Source: The Communist Review, July 1922, Vol. 3, No. 3.
Publisher: Communist Party of Great Britain
Transcription/Markup: Brian Reid
Public Domain: Marxists Internet Archive (2006). You may freely copy, distribute, display and perform this work; as well as make derivative and commercial works. Please credit “Marxists Internet Archive” as your source.
YOU have been in Siberia for the past four long years. Many of you, moreover, sacrificed happiness and comfort; nay more, many of your brother soldiers have been killed on the Siberian battlefields, and yet you are still engaged in the bloody fight with the Russian army. Why all these sacrifices and deaths? Have you ever thought of yourselves in this murderer’s business? No! You are simply obeying the Army Command, and what is more, you are doing the brutal work of the militarist class of Japan. If you had thought of this you would not now be where you are!
Soldiers! You are committing the gravest mistake by blindly obeying the orders of the army leaders. Don’t you know that you are fighting against the Russian Red soldiers who are defending the only Workers’ and Peasants’ Government, the Soviet Republic? You are sons of the Japanese workers and peasants just as the Russian Red soldiers. But by your present conduct you are fighting for the capitalist government and the capitalist interests of Japan. The government and the capitalist of Japan have been oppressing and exploiting you at home for their own self-interest. Don’t you know that the Russian Red Soldiers are defending their government and their own country? The Russian workers and peasants have destroyed the capitalist government and done away with the capitalist class!
In your blind obedience to Japanese militarism you have been attempting for nearly four years to destroy the Soviet Republic of the workers and peasants who have done away with the oppressive Czar and his capitalist government.
Why have you been all these long years in Siberia? In order to strengthen the government and the capitalists of Japan who are oppressing you and will oppress you as long as you are willing to fight and sacrifice yourselves for them! Don’t think for a moment that you are serving your country’s best interests by staying in Siberia, which is not your country but belongs to the Russian workers and peasants! On the contrary, you are damaging the cause and interests of your own country, Japan. The Russians are not your enemies. Japan never declared war against Russia. The Russian workers are your friends, if only you could understand and follow the example of the Russian workers and peasants! Morally, you are committing the most outrageous crime against the Russians and against humanity! Are you not ashamed of yourselves now? Quit like men, lay down your arms and go home! That will serve the best interests of Japan.
Soldiers! The Russian Red soldiers are fighting not only for their own revolution but for the World Social Revolution. They are serving the cause of the workers and peasants, they are trying to reconstruct their national economy in spite of famine and the countless difficulties that confront them owing to the long foreign and civil wars. Soldiers of Japan! You should admire the heroic struggle of the Russian workers and peasants and should help them in every way instead of attacking them in the most trying and critical moment of their new national life!
Soldiers! You are being misled and are ruining your lives and happiness in an unjust foreign invasion. You are fighting a most disgraceful and inhuman war. Yours is the robbers’ fight to steal another’s country. Your death is a dog’s death. No one will be benefited thereby; but Japan will be disgraced, her future will be rendered difficult and the establishment of friendly relations with your neighbours, the Russian workers and peasants, is being impeded. Lay down your arms, pack up your belongings, go back to your country and improve conditions back home! That is the best policy for you and your country. It will help you as well as the Russian workers and peasants. If your officers hinder you, disarm them and do as the Russian soldiers did four years ago! This is the message of a man who loves Japan and the Japanese proletariat, who was raised as a peasant boy, who farmed, burnt charcoal, carried burdens for a living and has been a labour leader, Socialist agitator and Communist organiser for the past fifty years. Support the Russian Workers’ and Peasants’ Republic by quitting Siberia at once! This is the best thing you can now do!
No doubt the officers and corporals will be against you and will try to fight against you by their sole weapon, military discipline and military rule. But remember the fact that officers and corporals are but a very very small minority when compared with your numbers. You can easily suppress them and use them under your strictest control as the Russian Red soldiers have done in the past. Some timid soldiers among your colleagues may be afraid of the army authorities at home and may do the dirty work of betraying you to the officers. Kill such men as the worst traitors to the interests of the common soldiers and workers and peasants at home.
