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Paul Mattick

The Story of Japanese Imperialism

Review of Eastern Menace, The Story of Japanese Imperialism. Published by the Union of Democratic Control, London. Source International Review, !ew "ork, !ovember #$%&' (ranscribed by )dam *uick' Proofed and corrected by +eoff (rau,h, -uly .//0.

(his document is addressed to the *ritish 12ublic,3 which is to be warned a,ainst the wiles of -a2anese im2erialism. 4t aims to influence *ritish 2olicy 5by which yellow im2erialism was 1half su22orted and half feared36 so that the 7n,lish may come out o2enly a,ainst -a2an. (he latter, we are told, 1is or,ani8in, a "ellow 7m2ire with the avowed 2olicy of endin, the rule of the white man in the 7ast, and if she does fi,ht Russia, the war will 2robably involve us all.3 (he Union of Democratic Control 2refers the rule of the 1whites3 to the rule of the 1yellows,3 and it is ,lad that 1the onward march of the -a2anese has been tem2orarily checked by the enormous military 2re2arations of the Soviet Union on her 9ar 7astern frontiers.3 :owever, 1-a2anese a,,ression would still further be checked if +reat *ritain, the U.S.). and Russia were willin, to coo2erate in the 9ar 7ast. (he U.S.). and Russia have already shown their willin,ness. (he determinin, factor is the 2olicy of the *ritish ,overnment, which has hel2ed -a2an to become the most serious rival of *ritish trade and the bi,,est threat to 2eace in the Pacific.3 (he risin, yellow com2etition ; with the e<ce2tion of the similarly yellow Chinese, whose favor is courted ; is to be met by a united front of the white im2erialists. (he authors lay stress u2on the 2eculiarities of -a2an brou,ht about as a result of its retarded develo2ment alon, the 2ath of ca2italistic im2erialism, and which they attack with the usual ar,uments about dum2in,, low wa,es and military rule. 4n order to assert itself a,ainst the world in which ca2italism has already taken firm root, -a2anese ca2ital was obli,ed, in s2ite of its feudal backwardness, to ado2t an e<treme centralism. (he close union of Ca2ital and State, which first a22ears as a result of the 1normal3 2rocess of ca2italist develo2ment, was in -a2an the necessary 2resu22osition of successful ca2itali8ation. Closely connected with this circumstance are the fascist character of -a2anese 2olicy and the numerous inner contradictions that are an e<2ression of the difficulties of ada2tin, the various class and ,rou2 interests to the ra2idly chan,in, economic situation. (he stron,er, however, the inner friction, the ,reater is the ur,e to outer e<2ansion and the more 2ronounced the nationalism of the country. (he more a,,ressively the 2olicy of e<2ansion is conducted, the more intensively must the workers and 2easants be e<2loited and the ,reater in turn must be the develo2ment of im2erialism. -a2anese im2erialism is not a s2ecial form of 2henomenon' it comes forth more une=uivocally because at each ste2 it comes into conflict with the im2erialisms already established. 4n order to make this com2etitive stru,,le a,reeable to the 7n,lish workers, they are told that their unem2loyment is due in lar,e 2art to the unfair com2etition of the -a2anese' they must defend themselves a,ainst -a2anese im2erialism. >hat, however, will the unem2loyed of -a2an be told in case -a2an should be beaten down by the united front of the whites? 4n reality, whether it is -a2an or 7n,land that e<2orts cotton 2ieces to 4ndia should be a matter of indifference to the workin, 2o2ulation, for considered as a whole it makes no difference whether the -a2anese or the 7n,lish workers are without @obs. 4t never occurs to the Union of Democratic Control that the workin, class is =uite in a 2osition to do away with the entire de2endence on the laws of the market and could thus com2letely dis2ose of the 2roblems discussed in the 2am2hlet. Astensibly, -a2anese im2erialism is a 2articularly bad im2erialism. 4ts com2etition is es2ecially evil. 4t is combatted in the interest of the more res2ectable im2erialisms. (he stu2idity of such a 2osition makes it inconceivable that the 2ublishers of the Eastern Menace themselves believe in it. >e are rather 2resented here with the 2re2aratory war 2ro2a,anda, directed a,ainst the enemy of Russia. 4t is desired to mobili8e the workers, to,ether with their ca2italist e<2loiters, for the defense of Russian interests. (he only ob@ection that may be made here is that the stru,,le a,ainst im2erialism in -a2an 2resu22oses the stru,,le a,ainst oneBs own im2erialism in other ca2italist countries. 4f one stren,thens his own im2erialism, as the Union of Democratic Control endeavor to do, he necessarily stren,thens also the -a2anese. *ut, of course, these 2eo2le have in reality nothin, a,ainst im2erialism itself. (hey merely want to eliminate that of their o22onents. (hat is to say the Union of Democratic Control re2resents the >estern Menace as a,ainst the 7astern.

