“Before you study the economics, study the economists!”
Nationalize the Banks
e-Con e-News 15-21 December 2019
• Did the Swiss inform the NYTimes first, before informing the govt about an alleged embassy abduction? What jilmaat will follow Nov’s Swiss Cheesiness? Splitting SLFP from SLPP before elections?
• Singapore, opioid pulpit dispensing Rule of Law sermons, lets Arjuna Mahendran flee?
• Economists barking louder against state-led local industrialization & for the US-state MCC?
• “Should we not analyze our past experiences to fathom our vulnerability to adopt foreign land statutes & systems when enticed with foreign aid?” (see ee Focus, Is MCC the Only Endangering Doc; ee Sovereignty)
• Financialized Capital – capitalists making money from money while they sleep – brings on greater and more frequent crises. After the US restructuring of Japan & Europe post-1945, many started talking as if Japan & Europe would take the US over. But they didn’t. Now they say the US is absorbing China too! Germany & the US surpassed England industrially 1879-1914. Then England went to war with Germany twice, allowing the US to send England into debt and surpass it. Some claim China will soon surpass the US. Will the US go to war against China? (see ee Focus, Global Capitalism & US Empire Post-1945; ee Sovereignty, Humanity at the Crossroads)
• The Central Bank has always opposed the economic independence of the country. We have almost 20 banks, foreign and local, none have ever invested in modern machine production…“Our main goal should remain: transforming financial institutions, which are the lifeblood of crisis-ridden global capitalism, into public services – to ensure the democratization of the decision-making that governs investment and employment.” (see ee Focus, De-Dollarizing Democracy)
• There’s no dearth of unofficial Kanatte – even off-Antarctic & off-Arctic – coroners who declare the death of Marxism-Leninism, or the collapse of the Left, even as the People’s Republic of China continues to dazzle and daunt (see ee Focus, Undying Death of the Left in Passive Voice)
A1. Random Notes –
• National Policy Framework better than Vision 2025? • Colombo Econ Prof slams Import-Substitution • Is Import Lobby Stronger than Govt • Supercar or Simple Pin? • After Swiss Cheesiness, what next? • Splitting SLPP from SLFP? • Are the Chinese really taking over? • Gay Prince Charles, Skulls & HCP Bell • Are our Artists & Architects Modern & Esteemed? • Black Women Win in World Flesh Market? • English Labour’s Jokes • Neoliberalism or Old-fashioned Capitalism • Trump Impeachment Shades US Trillion$$ War Budget?
A2. Reader Comments –
• Why Appoint Corrupt Corporates to Public Bodies? • JVP, Podemos, Syriza, English Labour, all the same? • Corbyn & Lanka
A3.Quotes of the Week
• Abayaramaya, Narahenpita Incumbent calls for Diaspora Dollars & Temple Treasures? • The Murder of Edmund • Seeds of World Wars
B. ee Focus
B1. Is MCC Compact the Only Document to Endanger Our Security? – The Land-Law Circle
B2. De-Dollarizing Democracy – Krisantha Sri Bhaggiyadatta
B3. Global Capitalism & the US Empire Post-1945
B4. The Undying Death of the Left in the Passive Voice
C. News Index
A1. Random Notes (‘Seeing Number in Chaos’)_________________
• The new National Policy Framework Vistas of Prosperity & Splendour (see ee Economists) released by the new caretaker(?) govt has been criticized as neoliberal. Others feel it’s way better than Yahapalana’s Vision 2025. The NPF promotes protection against privatization & domestic processing of natural resources, even if there’s also lots of deregulation (‘sand protests’, ee Industry).
Some see great danger in their expediting of Colombo Port’s East(er!) Terminal, and West Terminal being developed with foreign “collaboration”, leaving the SL Ports Authority with no terminal in the port extension. Also, unions strenuously object to private & SLTB buses being run on a joint schedule, meaning the SLTB won’t be allowed to compete. Similar problems being created with one ticket being issued for private & public buses & trains.
• Colombo University Professor & Economist Srimal Abeyratne attacked import-substitution policy, (see ee Economists), claiming it’s now outdated in the world, our products lacked quality due to lack of international competition, and how all the world has now adopted export policies. Which is just not true! As one observer noted, the houses built 60 years ago with the cement of the old Cement Corporation, are still standing! Who will save us from outdated economists promoting imports? Is he worried he will be locally substituted?
• A former Rubber Research Institute director is also opposing the ban on imports of raw rubber! Is the import lobby the most powerful institution in the country?! But his argument is, rubber lands are decreasing… after all, they’re minting off rentierism – simply selling off land for unplanned exurbs…
• ee was earlier accused of not being supportive of young inventors. Yet, hard to not express doubt when ee sees grandiose headlines and claims, especially when the private sector and the state refuse to invest in basic machine production, even to make a simple pin!!! So when headlines blare: “SL to launch first all-electric ‘supercar’…Its electronics, battery, light & all features also locally made sans the motor & battery cell” – what’s an eediot to do? (see ee Industry)
• Has anyone noticed attempts to flatter the SLPP, and divide them from the SLFP, to prevent a united front to campaign for the upcoming elections? See last Sunday Times’ stories attacking former President Sirisena. Another jilmaat is in the works against the GR presidency, this time thru greed for ministerial posts. After Swiss Cheesiness, what’s next? (see ee Politics)
• Are the ‘Chinese really taking over’? – Hambantota Port is 100% owned by the SL govt and leased to a Chinese SOE (85%) & SLPA (15%) joint venture. The port is governed by the SL Ports Authority Act: all ships entering must gain approval from the Harbourmaster in Colombo. The pilots who bring ships in & out of the port must be direct SLPA employees. Hamban-Port has 853 total employees, 82% are Sri Lankan citizens; 67% from the region (Southern Prov, Ratnapura, Moneragala).
Tertiary economic activities are so far import & rentier based. ~80% of SL’s automobiles are imported thru Hambantota. This has led to vehicle repair shops setting up in Hambantota to repair both imported vehicles & vehicle carriers, restaurants popping up to cater to the labor force. Ambalantota is the town closest to the port where most workers rent homes, providing extra income for locals, while land values are slowly increasing. Slag & clinker is imported thru Hambantota for use at the Galle cement factory. Heavy, light & food industries planned at the port, but no word when this will take off.
What constitutes the Chinese state is vast, decentralized, and beyond our immediate comprehension. Provincial governments, local townships, SOEs etc all function with degrees of autonomy, sometimes contradicting the central govt, competing with each other for contracts, funding etc.
There may be shady merchants: Yahapalanaya gave Hambantota to HK-based part-private China Merchants Port Holdings, rather than Beijing-based fully state-owned China Harbor Engineering which first pitched the project and built the port. The former is seen within China as capitalist, while the latter is worker-controlled….
• What’s with gay Prince Charles’ upset about Easter attacks, the English returning skulls, and now HCP Bell’s family returning a statue he stole; the Times saying he “stumbled” upon the Sigiriya, et al? So people living there were blind? ee demands the return of the capital stolen by the Bank of England!
The same with the grandiose sounding, “Museum of Modern & Contemporary Art (MMCA?). Isn’t it a colonial definition of art, involving using science, machines & tools, and other means, which we aren’t allowed to devise or make, that then calls itself ‘modern’? Its practitioners esteemed, as more than grim satire. The same goes with the Annual Sessions of the SL Institute of Architects, with ceramics importers as sponsors.
• This year sees a number of Black, African & Asian, women winning international ‘beauty’ contests. Such matters of beauty are usually linked to trafficking in human flesh, and the honeytrap spy industry. In keeping with the capitalist facelift surgically designed for 2020, to make corporations and banks appear ‘inclusive’. Meanwhile, Unilever’s “Fair&Lovely” products still promote self-hatred & alienation, in order to fill the lacks or gaps of capitalism with their toxic products.
• The clear setup, just before elections, of a “knife attack” in London, with the assailant conveniently killed off, shows England’s Labour Party still will not or cannot challenge the imperialist and deep state machinery. They fail to challenge immigration (main purpose being to undermine their own worker power, and rob our countries of workers – brain drain) by demanding England stop underdeveloping our economies. They haven’t overcome the total corporate control of the media (& absence of working-class media – Labour’s Daily Herald sold to Rupert Murdoch). They have failed to clearly challenge the EU over its promotion of supranational financialization. They over-focus on London (where most minorities – esp darker ones – are deluded into thinking they’ve made it & are a major national force!). Political parties are now controlled by yuppies rather than the working class. The destruction of industry (escalated by Maggie T) and its unions (leaving the field to social workers, public service workers, academics); most of all, the abandonment of nationalist issues to the so-called xenophobes & white supremacists. (see ee Reader Comments)
• “Neoliberal capitalism”, a favorite among ‘Left’ academics, refers to laissez-faire economic ideas, plays on the term ‘liberal’ in a sense opposite to historic Anglo-American usage. In Europe, ‘liberalism’ implies small govt & laissez-faire economics, but in US & Canada, neoliberalism is almost synonymous with strong govt and support for the welfare state. So ee tries not to use it.
• The media hoopla about US President Trump being impeached, whitewashed the ~$1trillion US war budget (probably more, tho adverted as less) being passed by both Democrats & Republicans (with Sanders skipping the vote!).
A2. Reader Comments
• “Why is the ‘new’ govt appointing, as Chairs of corporations & statutory bodies, not ‘professionals’, but chairs & board members of corporates? These bastards just fart around on the golf course until 10. They don’t do any work. Their companies are inefficient, running on systems of cartels, cronyism & corruption. Corruption in the ranks of co. directors has been identified unofficially by one investment analyst as the biggest cause of high prices in SL. Do they wish to inflict this on the public sector?”
• re: “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, revolutionary policies. Does ee class the JVP in the same category? -as simply radical petit-bourgeois?”
• “Everytime we travel by train to Colombo from Kandy, just b4 Kadugannava station, see a bus depot with burnt-out CTB buses, a ‘museum’ from 1989 – always wonder y they did that… Because their handlers’ agenda was pure disruption, promotion of a govt backlash, creating a climate for seemingly random (but selective) assassination etc? What’s with infantile nihilists – from JR to JVP?”
