“Before you study the economics, study the economists!”
The White Man in Decline & Further Fairytales
e-Con e-News 08-14 December 2019
The pitiful Swiss fiasco in Colombo, intended to hide their facilitating of the escape of one of their local spies to Berne – part of the attempt to hobble a new President’s initiative – recalls their undiplomatic herding of white envoys to barge into the parliamentary gallery in Kotte last year (see ee Sovereignty). In a world witnessing: The barefaced coup d’état by the US, Germany and Canada against Bolivia. The strutting of Germany’s army and their joining US naval maneuvres in the South China Sea. Japan’s navy raising the imperialist Rising Sun flag in Colombo. Then there’s Boris Jo, & soon, Trump in 2020 again. We may ask: Is this the last gasp of the white man in decline or renewed rattling of white power, preparing for another ‘World War’? Will we soon see the fast retreat to Sri Lanka of ‘diasporas’?
Nonetheless, the Swiss, famous for holding secret bank accounts for kleptocrats the world over, have inadvertently reminded us: of the media role in diverting and concealing the most important economic issues facing Lanka – Investment in modern industrial production!
• Last year when President Sirisena called his detractors, “Butterflies”, allegedly alluding to sexuality, Colombo’s whites feigned flabbergasted outrage.
Yet there was nary a word against the sheer torrents of invective about Sirisena’s rural origins – gamarala, gramasevaka, etc – that continue to be cast long past his term of office; abuse hurled by Colombots claiming to be vociferous protectors of ‘human rights’, who also labeled any media opposing them – “Black Media”.
That these whites also disparage the country’s vast masses who, indeed, are not from cities, seem to absolutely not faze them. They then proceeded to insult the current President, pretty much in the same uncivil terms, convinced he’s an ‘oriental despot’ in the making. The cynical use of social issues to whitewash class conflict has thus energized the so-called Right, extending the hegemony of capitalism. But white media must not make us forget our priorities: state investment in modern machine production.
• An ee Reader makes a good point (see ee Reader Comments) about all this corruption and bribery business – as reported last week again, on Exxon funneling payoffs to Asian and African leaders to Washington banks: Most bribes remain in the USA or Europe, a fact about which the World Bank’s Transparency International remain speechless.
Which reminds that all this promissory opium of reparations for genocide, slavery and colonialism is being mooted about again by England, as if exploitation were a matter of the past. Will it result in any cash – to pay for more English goods and experts? – going back to those European and Settler banks. ee demands no cash, but wants our share of the Bank of England to invest in modern production here!
While there are many state banks, private banks and foreign banks, which profit off imports (especially of foreign technology) and prolong this state of underdevelopment in the country, the need of the hour is true nationalization and democratization of financial institutions to enable accumulation and investment in modern machine production…(see ee Focus, B2)
We’re Always ‘Developing’ yet Never ‘Develop’, Always ‘Emerging’ but Never Emerge
• The salivating thrills headlining the arrival in Colombo last week of “Emerging Markets” financializer Mark Mobius, invited by merchant conglomerate John Keells, show these capitalists and their public media have no shame, acting as if they do not know what we need. Mobius wants public corporations thrown onto the stock market, and tells merchants to keep investing in goddamn plantations and tourism and an indistinct ‘manufacture.’ Mobius’ entry here is of course linked to the explosion over the last 40 years of financialization, accompanied by more frequent and greater crises, which they wish us to pay for. Yet ee emphasizes – Capitalism IS Crisis. (see ee Business)
Their media also mourned the death this week of ex-US Federal Reserve Chairman (1979-87) Paul Volcker, who exacerbated financialization & deindustrialization, while praising non-interference of the state in the economy. We strongly recommend reading carefully the excerpts from SBD de silva’s book in ee Focus B1 on why these ‘experts’ wish to keep us in bondage, and why our merchants are so thrilled to invite them to lecture us.
A1. Random Notes –
• The US took over from English Colonialism in SL • Central Bank Prevents Industrial Investment • White Man in Decline & Further Fairytales – China’s Supposed Rise • US Anti-Imperialism • US as World’s Banker & Capitalist Enforcer • US State – Treasury & Fed, Central to Global “crisis-management” • Enforcing Switch from Import-Substitution to Export-oriented Industrialization • Turn Financial Institutions into Public Utilities • Democratize decision-making to govern investment & employment! • Why Keells Loves Mobius • Absence of a Class in SL dedicated to Capital Accumulation & Investment • Difference between Settler and non-Settler Colonies • Importance of the Home Market for Industrialization • The Ratings Agency Game
A2. Reader Comments –
• Study the Economists • US/Euro Bribes to Foreign leaders Stay in US/Euro Banks • ee more nationalist? • Will Dian Gomes privatize Water & Milk for Nestle’s? • The nSLAVED?
A3. Quotes of the Week
• Nestle’s claims its Water is Essential Service? • Hoole Duality • Mouffe is a Fraud • Blair knifed Corbyn?
B. ee Focus
B1. Social Science NGOs & the Destruction of Import-Substitution
B2. The White Man in Decline & Further Fairytales
C. News Index
D. History: 1898 – the Rise of US Imperialism Worldwide
A1. Random Notes (‘Seeing Number in Chaos’)_________________
The US took over, unannounced, the role of English colonialism in Sri Lanka. ee has documented their making and control of the Central Bank, preventing modern industrial investment, let alone their assassination of our leaders and promotion of terrorism. White media claims of China’s rise are meant to keep allied white and off-white troops on their toes, and also to evoke long-instilled white supremacist tropes about yellow perils and red menaces, etc, playing Asian, African and non-Anglo American nations against each other.
• The White Man in Decline & Further Fairytales (see ee Focus, B2)
Fairytales scare or rock infants into falling asleep. Take their minds off toys and other diversions. To sleep happily ever after.
ee’s theme of The White Man in Decline… is not to overplay the power of imperialism led by its premier white-settler state, the USA, but to point out that rumors of their decline are greatly exaggerated. There’s much work still to be done to accelerate this decline!
A US anti-imperialist movement, including author Mark Twain and US steel monopolist Andrew Carnegie, arose during the 1898 US War on Spain to grab Cuba, Puerto Rico, Guam, the Philippines, etc (see ee Section D). But this AIM seemed more like an internal disagreement between robbers: those who wanted to take over all of the world, starting first with the rest of the Americas from other European competitors (as was early forecast in their 1823 Munro Doctrine, etc), and those robbers who felt they had already murdered and robbed enough, and may overstretch…
After Europe’s WW1, the US became the leading industrial power, & banker to the world, developing the institutional capacity to enforce capitalism worldwide.
After 1944, the US state overtook the English and other colonial empires. They intertwined the US Treasury and Federal Reserve with Wall Street, abandoning capital controls. Their spawn at Bretton Woods –IMF/WB/WTO – put the capitalist world on the dollar standard, expanding the financial sector everywhere.
• This ee also attends (see ee Focus B1) to very important excerpts from the concluding chapter in SBD de Silva’s book covering the period of switchover from import-substitution and the push for export-oriented industrialization, alongside the diminution of the state and the rise of NGOs, and social science as a big business.
• Turn Financial Institutions into Public Utilities • Democratize Decision-making Governing Investment & Employment! • Nationalize the Banks!
Democratizing investment is the country’s main challenge. The white media insists the issue is: should we privatize public institutions or not? (see ee Economists, Advocata, etc) The white media turns our priorities upside-down. Look at their economic panaceas. They happily evade capitalism’s clear past-expiry date, its ginormous waste (let alone the massive state-intervention & bailouts post-2007). Look how thrilled they are at prescribing the same financial quackery (see ee Business, Keells loves Mobius, Mobius loves plantations & tourism!) that keeps merchants in control, promoting the most morbid elements in society, preventing such vital issues as industrializing rural agriculture by recapturing the home market. The private sector also refuses to create high-skilled jobs.
• SBD de Silva often spoke of the absence of a class in SL dedicated to capital accumulation & investment, and the need for the state to enable such accumulation and investment in modern technology, skills, etc. He saw the need for an “appropriate class structure, & a corresponding set of production relations, within which accumulation takes place.” He also noted: “The problems of underdevelopment are not the contradictions of capitalism arising from the accumulation process but the absence of accumulation – there was no class whose existence was bound up with the continued reproduction of capital. Without such a class the question is: if the surplus was domestically held, would it have been capitalized?”
SB compared non-settler colonial countries such as ours, with the white settler countries where there was “a greater internal dynamism than the nonsettler colonies which remained producers of primary products for the metropolitan economy. As an investing class the settlers engaged in a more diverse range of activities, including manufacturing production. They generally catered for domestic or regional markets, often in competition with the metropolitan economy.” Linked to this “entrepreneurial pattern was the dominance of production capital over merchant capital. Production capital in the settler colonies functioned in its own right, not in the service of a merchant class to whom production was of secondary interest and who were concerned with controlling markets rather than with improving production methods. The process of capital accumulation and investment thus acquired a national orientation…”
• Rule by Ratings – The IMF and World Bank (both products of the US Treasury) claim to be objective policemen but they do not alert government and capital controllers about crashes. The IMF failed to anticipate the Mexican 1994/95 ‘peso crisis’. After that bailout, an early warning system with timely info to policymakers and market actors was created. But the IMF gave no warning before the 1997 ‘Asian Contagion’ (note the ready use of biological metaphors). The IMF’s May 1997 ‘World Economic Outlook’ signaled no impending crash of the Thai Baht or SE Asia. The IMF then claimed they knew there were problems and had internal documents to prove it, so: “Is secrecy the hallmark of an early warning system?” Or do they promote crashes?
Their rating agencies, who like the IMF, act in tandem with US Treasury’s dictat, operate like a UN watchdog for capitalist human rights. Fitch, S&P’s and Moody’s (yes, yes, Acuity!) are given privileged access to books and boardrooms of companies, as well as to finance ministries and central banks. Yet their highly rated banks and business kept crumbling under the Asian region’s 1997 financial crisis. Executives in related firms claim they sent clear signals to them, but these signals did not appear in ratings. Moody’s top manager then said: “An institution run by a bunch of bureaucrats who couldn’t run a corner candy store is not necessarily a bad credit risk.” What matters is the willingness of govts to intervene & bail out management teams who may be dumbos. A high credit rating doesn’t mean a company or bank is well managed, only that, despite “bad managers, lax regulations, corrupt lending practices & other maladies: credits will be paid because govts will use public funds to bail them out.” Rating agencies do provide another measure called ‘financial ratings’, what an agency thinks about a company or bank’s actual management and operation. But investors do not consult these ratings…
A2. Reader Comments
• “Greatly appreciated, as usual. The first line “Before you study the economics, study the economists!” may be a good caption for all future ee issues too.
