21 June, 2018

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Mahinda Rajapaksa Is The Last Moderate

By Dayan Jayatilleka

Dr. Dayan Jayatilleka

In 2002, in the wake of 9/11, Tariq Ali wrote a book called The Clash of Fundamentalisms. He was referring to the neo-conservative Christian fundamentalism of George Bush and the Islamist fundamentalism of the Wahhabis in general and al Qaeda in particular. His basic point was that these two contending fundamentalisms feed off each other.

We are experiencing a similar situation. The dialectics of our situation are that the UNP, CBK and TNA, the seeming opponents of the Sinhala Alt-Right are in fact the greatest enablers and accelerants of it, while Mahinda Rajapaksa, the Muhammad Ali of Sri Lankan politics, and indeed the Rajapaksas—Chamal, Basil, Gota and Namal—are the last line of defense against the Sinhala Alt-Right project of turning Sri Lanka into an officially Sinhala Buddhist state, a theocratic state, with zero or only district level devolution.

The best defence against the rising tide of the Sinhala New Right would be the reconstitution of the center, not as a single party, a reunified SLFP, but as a bloc. This cannot and should not happen while the official SLFP is aligned with the UNP as it is currently constituted, because that UNP or rather its policy direction, is the main factor for the growth of the Alt-Right. Therefore, checking the Alt-Right means delinking the SLFP from the UNP or delinking the Ranil-Mangala duo from the Unity government.

It is far from the case that the personal subjectivism between President Sirisena and ex-President Rajapaksa is such that a rapprochement between the two leaders and between the SLFP-JO-SLPP is impossible. The leading players in the SLFP and the JO, and the key outlier, Gotabaya Rajapaksa, are all for a political détente of some kind. All these figures however, belong, broadly speaking, to a moderate-nationalist political center, which has not only cracked up, but has been pulled apart and is being kept apart by the forces of ideological extremism: the neoliberal UNP on the one side and the Sinhala radical Right on the other.

Either President Sirisena himself or a significant section of his party are unwilling to break with the UNP in government, for two reasons. One is the legitimate apprehension of being outflanked by the UNP and TNA which have threatened to form a government. The other is the far less legitimate greed on the part of some official SLFP Ministers who are awaiting their part of the share of the sale of national assets as promised by the Ranil-Mangala duo.

The consequence of the SLFP’s unwillingness either to leave the government or to reconstitute its leadership, and the resultant failure of the SLFP-JO-SLPP to construct a political equation, will be the polarization of political space between the neoliberal Right (the UNP) and the Sinhala Buddhist radical Right; between two fundamentalisms—free market neoliberal fundamentalism and Trump-Tea Party type Sinhala neo-nationalism.

If the talks between the official SLFP and the JO-SLPP conclusively fail, it will be because the SLFP (MS) is unwilling either to leverage the bond scam report and de-couple the PM from the governing coalition, or to vote against the “fast track liberalization and globalization” (i.e. free-market fundamentalist, neoliberal) Budget and rupture from/assert Presidential hegemony over the Government’s UNP driven policy agenda at this point in time.

The JO-SLPP, or SLPP-JO, if displaced from Parliament by inner-party disciplinary action, will have found a political base, an alternative home, in the local authorities and the Provincial Councils. That base will be quite adequate to fight the presidential and parliamentary elections of 2019-2020. It is from a municipal and provincial/regional base that Lula and his Workers Party first made it to the Presidency.

Even if, in a move of vengeful folly in the run-up to or aftermath of the local government elections, Mahinda Rajapaksa and his fellow MPs are sacked from Parliament, the ruling Establishment will be tied up in litigation in which the creation of a fake Opposition in Parliament by conferring the Opposition leadership to the TNA with 16 seats, will repeatedly come up for aggressive scrutiny. Mahinda and the JO out of parliament while the TNA occupies the seat of Opposition Leader, and the government attempts a new Constitution, the installation of India in Trincomalee and the deep South (Mattala), and Geneva-driven accountability, is a recipe for rebellion, from which the ‘peasantry in uniform’ (Lenin’s description of the army) may not be entirely immune.

The tragic consequence of the official SLFP’s failure of resolve either to press the re-set button at the strategic national level –not the opportunistic and tactical local level– or to give the JO its due place as the Parliamentary Opposition, goes far beyond the electoral arena. It will mark the beginning of the end of the center in Sri Lankan politics and will denote the beginning of an era of polarization that will engulf and probably unravel Sri Lanka as we have known it.

