2016年1月6日 星期三

越南船被中國船撞.. 7人拋出

A few days ago the Yomiuri News on-line reported the following:

20160103 2154


20160103 2154

(My translation)

    According to the Vietnamese government managed paper Toiche (electronic edition) dated 3rd, on the 1st at the South China Sea off the coast of Vietnamese central Kuanchi province, a Vietnamese fishing boat’s operation was interfered by being bumped into by a Chinese ship.

    Seven crew members were thrown overboard, but were rescued by other fishing boats and were safe.

    The site of the incident was the sea area about 130 kilometers from the Konko Island. The captain of the fishing boat which was banged upon told the same newspaper that "a huge ship bumped into him violently; and bumped again despite he was yelling for help. The hull was damaged, the deck became soggy" etc.

It seems that minor conflicts between China and Vietnam at the South China Sea are continuing.

2016年1月5日 星期二

Japan’s Modern Myths: Ideology in the Late Meiji Period

Recently I have read the following book. My reading notes are:

Book title|: Gluck, Carol. Japan’s Modern Myths: Ideology in the Late Meiji Period. Princeton,  
                   New Jersey: Princeton University Press, 1985.

The goal of the book:
Japan was in a process of establishing its national ethos in a changed and changing social setting through trial-and-error in the later part of the 19th century. Without a text or a revelation to serve as a reference, views of the state and society evolved fitfully. This fitful and inconsistent process – the making of the late Meiji ideology – is the subject of the book (P.4).

According to the author, in both Japanese and Western writings, Meiji ideology was often a disagreeable subject. It quickly brought to mind the late 1930s and early 1940s: the years of militarism and war, with the whole nation as a single family under a divine Emperor. This picture was the backdrop against which the subject of tennmosei ideorogii, the ideology of the Emperor System was articulated. In 1945-46 the Japanese sought to understand the constellation of forces that had brought Japan to war because they felt the past were the obstacles to the future. Attention soon centered on the nature and origins of the prewar emperor system (p.4).
In the years since tennosei ideology first appeared on Japan’s post war intellectual agenda, difference in interpretation were seen. The outlines of the argument were: tennosei ideology was the product of the modern emperor system of the period from 1890 until 1945; and the Meiji government was said to have developed this ideology to legitimate itself and to support its modernizing programs. (P.5) Because Japan’s modern myths were made in and from the Meiji period, the book suggests that only this period could account for the nature of the ideologies that was generated (P.16).  By 1915, nearly all the institutions that disseminated the civic credos and social injunctions were in place, Japan had produced its modern myths; the elements were all present, if not yet wholly accounted for (P.37).

The focus of the book:
The book is about both the evolution, and an anatomy of the ideology produced in the late Meiji period. The chronological account began and ended in two ceremonies: the 1889 the promulgation of the Constitution, and the funeral of Meiji emperor in September 1912. Within the general bounds of this chronology, main aspects of the ideological universe were taken up in turn. First it was about the “sense of nation”, then the “complicated society”, all based on tennosei ideology which consisted of conceptions of politics, the imperial symbol of nation and empire, and the civil morality of loyalty and patriotism.

The main text:
In chapter 3, it talks about the Body Politic starting with the ‘An unprecedented ceremony’, then ‘the denaturing of politics’, then ‘Kan and the Min’, and finally the ‘Gentlemen of the diet’,
In chapter 4, it talks about the Modern Monarch. The first topic was the ‘custodians of the imperial image’, then ‘the emperor’s regal roles’, followed by the ‘local renderings of the Emperor’.
In chapter 5, it talks about the Civil Morality. The first topic was ‘morality and nation’, and then followed by ‘patriotism and the uses of foreigners’, and the ‘glory of our kokutai’, and finally the ‘schools and civil tutelage’.
Chapter 6 talks about the ‘Social Foundations’. The first topic is ‘social fever’ focusing on the many newspapers that appeared during that period, and the many social problems seen in cities when people were looking for a new life, money and self advance. The next topic was the ‘Agrarian myth and Jichi’ which shows that the Japanese was looking back to the rural as the society base. The Jichi local government was the basic blocs of the society. The next topic was ‘ideologies of striving and success’ which showed the conflicts between the government and the individuals in pursuing their goals and expectations.
Chapter 7 talks about the End of the era. The first topic is ‘the unprecedented ceremony’ which mentioned about Meiji and General Nogi. The second focus was ‘the new politics of Taisho’ which talks about changes in the new era. The third focus was the ‘parliamentary ideology’ which showed the coming of age of parliamentary politics, and the resistance to partisan politics.
Chapter 8 talks about ‘The language of Ideology’ starting with the ‘Grammar of Ideology’ which discusses about the interactions among the stressed, unstressed, and unarticulated parts of ideological speeches, and the appearance of a common language of ideology. The next topic was ‘Context of Ideology’ which was about the social background in which the ideology was developed. The third topic was ‘Orthodoxy and diversity’ which suggested that the orthodoxy – emperor, loyalty, village, family-state – occupied but a portion of the wider ideological landscape as Meiji turns to Taisho.
Chapter 9: the epilogue.

