UBC Theses and Dissertations

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UBC Theses and Dissertations

Ne Win's Tatmadaw dictatorship Yawnghwe, Chao-Tzang 1990

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NE WIN'S TATMADAW DICTATORSHIP By Chao-Tzang Yawnghwe B.A., University o f Rangoon, 1961  A THESIS SUBMITTED IN PARTIAL FULFILLMENT THE REQUIREMENTS FOR THE DEGREE OF MASTER OF ARTS in THE FACULTY OF GRADUATE STUDIES (Department o f P o l i t i c a l  Science)  We accept t h i s t h e s i s as conforming to the required  standard  THE UNIVERSITY OF BRITISH COLUMBIA April (c)  1990  Chao-Tzang Yawnghwe, 1990  In  presenting this  degree  at the  thesis  in  partial  University of  fulfilment  of  of  department  this thesis for or  by  his  or  requirements  British Columbia, I agree that the  freely available for reference and study. I further copying  the  representatives.  an advanced  Library shall make it  agree that permission for extensive  scholarly purposes may be her  for  It  is  granted  by the  understood  that  head of copying  my or  publication of this thesis for financial gain shall not be allowed without my written permission.  Department of  Political  Science  The University of British Columbia Vancouver, Canada  D a t e  DE-6 (2/88)  27 A p r i l 1990  i i A B S T R A C T T h i s t h e s i s examines  t h e n a t u r e o f Burma's  military  r e g i m e w h i c h came t o power i n M a r c h  1962,  and w h i c h has p o r t r a y e d  itself,  1988,  as a r e g i m e w h i c h  somewhat s u c c e s s f u l l y u n t i l  c o n s t r u c t e d a "Burmese" s o c i a l i s t Though t h i s s e l f - i m a g e was  political  o r d e r i n Burma.  more o r l e s s a c c e p t e d by many  o b s e r v e r s , t h e r e n o n e t h e l e s s c o u l d be d e t e c t e d i n w r i t i n g s r e g i m e some d e g r e e  of s c h o l a r l y unease  management, b u t a l s o  on t h e  r e g a r d i n g the nature of  t h e r e g i m e s t e m m i n g f r o m i t s many g l a r i n g economic  has  f a i l u r e s not o n l y i n  in arresting political  decay  which  has t r a n s f o r m e d Burma i n t o a p o v e r t y - s t r i c k e n , d e b t - r i d d e n , and a l m o s t pre-modern a u t h o r i t a r i a n This thesis particularistic regime  polity.  i s an a t t e m p t t o p r o v i d e a  less  e x p l a n a t i o n o f t h e r e g i m e , t o show t h a t s u c h a  i s n o t u n i q u e , and t h a t t h e downward s l i d e  o f Burma c a n  u n d e r s t o o d w i t h r e f e r e n c e t o e x i s t i n g t h e o r i e s and  concepts  derived  conditions.  from the s t u d y of T h i r d World p o l i t i c s  A c c o r d i n g l y , the a n t i - c o l o n i a l  and  be  " n a t i o n a l i s t " movement i n Burma,  t h e Dobama A s i a y o n e o f t h e T h a k i n s , and t h e v a r i o u s Dobama " a r m i e s " w h i c h became t h e n a t i o n a l armed f o r c e s , t h e and t h e u n d e r l y i n g h i s t o r i c a l c o n d i t i o n s are re-examined framework  and a n a l y s e d w i t h i n t h e  of comparative T h i r d World p o l i t i c s .  t h a t t h e l e a d e r s who 1962  and s o c i o - e c o n o m i c and  l e d t h e Tatmadaw  The  Tatmadav, political  theoretical thesis  argues  t o t h e summit o f power i n  were n o t m o d e r n i z i n g m i l i t a r y l e a d e r s , b u t were f o r e m o s t l y  politicians  i n m i l i t a r y g a r b whose a g e n d a  Burman e t h n o n a t i o n a l i s m , a p e c u l i a r  kind  was  s h a p e d by  parochial  of a n t i - f o r e i g n  "Burmese" s o c i a l i s m , and t h e myth o f t h e i r t r i u m p h o v e r p o w e r f u l foreign  opponents The  Tatmadaw  t h e B r i t i s h and t h e J a p a n e s e .  t h e s i s examines  t h e m i l i t a r y r e g i m e -- Ne  d i c t a t o r s h i p -- and e n d e a v o r s t o e x p l a i n  configuration, strongly  —  subsequent to the m i l i t a r y s e i z u r e  a u t o n o m o u s and h i g h l y c o e r c i v e  state  one h a n d , and t h e c l e a r e v i d e n c e o f p o l i t i c a l (stemming  o t h e r hand,  from the p e r s p e c t i v e  The  explanation  i s f r a m e d i n t e r m s o f Ne Win's  of power, of a  i n Burma, on t h e and e c o n o m i c  the t r a n s f o r m a t i o n  of T h i r d  World  decay  i n s t r u m e n t of the p a t r i m o n i a l g e n e r a l and w i d e s p r e a d e r o s i o n institutions;  on  politics.  personal  o f t h e Tatmadaw,  on w h i c h t h e  and t h e r e g i m e i s b a s e d , i n t o a p a t r i m o n i a l i z e d  increasing  paradoxical  from the regime's poor performance and/or c a p a c i t y ) ,  the  rulership;  the  Win's  state  personal  r u l e r , Ne Win; t h e s u b s e q u e n t of the i n t e g r i t y of  various  t h e u n d e r m i n i n g o f l e g a l - r a t i o n a l norms;  and  the  r e l i a n c e o f Ne Win and t h e r e g i m e on t h e use o f t e r r o r  t o m a i n t a i n power a s i t s l e g i t i m a c y corresponding greater  waned o v e r t i m e , and t h e  degree of disengagement  c o n t r o l and p e r v i e w o f t h e s t a t e .  of s o c i e t y from the  iv TABLE  OF  CONTENTS  Abstract Acknowledgements G l o s s a r y o f Terms a n d A b b r e v i a t i o n s Chapter I THE INTRODUCTION (a) The P r o b l e m :  i i v v i 1  Background  (b) The P r o b l e m : P r o p o s i t i o n s a n d T h e s i s  Structure  Chapter I I THE NATURE OF MILITARY RULE I N BURMA (a) The M i l i t a r y a s a P o l i t i c a l Super-star ((b) c ) The MN ia lt iu r M i lCietnatreyr - Rs ut laeg e i n Burma: A p p r o a c h e s t ea r yo fon Chapter I I I THE MILITARY I N P O L I T I C S : THEORETICAL GUIDELINES (a) The P r a e t o r i a n s v s P r a e t o r i a n i s m (b) A T h e o r e t i c a l L o o k a t P r a e t o r i a n S o c i e t i e s (c) C o n c e p t u a l i z i n g T h i r d World P o l i t i c s and R u l e r s h i p (d) An O v e r v i e w o f T h i r d W o r l d S t a t e - S o c i e t y R e l a t i o n s Chapter IV THE TATMADAW TO THE SUMMIT (a) P r e m o d e r n Burma: The K i n g d o m o f W a r r i o r - K i n g s (b) C o l o n i a l i s m a n d t h e T r a n s i t i o n t o M o d e r n i t y ( c ) The T h a k i n s ' Tatmadaw a n d t h e C r e a t i o n o f A New Burma (d) The M a r c h F o r w a r d o f Bo Ne Win a n d t h e Tatmadaw  15  51  91  Chapter V CONSOLIDATION AND MAINTAINENCE OF POWER 136 (a) "We W i l l K i l l E v e r y b o d y a n d R u l e t h e E a r t h " (b) P o w e r , M a g i c a l R i t e s , a n d S o r c e r e r s ( c ) Dobama S o c i a l i s m : The N e u t r a l i z a t i o n o f Dobama R i v a l s (d) Ne Win: The C o n s t r u c t i o n o f a P a t r i m o n i a l P y r a m i d o f Power (e) M a n i p u l a t i n g a n d C o n t r o l l i n g t h e M i l i t a r y Ahmudans ( f ) Suppressing t h e S o c i e t y : Fear, A t r o c i t i e s , and Firepower (g) Regime L o n g e v i t y : The E x t e r n a l F a c t o r Chapter VI THE TATMADAW DICTATORSHIP: EVALUATION AND CONCLUSIONS (a) A C o n c e p t u a l V i e w o f P o l i t i c s i n Burma (b) An E v a l u a t i o n (c) C o n c l u d i n g Observations BIBLOGRAPHY  183  210  V  ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS I w i s h t o t h a n k Don B l a k e and P a u l T e n n a n t f o r a c c e p t i n g me i n t o t h e g r a d u a t e p r o g r a m , and t h e i r e n c o u r a g e m e n t . J o h n Wood has n o t o n l y b e e n a g r e a t t e a c h e r , b u t has made me more m i n d f u l o f t h e r e l e v a n c e o f t h e o r i e s i n t h e p o l i t i c a l dramas o f the T h i r d World. I a l s o remember R.S. M i l n e e n c o u r a g i n g me t o pursue, without reference to "higher a u t h o r i t i e s " , concepts and t h e o r i e s I t h o u g h t were r e l e v a n t . Many t h a n k s t o K a l H o l s t i and P h i l R e s n i c k f o r t h e i r v a l u a b l e t i m e , comments, q u e s t i o n s , and s u g g e s t i o n s as t h e s i s c o m m i t t e e members. I e s p e c i a l l y t h a n k D i a n e Mauzy, my t h e s i s a d v i s o r , f o r her f r i e n d s h i p , p a t i e n c e , i n s i g h t , a d v i c e , her c o n s i d e r a b l e time and e f f o r t , and h e r many t i m e l y i n t e r v e n t i o n s t o k e e p me f r o m j u m p i n g o f f what she c a l l s t h e " t h e o r e t i c a l d e e p - e n d " , and a l s o f r o m o v e r l o o k i n g t h e i n s i g h t s g a i n e d f r o m my l i f e - l o n g i n v o l v e m e n t i n Burma p o l i t i c s . I owe s p e c i a l t h a n k s t o t h e N o r t h w e s t R e g i o n a l C o n s o r t i u m f o r S o u t h e a s t A s i a n S t u d i e s and i t s C o - D i r e c t o r , T e r r y McGee, f o r a F o r d F o u n d a t i o n g r a n t w h i c h e n a b l e d me t o do some r e s e a r c h i n W a s h i n g t o n D.C., and i n o t h e r w a y s , b r o a d e n my horizons. I w o u l d a l s o l i k e t o a c k n o w l e d g e a l l Burma s c h o l a r s , i n p a r t i c u l a r , J o s e f S i l v e r s t e i n whose i n t e r e s t and c o n c e r n have r e s u l t e d i n i n s i g h t f u l w o r k s on Burma. Many t h a n k s t o f e l l o w e x i l e s f o r a c c o u n t s o f t h e d a r k s i d e o f t h e r e g i m e , and s p e c i a l t h a n k s t o B e r t i l L i n t h e r and Bob M a u l e f o r t h e i r a s s i s t a n c e . And f i n a l l y , my t h a n k s t o my w i f e f o r h e r s u p p o r t , w i t h o u t w h i c h t h i s t h e s i s c o u l d n o t have b e e n w r i t t e n .  VI  Glossary  o f Terms and  Abbreviations  Aba -ABPO —  Father, a p a t r i a r c h (Burmese) A l l Burma P e a s a n t O r g a n i z a t i o n , an a f f i l i a t e o f t h e AFPFL ABSU — A l l Burma S t u d e n t U n i o n ABYL -A l l Burma Y o u t h L e a g u e AFO -A n t i - F a s c i s t O r g a n i z a t i o n , t h e f o r e r u n n e r o f t h e AFPFL AFPFL -A n t i - F a s c i s t P e o p l e s Freedom L e a g u e Ahmudan — A c l a s s o f s e r f s o w i n g l a b o r and m i l i t a r y s e r v i c e t o t h e k i n g s o f a n c i e n t Burma, who were o r g a n i z e d i n t o " r e g i m e n t s " and s e g r e g a t e d f r o m t h e r e s t o f t h e population. In c u r r e n t usage, i t denotes a l l s e r v a n t s of the s t a t e Ah-na -P o w e r , p o l i t i c a l power ( B u r m e s e ) Akaukwun -Tax o r t o l l c o l l e c t o r i n a n c i e n t Burma A-myo-tha -- N a t i o n a l ( a d j e c t i v e ) A t e t - l a n Saya -S o r c e r e r o f t h e Upper S p h e r e (a p r a c t i t i o n e r of White M a g i c ) Atwinwun -R o y a l s e c r e t a r y i n a n c i e n t Burma Auk-Ian Saya -S o r c e r e r o f t h e Lower S p h e r e (a p r a c t i t i o n e r of the B l a c k A r t ) Awza -I n f l u e n c e and a u t h o r i t y ( B u r m e s e ) Azu — A r e g i m e n t ( o r a u n i t ) o f Ahmudan i n a n c i e n t Burma Bama Lu-myo -The Burman e t h n i c g r o u p Bama P y i — The Burman k i n g d o m Baung-bee C h o o t -F o r m e r m i l i t a r y men s e r v i n g i n t h e r e g i m e ' s s t a t e - p a r t y a p p a r a t u s e s , or i n v o l v e d i n p o l i t i c s ; l i t e r a l l y , " t h o s e who have t a k e n o f f t h e i r trousers" Bayin-gan -Viceroy BCP -- Burmese Communist P a r t y , t h e W h i t e F l a g c o m m u n i s t s BDA -Burma D e f e n c e Army B e d i n Saya -- A s t r o l o g e r Beelat-pyan -One who has s t u d i e d i n E n g l a n d , an E n g l a n d returnee BIA — Burma I n d e p e n d e n c e Army BNA -Burma N a t i o n a l Army Bo -M i l i t a r y leader. A l s o a t e r m u s e d f o r male E u r o p e a n s , e s p e c i a l l y B r i t o n s i n c o l o n i a l Burma Bogyoke-Wungyi — G e n e r a l s / M i n i s t e r s , i . e . , a c t i v e or former top brass h o l d i n g c a b i n e t posts i n post-1962 Burma BSPP -Burmese S o c i a l i s t Programme P a r t y C h a o - f a , Sawbwa CPB — CSMB —  —  R u l i n g p r i n c e , "Lord of the Sky" ( S h a n / T h a i / L a o ) ; Sawbwa i s t h e Burmese p r o n o u n c i a t i o n of the t e r m , Chao-fa Communist P a r t y o f Burma, o r t h e Red F l a g c o m m u n i s t s C i v i l S u p p l i e s Management B o a r d  vi i Daw  —  L i t e r a l l y , Aunty. A p r e f i x b e f o r e a name o f a f e m a l e person; a term of r e s p e c t (Burmese) DDSI -- D i r e c t o r a t e o f D e f e n c e S e r v i c e s I n t e l l i g e n c e Dee-Mye -- S t a b l e AFPFL l e d b y Ba Swe a n f Kyaw Nye i n Dobama, Dbama A s i a y o n e -- The "We Burman" movement o f Burman e t h n o n a t i o n a l i s t s , the Thakins DSI -- D e f e n c e S e r v i c e s I n s t i t u t e Duwa — Kachin r u l i n g c h i e f "Em-Eye" FTO  —  --  A t e r m by w h i c h t h e M i l i t a r y p o p u l a r l y a n d g e n e r a l l y known  Federation AFPFL  Gaung-baung  of Trade O r g a n i z a t i o n s ,  I n t e l l i g e n c e (MIS) an a f f i l i a t e  is  of the  A s i l k h e a d g e a r worn b y Burman men on f o r m a l occas ions Gon -- P r e s t i g e , a n a u r a o f s u p e r i o r i t y ( u s u a l l y b a s e d on w e a l t h or p o s s e s s i o n , and s o c i a l s t a t u s ) Gon-theika — An a u r a o f m o r a l u p r i g h t n e s s a n d i n t e g r i t y IDC JVCs  -—  --  Industrial  Development  Joint-Venture  Corporation  Corporations  Ka-bya -- E u r a s i a n ; Anglo-Burman or A n g l o - I n d i a n s K a p p a l i Lu-myo — A f r i c a n s ; the black people of A f r i c a i n general KIA — K a c h i n I n d e p e n d e n c e Army KMT -- K u o m i n t a n g , N a t i o n a l i s t C h i n e s e KNLA -- K a r e n N a t i o n a l L i b e r a t i o n Army KNU -- K a r e n N a t i o n a l U n i o n KNUP -- K a r e n N a t i o n a l U n i o n P a r t y ( a l e f t i s t K a r e n f a c t i o n ) K y a n t K h a i n g Ye A t h i n -- N a t i o n a l S o l i d a r i t y A s s o c i a t i o n KYO — K a r e n Y o u t h O r g a n i z a t i o n , a n AFPFL a f f i l i a t e Kywanto -- C r o w n - s e r f s , o r s l a v e s o f t h e k i n g i n a n c i e n t Burma LBF — L o c a l Burmese F o r c e LNLA -- L a h u N a t i o n a l L i b e r a t i o n Army Lokha Nibban -- N i r v a n n a on E a r t h Loktha-Pyithu -- The " w o r k i n g p e o p l e " , a t e r m c o i n e d b y t h e BSPP's m i l i t a r y - s o c i a l i s t s Longyi -- A s a r o n g worn b y Burman men a n d women Lon H t e i n -- R i o t - c o n t r o l p o l i c e u n i t Loy-kroh -- A m e r i t - m a k i n g r i t e t o f o r e s t a l l o r p r e - e m p t m i s f o r t u n e and/or p e r s o n a l d i s a s t e r (Thai/Shan/Lao) Lu-myo -- An e t h n i c g r o u p ; l i t e r a l l y , r a c e M i n ^ - K y i n - T a r a Se-bha -- Ten P e r c e p t s t o be o b s e r v e d b y k i n g s Mintha — R o y a l p r i n c e s ; c o l l o q u i a l l y , a male s t a r i n p l a y s or movies Minthamee -- R o y a l p r i n c e s s e s ; a l s o , a female s t a r  vi ii Miphaya -Queen, o r one o f t h e f o u r s e n i o r r o y a l c o n s o r t s MIS -M i l i t a r y I n t e l l i g e n c e Service Mo-gyo -T h u n d e r - b o l t ; t h e name g i v e n t o t h e J a p a n e s e C o l o n e l S u z u k i , t h e f o u n d e r o f t h e BIA Muang -A kingdom or p r i n c i p a l i t y (Thai/Shan/Lao) Myanmar, Myranma — The Burman e t h n i c g r o u p Myanmar S o - s h e - l i t L a n z i n -The Burmese Way t o S o c i a l i s m Programme Myetna-hpyu -A g e n e r i c t e r m i n Burmese f o r E u r o p e a n s ; l i t e r a l l y , W h i t e - f a c e s or P a l e - f a c e s Myochit -A patriot; a p o l i t i c a l p a r t y l e d by U Saw Myo-thugyi — Governor, u s u a l l y h e r e d i t a r y , of a t o w n s h i p i n a n c i e n t Burma Myowun — R o y a l l y a p p o i n t e d g o v e r n o r o f a t o w n i n a n c i e n t Burma Myoza -F i e f h o l d e r w i t h j u r i s d i c t i o n o v e r a l a r g e town o r p r o v i n c e ; l i t e r a l l y , a "Town-eater" Naing-ngan  --  I n a n c i e n t Burma, t h e t e r m r e f e r r e d t o t h e p e r i p h e r i e s o w i n g t r i b u t e t o t h e Burman k i n g . C u r r e n t l y , i t means a t e r r i t o r i a l s t a t e NIB -N a t i o n a l I n t e l l i g e n c e Bureau Nga-bha T h i l a -The f i v e b a s i c M o r a l P e r c e p t s t o be o b s e r v e d by Buddhists NSA -National Solidarity Association NUF — N a t i o n a l U n i t e d F r o n t , a c o a l i t i o n o f r i g h t i s t and l e f t i s t p a r t i e s which c h a l l e n g e d the AFPFL s p a r l i a m e n t a r y m o n o p o l y i n t h e 1956 e l e c t i o n s NUP — N a t i o n a l U n i t y P a r t y , o r t h e r e c o n s t i t u t e d BSPP ( a f t e r September 1988) 1  Pa-Hsa-Ba-La -- The AFPFL ( i n Burmese) PBF -P a t r i o t i c Burmese F o r c e PNF -Palaung N a t i o n a l Force Pon — An a u r a o f k a r m i c m o r a l g r e a t n e s s and power e l i c i t i n g l o v e , r e s p e c t , and awe Pongyi-gyaung — A m o n a s t r y (Burmese) Pu-haeng -Head o f a v i l l a g e - c i r c l e o r s u b - t o w n s h i p (Shan) PVO — People's Volunteer Organization P y i n t h i t Lu-myo -The p e o p l e o f F r a n c e ; t h e F r e n c h (Burmese) Pyinnya-tat — The e d u c a t e d s t r a t a ; l i t e r a l l y , t h o s e who have o b t a i n e d knowledge (Burmese) Pyithu-Gaungsi -People's Council Pyithu-Hluttaw -The l e g i s l a t i v e a s s e m b l y u n d e r t h e 1974 socialist constitution Rakhine -The A r a k a n e s e Red F l a g c o m m u n i s t s — The Communist P a r t y o f Burma RUSU -Rangoon U n i v e r s i t y S t u d e n t U n i o n SAC — S e c u r i t y and A d m i n i s t r a t i v e C o u n c i l SAMB -S t a t e A g r i c u l t u r a l Marketing Board S a u k - m y i n - k a t Oo-ba-de -Sarcastic reference  (CPB)  t o the a r b i t r a r y  ix l a w s and r e g u l a t i o n s o f t h e m i l i t a r y r e g i m e ; l i t e r a l l y " I Dont L i k e Y o u r F a c e Laws" Sawphaya -A K a r e n n i t e r r i t o r i a l r u l e r ; a v a r i a t i o n of the S h a n / T h a i / L a o t e r m , Chao-fa SEATO -- S o u t h e a s t A s i a n T r e a t y O r g a n i z a t i o n Se-saya -H e a l e r , a medicine-man (Burmese) Sinye-tha -The p o o r ; a l s o , a p o l i t i c a l p a r t y l e d by Dr.Ba Maw Sit-Bo — M i l i t a r y o f f i c e r (Burmese) SLORC -S t a t e Law and O r d e r R e s t o r a t i o n C o u n c i l SSA/SSPP — Shan S t a t e Army/Shan S t a t e P r o g r e s s P a r t y STB -S t a t e Timber Board Taingyin-tha -The i n d i g e n o u s p e o p l e o f Burma (Burmese) T a r o k Lu-myo -The C h i n e s e (Burmese) Tatmadaw -The armed f o r c e s (Burmese) Thakin -Lord or master (Burmese) Thant-shin — The C l e a n f a c t i o n o f t h e AFPFL o f U Nu TUC-B -T r a d e U n i o n C o n g r e s s - B u r m a , an AFPFL a f f i l i a t e U  —  M i s t e r ; a f o r m o f p r e f i x b e f o r e a name, and a t e r m o f respect. L i t e r a l l y , uncle (Burmese)  White F l a g communists — Burmese Communist P a r t y (BCP) WNA -- Wa N a t i o n a l Army Wundauk — A high-level administrative o f f i c e r i n ancient Wungyi -A Minister Yadaya-che  --  Burma  A magic r i t e t o pre-empt or f o r e s t a l l m i s f o r t u n e and/or p e r s o n a l d i s a s t e r Yaw-ga — An i l l n e s s , d i s e a s e (Burmese) Yebaw — Comrade Yebaw Thon-gyek — The T h i r t y - C o m r a d e s l e d by Aung San Y o d a y a Shan -A Burmese t e r m , e s p e c i a l l y i n l o w e r Burma, d e n o t i n g the p r e s e n t Thai of T h a i l a n d Ywa-thugyi -A v i l l a g e headman Ywaza — A f i e f h o l d e r i n a n c i e n t Burma w i t h j u r i s d i c t i o n o v e r a vi1lage  1  CHAPTER  (a)  ONE:  INTRODUCTION  The Problem: Background This thesis w i l l examine the m i l i t a r y regime of Ne Win  which has ruled Burma since March 1962.  During i t s twenty-eight  years of rule, the regime has constructed what seems to be a strong and highly autonomous state.  The state in Burma appears  strong and autonomous i n the sense that the regime has not only been able to fend o f f challenge from below successfully, but i t has also frequently been able to act upon i t s preferences without reference to non-statal groups and s o c i a l forces within society (1). After the coup i n 1962, the m i l i t a r y leaders of Burma, under the leadership of Ne Win, i n s t a l l e d a new state structure and p o l i t i c a l system which i n many ways resembled the East European s o c i a l i s t model.  It was based on s o c i a l i s t democracy  and a s o c i a l i s t economy, and organized around the p r i n c i p l e of democratic centralism'2).  It was characterized by the  concentration of a l l executive, l e g i s l a t i v e , j u d i c i a l and administrative power in the hands of the r u l i n g Burmese S o c i a l i s t Programme Party (BSPP) i n a one-party state.  The s e l f -  proclaimed aim o£ the party and i t s predominantly m i l i t a r y leaders was the establishment  of a s o c i a l i s t system based on  j u s t i c e which would end "the e x p l o i t a t i o n of man by man".  Its  2 goal was the emancipation of "the people,  irrespective of race or  r e l i g i o n , from a l l s o c i a l e v i l s " , setting them "free from anxieties over food, clothing and shelter, and from i n a b i l i t y to resist evil".  The m i l i t a r y asserted that only with socialism  could "an affluent stage of s o c i a l development be reached and a l l people be happy and healthy i n mind and body"(3). When they seized power i n 1962, the m i l i t a r y e l i t e s i n Burma regarded  themselves as pragmatic and nondoctrinaire  s o c i a l i s t s and agents of modernization The m i l i t a r y ' s confidence i t s experience 60.  :  and nation-building(4).  i n i t s a b i l i t i e s was, in part, due to  in r u l e r s h i p in the caretaker government of 1958-  The m i l i t a r y ' s r e l a t i v e l y competent performance as a  caretaker not only reinforced i t s self-image, but won i t the approval of foreign observers.  For the 18 months of caretaking,  Ne Win was nominated for the Magsaysay Award, which he refused(5).  Even an American economic advisor to the AFPFL  (Anti-Fascist People's Freedom League), Louis J . Walinsky, who greatly admired U Nu, had t h i s to say about the caretaker government's performance:  "Crispness in decision making,  delegation of authority and r e s p o n s i b i l i t y i n a clear cut chain of command/ e f f i c i e n c y and d i s c i p l i n e were the order of the day...[There was] improved law and order, increased e f f i c i e n c y i n governmental o f f i c e s , services and enterprises, and...a new climate of dynamism and s o c i a l r e s p o n s i b i l i t y [which was s i g n i f i c a n t ] for s o c i a l and p o l i t i c a l , as well as economic development"(6).  3  The second and sustained intervention of the m i l i t a r y in p o l i t i c s which occurred on March 2,1962,  more or less f i t the  " m i l i t a r y as modernizers" thesis then in vogue among scholars pondering the problems of d i s u n i t y and underdevelopment and dangers, e s p e c i a l l y from communist aggression and confronting Third World states.  the  subversion,  This school of thought viewed  the m i l i t a r y in the Third World as a force for national unity and development because of i t s technical a b i l i t i e s ,  identification  with the lower middle s t r a t a of the population, and capacity for p o l i t i c a l leadership(7). focus of modernization,  The m i l i t a r y was  further seen as the  f a c i l a t i n g s o c i a l mobility within Third  World s o c i e t i e s , and performing c r i t i c a l communications and s o c i a l i z a t i o n functions.  It was  suggested that the s u p e r i o r i t y  and the modernity of m i l i t a r y organizations and leaders in the Third World compelled them to seize power in countries where modernization was  retarded(8).  Scholars from the " S o c i a l i s t " Bloc too have been positive in their views of m i l i t a r y involvement in p o l i t i c s , e s p e c i a l l y where i t concerns armies "which did not stand apart from the struggle of the people for national l i b e r a t i o n " , or were formed in the midst of the revolutionary l i b e r a t i o n movement, armies which were composed of peasants, workers, and the urban poor(9).  Hence, i t i s held by these Eastern Bloc academics and  analysts that some m i l i t a r i e s in Third World s o c i e t i e s represented force.  the best organized a n t i - i m p e r i a l i s t and  progressive  It was more or less assumed by these scholars that  4 l e f t i s t - o r i e n t a t e d one-party systems dominated by the m i l i t a r y were modernizing s o c i a l i s t  regimes(lO).  P o l i t i c a l events outside Burma also contributed to creating a favorable opinion of the 1962 The cold war was s t i l l  coup d'etat in Burma.  at i t s height, more so in Southeast Asia  where the United States and the West perceived Mao's China as attempting  to subvert or take over these countries v i a l o c a l  communist p a r t i e s , or by e x p l o i t i n g their weaknesses and problems, which were numerous and g r a v e ( l l ) .  It was  held that  Third World countries needed strong and e f f i c i e n t governments which would, through modernization  measures and economic  development, halt the advance of communism. As well, during this period, Indonesia under Sukarno was  seen as d r i f t i n g into the communist camp, and in South  Vietnam, Ngo Dinh Diem was support and goodwill.  barely in control despite American  Moreover, everywhere in the Third World,  c i v i l i a n leaders were increasingly stereotyped by the Western media and in academic c i r c l e s as well, as indecisive, weak, s o f t , corrupt, and  inept (which many unfortunately were), and hence  vulnerable to communist subversion or aggression.  Further, the  one-party state, e s p e c i a l l y in A f r i c a , was viewed p o s i t i v e l y by many Western academics as an answer to chronic p o l i t i c a l instability. More important  for Burma, the r i s e of Marshal S a r i t  Thanarat in Thailand (1959-63) and his success in bringing about  5 some economic development and p o l i t i c a l s t a b i l i t y ( 1 2 ) , reinforced the perception that Ne Win and his army could s i m i l a r l y modernize Burma.  As stated e a r l i e r , Ne Win's and the m i l i t a r y ' s  performance i n 1958-60, firmly legitimated, at least externally, the m i l i t a r y ' s usurpation  of power in 1962,  and  i t also raised  the hopes of outside observers that Burma would very rapidly be led onto the path of modernization by the d i s c i p l i n e d , nonsense m i l i t a r y leaders.  no-  Moreover, some foreign observers also  assumed, curiously enough, that the populace shared their p o s i t i v e evaluation of the m i l i t a r y ( 1 3 ) . However, events in Burma since 1962 country has stagnated.  reveal that the  Signs of p o l i t i c a l and economic decay are  everywhere apparent, as w i l l be shown in the course of this thesis.  The extent of t h i s systemic decomposition was  revealed  in the bloody country-wide urban protest against the regime in 1988(14).  This mass upheaval brought down the m i l i t a r y ' s  c i v i l i a n and  " s o c i a l i s t " facade, the whole BSPP (Burmese  S o c i a l i s t Programme Party) structure, but f a i l e d to dislodge  the  m i l i t a r y e l i t e s from power.  (b)  The Problem: Propositions and Thesis  Structure  The phenomenon of an apparently strong and autonomous state which has been able to remain i n power for twenty-eight years, but which has not been able to f u l f i l l any of the promises made by the m i l i t a r y - s o c i a l i s t leaders for a just and prosperous  6 s o c i a l i s t s o c i e t y i n Burma, or meet the e x p e c t a t i o n s of f o r e i g n w e l l - w i s h e r s and sympathizers,  i s an i n t r i g u i n g one which t h i s  t h e s i s w i l l attempt to a n a l y z e . T h i s t h e s i s w i l l t h e r e f o r e focus on the nature of m i l i t a r y rule  i n Burma, and the reasons  chosen t o r u l e i n the manner i t has.  why the m i l i t a r y has  I t w i l l , as such,  analyze  how the m i l i t a r y has managed t o hold on t o power d e s p i t e i t s d i s m a l performance and u n p o p u l a r i t y , and t r y t o a s c e r t a i n what the f u t u r e holds r e g a r d i n g i t s continued withdrawal  from  r u l e or eventual  politics.  I t i s w i d e l y accepted  t h a t the m o t i v a t i o n f o r the  m i l i t a r y s e i z i n g power i n 1962 was i t s p e r c e p t i o n t h a t i t c o u l d s t r e n g t h e n what i t viewed as a weak s t a t e p r e s i d e d over by a crumbling  and c o r r u p t c i v i l i a n e l i t e .  of " s a v i o r " .  politicians  i n the r o l e  I t i s on t h i s e x p l a n a t i o n f o r the coup t h a t other  p r o p o s i t i o n s are based. (1)  I t saw i t s e l f  They a r e :  Burma's m i l i t a r y l e a d e r s who are e s s e n t i a l l y " i n m i l i t a r y garb"(15), s u b s c r i b e d to a brand of  m i l i t a n t ethnonationalism(16)  containing strong r a c i a l  overtones,  which was wedded t o a n t i - c a p i t a l i s t or s o c i a l i s t sentiments  (more  a n t i - f o r e i g n than s o c i a l i s t per s e ) . (2)  The m i l i t a r y ' s commitment t o e n t h o n a t i o n a l i s m and t o  c e r t a i n s o c i a l i s t concepts economy, one-party  ( f o r example, a c e n t r a l i z e d command  d i c t a t o r s h i p ) , served t o r e i n f o r c e i t s  c e n t r a l i z i n g impulses, and t o i n c r e a s e i t s impatience  with  7 c i v i l i a n r u l e (which was  based on v a r i o u s kinds  exchange between the r u l e r s and (3)  This ideology  of  political  the r u l e d ) .  impelled  the m i l i t a r y , when i t captured  power, to c o n s t r u c t a s t a t e which would be vested  with  sufficient  power f o r the regime to govern e f f e c t i v e l y , r e s t o r e Burman p o l i t i c a l and  c u l t u r a l predominance, and  ensure an economy f r e e  from f o r e i g n domination and e x p l o i t a t i o n . (4)  The  p o l i t i c s and  m i l i t a r y l e a d e r s ' d i s t a s t e and  p o l i t i c i a n s , and  the m i l i t a r y , rooted  i n the s u p e r i o r i t y of  i n myths of a h e r o i c freedom " s t r u g g l e "  a g a i n s t both the B r i t i s h and choose the  their belief  contempt f o r  Japanese o v e r l o r d s , induced  instrument of c o e r c i o n over which they commanded as  the main v e h i c l e f o r the c o n s t r u c t i o n of the new (5)  Ensuring  u n i f y i n g f u n c t i o n by t r a n s f o r m i n g f o r c e s i n t o a p a t r i m o n i a l and Due  order.  the m i l i t a r y ' s coherence and  f i g u r e of "AJba" (Revered Father) Ne Win,  (6)  them to  the  who  u n i t y was  fulfilled  this  "Tatmadaw" or the armed  personal  instrument of power.  to the narrowness of the p o l i t i c a l  base, the  r e s u l t of the e x c l u s i o n of other  s o c i e t a l segments from the  political  could not be  process,  the new  order  effectively  i n s t i t u t i o n a l i z e d , nor c o u l d modernizing changes be And,  p r e c i s e l y because the regime and  undertaken.  the s t a t e r e s t e d on a  narrow base, t h a t i s , on a system backed by the  coercive  c a p a b i l i t i e s of the s t a t e which s e v e r e l y r e s t r i c t e d p a r t i c i p a t i o n , the s t a t e l e a d e r s were b e t t e r a b l e to t h e i r dominance and  the  fend o f f c h a l l e n g e s  from below.  political maintain In  other  8 words, because the regime r e s t e d  l a r g e l y on the Tatmadaw, which  used c o e r c i o n and v i o l e n c e on the regime's b e h a l f , the s t a t e l e a d e r s had o n l y a narrow c o n s t i t u e n c y to manage, c o n t r o l and reward.  i t meant t h a t  to c a t e r t o , or  For Burma's m i l i t a r y - s t a t e  l e a d e r s , t h i s was a l e s s complex task support, and i n terms of h o l d i n g  than winning p u b l i c  on t o power, i t was more  effective(17). (7)  The c o n f i g u r a t i o n of an excluded, a l i e n a t e d , and  h e l p l e s s populace, counterposed a g a i n s t r e s t i n g on m i l i t a r y power organized  a h i g h l y autonomous s t a t e  i n support of the regime and  the s t a t e , has l e d to a s i t u a t i o n of impasse and immobilism, a s i t u a t i o n which c o u l d extend i n d e f i n i t e l y . I t i s my c o n t e n t i o n withdrawal i s n o n - e x i s t e n t ,  t h a t the p o s s i b i l i t y of m i l i t a r y  a t l e a s t u n t i l Ne Win's death, due t o  the m i l i t a r y ' s fear of Ne Win and the f e a r of r e t r i b u t i o n stemming from i t s a t r o c i t i e s i n the nori-Burman p e r i p h e r i e s and i t s massacre of unarmed p r o t e s t e r s  i n 1988.  As w e l l , withdrawal  i s f o r e c l o s e d because the m i l i t a r y has become a s e l f - i n t e r e s t e d p r i v i l e g e d c l a s s which b e l i e v e s i n i t s own d i c t i m that the " m i l i t a r y i s the regime i s the s t a t e " , and because c e r t a i n f a c t o r s v i t a l t o the r e t u r n of c i v i l i a n r u l e are l a c k i n g .  These  f a c t o r s , among o t h e r s , are some form of communication and mutual t r u s t between m i l i t a r y and c i v i l i a n l e a d e r s , and the a v a i l a b i l i t y of c i v i l i a n l e a d e r s with l e a d e r s h i p s k i l l s a f t e r almost three decades of r e p r e s s i o n .  9 This will  t h e s i s i s organized  examine the  civilian  a l s o be  and  i t s seizure  by s c h o l a r s  pertaining  the m i l i t a r y ' s p o l i c i e s and of power. to the  actions  Some important views expressed  regime and  the  state  i n Burma w i l l  discussed. Chapter I I I , w i l l e x p l o r e the  intervention, and  Chapter II  nature of the m i l i t a r y regime, i t s r e l a t i o n with  leaders,  following  into six parts.  leadership  nature of m i l i t a r y  s t r a t e g i e s , d i c t a t o r s h i p and  despotism,  s t a t e - s o c i e t y r e l a t i o n s h i p s i n seeking to c o n s t r u c t  c o n c e p t u a l framework to guide the  analysis.  Chapter IV focuses on and m i l i t a r y i n Burma, the  ideology  view of the s t a t e , s o c i e t y , and growth of  i t s power, and  examines the  o r i g i n s of  i t s e l f , and  the  corresponding  state.  Chapter V d e a l s with the q u e s t i o n of how  employed, and  actions  threats  the m i l i t a r y  e x p l o r e s the d e v i c e s and  taken by the regime to c o n s o l i d a t e  on power, or to pre-empt and  the  which shaped or d i s t o r t e d i t s  i t s capture of the  i n Burma maintained power, and  a  fend o f f what i t p e r c e i v e d  to i t s r u l e or c h a l l e n g e s to the  measures i t s grip as  state.  Chapter VI w i l l e v a l u a t e the attempts by the m i l i t a r y t o i n s t a l l a new  order t o c o n s t r u c t  o f f e r some c o n c l u s i o n s  presented.  a h i g h l y autonomous s t a t e  and  10 NOTES  FOR  C H A P T E R  ONE  1. This view of the concept of state autonomy i s derived from a discussion by E r i c Nordlinger in ON THE AUTONOMY OF DEMOCRATIC STATES (Cambridge,Mass.: Harvard University Press, 1981), pp.20-25. Also, see Barrington Moore, J r . , SOCIAL ORIGINS OF DICTATORSHIP AND DEMOCRACY (Boston: Beacon Press,1966), pp.252, 441. In the case study of Meiji Japan and a discussion of Germany under Bismarck, Moore refers to the a b i l i t y of state leaders to construct a s u f f i c i e n t l y powerful bureaucratic apparatus (including the m i l i t a r y ) in order to free the state from societal pressures, separate the government from society, so as to bring about modernization from above, or carry out conservative modernization. 2. J . S i l v e r s t e i n , BURMA: MILITARY RULE AND THE POLITICS OF STAGNATION (Ithaca: Cornell University Press,1977), p.83. 3. THE BURMESE WAY TO SOCIALISM (Rangoon: Director of Information, 1962) in J . S i l v e r s t e i n , "Burma" (pp.82-163); SOUTHEAST ASIA: DOCUMENTS OF POLITICAL DEVELOPMENT AND CHANGE, ed.D.E.Smith (New York, Praeger,1963), p.134. 4. Moshe Lissak, MILITARY ROLES IN MODERNIZATION: CIVIL-MILITARY RELATIONS IN THAILAND AND BURMA (London: Sage Publication,1976), pp.160-1,166-7,174. 5. THE NATION (Bangkok), July 9,1989.( Yan Ko Naing, "Unravelling an Enigmatic Burma"). Also Maureen Aung-Thwin, "Burmese Days", FOREIGN AFFAIRS (Spring 1989), p.161. 6. Louis J . Walinsky, "The Role of the M i l i t a r y i n Development and Planning: Burma", THE PHILIPPINE ECONOMIC JOURNAL, Vol.IV, No.2 (Second Semester 1965), pp.315-6. The performance of the caretaker government, 1958-60, i s uniformly praised by a l l those writing about Burma. General Ne Win, Brigadier Aung Gyi, Brigadier Maung Maung, Col.Tun Sein (the mayor of Rangoon), and others, were viewed as modernizers, e f f e c t i v e administrators, reformers, unifers, and even as professional soldiers par excellence without p o l i t i c a l ambitions because they withdrew from p o l i t i c s in 1960. For a good example of t h i s approach, see Frank N. Traeger, BURMA: FROM KINGDOM TO REPUBLIC (London: Praeger,1966), p.189. Also, see J.F.Cady, A HISTORY OF MODERN BURMA (Ithaca: Cornell University Press,1969), Supplement, pp.23-7. However, to be f a i r to Traeger, he has apparently given up on Ne Win and the Tatmadaw dictatorship. See "Democratic and Authoritarian Rule in a Not so Newly Independent Country", i n J . S i l v e r s t e i n , ed. THE FUTURE OF BURMA IN PERSPECTIVE (Athens: Ohio University Press,1974), pp.65-79.  11 7. Henry Bienen, ed. THE MILITARY AND MODERNIZATION (New York: Atherton,1971), p.11. (fn.24, indicating the position taken by J . J . Johnson, THE MILITARY AND SOCIETY IN LATIN AMERICA, Stanford: Stanford University Press,1964). 8. Bienen, op c l t , pp.12-4. This i s a synthesis of the views expressed by Marion J.Levy, "Armed Force Organization"(pp.41-78), and John P. L o v e l l and C.I. Eugene Kim, "The M i l i t a r y and P o l i t i c a l Change in Asia"(pp.102-116), i n Bienen, ed. THE MILITARY AND MODERNIZATION, op c l t , and Lucian W.Pye, "Armies in the Process of Modernization", in Claude E.Welch, J r . , ed. POLITICAL MODERNIZATION: A READER IN COMPARATIVE POLITICAL CHANGE (Belmont, Ca.: Wadsworth Publishing Co.,Inc.,1967), pp. 297-306. 9. The views of Eastern bloc scholars towards any Third World regime evidently depended on their government's p o l i c y regarding that p a r t i c u l a r country. 10. A.Iskenderof, "The Army, P o l i t i c s , and the People", in Bienen, THE MILITARY AND MODERNIZATION, op c i t . pp.149-56. He c i t e s the regimes in Egypt, Syria, Algeria and Burma as being revolutionary s o c i a l i s t regimes. Eastern Bloc scholars do not d i f f e r much from each other in their analyses of m i l i t a r y regimes i n general, and in p a r t i c u l a r , about which m i l i t a r y regimes are progressive or reactionary. Also, Georgy I.Mirsky, "The Role of the Army in the S o c i o p o l i t i c a l Development of Asian and African Countries", INTERNATIONAL POLITICAL SCIENCE REVIEW, Vol.2,No.3 (1981), p.333. He has t h i s to say of the m i l i t a r y in Burma: "Thus, a group of the Burmese revolutionary m i l i t a r y headed by Ne Win...reasoned, as did Nasser in his time, that socialism can be an alternative means of reviving the nation, d e l i v e r i n g i t from Imperialist exploitation and achieving social justice". 11. Concerning United States anxiety about Burma being either invaded or subverted by Communist China, see for example FOREIGN RELATIONS OF THE UNITED STATES (Washington D.C.: State Department, 1975 onwards), Dispatches between American Embassy, Rangoon, and State Department, Washington, D.C. Year 1950. Vol.6, pp.42, 49,243,353; Year 1951, Vol.1 and 2, pp.19,30, 273-4,279,307; Year 1952-1954, Vol.12, No.2, pp.194, 229,234,241. 12. As far as can be judged from the personal experience of l i v i n g i n Northern Thailand for almost 10 years, S a r i t was widely regarded by Thais of a l l classes or segments, e s p e c i a l l y by the peasants, as a beneficient and heroic leader who not only saved the country from external threats, but brought about progress and prosperity. This sentiment about S a r i t was s t i l l prevelant i n the mid-1980s.  12 13. This i s curious because U Nu and his Pyidaungzu party won a landslide v i c t o r y on a a n t i - m i l i t a r y platform, despite the m i l i t a r y ' s preference for the Stable AFPFL and h o s t i l i t y towards U Nu in the 1960 e l e c t i o n s . The elections indicated that the people had not only tasted, but had rejected the m i l i t a r y ' s s t y l e and methods of modernization. It i s my opinion, which i s shared by many in Burma, that the elections, moreover, indicated a measure of p o l i t i c a l maturity and the electorates' appreciation of the democratic process. Also U Nu's v i c t o r y indicated his wide acceptance as a legitimate leader, and that the people no longer saw him, and by implication, the government, as one of the Five Enemies of Man. It i s curious that some foreign observers should assume that their enthusiasm for the m i l i t a r y would be shared by the people so soon after their r e j e c t i o n of the m i l i t a r y and a f t e r their acceptance of U Nu's legitimacy. Edward F e i t , among others, points out to the absence of immediate popular resistance to the coup as indicating the people's disgust with p o l i t i c i a n s , and by implication, their support for m i l i t a r y r u l e . See F e i t , THE ARMED BUREAUCRATS (Boston: Houghton Mifflin,1973); pp.98-9. Even i f the protests of July 7th, 1962, and in 1963 (during the period of peace talks between the regime and various rebels), and other protests, were to be dismissed as i n s i g n i f i c a n t , there was i n the same period, no evidence of popular support for the m i l i t a r y e i t h e r . The absence of popular resistance could be attributed to apathy. On the other hand, however, t h i s begs the question of how an unarmed populace r e s i s t s tanks, more so since a coup i s a surprise move? This discussion leads us to a central contradiction, conceptually and p r a c t i c a l l y , that arises when there i s an unsuccessful popular uprising. On one hand, i t i s welcomed ( i . e . , the public is expected to r e s i s t tyranny, and is b e l i t t l e d as apathetic, backward, and ignorant i f i t does not). However, when the uprising i s bloodily crushed, the international response i s "back to business as usual" with whoever controls the c a p i t a l c i t y . Talk about the popular w i l l , people's power, support for democratic aspirations, and so on, are soon forgotten. There is instead talk about non-interference, and so on. However, t h i s non-interference stance i s not exactly what i t is touted to be since the subsequent "back to business" response is but a form of t a c i t and actual support for power incumbents, even where the regime is obviously i l l e g i t i m a t e . The point I wish to make here i s that the absence of v i s i b l e popular resistance should not be understood as wide support for a m i l i t a r y regime or disgust v i t h p o l i t i c i a n s . It must also be noted that there are factors which s e r i o u s l y i n h i b i t a mass uprising: f i r s t l y , the incumbent regime enjoys a preponderance of power and advantages, and when the s i t u a t i o n gets desperate, i t w i l l often not hesitate to use indiscriminate violence; and secondly, popular movements are not l i k e l y to obtain external assistance since external actors are more comfortable with the status quo, and by implication, with the incumbent, however i l l e g i t i m a t e .  13 14. P a r t i c i p a t i o n by the peasants, Burman and otherwise, in the protests against m i l i t a r y rule in 1988 has been reported by several eye-witnesses in other towns such as Bassein, Henzada, Prome, Yenangyaung, Magwe, Akyab, Moulmein, M e i k t i l a , Mandalay, Maymyo, Taunggyi, and so on. (Conversations with SS, STA, KT, and others, who either witnessed the protest, had v i s i t e d their hometowns after the massacres, or had close contacts with family members in Burma). Also see B e r t i l Lintner, OUTRAGE: BURMA'S STRUGGLE FOR DEMOCRACY (Hongkong: Review Publishing,1989), p.156-7. General "I Saved Burma" Saw Maung, the Chairman of the SLORC (State Law and Order Restoration Council), in a speech on July 5,1989, mentioned that at Ywathitgyi and Taze in r u r a l Upper Burma, the police stations there were successfully stormed by demonstrators. See, NEWS OF MYANMAR (Washington D.C.: The Embassy of the Union of Myanmar), No.2, Special Issue (July 1989), p.4. There i s no doubt that Burman peasants have not fared well under the m i l i t a r y regime. According to David I. Steinberg, writing in 1981, 86 percent of r u r a l families l i v e below the poverty l i n e ( i . e . , U.S.$40 per capita), which he attributes to the low government price for paddy, the elimination of the r i g h t of inheritance, and the sraallness of the plot owned (63 percent of farms being under five acres). As well, he estimated that 25 percent of peasants were employed as either seasonal or d a i l y farm labor. See David I.Steinberg, BURMA'S ROAD TOWARDS DEVELOPMENT: GROWTH AND IDEOLOGY UNDER MILITARY RULE (Boulder: Westview,1981), pp.79,115-6. 15. Most of Burma's top m i l i t a r y leaders, such as Aung San, Ne Win, Aung Gyi, Tin Pe, Maung Maung, and so forth began t h e i r careers as p o l i t i c a l agitators, and became " m i l i t a r y " men only after they formed or joined the BIA (Burma Independence Army) which was, as described by Dorothy Guyot, "a p o l i t i c a l movement in m i l i t a r y garb". For an admiring, but at times perceptive, portrayal of the BIA, see Dorothy Guyot, "The Burma Independence Army: A P o l i t i c a l Movement i n M i l i t a r y Garb",in J . S i l v e r s t e i n , ed. SOUTHEAST ASIA IN WORLD WAR II:FOUR ESSAYS (New Haven: Yale University Press,1967), pp.51-65. 16. The "nation" and "the state" i n Burma have been i d e n t i f i e d by the Burman "national" leaders in general, and the m i l i t a r y i n p a r t i c u l a r , with Burman e t h n i c i t y , Burman culture and values, and Burman history which, by the way, stressed the right of Burman kings to rule over others by virtue of alleged Burman s u p e r i o r i t y . As noted by David Brown, the a n t i - c o l o n i a l movement was " e s s e n t i a l l y a Burman ethnic n a t i o n a l i s t movement" which "portrayed the independent Burmese state as the successor to the Burman dynasties of the past". He also observed that the m i l i t a r y has been more c l o s e l y i d e n t i f i e d with the Burman majority. See David Brown, "From Peripheral Communities to Ethnic Nations: Separatism in Southeast Asia", PACIFIC AFFAIRS, Vol.61, No.K Spring 1988), p.56. David I.Steinberg also observed that Burman  14 leaders believed that independence was von by the Burman (a perception which, i n c i d e n t a l l y , i s of doubtful v a l i d i t y ) . The implication i s that the non-Burman segments who had not "fought for independence" would therefore have to accept Burman c u l t u r a l hegemony and p o l i t i c a l domination. See Steinberg, BURMA: A SOCIALIST NATION IN SOUTHEAST ASIA (Boulder: Westview, 1982), p.121. Modern Burma i s a state composed of ethnic groups that are not only c u l t u r a l l y defined, but defined h i s t o r i c a l l y and t e r r i t o r i a l l y as well. How a common "Burmese nationalism" i s to be created and a r t i c u l a t e d which embraces a l l , or most, of the e x i s t i n g c u l t u r a l values and, as well, their respective h i s t o r i c a l and p o l i t i c a l experiences, i s a major problem which has to be addressed and which has not been successfully done so far. 17. I t must here be recognized that the m i l i t a r y i n Burma, l i k e a l l r u l i n g Third World m i l i t a r i e s , was ambivalent about winning popular support. On one hand, their self-image as " s o c i a l i s t and revolutionaries", or "reformers", "guardian of the nation's cherished values", and so forth, deluded Ne Win and his Brigadiers into thinking that the "masses" supported them and shared their values, a common delusion shared by most Third World coupmakers. Hence there did not appear a need for winning popular support. On the other hand, winning popular support, i n p r a c t i c a l terms, meant the m i l i t a r y ' s active involvement i n p o l i t i c k i n g , winning over and bargaining with s o c i e t a l segments, and so on, which would have exposed i t to a l l sort of compromises and some form of power-sharing with c i v i l i a n groups and, worse, with s l i p p e r y and corrupt p o l i t i c i a n s . This dilemma i s inherent i n , and common to, almost a l l p o l i t i e s under m i l i t a r y r u l e , and d i f f i c u l t to resolve e s p e c i a l l y in an environment of noni n s t i t i o n a l i z e d p o l i t i c s characterizing Third World states.  15  CHAPTER  (a)  TWO :  THE NATURE OF MILITARY RULE IN BURMA  The M i l i t a r y as a P o l i t i c a l Superstar The m i l i t a r y has always been an active p o l i t i c a l  player i n Burma.  This i s due mainly to i t s perceived role as the  vanguard of the "struggle" for independence in 1942-48 —  a claim  made by the army which has not been seriously examined and which has been generally accepted as empirically v a l i d . The post-independence m i l i t a r y i n Burma, predominantly Burman, and led mainly by Burman o f f i c e r s (1), had i t s roots, successively, i n the BIA (Burma Independence Army), the BDA (Burma Defence Army), the BNA  (Burma National Army), the LBF  (Local Burmese Forces), and the PBF ( P a t r i o t i c Burmese Forces). These armies were e s s e n t i a l l y what D.Guyot c a l l e d movement[s] i n m i l i t a r y garb"(2).  "political  The f i r s t of these, the BIA,  was formed around a nucleus of t h i r t y young Burman n a t i o n a l i s t s , the Thirty-Comrades or Yebaw Thon-gyek(3), who belonged to the Dobama Asi-ayone, which was a p o l i t i c a l movement led by p o l i t i c i z e d graduates and students of Rangoon University whose aim was independence from B r i t i s h c o l o n i a l r u l e .  The Dobama  movement, i t s members, the Thakins, and the ideology or b e l i e f s that i t espoused played a s i g n i f i c a n t role not.only in the transformation of Burma from a colony to a new independent state in 1948, but also in the creation and the moulding of i t s armed  16 forces or the Tatmadaw  which, a decade l a t e r , asserted I t s e l f as  a superordinate power. The Dobama movement had i t s genesis in the turbulent 1930s.  It was  founded in 1930 by Ba Thaung, an obscure, part-  time "tutor-cum-editor-cum-salesman", together with two Thein Maung and Hla Baw,  at a time when anti-Indian and Burman  n a t i o n a l i s t i c feelings were running high. country-wide  friends,  anti-Indian r i o t s in May  1930,  There had been bloody, in which at least  250  Indians were k i l l e d and some 2,500 more injured by rampaging Burman mobs who  f e l t that they had been shoved aside in their  own  homeland by immigrant Indians, e s p e c i a l l y by Indian laborers(4). While emotions were running high, and the stench of blood and violence hung thick in the a i r , the three unknown and young men  obscure  launched their movement with combative and crudely  e f f e c t i v e slogans such as, "Burma for the Burmans", "We  Burman,  the master race", "Non-aggression breeds more aggression, Aggression quells aggression", "Run danger", and "Live dangerously"(5).  out and meet the onslaught of It was Ba Thaung who  proposed that Dobama members c a l l themselves "thakin"(6) in order to remind the Burman that they were a master "race"(7).  In  addition to the slogans and the s e l f - e l e v a t i o n of the Burman to the status of a master "race", the Dobama song recalled past g l o r i e s and m i l i t a r y conquests  of Siam and other neighboring  kingdoms and peoples, and claimed (incorrectly) that the Burman were the descendants of the Sakyan "race", i . e . , from the linage of Gautama Buddha himself(8).  The main component of the Dobama  17 ideology,  i f i t could be so described, was  a s t r i d e n t Burman  ethnic sentiment, a "pure form of racialism", which was  "basic,  emotional, more against something than for anything p o s i t i v e l y " , according  to Ba Maw,  the Thakin's one-time mentor(9).  It was  a  potent brew in which were mixed feelings of humiliation from being ruled by White-faced (Myetna-hpyu) foreigners, and envy of various  "foreigners" who  had benefitted, i t was  humiliation, such as the Ka-bya  f e l t , from Burman  or Eurasians (Anglo-Burmese or  Anglo-Indian), the Indians, and the Chinese(10); well, resentment against the Karen who  there was,  as  were viewed as favored  by  both the c o l o n i a l establishment and missionaries with a disproportionate  share of government jobs and other benefits(11).  The time in which the Dobama emerged, the 1930s, was  a  decade of turmoil i n Burma stemming, p a r t l y , from the accumulated impact of far-reaching socio-economic changes wrought by c o l o n i a l rule in which the Burman f e l t disadvantaged, and,  in part, from  the introduction by the B r i t i s h of some form of s e l f - r u l e and i n i t i a t i o n of e l e c t o r a l and p a r t i c i p a t o r y p o l i t i c s . was  also due  the  Partly, i t  to the general global tension and turmoil r e s u l t i n g  from the world economic c r i s i s , the Great Depression, and p o l i t i c a l ferment in Europe where German and nationalism and threatening  I t a l i a n chauvinist  "national socialism" had dramatically emerged,  to sweep the "decadent democracies" away.  In f a c t ,  many i n t e l l e c t u a l s i n Western democracies had begun to doubt the v i a b i l i t y of democracy, and some even came to believe that t o t a l i t a r i a n i s m , i n one  form or another, was  the wave of the  18 future.  Communism also seemed part of the future and was  touted  as a shortcut to l i b e r a t i o n and i n d u s t r i a l i z a t i o n ; i t was, therefore, p a r t i c u l a r l y a t t r a c t i v e to i n t e l l e c t u a l s and a s p i r i n g "national leaders" i n poor, backward, exploited, and colonized regions of the world.  In Asia, Japan had emerged as a m i l i t a r y  power, and m i l i t a r i s t s and r a d i c a l r i g h t i s t s espousing ultranationalism and m i l i t a r y expansionism had grown i n strength, gaining ascendency by 1937(12).  Nearer home, the struggle for  freedom waged by Mahatama Gandhi and the Congress had resulted in various p o l i t i c a l reforms and some form of power-sharing which, i n c i d e n t a l l y , was also extended to Burma by the B r i t i s h . Within such an unsettled international climate, and with r a d i c a l changes taking place within Burma i t s e l f , ferment, or Huntington's praetorianism(13), expected.  political  was only to be  Under such circumstances, the Dobama movement was able  to a t t r a c t a wide, but e s s e n t i a l l y amorphorous  following(14)  because i t s "ideology", or more c o r r e c t l y , i t s haphazard c o l l e c t i o n of slogans, responded to almost every aspiration and f r u s t r a t i o n , and f i g u a r a t i v e l y speaking, also f i t t e d every purse and pocket.  The movement espoused an extreme form of Burman  nationalism, as mentioned, which was further reinforced by linkages to, for example, Burman r o y a l i s t sentiments, Mussolini's fascism, H i t l e r ' s national socialism, and to Leninism, Stalinism, Trotskyism, and so on.  These ideas  were advocated, or to be  precise, bandied about by Dobama leaders of every p o l i t i c a l hue(15).  It i s s i g n i f i c a n t that none of the leading Thakins  19 advocated democratic ideals and practices(16), and that none gave much thought to conceptualizing a genuine and inclusive "Burmese nationalism" transcending Burman ethnic nationalism.  