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Marxists are like Indians:both have failed

I am happy to bounce back from the hospital bed and browse the multitudinous vistas of the world that filter through the sheen of the polar-white glow of the cyber screen without which I will be lost in an infinite Sahara. Through the instant magic which provides most of my necessities for mental sustenance and sanity — I just can’t think of a world without it now – I can pick, examine and get involved in the good, the bad, the indifferent and even in the gentle manner with which Prof. G.H. Peiris (GHP) had put Dr. Dayan Jayatilleka (DJ) through the mincing machine.

GHP’s replies to DJ in The Island are exemplary demonstrations of the noble art of humane killing. It brings into focus the fundamental flaws in the intellectual exercises of DJ and his “co-thinkers” in the Left-wing caboodle. One of the problem as I see it revolves round DJ’s failure to grasp the realities not only of Sri Lankan history but also contemporary international politics — all of which have been pin-pointed meticulously by GHP. If only my friend DJ’s knowledge of Sri Lankan history was as extensive as his knowledge of Cuba (his doctoral thesis was on how Fidel Castro’s “ethical violence” has been morally superior to other kinds of political violence, elevating his Havana hero to the level of a political saint), sans his mental blocs imposed by his Marxist ideology, he could rise to great intellectual heights with the kind of authoritative credibility and respectability that GHP holds on Sri Lankan issues.

Like all Left-wing and hired intellectuals of NGOs — not to mention the Friday Freaks — he reveals in his writing an ample familiarity with imported theories which are hardly relevant to the critical issues or the needs of the nation. In fact, the remarkable achievement of the post-independent period is that the nation steered its way successfully through a multitude of external and internal challenges without recourse to any of the psuedo-scientific theories propounded by Marxists and other hired pundits like Jehan (Pacha) Perera, “Paki” Saravanamuttu and their “co-thinkers”. The native talent displayed by high achievers like D. S. Senanayake, Mrs. Sirimavo Bandaranaike, Ranasinghe Premadasa and even President Mahinda Rajapaksa testifies to their capacity to develop home-grown solutions, leaving the theoretical pundits in the Left and NGOs way behind.

Inter-communal relationship

Perhaps, it is the theoretical intoxication that has blinded DJ to the ground realities on which the politico-historical traditions, institutions, identities and communities took root over the centuries. His deracinated thinking makes him rely on imported theories. Like all his lumpen “co-thinkers” he has assumed that history begins with the Vadukoddai Resolution, with its concocted geography and fictitious history.

The politicised history, which is the source of Left-wing ideologues, is accepted uncritically as the unassailable repository of knowledge there is in “political science”. Consequently, it is not surprising to find him sailing along with the anti-Sinhala-Buddhist ideology manufactured in Vadukoddai in 1976. Like all his other “co-thinkers” he has not deviated one millimetre from the tendentious politico-historical framework concocted in the Vadukoddai Resolution.

Take, for instance, the example of blaming D. S. Senanayake for rupturing inter-communal relationship (See Long War, Cold Peace) by introducing the bill to define the citizens of the new nation. It is unpardonable that a “political scientist” should imitiatively repeat the Vadukoddian propaganda without exploring the democratic and liberal structures put in place for nation-building in the immediate aftermath of independence. This also indicates that he prefers to view history through his blinkered ideology. DJ is stuck irredeemably in the obsolocent Marxist groove without realising that his Marxist pantheon — mainly, Marx, Lenin, Stalin (he began as a Stalinist), Gramsci, Althusser, Che, Castro – passed their use by date with the 20th Congress of the Communist Part of of USSR in which Comrade Nikita Khruschev condemned Stalinism. That was the first deadly blow to Marxist-Leninist-Stalinism. After that it was downhill all the way down to the Berlin Wall. DJ has studiously avoided the more intellectually robust Trotsky and the Frankfrut School. His obsession with selected saints of Catholicised Marxism has reduced him to a “One-Dimensional Man”.

