25 May, 2018

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Dual Power & The Mahinda Magic

By Dayan Jayatilleka

Dr. Dayan Jayatilleka

Last year, 2017, the Government and Opposition separately commemorated the centenary of the Russian revolution –actually of twin revolutions, liberal and socialist, of February and October 1917. In an interesting twist, the result of the Sri Lankan Local Government election of February 10th 2018 takes us back to a situation best described by a term first used during the Russian Revolution of 1917: Dual Power. The Parliament (‘Duma’) was held by the liberal government but the elections to parallel bodies, the Soviets, established in Feb 1917 a dualism of power, an unstable balance, and by October that year, gave power to the Bolsheviks, from below.

The Sri Lankan neoliberal and liberal-left commentariat-cum-intelligentsia supported the ‘regime change’ of January 2015. It continued that support right up to Feb 10th 2018 except that it divided up between those who stayed with Ranil and those who shifted to the JVP. Both wings of the un-intelligentsia got it very wrong this time.

At least since the collapse of Russia’s pro-west liberalism and the contrasting success of the Chinese model of modernization, it is almost a truism in the realm of serious policy, that one cannot push neoliberal economic reforms and state-retrenching anti-nationalistic political, ethnic and foreign policy reforms at the same time. But this is precisely what Ranil did in 2001-2003 and again in 2015-2018, and no one expected massive social blowback?

It is the Geneva Resolution of 2015 and the project for a new, non-unitary Constitution that really galvanized the patriotic resistance to the government.

Of the plethora of follies committed by Yahapalana, one of the most hilarious was Chandrika’s notion that one could win/retain SLFP votes while insulting Mahinda Rajapaksa and treating him as a worse enemy than Ranil.

Ranil and Chandrika went quite far in rigging the democratic political system, by installing the TNA with 16 seats as Opposition, bypassing Mahinda with 50 plus seats. This triangular model of the UNP-SLFP-TNA was utterly rejected at this year’s election and is now politically paraplegic with a broken back.    

If Ranil cares for the UNP at all, he will promptly resign as Leader and PM. If the UNP has the slightest sense of electoral self-preservation it will throw out Ranil, Mangala, Rajitha and Champika immediately and promote Sajith, Navin, Ruwan, Vasantha and Wijayadasa.

If the President and the government have the slightest sense of Realism, Ranil will be immediately removed as PM while Finance and Foreign Affairs will be vested in the President, or Sarath Amunugama or Susil Premjayanth.

If the SLFP has the slightest sense at all, it will unite with Mahinda’s Pohottuwa as a junior partner in an anti-UNP coalition. If CBK has the slightest self-respect she will be on the next plane back to London or Paris.

Perhaps the most glaring mistake made by the liberal commentators, social scientists and intellectuals was ignoring two major factors: History and Political Leadership. Mahinda Rajapaksa is a major figure, a great and successful leader in Sri Lanka’s contemporary history and will be recorded as such in its long chronicles. Ousting and then marginalizing him (not even granting him Opposition leadership) was as obviously stupid as treating Mao as “a dead ancestor, a Buddha on a shelf” as the latter complained of the Chinese Communist Party hierarchy before he overturned it by launching the Cultural Revolution, unleashing the Red Guards and “bombarding the headquarters”. Which is what Mahinda did, and succeeded electorally.

In liberal democratic terms, Ranil and Chandrika being restored to government while Mahinda is out of it, is as if Churchill had been succeeded by Chamberlain or Halifax rather than Attlee. It is a grotesque travesty that could not have been sustained. 

Max Weber’s phrase “Politics as a Vocation” perfectly describes Mahinda Rajapaksa. In the practice of that vocation, the art and craft of politics, Mahinda is a maestro. He combines instinct with experience, maturity and a steely political determination and will. None of that would be enough if not for the factor of magnetic personal chemistry bordering on magic: sheer likeability; pure public appeal; personality.

His political opponents were just not in the same weight class as this Muhammad Ali of politics. Taken together with the various talents of his brothers and sons, he has an ‘A Team’ as the core group. Add to that the experience and abilities of the Joint Opposition leadership and the 50 plus Members of Parliament who displayed enough moral fiber not to be coopted into the Yahapalana government after August 2015. Mahinda has a top-notch political army and it is on the advance. Feb 10th was Yahapalana’s Stalingrad defeat.

This society is divided between those who prefer Ranil to Mahinda and those who think the opposite. It is similarly divided between those who find Brigadier Fernando’s gesture far more objectionable than Tiger demonstrators shouting “Our Leader-Prabhakaran!” outside our High Commission on our 70th Independence Day. It is now blindingly obvious which camp the majority of his country’s citizens—the sovereign People—belong to, and in what ratios.

