US and UK governments at last against Burmese dictators; but not for democracy

This video is called Monks lead largest Burma protest (Myanmar, 24 Sept 2007).

And this video is called Who is Aung San of Myanmar?

From Lenin’s Tomb blog in Britain:

Coopting the Myanmar revolt

Anyone watching the news might think that a bunch of Burmese monks have simply decided to stage protests for democracy and freedom in front of hidden cameras all of a sudden, and – well, what do you know? – the Bush administration and New Labour have decided to champion them and Aung San Suu Kyi.

Possibly, when David Miliband [see also here] started crowing about Burma, you were reminded of Britain’s extensive imperialist involvement in the country [see also here], as well as New Labour’s long-standing support for the dictatorship, including the provision of funds and arms to help it suppress dissent.

Perhaps your suspicions have been raised by the fact that protests in Thailand against the US-supported putsch have been repressed even more violently, much more rapidly, and have produced a low-intensity war in parts of the country, without the splash headlines. Maybe you raised an eyebrow when an unshaven Brian Joseph of the National Endowment for Democracy, which has rarely seen a rightist coup plot it didn’t like, started appearing as an expert on Myanmar in all the news reports. And perhaps when you heard that they were spending some of the US government‘s millions on the opposition there, your mind reeled with all the branding possibilities. The Garuda Revolution? Perhaps this was the point of Rambo’s genocide tourism [more about Rambo films: here].

There has been a popular movement against the ruling State Law and Order Council for years, obviously, and this is part of a real revolt. The monks are an important and esteemed segment of society because they provide education and social services, whereas the dictatorship simply exploits people. So why should it be that the United States government has, for the last few years, been applying sanctions to Burma along with its allies? Why is it championing the main democracy leader, Aung San Suu Kyi? Only an ostrich would imagine it has anything to do with democracy. Well, it’s the same as East Timor in many ways. The West, after having backed a genocidal regime for years, has terrorised the opposition into accepting a neoliberal programme. Suu Kyi’s National League for Democracy has promised that, upon taking power, it will implement structural adjustments opening up huge parts of the economy to international investors. There is more than a parallel there: Suharto was one of the Burmese junta‘s closest allies before an uprising threw him off, and a polyarchical neoliberal regime in both states will restore the symmetry to some extent. So, it’s another phase in the transition from anti-socialist dictatorships used by Washington to slightly less coercive regimes in which the opposition has basically been neutered. The experiment launched in Chile in 1973 was really that successful. Britain, which has been doing fine out of the old regime, now hopes to do even better out of the new one. And at the same time, it has a chance of re-moralizing its disgraced foreign policy.

See also here.

And here.

And here.

And here.

4 October 2007 update: here.

Burma: Protests by Ethnic Minorities Continue: here.

Australian-Burmese police ties: here.

10 thoughts on “US and UK governments at last against Burmese dictators; but not for democracy

  1. Hello friends, I thought you should know about this:

    Burma is ruled by one of the most brutal military dictatorships in the world. For decades the Burmese regime has fought off pressure–imprisoning elected leader Aung San Suu Kyi and democracy activists, wiping out thousands of villages, imposing forced labour, creating refugees-

    But last Tuesday Buddhist monks and nuns, revered in Burma, began marching and chanting prayers. The protests spread as hundreds of thousands of ordinary people and public figures joined in, finding the hope they’d lost. Now they’re facing crackdown – so please, show your solidarity to this movement towards reconciliation and democracy and sign the emergency petition supporting the Burmese people — it’ll be delivered to United Nations Security Council members and international media all week:

    In the past, Burma’s military rulers have massacred the demonstrators and crushed democracy. The world must stand with the Burmese people at this time, to show the military rulers that the world will not tolerate repression and violence.

    Right now, global leaders are gathering in New York for the annual United Nations summit. In speeches, press interviews but also in real actions, we need them to show Burma’s military junta that the global community is willing to act in solidarity with the protesters.

    Show your solidarity to this movement for peace and democracy and sign the emergency petition supporting the Burmese people. It’ll be delivered to UN Security Council members and the UN press corps all week:

    Thank you for your help!



  2. AAPSO on the “Chaotic” situation in Myanmar

    The world outside had little information of the inside of Myanmar for over quarter of a century owing its isolationist policy.

