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Round the World

Political power grows out of the barrel of a gun.
— Mao Tse-tung

Burmese People’s Forces

Smashing “Mopping-Up” Campaigns by Relying on the Masses

[This short article is reprinted from Peking Review, Vol. 11, #44, Nov. 1, 1968, p. 27.]

Led by the Communist Party of Burma, the people of various nationalities won major victories in Burma throughout the past year. They smashed the reactionary government’s “mopping-up” campaigns, consolidated the revolutionary base areas and expanded their armed forces.

Beginning in August last year, the reactionary government deployed scores of battalions in large-scale offensives against the Pegu Mountain and other revolutionary base areas. In this, it was supported by both the U.S. imperialists and the Soviet revisionist renegade clique.

In face of the enemy’s frantic attack, the Communist Party of Burma stuck to the proletarian revolutionary line of “winning the war and seizing political power.” Chairman Thakin Than Tun and the Party’s Central Committee issued the militant call to “smash the enemy’s offensives with our own offensives,” and the people’s forces and the masses in the base areas responded by throwing themselves into battle. When the enemy intruded into the base areas, the people’s forces were nowhere to be found. But when the enemy was tired out, the people’s forces laid ambushes and annihilated his effectives. Simultaneously, the latter moved up to attack a number of towns and townlets in enemy-held areas and raided major communication lines, including the Rangoon-Mandalay Railway, and scored successive victories. By this courageous fighting, they successfully defended the base areas and completely thwarted the enemy’s “mopping-up” campaign, which lasted more than six months. In doing this, they fought well over 140 engagements.

Using flexible guerrilla tactics, the people’s forces sometimes concentrated a superior force in groups of hundreds to attack and encircle the reactionary troops and police stationed in cities and towns. At other times, small detachments launched surprise attacks on enemy police stations or troops on the move. Frequently, the enemy was wiped out by squads and platoons, and the people’s forces armed themselves with large quantities of captured weapons and materiel. They also frequently attacked major railways, highways and river and sea communication lines. The enemy was compelled to scatter his forces and was placed in a passive position in which he was subjected to blows.

While conducting the armed struggle, the Communist Party of Burma has gone deep among the people to arouse the masses. This mass work varies in form in accordance with the specific conditions of the areas concerned, depending on whether it is a revolutionary base area, a guerrilla area, or enemy occupied. A sustained and extensive struggle against the government’s grain looting has been staged in some areas. In others, enemy agents and local despots have been eliminated. Land reform is being carried out in some base areas. The awakened peasants are rising up to smash the reactionary government’s ruling apparatus in the villages and setting up red political power stemming from the grass roots. More and more, they are taking up arms and participating in the armed struggle.

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