The Socialist Equality Party (SEP) and the International Youth and Students for Social Equality (IYSSE) in Sri Lanka has launched a series of public lectures on the consequences and lessons of the “Great Betrayal”—the LSSP’s entry into the government of Prime Minister Sirima Bandaranaike in 1964.
Last June marked 50 years since a party claiming to be Trotskyist for the first time joined a bourgeois government, a betrayal that had far-reaching consequences for the working class in Sri Lanka and internationally.
In Sri Lanka, it opened the door for the emergence of petty-bourgeois radical formations based on communal politics, such as the Janatha Vimukthi Peramuna (JVP) in the south and the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) among Tamil youth in the north, and set the stage for the eruption of civil war in 1983.
The LSSP’s betrayal also assisted Stalinism, including its Maoist variants, in India and across Asia, particularly in the Philippines and Indonesia, and justified the reactionary pro-capitalist politics of these formations.
The principled struggle waged by the International Committee of the Fourth International (ICFI) against the LSSP’s betrayal led to the establishment of the Revolutionary Communist League (RCL), the predecessor of the SEP, as the Sri Lankan section of the ICFI in 1968.
The ICFI explained that the real roots of the LSSP’s degeneration lay in Pabloism, a revisionist trend that emerged within the Fourth International in the early 1950s rejecting the fight for the political independence of the working class. The ICFI was established in 1953 in a split from the Pabloites.
The political and theoretical lessons of the principled struggle waged by the ICFI and the RCL/SEP against the LSSP betrayal are essential for workers and young people today, not only in Sri Lanka, but internationally. We warmly invite workers, youth, intellectuals and World Socialist Web Site readers to attend. Lectures, that have already taken place in Colombo and Jaffna, will now be held in Kurunegala, Ambalangoda and Hatton.
Kurunegala Venue: YMBA Hall, Kurunegala
Friday, November 21, 4 p.m.
Ambalangoda Venue: Town Hall, Ambalangoda
Saturday, December 6, 4 p.m.
Hatton Venue: Town Hall, Hatton
Sunday, December 14, 2 p.m.