“Before you study the economics, study the economists!”
e-Con e-News 10-16 April 2022
The lush trees of Galle Face Green were first clearcut by Dutch invaders, to fire their cannons against Sinhala attacks from the south. The Dutch word faas (face) described the front of their fort’s Gal Gate, as it faced Galle. The area’s rocky shores was originally Gal Bokka, hence the name Galle Buck, with gal being Sinhala for rock.
• All eyes are now diverted to the stand-off at Galle Face, with multiple interests vying for popular support. The whites headed by the USA, jostle to continue their over 500-year control over the ocean, as India tries to snatch the Mannar Basin and Trincomalee from under their claws, while pointing furiously at China, to divert the whites and resident Anglomaniacs (see Random Notes).
• Two weeks ago, English Unilever’s largest public shareholder, asset manager BlackRock, displayed almost-astrological clairvoyance? Among Sri Lanka’s top known international sovereign-bond (ISB) holders, Blackrock announced they were hiring a legal adviser for ‘potential’ debt restructuring talks. BlackRock claimed this was in response to Sri Lanka’s worsening foreign-exchange crisis – adding to the panic aroused by the credit downgrades of US-regulated rating agencies. Clairvoyant, indeed!
This week, Sri Lanka announced ‘its first debt default since it gained independence’ and set to talk with the US-controlled IMF. ee offers a tentative look at possible responses to IMF plans. In the meanwhile, bringing cartels and multinationals to heel (through a global boycott of Unilever?, see ee Quotes), and international unity to control the IMF, World Bank, WTO, etc, is needed more than ever (ee Focus).
• After the ‘great financial crisis’ of 2008, Capitalism began planning a facelift for 2020, to preserve the world’s division of technology & labor, and prevent greater democracy. ee signalled this shift in 2019, long before Covid and these current wars (ee 15 November 2019, Facelift).
This superficial fair’n’lovely world makeover is being led by multinational corporations (MNCs) like England’s Unilever, the largest conglomerate, which has far more control over Sri Lanka’s politics and economy, than any government or the people.
US-led capitalism’s tactics have been inflicting heavy damages on people across the world. Their control over energy supply, through merchants and moneylenders, has created havoc in the country (Random Notes).
I just came back from Kabul. Things are going better in Afghanistan than most believe here – Victoria Nuland, US Permanent Representative to NATO, Speech to Presse Club and AmCham, Paris, France, February 22, 2008
It’s more than planetary confluence that the current chaos began with the USA’s strategic ‘retreat’ in Afghanistan, August 2021. Then Nepal was forced to accept their MCC prescriptions in March 2022. Pakistan’s Prime Minister was ousted last week. It’s becoming increasingly clear how the Faustian-Mephistophelian deals made to come to power, eventually backfire. Trying to act like white boys (& girls) and play the playboy, playgirl and oligarch, is not the basis on which to build and extend the independence of a nation.
With political and economic leadership driven into disarray by a combination of US and Indian manipulation, drug lords, gangsters and mercenaries are being given a new lease on life. Sri Lanka’s base as a drug entrepot was escalated by our 1980s ‘open economy’, after the US began their covert war on Afghanistan. Their war was financed by promoting opium cultivation, and heroin became a daily diet for people thrown out of the ‘open economy’ set up at the behest of the IMF.
• Turbulence and wars both economic and bloody are being instigated by the US-led Western bloc. Sri Lanka has long been heavily exposed to the whimsies of white markets, let alone their tourists. We have been made heavily dependent on imports for pre-industrial production & daily necessities.
Multinationals, larger than many countries put together, are pushing governments to their knees. People are yet to learn who their real enemies are. The media, mass media and social media, controlled by MNCs, will be the last to tell us the truth.
It’s being made even more costly to stay alive, and death only adds to the loads carried by the living. Life is being made especially perilous and precarious for those left out by the beloved ‘free market’ of the capitalists. Capitalists have been making an extra killing from the pandemic, throwing people out of work, escalating wars on Asia, Africa and the Americas, and by creating false scarcities to inflate prices.
A Lanka-wide system of rationing & distributing essential goods has to be immediately implemented, along with strict capital controls. The kerb (aka illegal aka black) markets for foreign exchange – including the transfer pricing policies of MNCs, like Unilever, etc, have to be controlled if not eliminated. It is only such capital controls that will appreciate the currency, reduce prices and raise real wages. If not, the costs of living and dying will become even more expensive.
It is therefore vital that people in their villages, neighborhoods and workplaces, develop industrialized (including agricultural) plans, and ensure that politicians adhere to such needs (ee Focus, Alternative to IMF).
• What are the weapons of the isolated weak? Nagging. Poison. Gossip. Rumor. Sneaking around instead of confrontation. The whip is a weapon of the not-so-strong. The whip is indispensable if discipline is to be maintained. The whip emphasizes order and orders. It is usually used on serfs, slaves, servants, sailors, and soldiers. It’s also ceremonial. Its main function is to instil discipline in onlookers as well. The first tasting of blood awakens a certain lust. It grows and strengthens until it becomes a powerful and abiding obsession. And then seeps into civilized English discourse. Thus there is even ‘a parliamentary whip’. He ensures politicians act in the correct way, using bribery, penalties, and threat of exposure of their private lives and other deals.
And so now off we go to the IMF, hat in hand. Again. 16 times we have gone to the IMF since independence, only to be plunged deeper into debt. This is their 17th lash of the whip. The economic whip. Who will the IMF’s whip lash out at? Not at the oligarchs, but at the most vulnerable. Almost every parliamentary political party in Sri Lanka’s dependent capitalist system seems to have accepted IMF dictat!
• Our latest Finance Minister Ali Sabry proclaims the ‘one good thing’ about Sri Lanka is that lawmakers across the political spectrum are in favor of going to the IMF! ‘So in the case of the current government, or in the extreme case of another government by the opposition that is unlikely, no one is saying not to go the IMF. In that sense, there’s policy certainty…’ ee Economists, Bloomberg
So it’s springtime for the IMF, and winter for Sri Lanka. The IMF’s spring meetings begin in Washington on April 18. Sri Lanka’s delegation will also meet India’s delegation ‘on the wings’ of the IMF meet. New Central Bank Governor Nandalal Weerasinghe and Treasury Secretary Mahinda Siriwardena have already spoken with Anne-Marie Gulde-Wolf, IMF Deputy Director, Asia & Pacific Department.
The IMF’s 2016 prescription harmed the economy’s health, ‘with a fall in growth rate from 5% in 2015 to 2.9% in 2019. During the same period, the government revenue also contracted from 14.1% to 12.6% of GDP.’ (ee Economists, India’s Observer Research Foundation).
The IMF has changed, declares the JVP’s Harini Amarasuriya. Well, the IMF is the US government. So the JVP is saying the US government has changed? What has actually changed is the IMF’s PR and marketing strategy. Rather than just directly undermining health and education, they continuously undermine any attempts at modern industrialization, which alone can sustain such social services. The IMF remains a ‘neutron bomb that kills people but leaves buildings standing’, and World Bank economists are ‘genocide workers in the pay of economic totalitarianism’. So said a Venezuelan president in 1988, who then changed his mind and was forced to go to the IMF, which created even greater chaos.
• Countries round the world are being pushed into economic chaos one by one. Sri Lanka is merely ahead in the firing-squad line. The Litro Gas chairman here, back from 5 days’ holiday, just resigned, blaming an import mafia and even government ministers (ee Quotes). Kenya, even with 86 oil wells, has even greater energy disruption, with oil companies being exposed and the government threatening company CEOs with long jail terms (ee Industry).
Countries that attempt a foreign policy independent of NATO, are under attack. In Peru, a newly elected leftish government is facing mass demonstrations and strikes. Apparently these violent protests have also been organized by capitalists who actually run the country and are referred to as ‘parallel ministers’.
‘Parallel ministers’ are the capitalists who actually run ministries, regardless of the actual minister, regardless of administration, regardless of who’s elected, no matter which party comes to power in a capitalist parliamentary system. These parallel ministers remain in the shadows and the ministries are their homes. They cause scarcities, purchase media time, even fund strikes and protests, destabilizing governments and presidents. (ee Economy, Inflation Protests Erupt)
• People may have been made aware of the role played by illegal money systems (Undiyal, Hawala, etc.) in transferring funds between countries (see Random Notes), but few are aware of the far larger and more ruinous legalized systems used by such multinationals as Unilever to move funds via technological rents, royalties, licensing rights, technical assistance fees, etc., and transfer pricing, easily inflating accounting costs, and minimizing local tax liabilities (ee 29 May 2021).
• NATO’s latest wars, biological & military, have merely exposed the illusory nature of our underdeveloping economies. ee is dedicated to SBD de Silva. In the absence of needed statistics and public information on corporate shenanigans in Sri Lanka, SBD recommended, not only going back and forth through history, but traveling around the world to analyze our underdevelopment and test hypotheses. He often wondered why there were no university economics courses dedicated to studying Asia’s industrialization, from Japan to China. Most importantly, his predictions have come true: How long can this import orgy last?! Leasing companies this week were reportedly wanting to seize 5 million vehicles of people who cannot pay monthly debts (ee Industry).
A1. Reader Comments –
• Colombo’s Withdrawal Symptoms • ee’s difference • ee incredible • Very interesting • IMF drug • Easter 2019 • The Masque behind Galle Face
A2. Quotes of the Week
• Doctor & President • International Mafia & Litro • Gas Takes a Holiday • Grooming Babies for IMF-Abuse • Independence & Money Printing • Indian Aid Buys Indian Drugs • Boycott Unilever Needed • US Diplomacy is Sanctions • Diplomat vs. Dupe • Not One Inch East • White Carbon White Footprint
A3. Random Notes –
• US & India vs. Russia & China • JVP Goes to Galle Face • How DS Senanayake Ruined Agriculture • Nandalal and Arjuna • Shadow Dollar Transfers & Multinationals • India’s Russian Roulette • Fake Debt Blame Game • Kenya’s Oil Wars • Billionaires’ Social Media
B. ee Focus
B1. An Alternative to the IMF – Kasun Thilina
B2. Can Sri Lanka find a way out of its economic crisis? – Zhang Xiaoyu
B3. Wall Street Decides IMF Default Game – Jerome Roos
C. News Index
A1. Reader Comments
ee thanks Readers who send articles of interest. Please excerpt or summarize what is important about any news sent, or your comments, and place any e-link at the end. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
• ‘No lights. No fan. No AC. No fuel. No internet. No porn. No psychiatric drugs: What’s a wannabe class to do that never thought about industrial production!?’
