Tuesday, February 02, 2021

The Myanmar Military Takeover

Many foreign companies have moved factories from China to Myanmar in recent years to take advantage of lower wages and a pliant work-force. Total trade in goods between Myanmar and the United States amounted to nearly $1.3 billion in the first 11 months of 2020, up from $1.2 billion in all of 2019. Clothes and shoes accounted for 41% of total U.S. goods imports, followed by luggage (Samsonite), which accounted for nearly 30%. LL Bean, H&M and Adidas are among the importers. These corporations were all willing to trade with Myanmar's military who controlled prominent companies in the country.

(see SOCIALISM OR YOUR MONEY BACK: The Myanmar Army's Business Network)

Back in 2015, when the world's media was hailing the arrival of "democracy" in Myanmar, bestowing Aung San Suu Kyi with honours, (then later withdrawing them for her collaboration in the persecution of the Rohingya),  our journal was warning that the Burmese army had not at all ceded political power but that Aung San Suu Kyi only held office as a proxy for the military.

(see Material World: Burma – More Rounds To Go (worldsocialism.org)

Our assessment is supported by this comment on the current situation by Thinzar Shunlei Yi, a human rights activist based in Yangon.

“The military was already in power – even the ruling NLD was covering up their [genocide] in the ICJ [International Court of Justice]. The facade of democracy in Myanmar had now crumbled, she said. “It’s not real, it’s not genuine, we’re not going anywhere with this framework.”

( see Fears army will tighten grip in Myanmar after Aung San Suu Kyi detained | Myanmar | The Guardian )

The claims by the military that there was widespread fraud in the recent elections were true but not as they would like the world to believe. The Election Commission canceled voting in many areas where parties critical of the government were probably going to win seats. Marginalised ethnic minority groups in conflict-plagued regions of Myanmar, were excluded in their homelands notably in Shan, Kachin and Karen, not to mention the Rohingya in Racine, from the vote.  More than one million people were estimated to have been disenfranchised in a gerrymandered election, fully approved by those now deposed and detained.

Chickens have come home to roost.

Having said all that, the World Socialist Movement cannot condone a military dictatorship of any kind and we condemn the army takeover for depriving our Myanmar fellow-workers of even the most limited liberties that they possessed. But our fellow-workers should also recognise the hypocrisy of those world politicians pretending indignation at the actions of the Myanmar military. 

2 comments:

JOEL THOMPSON said...

When Aung San Suu Kyi became head of the government she ignored the plight of The Rohingya Muslims in the country. It's as if she was saying I'm free now and I don't care about you.

Matthew Culbert said...

Well, she didn't look all that ecstatic at the time I thought then. The job was to govern over the country in the interests of the competing dominant economic elites, with the gun at her own head. Life is never that straight forward, that high morale or humane tones will supplant them.

"If money, according to Augier, [14] “comes into the world with a congenital blood-stain on one cheek,” capital comes dripping from head to foot, from every pore, with blood and dirt. [15] The Genesis of Industrial Capitalism."

https://www.marxists.org/archive/marx/works/1867-c1/ch31.htm