The Socialist Equality Party (SEP) and the International Youth and Students for Social Equality (IYSSE) are holding an online public meeting entitled “The lessons of the mass uprising in Sri Lanka” at 4 p.m. on Sunday, July 3. The event will broadcast via Zoom and live-streamed on the party’s Facebook page.
Since early April, Sri Lanka has been convulsed by mass protests, demonstrations and strikes by workers, rural toilers and young people rebelling against the intolerable social conditions produced by the global capitalist crisis and demanding the resignation of President Gotabhaya Rajapakse and his government.
The most significant developments in this movement were the multi-million strong, one-day general strikes on April 28 and May 6, which united workers across Sinhala, Tamil and Muslim communal lines and revealed the enormous social power of the working class.
Despite this, President Rajapakse remains in power with workers and the poor facing unprecedented attacks on their social and democratic rights. Rajapakse has appointed Ranil Wickremesinghe, the pro-US United National Party’s only MP, as prime minister to impose International Monetary Fund-dictated austerity measures and class-war policies. Soon after his appointment Wickremesinghe announced that about 800,000 public sector jobs would be slashed, privatisation intensified and further cuts in social programs.
The opposition parties, including the Samagi Jana Balawegaya, Janatha Vimukthi Peramuna and the Tamil National Alliance, have no fundamental difference with the government and support its austerity policies.
The Rajapakse-Wickremesinghe regime has been able to unleash its attacks because of the treachery of the trade unions, which have derailed the mass movement of working class and sought to divert it behind the opposition capitalist parties. Pseudo-left groups, such as the Frontline Socialist Party, are supporting the trade unions and working to block the struggles of the working class developing in a revolutionary direction.
The SEP and the IYSSE has powerfully intervened in this mass upsurge with a socialist program of action. We call for the building of workers’ action committees, independent of the trade unions, fighting on the basis of the socialist policies. The struggle of the Sri Lankan working class is part of the developing movement of the international working class in response to the global capitalist crisis triggered by the COVID-19 pandemic and the US-NATO proxy war against Russia in Ukraine.
Workers and youth need to urgently draw political lessons from the past three months of anti-government strikes and demonstrations in order to fight the next round of brutal attacks being prepared by the Rajapakse regime and the ruling class. We urge you to register for the July 3 public meeting at 4 p.m. and participate in this vital discussion.