From the Socialist Workers Party
At our party congress that was held on November 2 and 3 we dissolved the SWP and made the decision to create a new organization in order to move forward new struggles. At the congress, reviewing the past ten years of our activities, we recognized our inability to carry out activities as a party, and that despite our hopes and desires, the subjective? as well as objective?conditions necessary to fight as a party in the near future are lacking. We therefore decided to move forward as a revolutionary Marxist circle (Marxist Comrades Group). After emerging as a class-based, revolutionary vanguard of the workers in the seventies and eighties, appealing to the entire working class of the country, exposing the LDP government and petty bourgeois parties, and being active in struggles including elections, this is certainly gone step forward, two steps back.hBut we all agreed that such a transition is necessary.
The congress delegates recognized that, at the present moment, the SWP does not truly exist or function as a political party. We have, of course, clarified our political standpoint through our party organ and flyers and struggled to expose the government of capital, reactionaries, and opportunistic political currents, but this remains within the limits of gpolitical statements,h which although one part of political struggles, is a subordinate one, and alone does not signify political struggles in the true meaning of the word.
The choice we faced, therefore, was to either dissolve the party to continue struggles in a different form, or carry on with our struggles in the same manner, even while not substantially being a party, on the premise, or expectation, that we would develop into a party in the near future.
It was not easy for us to respond to this difficult problem. Naturally, many comrades wanted to continue our struggles as a party. This decision was particularly difficult because the SWP has a history of many years of activity and has accumulated a deeply-rooted tradition.
However, we reached the conclusion that to continue to call ourselves a party, when in fact we did not have the ginfrastructureh of a party, would be an irresponsible position to take towards the working class. Moreover, to view ourselves as functioning and carrying out activities as a party when we were in fact not truly a party, would risk distorting our struggles to some extent, even leading to a possible? or inevitable?sort of decay (already this was less a question of possibility than a realistic problem).
At the congress, it was reported that some youth who have joined the SWP were disappointed to find that we did not function as a party. The delegate who presented this report said that it was incorrect for us to portray ourselves as a party to workers and youth if this is not the case, and that this would amount to a failure to carry out our responsibilities towards workers. We must speak the truth to workers in every case, and this means telling the real and true situation regarding our own organization.
If we are to be an organization that bears a responsibility to the working class, we must appear before the working class with the truth, and this is the path for us to win the confidence of the working class and connect with them. We have no need to be concerned with vanity and appearances.
Of course, we firmly believe that a revolutionary political party of the workers will be organized one day and that bold struggles will unfold, and we expect to play an important role in this. But we recognize that our current situation is such that we cannot say exactly when this will occur.
One image of our new movement that was proposed was ga Marxist efundamentalist movement,fh and we discussed this.
The delegates that defended this image argued that our new turning point would mark a return to the fundamentals of a class standpoint and Marxism. Delegates who rejected this concept thought that it projected an image of a religious movement, and would alienate workers by leaving an impression of being too narrow.
However, the majority was won to the view that a gfundamentalist movementh is not by nature religious or reactionary, and that a movement based on fundamentals is not a problem, but rather conveys well the characteristics of our new struggle.
Of course, our shift to this new standpoint was based on the deep awareness that this was a case of taking gtwo steps back.h For us, our primary aim is the bold and profound struggles of the revolutionary party of the workers leading towards workers rule, and we reaffirmed this at the congress. But at the present we are unable to find the objective and subjective conditions for this. For this reason, we have no choice but to take a step backward, even if we dislike doing this.
Unlike some on the left, we have not embraced the demoralized terrorist line? although this also to some aims aiming for power and is a type of political struggle? nor have we abandoned our will to struggle. Thus, there is no other option but for us to take the gtwo steps backh and rebuild our struggles by returning to the fundamentals.
This is indeed a reconstruction. We seek to rebuild a movement on a more fundamental basis, and we have nothing in common with those of the New Left who have abandoned Marxism and try to cover up their betrayal and conversion to the enemy camp,
The name of our new organization, Marxist Comrades Group [marukusushugi doshi kai] is also characteristic. Consideration was given to the proposed name gMarxists Cooperative Grouph [markusushugisha kyokai] but the Marxist Comrades Group better indicates the character of our future struggles.
