18 October, 2017

May Day 2017 – SLFP & SLPP: Enemies, Rivals Or Allies 

By Dayan Jayatilleka

Dr. Dayan Jayatilleka

“The correctness or incorrectness of the ideological and political line decides everything.”   (Mao)

UNP leader and Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe is mightily helped by the confusion in the ranks of the SLFP and Oppositional forces in general. The SLFP voters and the broader constituency of non-UNP (or non-hardcore UNP) voters are being sent three messages, all of which are wrong. The three messages come, NOT from Mahinda Rajapaksa but from President Sirisena, ex-president Kumaratunga and architect-strategist of the breakaway Sri Lanka Podujana Peramuna (Sri Lanka People’s Front SLPF), Basil Rajapaksa.   

Chandrika Kumaratunga wants a strategic alliance of the SLFP and the UNP, even under the UNP’s leadership. She seems willing to go as far as fusion, which means turning the clock back to pre-1951 and her father’s rupture with the UNP. The alliance she advocates is with Prime Minister Wickremesinghe and the neoliberal globalism he represents, rather than with a populist-patriotic (‘neo-Premadasaist’) tendency of the UNP. Chandrika sees the UNP-TNA-SLFP-civil society liberals-West as a durable and desirable bloc.

President Sirisena sees the UNP-SLFP alliance not as strategic, and certainly not as a potential fusion, unless the UNP is led by an ideological co-thinker who is a centrist-populist. He is striving to cultivate such a constituency within the UNP. If not, or until that fructifies, the alliance with the UNP is tactical, not strategic. He is keeping open the January 2015 alignment and its possible recycling but that is not his Plan A, not least because he sees its exponentially growing unpopularity. He has his eye on the exits that are coming up but he hasn’t made up his mind. His main aim is to nurture a moderate, more youthful and modern, non-Rajapaksa/post-Rajapaksa SLFP which is ideologically progressive or even mildly social democrat. He hopes to use it to seize the hegemony within the existing Yahapalana coalition or lead it to victory as part of a new centrist alliance with compatible elements of the JO and the UNP.

Basil Rajapaksa’s perspective is clear. He is seeing it through the eyes of his father DA Rajapaksa and uncle, DM Rajapaksa. He sees the SLFP vacating its historic role as a moderate nationalist alternative to the UNP, while the UNP is playing the role that made SWRD and DA Rajapaksa rupture with it and found the SLFP. Basil sees a historic opportunity. He hopes to build an alternative to the UNP which in this first stage has to be an alternative to the official SLFP. He hopes to kill two birds with one stone, and strengthen himself through this project, vis-a-vis a sibling perceived as a potential rival and successor to the iconic elder brother Mahinda.     

CBK’s vision of the merger or long-term strategic alliance of the UNP and SLFP which forms a single center-right, pro-West liberal formation is doomed to be a mirage or at best, have a short shelf-life. Once Ranil’s polarizing policies sink the UNP in a reprise of 1956/1970, both the UNP and the official SLFP will dump the line that got them into the hole and swing decisively to populist-nationalist personalities.    

This leaves standing two perspectives of the three: President Sirisena’s and Basil Rajapaksa’s. They are both intelligent, politically knowledgeable individuals, who dislike each other and have a “history”. President Sirisena’s problem with Mahinda Rajapaksa was a derivative of his problem with Basil. President Sirisena and Gotabhaya never had a problem with one another, and the latter actually canvassed unsuccessfully for Mr. Sirisena to be made PM. President Rajapaksa was unable to accommodate Minister Maithripala Sirisena fairly because he was reluctant to antagonize two people—Nimal Siripala de Silva and much more importantly, Basil Rajapaksa. Maithripala Sirisena’s defection and candidacy owed much more to bitterness generated by Basil Rajapaksa’s political behavior than to moves by India, the US and CBK!