• “Those bribes given to generals in Bolivia, the president of Guinea and various economists plus their foundations & thinktanks everywhere are soon stashed in US, English and other banks. The bribe-takers who gleefully count the money they get, only get to count their money. They then die or are killed and the funds remain in vaults of the bribe-givers – to which the recipients channelled them for ‘safekeeping’.”
• “ee appears to have gone more nationalist rather than economic in the last several issues?”
• “Re: Susantha Ratnayake overseeing appointments of public corporations, what about Dian Gomes, linked to Nestles, which has monopolized milk production in SL, and makes us dependent on imports? Will they privatize water too?”
• “What we have in Sri Lanka, are not minorities so much as imperialist gropuscules, such as the Colombots (NGOs, etc), Olcottists (who claim to be more rational than Sinhala Buddhists) and the nSLAVED – Napuns SL Anglican Vellala English Dept…”
A3. Quotes of the Week_____________________________________
• “Allowing a corporation to bottle our water just to sell it back to us is hardly an ‘essential service.'” (see ee Agriculture, Nestles)
• “The biggest irony is that Prof. Hoole who was trying to knock GR out of the race on citizenship issues is himself a Sri Lankan-US dual citizen.”– http://island.lk/index.php?page_cat=article-details&page=article-details&code_title=215011
• “Podemos, like its first cousin the Syriza (“Coalition of the Radical Left”) govt in Greece, is based on fraudulent theories of “left populism” that reject the working class, class struggle, socialism, and revolutionary policies. Chantal Mouffe, postmodernist writer and associate of leading members of the Syriza & Podemos parties, has laid these arguments out quite explicitly.” (see ee Politics)
• “When they take the knives out of Corbyn’s back, how many blades will have Tony Blair’s fingerprints on them?” – https://www.counterpunch.org/2019/12/13/roaming-charges-thats-neoliberalism-for-you/
B. Special Focus____________________________________________
B1. Social-Science NGOs & the Destruction of Import-Substitution
Below ee prefaces & comments on SBD de Silva’s Chap17 excerpts, Political Economy of Underdevelopment, 1982. ee must confess, ‘amateurs’ (i.e. doing it for love of learning) compile this and not experts, yet this concluding chapter in SB’s book needs to be read very very carefully.
• Turn on the TV idiotbox and it shows ‘uprisings’ going off everywhere, ignited by natural and other causes. The corporate media is headlining ‘civil strife’ around the world, usually without explaining the specific conditions that give rise to each. We’re not told how long it’s been going on for, or if it’s being stagemanaged. It appears an epidemic. They choose which countries and peoples to cry about, and which to ignore. Lacking context, the purpose of such reportage is to appear linked to reality and yet make it look like chaos (“anarchy”) that needs the intervention of the ‘great white father’.
Several weeks ago, ee noted how the top banks and corporations in the world are giving capitalism a facelift as ‘inclusive and green’, for diversity and for sustainability (of capitalism – i.e. there’s no alternative) even as they increase invasions and escalate wars, to grab people’s lands and exploiting labor worldwide.
In 1982, when SBD de Silva published his book, he had witnessed the early rumblings of the “development” game, which would soon deploy an army of “development studies” experts, with little practical grounding in their own societies, let alone ours. He referred to social science as an ‘emerging’ business, and the use of NGOs to infiltrate economies. ee has also reported Unilever’s decision to call itself the leading NGO!
“To ensure their dominance, the capitalist nations have embarked on a forward-looking strategy to contain civil wars and revolution through a controlled commitment to development in the periphery. The basis of investment and aid flows had been expanded and multilateralized so as to involve, besides private investors and governments, nonprofit making organizations. The Overseas Development Council in Washington, one such organization, placed outside the Congress, has academics, civic leaders and business executives on its governing board. With more credibility than an official agency it is better able to propagate the new ‘development strategies’ among the American public and in the periphery. According to its President, such organizations
have greater potential for intervening effectively in the domestic affairs of a developing country… If we are to develop a firm deterrent to anarchy and subversion in two-thirds of the world seized by the revolution of rising expectations, something far more fundamental … [than the Agency for International Development, ODC’s precursor] is required.
The ODC sponsors research on employment creation, nutritional needs and the relieving of poverty. The policy of development as an alternative to revolution has found expression in concepts such as ‘participatory development’, ‘self-reliant development’, ‘poverty-oriented development’, and ‘basic needs’, which dominate the social science programs of institutions and individuals funded by the Western powers. The policies embodying these concepts furnish a survival strategy for the underdeveloped countries as a condition of their continued subjection.”
• SB also noticed the shift to the now-common media wailing for exports (usually raw materials), describing how attempts to industrialize via import substitution were inadequate, constrained and subverted “with boundless ingenuity”, to facilitate the entry of multinational corporations and bind us further to the imperialist economies:
“The process of reincorporation of the periphery has involved an ‘orchestrated shift’ from import substitution to export-oriented industrialization. There were several reasons for the limited growth impact of the import-substitution policy adopted after decolonization. First, the type of manufacturing production that was developed consisted mainly of non-essential goods. Second, the persistence of precapitalist agrarian relations limited the growth of the domestic market and the development of a symbiotic link between town and country. Merchant capital remained dominant and was powerful enough to negate the government’s efforts to foster industrial capital. In Sri Lanka the merchant interests resisted the protectionist policies with boundless ingenuity.
There was, third, a subversion of the import-substitution policy by exogenous forces mediating through agencies such as the IMF, the World Bank and the Asian Development Bank and consortia of commercial banks, which utilized the debt crisis in the periphery to impose the preconditions for the entry of multinational capital. Fundamentally, import substitution was pursued as a policy in itself instead of constituting one among a number of measures for transforming already established merchant capital into industrial capital. The reason for it was to bring into being a new class – the industrial bourgeoisie, whose ethos and interests are totally different from those of the merchant bourgeoisie which has been traditionally dominant; a class which not merely concentrates money wealth in its hands – like the landlord, the merchant and the usurer – but seeks to capitalize this wealth within the capital-labour relationship. This metamorphosis of capital is contingent upon a restructuring of both internal class relations & the relation of the bourgeoisie as a whole with foreign interests. Export-oriented industrialization and the accompanying policy package which exposes the economy to foreign competition result in enervation and emasculation of indigenous industrial enterprises. Indigenous and foreign capital become involved in an unequal relation; when they are in partnership, the foreign interests control capital flows, technology and production proceeds, and marketing outlets, subserving a profit centre abroad.
In fact, what is involved in this outward-looking policy is not export orientation as such. The expression ‘outward-looking’ as a euphemism for an economy that is incorporated in the world capitalist network is doubly misleading. It emphasizes production for export as against the domestic market, whereas the converse, an inward-looking economy, does not exclude the development of export production. Moreover, the openness or extrovert nature of the outward-looking economies is only in respect of the centre. In relation to each other they are inward-looking and closed. While competing with each other, they enter into a division of labour with the centre, producing what the centre wants to buy and buying what the centre wants to sell. The strategy of export promotion reflects the incapacity of the bourgeoisie and the state to mediate the land question, so as to realize the potentialities of the domestic market and develop a new base for surplus accumulation. The productive process thus develops essentially on the lines of the classical export economy, bypassing the need to revamp agrarian relations and. to develop a symbiotic link between town and countryside. The politico-economic significance of the land reform that was imposed on Japan by the US military soon after the WW2 was that it provided Japanese capitalism with an internal base of this kind, making the pursuit of expansionary interests abroad unnecessary, at least for a while.”
• SB also shows how Singapore once crowed about its ‘export’ orientation, being enriched by the US wars on Asia, but then suddenly deciding, after the US defeat, to look closer to its home market:
“Export-oriented industrialization is like a quick fix, sending a jaded economy high by turning it into an ‘export platform’ for selected manufacturing industries of the centre. In the smaller territorial and demographic units, such industrialization makes bigger ripples, and the effect can be dramatic. Though lacking a rural hinterland and with a very small domestic market, these units could generate a certain dynamism, even encouraging them to secede from larger national entities. In Singapore, industrial production grew astonishingly after its political separation from Malaysia; from 1968 to 1973 employment increased nearly 5 times. Delighted by the prospect, Singapore’s Foreign Minister explained: ‘We have plugged ourselves into the world economy. ‘ The euphoria of these years created an anti-regional bias. …[but] The recession of 1974-5 and the communist victory in Vietnam caused a turn-around in foreign economic policy. The precarious buoyancy of Singapore was at this time soberly reflected on by Lee Kuan Yew: ‘We hitched a ride on the expanding world economy in these years.’ He then sponsored a revival of ASEAN as a framework for regionalism.”
• SB shows the specific nature of the rise of the so-called Asian Tigers, linked as they were to the colonial wars being waged, as well as the need to besiege China, and their proximity to East Asia, a process not simply reproducible let alone relevant to our needs:
“The more or less self-expanding process of accumulation in Singapore, Taiwan and South Korea was contingent upon specific elements, both historical & fortuitous. Singapore was a well-developed entrepot of regional and world trade. The smallness of the country, demographically and territorially, accentuated the dynamic impact of its relinking with the centre. It benefited in these years from the raw materials boom in Indonesia, including the oil exploration work and the vast infrastructure investments, as well as from the US involvement in the Vietnam war. Moreover, the absence of a rural hinterland did away with the problem of removing precapitalist social relations & structures. In Taiwan and South Korea, the capitalist transformation was far more complex. Their repressive political system unquestionably favoured a high rate of accumulation relative to prevailing consumption levels.”