Book’s conclusion:
1. The development of ideology was a collection activity. The government alone through its institutions could not achieve the ideology. Kokumin, the countrymen (society) were involved in this process (p.12). There were many players in this activity: the press, the military, the Shinto leaders etc.

2. The ideologists, official and un-official, were propelled by the possibilities opened to them and confined by the limits of their time: the wars, the urbanization and the threats from western powers. Japan’s modern myth was a product of the Meiji period.

2016年1月4日 星期一

Japan’s Orient: Rendering Past into History

Recently I have read the following book. Its main points are:

Book title: Tanaka, Stefan. 1993. Japan’s Orient: Rendering Past into History. Berkeley: University of California Press.

Main points:
The introduction (pp.1-28)
- the Japanese, after knowing that culture was specify in history, began to recognize the historical nature of the relation between object and knowledge, as well as the centrality of religiosity. In this book the author would show that the Japanese made an adjustment: object and knowledge were made to correspond with the Japanese perspective. While major Japanese historians accepted the possibility of Truth (i.e. useful past events important to them), objectivity, and progress (i.e. scientific); they were not necessary those as set forth by the Europeans. From the past, toyo history could be constructed and the leading object was shina (3).
-the author’s assumption, against orthodox views, was that there was no direct correlation between objects and knowledge, and that understanding was constantly recreated. This book thus questioned the possibility of a singular truth in social science and humanities (7).
-the theory presented here suggested that human categorization was essentially a matter of both human experience and imagination (8).
-the creation of toyoshi thus authorized a particular Japanese view of Europe and Asia (12).
-Ch. 1 discusses the changing conception of knowledge about Japan’s past – from recounting of noble events and people to the study of history as an objective and scientific discipline (16).
-Ch. 2 examines the contour of a new approach to history, which not only filled the void left by kangaku but also restored the centrality of China and Asia in Japanese thought (18).
-the need for idealizing others, as described by Bakhtin was: “in life, we do this at every moment: we appraise ourselves from the point of view of others, through the other, we oversee and apprehend the reflections of our life and in the plane of consciousness of other men” (18).
-Ch. 3 focuses on the principle artifact that enabled Japanese intellectuals to claim both their orientalness and their distinctiveness: Confucianism (19).
-Ch.4 and 5. The transfer of Confucianism to Japan implied that the Japanese were not really Japanese, but rather Oriental. The solution was the role of toyoshi in defining Japan’s uniqueness, to be discussed in Ch. 4 -5 (21).
-the final chapter of this book examines how the separation between object and knowledge was possible. Although Said depicted the discourse on the Orient as a one-way relationship, the Occident over the Orient; the attempt within toyoshi to engage in a dialogue with the west was an example of reciprocity (22).
-the goal of the book was to uncover a project of defining Asia, to establish Japan as the authority on Asia, and to engage in a dialogue with the West (28).

Main text (pp.29-114)
- Part one (ch. 1-2) was about finding an equivalence. Ch.1 had the goal of looking at the process of changes in the formation of a history of japan and how it led to the discovery of Japan’s Asiatic past (33).
-Inoue asserted that science was ahistorical; there was no distinction between time and place (i.e. its universal). History always changed and never repeated itself, it was successive and continuous. The philosophy of history, the embedded temporal and territorial categories were the creation of particular people and event, they were not universal. Inoue’s history was diachronic and culturally specific. It eliminated any implication that Japan must be like the west, or even like Asia (56).
- Inoue highlighted a religious ideal that privileged the cultural uniqueness of his own country, Inoue cited Shinto around the Meiji restoration as an example of a ‘hidden spirit’ (57).
-near the end of his career, Shiratori credited Guizot by pointing the way for the historical profession in Japan: “true history is not placing emphasis on facts; but based on a theoretical methodology, it is processing a thorough knowledge of cause and effect” (59).
-Ch. 2: the question of universality confronts non-western culture in an effort to understand the relationship between themselves and modernity which was usually equated with the West. The pretense that western history explained the history of all cultures by relegating japan to the inferior category of the Orient made the popping of the question inevitable (68).

Part two (ch.3-5)
Ch. 3. The focus of ch.3 was about an enterprise among Japanese historian to establish the Truth – that was a usable past explicating Japan’s emergence (109).
-Ch.3 to 5. The book shows how toyo figured in the creation of a history of Japan. Ch.3 discusses the role of China as the source of those traditions which the Japanese turned into their own, Shina was turned into Japan’s past (113). Ch.4 explores the debate over the historical origin of Japan, an attempt to create a historical – as oppose to the mythological narrative of Japan’s imperial system. Ch. 6, the last chapter, explores the institutionalization of this discourse on shina that connected to Japanese’s imperialist structure (114).
Ch. 6. It focuses on the research institutions most closely related to Shiratori and other academics, in particulars the Research Bureau of the SMR. The purpose of the author was to suggest that these research efforts were all part of an institutional structure that relied on objective knowledge for which the discourse on Shina set the norms for an understanding that encompassed both those who believed themselves to be sympathetic toward china and those who sought to control it (pp.230-1).

Epilogue (pp.263-283)
-Tsuda identified the notion of toyo as a Japanese, not universal concept. He asserted that “because history is the unfolding of life, in one life there is one history, and two distinct people cannot have one history. Culture is formed through history and develops historically” (278).