• Letter to Labour Party’s Corbyn: “I have, in faraway SL, watched your principled, steadfast & correct campaign with admiration. As I react with dismay at the result, I still want to congratulate you on not compromising on probity. Those that see exploitation of one’s fellows as the default position in human relations are good at taking over the minds of their victims; your failure to win is evidence you did not resort to slick manoeuvres. Your party & its leader Corbyn were unprincipled only in relation to not being well informed enough on some matters regarding which you spoke out. An example is your stand on the Sri Lankan ‘Tamil issue’. You contributed to the duping of a Lankan group that’s as manipulated as the poorer segments of the UK population, to support their manipulators’ agenda. The Tamil population in SL is employed to do the work of the global exploiters here, at great cost to themselves. BBC & ilk are as skilled in presenting the image of the Sinhalese in SL as racist and anti-Tamil as they were in presenting Labour & Corbyn as anti-semitic. The oppressed are always the oppressed because of the miserable cynicism of those who enjoy playing with people’s lives. Sigh… I wish you success in your principled march, hope you will build on the momentum of the good, rather than rush to embrace the poisoned chalice now likely to be proffered as the way to ‘electoral success’.”
• “They claim it is democracy yet they limit your information, provide you fixed options, and ask you to choose, and I can surely predict what you will choose. This is how democracy has been sold to the masses for quite some time. They claim they are against Communism and support democracy? These are believers of democracy with no understanding of its true nature – the false pretence of ‘choice’ during elections, purchasing goods & applying for jobs – these are not choices – only choosing the least problematic option that corporations present to you. It’s public funds being spent on the public. The biggest problem for public funds is the daylight theft of public-funded tech, opportunities & resources by private entities.”
• “You may have heard abt LGBTQ… but have you heard about the latest workers’ movement: 3A2B2CIL4P2R2ST4U? – Agricultural, Anarchist, Aristocratic, Black, Broke, Communist, Cosmopolitan, Industrial, Lumpen, Part-time, Precarian, Proletarian, Populist, Reproductive, Romantic, Rootless, Sellout, Service, Temp, Unemployed, Underemployed, Unionized, Unorganized…?”
A3.Quotes of the Week_____________________________________
• “Ven Muruththettuwe Ananda Thero, Chief Incumbent of Abayaramaya, Narahenpita made a unique statement to the public. He said the Govt is in a dire situation in which it finds difficult to meet its daily expenses, and made an appeal to the Sinhala diaspora to donate as much dollars as possible to the Govt.” – http://www.ft.lk/columns/Darkness-and-light/4-692021
• “My grandfather’s maternal uncle Anagarika Dharmapala’s legs were broken in Jaffna prison. His brother Edmund died there. Although there was a call in the House of Commons for an inquiry into the circumstances of his death, the English govt refused, considering this to be perfectly acceptable.”
• “The seeds of WW2 were sowed at the end of the First WW. This is particularly true of the War in the East. At the League of Nations, the Japanese delegation brought forward a resolution, ‘all men are created equal, regardless of colour or race’…torpedoed by Australia, New Zealand & South Africa, who threatened to secede from the English Empire if that august body sanctioned the equal treatment of white men with wogs, chinks, kaffirs etc.– Noel Crusz, The Cocos Islands Mutiny” – http://www.island.lk/2001/04/08/featur11.html?
B. Special Focus____________________________________________
B1. Is MCC the Only Document That Endangers the Security of the Nation? – Land-Law Circle
Is the MCC Compact the only document that endangers the security of the Nation?
Should we not analyze our past experiences too to fathom our vulnerability to adopt foreign land statutes and systems when enticed with foreign aid? It is unfortunate that several intellectuals and advisers expect us to read only the MCC document, forgetting all the other agreements that had made costly mistakes with regard to our land rights. We are compelled to accept inroads to our land rights, simply to accommodate gifts & loans.
We had entered into several agreements in the past that required us to legislate foreign laws relating to land, simply to enable us to accept foreign grants. ‘All this for the sake of alleviating poverty’…how we were pacified. The World Bank suggested that we need to introduce a new law, an Australian law, which required the drawing of cadastral maps for 9mn blocks of land within a timeframe of 25 years.
…The WB Reports of 2001 & 2007 give a clear picture as to why they have refused funding. Presently, Sri Lanka is limping along with laws and procedures unknown to landowners and legal professionals. On the other hand, we are compelled to complete what we have started, as the Constitution does not allow us to obtain redress from court to repeal statutes…
…Suddenly, some funding has arrived. We are instructed by the funders to privatize ownership of land, leapfrog from manual records to electronic records, while half the manual records are corrupted with fraud; and to boot, we are saddled with Colonial statutes which remain unrevised since 1863.
The proposed radical changes suggested by funding organizations will destroy our paper deeds, destroy all historical records of our landownership; we will be reduced to a paperless-deed environment and our current landownership will be confined to a digital number toxic with corruption, reflected in the manual register; this corruption will now be totally irreversible in the digital state.
It will be a Herculean task for the judiciary, lawyers & landowners to unravel past frauds; frauds occurring in the future will be outside the scope of the judiciary. Perhaps the owners are not aware that they cannot obtain redress from courts under the new digital laws .
For any land development project to be successful, a comprehensive & compulsory land registry is a must. If privatization, as advised by the MCC, is implemented, millions of deeds will be entering the spatial domain of land registries which have seen better days when there were no leaking roofs or sufficient space. Today, the computers are pushed to corners not affected by leaking roofs.
The Registrar, early this year, had informed his hierarchy of this plight. When deeds are damaged lost or torn he justifies it, even to the judiciary, by adverting to the physical state of the Registry. [see weblink for letters & the manner in which deeds are kept, due to lack of buildings].
Land fraud inevitably is extremely pervasive; deeds are registered even if they are forged or invalid.
The data is being taken from the books of the land registry in to computers without first remedying this situation in the Manual register.
The poor who have leasehold rights to their land, will, after privatization, lose govt protection, as they must keep their deeds in a registry, which has 50% forged deeds according to the Registrar. The Govt will no longer protect their rights; they’d have to do so personally at their expense & time. (https://www.newsfirst.lk/2019/03/17/50-of-land-deeds-in-sri-lanka-forged-registrar-general)
The major issue: they will not be protected by the simple common law that they were governed, when lands were owned by the govt. They will be governed by Customary Laws such as Kandyan, Thesawalamai, Muslim Law.To enter into land transactions investors will have to inquire whether a person is a Muslim Tamil or a Sinhalese [Kandyan or Low-country], a man or a woman, as customary laws did not grant men and women equal property rights.
The WorldBank Reports of 2001 & 2007 specifically state Lanka lacks institutions & professionals to move forward. It was their considered opinion, SL was not ready for proceeding with digitalization & other progressive steps relating to land. The WB lists a plethora of issues relevant in 2019 vis a vis the MCC Agreement:
1. Land Settlement Dept staff lack skills in adjudication, eg, existing information is not sufficiently used, third party interests are not informed (hence disputes are created & rights not protected);
2. The legal framework for land titling is inadequate; far too many Ministries deal with the subject –there’s no coordination
3. The organizational framework is not efficient, effective, or sustainable;
4. No published results, workshops, or stakeholder discussions have reviewed progress of ongoing titling activities, either in terms of implementation experience or socioeconomic impacts;
5. No coordination between departments resulted in multiple visits which waste govt budgets & clients’ time;
6. Prospects for large-scale financing of systematic titling unlikely;
7. Lack of use of modern & efficient survey & information technology for efficiency & productivity gains in titling;
8. Absence of involvement of private sector capacity & skills to supplement govt capacity, and skills to speedup title registration & coverage;
9. No motivation to carry out a continuing land-related policy reform dialogue;
10. Human resource development essential for efficient long-term land titling program, not addressed.
If we have failed to address these issues highlighted by World Bank in 2001 & thereafter in 2007, under what protections are we entering in to further agreements?
The country requires a professional team to look into half-done land projects from which we cannot go back, presently requiring large funds & buildings. The most important factor is to investigate the administration’s inability mentioned in the reports, which the WB pointed out as the cause for failure.
The MCC agreement has a ‘warning clause’ that they will exit the Agreement if we do not comply with all their requirements. And another clause states they will not fund beyond what they have offered; if we expend more it would be our liability.
If we proceed irresponsibly, merely receiving grants, knowing the situation we have placed ourselves in the past, we will have to bear the inexorable costs. The landowners will not have any relief to prove their ownership, specially in a paperless land registry without any safety measures to protect the rights of owners. There would be no protective hand of the Judiciary to give them relief, as the Judicial powers are taken away by Act 21 of 1998…
MCC did not suddenly evolve, seemingly to resolve our land rights. There was an evolutionary process for the past 60 years, which we have sadly ignored… carrot of funding first came in 1952 with a report “The views of the International Bank for Reconstruction & Development on Insecurity of Land Titles”. This was very similar to the MCC agreement, which needed to privatize lands, repeal all the local laws & introduce the Australia law. The difference was we had an erudite lawyer who studied this report, worked singlehandedly for 3 years to stop the invasion, to save SL’s land rights, with laws suitable for the society.
B2. De-Dollarizing Democracy – Krisantha Sri Bhaggiyadatta
Crisp new dollar bills. Freshly printed by the US Treasury. Stuffed into fake-leather briefcases. One million dollars each for a general. One hundred thousand each for police officers.
Delivered to oust the first Quechua President of Bolivia. By the end of that Nov week of infamy, Evo Morales was forced to leave for Mexico. A fake blonde puppet was foisted instead on the people, who handed Bolivia’s ample mines of rare lithium & indium – used for the latest phones & screens, for the mod electric Teslas of tech-boss Elon Musk – over to German, Canadian & US companies.
Earlier, Bolivia had signed a deal with China, to process minerals into industrial products, right within their country. This would have earned billions more for Bolivians, advancing their technological skills, rather than just digging up raw ores.
So what’s a million? In seconds, a million works out to 11 days. A billion seconds is 31 years! So will those generals and officers live out their days in Bolivia, destined for years of turmoil? Or California, where their children may be caged as “illegal aliens”?
