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Anthony Cruz
Anthony Cruz

From Ike To Mao And Beyond : My Journey From Mainstream America To Revolutionary Communist : A Memoi

By examining the qualities associated with public figures whose images have been manipulated to make those figures either exaggeratedly positive or exaggeratedly negative symbols, scholars have developed a number of assumptions about the traits and political goals generally desired by various PRC governments. Figures whose images have been manipulated to make them positive symbols will be portrayed as: coming from proletarian or semi-proletarian backgrounds; being courageous, fair, straightforward, and honest in their treatment of subordinates and superiors; leading a simple and frugal life; demonstrating great concern for the "masses"; achieving outstanding professional success; and, being impeccably loyal to the CCP and to the communist cause. Figures whose images have been manipulated to make them negative symbols will be portrayed as: coming from backgrounds which have exposed them to "bourgeoise" thoughts and attitudes; adhering to all or most historical attempts to oppose political figures in the PRC who later became powerful, which are also vilified; being professionally inept, only succeeding temporarily or appearing to succeed through trickery or deception; participating in "conspiracies" against the correct leadership of the Party; cooperating with "foreign countries" (historically either the Soviet Union or the United States, depending on which is more threatening at the time); and, having numerous negative traits, such as opportunism or corruption. Usually, public figures will provide considerable examples of either positive or negative qualities, but will be made to fit either a positive or negative stereotype through exaggerating qualities which support the interpretation desired by the Party, and by omitting from the historical narrative qualities which contradict the Party's intended interpretation.[92]

From Ike to Mao and beyond : my journey from mainstream America to revolutionary communist : a memoi

Maoist propaganda art has been remade and modernized for almost two decades, and old Cultural Revolution era propaganda productions have appeared in new formats such as DVDs and karaoke versions. They appear in rock and pop versions of revolutionary songs in praise of Mao, as well as T-shirts, watches, porcelain, and other memorabilia.[13] The works of propaganda from the Cultural Revolution have been selling extremely well in recent years, largely for nostalgia, social, patriotic or entertainment purposes.[13][14]

The U.S. occupation aimed to incorporate its former enemy as a subordinate partner in its Asian sphere of influence. It went through two main phases. In the first New Deal phase, the U.S. retained the emperor and the old civilian state bureaucracy, and introduced a series of bourgeois-democratic reforms from above aimed at demilitarizing Japan. When confronted with a near revolutionary rebellion inside Japan and a wave of communist and nationalist revolutions throughout Asia, the U.S. turned Japan into a military satellite for its wars and interventions across the region. In the second Cold War phase, the U.S. rebuilt the old order and severely curtailed what little democracy it had introduced in the first phase.

The planners hoped that they could use New Deal measures as they had in the U.S. to co-opt any revolutionary upheaval by workers and peasants. Jon Halliday comments, "U.S. planners were well aware of the revolutionary dangers of defeat. World War I had released a torrent of revolutionary élan which had been only partially contained at Versailles and by military interventions across the Eurasian land mass from Munich to Vladivostok. Washington’s attitude…was conditioned by fear of the revolutionary potential of the Japanese masses."21 The Japanese ruling class heightened these fears among the Americans. Takemae argues that the Japanese elite "believed that the gravest danger to the throne came from three sources: the ‘military clique’ that had usurped power and which was said to harbor communistic leanings; the communist movement outside of Japan’s border; and a revolutionary conflagration inside the country kindled by an Allied victory. The United States, [they] believed, would offer Japan a general peace, keep the communists at bay and preserve…imperial rule."22 For all of these reasons, businessman and future Foreign Minister Fujiyama Aiichiro remembered "when it was learned that the occupying power would be the U.S….many industrialists uncorked their champagne bottles and toasted the coming of a new industrialists’ era."23

The U.S. supported a section of the old guard that had regrouped under Yoshida Shigeru. An elite bureaucrat from the old order, Yoshida had fully supported the Japanese empire but had opposed the Japanese war on the U.S. and advocated an early peace with the U.S. in order to "keep communists at bay and preserve the imperial state." One of the key figures in the occupation, U.S. General Whitney, told Yoshida’s group that "General MacArthur feels that this is the last opportunity for the conservative groups, considered by many to be reactionary, to remain in power; that this can only be done by a sharp swing to the left; and that if you accept this constitution you can be sure that the Supreme Commander will support your position."33 They soon accepted the superficial reforms that were in effect during every year of the occupation except one. Eventually, they formed the Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) and proceeded to dominate Japanese politics for the next 50 years with full U.S. backing.