If he was more discriminating and able to sift the chaff from the grain he would have realised that there is no future in Marxism either for him or the nation. He should also realise that it was the most disastrous and dehumanizing ideology of the 20th century that produced Stalin, Mao, Pol Pot, Ceaucesco etc., right down to Rohana Wijeweera in Sri Lanka — the fascist mass murderer responsible not only for distorting Marxism by reducing it to five lectures but also by misleading the youth on the promise of creating a Marxist utopia which he could not deliver in all the possible cycles of his rebirths. It is undeniable that the most vicious blood baths in the 20th century were ideologically driven by Marxists of one shade or the other. Taken collectively they would account for the deaths of at least fifty million innocent civilians.

US foreign policy

It has been one of the primary driving forces of political evil that devastatedthe 20th century. Even Hitlerism can be considered as a reaction to Communism which was rising as a formidable force in pre-Nazi Germany struggling to raise its head from the ruins of World War I. It is recorded that Right-wing money bags of the Jewish establishment in Germany also financed Hitler to prevent the rise of Communism.


Che Guevara

Vladimir Lenin

Karl Marx

Joseph Stalin

Fidel Castro

Mrs. Sirimavo Bandaranaike

The so-called liberation movements, including that of Wijeweera and Prabhakaran, (Anton Balasingham, the leading ideologue of the LTTE, covered himself in the Emperor’s clothings of Marxism) promised to take the 20th century to the nearest point promised in Marxist millenarianism. But, as recorded in history, the promised Marxist utopia turned into an evil dystopia. By and large, the moronic Marxists perished in the distortions of their misinterpreted and misleading versions of self-serving Marxism. After the collapse of USSR — and with that the Cold War — Marxism lost its validity as an institutional, ideological and international force. The hangers-on that continue to benefit most are some careerists in academia writing fanciful theses / papers that failed to salvage even Marxism, let alone the movements they championed.

Nothing is more ridiculous intellectually in the 21st century than quoting an outdated guru like Marx and his off-shoots to justify their failed politics. The days when the shelves of academic libraries were overflowing with books on Marxism are gone. In this day and age the best books written on Marx are those that rip Marxism apart. The nostalgic Marxists are yet to realise that Marx belonged to a bygone era. Marx belonged to the era of steam engines, primitive capitalism of the Dickensian era, and the limited theory of class warfare which failed to explain the diversity of human history which, among other socio-economic variations, produced the hydraulic economies of the Orient that didn’t fit into Marx’s Euro-centric history.

The best of contemporary intellectuals have abandoned Marxism as a guide to move humanity into the future. The post-digital, the post-Berlin and post-Deng Tsiao Peng era is thirsting for a born-again Marx to map the contours of a new sociology that would explain the forces of galloping capitalism riding roughshod all over old Marx. For DJ to repeat the Marxist mantras in the 21st century is as valid as regurgitating the hocus-pocus of our kattadiyas who danced all night pretending to possess the secrets of driving away the evils of our ancestors.

Marx’s genius was in picking heterogenous philosophical strands and synthesising them into a plausible theoretical whole. He excelled in analysing the past but he failed as a futurologist. He was also unsparingly critical and dismissive of any ideology that contradicted his interpretations. It was not unusual for Marx to dismiss Auguste Comte’s “philosophical system as positivist shit”. (The New York Review of Books, p. 39, May 9, 2013).

Though practically all of Sri Lankan Marxists, especially those who come from the Colombo University, belong to this category I do not want to bracket DJ, considering his considerable talents, into the category of “Marxist shits”. But he does surprise me from time to time though his frequent somersaults tells me that I should not be surprised at what he does and say. For instance, in reply to Prof. Peiris he says: “I have always been an admirer of the US ‘mainstream’ while being a critic of certain aspects of US foreign policy.”

In my reading of global events and trends this is the first time I’ve heard of a blood red Marxist saying that he’s been an admirer of “mainstream” American politics. If what he says is true then he must be an admirer of Bush and Obama — two decisive and overbearing leaders who define mainstream US politics — controlling nearly1,000 military bases globally, most of which are designed to wage wars on cooked up reports (Iraq) and kill innocent civilians in any part of the world (Afghanistan, Iraq, Somalia etc.,) who are perceived to be threats to American sovereignty or territory. However, I presume what he means is that he is an admirer of the monumental achievements of the American liberal-technological culture which has pushed global civilization to the frontiers of ever-expanding progress and knowledge. Anyone can agree with that.

