This podcast seeks to challenge the commonly held assumptions about Japan as harmonious, homogeneous, and traditional by recasting its history as a history of c...
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Multipolarity or Anti-Imperialism? w/ Politics in Command
Kota sits down with J from Politics in Command to discuss "multipolarity," a discourse which sees the existence of multiple superpowers as a positive development from the unipolar world dominated by the United States. We ask whether the politics of multipolarity is genuinely anti-imperialist or revisionist, an abandonment of revolutionary principles for reformism and class collaborationism. We critically analyze the overlaps between the reactionary ideology of Aleksandr Dugin and pseudo-Marxist theoretical assumptions made by Ben Norton, one of the most vocal advocates of multipolarity, which posit the nation, not the working class, as the subject of anti-imperialism. We discuss Norton’s assertion that China is still a socialist country and the assumption that socialism equals the development of productive forces and state ownership of the economy. We discuss how, beneath the veneer of optimism supposedly heralded by the rise of China and Russia, the discourse of multipolarity is deeply pessimistic, as it tacitly accepts that there are no truly revolutionary alternatives to capitalism. We conclude our discussion by talking about what a principled anti-revisionism would look like in practice, and what we can learn from revolutionary movements that are continuing to struggle in spite of the intensifying inter-imperialist competition. Sources:World military spending reaches all-time high of $2.24 trillion - Al Jazeera (April 24, 2023)Multipolarism is not Anti-Imperialism! - The Revolutionary Communists, Norway (RK)The Foundations of Aleksandr Dugin's Geopolitics: MontageFascism and Eurasianism as Blowback - Grant Scott Fellows Fanshen: Class, Women's Liberation, and Crit-Self-Crit - Politics in CommandChina: From Commune to Capitalism - Politics in Command ft. Zhun Xu The Great Reversal: The Privatization of China, 1978-1989 - William HintonRethinking Socialism: What is Socialist Transition? - Deng-Yuan Hsu and Pao-Yu Ching Intro: Cielo by Huma HumaMidtro: Mount Tai by Space BabyOutro: ibeinthecar by Space BabySupport the show
Danchi, Social Reproduction, and the Politics of Urban Development w/ Marxist Disco
Felix a.k.a. Marxist Disco joins the show to discuss the wave of urban redevelopment happening in Japan right now.There are more than 200 buildings planned just in the Tokyo area including Japan’s tallest skyscraper on record, despite the chronic recession and stagnant growth rate the country has been experiencing since the 1990s. To make sense of this contradiction, we critically engage with Marxist geographer David Harvey’s work, particularly his theory of "spatial fix," and of the urban as the site of social reproduction and revolutionary class struggle. In the first segment of this interview, we discuss the proposed redevelopment of Jingu Gaien as an entry point to the history of capitalist urban development in post-WWII Japan. A seemingly unlikely alliance of environmentalists, conservative politicians, and urban planners has coalesced in opposition to the project. However, the middle class leadership of the opposition movement has focused primarily on the cutting down of ginkgo trees and the aesthetic of urban redevelopment, rather than a systematic critique of capitalist urbanization as a form of class warfare against poor, working class, and unhoused residents of Tokyo such as shown in the removal of a tent city in Miyashita Park in Shibuya.In the second segment of this interview, we zoom in on the question of social reproduction and the class character of urban development in postwar Japan through the history of public housing projects known as Danchi. We discuss the peasant resistance to the construction of danchis in the 50s, their role in the reproduction of the white colour work force and the gendered division of labour during the 60s & 70s, and the mystification of the middle class as an ideal subject of the Japanese nation, as well as how the demographic change in recent decades has made danchis a symbol of social decay and a target of far right attacks. We rely extensively on journalist Yasuda Koichi’s book “Danchi to Imin (Danchi and Immigrants)” for this segment, as well as other materials sourced by Felix