But is this all fake news? Were taxes paid? Could WorldBank-inspired Transparency International, who dispenses so many lectures about public honesty, verify this?
Does USAID, which provides millions to monitor electoral violence in Lanka, validate non-electoral thuggery closer to the Rio Grande? Will US-bankrolled Advocata offer us insight into such ‘free enterprise’? The US govt needs provide no such disclosure:
In 2017, Rockefeller’s Exxon CEO Rex Tillerson was made US President Trump’s first Secretary of State. Investigators had caught Exxon secreting $100mns into a Washington bank, for the leader of Equatorial Guinea, for handing over massive gas & oil reserves to Exxon. Exxon also paid for top Guinean govt officials’ children to study in the USA.
In 2010, the US Congress had added new disclosure law, Rule 1504, to the Dodd-Frank reforms of the banking system (bailed out by the state!). Exxon opposed it, but it was passed. In Feb 2017, Exxon got legislators to revoke Rule 1504. 60 minutes later, Tillerson was made Sec’y of State. ‘Jayaveva!’ or ‘All right!’ as Advocata may say: ‘There’s no red-tape in Washington. They get things done, pronto!’
But what of us? – Lankika mines, with the purest graphite, are handed over to foreign multinationals. In return, we keep buying expensive batteries. (By the way, recharge your phone to keep reading this!)
So here then is the enduring legacy of colonialism: Raw material exchanged for expensive industrial products. 7 decades ago, the US took over, unannounced, the role of English colonialism in Lanka. ‘Our’ Central Bank was formulated and first governed by US citizens. They launched an awesome spree of pure consumption, and even opposed our most successful trade-treaty, the Rubber-Rice Pact with China.
Those CB officials seem to have explicitly forbidden investment in modern industry. Perhaps why local intellectuals and economists seem ignorant of what an ‘entrepreneur’ or ‘industry’ means. An entrepreneur makes a new product. Even better, makes the machine that makes the machines to produce those products. After all, it’s not the inventor of zippers that made the capital – but the inventor of the machine that made zipper machines, that accumulated the most capital (more than just money!)
Our fully-bright intellects also refer to a garment ‘industry’. Yet, SL makes no pin, needle, thread nor textile. Any profit goes out to pay for such industrial products before they even enter this country.
Our textile factories, like in Thulhiriya, were destroyed, turned into warehouses for Uncle MAS, who claims privileged access to Uncle Sam. Same for our steel – once the best in the world. Those Athurugiriya steel lands were turned into gated cities for politicians, merchants & their mistresses. The same goes for a long list of resources: crude oil, fertilizers, milk, sugar – the topmost expensive imports.
Coconut oil, about which yuppies now all go gaga, is being adulterated with palm oil. We could grow our own sugar, or get it from Cuba for half the price of the London market. Eco-trendies, worrying about carbon-footprints, don’t mention how an insipid parippu now comes all the way from Canada, where the Néhiyaw/Cree people were starved by decimating the buffalo. Our petrol comes from US-occupied West Asia, goes all the way to Singapore for refining, then comes sailing back to us.
No wonder Singapore constantly gives us sermons about non-state-involvement and ‘rule of law’. Let’s not mention the Mannar Basin, its untapped energy resources fuelling talk of ‘devolution’, which many believed in, until figuring out the imperialist agenda of state diminution.
The corporate media splurges dollops of ink, pixel and decibel to sermonize about privatizing all our public resources and ‘state-owned enterprises’, to throw it all onto a loaded casino…err…rigged stock-market. After all, the so-called free market is fiddled by private monopolies & banks – the private sector being far far more corrupt and wasteful than the public sector they taint.
It then dawned – in one of those Eureka! or Buddhu-Ammo! moments – that all babble about privatization (“peoplization?”) diverts from what is most pivotal for the economy, after decades of financial capital’s dominance, with merchant rentiers making money from money in their sleep:
SL has 13 foreign banks, 11 domestic private banks, 2 large state-owned commercial banks (Bank of Ceylon, People’s), 2 licensed specialized banks, 2 housing banks, a National Savings Bank, and a regional development bank. Not a single one of them invests in modern machine-making – the basis of all advanced countries, countries which drone out all kinds of sermons, except this one:
Financialization enforces individualized consumerism, rather than collective services through a democratized state & economy. This was the main legacy of 20thC national & working-class struggles.
Our main goal should remain: transforming financial institutions, which are the lifeblood of crisis-ridden global capitalism, into public services – to ensure the democratization of the decision-making that governs investment & employment.
And who knows, how many rupees does a US general cost?
B3. Global Capitalism & the US Empire Post-1945
After the US restructuring of Japan & Europe post-1945, many started talking as if Japan & Europe would take over the US. But they didn’t. They then go on to say, the US is absorbing China too. England went to war with Germany, which had surpassed England industrially 1879-1914. Will the US go to war with China, rather than just relent?
The US state restructured and revived post-WW2 European & Japanese capitalism, through low-interest loans, direct grants, technological assistance, favorable trade relations (low tariffs, etc) – so Japan could sell their products to the US, economically integrating all leading capitalist countries. This lay the basis for the spread of US MNCs, which reinforced the imperialist US state.
European & Japanese investment in the US further deepened cross-border networks of production inputs & outputs. This increased pressures on those states to support the “constitutionalization” of free trade & capital movements through bilateral and multilateral agreements, protecting the assets & profits of MNCs around the world.
The US state also stagemanaged the transformation of much of the world into “emerging market states” (see ee Business, Mobius). Advertising US national interests as being the same as international capitalism’s interests, they proceeded to co-opt their own working classes into the wider imperialist project of subjugating workers elsewhere, who would otherwise be competitors.
US culture becomes capitalist culture: The US state then forced our countries to remove state barriers, by opposing protectionism. To contain the resulting crises and keep capitalism going, they limited alternatives that increase worker & peasant power, promoting control of capital accumulation by international financial institutions under US capitalism, so our countries do not become industrial competitors. To compete with socialist countries, they promoted welfare states to increase consumer demand.
At the same time, the US state put on the smiling mask of ‘liberal democracy’, upholding ‘equal’ rights to citizenship of capitalist groupuscules (market minorities) mollycoddled by colonialism to obscure the unequal internal class relations of capitalism, simultaneously redefining national ‘self-determination’, as & when they pleased, to undermine historic nations midst an asymmetric capitalist world economy.
They proclaim ‘rule of law’ (ie capitalist law) – which has to be enforced by each allied state (& if that fails, by the US state war machine, which commits mass-murder in the name of ‘human rights, democracy a& freedom’) – to privatize public property, promote (unequal) competition, demand ‘free trade’, uphold (exploitative) contracts (MCC). All this while opposing: state protection of national resources, workers & peasants’ rights, regulation of markets (monopolized by capitalist banks, MNCs).
Other capitalist states seeking to attract foreign investment, then promised equal treatment to all capitalists, independent of nationality, which was precisely what the US state wanted. These states made legal & regulatory changes that developed their own MNCs, similar to the US state. And while they protected their own national turf as much as they could from the US, they also saw the US state as “the ultimate guarantor of capitalist interests globally”, as institutionalized, of course, through NATO and allied intelligence & security networks.
The bogey of communism in Europe and East Asia also helped to force economies to open to US capitalism’s needs, politically, culturally, and economically. The US claimed they were not old imperialists grabbing whole countries, but only setting up military bases to ensure they remained open to particularly but not only US capitalist needs.
By the 1960s, along with their MNCs abroad, US management, legal, accounting & consultancy firms also pushed global capitalism, yankee-style. The City of London switched from sterling to $, becoming the Euro$ satellite of Wall St. But US balance-of-payments deficits due to imports from Europe, plus increased US foreign direct investment (FDI) in Europe, caused problems for the dollar’s fixed exchange rate, despite global capitalist values being based on the US Treasury bond market.
The US Treasury & Federal Reserve, plus the finance ministries and central banks of Europe and Japan, failed to cope with the dollar’s problems within the Bretton Woods framework. They also failed due to the contradictions of producing near full employment by the 1960s. Growing worker militancy in the advanced capitalist countries, and assertions of economic nationalism in our world, deepened the “crisis of the dollar,” which led in the 1970s to the creation of the G7, to guide international capitalism through the crisis. The development of a derivative markets provided risk-insurance in a complex global economy without which the internationalization of capital via trade and FDI would otherwise have been significantly restricted.
“The dollar’s growing centrality as the measure of value in the global circuits of capital after the collapse of Bretton Woods made the US state’s responsibility for sustaining capitalist confidence in the dollar more critical than ever. What had really sapped this confidence was the inflationary threat which full employment had given rise to, especially as this was associated with increasing labor militancy and popular pressures for greater social expenditure, economic planning, and controls over investment.”
“Class discipline” was eventually imposed inside the advanced capitalist economies to exit the crisis, by the US Federal Reserve under Paul Volcker in 1979. The “Volcker shock” – the Fed’s draconian increase in interest rates – to make the $, backed by Treasury bonds, reliable for international finance. This was “accompanied by a broader neoliberal turn in the US, with almost all the world’s states opening to free trade &free movement of capital, spreading capitalist social relations.
This ‘neoliberalism’ was blamed on Reagan or Thatcher, Milton Freidman or Alan Greenspan, but their prescriptions for free markets had already been pushed by the US state relaunching global capitalism, post-1945. It was part of the “growing contradictions within the postwar class compromise, as the realization of near full employment and growing social expenditures took place alongside “rapidly increasing commodification and ever-deepening capitalist social relations”.
Neoliberalism involved not only restructuring institutions to ensure enforcing “anti-inflation”, but also removing barriers to competition in all markets, and especially in the labor market. Breaking inflation involved, primarily disciplining labor, to secure “the confidence” of industrial as well as financial capital. Despite the Reaganite rhetoric (“govt is not the solution, govt is the problem”), it was the state that was the key actor to push neoliberal practice.
