ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

Articles by Ahilan KadirgamarSubscribe to Ahilan Kadirgamar

The Unravelling of the Global Political Economy and Sri Lanka’s IMF Solution

Sri Lanka faces an uncertain path to obtaining bailout funding from the International Monetary Fund, while the existing terms of the agreement itself will exacerbate the ongoing economic crisis. Moreover, Sri Lanka’s difficulty in securing the consent of bilateral and private creditors amid great power rivalry reflects the unravelling of the global order. Is there an alternative to austerity in this conjuncture, including possibilities for self-sufficiency?

The Political Economy of the Crisis in Sri Lanka

Sri Lanka is facing the worst economic downturn since independence. The economic establishment is proposing austerity to continue the neo-liberal trajectory, which the working people are bound to resist. Will this conjuncture lead to a progressive social contract between the state and the people based on democratic alternatives of redistribution or further repressive liberalisation with dispossession?

Rebuilding the Post-War North

If the Tamil National Alliance, consisting of a hodgepodge of actors, is to steady its course after winning elections to the Northern Province in Sri Lanka, Tamil professionals, intellectuals and leaders of social organisations need to become vocal about the economic concerns of Tamil population and in that process give substance to Tamil aspirations.

Second Wave of Neoliberalism: Financialisation and Crisis in Post-War Sri Lanka

Altering the economic and social landscape of Sri Lanka, the neoliberal policies pursued by the Mahinda Rajapaksa government have exacerbated inequitable development, indebtedness, and the marginalisation of the Muslim and Tamil minorities. Whether the crisis in the economy would lead to political changes that will reverse the economic slide and ethnic polarisation, remains to be seen. 

The Question of Militarisation in Post-war Sri Lanka

A political economic study of militarisation in Sri Lanka must situate it within the neo-liberal transformation of the country, the changing role of the state in the economy this has entailed, and the state-society model which has enabled regime consolidation through significant electoral victories. The international image of the military as a force of untrammelled power within Sri Lanka and the image being constructed within Sri Lanka of the military as capable of winning all battles are both flawed and undermine progressive politics. The need is for serious analysis and a far-reaching debate on militarisation which can enable dissent and contribute towards post-war democratisation.

Tribute to Neil Smith

For many of us, the Graduate Centre, City University of New York, in the heart of the city with all its com­plexities has been a political touchstone to test and articulate our political ideas and practices. Neil Smith was one radical intellectual who made it so.

Transforming the University Teachers' Strike into a Movement for Democracy

Sri Lanka's Federation of University Teachers Association strike has crippled the state university system. The strikers' demands range from salary increases to an increase in state investment in the education sector. The strike is beginning to gain greater and greater public support as there is widespread recognition of the crisis in the education sector.

Legitimacy and Crisis in Sri Lanka

Newer challenges to the legitimacy of the regime and the state have emerged in Sri Lanka - primarily through international pressure given its dirty war record and on its failure to act upon promises to resolve the ethnic conflict, apart from the deepening of the economic crisis in the island. It is expected that state brutality and repression are likely to be unleashed on social struggles within the country, whose successes depend upon bringing about reconciliation among the various ethnic groups apart from privileging class in such struggles.

Local Elections in Post-war Jaffna

The Mahinda Rajapaksa regime's approach to the Tamil community in the North is not one that can heal the wounds of a devastated people. The people responded in the ballots for elections to local bodies in the Northern Province with dignity. If there is a larger lesson to be learned from the elections, it is that there are limits to the political muscle of party machines and patronage.

The Logic and History of Capital

The Enigma of Capital and the Crises of Capitalism by David Harvey; Profile Books, 2010; pp 256, price not indicated.

Classes, States and the Politics of the Tamil Diaspora

The Tamil diaspora is not monolithic; it is differentiated by class, excludes certain castes and is gendered in its exploitation. The mobilisation of the diverse Tamil diaspora abroad and the rhetoric used have become the rationale for reinforcing the security establishment in Sri Lanka. A democratic Tamil leadership from within the country should challenge the larger Tamil diaspora to change course and work constructively towards building a plural and democratic society out of the ravages of war.

State Power, State Patronage and Elections in Sri Lanka

The call for early presidential elections, the Rajapaksa regime's decisions vis-a-vis the post-war situation and the announcement of ex-army chief Sarath Fonseka's candidacy have opened up some avenues for political dissent in Sri Lanka. But given a weak bourgeoisie, uneven development and the lack of a progressive third force, the elections, which are bound to witness the use of state patronage, would not mean much for the minorities or for the economically marginalised sections of Sri Lankan society. It is in this context that issues such as the devolution of power, the representation of minorities and demilitarisation need to be raised by progressive sections in the run-up to the elections.


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