ee archive: eesrilanka.wordpress.com
“Before you study the economics, study the economists!”
‘Docile’ Goviyo, Great Bank Robberies & Kapati Thinktanks
e-Con e-News 1-7 November 2020
Fingerprints left at the daylight hijacking of state-owned Bank of Ceylon and People’s Bank also expose the hand of thinktanks (such as US-funded Advocata, state-funded Institute of Policy Studies) and former ministers – so-called crusaders against corruption and assemblers of gods. The same crusaders this week echoed US banker Morgan Stanley’s cry, that this government must quickly bow down to the US-controlled IMF.
And why did the US-controlled Asian Development Bank give an award this week to England’s Standard Chartered Bank for giving loans to these state banks. For giving. Not forgiving. (see ee Finance, Tennakoon)
• Last ee’s assertion that Sri Lanka has been a colony of the US for 72 years, did not go down well with readers. The more generous wished more proof. The US has been pressuring Sri Lanka since 1948, at least, to hand over ports in Colombo & Trincomalee. In 1994, President Chandrika Bandaranaike Kumaratunge signed the US Status of Forces Agreement (SOFA). Then 2 years after the Sri Lanka government first signed an 8-page ACSA agreement, the Sri Lankan government was able to end one “terrorist war”, in 2009.
In 2017, the Yahapalana government renewed ACSA with 75 more pages of demands added on, with no specific time limits, plus “annexures to allow different US military establishments a foothold in Sri Lanka.” ACSA gives the US “access to basing and infrastructure necessary for force projection in and through the US Pacific Command area of responsibility.” This agreement has not been presented to parliament. If it is to be renewed 10 years hence, what scenarios may unfold for 2027?
Another means of US control has been through dependence on imported fuel – our largest import bill – mainly controlled by the US, and hence national transport. In the 1950s, there were 27 MPs representing private bus companies. How many are there now, who represent such and such import merchants? And what of transparency for thinktanks? Should US-funded Advocata declare itself as an agent of a foreign power? (see ee Security, Sri Lanka a US Test Case)
• Covid and curfew also frothed fog over India being allowed to operate Colombo Port’s ‘Easter’ Terminal. Sri Lanka Ports Authority holds the majority stake. However, the Indian-government-linked company already owns ports in India. Adani and England’s P&O (which owns Queen Elizabeth Quay, and has controlled our shipping for centuries) aim to divert tonnage from Colombo.
“The first roadblock to the Hambantota Port project was placed by P&O… If Hambantota was developed as a major hub port it would have posed a threat to Indian ports, like Nhava Shiva developed by P&O and now competing with Colombo.” (see ee 27 October 2019)
• Capitalists are using the Covid pandemic to further their narrow anti-worker agenda. It’s no surprise the disease spread here from a workplace belonging to a multinational corporation that employs 10,000s of workers. Workers also live in crowded (again private) hostels whose landlords also rob them, and enrich the private hoards and banks. The same goes for the outbreak from a fish market. The fishing business also does not protect their workers, and further weakens national security, due to the porous maritime boundaries. The way workers are exploited also explains why Lanka’s economy cannot move forward. (see Random Notes)
• ee keeps wondering what it takes to produce a national plan for industrialization? Sri Lanka isn’t allowed to even state an economic plan in its own interests, just like foreign policy. Isn’t this colonialism?
Look at the steady caterwauling against import controls. The Unilever-controlled media will not even admit we need a plan with a program for implementation, nor will they sponsor a national conversation. Why should they? Only private bankers and their MNCs may plan. Unilever’s main plan is to keep control of our home market and the media!
A national plan requires an investment plan, yet politicians, and the merchants and moneylenders who control them, have no interest in plans that don’t promise quick profits. (see Random Notes)
• ee again excerpts Chapter 3 from D Pathirana & C Aluthge’s A History of Underdevelopment & the Political Economy of Inflation in Sri Lanka. They examine the “non-transformation of the owner-cultivator system into capitalist agriculture. Instead, sharecropping and absentee landlordism instead spread as the dominant mode of conduct, ‘pauperizing’ the peasantry.
P&A make a crucial conclusion: “The sharply uneven labour demand pattern of paddy cultivation in monsoonal conditions compressed within a relatively short time span renders it necessary to centrally organize the labour process for large-scale farming to be cost effective.” P&A however deal out curiously incongruous generalizations about the Sinhala peasant. (see ee Focus)
A1. Reader Comments
• No Joy in 1948 • Academics & Unions
A2. Quotes of the Week
• Shavendra & Pompeo • East Terminal to India • Imperialism & Food Dependence • No Profits for Common Fund • Indian Ocean Great Game • GSP & Indonesia • Investment & Rural Impoverishment • Capitalism Won’t Develop Agriculture • Agriculture is the Foundation
A3. Random Notes
• Private sector controls SL’s most important national resources • No Class for Capital Accumulation • Cracking SLPP • MEP Plan • What about ACSA? • Kalusuddhas Hate Trump • Robbery of Bank of Ceylon & People’s Bank • Advocata, IPS, SCB & ADB • Marxists & Praxis • Diverting from Capital
B. ee Focus
B1. Domination of Sharecropping over Capitalist Development of Agriculture – Pathirana & Aluthge
B2. Response to Pathirana & Aluthge on Tennent & the Docile Peasant in 1848
C. News Index
A1. Reader Comments
ee thanks Readers who send articles of interest. Please excerpt or summarize what is important about any article sent, or your comments, and place the e-link at the end. It’s better to email.
• “Re 1948 independence ee refers to: Nobody old enough in 1948 to remember, recalls even a whimper of a spontaneous celebration on that historic February 4th (compared to the response when the LTTE war ended)”
• “I notice ee has been reproducing the work of Pathirana & Aluthge. Their work makes no mention of women, feminism, or ecology. Trade unions are mentioned about 4 times. They use classical economic theory, a bit of Marxism and Gramsci, and then in the end critical theory (Lacan, Derrida, Zizek), but no women theorists. Feminist economists have covered the limitations of malestream economics, who talk about inflation without going into the households and the division of labour. They miss both gender and class. I was hoping they would have been more politicised and radicalised. (see ee Focus)
A2. Quotes of the Week_
• “It is a legal process in the US; we will always continue to review it. We want to make sure to get it technically, factually, and legally right. We will continue to do that.” – Pompeo on travel ban on Lt General Shavendra Silva
• “Sri Lanka has become a guinea pig of such interventions exacerbated due to its poor political leadership associated with half-baked and hybrid, circumstance-driven policy stands, heavily subjected to the pressures and influence of corporate capital.” (see ee Finance, Tennakoon)
• “A significant development is the awarding of the East Terminal of the Colombo Port to a joint venture between John Keells and an Indian multinational conglomerate Adani Group, owned by billionaire industrialist Gautam Adani. Whilst the Sri Lanka Ports Authority will retain 59%, the 2 companies will hold 49% including management. During the tenure of former President Chandrika Bandaranaike Kumaratunga, the South Asia Gateway Terminal was given to an Indian firm on a 35-year lease.” (see ee Sovereignty, ECT)
• “Imperialism has long been attempting to push countries like India to become food-import-dependent and to divert their land area currently devoted to food grains toward other crops that imperialist countries cannot grow, as these can be grown only in tropical and semitropical regions. This, however, would mean that the tropical and semitropical countries would have to abandon food security.” (see ee Agriculture, Modi)
• “Out of billions in profits declared each year by business conglomerates across the world, how much security has been retained for the people who contributed to continued success, at least with a common fund to face shattering situations like this?” (see ee Economy, Profits)
• “The great game in the Indian Ocean is only beginning. This geographical base is estimated to contain 62% of the world’s oil reserves, 35% of its gas, 40% of gold reserves, over 60% of uranium, and 80% of its diamond reserves. Any doubt who will want to monopolise this fabulous wealth?” –indianpunchline.com/indias-dementia-and-lankan-dreams
• “From February, Washington decided not to extend the Generalized System of Preferences facilities to Indonesia’s exports to the US market. Jakarta has since lobbied Washington but of no avail.” – indianpunchline.com/indonesia-spells-out-terms-of-engagement-with-us/
• ‘The need to export capital arises from the fact that in a few countries capitalism has become “overripe” and (owing to the backward state of agriculture and the poverty of the masses) capital cannot find a field for “profitable” investment.’ – Lenin
• “As long as capitalism remains what it is, surplus capital will be utilized not for the purpose of raising the standard of living of the masses in a given country, for this would mean a decline in profits for the capitalists, but for the purpose of increasing profits by exporting capital abroad to backward countries.’ – Lenin
• “We must consolidate the position of agriculture as the foundation of the economy, increase support for agriculture, improve our policies that benefit farmers and bring prosperity to them, accelerate modernized operation of agriculture, and ensure the supply of grain and other important agricultural products… we must make substantial progress in economic restructuring, expand domestic demand while stabilizing external demand, intensify our industrial restructuring and upgrading, and promote well-planned and healthy urbanization.” Xi Jinping (2012)]
A3. Random Notes (‘Seeing Number in Chaos’)_
• The private sector controls Sri Lanka’s the most important national resources, through public and not-so-public means. The health and education system, though public, is hobbled by private interests (imported pharma, equipment, tuition, foreign universities), etc.