The mechanisms of neoliberalism – proclaiming the expansion & deepening of markets & competition – may have been economic, but neoliberalism was a political response to the democratic gains previously achieved by working classes. From capital’s perspective, they were now barriers to accumulation. Neoliberal practice was not about the state in retreat so much as the expansion & consolidation of networks of institutional linkages to an already globalizing capitalism.
In understanding both the trajectory & the contradictions of capitalism in the 2nd half of the 20thC, it’s very significant the new period of financial competition, growth & innovation was spawned, not in the era of neoliberalism during the reactionary 1980s under Reaganism & Thatcherism, but during the heyday of Keynesianism in the radical ’60s, under Kennedy’s Camelot & Johnson’s “Great Society”.
This was directly related to the ever-increasing importance of the Treasury & Federal Reserve within the US state, plus the further explosion of global finance in the 1980s, with large US international banks at its centre. Financial markets played the key role to diffuse US policy abroad through the liberalization of regulations on capital flows, also renewing the US empire. It was not the US state that “exploited” its power to secure favorable treatment from financial markets; rather, overseas central banks & private investors, structurally dependent on the US or attracted to the safety & returns in US financial markets, had a strong interest in moving funds to the US.
As capital markets everywhere became increasingly internationalized, the US took advantage of the depth & breadth of its financial markets to supplement its trade in goods with its international financial services. This is why US trade deficits no longer led to a crisis of the dollar.
Nevertheless these trade deficits, combined with the manifest effect of economic restructuring in industrial shutdowns & layoffs, fomented further widespread angst about “US in decline”. Critics claimed the new age of finance was a symptom of the failure to resolve the ’70s profitability crisis.
In fact, weakening labor provided US capital with competitive flexibility, and the explosion of finance helped restore general profitability, thru the discipline of “shareholder value” precepts it sponsored within firms & the allocation of capital across firms. Firms restructured key production processes, outsourced others to less-expensive & more-specialized suppliers, relocated to the US south – part of an accelerated general reallocation of capital within the US economy. Amid the bravado and almost manic competitiveness of Wall St, pools of venture capital were made available for the hi-tech firms of the “new economy”.
By the late 1980s transformations in production enabled US exports to grow faster than all other advanced capitalist countries. Moreover, the US economy’s unique access to global savings thru Wall St in global money markets allowed it to import freely without compromise. Despite very high rates of growth in the newly industrializing countries of the global south – so-called NICs – the US proportion of world production remained stable, at around one-fourth of the total, right into the 21stC.
Many people initially expected W European & E Asian “varieties of capitalism” – “strong states” with “coordinated market economies”, to provide an alternative to allegedly “weak” Anglo-American states subject to free market ideology & practice. The absurd designation of the US state as “weak”, failed to recognize how far the increasingly transnational sectors of capital in Europe & Asia involved greater ties to US capital.
The buzz about the great European Common Market in the 1960s soon gave way to “Eurosclerosis”. The first steps towards a common European currency, in 1979 was proclaimed as a challenge not only to the dollar but also to US imperial hegemony. But they could not develop adequate transfers from surplus countries to deficit countries within the EU. The defeats suffered by the Left in the 1980s reinforced Europe’s economic dependence on the US as “consumer of last resort”, and made “delinking” European capitalism from US capitalism virtually impossible.
The massive flow of Japanese capital to the US in the 1980s also gave rise to widespread predictions that Japan would displace the US as capitalism’s hegemonic power. But foreigners purchasing US financial assets were not just compensating for the US trade deficit. Rather, foreign capital was keen to invest inside the giant US economy and foreign states were eager to stabilize their currencies at competitive levels, attracted by deep US financial markets and their broad array of products & services.
The flow of Japanese funds into US private assets & securities as well as Treasury bonds reinforced the US empire. It did not make the US into a debt-burdened debtor. It validated the $’s role as the global currency and helped the Federal Reserve to set interest rates, while permitting not only a large trade deficit but also the fiscal deficits from Reagan’s policy of tax cuts combined with increased military spending. It enabled the Treasury & Federal Reserve to play an indispensible role as the world’s firefighters-in-chief, turning on the taps of liquidity to douse the repeated crises from an increasingly volatile global financial system.
Consolidating Capitalism & Containing Crises – The US state sponsored new mechanisms of international coordination to extend capitalism thru the final quarter of the 20th century. Neoliberalism reinforced the material & ideological conditions for international legal rules guaranteeing free trade & for national treatment of foreign capital in each social formation, evident in NAFTA, European Economic & Monetary Union, & the WTO, plus the bilateral investment treaties promoted by the US Trade Representative.
The G7 forged a consensus first among finance ministries, then among heads of state, as the Bank for International Settlements re-emerged as the major coordinating agency for central bankers, with IMF as the agent for imposing neoliberal “structural adjustments” on 3rdW economies, requiring the deeper process of capitalist state-building – what the WB called developing “effective states”.
But rather than neoliberal legal rules finally creating a crisis-free world order, as the proponents of free trade promised, periodic interruptions in accumulation took place more than ever on a global plane. The intensified competition characteristic of neoliberalism, and the hypermobility of financial capital, aggravated uneven development and volatility. While global financial markets became increasingly important for mediating the integrated production circuits of global capitalism, they also vastly increased the likelihood of currency & bank crises.
Global financial volatility left Asia, Africa and the non-Anglo Americas increasingly dependent on the crisis-management role of the US empire. In the 1990s, the US claimed for itself the role of global policeman against human rights violations by “rogue states”, and as global fireman to put out financial conflagrations around the world. After the 1997-98 Asian financial crisis, the US Treasury openly defined its role as “failure containment” rather than “failure prevention”.
Before the G20 creation at the initiative of the US Treasury in 1998, Summers himself paraphrased the opening words of the Communist Manifesto: “[A] spectre is haunting the world’s govts: of the global capital market whose advances they cannot resist, whose sudden rejections they cannot survive… We need systems that can handle failure because until the system is safe for failure, we will not be able to count on success.”
The US state insisted that the volatility embedded in the globalization of finance and the US global role in containing the crises this produced were “a price we pay for the enormous advantages, the indispensable advantages, of open and competitive financial markets. It’s part and parcel of the process of ‘creative destruction’.”
The US took upon itself the responsibility for managing crises, deciding that the changes to the regulatory “architecture” of international financial markets should not get in the way of the “indispensable advantages” the markets offered for making more and more of the world capitalist.
By the 21stC, all the elements of “globalization” – the transformations in the global division of labor, the development of competitive networks of production, and a new financial architecture to facilitate accelerated financialization – were implicated in the US economy’s continuing centrality in global capitalism.
The New Crisis: The foreign reserves that China and other export-oriented developing states invested in US Treasuries were explicitly designed to prevent any recurrence of the vulnerability to capital outflows that South Korea and the other East Asian NICs experienced in 1997-98.
If the financial crisis that began in 1997 is called the ‘Asian Crisis’, then the global crisis from 2007 deserves to be known as the US Crisis. Labor but also capital – & finance – strengthened in the postwar Keynesian era, determined the 1970s crisis, and the resolution of that crisis set up the conditions for the US & global crisis in 2007. The fundamental differences between the 1970s and 2007 crisis relate to working-class strength; the transformations in finance, technology, the international division of labor; and key institutional changes within and among states.
By the 1980/90s the greater mobility of financial capital across sectors, space & time (esp via derivatives) – financial capital’s quality as general or “abstract” capital – greatly intensified domestic & international competition and brought greater financial volatility. The phenomenal growth of financial markets since the 1980s led to over-leveraging and excessive risk-taking, because financial markets had become so crucial to the domestic and global expansion of capitalism in general.
While some link it to the theories of imperialism a century earlier, overaccumulation as the source of all capitalist crises, the 2007 crisis that erupted in the US (claims Panitch & Gindin) was not caused by a profit squeeze or collapse of investment due to general overaccumulation in the economy.
In the US, in particular, profits & investments had recovered strongly since the early 1980s. Nor was it caused by a weakening of the dollar due to the recycling of China’s trade surpluses. On the contrary, the enormous foreign purchases of US Treasuries allowed a low-interest-rate policy in the US after the bursting of the “new economy” stock bubble at the beginning of the new century. This stoked an even greater real-estate bubble, after a brief downturn economic growth and non-residential investment resumed. Investment grew significantly in the 2 years before the crisis, profits were at a peak, capacity-utilization in industry was above the historic average.
Only after the financial meltdown in 2007-8, profits and investment declined, due to the growing global importance of US mortgage finance, with expanded state support for home ownership, hoping to integrate workers into US capitalism. Since the 1980s, wages had stagnated & social programs eroded, reinforcing workers’ dependence on rising values of their homes as a source of economic security. US state agencies encouraged the development of mortgage-backed securities throughout global financial markets, making the US housing bubble also impact globally when it burst, as mortgage-backed securities became difficult to value & sell, thus freezing the world’s financial markets.
The collapse of housing prices also undermined workers’ main source of wealth, leading to a dramatic fall in US consumer spending. The bursting of the housing bubble had much greater effects than had the earlier bursting of the stock-market bubble at the turn of the century, and much greater implications for global capitalism in terms of the role the US played as “consumer of last resort”.
The US then fully shared its problems with the rest of the world, US financial assets and consumer spending were crucial to global capitalism, quickly affecting other regions. Any ideas they might be able avoid the crisis were quickly dispelled. The US Federal Reserve directly bailed out foreign banks & provided other central banks with much-needed $s; the US Treasury coordinated stimulus policies with other states. The enormous demand for US Treasury bonds reflected the US state’s power as the ultimate guarantor of value, with the world remaining on the dollar standard. Even while international tensions surfaced, the G20 leaders meeting together for the first time in late 2008 in Washington DC, agreed to avoiding protectionist measures.
The G20 did not shift decision-making from the national to the international level, or from the US state to an international body. US hegemony within the G7 was even further enhanced in the 21stC. But it has attempted to integrate the leading developing states into the management of the global capitalist system under the US empire. The first great crisis of the 21stC clearly exposed how far all the world’s states are enveloped in capitalism’s irrationalities. But the crisis did not create conflicts between capitalist states, but social conflict within them. The political fault-lines of global capitalism run within rather than between states, challenging the US empire’s capacity to sustain global capitalism in the 21stC. Also showing possibilities for the emergence of new movements to transcend capitalist markets & states.