• SB also examines the changes Japan made, under US domination, based on rural industries and also changing rural relationships in Taiwan & S Korea, due to its own colonial needs:
“A substantial saving in wage costs was also due to the mobilization of surplus rural labour within the confines of the rural economy. As in Japan, a preponderance of small enterprises in the countryside, involving a dispersal of labour, held down wages and thereby expanded the employment potential of a given marketed surplus of wage goods. Alongside an inflow of capital, inclusive of US military spending, large numbers were employed by the military; this and the setting up of pioneer export platforms helped to spread purchasing power and to upgrade technical skills. In the dynamics of the transition to capitalism in Taiwan and South Korea only the conditioning factors have been mentioned… In both countries there was a shift of power internally from a landlord class to an emerging industrial bourgeoisie. During Japanese rule the conversion of Taiwan and Korea into a granary of Japan involved a partial reorientation of the traditional landlords from a rentier class to a predominantly entrepreneurial one; from rent and interest as a basis of income to profits. In Korea the landed aristocracy which had ‘owned most of the cultivated land and held the top positions in the administration’ was virtually destroyed and replaced by Japanese landlords. The latter in turn were expropriated by the US military govt, and the process of land reform that was begun was later completed by the Korean govt. The systematic deprivation of the yangban class of its power base removed all resistance to the implementation of the reforms. The success of the land reforms was also due to the weakness of merchant & usurers’ capital in the rural districts. In many underdeveloped countries it is the dominance of merchant capital that makes the agrarian problem less amenable to a conventional land reform; landlordism, being totally functionless, is more easily eradicated than merchant capital which, though unproductive, plays a necessary role in the day-to-day functioning of the village economy.
A release of landlord capital paved the way for the growth of industrial capital. The land bonds given as compensation to the Korean landlords were redeemable in cash, and were partly used by them to acquire real estate and commercial and industrial property that was held by Japanese. The smaller landlords sold their bonds at a discount to the big businessmen. In this way scattered capital was concentrated in a few hands, later to be mobilized for investment in large-scale industrial projects such as food processing, textile and other light industries in the 1950s and early ’60s, and in the ’70s this capital was invested in heavy industries.
The existence of rural-based small industries encouraged the conversion of the redeemed land bonds into industrial assets. In Taiwan, the process of restructuring the rural economy was carried out by the migrant mainland government much more effectively. Furthermore, the virtual transformation of the agricultural sector, and an expanded national market, induced a domestically oriented investment pattern. The development of productive forces was far less lopsided, and altogether more extensive, than in South Korea.”
• SB also shows the limits to using these countries as models, especially when based on their role as US puppets, and what happens when the EU & US turn ‘protectionist’:
“The specific elements which underlay the process of change in Taiwan, South Korea and Singapore, and its historicity, render their experience non-transferable to the other units of the periphery. It is not conceivable that Taiwan, S Korea and Singapore could have carried out this process in a different period. The leading capitalist economies were enjoying an exceptional degree of buoyancy. The MNCs had not yet become active in the periphery. US and European capital was preoccupied in the reconstruction of Europe, and Japanese capital was rebuilding its home economy. Both in Taiwan and S Korea, indigenous capital was able to develop sufficiently in these years. The relatively late entry of US capital into Taiwan compared with S Korea gave refugee capital from the Chinese mainland even more time to become established & to expand. Countries currently embarking upon a capitalist development find their path almost blocked by the scale of investment and entrepreneurial operations needed for an internationally viable enterprise, which is beyond the capability of a fledgling bourgeoisie. The disparity in productive forces on a world scale, having widened over a long period, has acquired some qualitatively new elements. The concentration & centralization of capital on a worldwide scale blankets & controls very pervasively the development of indigenous enterprise. In a free and open economy, the growth of indigenous capitalism de novo is also affected by the decline of capitalism as a world system, in contrast to its remarkable buoyancy some years ago. There is now a revival of protectionism in the developed countries, a massive debt burden in underdeveloped countries, and the takeover by multinational corporations of their strategic raw materials, markets, manufacturing sites & cheap labour resources.”
• SB also shows what Sri Lanka’s so-called garment ‘industry’ was based on, and how they use local ‘export’ production in fact to destroy local competition:
“The economic expansion in the periphery consequent upon its relinking retards the growth of indigenous industrial capital. The retardation of indigenous enterprise in the case of the garment industry in Sri Lanka was disclosed in evidence before a Select Committee of the Parliament of SL by a local industrial tycoon, who is himself a member of the Greater Colombo Economic Commission. This tendency extends even to industries producing for the domestic market. In the Kenya soap industry the MNC firms within a decade had ousted a good many of the indigenous firms. The survivors were forced to conform to MNC patterns – mechanizing their technology, raising the import content of products, and resorting to fancy packaging and higher advertising outlays. A few of them became contractors or agents of the foreign firms. A combination of market power and technological superiority enabled the international soap giants to destroy a local industry and to displace it with a functionally superior product. The tendency for foreign capital to control or suppress indigenous enterprise was also evident in Singapore, despite the existence there of a formidable class of ethnic Chinese capitalists. In 1970 the solely foreign-owned firms held 57% of the total value of industrial assets, the solely domestic firms only 17%, joint ventures 27%. The size of the foreign firms and their efficient public relations enabled them to get concessions from the govt. Tax reliefs stipulated a capital investment that exceeded the size of the typical indigenous firm. Dr Yoshihara, while appreciating the contribution of the Economic Development Board to Singapore’s industrialization, wrote:
But in one respect it failed. The EDB was not very successful in stimulating a response from domestic entrepreneurs… Singapore’s industrialization was carried out to a large extent by foreign subsidiaries… There is no sign that the dominant position of the foreign controlled companies is weakening.”
• SB also examines what happens to local entrepreneurs and the games the monopoly MNCs play, with shift to providing luxury goods for a ‘white expat’ community and investment in unproductive sectors:
“Indigenous capital settles like a sediment lower down the investment scale. In the manufacturing sector, it operates mostly on a small-scale basis, independently in the niches of a highly monopolized economy, or else as subcontractors to foreign firms, supplying components whose production technology favours the small unit. In this role of subcontractor the indigenous entrepreneur makes available to the foreign firms their access to sweated labour. Though stifled industrially, indigenous capital gains new opportunities in the tertiary sector. After the relinking of the economy, the closure of many independent small- and medium-scale manufacturing enterprises gives a stimulus to imports. The trade expansion, however, does not wholly benefit the indigenous trading class. First, the increase in imports takes the form partly of intrafirm transactions by the MNCs – the goods do not leave the parent company’s own channel but move only ‘in one and the same corporate territory’. While the trading interests are generally reactivated, there is also greater competition & lower profit margins. Second, there is an expansion in activities catering mostly for the needs of a growing expatriate community. (In Singapore, their numbers and importance have warranted a separate cost of living index for expatriates, computed & published by a business journal.) Third, a buoyancy in the real estate market resulting from the urban centred & extroverted development pattern confers prolific windfall gains on speculators & owners of urban property. A parallel expansion of investment is in residential construction, consumers’ stores, recreational & entertainment facilities, tourism & travel, packing & removal services. These rentier and purely commercial activities provide soft options to the indigenous bourgeoisie, leaving foreign capital a free rein over industry, merchant banking & finance.
• The entry of MNCs makes it more difficult for governments to control their economies:
The relative disability of indigenous capital in manufacturing industry is as much a question of markets as of technology. The foreign firms have ‘expert and comprehensive entry to the world market’, based partly on international brand names under which the goods produced by them are sold. In the components and intermediate goods industries, though the importance of technical criteria as a determinant of sales is conducive to the entry of new firms, the ease with which new designs can be imitated calls for frequent technological innovations; but investment in innovation requires an assured market. Patents and the concentration of R&D in the centre, and access to markets, give the bigger foreign firms an unassailable advantage. It is for this reason that such firms direct their investment to products and production processes whose technology is changing rapidly rather than to those which conform with the local resource endowment or incorporate the functional aspects of a commodity. Exotic technology increases the monopoly power of the multinational and ensures a higher rate of profits.”
• Soon, the very opposite of import substitution takes place… and the import of inferior machinery which requires foreign parts:
“Local collaboration, when resorted to by foreign capital, is merely a precondition for starting ventures. It is a protective mantle. The admission of local capital ‘depoliticizes’ the investment, and makes it difficult for the host government to control it in the national interest. For example, in Indonesia, as in the Philippines, the abuse of the country’s timber resources by the foreign lumber companies was facilitated by their tie-up with army officials, politicians and bureaucrats. In the resource-based industries local collaboration gives the foreigner access to mining concessions, and in industries supplying the domestic market it gives access to sales outlets and distribution networks which the local partner may have built up earlier as an importer. In the garments industry, the foreigner avails himself of the host country’s export entitlements. In other instances, joint industrial ventures are trading operations in disguise, promoting the sale of machinery, components and raw materials, and the hiring of technology. In these cases a condition of foreign participation is that the enterprise purchases plant and equipment from the foreign partner himself, or on his advice, and raw materials from tied sources. The supply of inferior, possibly reconditioned equipment, resulting in very frequent breakdowns requiring large imports of spares for maintenance and repairs, and an income in the form of royalties and technical assistance fees, enables the foreign partner to recoup a portion of their investment regardless of the profits or losses of the enterprise. With a high import content even a slight overpricing of supplies enhances hidden profits. The local collaborators in these ventures may be ‘outright dummies’, and totally unprepared to assert themselves. Their predominantly trading character may even lead them to connive with the foreign partner to give a trading orientation to what is nominally an industrial venture. The trading proclivities of the local bourgeoisie are thereby strengthened, retarding its transformation into a genuine industrial class.”
