Category Archives: Left politics

The Political & Economic Crisis in Sri Lanka and the Aragalaya Protests

Uditha Devapriya, in The Journal of Indo-Pacific Affairs,  August 2022, a refereed article with this title  “The Crisis in Sri Lanka: Economic and Political Dimensions”

This article seeks to chart the trajectory of the Sri Lankan protests that began in early March. The first section will examine the causes of the crisis and how the government contributed to it. Economists, policy makers, and commentators cite different reasons for the economic crisis. This article classifies these reasons under two headings: orthodox and heterodox. The orthodox camp generally criticizes the government’s fiscal and monetary policies, including a series of tax cuts in 2019. The heterodox camp traces the crisis to longer-term structural causes, like Sri Lanka’s failure to industrialize and to diversify into manufacturing. The article concludes that we cannot view these two sets of causes in isolation from each other, and that whatever side one takes, we must consider the political dimensions of the crisis as well.

  Aragalaya Six Demands-! 2 July Thuppahi Protesters at the Presidential Secretariat in Colombo on 9 July 2022. (Photo by Dhananjaya Samarakoon) 

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Channa Wickremesekera’s Books on Sri Lanka’s Past …. & Beyond

Channa Wickremesekera’s Publications

Channa Wickremesekera is the son of the late Percy Wickremesekera, an acquaintance of mine from Peradeniya Campus days and a ‘Trot’ activist who migrated to Australia. Channa lives in Melbourne. I got to know him when I was working on my book on Sinhala Consciousness in the Kandyan Period¸1590’s-1815 (which came out in 2003  …………………… https://www.amazon.com/Sinhala-Consciousness-Kandyan-Period-1590s/dp/9558095311).

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University Federation of Dons condemn Sri Lankan Government’s Actions

Item in The Island, 1 August 2022, where the title runs thus “Dons Condemn Suppression of Aragalaya”

“Tyrannical governments and illegitimate leaders throughout history have led their societies to destruction”

The Federation of University Teachers (FUTA) says that the Wickremasinghe-Rajapaksa government lacks any legitimacy and it should stop taking cover behind the Constitution.In a statement condemning what it termed as “repression of aragalaya activists by the current regime” the university teachers have said that “the tyrannical governments and illegitimate leaders throughout history have led their societies to destruction.”

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The ARAGALAYA’s Demands in English

Courtesy of my Aloysian Friend KK De Silva …………with a PIX from his schoolboy days at St Aloysius, Galle

Transcript of the Programme spelt out in Sinhala: viz https://fb.watch/eaarPjDUCc/?fs=e&s=cl

Yesterday we took part in the aragalaya. It was good. Now there is talk about a caretaker government. This is something new to the people & us.

First I must say that we got together irrespective of ethnic differences. Sinhalese, Muslims, Tamils were together as Sri Lankans. In future no one can act differently. I am saying this to those actors. They should listen carefully. There is a set of actors, like the yellow group. There is another set called artistes (kalaakaruwo). There is a fellow wearing a sheet (?) There are others like Bhatiya & Santush. Are they not ashamed? Where were they yesterday. Then there is Iraj. Dont come wearing a cloth. Don’t come this way for shows. You all have been rejected,

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The ARAGALAYA Proclaims in Sri Lanka: A Six-Point Set of Demands

With thanks to my Aloysian compatriot KK De Silva

  1. Gotabaya Rajapaksa should resign from the post of Executive President forthwith.
  2. Government including Ranil Wickremasinghe, Rajapaksa regime should resign forthwith. ( This includes all Cabinet, Non cabinet, Deputy, Project Ministers, Ministry Secretaries, Directors, Advisors, State & Corporation Chairmen, Ambassadors).
  3. With the removal of the Gota-Ranil government, an interim administration should be set up which accords with the economic, social & political objectives & aspirations of the Peoples Struggle (Aragalaya). A Peoples Council  in which there is legal binding for representatives of the Peoples Struggle to  intervene/create an impact, should be established.

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Gerald Peiris’s POLITICAL CONFLICT IN SOUTH ASIA …. 2013

Details of this book  POLITICAL CONFLICT IN SOUTH ASIA, University of Peradeniya publication, 2013 …………. ISBN – 978-955-589-169-1………..Enquiries should be addressed to the publisher,  The Vice-Chancellor, University of Peradeniya, Peradeniya, Sri Lanka

Printed by Balin & Co. (Pvt.) Ltd.  61, D. S. Senanayake Street, Kandy, Sri Lanka +94 0817429050 ……………. Fax. +94 081 2222584 ………………………… Cover design: Dr. Manjula Peiri

Respectfully dedicated to the memory of Sir Nicholas Atygalle, Vice Chancellor of the University Ceylon (1955-66),  and my teachers: Karthigesu Kularatnam & George Thambyahpillay at Peradeniya, and Bertram Hughes Farmer at Cambridge

 

 

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The Political Travails of the Indian Tamils in the State Council Era 1931-48

Uditha Devapriya, in  The Island, 21 May 2022,  where the title runs thus “DS Senanayake and the Indian Tamil Question”

In his recent work on D. S. Senanayake, K. M. de Silva explores certain controversial aspects of Ceylon’s lurch into independent statehood. Among these is the issue of the fate of the country’s Indian Tamils. Brought to the island from South India amidst conditions of famine and mass starvation in the early part of the 19th century, Indian Tamil workers replaced Sinhalese and resident Tamil labour in the island. Governed by a semifeudal set-up that shut them out from the world outside, Indian Tamil labour grew up in a world of their own. It was their tragic fate that while the colonial government feigned little interest in their welfare, their lives lay in the hands of that government.

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Introducing the Ceylon National Congress: Its Agitation & Its Context

Michael Roberts

The four-volume edition of DOCUMENTS OF THE CEYLON NATIONAL CONGRESS was presented by the Department of National Archives in 1977 and has been out of stock for some time now.

Haris De Silva — Deputy Director, DNA in the 1970s

Volume ONE contains a book within a book written by me and entitled ELITES, NATIONALISMS and the NATIONALIST MOVEMENT IN BRITISH CEYLON – in seven chapters and running to ccxxii pages.

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Nationalisms in Ceylon: Origins, Stimulants and Ingredients

Michael Roberts, … reproducing Chapter III in Volume I of Documents of the Ceylon National Congress and Nationalist Politics in Ceylon, 1929-1950, Vol I, 1977, Department of National Archives, 1977 , pp. lxviii–lxxviii **

While the political activists of the first half of the twentieth century were drawn from both the national and the local elites, the political leadership (at significant island-wide levels) was largely composed of individuals who could be ranked among the national elite. As indicated earlier, the national elite was a small segment of the Ceylonese population. Its levels of wealth, power and status, its lifestyle, and its value-system marked it off from the rest of the population.

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Chance Events in the Making of the Four-Volume Documents of the Ceylon National Congress

Michael Roberts

 In 1977 a sizeable stock of historical manuscripts was made available to the public by the Department of National Archives in four volumes entitled Documents of the Ceylon National Congress and Nationalist Politics in Ceylon, 1929-1950. This outcome was the result of a substantial body of work. It was also the outcome of several fortuitous encounters.

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