As Marx rightly pointed out, the oppressed will be allowed in November ‘to decide which particular representatives of the oppressing class are to represent and repress them in parliament’. Most people will vote in the hope of breaking free from prolonged social and economic ills. Yet, election under the 2008 constitution is the opium of the people simply fostering a culture of false hopes among the oppressed.
Over the past few years, exploitation by local crony capitalists and their foreign partners has been exacerbated. Farmers and workers, the most impoverished in the country have become the most oppressed. Landless farmers in their fight against illegal land acquisitions face death and prison while workers fighting for reasonable and fair wages suffer similar consequences. Students who have always been at the vanguard of the oppressed also go through ruthless torture and persecutions by the organs of the State.
A few dozen student activists and supporters have been detained for nearly six months appearing at a local court every week for their peaceful protest against the reactionary education law. This reveals the true nature of the military clique, its dictatorship and bureaucratic mechanism. On the other hand, either impotent or ignorant opposition in parliament is disgraced through such events. To end this vicious cycle of oppression and all other numerous atrocities across the country, the oppressed needs to unite and take concrete actions against the ruling military dictatorship.
However, some fantasized about seeing colossal changes after the election as it draws near. Liberal opposition parties are preoccupied with contesting in the election believing that they can amend the reactionary constitution if they win some seats. This reformist trend is prevailing among bourgeois liberals and thus some are deaf to revolutionary ideas. Such elements in the struggle against the military clique even opposed and attacked alternative views!
In fact, registered political parties, including the NLD are already chaotic in such a critical time. As a result of its internal bureaucracy and incompetency in the scrutiny of candidates, the NLD leadership is facing mounting challenges within. In addition, this agony is topped up by the regime’s election commission as some of its candidates are disqualified on the ground of not meeting the criteria set for election candidates. All other parties except the military-backed Union Solidarity and Development Party are also facing identical challenges as the number of disqualified candidates reached 88.
Not only the constitution itself, but all other bylaws and procedures regarding elections and candidates are well-thought-out to ensure that opposition parties abide by rigid and authoritarian guidelines. It is the game of military bureaucrats. Their game, their rules. Either play by their rules or leave the game. As a result, the struggle in the parliament will simply perpetuate the military domination unless it combines with extra-parliamentary actions. Still, it depends on whether the opposition parties in the parliament are opportunists and subservient to the military clique or in favour of working for the people.
Since the legislature created by the reactionary 2008 constitution is inherently defective and oppressive it leaves limited space for opposition parties in the parliament in their fight for concrete changes. Taking into account of historical lessons, extra-parliamentary actions such as mass strikes will rather pave the way forward.
The upcoming elections will open the eyes of the oppressed masses that they have to break the chain themselves. Following the election, the reformist trend will lose its ground and give way to radical and progressive ideas. The masses will raise their fists and show their courage on the streets. In the end, the glorious revolution of the great proletariat is on the way.
 UEC defers on candidate disqualifications (The Irrawaddy)