Ironically, President Sirisena and Mr. Basil Rajapaksa share the same crippling flaw. The Sirisena line expects us to agree that Ranil and Chandrika are better, or better political company, for the country and the SLFP, than Mahinda Rajapaksa. Hardly any SLFP voter will agree with that proposition. Not many Sri Lankan Sinhalese will, by the next election. Mr. Sirisena’s moderate, modern, non-Rajapaksa family SLFP may have been a viable, even attractive proposition, but not while he is in the company of Ranil and CBK, and the country is careening in the direction decided upon by them. In other words, President Sirisena’s vision for the SLFP would have worked and can work, only in the Opposition or as the dominant element of a government that is headed in a very different direction from this one. As things are, and so long as they remain this way, his line cannot work.

CBK and President Sirisena, albeit to different degrees, push the line that the main enemy is Mahinda Rajapaksa; that the main danger facing the country is a Rajapaksa return; and that the main task is to prevent it. Basil Rajapaksa and the SLPP’s line is that the main enemy is Maithripala Sirisena, rather than Ranil Wickremesinghe, and that the main target should be the official SLFP. In a classic “category error” all these players conflate “rival/competitor” with “enemy/threat”. Neither line is going to work with most SLFP voters (as distinct from hardcore activists) or anti-government voters; those who want change.

While Basil and the SLPF expect another 1956, they are not positioning themselves correctly for it. SWRD and DA Rajapaksa did not regard their competitors the LSSP and CP as the main enemies, but correctly attacked the UNP and Prime Minister Wickremesinghe’s precursor, the pro-Western, anti-national Sir John Kotelawela (whose ideological advisor was Ranil’s father, Esmond).

The SLPP’s “maestro” does not know what a real maestro, JR Jayewardene did when in the Opposition. JRJ knew that the coalitional character of the government of the day is not only a source of strength but also of weakness, and should be the “seam” or “fault line” that that numerically weaker Opposition should tactically focus on opening up, thereby causing an implosion, while strategically focusing on rebranding, repositioning and (re)building one’s own party as a powerful grassroots movement.

The SLPP counter-argument may be that the Sirisena SLFP is propping up the UNP, which was not the case with the LSSP and CP in the 1950s when the SLFP was launched. True, but when JRJ split the UF Coalition as a prelude to his landslide in 1977, he didn’t target the LSSP-CPSL as main enemy because they were a powerful prop of the SLFP, but instead drew the LSSP and CP out of the coalition while targeting the duo Felix Dias Bandaranaike and Mrs. B as the main enemy. An intelligent strategist would not attack the prop but deprive the enemy of it by detaching it and drawing it away from the enemy it is propping up! An intelligent strategist would also realize that the SLFP in government should not be targeted as the enemy but should be treated as allies, and converted into a Fifth Column waging a guerrilla war of attrition in the government camp, behind the UNP’s lines.

Basil Rajapaksa knows that if the elected Executive Presidential system remains there will have to be a common Opposition candidate at the next election; one whom all factions of the SLFP agree on. Whether the candidate is or isn’t a Rajapaksa, it sure won’t be Basil. No wonder then that the SLPP is fudging the issue of the UNP’s constitutional power grab i.e. the effort to transfer power from Sirisena to Ranil via the abolition of the executive Presidency.

Mahinda himself cannot run, but he won’t mind too much as long as the candidate is a Rajapaksa, because as PM he will have more power than ever before (thanks to the 19th amendment) and will be treated with more respect by the next President than Madam Bandaranaike was when she was PM and CBK was President. He is ambivalent on the abolition of the Presidency not on his own account but because of the complications of balancing the interests of all the political players of two generations within the family—which was the real motivation for the counterproductive 18th amendment (abolishing terms limits) anyway.

The SLPP strategists appear to think that a possible intervention by President Sirisena to recompose the government, ousting Ranil and the Right and effecting a centrist realignment under Presidential auspices would retard the chances of a landslide in 2020. They think that retaining Ranil undisturbed till 2020 would help a backlash and an avalanche. They forget several factors. Firstly, the Presidential election comes before the parliamentary election and a Presidential candidate is an imperative. A split in the anti-UNP vote could mean a victory for the UNP candidate supported by the minorities. Secondly, the UNP’s ongoing sell-off of the country would leave very little to inherit in 2020 except a rump Sri Lankan state. Therefore exploring to the maximum any possibility of an intermediate, interim and transitional solution, a re-set of the political equation, is in the national interest.

