From Sri Lanka’s Communists: Triumphant Reaction, Its Ideas & Global Context
Posted by Mike E on January 25, 2011
Following are excerpts from two articles, “Global Politics and the Sri Lankan Trajectory” and “A Contribution to the Debate between Rajpal Abeynayake and Malinda Senevirathne on the Role of the Moral Police,” submitted by Surendra Rupasinghe, Secretary of the Ceylon Communist Party (Maoist).
These selections focus on the interrelationship on the one hand between the political and economic situation in Sri Lanka and international developments, and on the other the relationship between all this and a campaign being waged in the ideological sphere by the regime of President and Commander-in Chief Mahinda Rajapaksa, who has acquired enormous political power in the wake of the defeat of the Tamil Tigers (LTTE).
Thanks to the A World to Win News Service for sending these excerpts to Kasama for posting.
Sri Lanka: the global context and ideology of a triumphant regime
The imperatives and the options of the Sri Lankan regime have to be identified within the logic of motion of the global political-economic-strategic order.
The present regime is trying to optimise the range of its policy options within the context of dramatic changes in the global political-economic-strategic order. The undisputed hegemony exercised by the U.S. as the sole superpower has entered into a new spiral of crisis.
U.S. hegemony is being challenged by new and rising global alliances and floating coalitions, particularly the Shanghai Cooperation Organization, which links Russia with China, along with a host of countries. Sri Lanka enjoys observer status within this global configuration. There is an emerging global polarization between a bloc of powers led by the U.S. countered by Russia, where China and India play a decisive role. These movements are in constant motion and change, and they have not coalesced into hardened rival blocs. There is both contention and collusion, both unity and struggle between all these powers in their effort to gain decisive strategic advantage over all others.
A strategic balancing act
The Sri Lankan regime is trying to optimize its strategic options by exploiting this rivalry and contention between the various emerging power centres and blocs. Even as it bends towards Russia, China, Iran, Venezuela and Brazil, it conforms to the needs and dictates of the U.S., Japan and the West, and capitulates to the World Bank, the IMF and the Asian Development Bank. Even as it leans heavily on China, it takes great care to placate India by offering it also a juicy slice of the strategic pie. It profiles a pro-Iranian stance, while having entered into a military agreement with the U.S. Even as it declares solidarity with Palestine, it relies on Israel and its Mossad for military and strategic assistance. The regime exploits these contradictions and contentions based on the growing strategic importance of the island with respect to accessing and controlling the vital sea lanes of the Indian Ocean.
Role of regional and international players
The growing linkages being built up with China will, no doubt, exert pressure in deciding the future trajectory for Sri Lanka. China has afforded a line of credit to the tune of $3.4 billion. This is financing critical mega-projects, including the Hambantota harbour and the coal power plant in Puttalam – both of which are under way. The Hambantota harbour will be of immense value to China commercially. But, more importantly, this project opens up a strategic gateway for China to gain access to the vital Indian Ocean sea-lanes which contain traffic of some 70,000 ships a year, and to further penetrate the economic, political and strategic lifelines of Sri Lanka and Asia. This project is a vital part of the Chinese projection of Asiatic and global power.
This is why both India, the U.S.-Western bloc and Japan, are all in jitters and are making their counter-moves. India too is reaping benefits, economically, politically and strategically. India has offered lines of credit to finance railway reconstruction in the North ($800 million), a 500 MG thermal power plant in Trincomalee ($200 million), immediate relief, resettlement and reconstruction in the North-East ($110 million), housing construction in the North, East and Central Provinces ($220 million) and reconstruction of the Palaly airport and the Kankasanthurai harbour. India is to open up Consulate General offices in Jaffna and Hambantota. There is agreement to link up electricity grids in the two countries and to resume ferry services from between Colombo and Tuticorin and between Talaimannar and Ramesweram, alongside a bi-lateral trade agreement that is being drafted.
The U.S. and the European Union, along with the UN in the forefront, are trying to cajole the Sri Lankan regime by raising the issue of human rights, including war crimes, as a way of exerting pressure on the regime to link up more solidly with their own structures of global strategic design and political economy. The issue of war crimes has been taken up not for the love of humanity, but to mainly seize a stranglehold on the regime, to placate the Tamil diaspora and appear as defenders of human rights. The whole issue will be elegantly dropped, once Mahinda Rajapakse falls in line. So will the “Lessons Learnt and Reconciliation Commission” also promoted by the U.S.
Let us not forget that all these international and regional powers – the US, EU, Japan, Russia, China, India and Pakistan and others – assisted the regime to wage war against the LTTE and the Tamil national liberation movement it represented. They gave critical assistance and support – politically, economically, diplomatically and militarily – without which such a devastating and decisive military solution would not have been possible. They are all also responsible for whatever war crimes and other violations of human rights that occurred, and for the continuing humanitarian catastrophe, along with the consolidation of a Sinhala-Buddhist hegemonic state. The point is that all these powers identified a clear strategic interest in backing the regime, which the regime is trying to balance and exploit.