The Japanese Communist Party lead much of the fightback. During the war, the Japanese state had cracked down on the party, jailing its leadership and banning its meetings. The occupation freed the communists along with other political prisoners. In 1945, they numbered only 1,000 members, but these activists immediately spearheaded much of the struggle that exploded throughout the country. As a result, they grew to an occupation peak of 84,000 members in 1949.48 They were, however, a thoroughly Stalinist party, which obeyed Russia’s instructions to cooperate with the occupation because Russia initially wanted peace and collaboration with the United States in the post-war world. So they welcomed the occupation as a "revolution from above," restricted their agitation to reform within Japanese capitalism and laid out an electoral road to socialism in Japan. They called themselves the "lovable Communist Party."

In 1945, hardly any workers were in unions, but by 1949 over seven million workers had joined unions. Unionized workers by then made up more than 50 percent of the employed workforce.51 Unlike previous Japanese unions, these mounted serious struggles against Japan’s corporations–between 1947 and 1950 there were 6,000 disputes and 3,000 strikes that involved five million workers.52 The struggle peaked in 1946 when workers were in open class rebellion for control of production. Workers, intent on defending their jobs, took over their workplaces to prevent them from going out of business. They called these actions "production control." They seized control of everything from factories to newspapers and movie studios. Out of these struggles, workers built new labor federations to unite their movement–the communist-led Sanbetsu and the socialist-led Sodomei.

The U.S. officially commenced the Cold War in 1947 with the Truman Doctrine. The president declared that the U.S. would support regimes against the threat of communism from within their own countries and from Russia. Truman focused primarily on Europe where he backed the forces of the old order against rising movements for democracy in Greece and Turkey. He declared that "unless Russia is faced with an iron fist and strong language, another war is in the making."54 They called the strategy containment. In Asia, the U.S. had hoped to subordinate Japan in favor of developing China, but Chiang Kai-Shek and his nationalists were clearly losing their civil war with Mao’s communists. In the face of a deteriorating situation, the U.S. reoriented its occupation policy to save Japan from revolution within and begin to establish it as a bulwark against communism in the East.

MacArthur attacked the right to form unions which had been enshrined in the constitution. He issued a new directive that denied nearly half the nation’s government workers of the right to strike and collectively bargain.65 Local authorities grabbed the opportunity to deny unions the right to meet. One union official said that it was more difficult to hold public meetings under the occupation than under General Hideki Tojo’s military dictatorship.66 The SCAP also developed a plan to undermine and destroy the union movement from within. They organized "Democratization Leagues" in the communist-led Sanbetsu union to attack the left and divide the workers’ movement. These leagues agitated against communists, radicalism in general and workers’ militancy. The U.S. used the leagues to set up a right-wing union federation, Sohyo, which it hoped would obey U.S. orders. Taking a lead from MacArthur, the private corporations organized the Japanese Federation of Employers’ Associations to smash their employees’ unions. This new organization pushed all its members to void union contracts and fire militant workers.

The U.S. painted all resistance to this massive assault on the working class as a communist plot. In 1950, SCAP initiated the Red Purge, Japanese McCarthyism, to destroy the Communist Party and all radical opposition. All the laws that had been used by the occupation against the right-wing militarists were now turned against the left. MacArthur declared that the Japanese Communist Party’s days as a "constitutionally recognized political movement are over."80 He ordered the government to purge 24 leaders of the party from public life, suspended the editorial board of its newspaper, banned its publication for 30 days after the Korean War started and soon extended this ban indefinitely.81 He instructed the prime minister to fire 11,000 communists from government jobs. Eager to join the purge, Japanese bosses fired another 11,000 in the private sector.82 Not only the communists suffered persecution; all radicals did. MacArthur shut down 700 other radical papers and a total of 1,387 left publications in all.83


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