Statement by the Revolutionary Communist International Tendency (RCIT), 16 March 2021, www.thecommunists.net
1. The military dictatorship attempts to drown in blood the popular uprising which has began in response to the coup d'état on 1 February. Since weeks, hundreds of thousands of people are marching on the streets nearly every day. The army tries to brutally suppress the protests by shooting at demonstrators, arresting activists in night raids, etc.. In response, workers organize strikes, activists build barricades and self-defense units are formed to fight back against the repression apparatus. According to the UN at least 138 people have been killed since the beginning of the coup, 56 of them during the last weekend.
2. The regime has now imposed martial law in several working-class districts of Yangon, as well as in several parts of Mandalay – the two largest cities of the country. It is evident that the Tatmadaw – the Myanmar army – fears to lose control. There are several reports that some units of the police and army are refusing to follow orders.
3. The Tatmadaw dictatorship is particularly nervous since the Myanmar workers and youth are increasingly directing their protests against factories and buildings of Chinese corporations. On 14 March, demonstrators torched several Chinese-owned factories in the city of Yangon and damaged others. Global Times – an official newspaper of the Beijing regime – quotes the Chinese Embassy in Myanmar that “a total of 32 Chinese-invested factories have been vandalized in attacks in Yangon, Myanmar, with property losses reaching 240 million yuan ($36.89 million) … after perpetrators in Yangon smashed, looted and burnt Chinese factories on Sunday.”
4. It is hardly surprising that popular anger in Myanmar is directed against Chinese imperialism. Beijing’s Stalinist-capitalist regimes has close relations with the Tatmadaw and has de facto supported the coup d'état. China is one of the largest foreign investors and plans to integrate the country in its Belt & Road Initiative. The so-called China-Myanmar Economic Corridor, a huge infrastructure project (with over $21 billion dollars in approved Chinese foreign direct investment as of March 2020) would allow Beijing direct connection to the Indian Ocean, bypassing the Malacca Strait. Hence, it would advance China’s access to the world market and substantially improve its geopolitical position in the region.
5. The Revolutionary Communist International Tendency (RCIT) reiterates its full and unconditional support for the popular uprisings of the workers, youth and poor peasants in Myanmar. We support the demands for the release of all those arrested by the military. The military dictatorship must be overthrown by an indefinite general strike and an armed insurrection of the popular masses! For this, it is crucial to build action committees in the workplaces, neighborhoods, schools and universities which could organize armed militias in order to defend the people against the state repression. We also repeat that, in our opinion, it is crucial that activists develop agitation among the soldiers in order to split the army.
6. We consider militant actions against property of Chinese imperialism as fully legitimate. The military dictatorship desperately needs the support of Great Powers and China is without doubt its most important backer. Naturally we oppose any form of nationalism directed against the Chinese people. It is the Stalinist-capitalist ruling class in Beijing which is the enemy of the popular masses in Myanmar as well as in China. A public statement of Thinzar Shunlei Yi, a protest leader, indicates that many activists share such an understanding. She said on Twitter that Myanmar people do not hate their Chinese neighbors though their rulers had to understand the outrage felt over their stand. “Chinese government must stop supporting coup council if they actually care about Sino-Myanmar relations and to protect their businesses.”
7. The popular outrage against Chinese enterprises has sent chitters throughout the community of foreign capitalists. Global Times reports: “Some Chinese businessmen in Yangon planned to suspend their business operations; some moved to downtown areas while others chose to stay to protect their businesses.“ In response Beijing demands from the military regime in strong words to react with full force. “We wish that Myanmar’s authorities can take further relevant and effective measures to guarantee the security of the lives and assets of Chinese companies and personnel,” foreign ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian said. An editorial of the Global Times on 15 March demands: “Those who maliciously defame China and instigate attacks against Chinese factories are common enemies of China and Myanmar, they must be severely punished.” At the same time, Global Times is forced to recognize that hostility is not restricted to a few “fanatics” but rather widespread among the Myanmar people. “The anti-China sentiment in Myanmar has hurt normal Chinese residents and economic activities, which will force some Chinese enterprises to rethink the investment environment in Myanmar.” Hence, the Stalinist-capitalist regime directs its warning – through its mouthpiece – to the popular masses in the title of an article: “Myanmar people called on to refrain from being incited by West in damaging China-Myanmar relations”.
8. At the same time, the RCIT warns against any illusion in Western imperialism. The U.S. and the EU have imposed symbolic sanctions against a few generals. They have done so because the Tatmadaw is an ally of China. In contrast, the detained Prime Minister Aung San Suu Kyi has been rather closer to the U.S. and the EU. But American and European imperialism are no allies of the Myanmar people and no advocates of human rights and democracy. Just look at their dictator allies in Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates! The Western imperialists are exclusively interested in advancing their geopolitical interests against China – their most important rival in the struggle for world domination.
9. The RCIT calls revolutionaries in China to take a stand in solidarity with the democratic struggle of the Myanmar workers, youth and poor peasants. Surely, the Stalinist-capitalist regime in Beijing will tell its people that the protests in Myanmar are a “Western-conspiracy”. But Marxists know that class struggle is the driving force in history and popular rebellions are the work of millions of people fighting for their fundamental democratic and social rights – and not the result of conspiracies by this or that security service!
10. No doubt, the regime in Beijing will appeal to the patriotic feelings of the Chinese people. It is true that China suffered during the century of humiliation (1839 to 1949) by the arrogant and brutal colonial powers. At that time, every authentic democrat and socialist stood with the Chinese people and against the foreign imperialists. But China’s history is much longer as it is one of oldest living civilization in the world. Before and since the century of humiliation China has been a power which was not an oppressed nation but rather an Empire which oppressed other people. This is particularly true today where Chinese imperialism suppresses not only its own working class but also the Muslim Uyghur people, the people in Tibet as well as in Hong Kong. Furthermore, China has become one of the biggest imperialist foreign investor, super-exploiting workers and poor on all continents. Today, Chinese Marxists recognize oppressed people in Xinjiang and Tibet, the rebellious youth in Hong Kong, the workers exploited in Chinese-owned factories abroad as their true allies in the struggle against the ruling class in Beijing! The struggle for socialism is an international struggle!
International Bureau of the RCIT
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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: https://www.thecommunists.net/worldwide/asia/collection-of-articles-on-the-military-coup-in-myanmar/
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, https://www.thecommunists.net/worldwide/asia/solidarity-with-rohingya-muslims/
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, https://www.thecommunists.net/worldwide/asia/ethnic-cleansing-of-rohingya/