The overwhelming electoral mandate given to the ITAK by the people of the Northern Province has a depth of historical significance that should be grasped and acted upon. It has decisive consequences for the future of Lanka. First of all, the people’s mandate embodies the reality of the majority of the oppressed Tamil and Moslem people in the North- both as oppressed nationalities and as a super-exploited and oppressed economic class. Together, they have expressed their desire to seek a path of freedom and liberation away from the suppression and subordination of the State. The Lankan State has been delivered a historical verdict by the people of the North. The people’s mandate and the electoral victory of the ITAK achieves historic significance only in this context. It is beyond debate that the Lankan State, under the Rajapakse Regime, has been transformed into a highly centralized unitary State, where all power is vested and concentrated in an omnipotent Executive Presidency, standing above the People, above the Law and the Constitution. A State controlled and commanded by the Rajapakse Troika. This absolute dictatorship is exercised by entrenching and enforcing a Sinhala supremacist agenda, under the banner of Sinhala-Buddhist Chauvinism and Patriotism. It is directed at perpetuating hegemony and domination over all other nationalities. This as a strategy of dividing, deluding, derailing and suppressing the revolutionary class struggle of the proletariat and the oppressed masses of Lanka, which alone can bring the whole system down. The exercise and enforcement of undisputed and undivided dynastic dictatorship in perpetuity throughout the length and breadth of the Land of Lanka is the overriding agenda of survival of the Regime. This is to be secured by the politics of militarized chauvinism and totalitarian dictatorship. This is its condition of survival.
The election to the Northern Provincial Council itself was a supreme contest of political will and determination. The Regime tried its best to repeal/ decapitate the 13th Amendment before the election. It failed only due to the demand by India that its paramount status as the regional hegemonic power be acknowledged and that no country or state in the whole region may act to challenge or disrupt the geo-political status-quo. The consequences would be serious. That was the gist of the message. The Regime simply backtracked and caved in. Why has the 13th Amendment turned into a political volcano simmering far more violently than when it was first introduced? The abolition of the 13th Amendment is intended to axe the very identity and existence of any nation or nationality other than the Sinhala-Buddhist Nation that shall exercise the exclusive, undivided and undisputed supreme right to Nationhood and Statehood. It is in the face of this mortal threat posed to their very existence and political status as distinct nationalities that the election was held in the North. The electoral victory of the ITAK is nothing less and nothing more than the victory of a people’s mandate for liberation from national oppression, military occupation, exploitation, destitution and degradation. It is an expression of the aspiration to stand tall and equal as citizens of Lanka and claim the fruits of the 21st Century.
The victory of the ITAK shall be measured in terms of how it defends and advances this sacred mandate. How it defends the 13th Amendment, and beyond that, the right of national self-determination of the oppressed Tamil and Moslem nationalities, within a united country – as expressed in its election Manifesto. This is a historic challenge, filled with mortal dangers. Now, in fact, the Provincial Councils .have already been stripped bare of their powers and brought under the direct control of the Executive Presidency. While the Northern PC remains under the control of a military Governor, District Ministers appointed by the Regime shall exercise overall executive authority over defining priorities, controlling budget and resource allocation, including Land. Under the present executive, legislative and judicial status quo, legislation can be, and has been, brought to, to fatally undermine the political status of oppressed nationalities. The Hill Country Tamil nationality was stripped of citizenship by a Sinhala-dominated Legislature in 1948. The Supreme Court legitimated the de-merger of the North-East region. So, under the prevailing status quo, it is political goodbye to any form of regional autonomy, self-rule and internal self-determination. The ITAK shall face the most decisive and momentous decision- How much to compromise and accommodate? Who to rely on? Rely on International and regional powers and power blocs and become pawns in their game? Or, to mobilize the masses to resist and struggle for their liberation. Whether to resist and overthrow all dominators and oppressors? Or to capitulate and betray the sacrifices and surrender the achievements and victories won? What would be of crucial difference is the role of the oppressed Sinhala people in this struggle for freedom? Will they continue to be led by the chauvinist-supremacist agenda of the Regime? Or by a proletarian-internationalist revolutionary force that stands against all forms of domination, exploitation and oppression? This question depends on how we grasp the historic significance of the people’s mandate symbolized by the victory by the ITAK over the State and Regime?