The name of the organization indicates that we fully base our theory and thought on Marxism, making it plain that we are a revolutionary circle, not the sort of half-baked circle that liberals are so fond of. We oppose the pipe dream of the bourgeois and petty-bourgeois that Marxism is out of date, has been proven gincorrect,h and has been negated and bankrupted?we take up the challenge against people who hold such views.
Marxism is certainly not outdated or bankrupt. Indeed, it is becoming increasingly clear that Marxism is the only system of thought and theory that can lead the liberation movement of the working class? the only scientific system that can provide a true understanding of present-day capitalist society and thus lead the class movement of the workers. For these reasons, we openly affirm the truth of Marxism.
Vulgar petty bourgeois political tendencies?such as the Communist Party, Social-Democratic Party, or gNew Lefth sects? are increasingly bankrupt and feel free to attack or negate Marxism. They have increasingly distanced themselves from the workers and the working class movement, which only exposes their abysmal decay and gconversionh and subordination to the bourgeois camp.
We, however, will stick to the class standpoint of the workers and Marxism, and on this foundation we seek to reconstruct the movement and develop it further.
In shifting to become a type of circle, our struggles will take be different, organizationally and practically, in various ways.
The first thing that we can say is that we will not be a gtypicalh easygoing organization concerned with everyday tasks that is governed by liberal principles, but rather a revolutionary, class circle, a Marxist circle, and in this sense we will have nothing in common with circle-ism. At the congress, we affirmed that we will firmly struggle against rotten, liberal circle-ism.
Major changes will also take place organizationally. The central executive committee, central committee, and city/prefectural committees, which have been the organs of our party up to now, will be replaced with a central grepresentatives committeeh (composed initially of 4 members). And we will take the simple and uncomplicated approach of organizing, to begin, around 30 branches nationwide. We concluded that to wage our activities in this form was the most realistic and geffectiveh approach considering the objective and subjective conditions.
Just looking at this decisive organizational restructuring, the significance and importance of our gturning pointh should be clear.
In terms of our activities as well, some concrete, everyday changes have been made. For instance, we will emphasize theoretical activity, and plan to set up study groups with meaningful content? that will continuously and thoroughly study and acquire the fundamentals of Marxism (such as the glabor theory of valueh)? for the sake of organizing workers and youth. These are not study groups just for the sake of being study groups, but rather an important means of rallying workers and youth, organizing them and awakening their class-consciousness.
One important question at the congress was our relation to particular workers movements or gpolitical strugglesh? such as the struggle against the national flag and anthem.
We recognized the significance of our individual members becoming actively involved in such struggles, but we recognized that we would not organize?or would be incapable of organizing?actual struggles.
However, this was due not so much to the shift to a new circle organization, as to the current situation of the SWP.
We have had comrades who are active in trade union struggles and conferences in their workplaces and neighborhoods, as well as comrades who have participated in political movements that were under the hegemony of radicals or civic groups. However, such activities remained at the level of partial struggles carried out by individual SWP members or groups of members, and were not by any means organizationally broad struggles under the leadership of the SWP. So now we have basically confirmed this existence of this reality.
Up to now, we have made political statements in our party organ, and in a sense played a role as an gopinion leaderh among the Japanese left, but this could not be described as gpolitical strugglesh in the fundamental sense. True workers political struggles involve a mass movement including large-scale demonstrations and public meetings, as well as nation-wide election struggles.
From next January, our party organ the gStorm Petrelh will be published three times a month (first, second, and fourth week) rather than four times a month, to correspond with our shift to a circle. In this area as well, we have been compelled to scale back our organization.
Naturally, the content of our party organ will also change to correspond to the shift to a revolutionary circle. However, we have decided to continue to make political statements and continue our active publication work.
To our readers throughout Japan and the world we say: our principled, class struggles will live on in a different form and will be developed even more powerfully. Fight together with us.
Rally to the Marxist Comrades Group !
