3 December, 2022

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A Common Perspectival Framework For A Center-Left Re-Groupment & Revival 

By Dayan Jayatilleka

Dr. Dayan Jayatilleka

1. The last time the Sri Lankan citizenry suffered materially in a manner remotely similar to the current suffering was in 1970-1977. The leader of the day never led the nation again. It took 17 years and her rebellious daughter, who was not associated with the suffering of the past and who professed drastically different economic policies, to get the party re-elected.

2. Today’s Pohottuwa will never be re-elected while under Rajapaksa dominance and any Rajapaksa will take decades – while the memories of generations fade, together with the narrative–to be elected to the country’s top spot (as in the case of ‘Bongbong’ Marcos).

3. This leaves a simple choice for SLPP members: (a) dump the Rajapaksas and free the SLPP (b) denounce the Rajapaksas and flee the Rajapaksa camp immediately, or (c) go down with the ship at the next election and every election after that for decades.

4. SWRD Bandaranaike and his Silent Revolution of 1956-1959 were dualistic, but was primarily progressive and secondarily reactionary. It was progressive in its social, economic and foreign policy aspects and reactionary in its linguistic aspect. SWRD strove to reverse that reactionary aspect with the Bandaranaike-Chelvanayakam Pact but he was blocked from doing so. (Had he been an elected President he could have seen it through).

5. What remains valid in SWRD policies are the progressive aspect of 1956, fused with the B-C Pact of 1957, but with an honest and total rejection of Sinhala Only and the majoritarian, exclusivist or hegemonistic ethno-nationalism that gave rise to it.

6. There cannot be a return to the Sirimavo Bandaranaike economic model or its celebration. That model caused semi-malnutrition. People were rooting in garbage cans for papaw skins. The SLFP and its Left partners were swept away for 1 ½ years (and the Left partners, for far longer) because of the suffering associated with the statist-closed economy model. The UNP coasted for years by rekindling that mass memory of suffering.

7.  Vijaya Kumaratunga’s SLMP project, breaking away from the SLFP, was the kind of Left the country needed and still needs—free, open, tolerant, democratic, pluralist, anti-racist, anti-imperialist—and Vijaya himself was a precursor of the Aragalaya consciousness.

8. Chandrika Bandaranaike Kumaratunga was correct to break with the Sirimavo-NM Perera economic model but was wrong to go well beyond the progressive thinking of her economic advisor Dr Lal Jayawardena and turn to the right, exemplified by, but not restricted to, privatizing and foreignizing the ownership of the plantations (in contradistinction to President Ranasinghe Premadasa who chose to award renewable five-year management contracts, not ownership, to Sri Lankan, but not foreign private companies).

9. Chandrika Bandaranaike Kumaratunga was horribly wrong not to prosecute the war to a finish and resort instead to a Norwegian peace-keeping exercise, the failure of which was underscored by the LTTE attack on the Katunayake airbase and crowned with the assassination in Colombo of Foreign Minister Lakshman Kadirgamar. In the matter of negotiations and the PTOMS, Chandrika went against the advice of Kadirgamar just as she went beyond the policy parameters of Lal Jayawardena in economics.

10. That the war could have been won with the same army and the same General Staff was proceed by the victory under the political leadership of her successor Mahinda Rajapaksa and General Sarath Fonseka whom CBK had transferred from Jaffna to the Volunteer Corps in Colombo, despite his sterling performance in saving Jaffna from the LTTE advance in 2000 after the fall of Elephant Pass, by blocking the Tigers at Kilaly.

11. Had Chandrika fought Prabhakaran with the resoluteness her mother would indubitably have brought to bear, she would have won it, and been well-positioned to successfully reintroduce her August 2000 draft Constitution, thereby resolving the Tamil National Question. It is her irresponsible failure in not doing so that opened the road for the rule of the Rajapaksa Clan and the prolonged spike in Sinhala Buddhist militarist-chauvinism.

12. Given Ranil Wickremesinghe’s track record of appeasement and capitulation vis-à-vis the LTTE, it was by far the correct decision to opt for Mahinda Rajapaksa over him as President in 2005, though CBK clearly preferred a different outcome.