By your wise and determined conduct and action in the organisation and management of the Japanese Soldiers’ Soviet in Siberia the soldiers at home will rise up en masse, will declare themselves free and will organise themselves into Soviets of Soldiers following your noble example. Thus you will host serve the country. Don’t be afraid of the army authorities. They are only strong as long as you are obedient, sacrifice yourselves in their interest and fight for them! They cannot fight a battle even in a small way without you. You are the masters of the entire situation.
When you organise the Soviet of the Japanese Soldiers in Siberia, you need not be afraid of the military rules or discipline of the Japanese army which now oppress you and compel you to obey and sacrifice yourselves and your all. The Red soldiers of the Soviet Russian Bolshevik Republic of the workers and peasants with one hundred and fifty million population will gladly come to your aid and help you to succeed in Siberia and in Japan.
Down with the world imperialists!
Down with the Japanese militarists!
Down with world capitalism!
Long live the world brotherhood of labour!
DO you know why the Genoa Conference happened to be held? The Genoa Conference was called to discuss the economic reconstruction of Europe and the world. After the armistice, the capitalist allies thought they could reconstruct what they lost during the bloody war without Soviet Russia’s help. Not only that; they thought that they would be able to reconstruct war-stricken European countries by shutting out and blockading Soviet Russia. But the capitalists and their governments of Europe and Japan found out that they cannot reconstruct their respective countries without Russia and Russia’s rich resources. They knew these facts long ago, but at first they thought that they could make use of Russian labour and Russia’s abundant resources by crushing the Soviet Republic of the workers and the peasants of Russia, and re-establishing a capitalist Russia by helping the reactionary generals of the Czarist regime and actually invading Russia. They did help Koltchak, Denikin, Yudenitch, Wrangel and Semenoff, and they themselves have invaded Russia from all sides. But they failed utterly as you know very well.
Being unable to seize Russian wealth and Russian cheap labour by arms and reactionary war, because the Red soldiers were everywhere stronger than the reactionary generals of the Allies, the Allied capitalist governments called the Genoa Conference and respectfully invited the Bolshevik Russian Government to take part in this Conference. You know that the Japanese government sent representatives there to sit together with the Russian Bolshevik representatives and to consult with them upon world economic reconstruction. This means the Allied defeat on the battlefields against the Bolshevik Red Army and moral submission to the Soviet Russian Republic!
Have you heard of the fact that the Russian Delegation at the very beginning of the Conference proposed the disarmament of the countries represented at the Conference. Disarmament is the best means to stabilise national finance in every nation as armament is the heaviest burden on the people, especially on the workers and peasants. Do you know who opposed this most reasonable and wise proposal of the Russian Delegation. Japan was the chief nation that opposed the Russian proposal and the others followed! Don’t you see now yourselves that the Japanese government which is controlled by the militarist clique of Saasiu and Chosiu, supported by the capitalists of the country, is making Japan the most reactionary nation on earth, thus making our dear Japan hated, despised and called the Prussia of the Far East by the entire world?
Have you ever thought of who profits by the army and your fighting as you are now for the army? Do you even now think that you, the workers and peasants, are profiting by your killing Russians and yourselves being killed by the Red soldiers? You ought to know better! By keeping up the big army and compelling you to fight in Siberia, the capitalists of Japan are the only persons who are profiting. You gain nothing but death and a crippled life, poverty and suffering! Besides, you are injuring the best interests of Japan by your staying in Siberia and fighting against the Russian Red Army.
Now what are you going to do in your present situation? You must do something that will really help Japan and at the same time will help you and your fellow workers and peasants. You must transform the Japanese army so that it will serve the real cause of Japan and the Japanese workers and the peasants. We will tell you the best way to accomplish this. In order to free yourselves and your brothers and sisters at home we advise you to organise the Soldiers’ Soviet!