If that doesn’t work out, then a  “Jathika Virodatha Dinaya” (Day of National Protest), a “Samastha Maha Veda Varjanaya” (General Strike), a “pipireema” (explosion) and “Peraliya”(overturn) – to use terms that are currently in the public political discourse–and are not only inevitable but could also prove our country’s salvation.

Meanwhile, “Stop handing Trincomalee to India!” should be the key slogan of the JO’s May Day 2017 at Galle Face Green, and every citizen who is opposed to giving Trincomalee to the Indians should be urged to be present on that day at that venue.

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  • 11
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    The Self confessed war monger types:

    “Meanwhile, “Stop handing Trincomalee to India!” should be the key slogan of the JO’s May Day 2017 at Galle Face Green, and every citizen who is opposed to giving Trincomalee to the Indians should be urged to be present on that day at that venue.”

    This is what he told Rathindra Kuruwita in June 2010:

    Question: President Mahinda Rajapaksa left for India recently and he is set to show his Indian counterpart a draft of the proposed Constitutional amendments. This is seen by many as a gesture of subjugation and their requests to open a Deputy High Commissioner’s office in Kandy and a consulate office in Hambanthota and their insistence of implementing the 13th Amendment are seen by many as attempts to impose their will on Sri Lanka?

    Answer:You use the term ‘many’. Who are these ‘many’ and where are they? I have only seen criticisms voiced by the usual handful of Southern extremists, and some small political parties both in government as well as defeated ones. President Rajapaksa is a patriot and a realist, a pragmatist. The handful of critics may be patriots but they are not realists. When we antagonized India we could not win the war, but when we correctly managed relations with India, we won the war. If India had opposed us or not supported us, we may not have been able to win or withstand the Western moves to stop the war. There is a saying that there is no such thing as a free lunch. Every relationship is reciprocal. Sri Lanka has to reciprocate for India’s support.

    We must bear in mind that we still need that support because, though the hot war has been won by us, a cold war continues against us in the global arena.

    We need India’s support to balance off those who are hostile to us or are influenced by the pro-Eelam trend in the Tamil Diaspora. India is our buffer with the USA. Delhi is under pressure to take a stand hostile to us, or to stop supporting us. That pressure comes from Tamil Nadu but not only from Tamil Nadu…from India’s civil society as well as some of India’s Western friends. If India stops supporting us, not even the Non Aligned Movement will defend us fully, because they take their cue from respected Third World states such as India.

    …….

    Please the rest:

    For India, Sri Lanka is not indispensable, but for Sri Lanka, India is indispensable

    An Interview with Dr.Dayan Jayatilleka

    By Rathindra Kuruwita

    http://transcurrents.com/
    tc/2010/06/

    Please note how this smart ass patriot changes his mind as he goes along while sitting on his patriotic analyst brain.

    He changes his mind very often as circumstances around him changes, the world changed so did he.

    Lets hear from his supporters.

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      This comment was removed by a moderator because it didn’t abide by our Comment policy.For more detail see our Comment policy https://www.colombotelegraph.com/index.php/comments-policy-2/

    • 6
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      “If that doesn’t work out, then a “Jathika Virodatha Dinaya” (Day of National Protest), a “Samastha Maha Veda Varjanaya” (General Strike), a “pipireema” (explosion) and “Peraliya”(overturn) “

      This man should be arrested for instigating civil disobedience or rather violence in the country.

      • 8
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        Fernando

        “This man should be arrested for instigating civil disobedience or rather violence in the country.”

        He has been instigating all kind of conflicts/riots/war ….. Only recently he wanted to stop the drafting of the constitution by “Any Means Necessary”, quoting Malcolm X.

        This man does not have anything original to say hence relies on name dropping. Don’t take him seriously.

        Gramsci mentioned organic intellectuals. He didn’t mean Weerawansa nor Dayan.

        • 2
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          “Samastha Maha Veda Varjanaya” (General Strike), a “pipireema” (explosion) and “Peraliya”(overturn)”

          If someone had written like this during the previous Rajapakshe regime, he/she would have had a free White Van ride to hell never to return again.