B4. The Undying Death of the Left in the Passive Voice
There’s no dearth of unofficial Kanatte and even off-Antarctic coroners who declare the death of Marxism-Leninism, or the collapse of the Left, even as the People’s Republic of China continues to dazzle. Also, none speak of the repeated annihilation campaigns from which the Left still manages to recover & prevail, let alone internecine battles where the JVP (or 3rd Force?) targeted veteran village ‘Old Left’ cadre. The scope of their historical time is also limited, just like those who parroted Fukuyama that history ended in 1989 and capitalism had won. Now it seems, it’s Fukuyama who has ended his undialectical historicizing, and recants, even calling for socialism in some form!
The capitalist (social & anti-social) media, which gives no room for socialist endeavor (& why should they!), likes to blather about the collapse of the LSSP, based on coalition with the SLFP in June 1964, of them then being “wiped off the Parliamentary map” since 1977. CMU leader Bala Tampoe is said to have quipped the LSSP had committed themselves without any reservations to the electorate, and the electorate rejected them, without any reservations. Also, that since 1994 they have had to depend on being nominated to parliament by the SLFP. This is all lazy sofa-socialist theorizing…
An ee Correspondent replies:
‘There’s no simple answer to this question. However, to reduce it to a question of electoral politics or coalition with the SLFP is too simplistic. It should be pointed out, the LSSP(R), Bala’s split-off from the LSSP, got annihilated at the polls and disintegrated long, long before the LSSP’s demise.
As for the LSSP “embracing electoral politics”, this was simply not the case. The LSSP’s strategy was to use the electoral process to further the cause of the revolution. In introducing employees councils to state corporations, the LSSP’s aim was to create organs of dual power. In creating the Hansa regiment in 1977, the LSSP was attempting to form the core of a revolutionary army – strengthened with party cadres who had been purged from the Army following the so-called “Coup” attempt of 1966.
The Hansa Regiment was a unit raised in April 1971 to defend CTB installations from the JVP. It comprised about 2,000 volunteers, including soldiers cashiered from the Army because of alleged links to the so-called “coup” and employed in the security division. Mrs B’s congenital distrust of the LSSP resulted in the regiment being issued just 400 shotguns. It had one combat experience, a battle with JVP cadres at Warakapola, resulting in 21 JVP killed. Thereafter JVP cadres surrendered to it, rather than to the Army or Police, to avoid execution. The Hansa Regiment was also deployed to defend the Thulhiriya textile complex.
Parallel to the Hansa Regiment was CANTAB, the CTB intelligence organization, which reported to the Cabinet. The reports passed on to the Army were acknowledged by then Army Commander Gen Sepala Attygalle as being better than Army or Police intelligence. CANTAB was headed by Dudley Wijesiri, in charge of the Employees’ Councils program in the CTB. Both were disbanded by Mrs B after the insurrection had been suppressed.
The fact that the LSSP refused to convert itself to an electoral-based party from a cadre party (as proposed by Hector Abhayawardena) shows it had not “embraced” a solely electoral policy. However, to ignore the electorate, in a situation in which bourgeois democracy had been established for decades, would have been madness.
Then we come to the reasons for its decline. In the mid-70s SL faced a food crisis (during world food shortages) combined with the oil shock, at a time when the plantations companies’ disinvestment from SL to E Africa had resulted in declining number of yielding plants (due to lack of replanting) – which resulted in a 10fold increase in the trade deficit. The Left was blamed for the subsequent shortages & hardships. Nevertheless, the Left retained much of its electoral strength, though wiped out in Parliament. The percentage the Left Front got in 1977 exceeded what the JVP ever received.
The Left continued to be strong, despite the lack of parliamentary representation, because of its strength in the Trade Unions. The ill-advised 1980 general strike saw the near annihilation of the LSSP’s strength among organized workers. This was compounded by the collapse of the industrial sector after 1977 – ~100,000 workers lost their jobs because of the “opening up” of the economy, most in cutting-edge manufacturing industries such as electronics & tea machinery – which resulted in the elimination of LSSP representation in private industry.
The loss of the bulk of its trade union base meant the LSSP was only left with an electoral alternative – and it was weak electorally. The obvious alternative would have been to back the candidacy of Hector Kobbekaduwa (as the CP did, profiting immensely). Even the NSSP’s Vasudeva Nanayakkara asked voters to cast their 2nd preferences for Kobbekaduwa. Dr Colvin R de Silva’s candidacy, together with his “law point” was seen as detrimental to the campaign to defeat JR’s incipient fascism. The LSSP lost huge swathes of support and goodwill, especially after JR jailed Vijaya Kumaranatunga & his so-called “Naxalite” colleagues, and after he banned the NSSP, CP & JVP after the anti-Tamil pogrom of 1983.
The next blow came with the Indo-Lanka Accord. In a fairly transparent exercise in regional hegemony, the Indian state imposed its will on Sri Lanka.
Some claim, from the Indian perspective, they were responding to JR’s betrayal of the non-aligned movement and moves to allow US forces to set up in Trincomalee, right on India’s doorstep?
Of course JR was wrong to attempt to give Trinco to the US, but the fact is that covert action by the Indian deep state began in 1974, soon after the Katchativu Treaty was signed (never ratified by the Lok Sabha). Pirapaharan admitted he had been trained by RAW that year, in S India. India stepped up help to the separatists after Indira returned to power.
Then there is much older argument about Indian expansionism, older than that fueled by the JVP’s famed 5th lesson. Back to Nehru’s declaration, “We are all Indians” to plantation workers when the English banned the LSSP, and assertions by historians like Pannikar that Ceylon was a part of India.
JR was told, unless he signed, Indian troops would be in Colombo in 48 hours “raping your women” –the words used by MH Mohammed in describing it; JR told several opposition politicians how he got bullied. The popular uprising which took place against it was an expression of nationalism, not of anti-Tamil feeling (as made out). In this situation, the LSSP’s support for the Accord was seen as going against the principle of SL independence & sovereignty which it had championed since 1935.
Nevertheless, the LSSP, in alliance with the SLMP & CP, managed to make some headway in the widely boycotted Provincial Council polls. However, its stance on the Accord lost it considerable support in the old working-class & plantation belt, from Kaduwela to Deniyaya. This meant, when it was targeted by the JVP’s assassination teams, the dead received little sympathy. When it went into alliance with Chandrika’s govt, acquiescing to neoliberal policies, it lost all credibility. Unlike in 1970-75, it made no attempt to defend working-class gains, or push Left-wing agendas, but simply went along with privatizations & open corruption. Its supporters transferred to other parties, eg MEP, JVP.
In the final analysis, the key issue was the destruction of the trade unions in 1980. With them, the working-class culture of the workplace disappeared, as well as the predilection of the workers for class struggle. This laid the foundations for the emergence of nationalist cross-class solidarity instead of class solidarity. Nowadays, young people do not think in terms of class, but as individuals who want to get ahead. Urban gentrification has ripped the heart out of working-class neighbourhoods, leaving only the petty-bourgeoisie and lumpen proletariat. In this atmosphere, the prospect for socialism is weak.
Engels in the Preface to the first translation of Marx’s Capital as well as in his introduction to Marx’s Class Struggles in France: in a liberal democracy all power does not come from the barrel of a gun, some power can come from parliamentary struggle!
There are also the consequences of the defeat of the July 1980 General Strike, and the steady decline of unions, along with the rise of the non-classically entrepreneurial small & big business class alongside the precariat. Kumari Jayawardena also emphasizes the electoral alliances with the SLFP and the unwitting or strategic alignment with majoritarian nationalism as the main factor. Her analysis predates the experience of 1980 and after.
The Left was historically “aligned to majoritarian nationalism”. Consider the intemperate language used in the “Samasamajaya” about “Suddho”, and the constant reminders about 1915. Until Kumari’s analysis, there was never any question the English had been wrong to imprison the Sinhalese leaders.
Until 1955, the question of Sinhala Only never arose – put forward by JR in order to weaken the SLFP’s Sinhalese base. SWRD, who always intended to adopt the 1944 State Council formula of Sinhala Only/Tamil Also, which came about as a solution to JR’s “Sinhala Only” motion.
The Left were majoritarian nationalists in the same sense as the African National Congress (whose slogan was “majority rule & a unitary state”).
Their support came overwhelmingly from the same areas as Anagarika Dharmapala’s – from among the Sinhalese Buddhist working class, peasantry & rural petty-bourgeoisie. They also had their support among the Sangha, notably Balangoda Ananda Maitreiya Thero…’
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.
• Prez says he’s the victim of alleged abduction: “There was no such incident”
• Swiss sends top diplomat team to SL
“Switzerland said it has sent former ambassador Jörg Frieden to SL to investigate the security incident at the Swiss Embassy in Colombo”
• Wartime seizure of UN workers & an abduction that never happened
“Had the Swiss managed to force the govt to allow Francis to leave the country, in an air ambulance, without being subject to immigration formalities, as planned, President Gotabaya Rajapaksa would have been in serious trouble today.”
• More Swiss embassy workers involved in ‘fabricated’ abduction plot – CID
• Swiss embassy saga takes a sour turn
“Western countries. They were shaken. Many launched protective measures for their local staff giving telephone numbers of senior officials for hurried evacuation. This was in the event of an emergency. They were told they could be whisked away to their capitals if indeed there were serious threats to their lives. A few also spoke of a bizarre story of the alleged abduction saying it was the handiwork of an Israeli trained group who were operating under the code name “Sicario”…Spanish word for hitmen used often by Mexican drug cartels and made popular by a recent movie. This unsubstantiated colouration gave the alleged abduction a mischievous or even a dangerous connotation.”
• The Swiss fiasco
“From day one, the Swiss embassy was in a headlong quest to get this alleged victim and her entire family out of the country in an ambulance plane without even revealing her identity to the SL authorities. Was that because they knew that this was a concocted story?”
