Above: The national flags of the People’s Republic of China (PRC – left) and the Republic of the Union of Myanmar (right). Imperialism seeks to block co-operation between China and Myanmar using any means including civil war type provocations. Image from http://www.asnthanthan.blogspot.com
23-11-2021: According the Western corporate media, the South-East Asian country of Myanmar had its democratic elections overturned on February 1, when the military (Tatmadaw) annulled the results and assumed power. In response, the people of Myanmar began a peaceful protest movement to restore democracy, but the Tatmadaw responded by murdering over 1000 demonstrators, and jailed thousands more. Determined not to give up on basic human rights, some protestors have formed self-defence groups and have linked with the armed forces of some of the ethnic minority organisations in various regions of the country. Defending themselves against heavily armed state forces, these grassroots bodies are appealing for international solidarity to help restore elementary civil rights. Which part of this narrative accords with reality? Barely a word.
What is occurring in Myanmar today is not a movement for “democracy” and “human rights”, but a proxy war waged by Washington and London against the People’s Republic of China (PRC). The ruling classes of the US and the UK are willing to do anything up to and including the fostering and fomenting of a fratricidal war in Myanmar to contain and roll back the PRC’s vast and still growing socialist economy, and its consequent influence in Asia, and indeed the world. A developing country such as Myanmar cannot afford to forgo the vast economic advantages offered by co-operation with the PRC, and this reality means that the US “lost” Myanmar to China years ago. Recognising this, the US state department funded National Endowment for Democracy (NED) and its allies such as the Open Society Foundation (OSF), are fomenting a Syria style “civil” war in order to collapse Myanmar and reduce it to ruins, rather than allow it to work peacefully alongside its neighbour.
For decades, the “opposition” in Myanmar has been funded by the NED and its subsidiary, the National Democratic Institute (NDI). It is no exaggeration to say that the National League for Democracy (NLD) and Aung Sung Suu Kyi herself, are creations of this foreign funding from Washington and London, and have little to do with their stated aims. Anti-socialist billionaire regime change specialist George Soros and his Open Society Foundation (OSF) have been operating in Myanmar with impunity for decades and made huge contributions to the longevity of the NLD with Suu Kyi as the figurehead. Yet only this year has the Tatmadaw begun taking action to confiscate some of the assets of the multiple fake CSOs (Civil Society Organisations) operated by OSF staff. The NED engages in open interference in virtually every aspect of political life in Myanmar, by fabricating and sustaining numerous organisations which are supposedly “promoting” democracy. Journalism, legal reform, policy research, youth and women’s advocacy groups, ethnic minority rights, “human rights” – all such groups in Myanmar receive hundreds of thousands of US dollars in funding annually. A brief glance at the recent activity of these groups will reveal that their aims are anything but sincere.
Self-declared government orchestrates terror
A fake “National Unity Government” (NUG) formed by the politicians deposed after February 1, announced their presence in mid-April. Weeks later, the NUG declared the establishment of a “People’s Defence Force” (PDF), as the precursor to a federal union army. At the start of September, the NUG declared a “people’s defensive war” against the Tatmadaw. In grandiose terms, the NUG declared a “public revolution” against the “military terrorists” headed by Senior General Min Aung Hlaing. Without a hint of irony, the PDF have proceeded to themselves use terrorism not only against the Tatmadaw, but against any government body, military, police or civilian, who are not a part of their campaign of arrant violence. Targeting occurs especially against civil servants who refuse to join the disingenuous “Civil Disobedience Movement” (CDM).
One of the PDF’s stated duties is to “To combat and overthrow the dictatorship by waging a just war”. At the very least, it is fanciful to suggest that a network of grassroots activists would attempt a military overthrow of a state representing 54 million people without the backing of very powerful actors. In fact, this idea could not be entertained unless these people knew they had the backing of some of the largest and most powerful states in the world. As in Syria, the “opposition” is covertly and overtly backed by the central pillars of Western imperialism, with the difference being the ultimate target is China, rather than Russia. Like Syria, however, the NUG/PDF “opposition” is more than prepared to use extreme violence up to and including political manslaughter, i.e., terrorism.
