21 September, 2019

Blog

The People’s Power Movement & The National Question

By Kumar David

Prof. Kumar David

These are early days and it is foolish to make rash predictions about elections but people are taking an interest in the PP option and the “Give PP your First-Preference” argument seems to be gaining ground. Therefore, it is not too early to raise key programmatic issues, in particular (a) abolishing the executive presidency (EP), that is enacting 20A; (b) prosecuting corrupt politicos, a job yahapalana to its great discredit has failed at; (c) a first draft of PP’s economic programme, and (d) the national question. On (a) both PP and the JVP are crystal clear – abolish it! Gota is against abolishing EP, Sajith says one thing today and another tomorrow. Regarding (b) the answer is “yes” but many system-type obstacles need to be removed. PP has to formulate concrete proposals on how to deflect these roadblocks and get corrupt leaders and Ministers lawfully imprisoned. (c) is a big question. An erudite advisory group is drafting PP’s programme; I will come back to it at another time.

The column today is about the National Question (NQ). The JVP is the largest and most influential entity in PP and does most of the ground work. Its views are important – otherwise it would not be good for the stability of the alliance. At the same time every organisation in PP need not be bound by the JVP’s track record on the NQ which is neither edifying nor consistent. It is good for all to make an input, now, so that a common position can be thrashed out. One should not insist on one’s “full” or ideal position but aim at an acceptable compromise acceptable to all 30 in PP (and future additions). I am going to have a bash at it as a starting point for discussion.

There is a bottom line that everybody from the devil himself to ardent Leninists will happily mouth – all races, religions and cultures should be respected, all citizens should be equal before the law, and such like platitudes – that’s all obvious so let’s not waste time. Mahinda, Gota, Wimal, Gamanayake, Sajith, Ranil and the man on the moon will repeat it all. Then there are real issues hypocrites will not touch; devolution, release of Tamil political prisoners held interminably under the dictatorial PTA, return of lands and houses occupied for decades by the military and NQ sensitive human rights issues such as the scuttled murder cases of five Tamil youth in Trinco and the murder of 13  medical workers.

My suggestion is that PP takes a stand on these issues in a way that will not bring shame on the left. “Yes” to maximum devolution with specifics to be worked out. Actually, the six sub-committees on the proposed new constitution did an excellent job and PP should endorse all reports. (Sub-Committee Report on Centre-Periphery Relations). The Draft Constitution tabled earlier this year is weaker on devolution.

“Repeal TPA and release of all political prisoners held for over 12 months” is an unconditional demand. PP must demand that private premises occupied by the military be returned forthwith and the bogus excuses made by the military be brushed aside. The travesty of justice in many murder cases is a scandal. Vigorous prosecution and stiff punishment of culprits is a must. It’s a shame that all over the world murders committed by the military and the police go unpunished. Sirisena’s racially motivated appointment of Shavendra Silva as army commander over the heads of a “few others” (quoting Sarath Fonseka) must be condemned.

You will observe that I have not mentioned the right to self-determination. In my view when no mass Tamil movement, that is a significant part of the Tamil people, are demanding a referendum on self-determination or the right to secede, it is unnecessary and reactionary to entice Tamils towards it. (In the LTTE period there was some broad support for the idea).

I am a strong believer in a secular state so Chapter 2 of the SL Constitution on Religion is in my view a relic of feudal ideology. However, I have no intention of mentioning this in PP discussions since most people desire the provision. To a significant extent Lanka is still trapped in pre-enlightenment ideology and prejudice and this cannot be wished away. At the same time, one has to put up firm and principled opposition to practices that may harm other communities. I hope PP can strike the right balance. 

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

Latest comments

  • 0
    0

    This comment was removed by a moderator because it didn’t abide by our Comment policy.For more detail see our Comment policy https://www.colombotelegraph.com/index.php/comments-policy-2

    • 0
      0

      1. PP should ensure that no one over the age of 60 may contest in elections as the youth or younger generation MUST take over the country and lead, as they have longer to live and Sri Lanka belongs to its youth!

      2. Crossing the floor and switching parties should be banned and there is a desperate need for a new clean political culture and INTERNAL DEMOCRACY in all parties. These are the real reform priorities
      The current generation of corrupt politicians of which the author Kumar David is a part, is living too long because of medical advances and blocking change and looting the country.. and should be banned from contesting the next general elections. Time for youth and women to take over and lead!

