– Speech made by Comrade Tilvin Silva, General Secretary of the JVP at a seminar held in Colombo on 27.01.2020
Lenin, one of the colossal men of the era, who gave leadership to the creation of first Socialist state of the world, died on 21st January 1924. We, of the JVP as well as the Socialist Workers’ Union, read Lenin regularly. We thought it would be ideal if we could discuss this with society as well.
All genuine progressives commemorate Lenin. What would be better is to read Lenin and read our society through Lenin. By doing so, we would be able to get correct solutions for the issues confronted by our society.
Why do we have to read Lenin at this moment? This is a moment Sri Lanka as well as the whole world is clamouring for a change. However, society has contradictory views regarding what change has to be done and how to make this change. A majority of the people thinks or they are conditioned to think that an individual can make this change. As such, they elect an individual every five years as their saviour. Capitalist politics, their ideologies and certain institutions that create doctrines have been able to condition the opinion of our society for such a low mentality. The personality cult is the main ingredient that has caused the belief that an individual could be the saviour of the people. As such, a majority of the people in our country thought at the presidential election held recently, that electing Mr Gotabaya Rajapaksa as the President would solve all issues in the country. This was the result of not having a deep reading in politics.
To change the society, it is necessary to make a thorough study of it. What appears in our politics is about 90% gossip. The political pages in newspapers too contain gossip. There is no intensive dialogue in classes in our country. It is what the media makes available to us. A journalist writing about Lenin would write things about his birth, where he was born, his favourite food, how many mistresses he had etc. They would not touch on Lenin’s teachings. Today we need a vision that reads the society. This is what we should take by reading Lenin. Politics is a science. However, there is a phase in the classes as well. It contains capitalist politics as well as the political science that directs the working masses for their emancipation. Politics is a study on class structure. As such, politics cannot be understood without the ability to understand the world with a vision in classes.
There is a class sense in whatever said by political philosophers, from Plato and Aristotle, whom we consider as the first teachers of politics, to those in the present time. As such, the world cannot be understood without ‘class politics’. This is why Marx and Lenin become important to us. Marx is the person who created the proletarian vision of the politics of reading society. It was Lenin who modified Marxism relative to imperialist period and gave leadership to the process that practised it. Lenin was a politician, a philosopher as well as a person who showed the way to execute philosophy practically. Reading Lenin is important for the working masses. Once Lenin said ‘politics is the rapport between the classes’. Politics cannot be understood without identifying class differences. It is compulsory to read Lenin today to read the world through the eyes of our class. Once Lenin says (Think of Sri Lanka while reading this quote) “People always have been the foolish victims of deception and self-deception in politics, and they always will be until they have learnt to seek out the interests of some class or other behind all moral, religious, political and social phrases, declarations and promises.” This is why reading Lenin is important to look at the world with a class vision. Then, we would not be deceived. As there is no such class vision, it has been possible for thieves, hoodlums and villains to pretend as saints and deceive the masses. This is what we are witnessing these days. The masses today get deceived, in the morning, at noon and also at night.
Fidel Castro, in his book ‘My life’, states “Marxism taught me what society was. I was like a blindfolded man in a forest, who doesn’t know where north or south is. If you don’t eventually come to truly understand the history of the class struggle, or at least have a clear idea that society is divided between the rich and the poor and that some people subjugate and exploit other people, you’re lost in a forest, not knowing anything.” This is the situation for the majority in our country as well. They have been blindfolded and have lost their way.
There is a class struggle within society. There is a class politics – a rule by a class. As such, we have to look at things in a class sense. Then we would be able to understand what class and what interest they serve. This is why reading Lenin is so essential to us. He not only looked at the world in a class sense but also gave leadership to change it. Lenin was a complete Marxist. It was Lenin who politically understood and found out the moment capitalism transformed into imperialism. He most correctly interpreted the status of imperialism. It was a hundred years ago. Today, it has been well corroborated.
A Marxist not only accepts class struggle but is someone who struggles to create the state power of the proletariat. There were people who believed in class struggle then as well. However, they did not have any faith in class administration. It was Lenin who theoretically as well as practically taught us how the working masses become the ruling class and how such an administration is managed. Also, it was Lenin who taught us that capitalism has no answer to any issue in the world. He proved it scientifically and logically. Today it has been proved. Once Lenin said, “Capitalists are no more capable of finding solutions for their issues than a man is capable of lifting himself up by his own bootstraps.”
Talking about independence, Lenin said human freedom could not be achieved without Socialism. None of us is free with capitalism. Reading Lenin is an essential component of genuine freedom. It is especially important for the working masses. We have no freedom at all. Everything is controlled by giant companies using mass media.