Sri Lanka’s capitalists (are they really “ours”?) make loads of money while sleeping (through fictitious land & money markets, drugs, worker trafficking, etc), They are unwilling and incapable of employing people with dignity, let alone prevent people’s ongoing impoverishment.
They rather continue to exploit workers as much as they can by increasing hours of work, removing terms and conditions, including health and safety. They will not invest in developing workers skills, not adding (nor making) machinery in the workplace.
Sri Lanka has no class dedicated to capital accumulation: dedicated to improving the division of labor, creating separate processes and independent branches of industry, which increases the use of machine capital, increasing the ratio of using better plant, machinery and raw materials.
In our country it is the state that has to fulfil this role of enabling capital accumulation. While there’s no guarantee the current President will implement such a policy, modern industry is indispensable to advance the people. The attacks on reducing executive power preclude discussion on why this power is necessary, especially for industrialization.
Mere discontent alone does not produce real change. There have to be real conditions to enable such change. The more organized people are toward attaining a goal, the more efficient the tools and machinery they wield, the easier and less aching are the ‘labor pains’.
• Attempts to undermine the present coalition government focus on breaking up its constituent parties. The Opposition calls Leftists in the government, patsies upholding Rajapakse family rule. They claim the Rajapakses are selling out to India, the US and the Saudis, and relying on the private sector who will only undermine everyone.
The role played by Philip Gunawardena in the 1956 SWRD MEP government, is recalled by biographer Ananda Meegama. SWRD ended up forcing the resignation of Gunawardena and William Silva, claiming pressure from the cabinet’s rightwing, who were demanding the removal of communists like Philip in the government. Philip had “provided a dynamism to the government which kept at bay not only the right but also the extreme left which was hounding” SWRD. SWRD told Time magazine that “the presence of Philip Gunawardena is protection against our country being stampeded into Communism”.
The Sunday Times then reported, “Mudalalies, shop owners and others in trade circles are rejoicing… in the removal of the Food Department from Mr Philip Gunawardena’s Ministry.” It was not just an attack on Philip. It was part of the latest imperialist offensive throughout Asia, as Meegama recalls Pieter Keuneman saying. True enough, after Gunawardena’s removal, they killed SWRD.
After Sirimavo forced out the Left, the UNP was able to return to take away her civic rights.
• 3 years before Philip G.’s and William Silva’s removal, the Mahajana Eksath Peramuna (MEP) had swept into power in April 1956. On 8 March 1956, just over a month before their landslide win, the MEP had issued a popular program, after signing a no-contest pact with the LSSP and the CPSL.
The program highlighted fundamental issues: On the colonially imposed Constitution, the MEP called for reconsideration of the unelected Senate (half appointed by the Queen of England, opposing popular legislation), abolition of appointed members (representing white capitalists), a redefinition of democratic and economic rights, and the establishment of a democratic republic.
In foreign affairs, the MEP called for the removal of foreign bases and troops. On religion, they acknowledged Buddhism as the faith of a large majority of the people, while guaranteeing freedom to all. On the official language they declared Sinhala as the only official language of the country, and reasonable use of Tamil. On National Planning, the MEP gave top priority to prepare a real plan for development and social services, recasting the tax system to assist the plan, unburden the ‘poor’ and ‘middle-class’ and ensure the greatest possible stimulation to economic development. After Education and Health, on Housing, it stated the state had to accept primary responsibility. On Social Services, it promised immediate health and unemployment insurance, and old-age pensions, flood and drought relief, and allowances for dependents of the sick, and the imprisoned. On Agriculture it offered state improvement of intensive cultivation, extension and diversification of agriculture, aiding the landless to participate in village expansion, and resettlement schemes. On Industries, “All key industries must be run by the state,” with priority given to agricultural industries. Small industries in the hands of private enterprise….
• Does chatter about the MCC land-grab alone, or also going on about China, ignore issues like the renewal of the ACSA military pact in 2017?
ACSA was renewed on 4 Aug 2017, “in secret, amidst much controversy. It has not been tabled in Parliament. No one knows the contents of it. Only 180 days’ notice is required for Sri Lanka to exit from the agreement. Sri Lanka should exit from ACSA.”
The 2007 agreement culminated 50 years of pressure by the US government to obtain military rights within Sri Lanka, just as the English enjoyed until 1957. Having signed that US agreement, the dogs, or rather the cats, were called off after a bloody almost-30-year war.
Instead of focusing on what ACSA actually means, the media has increased focus on the MCC alone, and hypes the US-China drama. Is it because of ACSA, that there is so much pressure to prevent China’s presence to counterbalance US colonial dictat? Yet all these countries have their own massive trade with China.
The 2017 renewal of the ACSA was considered then-US ambassador Atul Keshap’s crowning achievement. Now as the “Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary of State of the Bureau of East Asian and Pacific Affairs at the US Dept of State”, Keshap is perhaps who gave recent US visitor Chief Assistant Deputy Secretary at Bureau of South and Central Asian Affairs Dean Thompson, the cojones to play the undiplomatic bad cop, demanding we make decisions.
• This week’s curfew allowed more intense scrutiny of the slowly played-out soap-opera of the US election by Sri Lanka’s comprador oligarchy. So intense, they could have applied to the US embassy for official observer status. Why care about other’s elections, when there is no real choice. Trump plays bad cop. Biden plays good cop. But Biden-Obama launched 7 wars!
• As noted above, the robbery of the state-owned Bank of Ceylon and the People’s Bank involved Advocata, IPS, and now opposition critics and corruption-fighters such as assembler-of-god Eran Wickremaratne, Deputy Minister of Public Enterprise Development, and Minister of Public Enterprise and Development, Kabir Hashim, who set up a new Public Enterprise Board Act, “to lead the public utilities of the country towards a market-oriented commercialization to make them financially viable”. This was all done under the war cry that SOEs were losing money and should be privatized. Tennakoon tells another story of who was behind the losses: “The government is paying interest and bank paying back a little of that to the government” (see ee Finance).
Even more interesting is this week’s headline: Standard Chartered clinches ADB’s prestigious Trade Finance Deal of the Year 2020 Award. The ADB award was given to SC Bank for risking an ADB deal to extend a $25mn trade loan to the state-owned People’s Bank. What was the loan for? To enable “the State Pharmaceutical Corporation’s operations to purchase medical supplies” against Covid-19. The news item does not state what the supplies are, and where from. But knowing SCB can we imagine the supplies also come from SCB-related companies? More importantly, we are reduced to borrowing from middlemen for English Banks, all over again.
• An ee Reader observed, Indian Professor Prabhat Patnaik is not only a Marxist theoretician and economist, he participates in the formulation and implementation of policy (see ee Economists). A member of the Communist Party of India (M), he was also Vice-Chairman of the Kerala State Planning Board for 4 years. How many so-called Marxists in white academe, who pass comment on the world, have participated in such practical exercise of power?
In China, media workers are chosen from those who have actually been involved in running a state/local administration, to truly understand how the economy and society works. The issue is not who can speak, but if those who should speak have the right to speak?
• This issue of ee responds to some assertions by Pathirana & Aluthge on what may be called the national question? As the MEP program above called for a redefinition of democratic and economic rights. We also need a definition of ‘nation’ that fits us. (See ee Focus)
Turning science into a religion is the profession of scientists who do not like to see new science disrupt their profiting from the old science, or are nervous. Companies profiting from old science also have a vested interest in preventing new science. The same goes for Marxists, historical materialists, etc, who won’t learn from reality. They proceed from ideas alone. Religion, ethnicity, provide endless careers.
Marx’s daughter wrote that her father’s work never focused of religion after his youthful forays into criticizing ‘everything’. Marx’s later work focuses more on Capital, also noting that ideas when adopted by the masses can become a material force.
“Oriental Despotism”, the “Dark Continent” and Dark Ages as much as European Enlightenment and Renaissance have been now long challenged.
As ee reported, Marx turned to Sri Lanka to study the link between labor and cooperation in rice cultivation. In fact, Marx disliked atheists and called them smart asses. Engels too also said, science every day replaces more-foolish ideas with less-foolish ideas. Marx also turned to learning more mathematics.
We also lack proper numbers. Numbers are not the only thing, but they are a necessary thing. We have historical materialists who provide no statistics. No class analysis to bolster class consciousness.
B. Special Focus_
B1. Domination of Sharecropping over Capitalist Development of Agriculture
– Pathirana & Aluthge
Excerpts from D Pathirana & C Aluthge’s A History of Underdevelopment & the Political Economy of Inflation in Sri Lanka with an Outline of Nationalisms, Chapter 3.