  • 3
    0

    I agree that it is difficult to see what way we are going. Now it is said that a litigated Pradeshiya Sabha Election is going to be held in early October. Each of the two major parties is indulging in the sort of politics that we just don’t want.
    .
    Mid-term by-elections, which we remember being held during our adolescence were useful barometers for everybody. But there is so much that is farcical about what’s going on. The platitudes that Professor David mentions makes so much of what we hear tedious and boring. However, in one area we are making progress. That is in making the people aware that there are “systems and systems” within Democracy, and in the ways in which Presidents of States are. elected,
    .
    One of the messages that has got through to people is that they have their own way of voicing their dissatisfaction. Diversions like the Elpitiya Pradeshiya Sabha Elections are of little consequence. During the “wait and see” period what we could usefully do is to spread the word around that a vote for a supposedly “minor candidate” is not a wasted vote.
    .
    I personally believe that when nominations are called for, Nagananda & Co will spring surprises on us. I keep listening to him, and I assure you the guy is talking a good deal of sense. But then, talking sense may not be the best recipe for success!

    • 0
      0

      I’ve seen just now these two news items. In this first item, we have the Chairman of the Elections Commission, Mahinda Deshapriya saying that the Commission has had nothing to do with the timing of what is essentially a byelection. We are very close to the holding of a Presidential Election. Some political parties will like this timing, because it suits them, others will not.
      .
      http://www.adaderana.lk/news/57517/not-election-commissions-job-to-hold-elpitiya-ps-poll-election-chief
      .

      .
      This next is the reported response of Prof. S.R.H. Hoole, who contributes many articles to Colombo Telegraph. Prof. Hoole always speaks his mind. What he says is unacceptable to some, but I think that is mainly owing to the fact that he always tells the truth as he says it, without carefully considering whether that comment is popular or not.
      .
      I don’t know who is right in this instance. Well it may be that both are “right” in this instance, with nobody really wrong. I hope so. We need an Elections Commission that is impartial in all its official actions. Hoole often voices his personal political views. He has political rights. Provided what he says in his personal capacity doesn’t affect his neutrality in the conduct of elections that is all right, but I do think that this balance is difficult to achieve.
      .
      http://www.dailymirror.lk/print/front_page/Hoole-disputes-date-of-election/238-173944
      .
      I wonder what the Third Member of the Commission thinks about all this. The quiet and self-effacing Mr Nalin Abayesekera is not much known to the public. I cannot recall seeing him in person myself, but he was my father’s pupil. He may remember me as a baby.
      .
      All that banter is not important: We want to see proper elections held!

  • 0
    0

    Prof. Kumar David: I am at a lost to comprehend as to a President elected would be able to do all what you want the PPM to formulate., under the “19th Amendment” to the Constitution. In reading that Amendment, the President henceforth is not the “Means for All”, but a “Dependent” to the dictates of the House of Representative and varying other Legal Limbs connected thereto. Of course, I admit it is a different scenario , if the President represents same political party that would form the Government. That is exactly what “GOTA” and his SLPP (Pohottuwa) plans and towards that end, they will certainly remove the “19th Amendment”, so that the President will be once again a “Person” who can do anything and every thing excepting to “Make a man a woman and woman a man”. So PPM has an uphill task. In my opinion, PPM should have left out AKD and decided on a “Statesman” like person to face the Presidential election, so that whatever powers left in the Office of President would be well guarded and executed in a “Balanced” way, to give the signal to the People that PPM stands for a genuine and sincere road map for resurrection of the country. That could have been made a “Spring Board” to win the Parliamentary Election to form a Government led by a person like AKD. Even now it is not too late to make changes and show the country that the PPM is an organization that could be relied upon to deliver the goods, through a strong Government in Parliament. SLPP (Pohottuwa) goes by the strong and hidden agenda of a “Dictatorial” type of a President who would once in office subjugate the Parliament or capture the Governing function in Legislature.

    • 0
      0

      Douglas,
      As for the leadership of the so-called PP (is it no longer NPPM?), JVP was first saying that they have a no-partisan, well respected, well educated & well experienced retired Gvt servant as the presidential candidate. How AKD became that person, I don’t know. Was it a result of well executed conspiracy by the so-called group of erudite who are composing the item (c) or not, only they should know.

