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LankaEye.com - Editor's Essays + Responses
Vasantha Raja's comments on evolution

Darwinist notion of random genetic mutations cannot convincingly explain the perceptibly obvious 'qualitative leaps' that have taken place during the evolution of species. All discrete species (while exhibiting systematic transitions) possess well-structured life forms with harmoniously coordinated parts. Thus, the hierarchical order of life-forms exhibit seemingly unbridgable gaps. These apparently irreducible complex systems are unlikely to be the gradual outcome of uncoordinated chance events. If they were the gradually evolved products of accidental genetic mutations, then evidence for numerous botched-up 'life forms' must be ubiquitous. The concept of the 'evolving genome', with an embedded potential to transform under pressure for survival, seems to be the best way to understand evolution.

Emergence of new species is, primarily, not the result of changes in Body-structures. Evolution of life is essentially the history of the developing 'genome'. The 'human genome' only slightly differs from the 'genomes' of different species. The DNA guides various 'body structures'. Thus, evolutionary transformations of species primarily take place on the DNA level. Natural obstacles (challenging survival) merely trigger the genome's potential to change. Evolution depicts the landmarks of the evolving human mind.

Our Universe's 'Big Bang Birth' 13.4 billion years ago laid an 'embryonic egg' that systematically unleashed the microsphere, macro-sphere, life, and eventually plenty of intelligence & compassion to challenge and wipe out evil. The Big Question is: What is it trying to ultimately bring about? Is there an 'objective purpose' embedded in our evolving universe?

'The Selfish Gene' dominated life's evolution, though love & compassion also relentlessly evolved in conflict with it. Human society has now facilitated the conditions for universal compassion to eclipse 'The Selfish Gene'. Capitalism marks the highest stage 'The Selfish Gene' has reached in social terms. The time has now come to replace the society of 'greed & profit' with a humane society of compassion & cooperation.

Is our universe meant to evolve 'saintly souls of universal compassion'? Is the Universe designed to lawfully evolve the 'active interiority of energy' towards that end? Is there a transcendental reality of unbridled freedom that is beyond our temporary 'space-time shadow reality', as Plato thought? These are questions we must seriously raise.

Anthropic Principle demonstrates the mind-boggling link between the initial conditions at our Universe's birth, and the intelligent life we have today. Slightest change in them would have meant a lifeless universe. This indicates: our Universe had a seed-like beginning. That 'seed' systematically produced the geosphere, biosphere, consciousness and intelligence.

Mathematicians have demonstrated the statistical improbability of the DNA to emerge through chance events. If that were the case then the chances of our Universe's "SEED" to emerge accidentally would be nil. This raises the Big Question: Is our universe the creation of an "Intelligent reality" – designed to bring about something specific?

'Multiverse hypothesis' will only worsen the "probability paradox". The String Theory is not an answer to the problem I've posed. The possible existence of infinite number of universes will push the same problem further down.[See more on probability in LanakEye essay: "Is Our Evolving Universe an Intelligent Design?"]

An Effort to Dissolve the Hitherto Unresolved Mysteries of Quantum Mechanics - Vasantha Raja

[Editor's note: This is an expanded version of my shorter article published elsewhere.]

Quantum mechanics is the most successful scientific theory ever, in terms of its dazzlingly perfect applicability to microscopic phenomena. For all practical purposes Schrodinger's wave function works. Thus, most working physicists would happily carry on without questioning the strange assumptions behind the theory they use. However, more philosophically-orientated scientists are still struggling to come up with a sensible ontological interpretation of its experimental results that seem weird in terms of our commonsense concepts. For instance, they seem to imply that perhaps our universe does not exist when nobody is looking. It is this backdrop that provided the space for all kinds of mystical interpretations [including Prof. Nalin de Silva's Sinhala Buddhist interpretation] to crop up. I think such efforts are totally misplaced. What is needed is a conceptual revolution that places the 'commonsense reality' at the appropriate stage within the hierarchical schema of our evolving universe since the Big Bang.

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"Seed-Product" Model, Charles Darwin & Creationism - By Vasantha Raja

Any creationist effort to demolish 'evolution' outright would, I think, prove to be a big blunder; all efforts to uncritically accommodate Darwinism within creationism [as the Vatican did recently] would also be an equally big mistake. What is needed, instead, is to expose the methodological fallacies within the Darwinist version of evolution. The Darwinist concept of chance-based gradual evolution, for instance, must be replaced with a directional 'seed-product' model where the seed is impregnated with the necessary information and mechanisms to systematically unleash subsequent developments.

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Is our evolving universe an intelligent design?