• ‘Thank you for the different view…’
• ‘Sometimes some of the things ee writes about sounds too incredible to be true. But then that could be the intention of instigators too. Is the thing about US bases confirmed?’ (see ee 12 October 2019, ee 29 May 2021)
• ‘Very interesting ee topics.’
• ‘Great ee this time, on both local and foreign matters. I can’t understand this clamouring for the IMF except that ee has explained the reasons behind it so well. Just like the opposition and members of Imran Khan’s party who are in the deep pockets of the CIA to overthrow Khan (USD 220 million spent on that adventure according to Pakistani citizens), our so-called economic experts too are pushing the IMF like water to a dying man. The hoi polloi just goes with the easy option, failing to consider all sides of the story.’
• ‘I noted a typo below in ee, Easter Attacks was in 2019 and not 2018.’
• ‘Some ideas shared with colleagues about the current situation are as follows: Wonder what ee thinks? The Galle Face crowd may have no agenda or idea other than sending Gota home. But if you haven’t tried to work out the forces that have managed very successfully to mobilize and guide this group from behind a screen, and their idea of what to achieve after sending Gota home (or through the disruptions in sending him home by force), then your efforts in seeking better alternatives are incomplete.’
A2. Quotes of the Week_
• ‘Dr Dayan Jayatilleke…described [Gota] ‘as a man who could lead the country towards a fair and just society in which ethnic and religious factors can be transcended in a new fusion… a decorated warrior who knows how to defend his country at the risk of his life … a man with a modernising vision and capacity… fighter and builder… any country needs and should be proud to have’. He has been proved wrong on all counts but, if an intellectual like Dr DJ could have been so misled, one should not fault the 6.9mn ordinary citizens for having embraced the same misconceptions.
Interestingly, Dr DJ now writes (Island, 03/04/22, Roundtables as Political Change Agents): ‘Always remember the objective: removing the incumbent autocrat and the regime, centered round the ruling clan; the target is not the rival party nor its proponents. The target is the democratic removal of the ruler and his parasitic and paralysis inducing clan’ – a complete volte-face, gradual and long in coming…’ – ee Politics, Apocalypse
• ‘The majority of the ministers and members of the parliament representing the ruling party are trying to escalate the current situation rather than supporting the government to control it… there was corruption in gas imports… After discussing with you regarding these international mafias which resulted in the loss of billions of rupees, I tried at my level best to stop all the corruption’ – Chairman of Sri Lanka state-run Litro Gas Co, Theshara Jayasinghe
• ‘There are 1000s of people all over the country spending days in sun and rain in never ending queues to get a cylinder of cooking gas. All this time the shortage of gas was put on the ability to pay for the shipments. Now, Litro Gas say, they are holding sufficient stocks but drops a bombshell declaring they are taking a 5-day holiday – apparently for the New Year. What is more important? a holiday for the employees, or satisfying the crying need for gas by the long-suffering consumer? In many enterprises employees work on holiday… paid overtime. I do not think that our Army suspended fighting during the New Year holidays of April 2009. That was dedication. Does Litro Gas have any sense of responsibility; forget about customer service. This conduct is unwarranted and unacceptable. No wonder there are widespread demonstrations against the Government.
Litro Gas has yet to disclose the composition of the gas in the numerous cases of gas explosion and who’s responsible for the change of composition. There is a Consumer Affairs Authority and a State Ministry responsible for the Litro Gas. May be they are also on holiday as proven in the past. Litro Gas has also a checkered history of employing a blustering Buddhist monk as a consultant at a high fee.’ – Sugath Kulatunga
• ‘For several years, a cluster of Western-funded thinktanks, advocacy groups and big media houses have been grooming a coterie of economists, researchers, and journalists, old and young, to rebrand neoliberalism. Its face is no longer the white-haired, authoritarian, union-busting patriarch as represented by General Pinochet in Chile, or JR Jayawardena in Sri Lanka. Rather, it is the young, aspirational, middle-class women and men who champion socially-progressive ‘woke’ causes such as feminism, the LGBTIQ+ movement, and minority rights. Protests articulating raw outrage without an alternative policy, plan, or program, are ripe for co-option by neoliberal ideology & international finance capital, represented by the IMF and comprador merchant capital interests. Sri Lanka appears to be sleepwalking into further turmoil.’ – ee 03-09 April 2022
• ‘Officials said that previously, former Governor Prof WD Lakshman had been subjected to heavy influence by then President’s Secretary Dr PB Jayasundera and the Government. At a meeting in July 2020, President Gotabaya Rajapaksa criticised Prof Lakshman for not resorting to more money printing. Ironically, Dr Weerasinghe, who was then the Senior Deputy Governor, was also present at the meeting. Thus, it remains to be seen how he would maintain the independence of the institution, officials said.’ – ee Economists, New Governor
• ‘An official of the Production, Supply & Regulation of Pharmaceuticals State Ministry said a credit line of US$200million was being negotiated with India to buy medicinal drugs and equipment that were in short supply. India had granted the loan under the condition that all purchases would be made from Indian pharmaceutical manufacturers & suppliers. Accordingly all importers supplying both government and the private sector hospitals had been invited to use the facility… around 70 importers had shown interest in using the credit line. He said 14 applications had already been approved and handed over to the Trade Ministry for processing. ‘Around 80% of our pharmaceuticals are imported from India, so we could easily use the credit line to overcome the present crisis.’’ – ee Industry, Drugs
• ‘So let’s name the system at the root of all these seemingly separate struggles: the capitalist system. And let’s take aim at one of that system’s most concentrated institutional expressions: the multinational corporation. For the latter is a key driving force behind capitalism’s catastrophic war on humanity and nature and there can be no fundamental transformation of capitalism that doesn’t fundamentally transform the structure of multinational corporations. If backed by social movements, trade unions, and left parties, an international boycott of Unilever – a leading example of a multinational firm – could help lay the basis for such a challenge.’ – socialistproject.ca/2021/07/the-forest-and-the-tree
• ‘The US doesn’t do diplomacy. Every country has its own interests. But the USA and its p%$&^# in the State Department insist that its interests must have priority over all others. Any country that disagrees with that will be called out on this or that issue or will even get sanctioned.’ – ee Sovereignty, How the US Does ‘Diplomacy’
• ‘What distinguishes diplomats from courtiers, securocrats, and other bureaucrats in a national capital is a reliance on empathy: the ability to see the world through other eyes and to use this insight to induce others to see their interests the way the diplomat wants them to see them. It takes more than a diplomatic passport, position, or title to make someone a ‘diplomat.’ Diplomacy, like other skilled work, requires knowhow gained through training, mentoring, on-the-job experience, and awareness of historical precedents. It is a calling and a role, not a job title.
Yet diplomacy remains at best a proto-profession in the USA, thanks to the uniquely US reliance on the political spoils system to staff even key national security functions. This makes diplomatic appointments to benefit appointees and their political parties rather than the country. It thereby enshrines amateurism and incompetence. As the New York Herald-Tribune put it in 1857, in the US ‘diplomacy is the sewer through which flows the scum and refuse of the political puddle. A man not fit to stay at home is just the man to send abroad.’ Only one thing has changed about this in the last 165 years. Female campaign donors and celebrities now compete with men for appointments to what they imagine are ambassadorial sinecures in plummy places abroad, leaving seedy and dangerous places to lifers.’ – ee Sovereignty,
• ‘US Secretary of State James Baker’s famous ‘not one inch eastward’ assurance about NATO expansion in his meeting with Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev on February 9, 1990, was part of a cascade of assurances about Soviet security given by Western leaders to Gorbachev and other Soviet officials throughout the process of German unification in 1990 and into 1991… But inside the US government, a different discussion continued, a debate about relations between NATO and Eastern Europe. Opinions differed, but the suggestion from the Defense Department as of October 25, 1990 was to leave ‘the door ajar’ for East European membership in NATO.’ – ee Sovereignty, Gorbachev
• ‘Countries of the ‘global North’ (Europe, US, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, Israel, Japan) are responsible for 92% of total emissions that are causing climate breakdown… total emissions from war-related activity in Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan and Syria to be estimated at more than 400 million metric tonnes of carbon dioxide alone.’ – ee Economists, Climate change & Wars
A3. Random Notes (‘Seeing Number in Chaos’)_________________
• Attacks on Russia & China have tipped over into frenzy & delirium: India this week told a German webinar, they’re only supporting Russia to deter it from embracing China. Outside forces led by the US and India are attempting to divert popular revolts into attacks on their major rivals – countries who have stood by Sri Lanka through thick and thin.
US Assistant State Secretary Donald Banana2 Lu first threatened Sri Lanka’s Ambassador in Washington. Testifying before the US Senate Foreign Relations Committee, Lu says he then threatened Pakistan PM Imran Khan, before Khan’s ouster last week. This was due to Colombo, Islamabad and Delhi’s refusal to vote with NATO against Russia at the UN.
Sri Lanka seems neck-locked in a wrestling match with a US-India tag team. India meanwhile attempts to play Russia against China. NATO is bent on destroying both Russia and China at the same time. The US is directing NATO’s war on the ground in the Ukraine. The Russian army has trapped thousands of Ukrainian soldiers, their Nazi leaders and NATO officers in the Azovstal iron & steel works in Mariupol.
