20 January, 2022

Blog

The Army’s Role In 2022 & The JVP’s Suicidal Strategy

By Dayan Jayatilleka

Dr. Dayan Jayatilleka

The Army calendar for 2022 carries a photograph of Gen Shavendra Silva with a quote from him underneath it in block letters. It reads: “THE SRI LANKA ARMY IS CAPABLE OF DEVELOPING AND MAINTAINING A PROSPEROUS AND SUSTAINABLE NATION.”

In a democracy the task of “developing and maintaining a prosperous and sustainable nation” is not the task of the Army. This is also true of systems that are not liberal democracies. In China and Russia, the Army would dare not assert that it is “capable of developing and maintaining a prosperous and sustainable nation”. That is the task respectively of the Communist Party of China and the elected President of Russia and his government. In all these systems the task of the army is DEFENDING AND PROTECTING the nation.

It is only in a military dictatorship that the army would lay claim that it “is capable of developing and maintaining a prosperous and sustainable nation”. Sri Lanka has been a democracy since 1931 and never in the history of the Sri Lankan Army has its ever made this claim, because as an institution it was steeped in the democratic ethos.

Does this claim, appearing now, indicate a bid to step into the role played in all political systems except military juntas, by civilian authorities?

Is it a signal that in 2022 we shall be in transition from democracy to something else?

Meanwhile the Army Diary 2022 has many quotes from the Army Chief, General Shavendra de Silva, interspersed with quotes from Charles Dickens, Martin Luther King etc.

On Dec 29th, the evening newscast showed Army chief, Gen. Shavendra Silva addressing the newly established elite reserve strike force, the 1 Corps, headquartered in Kilinochchi. He told them that the Army has been tasked by President Gotabaya Rajapaksa to drive the ‘green agriculture’ project, educating the peasantry on it.

Why should the Army Commander address 1 Corps, of all the units of the Sri Lankan army, on this, of all subjects—or include this subject in his address to 1 Corps?

Unless one were to assume that the Sri Lankan army’s equivalent of America’s Joint Special Operations Command (JSOC), is going to be bogged down in teaching and implementing organic cultivation, then this is an indication of what’s going to happen next year, with the most reliable, freshly-minted formation of the Sri Lankan military, headed by a hard-bitten former Special Forces commander of wartime vintage, being deployed in the rural theater, facing down the restive peasantry.

United Fronts

Contemporary world history shows that the only successful formula for resistance to dictatorship whether of the military sort or a frankly fascist sort has been the United Front, and this has been pioneered and sustained by the Left.

Furthermore, the Left has been most successful when it has been part of a united front, whether as the leader or the most dynamic element and driving force. This is not a “united front from below” with the rank and file of other parties, but precisely a “United Front from above” at the political leadership level.

This is also precisely that which has been ruled out by the JVP, the leadership of which either doesn’t know or doesn’t care that the theory of the united front was adopted by the Comintern (Communist International) a century back, in 1921, when it was steered by Lenin and the undivided Bolshevik leadership.

Fatal Unreason

The JVP seems to have no idea what or who its main enemy is and what, who and from which direction the main threat comes. Any rational reading would clearly reveal that the most dangerously reactionary force is the main threat and enemy, and in Sri Lanka today, that is the threat to democracy from the bloc of those who actually consider Hitler as a legitimate role-model, i.e., the bloc of militarists and ultra-chauvinists congealed around the Gotabaya presidency and which include that specific presidency.

It is crucial to grasp the sheer irrationality of today’s JVP-NPP strategy. It is a political go-it-alone project with no other political parties of any mass significance involved. In that sense it is a stance of political self-isolation. This is the very opposite of the logic of a United Front, in which the main enemy is isolated by a broad political encirclement.

The JVP’s discourse which attacks the two major political formations and rejects political fronts with anyone who participated in government, presumably for 72 years, means that the JVP-NPP’s enemy or target is broadened to include almost everyone but itself, instead of narrowing it to the most dangerous and reactionary element.

The JVP-NPP’s irrationality goes beyond this. The fact that the JVP’s present project is of getting from 3% of the vote and 3 seats in parliament, to the assumption of state power and the leadership of the country, in one go, through mass struggle, without an intervening period of transition which involves intermediate stages and political alliances.

