3 March, 2024

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Politics Devoid Of Doctrine Is Empty & Harmful In The Long-Run; Premadasa, RW & MR Are Examples

By Vishwamithra

A way back in the sixties and seventies, the May Day rallies were an essential ingredient in the left-wing recipes for political strength. Purely an exhibitionistic ploy, the left-wing parties, the Lanka Sama Samaja Party (LSSP), the Communist Party (CP) and the Mahajana Eksath Peramuna (MEP) displayed their allegiance to the working man by organizing trade union-led May Day rallies to their maximum strength. But invariably at the real polls, when the election day arrives, that strength was proven to be a mere flash in the pan. The people at large participated at these May Day rallies and ‘pelapalies’ (demonstrations) but did not trust their left-wing leaders at the summit of power, either at the General Elections or even at the Presidential Elections which, however, came after 1977.

It happened to all those leaders, NM Perera of the LSSP, Peter Keuneman of the CP and Philip Gunawardena of the MEP. Each one of them could serve any government as a coalition member of the two mainstream political parties at the time, Sri Lanka Freedom Party (SLFP) of the Bandaranaikes and the United National Party (UNP) of the Senanayakes and Jayewardenes.

Sri Lanka’s political journey has come a long way since then. The old left is dead. The workers’ paradise has turned into a hell of which the main custodians are those who claimed ownership to the common man’s cause. A den of corruption and betrayal has succeeded the traditional, yet incorrupt ‘left’ led by N M, Peter, Colvin and Philip. A doctrinaire approach to politics has been replaced by a ‘practical’ self-serving and self-enriching procession by thieves and hooligans.

Global transformation that began with the perestroika and glasnost initiated by Mikhail Gorbachev in the mid nineteen eighties in the Soviet Union was mainly the cause of the collapse of world communism. The Soviet experiment on Communism took almost one whole century, first to survive the onslaught of Capitalism and then to fail as an economic theory and a system of governance. But Ceylon in the early nineteen sixties, the peak of the Cold War between America-led West and the Soviet Union-led socialist countries, did not anticipate matters to take shape in such a drastic fashion. As a matter of fact, it was quite fashionable to be a leftist in the early nineteen sixties; even in the nineteen seventies, Capitalism was portrayed as one practiced by one class to exploit the other underprivileged class in order to dominate the ‘commanding heights’ of the economy of a country.

The romanticist attachment to the leftist ideas and ideals could be seen in a single photograph of the May Day celebrations held by the then United Left Front (ULF) in Ceylon where the triumvirate of N M, Philip and Dr SA Wickramasinghe parading along the May Day in 1963. However, later in less than one and half years, the LSSP decided to join a coalition government of Sirimavo Bandaranaike and since then, until they parted ways in 1976, identified themselves with the SLFP coalition. On May Day in  1963 the three main left parties (LSSP, CP and MEP) held a massive joint rally. That was followed by the launching of United Left Front (ULF) on 12 August, the tenth anniversary of the 1953 Hartal. The front launched agitations on issues like bringing down the prices of essential commodities, leading it to represent an immediate threat to the governance of SLFP. The SLFP began to offer the left parties ministerial posts and worked intensively to break the unity of ULF.

Having lost their identity as the leading force in the left movement in Ceylon, the LSSP, CP and MEP lost their collective DNA and were wiped out at the 1977 General Elections. The emergence of the Janatha Vimukthi Peramuna (JVP), after their failed  April-Insurrection in 1971 as the sole political force, was seen as representing the left-wing thinking in the political spectrum. 

Nevertheless, the JVP-organized May Day rallies were distinctly different from the earlier LSSP/CP/MEP demonstrations. While those who took part in the various ‘pelapalies’ in the sixties and seventies were mostly intoxicated and utterly uncontrollable, the JVP demonstrations were demonstrably disciplined, outstandingly choreographed in relation to their commitment and devotion to the cause of the movement; they were intensely focused on their political agenda. 

However, the irony of all these efforts by the JVP was, when the elections were called, from 1983 to 2019, they never went beyond 5% – 7% of the total vote. It was indeed a pathetic performance at the polls for the JVP and the index did not waver from that fixed point of voting strength.  

Come 2023, the same was displayed by the National People’s Power (NPP) on a grander scale on the May Day. In addition to being the only political party that celebrated the May Day outside an enclosed location, the NPP further went to the extent to show average Sri Lankan that they are the only party that showed some allegiance to a particular governance cum economic doctrine. 

From the State Council days, until the Sri Lanka Freedom Party (SLFP) was born, Ceylonese electorate  was polarized between UNP-led right wing and the LSSP-led left wing. The left wing parties, namely LSSP and the CP with other fringe left-wing political entities were addressing the electorate on a bicameral basis. The UNP was basically committed to a capitalist system of economics and governance. At the time, especially prior to JR Jayewardene taking over the party, it was totally divorced from trade union politics and the working class was fundamentally committed to the various left-wing parties which advocated the rights of the working class. The UNP’s commitment to safeguarding the investor cum mercantilist classes was not only predominant in the pronunciation of their doctrine, it was  practiced to its ultimate end. Prior to 1977, while showing a cursory attachment to the country’s agriculture sector, basically led by DS Senanayake and his son Dudley, its economic policies did not reach the farmer who is at the bottom of the agricultural hierarchy. The UNP government always backed the large landholding class in this sector. Instead of the farmer, they looked after the large landholding ‘Mudalalis’. One reason why Dudley Senanayake’s ‘Waga Sangramaya’ (Growth-War) failed during the 1965-1970 period was because of this over-dependence on the landholding class. 