You may ask how to organise the Japanese Soldiers’ Soviet? It is not difficult. First, you should elect a captain among yourselves, whether it be in a company, battalion or even a regiment, under the strictest control of the soldiers and go on to organise the Soviet of your own and conduct the military affairs in Siberia in the interests of the country and yourselves. It may be better at first for you to organise the Soldiers’ Soviet and conduct affairs secretly. When you are able to command the majority of the soldiers not only of your own company but in other companies and eventually in all the regiments of the present Japanese Siberian army then declare yourselves openly and assert yourselves as the sole masters of the Japanese army in Siberia. And then turn the army into a Red Army, join the Red Army of Siberia and fight with them for the best interests of Japan against anyone who obstructs your Soviets.
COMRADES! Against the will and wishes of the workers and the peasants of Japan the Japanese government has sent a large army to Siberia to fight against the Red Army and to devastate the workers and peasants’ country. We, the revolutionary proletarians in Japan, are yet too weak and powerless against the aggressive and oppressive militarist government to stop this most inhuman and bloody slaughter by the Japanese imperialist army in Siberia. The Japanese army has been losing the people’s confidence ever since the fall of German militarism and the unjust Siberian invasion that has been undertaken by the militarist clique. The people have realised that such an invasion into a neighbouring country without any cause or reason is a great detriment to Japan. This confidence in the army which they once had in the past has been almost destroyed in the Japanese masses by the world-wide anti-Japanese movement against the Japanese, when the masses of Japanese people realised that the increasing unpopularity and ever spreading anti-Japanese movement has been solely caused by the Japanese imperialist army, and its bloody and inhuman deeds in Siberia, China and Korea. The Japanese workers and peasants came out in opposition to Japan’s Siberian intervention. When Japan was sending the first Siberian invading army commanded by General Otami, who was to be the sole commander of all the Allied intervention armies in Siberia the Japanese workers and peasants showed—although in a vague manner—their unwillingness to support the foreign war by the now historic food riots, the greatest uprisings in Japan, covering two-thirds of the entire area of the country, centred in 142 cities and towns. These great uprisings started in a fishing village of Northern Japan on August 3rd, 1918, lasted 45 days and spread like wildfire all over the country in a few weeks. It is estimated that the numbers involved in the food riots were over ten million, and that ninety per cent. of them were proletarians. This event with others prevented the governments from sending an army of one million soldiers to Siberia. None the less, they sent seventy thousand instead of the seven thousand agreed upon among the robber capitalist Allies.
The Government has been deceiving the workers and peasants through the period of four long years. First it said, “To aid the Czecho-Slovaks.” The Japanese army has been constantly disturbing peace and order, but in order to obtain an apparent reason for retaining the army invented a pretext, “In order to protect the lives and properties of the Japanese citizens in Siberia.” But there are hardly any Japanese who are not connected with the invading army such as merchants who conduct parasitic business with the army and soldiers. Then the army plotted a black scheme, a Serajevo on a most gigantic scale at Nikolaievsk. It succeeded in the scheme, and now the Japanese Government is demanding a big indemnity for the framed-up so-called Nikolaievsk massacre in order to get some concessions to satisfy its greedy imperialistic ambitions and designs in Siberia. Now by circumstantial force and pressure from outside and from the people at home it has started peace negotiations with the Far Eastern Republic at Dalny, but in order to keep the army in Siberia the most outrageous, audacious and impossible proposals have been laid on the table by the Japanese government.
As the result of the Genoa Conference the Allies agreed not to attack each other until the Hague Conference shall report on the economic situation. To this every Allied country but Japan agreed. The reason given by the Japanese representative Ishii reveals the most outspoken imperialistic designs of Japan in Siberia. Ambassador Ishii is the bigoted, ultra-bureaucratic and militaristic spokesman of Japanese imerialism. He only represents the militarists and big moneyed powers of Japan. The vast majority of the people and the entire proletariat of Japan are opposed to the position assumed by Ishii. But the militarists and the big moneyed class rule the country.
The present attack on the Siberian Red Army is the last desperate act of the Japanese imperialist army to kill the determined opposition of the people and an attempt to regain the last confidence which the army once had in the past. It is a well-known Napoleonic policy of the army authorities of Japan to turn the attention of the nation from dissatisfied conditions at home to the foreign field, which is least known to the people at large. The imperialist government and its army wish to smokescreen the imperialist designs in Siberia, are executing wilful murderous attacks upon the Red Army in Siberia and are devastating the already impoverished country of the workers and peasants for framed-up reasons that are reported to the public through the prostituted press of the country.
