23 May, 2022


Politics Of The Lankan State & The Future Of The Tamil Nation

By Surendra Ajit Rupasinghe

Ajit Rupasinghe

Ajit Rupasinghe

The Terms and Conditions for the ‘Liberation’ of the Tamil Nation

The discussion on the future of the Tamil nation has to be situated in its concrete context within the political dynamics of the Lankan State. It is the State that is ultimately determinant, whatever the play by its varying contending ruling fractions. We should not be led by appearances, nor be deceived by personalities, nor by the change of regimes. The state and the political system of representation hoisted upon us by British Colonialism is most devious by deliberate design. We should strive to understand the internal dynamics of the State and the logic and compulsions of its dominant ruling class, if we are to unravel the real class interests and the prospects for the future of the Tamil Nation.

The Tamil nation has been led through the most unthinkable suffering and loss and continue to be politically subjugated and militarily occupied by the State. This State shall decide if, when and how the Tamil Nation shall be liberated! So much for honouring the right of self-determination, even internally within an undivided State. So, fall in line; be patient; moderate your demands, comply! Negotiate the terms of your submission! Pay unstinted homage and pledge allegiance to the Constitution, the Unitary State and the National Flag. In short, if you expect any kind of a political settlement, that would certainly be under the constitutionally entrenched supremacy and hegemony of the Sinhala-Buddhist unitary Capialist state. Play the Game! If not, the dark demonic forces of Neo-Fascism shall return to power and devour you. The best and only chance you have is to place your fate and your future in the hands of the Sirisena-Ranil dispensation. You have to learn to compromise, cooperate and collaborate with regimes and ruling class personalities that have shed the blood of the people, robbed the country wholesale and are the sworn and proven enemies of the Tamil nation.


Knowing the Game

This is the fate that awaits the Tamil nation and the people of Lanka. This is in spite of the fact that it is the national minorities, the Tamil people cohabiting in the North-East, the Moslem people spread throughout the country and the Hill Country Tamil people that voted overwhelmingly to unseat Mahinda Rajapakse and place the Sirisena-Ranil dispensation in power. Selling the oppressed nationalities down the tube and intensifying national discrimination and subjugation to appease the Sinhala Buddhist majority constituency is the name of the game- then, now and in the future. This is the devious and fatal political game that has been played on the Tamil nation for over six decades; the game that finally led to a brutal war of conquest and occupation of the Tamil nation. Now, we expect the conquerors and occupiers who stood watch over the war and who covered up all war crimes and celebrated the military victory with pomp and pageantry, to deliver the Tamil nation from all forms of national subjugation. This logic is twisted as it is sick and revolting! The liberation of the Tamil nation shall rest upon one single fact. The prevailing chauvinist, supremacist, hegemonic, theocratic, unitary colonial State and political System must be uprooted and overthrown- root and branch. This shall be the condition for the liberation of the Tamil nation as it is the indispensible condition for the liberation of the Land and the People of Lanka.

Know thy Enemy: Know Thy Self

“Know thy Enemy: Know Thy Self” wrote Sun Tzu, the ancient and brilliant military strategist that Mao had studied and applied in formulating the military doctrine, tactics and strategic path of protracted people’s war in the course of waging the victorious New Democratic Revolution in China. Know the oppressor, know his rules and master his game, be aware of all his tactics and antics, his deceit and deception, his means of survival. Know the source of his power, his power over the hearts and minds of the people ever to delude and enslave them. Just imagine! There is an overwhelming and even transcendental and undisputed international consensus that the LTTE was the source of ‘separatist terrorism’ that had to be liquidated militarily and that we all – all of humanity- have to be eternally grateful to Mahinda Rajapska for having achieved that historic mission. This jubilant consensus among all the bloody reactionary imperialist and regional powers is based on a barefaced lie and introverted delusion. The LTTE was the effect and consequence of the ideology and politics of chauvinist, neo-fascist repression of the Tamil nation by every successive government in power. It is the Sri Lankan State and its ruling class that must be held accountable for the rise of the demand for a separate state, while the counter-terrorism of the LTTE was generated by the fascist white terror, including repeated pogroms, directed against the Tamil nation and innocent people by the State. This is the power of the State and of its ruling class that it can turn truth upside down, clean itself of all its horrible crimes against Nature, Humanity and the People, and get the whole damn world to accept and applaud that lie. The victim is turned into the criminal and the criminal is adorned as the hero. The effect is decimated, only to justify and reinforce the cause! This is not meant to deny the role and responsibility of the LTTE itself in adopting a narrow bourgeois nationalist line and in pursuing an elitist-militarist organizational paradigm. This political ideology and practice relied on imperialism and India and denied any role of the oppressed masses in struggling to achieve their liberation through their own conscious revolutionary struggle – which made terrorism a necessary policy.

