Jacobin journal has published an article about Burma, Aung San Suu Kyi, & the military junta titled “State Racism Meets Neoliberalism” by Spanish journalist Carlos Sardiña Galache who has written frequently about the Rohingya struggle since 2010. (https://jacobinmag.com/2018/01/burma-aung-san-suu-kyi-nld) The article has useful information about the history of the ongoing ethnic conflicts in Burma. Burma is a prison house of nations because of the supremacist views of the Buddhist Bamar majority whose xenophobia was influenced by Stalinist ideology & is orchestrated by the military which rules Burma.
Galache’s understanding of Burmese capitalism is especially problematic. He makes the remarkable, even preposterous, assertion that class is “conspicuously absent” in Burmese politics but then talks about the introduction of neoliberal economics which are class-based economics. Using the analytical criteria of socialist theoreticians & activists against German, Spanish, & Italian fascism, I characterize the Burmese military as fascist because of how they dominate & control the Burmese economy. The military, its minions or family members control banking, foreign investment, imports/exports, opium & illegal drug trafficking, the lumber industry, metal & gemstone mining, heavy industry, oil & gas exploration.
Under the dead weight of fascism, combined with US & European economic sanctions, the Burmese economy was stagnant so the junta was forced to open the doors to neoliberal economics/foreign investments. To survive under the sanctions, Burma had already relied on joint venture mining & oil & gas exploration projects with China & of course weapons from China. To overcome the economic & military sanctions, the junta began a political process to facilitate foreign investment, a sustained charade involving Suu Kyi from the outset that postured a civilian government in Burma forging a new democracy.
That’s where Galache’s political evaluation of Suu Kyi as a liberal failing to achieve democratic inroads fails so disastrously. He tries to turn Suu Kyi into a flower child, albeit an elitist & racist one. His assessment of her revolves around his assertion that she isn’t political, she doesn’t know anything, she’s an innocent bystander in the Rohingya genocide. This kind of mistake is common in evaluating women political figures. In fact, she sits on the central bodies governing Burma along with the generals & is involved up to her eyeballs in the political charade & in the genocide. The generals have known all along who they’re dealing with. She is of their class, of the military, & long before she was elected to the fake civilian government was defending joint venture projects between China & the junta against villagers protesting land grabs, environmental & cultural destruction.
There is no civilian government in Burma that is independent from the military. By their own admission, we know the so-called civilian government is involved in the genocide in every way, but currently by pressing for forcible repatriation of Rohingya refugees & building the concentration camps for warehousing them until they conclude the “final solution.” It’s not pedantry to insist that Suu Kyi & her NLD fake government be characterized accurately because such colossal misjudgments have led to supporting repressive & fascist regimes around the world. In the case of Suu Kyi, such a delusion allows the US & EU to refuse to impose economic sanctions & continue investments in Burma.
These are articles I’ve written for Pakistan Today which assess Suu Kyi & the NLD politically, not impressionistically, & don’t reduce her pernicious role to a lost flower child because she is a woman: