Thursday, August 20, 2015

People Power Against War in Japan: A Lesson for Us All?

Our World Beyond War statement today on protests taking place in Japan said,

World Beyond War endorses the efforts of peace groups throughout Japan to protect Japan’s “peace constitution,” and to oppose pending legislation currently being promoted by Japan’s Prime Minister Shinzo Abe that would re-militarize Japan. Peace groups will mobilize throughout Japan (at last count, 32 locations) on Sunday, August 23, and other days in the coming week.

(Isn't it UNBELIEVABLE that Abe and his US allies are trying to re-introduce warmaking on the 70th anniversary of Hiroshima and Nagasaki???)

I love the graphic that we've been tweeting to share this message on social media:

@WorldBeyondWar on Twitter:
#23AugProtests for a Japan (and a world) BEYOND WAR!
Support Japan Protesters      Protect Peace Constitution
(Please retweet this message.)

I love the part where the number "9" is breaking a missile -- a symbol of Article 9 of the Japanese constitution, which forswears war:

Article 9 of the Japanese constitution breaks a missile

And I love the people with the banner that says, "Read the constitution! Participating in war is prohibited"

The people of Japan say:
"Read the constitution! Participating in war is prohibited!"

I love the dove, the "No War, No Nuclear" banner, the peace-sign ballon, the monk, the frog, and especially the worried-looking PM Abe.

But what I especially love is all the people:

People mobilizing across Japan against re-militarization

You might think that each person is just another face in the crowd, but if you look closely, they're all carefully drawn to depict an individual, and it's all these individuals working together that is going to stop Japan's return to militarization and war.

As I write, demonstrations are being prepared in 32 different locations across Japan.

It reminds me of another "faces in the crowd" image:

The Matter, Forme,
and Power of a Common
Wealth Ecclesiastical
and Civil

As I explained in an earlier blog post: To really understand this image, go to the online images accompanying Elaine Scarry's book, Thermonuclear Monarchy: Choosing Between Democracy and Doom. . . . Look at the high resolution reproduction of the original image from Leviathan. . . .Zoom in . . . look at individual faces.   . . . As Elaine explains, "the outward-looking faces of the drawing . . .  successfully convey Hobbes’s central thesis that the Leviathan is constituted by our own bodies." (emphasis added) . . .

We are the common body - the community, the commonwealth, the society, the nation, it is us.

The struggle in Japan is one of biblical proportions. We should all find ways to express our support for the important work of the protesters there. We're all in the same struggle against war together!


Reach out to someone you know
in Japan today and offer your support
for their struggle against re-militarization!

Update -- August 24, 2015: "Young Japanese stage nationwide protests against security bills being debated in Upper House" on Japan Times website.

Members of SEALDs, a group of young people against government
legislation allowing the Self-Defense Forces a greater role internationally,
march in Tokyo's fashionable Omotesando district on Sunday. SEALDs
stand for Students Emergency Action for Liberal Democracy. | KYODO

Related posts

We have had a window of opportunity -- nearly 70 years in which the constitution of Japan has explicitly renounced war, pointing the way for the rest of us. What have we imagined we were supposed to do?

(See Renouncing War: An Opportunity Not To Be Missed )

The decision about whether to live with the threat of nuclear annihilation is our decision. And that is why the entire country is mobilizing for mass action for nuclear disarmament in 2015. Are we capable of making sure the messengers -- Obama, Putin, the other agents of government -- hear their instructions from us clearly?

(See NEEDED: Heroes to Bring About Nuclear Disarmament )

Much of my last year has been focused on the 70th anniversary of the US atomic bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki -- including innumerable tweets, posts, and shares on social media. Here are some of the things I'm noticing, particularly in connection with the hashtag #HiroshimaNagasaki70 on Twitter.

(See #HiroshimaNagasaki70 - What I Learned on Twitter )

"What must these people who came all the way from Japan be thinking? How do they explain to themselves the huge number of US people who simply can't be bothered to think about the nuclear threat?"

(See "Two nuclear weapons hit our country in 1945. It is not necessary." on the Chicago Nuclear Injury Action Group website)

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