My intention here is to critically analyse the contents of the immediate program outlined in the MOU signed in support of the common oppositional candidate, Hon. Maitripala Sirisena. This is with the objective of establishing how, and if, it addresses the fundamental structural fault-lines of the State and political system that have contributed to the prevailing political crisis. This will come in confrontation with those who hold the line of the “lesser evil”. There is no question in my mind that the Mahinda Rajapaksa Regime has to be overthrown lock, stock and barrel. This is the most pressing task confronting the forces of democracy, freedom and human decency. My task is to show that the MOU is not designed to achieve a radical restructuring of the State and a democratic transformation of the Political Order. It is designed only to displace the Regime from power. This is to keep the structure of the supremacist, hegemonic unitary State intact and consolidate the Capitalist dictatorship under new terms of imperialist penetration and neo-colonial domination.
The Lankan State is a creation of British colonialism. It was set up to transfer power from the colonial masters to their loyal local comprador agents to perpetuate the system of neo-colonial domination. The neo-colonial State has been carefully crafted and founded on the integrated principles of majoritarian hegemony and Sinhala-Buddhist supremacy. This is the neo-colonial strategy of divide and rule embedded into the foundation of the colonial State and political order. Majoritarian hegemony and chauvinist supremacy are twin strategic pillars of the Lankan State. This is the class nature and essence of the Lankan State and its particular form of Comprador Capitalist class dictatorship. The MOU has not, will not and cannot address nor even approach the task of eradicating these structures, nor questioning the basic reactionary-chauvinist class character of the State. This is because its dominant composition is made up of political parties and forces of the very same ruling class that subscribe to this reactionary political ideology. Some of them subscribe to this hegemonic-supremacist ideology and politics out of conviction and others for the sake of political expediency. None would ever dare to invoke the wrath and stand up against the serpents of neo-fascism and feudal reaction. They have crept into the veins of the State and the System, including the armed forces. The MOU reveals how pitifully the Maitripala coalition has capitulated to this dominant ideology and politics. This is why the MOU has dismally failed to give even an indication of how it proposes to solve the National Question. Let alone even approaching a solution to the National Question, could it not even mention that the oppressed Tamil people must be liberated from military occupation? Could it not even mention their condemnation of the Gestapo attacks against the Moslems?
To be sure, this election is about which candidate and which reactionary chauvinist camp of the ruling class can win over the Sinhala-Buddhist masses. It has nothing to do with a radical democratic transformation of the Sinhala-Buddhist, hegemonic-chauvinist unitary Capitalist State. It has everything to do with how to clean up its blood and dress it all anew in bourgeois liberal clothes just to deceive the masses. I argue that abolishing the executive presidential system and replacing it with a prime minister answerable to parliament will not be sufficient to address the foundations of the structural crisis. The “Sinhala Only” language policy was made into law by a parliamentary system of government. So was the communal pogroms of 1958 sponsored by such a State. So was the standardization policy and the foremost status given to Buddhism promulgated under a parliamentary system of government. The 1971 youth insurrection in the south was drowned in rivers of blood under that very same system. This was when there was supposed to be the Rule of Law, Separation of Powers and the independence of the Judiciary, law enforcement and so on.
Reforming the electoral system, the abolition of the 18th Amendment and the reintroduction of the 17th Amendment will not suffice to address the root cause that has singularly accounted for the crisis of national disintegration and political polarization that prevails. Nor will any steps taken to root out corruption and abuse of power have any lasting effect. These are but foul symptoms of a malignant cancerous disease. The disease is seeded in the politics of majoritarian hegemony and chauvinist supremacy applied as the form of exercising the Comprador Capitalist Dictatorship. More fundamentally, if these malignant roots and structures of class domination are not eradicated through the most radial and profound democratic transformation, they will grow deeper, become stronger and more compelling. Any meaningful step towards a democratic-pluralist State based on devolution of power and self-rule will be resisted with force. The most barbaric chauvinist-militarist, neo-fascist reaction may surely strike back, take revenge and assert its domain. This is the irrevocable logic of the Lankan State. The way its pendulum swings. The bourgeois-liberal-democratic face in which the darkest feudal reaction, neo-colonial domination and neo-fascist repression masks itself to survive and thrive.
The alternative to a military-chauvinist, comprador-fascist dictatorship based on a centralized, politicized and militarized State is to call for its complete and irrevocable demolition and its replacement by a form of living, radical people’s democracy. A new form of representative democracy that could build the foundations for national unity, independence and reconciliation that honors truth and justice, based on the principles of equality, dignity, security and democratic freedom of all its nations, nationalities, minorities, women and citizens, without any form of supremacy, discrimination, violation or suppression. Does the MOU give a promise of, or pave the way to, such a democratic transformation based on a universal vision of human freedom?
The Maitripala coalition solemnly declares that it will defend the Mahinda Rajapaksa Regime against the international war crimes investigation. We know that the international war crimes investigation is an integral part of advancing the US geo-political strategic agenda in the Asia-Pacific/Indian Ocean region, in the context of its contention with China. It has nothing to do with establishing truth, justice and reconciliation. But the Maitripala coalition is not opposing or even contesting this US agenda. In fact the Maitripala-Ranil–Chandrika trinity will advance that US agenda. Protecting the Rajapaksa triumvirate against war crimes is to grab the blood-soaked banner of ‘anti-imperialist/ Sinhala-Buddhist patriotism’ from Mahinda. It is to ensure the loyalty of the armed forces and to dupe the oppressed Sinhala masses. For the sake of winning the election and grabbing state power by appealing to Sinhala-Buddhist chauvinism and patriotism (read Theocratic Fascism), they will sell out the need for truth, justice and reconciliation. They will sell out the Tamil Nation. They will sell out the Land and the People of Lanka! Tell me, what is the basic difference between the Mahinda Rajapaksa Regime and this Maitripala Coalition?
Equally fundamental is the abject failure to address the need to oppose neo-liberal penetration and fatal colonial dependence by articulating a strategically self-reliant, self-sufficient, rational, integrated, balanced and equitable social economy that serves the needs of the people. It is amazing that there is absolute and unconditional consensus between Mahinda and Maitripala – between the UNP and the SLFP, and among the whole ruling class, including the JHU and the JVP regarding the imperialist-driven, neo-liberal, neo-colonial path of Capitalist economic development. They are, one and all, comprador agents of imperialism who survive and thrive by selling out the country and the people to the wolves of corporate profit and plunder. Graft and corruption is the grease that oils the machinery of neo-liberal penetration, imperialist domination and neo-colonial dependence and subjugation. So much for wiping out bribery and corruption.
It’s the same old wine in new jugs. It is the same old imperialist poison labeled as the elixir of life and freedom. Of course, the Mahinda Rajapska Regime has to be overthrown. It is the very concentration of evil. But, are we going to be trapped in the game of the lesser evil? Evil is evil. The way out of this reeking hypocrisy and bloody criminality against Nature and all of Humanity is to unite across all divided barricades as the people of Lanka in a revolutionary united front against imperialism and neo-colonial domination. Only the revolutionary power of the masses can overthrow the State and uproot the foundations of the System. This is the path to achieve genuine national unity, independence, people’s democracy and universal prosperity. This is so we may stand independent, tall and proud among the community of nations and peoples of the world on our shared path of liberation.
*The writer is Secretary – Ceylon Communist Party-Maoist (CCP-M)