2 December, 2021

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Trade Unions Must Strategize Smartly

By Kumar David

Prof. Kumar David

“If you know the enemy and you know yourself you will win a hundred battles. If you know yourself but not the enemy you will win some battles and lose others. If you know neither the enemy nor yourself you will lose every battle”. ~ Sun Tzu: The Art of War

Fury at the Gotabaya Regime is snowballing. The fertiliser cock-up has all but brought the government to its knees. An infuriated peasantry is on the march in field, farm and village. As this bomb ticks away perhaps capitulation by Gota and his moronic advisors will defuse an explosion. The second ticking-bomb is the Catholic Church. Make no mistake it is no longer a bellyaching Cardinal; the conspiracy to whitewash those behind the 2019 Easter blasts and/or the cover-up has enraged clergy and laity. Gota’s cynical response has been to incite anti-Catholic turmoil by appointing an obnoxious, rabble-rousing, yellow-robed scoundrel to head a Dirty-Tricks Task Force. Fortunately Buddhists are as sickened as others, so the blatant attempt to provoke anti-Catholic pogroms may not succeed. A third nail in the coffin of this decomposing system is the multimillion dollar Basil-engineered LNG scam.

All this is developing against the background of a failing economy, inability to service debts, shortages and inflation. Not since the 1953 Hartal has an all-class mass-assembly united against a government. At the same time however, never in our post-independence history has a regime made clear its resolve to impose a ‘military solution’; no previous government of Sri Lanka has implicitly or explicitly revealed proto-fascist tendencies; not even JR. Not only trade unions, not only an aroused peasantry, not only angry ethno-religious minorities, the whole people have to be prepared to meet this looming military assault. (Allende failed to prepare the people to meet not only a class backlash but also a brutal military battering and paid the price). As commentators have warned it is not the Rajapaksas per se, but a Military-Paksa juggernaut that is being readied.

Once the menace is perceived what has to be done becomes clear – unification and organisation. An anti-fascist All-Party United Front must be built on an anti-coup programme. Coordination of peasant movements into island-wide bodies, an All-are-Welcome trade union forum to prepare a general strike and an umbrella movement of civil society organisations are all indispensable. Mobilisation of minorities into protective units is timely. Monks and clergy are quite correctly not interested in petty politics; but they will have no option but to come on the streets if it is a question of the very survival of democracy.

The threat of a martial-law project is omnipresent, therefore preparation to meet it has to be all-sided. If mobilisation of the whole people is far-reaching enough, the coup plotters will back-off without rolling out the tanks. The task however is urgent. The state is tottering under a gamut of pressures, some mentioned in my first paragraph. The regime may make its move in early 2022, but it is better to forestall it before it fires a shot. This can be done by mobilisation of the whole people, rural and urban in defence of democracy. Organise, organise, organise; discuss, discuss, discuss; consolidate, consolidate, consolidate.

At this moment trade unions are taking the leading role. Notable are the CEB and Petroleum Corporation unions, teachers, and health-care personnel including PHIs. It is correct that victory on one front will also be a victory for all. At the same time the regime’s obvious strategy will be to isolate one sector at a time, for example CEB-Petroleum, smash it and declare an Emergency which could be used to incarcerate TU leaders and intimidate the whole working class. This is the stark, staring obvious strategy that proto-fascists employ worldwide. Consultation, organisation and consolidation of all trade unions, democratic parties and civil society groups is a sine qua non before launching direct action on any one issue. Never let anyone get isolated, never! Sun Tzu the great Chinese military strategist insisted 2500 years ago: “Know yourself and know your enemy”.

