The judgement of the Supreme Court, whatever the motives of the judges, is broadly perceived by the mass of people as being detrimental to democracy, (a) by putting back in the seats of power a regime which had proved itself not only incompetent, but venal, and totally dependent on the diplomatic corps of the Western powers; and (b) by preventing the people from voting.
The people whom Uyangoda mentions as being “committed to civil liberties”, people who opposed what they called a “constitutional coup,” were voluble in presenting themselves as “acting in the interests of democracy”, not of Ranil Wickramasinghe, in fact only appear to be committed to the civil liberties of the elite.
None of them raised a murmur when the 19th Amendment was passed, with sections which should have required a referendum being inserted as amendments in the committee stages, an act totally against parliamentary norms. They did not raise a murmur when exactly the same thing was done with the Provincial Council Elections (Amendment) Bill. Nor did they raise a murmur when the Yahapalana Regime refused to hold Local Government elections, putting them off on various pretexts, and only holding them when their hands were forced – the result, in which the “Pohottuwa” swept the board, reflecting to some degree the unpopularity of the Ranil Wickramasinghe regime. They have not raised a murmur about the continued delay in holding Provincial Council elections.
Indeed, their concern with “civil liberties” appears to be exercised solely in preventing the people from exercising their right to franchise.
Furthermore, these self-same people were extremely concerned with alleged “white vans” and alleged corruption under the Rajapaksa regime. However, they were y silent about the illegal establishment of the FCID and its harrassment of the opposition, and totally kept mum over the Central Bank Bond Scams and about the accusation that a Government Minister demanded a 30% bribe from a Chinese company.
None of these so-called paragons of press freedom said a word when The New York Times published an article – in which it named Dharisha Bastians, recently appointed Editor of the Sunday Observer by Mangala Samaraweera, as one of the reporters, with background research done, I am told, by Aneesha Guruge of the US NED-funded Verite Institute – which turned out to be an extremely biased account of the Hambantota issue, which perverted the truth (for example by quoting ship traffic figures for 2012, ignoring the subsequent years, in which traffic improved rapidly) and blaming Hambantota for the debt trap – which the Governor of the Central Bank says was due almost entirely to the populist pre-election budget of 2015. (See interview with Indrajit Coomaraswamy in October issue of OSL Magazine)
To call Jayadeva Uyangoda a “Marxist” is, to make an understatement, stretching the facts a little. He said goodbye to any pretence at Marxism long ago. He is the establishment “radical”.
He does not concern himself with the class struggle, which is central to the Marxist conception of politics, but merely to issues of identity politics, and in a manner more congruent to the liberal viewpoint, which does not take into account matters such as class or relative disadvantage. Nor do they consider the defence of national and popular sovereignty an issue. “Democracy” for them is devoid of meaning – for them, “civil society” representation has more import than the people’s right to vote. Keeping an incompetent and venal regime in power, despite its overwhelming unpopularity, is what they mean by “civil liberties”.
BIO-DATA: Vinod Moonesinghe, the son of the late Anil Moonesinghe, cut his journalistic teeth writing on labour issues for the Samasamajaya newspaper. He gained election to the Kotte Urban Council in 1991, refusing to contest again in disgust over Chandrika Kumaratunga’s revisionism.
VITAL NOTE from MICHAEL ROBERTS, Editor, Thuppahi
Vinod Moonesinghe sent me a Comment on these lines as an email note — quietly challenging my reading of Uyangoda in the article inspired by Bill Deutrom’s perceptive reading of the intransigent battle lines in Sri Lanka. This prompted me to (a) present Uyangoda’s passionate Letter of 4th November as an item in Thuppahi — ;and (b) to request Vinod to re-shape his email comments as a short Memo for public consumption. I also asked him for a bio-note.
I asked for this Note because I have never ever met Vinod and he has entered my email lists only recently. In contrast I have known “Uyan” for over thirty years especially in the context of the Social Scientists’ Association (where Kumari and Newton Gunasinghe were key hands and my good friends. For these reasons I have always considered Uyan to be “Marxist”.
Vinod challenges this reading — I must say quite persuasively. Given his parental background I suggest, here, that he is eminently qualified to evaluate Uyangoda’s radical Marxist credentials. His father Anil and uncle Mangala — to my knowledge — were strongly incorporated in the Trotskyist currents of Sri Lanka in the 1960s-to-80s.
The bio-data proviDed by VINOD at my request was minimal (see above). So take note this information recovered via Google (dated October 2017)
Vinod Moonesinghe: Vinod Moonesinghe read Mechanical Engineering at the University of Westminster. He worked in both private and public sectors in Sri Lanka and served the people of Kotte as a Member of the Urban Council. He now works as a freelance journalist, contributing regularly to newspapers and business magazines, and as a political researcher. He also writes history articles and is writing a biography of the Australian surveyor JGW Wilmot ……………………………………………….(http://www.efsummit.advocata.org/team/vinod-moonesinghe/)
Elsewhere he is presented as “the Experienced Editor In Chief with a demonstrated history of working in the media production industry.Strong media and communication professional skilled in Nonprofit Organizations, Analytical Skills,Microsoft Word, Government, and Proposal Writing.” …. (see https://www.linkedin.com/in/vinod-moonesinghe-74746317/)
de Mel, Nishan 2018 “Lanka’s External Debt: 2010 and 2016 in Comparison …. There is No Chinese Gonibilla Monster,“ 29 January 2018, https://thuppahis.com/2018/01/29/lankas-external-debt-2010-and-2016-in-comparison-there-is-no-chinese-gonibilla-monster/
Gunasekara, Lakshman FB 2018 “Hambantota Port: Some Basic Facts from the Spot Today,” 13 December 2018, https://thuppahis.com/2018/12/13/hambantota-port-some-basic-facts-from-the-spot-today/#more-33069
Roberts, Michael 2018 “Hambantota Port: Dirty Economics from the New York Times,” 28 June 2018, https://thuppahis.com/2018/06/28/hambantota-port-dirty-ecoomics-from-the-new-york-times/
Roberts, Michael 2018 “Hatreds. Chasms. Bill Deutrom’s Insights on the Political Impasse in Sri Lanka,” 16 December 2018, https://thuppahis.com/2018/12/16/hatreds-chasms-bill-deutroms-insights-on-the-political-impasse-in-sri-lanka/
Uyangoda, Jayadeva 2018 “Jayadeva Uyangoda’s Lament from the Heart in November 2018,”17 December 2018, https://thuppahis.com/2018/12/17/33125/#more-33125