[Editor's note: This is an expanded version of my article written on October 25, 2006]

The dragging form of the conflict between evolutionists and Intelligent Design theorists at present seems to me to be somewhat misleading. The underlying methodological issues that are relevant to evolution seem to get muddled in the process. Prevalent prejudices surrounding the 'God' concept seem to unnecessarily pull the debate in wrong directions. To avoid this, 'Intelligent Design' (ID) may be seen as a somewhat neutral expression. It can keep the nature of the Designer, or Designers, as an open question. It can tentatively assume for instance 'Mother Nature' to be conscious and intelligent. After all, the evolution of energy/matter has produced consciousness/intelligence on Earth as the most important product yet. So it is entirely plausible to postulate the backdrop to the 'Big Bang' (Mother Nature) as a 'higher' or even the 'highest' form of the same 'energy' possessing all those attributes: consciousness and intelligence - maybe even compassion.

So, call it God call it Nature, that is not the main question. The question is: Is our evolving universe designed to produce a definite result? If the universe is an intelligent design then the scientists' task is to reveal that design - as they have done in revealing the genetic codes packed with incredible amounts of information and mechanisms that seem impossible to be seriously considered as accidental products of unthinking matter's random motion.

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CADRE Comments on Vasantha Raja's "seed-product" model:

CADRE's commentator says: "To this point, I have written several blog entries which seek to expose why Richard Dawkins is wrong (in many ways) in his bombastic attack on Christianity. But I have not yet spent any time on why Dawkins is wrong on his attack on Intelligent Design. Fortunatly, I don't have to put too much work into the topic because The Asian Tribune (which agrees that Dawkins position vis-a-vis religion is misguided) has presented an interesting case as to why Dawkins is wrong in his attacks on Intelligent Design in an essay entitled The problem with Dawkins' anti-God crusade by Vasantha Raja."

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Discovery Institute Comments on Vasantha Raja's Views:

Discovery Institute's commentator says: "Throughout the article Raja comes back to the problems with the scientific method as it is currently understood and used throughout the scientific community, namely that it is in actuality methodological naturalism, and is hampering, and likely even cutting off, productive lines of scientific research. However, the problems seem to occur at least from two sources: one, the naturalist tendency to resort to chance, random or accidental processes of unthinking matter to explain mystifyingly complex phenomena; two, dogmatic adherence to 'gradual evolution' when the processes in the world have clearly defied it in favour of 'qualitative leaps'."

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A critique of Prof. Nalin de Silva's "Sinhala Buddhist" views on epistemology - By Vasantha Raja

A central tenet of Prof. Silva's "Sinhala Buddhism" is the rejection of the objectivity of concepts. My critique is mainly intended to challenge this view.

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The Problem with Richard Dawkins' Anti-God Crusade & Darwin's Gradualism.

Fri, 15 Dec. 2006

Vasantha Raja

The incredibly complex amount of biological information contained in a seed to basically determine the hierarchical development of a product is a normal occurrence regularly around us. If you plant a lemon seed, for instance, and provide the right stimulants you know what to expect: a directional process of a growing (evolving) lemon tree.

But, strangely enough, neo-Darwinists seem to resist any effort to find out whether a similar mechanism has been taking place during the evolution of life, from its inception right up to the emergence of human intelligence. For, Dawkins' "crane" - natural selection - could well turn out to be mere hurdles to stimulate in-built mechanisms to come into play.

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The Global Economic Tsunami - Its Roots & Solutions - By Vasantha Raja

Britain's Queen Elizabeth during her recent visist to London School of Economics raised a prudent question vis-a-vis the sudden economic tsunami that shocked the world. "Why did no one see it coming?" she asked. Not only did the mainstream economists not see it coming, when it did hit the shores they failed to gage the size or the depth of it. As one who predicted accurately what was about to happen, what form it would take, and what solutions are required to overcome it, I wish to reiterate here what I've been saying earlier - my Sinhala booklet that analyses Sri Lankan economy's fate in the context of the onrushing global economic crisis was published in 2004.

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LANKA EYE & THE GLOBAL CHANGE

Lanka Eye is not meant for the dull-mind. It is not in the business of enticing visitors to the website for numbers' sake. It is not designed to generate money. Lanka Eye is merely intended to contribute to the global debate on the onrushing Big Change. In other words, Lanka Eye is specifically formatted to reflect the unprecedented transition taking place in the global economy, global politics and global consciousness - all of which are interacting parts of a single process. Thus, the articles selected for each section are expected to reflect the world in flux.....

[I urge you to thoroughly read and grasp the section below before you read my articles on philosophical issues. If you cannot make some sense of the questions raised here then I advise you to quit the website immediately. Seeing "some sense" in the issues raised here doesn't in any way mean agreeing with the views expressed here. It merely means the ability to understand their relevance for philosophical reflection. Thus, disagreement, controversy and dialogue are most welcome. Only, those who are least bothered about issues of this nature are advised to quit.]

The issues Lanka-Eye attempts to address involve questions of the following nature:

Is the human society historically determined, at least in its essence, to evolve in a "seed-product" type gradation?

Is the ongoing global crisis heading towards the eventual replacement of the profit-driven, self-seeking capitalism with a global society of compassion and cooperation?

Do the episodic transformations of human society since its birth reflect a bigger, wider and deeper blueprint of our universe to progressively evolve the human mind?