‘In the nonsettler colonies while the commercialisation of the village economy [through expansion of plantations] led to a concentration of landownership, and there has been a growing social differentiation of the peasantry brought about by debt, usury and mortgage, the dispossessed peasants became, in the absence of development of capitalist agriculture, entrenched as sharecroppers on the land which they previously owned. The risk element in the investment of fixed capital in the types of grain cultivation which predominated in the peasant sector, being far too great for merchant and usurer capital to undertake, inhibited the transformation of merchant and usurer capital into industrial capital.’ (SBD de Silva)
“The drop in output hand-in-hand with the decay of the irrigation system during English rule in Sri Lanka underscores the fact that collapse of the labour exchange system and the emergence of sharecropping altered the system of labour utilization in paddy cultivation in a way that is incapable of fully utilizing the capacity of the irrigation system. The exchange system of labour as noted earlier also applied to the deployment of buffaloes to assist cultivation, which was impossible to execute without animal power, since labour power was not a substitute for the former. Even if it was this means to say that a decline in the cattle population would escalate the labour shortage problem in paddy cultivation.
Hence, the collapse of exchange labour and the labour rotation system equally impaired the economies of using animal power and created a shortage in the supply of cattle for farm work, similar to the shortage of labour which developed in the peak periods of cultivation while simultaneously creating a surplus during slack periods. These developments took place in the absence of the system of reciprocal rotation of labour and animal power which minimized unevenness of demand for resources in paddy cultivation. It enables an intensive use of labour such as transplanting, hand weeding etc and of animal power which resulted in higher yields and reduced unit costs.
The collapse of the labour exchange system prevented intensive methods of labour use and hence transplanting and hand weeding became impractical: ie, collapse of the system increased the length of production time over labour time and hence caused underemployment of labour to emerge, increasing cost of cultivation and preventing equal distribution of output among commune members. The collapse of the labour exchange system therefore reduced per-worker output in paddy cultivation with productivity per man-days declining by a lesser degree and necessitated the use of wage labour which in turn increases the cash cost of cultivation.
The labour cost in a system of exchange labour or in the use of family labour is not reflected in the market price for paddy but is accounted for in the share of marketed surplus of paddy, ie, noncash inputs are paid by the non-marketed share of the aggregate produce. Hence, collapse of the Purana village system invariably increased the monetary costs of production, resulting in higher market price of paddy. So marginal cost of output increases as the extent of cultivation expands, rendering the sharecropping system employing predominantly family labour more cost effective compared to capitalist farming in paddy. Furthermore, ‘average returns from paddy were much higher before the Green Revolution since farmers used traditional varieties of rice and did not have to use fertiliser or weedicide or other chemical inputs although yield per acre was much lower (about 65 or 70 bushels per acre)’ (Weeramundi & Damayanthi). This further indicates that the noncash inputs cost is not accounted for in the market price and is compensated through the non-marketed share of total produce.
The success of the Purana village depended on the submission of each individual to the preconceived plan of work, given that negligence of duty by one or few disrupts the entire system of cultivation and thereby the entire social fabric (see Tennent). Sir James Emerson Tennent prolifically notes, although from a different context of inquiry, that ‘obsequiousness’ of the Sinhalese to power has its historical roots in the authoritative system of governance necessitated by the centrally controlled system of cultivation. The fact that disobedience to central authority by a few meant collective ruin of the civilization, enabled the obsequiousness to power and authority to become a central feature of Sinhalese consciousness.
‘[M]asses had the strongest possible motives for passive submission and were constrained to acquiescence by an instinctive dread of the fatal effects of prolonged commotion.’ This also reflects the socioeconomic structure of contemporary political unconscious of the Sinhalese. The fact that their voting decisions are made on social status, wealth and power, the candidate or the political party can display, rather than by ideas of liberation, equality or freedom, appears to be a manifestation of their obsequiousness. Obedience and attraction to authority and elitism, as opposed to reason and justice, hence appear to be passed on from generation to generation and are embedded in the groundwork of the Sinhala political unconscious.
Returning to our discussion on the rise of usurer-cum-merchant capital in the agrarian system we can note, following Marx, that its mode of extraction of the surplus simultaneously solidifies the peasant system of cultivation and thereby worsens structural rigidities in the labour market in its totality by entrapping surplus labour within the paddy economy. It thereby worsens the unevenness in labour demand in agriculture. The extremely thin volume of surpluses extracted from internal trade prior to the expansion of coffee plantations in 1833 compared to, eg, the historical phase dominated by merchant capital in European history, indicates that the degree of control over the paddy surplus by the usurer-cum-merchant class, mainly comprised of Chettiars and Moors in Ceylon during early 19thC prior to the 1830s, was not significant.
‘…in the absence of large market and brisk trading in the years before 1830, profits from internal trade accruing to indigenous merchants remained small’ (Jayawardena). The introduction of the enormously exploitative system of tax farming by the English on paddy lands (Tennent) can be underscored as the initial step towards the creation of objective social forces necessary for the merchant-cum-usurer class to consolidate itself within the agrarian economy and gain freer access to its surplus at the expense of the peasantry.
As underscored by Marx, internally cohesive social organizations do not wither away through contradictions between forces and relations of production but through the contact of external forces such as invasions, natural disasters or migration. More importantly, as alluded to by Marx, the usurer-cum-merchant class drains out the surpluses, impoverishes the peasantry without dissolving the old relations of production that sustains its pre-capitalist arrangement and thereby obstructs the capitalist transformation of agriculture and obstructs the capitalist transformation of the economy in its totality.
Non-transformation of owner-cultivator system into capitalist agriculture, and in its stead the spread of sharecropping and absentee landlordism as the dominant mode of conduct, or what Prof Shanmugaratnam calls ‘pauperization of the peasantry’, should be explained in this light. Collapse of the exchange labour system practised under the Purana village, which prevented labour shortages from arising during peak periods of cultivation, impels the use of wage labour replacing family labour when the land extent of the individual plot of cultivation increases.
With every increase in marginal output or marginal land under cultivation, the need for employing wage labour increases, which in turn causes the cash costs of marginal output to rise while simultaneously increasing the aggregate labour shortage within the agrarian system. The same principle also causes a shortage of machinery to arise during peak periods of cultivation, therefore shooting up machine rent.
In the absence of centrally managed employment of labour that staggers the cultivation process to mitigate unevenness of labour deployment, the alienation of landownership would invariably lead to absentee landlordism and sharecropping as opposed to capitalist farming in Sri Lanka’s monsoonal paddy agriculture. The monetary cost of production under the sharecropping system predominantly employing family labour hence remains low compared to large-scale capitalist farming in the absence of a centrally orchestrated labour deployment.
The sharply uneven labour demand pattern of paddy cultivation in monsoonal conditions compressed within a relatively short time span renders it necessary to centrally organize the labour process for large-scale farming to be cost effective. The absence of such mediation leads to the domination of sharecropping tenancy, entrapping the rural workforce within agriculture. This is indicated by the fields that are currently under capitalist farming being the most fertile of arable paddy land, thereby offsetting the higher monetary cost of cultivation emanating from capitalist methods, compared to sharecropping, which is predominantly practised in the less-fertile fields. This in turn causes the monetary cost to equalize between the 2 modes of production.”
B2. Response to Pathirana & Aluthge on Tennent & the Docile Peasant in 1848
ee excerpts Pathirana & Aluthge’s A History of Underdevelopment & the Political Economy of Inflation in Sri Lanka, with an Outline of Nationalisms, for their commendable attempt to convey and bring together the key insights, both published and unpublished, of SBD de Silva, on the need for land reform and industrial revolution.
In between, however, the authors P&A parachute in highly contrived and contentious assertions about current politics, repeatedly calling Sinhala people “obsequious”. They array their arguments in almost primordial if not colonial camouflage.
P&A quote approvingly English Colonial Secretary in Ceylon, Tennent’s assertion, the “masses had the strongest possible motives for passive submission and were constrained to acquiescence by an instinctive dread of the fatal effects of prolonged commotion”. They say Tennent claimed this submissiveness was derived from an ancient adherence to a system of governance demanded by a mode of production based on an intricate irrigation management system. A claim that echoes much-discredited colonial fictions such as ‘oriental despotism’. Disciplined cooperation or solidarity, becomes servility.
The English government, as a PR move, had removed Tennent along with governor Torrington after the genocidal war of 1848 on the Sinhala people. In 1849, critics of Earl Grey, Secretary of State for War and the Colonies had got a Parliamentary Committee on British Guiana and Sri Lanka appointed. Ceylon’s Colonial Secretary Tennent was caught up in the charges and counter charges levelled by officials about the conduct of the war, and he tried to justify colonial policy in Ceylon. The authors clearly misunderstand Tennent’s attempt to justify, and even admit to, English terrorism. What Tennent implies by “the strongest possible motives for passive submission” are actually “the fatal effects” of English mass murder: to quell Sri Lanka’s 2nd War of Independence to free ourselves from English rule.
The authors P&A, perhaps to be honestly self-critical of their own communities, pedal hard to keep up with the prejudices of kalusuddha Colombots instead. The Sunday Times a few weeks ago also proclaimed similar nonsense about the Sinhala people never struggling for independence.
Ironically, the authors’ clearly artificial insertion of this “obsequiousness” business, glaringly out of place in their argument, can be better applied to intellectuals in a hurry to get themselves published and acquire academic accolades at the cost of selling themselves short, and insulting the masses.
The ’tail’, added to the run-on-and-on title of their hardly edited book: “With an Outline of Nationalisms”, seems to have been done on the order of the Indian imprint of an English publisher. Such publishers mirror NATO metanarratives, where primordial ‘ethnic conflicts’ need to be resolved by white interference. It’s too bad, for the authors otherwise highlight needed insights into the roots of our economic discontent.
