Saturday, February 18, 2012

is mine an apolitical musician's political blog? (2)

There are many courageous people I admire. Demanding that those in power shut down all the nuclear power plants, some people have been camping at a corner of METI (Ministry of Economy, Trade, Industry of Japan) site since they started sitting in (including hanger strike) in September. Many of them appear to have no history of militancy whatsoever.

Last week I joined an anti-nukes rally that took place in Shibuya. The organizer announced that 12,000 showed up. Many protesters were from unions. I heard that some participants didn't like that the unions carried their flags. Such participants might have disliked the unions' 'conformity'--such as their way of chanting. I think unions are still important. Many historians may say that why May 1968 Paris uprising was different from the other uprisings in America and Japan was that in Paris the unions and students went hand in hand. Conformism is one thing, collectivism is another.

Tomorrow (February 19) in Suginami City, a western suburb of Tokyo including Koenji district where a game changing festive anti-nukes demo on April 10, 2011, a demo entitled 'De-nuke Suginami' will take place. Its website says, "we are inclusive, welcoming all the parties and groups. We are the multitude." I'll be there, and then visit the camping site at METI.

In his Why Kicking Off Everywhere, Mason analyses historical uprisings according to a dichotomy between individualism and collectivism. Simply put, there was an era of individualism until 1914, and then an era of collectivism (including fascism and totalitarianism) until the 1960s. He continues to argue that since then until today we have had an era of individualism--he calls it a second 'la belle epoque,' and that we are on the verge of entering another era of collectivism--but we don't know because we now have this network society... I somehow feel that his dichotomy is a typical Anglo-Saxon way of seeing (I'm biased, of course). I will continue to think about this.

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