Regarding  democratic p o l i t i c s , i t i s apparent that the Thakins, having experienced a v a r i a t i o n of competitive and open p o l i t i c s introduced by the B r i t i s h from the 1920s onward, did not quite take to i t , either because i t was introduced by a c o l o n i a l power, or perhaps because they perceived that they could not compete with others whom they f e l t were better educated, or otherwise better endowned, such as the English merchants, the Eurasian community, the Chinese, and the Indians. According to Ba Maw, a p o l i t i c i a n who played an important role in the shaping of modern Burma, the Dobama attracted, i n p a r t i c u l a r , a generation of young men who were "rootless, very much down and out, and subconsciously trying to escape from their problems"(17).  I t was these young men who,  when t o t a l war came to Burma in 1942, joined and led the BIA which, i n fact, was the "army" of the Dobama, an army given shape and substance by the T h i r t y Thakin Comrades and the Dobama worldview.  Some of these young men who joined the BIA and led or  participated i n various successive "armies", and whose minds were shaped by t h e i r experience as armed " p o l i t i c i a n s " , or conversely, as p o l i t i c a l " s o l d i e r s " , became the cadres and o f f i c e r s of the post-independence 1948.  Burma Army when independence was attained i n  20 These men believed in general that i t was they, more than anything or anyone else, who had fought for and created the new Burma and restored to i t the t e r r i t o r i e s which the B r i t i s h had attempted to separate, and that they had, as well, restored to the Burman people the g l o r i e s of the golden past and Burma's r i g h t f u l place i n the world(18).  Among such men was a former  postal clerk and aspiring p o l i t i c i a n , Thakin Shu Maung, who was to become General Ne Win, and who was to be lauded i n 1962 and thereafter as a "unifer" who could hold the country together i n the manner of past "warrior kings"(19).  Aung Gyi, Maung Maung,  Tin Pe, San Yu, Sein Lwin, to name a few prominent  individuals,  who became important top brass i n the post-war Burman-dominated army, were a l l students and agitators connected, i n one way or the other, with the Dobama when they enlisted i n the BIA, the BDA, the BNA, and the LBF/PBF during the war. Though h i s t o r i c a l l y not very v a l i d , i t i s generally accepted by the "Burmese"(20), e s p e c i a l l y the Burman, that the T h i r t y Comrades and the BIA and other Thakin-led "armies" played a c r u c i a l role i n the e v i c t i o n of both the B r i t i s h c o l o n i a l i s t s and the Japanese invaders from Burma.  This myth or m i l i t a r y lore  has furthermore been accepted by many scholars, even by an otherwise knovledgable authority on the m i l i t a r y i n Burma, Moshe Lissak, who stated that the Burma Army "had long experience i n g u e r i l l a warfare against the B r i t i s h and the Japanese"(21).  21 The wide currency accorded the m i l i t a r y ' s image as the "savior of the nation" and revolutionary vanguard which had independence has n a t u r a l l y reinforced the self-image  "von"  of the army  as a p i v o t a l player in the a f f a i r s of the "nation", rather than as a servant of the state.  Further, the role played by the Burma  Army, the Tatmadaw, i n the late-1940s and early-1950s, in propping up the Thakins of the AFPFL (Anti-Fascist People's Freedom League), who  succeeded to power in 1948,  against their  r i v a l s and erstwhile comrades, the communist Thakins, l e f t i s t Thakins i n the PVO  (People's Volunteer  Organization),  and  disaffected Burman army units, and against the Karen, further boosted the p o l i t i c a l c a p i t a l of m i l i t a r y leaders.  This  dependence of the AFPFL Thakins on the m i l i t a r y leaders assured them a l i o n share of the national budget as v e i l . The army leaders also never s e r i o u s l y considered themselves subordinated  to c i v i l i a n powerholders.  As once stated  by Brigadier Maung Maung, "the cream of the resistance movement stayed  in the army...[It i s ] irkesome to find those who  hold their own  could not  in the army becoming, in time, our superiors"(22).  And more s i g n i f i c a n t l y , according to Wiant, army leaders were convinced  that only they and the Tatmadaw understood the dreams  of Aung San, the father of not only the Tatmadaw, but of the and u n i f i e d " Burma, which had been dashed in 1947 assassination, and abandoned by the AFPFL(23). the m i l i t a r y , t h i s dream was  the establishment  "new  with his  As understood by of a p o l i t i c a l  order consisting of "...only one nation, one state, one party,  22 one leader", in which there were to be "no  parliamentary  opposition, no nonsense of individualism", and where a l l "must submit to the State which is supreme over the individual"(24).  (b)  The M i l i t a r y on Center-Stage Burma's m i l i t a r y leaders, the " m i l i t a r y "  Thakins,  were, therefore, not ordinary a p o l i t i c a l s o l d i e r s , but  important  p o l i t i c a l superstars waiting in the wings, watching with disdain the inept performance of the less q u a l i f i e d p o l i t i c i a n s and c i v i l i a n leaders on center stage.  Their f i r s t chance to display  t h e i r superior s k i l l s and leadership q u a l i t i e s came i n 1958 when the AFPFL, the party of the c i v i l i a n Thakins, s p l i t into the Stable (Dee-Mye) the Clean  faction led by U Ba Swe and U Kyaw Nyein, and  (Thant-shin)  faction led by U Nu{25).  The  military  stepped i n , and assuming the role of a caretaker government in 1958-1960, proceeded to clean up the "mess" created by c i v i l i a n incompetence.  Having accomplished i t s task, the caretaker  government presided over a r e l a t i v e l y free and f a i r e l e c t i o n which, to the dismay of the m i l i t a r y , was  handsomely won  by U Nu  running on an a n t i - m i l i t a r y platform(26). In 1962/  two years after U Nu had won  a landslide  e l e c t o r a l v i c t o r y against the military-backed Stable faction(27), the m i l i t a r y once again stepped i n . goal was  not merely, as in 1958,  This time, the army leaders'  to clean up the mess caused by  c i v i l i a n incompetence and weaknesses.  It was,  rather, to "pick  up the banner of revolution dropped by the f a l l e n Aung San", and to link the Tatmadaw  with a "united and m i l i t a n t " working people  and peasants i n order to uphold the "noble a n t i - F a s c i s t revolution t r a d i t i o n " and carry on the revolution(28).  It was a  return to the Dobama ideals which had inspired them to " f i g h t " for independence;  they also imagined or believed the whole  "nation" was just as inspired as they were by those ideals(29). As noted by Badgley, though the jargon of the army leaders i n Burma was s o c i a l i s t and Marxist, they were "ardent nationalists"(30) seeking to maximize the power of t h e i r state(31).  For the m i l i t a r y , imbued by Dobama nationalism,  socialism and i t s s t a t i s t organizational p r i n c i p l e s and c e n t r a l i z i n g tendency represented a means for achieving  "national  unity", i . e . , creating a single community(32). In place of the parliamentary system which the AFPFL leaders, and i n c i d e n t a l l y Aung San, as well, accepted(33), and which the m i l i t a r y viewed as a f a i l i n g system f u l l of loopholes and defects, or simply as "fraudulent p o l i t i c s " ( 3 4 ) , i t set out to construct a one-party s o c i a l i s t state based on a s o c i a l i s t economy i n "a Burmese way and i n a Burmese form"(35). In order to achieve a "planned proportional development of a l l the national productive  forces", i t proceeded  to nationalize " v i t a l " areas of " i n d u s t r i a l " and a g r i c u l t u r a l production,  and i n the spheres of d i s t r i b u t i o n , transportation,  and commodities marketing(36).  In e f f e c t , t h i s amounted to the  24 suppression of the market economy and of market forces and mechanisms, and the outlawing of private economic and activities.  commercial  The tentacles of the state, manned by the  Sit-Bo  ( m i l i t a r y o f f i c e r s ) , subsequently extended not only to the commanding heights of the economy, but to a l l forms of economic activity.  As a prelude to the establishment of a new Burmese  s o c i a l i s t order, the m i l i t a r y managers expelled Indian and Chinese entrepreneurs, and confiscated a l l their worldly possessions.  Those remaining were impoverished, harassed or  discriminated against.  The m i l i t a r y saw them only as foreign  c a p i t a l i s t - e x p l o i t o r s and f a i l e d to appreciate their contribution to the process of, to coin a phrase, c u l t u r a l and integration  through the stomach.  national  For these "foreign" traders and  middlemen had served, through their country-wide a c t i v i t i e s , not only to link regions with regions, towns with v i l l a g e s , and as well, the Burman with the Shan, the Shan with the Kachin, and so on, but they had in the process, also widened the use of Burmese (the Burman language), and had consequently made the various segments and ethnic groups more aware of their  interdependence  and of the fact that they a l l l i v e d under one flag(37). In the p o l i t i c a l sphere, the m i l i t a r y embarked on a process of what could be c a l l e d the n a t i o n a l i z a t i o n or p o l i t i c a l l i f e .  of  A l l p o l i t i c a l parties were banned.  politics Even non-  p o l i t i c a l bodies, such as writer associations, c u l t u r a l s o c i e t i e s , student organizations, independent trade unions, and ethnic associations, were banned or had their a c t i v i t i e s severely  25 restricted.  As well, a l l doors and windows to the outside world  were closed(38).  Attempts were even made to bring Buddhism and  the sangha under the control of the new order(39).  Burmese S o c i a l i s t  A l l means of communication were taken over, and  press and a l l means of popular expression More importantly,  the  severely curtailed(40).  the m i l i t a r y regime exerted  increasingly tighter control over the peripheries and  an  abolished  what i t viewed as unnecessary internal d i v i s i o n s , i . e . , the e t h n i c a l l y defined constituent states (the Shan, Kachin, Karenni state, and so on), and the right of secession provided and Karenni (or Kayah) states by the 1948  the Shan  Constitution(41).  Thus, the country which the m i l i t a r y saw as close to breaking in 1962,  was  up  once more, the m i l i t a r y boasted, held firmly and  e f f e c t i v e l y together(42).  The status of the "troublesome and  d i v i s i v e " non-Burman p o l i t i c a l - t e r r i t o r i a l e n t i t i e s or the constituent states, was  changed.  From being semi-autonomous  subordinate units within a quasi-federal or  semi-unitary  arrangement(43), they became mere administrative e n t i t i e s , no d i f f e r e n t from other Burman Daing or d i v i s i o n s whose borders could be changed at w i l l by the central government(44).  The  h i s t o r i c a l fact that these e n t i t i e s became part of the Union of Burma by virtue of the Panglong Agreement i n 1947  was  brushed  aside as i r r e l e v a n t , even though the day on which i t was is s t i l l celebrated as Union  Day.  signed  26 A l l power functions and structures hitherto residing separately i n the executive,  l e g i s l a t i v e and j u d i c i a l branches of  government were restructured so that the newly created Myanma Sos h e - l i t Lanzin  or the Burmese S o c i a l i s t Programme Party (BSPP)  stood at the apex of power, or so i t seemed. government and a l l administrative organs. candidates,  It controlled the  And i t also selected  not only for the national l e g i s l a t u r e , the Pyithu-  H l u t t a v , but also for the various People's Councils Gaungsi)  (Pyithu-  from the s t a t e / d i v i s i o n a l levels right down to the sub-  township level(45).  S t r u c t u r a l l y , the state i n Burma was no  d i f f e r e n t from Eastern European one-party ones(46).  To complete  the picture of the regime as a revolutionary s o c i a l i s t one, a l l the top m i l i t a r y leaders, including Ne Win, even doffed their m i l i t a r y caps and wore gaung-baungs (a s i l k headgear worn by Burman men on formal  (c)  occasions).  The Nature of Burma's M i l i t a r y Rule: Approaches Outwardly, the state in Burma and the new order which  the m i l i t a r y constructed was a one-party s o c i a l i s t d i c t a t o r s h i p of the Burmese working people (the Loktha-Pyithu).  Outward  forms, however, hide more than they reveal, and, as such, the question of what the nature of m i l i t a r y rule i n Burma i s , has been subjected to examination and debate, e s p e c i a l l y by p o l i t i c a l s c i e n t i s t s and analysts(47); various interpretations have followed.  27 Broadly speaking, there are three schools of thought concerning t h i s phenomenon. Bloc and neo-Marxist  The f i r s t school consists of Eastern  analysts, as mentioned e a r l i e r , who simply  accept the outward forms of the " s o c i a l i s t " regime of the Burmese Loktha-Pylthu  or the Working People(48).  It seems that these  scholars have overlooked c e r t a i n underlying basic features, such as the fact that there does not exist in Burma d i s t i n c t and stable class formations; that both the bourgeoisie and the working class are very t i n y or yet unformed; and that the economy is s t i l l  l a r g e l y a peasant-based subsistence one where the  function of cash as a productive or c a p i t a l generating (or accumulation)  factor i s s t i l l very novel and not yet understood  by the peasants, or even by the indigenous urban segments(49). The second school consists of scholars whose interests lie  mainly in the phenomenon of Third World m i l i t a r y intervention  and economic development.  This school focuses p r i n c i p a l l y on the  role of the m i l i t a r y as economic modernizers and examines and explains the "Burmese" m i l i t a r y ' s successes and/or f a i l u r e s i n t h i s respect.  This school i s represented by such scholars as  Moshe Lissak, Edward F e i t , David I. Steinberg, Richard Butwell, Dorothy Guyot,  J.Wiant(50).  The t h i r d group o f p o l i t i c a l s c i e n t i s t s and scholars has concentrated on a broader o v e r a l l view o f the nature o f m i l i t a r y rule i n Burma.  There are, within t h i s school, those who  view m i l i t a r y rule i n Burma as non-modernizing, i n the sense that  28 the development of democracy and the emergence of a c i v i l society have been retarded as a consequence of m i l i t a r y dominance in politics.  The analysts in this category include Josef  S i l v e r s t e i n , the late Maung Maung Gyi, Mya  Maung, and a veteran  j o u r n a l i s t s p e c i a l i z i n g in Burma, B e r t i l Lintner(51). Within t h i s broad approach, there are, on the  other  hand, scholars such as R.H.Taylor, Michael Aung-Thwin, John Badgley, and Jon Wiant(52), who  view the m i l i t a r y regime in Burma  from the perspective of history.  Some view the m i l i t a r y as  restoring to the Burmese p o l i t y c e r t a i n positive t r a d i t i o n a l values and symbolisms, i . e . , as an experiment, as i t were, in a form of Burmese-Buddhist socialism designed to bring about some modernizing changes while minimizing i t s i l l - e f f e c t s .  Others  view m i l i t a r y rule as part of an inevitable h i s t o r i c a l - p o l i t i c a l process which has restored some equilibrium to a society that had suffered serious dysfunction r e s u l t i n g from the imposition of a l i e n values and  institutions.  As such, i t i s held that m i l i t a r y  r u l e , despite repression and serious malperformance, would benefit Burma and  i t s people in the long run.  The h i s t o r i c a l process approach taken by R.H.Taylor and Michael Aung-Thwin w i l l be outlined here, not because their works are more i n s i g h t f u l or v a l i d , but because they are conceptually relevant to the arguments advanced in t h i s t h e s i s . Taylor's basic argument, as pointed out by Gordon Means, i s that "the state cannot be explained or analyzed  as a by-product of  29 s o c i o - c u l t u r a l factors or of economic and class  conditions,  because the state, as a central repository of power and making, has the capacity to perpetuate i t s power and  decision-  impose i t s  pattern on a l l other s o c i a l and economic i n s t i t u t i o n s " ( 5 3 ) .  The  present p o l i t i c a l order, in Taylor's view, represents a stage in the evolution of a continuous Burmese state and a resolute reassertion of state hegemony(54).  Taylor argues that the state  in Burma has existed since the Pagan dynasty (849-1287) through the a b i l i t y of various surpluses,  "state-makers" to expropriate  economic  control foreign trade, and successfully wage wars of  expansion which imposed a Burman-Buddhist hegemony over an area roughly covering  present-day Burma.  Consequently, Taylor  that by the nineteenth century, homogenization of the was  well underway.  That i s , proto-nationalism  asserts  population  in the form of  attachment to the crown and Buddhism had already developed(55). Taylor views the m i l i t a r y coup as an e f f o r t by "those [ i . e . , the m i l i t a r y ] who  f e l t a primary obligation to the  perpetuation of the state" to restore the predominance of the state v i s — * a - v i s c i v i l society after a period of attempts by others to impose an order based on external values and  concepts,  which had resulted in a s i t u a t i o n where "the state i s not dominant [but] must compete with a v a r i e t y of other groups which are mobilising s i g n i f i c a n t competition to i t " ( 5 6 ) .  Taylor  defines "the State" as being "more than just a human i n s t i t u t i o n " , and asserts that the state "has a l i f e and  spirit  of i t s own,  who  separate, i f not superior to the individuals  compose i t " ( 5 7 ) .  To further c l a r i f y his view of what "the State"  i s , he quotes Benedict Anderson, who writes that "the state has to be understood as an i n s t i t u t i o n , of the same species as the Church...it  ingests and excretes personnels i n a continuous,  steady process... the state not only has i t s own memory but harbours self-preserving and self-aggrandizing impulses, which at any given moment are 'expressed* through i t s l i v i n g members, but which cannot be reduced to their passing personal Accordingly, m i l i t a r y rule in Burma represents,  ambitions"(58).  in Taylor's view,  an attempt by the m i l i t a r y to structure s o c i a l r e l a t i o n s so that no forces can develop to threaten the perpetuation  of the state.  Thus the m i l i t a r y i s applauded as attempting to constitute the state as the ultimate a r b i t e r of s o c i e t a l c o n f l i c t s , to establish state hegemony, and to set the l i m i t s of acceptable economic and s o c i a l  political,  behavior(59).  Taylor states that the regime's most s i g n i f i c a n t achievement was the removal of "foreign derived" and " a r t i f i c i a l " d i v i s i o n s within Burma's p o l i t y ( 6 0 ) .  An indigenous "Burmese"  unity was instead put in place, according to Taylor, by abolishing the autonomous status and the ethnic basis of the constituent states(61), and transforming c e n t r a l state"(62);  them into "agents of the  changing the legal codes applicable to  minority areas, thus providing for their long-term equality and i d e n t i t y within a "non-discrimatory  state l e g a l order";  holding  yearly Union Day celebration where the non-Burmans perform dances to express their c u l t u r a l d i v e r s i t y ( 6 3 ) ;  providing a l l ,  regardless of ethnic o r i g i n s , with equal r i g h t s , status, and access to health-care, education and other opportunities; establishing the Academy for the Development of National Groups at Sagaing by the BSPP, and so on(64). The m i l i t a r y regime has few other something admitted even by Taylor.  achievements,  One of these was  its ability  to maintain m i l i t a r y pressure against the Communist Party, the Karen National Liberation Army (KNLA), various Shan "armies", the Kachin Independence Army (KIA), and other smaller anti-state forces in the peripheries(65). Secondly, there was,  he  maintains, an increase in the number of teachers at a l l levels, and the r i s e in l i t e r a c y from 53 percent in 1963 to 81 percent i n 1985 due to the a l l o c a t i o n of more resources for education(66). Thirdly, health-care expenditure was  increased, infant mortality  rate dropped by one-third, and the numbers of doctors and increased in the mid-1980s.  nurses  However, Taylor admits that schools  and hospitals are overcrowded and poorly equipped(67). Aung-Thwin i s more positive in assessing m i l i t a r y rule than Taylor, whose approval of Ne Win's Tatmadav  regime i s  l i m i t e d to applauding i t s success in insuring the dominance and perpetuation of the state in Burma(68).  Aung-Thwin, on the other  hand, rigorously argues that i t i s i n v a l i d to view the 1962 coup as retrogressive and undesirable.  It was  instead, he maintains,  an e f f o r t to restore "meaningful order" and resurrect a uniquely Burmese c u l t u r a l identity(69).  His main contention i s that the  period from 1886 to 1962 ( i . e . , from the B r i t i s h annexation to the Ne Win's seizure of power), was one marked by crime and psychological dysfunction, ethnic c o n f l i c t s , and r e b e l l i o n by r e l i g i o u s forces(70). According  to Aung-Thwin, a meaningful order  should  f i r s t and foremost r e f l e c t precolonial Burmese (actually Burman) notions of p a c i f i c a t i o n , i . e . , the notion of a Pax Birmanica. This he defines as an unequivocal r e l a t i o n s h i p which had then existed which was one between a conquering central power and subordinated  p e r i p h e r i a l units and groups: a r e l a t i o n s h i p where  one's exact place, regardless of whether one was a Burman, Shan or Mon, was made clear i n the hierarchically-ordered society(71). Aung-Thwin suggests that the post-1962 Burman state has succeeded in achieving t h i s goal.  In other words, the m i l i t a r y has  redefined e t h n i c i t y for " i t s ' r e l a t i o n a l ' rather than i t s ' a s c r i p t i v e ' a t t i t u d e s " , and has thus made irrelevant notions of e t h n i c i t y derived from Western premises and experience(72). Aung-Thwin maintains that there now exists i n Burma a more meaningful order and unity since the Shan, Kachin, Karen, and so on are now no longer ethnicity-based p o l i t i c a l actors, but have become ethnic categories i n the anthropological, n o n - p o l i t i c a l , sense.  That i s , there has been a return to a more indigenous  s i t u a t i o n whereby ethnic groups define themselves i n terms of t h e i r r o l e - r e l a t i o n with other ethnic groups, i n p a r t i c u l a r , with the Burman i n a Burman-dominated p o l i t i c a l system(73). Thwin's argument i s based on the concept introduced  Aung-  by E.R.Leach,  which was further extended by F.Lehman to cover the troublesome r e l a t i o n s between the Burman center and the non-Burman peripheries in post-1948 Burma(74). Furthermore, Aung-Thwin believes that a meaningful Burmese order should r e f l e c t "the relationship of the government to other components i n Burmese society" as i t existed i n the pre1886  indigenous form(75).  He argues that t h i s indigenous  r e l a t i o n s h i p has been established by the m i l i t a r y i n Burma.  For  example, the r e l a t i o n s h i p between the state as the patron and the sangha as the l e g i t i m i z e r of the state has been symbolically expressed.  The r e l a t i o n s h i p of the government to the army i s  also t r a d i t i o n a l in the sense that " s o c i a l and p o l i t i c a l n o b i l i t y " i s attained through the army from which rulers are recruited.  As well, according to Aung-Thwin, the relationship of  the government to the agrarian class i s very t r a d i t i o n a l .  This  class i s the state's predominant economic resource and i s thus favored, Aung-Thwin argues, over the trading class(76).  He also  applauds the military-induced c u l t u r a l renewal as seen from the use of Burmese in a l l spheres of l i f e , the wearing of the longyi (a sarong for men), and the dropping of Anglicized names, and so forth(77).  He further maintains that a meaningful indigenous  order i n the economic sphere has been established as well.  He  states that the economic components of the "Burmese Way to Socialism" may i n fact be a modern form of t r a d i t i o n a l redistribution.  The economy i s largely agrarian, prices of  commodities are administered by the state, t i e s to other market  34 economies are r e s t r i c t e d , market conditions and p r i n c i p l e s are allowed to operate in c e r t a i n "pockets" only, namely the blackmarket(78),  and the aim of the state is directed at  achieving "the c e n t r i c i t y of state resources" rather than their dispersion, " s e l f - s u f f i c i e n c y , not gain"(79). Both Taylor and Aung-Thwin more or less dismiss as dysfunctional, i f not irrelevant and undesirable, a l l changes which had occurred and a l l p o l i t i c a l innovations and i n s t a l l e d in Burma from 1886  to 1962.  institutions  Though i t i t doubtful that  seventy-two years of history in which tremendous changes have occurred can be dismissed as irrelevant or as a period of "meaningless order", i t must, however, be granted that t h i s approach does r e f l e c t the world-view and mind-set of m i l i t a r y men  important  of Burma, in many ways.  In order to discover the nature of m i l i t a r y rule in Burma, i t i s necessary to understand  why m i l i t a r y leaders in  Burma held certain views and committed themselves to certain p o l i t i c a l formulas, and why they chose to construct a state with high autonomy r e l a t i v e to other s o c i a l and p o l i t i c a l components in "Burmese" society, and how  they did t h i s .  The stand taken in  t h i s thesis i s that the immense change which occurred in Burma in 1886-1962 cannot be ignored, but at the same time, i t i s argued that many things were unchanged, In p a r t i c u l a r , the fragmented nature of s o c i a l organization and r e l a t i o n s , and certain values, which d i s t i n g u i s h Burma and other Third World p o l i t i e s from the  West.  It must be added that Burma i s not unique, and Burma's  problems and p o l i t i c s are not very d i f f e r e n t from those facing other Third World p o l i t i e s .  Third world countries d i f f e r from  each other only i n the way t h e i r rulers or leaders, s o c i e t a l groups, and even i n d i v i d u a l s , respond to problems which are common to a l l of them. As such, the following chapter w i l l discuss concepts dealing with Third World p o l i t i e s and situations in order toconstruct a t h e o r e t i c a l framework to analyze and explain why and how the m i l i t a r y i n Burma imposed their r u l e , maintained t h e i r dominance, and re-asserted the state's autonomy r e l a t i v e to other groups and forces within society.  36 NOTES  FOR  C H A P T E R  TWO  1. When the Burma Army was re-organized in 1945, Aung San, i t s founder, envisioned i t as one based on "class battalions", a B r i t i s h army term for units organized along ethnic l i n e s , i . e . , with Burmans posted only to Burman units, and so on. See "Memorandum on the Proposed Reorganization of the Burma P a t r i o t i c Forces", August 1945, in J . S i l v e r s t e i n (Compiler), THE POLITICAL LEGACY OF AUNG SAN, Data Paper 86, S.E.Asia Program (Ithaca: Cornell University Press,1972); p.23. As such, there now " e x i s t s " , in name only, some class battalions such as the Shan R i f l e s (one b a t t a l i o n ) , Chin (four), Kachin ( s i x ) , and Kayah or Karenni (two). Even then, the number of non-Burman units have remained constant. When the c i v i l war was at i t s height, the Shan State government (headed by the Muangmit Prince, and Foreign Minister concurrently) proposed r a i s i n g three or four more Shan units to combat rebels in the Shan State. This request was, according to Colonel Saw Ohn (a Shan), rejected by Ne Win, then serving as a Deputy Prime Minister and Defence Minister. By the e a r l y 1950s, however, non-Burman r e c r u i t s were posted to Burman battalions and vice versa. As a r e s u l t , according to Dr. Vumson, a Chin national, Chins serving among Burmans picked up the habit of f r i t t e r i n g away their pay instead of remitting money back home. Consequently, Chin elders no longer encouraged Chins to e n l i s t . (Interview, August 1989, Washington D.C.). Moreover, non-Burman o f f i c e r s with long service experience or distinguished records in the pre-independence regular army, were not favored or trusted. For example, Sai Long, a Shan who received the B r i t i s h M i l i t a r y Cross during World War II, was r e t i r e d as a Lt.Colonel after over t h i r t y years of service. Such was also the plight of most post-1948 non-Burman o f f i c e r s . The majority of non-Burman o f f i c e r s were r e t i r e d with the rank of Captain, regardless of merit or q u a l i f i c a t i o n . Among Burman o f f i c e r s , upward mobility depends on factors such as, (a) membership in Ne Win's post-1948 f i r s t command, the 4th Burma R i f l e s (Fourth B u r i f ) , (b) membership in the BIA and other pre1948 armed organizations, (c) membership in the MIS ( M i l i t a r y Intelligence Service) and related intelligence bodies which Ne Win c l o s e l y monitors and supervises, (d) c l i e n t a l links with powerful senior o f f i c e r s (which i s a two-edged sword). Factors such as combat record (mostly held by non-Burman o f f i c e r s ) , professional m i l i t a r y experience (again, held mostly by the nonBurman), competence, i n t e g r i t y , and other merit and s e n i o r i t y c r i t e r i a , do not count as much in the Burma Array or in many, or most, Third World armies. 2. Dorothy Guyot, "The Burma Independence Army: A P o l i t i c a l movement in M i l i t a r y Garb", J . S i l v e r s t e i n , ed. SOUTHEAST ASIA IN WORLD WAR I I : FOUR ESSAYS (New Haven: Yale University Press,1966), pp.51-65.  37 3. For a l i s t of the Thirty-Comrades of the BIA and short bio-data, see Ba Maw, BREAKTHROUGH IN BURMA: MEMOIRS OF A REVOLUTION, 1939-1946 (New Haven: Yale University Press,1968), pp.443-46. 4. F.S.V.Donnison, BURMA (London: Praeger,1970), p.119. Also, Khin Y i , THE DOBAMA MOVEMENT IN BURMA, 1930-1938 (Ithaca: Cornell University Press,1988), p.4. 5. Khin Y i , THE DOBAMA MOVEMENT, op c i t . pp.5-6. Also, M.Maung (Brigadier, retd.), FROM SANGHA TO LAITY (New Delhi: Manohar Publications,1980), pp.79-82,119. 6. Khin Y i , op c i t , p.8. Also, M.Maung, op c i t , p.119. The term thakin i s a Burmese mode of addressing a person who one regards as a master or overlord. During the period of c o l o n i a l r u l e , a l l Englishmen were thus addressed by the Burman, e s p e c i a l l y by r u r a l people and those of humble stations i n l i f e . 7. Or, to put i t c o r r e c t l y , the Burman ethnic group. However, i n Burmese, no precise d i f f e r e n t i a t i o n i s made between r a c i a l and ethnonational i d e n t i t y . The term Lu-myo covers both. Thus, a black African i s c a l l e d Kappali Lu-myo; the Chinese, Tarok Lu-myo; the French, Pyinthit Lu-myo; the Burman, Bama Lumyo, and so on. There are, however, terms such as A-Myo-tha and Taingyin-tha, the former meaning roughly "national" as i n the national anthem (A-Myo-tha Thechin), and the l a t t e r loosely meaning the indigenous people of a country. 8. Khin Y i , op c l t p.7. The claim that the Burman race descended from the Buddha's family was, as noted by Khin Y i , a d i s t o r t i o n of the claim made that the f i r s t Burman king, Abiraja, was a descendant of the Sakyan race. f  9. Ba Maw, op c i t , pp.6,54. This strong, reactionary n a t i o n a l i s t i c sentiment, almost an ideology, i s similar to what has been described by Barrington Moore as "Catonism", which stresses more on what i t i s against than what i t i s f o r . See Barrington Moore, SOCIAL ORIGINS OF DICTATORSHIP AND DEMOCRACY (Boston: Beacon Press,1966), pp.491-95. 10. c i t . pp 79,127.  Khin Y i , op c i t , pp.6,7,17,21,96.  M.Maung, op  11. Dorothy Guyot, "Communal C o n f l i c t i n the Burma Delta", i n Ruth McVey, SOUTHEAST ASIAN TRANSITIONS (New Haven: Yale University Press,1978), pp.197,199-200. The alleged preponderance of Karen i n the c o l o n i a l service has,somehow, become an accepted " f a c t " , r e f l e c t i n g perhaps the over-sympathy for or confusion over "Burmese" nationalism on the part of Western scholars. Guyot refutes t h i s perception. She says the Karen were over-represented only i n the education service which  38 was due to their mission schooling; in fact, they were underrepresented i n other services. See Guyot, op c i t , p.201. Actually, the Burman were not as severely underprivileged or disadvantaged i n B r i t i s h Burma generally and widely believed or alleged. R.H.Taylor presents some figures for the year 1931, showing that the Burman made up 31.2 percent of personnel i n the M i l i t a r y and Police (as compared to Karen and other indigenous groups, which was 15.9 percent); 37.4 percent i n Public administration (Karen, etcetra, 25.5 percent); and 67.1 percent in Professional and l i b e r a l arts (Karen, etc., 24.8 percent); 59.2 percent in Trade (Karen, etc., 14.1 percent). See Taylor, THE STATE IN BURMA (London: C.Hurst, 1987), pp.130 (Table 2.2, adapted from Moshe Lissak, "The Class Structure of Burma: Continuity and Change", JOURNAL OF SOUTHEAST ASIAN STUDIES,1 [March 1970), p.130). The given figures above should be viewed in r e l a t i o n to the t o t a l population broken down into ethnic categories. Taylor c i t e s the population by e t h n i c i t y from BURMA HANDBOOK (Simla: Government of India Press,1944), as follows: Burman group 9.2 m i l l i o n ; Karen 1.3 m i l l i o n ; other indigenous groups 2.1 m i l l i o n (the Karen and other non-Burmans constituting over 30 percent of the t o t a l ) . See Taylor, THE STATE IN BURMA, op c i t , p.128. However, J.L.Christian, c i t i n g from " S t a t i s t i c a l Abstract for B r i t i s h India", in PARLIAMENTARY PAPERS, Vol.XXIX, 1937-1938, provides the following figures: Burmese (Burmese speakers) 8.6 m i l l i o n ; other indigenous races 4.6 m i l l i o n (comprising more than 50 percent of the t o t a l population). See C h r i s t i a n , BURMA AND THE JAPANESE INVADER (Bombay: Thacker and Co.,1945), p.382 It w i l l be seen that the Burman were not overly deprived, nore were the other indigenous "races" s p e c i a l l y favored. Despite facts to the contrary, Burman n a t i o n a l i s t s were "highly displeased over the r i s i n g fortunes of the once-despised races such as the Karens under the rule of the B r i t i s h " , according to a Burman scholar. See Maung Maung Gyi, BURMESE POLITICAL VALUES: THE SOCIO-POLITICAL ROOTS OF AUTHORITARIANISM (New York: Praeger,1983), p.234. 12. Robert A. Scalapino, DEMOCRACY AND THE PARTY MOVEMENT IN PREWAR JAPAN: THE FAILURE OF THE FIRST ATTEMPT (Berkeley: University of C a l i f o r n i a Press,1967). According to Scalapino, the e l e c t i o n of A p r i l 1937, was the last competitive e l e c t i o n in prewar Japan. He noted that after 1931, the f a i l u r e of democracy was c l e a r l y revealed, and says that "democratic philosophy and i n s t i t u t i o n s were completely riddled by the sword thrusts of m i l i t a r i s m and ultranationalism", pp.386-7,389. 13. S.P.Huntington, POLITICAL ORDER IN CHANGING SOCIETIES (New Haven: Yale University Press,1968), pp.192-97. 14. The following of the Dobama was amorphorous because i t was i t s e l f not a discrete body with clear organizational structures and boundaries. Membership was informal. It was a c o a l i t i o n of factions led by personalities  39 who, in turn, s p l i t or coalesced as dictated by personal feelings and by issues of the moment. There was constant jockeying for position and leadership. As well, the Dobama was loosely connected with other youth groups, such as the RUSU (Rangoon University Student Union), the ABYL (All-Burma Youth League), the ABSU (All-Burma Student Union), a l l of which were, again, amorphorous bodies. And in accordance with the issue of the moment, the Dobama attacked or cooperated with other more established parties, such as Ba Maw's Sinyetha (the Poor Man or P r o l e t a r i a t ) party, U Saw's Myochit (Patriots) party, or Deedok U Ba Choe's Fabian party. See, Khin Y i , op c i t , e s p e c i a l l y pp.13336, for feuds and jockeying for position among and between Thakin leaders. According to M.Maung, there was a Dobama "inner c i r c l e " composed of Thakins Aung San, Nu, Hla Pe (Bo Letya), Ba Hein, Ba Swe, Than Tun, Soe. But as c l a r i f i e d by M.Maung, i t was not a formal body and i t reflected d i f f e r e n t views at d i f f e r e n t times, depending on the issue and on who were present. M.Maung, pp c i t , pp.119,213-14. 15.  M.Maung,op c i t , pp.144-45.  16. Of the AFPFL Thakin leaders, only U Nu can be described as being committed to democracy more or less in the form as derived from and practiced in Western democracies. Aung San was also apparently committed to democracy, but was assassinated in July 1947, at the time when the constituent assembly had just begun drafting the c o n s t i t u t i o n . U Ba Swe and U Kyaw Nyein headed the s o c i a l i s t faction within the AFPFL, and were more committed to socialism than to democracy. 17. Ba Maw, BREAKTHROUGH IN BURMA: MEMOIRS OF A REVOLUTION, 1939-1946 (New Haven: Yale University Press,1968), p.104. 18. These claims made by the " m i l i t a r y " Thakins are, in a peculiar and passive way, not t o t a l l y i n v a l i d . Though they, the Thakins, did not hold s u f f i c i e n t power during the war to influence history-changing events, they were nonetheless present on the scene. As i t were, they were in the very eye of the storm which wrought these far-reaching and dramatic changes. They survived the storm, while t h e i r r i v a l s , the prewar leaders and p a r t i e s , did not. Thus they were able to exploit the advantages of t h e i r position and to reap the f r u i t s of v i c t o r y afterwards. In t h i s sense, and only in t h i s sense, the Thakins were not e n t i r e l y wrong i n making such claims. It must be noted that the Dobama and the successive armies and/or organizations i t created did not loom large in the minds of either the Japanese General Staff planning the invasion, nor did they figure s i g n i f i c a n t l y in the A l l i e d Command's plan to recapture Burma. 19. The "unifying" warrior-kings e s p e c i a l l y honored by the Burman m i l i t a r y , are King Anawratha (1044-1077) of Pagan,  40 Bayinnaung (1551-1581), and Alaungpaya (1752-1760). Aung San i s regarded as the fourth u n i f i e r . As can be seen from t h i s , unity is equated in the Burman m i l i t a r y minds with their conquests, and the submission of others. Of the "Thirty Comrades", only one, Thakin Shu Maung or General Ne Win, remained in the Burma Army by the late 1950s. Another who remained i n the army, Bo Kyaw Zaw, became a Brigadier and gained fame in the operations against the KMT (Nationalist Chinese) stragglers i n the Shan State. He was, however, cashiered in 1957 amidst allegations of being a closet communist, being soft on and leaking information to communist rebels. In 1976, ex-Brigadier Kyaw Zaw joined the communist forces on the China-Shan State border, and has not been heard of since then. On Kyaw Zaw, see B e r t i l Lintner, OUTRAGE: BURMA'S STRUGGLE FOR DEMOCRACY (Hongkong: Review Publishing Co.,1989); pp.50-1,79. Also, see dispatches from American Embassy, Rangoon, to State Department, Raw F i l e s , NATIONAL ARCHIVES, Washington D.C., November 28, 1956; December 15,1956; January 3,1957; January 23,1957. 20. I t i s generally accepted, somehow, by scholars that the term "Burmese" i s d i s t i n c t from the word "Burman"; the former as denoting a l l ethnolinguistic and e t h n o - t e r r i t o r i a l groups of Burma, and the l a t t e r refering only to native speakers of Burmese or the Burman language (or to the ethno-Burmese). Though the usage of the terms, mentioned, is a convenient device, i t must be remembered that the term "Burmese" refers to the language of the Burman and i s an adjective for things Burman, such as the Burmese costume, Burmese food, music, and so on. S t r i c t l y speaking, a Shan i s a Tai or Thai and a c i t i z e n of Burma, but i s not a Burmese because he i s not a thing belonging to the Burman. There i s a similar d i f f i c u l t y i n the use of the term "Myanmar" or "Myrma" and "Bama" as two d i f f e r e n t and d i s t i n c t terms. The former does not denote a l l ethnic groups of Burma, but is a l i t e r a r y and c l a s s i c a l name for the "Bama" or the Burman. The change of the country's name by Saw Maung*s SLORC from Burma to Myanmar i s therefore meaningless and incomprehensible to both the Burman and the non-Burman a l i k e . In t h i s thesis, the term used are "Burman", for ethnic Burmese, and "non-Burman" for the Karen, Shan, Kachin, and so on. The term "Burmese" w i l l be used within quote marks to indicate both the Burman and the non-Burman, i . e . , the c i t i z e n s of Burma. 21. Moshe Lissak, MILITARY ROLES IN MODERNIZATION (London: Sage Publication,1976), pp.155-6. For a more accurate account of the minor role played by the BIA against the B r i t i s h in 1942, and by the BNA and PBF against the Japanese i n 1945 (March-June), see Dr.Ba Maw's first-hand account as a major p a r t i c i p a n t and supreme leader of wartime Burma. Ba Maw, op c i t , pp.131-73, 389-400. For an account of the "Anti-Japanese Resistance", see R.H.Taylor, MARXISM AND RESISTANCE IN BURMA  41 (Athens: Ohio University Press,1984). It mainly recounts the manouvers executed by various Thakin leaders such as Aung San, Thakin Than Tun, Thakin Soe, Thein Pe Myint, and others, to extricate their groups and "armies" from "the consequences of having accepted Japanese f a s c i s t assistance"(p.68). The minor role played by the "armies" led by the Thakins was made clear both by Lord Louis Mountbatten and General William Slim in a meeting at Kandy with Aung San, Thakin Than Tun and others, and t h i s point was conceeded by Aung San himself (p.56). 22. Richard Butwell, " C i v i l i a n s and Soldiers in Burma" (74-85), in Robert K.Sakai, ed., STUDIES ON ASIA (Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press,1961), p.74. 23. Jon Wiant, "The P o l i t i c a l Symbolism of Tav-H2anxe-Khit" (59-72), in F.K.Lehman, ed., MILITARY RULE IN BURMA SINCE 1962: A KALEIDOSCOPE OF VIEWS (Singapore: Institute of Southeast Asian Studies,1980), pp.61,67. 24. Maung Maung Gyi, BURMESE POLITICAL VALUES, op c i t , p.162. As indicated by the author, Aung San's a u t h o r i t a r i a n - f a s c i s t i c "Blueprint For Burma", of which this passage i s a part, was written while he was in Tokyo in 1941 when t o t a l i t a r i a n i s m and Mussolini's and H i t l e r ' s leadership style were greatly admired by many. There i s , however, enough evidence to indicate that Aung San had by 1945 outgrown his youthful and not uncommon, e s p e c i a l l y among Asian n a t i o n a l i s t s , admiration for totalitarianism. As regards the "Blueprint For Burma", according to the editor of THE GUARDIAN, a Rangoon d a i l y , which published the document in a March 1957 issue, the material received was not in Aung San's handwriting. It was a copy of the o r i g i n a l allegedly made by a Mr.Sugii, a friend of Colonel Suzuki, the founder of the BIA ( S i l v e r s t e i n , THE POLITICAL LEGACY OF AUNG SAN, op c i t , p. 13 . ) . 25. Some of the leading Thakins, such as Thakins Nu, Kyaw Nyein, and Ba Swe, dropped the prefix to their names in favor of "U" (equivalent to Mister) after independence. Others, such as Thakin T i n , Thakin Tha Khin, Thakin Pan Myaing, and so on, retained the p r e f i x . 26. As to the reason why the m i l i t a r y withdrew to the barracks in 1960, there are c o n f l i c t i n g views. One view forwarded by Maung Maung i s that Ne Win was a "constitutional s o l d i e r " who, moreover, was not p o l i t i c a l l y ambitious, and wanted to preserve the army's image as "an organization of young men, trained, d i s c i p l i n e d , dedicated to high purpose". See Maung Maung, BURMA AND GENERAL NE WIN (Bombay: Asia Publishing House,1969), pp.232,257,260,269. M.Lissak, on the other hand, argues that the m i l i t a r y withdrew because i t was not ready, psychologically or i d e o l o g i c a l l y , to establish a prolonged  42 m i l i t a r y regime. See Lissak, MILITARY ROLES IN MODERNIZATION, op. c i t , p.165. However, many l o c a l observers were (and are s t i l l ) of the opinion that the m i l i t a r y at the time thought that i t was popular, and that i t s embryo p o l i t i c a l party, the National S o l i d a r i t y Association (NSA), had e f f e c t i v e l y mobilized the masses. The top brass hence believed that the pro-military Stable AFPFL would win the 1960 e l e c t i o n s . It must be remembered that the m i l i t a r y was highly praised by both foreign and l o c a l newsmedia, and the m i l i t a r y i t s e l f was not shy about patting i t s e l f on the back. There was very l i t t l e indication at the time that U Nu would win by a landslide and thoroughly humiliate the military. 27. Louis J.Walinsky, "The Role of the M i l i t a r y in Development Planning: Burma", THE PHILLIPINE ECONOMIC JOURNAL, Vol IV, No.2 (Second Semester,1965), pp.317-8. 28.  Jon W i a n t , " P o l i t i c a l Symbolism", op c i t ; p.67.  29. Khin Y i , op c i t . p.xv, "Introduction" by R.H.Taylor. He maintains that some of the ideas of the Dobama were implemented and i t s symbolic legacy was renewed by the m i l i t a r y a f t e r the 1962 coup. 30. John Badgley, "Burma: The Nexus of Socialism and Two P o l i t i c a l Traditions", ASIAN SURVEY, V o l . I l l , No.2 (February 1963), p.91. The d e s c r i p t i o n of the m i l i t a r y as "ardent n a t i o n a l i s t s " given by Badgley here underlines the confusion regarding what constitute "nationalism"in an e t h n i c a l l y segmented Third World state l i k e Burma. The kind of "nationalism" expressed by the Burman m i l i t a r y i s in content Burman e t h n i c n a t i o n a l i s m based on pride in Burman history, culture, language, etcetra, with the implication that i t i s superior, and that the culture, history, and so on, of the Karen, Kachin, and others, are i n f e r i o r and t r i b a l , and that they must therefore accept Burman hegemony, or the ethnocentric Burman version of "Burmese nationalism". A graver implication i s that the Burman has therefore the right to r u l e , and any opposition to Burman p o l i t i c a l and c u l t u r a l hegemony by other ethnic groups i s i l l e g i t i m a t e , and/or instigated by external powers. Within this context, i t would be more accurate to describe the m i l i t a r y as "ardent e t h n o n a t i o n a l i s t s " , rather than as "ardent n a t i o n a l i s t s " . The question of what "Burmese nationalism" i s , or what i t should be, i s not just a problem of t h e o r e t i c a l d e f i n i t i o n , but i s , rather, a c r u c i a l p o l i t i c a l problem as witnessed by the forty years war between the Karen and Rangoon, for example. 31.  Ibid.  32.  Ibid.  43 33. Up t i l l his early demise, Aung San had shown that he was not a Thakin partisan narrowly bound to any p a r t i c u l a r Dobama factions or ideas. He sought and appreciated the advice of U Tin Tut, a senior c i v i l servant and a member of the e l i t e ICS (Indian C i v i l Service), no less, and an important member of the wartime s t a f f of S i r Reginald Dorman-Smith, the B r i t i s h Governor-in-exile. Aung San's interim cabinet, a l l assassinated with him, included many non-Thakins, such as Deedok U Ba Choe, Abdul Razak, and Sao Sam Tun. As regards the rest, only Thakin Mya i s recognized as a bona fide Thakin. U Ba Win (Aung San's brother) was most l i k e l y only a nominal Thakin. Mahn Ba Khaing was a Karen leader who headed the Karen Youth Organization (KYO), which was a f f i l i a t e d to the AFPFL. Aung San was not p a r t i c u l a r l y close to Ne Win, who was, at that time, and by a l l accounts, an able subordinate, nothing more. As noted by his daughter, Aungsan Suu-kyi, her father wanted a professional army which did not engage in p o l i t i c s . See NEW YORK TIMES, January 11, 1989 ("A Daughter of Burma, but Can She Be a Symbol?", by Steven Erlanger). 34. F.R.von der Mehden, "The Burmese Way to Socialism"(129-35), ASIAN SURVEY, V o l . I l l , 3 (March 1963), p.131. 35. Ibid. From a statement attributed to Dr.Ba Maw with reference to the m i l i t a r y , which in f u l l reads: "It i s also Burmese; i t wants socialism, which i s good, but i t wants i t in a Burmese form and in the Burmese way, which i s better s t i l l " . (THE NATION (Rangoon) May 2,1962). This unconditional approval of Dr. Ba Maw for the m i l i t a r y and i t s Burmese Way to Socialism cannot, in my opinion, be taken at face value. He was a frequent v i s i t o r to our home in Rangoon and did not subscribe to "Burmese ethnonationalism". He was cosmopolitan and highly i n t e l l i g e n t . Moreover, in his book (op c i t ) , which he wrote in 1968, he c l e a r l y indicated that he did not at a l l admire the BIA or the m i l i t a r y thinking, e s p e c i a l l y on p o l i t i c s . 36.  von der Mehden, "Burmese Way,", op c i t , p.131.  37. Indian and Chinese merchants and middlemen, through s e l f - i n t e r e s t and p r o f i t motives, and through commercial transactions, served as links between the urban and rural areas and between various ethnic groups. They were, f i g u r a t i v e l y , the "market place" of which F u r n i v a l l spoke where separate s o c i e t i e s met. Moreover, these foreigners, so-called, were becoming assimilated and accepted the idea of a "Burmese" nation-state (again, more because of s e l f - i n t e r e s t and profit-motives, than because of any commitment to an integrated s t a t e ) . They spoke Burmese and used i t i n their dealings with the Karen, Kachin, Shan, and so forth. Further, not a l l Indians and Chinese were in commerce. Many of their descents had acquired higher education and professional t r a i n i n g . As such, the expulsion of the Indians (en masse, immediately following the coup), and the  44 impoverishment of, r e s t r i c t i o n s against, and expulsion (in a t r i c k l e , but s u b s t a n t i a l l y in the mid- and late-1960s) of the Chinese, exacerbated Burma's "brain-drain" problem. The majority of "Overseas Burmese" in the United States, A u s t r a l i a , England, and Canada are not Burman or ethnic-Burmese, but are "foreigners" who l e f t because they were excluded and made unwelcomed in Burma. 38. Burma's seclusion was a boon for nostalgic t r a v e l l e r s seeking a world untainted by Pepsi-cola culture and t r a f f i c jams, i . e . , the c o l o n i a l Asia of Somerset Maugham with i t s t r a n q u i l beauty and quaint old-world charms. There was, at one time, profuse praise for Ne Win for keeping Burma and i t s people untainted and unspoilt by crass commercialism a f f l i c t i n g neighboring Thailand. Most g u i l t y of such i n s e n s i t i v i t y were writers writing for j e t - s e t t o u r i s t s in glossy t r a v e l magazines memorable only for their color splashed advertisements for expensive perfumes. 39. Wiant, "The P o l i t i c a l Symbolism", op c i t . pp.612. The role of Buddhism and the Sangha in Burmese p o l i t i c s has, I f e e l , been generally been misunderstood. Too much emphasis has been placed on the legitimating function of Buddhism, and the p o l i t i c a l role of the Sangha. In Buddhist t r a d i t i o n , a monk i s one who has renounced the world completely and he therefore has no worldly obligations, much less any p o l i t i c a l or s o c i a l role in society. Monks are, in fact, beggars -- beggars who are, at the same time, morally superior precisely because of their unconditional renounciation. People, including kings and r u l e r s , give alms or support monastries for s e l f i s h reasons, i . e . , in order to gain merit which reinforces one's good karma (the sum t o t a l of one's behavior spanning many existences), and by implication, to buttress one's Pon (aura of moral-mystic power which e l i c i t automatic respect), Awza (authority, influence), Gon (prestige, s o c i a l d i s t i n c t i o n , an aura of s u p e r i o r i t y ) , and i f one i s involved i n p o l i t i c s , one's Ah-na (power, p o l i t i c a l power). Every male person possesses some degree of Pon in r e l a t i o n to the female sex. But both sexes can possess, within l i m i t s , certain amount of Awza, Gon and Ah-na. To digress, Pon, Awza, Gon and Ah-na are d i s t i n c t categories and are perceived to reside in a person in d i f f e r e n t combinations. According to t h i s mode of evaluating personal q u a l i t i e s , Ne Win, for example, possesses immemse Ah-na, very limited Awza, and very low Pon or Gon. Jack Kennedy w i l l be seen as possessing Gon, Avza, Ah-na, and certain degrees of Pon. The present Thai king, Bhumipol Adulyadej i s regarded as having a l l four categories. Aung San i s regarded as having had a high degree of both Avza and Ahna, and Gon-theikka (moral prestiege and i n t e g r i t y , a higher form of Gon) which i s essential for a leader, and vhich Ne Win lacks e n t i r e l y . Donald Trump vould possess Gon, extremely limited Avza and Ah-na, and vould have Pon only i n r e l a t i o n to the female sex. Monks possess Pon and Avza, and must have Theikka (observance of the rules of Sanghahood and moral  45 percepts), but should shun Ah-na. The Sangha i s , by d e f i n i t i o n , above p o l i t i c s and beyond the human world. But in times of stress and danger, or even personal misfortune, people, including kings and r u l e r s , may turn to the Sangha for protection because they are the "sons of the Lord Buddha", and thus possess Great Pon. But, i t i s the moral force and the s p i r i t of compassion embodied in the Sangha which provides protection, not the monk's actions per se on one's behalf, which is i n c i d e n t a l . A monk is not obliged to intercede or mediate in human disputes or c o n f l i c t s , or concern himself with human conditions. When a monk i s involved in p o l i t i c s , i t i s as an individual and without the sanction of the sect he belongs to, or even of his monastry. In that case, the said monk i s , s t r i c t l y speaking, no longer a monk because he has "re-entered the world of human concerns", but he may nonetheless gain followers and r e t a i n respect because of the s a n c t i t y of the "yellow robe". This is not to say that the Sangha i s not a p o l i t i c a l force or that monks do not p a r t i c i p a t e in p o l i t i c s . They have done so often, but t h e i r role in p o l i t i c s does not have the same weight or the t r a d i t i o n a l / i n s t i t u t i o n a l force or e f f e c t as, for example, the actions and pronouncements of the Roman Catholic Church in the Phi 1ippines. Even in olden days, the Sangha did not legitimate the rule of any p a r t i c u l a r king. He who observes the Ten kingly percepts (Min-Kyin Tara Se-bha) and the Five basic moral percepts (Nga-bha Thila) i s regarded as a "good king". Their observance is the most important component of the king's "personal legitimacy" (because power and l o y a l t y owed was personal). I doubt that there existed the concept of i n s t i t u t i o n a l legitimacy. The state or state apparatus has always been regarded as harmful and predatory, at least in Burma. The king or ruler supports the Sangha and the monastries, builds pagodas (chedl) and performs acts of merits s o l e l y in order to buttress his karma, his Anna, Pon, Avza, etc. Merit-making i s , in essence, a s e l f i s h and personal act, and has no direct  social  or p o l i t i c a l  function.  