    • 5
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      NV

      Congratulations. A good response to a smart ass patriot!

    • 2
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      It is nothing new [Edited out] Now, Gota is his donator. He will go behind anyone who offers donation. Now Both he & his partner took charge of creating stories and lies.

    • 0
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      This comment was removed by a moderator because it didn’t abide by our Comment policy.For more detail see our Comment policy https://www.colombotelegraph.com/index.php/comments-policy-2/

    • 2
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      There is a stone inscription in Koneswaram temple which says that after changing of ownership from Portuguese, Dutch, British and Sinhalese, it will finally fall into the hands of “Vaduhar”. Who this Vaduhar are, is difficult to say, it could be northern Tamil, northerners from Andhra or northerners from North India. There are several Tamils who have genetic connection with Telugu and Kalinga people. These sayings are divine and will not go wrong as except the last ownership, the rest have come true. Therefore DJ type racists however much they shout cannot change this destiny of Trincomalee going under some form of northern rule. It is time that India change its policy towards Tamils in Srilanka to empower Tamils, with whose help keep Srilanka under its control. India must take a lesson from USA, which through Israel is keeping the entire middle east and Iran under its thumb.

    • 2
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      Dr. Dayan Jayatilleka

      RE: May Day 2017 – SLFP & SLPP: Enemies, Rivals Or Allies

      “UNP leader and Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe is mightily helped by the confusion in the ranks of the SLFP and Oppositional forces in general. “

      UNP leader and Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe is mightily helped by the stupidity of Mahinda Rajapaksa and Crones and in the ranks of the SLFP and Oppositional forces in general.

      This is to be expected because the average IQ in the land of Native Veddah Aethho occupied by the Paras is 79, and you are not excluded.

      Wimal Buruwansa of the JO in parliament says, 2/2 =0.

      Reference:

      National IQ Scores – Country Rankings

      The intelligence scores came from work carried out earlier this decade by Richard Lynn, a British psychologist, and Tatu Vanhanen, a Finnish political scientist, who analysed IQ studies from 113 countries, and from subsequent work by Jelte Wicherts, a Dutch psychologist.

      Countries are ranked highest to lowest national IQ score.

      Rank
      ——– Country
      ———————– %
      ————-
      1 Singapore 108
      2 South Korea 106
      3 Japan 105
      4 Italy 102
      5 Iceland 101

      28. Sri Lanka 79

  • 10
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    The whole aim of practical politics is to keep the populace alarmed (and hence clamorous to be led to safety) by menacing it with an endless series of hobgoblins, all of them imaginary.

  • 5
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    You want the slogan to be ‘make Sri Lanka a province of China and destroy the democracy we have’?

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      Other than politicians, much less Sinhalese are caring -not yet negotiated- India in Trinco rather than already suspected Hangbangtota to China for 200 years. Hangbangtota signing was disturbed by Old King’s Gang. .

      Thero is giving prominence to Old Younger Brother Prince. But Old Brother Prince was Thero’s hero in an earlier article. It’s all only Thero’s. Not of Old king’s. When the Hangbangtota sales signing occasion was disturbed by Old King, China put a long term plan. It invited the Old Brother Prince China and to take a four year course in Diplomacy. Old King jumped to the roof and killed it. Now Old Brother Prince is in Singapore on a one month course. Until Old King is alive, neither of the Brother Princes can rise up the party leadership or EP. Thero is just boosting younger Brother Prince’s status. Old King is not ready to have a second party. So, again Younger Brother Prince can do what Thero time to time doing, that is servicing the King’s feet, nothing more.

      Here is where New King’s strategy should descend. There will be an agreement between SLFP and UNP for next EP election. None of the Brothers will have enough strength to oppose New King in the party for that. But, after that, thing can change. So when New King leaves in 2015, Brother Princes will be able to have the opportunity to take over. This could become a serious physical threat New King. CBK knows this well. To prevent Brother Princes coming to throne again New King should start to promote Other SLFPyers to front. If he can bring one prominent SPLEyer within the next 7 years, he can get rid of the Old Royal family seriously. But that cannot New Son Prince or New Princes.

  • 7
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    “SLFP & SLPP: Enemies, Rivals Or Allies”

    No. Unmitigated unabashed world-class crooks.