2016年1月3日 星期日

A Genealogy of ‘Japanese’ Self-images

Recently I have read the following Book. A book summary is as follows:

Book title: Oguma, Eiji. 2002. A Genealogy of ‘Japanese’ Self-images. Translation by |David Askew. Melbourne: Trans Pacific Press.

Book summary:
Translation Introduction
-the formation of a national self-image was linked to a great extent to relationships with the Other (xviii).
-Japan could not be understood simply with the framework of Orientalism i.e. the representation of the East created by the West (xix).
-Japan nativist scholars lauded the ancient myths of Japan, and this romanticism viewed China, not the West, as the Other. (xix).
-the national polity theory and the ideology that idealized the monarchy centered on the Emperor as a system that was unique to Japan.
-the book argues that the mixed nation theory lent itself to the claim that the Japanese nation embodied the unification of the Asian; the neighboring regions could be assimilate into the Japanese nation to become a great Japanese empire (xx).
-this book discusses how Japanese politicians used ancient Japanese history and myth to justify the policies of the day.
-the book was a case study of universal issues, such as nationalism and the reconstruction of texts shared in common by members of a nation.

Book's Introduction
-the book would establish two facts: 1. the prewar great Japanese empire was a multi-national empire, including Taiwan and Korea. 2. On the myth of ethnic homogeneity there had been very little research on how and when it emerged.
-the book would examine historically when and how the myth of homogeneous nation emerged, and provide a sociological analysis of the myth’s function (xxviii).
-The theme of this work was a genealogy of the consciousness of identity held by the Japanese, and how did this self-image changed as circumstance changed (xxviii).
-the research requires both a sociological approach and a history of ideas approach. Using one of Max Weber’s books as an example on doing research into the consciousness of the majority people, the author describes the difference between the sociological and historical approaches (xxxi). One important work of Weber was his argument on the important of the ethics of puritanism, which while was antagonistic the pursuit of profit, contributed it to the birth of modern capitalism. He made this argument by examination the ideas of Calvinism, and compared it with Indian and Chinese thoughts. This approach was well known in sociology but not in historiography (xxxi).
-historical research emphasized on limiting the focus of research, Weber by contrast placed no limits on either time or place (xxxii)
-the debate about whether society was the sum of all its parts or something greater was one that existed in all area of social sciences. The idea that society was larger than the sum of its parts was seen in the ideas of Emile Durkheim. In sociology individual phenomena was seen as ripple of the surface of great sea that was called the society (xxxiii). What was important was whether or not the abstracted model was persuasive. In history facts were seen as being of the greatest importance, whether a universal model could be established or not was of secondary importance.
-in the conclusion the author analyzes sociologically the perceptions of the self and other as seen in the various discussion on the Japanese nation (xxxv). Similar mixed approach had been done in works by Michel Foucault and Edward Said. Among Japanese scholars, those which had produced cross boundary academic work included Mita Minesuk, Yamanaka Hayato and Kano Masanao (xxxvi).
-the target of the book was the various discourses discussed by individual thinkers on the identity of the Japanese nation (xxxvi)

-Part one of the book (ch.1-6) was about the thoughts of an ‘Open Country’ (pg.1).
-Ch. 1: the first theory of the origin of the Japanese nation based on a modern scientific discourse must be dated from the excavation of the Omori shell mounds by Edward Morse (3).
-the theories of the Japanese nation had developed into two different currents by the 1880s. One was the mixed nation theory. The other was the homogeneous nation theory. Today the two currents sometimes opposed and sometimes supported one another, and reflected the international status of Japan, and the stage of Japanese nationalism in each of the major periods from the 1880s to the present (15).
-Ch.2: it was about the debate on mixed residence in the interior of Japan. For half a century after 1885, the homogeneous nation theory was pushed aside in the press, and the mixed nation theory moved into the mainstream discourse. One reason was that the people of the great Japanese empire began to define themselves as a superior nation capable of moving out into the world (29).
-Ch. 3 was about the theory of the national polity and Japanese Christianity. The author defines the national polity theory, the ruling ideology of the empire which saw the great Japanese as a large family state presided over by the imperial family. The theory re-emerged in the late 19th century as a germ for a monarch centered on the emperor (31).
-how did the national polity theorist manage to maintain their position after Korea and Taiwan was incorporated in the great Japanese empire would be discussed in this chapter (32).
-Ch.4: during the period of the annexation of Korea, most of Japanese anthropologists based their theory of the origins of the Japanese nation on the mixed nation theory. Japanese was a mixture of a continental people, the Malays from the south, and the indigenous Ainu. (53). During this period the foundation for the mixed nation theory was created. This was in opposition to the national polity theory. (53).
Ch. 5: it talks about the theory that the Japanese and Korean shared a common ancestor. This was viewed as one of the most odious ideologies that justified the aggression acts of the great Japanese empire (64).
-The mixed nation theory in anthropology began with Tsuboi, the common ancestor theory was further developed by Hoshino and Kume. Meanwhile all the arguments of the Christian intellectual were formed from the opposition to the national polity theorist and the nativist scholars (80).
-Ch.6: it is about the Japanese annexation of Korea. In august 1910, at the time of the Japanese annexation of Korea, mixed nation theories praised the annexation. Articles advocating the pure blood theory were not seen in leading Japanese newspapers (81). One event that symbolized the turnaround in the current of thought was the conversion of Inoue Tstsujiro to the mixed nation theory. (91) He said that through the annexation “the Japanese have accomplished a new development that will enable them in future to move out on to the great stage of continent and thus the world”. The door was now fully open. After this, this course in the great Japanese empire run along the lines laid down during this period until Japanese expansionism reached its limits and imploded (92).

