Dr. Vickremabahu Karunaratne
Some Tamil intellectuals believe that, rather than beat about the bush, TNA should go straight for a federal solution; as the 13th Amendment plus is extremely vague and doesn’t give much power to the Tamils. This has to be done even if some may say that TNA is asking for the moon, because that is politics. The Tamils wanted a separate state like what the South Sudanese needed, but India wouldn’t agree to that for the simple reason that it could inspire the separatist within India. That should be clear to everybody. However, they should at least agree to a federal solution, where each community can look after its own affairs. Also, these radicals say that TNA has failed in mobilising a people’s struggle, failed in politicising people on the question of rights, failed in placing a fully-fledged federal solution draft as an alternative to separate Tamil Eelam, failed in forging alliance with Muslims and Up-country Tamils, failed in addressing Sinhala people on the justice behind the Tamil struggle, failed in effectively using the post-war international situation and failed in transparency within the alliance itself.
There is a truth in what the radicals say looking from the Leninist theory on national problems. Lenin clearly indicated that the right of self determination is fundamental in solving the national problem. Contrary to the argument that it will necessarily lead to separation, Lenin insisted the opposite. It is the right to separation that could firmly unite two or more nationalities to live together as one state. He opposed campaigning for federalism claiming full autonomy is possible within a unitary state, provided the right of self determination is included as a fundamental right in the constitution. This was the major clash between the Leninist and other social democrats including Rosa Luxemburg and to some extent Trotsky. Almost all of those in the latter group were revolutionaries from the minority nationalities! Revolutionaries from minority nationalities opposed separation demand put forward by the bourgeoisie nationalists of their community. Hence they were blind to the argument of Lenin when he said federalism is unnecessary when the right of separation is a fundamental right included in the constitution. Lenin won in the end, when it was proved in practice that what is important is the recognition of homeland, national identity and autonomy with the right of self determination. The specific structure of the united state proved to be secondary.
Sober elements, who agree with Leninist thesis on national problems, counter the radicals and say they are missing the point here. With regard to 13+, just not letting it slip away is not a new proposal. Yes, the right of self determination, not only federalism, is in the agenda but that has nothing to do with not letting the 13+ slip. Hence the radical analysis is flawed, or induced. What ever it is, this is greatly misleading the public. In the given context of geo-politics and military-grooming approach of all the powers involved, the people’s struggle the radicals were referring to, needs to be addressed at an international level, primarily against Washington and New Delhi, by the mobilisation of global Tamils. But at every sector, whether the Diasporas, Tamil Nadu or the island, the leadership is systematically gagged, bound, manipulated, or diffused by the agents of global powers. The past genocidal war against the Tamil people was launched with direct involvement of the global powers. On the other hand the Government which is accused of war crime was brought to power with indirect help of the LTTE. Terrible defeat and the emergence of fascist styled regime is the main reason for non-emergence of a people’s struggle, compared to the 1961 non-violent mass struggle. Now struggles are breaking out in the south as well against this regime. These are led by Sinhala leaders who are prepared to defend the national rights of the Tamil people. Mass uprising in the south including a parliamentary victory is necessary for Tamil people to move forward in the freedom struggle.
When such an opportunity came, and while the matter has now been taken at the level of the UN, will the TNA fail in cutting an appropriate profile and spearheading the struggle in an effective way?