13. The first term of Mahinda Rajapaksa was historically a triumph, winning a decisive victory over the LTTE in a war that many previous leaders had fought and dismally failed to win.

14. The beginning of the decline of the Mahinda Rajapaksa presidency and that of the collective Rajapaksa project, and the transition from the positive as the major aspect to the negative as the major aspect, began with the dismissal, dismantling and dispersal of the teams that won the ground war and the diplomatic war (in Geneva)—most dramatically and disastrously manifested in the unjust jailing of war-winning General Sarath Fonseka.

15. The second term of Mahinda Rajapaksa was comparatively progressive, chiefly because the alternative remained Ranil Wickremesinghe. There was considerable economic growth and buoyancy, partly due to the legitimate recourse to Chinese loans but partly to the little noticed yet massive and imprudent recourse to private international borrowings.  Beneath the comparatively progressive achievement the putrefaction had set in. Gotabaya and Basil Rajapaksa had carved out their respective spheres of influence.

16. The shooting of Bharatha Lakshman Premachandra caused the first fissure in the SLFP, just as the incarceration of General Fonseka had fissured the support bloc early in 2010. The Chilaw, Katunayake, Rathupaswela and Welikada shootings, which as in the case of Bharatha Lakshman, were traceable to one camp—the securocrat camp–within the Government, ensured electoral defeat in 2015.

17. The Central Bank bond scam, neoliberal economic program, “foreign judges” sellout Geneva resolution of 2015, and attempt to introduce a non-unitary Constitution by Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe warranted and justified a fightback by the Joint Opposition (JO) in favour of a Mahinda Rajapaksa comeback.

18. It also justified the detachment of the bulk of the SLFP from the then SLFP leadership which was in coalition with Ranil Wickremesinghe, and the founding of a new party, the SLPP.

19. The limiting of its membership to the SLFP, rather than structuring the SLPP as a party that would invite and absorb the Joint Opposition (JO) as a whole, facilitated the entrenched dominance of the Rajapaksa Clan within the SLPP.

20. The prevention by the 19th amendment of Mahinda Rajapaksa running for even a non-consecutive third term, opened the road for the Gotabaya Rajapaksa succession project which dated back at least to the hyping -up of his wartime role in the book Gota’s War published within the second Mahinda Rajapaksa term (2012).

21  The Gotabaya Rajapaksa project reflected and reinforced the acknowledged dualism of Gotabaya’s personality. The largely rational-managerial side predominated in 2016-2017, perhaps up to mid-2018. The Sinhala supremacist, militarist and irrational side kicked-in from mid-2018, dramatically expressed in Gotabaya’s needless defense of the senior cleric who called on him to “be a Hitler” during the sermon delivered on his birthday that year.

22. The most prudent and progressive decision for Mahinda Rajapaksa and the SLPP at the time would have been to opt for Dinesh Gunawardena or Chamal Rajapaksa as candidate. Instead, the need to tilt the longer-term succession in favour of Namal Rajapaksa, probably tilted the candidacy in Gotabaya’s favour.

23. The Easter Sunday massacre which was possible due to the mysterious behavior of high-ranking intelligence personnel who did not pass the Indian intelligence warnings to their institutional and political superiors, and the resultant wave of Islamophobic militancy—which had commenced as far back as 2012 with the BBS, itself commended by Secretary/Defence Rajapaksa—sealed the Gotabaya Rajapaksa candidacy, and did so as a Sinhala religio-racist, militarist, proto-fascist project, rather than the earlier rational-technocratic one (2016-to-mid-2018). The overnight ban on synthetic fertilizer-pesticide-weedicide was the most emblematic manifestation of this irrational mindset. It was possible because of the hyper-centralization of power in Gotabaya and the Presidency through the autocratic 20th amendment.

24. After a massive popular uprising deposed Gotabaya rule, the SLPP had the options of voting for Dullas Alahapperuma, or nominating Prof GL Peiris or Dinesh Gunawardena for the Presidency, in the parliamentary ‘electoral college’ process. Instead, it chose to enthrone its traditional adversary Ranil Wickremesinghe in a presidency he had always been kept away from by the citizenry. This represented the ultimate degeneration, the Ground Zero, of the SLPP and the Rajapaksa Clan’s political trajectory. From a progressive phenomenon on balance, the Rajapaksas and the party they run, has turned into a reactionary rightwing bloc, which props up a leader who has no popular mandate even as a parliamentarian.

