28 May, 2024


The Sirisena Dilemma & Emerging Scenarios

By Surendra Ajit Rupasinghe

Ajit Rupasinghe

Ajit Rupasinghe

The dilemma faced by President Maitripala Sirisena and the way it is to be resolved will determine the course of future events and the emergence of possible scenarios. This dilemma concentrates the long-simmering, accumulated structural pressures, conflicts and contradictions of the Lankan State and Political Order. It ties them into a knot, demanding effective, radical solutions. The Sirisena Dilemma expresses what appears to be a mortal contest between the forces of ‘liberal-bourgeois democracy’ Vs the forces of ‘chauvinist, neo–fascist reaction’. That is what it appears to be. The truth is that the Sirisena Dilemma gives concentrated expression to the crisis of the neo-colonial Capitalist State. It is an organic, structural crisis that neither the bourgeois liberal democratic agenda nor the chauvinist-fascist agenda can solve the crisis.

Together, in their interaction, they can only exacerbate the crisis. This is since they are the twin organic components of the Capitalist dictatorship. They are the twin weapons of enforcement of the bourgeois dictatorship. In the era of imperialism, the historically progressive content of bourgeois democracy in the era of rising Capitalism is long negated, when it becomes a weapon for enforcing imperialist domination and neo-colonial subjugation. We in Lanka know how white fascist state terror is organically and inextricably interwoven with all the trappings of liberal bourgeois democracy. Revolutionaries know that these trappings and these deadly illusions are there only to cover the real naked, fascist-terrorist class essence of the Capitalist Dictatorship. We know how one feeds off the other and take turns in nurturing the real relations of domination, exploitation and oppression that forms the foundation of Capitalism.

MaithripalaSirisena and his agenda for a ‘national government’ may be the final desperate option of a rotting and bleeding State. Sirisena’s role in history could be to bring this façade of irreconcilable antagonism between Fascism and Bourgeois Democracy to its highest pitch of explosive concentration, so that the sheer accumulated rot of the Colonial Capitalist State will be finally incinerated in the burning anger of the betrayed masses. Sirisena’s Dilemma may well call forth a revolutionary crisis, which could very well be turned into a revolutionary situation. For that we will need a genuine revolutionary party based on an advanced, scientific revolutionary theory, line and leadership, and an organization of professional revolutionary soldiers.

The Sirisena Dilemma is not of Sirisena’s making. It is an expression of contending rival class forces and interests within the Lankan ruling class intersecting with global strategic agendas of rival imperialist powers. It is important to concretely formulate and analyse the Sirisena Dilemma. It serves to reveal the global arena in which the various imperialist and regional power blocs are maneuvering to gain geo-political, strategic advantage and superiority in the Indian Ocean-Asia Pacific Region, including throughout South Asia and in the Land of Lanka. The Sirisena Dilemma arises from an acute conjuncture where the Land of Lanka is being played by rival global and regional imperialist powers in conjunction with local players, agents and power-brokers locked in a battle for state power and supremacy. At the heart of the Sirisena Dilemma is the increasing compulsion for the Sirisena Regime to change course away from the Chinese, Russian and Iranian sphere of influence linked with Mahinda Rajapaksa and move steadily into the US-EU-Japan-Indian strategic sphere of influence. This is an external compulsion imposed by the US-led “Western” imperialist strategic alliance.

This external compulsion feeds into the internal dynamics of political survival of the Sirisena-Ranil dispensation. This dispensation has to capitulate to the US-led strategic global agenda, if it is to survive. This is its lifeline to stay afloat on top and exercise its own class dictatorship over the Land and the people. It is the only way to ensure that there will be no return and revival of the Mahinda Rajapakse dictatorship. The new neo-colonial strategic architecture would involve the designing of a new structure of economic, political, diplomatic and financial cooperation (capitulation), based on an evolving strategic partnership with the US and India. There is no free lunch. The US, EU, Japan, Israel and India and other players shall sink their bloody fangs deeper into the lifelines of the country, separately, individually and collectively. There is no way of maneuvering out of this growing inter-imperialist vice nor to pretend being independent from it.

