20 May, 2022

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May 11th Indefinite Hartal: Plug The Gaps

By Dayan Jayatilleka

Dr. Dayan Jayatilleka

Following its unprecedentedly successful mass protest of April 28th, the joint Trade Union Coordinating Committee has announced a two-point or double-barreled plan of action. It is an eminently legitimate and progressive endeavor to secure the departure of President Gotabaya Rajapaksa, his clan and his regime.

It also has potential gaps which have to addressed if the result is not to be the opposite of what is expected.

The double-barreled plan is firstly, a General Strike centric Hartal on May 6th. If it fails to convince Gotabaya Rajapaksa to vacate the Presidency, the struggle will escalate to the next level of an open-ended General Strike and Hartal starting May 11th.

The plan is logical and I said earlier, entirely legitimate. However, there are strategic, tactical and logistical problems which have to be addressed.

The Great Hartal (“Maha Hathaalaya”) of August 1953 was criminally called-off by its leaders the LSSP and the CPSL at a time the Cabinet had vacated to a US ship anchored in the harbour. Everything bad that happened in the country, starting with Sinhala only in 1956 can be traced to that original betrayal.

Therefore, it is commendable that the leadership of this 21st century Hartal, the Trade Union Coordinating Committee is strategizing a double-tap, May 6th and May 11th, with the latter continuing until victory.

However, the stakes are so high that the risk of failure should be minimized. The gaps I see as having to be plugged are as follows:

1. The Hartal of August 1953 had an identifiable political leadership/s: the LSSP and the CPSL. While the JVP and FSP are represented in the Coordinating Committee, there is no overarching political front or bloc that is visible to the nation.

2. There is an unevenness between the industrial and agrarian, the urban and rural fronts. The original and most widespread grievance was that of the peasantry. Marx insisted at one point that the formula for success was that the workers struggle should be “backed by a second edition of the Peasants War”. If the Hartal starting May 11th is to be successful, the peasants front must be as active as the workers front.

3. Quite apart from the lack of a visible, coordinated political leadership, there is also the absence of a People’s Bloc which brings together all the main organizations of the various streams of the Aragalaya: the youth, the students, workers, peasants, women, religious clergy, artists, professionals, and perhaps the ‘national bourgeoisie’ or ‘liberal bourgeoisie’ i.e., the supportive business community.

4. A reassessment has to be made of the various modes of struggle in each sector. For instance, if the workers in the power sector are pulled out, the resultant hardship may cause the public to swing against the struggle and pivot to welcoming intervention by the armed forces (as happened with the health and transport strikes in 1989).

5. Always be aware that the enemy can escalate beyond what you can, because the enemy commands the armed forces and the military can even by itself, choose to intervene and seize power. It is vital to grasp that where there is Revolution, however latent, there is also Counter-Revolution. There must be no adventurist opening provided for military Counterrevolution.

I was lucky to address a group of student veterans of Tahrir 1. They were Arab students who had studied and were studying at the Sorbonne, Paris. The occasion was made possible by a young Sri Lankan I had recruited as Research officer of the Sri Lanka Embassy Paris, when I served as ambassador. A postgrad with degrees from Sorbonne and Science Po, she was keen that I address her fellow postgrads at the Faculty of Law at the Sorbonne. Among them were leaders who had returned from their mother country across the Mediterranean, to France and their classes after participating prominently in the Tahrir Square uprising.

I urged them to make a comparative study of revolutions including the classic French Revolution, cautioning them of the need to prepare for two possible endgames: elections and military counterrevolution.

What the brave, brilliant young leaders of the Tahrir protests failed to do was to build a political movement that could intervene politically in the endgame. The military proved to be better at judging the political moment i.e., at politics. The story ended tragically.

