Communist Party of Burma CPB

The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

Communist Party of Burma (CPB)


a party founded Aug. 15, 1939. During World War II, the CPB was an organizer of the national liberation struggle and anti-Japanese resistance movement of the Burmese people.

The First Congress of the CPB was held underground in 1943. In 1944 the Antifascist People’s Freedom League (AFPFL) was established on the initiative of the party and other patriotic forces. In March 1945 the AFPFL initiated an armed uprising of the Burmese people against the Japanese occupiers. After the war, the party set a course for the conquest of national independence and the complete abolition of British colonial rule. The CPB substantially strengthened its position in the AFPFL, and during 1945 and early 1946 it established a number of mass organizations of working people. The Second Congress of the CPB was held (legally) in Rangoon in July 1945.

In February 1946 there was a split in the CPB, resulting in the formation of the so-called Communist Party of Burma, Red Flag. This grouping occupied an extreme leftist sectarian position, opposing cooperation with the national bourgeoisie in the struggle for national independence. It went underground and subsequently turned into a narrow, extremist organization.

The CPB, which disagreed with many of the AFPFL positions on political questions, sharply criticized the policies of the league’s leadership (in some cases, from a leftist standpoint), and in October 1946 it was expelled from the AFPFL.

After Burma achieved independence (1948), increasing domestic differences within the country led to civil war. The CPB went underground in March 1948 and waged an armed struggle against the Burmese government.

In 1955 the CPB adopted a party program providing for the cessation of the civil war and the restoration of domestic peace. In the 1950’s and early 1960’s, however, the government refused to enter into negotiations with the party, insisting that the party’s armed forces surrender. Preliminary peace negotiations between the CPB and the government of the Revolutionary Council in 1963 also ended without result. The party leadership, ignoring the progressive nature of the socioeconomic reforms carried out in Burma, adopted a new program in 1964 aimed at overthrowing the revolutionary-democratic government by force.

Party delegations participated in the work of the International Conferences of Communist and Workers’ Parties held in Moscow in 1957 and 1960. The CPB approved the documents of the conferences. Subsequently the party leadership of the CPB fell under the influence of Maoism and began to isolate the party from the international communist movement. The party leadership refused to participate in the international Conference of Communist and Workers’ Parties of 1969.

The chairman of the Central Committee of the CPB is Thakin Ba Thein Tin.


The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.
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