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A Contribution to the Debate between Rajpal Abeynayake and Malinda Senevirathne on the Role of the Moral Police

by Surendra Rupasinghe

Mahinda Rajapakse has introduced a new era. There is to be no more discussion of a Tamil National Question, or of any national question. There is declared to be only “One Country: One Nation”. Enter Jaffna, and you will see! There is to be no protest or opposition to this agenda, lest one is to be classified as an agent of ‘separatist terrorism’, as a traitor to the Motherland, to be branded and hounded as an enemy of the State. No one before him has had the courage to assert absolute-‘monarchic’, autocratic- hegemonic, Comprador-Capitalist rule over the whole of society as Mahinda Rajapakse.  No one before him has transformed the state into a modernized, politicized, militarized apparatus for the perpetuation of dynastic-oligarchic rule.

Rajpal Abeynayake is right; There is a moral police being unleashed to police intimate, personal relations and sexual practices in order to enforce a culture of conformity, through instilling fear and subordination.  Beyond that, there is a trend towards enforcing a puritanical political culture over society, under the banner of ‘advancing the cause of the Sinhala-Buddhist nation’. Rajpal’s conceptual terminology obscures the real issue. This is no ‘cultural revolution’. However, Rajpal’s use of the concept ‘cultural revolution’, reveals that he wishes to address a process of radical cultural formation and restructuring of mind and consciousness, that aims to politically control human behavior. Whatever the intellectual obfuscation, Rajpal is referring to a most critical political development in our society; the establishment of a Comprador-Capitalist Dictatorship, in the guise of a benevolent Sinhala-Buddhist hegemonic State, the supreme power of which is being centralized and concentrated in a dynastic oligarchic fraction of the ruling class, led by Mahinda Rajapakse- Executive President, Head of State and Commander-in-Chief.

Like Rajpal, I too do not wish to live in a society dominated and dictated to, by anyone’s moral code, unless I decide that the prevailing ruling moral code arises from the need for the oppressed to command their lives and their future. The role of a moral police force is morally despicable, and we should be grateful to Rajpal for  sharpening our attention to this ominous danger. The right to love is a most fundamental human right. Not in some deranged narcissist-anarchist  sense of self-gratification promoted by global capitalism, but in the sense of the right to express my love, desire and sexuality in ways that I decide, so I may experience and embrace humanity, and serve the revolution, that much more and better. Sexual love and forms of desire, and their corresponding social practices should never be politically imposed and enforced by the State, through a moral police. Such norms and practices, and their regulation, are governed by communities of people with shared beliefs and values. A moral order rests upon a civilized consensus that human behavior concerning love and sexuality, should not be based on the exercise of force or abuse. Where some form of coercion is needed to regulate, it is exercised through norms and regulations that are generally accepted by the community of shared beliefs and values. The democratic State has a function in prescribing the laws and norms under which human behavior is to be regulated, based on the community of shared values, norms and practices. It has a duty to protect the democratic freedoms of its people. It has no role in policing intimate, personal relations and practices concerning love and sexuality. Policing and regulating love and sexual relations and practices by the use of the armed forces of the state is a process of reactionary counter-revolution aimed at caging hearts and minds and enforcing conformity to the new religious doctrine and moral code as prescribed by the regime

The reality  of a moral police  is no bogey. Behind the role of the moral police is the political agenda of suppressing independent critical thinking and exercising one’s freedom to decide on one’s life and future. The fact is that the role of a moral police is integrally linked with a broader agenda of corralling, controlling and suppressing any form of resistance to the status quo. It is an integral part of a political-ideological-military strategy to rope in the people to believe in, and abide by, a given doctrinal religion, with its own intrinsic truths, laws and principles, that shall override any earthly law or constitution. A new doctrinal religion, infused by an all consuming  PATRIOTISM,  that will serve to legitimize and justify any and all crimes against humanity and against the people, as part of the sacred project to ‘liberate the motherland’ from terrorists and traitors. As a necessary part of this program and strategy of suppression, this doctrinal religion will reinforce patriarchy and imbibe obedience and subservience to (male) authority. It will nurture faith in supernatural beings and promote superstition and ritual. It will nourish faith in a karmic destiny, where you shall be bound to repent and pay for your past accumulated sins. It will identify the destiny of the family, the village, the town, city and the country,- the people and all civilized life- with the liberating role of the Supreme Benevolent Patriarch.  The role of the moral police is to extend and strengthen the grip of the state and the regime in creating and maintaining such a subordinate, servile and slavish population under its supreme political, ideological and moral  command. 