The successive SLFP-led governments, however, had a masterful propaganda machinery led by the famous ‘Atta’ (Truth) paper to discredit not only this Waga Sangramaya, they managed to destroy Dudley Senanayake’s credibility beyond redemption. They called him ‘Pacha-bahu’ (king of lies). In the 1970 May Day rally organized by the SLFP and other left-wing parties completely destroyed Dudley Senanayake’s reputation and the UNP was absolutely helpless against this propaganda onslaught. 

However, thanks mainly to the left-wing ideologues like NM, Colvin and Keuneman, at least on the a very superficial level, the SLFP managed to cover its non-ideological nudity by a veneer of doctrine. The polarization of the country’s electorate had reached its pinnacle by 1970. The UNP was the rich man’s party and the SLFP-led left wing parties were the poor man’s party. 

But the 1970-1977 Sirimavo-led coalition government proved that that left-wing approach to the solution the country’s problems was not only wrong ideologically, it was unabashedly inefficient and irreparably fractured owing to Sirimavo’s nepotism, rampant corruption and political hypocrisy. NM, Colvin and Keuneman failed miserably and their left-wing doctrine was proven an anachronism in the wake of the changes that had swept the international arena by that time.

Come 1977, J R Jayewardene, despite his many failures later, transformed the UNP into a common man’s party. He managed to introduce the ruralization of the UNP by selecting very common men and women as party organizers for each rural electorate. Laggala Wijeratne Banda. Minipe Attanayake, Galgamuwa Loku Banda Rattota Kaviratne, were amongst those who were selected to contest on the UNP ticket in 1977. What DS, Dudley and Sir John could not do from 1947 to 1973, JR did in 1977. The results of the ’77 General Elections not only justified JR’s move, it proved that it was the only measure the UNP had to adopt as a popular mass-based political party. The Left-wing was completely clobbered in ’77. Trade Union activities became an dynamic element of the UNP’s progress. 

Furthermore, the UNP’s leadership prior to JR was basically rallying around the Senanayakes. Although the Party practiced a capitalist system of government, it did not have a firm ideological base outside the Senanayake family. J R changed that. Although JR’s approach to politics could be called non-doctrinaire, he did, in fact, introduce a theoretical tinge to his policies and and their applications. His approach to the agriculture sector was basically the massive Mahaweli Development Program and it did prove absolutely right, not only in the sphere of rice and other cash crop production, its contribution to the country’s electricity production cannot be ignored. If not for the Mahaweli hydro-power component, Sri Lanka would have meandered into the twenty first century virtually in the dark.

R Premadasa who succeeded JR managed to undo all that was positive about the UNP-led governments and he began the process of a personality cult and filled the UNP hierarchy with yes-men who had no business in deciding the country’s future. This cancerous process is till continuing under Ranil Wickremasinghe and Ranil’s emptiness is epitomized in the last General Elections when the UNP did not gain even a single parliamentary seat. 

With the decimation of the Left wing in the late seventies, the SLFP too became shamefully nude of practical political doctrine. The Rajapaksas dominated the party and now the SLFP is another party led by Maithripala Sirisena who was a disaster as President and the majority of the then SLFP are now calling themselves the Pohottuwa group whose allegiance the the Rajapaksas is second only to their greed for green cash they had been collecting when they were in power under the Rajapaksas. 

In such a lamentable context, the country’s future generations are becoming closely associated with the only political party that is fundamentally structured on an unwavering ideological line that of social justice and devoid of corruption. Although the JVP, the leading component of the NPP, used to be called an extremist left-wing political party, its reconciliation with the current flow of global realities has put them in a shockingly relatable position to the present electorate. 

Its approach to governance and economic policies seem to to be much more practical and  amenable to the present status of the country and its oft-repeated commitment to an incorrupt system of governance has a plenty of appeal in the country. That is what was evidenced in their last May Day celebrations. The country’s hopes may lie with them, at least for the time being, but once again, it might be the voters themselves who would betray themselves at the polls, once again.

*The writer can be contacted at vishwamithra1984@gmail.com      

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Latest comments

  • 10
    0

    “the JVP demonstrations were demonstrably disciplined, outstandingly choreographed in relation to their commitment and devotion to the cause of the movement; they were intensely focused on their political agenda”.
    Why am I being reminded of LTTE (without demonstrations)?
    Forget it.
    Here is the only nugget.
    “R Premadasa managed to undo all that was positive and he began a personality cult with yes-men who had no business in deciding the country’s future”.
    Alas, Sri Lanka!