• Prez prescribes peace thru development, no federal solution
• SL will not renegotiate commercial terms of Hambantota deal, only security: President
• We won’t support any amendments that will dilute democratic values bestowed in the Constitution’ – TNA leader tells US Ambassador
• Tamil Eelam Liberation Organization leaves TNA
• Boris’ victory a triumph for nationalist camp the world over & resounding defeat for global liberal mafia… BUT…
“Until the end of the UK election, the Conservative Party Chairman had not issued that unequivocal statement on SL that had been requested by Lord Naseby. We will now have to leave it to Lord Naseby to raise the matter in the UK Parliament. Clearly there are some issues that SL still needs to get clarified from the Conservative govt in Britain. Despite this, Boris Johnson’s victory is a triumph for the nationalist camp the world over and a resounding defeat for the global liberal mafia.”
• Total of Rs3.6bn in foreign currency received to build Batti Campus: SOC report
“It was suspicious regarding establishing the institute as to creating Ulamas or Sharya law or Islam by mentioning ‘Bachelors of Arts in Sharia and Islamic Studies’ in details submitted to the said institute to BOI and Ministry of Higher Education.”
• Publish the MCC draft
• JVP asks govt to reveal its stand on MCC Deal
• Govt adopting double standards on MCC: JVP
“MCC CEO Sean Cairncross was appointed directly by US Pres Trump… advisor of Trump’s private staff. Apart from him, the US Defence Secretary is there in the MCC. How can this MCC be termed an independent institution? …MP Herath said according to conditions in the MCC on development of road network in SL, the US was accessible to our road sign system and its data.”
• MCC deal suspended, 4-member committee appointed to review agreement: Govt
“The official committee chaired by Prof Lalithasiri Gunaruwan comprises former Transport Ministry Secretary DS Jayaweera, Attorney Nihal Jayawardana PC and Nalaka Jayaweera.”
• From Mahaweli Diversion to Transport & Land Projects – Hillary’s Philips bats for MCC
“The acceleration of the Mahaweli scheme completely broke up the long established institutional and professional system and processes that mediated between political decision making, on the one hand, and the identification and implementation of projects on the other. A contributing parallel development was the village housing (gamudawa) scheme that then PM R Premadasa was undertaking with great gusto throughout the island. Faced with this twin assault, the good old administrative and financial regulations, professional practices and procurement systems for public projects were disregarded and discarded… in the overall global context of the Reagan-Thatcher…”
• Non-alignment relating to Chinese & US aid
“In view of China emerging as a major aid giver President Trump has changed his earlier policy of ‘America First’, which proposed to cut down foreign aid by a third, and declared USD60bn would be made available for investment in foreign countries.”
• No support to implement MCC: Sajith
• MCC a spider’s web or an act of unconditional generosity?
“Former Minister and defeated presidential candidate Sajith Premadasa who, as a member of the previous govt’s Cabinet, approved the signing of the agreement, has now done an about-turn and stated publicly that the new regime should tear the agreement. One wonders whether he would have said this had he won the Presidential Election.”
• United States builds skills of English teachers
• SL to raise objections with US over latest travel advisory
• Revitalized Africa Policy’ to guide SL’s engagement with Africa
“Foreign Sec’y Aryasinha underlined the significant contribution made by Sri Lanka to the liberation struggles of Africa & the Arab world – from support in 1956 during the Suez Crisis, thru the 1960-90s in overcoming apartheid & racism across the continent, to the continuing support to the Palestinian struggle.”
• Noel Crusz, the Cocos Islands Mutiny
“The Lanka Regiment of the Indian National Army, which Netaji Subash Chandra Bose created in Singapore, was led by Sir John Kotelawala’s cousin. It was comprised mainly of Buddhist Karawas ( ‘Seethala Silvas’ of Singapore), to whom the language of racial equality was an elixir. I have this from MW Wimalatissa Indrasoma, who served in the Lanka Regiment.”
• How top spymaster RN Kao got Sikkim to join India
“A book on the life of founding chief of India’s external intelligence agency – Research & Analysis Wing (RAW) – RN Kao, reveals how the agency ran a 27-month-long, ruthless operation from Dec1972 till May 1975, and started an uprising against Sikkim’s ruler to annex it to India.”
• 70 Years after the Chinese Revolution:
“The future direction of China depends on 3 critical factors: (1) the role of the Chinese state, (2) the role of the economically powerful ‘new rich’ that emerged with the economic liberalization process, and (3) how China handles the issue of democracy. The fundamental concern related to the ascendancy of China is whether it ushers in a new world system based on the community with a shared future for mankind, marking the end of the one that came into being with the economic, political and ideological supremacy of the West or whether China would displace the West by establishing its own dominance in the world. History will answer this question.”
• Out of sight, out of mind HKers with UK passports demand the right to live in UK
• ‘Fascists, Racists Plotted the Lithium Coup in Bolivia’ – Morales
‘Bolivian Socialist leader Evo Morales said his “sin” was to nationalize natural resources and distribute wealth… “Unfortunately, neither the Police intelligence nor the Army intelligence warned us that a coup d’etat was approaching”…’
• Abstract Leftism Leaves Bolivia & the Global South in Imperialist Crosshairs
“The phony US Left specializes in finding excuses to betray victims of US imperialism…”
• Why are so many countries witnessing mass protests?
“Blame economics, demography, a sense of powerlessness…& social media”
• Humanity at the Crossroads – Connecting the Dots to Our Brave New World
“Greece has virtually ceased to exist as a sovereign nation, and there are many others similar, including Cyprus, Haiti, Somalia, Iraq, Libya, the Balkans, Panama, Nicaragua.”
• Human Rights Hypocrisy: Critical Analysis of HK Protests
“Why do corporate media love Hong Kong dissidents while neglecting protests in Haiti, Ecuador, Chile, Colombia, Honduras and Bolivia?”
• Canadian Police Planned to Use Snipers in Assault on Wet’suwet’en Protest
“Newspaper cites planning documents that called for ‘lethal overwatch’ to ensure pipeline built.”
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.
• Mahendran has reportedly escaped S’pore: Vasu
“Bastion of ‘Rule of Law’ Singapore….”
• India-SL joint Military Exercise ‘Mitra Shakti’ concludes
• US warns of possible terror attacks
• US reminds citizens to exercise caution during festive season in SL
• 35 navy personnel complete first US Navy Expert Exchange Program
“‘Naval Special Warfare Maritime Security Course 2019′ …Deputy Area Commander Eastern Naval Area, Commodore Sanjeewa Dias was Chief Guest. Commanding Officer of the 4th Fast Attack Flotilla Capt H Dammika Wijewardhane, Commanding Officer Special Boat Squadron Commander SBS Thushitha Daminda and senior officers of the 4th Fast Attack Flotilla and Special Boat Squadron also participated… with the Special Boat Team of the US Navy.”
• New Director Media/Spokesman takes office at Army headquarters
“Brigadier Chandana Wickramasinghe RWP RSP psc MA (IR) of the Gajaba Regiment assumed office as the 17th Director of Media yesterday (Dec 17). The outgoing Director General Media, Major Gen Sumith Atapattu, Media Advisor, Sisira Wijesinghe, Colonel Media Vijitha Hettiarchchi, Senior Officers, Officers and Other Ranks were present during the brief ceremony. Brigadier Wickramasinghe will also take up duties as the new Military Spokesman.”
• New Director of Media at Army Headquarters takes office
“Brigadier Chandana Wickramasinghe Gajaba Regiment …prior to this appointment, was in S Korea to read for National Defence University course… His basic military training was at the Indian Military Academy (Regular Intake 87)… He also served as a Military Staff Officer in the UN mission in Haiti during 2007-8 and also as a UN Civil-Military trainer…”
• After 14 years in jail: Tamil prisoner acquitted
• Easter bombings: Suspect dies in Welikada Prison
“the bacteria which caused the death of the detainee was extremely dangerous.”
• It’s not a ‘Tragedy’
“The police must be angered only when their own kind bend the rules and connive with law breakers and criminals. This is especially so if their bosses kowtow to the wishes of interfering, bullying, bent, parasitical and proliferating politicians. That is what makes everyone angry’
• Chinese Trick: Unviable port turns strategic asset – Hariharan
• The World Behind the Clouds
“There are countless other terrorists also who were sent to Pakistan by the Indian authorities to create law and order problems for Pakistan.’
• The Pentagon Budget Still Rising, 40 Years Later
• US ‘national security’ concerns adversely affecting Canadian-US relations
“US officials can now carry sidearms in these preclearance zones, conduct strip searches, record and keep passenger information, and detain Canadian citizens in Canada!”
• Senate Approves $738bn Defense Bill, Sending It to Trump
“The enormous defense bill, one of the most expensive in the nation’s history, contains a litany of bipartisan rebukes to Russia, Turkey and China.” (Sanders skipped the vote)
• AOC Votes Against $700bn in Defense Spending, Blasts Pundits for Not Calling It ‘Free Stuff’
• Senate Approves One of the Most Expensive Military Spending Bills in US History
“It does not ban US support for the Saudi-led war on Yemen. The bill also does not prevent Trump from using military funds for the construction of his border wall.”
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.
• National Policy Framework Vistas of Prosperity & Splendour
• Fiscal stimulus, economic stability & growth – Sanderatne
“The banning of several imports that are locally produced, incentives to the construction sector, reduction of corporate taxes, reduction in personal taxes and elimination of certain withholding taxes by the new govt are expected to give a stimulus to the economy by increasing investment. Their impact on growth would take time, but the fiscal consequences would be immediate… Measures to enhance government revenues must be put in place. These must necessary come from mostly direct taxes and some progressive indirect taxes such as higher taxes on luxury vehicles, property taxes, stamp duties and wealth taxes are some suggestions.”
• Import substitution in higher education – Abeyratne
“Import substitution is an abandoned ‘development strategy’ in the world. SL had it too for more than 20 years (1956-77). The outcome of the strategy was miserable in SL as well as elsewhere. As a result, the import substitution strategy disappeared with the introduction of an export strategy after 1977, although some may still worry about how to resurrect it.”