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Latest comments

  • 56
    55

    The strange and sickeningly obvious thing about the current so-called “Aragalaya” of the bandana wearing, rap singing, spoilt offspring of the Colombo drugs dealers and other dubious ‘nouva rich’ rascals, brought together by electricity deprivation, is the type of sentimentality blunt spent forces like Dayan J, Sarath (DE) Alwis, Kumar D and some teeth showing Tamil idiots and opportunistic Hamba operatives including the Ameer character. The desperate JVP ‘Anthare’ animals who introduces animalistic ragging to the uni system (as a desperate undergrad recruitment drive) will be (temporarily) over the moon about their success!

    The cynical commentariat either fail to see, or are ignoring the obvious similarity of this stupid beach party modelled on the CIA organised ‘Color Revolutions in Europe, and the Arab Spring fraud, 20 years too bloody late!

    • 11
      1

      “Holding on to anger is like grasping a hot coal with the intent of throwing it at someone else; you are the one who gets burned.” Lord Buddha

    • 21
      2

      Enough of Galle Face! March to the Parliament I say ; Unseat the incumbents! Too many of our Lankan socialists are living off cultural socialism. Do the needy honorable stuff. Bring on the Revolution!

    • 6
      6

      Muththa who? Regardless of every thing, there is a point in what Muththa is saying.

      That neocon witch, Robert Kagan’s wife (he, former foreign policy advisor to the war criminal Dick Cheney), of “F*** the EU” notoriety (Obama’s Assistant Secretary of State for European and Eurasian Affairs at the time, and put in cold storage by Donald Trump), reborn under the brain-dead Biden regime, was suspiciously in the region before a corrupt parliament in Pakistan ousted a non-compliant Imran Khan with a rogue Sherif and the bryani uprising began at Galleface..

      This female dog of a woman was behind the 2014 Nazi-Jewish undermining of democracy in Ukraine (was seen handing out cookies to demonstrators during the coup in Ukraine in 2013. https://t.co/QXx7jP80Yl).

      The make up of the crowd, their hashtag slogans and English propaganda gives reasons to believe that the US embassy is behind this ‘puswedilla’ of a revolution’.

      It is not surprising that Compradors with scores to settle with Mahinda Rajapaksa are painting this conspiracy in glowing colours!

      • 0
        0

        I am a little confused. The USA were behind ,I think 95% of the revolutions since the 1970’s,so your assertion that they may have something to do with the Galle Face one is not in question.I am confused as to what is your point?

    • 4
      3

      How racist can one be!

    • 5
      0

      Dayan, taking your advice, Hema Premadasa has started to plug the gaps. There is bad publicity being spread about Sajith Premadasa regarding financial irregularities. It is being said that there was a meeting last night in the house of Thirukumar Nadesan where Hema Premadasa had attended, for which I cannot think any reason other than making political deal. Is there an attempt to cover up financial swindling done by late Ranasinghe Premadasa, which is being enjoyed by Premadasa family. She may have asked not to attack Sajith regarding fraud, in exchange to not attacking Rajapakse family about alleged swindling. Sajith has been saying that he does not take the salary of MP. What is his income to live and to do politics. Recently Pandora papers revealed the name of Paskaralingam. Obviously he could not have amassed that wealth with his salary as public servant. It was told those days that Paskaralingam was the agent to take bribes and commissions on behalf of Premadasa. Are you aware of any link with exposed Paskaralingam’s money and late Premadasa.

      • 0
        0

        Premadasa was educated at Mill Hill School. The fees would have been too big for R Premadasa to pay out of his salary as a prime minister
        Per Term Per Annum
        Day including lunch £7,610.00 £22,830.00
        Weekly Boarding including meals £10,380.00 £31,140.00
        Boarding including meal £12,300.00 £36,900.00. Assuming they were much lower in 1970’s ,my supposition is probably correct.
        He cannot be blamed for that as Not a single living being is able to choose who their parents were,where they are born, how rich etc. you get the idea.
        My point is that we should not have permanent politicians. We would be a wealthy country with more money that Switzerland which is an anarchy with no permanent politicians who become prime ministers!!

    • 4
      6

      you rascal Muththa you should be removed. Indecent idiot

      • 6
        1

        Reads like this lame ‘threat’ has come from the basement ‘local news analysis unit’ of the Yankee fortress at Kollupitiya junction!
        Is it Roger Stein, Heim, Cohen, Levy or Pukowsky? No difference really, ‘Chosen’ shit eaters only have different names. They are all made of excreta.