Did the Big Bang, 13.7 billion years ago, give birth to an immensely fertile 'genome' that potentially contained all the subsequent developments - the microworld, the macroworld, life, consciousness, human society, intelligence, class-society, classless society, etc., etc. - as stages of a master plan to evolve the Mind Energy (i.e. the interiority of the material processes)?

Is the universe meant, perhaps, to ultimately generate saintly souls of compassion? In other words, is there an Objective Purpose inherent in our evolving universe to be discovered by the evolving minds on Earth - and elsewhere in the universe - to become conscious followers of that purpose. Is our 'space-time universe' just a sub-level 'production-line' designed to produce highly evolved souls to be absorbed into a higher reality...devoid of space-time causality, perhaps?

Does the evolution of our universe really amount to the evolution of energy - as opposed to matter. In other words, is the publicly appearing exteriority a mere manifestation of energy's evolution into 'particles', 'macro-objects', 'species', consciousness and beyond?

Is the subjective-side of human consciousness the highest level energy has reached so far - to which each individual has private access, but not available for direct public scrutiny?

Does the evolving social experience of humans form a necessary episode in energy's long journey to finally liberate from the "spcetime-straitjacket" that lawfully determines its evolution towards enlightenment and free-will?

Have the empiricist methodologists got the 'chance-necessity' relationship wrong? Is the limited role of 'chance' events within an overall necessity an in-built mechanism of the universe designed to evolve free will?

Would the eventual awareness of universe's objective purpose by subjective minds mark the beginning of an enlightened free-will to be completed through the practical transformation of minds into saintly souls?

Why does our universe seem designed to harmonise unique individuality as part of groups or species? Why is the urge for self-preservation along with sexual attraction fundamental to all life-forms right from the beginning of species' evolution? Is this to do with just reproduction or does this have a bigger role in the evolution of the mind? For instance, is it an embedded mechanism to eventually give rise to conflicting emotions of love, hate, care, jealousy, anger, compassion, greed, generosity, violence, kindness and so on? Is this mechanism designed to enable the evolving mind-energy to identify good and bad - to eventually discard the negative emotions that cause pain and cultivate positive emotions that generate happiness?

Is rebirth an indispensable mechanism to understand the purpose of life? Would late Prof. Ian Stevenson's lifelong scientific project on "the rebirth hypothesis" become a major area of scientific interest in the coming period? Is reincarnation of individually evolving minds into different life-episodes of changing circumstances a necessary part of a universal design to educate minds?

Are the cultural progress of human society and the evolution of individual minds through rebirth somehow harmonised to bring about an identical result, i.e. enlightened souls of compassion?

Does our universe have a mechanism to transport the mind-energy of an individual - perhaps like a 'spiritual DNA' possessing the essence of its progress - to an appropriate new life so that a freshly evolving 'new' mind can interact with changed-circumstances within a new life-episode?

If rebirth is real, precisely at what point during the mind-energy's evolution does rebirth-phenomenon comes into play? [Could it be the point at which positive/negative emotions are well formed, perhaps? In which case, would higher forms of animals also be included in a rebirth process?]

Is the evolutionary history of species an open book to trace the track-record of the contradictory aspects of the human mind? Does the human society mark the correct format for the mind-energy to transcend the self-centred reptilian era and the family-oriented mammalian era towards universal compassion?

Does our universe consist of two opposing-halves that are mutually irreducible, yet inseparably intertwined, namely: a publicly accessible external reality [exteriority] on one side and an internal reality [interiority] that is in principle hidden from external observation on the other side?

Does the birth of our universe in a Big Bang amount to an imposition of a 'space-time straitjacket' on free & primitive energy precisely for the purpose of evolving energy's interiority towards the desired end - the production of enlightened souls to be free from causal determinateness?

If the answer to the above question is 'yes' then isn't it entirely rational to postulate a higher dimension - perhaps the background to all universes of the past, present and future - a reality that represents energy in its highest enlightened form, therefore, free of causality and space-time frameworks? Isn't it plausible that the primary task of this background reality to be the "guide" and takes care of all sublevel phenomena that have been in eternal existence as cycles of production-lines of enlightened souls?

Philosophical reflections on such questions provide the backdrop to the specific issue of global change which this website is primarily concerned with. [The special place given to Sri Lanka's war is to do with my personal attachment to the country I hail from] I'm well aware that only a philosophically-orientated minority would enjoy reading the articles in Editor's Essays, Global Visions, Global politics and Global Economy. They are there to be read and grasped in a new light; that means, the articles are there to indicate the Big Change, not to support or refute the views expressed in them. In fact, they often contain opposing views of the same phenomena. But as a whole, they'll substantiate the big transformation taking place within society. [Other items - music, videos, games etc., - are merely there for temporary pleasure.]

Lanka-Eye on the whole is devoted to those who see deeper value in questions such as the ones mentioned above. It is purely a voluntary service meant for those interested in exercising their minds. Any portion of its contents may be published anywhere without permission giving due credit to the website.

