armed hand they could neither suppress their workers nor capture the markets.
But, despite the high concentration of capital in industry, the semi-feudal system of land relations continued to persist in the countryside. Thus. Japan created the prerequisites for the bourgeois-democratic revolution (the agrarian question and the monarchy) and its development into a socialist revolution (high concentration of capital and state capital).
However, there were no subjective prerequisites, the proletariat and the peasantry did not yet have the bulk of their experience in the class struggle, were fragmented and suffered from feudal vestiges in their consciousness.
Therefore, the Communists must work actively to form the class consciousness of the proletariat. It is the workers who will have to take upon themselves the completion of all the bourgeois-democratic transformations, create for this a solid bloc with the peasants and use the support of the petty urban bourgeoisie. Any hopes that the bourgeoisie can play a revolutionary role are groundless.
The following demands were put forward as a direct program of action of the CPJ: the liquidation of the monarchist system, the struggle against imperialist wars (in particular, against interference with the Chinese revolution), the provision of independence to the colonies, support for the Soviet Union, the granting of democratic freedoms to the people, the introduction of an 8-hour working day, and the transfer land to the peasants.
The theses emphasized the role of the mass communist party relying on illegal cells in enterprises and criticized both the liquidationist proposals of Yamakawa to turn the Communist Party into a legal party, and attempts to turn the party into a narrow group, and transfer the tasks of the direct struggle against the monarchy to left-wing factions of the trade unions and legal party workers from Fukumoto. Without the creation of a powerful centralized and deeply rooted Communist Party among the masses, the revolution and its development into a socialist party was impossible.
Group X. Yamakawa, who opposed the theses of the Comintern, was expelled from the party. Once outside the party, Yamakawa, Sakai, Arahata, Inomata and other "legal Marxists" together with Mosaburo Suzuki and Hisao Kuroda founded the journal "Rono" ("Workers and Peasants"), and then created the Worker and Peasant Group (Ronoha) and launched propaganda his "theory of the socialist revolution."
Yamakavists opposed illegal activity in any form. They criticized the CPJ for continuing to remain an illegal party and putting forward supposedly too revolutionary slogans. In favor of turning the Communist Party into a legal party, the leaders of Ronokh put forward the slogan of merging all proletarian parties, including the Communist Party. The achievement of this task, in their opinion, was the main goal of the revolutionary movement.
The CPJ, having gotten rid of the opportunists, began the restructuring of the apparatus and successfully increased its number, creating cells in enterprises and attracting advanced workers. For the propaganda of revolutionary Marxism, an illegal printed organ of the party, the newspaper Sekki (Red Banner), was created.
Building its work on the basis of the “Theses of 1927”, the CPJ made a quick leap forward. From December 1927 to March 1928 the number of parties tripled, primarily at the expense of the workers.
In 1928, the CPJ took part in the parliamentary elections with its own program and under the slogan of creating a government of workers and peasants, but the Communists went on the lists of the friendly Workers and Peasants Party (Ronoto) for conspiracy.
Ronoto led the campaign in difficult conditions, the government and the police put all possible barriers to her. Rallies were dispersed by police; candidates were arrested; newspapers were seized. But nevertheless, despite the brutal persecution, the proletarian parties received a total of 490 thousand votes (about 4.7%) and won the election of eight of their candidates as members of parliament. Of the left-wing parties, Ronoto received the largest number of votes (more than 190 thousand), from whom two candidates were elected to parliament. Among the candidates elected from her was a prominent worker in the labor movement, Senji Yamamoto, who stood in the positions of the CPJ. The Communists and Ronoto were able to agree on cooperation with the rest of the left in parliament and spoke on the main issues on a united front.
The success of leftists and communists alarmed the government. Seeing the growing influence of the Communist Party, it intensified repression. On March 15, 1928, 1,600 members of the CPJ were arrested and preparations for the 4th congress were disrupted. Then, on April 10, Ronoto, the Council of Trade Unions (Hyokigai) and the All-Japan League of Proletarian Youth were banned. Repression also hit students and progressive professors protesting against party bans and reprisals.
The government of General Tanaka issued an emergency decree on the revision of the law "On the protection of public order" in the direction of further tightening. Under the new decree, 10-year hard labor was replaced by the death penalty or indefinite hard labor.
In June 1928, a secret police (tocco) was established, which began to search for communists who had gone underground. Despite the attacks by the Tokko and the arrests of prominent figures of the CPJ, the party was able to maintain its organizational structure and at the end of October the Central Committee was reinstated, which was headed by Shoichi Isitikawa, who returned from the 4th Congress of the Comintern.
The Communists together created the All-Japan Council of Trade Unions (Zenkyo), instead of the banned Hyokigai, and took measures to organize an anti-war movement. So, mass protests against the sending of the 3rd Infantry Division to Shandong were organized. Attempts were made to restore Ronoto under a new name, but they were suppressed by the government.
Relatively open to mass propaganda, only the cultural front remained. So, in 1928 the party managed to form the All-Japan Union of Workers of Proletarian Art (Zen Nihon musan geijutsu remmey - NAPF), which began to publish the magazine "Sanki" (Battle Banner). Soon the magazine became an important organ of mass political propaganda. On its pages published materials on scientific socialism, as well as popular articles designed for the party activists and intended for political self-education of the broad working masses. The circulation of the magazine reached 20 thousand copies, which in the conditions of then Japan was a major conquest of the party. Subsequently, the All-Japan Union of Workers of Proletarian Art and the Union of Japanese Proletarian Writers began publishing the magazines NAPF and Puroretaria Bungaku (Proletarian Literature).