Anura Kumara Dissanayake once suggested that the Opposition Leader Sajith Premadasa should “get his head examined” for indicating that he and his party the SJB were ready and able to assume the leadership of the country. If, given the SJB’s current strength, Sajith Premadasa’s ambitious assertion warrants getting his head examined, how much more valid would that advice be for a leader who makes the same claim with 3% and 3 seats?

Of course, the current dynamics are that the JVP-NPP has grown rapidly, but it would require exponential growth and a quantum leap to get from where they were in 2020 to where they aspire to be soon. Only Lenin and the Bolsheviks did anything like it, and Lenin, Trotsky and Gramsci emphasized that the same thing was not possible in a very different social and political formations such as those which existed in Western Europe where the citizenry enjoyed political rights unlike in Tzarist Russia. Gramsci’s distinctive work could be said to have pivoted on that qualitative difference.

Having been crushed militarily twice, it is almost unthinkable that the JVP is ignoring one of the basic postulates of Marxism-Leninism: the role of the State’s repressive apparatuses, namely the armed forces, the police, the para-military, the prisons.

In 1970 or 1971, sometime before the insurrection, the JVP’s main rival, G.I.D “Castro” Dharmasekara wrote a pamphlet critical of the JVP, predicting that “on one moonless night, the JVP will lead the youth of this country to the executioner’s block”. Years later, addressing an audience at Peradeniya University, Dharmasekara (who had shifted from Castro to Mao) told us that there was only a single error his prophecy of pre- April 1971. “It was a full moon” he said with a sad half-smile, referring to the foredoomed JVP uprising of April 5th 1971.

The political sectarianism of the AKD-Tilvin Silva duumvirate may well march a third generation of Sri Lankan youth into the waiting guns of the State’s repressive apparatuses, with power being wielded for the first time by hardnosed military veterans of the Southern civil war. Remember Matale, anyone?

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

Latest comments

  • 14
    4

    Good, now it’s Rajapaksas war against Lankans. May corpse 1, mandate and direct , you and the rest of those who elected them in doing “Green Farming” so that the failed nation can prosper. Not a bad idea. At last people like you will really work for a living.

    • 5
      0

      Dayan,

      To succeed in the “academic world” …….. you have to couch subjectivity in objectivity ……….. you make the mistake of trying to couch subjectivity in the complexity of the English language. ………. Perhaps not you, but others see through it for what it is. No wonder you failed at Harvard.

      Study Lasantha Petthiagoda and learn ……….. that’s a man going places ………

      • 2
        0

        NF,
        .
        healthy new year to you and your family !
        .
        I dont think he had any kind of education at Harvard.
        https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dayan_Jayatilleka
        —-

        Dayan Jayatilleka
        From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
        Jump to navigationJump to search
        Dayan Jayatilleka
        දයාන් ජයතිලක
        Permanent Representative of Sri Lanka to the United Nations in Geneva
        In office
        June 2007 – October 2009
        Preceded by Sarala Fernando
        Succeeded by Kshenuka Seneviratne
        Sri Lankan Ambassador to France
        In office
        January 2011 – January 2013
        Preceded by Lionel Fernando
        Succeeded by Karunaratne Hangawatte
        Personal details
        Born 1956 (age 65–66)
        Alma mater
        University of Peradeniya
        University of Colombo
        Griffith University
        Profession Academic
        Ethnicity Sinhalese

        • 2
          0

          LM,

          Happy New Year to you and your family too ………… and to the rest in the forum.

          Perhaps, I should say, a better New Year than the one we have just had. ………. It’s very sad to see people suffering spending most of their day in queues …….. at least this will make people remember their folly longer than our usual two-week memory span and make better choices next time around. If past history is any guide, I’m not counting on it ……. but just a desperate wish ………

          • 2
            0

            continued

            “I don’t think he had any kind of education at Harvard.”

            Somewhere Carlo Fonseka talked about Dayan attending Harvard …………. Harvard Business School is one of the best, not for nothing! They milk every $ they can from their name. ………. Their MBA and some other programmes are very competitive and difficult to gain entry …….. but when the regular students are away …… they also have summer courses/seminars (and the like) people can easily gain entry paying a high fees. …….. and later claim “Harvard alumnus/alumna/alumni” (let Lankan English scholars sort that one out!)