Apart from the scientific frontiers I too embrace Emily Dickinson, Walt Whitman, Robert Frost, William Faulkner, Jackson Pollock, Frank Lloyd Wright, John Steinbeck, Martin Luther King, James (Fire Next Time) Baldwin, Jack Kerouac of the Beat Generation and, of course, Raymond Chandler who located his detective Philip Marlowe away fromthe upper-class English serving tea and cucumber sandwiches on manicured lawns and placed him in the grim underworld, substituting brawns for the brains of Agatha Christie’s Poirot. In his irreverent way Philip Marlowe summed up the fast and furious American way of life in the memorable line which says: “Live fast, die young and leave a good-looking corpse behind.”

US imperialism

Leaving aside the iconic humane side of America, it is rather amusing to listen to a fire-breathing defender of Castro and Che — victims of US imperialism — saying that he is an admirer of the “US mainstream”. It is something he would not dare say to his political heroes Castro and Che even within quotes.

He might get the loud applause of his local hero, “Paki” Saravanamuttu, for going along with the American “mainstream”, no doubt. But no moral Marxist can ever applaud the American “mainstream” overdetermined by two Presidents who vie with each other in killing civilians, including its own citizens, perceived to be threats to America.

He makes a vain attempt to separate American “mainstream” politics from its foreign policy.

As far as the world is concerned America is its foreign policy. There is nothing in America’s foreign policy which is not in its “mainstream”. His attempt to separate foreign policy from “mainstream” politics is another means of sanitizing the corrupt, bloody, imperialistic war-mongering politics of the American mainstream. In a Big Power like America there is no dividing line between its foreign policy and its “mainstream”.

For instance, when the American President, Barack Obama, leaves his Nobel Peace Prize plaque in his private locker and sits every Wednesday with his CIA, State Department, FBI and other apparatchiks to coldly calculate as to who should live and who should be killed to save America from internal and external threats, is it a part of “mainstream” politics or “foreign policy”? In short, isn’t defending American interests in every corner of globe a central part of “mainstream” politics? Can the ruthless, heartless policies of America which plotted to assassinate Cuba through Mafia agents, including a Havana cigar that would blow his face out, be dismissed as foreign policy or be considered as a part of the mainstream culture of America?

According to DJ’s doctrine prescribed for Sri Lanka, Cuba should have surrendered to the neighbouring Big Bully. He says quite smugly: “Machiavelli… brusquely remarks that a state undergoing these changes would fall victim to a stronger neighbour before it could have time to complete the cycle.” — – Introduction to ‘Niccolo Machiavelli, Discourses on Livy’, University of Chicago Press, 1996, p. xxxviii. Had he paused to make a reality check with the resistance put up by Cuba, with or without USSR, – knowing, of course, the overwhelming power of its neighbour USA – he should have had second thoughts about prescribing a Machiavellian line to Sri Lanka.

Here he is endorsing not international law, not the UN Charter, which is invoked constantly as the pillar on which American mainstream is based, not the laws that stipulates every nation, big or small, be treated as equal, not the rule of law but the morality of Machiavellian “Modern Prince” (Gramsci) with weapons of mass destruction at its disposal.

Besides, if he accepts Machiavellian rule of the Big Bully as the political reality that must obeyed by the rest — particularly the less powerful — then he is obliged to abandon all moral values in prescribing political solutions, either on the global or local scales.

He can’t have Machiavellian rule for America and India and a moral and just rule for any other part of the globe, including Sri Lanka. Though it can be conceded that the perennial power of Machiavellian politics continue to dominate global politics to this day there are, thankfully, small nation like Ecuador, thumbing its nose at America and even spurning its trade concessions to defend its independence.

It has courageously defied the Big Brother politics and given Assange sanctuary in its embassy in UK. If DJ is committed to moral values in politics then it is absolutely imperative for him to reject Machiavellian threats to nations struggling to restore peace, stability and dignity, amidst global and domestic pressures.