The complete disenfranchisement of the majoritarian Southern Opposition will have the most serious consequences for the country’s stability. The SLFP would become marginal after the local government elections and be swallowed up by the UNP and SLPP respectively; the JO will be driven by the SLPP and Mahinda Rajapaksa could well be on his way to winding up a second Sirimavo Bandaranaike or the R. Sampanthan of Southern politics.

Thus the ideological center is dying in Sri Lankan politics. The displacement of the Government to the neoliberal Right, and worse still, the cynical installation of the TNA as the parliamentary Opposition in place of the much larger JO, has generated a backlash powered by the religious Right. Had the JO been given its legitimate place that alone could have stabilized a moderate nationalist, center left opposition and thwarted the radical Right.

Sinhala Buddhist political fundamentalism would have captured or become the majority shareholder and influencer of a truly mass new Opposition party, which next time around, in 2019-2020, is likely to form the Government or be its core social and ideological component. It has taken over a century, and been a long road from the Dharmapala-Olcott schism, through Sinhala Only and Standardization, to the capture, occupation and systemic remodeling of the State. One child of 1956 (Sinhala Only) would have replaced the other (moderate centrism, social democracy, Nonalignment). Cain would have murdered Abel. Thus will the Sinhala New Right assume state power.

Part of the problem is that the negotiations are not between the official SLFP and the JO leadership, but rather, between the smaller official SLFP and the larger part of the SLFP that is with the JO but is increasingly driven by the newly formed SLPP (‘Pohottuwa’). That dynamic party is led by Basil Rajapaksa and Prof GL Peiris who are pragmatic pluralists but are catering to the intransigence of the younger MPs and the rank-and-file local government representatives who are bitter at the way they’ve been cheated by the official SLFP (removed from organizerships), are looking to capture and monopolize the SLFP’s place in electoral politics.

Though its leadership is pragmatic, the SLPP, and other competing or parallel political projects in the anti-Establishment space, are increasingly infiltrated and influenced by caucuses and pressure groups linked to the ‘New Right’ Sinhala Diaspora grid. The moderate SLPP leadership is playing along with these new ideological entities, in what it thinks is a conscious emulation of SWRD’s shift in 1955-56 but is actually a caricature of his ideology and politics.

The crime committed by Chandrika–Ranil-Mangala in ending the two party system by aligning the SLFP with the UNP, betraying the mandate given to the 95 MPs elected on an anti-UNP, anti-‘Unity government’ ticket in August 2015, has deprived the political arena of a moderate alternative to the UNP. In place of either a social democratic Left or radical Left alternative, we are seeing the rise of a hardline Sinhala neo-nationalist alternative which is seeking to capture potentially social democratic SLPP and the modernizing Gota project.

The Left is too divided (JVP-FSP) to be a viable electoral alternative to the shift to the New Right. Consequently, the only thing that can save the ideological and political center, and thereby the equilibrium and stability of the System, is a restoration of the two party, center-right vs. center-left model before it is captured and torn apart by the neoliberal Right and the neo-nationalist radical New Right.

After the local authority elections, the official SLFP will have three options: go along with the UNP to the bitter end; de-link from the UNP and realign in some form with the JO-SLPP (under the dominance of the latter); seize power within the government by displacing the PM over the bond scam, supporting another UNPer or an SLFPer as Prime Minister, and inducting the JO-SLPP. If the SLFP stays with the UNP, it will shrivel rather like the LSSP-CPSL did when it stayed on with the SLFP almost all the way through in 1970-77.

In these variations, the SLFP will be the junior partner because the upcoming election will almost certainly reveal a tectonic shift in our politics, with the Mahinda–led oppositional formation assuming the role of the traditional SLFP as founded by Chandrika’s, Mahinda’s and Dinesh’s fathers.

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Latest comments

  • 21
    2

    Moderate my foot! He is an outright radical extremist…

    • 18
      1

      What DJ meant was that MR is a Moda-rat

      • 7
        1

        Don’t worry the Rajapaksas will probably be airlifted to the Hage very soon to be tried for their crimes against humanity…

        They must be planning to do what Slobodan Praljak a former Bosnian Croat general did once convicted.

        Lord Naseby Seems to be doing a good job setting them up without them even suspecting a thing.

    • 6
      1

      Mahinda Rajapaksa Is The Last Moderate …………… and the Second Murderer in the president’s chair after Premadasa ………….

      • 3
        5

        nimal fernando
        Mahinda killed somebody? Who did he kill? Elaborate.

        • 3
          1

          Champa for once you are right.
          MR did not kill that man in Tangalle in 1972
          MR did not kill that man in Dehiwala in 2002
          MR did not kill Lakshman Kadirgamar.
          MR did not kill Lasantha Wickrematunga.
          When this is so, why are they accusing MR.
          MR is as innocent as a new born child.
          Look at his face, which is like the Tamil saying “Paal Vadiyum Muham”
          He is a Bodhisatwa waiting to attain Buddhahood.