In Buddhism, there is also the concept of Marnya, an e v i l force which i s counterpoised against Lord Buddha's teachings. It is from this concept of a threatening dark and e v i l force that springs the concept of an a l i e n and heathen-like force (MeitzaD e i t t i ) endangering Buddhism, and t h i s i s used by olden kings to r a l l y his subjects against external enemies or intended external victims. For a i n t e r e s t i n g discussion on, and v a l i d portrayal of, the r e l a t i o n s h i p between r e l i g i o n and p o l i t i c s in Burma, see F.R. von der Mehden, "The Changing Patterns of R e l i g i o n and P o l i t i c s in Burma", EUK.Sakai, ed., STUDIES ON ASIA, oo c i t . pp.63-72. His view that Buddhism and the Sangha are symbols which are often manipulated by r u l e r s and leaders to gain votes or support, i s v a l i d , and i s reminiscent of Jimmy Carter portraying himself as a "born-again C h r i s t i a n " , or George Bush's image as a "family man".  46 40. On censorship and r e s t r i c t i o n s , see DAWN NEWS BULLETIN, Bangkok, March 1989, p.10 ("The Plight of Burmese Writers", by Yan Ko Naing). Writers had to submit their work to censors, who were mostly current or former Sit-Bo ( m i l i t a r y o f f i c e r s ) . They were made to pay half a Kyat for every page s c r u t i n i z e d , and further fined for s p e l l i n g errors. Moreover, each was required to provide the regime with 52 free copies of the published work. 1962", in  41. J . S i l v e r s t e i n , "Minority Problems in Burma since Lehman, ed., MILITARY RULE, op c i t . pp.56-7.  42. Frank N. Traeger, BURMA: FROM KINGDOM TO REPUBLIC (New York: Praeger,1966), pp.208-9. Traeger also f u l l y endorses t h i s self-image of the Burman m i l i t a r y . 43. For a detailed analysis of the 1948 Constitution with regard to the center-states power d i s t r i b u t i o n , see Alan G l e d h i l l , "The Burmese Constitution", in THE INDIAN YEARBOOK IN INTERNATIONAL AFFAIRS (Madras: University of Madras Press,1954). 44. J . S i l v e r s t e i n , BURMA: MILITARY RULE AND THE POLITICS OF STAGNATION (Ithaca: Cornell University Press,1977), pp.125, 133. 45.  Ibid, p.122.  46. R.H.Taylor, "Government Responses to Armed Communist and Separatist Movements: Burma", in G. Jeshurun, ed. GOVERNMENTS AND REBELLIONS IN SOUTHEAST ASIA (Singapore: Institute of Southeast Asian Studies,1985), pp.114-5. 47. There are distinguished historians who have contributed much to our knowledlge and understanding of Burma. Their valuable works are excluded from t h i s category for obvious reasons, although some of their works w i l l be heavily r e l i e d on. These distinguished scholars include J.S. F u r n i v a l l , J.F. Cady, F.S.V.Donnison, F.K.Lehman, Peter Kunstadter, Dr. Ba Maw, Dr. Htin Aung, Dr. Maung Maung, Hugh Tinker, Frank N.Traeger, M.Sakizyan, Victor Lieberman, Bruce Matthews, and so on. 48. For example, see Georgy I.Mirsky, "The Role of the Army in S o c i o p o l i t i c a l Development of Asian and African Countries", i n INTERNATIONAL POLITICAL SCIENCE REVIEW, Vol.2, 3(1981), pp.327-338. This, of course, i s understandable given the constraints under which Eastern Bloc scholars have had to work. And, Burma probably does not rank very high in the foreign p o l i c y considerations of Moscow or any of the Warsaw Pact countries. 49. H. MacDougall and Jon A.Wiant "Burma in 1984: P o l i t i c a l Stasis or P o l i t i c a l Renewal", ASIAN SURVEY, Vol.XXV, No.2 (February,1985), p.245.  47 50. Major works in t h i s category are: Moshe Lissak, MILITARY ROLES IN MODERNIZATION (London: Sage,1976); Edward F e i t , THE ARMED BUREAUCRATS (Boston: Houghton M i f f l i n , 1973); David Steinberg, BURMA: A SOCIALIST NATION IN SOUTHEAST ASIA (Boulder:Westview,1982). Butwell, Guyot,and Wiant have analyzed m i l i t a r y rule i n Burma i n numerous a r t i c l e s i n journals and periodicals. 51. Important works i n t h i s stream are S i l v e r s t e i n ' s BURMESE POLITICS: THE DILEMMAS OF NATIONAL UNITY (New Jersey: Rutgers University Press,1980), and BURMA; MILITARY RULE AND THE POLITICS OF STAGNATION (Ithaca: Cornell University Press,1977); Maung Maung Gyi, BURMESE POLITICAL VALUES (New York: Praeger, 1983). Mya Maung has written many a r t i c l e s in t h i s vein in journals. B e r t i l Lintner has analyzed m i l i t a r y rule in Burma in numerous reports for the FAR EASTERN ECONOMIC REVIEW, Hongkong. Following the 1988 mass upheaval and subsequent massacres and continuing repression by the m i l i t a r y , more work in t h i s vein i s to be expected. 52. See Robert H. Taylor, THE STATE IN BURMA (London: C. Hurst,1987). Aung-Thwin, Badgley, and Wiant have written important a r t i c l e s on t h i s aspect of m i l i t a r y rule i n various academic publications. 53. Gordon Mean's review of R.H.Taylor's book THE STATE IN BURMA, in CONTEMPORARY SOUTHEAST ASIA, Vol.10, No.3 (December 1988); p.328. 54.  Ibid, p.329.  55. Taylor, THE STATE IN BURMA, op c i t . p.6-7,10. This view i s of dubious accuracy since rulers have been regarded t r a d i t i o n a l l y by the Burman, especially, as the foremost of the Five Enemies of Man. See, E.Sarkisyanz, BUDDHIST BACKGROUND OF THE BURMESE REVOLUTION (The Hague: Martinus Nijhoff,1965), pp. 76,78-90. 56.  Taylor, op c i t , p.4.  57.  Ibid, p.3.  58. Ibid, pp.3-4. The passage presented here i s a shortened version of Taylor's quotation of a passage from Benedict R. O'G Anderson, "Old State, New Society: Indonesia's New Order i n Comprative H i s t o r i c a l Perspective", JOURNAL OF ASIAN STUDIES, XLII,3 (May 1983), p.478. 59.  Taylor, THE STATE IN BURMA, op c l t  60.  Taylor, "Government Response,", op c i t ; p.111.  P  p.11-12.  48 61. The fact that the Shan, Kachin and Chin states joined the Union of Burma as equal partners in 1947 as per the Panglong Agreement of February 7th, 1947, is ignored by Taylor, or dismissed as i r r e l e v a n t . 62.  Taylor, "Government Responses," op c i t , p.115.  63. Though the Union Day celebration and dances may be interpreted by outsiders, as by Taylor, as a sign of happy harmony or as o f f i c i a l approval of c u l t u r a l d i v e r s i t y , both the Burman and the ethnic groups know what i t r e a l l y means. It symbolizes the subordination of the Shan, Kachin, Karen, and so on, to the Burman m i l i t a r y power. The ethnic groups have nothing to be joyous about in r e a l i t y . The non-Burman resent the Union Day celebration, and are humiliated by t h i s symbolic show of submission, more so since the day marks the anniversary of the Panglong Agreement, which s i g n i f i e d their incorporation as eguals and the recognition by Aung San of their rights and autonomous status, which the m i l i t a r y has abrogated. Prior to 1962, however, because the non-Burman states enjoyed some form and degree of autonomy, the Union Day dances had positive symbolic meaning. As such, dance troupes were sponsored and organized by various towns and coordinated by the c u l t u r a l departments of state governments. P a r t i c i p a t i o n in the Union Day dances was therefore viewed as a chance to proudly display their c u l t u r a l heritage and to mark an important and meaningful h i s t o r i c a l event. 64. Taylor, "Government Response", op c i t , pp.11214. Taylor prefers to accept at face value the regime's pronouncements. Within the Burmese context, however, the term "non-discriminatory" i s a code word for the suppression of the r i g h t s of the non-Burman to their own laws, language, customs,, history,  and  autonomy  (whether  cultural  or p o l i t i c a l ) .  The  Burman  m i l i t a r y , i n p a r t i c u l a r , regards such rights as "discriminatory" and undesirable "special p r i v i l e g e s " , an attitude which i s comprehensible only to those who see l i f e (and p o l i t i c s ) as a series of zero-sum games.  65. Taylor, THE STATE IN BURMA, OP c i t . p.334. The a b i l i t y of the regime to "contain' ethnic rebel forces cannot be considered a s i g n i f i c a n t achievement since the Burma Army enjoys superior firepower, manpower, l o g i s t i c a l support, and has at i t s disposal a major portion of state resources and, as well, the advantage of external assistance. Though i t must be recognized that the t e r r a i n favors ethnic rebels, and that a small g u e r i l l a group is able to t i e up a number of regular units, i t must also be noted that ethnic rebel forces are, on the other hand, i l l fed, i l l - c l o t h e d , ill-armed, always short of ammunition, lack heavy weapons, are constantly on the move, and except for the BCP or CPB (Communist Party of Burma), do not enjoy foreign support or a i d . Their t a c t i c a l advantages are out-weighed by the numerical, material, l o g i s t i c s u p e r i o r i t y of the regular army. 1  49 Rather, what i s s i g n i f i c a n t i s that ethnic g u e r r i l l a s have been able to fight for so long. Those writing about ethnic r e b e l l i o n in Burma give the impression that i t is the Burma Army which i s the less superior force while proclaiming, at the same time, that i t is the best infantry force in Asia. Such writings are i l l u s t r a t i v e of i n s u f f i c i e n t attention paid to the deeper p o l i t i c a l ramification of the internal war in the ethnic areas. 66. Taylor, THE STATE, op c i t , p.359-50. However, in 1987 when the regime requested the United Nations to grant Burma the LDC (Least Development Country) status due to debt problems, i t argued that the high l i t e r a c y rate i t boasted about was l a r g e l y "monastic", and unrelated to economic development needs. David I.Steinberg, "Neither S i l v e r Nor Gold", i n J . S i l v e r s t e i n , ed. INDEPENDENT BURMA AT FORTY YEARS (Ithaca: Cornell University Press,1989), p.44 (fn.12). 67.  Taylor, THE STATE, op c i t . pp.359-50.  68.  Ibid, p.372.  69. Michael Aung-Thwin, "The B r i t i s h ' P a c i f i c a t i o n ' of Burma: Order Without Meaning", JOURNAL OF SOUTHEAST ASIAN STUDIES, Vol.XVI, 2 (September,1985), p.247 70.  Ibid.  71.  Ibid, pp.248-9.  72. Ibid, p.259. Also, Aung-Thwin, "1948 and Burma's Myth of Independence", in J . S i l v e r s t e i n , INDEPENDENT BURMA AT FORTY YEARS, op c i t . p.30. 73.  Aung-Thwin, "Burma's Myth", op c i t p.30. f  74. E.R.Leach, POLITICAL SYSTEMS OF HIGHLAND BURMA: A STUDY OF KACHIN SOCIAL STRUCTURE (London: G.W.Bell,1964); F.K. Lehman, "Ethnic Categories in Burma and the Theory of Social Systems", in Peter Kundstatder, ed. SOUTHEAST ASIAN TRIBES, MINORITIES, AND NATIONS (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1967), pp.93-124. This complex anthropological concept, as s i m p l i f i e d by Guyot, involves, b a s i c a l l y , the conceptualization of e t h n i c i t y as a r o l e , rather than as a s p e c i f i c set of c u l t u r a l and physical t r a i t s . I t posits that e t h n i c i t y becomes s a l i e n t only in s o c i a l settings where more than one ethnic group i s present, and that i t i s defined only in r e l a t i o n to other ethnic groups. Guyot extends t h i s concept to cover the Karen-Burman c o n f l i c t during the Japanese occupation. She maintains that the c o n f l i c t can be traced to the destruction of the Burman monarchy (which represented an expression of the legitimacy of Burman rule by which Burmans had related to other ethnic groups, or to which  50 the Karens could be l o y a l ) . The destruction of the Burman monarchy resulted, in Guyot's view, in the Karen transfering l o y a l t y to the B r i t i s h monarchy, hence their c o n f l i c t with the Burman and the BIA. See D.Guyot, "Communal C o n f l i c t in the Burma Delta", Ruth McVey, ed. SOUTHEAST ASIAN TRANSITIONS: APPROACHES THROUGH SOCIAL HISTORY (New Haven: Yale University Press,1978), pp.194-5,200-1. Personally, I think Leach's concept of e t h n i c i t y as the function of r o l e - r e l a t i o n s h i p s among ethnic groups is quite correct where i t concerns ethnic groups in a nonp o l i t i c a l and n o n - p o l i t i c i z e d environment. But the extension of Leach's concept by Lehman (and Guyot) to cover or explain the center-peripheral c o n f l i c t and r e l a t i o n s i n post-independent, and post-1962, Burma i s problematical. This i s a l l the more so when the m i l i t a r y regime lacks legitimacy, and when Ne Win i s not accepted by even the Burman public as a legitimate ruler (even i n a t r a d i t i o n a l sense), nor i s he personally popular. 75.  Aung-Thwin,"Burma's Myth,", op c i t , p.31.  76. Aung-Thwin's assertion here that peasants are favored by the regime i s contradicted by David I.Steinberg who has worked i n Burma as an USAID (United States Agency for International Development) o f f i c e r . Steinberg says that the peasants are once again at the mercy of the landlord, which i s the state (p.128). He also asserts that 86 percent of r u r a l farming families l i v e below the poverty level ( i . e . , U.S.$40 per capita, i n 1981), and that 25 percent of the peasant population is landless (p.79). David I. Steinberg, BURMA'S ROAD TOWARDS DEVELOPMENT: GROWTH AND IDEOLOGY UNDER MILITARY RULE (Boulder: Westview, 1981). 77.  Ibid, pp.31-2.  78. Aung-Thwin's contention that the blackmarket represents, as he puts i t , "pockets" of market conditions, i s rather a curious way of describing the l e g a l l y non-existent, but otherwise very real and a l l pervasive, i l l e g a l economy of Burma. c i t , p.260.  79.  Aung-Thwin, "The B r i t i s h ' P a c i f i c a t i o n ' " , p_p_  51  CHAPTER THREE: THE MILITARY IN POLITICS: THEORETICAL GUIDELINES  (a)  The Praetorians versus Praetorianism As stated by Claude E. Welch, throughout the history  of mankind, "control of the armed forces has provided the quickest, surest way to p o l i t i c a l pover"(l). the  The role played by  Praetorian guards, the m i l i t a r y i n ancient Rome, i n the  making and unmaking of emperors may well be the e a r l i e s t instance of overt influence i n p o l i t i c s exerted by an armed body of men organized as armed servants of the state. However, t h i s does not mean that the m i l i t a r y has h a b i t u a l l y intervened in p o l i t i c s throughout the world.  Direct  m i l i t a r y intervention has been r e l a t i v e l y rare or unknown for a considerable time in Europe, North America, and A u s t r a l i a .  Here,  even where regimes were established on the back of the m i l i t a r y , such as the regime of General Franco in Spain i n the 1930s, and the  Bolsheviks i n Russia i n 1917, s o l d i e r s were quickly made more  or less subordinate to c i v i l i a n leaders, i f not purged and made p o l i t i c a l l y powerless. But i n many states of Latin America, the Middle East, A f r i c a and Asia, "juntas and coups, m i l i t a r y revolts and m i l i t a r y regimes" have been, as noted by S.P. Huntington, quite common(2). As observed by S.Finer i n the mid-1970s, of the one-hundred and f i f t y states i n the world, f i f t y were under m i l i t a r y rule of some  52 kind, and many non-military  regimes, such as those i n Jordan,  Morocco, Iran, Guatemala, Nicaragua, E l Salvador and the Dominican Republic, existed only by courtesy of their m i l i t a r y forcesO).  According to C.Clapham, writing i n 1988, two-thirds  of Latin American countries, one half of Asian states, and more than half of African countries have experienced m i l i t a r y coups since 1960(4). As such, the phenomenon of m i l i t a r y intervention and m i l i t a r y rule, e s p e c i a l l y i n what i s c a l l e d the Third World, has prompted examination and analysis by scholars, e s p e c i a l l y by p o l i t i c a l s c i e n t i s t s . This has resulted i n the formulation of many explanations and hypotheses explaining  i t s occurence,  nature, and so f o r t h . Explanations of m i l i t a r y intervention can be roughly divided into two categories:  those based on factors  inherent  within the m i l i t a r y i t s e l f , and those on factors external to the military.  With regard to the former, i t i s explained  in terms  of, for" example, the use of the m i l i t a r y by c i v i l i a n governments as an instrument of repression; defence focus; Interest" i s ;  the lack of a clear-cut national  the m i l i t a r y ' s perception  of what the "national  the degree of the m i l i t a r y ' s internal cohesion;  the meddling by p o l i t i c i a n s i n the m i l i t a r y ' s internal a f f a i r s ; the class or s o c i a l o r i g i n of the o f f i c e r corps;  the absence of  s t r u c t u r a l d i f f e r e n t i a t i o n and functional s p e c i a l i z a t i o n within the m i l i t a r y ;  the lack of i n s t i t u t i o n a l boundaries between  53 c i v i l i a n and m i l i t a r y e l i t e s and/or the p o l i t i c i z a t i o n of the m i l i t a r y by p o l i t i c i a n s seeking m i l i t a r y support; of the m i l i t a r y ' s  role  the expansion  in the a f f a i r s of the country, and so  forth(5). Concerning factors external to the m i l i t a r y , the forces that push or, as the case may be, p u l l the m i l i t a r y  into  intervening i n p o l i t i c s , to name only the most s i g n i f i c a n t ones, are:  the i n t e n s i f i c a t i o n of domestic c o n f l i c t a r i s i n g from ethnic  or class cleavages;  deterioration  i n economic conditions;  absence or weakness of widely accepted procedures for p o l i t i c a l change and "rules of the game";  the  affecting  and the real or  perceived lack of legitimacy of c i v i l i a n governments on the part of the general public or of p o l i t i c a l and s o c i a l forces, and most importantly, the m i l i t a r y ( 6 ) . Studies have also been made by scholars assessing the success or otherwise of m i l i t a r y leaders and regimes i n handling the  complex process of s o c i a l and economic change generated by  the  process of modernization, i . e . , the spread of urbanization  (often the result of r u r a l d i s l o c a t i o n ) ,  mass education and  communications, the d i v e r s i f i c a t i o n of economic a c t i v i t y , and the expansion of government a c t i v i t y , from the l o c a l to the "national" l e v e l , i n the p o l i t i c a l and economic spheres(7). well, the m i l i t a r y ' s  As  performance i n creating p o l i t i c a l  i n s t i t u t i o n s to meet the growing demands made on the p o l i t i c a l  54 system that accompanies modernization have been examined and analyzed  by scholars(8). With reference to the m i l i t a r y ' s a b i l i t y to manage  complex change in Third World s o c i e t i e s , and  i t s c a p a b i l i t y in  i n s t i t u t i o n a l i z i n g p o l i t i c s or creating p o l i t i c a l order i n praetorian s o c i e t i e s ( i . e . , managing or coping with c o n f l i c t s that a r i s e from rapid changes and resolving them through the construction of a generally accepted set of i n s t i t u t i o n s and r u l e s ) , the general consensus i s that the m i l i t a r y has performed below expectations.  That i s , m i l i t a r y leaders have achieved  no  more than what c i v i l i a n leaders would have (had they not been displaced at gunpoint) in the tasks of i n s t a l l i n g p o l i t i c a l  order  and/or economic modernization, thereby refuting the "the m i l i t a r y as modernizer" thesis which emerged in the late 1950s and 1960s(9). The  fact that the comparatively  better organized  and  the best funded, in r e l a t i v e terms, organization in the Third World, the m i l i t a r y , has been unable to perform as well as expected, despite substantial foreign aid and goodwill usually made a v a i l a b l e , indicates that praetorian conditions within Third World p o l i t i e s cannot be e a s i l y managed.  M i l i t a r y regimes have  attempted to "tame" what they view as praetorian forces by what, in essence, can be described as reorganizing the p o l i t i c a l system from above, a measure which involves making the state more autonomous r e l a t i v e to various contending s o c i a l forces in  55 society(lO).  In short, the response i s one in which state  leaders and/or the m i l i t a r y , besieged by p o l i t i c i z e d and demanding l o c a l interests and various s o c i a l forces, respond with "the withdrawal of a l l p o l i t i c a l resources to the top" and by reducing "the s t r a i n on the system by shutting out lesser claimants to power" and, f i n a l l y , resorting to a "bare reliance on command from above"(11). To understand why i t has been d i f f i c u l t even for the m i l i t a r y to modernize Third World p o l i t i e s and s o c i e t i e s , i t i s necessary to isolate and examine certain aspects of praetorian politics.  F i r s t l y , i t i s necessary to look into the conditions  which give r i s e to a s i t u a t i o n where the society as a whole i s , as observed by Huntington, "out-of-joint"(12).  Secondly, one  must examine what constitutes p o l i t i c s i n such s o c i e t i e s , who the active players are and what their goals are, and how the game i s played i n such praetorian arenas.  Thirdly, strategies adopted by  p o l i t i c a l actors, and the choices made, must be analyzed i n order to explain or understand the outcomes. The examination of praetorian p o l i t i c s undertaken here w i l l focus c h i e f l y on the states and s o c i e t i e s of Southeast Asia, although the main concepts are relevant, and more or less applicable, as well, to the African states.  Latin American  praetorianism w i l l not be included here because what one would c a l l an h i s t o r i c time dimension constitutes a c r u c i a l element which would make the inclusion of Latin America i n this analysis  56 complicated  (b)  for a thesis of t h i s  length(13).  A Theoretical Look at Praetorian Societies Many states of A f r i c a and Asia, are not only "new",in  the l i t e r a l sense of the word, but they are also composed of many e t h n i c a l l y d i f f e r e n t i a t e d societies(14) whose members do not mix but meet only i n the market-place, as described by F u r n i v a l l ( 1 5 ) . It must be emphasized here that c o l o n i a l rule d i d not create, per se, F u r n i v a l l ' s dysfunctional p l u r a l i t y . together  It merely brought them  under one flag(16). Prior to the a r r i v a l of the c o l o n i a l i s t s , with their  insistence on set t e r r i t o r i a l boundaries, there existed in close proximity various empires, kingdoms, p r i n c i p a l i t i e s , sultanates, chiefdoms, c i t y - s t a t e s , trading ports, and a v a r i e t y of stateless communities.  Whatever the degree of "state-ness", or level of  p o l i t i c a l development these premodern p o l i t i e s had achieved, they had several features i n common which distinguished them from s o c i e t i e s and p o l i t i c a l trends  in the West.  F i r s t l y , money or cash did not figure prominently, i f at a l l , i n the everyday l i f e of ordinary people or of their lords and r u l e r s , though there existed some form of coinage system i n some of these states.  Wealth was not the function of money, and  was measured, for example, not even i n land, but i n the amount of grains one had stored, i n heads of c a t t l e , in exhibitions of generosity,  i n the a b i l i t y to support one's kins or followers  57 ( c l i e n t s ) and so on.  Certain aspects of this kind of economic  orientation are s t i l l prevalent in Third World r u r a l areas even today(17).  In other words, economic l i f e and forms of economic  exchange and organization, trade, and decisions on how produce and how  much to  their value was ascertained were not determined  by calculable factors (such as cost, or p r o f i t and loss, in terms of labor, time, for example).  Nor did there exist a market  mechanism, as such, in which factors such as supply and demand played v i t a l roles(18), and upon which r a t i o n a l planning reasonable  expectations  could be projected.  and  This, in turn,  contributed to the general uncertainty and u n p r e d i c t a b i l i t y of life. Secondly, in non-Western s o c i e t i e s which had pre-modern "statehood",  p o l i t i c a l power and s o c i a l control was  segmented and u n i n s t i t u t i o n a l i z e d . was  That i s , though the p o l i t y  h i e r a r c h a l l y ranked, primary l o y a l t y was  overlord and i t was  achieved  personal.  to one's immediate  The lowest peasant owed l o y a l t y  and personal service to his immediate overlord who,  in turn, owed  i t to a greater lord and so on, up the ladder, leading ultimately to the person of the king, or to the "emperor". apex of power was  the super-patron,  "Lord of l i f e " ( 1 9 ) .  The one at the  the absolute, all-powerful  These premodern p o l i t i e s were, in essence,  patrimonial p o l i t i c a l machines, and were marked either by f a c t i o n a l and segmental struggles for power and prizes at the center, or by e f f o r t s to escape a b s o l u t i s t demands of the center and/or of various overlords(20).  58 Thirdly, the lesser lords below the king in premodern non-Western p o l i t i e s were not, as in medieval Europe, land-owning " t e r r i t o r i a l princes and barons who  hold p o s i t i o n not by favor of  the r u l e r , but by a n t i q u i t y of blood,...[and] who subjects of their own who quote Machiavelli(21).  have states and  recognize them as their lords", to  There was,  instead, a separation between  landownership and p o l i t i c a l - a d m i n i s t r a t i v e power, and there did not develop,  to any p o l i t i c a l l y s i g n i f i c a n t degree, the kind of  hereditary land-owning a r i s t o c r a c y which, in many ways, limited royal power because of the king's dependence on them(22).  In  many cases, even when rulers claimed "ownership" of a l l land in t h e i r domain, such as among the Shan and Lao princes, i t was a claim to sovereignty rather than personal ownership(23).  And  fourthly, there did not exist as in medieval Europe, the "special j u r i d i c a l features and an Ideology of 'rights'", or in other words, a form of widely-accepted and rank manifested  i n s t i t u t i o n a l i z a t i o n of power  in the consecration of ruler-vassal r e l a t i o n s  through the affirmation of r i g h t s and duties under oath and before God(24). Therefore, because l o y a l t y (the source of power) owing to the overlord ( be he a king, a prince, or a v i l l a g e  leader)  was  was  personal, hence not i n s t i t u t i o n a l i z e d , i n s t a b i l i t y  inherent i n the system.  A man's primary experience  in terms of  power r e l a t i o n s h i p s was with his immediate overlord, his r e l i g i o u s teacher, the head of his clan, or a patron to whom he was  in some ways obliged.  These relationships "represented  59 larger worlds of a c t i v i t y and authority", and they  determined  where a man stood, whom he served, and with whom he went to war(25).  And generally, as noted by R.McVey, "the state was not  a l l ; often i t was not very much".  That i s , in many cases, the  power of the state embodied in the king's person, the power which "dominates a l l other kind of power, so that r e l i g i o u s , economic, and a l l other meanings come together at the level of the state, whose claims subsume, overshadow, or at least strongly a f f e c t them [ i . e . , a l l other kinds of power]", held sway only in the areas near the capital(26).  Many features characterizing  premodern non-Western p o l i t i e s , discussed above, are s t i l l to be found in many "modern" Third World states today. The nineteenth century witnessed the increased venturing of Europeans i n search of trade and p r o f i t into unknown and fabulously r i c h -- i t was thought encompass the Third World.  — areas which now  This search for wealth by a handful  of men quickly became a very serious venture which involved not only the annexation of pre-existing s o c i o - p o l i t i c a l systems, but as well, the i n s t a l l a t i o n of a very new order based on Western values and i n s t i t u t i o n s and which rested on r a t i o n a l economic laws and dynamics of capitalism; a l l of which was, natives, an absolutely revolutionary new order(27).  for the In t h i s  respect, c o l o n i a l rulers were, i n many ways, l i k e the enlightened absolute European monarchs, Louis XIV of France, for example, who transformed  their feudally-segmented  domains into national  60 states(28), though, of course, c o l o n i a l powers were not consciously creating new  or future  "nation-states"(29)  But, on the other hand, c o l o n i a l rule or a revolution, imposed externally and from above, triggered in the  subordinated  s o c i e t i e s a process of complex socio-economic changes.  This  process, as can be expected, resulted in the mobilization and p o l i t i c i z a t i o n of c o l o n i a l s o c i e t i e s , giving r i s e to what is l a b e l l e d by Huntington as "praetorianism"  where, "the wealthy  bribe; students r i o t ; workers s t r i k e ; mobs demonstrate", not unlike the situations in Third World states todayOO). difference was  only  that the c o l o n i a l m i l i t a r y did not stage coups,  and bribery was was  The  not as blatant or pervasive, and  praetorianism  not v i s i b l e . It i s evident that, even from cursory readings  history, c o l o n i a l rule was  marked by violence, and  of  that  p e r i o d i c a l l y , to borrow a phrase from Huntington, " a l l sorts of s o c i a l forces and groups became engaged in d i r e c t p o l i t i c s , ...[or] confronted  each other nakedly"(31), as can be seen from  peasant r e b e l l i o n s , s t r i k e s , demonstrations, communal r i o t s ,  and  so on, for example, i n India, Vietnam, and Burma after 1930(32). The conventional  view implying that praetorianism  emerged only  a f t e r decolonization can perhaps be explained by the fact that c o l o n i a l rulers were able to cope adequately with c o n f l i c t s between emergent s o c i a l forces for a time, thus obscuring underlying praetorian forces in the colonies.  the  In part, i t was  61 also due to slow communications, the complacent view of colonialism as a c i v i l i z i n g burden of the enlightened West, and the sympathy of scholars and journalists for such a view. Colonial powers, e s p e c i a l l y B r i t a i n , coped with praetorian conditions, the result of r a d i c a l changes they effected, through a system approximating David Apter's "Reconciliaton Development System".  That was a system where  r u l e r s more or less accommodated public demands, seeking to overhaul society i n general through technological change and reform, promoting economic development by encouraging l o c a l entrepreneurs, and seek to reconcile diverse interests through mediation and coordination.  This system was one which l a r g e l y  r e f l e c t e d and roughly approximated Western notions of democracy and r u l e r s h i p i n that i n s t i t u t i o n s , modelled on those back home, were introduced, giving s o c i e t a l segments some voice or representation, and some degree of p a r t i c i p a t i o n 33). resulted i n the implanting of constitutional  This  governments,  c e n t r a l i z e d administrative bodies, l e g a l - r a t i o n a l bureaucracies, impartial legal and j u d i c i a l systems, representative and consultative bodies, and so forth, r e f l e c t i n g Western values and concepts(34), i n addition to other economic(35) and s o c i a l infrastructures catering to the needs of society as a whole. It was these implanted, b a s i c a l l y Western, formal i n s t i t u t i o n s that scholars saw when new states emerged. Futhermore, i t seemed that many were a d d i t i o n a l l y blessed,  62 respectively, with charismatic leaders or a set of modern e l i t e s committed to nationalism, progress and equality, a dynamic and modern n a t i o n a l i s t movement which enjoyed high legitimacy and mass support, and, more importantly, a revolutionary people's army led by p a t r i o t i c and forward-looking  o f f i c e r s , tested by  f i r e i n a successful war of independence(36).  In r e a l i t y ,  however, the things that g l i t t e r e d and g l i n t e d in the sunlight were not gold, to paraphrase an old c l i c h e !  In most cases, the  emergent "nationalism" was often a p a r t i c u l a r i s t i c  identity  consolidated around a dominant ethnic group or t r i b e ( 3 7 ) . Instead of nationalism being a unifying force and symbol, the state instead became an agent of a p a r t i c u l a r ethnic group(38). And, contrary to n a t i o n a l i s t claims that the masses were mobilised around n a t i o n a l i s t independence movements, empirical evidence and hindsight suggest, as observed by R.Emerson, that the "actual extent of such mobilization i s dubious"(39). Further, as noted by A. Zolberg, the "charisma" of the " n a t i o n a l i s t " leader and his party was, to a substantial degree, derived from the recognition extended by c o l o n i a l authorities to a p a r t i c u l a r leader and h i s party as potential successors or equals, which resulted in their increased popularity and higher profile(40).  Furthermore, i t must be added that the " q u a l i t i e s "  necessary for a " n a t i o n a l i s t " leader were not always identical to those required for running a new state. Regarding the armed forces of new states, most of them were c e r t a i n l y not even proto-national armies, but were c o l o n i a l  63 forces subordinated to the respective metropolitian m i l i t a r i e s . Further, the majority of senior o f f i c e r s in the new  "national"  armies had l i t t l e s t a f f experience and were often jumped-up o f f i c e r s of unknown c a l i b e r .  There indeed exists a very great  difference between Third World armies and those of the West, p a r a l l e l i n g that which exists between a Third World p o l i t i c a l party and a Western one.  The praise heaped on these new  armies  as most modern, best educated, most t e c h n i c a l l y advanced, and the best d i s c i p l i n e d body, are unwarranted, more so when one considers that the functioning of most Third World m i l i t a r i e s i s shrouded  in secrecy(41).  And, concerning the " a n t i c o l o n i a l  revolutionary armies" imbued with nationalism, dedicated to the nation, and experienced in g u e r r i l l a - s t y l e wars of independence, there i s , again, a need for healthy skepticism.  For example, the  BIA in Burma was more ethnonationalistic than n a t i o n a l i s t i c , and did  not figure much in the B r i t i s h retreat from Burma in 1942,  or  the Japanese defeat in 1945. Though scholars have been quick enough to penetrate the facade erected around the Third World mass movements and p a r t i e s , thus contributing immensely to the understanding of the Third World, they have very r a r e l y questioned the m i l i t a r y ' s self-image or looked behind the khaki screen.  It i s undoubtedly  d i f f i c u l t to dissect the secret world of Third World armies, as noted by Bienen(42), but the "leaps of f a i t h " made by some scholars regarding them are extremely misleading.  Obviously  uniforms, gold braids, marching bands, and tanks do not an army  64 make, since there have arisen a number of most peculiar armies. There were those that went on s t r i k e , as in some new states of East A f r i c a , or mutinied, as in Burma and Belgian Congo; launched regional r e b e l l i o n s , as in Indonesia, or showed l i t t l e  interest  in combat, as in Laos and Cambodia; turned to money-making as in South Vietnam and Indonesia; or, believing themselves more capable of r u l i n g , meddled in p o l i t i c s , and overthrew  elected  governments.  (c)  Conceptualising Third World P o l i t i c s and Rulership Third World states and the process of p o l i t i c s which  has shaped and characterized them are very d i f f e r e n t from those in the West.  As noted e a r l i e r , they are l i t e r a l l y new  in that  they were hodge-podge and expedient amalgamations which c o l o n i a l powers integrated economically, and sometimes, administratively and p o l i t i c a l l y , into one t e r r i t o r i a l "national" unit. When these new states attained independence, often a negotiated one, they were, on the surface, "modern nation-states" with constitutions, cabinets, l e g i s l a t u r e s , j u d i c i a r i e s , armed forces, p o l i t i c a l parties, and so forth. were often mere facades.  But, in r e a l i t y , these  In some, they existed only on paper,  and were h a s t i l y drawn up c h i e f l y to f a c i l i t a t e the quick exit of c o l o n i a l powers.  The most obvious examples of these are the  Belgian Congo, Nigeria, Uganda, and Pakistan.  In other cases,  e x i s t i n g c o l o n i a l i n s t i t u t i o n s and processes had been destroyed  65  by the d i r e c t or indirect impact of World War most Southeast Asian states.  I I , as in Burma and  Or, they had been undermined by the  rapid mobilization and p o l i t i c i z a t i o n of s o c i a l forces manifested in demands for independence  which grew louder i n the later years  of c o l o n i a l rule(43). In e f f e c t , therefore, i t f e l l upon the shoulders of a handful of new state leaders to rule their domains as best as they could.  These were often p o l i t i e s , as noted by Huntington,  a f f l i c t e d by the p o l i t i c i z a t i o n of a l l s o c i a l forces and by the lack or weakness of i n s t i t u t i o n s capable of mediating, r e f i n i n g , and moderating the naked confrontation of these forces(44). Hence, p o l i t i c s , and governing, was not a matter of responding to or mediating demands from highly a r t i c u l a t e and organized s o c i a l interests and groups within i n s t i t u t i o n s operating under accepted "rules of the game".  In fact, the new  "national" leaders had to  deal with, win over, suppress, or neutralize, what W.Howard Wriggins c a l l s , the "components of power" ( i . e . , s o c i e t a l  groups  which r e t a i n a good deal of autonomy and are capable of showing or witholding their support for r u l e r s ) .  The components of power  refer not only to t r a d i t i o n a l notables or r e l i g i o u s and ethnic groups, but also to such "modern" components as armies, bureaucracies, and trade unions(45).  And, as noted by  Huntington, each of these components was quick to employ means which reflected mentioned  i t s peculiar nature and c a p a b i l i t i e s , as  earlier(46).  66  As such, for rulers of new states, p o l i t i c s has been p r i m a r i l y a matter of maintaining power and surviving p o l i t i c a l l y in a zero sum game(47).  This s u r v i v a l game i s played within  compartmentalized and fragmented power r e l a t i o n s h i p structures, which involve p o l i t i c a l players who are not discrete organizational e n t i t i e s , as noted by G.Heeger(48).  As such,  there has emerged i n many Third World states, a " d i s t i n c t i v e type of p o l i t i c a l system", termed by R.Jackson and C.Rosberg as "a system of personal rulership"(49). It i s a system where p o l i t i c a l order r e s t s , not on i n s t i t u t i o n s and rules, but on " p e r s o n a l - p o l i t i c a l arrangements", where the players' actions are more important than the underlying s o c i a l and economic environment(50).  The system i s therefore not  one based on the rule of law, nor i s i t one i n which the ruler aims at p o l i c y goals in order to guide the state towards a s p e c i f i c destination, but aimed at staying a f l o a t rather than going somewhere(51).  It i s highlighted by factionalism,  c l i e n t e l i s m and patronage, coups, purges, p l o t s , corruption, coercion, violence, succession  c r i s e s and other features and  dynamics of non-institutionalized p o l i t i e s and rulership(52). Such p o l i t i e s are marked, as Jackson and Rosberg astutely observe, by p o l i t i c s which are highly personal and a r b i t r a r y at the top, bearing some s i m i l a r i t i e s to pre-modern despotism and European absolutism. "bureaucratized"  They are increasingly  at the lower level(53) because of the e f f o r t s of  67  personal rulers to build up a central bureaucratic apparatus (as an instrument of domination), because of the continuing influences of the c o l o n i a l bureaucratic legacy, or the rulers* predispositions towards state managerialism and mercantilism(54).  neo-  In such systems, the one who has succeeded in  gaining power i s , according to Jackson and Rosberg, the key player.  He is a pivot of state power, and manipulates the law  and uses coercive instruments of the state to monopolize power and to deny a l l others the rights and opportunities to compete for that power.  Personal rulership i s maintained through "the  narrowing of the public sphere and i t s monopolization either by a single r u l i n g party or a m i l i t a r y oligarchy [controlled or dominated by one man,  the r u l e r ] " ( 5 5 ) .  Since these rulers operate in a n o n - i n s t i t u t i o n a l i z e d p o l i t i c a l arena, they w i l l probably employ whatever instruments are  at hand to maintain their positions.  For example, a leader  who controls the dominant single party w i l l l i k e l y use i t as a personal instrument to ensure his dominance, not only within the r u l i n g c i r c l e , but within the p o l i t y as a whole as well. S i m i l a r l y , a leader c o n t r o l l i n g the m i l i t a r y would employ the armed forces for s i m i l a r ends.  In other words, the trend is for  a p o l i t i c a l party, the armed forces, the presidency, parliament, and even the state i t s e l f , to lose characteristics  as I n s t i t u t i o n s ,  transformation,  i.e., changing  their "institution-ness",  or  and to ultimately undergo a  from  "modern"  institutions  into  68 expedient and more or less  patrimonial tools,  r u l e r or of a new r u l i n g  or the tool,  of a  circle.  It needs be recognized that i n a system of personal r u l e r s h i p , the means employed by the r u l e r to maintain h i s s u r v i v a l and position w i l l not be based on impersonal, l e g a l r a t i o n a l norms. patron-in-chief  Rather, i t i s the personal authority of the which holds everything together, and t h i s  authority w i l l be based on patron-client  t i e s and l o y a l t i e s ,  control of patronage (the d i s t r i b u t i o n of positions  for personal  p r o f i t ) , and a system of reward based not on merit but on personal l o y a l t i e s and other a s c r i p t i v e c r i t e r i a ( 5 6 ) ;  even  terror may be used i n extreme cases. Accordingly, elements of premodern relationships between the ruler and his o f f i c i a l s can be discerned in many "modern" Third World states.  These include  the a r b i t r a r y grants  of power by the ruler and similar alterations made as suits him; the r u l e r ' s personal judgement of a person as constituting a chief determinant for o f f i c e ;  the a r b i t r a r y w i l l of the ruler in  determining who s h a l l make what decisions government;  i n the conduct of  the frequent and abrupt shuffle of o f f i c i a l s to  prevent the i d e n t i f i c a t i o n of anyone with the o f f i c e he occupies, and  so on(57).  The transformation of modern i n s t i t u t i o n s and  bureaucracies into patrimonial power pyramids i s a l l too common and,  in many ways, indicates p o l i t i c a l decay.  This decay,  however, i s not easy to arrest since those i n control are  69  themselves locked into, and p r o f i t from, a pattern of personalized and n o n - i n s t i t u t i o n l i z e d p o l i t i c s .  (d)  An Overview of Third World State-Society  Relations  These Third World r u l e r s , whose s u r v i v a l strategies often give shape to the p o l i t i e s under their r u l e , have to, however, choose between two major paths regarding how  to control,  dominate, co-opt and neutralize, or f o r e s t a l l challenges below.  This involves the question of how  from  state-society r e l a t i o n s  are to be ordered, which, in turn, revolves around whether or not power w i l l be shared, and how The  i t w i l l be shared or otherwise.  f i r s t broad path is one  involving the  of the important e l i t e s t r a t a by the r u l e r s .  co-optation  It involves the  fashioning of a "winning combination" whereby the ruler enters into r e l a t i o n s of p o l i t i c a l exchange with "men influence who  of subsidiary  w i l l bring with them the acquiescence or the  support of their  followers"(58).  In this approach, though the p o l i t i c a l system i s dominated by the ruler and his personal  instrument of power,  often the single r u l i n g party, the p o l i t y i s , on the other hand, r e l a t i v e l y open i n the sense that i t i s i n c l u s i v e . system is held together  The whole  by t i e s of mutual assistance and support  between big and lesser men  which extend from the ruler to his  lieutenants, c l i e n t s and other followers, and through them to their followers and so on(59).  In a sense, the state is not  one  70 which stands above society.  It i s responsive,  very i n d i r e c t l y ,  to the interests of quite a number of s o c i e t a l segments v i a pervasive  patron-client t i e s .  Thus, the ruler i s linked with the  ruled by i n t e r - r e l a t e d nodes of patrimonial relationships which often transcend kinship, ethnic, r e l i g i o u s , regional, and even class cleavages(60). The second broad path i s one which appears, at least on the surface, to be more e f f i c i e n t , modern, less corrupt,  and  more conducive to the creation of a modern nation-state based on universal, including s o c i a l i s t , p r i n c i p l e s , which would create and shape "new  s o c i a l habits, a new  p o l i t i c s in formerly  national awareness, and  intractable peripheries"(61) .  new  This state-  society pattern postulates a centralized, bureaucratic  state in  which s o c i e t a l segments are subordinated, manipulated and controlled through the mobilization of the state's superior power and resources;  where resource a l l o c a t i o n is governed s o l e l y by  the interest of the state (or state leaders); state-society linkage exploitative(62).  and where the  i s penetrative, extractive and  Such a system, termed by D.Rothchild and  M.W.Foley as the "bureaucratic-centralist" state, is further characterized by attempts to undermine the influence of l o c a l power, e s p e c i a l l y ethnic groups;  the unwillingness  accommodate or bargain with other s o c i e t a l actors;  to and a c l e a r l y  drawn l i n e between those included and those excluded from the p o l i t i c a l process and rewards(63).  In other words, such a state  is highly autonomous r e l a t i v e to society.  The state is  71 predominant, i s capable of, or so i t appears, keeping other s o c i e t a l groups subordinated, and of defining the boundaries of acceptable behavior throughout society(64). The second path, with i t s emphasize on a strong and autonomous state, appeals to those leaders who see themselves either as leading a s o c i a l i s t revolution, or as unifying a nation, or both.  However, i t s application within the Third World  praetorian environment, dominated by the system of personal rulership, has resulted, i n extreme cases, in the creation of a narrowly-based, autocratic or despotic patrimonial c e n t r a l i s t state, held together by a patrimonial  bureaucratic-  ruler.  Like  premodern autocratic states, the Third World autocratic bureaucratic-centralist state i s highly autonomous in that i t s leaders very frequently act on their own preferences without reference  to society, and with scant concern for public welfare.  As well, i t i s dependent for i t s existence,  not so much on  society, but rather, i n great measure, on a s p e c i a l class of men —  the new r u l i n g class —  i n the manner premodern kingdoms were  dependent on a governing class of notables, or a d i s t i n c t m i l i t a r y agency, which was, in some cases, segregated from the rest of society(65).  The new ruling class usually consists of  members of the r u l e r ' s entourage and kin, members of the state and the ruling-party apparatuses, and, in some extreme cases, i t includes only members of the armed forces and f a i t h f u l , long-time followers of the r u l e r .  72 This has resulted, in extreme cases, in a of the state from society which has,  "separation"  in turn, increased the sense  of insecurity of those r u l i n g and benefiting from such a state. Subsequently, there has occurred  more diversion of resources to  the coercive machinery (police, m i l i t a r y , spy r i n g s , e t c . ) , and a greater reliance on state coercion, intimidation(66), and in extreme cases, state t e r r o r . Rule by terror i s , as observed by E.V.Walter, a familiar process in history, but one which has remained on the edges of r a t i o n a l inquiry(67).  A l l kinds of r u l e r s , ranging from  despots of a n t i q u i t y to modern-era t o t a l i t a r i a n d i c t a t o r s l i k e H i t l e r and S t a l i n , and the Third World ones l i k e Idi Amin, Bokassa, Pol Pot, and Ne Win,  have in one way  or another employed  violence and the "process of terror in the service of power" against the society over which they have respectively ruled(68). Evidently, no two terror systems are a l i k e ; to quote W.Laqueur: " A l l democracies (like Tolstoy's happy families) are a l i k e , while tyrannies d i f f e r e n t ways"(69). discerned.  Rulers who  (like unhappy families) are tyrannies in However, some common features can  be  have employed some form of violence  and  terror throughout history, have done so b a s i c a l l y because there is perceived,  expected, or actual resistance to t h e i r rule(70).  As stated by Walter, rulers tend to avoid using  "destructive  methods of power" in conditions of mimimal resistance because of p o l i t i c a l costs (unless c u l t u r a l or psychic  factors create a  73 d i s p o s i t i o n to act v i o l e n t l y ) ( 7 1 ) . But, i t i s very  likely,  because any power system i s , according to Walter, a web of resistance as well as a c i r c u i t of controls(72), that rulers who gained power through a revolution or a coup w i l l tend to employ destructive methods of power since their doubtful would i n v i t e  legitimacy  challenge.  The p o l i c y of terror can also be viewed as a response to the c r i s i s of i n t e g r a t i o n 7 3 ) , which, in turn, i s c l o s e l y related to the perception of threats from within and without, and a f e e l i n g that the "nation" i s about to d i s i n t e g r a t e . f e e l i n g of general  This  insecurity approximates what Barrington Moore  terms as "Catonism", a pseudo-ideology which j u s t i f i e s a repressive s o c i a l order and buttresses the p o s i t i o n of those i n power(74).  It i s a mind-set where the stress i s more on what i t  is against than what i t i s for, and i s characterized by a n t i i n t e l l e c t u a l ism, contempt for foreigners, an aura of moral neatness, the advocacy of sterner virtues and moral  regeneration,  c r i t i c i s m s of democracy and notions of p l u r a l i t y , m i l i t a r i s m and a strong emphasis on obedience and hierarchy, h o s t i l i t y to traders, usurers, the bourgeoise, capitalism, and so on and so forth(75). The use of violence and terror by r u l e r s i s aimed not only at preventing d i s i n t e g r a t i o n , but, as stated by Walter, at control so that the ruled w i l l react i n a manner chosen by the r u l e r , to punish disobedience,  to sap the potential for  74 disobedience or resistance beforehand(76).  There are many ways  and varying degrees of i n t e n s i t y and scope i n which terror and violence are employed.  In essence, however, the f i r s t element in  any process of terror i s the s p e c i f i c act or threat of violence which induces a general psychic state of anxieties and fear among the populace which, i n fact, constitutes the target of the terror process.  It involves three sets of actors:  One, the source of  violence i n the service of terror ( i . e . , the "king's knives" or the terror s t a f f of the ruler or the s t a t e ) ;  two, the victims,  who may be anyone, and who are chosen a r b i t r a r i l y and at random(77) or by spies and informers;  and three, the general  populace, which i s the key target of violence(78). The key element in the process of terror i s not so much the i n t e n s i t y , frequency, scope, or duration of violence, but i t s capacity to induce extreme fear and widespread anxiety in the populace, the target.  Violence i n the service of terror may  take many forms and need not be dramatic or v i s i b l e , or even continuous.  These forms range from mass extermination  population segments, mass detention  of certain  in concentration camps,  a t r o c i t i e s or m i l i t a r y terrorism against c e r t a i n ethnic groups, assassination by death squads, "disappearances", to a r b i t r a r y arrests and invasion of privacy, imprisonment without t r i a l , widespread torture of prisoners, and periodic brutal and dramatic a p p l i c a t i o n of firepower  against  protesters(79).  75 The structure set up by the terror regime to keep i t s e l f in power i s in r e a l i t y not very complex, and as h i s t o r y .  It consists of the supreme leader who  i t i s as old is surrounded  and advised by courtiers (ministers, trusted m i l i t a r y aides), cronies and  favorites, magicians and sorcerers  (or theoreticians,  advisors, astrologers), and the terror s t a f f consisting of s e c u r i t y and  i n t e l l i g e n c e agencies which, in most cases is  d i r e c t l y responsible  to the dictator himself.  Beneath the  structure, there exists the support organization, the "Movement", or the "Party", and entire "Armed Forces".  which may  Members of the core support structure  And  "forced choice"  are  fear  l i k e the general populace, they are  also the targets of terror and they are, on the one  be  in some extreme cases, the  held together above a l l by fear of the supreme leader, and of popular r e t r i b u t i o n .  top  i t s potential victims.  hand, subjected  Further,  to what Walter terms as  l i . e . , choosing the lesser e v i l , and  an  opportunity for "pay-offs" or rewards which are a t t r a c t i v e in an enviroment of s c a r c i t y and advantage), and  competitive struggle for r e l a t i v e  on the other, the threat of "forced  exclusion",  or foregoing  the advantage of association with the privileged  strata(80).  Moreover, members and units of the terror s t a f f  the core support organizations,  and  are kept divided by the supreme  leader and made to spy on each other, which again, is a device that has been used by despots throughout history. The employment of terror as a means of ensuring dominance, creating or restoring order, or "taming" praetorian  76  forces, i s more l i k e l y to appeal to m i l i t a r y r u l e r s since the instruments of violence are closer at hand.  As well, the  m i l i t a r y would be more f e a r f u l of disorder and of possible "national" disintegration(81), a l l the more so i f the m i l i t a r y i s highly p o l i t i c i z e d  and sees i t s e l f , r i g h t l y or wrongly (more  often the l a t t e r ) , as the creator or saviour of the "nation", or as above p o l i t i c s and the incarnation of a l l the ideals of the "nation"(82). Moreover, since m i l i t a r y rulers r a r e l y i n s t a l l themselves through e l e c t i o n s , and because the m i l i t a r y ' s s e l f image, as mentioned above, i s seldom shared by the populace (a point which has often been overlooked by many non-Third World observers, or dismissed as i r r e l e v a n t ) , their legitimacy w i l l be s e r i o u s l y compromised.  Such being the case, m i l i t a r y regimes are  most l i k e l y , i f faced with widespread resistance or lack of support, to close ranks around the leader and continue r u l i n g through "bare reliance on command from above", i n response, and attempt to r e t a i n power at a l l cost.  