25 September, 2023


Will Applause Turn To Votes?

By Sarath de Alwis

Sarath de Alwis

Sarath de Alwis

It is not the consciousness of men that determine their being, but, on the contrary, their social being that determines their consciousness.” – Karl Marx

Anura Kumara Dissanayake received several rounds of applause from the Business Community gathered in the ‘Rainbow hall’ of the Grand Oriental Hotel on Monday 27th July. Having retired from the humdrum of Business and Commerce eighteen years ago, this writer cannot comment on the quality of the composition of the audience – whether they were captains or lieutenants of our private sector. The presence of two brothers s who converted a family business in to dynamic blue chip conglomerate under Post JR neo liberal economic order was confirmation that comrade Anura Kumara and the JVP has a respectable resonance in the world of private enterprise. He did not actually use the Latin adage “Ex scientia pecuniae libertas. Out of knowledge of money comes freedom.”

That is what he promised the business community. But the money had to be redistributed. He ruled out vertical redistribution. We don’t wish to take from the rich and give to the poor. In a succinct presentation of the economics of a caring state he explained that substantially high investments in education, health, transport and related spheres would ensure horizontal redistribution and social justice. The next incisive observation was that the private sector was now investing by instinct and not by informed decision. “Now you sniff for opportunities and gamble with your seed capital”. A JVP government will identify opportunities within the larger frame of national priorities, conduct the initial studies and allow the private sector to work out the rest.

Anura KumaraHe cited an example of how the JVP during its brief stint in office launched a national drive to increase milk production and also found productive employment for more than four hundred graduates in Veterinary Science who were in search of employment.

The JVP invitation to the Business community was to share their vision. It was further amplified as ‘The awakening of a nation’s conscience’.

Anura Kumara Dissanayake has a confident grasp of details, an exceptional ability to recite statistics and a disarming style of delivery that commands attention. He also has an ability of presenting his prognosis with a sense of shared values.

“Do you seriously believe that our affairs are decided by a cabinet of Ministers? Under Chandrika it was herself, Mano Tittewella, Tara de Mel and Balapatbendi. Under Mahinda it was himself, Gotabaya, Basil and Lalith Weeratunga. Unde Ranil it was himself, Malik Samarawickrama , Charitha Ratwatte and Arjun Mahendran.”

The indictment came with an effortless nonchalance that made almost the entire audience nod in agreement.

‘The JVP had no interest in Business. Politics was their only business. That was not the case of the UNP or SLFP led governments. Their members were in politics as well as business. When setting policy, they were guided more by their self-interest than by national interest. ‘

Stressing the need for an assertive policy to increase our share of world trade, he reminded the Business community that migrant workers by remitting more than US Dollars Six Billion per annum while our share of world trade has continued its downward slide over the last ten years.

‘Human resource development is pivotal to our development strategy. The pursuit of deleterious and defective economic strategies for seven decades since 1948 has deprived us of the economic triumphs that should have been ours in the region as well as the world.

The world has evolved to an unprecedented level of technological sophistication in producing goods and services. In providing goods and services to markets, domestic or global, Sri Lanka needs to possess the technicians and professionals who can match the demands of the global benchmarks in the new knowledge centric economy.

Our children, our youth and our work force constitute our greatest and the only renewable asset.

Developing our systems of education, health, sports, vocational training and scientific research are imperatives that promise enormous returns on investment.

The JVP leader defined the respective roles of the Government and private entrepreneurship. Providing direction, incentive and required infrastructure was the responsibility of the state. It was not the remit of the government to run the business or to get mired in the nitty-gritty of commerce.

He received several rounds of enthusiastic applause which awakened this writer’s deep and abiding contempt for what we call the private sector. How much of that applause would translate in to votes? Not many. When morality is pitted against profit, the defeat of morality is almost assured.

Progress is our constant search for Utopias. In the ‘Sole of Man under socialism’ Oscar Wilde wrote “A map of the world that does not include Utopia is not worth even glance at, for it leaves out the one country at which Humanity is always landing. And when Humanity lands there, it looks out, and seeing a better country, sets sail.”

The JVP is now on a course to become the main player in opposition politics. It can succeed in this task if it opens itself to other forms of critical thought, Anura Kumara Dissnayake said as much when announcing that the JVP would reconstruct itself by obtaining other insights. The presence of the former Auditor General Sarath Chandrasiri Mayadunne on the National List is evidence in that direction.

Moral arguments don’t win elections. The JVP with its policy statement demands to be the party that governs the governing party. If you don’t want us to form the next government, make us the vibrant opposition that past parliaments sorely missed.

The Business class does business with the party in power. It has the time and the patience to listen to the JVP until Election Day. Then it will be back to business as usual for the Business community of Sri Lanka. Prominent absentees at the event were the new oligarchs whose hold on the traditional political class is not under imminent threat.

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Latest comments

  • 14

    That’s true, he has amazing memory od statistics. He can ingeniously point out the decade long corruption of MaRa family.
    It was very interesting how the ”right path” worked betweeb Gota and Shangrilla Group after paying the hefty commission and it is no more a secret. The secret still is how much Gota got from this deal:) ?????

