Myanmar: Popular Anger also Turns Against Japanese Corporations



Once more, Stalinist slander against a popular democratic uprising is refuted by reality


By Michael Pröbsting, International Secretary of the Revolutionary Communist International Tendency (RCIT), 17 March 2021,




Yesterday, the RCIT issued a statement on militant actions against property of Chinese corporations by popular masses protesting against the military dictatorship in Myanmar. [1] A few hours after we published this statement, the news agency Reuters reported about more attacks by demonstrators, this time directed against property of Japanese corporations.


Japan’s Fast Retailing Co said on Tuesday that two supplier factories in Myanmar were recently set on fire amid violent unrest following a military coup. A representative for Fast Retailing, known for its Uniqlo brand of casual clothing stores, confirmed that fires had broken out on Sunday at two factories used in the manufacture of its apparel. (…) The situation in Myanmar will lead to some delays in the production and delivery of products, the company said.[2]


As we reported, the mass movement in Myanmar rightly denounces all forms of support by imperialist Great Powers and monopolies for the military regime which came to power via a coup d'état on 1st February. Their pressure has already resulted in some success. The same Reuters article reports: “Foreign firms have been urged to suspend operations in Myanmar to put pressure on the military junta to end its bloody takeover. Japan’s Kirin Holdings Co is winding up a beer alliance with a military-linked company after coming under pressure from activist groups.


The RCIT has supported the popular uprising against the brutal regime of the Tatmadaw – the Myanmar army – from the very beginning. We call for an indefinite general strike and armed insurrection to bring down the dictatorship! While we denounce imperialist sanctions – like those by the U.S. or the EU (we don’t support big thieves against small thieves) – we fully support popular actions directed against the regime and its imperialist master.


Since, currently, China is the most important Great Power which lends support to the Tatmadaw it is hardly surprising that the popular masses in Myanmar direct their anger against them.


However, the Japanese government is also quite hesitant in criticizing the putschists since its corporations are also making pretty good profit in Myanmar. In fact, the Japanese imperialists have built close relations with the Tatmadaw for years. It is symbolic that on 20 January, i.e. only days before the coup, Hideo Watanabe, a former politician and the current chairman of the Japan-Myanmar Association, met with Senior General Min Aung Hlaing, the commander-in-chief of the Tatmadaw, to discuss “the promotion of relations between the Japanese and Myanmar military.[3]


And Yohei Sasakawa, chairman of the Nippon Foundation, “prayed” that countries do not “urgently place economic sanctions” on Myanmar, as it will “increase the influence of China.” [4]




China’s Global Times smears the pro-democracy demonstrators




As we did report in our statement, the Stalinist-capitalist regime in Beijing as well as its “left-wing” friends around the globe try to smear the protestors fighting on the streets as Myanmar as “fanatical agents of Western powers driven by anti-Chinese hatred”. Global Times – the English-language central organ of the Beijing regime – claimed in an article: “The perpetrators who attacked Chinese factories were possibly anti-China locals who have been provoked by some Western anti-China forces, NGOs and Hong Kong secessionists, sources in Myanmar told the Global Times.” [5]


The same article quotes Bi Shihong, a professor at the Center for China's Neighbor Diplomacy Studies and School of International Studies at Yunnan University: “Those Myanmar people who participated in the attacks were actually cannon fodder, and they were being incited and used," Bi said. He said that behind the growing anti-China sentiment in Myanmar was the anti-China forces in the West, which have been creating obstacles for exchanges between China and other countries for a long time.


And another article in Global Times claimed: “But what requires more attention is the increasing threat to Chinese companies operating in overseas markets by certain Western anti-China forces, as it was exposed in the outrageous attacks in Myanmar.[6]




Old and tested methods of slander




In short, the Stalinists deny the popular outrage against Chinese imperialist support for the Tatmadaw and “explain” it as a “Western conspiracy”. These are the old and tested methods of Stalinism. In the 1930s, the Moscow bureaucracy slandered the Trotskyists – the defender of working-class democracy and the tradition of authentic Bolshevism – as “agents of Hitler” and, when Stalin formed an alliance with Hitler, they replaced the old lies by new ones and called our predecessors as “agents of France and Britain”. [7]


When the Indian masses revolted against British colonial rule in August 1942, the Stalinists denounced them also as “fascist provocateurs” since London was an ally of Moscow at that time. When Israel brutally expelled the Palestinian people from their homeland (the Nakba) and created a settler state in 1947-49, they were supported by Stalin and the Arabs resisting such genocide were slandered as “reactionary fascists”. The reason was Moscow’s cynical (and utter silly) calculation to win the support of the Zionists against the Britain. [8]


Likewise did the Stalinist bureaucrats denounce the workers and youth in Eastern Germany in 1953, in Hungary in 1956, in Czechoslovakia in 1968 and in Poland in 1980-81 as “agents” and “provocateurs” when they went on the streets against the bureaucratic dictatorship.


