19 September, 2020

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Only Down To Earth Real-Politick Can Stop A Rajapaksa Reflux  

By Kumar David

Prof. Kumar David

Only down to earth real-politick can stop a Rajapaksa reflux: What to do and what not to do next

Lanka won a respite which will last but weeks if there is a shortfall in performance by Ranil Wickremesinghe and his government and that will be a precursor to a reflux of a Rajapaksa wave with renewed energy in grassroots electoral encounters scheduled for 2019 and 2020. I have zero faith in reincarnation but RW’s amazing rebirth has shaken by scepticism; but then it could not have occurred if Aappaya and Mahindahaya (to borrow my verbal diarrhoea infected 3-wheeler driver’s incorrigible vocabulary) had not locked arms and jumped off a cliff. But I run ahead of my script; first a broad summary of the state of play right now.

* The determination of parliament not to be bullied by President and the Rajapaksa mob, the mobilisation of middle-class democratic activists (twenty-two-day satyagraha at Victoria Park, crowds firming up RW’s spine at Temple Trees, a huge campaign in press and rallies) and the unwavering opposition of TNA and JVP to Sirisena’s illegal power grab has transformed the national political scene.

* The Supreme Court no doubt was only too conscience of the mood sweeping across the country; which is not to take away from the impeccability of its landmark judgement. (In passing, my comrades and friends who drafted 19A are sleeping well at night again!)

* Of greatest institutional significance is that the supremacy of Parliament over the Presidency in all respects stipulated in the Constitution and especially in 19A has been firmly asserted. (NM’s ghost worried sick about madmen at the helm is perhaps a little appeased).

May I suggest that these are the big picture-defining changes, the upshot, of the wrenching mill the country has been put through in the last six weeks while Aappaya was suffering his chronic mental collapse. But don’t say all’s well that ends well because we are nowhere near the finale. Intelligence is the art of peering a little bit ahead and reflecting on the counter strategies that the down, but far from out Rajapaksa movement (its proto-fascist pretensions temporarily pushed aside) will adopt in the coming months. In my wanderings around pro-MR types (the obvious segment is 3-whleer walahas) I have certainly seen disappointment at the setback, rage with Sirisena and some despondency but the base has by no means broken up or scattered. The MR base though dejected remains intact (like the Trump base); peripheral support of course has eroded.

At this moment I foresee three significant thrusts that the Mahinda Rajapaksa forces (MRf) are likely to adopt; disruption of orderly functioning of the government, second political interventions and third but most dangerous inciting communal violence. Disruption will take many forms such as trade union orchestrated disturbances; it’s the more reactionary middle-class trade unions like GMOA that have a fixated anti-government political agenda. The once progressive CEB Engineers Union did nothing to prevent the disconnection of power supply the Temple Trees when Sirisena was running berserk and there seem to be some rumblings among Railway Engine Drivers. Once things get started MRf agents provocateurs will step in and fan the flames.

Political interventions are still under study by MRf strategists and the options include incessant harassment by numerous court filings, a campaign for a referendum demanding parliamentary elections and whatever else MR’s bag of promised iniquities to bring down the government as soon as possible contains.

MR gave clear notice of what his key strategy is going to be if he fails to bring down Ranil et al. within about three months. His resignation statement was a denouncement of those who were seeking to reverse the war victory in collision with anti-Lankan foreign powers. He was not shy about naming the local parties to the alleged separatist plot, the UNP, TNA and the Muslims, but did not yet name the foreign partners. His bête noire of course are the EU, UK the US and Norway; India of course is included in the list by default. I was at a ‘Party’ (ULF) Central Committee meeting last Sunday and was taken aback by the agitation with which many spoke about the very real possibility of communal unrest that MR himself and the MRf (especially MPs and fake-Ministers who are likely to be taken before the courts and locked up for a good long time for corruption and reams of other nefarious crimes) are preparing. The groundwork for for anti-Tamil and anti-Muslim pogroms is being laid. Resolute political and police intervention can hopefully nip it.

A no holds barred political counterattack

There are two bottom-line strategic thrusts that the government must employ if it is to defeat this attack on its very survival; (a) a resolute counteroffensive on the political front and (b) an election winning populist economic strategy.

