The Lesser Evil or a People’s Alternative for Myanmar?

Dear Editor:

As the generals downed champagne in their finest suits, the working masses of Myanmar lay on the streets, clothes dirtied as they drowned in their own blood Saturday, the country’s Armed Forces Day. More than 100 people lay dead. The military continued to massacre protesters the following day as they attended funerals for those killed the previous days.

For exactly two months at the time of writing, Myanmar has been suffering under a military junta that took power on February 1st after the then country’s leader Aung Sun Suu Kyi’s (ASSK) party, the National League for Democracy (NLD), won in an electoral landslide. The military claimed that there was massive electoral fraud (naturally, there is no evidence) and detained ASSK and NLD members.

Fast forward two months later, the security forces have now killed over 500 people. Evidence shows these forces cowardly shooting protesters in the back of the head and rejoicing after firing indiscriminately in the crowd. These scum have also killed children, the youngest being a five-year-old murdered on Saturday.

Even after all this barbarism, the Myanmar masses continue to show extraordinary strength and courage. Workers, peasants, the youth, and ethnic minorities are finally uniting, and they will not stop fighting until the junta falls.

This is most certainly the beginning of a revolution. Workers and the youth have begun their combat training and started to make links with ethnic rebel groups like the Karen National Union (KNU), who have helped defend protesters no matter their ethnicity in recent days. The Burma majority must unite with ethnic minorities in Myanmar if they hope to overthrow the junta successfully. The time for a “people’s army” is now.

Now, what must be done when the junta is overthrown? Should the masses play the lesser-evil game and return ASSK and the NLD at the helm? Absolutely not. These supports of genocide against the Rohingya people are practically no different than the junta currently at the helm. The masses cannot trust those who claimed they would end the brutal ethnic cleansing and then stabbed them in the back as they let the military continue their barbarism.

Not only must the military be met with a people’s army, but a new leadership must arise who can lead the workers and youth in combative and theoretical aspects. Additionally, this leadership can help eliminate the sympathy towards the NLD in the trade union bureaucracy by educating the masses. They must then orchestrate general strikes that could do significant damage to the military’s power and access to the resources.

The masses can only succeed if the entire working class, regardless of ethnicity, race, age, are united. All divisions must cease if they are to overthrow the military and the NLD. These are revolutionary times worldwide, and Myanmar can be a guiding light towards a new age of democracy and freedom.

Gabriel Clément