The 18th Amendment is now history. The emperor has been crowned with absolute tyrannical power. He has been vested with effective command over all institutions of the state- the executive, legislative, judicial, financial, the armed forces, police and the bureaucracy. He is in command of all the commissions and councils set up to protect democracy, human rights and the rule of law.
He now controls the Public Services Commission, the Police, the Supreme Court, the office of the Attorney General, the Auditor General, Secretary General of Parliament, Bribery and Corruption Commission, Human Rights Commission, and yes, the Elections Commission. He even commands a Parliamentary Council, which has replaced the Constitutional Council. He, and his crony Cabinet, can now hire and fire anyone at whim or fancy.
This is besides functioning as the Head of State and Commander of the Armed Forces. He, together with his family, commands over 70% of all financial and economic resources of the country. With this total command, he shall command the political, economic, social, ideological and cultural life of society.
His writ is to be the supreme, sovereign Law of the Land. His dynasty is to rule in perpetuity. The regime, and the dynasty, simply cannot afford to lose state power, lest it gets hauled into court on charges of corruption, abuse of power and violation of human rights., leave alone facing the potential wrath of the masses.
We should not be surprised at this turn of events. We warned of this future. We were aware that a military solution to the Tamil National Question would lead inevitably to a hegemonic- chauvinist- militarist state that would seat the Rajapakse regime in absolute power. We argued that the way to co-opt the ‘separatist agenda’ is to provide a democratic political solution- as in Northern Ireland, Philippines, Chittagong Hills and elsewhere. Of course, such a trajectory would have required exceptional statesmanship, quite unlike the bloated, arrogant despots who have ruled this island. The way towards this objective of seizing absolute power was designed by Mahinda, in close collaboration with the JVP and the JHU.
This strategy was to seek a military solution, unleash unbridled chauvinism, consolidate its grip on the ignorant Sinhala masses - aided and sanctioned by the supreme religious authorities, split and decimate the Opposition- which had collaborated in pursuing the military solution, and establish a military-police State, under the banner of patriotism. As it is, the regime has bombed the Tamil nation to splinters, buried Tamil nationhood in rivers of blood, dislocated the Tamil population, robbed them of their land, and deprived them of livelihood.
It has enforced a regime of white state terror upon the masses throughout the Land, along with abduction, arrest, torture and killing of politicians, journalists and oppositional forces. It has amassed vast fortunes through naked bribery and corruption, sold out the country, and our independence and sovereignty to the US, China, Russia, India, Israel and the IMF!
It has now crowned itself with the robes of an emperor – in the name of patriotism, in the style of a liberating conqueror of the Motherland having vanquished the ‘alien Dravidian forces”, who shall now exercise his right to rule and conquer as he pleases- as an emperor! This was the hidden agenda of the Mahinda Chintanaya, all along. This is the agenda that the decrepit LSSP, the rotting, revisionist Communist Party of Sri Lanka and hapless Vasudeva supported and legitimized- and continue to do so.
The 18th Amendment has steeled, sharpened and handed over the sword of dictatorship and tyranny to H.E. Mahinda Rajapakse, who shall wield that sword in a way that no other ruler has ever imagined or dared to. History has recorded such deranged abnormalities in the persons of Hitler, Mussolini, Mugabe, Pinochet, Shah of Iran, Idi Amin, Sadam Hussein and a trail of others. History has also recorded their final doom.
Mahinda Rajapakse is a personification of Capital. He stands as a living confirmation of the barbaric horrors of Capital in its bloody march through history. He stands as a living confirmation of Marxist analysis that revealed the march of Capital, and how these crises, monstrosities and horrors shall pave the way for a whole new epoch of universal human emancipation. Now, that barbaric history ruled by Capital is coming to an end, with the dawn of a glorious era of human freedom rising in the distant horizon all across the oceans.
So Mahendra Percival Rajapakse’s time is running out. When the people shall become aware and rise up to fight and achieve their own freedom, when they shall realize the conditions of their own ignorance and slavery and rise up to end all forms of domination, exploitation and oppression from the earth, then the time would have come. But, we will all have to do our part in order to build our collective will, organizational unity and discipline, and our fighting capacity to meet our historic responsibilities.
We never clung to illusions. We believed that no representative nor regime of this rotting Comprador-Capitalist ruling class would ever abolish the Executive Presidency. This is because the Executive Presidency had been set up by the UNP in order to open wide the gates of the open market economy and subject the country to unfettered global plunder. It was set up to more effectively facilitate penetration by world imperialism and International Finance Capital, rake off fat commissions through mega-projects, grease the machinery of corruption and abuse to satisfy the greed of the political pimps and lackeys, drive the exploited and oppressed masses to dust, suppress and subjugate the oppressed nationalities, and to crush any and all resistance by the full weight of the terrorist dictatorship of the Comprador state.
This is why Ranil Wickremasinghe cravenly cow-tows to Mahinda. They both share the same ruling class agenda. Mahinda Rajapakse has simply taken over the whole cake baked by each successive regime of the Comprador ruling class, which, in turn, reinforced the feudal-colonial, hegemonic-chauvinist terrorist dictatorship. The emperor has simply politically beheaded all those who paved his way to power, save those who limp and pimp to serve him.
The task of the hour is not to bemoan the crowing of the emperor, nor to rely on some supine Parliamentary Opposition to get its act together. The task of the hour is to build a broad, nation-wide, civil rights movement to rescind the 18th Amendment. Such a movement shall draw in all democratic forces who can be united on one main issue: rescinding the 18th Amendment- conjoined with other related legal-political-constitutional issues, as proposed below.
For this, we need to articulate a new constitutional vision that would empower and give pride of place to all nations, nationalities and ethnic-religious communities; that would empower workers, farmers, fishermen, women, youth, professionals, traders, merchants, business community, shanty people, and others who are being trampled by this foul and vile agenda, so they may together exercise their conscious freedom and assert their sovereign right to discuss and decide their future.
The need of the hour calls for a broad civil rights movement that would unite all progressive, democratic, revolutionary forces into a Popular Front For Freedom and Democracy. This process could set the stage for initiating a People’s Democratic Movement that could lead to a fundamental restructuring of the state that could- and would- overthrow the Emperor, along with his blood-drenched regime of deception, manipulation and terror, and pave the way for a new and higher stage of people’s democracy, national unity and independence, economic prosperity and freedom, wherein the people shall claim their rightful right to the infinite harvests of the 21st Century.
As the common minimum principles of unity, we propose the following.
1. Repeal of the 18th Amendment
2. Abolition of the Executive Presidency
3. Activation of the 17th Amendment
4. Repeal of the Prevention of Terrorism Act
5. End of Emergency Regulations
6. Release of all political prisoners against whom no legal charges have been made
7. Compensation for all those who have lost loved ones, livelihood, limbs and property due to the war.
8. Enshrine the right to land, property and livelihood of all those victimized by war
9. Engage in a broad democratic process of dialogue with all parties and interests in seeking a democratic solution to the National Question, where the national-democratic rights of the Tamil nation, the Hill Country (Malayaga) nationality, the Moslem nationality and all ethnic-religious communities shall live with equality, dignity, security, autonomy and democratic freedom.
10. Enshrine the right of the people to enjoy a life free from perpetual poverty, misery and degradation, so they may realize their full creative potential to contribute their best towards the progress of society and the emancipation of humanity.
To undertake this long and tortuous road to freedom we would have to raise our vision, commitment and determination and be prepared to make the highest sacrifice. As Mao said, “The path is tortuous, but the future is bright. Nothing is impossible if you dare to scale the heights”.
(The writer is general secretary of the Ceylon Communist Party - Maoist)