Let not RW and his cohorts forget that the mobilisation that saved their skins and threw back Aappaya and the concerted campaign of MRf power was once again (as in 8 January 2015) enthusiasm of the radical middle-class determined to protect democratic rights. The TNA, JVP, Chamipka, Mano Ganesan and Muslim Congress combined to form a wall that the proto-fascist rogue-regime could not breach. The bottom line in class terms was the energised and enraged radicalised middle-class; make no mistake about that. Numerically smaller than the rural people and the working class, politically it punches far above its weight. Maybe it numbers no more than 10% or 15% of the population but in its impassioned political wake it influences up to three times as many. If Ranil and his cohorts once gain betray the trust and break the moral compact with this part of the population, the UNP deserves to be pushed over the precipice lock stock and barrel and I will be happy to help.

And how is one to keep this trust and retain the compact with this angry radicalised segment of the population? What has to be done is straightforward; whether RW and his bandwagon have guts and acumen to carry it through remains to be seen. Hundreds of corruption and criminal (including murder) cases pending for ever and ever must the expedited and punishment must be meted out. No more procrastination; the country is fed up! Who cares if Namal, or Gota or Basil or a dozen ex-Ministers or for that matter MR himself are found guilty? If so they must be locked up as would anyone other guilty person. What’s the use of six special courts if they have been doing bugger all for months? If Aappaya makes himself an obstruction, oppose him publicly; confrontation must be brought into the open. The ministers in charge of prosecutions and media must be selected by the government; inference must not be tolerated. Ranil’s interminable history of pussy-footing and refusing to take a stand on power politics must end. People call him a woman! Rubbish, Mrs B was ten times stronger.

The GMOA has threatened strike action if Rajitha is appointed Health Minister. This kind of political interference by the doctor’s trade union is intolerable. Rajitha must be appointed and if the GMOA attempts to hold the people and their health services hostage it must be smashed; I can’t think up an English equivalent to convey the same flavour as aandu kadane unne. A full range of emergency steps, including the hiring of retired overseas Sri Lankan doctors on one – and two – year contract are necessary stop gap measures. The fight against proto-fascism is a fight to the death; make no mistake.

An election winning populist budget

Paski, Charitha, Eran and Harsha should be granted 18 months furlough and tickets for a nice long trip. I know the latter two and can vouch that they are nice chaps and went to good schools and all that but in these times, they are best suited to a salubrious vacation in Alaska or Botswana. Their economic thinking if allowed to dictate the next period is a sure-fire election loser. This is not the time for long-term liberal or conservative bourgeois free market, capitalist investor oriented economic daydreaming. Nothing of such an approach (even if it were wise which I reject, but that’s another matter) will produce tangible results within months or ameliorate anger at government’s economic failure of the last three years. This policy framework has been a failure both as a growth and export strategy and as a way of winning mass support. Mahinda, a cunning populist, immediately on assuming the reigns of office introduced a slew of populist measures. Why? Because he has a better understanding of how to win elections. Ranil (yawn!) hopes to deliver capitalist growth but he will be contemplating it from the benches of the opposition after 2019/2010. His economic team is a champion at losing both battles and wars. Still, the bloody nose the government suffered may have shaken it up a wee bit; anything is possible in these times. If Sajith, Mangala, Champika and others with grassroots experience were allowed more say in economic policy it would help. May be RW now sees the point, or maybe he’s still deaf and blind.

In closing I need to make clear the distance between the left, including parties in government and JVP, and the UNP and its ideological allies. The priority is to put out the fire that is burning down the house. The two teams of firefighters have entirely different views on how the house needs to be rebuilt thereafter. The differences are that the left does not have illusions that this reconstituted government will do much to redress Tamil grievances and secondly not for a moment does it imagine that the UNP will digress from its inherited economic orientation. The former the TNA too well understands but like the left it sees that the priority is putting out the fire and locking up the arsonists.

The second matter is medium-term and the left needs a united-front and thankfully the JVP has recently been making less sectarian noises than in the past. It knows that it can get nowhere locked up in a cocoon of its own weaving. Left unity is a topic for a separate essay (again!) at some other time.