Very little of this gets public oxygen. Instead, in unison, NATO orchestrates their corporate media (including so-called social media of Twitter, WhatsApp, Instagram, etc.) as well as finance (sanctions, ratings agencies, IMF, World Bank, WTO). All speak in loud accord. Yet there is only media silence about the roots of war & economic crisis. No mention of the WTO preventing localized modern vaccine production throughout this pandemic – indeed the real scandal of this 20%-old century.
• The media-amplified cry is now only ‘Gota Go Home’, claiming ‘the largest historic protests’, erase 100s of years of resistance. No mention of economics, other than go to the IMF. All political parties appear to be shy of wearing any crown or sitting on any throne. They also refuse to state a common economic program for people to rally around. The JVP this week said their activists (mass organizations of women, peasants and workers?) have been preparing the ground at Galle Face. Their party will launch a ‘National People’s Power’ march on Colombo on April 17. Their main demand is the dismissal of the country’s president. The JVP says: they are heeding the call of the masses, to shape and give direction to their struggle, since the government has attempted to ignore the masses’ struggle; the government has tried to frighten protestors, telling parents to protect their children, and then casting aspersions at the protestors, as well as spreading communal discord; and finally are calling for talks. But they refuse to be deterred. The JVP stand accused of delivering bodies to the oligarchs. How would this time around be different?
• How DS Senanayake Ruined Agriculture – On March 22, there was a construction crane beside the rather tall statue of DS at Independence Square. The crane (made in Japan) had been driven beside the statue onto a platform, a concrete slab usually filled with exercising obese yuppies. The huge crane, rather unsightly, was there to hoist a political leader up high, to place a garland around the neck of ‘father of the nation’, who keeps one hand in his pocket. It was his birthday.
The next time we looked up we saw a crow sitting on the head of this father of the nation. And another crow at his shoulder, pecking at the rotting garland. It made us wonder why crows feel they can dishonor the father, and of what nation?
DS was the first Minister of Agriculture & Lands, 1931-46, under a colonial English government. DS Senanayake’s program of 3 acres and a cow, institutionalized a ‘small’ peasantry. It had none of the complex features of Lanka’s famed purana villages (PVs). What DS institutionalized was their ‘day to day existence’, which over 500 years of invasion has diminished.
The English saw in the 19th century, that it had to destroy the solidarity that the PV instilled in people. Little studious research has been done on the PV. The little evidence we have indicates it was a highly cooperative and collective enterprise involving an assurance of water, labor supply, proper fencing, movement of cattle, maintenance and repair including the desilting of canals, and cooperation during drought, where water was a social and not a private asset, even where Ratay Mahattayas owned reservoirs.
The English courts also backed Muslim traders (MTs) to introduce compound interest (CI). Whereas in the PVs when a crop failed, the debt was recycled or extended in a softer way. The introduction of CI led to massive indebtedness and the hatred of the MTs who amassed land and capital. The MTs also had dhonies moving from small ports taking surplus rice to Jaffna and the southern province.
The largest owner of lands in the 19th century was the temples. The English undermined Buddhist temple ownership and oversaw the fragmentation of those lands through debt and deceit. What independence should have advanced was the cooperative development of agricultural lands. China too had given people small plots of land, but soon realized, after droughts and other disasters, that they needed to set up larger cooperative farms.
• Nandalal & Arjuna – The attorney appearing for former director of Perpetual Treasuries, Arjun Aloysius, nephew of the previous government’s Central Bank governor Arjuna Mahendran, informed the Colombo Chief Magistrate Lanka Jayaratne: the Presidential Commission that had examined the bond issue, had recommended (then deputy governor, now governor) Nandalal Weerasinghe and Ananda Silva also should be held responsible for the Central Bank bond scam. Also, why did senior CB officials like WA Wijewardena not raise the trouble with ‘private placements’ (at the root of the bond scam) when he was a deputy governor?’
• Shadow Dollar Transfers & Multinationals (2011) – ‘Clandestine money-change bureaus, unregistered institutions are involved in transactions involving currency remitted from India, Canada, England, Germany, Switzerland and other countries, to Sri Lanka. They operate Informal Money Transfer Scheme (IMTS), also known as an ‘Undiyal’ (‘piggy bank’ in Tamil) or ‘Kalu Kadey’ (‘black market’ in Sinhala) scheme. In an IMTS, a remitter abroad takes money to the Undiyal agent, who charges a transaction fee and contacts a representative in the country of destination, who delivers it to the beneficiary within hours…
The main advantage of an IMTS is that no bank account is required at either end. Also, the rates are much cheaper than formal money transfer operations – eg, Western Union, Moneygram or Ria; the exchange rates are also more competitive. Some IMTS have turnovers higher than the annual budgetary allocation for most government ministries. A 2005 survey done in Canada found 150-200 Undiyal outlets in Toronto, each doing approximately C$50,000 of transfers per month. This works out at about Rs12billion annually, remitted through IMTS from just one immigrant population centre (albeit probably the biggest concentration of Sri Lankans in one place outside the island).
If this figure were to be extrapolated worldwide, the total figure would be closer to Rs250bn, over half the legal-remittances figure, approximately 5% of Sri Lanka’s GDP and a substantial part of the ‘shadow economy’.
Goods swaps are the main form of settling accounts. However, invoice manipulations, the smuggling of currency or commodities, while not acknowledged by the agents, appear to be other mechanisms… cash does not actually cross borders and it never fully enters the conventional banking system.
Netting operations of transnational corporations follow many of the same principles… Certainly, such practices as under-invoicing (importers declaring the value of products as lower than they are in order to avoid duties – as well as to keep part of the value abroad) are part of international trade with which the Sri Lanka Customs are familiar.
Another form of monetary transfer appears to be the direct smuggling abroad of currency notes…
The ‘shadow economy’ in Sri Lanka (ie, the value added of illegal activities such as theft, drugs, prostitution as well as legal but unreported incomes) has been estimated at about 44% of the GDP, compared to 15% in Australia, 13% in New Zealand, 11% in Japan – 2000-2001 figures).
Granted, the ‘informal sector’ – legal but unreported labour, mainly casual, for family members, friends or based on non-contractual social relations, outside a formal regulatory framework – makes up a large proportion of the ‘shadow economy’.
Even so, the ‘underground economy’ – the generally illegal and criminal part – is still quite hefty. The reduction of transfers done through the IMTS sector would tend to reduce the effectiveness of transfer mechanisms left to the barons of this black economy. How is this to be done?
One of the reasons the popularity of Undiyal schemes was the absence of banks in those parts of the North and East occupied by the LTTE.
However, for the formal sector to be able to compete with the IMTS sector, it needs to match the latter’s capabilities with regard to time and (more importantly) cost.’ – archives.dailynews.lk/2011/10/27/fea04.asp
• India’s Russian Roulette – ‘We are concerned that this war would weaken Russia, make it a Pygmy and drive it into the arms of the Chinese Dragon,’ India’s former Ambassador to the Netherlands Bhaswati Mukherjee told Germany’s Friedrich Naumann Foundation for Freedom webinar on March 31.
Mukherjee added: India considers China its biggest concern and this conflict may make the country’s contentious neighbor stronger. She pointed out that India is ‘anchored to the West’ and is strategically allied with the US. She says India ‘views with alarm at the possibility of Russia becoming weaker and weaker’ due to the conflict and sanctions, and drawing closer to China.
‘This will change the world order and it will leave India having to confront China alone.’ She said after the Russian invasion of Ukraine India is concerned that China would attack Taiwan and also make incursions into the disputed Himalayan regions on the Indo-Chinese border.
She also pointed out that India remains dependent on Russia for armaments and spare parts for military hardware. Much of India’s fighter aircraft are Russian. It also needs Russian petroleum to come out of the Covid pandemic caused recession. – ee Sovereignty, Ukraine Implications
• Fake Debt Blame Game – ‘The debt composition of the South Asian nation is very complicated and its outstanding external debt is mainly owed to international markets. China is only Sri Lanka’s 4th biggest creditor, behind international financial markets [ISBs], the Asian Development Bank and Japan. So it is unreasonable and groundless for some forces to hype up Chinese debt as a major cause of Sri Lanka’s economic crisis while turning a blind eye to other major creditors.
As a developing country, Sri Lanka generally relies on garment exports, tourism and overseas remittances to sustain its foreign-exchange reserves. But since the outbreak of the Covid-19 pandemic, all the 3 major sources of foreign-exchange earnings have shrunk significantly, leaving the country struggling to make ends meet.
Moreover, the cause for Sri Lanka’s current economic crisis goes beyond its domestic debt problem. The Russia-Ukraine conflict and the US-led economic sanctions against Russia may have further aggravated Sri Lanka’s economic plight. The skyrocketing prices of consumer goods and shortages of food & fuel have driven the economy to the brink of collapse.
The deteriorating economic crisis in the South Asian nation is a typical example of how emerging economies, especially those small and vulnerable ones, are suffering from the shocks from reckless Western economic sanctions. While the West claimed their sanctions are against Russia, they are seriously harming the interests of developing economies and may even cause a widespread humanitarian crisis.
Some may argue that the Russia-Ukraine conflict was not the main cause for Sri Lanka’s debt problem, but given its own economic vulnerability, such a harsh external economic environment has undoubtedly accelerated the severity of its debt crisis. If anything, Sri Lanka’s default problem should serve as a wake-up call for the global economy, especially the developing world, that is exposed to the growing external risks from geopolitical turbulence instigated by the US-led West.
