Strong interest in SEP Sri Lanka meeting on Ukraine war crisis this Sunday

Socialist Equality Party (SEP) and the International Youth and Students for Social Equality (IYSSE) members in Sri Lanka continued their campaign for the forthcoming online public meeting “Oppose US-NATO war drive and the Russian invasion of Ukraine!” Sunday, March 20.

The meeting, which will be addressed by David North, chairperson of the International Editorial Board of WSWS and the SEP in the US, is part of the struggle being waged by the International Committee of the Fourth International to build an anti-war movement of the working-class based on socialist internationalism. Some of the comments made by workers and youth during the campaign are published below.

Ahnaf Jazeem, a young Muslim poet recently bailed after being detained under anti-terror laws on frame-up charges, said:

“We cannot accept this war being waged by Russia on Ukraine and the wider war being planned by the US and NATO powers against Russia. It seems Russia has been systematically pushed by world imperialist powers.

“The US is waging wars in a brutal manner in order to maintain its imperialist influence and military might and to exploit the economies of other poor nations. We know its rulers destroyed many countries, such as Syria, Iraq and Libya. These wars were launched by the US and its allies under the guise of defending human rights and peace.

“There is a discussion that if war breaks out between Russia and the US–NATO, it could become a third world war and a catastrophic nuclear world war. This danger is present in the current situation.

“I condemn Russia's reactionary war on Ukraine, as well as the US and NATO war preparations against Russia. To stop the wars of American imperialism and other major powers, which threaten a world war, the working class must unite internationally.”

Saliya Kanugala,a student from Kurunegala, the main city in Sri Lanka’s northwestern province, said he opposes the US–NATO war drive and the Russian invasion. Pointing to the fact that several countries involved are major nuclear powers, he added:

“I have read about the destruction caused by the US bombing in Hiroshima and Nagasaki. The consequences are still being suffered by the people there. Now the major powers possess more advanced and destructive nuclear weapons. They will inevitably destroy mankind. Unless the war is stopped by the intervention of an international anti-war movement, based on the working class, it will lead to a catastrophic outcome.”

Afkar, a University of Peradeniya science student in Kandy, said: “The US with NATO did everything possible to provoke Russia to invade Ukraine. I look into this crisis in the context of the wars and diplomatic conspiracies that the US has waged around the world over the past three decades. We must all oppose the one-sided presentation of Russia as a villain, and the covering-up of the power greedy interests of the US. The WSWS analysis helps a lot for this disclosure. I look forward to attending the forthcoming SEP meeting.”

Jeyakanthan, an engineer from Jaffna and a regular WSWS reader, said he was “convinced” that the US is the aggressor in this crisis.

“I read in the WSWS how the US has expanded NATO in the Eastern European region and is now arming Ukraine for a war with Russia. After intervening militarily and diplomatically in many countries in every part of the world, the US is now planning to subjugate Russia to secure its world hegemony. The real danger is looming above the heads of the working class in Ukraine and Russia, as well as around the world,” he said. 

Recalling his experiences during the civil war waged by successive Colombo governments against the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE), Jeyakanthan added: “Because I lived in the North and East during the civil war, I understand the horror of a war. We had to sleep and live in bunkers during that war like Ukrainians now. Russian and Ukrainian workers must get together with the global working class to oppose this war. In this regard I think Sunday’s meeting is going to be very significant.”

K. Gunawardene, a Kandy school principal, said: “Whatever the immediate reasons for wars between countries, its main cause is rooted in the obsolete nature of the nation-state system. No country can find a solution for this through its military strength. Demonstrating their military strength will worsen the crisis and lead to more catastrophes. What needs to be done is to abolish the nation-state system and establish socialism. I will be attending the Sunday meeting for a better understanding of these issues.”

Wasantha Wijesiri, a development officer, said: “The US will intensify its militaristic provocations in the midst of the crisis it faces. Not only them but all over the world imperialist countries are rapidly increasing their military expenses and preparing for war. They are not seeing any other way out of the contradictions they face. During the COVID-19 pandemic, the capitalist ruling class has not made decisions based on the value of people's lives. The situation is similar in the current war preparations.”

Asiri, a Ceylon Electricity Board worker, said: “I understand that the tensions created around Ukraine can lead to a nuclear world war. But the United Nations, which claims to work for world peace, does not seem to be able to stop such a war. Despite the devastation caused by the war up to now, they have done nothing to stop it.”

He added: “Although the Sri Lankan government said they are not taking any sides in this war, they will have to bend to the demands of the US because the ruling elite here is under the thumb of the imperialist powers. The government has no ability to prevent Sri Lanka from being drawn into the war.”

Chathura, a non-academic worker at the University of Sri Jayawardenepura in Colombo’s outer suburbs, said: “No worker should support any country in this war. I have seen on social media some workers and youth are supporting different countries. I think this happens due to the influence of the biased reporting of the capitalist media. A handful of capitalists need a war. It is a catastrophe for the entire working class. Workers need to understand that.”

Mary Martina, a doctoral chemistry student from Chennai, the capital of the southern Indian state of Tamil Nadu, said that she only really learnt of the root causes of the US war drive by reading the WSWS. “The US faces a huge domestic crisis amid the pandemic and the Biden administration is trying to divert the internal conflict outward by demonising Putin and provoking a war against Russia,” she said.

“There are a lot of differences between the WSWS and other media. The corporate media is only focusing on how the Ukrainians suffer. They all ignore that the driving force of war is the US government. Only through the WSWS did I come to know this reality. I agree with the perspective that the working class must unite and organise an anti-war movement. Uniting the working class is a challenging task but it can succeed with a continuous fight to develop political consciousness.”