      As for the item (a), it was already in the 19 A but it was SC that made it difficult by demanding a referendum. Instead of going for the 20 A, why the JVP didn’t force for a referendum, is curious. I remember AKD tangling with Wijedasa R for failing to word the constitution in such a way that SC didn’t have to demand for a referendum! I really don’t know how such silly questioner can perform as an all purpose president!

      As for the item (b), a PP Gvt will have to keep it handy b’cos I guarantee that their erudite written (C) going to repeat 1970 type queues and road barriers thereby creating many -fold corruption. After the experiment of socialism through parliamentary democracy, the Gvt that came to power with 2/3 majority had to leave with 5/6 defeat in 1977. If that experience still holds, the so-called PP will have no choice but to become the only P (one party) Gvt, as in ex commie nations, in order to accomplish its (c). That means (d) will become the dominant issue, with JVP taking control by eliminating the rest of the 30 perhaps with an ax on top of the head! I hope KD will live to see the repeat of Trotsky’s fate.

  • 3
    1

    Devolving power to the masses -SInhala, Northern Tamil, PlantationTamil, Muslim _ should be the focus. If we are talking about devolving more power on the basis of current provincial council system, and elite power at the centre, it is no use. Provincial Council system is expensive, probably corrupt, wasteful and does not solve people’s (average citizens’)problems. JVP led PP movement needs to re conceptualise how to govern the country by using a more simplistic and less wasteful system. Read the recent book on the state of planning etc in Lanka by G.K Sumanapala for more..

  • 1
    1

    NO ONE has so far presented a draft proposal for discussion on the NQ (TQ) which encompasses at least 50%. of Tamils (all Tamil speaking people irrespective of their religion, caste or the date of arrival scattered across the island.) We expect intellectuals of the calibre of Prof. Kumar David to take that initiative.

    Soma

  • 3
    0

    The question upper most in the minority community mind is if the PP/JVP has the principled courage and determination to declare that SL will be constitutionally a secular state.
    Then everything under a future PP/ JVP governance will click into place like a well oiled machine.
    Tamil thirst for right of self-determination will become permanently quenched.
    There will be no further fissiparous tendencies that SL will ever encounter.

    • 0
      0

      U
      The JVP has a lot of explaining to do on the national question including its conduct during the peace talks and much after. There was little to tell the JVP from JHU on many issues.
      It also has to apologize for its criminal attacks on rival political parties.
      *
      Also, kindly check why a 4th International to it was affiliated, thanks to Bala Tampoe, denounced it and threw it out.
      *
      The JVP lost whatever idealism it had, despite its inherent communalism, after it moved into electoral politics in a big way.
      They got their manifesto blessed by the Mahanayakes in Kandy. (Something that Colvin R de Silva would not have dreamt of doing even when he carried flowers to the Maligawa).
      *
      Cleaner than the UNP, SLFP, SLPP etc. is not good enough.
      There is some distance for the JVP should go before it can be trusted.

      • 0
        0

        SJ
        That is exactly why my question to the JVP about the need for SL to be essentially a secular state was framed from a minority perspective to test it’s stance.
        The rest will flow from that point.
        That is the main issue on which the JVP’s manifesto will be be judged and trusted by an ordinary non majority community voter throughout the island irrespective of the blessings by the Mahanayakes.
        We can only live in hope.
        Let us see what the JVP will deliver.

  • 0
    2

    2.5 Million of the 20 Million in Lankawe are in abject poverty according to a report in todays issue of the Economynext …..

    But this Leninist wants JVP Prince Anura Kumara’s PeePee to give the Inhabitants an “Athaal ” ( Happiness) ” by promising to give the Vellala Bosses their Homeland , Release all the LTTE Terrorists, Scrap the PTA and give all lands back to Tamils. before the Election…..

    My elders tell me the Hindian Tamil population in Lankawe is now in Neck & Neck with the Srilankan Tamils.
    And none of the those Hindian Tamils are in the North or the East .

    But the Sub Committees of the UNP and Dr Ranil have ear marked the North and the East to create a Tamil Homeland in Lankawe.

    So obviously this Leninist’s demand for the release of the Lands I don’t think has any benefit to the Hindian Tamils.

    If Dr Kumar demanded ADK’s PeePee promise to do something about that 2.5 Million in Poverty ,it would have been a good Aathaal for our Sinhala Buddhist and Catholic Inhabitants too along side their Hindian Tamil Brothers and Sisters.