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Whither "Free-Market" Capitalism?

"A new BBC World Service global poll, surveying 29,033 adult citizens (living in major urban areas) across 27 countries (Australia, Brazil, Canada, Chile, China, Costa Rica, Czech Republic, Egypt, France, Germany, India, Indonesia, Italy, Japan, Kenya, Mexico, Nigeria, Pakistan, Panama, the Philippines, Poland, Russia, Spain, Turkey, Ukraine, the United Kingdom, and the United States of America), conducted between 19 June and 13 October 2009 by the international polling firm GlobeScan, together with the Program on International Policy Attitudes (PIPA) at the University of Maryland finds that dissatisfaction with free market capitalism is widespread, with an average of only 11% saying that it works well and that greater regulation is not a good idea. That is, eight in nine people believe that free market capitalism is bad; it has failed and is not working for them any more. So overwhelming is the verdict against capitalism that no statistical magic or jugglery can put a dent to the conclusion drawn from the study."

This is a quotation from an article by Habid Sidiqui from the USA. The link to the full essay is: http://www.asiantribune.com/news/2009/11/15/letter-america-free-market-capitalism

Here is my own comment on his analysis:

Those economists who are presently advising the capitalist states to pump-in trillions of dollars to resuscitate the market economy are those who never saw the economic tsunami approaching in the first place. So, do not have much faith in their solutions. Now that the 'global bubbles' (created by finance capital) have collapsed, the capitalist states have stepped-in to use their special powers to print money and pump-in more and more credit into the system that is half-dead. [This system cannot eradicate poverty, prevent climate change or protect the environment.]

What went on within Soviet Russia was a bureaucratically corrupt version of 'socialist' property relations based on the Stalinist theory of "Socialism in One Country". Marx, Lenin and Trotsky never believed that socialism could be built in a "single" country. They always saw 'socialism' as a global economic system - a system that should reorganize the productive forces that have transcended the 'nation-state system' facilitating the foundation for a 'global-network' based on socialist values. Lenin said that Russia would have to follow a 'Socialist United States of Europe' to build socialism as part of Europe. It's this vision that Stalin betrayed.

The time has come for the humankind to transcend the capitalist nation-states system towards a "World United States" based on democracy, cooperation, equality and compassion - an independent World-Currency, a socialist World-Bank and a socialist World-Parliament must be central to a progressive Global Change.

A Common Programme for a United Left Front in Sri Lanka - By Vasantha Raja

[I wrote this article in response to an "internet-project" initiated by the Sri Lankan journalist, Kusal Perera]

Vasantha Raja

20 April 2009

In countries like Sri Lanka capitalism did not organically evolve from feudalism. In contrast, European capitalism grew within the womb of feudal society systematically challenging all aspects of feudal consciousness and institutions. Sri Lankan capitalism, on the contrary, was arbitrarily imposed by colonialists on a feudal society. Therefore, it is not surprising at all that its feudal past is still alive. The feudal consciousness continues to persist in various forms. The Sinhala politicians' pathological failure to politically solve the Tamil Question is partly a result of that.

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Sri Lanka's never-ending political deadlock - By Vasantha Raja

....The Sinhala/Buddhists saw the island as rightfully theirs. For them, the Tamil struggle is a continuation of the historic Sinhala/Tamil wars in a new form. The army commander, General Sarath Fonseka, in a recent interview articulated the Sinhala perception as follows: "I strongly believe that this country belongs to the Sinhalese; but, there are minority communities and we treat them like our people...we being the majority of the country, 74%, we'll never give in and we have the right to protect this country...They can live in this country with us. But they must not try to, under the pretext of being a minority, demand undue things." [My emphasis].....

Full Article...

Is this the end of the Tamil struggle? By Vasantha Raja

[This article was written just before Sri Lankan military's successful conclusion of the war]

For reasons I shall explain later I don't think what we see at present marks the end of the Tamil struggle for independence. The popular perception may well end up in a mirage. Clearly, a new chapter of the Tamil campaign is in the making, and the signs are that the next episode is going to be even more formidable than the Tamil Tigers' mini-state project. With South India's full backing - also, with the international community's blessings - the Tamils are going to press for just two options: either a confederation or total separation.

Full Article...

What's wrong with Michael Roberts' enthusiasm for a "knockout blow"?

[This article was written at the last stages of the Sri Lankan war against the LTTE]

After reading Michael Roberts' "Dilemmas at wars end" and his subsequent "Clarifications & Counter-offensive" my curiosity above all was to find out what kind of logic could have led an academic of his calibre to end up in prescribing in effect to the world to be patient until the government's Sinhala forces (my adjective) annihilate the Tigers' "conventional fighting machine" (I shall use double-quotes to indicate Roberts' words.) even at the risk of sacrificing thousands of Tamil civilians. [Presumably, the adjective "conventional" above seems to allow for the possibility of Tigers' future existence as a guerrilla fighting machine, which in my view would be the more likely scenario. Perhaps, it would be in the government's interest to kill as many civilians as possible as a pre-emptive act to eradicate future guerrilla-material - Roberts admits "most of the people within de facto Eelam" do provide "considerable support for the LTTE".]