in his research project. In the third segment, we discuss how the depopulation of the Japanese countryside and the collapse of housing prices there have led to the “I Turn” phenomena of urban-to-rural migration, aided by an idealization of the countryside as the repository of authentic Japaneseness by young middle class Japanese urbanites and Western Japanophiles alike, as well as the effect of imperialism on the changing class composition of the Japanese agriculture.We conclude our discussion by talking about the limits and the possibilities of anti-capitalist struggles and urban-based social movements in Japan and beyond.Read the full episode description here. Intro: Cielo by Huma HumaOutro: E.N.T by Green KidsSupport the show
The Takarazuka Revue and Capitalist Urban Development w/ The BeruBara Tag Boom
Alex from the BeruBara Tag Boom joins the show to discuss the history and politics of an all-women musical theater based in Western Japan known as the Takarazuka Revue. We discuss the class politics of the Takarazuka Revue, particularly its ties to an Osaka-based private railway corporation called the Hankyu Corporation (now a subsidiary of the Hankyu Hanshin Toho Group), the development of railway infrastructure and the suburbanization of Osaka in the early twentieth century that created the revue’s petty bourgeois or middle class audience base, as well as their children as a pool of future Takarazuka actors.We discuss the contradiction between the apparent queerness of the Takarazuka Revue and the conservative values it promotes, and the role Takarazua has played and continues to play in the reproduction of Japanese capitalism and imperialism since the revue’s founding in the 1910s, through the rise of fascism in the 1930s and WWII, into the post-war period and the present day, and a correlation between the boom and bust cycle of capitalism on the one hand and the Takarazuka Music School’s enrollment rate and the revue’s overall popularity on the other. We conclude our discussion by asking whether the Takarazuka Revue is fundamentally a reactionary form of art or a potentially liberatory form of art that can convey revolutionary politics. Follow Alex on Twitter @NOAHs_SaviorWorks Mentioned:Gender Gymnastics: Performing and Consuming Japan's Takarazuka Revue by Leonie SticklandA History of the Takarazuka Revue Since 1914 by Makiko YamanashiOn the Reproduction of Capitalism: Ideology and Ideological State Apparatuses by Louis AlthusserIntro: Cielo by Huma Huma Outro: Youth Doesn't Need Roses by the Beauty PairSupport the show
The History of Japanese Fascism: Part 1 w/ The Minyan
Kota sits down with Talia and Prez from the Minyan to answer the question: Was pre-WWII Japan fascist? This is the first installment of a multi-part series on the origins, political economy, and culture of Japanese fascism.Outro: Warszawianka in Japanese (ワルシャワ労働者の歌）Support the show
The People vs. G7 w/ Migrante Japan
Roger Raymundo, a member of Migrante Japan and co-host of Radyo Migrante re-joins the show to discuss the imperialist agenda of the upcoming G7 summit in Hiroshima, how it affects the workers, peasants, and migrants from the Global South, and other related topics such as the US-led militarization of the Asia-Pacific region and Japan's "Official Security Assistance" to the Philippines.We also discuss the latest amendment to the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act that would make it easier for immigration officials to deport asylum seekers and undocumented migrants, while continuing to accept a very small number of refugees only when it's warranted by foreign policy to score points against geopolitical rivals. Anti-G7 protest in Shinjuku, Tokyo on May 18 (in Japanese): http://antiwar2017.blog.jp/archives/39536840.htmlDemo against the draconian revision of immigration law in Shibuya, Tokyo on May 20 (in Japanese): https://twitter.com/nodetention87/status/1658542986484133888International Days of Action Against the G7 (May 18-20, 2023): https://twitter.com/ILPS_Official/status/1657682250320986112Intro: Cielo by Huma HumaOutro: "Imperyalismo Ibagsak" (Bring down Imperialism)Support the show
This podcast seeks to challenge the commonly held assumptions about Japan as harmonious, homogeneous, and traditional by recasting its history as a history of conflict and change, as the history of class struggles, from anti-capitalist, anti-imperialist, anti-colonial, and intersectional perspectives.