    • 4
      1

      Nathan

      “Why am I being reminded of LTTE (without demonstrations)?”

      I am sorry I have no clue.

      A few years ago the police, army, navy, airforce, NIB, TID, ………………. looking for LTTE in every nook and corner, under the bed, ….. . The Prince of darkness Weerasekera still does.

      Now it is the combined effect of Archaeological Department, Mahaweli Authority, Water Resources Ministry, Forest Department, Saffron Land grabbing thugs, STF, Army, Navy, Air Force, Political Crooks, ………………………………. which looks for Sinhala/Buddhism under every inch of the land in the North East.

      The idea is to grab land then sell it to real estate investors.
      Saffron thugs are heavily involved.

      Nimal fernando is sitting on the fence.
      He is likely to join the most patriots of this land.

      What are you going to do about it?

      • 0
        0

        Native Vedda, You read and understood everything except for the,
        ‘Forget it.’ part!

  • 13
    1

    “but once again, it might be the voters themselves who would betray themselves at the polls, once again.”
    You are right. You cannot change the attitude of the voters as long as Buddhist Monks influence remain unchanged. A simple bomb is enough to the voters.

    • 3
      1

      “Although the JVP, the leading component of the NPP, used to be called an extremist left-wing political party, its reconciliation with the current flow of global realities has put them in a shockingly relatable position to the present electorate.”
      The current flow of global realities? Isn’t that an admission that there is only one viable economic doctrine currently, which both Russia and China both follow?
      So, despite all the hoo-ha about principles, self-interest rules.

  • 15
    0

    Vishwamithra

    “Trade Union activities became an dynamic element of the UNP’s progress. “

    UNP’s trade union (Jathika Sevaka Sangamaya) became so dynamic and active it supplied thugs to organise and attack minorities and other trade union members, helped to recruit rioters, prevent severely injured Tamils being treated at various Colombo hospitals, helped to break other trade union strikes, …………. intimidate human rights activists and colleagues, alleged role played in the burning down of Jaffna Library,….. the extend of its role in attacking suspected JVP members in 1987/1991 is not known.

    • 6
      1

      NV: “… the attack on JVP members in 1987/1991 is not known”.

      Know it now. They were the “Black Cats”; “Yellow Cats” and “Gangs” of “Paramilitary” brigades organized by the UNP MPs. and Police Officers stationed at “Batalanda Torture House” under the supervision and direction of Ranil W. The “Source”: Batalanda Presidential Commission Report.

      • 8
        0

        Simon

        Yes I agree with all of that, however I am not sure about the extend of JSS involvement in 1987/1991 crime against humanity.

        You missed one name, the Green Tigers and those 6 Lt Colonels who controlled numerous decentralised death squads.
        Some members of those death squads later became politicians, journalists, ambassadors, …….

        • 1
          0

          Native Vedda,
          If you make a mistake once, it is an oversight.
          If you repeat the mistake, it is an error.
          extend, here. – extend of JSS involvement
          extend there. – extend of its role in attacking suspected JVP

          • 2
            0

            Nathan

            Thanks you caught me there.
            The problem you know is that I am not educated like many others in this forum. I haven’t taken the trouble to learn languages. Therefore you must help me when I make mistakes.

        • 2
          0

          Thanks, Native Veddah.
          .
          If we are to put the country right we must each see our own faults. The JVP made grave mistakes in 1971 and 1988 to 1990. They themselves acknowledge it – which acknowledgement must be seen as a positive.
          .
          There is a popular solution:
          .
          https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Mnws0xna2To&t=19s
          .
          Get the Brits back to rule over us! Please see the above 23 minutes. It’s a very useful over-view. Having such an over-view is very important. That way you begin to be aware of what aspects of our problems must be put right and what must be forgiven, and ultimately forgotten.
          .
          Even after that is done, it’ll be extremely difficult for us to forget certain things. But they are past. Let us look to the future.
          .
          Our problem now is that we must have a future without the Rajapaksas and Ranil Wickremasinghe. The future of this land doesn’t belong to those above the age of 20 – unless they pledge themselves to see themselves out of office by age 60.
          .
          Panini Edirisinhe (NIC: 483111444V): that number decrees that I must defer to younger people.

          • 4
            1

            SM,
            “The future of this land doesn’t belong to those above the age of 20 – unless they pledge themselves to see themselves out of office by age 60.”
            You are being illogical and naive as always.
            Has any country been rescued by a 20 year old? On the other hand, Churchill, Gandhi, and Mahathir were well over 60.
            It takes experience to govern, and only age will give you that.
            .