            Oxbridge, Ivy League ……. does that too …… like Ranil coming to MIT ……..

            Nowadays, education doesn’t mean much ………. look how far the Rajapakses have got without it …………..

            Money (and power) is king ………. sad but true …………..


            Native Vedda has the power (over women) ……… I’m trying to collect the money ………….

    • 3
      2

      DJ: US citizens Goat and Basil are being groomed as the preferred Dictators of Sri Lanka by the Global Deepstate using the Covid project. The Sri Lankan Army and Navy and Air Force are already controlled by and through US Digital Colonialism, enabled with the Covid-19 project to destroy Economy, society and democracy with Lockdowns and fear psychosis these past 2 years.. This is Full Spectrum Dominance (FSD) of a small strategic island by the American Deepstate.
      The Lankan military has been leveraged and is controlled by the American War machine though USAID funded Covid-19 Trace, test, and track Surveillence Hospital at Iranavilla and all the other Covid-19 Digital surveillance systems. Digital Colonialism and Weaponizing the Sri Lankan Diaspora in the West, particularly in Aussi, UK and US (AUKUS ), starting of course with LA and the Rajapaksa first families means that there will be a US military base set up Sri Lanka this year.. to Fight China in the Indian Ocean. Please read David Vine’s book; “United States of War”

      • 2
        2

        “If three is no bread, take an mRNA booster shot! ” – Rajapakse Mantra for 2022!
        No milk power, vegetables, gas, etc. but lots of Pfizer boosters that coast 10,000 LKR each! from US big Pharamaceutical Corporations US citizens Basil and Goat are desperate for a Covid-19 “Victory” in Lanka in 2022 – with the help of their paymaster Deepstate!

        Covid-19 Digital Colonialism and the Weaponization of the SB Los Angeles Diaspora has also destroyed Education and Knowledge systems in the county while the independent media is dead and buried as Facebook and social media colonialism runs amok.
        Do you know about DIGITAL COLONIALISM DJ???, the new face of imperialism with Bio-terrorism, hybrid cyber, maritime trade war attacking economy and asset stripping countries and society, weaponizing religious and ethnic diasporas in the Global South with Covid lockdowns also to prevent protest, all part of the Covid-19 project…
        Full Spectrum Dominance of the Miracle of Modayas and pseudo intellectuals like yourself???

  • 11
    3

    So now suddenly, it is the role of a party that has been subjected to derision from all sides to throw away all of its principles and form a coalition with one set of people who’ve brought this country to its knees, in order to stop another set of people who are responsible for this mess. Tell me, Dayan, since you seem to also be playing the snide “3%” game: is the SJB’s victory reliant on a 3% margin?

    The goal here is obvious: whip up a mass coup hysteria amongst the liberals in Colombo, clamour for the JVP to join hands with Puthano & Co. to form a government, and in one stroke, throw the Rajapakses out of office, establish another incompetent government (Yahapalana 2.0) that will leave the Rajapakses, the Ravi Katunayakes free and clear, and discredit the one party left in our political system with anything resembling a principle. And on the off chance the doomsday prophecy of Prime Minister Shavendra comes true, why, the foundations for scapegoating is already being laid: it’s the JVP’s fault! The poor SJB would’ve managed to thwart this if only a party Dayan mocks as being just “3%” had formed a coalition! Oh well, our hands are clean, it’s all Anura’s fault.

    • 11
      1

      “THE SRI LANKA ARMY IS CAPABLE OF DEVELOPING AND MAINTAINING A PROSPEROUS AND SUSTAINABLE NATION”
      No, this is is not a threat of military dictatorship. It is simply a symptom of how abysmally low standards have fallen in this country. From journalism to medicine, nincompoops rule the roost. The Army Commander doesn’t know what his functions are. The president of the GMOA, a pediatrician, lectures us on geology. The minister of Health promotes voodoo. The President of the country single-handedly reduces it to starvation with his idiotic notions on fertilizer. A Buddhist monk is an expert on agriculture. The Standards Institute can’t maintain its own nameboard.
      How much more surreal can we get?
      When will we wake up to the fact that we have been taken to the cleaners for 74 years by a set of jokers from one community?

