29 September, 2020

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Some Reminiscences Of Bala Tampoe

By Laksiri Fernando

Dr. Laksiri Fernando

Dr. Laksiri Fernando

It was not a shock as he had lived a full life of 92 years. But to realize that Bala Tampoe is no more reminds me of an end of an Era. Perhaps the era ended long time back. At least for me, he was the last man whom I considered in my young days a leader, and a true one. All are gone, Edmund Samarakkody, Meryl Fernando, Watson Fernando and Wilfred Pereira. Even in the case of N. M. Perera, Colvin R. de Silva, Vivien Goonewardene, V. Karalasinghham, Leslie Goonewardene and S. A. Wickremasingha, I kept my respects although critically, particularly for the last three, irrespective of whether they were ‘Trotskyists’ or ‘Stalinists.’

The first group at least kept their socialist values intact in their lives however untactful or impractical they were in politics. The second group deviated terribly in their political policies but some not deviating from their personal principles. The major debacle for all of them perhaps was their failure to keep the party organizations effective or the mass following intact. Leadership is not a personality, but an equation composing leader+followers.

Trade Union Scene

It was during 1963-64 period that I first came to know Bala Tampoe closely. That was a peak period for the trade union movement and the left parties in the country. Although Bala had entered left politics two decades before, and been a trade union leader since 1949, he came to national prominence with the ‘21 Demands’ and the strike wave that engulfed the country in 1963/64. There was a political background to the upsurge.

Bala Tampoe

Bala Tampoe

There was an economic downturn as the Korean boom had ended well before. There was economic mismanagement. The SLFP was in power under the premiership of Mrs. Bandaranaike. The working class (though small proportionally) was fairly a cohesive force, not yet strongly infested with ethnic sentiments. Even the SLFP was reluctant in again towing an ethnic or religious line openly after the lessons of the debacle that led to the assassination of SWRD Bandaranaike in 1959. But their class instincts and interests were intact.

Bala’s influence was beyond the Ceylon Mercantile Union (CMU) and within the TU Action Committee along with N. Shanmugathasan. Both were Tamils with a strong Sinhalese rank and file. If someone wants to look for an example when workers were transcending the ethnic divide, this was a period. There were other prominent leaders like L. W. Panditha, D. G. William and I. J. Wickrema. The militant trade union members perhaps numbered nearly 200,000.

I first saw him in action at the Velona textile strike in July 1964 at Moratuwa. I was waiting for my HSC results and could skip school to watch what was happening often with two other friends. The issue was the ‘right to form a trade union’ which was denied by the owner Ruskin Fernando, unfortunately one of my uncles. Bala was to come in his Volkswagen, not the one given by the union later, but his old vehicle. He used to get on the car and addressed the young women workers. The strikers numbered around 500, but over a thousand people daily gathered to support the strike.

Every morning Bala had a new lesson to tell the workers. The themes ranged from trade union history, labor legislation, economic issues or political matters. He was key among many other speakers, across a left political spectrum. He was a labor educator. He came early morning, went back to his trade union office and then came back again in the late afternoon. After work, thousands of other workers gathered to support the strike and the situation was explosive.

Political Cause

I was already a political activist at the age of 18 since early 1963 inspired by the United Left Front (ULF), 21 Demands, May Day ‘63 and leaders like Bala Tampoe. I was initially a probationary/youth member of the LSSP Moratuwella Local along with two young uncles. My mother didn’t have much objection. Two prominent members of the Local were late Wimalasiri de Mel and Upali Cooray. However, by July 1964 I had already sided with the newly formed LSSP (R) in which Bala was a prominent leader along with Edmund, Meryl and Karlo (Karalasingham). Now I was with the Korelawella Local of the LSSP (R) with Meryl and Upali and several others. I often used to meet Bala at Meryl’s place.