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Latest comments

  • 3
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    Once the fears of a minority citizen (I believe he has Tamil heritage) expressed in the article are taken out and sanitized, it is clear that the author is an intelligent center left man, who any country would applaud as an intellectual. Lanka should be proud to have men of his stature in any conversation. If you set aside occasional fears of communal politics, overall I have seen that he “gets it” about Lankan politics.
    Still, sadly, he miscalculates in a lot of things. Sirisena has endeared himself to the Sinhalese by his latest antics, specially his speech with a squirming Ranil Wick the Wimp sitting at the same table. Mahendra Rajapaksa has shown alacrity, ambition and energy by seizing the first opportunity to get to power and when it failed, the speech he made pretty much sets out the course of action for the near future. The writer does not address and has never addressed the very real fears both the Sinhalese and Tamil have about the surging Moslem population, utterly radicalized, in thought and in dress, and their youth, waiting for ISIS level martyrdom, which they are already seeking in the Middle East. Instead of just crying racist at people who bring this up, it should be addressed and the Moslem population needs to be check in some way so that they do not become the majority in next 20 years. As for economic aspects, Rajapaksa gained immensely with the short time he was “Prime Minister” by the plans he announced. Do not expect the low energy, ADHD type Wicks the Wimp to be able to get anything like that out, let alone implement it.

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      Jay Chambers, another US Peace Corps volunteer with diplomatic immunity ? What is this non-sense..
      “Moslem population needs to be check in some way so that they do not become the majority in next 20 years”?!!
      this is insidious and devious, Trumpland anti-Muslim rhetoric to fuel divide, distract, and push the War Peace Corps- CIA Cold War agenda in Lanka and the recently invented Indo-Pacific
      .Kumar David has forgotten the role of Trumpland in Bondscam Ranil’s return it seems but it is well known that the Asia Foundation weaponized Buddhism against Communists in West, Centralo and East Asia during the Cold War, and once again is back now that there is a new Cold War..with Jay Chambers…

  • 1
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    Prof. K.D.
    Sensible write-up but nothing but the status quo and chaos will prevail; it is a “cultural” trait; the same old same old.
    The worst aspect of the status quo is the culture of impunity; this needs immediate attention for genuine progress to be made.

  • 3
    3

    “I have zero faith in reincarnation”
    I also did not have faith in reincarnation until such time that I saw a similarity between what Ranil is doing and what King Don Juan Dharmapala did about 500 years ago. Dharmapala embraced Christianity and handed over Kotte Kingdom to Parangi as a gift and gave his support to Parangi to capture Udarata Kingdom.
    What Ranil has done from the day he became PM is very much similar to what Dharmapala did. So, now I tend to agree with the conclusion made by Champika Ranawake when he was in Rajapakse camp that Ranil is reincarnated Don Juan Dharmapala.

  • 2
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    President may not be a fool as many of u think. When he said he will not appoint Ranil even if 225 MPs signed and submit a request, probably what he tried to do was UNP to rally round Ranil and insist him to be appointed as PM. By appointing Ranil as PM, he would have guessed Ranil will appoint his cronies as Ministers and ruin the image they built up during the 51 days. I think President purposely allowed Ravi, who is hated even by UNP supporters, to get a Minister post to make UNP unpopular even among ardent supporters of UNP. Judging from comments in this forum it looks like that has happened.

  • 2
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    “Hundreds of corruption and criminal (including murder) cases pending for ever and ever must the expedited and punishment must be meted out.”
    Great! That will knock out several UNP Ministers and MPs as well. If ‘Bond Scam’ is taken as a priority case by one of these newly established courts, probably Ranil and few of his ‘Royal Gang’ also will end up at Welikada.
    ———————
    By the way, as soon as Ranil was reinstated as PM, Arjuna has been transferred to prison hospital, probably with a comfortable mattress and a pillow donated by a well wisher who received a cheque.