In April 1929, the police unleashed a new wave of repression on the Communist Party and the leaders of the revolutionary wing of the labor movement. Only on April 16 were arrested up to a thousand revolutionary figures. All members of the Central Committee of the Communist Party were captured, including the party’s general secretary, Shoichi Ichikawa.
Despite these blows, the Communists again preserved the organization and a month after the mass arrests, they restored the Sekki newspaper and continued to organize cells at enterprises and prepare for parliamentary elections.
At the end of 1929, the entire capitalist world was seized by the deepest economic crisis, which lasted for several years. He especially painfully hit Japan, which had developed at a fairly rapid pace. The economic crisis has severely affected industry and trade. In 1930, Japanese exports fell by 31% and imports by 30% compared with 1929. In 1931, Japan's foreign trade decreased by another 30% against the corresponding indicators of 1930. For some of the most important goods, the price drop reached up to 60%. The number of unemployed and semi-unemployed reached 3 million. Agriculture was in a particularly difficult situation. Purchase prices for rice in 1930 fell by almost half compared to 1929. The government tried to shift the entire burden of the crisis onto the workers, which led to an increase in the mass protests of the workers.
The biggest appearances of this period include the strikes of Tokyo tram drivers and bus drivers, the workers of the Yokohama Dokku and Sibaura Seisakusho companies, and the employees of Kanegafuti Boseki and Toyomo Surin. In 1930, the number of strikes amounted to 2289 with the number of participants more than 191 thousand people; in 1931, 2456 strikes took place, in which 154 thousand workers took part. The struggle of the peasants intensified, the number of rental conflicts grew. If in 1929 there were 2434 of them, then in 1930 - 2478, and in 1931 - 3419.
At the same time, a new blow was inflicted on the CPJ, which completely knocked out the leading center of the party, and the leadership of Zenkyo was also arrested. Under these conditions, adventurous moods began to build up in the party. Group C Tanaki and X Sano actually seized the leadership of the Communist Party and put forward the thesis of an imminent revolution. They actually curtailed the daily economic struggle, leaving the workers to take care of themselves, and embarked on adventures. So, they declared the May Day of 1930 “Armed May Day” and prompted the Zenkyo trade union center to hold a demonstration in the city of Kawasaki, in which several hundred people armed with bamboo peaks participated. The coup actions led to the fact that the Communist Party and Zenkyo were isolated from the masses, and the same people in the Central Committee under the pretext of correcting the mistakes made by the party leadership in June 1930.
At the same time, provocateurs from the Union of Laborers created the Red Front (Sekisen) group and launched an attack on the Communist Party, accusing it of dominating the intelligentsia and demanding the replacement of the Communist Party by another organization that would rely directly on trade union cells. However, they were able to quickly deal with Sekisen, revealing his connection with the police.
The CPJ Working Group, created from renegades, adventurous elements, and police agents, did great harm to the CPJ. In 1931 she published “theses”, in which the point of view of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union on the bourgeois-democratic character of the upcoming revolution was revised. Phariseisky declaring her support for the Comintern line on the Japanese question, the "CPJ Working Group" tried to prove that the impending revolution in Japan could only be proletarian and not bourgeois-democratic, as defined in the theses of the Comintern of 1927.
“Political power in present-day Japan,” the “theses” of this group said, is entirely bourgeois in nature and is headed by financial capital. Thus, the bourgeois-democratic revolution in Japan has already been carried out ... The revolution will be directly proletarian, and its main task will be the overthrow of the imperialist bourgeoisie, and the confiscation of landlordism and the overthrow of the monarchy will be tasks, although important, but derivative. " And further: "since the emperor is a specific feature of Japan, it is possible to bring him and his court to the side of the proletariat."The "working party of the CPJ", that is, the "left", began to be supported by the opportunists from Ronokh (Yamakawa and others), who also claimed that feudalism in Japan was already over and therefore the revolution would be proletarian in nature. As for the monarchy, in their opinion, it took a neutral position in the class struggle.
The leadership of the CPJ, led by Tanaka, took an ambiguous position and also declared that it was necessary to prepare for the proletarian revolution, but with a large volume of bourgeois-democratic tasks. This position led to a weakening of the antimonarchist struggle, some trade unions began to throw out of their tasks the struggle for democratic freedom of speech, assembly and suffrage for women, and even slogans against the war with the USSR. As a result, opponents of sectarian actions opposed Tanaki, criticized him in the party press and removed him from his post. Later, after his arrest, he publicly dissociated himself from the Communists and sided with extreme reaction.
The V Congress of the Profintern, which took place in the summer of 1930, drew serious attention to the intensification of the economic struggle of the trade unions in the conditions of the global economic crisis and pointed out the need to link this struggle with political demands. At the congress, opportunistic mistakes in the mass movement of Japan were criticized, the decision was made to dissolve Zenkyo Sassin Domei, which stopped the factional struggle of the left unions.
Takekichi Kazama was appointed executive head of the CPJ, Yoshimichi Iwata, Yojiro Konno and other successive Marxists became members of the leadership.
The new leadership of the CPJ put forward the slogan "Every plant should become a party fortress." The Communist Party, which at the beginning of 1929, as a result of the arrests, several dozen members, again grew into a significant political force. Party organizations have been restored in almost all of Japan's most important industrial centers (Tokyo, Osaka, Nagoya, northern Kyushu, Hokkaido, etc.). Again, the Sekki newspaper began to appear, the release of which was suspended since June 1930. It was in this state that the CPJ came to the beginning of a long and difficult period of struggle against militarism and fascism in Japan, which had intensified since the early 1930s.
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