The split/s within the LSSP came (1) on the issue of a coalition with the ‘bourgeoisie’ SLFP and (2) on the question of whether to form a new (revolutionary) party in opposition to the betrayal. The demarcation of the two issues was complicated. Bala and others were absolutely correct on the first question as the coalition came as a way of demobilizing the trade union militancy. The ‘21 Demands’ were in fact betrayed for two ministerial positions. NM had a particular urge to join the government and take up a portfolio. The trade union movement could not recover from this debacle for a long time or until today. Of course there were other factors and processes. July 1980 general strike was only a caricature compared to 1963/64. In 1964, the trade unions were not crushed, but demoralized. But in 1980, they were ruthlessly crushed.

Even on the second question, Bala and others were relatively correct as the LSSP leaders did not offer any other alternative to the ‘revolutionaries.’ They were forced to form a new party although hesitantly on the part of some leaders/members. The situation also exposed a deep seated ailment within the left movement: sectarianism, splintering and personal egos of the leaders. These were evident within the LSSP (R) itself which eventually and eventually led to my departure from active politics altogether.

In respect of the LSSP (R), there were other tactical mistakes or even blunders that led to its disintegration. A major tactical blunder came too soon in December 1964 when two of their parliamentarians, Edmund and Meryl, voted to bring down the coalition government. It was not merely a question of voting with the UNP as it was portrayed. One aspect of the working class consciousness, in my opinion, is that they don’t easily change their leaders unless going through a necessary experience. The majority of workers were led to believe or falsely believed that even the ‘21 demands’ could be achieved eventually through the coalition government. In that context, when that government was defeated, it was considered a betrayal on the part of the LSSP (R) and not the LSSP. The LSSP was unashamed of accusing their former comrades including Bala to this effect to the detriment of the left movement in general. On the part of the LSSP (R), they were reluctant even to come to a common front with the Communist Party (China Wing) of N. Shanmugathasan with whom they shared many common policies and positions those days.

Defeat of the Velona Strike

Velona strike dragged on under difficult circumstances of the de-escalation of workers’ militancy in general after the formation of the coalition government. By now I had entered the University of Ceylon, Colombo Campus, in my first year before transferring to my alma mater, Peradeniya, to read a special degree in economics in the following year. However, I remember the penultimate event. It was somewhere in November if I remember correct.

The management had recruited some new workers or some were blacklegs. They were attempting to enter the factory premises. This was not the first time it happened but that day was different. The police were there in full force and well-armed. The striking workers were blocking the pathway lying on the ground. Even Meryl Fernando’s wife was with the striking workers almost at the forefront of the blockade. A police chief approached Bala Tampoe and Meryl Fernando and there were heated arguments. The situation was deadlocked. I believe even Wimalasiri de Mel was consulted on what to do. There were over 4,000 people surrounding the place. There were rumors that plans were ahead to burn down the factory by some miscreants.

I think it was a correct decision. Bala took the megaphone and addressed the crowd for about ten minutes and appealed the workers to step aside. And they did. His idea was to proceed with legal action. The blacklegs entered the factory and people started hooting. There was a police baton charge thereafter and even Meryl’s wife was injured. That was the decline and defeat of the strike.

Further Interaction

In my first year at the Colombo Campus (1964/65) I often went to Bala’s CMU office, those days at the Upper Chatham Street, Colombo Fort. This doesn’t mean that I was very active or committed. There were other university students who were more active and committed but they belonged to the University of Peradeniya proper. The LSSP (R) office was on one floor. There was a mix up between the party and the union from the beginning. Edmund and other leaders were little uncomfortable about the arrangement. Among them, Bala was undoubtedly an imposing personality. Many of the larger party or public meetings were at the Red Cross Hall at Dharmapala Mawatha, closer to the Campus.

