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A new country, a new life…

by Ravinath Wijesekara

In the history of Sri Lanka, we have faced various crises from time to time. But it is no secret that today we are facing an economic crisis that has never occurred before and many social problems that have been exacerbated by it. This is further confirmed by certain statements made by the Secretary to the Treasury and other relevant government officials as well as the Minister of Finance and the Minister of Trade. Various statistics confirm that our country was heading towards this abyss even before the COVID 19 pandemic intensified the problem. It is no secret that corrupt, greedy and dishonest politicians are as much to blame for this situation as well as the wrong economic policies and strategies that Sri Lanka has pursued for 73 years. The open economy introduced in 1978 and the development predicated on foreign debt also accelerated this unfortunate journey. It is obvious that this crisis cannot be overcome by any short cut. What is required is a substantial and comprehensive transformation of the socio-economic system introducing people-centered, participatory, and eco-friendly development strategies aimed at establishing a productive economy where the benefits of economic development flow equitably to all sections of society. The greatest challenge before us today is toidentify the most credible political movement,which hasthe necessary broad vision and capacity that to lead the people towards this economic and social transformation. In the political history of Sri Lanka, we have seen ‘kings’ and ‘queens’, ‘gentlemen’ and ‘ladies’ and ‘magicians’ who come to the fore from time to time to save the country. However, no prince or princess, gentleman or lady or magician could prevent the country from being plunged further into a dark abyss. This is primarily because of they all adopted the same disastrous and destructive economic policies and strategies. They were also surrounded and supported by a close circle of crooked and corrupt henchman who benefitted from their ties to the power. It is now clear to us that in the end, all these corrupt ‘ladies’ and ‘gentlemen’, ‘kings’ and ‘queens’, protected each other and their privileges. Experience has shown us clearly that group who operate within a facade of democracy and good governance can wreak as much or more damage on a country than even a feudal political faction built around a corrupt family and their relatives. 2 Therefore, what the country needs today is, 1. A political movement that can defeat not only the arrogant, feudal, corrupt political faction that surrounds a family and the elite but also the groups of well-dressed gentlemanly politicians who have no principles and deceive society with their bogus rhetoric of social justice and democracy. 2. A production economy instead of the destructive economic policies and strategies that plunder and sell public properties increasingly relying solely on domestic and foreign debt. A political movement with a vision and understanding of a programme that fairly distributes the economic benefits between the village and the city. 3. A political movement that can build a nation with a sociopolitical environment where all who are born on this land can proudly call it home – all who live in different parts of the country such as the North, East, West, and Central Provinces, belonging to different ethnicities, such as Sinhala, Tamil, Muslim, and Burgher, and with the unique cultures and religions of Buddhism, Hinduism, Islam, Christianity, and Catholicism. A political movement that stands collectively for a compassionate human society that accommodates each other’s existence, dignity, and security and works for each other’s protection, rather than an individualistic society that pursues only personal goals, competing with each other and being inconsiderate of each other. 4. A political movement with a vision for an agricultural industry that ensures small and medium scale economic projects to improve living conditions for the farmer community. A vision with a special focus on the rural poor, who have been neglected and allowed to hit the rock bottom of poverty due to wrong and arbitrary agricultural policies and strategies, and lack of proper programmes to increase their contribution to the national production process. 5. A political movement that proposes and implements a way of life that is in harmony with nature while protecting the ecosystem, biodiversity and respects nature’s equilibriums, instead of a consumerist development model that ruthlessly ignores the existence of environmental sustainability and its balance focussing only on profit and production goals. 6. A political movement that pursues an educational policy aimed at producing civilized citizens who work for the betterment of society. A policy that aims to give rise to youth who can compete in the international job market with advanced 3 professional skills and equipped with technological knowledge that propels the world forward. 7. A political movement with a leadership that considers politics to be a public service, constituted of individuals who choose lives of simplicity, and lead by example; individuals who have a deep understanding of the challenges faced by the masses instead of politicians who misappropriate tax payers’ money for personal gains and the benefit of their relatives and friends using the misery of the masses to their own advantage. Considering the above, making tangible and far-reaching changes to the socio-economic and political system to recover from the crisis that Sri Lanka is currently facing, has proven to be a mammoth task. Building a political movement through collective effort and participation of all nationalities, religious groups and sections of society to facilitate social transformation is an equally challenging task. As the National People’s Power (JJB) we believe that we have the potential to lead this challenging political movement. We also humbly acknowledge that it must continue to grow as a broad public movement. We affirm that the NPP is ready to accept the challenge of playing a central role in uniting all progressive and leftist political parties, religious groups and civil society organizations, trade unions, student organizations, women’s and youth organizations and individual groups to build a broad movement of the masses for social transformation. We call on all progressive political forces to join hands with the NPP to build this people’s movement. National People’s Power 01st August 2021

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