Yet, these moves are fraught with danger. It will play into the hands of Mahinda Rajapaksa who would raise the resounding cry of national betrayal, international conspiracy and the rising threat of resurgent ‘separatist terrorism’. Mahinda’s only chance of grabbing and returning to power is to claim that he has been vindicated by history. That the Motherland of the ‘pure Aryan Sinhalayas’, the pristine Land of the Triple Gem which he liberated from the marauding Dravidians though an epic war of national liberation is being betrayed and the Sinhala Buddhist nation fatally imperiled. This is while standing up against the US and its allies and defying the whole of the international order. Mahinda will claim that this great historic victory and all the sacrifice and suffering, is being undermined and betrayed. Any and every concession, however cosmetic, to liberal democracy, secularism, pluralism, devolution of power will be painted as undermining the unitary State, and with it, the historical legitimacy, integrity and supremacy of the Sinhala-Buddhist nation. This shall appeal to sections of the armed forces who shall feel betrayed by any form of investigation into war crimes- whether by an international, or internationally supervised domestic mechanism. The betrayal of the Rana Viruwo shall resound and reverberate with raging nationalist ‘patriotic’ fervor. However much Sirisena tries to get out of this dilemma by downgrading the international call led by the US for accountability with the prospect of a domestic investigation, he stands on the head of a live landmine. The US will use this issue of accountability as a lever to press more and more insistent demands on Sirisena-Ranil government to become a puppet agent and enforcer of its global strategic geo-political agenda. If the war crimes issue gets washed away, it will inflame Tamil passions, who shall feel betrayed and discarded. It will surely give renewed life to the call for a separate state. This will, no doubt, reverberate to the shores of India and the US and offer more options for intervention.

Meantime, Mahinda shall bide his time and play his cards, propped up and beefed up by his Chinese, Iranian, Russian and other friends, and by the train of crony-narco-mafia capitalists who thrived with him. Slowly and steadily shall the forces of fascism nurture and manufacture communal tension, play and prey on stoking the subterranean fears of foreign domination and subjugation, kindle the simmering cinders of Sinhala-Buddhist ‘patriotism’, feed upon the anger and frustration of the masses against the ruling regime, to strike once again at the throat of democracy and civilized decency. Sirisena expects this backlash. He must prepare for it. More than that, he must overcome it. He must prove that he, and he alone, is the new undisputed, incorruptible and invincible leader and commander of the besieged Sinhala race, destined to protect, preserve and nurture the Dhamma in the Land of the Triple Gem. This is part of the scenario, one segment, of the unfolding and imploding Drama of History in the Land of Lanka we are presently living through.

The play at hand for Sirisena would be to neutralize, isolate and marginalize Mahinda Rajapaksa, while uniting, retaining and consolidating the hard core political and vote base of the SLFP (and of the UPFA). Either that, or – in the face of a mounting threat- rehabilitate and re-enthrone Mahinda as the Great Anti-Imperialist Patriot”; Savior of the Nation, the conquering hero of the ancient tribal Sinhalayas, who vanquished the alien Dravidians through war and conquered their territory”. Sirisena must, of necessity, carry the banner and the cause of Sinhala-Buddhist supremacy and hegemony, if he is to face the inevitable onslaught to his power and domain from whatever source or coalition of forces.

The Mahinda camp shall persist in destabilizing the Sirisena-Ranil dispensation. If the Sirisena-Ranil alliance gets effectively challenged and threatened that would pave the way for a return of Mahinda! The Mahinda agenda may also try to make tactical amends with Sirisena – and Chandrika. This will depend on the balance of forces between the UNP and the SLFP. However, the hard core Mahinda camp waits to pounce on any crack in the coalition, and there will be cracks in any alliance. The conflict here is essentially not so much to do with the form of governance. It is not a conflict between a limited executive presidency Vs an executive prime minister and cabinet supremacy. It has to do with preserving the chauvinist, hegemonic unitary State under the command of the Sinhala-Buddhist ruling class – as opposed to a ‘secular, bourgeois-liberal’ State with devolution and sharing power as the basis for a political solution to the National Question. As always the National Question and the fate of the Tamil nation will be held hostage to these intra-ruling class battles. Yet, Sirisena cannot toe the very same rabidly chauvinist-supremacist-fascist line as Mahinda. So, he will have to toe a necessarily vague, vacillating, duplicitous line on the National Question to keep the national minorities on board, while satisfying the blood instincts of the hard core Sinhala-Buddhist political base- for which he must compete with Mahinda. How to marginalize and isolate Mahinda Rajapakse to capture his Sinhala-Buddhist chauvinist power base, while holding out the pledge of pluralism and democracy? How to attack Mahinda without splitting and undermining the SLFP and the UPFA, which would only serve the UNP to monopolize power and dictate terms.