In Ceylon, the road to political power lies through the paddy fields” wrote my father, Mervyn de Silva. Ranil let the paddy fields start to die for want of fertilizer while Mahinda used the old Maoist strategy of “encircling the cities from the countryside”. It is the beginning of the end. But what kind of end will it be and when and how will it arrive? Will it be a crash and burn, preceded by labor, student and peasant unrest?

If the Government wishes to survive without a major upheaval even until the end of next year, it will have to shift to a new model. That is the model which Michael Kalecki and KN Raj defined as that of an “intermediate regime”. This would entail a total rupture from the neoliberal policy of Ranil and Mangala. As Giuseppe de Lampedusa said in his famous novel The Leopard, things have to change if they are to remain the same. If I am to modify it slightly, if the Government is to remain, it can no longer remain the same. It has to change and be seen to do so drastically and immediately.

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Latest comments

  • 9
    6

    Wait for the fireworks in the SLPP, when MR has to nominate the members. Budding criminals are waiting for their turn after helping MR to win.

    • 10
      5

      Dayan Alzheimer,
      We have had a front-row seat to witness Mahinda Mama’s Magic show for 10 years. My favorite was the Magic Mahinda Mama performed in connection with Wasim Tajudeen’s barbaric killing after severe beatings and torture. Including removal of Tajudeen’s genitals. By merciless wild animals unleashed by Rajapassa inner circle. Mahinda Mama made all those heinous crimes look like a terrible car accident. MAHINDA MAGIC! Do you remember that SHOW?
      Cheers!
      PS: Dayan, if you feel like throwing-up, please do go ahead.

      • 2
        1

        God has seen that MR has changed. He accepted Jesus as his sole saviour and king. God has plans for MR to change the nation and deliver us all. Accept Jesus like MR did and you will all be saved. He is a changed man now. He has seen the light and renounced fake gods and fake idols.

        • 2
          0

          BornAgain,
          “Renounce fake gods and fake idols”
          Why on earth does that all-powerful ‘GOD” of yours need so much validation from us humble mortals? LIKE A JEALOUS TEENAGE GIRL!
          Cheers!

      • 0
        1

        Were you witnessing Thajudeen’s death? or were you having hallucinations? The gover is at a dead end unable to prove anything. Go and help them.

  • 1
    0

    IT is Ranil who made MR win in 2005. It is Ranil again win MR this time. Sri lanka can not alternste NEW leadership except RECYCYCLING OF THE SAME OLD SAME OLD. Voters are not stupid but they do not have choice.I heard during CBK’s time she had earned money for Window Repairing, window replacements of Planes and she has said it is because my children needed money and it is not me, Ranil paid me. Another statement, She has lost a necklace, not a one worth a lot. she had claimed saying she lost it there and Airline also paid. Later, she had found it

  • 1
    0

    I think TNA is concerned about them. Tamils are over represented by TNA and there are too many politicians. Tamils also say we do not need federalism. Instead build us schools and give us houses. They did not like wigneswaran too. Some how TNA says They want to be in the govt and they do not anything else. Because any rearrangement make them lose their employment. Sumanthiran is also in the same predicament. Even the BTF is now poor cats. That is another funny story.

  • 1
    0

    Ask Maithripala sirisena about BTF LTTE drama.

  • 6
    3

    Dayan,

    What are you trying to assert? Why are you in a sort of writing frenzy? No matter how much midnight oil is burned for writing in support of MaRa, you won’t get even an iota from MaRa if he or GoTa comes back to power. You are doomed to be ditched again the same way you were trashed after your short stunt in Geneva. Remember, history always repeat !

    • 1
      1

      They want the party(SLFP) for their family; They don’t want Thero or GLP or Dulles…..

  • 1
    2

    Mahinda is a maestro. ……………… factor of magnetic personal chemistry bordering on magic: sheer likeability; pure public appeal; personality.
    What one would like? Or who like what? Before Thero write this episode he failed to remember the saying “You tell me who your friends are, I tell you who you are”. We all know who Thero is and who his friend Old King is. We don’t need magnetic needle compass to attract our attention there.
    Sinhalese has yet to see a political leader like Ramanathan, SJV, Sampanthar or CV. This time UNPyers disliked Yahapalanaya. So they did not get out to voting. SLFPyers disliked Yahapalanaya. A good percentage of them went out and voted their old SLFP leader. For that simple fact, Thero is duping everybody with his word framing that inside of Old King there management, there is steel, there is electricity, there is even atomic bomb fire too. Sheer stupidity!