Part 2 (ch.7-ch.11) was about the thought of ‘Empire’. 
-Ch.7 was about history and the ‘abolition of discrimination’. Later assessment on the historian Kita Sadakichi had split into two camps. One praised him for the idea that the Japanese nation was a mixed one; the other camp criticized him using history to justify colonial rules. The author asserts that Kita was the most important ideologues of the mixed nation theory in the great Japanese empire. Kita tried to use the mixed nation theory to fight racial discrimination (95).
-Ch.8 was about the reformation of the national polity theory. If Hozumi Yatsuka, Kato Hiroyuki and Inoue Tegtsujiro were the first generation national polity theorist, the idea of the second generation of the national polity theory said that “what is urgently required is to develop a national polity theory based on the facts of today’s national polity, which has come to encompass various peoples, both inside and outside Japan, as nationals of the one country”. National polity theorist had reformed their theory by incorporating the mixed nation theory. They abandoned the image of a homogeneous and pure blooded Japan, in response to the new needs of the expanding empire (110).
-by about 1920s, the mixed nation theory was thus already being utilized by national polity theorist.
-how were the alien nations within the empire explained, after the denial both of the theory that the Japanese and Koreans shared common ancestor and of rule through power? Of course, it was possible to accept them as adopted children or foster children. This was the logic decided that would enlarge the national polity, while maintain the idea of family state; at the same time include alien nations (119).
-Ch.9: it talks about the re-writing of textbooks in japan.
-Ch. 10 talks about a strange theory that the Japanese were in fact Caucasian (143).
-Ch.11 talks about Gakamure Itsue who was known as an anarchist, a poet, and a path-breaking feminist historian.

Part 3 (ch.12-17)
-Ch. 12 talks about the birth of an Island Nation’s folklore. The chapter talks about Yanagita Kunio in order to shed light on the analyses of the national consciousness of Japan as a whole. He was one of the few writers shifted from the mixed nation theory to the homogeneous nation (175). Folklore was used a means of integrating the nation (189).
- Rice was seen as the only folklore that could be relied on to unite the whole country from below. As long as rice remained the staple crop of Japan, Yanagita could use it as a folklore common throughout the archipelago. Japanese were people came from the south islands with rice and settled in the archipelago, a place without an indigenous people (199). The schema of an island nation with a homogeneous folklore based on rice cultivation had a decisive influence on the later self-image of Japan. This duality of exclusivism and peace was to become a fundamental character of the postwar myth of the homogeneous nation (202).
-Ch.13 asserts that it was true that Kiyono and Hesebe had departed from the conventional interpretation of the Kiki myth. The chapter concluded that after the defeat in WWII when the empire was cut down to its original size, both the theory that Japanese and Korean shared a common ancestor, and the theory of mixed nation lost their influence, the idea of these two anthropologist on the origin of the Japanese nation came to be accepted as the new paradigm (236).
Ch.14 - Following the annexation of Korea, the theory of homogeneous nation seemed to have been relegated to the sidelines of the Japanese press. However it had not disappeared. The views of |Shiratori Kurakichi and Tsuda Sokichi embodied the major antithesis to the mainstream discourse in the Empire of the day – the mixed nation theory – and their theories played a large role in the formation of the postwar myth of the homogeneous nation (237).
-Shiratori claimed that Kiki myth were not historical facts but stories (243). Tsuda adopted the mixed nation theory in a history textbook he edited in 1902. However, like Shiratori, Tsuda converted to the homogeneous nation theory following the Russo-Japanese war and the annexation of Korea (244).
-by defining the descriptions of alien nations in the Kiki myths as wild fantasies, Tsuda dismantled the foundations of the mixed nation theory (246).
-roughly speaking, Tsuda’s thought was an expanded version of that part of the national polity theory which argued that imperial rule was not rule through power, but a union created by the natural affection that joined the Emperor and people (251).
-Ch.15: in this chapter the author locates the theory of Professor Watsuji Tetsuro (1889-1960) on the Japanese nation within the discourse of his time. Together with Yanagita and Tsuda, his influence on the postwar theory of Japanese culture was enormous (260).
-Watsuji’s view could be summarized as that Japanese nation emerged through a mixture of an Indian and a Tungus people (270). He argued that culture was closely related to climate, and divided the world’s civilization into three types, the monsoon type, the desert type and the pastoral type (272). Watsuji’s theory of the homogeneous nation was formed before the war ended and included elements of peace and culture that were warmly embraced in postwar Japan (283). He was a leading figure who supported the Symbolic Emperor system (appeared in postwar) (284).
-Ch. 16 asserts that from 1931 to 1943 there was a large number of mixed nation theorist active in the press, apart from those mentioned earlier. At the same time, there was also a backlash against the mixed nation theory. One cause of the backlash was a growing anxiety about intermarriage and the mixing of blood (289).
-Ch.17: In August 1945 Japan surrendered. As a result of the defeat, Japanese intellectual could no longer call upon the logic of the past. They lost the framework with which they could discuss alien ethnic groups. Everything that had previously been thought to be correct was turned upside down (298). It was a moment theorists emerged. The self-image of Japan as an island nation that contained no aliens was therefore peaceful and tranquil was very attractive to a people tired of a war (299).
-what was new in Tsuda’s argument was its heart-searching reflection on the war, and his response to the emerging concept of the emperor’s responsibility for the war. Tsuda’s conclusion was that the imperial household was the center of national unity and the living symbol of the national spirit in the homogeneous nation-stage. If democracy was a system where the people became the master of the state, then it was natural that the emperor should become the symbol of the state. The new constitution of 1946 defined the Emperor as a symbol, the postwar system was therefore known as the Symbolic Emperor System (301).
-the Marxist scientific rule of history was the development of productivity and the class struggle (314).
-with the collapse of the prewar mixed nation theory, there was nothing left to prevent the myth of ethnic homogeneity form taking root. There was roughly speaking two ways by which the myth of a homogeneous nation was established. One was through a conservative discourse that argued for the unity of the nation with the state and the Emperor. On the other hand, the homogeneous nation theory was also used by critics of Japan. According to them the problem of Japan was its lack of an international sense because Japan was a unique homogeneous nation-state (317)
-in the 1970s, trade friction and high yen forced the Japanese to recognize Japan’s position n the international economy. As Japan’s status in international society rose, self-consciousness about how the Japanese were viewed overseas increased; there was an unprecedented boom in theories about the Japanese (319). Much of the nihonjinron discourse stressed in concert the extent to which the Japanese were unique and had been homogeneous since time immemorial (319).