I will in conclusion deviate to a specific topic, the monstrous electricity corruption Bacillus. That the foreign company involved is American is utterly irrelevant – what’s the difference if it were Chinese? That the fuel in question is LNG is beside the point. LNG must be the transitional fossil-fuel of choice for the next two decades as we move away coal so that renewables and new technologies such as fusion, small nuclear and hydrogen in the transport sector, can take root. None of this is the problem. The big problem is the crooked and corrupt contract awarding process. But a much, much bigger problem is that Sri Lanka’s power sector is passing under the control of a commercial entity. Old fashioned privatisation is not the method of the Twenty-First Century – learn that! The new method is taking over enterprises because small countries cannot service their debts nor meet compound-interest obligations. This is what happened to Hambantota Harbour, this will be the fate of Colombo Port City, and this is the fate that Rajapaksa Inc. is preparing for Lanka’s electricity supply sector via dangerous take-or-pay fuel payment contract-provisions.

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Latest comments

  • 5
    0

    “An anti-fascist All-Party United Front must be built on an anti-coup programme.” Very good. I think the Jathika Jana Balavegaya (NPP) of which Dr David is a member/advisor (he was on its national list) is best placed to initiate it. But we don’t see the JVP (which controls the NPP for all purposes) doing that.

    • 3
      3

      JVP comrades please take note of Jayasiri Samarakoon’s comment!
      Begin one-on-one negotiations with all democratic parties as a first step.
      AK David

      • 5
        0

        You bet!
        The JVP will get started this very evening.
        Leaders of ‘democratic’ parties, do not switch off your mobile phones.

  • 2
    4

    Rajapaksa family is not against India or China or USA but they are against only to Sri Lanka. Not a true Buddhist Sinhala will dare to sell this country to China or India or China but Rajapaksas sold Sri Lanka to these countries without the approval of Sri Lankans. Even Prabharan or Rohana Wijeweera did not want Indian or Russian military in this country but Rajapaksas and JR Jayawardena brought Indian Army, Pakistan Army, and British Army to this land.
    If any trade unions who protest against Electricity deal with the USA and protested against India on the East Harbour deal but if they din’t protest when Hambantota harbour deal with China or Port City Deal with China then they must be the agents of Chinese. So, people should be able to aware of those opportunistic trade unions if any.

    • 3
      3

      Ajith,
      “Not a true Buddhist Sinhala will dare to sell this country to China or India or China “
      You must catch up on your history. Selling off the country is what even the Sinhala kings did. So what’s new?
      The only difference is that now we are indebted to the foreigners.

  • 2
    0

    “If you know the enemy and you know yourself you will win a hundred battles”. All know the “ENEMY” but unfortunately not to the extent of the enemy’s “HIDDEN” tactical moves that he would deploy to crush everyone. I have been highlighting this “capability” and “capacity” to act “Ruthlessly” when pushed to the wall. The “WAR HERO” ideology still lingers heavily in the minds of the average people and those “Heroes” could once again be “Deployed” to crush all fighting caders, who are also “Divided” on petty issues. A good example was when a “Local Politico”- a PC Vice Chairman of “Pohottuwa” forced himself into a crowd of parents who were showing solidarity with the “Teachers” struggle, NO ONE cared to “Chase” him away, excepting the “Principal” who spoke out his mind. That “Politico” is a known “THUG” who narrowly escaped from a “Murder Charge” on an “Appeal”. This is how the “DOGS” have been let loose. What when they are “Assisted” and “Protected” by “Law Enforcement” and “Armed Forces”. Do we need to or can we face much more “Planned” show of force very much more than 1989?

    In my opinion, this “ENEMY” (Gota) wants the yet disorganized “Battle Lines” to walk into his “TRAP”. The time is not yet “RIPE” to attack.

  • 5
    3

    What a rogues’ gallery!

    These 3 have done more damage to the country ……….. than Prabakaran could’ve ever imagined in his wildest dreams.

    Most of you are incapable of seeing it ………. cause ye are incapable of discarding ye racial/ethnic/tribal prisms ………….

    So, we have a nation of Lotus Eaters …… fed by a Buddhist narcotic ……… going around daily manufacturing their own stupidity ………..

