Blinkered vision of Tamil nationalists and socialists is self-defeating

[Editors note: This article responds to key points raised by several noted commentators on the author's previous article here.]

There’s one important lesson to be learnt from the presidential campaign so far: It’s becoming increasingly clear that the Mahinda-Regime is determined to hang on to power by hook or by crook. Ominous signs of thuggery against all opposition are widespread; the state-media’s shamelessly transparent propaganda is making a mockery of all journalistic principles. Over one and a half million Tamils have been deprived of their right to vote.

The obvious truth is: forces of the establishment, including the military leadership, have ganged-up to defend the regime. Newly appointed military leaders have a vested interest in doing this. They probably think that a Fonseka-victory might lead to ruthless exposures of corruption and other sensitive issues related to the war.

Thus, the Rajapaksa-brothers and the newly appointed military leaders have a ‘life-and-death’ interest to make sure Sarath Fonseka is defeated. The implication is: there won’t be ‘free & fare’ elections. Rajapaksa’s victory, in this sense, is a foregone conclusion.

If Sarath Fonseka, by any chance, miraculously defeats Mahinda Rajapaksa despite possible acts of  ‘ballot-box stuffing’ and other electoral frauds, then the chances of the military leaders coming forward to defend the regime is very real indeed. [Those who’ve been arguing that Sarath Fonseka’s intention is to form a military rule should get their brains examined.]

It is important to realize that this election is unprecedented in every sense. Irrespective of the result it’ll leave an equally divided society between progressive and reactionary forces. I’ll not be surprised if the post-election ‘Mahinda-rule’ ends up as a virtual ‘military-junta’.

This has clear implications: already escalating anti-democratic methods to suppress all opposition may reach unprecedented heights. Free-media will suffer most within this setup.

In such a context, the Tamil majority will perceive the so-called ’13-Amendment’ solution as a non-starter. And the separatist Tamil leaders’ arguments for reviving Tiger-politics are likely to become more appealing to the Tamil people. It’ll be the duty of all socialists to prevent this happening, because the future of Tamils lies in a common struggle for socialism, not in a separate state-let.

[Also, since Mahinda-regime is capitalist to the hilt guided by ‘trickle-down economics,’ it won’t be able to defend the poor masses against rising living costs. Considering the global economic climate, and the rising pressure in the west for economic sanctions against Mahinda-regime’s human rights record, the economic repercussions could become much worse than many anticipate at present. Nobody expects the cosmetic measures to control rising prices during the election-period to continue for long.]

The trillion dollar questions are: Can we expect the Tamil nationalists, the Left parties and the mainstream opposition to be conscious of these eventualities? Do they have any idea how to respond to militaristic political developments? I think, the truth is Sarath Fonseka, the JVP, the Tamil nationalists, Wickramabahu, Wije Dias, Mangala Samaraweera or Ranil Wickramasinghe will be helpless in such a situation.

There’s only one force which can effectively challenge a ruthless state-machine of this kind: the labour movement, the trade unions, or more generally: the working class. A General Strike backed by the student movement will have to come forward and defend Sri Lanka’s democracy and peoples’ living standards. That’s the most effective non-violent way to challenge the capitalist regime of Mahinda Rajapaksa that violates the democratic rights of the masses.

A relentless campaign within the unions and the student movement to prepare for this eventuality should be the main focus of all progressive political parties in the coming period. They should not remain blinkered by electoral activities alone. Tamil nationalists’ sectarian politics and Left parties’ factionalism and propagandist politics should end. They should mobilize their vote-bases to back Sarath Fonseka in his electoral campaign against Mahinda Rajapaksa. However, a united front to defend democracy and living standards should become the central aim of all progressive forces. Earnest campaigns to politically prepare the labour movement for an inevitable general strike must be the primary focus of all socialists.

  • Nadesan

    Not long ago Mr. Kumar David proclaimed in an Island article that Tamils and leftists will have to”puke” before they vote for Sarath Fonseka. Now Fonseka has become the icon for gathering “all progressives” against Rajapaksa! In 1970 the left leaders suddenly realized that the
    best way to advance the class struggle was to join up with the Sinhala Buddhist majority that they has till then condemned. About a decade later the left leaders (the few who were left) decided that the best way to advance the class struggle was to identify themselves with the ethnic Tamil struggle no matter how brutal. Now, having seen that the Tamil struggle has been decimated, the left leaders and now preaching that the best way to advance the class struggle is to fall behind ranil Wickramasinghe and the ex-General. Unfortunately, these self-proclaimed “left thinkers” have been singularly, and invariably, incapable of understanding the political process. They always end up decimating themselves with their foolish decisions based on their own brand of tunnel vision.
    .