  • 2
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    Prof Kumar David mentions ~ “……..(twenty-two-day satyagraha at Victoria Park, crowds firming up RW’s spine at Temple Trees, a huge campaign in press and rallies)……..”.
    Remember the goons beating up sathiagrahys in 1956?
    .
    Was it just ignorance which made Kumar David say ~ “…..The two teams of firefighters have entirely different views on how the house needs to be rebuilt thereafter…”.
    Down to earth version is “The two teams of arsonists setting fire to the houses……”.
    .
    SLPP will dress the language/religion-divide in new cloths. Will voters buy this rotting stuff again?
    Was MR in a hurry because he felt that marketability of the ‘divide’ is not as good as it was?
    .
    Kumar dismisses the economic policies of Paski, Charitha, Eran and Harsha but that Sajith, Mangala, Champika and others with grassroots experience be allowed more say in economic policy.
    The bloody lot do not have any policy Kumar. Do you have any? If not then “Shut up”.

    • 1
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      K.Pillai ,

      Now we don’t need foreign judges or criminal courts don’t we? We have a independent Judiciary in Sri Lanka.

      • 2
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        Shenal

        “Now we don’t need foreign judges or criminal courts don’t we? We have a independent Judiciary in Sri Lanka.”

        The Courts did a good honourable job dealing with or resolving problems among Sinhalese, between greedy pigs and the victims. We should welcome it.

        However in the past, since 2009 two civilian commissions and two Army commission had not identified a single incident in which the armed forces had committed war crimes, though witnesses have bravely given evidence to all four investigation despite intimidation of the witnesses.

        Please go away and come back after the Christmas.
        We all need to have a peaceful and happy holidays.
        We wish you a happy holidays.

  • 4
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    Fact is, the best friend of the Rajapakses is RW. Right now MR & co are hurt but not badly. Their best bet to make a quick come back is RW. As long as RW leads the UNP, MR & co can just bide their time and let RW commit all the Blunders.

    If the UNP has any hardcore strategists, it is for them to work out a plan to send RW home as soon as possible so that the UNP has a New Face and a New Leadership, come next elections. Otherwise, MR will be back in Power and there will be many more White vans all over the country. Make no Mistake

  • 2
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    How about another common candidate? Litro Amila perhaps? Come up with another one of your bright ideas hmm…. prof!

  • 1
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    Could some on on the forum please explain to people like me ( who are not sure how the robbing was done) how the gang robbed on the CB bond issue. I am very confused when a person like Dr. Nalaka Godahewa vehemently said, the other day as a participant on the “” Balaya “” program that sum of one trillion Rupees (“Koti Lakshayak) was rubbed by the gang!

    How come when the total involved in the bond transaction was 20 billions or thereabout!

    To me it looks like lots of people make political statements, exaggerated sums being mentioned, on the so called “bonds scam”! I wish to see somebody making an explicit explanation on a white board/black board using a sample sale of bonds, for example take 100 units, and the mechanism involved in robbing on the actual transaction.

    I am sure there will be many more people, may be hundreds of thousands, eagerly waiting to see this whole process so that they will all know how and what exactly happened in the ‘bond scam’ of things.

  • 1
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    A great article again but I am not sure why Champaka is included as one of the good guys and capable of anything. He should be discarded as a racist until he comes out and denounce his sinhala superior racist ideology.

  • 5
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    Prof KD,

    Great article in deed. Why do your English writings and vocabulary target only a certain segment of readership with very good understanding of English? With such great content, why not write for everybody? Most of your sentences fall between 20 – 30 Flesch readability rating, that is okay for native English graduates, not for our graduates, even many doctors, let alone the rest. Even DJ has the same issue. Please write to the majority, not for scoring at English composition.

  • 0
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    Kumar DAVID: I KNOW you are not Tamil. FYI:. A Late Mahathera NA UYana Ariya Dhamma is a powerful god from JAffna (VenKatheshwar).He is watching the country too. So, things may be different from what you visualize.

  • 0
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    This is one of the Prof. Kumar’s rare commonsensical essays. A different one from his usual harangues.

