Local elections will soon be held throughout the country. They are significant not only in electing members of municipal assemblies, but also in challenging to rebuild local communities crippled by way of the years-long administrative realignment policies. Voters have chances to reject the Abe government. Let’s work hard to win in the elections. Let’s support candidates of our own party and those supported by our party. Let’s organize united campaigns in each community.
LET’S OBTAIN VICTORY WITH UNITED EFFORTS IN COMMUNITIES
Struggles to Defend Rights for Survival
Governments have implemented a series of steps to merge municipalities for years, which has damaged rules of local communities to give priority to residents. Disparities have been brought about from a municipality to another due to concentration and selection procedures, which has risked the very existence of multiple communities. And then privatization and outsourcing measures have been taken in the name of effective management. Thus budgets for public services and welfare have been cut off in favor of profits.
The so-called Abenomics politics has renounced obligations to take care of national affairs. A typical example is the elderly care scheme. Furthermore, the government urges municipalities to mobilize residents who may take part voluntarily in the ‘regional comprehensive care’ plan. A municipality, a fortress to defend survival and welfare of people and to protect environment, is on the verge of collapse: vital social services, including water supply, have been privatized, the education and health service sectors have been restructured in the name of ‘financial soundness’ in detriment of inhabitants and regulations and restrictions have been lifted up in the framework of strategic special zone project.
The April elections constitute people’s struggles in the local communities to organize actions against illegitimacy of the state-level politics, being highly political agenda to charge the Abe administration.
Struggles to Defend People’s Autonomy
The elections represent campaigns against war and nuclear power generation. They are struggles to defend democracy and the Constitution, too. The central government adamantly clings to a new military base in Henoko, Okinawa, despite harsh opposition of Governor Onaga and painstaking protest actions of local inhabitants. However, in fact, the state’s authoritarian power is hindered by the voices of an overwhelming number of people reflected in the governor’s election held last November. They compose of a giant fortress to prevent the Abe government from fulfilling the plan.
For resuming operation at nuclear power plants, governor’s elections are scheduled in Shiga Prefecture and Saga Prefecture. Voters have chances of counter-offensive. Movements spread to derail local candidates who support nuclear power. If we are successful in bolstering waves of protest, we can beat the Abe government which gets ready for rewriting the Constitution. Why does the government postpone legislation and revision of relevant laws on the right of collective self-defense after the elections? It is because the administration is keen about results.
Let’s Organize United Actions in Each Community!
The state’s authorities concentrate in the Diet. Elections are scheduled in 2016 July for the House of Councilors (may be simultaneously held with ones for the House of Representatives). That will be a major battle ground to prevent the government from revising the Constitution. We must get ready to organize a united front of political forces that can commit in the state level elections. The April elections provide us with a stage to produce such a new alliance in the communities.
The New Socialist Party (NSP) fields party-member candidates and supports independent ones from civic groups. A slogan is to ‘fight in the united struggles with our candidates’. The NSP has concluded an agreement with the Social Democratic Party for the first time on the common agenda and mutual assistance for the local elections. It works together with other political forces, including the Greens.
The coming local elections are important. Campaigns, practically, have ushered in the final stage.
People have lost trust in politics. Some have given up. If we get united to gain good results, people will be encouraged.
The NSP sincerely calls readers of the newspaper to fight in the communities to win in the April elections.
March 24, 2015