            • 1
              0

              Yes, oc, my wording there was a bit eccentric. The meaning I’m trying to convey is that old people must not try to control the young.
              .
              Actually, we have done worse. We have impoverished even the yet unborn.
              .
              It is time Ranil settled for a caretaker role, and, with immediate effect, reduces our suffering, and enhances his reputation, by allowing local government elections to be held. this present set up is one that a few wealthy people may be happy with. The majority are staving. No queues because we have no money. this is a clear and unequivocal call by AKD.
              .
              https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SDP9Fj8ZxVY
              .
              Listen carefully to that eloquence. It is unfortunate that he speaks only in Sinhalese, but please understand the thoughts epressed and tell

              • 0
                0

                Continuing, after accidental submission:
                .
                …………….. Please tell it here that this is a man who wants fair play for people of all backgrounds and social groups. More than all else, those who can use Tamil must convey it in that language.
                .
                I hope that you will re-think both morality and the practical effects of stating that it is your self interest that must be served by the political decisions that you make. Morality must be present in our politics.
                .
                Panini Edirisinhe of Bandarawela (NIC 483111444V)

          • 4
            0

            Sinhala_Man

            “They themselves acknowledge it”

            Did they?
            AKD when he was in London gave an interview to BBC Sinhala Service in which he acknowledged the JVP had made many mistakes in the past. This happened on a Thursday. The following Saturday an old guard refuted AKD’s statement. I am yet to hear JVP convincingly condemning what its leaders did in the 1970s and between 1987 and 1991, owning up all those violence, say sorry, ………….

            Tilvin Silva, Sunil Handunnetti, Vijitha Herath, and others have been ……… overtly anti minority, selectively anti Hindian and pro Chinese (no criticism against China’s imperial intent, anti democratic, ………… more over they are nasty little Sinhala/Buddhist racist party. They believe they have to get Saffron approval to win elections, please refer to the news item below:

            Excerpt:
            “MP Herath said the National People’s Power together with the JVP would field a candidate who will fulfil all recommendation of the religious leaders including Mahanayake Theras”
            https://www.dailymirror.lk/breaking_news/Gota-weakest-candidate-fielded-by-Rajapaksas-JVP/108-172760

            Why the JVP old guards want to appease the Theras knowing full well they the saffronistas through politicians have been ruining this island.

            Lately using states resources and power (state’s monopoly on violence) and with contribution from rich Sinhala/Buddhists the saffronista’s are on Vihare building spree on private lands in the North East.

  • 3
    2

    V, You said it. Instead of ownership to the common man’s cause, self serving, self enriching, corrupt thieves are now entrenched. The citizens are deluded during voting time, and nobody else can be blamed for it as the country is sold out, piece by piece. Justice and righteousness will finally manifest one day with judgement

  • 13
    1

    Look at the 2 faces in the photo.

    Do you think any good will come to Lanka?

    Why write reams ……. when things are so simple, obvious and straightforward?

    Native, Sinhala_Man, ……. learn to enjoy life! …….. Life is short ……. zoooom before you know it, it’s gone ……….

    Old Codger has things stacked in his favour …….. all of Pittsburgh will be mourning him! …….. Some guys have all the luck!!

    • 3
      0

      nimal fernando

      Do you think now is the good time for Pakistan to start a surprise attack on Hindia? Not just to win the war(?) but to divert the self destructive energy and attention of Pakistanies towards Hindia.

      If I were in your position I would advise Pakistani
      ISI,
      ISIS,
      Taliban,
      Sunnies,
      Fuedal war lords,
      Pro Sharia Mullahs,
      Pakistani Armed Forces,
      Al-Qaeda,
      Lashkar-e-Omar
      Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT)
      Jaish-e-Mohammed (JeM)
      Sipah-e-Sahaba
      Jaish ul-Adl
      Al Badr Mujahideen
      Harkat ul Mujahidee……….
      start a war against the Hindians.

      China, Sri Lanka and SJ would provide full support for their all weather friend.

    • 5
      2

      Dear nimal fernando,
      .
      I apologise for often sounding like this character:
      .
      https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Eeyore
      .
      It’s worse for me. At least that creation of Milne was grudgingly loved by us. But see how every comment of mine appears to be hated on this site. Only “appears”; I suspect that they all emanate from one source in Europe.
      .
      I’m going to make more comments here:
      .
      https://www.colombotelegraph.com/index.php/people-called-on-to-play-direct-role-to-sustain-democracy/
      .
      The author, Jehan, once our best tennis player, is rightly getting a roasting from people who feel strongly for Lankans and for Palestinians. The coward who hates us Sinhalese (especially the NPP) will not dare attack those commenters. Not even with a Red DISLIKE!
      .
      Yes, some guys have all the luck!

      .

    • 3
      0

      nimal fernando

      “Native, Sinhala_Man, ……. learn to enjoy life! …….. Life is short ……. zoooom before you know it, it’s gone ……….”

      I love to.
      However I am unable to enjoy life as I find myself caught in the middle of two noisy stupid people, one being Sinhala/Buddhists and the other Tamil/Saivaites. One wants to build Vihares in every nook and corner of North East (basically what the Saffronistas and the Ranaviruses are saying is that they had already raped the women now they are raping the land because they won the war.) and as a counter action stupid Tamil/Saivaites building statues.

