27 June, 2019

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JVP: A Collective Conscience & An Accord

By Sarath De Alwis

Sarath De Alwis

Sarath De Alwis

The working class did not rise like the sun at an appointed time. It was present at its own making” – E.P. Thompson

The third force has ended the age of complacency that has lasted for 67 post independence years. In the process, the JVP has promised the country something that we never realized as missing. The party that chose to abdicate armed rebellion in carefully crafted eloquence has now conceptualized what has been absent in the politics of patronage practiced since independence – a liberated citizenry.

The front cover depicts a wooden ladle of rice on a background of a pleasing shade of red. The red is soothingly subdued and holds out the promise of a new dawn. The title reads ‘ An accord of Conscience’ – the national programme ‘. A legend below explains that the conscience is that of the ‘Janatha Vimukthi Peramuna’ implying that their ‘conscience’ and that of our land is more or less the same. This writer is inclined to agree.

The political document unveiled by the JVP is a spirited attempt to infuse a moral and intellectual urgency for the dismantling of ‘politics as usual’ and ‘patronage politics’ practiced for the past 67 years. The Sinhala prose is precise and piercing.

“The present structure and substance of governance under the two party system is geared to serve a society driven by excessive consumerism and a relentless pursuit of profit. It calls for change in the structure and system of governance.

JvpThe immediate task is to install a foundational government that will restructure the state and build an enlightened society that holds out the twin promises of economic resilience and social justice.
The document has five principal components viz. A people centric government, Human resource excellence, building a modern industrialized land, an equitable society and a liberated citizenry.

The introduction is a stirring indictment of the political class.

“After 67 years of alternate governance by UNP and SLSP led coalitions that promised development, prosperity and renewal, we finds ourselves in a pitiful plight, with our s people in terrible torment and senseless suffering.”

Systemic neglect and wilful destruction of productive avenues have reduced our land to a state of perpetual dependency on internal and external borrowing.

The deception of exaggerated claims of development are beginning to be exposed. Deliberate distortion of wealth distribution has intensified the pain of poverty. While 20% of families claim 55% of the domestic product, the poorest 20% families can only access 3.6 % of the gross domestic product.

Sri Lanka confronts a grave financial crisis. The absence of a clear economic policy and the failure to allocate adequate financial provisions has paralyzed vital sectors of education, transport and housing.

In Sri Lanka, 360,000 children are annually enrolled in schools while only 30,000 leave universities and other tertiary educational facilities. What this sorry statistic reveals is that nearly 330,000 of those who are enrolled in schools each year leave without completing studies. While the annual number seeking employment exceeds 300,000, the state and the formal private sector can cater only to 65000. The balance 235,000 enter the ranks of the deprived and unemployed resulting a class of people devoid of hope and dignity. Erosion of social and cultural cohesion is its inevitable consequence. Police statistics indicate a rape every 3hours. There are more than 100,000 drug addicts, with one drug addict for each group of fifty families. 14 persons commit suicide per day. This sums up the sum total of achievements of the two party democracy of 67 years.

People are constantly subject to pressure from national and religious extremism. National unity is yet to be achieved.

Bribery and Corruption has become pervasive with oppression and abuse of power threatening the democratic fabric. When taken in its harrowing entirety, it is clear that Sri Lanka is now in the grip of a social, economic, political and cultural crisis.

The JVP’s Accord with the nation’s conscience is a well-crafted document that transcends political purpose, reaching out to moral and intellectual discovery. It repudiates an ugly past. It is a denunciation of present mismanagement. It calls for a new polarisation of politics that will redefine the contours of free market economics.

That the new JVP is ready and willing to take on the challenge of redefining the contours of the market economy was made evident by JVP’s representative Sunil Handunnetti when participating in a panel discussion with Dr.Harsha De Silva of the UNP and Bandula Gunwardane of the SLFP initiated by the Ceylon Chamber of Commerce last Tuesday telecast on Rupavahini. It was fascinating to watch the UNP and JVP competing to give a human face to market economics.

The JVP, said Sunil Handunneti is not afraid of Globalization. He conceded that Globalization and its impact offered many challenges. The problem according to him was not the pace of globalization but our failure to claim a decent and adequate share of global trade that is growing by leaps and bounds.

Goods and services he said were bought and sold among countries several times more than the volume just three decades earlier. Yet our share of Global trade has dwindled to near negligible levels. It was riveting to watch the JVP informing the Brahamins of Commerce that they understood the Systems of international capital and its struggle to support wider flows and the quandaries it faced. The JVP it seems is ready to read the weather of international trade and grapple with the storms it may produce.