One consequence of t h i s  would be the construction of a highly autonomous and powerful state based on, and largely dependent on, the instruments of coercion  ( i . e . , the armed forces and security apparatuses), and  patrimonially u n i f i e d and controlled by the supreme leader. However, because regimes of terror are e s s e n t i a l l y patrimonial, they are not l i k e l y to outlive their founders for very long, and most l i k e l y w i l l become more inclusionary but  77 s t i l l patrimonial.  But, on the whole, these Third World states  have far to t r a v e l before becoming states in the sense that i s understood by scholars and defined by Western norms. reluctant one  However  feels to say that many Third World s o c i e t i e s have  been "de-developed" by their supposedly modern r u l e r s , i t must nonetheless be recognized  that their r u l e r s are either  incapable  of, or are uninterested, or both, in constructing a modern polity.  And  unfortunately for the people, their r u l e r s s t i l l  i n s i s t in imagining  themselves as indispensable, which only  compounds the problem of de-development further.  78 NOTES  F 0 R  C H A P TER  TH  R E E  1. Claude W. Welch J r , NO FAREWELL TO ARMS? (Boulder: Westview Press,1987), p . l . 2. Samuel P.Huntington, POLITICAL ORDER IN CHANGING SOCIETIES (New Haven: Yale University Press,1968), p.192. 3. S.Finer, THE MAN ON HORSEBACK (London: Penguin,1975, 2nd E d i t i o n ) , pp.223,272 (Appendix I I ) , and (Appendix I I I ) .  274  4. Christopher Clapham, THIRD WORLD POLITICS: AN INTRODUCTION (Madison: University of Wisconson Press,1988 edn.), p.137. 5. Welch, and Arthur K.Smith, MILITARY ROLE AND RULE (Belmont,Ca.: Duxbury Press,1974), pp.235-46. 6.  Ibid, pp.246-49.  7. On the process of change, see Huntington, POLITICAL ORDER, op c i t . pp.32-3. 8.  Welch & Smith, op c i t , p.250.  9. The "the m i l i t a r y as modernizer" thesis i s summarised by H.Bienen i n "The Background to Contemporary Study of M i l i t a r i e s and Modernization", H.Bienen, ed., THE MILITARY AND MODERNIZATION (New York: Atherton,1971), pp.1-39. He summarizes the views of those who see the m i l i t a r y as a modernizing force, such as Lucian Pye, Guy Pauker, Marion Levy, John L o v e l l , and Eugene Kim. Huntington, in POLITICAL ORDER IN CHANGING SOCIETIES, op c i t , views the m i l i t a r y as a well-organized, n a t i o n a l i s t i c , r e l a t i v e l y clean and modernizing force with substantial potential for creating p o l i t i c a l order. He predicted success i n i n s t i t u t i o n a l i z a t i o n i f m i l i t a r y leaders followed the Kemalist model and/or overcame their distaste for p o l i t i c s and p o l i t i c a l parties. His high praise for Ayub Khan's Basic Democracy i s most unfortunate, because his work i s otherwise very valuable, even e s s e n t i a l , for understanding Third World p o l i t i c s . The work most often referred to, and which most concisely argue against the "the m i l i t a r y as modernizer" thesis, i s E r i c E.Nordlinger's "Soldiers in Mufti: The Impact of M i l i t a r y Rule Upon Economic and Social Change i n the Non-Western States", AMERICAN POLITICAL SCIENCE REVIEW, 64(December,1979). pp.11311148. Clapham, op c i t , Welch, op c i t , and Welch and Smith, op c i t , are also of the opinion that m i l i t a r y regimes are not p a r t i c u l a r l y modernizing. For similar views, see Talukder Maniruzzerman, MILITARY WITHDRAWAL FROM POLITICS (Boston: Ballinger,1987), p.2-4,6,7; Wilson C. McWilliams, in "Introduction", McWilliam, ed., GARRISONS AND GOVERNMENT:  79 POLITICS AND THE MILITARY IN THE NEW STATES (San Francisco: Chandler 1967) pp.18-23, 26-7,28-9; Amos Perlmutter, "The Praetorian State and the Praetorian Army", in N.W.Provizer, ed., ANALYZING THE THIRD WORLD (Boston: G.K.Hall,1978), pp.321-2; T.O.Odetola, MILITARY REGIMES AND DEVELOPMENT (London: Allen & Unwin,1982), pp.179,181-4; and Paul Cammack and P h i l l i p O'Brien, GENERALS IN RETREAT (Manchester: University of Manchester Press,1987), pp.29-31. /  /  10. pp.27-8,29-30.  Paul Cammack, and P h i l l i p O'Brien, op c i t ,  11. Ruth McVey, "Introduction: Local Voices, Central Power", in R.McVey, ed., SOUTHEAST ASIAN TRANSITION (New Haven: Yale U n i v e r s i t y Press,1978), p.27. Victor Azarya points to the phenomenon of "A small r u l i n g group, gradually retracting (from society, and r a l l y i n g ] around the person of the head of state... closes i t s e l f to the p a r t i c i p a t i o n (of those below] and reduces the services offered to them", r e s u l t i n g , in the f i n a l analysis, in a state which is authoritarian, a r b i t r a r y and extractive, but whose control i s limited. See V.Azarya "ReOrdering State-Society Relations: Incorporation and Disengagement", in D.Rothchild and Naomi Chazan, eds. THE PRECARIOUS BALANCE: STATE AND SOCIETY IN AFRICA (Boulder: Westview Press, 1988), p.16. 12.  Huntington,  op c i t , p.194.  13. That is to say, the regions of Latin America were colonized very much e a r l i e r by p r e - c a p i t a l i s t , mercantile, colonizing powers, Spain and Portugal. They had already become independent states in the early nineteenth century, which was the time when certain areas in Asia and A f r i c a were being colonized by p o s t - c a p i t a l i s t c o l o n i a l powers (some of which had, by then, become "modern" democracies). Also, Latin American countries had experienced modernizing changes and corresponding praetorian p o l i t i c s much longer than those in Asia and A f r i c a . Further, most of them, such as, Argentina, B r a z i l , Mexico, and so on, had even begun to i n d u s t r i a l i z e by the early twentieth century, and they had also experienced some form of class-based c o n f l i c t s . Whereas, Asian and African states-to-be had only begun to be slowly transformed into semi-capitalist and semi-modern administrative units, and gradually incorporated into the expanding, e s s e n t i a l l y c a p i t a l i s t , global economic order. Because of the complex h i s t o r i c time factor, as explained, the examination and analysis of Third World p o l i t i c s here w i l l exclude the Latin American cases though they are Third World countries, and a f f l i c t e d with problems familiar to Asian and African p o l i t i e s , or vice versa. 14. It can also be said that there also exists r a c i a l d i f f e r e n t i a t i o n in the sense that Indians and Chinese are r a c i a l l y d i s t i n c t to the indigenous people of A f r i c a . In some  80 Asian countries l i k e Burma, Thailand, the Philippines, etc., Indians, together with Europeans, are regarded by the natives as r a c i a l l y d i s t i n c t . The Chinese are, though, seen simply as "foreigners". Most probably because of similar physical appearances and eating habits, they are not regarded, in Burma, as r a c i a l l y d i s t i n c t as, for example, the Indians or Europeans. The problem faced by these " a l i e n " minorities i s one of nonacceptance, or blocked assimilation (like Blacks in the United States), since, in many cases, those belonging to the dominant culture are reluctant to assimilate them because i t i s f e l t , r i g h t l y or wrongly, that an assimilated Indian, for example, i s s t i l l an Indian at heart, and that assimilation i s s u p e r f i c i a l and, merely a convenient device adopted by a member of an "alien race" to enable him to better exploit the natives. (Cambridge:  15. J.S.Furnivall, COLONIAL POLICY AND PRACTICE Cambridge University Press,1948), p.305.  16. It has been argued by some scholars that colonialism disrupted the natural evolution of the Third World's pre-existing kingdoms, and that they might have, i f l e f t alone, been transformed under absolute, enlightened monarchs into modern nation-states as European states were in the eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries. This argument has been the staple rhetoric of many a n t i - c o l o n i a l movements and leaders, and i m p l i c i t l y has been adopted by many scholars sympathetic to Third World nationalism. The arguments supporting the p o s s i b i l i t y of a more natural and balanced indigenous modernity, had colonialism not intruded, also draw upon the experience of the modernizing and a b s o l u t i s t monarchs of Ethiopia and Siam (Thailand), and t h i s has led to the conclusion that modernity would be better and more r a p i d l y achieved in the Third World under a centralized and powerful or "strong" state, than otherwise. These arguments have, however, not passed the test of time, as can be seen from events in countries with "modernizing" monarchs, such as Ethiopia and Iran, for example. Thai monarchs, e s p e c i a l l y in the l a t e nineteenth and early-twentieth century, did "modernize" Siam, but i t was in the d i r e c t i o n dictated by Western concepts and ideas, and with extensive use of Danish, Americans, French, German and B r i t i s h advisors and o f f i c i a l s in the various state bureaucracies and agencies, not to mention the opening to Western influences. It c e r t a i n l y was not "indigenous modernization". 17. Even in Thailand, where there has been, since the mid-1960s, a deeper penetration of the system of cash economy, money i s s t i l l marginal to one's s o c i a l standing in r u r a l areas, and moreover not necessary for s u r v i v a l . In rural Burma, among Shan peasants for example, one measure of "wealth" i s the heads of c a t t l e one owns, and among the so-called h i l l t r i b e s , the concept of wealth is unknown. Money functions merely as a medium of exchange. In my opinion, money w i l l come to be regarded as a c r u c i a l factor, as c a p i t a l in  81 the process of wealth accumulation, and as a determinant of wealth, rather than merely as a medium of exchange, only when a system of c r e d i t and commercial banking i s well established, widely understood, and used by the majority of the population. For a discussion of rural Burman attitudes in the late 1950s towards wealth and money, see Manning Nash, GOLDEN ROAD TO MODERNITY: VILLAGE LIFE IN CONTEMPORARY BURMA (New York: John Wiley & Sons,1965), e s p e c i a l l y Chapter.2, pp.9-43 (esp.pp.16, 26, 28-30, 42-3) . 18. Michael Aung-Thwin, PAGAN: THE ORIGINS OF MODERN BURMA (Honolulu: University of Hawaii Press,1985); pp.110-15. He gives a brief outline of the some p r i n c i p l e s underlying economic l i f e and i t s administration in Burma which was more or less in e f f e c t from eleventh century Pagan to the time of B r i t i s h c o l o n i a l i z a t i o n beginning in 1820. 19. For a detailed study of various types of precolonial p o l i t i c a l systems in Southeast Asia, see David J . Steinberg, et. a l , IN SEARCH OF SOUTHEAST ASIA (Honolulu: University of Hawaii Press,1985), ch.4 (pp.30-6), ch.7 (pp.5967). It i s recognized that these premodern p o l i t i c a l systems d i f f e r from each other, but in general, whether they were modelled on the Chinese or Indian systems, or indigenously A f r i c a n , they were more or less patrimonial personal rulerships where power was not checked by i n s t i t u t i o n s but by the countervailing power of other men. 20. Victor B. Lieberman, BURMESE ADMINISTRATIVE CYCLES: ANARCHY AND CONQUEST (New Jersey: Princeton University Press,1984); pp.10-13. Lieberman describes and discusses what he c a l l s the "Burmese administrative cycle", which was a recurring pattern in pre-colonial Burma resulting from the struggle for power among central e l i t e factions and a r i s i n g from tension between "the throne's absolutist demands" on one hand, and the e l i t e ' s drive for " e l i t e autonomy and popular evasions"on the other. 21. Reinhard Bendix, NATION-BUILDING AND CITIZENSHIP (New York: John Wiley & Sons,1964), p.36. 22. Ibid. In Vietnam, for example, though p r o v i n c i a l o f f i c e r s (governors) were l o c a l landowners, they were in essence c i v i l - s e r v a n t s (or mandarins) whose position derived from passing the imperial exams, rather than because they were members of the landed c l a s s . Their role was that of "brokers" who, as i t were, "owed allegiance both to [their] native v i l l a g e and and to the societywide bureaucracy". See D. J.Steinberg, op c i t pp.70-1. r  23. Some of the reasons given for the absence of the concept of landownership among princes and lords in p a r t i c u l a r ,  82 in premodern s o c i e t i e s of Southeast Asia, as argued by Steinberg, Onghokham, Lieberman, and so on, i s because manpower was the most important source of power and "wealth" (or prestige), since land was r e l a t i v e l y p l e n t i f u l , among other reasons. See, D.J. Steinberg, op c i t , p.34; Lieberman, op__c_it., p.272-3,274,2889,291. Lieberman, quite accurately in my opinion, relates the ebb and flow of royal power to the a b i l i t y of monarchs to maintain control over manpower v i s - ' a - v i s lesser lords and princes. Also see Onghokham, "The Inscrutable and the Paranoid: An Investigation into the Sources of the Brotodiningrat A f f a i r " , in McVey, SOUTHEAST ASIAN TRANSITIONS, op c i t . pp.112-57, espec. 114-115,116,118. Anthony Giddens contends that landownership was not an important factor in premodern non-Western s o c i e t i e s , because there was no clear economic sphere, or a demarcated set of economic mechanisms separated from the state. Further, there did not exist in these s o c i e t i e s a legal system through which legal rights of ownership were defined, and also, ownership of land r a r e l y implied free a l i e n a b i l i t y of the land owned, and hence land could not be translated into means to achieve power, p o l i t i c a l or otherwise. See, A.Giddens, THE NATION-STATE AND VIOLENCE (Berkeley: University of C a l i f o r n i a Press, 1985), Vol.11, pp.67-9. 24.  Ibid:  p.37.  25. R.McVey, "Introduction", TRANSITIONS, op c i t . p.10.  SOUTHEAST ASIAN  26. Ibid, pp.9-10. Also see Anthony Giddens, op cit, pp.21,76-7. It must be commented upon that the present day Third World states are in many ways very similar to those premodern ones in that there i s found a dichotomous phenomenon. On one hand, the state i s powerful r e l a t i v e to other s o c i e t a l forces (and l o c a l i n t e r e s t s ) , and enjoys a good deal of r e l a t i v e autonomy, in the same way the king, his f a v o r i t e s , and o f f i c i a l s were able to dominate l o c a l - l e v e l leaders and prey upon, or make extractive demands on, the populace. But, on the other hand, much of today's Third World society is outside the administrative reach of the state, as was the case in the precolonial p o l i t i e s . This paradox has been noticed by scholars studying Third World states, giving r i s e to the perception that "state control over society has diminished despite increasing repressive and extractive tendencies", as summarized by V.Azarya. Azarya and N.Chazan, studying the new African states, attribute the decline of the state l a r g e l y to the withdrawal or disengagement of the rest of society from the perview of the state, for example, by variously keeping the state at a distance by means ranging from popular evasion, dissimulation, and noncompliance, to turning away from the o f f i c i a l to the informal economy (the blackmarket and smuggling), and to more active forms of disengagement, such as sabotage, s t r i k e s , r e b e l l i o n s , and secession attempts, or e x i l e and migration (as refugees and "boat-people"), or the  83 f l i g h t of c a p i t a l and brains. Such evasions and various forms of withdrawal of society from the sphere of the state in Third World states today also characterized most precolonial p o l i t i e s , in Asia e s p e c i a l l y . Even today, government is regarded in Burma as one of the Five Enemies of Man which must be avoided, l i e d to, and in other ways, evaded. In my opinion, the withdrawal of society from the state perhaps indicates the absence of a common p o l i t i c a l culture (between rulers and the ruled), rather than p l a i n apathy and/or indifference to p o l i t i c s and government attributed to the ruled by scholars. This has subsequently given r i s e to "low p o l i t i c a l culture" explanations for Third World problems and f a i l u r e at i n s t i t u t i o n a l i z a t i o n , frequently with the implication that those below, the "masses" or whatever, are more to blame than are state leaders. On s o c i e t a l disengagement, see V.Azarya "Reordering State-Society Relations: Incorporation and Disengagement", THE PRECARIOUS BALANCE, op c i t , pp.3-21, esp.pp. 7-9; also, N. Chazan, "Patterns of State-Society Incorporation and Disengagement in A f r i c a " , in PRECARIOUS BALANCE, op c i t , pp.121-148, esp. pp.129-31. Regarding the long-standing aversion towards, and evasion of, governments and rulers by the populace in Burma,, see Lucian W.Pye, POLITICS, PERSONALITY AND NATION BUILDING (New Haven: Yale University Press,1968 edn.), pp.70-71. 27. The spread of capitalism from Europe to a l l areas throughout the world, with colonialism serving as a vehicle and a stage in the process, can be viewed as "part of a larger h i s t o r i c a l process, the s c i e n t i f i c and i n d u s t r i a l revolution, which has transformed the whole world, including the West i t s e l f , in modern times", to quote David J. Steinberg, e t . a l in IN SEARCH OF SOUTHEAST ASIA, op c i t . p.166. This, however, i s not to say that the p r e c a p i t a l i s t , pre-cash economies of these s o c i e t i e s were at once transformed into modern economies. As a matter of fact, there came into existence the well-known "dual economy" phenomenon where a vast portion of the populace remained as they were previously ( i . e . , remaining outside the c a p i t a l i s t economy introduced by c o l o n i a l powers). Even today, vast areas of the Third World are s t i l l outside what one would c a l l the modern economy. But c o l o n i a l powers did put in place infrastructure in the economic and other spheres which were based on premises rooted in c a p i t a l i s t way of doing things, and on market-economy assumptions, and as well, on bourgeoisie values and i n s t i t u t i o n s , p o l i t i c a l and otherwise. It would not be wrong, perhaps, to view Third World modernization as part of the continuing process of adaptation on the part of l a r g e l y p r e c a p i t a l i s t s o c i e t i e s to a c a p i t a l i s t economic and bourgeoisie p o l i t i c a l order i n i t i a l l y forced on them by colonialism (which, in turn, was i t s e l f a part of the dynamics of capitalism and i t s expansion). y  28. For an interesting analysis of the state in Europe in r e l a t i o n to previous state forms r u l e r s h i p , see Anthony Giddens, op c i t . pp.83-103. Petterson provides an account of the development of  absolute and Orlando modern states  84 in England and France with reference to e t h n i c i t y . See ETHNIC CHAUVINISM: THE REACTIONARY IMPULSE (New York: Stein & Day,1977), pp.74-77. 29. P r e c i s e l y because c o l o n i a l powers were not consciously creating "nation-states" out of the c o l l e c t i o n of ethnic s o c i e t i e s which they annexed outright or ruled i n d i r e c t l y (and moreover, had no intention of doing so), many new states which emerged were, as observed by C.Geertz and R. Emerson, faced with the problem of creating nations from diverse and disparate segments making up the state. See Rupert Emerson, "The Nature of Nations", in John T. M c A l l i s t e r , ed. SOUTHEAST ASIA: THE POLITICS OF NATIONAL INTEGRATION (New York: Random House,1973), pp.55-70; and C l i f f o r d Geertz, "The Integrative Revolution", THE POLITICS OF NATIONAL INTEGRATION, op c i t . pp.42-54. 30.  Huntington, POLITICAL ORDER, op c i t , p.196.  31.  Ibid, pp.194,196.  32. Undoubtedly, c o l o n i a l powers established "regimes of order", but the "order" imposed was fundamental and transformatory. The c o l o n i a l "regime of order", in many ways, freed the populace from the capricious and a r b i t r a r y exercise of power by the old despotic order, and i t was r a t i o n a l , the rule of law did p r e v a i l (especially over o f f i c i a l s ) . However, on the other hand, c o l o n i a l administration and governance was more penetrative and in some spheres ( i . e . , in taxation, property laws, census, e t c . ) , more d i f f i c u l t to evade. And, as noted by R.McVey, because the transformation of these premodern s o c i e t i e s under colonialism was geared to economic and p o l i t i c a l interests elsewhere (in the mother-countries, for example), i t did not take place in an integrated and orderly fashion, and this in turn, quite profoundly disrupted or disturbed existing "native" s o c i e t i e s . The impact of the West, the c o l o n i a l imposition, the process of transformation, and the introduction of a new type of administration, new economic structures and mechanism, and a new kind of p o l i t i c s which allowed for p a r t i c i p a t i o n , and so on, as can be expected, gave r i s e to s o c i a l mobilization and thereby did release praetorian forces. Praetorianism was, i t seems to me, not widely recognized as a d i s t i n c t and s i g n i f i c a n t phenomenon, even by p o l i t i c a l s c i e n t i s t s , u n t i l Huntington came along with his pioneering work, POLITICAL ORDER IN CHANGING SOCIETIES, op c i t . Also see R.McVey, "Introduction", SOUTHEAST ASIAN TRANSITIONS, op c i t , pp.11-13 (also, fn.13). 33. David E.Apter, THE POLITICS OF MODERNIZATION (Chicago: University of Chicago Press,1969 edn.), pp.53-6,397-99. 34. o.P__ci_t, p. 166 .  Steinberg, e t . a l , IN SEARCH OF SOUTHEAST ASIA,  85 35. For example, the much maligned Indian money lenders, the Chettiars, in rural Burma contributed enormously to the opening of the Delta land. They assisted, undoubtedly through s e l f - i n t e r e s t , in the c a p i t a l i z a t i o n and commercialization of agriculture and the general prosperity of the Burmese peasantry by advancing a g r i c u l t u r a l c r e d i t . In 1929-30, i t was estimated that the flow of c a p i t a l into the a g r i c u l t u r a l sector amounted to Rs.500 m i l l i o n (or U.S.$180 m i l l i o n at the exchange rate current in 1930). By the outbreak of war, the t o t a l c a p i t a l advanced to agriculture through the Chettiars exceeded a l l the B r i t i s h c a p i t a l investments in shipping, mining, banking, o i l production, and r e t a i l imports. See Lucian W.Pye, POLITICS, PERSONALITY AND NATION-BUILDING, op c i t , pp.86-7. 36. For example, writings on Burma prior to the late 1960s reflected such optimism which i s , i n c i d e n t a l l y , most pronounced in Frank N. Traeger's BURMA: FROM KINGDOM TO REPUBLIC (New York: Praeger,1966). Traeger i s , i t must be admitted, not the only scholar who f e l l into this optimistic trap. Most scholars in the 1950s and early 1960s, were very favorably disposed towards the new Third World e l i t e s and presumed that modernity was just round the corner. Problems a f f l i c t i n g these new states were attributed to acts of God (drought, flood, e t c . ) , the resistance of primordial t r i b e s and t r a d i t i o n a l notables to modernization, or, more importantly, to communist stooges. 37. Rupert Emerson, "The Problem of Identity, Selfhood, and Image in the New Nations" (97-119), in ANALYZING THE THIRD WORLD, op c i t , p.106. Also, Patterson, ETHNIC CHAUVINISM, op c i t , pp.81-4. 38. Frantz Fanon also noted the transformation of the "national party" in new states into what he termed, a " t r i b a l d i c t a t o r s h i p " , r e s u l t i n g in the " t r i b a l i z i n g of the central authority". See. Fannon, THE WRETCHED OF THE EARTH (New York: Grove Press, 1968 edn.), p.183. 39.  Emerson, "The Problem of Identity",op c i t ,  p.104. 40. A r i s t i d e R.Zolberg, CREATING POLITICAL ORDER (Chicago: Rand McNally,1966), pp.17-8. This was precisely the case i n Ghana (Kwame Nkruma), Ivory Coast (Houphouet-Boigny), Senegal (Senghor), Guinea (Sekou Toure), Malagasy, etc. This was also the case in Burma, and the B r i t i s h had l i t t l e choice but to choose the s o c i a l i s t Thakins as the lesser e v i l . Decolonization involved the making of a deliberate choice by c o l o n i a l powers as to whom or which party they would bequeath power. It was r a r e l y the case where there already existed a mature and well-organized popular party l i k e the Congress in India. Apparently what observers saw in India influenced them in thinking that such a s i t u a t i o n existed elsewhere at the inception of independence.  86 41. Even a scholar as knovledgable about Third World p o l i t i c s as W. Howard Wriggins, inexplicably, saw the m i l i t a r y in the Third World as the best trained and most p a t r i o t i c element, etcetra, though he i s not optimistic about m i l i t a r y rule. See Wriggins, THE RULER'S IMPERATIVE (New York: Columbia University Press,1969), pp.65-7. Also, Hugh Tinker painted an extremely o p t i m i s t i c and favorable p o r t r a i t of the m i l i t a r y in Burma, which probably i s the basis for the subsequent (the 1st edition was in 1957) and persistent view that the Burmese m i l i t a r y is a modern and modernizing organization. See Tinker, THE UNION OF BURMA: A STUDY OF THE FIRST YEARS OF INDEPENDENCE (London: Oxford University Press,1967 edn.), pp.323-336. 42. pp.2-3,13,20.  Bienen, THE MILITARY AND MODERNIZATION, op c i t ,  43. The various " n a t i o n a l i s t " a n t i - c o l o n i a l movements can be viewed as a representing an acceleration of praetorianism due either to accelerated changes a r i s i n g from the c o l o n i a l modernization process, or due to the erosion and/or breakdown of colonial control. It i s interesting to speculate here on whether the c o l o n i a l powers, had they not decolonized, vould have been able to contain and handle the praetorian forces which had grovn more pronounced in the later years of their r u l e . And also, to ponder vhether c o l o n i a l povers vould have succeeded in the task they had set for themselves: the task of nationbuilding, state-building and p o l i t i c a l i n s t i t u t i o n a l i z a t i o n in the colonies, had they been able to stay longer. There might just be a p o s i t i v e c o r r e l a t i o n betveen the duration of colonial rule and the endurance of inherited i n s t i t u t i o n s , for example, as in the case of Indir.. On the other hand, p o l i t i c s in the Philippines is s t i l l extremely praetorian despite over 400 years of c o l o n i a l tutelage of Spain and the United States, respectively.  6.  44.  Huntington, POLITICAL ORDER, op c i t , pp.195-6.  45.  Wriggins, THE RULER'S IMPERATIVE, op c i t .  46.  Huntington, POLITICAL ORDER, op c i t , p.196.  47.  Wriggins, THE RULER'S IMPERATIVE, op c i t . pp. 4-  pp.8-  48. Gerald A.Heeger, THE POLITICS OF UNDERDEVELOPMENT (Nev York: St.Martin's Press,1974), pp.8-9. Also, Wriggins, op c i t , pp.4-8. 49. R.H. Jackson and C.G. Rosberg, PERSONAL RULE IN BLACK AFRICA (Berkeley: University of C a l i f o r n i a Press,1982), pp.1-4.  87 50.  Ibid.  51.  Ibid, p.18.  52.  Ibid, p.6.  53. It must be noted that "bureaucratization" within the Third World context merely means the expansion of personnel and red-tape, and the corresponding expansion of a state-centered patronage system. I t i s r a r e l y the type of bureaucratization as understood by scholars — the r a t i o n a l i z a t i o n of administration and e s t a b l i s h i n g impersonal, legal procedures and norms. Great care i s needed when r e f e r r i n g to Third World bureaucratization so as to avoid making unwarranted, and o p t i m i s t i c , assumptions about t h i s phenomenon, or i t s outward appearance. 54.  Jackson and Rosberg, op c i t , pp.5-6.  55.  Ibid; p.23-4.  56. Harold Crouch, "Patrimonialism and M i l i t a r y Rule in Indonesia", in WORLD POLITICS, Vol.31,4 (July 1979), pp.57187, esp. pp.572-3,577-8. Also, Guenther Roth, "Personal Rulership, Patrimonialism, and Empire-Building in the New States"(194-206), WORLD POLITICS, Vol.20,2 (January,1968), pp.196,202 ( c i t i n g F.W.Riggs,"The Thai Bureaucracy", ADMINISTRATIVE SCIENCE QUARTERLY, Vol.V, June 1960),and p.203. 57. Bendix, NATION-BUILDING AND CITIZENSHIP, op c i t , pp.107-108. This is attributed to and synthesized from Max Weber's work. 58.  Wriggins, THE RULER'S IMPERATIVE, op c i t . pp.58-  59.  Jackson and Rosberg, op c i t , p.39.  9.  60. The best empirical example of this regime pattern would be the p o l i t i c a l system in India today. For a concise, comprehensive account of the Indian democratic process, see R.L.Hardgrave, J r . , & S. A.Kochanek, INDIA: GOVERNMENT AND POLITICS IN A DEVELOPING NATION (San Diego: Harcourt Brace Janovich,1986 edn.). Theoretical concepts derived from the process of e l i t e bargaining, accommodation, and p o l i t i c a l exchanges between p o l i t i c a l actors have been discussed by various scholars such as: A. L i j p h a r t , "Consociational Democracy", i n WORLD POLITICS, Vol.21,2 (January,1969), pp.207-25; D. Rothchild and M.W. Foley, "African States and the P o l i t i c s of Inclusive C o a l i t i o n s " , in Rothchild and N. Chazan, eds., THE PRECARIOUS BALANCE, op c i t , pp.233-63; and Milton Esman, "The Management of Communal C o n f l i c t " , in JOURNAL OF PUBLIC POLICY (Winter, 1973). pp.49-78.  88 61. Joel S.Migdal, "Strong States, Weak States", in S.P.Huntington and M.Weiner, eds. UNDERSTANDING POLITICAL DEVELOPMENT (Boston: L i t t l e Brown & Co.,1987), pp.391-434,esp. p.392. 62. This is Ian Lustick's well-known "control model" which was formulated to explain how s t a b i l i t y i s achieved in deeply divided society, but which i s also useful in explaining the more repressive regimes, m i l i t a r y and c i v i l i a n , in A f r i c a and within the Third World. See Lustick, " S t a b i l i t y in Deeply Divided Society", in WORLD POLITICS, Vol.31, 3 ( A p r i l , 1979), pp.325-344. 63. Rothchild and Foley, THE PRECARIOUS BALANCE, op. p i t , pp.250-2 (sub-heading: The Bureaucratic-Centralist Regime Pattern). 64. J.S.Migdal, "A Model of State-Society Relations", in H.J. Wiarda, ed. NEW DIRECTIONS IN COMPARATIVE POLITICS (Boulder: Westview,1985), pp.41-55. 65. Giddens, THE NATION-STATE AND VIOLENCE, op c i t , p.52 (from a quoted passage describing the Ottoman Empire attributed to H.A.R.Gibb and H.Bowen, ISLAMIC SOCIETY AND THE WEST [ London: Oxford University Press,1950, Vol.1]). Also see pp.53,56. In precolonial Burma, the power of the king or the state was based on a special class of crown-serfs of s o l d i e r s and laborers, the Ahmudan c l a s s , who were organized into regiments, the Asu, and segregated from the rest of society. The Ahmudan (crown-serf) structure was permanent, almost an organic part of the state, in that i t constituted a permanent reservoir of manpower and m i l i t a r y support for the throne regardless of which dynasty ruled. It was, however, not a caste since a crown serf could become a debt slave of a l o c a l notable or even of an ordinary person, and many took advantage of t h i s escape device whenever the king's service became too burdensome. See AungThwin, PAGAN, op c i t , 87-91. Also see Lieberman, BURMESE ADMINISTRATIVE CYCLE, op c i t , pp.97-105. Zulu warriors, organized into d i s c i p l i n e d regiments were the main prop of Dingiswayo and the despotic Shaka, who ruled through the use of extreme violence and t e r r o r . Shaka used the wealth accumulated from plunder or seized from those who displeased him or aroused his suspicion to maintain the standing army and to support the royal kraal and s t a f f . See Eugene V. Walter, TERROR AND RESISTANCE (New York: Oxford University Press, 1969), p.247,252. THE  66. Azarya, "Re-Ordering State-Society Relations", PRECARIOUS BALANCE, op c i t , p.16. 67.  Walter, op c i t , p.3.  68.  Ibid,  p.14.  89 69. Walter Lacqueur, "Is There Now, or Has There Ever Been, Such a Thing as Totalitarianism?", COMMENTARY, Vol.80, 4(October,1983), p.34. 70. Ted R.Gurr, "The P o l i t i c a l Origin of State Violence and Terror: A Theoretical Analysis"(45-71), in Michael Stohl and George A.Lopez, eds. GOVERNMENT VIOLENCE AND REPRESSION (New York: Greenwood Press, 1986), p.45. 71.  Walter, TERROR, op c i t ,  72.  Ibid, p.17.  73.  Ibid: p.282.  p.15.  74. Moore, SOCIAL ORIGINS OF DICTATORSHIP AND DEMOCRACY, op c i t , p.491-5. Moore attributes "Catonism", a form of reactionary nationalism, to the r i s e of commercial relationships which undermined the peasant economy which, in turn, adversely affected the overall dominant position of conservative landowners who consequently perceived that society was threatened, or order was collapsing. However, such a mind-set need not be r e s t r i c t e d to conservative landowners since reactionary nationalism does not recognize class barriers nor borders. 75.  Ibid.  76.  Walter, TERROR AND RESISTANCE, op c i t . pp.17-8.  77. Victims were chosen a r b i t r a r i l y , even randomly in the sense that law was subjected to the personal caprice of those who supposedly upheld or implemented "law", a condition common to premodern despotic states and kingdoms of Asia and A f r i c a , and quite applicable to many of today's Third World states. Since "laws" are conditional, ambigious, and f l u i d in both their application and scope, those who become victims of the security apparatus appear to the public to have been chosen at random, rather than punished for breaking a s p e c i f i c law or for a p a r t i c u l a r wrong-doing. For example, i n Burma the public attributes the harm done to people by the regime to what i s known as the Sauk-myin-kat Oo-badae (Can't Bear the Sight of You Law) because no rhyme or reason can be deduced or i s given for punative actions(since there i s usually no warrant, charge or t r i a l ) . In the case of m i l i t a r y a t r o c i t i e s , victims are just people who happen to be present at the wrong place and at a wrong time, or happen to belong to a certain ethnic group in a certain area. There i s , therefore, to a large extent, an element of randomness in the choice of victims, at least from the viewpoint of the targeted population, which increases anxiety, which i s p r e c i s e l y the intention of the terror s t a f f .  90 78.  Walter, TERROR AND  RESISTANCE, op c i t . pp.7,9.  79. Christopher M i t c h e l l , M.Stohl, D. Carleton, and G.A. Lopez, "State Terrorism: Issues of Concept and Measurement", Stohl and Lopez, eds..op c i t , pp.1-25. 80.  Walter, op c i t . pp.286-7.  81. The impending d i s i n t e g r a t i o n of the state or "nation" is one of those notions which should be treated with extreme skepticism, since a state cannot e a s i l y disintegrate, as witnessed by the existence of Lebanon despite i t s defacto d i s i n t e g r a t i o n . S i m i l a r l y , a "nation", even i f i t i s not a nation but a c o l l e c t i o n of warring camps, w i l l not disintegrate so long as the international state-system holds. 82. These sentiments are, unfortunately, an integral part of the m i l i t a r y psyche and lore which only the m i l i t a r y and some scholars believe i n . It is quite strange that even m i l i t a r i e s that have not taken part in "independence" struggles, such as the Pakistan Army, and various others, have had their n a t i o n a l i s t credentials or roles self-mythologized out of a l l proportion. These m i l i t a r i e s view themselves as something above p o l i t i c s to which the "nation" as well as the whole populace owes a great debt of gratitude in perpetuity.  91  CHAPTER  FOUR:  THE TATMADAW TO THE SUMMIT  Burma i s a "new"  state in the sense that i t came into  being in i t s present form as a result of the decolonization process.  But i t i s also an "old" state with p o l i t i c a l  t r a d i t i o n s , systems, and history going back to at least the eleventh century, to the reign of Anawratha, 1044-1077 A.D., not e a r l i e r .  if  At the same time, there existed within the area  known as "Burma" other p o l i t i c a l e n t i t i e s , such as the  now  Mon  kingdom to which the Burman owed much by way of c i v i l i z a t i o n and culture, the Arakanese kingdom, and the many Shan princedoms. The main problem of Burman kings was how  to deal with these  " l e s s e r " rulers and keep them from invading the f e r t i l e and  rich  Irrawaddy basin of the Burman, and how to win their allegiance either as vassals or a l l i e s , while at the same time, fending off other Burman power contenders within.  Translated into modern  terms, the task can be seen as one of keeping the country together and maintaining power, and this has also been the main preoccupation of the post-independence r u l i n g e l i t e s of Burma. This thesis examines how  the m i l i t a r y in Burma under Ne Win's  personal leadership has dealt with t h i s age-old problem after having reached the summit of power in 1962. understand  In order to  the p o l i t i c a l t e r r a i n on which the Tatmadaw  marched to  the summit of power in Burma, and the context within which the regime has attempted to deal with the task at hand, i t w i l l be useful to look b r i e f l y into the p o l i t i c s and the p o l i t i c a l  92  systems of Burma in the past and trace their development.  It  w i l l be e s p e c i a l l y relevant to analyze the p o l i t i c a l structures on which the successive states or p o l i t i e s in Burma were grounded, to analyze the nature of the state at various h i s t o r i c a l times, and to investigate the r e l a t i o n of the state to the s o c i a l segments and forces, or conversely, the roles played by these s o c i a l and p o l i t i c a l actors in shaping the nature and role of the state.  The o r i g i n and role of the most important  p o l i t i c a l actor today, the Tatmadaw, w i l l also be examined in t h i s chapter. Modern Burma o f f i c i a l l y came into existence with proper solemnity and ceremony when the Union Jack was lowered and the new  f l a g of the Union of Burma raised at 4.20 a.m.  4th, 1948(1).  of January  The ceremony symbolizng the transfer of power took  place at precisely the time and day deemed propitious by astrologers consulted by U Nu and other AFPFL leaders, the "modernizing" e l i t e of the new country (2). Today, more than forty years l a t e r , those AFPFL leaders such as U Nu, Ba Swe,  Kyaw Nyein, Thakin Tin, and many  others who succeeded to power in the f i r s t decade of independence,  have a l l been displaced.  Gone too i s the semi-  federal constitution designed to cope with ethnic d i v e r s i t y , as are the i n s t i t u t i o n s and a p o l i t i c a l process modelled on B r i t i s h parliamentary practices, which the r u l i n g AFPFL Thakins had inherited and t r i e d to make function u n t i l the coup of 1962.  93  Burma has since then been ruled by a stern m i l i t a r y strongman, Thakin Shu Maung or Ne Win, and his Tatmadaw, the "national" armed forces, to which the "nation" owes, i t i s claimed, not only i t s freedom, but i t s t e r r i t o r i a l  integrity(3).  Ne Win has often  been compared to past "warrior-kings" who has, with m i l i t a r y s k i l l s and prowess, not only allegedly " u n i f i e d " the country, but also has restored s t a b i l i t y and order after periods of anarchy and  (a)  strife.  Premodern Burma: The Kingdom of Warrior-Kings Precolonial Burma was a t y p i c a l Southeast Asian  kingdom or semi-empire.  The nucleus of t h i s semi-empire was the  land-locked Burman kingdom, the Bama Pyi or Bama Pran(4), inhabitated by the Burman, the Bama or Myanmar  {Myranma),  who  occupied the wide plains on both side of the Irrawaddy. Its lower reaches and the coastal areas, however, were occupied by the Mon with their own kings, with whom the Burman kings often fought and, at times, made into vassals. with regard to the Rakhine  So i t was, s i m i l a r l y ,  or Arakanese kingdom on the Bay of  Bengal, to the West; the Shan (Tai or Thai) princedoms or Muangs, each ruled by a Chao-fa  {Savbwa,  in Burmese) to the North and the  East(5); and the Karenni (Red Karen) chiefdoms, also to the East, which were modelled after the Shan p o l i t i c a l system(6).  In  addition, interspersed i n between the warring "states" were the various state-less Chin, Karen, Kachin, Palaung, PaO, Wa, Lahu communities, which also raided each other, and as well, harassed  94 the Shan, Burman, and the Mon,  or served in their armies(7).  The  respective status of various e t h n i c - t e r r i t o r i a l segments revolved b a s i c a l l y around a network of a l l i a n c e s or l o y a l t i e s between r u l i n g e l i t e s at various l e v e l s , a l l of which were based on personal patron-client r e c i p r o c i t i e s . As a matter of fact, rebellions and wars of conquest or re-conquest were common.  The hold of the Burman kings over  the peripheries (Naing-ngan) was, at best, f l u i d and tenuous(8). Burmese history was, as noted by F u r n i v a l l , "largely a tale of c o n f l i c t between the Burmese [ i . e . , the Burman], Shans and Mons, punctuated by wars with Siam and Arakan"(9).  In fact, as noted  by P. Kunstadter, the Burman kingdom was at the time of the f i n a l B r i t i s h annexation in 1885-1886, limited "primarily to the Irrawaddy v a l l e y , not much further North than Bahmo"(10). Whatever allegiance existed between overlords and underlords was personal and, in many ways, conditional and thus unstable(11). It i s , as such, not very meaningful to say that Burma was " u n i f i e d " , e s p e c i a l l y in the modern sense, under the "warriorking" Anawratha (1044-1077) or Bayinnaung  (1551-1558), for  example. With regard to the Burman kingdom i t s e l f , the ideology of the state was c e n t r a l i s t , and the power of the monarch absolute and autocratic(12).  However, the actual control and  personal power of the king was p e r i o d i c a l l y subjected to erosion stemming from increasing evasion of the populace from the state  95 (often by moving away), and as the Kyvanto  well, the desertion  of members of  or Ahmudan class, a special class of bonded  crown-  serfs who served as laborers and m i l i t i a s , which formed the king's s t r a t e g i c reservoir of organized manpower(13). Correspondingly, such erosion of royal power would be accompanied by the growing strength elites.  of factions and c o a l i t i o n s of subordinate  F i n a l l y , there would appear a new strongman backed by an  e l i t e c o a l i t i o n consisting of a number of Bayin-gan  (viceroys),  Myosa (fief-holders) or "eaters" of provinces or towns(14), Wungyi  (Ministers), Atwinwun (Royal Secretaries), ambitious or  revengeful Miphaya (queens), Mintha (royal princes), Minthamee (royal princesses), and so on. reorganize the all-important  The new king would then  Ahmudan class (crown-serf  and m i l i t a r y men), and re-establish centralized,  laborers  personalized,  royal control, based, as under the previous dynasty, on a b s o l u t i s t p r i n c i p l e s reinforced by a r b i t r a r y power(15). Precolonial Burma was thus characterized Lieberman termed as the "Burmese administrative  by what  cycle":  establishment of a c e n t r a l i s t , absolutist patrimonial  the  regime,  which would be followed by systemic decay due to the exercise of unrestrained  personal power at a l l levels(16), the collapse of  the despotic  system, and i t s f a i t h f u l reconstitution under a new  warrior-king(17).  There c e r t a i n l y i s l i t t l e evidence to support  claims made by some scholars(18) that the Burman kingdom evolving  was  into "an early modern state", as European states did  under various absolutist monarchs.  Though the kingdom  was  96 outwardly organized  along "bureaucratic" l i n e s , with a c e n t r a l l y  appointed set of o f f i c e r s imposed over t e r r i t o r i a l units and agencies,  and with o f f i c i a l s seemingly carrying out s p e c i f i c  d i f f e r e n t i a t e d functions, i t did not function t h i s way reality.  As pointed out by Khin Maung Kyi and Daw  Burman kingdom was,  and  in  Tin Tin, the  e s s e n t i a l l y , a p o l i t y which more c l o s e l y  resembled the A s i a t i c despotic order of the kind expounded by Karl Marx rather than European  (b)  feudalism(19).  Colonialism and the Transition to Modernity The  f i n a l B r i t i s h annexation of the Burman kingdom at  the end of 1885 despotic cycle".  ended, to rephrase Lieberman, the "Burmese B r i t i s h rule brought about far-reaching  and  revolutionary changes r e s u l t i n g from the penetration of Western ideas such as, for example, the impartial and of j u s t i c e , the rule of law instead of men, p r i n c i p l e ) for the welfare of the ruled. introduced  fair  administration  concern (at least in  Further, the B r i t i s h  "modern", e s s e n t i a l l y Western, i n s t i t u t i o n s , such as a  reasonably honest and uniform c i v i l administration based on l e g a l - r a t i o n a l p r i n c i p l e s , a stern but f a i r j u d i c i a r y and code of lavs, a secular and r e l a t i v e l y "modern" educational system, and so forth, vhich r a d i c a l l y transformed society in Burroa(20). Together v i t h the penetration of nev notions  and  i n s t i t u t i o n s , the B r i t i s h also changed the economic landscape of  97  Burma.  Colonialism  introduced  into the subsistence economy of  Burma, based l a r g e l y on barter and r e s t r i c t e d by mercantilist and autarkic regulations(21), a new economic system resting on private enterprise that was grounded i n r a t i o n a l laws of a free market that operated according to calculable variables, such as supply and demand, investment and production, p r o f i t and loss, and  so on.  To f a c i l i t a t e this economic transformation and to  e x p l o i t i t s resources better, the B r i t i s h b u i l t such as dockyards, roads, r a i l l i n e s , bridges, schools,  infrastructures hospitals,  and so on, which i n turn brought new lands under  c u l t i v a t i o n , v i t a l i z e d commerce and trade, spurred private and foreign investments e s p e c i a l l y i n primary industries and a g r i c u l t u r e , a l l of which served to incorporate  Burma into the  world economy as a viable and dynamic economic e n t i t y ( 2 2 ) . The  penetration  Western innovations,  of capitalism, the impact of other  and the construction  of modern physical  i n f r a s t r u c t u r e , transformed the country so that, over time, society too became more complex and diverse composition. labourers,  i n structure and  There was an influx of Indians who came in as  farmers, moneylenders, shopkeepers, or served the  B r i t i s h as c l e r k s , policemen and s o l d i e r s .  More Chinese also  entered the country to keep shops, trade, or became brokers and middlemen.  Quite a few English, Welsh, and Scot males,  c o l l e c t i v e l y referred to as "Bo"(23) by the Burman, served i n the c o l o n i a l services, or worked i n various B r i t i s h commercial and extractive enterprises.  Also, some took "native" women as wives  98 or the  mistresses, and thus there appeared a new ethnic community, Ka-pya  (or Eurasians), which did not mix much with the  natives, and which was naturally favored by the B r i t i s h . Burman also changed.  The  Many moved from upper and central Burma to  farm i n the delta, or settled in urban centers.  Some were  educated and recruited into the lower reaches of the colonial service.  Burmans blessed with wealthy parents went to India or  to England (Beelat) for further study, and these prestigeous Beelat-pyan  (England-returnees) became b a r r i s t e r s , university  l e c t u r e r s , senior c i v i l became p o l i t i c i a n s . the  servants, and i n the later years, many  The Karen, hitherto oppressed and scorned by  Burman as " l i t t l e better than cheap animals"(24), especially  appreciated B r i t i s h rule, and were quick to take to the new r e l i g i o n brought by American missionaries(25).  They availed  themselves of the various opportunities that were offered by a complex and "modernizing" Burma. to  And soon, the Karen were able  prove themselves equal to the Burman i n every way. From 1919 onwards, i n keeping with the growing  complexity of the socio-economic structures which had developed in Burma(26), and p a r t l y because of B r i t i s h c o l o n i a l policy i n India (to which Burma was p o l i t i c a l l y tied u n t i l 1937), the B r i t i s h introduced, by stages, p o l i t i c a l reforms and other consultative measures directed at giving Burma some form of s e l f government and i t s people more voice i n their future(27).  The  measures introduced to f a c i l i t a t e "responsible government", were ones modelled on Western democracy, a l b e i t a p a t e r n a l i s t i c one,  99 which allowed a l l s o c i e t a l and ethnic ethnic segments to compete, organize, and interact with each other within a number of i n s t i t u t i o n s and p o l i t i c a l arenas governed by certain "rules of the game" which were enforced by the c o l o n i a l authority(28). The ultimate goal of the B r i t i s h was the creation of a f u l l y s e l f governing Dominion of Burma, an integrated modern p o l i t y in which were to be included a l l the t e r r i t o r i t e s claimed by Burman kings(29). However, the democratic p o l i t i c a l system and related i n s t i t u t i o n s were rejected by the younger set of educated and semi-educated  Burmans, p a r t i c u l a r l y those who participated in or  led the Dobama or Thakin movement.  This was the generation which  entered early manhood during the period of economic recession i n Burma r e s u l t i n g from the Great Depression.  Moreover, a majority  of them had gravitated to Rangoon from r u r a l towns and hence their chance of doing well academically, or finding jobs suitable to t h e i r status as the educated or pyinnya-tat s t r a t a , was slim(30).  They obviously had very l i t t l e stake in the  perpetuation of a sytem which disadvantaged them. As well, the effects of the Great Depression on the budding c a p i t a l i s t economy of Burma led to serious s o c i a l and p o l i t i c a l disturbances.  The gravest was a peasant revolt led by  Saya San, which ravaged lower Burma and which took the B r i t i s h , with about a 12,000-strong quell.  m i l i t a r y force, almost a year to  There were also r i o t s , or outbreaks of "frenzied r a c i a l  100 xenophobia"(31), against the Indians and Chinese in 1930, and 1938.  1931,  There i s no doubt that as the 1930s were ending,  new  forces which were emerging as a result of radical changes, as mentioned, and from Burma's incorporation into the world economic order  (which underwent a severe c r i s i s ) , were proving  to c o n t r o l .  This was  difficult  a l l the more so when a n t i - c a p i t a l i s t  ideas  and u l t r a n a t i o n a l i s t i c sentiments were gaining strength, p a r t i c u l a r l y in c o l o n i a l possessions, and e s p e c i a l l y among the Thakins(32).  Society was  becoming increasingly "out-of-joint",  to borrow Huntington's well known phrase.  It was,  as observed by  Maung Maung Gyi, "a race between nationalism and constitutionalism"(33), a race in which the former won, World War  (c)  thanks to  II.  The Thakins' Tatmadaw and the Creation of A New  Burma  The war swept away everything that the B r i t i s h had constructed and envisioned for Burma. who  Also, the men  and leaders  had begun to acquire rudimentary s k i l l s in working with  new  p o l i t i c a l and economic i n s t i t u t i o n s put in place in the 1920s and 1930s were displaced and dispersed by the destruction and d i s i n t e g r a t i o n of the c o l o n i a l order(34).  The war,  as well, put  weapons of war and means of violence into the hands of societal segments and ethnic groups, and pitted them against one another in the name of independence, loyalty, nationalism, patriotism, anti-colonialism, anti-fascism, and so forth(35).  And,  in the  f i n a l analysis, the t o t a l d i s i n t e g r a t i o n of the B r i t i s h colonial  101  order delivered power into the hands of the " s o c i a l i s t " and "communist" Thakins, men who generally did not have much respect for Western bourgeois concepts and values, nor the s k i l l s to operate i n s t i t u t i o n s based on those values. The Thakins of the Dobama, because of their youthful energy, were undoubtedly the most v i s i b l e p o l i t i c a l force in prewar Burma.  They organized strikes in schools and at the Rangoon  University which, in later years, came to be c l o s e l y associated with the "struggle" for independence,  and they also did their  best to exploit every form of unrest there was.  However, as  Rangoon was p r a c t i c a l l y a c i t y of students since a l l important educational f a c i l i t i e s were situated there, the Thakins gained a large following there.  This made the Dobama very v i s i b l e , giving  the impression that i t was a well-organized "mass" or popular movement, something reality(36).  which the Thakins themselves  imagined to be a  The B r i t i s h , however, in keeping with the s p i r i t  and l e t t e r of their bestowed laws and constitution, tolerated the Thakins, and did not i n i t i a l l y suppress the weird brand of nationalism espoused  by the Thakins.  However, with the outbreak of war in Europe, and c o n f l i c t with Japan looming over the not too far horizon, the B r i t i s h began to crack down on what they viewed as extremist a g i t a t o r s , the Dobama leaders.  The Thakins, in turn, according  to the slogan, " B r i t i s h D i f f i c u l t y i s Burma's Opportunity", were eager to take up arms against the B r i t i s h , though they had no  102 idea of how to accomplish this(37).  But in August 1940, a  leading Thakin, Aung San, who had a five rupees reward out for his capture, managed to smuggle himself out of Burma on a Chinese f r e i g h t e r , "to seek foreign contacts and obtain arms and m i l i t a r y aid"(38).  He and a companion, Hla Myaing, landed in Amoy, where  they were stranded for three months, not knowing what to do next(39).  But unknown to Aung San and the Thakins, Japanese  secret agents were i n contact with the more established p o l i t i c a l figures in Burma, such as U Saw, Dr. Ba Maw, Dr.Thein Maung, Thakin Kodaw Hmine, Thakin Ba Sein, and so on(40).  The Japanese  aim was to forment trouble in Burma and somehow disrupt the flow of supplies to Chiang Kai Shek through the famous Burma Road(41). It was through these links that Aung San was contacted by Colonel Suzuki, whom Ba Maw described as a "Lawrence of Arabia" kind of figure(42).  Suzuki and Aung San f i n a l l y managed to smuggle out  some more young men belonging to various bickering Thakin fact ions(43), who were given about s i x months m i l i t a r y t r a i n i n g on Hainan Island.  These became the famous Thirty-Comrades,  feats have been mythologized  —  whose  out of proportion to the role  they r e a l l y played and what actually transpired. Contrary to popular lore that the Burma Independence Army (BIA) spearheaded the Japanese invasion of Burma, the Hainan Project, the plan to put Burman n a t i o n a l i s t s to m i l i t a r y use, was almost shelved.  The Japanese Army Command, having decided to  launch a frontal assault and occupy Burma outright with four crack d i v i s i o n s , no longer needed l o c a l g u e r i l l a forces to  103 disrupt the Burma Road(44).  However, Suzuki, in a t r u l y Lawrence  of Arabia fashion, defied the army and brought these " m i l i t a r y " Thakins to the Thai-Burma border, and there he b u i l t up the BIA almost single-handedly.  As noted by D.Guyot, t h i s "army", under  such circumstances, was "small, ill-equipped, and untrained"(45). Though the small BIA was not r e a l l y an army, i t s impact upon a populace disorientated by the war, and upon the thousands of young Burman caught up in an exciting time, was tremendous.  