For Sri Lanka, a country heavily dependent on imports of main production materials & daily necessities, its debt problem is in fact a reflection of the obstacles to its economic development, which have prevented domestic industries from transformation and being integrated into the global industrial chain. And the current external environment will make it harder for developing countries like Sri Lanka to accomplish the transformation and upgrade its economy.’ – ee Economists, US Sanctions
• Kenya’s fuel consumers caught in the war between bureaucrats & distributors: Arrogant government officials and belligerent Oil Marketing Companies (OMCs) are threatening to bring Kenya’s economy to its knees. Private oil companies have formed a cartel, holding the state captive. The shortage created a black market for fuel, with companies that had it selling it above the recommended retail price. Oil marketers were demanding to be paid arrears, claiming if they continued selling their fuel at a loss, their operations would collapse. Critics claimed, the money set aside earlier to pay the marketers had been diverted for debt servicing and infrastructure development, without the approval of the national assembly. Government officials said the fuel shortage was artificial, accusing oil marketers of hoarding the critical resource to arm-twist the state: ‘A few large players want to force the government to do something, so they create panic,’ said the Principal Secretary for State Department of Petroleum. Major oil marketing companies could be committing economic sabotage as government officials sat back and watched. The oil firms had been withholding petroleum products, causing an artificial shortage and plunging the country into a crisis. Acute shortages are due to failure by the major firms to sell to smaller oil marketers due to confusion over the margins between wholesale and retail prices. The result was long queues by motorists and motorcycle riders at petrol stations. Oil marketers are hoarding fuel (hoping that) the government will increase the price of fuel.
‘This is the result of collusion of monopolistic cartels and economic saboteurs on one hand, and oblivious, reckless, insensitive and incompetent public officials on the other hand. The crisis had been orchestrated by cartels and barons who had hijacked the energy sector with the complacence of government officials. Fuel is a critical resource that literally turns the wheels of the economy with transport, manufacturing and agriculture being highly dependent on fuel to drive economic activities. Petrol station owners and independent oil marketers had said, major oil marketers were refusing to sell products to them for reselling in the retail market, due to delays in the payment of subsidy funds that the government owed them. To keep pump prices stable, the government has been cutting marketers’ margins. Marketers have then reimbursed the money, which the government draws from the Petroleum Development Levy. This is a kitty funded by motorists, who pay a tax for every litre of diesel and petrol. The marketers were protesting the lengthy periods the government takes before it makes payment. This was why they took matters into their own hands, holding back products from the local market in what is seen as the industry arm twisting the government to release funds. The challenges being experienced by independent oil marketers have been due to the sharp increase in oil prices over the last year, which has meant they have to spend more money to buy the same quantity of products.’ – standardmedia.co.ke/national/article/2001442289/how-fuel-consumers-were-caught-in-the-war-between-bureaucrats-and-distributors
• Liberals’ Frenzy over Musk Buying Twitter – In summer 2013 the Washington Post company and its publications were bought by multibillionaire Jeff Bezos, owner of Amazon: ‘Bezos, whose entrepreneurship has made him one of the world’s richest men, will pay $250million in cash for… Washington Post Co, which owns the newspaper and other businesses.’ The Post has since consistently promoted low taxes for billionaires (WP Opinion: ‘Think twice before changing the tax rules to soak billionaires’).
Yesterday Elon Musk, also a multibillionaire, launched a hostile takeover of the messenger service Twitter. He claims, to allow for more ‘free speech’. Twitter has been criticized on the Left and Right for suppressing certain voices and information. It is seemingly directed by the mainstream ‘woke liberal’ view of the world that is currently promoting a war against Russia. The reasoning it has recently given for kicking Scott Ritter and Pepe Escobar, as well as other well-known writers from its service, otherwise makes no sense.
Musk’s offer threw the mainstream pro-war ‘woke liberals’ as well as their neoconservatives allies into a frenzy. Without a hint of irony a Washington Post writer opined against Musk’s takeover offer (WP Opinion: ‘Musk’s Twitter takeover bid is ‘peak billionaire’ – What does it mean when a billionaire can almost single-handedly swoop in and eat up this sort of communications platform? The easy answer is nothing good.’)
Yeah. Just ask Bezos or any WP reader, or Mark Zuckerberg and Facebook & WhatsAp users, or the billionaires who own Google and Youtube. They all are system errors of capitalism. They should not exist. Tax codes should be designed to eliminate them.
WP Warmongers like Max Boot are especially fearful that some communication channel may become less censored and allow people who oppose his positions: ‘I am frightened by the impact on society and politics if Elon Musk acquires Twitter. He seems to believe that on social media anything goes. For democracy to survive, we need more content moderation, not less.’
In his own Washington Post column Boot explains what kind of content he wants to have censored: ‘Political extremists dominate social media, [social psychologist Jonathan Haidt of NY University] says. A survey in 2017-18 found, 70% of those called progressive activists had shared political content over the previous year, while the far right was the second-most prolific, at 56%. Most normal people don’t post any political content at all, but they are shaped by what they see from the extremes. ‘Recent academic studies suggest,’ Haidt writes, ‘that social media is indeed corrosive to trust in governments, news media, and people and institutions in general. …Social media amplifies political polarization; foments populism, especially rightwing populism; and is associated with the spread of misinformation… Why isn’t everyone as docile as ‘normal people’? Why would anyone ever doubt ‘governments, news media and people and institutions in general’? Why is anyone criticizing me? This cannot be allowed!’ – ee Media, Liberals Frenzy
B. Special Focus_
B1. An Alternative to the IMF – Kasun Thilina
Since the Sri Lankan government has already decided to go to the IMF, we need to design a roadmap to negotiate terms to minimize the long-term damage to the economy by any ‘Structural Adjustments’ demanded by the IMF. IMF ‘Structural Adjustments‘ usually demand privatization, liberalization of trade and foreign investment, deregulation and reduction of government deficits, to prevent modern industrialization.
• For future borrowings, Sri Lanka should seek a ‘government to government’ bilateral model.
• The government should always avoid the ISB-financing model, and must not issue International Sovereign Bonds.
• We need to build an industrial plan with short-term and medium-term goals, including import substitution, energy development, agricultural development, export development, and digitalization.
• We need a long-term plan to increase high-value-addition exports.
• We need to focus on import austerity for superficial consumption and luxury consumer imports.
• We need to set up an Exim bank on a PPP (public-private partnership) basis.
• We should construct a transparent well-guided mechanism for investments. Choosing partners for investments should be within the boundaries of the industrial plan, and it should reach for optimal outcomes.
• Price stability and currency stability tasks should be carefully negotiated with the IMF. Structural adjustments should not interfere with price stability and currency stability tasks: eg, to stabilize paddy prices, the Paddy Marketing Board should increase its capacity. In such instances, structural adjustments should not interfere with this process.
• Within the industrial plan, we need to find suitable global, state and non-state entities with both investment capacity and industrial capacity.
• Each investor country has its own specialization: eg, India could be a good raw-material importer, while China, Japan can be good exporters and provide industrial expertise.
• Each loss-making SOE (state-owned enterprise) should be tasked with a productivity-driven restructuring process. The restructuring process should be decided according to the industrial plan given to each particular SOE. Each SOE should find its industrial shortfalls compared to the global players, and seek suitable partners to cooperate with.
• Models of restructuring could range from PPP/Capital market to PPP/Private investor.
B2. Can Sri Lanka Find a Way out of its Economic Crisis? – Zhang Xiaoyu
Sri Lanka has been plunged into the worst economic crisis since its independence in 1948, after President Gotabaya Rajapaksa announced an economic emergency in September 2021. According to the country’s Central Bank, there is only $2billion foreign-exchange reserves and $1billion worth of notes maturing in July 2022. The country’s debt-to-GDP has increased from 85% in 2019 to 104% in 2021. The current foreign-exchange shortage has led to great difficulties in obtaining the supply of daily necessities, including fuel, electricity, paper, etc. The country is facing hours of power cuts each day… The general inflation rate in the country is more than 17% and the food inflation rate reached 30.2% in March.
Sri Lankan mainstream media outlets said some of the inefficient governance measures led to the current crisis. However, some Western media are circulating the untrue claim that it is China’s ‘debt trap’ that led Sri Lanka to fall into the economic crisis. The statistics of the Sri Lankan government reveal the debt structure of the country is complex. Colombo borrowed the most from the [ISB] global capital market, which constitutes 47% of its total debt, then comes the Asian Development Bank (ADB) with 13%, Japan 10%, China 10%, the World Bank 9% and India 2%. It proves their so-called ‘debt trap’ does not jibe with the facts and is fabricated to mislead Sri Lankans and even the international community.
There is a saying that no root, no fruit. The country’s economic crisis has been years in the making. The direct cause is the Covid-19 pandemic. After the global outbreak, Sri Lanka’s tourism sector, a cornerstone of the economy, was devastated. The tourism industry lost more than $4billion each year since 2020, accounting for 10% of GDP. At the same time, remittance from Sri Lankan workers overseas, which accounts for 26% of the country’s foreign exchange, experienced a sharp decrease of 22.7% in 2021. These two factors greatly contributed to the fluidity of the country’s foreign-exchange reserves…
Meanwhile, Sri Lanka’s domestic economy has not been transformed and upgraded since the recovery from the civil war. The country did not find its position in the global industrial supply chain. After the civil war ended in 2009, the country has promoted economic and social development through vigorous construction of infrastructure and improvement of business environment. The economic growth rate quickly rebounded. According to the World Bank, Sri Lanka’s GDP growth rate reached 8% in 2010, 8.4% in 2011 and 9.1% in 2012.
Unfortunately, the government has not seized the change to restructure Sri Lanka’s economy and put forward large-scale reforms. Growth has been driven by construction & domestic retail, neither of which can be traded on the global market. Sri Lanka’s exports remain concentrated in textiles and agricultural products such as tea and rubber, which remain the country’s main source of foreign exchange. With the rapid improvement of manufacturing in the rest of the world, Sri Lanka’s garment exports are also losing its competitiveness.
In addition, the main means of production and daily necessities are highly dependent on imports and that makes the overall economic resilience weak. Economic growth is lagging since 2013. The GDP growth rate dropped to 3.4% in 2013, and only 2.3% in 2019. Sri Lanka’s GDP growth rebounded to 8% in the first half of 2021, as its economy contracted 3.6% in 2020. The fiscal deficit and domestic inflation have actually worsened.