(Translated by Roy)
18 Proud Years of the SWP
Itfs hard for us not to feel deep emotion now that the 18 years of the SWP are coming to an end. The SWP clearly distinguished itself from the New Left and radical sects, preferring to follow a different path. This difference was reflected in our decision to participate openly in national elections in order to make strong appeals to workers throughout the country.
From the period of the Marxist Workers League (predecessor to the SWP) with the candidacy of Enami Shinichi for the upper house election, though to the early nineties, we participated in Diet elections.
In our first national election we only received about 10,000 votes, but in the 1986 and 1989 upper house proportional representative elections we received about 140,000 votes and were able to garner enthusiastic support from workers throughout the country.
When we formed the SWP in 1984, we intended to participate even more actively in national elections and carry out working class political struggles.
In participating in election struggles, we fully recognized the correctness of the following Marxist practical standpoint. For instance, in 1920 Lenin wrote:
gParliament is a product of historical development, and we cannot eliminate it until we are strong enough to disperse the bourgeois parliament. It is only as a member of the bourgeois parliament that one can, in the given historical conditions, wage a struggle against bourgeois society and parliamentarianism. The same weapon as the bourgeoisie employs in the struggle must also be used by the proletariat, of course, with entirely different aims.h (1920, gSecond Congress of the Communist Internationalh)
We based ourselves on this thought in participating in elections, and we believed that the emergence of SWP diet members could be a powerful lever to propel the socialist revolutionary movement forward.
Of course, our revolutionary parliamentarianism had nothing in common with JCP chairman Fuwa Tetsuzofs idea of gpeoplefs parliamentarianism,h according to which the rule of capital could be overturned if a majority in the parliament were obtained since the Diet is the ghighest organ of the national government.h We fully recognized that the parliamentarian system is one form of the rule of capital, and in fact under this system capital is able to rule in a more complete and firm manner.
At the time of our first election, at meetings throughout the country, we carried out lively activities, and made use of the election campaign to openly call for the need to fight against the rule of capital, while denouncing opportunistic political groups.
Despite our bold challenge, however, it was difficult to continue these struggles due to our organizational and material limitations. We had high hopes for the 1989 election?in which Socialist party leader Doi was able to nab many votes by opposing the consumption tax?but we were only able to receive the same amount of votes as three years earlier.
Since we had gained 140,000 votes in the 1986 proportional representative elections, we naturally had high hopes to gain more votes in the following election, and when this didnft happen we felt discouraged. This, combined with the various sacrifices we had made for the elections, led to a gmood of exhaustionh in our ranks.
We also suffered from the revision of the election laws, which made it necessary to pay a deposit of several million yen to participate in the proportional representation elections. This basically squeezed out small parties like the SWP.
As a result of this we lost our prospects and the path to becoming a mass workers party was shut, forcing us to fall back into being a circle organization. For the past decade, we tried to regain the organizational power necessary to make a challenge in the national elections again, but were unfortunately unable to succeed.
Looking at this subjective and objective situation, we made the decision to dissolve the SWP, take a gstep forward and two steps backwardh in order to refocus our activities. Still, we are deeply proud of the 18-year history and struggles of the Socialist Workers Party.
During this time, the JCP sank deeper and deeper into becoming a bourgeois party, and completely lost the trust of the workers after existing as a Stalinist party for so many years. The Socialist Party as well, after becoming opportunistic to the point of allying with the LDP, joined forces with the state power of capital, and as a result disappeared entirely.
The decay of the radicals (New Left) is perfectly clear from the gcivic-ismh of the Bund (Communist League), the bankruptcy of the Red Army, and horrific guchi-gebah (internecine warfare).
It can therefore be said that only the SWP has firmly held aloft the banner of worker emancipation, socialism, and internationalism.
The history of our struggles will be inherited and sublated within our new organization, the Marxist Comrades Group. We will assimilate the proud tradition of the SWP, and move forward in a new form. Our struggles have certainly not come to an end, and will continue until the working class throughout the world is freed from the shackles of capital.
(Translated by Roy)
The Rules of
(Translated by Roy)