Further, the appearance  of the BIA and Japanese army  at the border with Siam, f i r s t l y , coincided with a revived folk prophecy which predicted that the umbrella rod (the B r i t i s h ) would be shattered by a thunderbolt(the Japanese), and by rumours spread by Ba Maw  and the Thakins(46) that Burma would be  liberated by a great army under Bo Mogyo (meaning thunderbolt, in Burmese), a descendant of a Burmese prince(47). Appropriately, Suzuki, the father of the BIA, was given the Burman name, Bo Mogyo.  Secondly, Suzuki b r i l l i a n t l y deployed his small,  untrained force in such a way so as to gain maximum p o l i t i c a l and psychological impact, by enabling i t "to grow safely behind the Japanese armour, and to move forward and to gather the f r u i t s of the Japanese  victories"(48).  Suzuki kept BIA units to the rear or flank of the advancing Japanese d i v i s i o n s , which kept them from being shattered in combat, but which enabled them to march into already liberated v i l l a g e s and towns as " l i b e r a t o r s " .  More importantly,  104 Suzuki led some BIA units into the c a p i t a l , Rangoon, ten days after i t f e l l , and there he quickly i n s t a l l e d a central BIA administration(49).  Thus did Suzuki give the Thakins a very  considerable p o l i t i c a l foothold in Burma during the Japanese occupation, which enabled them to consolidate their position further.  This made them an important p o l i t i c a l factor which  could not be ignored either by the B r i t i s h , when they returned in 1945,  or challenged by other other p o l i t i c a l actors and s o c i e t a l  segments in Burma. Aung San and the Thakins learned the lessons taught by Suzuki very well, for they repeated the maneuver of "gathering the f r u i t s of v i c t o r y won by others" in 1945.  That i s , when the  Thakins changed sides, the anti-Japanese Burma National Army (BNA)(50) r a r e l y confronted the Japanese in frontal combat(51). Instead, according to F.S.V.Donnison, i t s units usually operated "off the main l i n e of the B r i t i s h m i l i t a r y advance", and "arrived in the v i l l a g e s in the guise of v i c t o r s who Japanese"(52).  This gave the BNA  had driven out the  and the Thakins an aura of  accomplishment and heroism, though in r e a l i t y their contribution to the Japanese defeat was much less that those made by the Chin, Kachin, Karen and other non-Burman resistance forces(53). In fact, the Thakins launched their "war  of resistance  against the Japanese F a s c i s t s " at a time when the Japanese had suffered grievous m i l i t a r y reversals and the B r i t i s h had reoccupied nearly half of Burma(54).  Nonetheless, Lord Louis  105 Mountbatten, the Supreme A l l i e d Commander, chose to recognize the BNA and the Thakins as f r i e n d l y forces.  The reasons were, f i r s t ,  that Mountbatten had overestimated the strength of Japanese resistance;  second, he believed erroneous reports of Thakin  forces k i l l i n g hundreds of Japanese,  including two major-  generals, and therefore overestimated the Thakins(55);  and  t h i r d , he f e l t that the c i v i l i z e d world and, more c r u c i a l l y , the Americans,  were c r i t i c a l l y assessing how he would handle "the  native population in the f i r s t B r i t i s h t e r r i t o r y to be 1iberated"(56).  Also, unaware that Japan's t o t a l capitulation  was only a few months away, and viewing Burma as a base for further operations in Malaya and elsewhere(57), Mountbatten decided to use the BNA and the Thakins as a u x i l a r i e s which he renamed as the LBF or Local Burmese Forces.  Furthermore, he not  only met with Aung San, Than Tun, other Thakin leaders, and Bo Ne Win(58), but as well, agreed to incorporate the BNA/LBF/PBF(59) into the Burma Army to be  re-formed(60).  The B r i t i s h recognition of Aung San and the Thakins, and their Tatmadaw,  l a i d the groundwork for the future assumption  of power of the Thakins, who have been described by Ba Maw  as  "orphans of the storm, economically insecure or unemployed, s o c i a l l y rootless...a destructive force...[which] created a vast emptiness"(61), who were nurtured in violence and in the b e l i e f that their success rested on Burman martial blood and Burman courage.  Thus was born a myth, which was to be evoked frequently  by the m i l i t a r y —  of Burma being liberated from foreigners by  106 the  Tatmadaw, which represented the essence of Burman  superiority(62). The B r i t i s h reconquered Burma i n 1945, and by 1947, in accordance with the Aung San-Atlee Agreement signed in January, the  B r i t i s h had agreed to transfer the colony of Burma and the  i n d i r e c t l y ruled "Frontier Areas"(63), to the " s o c i a l i s t " Thakins.  In June 1947, a new constitution was drafted, f i n a l i z e d  in September, and the following January independence  was  declared(64). In retrospect, i t i s evident that what was handed over to the Thakins, now organized as the leading element of a broad c o a l i t i o n known as the Anti-Fascist People's Freedom League (AFPFL, Pa-Hsa-Ba-La,  in Burmese)(65), and what the l a t t e r  i n s i s t e d on having immediately, was a country which had suffered very severe war damage, equivalent to at least one-half of  man-  made wealth i n Burma, estimated in monetary terms at U.S.$5 billion  (at the exchange rate of Kyat 4:1 U.S.dollars)(66).  worse s t i l l ,  And  in p o l i t i c a l terms, the Thakins inherited a  d i s i n t e g r a t i n g and as yet unintegrated entity, notwithstanding the  outward appearances and words on various agreements and  documents.  For one thing, the AFPFL was not only a c o a l i t i o n of  disparate and adversarial factions revolving around personalities and personal l o y a l t i e s , or animosities, but i t was as well (or consequently), a paper construct which lacked organizational cohesion and a r e l i a b l e chain of command(67).  Aung San, the hero  107 of the moment, and the Thakin supreme leader, had himself warned a senior B r i t i s h o f f i c i a l that "not a l l AFPFL l o y a l l y their leader"(68).  followed  He commented rather prophetically on his  leadership role to a B r i t i s h d i s t r i c t commissioner: "Few leaders have lasted for more than three years. up and  Burmese  My time is almost  I have no doubt that soon I s h a l l be following the rest  into obiivion"(69). Burma had begun to unravel p o l i t i c a l l y even before constitution was  finalized:  the  Aung San and his entire interim  cabinet were assassinated; the Karen-Burman ethnic c o n f l i c t continued,  becoming more serious d a i l y ; Thakin Soe's Red  Flag  communist Thakins staged uprisings in Arakan, and the White Flag communist Thakins of Thakin Than Tun prepared for a "revolution" and successfully i n f i l t r a t e d the AFPFL's own PVO  (People's Volunteer  Organization)(70),  pocket "army", the  labor and peasant  organizations, and a l l Burman units of the new the Fourth Burma R i f l e s of Colonel Ne  Burma Army except  Win.  Soon a f t e r independence, the Karen-Burman ethnic c o n f l i c t escalated into a f u l l r e b e l l i o n which pulled Karen policemen and Karen R i f l e units into the fray, an armed c o n f l i c t which continues  to this day(71).  The White Flag communist  Thakins staged their "revolution", and were joined by Burman mutineers and a large portion of the PVO Thakins.  and other  leftist  To make matters worse, many " s o c i a l i s t " Thakins in  power resigned en bloc in order to make way  for the r e b e l l i n g  108 communist Thakins(72). was  For the new government of Thakin Nu, this  i t s darkest hour(73).  But fortunately, the Shan Chaofa or  princes, the Kachin Duwa, Chin c h i e f t a i n s , and the Karenni Savphaya,  remained staunchly loyal and encouraged U Nu to stand  firm(74).  It was these supposedly "parochial", "non-modern" so-  c a l l e d t r i b a l leaders who r a l l i e d their people behind the AFPFL, and the non-Burman fought resolutely as soldiers in the Burma Army, the armed police, and even as volunteers i n various levies raised by their princes and chiefs(75).  More importantly, the  support of the non-Burman segments for U Nu undoubtedly boosted the legitimacy and r e s p e c t a b i l i t y of the AFPFL, e s p e c i a l l y abroad, which, i n turn, resulted in generous m i l i t a r y and other assistance from B r i t a i n , India, Pakistan, and the United States(76).  As astutely noted by Maung Maung Gyi, a Burman, " i t  was not the army per se that saved the country from the impending d i s i n t e g r a t i o n i n 1948-1949" since the army then was small, divided, and disorganized and as well, mutinous and d i s l o y a l as far as Burman units were concerned(77).  Rather, i t was the so-  c a l l e d " t r a d i t i o n a l " leaders of the Shan, Kachin, the Chin and even the Karen (before their uprising) which saved Burma.  (d)  The March Forward of Bo Ne Win and the Tatmadaw The armed challenges to the AFPFL state at i t s  inception, however, had a very s i g n i f i c a n t p o l i t i c a l  consequence.  It made the r u l i n g AFPFL Thakins dependent on their colleagues and followers in the armed forces, the Tatmadaw.  This, in turn,  109 meant that the Tatmadaw could obtain whatever i t needed or wanted, with few questions asked(78); more so since the various r e b e l l i o n s had only been contained, not defused, and  particularly  since containing the presence in the Shan and Kachin states of defeated Kuomintang (KMT,  or Chinese Nationalist) units which had  retreated from Yunnan(79), required a strong army. i t also meant that the Tatmadaw  Conversely,  leaders came to enjoy a  considerable amount of independence v i s - a - v i s the r u l i n g AFPFL Thak ins. Further, the m i l i t a r y , being an armed agency of the state backed by the resources of the state, could without  too  much d i f f i c u l t y e s t a b l i s h i t s presence anywhere, especially in areas where c i v i l government o f f i c e r s could not reach. such, the Tatmadaw  was  given and  And  as  undertook greater  r e s p o n s i b i l i t y for carrying out various state- and nationbuilding measures ( i . e . , the penetration and the establishment  of  the authority of the state throughout the land) and combating "centrifugal tendencies"  (which is a code word for l o c a l leaders  and organizations), e s p e c i a l l y among ethnic segments ( which is one aspect of nation-building).  Thus, for example, large areas  of the Shan and Kachin State were put under d i r e c t m i l i t a r y rule in the e a r l y - to mid-1950s(80), and some areas bordering  China,  l i k e Kokang and the Wa areas in the Shan State, remained special military-administered zones u n t i l 1962  when the whole country  came under m i l i t a r y r u l e .  two-fold: one, to make the  The aim was  presence and authority of the new state f e l t in the peripheries;  110  and two,  to undermine the influence of local non-Burman leaders,  viewed by the AFPFL Thakins and the m i l i t a r y , from their Dobama perspective, as feudal, a n t i - s o c i a l i s t , and hence, proi m p e r i a l i s t (81) . The m i l i t a r y further occupied i t s e l f with extending the reach of the AFPFL state in the non-Burman states; in p a r t i c u l a r , in areas where the AFPFL had been unable to compete with already established l o c a l parties or leaders.  The m i l i t a r y  carried out t h i s task by just moving in and establishing garrisons and outposts.  Since state and  l o c a l governments had  say in defence matters(82), and because army o f f i c e r s had guns and the men, authority and  they were able to over-ride  no  the  local-level  laws (and also l o c a l s e n s i b i l i t i e s ) .  The m i l i t a r y  attempted further to undermine the positions of s t a t e - l e v e l and l o c a l leaders considered dangerous(83).  One  undesirable,  method was  h o s t i l e , or p o t e n t i a l l y  to create l o c a l opposition groups,  or provide existing ones with funds or other kinds of assistance(84), a task usually undertaken by the p o l i t i c a l branch of the M i l i t a r y Intelligence Service  (MIS).  The second  was  through the open intimidation of l o c a l leaders, sometimes with the threat of force, but usually with the actual use of force and t e r r o r , e s p e c i a l l y in r u r a l areas(85). correspondingly  Thus, the  Tatmadaw  grew more powerful, so that by the mid- and  1950s, ultimate power in the Shan, Kachin, and  late-  other states,  rested not in the hands of the state governments, nor with the AFPFL in faraway Rangoon, nor in the Parliament, but in the hands  Ill  of army commanders on the spot(86).  Even in the Burman areas, i t  is l i k e l y that t h i s s i t u a t i o n applied, e s p e c i a l l y in d i s t r i c t s which were put under m i l i t a r y administration(87). The m i l i t a r y also engaged i n building a p o l i t i c a l base for  i t s e l f , ostensibly as part of i t s anti-insurgency  program.  It was c a r r i e d out by the Psychological Warfare Department under the supervision of Brigadier Maung Maung(88).  Psycho-warfare  warriors went around giving talks, mobilizing veterans, and forming informal groups which, during the caretaker regime of 1958-60, became branches of the National S o l i d a r i t y Associations or the NSA  (Kyant  Khaing  Ye Athin).  It was  an embryo p o l i t i c a l  party which was touted by the m i l i t a r y as a grassroot organization.  In the 1960 elections, i t was directed against U  Nu's Clean AFPFL in support  of the pro-military Stable faction.  However, the NSA f a i l e d to prevent U Nu's landslide v i c t o r y and i t was shelved.  The NSA was, however, not resurrected after the  1962 coup, perhaps, because i t f a i l e d to accomplish i t s task or because i t had been the support-base of the now  dismissed  Brigadier Maung Maung(89). Brigadier Aung Gyi, i n the meantime, had b u i l t up the Tatmadaw's economic base, and was so successful that at the time of the m i l i t a r y caretaker regime, the DSI (the Defence Services Industries) had become a giant economic and commercial empire which owned and operated  a department store in Rangoon, an  external shipping l i n e , a chain of hotels, automobile dealerships  112 and service centers, banks, i n d u s t r i a l enterprises, and so on(90) . General Ne Win had also been busy.  While appearing to  be a p o l i t i c a l and more fond of women and horses(91) than exercising power or being an army Chief of S t a f f , he i s said to have keenly studied Chinese and Burmese history.  According to  Htin Aung, Ne Win "knows Burmese chronicles by rote, [and] looks to the Burmese past to create a Burmese future", and believes in "the maintainence of t r a d i t i o n a l values"(92).  While brooding  over the past and, presumably, studying the s t a t e c r a f t of Genghis Khan(93), Ne Win also devoted time to setting up and c l o s e l y supervising the MIS -- the M i l i t a r y Intelligence Service(94). Very l i t t l e has been written about the MIS, and i t has escaped the attention even of scholars focusing on the m i l i t a r y in Burma, though i t s presence and power i s f e l t and dreaded throughout the country by everyone, regardless of c l a s s , creed, age, or place of residence.  This was so even at the time when the AFPFL was in  power, e s p e c i a l l y in the non-Burman states. The MIS i s a very powerful, highly secretive secret police organization whose members enjoy the kind of power enjoyed by S t a l i n ' s Red Army p o l i t i c a l commissars or Gestapo personnel in Nazi Germany.  Like the American FBI, the MIS keeps intelligence  f i l e s on ministers, army top brass and o f f i c e r s , p o l i t i c i a n s , c i v i l servants, academics, j o u r n a l i s t s , and even BSPP leaders at a l l levels.  It i s , however, much more dangerous than the FBI  113 because the data collected i s often based on teashop gossip, rumours, and the l i k e ( 9 5 ) .  Besides, since those arrested by the  MIS are never brought to t r i a l , evidence of g u i l t or innocence i s superfluous(96).  Further, even going back to the days before the  1958 coup, the MIS has never bothered with l e g a l i t y when making arrests or searching premises; the MIS has long been above the law and answerable, even then, only to one man, and that man was Ne Win. Thus, during the f i r s t decade of independence, while the Tatmadaw was growing in power and independence, and becoming a p a r a l l e l state with i t s own economic and commercial  base,  country-wide p o l i t i c a l apparatus and support-base, and independent police organization operating e x t r a - l e g a l l y and without any lawful r e s t r a i n t throughout the land, the AFPFL Thakins were increasingly becoming more fractious. top  Each of the  AFPFL leaders, such as Ba Swe, Kyaw Nyein, Thakins Tin, Pan  Myaing, Kyaw Dun, presided over his own patron-client network and personal empire(97), and as their c l i e n t s grew larger, they began to  poach on one another's personal empires(98).  As Traeger also  observes, they had been thrown together for too long and had begun to get on each other nerves (99).  More s i g n i f i c a n t , from  the point of view of l o c a l observers, was the fact that Madames Nu and Kyaw Nyein did not get along at a l l ; the l a t t e r was educated, dynamic and cosmopolitan, while the former was from a small town and unassuming(100).  These factors contributed to the  114 d i s i n t e g r a t i o n of a c o a l i t i o n of Thakin notables which had kept them in power. The f a l l i n g out of leading p o l i t i c a l figures, in turn, reinforced the d i s a f f e c t i o n within the Tatmadaw  towards these  leaders, who were increasingly viewed by the Tatmadaw "with dismay, with scorn, with a wounded sense of national pride"(101). The Tatmadaw believed the p o l i t i c i a n s had embraced the good l i f e as big men  in the c a p i t a l , and this was revealed in their lack of  d i r e c t i o n , absence of ideals, and their fumbling performances in every sphere a f f e c t i n g the "nation".  The m i l i t a r y , and Ne  Win  himself, according to Maung Maung (his autobiographer and puppet President of the country for a dramatic and tense month in 1988), was very unhappy with the AFPFL Thakin.  He f e l t that U Nu and  top c i v i l i a n leaders had compromised the revolution and "socialism" through deals with bureaucrats, big traders, foreign c a p i t a l i s t s and advisors, "feudal and t r i b a l c h i e f s " , aboveground communists, and so on(102).  As well, the AFPFL leaders'  adherence to parliamentary democracy had, Ne Win and the m i l i t a r y f e l t , not promoted s o c i a l i s t development, but "just the reverse"(103). 0  Thus a number of factors slowly converged which motivated the m i l i t a r y to seize power.  These included the  growing strength and autonomy of the m i l i t a r y and i t s development as a p a r a l l e l power-center  due, c h i e f l y , to the dependence of the  r u l i n g AFPFL on the m i l i t a r y , not only against armed r i v a l s but  115 also against e l e c t o r a l opposition(104);  growing army  disillusionment with p o l i t i c a l leaders who were, i t was f e l t , becoming corrupt and s o f t , and not very deserving of their fame and fortune;  the pervasiveness of a mind-set among Tatmadaw  personnel that they won the country's independence, that they represented the "nation" and had "saved" i t many times, and that i t was their duty therefore to guide and safeguard the nation which was their creation;  and f i n a l l y , there was the  d i s i n t e g r a t i o n of the ruling c i v i l i a n c o a l i t i o n , the AFPFL, and the very public r i v a l r y between U Nu, Kyaw Nyein, Ba Swe, Thakin Tin, and so on, which further eroded whatever remaining respect there was for the c i v i l i a n leadership. Thus, the Tatmadaw was able to grab power successfully, though not d i r e c t l y , i n 1958.  I t cleaned up the  mess created, i t claimed, by inept and corrupt p o l i t i c i a n s . 1960,  In  the Tatmadaw returned to the barracks and i n the process  earned high praise from foreign observers.  In 1962, the Tatmadaw  again came out with tanks and guns, once more to "save the Burma", and since then, i t has not relinquished i t s role as the protector and savior of the "nation", even though the people c l e a r l y indicated with their l i v e s in 1988 that they no longer wanted the "protection" of Bo Ne Win and h i s Tatmadaw.  116 NOTE  S  F 0 R  C HA P T E R  F OUR  1. Hugh Tinker, ed. BURMA: THE STRUGGLE FOR INDEPENDENCE 1944-1948 (London: Her Majesty's Stationary O f f i c e , 1984), Vol.11, p.xxxvi. Actually, according to Tinker, the date agreed upon e a r l i e r for the transfer of power was January 6, 1948 . 2. I t was fortunate for those astrologers that U Nu and the AFPFL Thakins were "modern". They would otherwise have l o s t their heads given the troubles the leaders encountered soon a f t e r . But astrology being what i t i s , those astrologers could have claimed that they had averted greater misfortune. It i s apparent that Ne Win managed to obtain the services of more s k i l l e d astrologers. To be f a i r , however the b e l i e f in magic and astrology is a very serious and lucrative business in the Third World. The unpredictable nature of l i f e reinforces the perception that events are the results of mysterious forces beyond human control, or are accidents that occur haphazardly, or according to one's karma. Astrology and other magic, therefore, can be viewed as attempts by men to control, counter, or mitigate various unknown forces that mysteriously shape, determine or change their fate. 3. I t has been perceived by those looking i n from the outside and claimed by the m i l i t a r y as well, that Burma was saved from d i s s o l u t i o n by the Tatmadav at least four times: i n 1948-50, when the "Rangoon government" seemed about to be dislodged by the communist Thakins and their "multi-colored insurgent" a l l i e s ; i n 1958, following the d i s i n t e g r a t i o n of the AFPFL; i n 1962, when Shan princes and other non-Burman leaders were a l l e g e d l y threatening to secede and "dismember" the Union; and i n 1988, when the popular uprising against the m i l i t a r y dominated BSPP regime was interpreted by the m i l i t a r y as a attempted takeover by communists. 4. Michael Aung-Thwin, PAGAN: THE ORIGINS OF MODERN BURMA (Honolulu: The University of Hawaii Press,1985), pp.99-105. 5. The Shan are a Thai/Lao-speaking people who c a l l themselves the T a i . The word, "Shan", adopted by the B r i t i s h , i s derived from the Burman mispronounciation of the word "Siam", although i t i s s p e l l e d "Syam" in the Burmese s c r i p t . "Shan" i s the term used by the Karen, Mon, and the Burman of lower Burma, to denote a l l Thai/Lao speakers, including the modern Thai of Thailand, who are referred to as "Yodaya Shan" (Ayuthia Shan). B r i t i s h c o l o n i a l a u t h o r i t i e s , for p o l i t i c a l and bureaucratic reasons which cannot be dealt with here, designated the Shan Chaota or princes as " c h i e f s " . But, they were nonetheless recognized as equal to royal princes in both the Burman and the Siamese t r a d i t i o n . In fact, the term " C h a o t a " , in current Thai usage, denoting a prince or princess of the f i r s t order (born of  117 the Chief Queen), was adopted from Shan, according to Prince Chula Chakrabongse. Moreover, the Shan, l i k e their Lao cousin, and the Malay, had from the twelveth century or e a r l i e r , established a " l o c a l i z e d system of h i e r a r c h i c a l order" ruled over by a "'king'", see D.J. Steinberg, et_.a_l, ed. IN SEARCH OF SOUTHEAST ASIA (Honolulu: University of Hawaii Press, 1985), pp.33-4. Also, P.Kunstadter, "Introduction", in P. Kunstadter, ed. SOUTHEAST ASIAN TRIBES, MINORITIES, AND NATIONS (Princeton: Princeton University Press,1967), pp.41. Further see, H.R.H. Chula Chakrabongse, LORDS OF LIFE: A HISTORY OF THE KINGS OF THAILAND (London: Alvin Redman, Ltd.,1967 edn.), p.52. A wellknown writer and former judge in B r i t i s h Burma, Maurice C o l l i s , found i t very strange that Shan princes were designated as " c h i e f s " although "they had been r u l i n g princes for five hundred years", and with some of them e n t i t l e d to nine gun salutes. See M. C o l l i s , INTO HIDDEN BURMA (London: Faber and Faber, 1953), p. 26. 6. F.K. Lehman, "Ethnic Theory i n Burma and the Theory of Social Systems", in P.Kunstadter, ed. SOUTHEAST ASIAN TRIBES, op c i t , pp.93-124, esp.pp.99,110. 7. Such a s i t u a t i o n s t i l l exists i n Burma today with the Lahu, Wa, Akha, and so on, serving in various armed formations of the Burma Army, the Communist Party's army, the various Shan "armies", the Kachin Independence Army (KIA), and so on, and as well, in their own "armies" such as the Palaung National Force (PNF), the Lahu National Liberation Army (LNLA), the Wa National Army (WNA), and so forth. 8. I t must be remembered that there were no "national" boundaries i n those days. Hence the t r i b u t a r y system that existed was f l u i d and often overlapped. For example, Shan princes paid tribute not only to the Burman kings, but to "China" (most probably Yunnan) as well, and at times to the Siamese kings. The Burman kings also paid tribute to China or sent presents (usually regarded as a tribute by the recipient) to the Emperor, as did the Siamese and the Vietnamese. 9. J.S.Furnivall, COLONIAL POLICY AND PRACTICE (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press,1948), p.12. This i s , however, not to say that these h i s t o r i c a l actors had assumed n a t i o n a l i s t i c i d e n t i t i e s or fought each other as national e n t i t i e s . E t h n i c i t y would, i t i s surmised, play some role, mainly as an awareness-factor which brought people speaking the same language together. E l i t e s (kings, lords, princes, etc.) probably fought each other to protect or further their respective s e l f interests, and for plunder, rather than for "nation and people", per se. I t i s inconceivable that there would then have existed a developed form of Burman, Shan, and Mon nationalism which vied with one another for dominance as implied throughout Htin Aung's  118 work. See, Maung Htin Aung, THE HISTORY OF MODERN BURMA (London: Columbia University Press,1967), e s p e c i a l l y pp.96-7,170. 10. P.Kunstadter ASIAN TRIBES, op c i t , pp.75.  "Burma: Introduction", SOUTHEAST  11. For example, at the time of the B r i t i s h annexation, the Kachin had, as noted by a Kachin scholar, "risen en masse against the Burmese [Burman] king". See Maran La Raw, "Towards a Basis for Understanding Minorities in Burma: The Kachin", in SOUTHEAST ASIAN TRIBES, op c i t . p.129. More serious s t i l l , the Shan Chaofa or princes had, by the early 1880s, not only expelled Burman forces from their homeland, but also had in 1885, formed a c o a l i t i o n , the Limbin Confederacy, aimed at marching on to Mandalay to dethrone King Thibaw, but they were pre-empted by the B r i t i s h . See Sao Saimong Mangrai, THE SHAN STATES AND THE BRITISH ANNEXATION (Ithaca: Cornell University Press,1967), pp.107-111. Though i t i s not known whether the Shan princes would have succeeded in their venture, they c e r t a i n l y did possess the m i l i t a r y vigor to r e p e l l repeated Siamese invasions of Kengtung, a Shan princedom, in 1840s to the 1850s. For the Siamese invasions of Kengtung, see Prince Damrong Rajanubhap, THAI WARS AGAINST BURMA (Bangkok: Silpa Bannakharn,1971,in Thai), pp.738-807. In 1975, the sawphaya r u l i n g over areas of the present Karenni state were recognized by the B r i t i s h and the Burman king (Mindon) as independent r u l e r s . 12. Maung Maung Gyi, BURMESE POLITICAL VALUES: THE SOCIO-POLITICAL ROOTS OF AUTHORITARIANISM (New York: Praeger, 1983), pp.14,21-4,34-5. 13. One of the means by which members of the Kywanto or Ahmudan escaped royal service was to go into debt, and on default become debt-slaves of creditors who, frequently, were powerful or wealthy courtiers, important fief-holders or o f f i c i a l s . Other means included outright desertion or taking to banditry. Victor Lieberman, BURMESE ADMINISTRATIVE CYCLES: ANARCHY AND CONQUEST, 1580-1760 (Princeton: Princeton University Press,1984), pp.169-77, espec.169-71. 14. The l i t e r a l t r a n s l a t i o n of Myosa i s "Towneater". These were persons granted fiefdoms, which might have been a province, d i s t r i c t , or a town, and who had the right to keep an agreed portion of the revenues c o l l e c t e d . A Myosa-ship was not hereditary, but a royal prerogative, which could be and often was revoked and shuffled about at w i l l by the king. There was also another type of fiefdom granted, known as Yvasa, or "Village-eater", whose recipient enjoyed the same rights but over a smaller j u r i s d i c t i o n . Khin Mg Kyi and Daw Tin T i n , ADMINISTRATIVE PATTERNS IN HISTORICAL BURMA (Singapore: Institute of Southeast Asian Studies,1973), pp.41-3.  119 15.  Maung Maung Gyi, op c i t , pp.27-8.  16. Ibid, p.22. Royal power was p e r s o n a l i s t i c , a r b i t r a r y , and e s s e n t i a l l y lawless i n that there were no laws above the monarch except Buddhist moral percepts and exhortations which, as pointed out by Maung Maung Gyi, were no more than "pious p l a t i t u d e s " ( Maung Maung Gyi, op c i t , p.22). Lawlessness in the exercise of power was the rule rather than the exception at every l e v e l i n precolonial Burma, as has been well documented by nineteenth and early twentieth century European observers and historians such as E.C.V.Foucar, G.E.Harvey, Father V.Sangermano, and S i r George Scott. This view was at one time severely resented by " n a t i o n a l i s t s " and some "Burmese" scholars, but many, such as Ba Maw, Maung Maung Gyi, Daw Tin Tin, and Khin Maung Kyi, have since gradually come to accept the e a r l i e r observations of despotic rule in Burma. Daw Mya Sein, however, was one of the e a r l i e s t Burman scholars to imply that the Burman kings were despotic. See, Daw Mya Sein, THE ADMINISTRATION OF BURMA (London: Oxford University Press,1973 edn.), pp.12-15. The works of e a r l i e r European historians and observers named above are: E.C.V.Foucar, THEY REIGNED IN MANDALAY (London: Dennis Dobson Limited,1946); G.E.Harvey, OUTLINE HISTORY OF BURMA (Bombay: Longmans, Green, 1925); Father V. Sangermano, THE BURMESE EMPIRE (London: S.Gupta, 1966 edn.); Sir George Scott, THE BURMAN: HIS LIFE AND NOTIONS (London: The Norton Library,1963 edn.) 17. This process of the decay of a b s o l u t i s t rule and i t s reconstitution by a new absolutist ruler i n premodern Burma is appropriately named "the Burmese Administrative Cycle" by Lieberman, op c i t , pp.11-14. 18. For example, R.H.Taylor seems to equate absolutism and strong state-autonomy with the c a p a b i l i t y and/or willingness of power-holders to bring about s o c i o - p o l i t i c a l and economic transformation in a l e g a l - r a t i o n a l d i r e c t i o n . He, as such, presumes that the Burman kingdom, because of the "increased capacity" of the state-center, was inevitably on i t s way to becoming a modern state on the eve of the f i r s t Anglo-Burmese war in 1820. Taylor further argues that whatever differences there were between precolonial Burma ("the early modern state i n Burma", according to him) and the early European states, they were overstated. The implication i s that B r i t i s h colonialism disrupted the predetermined natural or h i s t o r i c a l evolution of the Burman kingdom into a modern Burmese nation-state. Taylor, THE STATE IN BURMA (London: C.Hurst and Co., 1987), pp.5-10. 19. According to the scholars c i t e d , there was almost no d i s t i n c t d i v i s i o n of labor and a l l o c a t i o n of duties, r i g h t s , and r e s p o n s i b i l i t i e s , in the modern bureaucratic sense, between the f i e f - h o l d e r s (the Bayin-gan, Myosa, Yvaza, etc.), the various types of appointed o f f i c e r s (such as the Wungyi, Myowun, Wundauk, Akaukvun, e t c ) , and the hereditary local administrators  120 (the Myothugyi, Ywathugyi, e t c ) . Except for the hereditary o f f i c e r s , a l l appointments or grants were held at the pleasure of the king and were not transferable to h e i r s . O f f i c i a l s were frequently appointed, elevated, honored, rewarded, or variously dismissed by the king for t r i v i a l or no apparent reasons. Also, there were cases in which a minister or Wungyi was also a Myosa and a Ywasa, and as well, a Wundauk, a l l r o l l e d into one. As well, h i s daughter would be, depending upon the king's pleasure, either made a queen or given an appanage of a town or a v i l l a g e (a Myosa or Yvasa), or granted both p r i v i l e g e s . As such, one should be wary of claims made that precolonial Burma was close to becoming an "early modern state" because there existed "bureaucratic" structures with seemingly d i f f e r e n t i a t e d and s p e c i f i c functions. For a very comprehensive account of precolonial administration in Burma and a sound argument made that the s o c i o - p o l i t i c a l system in precolonial Burma c l o s e l y resembled the A s i a t i c Despotic order rather than a European Feudal type, see Khin Maung Kyi and Daw Tin Tin, op c i t , pp.19-21 (Comparing the A s i a t i c and Feudal Modes with regard to production forces, production r e l a t i o n s , d i v i s i o n of power and authority, administrative organization, p o l i t i c a l ideology, and so on), and pp.41-5,48-52,54-6, for a description and analysis of the Burmese Administrative system and r e s p o n s i b i l i t i e s and previleges of various types of o f f i c e s . 20. Such a view of colonialism may seem too generous, i f not reactionary and s l a v i s h . But in comparison to what existed i n precolonial Burma, and with what transpired a f t e r decolonization, not only in Burma, but in most former colonies, i t would be extremely unscholarly to i n s i s t that colonialism represented nothing but cold-blooded economic exploitation and cruel p o l i t i c a l oppression of the "natives". However fashionable i t may be to r i d i c u l e "the c i v i l i z i n g mission" of the West, i t must be recognized that certain ideas that came with the c o l o n i a l f l a g , such as the s a n c t i t y of law, the p r i n c i p l e of p o l i t i c a l representation, the rights of c i t i z e n s v i s - a - v i s their r u l e r s , and the general respect for such r i g h t s , the separation of the personal from public realm, c i v i l l i b e r t i e s and freedom, and so forth, are nonetheless c i v i l i z e d , and even universal ideals, even though they may be based on Western/bourgeois values and p o l i t i c a l culture. 21. c i t , pp.15-16.  J . S . F u r n i v a l l , COLONIAL POLICY AND PRACTICE, op.  22. This i s not to deny that B r i t i s h motives were s e l f - i n t e r e s t e d . It could not be otherwise since colonies were meant to be, i f possible, p r o f i t a b l y exploited, or at l e a s t , self-supporting. However, i t cannot be denied that s e l f interested B r i t i s h colonialism did transform Burma from a predeveloped, war ravaged, d e s p o t i c a l l y ruled and mismanaged piece of wild r e a l estate into a modern country, or at l e a s t , i t  121 became, as put by J . Leroy Christian, "the richest and most b r i l l i a n t facet [of the brightest gem, i.e.,India] in the B r i t i s h imperial crown". At the eve of World War I I , Burma exported nearly 3.5 m i l l i o n tons of r i c e annually, more than the combined t o t a l exports of Siam and French Indochina; in Asia, i t s output of petroleum was exceeded only by Iran and Iraq; Burma was the largest producer of s i l v e r and lead, surpassed China in the production of tungsten; and i t exported more timber than a l l the remainder of Asia. See J.Leroy Christian, BURMA AND THE JAPANESE INVADER (Bombay: Thacker and Co.,Ltd.,1945), p.4. 23. "Bo", i s also the term denoting a m i l i t a r y leader or army o f f i c e r . Even today, male Europeans are s t i l l referred to by t h i s , term not only among Burmans in Burma, but in "Burmese" communities abroad as well. 24.  Maung Maung Gyi, op c i t , p.2 33.  25. Dorothy Guyot, "Communal C o n f l i c t in the Burma Delta", in Ruth McVey, ed. SOUTHEAST ASIAN TRANSITIONS (New Haven: Yale University, 1978), pp.198-200. Contrary to popular misconception, not a l l Karens converted to C h r i s t i a n i t y . Guyot states that there were, prior to the war, about 200,000 Karen Christians (out of 1.4 m i l l i o n who spoke Karen). But those who converted became the e l i t e and they a r t i c u l a t e d Karen interests and aspirations. The existence of a Karen legend f o r e t e l l i n g "the return of a younger brother who kept the Golden Book" probably f a c i l i t a t e d the Karen conversion to C h r i s t i a n i t y . For quite a detailed account of the Karen, largely ignored by most h i s t o r i a n s , see J.F.Cady, A HISTORY OF MODERN BURMA (Ithaca: Cornell University Press,1958), pp.137-44,293-4,368-73,412-3,4434,549-52,589-93. Cady c l e a r l y does not approve of Karen nationalism, but avoids stereotyping them as obstacles to "national unity", which unfortunately cannot be said for most Burma scholars, u n t i l very recently. For an account of the Karen and missionaries, see F u r n i v a l l , COLONIAL POLICY, op c i t , pp.55,180-1,398-9. 26. For a concise, but s u r p r i s i n g l y comprehensive account of developments and changes in Burma under c o l o n i a l rule, covering rural problems and agriculture, commerce, industry and labor, s o c i a l changes, and arts, see Leroy Christian, op c i t , pp.106-193. 27. These were the Craddock Scheme of 1918-1920, the Whyte Committee Report of 1921, the Burma Reform B i l l of 1922, the Simon Commission and Reform Proposals of 1928, the Round Table Conference of 1930 and 1931, the Joint Committee Hearings on Separation in London of 1933, the Burma Reform B i l l of 1935, and the Government of Burma Act and Constitution of 1935-1937.  122 28. However, the p o l i t i c a l arrangements and i n s t i t u t i o n s wrought by the B r i t i s h have been interpreted by many Burman, even scholars l i k e Htin Aung, as a device to keep Burma divided as per the divide-and-rule c o l o n i a l strategum. However, i t would seem that t h i s argument is too s i m p l i s t i c , and moreover, does not adequately explain fragmentation in "new" Third World states. If the people had been f o r c e f u l l y divided, the removal of that d i v i s i v e power would have resulted in a trend towards greater unity rather than i n t e n s i f i e d c o n f l i c t . Further, at the time of the f i n a l annexation, 1885-1886, the control of the Burman king over the peripheries was already non-existent. The B r i t i s h merely accepted the existing fragmentation and d i v e r s i t y . Moreover, the building of a "Burmese" nation was not a top c o l o n i a l p r i o r i t y . From the 1920s onward, however, B r i t i s h p o l i c y was increasingly directed, as adequately documented, at the u n i f i c a t i o n of the separated "Frontier Areas" with " M i n i s t e r i a l Burma" (Burma proper). Htin Aung maintains, however, that the B r i t i s h not only kept the rest of Burma apart from Burma proper, but as well,attempted to fragment Burma proper i t s e l f by providing separate representation for the Indians, the Eurasians, the English community, and worse of a l l , encouraging Karen nationalism. See Htin Aung, THE HISTORY OF MODERN BURMA, op c i t , pp.280,285,286. Htin Aung's argument rests, in my view, on the premise that "the nation" of any state must be homogenuous, i . e . , that there should be no d i v e r s i t y or other forms of ethnic nationalism other than that which is p o l i t i c a l l y dominant ( for example, Burman ethnic nationalism). I f , and only i f , such an argument i s accepted as v a l i d , only then can i t be said that B r i t i s h p o l i c y in Burma was aimed at sowing disunity, and thus, keeping Burma divided. With regard to the alleged c o l o n i a l "divide-and r u l e " strategum, a more plausible view would be that i t was a governing technique that played on e x i s t i n g cleavages which  made governing  by a small  white  minority more managable,  rather than an intentional device meant to create new and/or sow d i s u n i t y .  cleavages  29. See B r i t i s h White Papers Burma in 1931, 1935, and 1945. The B r i t i s h goal of amalgamating a l l excluded and separately administered Frontier Areas (the present Chin, Kachin, Shan, Karen, Mon s t a t e s ) , and measures taken to grant increasing r e s p o n s i b i l i t i e s and self-government to the Burman segment are well documented and covered in a l l h i s t o r i e s of modern Burma. The long-term B r i t i s h goal for Burma was, however, prempted by World War II, and the subsequent independence for Burma. The most detailed and the balanced account of pre-war p o l i t i c s and events in Burma i s J.F.Cady's book A HISTORY OF MODERN BURMA, op c i t . 30. Ibid, p.376. Also, M.Maung (ex-Brigadier, Burma Army), FROM SANGHA TO LAITY (New Delhi: Manohar Publication, 1980), p.126.  123 31. Cady op-cit, p.309. Also see pp.303-318, which covers the dramatic p o l i t i c a l consequences of the depression. The e f f e c t s of the Great Depression, and the subsequent Saya San r e b e l l i o n and r a c i a l l y motivated rampages by the Burman is also well covered in a l l accounts of modern Burma. #  (New  32. F.N.Traeger, BURMA: FROM KINGDOM TO REPUBLIC York: Praeger, 1966), p.54. 33.  Maung Maung Gyi, op c i t , pp.87-8.  34. Thousands of s k i l l e d Indians who had served in the c o l o n i a l services, the professions, and in trade and commerce, were not only displaced by the war, but the wealth and the network of credit and trade which they created was destroyed. The Chinese, in p a r t i c u l a r , had to flee when the Japanese invaded, since China was Japan's most hated and despised enemy. As well, a great many Burman who had served in the c o l o n i a l service suffered greatly at the hands of both the Japanese and the newly empowered Thakins, who hated bureaucrats. The war impoverished everyone, which meant that the emerging Burman middle-class was destroyed. As well, a l l the pre-war p o l i t i c i a n s , such as U Pu, Tharawaddy U Maung Maung, Sir Htoon Aung Kyaw, U Ba Pe, and so on were either cowed by the Japanese and the Thakins, and had their followers dispersed, or l i k e S i r Paw Tun escaped to India at the outbreak of war, or l i k e U Saw (the last pre-war Prime Minister), detained by the B r i t i s h . U Saw was, l i k e the Thakins, a rough-and-ready Burman ethnonationalist (who did not get on well with the Thakins), also had long-established contacts with Japanese secret agents in Burma. While on a foreign tour, just prior to the Japanese invasion, he was caught contacting a Japanese agent in Lisbon, and was imprisoned for the duration of the war in Uganda. When he returned to Burma afterwards, he had been eclipsed by Aung San and the Thakins. An attempt was made on his l i f e , and not long after he plotted the assassination of Aung San and his interim cabinet July 1947, for which he was later hanged. 35. The non-Burman c e r t a i n l y did not see the Thakins as l i b e r a t o r s or freedom fighters, much less as "national" leaders. To them, the Japanese were the " e v i l invaders", and the Thakins were lackies who ran errands for the Japanese. Also, the non-Burman leaders were legitimate rulers either by virtue of t r a d i t i o n or experience in the colonial army, police, or administration, while the Thakins were obscure agitators. The experience of the Karen was worse since they, unlike the Shan, Kachin, etc., did not have their own h i s t o r i c a l homeland, but lived in the Burman plains, and they thus c o n f l i c t e d d i r e c t l y with the Thakins. In a way, the Karen and the non-Burman, during the war, fought against fascism while the Thakins fought to i n s t a l l a Japanese-sponsored f a s c i s t state.  124 36. Like many historians and scholars writing about Burma i n the 1960s and e a r l i e r , Frank N.Traeger attributed the Thakins' successes against their r i v a l s and against the B r i t i s h to their a b i l i t y or s k i l l s in gaining "mass" support through mass organization techniques and organizational structures, in the manner a mass party or movement i s understood i n the West. Traeger, op c i t , pp.55-56. 37.  M. Maung, OP c i t . pp.207, 210,213,215.  38.  Ibid, p.224.  39.  Ibid, pp.209,212-13,220,225.  40. Maung Maung, BURMA AND GENERAL NE WIN (Bombay: Asia Publishing House,1969), pp.70-74. The contact of the Japanese i n t e l l i g e n c e with well-known p o l i t i c a l figures in Burma is well documented. I t i s s i g n i f i c a n t that the younger Thakins were completely overlooked, which t e s t i f i e s to their obscurity and lack of p o l i t i c a l weight at the time. 41.  Ba Maw, op c i t , pp.108-111.  42.  Ibid, p.111.  43. The Dobama was not a discrete organization with clear organizational boundaries, but was instead a c o a l i t i o n of factions loosely held together around leading personalities who, in turn, coalesced or s p l i t as dictated by p e r s o n a l i s t i c considerations, and by issues of the moment. For d e t a i l s of t h i s process, see Khin Y i , THE DOBAMA MOVEMENT IN BURMA, 1930-1938 (Ithaca: Cornell University Press,1988), esp. pp.133-36 . Also see Brigadier M.Maung, op c i t . It seemed that membership was informal, and there was constant jockeying among leaders for p o s i t i o n , and leadership feuds were the norm rather than an exception. Also, the Dobama was loosely connected with other youth associations, such as the RUSU (Rangoon University Student Union), the ABYL (All-Burma Youth League), ABSU (All-Burma Student Union), and as well with other more established p o l i t i c a l p a r t i e s , such as Ba Maw's Sinyetha (the Poor Man's or P r o l e t a r i a t party), U Saw's Myochit ( P a t r i o t ) , Deedok U Ba Choe's Fabian S o c i a l i s t party, and, as well, with the various labor unions, e s p e c i a l l y when there were s t r i k e s . According to M.Maung, there was a Dobama "inner c i r c l e " composed of Thakin Aung San, Thakin Nu (U Nu), and also presumably included Thakin Hla Pe (Bo Letya), Thakin Ba Swe, Thakin Ba Hein, Thakin Than Tun, and Thakin Soe. But as c l a r i f i e d by Maung Maung, this "inner c i r c l e " was not a formal body and i t r e f l e c t e d d i f f e r e n t views, probably at d i f f e r e n t times, depending on the issue of the moment (M.Maung, op c i t , pp.213-14). 44.  Ba Maw, op c i t , pp.134,136-37.  125 45. Guyot, "The Burma Independence Army: A P o l i t i c a l Movement in M i l i t a r y Garb", in J . S i l v e r s t e i n , ed. SOUTHEAST ASIA IN WORLD WAR I I : FOUR ESSAYS (New Haven: Yale University Press,1967), p.53. 46. Just prior to the war, the Thakins had entered into an a l l i a n c e with Ba Maw's Sinyetha party, forming a new front c a l l e d the Freedom Bloc. 47.  Ba Maw, op c i t , pp.93-94,139.  48.  Ibid, p.145.  49.  Ibid, pp.141,144-45,148,153-54.  50. The BNA was formerly the Burma Defence Army (BDA) which was armed, trained, and equipped by the Japanese as the national defence force of "independent" Burma. Its members were selected from the BIA, which was disbanded by the Japanese in 1942, the year i t was formed. 51. At any rate, the BNA's p a r t i c i p a t i o n in the war against the Japanese was short-lived. The Thakins resistance began in March 1945, by which time the B r i t i s h had already retaken Mandalay. Rangoon f e l l in May of the same year. 1  52.  F.S.V.Donnison, BURMA (New York: Praeger,1970),  53.  Ibid.  p.128.  54. Hugh Tinker, ed. BURMA: THE STRUGGLE FOR INDEPENDENCE, 1944-1948 (London: Her Majesty's Stationary Office, 1983), Vol.1, p.xxvi ("Introduction"). 55. Mountbatten i s not the only one to have believed the erroneous reports about the m i l i t a r y prowess of the Thakin forces. Taylor, writing in 1984, also gives credence to the story of the BNA k i l l i n g two Japanese generals. However, according to Louis A l l e n , a m i l i t a r y h i s t o r i a n and a s p e c i a l i s t on the Japanese Army in Burma and elsewhere, "no two Japanese generals were ever k i l l e d , b y the g u e r i l l a s [ i . e . , the BNA] or anyone e l s e " . But as he further notes,"this legend i s now slotted firmly into the history of the period". See Louis Allen, "Leaving a Sinking Ship: A Comment on the End of Empire", in D.K.Basset and V.T.King, ed. BRITAIN AND SOUTHEAST ASIA (Hull: University of Hull Press,1986), pp.65-78, esp.p.70. Also, Taylor, MARXISM AND THE RESISTANCE IN BURMA (Athens: Ohio University Press,1984), p. 35. 56. Document 116.  Tinker, INDEPENDENCE, Vol.1,  op c i t . p.211-14,  126  57.  Ibid, p . x x v i i i .  (58 ) Apparently, Bo Ne Win went along as, at best, a body-guard of Aung San and other Thakin leaders. There i s no record of his saying or doing anything during the v i s i t . 59. Though the A l l i e d Command accepted the BNA as a f r i e n d l y force, i t refused to recognize i t as a "national" body, and i t was re-named the Local Burmese Force (LBF). This was in June 1945. A few weeks l a t e r , the name of t h i s armed body was changed again to PBF or P a t r i o t i c Burmese Force in preparation for absorption into the regular Burma Army. Tinker, INDEPENDENCE, Vol.1, op c i t , pp.331-34, Document 202; pp.335-37, Document 203, "Supreme A l l i e d Commander's Policy Towards the Burmese During the Period of M i l i t a r y Government". 60.  I„bi_d, p.xxix.  61.  See Ba Maw, op c i t , pp.54-7.  62. The Tatmadaw's marching and battle songs are a l l very highly j i n g o i s t i c and chauvinist, often r e c a l l i n g past Burman conquests of Siam and other foreign and " i n f e r i o r " people. Strident reference i s made of the defeat of both the B r i t i s h and the Japanese by Burman steel and blood. Allusions to Burman r a c i a l s u p e r i o r i t y over other "races" i s commonly made, and a c t u a l l y believed. Indoctrination in the army i s also very parochial and up to now many m i l i t a r y men, including o f f i c e r s , believe, for example, that Rangoon's Mingladon Airport i s the most modern and the best international airport in Asia. Needless to add, quite a number of m i l i t a r y men s t i l l believe that the Lord Buddha was a Burman simply because the Burman are said to have descended from his lineage (Source: interrogation of, and conversations with, captured army personnel, defectors and former army o f f i c e r s ) . 63. The popular misperception, e s p e c i a l l y among the p o l i t i c a l l y aware Burmans, i s that the B r i t i s h did everything possible to prevent the u n i f i c a t i o n of Burma. This misperception can be traced to a popular and academically respectable notion, the divide-and-rule c o l o n i a l strategem. This notion, however, cannot be applied to Burma since B r i t i s h policy was the eventual incorporation of the Frontier Areas with Burma Proper. At the time of the f i n a l annexation, 1885-1886, the peripheries were no longer under Burman control, and to avoid a border war (which could involve China, France, and Siam) and to "pacify" the f r o n t i e r s as cheaply as possible, the B r i t i s h signed treaties with whichever princes or chiefs were in control. Afterwards, these areas were administered i n d i r e c t l y because they were c o s t l y to rule d i r e c t l y . For an account of B r i t i s h " p a c i f i c a t i o n " of the r e b e l l i o u s former Shan t r i b u t a r i e s , well after the f a l l of Mandalay, see Sao Saimong Mangrai, THE BRITISH ANNEXATION, op.  127 c i t , pp.81-99(Chapter IV). Moreover, there is firm evidence that in the c r u c i a l years, 1945-1947, the B r i t i s h never encouraged Karen or any sort of nationalism among the " f r o n t i e r peoples". For example, they even removed a very senior Frontier Areas Administration o f f i c e r , H.N.C. Stevenson, suspected of opposing r e u n i f i c a t i o n and because of complaints made by Aung San and the AFPFL. See, Tinker, THE STRUGGLE FOR INDEPENDENCE, Vol.11, op c i t , pp. x x i i , 303-4,328-9. 64. The events and the reasons connected with why and how independence was conceded by B r i t a i n w i l l not be examined here. It w i l l s u f f i c e to say that due to B r i t i s h post-war domestic p o l i t i c s and f i n a n c i a l position, i t s decision to leave India (forced no doubt by Gandhi and the Congress), because the reconstruction of Burma (which had suffered massive war damage) would be exceedingly costly, and because of the Thakin insistence on immediate independence, B r i t a i n deemed i t expedient and p r a c t i c a l (and f i n a n c i a l l y advantageous) to transfer power when i t d i d . For an interesting analysis of B r i t i s h post-war attitudes towards the colonies in which a comparism i s made between Burma and Malaya, see R.B.Smith, "Some Contrasts Between Burma and Malaya in B r i t i s h Policy Towards Southeast Asia, 1942-1946", in R.B.Smith, ed. BRITISH POLICY AND THE TRANSFER OF POWER IN ASIA: DOCUMENTARY PERSPECTIVES (London: School of Oriental and African Studies, University of London Press,1988), pp.31-76. The manner in which B r i t a i n l e f t was quite hasty and not very honorable, p a r t i c u l a r l y from the viewpoint of the non-Burman segments, e s p e c i a l l y the Karen who had fought for the B r i t i s h and suffered much subsequently. Further, the fate of the Karenni, which was never annexed by B r i t a i n , was not worked out at a l l , leaving them to make whatever arrangements they could with anyone about their future. Regarding the Shan, Kachin, Chin, and so forth, they did not even know who Aung San and the AFPFL leaders were, or where they came from. A l l that they were aware of was that the Thakins had not only betrayed the B r i t i s h , but had also back-stabbed the Japanese at the moment the l a t t e r was down. This betrayal damaged the Thakins image and c r e d i b i l i t y among the non-Burman. Moreover, the agreement to incorporate the "Frontier Areas" was reached with Aung San in London, January 1947, without any prior consultation with the people and leaders concerned. As noted by S i l v e r s t e i n and Donnison, no alternative was offered them. See J . S i l v e r s t e i n , BURMESE POLITICS: THE DILEMMA OF NATIONAL UNITY (New Jersey: Rutgers University,1980), p.103; and Donnison, op cit., pp.135-37. The B r i t i s h blind eye to the obligations owed to the Karen and other non-Burman ethnic segments i s s u f f i c i e n t l y documented i n a l l studies of the period, but unfortunately played down. For an interesting relevation of the B r i t i s h attitude towards the non-Burman, emulating Pontius P i l a t e , see REPORT, FRONTIER AREAS COMMISSION OF ENQUIRY (Rangoon: Superintendent Government Printing Office,1947). 1  128 65. The AFPFL began i t s existence as the AntiFascist Organization (AFO) and was composed of the m i l i t a r y Thakin led by Aung San organized as the Burma National Army (BNA), the Communist Thakin factions of Thakins Soe and Than Tun, the S o c i a l i s t Thakins under Thakin Mya, and individual Thakins l i k e U Nu, and a Karen organization formed to prevent further Karen-Burman ethnic confrontation. It must however be noted that except for the BNA, which was a m i l i t a r y organization, none of the other Thakin s o c i a l i s t and Communist groups were discrete p o l i t i c a l organizations or parties. The post-1948 AFPFL was likewise a broad front of factions and groups organized around leading personalities despite impressive sounding names adopted by these groups, such as the S o c i a l i s t Party of Burma, All-Burma Peasant Organization (ABPO), Trade Union Congress-Burma (TUC-B), Federation of Trade Organizations, (FTO), A l l Burma Youth League (ABYL), Women Freedom League, and so forth. The leading elements within the AFPFL were the s o c i a l i s t Thakins, who were, in turn, divided into r i v a l "educated" s o c i a l i s t s and phonygyi-gyaung (monastry-educated) s o c i a l i s t s . For d e t a i l s of the post-1948 AFPFL, see R.Butwell, U NU OF BURMA (Stanford: Stanford University Press,1969 edn.), pp.146-56. 