Facing such a difficult situation, there are no quick fixes for Sri Lanka. The urgent task is to ensure domestic stability. Without social stability, there can never be development.
In the long term, it is important for Sri Lanka to make suitable strategic choices. A time-tested and trustworthy partner like China favors Sri Lanka’s interests. China and Sri Lanka enjoy deep traditional friendship and a solid foundation for cooperation. Back in the early days of the founding of the PRC, China was in urgent need of importing a variety of materials, including rubber. At the time, the price of rubber, the mainstay of Sri Lanka’s exports, had plummeted, while the import of rice had tripled. Against this background, China and Sri Lanka signed the Rubber-Rice Pact in 1952, which has played an important role in promoting social and economic recovery and development of the two countries.
The spirit of ‘independence, self-improvement, unity and mutual assistance’ embodied in the Rubber-Rice Pact, which is still adaptable for today’s development trend. Moreover, the economic and trade cooperation between China and Sri Lanka has reached a new level under the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI), and China has become the largest trading partner of Sri Lanka.
Since the outbreak of Covid-19, the two countries stand with each other in all aspects, including vaccines and medical equipments. China has agreed to a 10bn-yuan swap agreement with Sri Lanka in December to help alleviate Sri Lanka’s economic emergency. All these facts are true reflections of the ‘sincere mutual assistance and everlasting friendship’ strategic cooperative partnership between the two countries.
Moreover, the Sri Lankan government needs to adjust the country’s economic structure. Once the situation gets better, more and more focus should be put on the digital economy. According to the World Bank, Sri Lanka’s telecom sector is already producing 32% more than before the pandemic, its information-technology sector has expanded by 20%, and the financial services sector by 28%. From this perspective, Sri Lanka has a promising future in developing digital technology and services.
Meanwhile, the supply chain dynamics can get improved with the help of China. Greater investments should be made in education and social protection to develop the domestic labor market. Many countries have emerged stronger from a crisis, and Sri Lanka should not be an exception.
(the author is a research fellow at Centre for BRICS Studies at the Communication University of China and a distinguished fellow at South Asian Studies Center at Xiangtan University: email@example.com – globaltimes.cn/page/202204/1257568.shtml)
B3. Wall Street Decides IMF Default Game – Jerome Roos
…Creditors, private or official, shape outcomes to their own advantage, delaying and designing inevitable debt restructurings to minimize losses and maximize profits. Moral considerations and economic reason ultimately count for far less than the power of finance and the narrow self-interest of the dominant creditor states and banks.
Some therefore advocate a sovereign bankruptcy regime, to provide for a more neutral arbitration process and thereby lead to more equitable outcomes in international crisis management. By institutionalizing bankruptcy procedures at the global level (modeled on the US Bankruptcy Code provisions for insolvent municipalities), debtor states can be protected from the predatory behavior of speculative investors – especially vulture funds – demanding ‘the last pound of flesh.’
Yet this too ultimately encounters the same hard reality of international power politics as the ad hoc approach. The IMF’s sovereign debt restructuring mechanism (SDRM) was scuppered by fierce opposition from Wall Street, which wielded both its instrumental power over the US government (through aggressive lobbying) and its structural power over the debtors (through the internalization of market discipline among important borrowers like Mexico, which ended up opposing the SDRM for fear that it would raise its borrowing costs) in order to defeat the proposal before it even saw the light of day. The Greek debt crisis and Argentina’s protracted battle with the vulture funds supports a sovereign bankruptcy regime, but it cannot be implemented without the active support of the dominant creditor states, which will be opposed by their own powerful banks and financial institutions.
Heavily indebted states have to prepare for the economic fallout before unilaterally suspending its external debt service, signaling clearly to its creditors that it is unable to pay and will only resume its debt service following a successful restructuring of the outstanding obligations to reach a sustainable new level of indebtedness.
Ordinary citizens in the debtor country could be insulated from the resultant spillover costs through special exemptions, guarantees, and compensations for depositors and small investors like pensioners.
The Bolsheviks repudiated the tsar’s debt in 1918 and explicitly exempted small bondholders, which shielded ordinary workers from some of the immediate costs of the default.
Thomas Piketty has suggested raising a one-off tax on capital to repay the public debt in one fell swoop – although a similar exceptional tax on capital could also be used ex post to compensate small bondholders for their losses in the event of a default.
In sum, governments do have some tools at their disposal to ensure that the poor do not end up paying for a crisis caused by the speculative investments of the rich.
The declaration of a unilateral debt moratorium has the added advantage of restoring the initiative in future debt negotiations to the debtor: while creditors are unlikely to agree to meaningful debt relief as long as they are receiving 100 cents on the dollar, they may reconsider their position after several years of receiving nothing at all. If a borrower resolves to halt its debt service and manages to cushion the immediate economic impact and bridge the brief period that it is likely to be locked out of international capital markets, it can therefore wield its unilateral default to extract better terms in subsequent debt negotiations, possibly leading to a more debtor-friendly outcome overall. The immediate spillover costs of default are likely to be very painful, but if historical experience is anything to go by they will likely give way to recovery within 6 months to one or 2 years at most. Since foreign investors tend to have relatively short memories, long-term exclusion from international capital markets should not be an issue of concern; indeed, history confirms that even following an exceptionally coercive restructuring the money will quickly start flowing in again once debt service is resumed. While this book has amply demonstrated how the short- term spillover costs of default generally make an outright suspension of payments a highly unattractive option for policymakers, a good argument could be made that in exceptional cases – like Argentina’s in 2001 or Greece’s in 2015 – it may still be preferable to the long-term consequences of endless austerity and fire-sale privatizations, whose costs may never be recovered in full.
Alternatively, or in addition, a sovereign borrower could even opt to repudiate or reject liability over certain obligations outright. In the years since the developing country debt crisis of the 1980s, a growing number of scholars and activists have advocated such an approach on the basis of the idea that many heavily indebted countries’ obligations are in fact ‘odious.’ The concept of odious debt was first developed by the legal theorist Alexander Sack in 1927, who argued that a loan cannot be considered binding upon the nation if it was contracted without the consent and benefit of the general public. The basic idea is that, insofar as it can be proven that creditors were aware of this fact when they first extended the loan, the debt fails to qualify as an obligation of the nation and instead constitutes a personal debt of the ruler, meaning that its binding nature legally expires along with the fall of the regime or government that contracted the original loan.
In recent years, the concept of odious debt was perhaps most prominently drawn upon by Rafael Correa in an attempt to legitimize the Ecuadorian payment suspension and debt buyback of 2008. After a debt audit commission made up of representatives from grassroots movements, civil society organizations, and government institutions concluded that part of the country’s obligations concluded since the 1970s were indeed odious, Correa declared a unilateral moratorium on two-thirds of Ecuador’s outstanding foreign commercial obligations; an uncompromising position his government maintained for six months, during which it secretly instructed the US investment bank Lazard to begin buying back its defaulted bonds on secondary markets at discounts as low as 20 cents on the dollar. Through this neat trick, the government succeeded in purchasing over 90 percent of its own worthless obligations, extinguishing $3.2billion in external debt in the process, for a cost of only $900million. According to Éric Toussaint, spokesperson of the Committee for the Abolition of Third World Debt (CADTM) who also served on the Ecuadorian audit committee, the total savings from the default (including interest) amounted to $7billion, ‘which became available for social spending for items such as health care, education and infrastructure development.’
Today, Ecuador’s default stands out as an exceptional case in which a developing country defied its foreign creditors without suffering debilitating economic spillover costs. The fact remains, however, that the relatively successful outcome of Correa’s confrontational debt strategy occurred under the same favorable external conditions as Argentina’s debt restructuring of 2005. As in the latter case, the international commodity boom rendered Ecuador much less dependent on international capital markets and international financial institutions, contributing to a breakdown of the first and second enforcement mechanisms. Combined with intense popular pressure from below, in the form of mass mobilizations that contributed to the ouster of several presidents in the years preceding the default, disarming the third mechanism of internalized debtor discipline in the process, these external conditions greatly expanded the government’s room for maneuver compared to the capital-scarce environment it had encountered in the 1980s and 1990s. Under less forgiving external conditions, the situation might have been very different, leaving Ecuador considerably more vulnerable to a strong market reaction and aggressive official creditor intervention.
In normal circumstances, unilateral default strategies therefore run into the same set of constraints that all other solutions to debt cancellation have encountered over the past 4 decades: the structural power of finance. Clearly, unilateral solutions alone cannot resolve the systemic problem of the debtors’ limited policy autonomy – at least not in the absence of a broader shift in the international balance of forces underpinning the creditor-friendly status quo.
Again, nowhere were the asymmetric power dynamics between debtors and creditors more clearly on display than in Greece in 2015, during the standoff between the Syriza government and the Troika of foreign lenders. Earlier that year, the same Éric Toussaint of the CADTM had been appointed spokesperson of the Greek Truth Committee on Public Debt, which in a preliminary report found the majority of the country’s obligations to be ‘illegal, illegitimate, odious and/or unsustainable,’ recommending a unilateral payment suspension followed by a full citizens’ audit of the debt. As we saw in the last chapter of this book, however, the absence of adequate preparations on the part of the Greek government meant that the balance of forces – both between Greece and the Troika, and within Syriza itself—remained fundamentally stacked against such radical unilateral measures. While a plausible case can be made that Greece would indeed have been better off suspending payments rather than swallowing the draconian conditions of a third EU bailout, having economic reason and international law on one’s side is clearly not enough to bring about a positive outcome in the realm of domestic and international power politics, where right generally fails to automatically translate into might. In the absence of a broader international political response, little is likely to change at the level of individual policy outcomes.
In sum, for a formal debt repudiation to be both declared and accepted, without the debtor suffering debilitating spillover costs, and for the doctrine of odious debt to have any legal effect beyond the parliament or courts of the borrowing state itself, it would have to be recognized by debtor and creditor.