Book's Conclusion (pp.321-349)
-this book attempts to shed light on the transition in the discourse on the Japanese nation from the era of great Japanese empire throughout the postwar years. A sociological analysis allows us to pigeonhole the prewar mixed nation theory and the postwar homogeneous nation theory (321).
-in summary, the transition in the discourse on the Japanese constituted a movement to use the theory of ethnic homogeneity for protection when Japan was weak, and to use the mixed nation theory to interact with outside world when it was strong (323).
-there was an important different between the great Japanese Empire and Western power. When facing the West, the people of modern Japan felt inferior, perceiving themselves as colored people threaten by the Western powers. When facing the people of their own colonies, they saw themselves as superior members (331).
-the search for the identity of a nation almost always emerged as a reaction to a challenge generated by a preconception caused by an encounter with an alien existence. The history of the nation was invented as a storehouse of knowledge from which the inventor as a member of the nation could draw guides to behavior. This creativity was not necessary an intentional distortion of history, it was a form of the Rorschach test in psychology. The person being tested was shown a meaningless stain of ink on a sheet of paper and was asked what it represents. Various answers would be given. The theory of the Japanese nation oscillated whenever Japanese relation with the outside world changed (347).
-the essence of mythologizing the past was to escape from the trouble of fear involved in facing up to the other (384). It was the gap between overconfidence and physical weakness that allowed myth to emerge (349).

2016年1月2日 星期六

The Communist Manifesto

Recently I have read the following book. Its main points and my comments are:

Karl Marx (1848) (Frederic Bender ed.). The Communist Manifesto. Colorado Springs: University of Colorado.

Main Points

History and Theoretical Backgrounds of the Communist Manifesto
1. Karl Marx wrote the Manifesto in 1847-8, it was an outline of his theory of historical materialism (p.1). The decade preceding the revolutionary outbreaks of 1848 witnessed a rapid growth of industry, widespread famine, and intense political conflicts in many parts of Europe. Industrial revolution destroyed traditional social institutions and beliefs. A second source of revolutionary unrest was nationalism. People tried to recover their national languages and past glories. From 1830 to 1848, the Socialism ideal was transformed into a political movement. One of the ideas of Socialism was that a just society would emerge from capitalism through the very conditions created by capitalism itself (p.8). This set apart Marx from his rejection of a faith in the bourgeoisie and proletariat would cooperate (p.8). Socialist insisted that the society had the responsibility for the welfare and development of all its members (p.9). Marx argued that it was capitalism’s very success that produced a constantly growing proletariat. The latter would establish a genuine democracy: the rule of the majority (p.9).

2. In contrast to anti-industrial sentiment of the revolutionary artisans in those days, Marx was developing his critique of capitalism from a different viewpoint. He thought that it was the workers, not the artisans that would be the enemy of the proletariat (p.12). Marx and Engels perceived a two-staged transformation: from feudalism to socialism (communism) through capitalism (p.12). The revolutionary class must act in the name of general human interest was well as in its own particular interests. Such a class would have to be one that was totally dehumanized and had nothing to lose (p.18). The most fundamental condition embodied in the social relations under capitalism was that workers were reduced to commodity. Also, their price would fluctuate according to production changes (p.19).