    May be JVP ADK does not read Stats about Poverty anymore, after accepting that LKR 25 Lakhs from Dr Ranil’s Srikotha Treasurery.

    • 2
      0

      KASmaalam K.A.Sumanasekera

      “2.5 Million of the 20 Million in Lankawe are in abject poverty according to a report in todays issue of the Economynext …..”

      You wanted your colonial masters to leave. They left you with country that was an envy of most South Asians. Your masters left you with an huge foreign exchange surplus. They left you with a functioning democracy, with most of the institution to run a country.

      You said go, they left.

      What has happened to your country that you stole from my people?

      After running the country for 71 years of government exclusively for the Sinhala/Buddhists and now for the growing number of fascists, of the Sinhala/Buddhist people, by the Sinhala/Buddhist fascists, …………… what seems to be your problem.

      Are you still fighting the colonial masters with your 450 years of bottled up anger? Are you blaming new enemies?
      You may find yourself fighting your own shadow oneday.

  • 1
    5

    “My suggestion is that PP takes a stand on these issues in a way that will not bring shame on the left. “Yes” to maximum devolution with specifics to be worked out.”

    There is no National Question. There is a small problem to Wellala elite politicians who want to maintain their superior status among Demala people. That is not a ‘National Question’.

    Can JVP that is standing for the down trodden ignore the request from low caste Demala people who are being oppressed by Wellala Demalu not to give Land and Police Powers to NPC.

    Kumar David, You too are a leftist. Can you ignore the request of low caste people? May be you even do not know that low caste Demala people made such a request.

    Like all the leftist socialist crooks that deceived the poor people, JVP is doing the same thing. They like to keep people poor. They can survive only if there are poor people. During the last four years what JVP did was protecting Ranil’s Government that is following a Neo-Liberal policy. These guys are ‘Dawal Migel Re Daniel’ lot.

    • 0
      0

      EE: “Can you ignore the request of low caste people? May be you even do not know that low caste Demala people made such a request.”
      *
      Could you kindly enlighten us on the ‘request of low caste people’.
      *
      For reasons good or bad, LTTE’s fighters were mostly from depressed communities.

  • 1
    0

    Today GR came up with the new catch word (actually very old , heard enough since my childhood) “discipline is good, it does not mean security/policing” . Yes sure, appropriate disciplining is a must, but some one busting the ear drum of a child is not ok “. If the child looses limb or life , it is definitely a NO. Discipline my foot, you must be kidding. May be nn Army discipline means shooting someone point blank. Some of the things heard from GR in recent times. “During my time there will be no international terrorism “, ok buddy what about internal /domestic terrorism , by none other than you and your mafia. ” Minorities should not fear, I will discuss to solve their problems”. Buddy try telling to those parents who lost their kids in Trinco and other places, also the recent Easter victims. “I will pay special attention for women and children security”, Sure Janzy will vouch for it. “All the problems faced by workers will be solved ” told to unions in a recent meeting,try telling victims who were shot when ever they tried dissenting the corporate (water contamination). Of course if you kill the protesting workers they will not have any more problems to report. F – – – – – G HYPOCRISY , lies and exploitation of the retarded masses. Trust me I am no RW or any other shit heads fan. But this guy/family beats them all.

  • 0
    1

    A simple request. Please enlighten the masses with your true opinion on GR candidacy and the impact on nation ????

    • 1
      0

      It is probably the best option Sri Lanka currently has, considering the non-availability of talent in either of the two major parties.
      \
      Ranil’s occupation of the UNP (through totally non-democratic means has deprived the UNP of able leadersgip, and Sajith is a poor choice.
      \
      The SLFP has imploded through Sirisena’s role in 2015, making Pohottuwa the front runner. In there also, there are no true leaders.
      \
      So Gota becomes the choice by default, and there is no other choice for the nation but to elect him.

