29 November, 2021

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The Turning Point: Opposition On The Offensive

By Dayan Jayatilleka

Dr. Dayan Jayatilleka

Nov 16th 2021 was the current Opposition’s equivalent of the Feb 18th 2015 Nugegoda rally of the pro-Mahinda JO forces, but Nov 16th 2021 was more impressive and significant.

Feb 18th 2015 was most striking because of its unprecedentedly rapid turnaround time after the January 2015 defeat.

Though it took far longer due to Covid-19, the SJB demonstration of November 16th 2021 was a more crucial turning point.

It is the day the democratic Opposition went on the offensive. It is the day that hope was reborn in the ranks of society as a whole. The same was true of Feb 18th 2015 in its time and I wrote as much, but the first factor that makes things radically different today is the depth and extent of the national crisis, economic and social.

Thus, the significance and potential of the SJB manifestation is qualitatively greater. It can be the spark that ignites the process culminating, through many intermediate, even dangerous phases, in a democratic transition if not transformation.

There is a second factor that makes Nov 16th 2021 more important. It is the size and extent of the protest, counting the significant numbers that were prevented by the state from coming to Colombo.

The third factor that makes it more significant than even Feb 18th 2015, is the sheer scale of blocking by the regime, which was not the case in 2015.

The SJB’s ‘smart’ demonstration of November 16 in Colombo, the unplanned local protests at every venue that the prospective marchers were stopped by the Police (500 roadblocks, reported The Island), the sizzling speech by Sajith at the edge of Galle Face proved that this was the indispensable formation in the democratic Opposition; the indispensable leading force and main force of the Opposition.

At the political level the competition is now indubitably between the SLPP and the SJB. The SLPP regards its main challenger for power as the SJB, or more accurately, Sajith’s SJB.

The Nov 16th events set an example of resistance to the general public, the entire country. Sajith’s Galle Face speech had a simple message: “Enough of this curse…we are committed to forming a government of the people (‘podujana aanduwak’)”.

It constituted a declaration, echoed in parliament the next day by SJB general-secretary Ranjith Madduma Bandara, that the SJB was determined to evict the government through people’s power direct action and elections.

What does Nov 16th mean further afield? For the JVP it means that either a broad bloc is necessary with the SJB or competition must be stepped up in the struggle to change the administration.

The JVP, though far more powerful in the mobilization of social forces, especially the unionized of town and country, is far more vulnerable on its own than is the SJB which has political real estate.

It seems to be solely the pathological sectarianism of the JVP’s leader that forestalls, possibly forecloses, a united front with the SJB.

The SLFP will have to decide whether it can go it on its own, or stay within the government and survive electorally, or join the SJB as a junior partner of a centrist convergence.

The SLFP surely has to abandon any hope of overtaking the SJB.

What is true of the SLFP is truer still of the smaller parties of the ruling coalition. Can they stay in government and avoid the fate of the LSSP-CPSL in 1977? Can they move out and survive at the next election? Can they enter a bloc with the JVP?

Or, would it not be most prudent for the smaller allies of the SLPP to form a united front with the SLFP under the latter’s leadership and then enter negotiations with Sajith and the SJB?

The United National Party (UNP) has been totally replaced and superseded by the SJB. It

has no realistic option but to dump its eternal leader Ranil Wickremesinghe, pick someone willing to work with Sajith and under his leadership, and either join the SJB or enter a united front with it as a (very) junior partner.

The civil society intelligentsia must realize that none of its formulae so far, which do not recognize the central role of the SJB and the leadership of Sajith Premadasa, are relevant. Re-thinking is on the agenda.

Left-oriented civil society intellectuals must learn that if they truly stand for a progressive outcome they must constructively engage with the SJB and nudge it leftwards, strengthening, inter alia, the populist centrism of Sajith Premadasa.

Liberal-cosmopolitan civil society must realize that its values can only be realized by acknowledging that the dominant discourse will always be that of Sajith Premadasa as expressed at Galle Face on November 16th: a ‘Podujana Aanduwa’; a government of the common people, the masses.

