Colombo Telegraph

A Response To Kumar David: Where Are You?

By Vasudeva Nanayakkara

Vasudeva Nanayakkara

Dear Professor Kumar David,

I read my name amongst two, three others in one of your writings. No doubt you have your own skewed conclusions about the UPFA government. But when you had in your article refered to me as one who will not leave the UPFA government until the last of the goblet is empty and you further go to explain that the perks and pleasures of office are too much for me to exit from the government, I could not resist but respond. If this statement is to be taken as yours and as your understanding of our political purpose then I feel sorry for your poverty of politics. We have our reasons with which you will agree or not for being with the UPFA government. At least you will remember some of it. Why did not you tare them in to pieces with your analytical wisdom and political wit and then go on to say what you said. If our reasoning is bogus you should unmask it, or in the least dismiss them with contempt. I invite you to comment on the following and show that you can be not malicious and not frivolous. You were in our DLF from it’s inception as against the sectarianism of the NSSP.

Of course you did not agree with some of our positions such as self government instead of NSSP’S self determination. We carried on with the dissent of many like you particularly on the questions of our inclusion in the government of the UPFA. You agreed that MR was a reasonable platform on which we can join UPFA and press our positions without playing in to the hands of UNP or militarism.  We had continued differences about how much and to what extent we should raise our opposition within the UPFA government. Basically we agreed that MR and UPFA represented the “Critical Block” as against UNP the militarists and the anarchists who were patently serving imperialism, in the 2010 Presidential election. Our theoretical position that the main contradiction lies between imperialism and the  people required us to back UPFA and you did not differ.

But, when MR regime went on to a decisive offensive on the LTTE and decimated its military might your antagonism to the government too came to a decisive point of a break with us and our positions. DLF did not ever condone triumphalism of the government after the war.

In fact comrade Vasudeva wrote to the President that he declines the invitation to celebrate the victory of the war saying that it was only an inevitable choice about which we could not rejoice.

Since then you had treated the UPFA as the main enemy. We know that you were never comfortable supporting Fonseka in 2010. You were looking out for that progressive needle in the JVP haystack. When the FSP emerged you cheered as if to say “At last here is that mass left”. Your cheers have paled since then.

You agreed that the objective conditions do not warrant a major socio economic transformation into a post capitalist stage. You had agreed that we could push for social democratic reforms corresponding to the level of the mass consciousness and our subjective capacity to mobilize sizable sections of the working people. You had agreed with us that the social forces who have inherited the tradition of the anti-imperialist and social democratic struggle have moved  as a single coloumn in the path of our history. Did not we really regret the coming of JR due to the break up of our camp. You had also recognized the task of the left to work among these forces with appropriate transitional demands.

You had acknowledged that MR is responsive to the aspirations of these forces. MR’s external policies of close ties with China and friendship with Iran and his – unequivocal stand in favour of a Palestine state are not entirely disjointed from his domestic policy of a national economy and development in the rural sector.

The global context – determines much of what could happen within the present political parameters. But, this should not lead us to come to impressionist conclusions about the character of the MR regime which is dependent on the camp of national democratic progressive forces. We opposed the 18th amendment in the parliament and gave out clearly the reasons for it. At the same time we did not want to be isolated from the progressive masses by breaking with the UPFA and lend an advantage to the reactionary enemies of the government.

There are large numbers of progressive activists with the UPFA. Our mission is to encourage them and bring there consciousness   to bare on the UPFA government and thus help in resisting moves like the call to abolish the 13th amendment. Also demand higher revenue for the government from high incomes for larger amounts of public expenditure including for rural roads, electrification and drinking water. If we had a surplus state revenue like in Venezuela welfare policies would have been no less. The base of our welfare is ahead, of other countries.

We need to propose measures of state revenue like recommencement of bunkering by the Petroleum Corp., or expanding the state enterprises into profit making fields such as we have already done with the Litro gas or Graphite. In fact the graphite company was pulled out of the rut by the state since 2005.

We should next point out and raise a strong pressure to reacquire state’s lucrative ventures like SAGT (Elizabeth Jetty) and the Distilleries Corporation etc. We also propose elected  employees’ Councils in state and semi state institutions to curb corruption and waste. Insurance Corporation back with the state is now the leader of the industry.

Democracy is not in peril as you imagine. Your comparison of UPFA to a Corporate state like that of Mussolini is to miss the whole point about the historical  character of the UPFA. The government of UPFA is engaged in an effort to restructure the political economy from what it has been since 1977 within the bounds of numerous constraints and besieged by the local rightwing and global imperialism. Where are you?

Your sincerely,

Vasudeva Nanayakkara

Minister of National Languages and Social Integration

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