At the same time, despite the balancing act carried out by the regime, it is moving steadily into a strategic dilemma or quagmire. Whom to rely on? Which way to turn? The intensifying crisis of global capitalism, along with its consequent intensification of rivalry and contention among all the various imperialist and rising global powers, will eventually compel the regime to make its irrevocable choice as to whom to decisively capitulate.
Realities and trajectories of the regime
Not a healthy, nor viable, trajectory. For the sake of its survival, the regime must infuse a massive, accelerated flow of foreign investment in order to generate and sustain a given, viable and rapid rate of development, however lop-sided, distorted, vulnerable and dependent that development might be. Without the injection and infusion of such a logic and dynamic, the whole system, and the political economy it sustains, is bound to jump gear and head for a crash, along with the regime. This logic and flow is absolutely and urgently necessary to pay off staggering debts, oil the ideological and repressive apparatus of the State, rake in fat commissions and profits and amass new fortunes, keep the train of loyal lackeys, ministers, advisers, bureaucrats and contractors happy, and to keep the masses at bay by throwing some crumbs along the way. The regime must come up with lucrative mega-projects that will allow the multi-national predators to make a fulfilling kill, so as to enthral the masses with the illusion of soaring prosperity, even as they are ground to dust to pay the cost of the skyscrapers. So, mega-projects must lead development.
In the meantime, opposition and resistance will intensify and break through the barricades of repression, once the people begin to understand the source of their poverty, misery and degradation and begin to regain and organize the struggle for their freedom. In the face of this, the regime must exercise political-ideological hegemony over all of society in order to consolidate undisputed political authority, security and stability. It must impose and police its moral code, based on the new Dharma, as propounded by the new religious authorities of the state. Politically and strategically, to stem mass resistance and rebellion, the regime must continuously rely on mobilizing a solid, hard-core, chauvinist political-ideological base. For this purpose, it must continuously mobilize dominant nation chauvinism in the name of patriotism, identified as the “Defence of the Land, Race, Language and Religion”, equated as the “Defence of the Motherland”. It must advance the banner of the undisputed supremacy of the Sinhala-Buddhist nation, in order to persistently mobilize its political-ideological vanguard and harness the hearts and minds of the oppressed Sinhala masses.
For these reasons, the regime cannot afford to address the burning need for a democratic political solution to the Tamil nation, nor address the national-democratic rights of the Muslim and the Hill Country Malayaga Tamil nationalities, nor still protect the rights of the various ethnic-religious communities. It must suppress and control all thought, feeling and action of the masses, lest they see the light of day. It must strive to keep the masses in utter ignorance, divided and deluded. The regime must conjure dreams and fantasies of mega-cities carved from out of the sea, while it lets the hundreds of thousand dispossessed and deprived victims of war suffer in hell. It must exercise an iron dictatorship over society in order to insist and command that the people shall endure all suffering, all indignities, all atrocities, all evil violations for the sake of perpetuating the regime. The logic and trajectory of the regime, and of Sri Lanka, is towards consolidating a military-police state, ruled by a crony, comprador-capitalist, dynastic oligarchy, out to enhance and perpetuate its power and privilege at whatever cost.
The moral police
There is a moral police being unleashed to police intimate, personal relations and sexual practices in order to enforce a culture of conformity, through instilling fear and subordination. Beyond that, there is a trend towards enforcing a puritanical political culture over society, under the banner of “advancing the cause of the Sinhala-Buddhist nation”.
The reality of a moral police is no bogey. The fact is that the role of a moral police is integrally linked with a broader agenda of corralling, controlling and suppressing any form of resistance to the status quo. It is an integral part of a political-ideological-military strategy to rope in the people to believe in, and abide by, a given doctrinal religion, with its own intrinsic truths, laws and principles, that shall override any earthly law or constitution. A new doctrinal religion, infused by an all-consuming patriotism that will serve to legitimize and justify any and all crimes against humanity and against the people, as part of the sacred project to “liberate the motherland” from terrorists and traitors.
As a necessary part of this program and strategy of suppression, this doctrinal religion will reinforce patriarchy and imbibe obedience and subservience to (male) authority. It will nurture faith in supernatural beings and promote superstition and ritual. It will nourish faith in a karmic destiny, where you shall be bound to repent and pay for your past accumulated sins. It will identify the destiny of the family, the village, the town, city and the country, the people and all civilized life with the liberating role of the Supreme Benevolent Patriarch. The role of the moral police is to extend and strengthen the grip of the state and the regime in creating and maintaining such a subordinate, servile and slavish population under its supreme political, ideological and moral command.
