Colombo, Elections, Peace and Conflict, Politics and Governance, Post-War

In defense of the JVP campaign to support Sarath Fonseka

The ongoing “Rajapaksa-Fonseka battle” is a blessing in disguise for the Tamil-speaking people and the Sinhalese despite its immediate appearances; because the upcoming debates are bound to change the confused Sinhala consciousness on an unprecedented scale.

The JVP’s decision to back the General as a tactical move to get rid of the utterly corrupt Rajapaksa-regime is sensible indeed, to say the least. Fonseka is a political novice, therefore, he is malleable. He is thoroughly cornered by the reactionary establishment; and therefore, his pliability is increasing by the day. That’s a positive thing. The chances of him suddenly turning into a dictator after an electoral victory is very little indeed. If he does a social revolution will be on the cards; and it’ll be the duty of the JVP to lead the people towards real democracy & real “poverty eradication” along socialist principles.

Comrade Bahu’s decision to contest, I believe, is wrong. It will confuse the Tamils and mislead the Sri Lankan intelligentsia. And, this will only benefit the present regime to retain power. Instead, the Left should unite with the JVP to use this opportunity to educate all communities about democratic politics and socialist economics as the prelude to big changes later.

In this context, the unity established among all “Tamil-speaking people” (Tamils, Muslims & Plantation Workers) is also a positive development whatever the limitations and contradictions it has at present. [Tamil votes are going to be crucial to the outcome of the impending elections and all Tamil & Muslim parties should present common demands – a justifiable political solution before the candidates – a solution that can be easily understood by the man on the street.

It should, in my view, be essentially a Unitary Solution – a solution that is beneficial to all Tamil-speaking people living right across the island: There should be two Regional Assemblies – one for the Tamil-dominated region and one for the Sinhala-dominated region. A democratically-transformed Centre – equipped with the Highest-Level Institutions related to security and economic planning of the island as a whole – should be the centerpiece of the New Constitution. The regional Assemblies should be empowered to handle all lower-level institutions primarily related to regional cultural and economic development – in harmony with the central vision. [I see no reason why such a constitution cannot be designed for the benefit of all communities.]

However, I must add that the democratic transformation of Sri Lanka should be inseparably intertwined with an economic vision. The JVP and the SL Left should use the election campaign to expose the Rajapaksa-regime’s total submission to the imperialist economic project. Above all, the deepening gulf within the ruling class should be fully utilized to equip the masses with a democratic/socialist vision, while doing the most practical thing to get rid of the existing regime in the impending presidential election.