      The noise these very stupid people make deprives me of good night sleep.
      Even scheming Ranil is p****d off.
      https://www.facebook.com/watch/?extid=WA-UNK-UNK-UNK-AN_GK0T-GK1C&mibextid=2Rb1fB&v=1494508528021695

    • 2
      4

      This is an interesting discussion.
      .
      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jKBRDdequ84
      .
      Despite valiant efforts by Swasthika Arulingam it shows the extent to which Tamil protests don’t co-ordinate with the Sinhalese. Who is to blame?
      .
      Panini Edirisinhe of Bandarawela

  • 6
    0

    VM,
    Thanks for the well set out article.
    This aspect was very clear since 1960’s atleast latter part of the decade!!!
    The people at large would be happy, even if they were to abandon principles and be opportunists to get-on to the ‘Bandwagon’ of populist, that may I believe, would be atoned by the public at large, SUBJECT TO THE PROVISO, THEY TAKE OWNERSHIP, ACCOUNTABLE AND REMORSE IF AND WHEN IT BECOMES NECESSARY as in any human endeavour!!!???
    Ultimately, take responsibility and wherever necessary and openly admit FAILURES and say sorry for such actions, instead of “PASSING THE BUCK”!!!???
    More pronounced Malaise since 2005
    “True there are many ‘Fathers’ for good outcomes, but none for Bad ones”

    • 1
      1

      Visvamitra,
      It was nostalgia for all who belonged to the old left who in their key days believed in the golden brains of the left.
      But it was shattered due to no-contest politics from 1956 onwards and coalition politico later from 1964. The ideological battle was over with the collapse of Soviet Union and the battle of personalizes became prominent since the advent of JR Jayawardene.
      JR never had charisma, But the circumstances made him a man of charisma and a popular leader. He was able to destroy all his rivals with undemocratic manipulations and opened the door for people like Premadasa, Lalith and Gamimi to the top and allowed LTTE to be the king makers with their selective assassinations. LTTE within a short time got themselves destroyed.
      With the electoral process getting ascendency after the end of the conflict, the electorate made hasty decisions with novices coming in control of economy, resulting in the present economic crisis and facilitated Ranil Wicramasinghe to the Presidency
      As long as the prospect o NPP coming to power is there , Ranil will never allow any elections to confirm popularity of NPP.
      If NPP think that they could be able to come to power, they are living in a dream world.

  • 10
    10

    Dear Vishwamithra,
    .
    I think that you have rightly identified some of the strengths of the NPP. Although they have discarded the doctrinaire communism of the Soviets, and they are such a disciplined lot of people (my local guy, the Geography teacher is an individual who imbibes, but that’s hardly because of his political stance), with AKD being such a simple guy, blessed with a sense of humour, as in these eleven minutes:
    .
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LDIyEweQpUE
    .
    He’s essentially such a simple and likeable guy who is willing to laugh gently, even at himself. Also the NPP is hardly based on political families.
    .
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NFaYNJ3waPA
    .
    Harshana Nanayakkara, above, doesn’t talk about his Uncle Vasudeva. Harini Amarasuriya laughingly dismisses her own wealthy family. However, these leaders appear to have studied Marx, whilst having a wider background.
    .

    I just don’t know Marxism, but it is good to have people who have inspiration from well-reasoned views of History and Economics.
    .
    It has always perplexed me why some wealthy elite used to take to politics; to make money seemed to be obvious.
    .
    We’re now in a different world; old codger aren’t you happy that Palki Sharma is back in business?
    .
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CYTHIHaD6Ao
    .
    Panini Edirisinhe

    .

    • 4
      0

      “blessed with a sense of humour”

      Lavrentiy Beria also said Stalin had a sense of humour ………. that didn’t go down well in the concentration camps …….. and was not much appreciated in the Gulags ……..

      • 9
        1

        Nimal,
        Don’t forget our very own Mahinda Maama, with his avuncular moustache, his baby-kissing ways, and his little throw-away lines. Dan Sapadaaa, anyone?
        RW tries hard, but is strangled by his tie.
        Perhaps those who believe in such “simple” politicians are being a bit simple themselves?

      • 1
        3

        Understandable, as only Germany had concentration camps, and later the British had them in Malaya.

        • 1
          0

          SJ,
          I believe the British had the first concentration camps, in South Africa?

    • 6
      2

      SM,
      “We’re now in a different world; old codger aren’t you happy that Palki Sharma is back in business?”
      Not really, I watch her sometimes with the sound off. I find her views irritatingly immature sometimes, especially on subjects like China, Muslims, or Hinduism. The Print is much better.
      “Also the NPP is hardly based on political families.”
      I don’t know about the NPP, but the JVP is mostly rooted in particular castes. I ķnow from personal experience that government forces were particularly brutal with these caste villages.
      https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/1987%E2%80%931989_JVP_insurrection

      • 1
        0

        Thanks, old codger,
        .
        For this:
        .
        https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/1987%E2%80%931989_JVP_insurrection
        .
        I know that you have given that already. Let’s also study this:
        .
        https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/1971_JVP_insurrection
        .
        AKD looks to the future, but he says that we cannot forget the mistakes of the past. Now, when he talks about those mistakes, and apologises for them, he also makes reference to how the poor were mauled. That is not excusing the JVP.
        .
        Who’s going to analyse the caste system? Not me! I’m also a guy who was born into certain privileges. Had I become an anthropologist, I could have talked about it at a different level:
        .
        https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PEeaUGDw1PY
        .
        Gananath Obeysekera, twenty years ago. Almost an hour, in English. Worth it. I’ve never met him, although his daughter was a wonderful kid forty years ago, in Peradeniya. It was a privilege to get to know Gananath two days ago
        .
        Panini Edirisinhe.