• Finally, the bondage of the economy to foreign countries, and those in Colombo who feel closer to London than Vanathamulla:
As a modern version of the classical enclave, the periphery remains ‘tightly bound to the home country, far away, but loosely connected, except geographically to the local scene’. In the manufacturing sector, despite some indigenous capital, and the employment of indigenous labour and indigenous managers and executives, investment expands horizontally, over a range of final goods. The vertical integration of investments is between countries but not within each country. First, the foreign firms centralize their raw material purchases abroad, and resell these materials at grossly inflated prices to their collaborative enterprises in the periphery. Second, even when producing for the domestic market, the actual production operations, in their input-mix, technology & packaging, are the reverse of import substitution which is supposedly carried out. The brand-differentiated products imported are now made locally in a way which serves the global strategies of the producing firm, regardless of the local resource potential and technological capabilities or even of the original tastes of the consumers. Third, unlike the traditional plantations and mines which were geographically dispersed because of natural conditions that governed their location, the MNC industrial firms are in the capital city. Their heavy reliance on imported inputs places a high premium on efficient transport & communication links with the external world. Their products cater mostly for urban, high-income consumers whose preferences could be artificially induced; and the senior staff of these enterprises (belonging to the transnational community) are difficult to retain except in the capital city where social amenities are at their best…”
B2. The White Man in Decline & Further Fairytales
Much information below is taken from the book The Making of Global Capitalism – the Political Economy of American Empire,by Leo Panitch & Sam Gindin, yet we do not endorse their method or conclusions, only providing this as one narration of the recent history of finance capitalism. Their critics claim they overrate the power of the US state and its economy. SBD de Silva also expressed skepticism about the ‘subprime bubble’ (blamed on selling houses to working-class people) causing the 2007 ‘crisis’.
“For globalization to work, America can’t be afraid to act like the almighty superpower that it is”– Thomas Friedman’s “Manifesto for a Fast World”, New York Times Magazine, 1999
“The American Empire – Get Used to It” – Michael Ignatieff, 2003, before invasion of Iraq
“The conditions of bourgeois society are too narrow to comprise the wealth created by them. And how how does the bourgeoisie get over these crises? On the one hand, by enforced destruction of a mass of productive forces; on the other, by the conquest of new markets, and by the more thorough exploitation of the old ones. That is to say, by paving the way for more extensive and more destructive crises, and by diminishing the means whereby crises are prevented.” – Communist Manifesto, Marx & Engels
The white man likes to claim their system is in ‘decline’ (see ee Security, Keerawella). This claim excites fools, which then further spurs a supposedly weakened white man (Reagan, Trump, etc) to commit further excesses (“Make America Great Again” etc).
Declinist theories are part of the game of soft power or politics – meant to disarm an enemy, getting them to lower their guard. Meanwhile, going along with the white man’s claims to diminishing power, their countries’ “minorities: insist they have extensive rights and powers there, when in truth their only power is to help the white man diminish the rest of the world. Boris Johnson’s election proves how delusional they are. Meanwhile, designated merchant-led “minorities” here subsequently demand special rights from an underdeveloped state – a state with no economic basis to treat its citizens equally.
While pandithayas ignore the differences between capitalist crises and the decline of the US empire, the US state still plays the central role in reproducing global capitalism.
“Emerging Markets” Bull – After the economic turmoil of the 1970s, further integration between advanced capitalist states led them to accelerate capitalist globalization, turning formerly Communist countries, and the rest of the world, into “emerging market states” i.e. to force their goods onto more ‘markets’.
The ‘liberalization’ and expansion of finance, which an expanding global capitalism needs, increases volatility, threatening economic stability. Reviving capitalism then requires making bankers feel happy (‘confident’),their assets protected. Yet all capitalist states today are torn between ‘stimulating’ the economy and regulating financial markets to limit increasingly dangerous volatility without undermining finance’s role in global capitalism.
Bondholders want higher rates of interest on bonds – usually issued to fund fiscal and trade deficits. The capitalists want a restructuring of state expenditure to prioritize interest payments over social expenditures, infrastructure development, and public employment. This prioritizing for capitalists’ needs negate any attempt at stimulating the economy.
The US cannot revive effective demand domestically, for that would need writing off mortgage debt above the existing value of US homes. This would reduce capital to banks, triggering other financial failures.
The US state also has a contradiction between being the state of the USA and the state of global capitalism. Legislating limits on the national debt incurred by the US Treasury, limits how much money the federal government may borrow.
Many capitalists in Asia & Africa also worry the US might abandon them. They want the US to help them restructure their own states. When Obama visited India in Nov 2010, he told Mumbai capitalists: “We don’t simply welcome your rise, we ardently support it. We want to invest in it.”
Saurabh Srivastava, cofounder of India’s National Association of Software & Service Companies recalled, the US “was the one who said to us… ‘Go for free trade & open markets.’” This helped the software capitalists to push the Indian government “to open our markets for US imports, 100% foreign ownership of companies and tough copyright laws when it wasn’t fashionable.” The US support was important for overcoming “the socialist/protectionists among India’s bureaucrats… We don’t want the USA to lose self-confidence… there is nobody else to take that leadership.” – Thomas Friedman, “It’s Morning in India,” NYT, 2010.
Extensive networks link the world’s capitalists not only to US Multinational Corporations (MNCs), but also to US financial, legal and business firms more generally. The enormous demand for US Treasury bonds shows how the world remains on the dollar standard, with the US state still regarded as the main underwriter of value.
The US Treasury & Fed Reserve play a central role in global ‘crisis management’, from currency swaps to providing other states with dollars, overseeing policy cooperation among G20 as well as G7 central banks and finance ministries.
The dollar’s continuing central global role produces problems for rapidly growing ‘emerging market’ economies, which experience high capital inflows and currency fluctuations as a result of the US Fed’s interest rates and quantitative easing policies. They stoke real-estate & stock-market bubbles in our countries, threatening to undermine competitiveness and bring back hyperinflation.
The G7 states committed themselves to “austerity”, but encouraged “emerging market” states to stimulate their economies. The priority for major developing states, now very much an integral part of global capitalism, was no longer just restructuring to facilitate free trade but also to become more responsible for sustaining demand for their industrial products. Yet their rising purchasing power could hardly make up for stagnation in the imperialist countries (US consumption expenditure in 2010 was still over 3 times that of China & India combined).
The massive growth of the global proletariat with capitalist globalization narrows differences in wages and conditions between developed and developing countries, affecting trade unionism in major capitalist countries.
Global capitalism was realized through financialization. This disciplined worker, who suffered political and organizational defeats since the 1980s, in order to enable corporate profitability, characterized by new vulnerabilities, particularly as much consumption depended on credit.
The severe crises today again expose how much the world’s states are caught in capitalism’s irrationalities. Those states forced in 2009 to stimulate their economies, at the same time laid off public-sector workers or cut back their pay, demanded of bailed-out companies too.
While blaming a volatile derivatives market for the crisis, these states promoted derivatives trading in carbon credits, claiming ‘green capitalism’ would remedy the global climate and economic crises. In the context of such readily visible irrationalities, a strong case can be made that, if jobs and the communities depending on them are to be saved in a way that will convert production and distribution to conform with ecologically sustainable priorities, there must be a break with the logic of capitalist markets, rather than the use of state institutions to reinforce them.
They enforced individualized consumerism, rather than collective services and a democratized state and economy, which was the main legacy of working-class struggles in the 20th century.
The main goal for people remains turning financial institutions – the life-blood of global capitalism – into public utilities that would facilitate, within each state, the democratization of the decision-making that governs investment & employment.
The white hegemon still rules our merchants’ minds, rules their worldview, and worse, insist that they, a nanoscopic oligarchy, still know what is best for the country. They cling to backward ideas, despite recent election results contrary to their wishes, showing they do not learn easily about how most of the country lives. They thus undermine any attempt to resurrect the country. They cannot see beyond Colombo. They keep the country hostage to prognoses long proven disastrous. How the new govt can free us from the dictatorship of merchants (& moneylenders) is the real need of the hour. And rather than diminish state corporations, in fact, financial institutions must be turned into public utilities to democratize decisions governing investment & employment!
• Keeping us fragmented is the major political, economic, cultural and military goal. As one German imperialist noted during the 20th century’s first genocide, of Namibians: “They widely differ in their view of the means to acquire, and the manner to divide the prize… We must ensure the numerous uprisings remain sporadic & uncoordinated.”
There’s no question of the greater need for coordination & unity among the world’s peoples, much like the Communist International provided: such unity shall surely overcome this state of affairs, as given by numerous examples throughout the 20thC – from the USSR, to China, Cuba, Vietnam, etc.
C. News Index
C1. Sovereignty (ee is pro-politics, pro-politician, pro-nation-state, anti-corporatist, anti-expert, anti-NGO)
ee emphasizes ‘sovereignty’ as economic sovereignty – a strong nation is built on modern industrialization fueled by a producer culture. ee calls not for nonalignment but for true independence.
• Visiting Trinco Oil Farm needs Indian Permission?
“It is heartening to note, the new President does recognize the need for Sri Lanka to be in control of its Ports, Airports and other strategically important assets. It must apply across the board to all such projects awarded not only to the Chinese but also to Indians, Americans and any others. The SL Navy manages the security inside the Hambantota port. Not too long ago, Petroleum Corporation officials visited the Trincomalee oil storage tank farm to survey the 15 or so tanks leased out to Lanka IOC Plc, Indian Oil Corporation’s subsidiary in SL. They were sent away by LIOC officials, the reason being approval was required from their Delhi Head Office. GR must make sure, such mistakes are rectified and never repeated.”