3. A striking feature about the Manifesto was its claim that all previous history was history of class struggle. This materialistic interpretation of history was created jointly by Marx and Engels (p.24). They believed in the interaction of human and the nature (p.26). This was in contrast to the belief in an idealistic view of society: man was viewed as a spiritual being that created society and made history as he willed (p.26). In Marx/Engels views the fundamental basis of history was material production, and social life depended on class dynamics of production process (p.25). The productive forces etc. would decide the superstructure of society i.e. the politics, laws, religions etc. (p.26).

People’s ideological consciousness was shaped by social relations; the consciousness of an individual would depend on one’s position in relation to mode of production (p.29). The problem was that most proletariat had no proletariat outlook, rather they had bourgeois class outlook (blinded by ideology) (p.30).

Proletarian revolution:
 Marx and Engels stressed on the need for a social revolution (p.30). But the bourgeoisie stood in the way. The social struggle was the self-consciousness of the revolutionary class (p.31). Marx interpreted history in terms of class and class struggle, not the physical forces of production of economics (p.31).

The significance of the Communist Manifesto:
It presents a truly comprehensive vision with immense historical significance about capitalism’s rise and projected fall (p.34). The manifesto was accepted by the Communist League, signifying a break with the artisan-oriented outlook in the workers’ movement (p.34). As workers were threatened with starvation etc. in the 1840s, Marx believed that it would bring workers to revolution. Communist sought to abolish bourgeois property, i.e. the private ownership of capital, not private property in general (p.36). Manifesto regarded ‘economic freedom’ i.e. the ownership of capital as a specifically bourgeois freedom that had to be abolished. In the society with alienated labour, the wealthy bourgeois did not work but lived on his investment. Marx criticized several types of socialist: ‘feudal socialist’, ‘Christian socialism’, the ‘reactionary socialism’ i.e. those skilled craftsmen, merchants, artisan etc., and the ‘True Socialism’ i.e. those German scholars who were using imported ideas and had lost focus on reality (p.38). There was also the ‘critical-Utopian socialism’ first suggested by Saint-Simon who was aware of the transformation of the class base within a bourgeois society (p.39).

Preface to the German edition of 1872:
- however much the state  of things may have changed during the past 25 years, the general principles  laid down in this Manifesto were in the whole as correct to-day as ever (p.43).

Manifesto of the Communist Party:
I. Bourgeois and Proletariat:
- the history of all hitherto existing society was the history of class struggles (p.55). The epoch of the bourgeois had simplified the class antagonism: bourgeois versed proletariat. Trading had open up fresh ground for the rising bourgeois, the feudal system was no longer suffice for the growing wants of the new markets. Places of production were taken up by modern industries (p.56).
- the bourgeois had torn away from the family its sentimental veil, and had reduced the family relation into a mere money relation. Industries no longer worked up indigenous raw material, but raw materials were drawn from the remotest zones (p.58).
- the cheap prices battered down all Chinese walls. It compelled nations to adopt the bourgeois way of productions and to become bourgeois themselves (p.59).
- the bourgeois subjected the country to the rule of the towns, it created enormous cities. Barbarian countries depended on the civilized ones, peasants on bourgeois, East on the West. Bourgeois subjected nature’s force to man, to machines, to the application of chemistry to industry and agriculture etc. (p.59).
- Feudal relation was destroyed and replaced by free competition. Too much civilization, means of subsistence, industry and commerce brought disorder into the bourgeois society (p.60).
- the weapons with which the bourgeois fell feudalism now turned against the bourgeois themselves: it called into existence the proletariat (p.61).
- the ‘dangerous class’ were the social scum: beggars, thieves, and criminals (p.65).
-the proletariat movement was a self-conscious movement of the majority in the interest of the immense majority (p.65).
- the bourgeois was unfit to be the ruling class because it was incompetent to assure the existence of the slave under his slavery (p.66).

II. Proletariat and Communists:
- the Manifesto explained the relationship between the proletariat and the communists. The aim of the communist was same as the proletariat: to form the proletariat into a class (p.67). The theory of the communists could be summarized into one single sentence: abolition of private property (p.68).
- to abolish the bourgeois independence and its ‘freedom’ brought along was the aim. By freedom, it meant free trade, free selling and buying (p.69). When individual property could not be transformed into bourgeois property (capital), individuality vanished from that moment (p.70).

III. Socialist and Communist Literature:
1. Different kinds of reactionary socialism:
a. feudal socialism: their half lamentation, half lampoon, half echo of the past, half menace of the future, had stroked the bourgeoisie. They were incapable to comprehend the march of modern history (p.76).
b. Petty-bourgeois socialism: this school of socialism dissected with great acuteness the contradictions in the conditions of modern production. It proved the disastrous effects of machinery and the division of labour, and the concentration of capital and land in a few hands (p.78). They aspired to either restoring the old means of production, or to cramping the modern relation of production. In either case it was both reactionary and Utopian.
c. German or ‘True’ Socialism:
- Socialist and communist literature of France entered Germany at a time when the bourgeoisie began its contest with feudal absolutism (p.79).
- in German social condition, this French literature lost all its immediate practical significance.
-  the work of the German literati consisted solely of those bring in the new French ideas into harmony with their ancient philosophical conscience. The German socialist was against representative government, against bourgeois legislation. They preached to the masses that the latter had nothing to gain and everything to lose in a bourgeois movement. While the ‘True’ Socialism served the government as a weapon for fighting the German bourgeoisie, at the same time, it directly represented the reactionary interest of German Philistines. Most of the so-called Socialist and Communist publication in Germany up to 1847 were foul literature (p.81).