The doctrine of odious debt has not been formally enshrined in international law and has never been officially invoked by any debtor country in a multilateral restructuring process. British and New York law, under which most peripheral states’ sovereign bonds are contracted, simply do not recognize the concept. As a result, even countries like South Africa and Iraq, which were often said to have an exemplary right to the cancellation of odious debts contracted under defunct despotic regimes, explicitly declined to invoke the doctrine: after the US occupation and the overthrow of Saddam Hussein, Iraq obtained 80 percent debt relief from the Paris Club on grounds of ‘necessity,’ while South Africa continued to service the debts of the Apartheid regime. Even legal scholars who are otherwise sympathetic to debtor interests therefore tend to conclude that, ‘although the doctrine may provide a useful platform for political rhetoric or to sway public opinion, alone it has not proved to be a basis for debt repudiation.’
If both multilateral and unilateral solutions ultimately run up against the limits set by international finance, how are we to address the enormous challenges posed to social justice and democracy by towering public debt loads and recurring financial crises?
As I have sought to demonstrate in this book, there are structural factors at play behind the prevailing outcomes of international crisis management. It therefore follows that both isolated unilateral action and ad hoc multilateral renegotiations, even if they may certainly offer a short-term palliative for a distressed sovereign borrower, ultimately cannot provide a general solution to the contemporary problem of sovereign debt bondage.
The only enduring solution would be a structural solution flowing from a concerted bottom-up challenge to the asymmetric power relations at the heart of the global political economy.
Instead of seeking to redress the inequities wrought by globalization, financialization and neoliberal crisis management purely at the level of legal solutions or individual policy outcomes, future political action will have to confront these problems at the level of their underlying causes and the overarching systemic frameworks in which they arose in the first place.
Without a determined international pushback against the structural power of finance, building on mass social mobilizations and active popular participation in both the creditor and the debtor countries, working people everywhere – North and South alike – are likely to continue to foot the bill for repeated financial boom-and-bust cycles.
Only through a transformative political project that resolves to overcome humanity’s collective dependence on highly concentrated international credit markets, and only with an emancipatory and strategic political vision that transcends national boundaries and brings together what the
Burkinabé revolutionary Thomas Sankara once called for a ‘united front against debt,’ to make serious inroads against the ascendancy of finance and the turbulent world it has created in its image.
While transformative structural change will inevitably take time, the basic contours for a democratic countermovement are already beginning to emerge from below…
One of the first main challenges in this respect will be to devise innovative and productive new ways to bring finance under democratic control, so that it can finally begin to fulfill its public function of credit allocation and financial intermediation without subjecting entire populations to the profit motive of a handful of private banks and institutional investors.
(Jerome Roos, 2019, Why not Default? The Political Economy of Sovereign Debt)
C. News Index______________________________________________
• ee News Index provides headlines & links to make sense of the weekly focus of published English ‘business news’ to expose the backwardness of multinational, corporate 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 (machine-making) industrialization fueled by a producer culture.
• Foreign Ambassadors are telling us how to behave
• US Assistant Secretary Donald Lu briefs US Senate Foreign Relations Committee on pushing Sri Lanka, Pakistan and India
– youtube.com/watch?v=DS74tCiflB4 (edited)
• Tamil Nadu Chief Minister’s appeal to Centre on Sri Lanka humanitarian aid
• How did President End Up Holding the Entire Bucket of Faeces?
• Sri Lanka Is The Latest Victim Of The US’ “South Asian Spring”
• Accusations over China creating a ‘debt trap’ in Sri Lanka an organized smear by the West & India against BRI
• Rumors behind ‘China debt trap’: How Western and Indian conspiracists smear China-Sri Lanka cooperation
• US exposes Lanka over Zuberi, Wickramasuriya affairs
• High Commissioner Moragoda meets Finance Minister of India to review economic cooperation
• Non-Aligned Movement (NAM) envoys briefed on post-Mirihana situation
• UN experts condemn crackdown on protests
• Canadian Mayor Patrick Brown and his surrogate Tamil Family
• US attempts to rope in India while holding a human rights stick
• USA ‘spared no effort’ to push India on UN vote to condemn Russia
• India highlights loopholes of US’ ‘Ukrainian narrative’: Global Times editorial
• Imran Khan ousted as Pakistan’s PM after key vote
‘an independent foreign policy, his lack of dependence and his rejection of the establishment of foreign bases on Pakistani territory; for which he branded the plan as the “biggest crime in history”’
• Futile for US to sow discords between Pakistan and China
• Shame on freedom as US and Australia threaten Solomons
• Asian fault lines of Biden’s war on Russia
‘As relations with Tokyo sour, Moscow beefs up the coastal defence systems on the Kuril Islands that Japan claims as its own…“The United States simply can’t avoid the reality that it has to contain both Russia and China simultaneously.”
• US Monitoring “Rise In Human Rights Abuses” In India: Antony Blinken
• War in Ukraine and its implications in South Asia
• US Military Intelligence Official Refutes ‘Russian Atrocities’ Claims
• How the USA Does ‘Diplomacy’
‘The USA doesn’t do diplomacy. Every country has its own interests. But the U.S. and its pricks in the State Department insist that its interests must have priority over all others. Any country that disagrees with that will be called out on this or that issue or will even get sanctioned.’
• Russia’s Ukraine operation has no deadline
‘Fall is imminent of Azovstal iron and steel works, Mariupol, where thousands of Ukrainian soldiers and NATO officers are trapped.’
• NATO Expansion: What Gorbachev Heard
• US arms, training, and other assistance to the neo-Nazi Ukrainian militia, the Azov Battalion
• The Reasons For And Dangers Behind The War In Ukraine
• US Officials Admit They’re Literally Just Lying To The Public About Russia
• More than 150 wounded as Israeli soldiers crack down on worshipers at Al-Aqsa Mosque
• African countries prepare for Gulf of Guinea Summit
• Notes from Wartorn Ethiopia
‘The Chinese are building roads and electricity infrastructure, the first steps toward development, while US policymakers sponsor the TPLF, who chased the Chinese off and incapacitated the electricity and thus the plumbing for nine poor towns’
• Imperialism at root of the Ukraine and other crises, socialism the solution – Socialist Party of Zambia
• ‘We Will Prevail’: Cuba’s President Miguel Díaz-Canel
• US’s Flaunting of Diplomatic Immunity – Imprisoned Venezuelan Diplomat Contests Extraterritorial Judicial Abuse
• 1,000s of US Public Safety (DPS) and National Guard Agents on Border with Mexico
• Former CEO of The Asia Group, now US National Security Council Coordinator for Indo-Pacific links to 3 weapons manufacturers: Lockheed Martin, Northrop Grumman & Raytheon.
‘Spouse of Lael Brainard, Fed Governor and Nominee for Fed Vice Chair’
• Who Will Hold the US/EU/NATO Accountable For Its Many War Crimes?
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.
• Rev Fr Cyril Gamini: judge, jury, prosecutor and pernicious rabble-rouser
• Body of missing sailor found in Northern sea
• Kuttigala Police Officer who joined protest at Galle Face taken in for questioning
• Cardinal: ‘We know Easter Sunday carnage conspirators’
• Uganda to be blacklisted over money laundering
• International Law and “European Civilisation”
• US President Joe Biden proposing $30 billion to states and localities to hire more police
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 a modern industrial country.
• International Monetary Fund (IMF) spring meetings in Washington on April 18 -24
• Sri Lanka Seeking Up to $4 Billion as IMF Talks Set to Start
• Finance Ministry on ‘Interim Policy Regarding Servicing of Sri Lanka’s External Public Debt’
• Sri Lanka crisis shows risk of US sanctions to developing nations
• Can Sri Lanka find a way out of its economic crisis?
• The Government must actively intervene to control prices – Vitarana
• Eurasian integration is a pre-requisite for de-dollarizing Sri Lanka – Shiran Illanperuma
• Ex-Auditor General calls for constitutional reform, structural change
‘Protect local agriculture from foreign markets…Protect local industries and products from competition in foreign markets’
• Is Sri Lanka robbing the Loan Sharks? – Nalin de Silva
• Let’s End Undiyal – Nalin de Silva
• IMF agreement is reliant on it being tabled in Parliament for approval – LankaWeb Editorial
• IMF backs Sri Lanka ‘dialogue’ amid ratings downgrades
• New Central Bank governor was criticised over ‘bond scam’
• New CB Governor asks people to brace for more hardships; economy can be “turned around”
• New CBSL Chief finds Cabraal’s exchange rate management faulty
• New CBSL Chief to fast-track IMF support program, foreign debt restructuring
• I came to serve the people and not any politician – CBSL Governor
• Sudden float of rupee was a bad idea: new CB Governor
• No new Chinese investment under this government has come to the country – Ranil
• Sri Lanka needs not a change of Govt but a change of systems: Ranil
• Sovereign rating downgrades likely, warn local economists
• State-owned enterprises are a huge burden on the public purse – Sanderatne
• Welcome Nandalal and Mahinda: But you both have Herculean tasks ahead – Wijewardena
‘a new central banking bill giving additional independence to the Central Bank drafted by a committee headed by Nandalal when he was in the Bank previously’
• Political stability prerequisite for talks with IMF – former CBSL Dy Governor Wijewardena
• Western countries must pay in gold or ruble to buy Russian oil and gas – Abeyratne
• Has Sri Lanka become a poor country? Seek IMF and other assistance – Laksiri Fernando
• Sri Lanka currency crisis: IMF ‘very concerned’ as Treasury, CB talks begin
• Finance Minister to hold virtual meeting with IMF today
• Debt restructuring talks with bondholders and IMF discussion to run parallel
• SL calls proposals to appoint financial & legal advisors to restructure debt, negotiate with IMF
• Competent professionals must be appointed to negotiate with international financial institutions
• Sri Lanka makes its first debt default since it gained independence
• Parliament, parliamentarians and IMF facility – Editorial
‘The three members of the advisory committee are well versed in the workings of the IMF having at different times headed departments of that organization. If our country is to receive the IMF facility, it is the poor who will suffer most from the conditions and policies imposed by that organization’
• US Georgetown University’s Devarajan on Sri Lanka Debt Crisis
• Social turmoil Lanka’s biggest risk, ex-World Bank official
• Jayamaha and Jayawardena to continue as Monetary Board’s appointed members
• New CBSL Chief welcomes continuity of Monetary Board members
• Harsha says entire Monetary Board must go
• Demystifying debt restructuring
‘Around 90% of our foreign debt is made up of three main components: bilateral loans, multilateral loans and ISBs. Each of these debt types have a unique set of creditors with differentiating profiles.’