And in the last years, Stalinists and Semi-Stalinists have relentlessly slandered the revolutionary Arab masses revolting against the capitalist dictatorships in Libya and Syria as “Western agents”. They deny the democratic character of these popular uprisings and side with tyrants like Ghaddafi, Assad and General Sisi. [9]


In short, the whole history of Stalinism and similar currents is marked by hysterical and absurd slander – a method which must be fought relentlessly by all authentic Marxists.


In contrast to the Stalinist slander, the RCIT insists that the militant actions against property of Chinese corporations in Myanmar are motivated not by “Western incitement” but by popular anger about Beijing’s support for the Tatmadaw.


The latest militant actions against property of Japanese corporations fully confirm our statement. If the Stalinists would be correct about “Western incitement”, activists of the pro-democracy movement would never attack Japanese corporations. Everyone knows – and even the most fanatic Stalinist moron could not deny it – that Japan is part of the Western imperialist camp since many decades. Currently Tokyo is a key member of the so-called Quad – the US-led alliance which also includes India and Australia, and which is directed against their imperialist rival China. So, we ask the Stalinist muddleheads: If the militants attacking Chinese property are operating at the instigation by the West, why do they also attack property of a country belonging to the Western camp?!






[1] RCIT: Myanmar: Popular Masses turn against Chinese Imperialism! For an indefinite general strike and armed insurrection to bring down the dictatorship! No illusions in US and European imperialism! 16 March 2021, We draw reader’s attention to other documents of the RCIT on the military coup in Myanmar which are compiled on a special sub-page on our website: See also: Myanmar: Solidarity with the Uprising of the Rohingya Muslims! No to the Regime's Buddhist Chauvinism! For the Rohingya's Right of National Self-Determination! 27.08.2017,; Almedina Gunić: Stop the Ethnic Cleansing of the Rohingya Muslims! Recalling the war in Bosnia and the genocide in Srebrenica, we need to stop the ongoing war against our Rohingya brothers and sisters, 15.09.2017,

[3] The RCIT has published numerous works analyzing the imperialist character of China. These documents are compiled on a special sub-section on our website: In particular we want to draw attention to the following book by Michael Pröbsting: Anti-Imperialism in the Age of Great Power Rivalry. The Factors behind the Accelerating Rivalry between the U.S., China, Russia, EU and Japan. A Critique of the Left’s Analysis and an Outline of the Marxist Perspective, January 2019,

[4] Quoted in Teppei Kasai: Japan just talks the talk on Myanmar. Tokyo's passive diplomacy will only embolden the Tatmadaw, which continues to commit grave abuses with impunity, 15 March 2021,

[5] Global Times: Myanmar people called on to refrain from being incited by West in damaging China-Myanmar relations. 32 Chinese factories vandalized in Yangon, no fatalities, 15 March 2021,

[6] Wang Cong: Instigated attacks in Myanmar reveal new risk for Chinese firms overseas, 16 March 2021,

[7] The RCIT and its predecessor organization have analyzed Stalinism on numerous occasions. See e.g. the above mentioned book by Michael Pröbsting: Cuba’s Revolution Sold Out?; see also LRCI: The Degenerated Revolution: The Origin and Nature of the Stalinist States, There exists vast literature about the history of the Trotskyist movement in the 1930s. To name only a few books we refer to the second volume of Pierre Broué’s Trotsky biography (Pierre Broué: Trotzki - eine politische Biographie, Neuer ISP-Verlag, Köln 2003) as well as to the third volume of Isaac Deutscher’s Trotsky biography (Isaac Deutscher: The Prophet Outcast. Trotsky: 1929-1940 (1963), Verso Books, London 2003). See also our own view of the history of the Trotskyist movement: LRCI: The Death Agony of the Fourth International, London 1983, Chapter „The epigones destroy Trotsky's International, 1940-1953”,

[8] See on this e.g. Yossi Schwartz: Israel's War of 1948 and the Degeneration of the Fourth International,

[9] On Syria see e.g. these two pamphlets by Michael Pröbsting: Syria and Great Power Rivalry: The Failure of the „Left“. The bleeding Syrian Revolution and the recent Escalation of Inter-Imperialist Rivalry between the US and Russia – A Marxist Critique of Social Democracy, Stalinism and Centrism, 21 April 2018,; Is the Syrian Revolution at its End? Is Third Camp Abstentionism Justified? An essay on the organs of popular power in the liberated area of Syria, on the character of the different sectors of the Syrian rebels, and on the failure of those leftists who deserted the Syrian Revolution, 5 April 2017, The RCIT has elaborated its analysis and programmatic conclusions for the Syrian Revolution in numerous documents. They are all collected in a special sub-section on our website: On Libya see e.g. Michael Pröbsting: Liberation struggles and imperialist interference. The failure of sectarian “anti-imperialism” in the West: Some general considerations from the Marxist point of view and the example of the democratic revolution in Libya in 2011”, in: RCIT: Revolutionary Communism, No. 5;; On the “lefts’” support for the military coup of General Sisi in Egypt see e.g. Michael Pröbsting: The Coup d'État in Egypt and the Bankruptcy of the Left’s “Army Socialism”. A Balance Sheet of the coup and another Reply to our Critics (LCC, WIVP, SF/LCFI), 8.8.2013,