ground being prepared for social revolution : Anura

10 October 2012 07:36 pm - 1     - {{hitsCtrl.values.hits}}


JVP MP Anura Kumara Dissanayake spoke to the Daily Mirror on the deteriorating influence of the JVP and the issues surrounding the rift between The Judiciary and the Executive. He also speaks on the FUTA strike.

Trade Union Action

Q:  Many feel that the Federation of University Teachers’ Associations (FUTA) hAS betrayed their cause by now settling for a watered down plan. As a supporter of their cause, do you feel that they have settled for a compromise that does not address the real issues?
The JVP supported FUTA based on two reasons. We supported their demands for an increase in spending on education, the removal of political interference, consultation with lecturers before administrative changes in the universities and an increase in salaries to safeguard the integrity of their professions—we are, in principle, supportive of these demands. Further their struggle is a revolutionary one, and we are supportive of this as well. We have seen that this has been a growing struggle where support has continuously increased.

FUTA is still in discussions with their various groups; they intend on signing an MoU however the contents of that document are yet unknown, therefore it is too early to tell if they have betrayed their cause.
Nevertheless considering the strong manner in which they stood up to the pressures of the government, I think it is unlikely they will betray their cause, and their action thus far have proven that they would not.

Q:At the end of September a JVP affiliated Trade Union threatened a general strike, if this had materialised even FUTA would have had a stronger footing, however it never happened. Does the JVP have the power to commandeer a general strike?
We were never of the view that there needed to be a general strike. FUTA’s demands affect the life of every citizen in this county; it is not merely a case of them asking for an increase in salaries. Their demands would be beneficial to  every working class citizen’s child and every other child in this country.
However for a strike to become one that makes any changes and forces a revolution, it needs to have a positive political leadership. As the JVP we do not believe that the FUTA strike has the power to turn into one that can make a massive change in this country.

Q:The situation is deteriorating rapidly, we see that the judiciary and the education system have crumbled—in this context, if necessary, is the JVP politically powerful enough to command a general strike?
You cannot demand changes from the government based solely on the demands by a political party and trade union activists; there needs to be the proper social context in order for the government to listen to the demands of the people. Therefore the JVP at the present time is not prepared for a general strike; rather we are in the process of setting the groundwork necessary for a social revolution.
We are creating the necessary slogans, the necessary mindset and the necessary political ideology for a social revolution—that is what is needed at this time and what is crucial at this time..


Judicial Services Commission

Q:With regards to the issues of the Judicial Services Commission; the government has justified the request for a meeting by the president, with the commission, as being a meeting called to discuss administrative matters and not judicial decisions. The government faults the Secretary of the JSC for portraying the situation as a threat on the independence of the judiciary. What is your view on this?
This is merely just another means through which the government has eroded democracy in this country. This is a very dangerous situation. Instead of protecting democracy, the Rajapaksa government has only been interested in protecting its power.

The basic pillar of democracy is free information flow, and the Rajapaksa government has been able to disable the media quite craftily. Today they are craftily disabling the power of the judiciary.
The same can be said of the parliament, today the parliament is an instrument in the hands few people.
For certain reasons the government and the judiciary are now at odds, and the government is looking for ways to repair this rift and gain the upper hand.


Deteriorating Position Of The Opposition

Q: You are only able to set the groundwork? You cannot actually commandeer a general strike? Vasudeva Nanayakkara on Hot Seat last week said that the JVP did not have the power to command a general strike.
I think setting the groundwork for a general strike and organising the people are very important and we are engaged in these activities.

Q:Mr. Nanayakkara a veteran of the left-movement also said that the JVP can command only about 20 per cent of trade unions or the working class population of this country and therefore is incapable of any real political action.
He is someone who has betrayed the cause of the left, therefore if he says that we only have 20 per cent of trade unions, then I think that 20 per-cent is more than enough. In history there has not been any trade union action that has gone on with the support of 50 per cent or 100 percent of the support of all trade unions—therefore I would say that 20 per cent is more than enough.

Q: The Inter University Students’ Federation (IUSF) has been a group that has had the support of the JVP for many years, however today they have sought to align themselves with the JVP breakaway group, the Frontline Socialist Party.
The IUSF has never been a group that has been under our command. In the past, they have carried out a great task for the cause of free education in this country in a very efficient and shrewd manner. Therefore we have always given them our blessing and support; however, it was never a group that obtained any advice or instruction from us.