  • http://www.lankaeye.com Vasantha Raja

    I was eagerly waiting to hear Nadesan’s own vision. People need answers to questions such as: Whom should we vote for in this election? If this election leads to a virtual police-state led by Mahinda Rajapaksa then how do you propose to get rid of it?

    Is Nadesan deliberately dodging these questions with a lot of hot air?

  • Groundtruth

    Somehow one gets the impression that this type of amorphous language: class struggle, trade unionism, strikes, black legs(missing in the article), as Nadesan points out, are old stuff political langauge remeniscent of the 1940s to 1960s by and large period. It is doubtful if it is avlid or even if it will work under the present rule.

    In the context of the upcoming Presidential elections the best hope is of course the conduct of a free and fair election which is asking a lot given the politically acrimonius and corrupt backround prevailing in the country. One must ask what the plans of the Elections Commissioner are for the conduct of such election and what safeguards are in place to prevent thuggery, rigging, stuffing, safe transport of ballot boxes and for a fair count. The powers are vested in him. It is the Elections Department which has to answer the question? It ought to also deepnd on all the candidates to take up such issues with the EC and his Department.

    Perhaps there will be many international Elections Observers(?).The more and the more high powered respected personalities the better given teh crucial nature of this election in the country’s recent history. I mean somone like former President Carter.

    Voters, polling agents and citizens committees and like apolitical classes of citizens might be the best insurance to watch over a free and fair election. It still leaves the question unanswered of how do you combat possible connivance or thuggery by the protective arms of the law like the police or military. That is a very difficult one but it is a sad reflection of how politicians over time have steadily ruined a one time prefectly workable system. One has to say the mea cupla , mea culpa, mea maxima culpa a thousand times!

  • kamala

    “…clear that the Mahinda-Regime is determined to hang on to power by hook or by crook. Ominous signs of thuggery against all opposition are widespread;”

    Really — I am no big fan of this regime, BUT, of the most recent 100 items reported through infolanka.com/news, which is a grand summary of SL news, how many reports of election related thuggery do we read?

  • http://www.lankaeye.com Vasantha Raja

    Dear Groundtruth…I’ve deliberately begun to use terms such as ‘organized working class’ ‘capitalism’ ‘socialist economics’ ‘general strike’ ‘social revolution’ ‘police-state’ etc. in order to trigger the readers’ perception in a ‘new’ direction. As a BBC-trained journalist I knew how effectively such terms would disturb some. But, I’m certain how important such concepts are to understand and change the fast emerging socio-political realities in Sri Lanka.

    NGOs and international observers will surely pronounce judgments on the election. But, they can’t change the direction Sri Lankan society is moving at present. You seem to grossly underestimate the depth of the new reality. Your jargon is a reflection of your narrow perception that is not fit to depict the seriousness of the situation.

    Without a fundamental transformation of Sri Lanka’s state-structures and the economy, the entire social fabric will disintegrate. The present government is headed towards a ‘police-state’ to defend the status-quo. And, in its ruthless effort to do so, it has antagonized the most politically sophisticated forces in society. Your wishy-washy language is too feeble to assess the growing social conflicts.

    Sri Lankan masses are quite used to ‘general strikes’ as an effective way of challenging political power. In 1953 the famous General Strike brought down the UNP regime. [Reportedly, the UNP cabinet gathered in a ship at the harbor to discuss the problem.] And in 1964 the mobilization of the entire trade union movement forced the SLFP regime to form a coalition with the Left leaders in order to dissolve a looming general strike.

    Today the situation is far worse and more dangerous – both politically and economically. NGOs and good individuals cannot change this situation. It is the duty of all those who are conscious of the situation’s gravity to wake the ‘sleeping giant’ – the organized working class (or the trade union movement) – to take the lead before it is too late.

    Therefore Groundtruth, don’t remain a prisoner of peace-time jargon. Sometimes language can be an obstacle for the growth of knowledge. In a fast changing society, seemingly abstract terms could suddenly become far more concrete than you ever thought.

