#BloodMoneyMyanmar – Global Week of Action (Oct. 25 – 31st, 2021)
Updated: Oct 19, 2021
On 1st February 2021, Myanmar military general Min Aung Hlaing staged a coup which sparked a strong wave of civil disobedience in the country. Days after the military junta took over the government and declared a state of emergency, textile workers, together with students, doctors, teachers, miners, and railway workers, went on strike against the army takeover, and have continued to resist the military junta by organising into what is known as the Civil Disobedience Movement (CDM). Since then, the military have ruthlessly repressed the movement, killing over 1000 people, many young people and children, and more than 5500 people are still imprisoned
Atrocities have become increasingly difficult to record because of the regime’s shutdown of mobile data and wireless broadband that has blocked internet access for most of the population.
Since the military coup in February, trade union and civil disobedience activists have been staging mass strikes against the local economy, such as work stoppages, non-payment of household bills, no attendance to schools or universities, as a weapon to fight against the junta. With a remarkable high participation in both the private and public sectors, the strikes have plummeted the country’s economy, effectively cutting off part of the military regime’s revenue.
Activists in the CDM have said: “we are enduring many challenges, threats and coercions from the military who wants the strikes to end. They want the appearance of everything as business as usual, and our strike is hindering that. Workers are facing various forms of repression. Not only is the military shooting at us in the streets, but factory managements are often collaborating with the military, calling them to crack-down on protests and strikes”.
In front of these attacks, various labour unions such as the Federation of General Workers Myanmar (FGWM), the Confederation of Trade Unions of Myanmar (CTUM) as a whole, as well as other activists, have launched the Blood Money Campaign, which aims to pressure companies that keep doing business with the military junta – be it directly or indirectly – through taxes, fees, or direct co-operations, to halt investments in Myanmar, to ensure respect for human and labour rights in their supply chains in the country.
The labour movement of Myanmar is calling for comprehensive economic sanctions and a boycott of the country to starve the regime of resources and urge the international community to support their struggle for justice, as their resistance is very much dependent on undivided international solidarity.
“Our battle is between the light and the darkness. It is between dictatorship and democracy. This is the last revolution for us. We need to put an end to this reign of terror in our generation, so that our children’s children do not suffer the same fate. We are not going to give up” (CDM activist, Myanmar,2021).
The recently ‘Bloody Money Campaign’ has been endorsed and supported by the Industrial Workers of the World (IWW) in Ireland, to help raise awareness of how multinational companies such as Zara, H&M, Adidas, OBS, Mango, Sioen, Volkswagen and Primark/Penneys, just to name a few, are still profiting from doing business with the military regime in Myanmar.
Following the week of action in September coordinators of the Blood Money campaign decided to call for another week of action in October. This time with the focus on the oil and gas industry. For more information and how you and your union can help click: https://globalmayday.net/2021/10/17/bmc-oil-gas-action-week/