The Socialist Equality Party (SEP) and the International Youth and Students for Social Equality (IYSSE) in Sri Lanka are holding a public meeting in Colombo on January 12 to discuss how the working class can oppose the state repression and austerity policies of President Gotabhaya Rajapakse.
Following his November 16 election victory, Rajapakse has moved at an unprecedented pace to secure wider governmental powers. He immediately bullied Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe into resigning and then appointed his brother, former President Mahinda Rajapakse, as the head of a minority government.
Rajapakse has also appointed several former military officers to head critical government and institutions. Having prorogued parliament until January 3, he hopes to repeal a recent constitutional amendment that limits the president’s authoritarian powers.
The principal target of these moves is the working class. Rajapakse is well aware that the Sri Lankan bourgeoisie sits on a social time bomb. The period prior to his election saw the eruption of the most extensive wave of industrial action by Sri Lankan workers since the 1980s, despite desperate efforts by the unions to stop the strikes.
At the same time, the Colombo political establishment is being drawn into the maelstrom of rapidly sharpening geo-political tensions. US imperialism is determined to transform the island into a frontline state in its confrontation with China.
The SEP intervened in the presidential election to expose all the capitalist parties and their pseudo-left agencies and to take forward the unified industrial action of Sinhalese, Tamil and Muslim workers on the basis of a conscious political strategy—i.e., international socialism—in preparation for the explosive social struggles that lie ahead.
As a part of that political fight, the SEP-IYSSE meeting in Colombo will review the dangers confronting the working class in Sri Lanka and internationally and clarify the international socialist program required to fight austerity and state repression, and the escalating preparations for another imperialist world war.
We urge workers, young people, intellectuals and everyone concerned about these vital issues to attend our meeting and participate in this crucial political discussion.
Date and Time: Sunday, January 12, 3 p.m.
Venue: Public Library Auditorium, Colombo