  • http://www.lankaeye.com Vasantha Raja

    I must add a few more points to my previous comment: I’m well aware how divided and corrupt many trade union leaders are. Therefore, it is important to enlighten the ‘rank & file’ of the labour movement of the political dangers ahead. They must be politically prepared before it is too late – in order not to be caught unawares. SF might win the election. But, the reactionary forces are already ganged-up to deprive SF of any victory. Even if he does survive, his determination to wipeout and punish the corrupt and change the system will be full of dangers. Only fools can expect Sri Lanka’s billionaire-minority to sit quietly. Sure, SF can change the military leaders to re-gain loyalty. But the military will remain bitterly divided for the foreseeable future. SF’s legal powers as the next executive president will be meaningless in the face of a deep-rooted, power-hungry ‘Mafia’. This is why it’s important to educate the mass movement for decisive action in any emergency.

  • murali

    Dear Vasanth,

    I would like to prmote your argument about presidetial election of Srilanka in canada.
    Please contact me.

    Murali
    ([email protected])

  • Groundtruth

    Thanks for your case to rouse the working classes. Frankly I am not at all impressed. Sri Lanka has seen enough of strikes and wars in the past 60 years that it is time to head in a new direction. I have no problems with your finding that Sri lanka has become a police state or even worse under the PTA and the way its has been implemented.

    The topic is about elections and it makes good sense to at least hope for a peaceful conduct of such election. Where lies the priority: in a peaceful election or stirring up trade unionism at this juncture? The voters have to decide.

  • http://www.lankaeye.com Vasantha Raja

    What are you talking about Groundtruth. You’re talking nonsense. You don’t seem to be reading my writings carefully. I never called for a general strike during the election. I merely said: 1) the importance of enlightening the labour movement of highly probable political developments after the election, and 2) that the working class should be ready to intervene in case the Mafia gang (led by the God Father) act dictatorially to hold on to power. [What's wrong with that?]

    Also, remember, a general strike is one of the most non-violent form of struggle to challenge ruthless state-oppression and tyrannical rule.

  • http://www.lankaeye.com Vasantha Raja

    Dear Murali, I appreciate your support…You may publish any of my articles in your publications in Canada, without permission. You may even translate them into Tamil if you like. But please use competent translators to do it without distorting.

  • wijayapala

    Dear Vasantha,

    This rhetoric about trade unions is rather tiresome and irrelevant in a mostly agricultural country, and judging from your January critical analysis of the LTTE’s impending “guerrilla war” and call for the GSL to negotiate with the now-nonexistent LTTE readers probably would be advised to follow the opposite of your prescriptions!

    Could you instead share with us your experiences as an LTTE spokesman in the previous decade? That would be far more interesting than your theories. Which LTTE leaders did you meet? Were there any of them that you liked or disliked? As an LTTE activist holding a key position in the BBC, could you explain your failure to convince your audience to pressure Sri Lanka to stop fighting and acquiesce to the LTTE’s demands? Are you gainfully employed these days? If not, would you be interested if I offered a job?

  • Groundtruth

    Dear Vasantha Raja
    Have I pricked an ego bubble here, that you seem to be going into tiresome rants and even insults ? You should read the writings once again and deduce for yourself who is actually talking arrant nonsense. I thought better of people with BBC working experience!

    Sri Lanka needs change, change from the past. Unfortunately there seems not much to hope for, especially from regurgitating old stuff from people buried in the past. Think anew Vasantha Raja, think anew.

    In my view , your prescription is likely to be far worse than the present malady and will likely result in more human, social and economic disasters. There have been enough disasters already.

    In any case, it is up to the readers to form their own judgement on contributions made in these columns. I am sure as a trained journalist you fully understand what freedom of expression means, don’t you?

  • http://www.lankaeye.com Vasantha Raja

    Hold on Wijayapala..Don’t get so excited! So you’ve become really rattled by my pointing at the working class and the general strike to tackle the rise of Mafia politics, haven’t you?

    Also you too, in desperation, have resorted to third-grade slanders and mudslinging, haven’t you? You said: “This rhetoric about trade unions is rather tiresome and irrelevant in a mostly agricultural country…” What nonsense are you talking about? Your knowledge of Sri Lanka’s post-independence history seems to be very scanty indeed. Have you forgotten 1953 when a general strike paved the way to bring down the UNP regime? Have you forgotten 1964 when hundreds of thousands of workers poured on to the streets in Colombo to defend their living standards and rights, and a foreign journalist (who was interviewing the then Prime Minister Sirimavo Bandaranayake at that moment) reported that she was physically shivering? So, never underestimate the trade-unions’ strength. It was this “irrelevant trade union movement” that shook Sri Lanka’s ruling class to the hilt twice. Remember, that was half a century ago.