    Rejoice! At least we are world class at something.

    Man, I am beginning to like your unintended sense of humour.

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    This comment was removed by a moderator because it didn’t abide by our Comment policy.For more detail see our Comment policy https://www.colombotelegraph.com/index.php/comments-policy-2/

  • 6
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    Beware DJ. There is a new political force emerging, making Rajapaksas, the SLFP, the UNP and all other political power bases obsolete. The man iis a former journalist of The Nation (and all other newspapers) and is your nemesis.

    The Mal-man is jobless and dangerous at the moment. He is backed by microfinance billions of the better-half, and has already had a preliminary meeting at the BMICH to prime the support base.The guy is a dreamer and has already created his own logo. He aims to exploit Facebook as the path to power.

    Though it is humorous, watch him. A desperate man is always dangerous!

  • 4
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    What if I tell you time is up for both UNP and SLFP? The alliance is of course tactical, but not strategic. But this was a sacrificial tactic, which is bound to destroy the traditional duo in politics. From hereon it’s anarchy not defined by any political ideology but multitude of personal agendas. It is imperative for the island to remain stable, external forces must continue with some sort of coalition creation process for the sake of vested interests. Such government will never serve national interest.
    Dr. Jayathilake, it will be more like Batista’s Cuba.

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    DJ is one of the lakhs of people who are under “Mahinda spell” “Washiya”. We chased away MR based on what we heard about him. We now know what MR, Family and cohorts actually did. This government may be bad, but it is no reason to bring back MR family.

  • 2
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    UNP will sweep the local polls. Gay marriage will become legal. Finally we can have openly gay ministers and openly lesbian ministers.

    Buddha statues will be removed to make it easier for sensitive minorities to practice their faith. Already the one at the Airport is covered. There is no room in a Secular nation for symbols of one religion. India does not have Shiva statues or Ganesh statues at Airports.

    RW will easily beat Haal hora for the next Presidency.

    Sirisena wing of the SLFP will be sunk. MR and his Ali Baba and forty thieves will come in second.

    Simple math. Tamils and Tamil Speaking Muslim Tamils will never vote for MR or his cronies again.

    • 2
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      KaradaraDias,

      The latest Buddhist Vihara is being built by the Air Force at Keappapulavu, on school premises of the village from which citizens have been evicted, and who are protesting daily.
      The eviction of citizens from homes and lands seems to be condoned by the government.
      We are NOT YET a Secular Nation.

  • 2
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    Can anyone enlighten the CT readers what was the main slogan for the May Daly Rally when our smart patriot was with EPRLF by choice ?

    At least MR spoke against Premadasa for the human rights of JVP cadres but whose side Dr of Political Science was in ?

    How DJ is taking the majority of the majority in the wrong direction so that the armed forces can establish a junta.

  • 2
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    “May Day 2017 – SLFP & SLPP: Enemies, Rivals Or Allies “

    May Day must be used to highlight/educate employers of employees rights. Must not be used to canvass a job in Geneva.

    “The correctness or incorrectness of the ideological and political line decides everything.” (Mao) – May his tribe increase.

    DL is wrong ideologically and politically.

  • 1
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    “The correctness or incorrectness of the ideological and political line decides everything.” (Mao)

    In these pages we have been writing something depending on the real news, not on convoluting opinions. Old King is not there to from a new political party. News media has brought out many times of his speeches that he was not there for a new party.
    A man who lost his both legs and both hands, may soon, will be able to fly a jet plane. GL is not capable of running a party anytime sooner. So, there is no SLPP, or SPPP and or PPPP. Period.

