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Japanese Workers and the Struggle for Power 1945-47 Joe Moore.

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Presentation on theme: "Japanese Workers and the Struggle for Power 1945-47 Joe Moore."— Presentation transcript:

1 Japanese Workers and the Struggle for Power 1945-47 Joe Moore

2 Production Control  Democratizing the Yomiuri  Shôriki Matsutarô--President of Yomiuri  Suzuki Tômin, “fighting liberal” leftist  Democratic Study Group sought  Employee’s union  Democratization of company’s organization  Better pay and respect for workers as human beings  Independent consumers’ union

3 Production Control Movement  Shôriki orders Suzuki’s resignation over labor struggle  Workers occupy editorial offices  Elect Suzuki chair of supreme struggle committee  SCAP arrests Shôriki as suspected war criminal and he resigns  Baba Tsunego succeeds him

4  Similar Story at Keisei Railway  SCAP agrees that worker actions that interfere with economic reconstruction should be banned (1945)  But MacArthur also encouraged the unionization of labor and would brook no interference  So, a mixed message at best.

5 Ch. 7 The Conservative Reaction  Summer 1946 Yoshida Cabinet seeks to reverse working class gains  Reverse Course in Labor Reform  Production control = core of popular resistance so Yoshida wanted to break the movement  Yoshida and events convinced SCAP that potential for radical change in workplace was genuine

6 Housebreaking the Labor Movement  SCAP at once pro-labor and anti- communist  Second Yomiuri Dispute June 1946  6 communists identified by name including Suzuki  Baba “ordered” by Baker to dismiss them

7  Struggle committee stands up to Baba’s dismissals  Major Daniel Imboden intervenes, employees accept the 6 dismissals  Theodore Cohen dissents -- no court order, no violence, no public disorder.  Baba transfers 17 union leaders out of Tokyo

8  Engineers strike  Company strikebreakers grab the striking workers and throw them out.  Yoshida continues to win as heads off General Strike in February 1947

9 As Moore writes:  In the end, SCAP lent its support to the old guard’s destruction of the militant industrial unions  A working-class democratization of postwar Japan was not to be. Too much was against it…  The fight for a new Japan…must be seen, nevertheless, as one of the peaks in the history of the Japanese working class. (243)


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