29 June, 2022


Don’t Elect A Cat To Defend The Mice – A Response To Kumar David

By TU Senan – 

TU Senan

TU Senan

Canadian politician Tommy Douglas once told a story called ‘Mouseland’ that beautifully sums up the bogus choices that the masses are often faced with in an election.

“…when they couldn’t take it anymore, they voted the white cats out and put the black ones in again. Then they went back to the white cats. Then to the black cats. They even tried half black cats and half white cats. And they called that coalition. They even got one government made up of cats with spots on them”

“Trouble wasn’t with the colour of the cat. The trouble was that they were cats. And because they were cats, they naturally looked after cats instead of mice”.

But Kumar David, responding to an earlier article , claims that it’s ok to elect a cat if it can be tasked with one job –ie “abolishment of the executive presidency”. He claims the “individual is irrelevant, can even be a broomstick, as long as this ONE JOB gets done”. Kumar – also the sole ‘owner’ and copyright holder of the proposal for a ‘common candidature’ – missed all the important points that are made in the article and the very reason for writing such an article.

Kumar’s version of a ‘common candidate’ proposal is rapidly being invalidated by developing events. The idea of rallying Muslim votes behind a Buddhist monk-cat or uniting Tamil votes behind a Sinhala nationalist-cat just because they made vaguely positive noises about a different parliamentary system, is fading now. Why? The UNP leadership, visualising a split in the SLFP, will not surrender the opportunity to others. Similarly it would be suicidal for the TNA to come out and support an openly Sinhala nationalist-cat. There is no chance that the FSP, JVP, or USP will support a UNP candidate.

All these factors are well known – including by Kumar. What is also widely understood is the failed policy of supporting war criminal Fonseka in the hope it would remove the ruling family post haste.

Tamils have demonstrated many times the lengths to which they are prepared to go to get rid of the current genocidal regime. At the same time Tamils in Sri Lanka know by bitter experience that betting everything on a ‘new change’ is a failed policy. They have paid an enormous price on numerous occasions. When Chandrika stood for the presidency for the first time in 1994 to oust the UNP’s notorious JR Jayewardene (JRJ), she created enormous hope. She also managed to win the conditional support of various left organisations and progressive sections. Even the LTTE had high hopes based on secret talks they held with her when she lived outside of the country. What good was then achieved?

The tactic of getting rid of JRJ was correct, but not building a strong independent alternative force at the same time was wrong. In its absence emerged Mahinda. Initially the political vacuum was created through the crushing of the workers’ movement that followed the defeat of the 1980 general strike, which in turn paved the way for the UNP onslaught, the 1983 massacre of Tamils that led to armed uprising, and the consolidation of state power.

Once again we are at a similar crossroads. What’s left of the fighting organisations are on the verge of being further crushed. MR could successfully conclude what JRJ started. What’s the point of following the same old tactic?

Left veteran Vasudeva Nanayakkara followed the old path and ended up selling his soul to the devil. He once, however, pulled the leg of his ex-comrade Kumar by reminding him that he “agreed that MR was a responsible platform on which we can join UPFA and press our positions without playing into the hands of the UNP or militarism”. Vasu carried on pressing.

But all credit to Kumar for not hesitating to become an ardent opponent of the brutal war and horrific MR regime. For this reason he always has our respect. But it seems he is not willing to change the line of argument he pursued years ago. Once again Chandrika, for example, is seen as a ‘magical broom’ that can sweep away the current regime. Surely you could expect the conditional support of the left organisations, Tamils, Muslims and progressive sections again, if it can be realised despite the stark difference in conditions that exist now. Her party is a different animal now and her support base is feeble, for example.

Crucially this will not in any way strengthen the forces that are building up to fight back. In this situation is it a crime to call for a consolidation of all those fighting forces? To fight for a left alternative and build its strength at the same time keeping all options open to overthrow the MR regime. This is the point Kumar should pay extra attention to before he dismisses everything else around him with added arrogance.

We also understand why the spirit of the alchemist is still burning to create a ‘magical cat’ that can unite the opposition based on achieving a single job. It is a fear of the continuation of MR. All decent souls like that of Kumar will feel a kick in the stomach when they look at the possibility of a third term for MR. It is even more frustrating to admit that it is the likely scenario, as things stand today.