• The Swiss Affair: ‘exfiltration’ of a top intelligence chief & a tale of ‘abduction’ – Tamara Kunanayakam
‘In the UN, Switzerland forms part of the Western regional group and associates itself routinely with the US and EU in sponsoring politically motivated resolutions, including against Sri Lanka. It was among the 17 mostly Western countries, including the US, that requested holding of the 2009 Special Session on SL, which was announced on 19 May 2009, the final day of the war against the terrorist LTTE organisation. Other landmark resolutions it has co-sponsored that have gradually increased external interference in SL, include the April 2013 resolution that for the first time requested an external entity, OHCHR, to submit a “comprehensive report” on SL; the March 2014 resolution that authorised international monitoring and international investigations, also in the form of OHCHR, which extended their scope beyond human rights to “related crimes”; and the March 2015 resolution 30/1 that called for a hybrid court and comprehensive reform of the State, its laws and institutions. Switzerland does not consider LTTE a criminal organisation, its members permitted to freely conduct political and fundraising activities. Their involvement in money laundering is public knowledge, as is their practice of intimidation, extortion, blackmail, and physical violence against other Tamils. According to the Swiss Attorney General’s Office, nearly 60mn Swiss Francs were remitted to Sri Lanka between 1999 and May 2009. Recently, on 3 Dec, the Federal Supreme Court acquitted 12 persons accused of either belonging to a criminal organization, the LTTE, or of providing funds. The Court ruled that the Swiss Penal Code was not designed for organizations that committed terrorist acts in which the terror was not an end in itself, but pursued predominantly different goals. Recognising that LTTE had committed terrorist attacks, it held that its primary goal was rather to lead a conventional armed struggle, the quasi-state administration of territory and recognition of the independence of its ethnic community. Swiss mainstream media, which has a broad European readership in German, French and Italian-speaking countries, has also consistently supported the LTTE’s separatist agenda. The candidacy of Gotabaya Rajapaksa for Presidency and his subsequent election saw an escalation of falsification ad infinitum of the conditions prevailing during the last phase of the war and accusations of war crimes… It is to be hoped SL will not adopt an ‘Ostrich Foreign Policy’ hoping that its troubles will go away! ‘War crimes tribunals’ are a real threat, but they are only the means to achieving the strategic ends of the country imposing it, necessarily a Western country. In the case of SL, it is no secret that it is the US that has been leading the Human Rights Council resolutions, directly or indirectly through its Western allies. The end it seeks is also known. It is an end that will embroil Sri Lanka in US’s “lethal” wars for “self-preservation,” fighting friendly nations in its own neighborhood, causing death and destruction. Sri Lanka, ‘Beware of MCC, SOFA, and ACSA’!’
• Kunanayakam hits the Mark: USA behind the Swiss-hit – an informed Western Scholar
“Tamara K’s well-crafted article reveals a devious ruse of the US and so called HR entities – all western liberal backed. While the West is busy telling us how dangerous China is, we are all distracted which allows the US and UN to quietly slip under the radar going about gathering intelligence on SL and interfering in SL’s sovereignty which seems to count for nothing in the UN and US these days. Their ultimate goal is to drive Sri Lanka to the US side at the expense of China.”
• UNP plot badly gone wrong
“The police identified the embassy employee as the daughter-in-law of Bevan Perera, who contested the Gampaha District on the UNP ticket at the 2010 parliamentary election. Sources said that Bevan Perera had switched allegiance to the UNP along with the late Anura Bandaranaike.”
• White vans, white lies & white man’s burden, Swiss embassy fiasco – Kurukulasuriya
“An attempt to trace the provenance of these stories shows that the ‘White Van’ element was introduced on 26 Nov by a pro-UNP website, which added that the abductee had been questioned on Nishantha Silva. Also on 26 Nov, the German-language Swiss newspaper Neue Zurcher Zeitung (NZZ) citing ‘Sri Lankan media reports’ said Silva had received death threats after the change of government. But the local reports too cited unnamed ‘sources.’ So who was the original source of this information? What are the ‘reports’ that could have appeared just a day after the incident allegedly occurred, even before the foreign ministry had been informed? NZZ is “the most important and prestigious Swiss daily newspaper published in the German language” said a well informed source, adding that it was “highly influential also in Germany and Austria, indicating big time manipulation.” Information from NZZ and LNW was also picked up and circulated by swissinfo.ch website.”
• The HR Lobby in UK: Deskbound & Devious
“The human rights (HR) lobby in UK has the International Crisis Group, Chatham House and the SL Campaign for Peace & Justice serving among the spearheads of the campaign for a political transformation of Sri Lanka – in line with US interests and linked to the interventions of the UN HR industry involving Navy Pillai, Prince Zeid Raad Zeid Al-Hassan, the UNHCR headquarters in Geneva and its cohort of officials (usually US or British personnel). This conglomerate spoke out strongly during the lead-up to the SL presidential elections, with Alan Keenan and Richard Gowing (SLC) among those joining the BBC, Economist, NY Times, Amanda Hodge in Australia and the American Taylor Dibbert via the Lowy Institute in Australia in pressing the cause of Sajith Premadasa and the UNP, while raising the spectre of a dictatorship as the prospect if Gotabaya Rajapaksa was elected.”
• IP Nishantha Silva – Govt to talk to Swiss authorities on extraditing him
• Swiss mystery underscores need to examine wider picture – Ferdinando
“Against the backdrop of a deepening crisis, caused by Switzerland providing political asylum to Inspector Nishantha Silva, his wife and 3 children, followed by accusations over alleged abduction of a local female Embassy employee, the writer examined a spate of high profile propaganda projects, carried out by interested parties, against the country, over the years.”
• Swiss Embassy & the ‘natives’ – Chandraprema
“So this serious patient who needs to be airlifted to Switzerland in a special ambulance plane has been without any real treatment for over 13 days, holed up in the Swiss Embassy. The question that arises is if the Swiss Ambassador falls ill, will he also consult a Swiss doctor over skype instead of going to a SL hospital or seeing a Sri Lankan doctor? It appears that the decision that the alleged victim is unfit to talk to anybody has been taken by the Ambassador and not by any doctor.”
• Swiss embassy case: Subtle move to embarrass new Govt
‘Ambassador Mock is away in Berne. His deputy, Raoul Imbach followed Ambassador Rohde in speaking. He sought the govt’s assistance to prevent “a lot of Swiss bashing that is going on.” He was alluding to the criticism against Switzerland and a protest outside the Embassy premises at Colombo’s RG Senanayake Mw (former Gregory’s Rd). Ambassador Rohde’s view was shared by many Colombo-based diplomats who met to discuss the issue. A few of them also called at the Foreign Ministry to raise issue.”
• Switzerland connection in LTTE fundraising activity – Jeyaraj
• Tamil Diaspora behind Swiss Embassy incident, Defense Secretary charges
• TNA’s chickens come home to roost
“The TNA and the UNP have created a situation where the Governors, appointed by the President, are ruling the provinces in the absence of elected councillors, and thereby proved that the country can do without the PCs.”
• Gerald Peiris’ 2014 Review of Death Counts during Final Stage of Eelam War IV
• Foreign Ministry seek explanation from EU regarding job role of its employee Yasmin Sooka
“In Sept 2015 Sooka served as George Soros Inaugural Chair at the School for Public Policy at Central European University. Sooka also is on the George Soros Human Rights Initiative Board.”
• An Incisive Note in Demolition of the R2P Program of the Western Mighty
“Some of these visitors arrive in Sri Lanka with the fixed idea that ‘Sinhalese-Buddhist chauvinism’ is at the heart of the Sri Lankan problem.”
• Alan Keenan challenged in Verbal War
• UNP asks for explanation from Wimal & Udaya for sudden change of stand over MCC
“Wimal & Udaya were now telling the masses that 70% of the contents were favourable to the country.”
• Pressure on Lankan govt to drastically modify MCC Compact
• “We will not remain in a govt that signs the MCC” – Min Weerawansa
• “Under NO circumstance will this govt sign MCC” – Min Vasudeva
• MCC – Govt will decide after full study: Dulles
• Why the MCC agreement should be opposed! – Alliance for Economic Democracy (AED)
“Surveillance and data gathering: The MCC contract annexes on the transport sector propose a heavy surveillance regime with extensive CCTV monitoring equipment, facial recognition software, geographical mapping and more.”
• AED educates the public about MCC – https://www.newsfirst.lk/2019/12/09/alliance-for-economic-democracy-educates-the-public-about-mcc/
• Why the MCC agreement should be opposed! – AED
• From Mahaweli to MCC: The new degeneration of an old debate – Philips
“towards the end of 1969, Dr NM Perera made the longest speech in his long parliamentary vocation, opposing the Mahaweli development agreement between the then Govt of Ceylon and the World Bank. The speech was a well-researched critique… based on BH Farmer’s equally well-researched critique of the Gal Oya development scheme, SL’s first multipurpose irrigation project in the modern era.”
• SL to review MCC deal, no decision yet: ministers
• Counsel explains to SC dangers MCC pacts pose to Lanka
“Attorney General Dappula de Livera yesterday informed the Supreme Court that the new govt, headed by President Gotabaya Rajapaksa, had decided to review the proposed MCC agreement, and associated pacts – SOFA (Status of Forces Agreement), ACSA (Acquisition and Cross Servicing Agreement).”
• Rockefeller’s Pathfinder looks for better SL-US relations
“The Pathfinder Foundation commenced a similar exercise in 2014, seeking to improve relations between the two countries in association with the Washington based Heritage Foundation. This time around, the two teams represented by former govt officials, diplomats, senior military personnel and academics are headed by Robert O Blake Jr, former US Ambassador to SL and Bernard Goonetilleke, Chairman of the Pathfinder Foundation, who was former SL Ambassador to the US.”
• Non-alignment relating to Chinese & US Aid
“UNHRC Resolution 30/1 masterminded by the West is a weapon in their hand to be used to make SL pliable and do their bidding. A true friend like China would never have resorted to such treachery. China …had no chance to rescue us as our treacherous leaders had placed our country’s neck on the block.”
• Susil agrees to address concerns about handling of accountability issues – 2020 Geneva sessions
• In SrL, China’s Building Spree Raising Questions about Sovereignty
• SL Myanmar Friendship Association Express Solidarity with People of Myanmar
• ‘Free & Open’ Indo-Pacific (FOIP) on the Japanese agenda
“The FOIP is Japan’s response to growing Chinese economic-political and military power. The project announced in 2016 is being implemented with its partners-the US, India and Australia.”
• Tokyo goes it alone in support of Myanmar & Cambodia
• England PCP Egg on Face
“Boris Johnson’s Conservatives issued their Election Manifesto on 24 Nov and immediately had egg on their face when SL’s High Commissioner to London accused it of containing a distortion in its reference to Sri Lanka.”
• Separatism brewing up also in the UK
C2. Security (the state beyond ‘a pair of handcuffs’, monopolies of violence)
ee Security section focuses on the state (a pair of handcuffs, which sposedly has the monopoly of violence), and how the ‘national security’ doctrine is undermined by private interests, with no interest in divulging or fighting the real enemy, whose chief aim is to prevent an industrial renaissance.