  • 35
    3

    Dayan, how many times have you been wrong, man? ……… Not just wrong, but spectacularly wrong?

    Not long ago, you were shouting yourself hoarse, giving impassioned speeches of Mahinda’s greatness, on stages in Nugegoda!

    Don’t over think, man!

    Even dictators need competence: brute force alone won’t do. Gota is the army and Gota is a dictator for all practical purposes ……… he’ll be lucky to escape with his life.

    I’m not insulting anyone ……. but stating the bleeding bloody obvious ………. the Sinhalese are an incompetent, imbecilic, fractious, continuously bickering lot, who can’t even organize a fart-up after a baked beans dinner; let alone run a country with any resemblance of order.

    Any army man foolish enough to grab control will be shot by his own troops. ……….. Like what happened to SWRD.

    • 9
      3

      Nimal, given his political affiliations to the powers-that-be in our history, I wonder Dayan would ever have a back bone to reply you!

    • 2
      2

      Any army man foolish enough to grab control will be shot by his own troops. ……….. Like what happened to SWRD.
      ?

      • 2
        2

        SJ
        What these theorists suggest is that Gotabhaya will stage a coup to throw himself out.

      • 1
        2

        SJ
        What these theorists suggest is that Gotabhaya will stage a coup to throw himself out.
        ,-
        Soma

  • 4
    0

    The author assumes that the JVP will face repression from the army etc if they go it alone! Is this a plea for the JVP to join a coalition? Being a parliamentary political party it has every right to decide the future course of action especially as it has survived this far. JVP may see other parties as corrupt and not suitable entities to be aligned with. Closer to the election it may consider alliances as necessary.

    The question is what sort of reformist policies are being proposed by other parties in opposition? If they think they can gain power by offering more of the same,this time around people may not believe them.

    The lesson that the JVP can learn from the post independence experience is get as close as to the people at the grassroots level, connect with their issues rather than preaching to the masses. Being closer to the pulse of the people on ground and giving a helping hand to meet their challenges is the key. Fancy policy documents or lectures do not make much sense at the grassroots level.

  • 3
    2

    Receently at a meeting, Gotabaya said something that meant “If you think we are not good, don’t vote for the other two parties as well”. Indirectly it says “Vote for JVP”, as they know that if JVP could split the votes against Rajapakses, the ultimate winners would be them (Rajapakses). At the moment JVP is in an inflated mood and say that they would not go for any coalition as they could win alone.

  • 4
    1

    Totally outdated thinking by Dayan. Still in the 20th century.

    JVP should go it alone. JVP cannot become the largest or second largest party in parliament. Sufficient to become the third largest. That allows JVP decide what bill gets passed and what does not.

    It is crazy to take the reigns of the country at this time or within the next 5 years. Let the fools rush in.

    Army farming activity can only happen in the north. Army farmers are not welcomed elsewhere.

  • 3
    1

    The word ‘boundaries’ in General Shavendra de Silva’s quotation, as printed in the Army Diary 2022 is misspelt.

    • 7
      2

      CM,
      If they could spell properly in English, do you think that the Army would be their career choice?
      I doubt their Sinhala is all that much better.

      • 4
        1

        OC
        You remember the Guardian once misspelling its name in the header in the 1970s once and the Private Eye taking the mickey out of the paper non-stop for perhaps two decades.
        If spelling and grammar are criteria, CT will need an army of language editors or put a stop to all comments.

  • 6
    2

    Agriculture is a scientific activity in any country. It is not planting brinjals or paddy. How can the army advice the farmers about it? There is an Institute of Agriculture, and there are/were agriculture extension officers.

    • 3
      1

      J
      Armed forces have helped with agriculture and other economic activities, but that is countries and contexts where the army was close to the community.
      But they did not dictate policy.

  • 6
    1

    “Maintaining a prosperous and sustainable nation”, my foot!
    He has to feed his own soldiers first, before even thinking of feeding the nation.
    This is how Gotabhaya and his military treat our own Sinhalese soldiers:-
    As revealed by the former Army Commander in Parliament, last month,
    “No nutritious vegetables for soldiers, not even beetroot or beans. Mango curry for lunch and dinner both, in addition to ash plantains.”