66. Louis J.Walinsky, ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT IN BURMA, 1951-1960 (New York: The Twentieth Century Fund,1965), p.57. According to Walinsky, Burma's Foreign Ministry claimed that war damage amounted to Kyat 50.5 b i l l i o n , or about 12 b i l l i o n U.S.dollars at the rate mentioned. 67. For a concise account and analysis of the AFPFL, see Moshe Lissak, MILITARY ROLES IN MODERNIZATION (London: Sage Publications,1976), pp.146-49. 68. Tinker, op c i t , Vol.11, p.896 (Narrative of Events, W.I.J.Wallace, OBE, pp.886-98). 69. Maurice Maybury, HEAVEN-BORN IN BURMA (Somerset: Castle Cary Press,1986), V o l . I l l , p.215. This i s the last volume of a t r i l o g y which relates the author's experience as a senior administrative o f f i c e r , a member of the e l i t e ICS (Indian C i v i l Service, or the "Heaven-born services", as i t was then referred to), who served in Burma before and immediately after World War I I . I t i s a balanced and interesting, though s l i g h t l y ethnocentric, account of c o l o n i a l Burma from a perspective of a sympathetic Briton. 70. The PVO was formed in 1947 by Aung San. I t was made up of rejects from the various wartime Thakin-led armies when the Burma Army was reconstituted after the war by the B r i t i s h , on the insistence of Aung San. The PVO was therefore a dumping ground for unwanted "freedom f i g h t e r s " , a pocket army of Aung San and the Thakins. Also, while negotiations with the  129 B r i t i s h were in progress, the PVO constituted a potential future g u e r i l l a force in case the B r i t i s h proved i n f l e x i b l e . 71. The i n i t i a l Karen demand in 1948 (and e a r l i e r ) was for a sovereign "Karenistan", since not only was the BurmanKaren enmity h i s t o r i c a l l y rooted, but the Thakins'armed followers had massacred the Karen during the war. Besides, the Thakins were, in Karen eyes, " t r a i t o r s " and a "defeated enemy", and i t was thus unthinkable for them to put their future i n the hands of their main enemy. In the mid-1950s to the late-1960s, however, circumstances made the Karens, led by the Karen National Union Party (KNUP), an a l l y of Thakin Than Tun's White Flag communists. In the 1970s, the KNU (Karen National Union, the designation "Party", was dropped) responded to the move by the Shan (Shan State Army/Shan State Progress Party, SSA/SSPP) to form a nonBurman, non-communist, and democratic united front, the goal of which was to end armed s t r i f e in Burma eventually through a p o l i t i c a l settlement within a federal framework. In the mid1980s, the KNU o f f i c i a l l y renounced separation and secession, and is at present the main supporter and shield of Burman students and other a n t i - m i l i t a r y , pro-democratic groups which fled to the Thai border after the massacres of peaceful demonstrators by the Tatmadaw i n 1988. For an account of an ethnic-based resistance movement, the only one written, so f a r , by an active participant, see Chao-Tzang Yawnghwe, THE SHAN OF BURMA (Singapore: Institute of Southeast Asian Studies, 1987). 72. This episode is covered by a l l scholars writing about e a r l y independent Burma, but the reason why is not made c l e a r . C o n f l i c t i n g explanations have been given, such as that the s o c i a l i s t ministers, aware of their unpopularity, wanted to prove that they were sincere i n their desire for peace and harmony, or to make way for communist leaders to enter the cabinet, according to Maung Maung and Maung Maung Gyi. Butwell, however, maintains that i t was a bid for power by the s o c i a l i s t s which f a i l e d since U Nu could maintain himself i n power with the support of "Friends of the Frontier states and independence". See, Maung Maung, NE WIN, op c i t , p.214; Maung Maung Gyi, op c i t , p.117; Richard Butwell, U NU OF BURMA (Stanford: Stanford University Press, 1969), p.102. 73. For an account, quite detailed, of the early insurgency, which was very grave and which almost toppled the new and very inexperienced AFPFL government, see BURMA AND THE INSURRECTIONS (Rangoon: Government Printing Press,1949). 74. Traeger, op c i t , p.112. The support of the nonBurman for the AFPFL in i t s darkest hour i s well-documented i n a l l works on modern Burma. Despite t h i s , the stereotyping of the non-Burman leaders as parochial, s e l f - i n t e r e s t e d , and " t r a d i t i o n a l " (in the worst sense of the word) has prevailed u n t i l quite recently. For example, the surrender of power by the  130 Shan princes in 1959, to the Shan State Government, has been misrepresented by many scholars, as being a step towards democratization and nation-building taken by the m i l i t a r y caretaker government -- a measure resisted by the s e l f - i n t e r e s t e d and p r i v i l e g e d " t r a d i t i o n a l " Shan notables. The fact of the matter i s that with the establishment of the Shan State Government at Taunggyi in 1952, the princes (sawbwa, in Burmese) had begun transferring most of their power to the state government and l e g i s l a t u r e at Taunggyi. The only step required for " f u l l democratization" was for some seats reserved for the princes in the Upper House of parliament to be made e l e c t i v e . An examination of the democratization process in the Shan State and the role of the princes or chaofa as p o l i t i c a l actors, instead of as shadowy stereotyped images, would go a long way towards a better understanding of the Shan-Burman r e l a t i o n in p a r t i c u l a r , and the center-peripherial relationship in Burma in general. For a short account of the role of the Shan princes in Shan State p o l i t i c s within the context of the Burman m i l i t a r y presence in the area, see Chao-Tzang Yawnghwe, "The Burman M i l i t a r y : Holding the Country Together?", in J. S i l v e r s t e i n , ed. INDEPENDENT BURMA AT FORTY YEARS: SIX ASSESSMENTS (Ithaca, Cornell University Press, 1989), pp.81-101, esp.pp.94-97. 75. It should not be forgotten that the Karen R i f l e s , before they were pulled into the Karen uprising, were the ones that broke the m i l i t a r y strength of the communists and army mutineers. See, Maung Maung Gyi, op c i t , p.185. 76. For account of c r u c i a l role played by B r i t a i n , India, Pakistan, A u s t r a l i a , and other Commonwealth members, and the United States in saving the AFPFL government during the height of the c i v i l war, see FOREIGN RELATIONS OF THE UNITED STATES, 1949-1954 (Washington: U.S. State Department,1975 onwards), Year 1949, Vol.9, pp.573-4; Year 1950. Vol.5, p.149; Year 1950. Vol.6, pp.12,49,70,232-5,240-4,247-8,751. This is also well covered i n a l l accounts of the early years of independence. 77.  Maung Maung Gyi, op._c.it., p. 185.  78. Walinsky,"The Role of the M i l i t a r y in Development Planning: Burma", in THE PHILIPPINE ECONOMIC JOURNAL, Vol.IV, No.2 (Second Semester,1965), p.312. 79. For an o f f i c i a l account of the Kuomintang (KMT) problem and the Burma government's response, see KUOMINTANG AGGRESSION AGAINST BURMA (Rangoon: Government of Burma, 1953). For the KMT involvement in opium and i t s influence on p o l i t i c s in the Shan State, see Yawnghwe, THE SHAN, op c i t , esp., pp.5360,124-26. Also see B e r t i l Lintner, "The Shans and the Shan State", in CONTEMPORARY SOUTHEAST ASIA, Vol.5, No.4 (March 1984), pp.403-50. For an overview of the KMT problem in which the KMT is  131 portrayed as a c t i v e l y aiding and training separatist rebels, and as an important contributing factor to m i l i t a r y takeovers in 1958 and 1962, respectively, see R.H.Taylor, FOREIGN AND DOMESTIC CONSEQUENCES OF THE KMT INTERVENTION IN BURMA (Ithaca: Cornell University, Data Paper No.93,1973), pp.54,62,66. Also, FOREIGN RELATIONS OF THE UNITED STATES, op c i t , Year 1950^, VoJUl, pp.110, 244-7,249-51; Year 1951, Vol.6, pp.287-90,296,298,300-5,313; Year 1952-1954, Vol.2", pp.9-10,14,19,22,24,42,51-4,61-3,66,6971,75,92,98,105, 144,154,168, 170,176,178-83,185,206,208-13. 80. J . S i l v e r s t e i n , " P o l i t i c s i n the Shan State: The Question of Secession from the Union of Burma", THE JOURNAL OF ASIAN STUDIES, Vol.XVIII,No.1 (November,1958), pp.51. Unlike his later very perceptive works, t h i s paper i s , unfortunately, f i l l e d with stereotyped images, t y p i c a l of American scholars of the period, who r e f l e x i v e l y assumed that there already existed a "Burmese" nation, and that the c o n f l i c t was b a s i c a l l y one between a "modernized" center and "feudal and reactionary remnants" i n the peripheries. This view is both Burmocentric and Eurocentric. 81. The Burman leaders, p a r t i c u l a r l y the m i l i t a r y , were very worried by the seccession provision in Chapter 10 of the Union Constitution (1947-1948), which provided for the right of secession of the Shan and Kayah (Karenni) states after ten years of union. The Burman press in Rangoon often published pieces implying that the United States and the Southeast Asian Treaty Organization (SEATO, an American sponsored anti-communist regional organization, now defunct) had been encouraging Shan princes and dissidents to secede, which prompted the Head of Shan State to refute such rumours. See THE GUARDIAN, Rangoon (in August 1957). 82. According to a late Shan leader, U Kya Bu, an originator and a leading figure in the Federal Movement in 196062, one of the reasons why a l l state governments i n i t i a t e d and supported the movement was because a more federal arrangement would give constituent units some control over the m i l i t a r y , and curb i t s power. (Source: A b r i e f i n g given by U Kya Bu to a group of Shan student leaders, including myself, at his residence i n Taunggyi in 1961. As well, conversations with various leaders, such as Panglong Khun H t i , Ludu U Hla Pe, Thaton Hla Pe, U Toon Myint Lay, who constituted the moving s p i r i t of the Federal Movement). The most serious problem faced by the non-Burman was the s i n i s t e r presence of the dreaded MIS ( M i l i t a r y Intelligence Service), the heavy-handed exercise of power by Burman o f f i c e r s , and a t r o c i t i e s committed by Burman s o l d i e r s everywhere they went, which was fueling a r e b e l l i o u s s p i r i t , e s p e c i a l l y among the peasants who had borne the brunt of the a r b i t r a r y lawlessness of the m i l i t a r y . For recent examples, which are only the t i p of an enormous iceberg, of a t r o c i t i e s committed by the Burman m i l i t a r y , see BURMA: EXTRAJUDICIAL EXECUTION AND TORTURE OF MEMBERS OF ETHNIC MINORITIES (London: Amnesty International, May 1988).  132 83. The targets of the AFPFL and the m i l i t a r y were the incumbent or r u l i n g p o l i t i c a l parties of the respective nonBurman states which were not subservient to the AFPFL. In the Shan State, the targets also included the Chaofa or princes, v i l l a g e c i r c l e heads or the pu-haeng, and v i l l a g e headmen. 84. For example, various " a n t i - f e u d a l i s t " p o l i t i c i a n s such as Namkham U Tun Aye, Tin Ko Ko, and Kyaw Zaw were funded or supported by both the AFPFL and the Burman m i l i t a r y , as were some PaO rebel groups. See J. S i l v e r s t e i n , " P o l i t i c s in the Shan State: The Question of Seccession from the Union of Burma", THE JOURNAL OF ASIAN STUDIES, Vol.XVIII, No.l (November,1958), pp.50-1. The MIS also churned out anti-chaofa pulp novels portraying Burman army o f f i c e r s as rescuing beautiful Shan damsels from the clutches of e v i l "Sawbwa" who, in cohoots with the KMT and imperialist powers, were p l o t t i n g to destroy the Union. One such writer was Bo Ni, an MIS o f f i c e r , who later became a minister and was imprisoned along with MIS head Tin U in 1983 for "corruption". 85. The m i l i t a r y ' s rule by terror and intimidation was e s p e c i a l l y i n t e n s i f i e d in the Shan areas as 1958 approached. This was the year when the Shan State would be able to exercise the right of secession. Hundreds of v i l l a g e headmen and elders were beaten and put to death in a horrible manner reminiscent of medieval executions. Many simply disappeared. They were accused of being instructed by the princes to c o l l e c t arms and men in preparation for secession, and were tortured to reveal where arms were hidden, and to implicate the princes and others allegedly involved. Wherever Burman units went, they l e f t behind a t r a i l of destruction, rape, beatings, p i l l a g e , and so on. (Source: Related to me by surviving victims, or by their sons who were Shan State Army members, and by v i l l a g e r s everywhere I vent during the course of my vork and travels throughout the Shan State from 1963-1976). M i l i t a r y a t r o c i t i e s not only continue to t h i s day in the non-Burman areas, but have been extended to the Burman populace, e s p e c i a l l y the urban segment, since the 1988 uprisings. 86. For example, Colonel Chit Myaing, vho vas m i l i t a r y commander for the Northern Shan State at Lashio (at present designated the Northeast Command), vas so poverful that he vas c a l l e d "the king of Lashio" by the Shans. Similarly, Colonel Thein Dok, m i l i t a r y commander for the Southern Shan State at Taunggyi, vas called "the king of Taunggyi". The m i l i t a r y vas above the lav -- no complaints against the "heroic" Tatmadaw vere considered legitimate, and those vho dared to complain became, by implication, t r a i t o r s . 87. Maung Maung, NE WIN, op c i t , p.231. Also, M.Lissak, MILITARY ROLES IN MODERNIZATION, op c i t , p.163.  133  88. He i s the same Maung Maung who FROM SANGHA TO LAITY, cited in this thesis.  wrote the book,  89. Brigadier Maung Maung, Brigadier Aung Shwe, Colonels Kyi Win, Chit Khine, Ba Phyu, and Tin Maung were dismissed after the end of the caretaker regime of 1958-60. This episode has been variously explained. Even Burmese observers and participants do not agree on the reasons. One former c i v i l servant in e x i l e says that they were the hardliners who disagreed with Ne Win about holding the promised 1960 elections, or that they were planning a coup without Ne Win's knowledge. According to a former Tatmadaw o f f i c e r in e x i l e , i t was because they were opposed to a second coup which Ne Win was preparing to stage. Former Brigadier Aung Gyi, an important figure t i l l his dismissal in 1963, stated that no one in the m i l i t a r y knew the reasons for the purge. It was, he implied, done purely on the personal whim of Ne Win. See AUNG GYI: THE TRUTH REVEALED, An open l e t t e r by Aung to Ne Win in May 1988, translated by Ye Kyaw Thu of the Committee for the Restoration of Democracy in Burma (CRDB), F a l l s Church, V i r g i n i a , June 9,1988, p.10. It must be here noted that the dismissed o f f i c e r s were afterward appointed as ambassadors. The practice of appointing senior o f f i c e r s , who have been dismissed or have f a l l e n into disfavor, as ambassadors has become a t r a d i t i o n in Ne Win's Burma. This is an inherent part of Ne Win's system of reward and punishment, serving to insure both the silence and and the gratitude of those punished or dismissed, thus increasing Ne Win's personal c a p i t a l within the Tatmadaw. This constitutes a very important element of the personal l o y a l t y accorded to him by the m i l i t a r y . 90. Richard Butwell, U NU, op c i t , p.207. Also, David I.Steinberg, BURMA: A SOCIALIST NATION IN SOUTHEAST ASIA (Boulder: Westview, 1986 edn.), p.70. 91. Contrary to opinions of outside observers, Ne Win has never enjoyed an aura of personal legitimacy nor viewed as possessing pon or gon-theika by the public. He c e r t a i n l y enjoyed great ah-na and i n v i n c i b i l i t y , but t h i s has been attributed more to magic, astrology and the yadaya-che s k i l l s of his astrologers and sorcerers, which detracted much from his personal legitimacy. His womanizing is known throughout the land, and much frowned upon by the rather prudish Burmans (whereas, with the more out-going Thais, Ne Win's many wives would have e l i c i t e d envious admiration). Yadaya-che i s a magic r i t e performed to ward off approaching misfortunes or forthcoming danger. However, there are s o c i a l l y acceptable and unacceptable kinds of yadaya-che, i . e . , those performed by monks or reputable Atet-lan Saya (Upper-sphere Masters), which usually i s a form of doing meritious deeds, and those performed by Auk-Ian Saya (lower-sphere Masters) involving a l l sorts of outlandish deeds performed in secret. Yadaya-che practice i s also widespread in Thailand, but i t i s usually in a mild r e l i g i o u s form of l i g h t i n g  134 a s p e c i a l candle, fasting, making special offerings, and so on, and i s known as Loy-kroh. 92.  Htin Aung, op c i t , p.328.  93. Ne Win was apparently a great admirer of Genghis Khan, and is a l l e g e d l y well-read in Chinese "history". According to many former army o f f i c e r s , a film about Genghis Khan featuring John Wayne i s his favorite; those privileged to spend an evening with him frequently have to s i t through t h i s f i l m . 94. According to a Burma Array o f f i c e r , a number of whose classmates and friends became MIS o f f i c e r s , and who defected to a rebel group in 1971, Ne Win himself selected candidates for the MIS and c l o s e l y monitored their t r a i n i n g . Their l o y a l t y was constantly tested in many ways u n t i l l o y a l t y to Ne Win became a natural r e f l e x . Moreover, MIS candidates and o f f i c e r s were trained to spy on each other, and the a t t r i t i o n rate within the MIS is said to be high. MIS o f f i c e r s thought to be d i s l o y a l are shown no mercy and are severely tortured, and many have died, or been maimed for l i f e , as a r e s u l t . The most lenient punishment was a transfer to a hot combat area in the Shan, Kachin or Karen areas. One high-ranking MIS o f f i c e r with whom I was well accquainted and who was very well educated and sophiscated, was detained ( I heard, in the late 1960s), and when he was f i n a l l y released, emerged a blind and broken man. 95. One example of erronous information acted upon is personal. On the morning of the coup, March 2, 1962, our home in Rangoon was surrounded and troops opened f i r e for more than half an hour, k i l l i n g my younger brother. The unit's commander was briefed by the MIS to the effect that a Karen rebel unit was stationed at our home and that there was an arsenal of weapons stashed away. He expressed surprise after the event when he discovered that there were no firearms and no Karen rebels. The o f f i c e r even rebuked the MIS agent, dressed in mufti, who accompanied the troops, for the false information. Judging from the expression on his face when troops combed the house from top to bottom, the MIS agent himself could not believe there were no firearms at a l l . He had apparently obtained his information from a passing pedicab peddler. 96. Tales of a r b i t r a r y and groundless arrests by the MIS are numerous. One such victim was a s i x t y year old grandmother, in whose house one of U Nu's sons allegedly spent a night when he escaped to Thailand v i a the Shan State in 1976. She did not even know who U Nu's son was. She was detained by the MIS. Two years passed before the MIS questioned her, whereupon she was released immediately. 97.  Taylor, THE STATE IN BURMA, op c i t . p.246.  135 98. U Nu apparently was the only one without a personal empire of his own. He was therefore an ideal referee and could have played that role when r i v a l r i e s between AFPFL leaders i n t e n s i f i e d beginning from the mid-1950s. However, i t was public knowledge in Rangoon that U Kyaw Nyein's wife and U Nu's could not get along, and that the two men also did not l i k e each other very much. As a matter of fact, U Kyaw Nyein was not very popular, and was p a r t i c u l a r l y d i s l i k e d then by the students since he was in charge of the AFPFL youth organization, which at one time controlled the university and other student unions. He was usually, for some reason, d i s l i k e d and distrusted by the Rangoon public. For a comprehensive account of the AFPFL s p l i t , see Butwell, U Nu, op c i t , pp.157-70. 99.  Traeger, op c i t , p.175.  100. Contrary to popular assumptions in the West that Asian wives are dominated and voiceless, in most Burman and Asian families, the wife i s the actual manager of the household, and also determines who the husband should s o c i a l i z e with and, as well, scouts around for proper connections. Wives have their own patron-client, kinship, and commercial/financial network which are more e f f i c i e n t and e f f e c t i v e than the men's. Further, most Asian men are very careless with money and therefore prefer to have their wives handle the family budget. Important decisions are made by the men, often in consultation with their wives, while the former make almost a l l the hundred-and-one minor decisions u n i l a t e r a l l y . In almost a l l cases, before the husband is established, i t i s the wife who keeps the family a f l o a t . This was c e r t a i n l y the case in Burma with regard to most AFPFL leaders. In t h i s respect, Ne Win's abandonment of his f i r s t wife for Dr.Khin May Than, a s o c i a l i t e , reflected very negatively on him. 101.  Walinsky, "The Role of the M i l i t a r y " , op c i t ,  102.  Maung Maung, NE WIN,  p.314. op c i t , pp.235-37.  103. Ibid, p.296. Quoted from the statement of p o l i c y issued by the Revolutionary Council on A p r i l 30,1962. 104.  Ibid, pp.223-24,228.  136  CHAPTER  FIVE  (a)  W i l l K i l l Everybody and Rule the E a r t h " ( l )  "We  :  CONSOLIDATION AND  MAINTAINENCE OF POWER  Ne Win and his Tatmadaw staged a coup d'etat on the morning of March 2, 1962.  Since then, the m i l i t a r y has held on  to power despite various challenges from below. and v i s i b l e challenge occurred in 1988,  The most serious  brought about  c h i e f l y by  the urban segments in Rangoon and other towns, in both the Burman and non-Burman areas(2). The country-wide protest spearheaded by students monks began in March 1988,  and  with an innocuous fight between  students and some l o c a l drunks in a teashop named "Sanda  Win",  which c o i n c i d e n t a l l y is also the name of Ne Win's daughter, is now,  who  together with Colonel Khin Nyunt, said to be influencing  the "Old Man"  and preparing to succeed him(3).  By July, a series  of confrontations between students and the Lon Htein, the soc a l l e d r i o t police(4), had grown into a mass protest movement, r e s u l t i n g in Aung Gyi's h i s t o r i c l e t t e r s to Ne Win(5), which are believed to have prompted the "resignation" of Ne Win and  other  top party leaders(6).  Win  At an emergency party congress, Ne  proposed economic reforms and a referendum on whether the  one-  party system would be retained or replaced by a multi-party system.  Surprisingly, the BSPP (Burmese S o c i a l i s t Programme  Party) "rejected" the referendum proposal(7), and worse, Sein  137 Lwin, regarded by the public as a k i l l e r and thug(8), was "elected" as party chairman and, incredibly, the country's pres ident. This led to renewed country-wide protests, and the blood-soaked "August Massacre", in which over 2,000 were k i l l e d , according to a U.S. State Department report(9).  Nonetheless i t  brought Sein Lwin down in mid-August, and Dr. Maung Maung succeeded him.  Maung Maung promised a multi-party election and  also withdrew a l l troops.  But, as noted by S.Sesser, no one  trusted him or seriously believed that Ne Win had r e a l l y resigned(10).  The people held huge r a l l i e s demanding an interim  government, and, for a month Burma was e f f e c t i v e l y without a government as the majority of government employees and c i v i l o f f i c e r s went on s t r i k e or participated in pro-democracy which occurred almost d a i l y .  rallies  Though the government was paralyzed  and there was no police and army presence on the streets, the people more or less governed themselves f a i r l y successfully(11) despite the "escapes" of thousands of hardened criminals  (i.e.,  prison gates were opened), and "Em-eye" (MIS, or M i l i t a r y Intelligence Service) agents on the loose.  Criminals and the MIS  together created disorder and anarchy, laying the groundwork for the  return of the army to "restore law and order".  On September  18th, 1988, the Tatmadaw came out again, i t s soldiers shouting their battle cry: "We  w i l l k i l l everybody and rule the earth!",  as they charged forward with r i f l e s blazing(12).  Thus, Burma was  once more saved "from the abyss", according to General Saw  138 Maung(13), the current "strongman" and chairman of the State Lav and Order Restoration Council (SLORC).  The BSPP vas scrapped and  reconstituted as the National Unity Party (NUP).  The 1974  S o c i a l i s t Constitution has been treated by SLORC as i f i t does not exist at a l l , vhich means that the present "state" in Burma is operating in a "legal limbo"(14). The Tatmadaw  nov rules at gunpoint.  Athough a "free  and f a i r " election i s scheduled i n May 1990, popular candidates have either been placed under house arrest, as in the cases of U Nu and Aung San Suu-kyi, or l i k e former General T i n U, actually sentenced to three years hard labor.  Thousands of p o l i t i c a l  organizers have been detained, and have either been sent o f f to penal colonies (on Coco Island or in Putao in the far North)(15), or taken to the f r o n t l i n e as beasts of burden and human minesweepers.  It i s apparent that the "hardliners" such as Khin  Nyunt, Myo Nyunt, Sanda Win, and Than Shwe(16), fronting for Ne Win and the shadowy Sein Lwin, are s t i l l very much in command, and they are apparently determined  (b)  to make no compromise(17).  Power, Magical Rites, and Sorcerers The country-wide  protest movement f a i l e d to topple Ne  Win's Tatmadav's dictatorship or bring about any change except, perhaps, to reveal the extent of Ne Win's personal control(18) over the "national" armed forces, the Tatmadav, and the l a t t e r ' s v i l l i n g n e s s to suppress v i t h cold b r u t a l i t y and mass firepover  139  any challenge from below, even, or perhaps e s p e c i a l l y , unarmed peaceful protests by the populace. Ne Win i s the longest ruling m i l i t a r y dictator in Asia, and has managed to maintain his rule despite bringing a very r i c h and well-endowned country to ruin, as attested by i t s LDC (Least Developed Country) status, which puts Burma on par with Nepal, Ethiopia, and Chad(19). well-documented.  Burma's economic woes are  For example, i t s debt service r a t i o i s ninety  percent of export value(20); there are shortages in energy, f e r t i l i z e r s , f u e l ; and there i s a decayed o f f i c i a l economy counterposed  to a non-productive  "socialist"  (consumer-orientated)  but vigorous informal economy based on the blackmarket and smuggling. The longevity of Ne Win's regime, despite clear evidence of gross mismanagement and unpopularity, i s therefore incredible.  One explanation for this has a d i s t i n c t l y "Burmese"  flavor which the outside world would find ludicrous.  It i s ,  however, very widely believed i n Burma that Ne Win has i n his service a number of very s k i l l e d and powerful astrologers (Bedin Saya)  and sorcerers(Auk-Ian Saya) who have been able to f o r e s t a l l  his downfall and reinforce his personal power (Ah-na) by  Yadaya-  che r i t e s ( i . e . , the performance of certain acts as prescribed by astrologers or sorcerers to circumvent misfortune or dangers, again, predicted by astrologers)(21).  140 I r r a t i o n a l measures, such as the demonetizations in 1964,  1985,  and 1987;  the issuance of Kyat 25, 35, 45, 75,  and  90 notes, stemming from Ne Win's obsession with numerology(22); and the change in t r a f f i c d i r e c t i o n from the l e f t to the r i g h t hand side(23), are considered Yadaya-che  by the populace as Ne Win's acts of  at the n a t i o n a l - l e v e l . His private Yadaya-che  are quite b i z a r r e .  rites  They include such acts, widely rumoured in  Burma, as shooting his image in the mirror, bathing himself in blood, wearing royal r e g a l i a , divorcing wives and bedding  new  ones, circumambulating the Shwedagon Pagoda in the dead of night while carrying a c o f f i n , and l i v i n g in a hut at the Kyaik-kasan Stadium for several days.  After the 1988  uprising, he is widely  reported to have walked backward on the overpass over the Sule Pagoda Road (recently constructed to enable s o l d i e r s to shoot down on future protesters), and more recently yet, to have slept in a cradle while feeding from a bottle(24). To be f a i r , Ne Win may above-mentioned acts.  not have a c t u a l l y performed the  But perceptions are important and  majority in Burma, even the educated, are convinced  the  that he  has,  and that he i s therefore protected by a powerful and dangerous black magic which no other sorcerers or mere mortals can overcome.  This perception has given Ne Win an aura of s i n i s t e r  i n v i n c i b i l i t y which, in turn, has provided psychological advantage.  him with a strong  This superstitious b e l i e f has  inhibited  plots from being hatched against Ne Win quite e f f e c t i v e l y . F i r s t l y , i t has given r i s e to the belief that any plot against  141  him, because of his superior black magic, would invariably Secondly, the black magic factor has served to complicate  fail. matters  for those wishing to plot against Ne Win, since i t i s generally believed that Ne Win already has in his service a l l the top Auklan  Saya there are in the land.  Moreover, though belief in  the black arts i s pervasive i n Burma, very few know anything about i t , and since i t i s prohibited by Buddhism, i t i s regarded as highly risky(25).  Hence, the black art factor cannot be  dismissed as mere "mumbo-jumbo", but must be recognized as a s i g n i f i c a n t psycho-political instrument of dominance in Burma's system of non-institutionalized patrimonial rulership.  (c)  Dobama Socialism: The Neutralization of Dobama Rivals On the more rational l e v e l , however, the longevity of  Ne Win's Tatmadaw of factors.  dictatorship can be attributed to a combination  One of these factors i s the legitimacy accorded to  socialism as a "national" ideology and goal by a l l important post-independence Burman e l i t e s , which Ne Win has hijacked. The post-independence leaders a l l had their beginnings in the Dobama movement, or were later coopted by i t , and as such, subscribed varyingly to Dobama socialism, which combined Burman ethnonationalism with c e r t a i n a n t i - c a p i t a l i s t ideas, as mentioned in e a r l i e r chapters.  Ne Win's "Burmese Way to Socialism" was  nothing new: i t was a rearrangement of the various s o c i a l i s t and " n a t i o n a l i s t " slogans of the young Thakins(26).  It was, however,  a formula which Ne Win's most dangerous Burman r i v a l s , the White  142 Flag communists (the Burma Communist Party, BCP) and Thakin Than Tun,  found very d i f f i c u l t to attack ideologically(27).  also be added that when Ne Win's Tatmadaw  It must  socialism resulted in  shortages and great hardship, the BCP and other communists were discredited as well, since the populace was not able to d i s t i n g u i s h between the two brands of socialism. On the p r a c t i c a l l e v e l , Ne Win's expulsion, and/or harsh treatment of c a p i t a l i s t elements, the Indians and Chinese, and the implementation of n a t i o n a l i z a t i o n laws in 1962-1964, under which over 15,000 large and small firms were taken over(28), were measures which confounded the White Flags and sowed internal dissension.  This internal dispute revolving  around what " l i n e " to adopt concerning Ne Win's "socialism" led to inner-party struggles, r e s u l t i n g in the death of veteran leaders and cadres i n bloody purges.  The f i n a l outcome was the  d i s i n t e g r a t i o n of the White Flags and their e v i c t i o n from the Burman Irrawaddy plains (resulting in the loss of their main constituency, the Burman masses), in the early 1970s. setback  It was a  from which the BCP was never to recover(29). With regard to the non-communist Dobama s o c i a l i s t -  n a t i o n a l i s t s , such as U Nu, U Ba Swe, U Kyaw Nyein, Thakins Tin, Kyaw Dun, Pan Myaing and others, the AFPFL s p l i t , i n 1957-58, had already weakened them, and at the time of the 1962 coup, they were already leaders without an organized following(30).  Thus,  i t was d i f f i c u l t for these old-time " s o c i a l i s t " leaders, who  143 suffered torture, imprisonment(31), and became "non-persons", to challenge Ne Win, e s p e c i a l l y on ideological grounds, although U Nu did t r y to raise a resistance movement in the early 1970s which f a i l e d miserably, for a number of reasons(32). Regarding the remaining Thakins of the extreme l e f t , the so-called aboveground communists, Ne Win simply co-opted them(33).  This was not a d i f f i c u l t task since they had been shut  out from power by the AFPFL for over a decade.  Secondly, they,  like some of their White Flag friends, did not quite know what to make of Ne Win's "socialism", and thought that they could influence him.  Moreover, i t made sense for them to climb onto Ne  Win's bandwagon, since he was touting socialism.  Thirdly, they  did not have any real organized followings with which to challenge Ne Win.  Besides, the escalating inner-party c o n f l i c t  within the BCP l e f t the aboveground communists without many options but to be co-opted.  Consequently, U Ba Nyein, for  example, who was close to Brigadier Tin Pe, became the regime's planning vizard and economic czar u n t i l the early 1970s(34). Thein Pe Myint, a veteran communist and v r i t e r , Thakin Chit Maung, Bo Po Khun, a PVO rebel leader vho defected in the late 1950s, and a number of communist defectors such as  Yebav  (Comrade) Mya and Ba Khet, vere co-opted by Ne Win and helped in formulating the BSPP's "philosophy", The System of Correlation of Man and His Environment(35).  This " s o c i a l i s t " concoction vas in  a c t u a l i t y , as noted by Moshe Lissak, an oversimplified, sveeping, and contradictory synthesis of socialism, Communism and Buddhist  144  metaphysics  which were then formulated into slogans that were  d i f f i c u l t to translate into concrete  programs(36).  In a country where "socialism" was accepted as the only legitimate goal, Ne Win's move to construct a "Burmese" ( i . e . , Burman) s o c i a l i s t order was, however, a b r i l l i a n t master stroke which, in e f f e c t , reduced his Dobama r i v a l s to silence and impotence(37).  Thus, the Burman masses having being fed  s o c i a l i s t propaganda by the r u l i n g - e l i t e s ,  counter-elites and  a s p i r i n g - e l i t e s ever since independence(38),  had l i t t l e  opportunity except to accept with varying degrees of enthusiasm and f a i t h (or cynicism and skepticism), a s o c i a l i s t  Neikban  (nirvanna) promised them by Ne Win and the Tatmadaw. However, by the time i t became evident that Ne Win's "Burmese socialism" was, in r e a l i t y , Tatmadaw  socialism ( i . e . , an  economic system that benefitted the soldiers almostly e x c l u s i v e l y ) , Ne Win's Tatmadaw's itself.  dictatorship had consolidated  Ne Win has put in place, and bequeathed to the Tatmadaw,  a highly autonomous and patrimonial state, quite independent of society in the sense that i t i s a self-contained, s e l f perpetuating e n t i t y over which society has very l i t t l e  influence.  It operates according to i t s own agenda -- the maintainence of power by whatever means necessary, with apparently l i t t l e  concern  for the rest of society or the country as a whole (except for a desire to maintain t e r r i t o r i a l boundaries).  145 (d)  Ne Win: The Construction of a Patrimonial Pyramid of Power When the coup was staged in 1962, the Tatmadav  had, as  outlined e a r l i e r , become an independent p a r a l l e l power center to the government, with i t s own s o c i a l i s t and u n i f i c a t i o n agenda, and i t s own p o l i t i c a l , administrative, economic and  enforcement  agencies already in place(39). The capture of power by Ne Win and his brigadiers made them masters of a l l they surveyed. Before them lay a " p o l i t i c a l kingdom" in which there were no higher laws or i n s t i t u t i o n s to restrain or guide them. Tatmadav  was the only cohesive organization in Burma.  Also, the As well,  i t was, to quote Maung Maung Gyi, "a sort of b u i l t - i n paramilitary p o l i t i c a l organization with guns and tanks ready to carry out the orders of the leaders"(40).  Having reached the  summit and out-manoeuvred inept c i v i l i a n incumbents and other r i v a l s for power, the c r u c i a l task facing Ne Win was the maintainence of control over the p a r a p o l i t i c a l Tatmadav,  which,  l i k e most Third World " i n s t i t u t i o n s " , was segmented by factions(41), constituting what W.Howard Wriggins describes as components of power within the m i l i t a r y , which had to be won over, neutralized, or eliminated. Ne Win maintained control, l i k e a l l autocratic rulers through the ages, by keeping his lieutenants divided and suspicious of each other, and by purging those who were independent or became too powerful.  The most  independent-minded,  competent, and well-known of these at the time of the coup was  146 Brigadier Aung Gyi, vho vas an entreprenuer at heart, as his record t e s t i f i e s , and, as he later claimed, a closet democrat as vell(42).  He vas purged in 1963  r i v a l Tin Pe faction.  by Ne Win,  v i t h the help of the  The a p o l i t i c a l , Anglo-Shan Chief of the  Air Force, Tommy C l i f t , vas quickly dropped, and the Navy's Commodore Than Pe vas k i l l e d in an ambush far inland, in the Kachin state(43).  Tin Pe and his follovers vere purged in  by Ne Win v i t h the help of Brigadier San Yu(44).  1968  In 1976,  Ne  Win  v i t h the help of San Yu and Tin U, the Intelligence chief, dismissed  General Tin U, the popular army Chief of Staff,  f o l l o v i n g a plot by a Captain Ohn  Kyav Myint(45) and  friends to  assassinate Ne Win and other top leaders, to vhich the army commander vas a l l e g e d l y but i n d i r e c t l y linked(46). 1983,  Hovever, in  Brigadier Tin U, the Intelligence chief, vho Ne Win  had  once regarded as an "adopted son", and vho vas nicknamed "Number One and a Half", the next "strongman", vas purged v i t h the help of envious older colleagues, and, according to B e r t i l Lintner, Ne Win's ovn daughter, Sanda Win(47). The purge of top leaders also meant that o f f i c e r s , sometimes numbering over a thousand, connected by t i e s of kinship or obligation to the purged leader at the top, vere also axed. S i m i l a r l y , those in non-military agencies, the bureaucracies, the BSPP, vere affected as v e i l .  and  Thus a pervasive climate of  anxiety, uncertainty, and suspicion, c h a r a c t e r i s t i c of p o l i t i e s ruled through a process of terror, vas created v i t h i n the state-party-military structure.  vhole  The result vas that i t made  147 government o f f i c i a l s submissive, above.  (Ahmudan, in Burmese) subservient and  cautious and responsive s o l e l y to commands from  On the other hand, such subservience  and the  discouragement of i n i t i a t i v e and f l e x i b i l i t y , undermined professionalism and l e g a l - r a t i o n a l bureaucratic norms, and this contributed greatly to pervasive mismanagement, i n e f f i c i e n c y , and stagnancy in Burma, which has been widely observed and documented, and also, importantly, to i n s t i t u t i o n a l and systemic decay as well. The r u l i n g BSPP, formally established in 1971, fared no better than other i n s t i t u t i o n s , and i s a good example of the m i l i t a r y ' s i n a b i l i t y and unwillingness to construct a modern p o l i t i c a l order.  The BSPP was, in theory, a step forward  in the  i n s t i t u t i o n a l i z a t i o n of the new " s o c i a l i s t " order, and represented,  i n p r i n c i p l e , the handing over of power by the  m i l i t a r y to the "working people"  (Loktha-pyithu).  In practice,  i t was merely a facade which hid, e s p e c i a l l y from foreign observers, the continued personal rule by Ne Win and the Tatmadaw(48).  Nomination to a l l positions from the township to  the national l e v e l , within the party, and through the party to various l e g i s l a t i v e and administrative People's Councils, was determined by the mi 1itary(49). to develop  into  people"(50).  The BSPP was at no time  a real r u l i n g party or to represent the "working Nonetheless,  purges and reshuffles were frequently  carried out to keep the BSPP off-balance and to prevent developing  allowed  into a stable and genuine r u l i n g party(51).  i t from For  148 example, in 1976-77, over 50,000 party members were purged following the dismissal of the defence minister, Tin U, and 113 members of the central committee as well as over a thousand members were purged when i t was discovered  that, in the e l e c t i o n  to the central committee at the end of 1977, San Yu and Kyaw Soe received more votes than did Ne Win(52).  E s p e c i a l l y in the non-  Burman areas, whenever a leader in a local township council gained any popularity, he would simply be replaced, or i f he were an ex-army man, transferred to a n o n - p o l i t i c a l post as manager of a people's store or a cooperative, where money-making opportunities were available through the pervasive blackmarket(53). In addition to Ne Win's system of punishment and control, as mentioned above, his system of rewards has also contributed to the decay of a l l i n s t i t u t i o n s within the p o l i t y . Positions, ranks, and o f f i c e s in the m i l i t a r y , the state apparatuses, party bureaucracies,  administrative bodies, and  e s p e c i a l l y those in s t a t a l agencies which monopolized a l l forms of economic and commercial a c t i v i t i e s , have been patrimonialized. Positions and promotions within the m i l i t a r y were no longer  tied  to merit but became rewards for those loyal to Ne Win. A d d i t i o n a l l y , even those m i l i t a r y o f f i c e r s who had been purged or r e t i r e d were cared f o r .  They were usually given positions in the  BSPP, or in the various administrative people's councils, and those demoted from the party positions and administrative  posts  were, in turn, given jobs in various state corporations, boards,  149 ventures and projects, and in cooperatives, people's stores, and so forth(54).  A l l functional bodies within the  government-party-  administrative superstructure of the state were transformed  into  the Tatmadaw's private domain, serving as a source of rewards and p r i v i l e g e s , and, as well, as a s o c i a l security safety net for a special class of men,  the m i l i t a r y Ahmudan ( i . e . ,  soldiers).  Consequently, these functional bodies no longer functioned the way such bodies are intended, but became, instead, modern versions of medieval fiefdoms and grants.  Futhermore, the  monopolization of a l l plum posts undermined the morale and e f f i c i e n c y of the non-military party members and the whole c i v i l service establishment, and transformed them into do-nothing errand-boys(55). Though the effects of i n s t i t u t i o n a l and systemic decay were disastrous for the country as a whole, i t f i t t e d into Ne Win's agenda.  perfectly  I n s t i t u t i o n a l decay served to root the  system of personal rulership more deeply, which enabled Ne  Win,  in the capacity of a super-patron and supreme personal r u l e r , to consolidate and maintain his position as Aba (Revered father) without i n s t i t u t i o n a l or legal constraints to r e s t r a i n him in any way.  It also made a l l subordinate power-holders  on and f e a r f u l of him.  more dependent  As well, because the whole state-  government structure was transformed into a source of benefits and p r i v i l e g e s for the Tatmadaw, men,  i t gave t h i s special class of  the m i l i t a r y Ahmudan, a greater personal stake in the  maintainence of the personal regime of Ne Win, and the  150 perpetuation  of a system of non-institutiona1ized p o l i t i c s .  Like  courtiers of old Burma, they owed their everything to the supreme leader at the apex of a patrimonial pyramid of power.  And more  importantly, the decay of i n s t i t u t i o n s and the erosion of l e g a l r a t i o n a l norms also meant that those below were not only deprived of any legal and i n s t i t u t i o n a l means of expressing  their  interests and aspirations to redress wrongs, but were also deprived of the means and resources  for checking  the exercise of  power by Ne Win and his sub-chiefs.  (e)  Manipulating  and Controlling the M i l i t a r y Ahmudans  The armed forces in Burma, or the Tatmadaw, being the only e f f e c t i v e l y cohesive  organization in the country, and the  instrument with which Ne Win obtained power, became the most important base of power.  Control over the Tatmadaw thus became  the most e s s e n t i a l element in the perpetuation and s t a b i l i z a t i o n of power.  As mentioned e a r l i e r , Ne Win has maintained control  over the Tatmadaw through purges, and through transforming i t into a p r i v i l e g e d s p e c i a l class of m i l i t a r y men dependent almost wholly on the favors of i t s supreme leader and Aba (Revered father).  In addition, to ensure l o y a l t y or obedience further,  the Tatmadaw  i s c l o s e l y monitored by Ne Win's M i l i t a r y  Intelligence(56).  The MIS operates on the p r i n c i p l e that  everyone i s p o t e n t i a l l y d i s l o y a l and that no one i s t o t a l l y innocent, thus making a l l within the m i l i t a r y undergo i t s scrutiny.  establishment  As such, a c t i v i t i e s of o f f i c e r s , their  151 contacts with colleagues,  friends, kin and  watched and recorded(57). b a t t a l i o n , and  MIS  o f f i c e r s are attached to every  undercover agents are inserted within the rank-  a n d - f i l e to spy on o f f i c e r s and MIS  so on, are c l o s e l y  agents are well-trained  non-commissioned o f f i c e r s (NCOs).  in the art of sowing personal  d i s t r u s t and discord among o f f i c e r s , e s p e c i a l l y among their wives, and  exploiting personal feuds in order to gain  information. Such close surveillance does not mean that wrongdoings and  corruption  eliminated,  have, as a consequence, been prevented or  or that the aim  of fact, corruption MIS  of surveillance i s such.  and a variety of misdeeds are tolerated,  and  o f f i c e r s and agents themselves participate in a l l manner of  corrupt  practices and abuses.  the Tatmadaw  As observed by a Burma watcher,  has been held in t h r a l l by Ne Win  access to special p r i v i l e g e s and aim  As a matter  of surveillance has  watched.  "for years by  sanctioned corruption"(58).  The  instead been to gain leverage over those  Whenever an o f f i c e r is f e l t by Ne Win  to be growing too  powerful or independent, the intelligence data i s then used to expose and dismiss the victim, as in the case of Tin U, the head of the i n t e l l i g e n c e service himself.  Information on his son's  l a v i s h wedding in Bangkok, his wife's business deals, and of i n t e l l i g e n c e funds in London was him  in  1983.  dug  up and  his  use  used to get r i d of  152 The o f f i c e r corps i s further divided into three categories:  those who are m i l i t a r y academy graduates, those  graduating from the O f f i c e r s Training School (OTS), and those given d i r e c t commissions as under-officers(59).  Great care i s  taken to d i s t r i b u t e the three categories of o f f i c e r s so as to create a system of checks and balances and prevent o f f i c e r s from cohering.  For example, i f a battalion commander i s an academy  graduate, the adjudant would be an OTS o f f i c e r , while the Intelligence Officer (10) would be a under-officer.  And a l l  o f f i c e r s are further monitored by the MIS, as mentioned above. Ne Win has managed, by the transformation of the whole Tatmadaw  into a privileged class or Praetorian Guard(60)  dependent on his largesse and on i t s monopolization of a l l economic and p o l i t i c a l rewards within an environment  of s c a r c i t y ,  to maneuver Tatmadaw members, e s p e c i a l l y i t s o f f i c e r s , into a s i t u a t i o n of having to choose, on one hand, between exploiting opportunities for gain and personal safety and security, or, on the other hand, foregoing the advantage of membership in a p r i v i l e g e d strata.  Lost membership means being cast a d r i f t in a  sea of s c a r c i t y and thrown into the ranks of the voiceless, unprivileged, and powerless classes constituting the rest of society comprising what i s v i r t u a l l y an under-class(61). choice i s , in a way,  made easier for Tatmadaw members and  o f f i c e r s by the existence of such a system of rewards and punishments -- they have much to gain by compliance everything to lose by stepping out of l i n e .  and  Under such  The  153  conditions, the unthinking  l o y a l t y of the Tatmadaw  to a s k i l l f u l  and strong-willed manipulator, and i t s repeated willingness to shoot c i v i l i a n challengers  in cold blood  i s not at a l l  surprising. It must also be noted here that the more than forty years of warfare i n the peripheries against the Karen, Kachin, Shan, Mon, and other ethnic groups has also contributed to the l o y a l t y of the Tatmadaw  to Ne Win and his regime, and has brought  the regime some p o l i t i c a l advantages, externally and i n t e r n a l l y . F i r s t l y , the war has provided s o l d i e r s and o f f i c e r s with an enemy, and as well, provided  the regime with some legitimacy as  the defender of national i n t e g r i t y and independence, externally, and among the Burman segment ( u n t i l the 1988 massacres, that i s ) . Secondly, i t has kept the Tatmadaw m i l i t a r y Ahmudans  occupied  and provided the  with an opportunity to practice their a r t , and  thereby increasing their career chances and/or expanding opportunities for enrichment through plunder, corruption, and the a r b i t r a r y exercise of power(62).  Thirdly, the problems created  by the long war in the peripheries have enhanced the regime's external p o s i t i o n .  For example, the problem of opium c u l t i v a t i o n  and narcotics t r a f f i c k i n g has provided  the regime with yet  another "hot" issue with which to gain leverage  in the  international arena, and to obtain assistance and sympathy(63).  154 (f)  Suppressing the Society: Fear, A t r o c i t i e s , and Firepower Burma has been transformed, l i k e medieval Burma, in  the course of twenty-eight years of m i l i t a r y rule, into a country composed b a s i c a l l y of two classes, described by a Burman scholar as:  "An all-powerful  m i l i t a r y e l i t e occupying the top s o c i a l  layer and some lesser e l i t e clinging onto the c o a t t a i l s of the m i l i t a r y commanders, while simple folks retreat and survive in the base layer as subscribers to the capricious of the m i l i t a r y  rulers"(64).  Those in the base layer — divided  laws and dictates  most of society — are  into the Burman and non-Burman segments, who are  separated from each other by h i s t o r i c a l and p o l i t i c a l t r a d i t i o n s , a s c r i p t i v e ethnic t r a i t s , and by geography.  Both of the ethnic  segments have been deprived of their rights as c i t i z e n s , and have been reduced to l i v i n g , i n the manner of their forebearers under Burman kings, as anxiety-ridden and cowed targets and victims of a regime of terror and intimidation. Ordinarily, the rule by terror imposed in Burma i s not dramatic or extraordinarily bloody as was the terror perpetrated by H i t l e r , S t a l i n , or Pol Pot, but i t nonetheless created the same kind of extreme fear, widespread anxiety, and pervasive sense of personal Insecurity.  This has been due, in a  large measure, to the denial of basic human rights and the protection  of the law. For example, the nationalization of a l l  means of production and d i s t r i b u t i o n in 1963-1964(65), in e f f e c t ,  155 outlawed a l l private economic a c t i v i t i e s which, in turn, meant the regime depriving the people of i t s right to secure a livelihood.  A majority of the "Burmese" were forced to  circumvent s o c i a l i s t decrees and r e s t r i c t i o n s in order to survive which, as aptly put by various everyone into an  individuals in Burma, "made  "economic criminal', and taught everybody to  s t e a l , cheat, l i e , and  betray"(66).  In addition to laws delegitimizing private economic transactions, laws outlawing p o l i t i c a l a c t i v i t i e s and freedom of expression,  curtailing  and regulations r e s t r i c t i n g internal and  external travel were decreed(67).  These r e s t r i c t i o n s not  only  broadened the power of state and party s e c u r i t y agents at a l l l e v e l s , but also widened the scope of what was put almost everyone outside the law.  i l l e g a l , and  thus,  In other words, most  everyone verged on "criminal a c t i v i t y " , as defined by the regime, just in the conduct of d a i l y l i f e .  More s i g n i f i c a n t l y , most  became potential victims, t o t a l l y at the mercy of spies and informers and those enforcing these regulations. These r e s t r i c t i o n s , combined with the a r b i t r a r y powers of the MIS  and other security agencies (the police and  the  security branches of the BSPP), which were a r b i t r a r i l y exercised(68),  were what, in essence, constituted the regime's  process of terror under ordinary, everyday conditions. s u f f i c i e n t to keep the majority of society in a state of  It was  156 uncertainty and anxiety to drain them of the w i l l to r e s i s t or to challenge the regime. The non-Burman, in addition to being subjected to the "normal" process of terror l i k e the Burman, also suffered exposure to, what could be termed as, m i l i t a r y terrorism -- a s i t u a t i o n where no d i s t i n c t i o n i s made between combatants and non-combatants, and where soldiers are permitted to p i l l a g e , k i l l , maim, rape, and in other ways brutalize and  inflict  violence indiscriminately on the l o c a l populace without fear of punishment from their superiors(69). who  In the peripheries, anyone  i s not a Burman i s a potential target of violence, and there  is l i t t l e a person can do to escape being victimized.  Nor can  the victim appeal to any higher authorities for redress.  Amnesty  International has reported cases of v i l l a g e r s found in "insurgent areas"(70) being summarily shot or taken into custody and tortured; fields;  of mutilated bodies l e f t by the roadsides and in the of individuals executed simply because of their  appearance (for example, being "tidy and well-dressed", or having "a fancy haircut")(71);  of tortures which include "shin  r o l l i n g " ( 7 2 ) , the burning of the victim's flesh with cigars, the placing of bullets between fingers and crushing them together, slashing with knives, near-suffocation with p l a s t i c bags, neardrowning, near-strangulation, sexual assaults and rape;  of  countless v i l l a g e r s being seized to work as porters or "coolies"; of porters forced-marched  u n t i l they drop from sickness or  exhaustion, being b r u t a l l y beaten and/or shot for no reason, and  157 blown up by mines while forced to lead troops through minefields, and  so on(73). The b r u t a l i t y of m i l i t a r y terror upon the non-Burman  populace has been an integral component of the regime's counterinsurgency e f f o r t s , which, i r o n i c a l l y , constitute the  only  strategy of the m i l i t a r y to the problems of national integration. As have been mentioned e a r l i e r , Burma has never been a homogenous e n t i t y , and there has never been a "Burmese" nation, though some vigorous Burman kings may  have occasionally " u n i f i e d " the country  through patron-client t i e s and  tributary relationship with  and Arakanese kings, Shan princes, and Burma was  created  lesser c h i e f s .  