    Since the ‘open economy’ in 1977 the working class has numerically expanded in leaps. Now, the time is coming again to awaken that sleeping giant. I think this is extremely important; because, this is the best way to stop the return of individual terrorism by Tamils and Sinhala opposition in the face of state-terrorism in the coming period. General Strike is a non-violent form of struggle, and it is far more effective than terrorism to defeat undemocratic, authoritarian, corrupt regimes.

    Let me tell you Wijayapala, the readers of GV do not have to believe in what I say. They just have to look at the ‘ground-truth’. One doesn’t have to be a genius to understand what’s happening in Sri Lanka right now.

  • London Dole

    Dear Vasantha ,

    BBC! BBC! What nostalgia! I remember, like yesterday, back in the old country Ceylon, gathering around our PYE radio to listen to BBC news. Back then, we thought BBC was the ultimate authority on world affairs, including Ceylon. It took awhile for many of us, even after coming to the UK, to understand the broadcasting world. Those of us who didn’t go to Oxbridge to study, but as clerical and technical staff, who worked our fingers to the bone, were greatly embarrassed when certain senior faculty members smirked at us for gloating over BBC. Later, when we mingled with students and faculty at get-togethers, we overheard heated debates about how the BBC and the Voice of America (VOA) were biased in their portrayal of countries that didn’t suit their newsroom politics. I recall some of the professors accusing the BBC of turning out paid propagandists instead of good investigative reporters.

    I never knew the gravity of the situation until now. It is clear to all and sundry that the BBC has a hand in creating chaos in vulnerable countries. It is not surprising that most people don’t take BBC seriously anymore.

  • wijayapala

    Dear Vasantha,

    Don’t get so excited!

    That’s the thing- your presentation is the diametric opposite of exciting. I suggested some other topics because I am sure you are capable of discussing something interesting, given your history.

    Also you too, in desperation, have resorted to third-grade slanders and mudslinging, haven’t you?

    I apologize if my words offended you. I did not intend to hurt your feelings, and as I mentioned above I am sure that you can provide something to draw our attention.

    Your knowledge of Sri Lanka’s post-independence history seems to be very scanty indeed. Have you forgotten 1953 when a general strike paved the way to bring down the UNP regime? Have you forgotten 1964 when hundreds of thousands of workers poured on to the streets in Colombo to defend their living standards and rights

    My knowledge of the past may or may not be scanty, but I can tell you that the current year is neither 1953 or 1964- it is 2010 (Happy New Year!!!).

    The Old Left which organized those strikes are gone, and the old Senanayake UNP and SLFP that had the honor to relinquish power is also gone. Nobody today wants to agitate because everybody has a job, unlike 50 years ago. The SLA, which was a fraction of what it is today in your time, has absorbed all the young men of fighting age. That’s why you can forget about a 20th century-style working-class revolution the same way that we have forgotten your warning of “guerrilla warfare.”

    Now please be a sport and tell us what drew you to the LTTE in the past. I am asking out of curiosity and not to insult you. The more you tell us about yourself, the more we can empathize with you (since most of us don’t even know who you are).

  • http://www.lankaeye.com Vasantha Raja

    Dear London Dole…What’s this “Bull Sh…” about the BBC? What has that got to do with the main theme of my writings? I know that Mafia-Regime’s hired-agents are now panicking and trying their best to divert my discussion on the importance of the working-class’ future role in changing Lanka. So, please don’t get into that boat and try to insinuate that my analyses are part of a BBC conspiracy!!

    Instead, let’s focus on the central argument:

    This election won’t be ‘free & fair’. It’ll leave the entire society deeply divided. The Mafia-Regime & its billionaire gang may step-up the abuse of electoral norms and retain power. This means: we’ll see the spiraling of state-violence to suppress all opposition and media freedom. My appeal to all progressive forces is this: Do not give into provocations and turn to tit-for-tat violence. Individual terrorism is not the answer to state-terrorism. The best answer to state-tyranny is to awaken the trade-union movement to the looming dangers. It’s the working class that can effectively challenge the Mafia-Rule by bringing the entire society to a standstill.

    So Mr. Dole, don’t try your naïve tricks. Just try and refute the argument if you can.

  • http://www.lankaeye.com Vasantha Raja

    Dear Wijayapala…My task at present is not to satisfy your personal curiosities. ‘Ravaya’ is publishing an article in Sinhala (I think this week) which will enlighten you about me, if you’re genuinely interested. [Regarding the ‘military victory & the ground realities' I'm preparing a booklet that will blow up many of your delusions. So just wait patiently until that appears…happy?]