This scenario could serve to strengthen the hands of the JVP and the JHU. The JVP and the JHU must function as the true trusted guardians of bourgeois democracy and the unitary neo-colonial State, if they are to survive. They must head the anti-corruption campaign to appear as the saviors. They would prefer to see both the UNP and the SLFP being undermined, so someday, they would appear as the only available choice to rule the country. They would hope and pray that their role in propping up Mahinda and their chauvinist-fascist role in the war and after, will be forgotten-or recollected, whatever sells at the moment. It is given that through all the antics, both the JHU and the JVP will flip and flop- appearing to be the modernist, extreme liberal-democratic force to woo the national minorities, the imperialists and the compradors, while catering to the Sinhala-Buddhist ideological and political base. We shall see political duplicity, maneuvering and cunningness that may still surprise us. All reactionary political forces – whether it be Sirisena, Ranil, Chandrika, Anura, Champika, Mahinda, Wimal, Dew, Tissa or Vasu – are drawing battle lines, taking stock and position and gearing up for a showdown for State power. They all know that the new spiral of crisis will strain the system to the extreme, and will bring the game to a head. It is time to make the decisive play for State power to decide which fraction of this reactionary comprador ruling class shall exercise the hegemonic comprador class dictatorship and take the turn in raping the Land and bleeding the people. .

Sirisena also shares a sense of mission and destiny as the guardian of the Sinhala Buddhist nation and the Land of the Triple Gem”. He stood watch over the war and rejoiced in the enthronement of triumphal Sinhala-Buddhist hegemony and supremacy. The dilemma is how to be a staunch chauvinist and centralist and yet deliver on pluralist democracy? To the ‘hard core’ Sinhala Buddhist vote base he must appear as the only true guardian of the Sinhala-Buddhist, chauvinist-hegemonic unitary State, while to all other nationalities and to the world he must appear to be the angel of pluralist democracy. The Sirisena Dilemma arises from not being able to walk this tight rope for too long. It is a profoundly volatile schizophrenic dilemma.

The need for this so-called “Western” bloc of imperialists to pry Sri Lanka away from the growing and encircling Chinese strategic vice called for regime change. It called for packing Mahinda Rajapakse and his immediate crony-mafia cabal that directly fed off the China factor packing, and bringing in forces such as Ranil, Chandrika, Mangala, headed by Sirisena, with the JHU, JVP, TNA and SLMC on board. This “Western” imperialist agenda found fertile ground in the rising tide of generalized mass anger, bitterness, resentment and sheer revulsion against the corruption, abuse and tyranny of the crony-narco–mafia Rajapaksa cabal. This made possible for peaceful change of regime. It was the democratic aspiration of the oppressed masses, nationalities and ethnic-religious communities that deposed Rajapaksa and voted for Sirisena. Yet, as always, the democratic will of the people and their mandate have been effectively manipulated, exploited and hijacked. The victory of Maitripala Sirisena and the replacement of Mahinda Rajapaksa as Executive President has been openly and fervently endorsed and embraced by this “Western” bloc. Even to the extent that the international investigation into war crimes would be deferred, and substituted by a ‘domestic’ investigation- at the request of the new regime. Not to mention the vast funds being committed in the form of investments, loans, grants, concessions etc.

One horn of the Sirisena Dilemma is that the oppressed masses, nationalities and ethnic-religious communities would have to be sold down the tube to pave the way for the next wave of neo-liberal imperialist penetration and plunder. The road must be cleared for the next spiral of domination, subjugation, exploitation, oppression and degradation that this requires. How to contain the masses who have now awakened to the demand for justice, democracy, transparency and independence? How to contain democratic reform to cosmetic changes and centralize state power and the class dictatorship at the same time? How to sedate the masses with spectacular arrests of secondary mafia cronies, while keeping the neo-colonial system of institutionalized parasitism, terror, abuse and corruption alive? So, this is an untenable tightrope to balance. The rope might split at any time. The crisis of imperialism and of the neo-colonial state will only continue to intensify and explode. All the patching up will not serve to protect the system. The whole game may get exposed to the masses.