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Latest comments

  • 11
    1

    What is “REAL”? If SLPP stalwarts see that public support is dwindling, I bet, “Rajapakse & Co.” will take the safest step to let “SJB of Sajith & Co.” take over. So don’t be fooled by these street shows of “Sajith & Co.” It is now “Rumoured” in Parliament lobby circles that “MR” had a “One-to-One meeting with “Ranil W” and shortly thereafter “Sajith” showed up to meet “MR”. These under-current manoeuvrings are the “Name of the Game” of MR, Ranil and Sajith because they have a lot to share in common. The “Brain” behind all these “Games” playings is MR. For the present, MR is not worried about “MY3” much because his (MY3) “Obedience” is unquestionable. This is only a “Skeletal” background to the “Dawal Miguel Re Danial” political “Games” played by “MR”, “Ranil”, “Sajith”, “MY3” and the rest of “Pawns” in their hands.

    The only “Outcast” at the moment is “JVP/NPP”. Dr. DJ suggests a “United Front” with “SJB” for the JVP. If that happens, (which I doubt very much) it will be “HOLOCAUST” for JVP. However, a “Trap” similar to what was laid in 2015 would be “Attempted” to brush JVP with a similar “Signet” “Rathu Ali Petiya” (Red Elephant Calf). Perhaps, Dr. DJ’s suggestion could be a “Direction” towards that “Goal”. I doubt “JVP/NPP” would take that “Suicidal” attempt this time. “JVP/NPP” must stand ALONE.

    • 3
      0

      Simon ,
      Good sum up ! Hope you don’t mind my agreeing and adding a little more
      and a bit differing from your view at certain points . I believe it is the
      general public that is being trapped by the Crooks , whoever they are , at
      the end ! No one who has anything to lose shouts today on the streets for
      nothing . And , to call MR the ” Brain ” behind all these is , in my view ,
      like recognising MR has some capacity to plan things . MR is a clean
      Dumb ass who rose to where he is today because of the absence of
      alternatives at the time in the SLFP . Exactly the same way Ranil was
      rewarded his position ! Sajith has taken his bath in the same muddy pool
      to carry on what is entrusted to him in the similar fashion . The measures
      are a collective one . Even Friendly Fire causes casualties , on both sides
      and on public . Commanders and Generals normally escape to safety
      without harm .

    • 2
      0

      Dear Sensitive Readers,
      .
      Pleaes watch the video clip below
      .
      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Z6TUPzdYlK0
      .
      This is rock-bottom.
      :

  • 11
    2

    Dayan is day dreaming.Even if SAJITH comes to power there will be a fight between PATALI-PONSEKA-RAJITHA and few other to become prime minister.it is going to be very difficult to manage the finance and bring down the cost of living who ever SAJITH-RANIL OR ANURAKUMARA.There is nothing left in the coffer by RAJAPAKSAS.It will take at least 3 to 4 years to settle every thing and please the people and to BALANCE BETWEEN AMERICA-INDIA AND CHINA.ANY FUTURE GOVERNMENT NEEDS THE SUPPORT OF WORLD BANK-IMF-AND EU TO RUN THE COUNTRY. CORRUPTION IS DEEP ROOTED IN THE POLITICAL AND GOVERNMENT SYSTEM.THIS CAN NOT BE CHANGED IN SRILANKA EVEN IF LORD BUDDA RE-BORN AND COMES TO POWER TO SRILANAKA.NO LEADER LIKE RANIL-SAJITH OR ANURAKUMARA WILL NOT BE ABLE TO LEAD A CORRUPT FREE GOVERNMENT IN SRILANKA-JAYAWEEWA.

  • 15
    0

    Dayan has been writing in this all knowing style for nearly 50 years. Our various so called leaders have been on the stage for 70 years.

    Don’t you think there must be something very wrong with the genes of the race that we can only produce pseudo intellectuals and dishonest leaders ?

    Everything about this Sri Lankan race shouts out-substandard . But these chaps who try to go somewhere in this mediocre society keep talking/writing as if they amount to something.

    Their inflated egos and bloated personalities is a major contributor to the mess.Dayan one time was all out for R. Premadasa, then Rajapakse and now to Premadasa Jnr.

    This so called intellectual should be ashamed of his leaders. A honest man would have given up trying to be a false prophet.

  • 2
    0

    Dear LM: I found the link. Go to “Google” and type youtube.com/watch?v=uRGiCS6UrWA

    Next presentation: youtube.com/watch?c=BdIWDjttH44

    • 2
      0

      To dear Simon and Sinhala Man,

      The first one works,
      .
      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uRGiCS6UrWA
      :
      but not the second one.
      .
      Here below video clip summarises it today.