    Let’s get back to the main theme:

    You’re right to say this is neither 1953 nor 1964; this is 2010. Today the situation in Sri Lanka (and globally) is immeasurably worse. Global capitalism is collapsing, and the Sri Lankan economy – guided by capitalist “trickle down” economics – is doomed. Sri Lanka’s democracy is in ruins. State terrorism is on the rise. The rich-poor gap is widening as never before. The Tamils’ anger is reaching dangerous levels. So, there cannot be a better time to awaken the ‘sleeping giant’ (the working class) to lead the progressive social forces in the right direction. Only one thing prevents it from rising: lack of awareness of its real power. There’re people like you who will continue to circulate myths about Sri Lanka’s economic soundness and the labor movement’s inability to change Sri Lanka’s political landscape. But…Mark my word, you will fail.

  • http://www.lankaeye.com Vasantha Raja

    Dear Mr. Groundtruth,

    I merely invite you to reflect objectively on the Ground-Truth. You don’t need much intelligence to see what’s happening in post-war Lanka. My worry is that the rising Mafia-politics and billionaire-interests could push state-terrorism to new heights and as a direct result of that individual terrorism could be triggered on the opposing side including the Tamils.

    You’ve said: “Sri Lanka needs change”. Well everybody knows this. But the question is how to do it. In this respect, I think, your “vision” is naïve.

  • Groundtruth

    Well Vasantha Raja, in my view, ‘change’ includes change from old ways of doing things and this includes your proposal of waking up the “sleeping giant” the working classes in the right direction etc etc is blithesome repetition of old tired cliches and to use your own title “blinkered”! As I have said earlier “at this juncture”. May be you missed the fine print.

    To come to your reference about “trickle down economics”. What type of econmics do you have in mind as the panacea for all the accumulated political, social and economic ills over the past 4 decades or so? Everyone knows that global capitalism is facing a serious crisis for many reasons, one of which is corruption and inefficiency on the part of Regulators, and to cite another, the way business is conducted under the rules of the WTO. But, you are in my view wrong here, that Sri Lanka’s economy can hit it off on its own! Quite naive, if I may say so.

    This experiment you suggest was tried out under the Sirima governmnt in the early 1970s when capital was short, including foreign aid, with the late Dr. N.M.Perera as Finance Minister (also referred to as the Golden Brain) and the accent was on import substitution thereby. But living conditions became quite harsh and some poor people were pathetically even forced to eat out of dustbins. Today the situation is that no country, not even large countries with a big demand scenario, can manage on their own, They have all opted to be part of the global economy, including the so-called socialist states, including giant USSR which has disintegrated from within. I am sure ‘Perestroika’ is the answer to Sri Lanka, NOT a TROIKA!

    How does the panacea you offer lead to increased capital formation for the rising demand for goods and services to meet expanding population needs? What with a pauperised population in the north and east? Not through your remedy, surely? I agree with Wijeyapala that accent has to be on the agriculture and natural resouces sector and export oriented ones that bring in foreign exchange.

    You are right in saying that Sri Lanka’s economy has been doomed not because of its intrinsic inability to capital growth but because of failed political governance, including wars, corruption , waste, mismanagement and such like negating factors hampering growth. The present revelation by Tarnsparency International about unaccounted tsunami funds worth 1.1 B $ is surely an eye opener. The cancellation of teh GSP+ for failure to stick to HR norms agreed to will surely begin to bite into the economy in the coming days and months.

    I agree that trickle down economy is an internal imperfection through mismanagement but to change it your way is a pipe dream. If you are thinking of socialist indusrialised economies like in Scandinavian countries which are dependent on average heavy taxation levels you can forget it in relation to Sri Lanka.

    Thank you for your invitation but I am afraid your airy fairy solution and the fundamental basics of your argument is not the answer. It may fall on fertile ears if you leave economics out and stick to pure politics and political aspects only.

  • Groundtruth

    Thank you for the invitation, but I hope you do not regret it.

    The word ‘change’ if you recall what I said earlier was in the context of the forthcoming election. And I said that it is the voters who can help introduce change and safeguard the conduct of a free and fair election. On the other hand, I also pointed out if the police and military are not impartial (not an unlikely scenario) then it may prove a difficult one to handle. And I also emphasised that it is the Elections Commissioner and his Department who are in charge of the election to maiantin the proper conduct. One can only hope he can fulfill that task, however diificult.One can also hope that there can be change in a generic sense from practices known to be bad or eevn a cahnge of government. The voters have to decide.