This political agenda cannot be carried out without a solid base deep within the core Sinhala-Buddhist constituency. Blind, reactive, instinctive patriotism is the key to controlling and mobilizing the oppressed, mainly rural Sinhala masses to endure and pay the cost of the Mahinda Chintanaya project, a political-ideological project implemented by the regime to not only control, but mobilize the masses into a culture of blind faith and chauvinist patriotism that will ensure instinctive subservience and loyalty to the Supreme Benevolent Patriarch/King. The Mahinda Chintanaya regime – its ruling politics and ideology – crystallizes a particular historical process. It is a crystallization and culmination of a particular historical trajectory that has ruled over us since the transfer of state power by the British colonial power to its class of local comprador lackeys in the name of independence. Mahinda Chintanaya crystallizes, concentrates and culminates the feudal-colonial/comprador-capitalist ideology and politics crowned by the mantle of Sinhala-Buddhist supremacy. In honouring its historical mission, the Mahinda Chintanaya regime has reconstructed the political-ideological structures, institutions and edifices of centralized, autocratic, hegemonic dictatorship to a new level.
In this respect, Mahinda Rajapakse, himself, is the one true heir to the UNP-SLFP historical legacy, which sanctioned the birth of Sinhala-Buddhist supremacy and divided the country, while mortgaging the land and the people and enslaving them. He is the true inheritor of the ruling class in terms of exercising a ruthless comprador dictatorship over the masses. But he has exceeded all in terms of applying the science and art of deceit and deception, cunning manipulation and unmitigated repression in perpetuating his power. The hard fact is that the “Sinhalayas” have rallied around Mahinda’s banner of war, conquest and supremacy as the path to their liberation.
Following the centuries of colonial domination and depredation, deep in the subterranean subconscious of the popular Sinhala mind there is a sense of long-lost victory and a spirit of regaining lost pride and independence. There is a shared need to be liberated from the shackles of imperialism and feudal oppression, to be free of the scourge of endless poverty, deprivation and degradation. These genuine national-democratic aspirations of the Sinhala nation has been perverted into a form of patriotism in the service of the comprador ruling class. This has led to a spirit of joyous celebration over the military liquidation of the LTTE. There is a popular triumphal spirit of Mahinda Rajapakse as the conqueror who has vanquished the alien imposter and liberated the land and the people from hell and damnation. That was how the war was crafted and pursued – as a patriotic war to save the “Sinhala-Buddhist Nation and its Motherland” from the clutches of “Tamil separatist terrorism”.
Along with the military liquidation of the LTTE, the destruction and eradication of the whole generative structure of the ideology and politics of separatism was to be the aim of the war. Ultimately, the war was aimed at eradicating the Tamil national liberation movement, root and branch, so there will not be a Tamil National Question to resolve. The “Sinhalayas” – rich and poor, en masse – supported this war led by Mahinda Rajapakse and are still supporting its ideology and politics with conviction.
The oppressed Sinhala masses, betrayed by the “Left” movement, without revolutionary leadership and organization, have fallen prey to this State ideology of Sinhala-Buddhist supremacy. Mahinda Rajapakse’s consummate political achievement lies in having exploited all the frustration, deprivation, alienation, degradation, exploitation and oppression generated by the system, ever endured by the Sinhala masses, into a torrential wave of support for a military victory over the LTTE and the “alien” Dravidayas! The progressive, anti-imperialist revolutionary struggle of the people of Lanka has been perverted into that grotesque form of the oppressed killing each other to protect the oppressor state and system.
Mahinda – that is the combined energy and experience of the Indian RAW, the American CIA, the Israeli Mossad, the Pakistani ISI and the Sri Lankan Strategic Command – exploited also the fatal bourgeois-nationalist political and ideological limitations of the LTTE. Particularly, its reliance on the system of world imperialism to deliver liberation, and the negation of the role of the exploited and oppressed masses in waging revolutionary struggle and revolutionary warfare to rid the world of all forms domination, exploitation, oppression, violence and war.
Mahinda Rajapakse has introduced a new era. There is to be no more discussion of a Tamil National Question, or of any national question. There is declared to be only “One Country: One Nation”. Enter Jaffna, and you will see! There is to be no protest or opposition to this agenda, lest one is to be classified as an agent of “separatist terrorism”, as a traitor to the Motherland, to be branded and hounded as an enemy of the State. No one before him has had the courage to assert absolute-“monarchic”, autocratic- hegemonic, comprador-Capitalist rule over the whole of society as Mahinda Rajapakse. No one before him has transformed the state into a modernized, politicized, militarized apparatus for the perpetuation of dynastic-oligarchic rule. No one had achieved such broad popular consensus over waging and winning the “war on terror”. No one has emerged as the one, true undisputed guardian and saviour of the Sinhalayas. This is his historic achievement as the crystallization and concentration of the ideology and politics of Sinhala supremacy, which has formed the foundational structure of the modern feudal-colonial, comprador-capitalist state.