Full Article...

Chechnya - Some misleading comparisons with the Sri Lankan case - Comment by Vasantha Raja

Efforts to compare what happens in Sri Lanka and Chechnya could be misleading and counterproductive. The Chechnya situation is vastly different. It is a republic in the Russian federation with its own president Ramzan Kadyrov who is protected by the Russian military as a loyal supporter of the Russian central administration and an opponent of the separatist rebels. President Kadyrov's survival is dependent on the Russian military and his own ruthless oppression within Chechnya. And the Chechnya's separatist movement is still alive and kicking.

In Sri Lanka, Pillayan, Karuna or Devananda will never become the President of a Tamil federal republic. They'll have to remain puppets or stooges of the central government if they want to 'survive' at all. The 13th Amendment will effectively be a trap to cover the naked 'military rule' in the north and east. This means: the powerful re-emergence of separatism will only be a matter of time.

But can the Tamils gain a separate state without war. I don't think so. Remember: keeping Sri Lanka in one piece is an unwavering RELIGIOUS aspiration of the Sinhala majority - and religious convictions have proven to be far more lethal than linguistic and economic injustices. Thus, "two states" and "peace" are irreconcilable ingredients. If, through some miracle, two states are established both regimes will have no democracy for a very long time.

Spreading of illusions about the 13th Amendment is utterly criminal, to say the least. Instead, a united front of all progressive Sinhala, Tamil and Muslim political parties must be formed - with a mutually agreed agenda to democratically transform the centre. Any regional decentralization should be part of that Big Change.

Here's the link for the relevant article:

http://www.groundviews.org/2009/07/26/taking-a-page-from-chechnya-sri-lankas-insincere-constitutional-reform-and-its-apologists/#more-1321

Dayan Jayatilleka's "13th Amendment Delusion" - Editorial Comment by Vasantha Raja

Dayan Jayatilleka seems to think that 13A, if implemented, can gently be manipulated so that the Tamils can eventually have autonomous rule in the north and east. This can be done, he says, through "the future electoral strength of the Tamil parties."

Full Comment...

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Why all progressive political parties should reject the 13th Amendment? - Editorial comment by Vasantha Raja

Those who support the implementation of the 13th Amendment say that whatever its limitations it is a good basis for further improvement. On the contrary, the 13th Amendment is a recipe for disaster; it'll be a breeding ground of disharmony and conflict.

Full Comment...

Vasantha Raja's comments on MCM Iqbal's article on the 13th Amendment.

Link for Iqbal's article: http://www.groundviews.org/2009/07/19/devolution-of-powers-under-the-13th-amendment-in-sri-lanka-fact-or-fiction/#more-1308

My Comments:

This is a good analysis that exposes the reality behind the 13th Amendment. It shows that the 13th Amendment - which is already part of the SL Constitution - is nowhere near solving the political problems that led to the destructive war. On the contrary, it'll be a recipe for future disputes and conflicts that could invariably result in bigger problems. [The so-called "13-Plus" will be a non-starter in the face of intense opposition in the Sinhala South.]

As long as the centre remains intact, the 13th Amendment will only lead to a new version of the Tamil separatist struggle. Thus, the 13th Amendment will not bring the social harmony Sri Lanka is desperately looking for.

As I have argued elsewhere, a separate state is also not going to bring peace either to the Tamil people or to the country as a whole. It will merely open a Pandora's Box of a different form. The only viable answer to the conflict and the future prosperity of all communities lies in the radical transformation of the centre itself. A supreme parliament with radical mechanisms enabling the democratic representatives of all communities to effectively participate in the economic planning and development of the country as a whole should be seen as the Holy-Grail. Two regional administrations - one for the north and one for the south - should be formed for power-decentralization from an equality-based supreme parliament. Thus the latter's rule is limited to the highest level of all political, economic, judicial and security issues.

Just a point of clarification: My comments may give the wrong impression that I'm trying to summarize what Iqbal says in his article. In fact though, the conclusions I've derived from Iqbal's analysis contradict his judgement. He merely seems to point out that the Sinhala majority's concerns about the 13th Amendment are misplaced - that they need not fear. I, on the contrary, argue that the real implication of his analysis is: the 13th Amendment will turn out to be a tinderbox - a breeding ground for future conflicts. Therefore, all Sri Lankans who want to see durable peace should turn towards the Centre - the state structure as a whole - and take the bull by the horns. If the Mahinda administration is incapable of doing that a new progressive united front of Sinhala, Tamil and Muslim parties should take up that challenge. That's the realistic way out, in my view; not the 13th Amendment, 13-Plus or two separate states.

"Ex-JVP leader's analysis of the present JVP leadership": Vasantha Raja comments.