At the heart of the overbearing pressures put on Sri Lanka right now by India and America, demanding that Sri Lanka must accept the formulas prescribed by India as the final solution, is the issue of whether Sri Lanka should surrender to Machivellian imperialism or fight for the right of the nation to develop its own home-grown strategies for domestic problems.

It is ironical that the die-hard Marxist revolutionary has openly decided to accept Indian imperialism as the answer to Sri Lanka’s north-south crisis — a bloody crisis fostered, financed, and fathered by India.

He is proposing that a surrender to Machiavellian Indians is the way out. He is saying this knowing that the Indo-Lanka Agreement, imposed on Sri Lanka with gunboat diplomacy of the Proconsul Dixit, the then Indian High Commissioner, dictating terms to J.R. Jayewardene, as his distinguished father described it on numerous occasions, not only set fire to the nation but also failed miserably to satisfy any community or restore lasting peace to the Sri Lankans. So must we go down that path again? Furthermore, how many time are we supposed to surrender to Indian Machiavellians? Sri Lanka went along the most self-destructive — not to mention idiotic – policy of “helping India to help Sri Lanka”. In the end neither India nor Sri Lanka gained anything from it.

Domestic problems

In any case, if the Indian formula is going to be the viable solution yielding positive results then there is some reason to go along with it. But the historical experience has shown that it has not worked. So what guarantee is there that it will work again? The internal resistance to an Indian formula — particularly the 13th Amendment — is not only received with suspicion but also with instinctive repugnance by the vast majority of Sri Lankans who believe justifiably that we are capable of working out our own salvation, with or without, Indian interventions. It is not a sine qua non, as DJ and his “co-thinker” like Mangala Samaraweera, claim it to be. As seen in the case of ending the 33-year-old war, Sri Lanka can benefit from all external resources as long as external forces help to advance the internal objectives. But the Indian military formula that came with the IPKF failed.

The Indiam political formula that came with the 13th Amendment too failed miserably. There is a lesson in this: there is a role for external forces in resolving Sri Lankan problems and that is entirely in assisting Sri Lanka to develop its own strategies and formulas. Any attempt to impose imported formulas, theories and solutions have failed to resolve the complex issues or win the consent of the people who are more fired than before in resisting external interventions. Sri Lankans argue that their children, kith and kin did not lay down their lives for Indians to occupy any part of their homeland through planted proxies.

Besides, maintaning friendly relations with India — considered to be the corner stone of Sri Lanka’s foreign policy — does not mean that we must say “Yes, Sir”, “No, Sir”, “Three Indian bags full, Sir, for you to take to Delhi, Sir.” It means, in essence, mutual respect for each other’s interests and survival, without the Indian Big Brother manipulating to twist the arm of small brother, Sri Lanka. In DJ’s formula, however, there is no option for Sri Lanka but to bend down and kiss the ground on which the Indians walk.

He argues that it is the Machivellian law and we cannot escape it. He even went as far as recommending that we should, for our survival, follow the example of Myanmar and surrender to the will of America. This is not enlightened diplomacy. This is sheer boot-licking. Who needs diplomacy for boot-licking? Any trained dog could do it.

Indo-Lanka Agreement

This brings me to the earlier issue of his role in Geneva. He claims the success in Geneva as a proud achievement of his one-man band. There is an element of truth in this. But that is not the whole truth, according to his last article. In that he passes the buck entirely to the Presidential Secretariat in response my argument that, in hindsight, his victory in Geneva, is actually a loss for Sri Lanka. He says that the Geneva Resolution (March 2009) was the brainchild of the President’s office. Here he has done a back flip. His earlier argument was to emphasise “Me, Me, Me”. But in his last response he goes against his own claim and says not “Me” but “HE”.

If, as he says, everything that happened in Geneva originated from His Excellency’s Office then what was his role? Was he playing the role of the great diplomat, thinking on his own two feet and acting spontaneously responding creatively and effectively to exigencies of each move and counter-move of the West and cutting quid pro quo deals, or was he acting merely as the postman delivering HE’s directives? Postmen do play a role in delivering messages at the doorstep, no doubt. But the authorship of the message that defines the overall objectives and strategies do not belong, by any streatch of imagination, to the postman. So in what part and where and when did he play his great role that led to victory in Geneva in March 2009? He says he did not cut any deals with India or any other power. Fair enough. So then why should the credit go to him in Geneva when everything was done by HE, according to him?