    Ranil’s economic model will not work for Lankawe. First let see what happened before Ranil. Don Stephen started the real destruction to capitalistic economy. He just cared agricultural developments. Then came Dudley’s times. Some corporations were opened. His Mahaweli projects didn’t take off. People never liked his ways. They surrendered to Sirimavo repeatedly. JR opened up the economy which started to “close” from 1948, step by step. But nobody put any foundation for industrialization. That time some garment factories appeared. That’s it. The basic problem is real competition cannot be allowed freely in Sinhala Buddhist Society. Mahanama Racism, Sinhala Only& Buddhism Only are first and foremost important matters. Then next period was War, Commission & White Elephants. From day one (1948) there was no solid plan of how to industrialize the country with any of the UNP leaders came to power. Characteristically, Don Stephen and JR were setting communal fire. Dudley and Ranil are very meek ones. Additionally Ranil’s dishonesty killed the faith on him. The history now tells the capitalistic economy is not suitable for Lankawe. The constantly flaring communalism cannot let the real competition to set in or survive. Within Sinhala Buddhists, there is no law and order. The short cuts and tricky games Kathirgamar and Thero De Silva played in the diplomatic world have isolated Lankawe in the world. There is no real friend to Lankawe to take its hand guide it to build the economy up. Even China and Russia are looking for chance to suck it out, but not ready to help. I don’t know how to turn around the economy. But the lefts are lame ducks. They can do nothing in Lankawe, which they couldn’t do anywhere in the world. For the time being if Ranil is not ready buy arrack and Biryani for the next election, it can turn around like another LG. (God Natha!, Goddess Paththini! God Venkatesa!)

  • 0
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    Kumar, my prediction is as good as yours. Given the fact that MR is a born criminal his plans are to fan communal /racial HATRED , disruption of services by organizing strikes and other methods, he has salaried people in places and positions in government solely for this purpose, in the mean time continue to bribe and buy other party members, continue breaking small parties, continue to work on Chinese agenda in getting their support to neutralize other foreign powers , all in all pretty much continue with what ever criminal activities he had been involved while in power.In his mind he has a free pass and immunity as past president and the support of the retards. Politicians like MS/MR are here to stay until they (I do not see any options like in other countries where others can ) decide otherwise

  • 0
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    Mahinda may be petit-rural bourgeoise who will reach for money and status in any way possible. Now MR wants his son to marry Chandi Ratwatte’s daughter. Srima will not be impressed by this lowering of standards !

    Professor David is a former LSSP and Trotsky follower. Yet I detect a strong support for capitalist UNP and capitalist forms and false legality of capitalist exploitation . He is praising a judiciary which is only an organ to maintain the status quo and another method of exploiting the ignorance of the exploited by telling them that there is such a thing as objective justice !

  • 1
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    The Ethnic base, Religion by born christen faith of that ” God created Universe”: and Sepetrsim for Tamil rough state by promoting partition of Island for Tamil speaking in Globally led by political agitator is David Kumar.!!! $$$.
    At the same time the so- called that theory of” Permanent Revolution” guided by David Kumar an advocated of Trotskyist of anarchist to be shake of Justice protection of Republic Constitution.
    By and large an adherence of the RULE OF LAW and civilized and moral conducts of society has been obtain by self -proclamation by right -wind-… wing of that think – tank was that sole agent is Dr David Kumar.
    Undoubtedly that K…D .. has turn into an diehard -recitoinay of contempeory political an adviser to UNP+TNA+JVP an ideologist. In fact . new development towards neo-Liberalist agenda promoted by USA embassy in Colombo for New Naval Base at Trincomalee Port and its near by its lands has certain nexus to ‘good governances of Democracy’ an Island
    He( david K…) want to new alliance of Left -Wing by name of join by TNA of Sumantharin and JVP’s click of Dissnayake which that put into one basket of would win this fight with side by side with politically Ranil Wicks of Orthodox Christen leaderships of UNP’s? David K wanted urgently that Muslim of ISIS political forces to join hand with RW of UNP proposed alliances .
    By on behalf of Sri Lankan and democracy ‘without any personal gain’, what is said by RW+ CBK after that Premiership reinstate after 50 odd days out of power by USA, UK and Indian Ambassadors in Colombo!

  • 0
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    Ranil’s and UNP’s days are numbered as they will never change, merrily carrying on robbing Sri Lanka to its last red cent. Due to our idiotic rural folk, there is a good possibility that Mahinda and his murderous gang might come in to power again. Only the God or a third party, possibly Nagananda Kodituwakku or Rohan Pallewatta can save Sri Lanka.

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