Revolution in South Asia

An Internationalist Info Project

Sri Lanka: Common Left Manifesto for 2010 Presidential Election

Posted by Ka Frank on January 2, 2010

President Rajapakse and his generals

This article was posted on the website of the Gandhi Unity-Progress Party on December 26, 2009.

Common Left Manifesto for Freedom, Democracy and Self-Rule.  We All Support Dr. Bahu [Dr. Vickramabahu Karunaratne], NSSP!! Presented for the 2010 Presidential Election

Beloved People of Lanka,

Let us not be pawns in the deadly game of chess played by the two equally blood-drenched, chauvinist representative of Global Capitalism: So, once again, at the cost of some Rs 12 billion of public funds, we have to face a Presidential election. Two equally bloody, corrupt and parasitic Capitalist Alliances have come forward for the contest, represented by Mahinda Rajapakse and Sarath Fonseka.

This Presidential campaign is going to be a bitter and deadly fight between two equally reactionary camps of the ruling class as to who is going to feast on the blood of the Tamil nation, and that of the proletariat and all exploited and all oppressed classes and nationalities and communities, and exercise chauvinist oppressive dictatorship over the people. Let us not become mere pawns in a deadly game of chess played by two rival camps of the very same Capitalist ruling class.

Let us hold this State and this ruling class accountable for the crimes willfully committed against the people and against humanity. Let us do so as a basis to mobilize mass protest and agitation against the prevailing Capitalist political order which represents the interests of global Capitalism, by building resistance and revolutionary struggle to defeat the militarist-chauvinist agenda represented by both ruling class candidates.

Freedom for all Detainees corralled in Concentration Camps and Political Prisoners: Rescind Emergency Regulations, The Prevention of Terrorism Act and all Draconian Legislation: Dismantle the Unitary State: Self Rule to all Nationalities:

The continued incarceration of some 200,000 internally displaced Tamil persons in concentration camps in the North, including elderly, children, wounded, sick and pregnant women, under pitiful sub-human conditions, is a damned indictment of the prevailing neo-colonial Capitalist State and political order. Along with the gross criminal violations of human rights committed during the war, these violations constitute continued crimes against humanity.

Who is to be held accountable for the horrible massacre of seventeen humanitarian aid workers, the murder of five Tamil students, the assassination of Hon. Joseph Pararajasingham, Hon Raviraj, Mr. Lasantha Wickrematunga and others? Along with these abominable crimes, is the crime of keeping some 12,000 political prisoners in various detention camps and prisons, against whom no legal charges have been filed. Some have languished in these dungeons for over a decade. In this context of the willful defiling of our collective dignity and humanity, we demand the immediate and unconditional release of all detainees and political prisoners. Until such time that these internally displaced detainees are released, their supervision and management should be undertaken by their own representatives. In order that they may be resettled in the original areas of habitation and enjoy the right to life, the military regime in these areas, along with all high security zones, should be dismantled, and the armed forces withdrawn.

We demand that Emergency Regulations and the Prevention of Terrorism Act and all such draconian fascist legislation be rescinded. We demand the dismantling of the Sinhala supremacist Comprador Capitalist state, which functions as an agent of Global Capital, as a basis for granting the democratic freedom of the exploited and oppressed masses, including the right of national self-determination of the Tamil nation cohabiting in the North-East so it may enjoy its right to live with dignity, equality, autonomy, security and democratic freedom, equally with that of the Hill Country Malayaga Tamil nationality, the Moslem nationality and all other ethnic-religious communities.

Abolition of the Executive Presidency: End to the pillage of National Capital and the plunder of Natural Resources and violation of People’s Sovereignty: For a State that respects People’s Sovereignty based on Sharing power on the Principle of Self-Rule:

Former president J R Jayewardene brought in the executive presidency to serve a particular agenda. The open economic policy needed such a strong political head. If the Multi National Corporation (MNC) system is to come in and play the important central role expected of them, it was necessary to give all the facilities requested by them. Thus it was introduced as an instrument to support the MNC system. When they need any agreement either economic or security or any other it will be easy to go through an executive head, with the ministries of Defense and Finance than through parliament with all the obstacles of transparency and criticism. Information will be confined to secretaries and advisers to the president and decisions can be arrived at, without delay.

