Monday, May 25, 2009

Socialism Only Way Forward for Sri Lanka’s Tamils

By Camilo Cahis in Toronto Monday, 25 May 2009

The Sri Lankan government has declared victory over the Tamil Tigers, but this does not remove the question of the rights of the Tamil people. The solution lies in a struggle for a socialist Sri Lanka where the rights of all peoples would be respected, including the right to their own homeland if the Tamils requested it.

The Sri Lankan government, along with the bourgeois press, is loudly celebrating the apparent defeat of the Tamil Tigers and their leader, Velupillai Prabhakaran. The government is saying that the long civil war in Sri Lanka that has killed as many as 80,000 people is finally over and that peace and prosperity can finally return to Sri Lanka's people, including its Tamil population. Many Tamils, rightfully, feel that this is not the case - especially in the context of the present world economic crisis ‑ and that their situation in Sri Lanka will not improve.

Read The Rest of The ArticleHERE




nanc said...

who pays for all this socialism? who's in charge?

Nevin said...

Ren, When I read any type of conflict between nations, especially between peoples of the third world, I always wonder who is funding the conflict. Who is arming both the Sri Lankan army, as well as the Tamil Tigers? Both sides do not have the technology to arm themselves....

I must admit I did not know much about the history of the region... I found it to be an informative read. Thanks.

LeftyHenry said...

The Tamil Tigers had roots in socialism but eventually wen astray to simply nationalism. The Tamils need a new movement that can take on different tactics and keep popular support strong. When guerilla movements are marred with bad press whether true or fake, they have to counter it, or people will stop joining despite hating the government.

The Sentinel said...


That question is key to understanding these conflicts and the greater goal they serve.

Part of the answer lies in analysing the weapronry used by the factions and its vintage.

Frank Partisan said...

Nevin: I will be asking some from Sri Lanka to answer your question. With Tamil's being Hindu, I would guess India.

Henry: How can there be national liberation, when the whole world is in a connected capitalist economy, all divided up already.

In addition the Tamil movement, has used tactics like suicide bombing, which hurts their cause.

National liberation if desired, is only possible after socialism is established.

The national question is ultimately one of bread. If Tamil's weren't discriminated against, they might have not gone on the nationalist road.

Nanc: I don't understand the question.

Sentinel: Probably India behind the Tigers. A Tamil state would be exploited by Indian capitalism.

jams o donnell said...

Ren I think that it's a given that a fair bit of funding from LTTE came from Tamil Nadu

Anonymous said...

Weren't the Tamil's historically an "imperialist/ capitalist" import into a land which was once a wholly Sinhalese (socialist) country? Seems to me that if the Tamil wanted more say in the government of things Sri Lankan, they'd be better of teaming with their original "imperialist/ capitalists" allies.

Frank Partisan said...

FJ: You're talking about British imperialists. The classic divide and conquer.

Jams: The Indian government was hostile to the LTTE. The Tamil communities around the world, are supportive. I believe Canada had large pro-Tiger demonstrations.

jams o donnell said...

We have an ongoing large demonstation of Tamils in Parliament Square.

As for the Indian Govt an Indian Peacekeeping Force (IPKF) was sent in to Sri Lanka in the late 80s.

I worked as an immigration official at Heathrow airport at the time. If the number os asylum applicants was anything to go by then the IPKF did prevent mistreatment of Tamils by Sri Lankan government forces.... The only problem was that after a few months the number of Tamil asylum applicants rose massively. This time the basis of the claim was mistreatment by the IPKF

Frank Partisan said...

Jams: This from Wikipedia: 987, faced with growing anger among its own Tamils, and a flood of refugees,[37] India intervened directly in the conflict for the first time by initially airdropping food parcels into Jaffna. After subsequent negotiations, India and Sri Lanka entered into the Indo-Sri Lanka Accord. Though the conflict was between the Tamil and Sinahlese people, India and Sri Lanka signed the peace accord instead of India influencing both parties to sign a peace accord among themselves. The peace accord assigned a certain degree of regional autonomy in the Tamil areas with Eelam People's Revolutionary Liberation Front (EPRLF) controlling the regional council and called for the Tamil militant groups to lay down their arms. India was to send a peacekeeping force, named the Indian Peace Keeping Force (IPKF), part of the Indian Army, to Sri Lanka to enforce the disarmament and to watch over the regional council.[45][46]
Although the accord was signed between the governments of Sri Lanka and India, and the Tamil militant groups did not have a role in the agreement,[38] most Tamil militant groups accepted it.[47] But the LTTE rejected the accord because they opposed the candidate, who belonged to the EPRLF, for chief administrative officer of the merged Northern and Eastern provinces.[46] Instead, the LTTE named three other candidates for the position, which India rejected.[47] The LTTE subsequently refused to hand over their weapons to the IPKF.[38]
Thus LTTE found itself engaged in military conflict with the Indian Army, and launched its first attack on an Indian army rations truck on October 8, killing five Indian para-commandos who were on board by strapping burning tires around their necks.[48] The government of India decided that the IPKF should disarm the LTTE by force,[48] and the Indian Army launched number of assaults on the LTTE, including a month-long campaign dubbed Operation Pawan to win control of the Jaffna peninsula from the LTTE. The ruthlessness of this campaign, and the Indian army's subsequent anti-LTTE operations made it extremely unpopular among many Tamils in Sri Lanka.[49][50]

Frank Partisan said...