Bala had a unique speaking ability which I admired very much perhaps because ‘good oratory’ was one of my ambitions when I was young. He was sometimes funny when he spoke in Sinhala. He used to address young monks as ‘Hamuduru Pattaw’ (priestly cubs). His pronunciation of ‘Viplavaya’ (revolution) or ‘Panthi Aragalaya’ (class struggle) was unique. His May Day speeches were the best. He used colloquial Sinhala, long sentences mixed with short ones, always intonating certain words or terms. I had shared the stage with him at Workers’ Resort Hall, Slave Island. The following was an episode I have already related commenting on Malinda Seneviratne’s tribute to him (The Bala Tampoe Story) in Colombo Telegraph.

“He was a great and a pleasing personality. He was one of our mentors in mid 1960s. Later as ‘more radical Peradeniya students’ in the LSSP(R) we had disagreements with him and when one of our friends were loudly speaking at an internal meeting, he asked “Why are you shouting?” My friend’s reply was “We are following you Comrade,” to which he had an unescapable smile. We all liked him.

Bala was well versed in the history of the Russian Revolution, international trade unionism and Marxism in general. Those days he was an internationally prominent anti-Vietnam war campaigner. He used to travel to many capitals for anti-war rallies. He defended the JVP leader, Rohana Wijeweera, before the Criminal Justice Commission (CJC), after the failed April 1971 insurrection, with much eloquence and commitment. He quoted the French and the Universal declarations on human rights defending the ‘right to rebel’ against a ruthless oppression of the people by the State. He however didn’t subscribe to JVP politics, and became more critical of their activities during late 1980s.

Bala and May

Even after we parted away politically, when we were in trouble, we used to go and see him for advice or help. In December 1966, when I was still a second year university student and coming home for vacation, I authored with another ‘comrade’ rather an explosive leaflet against the impending rice ration cut while travelling in the train. Titled Hartalaya Mathaka Nadde? (Don’t You Remember Hartal?), it was ready when the decision was announced the following day. When it was distributed through a network of friends or ‘comrades’ at railway stations from Maradana to Panadura we were in trouble.

We went to see Bala at his usual abode at Peter’s Lane, Wellawatta. He was not there. We were asked to go to May Wickremasuriya’s place at Sirimal Uyana, Ratmalana. May’s house was burgled the day before and she had called him for assistance instead of the police. He lived there happily ever after. We were fortunate to partake at a frugal wedding party apart from necessary advice to resolve our problem. He called Ana Seneviratne (an ASP at that time) who was coming after us perhaps who already knew that it was not a serious leaflet although signed as the ‘Lanka Students’ Fighting Front.’ We were nevertheless questioned at the famous fourth floor but released after taking a short statement.

I also should pay homage to May Wickremasuriya. She was a kind lady. After the failed July 1980 general strike, I conducted an extensive study on the event, its background, causes and the sad outcome. I obtained valuable ideas from Bala but lot of information from May. I managed to produce a Zed book chapter and an article in an international journal (Labor, Capital and Society) on the basis of that research.

Bala was a source of knowledge on Sri Lankan politics. Turn to any internationally reputed author on Sri Lankan politics, Howard Wriggins, Calvin Woodward, Robert Kearney, Janice Jiggins, James Jupp or our own AJ Wilson. His name is there prominently with often references to interviews given by him. I met James Petras, a prominent Marxist academic, at a conference in Ottawa on trade unionism in late 1984 and he asked me about two persons in Sri Lanka, Colvin and Bala.

When I was working in Geneva (1984-91), at least twice I met Bala who came to the ILO for tripartite meetings. He was relaxed and friendly. He didn’t have any animosity that I had left politics. It was the same with Edmund Samarakkody. When I was briefly the Director of the SLFI in Colombo in 1995, one fine day, Bala came to see me along with some other work and gave me a ‘big lecture’ on how to manage and conduct the Institute. I listened to him obediently. After all he was my leader.

Bala Tampoe believed in something very strongly. It is difficult to pin it down to a single concept or cause. Socialism? Yes of course, some form of socialism. But it was also about justice, humanity and human rights. In his long career since 1949, he was committed to trade unionism and the members of his union. There cannot be any doubt about that. A great leader, no more.

