‘Sinhala only’ was the beginning of the Fascism
The path for Fascism is always through militarism
Samasamajist or socialist should be prepared to link with the liberal capitalist leaders and fight back for democracy
The criminal things this government does like trying to say that country belong to Sinhala
Dr. Vikramabahu Karunaratne is a highly qualified academic who gave up his career to lead a leftwing political movement. He joined active politics in 1972 becoming a Central Committee member of the Lanka Sama Samaja Party (LSSP). However Dr. Vickramabahu is contesting for Kalutara district as a candidate from the United National Party (UNP), a move contrary to his left-wing and Marxist political history.
Q You have been in a struggle against the capitalistic structure for over 50 years...
I have been struggling against the reaction whatever it may be either capitalism or more hideously fascism. Whatever the form that appear we have to fight back.
Q One might criticise Dr. Vickramabahu who was fighting against the capitalist and fascist system this time representing another capitalistic political party?
A: Yes I am representing party which is a liberal democratic party. What we call in politically liberal democratic party of course representing democratic aspects of capitalism. So I have to come to that stage because in this country there is threat of fascism. There is a clear indication of fascistic dictatorship being thrown on all people. Samasamajist or socialist should be prepared to link with the liberal capitalist leaders and fight back for democracy so that the struggle today is for justice, fair play and democracy.
Q For that you don’t mind joining liberal democratic political movement?
Karl Marx and other Marxist leaders have insisted in a situation like this where Fascistic forces are struggling to come to power, that Marxist and socialist should combine with them and fight back to get the democracy that you need. So this is a struggle for democaracy against that fascistic danger which is already harping power and dominating the society and creating problems for all.
Q We have seen in the history that so called fascistic movement came with force and dictactorships. But here the fascist movement you refer to has come with the choice of the people. It is the majority working class is with the fascistic movement you refer. Even though you called them fascist, they have come with the people’s mandate. Your comment.
In Germany also Hitler had the power to come to power and establish himself through democracy becasue the socialists there were not prepared to combine with liberal democratic forces. That is why how Hitler came to power. So Hitler also had the backing of backward working class people. There were a number of backward parties.
What happened was they were not politically mobilised and they were prepared to go with a Hitler. The disaster befell on the working class. We have to be careful by just saying you are going with capitalism, capitalist party. When you say capitalist party some parties are democratic, they are for justice, they are prepared to give national liberation to minority nationalities so that bourgeois parties are not equal to each other. They are politically very different. Like Hitler’s party and party of social democracies in Germany.
Q If you come back to Sri Lankan politics left-wing Marxist socialist politics had never being popular except a short era where there were leaders like Colvin R de Silva, N. M. Perera and Pieter Keuneman. The political movement had failed to attract masses. Left wing parties had virtually been a failure. The worst is that some of these left wing leaders had betrayed the people and they had even joined the so called Fascist movement. The best example is your one-time political partner Vasudeva Nanayakkara and where he stands now. According to you why this left wing politics is going wrong in Sri Lanka?
When we got independence from British Marxist or the socialist parties or Samasamajist parties were working together with the nationalist parties like the United National Party for liberation or independence. They were united in that. Also after discussing how the Tamil, Sinhala and Muslim nationalities could be given equality there was agreement between the Samasamajist and the UNPers. Both were prepared to make all three languages, Sinhalese, Tamil and English state languages and give equality so that everybody can be benefited. But then came the Sri Lanka Freedom Party which said ‘Sinhala only’. This is the disastrous thing that happened to this country. This is the beginning of the Fascism. And unfortunately leaders Colvin and NM delightedly struggled together to get all three languages accepted with the UNP after getting defeated that from the Sinhala only and Sinhala only party was carrying on still making divisions in the society. They were prepared to join with this Sinhala only party to go for socialism. It is a ridiculous step they have taken. How could a Fascistic or neo-Fascistic party which is pressurise one section of the society could be socialist. This is the problem and that created divisions in movement and that is exactly why we are now say that we will not combine with bourgeois parties which don’t accept 13th Amendment and prepared to go beyond 13th Amendment to satisfy the minority nationalities. That is our principle. On that basis we can combine with Ranil Wickremesinghe and the UNP because they are prepared to give devolution and solve the problem of the Tamil people.
Q Some political analysts say that this government is going towards more militaristic style of governance with appointing many military men with the civil administration posts. How do you describe this?
That is the path. The path for Fascism is always through militarism. Now they are saying military is good for health, military is good for development, education and everything you have to have military. This is a militaristic mania. Automatically the Fascistic state like Hitler’s day will be alive.
Q Many view that you being a highly qualified academic sacrificed you bright career for a political cause. How do you describe the future Sri Lankan politics?
I think it is very bright. But even though these maniacs are there and set back having a militaristic dictator for President, still there is a freedom for us to talk like this and condemn what has to be condemned. We have still the opening and freedom to combine and struggle back to educate people. General education is very much higher than ten years ago. So young people are rejecting all these maniacs. Therefore there is a bright future because people are prepared to listen, they are prepared to understand and they are prepared to sacrifice. And I am happy that I turned away from a mere academic life into a socialist and speak to the people and grab them out of this menace and to go forward. All religions say that all humans are the same.
Q The most serious problem at present is the ethnic problem and we see that not only the majority Sinhalese but even the minority politicians are capitalising on this nationalistic and extremist idea. In this background how doyou see a solution to the ethnic problem in Sri Lanka?
As a principle all human are equal and actually all religious teachers have said that. Not only Buddha, Jesus Christ, Prophet Mohamed and any other religion say and scientists conclusively say no human could be a separatist. So therefore we must value others way of life and others thinking of their own. So that is the way to go forward. Number of societies have come out of this divisions on the principle of right of self-determination, equality and self-defence. That all three to be taken and we have solve the problem. Already we are half way through. We have come to constitution with 13th Amendment and prepared to go forward. We should take it forward. We should implement the 13th Amendment fully and then see what else we have to do to give more self independence and self-rule and to give whatever the lands belong to them. The criminal things this government does like trying to say that country belong to Sinhala only, just because they are the majority. This is the beginning of our decay. So we must get the masses out of thinking in this manner and see that we enlarge the society so that the minorities can come into the mainline and to give positive contribution.