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Latest comments

  • 3
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    Now that Cuba has allowed Uncle Sam to raise the US Flag in Havana, hoping to borrow money to modernize the country before the inhabitants do it themselves with the US, has our JVP taken a detour?.

    But the question the Intelligentsia must be asking is where to?..

    Unless Batalanda has whispered to AKD about a nice place on Keppler, during the MOU signed at Temple Trees. Sorry Batalanada’s Abode at the TT.

    Specially when the new JVP Handbook says that all 360,000n kids who started Kinder under Yahapalanaya should end up with at least a Vidyodaya degree . before we have pay back the 10 Billion Bond to Alouysious Family Trust.

    And do the studies enjoying Fast Internet,to access “Face Page”, after a hard days work in one of those Satellite Village Assembly Shops for Chinese and Koreans which Batalanda Ranil promised..

    While eating full Organic Rice grown with Kidney Damage Free Batalanda Cow Manure which Ranil has promised on his Yahapalana watch.

    No wonder the JVP boss is now wearing a T Shirt with a Red Elephant, as the hands on ex JVP boss Comrade Somawansa said the other day.

    Elite , Anglicans, and even the Vellalas must be sooo delighted that Anura Kumara is giving them a hand to keep the Dalits happy…

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      K.A Sumanasekera

      “But the question the Intelligentsia must be asking is where to?..”

      You should be asking the smart ass patriot the same question.

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        Dear Native,

        Patriots are just Patriots who love their Motherland and want to keep it in one piece where everyone get a fair go in part of the land.

        Smart asses are all in your camp.

        I will name a few big ones for your benefit.

        Batalanda Ranil must be the biggest because he still thinks the Dalits will believe his bull shit,

        like one million .Assembly Line Jobs to work for Korean and Chinese companies.

        Kidney Decease Free Cow Manure ,

        Dialysis Machines for all households.

        4G for the Villagers just to name a few..

        These porkies are all to cover up his mates stinking heist at the CB,

        Hoodwink the voters and give Samabandan and the Wahabis total control of the North and the East..

        Then you have Galleon Ravi, who is going to sell the Dalits’ C,W,E instead of dismantling it like he did last time.

        Re jig finances of our major projects so that his mates can collect the Commission Cheques and donate big to the UNP Election Fund.

        Then you have Dr Rajitha and his Mongrel Pup who think our Southern Dalits are stupid..

        Then there is your lovely FM who thinks the Dalits will take Santhosams from the British Tigers and give Mangalan their vote.

        I better not take too much space .

        But let me know if you want more..

        • 0
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          Nice airport at Mattala, no?

    • 1
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      I respect JVPrs today than had been in lat 80ties. They have always good arguments. They have all energies. They are clean and dynamic by every means. But even today, I also have the feeling that they are not practical enough. Even AKD is not comparable to any other senior leaders. We know perfectly that theory is not 100% to practice specially in our kind of countries. In Germany or Japan this could be otherway around. Just being based on theory, nobody can do any good politics. There JVP lacks the mautrity as some political analysts MAKE very clear.

  • 2
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    Good news and bad news.

    Good news: Good that JVP is there to bell the corrupt practices of the tax-evading cat. Hope they will not tie up the cat and whip it a lot.

    Bad news: Very disappointed that the JVP’s main theme is for the appreciation of the glittering global trade, and the desire for Lankans to delve into its whatnots that came about only by the actions of free-market consumerism. In the end it is “Craving” that the JVP entices the masses by.

    I thought it was going to be Buddhistic. I thought it was going to be traditional time-honored organic farming, fishing and agriculture, and forestry and tourism, with the youth educated in country honor and environment friendliness. Is our Island is to be sold cheaply, yet again, merely for the sake of free-market goodies and trinkets?

    JVP was supposed to have been about the city interlinking with the rural, traditional and heritage sector, and honoring it – not vice versa.

  • 1
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    Its very nice to be a dog in the manger, or a back seat driver. The JVP will sit on the sidelines and criticize any government trying to run this Country. They know that this is the only way they can hold onto their utopian ideals.

    The JVPs ideas on global trade sounds eerily like a export driven economy. This would mean that without developing our export base and diversifying it away from labour intensive industry, the next best thing (and easiest) would be to lower the bar……….cut imports through heavy import tariffs, strict exchange control and local import substitution. Remember 1970 to 1977 and the United Front…..I doubt the JVP ideals are any different.

