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John Crump obituary

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  • Adam Buick
    John Crump, the author of a number of books on socialism and anarchism, died at the beginning of March at the comparatively early age of 60. From 1963 to 1974
    Message 1 of 2 , Mar 13, 2005
      John Crump, the author of a number of books on socialism and anarchism, died
      at the beginning of March at the comparatively early age of 60. From 1963 to
      1974 he was a very active member of the Socialist Party of Great Britain in
      London, Manchester and Sheffield where he initially worked as a dentist. He
      was a member of the editorial committee of the Socialist Standard,
      contributing articles under the initials J.C. (two, the "Politics of Pop"
      and "How Close was France to a Socialist Revolution", are included in the
      SPGB's centenary book "Socialism Or Your Money Back"), but was also one of
      those responsible for painting "SPGB" in huge letters on a prominent
      rockface on the main road between Sheffield and Manchester which could still
      be seen until a few years ago.
      He resigned in 1974 when he went to work in Japan, criticising what he
      regarded as various organisational shortcomings but also the SPGB's views on
      the use of parliament in the course of the establishment of socialism. In
      fact he had come to the conclusion that the overthrow of capitalism was more
      likely to need to be violent. But he remained a Socialist, trying to bridge
      the gap between views such as the SPGB's and those of the anarcho-communists
      and other anti-parliamentarists, a doomed project since neither side was
      prepared to change their views, respectively for and against using elections
      and parliament. One of the fruits of this project was the book he co-edited
      with Maximilien Rubel "Non-Market Socialism in the Nineteenth and Twentieth
      Centuries" (1987) which contained articles on what he always described as
      "the thin red line of non-market socialism" including one on the SPGB but
      also on anarcho-communism, council communism and the situationists. He had
      previously co-authored a study of the Russian economy "State Capitalism: The
      Wages System under New Management" (1986).
      The main reason he had gone to Japan was to test the truth of the view he
      got from the SPGB that socialist ideas arise out of capitalist conditions
      rather than out of the mere propaganda of socialists: Japan, being an
      industrially developed capitalist country, ought in his view to have
      independently produced socialist ideas amongst the working class there. He
      was to be rather disappointed, discovering that in Japan "Marxism" meant
      Leninism (as generally it still does in the rest of Asia too) and that those
      who had argued for a classless, moneyless, wageless society of common
      ownership (as a few anarchist writers did) tended to be anti-industrial and
      to be unconnected to the working class movement, as he explained in his
      books "The Origins of Socialist Thought in Japan" (1983) and "Hatta Shuzo
      and Pure Anarchism in Interwar Japan" (1993).
      Although this was the last thing he had in mind, the change from dentist to
      Japanese studies proved to be a good career move since in the 1970s and 80s
      the institutions of Japan's booming economy were held up as a model for
      other countries (in the 1987 elections in Britain Neil Kinnock and the
      Labour Party promised to introduce the same system into Britain). But then
      in the early 90s the bubble burst and Japan entered a long period of
      stagnation. Japan was no longer a model and the money for Japanese studies
      dropped. The University of Stirling, where he was then working, pared down
      its Japanese section, and John retired early and returned to live in York,
      where he had spent most of his academic life teaching politics and Japanese
      studies at the university there. Anecdotally, one of his students was the
      comedian Harry Enfield who, under his direction, wrote a dissertation on the
      SPGB. His last book "Nikkeiren and Japanese capitalism", a study of the
      Japanese employers' association set up after the last world war, was
      reviewed in last April's Socialist Standard.
      Adam

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    • Keith G. Powell
      ... From: Adam Buick To: Sent: Sunday, March 13, 2005 1:24 PM Subject: [WSM_Forum] John Crump obituary ... In
      Message 2 of 2 , Mar 18, 2005
        ----- Original Message -----
        From: "Adam Buick" <alb342@...>
        To: <WSM_Forum@yahoogroups.com>
        Sent: Sunday, March 13, 2005 1:24 PM
        Subject: [WSM_Forum] John Crump obituary


        >

        > ................................The main reason he had gone to Japan was
        > to test the truth of the view he
        > got from the SPGB that socialist ideas arise out of capitalist conditions
        > rather than out of the mere propaganda of socialists: Japan, being an
        > industrially developed capitalist country, ought in his view to have
        > independently produced socialist ideas amongst the working class there. He
        > was to be rather disappointed, discovering that in Japan "Marxism" meant
        > Leninism (as generally it still does in the rest of Asia too) and that
        > those
        > who had argued for a classless, moneyless, wageless society of common
        > ownership (as a few anarchist writers did) tended to be anti-industrial
        > and
        > to be unconnected to the working class movement, as he explained in his
        > books "The Origins of Socialist Thought in Japan" (1983) and "Hatta Shuzo
        > and Pure Anarchism in Interwar Japan"
        > (1993)..................................


        In "The Socialist Movement" by J. Ramsay Macdonald, MP,( published about
        1910) who was then in the Independent Labour Party and later became The
        Labour Party's first Prime Minister:-

        "Japan, not to be outdone in any Western way, has had a Socialist Party
        since 1901, severely Marxist in its spirit. It has been frequently
        suppressed by the authorities, and latterly the leaders have been tried on
        capital charges and some of them executed. Japan is apparently to emulate
        the political methods of its late enemy Russia."

        Keith G. Powell
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