A relevant question to ask is what is at stake in a ‘third coming’ of MR? Any remaining strength in the backbone of the opposition will be broken into pieces before a new wave of offensive begins. It’s worth reiterating again that the first ones to pay the price will be the left organisations and the trade unions. With them out of the way MR could crush all opposition like an insect.

So the question standing before us is this? Go all in with a ‘single-job’ cat despite the consequences, or steady the base of opposition that exists now and hope to build its strength in coming years. We take the second route. So far the issues that forced back the MR regime were the issues relating to privatisation of education and his attempt to destroy the pension fund. If a challenge can be mounted to strengthen these defences, it will have more meaning to students and workers involved in this opposition. Even the coming together of the FSP, USP, and NSSP will bend space around it to create a certain amount of gravity. This is not necessarily just a proposal for building a ‘broad left platform’ limited to the existing organised left forces. Rather it should be seen as the initiating of a campaign that appeals widely among students and workers to participate in the growth of an alternative force.

Without building this in as a factor any tactic, whether it be ‘Anything but MR’ or a ‘single job candidate’ will be doomed to failure. This is exactly why and with no illusion we ask this: “Look fellows, why do we keep on electing a government made up of cats? Why don’t we elect a government made up of mice?”

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Latest comments

  • 2

    `In this situation is it a crime to call for a consolidation of all those fighting forces? To fight for a left alternative and build its strength at the same time keeping all options open to overthrow the MR regime.`

    lefty, lefty, village idiots are Blood Sucking Capitalist Leeches,Well-Meaning Dictatorship.- uduran kana paksaya

    Next time think Posse-Cat and Miami Mice

    posse-cat – “If at first you don’t succeed, call an air strike.”

    • 0

      CBK is the best cat of the lot to defeat the Jarapassa cat. Despite all her faults.
      Need to think pragmatically.. to unseat
      Jarapassa. She can split the SLFP and get the disenchanted UNPers on board adn the left..
      You foolish TOM CATS – KD and SEnana don’t see this girl cat who can finish off the dirty Toms?!

      After Sobitha Theoro’s failure to put his own SInhala Buddhist racist house in order and condemn the BBS and call for reform of the corrupt Sanga establishment it seems a tall order to think that he will reform Lankan politics as a whole!
      Sobitha once was KD’s preferred joint candidate.. now gone with the wind.. The Buddhist Mahanayakes who live luxury lives , overeat daykkaya’s food til they vomit, and drive in MERCs are an insult to Buddhism , and it seems Sobitha also does that?!

  • 3

    Majority white cats in America voted for a minority black rat. But that will never happen in SL for a very long time. Our racist majority cats in the recent past have been voting for a family of cats and and they love to remain silent while the houses and business establishments of minority rats and mice are burnt down by racist orange coloured cats. Total apathy by the majority cats to the plight of the minority rats and mice is how life has been for the past 66 years.

    • 0

      It (voting in a minoriyt cat as the head of state in racist sri lanka) will happen the day after a Muslim or a Hindu is elected as the leader in USA, England or Germany….

  • 4

    It is extremely unlikely that a ‘single issue’ candidate will be ever found within the next few months. Under such circumstances, the view point of this author sounds sensible!

    Sengodan. M

  • 1

    “….Even the LTTE had high hopes based on secret talks they held with her when she lived outside of the country. What good was then achieved? “

    Hello Sena

    This is surely not true.

    How old were you in 93, 94?

    If you can read the publications of the LTTE – even in Toronto – of that time, you would find that the LTTE never had any hopes of any good coming from Chandrika. They in fact regularly cautioned the Tamil people about having any faith in her. They were like mice seeing a cat whenever a politician appeared to gain popularity, especially among the Tamils who were to them no more than their enslaved rotten borough.

    On another matter: You, like several others of your ilk, do not seem to have any compunction when you speak of fighting forces etc., in talking of mobilising students and disrupting their studies despite the depths to which education at all levels has sunk in our poor benighted country. How come?

    How many days of schooling did many of these people ever miss, in whichever country they live, by joining the kind of fighting that they want organised with the students in SL?