• Sri Lanka bondholders brace for big losses in debt restructuring
• Independent economists present an Emergency Plan to address the economic crisis
‘The independent economists who are signatories to the document are Aneetha Warusavitarana, Anushka Wijesinha, Anushka Wijesinha, Asanka Wijesinghe, Chayu Damsinghe, Daniel Alphonsus, Deshal de Mel, Naqiya Shiraz, Rehana Thowfeek, Shiran Fernando, Thilina Panduwawala and Umesh Moramudali.’
• Need for an independent Central Bank – Professor Nalin Abeysekera
• Resuscitate the economy with the help of the IMF and friendly countries – The Island
• China Hesitates on Bailing Out Sri Lanka, Pakistan as Debt Soars
‘“It is necessary to implement risk prevention and control systems,” Xi said. He called on participants to make “small but beautiful” projects a priority for foreign cooperation and “avoid dangerous and chaotic places.”’
• Sri Lanka Warns Of Foreign Debt Default To Save Dollars Amid Socio-Economic Crisis
‘“The market was expecting this default to come,” said Carl Wong, head of fixed income at Avenue Asset Management. “Now we have to see how the new government handles the onshore chaos while talking to IMF,” Wong said. Nomura Holdings Inc. suggests an “Ecuador-style debt restructuring” could be on the table.’
• Deeply concerned about ‘highly’ uncertain economic outlook in Sri Lanka: World Bank
• Sri Lanka stopped from going to IMF by Attygalle, Jayasundera, Cabraal: Finance Minister
• Sovereign rating downgrades likely, warn local economists
• Swedish-based asset manager highlights botched rupee float by CB under Cabraal
• S&P downgrades Sri Lanka’s foreign currency rating amid economic crisis
• Fitch Ratings further depreciates Sri Lanka’s Long term Foreign Currency IDR
• Fitch downgrades Sri Lanka sovereign rating to C, RD after payment missed
• Sri Lanka state & private banks on watch for downgrade: Fitch
• Fitch rates Sri Lanka’s Bank of Ceylon ‘CCC’….on watch for possible downgrade
• Fitch downgrades SriLankan’s govt-guaranteed USD 175 Mn bonds to “C”
• The True Cost of Austerity and Inequality – Greece Case Study by Oxfam
• Climate change and wars
‘Countries of the ‘global North’ (Europe, the United States, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, Israel and Japan) are responsible for 92% of total emissions that are causing climate breakdown… total emissions from war-related activity in Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan and Syria to be estimated at more than 400 million metric tonnes of carbon dioxide alone.’
• Putin’s War Is Damaging the Developing World – Jayati Ghosh
‘benchmark Brent crude recently jumped by 20% to more than $139 per barrel, its highest level since 2008 – probably in response to news NATO discussing a possible ban on imports of Russian oil’
• US Fed to raise rates aggressively in coming months, say economists
C4. Economy (Usually reported in monetary terms)
ee Economy section shows how media usually measures economy by false indices like GDP, etc., in monetary terms, confusing money and capital, constantly calling for privatization, deregulation, moaning about debt & balance of payments, without stating the need for modern industrial production.
• Sri Lanka debt restructuring could take months: S&P
• Fitch has rated 13 state and private banks in Sri Lanka under watch for possible downgrade
• Fitch Places 13 Sri Lankan Banks on Rating Watch Negative
• Sri Lanka treasury to curb government spending ahead of IMF deal
• Sri Lanka temporarily halts foreign debt repayments pending a programme of IMF
• Categories of suspended external debt
• Sri Lanka Central Bank pleads for forex donations from overseas Sri Lankans
• Sri Lanka Development Bonds excluded from re-structuring
• Sri Lanka begins preliminary talks with IMF on a funding facility
• IMF says it welcomes Sri Lanka’s plans to engage with creditors
• Sri Lanka may quality [sic!] for 400-pct plus quota EFF from IMF: CB Governor
• 2016 IMF package harmed the economy’s health – India’s Observer Research
• Sri Lanka to seek US$ 3 bn external assistance to stave off crisis – Sabry
‘J.P. Morgan analysts estimated this week that Sri Lanka’s gross debt servicing would amount to US$ 7 billion this year, with a current account deficit of around US$ 3 billion.’
– island.lk/sri-lanka-to-seek-us-3-billion-bridge-funding-as-country-readies-for-negotiations-with-imf/– sundaytimes.lk/220410/news/sabry-seeks-3-billion-in-external-assitance-to-stave-off-crisis-at-least-for-six-months-479568.html
• We will not ignore poor while seeking IMF assistance, Sri Lankan Finance Minister
• Sri Lanka seeks US$500mn from World Bank: Sabry
• India open to additional $2 bln aid for Sri Lanka with eye on China
‘New Delhi was keen for its southern neighbor to cut its reliance on China. “We want them to reduce their debt levels from China and we want to become stronger partners…”
• India says its aid to Lanka could be part of bridge financing ahead of IMF help
• Sri Lanka’s foreign reserves down by US $ 372mn to US $ 1.93bn by end-March
• CB lifts caps on select lending products after aggressive rate hike
• Sri Lanka central bank US$3.6bn in net debt, large quasi-fiscal losses from March
• Rupee plunges further, USD at Rs. 330/-
• Sri Lanka’s commercial bank sells dollar around 335
• Treasury bill yields jump setting multi-year highs
• Treasury bill rates hit 25-year highs
• Private credit growth eases in Feb. in response to rising rates, uncertainty
• Sri Lanka slashes surrender rule to 25-pct of bank dollar receipts
• Nepal restricts imports to save cash, suspends central bank governor
• Inflation Protests Erupt Across Peru As President Imposes Curfew, Calls In Military
• Pandora Papers shine light on a global shadow economy that helps corruption thrive: ICIJ
• Where Will The Food Riots Start?
‘Global food prices have never risen so fast and have never been so high’
• The Forest and the Tree: Ben and Jerry’s, Unilever, and Global Capitalist Apartheid
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
• Protestors – Go After Secretaries/Envoys/Senior Public Servants
• Sri Lanka’s daily income earners wonder whether they are gone for now, or gone for good
• Cabinet secretaries call to temporarily stop recruitment to the public sector.
• Economy at breaking point, job losses feared
• 35,000 Teacher transfers to resume after a two year lapse
• Another 19 Sri Lankan refugees reached Rameswaram via boat
• Academics et al call for concretising democratic moment into sustained political action
‘Deregulation and privatization have become the norm. Today, we rely on remittances of exploited migrant workers and heavy international borrowing, instead of developing production along viable lines, leading to self-sufficiency. In the event of IMF intervention, we should keep the above in mind.’
• Defusing the ‘unemployment’ ticking bomb: A herculean task for the new political dispensation
• British Council hosts networking event with representatives from top English universities
‘Our latest statistics indicate a 369% growth in Sri Lankan student numbers’
• UNESCO warns that 132 million children do not go to school
• How Does AI-Surveillance at the Workplace Affect Workers?
• Workers’ Rights and Chile’s Constitutional Convention
• Canada’s Spiralling Cost of Living Crisis
C6. Agriculture (Robbery of rural home market; Machines, if used, mainly imported)
ee Agriculture emphasizes the failure to industrialize an agriculture that keeps the cultivator impoverished under moneylender and merchant, and the need to develop the rural home market, monetization and commercialization, to produce, rather than import, agricultural machinery.
• Shantha Bandara replaces Shasheendra Rajapaksa as the Agri promotion state minister
• Excessive sugar imports caused dollar drain, consumers did not receive benefit of tax cuts
• Essential food importers struggling to settle US $ 50mn owed to suppliers
• Scarcity of paddy could surface during Yala season: Rice Producers’ Assn.
• Another consignment of rice arrives from India
• Coconut industry wants fertiliser or face imminent collapse
‘At least 80, 000 MT of fertiliser is required annually for the coconut sector…75 per cent of the coconut lands with an extent of five acres and below is spread among one million growers who are mainly smallholders.’
• Ceylon Tea on a week’s fuel
• Germany supports Sri Lankan SMEs to showcase their agri-food products
‘Germany remains the fourth most important export market for SL behind the US, England, and India’
• AmCham SL Founder Showcase 2022 conducted in collaboration with Good Market Sri Lanka
‘supported by Grant Partner Fairfirst Insurance and Event Partners MOSH, Munchee Kome, Kerry Logistics, IAS Holdings, Nations Trust Bank, Nrich Care, and Robbialac’
• Forest land cleared for papaya plantation, temple claims ownership
• Italy vetos purchase of vegetable seed producer Verisem by Switzerland-based Chinese-owned Syngenta
C7. Industry (False definitions, anti-industrial sermons, rentier/entrepreneur, etc)
ee Industry notes the ignorance about industrialization (versus handicraft and manufacture), the dependence on importing foreign machinery, the need to make machines that make machines, build a producer culture. False definitions of industry, entrepreneur, etc, abound, and the need for a holistic political, economic and military strategy to overcome domination by merchants and moneylenders.
