Thanks to Chandra’s comment on Sauvik’s blog, I found this interview of the late V. Prabhakaran conducted by N. Ram of The Hindu 25 years ago. The interesting part (the whole interview is a must read)-

I would like to ask you a few questions on your ideological outlook and politics. Various things have been said and written about you and the LTTE, and obviously everyone goes through some kind of political evolution. I would like to get an insight into how you see yourself, your political evolution and ideology, over time. To start with, how would you characterise the ideology of the LTTE?

Socialism and Tamil Eelam form our political ideology, our cause.

When journalists or external observers try to interpret the Tamil militant phenomenon, they characterise some of the organisations as “nationalist” in orientation or perspective and some others as “socialist” or Left. For example, they would say the LTTE (and earlier TELO) came to the struggle from a “nationalist” angle whereas EROS and EPRLF brought a somewhat different outlook with an emphasis on socialism or left-oriented politics. Would you like to comment on this differentiation?

To me the activities of all the (militant) organisations look the same. What is the difference in the practice of those who are supposed to be committed to “nationalism” and those who profess the other thing (laughter)? You know that brands of socialism vary according to who professes and interprets it. Everyone claims to be a socialist. You can judge the product only when those who profess socialism put it into practice. We advocate a socialism that fully reflects our people’s interests and aspirations, a socialism that harnesses the creative abilities of the masses. Some time ago, I made a reference to the ‘Yugoslav pattern’ (in a positive light). We consider it socialist experimentation — where democracy has to be enhanced in the political process. Through workers’ self-management, democratic participation is allowed in a socialist set-up.

Yugoslav pattern

Our objective is to allow, to a great extent, people’s democracy in a socialist system. We do not consider the ‘Yugoslav pattern’ to be our model. We will work out our own pattern in the future. Let’s look, for a moment, at another thing Yugoslavia has sought to do. It tried to create a ‘third force’ during Nehru’s time, in cooperation with him; that was the origin of the nonaligned movement. They have an active role in (progressive) struggles; at the same time, they take an independent stand without aligning themselves with anyone. Aspects such as these appeal to us; we consider these aspects seriously and think along these lines. We are thinking of a pattern of socialism that is suited to our people, our culture, our historical heritage. We have a special social structure and, in fact, in our land there are no big capitalists. There is, however, a numerous middle class.

One idea that has been put forward (in an interview you gave recently and perhaps in other statements as well) is that your organisation believes in a one-party state after the achievement of liberation. That has raised apprehensions…

It depends on what the people want and go for. They can choose freely the party they want. Take, for example, India. Has not the Congress party dominated political life here over a long period? Does not it rule even today? You mention the doubts and suspicions our position has given rise to. My impression is that they are created mainly by those who want to become leaders without fighting! What we said has made a special impact on the minds of those who have stood aloof from the struggle, but nurse high leadership ambitions.

Look at the entire range of socialist countries. What prevails there? Is it not one party which, having worked for the revolution and having been approved by the people, wields power? Look at Cuba, the Soviet Union, every socialist country… By the way, I consider this in the nature of a necessary examination. Journalists can be regarded as the examiners of politicians. You represent the public and mediate between us and the people. What we are able to convey to you with effort and precision, as in an examination, reaches the people. But, in truth, you are the danger for us (laughter)!

It’s very interesting to note that everyone – from mahatmas, to US presidents, to dictators, to terrorists, to mass murderers – is attracted to socialism. Even more interesting is Prabhakaran’s comment on “nationalism” vs. “socialism.” More so because of what Peikoff refers to as the “nazi synthesis”-

The German right characteristically denounced socialism, while supporting the welfare state, demanding government supervision of the economy, and preaching the duty of property-owners to serve their country. The German left characteristically denounced nationalism, while extolling the feats of imperial Germany, cursing the Allied victors of the war, and urging the rebirth of a powerful Fatherland. (Even the Communists soon began to substitute “nation” for “proletariat” in their manifestos.)

The nationalists, at heart, were socialists. The socialists, at heart, were nationalists.

The Nazis took over the essence of each side in the German debate and proudly offered the synthesis as one unified viewpoint. The synthesis is: national socialism.

Nationalism, said Hitler—echoing German thinkers from Fichte to Spengler—means the power of the nation over the individual in every realm, including economics; i.e., it means socialism. Socialism, he said, means rule by the whole, by the greatest of all wholes, Germany.

Kelley writes about Rand’s view on the communism-fascism false dichotomy-

During World War II, Rand understood that the battle between German Nazis and Russian communists was a family feud; they were both collectivists. The real battle was between individualism and collectivism in any form, left or right. That’s common knowledge now, but Rand knew it from the beginning; she knew it because she saw past the political level to the underlying ethic of sacrifice and epistemology of unreason.

There is a lesson to be learnt – on choosing the “lesser” of two evils – from the exploits of Prabhakaran – protector turned predator turned corpse.

Trackbacks are closed, but you can post a comment.


  • you12  On May 23, 2009 at 12:43 am

    You know I am not a big fan of conspiracy theories but Prabhakaran being killed the very next day after the election of Congress, something smells.

    • Aristotle The Geek  On May 23, 2009 at 4:16 pm

      As long as P is dead, does it really matter? Another interesting incident is poet-politician Karunanidhi camping in Delhi while the terrorist outfit he sympathized with is being pulverized.

      Also, read this if you haven’t done so already. All governments are the same.

  • you12  On May 24, 2009 at 12:41 am

    Sure it matters. Now that Sri Lanka has given a sort of gift to Congress, India will not interfere or support the left- over fringe groups.

    Karunanidhi’s “behavior” is not surprising at all as right now every dog wants to bark at the Congress tree, includiing the Sri Lankans.

    LTTE is not finished though,although right now they are completely powerless I guess they will split into various “trouble” groups instead of one big militant group and…

    I have rad that before. Funny how speaking the truth always gets you in trouble.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s