So it was brought in to facilitate international moneylenders and plunderers of global capitalism. Global capitalism is the modern version of imperialism. It integrates the entire MNC system with the IMF, WB and the WTO as management organs. We explained all that in Feb. 4, 1978 and Bahu was locked up in prison for that. Now everyone is clamoring for the removal of this tree of vultures, but once they get elected they hold on to it not necessarily due to the greed for power, but because of international pressure of the global masters.

Replace the Strategies of Global Capitalism that bring destruction to domestic production of food and commodities, and unemployment, poverty and disease, with a human centered, ecologically sustainable Path of Development.

Today, the global capitalist system is in disarray facing an acute economic crisis. All attempts to put the system into order have not been sufficient so far. Still to come is a food crisis that could put a large part of humanity into hunger and death. There is an energy crisis and a threat to the global environment so it is vital for us to seriously consider developing our food production, particularly paddy, fish and milk. If we do not turn towards a nature oriented, environmentalist approach we may be too late.

In every continent, people’s forces are rising up in resistance and revolution against the system desiring freedom, democracy and self-rule. We too must honor our proletarian internationalist responsibilities. In this decisive conjuncture, let us join forces with the people of the world and rise to the stage of history.

In the past three decades, the so-called development projects were responsible for the insurrections both in Sinhala and Tamil rural areas. Because it created poverty and alienation while rich became richer. While local industrialist and producer were marginalized a large section of the population was thrown out as human dust unconnected to the system. The plight of women and children, particularly in slums and in rural areas became most miserable. Patriarchy combined with militarization and the rise of under world reduced most women to the level of domestic slaves. Struggle of youth and the proletariat was used to intensify the repression in all sectors. The media repression was so bad many media people ran away from the country to escape death.

But the world tendency is against this global system working on the imperative of super profit. The global capitalist system based on unbridled search of super profit should be displaced. This should be done on the basis of giving priority to meeting the basic needs of the people through a system of collective property shared by workers ,peasants and all oppressed people, where their revolutionary unity, solidarity and liberation shall be secured.

Here, we should address the needs and aspirations of progressive forces who find inspiration and sustenance from the Tri-Pitakaya, Bhagwath Gita, the Bible and the Quran.

Freedom from Poverty, Indebtedness, Unemployment, Degradation: End to Corruption, Fraud, Plunder of Resources and National Capital: Basic Daily Wage of Rsw 500/=. Minimum Monthly Salary of Rs. 15,000/=, A Vocation and Livelihood for All!

While denying the vast majority of toiling, suffering people of their right to a life free of poverty, indebtedness, misery and degradation, the ruling class used the open economy to amass vast fortunes, build empires of private profit and plunder, and to waste public funds, through naked corruption. The Collective Agreement relating to the Plantation workers, which has split the workers movement and betrayed their interests, is a good example of bondages crated. It should be torn up. A minimum basic daily wage of Rs 500 for all plantation workers with the minimum wage in all sectors at Rs15000 per month should be established with an increase in wages/salaries of all government and private sector workers in accordance with the present Cost of Living Index.

The just grievances of workers, graduates and students should be addressed democratically and with justice, as opposed to erecting barricades, baton charging, showering tear gas, arresting and violently suppressing their human and democratic rights. This regime is on trial for unleashing the very same armed forces that brutally decimated the Tamil uprising and its leadership, against the predominantly Sinhala workers, students, graduates and other oppressed masses. So much for the ‘patriotism’ of these chauvinist candidates.

Towards a World without Domination, Exploitation, Repression and War!

How can there be democracy in a land, which is kept divided by nationality and religion? Even now, the two agents of the global system, Mahinda and Sarath, clamor for democracy without any hint of pulling the masses together in national unity. Both worked together to crush the Tamil uprising that was waged ferociously to defend the autonomy of their people. Both were singing and dancing with their masters about the victory until the workers started the battle in the work places. The strikes pushed them in to a fresh debate and they emerged as a two headed serpent to face the people. Yes, we lost in both insurrections but we beat them back in the trade union battle.