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  • 7
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    Laksiri Fernando

    Thanks for your article.

    Thank you Bala.

    • 3
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      Dr. Laksiri Fernando.

      Some Reminiscences Of Bala Tampoe

      “The first group at least kept their socialist values intact in their lives however untactful or impractical they were in politics. The second group deviated terribly in their political policies but some not deviating from their personal principles. The major debacle for all of them perhaps was their failure to keep the party organizations effective or the mass following intact. Leadership is not a personality, but an equation composing leader+followers.”

      Thank you for the well written article on a Man of Principles, who followed the egalitarian principles, who did not sell out to the Sinhala and Tamil racists, like those in the second group.

      What we now have are the people in the third group- Sinhala “Buddhist” racists and Chauvinists Monks included, and they are putting Lanka, the Land of Native Veddah Aethhao, in the World Map, on Par with Hitler, Stalin et al.

      http://www.ranker.com/crowdranked-list/the-all-time-worst-people-in-history?page=1&format=GRID

      The All-Time Worst People in History
      List Criteria: Horrible, real (not fictional) people who have committed historical crimes. History judges them, and so do we.
      The absolute worst people in history, ranked by the wisdom of the crowd. Who are the worst people in history? This list includes mass-murdering dictators, psychopathic serial killers, sociopathic religious leaders, insane politicians, deceptive political commentators, and annoying celebrities and Hollywood douchebags who make our eyes and ears bleed. Who are the worst people of all time?

      11Up10903
      Down
      5230
      Gotabhaya Rajapaksa 1949

      14Up26992
      Down
      10872
      Mahinda Rajapaksa 1945

      15Up7444
      Down
      2824
      Basil Rajapaksa

      22Up7294
      Down
      3736
      Namal Rajapaksa 198663

      Medamulana MaRa placed in inglorious 11th, Gota in 17th slots among the ‘worst people in world history’-Reaches another ignominious landmark

      http://lankaenews.com/English/news.php?id=14421

      Lanka-e-News- 24.Aug.2014, 9.30PM) Medamulana Rajapakse who is ruling Sri Lanka while having his people trampled under his dictatorial boot has been placed in the inglorious 11 th slot among the most wicked men in the world in its whole history counted until today.

      The World Organization ‘The Ranker ’ which bases its rankings on the people’s preferences in various fields has placed Mahinda Rajapakse in the 11 th rank among the ‘worst men in the world history.’

      It is significant to note these rankings are decided on the votes of the people of the world and none other! Among these cruelest men in world history to date include the worst murderers , Dictators who committed genocide , criminal religious leaders and followers , and demented politicians.

      In the first place in this world ranking is Joseph Stalin , the ex dictator of Russia who planned to kill millions of his people of a region because they opposed him ,by depriving supplies of food to them , and also murdered his own ally by the name of Trotsky with an ice breaking axe since the latter did not fall in line with his socialist ideologies. The second ignominious place has been awarded to Germany’s notorious dictator Adolf Hitler groomed by Joseph Stalin who committed ruthless genocides by killing Jews , and was finally defeated by the Red Army.

      Others among the first 10 in the ranking are : Polpot, Idi Amin, Mao Tse Tung, Osama Bin Laden, Kim John Ill, Henrich Himler, Saddam Hussein ,Benito Mussolini in that order. When it is the consensus among the civilized population that murderer and most ruthless Medamulana Rajapakse ought to be awarded the first position in this ignominious ranking , they are surprised ,how he managed to slip down to the 11 th slot vis a vis the most vicious ,cruel and wicked record of his detailed as follows :