To overthrow the oppressor, we must arm and educate the oppressed masses about the truth and how to live and die by the truth. We must painstakingly organize, mobilize and guide the masses to systematically eradicate the roots and the soil of their oppression. We would have to systematically expose the diabolical game of ‘divide and conquer’ of the rulers We would have to guide and lead the oppressed masses to overhaul and transform the structures, social relations and accompanying ideologies that breed chauvinism and the colonial politics of supremacy and hegemony. Otherwise, we shall only be trading one oppressor for another. We shall only be negotiating the terms and conditions of our oppression, of our slavery and subjugation, with our slave-masters.

Configuration of the Objective Situation

The prevailing objective context and situation has been created by a confluence of developments that led to the fall of Mahinda Rajapaksa and the rise to power of the Sirisena-Ranil-Chandrika factions of the ruling class. These recent political developments had led to a new polarization and a new configuration between two rival camps of the ruling class that successively together command state power. This is a polarization between a coalition of ruling class political forces that have aligned themselves with the political agenda presented by H.E. President Sirisena and Hon. Prime Minister, Ranil Wickremasinghe and the camp led by former President and now member of Parliament, Hon. Mahinda Rajapakse. Election results have placed the former in executive command of state power with the latter to function as the Opposition. Of course, as partners in defending and protecting the chauvinist-militarist-hegemonic-supremacist unitary Capitalist State.

The Chauvinist-Fascist backlash

It may appear that there is some sort of acceptance of the new status-quo by the Rajapaksa camp, including Mahinda Rajapaksa himself. Mahinda bows in homage to Ranil at the swearing in ceremony. Do not be fooled by this type of revolting Machiavellian machinations. This is just a tactical manoeuvre. The Rajapaksa camp will bide its time until the situation is turned in their favour. The opportunities shall arise when the Sirisena-Ranil government takes any form of forward step, however cosmetic and illusory, to solve the National Question. Any dilution of the sovereignty of the unitary state through devolution and sharing power will provide fronts of attack. Opportunities shall arise when the new government even tries to engage in any form of de-militarization and normalization or seriously address issues concerning the plight of political prisoners and the disappeared. Addressing the issue of land grabbing and colonization would be explosive. Any form of a domestic accountability mechanism for addressing war crimes and other violations of international humanitarian and human rights laws will open up a tinder box. Any sign of capitulation to a US-led strategic agenda will provide ammunition to raise the banner of ‘anti-imperialist patriotic’ resistance. This is why Mahinda Rajapaksa has stated that as a member of parliament he will be concerned to protect national security as his foremost priority. It has been reported that the State Intelligence Services (SIS) has filed a report about Mahinda Rajapaksa’s activities in building a ‘Temple-based Movement’ covering a whole gamut of Buddhist temples within the Sinhala-Buddhist heartland. This is to function as his Gestapo riot squadron that shall resist any and every attempt to arrest, detain and prosecute him or any of his immediate family, including brother Gotabaya Rajapaksa. The entire State apparatus, including minsters, sections of the judiciary, police, the bureaucracy and the armed forces are said to be infiltrated and bought over by the Rajapaksa Mafia. So, that is the nature and agenda of the chauvinist-fascist backlash.

The Rajapaksa camp shall exploit the deep, subconscious psyche of the Sinhala Buddhist constituency, particularly among the backward, superstitious rural population, to advance its agenda. This psyche is manipulated by intensifying the sense of insecurity of being beset and besieged by the combined ‘enemies of the chosen Sinhala-Buddhsit Nation’, reinforcing the psychotic need to exercise chauvinist-fascist dominance and supremacy. This is the very same psycho-neurotic ideological poisoning that was applied by Hitler. Mahinda Rajapaksa and the UPFA under his command may have been defeated electorally. Yet, its political, economic, social and ideological base is intact. It bides its time, like a dog licking its wounds until it prepares for the next round of open-fanged canine assault. Any effort to criminalize and penalize the Rajapaksa dynasty, particularly Mahinda Rajapaksa himself, will serve to unleash this camp with hell-bent fury, backed by the ‘Temple-Based, Neo-Fascist Gestapo. Even though the prosecution of crimes shall follow the letter of the law, any such move shall be interpreted and communicated to the masses as acts of wilful victimization. Mahinda Rajapaksa shall be made into a popular hero among its reactionary chauvinist crony-mafia political base. Besides, we do not know how serious and to what extent the new regime shall persist in prosecuting these criminals, whatever their mandate. After all, they are all criminals, just the same. Some just appear more clean than others, depending how shiny white their national dress is made to appear. The Mahinda Rajapaksa camp shall lavishly bribe members of parliament to cross over from the billions they robbed and stored away. The new Sirisena-Ranil dispensation itself will be overcome by endemic corruption and abuse that the whole rotting system lives and thrives upon. Welcome back ministers SB and Nimal Lansa!