Now they have come out in a presidential election united in policy but divided in camouflage. Let us get together and give a real blow to both of them, and move forward for a united Lanka to face the dictates of global capital. Let us build the strength to raise our vision of a world without domination, exploitation, oppression and WAR! Let us unite our forces across divided boundaries. Let us march forward towards a people’s democratic state governed by People’s Assemblies representing the workers, peasants and all oppressed classes, nationalities and communities. This shall embody the unity and solidarity of- North-East-South-and Hill Country in the form of a People’s Republic of Lanka that shall enshrine Freedom and Democracy.

Rev. Yohan Devananda

Linus Jayathilake – Left Front

Surendra Ajith Rupasinghe – Ceylon Communist Party (Maoist)

Chandrapala Kumarage(Attorney at law)

Sama Samaja Alternative Group

Sajith Sri Lakmal – United Workers Party

7 Responses to “Sri Lanka: Common Left Manifesto for 2010 Presidential Election”

  1. Shiva said

    Firstly, the list is one of individuals and dummy organisations and does not represent even a fraction of the old non-government left, let alone the left as a whole.
    The left Front is another name for the Nava Sama Samaja Party.
    The Ceylon Communist Party (Maoist) has ceased to exist after a scandal concerning Surendra Ajith Rupasinghe (brother of the ‘renowned’ NGO supremo Kumar Rupasinghe) who now holds on to the name board mch in the style of VB Karunaratne who did the same after wrecking the New Left Front (an alliance of 3 left parties and 3 groups) a decade ago.
    The United Worker’s Party is fielding its own candidate. And the Sama Samaja Alternative Group is no party.
    The New Democratic Party which has consistently called for an alliance of the left and progressive minority nationality organisations proposed a common candidate of the three nationalities (Tamil, Muslim and Hill Country Tamil) and the genuine left.
    With no regard for the call, which offered several advantages to the oppressed nationalities and people, including the prospect of creating a constitutional crisis by preventing any candidate from securing 50% of the valid votes as well as a basis for a new start on the struggle against national oppression and imperialist globalisation as well as the impending fascist threat, we have three Trotskyite parties who have jumped into the field with no consultation with potential allis.
    Even now it is not too late for at least two of the three Trotskyite parties to join with a Tamil and at least one Muslim candidate and present a common programme. They could name one of them as the candidate or even agree to campaign together by asking people to vote for any of the group, based on the common programme.
    The Tamil candidate Sivajilingam has exposed himself as one put in to deflect potential Tamil votes away from the ‘General’. The newly found bond between VBK and S has raised more than a political eyebrow.
    Such is the tragedy of the left in the South.
    It is against this background that the Marxist Lenist New-Democratic Party caled for spoiling the ballot papers. Please see statement reproduced on the Radicalnotes website
    http://radicalnotes.com/journal/index.php?s=New+Democratic+Party
    and comments.
    The All Ceylon Tamil Congress (once close to VBK) has called for a boyott.
    There is more than meets the eye in the revolutionary slogans of opportunists.

  2. Ka Frank said

    Here’s an article on fraud in the election by the Common Left Platform candidate:

    People have been effectively disenfranchised

    Dr Vickramabahu Karunaratne

    (February 07, Colombo, Sri Lanka Guardian) It was reported that the Common Left Platform, consisting of presidential candidates Dr. Vickramabahu Karunaratne, leader of the Left Front and independent candidate K. Sivajilingam, and supported by the Ceylon Communist Party (Maoist), the Socialist Party, the United Workers Party, The Lanka Sama Samaja Party (Alternative Group) and Rev. Fr. Yohan Devananda, expressed their deep concern regarding the recently held presidential election, which was concluded on January 26, 2010. While they were concerned over election and the final results, they also expressed their dissatisfaction over the results announced with respect to their own performances.

