By Satyaki Chakraborty
The struggle of the civilian population of Myanmar against the ruling military junta has reached a new phase following the conviction of the leader of the National League for Democracy (NLD) Aung San Suu Kyi to four year jail term which was later cut to half. This first verdict after the coup organised by the army generals on February 1 this year against the NLD government, signals the stiffening of the attitude of the opposition against the ruling clique and the little possibility of any dialogue in the immediate future between the military and the forces of opposition.
Suu Kyi has been taken to an unknown destination and she is having no communication with the opposition leaders about the course of conducting the struggle. The military regime led by senior General Min Aung Hlaing is determined to crush any movement by the opposition parties for the restoration of democracy. The ten month old regime has also taken no care of the appeal by the United Nations, USA and other western nations for the release of the opposition leaders including Suu Kyi.
In this context, another significant development has taken place which should cause worry to the military regime. The Communist Party of Burma has decided to opt for armed struggle for ousting the military junta since no other options will be of any use due to the fascistic nature of the coup leaders. The Communist Party which is still known as the Communist Party of Burma has restored its People’s Liberation Army (PLA) wing and is training its cadres for the long struggle against the military regime.
A Communist Party spokesman told the Morning Star in an interview: “In a country like Burma, where the trigger-happy ruling elite resorted to arms even against unarmed students on university campuses, we have drawn lessons from history. It has taught us to resort to arms when fighting against fully armed demons.”But the Party is equally giving importance to the mass movement being launched by the opposition parties in a peaceful manner.
“We acknowledge the heroic valour and sacrifices of the people carrying out non-armed struggles. These movements are remarkable, and we salute them, both those who are still alive and those who gave their lives,” says the CPB leader.
However, he continues: “We know very well that the military has murdered many of our comrades for the simple reason of standing up against them. We don’t believe that the power-thirsty generals, who are armed to the teeth, can be toppled by any form of struggle besides armed means.”
While the CPB is not opposed in principle to the idea of the opposition talking to the military, it is clear negotiations alone cannot dislodge the core of the military regime. Some opposition leaders believe that at a certain stage of the movement at its peak, the military regime will have to agree to a peaceful transfer of power to the elected representatives again. CPB thinks that this will be an illusion, this present junta will stick to its present tactics and cling to power as long as possible.
According to the CPB leader “Everything that has followed the February 1 coup is simply repeating history”.
“We, who have dealt with military dictators for decades in this country, believe that real change in Burma’s ruling group can be made only by means of arms,” the party representative insists.
The fractious nature of the anti-military forces is a serious weakness, in the CPB’s opinion, as is putting faith in solutions that do not rely upon the strength of the mass of the people of Myanmar, either through courting foreign influence or local elites.
“Our armed revolution hasn’t achieved its aim so far. But this is not because the universal law that ‘Rebellion against military dictatorships is right,’ does not hold true or has exceptions.
“The most visible defect has been the opposition forces’ inability to unite themselves. They are used to relying on other people or forces (both domestic and abroad) for various resources, of course including financially ones. Put very simply, differences of interest create differences of views and objectives.”
Due to their lack of popular legitimacy and their Burman ethnic chauvinism, successive military regimes have been unable to unite this multi-ethnic country, even at gunpoint.
Over the years, many armed organisations, even de facto statelet armies, have emerged in Myanmar’s regions. Some of these regional and ethnic militias have historically co-operated with the CPB.
Myanmar communist leadership is closely observing the political situation after the conviction of Suu Kyi and how the other opposition leaders formulate the next course of movement. There is the issue of How China is looking at the role of the present military regime. China has big investments in Myanmar and the Beijing government wants to protect that. Some leftwing leaders of Myanmar are favouring a front of all political forces opposed to the military regime under one front.CPB is assessing this also. The Party knows that it will be a long haul and has to be the mix of all forms of struggle. A new stage has been reached in Myanmar in respect of the resistance struggle against the ten month old junta. (IPA Service)