In the mounting pressures of the post-Nandikadal scenario the President was forced to act in accordance with two main factors that tied his hands: 1. the Sri Lankan Constitution which recognises the 13th Amendment and 2. the Indo-Sri Lanka Agreement which nominally has the status of an international treaty. When HE consented to implement the 13th Amendment in his discussions with Ban Ki-Moon, the UN Secretary-General, he had no alternative but to acknowledge the realities of the two factors mentioned above. He could not brush aside the impact of the 13th Amendment to Ban Ki-Moon because it was in the Constitution. In acknowledging the 13th Amendment he was as much a prisoner of the Indo-Lanka Agreement as all the other Sri Lankans. In fact, the current imbroglio is related directly to the Indo-Lanka Agreement. Besides, the 13th Amendment also flowed into the Constitution via the Indo-Lanka Agreement. The1978 Constitution was made with the expressed will of the people. The13th Amendment of 1987 was imposed against the will of the people by a foreign power. The President is now faced with the 13th Amendment to the Constitution which is not in any way an expression of the will of the people. So how valid is it in law?

The validity of Indo-Sri Lanka Agreement in international law has to be questioned at the highest level because it was imposed against the will of the people of Sri Lanka, including the Jaffna Tamils. How valid is a treaty signed with gunboats bobbing outside the Colombo Harbour? Which international court of justice will uphold a treaty/agreement signed by Ban Ki-Moon if he was forced to sign it with the UN surrounded by an overwhelming force threatening to invade his premises, or impose a regime change? Since the 13th Amendment crept into the Constitution as a result of the illegal force used to impose the Indo-Sri Lanka Agreement the validity of it in the Constitution is open to serious legal questioning. DJ’s Machiavellian principles will never be upheld in a just and fair court of law.

Sri Lankan culture

The issue facing the nation — and, of course, the President — is whether to perpetuate the illegally imposed injustice on the nation or not. Gotabhaya Rajapaksa has given the courageous lead in rejecting the 13th Amendment in toto. Predictably, DJ is reacting to this move as if the nation is about to slaughter his sacred cow. This Pavlovian reaction is inevitable because his thinking is locked inside the Vadukoddai box. DJ, as usual, is stuck in an ideology that has passed its use by date. There isn’t s single vestige in the Indo-Lanka Agreement, whether in its origins, its imposition or in its legacy, that makes it a benign or acceptable formula for all the peoples Sri Lanka to come together. It is an Indian solution to an Indian problem. It is divisive, corrosive and destructive.

It has never been nor will it ever be the solution. The time has come to jump out of the box and re-imagine a new future.

Gotabhaya Rajapaksa has taken the first step decisive step in redrawing the road map to the future. Prof. G. H. Peiris has summed up the commonsense thinking of the vast majority when he says that every bit of Sri Lankan territory belongs to all communities and no community is entitled to exclusive enclaves. The idea of carving out ethnic pockets on the fictions manufactured by the Vadukoddians is a “no-no” for the simple reason that it goes against the grain of the inclusive Sri Lankan culture, which embraced multi-culturalism long before it became fashionable in the West. Exclusiveness in any form is the antithesis of tolerant multiculturalism.

The editorials of The Sunday Times and The Daily Mirror, none of which are pro-government mouthpieces, have outlined with absolute clarity the arguments against the setting up of Provincial Councils as envisaged in the 13th Amendment. Both recommend the District Council formula worked out between Dudley Senayake and the Federal Party. And much against DJ’s minimum borders of Provincial Councils the Federal Party agreed to District Councils. So what is the rationale for DJ to insist on the borders of Provincial Councils?

Nor can DJ argue that The Sunday Times and The Daily Mirror represent what DJ calls “Sinhala-Buddhist chauvinism” – his bete noir — either. Both have condensed cogently the need for new thinking on this vexed issue. It is time that DJ jumped out of Vadukoddai box and looked at the world around him in a more down-to-earth manner if he is to grasp the new realities that will never submit to Machiavellian goni-billas either from the North or the West.

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