Has not our society been deceived? It has been proved for 72 years that our rulers do not have solutions for our issues. The people are being deceived with false promises. Capitalist politicians carry out any ugly and torpid moves. They can commit murders too to come to power or be in power. Politicians of the capitalist class who come to power committing such crimes carry out their administrations deceiving people and using the power they have grabbed. The people in our country think a capitalist leader could be an anti-imperialist. Lenin says it is imperialist politics that rule the world and any capitalist ruler would be controlled by imperialism like submissive and meek puppies. No independent economy can exist within imperialism. No one can stay without getting sold or selling.
In bringing the present President to power what the people considered as important was the national security in the country. An opinion was created that first and foremost, the country should be protected. However, the people did not have an idea from whom the country needed to be protected. Some thought it is from the Tamils and some others thought the country has to be protected from Muslims. Is the national security consolidated in the country? Our country is at risk as a result of SOFA and ACSA signed with imperialists. ACSA was signed when President Gotabaya Rajapaksa was the Defense Secretary. This agreement was extended by Ranil Wickremesinghe administration. According to this agreement, our country is committed to providing facilities to US troops during any military engagement in the region. Isn’t our country exposed to danger? It was Gotabaya Rajapaksa, despite talking much about the national security of our country, who dragged the country towards this danger. However, the politics in our country is that the same person who dragged the country towards the danger has been handed the national security of the country. People are deceived to the utmost. This is why it is important to read Lenin. We want to know whether this government is prepared to abolish ACSA and SOFA that have dragged the country towards a precipice. The government is not prepared to do so. The people in the country do not speak about it either. Politics in the country today is such a delusion. We are living in a period where thieves are given the responsibility of catching thieves, criminals promise to stop crimes, those who bungled security talk of establishing security in the country and those who violate moral principles attempt to secure virtuousness in the country. This is why we have to read class politics. There is a massive economic crisis in our country. Can this capitalist economy develop? The capitalist system cannot develop the economy. The economy in our country is in a very critical state. There is no production. We have to pay debts every day. Now the debt burden exceeds Rs. 12 trillion. The loan installment is Rs. one trillion. Production must be increased to come out of this crisis. However, capitalist rulers are not capable of increasing production. This is why they have to sign more and more agreements. This is why agreements such as MCC have been thrust upon us. The government that came to power saying MCC would be torn apart during the UNP regime now says the agreement should be studied. When they say that MCC was dangerous, people have to accept it. The same people when they, after coming to power, say it has to be studied, people have to accept it as well. We say there is nothing to study. What they want to do is to sign the agreement to grab US$ 480 million. As it would be fatal if it is signed before the general election, they want to mark time until the election is over. They want to sign the agreement after hoodwinking the masses. Whoever comes to power within the capitalist system, whether it is Gotabaya Rajapaksa or any other, it would be impossible for such a person to go against imperialism. Despite clamouring against imperialism, once they come to power, they wouldn’t be anti0American. They wouldn’t allow any painting on the walls against the USA. This is the truth. This example would suffice to know how deceptive this class politics is. However, people in our country not only have been allowed to be deceived, but they also deceive themselves. Rajapaksas who, before the election, said they would not hand over even an inch of land to foreigners have given three acres as soon as they came to power. Their politics is that of imposters’. This is why we say capitalism has no solutions for issues. They can only deceive people and drag them towards the precipice.
There is also the misconception that the capitalist system can stop frauds and corruption. According to Marx, capitalism itself is a scam. Capitalism allows exploitation through the capital. It is a legal scam. As such, capitalism exists through scams and corruption. The genetic characteristic of capitalism is scam. The Central Bank scam that was committed in our country shows that the two capitalist groups in our country are responsible for the scam. Both groups got excited when the report was released. The money that has been mostly used for the scam has been from the EPF. However, the people in our country are not aware that it is their money the scammers used to carry on gambling. That’s how the gang of thieves acts. The forensic audit report would not be used to take legal action. For, thieves do not take legal action against themselves. Now, they say the report is wrong.
Also, can capitalism create a virtuous political culture? The capitalist class has its own morals. Deception, plunder, fraud are their principles. As such, expecting virtuousness, discipline from capitalist rulers is a misconception. Discipline and virtuousness cannot be expected in a society where the intentions are profit, power and one where individuality is emphasized. This is why we should read Lenin. Lenin says capitalism is like a putrefied corps. The putrefaction cannot be stopped by anointing perfumes or making it up to beautify it. We saw this putrefaction through voice recordings. There are no holy things within capitalism. Everything has been degenerated and violated. We can see how defiled the capitalist judiciary, political leaders, religious leaders, the media, film stars are. Capitalism cannot defend people’s freedom. It cannot find them a good life or humanity. As such, people get deceived by the stories capitalism fabricates. It is important for people not to be deceived. This is why Marxism and politics should be studies.