Keerthi Balasuriya

Keerthi Balasuriya (November 4, 1948-December 18, 1987) was the national secretary of the Revolutionary Communist League, forerunner of the Socialist Equality Party in Sri Lanka, and a leading figure in the International Committee of the Fourth International. He was among the most outstanding representatives of Trotskyism in the latter half of the twentieth century.

As a teenager, Balasuriya aligned himself with those who opposed the 1964 entry of the Lanka Sama Samaja Party (LSSP), the Sri Lankan affiliate of the International Secretariat of Michel Pablo and Ernest Mandel, into a bourgeois coalition government led by the Sri Lanka Freedom Party (SLFP). The Great Betrayal of the LSSP had catastrophic consequences for the working class in Sri Lanka and internationally.

In 1968, at the age of 19, Keerthi was chosen by the founding congress of the Revolutionary Communist League to be its general secretary. The RCL immediately sought affiliation with the ICFI. Balasuriya played a decisive role in the successful struggle to reassert Trotskyist control over the International Committee of the Fourth International through the split with the British Workers Revolutionary Party (WRP) in 1985-86.

His death on the morning of December 18, 1987 was both sudden and tragically premature. He was felled by a heart attack little more than a month after his 39th birthday. On this page readers will find tributes to the life and work of comrade Balasuriya, as well as major statements and essays written by Keerthi in the 1970s and 1980s.

Keerthi Balasuriya
From the ICFI-Marxist Library
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