This process will open up rare historic opportunities for advancing the revolution. But to grasp and act on these opportunities, revolutionaries must smash and leap out of the box. They must demolish the ideological apparatus and the mental-intellectual frame that keeps us blinded and imprisoned within the Capitalist system. Revolutionaries dream of a new world of Freedom dawning on the horizon. They feel it in their hearts and minds. Their boundless love and selfless devotion to the people and unswerving dedication to the cause of Revolution serves them to fly high in the skies like soaring eagles to see the ages gone by and the ages dawning on the far distant horizon. Revolutionaries are missionaries of history. They are inspired and infused with an insatiable passion for truth and for the cause of the universal emancipation of humankind from the chains of property and slavery. That is why true and advanced Marxist revolutionaries insist on grasping and applying the Science of Revolution as the guide and path of the Revolution. Nothing less and Nothing More!

Revolutionaries must not get caught up in this entangled web of bourgeois politics. Some try to say that cornering and attacking Mahinda to ensure that he would not return to power is the main contradiction and the main danger. Some say that advancing a ‘bourgeois reformist liberal’ agenda is a necessary transitional stage. On this basis, they justify their support for the Sirisena-Ranil-Chandrika dispensation. They seem to forget that, in the era of Imperialism, the so-called ‘bourgeois–liberal’ agenda is now historically outmoded and defunct. It has become the handmaiden of Fascism. This is the era of People’s Democratic Revolution and Socialism. To promote such bourgeois democratic illusions is reactionary and counter-revolutionary. The time has come to break with all bourgeois democratic illusions and with the foul politics of class collaboration. The line that says that we do not face a revolutionary situation, and that therefore, we must engage in non-revolutionary/reformist work to build up our strength is simply rank opportunism and defeatism. The time is indeed ripening to organize and initiate the revolution. We must leap to catch up. We must be armed with the most advanced, scientific, revolutionary theory, line, strategy, program and Tactical PLAN centrally aimed at the mass revolutionary seizure of State power. For this, we must unite to forge an advanced detachment of the international proletariat in the form of a vanguard Revolutionary Communist Party.

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Latest comments

  • 14


  • 2

    “It is an organic, structural crisis that neither the bourgeois liberal democratic agenda nor the chauvinist-fascist agenda can solve the crisis.”

    How the Sinhala Intellectualism merge out. Simple ! When two wild lions fight for the meat the hyena polity and peacefully eat it and walk away.

    When war crime, SLFP rice muthalali wants the telecom job with 200% salary increase, UNP bring their people to Central bank. When NPC Jehan sees this opportunity he grab it and will write for three months how the Lankave has been turned around by new super heads, for the donation he gets. The culture of the Sinhala Intellectualism is showing the Dutu as the hero. This is the fertile ground and manure for Sinhala Intellectualism. If the Sinhala media turns out to be CT, the the entire Kunu feeds the Sinhala Intellectual germs and pests will be washed off to sea with the rain.

  • 5

    In Sri Lanka, every election is seen by contestants as a means to enrich themselves and their progeny for may generations to come.

    Very few are concerned of international implications.
    “First get elected, and then think of the consequences” appears to be the thinking of each contestant.

    We have so far produced only politicians of various hues, and not a single statesman.

    • 2

      That is incorrect, SL has produced quite a few statesmen/women, politics is compromise, there cannot be politics without politicising, Sri Lanka has reduced it is percentage of citizen’s under poverty line from 25% to single digits within a decade (thus meeting the millennium goals of the UN), and that too against a backdrop the largest natural disaster of the recorded history of the world (Asian Tsunami) and a 26 year civil war, Sri Lanka has free education (from K-University), free healthcare, life time pensions for its largest group of workers (government employees), all because of a few fearless individuals and the masses who supported them, yes there have been politicians who are/were/will be corrupt, but those cannot take away from the many who gave up their lives (literally), and their civic rights to make SL a better place, so please stop this continuous whining!