25. The only hope for the traditional center-left is without and against the Rajapaksas. It is the path of the de-Rajapaksafication and indeed the de-familization or de-cartelization of the center-left political space. If the center-left owes allegiance to an oligarchy, it cannot be described as center-left or progressive.

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Latest comments

  • 3
    9

    Thanks, Dayan.
    .
    Most of this has been analysis of the past; it is necessary that we learn from past mistakes. However, the emphasis must be on the way forward.
    .
    We are agreed on the broad outlines. Let nobody attempt to another in terms of cleverness.
    .
    Forward!

    • 10
      1

      One of the main characters in the chaos in the country today is the DJ. IF Rajapaksa are to be hung / DJ and WimalbBuruwanse should be punished equally/the duo are complicit paving the way for Rajapaksa’s return 🤔🤔🤔🤔🤔🤔🤔🤔🤔🤔

      • 4
        3

        It is my opinion that LM , SM and DJ should by hung in public. If possible I will attend the afterparty.

        • 2
          0

          a14455 / September 25, 2022
          You are always Medamulana animal’s lap dog. Pigs that like to eat poop don’t mind doing so.
          :
          So what else can we expect from you?

          If your thoughts are those of the majority, God help Sri Lanka.

    • 1
      6

      Dear Readers,
      .
      This article appeared on Saturday, the 24th, about dawn, as I was about to turn off my computer. I hurriedly read through the article and made my comment. There now are six comments on display.
      .
      Yes, I agree with the broad outlines of the skullduggery, but it strikes me that the last sentence that I have submitted doesn’t make sense. What I meant was that it seems as though we attempt to outdo one another in showing our cleverness.
      .
      Over and above everything else that we have been seeing since 2005 (the Rajapaksa Era) has been self-interest rather than the public good, and corruption on an unimaginable scale. Doesn’t this account of the “gas shortage” bear that out?
      .
      https://island.lk/v-2/
      .
      Please note the question mark; it is a genuine question. I don’t subscribe to the slogan that every one of the 225 MPs is a rogue, but most are.
      .
      tbc

    • 1
      8

      Continuing:
      .
      And if Ranil Wickremasinghe tries to be the President for something like two years more, then the situation becomes totally intolerable. Clearly, he was voted in because he was going to cover up all the Rajapaksa corruption, and allow the 124 who voted for him to remain MPs until they qualified for their pensions, with most enjoying more opportunities to reap benefits as Ministers, etc.
      .
      The signs are ominous:
      .
      https://economynext.com/sri-lanka-police-arrest-84-for-illegal-protest-after-presidents-high-security-zone-declaration-100287/
      .
      I got a first-hand account of the brutality of the police; no, not from a JVP source. From a man who has begun conversing with me to improve his English. It may sound weird, but that is the truth.
      .
      This story of the irresponsibility of youth comes from my area:
      .
      http://www.colombopage.com/archive_22B/Sep24_1664042508CH.php
      .
      More a-political vandalism.
      .
      http://www.colombopage.com/archive_22B/Sep24_1664043695CH.php
      .
      Militarism is sweeping the world again. The religions have no answers.
      .
      http://www.colombopage.com/archive_22B/Sep24_1664043695CH.php
      .
      That is the truth, now told by an MP for whom I never had respect. When are we going to heed the clear indications that we need a moral compass, not fake religiosity?

    • 1
      6

      Few understand environmental concerns; irresponsibility spreads from the selfish people who have got control of the country. Ever since this road was opened about 1967, tracts of virgin forest have been set fire to by pranksters; it applies to The Horton Plains as well. Education has become nobody’s concern.
      .
      I confirm to all my belief that the NPP as an organisation, and some other MPs of various hues who are refusing to join the feast, are those to trust. It is for each voter to work out his preferences.
      .
      As for Dayan’s articles; I acknowledge his cleverness, and his mastery of political science. This caveat I often make when commenting on his articles. The conclusions that he arrives at appear to depend on what suits him at the time of writing.
      .
      More than the political philosophy that we espouse, what is important is that there should be honesty, and a vision for a peaceful world. This other article makes a statement on such environmental issues.
      .
      https://www.colombotelegraph.com/index.php/on-overlooking-the-obvious/
      .
      There is too much information, not sufficient concern for TRUTH. We have to think carefully before we decide upon courses of action.
      .
      Panini Edirisinhe of Bandarawela

