May Day call to revive freedom and democracy

Oppose government chauvinistic policies

by Dr Vickramabahu Karunaratne

(May 01, Colombo, Sri Lanka Guardian) Government is planning to hold a mammoth May Day rally organized by the UPFA and it will be held in Colombo under the patronage of President Mahinda Rajapaksa. We are told that four major processions organized by the UPFA constituent parties will start from Campbell Park Borrella, Narahenpita, Maligakanda and Rajagiriya and will march to Town Hall, the venue of the May Day rallyZ. Reports say that the theme of the UPFA May Day rally will be “People’s power to protect the country”. The UPFA Secretary, Minister Premajayantha, has said that UPFA activists and all patriotic people will make May Day the platform to showcase the country’s unity under President Rajapaksa against pro LTTE - imperialist leanings. Their plan is to mobilize more than 300,000 people to participate in the May Day rally.

All Leaders of the UPFA constituent parties are expected to address the rally on the above theme. What do they mean by “pro LTTE - imperialist leanings”? It is lunacy to think that the armed struggle of the Tamil people is a plot organized by 17-4the imperialists. Who are these imperialists? The global powers led by the Americans? Reality was that all global powers classified Tamil insurrection as terrorism and gave every help to Mahinda to crush it brutally. The economic policy of the government is totally directed by the IMF, with loans provided by them. Ban-ki Moon report precipitated due to the campaigns made by democratic forces in Lanka and elsewhere, in particular the proletarian forces world over. So that there is an international movement launched to revive democracy and freedom in Lanka. There is a clamour to end emergency rule, to give relief to workers; and to establish autonomy for the Tamil people. The government plan is to counter this with chauvinist hooliganism. This fascistic hooliganism must be countered by the workers. Fortunately many trade unions have got together to face this menace.

IMF dictates

We are happy to see that this May Day has become a day to challenge and counter the oppression of Mahinda regime. Many strong trade unions have come together, to challenge the chauvinist pro global capitalist government. They hope to march to Hyde Park and show their opposition to the repressive policies of the government. The Government is simply implementing IMF dictates. Salaries are cut while taxes have increased. Under the pretext of giving a pension to the private sector, the government is planning to rob from EPF and ETF accumulations. While people are thrown out from urban houses land is given to foreign plunderers. People are driven away from their traditional land and made destitute. Even after two years Tamil people are still displaced and living in entire misery. Emergency powers are used, to keep large number of Political prisoners. Many of them are not allowed even to see their kith and kin. Without knowing what happened to the disappeared not even religious rites could be completed. In certain areas even tradition and culture of the people has become a prohibited subject. Autonomy for Tamil homeland is still a dream.

All these things are happening while the people are unable to resist in an organized manner. Mahinda regime has created this situation making use of emergency powers and the dictatorial presidential powers. However the Ban-ki Moon report is a shock for the government. Mahinda did not expect India and western power to let him down. After all he carried out every thing loyally as instructed by the global masters. He is now pleading with these masters to abandon the report findings. In the meantime the government is using the Report expos‚ of war crimes to arouse chauvinist feelings. Mahinda is preparing to frighten every body by making the May Day a blood thirsty chauvinist campaign day. On the other hand it is an attempt is to blanket the real issues faced by the workers.

Working people

In that context the decision of powerful array of trade unions, to come out to challenge the government on workers demands and democratic issues is remarkable. They plan to march from the Fort railway premises to the Hyde Park for the rally. Nava Sama Samaja party and many progressive organizations have decided to participate in this May Day and support it to make it massive success. They have appealed to all their members, supporters and all progressive working people to rally round to defeat the attempt of the IMF backed government to make the May Day, a chauvinist black day. United federation of labour president Linus Jayathilaka announced “All those who wish to participate should come under respective trade union banners because this would be a Joint Trade Union May Day.”

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