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Right wing bureaucracy attempting to dampen the socialist slant

By Wickramabahu Karunaratne

(April 26, Colombo, Sri Lanka Guardian)
There is a Right wing accusation that President Obama is resorting to virtual nationalisation in his attempt to help crisis ridden industries. He has attached conditions to the money given to rescue motor industries. While some of these are in relation to financial management, others are tied to employment. Right wing Republicans say that this is an attempt to play the role of an investor or a majority share holder. Is he representing the taxpayers as share holders? Where did he get a mandate to do this? These are some of the questions raised by the Right wing.

We, in this column explained even before the American presidential elections, that the only way out for Obama is by resorting to state capitalism. Not only in the domestic scene but also internationally, by proposing such interventions by the global capitalist organisations the World Bank, the IMF and the World Trade Organisation, could Obama expect economic stabilisation. By taking this oath Obama will be pushing the most radical bourgeois socio economic programme. No wonder he has become the target of criticism of the Right wing Republicans. Parallel to this path of Obama, the Lankan cabinet of ministers has approved an economic stimulus package to reward manufacturers engaged in value added exports in view of vulnerabilities and risks associated with the current global economic crisis. This scheme is to be administered by the presidential special task unit on economic development under the direction of the president with the assistance of relevant government institutions and the private sector. It is expected to facilitate and provide a coordinated support to ensure that exports and the level of employment are sustained.

Existing markets

Hopefully this scheme will assist export industries to secure their existing markets, penetrate new markets, establish and promote backward linkages, diversify and increase value addition, maintaining the existing level of employment, remain compliant with environment regulations, quality standards and other best practices in exports. When one looks at these pious intentions of the cabinet one gets the impression that the ‘old socialist programme’ has dropped from the sky onto the lap of Deputy Minister Siyambalapitiya. But only last week I had to severely and rightly criticise in this column, the attempt of the secretary of the ministry of labour to undermine the important safeguards in labour laws under the pretext of an approval from trade unions. Who is cheating whom? The eligibility criteria of the reward scheme indicates that the level of employment should be maintained as declared in EPF and ETF returns for 3rd quarter 2008 without discontinuation. While all these ‘socialist’ assurances are given by the cabinet, the labour secretary is scheming to cut workers’ rights drastically. Who gave him this authority? Does that mean we have a Right wing bureaucratic implementation process that undermines even the cabinet?

In this dark season when chauvinism and genocidal war has strengthened the bourgeois state not only the workers but also others have to be alert all the time.

-Sri Lanka Guardian

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