Lionel Bopage's article in Groundviews [http://www.groundviews.org/2009/07/26/sinusoidal-nature-of-the-jvp-policy-on-the-national-question/#more-1320] presents an important analysis which all serious JVPers must carefully study and absorb. I've no doubt there're highly creative thinkers within the JVP ranks to turn the party in the correct direction. Remember, it's now the country is facing its biggest ideological challenge. We must be grateful to Comrade Bopage for raising the right issues boldly at the right time.

I think, the JVP is right to reject the 13th Amendment, but not for the chauvinistic reasons they provide. There're good grounds to ridicule the 13the Amendment: it is a farce; it's a trap. In the present context, it will only be used as a cover for military oppression. Supporting it would turn out to be politically disastrous.

As Comrade Somawansa Amarasinghe [JVP's present leader] rightly says, the answer lies in the transformation of the centre. Any regional decentralization would only become meaningful as a part of that. True, the 13th Amendment in the present set up is bound to kindle separatism. That's because, Tamil would not have any alternative.

Sure, the Tamils have the right to self-determination. But, self-determination does not necessarily mean separatism. Ordinary Tamils, I believe, will clearly understand that a "separate state" is not going to solve their problems. Two hostile states in Sri Lanka will not bring peace to anybody; it'll be a recipe for continuous "military rule" on both sides.

True, peace without justice is not worth having. But, we can envisage state-structures that could pave the way for both durable peace & justice. Those who say equality can be achieved by activating the 17th Amendment are also talking "bull shit". This, I call the "17A delusion"- on top of the "13A delusion". 17A could only become meaningful in the context of chaging the existing state-structures as a whole - the Big Change. Those who believe in 17A - as the starting point to change the centre - totally underestimate the scale of racism entrenched in the post-colonial political establishment. In the existing setup these devices will only serve as diversions from the real change. It's a mistake to see these constitutional amendments as piecemeal steps that can be eventually improved to end up in the Big Change.

The effective starting-point to achieve the Change is a United Front of all progressive parties - Sinhala, Tamil and Muslim - based on a clear agenda to transform the centre, and to decentralize power as part of it. Achieving a clear vision of the ways in which equal opportunity can be constitutionally institutionalized is the central point here. And that, I believe, can be reached through the formation of a United Front. Such a united front, I believe, should challenge the chauvinist forces in all elections.

A unified struggle of progressive forces is the most effective way to put an end to separatism for good.

Here's the Link for Lionel Bopage's article in Groundviews:

http://www.groundviews.org/2009/07/26/sinusoidal-nature-of-the-jvp-policy-on-the-national-question/#more-1320

Emerging world governance & Sri Lanka's "David/Goliath battle" - By Vasantha Raja
'Global parliament' is a concept I've been arguing for quite a long time. My views on a 'political model' to solve Sri Lanka's ethnic conflict stem from the same internationalist perspective. The EU model - which some see as a precursor to a future world government - may also, I believe, provide the general framework for solving many nationalist conflicts in the world. In relation to the Lankan situation I suggested there should be an equity-based Supreme Parliament plus two regional parliaments for Sri Lanka's Sinhala South and Tamil North. [Primarily on economic, political and demographic grounds I even suggested the supreme parliament to be located in the central city of Anuradhapura.] We can learn a lot from the EU parliament in structuring the Supreme Parliament, I said, while learning a lot from the Scottish Parliament's experience in forming the regional parliaments. [I urge you to read my articles: "A common vision to break Sri Lanka's deadlock" and "Britain's answer to separatism - lessons for us". Both articles are available in 'Editor's Essays' section of this website.] Read More
Economic visions and global nightmares

Friday December 3, 2004
VASANTHA RAJA

I wrote this article some four years back commenting on the budget of Sri Lanka's finance minister at the time. In the context of the escalating financial crisis all over the world at present, it may be worth reading it again.

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Britain's answer to separatism: lessons for us

Tuesday March 21, 2006
VASANTHA RAJA

I wrote this article over two years back, at a time when Sri Lanka's president was busy making calculated comments to create hopes for peace. Now we know he had an entirely different project in mind: to launch a ruthless war that has burdened the country with mountains of debt. Let's keep our fingers crossed and watch if at least the collapsing global economy - with disastrous implications to Sri Lankan economy too - is going to open his eyes. With that possibility in mind, I invite you to read this article again.

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A common vision to break Sri Lanka's deadlock

Friday September 9, 2004
VASANTHA RAJA

A close observation of the many ups and downs of the Sri Lankan peace process under both UNF and UPFA administrations reveals the fundamental factor obstructing its progress. It boils down to one thing: steadily eroding distrust of one another's motives.

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My encounters with Sri Lanka's 'Marxist' JVP - By Vasantha Raja

I kept my contacts with JVP open and had many subsequent useful discussions with them. Referring to the Tamils' right to self-determination, one JVP member, using Lenin's analogy, told me: "Supporting the right to divorce does not mean that the breaking-up of all marriages is justified.'

'If the husband and the wife cannot get on well...if the husband is a pathological wife-beater...and all efforts to patch up the conflicts fail...if the relationship is unequal then the wife should exercise her right to divorce', I said.

