This article closely examines the very “ambiguity” of Osugi Sakae's “philosophy of labor movement” in relation to the ongoing “street fighting” in Japan and elsewhere. In doing so, it attempts to reveal the significance of his work in today's context. On the one hand, Osugi's thought has provided the philosophical underpinning for the quasi-autonomous, middle-class movement that formed the consensus for Japan's prewar empire, or Osaka Ishi No Kai (Association for Osaka Restoration), that is making a loud noise in Japan right now. On the other hand, however, as the article argues, it also teaches us how to criticize it and, more important, how to extend and intensify the kind of autonomy that has recently emerged everywhere from Tahrir Square in Cairo to the streets around the Diet building in Tokyo. Investigating the several concepts found in his text, such as “feeling,” “desire,” “labor-power (or power of action),” and “autonomy,” the article tries to draw a clear line between these two conflicting aspects and extract the “center of possibility” of this very unique thinker/activist's work. Those whom I call “Osugi Children” from Uno Kozo and Tosaka Jun to Gilles Deleuze and Harry Harootunian help us do so, but it is ultimately the voices of the women on the streets from Ito Noe to Muto Ruiko that lead this journey of ours.
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Research Article| November 01 2012
A Unique Tradition of Materialism in Japan: Osugi Sakae, Tosaka Jun, and Uno Kozo
positions (2012) 20 (4): 1009–1039.
Katsuhiko Endo; A Unique Tradition of Materialism in Japan: Osugi Sakae, Tosaka Jun, and Uno Kozo. positions 1 November 2012; 20 (4): 1009–1039. doi: https://doi.org/10.1215/10679847-1717654
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