    That guy is an idiot, with knowing went and hid in Chieftain’s house. Now the most of the 32 countries, who gave him arms, are after him asking their pound of flesh. So, he ran out of Temple Tree House. He could not lead a party that was standing on is name. He is scared become Prime Minister. He wants ruling party –SLFP’s leadership and Opposition party leadership. You what comedy is that, he is too scared accept any official governmental position fearing West may react against him. I think he should shut off the magnet inside him so the Western spy ships’ radar scanners won’t be able to locate him. To protect him, he wants SLFP leadership, but not the one, the Slap Party’s, which is the one won the election. I don’t think even Sinhala Buddhist Modayas will be fooled by this other than Thero himself.

  • 1
    2

    A short story; one time a group of fisherwomen were trying to return home from the market through forest path. Too late, and decide to sleep on the boarder of the market village. Nightly wild Jasmines were blowing out fragrance, wildly. The women could not sleep. A smart patriotic young one out of them went and picked up of their fish baskets and put those under their heads like pillows. The women fell asleep, rested. Frequently cited a political maestro in this column is Nelson Mandela. He fought for the Black’s freedom from Whites. Alas, the political horizon of freed world is still controlled by European Whites. That is where you take your weighing scale to check if a man is a heavyweight or lightweight. Yes Nelson got all International Whites’ supports and achieved his goal. Old King is war criminal and almost contained in his cage, the Lankawe. He was ousted out of power because of his criminal face ever present in minorities’ heart. Robin Hood might have been praised the British countryside peasants & poor. An $18B thief is not really receiving that respect countrywide from Lankawe. About half of the majority has not accepted this war criminal. Zero minorities have accepted this war criminal. Is this a magnetic attraction? By looting and eating and by government impunity, the so called Sinhala Buddhist has lost the value. For that fault, this is no way making a magnet out a thief. Birds of a feather flock together. Alibaba the head thief! They say in Tamil “Oomaiyar Sabaiyil Olaruvayan Maha vithuvan “. (A garrulous gasbag is the pundit in the congregation of Dumps- Thero is the PhD writer to Sinhala Buddhist Modayas). That is the fact.

  • 5
    4

    Dayan,
    There is nothing changed between 2015 and 2017 in terms of popularity of Mahinda. In real terms his popularity is down by 2-3% now. You can fool few Sinhalese who cannot read and write but it is very clear that Mahinda got only 44.7% in 2017 compared to 47.8% in 2015. Can you explain this statistics?

    • 0
      0

      Ajith,

      Then wht about the popularity of Sirisena? or Ranil? How much have they gone down?

      • 0
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        In 2015, they (Ranil & Sirisena) beat Mahinda because they were together. The reality is that 56% of voters did not like Mahinda. You can become popular if you speak racism. There is no doubt that Mahinda is popular among Sinhalese for his anti Tamil, anti Muslim stand. Mahinda is popular in Galle, Matara, Hambantota, Monaragala & Ratnapura districts.Mahinda has no place in Jaffna, Kilinochi, Vavuniya, Mannar, Mullaitivu, & Batticaloa. TNA is popular in the North East because of its stand on devolution. .
        It is hard to defeat Sinhala fundamentalism in the South or Tamils devolution in the North East. Extremism in the South & North brought the country to kneel down in the hands of China, India & USA. It is the unity of Sirisena & Ranil saved the nation from the international isolation.

  • 2
    1

    The scent of a prize now wafts enticingly in front of Dayan’s greedy nostrils…. oh how I wish I could tell that pathetic lickspittle how stupid he is to go after a bunch of criminals in pursuit of a piece of pudding!

  • 0
    0

    I was wrong and you were right about this election outcome.
    I still say SLPP or Basil Hora Ten percent or Gota US Citizen cannot beat the UNP in the next Presidential election.
    Haal Sira will be a lame duck when he relinquishes control to the UNP on Feb 15th Thursday. He will just have to grin and bear like CBK when she lost the Parliament.
    SLFP whores and sluts will cross over to UNP for millions of rupees and cabinet positions. This will include UNP defectors who joined MR’s cabinet and then after the Parliamentary election in 2015, jumped to Haal Sira’s cabinet. They just love power and posts and most are low caste Sinhalese. They just love being important to enrich themselves. So UNP will win the next Presidential election because RW will be the single party nominee.

  • 1
    0

    Can only sympathise with those who try to ridicule Dayan. I have disagreements with some of DJ’s assessments/conclusions. But in most instances he correctly picks up underlying social/political currents and their trajectory. Keep on providing your perspectives DJ………..