  • 24
    4

    In general, Lankan SB politics is devoid of any doctrine other than deceptive racist anti minority rhetoric. Empty and harmful SB politics of 75 years, leading to two revolts and 30 years of war, finally ending as Bankrupt, dysfunctional and failed nation.

  • 10
    4

    Tamil MPs should organize a protest in front of the IMF staff staying hotel, until they leave back. Evil Emperor who cancelled the negotiations meeting with TNA, is restarting thet dirt bastard game agin becuase stuff Putty Katti In Sampanthar Aiya’s mouth until the IMF aprove the 2nd installemtn.

  • 5
    2

    In most countries, Trade Unions have become slaves of political parties. In Sri Lanka, we have a situation that is more dangerous than in most countries. Trade Unions are supposed to protect the interest of the workers and not promote or protect the interest of political parties. This may be due to corruption in Trade Unions, where the senior officers get “santhosams” from political parties or the political parties that have formed the Trade Unions. Unlike in most other countries, in SL we have religious leaders leading Trade Unions. A unique example is a Buddhist Monk leading a Nurses’ Trade Union. What has a Buddhist monk got to do with a Trade Union let alone a “Nurses Trade Union” where the majority of the members are women? Does this mean Religions are in Trade Union business, and for what purpose, to get “santhosams” by supporting their political masters?
    What this shows is the failure of the Governments, especially the Justice Ministers, Labour Ministers, Party Leaders, and also the working class not thinking with an open mind but behaving like slaves. We have not a single but q double Masters Degree holding Justice Minister who does not do anything to make Trade Unions do their jobs or act what their constitution says.

    • 4
      2

      ……..A unique example is a Buddhist monk leading a Nurses Trade union.
      What has a Buddhist Monk got to do with a Trade Union let alone a Nurses Trade Union where the majority of members are women?……….
      Good Question by Buddhist1.
      Could be for two reasons.
      a] The nurses rightly thought Buddhist monks have political clout; After all they practice political Buddhism.
      b] From the point of view of this Buddhist Monk he may have thought its easy to identify those Nurses who could be shunted across to his colleagues…………..

      • 2
        0

        Plato,
        As you know, they are not Buddhist monks, but “Buddhagama monks”: Not all, but those Buddhist monks and their reactions today are cheap, the same as any layman with some profit motive. I don’t need to add examples here, it will be clear to anyone with some common sense by now.
        The biggest difference is becoming clear, however, Sri Lanka’s mainstream media doesn’t seem to draw the line clearly, so it will take a few more decades to catch up. The big lie is over.

        Who promoted the so-called Buddhagama monks to reap the harvest of some political crooks?
        It is clearly the other cancer of this nation, the mlechcha media network.

        The great devastation done by Ghansara with the Rajapaksatists destroyed this nation.Until the end of the war, we had only one big problem, which was the ethnic problem between the Tamil and Sinhalese nations. However, the Rajapaksa’s lust for power caused new divisions among the Sinhalese nation due to their complete ignorance. That is why we have been dragged into a precipice economically and socially today.
        And how Atana dancer Ratana Ratana and others spread that wave of hatred through “Dr. Safi and his so-called sterile conspiracy” cannot be easily erased from our recent history.

    • 3
      1

      “In most countries, Trade Unions have become slaves of political parties.”
      Many trade unions owe their existence to politic al parties. there is much history to this.
      The bond between the Labour Party in UK and the TUC is very strong. The TUC even contributes to the Labour Party.
      There is nothing wrong with political affiliation as long as the political party is committed to workers’ rights and the unions can u8nite in campaigns regardless of the political rivalry between parties. We see that happening in India for example.

      • 0
        0

        Hi SJ,
        Your comment “There is nothing wrong with political affiliation as long as the political party is committed to workers’…

        I do not agree with this for the simple reason that a trade union, does not matter if it’s in the UK or in Afghanistan, as long as it’s a part and parcel of a political party then it has to follow the party’s plan, and not workers’ plan.

        • 0
          0

          SJ, one other point as long as a Trade Union forms a political party and then contests with no alliance then I agree. The only alliance could be with other Trade Union political parties.

          • 0
            0

            Buddhist 1,
            If you look carefully, most unions are left of centre, except some professional ones. Most employers are capitalist by definition, so one can’t expect the unions to side with capitalist parties. It gets interesting when a capitalist government tries to reorganise state enterprises.