    Your remedy is to hark back to old ways of organising working classes and to use them to counter ‘rising mafia politics and billionaire interests, state and individual teerrorism’ etc etc based on your holy theory of non-violence. Since when has the Mafiosis and billionaitres been humbled by your, shall we say, Vasantha Raja Way? I admit that it is beyond my area of thinking as to how it can be done. Perhaps you can expound further on your sharp vision further.

    I’ll get back to the trickle down economics later when you unravel your sharp vision.

  • http://www.lankaeye.com Vasantha Raja

    Dear Ground-Truth, for brevity, I shall ignore the ‘hot air’ parts and directly address the two important issues that you’ve raised:
    1) What’s the economic model I’m suggesting as an alternative to the SLFP/UNP “trickle down” economics? [By the way, trickle down economics is not an internal imperfection; it is a catchy phrase to point at the capitalist economic philosophy. Also, remember, what I say here has nothing to with the ‘state-capitalist' model adopted by many countries in the 60s, including N.M. Perera et al. Also, I do not advocate ‘import substitutes' for all essential goods or naïve protectionism. So, read the following carefully.]
    2) What kind of campaign should the democratic forces do in order to prepare the trade union movement to protect Sri Lanka from the emerging ‘police state’? [I shall address this issue in a separate comment.]
    So, let me re-produce what I’ve written elsewhere as an answer to the first issue:
    A new economic model based on scientifically-designed, islandwide infrastructure targeting common-welfare should be the driving force of social development. Let me emphasize here that the concept of infrastructure should invariably include nationwide health, education and housing services, on top of modern transport-systems, energy-distribution, water-distribution and communication systems covering all parts of the island. For, people’s health, education and living conditions are as important to productivity as efficient train/bus services, electricity, mobile-phones and computers are. Thus, good health and education of everyone is not just a moral requirement, it’s an economic necessity.
    The infrastructure should be the foundation of the economy – the real material base of the economy. The level of productivity in the country as a whole is dependent on this. It is this half of the economy that should constantly be maintained and improved through scientific guidance. Massive state-investments on infrastructure will obviously create jobs all over the country. Easily accessible credit should be made available for the poor to create the demand for private investors to orientate towards. Considering Sri Lanka’s scenic and cultural beauty, tourism, in my view, should become the number-one foreign exchange earner that should be essentially run by public institutions.
    Obviously, private-profiteers cannot develop visions for the country as a whole. Only, a social-democratic-state accountable to the masses can develop such visions. In order to do this efficiently, all major industries related to infrastructure development should be taken away from private-profiteers and put under the democratic control of the employees.
    Both UNP & SLFP finance ministers cannot develop such visions because they still maintain rock-solid optimism on the global profit-system. But the reality is different: global capitalism is already crumbling. Pumping in trillions of dollars to prop up bankers is not going to solve the global crisis. The next episode of the economic tsunami is already gathering momentum to hit the shores. There’s only one way to transcend the ongoing economic deadlock: global socialism.
    The economic vision I elaborated in relation to Sri Lanka is only a miniature-vision that can be expanded to the globe as a whole. That’s why I keep insisting on the necessity for a global currency, global parliament and a socialist World-Bank.
    But where’s the money to do all this? The answer is simple. Look at the way the Sri Lankan state funded the thirty-year war with billions of dollars. In the last four years alone Sri Lanka’s defense spending amounted to 629 billion rupees (5.5 billion US dollars).
    The central banks are in a special position to ‘create’ money in so many ways. We’ve seen how the USA unleashed the Marshall Plan to rebuild a war-battered Western Europe after the Second World War. Also, we saw how the states in many countries pumped in trillions of dollars to provide life-support to the crumbling global economy after the credit crunch.

