by Timothy Dirte
On January 31st the Tatmadaw (military of Burma) overthrew the bourgeois-democratic government of Burma over concerns for the legitimacy of the recent elections in Burma. The Tatmadaw (largely has said that they will remain in power for one year and appoint a new government.
In a statement by the Communist Party of Burma on the same day, the CP in addressing the situation said “Although the Burmese Communist Party does not accept the 2008 constitution, it strongly opposes the legitimacy of a democratically elected government by a non-elected military party that threatens a coup d’état and coercion.”
Owing to the revolutionary situation of the previous century, Burma saw great struggles by the people to overthrow imperialist subjugation of their nation from Japan and Britain. Through these struggles, its leadership by the Communist Party of Burma, and the Anti-Fascist People’s Front developed during World War II, Burma achieved national independence.
With the development of the People’s Democracies in Europe and China following World War II, the global capitalist position was on the defensive and immense struggles the world over took place for capital to regroup and counterattack world communism. Following this general attack on the world communist position, many communist parties around the world saw their positions within their respective bourgeois governments liquidated. The same was true for the Communist Party of Burma in 1948 following their expulsion from the “Anti-Fascist People’s Freedom League,” which later became the Union Party.
The ruling class of Burma was desperate to retain their class rule. The growth of progressive and socialist forces being led by the Communist Party of Burma for economic independence required social fascism. The Union Party proved too ineffective at preventing the growth of the communist forces, and was subsequently overthrown by social fascist military forces in 1962. Specifically, Ba Swe who was a prominent Union Party member and openly called for the military to take over.
These military forces were comprised of nationalist and “socialist” forces who were anti-communist and fearful of a communist revolution in Burma. After the social fascists led by the Burmese bourgeoisie had taken power under the “Burma Socialist Programme Party” (BSPP), it was immediately declared that Burma was a one party “socialist” state, outlawed the Communist Party of Burma, criticized it as “vulgar materialists,” and intensified the since ongoing civil war between the ruling class of Burma and the Burmese proletariat and peasant people which was to last for another decade, severely limiting the development of Burma.
As the world communist position declined, so too did the socialist phrase mongering of the BSPP. More and more the open dictatorship of the Burmese people was revealed. As with the USSR, and the People’s Democracies of Europe, what vestigial remnants of socialist sentiment remained in power in Burma were dissolved in 1988 following a deadly student protest against the BSPP government and its failure to resolve the mounting contradictions in Burmese society.
The new face of fascist oppression to take the BSPP’s place after it’s dissolution was with General Saw Maung and the State Law and Order Restoration Council (SLORC), later renamed to the State Peace and Development Council (SPDC). A particularly despotic form of class rule comprised of Burmese and international capital. Comparable only to the likes of the fascist dictatorship in Chile which appeared along the same line as a response to the “failure” of social democracy. Austerity, and attacks at what little socialist organization existed within Burmese society slowly eroded away social democracy for the restoration of the open plundering of the Burmese people in the face of the mounting capitalist crises.
Importantly, the influence and role of the US in providing financial, ideological, and material support to these fascist coups cannot be understated or ignored. The general conditions providing for their appearance on the political stage are exploited by the position of the US. Without a doubt, US finance capital is the main arbiter of world fascist reaction in the contemporary situation.
Looking to today, one of the chief complaints of the Tatmadaw in its justification for the January 31st coup was voter fraud. The parallels to Trump and the event on January 6th are unmistakable. Yet, in Burma the military is secured political representation and key positions within the government per the 2008 constitution making violent seizure more possible. In essence, bourgeois-democratic rights in burma are not as extensive as they are here. Thus there is less of a need for capital to wear a pacifist face in Burma.
The January 31st coup comes after the recent election of the National League for Democracy (NLD) taking 81% of the vote, which has it come into conflict with the constitutionally mandated 25% representation of the military in the Burmese parliament with General Min Aung Hlaing saying that the constitution should be repealed if voter fraud contributed to the over 75% support for NLD. In truth, the extent of the NLD’s popularity comes from the growth of progressive and socialist perspectives in response to the decline of world capitalism. The coup by the military is therefore a violent response, a desperate one, to retain class rule in Burma.
With the general crisis of imperialism today, the impetus provided by the US to secure the weakening world capitalist position by supporting fascist coups around the world, particularly in Ukraine, is a vain attempt to stop the inevitable. The march of world communism is irresistible and it’s steps quicken with each fascist coup organized by the US. The situation today in Myanmar (Burma) is no different and is a testament to the unfolding crisis before us. The second wind of the communist movement is upon us!