Walking the Tight Rope: A Circus Act 

Economically, the new government shall walk a tight rope that is already stretched and worn to the limit. The development strategy of the UNFGG government would rely on opening up the gates of neo-liberal penetration and plunder even wider than before. The debt crisis shall expand to explosive proportions. The Central Bank scam revealed to what extent a cash-strapped government would resort to keep afloat. The vast majority of the toiling masses would have to bear the brunt of this form of intensified neo-liberal penetration and plunder and suffer even more intensified exploitation and oppression. Glittering mega cities with casinos and bars shall dot the landscape. Political criminals, war lords and drug barons, low-level pimps and high-class prostitutes, rapists and child molesters shall thrive, while the masses shall be bled to death to feed the voracious appetites of international finance capital. This is the law and logic of a defunct, corrupt and rotting neo-colonial State. Every form of genuine mass resistance to this intensified form of imperialist domination, exploitation and oppression shall be exploited by the Rajapaksa camp to incite rebellion against the new government.

Cast Away all Deadly Illusions

Given the irresolute nature of the contradictions that underlie the prevailing ruling class polarization, the emerging political situation is going to be extremely volatile and unstable. The polarization, nor the contradictions that underlie them are to be wished or washed away. They are expressions of the structural fault lines of a defunct, neo-colonial State in the throes of rapid decay and decomposition, in the context of rival predator imperialist and regional powers that have sunk their fangs deep into the jugular veins of the country. Those who wish and dream of an era of human dignity, peace, unity, stability, security, freedom, democracy and just human decency are living in a fatal delusion. The fate of the Tamil Nation, nor certainly of the People of Lanka, cannot be discussed in such self-induced fantasies and contrived, devious myopic delusions. The recent election results should be a wake-up call. For all the desperate and dramatic patching up, the hectic cosmetic repair and the clumsy constitutional tinkering, the State and the political-economic system it is based on, is undergoing it’s most profound and irrevocable organic crisis of decay, decomposition and disintegration. The Regime of class exploitation, national subjugation, patriarchal domination and caste oppression shall be intensified through the ballot and the bullet, regardless of who, whichever party or personality, wields State power.

The Imminent Evolutionary Conjuncture

The threat of a permanent state of global war and the rise of neo-fascist, religious-fundamentalist agendas of world domination being fought out between rival imperialist blocs and their proxies have begun to cloud the skies, threatening both Planet Earth and Humankind with the possibility of a crisis of evolutionary extinction. Global warming adds so precariously into the chess board. That is where the whole damn system of imperialist domination and exploitation is headed! Internally, in the Land of Lanka, the rival camps shall remain at each other’s throats, with double-dealing and back-stabbing all the bloody way, hurling the country and the people ever deeper into the furnace of internecine internal strife, violent conflict, division, terror, despair and disaster. This is while the masses shall be bled dry by the marauding wolves and vultures of international finance capital driven by rival imperialist states that shall devour us wholesale quite unlike the past centuries of colonial conquest and subjugation. This is the objective context in which we must discuss the politics of the Lankan State and the future of the Tamil Nation.

Determinants of the Tamil Nation

There appears to be some euphoria over the electoral victory of the UNF-GG, led by Hon. Ranil Wickremasinghe. We should not be enticed by this appearance. Mao stated with great insight that without political power, all is illusion. Does the electoral victory of the ITAK signal a victory for the Tamil nation and its struggle for liberation? Electoral arithmetic does not reveal the real power nor the reactionary class interests of these agents and partners of the ruling class. There are two factors that prevail upon the future of the Tamil nation. One is the external politics of the ruling class in their desperate struggle for survival fuelled by the politics of inter-imperialist rivalry. As it is, the future of the Tamil nation has been wrested away from the Tamil people by the US, India and the “Western Imperialist Alliance”, fuelled by the International Tamil Diaspora and in league with the local comprador capitalist agents. There is no real victory for the Tamil Nation in this electoral game of deception, but being tied in that much more into the dynamics of diabolical machination of the Lankan State and its imperialist masters. The other decisive factor is the internal politics of the Tamil Nation.