• Fear of Foreign Displeasures & New Head of SIS
This is in marked contrast to the previous administration where a senior Foreign Ministry official was penalised for raising issue. This was for doing her duty in asking armed forces commanders to comment on the draft of the Acquisition and Cross Services Agreement (ACSA) with the US. For this action, on the grounds that it caused a delay, she was transferred back to the Foreign Office from the Ministry of Defence where she was on secondment. Earlier, there was a marked hesitance by both ministers and officials to say the right thing in the country’s interest in instances where foreign governments were involved. This was ostensibly on the grounds that it would offend them and draw a punitive response. Even if their voices were drowned in the international arena by vicious propaganda, commendably the minister and his secretary set the record right without fear… Replacing him as Director of the SIS is Brigadier Suresh Salley, who was earlier in the Directorate of Military Intelligence. This is the first time a person from outside the Police has been named. Brig Salley was transferred by the previous administration to the Sri Lanka Embassy in Malaysia. Thereafter, he was sent by Army Headquarters for a yearlong course at New Delhi’s National Defence Academy. There his thesis was adjudged the best among foreign students. Brigadier Salley, still a serving Army officer, will function under retired Major General Jagath de Alwis, the Chief of National Intelligence. The latter was an officer in the Gajaba Regiment, President Rajapaksa’s regiment whilst in the Army.
• 31 institutions including Police, SIS, TRC brought under Defence Min purview
“Defence Ministry gets 31 institutions, but no clarity on who holds portfolio under 19A; Defence Min functioned under President prior to contentious constitutional Amendment; All State banks, CBSL brought under Ministry of Finance; SriLankan Airlines will function under Civil Aviation Min.
• 2 ‘White van drivers’ arrested
• US ‘expert’ Gunaratne claims PCoI Easter terror attacks carried out by ISIS affiliates
… says he warned previous govt in 2016
• Changing Geopolitics & Geostrategies, Repositioning S Asia in Indo-Pacific – Keerawella
‘Robert D Kaplan emphasized, the US, as the established blue-water global power in the Indian and Pacific oceans, needs to redefine its role to suit the changed geo-strategic conditions, counting more on its soft power potential, rather than on the military power, to maintain its preponderance. According to Kaplan, “For the first time since the Portuguese onslaught in the region in the early 16th century, West’s power there is in decline, however subtly and relatively. The Indians and the Chinese will enter into a dynamic great-power rivalry in these waters, with their shared economic interests as major trading partners locking them in an uncomfortable embrace. The US, meanwhile, will serve as a stabilizing power in this newly complex area. Indispensability, rather than dominance, must be its goal.’
• AG ordered Nishantha Silva’s arrest over murder
• US officials take ‘brief pause’ from Taliban talks after attack on US base
• Canada now 2nd biggest arms exporter to Middle East, data show
“Canada has also vaulted to 6th overall among all arms-exporting countries, based on rankings released by Jane’s this week… means only 5 countries currently selling more weapons and military equipment.”
C3. Economists (Study the Economists before you study the Economics)
ee Economists shows how paid capitalist/academic ‘professionals’ confuse (misdefinitions, etc) and divert (with false indices, etc) from the steps needed to achieve an industrial country.
• Laying the foundation for economic development – Sanderatne
“Meanwhile there could be a deterioration in the macroeconomic fundamentals, especially a fiscal slippage, as the people’s expectations are for economic policies that would benefit them immediately irrespective of their consequences on the economy.”
• The shaken “Tax Raj” – Abeyratne
‘A few months ago, I came to know that one of our local companies had shifted part of its business to Vietnam… The answer was that in Vietnam, business taxes and duties on imported raw materials are both low so that the cascading effects of high and multiple taxes on the prices are competitively low. The outcome is that businesses are more profitable and price competitive.”
• CBSL holds its 12th International Research Conference
“…2 eminent international economists – Prof Sayuri Shirai, Professor of Keio University, Visiting Scholar at the Asian Development Bank Institute and former Member of the Policy Board of the Bank of Japan, and Marc-Olivier Strauss-Kahn, Honorary Director General and former Chief Economist of Banque de France… Dr PKG Harischandra (Additional Director of Economic Research), Prof Sirimal Abeyratne (University of Colombo), HA Karunaratne (Deputy Governor), Marc-Olivier StraussKahn (Hon Director Gen & former Chief Economist of Banque de France), Deshamanya Dr Indrajit Coomaraswamy (Governor), Prof Sayuri Shirai (Prof, Keio University, Visiting Scholar at ADB Institute , former Member of the Policy Board of the Bank of Japan), Dr P Nandalal Weerasinghe (Sr Deputy Governor), KMM Siriwardana (Assistant Gov) and Dr Chandranath Amarasekara (Director of Economic Research), Mrs KKC Sineth Kannangara (Central Bank of SL), Dr Sujeetha Jegajeevan (CBSL), Mayandy Kesavarajah (CBSL), WS Navin Perera (CBSL), Dr Abhinav Narayanan (Reserve Bank of India), Dr Serhan Cevik (IMF), Dr Sam Hak Kan Tang (University of Western Australia), Long Hai Vo (University of Western Australia), Thilini Sumudu Kumari (CBSL), Dr. Sargam Gupta (Indira Gandhi Institute of Development Research, India).
• Authority & power: to confuse one with the other, fatal to liberty – Usvatte arachchi
“I showed how those who should know better confused the reader by calling a govt bonds scam a Central Bank bonds scam. Misuse and consequent abuse of terms, whether in English or Sinhala (Tamil?), are common and unfortunate features of the discourse, whether by academics, bureaucrats, politicians or journalists in our society.”
• How to select top officials to public corporations
“It is commendable the President wants to select suitable decision-makers to public corporations without them being mere and ad hoc political appointments. However, the process thus far seems somewhat weak. Various people are complaining about the process. There had been some embarrassing withdrawals after appointments.”
• Fake Advocata Survey shows 81% claim SOEs’ services do not justify losses
• Central bankers trigger crises, don’t admit or learn from mistakes: economist
“Central bankers around the world adopt poor policies which are leading to political crises, theft of income and the rise of zombie companies, but fail to admit their own mistakes, said Jim Walker, founder and chief economist at Asianomics Group, at a forum organized by Asia Securities.”
• How the Neoliberal Regime’s Perversity is Raising its Ugly Head – Patnaik
“The Modi govt is using all manner of subterfuges to wriggle out of the predicament of economic slowdown, such as squeezing states, cutting welfare expenditure. We are currently witnessing in India 2 such efforts… Central govt’s squeezing the states;… its mad rush to privatise the public sector.”
• India is in the midst of growth recession, says Raghuram Rajan
“According to the latest figures, the agriculture sector grew 2.1% in the second quarter, compared to 2% in the one before, while growth in mining contracted from 2.7% to 0.1%. Manufacturing contracted 1% compared to a 0.6% growth in the first quarter. Electricity and other public utilities grew 3.6% as against 8.6% in the April-June quarter. The output of eight core industries last month declined 5.8% compared to Oct 2018.”
• Argentina puts austerity sceptic in charge of debt talks
“Alberto Fernández, Argentina’s president-elect, has appointed Martín Guzmán, a Columbia University-trained sceptic of austerity, as the economy minister in charge of renegotiating some $100bn of debt with private creditors and the IMF. Guzmán has been critical of austerity policies as a solution to debt crises. He told delegates at a UN debt management conference last month that Argentina should seek a swift restructuring with private bondholders by March next year. His plan includes freezing coupon and interest payments over the next 2 years, as well as pursuing primary fiscal surpluses.”
• The dirty secret of capitalism – & a new way forward
This TED Talk uses all the tropes of the 2020 Corporate Facelift for Capitalism
C4. Economy (usually reported in monetary terms)
ee Economy section shows how the economy is usually measured by false indices like GDP, etc, and in monetary terms, confusing money and capital, while calling for privatization and deregulation, etc.
• Battle of the Prices
“Even if the govt reduces prices, the traders don’t reduce their prices… Residents of 15 of the 26 districts live below the national poverty line of Rs4,890. These include Matara (Rs4,680) and Moneragala (Rs4,611), at the lowest segment of poor districts.”
• SL exports down 0.2% in Oct, state workers import cars
• Indirect tax collection misses the target
“Indirect taxes have made a considerable contribution to govt revenue but the revenue collection depts –Inland Revenue, Customs & Excise have missed the set targets, a Govt Audit report has observed.”
• Tax cuts: Control damage before unconventional stimulus backfires – Wijewardena
“Fitch Rating warned that the stimulus package would derail the budget disciplining exercise started by the previous Govt. A similar view was opined by IMF’s SL Country Head too. In a similar note, the outgoing Central Bank Governor Dr Indrajit Coomaraswamy has indicated that the stimulus should not undermine the debt sustainability exercise being carried out by the Govt.”
• ICRA, which comments on economy, is a local arm of ratings agency Moody’s
• Fiscal stimulus should be balanced with taxes: ICRA
“Says effective tax rates impediment to private sector expansion; restricting debt, controlling public recruitments, reforming SOEs; removing fuel price formula…”
• Indian economy slowing down, but Million$ CEO Club swelling!
“The club features prominent promoters and professional CEOs such as Sun Group Chairman Kalanithi Maran (INR 880mn), Hero MotoCorp CMD Pawan Munjal (INR 800nn), JSW Steel Chairman Sajjan Jindal (INR 690mn), Larsen & Toubro CEO & MD SN Subrahmanyan (INR 270mn), Indiabulls Housing Finance VC & MD Gagan Banga (INR 160mn), Nestle India CMD Suresh Narayanan (INR 11 million), Marico MD & CEO Saugata Gupta (INR 90mn), CEO Salil Parekh (INR 170mn)… Women CEOs form only 2% of the million-dollar CEO list this year.”
C5. Workers (Inadequate Stats, Wasteful Transport, Unmodern Plantations, Services)
ee Workers attempts to correct the massive gaps and disinformation about workers, urban and rural and their representatives (trade unions, etc), and to highlight the need for organized worker power
• Cabinet appoints Subcommittee on Cost of Living
“ The Sub-Committee will also include PM Mahinda Rajapaksa, Mahaweli, Agriculture, Irrigation and Rural Development Minister Chamal Rajapaksa, Fisheries and Aquatic Resources Minister Douglas Devananda, and Plantation Industries and Export Agriculture Minister Dr Ramesh Pathirana. An additional secondary Committee with 6 State Ministers and 12 officials will also be appointed to assist the Cabinet Sub-Committee on Cost of Living.”
