Above: Defenders of Myanmar rally with banners and flags in Yangon on February 25, 2021. Image from http://www.cbsnews.com
29/06/2021: According to Western corporate media, the military forces of Myanmar (Tatmadaw) made false claims of electoral fraud with the results of the 2020 November 8 election, and carried out a coup on February 2 2021, restoring military rule. Apparently in response, hundreds of thousands across Myanmar have engaged in peaceful protests demanding the restoration of democracy, only to be met by severe repression. The peaceful protestors are determined to uphold “human rights”, and re-instate their democratically elected leader, Aung San Suu Kyi. Allegedly, Myanmar citizens exercising their right to protest are being gunned down in the streets, while the world looks on. Reportedly, world powers are under pressure to intervene to prevent wholesale massacres of pro-democracy protestors.
The only problem with this picture is that it bears an inverse relation to elementary facts. In reality, what is occurring in Myanmar today is an imperialist engineered Libya/Syria style proxy war of regime change weighed against the world’s most powerful socialistic state – the People’s Republic of China (PRC). Far from “peaceful pro-democracy protestors”, Myanmar’s “anti-coup activists” are directly linked to the decades of subversive “NGO” funding poured into the country by the governments of the United States of America (US) and the United Kingdom (UK) and other corporations with which they work hand-in-glove. And just as in Libya and Syria, these foreign funded militants are prepared to use extreme violence to achieve their aims. If these “anti-coup” yahoos are “activists”, then the very meaning of the term “activism” has lost all meaning.
The “anti-coup protestors” are in effect not protesting anything. If they were, they would be putting forward a series of demands, and attempting to win significant portions of Myanmar’s 54 million citizens to support them as part of a political movement. Instead, the “anti-coup protestors” are joining forces with many of Myanmar’s long running ethnic separatist armies to bring down the state through violence, terror and appeals to imperialism to directly intervene, i.e., wage war under the rubric of the “Responsibility to Protect” or R2P. The ethnic separatist armies themselves have been covertly backed by US and UK imperialism ever since WWII, and especially since the independence of what was then Burma. The Karen, Chin and Kachin ethnic groups were consciously built into Britain’s colonial army, in order to maintain divisions within Myanmar.
Today, these ethnic separatist armies merge under faux tags such as the “People’s Defence Forces” (PDF) and use their weapons to launch armed attacks on government infrastructure, and inevitably the Tatmadaw has to respond with heavy weapons. In the Kayah state which borders Thailand, the United Nations (UN) claims that up to 100 000 people have had to flee “attacks by security forces” in the area. However, as in the ten-year failed war of regime change waged by the US Empire and their allies on Syria, what is plainly occurring is that civilians have little choice but to flee the fighting or be caught in the crossfire. In the town of Mindat in the Chin state, it was reported that 8000 people had to flee for their lives during clashes between the newly formed PDF and the Tatmadaw. The Tatmadaw retook the town after days of fighting.
“Peaceful protestors” attack schools
If anyone is still prepared to give the “anti-coup peaceful pro-democracy protestors” a chance, their actions towards schools should give pause for thought. The “peaceful protestors” have carried out bombings of schools and have targeted students and teachers who are even suspected of supporting the State Administration Council (SAC – the body set up by the Tatmadaw as an intermediate governing body until genuine elections can be held). Due to the school bombings by the misnamed “Civil Disobedience Movement” (CDM), some security forces stood guard at some schools, and also brought students from home under armed escort. Some teachers are so concerned about being physically targeted by the CDM that they wear plain clothes to school, and only change into their uniforms once inside. The bombings and arson attacks on schools and educational institutions are not a handful either. Between May 1st and May 26, the SAC stated there were 115 bombings or bomb attempts and 18 arson attacks.
Liberals in the West complain that 125 000 (out of 430 000) schoolteachers had been suspended by the SAC for backing the “Civil Disobedience Movement”. But is it any wonder, given that there is a possibility that these teachers could assist the bombing of their own schools in cahoots with the “anti-coup” protestors – which could take innocent life? The PDF disingenuously claim that they have not carried out the school attacks, and that they are in fact carried out by Pyu Saw Tee groups which have formed to assist the SAC. The PDF claims that the Pyu Saw Tee carry out bombings and arson attacks on schools in order to blacken the name of the “civilian resistance”. However, given this is reported by The Irrawaddy, which admits receiving its funding almost entirely from outside Myanmar, and from “donors” in Canada, Norway, Sweden, Germany, Holland and the United States of America – it should be taken with a large pinch of salt. It rather indicates that Myanmar’s citizens are mobilising against the “anti-coup protestors”, as they are not fooled by the extreme violence which is covered with “democracy” and “human rights” falsity.
US/UK government backed “independent media”
In fact, as The Grayzone has reported, “independent media” such as The Irrawaddy and Myanmar Now actually receive extensive funding from the National Endowment for Democracy (NED), the regime change arm of the CIA. In addition, Myanmar Now is also bankrolled by the Thomson Reuters Foundation, which has partnered with the UK Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO) to advance covert operations of British government foreign policy. To say the coverage of the violent and armed “anti-coup” protestors is skewed by imperialist funded media is to understate the situation. Rather, imperialist funded media such as The Irrawaddy and Myanmar Now in practice work hand in hand with the “anti-coup” mercenaries in order to subvert/collapse the state and create chaos so that the economic, trade and investment ties with the PRC will be disrupted.