Regarding 1848 and Tennent, ee adapts excerpts from Krisantha Sri Bhaggiyadatta’s My Very Personal Ingrisi History of the World:
“Tennent, noted for “eloquence without substance”, was an agent of English Empire. On the 150-year Portuguese invasion of Lanka, Tennent declared: there’s “no page in the story of European colonization, more gloomy and repulsive”. Perhaps to downplay English terrorism.
Regarding Dutch robbery, Tennent’s Ceylon later noted “little value attaching to the Dutch Records”. He quoted Lord Valentia (1809): “They cannot be relied on; they appear to have falsified all the accounts of Ceylon to deceive their masters at home, a measure necessary to cover their own peculations… The official [Dutch] documents…are of unquestionable value, although it is more than doubtful that their statistics are falsified to conceal the frauds of the Dutch officials.” What of English fraud? Tennent was accused of profiting off the demolition of verandahs to widen Colombo roads.
JE Tennent had arrived in Ceylon to become governor, but then Torrington was appointed, and Tennent made Colonial Secretary in 1846. Tennent did briefly act as governor. The conclusions he drew from the questionnaire he sent to the Central Province police and magistrates on labor supply, don’t show the Sinhala as dupes: He was told by the Police Chief in Kandy that the Sinhala were not work-shy at all but “employed at the opening of the estates, but were now reluctant to work on plantations, having suffered the same treatment and disappointment to which the Malabar [estate] coolies have been reduced.” A Gampola Magistrate also noted, “Villagers had been duped and cheated… and others daily become averse to work on the estates.” Workers were “paid no wages and were beaten for their impudence in demanding them.” London’s Economist also noted estate ‘coolies’ in Lanka were “cheated and defrauded of their wages by the European superintendents to an extent few know of”. This suggests the Sinhala did not easily submit.
Tennent was involved in the planning of the taxation policy that exacerbated the revolt. He also closely planned the savage repression, with Torrington. Tennent’s Report on the Finances & Commerce of Ceylon had called for removal of restrictions on industry to secure “free trade”. He suggested that reduced or abolished export and import duties as well as grain taxes could be replaced by a land tax, as in India. But, midst a depression, Governor Torrington preferred new taxes that fell mostly on peasants and the local population, fuelling the 1848 rebellion,
On July 6, 1848, the rebellion against the English and their coffee plantations began in Kandy. 3,000 peasants demonstrated outside the Kachcheri. Colonial Secretary Tennent’s “eloquence without substance” left the crowd “sullen and disappointed”. This demonstration was the signal for revolt. The rebellion was led by Dingiri Rala and Puran Appu, while Gonallegoda Banda (aka Denis or Java) was crowned king in Dambulla. For the first time under the English, discontent about taxes and verandas led to protest in Colombo. Observer editor, the Irishman Elliott, in the Legislative Council, called on people to raise their voices as millions, had lately done in Europe, but he opposed the armed Kandyan rising. On July 26, a large demonstration coming across the ‘Bridge of Boats’ was attacked by English police. Crowds then tried to storm the Colombo Fort.
• July 27, the postal link with Trincomalee cut. Rebels gathered in Matale, Nuvarakalaviya, Tamankaduva, 7 Korales, Harispattu, and advanced on Matale town. July 28, the jail, magistrate’s residence, Baptist chapel and coffee stores in Matale were burned. Planters fled.
• The English sent a Malay unit to hunt Sinhala rebels in Nalanda. After the unit was attacked in Aluvihare, the famed Aluvihare Temple (where the Tripitaka was first written down) became a battlefield. Its stupa, paintings and statues in the caves were destroyed. The soldiers burnt all the books and the temple, and stole the Blue Sapphire of God Vishnu. The English confiscated all land and property of the temple and distributed it to foreign planters.
• July 29, 1848, Governor Torrington declared martial law in Lanka, unleashing “a sad tale of terror, destruction, confiscation, death and banishment”. August 1, rebels attacked Kurunegala and Kandy. Coffee planters and English residents joined militias behind the troops from India. (These troops themselves would soon rebel in India in 1857!) When English troops marched to Matale 20,000 armed men on both sides of the road watched the troops pass, hoping to cut them off later… What happened is another story left fully untold.
• English Captain Watson ‘disappeared’ many villages, along with the villagers. Only 352 fighters survived to face trial; 18, including Puran Appu, sentenced to death, 28 deported to Mauritius.
• Along with many others, Bhikku Kadahapola Unanse was shot, in his saffron robes –Tennent noted in 1836, they had to make some “capital examples without regard to the pretended sanctity of the yellow robe”. Puran Appu was shot. Torrington claimed Puran Appu’s last words were: “If there had been half a dozen such men as me to lead, there would not have been a white man living in the Kandyan Kingdom.” Recall that both Torrington and Tennent are trying to justify their actions to an enquiry.
• December 1848, Torrington reported rumors of a fresh rebellion, with Matale residents expecting “the Veddas to advance and fight”.
• English Parliamentary Committee of Inquiry into the events of 1848 in Lanka included famed world pirates: Gladstone (son of Liverpool slave trader), Disraeli, Robert Peel (son of cotton trader). Torrington was recalled to become a Lord-in-Waiting, Tennent dismissed from the Colonial Service. The Auditor-General who spied on them was made governor of Ceylon: Charles McCarthy, who married the daughter of Grey’s Parliamentary Under-Secretary.
• In 1850, Earl Grey calmed Torrington down about the ongoing whitewash: “Nothing has occured here for a long time which is likely to occasion any fresh difficulty to you. Ceylon has been in a great measure forgotten and the inquiry of the Committee is proceeding very tediously but in a manner highly satisfactory to us”
• The revolt in Lanka however convinced the English of the need to re-establish a big land-owning class as an instrument and ally of the colonial state.
• After the Matale rebellion, recruitment of Sinhalas into the Colonial English army in Lanka was stopped. As usual, the real story of the horror of 1818 and 1848 is yet to be told.
The resumption of mass murder from the 1980s onwards shows that, far from submissiveness, the population needs to be repeatedly reminded to bow down by sword (or by gun) and by pen (or keyboard). Contrary to such ‘obsequious’ stereotypes of people, the system of irrigation and the gamsabha required a great solidarity which served in good stead to mobilize and defeat foreign invasion as well.
C. News Index______________________________________________
• ee News Index provides headlines and links to gain a sense of the weekly focus of published English ‘business news’ mainly to expose the backwardness of a multinationally controlled ‘local media’:
(ee is pro-politics, pro-politician, pro-nation-state, anti-corporatist, anti-expert, anti-NGO)
ee Sovereignty news emphasizes sovereignty as economic sovereignty – a strong nation is built on modern industrialization fueled by a producer culture.
• ‘Have the Sinhalese been struck blind?’
‘Minority communalism has gradually acquired a religious dimension with intensifying fundamentalist Christian and Islamic subversive activities targeting Buddhists and Hindus; Islamists have been active particularly since the early 1970s. On top of this, Sri Lanka’s strategic geographic location has led global and regional superpowers to be actively engaged in exploiting these anti-majority movements to their advantage, thereby condemning Sri Lanka to constant political destabilization, economic stagnation, threatened national security, sovereignty and independence. The title is an English rendering of a line from a ‘freedom song’ written by Tibetan Buddhist monk S. Mahinda Thera (1901-1951): ‘aesgedivalata hena gahalada sihalunne?,’ lit., ‘Have the eyeballs of the Sinhalese been struck by lightning?’’
• US-Lanka military alliance in the wake of Pompeo visit
‘By signing ACSA in 2007, and renewing it in 2017, Sri Lanka committed its strategic entry points – ports and airports, our armed forces, our military installations, food, oil, and spare parts, to the US for its war against China.’
• India links up with US Central Command and African Command
‘“between 2009 and now, 550 warships from 20 countries have visited Sri Lanka… US data has to include much information relating the Sri Lanka’s Greater Economic Zone. This places Sri Lanka at a serious disadvantage that is bound to be exploited by India’
• Anti-China propaganda was Pompeo’s basic aim in his South Asian tour
• Pompeo’s anti-China campaign and questions for Lanka
‘BECA data will “allow India to keep a close watch on the movements of Chinese warships in the Indian Ocean” … having supported a massive military build-up in the Asia Pacific, the US is now doing the same in the Indian Ocean.
• Pompeo on wild goose chase attempting to rope in Sri Lanka
• Pompeo’s Big Fizzle
‘USA may have enhanced maritime cooperation with India by reaching agreements on logistics, intelligence and information between the two armed forces — such as the Logistics Exchange Memorandum of Agreement, LEMOA, Communications Capability and Security Agreement and COMCASA — and conducted joint military excercises in the Indian Ocean, it has actually failed to establish a formal military alliance with India.’
• Why did Sri Lanka snub US?
‘In 2013, India resented the US efforts to sign a SOFA with the Maldives, but in September 2020, when the American efforts fructified, Delhi became ecstatic. This must be the first instance in diplomatic history when a regional power congratulated its tiny neighbour for granting military bases to a superpower from the other side of the planet 16,000 kilometres away.’