    Old king will not listen to advices of the May 2009, UNHRC time. He knows well that it is the one now keeps following him like a shadow. He will not listen to Thero’s preaching. Let’s look at the rationale behind Old King’s decision. If the 19A is not repealed, winning party cannot kick on the back of the loser, unless it gets 2/3 to repeal 19A. If UNP wins, SLFP has to take the leadership of it. If SLFP wins UNP has to take the leadership of it. So weather on the next election old King wins or loses, he will be on the same yoke with UNP. So he does not want the SLPP that will be good only for to be an opposition. It cannot go near to power. Say that SLFP lost, but still will not be near to power. EP’s winning are no longer complete. Firing an opposite party PM is no longer fruitful. It will be politically calm in future if the EP winning party give up the PM seat to loser party.
    There is good cancel GL become an opposition leader if he form a real party and leads, not under Old Royal family, the mirage SLPP. If JVP is not overrunning TNA in an election, GL can do that easily. As long as he under Old Royal family, his party cannot stand for election against SLFP.

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    SLFP – UNP duo has evolved in into Joint comedies- Yahapalanaya. That is where the Sinhala-Tamil hated can be used to reap voted. There is no need go for that under UNP-SLFP duo and get squeezed under the wheel of IC. Prof. Kumar wrote somewhere else New King is missing some part upper, and Ranil missing lower. Joint Comedy Club is missing both together. So desperate Denish is, this communist went to Kannagi Amman temple to break coconuts thinking she is a god of revenge. He threatened of army coup. After all, still he could not unseat the weakest in the Parliament, Sampanthar from his opposition party leader chair. “Muyal Padikira Nayai Moonchaiyil Theriyum.”(The nose of the dog tells if it can catch a hare)

    So, neither Joint Comedy club nor SLPP is going bring any el nino in the next election. GL can make a small breeze by forming a new party. That will get the blessing of IC too. But that is unlikely to happen.

    • 0
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      You see DJ?

      Here is the avatar of Malman (referred to above by Malamute) writing. Read his reasoning,

      Ane Pow!

  • 2
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    Dear CT readers my comrades,
    Poverty is not socialism. To be rich is glorious.Deng Xiaoping

    SriLankan smart patriot DJ has run out of all other options to bring back MR regime and trying his level best to piggy back on China which changed its course after 1978 with the ideology of Deng Xiao Ping. Deng Xiao Ping did transform the China with the help of the west with the sympathy of  Henry Kissinger and Nixon.

    Will the British Imperialism or US Imperialism will be replaced by an eastern imperialism ? It is too early to tell. 

    Deng Xiao Ping,  once described by Mao Zedong as a ‘needle inside a ball of cotton, ‘ Deng Xiaoping was the pragmatic yet disciplined driving force behind China’s radical transformation in the late twentieth century.

    I would like to make my fellow CT readers aware of views like ” But if Mao were alive today, what would he have to say about the decreased significance of the May Day holiday?” This I borrowed from  Chris Biddle’s beautiful article under “Observation ” column.

    Can DJ advocate devolution ?  
    “By following the concept of one country, two systems, you dont swallow me up nor I you.” – Deng

  • 0
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    “the UNP’s ongoing sell-off of the country would leave very little to inherit in 2020 except a rump Sri Lankan state. Therefore exploring to the maximum any possibility of an intermediate, interim and transitional solution, a re-set of the political equation, is in the national interest”. true.

  • 1
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    Dayan Jayathilake:

    This is what he told Rathindra Kuruwita in June 2010:

    By reading the Native Vedda’s comment about a Q & A session that you had, I can not believe that you are a fidel Castro Fan. You did a PhD on that but you did not understand him. You are just a bankrupt politician.

    Now, I understand why you are so obliged to India and why your boss Mahinda Rajapakse wants to go with India by selling Sri lanka to India.

    I think the indispensable nature of Sri lanka to India can be used for Sri lankan benefit. See how fidel Castro fought his enemy – his giant and powerful neighbour. fortunately, USSR was there and the time was right.

    your proposal GR and his allience will not work either. IT is just to grab power. I think Jackal Opposition going against India only during the may day rally, is a good idea at least they understand it eventhough they are fooling the voters and they are just Jackals. there is another way to face it without going against it. What is important is Sri lankan interests and not bending to India which Mahinda Rajapakse is doing.

    It is stupid to say that it is US, India and the west which defeated Mahinda Rajapakse. MR did not understand people and he tried to cheat them. that is what caused his defeat. He thought cheating would work and the strategy which used to defeat LTTE would work in the election too.

    I don’t think even GR would be able to do anything because the same old PEsts sourrounding him.

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