Internal Politics of the Tamil Nation 

In my humble opinion, there is no political force as yet that can safely and surely guide the oppressed Tamil people towards the path of genuine liberation. The Tamil national political leadership is internally fractured and cannot provide a united front against the common enemy. They have their own ideologies and agendas, most often funded and fuelled by external forces. There is the extreme nationalist political trend that calls for nothing short of Eelam, possibly and probably as part of a Greater South Indian Tamil State. But, there is no real legitimacy for this demand since this is being raised by highly privileged, upper class comprador elites. There are the genuine radical nationalist forces that also would not compromise on the question of the right of self-determination. They have an important role to play. But, they have no effective, long term strategic orientation. Then, there is the ITAK/TNA leadership commanded by the high-caste Wellala landlord comprador capitalist class interests, that would wine, dine with and capitulate to the ruling Regime, and to India and the US, just to get their share of state power. It is in this overall concrete context that we have to seriously discuss the future of the Tamil Nation.

Towards a Revolutionary Solution

Are there any Tamil revolutionaries that would dare to take up the science of revolution to lead and guide the oppressed Tamil people towards genuine self-determination and freedom? One would think that after all the incalculable suffering and sacrifice of the Tamil people, after all the defeats and capitulation, there would be a force that would dare to radically rupture with the ideology and politics of narrow nationalism and with the politics of terror and adopt an internationalist, scientific perspective of universal human emancipation that alone would guide the Tamil people towards genuine national liberation! We need to begin a dialogue between progressive forces that would agonize over the decisive political defeat and military decimation of the LTTE and the intensified subjugation of the Tamil Nation in order to sum up that crucial and

bitter experience and learn the lessons involved, never ever to repeat them. These are bitter lessons paid in the blood of the people. Similarly, we need to sum up the experience of the two disastrous armed insurrections in the South which also led the masses into the politics of capitulation and betrayal. We need to build up organs of independent political power of the people that would build on the essential unity and integrity of the Lankan Revolution. We need to build mass organizations that would forge the unity of the oppressed against the common oppressor – imperialism and the neo-colonial State. This people’s movement and political power should remain independent of electoral politics and not be corrupted by it.

The Need of the Hour

The need of the hour is for these progressive revolutionary forces in the North to work together with their Sinhala progressive revolutionary forces who share a common anti-imperialist agenda. They should struggle with honesty and openness to formulate a scientific theory, line, strategy and program to establish a people’s democratic state that shall serve as an advanced liberated base area of the world revolution in unity with the exploited and oppressed masses of the world. These advanced, conscious revolutionary forces must find the way to meet, discuss, debate and struggle with the supreme intention of defining the theory, line and strategy for the revolutionary mass overthrow of the dominant ruling class and the seizure and exercise of state power by the toiling masses in their own interests. For us, as Maoist Communist revolutionaries, the only true path of genuine national liberation and freedom is the path of conscious, mass resistance, rebellion and revolution aimed at the seizure and exercise of state power by the oppressed themselves, so as to put an end to the era of human degradation and slavery and usher in a whole new world of universal freedom for all humanity.

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Latest comments

  • 4

    Very well written Ajit but can you make Tamils to listen when they are hungry sick and needs shelter. Buddha said before you preach see that the empty stomach is filled with food.

  • 3

    Thank you for a well analysed and presented article wihich is scholarly, provocative, nuanced and crafted in a readable way to,provide an understanding about what holds for the future of the Lankan Tamil Nation and it’s sibling larger Sinhala Nation in a globalised free market culturral environment.
    Ethnic hatred, religious bigotry, and regressive politics in a third word undeveloped island such as our is going to have a very bad impact considering the type of mirage Yahapalanaya that has presently become vogue in the country.
    But our people are still in a dream world.

  • 2

    This is the exact ideology advocated by the late Uma Maheswaran-led PLOTE as a solution to the country’s national question. But, as you know, all forms of dissent was violently suppressed by the Fascist LTTE, and Uma Maheswaran himself was liquidated by them.

    • 0

      The LTTE had fascistic tendencies, but Uma Maheswaran was killed by a section of the PLOTE itself, not by the LTTE. Most militant groups, whether it was the Tamil ones or the JVP, indulged in fratricidal killings.

  • 0

    This writer’s political dream ,not that political task of People of an island that is purely utopian anarchism .

  • 0

    I have no better quote than this:

    “Communism is the corruption of a dream of justice.”
    -Adlai E. Stevenson

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