• SL to create 100,000-strong task force to develop country: minister
“taskforce will be made up of those who had passed ordinary level exam and are from low-income families in all districts… of mainly unskilled workers… give a 6-month training and be distributed among govt depts, affiliated agencies and also the private sector… there were many unfilled vacancies in the govt… based on retirees and vacancies the state can absorb the workforce. SL has about 1.41 million state workers, already, maintained by taxes of productive workers. In the first 4 months of 2019, 49 cents out of every tax rupee collected from the general public went to pay salaries and pensions of state workers, not counting tax-free vehicles, interest subsidies and medical insurance given to them. Unlike authorities and boards, whose members get employees provident fund after contribution, department employees are given lifetime pensions from taxpayers.”
• Those who create high malnutrition claim to fight it
“Scaling Up Nutrition Business Network, led by the UN World Food Program, brought together 30 leading SL businesses to pledge their support to 3important agendas: improving workplace health and nutrition efforts; producing healthy food; promoting healthy food consumption… The private sector organisations engaged with the Sun Business Network are : AIA Insurance Lanka Plc, Aitken Spence, Brandix, Dentsu Grant, Dialog, Hemas Holdings PLC, HSBC, London Stock Exchange Group, Mas Capital Ltd, MAS Holdings, MasterCard, Richard Pieris (Arpico) Maskeliya plantation, Standard Chartered Bank, Virtusa (Pvt) Ltd, Adamjee Marketing, Calorie Counter, Cargills Ceylon Limited, CIC Holdings PLC, CSR SL, Dialog, Federation of Chamber of Commerce, Jetwing Hotels, John Keells Holdings PLC, Prima Group, SLFPA, Matale District of Chamber of Commerce, Industry and Agriculture, Cargills (Ceylon) PLC, CoCo Green (Pvt Ltd), Dilmah, Hayleys PLC, Saaraketha Holdings, SCAN, Unilever, Shangri-la, Ceylon Biscuits Ltd, S Asia Gateway Terminals (Pvt) Ltd. The SUN Business Network is supported by donations to WFP from Japanese private sector associations.”
• Despite good social indices, SL has highest income inequality
“UNDP’s Human Development Index Report for 2019 seems to confirm that taxation policy of last government pushed more people into poverty (by UNDP metrics). Have not been able to find the raw stats yet though. According to the report Sri Lanka, despite having the best social indicators (life expectancy, maternal and infant mortality, literacy etc) in South Asia, also has the highest inequality (measured by GINI coefficient). SL 39.8, India 35.7, Bangladesh 32.4, Pakistan 33.5, Nepal 32.8, Bhutan 37.4, Maldives 38.4 ‘…taxes can sometimes increase the number of people living in poverty or reduce their income. In Armenia, Bolivia, Brazil, Ethiopia, Ghana, Guatemala, Honduras, SL and Tanzania income redistribution increased the number of people below the $2.50/day poverty line.””
• India parliament approves controversial Citizenship Amendment Bill
• History of global manufacturing, stamped on Barbie’s behind
‘In the 1960s, long before outsourcing became rampant in other industries, Mattel and other toy manufacturers opened factories in Asia, employing thousands of poor, single women. My mother was one of them. “In 1965, I worked in a toy factory in Hong Kong… I made the equivalent of a dollar a day putting arms and legs into blond, blue-eyed dolls.” She didn’t think her employer was exploitative, though low wages were the main reason she wanted to emigrate to the US. “I would have starved had I been forced to live on that paycheck,” she said. As it turned out, Barbie didn’t stay in HK either. In the 1980s, Barbie’s provenance changed – most were “Made in the Philippines,” …Malaysia or Thailand.’
• Genius sues Google for $50mn over ‘stolen’ song lyrics
“According to Genius, lyric licensing company LyricFind pulled lyrics directly from Genius’ pages, which Google subsequently used in its search results.”
C6. Agriculture (Robbery of rural home market; Machines, if used, mainly imported)
ee Agriculture emphasizes the failure to industrialize on an agriculture that keeps the cultivator impoverished under moneylender and merchant, and the need to protect the rural home market. Also, importation of agricultural machinery, lack of rural monetization and commercialization, etc.
• Govt encourages local production of imported food
“SL is importing consumables such as potatoes, dried chilies, onions, red onions, green &black gram, and millet in addition to sugar, milk powder, wheat, vegetable oil, grains, animal food. The list of imported food items also includes turmeric, tamarind, watermelon, Maldives fish and sprats… According to Central Bank statistics, the govt spends US$1,781mn annually for such imports.”
• Rice price hike due to oligopoly: UNP MP Dr Harsha
“…the rice price mafia is back in action once again with an artificial shortage has been created to keep the prices high allegedly by the oligopoly which controls the rice market”
• Innovate or Perish: The future of the paddy farmer – Amarasekere
‘In SL, the paddy farmer who is central to the ‘nation’ has been cruelly displaced in national policy for decades. Most Sri Lankan political leaders remember the farmer in cycles, and it typically coincides with an election. Every election season the farmer makes a come-back, front and center, on election agendas. The candidates vie for the 2 million plus farmers’ votes almost like in an auction, each outbidding the other, by using bigger and better subsidies and handouts. The fertiliser subsidy and the buying rate for paddy are the two most salient grievances that dominate political debates. To set the record straight, there is a wide gap between the “farm-gate price” (the price that farmers get for selling paddy), and the price which consumers pay for rice. However, this is always exaggerated. While the gap between the consumer price and the farm-gate price ranges between 20-30%, the farmers, politicians, and NGOs imagine this to be as high as 100%. The exaggeration may not have an empirical basis, but it helps demonize the exploitative forces such as banks, millers, retailers and other intermediaries in the paddy-rice value chain. The seasonal demonization helps with self-preservation, not limited to, but particularly of politicians. The symbiotic relations between politicians (at all levels) and business interests notwithstanding, political candidates market themselves in theatrical fashion as brave soldiers fighting to eliminate the exploiters from the paddy-rice value chain and restore the rightful dignity of the Sri Lankan farmer. After the elections, the status quo resumes.’
• Agro stats
• Less than 2% of farmers have formal training: Survey
“only 3% of the agricultural household population over 25 years of age had degrees, while 46% had passed Grade 6-10, 17% had passed O/L, only 12% had passed A/L. A Census and Statistics Department survey done in collaboration with Asian Development Bank (ADB), out of 2.1 million estimated agricultural households, 8.1mn estimated agricultural household population and a sample size of 24,050, only 27% of agricultural households received instructions or information on farming. Of this, 55% was from the Govt, 15% from farmers associations, and 13% from other farmers.”
• SL to ‘strictly control’ land rights of coconut farmland owners
“Guidelines would be made by the Board for Control of Fragmentation of Tea, Rubber and Coconut Estates to block coconut farm owner”
• The oldest coffee bean in the world &SL’s pre-colonial coffee trade
“While the spread of coffee growing on the island during the British time until it became the third largest producer of coffee as late as the 1860-70s is well documented, as is the infamous “coffee rust’ that devastated the crop, tea famously superseding it. But it is coffee’s pre-colonial history in Sri Lanka that deserves re-examination in the light of the discovery of those beans (now bean) in Kush. If coffee from Yemen has been discovered 1,000 miles from its origin dating back to 1100 AD, along with possible consumption, why not 3,000 miles? In fact, why not sail an extra 500 miles to Sri Lanka, where, after all, Arab traders had been a familiar sight from the 7th Century.”
• Govt aims to do away with wheat flour monopoly by further reducing import levy
“Currently only 2 multinational companies import wheat flour into the Sri Lankan market.”
• EU funds project to boost agriculture sector
• Victory for Water in Michigan
‘Allowing a corporation to bottle our water just to sell it back to us is hardly an ‘essential service.'” A Michigan court has dealt a huge blow to Nestle’s water bottling operations, ruling that Nestle’s planned pumping station would violate zoning laws because its private bottling of water does not constitute “an essential public service”, as Nestles’ legal team argued.’
C7. Industry (false definitions, anti-industrial sermons, rentier/entrepreneur, etc)
ee Industry section notes the ignorance about industrialization, the buying of foreign machinery, the need to make machines that make machines, build a producer culture. False definitions of industry, entrepreneur, etc, abound.
• The Royalists & the Citroën project
“While dealing with bus operations, Anil Moonesinghe found time to follow his dream of industrialising Sri Lanka. He realised the CTB had the potential to fulfil supply-chain requirements, from building bus bodies to fabricating the machinery required to build an actual bus.”
• Enhance Salu Sala standards
• President backs foreign investment for power projects
“Wants MoUs to be expanded into bilateral agreements”
• Devananda wants joint timetable – SLTB, private bus dispute in Vavuniya
• PM clarifies President’s comments on Hambantota Port
‘The new prime minister said his govt will never forget China’s strong and long-term support for Sri Lanka’s development. He said that he did not believe that SL’s engagement with the China-initiated Belt & Road Initiative amounted to a “debt-trap” as portrayed by some Western media. “We are very confident that SL can very clearly repay the loans for the Hambantota Port and other development projects. Today, the economy has collapsed but when we rebuild it, paying back loans won’t be a question,” Rajapaksa said. The PM also described a recent spate of media hyping of President Gotabaya Rajapaksa’s remarks on Hambantota Port deal as “quoting out of context… The President didn’t mean there is any problem about sovereignty. What the President meant was that our govt, unlike the previous one, has a principle of not privatizing assets.’
• Temporary halt in train travel likely on Matara-Beliatta strip
“The Ministry of Transport is likely to stop trains from travelling on the Matara-Beliatta railway line in the coming weeks after reports surfaced that construction of the new railway tracks by a Chinese company had not been up to standard…”
• Kantale Sugar Factory on road to survival with US$300mn investment
“Sugar is the 4th highest import bill for Sri Lanka after crude oil, fertilizers, milk”
• Inhuman Power: Artificial Intelligence & Future of Capitalism
This book explores the relationship between Marxist theory and AI through the lenses of different theoretical concepts, including surplus-value, labour, the general conditions of production, class composition and surplus population. It argues against left accelerationism and post-Operaismo thinkers, asserting that a deeper analysis of AI produces a more complex and disturbing picture of capitalism’s future than has previously been identified. Inhuman Power argues that on its current trajectory, AI represents an ultimate weapon for capital. It will render humanity obsolete or turn it into a species of transhumans working for a wage until the heat death of the universe; a fate that is only avoidable by communist revolution. – https://socialistproject.ca/leftstreamed-video/inhuman-power/
C8. Finance (Making money from money, banks, lack of investment in modernity)
ee Finance tracks the effects of financialization, pointing to the curious role of ratings agencies, again false indices, etc.
