“Counterculture or Scientific Socialism”

Sri Lankan SEP to hold Piyaseeli Wijegunasingha commemorative lecture



The Socialist Equality Party (SEP) and the International Students for Social Equality (ISSE) in Sri Lanka will hold a lecture in Colombo to mark the anniversary of the death of Piyaseeli Wijegunasingha, a lifelong Trotskyist. She died on September 2, 2010 at the age of 67.


Piyaseeli educated an entire generation in the study of literature. In her work as a university lecturer, she elaborated a Marxist approach to literature and literary criticism. Her first book—A Materialist Study of Literature—published in 1982, took issue with the philosophical idealism and religious conceptions that dominated literary criticism in Sri Lanka. She wrote several other books on the subject. Her work was a part of the struggle to defend Marxism by the SEP and its forerunner, the Revolutionary Communist League (RCL).

The lecture will focus on recent remarks made by senior university lecturer, Liyanage Amarakeerthi, who distorted Piyaseeli’s contribution to literary criticism by portraying her as a representative of “counterculture thinkers”. The SEP speaker will answer this post-modernist misrepresentation of Piyaseeli’s writings and explain her revolutionary Marxist standpoint.

We warmly invite workers, youth and intellectuals to attend and participate in the discussion.

Lecturer: Panini Wijesiriwardane, SEP political committee member

Venue: National Library Auditorium, Torrington Avenue, Colombo 07

Date and Time: Sunday, September 30, 3.00 p.m.