Tamil Solidarity welcomes the latest statement from the British Tamils Forum (BTF) regarding its withdrawal from the Global Tamils Forum (GTF).
In particular, we welcome the BTF’s defence of “collective decision-making, democratic governance, transparency, inclusiveness and grassroots activism”. All of these have been rejected by the GTF’s current leaders.
Tamil Solidarity has always argued for the need to build a mass struggle, and we continue to do so. When the first meeting to launch the GTF was held in London in 2010, Tamil Solidarity warned against the dangers. We said: “It is when the masses take to the streets in the UK and around the world that arouses fear in these politicians and pushes them towards making concessions at least in words. That should never be forgotten.” (Protest and Build Mass Action: No Illusions in Establishments http://www.tamilsolidarity.org/?p=935)
Neither British establishment politicians nor the ‘international community’ of governments will act in the interests of finding a long-term political solution that will meet the national aspirations of the Tamil-speaking people. We pointed out that the Labour Party leaders who spoke at the GTF launch could not be trusted. The Labour Party was in government at the time of the genocidal war in 2009. We pointed out that what they were “really saying is that the British government wants Tamil-speaking people in Sri Lanka and the diaspora to remain passive and allow it to carry on with its international policies of doing business with brutal and repressive regimes.” (British Government Chose Not to Prevent Bloodbath in Sri Lanka http://www.tamilsolidarity.org/?p=1008)
These views are considered ‘extreme’ by those GTF leaders who set out to capture the hearts of the British political establishment. In the end, however, they have ended up doing ‘reverse lobbying’: trying to make Tamil activists tune-in and toe the line of the British and other governments. And that even includes the Sri Lankan government, as the BTF statement make absolutely clear.
The real reasons behind the foreign policy of all governments, including the British, is always buried deep in diplomatic jargon. It is a huge mistake for campaigns taking up the rights of oppressed people – including, of course, the Tamils – to be fooled by their political rhetoric. A year ago, when the GTF organised an event in Parliament, we wrote that the “motivating factor is the desire to control regional resources – which are in turn controlled by the respective governments in each country – who are in turn subject to lobbying and pressure from big business interests. In summary, the competition will be about who controls the state affairs and how they can influence it.” (Show vs Reality – GTF: Compromise and Wrong Strategies http://www.tamilsolidarity.org/?p=2871)
We must reject the false method of creating illusions in the governments and changing our demands and activity to suit their needs.
Instead, we need to continue to build the mass movement – and to base our demands on that strength.
The way a campaign and group is organised must be transparent, including in its financial dealings, and must be accountable. It has to earn the trust of the people.
A democratically organised campaign allows the wider participation of its members and the movement, enabling oppressed people to debate, work out and decide on the best possible strategy and tactics to take the struggle forward.
That has always been the aim of Tamil Solidarity – and on that basis, we welcome the statement by the BTF.