      • 3
        1

        You mean MR is a Murder-Rot

    • 2
      1

      But for one reason – which is Jaythilaka intends to get posted to somewhere, if only the bugger Rajapakshes would be back…. there this katussa, should behave this way.
      Most abusive in lanken spot light is this partiuclar Jayathilalka.
      He has no brains so as the case with WImal Buruwas.

    • 1
      1

      Sinhe

      Did you mean Dayan’s foot is in his mouth? Its more than likely.

  • 17
    3

    What moderation does he has got? he sold out some part of Sri Lanka to China? he sorted out LTTE problem with full support of Army commander S.F and Army and yet, he looted public money. He gave away freedom to many of his family and friends. All those accumulated wealth and money: evidence are many for this and yet, this government did not take action. Why? all know why.. if MS and Ranil do it the circle of revenge and tit for tat will go for many decades. It is good thing that Ranil and MS did not take action for any one of them.. That is good for me.. so that opened corruption could continue in Sri Lanka for something until a man of principle come to powers. all politicians in Sri Lanka do not have principles . They have only self interest. Only Anura Kumara D. could do some changes. No one else and yet, UNP and SLFP managed to fool public about him . He is a man principles .. I do not think public are still convinced with him and his politics and yet, he is only politician who lives with his word. They will work in accordance with their consciousness of hearts. but what MR and MS done is they went against this basic rule of nature. all corruption are there out .. Ranil is like fox and he changed colour like his uncle JR. nothing new about MR .. He is not as he was in 1970s or 80’s . He changed with taste of power.. Ms is worse of all. He did not have back born to punish wrong doers. This is Sri lanka today . So sad politics .

    • 2
      5

      Anura Kumara D is a UNP puport the only reason for him to slander & attack MR to increase the Sinhala Buddist votes, since 2009 onward JVP’s vote base was moving to MR. Ranil is failure he is incompetent & he is a curse for the country. The only way the country is going to come out of this mess is with a strong President like Gota. The only hope is these to idiots MS & Ranil are weakened after the local government elections.

      • 2
        1

        Kenn

        Nepotism should be eliminated from politics once and for all.
        Rajapaksa clan has blocked, suppressed and intimidated any Presidential hopefuls using various legal, political, social methods coupled with blackmailing, smear campaigns, harassments and shakedowns while glorifying only themselves so that people only see them.
        President Sirisena took a politically unethical move to defeat MR. In hindsight, many people wish he hadn’t done that, but President Sirisena opened the door for leaders in other political ;parties or anyone who is suppressed by their leaders
        or Rajapaksas, or a ruthlessly ambitious man from the general public to contest for Presidency challenging mighty Rajapaksa clan. Anyways, I feel downhearted and blue as no one is in the horizon right now. Who knows, things will change the way I want.

  • 16
    3

    Mahinda Rajapakse had many options after 2009 but he choose to go behind Buddhist Fundamentalism to become a dictator. He bribed Buddhist Monks. Gotapaya created the BBS & white van death squad which is the highest level of Buddhist Fundamentalism. Basil was the master of corruption who accumulated the wealth and deposited all over the world.
    Dayan is trying to play the usual game of threatening using psychological weapon that is the alt right Buddhist fundamenalists and only Mahinda can save the country from Alt right Fundamentalists.
    Dayan, the reality is that Mahinda Rajapakse & Co are the real threat to this nation and people. The people can live in a Buddhist nation but people cannot live under Mahinda regime once again. People bravely get rid of the Mahinda regime and there is no chance to go back to that horror period. If he would have succeeded in 2015, the whole nation would have gone under blood. we don’t need blood. We need, peace, harmony and law and order.

    • 0
      0

      Which country, not looting. Vatican, Buddhist Temples, Hindu Temples, Mosques, other religious places also looting money. Entire Africa Continent countries, full of looters. Entire Asia Continent countries are full of looters, entire South America Continent countries looters, doctors, lawyers also looters. In this world who is not looters?

  • 14
    2

    This man is off his beak.Build a new Asylum and send him as the first resident.

    • 4
      1

      gorakaya

      Are you suggesting that we should send him to North Korea?

      • 2
        0

        Vedda, Sending him to Belgium would be more appropriate, wouldn’t it? They owe us some for sending their vagabonds here in the 17th century. And their left overs are still sucking our blood, hiding under pseudonyms!