  • 18
    4

    Gotabaya has to take full responsibility for the economic crisis and should immediately resign from his executive presidency. The Finance Minister, the President and the whole population agree that President Gotabaya is not fit or suitable to govern this country.

  • 18
    3

    Everything bad that happened in the country, starting with Sinhala only in 1956.
    Is Dayan a born-again? (Not that I believe in that crowd!)

    • 4
      0

      Nathan

      He is in one of his 64 positions.
      While he is dropping names police tear gased students protesting in front of Parliament. Whoever gave the order, it is meant to hurt passer by and people on the street.
      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wB1p0iokswc&t=1s
      Students suffering from tear gas! The battlefield is buzzing

      The orders were given and executed by psychopathic sadists.

  • 7
    5

    I don’t like Thero’s hypocritical essays, including this one. But……. Sorry guys there is a but! Old Rowdy, Greedy, Bloody King seems to have been overruled by Old Beauty Queen. He was supposed to go home today. Sinhala masses, Son Prince, Brother Princes, Hitler King, Ayatollahs, Labor movements, people movement, democratic foreign governments, UN, UNHRC, even Thero’s new arch enemy Valaiththodam .. all of them wanted Old Rowdy to lift the heavy butt and bugger off. But at the last moment, Old Rowdy has created another Banda – Chelva Pact for all those hoping that he will leave. That is why the but came in. I wish I had bought a bottle of vodka like Thero or even some Deva badu like Sadampy to hallucinate and read the essay. How nice it would be to dream the Old Rowdy is being unseated by a people’s protest on 6th or 11th of May. I am pinching my hand and still I have the sense of the outside world. Still I would buy a few candies to put in Thero’s mouth if, on one of those days, his dream(our dream) comes true.

  • 6
    1

    The longer the PM and the Ministers not leaving the parliament more Tracing, and wanting for freezing, and return of stolen assets has proved in many cases is the demanding from the protest for the recovery next two months Oil, Gas Medicine and Agriculture for sustainable growth

  • 2
    0

    “The Great Hartal (“Maha Hathaalaya”) of August 1953 was criminally called-off by its leaders the LSSP and the CPSL at a time the Cabinet had vacated to a US ship anchored in the harbour. “
    *
    Does DJ imagine that the LSSP and CP (not CPSL at the time) were in a position to take power?
    The government did not abandon power when the Cabinet met on board a ship. It was a safety measure in the face of public fury turning violent.
    No government abandons power so easily.
    There was no political follow up to the Hartal, and that is quite another matter.

    • 0
      0

      “I was lucky to address a group of student veterans of Tahrir 1. “
      *
      I am not sure if the group of students was as lcky.
      What did DJ learn in the process? Seems very little.

  • 1
    1

    God has power to send the evil Lucifer into the eternal flames of hell prepared for him and for all who wish to believe in his ways. There is also given to humans lovingly, the way to use wisdom, faith and revelation. When faith becomes fear of the future, it makes men mad and weird.

  • 14
    3

    Undoubtedly, the Rajapaksa clan have overplayed their hand, with Basil ‘kaputa’ being their weakest link, as in 2015. Namal is not fit to clean the toilets of a future president. But they have been bluffed all the same, and they are panicking.

    The American embassy (and Israeli) hands behind the Galleface affair is unmistakable. Just look at it being modelled on the Ukrainian affair of 2013/14. The evil US Satete Department spy woman Victoria Needleman (Nugent) reappearing under the moribund Biden administration marked a spurt of US undermining independet leaders and governments in Asia, in order to terrorise China.

    The choice of Galleface in Colombo for this affair reflects the shamefully obvious modelling on the public place ‘Maidan’ in Kiew. The Galleface. mob only speak English, only knows to communicate in Hashtags, sport bandanas. and recite trashy American rap in their efforts to get popular among the youth. But the rural youth and peasants in Sri Lanka have never identified with such alien cultures, and have not become part of this farcical effort.