• CBSL issues Rs25,000mn treasury bonds
• Shares fall for 4th straight session; Rupee steady
“Singapore-based research firm Emerging Asia Economics in a note last week said the tax-cut decision would provide a significant boost to the economy, but put increased strain on the country’s fragile public finances, with a possible loss of $2billion in revenue… Total foreign outflows from govt securities through 27 Nov stood at Rs47.9bn, according to Central Bank data.”
• Banks hand over reports on loans to Govt
• CB drafts laws to rope in moneylenders
• Forensic audit report reveals irregularities since 2005: Handunnetti
• Parliament prorogation & forensic audit report not connected – Handunnetti
• Exposé: Hatton National Bank Robs Customers & Auctions Their Properties
• Open Letter to Daily FT Editor on Selective Exposé of Bank & Other Wrongdoing
“…on some glaring examples related to commercial banks and CBSL ‘Bank Supervision’.”
• Assessment of fitness & propriety of directors & officers
“Having faced such situations frequently, the Central Bank of SL has introduced a direction disciplining the functions of the directors and officers who are performing executive functions of finance companies. This direction is known as Finance Companies (Assessment of Fitness and Propriety of Directors and Officers performing executive functions) Direction No3 of 2011”
• Volcker the Vulture Finally Dead
C9. Business (Rentierism: money via imports, real-estate, tourism, insurance, fear, privatization)
ee Business aka ee Rentier focuses on diversions of the oligarchy, making money from unproductive land selling, tourism, insurance, advertising, etc. – the charade of press releases disguised as ‘news’
• AG to file motion today, to check UK waste containers
• Legendary investor Dr Mark Mobius arrives in SL
“We are also confident that Dr Mobius’ interest in Sri Lanka as an investment destination will not go unnoticed by foreign investors,” Krishan Balendra, Chairman of John Keells Holdings PLC said… In May 2018, with 2 ex-colleagues, he launched Mobius Capital Partners… utilizes a highly specialized active investment approach with an emphasis on improving governance standards in Emerging and Frontier Market companies. Previously, Mobius was at Franklin Templeton Investments for more than 30 years, most recently as Executive Chairman of the Templeton Emerging Markets Group.”
• Mobius says would invest in real estate, fintech, tourism in SL
• Mobius bullish on tourism, real estate & tech in SL
“You don’t have to privatize,” he said simply. “Just increase transparency of state-owned enterprises, by publicly listing the companies…. Here in Sri Lanka there is a dire need to develop a mortgage market where owning property is made easier for potential investors.”
• There is a shortage of luxury developers in SL
“Comprising the Ritz-Carlton Residences – Colombo, JW Marriott hotel and The One Residences, The One – Sri Lanka is a tri-tower US$560mn mixed-use development project.”
C10. Politics (Anti-parliament discourse, unelected constitution)
ee Politics points to the constant media diversions and the mercantile and financial forces behind the political actors, of policy taken over by private interests minus public oversight.
• Guardian & NYT Smeared Corbyn
“For 4 years, Corbyn was smeared in a relentless and savage campaign of vilification and outrageous slander… orchestrated by liberal outlets like The Guardian (and NYT), using a kind of berserker Zionism as truncheon.”
• Jeremy Corbyn’s crushing defeat
“The party will agonise whether it has let itself become so London-based that it has lost its roots in the North. It will also agonise whether its enthusiasm for a second referendum alienated its traditional voters… the Tories’ worst nightmare is not a Labour Party that returns to the old centre as defined by Tony Blair. It is a Labour Party that fashions a blue-collar philosophy which combines an activist govt with a return to patriotism and traditional working-class values.”
• The Spanish election crisis & the treachery of Podemos
‘Even amid growing popular opposition to capitalism and support for socialism, however, parties claiming to be “left” do not oppose capitalism. The empty and demagogic promises these pseudo-left organizations make disillusion and anger working people… no clearer illustration of this than the response of Spain’s “left populist” Podemos (“We can”) party to the recent election. Less than 48 hours after the election, Podemos leapt into a “pre-accord” with the Spanish Socialist Party to form a coalition govt.’
C11. Media (Mis/Coverage of economics, technology, science & art)
ee Media shows how corporate media monopoly determines what is news, art, culture, etc. The media is part of the public relations (corporate propaganda) industry. The failure to highlight our priorities, the need to read between the lines. To set new perspectives and priorities.
• UNP urges disciplinary action be taken against those who assaulted Lake House journalist
“A group of journalists and individuals attached to the SLPP broke into the office of Resa newspaper at Lake House, forcibly dragged away the former head of Lake House New Media Division, Maduka Thaksala Fernando and assaulted him…”
• Daily Mirror, Lankadeepa journo, family attacked by armed gang
“The demonstration was held to urge the law enforcement authorities to secure the lives of journalists who fight against this illegal and artificial toddy industry in the area carried out by the goons of top politicians and some leading underworld figures of Kosgama area.”
• Sectoral Oversight Committee makes recommendations on royalty payment to artists
“Committee chair Prof. Ashu Marasinghe, State Minister Lasantha Alagiyawanna, MP, Mrs Rohini Kavirathna, MP K. Thurairetnasingam National Intellectual Property Bureau officials, artists, musicians, Sri Lanka Rupavahini in representation of the Broadcasters Guild of SL, Dialog, Mobitel, Hutch, Airtel and other telephone company representatives were present at the meeting.”
• Facebook enlightens journalists on how to identify fake news & misinformation
D. History: 1898 – The Rise of US Imperialism Worldwide
“The end of free competition for capitalism & the onset of modern imperialism,” particularly the takeover of Spain’s colonies by the US, and England’s Boer War, signalled the beginning of the struggle for the redivision of the world.
• The US blew up its own ship, USS Maine, in Havana harbor in Feb, blamed Spain and waged a 10-week war from April 1898. Midst revolts by Cubans (many of Chinese origin) and Filipinos against Spanish colonialism, the US killed rebels and took over Cuba, Philippines, Antilles and other lands in the Atlantic & Pacific, on pretext of ‘liberating’ them from Spain’s ‘yoke’. Claiming Russia, Germany and Japan were coveting them, the USalso ‘annexed’ Hawaii, Wake & Guam.
• US President McKinley: “I went down on my knees and prayed almighty god for light… and one night late it came to me this way – I don’t know how it was but it came… that we could not leave [the Filipino people] to themselves – they were unfit for self-govt… would have anarchy and misrule over there worse than Spain’s was… there was nothing left for us to do but to…educate… uplift, civilize & christianize them… then I went to bed, and went to sleep… in the morning, I sent for the chief engineer of the War Dept (our map-maker) and I told him to put the Philippines on the map of the US.”
• Meanwhile, the Filipino people had already forced Spanish forces to retreat. • US Pirate George Dewey defeated the Spanish squadron at Manila Bay. Aguinaldo declared the independence of the Philippines and was proclaimed head of state. In June, when the US invaded, over HALF the US army poured into the Philippines, implementing the genocidal techniques learned against the Amerindians. Villages were burned, crops destroyed; mass murder, torture and looting ensued. “Our troops in the Philippines… look upon all Filipinos as one race… being dark men, they are therefore ‘niggers.’” General James Bell said he killed one out of every 6 Filipinos in Luzon (=1million killed). In resistant Samar province, General Jacob Smith ordered the shooting of every man, woman & child over age 10. The guerrilla war against US invasion in the Philippines was led by Emilio Aguinaldo.
• Newspapers owned by Hearst & Pulitzer helped push US into war with Spain.
• In the US, the American Anti-Imperialist League opposed the invasion. AAL Members included author Mark Twain & US steel magnate Andrew Carnegie. It had 40,000 members in 40 chapters linked to the reform wing of the Democratic Party & presidential campaign of William Bryan Jennings.
• The AAL did not oppose the US invasion of China, nor the Boer war in South Africa, but worried that invasion of Philippines represented monopoly capitalism’s increased power, bringing in underpaid “half-civilized races” as workers, to smother the ‘democracy’ of white people in the US. Lenin noted: Their criticism “shrank from recognizing the inseparable bond between imperialism & the trusts, and therefore between imperialism & the foundations of capitalism, while it shrank from joining forces [the working class] engendered by large scale capitalism & its development.’
• It is in this war that the next candidate for US President was glorified by US media: Theodore Roosevelt, supposedly led (his way cleared by a battery of Gatling guns) his ‘Roughrider’ regiment to victory. He became Governor of New York and President, soon after McKinley’s assassination (blamed on an anarchist). For this roughrider, the USA was the ‘international police power’ for the Americas; his foreign policy characterized by “Speak softly and carry a big stick.”
• The grabbing of Puerto Rico & Cuba served to control Mexico, Central American republics and northern South America. Through these Atlantic islands, the US obtained the key to the Panama Canal (1901 puppet Cuban ‘constitution’ gave the US the right to militarily intervene in Cuba… then grabbed Panama from Colombia in 1903, to build the canal). By grabbing Guam in the Marianas, as well as the Philippines after duping and imprisoning leader Aguinaldo (Spain surrendered Dec), the US obtained a Pacific base to interfere in and harass China & SE Asia, to check Japan & Australia, and control European maritime traffic to E Asia, claiming Russia, Germany & Japan also coveting these islands.
• In the Philippines, native capitalist class with roots in Spanish rule, expanded thru the export economy, while the US controlled mining and public utilities, milling and marketing of export crops cultivated through indigenous landowners, using tenancy and debt-bondage. A fusion of merchant capitalists and old landed interests controlled local politics, and invested somewhat in manufacturing, and urban development. Despite sugar, coconut, tobacco and lumber being its chief source of income and jobs, it became the most industrialized country in SE Asia. 1900: After helping the European powers suppress the nationalist Boxer Rebellion in China, US also helped push Russian troops out of Manchuria.
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