    Fight, fight fight…. have we not suffered enough already through foolish fool-hardy boys who take seriously the words of lazy romantics whose fight never moves beyond their desks?

    • 3

      War is not about heroes and glorious death.

      War is nothing but blood and gore.

      “When you have to kill a man it costs nothing to be polite.”
      — Winston Churchill

      If a country doesn’t recognize minority rights and human rights, including women’s rights, you will not have the kind of stability and prosperity that is possible.- Hillary Clinton

  • 0

    I agree that apart from a few (unnecessary) personal asides, Senan has not distorted my views. Yes I strongly believe that a BROAD alliance, including the democratic and liberal opposition, non-Marxists, harassed Muslims and Tamils, NGO types, and journalists is needed at this time. I think one of the uniting element in that strategy is mobilisation to abolish the Executive Presidency. Yes that is my view.

    This issue is far from dead, I will return to it in my regular piece in CT on 13 July and in a short piece in Ceylon Today on 10 July. But suppose it was dead, why is Senan so happy that it might fail? Is he in love with the Executive Presidency?. Will this cat only catch a few rats? Yes agreed but World Socialism is not round the corner and realistic goals (which may sometimes fail) are better than easy empty Quixotic talk.

    Senan says: “Crucially this will not in any way strengthen the forces that are building up to fight back (sic!). In this situation is it a crime to call for a consolidation of all those fighting forces? To fight for a left alternative and build its strength at the same time keeping all options open to overthrow the MR regime”.

    Well if “all options are to be kept open” does it not include the Broad-based strategy that I (and many others like) me have laid out?

    If Senan is in Lanka he may be aware of a raging debate in Bahu’s NSSP. The “Left” group has launched a new paper (Left Voice) and it held a public meeting on 1 July. They believe that Bahu is capitulating to Ranil and offering him unconditional support. At the same time, unfortunately, the Left(to which I am closer) is making the same mistake as Senan. It rejects alliances with liberals etc, and like Senan, it ridicules the Broad campaign against the Executive Presidency. (The Left’s critisim that Bahu is going too far is correct and my Broad strategy is not the same as Bahu’s line).

    I endorse the view that building a multi-force left alternative is a necessary task (what else have I been doing since entering the left – in short pants – with the 1953 Hartal?)But that is only one level of work (theoretical writing, Marx School, intervention in LSSP, NSSP, and Frontline discourses, addressing the national question, study classes – what else are these things?). These will yield results on a long timescale; but these initiatives too sometimes will fail. Senan, who ridicules the failures of Broad initiatives, should not forget that red cats too experience setbacks.

    There is no Royal Road to revolution, liberation of minorities and socialism. If there was, we would have all got there a long time ago.

  • 1

    Is there a single opinion poll which shows that the Sinhalese are interested in getting rid of the executive presidency? Maybe they aren’t looking for a mouse or a cat, but for someone who could (also) keep a Tiger at bay?

    • 3

      dogs have fleas

      fleas have no dogs

      who is a pretty boy now?

    • 2

      But if we go by what those at the top in the regime state – followed by the many ready whitewashers they command to sing hosannas for them in chorus – the tiger was tamed for all intents and purposes over 5 years ago. True, the coming of the dead tiger is invoked now and then to keep the hungry yakkos in place – but this is more as what goes as strategy than fact.


  • 0

    “There is no Royal Road to revolution, liberation of minorities and socialism. If there was, we would have all got there a long time ago.””

    Liar liar pants on fire!

    Marxist, communist terrorist starting with NM, Colvin Peter Banda Sirima created Big Foot Fuckshit Rajaporkistan of Fucknation.

    Russia is a failure and a little snail except for a bomb that can never destroy the one who matters. Oligarchs, living in Monte Carlo London etc.

  • 0

    Dr Kumar!
    I thank u for your endeavour with regards to abolition of EP but venerable Sobhitha Thera has showed who he is by not expressing anything against BBS’ attacks on Muslims. Now forget about Sobhitha Thera and exert your energy to find a candidate who can defeat MR.

    Senan , though his objective is praiseworthy ,has not understood how weak the Left movement here. The JVP cannot be counted as a Left party.A leftist as the common candidate will open the gate for MR to re-enter Temple Trees with a resounding majority.And can you guess what will happen after that?

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