  • 2
    9

    Explain this , will you please Dr. D.J. You say;
    SLFP will have three options. 1. Go along with the UNP………… 2. Realign in some form with JO/SLPP…. 3. Seize the power by displacing PM and appointing another and inducting JO/SLPP…….
    Name a single MP in the the Parliament from SLPP. None. They all are officially SLFP. How do you propose to induct MP-less SLPP into the government?
    .
    Although you may not have thought, in such a scenario, UNP also have options. As long as Ranil is the party leader, President is not in a position to appoint anyone else from the UNP cos’ there will be disciplinary action against that MP for conspiring against the party leader and he will be expelled from the party. On the other hand, if the President appoints someone from SLFP/JO, Ranil + UNP will sit in the Opposition and the impact will be disastrous to President. In other words, both sides will get together and settle the score against the President by unseating him. There was high chance for President to do something like appointing an Acting PM from his side prior to Ranil’s appearance before the Bond Commission as an interlocutor (otherwise I don’t know under what category he comes, he is neither a suspect nor a witness). Anyways, Ranil is now off the bond hook.

    • 1
      9

      Ranil may be off the bond hook. but, he should step down as a prime minister. Because he is disgraced, demaged beyond repair.. Because no one can deny that though he did not get money directly from the bond Scandal (except fro the Brandy bottles he is finishing) he supported it, he protected it and he tried his best to cover up. So, he is the instigator of the bond scandle as the leader and his the Alibaba. or a Ganga leader of a Mafia. He might not be accused of keeping of stloen treasury bills. Yet, some say he is saying, Sri lanka did not lose anything from Ranil Gang printing high interest Treasury bills/bonds and those are not valid as the signature is form Arjun Mahendran. so, they stashed every thing in Ukraine or nearby some where.

    • 0
      3

      SLPP is a ghost party or more accurately, a Political Party of a Poltergeist (a noisy ghost) who make noise, create disturbances, extort and torment people. “Eliya” is the same, it is a Phantom (a silent ghost). Both Eliya Phantom and SLPP Poltergeist are prematurely dead political souls who are seeking to dominate the real world but they can never succeed as long as there are ghost-busters. :D

  • 3
    7

    I am thinking about Sri lanka’s failure a country with visionary politicians. Even though Ranil, CBK, Rajitha, Avamangala, GALLE ON RAVI all failed catching the loot of Mahinda Rajapakse, at least some people of Rajapakses were in jail. Bond Scam Ranil and LGBT boy Avamangala, were a big loser. Even CBK should have stolen. Because, she says She boughtmost of the Weapons that Mahinda rajapakse used in his war against LTTE. Weapon sellers definitely give discount commis. In that case, Mahinda Rajapakse used the weapons and CBK got the commis which was sent to buy mansions in London. Mahinda Rajapakse was screwed up by his own lack of judgement. I heard in the Absence the richest politician in the country, Mahinda Rajapkse, Kiriella thinks he is most prominent politician who has a family inheritence of Rs 400 million. but, Mahidananda aluthgamage does not agree to that saying If my ex-wife did not sell my London – Mansion, I would have been the most worthy politician. Anyway Basil Rajapskes wealth is in American west, Bengal nd inhis wife’s foundation. Malwana – no name – real estate of 250 million is nothing, I heard. Namal Rajapakse also can not contest president this time because His worth is not as big as his father’s. I heard some of these people has lands in the name of a person who is protecting pathimokka seelaya.

  • 10
    1

    Dayan what is your definition of Moderate?

  • 0
    3

    DJ: the best option get some one to screw up the country. USe that opportunity to declare emergency. Lock out the parliament. get come good people and not this 225 except a handful of good people. That is the best option. Why that most of O/L passed 94 were to leave the parliament with some pension. what was their role has been upto now. You are thinking in terms of UNP. SLPP, JO etc., what is the use. YOu know it is the same old gangs of thieves, incompetents are struggling for employment with lucrative salaries and exorbitant perks and benefits. Your intellectuality is mostly based on what others said and there is no original thinking. Give up BS terminology saying this terminology is this concept. For example, Neo-liberalism is looking for smaller parliaments. Think about cost effective , efficient and useful parliament. Why we should not have smaller parliament and not all these 225. Why should you use the parliament to provide employment or help the politician who thinks the only way to make his party prominent is having more parliamentarians and chainging the electoral maps to his advantage.

    • 9
      0

      JS:
      Reading the post above: begs a question. Did you pass O/L?

  • 9
    1

    The Rajapakse regime squandered public funds, abused power & promoted cronyism, nepotism, as well as, corruption to a new high. Period.