      Murdering media editors brutally and openly on the streets; causing disappearances of thousands of media personnel and civilians using the demonic white Van; committing arson on countless media Institutions; killing those who came to surrender during the war after requesting them to do so and giving an assurance they won’t be killed; murdering his own advisor by arranging an infamous M.P. a notorious drug dealer to shoot him down in broad daylight in the middle of the road; murdering fishermen who wanted fuel subsidy , laborers who demanded their due pensions and school students who wanted drinking water ; robbing that little gold belonging to the citizens of his own country; hunting for national treasure on the sly; robbing the valuable artifacts in the Museum including the most ancient sword of great historic value; importing explosive devices aimed at killing people with the co ordination and co operation of terrorist leaders jointly; cruelly and ruthlessly ruling the country since 2005 keeping the people of his own country trampled under his dictatorial boots.

      Their argument is , other ‘worst’ people have only committed one kind of crimes , whereas Mahinda Rajapakse had earned the inglorious and ignominious reputation of committing several categories of crimes. In addition another heinous crime has also been begun by him lately – plundering religious sites . By browsing , ‘theranker.com’ website under ‘ the all time worst people in history’ heading , all these particulars can be accessed. Even you can cast your vote, if you wish to.

      Please click this link : http://www.ranker.com/crowdranked-list/the-all-time-worst-people-in-history?format=GRID&page=1

    • 2
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      Thank you Grandad.

  • 3
    1

    What an excellent appreciation!

  • 4
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    Very good, Laksiri. Bala was an uncompromising Marxist revolutionary to the extent of being highly dogmatic. His contributions at study classes for young socialists were most inspiring. He was a fearless fighter. let us thank him for having been in our midst and by our side inspiring us for so many years. May his soul rest in peace. Bensen

  • 1
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    Very good to read about this great man, Bala Tampoe.

    More than ever are his policies needed in this day and age to balance out gross modern day Lankan ultra-capitalism (a la the China-Russia axis of bluff capitalism designed to singularly break the entrepreneurial West).

    What we need is *Truth* in Sri Lanka, and not the mad scramble to subsist within frameworks of mad Russian Tzardom, and Chinese communist-
    worker-ant structure now moved on into the outré-capitalistic system.

    Truth is whatever ideology besets us from high office, “socialism, justice, humanity and human rights” will prevail via Bala Tampoe and his team.

  • 0
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    It is ironic that the death of Bala Tampoe marks the beginning of Bodu Bala Sena’s decision to enter trade union activities.

    No doubt Bala was an honest man, but he was part of the Banga Weva politics of LSSP. This Banga weva was part of the trade union work.

    We need to discard political party game as well as the trade union game as part of these political parties.

    A trade union movement based on Buddhist principles is the best thing going to happen in Sri Lanka.

    The exploitation did by Ruskin Fernando could have been handled by the Buddhist way. Gandhi did this in Ahamadabad against the textile factory owners there.

  • 0
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    Great tribute to a great man of great honesty and integrity.

    But Velona was a Sri Lankan success story destroyed by ideological zealotry. The “Bhanga weva” culture based on confrontational politics introduced by the Marxists is what ruined this country. Bala Tampoe was a man of great competence whose mind had been poisoned by the ideologies imported from the west in the 1930s.

    There were two ideologies in the west in the 1930s. They were Marxism and National Socialism.

    While the Colvin, NM, Philip crowd brought Bolshevism from their education abroad, the GGPonnambalam SWRD crowd also returned from abroad and whipped up national communalism. Before Hitler got discredited, both Ponnambalam and Bandaranaike were glowingly labeled as “pocket Hitlers” in the early 1930s, by admirers in each of their communities.

    At last the world has learnt (or has it?) the folly of partial truths like Marxism that are fatally false and create human suffering in their attempts to engineer societies by any means whatever that are justified by their pre-concieved ends .

    The ends do not justify the means.

    • 2
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      Manoharan

      The antithesis to Marxism was Anagarika’s (homeless one)dogmatic doctrine of Sinhala/Buddhism, followed in the footsteps of Protestant Christianity.