      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rh9ACvxQkXY
      .

      • 1
        0

        Dear LM: I directed that video to give an answer to the question you fired at “Nathan”. Hope you now KNOW these “HUMBUGS” and the “HUBUGARY” they play, including “Sajith & Co,”. Cheers/

        • 0
          0

          Simon, not now, I have been monitoring all of them for such a long time. The question was still pertinent. – and you named it as ” million dollar”. not me.
          Last night I was happy to see Lalkantha and the female JVP representative were warmly welcome by some villagers in Weligama. That female candidate could speak tamil as well, that was a greater advantage to address those muslim srilankens in that part of the electrorate.

          https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6xPtPDFYHgc

  • 6
    0

    We are all well aware of the position of DJ as his career survival depends on his support for an active political party that is in power or has potential for power and he failed to show a principled take.

    Today, the people in the country are facing several challenges in their daily functioning, in front of the political vacuum of governments and the main political parties, including their advisers such as DJ, what is needed is an alternative path that can put the country in the right track. LAST 70 years of derailment of the governing system in the country together with diplomates like DJ, we are frustrated to read the continued opportunistic rhetoric of people like DJ and his line of career survival is very clear in this article.

    In fact, the country was failed by all post-independent governments, their policy advisors who are diplomates, academics, and professors, and all of them together failed the country either by their active or passive engagements. Shame on governments past and present and their diplomats and academics. It’s really shameful and disgusting …

  • 2
    0

    Unchain your minds if you want to be part of the 1st world
    ====================
    Will you believe if I tell you Ruwanda is almost one , but admite must evolve to democracy from military for it to last.
    Already Ruwanda is considered the Switzerland of Africa.
    Are we worse than them ?
    ========================

    PREJUDICE ALONE IS THE CAUSE OF HATE CRIMES AGAINST HUMANITY.
    ============================

    Prejudice alone is the cause of hate crimes against humanity and the curse that spreads suspicion and ultimately destroys a Country.

    In thee olden days prejudice was due to most people being ignorant and believed only in myths and superstitions and thought anyone who reasoned and questioned were witches and wizards and deserve death all to the fear the suspicion had caused due to collective prejudice induced rather than being cruel.

    Today we keep using words like prejudice,racist , bigots, etc.

    If we are living in the most enlighten era , why are we so prejudiced and harm others today ?

    To be cont..

  • 1
    0

    Cont .
    Prejudice

    We live in a era where we are overwhelmed with too much information and not all of us are willing to step out and take the trouble to check through things using rational in methodical manner.

    We have been handed out a system by our beliefs, homes, schools, peers categories of every action , events , others beliefs, race and other people mostly.

    We use these categories to process how we need to respond and interact with others, It is not a matter of right or wrong , We are unconscious about our prejudice, this categorizing of people, events and everything that we live with allows us to quickly interact and react.

    To be cont..3

  • 1
    0

    Cont..from 2

    It hardly gives us time for rational processing, which leads to serious damage to others, which can destroy lives and also in some serious cases bring ill reputation to a whole community and Country.

    A few peoples unconcious action of prejudice can even lead to international isolation leading to Country’s total bankruptcy.

    Today regretfully The social media has made access to Categorizing even faster.

    Cont 4

  • 1
    0

    The set beliefs are highly sensitive and it is not easy to rewire minds.

    I have read according to physiological Science, that people who are prejudice are mostly those who are unwilling to accept or explore multiple interpretations and they are quick in stereotyping.

  • 3
    3

    This Dayan J bugger is a two time loser and a racist boot licker. I wonder where he bought his PhD from? a meat stall?

    • 3
      0

      TFTN,
      .
      I dont think he was all wrong all the times, but his pathological problem seems to be out of his control. He is not alone. Look at GLP and others that wear titles to their names.
      :
      If one would question today as to why DJ became the main representative to MAHINDA kalliya at Nugegoda rally, DJ would not have any good answer but to behave no different to WIMAL weerawanse or any other MERCY cows in that bunch.
      :
      However, the point that he recommended every govt to stay in contact with EU and other powerful countries even if they would not respect srilanka s opinion about various cirtical issues, was right but not a single person in MEDAMULANA cave would not resepct. Nevertheless DJ to go after Medamulana criminals should have some other reasons.

  • 0
    1

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    0

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