This “independent media” in Myanmar – which is actually funded via Washington and London – also works in parallel with the Assistance Association for Political Prisoners (AAPP), which is based in Thailand, not Myanmar. The AAPP provides a daily update of the supposed number of “political prisoners” in Myanmar after February 2. Yet this tally includes just about everyone who engages in any activity against the SAC, especially those who are armed with sub-machine guns and who have assaulted schools, police stations and government infrastructure. So the tally is false, and yet another mechanism used plead for intervention (i.e., invasion) by the West to take on the PRC. The AAPP’s founder is none other than Ko Bo Kyi, who fled to Thailand in 1989, and is so trusted by Washington that he is an NED fellow. The AAPP, The Irrawaddy, Myanmar Now, the NED, the UK FCDO, armed ethnic separatist armies, the CDM – all are strings in the same regime change orchestra.
Targeting Red China
Not only do the “anti-coup protestors” engage in wanton violence, they are also viscerally anti-socialist which manifests in extreme hostility to China based investment and business activity in Myanmar. In March, several Chinese owned factories were looted and set on fire in the Halangathaya District of Yangon. During these attacks, Chinese citizens working in factories which were set ablaze were trapped and unable to escape, causing serious injuries. According to the Tatmadaw, four Chinese-financed garment factories and a fertiliser plant went up in flames after being targeted. When fire engines came on the scene to deal with the emergency, a crowd of around 2000 “protestors” blocked the fire engines from reaching the burning factories. Whatever one may think of the Myanmar military, China-Myanmar economic co-operation, or even the government of the PRC, such acts are patently anti-human. Notwithstanding the position of the PRC as a bureaucratically deformed workers’ state headed by a conservative caste, these are vile acts of racist and anti-socialist terrorism.
Myanmar’s participation in the Belt and Road Initiative, via the China-Myanmar Economic Corridor (CMEC) is vital for Myanmar’s economy. The oil and gas pipelines which allow the PRC to bypass the Straits of Malacca for export are jointly owned by China National Petroleum Corporation (CNPC) and the Myanmar Oil and Gas Enterprise (MOGE), which are both state-owned entities. The largest project in the CMEC is the 431-kilometre Muse-Mandalay Railway, which will connect Myanmar to the Chinese railway network. These projects will not only provide much needed economic development for Myanmar, it will permanently link Myanmar to the PRC economically, commercially, and even politically. Destroying these links is the real aim of both US/UK imperialism and “anti-coup” terrorism.
Was it a coup?
Even referring to the events of February 2 as a “coup” by the Tatmadaw is grossly misleading. After the November 8 election last year, story after story emerged in Myanmar of overt fraud and deceit by those working for the US/UK created National League for Democracy (NLD) – which claimed to have “won” 83.2% of the seats contested. Yet in a press conference in March, Tatmadaw spokesperson Zaw Min Tun gave details on how the NLD had manufactured thousands of extra ballots by inventing voters, even in Aung San Suu Kyi’s own constituency. He also showed videos of people saying they were paid by NLD representatives. In the Hmawbi township in Yangon region, which is one of the largest military townships in the country, the NLD garnered 50 000 more votes in the 2020 election than the pro-military Union Solidarity and Development Party (USDP) – whereas the NLD did not receive a single vote in Hmawbi in 2015.
In the Hlaing Tharyar township, the country’s most heavily populated constituency, the NLD “won” a thumping electoral victory. Yet here, tens of thousands of Myanmar citizens were simply turned away from the polling booths, with the local electoral commission blaming a “software error”. Some victory! One can imagine the indignity of not being allowed to vote in an election in your own country. In May, when the SAC formed Union Election Commission (UEC) reviewed voter lists, they found mass voter registration had taken place without the National Registration Card (NRC), and some names that had been registered with the NRC appeared two or three times – all organised under the auspices of the NLD. After repeated and blatant electoral duplicity, it is little wonder that the UEC is now considering disbanding and dissolving the NLD.
One can see how, in this political environment, the Tatmadaw’s “coup” was in fact a belated measure to prevent Myanmar from being totally overrun by Western backed intrigue. It is also no wonder that the Tatmadaw moved to arrest the executive director of the George Soros created Open Society Foundation (OSF) and 11 other OSF staff in Myanmar – as their role in the deceit became clear. In fact, the Tatmadaw’s “coup” may well have – for now – staved off a military incursion by the US Empire and their allies, justified either as a “humanitarian intervention” or the “restoration of democracy”.
This is why workers internationally must defend Myanmar against all moves by US/UK imperialism to sacrifice the nation as part of its New Cold War against socialistic China. Western backed violence and terror – not to speak of electoral fraud – is of course the polar opposite of a bona fide political movement, and all “pro-democracy” incendiaries must be thoroughly exposed. If the PRC was led by genuine Marxists, it would assist with this unmasking and encourage a class struggle towards socialism throughout South-East Asia. Instead, the vital task of forging Leninist vanguard parties based on Permanent Revolution falls to the most politically advanced workers of the Asia-Pacific and beyond.
 Chinese factories burn in Myanmar: Video: Angry with China in Myanmar, arson and looting in 10 factories, many Chinese injured – China 10 factories burn down and loot in Myanmar Many Chinese injured Watch video – BCFocus (27-06-2021)