As you know, the Geneva sessions will open on the 27th February. A possible, and most probable outcome would be a resolution calling for an independent international mechanism to investigate war crimes. (Appointing a Court of Inquiry under the Army Commander will provide more ammunition for the foreign powers to denounce the credibility of the Regime. It is a joke anyway! It will not hold!). While I have steadfastly stood for accountability, I have also resisted foreign predator powers from exploiting this issue to advance their strategic agendas. Some may feel that in the absence of any other means of seeking truth and justice, such a resolution should be supported. On the grounds of truth and justice, this position has validity. Whatever the case, we would do well to consider the possible outcomes of the emerging scenario and decide upon our responsibilities and tasks as the people of Lanka.
Such a resolution will plunge this country into the most profound crisis ever, as society gets irrevocably polarized. The Regime may use the opportunity to raise the banner of ‘anti-imperialism and patriotism’ and enforce it under an even more straight-jacketed militarist-chauvinist dictatorship. This may have with the blessings of the powers that are supporting the Regime- ala China, Russia, Iran, Myanmar and others. In such a scenario, inter-imperialist rivalry will intensify and drag the country into a veritable chess board of global contention. The emerging conjuncture is bound to polarize society, where the extreme militarist-chauvinist , mafia-fascist forces may gain an iron hegemony over society. This is a most serious possibility that will be so consequential for the future of freedom and democracy for decades to come.
Along with the looming political crisis, whatever the antiseptically suave, economically illiterate and deliberately manipulative Ajith Nivard Cabral has to say, there is a financial crisis of massive proportions intensifying. As any schoolboy would know, spending colossal sums of money on the most unproductive mega-projects and the equally colossal losses incurred in trillions of the tax payers money, such as with Mihin Air, Sports Stadiums, Hambantota Port, Uma Oya etc, combined with trillions wasted on foreign tamashas and victory parades- all designed not on criteria of economic feasibility but on glorifying and perpetuating the emperor and the ruling dynasty – have now accumulated into a state of bankruptcy of the State. The Government cannot even deliver the farmers pension funds nor maintain Samurdhi benefits, nor meet the demands for wage and salary increases of the workers and university lecturers. This is in the context of jacking up the price of fuel and thereby escalating the cost of living to even more unbearable heights, including electricity tariffs. This when social infrastructure such as public health and education is left to rot.
So, we may face a scenario where a political crisis combines with an economic-financial crisis that will strain the Regime and the system to the outer limit. Once again, battle lines will be drawn and the masses made to decide on which side of the barricade they stand. However, unlike in the past, the battle lines will be contested. Already, the vapor of the Dutugamunu cult is evaporating as the masses are no longer prepared to undergo intolerable burdens for the sake of a Regime reeking with abuse and corruption. The mood of the masses is clearly shifting. The Sinhala chauvinist base that the Regime relied on, including broad Sinhala masses, the armed forces, the Sinhala mudalali compradors, the middle classes will be confronted with an engulfing economic crisis, and they may seek an alternative. Whether the UNP can ride this wave of discontent is yet to be seen, but it can pose a formidable threat to the Regime, if it gets its house in order- and this is not beyond the pale of possibility. It is a question of whether Ranil has the spine, but he may discover his spine in conjunction with the injection of foreign powers who have an agenda for regime change. Sensing the pulse, the JVP, the DNF and the TNA are gravitating towards the Platform of the UNP. The demand for the release of Sarath Fonseka will be a powerful rallying point for these forces that may serve to draw dividing lines among broad sections of the population, including within the armed forces. In this option, the UPFA will be strained, but may hold, since they cannot afford to lose State power, loose the perks, privileges and fat commissions, nor can they afford to face the wrath of the masses.
It is for these very reasons that I argue that the Regime may have no other option in overcoming both the political and economic-financial crisis, but to resort to intensifying dictatorship and terror. This regime of naked fascist terror could be unleashed through a massive wave of repression directed against all opposition, particularly targeting the People’s Struggle Movement and the Inter University Student Federation and the LEFT forces who have joined together to from a Center of Mass Resistance, whom the Regime has already demonized as ‘Terrorists’, to be in cahoots with the Tamil Diaspora and the Western Imperialist powers. This repression will pave the way for advancing the neo-liberal agenda without any formidable opposition, particularly on the education front. This scenario will also provide the ground to do away with a political solution and the LLRC Report, which are troublesome guardian knots for the Regime. The 13th Amendment, let alone plus or minus, will be thrown into the dust bin, along with the LLRC report.
Massive and bloody repression is an inherent characteristic of the modern Feudal-Colonial/ Comprador-Capitalist State rigged up by the British and handed over to their local counterparts. It has drowned two Sinhala youth insurrections in the South in rivers of blood, accounting for some 100,000 lives and as alleged, some 70,000 Tamil civilians in the North in suppressing the separatist insurgency. These blood baths have been accompanied with unspeakable brutality and barbarism. This time around the stakes are even higher and far more decisive as a Regime rotting at its core strangulates itself from within its own insuperable violent contradictions.
This is a most momentous historic conjuncture that will decide our future for many decades to come. The way forwards towards an era of democracy, freedom and prosperity is the path of mass resistance, the path where the workers, peasants, students, youth, university lecturers and all oppressed classes, nationalities and communities forge their unity behind a minimum transitional program that would sweep away the era of dictatorship and tyranny and convene a People’s Constituent Assembly to form a new form of a People’s Democratic State, designed, owned and governed by the people, based on sharing the Earth and this Land as members of an integral and indivisible human community.
Rally behind the Movement for Freedom and Democracy and the Center for Mass Resistance in the making;
*The writer is Secretary: Ceylon Communist Party ( Maoist).