    • 5

      Haven’t you learnt yet, Einstein that repeating a charge maliciously, without any evidence, is not going to help hide the [Edited out] Ranil’s and Karunka’s thievery?

      Gota aand Shangrila and Basil and [Edited out], and Namal’s Lambroghinis, and none of the other charges have resulted in any meaningful action. Fools like you keep repeating them.

      Get a life.

      • 3

        You are obviously the same stooge mouthing the same platitudes defensive of your paymasters as you do under the rest of your pseudonyms.
        EVEN YOUR “LEADER” ADMITTED TO MASSIVE CORRUPTION (AND WORSE) UNDER HIS WATCH and you have the nerve to say what you do.

        CT insults our intelligence by even publishing your sycophantic rantings!

        • 2

          You and intelligence in the same sentence?

          You must mean spying! Because you don’t have brain intelligence.

  • 10

    JVP voted to the failed budget in 2006, seated Old King’s henchmen back on the power, only to make Ranil’s Right Wing politics not to come back to power. Ultra Lunatics JVP is now being everything?

    The policy-less terrorist could have boycott the last election to raise a point and set a policy to themselves. They wanted Ranil to be stopped. So, when New King came to the race, they supported him. Any policy was behind support a war criminal, cheating defense minister who accepted his health ministry in the country was the most corrupted ministry. Why JVP supported him knowingly? Only to stick to lunatic, biased left. Now the New King, who has not taken any action not just against the party heroes like Old King, not even like party Pariah like Mervin Silva, Dumintha Silva…., now has taken action of sacking 5 ministers because they rebelled against the Old King.

    The truth is Ranil, Anurakumara, old King, New King all are original Sinhala Intellectuals, number one frauds, working together under secret pact to keep the country under their hands to milk maximum. None of them will never, ever do any sincere politics.

    • 2

      Interesting comment. Should be open for public debate.

      Comments, any one?

    • 3

      Interesting observations. The JVP is on record, again, saying their backing of the old king was a mistake. It takes courage, for one to say, I made a mistake. For them, their enemies ( UNP ), enemy ( Old king ), was their friend. Then, they realized, they/us were all screwed. For now, the only buggers talking sense in the South is the JVP. My view, a TNA and JVP presence in parliament, will hold whoever the Govt’s feet to the fire.
      Now that is good for our maligned democracy, no ?

  • 8

    “Will Applause Turn To Votes” – This was the question (in a different form but meaning the same) put to a JVP representative (Mr. Samarasinghe from Anuradhapura) who appeared in a programme titled “SATANA” by Sirasa TV aired yesterday (27th). In my opinion he gave a good explanation. He said: The people, for the last sixty years were “LED” by the politicians who “enticed” them with “promises” to get into power and because of the “hurried desire” to fulfill their aspirations got caught into a trap. But over the years, with the “changes” that took place and taking place, people, especially the “YOUNG” who are more “information literate” are listening to them (JVP) and a DESIRE to CHANGE is very visible and taking place. So, I believe, not the “APPLAUSE”, but the “ENTHUSIASM TO CHANGE” the course is taking place and we will see that change on 17 August.

    Mr. De Alwis, you say : ” JVP is now on a course to become the main player in opposition politics”. This was the initial mistaken course taken by JVP. They always had a “Opposition” role except for short stints of “backings” and “supporting” roles played with the then Governments. That too did not “favour” them at all and did not bring any tangible change to the opinion of the people. If still they continue to “play” this role of “Opposition”, I do not think there is going to be any “change” in the future for them. They must be “conscious” of the criticism and the questioning, as done in that “SATANA” programme on 27th “you are good in “Opposing” and “Criticisms” and people are admiring you for that; but why people are not VOTING you? So by being to be pushed to be in the Opposition, do you or JVP think they can prove to be of any use to the people. If you have read my comments on this matter, I have time and again stressed this fact.

    However, I have seen a change in their stance. They now say: Give us an opportunity to show our capacity and competency to govern according to our Manifesto and Programme presented to you. If not let us “Govern” the “Governing”. That I feel is a better approach and people will listen.

    • 3

      Good points Douglas.

  • 3

    A brief yet great speech of Anura Kumara, exquisitely presented by Mr. Alwis. Let such thinking pave the way to plumb new ground afresh.

    It is morality that finally wins. 1971, 1989 and 2009 defeats illustrate.

  • 0

    The correspondence course from Singapore seems to be as good as Batalanda Ranil’s one month Crash Course in Washington..

    JVP might as well get the applause and the blessings of these Captains, because the Dalits wouldn’t have a bar of them this time..

    What about the consciousness of Women ?.

    I am disappointed…

  • 3

    The New JVP should be commended for keeping the monks at a distance. It is disgusting to see politicians make use of monks and these egotistical men basking in the limelight merely on account of their yellow robes. The JVP is the only modern party in Sri Lanka. A shame that they won’t be elected to govern the country.

  • 0

    Do not overestimate AKD for his ability to remember statistics and other facts. On several occasions I have noticed him making silly goof ups.

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