• Leasing companies want to seize vehicles of around five million distressed persons
• Food processors industry employs over 600,000 people
‘1.7 million farmers who cultivate below two acres of land’
• Import restrictions on 367 non-essential goods extended
• Urgent need to look at ‘availability, accessibility and affordability’ of essential drugs
• Drug firms receive 20% price jump for non-price-controlled medicines
• A five-point plan to address critical medicinal shortage from health experts
• GMPA accuses Health Ministry of not taking inventory of medicine to prepare for shortage
• Donors have no trust in Govt. or health ministry to give essential medicines: GMOA
• World Bank to grant USD 10 mln for essential drugs – Finance Minister
• Shortage of drugs and devices leads to acute crisis
• Lanka Coal Co. scrambling to find dollars for Swiss Singapore Overseas Enterprise
• Hydropower contributes 30% to national grid after rains
• Fuel distribution under State Ministry of Home Affairs
• USD 500 mn credit line to procure petroleum products: Govt. wants India to double facility
• Ceylon Petroleum Corporation incurs heavy loss; Rs. 800 and 1,000mn per day
• Sri Lanka could run out of fuel by second week of May, says former PM
• CPC program initiated to directly supply fuel for export industry
• Sri Lanka imports oil without letters of credit
• Pumping fuel for light vehicles limited
• Sri Lanka’s Litro Gas chief resigns, slams ministers, govt, import mafia, for crisis
• Sri Lanka rations fuel to motorists as currency crisis continues
• CPC’s notice to owners of petroleum bowsers
• Crisis-Hit Lanka Seeks India’s Help For Cooking Gas Supply
• Cochin port benefits as shipping lines skip Colombo
• SriLankan Airlines US$175mn bond downgraded to C by Fitch
• SriLankan Airlines seeks to lease up to 21 aircraft
• UNP demands UL cancels proposals to lease new aircrafts
• Indian Auto companies slam brakes on Sri Lanka exports, production
‘Tata Motors have been exporting vehicle kits to distributors in Sri Lanka, others such as Mahindra & Mahindra, Ashok Leyland and TVS Motors have local assembly operations in the country.’
• Seminar on Resilience in transportation system to mitigate current economic crisis
‘The Supply Chain, Logistic and Transport Committee of the Organisation of Professional Associations of Sri Lanka, in association with the Institute of Supply and Materials Management…Speakers were Prof Amal Kumarage, Senior Professor, Dept of Transport and Logistics Management, University of Moratuwa, Subashini Abeysinghe, Research Director, Verite Research and Dr Niles Perera, Senior Lecturer, Dept of Transport and Logistics Management, University of Moratuwa.’
• Indian Automobile Industry Sees 6% Degrowth in FY22; 2-Wheeler Sales Lowest in 10 Years
• Ten Kenyan Oil CEOs face jail and fines in fuel crisis probe
‘Government officials blame the shortage on oil marketing companies, accusing them of breaching the rules on minimum stocks and hoarding supplies ahead of Thursday’s monthly price review, which saw pump prices increase by Sh9.90 per litre from midnight’
• The making of a fuel shortage crisis
• How fuel consumers were caught in the war between bureaucrats and distributors
• U.S. president suspends rule limiting ethanol in gas as inflation jumps
• Ramping Up Privatization of Ontario Healthcare System
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., and the rule of moneylenders, preventing investment in modern production.
• Rs. 2 trillion in value wiped off; battered margin traders seek easing of ‘forced selling’ rules
• ICRA Lanka Limited upgrades India’s Asia Asset Finance PLC credit rating
‘AAF is a 73% owned subsidiary of Muthoot Finance Limited (MFL), which is the largest Gold Loan Finance Company in India’
• Margin providers meet SEC for moratorium
• Is future of emerging markets private equity?
• Dutch bank ABN AMRO apologizes for role in slave trade
• On First Day of US Fed’s Money Market Fund Bailouts, JPMorgan Funds Borrowed $8.97 Bn
• Toxic Assets that Blew Up in Money Market Funds at Goldman Sachs, JPMorgan, Morgan Stanley and Others that the Fed Bailed Out
• JPMorgan Chase Sunk $84 Billion Into Buying Back Its Stock Over Past 5 Years; Now Its Stock Is Sinking
C9. Business (Rentierism: money via imports, real-estate, tourism, insurance, fear, privatization)
ee Business focuses on the rentier diversions of the oligarchy, the domination by a merchant mafia, making money from unproductive land sales, tourism, insurance, advertising, etc. – the charade of corporate press releases disguised as ‘news’
• Skyrocketing prices dampen festive air; small businesses face grim avurudu season
• Now is a Great Time For Expats To Invest in Sri Lankan Properties: LankaPropertyWeb
• Female corporate directors urge politicians to show statesmanship
‘The first is to support the appointment and functioning of a Cabinet including the Finance Minister to negotiate and implement the IMF programme’
• “Don’t play around with this generation” – Gotabaya Dasanayaka
(The writer is an Attorney at Law, One time Director General of the Employers Federation of Ceylon and a senior Professional Specialist with the International Labour Organisation)
• Hoteliers tired of explaining political situation to foreign guests
• SL’s hopes of reviving tourism shattered with Indians looking at alternative destinations
• Dialog, MAS, Hemas, Sarvodaya step forward to help communities in need
C10. Politics (Anti-parliament discourse, unelected constitution)
ee Politics points to the constant diversions and spectacles and the mercantile and financial forces funding the political actors, of policy hijacked by private interests minus public oversight.
• This is not the Last Sinhala New Year – Nalin de Silva
• Surrounding The Scarf: Behind Gota Go is Buddha Go! – Nalin de Silva
• Analysis of the Forces Behind Galle Face
• Politics in Sri Lanka Part 3 B, C, D, E & F
‘India was determined to get a good hold on Lanka. India used the Tamil Separatist Movement….’
• National Joint Committee Statement on “Gota-Go” Campaign
‘Even more it is obvious that NGOs are playing a proactive role for a regime change in the same way they did in 2015 with the able assistance of the Government of the US.’
• The Power of Ability of Gota Against Conspiracy of Those Looking for a Regime Change
• Top corporate bodies urge the government to allow peaceful protests
‘Hemas was first off the blocks…followed by Jetwing, John Keells Holdings, Ceylon Biscuits Ltd, 99X and MTI Consulting among others, posting their views on Facebook. MTI Consulting went one step further by giving staff time-off to join the protests…’
• People’s contempt for MPs grows as protests continue…
‘Artistes, youth groups, public sector workers, doctors, teachers, lawyers, and many other groups, participated in the protests on the road to Parliament over the past few days.’
• Pro and anti-govt protesters clash in Chilaw
• Veddah community joins protest at Galle Face Green
• For Sri Lanka’s sake, Gotabaya Rajapaksa must resign – M.R. Narayan Swamy
• LSSP urges govt. to hand over power to interim administration
• New Amendment proposed to address political crisis
• Rebel SLPP MPs say no to no-confidence
• Yesterday and today and impartiality and the Eleven – Nalin de Silva
• Curse of God, Will of God and Aathalgama – Nalin de Silva
• Prince Diyasena is not coming – Nalin de Silva
• Wimal, Maithripala, Dayasiri, Nanda, Sunil, and Sinhala Buddhism – Nalin de Silva
• Ranil Wickremasinghe’s crimes against Sri Lanka and its people for forty years
• Don’t Go Gota – The Answer is Xi Jinping
• Rajapaksas may face fate of Marcos or Gaddafi – JVP women’s wing
• CBK mobilizes parties against Govt.
‘Attended by MPs Kumara Welgama, Patali Champika Ranawaka and Anura Priyadarshana Yapa, Opposition Leader MP Sajith Premadasa, Sri Lanka Muslim Congress Leader Rauff Hakeem , Tamil National Alliance (TNA) MP M.A. Sumanthiran and others. Mr. Premadasa did not wait till the end’
• The Mirihana Catalyst – Apocalypse for the first family: Anura Gunasekera
• Gotabaya & Me, Reply to Anura Gunasekara – Jayatilleka
• The Civic Revolution – Jayatilleka
‘This revolution is not led by a political party. The driving agencies are not parties but networks and communities’
• Roundtables as Political Change-Agents – Jayatilleka
• Political and social stability in a time of liberation
‘FSP: Gotabaya Rajapaksa regime was now conspiring to play the military card…’
• President might consider the abolition of the Executive Presidency – Sunday Times
• If Gota doesn’t go home, the Executive Presidency may go out – Jeyaraj
• Protests should shift from urban centres to peasant and working class heartlands
• Treasury orders takeover of vehicles, houses of ministers who resigned
• PM reiterates Govt determine to overcome economic challenges; urge youngsters to be patient
• JVP faults Premier for not touching on Easter Sunday carnage, in address to nation
• Sajith signs Impeachment Motion and No Confidence Motion
• SJB to present no confidence motion next week, not impeachment motion
• What next if the President resigns? From the frying pan to the fire?
• Sri Lanka on the brink of political revolution – EconomyNext
• The Theodicy of Marxism: Anti-Engelsianism and its Historic Function (2015)
‘Not infrequently, Western Marxism became a crusade to “de-Sovietize” Marx’
• Why is Social Justice Politics Falling Apart?
‘Dalit and Backward Class voices in North Indian politics have fallen silent. The primary reason is the absence of a leader who demands social justice unequivocally and consistently’
• The Rise and Fall of the Gang of Four (1977)
• Theory and the Gang of Four (1977)
• The competitive citizenship of Canadian multiculturalism
• Black Lives Matter’s Inability to link domestic terrorism against Black people to US terrorism against Black and Brown people abroad
• The failure of Black voting to further social justice movements
• The Hard Right and the Political Parties of Capital
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.
• People’s protests give new meaning to Indian Fearless Collective’s Colombo murals
• Liberals Frenzy Over Musk Buying Twitter
• Liberal Russophobia and War Propaganda
‘US liberals are the worst perpetrators of Russophobic behavior. They are most likely to follow the dictates of corporate media and the democratic party and proudly take part in discriminatory acts.’
• Diplomacy as an Instrument of Statecraft: A Practicum