  • 2
    0

    For years Dayan has clung onto the coat-tail of anti minority (ethnic and religious) sentiment from every political party. Suddenly he has reach the “Road to Damasus” and started to acknowledge the very first ill that started the downward spiral of our dear country was the “Sinhala Only” policy from SWRD and SLFP.

    • 0
      6

      If it is not “Sinhala Only”, what should it be in a Sinhalese majority country?

      • 0
        0

        Is it Sinhala that is ruling here?
        I see more English on the streets here than I would find in Southall, England.

  • 8
    0

    Changing the leadership will not change anything unless the rule of law is upheld at all times.

    The Rajapakses are corrupt but so is the average Sri Lankan too with the exception of a few good men. Honesty has taken a severe toll on society because there are legal consequences to face.

    The Rajapakses are not the only thugs in the country. The average Sri Lankan displays thuggery at every nook and corner. If you have seen social media reports at fuel stations you can see this on full display. Yes, people are frustrated but that does not excuse their appalling behavior.

  • 3
    1

    It is a “Now or Never” moment as the wheels of injustice are turning to retain the status quo while sitting out the partying frenzy at Galle Face. The youth must organize into a cohesive front that makes govt machinery unworkable, all according to legal limitations and in line with Gandhian peaceful non-cooperation and civil disobedience. The parasites (all 225 of them) are uniting to preserve their freebies and power at the cost of thousands of civilian lives earmarked for loss through starvation, sickness or violence. On the contrary, what should happen is making the parasites’ lives miserable instead. Sooner the better.

    • 1
      0

      LP
      Do not get carried away.
      There is homework to do to mobilize the whole people.
      There is no sign of attention to that aspect.
      Until then parasites will thrive.

  • 3
    1

    Dayan: I guess you were part of these racist regimes and served as an Ambassador to France. This tells me a lot. Now you are sounding like a born again person. After all this done the country will go back to its original color. There will be no different. They say you cannot change the stripes. Its better for all minorities to stay out of it and have the Sinhalese fight it out. Well for the 54 billion is gone. Gota and Mahinda will run away from here to all the wealth outside SL. Good luck in getting all the money back. All the politicians are in for money. I wish the Sinhalese people all the best and they get Gota and Mahinda out of politics and recover the billions.

    • 1
      0

      Kalay

      “Dayan: I guess you were part of these racist regimes and served as an Ambassador to France.”

      He is a self confessed card carrying racist, who is also a well known war monger, war crime denier, and a name dropping b***s carrier.

  • 0
    0

    Dayan has his fingers crossed at the End game of the protests island wide,currently in the third week or so.
    Will the Military pull the Carpet from under their feet? True. The protests are there in a big way. But this needs to be translated politically to keep the Military at bay……………..

    • 0
      1

      If the Military take over, they will not be able to manage. This bankruptcy was a consequence of Covid 19 and the lack of altruism by the leaders of nations. It is affecting 99% of the countries. Only a few have escaped because the countries behaved as if nothing happened when covid struck the world.
      Turkey,France,UK,USA,Australia etc are all in dire financial straits. Sri Lanka is a major producer of goods and contrary to the Finance Minister Sabry has more natural resources(Does not have oil therefore has no natural resources would have been a slogan in the 1970’s) than many countries. It has Tea which about 1.5 billion of us drink 3 times a day, it produces rubber which is in trees and every one of the 1.4 billion cars needs 4 of them!; it produces Graphite (At present we do not a good return from its sale)which is in most nuclear power stations etc. When compared with Switzerland we have more natural resources but the Swiss have anarchy and we need to follow their model urgently. Also have biogas tanks given to people free of charge as soon as possible to make us less dependent on gas

    • 0
      0

      Plato,
      .
      Colombo IGP is said to have – ” let s kill a few” if intending to stop the protests. Can you imagine ?
      They like or not, they will have to go to jail soon. Let s see how it will end up. I am so proud of our University Students and their braveries.
      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3r6tw9wvwAw

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