    • 3

      Your wrong. We have one and he is Mr Maithripala Sirisena, Our President.

  • 12

    Rubbish! Whatever the “pundits” and the media say, this nation is NOT “bleeding and rotting”. Its those who are frustrated who feel that way and given time, the VOTERS will decide and with God’s Grace emerge.

    • 0

      Exactly, please see my earlier comment. Thank you.

  • 5

    The nation understood My3+Ranil are pupets who dance to the combine music of India. LTTE Daspora, USA, Solhime etc. ow the Nation need a leader as corectly recognised by the writer.

  • 3

    A timely, thoughtful analysis of the present political situation, which clearly state the various forces at play in the political scenario of the present political situation in the country. What I don’t agree is the last para of the article as the conclusion and a call for ‘revolution’ by the Socialists or communists. In Sri Lanka it is not possible at all since all political parties (right or left) are infested with bigots and opportunists. Their only aim is securing ‘power’ and only power by hook or crook. There is no principles or ethic or vision. Sri Lanka will remain always enmeshed in power politics which is corrupt to the core and an unethical adventure.

  • 10

    Doubtful whether anyone will want to pay attention to the advice of a failed politician.

    Mr Maithripala is a good man who is trusted by the ordinary people. Let him have a quiet discussion with Ranil and reach an Agreement between themselves and with the TNA, SLMC, JVP, and those SLFPers who have proved their loyalty to him. Mahinda and his cronies will be able to garner only 10 percent of the votes they got last time. This is the best course of action available to him, if he wants to save his life and Sri Lanka.

    During the run up to the elections, let Mr Maithripala be more tough with the Rajapaksa criminals, be liberal with the dissemination (day and night) of the atrocities of the Rajapaksa regime, and take control of the State Media until the elections are over. Show the masses his determination, by way of results, to mete out punishment for the crimes committed during the last few years. They will without hesitation vote for him.

  • 3

    It is the UNP and parties representing the minorities that MS got his mandate from. MR and the speaker want parliment dissolved to9 be able to handle the Human Rights pressure and sanctions. Going againts the madate and not disolving parliment for a Plus on MR is betreyal o0f the people. Let the p[eople have their say.

  • 3

    Volumes and volumes can be written to analyze the “Dilemma’, but what is the use? “Before” and “After” each and every election we have witnessed this scenario and up to now no remedial action has been taken. However the present President was forced and pushed to ally with some of the visible and proven crooks to get rid of a “Bigger Danger” that was hanging on our heads. Having achieved that, the question now is: how to get rid of the “malignant cancer” that is emerging? That “surgery” is in the hands of the People who will vote at the next election. That is why this coming election is very critical and a “designing” one for the future of our country. We have tested all of the present day politicians and the Leaders, in some cases for decades or more. They have failed us “Big Time” and must not be pardoned any more. Let us hand over to a “New Brand”; but who can be TRUSTED and who have not let us down in big way. A clean SWEEP is the answer and the “Dilemma” could be over. Hopefully “Common Sense” would prevail.

  • 2

    Ajit – can you tell us if there exists any government in the world that is “… armed with the most advanced, scientific, revolutionary theory, line, strategy, program and Tactical PLAN (which was) centrally aimed at the mass revolutionary seizure of State power”?

    And is there anywhere a successful “.. form of a vanguard Revolutionary Communist Party” that you describe?

  • 3

    There may be some truth in what is written in this article. But, when will that so-called revolution come and led by whom? The last revolution in the world was the Cuban revolution in the early sixties of the last century. Since then nobody has heard of any revolution anywhere. So, it is best to be pragmatic and think of keeping MR and his cronies out is hopefully the BEST option, for now.

    Sengodan. M

  • 2

    Giys, I heard Merwin Silva is back in action in Kelaniya with Maithree!
    Is that true?
    So can yahapalan supporters explain to me the kind of yahapalana we get now?
    All the previous thieves are getting together

    • 2

      Yes but not before he exposed all the atrocities of MR, GR, BR AND the rest with whom he was associated and did all those things together. Now he has turned a good leaf cos he treated badly by his masters.

    • 2

      Srinath, “All the previous thieves are getting together” with Mahinda, as they are lost without him. They need the gang leader to continue their thieving ways.

