The coup d’état of 1 February has put an end to the co-rule exercised since 2015 by the National League for Democracy (NLD) headed by Aung San Suu Kyi and the corrupt and murderous military nomenklatura. The terms of such co-rule were defined by the 2008 Constitution, which guaranteed the military 25 per cent of all parliaments and the ministries of Defence, Interior and Borders, and because the country’s main companies are military or joint ventures with foreign capital and military participation. After the crushing electoral defeat of the military party in November 2020, the generals denounced that it as an electoral fraud and when it was time for the setup of the new parliament, they arrested most of the parliamentarians.
The criminal action of the coup plotters has been answered by a powerful revolutionary mobilisation of the working class and the youth in practically all the cities and towns, giving rise to the Movement of Civil Disobedience and workers committees, at whose vanguard are the women workers of the textile industry, who have organised an impressive general strike. During chaos, three-quarters of the parliament took an oath to them in the hotel where they were detained; when the military opted to disperse them and confine them to house arrest, several escaped and formed an underground government, the Committee Representing the Union Parliament. Aung San Suu Kyi and the key leaders of the NLD are still in detention.
Armed groups of oppressed national minorities have also spoken out against the coup and sometimes carried out attacks against the army. Overcoming the ethnic and religious divisions that have been so fiercely exploited by the military and the bourgeoisie of the Bamar Buddhist majority in the seven decades since the country’s independence, bonds of solidarity in the struggle against the coup are being forged among all peoples of Myanmar, also known as Burma, including the stigmatised and persecuted Rohingya Muslims, victims of a genocidal policy by the military, intensified under the co-rule with Suu Kyi. Among the insurgent youth and workers in the cities who have set barricades and are defending themselves with homemade weapons and the armed groups of the oppressed peoples in the rural regions, a great revolutionary movement against the coup and the dictatorship is being built.
With precedents such as the rebellions in Hong Kong and Thailand in 2019 and 2020, there is a broad regional solidarity of the peoples in struggle, known as the “milk tea alliance”. The popular resistance to the Myanmar-Burma coup is the most advanced process of the struggle of workers and youth against capitalist dictatorships in the region, in a world that has seen huge mobilisation processes in 2018 and 2019, which are now beginning to re-emerge in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic. The defeat of the military coup, and a triumph of the peoples of Myanmar-Burma would have an enormous impact, reinforcing the mood of the peoples’ struggling, not only in Southeast Asia, but all over the world, against repression and dictatorships.
Despite the murderous onslaught of the military, who have killed over 500 demonstrators and arrested thousands, the peoples of Myanmar-Burma are resisting heroically. They deserve all the support, with great urgency, of all the organisations that claim to be democratic, of the left, of the workers’ and popular organisations of the world. Let us demand that all governments isolate the coup perpetrators politically and economically. Let’s denounce the hypocrisy of American imperialism and the European Union (EU), which maintain their associations with the military through transnationals like Chevron and Total, and the direct criminal complicity of Russia and China in their support of the coup leaders.
From the IWU-FI we consider that the fundamental solution for the peoples of Myanmar-Burma is to achieve, in the struggle against the coup and the dictatorship, to impose a government of the working class and the people that will also allow to overcome the ethnic and religious divisions and to grant national self-determination to the peoples that demand it. On that road, we call for the broadest international solidarity with the revolutionary mobilisation of the peoples of Myanmar-Burma against the coup and the murderous military dictatorship.
Down with the military coup! Free all political prisoners! Out with the Myanmar-Burma dictatorship! For the triumph of the revolutionary struggle of the peoples of Myanmar-Burma!
International Workers’ Unity-Fourth International (IWU-FI) 5 April 2021