      • 7
        1

        Sinhala_Man,
        You compel me to pick on you.
        ” … what is important is that there should be honesty, and a vision for a peaceful world”.
        Frankly, I don’t understand a damn of what you are saying.
        What contribution would one expect from us for peace on earth!
        Let us be our size.
        The only peace we should strive for is peace in our midst; peace in Sri Lanka.
        (The world has much major players to worry about peace on earth.)

      • 3
        0

        “As for Dayan’s articles; I acknowledge his cleverness, and his mastery of political science. This caveat I often make when commenting on his articles. The conclusions that he arrives at appear to depend on what suits him at the time of writing.”

        What kind of talent are you referring to here? From the beginning on , he fell in love with Rajapakse’s heterodox circles. I don’t think “intelligent”, “intelligent” or similar terms can be used for selfish criminals. Every time the DJ was appointed to a new season, his criticism of everyone faded away. So how does it relate to “intelligence”, “diplomacy” and “ingenuity”? ?

        If his knowledge of political science had worked for the betterment of society and country, I could have praised him and his repeated articles. But the more literate province of Sri Lanka (Western Province) was misled by the “creationist” rhetoric of Wimal Buruwan and in the recent past by D.J. To me he is 100% similar to “Wimal Buruwan Conspiracy Theory”.

  • 12
    3

    Dayan Jayatilleka is such an adorable guy.
    What stole the show for me is his pronouncement, “with an honest and total rejection of Sinhala Only and the majoritarian, exclusivist or hegemonistic ethno-nationalism”.
    But, I would’nt want to rush; I’ll wait for his next mood-swing.
    .
    I didn’t have to wait that long!
    “Chandrika Bandaranaike Kumaratunga was horribly wrong not to prosecute the war to a finish and resort instead to a Norwegian peace-keeping exercise”.
    .
    Dayan, Your, ‘assassination of Foreign Minister Lakshman Kadirgamar’, dialogue is too irritating.
    .
    If I am not passing any more opinion, it is because I lost my desire to continue reading.

  • 1
    1

    Center-Left Re-Groupment & Revival

    always center,not center left or center right. Centrist parties are the best.Macron was a centrist but whenhe brought the policies that shifted a already leftist france to the center he was branded a rightist.Today france has become competitive again though not as competive as the UK yet.

    • 7
      0

      S
      There is no centrism or middle path in a society sharply divided by race and class.
      In fact much of the ‘social democratic left’ is more right than some of the liberals in many matters.

      • 1
        3

        SJ

        i am referring to the economy.A centrist party will adopt policies that will result in economic growth but not create a wide gulf between the rich and poor.It will not rely on trickle down policies as we know greed at the upper layers will never allow anything to tricke down to the lower layers.So the centrist government should be proactive in shovelling some of the larger cake to the bottom layers.

        Ranasinghe premedasa was good at that and i think sajit is also following his policies.Premedasa used to make the capitalist economic policies work to get a bigger cake but was proactively shovelling some of the cake to the poor especially in housing.No point in a capitalist society that does not provide the basic necessities to a segment of the people.You have to reserve some of the gains to those down below.

        • 3
          0

          S
          My comment covers the economy. There is not much separation between economics and politics in class society.
          Labour started the welfare society in the UK. Until Mrs T the Tories tagged along without upsetting the system.
          Liberalism is among the woolliest of political terminology.
          The deprived layers of society receive some benefits when it helps to keep them satisfied.
          But when that costs the super-rich a little too much, everything is withdrawn one some pretext or other.
          Has any centrist reversed any neoliberal economic policy? At best they tinker a little here, a little there.
          Bourgeois democracy is government of, by and for the bourgeoisie. The popular democratic facade wears off when capitalist interests are at stake.