This political agenda cannot be carried out without a solid base deep within the core Sinhala-Buddhist constituency.  Blind, reactive, instictive patriotism, one of the worst forms of political-ideological  slavery, is the key to controlling and mobilizing the oppressed, mainly rural Sinhala masses, to endure and pay the cost of the Mahinda Chintanaya project. The ‘cultural revolution’ Rajpal is referring to is a political-ideological project implemented by the regime to not only control, but to mobilize the masses into a culture of blind faith and chauvinist patriotism, that will ensure instinctive subservience and loyalty to the Supreme Benevolent Patriarch- the  King.  The Mahinda Chintanaya regime- its ruling politics and ideology- crystallizes a particular historical process. It is a crystallization and culmination of a particular historical trajectory that has ruled over us since the transfer of state power by the British Colonial power to its class of local Comprador lackeys- in the name of independence. Mahinda Chintanaya crystallizes, concentrates and culminates the Feudal-Colonial/Comprador-Capitalist ideology and politics crowned by the mantle of Sinhala-Buddhist supremacy. In honoring its historical mission, the Mahinda Chintanaya regime has reconstructed the political-ideological structures, institutions and edifices of centralized, autocratic, hegemonic dictatorship to a new level. In this respect, Mahinda Rajapakse, himself, is the one true heir to the UNP-SLFP historical legacy, which sanctioned the birth of Sinhala-Buddhist supremacy and divided the country, while mortgaging the Land and the People, and enslaving them, for all time. He is the true inheritor of the ruling class in terms of exercising a ruthless Comprador dictatorship over the masses. But, he has exceeded all in terms of applying the science and art of deceit and deception, cunning manipulation and unmitigated repression in perpetuating his power. The hard fact is that the ‘Sinhalayas’ have rallied around Mahinda’s banner of war, conquest and supremacy, as the path to their liberation.

Following the centuries of colonial domination and depredation, deep in the subterranean subconscious of the popular Sinhala mind, there is a sense of long lost victory and a spirit of regaining lost pride and independence. There is a shared need to be liberated from the shackles of imperialism and feudal oppression, to be free of the scourge of  endless poverty, deprivation and degradation. These genuine national-democratic aspirations of the Sinhala nation has been perverted into a form of patriotism in the service of the Comprador ruling class. This has led to a spirit of joyous celebration over the military liquidation of the LTTE. There is a popular triumphal spirit of Mahinda Rajapakse as the conqueror who has vanquished the alien imposter and liberated the Land and the People from hell and damnation. That was how the war was crafted and pursued- as a patriotic war to save the “Sinhala-Buddhist Nation and its Motherland’ from the clutches of ‘Tamil separatist terrorism’.  Along with the military liquidation of the LTTE, the destruction and eradication of the whole generative structure of the ideology and politics of separatism, was to be the aim of the war. Ultimately, the war was aimed at eradicating the Tamil national liberation movement, root and branch, so there will not be a Tamil National Question to resolve. The ‘Sinhalayas’ –rich and poor, en masse, supported this war led by Mahinda Rajapakse- and are still supporting its ideology and politics with conviction.

The oppressed Sinhala masses, betrayed by the “Left’ movement, without revolutionary leadership and organization, have fallen prey to this State ideology of Sinhala-Buddhist supremacy. Mahinda Rajapakse’s consummate political achievement lies in having exploited all the frustration, deprivation, alienation, degradation, exploitation and oppression generated by the system, ever endured by the Sinhala masses, into a torrential wave of support for a military victory over the LTTE- and over the ‘alien’ Dravidayas, at whatever cost! The progressive, anti-imperialist revolutionary struggle of the people of Lanka has been perverted into that grotesque form of the oppressed killing each other to protect the oppressor State and system. Mahinda - that is the combined energy and experience of the RAW,CIA, MOSSAD, ISIS, and the Sri Lankan Strategic Command -  exploited also the fatal bourgeois-nationalist political and ideological limitations of the LTTE. Particularly, the reliance on the system of world imperialism to deliver liberation, and the negation of the role of the exploited and oppressed masses in waging revolutionary struggle and revolutionary warfare to rid the world of all forms domination, exploitation, oppression, violence and War!  

Mahinda Rajapakse has introduced a new era. There is to be no more discussion of a Tamil National Question, or of any national question. There is declared to be only “One Country: One Nation”. Enter Jaffna, and you will see! There is to be no protest or opposition to this agenda, lest one is to be classified as an agent of ‘separatist terrorism’, as a traitor to the Motherland, to be branded and hounded as an enemy of the State. No one before him has had the courage to assert absolute-‘monarchic’, autocratic- hegemonic, Comprador-Capitalist rule over the whole of society as Mahinda Rajapakse.  No one before him has transformed the state into a modernized, politicized, militarized apparatus for the perpetuation of dynastic-oligarchic rule. No one had achieved such broad popular consensus over waging and winning the ‘war on terror’. No one has emerged as the one, true undisputed guardian and savior of the Sinhalayas. This is his historic achievement as the crystallization and concentration of the ideology and politics of Sinhala supremacy, which has formed the foundational structure of the modern feudal-colonial, comprador-capitalist State. Therein, Mahinda Rajapakse derives and defines his historical role, and charters his destiny, and discovers his immortality- and of course, his short term fatality in the face of the People’s Revolutionary Tribunal that is shaping in the winds. But we shall have to dare!

Rajpal Abeynayake has simply alerted us to an ominously growing trend, which he innocuously calls a ‘cultural revolution’, but which, in fact, is a deadly cultural counter-revolution. The role of the moral police is a symptom of a decadent, tottering hegemonic-chauvinist/ comprador-capitalist State and political order. The discussion is over the character, content and direction of our future as a democratic, secular, pluralist social order that flourishes by the simple virtue of the fact that it honors the equality, dignity, security, autonomy and democratic freedom of all its nations, nationalities, communities and groups that claim and yearn to build the Land of Lanka.   Only such a free and voluntary  association will make the role of the moral police, along with the hegemonic-supremacist  project itself, obsolete.

Surendra Rupasinghe is Secretary, Ceylon Communist Party (Maoist)