    Here too, they believed that the official results do not present a correct representation of votes they had received. These observations, combined with the environment and practices related to the announcement of results and statements made by the Elections Commissioner and Sarath Fonseka, compelled them to conclude that this presidential election and official results do not represent a democratic popular verdict, of a free and fair election. In the interest of clearing any doubts which bear decisively on the legitimacy of the entire democratic process and the regime and the state itself, they urged that the Elections Commissioner provide the mechanism for addressing these concerns by initiating a process of dialogue and inquiry with the presidential candidates, who feel that they have been victimized. Furthermore, they said that only an open process of sharing concern and a commitment to seeking the facts of the case and establishing the sovereignty of the people without fear or favour, can restore legitimacy and confidence in the institutions of governance.

    House arrest

    Clearly this was anything but a free and fair election. The results do not represent the sovereign, conscious political will of the people. In order to establish whether this was a free and fair election, one is obligated to penetrate beyond formal observations. May be one is not able to attest as to whether there was wholesale rigging. However, two events cry for attention. First, a statement was addressed to the Elections Commissioner at the time of counting by Sarath Fonseka alleging that he is under ‘house arrest’ and that his life and freedom was under threat, based on allegations that he is a traitor involved in an international conspiracy. He had requested that the Commissioner should secure his safety and freedom; and inturn the continuity of his monitoring of the counting process. Subsequently, Sarath Fonseka stated that he did not accept the election, both the process and the outcome, where there had been gross violation of laws related to the conduct of elections. . He claimed that the election results had been manipulated and that he does not accept the official verdict. Secondly, the Commissioner himself appeared on television to state that he is going to resign once this round of duties was over, and that in several cases the officers in charge of polling booths had been abused, threatened and driven away by certain political forces. He even stated that he worked under stress with his life at stake. Clearly, this admission raises a very serious concern as to the conduct of the election and on the final results arrived at. In effect his speech made the result given by him null and void. The presidential election laws are so tight, that the commissioner has no option, but to come out with the final result, irrespective of his sense of justice. Hence he did not call for an impartial inquiry and seek a re-election. Instead, he went on, without any further ado, to declare that Mahinda Rajapaksa as the duly elected president on the basis that he has received 58% of the popular vote. This is a sheer travesty of justice and fair play. The true facts will no doubt emerge. If there has been any attempt to distort and misrepresent the people’s verdict, it would be a serious and damning crime against democracy. The people will not tolerate such a violation of their sovereignty. In any case, the peoples’ faith in democracy and the legitimacy of the system has been severely eroded.

    Fraud

    The fact is that the election was a fraud from the very beginning. There was brazen and wholesale violation of election laws prior to and leading up to the day of election. These violations included gross and overwhelming abuse of state resources, including state media, the deployment of the police and armed forces and violent intimidation, abduction and suppression of free expression of views carried out under state patronage. The entire state apparatus was unleashed against the opposition. These violations had been identified by the Elections Commissioner himself.

    These serious and fundamental concerns are shared by the Common Left Platform and the electoral alliance led by Sarath Fonseka, and by millions of citizens, who feel they have been disenfranchised. As the legal remedy to this sorry state is distant and unclear, the opposition has no other choice but to appeal to the people to rise in defence of their inviolable sovereignty.

  3. Shiva said

    There is no doubt that the election was a fraud right from the outset. But I will extend the term to cover not just to the process, but also to the two main candidates, one supported by India ans the other by the US, and also other candidates.

    All manner of election laws were observed in the breach in the provincial coucil elections held in 2008-2009. Nothing that happened subsequently should have surprised any.
    Yet the margin of victory is far too wide to be explained in terms of election day fraud.
    But the abuse of state resources as well as the role of the media, let alone the shameful conduct of the state media, from day one contributed to the victory.
    Also Rajapakse got the better of Fonseka by interpreting the unqualified support given to the latter by the TNA.

    Dr Karunaratne has announced yet another left body, and could soon run out of names for his platforms.
    Interestingly on his Common Left Platform there is Sivajilingam, who after running round with Tamilnadu reactionaries like Gopalasamy & Nedumaran was unashamedly hobnobbing with the BJP and even prescribing a ‘Hindu’ platform for the Tamil struggle only days before he was allowed to return to Sri Lanka, a feat which evaded three of his TNA parliamentary colleagues who had been less vociferous than him in their support for the LTTE.
    Well, for a person who has had as opportunist allies the JVP (who took him for a big ride not one but twice not long after they went for his life in 1989), the Tamil Congress, Mano Ganesan (a partner of the UNP now), Sampanthan (the most conservative person in the TNA) to name a few, this is only a minor matter.