          • 0
            0

            SJ
            “Has any centrist reversed any neoliberal economic policy? “

            people can call themselves centrist but its easy to talk but difficult to walk the talk. As you rightly pointed out it is not the label that counts but the actions of the so called centrist politician.Ranasinghe premedasa did show some action but as you point out he was walking a tightrope within a capitalist party and had to be careful that he does not fall down on his trapeze act.What is the difference between a trapeze artist and a prostitute?The trapeze artist has a cunning stunt while the prostitute has a stunning cunt.I rest my case now.

            • 2
              0

              S
              Centrism is itself a woolly concept. It often masks rightist thought.
              *
              Can you define a centrism for all to decide how centrist they are?
              Can we talk of moderate centrists, extreme centrists, ultra centrists, left-right-and-centre centrists?
              *
              Did RP claim to be any kind of centrist (SWRDB claimed to take the ‘middle path’ though)?
              Do we define centrism based on RP? I
              Will Dayan J qualify as an RP centrist?
              *
              You may rest your case on a trapeze or in a brothel, as you please.

  • 1
    0

    DJ, You identify 2 areas as Ground Zero ultimate degeneration with current president as well as the aragalaya ultimate of de-Rajapaksafication welcomed by citizens lacking basic essentials for family living. The latter must continue if we can only find and use any unrobbed dollars escaping from the family. If only Ground Zero mindset accepts the aragalaya voiced system change through the necessary processing, we could benefit immensely. If only, if only, the vengeance leaves that mind, whole nation could be victors.

  • 11
    1

    Dayan,
    You are a failure because of your opportunistic move around the political affliation and justification to your masters instead of the country or people.

  • 4
    0

    Dayan

    “Lord save me from myself!” – Jon Foreman

    I can take care of myself.

    • 3
      0

      I am sorry I got it wrong
      What I wanted to convey was:

      “Lord save me from myself!” – Jon Foreman
      I can take care of my enemies.

  • 2
    2

    I think it is true that the Rajapakses will probably have no way back. But in truth Gotabaya was a very flawed candidate. in hindsight it is pretty clear. No one in that family has the political nous of Mahinda.

    If Sri Lanka is to ever succeed it has to get rid of the nanny state. That is not to say we need to get rid of free education and health. but everything else should be privatized. and should be run as profit making entities.

    So I hope there will be no Center Left coalition that comes into power for a long long time.

    • 2
      0

      a 14455
      .
      I think it is true that the Rajapaksas have no way back. But Gotabaya was actually a very flawed candidate. Was it not clear long before Nov 2019 election?
      I think all but 6.9 million have made it very clear that Gotabaya is no different from the “Dhammika Paniya Maker”.
      I think srilanken main stream media institutions should be punished as well for having the people misled brutally. TV media is the primary source of people s information, however, all these have been treated with toal ignorance in this country for the last 15 years.
      .
      I think it is true that the Rajapaksas have no way back. But Gotabaya was actually a very flawed candidate. Was it unsupervised? I think all but 6.9 million have made it very clear that Gotabaya is no different from the “Dhammika Paniya Maker”.
      I think srilanken main stream media institutions should be punished as well for having the people misled brutally. TV media is the primary source of people s information, however, all these have been treated with toal ignorance in this country for the last 15 years.

  • 6
    0

    “The leader of the day never led the nation again.”
    If DJ can shake up his memory he will know why.
    JRJ deprived the “leader of the day” of her civic rights using his kangaroo court so that she could not challenge him in the first and only presidential election that he contested in 1982. Then when she was able to contest in 1988 the JVP helped DJ’s friend to win by organizing s boycott campaign that prevented voters from voting from districts strategically important to the “leader of the day”.
    *
    In singing the glory of Premadasa, DJ omits that it was under RP that the plantation industry was wrecked by denationalization.
    Part of the denationalization was owing to the rising cost of the war.

  • 3
    1

    Enough wallowing in the past and historic figures. They all have failed. Each one of them from D S Senanayake to present Ranil (although he has been on this hot seat only for a very short time), all have failed. Of the 225 in the Parliament, most of them have jumped like monkeys from party to party for “Santhosams” they got from the then ruling king. The Kings, each of them gave nominations to rapists, crooks, murderers, bribe takers, drug dealers, and racists. So there is no point in wallowing about the past, all of them are crooks. We are in this situation because of them. Even Ranil within such a short period of being the President has destroyed human rights afforded in the constitution to the citizens. Mr. Clean is no more Mr. Clean.