Q: There is a general perception that the campaign they are carrying out has now become excessively aggressive. What is your view on this?
I think the IUSF has always been accused of this; they are accused of not being aware of the real situation in society before carrying out their struggles. I think this perception has been created by the media and the media owners in this country.

Since 1978, education in this country has not been about increasing the human capital of the people. Rather it has been a tool that has been sold on the market to the highest bidder—therefore any semblance of integrity and freedom left in the education system is thanks to the student movements. Today, people enjoy the fruits of their labour; they have lost limbs, their studentship and even their lives for this cause. I believe that even today the IUSF is protecting the interests of our children and future generations.

Q:The strength of the JVP is quickly declining. If you take the recent Provincial Council Elections, the JVP performed poorly.
We did obtain one seat; however we do not think that our true strength and the ideals of our party are displayed through the elections. There may be people who vote for us and those who do not —however both groups are of the strong belief that the JVP needs to be a strong force in the political process.
The people of this country look at the JVP very positively and they want us to remain in politics. We have done a number of surveys on this matter; the results have been as follows. When we ask the people: which party does not steal? They reply that it is the JVP. When they are asked which party carries out the most politically astute campaign, their  reply has been the JVP.  However, when we ask them which party they will vote for, they name a different party.

They are believers in the principles and the integrity of the JVP and they accept us. They look at us with respect and try to look at our ideas with an open mind. However this has not translated into a vote, as yet. How do we get these individuals to vote for the JVP, at the polling station? But more importantly how do we make them a member of the JVP? Or an activist? This is something that we admit we need to do.
We need to look at the issues, which deceive people about the true nature of the political process in this country. For instance, look at the manner in which the government bribes the people to vote for them? Firstly they cripple the people economically, after that they offer free consumer products.
Secondly look at the media in this country; how many voters actually make their decision based on attending a political rally? They make their decisions based on watching the reports by the media. But the media is manipulated by big business, therefore those who have money are those who have power are able to convey their message far more effectively than those who do not, have money or power. Therefore the general population is duped by this media machine, and these victims of the media machine go to the polling booth and vote. Therefore should we consider this view to be the honest view of the public?
I will admit that we cannot justify our failures on the context alone, we have faced some obstacles and therefore we have had a considerable decline at the polls. This was due to two factors; the departure of Wimal Weerawansa and the breakaway, recently, of a radical extremist group—these factors have deteriorated the trust that people had in the party.

However I would say that the departure of Wimal Weerawansa is something that should strengthen the faith of the people in the party—because he is someone who has been in the pocket of the government and that is not what our party is about.

There was the radical group that was dragging the party in the wrong direction; however we defeated that threat as well.

In a context when this government is incapable of taking disciplinary action against Mervyn Silva, the JVP has been able to discipline itself.

Q:However, people would be led to assume that the internal struggles of the opposition parties have defeated them. Because in the present context where the cost of living is rising, education is deteriorating and corruption is rampant, it is not the political parties who are at the forefront. Instead academics and members of the judiciary are the ones taking the lead on any opposition to the government and the opposition parties are merely obtaining a free ticket on these campaigns.
We feel that we should fight, and there is a good context in which to fight the government. I think that we are doing something to act against corruption and the breakdown of law and order. We are doing what we can, however I admit that what we are doing is insufficient.
We are not a “contract” political party; we do not take on the contracts of other causes and shout for them. We believe in a social revolution, because the health sector, the education sector and the judiciary are in dire straits and need to be reformed—it is this political ideology that we hold.
Each person in this country must support the social revolution that we are attempting to bring about.

Q: When will we see the end result of this social revolution that you say you are working towards?
Social revolutions are not an incremental process; they take place due to one or two instances. Toppling a government is a very simple process; however creating a social revolution is more complex.
I can only tell you with certainty that this generation will see this change and it is the responsibility of this generation.

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  • Lion Thursday, 11 October 2012 11:37 PM

    What you said was exactly correct JVP is the only party which maintains discipline and which do not steal.But when it comes for voting we find its vote base is declining rapidly.JVP has to find the reason for it.Thanks for JVP the corruption of this despotic regime is always highlighted.

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