-a2anBs advance is dama,in, to the interests of the various ca2italist nations with im2erialistic ventures in China. 4t also stands in the way of inde2endent Chinese endeavors at buildin, a ca2italist economy. 4t is likewise in@urious to the )siatic interests of Russia. -a2an is usin, China because she needs raw materials and favorable ca2ital investments. 4n order to remain stron,, -a2an is obli,ed, like all other ca2italist countries, includin, Russia, to ,row stron,er and stron,er. 4t is only additional ca2ital that makes secure the ca2ital already at hand. 4t is only a,,ressiveness that 2rotects it from disturbance. )nyone who has be,un the ca2italist invasion is obli,ed to continue it. -a2anese e<2ansion is bound to menace Russia. Russia is forced to build u2 her stren,th and herself become an im2erialist 2ower in order to assure her 2osition. 9rom the 2rotection of the frontiers there comes about the shiftin, of the frontiers. 9rom 2eaceful trade with the nei,hborin, countries there develo2s the stru,,le for their control. (he stru,,le between Russia and -a2an is not a stru,,le between communism and ca2italism, but between two im2erialisms, a stru,,le which of necessity results from ca2italist 2roduction, whether this latter is under 2rivate or State direction. 4n this stru,,le, each of the 2arties looks for allies. -ust as -a2an has assured herself of the aid of +ermany, so Russia turns now to 7n,land, as formerly to )merica. (he ,reat advance of -a2an be,an with Manchuria. (hen came !orth China, which is 1in many res2ects an essential com2lement to Manchuria.3 )nd 1from !orth China she can attem2t to consolidate her 2osition in 4nner Mon,olia.3 Mon,olia, however, is 1the lar,est im2orter of Russian ,oods in the 7ast, and tables of RussoCMon,olian trade show an increase in the 2ercenta,e of the Mon,olian raw materials, which are im2orted by Russia.3 Mon,olia under the control of -a2an would enormously stren,then the military 2otentialities of the latter a,ainst Russia. Stalin has therefore warned -a2an 1that if she ventured to attack the Mon,olian Peo2leBs Re2ublic and sou,ht to destroy its inde2endence, Russia would hel2 that Re2ublic.3 !ow the Union of Democratic Control reali8es that 1there are some who would say that SovietCMon,olian relations were based on DRed 4m2erialismB.3 (his, however, it says, is not the case, because 1Mon,olia has lon, ob@ected to Chinese rule.3 )nd for this reason alone 1-a2an would find that a war with the Mon,olian Re2ublic will be a very different thin, from fi,htin, Manchuria. 4t would mean fi,htin, a SovietCe=ui22ed army.3 (his 2am2hlet contains, on the one hand, continual references to the enormous 2ower of Russia, by which -a2anese im2erialism will surely be wi2ed off the ma2. An the other hand, there is an endeavor to 2resent the 7astern Menace as bein, enou,h of a dan,er to necessitate a united front of the 1white3 im2erialist nations. 9urthermore, there is an attem2t to arouse the resistance of China a,ainst -a2an. (he favor of the CommunistCkiller Chian, EaiCshek is courted, and the authors wonder 1whether he is the ,reat leader who can rally the 2eo2le of China around his banner, or @ust another Chinese +eneral who 2lays for 2ositions?3 4f Chian, EaiCshek really wants to 2roceed a,ainst -a2an, he can do so only on condition of 1endin, the war a,ainst the Communists, and securin, their neutrality or even obtainin, their su22ort.3 )nd, lo,ically, the Communists also must then 2ut an end to their stru,,le a,ainst Chian, EaiCshek, and then we have once more the ,reat 1national stru,,le of liberation,3 which can end only in a bloodbath for the workers. 4n this connection it must be borne in mind that when Chinese Communists are mentioned in this 2am2hlet we have to do with tendencies which in reality have nothin, to with communism. )s is brou,ht out in a re2ort =uoted by the authors 1(he ,eneral em2hasis of the 2ro,ram of the Chinese Communists is eminently 2ractical' aimin, at the elimination of the most ,larin, abuses and dis2arities of the old system. 4ts immediate effects have undoubtedly been to create a more widely distributed set of vested interests for whose 2rotection the beneficiaries will fi,ht fiercely. (he Chinese Communists leaders, however, have retained control of certain key 2ositions within the economic structure, such as ,overnment lands, marketin, su2ervision, coo2erative tradin, and credit societies and bank, which may be utili8ed to e<tend the develo2ment of a sociali8ed economy.3 So that ChinaBs stru,,le a,ainst -a2an is to be carried on under

communist slo,ans, yet ca2italistically. )ccordin,ly, in case -a2an should be driven back, it would then, sooner or later, be a stron, China that would have to be combatted as a new 17astern Menace.3 *ut the future is indefinite, and no one worries about its eventualities. (oday the enemy is -a2an. (he stru,,le a,ainst the 17astern Menace3 turns out, however, to be nothin, more than the stru,,le a,ainst a certain ca2italism. (he reference to the 7astern Menace has the same rounds as those by which the 2ronounced -a2anese nationalism finally determined. *ehind both 2hrases is concealed the stru,,le between the different ca2italist 2owers. (he menace to the workin, class is not -a2an and is not to be sou,ht in the 7ast. 4t is ca2italism.