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Rallying for democracy

4 December 2012 08:32 pm - 2     - {{hitsCtrl.values.hits}}

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In Egypt, people of every political persuasion, demonstrated against the President’s dictatorial declaration barring the judicial authorities from overturning any decision made by him. Though he was placed in power by the mass movement, seeing this measure as an attempt to undermine the judiciary and place the president above the law, the country burst out in protest. The President claimed that he was targeting reactionary Mubarak-appointees; that did not deter the protesters. He was trying to imitate Napoleon Bonaparte who claimed to carry the revolution forward by rising above the mass movement.
This is a common disease of all populists. They want dictatorial power to ‘brush out the garbage of history and create a modern set up’. When it comes to history, it is true that such great bourgeois leaders, ‘men with iron brushes’, made radical changes.
But as Marx pointed out they were not really independent but represented the dreams of radical small holders, the petty bourgeois, particularly the small farmers. However, that period is over.
Tasks today are widely different from those that existed at the time of Jacobins. Now the radical mass movement is made up of workers and intelligentsia in the cities; there are no Jacobins to carry the baton to a dictator.
Hence Pro-democracy activists joined one-time Mubarak allies, to face the threat which was not to individuals but to the judicial independence, the judiciary and democracy itself.
In Sri Lanka we have an authoritarian president who came to power through elections and subsequently used the parliamentary power to establish a constitutional dictatorship. Mahinda used the elections and parliamentary power in the same way as Hitler did.
Hitler used elections to get a majority in the parliament then used chauvinist killings to consolidate his power. The Mahinda regime also came through a similar path. Even today, Tamils are living under a military regime in the Tamil homeland. His march is not yet over.
 The impeachment, which is an assault on the judiciary, is a new step in that direction. It is clear that the impeachment will not be a fair trial, and quite likely the UPFA majority in the (PSC), in spite of the challenges of the opposition will find the Chief Justice guilty. Then Mahinda will attempt to appoint one of his henchmen as the Chief Justice. But it could become his daydream as masses are aware that under such a Chief Justice, the judiciary will become as much of a tool of Mahinda as the Parliament, the army or the bureaucracy.
 One could say still the mass response is far from adequate. But such pessimists must be prepared for sharp turns and sudden changes in the coming period.
It is true that Parliamentary Select Committee (PSC) is a deeply flawed instrument by its very nature; and its composition prevents it from functioning as an instrument of justice. Given its UPFA majority, the PSC cannot act objectively; nor can it decide on the basis of evidence. However from the day this outlandish attack on the CJ was made, people started campaigning without waiting for support of the opposition.
From that day, every day we see campaigns by judges, lawyers, students, trade unions and religious leaders. We could see masses breaking police barriers and marching after CJ’s vehicle.
 All communities have come together on this issue and such unity has never been seen in this country. The rising power of the people could shatter the illusions of chauvinist dictators.People have understood that the PSC’s real purpose is to provide a legitimate cover to what is essentially a witch hunt. That is why the decision that the PSC should conduct its business under a cloak of secrecy has produced volumes of stories in websites and media networks.
The people see the regime’s action for what it is: an act of intimidation by a group of angry limited men against a woman who finally refused to yield to their illegal and unconstitutional demands.
They wanted her to abandon the post but she is fighting back and explaining her side of the story to the public. All political leaders who respect democracy and fair play should put their shoulders to this struggle for democracy.
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  • Hunek Wednesday, 05 December 2012 01:18 PM

    'All political leaders'?
    What about rest of the state?

    P.L.J.B.Palipana Wednesday, 05 December 2012 01:39 AM

    THANKS.DR.KARUNARATHNA.


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