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