      Mervyn will hang onto a straw when drowning if he thinks it will help him.

  • 0

    Dr Ajith Rupasinghe’s political analysis is more towards not that Marxism ,it very closer to adventurisms of badly confuse and complex reality of ground situation current in Sri lanka.
    He omitted or diverted from the Revolutionary Mission of History, well get caught up in this entangled web of Bourgeois Politics by without knowing or isolating class engagement by himself.

    Of cause his own objective new reality of the level of class struggle and capitalist development an Island misinterpreted by adventurism OUTLOOK by Dr Ajith.
    Well that denied role & mission of National capitalism and its national Bourgeois class in Sri lanka, Ajith has unknowingly overlap into Trotskyism and Anarchism. Marxism teach us that time to come to us that Bourgeois revolution covers long historical period in
    Sri lanka.

    It has complex class struggle has been surface between Ruling Junta back by USA,UK,EU & INDIAN -RAW and their local agent of MS headed ,
    UNP-RANIL & CBK OF Stream of SLFP that House Banadaradarak of feudal -Aristocracy family Banadaism, And SLFP led other national bourgeois Patriotism forces headed by Mahinda Rajapasasa as key leader.

    Over the thousands years Sri lanka’s history stretches patriotism has always been stirring theme and a powerful force inspiring Sri Lankan during past 425 years of colonial occupation.
    No matter where they are as long as Sri lankn all nationalities, that Subject oppressing and suppressing (politically economically & socially )by Foreign domination power of Big hegemonies; it will be urgent task must included to national democratic revolution of nation patriotism into our minimum programs of sovereignty and Territorial integrity.
    That is a today mission of Revolutionary has been entrusted to Marxist by history.
    The basis of class structure of Sri lanka is not merely semi-feudal or fully backward capitalism. British colonial rule of 150 years that created an social environment and atmosphere in Sri lanka, which easily converted the educated community into elite of society who succumbed to the English language and to Western behavior of patterns. They discarded their own language literature and culture. The major section of lower and upper middle class and even rural, urbanized blue and white color working people in cities and towns began to imitate the so-called Western oriented elites. These set of people become a segregated minority in our society.

    Ours social environment and class in cities in Sri lanka, still remains a part of the legacy of mainly British colonial rule.
    Its upper & lower middle of petty bourgeoisies class basis a form of Westernized mental, which that encourage colonial democracy represtaitaive by UNP and CBK-SLFP. These men and women are they Marxist or not that Trotskyist or anarchist they treat workers and peasants of majority masses as the lowest class.

    This so-called Marxist far from trying to identify themselves with Poor masses of country ,but they aspire to practice and imitate upper class even in their revolutionary attitude.

    Until progressive elites and young generation identify themselves with majority workers and the peasants who are the real nation, it is quite impossible achieve democratic and socialism by revolution insurrection or peaceful by the leadership of Marxist Political Party.
    It is no doubt that Theology of Trotskyism of LSSPs and Anarchism-Terrorism of JVP has no any relationship with Marxism.

    Dr Ajith has mistakenly put forwarded his thesis time of new revolutionist era has appear the defeated of MR ruling alliance 2015 January.
    Well but he unable to realized the US headed Market economy has process of failure at center of Capitalism led US hegemony.

    There is possibility of So-called Fascists force will emerging under the MR NATIONL ALLANCE said by Dr Ajith.

    There is Only way for fascism can back US OR UK remnants of hegomoinism; it may be Junta rule by MS UNP-RANIL & CBK Coalition regime.


    As we discussed it was clear to all of us while specific political-economic-social crisis varied from country to country and particular that the instability of political democracies of grievances in the
    Sri lanka were very different from US UK & INDIA.

    But MS regime the gap between political and economic system of democracy supposed to do –what we were told 2105 election did do?
    And what they actually do become too larger to ignored.

    And MS UNP-RANIL & CBK government were not addressing key economic social and democracy – political ISSUES and good governances, rule of law and universal values feeling became of betrayal.
    Still they are trying over show the system .

    MS UNP-RANIL & CBK still believe that electoral system process might work, this Junta regime must remembered that they are accountability to the PEOPLE.

  • 0

    analysis is always good but without giving a solution as to how we can go about changing the system it is just words. And sometimes just words can give you a headache.

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