    • 5
      2

      Champa,
      “He has to feed his own soldiers first, before even thinking of feeding the nation”
      Please, he doesn’t feed his soldiers. We do.

      • 5
        2

        Champa,
        “This is how Gotabhaya and his military treat our own Sinhalese soldiers:”
        You’re absolutely right for once. It is a Sinhalese Army.

  • 2
    0

    Dr. DJ: You say: “The JVP seems to have no idea what or who its main enemy is and what, who and from which direction the main threat comes”. The present-day “JVP/NPP” has very well understood who the enemy is and from what direction the threat comes and that is why, after so many “Experiments”, they have decided to go by themselves rather than going to bed with the “Enemies” they know well. One of such enemies is none other than your “Employer” – The SJB led by Sajith P.

    Apart from that WHY do you want a “Minion” JVP with “3% & 3 seats” to join the SJB- a “Major” in your opinion, who even said, “We are ready to take over”. So, why not DO IT? Now forget “JVP/NPP”, please get SJB led by Sajith P to TAKE OVER.

    • 5
      1

      S
      To read DJ correctly, one should have a fair idea of his career. He is consistent with one thing– his self interest.

      • 3
        2

        SJ,
        “his self interest.”
        Be fair. Are you accusing this possessor of an expensive Harvard education of having no fixed principles?

        • 3
          0

          From the other Marx
          .
          ‘Those are my principles, and if you don’t like them… well, I have others’ – Groucho

      • 2
        1

        Mr SJ,
        .
        Happy new year !
        This is very true.
        :
        I am known to DJ s close circles. Some of them cant even tolerate DJ s pompous behaviour.
        :
        Now being unable to get posted to somewhere, he might be boring in his 4-walls.
        :

  • 5
    0

    I think the JVP and SJB can still come to an agreement under the following conditions.

    1. SJB should apologize for the indiscriminate murders during the Premadasa era, while JVP apologizes for its own past violence. Both should offer to proactively prevent future violence of the same kind and use the military in a responsible way.

    2. SJB should acknowledge corruption within its ranks and any agreement with the JVP should include active anti-corruption measures.

    3. An agreement on the right way to protect the rights of Tamil and Muslim people. They should show that they have shed their chauvinist past. If they aren’t comfortable with further devolution, then there should be other proactive measures that inspire confidence among minorities, so that in a presidential election, they can secure critical minority vote as well. And in parliament, they can secure the support of Tamil and Muslim parties.

    4. SJB should recognize that while NPP had 3% at the last election, it can possibly secure close to 15 % of the votes under current conditions. So SJB should give due recognition to the NPP and allow it to hold a proportionate share of the political power/seats in parliament in any alliance.

  • 2
    0

    This Govt will not be there after the next general election, at that time Army, Police and the respective Ministers will have to answer for their illegal acts.

  • 1
    0

    I think DJ is onto something here.
    There could be a disaster in the making for us.
    Let me just scribble a few things I have gathered over the past few months and let us piece something together to ascertain our situation.
    1. Mara clan have gathered loads of wealth over the past 18 years.
    2. They have invested much of the money and wealth in foreign countries like UAE, Uganda, Seychelles, and perhaps Kenya and Italy. Not to mention the properties some of them have in the USA.
    3. They have acquired a private jet that has a passenger complement of 19 executive passengers and a range of 7,000 nautical miles. From the flight records, it seems that this plane is parked in India and can evacuate the mara family on short notice say Uganda in 1 hop.
    4. The family have already, most probably, hauled their valuables to Uganda since April 2021.
    5. The family is becoming increasingly unpopular amongst the same idiots who voted them in. If you add these numbers to the default Mara opposition one could infer that over 70% of the people are now despairing to get them out of power.
    6. There is a real possibility that things could get worse. In which case they may be forced to evacuate for safety. Like what happened during the Arab spring.

Leave A Comment

Comments should not exceed 200 words. Embedding external links and writing in capital letters are discouraged. Commenting is automatically disabled after 5 days and approval may take up to 24 hours. Please read our Comments Policy for further details. Your email address will not be published.