  • 1
    0

    D.P. Thanks for your input. It was no secret that JVP was the political party that put together a front and named it PP. JVP was sincere in making it known that they would in future go forward with a “Peoples’ Movement”. That is besides the point and I have no qualms in naming AKD as its Presidential candidate. What I want to stress is, AKD would be a BETTER person in Parliament than sitting as a “President” in a “Ceremonial” seat, under the present “19th Amendment”. That “Chair” should have been given to a , as I said, a “STATESMEN” of proven record of service to the country. A good example and a choice would have been Mr. Mayadunne, and keep AKD to spearhead a Parliamentary Election with a well rounded team of representatives. That “20 A” was a “Bomb” that “exploded” in the hands of the JVP. They should NEVER have embarked on it and even in doing so, the JVP made a MESS of it. Just read through the submissions made by the Lawyer who represented JVP in Courts. They should have known that it needs a 2/3 majority in Parliament and also a “Referendum”. It was highly irrelevance matter for JVP. I don’t think there would be anything like 1970 “Line Ups”. That again was the result of “Short Sighted” policies of the Marxists . Who else would have thought that the people of Sri Lanka are not eating rice and “Polsambol” as their staple food? Who else would have thought of restricting the numbers to attend village weddings? Who else would have thought of “Prohibiting” the sale of rice meal in hotels on Fridays? Who else would have thought of suddenly making Rs. 50 and 100 notes illegal? Those STUPIDITIES plus “In a Hurry” economic plans disrupted the whole LIFE STYLE that the people were used to. That paved the way for JRJ to establish a “Dharmista” Government with 5/6 majority.

  • 0
    0

    This comment was removed by a moderator because it didn’t abide by our Comment policy.For more detail see our Comment policy https://www.colombotelegraph.com/index.php/comments-policy-2

  • 0
    0

    JVP cannot be trusted. Remember Vimal Weerawansa, the symbol of Sinhala racism, was at one time a prominent leader of the JVP. It was Wijeweera who recognized the right of self-determination for the Tamils. But his successors successfully threw overboard that concept. It was the JVP which went to the courts and got east and north provinces demerged. That was clearly a racist move.
    Granting AK wins the presidential elections he will not have the support of parliament behind him. JVP needs at least 113 seats to form a government. This will be an impossible task. As Prof. Kumar David points out politics in Sri Lanka is based on feudal ideology. Tine is wasted on fighting over race, religion and cultural differences.

  • 0
    1

    GR is being by the media as the SLPP Heroic-Angel. Who or what is SLPP?
    Following the 08 January 2015 defeat, Basil R put money and effort founding this outfit, went for the 10 February 2016 Local Government Elections (LGE) under the slogan “Reconciliation with ‘them’ Tamils will lead to ‘separation’ which will lead to foreign invasion etc. etc. ……usual stuff. This blinded the layLankan’s aversion to the culture of corruption/nepotism/impunity. The success stunned Mahinda R and he took over the reins.
    The ‘MR for PM and GR for President’ is a façade for an MR comeback. MR/GR need publicity. Even bad publicity is OK for the time being.
    This is what Kumar David and Rajan Philips are doing in recent CT articles.
    ‘Devolution’ is not very much in the JVP Policy radar but Kumar David makes it out as if it is.
    Kumar’s message to the subconscious is clear.

    • 1
      0

      KP
      This what Kumar D Says:
      The JVP…does most of the ground work. Its views are important – otherwise it would not be good for the stability of the alliance. At the same time every organisation in PP need not be bound by the JVP’s track record on the NQ which is neither edifying nor consistent. It is good for all to make an input, now, so that a common position can be thrashed out. One should not insist on one’s “full” or ideal position but aim at an acceptable compromise acceptable to all 30 in PP (and future additions).
      Where does he make out that ‘Devolution’ is in the JVP Policy? He is only asking for some pressure on the JVP.
      *
      If the JVP wants many Tamil votes it will have to compromise in some way.
      *
      As for publicity for MR/GR, there is plenty in the media to drown the significance of KD’d and RP’s views . Favourable ones, we see in the Island group; hostile ones in Lake House media; mixed in DM, SundayTimes etc.
      CT is minimally important in electoral matters.
      It plays a role (not always commendable) in drawing attention to sensitive matters that others choose to sideline. But that is valuable in our climate of selective media silence.

  • 0
    0

    Today Sajin Vass told media “I was utterly BETRAYED by the Rajapaksas”. Poor guy realized too late. This will be the end result to the rest who are hanging to the family. Only the family members matter . Rest are to be used , abused and discarded. Trump can tell a whole lot on this “perverted personality” . Sajin is now singing like Trump,s ex lawyer Cohen who is in prison, for doing all the dirty work , for his master and then left in the cold.

Leave A Comment

Comments should not exceed 300 words. Embedding external links and writing in capital letters are discouraged. Commenting is automatically shut off on articles after 10 days and approval may take up to 24 hours. Please read our Comments Policy for further details. Your email address will not be published.