Translation of the statement produced by United Socialist Party
Parliamentary election in Sri Lanka which was put off from April due to Corona pandemic was held last week. The Sri Lanka Podujana Peramuna literally translated as SL People’s Front led by former President Mahinda Rajapaksha has scored a massive victory which is on a brink of a two thirds majority in the 225 member legislature. Its very easy for them to get the 2/3 majority with the support of five members elected from some smaller parties in the north and east.
A special feature of this election was the annihilation of the United National Party, one of the oldest parties in the country led by Ranil Wikramasinghe former Prime Minister. The result shows that masses have decisively rejected the capitalist project of Ranil Wikramasinghe who acted as the direct and open representative of the imperialist neo libaral project. Same destiny befell on the Sri Lanka Freedom Party another bourgeois party. Interestingly it was able to gain one seat from the predominately Tamil northern Jaffna district. It was in reality not a victory for the SLFP but a personal achievement of its candidate Angajan who spent millions of rupees to appease the poor masses in the district.
This denotes the demise of the two oldest bourgeois parties in the country. And on the other hand the JVP which contested under a broader platform called National People’s Power could not come even near their expected level. After 2015 JVP abandoned its left rhetoric and opted for pink colour instead of red and became a rightist social democratic movement. Their campaign aimed at the middle class educated layer of the society, who has abandoned any hopes of building a socialist society suffered a huge setback for the second time. The FSP and others who stood on a leftist platform could not even reach the expected gains and it is a very big setback for the broader left and progressive forces.
In the same vain Tamil National Alliance which contested as the ITAC in the north and east has suffered a big setback resulting the erosion of their long held grip on the Tamil people. In the north prominent Tamil nationalist Gajendrakumar Ponnambalam’s party and pro Rajapaksha Douglas Dewananda’s party were able to win two seats with one seat each for Tamil nationalist Vigneshvaran and Angajan of the SLFP. In the east TMVP of Pillayan and SLPP were able to wrest a seat each from the TNA. It would be a new development in the north and east whereas TNA cooperated with the previous Ranil’s government -Devananda,Angajan and Pillayan would cooperate with this Gotabhaya and Mahinda’s government which is pro Sinhala Buddhist. Like Ranil’s defeat in Colombo it is significant the defeat of Mavei Senadhirajah, ITAC Chairman and a very senior politician in north. It can be expected that Gotabhaya’s regime would exploite to the fullest these developments in north to undermine national question.
The real nature of this victory of the SLPP was that they were able to garner votes of the vast majority Sinhala Buddhists who constitute 3/4th of the population. Accordingly this was a victory for the extremists who campaigned for the establishment of right wing Sinhala Buddhist state. This result forecasts the new political direction of the country. The ruling clique will utilize this victory to orientate towards creating a semi military dicdictatorship based on very reactionary agenda on the pretext of patriotism. It should be remembered that Hitler came to power in 1933 with a popular mandate from the German people.
On the other hand the government would be confronted with many serious problems. There was a severe economic crisis cropping up even before the outbreak of Covid 19 epidemic. This government would face the challenge of coming up with solutions for issues such as creating a national economy by getting rid of imperialist neo-liberal economic program, eradicating fraud and corruption, solving the problems faced by the working people, land and water issues of peasants, protecting indigenous crops, protecting free education and free health service and so on.
This regime which came to power on the popular vote of Sinhala Buddhists would abrogate the 19th Amendment to the Constitution and may even go for abolition of the 13th Amendment which introduced the concept of devolution of power. Amidst economic crisis cost of living is rising and youth unemployment has been on the increase. In a situation of dwindling of remittances from foreign employments and break down of tourist industriy the regime would go for such drastic measures to keep Sinhala vote base under its banner. And by these actions they would venture towards a state machinery which would keep away Tamils and Muslims from the affairs of state. This regime would not be able to provide solutions to the burning issues of the people because it has no program from breaking from the grip of the neo-liberal economic program of the iimperialist forces.
In this backdrop this government has no option other than to selling the remaining state property and resources. It has already started whereas the Eastern Terminal of the Colombo Port is to be sold to India. Signing of MCC agreement with America, which was depicted as very obnoxious for country’s economy and national security has now become inevitable by changing and modifying some wwords and sentences. Mass anger and opposition will arise against these measures and Gotabhaya’s regime would unleash state repression against any public protest. The regime has already started to create a semi military administration of Pakistan model under the pretext of parliamentary democracy. To justify these measures in the southern society this regime is bent on creating a new situation in the north where Tamil youth are said to be arming again and have started in engaging in armed activities and this will be used to unleash repression on northern people.
The present result has shown that the regime has climbed upto the zenith of the Everest mountain. There is no more climbing and from tomorrow onwards it would be climbing down. United Socialist Party contested only three districts this time knowing very well that we have to swim upstream against the tide. We stood in Colombo, Kaluthara and Jaffna on a platform for a socialist program against neo-liberalism, chauvinism and class collaborationist politics. We can be satisfied about the modest support we received in these districts for building an alternative socialist force. However it is a tragedy that there is no strong opposition inside the Parliament and The field of struggle of masses would be outside of Parliament. It is essential to build a strong mass movement outside of Parliament in order to defeat anti people activities which would be carried out in not so away future and win rights of working people, youth and peasants. It should be emphasized that the idea of building a social democratic force iinstead of an anti capitalist socialist alternative under the leadership of working class is a petty bourgeois middle class abstraction ccrafted to send building of a socialist alternative off road.
The most important task at to moment is to work tirelessly to build a broad left movement hand in hand with the unified trade union movement capable of providing leadership to the class struggle which would emerge in the near future splitting hair on the victory of communalist/chauvinist forces. We have the challenge of outlining a program of action plan to suscirect the left now in total disarray. It would be indispensable for a new left force emerging in the future to join hands with people in the north, who would be battered by this government on account of the national question. We urge all radical and progressive people/forces to come together to make the idea of building such an integrated fighting mass movement a reality.