David North, chairman of the International Editorial Board of the World Socialist Web Site, will address public meetings in Colombo and at Peradeniya University in Kandy organised by the Socialist Equality Party (SEP) in Sri Lanka in early October. These events will mark the 80th anniversary of the founding of the Fourth International and the 50th anniversary of the SEP.
North, who is also the chairman of the SEP in the United States, has played a leading role in the international socialist movement for four decades and is an internationally acclaimed authority on the history of the Trotskyist movement. His published works include, The Heritage We Defend, In Defence of Leon Trotsky, The Russian Revolution and the Unfinished Twentieth Century, The Frankfurt School, Postmodernism and the Politics of the Pseudo-Left and A Quarter Century of War: The US Drive for Global Hegemony1990–2016.
The Fourth International was founded in 1938 by Leon Trotsky, co-leader with Lenin of the October 1917 Russian revolution. Its purpose was to construct the political leadership required by the international working class to fight imperialism and its agencies—reformism and above all Stalinism, which had usurped the power from the working class in the first workers' state established by the 1917 revolution. The Fourth International, which has maintained an eight-decade heritage of principled struggle for the perspective of world socialist revolution, has been led by the International Committee of the Fourth International (ICFI) since 1953.
The Revolutionary Communist League (RCL), the forerunner of the SEP in Sri Lanka, was founded in 1968 as the Ceylonese section of the ICFI. The RCL, along with other sections of the ICFI, was transformed into the SEP in 1996. The RCL/SEP has maintained a half century of struggle for Trotskyism, that is, socialist internationalism, against imperialism and its regional agencies—the bourgeois regimes in South Asia and their associated political bureaucracies, including the Stalinists.
The long struggle waged by the Fourth International and the SEP for revolutionary leadership of the international working class is intersecting with the class struggles now emerging amid the deepening crisis of capitalism. This objective situation has opened important opportunities for building Socialist Equality Parties, as sections of the ICFI, in South Asia and internationally.
Addressing the Sri Lankan meetings, North will review the political lessons derived from the history of the Fourth International and explain their relevance for the struggle for socialism today. We urge workers, youth, intellectuals and WSWS readers to attend these meetings and participate in this critical discussion.
Meeting venues, dates and times:
October 3, 4.30 p.m. – Arts Theatre, University of Peradeniya
October 7, 3.00 p.m. – New Town Hall, Green Path, Colombo