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Trincomalee: Sri Lanka's Jerusalem

Thursday May 4, 2006
VASANTHA RAJA

Sri Lanka's peace process remains entangled in a seemingly incurable predicament. Thousands of innocent civilians, as usual, keep paying a heavy price for their leaders' failure to break the vicious circle of conflict. Even the signals of an impending social catastrophe and the spectre of an economic nightmare have yet to produce the necessary wisdom to transcend existing prejudices.

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Prof. Uyangoda's 'gradualist' fallacy
Friday September 1, 2006
VASANTHA RAJA

Professor Jayadeva Uyangoda's recent interview with Rediff News has highlighted the well-known contradiction presently facing the peace process in Sri Lanka: the vast gap in the respective visions of the Liberation Tigers and the government of Sri Lanka.

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Military illusions that ruined a peace process

Thursday August 3, 2006
VASANTHA RAJA

Last week some JVP leaders were personally visiting army camps to boost up troops' morale prior to the well-planned military operation. Reportedly, even a famous Sinhala film director, Somaratne Dissanayak, was part of the team used to uplift the military's spirit. According to southern newspaper reports, the morale-boosters gave high hopes to the soldiers saying that, backed by aerial bombing, the state's forces could crush the LTTE within 24 hours!

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Sri Lanka at the crossroads

Friday July 21, 2006
VASANTHA RAJA

The global effort to save Sri Lanka's peace process is at the verge of total collapse. Though the 2002 'ceasefire deal' is officially still in place, the deteriorating situation has already reached war-like proportions.

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Global 'yakka' (yacker) to save Lanka?

Wednesday June 7, 2006
VASANTHA RAJA

Thanks to the international community's timely intervention, Sri Lanka has once again been narrowly saved from a runaway killing spree that was drifting fast towards a 'suicidal' war. Best to keep one's fingers crossed still, however, for the situation is still not totally out of dire straits.

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The war plan that backfired
Wednesday August 16, 2006
VASANTHA RAJA

The Rajapaksa-administration, misguided by JVP theoreticians and a section of the military leadership, has driven Sri Lanka towards an unwinnable war already inflicting untold suffering on people. Hopes for a quick victory are fast receding, and Sri Lanka is getting bogged down in a long, atrocious conflict with catastrophic economic consequences to follow.

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Brown's vision: a historic turning point?

Vasantha Raja's Introduction -

I wrote the above-mentioned article some three years ago based on Gordon Brown's lectures given to various audiences. At the time he was Britain's Chancellor of the Exchequer. When he became the prime minister of Britain, after Tony Blair's departure, many in Britain, including myself, thought he would emerge as a leader of change, particularly against the lop-sided globalization - of which Iraq war is an assured consequence.

On the contrary, his silence on important national and global issues began to convey a negative message that painted him as a defender of the status-quo.

Big ideas, fresh visions and self-confident boldness...to guide humanity out of the unfolding global nightmare, and into a new world-order - that's what was needed, yet that's what was lacking in Gordon Brown's initial period in office. He appeared confused and helpless. The truth is: neither Brown nor most of the mainstream economists saw the global economic storms coming. Even when it finally hit none of them initially saw the real depth of it. The mavericks [including myself] that saw it coming and warned about its depth were either ignored or scoffed at as leftist loonies.

The British people, however, began to increasingly sense there cannot be national solutions to their problems. There is an almighty, yet blind and anarchic, global market out there that plays Russian roulette with people's lives. The global financial crisis exposed the global nature of everyone's future.

Thank Goodness, the credibility of free-market philosophy [the so-called "trickle down economics"] is finally in jeopardy; and, the interest in alternative economic visions is on the rise. British people are closely watching Brown to comprehend what his enthusiasm for a fair society would really mean in practical terms.

The task confronting the present Labour government is historic. The globally unfolding events at present pose both dangers and opportunities for the humankind as a whole. The Labor Party that was created over a century ago by the British labor movement to challenge the establishment should grasp the meaning of the new opportunities and lead the world in a new direction. For, both the main problems and their possible solutions cannot be understood within national boundaries; they are global in a direct and practical sense. The time is up for Labour leaders to go beyond the nationalist mind-set and present themselves as global visionaries. Any failure in this historic task would signal the necessity to replace the Labor Party with a new socialist leadership.

Democratic & transparent global institutions are needed to transform the existing mode of globalization into a genuinely humanist globalization. This would involve, among other things, regulation of the world market, mobilization of "Marshall-Plan" type projects to eradicate world poverty, designing & coordinating world-infrastructure ventures crucial to global productivity, providing leadership in the search for green energy and the harmonization of economic growth with environmental protection & global welfare.

Socialists firmly believe the finance sector and the planning & development of economic infrastructure should be directly under state-guidance. [When even the Financial Times' chief analyst, Martin Wolf, talks of the necessity to nationalize the entire banking sector it's clear that a paradigm-shift in global economic perception is dawning.]

