In this post, I am sharing a brief note on yesterday’s trade union solidarity event in London with some revolutionaries in Burma, British trade unionists, Jeremy Corbyn and myself. Please watch Jeremy Corbyn here on my Facebook page.

Laura Watson, of Global Women’s Strike. speaks on trade union solidarity, as her co-panellists, Myanmar Industrial Workers’ Federation President, Khaing Zar Aung, and Jay Kerr of No Sweat, look on. (photo: Zarni)

Amongst the attendees (and organizers) was Selma, the widow of the late C.L.R. James, Selma is herself a revolutionary. I never had the privilege and honour of meeting the great historian and revolutionary thinker-activist from Trinidad. He had long passed.

Selma James (93), a Brooklyn native born in 1930, and left McCarthyite USA for UK, with a fascinating revolutionary life; Jeremy Corbyn, myself and my Iranian-Swedish friend, Dr Arsah, who can’t stand racism amongst his own Iranian diaspora (Photo: Zarni, 20 April 2024).

Dictatorships are good for capitalism as unions are generally targeted for repression by local authorities. That is exactly what corporate-men and -women want to see, sitting in corporate board rooms in western (or now Asian) capitals.

This new aristocratic class of billionaires and multi-millionaires – the Russians call them “oligarchs” in Moscow or St Petersburg – would serve as great philanthropists, throw cocktail parties like the old Roman noblemen in their villas, and sprinkle crumbs for NGOs and “corporate social responsibility” types.

The prevailing integrated moral, spiritual, cultural and political milieu of our time (with regards to corporations, state criminals who run our great departments (or ministries), the church, the influential media, the academia, etc.) is what must have been like the pre-abolitionist Britain: the clergy, honourable judges, moral philosophers (economists as well as the real ones), the Crown, the newspaper men, the leisure classes, and the civil service did not feel any moral or cognitive dissonance about the sources of their riches and privileges they enjoyed.

This “slavery and slave trade” duo was deemed perfectly moral, in synch with both the rationalist Humanism of the great European Enlightenment, and the Love Thy Neighbour message of Christ, was captured in Eric Williams’ Slavery and Capitalism, largely influenced by CLR James.

Edward Colston, the honourable gentleman and philanthropist in Bristol who ran the Royal African Company (and the Triangular Trans-Atlantic Trade), was unfortunate in that his lifeless status was dragged about a mile from where it was to the Bristol Harbour where it was dumped by jubilant and angry Black Likes Matter “mob”. Half of Bristol was owned by Colston, and the great University of Bristol was a recipient of generous donations by the great resident, who made his fortune in the genocidal endeavours (Slave Trade and Slavery).

(To date, Bristol continues its honourable tradition, when it refuses to withdraw its honorary doctorate awarded to my old boss Aung San Suu Kyi, even after she has gone to the Dark Side.)

The English Civilization – that invented or milked Slave Trade and Slavery – did not loose sleep over its collective great crime of Slave Trade and Slavery. For the Crime was the norm, the value of the day – for the king and the country.

One has to feel sorry for Colston. He was unfairly singled out because of the bad press, like Cecil Rhodes at Exeter College, Oxford. Even the great liberal – (left?!!!) – Guardian was not immune from Slavery-is-Moral virus of the time.

I wonder how future generations of humans 200 years on will look at today’s turbo-charged High Capitalism, running on high octane of trillions in profits – all at the expense of the Environment (only one and only human habitat) and the overwhelming majority of humans who eke out their living on $1.5 per day like the sweatshop labourers in my native country of Burma.

Will the Generation ZZZZZZZZZZZ target another cluster of White Men even after these great men have all turned to dust?

Will they smash the bursts and statues of Elon Mask, Jeff Bezos, Warren Buffet, Bill Gates, Mark Zuckerberg, and their likes, as the Great Revolutionaries of 1789 did in places like the Sorbonne (Europe’s 2nd oldest clergy training school)?

It’s hard to say … But one thing is certain.

Though a SEA-rooted scholar-activist network, FORSEA continues to lend its voice of solidarity to the Palestinian struggle for liberation, as well as Myanmar’s trade union and other resistance movements against the genocidal Burmese military dictatorship.

All previous human civilisation – alas, the Progress! and Stages! – have given us no reason or evidence to think that our prevailing post-Holocaust Capitalist world (or two big wars and a long series of hot wars waged as proxy wars in the Cold War – would be seen as any more moral, ethical, human, smarter or glamourous than the Civilizations that preceded it (where Slave Trade and Slavery were the moral norm of the good Christians).

The Holocaust and other acts of what Chomsky called “the great European pastimes” – mass killings in peace time or wars – gave us “international criminal and humanitarian law”. Now the Great Law Creators are free to bin them – just like the British who invented slavery and the slave trade, just so they could claim “we abolished them”!

Or will these new humans of the next, next, next generations continue to consider the non-Russian oligarchs of Churchill’s English-speaking world “the role models” whose taste, views, and sentiments were the talk of the social media world?

As a brief detour, I find it rather curious that these richest and most commercially successful oligarchs are by and large White Men?

Will that be enough Exhibit A that supports White Male Supremacy? Hitler certainly viewed a tiny cluster of British Isles, as racially superior geniuses and held them in high esteem. (The English King Edward VIII returned favour as well.)

After all, how else these tiny isles would have subjugated and controlled the vast subcontinent of India (with 800 million humans with strange customs and religions)?

That was strong enough evidence of Hitler’s Aryan theory.

(Some of us who love architecture owe it to the Arch-Nazi as he deliberately avoided Oxford as a target during the Blitz: the mass-murderer wanted to make it his new colonial capital after his presumed victory over Churchill’s England, or another European clergy training school would have been flattened like Coventry or Drezden).

What can I say?

Meanwhile in Gaza, Israel has killed 34,000 humans, about 17,000 of whom were children.

Israel’s kill-rate of children in 2023/24 is beyond words, even by the Nazi’s high standards: at Mauthausen, not too far from Hitler’s beloved Bavaria, the Austrian and German SS slaughtered only 20,000 children in 6 years. Israel killed 17,000 in 6 months.

A memorial plaque at Mauthausen Train station in Upper Austria, where 20,000 children of different “undesired” races were exterminated, starting at the train station. (Photo by Zarni, April 2024).

Alas, this is the Civilizational Progress which we are witnessing today. The more things change the more they stay the same, as the cliché says.

Just like in Ed Colston and Cecil Rhodes’ days.

All, made possible by the United States, UK, Germany, and much of the new Europe, with billions of $, 1,000 and 2,000lb bombs, helmets, communications equipment, repeat veto protections, and mass western propaganda led by CNN, the BBC and the New York Times.

Maung Zarni

Posted by Maung Zarni

Dr Maung Zarni is a scholar, educator and human rights activist with 30-years of involvement in Burmese political affairs, Zarni has been denounced as an “enemy of the State” for his opposition to the Myanmar genocide. He is the co-author (with Natalie Brinham) of the pioneering study, "The Slow Burning Genocide of Myanmar’s Rohingyas" (Pacific Rim Law and Policy Journal, Spring 2014) and "Reworking the Colonial-Era Indian Peril: Myanmar’s State-Directed Persecution of Rohingyas and Other Muslims" (The Brown Journal of World Affairs, Fall/Winter 2017/18).