  • 0
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    CBK offered him an appointment to Parliament and he refused. I can say it now because that was his secret, He did not want to be a politician without being elected and the dirty politics did not appeal to this very rare gentleman lawyer.
    His gift from the CMU the green Volkswagen was parked outside his house and he cared for his wife who was ill and bedridden.Excellent hockey player he was also a great cricket fan. I interviewed him while we watched an international cricket match.
    It was not that he wanted to be a Member of Parliament and though he contested one ele3ction I suppose the Leadership would have wanted him to.

  • 0
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    Laksiri Fernando,

    Thanks for Glimpses of historic perspective of left movement in Sri Lanka.

    But it was incomplete in the sense that earlier critical periods were ignored in this analysis which were crucial in understanding 1964.

    The coalition politics commenced much earlier in 1956 with the no- contest pact of the principal left parties-LSSP and CP with MEP of SWRD.

    Of course the father of Marxism Mr Phlip Gunawardene and people like William de Silva were also part of this MEP.

    The left were the enthusiastic supporters of this coalition.

    Where was Bala thampoe, Edmund Samarakody and Meril Fernando? During this betrayal.they could not be unaware of what was happening!

    1964 was the continuation of the same coalition polities! Why blame 1964?

    LSSP or the left cannot maintain innocence for all the consequences that had the origin in 1956! -Including communalization of politics and all the subsequent betrayals.

    How can you explain the emergence of JVP as the leading left party in Sri Lanka.
    We tried to bury UNP in 1956 and again in 1970. But it was the old left that was dead and buried, never to rise again.

    • 0
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      Where was Bala thampoe, Edmund Samarakody and Meril Fernando? During this betrayal.they could not be unaware of what was happening!
      The answer to Siri is probably that all these leftists, blinkers on, regarded that the Bandaranaike government was just the Menshevik phase, and that they will soon be able to carry out the revolution and form the government by displacing Banda. Philip entered the govt as a tactic, but was basically outside it as he led a series of strikes at the Colombo port, almost daily, that crippled Banda’s government and threatened tea exports etc. So the revolutionary wing had no problems with this “Tactic”. Even the electorally suicidal “parity of status” policy for Sinhala and Tamil was a “tactic” based on the fact that the unions like the CMU had more or less 50-50 Tamil-Sinhla membership due to the predominance per capita of English education in the Jaffna peninsula.

      The LSSP being a “revolutionary party” did not care about electroal outcomes as they thought that the revolution will happen very soon. So they put on the facade that the “parity of status policy” was a matter of “high principles in respecting democracy”! It was the only policy consistent with the composition of the urban trade unions which was the only very limited world of the comrades of Bala Tampoe and Laksiri.

      But the “revolution did not come”. Colvin and NM secretly realized that “Historical materialsim” and the “revolution being just around the corner” were just illusions. When NM failed to defeat W Dhanayake’s Pistole party (as NM unfairly accused WDahanayake of complicity in the assassination of SWRD) in the March election just after the assassination, they realized the futility of their political tactics and change the game plan.

      The revolutionary group were the ones who kept their blinkers on. Bala Tampoe never shed his blinkers, but was sincere and loyal to his workers to the very end. As mentioned by Laksiri, because of his blinkers, he actually defended the JVP claiming that the JVP uprising was a reaction to an “oppressive government”.
      Laksiri’s style of alluding to this silly act of the JVP and his other writings show that Laksiri also has failed to understand the dynamics of social change and keeps his blinkers on. The party did a good job of brain-washing.

      The only basis for pleading mercy for the JVP was that these are misguided rural youth who should be pardoned as we do for juvenile miscreants. Unfortunately, those pardoned rose once again to create the horror of the 1988-89 period when innocent people were burnt in tires or slaughtered.
      The real JVP terrorists escaped to Australia and such places and now they present themselves as intellectuals and human-rights crusaders, while still referring to their fellow terrorists as comrades.