    Improving our participation in international trade is training young people in specific marketable trades (not churning out 1000,000 arts graduates), changing our education system to english (doubt the JVP would like that at all). Encouraging foreign companies to setup here and provide technical employment…..this is a long road……the JVP can sit on their behinds and talk………they do this very well, after all, Sri Lanka is a Nation full of back seat drivers.

  • 1
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    We have to galvanise our last 20% from poverty. There has to be a reasornable selection of samudhri labies. Many on the list are who have income but due to political support or bribes are now on the list. the other is to empower them with adult education and vocational training and to see for their basic needs. A new mechanism has to be drawn up.
    Some of the poor drink alcahol or drugs. they gamble or buy the lotttery. They sruggle with health. They lack knowledge of hiegene and obtaing medical treatment. They need counselling in a large scale. Medical persernal should visit and find out the problems and reccomend samudhri.
    Priority should be given to scolarship here and abroad to these catergories. They should be given on hand training in private and public sector.It has to be compulsory for private and public sector to show their processs and worker skills in multi media sponsered by the State.
    We now have many practical advise on state reasearch media. There should be places for the poor to access media with the help of public oficers. The government should be able to overide patent and copyright laws.
    The JVP must participate in profit sharing and productivity incentive proposals and implementation. He who does not work do not let him eat.This applies to the richand poor alike.

  • 4
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    How many people know that the country’s economy rests on the backs of those slaving in the Middle East, of those sweating it out in garment factories, of those in the plantations and those farming in the CKD prone Dry Zone? These are the people generating the wealth of this country.

    And how these innocent people are conned into believing in “nationalism”, a Sinhala-Buddhist Nationalism! And who is the guardian of this fake nationalism? It is none other than Mahinda Rajapakse!

    How little do they know that it is their money that is robbed by these politicians (and even those donated for the tsunami!), wasted on project like the Mattala Airport and other stupidities, on carrying plane loads of cronies to lobby for other stupid ventures like the Commonwealth Games in Hambantota? Do they know that every project, be it resurfacing roads or building expressways, are awarded on the basis of the amount of commissions that is there for siphoning off to secret offshore un-named trust accounts in money laundering havens like Cayman Islands and Seychelles?

    Do these people connect the motorcades of Mercedes Benzs and BMWs protected by Defenders that cart these rogues around are paid for by their sweat and blood?

    No, they don’t know and they cannot connect. What is projected is that Rajapakse is the defender of Sinhala Buddhists and if he is not heading the country, the Tamils and Muslims will takeover. This is the message that is spread around the country. And people fall for it. Why? Because they are brought up to believing so and, lately on the “credential” that Rajapakse won the war!

    And did he really win? In a way, yes. He was the only leader who had no regard for civilian casualties, whether they were in their thousands or in hundreds of thousands. Rajapakse was the only leader who had no compunction in slaughtering the innocents to win the war. He knew that that was a political advantage that could never be beaten, because the Sinhala-Buddhist masses were indoctrinated, through Mahawamsa and other legends, to become chauvinistic and into believing Tamils were their enemy for centuries.

    The fact that Rajapakses were able to do anything, corruption, nepotism, wastage, and any other dastardly act and still count on 5.2 million people to vote for them proves how strong that sentiment of nationalism is, which is nothing but racism, among the majority of Sinhalese.

    If JVP is ever to come to power, they have a tedious task of educating the Sinhala and Tamil masses to move away from this tribalism and rise up to become modern citizens of a multi-cultural society that treats every citizen as equal. It will be a long and hard struggle.

    But, in the meantime, Rajapakses may just manage to create a family dynasty not second to North Korea! And, perpetuate Rajapakse rule beyond our life times.

  • 0
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    Dilruk

    I presume your comment is after reading the political covenant under reference. In case you have not read it, suggest you do. Opinion is the midpoint between knowledge and ignorance.

    After 67 years of independence, the UNP announces one million jobs in sixty months. Any opinions?

  • 0
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    Now the JVP has put out its Policy Statements titled “An Accord of Conscience” and a “National Programme”. In essence this spells out what the JVP is going to do once they get the mandate to run the Government. Frankly, I did not “Bother” to read it or “Study” both the documents, because it is a WASTE of TIME and ENERGY. Now you will rise up against me. I know it. But I will explain WHY?