  • 1
    0

    The present circumstances you created and now coming to help the country with secondary votes from parliamentary naming as problem-solving ability, and resourcefulness. Only after taxing the people, If you have to hurt other people in order to powerful you are an extremely weak individual

    • 1
      2

      Vishwamithra,
      Why do you say, Premadasa, Ranil and Mahinda were devoid of doctrine in the long run. On the contrary, they had a doctrine in the short run as well as in the long run. It may not be Communist or capitalist but it was somewhere in between. Remember Capitalism and Communism are at the extreme ends of a continuum.
      Premadasa and Mahinda were populist and were able to swing from one to the other effortlessly depending on how the popular mood changes. All three of them had their unique strategy , philosophy and justification. It was not the failure of their doctrine, But remember Ranil is still batting, but Mahinda though injured was still batting refusing to move out of the crease, though limping is still in the game, Vishwamithra , better revise your theory. Reality is much more complex and not easy to put them inside a compartment and interpret.

      • 3
        1

        SK
        “It may not be Communist or capitalist but it was somewhere in between.”
        You mean Opportunism? Right.

    • 0
      0

      RBH, not only that while increasing taxes paying a “mega Cabinet and a large State Minister Team” together with tax cuts to MPs shows that this government, especially the president, the PM, and the Speaker are so weak and have no right to rule the country.

  • 5
    0

    “Purely an exhibitionistic ploy…the Lanka Sama Samaja Party (LSSP), the Communist Party (CP) and the Mahajana Eksath Peramuna (MEP) displayed their allegiance to the working man by organizing trade union-led May Day rallies….”
    *
    Their allegiance became questionable after the betrayal of the ’21-demands’ campaign.
    They lost members first to dissenters in own their parties. then they lost to the SLFP TUs and later even to the UNP and since the 1980s to the JVP, which in the 1970s was abusive of the working class as useless and muddied in trade unions struggles.

  • 5
    1

    ”A doctrinaire approach to politics has been replaced by a ‘practical’ self-serving and self-enriching procession by thieves and hooligans”

    I am sure everyone is in agreement. It is the root cause of the current crisis in a nutshell. Perhaps, the process escalated when Premadasa ”began the process of a personality cult and filled the UNP hierarchy with yes-men who had no business in deciding the country’s future” but whether it was his successor, DB (in the same vein as Slimy Sira) or the supposedly Sorbonne educated CBK, the political parties thereafter had no definite objectives or policies that differentiated them. At the end of the day, it was the charisma of the politician that won the vote & what a mistake it was. MR & his family & cronies blatantly abused the system & was replaced by another uneducated yob, Slimy Sirisena, whose objective was only to outdo the Rajapakses in the corruption stakes.
    The current political parties have no ‘doctrine’ as far as I am aware of, except, perhaps, the NPP but with its JVP alliance & a jumble of other organisations, from academics & trade unionists to women groups & monks, I have my doubts if they can all come to a consensus without a compromise. Therefore, in current SL, in my understanding, it is ”Politics Devoid Of Doctrine”

    • 0
      1

      Like what happened to politics in the UK, now totally lacking in ethics.

    • 1
      0

      Dear Raj-UK,
      .
      Compromise is necessary in politics
      .
      .
      Provided they don’t allow themselves to get compromised.
      .
      This is how Animal Farm ends:
      .
      “The creatures outside looked from pig to man, and from man to pig, and from pig to man again; but already it was impossible to say which was which”.
      .
      I have twice
      urged you to read this:
      .
      https://docs.google.com/file/d/0B-qbgH1SfSUdUWNxNFBWeHNCR3M/view?resourcekey=0-y0UaERHtE7aLaKt_cwsElg
      .
      The links that I gave you were from more readable editions. If you missed them, do some hunting on the web; may be you will even finally settle for the film. I can only suggest and guide.
      .
      Panini Edirisinhe
      .

    • 2
      0

      Dear Raj-UK,
      .
      Whether it is in your work circles in your company, society or country, reaching consensus is fundamental to collective agreements. Do our people respect it? Shouldn’t rebuilding society after a long civil war be the priority? ?????…was that not the rebuilding of the society occured after WWII defeat in Germany ?

      It is a sad reality that although majority of people wear banners displaying themselves as followers of a religion whose main motto is “tolerance to others” but our people are still not mature enough to respect the thoughts of others.

      Look, our English-educated “Sinhala man” repeatedly calls me “absolutely despicable” because I can’t stand his opinion of the JVP today. Where is his tolerance ?

      Be it religious, social or otherwise, the nature of thinking of the majority of people resists criticism and they simply dont care to look beyond it. Parliament is more or less like ” FISH MARKET in Negombo”, although there are always some progressive and exceptional ones in parliamentary composition.
      Slogan hating 225 is a ploy to mislead the gulliable masses by media so that the real criminals (Rajapakshala, Mahindananda, Johnston, Wimal Weerenase etc.) can always live with the good candidates.

      tbc

      • 2
        0

        cont.
        .

        Isn’t this the biggest obstacle we have had in this country for decades in heterogeneous parliamentary structures?
        .
        Will Janata Vimukthi Peramuna own “Aladdin’s lamp” to give us magic after being elected as the next force? they will have to handle it with the same rabble rousing majority dominated srilanka OR not ?
        .
        Even with the good intentions of some people’s representatives, that is not the biggest stone in our road, is it? How to reform the existing laws and pass new laws so that the quality of life of the nation is clearly visible?