• Establish a mortgage market; let people invest in SOEs – Mobius
“Giving a percentage of the SL Insurance Corporation to the public is something that the government needs to look at. In addition he highlighted government banks, transportation to the likes of the railways and airports should follow suit. Dr Mobius stressed that by listing SOEs, the Environment Social & Governance funds will be attracted to invest in SL.’… Mobius said SL’s taxes are already skewed as 80 per cent of government revenue comes through consumption taxes which affect the poor.”
• World Bank economist warns of worsening crisis in SL
“Hans Timmer, the World Bank’s chief economist for South Asia, has warned that promised tax cuts by the new minority government of President Gotabhaya Rajapakse could destabilise the economy and deepen the island’s financial crisis.” (Strange to have WSWS quoting the WB, no?)
• SL could be a big beneficiary of BRI: top economist
“Emerging markets investment expert Dr Jim Walker delivering keynote at Asia Securities 3rd Annual SL Investment Conference, ‘Global Growth & Geopolitics – More Pain or Progress?’ claims Central Banks around the world adopt poor policies leading to political crises, theft of income, rise of ‘zombie’ companies.”
• Good Riddance to the WTO
“The World Trade Organization is on its last legs now that the Trump administration has blocked the reappointment of judges to the appeals court of its Dispute Settlement Mechanism…”
• Keynes was wrong, Gen Z will have it worse
“Worker productivity increased 69.6% 1979-2019, hourly pay risen a measly 11.6%. The difference between productivity & pay is an increase in exploitation: workers doing more & getting less. That was not the plan.”
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.
• Darkness & Light
“Ven Muruththettuwe Ananda Thero, Chief Incumbent of Abayaramaya, Narahenpita, made a unique statement to the public. He said the Govt is in a dire situation in which it finds difficult to meet its daily expenses and made an appeal to the Sinhala diaspora to donate as much dollars as possible to the Govt.”
• SL sovereign rating outlook downgraded to ‘negative’ by Fitch over tax cuts
• Fitch dropping SL outlook challenged
“The recent rating action by Fitch to revise SL’s Outlook to ‘Negative’ has been hastily done without considering facts on the ground, a decision predominantly based on the assumption that SL would shift away from the revenue-based fiscal consolidation stance, thereby causing risks to debt sustainability.”
• Won’t privatize State institutions: Govt tells IMF
• Sri Lanka to bring law to ban privatization
“A new state agency called the National Enterprise Authority will be set up. Similar state enterprises will be amalgamated”
• SL may start talks with IMF in Jan: Jayasundera
• Lanka’s economy continues to be dragged down by impact of Easter suicide attacks
• Consumers yet to receive full benefit of tax reduction -Prez
• External Sector Performance – Oct 2019
• SL large caps still undervalued, consumer goods has potential: Asia Securities
“The market rally from May 2019 up to now – some of the sectors that contributed were construction, manufacturing, leisure and telecom; sectors which had a lot of downside over the past two years”
• Constituent changes to S&P Sri Lanka 20 Index
“The S&P SL 20 index includes the 20 largest companies, by total market capitalization, listed on the CSE that meet minimum size, liquidity and financial viability thresholds…”
• India will emerge stronger from economic slowdown, Modi says
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
• The Korean Dream – Gloomy side of Lankan migrants in S Korea
“A substantial number of Sri Lankan unskilled workers in South Korea are working under adverse occupational exposure and appalling working conditions resulting in serious health outcomes such as fatal occupational injuries… Sri Lankan workers in Ansan, the biggest foreigner-concentrated industrial area in South Korea opened up about unfortunate work-related accidents where some Sri Lankan workers got crushed to death after heavy equipment collapsed on them. Some workers have died after being trapped under heavy machines and drowned in the sea”
• Water price hike proposed for 2020
“Only the upper and middle class consumers who consume excessive water will be subjected to the price increase of water and those who use less water will not be affected.”
• Singapore’s Zilingo acquires SL’s nCinga for US$15.5mn
“Zilingo, a Singapore-based fashion platform, said it has acquired Sri Lankan startup nCinga Innovations for their ability to dramatically improve efficiency and drive insights by digitising the shop floor… adopting nCinga’s nFactory software across its global network of 6,000 factories and 75,000 businesses.” nCinga, founded in 2014, was backed by SL & Singapore-based BOV Capital.
• SL firms should not raise wages steeply: Deputy CB Governor
“Sri Lanka’s businesses should not enter into wage contracts with employees which would steeply increase their salaries and cause higher inflation… Sr Deputy Governor Nanadalal Weerasinghe said, speaking at 3rd Annual SL Investment Conference organized by Asia Securities.”
• Occupational prestige: A myth to get rid of
“Those who became professionals through free education demand higher salaries as they think they are the cream of the nation. On the contrary, a talented technician, for instance, who developed on his own, has to work hard to earn sufficient money, while his work is not regarded as high-status.”
• SL to up employer EPF contribution to 15%, start social security fund
• The gender dimension of remittances to SL: Who remits more?
• Lanka’s gender gap widens in global gender equality rankings
“The report measures the gap between men and women in four key areas: Economic Participation and Opportunity, Educational Attainment, Health and survival, and Political empowerment.”
• Nearly 200 busted this year for running unlicensed foreign employment agencies
• Australia Home affairs created fake horoscopes to discourage Sri Lankans from seeking asylum
• Finance Ministry bans recruitment of minor staff, no jobs for supporters
“The Finance Ministry has banned all ministers from recruiting minor … a practice which has helped them to provide jobs for their supporters… henceforth such recruitment should be on Treasury advice… 130,000 persons will be enlisted for training under the Task Force”
• SL in the high human development category, says UNDP’s latest report
“…positioning it at 71 out of 189 countries and territories… a panel discussion moderated by Robert Juhkam, Resident Rep of UNDP SL, incl Dr Chandranath Amarasekera, Director Economic Research, Central Bank, Prof Dileni Gunawardena, University of Peradeniya, Dr Rohan Fernando, Head of Plantations & Business Development at Aitken Spence PLC and Kulasabanathan Romeshun, Senior Research Professional, Centre for Poverty Analysis”
• Danger in private hospitals
• Soros’ Colombo Groundviews Man discovers Private Hospitals
“My father’s fall was also a rude introduction to Sri Lanka’s medical landscape and language. It is an entirely alien world and expression, geared, in as much as I can gather, to divest patients of their money as efficiently as possible”
• Pettah’s main bus stand: Main toilets being abused for sexual activity
“CB Ratnayake, State Minister in charge of Railways on a similar visit dropped in at the Hatton Railway station which is in much use now due to the beginning of the Adam’s Peak (Siripada) season. He observed the lack of facilities while walking around and was told that there was a racket of selling railway tickets at a higher price at the nearby 3wheel stand.”
• Refugee in TN camp seeks mercy killing after SL Tamils left out of Citizenship Act
“T Yanadhan, a resident of the refugee camp, said he has lost confidence in getting Indian citizenship even though he was born in the country and lived here ever since.”
• Mrs World refused US visa
“I must also say the US Embassy refused my visa twice and I only got the visa 2 days after the contest had begun.”
• Swedish Communists Launch New Workers’ Party Without Multiculturalism, LGBT, Greta Thunberg
According to Littorin, one of the underlying problems is a “chaotic” immigration policy that has led to cultural clashes, segregation and exclusion due to an uncontrolled influx from parts of the world characterised by honour culture and clan mentalities. Earlier this week, Markus Allard, the leader of the left-wing Örebro Party expressed similar thoughts in an opinion piece called “Socialists don’t belong to the left”, accusing the mainstream left of completely abandoning its base, switching from the working class to “parasitic grant-grabbing layers within the middle class”.
• France on strike: Power cuts, schools shut, no Eiffel Tower
• The Unwoke are Awake
“They include people who chose to leave London in the 1980-90s to settle in parts of Essex where they could try to recreate the culture of the closed (& largely white) working-class communities in which they had grown up. They include the inhabitants of single-industry towns in S Wales and NE England struggling to maintain the solidarities that had been built up by their parents’ generation. They include many people who simply dislike the way that popular culture has developed in the post-modern period with its sneering reality TV documentaries and mashed-up talent show music and bricolage culture.”
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.
• Protests against palm cultivations in Nittambuwa
• 37% of agricultural families in Nuwara Eliya living at the mercy of landlords – Farming communities elsewhere own 95.1% of their dwellings
• SL to give debt relief to tea factory owners
• SL introduces measures to bail out tea smallholders
“Most factories were facing closure due to huge debts taken from Banks. Some factories were also to be taken over by the banks due to the defaulting of payment… Chairman, SL Federation of Tea Smallholders Development Society KL Gunaratna said there around 500,000 tea smallholders which account for 75% of industry output. “Firstly we were burdened with the glyphosate issue and then with high fertilizer prices in the last 3 years”… Tea Factory Owners Association said over 110 factories were on the brink of closure & this bailout package highly welcomed… thanked govt for quick action.”
• Lankan spice traders ask India to reciprocate
“SL had stopped the import of spices for reexport and, therefore, India should reciprocate by removing the minimum import price of Rs 500 per kg it has fixed for pepper imports from Colombo, Gulam Chatoor, founder Chairman of the Spices & Allied Products Producers & Traders Association.”
• Strict measures to reduce & control rice prices
“District Secretaries must give priority to releasing paddy stocks to small and medium scale millers and keep watch on large scale millers who manipulate markets, thus preventing a reduction of rice prices.”
• Vegetable prices have risen 50% due to inclement weather
• Onion prices continue to soar
“Representatives of the traders’ associations said that they were compelled to import onions based on the shortfall in supply due to crop damage caused by the incessant rain”
• Govt liberalizes wheat imports & slash import duties
“Earlier, only wheat grain was allowed to be imported to be milled locally. However, the Cabinet has decided that importers can bring down wheat flour directly to sell at competitive prices in the local market. Earlier only two companies could import wheat.”
• SL has to increase natural rubber production – Nugawela
“Unfortunately, the natural rubber production in the country has steadily declined since 2011 and it fell to just 82,000 MT in 2018.’