Proletarians of the world! This most outrageous invasion of the Japanese imperialists in Siberia can only be stopped by your concerted action at this critical moment. We, the Communist Party members and the revolutionary workers and peasants, are powerless before this powerful imperialist oppression although we are fighting against the imperialists at every possible step. We ask you to make the most determined propaganda against the Japanese Government’s conduct in Siberia. It is only the proletariat of the world that can stop the murderous war of the robber imperialists of Japan. As you know, the capitalist nations of the world have established their united front against the workers and peasants of the world, especially in the Far East—the united front of the joint exploitation of Allied capitalism, particularly in China. For this Japanese imperialism, surrendering its special position in China, obtained a free hand in Korea, Manchuria and Siberia at the Washington Conference. And now Japanese imperialists are seizing what they got at the Washington Conference. What Japan reluctantly agreed to at Genoa as to the non-attack clause under the pressure of public opinion and the severe criticism of the Russian Delegation will hardly stop the fighting against Siberians unless the proletariat of the world compels Japan to do so by extraordinary means of action and propaganda. Under such extraordinary and exceptional circumstances and considering the critical situation in Russia, we, the advance guards of the Communist Party of Japan and the revolutionary workers, heartily approve and endorse the resolution adopted by six million workers of Great Britain—TO BOYCOTT THINGS JAPANESE AS LONG AS JAPAN KEEPS HER ARMY IN SIBERIA. We sincerely desire this shall be made an immediate aim of world-wide propaganda and immediate action among the workers and peasants of England, France and America, where Japanese export trade has vital interests together with the Chinese and Indian proletariat. We know full well that by this boycott the Japanese proletariat will suffer much, but we will suffer for the Japanese proletariat because this will hit a hard blow at the Japanese imperialism while it will strengthen immensely the international position of the Japanese proletariat. By weakening, as the result of the boycott, Japanese imperialism, the Japaneses proletariat will learn and experience the most valuable lesson on the united front of the workers of the world and will more readily combat against imperialism and militarism.
Proletarians of the world! We want you to act at once for the most vigorous propaganda against the Japanese attack on the Russian workers and peasants in Siberia. No doubt European and American imperialism and capitalism wish to weaken the Soviet position in Siberia and let Soviet Russia desperately pay sole attention to the Far East in order to tame her stiff-necked diplomacy and possibly to get a chance to let the Russian border countries attack the Soviet Republic! To this world-wide imperialist united front against Workers and Peasants’ Russia, the Second and Two and a Half Internationals are giving their support. Now the traitorous two Internationals openly come out to sabotage the World Labour Congress to establish the united front of the workers of the world against the capitalist offensive against the proletariat of Russia and other countries.
Proletarians of the world! Thus you see the present aggressive and brutal attacks on the Russian proletariat in Siberia are a part and parcel of the capitalist offensive against Soviet Russia and will injure the interests not only of the Russian proletariat but also of the proletariat of the world! The class-conscious Japanese workers and peasants are fighting against this most powerful imperialism by strikes, sabotage, riots and determined revolutionary demonstrations, are demanding the recognition of the Soviet Russian Government and the dictatorship of the proletariat of Japan for the Japanese as these were the conspicuous slogans of May First this year.
Comrades of the world! It is the most urgent situation that we all are placed now. Once more we ask you to help us in this momentous fight against the imperialism of Japan and also of the Allied Powers and to help the Soviet Russian Workers and Peasants’ Republic. We want your immediate co-operation and action against Japanese imperialism that is now attacking the helpless worn out poor Siberians in the Far East!
Down with Japanese imperialism and world imperialism!
Long live the Soviet Russian Workers and Peasants’ Republic!
Long live the Red Army of Soviet Russia!
Long live the Communist Party of Japan and the Communist International!
(Signed by the Executive Committee of the Communist Party of Japan)