        Can SM’s only hope to give a chance to the 89-92 savages who destroyed my brothers like CATS and dogs in the 89-92 era?

        When we look back at how JVP has performed in the last 4 decades, we don’t know how difficult it is for them to deal with other thinkers in this country. How can we ever keep hopes ?

        • 2
          0

          L M ,

          ” How to reform the existing laws and pass new laws so that the quality
          of life of the nation is clearly visible ? ” Certainly we do need reformed
          laws to make our nation a better nation but I have a strong view that the
          existing laws are more than sufficient if you stop meddling with them
          to satisfy your endless ego , greed and corruption . Take one example ,
          are we not living without the P Cs and the L Gs ? This means the country
          can run without them ! Under pretexts as long as you want ! What we do
          need seriously is a citizenry that understand and respect the law and in
          times of danger to these laws , come forward to protect them as that is
          where their life rests ! Let alone quality of life ! What we witness today is ,
          the general public sitting idle watching their MPs and other forces
          wilfully breaking their bones , in the name of laws . What we do need is ,
          Compassion , Love for one’s self and others , devoid of hatred . Try this
          prescription and see the difference .

  • 4
    2

    ” A Picture is worth a thousand words ” is known both as an idiom and proverb .
    With that in mind , I approach JVP using the symbol of Hammer and Sickle as
    its background cut outs on all of its platforms , especially a large one at the
    May Day Rally . A symbol used internationally , no need to waste time explaining .
    Author Vishwamithra , missed it in his account of JVP / NPP challenge to the
    political traditions of the country ! Srilankan voters have Two Faces when it comes
    to Elections , One For Attending Election Rallies And Another At Voting ! They
    are Mad At Enjoying Insults , opposing parties throwing at each other . I believe ,
    JVP is quite clear on its using the symbol of Hammer and Sickle and the World
    Bank and IMF too have a clear picture about the message it is sending to the
    world ! Srilankans are Racing To Fly High , Not Low even at the cost of Rs 750 .00
    A Kilo Of Rice !

    • 3
      5

      JVP guys, it’s up to you, why are some people telling us to follow them because they look like they are eating “mung”?

      I listened to RW’s talk this week, and I had no objection to anything he had to say about “how to make real change”: this doesn’t mean I’m a fan of RW – even if self-proclaimed pundits mislead CT readers.
      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Zc5bmpSwbWo

      Isn’t it time to ask why the JVP failed in the last 4 decades? Have they learned from their failures? Not much to my knowledge…
      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QamTC-iFgm8
      .
      What better options do they have if they are the next choice to lead this nation? Or will their story end with Gotabaya’s (former petrol station attendant in the US) fairy tales?
      .
      If not a single person in the JVP/NPP seems to have any experience in the field, but takes a ride to prove otherwise, how can they be unique with external politics based on international relations?

      So how can they prove that it is not like Gotabhaya’s second episode if misled by the alternative?

  • 1
    4

    The two faces of the same coin.

    • 0
      3

      Exactly !

  • 6
    0

    The selfish culture has taken root in SL.
    Top to bottom to grassroot level.

    One thing is for sure RW cannot change this.

    As he is also part of this culture.

    • 1
      4

      Sargent ,

      You are truly Nalla Thambi dear !

  • 2
    1

    I would like Vishwamithra to take special note that , Yes , We Srilankans need a
    big , I mean A Big Change . A Change in All Of its centuries old ways of life in
    short . Majority of those Who Felt the Need For These Changes are coming from
    Those Who Sought Better Living Abroad . They form about 1.5 million and the
    rest are Rich , Reasonably Rich and the Middle Class . They are the ones who had
    the opportunity to see a better world that is missing back home . I mean the
    Genuine Ones Who Want A Change . I strongly feel , The Hammer and Sickle are
    Translating this development into part of their struggle with their Oratory Skills
    and Leading By Example . Some of the examples are not very hard for them as
    most of their members have experience in their family backgrounds . Another
    issue worth pondering is , The Ball We Are Kicking Around Is Now No More In Our
    Courts and JVP / NPP do understand this I believe ! These are my calculations and
    not what I wish for the country . All anyone can see is ” Dogs are barking and the
    Caravan Moves On ! “

    • 1
      0

      WW
      This is the end of the road for RW.
      No help from SJB no help from SLPP.

      • 4
        0

        SN,
        .
        This is a land of beasts, like or not it is the truth

        What is important is “not the end of his road”, but to revive the economy and leave it to toxic people to destroy it again.
        I see no sign of lights at the end of the road as to how this nation can become a “Singapore style nation”.
        RW has done enough of it with scapegoat-style activities, he should spend his retirement in peace next. I don’t wish the same for the MEDAMULANA rogue, because theIMF acronym has by now realized that “I t’s M ahinda’s Fault”.

        May god bless my motherland !

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