Martin Harvey

[Use of Derogatory Term]

(1 October 1945)

From Labor Action, Vol. 9 No. 40, 1 October 1945, p. 2.
Transcribed & marked up by Einde O’Callaghan for the Marxists’ Internet Archive.

To the Editor of Labor Action:

In an editorial in the issue of August 27, reference is made to Philippine collaborators of the “Japs.” I am certain that the use of this derogatory term was entirely accidental. but I think the error should be made known to the readers of Labor Action.

As a paper which stands firmly for the international solidarity of the workers of all nations and for the national liberation and independence of all peoples, Labor Action has been consistently opposed to the lumping together of the oppressed workers of Germany and Japan with the imperialist rulers of those countries and the castigation of both as war criminals or “inferior.” The derogation of any nationality is merely a form of the completely fascist idea of “inferior” peoples or nations.

Just as the working class is divided against itself by propaganda against foreign-born workers in the United States, using such derogatory expressions as “hunkie,” “dago,” “kike,” etc., so the workers are separated from their class brothers in Japan by the use of the word “Jap.”

There are no “Japs.” There are the Japanese warlords and imperialists who must be overthrown and eliminated; and there are the oppressed Japanese workers and peasants to whom falls the task of overthrowing their rulers, native and foreign, and establishing a free, socialist Japan.


Martin Harvey



The quotation to which Comrade Harvey makes objection is “General Manuel Roxas, Philippine politician and one of the leadipg collaborators under the Japs, has been named president of the Senate.”

We think Harvey’s objection is well taken. The term “Jap” is not a mere abbreviation. It is a derogatory epithet to denote contempt for what we are told, day in and day out, is an “inferior race.” We regret that the editors allowed this expression to slip through. And apparently it has become so commonplace that only one reader discovered the error. – Ed.

Last updated on 29 January 2018