      The entry by the writer Manoharan is dead right since “Ends do not justify the means”. While native vedda is right about some aspects of Dharmapala’s Buddhist-Nationalist politics, the Buddhist nationalists did not preach that the end justifies the means, but borrowed the militant aspects of Christianity. Marx also borrowed the militant aspects of Christianity. However, both the Marxists and the National socialists (NAZIs) believed that the end justifies the means [c.f., even today Kumar David is ready to embrace General Fonseka or worship Ven. Sobhitha to achieve whatever end. The same seems to be true of Sampanthan].
      Ponnambalam’s nationalism, and SJV Chelvanayagam’s Arasu Kadchi politics, and the militant Eelam movement of Vaddukkoddai that morphed into the LTTE ended up arguing that suicide attacks on civilians, human shields, and child-recruitment were justified in the name of Eelam. The JVP, Polpot, Stalin, Mao-Tse-Dung and others showed how brutal if some of these LSSP (R or not R) comrades could become if they had succeeded in coming ot power. It was this fear that drove Ponnambalam, Vaithiyalingam and Senanayake to hammer out the more restrictive Indian citizenship act, in the wake of the BraceGirdle affair.

  • 0
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    Dr L Fernando’s essay on passed away of Bala Thampo that people might think a with exactly Trade union experiences might which that start at the bottom of Socialism or Marxism. But not that….there is nothing new here Dr Fernando ..has been conspired with Socialist- politics to craft rules of Trotskyism by anti-Marxist trend that benefits themselves at the expenses working class movement in
    Sri lanka.

    Trade Union movement in every nook and corner of Globe including
    Sri lanka, however was largely spontaneous, divided, partly unorganized and lacking a clear goal or vision of Socialism.
    Trade Union workers were NOT conscious of their ideology of Socialism or Marxism or Leninism that had been their struggle confined to improved living conditions and better working condition within Capitalism frame work; that had been apply to Bala’s CMU to as well other Left Trade Union movement in Sri Lanka..

    Hence Trotskyist-BALA’S ‘TRADE UNIONISM’ was NOT the class interest of Sri Lankan working class. Though the anti-Marxist ideology of Trotskyist doctrines of so-called ‘uninterrupted revolution’ denied the evils of overthrown capitalism. And they were blind to the forces behind social development, that did not connected the workers struggle for Socialism. Life long trade Union movement led by Bala activates surrender petty bouegesios politics of bow to dogma, that never made advance the theory of revolution in Sri Lankan socialist movement.

    In his writing Dr Fernado has created illusion among public that CMU of Bala was ‘Marxist’ or ‘revolutionary’ and long term remain in Trade Union movement that, he concoct story Bala had different image from other LSSP Leaders, that who betray working class in Sri lanka. That is not true.

    In fact that is very easy going devalued concept of Socialism by Dr F… Bala was well known Trade Unionist leader, that under Trotskyist -ideology of LSSP more than 5 decades.. more or less he was trade unionist reformist, who surrendered principle interest of workers class to Sri Lankan ruling class, who ever in power last 68 years.

    In my point of view, we should give certain merits points on that he until death remain in South, that all ethnic conflicts, wars ,violence as National trade union leader, that he stay with Trade Union politics without join directly with ruling class of Bourgeois. Bala was sharply critical of those who join ruling class by LSSP Politic leaders. That too I admire.

    But his dogma of Trotskyism and his own TRADE UNIONISM TURNING IT INTO AN AGGREGATE OF IMMUTABLE FORMULAS, of Bala ignored sciencefict socialism that advances democratic revolution stage in pre-colonial nation,of Sri lanka; that newly arising conditions and newly emerge working class requirements by leadership of Marxist-Leninist Party he intentionally discarded.

    His evaluation of Trade Union politics need to be redress by future Marxist Party of working Class in Sri lanka.

