Hard Time for the left in Japan

Iwao Kitamura ikita at st.rim.or.jp
Mon Aug 28 21:27:00 MDT 1995

On Fri, 25 Aug 1995 13:48:32 -0800 Rakesh wrote:

>>Our task is to rebuild union movement from down side through
>>resistence to rationalization.
>I was struck by this comment of Iwao's.  In the US, authors like Florida
>and Kenney have studied Japanese corporate rationalizations as the key to
>growth, as well as the uplifting of the worker from Taylorist alienation.
>Why is your group opposed to such rationalizations, held to be a positive
>model for all workers by many radical theoreticians? I think that I would
>be sympathetic to critiques of the Florida and Kenney promulgation of these
>rationalizations, but I would certainly like to hear more.

Rationalization has been and is key to economic growth in general. Not only
for Japanese economy but for all economy, in my understanding. In a capitalist
economy, rationalization aims to prevent the fall of profitability. Such actions
inevitably sacrifice workers through various ways. For example, rationalization
in telecommunication industry in '70s caused enormous numbers of health
problems for women workers. And rationalization often directly aims personnel
reduction - firing workers, privatization case of national railroad in '87 for
There's no left in Japan who is pro-rationaliozation. All non-CP lefts call
struggle against rationalization, even if manners are different. CP sometimes
talk about 'good' rationalization but mostly calls a struggle in a bit reformist
I think a struggle against rationalization may seldom win as an economic
struggle. However important is that workers could enforce their unification
through struggles and raise thier class consciousness.
After the defeat at the Miike mine strike in '60, we could create numbers of
young activists who wanted to spread the experience of Miike over the country.
in solidarity,
Iwao Kitamura
a member of theoritical study group
Socialist Association (Japan)
E-mail : ikita at st.rim.or.jp
personal web: http://www.st.rim.or.jp/~ikita/

     --- from list marxism at lists.village.virginia.edu ---


More information about the Marxism mailing list