    Myanmar, then known as Burma was part of British India until 1935 when it was made a separate entity by the British rulers. Burma attained independence in 1948 under the leadership of General Aung Sang, the father of Madam Aung Sang Suu Kyi. But he was assassinated immediately, apparently by the British. Thakin Nu who succeeded to the leadership of Anti-Fascist Peoples Freedom League became the prime minister and played a positive role. Although Burma did not join the commonwealth, it worked closely with other commonwealth countries in the region – India, Ceylon (Sri Lanka) and Pakistan and became part of the Colombo powers which initiated the Bandung Conference in 1955.

    After the overthrow of the Thakin Nu government by General Ne Win, Burma went into isolation and even left the Non-Aligned Movement to rejoin much later. The dictatorship of Ne Win gave way for the present military junta after the disturbances in 1988. Oxford educated Aung Sang Suu Kyi returned to Burma and formed the National League for Democracy and in the election in 1990 was elected with a thumping majority. Nevertheless, the junta refused to concede power, disbanded the N.L.D. and put her under house arrest.

    Despite sanctions, China and the ASEAN countries continued relations with Burma with a policy of dialogue and constructive engagement to bring the erring regime to democracy. Despite pronouncements many a time, the junta was not prepared to relinquish power. The people were restless and the country despite enormous wealth became poorer. The only section satisfied was the army.

    The unbearable situation flared up with the Buddhist Monks taking to the street. The demonstrations were responded with bullets. Number of people have died and seriously injured. The U.N. has sent a special envoy.

    The special envoy met with opposition leader Aung Sang Suu Kyi, but could not clear the hurdles in meeting with the leaders of military junta. AAPSO believes that it is absolutely essential that the ruling authorities should not by pass the U.N. as it is the only body that is capable of peacefully settling the issue of Myanmar. The leadership need to use this opportunity to bring about reconciliation and set the road for the democratic path of Myanmar.

    No amount of heavy-handedness will achieve any objectives except increasing the suffering of the people and destruction of the economy of the country. The world expect the ruling military command to engage in democratic norms as expressed by the ASEAN countries and her neighbours before it is too late. It is in the interest of Myanmar that the stigma of black mark be removed and join the community of nations.

    AAPSO strongly denounce the army excesses and appeal to the junta to release Aung Sang Suu Kyi and negotiate for democratic change in the country by recognising the leadership of Aung Sang Suu Kyi and her N.L.D. party.

    We appeal to all NGO’s and friends throughout the world to join us express solidarity with the people of Myanmar. It is also the wish of international community that the United Nations continue to pressure the junta to negotiate with the opposition and return the country to the road of democracy.


  3. With the People of Myanmar
    Neither Than Shwe nor San Suu Kyi

    The triggering factor of the mobilisations has been the decision by the military junta to implement the directives of the World Bank and the IMF, i.e. to double fuel prices followed by different goods of basic needs.

    Having started spontaneously in the capital, these demonstrations have spread and become politicised. The step from demanding reduction of the price hike to demanding the end the hated military dictatorship has not been a wide one.

    The main opposition force, the National League for Democracy (NLD) of which Nobel laureate San Suu Kyi has been the icon for years, after a first moment of embarrassment, has been trying to channel the movement and to use it as pressure tool to force the military junta into �dialogue� in order to give life to a �national salvation government�. In accordance with this negotiating line (instrumentally depicted as �non violent�) the powerful Buddhist clergy has entered the scene with the objective of averting a full-fledged popular insurrection.

    The international media, obeying the North American strategic central of disinformation, launched a massive campaign of support not so much to the popular revolt but of the NLD & Co. The aim is clear: isolate and weaken the perfidious military junta in order to pave the way for the pro-imperialist opposition to seize power.

    We hope that the people will continue to fight until the victory of the democratic revolution which leads to the seizure of power by the people, ends the social oppression of the poor and the national oppression of the minorities.

    Neither servant of the U.S. nor of China!
    With the popular revolt until the democratic revolution!

    Full declaration:


  4. Myanmar to free 6,300 prisoners

    MYANMAR: The newly elected civilian government announced today that it is releasing 6,300 prisoners in a widely expected amnesty.

    State media said 6,359 inmates would be released beginning today under an amnesty for inmates who are old, disabled, unwell or who had shown good behaviour.

    The new government is seen as remaining closely aligned with the military but has said it will ease restrictions on civil rights.


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