    • 3
      3

      Nimal, you mean “you know your enemy but prefer denying it and you have no clue abou t your self” scenario. KD seems to under estimate the enemy/ mafia , as any other politician before and over estimate the retards who gave absolute power to them in the first place. KD Rajapaksas are here to stay and as Nimal mentioned Prabha has won the war.

  • 0
    0

    K D’s Sun Tzu quote fits in not only to War situation , it fits in to Everyday life
    struggle of all walks of life including family , society , friends and colleagues.
    Everyday life in all these environments is now so much polluted on a day to
    day basis since independence . Attentions of all governments stay focussed
    clearly only on their Pocket-Filling projects that are labelled Development in
    their language . Family members together kill other members ! Friends hunt
    their friends ! Children rape children ! Human value in short , we see ,
    everyday going to dogs but we are now for decades mainly and only talking
    about one issue , Cost of Living ! Was it the cost of living that made a SDIG
    assault a man in public on the road ? This third grade SDIG is the son of a
    former I G P ! Just see his upbringing ! Just a tip of the iceberg ! Everyday
    life everywhere is full of such lawlessness ! An SDIG violent behaviour in
    public on the road , coming down to such low , lower than an ordinary cop ,
    is this not the time to stand up and be counted ?

  • 2
    1

    The only factor that would bring the Rajapaksa dynastic to an end is a rupture within the family itself. Everything else is likely to fail because the dynastic will hang on to power by hook or by crook (including by using the military). Dissent against the dynasty would not be tolerated and it would even be prepared to see rivers of blood. That said, I would not completely rule out a rupture within the family because GR has been relentlessly reckless with his decisions/actions on a number of fronts and by so doing has been taking the whole family down the pan. How would the family going down the pan help the chances of NR becoming president? Will MR be just a bystander and allow that to happen? Just a thought!

    • 2
      1

      K P ,

      Dear KP , I am quite surprised about your calculation of this
      Hambantota family . MARA , CHARA , BARA or NARA are
      not unaware of this GORA’s antics . Everything goes to their
      plans . They all know their games . Simply , they are
      displaying to their crowd that what they wanted is on its
      way . Their crowd wanted a Dictator ! And it is in the
      making in a great way ! That’s it .

    • 2
      0

      Dear KP,
      .
      Thanks for facing up to facts. There is more tragedy to come.

    • 6
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      KP
      GR was never the Dynasty’s choice.
      We really owe him to the wise men who boasted that they had introduced clauses in the 19th Amendment designed keep MR and his son out of the contest.
      In fact GR won as MR’s proxy, but suffers the illusion that he won based on his own glory. As always there are sycophants who flatter and misled bad leaders to get worse.
      GR is already a liability to the Dynasty. The stone wall that surrounds him will not let him realize his mistakes.
      The Dynasty will not hesitate to make a sacrifice for its survival. What form it may take is not for me to say. (There are plenty of soothsayers around for that task.)

  • 2
    4

    Professor Kumar is forcing us to face up to what probably is reality.
    .
    Unless we wilfully blind ourselves to the reality, this is the enemy:
    .
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BcT2gFBVeS8&t=328s
    .
    This is Gota yesterday, Ii is now 8.00 am. I saw both the article, and the video more than twelve hours ago. When abroad, Gota utters silly platitudes in which he offers all that foreigners want. Here, he bares his teeth.
    .
    I was waiting outside my gate for the Malay man to return with his bakery products. Spoke to two SLPP stalwarts. They had heard this, and approved. The CORONA, not Gota’s fault. The fertiliser, the LNG, Gnanasara – well Gota will do “something” and all will be right.
    .
    Is Simon, above, right when he says that we will be walking into/b> Gota’s trap by supporting a strike? I no longer work. Perhaps, but we have to face up to the truth that by committing to oppose the regime, some of us are signing our personal death warrants.
    .
    Even in CT responses to all articles, I don’t see comments that face up to the grim reality.
    .
    Panini Edirisinhe
    of Bandarawela

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