• Sri Lanka’s “Neutral” Foreign Policy & conflict with Indo-US Pacific Strategy & ACSA
• ‘Support President to ensure SL retains its independence, sovereignty and territorial integrity’
‘ACSA allows the USA to make use of any airport or harbour in Sri Lanka. Thus, the USA can continue to make use of Katunayake for its big transport planes to bring its heavy armaments and take them across to Trincomalee to be loaded on to their aircraft carriers for use in the whole Indo-Pacific region.’
• Gevindu underscores need for 20 A pending new Constitution
‘The 20th Amendment to the Constitution enacted last month is required to rectify weakening of the State by the 19th Amendment’
• Pompeo’s visit
‘The US has no borders in the Indian Ocean. The visits to India and Sri Lanka could only be side-shows.’
• Pompeo & Santa Claus
• ඇමරිකන් ආරක්ෂක ලේකම් ගෝඨාභයට කතා කළේ ඇයි
• Pompeo’s visit and issues beyond MCC
• China, Sri Lanka expand political relations following Pompeo visit
‘The CPC has established contacts and exchanges with more than 400 political parties and organizations in over 140 countries’
• 56th Anniversary: Srima-Shashtri Pact 30 October 1964
• Economic concerns and strategic necessities
• Don’t sell national assets : ‘Pavidi Handa’ organization
• Sri Lanka opposition claims administration going back on ECT promise
• Indian Billionaire Adani Set to Develop Sri Lanka’s Port Terminal
• India to manage ECT operations at the Colombo Port
‘Sri Lanka has decided that India’s Adani Group will handle management of the East Container Terminal (ECT) operations.’
• India explores better infrastructure access to SL
‘Plans for direct flights from India to Jaffna’
• The Concept & Contents of the 13th Amendment
‘Later Indian governments use migrated Indians to create distress against the legally elected government in such countries.’
• TNA leader meets India envoy, seeks one-on-one with Modi
• Baglay suggests how to utilize USD 15 mn grant
‘utilised for construction/renovation of Buddhist monasteries, capacity development, cultural exchanges’
• බුද්ධශාසනයට ඉන්දියාව දෙන මුදල් පස්සෙන් දේවදත්ත එයිද?
• PM and French Ambassador discuss..investment and Hambanthota port
• France, Austria facing terror attacks – UK, go ahead lift ban on LTTE Terrorists
• The undeliverable ‘Tamil aspirations’
‘PM Modi was wrong to reiterate his call for the 13th Amendment’s implementation – especially when President Gotabaya Rajapaksa had already articulated his position on the matter. In the past, this has been a bait for the Tamils in the north and east to turn antagonistic to their own Government….As revealed at the LLRC, the Sinhalese had been ethnically cleansed long before this date. Forcing Sinhalese out began as far back as 1977. By 1987, out of the 5,684 families recorded by the 1981 census, there was not a single Sinhalese living in the north.’
• From State Of Eelam To State Of Denial: The Tamil Trajectory – Jayatilleka
‘1. The only political lifeline that the Tamils have is that afforded by India, in the form of Prime Minister Modi’s reiterated endorsement of the 13th amendment….’
• UK removing LTTE ban is more of a threat to India than Sri Lanka
• How the SLAF killed the LTTE’s “Smiling Cobra” in an air strike
• Sri Lanka Caught Amidst Covid Pandemic & Cold War 2.0 Polemics – IPKF Hariharan
• Meritocracy or militocracy: A long lockdown of the Sri Lankan mind – Jayatilleka
• India’s move toward a de facto unitary state
‘It is not just the states’ domains that are being encroached upon; their very being can now be unilaterally altered by the center.’
• ඉන්දියානු මහා සාගරය බදාගනිමු
• චාගොස් දූපත්වල ඉරණම මෙසේ වූයේ කෙසේද? මෙම කතාවෙන් ශ්රී ලංකාව වැනි කුඩා දූපත් රාජ්යයක් ඉගෙන ගත හැකි පාඩම් මොනවාද?
• The Difference Between the Chinese and the Indian Situations – Prabhat Patnaik
• Military Alliance with US not in National Interest: Communist Party of India
• US ambassador in Twitter brawl after warning Jamaica against Huawei, ZTE
• Who are Biden & Kamala?
• The UN double standards exposed
• Deconstructing France’s Emmanuel Macron
C2. Security (the state beyond ‘a pair of handcuffs’, monopolies of legitimate violence)
ee Security section focuses on the state (a pair of handcuffs, which sposedly has the monopoly of legitimate 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 as the basis of a truly independent nation.
• God Not Enough: Tight security ring for Born-Again Pompeo at Kochchikade church
• Sri Lanka: A Test Case for the Free and Open Indo–Pacific Strategy
• State officials protest opposite Manthai West DS demanding justice for slain GN
• ‘Community Policing’ should have been adopted
• The 20th Amendment’s increase of judges and consequent concerns
• Mano signs petition seeking pardon for Duminda to highlight Tamil prisoners’ plight
• Inmate dies after clash at Moneragala prison
• Was Madush kneeling or upright when death claimed him?
• New SLAF Chief assured of continuing Indian support
• Four Brigadiers promoted as Major Generals
• 85 Police CIs stuck without promotions for 15 years
• Sri Lanka to send back 44 Pakistani prisoners
• Leaders of India, China to attend five virtual summits this month
‘Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Chinese President Xi Jinping are expected to join the virtual summits of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation on November 10, the Brazil-Russia-India-China-South Africa grouping on November 17, and the G20 during November 21-22. And the leaders of India and China are also expected to be part of the East Asia Summit on November 11 and the SCO council of heads of government meeting on November 30, which will be hosted by New Delhi.’
• India’s top general says face-off with China could spark bigger conflict
• Indonesia’s geostrategic location can make it a leader for improving regional maritime security
‘From US military journal Indo-Pacific Defence Forum’
• Nuclear arms control in crisis while US exerts pressure on treaty signatories
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.
• Who knows of the 2020 Global Innovation Index
‘In the current 2020 analysis Sri Lanka had scored well in ICT services exports and imports, productivity growth and microfinance gross loans. Not much to say about the whole sphere of science and technology outputs and may be that is not a big surprise.’
• Planning Ahead: Responding To The Economic Impact Of Migrant Worker Repatriation
‘“If migrants return home, the government has to formulate a proper skills-development and reintegration programme.’
• ‘Recent Economic Developments: Highlights of 2020 and Prospects for 2021’: CB Report
• Urgent fiscal stimulus needed to protect people’s well-bein – IPS
• The permeance of global debt – David
‘I am certain China, India, Japan and the US will not let us sink on the balance of payments issue since none of them wants a chaotic and anarchic country in this geographic location.’
• Where have all the coconuts gone? Surely, not out of the country? – Wijewardena
• Prospects and uncertainties in the balance of payments – Sanderatne
• Where do the Profits Go?
• Reposition Sri Lanka: Attracting more FDI
‘We are a nation in the Indian Ocean which accounts for 50% of world trade, situated just next to the East West sea lane, and the gateway to South Asia.’
• Replacing a 70-year-old ‘development’ model
‘I commended a globally-recognised retired billionaire entrepreneur who was trying to ‘make a difference’ with his wealth to help the less fortunate, to my son. He responded wisely, “Better if he had paid his employees more throughout.” There is really no rationality in aspiring to endless wealth.’
• More loans could possibly leave Sri Lanka in the hands of China, warns CIA political economist
• Is China a predator?
‘47% of the government’s foreign debt is in market borrowing, taken through the issuance of international sovereign bonds (ISBs).’
• Ceylon Chamber of Commerce Sri Lanka Economic Summit to go virtual
‘On the theme ‘Roadmap for Take-Off: Driving a People-Centric Economic Revival’’
• A plan to revive a broken economy – India
‘The Prime Minister has just announced Lockdown 4.0. Despite some resulting increase in economic activity, vast numbers of working people will remain without their regular incomes. He also announced a package of ₹20 lakh crore, but this includes already allocated money of ₹6-lakh crore and monetary policy directives to banks and non-banking financial companies. The announcements by the Finance Minister thus far involve no additional public spending, even though this is urgently required to revive the economy and prevent further contraction. Here we discuss what the government should do immediately in fiscal terms for reviving the economy and supporting livelihoods.’
• Lecture on Planning for Development in India with Prof. Prabhat Patnaik
‘Land reform, social services, cooperative sector’
• In push to eradicate poverty there will be no retreat – China
‘Lifting more than 850 million people out of poverty, as defined by the World Bank, is China’s greatest contribution to global human rights’
• U.S. Flails in Election Toss-Up While China Flexes Economic Grip
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.
• SJB, Harsha, Eran Demand Govt. begin dialogue with IMF
‘engage with IMF and stakeholders to postpone 2021 debt repayments by 24 or 36 months… “If you look at the reports from the Government Statistics Department on economic activity this year, you can clearly see a significant drop-in in major industries and SMEs… “We have to import. Because some of our exports are value added imports, re-exported. Stopping imports in the medium term is bad for business….former Government had embarked on a IMF’s fiscal consolidation mechanism… Sri Lanka had its first primary and capital account surplus after many years under the previous administration.’