    The difference in massive infrastructure investment and job-creation in the socialist sense as opposed to meaningless injection of massive funds for wars etc. is this. Scientifically planned socialist investments will bring substantial increase in productivity that is bound to reach the break-even point at some stage.
    In other words, there’s a big gap between raising credit for war on the one hand, and for infrastructure development on the other. The former is spent on destroying things; the latter is spent on creating things; the former is destroying productivity and living standards while the latter is increasing productivity and living standards. Thus, the former is accumulated as state-debt while the latter is instrumental in creating wealth. The former causes poverty to spread and economic turmoil to deepen; while the latter helps eradicate poverty. Accordingly, the central bank with expert advice can scientifically plan development and unleash credit on a long term basis. And that’s the way to wipeout poverty, and not by blindly opening up Sri Lanka’s resources for the profit-hunters to greedily exploit.
    Let me come to the million dollar question now: What if Mahinda Rajapaksa wins? Again, the answer is simple. The above elaborated logic applies to him too. He too can either choose the capitalist path, as he’s been doing all along. Or, he can choose the socialist path of eradicating poverty along with democratic change. On my part, I think, Sarath Fonseka has a better chance of metamorphosis than Mahinda Rajapaksa. Whoever comes to power will have to tackle the issues of democracy & economics all at once; if they fail, however, a general strike could well be on the cards sooner than later. Both must not underestimate the big change of mass-perception taking place in Sri Lanka since the Sarath/Mahinda split.

  • http://www.lankaeye.com Vasantha Raja

    Reply to “Ground-Truth” (Part 2)

    I’ve argued that the ‘organized working class’ – the trade union movement – is the ‘sleeping giant’ that can effectively challenge the authoritarian regime in Sri Lanka avoiding tit-for-tat attacks on the state or individual terrorism. At present, the giant does not possess the necessary consciousness to act in a constructive way. Thus, the question is: how to equip the working class with the crucial political awareness.

    Let me explain:

    Presently, the trade union movement remains split under all kinds of political parties and individuals with all types of different agendas. The answer to this is NOT building alternative progressive trade unions. That would amount to be a sectarian move that would split the working class even more. Instead, the progressives should address the most politically advanced rank & file workers within unions, and organize them into units to be linked up into a powerful sublevel movement. This ‘alliance’ can develop a common program of economic and democratic demands to unite the entire working class and pressurize the trade union bureaucracy to act upon. The launching of the ‘general strike’ should be dependent on the manner in which a ‘Mafia-Regime’ would respond to the workers’ demands.

  • London Dole

    Dear Mr. Vasantha Raja,

    “I know that Mafia-Regime’s hired-agents are now panicking and trying their best to divert my discussion on the importance of the working-class’ future role in changing Lanka”.

    Come on Mr. Raja, I know you are a self-important person. But I didn’t know you would be that self-deluded as to think the Sri Lankan Govt has hired a person – that also of all people, me – to divert you. You are the one diverting from the central issues of this election by introducing the red herring “working class action.” You never stood up for the working class in Sri Lanka before you fled the country when you were caught working clandestinely for the anti-working class, ultra-right, capitalist, fascist criminal mafia – the LTTE. And you are continuing the same dirty work even after reaching the greener pasture of U.K. If you are really concerned about the working class give me one example of your support for working class/trade union action in the U.K.

    And why are you so edgy talking about the BBC? Are you afraid the skeletons will come out of the cupboard?

    The real issues in the forthcoming presidential elections in Sri Lanka are:

    1. Consolidating the victory over the fascist, criminal mafia LTTE by quickly resettling the IDPs, rehabilitating the former child soldier-victims of LTTE, restoring democracy to the North and rebuilding its economy.

    2.Working, with the active participation of all the communities living in the north and east, towards a permanent solution to the so-called ethnic problem.

    3.Strengthening democratic governance of the country at large which was weakened by more than 30 years of terrorist onslaught by the LTTE and the military campaign to crush it.

    4.Reasserting Sri Lanka’s sovereignty to ensure no sinister, external pro –LTTE elements (Norway, BBC, Miliband, pro-tiger diaspora, to name a few examples) with the help of their local collaborators (corrupt NGOs, peace industry, media mafia, etc.) meddle in the affairs of the island.

    5.Build a peaceful and prosperous Sri Lanka, by forging a new Sri Lankan identity based on pluralism, where all communities can live in harmony and security in any part of the island.

    Now Mr. Raja, which candidate can the people of Sri Lanka trust to lead the country towards these goals? The very fact these options are before Sri Lankans at this moment is due to the able and courageous leadership of President Rajapakse. These options would have sounded like mere wishful thinking only a year ago; whereas Gen Fonseka, is being backed by the unholy alliance of political failures like Ranil, Mangala, Chandrika, the JVP, and the Tiger diaspora. Gen Fonseka is, of course, just plain vengeful. He will align even with the devil in order to oust President Rajapakse from power. This sinister alliance is hell bent on reversing the process that has been set in motion by the total military defeat of the LTTE.

