By TU Senan –
‘Reform’ could be the world’s most abused word. Its meaning was defined as “make changes in order to improve”. Now it has come to mean “to rip off, normally by stealth and sleight of hand”. The Greeks are forced to pay with their quality of life and even their lives for the so-called reform pushed by the Troikans. The right-wing Tory government in Britain hopes its reforms will undo generations of workers’ rights and improvements.
These processes reveal what Marxist political economists have long argued. That the state is an instrument of the class which has hegemony in a society – today that means it is the tool of capitalist class. In the name of ‘reforms’ the capitalist class pushes the state to punish the workers in order to save their bacon in this period of severe global economic crisis.
In the face of such a savage offensive the lack of opposition is staggering. The vast majority of the ruling parties – the so-called winnable parties – are capitalist parties who accept more or less all such ‘reforms’. They may differ slightly from this or that policy. Some once described themselves as social-democrats. But almost all of them share the same capitalist logic with no fundamental differences.
Modern democracy, we are told, provides a limited choice so we oscillate between supporting these parties. We are forced to choose between the Devil and Beelzebub, one promising to chop off one hand, the other promising to cut off ‘just’ one leg. It can be further “complicated” as they may also give us the choice of weapon – we can choose a knife or machete for the job, for example. What we are not allowed to debate, or discuss, let alone allowed to choose, is the alternative of rejecting and escaping this vicious cycle, limbs intact.
Rejecting all the capitalist parties with the aim of building a new democratic mass party is the only way out. But the majority of the ‘mass media’ will dismiss such an approach as ‘utopian’. It is always the case that the right-wing journalists, the capitalist politicians want us to be deaf to these ideas. Those on the left should take a determined step towards exposing this hypocrisy and stand firm together to build such mass force.
Sri Lanka is not immune to these processes, far from it. In the last presidential election, when the UNP-Maithri was posed as the anti-corruption, good governance wing of the capitalist class, it was only the left such as the United Socialist Party that pointed out the lies. There was a unanimous agreement among all progressive forces on the need to oppose war criminal Mahinda Rajapaksa and to stop the moves towards dictatorship. However to translate that need into supporting ‘any devil to do the job’ was mistaken. This is a fundamental flaw in some of the arguments that developed at that time which have led to enormous disappointment.
To pretend that there was a hope that the UNP would be corruption-free was always preposterous. The scandal of the newly appointed Central Bank governor proves this. To expect that members of the old regime, who were part and parcel of all the corruption and atrocities, could be transformed in a day into the ‘pure saviours’ of the masses requires a brave imagination. Nothing was new in the so-called ‘new government’. Everything was mere manoeuvring. This has now opened the way for MR to come back.
No doors were ever closed to Mahinda gangs. For ten years the old regime penetrated the state apparatus with their cronies. Self-censorship of the media is evident. It’s a great insult to any intelligent people when government stooges argue that there is not enough evidence to persecute the Mahinda family. From a massive swimming pool where a huge shark swims, to various houses built in others’ names, there is plenty that stands as visible evidence of a corrupted elite who believed they could rule forever. Basil didn’t run away through the dark for no reason.
But then again it’s a country where a ‘serial raping judge’ can escape with no major punishment and the judge who defended that rapist is promoted as chief justice. It was under Chandrika’s rule then the Ravaya printed its front page in black (watch Prasanna Vithanage’s excellent latest documentary for more details). Now the very same
Chandrika is presented to us as an angel of democracy and human rights.
We must reject this logic.
It may be the case that it’s only a small minority of people who see the limitation of all the parties. …Still
We must reject this logic.