The historic electoral mandate given by the people of the North to the ITAK is an indictment of the oppressor State-and the Regime- and a demand for liberation. They have rejected the Mahinda Rajapakse Regime and the “Mahinda Chintanaya”. Without being conscious, they have rejected the neo-colonial/ neo-liberal path of Capitalist development that has ended up in denying them of their dignity, their independence, their land, their collective identity and even their historic memory. A State and a System that has robbed them of their loved ones, torn them to disconnected pieces, robbed them of their livelihood and their right to life as a human community. They have asserted their dignity, and demanded their autonomy, security and freedom. They have rejected an engulfing military occupation and control. They have demanded to live without fear and terror stalking their lives. They have demanded that their suffering must end, retribution be made, in order to reconcile. They cry that their tears must be dried. They wish to rebuild their lives and livelihood, even as they shall ever grieve for those they had lost and remain unaccounted. They have declared their political will to be free from any and all forms of domination, oppression and occupation by the Lankan State. They rejected the whole myth and game of the “Miracle of Asia”, spun with the illusions of glittering neo-liberal fantasies. They broke through the whole paradigm of “Development” imposed upon them. They were not intoxicated by the glitter, glamour and splendor of seven star hotels, casinos, bars and brothels, hi-rise luxury apartments, magnificent tourist resorts, mega agro-industrial projects, or any pledge or promise that the State could give them. How could they ever accept that their liberation is tied to a development path and a political agenda that have made their homelands a devastated wasteland of corruption, profit and plunder- at their expense? They just did not trust the State, the Mahinda Rajapakse Regime, nor their para-military goons. They reposed their faith in the ITAK. This they did under constant military surveillance, intimidation and threat of violent reprisal. The electoral mandate of the people of the North is an expression of defiance against national subjugation and class exploitation. It is an expression of a political will to resist all forms of domination, subjugation and slavery from any oppressor whomsoever! Whether from within or without. It is a cry from the depths of degraded and defiled hearts for dignity and freedom. It is a consummate sigh of desperate hope to be liberated from decades of violence and terror, of displacement and destruction, of untold agony, misery and suffering. This is so they may together decide their life and future, in unity and cooperation with the oppressed Sinhala people with genuine, equality, partnership and solidarity. This is the deepest, most sacred political essence and the dream and aspiration of the oppressed masses of the North who have placed their faith in the ITAK.
The question is; who shall honor this mandate? The fact is that different class forces have begun to give expression to conflicting interpretations of the people’s mandate and to act according to their class interests. It would do us well to analyse these class forces and indentify their respective agendas. Then we can see who really and truly honors the people’s mandate and who are trying to hijack and exploit it. We can reveal the politics at play and distinguish what path is progressive and what is reactionary; what is serving the people and what path and strategy is serving the imperialist and regional hegemonic/expansionist powers. Who are the forces seeking accommodation with the system and the status-quo at the cost of betraying the struggle for liberation, and who are the forces striving to seek a genuine path of self-determination and freedom that shall liberate the Land and the People of Lanka from imperialist domination and neo-colonial bondage. Who shall charter a path towards the dawning of a bright new world of universal freedom? Who shall unite the oppressed Sinhala masses- the workers, peasants, fishermen, students, youth, women to join the revolutionary class struggle with their oppressed Tamil and Moslem brothers and sisters across the Land? The sharpening contradictions within ITAK contains the germ of these questions of ideological and political line, and the strategy and path of revolution and national liberation. Indeed, the question of choosing the path of struggle to win genuine independence and democratic freedom will be posed to all classes and political forces with utmost urgency. This is as the Rajapakse Regime is bound to face its mounting organic crisis of survival by unleashing violent suppression against the oppressed People of Lanka – without discrimination, fear or favor. Then the barricades of enforced division will be overrun, all illusions shattered, and the oppressed People of Lanka shall identify their common source of oppression and rise together to overthrow the oppressor State, establish their own People’s Democratic State and win their freedom.
The dark evil forces of reaction, chauvinism and fascism, under the bloodied banner of Sinhala-Buddhist Chauvinism and Patriotism, shall gather strength and momentum to drown the people’s struggles in rivers of blood. They shall strike at the hearts of the oppressed Tamil and Moslem nationalities and religious communities. This is the combined strategy to impose and enforce the class dictatorship and political hegemony of the Rajapakse troika and dynasty. The Tamil and Moslem leadership will be caught in a deadly vice, with imperialist and regional powers trying to devour them in their game to advance their own geo-political strategic interests. This is while being encircled and threatened by neo-fascist forces allied to the State. The oppressed Sinhala masses too will be devoured by contending imperialist power blocs together with their neo-fascist/neo-colonial ruling class. Mother Lanka will be raped, pillaged and plundered and the people sacrificed at the altar of Imperialism as never before, for the sake of the survival of the Rajapakse Regime and the Neo-Colonial State.
The proletariat and the oppressed masses- the People of Lanka- are left without scientific revolutionary leadership and organization. The need of the hour is to build the organized unity, discipline and fighting capacity of the People of Lanka, under the banner of a sweeping, thoroughgoing, anti-imperialist, national liberation, people’s democratic revolution. “Without Political Power, Everything is Illusion”, said the great revolutionary leader, Mao Tse Tung. All political leaders, parties and organizations shall be tried, tested and evaluated by the people as to where they stand and how they chose to fight..
The oppressed slaves shall learn their lessons paid by the blood of the martyrs. They shall learn to shed their illusions. They shall rise to break their chains. They shall rise in unity with the anti-imperialist people of the world, to bring this system of terror and destruction down. The only path to freedom is for the radical/progressive/revolutionary forces across the divided borders and barricades to build their understanding and trust and forge their conscious, principled unity to defend and advance the historic mission and honor the sacred mandate of the People of Lanka to struggle and win their independence and liberation in a common struggle for freedom.
*The writer is Secretary, Ceylon Communist Party (Maoist) and Chairman, Anti-Imperialist People’s Alliance