2. Conservative, or Bourgeois Socialism:
- they were a part of the bourgeoisie who wanted to redress the social grievance (p.81). These included philanthropists, humanitarians, and organizers of charity. They conceived that the proletariat should remain with the bounds of existing society. They did not understand that a change in bourgeois production relation could only be achieved through a revolution (p.82)

3. Critical-Utopian Socialism and Communism:
-  the undeveloped state of the class struggle caused the Socialists of this kind to consider themselves as far superior to all class antagonisms. They wanted to improve the condition of every member of society. They habitually appeal to society a large without distinction of class. They rejected all political and revolutionary action, the wished to attain their ends by peaceful means. They had ways to improve the working class e.g. through the wage system, solely for the purpose of the disappearance of the class antagonism. But these proposals were of purely Utopian characters (p.84).

IV. Position of the Communists in relation to the various existing opposition parties:
- In France the Communists allied themselves with the Social-democrats against the bourgeoisie
- in Switzerland the Communists supported the Radicals. In Poland Communists supported the party that insisted on an agrarian movement.
- in Germany they fought with the bourgeois whenever it acted in a revolutionary way. They were focusing on Germany as the latter was on the eve of a bourgeois revolution.
- the Communist openly declared that their ends could be attained only by the forcible overthrown of all existing social conditions (p.86).

My Critics/comments:
1. The Marx’s model of proletariat revolution only appeared in Russian in 1917 and did not happen in Britain, US, or India (due to the works of the socialists?).
2. In 1949 in China, the proletariat revolution was led by the peasants instead of the workers.
3. The Manifesto view human history as class struggle and relation of material production.

4. It seems that socialism had already been practised in 1840s in Europe, long before Communism appeared in Russia in the 1920s.

2016年1月1日 星期五

Suicide: a Study in Sociology

Recently I have read the following book.  Some of its main points are:

Emile Durkheim.1952. Suicide: a Study in Sociology; translated by John A. Spaulding and George Simpson; edited with an introduction by George Simpson. London: Routledge.

Book's Introduction
Emile Durkheim in the early chapters devotes to negating the belief that ascribed suicide to extra-social factors. He uses a process of elimination to rule out non-social factors for suicide, leaving only social factors. This conclusion was used as a foundation for reaffirming his thesis that the suicide-rate was a phenomenon that could be studied in its own term (14).

According to Durkheim, currently suicide could not be explained by its individual forms.
Durkheim explains 3 categories of suicide. One of them was egoistic suicide which was resulted from lack of integration of an individual into society. Regarding religious society, Durkheim notes that the suicide rate was low among Catholics yet high among Protestants. Egoistic suicide was seen in where there was weak integration of the individual into family life. In area where individual was rigorously governed by custom and habits, suicide was altruistic: due to religious sacrifice or political allegiance (15).

Egoistic suicide and altruistic suicide might be considered to be symptomatic of the way which the individual was structured into the society; in the former case inadequately, in the latter case, over-adequately.

There was another kind of suicide, the anomic suicide, which was the result of lack of regulation of the individual by society. Instance such as when a person had a sudden wealth thus upsetting the upper and lower limits of his scale of life. Or it happened in a divorce, a situation when one could not handle properly.

In addition to the three types, Durkheim suggests that there might be a mixed form of suicide, such as ego-anomic, altruist-anomic, and the ego-altruist.

The aggregate of individual views on life was more than the sum of the individual view. It was an existence in itself, what he called collective conscience. It was a common sentiment.
When the rates of suicide increase, it was symptomatic of a breakdown of collective conscience which was a basic flow in the social fabric.

For ameliorative measures, we had to go to the question of social structure.

Book’s main points:
-After doing some analysis, Durkheim concludes that the definition of suicide would be applicable to all cases of death resulting directly or indirectly from a positive or negative act of the victim himself, which he knew would produce this result (44).

-Suicide did not form a distinct group; they were merely the exaggerated form of common practices (45).

-Suicide was a new fact sui generis, with its own unity and its own nature (46). The statistics expressed the suicidal tendency in each society had a collective effect (51). To study this was the duty of sociologists (51).

-The three steps of the book were: 1. to know whether the phenomenon could be explained by extra-social cause or purely social cause, 2. to determine the social causes, 3.to state what the social element of suicide consists and the means to counteract it (52).

-There were two sorts of extra-social causes that one may, a priori, attribute an influence on the suicide-rate: organic-psychic disposition and the nature/physical environment (57).

-After some discussion Durkheim concludes that all suicides of the insane were either devoid of any motive or determined by pure imaginary motives, many voluntary deaths fall into neither category, not every suicide could be considered as insane (66).