  • 0
    2

    Royalists are superior to you people. You are all jealous of RW because he is accepted globally and is an intelligent man not a ordinary man. He surrounded himself with intellectuals. His “wife” as in token is also a gender studies intellectual who carries on her life simply. She carried her own umbrella to vote. Can you imagine MR or his uneducated wife carrying their own umbrella? Hell no. So stop being so class envious like the low caste JVP types. He will clean up the mess and WIN in 2020. He will get his 35% UNP base plus all the minorities. GOTA cannot run as long as he is an American. Basil is a bloody rouge. Namal is a joke. GL is a joke with negative personality. YES MR, has the most charisma but he cannot run again. End of story. President Ranil Wickremesinghe in 2020. You have to run to Morocco or someplace to hide when he unleashes Gonawela Sunils on you bro.

    • 0
      0

      Some comments on Kunubakka’s post.

      1. To say Mrs. Rajapakse is uneducated is unfair. I believe she is a
      former teacher – possibly a Montessori teacher.

      2. The highly-qualified Mrs. RW has a kindly nature. She reminds
      me of the decency and simplicity of that fine lady – Mrs.JRJ
      3. The JVP variety, like all low castes, have a permanent hatred on all
      higher castes. Booruwansa, who always look guilty, is the worst.
      4. Why is it that most commentators here cannot spell “Rogues”
      5 The smiling MR has unmatched charisma. He is a master at that
      necessary tool of the politician to sell a lie as the truth.

      Backlash

  • 0
    0

    Dayan:

    Your euphoria is justified, given the circumstances that predetermined and prevailed on the citizenry to revert Mahinda politics. Notwithstanding, your accolades heaped on MaRa is not something from an objective “analyst” but one who is intoxicated with the dire feeling to get into the same bed with MaRa.

    All the good and wisdom you talk of MaRa did not help him in retaining the presidency in 2015. After he was a “war hero” and his hold on power was almost unassailable. Having won the war, he and his cohorts believed that they can have a free run to the country’s treasury chest. They felt they were untouchable. Corruption was rife, law and order suffered, there was no guarantee to life and limb, etc. and people simply got fed-up. People had enough of their misdeeds. Despite being in people’s heart for his winning the war, something even Ranil or Maithiri could not match, people dumped him.

    The reason why Ranin+Maithiri were elected was because of the pervasive govt the MaRa gang was running. While promises were aplenty, Ranil and Maithiri did not hold on to their promises of a clean govt. Major scum like the Bond scandal had the people lose faith in them. Their major failure was in absconding with the promise of bringing to book those in the MaRa regime believed to have amassed wealth through corruption. But it was all talk and no action. Worse still, they were going around with a devilish basket to shop around for polticians from the old regime and those very scums who should be behind bars became ministers. What more can be said. We all saw the signs and have had commented on their failures, unlike the skewed you. People had long ago given up on Ranil Maithiri.

  • 3
    1

    Dayan must surely be reading these sour grape- bitter comments from yahapalanians in glee. Don’t blame him.. he was one of the very few to predict this victory for the pohottuwa.!

    My favourite part of your writing is CBK getting on a flight and leaving our island for good. She can go join her children who are also ashamed to be Sri Lankans!

    I have no doubt that once she leaves us, we will next see her holding an Elam flag in front of our embassies

    I can only hope that she is given the Brigadier Priyanka salute then!!!

    • 0
      0

      Words,
      Hey Words, aren’t you ashamed to be a Sri Lankan?
      Sri Lankans are up to the neck in Chinese debt. They have sent their wives to work in Dubai while there are 200,000 foreign workers here.
      What more do you want???

  • 0
    0

    If Dayan’s objective was to please his Lord and Master with high praise with this article, he has done his homework well. The truth is it was largely the anti-incumbent factor that worked on February 10 besides the senseless Ranil-Gamarala infighting days before the Election. With CoL running riot; with the humble but indispensable Coconut going over Rs.100 and Rice similarly – defeat was inevitable. The people saw Ministers and MP’s as they are – unprincipled, marauding thieves, with few exceptions. The print media kept up a relentless anti-Ranil campaign focussing on the Bond Scam the electronic media was playing personal politics.

    The fact, taken as a whole, votes secured by the UNP, SLFP, TNA and other smaller parties were in excess of what MR’s Podu Peramuna gained establishes clearly the people have not forgotten the pre-2015 Rajapakse familial rule years. To make a long thing short, February 10 was not an endorsement of the Rajapakses but a Vote of No Confidence on the Ranil-Sirisena cabal. Let us also not forget the Goigama Sinhala Buddhist vote has gone against the Rajapakses in the South.