Even the opposition funded media in Myanmar reports on the terrorism of the NUG/PDF, though it does not refer to it in that manner. Since May, at least 15 local offices of the Yangon Electricity Supply Corporation (YESC) have been bombed, as electricity supply is seen as being a part of the “regime”. Civil service workers have been killed, with a bill collector shot dead in Mandalay on July 11, while three (YESC) staff were killed in the Magway Region on September 6 – while reading electricity meters. Myanmar Now is opposition media, which is funded by the NED. Despite this, it reported on the actions of the Tatmadaw in Sintgaing in early November, where they arrested some members of the CDM. Yet this was only in response to a bombing attack on some soldiers who were stationed in the community hall in the middle of the village, which killed some bystanders.
The PDF in Myanmar have used IEDs (Improvised Explosive Devices) for bombings and have directly targeted local government ward offices, civil administrators, “informants” (any civilian who does not back armed attacks on the government), and members of the Tatmadaw aligned Union Solidarity and Development Party (USDP) – for assassination. In this context, it is little wonder that the Tatmadaw has declared the NUG/PDF/CDM to be illegal organisations under the Unlawful Associations Act and punishes contact with them or publishing their material with up to three years imprisonment.
Militia vs militia
The Western backed terror movement has of course attempted to use the fraudulent Covid card against the Tatmadaw. Even if a pandemic did exist, any government could hardly respond adequately while having a counterinsurgency backed by imperialism waged against it. Not surprisingly, in response to the formation of the foreign backed PDF militia, the Tatmadaw has taken its own steps to mobilise a militia loyal to Myanmar rather than Washington. Named after a historical warrior-prince, the Tatmadaw has formed the Pyu Saw Tee, made up of units comprising between 50 to 100 men. The Pyu Saw Tee is made up of families of former and serving Tatmadaw personnel, along with USDP members and nationalist oriented Buddhists from the MaBaTha movement. This has led to often deadly reprisals conducted by CDM and PDF members against suspected Pyu Saw Tee members and other supporters of the government. Obviously, if a government has taken the step of organising a people’s militia to deal with a simmering and often clandestine insurgency, it is plainly not dealing with a bona fide movement for democratic rights.
Whatever one might think about the societal and political role of the Tatmadaw, the fact remains that if it had not acted on February 1, Myanmar today would be being run by the proxy forces of Washington and its allies. At the very least this would have led to a severing of ties with the PRC, and the stalling or cancellation of many Belt and Road Initiative projects, as well as significant trade and commerce. Myanmar could have then been used as a lilypad for the entry of US troops into the country, to pressure China through its Southwest border. If it cannot achieve this goal, the political destabilisation of Myanmar via the fake NUG and fraudulent NGOs will suffice. When given a signal, such organisations – which are funded from abroad – can trigger a hybrid war employing almost any means. This includes the use of physical and psychological terror, including bombings and assassinations.
The Communist Party of China (CPC), the leading political force of the PRC, is no doubt aware of the stakes at play inside Myanmar currently. If the CPC was a party of genuine internationalists and Marxists, it would seek to assist the defence of Myanmar from US backed proxies though the method of anti-imperialist class struggle in China and Myanmar. However, the CPC rigidly adheres to the conservative and anti-Leninist theories of “socialism in one country” and “peaceful coexistence” with imperialism. This means not only the absence of any campaign for joint political pro-socialist struggle across Southeast Asia, but in fact pitch efforts to explicitly avoid this in favour of short or long term compromises with capitalist governments in the region and across Eurasia.
Nevertheless, workers’ defence of the bureaucratised PRC state and its right to engage in economic and trade relations with Myanmar and all nations must be upheld. This includes defending the projects which are a part of the regional Belt and Road Initiative. Rather than join the imperialist’s deadly sabotage, working people need to form a temporary bloc with the Tatmadaw and Pyu Saw Tee alongside other organisations shielding the state against a Syria style proxy war aimed at nothing less than the overthrow of the Republic of the Union of Myanmar. At the same time, genuine Marxists must guard their political independence by seeking to build authentic revolutionary vanguard parties based on Permanent Revolution, to help extend workers’ rule throughout Asia and internationally.
 https://mod.nugmyanmar.org/en/peoples-defence-force/ (21-11-2021)