Letters to the Editor


Like the rope that ‘supports’ those who are hanged
The criticism of the SLFP and its leadership by the JVP, whilst being coalition partners in the UPFA government, reminds me of the principle on which the Communists should form United Fronts, prescribed in the book - Left Wing Communism - An Infantile Disorder - by Lenin.

"The Communists,” he wrote "should support labour leaders as a rope supports one who is hanged." That was written when the Communists believed in going it alone and opposed social democrats, liberals as much as they kept a distance from non-communist parties. Lenin's theory changed that thinking and paved the way for the Communist parties not so popular among the workers, peasants and the masses to get leverage in the political arena and lay the foundation to capture political power in due course. Initially, this theory was directed towards the political climate in England.

The Communist Party of England was formed in 1920 and due to the lack of support among the people, it issued a declaration a year or so later, calling for a United Front aimed at roping in especially the left elements including Labour Party members and trade unionists, to the Communist Party, in line with Lenin's new thinking. A decade later, the socialist-oriented Independent Labour Party obliged by forming a United Front with the Communist Party. The unity was used to get Communist Party members to infiltrate the ILP.

Thereafter, progressively, ILP leaders were criticised, denounced and made unpopular. The party split and that saw the end of the ILP. That was the tactic followed by the Communist parties throughout the world. The Communist Party international programme of activities in 1932 emphasised that communist parties should organise trade unions, win the confidence and support of the workers and the masses, capture power and replace the leaders with Communist Party members. That they followed to the letter.

It is history that the Communist parties have gone from one United Front to another. It was so in France, England, Italy and in East European countries in particular.They have used the genuine grievances of the people for joint activity with other political parties and used the process to destroy the very parties they joined hands with.

They have used socialists, social democrats, liberals, trade unionists and even the clergy for their purpose of capturing political power and on coming to power those who were not Communists were driven into the wilderness, sent to labour camps, incarcerated in gaols or even executed. The failure on the part of governments to solve social and economic problems, the failure to understand the signs of the times by the political elite, misery, exploitation and injustice could all lead to upheavals, uprisings and unrest among the people. Hence circumstances that lead to such situations should not be created, which in turn could be made use of to create problems in the country.

United Fronts in Sri Lanka, however, have had a bad track record. They have been dismal failures and have left Marxist parties in ruins. Just as what the JVP is doing today, the LSSP, CP, VLSSP, MEP too did criticise the SLFP and the UNP, whilst being coalition partners in one form or other. However, the red shirts who formed United Fronts with the rightist parties saw the rank and file deserting them and joining the 'right' party with a view not only to staying in politics but also to tasting political power. The United Fronts in Sri Lanka, in fact, could be likened to 'the rope that supports those who are hanged', as far as the Marxists are concerned.

Upali S. Jayasekera
Colombo 4

Dragonflies to battle dengue menace
This may be a well-known fact but have we in Sri Lanka tried to destroy the dengue mosquito larvae by using dragonfly larvae?

An experiment tried out in Myanmar many years ago has proved very successful as recorded in the Bulletin of Entomological Research Vol. 80, pg 223 and The New Scientist of April 27, 1991 which article written by Stephen Young states "A number of circumstances combined to create this favourable outcome, notably the specialized breeding habits of (the mosquito) Aedesaegyptii, the participation of the local people and the ready availability of a suitable predator. Applying the technique on a wider scale- where suitable conditions exist- should not present insuperable problems."

It might be a good idea here in Sri Lanka to systematically breed dragonflies instead of breeding dengue mosquitoes as has been happening these many years.

C.I.T. Perera

Where is Ponni?
No! No! I am not looking for a horse! As you know by now this is the name of the Indian rice that has been imported by the government and distributed to all co-operatives to be sold at Rs. 35-36 a kilo, with one person being permitted to buy a maximum five kilos.

Within a matter of one week all the rice has disappeared from the co-operatives, especially those in Colombo! But, now you can buy any amount of this rice from any of the Sathosa supermarkets (now privately owned) at Rs. 44 a kilo. If you buy more than three kilos, you can get it for Rs. 43 a kilo.

You can also get this rice from any private grocery. Even if I forgave the Kalukada mudalalis of the private groceries how do you explain the availability of this rice at the Sathosa supermarkets? Obviously they have to get it directly from wherever the main rice stores are. If they claim that they imported the rice directly from India themselves, why wasn't it available before the government started importing it?

Once again the poor man is hit while somebody else is making full use of the government's "sincere efforts" to bring down the price of rice. I sincerely hope the government will look into this and do something about it before the public lose faith in the government.

Dr. Ajith Fernando
Via e-mail

Jack of no trade
Robin Jackman giving commentaries in the last round robin match of the recently concluded tri-nation one-day series, took a lot of trouble to explain to the viewers the advantage Sri Lanka had, batting second in the 1996 World Cup finals.

He went on and on, to explain how difficult it was for Shane Warne to handle the wet ball owing to the dew falling on the ground. Basically he concluded that the side winning the toss in Lahore is the winner of the match, as that team will opt to bowl first.

It was pretty obvious he was undermining the Sri Lankan World Cup victory in 1996. Our boys made Jack eat humble pie by winning the final, bowling second. Conditions were very similar to 1996.
Unfortunately the Sri Lankan commentator didn't grab the opportunity to drive the point across, that our victory in 1996 had nothing to do with the dew factor.

Nimeshi Peiris
Colombo 5

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