Japan — Fissures in the Planetary Apparatus
Taking into consideration the unprecedented situation in Japan, we find it necessary to establish a place for exchanging critical voices from there and elsewhere, to find a way out of the dystopian cul-de-sac, and create a path to undo and reorient the course of the world whose worst effects are manifest there at the moment.
While we are observing a new impetus of global uprising against capitalism and the state, the catastrophic situation is unfolding in Japan. The two kinds of upheaval appear to be mirroring each other, both shaking capital’s business as usual to its foundation. There is no doubt that this is the turning point of human history.
The earthquake and tsunami of maximal scale devastated the Northeastern part of Honshu, with an increasing number of losses and refugees and a worsening nuclear disaster. The activity of the planet has shown not only the unequivocal magnitude of its nonhuman force but also the degree in which our society and its infrastructural system forged by capitalism are relying on, merging with, implicated in and expanding over the planet in an ominous manner. What the so-called natural disaster is showing is nothing but the implication of the apparatus in the environment and its fatal effects.
The events in Japan will inexorably have significant impacts over the entire human society in every aspect, i.e., ecologically, economically and socially. They are no longer matters of a particular nation-state, but creating unprecedented fissures in the apparatus that is uncontrollably and materially becoming one with mother earth, and sustains the global power relations as well as the everyday life of the people across the planet. At the moment what these events embody are an extreme negativity, especially in contrast to the on-going uprisings world over. What the name Japan implies has in a day transformed from a shaky yet euphoric consumerist society to a people on a possible path to apocalypse.
Though in such devastating conditions from which resident foreigners are encouraged to escape, the people in Japan are struggling for survival. The struggle involves two asymmetric forces; On the one hand, there are efforts of the state and capital to sustain its governance and economic operations as normal as possible, even at the expense of fully concentrated rescue measures. On the other hand, the struggle of the people entails multiple dimensions: (1) survival in the multifaceted crises, (2) sacrificial labor at risk of death; (3) challenge to build their own commons resisting the state-led projects, imposed as it is under the names of emergency and the national spirit.
We observe that certain national intellectuals or so-called opinion leaders are playing the role of raising the dead spirit (Yamato-damashii) from the fascist regime toward total mobilization under the state.
Meanwhile the people are demanding the state concentrate its capacity for solving the problems of refugees and nuclear contamination, as well as publicize full information on these conditions. Also importantly, independent of the rescue missions led by the Self-Defense Forces, some groups are preparing to build refugees camps of different scales in cities such as Tokyo, Nagoya, and Osaka, with hopes to create communes. The far eastern archipelago is entering a new phase of struggle for survival, a class struggle facing catastrophic conditions.
In this sense Japan has achieved a critical power, with the fissures open up in an unprecedented manner, beyond our intention and preference, that would pose a series of fundamental questions concerning the thoughts on the world and the practices to change it. This is one of the most crucial junctures that we have seen in the country, that the people might be able to turn around the orientation of the future, to pave a new way for the sake of both human and non-human life forms.
In this situation, we feel a need of gathering a critical information exchange among active voices in Japan and elsewhere. We intend to translate, quote and analyze as much information as possible from Japanese into English, and translate your encouragements, comments, suggestions, analyses, proposals and anything written in English into Japanese for the vantage point of the people struggling there and everywhere.