    Of the other organisations that are listed, the Ceylon Communist Party (Maoist) has ceased to function since 2007. The brother of the ‘uncrowned king of the NGOs’ in Sri Lanka is using that name for dubious purposes. The other organisations are fragments with no political base.

    The remarkable thing about the peformance of the three Trotskyite candidates is that together they polled less than 20,000 votes out of over 10,000,000 votes cast. Even the number of ballot papers spoilt exceeded the Trotskyite tally by a factor of five.
    This tells us where they stand, especially with one of them polling over 30,000 in the presidential election of 2005.

  4. Ka Frank said

    Shiva, Thanks for the information about the left movement in Sri Lanka, which most revolutionaries in the US know little about. Three questions:

    Which candidate was supported by the US, which by India? Why was there this split between the US and India at a time when they are drawing closer together?

    Do you know anything about the circumstances of the CCP Maoist ceasing to function in 2007. A group has been putting out statements usually signed by Surendra. They also have a journal Thousand Flowers.

    With the destruction of the LTTE and just about all its leadership, what do you think will take its place? A reformed LTTE, or a new formation?

  5. Shiva said

    Dear Ka Frank
    Thanks for the repsonse.
    Sarath Fonseka is widely believed to be backed by the US, and there is good reson to believe so. For a start, the man who was expected to be questioned about HR violations when he visited the US after the war. He was not questioned but had some undisclosed discusions, and was invited to meet the US ambassador to Sri Lanka on the announcement of his candidature.
    The response to his arrest from the Western bloc and India are most revealing.

    The proximity between India and Rajapahse is well known. Some months before the election there was a coup alert, which proved to be a false alarm, and the source still not known to the public. But the Indian High Commissioner rushed to the rescue of the threatened president.

    The CCP(Maoist) was not a party that functioned among the people, especially after the demise of Sanmugathasan, whom all Marxist Leninists highly respect despite differences.
    There was a small group of activists who occassionally issued statements, maintained links with an international group including the Nepali and Indian Maoist parties, among a few others. That group collapsed after some regrettable acrimony between the Nepali and Indian Maoists.
    Mr Rupasinghe who was the leader of the group was challenged over some financial irregulaties by colleagues in the leadership in 2007 or so.
    According to some of the members, whom I personally know, the organisation is not functioning since.
    Recently, following a statement in support of Karunaratne, a letter to the editor was published in a popular Tamil daily about the authenticity of the statement which appeared in that paper. To date there is no response.

    I wish nothing takes the ‘place of the LTTE’. The Tamil people cannot afford another authoritarian nationalist outfit.
    The only positive thing about the LTTE was that id defended the people against state brutality. But it was not a mass movement. It was not anti-imperialist. It did not believe in a role for the masses except to accept its commands.
    The LTTE cadres cannot, however, be denounced for the errors of the LTTE leadership, which was itself misled by the reactionary elite among the Tamil diaspora.

    What is needed now is a mass movement for the right to self determination of all three Tamil speaking nationalities (Tamils, Muslims and Hill Country Tamils) as welll as democratic and fundamental rights, and willing to join hands with the progressive forces among Sinhalese in an anti-imperialist, anti-hegemonist liberation struggle.

    If you wish I could refer you to further writings on the matter.

  6. Ka Frank said

    Many readers would be interested in a list of writings about Sri Lankan society, the Tamil national question, the history of communist and revolutionary movements/ groups in SL, and other important questions.

  7. Shiva said

    There is a lot written on the subjects from various perspectives.
    It is not possible for me to give a comprehensive list here.
    What I will try to do some time in the future will be to point to some sources with their political identities indicated.
    I have written a few articles in the Radical Notes website and the MLINT internet journal.
    A long essay published by Radical Notes in 2007 was edited and published as a book in 2008 December by Aakar books, Delhi.

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