    Over the last few days and weeks, JVP spokesmen, Anura Kumara Dissanayake, Wijitha Herath, Sunil Hadun Netti. Tilvin Silva and no lesser person than its National Organizer Bimal Ratnayake very “CLEARLY” and “CATEGORICALLY” asked the voters at meetings and TV debates to MAKE them the “STRONGEST OPPOSITION” in the Parliament. So my question is: Why do we need a “National Programme” from this political party that which cannot be implemented while being in the Opposition? We are not that “idiotic” not to know that an Opposition in Parliament is not entrusted with the governing matters of the country and they do need a “Programme of work” to sit in that assembly. But, if in the ALTERNATIVE the JVP produced a “Programme of work” explaining how they are going to show us the way to get the “Programmes” of the other two contenders to govern the country; then their claim and request to be placed in the Opposition could be considered. That too has to be done after STUDY of those Programmes and isn’t it “clownish” even to think of such a move.

    The next issue, I have is: When they request the voters to elect them to be the “Strongest Opposition”; doesn’t it IMPLY that we can vote any one of the two other parties viz. UNP or SLFP/ULF to govern the country. How do you reconcile that situation and the stand taken by JVP. In a sense JVP too align with Rev. Sobitha Thero who says: “vote for the lesser evil of the two”. In my opinion, there is no “lesser evil” – in short Evil is Evil and that is the TRUTH. If anyone talks of “lesser evil” that is a MYTH. Then why should we have the dictum “Truth nothing but the Truth”. Forget it an have “lesser truth”.

    We have experienced these two parties governing the country for 66 years and 6 months; 33 years by UNP’ 33 years by SLFP/ULF; and 6 moths by a “coalition of UNP/SLFP/ULF and the predicament we have fallen into. If JVP tells us to place them in a “Strong Opposition” what does it convey to us? Aren’t they asking us to “continue” with our suffering in the hands of these evils and they “watch” from the opposition benches. Of course, to their credit it must be stated, they must be planning to again “align” with the rest in opposition and topple the governing party or extend a “critical support” to the government; but NOT to bear the responsibility to govern.

    In these circumstances, we have two OPTIONS: (1) Vote either UNP or SLFP/ULF and hand over the matters of governing the country. (2) “FORCE” the JVP into “GOVERNING” by voting them to power, as per their “An Accord of Conscience” and the “National Programme” and show us how capable and competent they are. Why wait till 2020 to given them that power. That is the time they say would be forming a Government. If we wait till then, this “Programme” will be OUT OF DATE and good enough to be placed in the waste paper basket.

    Mr. Chaminda Weerawardane: Your article “Sri Lanka JVP: Political Projects & Challenges” dated 22/7/’15. Above is the CHALLENGE for the JVP.

    Mr. Sarath De Alwis: your quoted statement: “The working class did not rise like the sun at an appointed time. It was present at its own making by E.P.Thompson. JVP is going down the drain of its “own making” with the types of utterances it is now making at this very critical election (making or breaking) of 2015. I hope JVP will address this ISSUE.

  • 2
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    Today’s TV showed ADK and other JVPers going to Asgiriya and Malwatte. They gave us the impression that they were secular and not religious. Would they go to the Catholic church, kovils and mosques.
    At the end of the day JVP, there is no difference between JVP and the other ethno religious parties. We cannot forget their past also

  • 0
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    The history 50 years of JVP had been proven their are well known anarchist cum terrorist ,that even change persons in favor of UNP leadership.
    JVP is not that only anarchist ,what about their done damage to system of democracy?

    Where is JVP’s accountability comes?
    Who is responsibility of such political crime against People of Sri lanka.

    What about lost of lifes 1971 15,000 youth? Detain more than 30000 persons in Prision and Capmas? Is this not political silly quesation?

    What about lost of youth under rule of UNP 1988/89 90,000 to 100,000 lifes?
    What is the part of JVP role play by current leadership during last 26 years?
    Why(JVP) they so delay to make thier apology for long period?

    Can such political party of JVP by overnight become democracy? Can to belived it?
    What set of policies JVP put forward by new persons!

    Well current JVP leaders are agent and proxies of US and Indian -RAW outfits?
    Leaders of JVP current men and women knows ABC OF SOCIALIM? Or Democracy ?

    I think New JVP is manipulated by media players and oversees vested interest cliques.

    Presently JVP must come with politics of changes that whole set of past and persent policie, that of developemnt of Capitalsm by sustanability path and model.

    Entire JVP paty orginization must dissolved promptly ,having democratc eleaction to BE selected NEW LEADERSHIP.

    Removed JVP Wijeweera name and symbol once and for all.
    Surrender all armes holding by party cardes and sercaret funding of Bank robbries.

    Give to public accounts how that Party funds comes? Reveal all Party list of members to the public, without further delay.
    These are few conditions of JVP has to be fitted to be before public of Sri lanka which turn into party of democracy.

    I view that JVP should not give power of democracy governace of Sri lanka another 25 years.

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