Jams: Blogger has a word limit. This is Part II: After IPKF
The Indian intervention was also unpopular among the Sinhalese majority, and the IPKF became bogged down in the fighting with the Tamil Tigers for over 2 years, experiencing heavy losses. The last members of the IPKF, which was estimated to have had a strength of well over 50,000 at its peak, left the country in 1990 upon request of the Sri Lankan government. A shaky peace initially held between the government and the LTTE, and peace talks progressed towards providing devolution for Tamils in the north and east of the country.[citation needed]
Fighting continued throughout the 1990s, and was marked by two key assassinations carried out by the LTTE, that of former Indian Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi in 1991, and Sri Lankan President Ranasinghe Premadasa in 1993, using suicide bombers in both occasions. The fighting briefly halted in 1994 following the election of Chandrika Kumaratunga as President of Sri Lanka and the onset of peace talks, but fighting resumed after LTTE sunk two Sri Lanka Navy boats in April 1995.[51] In a series of military operations that followed, the Sri Lanka Army re-captured the Jaffna peninsula, the heartland of Tamils in Sri Lanka.[52] Further offensives followed over the next three years, and the military captured vast areas in the north of the country from the LTTE, including area in the Vanni region, the town of Kilinochchi and many smaller towns. However, from 1998 onward the LTTE hit back, regaining control of these areas. This culminated in the capture of the strategically important Elephant Pass base complex, located at the entrance of the Jaffna Peninsula, in April 2000, after prolonged fighting against the Sri Lanka Army.[53]
Mahattaya, a one-time deputy leader of LTTE, was accused of treason by the LTTE and killed in 1994.[54] He is said to have collaborated with the Indian Research and Analysis Wing to remove Prabhakaran from the LTTE leadership.[55]

Larry Gambone said...

I wonder what happened to the Sinhalese socialist movement? At one time back in the 1960's the United Sec. 4 th International had a party with thousands of members.

Frank Partisan said...

Larry: This is from the post: During this period, the LSSP was formed as a Trotskyist party adhering to the ideas of Leon Trotsky and eventually joining the Fourth International. Although the party was forced to go underground during the Second World War, it emerged after the war playing a leading role in the wave of militant strikes that shook Sri Lanka, leading it to become a mass party and the largest opposition party in 1947. The LSSP was the only party in Sri Lanka with a significant base amongst both the Sinhalese and Tamils. This was because it had a correct position of defending the rights of the Tamils while at the same time striving for working class unity across the ethnic divide. As a result of this, the governing bourgeois United National Party (UNP) passed the Citizenship Act of 1948 that deprived Tamils of Indian heritage any rights of citizenship in a deliberate effort to weaken the LSSP and sow divisions amongst Sinhalese and Tamil workers.

Sinhalese and Tamil workers united once again in 1953 when they launched the Hartal - a general strike that paralyzed the country and brought down the UNP government. The supposedly "liberal" Sri Lanka Freedom Party (SLFP) came to power in 1956 and immediately passed the "Sinhala Only" act, which made Sinhala the only official language in Sri Lanka. Although the SLFP proceeded to nationalize the oil industry, the SLFP was very explicitly a Sinhalese party and exacerbated the existing marginalization of Tamil workers in Sri Lanka.

The roots of the present tragedy in Sri Lanka are to be found in the reformist policies that eventually came to dominate the LSSP in the 1950s and 1960s. While opposing the SLFP's nationalism in words, the LSSP would work with the SLFP, even assisting the SLFP in election campaigns. This was unfortunately part of a process whereby the LSSP leadership drifted further and further towards reformist politics, eventually entering a short-lived Popular Front government with the SLFP in 1964. At the same time, there was increased radicalization amongst Sri Lankan workers culminating in a series of major strikes during the same period.

In 1968, the LSSP entered again into a "United Front" coalition with the SLFP and the Communist Party of Sri Lanka. This coalition was swept to power in 1970, with the LSSP taking important positions within the new government. The coalition government carried out some reforms such as the nationalisation of all plantations still under foreign control, and it brought drug prices down for poor people. However, the LSSP very explicitly stated that they were following the example set by the Allende government in Chile, of "socialism through parliamentary means", which meant that capitalism survived and no real long lasting solutions to the problems of the masses were possible.

Unknown said...

Socialism is the only way forward for the world.

Larry Gambone said...

Thanks Ren. I should have read the rest of the article. Too friggin busy these days to do much more than glance at my computer screen!

Anyway, what a waste, is all I can say about the LSSP.

Frank Partisan said...

Larry G: I don't know of any other time, a 4th Int'l party was in government, except Michel Pablo was part of Ben Bella's government.

Tim: Good you are back.

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