    Much can happen between now and 2020 Parliamentary Elections. In today’s context, Governments are made not merely by the one-man-one-vote process. Other realpolitik considerations play their part too – as they did in January 2015.

    It is too early for the Rajapakse family and supporters to celebrate.

    Backlash

    • 0
      0

      Ranil is the best of the worst available. Karu J, who may have thought of himself as the Lankan version of Mahathma Gandhi, has proved himself to be as fraudulent as all other toads in our political landscape. Sajith P has neither the education, experience or track-record expected even of a good Deputy Minister. At best his father was mediocre and, therefore, Sajith lacks serious credibility for the leadership.

      In the squabbling UNP top rungs Ranil is the only uniting force and has mass face recognition. Despite his many established weaknesses and attitude problems, he remains more acceptable to the international investment community. He alone enjoys some trust among the 30-35% en bloc faithful UNP voters in the country. As to his role in the Bond Scam, this is more a weakness of our system where the safeguards in governance was destroyed for sometime -more fatally by the thieving Rajapakses. Like in the major Indian scams in recent times our Bond Scam was more an effort to seek funds to keep the UNP’s financial fortunes alive than individual plundering – in whose process a notorious rogue in the UNP clique made billions. This dreg fell on all fours when the whole country was watching. The Party reluctantly got rid of him. This thick-skinned crook should be consigned to the political wilderness for the good of all of us. What is less known is the man is the Godfather of Colombo drug-traffickers and underworld (Ask Mano G). At a moment’s notice he can materialise a hundred million rupees from his dubious and undesirable “friends”. That is the level of sickness that has infected our land and otherwise destroyed our political system.

      Liyanamahathaya

  • 0
    0

    two years more to go dayan before you can get your long awaited job so dont count your chickens before they are hatched
    GL wont let you be foreign minister or foreign secretary for that matter as you are a loose cannon
    most you can get is an ambassadorship probably to cuba
    cheers

  • 2
    0

    To Dayan – the serial keyboard masturbator:

    “The ballots cast in favour of the UNP, SLFP, ITAK, and JVP, comfortably eclipsed the votes the SLPP received. Mahinda Rajapaksa received 47% of the national vote in January, 2015 – the last election his undiluted brand was tested. His personality cult received less than that percentage on 10 February, 2018. Despite all this government’s monumental failings, had a common candidate run against Rajapaksa on 10 February in a hypothetical presidential race, that candidate would probably have won. The result affirms the necessity of a continued coalition. Rajapaksa’s opponents must surely learn that they cannot defeat Rajapaksa unless they unite, and motivate their supporters”.

  • 0
    0

    Dayan has not understood the concept of Dual Power.correctly while quoting out of context just to act and feel like an expert without any expertise

    If at all Dual Power in Sri Lanka, it is between the President and the Prime Minister since 2015 and ,not between Mahinda and Maithiri/Ranil.

    Was it a revolution that occurred in Russia in 1917 whether one or two?.

    It was a survival strategy of Russia after the humiliating defeat at the end of the First World War!

  • 2
    0

    Dayan and Malinda Seneviratne will be forever writing for Mara. Both will be forever jobless and looking for work. Can’t anybody find them productive employment. They can join a hit squad that Mahinda& Gota are about to form

  • 2
    0

    To a man who has guzzled down a shipload of shit, the stench of a fart is nothing! You can be sure of your reward or your Commission Dayan!

    • 0
      0

      Diogenes – Dieyarn has not been taking his prescribed medications lately,so the stench of his own fart is nothing !

  • 4
    0

    I always wanted to ask Dayan J one question.

    If MR is President ( or leader) and Dayan has evidence that Basil, Gota , Namal or one of his siblings has violated the law, taken bribes, accepted corrupt gifts or even committed a crime what will he do ? What will MR do ? what will happen to Dayan ?

    But now I think I can ask this question in a broader way .

    What will Ranil do if someone tells him that Mahendran has committed a corrupt act or crime ? May be, he will ask Mahendran’s own brother to investigate it !

    What will Sirisena do if some one told him that brother Dudley or that foolish looking son of his has committed a corrupt act ? Any suggestions ?

    This is how low our society really is . So stop pretending everybody.

  • 0
    1

    Dayan
    Never before has LC elections got so much attention – gotten blown out of proportion. Your comparison to the “Duma’ election of Russia immediately after the 1917 revolution is quite pathetic. The LC election used the language/religion-divide. Lot of money was used with the hope of recouping and more.
    Your comparison of MR to Churchill/Chamberlain/Halifax showed the depth you can descend. MR is no Atlee! But calling MR a Muhammad Ali is contemptible.
    Yes we are interested in what happens to you!

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