• Ocean pollution: Lanka’s ranking expected to improve
“Sri Lanka, placed fifth worst polluter in the report on plastic and polythene released to the ocean”
• New USD500mn global initiative by FAO to control the Fall Armyworm pest
“FAO is also working on translating the Fall Armyworm Monitoring and Early Warning System mobile application to local languages in Sri Lanka.
• Horton Plains is Haven of Bodiversity
“The water from constant rain and mist is drained by streams which in turn form tributaries that feed some major rivers, Mahaweli, Walawe and Kelani. Horton Plains also feeds Belihuloya, Agra Oya, Kiriketi Oya, Uma Oya and Bogawantalawa Oya.”
• Threat to Life as We Know It: The View from SL
“The civil war in SL ended in 2009. In 2013, I met an ecologist in Batticaloa who said something which shocked me – that from the perspective of ecosystems, war was better than peace. Because since the end of the civil war, deforestation has drastically increased, along with many kinds of destructive ‘development’ projects…”
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.
• Jaffna Villagers vs Sand Mafia
“Clashes broke out this week between residents and sand miners in the Jaffna peninsula. This was after the government cancelled the permit system required to transport sand.”
• Illegal sandminers rampant in north after licences scrapped
“Illegal mining is also taking place along the Mahaweli river, Walawe river, Kirindi Oya and Gal Oya in the dry zones and Kelani, Nilwala, Gin and Kalu rivers in the wet zone.”
• SL’s boat & ship building industry can flourish if red tape is eliminated – CEO, Walkers
“with the increase of traffic in the Indian Ocean, there was a big demand for new boats and ships as well as for repairs and other ancillary services.”
• New Mannar Basin blocks likely to be rolled out for bids next year says Petroleum Resources Development Secretariat
• The LNG Option – Need for a deeper rethink urgently
‘SL as usual wasted many years chasing after elusive “imported” solutions to meet its emerging energy demands. The energy experts and the relevant politicians and officials who either blindly followed the advice of the experts or had their own private agendas, ignored the rapidly developing renewable energy technologies particularly solar and wind… resources Sri Lanka is abundantly endowed with…”
• Customs high-tech scanning system probed
“All Ceylon Custom Services Union says Customs must pay US$3.96 million per annum to the foreign company, even if the scanning system is used or not used to scan 750 import and 350 export containers per day…Customs has to bear the cost of water supply, electricity, and telephone bills and to provide cleaning facilities.”
• SL to launch first all-electric ‘supercar’
“Its electronics, battery, light and all features are also locally made sans the motor and battery cell.”
• Excise Dept to axe synthetic toddy industry from today
• Germany gives credit, grants to finish SL’s Helmut Kohl hospital
“Jorn Rohde, German Ambassador to Sri Lanka and Andreas Godon, Principal Project Manager the KfW Development Bank, signed for Germany and the lending agency.”
• High-powered Chinese delegation to SL signs agreements to tie up with local SMEs
“Mianyan is the only science and technological city approved by the Chinese government. It is also one of 8 Chinese national ‘layout areas’ for systematic promotion of comprehensive innovation and a leading electronic and intelligent manufacturing hub with multiple research and tech centres, and is the second largest economy in Sichuan province”
• Verdict on petition challenging the construction of Port City on Jan 17
• The Art of Architecture – ‘Space for All’
The 38th Annual Sessions of the SL Institute of Architects… 19-23 Feb 2020 at BMICH Colombo… Naveen Ceramics (Pvt) the “Principal Sponsor” with Ranjana’s Ceramic (Pvt) as the “Associate Sponsors”; Melwire Rolling (Pvt) is the “Event sponsor”
• S Asia’s first Sky Bridge to be hoisted 100m up at Galle Face
“A massive steel structure weighing 2,000 tonnes and measuring 55 metres across…joining the Sapphire Residences and ITC One hotel towers on Colombo’s Galle Face”
• Why Africa is the Future of Megacities
“By the end of the century, none of the world’s largest 20 cities will be in China, Europe, or the Americas. Africa, meanwhile, will host 13 out of 20, including the top 3.”
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.
• Notably, nearly half of SL’s sovereign bonds currently held by US-based investors, including JP Morgan & Citibank, major underwriters of the sovereign fund of SL
• Profit taking & continued foreign sales pare post-election gains
“Markets in the week ahead are likely to look for cues from new Govt’s economic and policy direction”
• CSE records lowest turnover since change of govt
“In the retail market the top 5 companies that mainly contributed to the day’s turnover were JKH, Access Engineering, Commercial Bank, ACL Cables, Swiss Tec…”
• Call for a FII law
“Resurgence of the Colombo Stock Exchange has triggered calls by the industry to establish a Foreign Institutional Investor law for investors or investment funds registered abroad to park their cash in SL…FII investors mostly involve hedge funds, mutual funds, pension funds, insurance bonds, high-value debentures, investment banks etc while if such entities were to invest in the CSE, having a dedicated law will make life easier for them.”
• MTI Consulting launches 2020 CEO Survey
“MTI Consulting, for 9th consecutive year… carrying out the CEO Business Outlook Survey in …with the Wijeya Newspapers Group… Over 200 Sri Lankan CEOs from multiple sectors will take part”
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’
• Susantha Ratnayake new BOI Chairman
“The new Chairman of the Board of Investment of SL (BOI), was once Chairman, Ceylon Chamber of Commerce, the Employers Federation of Ceylon and the SL Tea Board.”
• Prabhash Subasinghe appointed EDB Chairman
“New Chairman of the SL Export Development Board is Chairman of Global Rubber Industries (Pvt), Managing Director at Global Sea Foods (Pvt), and Chairman at SL Association of Manufacturers and Exporters of Rubber Products… also on board of SANASA Development Bank Plc and SL Society of Rubber Industry. He is a former President of Seafood Exporters Association of Sri Lanka.”
• Mark Mobius invests in Colombo apartments signaling confidence in SL’s future
“…he has already invested in an apartment here (at Cinnamon Life, JKH’s biggest single investment).”
• Bribery & corruption a way of life
“When Former Foreign Minister Lakshman Kadirgamar led a Sri Lankan business delegation abroad and spoke about the subject, he received some friendly advice that night not to bring it up again the next morning for ‘the business of business, is business’.”
• Presidential Secretariat to stop using plastic water bottles
• SL gets World Bank loan, EU grant to boost public sector
“A 25mnUS$ WB loan to Sri Lanka to improve the transparency and efficiency of core government and public financial management functions…”
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.
• General Election after March 3
“The President said a new budget would be presented after he dissolved Parliament on March 3. PB Jayasundera, Secretary to the Pres said expenditure maintained at efficient levels across all ministries would in time achieve govt’s goal of reducing National Debt to GDP ratio, from its current 90 to 70%.”
• 2020 general election: SLPP Gampaha leader rejects agreement with SLFP
• ‘I was aware of Sajith Premadasa’s defeat before the election’ – Ranil Wickremesinghe
• Charges against Champika has no legal basis: Ven Omalpe Sobitha
Anunayaka of Amarapura Nikaya Ven Nikapotha Chandrajothi Thero, Anunayaka of Rajawatta Vappa Amarapura Siri Saddhammavansa Maha Nikaya & Director of the National Children’s Educational Foundation Ven Bandagiriye Somawansa Thero and the Deputy Lekhakadhikari of SL Ramanna Maha Nikaya, Ven Waleboda Gunasiri Thero associated at this press conference. (Diana Udayanganee)
• David’s Fragmented Left is a Jinx
“3 species making up the Left menagerie. We know of the dimly visible phantoms bearing Mahinda Rajapaksa’s spittoon and trailing in his shadow. Next are small fragments – the ULF (1 or 2?), NSSP (certainly 2), peratugami, kurutugami fleas shed off JVP hide, post-Shan Maoist assemblages with some influence in the North, Siritunga’s outpost of a UK outfit, and oh dear sects and sects whose membership can comfortably fit in a minivan… JVP’s whose elephantine proportion in left-space makes it critical. It is the only entity in this collection that can win even one seat in parlt on its own”
• Isaac Levido: Oz political strategist credited with Boris’ victory
“A protege of Australian political strategist Lynton Crosby, Levido set up Crosby-Textor’s Washington DC office before returning to Australia to work with Michael Brooks, a pollster from Crosby’s British company CTF Partners, and digital content experts Sean Topham and Ben Guerin from New Zealand – a team later transplanted to run Johnson’s campaign.”
• Victory for Boris Johnson’s all-new Tories
“The hardest arguments, about whether to forgo market access for the ability to deregulate, have not begun. Mr Johnson will either have to face down his own Brexit ultras or hammer the economy with a minimal EU deal.”
• Election 2019: Levido secured Tory triumph with skill & sharp slogan
“The Tories also knew there was a path to victory. Theresa May had first identified the Red Wall” of seats stretching across north Wales, the northwest, the Midlands and NE – seats that had historically voted Labour but backed Leave in the EU referendum… Committed Labour voters in ex-mining areas, deprived areas, did what no one expected them to do: they voted Conservative.”
• Brexit: MPs back Boris Johnson’s plan to leave EU on 31 Jan
‘Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn told his MPs to vote against the bill, saying there was “a better and fairer way” to leave the EU – but six of them backed the govt.’
• Why Is Trump Finding More Protection Than Nixon Did? Fox News?
After FBI director, J Edgar Hoover, died, Nixon replaced him with L Patrick Gray, Justice Dept official, which infuriated W Mark Felt, third in command under Hoover, who became the mysterious “Deep Throat,” leaking information to Bob Woodward of The Washington Post… Trump fired FBI director James Comey, May 2017, then Justice Dept special counsel Robert Mueller presented evidence of obstruction of justice, but a whistle-blower from the CIA blamed for setting the stage for impeachment,
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.
• FMETU complains to Prez about alleged incidents of harassment
“Federation of Media Employees’ Trade noted incidents that took place after you took office”
• Coming home: HCP Bell’s ‘Little Buddha statue’
“Renowned archaeologist CP Bell’s grandson is here to return a revered possession that has been in the Bell family for nearly a century”
• Understanding the pulse of the nation through art
“The Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art was launched at Colombo Innovation Tower.”
• “Corporate news media works as 4th branch of the US govt”
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