Wickremesinghe calls for a military discipline society

Addressing in a ceremony held yesterday (19) at Rantambe National Cadet Training Centre for the awarding ‘Colours’ to the National Cadet Corps, President Ranil Wickremesinghe has stated, “to take on the future requires discipline and commitment”. 


“The people needed for the country’s future are trained by this Cadet Corps”, he has stated. 

“Today the Cadet Corps operates in many schools…Cadet Corps should be established in every Central College. We must continue to develop this further. I believe that this will produce the disciplined citizens that this country needs.”

He has further stated, “we must build both a strong economy and a new society for the benefit of the country’s youth. To build such a new social system, a disciplined leadership is required. I am hopeful that the Cadet Corps will provide the required leadership.”

These statements are clear. What discipline does  Wickremesinghe mean?

Military discipline. Who should be disciplined? The youth and the students. The cops who have received military training and thereby having received military discipline, he says, are “the people needed for the country’s future”.

The militarization of the society is so promoted and government schools are to be used to “produce the disciplined citizens”  whom, according to Wickremesinghe, “this country needs”.

This call goes in line with and appeases ultra-nationalist elements who have repeatedly advocated military training for all youth in the country. Racist monk Athuraliye Rathana was recently vociferous in this regard.

These plans echo those of ousted president Gotabaya Rajapaksha who, in 2020, declared  a Presidential Task Force, comprised entitely of military, intelligence and  police officers,  to build a ‘secure country, disciplined, virtuous and lawful society’, aimed at suppressing political dissent.

Wickremesinghe’s plan – the conspiracies of the ruling class of the country, and to that matter in any other capitalist State – is for the military trained corps and military personnel  to provide the required “disciplined leadership” to build a “strong economy and a new society”. 

This strong economy, Wickremesinghe has been so clear, is the pro-imperialist, neoliberal economy discharging all dictates of the international financial capital, including IMF, the World Bank and the WTO.

He has already stated that democracy is subject to a strong economy and therefore elections should be postponed. Such an anti-democratic governance should be subjected to military training and discipline, and the nationalist indoctrination propaganda machine should be operated. 

The independence day celebrations, the Kandy Janaraja Perahera and similar nationalist propaganda are aimed at fortifying nationalist sentiments in order to prepare an army of ultra-nationalist and racist regiments against the working class, youth and student protest movements that Wickremesinghe has taken oaths to ruthlessly crush.  

Wickremesinghe is warning that students and youth should be “disciplined” and commit to his programme of  “strong economy and a new society”, or else meet military, police repression.

Wickremasinghe confirmed this approach toward the new generation of youth who wants a “system change” that they should succumb to his plan for the society and economy. In addressing a group of young people – who have no representation in any of the left-wing youth fronts who are politically active in the country-  on 16 February, Wickremesinghe conveyed that youth should bow down to his austerity programme to “develop” the country by 2048 and that the working people and the oppressed should be ready to “pay” for “the past sins” that they have committed. 

Wickremesinghe’s reference to the “past sins” is to mean the limited social welfare programs, free education and healthcare and subsidies that the labor movement of the country and world won over a period of more than a century especially during the post-WWII period. Capitalism cannot afford any of these concessionary welfare anymore. 

Wickremesinghe has been issuing these statements often taking much time to emphasize and to be very clear that suppression of dissent and opposition to his pro-market programmes would be his only response. He is well aware that his and his parasitic clique’s rule is weak, and an enormous resentment is growing within the entire population of the working people and the oppressed, which would pose an existential threat to the capitalist establishment, unless the same is contained by the Corporate-State-Union alliance. The specter of class struggles haunts the ruling class, and Wickremesinghe is shooting desperate threats. 

Sanjaya Jayasekera

Colombo Action Committee 

20 February 2023


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