-Using statistics Durkheim shows that the social suicide rate bore no definite relation to the tendency to insanity (76); also after some discussion, Durkheim shows that a society’s number of suicides was not related to having more or fewer neuropaths or alcoholics cases (81).

- Durkheim rules out hereditary origin for suicide (99). And after some lengthy discussion, Durkheim ruled out the cosmic factors (climate and seasonal variation) as a factor for causing suicide (121).

-After some lengthy discussion Durkheim ruled out imitation as the cause of suicide.

-Because the cause of suicide could not be explained by organic-psychic condition of an individual, nor the nature of physical environment, through a process of elimination, he concludes that it must be depending on social causes (145).

-Durkheim instead of determining the suicide cases by classifying them based on the described character, he makes classification bases on the social types of suicide. In a word, instead of being morphological, it would be aetiological. Once the nature of the causes was known, he would try to deduce the nature the effect, with the aid of data on the morphology, he would descend from cause to effect (147).

-He determines the productive causes of suicide directly, concerning the forms of a particular individual. He would look into various social environments: religion, family, political etc. (151). Only then he would return to the individual, to study how these general causes become individualized (151).

-Durkheim first focuses on religion. He found that Protestants showed far more suicides than other followers (154). He concluded that the proclivity of Protestants for suicide must relate to the spirit of fee inquiry that animates this religion (158). Liberty overthrew traditional belief (158). Protestant was a less strongly integrated church then the Catholic (159).

-Durkheim concludes that the suicide rate increases with knowledge. Man sought to learn, and man killed himself because the loss of cohesion in his religious society. Also in general religion had a preventive effect on suicide (169). What constituted a society was the existence of certain number of beliefs and practices common to all and thus was obligatory (170).

-Other social factors could also attribute to suicide: family and politics (171). After some lengthy discussion, it was concluded that just as the family was a powerful safeguard against suicide. As such the more strongly it was constituted, the greater its protection (202). He concludes that suicide varies inversely with the degree of integration of social groups. The more weakened the groups to which he belonged, the less he depended on them, the more he consequently depended on himself and recognized no other rules of conduct then what were found in his private interest.  He called it egoism (egoistic suicide), in which the individual ego asserted itself too excessively (209).

-If excessive individualism led to suicide, insufficient individuation had the same effect (217).This was the second category of suicide. It had three types: obligatory altruistic suicide, optional altruistic suicide and acute altruistic suicide (227). They all contrast sharply with egoistic suicide. Where altruistic suicide was prevalent, man was always ready to give his life (240).

-In dealing with anomic suicide, Durkheim concludes that if industrial or financial crisis increased suicide, it was not because of poverty causes, but was the crisis and the disturbances over the collective order (246). The state of de-regulation, or anomy, was thus further heightened by the weakening of discipline, precisely when more discipline was needed (253).

-For the whole century, economic progress had mainly consisted of freeing industrial relations from all regulation. Until recently, it was the moral forces that exerted the discipline. They were felt alike by both the poor and the rich. It consoled the rich and taught the poor to content with their lot. It governed the rich by saying that worldly interest was not man’s entire log, they must be subordinated to other and higher interest, and it should not be pursued without rule or measure (255). Now religion had lost most of its power, Government, instead of regulating economic life, had become its tool and servant (255). Nations declared to have one single or chief purpose: achieving industrial prosperity.

-Anomy was a regular and specific factor in suicide in our modern society. It was different from egoistic and altruistic suicide. It was resulted from man’s lack of regulated activity and the consequential sufferings (258).

-Egoistic suicide and anomic suicide had kindred ties; both sprang from society’s insufficient presence in individual, although the sphere of absence was not the same. Egoistic suicide was deficient in collective activities, anomic suicide was social influence lacking in individual passion, leaving them without a check-rein (in industrial or commercial world) (258). Economic was not the only anomy, the crisis of widowhood was also a factor (259).

-After doing all the grouping, Durkheim starts the morphological classification (277). Each victim of suicide had given his act a personal stamp which expressed his temperament, and a special condition that he was involved. A victim might not be completely egoistic. There was suicide mixing depression with agitation (288). The basic types were: egoistic, altruistic and anomic, the mixed types were Ego-anomic, anomic-altruistic, ego-altruistic (293).

-If there was such a science of sociology, it could only be the study of the world hitherto unknown, different from those explored by the other science (310). It implied that collective tendencies and thoughts were of a different nature from individual tendencies and thoughts. When the consciousness of individuals became grouped, something has been altered, whose characteristic qualities are not found in the element composing them (311).

-If the psychologist and the biologist regarded their study as well founded, why should not be the same in sociology? (320).

-No moral ideas existed which did not combine in proportions varying with the society involved, egoism, altruism and a certain anomy. Social life assumed both that the individual had a certain personality, that he was ready to surrender it if the community required. No people within whom these three currents of opinion do not co-exist. To let one of them exceed certain strength would become individualized; it became suicidogenetic (321). The stronger it was, the more influence it had on suicide. But his strength depended on 3 factors: composition of the society, the manner of association to the society, and the transitory occurrence which disturbs collective life such as national crisis and economic crisis (321).