• EU unimpressed with Sri Lanka’s import ban
• 18 Members Appointed to the Committee on Public Finance
‘Bandula Gunawardana, Nalaka Godahewa, Keheliya Rambukwella, Susil Premajayantha, D.V. Chanaka, Vidura Wickramanayaka, Sarath Weerasekera and MP’s Anura Priyadharshana Yapa, Vijitha Herath, Dilan Perera, Harsha de Silva, M.A. Sumanthiran, Chaminda Wijesiri, Hesha Withanage, Isuru Dodangoda, Anupa Pasqual, Sahan Pradeep Withana, Ranjith Bandara’
• Treasury allocates over Rs. 10 b to handle emergency needs in COVID-19
• Sri Lanka says allocated Rs7.3bn for families in quarantine, curfew
• Budget to be presented on Nov 17
‘The budget, to be presented on November 17, is debated thereafter for 26 days. Seven days of this, according to Standing Orders, are devoted to the second reading and the remaining 19 days to the Committee stage. The debate will begin on December 11’
• Govt. extends furnishing date of Return of Income till 28 Feb. 2021
• Sri Lanka reserves at USD 6.7bn by end Sept 2020
• SL economy to contract in 2020, recover next year: CBSL
• CBSL prediction seen as boosting CSE
• Deposit rates fall further as dovish monetary policy continues to adjust market rates
• Sri Lanka debt tumbles from best to worst in Asia on virus pain
• Sri Lanka’s remittance flow projected to fall by 9% in 2020, WB predicts
• Sri Lanka’s Premier explores cooperation with World Bank on government’s priorities
‘World Bank Country Director for Maldives, Nepal and Sri Lanka, Faris Hadad-Zervos, accompanied by the World Bank Country Manager for Maldives and Sri Lanka, Chiyo Kanda. The Premier highlighted economic development, roads, drinking water, sanitation & agriculture as priorities
• World Bank delegation meets State Minister to discuss upliftment of low income earners in SL
• World Bank Congratulates Sri Lanka on Handling of COVID-19 Pandemic
• WB to deploy US$ 160 bn
‘To support countries’ responses to COVID-19… support for sustainable private sector solutions that promote restructuring and recovery.’
• ADB steps in to meet Sri Lanka’s funding gap
‘Sri Lanka’s total foreign debt is approximately $55 billion, which accounts for nearly 80 per cent of its GDP, according to latest official figures. Of that, China and the ADB each hold about 14 per cent, Japan accounts for 12 per cent, the World Bank holds 11 per cent, while India holds about 2 per cent.’
• State Minister Cabraal dispels undue fears on Sri Lanka’s debt service capacity
• Value of Sri Lanka’s dollar-denominated bonds drop
‘The highest percentage of foreign debt is International Sovereign Bonds at 43.2%. The highest percentage of domestic debt is from the Employee Provident Fund (EPF), that belongs to the working people of the country is 35.9%….Murtaza Jafferjee, chair of the Advocata Institute, said that reprofiling of debt has to be considered seriously…. reprofiling is a “selected default” of the debt repayments.’
• Sri Lanka banks to drop IMF, World Bank forecasts for loss calculation
• 1Q GDP underwhelmed by measurement lapses: CB
• Emerging market sovereign debt sales to reach $140 billion in 2021: Goldman Sachs
‘In contrast, dollar debt sales were not expected from Hungary and Croatia, which had moved to primarily funding themselves out of euros or their local currency, as well as high-yield sovereigns, such as Sri Lanka and Oman, in part because of higher risks of debt distress’
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
• South Asia Gateway Terminal on strike, loss over Rs.200 m
• President draws attention of top experts to plight of ordinary people
• How Covid-19 is further marginalising and socially excluding the vulnerable
‘Only 40% of households in Sri Lanka with children aged 5-18 would have an internet connection… When contacted by the Daily Mirror, well-known policy thinktank Advocata Institute stated…it is essential the government shifts its focus away from stop-gap measures such as import controls, and address the root cause of these economic ills: consistent fiscal deficits, low growth, and unsustainable borrowing’
• ‘Nattami’s want relief program for all; allege they didn’t receive Rs.5000/- allowance
‘They allege the air in the tyres were released by the Police as officers imposed restrictions on the movement of their carts.’
• Another 68 corona infected from Wattala toy factory
• Healthcare workers are stressed out
‘We have only 35,000 nurses islandwide. It is the nurse who ultimately has to stay with a patient. Therefore there has to be a coordinated approach to get the entire cadre together. If you take global statistics, out of a 43.5 million healthcare workforce, around 20 million constitute nurses.’
• GMOA suggests further tightening of measures to combat pandemic
• GMOA to withdraw from Ministry Technical Committee if GPS mapping not completed
• SLMC hijacked by unionists; public interest ignored: Rajitha
• HRCSL recommends guidelines on regularising quarantine processes
• Need to urgently co-opt Ayurveda and Indigenous medical expertise in battle against Covid-19
• Some businesses cashing in on health crisis, says Ranawaka
• Foreign buyers pull out of Colombo: Free Trade Zone Garment Manufacturers Association
‘“Our factories cannot produce the end of season orders for the holiday season,”
• ‘People left with 2 choices — either die or collectively urge the govt. to fight Covid-19’ – FLSP
• JVP extends a hand to govt to fight pandemic
• Construction of the 2nd phase of the Apple Watta housing scheme begins
‘The project at a cost of Rs. 4 billion will build 700 Housing Units at Apple Watta accommodated in 16-storied building consisting of 500 sqft floor area housing units…carried out under the project to build 5,500 houses in Sri Lanka with financial assistance of the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank.
• JVP fires first shot over likely university selection dispute this year
‘Thousands of students who had sat the 2019 GCE Advanced Level examination were in difficulty as the government failed to release their cut-off marks to select universities 14 months after the exam’
• 10,000 more students to join university system this year, appeals for admissions by electronic post only
‘The total number of students admitted to universities last year was 30,000 and steps have been taken to admit 41,500 students who have passed the Advanced Level examination in 2019’
• EFC’s Specialized Training and Disability Resource Centre Shines Globally
‘Essl is an Austrian foundation set up in 2007 by Martin and Gerda Essl, also in special consultative status with the UN Economic and Social Council, and a member of the European Foundation Centre’
• Ineffective state sector needs urgent cultural reset
‘It is a strongly held belief that in the state sector, three people are required to do one person’s job with no visible results whereas in the private sector, one person does the job of three people with visible and measurable results.’
• One in five ever-partnered women have experienced physical and/or sexual violence in SL
‘This Women’s Wellbeing Study was technically supported by the United Nations Population Fund with financial assistance from the Government of Canada.’
• US Hatch and London Stock Exchange Group SL empower new batch of women entrepreneurs
‘Facilitated by Naomi Gunnels, Entrepreneur Coach at Hatch based out of Florida, USA, programme partners included LSEG SL and TNL Radio.’… KPMG, Capital Alliance Group…’
• Let’s Talk Colour | Episode 06 – Nipunika Fernando
‘To raise awareness on the severity of colorism and hopes to encourage the public to support their fellow Sri Lankans regardless of skin tone.’
• India’s National Education Policy (NEP) 2020 a retrograde move: Prabhat Patnaik
• China & Exams
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.
• UDA setting up land banks for investors; six properties identified
• Attorney General seeks inquiry into forcible acquisition of lands belonging to SL expatriates
‘Dexter Ajith Balasuriya forges deeds for Hambantota Mayor Eraj Ravindra Fernando and the latter has been accused of deploying his personal security services in those lands’
• Reactivation of abandoned tanks and paddy lands can boost agricultural sector– SLLDC
‘more than 14,000 village tanks that remain abandoned or not fully functional’
• Comrade Vasu brings pipe borne water to 200,000 people in 329 GN divisions
• President inspects deficiencies in Katuwana Pradeshiya Sabha
The President instructed the relevant Ministers to find a solution to the drinking water problem in the Middeniya area and the shortage of doctors in the hospital and to transform the Middeniya Maha Vidyalaya into a national school.’
• Solution to water deficit in NWP and NCP
‘The original consultant of this project was Sir William Halcrow & Partners (Halcrow Water) of the United Kingdom (UK); and Skanska (Sweden) with joint collaboration of Central Engineering Consultancy Bureau (CECB) , then local Consultant to the Mahaweli Ministry…’
• Gazette on Maximum Retail Prices for Rice Issued
• Govt. to purchase 300,000 tonnes of paddy to stave off rice mafia,
• No rice available in market at gazetted price: Harsha
• Raids on traders who do not sell rice at government controlled prices
• MP Pathirana to promote traditional rice varieties and destroy invasive plants
• 60,000 MT of imported fertiliser arrives in SL
‘Cabinet this week also decided to formulate a new centralised methodology for the production and distribution of fertiliser with support from key IT and nanotechnology bodies of the Government…. The Government annually spends about Rs. 35 billion on the fertiliser subsidy…. The AG’s report said the Government spent $ 1,276,500 (around Rs. 2.3 billion) in 2018 to import 3,508.5 metric tons of Single Super Phosphate (SSP) despite the possibility of manufacturing the SSP using Eppawala rock … the State-owned company Lanka Phosphate Ltd. (LPL), the main objective of which is to manufacture and export fertiliser, nearly 27 years since its inception, failed to manufacture phosphate-based fertiliser for short-term crops or diversify to other products other than selling phosphate to several companies as a raw material and manufacturing fertiliser for coconu…. expenditure incurred for the import of TSP has increased gradually going from 0.025% in 2014 to 0.129% in 2018.’
