Inspite of our repeated attempt to classify Mahinda politics as a version of fascism there was much silent opposition. They had many arguments but the basic idea is that SLFP was chauvinist from the very inception and Mahinda only expanded it in the recent past. Yes, it is rue that the SLFP had a Sinhala nationalist tendency and that was responsible for the, 57 racist violence.
However at that stage it was mixed with a popular mass upsurge against western comprador capitalism. Leaders were people like Rajaratne and there was no urban intellectual support for the upsurge. At that stage Federal party came out as a twin movement representing the Tamil national upsurge in Tamil homeland area. Unfortunately these twin national liberation tendencies could not agree on a common strategy to confront westernized elitist structure.
The belated Banda Chelva pact came after the chauvinist elements intervened to create a dangerous misunderstanding. It was a tragedy that Sama Samajist of that time, who stood for parity of languages, underestimated the development of Tamil nationality. In fact they did not consider the Tamil national problem in Leninist terms.
In the mean time, the SLFP following the typical path of populist bourgeoisie of that time in the developing world represented a form of non-revolutionary socialism and a policy of non-alignment with strong ties to ‘socialist’ countries. It’s social democratic and Sinhala nationalist policies in the aftermath of 57 riots and death of Banda supported its rapid rise towards attaining major party status alongside the centre-right United National Party. Founding member, S.W.R.D Bandaranaike stated that the basis of the party would be the‘Pancha Maha Balavegaya’ (Five Great Forces) which consisted of the clergy, native doctors, teachers, farmers and workers. This involved a so called nationalist, democratic and socialist programme which shows the SLFP achieve huge victories at the 1960 elections and there after. This was seen by many observers as a social revolution resulting in the eclipse of the Westernized elite. Amongst the many claimed achievements of Bandaranaike period include the reverting of major defence facilities from British to local control, initiating a shift in Sri Lanka’s foreign policy from the West to the Non-Aligned Movement and lowering the voting age from 21 years to 18 years of age. Working people, a core base of support for the party, also benefited through the setting up of an Employees Provident Fund and the empowerment of peasants through the Paddy Lands Act. The healthcare and education systems were also improved for the benefit of the common man.
However Bandaranaike governments failed to give a lasting solution the Tamil national problem. In 1956 Sinhala replaced English as the official language of Lanka, fulfilling ‘a major election pledge’. In reaction to Tamil unease, the Bandaranaike–Chelvanayakam Pact was signed to grant official status to the Tamil language. However, this agreement was vehemently opposed by extremists led by the main opposition party UNP and instead a watered down act was passed. In September 1959, Bandaranaike was assassinated by an extremist monk opposed to his attempts to allegedly appease Tamils. That tragic death remains a black mark for liberal democracy.
Now we are told that the State Intelligence Service submitted a detailed report regarding the newly formed Mahinda Rajapaksa led fascistic movement. According to the report After Mahinda Rajapaksa‘s presidential election loss in January 2015, he commenced visiting a colossal amount of Buddhist temples on the pretext of seeking support for the concluded general elections in seeking the premiership. The sole purpose of these visits was to seek help in safe guarding himself, his immediate family and his brother namely the former defense secretary Gotabaya Rajapaksa for the on going cases relating to abuse of power, forgery, murder, fraud, corruption and malpractices through the creation of a Buddhist Temple Based Neo-Fascist Movement. The formation of this Buddhist Temple Based Neo-Fascists Movement was so well organized, that if in the event any Rajapaksa family member was arrested by the authorities, the entire cadre which also includes certain Buddhist monks could take to the streets within minutes, even leaving their places of work by communicating using secret codes. Inspite of all these reports it is very clear Mahinda Rajapaksa led forces are rampantly recruiting numbers to make a strong cadre that could almost instantly commence blanket protests in the Buddhist dominated areas of the island. This will be the real opposition in the coming period.