  • 0
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    From an eye witness who could observe even the body language of what had happened in 1964, when after cricket matches with AnuraB in Nuwara Eliya, LSSP met in Balapitiya or so, it was Vivian who influenced the decision to join Mrs. B. The party was divided equally, and Vivian forced Leslie to vote for NM. Later Vivian used to take papaw halves to NM’s house. Bernard Soyza did not like Vivian.

    Could anyone tell us if Bala Tampoe was also a man who said like AnuraB, That “this war cannot be won.” Did he support CFA of Ranil in 2002?

    • 0
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      C. Wijeyawickrema
      anyone tested you for senile dementia?

      • 0
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        Lorenzo,

        Truth hurts Lorenzo, more the living dead, than the dead. Bala Tampoe, if alive would have given an honest answer.

        Can you answer the two questions for yourself?

  • 0
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    Dr Wijawickrama of LLB and PHD has learn more abut that LSSP was agent of petty bourgeoisie political class, that who surrender vital interest of working class interest to Ruling bourgeoisie since its origin and growth 1935.
    Its roots of ideology of Trotskyism never permitted to represented vital interest Urban and Rural poor Ceylon or Sri lanka at all since its birth.

    Needless to say in your roots of petty bourgeoisies ideology and your outlook seems to be that Dr Wije…may be anti-Marxist and anti-People politics stand has been infulance by your set of mind chauvinists oriented moribund bourgeois’ line of Politics.

    But that does matter if your in dialogue with other school of thoughts on writing, that you need extensive reading of political-economy of Marxist-Leninist outlook. Please understand that VIVAN GUNAWARADANA relationship with NM was NOT cause for that LSSPs to join SLFP in 1964.

    That is poor reading and study of Sri Lankan political classes and parties by Dr Wi.. still frustrating to see the things that make Sri Lankan great get slowly eroded by your diminished outlook and selfish line of politics.

    Same things that LSSP and JVP had practice last 80 odd years practicing Bourgeois’ Reformism by LSSP-Trotskyism including Bala Thampo. And Anarchism & Terrorism by JVP since 1965 by PDN Wijeweera or Rohan or Attnayake..had totally undermine democratic and socialist path of revolution led by Working class in Island.

    Besides your set of mind that Working class of Urban and Rural poor was first to say vast masses not only suffering class, that in fact the unheeded economic conditions of vast poor masses that drives its irresistible move forward compels it to fight for ultimate own class emancipation. And the fighting Masses will help itself.
    The political movement of masses will inevitably lead the workers to realized that their only salvation lies of Marxist-Socialism what Lenin said.

    But NOT that LSSP oriented Trotskyism that was led by NM, Colvin, Vivian, Leslie, Bernard Bala, Edumond, Meryal or other Trotskyist out-fits in Sri Lanka or else where, in Globe.
    In future emancipation of masses of our soil NOT by Trotskyist of LSSP or Anarchist of JVP has no role play in Sri Lankan working class.

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      The bed room has changed world events so many times. We humans are called a panchaskanda…..

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    C. Wijeyawickrema

    it is true that vivian supported NM but not Leslie.

    Leslie was with Colvin , Benard, Doric and others.

    This group wanted coalition with the entire left,but did not break away, but refused to accept cabinet posts in the short-lived coalition government of 1964.

    The Communist Party also took a similar stand.

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    1953 Hartal was a success and it was organised and led by the left.

    If at all SWRD was reluctantly compelled to support it.

    Marxism and conventional wisdom or even guerilla tactics tell us that one should continue to consolidate, press and take advantage
    of small victories.

    On the contrary what the left did was to allow a Bandaranaike to reap the benefits of 1953 and take leadership of all the progressive( ?) forces and meekly allow themselves to play second fiddle and this started the downward glide of the left in Sri Lanka.

    The result was formation of a two party system with the left marginalized.

    The left was in the ascendancy during 1947-1956 and everything was lost due to incorrect leadership despite the presence of numerous theoreticians in the left movement.

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