• Island wide distribution of fertilizer from today
• MONLAR alleges foul play in not testing imported fertiliser
• Fertiliser testing and MONLAR’s claim
• New mechanism to produce and distribute fertilizer
• Policy blunders in agriculture: Pro-Palm Oil, etc
• Cabinet greenlights proposal to re-establish Spices and Aligned Products Marketing Board
• MP Kaviratne faults govt for 2.7 mn kilos of vegetables wasted at Dambulla Economic Centre
• Wholesale traders complain of few customers
• Where are the young Northern entrepreneurs?
‘Stalini has become a startlingly innovative and promising entrepreneur. Her agricultural business now produces livestock (goats, and ducks), natural animal feeds (Azolla, Duckweed, and CO3 Napier Grass), and organic plant food (including earthworm castings), natural liquid fertilizers and insect repellants (made of fermented cows urine and a mixture of leaf extracts).’
• A divine intervention needed to save rubber industry
‘non-publication of the RRI bulletin containing research findings since 2018’
• Sharp decline in tea production
• Recipe for reform, Smallholders hold key to productivity in SL’s tea industry
‘Nearly 500,000 smallholders in total…16% of Sri Lanka’s arable land belongs to the tea sector. Of this, tea smallholders operate in 60% of the total tea land and account for more than 70% of the total tea produced… between 20 perches and 10 acres are considered “Tea Small Holdings” ..As a baseline, tea harvesters are paid a rate of Rs. 30 for every kilo they harvest. Some harvesters pluck up to an average of 30kgs on a good day… Leaves on each tea bush are harvested on rotation every 7-10 days. This means that leaves from each bush are plucked at least three times a month…other fieldworkers engage in weeding, manuring and up-keeping estate infrastructure who are paid a daily wage of Rs. 1000, work 8 hours a day… our method of payment is far from an unrewarding…’
• Manufacturers resorting to adulteration in order to add weight and appearance to tea.
• ILO’s LEED+ expands private sector partnerships with Ceylon Biscuits and Alli Foods
‘With engagement in three value-chains, namely groundnut, coconut husk, and sea cucumber, LEED+ has already established several successful partnerships with private sector companies – David Gram, Gui-Lan, Hayleys, and Tropicoir Lanka… Supported by the Australian Government Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT) and the Government of Norway, the LEED+ project is part of the ILO’s global Jobs for Peace and Resilience program’
• Maliban Inguru supports Sri Lanka’s agro industry through locally sourced ginger
• Coconut oil and the heart: Study not adequate to make sweeping statement
• SL Fisheries Minister ready to talk with Tamil Nadu CM to resolve nagging fishermen issue
• CFC purchases over 80,000 kg of fish from harbours
• Import Tax on dried fish & Maldive fish increased
• Governor visits dairy farmers
• Environment and development: Sri Lanka’s interminable crisis
‘In the 1920s, Sri Lanka had 49% forest cover, but by 2010, 28.8% or about 1,860,000 hectares of Sri Lanka was forested….Over 14,000 rural tanks will be renovated this month, according to Irrigation Minister Chamal Rajapaksa to increase paddy production.’
• Environment Minister orders Puttalam police to take action against destroyers of mangroves
• How India’s Modi Is Changing Laws to Help Imperialists Dominate the Country’s Agriculture
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.
• Sri Lanka’s merchandise trade and trade balance: report
‘Expenditure on the importation of intermediate goods declined by 22.9 per cent, year-on-year, to US dollars 5,692 million…Expenditure on fuel imports declined by 34.4 per cent to US dollars 1,691 million during January to August 2020…’
• Ministry of Industry introduces direct telephone numbers for its services
• Chevron Lubricants reports strong 3Q Rs.3.61 billion on robust lube sales
‘Chevron, which sells its products under Caltex and Texaco brands…Chevron Corp. via Chevron Ceylon Limited owns a 51 percent stake in Chevron Lubricants Lanka PLC, while the Employees’ Provided Fund has a 0.42 percent stake in the company, being its 16th largest shareholder.
• LAUGFS Gas Rs. 189 million profitability in 1H
• New feasibility study for Sapugaskanda to increase capacity
‘The Corporation Refinery meets only 25 % of the local demand for refined petroleum products. The remaining 75% has to be imported, making a greater impact on foreign exchange.’
• Lanka’s petroleum storage and pipeline facilities need urgent upgrading, warns national audit
‘A towering 70 percent of imported, refined products are unloaded at Colombo port and sent to the Kolonnawa terminal through pipelines older than 48 to 75 years….All this fuel is wasted amidst crude oil and refined petroleum products making up 18 percent of Sri Lanka’s total import bill—Rs 657bn—last year…Trincomalee World War II oil tank complex has remained idle or underused for nine decades when it could easily have been used to refine fuel for the country…It has 99 tanks with a capacity of 12,500 cubic meters each and only 14 are being used by LIOC since 2003. There is an oil tank complex close to the Hambantota harbor but “even those tanks are not made use of for storing oil”. There are 14 bulk depots countrywide. Fuel is distributed from main terminals to bulk depots and thereafter to fuel stations…Around 20 percent of the country’s fuel supply is met by a CPC-owned refinery which was “very old and lacked modern technology”… The Kolonnawa storage terminal holds 43.27 per cent of white oil used in the country. It is moved from Colombo harbor to Kolonnawa terminal through single pipeline.’
• LNG plant to be built will help save Rs. 10 bn annually – Dallas
• Will CEB make an effort to comply? President’s target on renewable energy
• State fund Sri Lanka Insurance picks up 8% stake in Vallibel Power Erathna
• Sri Lankan pioneering superconductivity research
“Research lacks support in Sri Lanka, especially in terms of funding…In the US we can acquire federal, corporate and other sources of funding.”
• SLT Group Net Profit up by 35.4%; Revenue records at Rs. 67.2 bn in 1Q20
• Southern ports could lure more East West Main Sea Route ships with little, no deviation cost
‘An estimated 650+ ships pass by Sri Lanka along the MSR daily. Of this 4,708 ships called at all ports in Sri Lanka in 2019-an average of 12-15 ships per day. 90 percent of these ships called at the port of Colombo and 85 percent of which were container ships.’
• Ceylon Association of Ship Agents holds AGM
‘Aitken Spence Shipping Managing Director Iqram Cuttilan was elected as the new Chairman’
• Walkers Shipyard facilitates emergency repairs to ‘SAMARA I’ during quarantine curfew
• නිකෝබාර් දූපතේහදන වරායලංකාවට බලපාන්නේ කොහොමද?
• International Trade Centre Urges Active dialog with EU over stringent GSP rules
• SL to discuss Country of Origin criteria under GSP+ with EU Commission
‘The apparel and textile industry is the second largest contributor to the national Gross Domestic Product (GDP)….” Utilisation of EU GSP+ by the apparel sector is only 52% as Sri Lanka’s apparel are made of fabric imports from outside the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC) and the EU region which are not eligible for EU GSP+ concession,”
• Hayleys group rubber glove maker Dipped Products sees surge in 2Q sales and earnings
‘The group produces and exports industrial and household gloves from its Sri Lankan plants while its Thailand factory manufactures gloves for medical examination and non-medical
disposable purposes. Dipped Products is also into tea and rubber plantations via its subsidiaries— Kelani Valley Plantations and Talawakelle Tea Estates… Dhammika Perera controlled Hayleys PLC, together with other group entities holds 57.06% stake in Dipped Products while the Employees’ Provident Fund has 12.76% as its second largest shareholder.’
• COVID catapults Dipped Products 1H after-tax profit by 545% to Rs. 2.1 b
• Bullets for Industry
‘Cabinet has approved a proposal from Industries Minister Wimal Weerawansa for the obtaining of empty bullet/shell cases and disposed armour plates from the Sri Lanka Army, Navy and Air Force as raw materials required for traditional industries.’
Agri-tyre maker GRI partners with Belgian agriculture Original Equipment Maker Joskin
• DSI Tyres step up manufacturing capacity by 60%
‘t has a 60% stake in the motorcycle tyres market and a 55% hold in the three-wheeler tyres market, thereby becoming the market leader.’