    • 3
      1

      B1
      “Enough wallowing in the past and historic figures”
      If so, even yesterday, or for the matter, the moment that passed too belongs to the past.
      Historic figures are relevant not for what they are portrayed as but for what they did and its impact on society.
      *
      You say “Mr. Clean is no more Mr. Clean.”
      Being a Buddhist you should know that nothing is permanent.

  • 5
    1

    From Nugegoda Uprising to de-Rajapaksafication. It leaves one speechless.

    • 5
      1

      Metamorphosis?

  • 4
    3

    Chinhala/Buddhism is the killer of this nation. It is indeed and nothing but it.

    • 0
      0

      HP,
      .
      at least few of you the kind of senior citizens notice it today should be some improvement.
      .
      Most of sinhala buddhist monks even if they wear Prof. titles are no different to real pinguththtaayas (ones that odained to be monk just for free meals).
      .
      Just imagine, that shameless MONKS that promoted GOTABAYA be the leader, behave today. Some of them dont know what they had been doing then.
      :
      These men hidden behind SIVURU costumes are misleading the stupid dominated nation again and again.

  • 4
    0

    Paul

    “It leaves one speechless.”

    Dyan (64 positions all at the same time) does not give two hoots about it.
    Being a person who is a prolific typist gives him an added advantage. He does not have to respond to readers comments.

    By the way have you heard about “Infinite monkey theorem”.
    Is it really feasible that a chimpanzee with a typewriter and an infinite amount of time will be able to produce the complete works of Shakespeare?
    https://www.theguardian.com/notesandqueries/query/0,5753,-1350,00.html

    • 1
      0

      Native, I think Dayan will get there before the chimpanzee, Gramsci willing.

      • 1
        0

        Dayan or the like are always there to promote RAJAPAKSHEKISM. My wonder is though man is self-proclaiming mode from dawn to dusk, nothing seems to get him closer to his next dream which to get posted to somewhere else, in order to please his sanjana on the cost of srilanken tax payers.
        .

      • 0
        0

        National awards will soon be called for their criminal performance.
        Sri Lanka was dominated by the plan of the crime branch – Mahinda Rajapaksa – btich’s son and his oft-repeated story, once Motherland, ,twice motherland, thrice motherland, in order to mislead the grass eaters again and again.
        of taming the grass eaters. So called patriotism. However, the backlash was fueled by the sinhala buddhist monks. Most of buddhist monks in SL have not the least knowledge about anything. If Rainbow reflections of lights would fall on steeples of buididings, they would start calling it ” buduras” ” radiations of lord buddha”…. I have never seen europeans would start fabricating stories about the rainbow natural scenes with their religions. The knowledge of Basci physics is known to even european beggars, but even BA graduates in our country are far from BASIC principles of light.
        .
        Crime Unit for Economy and Illegal Business – Kaputa aka Basil
        The so-called fake security issue – Gotabhaya is a man who is not good enough to handle even the local council.

        Not a single word in the press about Basil and his move to the United States.
        Why ? Why couldn’t it? now you may understand, failure lies on SRILANKEN main stream media or not ?

  • 0
    1

    Oh yes I have heard of the version of a monkey typing the bards sonnets !
    But now I am thinking of convoluting ideology
    People are starving and some need a drink
    The Lender is not a charity and , looking at social stability before they lend as banks do. Its we who approached them for a loan and it’s our prerogative ditch all capital markets etc etc…
    Colonial left us , local hero’s abandoned us , All did some killing , some with with Zero casualty !. Abroad the German Hitler did proper killings , Stalin did much more and Mao colossally more killings while the US is not full of angels if we want to talk of other countries. But just talking of us, for a short moment if we may, we are voting in links and citizens of one ideology and preferring another.
    If the gaze is on that side of the globe how about electing a politician who truly walks the china talk ,.I found parts of china westernised if one likes living that trend.
    For me I just like the Moutai as a drink,
    it could be nice for you too what’s the fuss with an imaginative sonnet.

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