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Sinhala & The Class to Build a Country


Chief Justice of Ceylon (1811-19) Sir Alexander Johnston demanded a policy of appointing Burghers: ‘Her Majesty’s Government… ought to show the most marked respect to all persons who are either descendants from Europeans, or who bear any resemblance in features, manners, dress, religion, language & education to Europeans

Before you study the economics, study the economists!

e-Con e-News 14-20 November 2021

Chief Justice of Ceylon (1811-19) Sir Alexander Johnston demanded a policy of appointing Burghers to the public service: ‘Her Majesty’s Government… ought to show the most marked respect to all persons who are either descendants from Europeans, or who bear any resemblance in features, manners, dress, religion, language & education to Europeans and thereby constantly associate in the minds of the natives… an idea of respect and superiority with that of a European and with everything that is characteristic of, or connected with a European.’ W Digby, 40 Years of Official & Unofficial Life in an Oriental Crown Colony, the Life of Sir Richard Morgan, 1879, quoted by WMDD Andradi in Sri Lankan Subordinates of the British: English-educated Ceylonese in the Official Life of Ceylon 1865-83.

     The colonial tradition continues. Imported costumes, suits & ties, and equipment, cars, digital accoutrements, have to exude ultimate power. And power is still white. ‘National’ is now and usually only displayed by politicians in parliament or when seeking votes in rural constituencies, and by English-language cartoonists wishing to disparage Sinhala politicians. Yet, no banker or executive would dare be seen in ‘national’. And why should they don national? They don ‘multinational’, their mouths full of imported “big data”, etc.

     English is also another flimsy fig leaf of a phonetic fashion to camouflage the sheer backwardness of the oligarchy. Misnaming ‘assembly’ and ‘manufacture’ – like the apparel fraud – as ‘industry!’ Inflating ‘rentiers’ – people making money off money or importing – as ‘entrepreneurs’. This ee examines why the latest 19th century ‘science’ was not translated into Sinhala, as it was into Japanese and other non-Euro languages. Perhaps because we lack knowledge of our own identity and history, let alone of the world.

     This ee Focus also looks at new info coming out on the origins of industrialization – not just in England, US, Germany, Japan, but the astounding leaps made in the USSR and China. White academe wishes to downplay the indispensable role of the Communist Parties, especially under the leadership of Lenin, Stalin, Mao, who pushed modern (machine-making) industry as key to renaissance.

     Capitalism has failed! Yet no coherent alternative vision, and especially the organizational means of bringing it to life, has been allowed to emerge here. Industrialization is opposed as ‘un-ecological’, and more subtly, as leading to development of a skilled and powerful working class, who will be equipped to build a better society.

Grow & export ganja in Sri Lanka, headlines spluttered this week, it’d be like harvesting gold. Then, there’s the weekly news of how this or that spice (cardamom, cinnamon) or vegetable (murunga aka moringa) will rain dollars down on us.

     Yet we already have all kinds of gold. Look at what happens to our industrially vital ilmenite and graphene. We sell it raw to England. Even if we grow gold, people, especially rural people, the growers, will not benefit. Rice, after all, is or was gold or money. At one time. Even now. But the dominant relations of production are such that any profits will be sucked out by merchant and moneylender, sent to Colombo to be wasted on frills, and over to London, or New York Bonn and Tokyo, where the rest of the surplus drains.

     And why not. Our capitalists have no interest in long-term investment. No media discussion is therefore allowed: that any nation, if it’s to be independent, has to control the ‘commanding heights’ – the critical sectors that dominate economic activity – primarily energy generation, the making of machines that make machines, mining, public transportation. And just as importantly, we need a national class dedicated to capital accumulation. For such a national policy, we first need a united nation (see ee Politics, Not About the Budget).

• The budget is only a set of proposals? Each part, contradictory or not, represents the interests of the mishmash of government coalition partners. Implementation is yet to be, based perhaps on struggles to be waged. Capitalists are putting on an act of dismay. The government has to signal Left and Right, and yet keep reproducing the wasteful import-export plantation oligarchy.

     Does it matter which capitalist party is in charge? There’s little any capitalist party can do? Except adjust the degree of repression, to weaken workers as a class. And is it really dollars and FDI we need. Then we can get it by selling drugs and prostitutes. Yet, that has not developed any country.

• ‘Let me tell you, these finance company (FC) jobs are full of stress and heartache. You watch people who fall ill, or get sick, and can’t work, fall back on payments, and you have to screw them. I worked for three of them…and now I want to flee….’ (see ee Random Notes).

• What energy crisis? Look at Colombo. See people lounging in AC cars, playing with their devices between their legs, even sleeping, while the outside of their cars burning hot. Each car usually has only one person in it. The roads are packed with traffic-jammed cars, guzzling petrol and exuding fumes. Supermarkets have their doors wide open billowing cool airs. What energy crisis? … The rich are looting the environment, whining about being taxed for their robbery of national resources, indulging in useless luxuries. Their media then whine about widening balances of payments and deficits, even while demanding more wasteful imports (& exports that require heavy imports!).

     The ghost of DJ Wimalasurendra, architect of Laxapana, keeps whistling in the winds and tapping on our brains and roofs with the incessant rain. His ghost surely looms over us and wails as we’re threatened by a lack of ‘energy’. Yet the country is sodden and inundated, and waters gush uselessly past us into the oceans, even as Parakramabahu I is quoted over and over: about not a rain drop wasted into the sea, etc, etc. (see ee, 01 August 2020, Who’s Afraid of Wimalasurendra)

• The media is paid not to count: Japan tells us that their ‘Official Development Assistance’ has amounted to US$9billion for 120 development projects since 1965. But not one media outlet or journalist has the guts to tell us how much drained from Sri Lanka to Japan to pay for Japanese equipment, goods and ‘experts’. Or more importantly, how much we have lost by failing to invest in inventing our own inventors, training our own experts and devising our own technology.

     So let’s go watch the waters drain into the seas from the new bridge across the Kelani river at Peliyagoda. This is why this week’s announcement about the new bridge went to a great degree of trouble to report that the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) highlighted there was ‘equal involvement of both Japanese and Sri Lankan engineers’ and that ‘SL women held key positions such as Project Director from Road Development Authority, and as site engineers and quantity surveyors!’

     Meanwhile, Japan wishes immigration because Japanese capitalists want to undermine Japanese worker power. Japanese capitalists wish their women to go to work at less pay than men. They wish to import Sri Lankan women to look after their children and elders, at even lower wages than Japanese women.

Continued on: eesrilanka.wordpress.com

One thought on “Sinhala & The Class to Build a Country
  1. Why do we imitate the traditions of dress and customs of Victorian England even in the highest echelons of State like the Supreme Court and the Parliament? Wearing a wig in this hot and humid climate cannot be comfortable.

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