Thursday, April 1, 2010

Democratic Party for a New Society (DPNS)

The Democratic Party for a New Society (DPNS) was founded by the then students and youth leaders who emerged from the 1988 nationwide pro-democracy movement on the 14th of October 1988 in Rangoon, Burma, in order to legally play a greater political role toward the achievement o democracy in Burma. The DPNS, which was founded on then youths including students, played a very important role in the democratic struggle. Since its beginning in Burma politics, it has been recognized as a new generation of political force in the country. It has been at a vanguard position in the struggle against the Burmese military junta, which brutally cracked down on the pro-democracy uprising. Due to its firm political stance and its substantive policies based in the interest of the people of Burma where multi-ethnic nationalities co-exist, many young people joined the DPNS. With branches in over 250 townships supported by 1,500 organizers, the party’s official membership reached up to 250,000. At the time of the 1990 election, DPNS was Burma’s second largest political party after Aung San Suu Kyi’s NLD party. As a sign of its commitment to democracy, the DPNS did not campaign any of its own candidates during the election in order to build unified support for the NLD party. The strategy of recruiting their membership focused on youth in urban and industrial centers as well as those in the hinterlands. Preceding the election, DPNS concentrated on educating voters, securing political rights and campaigning for democracy. As part of their political strategy to build a united political front, they built an alliance that incorporated over 53 registered political parties. Because of their success in galvanizing such a strong coalition, they were heavily targeted in the military crackdown. After the 1990 election, all political activities of the DPNS were severely suppressed by the military regime, the then state Law and Order Restoration Council(SLORC) and a number of its members including some party leaders were arrested. Many of whom are still being held in various prisons in Burma. As a result, the DPNS Central Committee made a decision to move its headquarters into the liberated area along the Thai-Burma border in order to continue its struggle against the military junta. The DPNS was outlawed by the military regime in 1991. The party became a member of the Democratic Alliance of Burma (DAB) and then the National Council of Union of Burma (NCUB), tow umbrella organizations that are composed of over twenty political organizations including ethnic resistance forces. At present, the party Chairperson is working as the General Secretary of NCUB. Other ranking officers of DPNS have also been elected to high-level leadership positions in both organizations. Currently, DPNS have been actively building regional committees within Burma that build grassroots capacity to develop non-violent resistance and promote a national reconciliation organizations. Recently, the party successfully organized its Second Conference at which the party platform was developed and guideline policies were adopted. The new leadership of the party was also elected by secret votes at the conference. Accordance with the guidance of the party conference, the party’s women branch and youth branch were set up in April 2002. These tow branches as other party committees are independently running their programmes in line with party platform.


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