Sri Lanka: The divided left

The Left always stands for the equality of all, justice for all and universal (sisterhood/brotherhood) fraternity. For the true leftist ‘Common Good’ is the primary concern, always taking priority over his personal privileges, perks or profits. A true leftist is never satisfied with the ‘status quo’ as long as one poverty ridden, oppressed person is found somewhere in the world.


by Fr J.C. Pieris

( October 2, 2017, Colombo, Sri Lanka Guardian) The Left, politically speaking, is not merely a philosophy, an ideology or a method of economy. It is an attitude and a belief in all that is best in humanity; in all that will enhance and ennoble the dignity and worth of each and every human being. The Left always stands for the equality of all, justice for all and universal (sisterhood/brotherhood) fraternity. For the true leftist ‘Common Good’ is the primary concern, always taking priority over his personal privileges, perks or profits. A true leftist is never satisfied with the ‘status quo’ as long as one poverty ridden, oppressed person is found somewhere in the world. A sincere leftist is a woman/man full of ‘maithree’ and compassion, not only for her/his fellow human beings, but for all living beings, flora and fauna and even the inanimate planet earth, our common home. A true and a sincere leftist, even though s/he may call herself/himself an atheist, is a hidden but an authentic Buddhist, a genuine Christian, a true Hindu or a true Muslim. A genuine leftist may not be perfect but s/he is a full human being. He is ready to sacrifice anything, even his life, for the good of the people, the common good. He is a humble man who is ready to set aside his personal views or ideas for the sake of serving the people better. He has no disgusting yen for position, power or pelf.

If you accept as true the description given above of a good and a committed leftist, I’m sure what follows logically from that also will be acceptable to those who are genuinely concerned about our country and its future. I am addressing all people of goodwill, but especially the members of political parties and organizations that call themselves leftists. I certainly do not include the SLFP among them, though they pretend to be leftist, as the present day party leadership and its members are mere crooks, who have no interest at all in the welfare of the people or the country, and are in cahoots with the UNPers and their robber barons.

What’s wrong with the left movement?

The left movement of our country has, as a whole, lost more than 80% of its credibility just by the fact that it is divided into so many political parties and organizations. It is pathetic to consider how small, weak and ineffective these many leftist entities are. These divisions and enmities send a message of their small mindedness, their unconcern for the welfare of the people and the country. The tragic message is that they are concerned about themselves, their views and ideologies (Frankly, all those theoretical hairsplitting, I feel, are a camouflage for their selfish hidden needs and agendas.) more than they are concerned with the urgent needs of the people and the nation. Succinctly put, they are selfish, immature and are not sincere committed leftists.

An opportunity of a lifetime

The present political situation in the country is an invitation with open arms to the left movement of Sri Lanka to take the country leadership into their hands and guide it to prosperity, peace and unity.

The two old rotten parties, the UNP and the SLFP, which governed this country alternately from 1948, are trying now to govern the country together. After having ruined this country separately, now they are hell bent on ruining this country in tandem. What is there to elucidate about the UNP: the finance minister was a man with a money laundering case against him who had shamelessly received ‘jarava’ going in to millions from shady characters now being investigated in the bond scam. And the governor of the Central Bank was a foreigner apparently imported into the country just to steal billions from the poor man’s EPF. And what of the SLFP: the secretary of the party is robbing the nation 21 million a month in broad daylight with the excuse that it is the rent for a building to house the agricultural department, and the building has being lying empty for the last ten months. The lease had been signed for five years. With that kind of money two buildings could have been built for the department. The wonder of the matter is that the President and the Prime Minister know all about it but nothing, absolutely nothing, happens to stop the robbery. What to say of the JO? It is the rump of the old rotten SLFP and that says it all. The people are totally fed up and disgusted with the current affairs and are impatiently waiting to vent their justified wrath with their feet come the next general election.

This is the auspicious moment, historically destined for the left movement of Sri Lanka to take over the leadership of the country and make it a truly resplendent nation. “There is a tide in the affairs of men, which taken at the flood, leads on to fortune. Omitted, all the voyage of their life is bound in shallows and in miseries. On such a full sea are we now afloat. And we must take the current when it serves, or lose our ventures.” – William Shakespeare. But before the left movement of Sri Lanka takes the bull by the horns they have some rigorous homework to do.

The homework

Unity is strength and power. Division is weakness and defeat. As Shakespeare put it so poetically and clearly, it is now or never for the left movement of our country. The urgent need is, first of all, to forge unity among all the leftist political parties and various like minded organizations. If the leftists of Sri Lanka desire to finally serve the country to their full capacity and potential, there is no other way. They will have to organize a round table conference, invite all who have a socialist bend of mind from dark red to light pink, keeping in mind the “Common Good” and the urgent needs of the poorest bottom stratum of our country, setting aside all selfish needs and urges; and with great compassion, wisdom, flexibility and pragmatism discuss and formulate a manifesto for a common “Vision” for the country and a political agenda agreed upon by all for future implementation. Forget all the ancient isms, Marxism, Leninism, Trotskyism, Stalinism, Maoism, Castroism etc. Let us make our own ism, the Sri Lankan Leftism that will be relevant to our current existential context of the country. This is the moment of challenge for every right-thinking, broad-minded, big-hearted and genuine leftist to test his/her mettle and prove that s/he is worthy of our people’s invaluable trust.

Even if vague attempts at left unity in the country are mooted; it will frighten and terrify every imperialist fifth column, parrot and cat’s paw in the country. Every crook, rogue, thief, robber, murderer, rapist, child abuser, pimp and prostitute of the present and the previous regimes will be hugely upset. All the crony capitalists and robber barons who swindled people’s money will be wetting their pants. Therefore, the left unifying enterprise must be carried out with great care and with a keen awareness of the dangers that surround such a people friendly attempt at left unity.

Failure is betrayal

Obviously the failure of the left movement of Sri Lanka to unify all or most of the leftist parties, organizations, societies and well-wishers, would be a tragic let down of the hopes of the people who have been abandoned in a political desert, with no food, no water and nowhere to go by the present set of traitorous politicians at Diyawannawa. There are no two words about it; the failure of the left to unite now and take the helm of the country in to their hands will be a stark betrayal of the only hope of the people of this country. If the Left fails at this juncture of our history, it will have lost its raison d’être. If the Left does not answer the call of the nation Sri Lanka does not need it and it will be relegated to the dustbin of history for good. As the pithy Sinhala saying goes: “Yuddeta nathi kaduwa kos kotannada?”

Author: Sri Lanka Guardian

Sri Lanka Guardian has been providing breaking news & views for the progressive community since 2007. We are independent and non-profit.

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