Shigaism (Japanese: 志賀主義, Shiga-shugi) is a term used to refer to the political teachings of Kazuo Shiga, founder of the Communist Party of Akitsu, and their followers. It is consider by some to be a revisionist view on communism. Though adherents to Shigaism reject the notion of revisionism most also openly acknowledge that there are "fundamental differences" between Shigaism and traditional Marxism and almost none claim to hold the same political viewpoint as well-known communists such as Karl Marx and Vladimir Lenin.
Much of Shigaist political theory stems mainly from the book that Kazuo Shiga wrote known simply as "Communism of Akitsu", published before the Soviet-Shigaist Split. Parts of it also stems from other texts from Kazuo Shiga and the Communist Party of Akitsu, including the Ideals of the Akitian Factory Laborers Union and the Manifesto of Communist Party of Akitsu.
A defining point of Shigaist political theory is the rejection of the notion that a violent proletarian revolution is absolutely necessary to achieve the goal of pure communism. Rather, they argue that in nations with an established democratic system that is respected by the government a violent revolution is unnecessary, and that within such nations the goal of pure communism can be achieved through the democratic process. It also advocates that in such situation a democratic revolution take place, in that the capitalist society would be gradually replaced with a socialist one, with the socialist one being a transitional phase to the establishment of pure communism.
The term "Shigaism" was first used when a radio talk-show host in Akitsu was interviewing Kazuo Shiga. Kazuo was asked whether he "believed in Marx's words" or "had his own ideas". Shiga responded by stating that he agreed with Marx on what the ultimate goal of communism should be, but disagreed with Marx strongly on the methods of achieving said goals, stating that there were "several fundamental differences" between his beliefs and "traditional Marxist theory". The radio talk-show host then asked if Kazuo's ideas could "be considered a variant-form of communism, a "Shigaism"". Kazuo acknowledged that his beliefs could be considered that, but rejected the label "Shigaism", saying "I don't want an ideology named after me".
The term "Shigaism" then started gaining widespread use in Akitsu, but Kazuo Shiga continually opposed the use of this term until his death. Kazuo instead advocated the use of the term "Communist Alternative Theory" (Japanese: 共産択一理論, Kyōsan takuitsu riron). The Communist Party of Akitsu officially used the term "Communist Alternative Theory" until November 17th, 1956, about one month after Kazuo Shiga was killed in a terrorist attack conducted by the Workers' Party of Akitsu, however unofficial use of the term Shigaism was widespread before that.
The origins of Shigaism can be traced back to Kazuo Shiga and his followers. Kazuo had been born to the Akitian middle-class, but after a investment he made went terribly he found himself without any money and in debt. To pay off the debt he took up a job in a local factory, but found the enviornment abhorrent. Around this time he read translations of various books, and found himself fascinated by the Communist Manifesto. He became a staunch communist, but at the same time his political ideas differed from that of Karl Marx or Vladimir Lenin.
In 1908, Kazuo Shiga published a book titled Communism of Akitsu in which he detailed his interpretation of Communist theory and his other political views. The book initially wasn't a success, as Kazuo's unknown status meant that most at the time didn't heed much attention to his book. However, those who knew Kazuo and read his book, particularly other workers in Kazuo's factory workplace that were also disgruntled with the working conditions, found themselves to be inspired by it. With this Kazuo gained a small following within his workplace. In 1909 his following had grown enough to where he could establish the Akitian Factory Laborers Union in his factory. The Akitian Factory Laborers Union grew rapidly, and with that so did Shiga's political views. In 1918 the Akitian Factory Laborers Union reorganized into the Communist Party of Akitsu.
The release of the Manifesto of the Communist Party of Akitsu in 1934 is generally believed to be when Shigaism established itself as the ideology of the Communist Party of Akitsu. However, the Communist Party of Akitsu never formally adopted the term "Shigaism" for it's ideology until November 17th, 1956. Before that date it used the term "Communist Alternative Theory".
A core theory in Shigaism is the rejection of the notion that a violent proletarian revolution is absolutely necessary to achieve the goal of pure communism. Rather, Shigaists argue that violent revolution is sometimes unnecessary, especially when a nation has an already existing, well-established, and well-respected democratic process. In such a nation, Shigaists argue that revolution can be achieved through the democratic process.
Furthermore, Shigaists advocate for the continuence of a multi-party democracy even after the "initial revolution". The position was first established in the Manifesto of the Communist Party of Aktsu, which stated that it would be a continuation of the struggle between the Communist Party and reactionary forces and argues that such a continuation of the struggle would help keep the Communist Party "remains the party of the people", and that so long as the Communist Party remains the "party of the people" the revolution would be "protected and preserved for the rest of time".
However, Shigaism does promote the exclusion of certain political groups from the political process. Most notably, Shigaism argues that fascist and nazi political organizations should be completely banned. Though never explicitly stated in any Shigaist writings, it is strongly implied by these writings that Shigaists believe these bans should also be extended to falangist and integralist organizations.
Shigaism strongly promotes equality on all fronts, including but not limited to age, ethnicity/race, gender, and sexual orientation. Shigaism dismisses racism, sexism, homophobia, classism and religious fundamentalism completely as "constructs of oppressors made to distract the proletariat from the real struggle". Shigaism controversially promotes that racists, sexists, homophobes, classists, and religious fundamentalists not be tolerated. However, it does not promote that these beliefs be banned or people who belive them be made social outcasts, instead it promotes the "reeducation" of such individual in order to "teach them the value and truth in equality".
One major criticism of Shigaism comes from hardcore Marxists, which claim that Shigaism is revisionist. Though many Shigaists, including Kazuo Shiga himself, dismissed this, they also acknowledge that some of their views are fundamentally different from those of people like Karl Marx.
Another criticism of Shigaism is that it does not completely abandon the idea of violent revolution. Indeed, in the case where a people is ruled by a totalitarian dictatorship it argues that democratic revolution would be a "fundamental impossibility" and continues to promote violent revolution in those situations.