    Gen Fonseka has already shown that he is a dangerous, unstable man. His statements are ominous of things to come if he is elected. He stated in his interview with an Indian newspaper that he wanted an additional 100,000 recruited to the army soon after the war ended, because he wanted a permanent army presence in Wanni. He didn’t want to dismantle high security zones. Rather he wanted to increase militarization. He had the audacity to say he was “disgusted” when President Rajapakse turned down the request. Earlier during the war Gen Fonseka notoriously stated that Sri Lanka was a Sinhala Buddhist country, and Tamils and Muslims are welcome as long as they don’t make undue demands. Now Mr.Raja, you and your Tiger ilk in the west have the nerve to make “behind the scene” endorsement of Gen Fonseka’s candidacy.
    This motley crew in unholy alliance is hell bent on derailing the Sri Lankan people’s march toward peace and economic development after more than 40 years of suffering in their pursuit of power for power’s sake.

  • http://www.lankaeye.com Vasantha Raja

    Dear Mr. Dole,

    When I referred to “Mafia-Regime’s hired-agents” I certainly didn’t mean you. I know they won’t hire a hopelessly impotent writer like you for that. You’ll do more damage than good for them. As I correctly judged you’re merely a vindictive ‘masked-sniper’ with no guts to reveal the real identity. So, you’re mistaken to think I meant you as a ‘hired-agent’; SL Govt’s propaganda-organizer cannot be that stupid.

  • Groundtruth

    Dear Vasantha Raja

    Thank you for your “scientifically planned economic panacea for all the accumulated ills of Sri Lanka” . When you say your econmic vision can even be extended to the global stage of a global currency, globaI parliament etc and what not I begin to worry if you not suffering from some kind of delusions.

    The kind of economic theory you advance reminds one of North Korea, the only so-called internalised socialist economy left in the world. Even socialist giants like China and former USSR with one time state controlled means of production and dsitribution have abandoned those “scientifically planned and applied economies” despite their great internal demands for goods and services and have to a great extent re-modelled them to suit the new world economy with open trading systems under the WTO. The great driver is the world demand although it has come under increasing strains because of capital imperfections and corruption, among a number of other factors. There are also other negating factors like rising unemployment, re-capitaliastion of banks and other lending agencies coupled with mperefct checks and balances .

    Against this world capital market difficulties it is a pipe dream to expect Marshall type rescue Plans from USA, what with issues like human rights and potential war crimes in the air. Already the EU has stopped the GSP+ on teh same score which is likey to create more difficulties on account of the dismal human rights record. The GOSL has raised capital infrastrural loan projects with mainly China worth over 6 b $ but with Chinese labour, it appears, like the former BMICH type project. Assured of quality outputs but with foreign labour paid for by the SL tax payers while uenemployment ie at an all time high except in the military sounds dicey.

    Given the very bad exepriences with state owned production enterprises in teh past your prescription of doing away with the private sector, the only ones which pay their taxes on time from profits no doubt,to sustain in part the national economy is quite absurd. Forget not that the only socalist economies are the Scandinavian models based on private industries with heavy taxation levels.

    It is correct that there is ample scope for infrastructural development but to entrust it to the state only is another pie in the sky idea. And where will all that capital come from to meet all needs such as the housing needs in the noth and east devastated by war? In a way the state has to take the responsibility,at least in part. To expect it to all come out of the Central Bank is to be ignorant of the role of its real functions.

    You have ignored the very important agricultural sector which maintains the overall and rural economies in a country which is yet largely rural.

    What ought to be done in the event one of the two names mentioned by you or anybody else for that matter, wins is not for me to answer. That is left to the voters, however much you may feel agitated about. By the way, have you thought of metamorphosing yourself into a down to earth type? Sooner the better.

  • London Dole

    Mr. Vasantha Raja,

    In your previous posting you chided me for “diverting” from your “central argument.” Practice what you preach. Or, are you not capable? Is your BBC training not good enough for the task that you have to retreat to your familiar terrain – namely, below the belt.

    So you say: “I know they won’t hire a hopelessly impotent writer like you for that….. As I correctly judged you’re merely a vindictive ‘masked-sniper’ with no guts to reveal the real identity.”

    Oh Vasantha Raja, I am surprised she forgot to mention my name when she told you all about me, including my hopeless impotency. Next time, don’t forget to ask her about my “real identity.”

    So Mr. Raja, “don’t try your naïve tricks. Just try and refute the argument if you can.”