No to the Regime's Buddhist Chauvinism! For the Rohingya's Right of National Self-Determination!
Statement of the Revolutionary Communist International Tendency (RCIT), 27.08.2017, www.thecommunists.net
1. More than 1.000 armed fighters of Myanmar's persecuted minority of the Rohingya Muslims have launched a wave of attacks against the military and police posts in more than 25 different locations. The Arakan Rohingya Salvation Army claimed responsibility for the attacks. It stated that these attacks were in reaction to "a blockade [of the township of Rathetaung in northern Rakhine, Ed.] for more than two weeks which is starving the Rohingya people to death. (…) As they prepare to do the same in Maungdaw … we had to eventually step up in order to drive the Burmese colonising forces away." (Al Jazeera, 26.8.2017) At least 77 Rohingya Muslims and 12 members of security forces were killed during these attacks, according to the regime.
2. These guerilla actions are the result of the horrible mistreatment of the Rohingya Muslims who have been described by the United Nations "as the world's most persecuted minority". The Rohingya Muslims are an ethnic minority of about 2 million people who have experienced systematic persecution by the Myanmar's regime since many decades. Mostly located in Arakan (now called Rakhine State by the regime) in the north-west of country, they demanded independence or at least autonomy since the beginning of Myanmar (Burma) as an independent state in 1948.
3. Myanmar is a highly multi-national state with 135 distinct ethnic groups officially recognized by the government (and numerous more which are not recognized). Together, these minorities constitute at least 32% of the population (the biggest minorities are the Shan, Karen, Mon and the Rohingya Muslims). However, the regime – which has always been capitalist irrespective of its pseudo-socialist ideology in the past – has pursued a policy of chauvinist oppression against national and ethnic minorities ("Burmanisation") which it based on the ultra-nationalist ideology of racial "purity".
4. In October 1982, the military dictatorship introduced the Burmese Citizenship Law which officially denied the Rohingya Muslims Burmese citizenship. They are effectively denied access to university education and to jobs in the public sector. The Rohingya are living under extremely impoverished conditions and 60% of them are landless. They have a child mortality rate of up to 224 deaths per 1000 live births, more than 4 times the rate for the rest of Myanmar! The regime denies their existence as an ethnic minority and claims that the Rohingya Muslims are illegal migrants from Bangladesh. As a result, the army implements a policy of systematic ethnic cleansing resulting in the expulsion of hundreds of thousands of Rohingya Muslims who are currently living as refugees in Bangladesh and other countries. Today, only 1.1-1.3 million Rohingya Muslims are still living in Myanmar. They constitute about 90% of the population in the north of Rakhine State.
5. It is important to point out that the brutal persecution of the Rohingya Muslims is not only implemented by the military bureaucracy who ruled the country for decades but also by Aung San Suu Kyi, a bourgeois politician who has been hailed by the Western media as a democrat and who is the de facto Prime Minister since April 2016.
6. Officially the United Nations protest against the brutal persecution of the Rohingya Muslims. In August 2017, former UN General Secretary Kofi Annan released an official report which criticizes (in diplomatic language) the situation of this ethnic minority. However, as both Chinese and US imperialism are battling for influence in Myanmar, neither is willing to undermine their position for the sake of a small und poor ethnic minority.
7. The RCIT unconditionally supports the struggle of the Rohingya Muslims for national self-determination. It is the task of socialists, indeed every consistent democrat, to support the wish of this oppressed minority to decide freely if they wish to gain autonomy inside Myanmar, if they wish to join Bangladesh or if they wish to constitute an independent state. As the Rohingya Muslims face brutal persecution by the Myanmar state, they have every right to launch an armed struggle for freedom. Indeed, history teaches the oppressed that they can never achieve freedom and justice without an armed struggle against the ruling class!
8. As revolutionary communists we oppose the petty-bourgeois Islamist and nationalist ideology to which the Arakan Rohingya Salvation Army (ARSA) – as well as most of its predecessor organizations since 1948 like the Rohingya Liberation Party, the Rohingya Patriotic Front or the Rohingya Solidarity Organization – adheres. However, this does not alter the fact that the uprising of the Rohingya Muslims – which is currently lead by forces like ARSA – is profoundly legitimate and deserves the full support of all socialists and consistent democrats!
9. The RCIT draws the attention of the Rohingya Muslims and all supporters of their liberation struggle to the fact that historic experience has demonstrated that freedom and equality can only be secured if the workers, poor peasants and youth take power in their own hands. Any other solution will result in the usurpation of power by small elite which will sell their people to the imperialist monopolies and the Great Powers. This is why authentic revolutionaries fight for the creation of a workers' and poor peasants' government which can open the road towards socialism.
10. The RCIT calls all socialists and revolutionaries in Myanmar and around the world to join forces in order to build revolutionary organizations as part of a new revolutionary world party!
* Solidarity with the uprising of the Rohingya Muslims!
* For the right of national self-determination of the Rohingya Muslims – including the right to secede!
* Immediate grant of full citizenship rights for the Rohingya Muslims and all ethnic minorities in Myanmar!
* Down with the capitalist Buddhist chauvinist regime of Myanmar!
* For a workers' and poor peasants' government!
* Long Live the Revolution! Aluta Continua!
International Secretariat of the RCIT
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For our analysis and perspectives of the liberation struggle in Asia, see, among others, the following documents:
The China–Pakistan Economic Corridor is a Project of Chinese Imperialism for the Colonialization of Pakistan! Joint Statement of the International Secretariat of the RCIT and the Revolutionary Workers Organization (Pakistani Section of the RCIT), 22.1.2017, https://www.thecommunists.net/worldwide/asia/pakistan-cpec/
After the Killing of Burhan Wani: Long Live the Kashmiri Intifada! Statement of the International Secretariat of the RCIT and the Revolutionary Workers Organization (Pakistani Section of the RCIT), 21.07.2016, https://www.thecommunists.net/worldwide/asia/kashmir-uprising/
Michael Pröbsting: The China-India Conflict: Its Causes and Consequences. What are the background and the nature of the tensions between China and India in the Sikkim border region? What should be the tactical conclusions for Socialists and Activists of the Liberation Movements? 18 August 2017, https://www.thecommunists.net/theory/china-india-rivalry/
RCIT: Thailand: Smash the Developing Military Coup! 21.5.2014, https://www.thecommunists.net/worldwide/asia/thailand-coup/
Theses on capitalism and class struggle in Bangladesh. Joint Theses of the International Secretariat of the RCIT and the Revolutionary Workers Organization (RCIT Section in Pakistan), November 2013, https://www.thecommunists.net/worldwide/asia/theses-on-bangladesh/
Revolutionary Workers Organization (RCIT Section in Pakistan): Action Program for Pakistan, April 2012, https://www.thecommunists.net/worldwide/asia/pakistan-action-program/
Michael Pröbsting: China‘s transformation into an imperialist power. A study of the economic, political and military aspects of China as a Great Power, 2012, www.thecommunists.net/theory/why-china-is-imperialist. See also numerous other documents on China as an imperialist power here: https://www.thecommunists.net/theory/china-russia-as-imperialist-powers/