Mon  Modern  in 1947-1948 by virtue of the Panglong  Agreement, premised upon the recognition by the Burman successor e l i t e s , represented by Aung San,  of the rights of the Shan,  Kachin, and the Chin, and the p o l i t i c a l - a d m i n i s t r a t i v e and t e r r i t o r i a l i n t e g r i t y of their homelands. recognized,  was  This, i t must be  a small but s i g n i f i c a n t step forward in the  eventual creation of a "Burmese" nation.  However, Ne Win and  the  Tatmadaw were wedded to a d i f f e r e n t kind of "Burmese" nationalism,  one described  by Ba Maw  as a "pure form of  racialism"(74), and Ne Win's agenda, l i k e those of despotic rulers throughout history, did not include compromise or accommodation with ethnic or any other segments within society. His solution to the problem of national unity was,  l i k e his other  solutions, the delegitimization of aspirations from below(75). Such " i l l e g i t i m a t e demands" were viewed, as despots are wont to,  158 as challenges to the state which had to met with the "legitimate" use of violence and coercion. Other protests and demands, for instance those made by students, monks, workers, p a r t i c u l a r l y the urban segments, expressing d i s s a t i s f a c t i o n with p a r t i c u l i a r conditions or with the regime, were likewise viewed by Ne Win and his  Tatmadaw  regime as " i l l e g i t i m a t e " and treated as challenges against the state i t s e l f , which became challenges precisely because no legitimate channels were provided for them.  The regime's  standard response has been brutal suppression with massive firepower or/and indiscriminate arrests, torture, and detention without  t r i a l for i n d e f i n i t e periods, resulting in increased  anxiety and fear.  Despite the general climate of fear induced by  the regime's terror process, however, the student population of Rangoon, e s p e c i a l l y , has often staged protest r a l l i e s which have galvanized the cowed general populace to action on many occasions(76). The f i r s t protest by students of Rangoon University against m i l i t a r y rule took place in July 1962, after the coup(77).  barely four months  Massive firepower was unleashed  on the  students and the h i s t o r i c Student Union Building on campus was demolished.  The regime claimed that only sixteen were k i l l e d , a  figure which even the most knovledgable accepted without question(78).  outside observers have  According to a doctor on duty at  the Rangoon General Hospital, however, there were at least two  159 trucks stacked f u l l of corpses(79).  Nonetheless, students came  out again the following year, to protest the regime's u n i l a t e r a l termination of peace talks with the BCP,  resulting in the mass  a r r e s t , imprisonment, and torture of students.  In 1967,  workers  of government workshops in Insein rioted over high costs of l i v i n g and shortages of essential commodities.  In 1970,  there  was another student protest during the Asian regional games in Rangoon; troops were sent out once more to shoot and bayonet students, and schools, colleges, and u n i v e r s i t i e s were closed down for several months(80).  In 1974,  the regime was  confronted  with s t r i k e s and protests by o i l workers in Chauk, t e x t i l e m i l l hands and r a i l r o a d workers and mechanics in Insein, dockyard laborers in Simalaik, but these were a l l suppressed and bullets(81).  At the end of 1974,  student-led demonstration  with bayonets  there was a massive  in Rangoon over the regime's refusal to  give U Thant, former General Secretary of the United Nations, a state funeral.  Here again, massive firepower was  unleashed,  followed by the usual arrest, imprisonment and torture of students and other victims.  The following year in 1975,  was a spate of wild-cat s t r i k e s , and in 1976, again for the last time t i l l  1987(82).  there  students protested  In September  1987,  students once more spearheaded protests against the t h i r d demonetization measure, and in 1988,  a series of protests by  students and the regime's brutal response into a country-wide  in March(83) escalated  protest movement which resulted in the  massacres of August and September in Rangoon and other towns.  160  (g)  Regime Longevity: The External Factor A brief mention must here be made of the contribution  of foreign governments and international donors to the longevity of Ne Win's Tatmadaw  dictatorship.  The actual assistance, in  terms of d o l l a r s and cents, provided the regime by foreign governments may not have amounted to very much, but i t has been substantial enough to provide the regime with the f i n a n c i a l resources to buy arms and maintain a sizable armed force for internal suppression.  The fact that, o f f i c i a l l y and v i s i b l y ,  over 30 percent of the budget i s spent on defence reveals how much of the country's resources have been lavished on the military.  The figure given does not include the i n v i s i b l e  diversion of funds to the m i l i t a r y : for example, the budget allocated to the Home Ministry for internal security and narcotics suppression, or the BSPP's expenditures, and indirect subsidies to the m i l i t a r y i n s a l a r i e s and benefits to m i l i t a r y personnel  (active and retired) in administrative posts and in the  economic sector (in various state projects, corporation, people's store, cooperatives, and so forth).  Therefore, in a situation  where independent auditing and i n s t i t u t i o n a l i z e d checks on spending are non-existent, i t would not be unreasonable to conclude that only a t i n y portion of the budget i s actually spent for s t r i c t l y non-military purposes(84).  161 Ne Win's foreign policy, which has been neutral and non-aligned  in i t s outward form, i s also one which i s  i s o l a t i o n i s t , with special emphasis on keeping out outside influence and observation.  I t i s a strategem directed to a large  extent to keeping the outside world  ignorant about Burma and the  regime's dark r e a l i t y , thus depriving depriving oppositional elements of foreign sympathy.  It i s strategy which has enabled  i t to present i t s e l f externally as one committed to, as per a plea made by Frank Traeger,  "some variant of s o c i a l i s t democracy"  which i s free of alignment with "either big-power bloc", and therefore deserving of international and American  support(85).  Likewise, Ne Win's foreign p o l i c y i s aimed at keeping Burma's populace ignorant of the outside world, thereby demands for changes and reforms.  forestalling  Ne Win's neutralism, as pointed  out by Maung Maung Gyi, i s "negative neutralism" aimed at "keeping himself and his 'group' i n power" with minimal external "interference"(86). Or, as aptly put by another Burman scholar, Mya Maung, the "opening to the West" or "economic l i b e r a l i z a t i o n " p o l i c y of Ne Win in the 1970s, and as well, the post-1988 "open economic p o l i c i e s " of Colonel Abel(87) and General Saw Maung, are in r e a l i t y , "attempts at capturing foreign economic and p o l i t i c a l support to maintain  i t s [the m i l i t a r y regime's] p o l i t i c a l  grip"(88). As pointed out by Mya Maung, the regime's grip on power was helped considerably by "external pump-priming" amounting to more than U.S.$600 million(89) on the part of the  162 World Bank, the International Monetary Fund, the Asian Development Bank, the United Nations Development Programme, and the governments of West Germany, Japan, and Australia, and so on in the mid-1970s to the early-1980s(90).  Likewise, the new  "open" economic and investment policy of Colonel Abel i s an attempt by the regime to exploit the international recognition accorded the m i l i t a r y junta (SLORC), and i s directed at obtaining resources for the maintainence of power.  The "open" economic  p o l i c y has been described by a Rangoon-based foreign diplomat as "giving away natural resources to keep themselves alive"(91). It has, so f a r , manifested i t s e l f in the form of s e l l i n g teak, f i s h i n g , mining, and other concessions to Thai, Singaporean, Japanese, Hong Kong, South Korean, and Malaysian "investors" in exchange for ready cash, only benefitting the Bogyoke-Wungyi (Generals/Ministers), their kin and c l i e n t s , and  "carpetbaggers"  out for quick p r o f i t ( 9 2 ) . The importance of the international assistance to Burma's m i l i t a r y regime (or regimes, i f the Saw Maung junta is to be viewed as a new regime), highlights a very interesting paradox.  There i s no doubt that the motives of foreign donors  are above reproach, and directed at encouraging economic growth, and are meant to help along the modernization process, p a r t i c u l a r l y in the sphere of p o l i t i c s and governance.  But, in  r e a l i t y , foreign assistance has served, instead, to entrench more deeply the patrimonial rule of one man and has aided the process of d e - i n s t i t u t i o n a l i z a t i o n in Burma.  It has, as well, enabled  163 the Tatmadaw  dictatorship to rule without the consent of those  below, and even against their wishes.  The example provided in  the case of Burma reveals a wide gap existing between the good intentions and the actual impact of foreign inputs in some Third World states.  To sum up, Ne Win's imperative and strategy for s u r v i v a l , described in this chapter, has resulted in both the patrimonialization, and the transformation of the entire Tatmadaw,  into Ne Win's Praetorian Guard.  However, catering to  the needs of the Praetorian Guard ( i . e . , the entire Tatmadaw) to ensure i t s loyalty, has meant Ne Win, as Aba, the revered father, has had to provide a l l "his children" with s u f f i c i e n t rewards, or at least minimum comfort.  And, within the context of a moribund  " s o c i a l i s t " economy where resources and rewards are limited, power-positions and other o f f i c e s become rewards (both in the economic and p o l i t i c a l sense), and a means of l i v e l i h o o d for Tatmadaw  members.  Moreover, the enormous size of the Praetorian  Guard requires the maximum diversion of the country's resources to the Tatmadaw:  formally, through budget a l l o c a t i o n ;  invisibly,  through expenditure hidden under other headings; and informally through plunder and corruption.  The costs of maintaining a large  army and providing i t with cradle-to-grave welfare, operationing an intensive secret police network (the MIS),  tolerating  pervasive institution-destroying plunder and corruption, and  164 waging an almost forty-years war in the peripheries, are no doubt enormous. The r e s u l t of this has been, as s u f f i c i e n t l y documented by scholars and other observers of Ne Win's Burma, the t o t a l impoverishment of a resource-rich country and prolonged p o l i t i c a l decay. In short, what i s now evident where the determination  in Burma i s a s i t u a t i o n  of the regime (or the strongman) to  survive and maintain power has resulted in the construction of a p o l i t i c a l order based on the patrimonialization of i n s t i t u t i o n s , the undermining of l e g a l - r a t i o n a l norms and practices, the a r b i t r a r y exercise of power, and rule of men instead of law. Win's Tatmadaw  Ne  d i c t a t o r s h i p can in this respect be characterized  as a regime which i s not only based on, but as well, dependent for  i t s very s u r v i v a l on systemic p o l i t i c a l and economic decay.  165 NOTE  S  F OR  C H A P T E  R  F I V E  1. This was the war-cry of soldiers of the 22nd Light Infantry Division (LID) as they went on a k i l l i n g spree on the bloody and corpse-strewn streets of Rangoon in September 1988. According to an eye witness, a 46-year old lawyer, the s o l d i e r s shot and k i l l e d young boys and g i r l s , Buddhist monks, Red Cross workers, students, and even bystanders. See, "We Will K i l l Everybody and Rule the Earth", THE BURMA REPORT, Issue 2 (January-February 1989), pp.20-21. This was an interview with an eyewitness, "U Min Aung" (a pseudonym), conducted by H.Wood, Chairman of the T r i b a l Refugee Welfare in Southeast Asia (based in West Australia) on October 26,1988. 2. As commented upon e a r l i e r , i t would not be e n t i r e l y correct to portray the 1988 uprisings as s o l e l y an urban phenomenon. The wide involvement of Buddhist monks most l i k e l y means that peasants also had been more or less drawn into the protests. Though the urban and rural segments in Burma and many Third World countries, in many ways, l i v e in d i f f e r e n t worlds, there i s nonetheless constant s o c i a l inter-penetration, and close kinship/patron-client links between v i l l a g e s and towns (which are frequently "over-grown v i l l a g e s " ) . The urban-rural dichotomy i s less real than perceived, at least in Burma. Contrary to the stereotyping of peasants as apathetic, dumb, extremely parochial, and etc., they are very aware of p o l i t i c s in general and powerplays in the c a p i t a l . The inter-flow of information, rumours, and gossip between towns and v i l l a g e s is continuous and tremendous. Further, in dealing with Asians in general, with peasants e s p e c i a l l y , researchers should note that rural folks w i l l never contradict a "scholar". They w i l l go to great lengths to give him/her the desired information, as percieved by them, instead of what i s r e a l l y relevant or needed. 3. B e r t i l Lintner, OUTRAGE: BURMA'S STRUGGLE FOR DEMOCRACY (Hongkong: The Review Publishing Co.,1989), p.228. According to Lintner, the real powerholders are Ne Win, SeinLwin, Aye Ko (former Secretary General, BSPP), Khin Nyunt, Sanda Win, and Maung Maung (the one-month President). Also, Neil K e l l y , "Intelligence Chief Emerging as Burma's Leader", THE TIMES, London (January 23, 1989). (4 ) The Lon Htein are more than " r i o t police", according to informed opinions in Burma. They are special armed units of the BSPP composed of handpicked party members and exarmymen personally commanded by Sein Lwin. At any rate, there does not exist an autonomous police force i n Burma. Many police o f f i c e r s are seconded, or former army o f f i c e r s , and many policemen are ex-servicemen. Lon Htein units are, l i k e other army units, closedly supervised by the MIS or the DDSI (Directorate of Defence Services Intelligence), which i s controlled by Ne Win and Sein Lwin. The director and executive s t a f f of the DDSI merely  166 excute orders and handle routine internal administrative matters, but with the two "old men" c l o s e l y monitoring the operation. In Burma, as in most medieval kingdoms and many contemporary Third World d i c t a t o r s h i p s , real power and control i s not r e f l e c t e d in o f f i c i a l positions per the organizational charts. Nor is there a separation between various branches of the government, the government and the party executive, between the army and the p o l i c e , the various i n t e l l i g e n c e agencies, or the private and the public domain. As such, i t is possible that incorrect conclusions w i l l be drawn about events in Burma (and other Third World states, in general) by outside observers, conditioned as they are to think of the state and "national" leaders as l e g a l - r a t i o n a l e n t i t i e s and players concerned with producing the " p o l i t i c a l goods" (when, in fact, t h i s i s r a r e l y so). Ne Win manages the a f f a i r s of state in the manner of an absolute o r i e n t a l potentate. For example, he r a r e l y holds formal meetings with ministers. They are summoned at random and are made to s i t a t t e n t i v e l y for hours while Ne Win rambles on with cronies (frequently not known to the ministers present). Often, the minister concerned has to second guess what Ne Win wishes him to do. Sometimes, the minister or ministers are ignored altogether. Ne Win's s t y l e of decisionmaking i s , according to directors and aides to ministers,in turn, emulated by the ministers themselves when dealing with subordinates. (Source: Conversations and interviews with a number of former army and c i v i l o f f i c e r s in Thailand, Canada, and United States, and as well, k i t h and kin of important Bogyoke-lVungyis or Generals/Ministers). 5. The two h i s t o r i c l e t t e r s by Aung Gyi have been published as a booklet by the Committee for the Restoration of Democracy in Burma (CRDB). They are: (a) AUNG GYI'S LETTER: THE TRUTH REVEALED, An Open Letter from Aung Gyi to Ne Win (May 1988), Translated by Ye Kyaw Thu, (Falls Church: Committee For the Restoration of Democracy in Burma [CRDB],June 9,1988). (b) THE DAY BLOOD FLOWED ON THE INYA EMBANKMENT: THE SECOND LETTER OF AUNG GYI,JUNE 6, 1988, Translated by Ye Kyaw Thu ( F a l l s Church: Committee for the Restoration of Democracy in Burma [CRDB],July 5,1988) . 6. These included the BSPP's vice-chairman San Yu, who was concurrently the president (head of s t a t e ) ; generalsecretary Aye Ko; Sein Lwin; Kyaw Htin (defence minister); and Tun Tin. A day or so l a t e r , Maung Maung Kha, the prime minister, was "removed". 7. This incident i s c l e a r l y very mysterious and has puzzled the Burmese themselves. That the party would reject any of Ne Win's proposals, no matter how t r i v i a l or i r r a t i o n a l , i s unthinkable, and t h i s i s borne out by the fact that he is s t i l l very much in control. This has given r i s e to a l l sorts of speculations, some of which a t t r i b u t e to Ne Win an omnipotent Machiavillan insight and s k i l l s of a d i a b o l i c a l master-puppeteer  167 orchestrating events to his advantage. Most l i k e l y , Ne Win vas very badly shaken and perhaps confused vhen he made the proposals, but Sein Lwin and others may have stiffened his spine by pointing out to him that they vere cornered and therefore had better go dovn f i g h t i n g , vhich, from their point of view, and given their mind-set, made a l o t of sense. 8. Sein Lvin joined the Tatmadav during the var and served, according to Maureen Aung-Thwin, as Ne Win's "batman" or orderly. In the Burma Army, this i s a "means for r i s i n g through the ranks on a c o a t t a i l of an ambitious o f f i c e r " . See, Maureen Aung-Thwin, "Burmese Days", FOREIGN AFFAIRS, Vol.68, No.2 (Spring 1989), pp.143-61. Sein Lwin did, at least where Ne Win was concerned, however, earn his rank since he was responsible for the death of the Karen supreme leader, Saw Ba U Gyi, and did a l l Ne Win's " d i r t y work", such as master-minding the "July 7th" (1962) massacre, and the "March" and "August" massacres in 1988. As well, i t is well known in Burma that Sein Lwin is deeply interested in astrology, and i s said to be one of Ne Win's "court astrologers". Also, see Maung Maung, BURMA AND GENERAL NE WIN (Bombay: Asia Publishing House, 1969), p.218, for Sein Lwin's role in the death of Saw Ba U Gyi. For Sein Lwin's involvement in the massacres of 1962 and 1988, see Lintner,OUTRAGE, op c i t , pp.117,263. 9. U.S.Department of State, COUNTRY REPORTS ON HUMAN RIGHTS PRACTICES FOR 1988: BURMA (Washington: U.S. Government P r i n t i n g Office,1989), p.741. No one r e a l l y knows how many were k i l l e d in August 1988, because, as stated in the report, "as soon as they finished f i r i n g , troops carted off victims for surreptitious mass disposal in order to mask the extent of the carnage". Also, BURMA REPORT, op c i t . As i s often the case, the dead and some of the wounded were taken away and cremated in secrecy by the m i l i t a r y . Estimates of those k i l l e d in August 1988 range variously from 2,000 to 3,000 dead. For mention of the wounded being cremated along with the dead, see Melinda L i u , "Inside Bloody Burma", NEWSWEEK (October 3,1988), pp.30-2. Also, Stan Sesser, "A Rich Country Gone Wrong", THE NEW YORKER (October 9, 1989),p.88. 10. Sesser, NEW YORKER, op c i t , p.80. This i s the most comprehensive but very concise piece on the 1988 Uprising in Burma, so f a r . This i s a must for every student of Burma. 11. P a r t i c u l a r l y in Mandalay, the monks together with leaders of the democratic movement took over the c i t y and maintained law and order. See Sesser, NEW YORKER, op c i t , p.85. In Rangoon and other towns as well, security and other basic services vere provided by l o c a l l y formed ad hoc bodies, according to many eye-vitnesses and participants. In Rangoon, hovever, the nevly formed l o c a l committees had a harder time keeping law and  168 order because of the intrusion of "escaped" criminals, and the presence of MIS agents, saboteurs, and agent provocateurs. 12. Over 1,000 were k i l l e d in Rangoon alone, but i t could be more since the victims were carted away by the troops and cremated s e c r e t l y . Local sources put the figures k i l l e d in the "people's power" uprising from March to October 1988, a l l over the country, at 6,000 dead, at the very minimum. 13. "General Saw Maung: 'I Saved Burma"',Interview with General Saw Maung, ASIAWEEK (January 27,1989), pp.24-25. 14. General Saw Maung, in a rambling (and incoherent) monologue at a press conference to explain the "coup", stated that the Tatmadaw seized power simply because "BCP elements had appeared during the time of the disturbances" (p.8), and by virtue of the fact that the Tatmadaw had in September 1988 become the "people's army", independent of any party or person by order of Dr. Maung Maung in his capacity as chairman of the BSPP (p.3). See, "SLORC Chairman General Saw Maung Meets Local and Foreign J o u r n a l i s t s " , July 5,1989, in NEWS OF MYANMAR, Vol.2 (July 1989), Washington: The Embassy of the Union of Myanmar. The s i t u a t i o n prior to Saw Maung's "coup", was, as described in a l e t t e r from Burma, "we have caged the beast, but i t is s t i l l fanged and armed". The 1988 September "coup" was, s t r i c t l y , not a coup, but an attempt by a group of men who had been rejected by the populace to maintain themselves in power without legal grounds, e s p e c i a l l y since neither the BSPP nor the 1974 socialist constitution were invoked by the junta as a basis for their rule ( i . e . , the takeover being a "coup" against Dr. Maung Maung's BSPP "government", and the 1974 s o c i a l i s t c o n s t i t u t i o n ) . The fact that t h i s legal "limbo" has been ignored by many governments and international bodies, highlights a very important p o l i t i c a l question: that i s , how is a "state" and i t s government to be defined, and, s p e c i f i c a l l y , what are the most important c r i t e r i a ? In other words, do l e g a l i t y and legitimacy matter? Theoretically, the implication of the present s i t u a t i o n in Burma is that international recognition (or external legitimacy), which requires no e f f o r t s other than to capture p h y s i c a l l y the c a p i t a l c i t y and a few buildings, c a r r i e s more weight than l e g a l i t y or popular support (internal legitimacy). The implication i s that "legitimacy" is superfluous in the Third World. It must be noted therefore, that the international community's disregard of a regime's legitimacy v i s - a - v i s i t s populace and society, in turn, serves only to encourage coups, m i l i t a r y misrule, and "dedevelopment", and, as well, works against c i v i l i a n leaders ever succeeding in i n s t a l l i n g a c i v i l i z e d and democratic p o l i t i c a l order in Third World areas. 15. B e r t i l Lintner, "Isolation T a c t i c s " , FAR EASTERN ECONOMIC REVIEW (November 23,1989), p.31.  169 16. Brig.General Khin Nyunt (born 1939), Secretary-1 of SLORC; Brig.General Myo Nyunt, Commander of Rangoon Command; and General Than Shwe, Army Commander. Sanda Win i s much younger than these men and i s a Colonel in the Army Medical Corp. Though these men are the t h i r d generation m i l i t a r y leaders now coming to the fore, they may not represent their generation, and may just be ambitious individuals who have hitched their stars to Ne Win and, presumably, Sanda Win. However, they may be deposed or may even change d i r e c t i o n when Ne Win dies or i s incapacitated. To date, no "moderate" faction or figures have emerged, and w i l l probably not u n t i l after Ne Win dies. This s i t u a t i o n t e s t i f i e s to the effectiveness of purges within the o f f i c e r corps, and the extent of fear among o f f i c e r s of the a r b i t r a r y power of Ne Win and his i n t e l l i g e n c e agents. Also, the gap between the privileged l i f e of an o f f i c e r , and even of an e x - o f f i c e r , and the d a i l y struggle to make a l i v i n g and the i n d i g n i t i e s ordinary people have to experience everyday i s so great that o f f i c e r s are inhibited from even speaking their minds for fear of being excluded from the charmed c i r c l e at the top. 17.  Sesser, NEW  YORKER, OP c i t ,  p.95.  18. For an excellent analysis of Ne Win's pivotal role within the state-party-military structure, and arbitrary power exercised by him in the manner of despotic Burman kings of old, see John Badgley, "Burmese Ideology: A Comment", in J . S i l v e r s t e i n , ed. INDEPENDENT BURMA AT FORTY YEARS: SIX ASSESSMENTS (Ithaca: Cornell University Press,1989 ), pp.69-73,76. 19. D.I. Steinberg, "Neither Silver Nor Gold: The 40th Anniversary of the Burmese Economy", INDEPENDENT BURMA, op c i t , pp.35-49, esp., p.35. It vas Ne Win himself who requested that the United Nations designate LDC status for Burma. It was a clear admission made before a distinguished international body of his f a i l u r e as a "national" leader, which makes his attempt to c l i n g to power at a l l costs rather incomprehensible, i f not irrational. 20. Ibid, pp.40-1. The sad economic deterioration and mismanagement of Burma under m i l i t a r y rule i s well documented and analyzed, and need not be repeated here. For an early c r i t i c a l analysis of the Burmese Way to Socialism by a Burman scholar, see Mya Maung, " M i l i t a r y Management of the Burmese Economy", i n J . S i l v e r s t e i n , ed. THE FUTURE OF BURMA IN PERSPECTIVE: A SYMPOSIUM (Athens: Ohio University Press,1974), pp.10-23. 21. ; Ne Win's obsessive fear i s well known throughout Burma, and outside as well, as i s his belief in astrology and Yadaya-che r i t e s . The acts attributed to Ne Win are known by a l l in Burma, and very few doubt that he has performed them.  170 22. The two e a r l i e r demonetization measures were aimed, according to the regime, at punishing blackmarketeers and destroying i l l e g a l wealth (which did not make much economic sense since wealth held by these elements was in foreign currencies, gold, land, houses, and the commodities or goods they deal with. The e f f e c t of demonetization on such wealth would therefore be marginal). No reason has ever been given for the step in 1987, nor were explanations offered for issuing odd denomination kyat notes. These measures are viewed by the populace as Ne Win's numerology-based yadaya-che r i t e s to f o r e s t a l l some dire threat to himself or his power. 23. This change i n the d i r e c t i o n of t r a f f i c was meant to f o r e s t a l l the turning of the country to the right, i . e . , in the d i r e c t i o n of l i b e r a l democracy, foretold by astrologers. 24. This act was to circumvent the prophesy that "the young would inherit power", and the logic behind this yadache act i s that by becoming "young" or an "infant" again, power would thus be retained. 25. Paradoxically, though the b e l i e f in the black arts i s prevelant, very few Burmans can explain what this r e a l l y i s , or indicate who the powerful Auk-Ian Saya are, or where to find them. Sorcerers, or anyone so reputed, are feared and avoided by good Buddhists. A person perceived as having dealings with magic i s not respected, though he may be feared. For comments on the role of superstition i n p o l i t i c s in Burma, see Maung Maung Gyi, BURMESE POLITICAL VALUES: THE SOCIO-POLITICAL ROOTS OF AUTHORITARIANISM (New York: Praeger, 1983), pp.159-61. 26. Robert H.Taylor, THE STATE IN BURMA C.Hurst & Co.,1987), p.296.  (London:  27. As far as the masses, unversed in Marxist polemics, were concerned, Ne Win's and Than Tun's socialism were indistinguishable. This created a tremendous d i f f i c u l t y for Than Tun since most of his cadres were ignorant of the finer points of Marxism. This caused many to waver, impelling Than Tun to purge the party. (Source: Conversations, 1968-1970, with Sai Aung Win, a Shan, and former Rangoon University student union leader, and one of Thakin Than Tun's personal assistants during the purges, 1965-1967). 28. For a comprehensive account of the n a t i o n a l i z a t i o n measures and the construction of a " s o c i a l i s t economy" i n Burma by Ne win's regime, see John W.Henderson, et a l , AREA HANDBOOK FOR BURMA (Washington: Superintendent of Documents, U.S.Government Printing Press,1971), pp.213-16. 29. This dispute was resolved v i o l e n t l y through a Mao-style " c u l t u r a l revolution". The internal bloodbath resulted  171 in the decimation of leaders and veteran cadres, the loss of peasant supporters who were revolted by the b r u t a l i t y of the purges, and f i n a l l y , the eviction of the White Flag communists (BCP) from the Burman plains and delta. Top leaders l i k e Yebav (Comrade) Htay, Ba Tin (H.N.Goshal), Comrade General Yan Aung (one of the Thirty-Comrades), and hundreds of veteran cadres were p u b l i c l y humiliated and barbariously executed. The purges also contributed to the death in action, or otherwise, of many i l l u s t r i o u s communist Thakins, such as Thakin Than Tun himself, Thakins Zin and Chit (who succeeded him as Chairman), Bo Zeya (also, one of the Thirty-Comrades). (Source: Sai Aung Win, op c i t ) . For a well-documented and fascinating account, unfortunately in Burmese, of the disintegration of the White Flag BCP, see Yebaw Mya, e t . a l , ed. THE LAST DAYS OF THAKIN THAN TUN (Rangoon: Mya-ya-bin Press,1970), Vols.I and I I . It was actually the work of the MIS, c l o s e l y supervised by i t s d i r e c t o r , the then Colonel Tin U. For a short overview of the BCP, see B.Lintner, "The Rise and F a l l of the Communists", FAR EASTERN ECONOMIC REVIEW (June 4,1987), pp.27-34. 30. At the time, Ba Swe, however, had some following within the Tatmadaw, i . e . , Brigadier Aung Gyi's faction. The two were said to be related through marriage and Aung Gyi was widely regarded as Ba Swe's protege. (Source: University friends of mine who were related to Aung Gyi). Aung Gyi's dismissal and the purge of his faction, soon after the coup, ended Ba Swe's influence within the Tatmadav. 31. U Kyav Nyein vas not only tortured in prison, but, according to one former MIS o f f i c e r , vas given coffee laced v i t h minute portions of lead every morning. He died in 1988 of some form of cancer. 32. Mention has been made of U Nu's armed movement in most studies of post-1962 Burma. Hovever, no in-depth study has been made of the movement, nor i t s f a i l u r e analysed. It seems to me, that his movement, the Parliamentary Democracy Party (PDP), f a i l e d because i t lacked serious plans for toppling Ne Win. Everyone in the PDP, from U Nu dovnwards, expected a mass upheaval and the subsequent defection, en masse, of the army. There was constant talk about being back in Rangoon within two or three weeks. U n t i l the f a i l u r e of U Nu's attempt ( i t collapsed in 1974), Ne Win was inexplicably thought of by most Burmans as a brainless, pleasure-seeking p o l i t i c a l light-weight, or at best, a puppet of some clique or individuals, which he c e r t a i n l y never was. (Source: From conversations and contacts with PDP leaders and many former school and university classmates who joined U Nu in Thailand during that period). 33. Ne Win's co-optation of the "aboveground communists", between 1962-1964 also pleased Chinese leaders, such as L i u Shao-chi and Chen Y i , who had been urging both Ne Win and  172 BCP leaders to team up in a l e f t i s t united front. As well, in order to buy time, Ne Win went through the motions of negotiating with the White Flags in 1963-1964. (Sources: Yebaw Sai Aung Win, personal assistant to Thakin Than Tun; Zau Tu and Phungshwe Zau Seng, deceased 1975, of the Kachin Independence Army [KIA]; Saw Mawrel, presently Chairman of the National Democratic Liberation Front (NDLF], and participant in the 1963 peace talks; and other Burman, Shan, Karen friends in Canada, United States, and Thailand). Also, as a senior o f f i c e r in the Shan State Army (SSA), i t was my job to be informed of these developments. 34. David I.Steinberg, BURMA'S ROAD TOWARDS DEVELOPMENT: GROWTH AND IDEOLOGY UNDER MILITARY RULE (Boulder: Westview Press,1981), pp.36,43. Also, Badgley, "Burmese Ideology: A Comment",INDEPENDENT BURMA, op c i t . p.70. 35. The fact that Ne Win surrounded himself with communist "theoreticians" in the early stage of his rule i s well known, and had raised eyebrows among diplomats in Rangoon. Maung Maung, Ne Win's i n t e l l e c t u a l - i n - r e s i d e n c e , made i t a point in his book to assure readers that Ne Win was not a captive of his communist advisors, stressing that "the man who could sway or influence him [has not been born y e t ] " . Maung Maung, BURMA AND NE WIN, op c i t . p.315. Also, see AUNG GYI'S LETTER, op c i t . pp.14-5 (close r e l a t i o n s h i p between Brig.Tin Pe and U Ba Nyein),23-4 (the dismantling of Aung Gyi's economic programs by the Tin Pe-Ba Nyein faction),25 (the Burmese Way to Socialism referred to by Aung Gyi as the "Ba Nyien-Tin Pe plus NUF model"). The National United Front, NUF, was a p o l i t i c a l front composed of the conservative Justice Party and a number of aboveground communist groups, dominated by l e f t i s t s , to contest the 1956 e l e c t i o n against the as yet unsplit AFPFL. 36. Moshe Lissak, MILITARY ROLES IN MODERNIZATION: CIVIL-MILITARY RELATIONS IN THAILAND AND BURMA (London: Sage Publications,1976), pp.165-67. 37. It was only the non-Burman segments which were unaffected by socialism, c h i e f l y because they and their leaders had nothing to do with the Dobama movement or "ideology". And hence, they were able to represent Ne Win's regime as an e v i l s o c i a l i s t and c h a u v i n i s t i c d i c t a t o r s h i p , while Burman leaders could not, or did not know how to counter Ne Win's Socialism (a combination of Burman ethnonationalism and Dobama socialism). This partly explains the endurance of various ethnic resistance, and the ineffectiveness and collapse of the main Burman challenge(i.e., the White Flag Communists) to Ne Win. 38. In t h i s respect, U Nu and the AFPFL cannot escape a large share of r e s p o n s i b i l i t y . In pre-1962 Burma, in addition to s o c i a l i s t rhetoric emanating d a i l y from the l i p s of p o l i t i c i a n s and the pens of editors, columnists, and party hacks,  173 U Nu's collected speeches condemning capitalism and e x t o l l i n g socialism were required texts for the important government examination in the 7th and 10th grades. As well, the novels of Charles Dickens were popular, and translated into Burmese, or copied and adapted by Burmese n o v e l i s t s . Marxist and s o c i a l i s t jargon was in vogue, e s p e c i a l l y among u n i v e r s i t y students, and used even in the n o n - p o l i t i c a l context. For example, woman students would, in fun, be c l a s s i f i e d , depending on their physical assets, as "bourgeois", "petty-bourgeois" or "proletariat". 39. The agencies of the autonomous m i l i t a r y were the National S o l i d a r i t y Associations (NSA), the Security and Administrative Committees (SAC), the Defence Service Industries (DSI) or, as i t was known l a t e r , the Burma Economic Development Corporation (BEDC), and the M i l i t a r y Intelligence Service (MIS), a l l of which operated on a country-wide basis. 40.  Maung Maung Gyi, op c i t , p.122.  41. Several m i l i t a r y factions could be discerned at the time of the coup. There was one headed by Ne Win composed of the 4th Burma R i f l e s c o u r t i e r s ; the MIS faction led by Colonel Maung Lwin, which was also Ne Win's faction but was d i s t i n c t from the Fourth Burma R i f l e s ; and the Aung Gyi's, Tin Pe's, San Yu's, Saw Myint's, Maung Shwe's, Sein Mya s factions, and so forth. 1  42. AUNG GYI'S LETTER, op c i t , pp.11-12. Aung Gyi claims that Ne Win himself "planned, manoeuvered troops, gave commands, and everything else in the matter of the coup deetat...but did not lawfully keep me informed", and states that after the coup, he, Aung Gyi, "went into the bathroom" and cried his heart out to mourn the cremation of democracy. He also states that no plans concerning the "doctrines, the p o l i t i c a l system, procedures, or in guidance in the way of thoughts and knowledge" were made i n advance. Since none of the 1962 coup participants except Aung Gyi has come out with information about the period, his account w i l l have to be accepted at face value. 43. There were rumours at the time that the ambush in which he was k i l l e d was stage-managed. It was well known that Commodore Than Pe did not get along well with his colleagues in the Revolutionary Council, and moreover he was blunt and forthright in speech. (I was in Rangoon at the time, and one of his nephews was a good f r i e n d ) . 44. Josef S i l v e r s t e i n , BURMA: MILITARY RULE AND THE POLITICS OF STAGNATION (Ithaca: Cornell University Press,1977), pp.88-9. 45. Regarding Captain Ohn Kyaw Myint's alleged plot, many ex-army o f f i c e r s have argued that there was no plot. It was,  174 they maintained, a trumped-up conspiracy charge aimed at getting r i d of General Tin U, or to t e r r o r i z e DSA (Defence Services Academy) graduates and to de-professionalize the o f f i c e r corps. 46. However, the o f f i c i a l reason given for General Tin U's dismissal was his wife's blackmarketeering a c t i v i t i e s . He was imprisoned for keeping s i l e n t about the assassination plot. See Mya Maung, "The Burma Road to Poverty: A S o c i o - p o l i t i c a l Analysis", in FLETCHER FORUM OF WORLD AFFAIRS, Summer 1989, pp.279. 47.  Lintner, OUTRAGE, op c i t , pp.92-3.  48. Jon Wiant, "The P o l i t i c a l Symbolism of Tav-hlanYe-Khit", in F.K.Lehman, ed. MILITARY RULE IN BURMA SINCE 1962: A KALEIDOSCOPE OF VIEWS (Singapore: Institute of Southeast Asian Studies,1980), pp.61,68-9. 49. For an analysis of the BSPP with regard to the dominance of the m i l i t a r y at a l l l e v e l s , see Jon Wiant and John Badgley, i n "The Ne Win-BSPP Style of Bama-lo", in J . S i l v e r s t e i n , ed. THE FUTURE OF BURMA, op c i t , pp.43-62. Because of the dominance of the m i l i t a r y within the BSPP, the oft-repeated claim of the m i l i t a r y that "the Tatmadaw and the Party are i n d i v i s i b l e " (p.52), i s not just rhetoric, but is a fact. According to Wiant and Badgley, 60 percent of BSPP members were m i l i t a r y men, and two out of every three soldiers were either candidates or f u l l party members (p.57). Also, J . S i l v e r s t e i n , "From Soldiers to C i v i l i a n s " , in S i l v e r s t e i n , THE FUTURE OF BURMA, op c i t , pp.8092. 50. In 1974, when the population of Taze Township i n Upper Burma put up their own slate of candidates for both the Pyithu Hluttaw (Parliament) and the township council, a l l the candidates were arrested and held for eighteen months. See, Steinberg, BURMA'S ROAD, op c i t . p.70. 51. Jon Wiant, "The P o l i t i c a l Symbolism", MILITARY RULE IN BURMA, op c i t , p.66. 52 Steinberg, BURMA'S ROAD, op c i t , p.74. Also, Maung Maung Gyi, op c i t , p.222 (fn.54); and Lintner, OUTRAGE, op c i t , p.79. According to many people interviewed by me in the 1970s (while serving i n the Shan State Army), and later (in Thailand, Canada, and United States), purges within the BSPP were constant a f f a i r s primarily in the form of a r b i t r a r y dismissals of party o f f i c i a l s whenever there were signs that the person i n question had begun to consolidate his/her position within the hierarchy, or had begun to gain prominence. Thus, the BSPP was c e r t a i n l y not a vehicle for getting ahead or getting things done. The BSPP has been r i d i c u l e d by l o c a l p o l i t i c a l wits as an  175 employment agency for the baung-bee-choot (those who their trousers,i.e., former m i l i t a r y o f f i c e r s ) .  discard  53. For example, a Shan who was an ex-captain and a BSPP member was "elected" chairman of a township people's council in the Hsipaw area of Shan State in 1971-1972. He proved capable and popular, and was consequently posted to head a cooperative elsewhere.(I was operating in the Hsipaw area at the time). Almost a l l non-Burman former o f f i c e r s are to be found "managing" cooperatives and people's stores, but unlike Burman ones, have not dared to enrich themselves, most l i k e l y because they are more vulnurable to dismissal since they do not enjoy the protection of powerful patrons, who are invariably Burmans. 54. For a good j o u r n a l i s t i c analysis of the decay of i n s t i t u t i o n s and the government bureaucracies due to the infusion of army o f f i c e r s , ex-army men, and disabled servicemen within these bodies, see "Masses in Revolt Against S t i f l i n g Authoritarian Grip", FAR EASTERN ECONOMIC REVIEW (August 25,1988), pp.12-13. 55. As observed by Maung Maung Gyi, the s i t u a t i o n of c i v i l i a n bureaucrats has been succinctly summed up in the "Three Don'ts" and "Three Recommendations". They are: "Don't do anything, Don't get involved, Don't get f i r e d " (Ma Loke, Ma Shok, Ma Pyoke), and "Go i f you are summoned, Do what you are ordered to, Do not dispute the commands given" (Khav yin thva, Khaing yin loke, Khan ma-pyaw nhe). Maung Maung Gyi, op c i t , pp.194. It was c e r t a i n l y not in one's interest to excel or be reputed as having i n i t i a t i v e since i t aroused suspicions of the higher-ups and the envy of colleagues and underlings, as well. 56. The M i l i t a r y Intelligence Service (MIS) i s the most important secret service agency. Its directors invariably head any national i n t e l l i g e n c e agency, such as the National Intelligence Bureau (NIB), which i s now known as the Directorate of Defence Service Intelligence (DDSI). The MIS i s Ne Win's personally controlled intelligence service. It operates on a country-wide basis and looks into every sphere of human a c t i v i t y , unrestrained by law and accountable only to Ne Win. It i s dreaded throughout Burma, and known even to the most i l l i t e r a t e of peasants by i t s English i n i t i a l , the "Em-Eye". 57. op c i t , p.72. 1970), p.181.  Badgley, "Burmese Ideology", INDEPENDENT BURMA, Also, F.S.V.Donnison, BURMA (New York: Praeger,  58. Burma Watcher, in "Burma in 1988: There Came a Whirlwind", ASIAN SURVEY, Vol.XXIX, No.2 (February 1989), pp.17480. According to a former army o f f i c e r , o f f i c e r s wanting fast promotion or plumb posts have to provide battalion executives and the commander with regular "pay-offs" (or t r i b u t e ) , which were  176 obtained either through misappropriating m i l i t a r y operational funds, plunder, extortion, bribery, or blackmarket and narcotics deals. Those posted to the gem-rich areas are expected to provide jade stones, rubies, and sapphires, and a percentage of the "protection" money obtained. Battalion commanders and executives are, in turn, required to pay regular tribute to higher commanders, and up the ladder, right up to San Yu and Ne Win. This tribute system also existed within the now "defunct" BSPP chain of command. An o f f i c e r who refuses to play this game ends up being posted from one combat zone to another, i s passed over for promotion, and i s generally distrusted by his superiors and fellow o f f i c e r s , and regarded as stupid cannon-fodder. However, i t must be noted that the patrimonialization of the m i l i t a r y or of other i n s t i t u t i o n s i s not "uniquely Burmese". In societies where personal relations and patron-client claims and responses are deeply rooted, as in most Third World states, the dei n s t i t u t i o n a l i z a t i o n of i n s t i t u t i o n s does pose a very serious problem, and raises doubts about whether they can be modernized in the sense that is understood in academic c i r c l e s . 59. According to a former army o f f i c e r , "undero f f i c e r s " are those promoted d i r e c t l y from within the ranks ( i . e . , individuals regarded as p o l i t i c a l l y r e l i a b l e ) , and are often those without much schooling, or are sons of veterans or of those k i l l e d in action. These under-officers are feared by regular o f f i c e r s . For mention of under-officers, see Tin Maung Maung Than, Comments on R.H.Taylor's "Government Responses to Armed Communist and Separatist Movements: Burma", in G.Jeshurun, ed. GOVERNMENTS AND REBELLIONS IN SOUTHEAST ASIA (Singapore: Institute of Southeast Asian Studies,1985), pp.129-30. Also, there i s an i n s t i t u t i o n in the Burma Army, the "Boys'Corps", which i s a special preparatory m i l i t a r y school for orphans. Those who do not matriculate (the majority) are put into e l i t e combat and security units, and i t s graduates appointed as noncommissioned o f f i c e r s (NCOs), and, after a time, made underof f i c e r s . The alumni of the "Boys'Corps" are, because of their circumstance and t r a i n i n g , hard-core supporters of the regime. (Source: Interrogation of former Burma Army men who defected to and served in the Shan State Army under my command). With respect to the use of orphans to nuture a body of hardcore supporters, Ne Win's Burma i s very much l i k e Nicolae Ceausescu's Romania. 60. It must be noted that Ne Win has been very shrewd in making the entire Tatmadaw his Praetorian Guard. In many dictatorships, the Praetorian Guard comprised only a segment of the coercive arm of the state, usually the security apparatus or agencies, such as the Gestapo and the SS (in the case of H i t l e r ) , the KGB and related agencies ( S t a l i n ) , the Securitate (Ceausescu), or segregated special e l i t e units within the armed forces or the army. Rarely has a despot employed the entire m i l i t a r y as his Praetorian Guard, and "looked a f t e r " m i l i t a r y men  177 in the manner of a father looking after his children, as in the case of Ne Win. 61. For an analysis of the highly privileged and patrimonialized Burma Army and i t s p o l i t i c a l role, see Bruce Matthews, "Fortunes of P o l i t i c s and Culture in Burma", paper delivered at the annual meeting of the CANADIAN COUNCIL OF SOUTHEAST ASIAN STUDIES (CCSEAS) in Halifax, Nova Scotia, November 1988, and "Under the Light Yoke: Burma and Its Destiny", paper delivered at Joint Conference of CCSEAS and NORTHWEST CONSORTIUM FOR SOUTHEAST ASIAN STUDIES in Vancouver, B.C., November 1989. The rest of society in Burma can be termed as an under-class because there do not exist any forms of s o c i a l security safety-nets for those outside the m i l i t a r y . The general populace has also been excluded from the p o l i t i c a l system and process (which has become the m i l i t a r y ' s private domain). 62. F.S.V.Donnison, BURMA (New York: Praeger,1970), p.169. He raises the idea of the m i l i t a r y ' s need for an internal war with the Kachin, Shan, Karen and others in the peripheries in order to further i t s corporate interest, opportunties to "swashbuckle through v i l l a g e s and l i v e off the land", and enhance chances for enrichment and career advancement. Foreign experts who are wont to swallow claims made by Third World m i l i t a r i e s that they are the only ones capable of restoring peace or building a nation should keep this thought in mind. The Burma Army does, however, fight very seriously with genuine resistance armies, such as the BCP, the KNU (Karen National Union), KIA (Kachin Independence Army), and the pre-1977 Shan State Army (SSA), but have reached accommodation with various non-political armies, such as the Chinese KMT armies in the Shan State, and various drug armies. 63. The regime has successfully managed to put a l l blame for narcotics out-flow from Burma on ethnic rebel armies and the BCP, and in p a r t i c u l a r , on the notorious Shan warlord, Khun Sa. As a r e s u l t , the regime has gained international sympathy and has obtained narcotics supression aid from the United States. For an example of a positive view of the regime's "drug suppression e f f o r t s " , and implied regret at the suspension of anti-narcotics assistance following the 1988 massacres, see "Burma", in U.S.State Department, REPORT ON INTERNATIONAL NARCOTICS CONTROL STRATEGY, 1989 (Washington, D.C.: The U.S. Department of State,1989), pp.181-87. 64.  Mya Maung, "The Burma Road to Poverty", op c i t .  65.  Steinberg, BURMA'S ROAD, op c i t . pp.27-31.  p.293.  66. This i s a common and sad complaint heard throughout Burma by people of a l l ages and stations i n l i f e . It  178 i s , however, not argued here that the nationalization is in i t s e l f a v i o l a t i o n of human r i g h t s . Theoretically, i t enables the government to provide society with services, employment, and goods and products on a less exploitative basis. In Burma, however, the regime has not only f a i l e d to provide society with the expected (as t h e o r e t i c a l l y required or possible) goods, services, and employment, and by making a l l forms of private economic transactions i l l e g a l , has also criminalized a large arena of job p o s s i b i l i t i e s . In this sense, i t can be argued that the regime, through i t s economic decrees, has deprived a large sector of the people, e s p e c i a l l y in urban areas, of their right to a l i v e l i h o o d . 67. These laws included the requirement of having to carry and show one's i d e n t i t y card everywhere one went, usually on e x i t and entry points of towns and some v i l l a g e s ; obtaining t r a v e l permits from authorities concerned; reporting to a u t h o r i t i e s upon one's a r r i v a l at a destination; and having to register overnight visitors,and so forth. For d e t a i l s of such r e s t r i c t i o n s , see U.S.State Department, COUNTRY REPORTS ON HUMAN RIGHTS, op c i t , pp.744 (Section l . F , Arbitrary Interference with Privacy, Family, Home, or Correspondence), 746 (Section 2.D, Freedom of Movement within the Country, Foreign Travel, Emigration, and Repatriation). 68. Because various regulations were non-rational, extensive and petty, their uniform enforcement was impossible. V i o l a t i o n s were therefore generally tolerated but not forgotten. Records of v i o l a t i o n s became the means by which administrativesecurity o f f i c i a l s could extract money and other favors from, or blackmail and t e r r o r i z e , individuals. 69. According to the Amnesty International, i t i s unaware of any investigation by the Burmese Government into any of the allegations of p o l i t i c a l k i l l i n g s and tortures in minority areas. Amnesty International states that i t i s also not aware of any cases in which any security personnel have been l e g a l l y punished for human rights v i o l a t i o n s or p o l i t i c a l k i l l i n g s (within the period covered by the report, 1984-1987, and e a r l i e r ) . See AMNESTY INTERNATIONAL REPORT ON BURMA: EXTRAJUDICIAL EXECUTION AND TORTURE OF MEMBERS OF ETHNIC MINORITIES (London: Amnesty International, May 1988), p.64. 70. The term "insurgent areas" i s meaningless because in the non-Burman t e r r i t o r i e s , except towns and some v i l l a g e s garrisoned by the Burman m i l i t a r y , a l l areas are "insurgent areas". 71.  AMNESTY INTERNATIONAL REPORT, op c i t . p.2.  72. Ibid. "Shin r o l l i n g " is a most painful form of torture. A piece of bamboo pole i s r o l l e d up and down over the  179 victim's shin u n t i l the skin is slowly stripped o f f , and torture i s continued u n t i l the bones are exposed.  the  73. Ibid. The above report covers the period 19841987, and was compiled from interviews with 70 Karen, Mon and Kachin c i v i l i a n s in seven d i f f e r e n t places in Thailand ( p . l ) . The Amnesty's report states that because "minority areas" are inaccessible to independent human rights investigators and a l l foreigners, i t s data on Burma Army a t r o c i t i e s "cannot be regarded as comprehensive" (p.5). It is very l i k e l y that the report represents only the t i p of an enormous iceberg since the Tatmadav^s a t r o c i t i e s have been going on since the mid-1950s. Also see, Edith Mirante, "Beasts of Burden", THE BURMA REPORT, p_p c i t , pp.8-9. 74. REVOLUTION (New  Ba Maw, BREAKTHROUGH IN BURMA: MEMOIRS OF A Haven: Yale University Press,1968), p.104.  75. For an analysis of the claim made by the m i l i t a r y that i t "held the country together", see Chao-Tzang Yawnghwe, "The Burman M i l i t a r y : Holding the Country Together?", in J . S i l v e r s t e i n , ed. INDEPENDENT BURMA, op c i t . pp.81-101. 76. The phenomenon of frequent protests i n i t i a t e d by students, p a r t i c u l a r l y in Rangoon, c e r t a i n l y needs further research. In the early 1960s, students were i d e o l o g i c a l l y motivated in two ways: one, they were opposed to "fascism", which was equated with the m i l i t a r y ; and two, many top student leaders were secret members of the White Flag BCP, and the general a n t i m i l i t a r y sentiment was exploited by them. However, the fact that student protests have been frequent, even after the BCP's p o l i t i c a l collapse (in 1968-1969), is perhaps, an indication of a aversion to despotic rule in general, and the m i l i t a r y regime in p a r t i c u l a r . In Burma, the m i l i t a r y has generally never been highly regarded despite the s e l f - s e r v i n g and self-generated super-heroic myths. The bullying i n d i s c i p l i n e of Burman s o l d i e r s i s known and resented throughout Burma, even by the Burman segment, contrary to assumptions made by foreign observers who tend to believe the myths. The mismanagement of the economy by the m i l i t a r y may have further fuelled anti-regime sentiments among both the students and the general populace. For accounts of frequent protests by the populace and students, see Steinberg, BURMA'S ROAD, op c i t pp.25,36,73-4; S i l v e r s t e i n , BURMA: MILITARY RULE, op c i t , pp.49-51; Lintner, OUTRAGE, op c i t , pp.9-23 (Chapter 1),57-58,74-77,98-195 (Chapter 3-6). f  77. For an eyewitness account of the "July 7th Massacre", see Chao-Tzang Yawnghwe, THE SHAN OF BURMA: MEMOIRS OF A SHAN EXILE (Singapore: Institute of Southeast Asian Studies,1987), pp.10-11. Also, Lintner, OUTRAGE, op c i t , pp.567.  180 78. These include even knowledgable scholars like F.S.V.Donnison and J . S i l v e r s t e i n . See, Donnison, BURMA, op c i t , p.166 ("Seventeen k i l l e d and thirty-nine wounded"); S i l v e r s t e i n , "Burmese Student P o l i t i c s in a Changing Society", DAEDALUS, Vol.97, No.l (Winter 1968), p.290 ("More than f i f t e e n students were k i l l e d " ) . S i l v e r s t e i n ' s a r t i c l e i s , unfortunately, very o p t i m i s t i c , predicting a period of harmonious relations between students and the regime due to the "improving quality of education" and steps taken by the regime to isolate the students "from outside d i s t r a c t ions"(p.291). 79. U.S.A., August  Interview with Dr.H.Chen, Baltimore, Maryland, 1989.  80. This has been the standard response after outbreaks of student demonstrations. Ever since the "people's power" uprising in 1988, educational i n s t i t u t i o n s have been * closed down now, for almost two years. Elementary schools were re-opened in early-1989, but parents were required to sign papers guaranteeing that their 6-14 years old offspring would not "engage in protests". Teaching s t a f f s have been threatened with dismissal and imprisonment i f there occurred any "disturbances". 81. I r o n i c a l l y , these workers were government employees, since there were no private industries, and p o l i t i c a l l y , they were the supposed "vanguard" of the regime's Burmese " s o c i a l i s t " revolution. 