For socialists, long-term global planning with scientific expertise should be the foundation of public investment. And, within a globalized economy that control must flow from international democratic institutions. Planning and investment on national & regional infrastructure should be part of the planned-global growth of productivity & common welfare. [Remember, common welfare is not just a moral issue; it's an economic issue, for, health, education, housing etc. are inseparably linked to productivity.]

That is socialist economics. Whether Gordon Brown will succeed in moving away from the already failed New Labor economics and rediscovering the value of socialist economics remains to be seen.

None of this is conceivable without a paradigm-shift that cleanses globalization from all its hereditary imperialist traits. What is needed is to campaign for a New "Bretton Woods" conference aimed at re-structuring and strengthening the post-war global institutions - the UN, World Bank, IMF & International judicial institutions - with fresh mandates appropriate for a new world-order, and turn them into authentic global institutions. The long-term logic of this line of thinking could well be the eventual creation of a global parliament & a single global currency.

The prospective US President, Barack Obama, will, in all probability, be a willing companion of the Labor government to cooperate with China, Russia, Japan, India and the Middle-East - all of whom will have insightful contributions to make - towards designing the Big Global Change.

With such possibilities in mind, I invite you to read my old article written in March 2005.

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Sri Lanka: get ready for a global deal!

Friday February 11, 2005
VASANTHA RAJA

The moral and economic case for poverty elimination - debt relief is just one part of it - and Third-World development is gathering momentum. The scandalous statistics of the widening rich-poor gap are driving the moral issue, while the worsening economic imbalances that threaten the monetary system provide the economic justification.

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Tsunami reconstruction and Sri Lanka's economic growth
Monday January 10, 2005
VASANTHA RAJA

The UN's intervention to lead the financing of post-Tsunami reconstruction work in Asia indicates that the unfolding global effort is going to be more substantial than many perhaps anticipated. Read More
Narrowing options for Lions and Tigers

Friday November 5, 2004
VASANTHA RAJA

Objective circumstances may soon compel the opposing sides in Sri Lanka’s ethnic conflict to develop a common vision for an equality-based power-sharing centre – on top of north/south regional administrations – as the only sensible way out of the present impasse. Neither the war option nor dragging out the stalemate seems prudent to either.

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A seamless path from ISGA to core issue
Tuesday October 12, 2004
VASANTHA RAJA

The interim self-rule model envisaged in the LTTE's ISGA proposals, or anything close to its spirit, clearly cannot be implemented within Sri Lanka's existing unitary constitution. Indeed, realistic negotiations based on the ISGA proposals presuppose a federalist constitution - in other words, a fundamental break from the present set-up. Read More
Tamil struggle enters qualitatively new phase

Saturday June 19, 2004
VASANTHA RAJA

The massive demonstration in Jaffna on 17 June combining the political, social and economic demands of Sri Lanka's Tamils - including the up-country plantation workers - appears to mark a new stage in the Tamil struggle, indicating a looming link-up of the LTTE's armed struggle with a Tamil mass movement.

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How to transcend the constitutional crisis

Sataruday June 12, 2004
VASANTHA RAJA

Professor Laksiri Fernando's recent defence of the UPFA's scheme to bring in a new constitution has added a refreshing new angle to the debate.

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The Tamil Question and India's Sethusamudram project

Tuesday June 8, 2004
VASANTHA RAJA

The new Indian administration has decided to push ahead rapidly with the gigantic Sethusamudram project aimed at diverting, and substantially shortening, the east/west shipping route by running it through the Gulf of Mannar and Palk Strait. Also major plans are in the pipeline to develop South India's Tuticorin into a major international harbour.

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UPFA's new gameplan may end in tears

Saturday June 5, 2004
VASANTHA RAJA

Ominous signs are emerging from the UPFA's so-called peace effort. President Kumaratunga seems to be at it again - just as during the 1994-5 peace initiative - aiming to drive a wedge between the Tamil people and the LTTE.

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An open debate on 'core issues' would enlighten all

Saturday May 29, 2004
VASANTHA RAJA

America's interest in Sri Lanka's dragging ethnic conflict seems to be growing. US deputy secretary of state Richard Armitage - in spite of his extremely busy worldwide schedule - is to personally visit Brussels on May 31 to hold three days of talks with Japan, the EU and Norway on the status of the stalemated Sri Lankan peace process.

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The man I remember: the plight of 'Swiss Murali'
Sunday May, 23, 2004
VASANTHA RAJA

I was shocked and saddened to read about the plight of Nadarajah Muralitharan, a former LTTE branch leader abroad being held by the Canadian authorities, who are seeking to deport him to Sri Lanka. I knew this gentleman well during his days in Switzerland when I, as a journalist, met him several times.
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Glimpses into a Trotskyist party
Wednesday October 4, 2006
VASANTHA RAJA
The Socialist Equality Party analysts' hard-hitting articles on the World Socialist Web Site (WSWS) have generated extreme reactions among many readers, showing the impact they are having. And that's not a bad thing at all. Read More