    What a shameless & a pathetic ‘intellectual’ you are, still singing the praises of the Rajapakse clan. If you are hoping for comeback on a Rajapakse ticket, dream on. You had your glory days bum sucking Premadasa & the Rajapakses, so take a tip & retire instead of still trying to get on the gravy train.

  • 10
    1

    The ultra-racist DJ is trying to portray himself as better than the Sinhalese Alt-Right racists. He says the Alt-Rights will settle for the District level or zero devolution. But the racist DJ has shown he is totally against offering any form of Federal solutions to the Tamils, while most of the countries with diverse ethnic groups have successfully implemented Federalism. The ultra-racist preaching to the Alt-Rights.

  • 3
    1

    [Edited out]DJ how can you or the dirty Rajapaksa become a patriot .He is a pseudo patriot.Patriots don’t rob, kill and do other dirty things.

  • 4
    1

    Dayan, You are making a frightening prediction about a non existent Sinhala- Alt- Right!

    Could you please name the leaders of Sinhala- Alt- Right?

    Don’t come out with names like Gunadasa Amerasekara!

    They must be formidable leaders like Ranil/ Chandrica/ Mahinda.!

    Don’t play with words.

    The Sinhala Alt Right are non other than Mahinda/Dayan and co

  • 1
    1

    If we talk about looting…..Ranil & suit wearing gang are the biggest thieves. MR would be very much a moderate in that sense too………..

    • 3
      2

      Hela

      “If we talk about looting…..Ranil & suit wearing gang are the biggest thieves. MR would be very much a moderate in that sense too………..”

      Could we have the comparative analysis and the conclusion.

      As far as you are concerned it is a matter of scale that divides them and not the action. If next time around kurakan wearing Dr Mahinda Rajapaksa (LLD) and his clan steal more than Ranil and suit wearing gang then Ranil and suit wearing gang become moderates.

      A fantastic logic, can only come from a Sinhala/Buddhist fascist.

  • 5
    1

    Moderate who failed to investigate several journalists plus Thajudeen killed during his time. MR a wicked extremist of the highest order.According to Buddhism punishment will follow them their children supporters during this birth or several births to come. The way Devdath followed Buddha Thajudeens parents children will follow them in samsara till justice is meted out.

  • 3
    1

    What is outstandingly obvious with DJ’s writings and musings is that they are at a variance with what the average man sees and feels.

    To label Mahinda as a moderate is to bring down the bar, very low.

  • 1
    1

    those whom the gods wish to destroy they first make mad

  • 1
    1

    Dayan starts with Tariq Ali’s book “The Clash of Fundamentalism” which only restates the well known commonsense ‘Fundamentalists feed off each other’.
    In Lanka the scene is two predators growling and eyeballing over the prey. Hyenas wait for the scraps and then the vultures. Dayan wants to feed off what will be left.
    Dayan says JO should lead the opposition. He bloody well knows that MR refused in 2015.
    Dayan descends very low in suggesting that MR as a liberal. He descends even lower suggesting Basil, Gota, Nimal & Chamal to lead the ‘last line of defence’.
    Dayan, do you not see that the language/religion-divide was a trap in the home vs home game?

  • 2
    0

    “Mahinda Rajapaksa Is The Last Moderate” should be the last murderous family …

  • 2
    0

    Mahinda rajapakshe was not the last modaya,but many more to go.

  • 1
    0

    He was neither a moderate nor an extremist. The clan are all opportunists and criminals. Bensen

  • 3
    0

    “Malinda Rajapaksa the last moderate”says Jayatilleke.How nice and refreshing.He has given a new meaning to “Moderate “indeed ! Yes it is butcher MR’s Buddha like moderation that caused 1)The Rathupaswela Massacre of innocent Buddhist people asking for safe drinking water 2)The Aluthgama Massacre of innocent Muslims which was planned for execution while MR was out of the country.3)The butchering of 70,000 innocent Tamil civilians in 2009.It is clear that no community has been spared by butcher MR in his bid to stay in power perpetually.And Jayatilleke calls his God King Mahinda Rajapaksa a moderate!!

    Incidentally,readers may note Dee Jay quietly promoting MR again, now that Gota’s political ambitions have been squashed by recent Supreme Court Judgment on Geetha Kumarasinghe.

  • 2
    0

    [Edited out] Dayan is a purveyor of counter factual history, an ideological parasite of the authentic 20th century left, in the same manner that Trump is an ideological parasite of the extreme right. In a word, DJ is simply a Trump with education. His last line of defense is a gun pointed to the head of Sri Lanka, playing Russian roulette.

  • 0
    0

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  • 0
    0

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