82. The calm from 1976 to 1987 was due in large part to a step taken by the regime to allow Burmese males to go abroad and work as menial deckhands for several years on merchant ships in Hong Kong, Singapore, Japan, and elsewhere. They were allowed to import automobiles, r e f r i g e r a t o r s , t e l e v i s i o n sets, etc., which were resold for huge p r o f i t s . For a time, these menial deckhands, earning only minimum wages (around U.S.$200-400 a month), were sought after as sons-in-law, ranking well above l o c a l doctors, engineers, and so on. However, by the mid-1980s, even work as menial deckhands became scarce, which eliminated t h i s employment and advancement opportunity. Further, Ne Win's 1981 Amnesty Order, which allowed U Nu to return, followed by a short honeymoon between Ne Win and the leaders he had deposed, imprisoned, or exiled, boosted Ne Win's image, and encouraged hopes that he was mellowing and that he could be induced by former leaders to i n s t i t u t e reforms. This did not, however, occur. The Amnesty Order and the p o l i t i c a l honeymoon therefore came to be viewed by the populace as just another of Ne Win's numerous Yadaya-che exercises. For an interesting but rather ethnocentric account of Burma in the late-1970s and early-1980s, see Barbara Crossette, "Burma's Eroding Isolation", NEW YORK TIMES MAGAZINE, New York (November 24,1985), pp.138-39,15051,159-61 (7 pages).  181 83. For the b r u t a l i t y of the Lon-Htein in March 1988 against protesting students, and the massacre, torture and rape of detained students in their c e l l s , see THE DAY BLOOD FLOWED (Aung Gyi's l e t t e r ) , op c i t , pp.3-6. 84. See Lintner, OUTRAGE, op c i t . p.81; Steinberg, BURMA'S ROAD, op c i t , p.165. Lissak's figures for m i l i t a r y expenditure are as follows: 1964/65,31.4 percent, 1965/66,51.3 percent, 1966/7,45.5 percent. See Lissak, MILITARY ROLE IN MODERNIZATION, op c i t . p.180 (fn.83). 85. Frank N.Traeger, BURMA: FROM KINGDOM TO REPUBLIC: A HISTORICAL AND POLITICAL ANALYSIS (New York: Praeger, 1966), pp.356. 86. Maung Maung Gyi, "Foreign P o l i c y of Burma Since 1962: Negative Neutralism for Group Survival", in F.K.Lehman, ed. MILITARY RULE IN BURMA SINCE 1962, op c i t . pp.10-11,28. 87. Colonel Abel i s the SLORC's Trade Minister who is in charge of "opening" Burma's economy to foreign investors. He i s member of Ne Win's 4th Burma R i f l e s faction. 88. Mya Maung,"The Burma Road to Poverty", op c i t , pp.278,279-80,291,292. Also, Steinberg, "Neither Silver or Gold", INDEPENDENT BURMA, op c i t , p.38. 89. This figure does not include the aid and grants the regime received from China, and the Eastern Bloc, including the Soviet Union, during i t s e a r l i e r anti-West phase. The c r e d i t and grants provided, by country, are as follows: the Soviet Union, U.S.$15 m i l l i o n (1958-1967,1965,1969,1970,1971); China, $84 m i l l i o n (1961-1967); Yugoslavia, $16 m i l l i o n (1964,1966); East Germany, $28 m i l l i o n (1964,1966); Poland, $10 m i l l i o n (1966, but as of 1970, none has been u t i l i z e d ) . See, John W.Henderson, et a l ed. AREA HANDBOOK FOR BURMA, op c i t , pp.204205. f  90. Mya Maung, "The Burma Road to Poverty", op c i t , p.280. Foreign assisted projects in Burma have become fiefdoms of the Bogyoke-Wungyi (Generals/Ministers), and are keenly competed for, and won by those s k i l l e d at court intrigues. Expertise and f e a s i b i l i t y are often ignored. In one case, a modern tapioca processing plant was b u i l t in a rubber producing area, and i t has, to date, not been u t i l i z e d as such, but as a temporary barrack. In another, a project for the manufacture of i n d u s t r i a l rubber goods vas submitted to a United Nations agency, and despite negative reaction by experts, funding was granted anyway, and the project has now become a white elephant. In another, an Australian-funded s a l t producing project was located at an unsuitable location, and when Ne Win came to inspect, truckloads of s a l t were transported to cover up the project's  182  f a i l u r e . Further, projects for non-military production are diverted to m i l i t a r y use. For example, a condensed milk factory intended for c i v i l i a n s ended up producing s o l e l y for the m i l i t a r y . And canneries meant for the c i v i l sector have been producing various tinned provisions s o l e l y for the m i l i t a r y top brass. (Source: Conversations and interviews with informed people from Burma, and o f f i c i a l s , past and present, of aid agencies with experience i n Burma). It i s also commonplace to find r e l i e f and humanitarian supplies on the blackmarket v i a m i l i t a r y personnel or their wives and k i n . For an account of open theft of supplies within the m i l i t a r y , and abuse of humanitarian a i d , see Sesser, NEW YORKER, pp.72-73. 91. "The Burmese Way to Capitalism", ASIAWEEK (February 17,1989), pp.47-51. 92. Ibid. Colonel Abel's new "open" economic policy has been variously dubbed as "The Burmese Way to Capitalism" or "Colonel Abel's Road to Capitalism" by wags in Burma.  183  CHAPTER  SIX:  THE TATMADAW DICTATORSHIP: EVALUATION  AND  CONCLUSION  (a)  A Conceptual View of Burma This thesis examines the long-lived Ne Win regime in  Burma as a Third World phenomenon which can best be explained and understood i f analyzed within a conceptual framework of comparative Third World p o l i t i c s .  With this in mind, concepts  derived from comparative Third World studies dealing with s o c i e t a l fragmentation, non-institutionalized p o l i t i c s , personal r u l e r s h i p , patrimonialism, m i l i t a r y intervention, state-society r e l a t i o n s , "state autonomy", and so forth, have been examined, and a conceptual framework constructed in Chapter I I I . Such an approach i s necessary because the conventional one which views Ne Win's Tatmadaw regime within the context of i n s t i t u t i o n a l i z e d p o l i t i c s and l e g a l - r a t i o n a l decision-making, an approach taken in varying degrees by scholars, especially historians, such as R.H.Taylor, Frank Traeger, M.Aung-Thwin, presented in Chapters I and II of t h i s thesis, does not s a t i s f a c t o r i l y explain the nature of the Tatmadaw regime, or i t s actions and their outcomes. It i s f e l t here that the conventional approach can be misleading, as evident from the images of Ne Win's Tatmadaw regime as one embarking upon a uniquely Burmese- and/or Buddhistorientated s o c i a l i s t path, or as a regime attempting to build a  184  modern and very "Burmese" p o l i t i c a l order in the face of praetorian and centrifugal tendencies.  The regime has also been  viewed as "shielding" Burma from superpower and regional c o n f l i c t s , and from the undesirable by-products  of modernization,  such as the depletion of i t s natural resources, c u l t u r a l p o l l u t i o n , and crass commercialization, which have a f f l i c t e d Thailand and other "more successful" Third World states. There are, however, several features which contradict the image one obtains from the conventional analyses of Burma. They are, the pervasive climate of fear among the populace  of the  regime and the "Em-Eye" (the M i l i t a r y Intelligence Service); concentration of power in the hands of one man,  Ne Win;  the  the  monopolization by the m i l i t a r y ( l ) of a l l public spheres of l i f e ; the curtailment of a l l c i v i l  l i b e r t i e s and freedoms;  regime's i n a b i l i t y or unwillingness to respond  the  to dissent except  by use of coercion and violence, resulting i n , for example, an unending war with the Karen and other ethnic groups(2);  the  frequent protests by the urban Burman segment (i.e.,students, monks and workers), and their often bloody, and always brutal, suppression. The position taken in t h i s thesis i s that though Burma is very d i f f e r e n t from Western p o l i t i e s , i t i s , in r e l a t i o n to other Third World e n t i t i e s , not very unique.  It faces many basic  Third World problems, such as s o c i a l and p o l i t i c a l exacerbated  by the process of rapid change;  fragmentation  the mobilization of  185  diverse  (ethnic or otherwise) groups and segments, which are  p o l i t i c i z e d , parochially-orientated and patrimonially organized, confronting each other over r e a l or perceived rewards, and disappointments;  threats, expected  the s c a r c i t y of resources and  the  lack of the wherewithal to increase the economic pie and/or resources available to the society and the powerholders;  the  absence of national consensus with regard to what constitutes "the nation", i t s purpose and goals, and what p o l i t i c a l legitimacy i s , and how  (or who)  defines  i t ; the weakness of  i n s t i t u t i o n s , and disagreement over the "rules of the game", and so on, which further serve to create p o l i t i c a l turmoil  and  generate more c o n f l i c t s .  population  Other problems include rapid  growth, low or declining production, technology in productive employment, and  outdated and  low  production  a c t i v i t i e s , unemployment or under-  i l l i t e r a c y accompanied by lack of jobs for the  "educated". The problems are immense, seemingly insurmountable, almost always overwhelming.  As suggested in Chapter III, many  Third World regimes and rulers have nonetheless had somehow to function within a praetorian s i t u a t i o n in a non-institutionalized p o l i t i c a l environment.  In other words, these leaders and r u l e r s  have had to exercise power with meagre resources and information, within a p o l i t i c a l system where are based more on personal  considerations  insufficient  power-relationships  and personalities than  on i n t e r a c t i o n between i n s t i t u t i o n s and discrete associations, and where the personality of the ruler and his s k i l l s in  186  manipulating other men,  therefore, are c r i t i c a l to the ruler's  and the regime's s u r v i v a l , and play a larger role in shaping the p o l i t y than any other factors -- a system aptly termed by R.Jackson and C.Rosberg as a system of personal rulership.  (b)  An Evaluation The evolution of p o l i t i c s  in Burma i s b a s i c a l l y a set  of outcomes resulting from interactions between Dobama leaders and factions , the f i r s t generation of n a t i o n a l i s t s , who have dominated the p o l i t i c a l stage since World War I I .  It i s  e s s e n t i a l l y the story of their struggles for p o l i t i c a l power and s u r v i v a l within a non-institutionalized p o l i t i c a l environment that has been observed i n the study of "new"  states in A f r i c a and  other Third World areas by a number of perceptive scholars(3). The r u l e r s and leaders of Burma are viewed i n t h i s thesis as men having to stay afloat and hold on to the levers of power without the  help of firmly i n s t i t u t i o n a l i z e d rules, established  procedures, and sound structures. At the time of independence, Burma's new r u l e r s , the AFPFL (Anti-Fascist People's Freedom League), constituted only one segment of the Dobama Asiayone (or the Thakin movement), which, due to circumstances, as explained in Chapters II and IV, was the dominant a n t i - c o l o n i a l " n a t i o n a l i s t " movement.  In the  manner of such Third World movements, i t consisted of factions which had, even before independence, s p l i t into competing r i v a l  187 camps.  Broadly speaking, there were the " i n " Thakin factions  (those within the AFPFL led by Thakin Aung San, and after h i s death, by U Nu), and the "out" factions composed of various Thakin-led "parties" and "organizations"(4).  In addition to the  v i s i b l e Thakin groups and factions, there was the Tatmadav, led by " p o l i t i c a l s o l d i e r s " or "armed p o l i t i c i a n s " -- the " m i l i t a r y " Thakin, such as Thakin Shu Maung ( l a t e r , General Ne Win) and other former Dobama a g i t a t o r s , such as Maung Maung, Aung Gyi, Tin Pe and so forth. The Tatmadav  was nurtured and shaped, as was shown i n  Chapters II and IV, by the " m i l i t a r y " Thakins, and was, in essence, a p o l i t i c a l organization i n m i l i t a r y garb (or a parap o l i t i c a l m i l i t a r y body), "indoctrinated" by i t s leader in the Dobama "ideology", a creed born in the tumultuous 1930s when the whole world was gripped by extremist right-wing nationalism and l e f t i s t "solutions" to the " c r i s i s of capitalism", and when m i l i t a r i s t i c and t o t a l i t a r i a n trends were in vogue.  As such,  the Dobama creed, embraced by the m i l i t a r y , was a form of ethnonationalism which dwelled s t r i d e n t l y upon Burman s u p e r i o r i t y and their past glories and conquests.  It was, i n turn, combined  with "socialism", which consisted e s s e n t i a l l y of anti-foreign and a n t i - c a p i t a l i s t sentiments  (the two being synonomous within the  Dobama context), anti-imperialism (with a strong  anti-West  orientation), and which was, at the same time, welded to the concept  of a c e n t r a l i s t , unitary state as espoused by  t o t a l i t a r i a n leaders such as Mussolini, H i t l e r , Tojo, Lenin, and  188  so on, as stated in proposition one of t h i s thesis.  Although a l l  the Thakin factions embraced the Dobama creed, they were r i v a l e l i t e factions which were pitted against each other in a c l a s s i c a l l y praetorian society which Burma was  in 1948.  U Nu and the AFPFL leaders, who gained power at independence, were at once challenged by the communist Thakins and their l e f t i s t a l l i e s (the PVO and Burman mutineers of the three Burma R i f l e u n i t s ) , and by the Karens and their a l l i e s (the Mon,  PaO,  and Naw  Seng's Kachin mutineers).  However, they  managed to survive and exercise power by fashioning a "winning combination" with the Shan, Kachin, Chin, and the Karenni ruling e l i t e s , and with their invaluable help and support, fended off challenges and maintained power and dominance.  The role played  by the Tatmadaw in t h i s Dobama i n t r a - e l i t e c o n f l i c t  was,  ostensibly and outwardly, as a professional national army engaged in defending the government and "nation" from communist rebels and other insurgents and, simultaneously, carrying out "stateand nation-building" a c t i v i t i e s , especially in the insurgentinfested areas and non-Burman peripheries. However, the Tatmadaw, Gyi, Maung Maung, etc., developed  under the guidance Ne Win, Aung into something more than a  professional armed agency of the AFPFL state.  Further, the  dependence of the r u l i n g AFPFL Thakins on their colleagues in uniform to fend off armed challengers, to win national and local elections, and also to carry out "state- and nation-building  189  tasks"(5), greatly strengthened the position of the Tatmadav i t s leaders. leverage and  This enabled the " m i l i t a r y " Thakins to obtain  and the  resources necessary to build up the Tatmadav, which  in time grew into a p a r a l l e l power center.  By the end of the  1950s, as detailed in Chapter IV, the Tatmadav  had become a  powerful and  independent political-military-economic organism  with i t s own  country-wide economic empire (the Defence  Industry),  Services  an embryoic mass movement (the National S o l i d a r i t y  Association), an extra-legal and very powerful, and  uniformly  dreaded, secret police (the M i l i t a r y Intelligence Service), in many r u r a l areas, e s p e c i a l l y in the non-Burman states, Tatmadav  was  and  the  the de facto supreme power.  The v i s i b l e and in p o l i t i c s , f i r s t in 1958,  overt(6) intervention by the and later in 1962,  Tatmadav  can be seen as an  outcome of the AFPFL s p l i t in 1957-1958 which, in a sense, represents the breakdown of the c o a l i t i o n between f i r s t - l i n e Thakin leaders, such as U Nu,  Ba Swe,  who  by means of a series of a l l i a n c e s  had held power since 1948  Kyaw Nyein, and Thakin Tin,  with each other and v i t h the lesser Burman and within the p o l i t y .  The coup of 1962  other e l i t e s  can thus be viewed, in t h i s  respect, as the changing of the guard, a l b e i t at gunpoint, within the ranks of the first-generation Burman ethnonationalist  elites,  whereby power slipped away from the c i v i l i a n Thakins into the hands of the " m i l i t a r y " Thakins, rather than simply as a coup d'etat  by a professional and a p o l i t i c a l m i l i t a r y to "save" Burma  from some abyss or dismemberment, as was  claimed.  190 It must be recognized that Ne Win and the Tatmadav leaders reached the summit of power at the head of what was a built-in  para-military p o l i t i c a l party.  It should be noted that  despotic trends, or the propensity for the a r b i t r a r y exercise of power, i s , conceptually, an inherent tendency of any m i l i t a r y body that enters the p o l i t i c a l realm, at least in the Third World(7).  Only a m i l i t a r y leader who  attains power at the head  of the armed forces would be able, and most l i k e l y , to i n s t a l l autocratic regime and create a highly autonomous state.  an  That is  to say, only a m i l i t a r y leader, already in possession of a power base vested with a monopoly over the means of violence, and over an organization which i s more or less conditioned to obey orders from above, would enjoy the luxury of dispensing with the need to communicate with and accommodate other s o c i e t a l segments and actors(8).  It is not argued here that a l l m i l i t a r y rulers favor  an extremely repressive/unresponsive  regime.  Some soldiers have  been r e l a t i v e l y accommodative as can be seen from Suharto's dealings with the Chinese business community and other lesser elites  in Indonesia, while some civilian-dominated regimes, the  communist regime in Vietnam, for example, have been harsh and highly autonomous(9).  However, i t must be recognized that  m i l i t a r y rulers tend to be impatient in their dealings with c i v i l i a n e l i t e s and aspirations that c o n f l i c t  with their agenda.  He Win attained p o l i t i c a l power as commander-in-chief of the Tatmadaw, which was and remains his power-base.  The  Tatmadaw i s a p a r a - p o l i t i c a l army which views i t s e l f not merely  191  as an armed agent of the state, but as having "created" the "Burmese nation" by "defeating" intruding foreign powers. narrated  As  in Chapters II and IV, i t has been strongly influenced  by the Dobama's ethnonationalistic and t o t a l i t a r i a n creed  . As  such, the compromises made by the AFPFL with various non-Burman ethnic segments (such as with the Shan princes, the Kachin duwa, and Karenni savphaya),  and i t s attitude towards the p o l i t i c a l  process (based on Western or bourgeoisie  representative  democracy) i t s e l f , which necessitated tolerance, rights and l i b e r t i e s , and some forms of p o l i t i c a l exchange between the rulers and the ruled, served, as stated in propositions two and four, to increase the m i l i t a r y ' s impatience with c i v i l i a n rule, and heightened i t s "distaste and contempt for p o l i t i c s and politicians".  Ne Win and the Tatmadaw  came to believe that the  Dobama "revolutionary ideals" had been betrayed by weak, corrupt, and  inept p o l i t i c i a n s , undermined by Western and c a p i t a l i s t  values and i n s t i t u t i o n s , and compromised by accommodation with a host of undesirable elements, such as "feudal" Shan princes, t r i b a l c h i e f s , foreign c a p i t a l i s t s , e x p l o i t a t i v e Indian and Chinese middlemen and money-lenders. Upon reaching the summit of power, Ne Win and the Tatmadaw  r u l e r s , therefore, proceeded to carry out a " s o c i a l i s t  revolution™ from above, i n keeping with i t s Dobama creed (a mixture of m i l i t a n t Burman ethnonationalism  and "socialism").  Simultaneously, i t "tamed" praetorian forces, e s p e c i a l l y in the peripheries, which the m i l i t a r y claimed were threatening the  192 territorial  i n t e g r i t y and very existence of Burma(lO).  The  construction, therefore, of a powerful state which would, as stated in proposition three, "be vested with s u f f i c i e n t power" to f a c i l i t a t e e f f e c t i v e governance, and "restore the Burman p o l i t i c a l and c u l t u r a l dominance, and which would, at the same time, ensure an economy free from foreign domination and e x p l o i t a t i o n " , became an overriding goal of Ne Win's post-1962 military rule. The m i l i t a r y ' s b e l i e f in the self-created myths of i t s heroic role and s u p e r i o r i t y , combined with i t s experience in post-1948 Burma as an important power player, e s p e c i a l l y in the "state- and nation-building" sphere, convinced the " m i l i t a r y " Thakins that they could lead a " s o c i a l i s t revolution"  —  employing the Tatmadaw (which, i n their eyes, was a "revolutionary movement") as a "revolutionary vanguard" in achieving the Dobama goals.  However, the " p o l i t i c a l kingdom"  which Ne Win won and aspired to transform  (or so i t seemed) into  a s o c i a l i s t lokha nibban (an earthly nirvana) was a noni n s t i t u t i o n a l i z e d and praetorian society.  As well, the  Tatmadav,  the very vehicle which was to carry the "revolution" forward, was i t s e l f an " i n s t i t u t i o n " fragmented into factions l e d , respectively, by Aung Gyi, Tin Pe, Maung Lwin (the MIS head in 1962), Sein Lwin (the Fourth Burma R i f l e s c l i q u e ) , Chit Myaing, Sein Mya and so on.  These lieutenants constituted potential  threats to Ne Win's survival since they too possessed the means to a t t a i n power and depose the leader.  193 Furthermore, since the Tatmadav power through an act of usurpation, legitimacy invited challenges challenges exception  and Ne Win gained  the regime's doubtful  from below.  As is well known,  to powerholders have been the rule rather than the in Burma, as evident from the continuous insurrection  since 1948,  involving the non-Burman segments and many "out"  Thakin factions.  A n a l y t i c a l l y speaking, the Tatmadaw had been a  part of t h i s armed c o n f l i c t as a p o l i t i c a l player since i t was, in fact, a Thakin faction in m i l i t a r y garb. power of Ne Win and the Tatmadav usurpation  The ascension  therefore represented  to  the  of power by a partisan p o l i t i c a l player, rather than a  temporary intervention in p o l i t i c s by p a t r i o t i c o f f i c e r s and i d e a l i s t i c m i l i t a r y "reformers" intent on cleaning up the "mess". The aim of the " m i l i t a r y " Thakins was,  instead, to complete the  Dobama "revolution" abandoned by the AFPFL Thakins. It must here be stressed that Ne Win's Tatmadaw "socialism", as expounded in "The  System of Correlation of  and his Environment" and the "Burmese Way nothing  new,  to Socialism",  as noted by R.H.Taylor(11), nor very  was  inspiring  insofar as other s o c i a l i s t - e t h n o n a t i o n a l i s t Thakins and Burman public were concerned(12).  Man  the  Moreover, the AFPFL state  was,  to a large extent, already a s o c i a l i s t one, with the state owning and operating a l l public u t i l i t i e s , and  in control of, and  dominating, important sectors of the economy — Ne Win and many scholars overlooked.  a r e a l i t y which  In fact, the AFPFL had  nationalized those economic sectors that were worthwhile, and  194 numerous state enterprises and boards had been in operation for some time, such as the State A g r i c u l t u r a l Marketing Board (SAME), State Timber Board (STB), the Rubber Exporter Corporation, the Industrial Development Corporation (IDC), C i v i l Supplies Management Board (CSMB), the Joint Venture Trading Corporations (JVCs), the State Pawnshop Management Board, and so on(13). The "Burmese Way  to Socialism" formula did not,  therefore, represent anything very new, legitimacy of the Tatmadaw  regime(14),  nor did i t help boost the or win for i t popular  support, although i t did render impotent  s i g n i f i c a n t actors from  within the Burman segment, in particular the deposed AFPFL e l i t e s and the communist Thakins. Win and the Tatmadaw  Conversely, t h i s also meant that Ne  deprived themselves of their support.  Instead, "Tatmadaw socialism" stiffened resistance in the nonBurman ethnic homelands where socialism was  unappealing,  e s p e c i a l l y since the non-Burman had not been, from the beginning, very much influenced by the Dobama creed. Ne Win's Tatmadaw socialism and the m i l i t a r y ' s Dobama Burman ethnonationalism not only alienated and excluded the  non-  Burman segments, but i t s nationalization measures and prejudice against "foreigners" s i m i l a r l y affected the Indian, Chinese, and Eurasian segments, which more or less comprised and professional strata in Burma. compelled  the commercial  These segments were expelled,  to emigrate, and discriminated against.  The  Kachin,  195 Karen, Mon,  Shan, Arakanese, etc., for their part, increasingly  came to form various ethnic resistance armies. Ne Win and the Tatmadaw  leaders, therefore, found  themselves, v i r t u a l l y from the onset of their r u l e , p o l i t i c a l l y isolated(15). handful  The only group they were able to co-opt was  the  of "aboveground" communists, such as U Ba Nyein, Thakin  Chit Maung, and Thakin Thein Pe Myint who following.  had no substantial  And the regime's d r a s t i c n a t i o n a l i z a t i o n measures of  1962-1964, encouraged by these communist "theoreticians", no doubt, resulted in immediate widespread shortages subsequently, in economic stagnation.  and,  These measures not  only  disrupted the normal functioning of the e x i s t i n g economy, but caused the f l i g h t of c a p i t a l and  loss of human s k i l l s .  As well,  there were in Burma, as in most Third World economies, very " c a p i t a l i s t " assets in the f i r s t place(16). economic pie was  few  The existing  too small for i t to be redistributed  d r a s t i c a l l y , nor was  it  large enough, when expropriated,  to  serve as a base for " s o c i a l i s t construct ion"(17). Having seized power at gunpoint, Ne Win  needed to  maintain his hold over the very instrument which handed him reins -- the Tatmadav.  This was  a l l the more imperative  the  since he  had alienated and/or excluded a l l non-military actors from the p o l i t i c a l process, and had, as well, delegitimized a l l economic a c t i v i t i e s and p o l i t i c a l aspirations, which further dissipated whatever support the regime might have had.  The  Tatmadaw i t s e l f  196 was  therefore purged by Ne Win of independent-minded  and potential r i v a l s so that no one remained who him from within.  The  Tatmadav  was  subordinates  could  challenge  thus, through a series of  purges, transformed subsequently into a personal instrument of Ne Win. Once the Tatmadav  was  patrimonalized,  i t was  inevitable that a l l the executive organs, power apparatuses, state corporations and agencies, and various "representative" bodies within the state(18) which the Tatmadaw monopolized, including the "ruling-party", the Burmese S o c i a l i s t Programme Party (BSPP) and  i t s organs and appendages, would follow s u i t .  It must be emphasized that the patrimonialization of the whole power system within the p o l i t y is not unique to Burma, nor  should  t h i s phenomenon be associated s o l e l y with despotic rule and m i l i t a r y regimes.  As observed by A.Zolberg,  S.P.  Huntington,  C.E. Welch, C. Clapham, R.Jackson and C.Rosberg, i t i s a phenomenon, varying only in degree, quite common to most Third World p o l i t i e s , regardless of whether they are ruled by legitimate leaders, or by rulers l i k e Idi Amin and Ne Win, example, who  possessed l i t t l e  for  legitimacy(19).  Thus, in Burma, the whole BSPP state became the private domain of Ne Win, power.  and served as a resource base of his  A l l positions and posts within the state e d i f i c e and  power apparatuses were transformed into rewards for favored Tatmadav  members, and as means of l i v e l i h o o d for those in the  197 lower echelon, the less favored, and even those purged.  The  l a t t e r were given posts in the less important state-party apparatuses and agencies, while those favored  received plum posts  in the upper reaches of the patrimonial hierarchy. was  that the whole Tatmadaw  Praetorian Guard, and he,  The r e s u l t  became, as i t were, Ne Win's  in turn, came increasingly to be  revered  as Aba,  the revered  father, who  "looked after his own"  the man  to whom a l l " s o l d i e r s " owed t h e i r everything(20).  Hence,  as stated in proposition f i v e , the Tatmadav's coherence and was  ensured by Aba Ne Win who,  as the "revered  unity  father", rewarded  and punished his "children", and most importantly,  ensured the  l i v e l i h o o d and comfort of even those purged or who  had otherwise  outlived their  —  usefulness.  Thus there has been created  in Burma under Ne Win's  Tatmadav d i c t a t o r s h i p , as stated in proposition seven of this thesis, a configuration of "an excluded, alienated, and  helpless  populace, counterpoised against a highly autonomous state resting on m i l i t a r y power organized in position of support for the regime and the state".  Ne Win's "modern" and  " s o c i a l i s t " Burma has come  to resemble, in many ways, the pre-colonial Burman kingdom where a l l meaningful power rested in the hands of one man, whose power, in turn, was of men,  the  king,  based on his control of a special class  the Ahmudan, composed of crown-serfs (of laborers  m i l i t a r y men),  organized into regiments or Azu,  and  completely  dependent on the crown, and segregated from the rest of the population  vho,  in the Burman kingdom, existed " i n the base layer  198 [of the system] as subscribers to capricious laws and dictates" of the«king and the king's men(21). Such a configuration, observable in the late  twentieth  century Burma, i s the consequence of two i n t e r r e l a t e d variables which have been observed by scholars studying  "new" states in  A f r i c a , such as N.Chazan, and V.Azarya, and by R. McVey, a Southeast Asian scholar.  The two variables are, on one hand, the  disengagement and withdrawal of the populace or society from the state to "shield themselves from the state's harmful consequences"(22), and on the other, the contraction of the state and the withdrawal of a l l p o l i t i c a l resources reducing claimants  to the top, thus  "the s t r a i n on the system by shutting out lesser to power"(23). The  interaction of the two variables meant that the  state leaders in Burma had, as stated in proposition s i x , only "a narrow constituency to cater to, or to manage, control, and reward, and in other ways ensure the l o y a l t y of", which better enabled Ne Win and h i s subordinates  to "maintain their dominance  and more e f f i c i e n t l y fend o f f challenges  from below".  This  explains both the longevity of the regime, as well as the p o l i t i c a l and economic decay i n Burma.  The narrowing of the base  of power and "bare reliance on command from above", on the one hand, and the disengagement of society from the state, on the other, resulted i n their mutual a l i e n a t i o n which necessitated the employment by the state and i t s leaders of more coercion, or,  199  what Eugene Walter terms, the "destructive methods of power" in Burma -- the imposition of a rule of terror to i n h i b i t resistence or opposition, and compel obedience and compliance, the mechanism of which has been described in d e t a i l in Chapter V. What have been viewed as grave symptoms of Burma's dedevelopment as seen in the long drawn-out internal war non-Burman peripheries, the systematic  in the  repression of society, and  economic decline, contributing to the trade in contraband and narcotics and a blackmarket which constitutes a sizable u n o f f i c i a l economy, have i r o n i c a l l y contributed to the powers t a b i l i t y of the regime. provided  Tatmadaw  These symptoms of de-development have  members and o f f i c e r s with opportunities for  career advancement, personal enrichment through extortion and corruption, and  influence building ( i . e . , building a patron-  c l i e n t bureaucratic empire to buttress one's position in the patrimonial hierarchy), and this has bound them closer to the regime, and conversely, has given them a stake in perpetuating, what one would regard as the country's woes, in the manner of a se-saya  (healer) nurturing the yaw-qa  (disease) in order to make  more money from the patient, as goes an old saying in Burma. This i s a c l a s s i c and extreme example of the maintainence of power purchased at the price of p o l i t i c a l and economic decay.  200  (c)  Concluding  Observations  The process of de-development in both the economic and p o l i t i c a l spheres in Burma, which began in the early 1960s, has now  reached a very advanced stage.  The " i n s t i t u t i o n " which  outside observers have sometimes praised as a s o c i a l i s t , "modernizing", state- and nation-building "professional" body, the Tatmadav,  is in fact nothing but a partisan p o l i t i c a l  faction  of the " m i l i t a r y " Thakins, which, in the process of executing the w i l l of i t s patron-in-chief, Aba Ne Win, eight years, has been transformed  for more than twenty-  into his patrimonial Praetorian  Guard, owing l o y a l t y and obligation to none but Ne Win and itself.  As in pre-colonial kingdoms, which are, b a s i c a l l y , what  one could describe as a form of "Asiatic despotism",  the  "government" in Burma (and in many Third World countries) has become "separated" from the society i t i s supposed to protect and administer.  Instead, government has become, as in medieval  times, a golden palace symbolizing cosmic harmony, and the e l i t e ' s source of wealth, which society i s obliged to serve, as well as one of the Five Enemies of Mankind, an elemental force beyond the ken of mere mortals, which must therefore be endured and propitiated on suitable occasions.  On the part of those at  the top, "governance** has become a right — theirs by virtue of their superior might.  a right which i s  201 Such is the extent of de-development in Burma that the l i k e l i h o o d of arresting this process, regardless of the amount of "development" aid and economic assistance that is made available, i s , contrary to conventional  expectations,  intentioned and highly-motivated counter-productive, development.  infinitesimal.  Well-  foreign assistance has proved  at least in Burma, and has reinforced de-  However, there is a p o s s i b i l i t y that once Ne  exits from the p o l i t i c a l stage, the Tatmadav,  Win  because i t would  lack a super-patron with Ne Win's superior p o l i t i c a l s k i l l s , might be i n c l i n e d , or compelled, to accommodate other Burman e l i t e factions, such as those led by Aungsan Suu-kyi (the daughter of the Tatmadav's own (former MIS  hero, Aung San), Aung Gyi, Tin U  head, recently released from prison),  leaders l i k e U Nu and others.  It is possible, in such a  scenario, that various non-Burman "war Seng (Kachin), Bo Mya partners of a new  old-time  leaders", such as Brang  (Karen), and so on, may  emerge as junior  "Burmese" c o a l i t i o n .  This i s not to say that the Tatmadav  vould abandon i t s  agenda or give up i t s position as the ruling c l a s s , and  i t might  even attempt to perpetuate the terror process vhich has been c r u c i a l to i t s dominance. the Tatmadav  It vould indeed be more compelling  for  to do so, e s p e c i a l l y since the threat of c i v i l i a n  r e t r i b u t i o n for the various massacres in 1988,  and e a r l i e r ones,  nov hangs more heavily over the heads of i t s leaders. vithout Ne Win,  Hovever,  the Tatmadav's s o l i d a r i t y and cohesion might be  d i f f i c u l t to maintain,  for i t is a patrimonial and  parochical  202  organization Win,  and  which has so far been united by the s k i l l s of Ne  the abject fear of Aba,  not unmixed with respect  and  grat i tude. There i s , therefore, no question of the m i l i t a r y "returning to the barracks", since the whole country, including the state i t s e l f , has become i t s private domain.  Its main  problem would be that of retaining i t s superordinate position and i t s terror process without a master-manipulator and to reinforce i t s s o l i d a r i t y after Ne Win departs.  super-patron Its d i f f i c u l t y  is further compounded by the fact that so long as Ne Win no heir apparent w i l l be allowed to emerge who  lives,  could later take  control. It i s d i f f i c u l t , i f not p o t e n t i a l l y misleading, to make bold p o l i t i c a l predictions for some Third World states, because their p o l i t i c s are b a s i c a l l y the product of interactions between personal e l i t e factions operating  in an  institutional  vacuum where r a t i o n a l calculations make l i t t l e sense, and lesser weight than the s k i l l s and a b i l i t y of men other men.  carry  to manipulate  Also, the settings are such that power i s restrained  not by i n s t i t u t i o n a l i z e d patterns and boundaries, or law, but, noted by R.Jackson and C. Rosberg, only by the power of other  as  countervailing  men.  Nevertheless, some possible scenarios  can be ventured.  It i s l i k e l y that the process of de-development in Burma w i l l continue, but, p o s s i b i l y in a d i f f e r e n t form.  It is ventured  203 that without Ne Win, the terror process w i l l be moderated, and one or several " m i l i t a r y " factions w i l l t r y to reach some accommodation with the more prominent Burman e l i t e factions. arrangement, ensuring the Tatmadaw  An  i t s special position as a  superordinate power, could be worked out by a new Burman e l i t e c o a l i t i o n amidst the r i s i n g praetorian tide resulting from the moderation of the terror process.  And, depending on  p e r s o n a l i s t i c factors, there could, i n the long run, arise in Burma, a business-military c o a l i t i o n which would eventually e s t a b l i s h in Burma a "bureaucratic-authoritarian" regime such as in Thailand, Indonesia, Taiwan and South Korea, leading in time to what could be termed, a patrimonial-oligarchic "semidemocracy".  Or there could occur, although i t i s now f a r -  fetched, a people's power revolution led by s k i l l e d e l i t e s committed to democracy and unafraid of "the people" (a fear which has a f f l i c t e d many Third World e l i t e s and r u l e r s ) , which would eventually transform Burma into a genuinely democratic and free society.  However, given Burma's past, there could also begin  anew, what has been termed, a Burmese despotic cycle.  204 N PTE  S  F 0 R  C H A P T E R  SIX  1. Here, the term " m i l i t a r y " includes former m i l i t a r y men as well since they are provided with access to the preferences and p r i v i l e g e s enjoyed by those on active service, although perhaps to a lesser degree. Most former m i l i t a r y men, even those purged, are given jobs and positions either in the party or in the state apparatuses, agencies, and enterprises. 2. The e a r l i e s t ethnic uprising occurred in Arakan in 1947 led by a monk U Sein Da, a l l i e d to Thakin Soe's Red Flag Communists. The Karen uprising began in 1949, and shortly after, the Mon, PaO (in the Shan State), and the Karenni joined i n . The Shan State erupted in a spontaneous peasant uprising led by a Wa national and an o f f i c e r of the Armed Police, Bo Mong, in 1959. The Kachin Independence Army (KIA) emerged in 1960, led by Zau Seng, a former Captain, and his two brothers, Zau Tu and Zau Tan. 3. As observed by A r i s t i d e Zolberg, Donald Rothchild, Naomi Chazan, V. Azarya, and Robert Jackson and Carl Rosberg, and a host of scholars writing on m i l i t a r y intervention and Third World p o l i t i c s in general, such as S.P. Huntington, W.Wriggins, Gerald A.Heeger, Christopher Clapham , Joel Migdal, Samuel Finer, Henry Bienen, Claude E.Welch, Ruth McVey, and so forth, on which the theoretical framework in Chapter III of this thesis i s based. 4. These were the BCP (Burma Communist Party, or the White Flags) of Thakin Than Tun; the CPB (Communist Party of Burma, or the Red Flags) of Thakin Soe; the l e f t i s t faction of the PVO (People's Volunteer Organization), and "aboveground" communists, such as Thakin Thein Pe Myint, Thakin Chit Maung, U Ba Nyein, and so on. 5. From the viewpoint of the Kachin, Shan, Karenni, Chin, Karen, and other non-Burman segments, the Tatmadaw's "state- and nation-building" a c t i v i t i e s represented Burman interference with and v i o l a t i o n of their autonomy and rights as recognized and insured by the 1947 Panglong Agreement, and the 1947-1948 Constitution. The bullying and predatory behaviour of Burman s o l d i e r s , and the m i l i t a r y ' s exercise of a r b i t r a r y power, by the MIS e s p e c i a l l y , in the non-Burman areas alienated the state governments and the populace as well. The Tatmadav, wedded to Dobama ethnonationalisra, viewed as intolerable the autonomy and rights of t e r r i t o r i a l - e t h n i c groups. And convinced that i t was the m i l i t a r y and the Burman segment which "fought f o r " and "won" independence, the Tatmadaw believed that the non-Burmans should not enjoy what i t viewed as "special r i g h t s " . 6. The m i l i t a r y has been, i t must be recognized, a long-time powerful player in Burma's p o l i t i c s , as evident from the role i t assumed for i t s e l f as the guardian, protector, agent,  205 and vanguard of the "Burmese" state, penetrating into regions out of the AFPFL's reach in both the Burman and the non-Burman areas, and.ruling d i r e c t l y in many cases. What outsiders observed during the caretaker period, 1958-1960, such as the Tatmadav's economic empire represented by the Defence Services Institute (DSI), i t s Security and Administrative Councils (SACs) vhich administered the country, and the National S o l i d a r i t y Associations (NSA) vhich mobilized the people against insurgents, vere obviously not overnight creations. They vere the end-products of the Tatmadav's power accumulation e f f o r t s in the f i r s t decade of independence. Of the independent agencies constructed by the m i l i t a r y , only the "Em-Eye" ( M i l i t a r y Intelligence Service), Ne Win's most important and e f f e c t i v e instrument of control and domination, remained, strangely, unnoticed by outsiders. This is quite puzzling because the "Em-Eye", had been active for some time before 1958, and was well-known and dreaded by the populace. 7. It is quite inexplicable, in my opinion, that many have overlooked the fact that m i l i t a r y organizations are based on s t r i c t hierarchy of command, with their own laws, and with a penchant to the use of force to secure desired results. When Third World m i l i t a r i e s seize power, they are prone, therefore, to exercise power a r b i t r a r i l y in the p o l i t i c a l sphere. Most Third World m i l i t a r i e s are, in fact, merely armed bodies of men owing l o y a l t y foremostly to "the army" and are often required to be treated with great tact and circumspection by c i v i l i a n powerholders. 8. In Burma, even Aung San, the most "charismatic" Burman leader, engaged in a great deal of accommodation, not only with the non-Burman r u l i n g e l i t e s of the "Frontier Areas", but with other Burman factions as well. He consulted and cooperated with non-Thakin figures, such as with Dr. Ba Maw during the war, and afterwards with U Tin Tut (a Br itish-apppointed senior c i v i l servant), Dedok U Ba Choe, U Razak, Mahn Ba Khaing, and even Saw Ba U Gyi, the Karen leader most d i s t r u s t f u l of Aung San and the AFPFL. Within the Thakin movement i t s e l f , Aung San accommodated a variety of p e r s o n a l i t i e s and factions in order to maintain a facade of unity during the negotiations for independence. 9. One plausible reason for t h i s may stem from the fact that communist r u l e r s , l i k e m i l i t a r y ones, a t t a i n power at the head of organizations conditioned to follow orders from above, not unlike the armed forces, and display similar impatience with and intolerance for lesser e l i t e s and r i v a l s . 10. This i s a claim p o l i t i c i a n s , e s p e c i a l l y i l l e g i t i m a t e rulers and despots, are fond of making, and is frequently trotted out to j u s t i f y the usurpation of power, and a l l manner of state violence and t e r r o r . The fact of the matter i s , however, that very few countries have f a l l e n physically apart in the last quarter of t h i s century, except Pakistan when  206 Bangladesh emerged (in 1970). This was due to the convergence of several s t r a t e g i c - p o l i t i c a l factors, the most c r u c i a l one was that the East was already physically separated from the Western wing by India. Lebanon and S r i Lanka have not, however, disintegrated  nor disappeared though they  have  been s p l i t  two or more armed and warring camps for quite some time.  into  11. R.H.Taylor, in the Foreward to Khin Y i , THE DOBAMA MOVEMENT IN BURMA, 1930-1938 (Ithaca: Cornell University Press,1988), p.xv. For an o f f i c i a l version of the AFPFL's "Burmese Buddhist-socialism", see Ba Swe, THE BURMESE REVOLUTION (Rangoon: Information Department, 1952), and GUIDE TO SOCIALISM IN BURMA (Rangoon: Suprintendent, Government Printing and Stationary,1956). Both are o f f i c i a l AFPFL publications outlining i t s s o c i a l i s t creed. The author, U Ba Swe, was u n t i l the s p l i t i n 1957-1958, the Number Three man in the AFPFL hierarchy. 12. For most people in Burma, the Tatmadav's Burmese Way to Socialism was a r e p e t i t i o n in a d i f f e r e n t combination of the standard rhetoric of every post-1948 p o l i t i c i a n . It was "stale wine in new bottle", peddled by a set of more dangerous armed salesmen. The formula had very l i t t l e positive impact on a large sector of the public, for example, the non-Burman segment, and the Burman peasantry, and, as well, the professional and the commercial strata of the population. 13. For an account of the nationalization measures, or "indigenism" dealing mainly with the AFPFL period, see "Burma" in Frank H.Golay, e t . a l , ed. UNDERDEVELOPMENT AND ECONOMIC NATIONALISM IN SOUTHEAST ASIA (Ithaca: Cornell University Press, 1969), pp.203-65 (Chapter 4). 14. I t i s interesting to speculate on the possible outcomes of Aung Gyi's "entrepreneural socialism" had he won the day i n 1962. Burma might have achieved some economic growth through a marriage of convenience between soldiers and businessmen. There might have been established a "bureaucraticauthoritarian", but patrimonial (and o l i g a r c h i c a l ) regime as in Thailand, Indonesia, Taiwan, and South Korea. But, on the other hand, given the l e f t i s t Dobama t r a d i t i o n (at a time when "socialism" was not yet discredited), and with the BCP s t i l l intact, given China's anxieties the over escalating U.S.presence in Vietnam and Laos, and Mao's c u l t u r a l - r e v o l u t i o n radicalism, i t is also l i k e l y that the f a r - l e f t in Burma might have, under Thakin Than Tun's leadership, gained a strong foothold in the c r u c i a l Burman areas. Also, much would have depended on how Aung Gyi fashioned his personal rule, and on how s k i l f u l l y he could have won over and neutralized the lesser e l i t e s and other s o c i e t a l groups (in contrast to Ne Win's style of n e u t r a l i z i n g and excluding them).  207 15. The Burman segment, e s p e c i a l l y the c i v i l i a n bureaucrats, workers, and the peasants i n i t i a l l y appeared to have accepted Ne Win's m i l i t a r y rule, and did not appear alienated. But, i t must be remembered that numerous student-led protests, workers s t r i k e s , and the withdrawal by peasants from the statecontrolled economy ( i . e . , reverting to subsistence agriculture and dealing with the blackmarket, for example), occurred almost at once. Also, the s p l i t within the BCP of Thakin Than Tun, who was popular with the peasantry, and i t s bloody disintegration, deprived the Burman peasants of leadership. The neutralization of the BCP, as related previously, was the r e s u l t of Ne Win's s k i l l f u l manipulation of the Dobama " s o c i a l i s t " creed. 16. Actually, the largest indigenous " c a p i t a l i s t " enterprise then was the m i l i t a r y ' s own Defence Services Industries (DSI). I t should also be noted that the AFPFL was also committed to "socialism" and n a t i o n a l i z a t i o n . Therefore, what the " s o c i a l i s t " m i l i t a r y regime nationalized were mainly the economic and commercial a c t i v i t i e s which the AFPFL deemed as unprofitable or not s i g n i f i c a n t enough to take over, such as the r e t a i l trade, small family enterprises, barber shops, street corner stores, and internal trade in a g r i c u l t u r a l products and produce. 17. In view of the f a i l u r e of Marxist socialism i n the " S o c i a l i s t bloc", including the Soviet Union, now evident and admitted by s o c i a l i s t rulers and managers themselves, the attempt by Ne Win and the Tatmadaw to construct a " s o c i a l i s t order" i n Burma must perhaps be seen as foredoomed right from the s t a r t . For a complex and compelling analysis of the f a i l u r e of socialism in Eastern Europe, see Ferenc Feher, Agnes Heller, and Gyorgy Markus, DICTATORSHIP OVER NEEDS (Oxford: B a s i l Blackwell,1983). The authors are self-admitted s o c i a l i s t s who argue that socialism has been transformed (corrupted) into a form of dictatorship ( i . e . , "dictatorship over needs") by various communist parties and "managers of s o c i a l i s t enterprises" due to their excessive concern with central planning and state control (pp.16-19). The result has been, according to the authors, the "dictatorship over needs" which i s "neither a novel, modified form of state capitalism", nor socialism, but a s o c i a l formation "completely d i f f e r e n t " from any that has existed i n history to date. It i s a s e l f producing s o c i a l order in which many t r a n s i t o r y elements [for example, charismatic legitimation of r u l e r s , antagonistic class dichotomy, t o t a l i t a r i a n tendencies, o l i g a r c h i c trends, A s i a t i c despotism, t r a d i t i o n a l autocratic norms and values, and so f o r t h ! are "constitutive of and indispensible for i t s functioning"(p.221). I t i s a response to capitalism and i t s contradictions. In the f i n a l analysis, i t i s not socialism, but a " h i s t o r i c a l dead-end"(p.221). 18. That i s , the Council of State, the Council of Ministers, the whole administrative and bureaucratic machinery, a l l state boards and corporations, the Pyithu Hluttdaw (the  208 national l e g i s l a t u r e ) , a l l l o c a l a d m i n i s t r a t i v e - p o l i t i c a l people's councils (pyithu gaungsi), the people's courts and inspectorates, and so f o r t h . 19. As far as the "Burmese" public was concerned, Ne Win was a "flawed" character known for wining and dining women or marrying and divorcing them frequently, and as a man who regularly bet on horses, and abandoned his f i r s t wife. In p o l i t i c a l c i r c l e s , he was never considered a master player of the game (which he, in r e a l i t y , undoubtedly i s ) , u n t i l the early1970s when U Nu, considered a s k i l l e d p o l i t i c i a n , and genuinely popular, f a i l e d to overthrow Ne Win from g u e r r i l l a bases on the Thai-Burma border. This i s not to say that Ne Win lacked the mystique usually surrounding long-lived r u l e r s . He was, in fact, a b j e c t l y feared and revered by his "children", the armed Ahmudan (servicemen). The public viewed him as a powerful, intolerant, and dangerous ruler who owed his position to strong magic and astrology, and believed that he frequently practiced yadaya-che magical r i t e s which pre-empted approaching harm and misfortune. It can be said that Ne Win reinforced the t r a d i t i o n a l and popular perception of rulers and governments as being the most dangerous of the Five Enemies of Mankind. 20. Such sentiments were expressed by General Saw Maung, the Chairman of the SLORC (State Law and Order Restoration Council), in an interview with foreign j o u r n a l i s t s . See "Saw Maung: 'I Saved Burma'", Interview, ASIAWEEK (January 27,1989), pp.24-5. Also see "SLORC Chairman General Saw Maung Meets Local and Foreign J o u r n a l i s t s " , NEWS OF MYANMAR, Special Issue (July 1989), Washington: The Embassy of the Union of Myanmar, p.6. Moreover, former Brigadier Aung Gyi, who was purged soon after the 19S2 coup, j a i l e d many times by Ne Win, and who figured prominently in the 1988 "people's uprising", also referred to Ne Win thusly: "he i s l i k e my godfather", and "he has been the prime f a t h e r - l i k e figure in the army". See "Ne Win Wants an E l e c t i o n " , Interview with Aung Gyi, ASIAWEEK (October 21,1988),pp.4-5. Sentiments of gratitude for one's patron or benefactor is a common c u l t u r a l t r a i t , at least in Asia. But t h i s norm, which has i t s positive side, has been almost uniformly abused by rulers and leaders, thus contributing to the d e - i n s t i t u t i o n a l i z a t i o n of many Third World p o l i t i c a l systems. In the Tatmadaw, there is scant awareness, even among the o f f i c e r class, that s o l d i e r s are the armed servants of the state, thus owing l o y a l t y to the state rather than to "the army" or Ne Win. From s o c i a l dealings with former army o f f i c e r s , i t appears to me that their l o y a l t y is to Ne Win, "the army", the Burman "race", their family and kin, friends and colleagues, in the order mentioned. 21. See, Mya Maung, "The Burma Road to Poverty: A S o c i o - p o l i t i c a l Analysis", THE FLETCHER FORUM OF WORLD AFFAIRS, Summer 1989, p.293. He was, in fact, r e f e r r i n g to the current plight of the populace under Ne Win's rule, and he is quoted here  209 to h i g h l i g h t the s t r i k i n g s i m i l a r i t y between present-day and c o l o n i a l Burma.  pre-  22. V.Azarya, "Reordering State-Society Relations: Incorporation and Disengagement", in D.Rothchild and N.Chazan, ed. THE PRECARIOUS BALANCE: STATE AND SOCIETY IN AFRICA (Boulder: Westview,1988), p.8. Also see N.Chazan, "Patterns of StateSociety Incorporation and Disengagement in A f r i c a " , in THE PRECARIOUS BALANCE, op c i t , p.123. Disengagement and withdrawal from the state on the part of society i s characterized by keeping a distance from the state, evasion and dissimulation, moving away from the state-cash nexus to a subsistence economy or to the blackmarkets and smuggling, the diversion of production away from state c o n t r o l , d i s t r u s t of laws and ordinances, s a t i r e and r i d i c u l e of the state, retreat into ethnic i d e n t i t y or a narrower s o l i d a r i t y , the f l i g h t of human and c a p i t a l resources. In the more active and extreme forms, disengagement may be manifested as s t r i k e s , protest marches, armed resistance, attempted secession, and so forth. 23. Ruth McVey, "Introduction: Local Voices, Central Power", in R. McVey, ed. SOUTHEAST ASIAN TRANSITIONS (New Haven: Yale University Press,1978), p.27. Also see V.Azarya, THE PRECARIOUS BALANCE, op c i t , p.17.  210  B  (A)  I  B  L  0  G  R  A  P H  Books,and Academic Journals, Periodicals, and Papers  A l l e n , Louis "Leaving a Sinking Ship: A Comment on the End of Empire", in D.K.Basset, and V.T.King, ed. BRITAIN AND SOUTHEAST ASIA (Hull: Center for Southeast Asian Studies, University of Hull Press,1986),pp.65-78. Apter, David E. THE POLITICS OF MODERNIZATION (Chicago: University of Chicago Press,1969). Aung-Thwin, Maureen "Burmese Days", FOREIGN AFFAIRS, Vol.68, No.2 (Spring 1989), pp.143-161 Aung-Thwin, Michael "The B r i t i s h ' P a c i f i c a t i o n ' of Burma: Order Without Meaning", JOURNAL OF SOUTHEAST ASIAN STUDIES, Vol.16, No.2 (September 1985), pp.245-261. , PAGAN: THE ORIGINS OF MODERN BURMA (Honolulu: University of Hawaii Press, 1985). , "1948 and Burma's Myth of Independence", i n J . 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