• UDA signs MOU for Rs. 8 b local pharmaceutical manufacturing facility in Kalutara
• German market leader Würth concludes Training of the Trainers program
‘Josef Tschoep, Head of Vocational Training at the Delegation of German Industry and Commerce in Sri Lanka (AHK), handed over technical training equipment, such as tools but also computer hardware’
• Bring in laws to prevent building collapses
‘no legal requirement for ensuring engineering safety’
• Cracks, collapses and a national building code
• Pitigala-Arachchi, Deputy Vice Chancellor of SL Institute of Information Technology Int’l
‘was CEO of the Asia Pacific Institute of Information Technology (APIIT) from 2004 to 2020… SLIIT attracts the largest share of higher education students in Sri Lanka. With five faculties, two campuses in Colombo and Malabe and regional campuses in Jaffna, Kurunegala, Matara and Kandy…’
• John Keells Logistics venture into operations optimization through digitalization with Infor
C8. Finance (Making money from money, banks, lack of investment in modernity)
ee Finance tracks the effects of financialization, the curious role of ratings agencies, false indices, etc.
• Myths & The Phonies Propagated Through “Think Tanks” – Tennakoon
• Story Of The Last Ceylonese Afgans & Their Struggle To Survive
‘The borrowing of money from Afghani people made Sri Lankans poorer.’
• Small & Medium Entrepreneurs ‘backbone of the economy’ categorised as high risk sector by financial institutions
• Surging APAC forex reserves may portend currency frictions: EconomyNext’s Fitch
‘ Fitch’s liquidity ratio shows; Indonesia, Mongolia (B/Stable), Sri Lanka (B-/Negative), Pakistan (B-/Stable) and Laos (CCC) all have ratios below the median for their rating categories.’
• Sri Lankan stocks surge; ASPI crosses 6,000 mark
• Shares end at 10-month high on industrials, financials boost
• DFCC Bank CEO Lakshman Silva appointed chairman, Sri Lanka Banks’ Association
• Standard Chartered Sri Lanka clinches ADB’s prestigious Trade Finance Deal of 2020 Award
‘The award recognized an underlying risk participation deal the ADB entered into with the bank on a $25 million trade loan extended to State-owned People’s Bank.’
• Kanrich Finance to raise Rs.2bn via private placement
‘Incorporated in 1971, Kanrich Finance was relaunched in 2010 and within a period of six years, the company managed to increase its asset base from Rs.600 million to Rs.12 billion and expanded a single location company into a finance company, with 36 branches and over 1,000 employees.’
• Bimputh Finance demonstrates resilience
‘Bimputh Finance provides customers with a portfolio of gold, SME, Microfinance, Corporate, Personal, Housing loans, Leasing products, Deposits and Foreign Currency encashment services…operating in 22 districts with 47 licensed locations and a customer base of 150,000.’
• ICRA Lanka upgrades the ratings of First Capital Treasuries PLC
• Ajantha Gunasekara appointed to Sampath Bank Board
‘His former appointments include CFO – Hatton National Bank PLC, General Manager Finance and Corporate Services – HNB Assurance PLC, Finance Manager – Asian Alliance Insurance PLC, and Accountant – James Finlay and Company (Colombo) Ltd. He served his articles at B.R. de Silva and Co.’
• Jack Ma’s Ant Group IPO attracts demand equal to Britain’s economy
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 sales, tourism, insurance, advertising, etc. – the charade of press releases disguised as ‘news’
• JKH sees 2 new shareholders in top 20; Rusi moves up to 8th place from 16th
‘His father Sohli Captain remains the single largest shareholder at JKH with an 11.6% stake or 152.8 million shares whilst related party Paints & General Industries is the fourth largest with a 7% stake. Business tycoon Harry Jayawardena-controlled Melstacorp Plc is the third largest with a 9.8% stake.’
• England hosts virtual trade promotion conference: ‘Sri Lanka – The gateway to Asia’
‘Speakers included British High Commissioner to Sri Lanka Sarah Hulton; UK’s Minister for International Trade Ranil Jayawardena MP, the UK Prime Minister’s Trade Envoy to Sri Lanka Lord Davies of Abersoch; Sri Lanka State Minister of Finance & Capital Markets and State Enterprise Reforms Ajith Nivard Cabraal; Sri Lankan High Commissioner to the UK Saroja Sirisena; Board of Investment of Sri Lanka’s Director General Sanjaya Mohottala; Head of Strategy & Business Development at CHEC Port City Colombo (Pvt) Ltd Thulci Aluwihare; Senior Advisor to CEO of the Hambantota International Port Group Saliya Wickramasuriya; CEO of HSBC Sri Lanka Mark Prothero; Group Head of Operations, Corporate Functions of the London Stock Exchange Group Dee Liyanwela; and Managing Director Currency Division of De La Rue plc Ruth Euling.
• Lanka’s exports to Australia passes US$ 86 mn in 2019
‘Australian international borders will be closed until mid-2021, hence chances of arranging inward and outward trade delegations to and from Australia are remote… total trade in 2019 was US$ 352 million and balance of trade was US$ 47 million in favour of Sri Lanka… Sri Lanka’s exports under the Australian GSP reached US$ 86 million in 2019….Jamitha Pathirana, CEO of Dynamic (pvt) Ltd and Member of Supply Chain and Logistics of Australia said that creating long -term and sustainable partnerships with Australia is extremely difficult without ground knowledge and support for Sri Lankan exporters.’
• Ceylinco Life’s 9-month income up 14% to Rs 26 billion
• Milliman to begin operating in Sri Lanka, acquires consulting firm Colombo-based Spark Actuarial
• Robinsons Singapore throws in the towel after 162 years
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.
• Communist Party of China and SLPP hold virtual advanced seminar on governance
• Winner should be decided on the number of electorates won, not popular vote
‘The MP also cited President Ranasinghe Premadasa bending backwards to appease the SLMC at presidential election in late 80s for the same reason. MP Cumaratunga alleged that both JRJ and Premadasa sought to win over selected sections of voters even at the expense of stability’
• ‘We knew protests of ‘red-shirt gang’ would be like the fizz and bubble of a soda water bottle’ – Weerawansa
‘The ‘red-shirt gang’ that did not breathe a word at the time John Kerry and Samantha Powell visited Sri Lanka has suddenly woken up’
• Stealing elections
‘In 1982, the then UNP government stole a presidential election by stripping Sirima Bandaranaike, who would have been the Opposition candidate, of her civic rights and resorting to large-scale rigging and violence. It went on to cause a general election to disappear by means of a heavily rigged referendum’
• A new constitution, seriously?
‘The constitution. It needs fixing. Seriously. And now is as a good time as any. Indeed, this could be the best time.’
• Support for 20 A: What would the Muslim MPs get in return?
‘Was this the deal referred to by Archbishop of Colombo Malcolm Cardinal Ranjith on October 4’
• The Pohottuwa Government of Sri Lanka Part 2 B1 & B2
• Twentieth Amendment, Constitutional Morality & Arunachalam
“In Ceylon the British merchant and the British planter exercise too great an influence over public policy and measures. A chat over the dinner table, at the Club or on the golf links, does more than bushels of argument or months of agitation. Is it not every head of a department, every member of the Government, every member of the official majority of the Legislative Council, the kith and kin of the British merchant and planter?”
• What Sri Lanka Can Take Away From The US Elections – David
• US Advocata Institute, “Predicting elections: An introduction to data science?”
• New Zealand votes to Euthanize Elderly and Keep the Young Stoned
• Anne Applebaum’s Dinner Party, and Mine
‘The vaunted liberal historian can’t seem to figure out what’s wrong with Europe’s populists’
C11. Media (Mis/Coverage of economics, technology, science and 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.
• Sri Lanka Press Institute 17th AGM
‘Projects have been implemented in association with foreign missions such as Norway, United States, and Germany with the organizations like Norwegian Union of Journalists (NUJ), Open Society Foundation (OSF), UNESCO, International Research & Exchange Board (IREX), Media in Transition and Coordination (MiCT), USAID and the IOM.’
• International Buddhist Conference 2020
• P de S. Kularatne, Ananda, Nalanda,…
• SLIM Gamata Marketing continues training in partnership with SABAH
‘at Mahara Divisional Secretariat Office and Kaduwela Divisional Secretariat office.’
• First Sinhala novelist; Isaac de Silva
• Colonial Knowledge Formation under British Rule and Modern Lankan Historiography’
‘Max Müller presented a racist frame to the Indian History and a justification to the British colonial rule in India’
• Peradeniya Nostalgia
• Renaming Colombo Roads – The Good, the Bad and the Ugly
• A unique library on Sri Lanka in Melbourne, Australia
• Expatriate fiction from Australia:
• Expatriate Invasions and Local Retreats: Sri Lankan English Writing after Globalization
• Deepa Mehta gives Sri Lanka thumbs-up after Funny Boy
“The book Funny Boy is about oppression. About minorities in Sri Lanka and people who think differently. It is so delightful for me…”
• Revisiting Alleged 30 Million Famine Deaths during China’s Great Leap
• The universe knew that what we needed was an army of cultural workers
‘Visionary leaders could not succeed without people to first imagine a region after the colonisers. How were we, without a shot being fired, without our or their blood being spilt, supposed to turn our backs on our colonial mindset and get on with the business of being sovereign? ‘
• Trump vs Fox News: this time, it’s existential
‘The president has turned on a cable channel that has been intertwined with his administration…Fox News makes most of its revenues from affiliate fees, protecting it from hits to advertising if ratings were to decline.’
• US senators spar with Big Tech over legal immunity, politics
‘these platforms have become powerful arbiters of what is true and what content users can access,’